Esther 5: Lessons from the Evil Reign of Xerxes and Haman on the Grace Jesus Offers You as Your King of Kings

Introduction: The Jews faced certain death under Haman’s genocidal decree. Esther faced her own possible death by approaching King Xerxes unannounced to lobby for her people. Esther and Mordecai’s encounters with Xerxes and Haman provide a clear contrast between the grace of the King of Kings, Jesus Christ, and the evil reign of Xerxes and Haman. Unlike Xerxes and Haman, Jesus’ grace is based upon: (1) faith, (2) an eternal inheritance, (3) His sovereignty, (4) forgiveness, (5) humility, (6) submission, and (7) judgment for those who reject Him.

First, Esther had to earn King Xerxes’ grace though her good looks after approaching him unannounced. In contrast, the grace of Jesus, the King of Kings, is unearned and based on your faith. Second, Xerxes made Esther a figurative offer for up to half his kingdom. In contrast, Jesus offers to fully share His entire eternal Kingdom with you as part of your spiritual inheritance. Third, Xerxes agreed to Esther’s offer to come back for a second feast the following day to learn the nature of her request. He did not realize that Jesus ordained his response so that He could cause Xerxes to experience insomnia in between the two feasts to influence his actions. Jesus can control the heart of any leader. Fourth, Haman, Xerxes’ second most powerful leader, became filled with prideful anger when Mordecai refused to show him any respect. Unlike Haman’s pride, Jesus’ grace is based on forgiveness. Fifth, Haman boasted out of pride to his friends and his wife about his riches and respect. But Haman had done nothing to earn his riches and honor. Unlike Haman, Jesus humbled Himself at the cross and deserves your honor. Sixth, Haman was filled with a prideful wrath because one man, Mordecai, would not bow to him. Unlike Haman, every knee will bow before Jesus. Finally, Haman agreed to build gallows that he intended to use for Mordecai’s death. He did not realize that he was building the instrument of his own destruction. Those who reject Jesus’ grace will also be judged by their actions.

1. Faith: Unlike Xerxes’ Grace, Jesus’ Grace is Unearned and Based on Faith. Esther 5:1-2.

  • Xerxes shows Esther grace after finding her beauty appealing to his carnal desires. After three days of fasting, Esther approached Xerxes unannounced. With her royal dress and makeup, she “obtained favor” and a reprieve from her death sentence under Persian law: “1 Now it came about on the third day that Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner courtyard of the king’s palace in front of the king’s rooms, and the king was sitting on his royal throne in the throne room, opposite the entrance to the palace. When the king saw Esther the queen standing in the courtyard, she obtained favor in his sight; and the king extended to Esther the golden scepter which was in his hand. So Esther approached and touched the top of the scepter.” (Esther 5:1-2). Esther showed that she trusted God when she asked Mordecai to arrange for a three-day fast to prepare her for this encounter (Esther 4:16). She obtained unearned grace from the King of Kings because of her faith. In contrast, she earned Xerxes’ grace by looking attractive.

  • Esther showed faith in God through her actions. For several reasons, Esther showed courage in her faith by approaching Xerxes unannounced to plead for the Jews. First, the penalty for Esther’s decision to approach the king was death unless he pardoned her (Esther 4:11). She put herself at further risk by approaching him after fasting because it was also illegal to show grief inside the courtyard (cf., Neh. 2:1-2). Second, to plead for the Jews, she would need to admit that she concealed her Jewish identity from Xerxes (Esther 2:20). Her deceit could have also brought about a death sentence. Third, once a Persian king issued an edict, it could not be changed (Esther 1:19; Dan. 6:8, 12). For her to succeed, she would make Xerxes break his own law. Fourth, Xerxes did not have a great respect for women. He banished Queen Vashti after she refused to be paraded in front of his drunk guests, most likely in the nude (Esther 1:10-12, 16-21). Fifth, Haman was Xerxes’ most trusted advisor, and Haman had already convinced Xerxes that there were a group of people who posed a threat based upon their alleged refusal to submit to Persian law (Esther 3:8-10). Sixth, if a credibility contest existed between Haman and Esther, Haman could have pointed to the false accusations that Samarians had made to Xerxes about the Jews’ alleged plot to rebel and create an independent state after rebuilding the Temple (Ezra 4:6). Finally, to succeed in proving that Haman had deceived Xerxes, she would make Xerxes look weak and foolish. Xerxes cared more about his image than true justice. “For the king to deal with Haman as the situation requires, the king will have to admit he has foolishly exalted Haman to power and position and that he has been duped by Haman. This will certainly be hard on the king’s pride and on his image.” (Robert Deffinbaugh “Sleepless in Susa (Esther 5:1-7:10).1

