5:3 half of my kingdom. This generous offer reflects a courtly convention and should not be taken literally (v. 6; cf. Mark 6:23). Esther’s first request is that the king and Haman attend a banquet (v. 4). Her second response (v. 8) effectively obliges the king to grant her petition. But it is not until 7:2–6 that Esther finally answers the king’s question. Esther’s delaying tactics not only demonstrate her wisdom and sense of control, but also raise the suspense in the story.