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Esther 7

 

PARAGRAPH DIVISIONS OF MODERN TRANSLATIONS

NKJV NRSV TEV NJB
Haman Hanged instead of Mordecai Haman's Fall Haman is Put to Death
(6:14-7:10)
Haman at Esther's Banquet
(6:14-7:10)
  6:14-7:10 6:14-7:2 6:14-7:7
7:1-4      
    7:3-4  
7:5-6   7:5  
    7:6-8a  
7:7-10      
      7:8-10
    7:8b-9a  
    7:9b  
    7:10  

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: 7:1-10
 1Now the king and Haman came to drink wine with Esther the queen. 2And the king said to Esther on the second day also as they drank their wine at the banquet, "What is your petition, Queen Esther? It shall be granted you. And what is your request? Even to half of the kingdom it shall be done." 3Then Queen Esther replied, "If I have found favor in your sight, O king, and if it pleases the king, let my life be given me as my petition, and my people as my request; 4for we have been sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be killed and to be annihilated. Now if we had only been sold as slaves, men and women, I would have remained silent, for the trouble would not be commensurate with the annoyance to the king." 5Then King Ahasuerus asked Queen Esther, "Who is he, and where is he, who would presume to do thus?" 6Esther said, "A foe and an enemy is this wicked Haman!" Then Haman became terrified before the king and queen. 7The king arose in his anger from drinking wine and went into the palace garden; but Haman stayed to beg for his life from Queen Esther, for he saw that harm had been determined against him by the king. 8Now when the king returned from the palace garden into the place where they were drinking wine, Haman was falling on the couch where Esther was. Then the king said, "Will he even assault the queen with me in the house?" As the word went out of the king's mouth, they covered Haman's face. 9Then Harbonah, one of the eunuchs who were before the king said, "Behold indeed, the gallows standing at Haman's house fifty cubits high, which Haman made for Mordecai who spoke good on behalf of the king!" And the king said, "Hang him on it." 10So they hanged Haman on the gallows which he had prepared for Mordecai, and the king's anger subsided.

7:4 "for we have been sold" This VERB (BDB 569, KB 581, Niphal PERFECT) is used in Lev. 25:34,48 in the sense of "sold for debt" (cf. Neh. 5:8). It became the opposite of "redeem." Esther sees herself and her people as sold to Haman's hatred and by implication, the king's nonchalance.

▣ "to be destroyed, to be killed and to be annihilated" These three INFINITIVES (Hiphil [BDB 1029, KB 1552], Qal [BDB 246, KB 255], and Piel [BDB 1, KB 2]) describe the doom awaiting all Jews in Persia. The series is for intensity! It also is exactly what Haman had written in his decree (which Mordecai had given to Esther, cf. 3:13) under the king's authority.

NASB"for the trouble would not be commensurate with the annoyance to the king"
NKJV"the enemy could never compensate for the king's loss"
NRSV"but no enemy can compensate for this damage to the king"
TEV-----omitted-----
NJB"it will be beyond the persecutor's means to make good the loss that the king is about to sustain"
JPSOA"for the adversary is not worthy of the king's trouble"

This is polite court language. It is not meant to be literal, but demure. All of the "ifs" in v. 4 serve the same purpose.

The translations differ over how to take the term nzq (BDB 634, KB 684) an Aramaic loan word found only here in the Bible. Some translations take it as (1) "trouble" or "annoyance," but others (2) as "damage" or "loss" (referring to the money Haman offered in 3:9; 4:7). Esther is thinking of herself, her people, and her king!

7:5 "who would presume to do this" There may be a sound play in the term "sell" (v. 4, BDB 569, KB581, Niphal PERFECT) and "presume" (lit. "fill," BDB 569, KB 583, Qal PERFECT). The king has asked the crucial question!

7:6 "foe. . .enemy. . .wicked" Esther combines a series of words (as v. 4) to describe the depth of her animosity toward Haman.

"terrified" The Arabic root means "to come upon suddenly." In Hebrew (BDB 129, KB147, Niphal PERFECT) the Niphal stem denotes terror (cf. I Chr. 21:30; Dan. 8:17).

7:7 "and the king arose in his anger from drinking wine" This shows how alcohol accentuates the emotions (cf. 1:12). See Special Topic on alcohol at Ezra 7:17.

7:8 "falling on the couch where Esther was" It must be remembered that the wife of the king took on something of his royal person. Therefore, to touch her was a grave offense. Haman probably had grasped Esther's legs and may even have been kissing them when the king re-entered. Jealousy and anger took over!

It is interesting to speculate from a Jewish perspective how Haman was seen as wanting to be king himself:

1. wants the king's clothes

2. wants to ride the king's horse

3. Esther's accusation in v. 4 may have implied a charge of treason

4. wants the king's wife (or so the king thought)

 

▣ "they covered Haman's face" Although we do not know this from the Persian period, we learn from Greek and Roman literature that this was done to condemned people (from the Anchor Bible, vol. 7B, p. 72; Curtius 6.8,22; Livy 1.26.25). Some scholars say that they have no right to see the king anymore, while other scholars say it was to protect the king from the person's evil eye.

7:9 What irony!! In context Haman was trying to kill the very one who the king was honoring!

7:10 "hanged Haman on the gallows" This was probably impaling, not hanging as we understand the term. See note at 2:23.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

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.

These discussion questions are provided to help you think through the major issues of this section of the book. They are meant to be thought provoking, not definitive.

1. Did the Persians crucify, hang or impale criminals? How and why?

2. Explain the significance and/or origin of the theological statement of Haman's wife in 6:13.