This 12-part series takes a new look at an old story and finds fresh words of courage, faith, and challenge for today’s Church. It is based on Carol Bechtel’s commentary on Esther in the Interpretation series (Westminster John Knox, 2002).
No Rest for the Wicked
Read: Esther 6:4-14
Thus shall it be done for the man whom the king wishes to honor. (v. 11, NRSV)
Haman can’t sleep either. He is like the people the psalmist describes who “plot mischief while on their beds” (Psalm 36:4). He is so anxious to set his mischief in motion that he gets up and heads to the royal court. To his delight he finds that the king is already up. Even more delightful is the king’s question: “What shall be done for the man whom the king wishes to honor?”
People don’t often expect the Bible to be funny, but it’s hard not to laugh out loud at what happens next. “Whom would the king wish to honor more than me?” Haman asks with the flawless logic of a megalomaniac. Without missing a beat, Haman describes an elaborate parade in his own honor. The speed with which he comes up with the details suggests that he may have had this fantasy before!
Haman’s dreams become a nightmare when the king orders him to “do so to the Jew Mordecai.” Even the members of Haman’s fan club scramble to distance themselves from him when he returns home to lick his wounds. Their words seem to recognize that Haman is no match for Mordecai’s God.
Prayer: Help us to remember that “though the wrong seem oft so strong, God is the ruler yet” (“This Is My Father’s World”, by M.D. Babcock, 1901).