I think we all know the story of Esther, Mordecai and Haman. Haman hated the Jews, and especially Mordecai, Esther’s uncle. Esther became Queen because she found favor with the King. The build-up of the story is told in the book of Esther, Chapters 1-6. And the climax occurs in Chapters 7.
7 So the king and Haman went to Queen Esther’s banquet. 2 On this second occasion, while they were drinking wine, the king again said to Esther, “Tell me what you want, Queen Esther. What is your request? I will give it to you, even if it is half the kingdom!”
3 Queen Esther replied, “If I have found favor with the king, and if it pleases the king to grant my request, I ask that my life and the lives of my people will be spared. 4 For my people and I have been sold to those who would kill, slaughter, and annihilate us. If we had merely been sold as slaves, I could remain quiet, for that would be too trivial a matter to warrant disturbing the king.”
5 “Who would do such a thing?” King Xerxes demanded. “Who would be so presumptuous as to touch you?”
6 Esther replied, “This wicked Haman is our adversary and our enemy.” Haman grew pale with fright before the king and queen. 7 Then the king jumped to his feet in a rage and went out into the palace garden.
Haman, however, stayed behind to plead for his life with Queen Esther, for he knew that the king intended to kill him. 8 In despair he fell on the couch where Queen Esther was reclining, just as the king was returning from the palace garden.
The king exclaimed, “Will he even assault the queen right here in the palace, before my very eyes?” And as soon as the king spoke, his attendants covered Haman’s face, signaling his doom.
9 Then Harbona, one of the king’s eunuchs, said, “Haman has set up a sharpened pole that stands seventy-five feet[a] tall in his own courtyard. He intended to use it to impale Mordecai, the man who saved the king from assassination.”
“Then impale Haman on it!” the king ordered. 10 So they impaled Haman on the pole he had set up for Mordecai, and the king’s anger subsided.
The story doesn’t end there, however. We see in Chapter 8 that Haman’s riches are bestowed upon his enemies and in Chapter 9 his ten sons are hanged on the gallows he had prepared for Mordecai. At Esther 9:25, we are told that when the matter (Haman’s evil schemes) was revealed to the King, he not only nullified the schemes, he also returned the evil to the perpetrators, bringing retribution upon those who inspired evil.
I love this story because, as one who has experienced being the ‘underdog’, I love to see justice brought down onto the head of bullies. Yet there is a deeper understanding of this story as we can see that each name carries a significant force and purpose. Let’s take a look:
Ahaseurus (Xerxes) — “head” or “chief”. Person in charge, making all the decisions, and in complete control.
Mordecai – warrior.
Esther – means ‘star’; one who lights the darkness; one who searches out evil and is hidden from it.
Haman – means illustrious; magnificent; evil inclinations.
And his ten sons? Well, let’s take a look at the seeds of illustrious, magnificent, evil inclinations:
Parshandasa – someone far from God’s Word.
Dalphon – bad intentions.
Aspasa – excessive gathering, as in hording piles of money or goods.
Porasa – lust for viewing nude women; pornography.
Adalia – haughtiness and arrogance.
Parmashta – rips apart the strong connections between fellow believers.
Aridasa – distracts a righteous person from fervent prayer.
Arisai – continually poisons with venom; a serpent.
Aridai – evil that subjugates a righteous person with suffering and worries about his livelihood.
Vaizasa – bitter and strong judgement.
Do you see the picture presented by the names of the participants? Esther, a light in darkness, searches out evil (John 1:5, Matthew 5:15, John 3:19, Acts 26:18). And what evil! Haman and his sons represent the evil that plagues all humankind, in one form or another. And evil must be exposed to the light to be eradicated.
She finds it, and rather than doing anything about it herself, she lets her request be made known to the King (Philippians 4:6). And the King, mighty and just, turns his eyes in favor upon Esther, destroys the evil and exalts the righteous (Esther 10:1-3).
This story is so beautiful as it depicts our Christian walk and our relationship with the Lord. The Word tells us not to reward evil with evil (1 Peter 3:9). It tells us to turn the other cheek (Matthew 5:39). It tells us to let ourselves be taken advantage of rather than to take our case before unsaved civil authorities (1 Corinthians 6:1-8). And in every case, as we walk with Christ and obey His teaching, we will see victory as is depicted in the story of Esther and Haman. It may not be as quickly as we wish, but it will always happen. The simple yet profound message of the story: when we see evil, we are to tell the King and let Him deal with it. He is righteous and Holy and just, and his judgements are true. His retribution is far greater than anything we can devise.