What happens next couldn’t have been planned by Esther. Haman falls onto the couch where Esther is reclining. Just as his wife and wise men predicted, he literally falls. Maybe he was begging too hard. Maybe he is tipsy from too much wine. Maybe both. But he topples onto the couch just as the king walks in (Esther 7:8).
As the king was fuming outside in his garden, he must have been thinking, ″What am I going to do? I authorised Haman’s edict by giving him my signet ring. And he has gone and written an edict against my own wife!″
As he walks back in, a solution presents itself. He sees Haman fall ″onto″ his wife. Perhaps his mind flashes back to Haman asking for the royal robes and the royal horse. Perhaps he puts it all together and concludes that Haman now wants his wife! Treason! As he says, ″Will he even molest the queen while she is with me in the house?″ (Esther 7:8). Regardless of Haman’s intentions, his action is a serious breach of royal protocol. In Persian society, a man who approached a royal concubine or wife, even accidentally, could be executed.
Straight away, the guards know what the king means (Esther 7:8). They cover Haman’s face to lead him away. Then, as it just so happens, one of the king’s eunuchs, Harbona, casually slips in a morsel of choice information: ″A pole reaching to a height of fifty cubits [22.5 metres] stands by Haman’s house. He had it set up for Mordecai, who spoke up to help the king″ (v. 9). Perhaps Harbona is implying that Haman wanted to kill someone who was loyal to the king. And so the king says, ″Impale him on it!″ (v. 9).
Esther couldn’t have planned for Haman to build the pole. And she couldn’t have planned for Harbona to add his two cents’ worth. Certainly, she couldn’t have planned for Haman to fall on her couch just as the king returned. Again, the hidden hand of God is at work to accomplish His purposes. But as we can see from Esther’s example, it does not mean that we just sit back and wait. We can also plan and then act, using wisdom in the opportunities that God gives us. We see too that speaking (Esther 7:9) at the right time is a sign of wisdom.
How do you feel about Haman receiving the punishment he intended for another?
The interaction between God working to accomplish His purposes and our need to act is also seen in our lives. Read Philippians 2:12-13. What do we need to do? What does God do?