And on the second day, as they were drinking wine after the feast, the king again said to Esther, “What is your wish, Queen Esther? It shall be granted you. And what is your request? Even to the half of my kingdom, it shall be fulfilled.” Then Queen Esther answered, “If I have found favor in your sight, O king, and if it please the king, let my life be granted me for my wish, and my people for my request. For we have been sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be killed, and to be annihilated. If we had been sold merely as slaves, men and women, I would have been silent, for our affliction is not to be compared with the loss to the king.” Then King Ahasuerus said to Queen Esther, “Who is he, and where is he, who has dared to do this?” And Esther said, “A foe and enemy! This wicked Haman!” Then Haman was terrified before the king and the queen. – Esther 7:2-6 ESV
Queen Esther has prepared her second feast for the king and Haman. She is ready to reveal the next phase of her plan to seek the rescue of her people. And while God is not mentioned, we know that Esther spent several days fasting and praying in order to seek the will and blessing of God before she did anything. All of her efforts appear to be part of a well-though-out strategy to trap Haman in his underhanded plot to destroy the people of God. When given a second chance by the king to make her request made known, Esther wastes no time. She reveals to the king the nefarious plan of Haman in all its gory details. Based on the way that the king responds to this news, it would appear that he had no idea that Haman intended to have the Jews slaughtered. Either he had not read the decree upon which Haman had set his seal, or he had misunderstood Haman’s intent.
Back in chapter three we have a record of Haman’s initial request to the king:
There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom. Their laws are different from those of every other people, and they do not keep the king’s laws, so that it is not to the king’s profit to tolerate them. If it please the king, let it be decreed that they be destroyed… – Esther 3:8-9 ESV
Haman conveniently left out the fact that the “certain people” to which he referred were the Jews. And the king had simply given Haman his signet ring and the authority to draft the decree in his own words and to send it throughout the kingdom.
It was written in the name of King Ahasuerus and sealed with the king’s signet ring. Letters were sent by couriers to all the king’s provinces with instruction to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate all Jews, young and old, women and children, in one day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar, and to plunder their goods. – Esther 3:12-13 ESV
Now that decision was coming back to haunt the king and Haman. Esther drops the bombshell news that her people were the ones who were going to be destroyed as a result of Haman’s decree. “If I have found favor in your sight, O king, and if it please the king, let my life be granted me for my wish, and my people for my request. For we have been sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be killed, and to be annihilated. If we had been sold merely as slaves, men and women, I would have been silent, for our affliction is not to be compared with the loss to the king” (Esther 7:3-4 ESV). She uses the exact words found in the original decree, describing with precision just what was going to happen in less than a year’s time. It would appear that she never mentions that she and her people are Jews. She leaves that detail out, and for the king, it didn’t seem to matter. All he had to know was that his queen and her people were the objects of Haman’s hatred and a scheme to eliminate them. Haman had had no idea that Esther was a Jew when he issued the decree. This all was coming as a shock to him. And he was slowly watching his life pass before his eyes. What had started out as an ego-boosting feast given in his honor, was quickly turning into a nightmare.
When the king demanded to know who was behind this plot against the queen’s life, she blurted out, “A foe and enemy! This wicked Haman!” She left no doubt in the king’s mind as to what kind of man Haman really was. He was an adversary to the king. He was out to kill the king’s chosen queen and to wipe out every trace of her people from the kingdom. And Esther wisely stroked the king’s ego by confessing that had Haman simply plotted to sell her people into slavery, she wouldn’t have bothered the king with such trifling news. But this was genocide. And she insinuates that Haman had been including her in his plot all along.
As you can well imagine, Haman watched all this take place in disbelief and horror. His words and intent were being twisted. He had no idea the queen was a Jew. He had only been seeking revenge on Mordecai and his people. Now he was being accused of personally plotting the queen’s assassination. And we know what happened to the two men who had been plotting to kill the king. They were hung. So Haman is scared out of his sense. And the text matter-of-factly states, “Then Haman was terrified before the king and the queen” (Esther 7:6 ESV).
Haman was having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. His world was crashing down around his head. All his dreams and visions of grandeur were evaporating before his eyes. He was experiencing a day of accounting. Payment for sins was coming due. His runaway pride was resulting in his own downfall. As the Proverbs so aptly state, “Be assured, an evil person will not go unpunished, but the offspring of the righteous will be delivered” (Proverbs 11:21 ESV). In His divine timing, God had chosen to bring Haman’s plans to an abrupt and painful end. And Haman had every reason to be afraid.
The Lord says, “Am I not storing up these things, sealing them away in my treasury? I will take revenge; I will pay them back. In due time their feet will slip. Their day of disaster will arrive, and their destiny will overtake them.” – Deuteronomy 32:34-35 NLT