Queen Esther invites the king and Haman to dinner (Esth 5:4-5:8)

“Then Queen Esther said.

‘If it pleases the king,

Let the king and Haman come today to a banquet

That I have prepared for the king.’

Then the king said.

‘Bring Haman quickly,

So that we may do as Esther desires.’

So the king and Haman came to the banquet that Esther had prepared. While they were drinking wine, the king said to Esther.

‘What is your petition?

It shall be granted you.

What is your request?

Even to the half of my kingdom,

It shall be fulfilled.’

Then Esther said.

‘This is my petition and my request.

If I have won the king’s favor,

And if it please the king

To grant my petition

And fulfill my request,

Let the king and Haman come tomorrow to the dinner

That I will prepare for them.

Then I will do as the king has said.’”

Queen Esther’s request is simple enough. She wanted the king and Haman to come to dinner with her. The king thought that this was a good idea. He called Haman to come to dinner. Once again, the king repeated that he would give Queen Esther half of the kingdom. Her request was strange. She only wanted them both, the king and Haman, to come to dinner the next night. In other words, she requested a dinner so that she could invite them to another dinner.

Queen Esther goes to the palace (Esth 5:1-5:3)

“On the third day Queen Esther put on her royal robes. She stood in the inner court of the king’s palace, opposite the king’s hall. The king was sitting on his royal throne inside the palace opposite the entrance to the palace. As soon as the king saw Queen Esther standing in the court, she won his favor. He held out to her the golden scepter that was in his hand. Then Queen Esther approached and touched the top of the scepter. The king said to her.

‘What is it, Queen Esther?

What is your request?

It shall be given you, even to the half of my kingdom.’”

Now we are back to the Hebrew text which is a summary of what preceded in the Greek text with a slightly different ending. It is the 3rd day. However, here she stands in the court opposite the king’s hall. He summons her because she is so beautiful. There is no fainting. She just accepts the golden scepter. The king spoke first. He was willing to give her any request she might make, even giving half the kingdom to her. Surprisingly the Hebrew text shows the king as more gentle.