7 Now the king and Haman came to drink wine with Esther the queen. 2 And the king said to Esther on the second day also as they drank their wine at the banquet, “What is your petition, Queen Esther? It shall be granted you. And what is your request? Even to half of the kingdom it shall be done.” 3 Then Queen Esther replied, “If I have found favor in your sight, O king, and if it pleases the king, let my life be given me as my petition, and my people as my request; 4 for we have been sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be killed and to be annihilated. Now if we had only been sold as slaves, men and women, I would have remained silent, for the trouble would not be commensurate with the annoyance to the king.” 5 Then King Ahasuerus asked Queen Esther, “Who is he, and where is he, who would presume to do thus?” 6 Esther said, “A foe and an enemy is this wicked Haman!” Then Haman became terrified before the king and queen.
The king, Esther, and Haman drank wine and had a banquet, and it continued into the second day. The king reiterated his pledge to do for Esther whatever she requested up to half of the kingdom. She opened up and made her request. She said that she wanted her life, clearly identifying herself with the Jews as one who would be killed under the law. She made it clear that she whom the king favored would also be killed if the law was to be carried out. She stood up for her people and begged for their lives and for hers. She understood how to season her speech with salt and to be gracious (Colossians 4:6), particularly given the history of the king with Vashti. She said that if only the law had been to enslave her and her people that she would not have even bothered the king to make a request of him, but, given that the law was a matter of total annihilation, she decided it was worth the king’s time to speak up. Her humble mode of speaking to the king was supportive of his ego and in no way a threat to his desire for power, and it was a very shrewd and yet innocent way to speak to him (Matthew 10:16). The king asked Esther who was intending to do this. One would think that the king would remember that this law was given his approval (Esther 3:10-11), but perhaps he was somewhat drunk or distracted by his concubines when he decided to give Haman the signet ring. Furthermore, now that he knew that Esther whom he loved was a Jew and that Mordecai who saved his life was also a Jew, it would make sense that he would be far less interested in wiping the Jews out and believing Haman’s arguments concerning the danger of allowing them to live. Haman had a lot of power, but the king liked Esther more. Esther seized on the opportunity and boldly declared that Haman was the person behind all of this and that he was a foe and enemy to the king for wanting to wipe out the queen and Mordecai along with the rest of the Jews. At this, Haman grew terrified, for he knew his life was in serious jeopardy. He had the wrath of both king and queen aimed squarely at him. This sequence of events illustrates just how the heart of the king is in the hand of the Lord to move it as He wishes (Proverbs 21:1), at one time going along with the extermination of an entire people and the next seeking the death of the person who came up with the idea. God worked through Esther’s boldness and faith to change the mind and heart of the king.
7 The king arose in his anger from drinking wine and went into the palace garden; but Haman stayed to beg for his life from Queen Esther, for he saw that harm had been determined against him by the king. 8 Now when the king returned from the palace garden into the place where they were drinking wine, Haman was falling on the couch where Esther was. Then the king said, “Will he even assault the queen with me in the house?” As the word went out of the king’s mouth, they covered Haman’s face. 9 Then Harbonah, one of the eunuchs who were before the king said, “Behold indeed, the gallows standing at Haman’s house fifty cubits high, which Haman made for Mordecai who spoke good on behalf of the king!” And the king said, “Hang him on it.” 10 So they hanged Haman on the gallows which he had prepared for Mordecai, and the king’s anger subsided.
In this passage, God’s sovereignty is seen in both the sequence of events and the precise timing of their unfolding. The king was upset and angry over what he had just heard regarding Haman’s plan and its implications, and Haman could tell that he was probably going to be put to death. So he begged of his life from Queen Esther while the king walked out into the palace gardens. He fell on the couch begging for his life, but, when the king came back in, he thought that Haman was assaulting the queen. Immediately, the guards covered Haman’s face and made preparations for his death. There was no changing the king’s mind or reasoning with him at this point, and the timing of events was just right so that Haman would end up getting executed. One of the servants pointed out that there were gallows in Haman’s yard that had been made for Mordecai. But since Mordecai was now the king’s friend, the king instructed Haman to be hung on the very gallows that he had built. “He who digs a pit will fall into it, And he who rolls a stone, it will come back on him” (Proverbs 26:27). So Haman was hanged, and the king’s anger subsided. But there was still the matter of dealing with the law that had been passed.