Esther 5

Chap. 5 begins at the end of the 3 day communal fast. Esther dresses up and goes to the King at his inner courts and he gives her his favor and extends the golden scepter to her. Esther would not die today for breaking his law.
Then the King asks Esther what is troubling her and offers to grant her request up to half his kingdom.
I thought this sounded familiar and so I went and looked it up. In Mark 6:23 Herod Antipas makes the same statement to the dancing girl who requested the head of John the Baptist for her mother.

Pulpit Commentary –

Verse 3. – What is thy request? It shall be even given thee. The practice of granting requests beforehand is one common among Oriental monarchs. Sometimes no limit at all is placed to the petitioner’s liberty of choice – seldom any less wide limit than that of the present passage. According to Herodotus (9:111), there was one day in the year on which the king was bound to grant any request made by a guest at his table. To the half of the kingdom. Compare Mark 6:23, where Herod Antipas makes the same limitation.
If I was thinking that the King must really love Esther to make her such an offer, this explanation dulls that a little bit because it wasn’t all that rare of a custom back then.
Esther goes on to request the King and Haman attend a banquet that she has prepared.
For more in depth info on what the banquets were like see:
The King asked Esther again to make her request up to half of his Kingdom and Esther again requested the Kings and Haman’s attendance and yet a second banquet the next day.
Haman left and was faced with Mordecai once again not bowing down to him and that enraged him more. He went home and sent for his friends and his wife to come over. When they got there he was so full of himself that it spilled over into an entire diatribe of how great he was, how rich, how much respect he deserved and received from the King. (I’m sure his friends and wife were rolling their eyes as how self absorbed he was and if they weren’t rolling their eyes, then I’ll roll mine for them.)
He stated even the Queen had invited just him and the king to her banquet and again on the morrow. (He’s feeling really self-important now, name-dropper!)
His wife and friends advised him to have a gallows built and then in the morning ask the King to have Mordecai hanged on it, then be happy and go to your banquet. Haman liked the idea and had the gallows built. (It really shows how different our culture is regarding life and death as the culture back then.  Then death was a part of daily lives.  If someone offends – kill them, and be “happy” to do it.  So strange and different from our lives today.  Today, life is sacred.)
Chapter 5 is extremely abbreviated and vague with details. It’s almost like an outline to what could have been a full chapter. It gets the main points across and leaves out all emotion, until it comes to Haman and his rage at Mordecai.
It leaves me wondering why the chapter is so barren and devoid of emotion? Perhaps the author was not present when Esther met with the King and later with the King and Haman.
 Perhaps the author only heard of these events 2nd or 3rd hand and did not want to add details unknown.  The way in which the details fully expand when describing Haman and the rage he went into with his friends and wife about Mordecai, leads me to think that the author may have been privy to this event.  Perhaps the author was present at this time.
We will never know because we don’t know who the author is but it’s funny how much more detailed the author describes Haman’s emotions and thoughts and actions, than of the King, or Esther, or Mordecai (though the author described the mourning of Mordecai in depth, so perhaps he was present for that event as well.)
Not much else to say about this chapter. It’s leading up to something. I don’t understand why Esther didn’t just chat with the King with he offered her up to ½ his Kingdom. Seems like that would have been a good opening to say .. umm.. by the way, I’m a Jewess and You, through Haman have ordered me killed on the 13th day of the 12th month so my request is that you don’t kill off all my people and me.
But that didn’t happen. Esther has a plan of some sort and the two banquets fit into it, but at this point we don’t know what that plan is unless she is buttering the King up but then.. why have Haman there too?

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