Esther appealed to Xerxes’ carnal desires to obtain his mercy and grace2

  • Xerxes’ scepter was based upon false justice and reserved for only the privileged. After Xerxes saw his beautiful wife dressed in her finest clothes and makeup, “she obtained favor” and then “approached and touched the top of the scepter.” (Esther 5:1-2). If she had not appealed to his carnal desires, she might not have received his grace. Thus, he ruled without true justice. He instead ruled for his own evil desires. “The soul of the wicked desires evil; his neighbor is shown no compassion in his eyes.” (Prov. 21:10).

  • Jesus, the King of Kings, has a scepter of justice that allows for unearned grace. Unlike Xerxes, Jesus is the King of Kings (1 Tim. 6:15; Rev. 1:5; 17:14; 19:16). He sits on an eternal throne (Rev. 3:21). And His scepter is based upon divine justice. “Your throne, God, is forever and ever; the scepter of Your kingdom is a scepter of justice.” (Ps. 45:6; 110:2; Heb. 1:8). As a just King, He won’t limit His scepter to physically attractive people, powerful people, or people who try to earn it. He will judge all sin. But He offers unearned grace as a free gift to any who approach Him in faith: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gracious gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom. 6:23). “Jesus holds out His scepter of grace and invites all who will, to come and touch it and enter in, not into His wrath, but into the courts of His mercy and love! But like Queen Esther, in order to receive that mercy and grace, we must reach out and accept it!” (John Brown on Esther 5).3 Are you telling others how to approach the King of Kings?

2. Eternal Inheritance: Unlike Xerxes, Jesus Offers an Eternal Inheritance. Esther 5:3-4.

  • Xerxes’ first offer for up to half the kingdom to Esther. Because of her faith, God influenced Xerxes’ heart to show favor to Esther by making a figurative offer of up to half the kingdom: “Then the king said to her, ‘What is troubling you, Queen Esther? And what is your request? Up to half of the kingdom it shall be given to you.’ Esther said, ‘If it pleases the king, may the king and Haman come this day to the banquet that I have prepared for him.’” (Esther 5:3-4). Esther appealed to Xerxes’ pride by saying “If it pleases the king” and offering to honor him. As a carnal man, she also sought to gain Xerxes’ favor both through her beautiful wardrobe and the best food and wine. She also had legitimate reasons to make her request in a different location while Haman was present. If she were to confront Xerxes in front of his other royal officials, his pride would force him to defend the order that Haman issued on his behalf. He also could not appear incompetent in front of his people. Also, if she confronted Xerxes outside of Haman’s presence, Haman would have likely had a chance to defend himself outside of Esther’s presence. He had already proven himself to be a liar. He would likely come up with additional lies if he were allowed to defend himself outside of Esther’s presence.

Esther asks for the right to hold a banquet for Xerxes4

  • Xerxes’ offer was merely royal hyperbole. Xerxes knew that something was wrong with Esther for her to risk death by approaching him in this manner, and he had ignored her for 30 days (Esther 4:11). But rather than asking her about her feelings, he assumed that any problem could be solved with money. Thanks to both the New Testament and historical records, we know that his offer for up to half of his kingdom was merely an expression of his willingness to be generous. It was not a literal offer. Also out of lust, Herod made a similar offer to Herodias’ attractive daughter: “and when the daughter of Herodias herself came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his dinner guests; and the king said to the girl, ‘Ask me for whatever you want, and I will give it to you.’ And he swore to her, ‘Whatever you ask of me, I will give it to you, up to half of my kingdom.’” (Mk. 6:22-23). Herodias’ daughter also knew that this was not a literal offer. With her mother’s input, she instead asked for the head of John the Baptist on a platter (Mk. 6:24-28). Xerxes also created conflicts with such offers: ‘“Up to half the kingdom’ apparently was a formality, but Herodotus told how another woman, Artaynte, once took advantage of Xerxes when he made the same promise and asked for the beautiful robe that Amestris, his [other] wife, had given him. The results were disastrous and finally brought about the death of Xerxes’ brother and family.”5

