Sleepless in Susa1The king couldn’t sleep that night. So, he asked to read some of the daily palace records.  2While reading, he discovered that Mordecai may have saved him from assassination. Mordecai had turned in two palace guards he overheard talking about killing the king. Those guards, stationed at the palace entrance, were the eunuchs Bigthana and Teresh. 3So, the king asked his servants, “What did we do to thank Mordecai for this?” The servants said, “We’ve done nothing for him.”
Send in the clown4The king asked, “Who’s here in the palace now?” Haman was. He had come to get the king’s permission to hang Mordecai on a pole. 5Servants told the king, “Haman’s in the outer courtyard.”  The king said, “Okay, send him on in.”
6When Haman arrived, the king said, “If a king wanted to honor someone, how should he do that?” Haman couldn’t think of anyone who deserved an honor like that more than he did. 7So, Haman gave the king his own private fantasy, “I’d suggest doing this for the man the king wants to honor. 8Bring out some royal clothes the king has worn. A crown, too. Then bring a horse the king has ridden. 9Order one of the king’s most important officials to drape the robes on the man and lead the horse through the city square as the man of honor rides it. The official leading the horse should shout along the way, 'This is how the king honors a man!'”
10King Xerxes told Haman, “That’s great. Hurry and do that right now. Get the clothes and the horse. Then do it all for Mordecai. He’s the Jew stationed at the palace entrance. Do everything you recommended. Don’t leave out a thing. Excellent idea.”
Haman’s parade11Haman dressed Mordecai in the king’s robe.  Then—leading the horse—Haman paraded Mordecai around the city square. As he did, he shouted, “This is how the king honors a man!”
12Afterward, Mordecai returned to his post, stationed by the palace entrance. Haman rushed home, head down and bummed.
13He complained to his wife Zeresh and his friends about what happened. They told him, “If this man Mordecai, who just humiliated you, is really a Jew, you can’t beat him. You’re toast.” 
14Mordecai’s friends were still talking when eunuchs arrived from the palace. They escorted him to the meal with Queen Esther and the king.
The king apparently read all night.
The outer courtyard is where officials and others waited to see the king. They weren’t allowed to step into the inner court without the king’s invitation. If they did, they had to hope the king would welcome them. Otherwise, they risked execution.
Mordecai had been wearing ashes on his head and feed sack material for his clothing. He did this to express his grief over the scheduled slaughter of the Jews. He traded in his ashes and feed sacks for a king’s crown and robes. Many preachers could find a sermon in there. King Xerxes knew Mordecai was a Jew (verse 10), but he didn’t seem to know that the people Haman planned to exterminate were the Jews. Haman never told him who they were, and the king apparently never bothered to ask.
An optimist might have reminded Haman, “At least the king thinks you’re ‘one of the king’s most important officials’” (verse 9). Which would be pushing it.
- Sorry, there are currently no questions for this chapter.