Now it came to pass on the third day, that Esther put on her royal apparel, and stood in the inner court of the king's house, over against the king's house: and the king sat upon his royal throne in the royal house, over against the gate of the house.
And it was so, when the king saw Esther the queen standing in the court, that she obtained favour in his sight: and the king held out to Esther the golden sceptre that was in his hand. So Esther drew near, and touched the top of the sceptre.
Then said the king unto her, What wilt thou, queen Esther? and what is thy request? it shall be even given thee to the half of the kingdom.
And Esther answered, If it seem good unto the king, let the king and Haman come this day unto the banquet that I have prepared for him.
If it seem
Mishteh, from shathah, "to drink," a compotation. feast, or banquet accompanied with drinking; the drinking in the East being at the beginning, and not at the end of the entertainment. Olearius, describing an entertainment at the Persian court, says, "The floor of the hall was covered with cotton cloth, which was covered with all sorts of fruits and sweetmeats in basons of gold. With them was served up excellent Shiraz wine. After an hour's time, the sweetmeats were removed, to make way for the more substantial part of the entertainment, such as rice, boiled and roast mutton, etc. When the company had been at table an hour and a half, warm water was brought, in a ewer of gold, for washing; and grace being said, they began to retire without speaking a word, according to the custom of the country."
Then the king said, Cause Haman to make haste, that he may do as Esther hath said. So the king and Haman came to the banquet that Esther had prepared.
And the king said unto Esther at the banquet of wine, What is thy petition? and it shall be granted thee: and what is thy request? even to the half of the kingdom it shall be performed.
the king said
If I have found favour in the sight of the king, and if it please the king to grant my petition, and to perform my request, let the king and Haman come to the banquet that I shall prepare for them, and I will do to morrow as the king hath said.
Heb. do. let the king. Esther probably wished another interview, that she might ingratiate herself more fully into the king's favour, and thus secure the success of her design. But Providence disposed of things thus, to give time for the important event mentioned in the following chapter.
Then went Haman forth that day joyful and with a glad heart: but when Haman saw Mordecai in the king's gate, that he stood not up, nor moved for him, he was full of indignation against Mordecai.
he stood not up
he was full
Nevertheless Haman refrained himself: and when he came home, he sent and called for his friends, and Zeresh his wife.
called for his friends
Heb. caused his friends to come. Zeresh.
And Haman told them of the glory of his riches, and the multitude of his children, and all the things wherein the king had promoted him, and how he had advanced him above the princes and servants of the king.
and how he had
Haman said moreover, Yea, Esther the queen did let no man come in with the king unto the banquet that she had prepared but myself; and to morrow am I invited unto her also with the king.
Plutarch, in his life of Artaxerxes, informs us, that none but the king's mother, and his real wife, were permitted to sit at his table; and therefore he mentions it as a condescension in that prince, that he sometimes invited his brothers. Haman, therefore, had some reason to be proud of this favour.
Yet all this availeth me nothing, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king's gate.
Yet all this
Pride will ever render its possessor unhappy. Haman, though possessed of immense riches, glory, and honour, and the prime favourite of his king, is wretched, because he could not have the homage of that man whom his heart even despised! Oh, how distressing are the inquietudes of pride and vanity.
Then said Zeresh his wife and all his friends unto him, Let a gallows be made of fifty cubits high, and to morrow speak thou unto the king that Mordecai may be hanged thereon: then go thou in merrily with the king unto the banquet. And the thing pleased Haman; and he caused the gallows to be made.
Let a gallows
Heb. Let a tree.