  • Jesus offers to fully share His eternal inheritance with all believers. Unlike Xerxes’ figurative offer for up to half of his kingdom, Jesus offers to share 100% of his eternal inheritance with you. Believers are “fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.” (Ro. 8:17). Through Jesus, you can “obtain an inheritance which is imperishable, undefiled, and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,” (1 Pet. 1:4). “And [Jesus] said to him, ‘Truly I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”’ (Lk. 23:43). Paul “was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak.” (2 Cor. 12:4). “To the one who overcomes, I will grant to eat from the tree of life, which is in the Paradise of God.’” (Rev. 2:7b). “The one who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son.” (Rev. 21:7). The Holy Spirit provides a down payment on your inheritance when you accept Jesus (Eph. 1:14). Are you sharing Jesus’ good news?

3. Sovereignty: God Controls the Hearts of Every Leader, Including Xerxes. Esther 5:5-8.

  • Esther delays stating her plea and instead invites Xerxes and Haman to a second banquet. After Esther succeeded in getting Xerxes and Haman alone, both Esther and Xerxes made remarkable decisions. She delayed her request by asking that they both return for a second feast, and Xerxes repeated his offer but failed to press her to state her request: “Then the king said, ‘Bring Haman quickly so that we may do as Esther desires.’ So the king and Haman came to the banquet which Esther had prepared. 6As they drank their wine at the banquet, the king said to Esther, ‘What is your request, for it shall be granted to you. And what is your wish? Up to half of the kingdom it shall be done.’ So Esther replied, ‘My request and my wish is: if I have found favor in the sight of the king, and if it pleases the king to grant my request and do what I wish, may the king and Haman come to the banquet which I will prepare for them, and tomorrow I will do as the king says.’” (Esther 5:5-8). Esther showed faith by preparing the banquet in advance. But why delay her request when her impatient and busy emperor husband might have said no? Xerxes repeated his offer to be generous with her. Esther could have felt assured with the wine flowing that this was the right time. Xerxes was also not a caring or nurturing man. For him to agree to wait another day to hear her request was also out of his character. He could have demanded an answer. The Bible is intentionally silent regarding Esther and Xerxes’ motives. The reason for this is that God was providentially in control. He would use the 24-hour delay to give Xerxes insomnia (Esther 6:1-2). This in turn would lead to him honoring Mordecai and help Esther to expose Haman.

  • God also controlled the hearts of the other Persian kings. God controlled Xerxes’ heart and Esther’s request for a second banquet. God can control the heart of any leader or individual to fulfill His plans: “The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the LORD; He turns it wherever He wishes.” (Prov. 21:1) He controlled every Persian king. Through Jeremiah, God promised that He would judge the Babylonians after exactly 70 years of captivity (Jer. 25:8-13; 51:57-58). He would then restore the Jews and their lands (Jer. 29:10-14). Isaiah even foretold of Cyrus II of Persia’s future victory over Babylon before he was even born (Is. 44:28-45:5). In 538 B.C., after his victory over the Babylonians, the Holy Spirit moved in King Cyrus II’s heart, and he made a decree that gave the Jews the right to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple (Ezra 1:1-4; 5:13-17). Possibly after having seen the Jewish prophesies, King Cyrus II further understood and proclaimed God’s divine providence in giving him his kingdom and his obligation to rebuild the Temple (Is. 44:28-45:4). From 464 to 424 B.C., after Xerxes’ chaotic reign, Artaxerxes Longimanus I was King of Persia. He had previously halted the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem after opponents complained that the Jews would rebel against the Persians after they rebuilt the city (Ezra 4:7-23). Yet, with God’s hand on Artaxerxes I, Ezra later succeeded causing him to in fact help the Jews. When Artaxerxes II granted Ezra’s requests, Ezra confessed that he succeeded only “because the hand of the Lord his God was upon him.” (Ezra 7:6, 10). Ezra also proclaimed that he was strengthened because “the hand of the Lord my God upon me.” (Ezra 7:27-28). Before he led a group of returning exiles to Jerusalem, Ezra again proclaimed that ‘“The hand of our God is favorably disposed to all those who seek Him, . . ..”’ (Ezra 8:22). After they arrived, he acknowledged that “the hand of our God was over us” (Ezra 8:31). Nehemiah later succeeded with the same Persian king in also obtaining the resources to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Nehemiah also admitted that succeeded only because God was with Him: “And the king granted them to me because the good hand of my God was on me.” (Neh. 2:8). When you are successful, do you give God all the glory?

