Whose Honour Do You Seek?

Day 15 – Esther 5:9-14

Haman is over the moon that he’s been invited to a special, exclusive meal. It’s only the king, the queen, and himself (Esther 5:12). ″I’m part of the king’s inner circle,″ he thinks. But his mood soon turns dark when he sees Mordecai at the gate (v. 9).

So he invites his friends over. He starts bragging in front of his friends and his wife. He recounts to them the glory of his riches, his many sons, and how the king has elevated him above the other servants and officials (Esther 5:11). Then he complains that he won’t be able to enjoy his intimate meal because Mordecai the Jew remains a thorn in his side (v. 13). Mordecai still refuses to show him honour (v. 9). ″Why not do away with him?″ suggest his wife and friends. They advise him to build a pole 50 cubits high (22.5 metres, or more than six storeys; an extreme height), and ask the king to impale this pesky Jew on it the next morning (v. 14).

″A perfect solution,″ thinks Haman, as he orders the pole to be built. Haman can’t wait eleven months, when the edict will take effect, to destroy Mordecai; he must be killed now. The exaggerated height of the pole would heighten Mordecai’s public shaming. Yet the pole’s height is appropriate for Haman also: an oversized pole for his oversized ego.

And that is Haman’s major character flaw: he seeks the honour of men. He talks up his possessions and achievements because he wants to be adored for them. They have become his source of honour and pride.

Yet we recall two proverbs:

  1. ″The Lord detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: they will not go unpunished″ (Proverbs 16:5).
  2. ″Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall″ (Proverbs 16:18).

There may be a dark cloud on the horizon for Haman.

Think Through:

God’s opposition to the proud is repeated in the New Testament (2 Timothy 3:1-5; James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5). Do you take too much pride in your possessions and achievements?

Read 2 Corinthians 10:17-18. According to Paul, what should we boast in?

Taken from Journey Through Esther: 30 Devotional Insights by Peter Lau.