July 19, 2019

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Esther 5:1-7:10, NLT

Esther 5

Esther’s Request to the King

1On the third day of the fast, Esther put on her royal robes and entered the inner court of the palace, just across from the king’s hall. The king was sitting on his royal throne, facing the entrance.

2When he saw Queen Esther standing there in the inner court, he welcomed her and held out the gold scepter to her. So Esther approached and touched the end of the scepter.

3Then the king asked her, “What do you want, Queen Esther? What is your request? I will give it to you, even if it is half the kingdom!”

4And Esther replied, “If it please the king, let the king and Haman come today to a banquet I have prepared for the king.”

5The king turned to his attendants and said, “Tell Haman to come quickly to a banquet, as Esther has requested.” So the king and Haman went to Esther’s banquet.

6And while they were drinking wine, the king said to Esther, “Now tell me what you really want. What is your request? I will give it to you, even if it is half the kingdom!”

7Esther replied, “This is my request and deepest wish.

8If I have found favor with the king, and if it pleases the king to grant my request and do what I ask, please come with Haman tomorrow to the banquet I will prepare for you. Then I will explain what this is all about.”

Haman’s Plan to Kill Mordecai

9Haman was a happy man as he left the banquet! But when he saw Mordecai sitting at the palace gate, not standing up or trembling nervously before him, Haman became furious.

10However, he restrained himself and went on home.

Then Haman gathered together his friends and Zeresh, his wife,

11and boasted to them about his great wealth and his many children. He bragged about the honors the king had given him and how he had been promoted over all the other nobles and officials.

12Then Haman added, “And that’s not all! Queen Esther invited only me and the king himself to the banquet she prepared for us. And she has invited me to dine with her and the king again tomorrow!”

13Then he added, “But this is all worth nothing as long as I see Mordecai the Jew just sitting there at the palace gate.”

14So Haman’s wife, Zeresh, and all his friends suggested, “Set up a sharpened pole that stands seventy-five feet*5:14 Hebrew 50 cubits [23 meters]. tall, and in the morning ask the king to impale Mordecai on it. When this is done, you can go on your merry way to the banquet with the king.” This pleased Haman, and he ordered the pole set up.

Esther 6

The King Honors Mordecai

1That night the king had trouble sleeping, so he ordered an attendant to bring the book of the history of his reign so it could be read to him.

2In those records he discovered an account of how Mordecai had exposed the plot of Bigthana and Teresh, two of the eunuchs who guarded the door to the king’s private quarters. They had plotted to assassinate King Xerxes.

3“What reward or recognition did we ever give Mordecai for this?” the king asked.

His attendants replied, “Nothing has been done for him.”

4“Who is that in the outer court?” the king inquired. As it happened, Haman had just arrived in the outer court of the palace to ask the king to impale Mordecai on the pole he had prepared.

5So the attendants replied to the king, “Haman is out in the court.”

“Bring him in,” the king ordered.

6So Haman came in, and the king said, “What should I do to honor a man who truly pleases me?”

Haman thought to himself, “Whom would the king wish to honor more than me?”

7So he replied, “If the king wishes to honor someone, 8he should bring out one of the king’s own royal robes, as well as a horse that the king himself has ridden—one with a royal emblem on its head. 9Let the robes and the horse be handed over to one of the king’s most noble officials. And let him see that the man whom the king wishes to honor is dressed in the king’s robes and led through the city square on the king’s horse. Have the official shout as they go, ‘This is what the king does for someone he wishes to honor!’”

10“Excellent!” the king said to Haman. “Quick! Take the robes and my horse, and do just as you have said for Mordecai the Jew, who sits at the gate of the palace. Leave out nothing you have suggested!”

11So Haman took the robes and put them on Mordecai, placed him on the king’s own horse, and led him through the city square, shouting, “This is what the king does for someone he wishes to honor!”

12Afterward Mordecai returned to the palace gate, but Haman hurried home dejected and completely humiliated.

13When Haman told his wife, Zeresh, and all his friends what had happened, his wise advisers and his wife said, “Since Mordecai—this man who has humiliated you—is of Jewish birth, you will never succeed in your plans against him. It will be fatal to continue opposing him.”

14While they were still talking, the king’s eunuchs arrived and quickly took Haman to the banquet Esther had prepared.

Esther 7

The King Executes Haman

1So the king and Haman went to Queen Esther’s banquet.

2On this second occasion, while they were drinking wine, the king again said to Esther, “Tell me what you want, Queen Esther. What is your request? I will give it to you, even if it is half the kingdom!”

3Queen Esther replied, “If I have found favor with the king, and if it pleases the king to grant my request, I ask that my life and the lives of my people will be spared.

4For my people and I have been sold to those who would kill, slaughter, and annihilate us. If we had merely been sold as slaves, I could remain quiet, for that would be too trivial a matter to warrant disturbing the king.”

5“Who would do such a thing?” King Xerxes demanded. “Who would be so presumptuous as to touch you?”

6Esther replied, “This wicked Haman is our adversary and our enemy.” Haman grew pale with fright before the king and queen.

7Then the king jumped to his feet in a rage and went out into the palace garden.

Haman, however, stayed behind to plead for his life with Queen Esther, for he knew that the king intended to kill him.

8In despair he fell on the couch where Queen Esther was reclining, just as the king was returning from the palace garden.

The king exclaimed, “Will he even assault the queen right here in the palace, before my very eyes?” And as soon as the king spoke, his attendants covered Haman’s face, signaling his doom.

9Then Harbona, one of the king’s eunuchs, said, “Haman has set up a sharpened pole that stands seventy-five feet*7:9 Hebrew 50 cubits [23 meters]. tall in his own courtyard. He intended to use it to impale Mordecai, the man who saved the king from assassination.”

“Then impale Haman on it!” the king ordered.

10So they impaled Haman on the pole he had set up for Mordecai, and the king’s anger subsided.

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