After three days of fasting, the moment arrived for Queen Esther to approach the King. According to most scholars, even though prayer is not mentioned with fasting in Esther, prayer is assumed as prayer and fasting go hand in hand elsewhere in Scripture. The Jews in Susa fasted along with Queen Esther so that when she approached the King her petition would be granted, and she would be permitted to have an audience with the King. Fasting seems empty and pointless to religious people without prayer being involved. The name of God is also not mentioned throughout the whole book of Esther, yet the hand of God can be seen time and again. God does not come into a situation with pomp and ceremony, but rather He moves the hearts of people and works through people to accomplish His plans.
Queen Esther appears before the King, and she waited for the golden scepter to be held out from the king to show she was permitted to see the King. The Scripture says, “She won favor in his sight.” (Esther 5:2). Esther had not been in the King’s presence for 33 days, so the decision could have gone either way. She could have been received since it had been so long, or she could have been killed on the spot because it had been so long and she had fallen out of favor. We have looked in a previous lesson at those that “have found favor” and the impact they had on high ranking officials especially Kings and Pharaohs. This favor does not come haphazardly, rather it happens through proper and respectable behavior on the part of those who have found favor.
Proper living results in favor. Drunkards, drug addicts, prostitutes, thieves, adulterers, and liars do not find favor with those in authority. In our society today, many selfishly think in the name of personal freedom they should be permitted to perform whatever act that will satisfy their personal desires. Many want no restrictions to the pleasure they are seeking. Those that have no self-control show their inability to be put in charge of even a small task. Since Esther faithfully served the Lord in her position as Queen she easily found favor with the King when she entered his presence. If the above negative behaviors had characterized Esther during the 33 days she had not seen the King, it would have been easy for him to withhold the golden scepter and the King would have been looking for a new Queen. A moment of selfish satisfaction can turn into a lifetime of pain or death.
Once the Queen won favor with the King, she requested he and Haman come to dinner that night with her. Haman could not have been more pleased with himself, and once the dinner was over he thought even more highly of himself since he would go back for round two the following night. Two nights in a row of dinner with the King and the Queen from Haman’s perspective, life was as good as it gets. From Esther’s perspective, these days were full of anguish. She did not know the end of the story, and her life depended on how this story unfolded.
Haman goes home and calls all of his friends and family together and boasts of his fortune and good standing with the King and the Queen, except for the one little thorn in his side: Mordecai. Mordecai’s lack of homage to Haman causes his blood to boil. Haman wanted a greater sense of satisfaction when Mordecai was hung so at the suggestion of Zeresh, his wife, he built 50 cubit (75 feet) high gallows. That would provide him with a deep sense of satisfaction. Could we put premeditated murder on our list of things that do not find favor with our superiors?
- How did Esther prepare for her meeting with the King? (Esther 5:1)
2. What was the King’s response? (Esther 5:2, 3)
3. What is the King’s response at the feast? (Esther 5:5, 6)
- What does Esther’s response in Esther 5:7 show about Esther’s character?
- Now contrast Esther’s character from the last question to Haman’s character in Esther 5:6-14.
- Will the hanging of Mordecai bring complete satisfaction to Haman? Why or why not?
- Pride vs. humility, giving vs. taking, love vs. hate. Is it hard at times to have the positive qualities? Which takes more work? Can we do it in our own strength? How have you depended on the Lord to help you cultivate the positive qualities in your life?