Haman was happy (Esth 5:9-5:13)

“Haman went out that day from the king happy and in good spirits. But when he saw Mordecai the Jew in the courtyard, and observed that he neither rose nor trembled before him, he was infuriated with Mordecai. Nevertheless Haman restrained himself. He went home. Then he sent and called for his friends and his wife Zeresh. Haman recounted to them the splendor of his riches and the number of his sons. He told them about all the promotions with which the king had honored him. He explained how he had advanced above the officials and ministers of the king. Haman added.

‘Even Queen Esther let no one but me

Come with the king to the banquet that she prepared.

Tomorrow also I am invited by her,

Together with the king.

Yet all this does me no good,

As long as I see the Jew Mordecai sitting at the king’s gate.’”

Haman was very happy as he left the king and Queen Esther. However, when he saw Mordecai in the courtyard, he was angry. Mordecai would not recognize his authority, but Haman remained calm and went home. Once at home, he called his friends and wife and told them how wonderful things were going. Haman was a rich man with many sons. He had been promoted and honored by the king. He was the second in command in the kingdom. In fact, he had been the only one invited to a dinner with the king and his wife that day and once again he was invited tomorrow. There was only one thing that really bothered him, the Jew Mordecai sitting at the king’s gate.

Queen Esther encounters the king (Greek text only)

“The king was seated on his royal throne. He was clothed in the full array of his majesty. He was all covered with gold and precious stones. He was most terrifying. Lifting his face, flushed with splendor, he looked at her in fierce anger. The queen faltered. She turned pale and faint. She collapsed on the head of the maid who went in front of her. Then God changed the spirit of the king to gentleness. In alarm he sprang from his throne. He took her in his arms until she came to herself. He comforted her with soothing words. He said to her.

‘What is it, Esther?

I am your husband.

Take courage!

You shall not die.

Our law applies only to our subjects.

Come near.’”

This Greek text shows the king seated on his royal throne with all his majesty and splendor, covered with gold and precious stones. He had a fierce terrifying look on his face. Queen Esther faltered, turned pale, and fainted. She fell on the maid in front of her. With that, God changed the spirit of the king to gentleness. He took her in his arms and told to take courage. She was not going to die since the law about interrupting the king unannounced applied only to the subjects of the king and not to her as his wife.

The kingdom of King Artaxerxes (Esth 1:1-1:4)

“It was after this that the following things happened in the days of King Artaxerxes, the same Artaxerxes who ruled over one hundred twenty-seven provinces from India to Ethiopia. In those days, when King Artaxerxes was enthroned in the capital city of Susa, in the third year of his reign, he gave a banquet for all his friends and other persons of various nations, the Persians and the Median nobles, as well as the governors of the provinces. After this, he had displayed to them the wealth of his kingdom and the splendor of his bountiful celebration during the course of one hundred eighty days.”

Now we begin the story of Esther with the Hebrew text. This was the great King Artaxerxes (465-424 BCE) with a huge empire from India to Ethiopia. This Persian king, which is now Iran, had over 127 provinces. So that when we read about Samaria in the Province Beyond the River Euphrates in Nehemiah and Ezra, it was only 1 of 127 provinces. This was the 3rd year of King Artaxerxes’ reign, about 462 BCE. The capital city was Susa, a town that dates back to about 5,000 BCE, about 7, 000 years old. Susa was a major Persian city that went out of favor when it was captured by the Greek Alexander the Great in 331 BCE. King Artaxerxes had invited most of the 127 governors, nobles, and especially the Persian and Median nobles to see the wealth and splendor of his kingdom for about 6 months, 180 days. Persia and Media were old friendly neighboring countries.