5 Now it came about on the third day that Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the king’s palace in front of the king’s rooms, and the king was sitting on his royal throne in the throne room, opposite the entrance to the palace. 2 When the king saw Esther the queen standing in the court, she obtained favor in his sight; and the king extended to Esther the golden scepter which was in his hand. So Esther came near and touched the top of the scepter. 3 Then the king said to her, “What is troubling you, Queen Esther? And what is your request? Even to half of the kingdom it shall be given to you.” 4 Esther said, “If it pleases the king, may the king and Haman come this day to the banquet that I have prepared for him.”
On the third day, Esther did as she said she would and entered the king’s inner court against the law. The king gave her favor and extended to her the golden scepter. She came near and touched the top of the scepter, having been received by the king and spared of her life. The king in an atypical show of compassion asked Esther what was troubling her. Interestingly, in an empire which didn’t value women, a woman was used of God to intercede on behalf of the Jews to win the heart of a chauvinistic king. God is indeed able to humble the proud and to show Himself strong at any time and in any place. Esther probably looked worn down after fasting for three days, and the king wanted to know what was happening. He cared about her and even respected her, though he would probably never have said as much. He said that whatever she asked he would give her up to half the kingdom, an extremely generous offer indicative of how much he appreciated his queen. Esther jumped on this opportunity to invite both the king and Haman to a private banquet which she would have prepared for them. Esther had a plan, and she put it into action.
5 Then the king said, “Bring Haman quickly that we may do as Esther desires.” So the king and Haman came to the banquet which Esther had prepared. 6 As they drank their wine at the banquet, the king said to Esther, “What is your petition, for it shall be granted to you. And what is your request? Even to half of the kingdom it shall be done.” 7 So Esther replied, “My petition and my request is: 8 if I have found favor in the sight of the king, and if it pleases the king to grant my petition and do what I request, may the king and Haman come to the banquet which I will prepare for them, and tomorrow I will do as the king says.”
So quickly Haman was summoned and they had a banquet together which Esther had prepared. As they drank wine, the king asked Esther again what she wanted and affirmed his promise to grant her up to half of the kingdom. Esther asked for the king and Haman to come to a second banquet the next day, and at that time she would make her request of the king.
9 Then Haman went out that day glad and pleased of heart; but when Haman saw Mordecai in the king’s gate and that he did not stand up or tremble before him, Haman was filled with anger against Mordecai. 10 Haman controlled himself, however, went to his house and sent for his friends and his wife Zeresh. 11 Then Haman recounted to them the glory of his riches, and the number of his sons, and every instance where the king had magnified him and how he had promoted him above the princes and servants of the king. 12 Haman also said, “Even Esther the queen let no one but me come with the king to the banquet which she had prepared; and tomorrow also I am invited by her with the king. 13 Yet all of this does not satisfy me every time I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king’s gate.” 14 Then Zeresh his wife and all his friends said to him, “Have a gallows fifty cubits high made and in the morning ask the king to have Mordecai hanged on it; then go joyfully with the king to the banquet.” And the advice pleased Haman, so he had the gallows made.
Haman left the banquet very happy and pleased given that he had risen to such status to be invited to two banquets in a row with just him, the king, and the queen. But when he saw Mordecai again at the king’s gate and that he again did not show him reverence or tremble before his presence, he was filled with anger towards him. He controlled himself from doing anything immediate toward Mordecai, and he went home and called for his friends and wife, Zeresh, to come together. Then he bragged about how rich he was, how many sons he had, how powerful he was, and how even Queen Esther had invited him to a private banquet. He spoke about how special he felt given that he was going to yet another private banquet with just him and the king and queen. Yet he also recounted how angry Mordecai made him and how just that one man made him miserable despite all of the prosperity he had in his life. His wife and his friends counseled him to build a huge gallows approximately seventy-five feet high upon which he would hang Mordecai and be done with the “disrespectful” Jew forever. He planned to ask the king the next morning for permission to hang Mordecai, and then he would be able to go to the banquet with peace of mind, having been rid of his adversary. The advice pleased Haman, and he had the gallows made right away. Mordecai’s life was now in immediate danger.