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Esther 5-6 Common English Bible (CEB)

Esther acts

Three days later, Esther put on royal clothes and stood in the inner courtyard of the palace, facing the palace itself. At that moment the king was inside sitting on his royal throne and facing the palace doorway. When the king noticed Queen Esther standing in the entry court, he was pleased. The king held out to Esther the gold scepter in his hand, and she came forward and touched the scepter’s tip.

Then the king said to her, “What is it, Queen Esther? What do you want? I’ll give you anything—even half the kingdom.”

Esther answered, “If the king wishes, please come today with Haman for the feast that I have prepared for him.”

“Hurry, get Haman,” the king ordered, “so we can do what Esther says.” So the king and Haman came to the feast that Esther had prepared. As they sipped wine, the king asked, “Now what is it you wish? I’ll give it to you. What do you want? I’ll do anything—even give you half the kingdom.”

Esther answered, “This is my wish and this is what I want: If I please the king, and if the king wishes to grant my wish and my desire, I’d like the king and Haman to come to another feast that I will prepare for them. Tomorrow I will answer the king’s questions.”

Haman boasts, complains, and acts

That day Haman left Esther’s place happy, his spirits high, but then he saw Mordecai in the King’s Gate. Mordecai neither stood up nor seemed the least bit nervous around him, so Haman suddenly felt great rage toward Mordecai. 10 But Haman held himself back and went on home. He sent word that his friends and his wife Zeresh should join him there. 11 Haman boasted to them about his great wealth and his many sons. He told all about how the king had honored him by promoting him over the officials and high royal workers. 12 “Best of all,” Haman said, “Queen Esther has invited no one else but me to join the king for food and drinks that she has prepared. In fact, I’ve been called to join the king at her place tomorrow! 13 But all this loses its meaning every time I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the King’s Gate.”

14 So his wife Zeresh and all his friends told him: “Have people prepare a pointed pole seventy-five feet high. In the morning, tell the king to have Mordecai impaled on it. Then you can go with the king to the feast in a happy mood.” Haman liked the idea and had the pole prepared.

Honor for Mordecai

That same night, the king simply couldn’t sleep. He had the official royal records brought in, and his young male servants began reading them to the king. They came to the report about Mordecai informing on Bigthan and Teresh. (They were the two royal eunuchs among the guards protecting the king’s doorway, who secretly planned to kill King Ahasuerus.) “What was done to honor and reward Mordecai for this?” the king asked.

His young male servants replied, “Nothing was done for him, sir.”

“Who is that out in the courtyard?” the king asked. (Haman had just entered the outer courtyard of the palace. He had come to tell the king to impale Mordecai on the pole that he had set up for him.)

The king’s servants answered, “That’s Haman standing out in the courtyard, sir.” So the king said, “Have him come in.”

When Haman entered, the king asked him, “What should be done for the man whom the king really wants to honor?”

Haman thought to himself, Whom would the king really want to honor more than me? So Haman said to the king, “Here’s what should be done for the man the king really wants to honor. Have servants bring out a royal robe that the king himself has worn and a horse on which the king himself has ridden. It should have a royal crest on its head. Then hand over the robe and the horse to another man, one of the king’s officials. Have him personally robe[a] the man whom the king really wants to honor and lead him on the horse through the city square. As he goes, have him shout, ‘This is what the king does for the man he really wants to honor!’”

10 Then the king said to Haman, “Hurry, take the robe and the horse just as you’ve said and do exactly that for Mordecai the Jew, who works at the King’s Gate. Don’t leave out a single thing you’ve said!”

11 So Haman took the robe and the horse and put the robe on Mordecai. He led him on horseback through the city square, shouting as he went, “This is what the king does for the man he really wants to honor!” 12 Afterward, Mordecai returned to the King’s Gate, while Haman hurried home feeling great shame, his head covered.

13 Haman told his wife Zeresh and all his friends everything that had happened to him. Both his friends[b] and his wife said to him, “You’ve already begun to lose out to Mordecai. If he is of Jewish birth, you’ll not be able to win against him. You are surely going to lose out to him.”

Haman’s demise

14 They were still discussing this with him when several royal eunuchs arrived. They quickly hurried Haman off to the feast that Esther had prepared.

Footnotes:

  1. Esther 6:9 LXX sing robe and lead, cf Heb plural verbs
  2. Esther 6:13 LXX; Heb wise ones
Common English Bible (CEB)

Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible

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