  • God is sovereign and in control over all history. God has controlled events throughout history to fulfill His plans for mankind. Daniel explained: “It is He [God] who changes the times and the epochs; He removes kings and establishes kings; He gives wisdom to wise men and knowledge to men of understanding.” (Da. 2:21). “He makes the nations great, then destroys them; He enlarges the nations, then leads them away.” (Job 12:23). “Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are regarded as a speck of dust on the scales; behold, He lifts up the islands like fine dust.” (Is. 40:15). “All the nations are as nothing before Him, they are regarded by Him as less than nothing and meaningless.” (Is. 40:17). “The LORD is King forever and ever; nations have perished from His land.” (Ps. 10:16). “You shall multiply the nation, You shall increase their gladness; . . .” (Is. 9:3(a)). “All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, but He does according to His will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of earth; and no one can ward off His hand or say to Him, ‘What have You done?’” (Dan. 4:35). Many Jews likely felt as though God had abandoned them. But He was only waiting for His appointed time to intervene. Even when evil surrounds you, do you trust that God is in control?

  • You never need to fear when you are doing God’s will. Xerxes’ double confirmation of his offer to Esther was a confirmation that God was in control, and Esther did not need to fear: “The LORD is for me; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” (Ps. 118:6). “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?” (Ro. 8:31). “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” (Is. 41:10). “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.” (2 Tim. 1:7). If you are doing God’s will, you never need to fear.

4. Forgiveness: Unlike Haman’s Pride, Jesus’ Grace is Based on Forgiveness. Esther 5:9.

  • Haman’s wrath against Mordecai. After being honored at a banquet with the king and queen, Haman became filled with prideful rage at Mordecai’s apparent disrespect: “Then Haman went out that day joyful and pleased of heart; but when Haman saw Mordecai at the king’s gate and that he did not stand up or tremble before him, Haman was filled with anger against Mordecai.” (Esther 5:9). In Persian culture, men and women outside of the immediate family did not typically eat together. Thus, Haman had many reasons to feel honored by the chance to be at Esther’s exclusive banquet. Yet, because of his pride, he could not feel happy unless everyone showed him respect.

Haman’s pride at Esther’s invitation quickly turned to wrath toward Mordecai6

  • Mordecai acted out of his flesh but did not deserve to die for his actions. There was nothing in the Bible that justified Mordecai’s refusal to bow to Haman (Esther 3:2). Haman’s genocidal decree would soon result in God’s judgment upon him. But the Bible did not justify Mordecai’s decision to refuse to “stand up” or show Haman any respect as his superior (Esther 5:9). “Now he looked upon Haman as his personal enemy, and would not even acknowledge his presence. There is nothing more galling than such utter contempt shown openly in the presence of others.” (Pulpit Commentary on Esther 5).7 “In Esther 3:2 we saw that Mordecai refused to bow or prostrate himself to Haman, here he refuses even the slightest sign of respect. The honorable independence of the former case here becomes indefensible rudeness.” (Ellicott’s Commentary on Esther 5).8 Under God’s law, Mordecai was in fact required to submit to Persian authority (Rom. 13:1-2; 1 Pet. 2:13; 2:17). The fact that Mordecai had previously turned to God in faith did not mean that Mordecai was beyond sin. Most believers struggle with their flesh on a daily basis. You must renew your mind on a daily basis to overcome your flesh (Ro. 12:1-2).

