Haman Gets Indigestion

Read: Esther 5:9-14

Yet all this is worth nothing to me, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king’s gate. (v. 14)

Some people are just impossible to please. Haman has just enjoyed a private dinner party with the royals and he has an invitation to a second. Yet, on his way home from the palace he encounters Mordecai, who “neither rose nor trembled before him” (v. 9).

When Haman complains to his fan club, they are ready with a helpful—if wicked—suggestion. “Let a gallows fifty cubits high be made,” they suggest. “And in the morning tell the king to have Mordecai hanged on it. Then go with the king to the banquet in good spirits.” Yes indeed, there’s nothing like executing one’s enemy to whet one’s appetite . . . !

Just when we think we’ve taken the measure of Haman’s megalomania, he surpasses himself. The gallows were to be as tall as a modern six-story building. What’s more, Mordecai was already under a death sentence. All Haman had to do was wait.

But wickedness can’t wait. It is impatient and insatiable and wildly out of proportion. What a contrast Haman makes to Esther who not only waits for just the right moment, but willingly humbles herself, risking all for others. —Carol Bechtel

As you pray, ask God to help you pattern yourself after the one who “humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death—even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:8).

About the Author

The Rev. Dr. Carol Bechtel is Professor of Old Testament at Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Michigan where she has taught since 1994. Dr. Bechtel preaches and teaches widely and is a General Synod Professor of Theology in the Reformed Church in America. She served as President of the RCA’s General Synod and moderator of its General Synod Council. She also serves as the Executive Director of the American Waldensian Society. Her publications include a commentary on Esther for the Interpretation series, and several Bible study books and curricula.

She now lives in Holland, Michigan with her husband, Tom Mullens. They have four children and seven grandchildren. Her hobbies include singing, cooking, gardening, and the Celtic harp.

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