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Bible Commentaries

Arno Gaebelein's Annotated Bible

Esther 6

 

 

Verses 1-14

THE SLEEPLESS NIGHT AND MORDECAI’S EXALTATION

CHAPTER 6

1. The sleepless night (Esther 6:1-3)

2. The exaltation of Mordecai (Esther 6:4-11)

3. Haman anticipates his doom (Esther 6:12-14)

Esther 6:1-3. A sleepless night is the next event. The king wanted to sleep but sleep refused to come. What was the cause of his insomnia? Some say too much excitement and anxiety in connection with his kingdom; others that he was speculating on the petition the queen would make on the morrow. The ancient Jewish expositors say that God took his sleep away from him. And this is the correct answer. His wakefulness was ordered by God. Next God puts it into his heart to order the book of record of the chronicles to be brought so that they might be read to him, not to produce sleep but to spend the sleepless night in a profitable way. Once more we see the hand of God in directing the reading of the record of Mordecai’s discovery of the plot against the king’s life and how he had saved the king. The deed of Mordecai had been unrewarded through the wise purpose of the Lord; and now it is brought to light by the same providence. In that memorable, sleepless night the machinations of revenge, so finely spun in the dark, are suddenly arrested and their exposure becomes assured. And let us remember that the same providence still works, mysteriously and openly in the lives of God’s people.

The king hears that Mordecai had not been rewarded. His pride and dignity were suddenly stirred up. He felt it was not just that such a deed should go unrewarded. It must also have come to his mind that this Mordecai had not reminded the king of his deed, by sending a petition for a reward or by requesting a favour, so common in oriental life. He had kept silent.

Esther 6:4-11. The king must have been indignant that such a matter had been overlooked and he wants to have the matter rectified at once. He asks “Who is in the court?” Whosoever would be there would have to carry out the king’s commission. He did not expect that Haman was waiting outside. Perhaps he also had a sleepless night, nervously excited as he thought that soon Mordecai would dangle from the gallows; and how he would enjoy the banquet of Esther on the same day. He was in a great hurry and desired that the execution of the despised Jew should take place in the early morning. All is working together and God’s majestic hand is seen every step of the way! “Never was there exhibited a more frivolous and thoughtless judgment than that shown by many higher critics in their light estimation of the book of Esther. For surely there can be no more beautiful description of the impending dramatic catastrophe than that with which the whole of this book is full. At the moment when the mind of the king has but one thought, to compensate Mordecai with the long-merited honour and dignity, and so much the more because it ought to have been done long ago, at the very moment when he looks for a person to carry out his plans, just then, Haman appears on the scene” (Professor Cassel).

And the king asks Haman, “What shall be done unto the man whom the king delighteth to honour?” In his blind self-love, his deluded pride, Haman thought he was the man to whom the king would do still more honour. Well says a writer in the Talmud--”inasmuch as the writer of the book of Esther knew what was in Haman’s heart, he must have been inspired in writing this account.”

And pride fills his lips with an extraordinary demand. When his wicked lips spoke the words, he must have imagined himself clad in royal apparel riding the king’s charger, wearing his crown, and thus led forth through the city, announced by the town-crier that he is the man whom the king delighteth to honour.

The king speaks: “Make haste and take the apparel and the horse, as thou hast said and do even so to Mordecai the Jew, that sitteth at the king’s gate, let nothing fail of all thou hast spoken.” What a thunderbolt this must have been for Haman! While he dreamt of his own honour and greatness he is suddenly awakened by the unalterable command of the king, whose word is law, to do all he had spoken to the man whom he hated and despised, whose death warrant he expected to have signed by the king. He could not tarry in the king’s presence for the king demanded haste. He could not parley with the king; that would have been an insult. All that was left to Haman was to make haste and take the apparel and the horse to Mordecai. He arrayed him and then led him through the city and proclaimed before him the king’s message. And Mordecai? His mouth must have been filled with laughter and with praises to his God, when his deadly enemy came to do him honour. How great was his triumph in the marvellous exaltation brought about by the keeper of Israel, who neither sleeps nor slumbers! The Jews read the entire book of Esther on the Purim feast. When the reader reaches this passage he reads the record with a raised and triumphant voice.

Esther 6:12-14. Mordecai is back at the gate; Haman in bitter disappointment, with evil forebodings, his head covered, the sign of grief, returns to his wife and friends. When they hear what happened they told him that his case would be hopeless. In the conflict between the Jew and the offspring of Amalek, victory is on the side of the Jew. (Exodus 17:16; Numb. 24:20; Deuteronomy 25:17-19) And then the king’s chamberlains knocked at the door to hurry Haman to Esther’s banquet.

Typical Application

The great lesson of this chapter is the wonderful working of divine providence. Surely “God works in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform.” And how He cares for His people and watcheth over them! He is still the same, for He is the Lord who changeth not.

And Mordecai stands out in this chapter as another type of our Lord. All the men of God in Old Testament history, in their humiliation and exaltation, like Joseph, Moses, David, etc., are types of the humiliation and exaltation of our Lord.

What was done to Mordecai will also be some future day the happy lot of Israel when they will be delivered out of the hand of their enemies.

 


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Bibliography Information
Gaebelein, Arno Clemens. "Commentary on Esther 6:4". "Gaebelein's Annotated Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gab/esther-6.html. 1913-1922.

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