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Esther 6

 

PARAGRAPH DIVISIONS OF MODERN TRANSLATIONS

NKJV NRSV TEV NJB
The King Honors Mordecai Mordecai's Triumph The King Honors Mordecai The Discomfiture of Haman
6:1-3 6:1-11 6:1-3a 6:1-10
    6:3b  
6:4-11   6:4a  
    6:4b-5a  
    6:5b  
    6:6a  
    6:6b  
    6:7-9  
    6:10  
    6:11 6:11-13
6:12-14 6:12-13 6:12-13  
    Haman Is Put to Death
(6:14-7:10)
Haman at Esther's Banquet
(6:14-7:7)
  6:14 6:14-7:2 6:14-7:7

READING CYCLE THREE (from "A Guide to Good Bible Reading")

FOLLOWING THE ORIGINAL AUTHOR'S INTENT AT THE PARAGRAPH LEVEL

This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects. Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired but it is the key to following the original author's intent which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

1. First paragraph

2. Second paragraph

3. Third paragraph

4. Etc.

 

WORD AND PHRASE STUDY

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 6:1-9
 1During that night the king could not sleep so he gave an order to bring the book of records, the chronicles, and they were read before the king. 2It was found written what Mordecai had reported concerning Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king's eunuchs who were doorkeepers, that they had sought to lay hands on King Ahasuerus. 3The king said, "What honor or dignity has been bestowed on Mordecai for this?" Then the king's servants who attended him said, "Nothing has been done for him." 4So the king said, "Who is in the court?" Now Haman had just entered the outer court of the king's palace in order to speak to the king about hanging Mordecai on the gallows which he had prepared for him. 5The king's servants said to him, "Behold, Haman is standing in the court." And the king said, "Let him come in." 6So Haman came in and the king said to him, "What is to be done for the man whom the king desires to honor?" And Haman said to himself, "Whom would the king desire to honor more than me?" 7Then Haman said to the king, "For the man whom the king desires to honor, 8let them bring a royal robe which the king has worn, and the horse on which the king has ridden, and on whose head a royal crown has been placed; 9and let the robe and the horse be handed over to one of the king's most noble princes and let them array the man whom the king desires to honor and lead him on horseback through the city square, and proclaim before him, 'Thus it shall be done to the man whom the king desires to honor.'"

6:1 "the king could not sleep" This not only shows the unseen hand of God (the LXX is specific), but also the results of eating too much the night before at the banquet! This same divine action occurs in Dan. 2:1; 6:1; and even in Gen. 31:40. There is certainly similarity between the lives of Joseph, Daniel, and Mordecai.

▣ "the book of records, the chronicles" These would be official court records (cf. 2:23 and 10:2).

6:2-3 The role reversal is beginning. The king has become aware of Mordecai's service and lack of reward from several years previous. It is amazing that the king was having read such old events!

6:3 The Anchor Bible, vol. 7B, p. 64, mentions that Mordecai's lack of reward would have reflected badly on the king (cf. Herodotus 3.138,140; 5.11; 8.85; 9.207; Thucydides, Peloponnesian Wars 1.138).

6:4 "Who is in the court" Haman had apparently come early in the morning to request the impaling of Mordecai. What irony!

6:5 Haman's early arrival shows his intense and continuing hatred of Mordecai. He is there to get permission to kill him and hang him high!

6:6 "'What is to be for the man whom the king desires to honor'" The king is referring to Mordecai, but Haman thinks it is himself!

▣ "and Haman said to himself" Pride is an evil master!

6:8-9 There seems to be a series of three things: (1) a royal robe which had been worn by the king; (2) a royal horse which had been ridden by the king and on whose head was the symbol of the Persian crown; and (3) a royal procession, led by the most notable princes, through the streets on this horse with its bedecked rider and a great proclamation.

6:9 The purpose of honoring Mordecai was to encourage loyalty and service to the king!

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 6:10-11
 10Then the king said to Haman, "Take quickly the robes and the horse as you have said, and do so for Mordecai the Jew, who is sitting at the king's gate; do not fall short in anything of all that you have said." 11So Haman took the robe and the horse, and arrayed Mordecai, and led him on horseback through the city square, and proclaimed before him, "Thus it shall be done to the man whom the king desires to honor."

6:10 "'Take quickly'" This represents two IMPERATIVES (BDB 554 I, KB 553 and BDB 542, KB 534). This has the connotation of urgency. This honor had been long overdue.

"the horse" The king's special horse is mentioned in 8:10.

▣ "and do so for Mordecai the Jew who is sitting at the king's gate" This is the third IMPERATIVE (BDB 793, KB 889, Qal IMPERATIVE). How Ahasuerus knew that Mordecai was a Jew is uncertain unless it was recorded in the chronicles which were read to him the night before. It also acknowledges his apparent official position at the king's gate. It is uncertain if the king remembered Haman's edict and realized its consequences toward Mordecai.

6:11 Is there anything that would have upset Haman more than this? Note v. 12.

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 6:12-13
 12Then Mordecai returned to the king's gate. But Haman hurried home, mourning, with his head covered. 13Haman recounted to Zeresh his wife and all his friends everything that had happened to him. Then his wise men and Zeresh his wife said to him, "If Mordecai, before whom you have begun to fall, is of Jewish origin, you will not overcome him, but will surely fall before him."

6:12 "with his head covered" This was an Oriental symbol of dejection, humiliation, and mourning (BDB 341, KB 339, Qal PASSIVE PARTICIPLE, cf. II Sam. 15:30; Ps. 44:15; Jer. 14:3-4).

6:13 "his wise men" These are the ones who cast the lots before Haman in 3:7. The Hebrew word (BDB 314) often is used for a class of diviners (cf. Gen. 41:8; Exod. 7:11; Isa. 19:11; 44:25; Jer. 50:35; 51:57).

▣ "Zeresh his wife said to him" This is an unusual statement. It is somewhat similar to Pilate's wife speaking to him during the trial of Jesus (cf. Matt. 27:19) . We simply do not know why she spoke in this prophetic fashion. It is also similar to Balaam's prophecies in Numbers (cf. Num. 22-24). The unseen hand of God is clearly manifesting itself (role reversal). One wonders why these counselors did not tell him this before, as he was planning the destruction of the Jews and, later, Mordecai. In all probability this is a literary device which reflects the author's theology proclaimed by the mouth of Haman's wife. Dialogue often carries the theological load!

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 6:14
 14While they were still talking with him, the king's eunuchs arrived and hastily brought Haman to the banquet which Esther had prepared.

6:14 This set the stage for Haman's ultimate demotion and death.