Today we’ll see what we can learn about anger from the book of Esther. We’ve just seen King Xerxes’ anger flare up when he sees Haman fall ″onto″ his wife (Esther 7:8). His fury only subsides after Haman is impaled (v. 10).
About Peter Lau
Peter Lau has been lecturing at Seminari Theoloji Malaysia since 2010. He is a trained medical doctor, and also holds a Ph.D. in Old Testament. He has published on Ruth, Ezekiel, and Psalms. Peter is married to Kathryn and they have three children.
Entries by Peter Lau
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).
We can tell if a person is wise by their actions and their words. As Esther finally makes her request, there are at least three things we can learn from the way she approaches the king.
After honouring Mordecai, Haman returns to his wife and friends with his tail between his legs (Esther 6:12). He has lost face. He is feeling deeply shamed. When he tells his wife and friends what happened, they respond with something remarkable.
The king asks Haman, ″What should be done for the man the king delights to honour?″ (Esther 6:6). Of course, big-ego Haman immediately concludes that the king wants to honour him! ″Who is there that the king would rather honour than me?″ (v. 6) he thinks.
Our attention now turns to the king. It just so happens that he can’t sleep that night. Even after such a happy meal with so much wine! Maybe he’s lying awake wondering what his queen will request from him.
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).
As Esther approaches King Xerxes, we wonder if he will let her in to see him or not. We know her life is at risk. But the king quickly extends his sceptre (Esther 5:1-2). And we let out a sigh of relief. He says to her, ″What is it, Queen Esther? What is your request? Even up to half the kingdom, it will be given you″ (v. 3). This phrase implies that the king is feeling generous. In the New Testament, King Herod makes the same offer to Herodias’ daughter (Mark 6:23).
Today, we’ll focus on the best-known sentence from the book of Esther. Mordecai concludes his argument by asking Esther to reflect on her life: ″And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?″ (Esther 4:14).
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