Friday, January 19, 2007

The Irony of Haman's Fall (Continued)

(Continued from here.)

III. Fools Rush In

and when Haman saw Mordechai in the king’s gate, and he did not stand and did not move on account of him, Haman was filled with rage against Mordechai. Haman held himself back and he went to his home, and he sent and summoned his loved ones and Zeresh his wife. Haman told them of his great wealth and many sons and all the ways the king had promoted him and elevated him above all the officers and servants of the king. And Haman said, “Furthermore, Queen Esther did not bring anyone with the king to the drinking banquet that she made except me, and also tomorrow I have been called to her with the king.” But none of this is worth anything to me – every time I see Mordechai the Jew sitting in the king’s gate. Zeresh, his wife, and all his loved ones said to him, “They should make a gallows, fifty cubits high – and in the morning, speak to the king, and they will hang Mordechai on it – and come with the king to the drinking banquet, happy; and this idea was good to Haman and he made the gallows. (5:9-14)

His wife and friends advised him to have Mordechai executed the next morning. This was reasonable advice – it is what Haman should have done in the first place instead of going after the entire Jewish nation. But, Haman is brought down, once again, by his own haughtiness. Instead of waiting patiently till morning to make his request from the king, as he was advised, he rushes that night to the king’s courtyard to seek an audience with the king. Did it not occur to him that it might look suspicious to be lurking around the courtyard in the middle of the night? Did he not think about what kind of suspicions he could provoke - especially after having been invited to a private party with the king and Esther?

Understandably, the king had trouble sleeping that night (not to ignore the role of hashgacha in this incident) and with G’s providence he was reminded of his great debt to Mordechai and decided he must honor him.

And the king said, “Who is in the courtyard?” And Haman was coming into the courtyard of the king’s chamber to say to the king to hang Mordechai on the gallows that he had prepared for him. And the kings attendants said to him, “Behold, Haman is standing in the courtyard”; and the king said, “Let him enter.”(6:4-5)

Before Haman can make his request the king asks him:

…”What should be done with the man that the king desires to honor?” And Haman said in his heart, “Whom would the king desire to have honored more than me?” And Haman said to the king, “The man whom the king desires to honor, bring the royal dress that the king wore, and a horse that the king rode upon, one that has the royal crown place on its head. And give the dress and the horse into the hand of one of the kings officers, one of the nobles, and dress the men that the king desires to honor, and ride him on the horse through the city plaza, and they will call out before him, ‘Such is what is done for the man whom the king desires to honor!’”(6:6-9)

Ahasuerus must have been startled by the details of Haman’s suggestion. It could be argued that the king was testing Haman. However, whether or not this was the case he now had reason to be nervous – does Haman himself have designs on the throne? Once again, Haman’s own arrogance lays the groundwork for his own downfall – and more immediately his humiliation.

(To be continued...)

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