  • Haman coveted praise and power. Haman previously ordered others to bow before him because he coveted praise and power (Esther 3:2). Yet, his demands violated God’s Tenth Commandment against coveting (Dt. 5:21; Ex. 20:17; Ro. 7:7; 13:9). Like Haman, Satan desires that others bow before him out of pride (Is. 14:13-16). Through his pride, Haman committed one of the sins that God “hates”: “ . . . pride and arrogance and the evil way and the perverted mouth, I hate.” (Prov. 8:13). His pride would lead to his destruction (Prov. 16:18). “A man’s pride will bring him low, . . .” (Prov. 29:23). When a prideful person like Haman does not receive respect, he or she will typically inevitably become angry. Prideful persons can become “unmerciful” towards others (Rom. 1:31). Jesus also suffered disrespect. Yet, unlike Haman, He did not return hatred with hatred.

  • Forgive those who have hurt you. As a role model for all believers, Jesus forgave those who crucified Him while He hung on the cross dying a painful death. ‘But Jesus was saying, ‘Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.’” (Lk. 23:24(a)). Just as Jesus forgave those who hurt them, you too are called upon to forgive those who have hurt you: “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” (Matt. 5:7). “Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned.” (Lk. 6:37). “A man’s discretion makes him slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook a transgression.” (Prov. 19:11). “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” (Eph. 4:32). “bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.” (Col. 3:13). If you refuse to forgive others, you are acting like Haman.

  • Forgiveness should be granted liberally and often. Haman felt that Mordecai’s ongoing disrespect could not be forgiven. Yet, Jesus warned that you should grant forgiveness liberally and often: “Then Peter came and said to Him, ‘Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.’” (Matt. 18:21-22). If someone has committed an unforgivable sin against you, Jesus still calls upon you to forgive them.

  • God will forgive your sins when you forgive others. Jesus also warns that you must forgive others to be able to receive God the Father’s forgiveness: “For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.” (Matt. 6:14-15). “Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your transgressions.” (Mk. 11:26). Thus, if you are looking for God’s forgiveness, don’t delay in forgiving others.

5. Humility: Unlike Haman, Jesus Humbled Himself and Deserves Honor. Esther 5:10-12.

  • Haman boasted of his riches and honor. Haman did not want to look petty in front of others after Mordecai disrespected him. Yet, to make himself feel better, he boasted of his riches, his many sons, and his honor in the royal court to his wife and friends: “10 Haman controlled himself, however, and went to his house. But he sent for his friends and his wife Zeresh. 11 Then Haman told them of the glory of his riches, and his many sons, and every occasion on which the king had honored him and how he had promoted him above the officials and servants of the king. 12 Haman also said, ‘Even Esther the queen let no one except me come with the king to the banquet which she had prepared; and tomorrow also I am invited by her with the king.” (Esther 5:10-12). Haman wanted Mordecai’s punishment to be grand and an example to others. Thus, he refrained from punishing Mordecai on the spot. Out of pride, Haman then surrounded himself with people whom he expected to shower him with the praise that he felt that he desired.

  • Out of pride, Haman boasted of things that he did nothing to earn. Haman had 10 sons (Esther 9:13). He was the second most powerful man in Persia. He had great wealth, and everyone except for Mordecai showed him respect. But the Bible does not list anything that Haman did to deserve these honors. Every good and perfect thing in his life in fact came from God (Jam. 1:17). “Haman’s boasting only accentuated his later humiliation and fall from favor (cf. Prov. 16:18).” (Frank Gaebelein, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Vol. 4, 1, 2 Kings, 1, 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job (Zondervan Publishing House 1988) p. 820). “For the wicked boasts of his soul’s desire, and the greedy person curses and shows disrespect to the LORD.” (Ps. 10:3). “They pour out words, they speak arrogantly; all who do injustice boast.” (Ps. 94:4). “This is what the LORD says: “Let no wise man boast of his wisdom, nor let the mighty man boast of his might, nor a rich man boast of his riches;”’ (Jer. 9:23). “Those who trust in their wealth and boast in the abundance of their riches?” (Ps. 49:6). Are you boasting of your wealth or works? If so, you are acting like Haman and robbing God of His glory.

