Last week, we saw Haman’s plan to kill Mordecai. We saw how his faulty joy led him to devise a wicked plan. And this week, we see what happens. While Haman has the gallows made, King Ahasuerus can’t sleep.
“On that night the king could not sleep. And he gave orders to bring the book of memorable deeds, the chronicles, and they were read before the king. And it was found written how Mordecai had told about Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king’s eunuchs, who guarded the threshold, and who had sought to lay hands on King Ahasuerus” (Esth. 6:1-2 ESV).
I don’t know about you, but when I can’t sleep, I don’t grab a book of chronicles. And I even like history. But in God’s providence, the king gets a bedtime story – a rather boring one at that. While listening, he was reminded of Mordecai’s heroic deed to save his life (see Esth. 2:19-23).
“And the king said, ‘What honor or distinction has been bestowed on Mordecai for this?’ The king’s young men who attended him said, ‘Nothing has been done for him’” (v. 3 ESV).
Think about this for a moment. Haman’s awake devising a plan to kill the same man King Ahasuerus wants to honor. Is this not a clear indication of God’s sovereignty at work? But wait, it gets even better.
“And the king said, ‘Who is in the court?’ Now Haman had just entered the outer court of the king’s palace to speak to the king about having Mordecai hanged on the gallows that he had prepared for him. And the king’s young men told him, ‘Haman is there, standing in the court.’ And the king said, ‘Let him come in’” (v. 4-5 ESV).
Oh, boy. Things are about to get interesting.
“So Haman came in, and the king said to him, ‘What should be done to the man whom the king delights to honor?’ And Haman said to himself, ‘Whom would the king delight to honor more than me?’” (v. 6 ESV).
Hold on. Let me get this straight. King Ahasuerus has insomnia on the night of Haman’s wicked plan to kill Mordecai. Of all things, King Ahasuerus reads a history book. And of all people, Mordecai is on the king’s mind. As Haman comes to request Mordecai’s death, Ahasuerus asks Haman how Mordecai can be honored. But, of course, when the king asks Haman what should be done to a man worthy of honor, Haman thinks of himself. In fact, the way Haman responds to the king makes one think that Haman has indeed considered this thought in the past. Perhaps too much.
Haman says, “‘For the man whom the king delights to honor, let royal robes be brought, which the king has worn, and the horse that the king has ridden, and on whose head a royal crown is set. And let the robes and horse be handed over to one of the king’s most noble officials. Let them dress the man whom the king delights to honor, and let them lead him on the horse through the square of the city, proclaiming before him: “Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor”’” (v. 7-9 ESV).
Sounds like an elaborate plan to me. And Haman must be shocked to hear what the king says next. Because, of all people, Haman learns that the one King Ahasuerus seeks to honor is the same man he seeks to kill (v. 10). What’s even better? King Ahasuerus makes Haman lead Mordecai’s honor procession.
Talk about humiliation. So much for Haman’s dumb plan. The Bible says, “Then Mordecai returned to the king’s gate. But Haman hurried to his house, mourning and with his head covered” (v. 12 ESV).
After all, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Prov. 16:18 ESV).
But here’s what I really want you to see: “And Haman told his wife Zeresh and all his friends everything that had happened to him. Then his wise men and his wife Zeresh said to him, ‘If Mordecai, before whom you have begun to fall, is of the Jewish people, you will not overcome him but will surely fall before him’” (v. 13 ESV).
In other words, Haman is doomed. And his pagan friends know it. Why? Because God’s sovereignty at work in Esther 6 is even noticeable to those separated from Him. One might call it coincidence, but Esther 6 is much more than mere irony.
In this chapter of Esther, we see how God’s work is obvious enough for the pagans to recognize. You see, even in a secular world, God’s handiwork and sovereignty can be seen. Even in the silence.