Hanging Haman high
Wining before dining1King Xerxes and Haman went to eat with Queen Esther. 2Once again, drinking wine at this second meal together in two days, the king asked, “Queen Esther, what is it you need? Whatever it is, it’s yours. You can have half my kingdom if you need it.”
Esther begs the king to save her3Queen Esther said, “If you care about me, my king, save me. That’s my request. Save me and all of my people. 4We’ve been sold like slaves and are about to be executed—all of us, exterminated. If we had simply been sold into slavery, I wouldn’t have bothered the king about it. It wouldn’t have been worth the king’s time."
5King Xerxes said to the queen, “Who? Who would think he could get by with this?”
Accusing Haman, the bad guy6“Haman would,” Esther said. “He’s pure evil. He wants to kill me!” Haman, trapped in that palace with the king and queen, became terrified.
7The king got so livid that he left the room and walked out into the palace garden. Haman stayed with Queen Esther to beg for his life. He could see his death in the king’s reaction. 8When the king finally came back into the dining room, Haman was sprawled out on the couch where Esther was sitting. The king said, “Really? You’re going after my woman right in front of me, in my own house?” Those words distorted Haman’s face.
Haman on a stick9A servant named Harbona, one of the king’s palace eunuchs, said, “Listen. This man had a 75-foot pole set up outside to hang Mordecai, the man who saved you from an assassination.” King Xerxes said, “Hang Haman on it, instead.” 10So they hung him high—Haman, on the pole set for Mordecai.
The king wasn’t so angry anymore.
It’s unclear what the king presumes Haman is doing. The Hebrew word is kabas. It can mean to attack, molest, manipulate, among other possible meanings. Some people reading this story as fiction say they see some comedy here: the king thinks Haman is trying to make love to his wife—which would be an odd thing to do under the circumstances. Other students of the Bible say the king suspects an attempted rape. Or perhaps he simply things Haman is trying to manhandle or bully her into saving his life.
Twenty-three meters. That’s the height of a seven-story building, which was higher than Persian palaces.
The Hebrew word is tala. I can mean to hang or to impale or to expose to the elements of Mother Nature. Persians, like Assyrians and Babylonians before them, executed people in creatively painful and vicious ways. Impaling was especially popular and showed up in battlefield pictures displayed on Assyrian palace walls. Executioners sometimes impaled people through the bottom of the torso and sometimes through the stomach or the chest. Death usually followed quickly. A skilled executioner could sometimes impale a person in ways that produced a lingering death.
- Sorry, there are currently no questions for this chapter.