  • Jesus humbled Himself and deserves your respect. Jesus humbled Himself as a servant. He then died an agonizing death on the cross (Phil. 2:8). He calls upon you to respond by serving Him in humility (Prov. 8:13; Ps. 75:5; 94:4). If you serve in humility, Jesus will exalt you in heaven by celebrating your service: “Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.” (Matt. 23:12; Lk. 14:11; 18:14). “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time,” (1 Pet. 5:6). “Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.” (Ja. 4:10). “Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?” (Ja. 2:5). Are you honoring and praising Jesus as He deserves?

6. Submission: Unlike Haman, Every Knee Will Bow Before Jesus. Esther 5:13.

  • Haman’s pride could not forgive Mordecai’s refusal to bow to him. Despite his honor and riches, Haman could not find joy if even one man refused to bow to him: “13 Yet all of this does not satisfy me every time I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king’s gate.’” (Esther 5:13). Haman’s pride and hatred had overwhelmed him. But he deluded himself into thinking that respect from Mordecai would bring him joy. “Haman’s problem wasn’t Mordecai, it was the emptiness in his own heart. Even if he solved the ‘Mordecai problem,’ it would not fill the emptiness in his heart.” (David Guzik on Esther 5).9

  • Unlike Haman, every knee will one day bow in submission to Jesus. Haman was an evil man who did not deserve to be respected. Indeed, God would soon use Esther and Xerxes to arrange for his judgment. Only one person deserves to have every knee bow to Him, Jesus Christ. And that will one day include both believers and those who rejected Him: “so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth,” (Phil. 2:10; Ro. 14:11). “And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, ‘To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.’” (Rev. 5:13). “You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.” (Ja. 2:19). If you know people who have rejected Jesus, be a witness and save them from this fear.

7. Judgment: Those Who Reject Jesus’ Grace Will be Judged by Their Actions. Esther 5:14.

  • Haman agrees to the method of his own future judgment. To placate his pride, Haman’s wife and friends convinced him to build giant gallows for Mordecai to be hanged: “14 Then Zeresh his wife and all his friends said to him, ‘Have a wooden gallows fifty cubits high made, and in the morning ask the king to have Mordecai hanged on it; then go joyfully with the king to the banquet.’ And the advice pleased Haman, so he had the wooden gallows made.” (Esther 5:14). Haman did not kill Mordecai in the public square because he wanted Mordecai’s death to be a public spectacle. The 50-cubit wooden gallows would have been approximately 75 feet or 25 meters tall. Some believe that part of this height was achieved by building the gallows on top of a hill. Haman’s prideful wrath had become irrational, and it would be the instrument of his destruction.

Haman directs his men to build gallows to hang Mordecai10

  • Those who reject Jesus’ grace will reap what they sow. Haman was unknowingly creating the instrument of his own future destruction. Those who reap the sins of pride, covetousness, anger, and murder will reap what they sow: “For the one who sows to his own flesh will reap destruction from the flesh, but the one who sows to the Spirit will reap eternal life from the Spirit.” (Gal. 6:8). “One who sows injustice will reap disaster, and the rod of his fury will perish.” (Prov. 22:8). “For they sow wind and they harvest a storm.” (Hos. 8:7a). “According to what I have seen, those who plow wrongdoing And those who sow trouble harvest it.” (Job 4:8). Are you reaping the things of the flesh or of the Spirit? Even when you accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, there are still consequences for your actions. Thus, you should show love to those who hurt you.

  • Those who reject Jesus’ grace will be judged according to their deeds. For those who reject the free gift of Jesus’ grace at the cross, they will be judged according to their own deeds: “For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works” (Matt. 16:27). “For He repays a person for his work, and lets things happen in correspondence to a man’s behavior.” (Job 34:11; Ro. 2:6). “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to reward each one as his work deserves.” (Rev. 22:12). Most would not like to think of themselves like Haman. But, without Jesus, every person faces judgment. “But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God,” (Ro. 2:5).

  1. Mervin Breneman, The New American Commentary, Vol. 10, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther (B&H Publishing Group 1993) p. 339.↩︎