The Persians have a particularly grisly way of humiliating and killing those they hate. A tree is cut down and sharpened to a point at one end. In some cases, the condemned are killed, and their lifeless bodies are impaled on it. Others are hung on the pole as a mode of torture and execution. It is erected in some public place as an example for others, and the 75-foot pole described here is high enough to be seen over most buildings and small trees. Soon birds and insects begin eating away at the dead or dying. Political enemies, criminals, and dissidents often end their lives this way. The threat of public death and humiliation has kept many from disobeying the law, but not Mordecai.
6 That same night the king was unable to sleep, so he ordered the official records of his reign to be brought and read before him. 2 As the record was read, the king was reminded of the time when Mordecai saved his life. Mordecai had been the one who reported that Bigthana and Teresh, two of the royal eunuchs who guarded the doors, were plotting to assassinate the king.[a]
King Ahasuerus (to his servants): 3 Did Mordecai receive any recognition for this action? Was he honored in any way?
Servants: He received no recognition for this.
King Ahasuerus: 4 Is anyone out in the court now?
Haman had just arrived at the outer court of King Ahasuerus’ palace. He hoped to speak with the king about executing Mordecai and hanging him on the pole he had prepared.
Servants: 5 Haman is here waiting in the court to see you.
King Ahasuerus: Allow him to come in.
6 So Haman entered the king’s chambers. He waited for the king to speak first.
King Ahasuerus: Haman, I want to ask you something. What do you believe is the proper manner in which to honor a man who has pleased me?
Then Haman thought to himself, “There is no one the king wishes to honor more than me.”
Haman: 7 If you desire to honor a man, I believe you should do this: 8 First, have your servants bring one of the robes you have worn and one of the horses you have ridden that has worn the royal crown on its head. 9 Then, you should give the robe and horse to one of your most noble officials. Have him robe the man whom you want to honor and then lead the man on horseback throughout the center of the city. It should be announced that this is what happens for the man whom the king wants to honor.
King Ahasuerus: 10 Your idea is perfect, Haman. I want you to go and do this immediately. Take one of my robes and one of my horses and do exactly what you have suggested to Mordecai, the Jewish man who sits at my gate. Do everything you have said, and don’t leave out one single detail. Not one!
The situation is now reversed, and Haman is forced to honor the man he has sought to kill.
11 Haman was mortified. He took the robe and horse; he dressed Mordecai in the king’s robe and led him throughout the square of the city.
Haman (shouting): This is what happens for the man whom the king desires to honor!
12 When it was done, Mordecai returned to the king’s gate. But Haman fled to his home, mourning and covering his head in humiliation. 13 He told his wife, Zeresh, and all his friends everything that had happened to him. They offered him a bit of wise advice.
Zeresh and His Friends: You must be very careful with how you handle Mordecai! If he really is a Jew, a descendant of the nation that defeated your ancestors, then you won’t be able to succeed. In fact, you will most certainly be destroyed! Look, you’ve already begun to bow to him.
14 In the middle of their conversation, the king’s eunuchs arrived at Haman’s house and rushed him off to have dinner with Esther and the king.