At the request of his daughter, who was now Queen Esther of the empire of Media and Persia, Mordecai had gathered all the Jews in the citadel to fast for three days. Esther knew that approaching the king without being summoned, even as the queen, was a dangerous enterprise. It was against the laws and customs of the land and punishable by death. But because of the edict that had gone out to annihilate all Jews, Esther was willing to risk her life for her people. So when she went before the king, it was by the strength of the prayers and fasting of all her people that she went. Never sell short the prayers of the people of God.
So on the third day, Esther donned her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the palace, in front of the king’s hall. When the king, who was on his throne, saw her, he was pleased, and he extended his golden scepter to her to touch, signifying she was cleared to approach him. “What is it, Queen Esther? What is your request? Even up to half the kingdom, it will be given you” (Esther 5:3). At that piece of good news, Esther played her first card. She invited the king and his second in command, a man named Haman who was responsible for putting out the edict to annihilate the Jews, to a banquet she had prepared for them that day. The king, who had a soft spot for parties, immediately accepted, and sent for Haman to join them.
After dinner, the king again posed the same question to Esther seeking her request. Her answer is a bit of a strange one; she invites the two of them to another banquet the next night, at which time she will give the king her request. Happy to continue this celebration, the king accepted.
Proud as a peacock, Haman went home that night boasting to his wife and friends of his position and his wealth. “And that’s not all. I’m the only person Queen Esther invited to accompany the king to the banquet she gave. And she has invited me along with the king tomorrow. But all this gives me no satisfaction as long as I see that Jew Mordecai sitting at the king’s gate” (5:12-13).
Haman’s wife and friends had a simple solution for that problem. Have a 75-foot pole set up in the morning and have Mordecai impaled on it. (No one in the court, including the king, knew of Esther’s connection to Mordecai or that she was a Jew.)
Meanwhile, back at the palace, the king was not having such a good night. He couldn’t sleep, so he ordered the book of chronicles — the record of his reign — to be brought and read to him. In the process, the story of how a plot to assassinate him was thwarted by Mordecai came to his attention. When he asked what honor and recognition Mordecai had received for this, the answer came back, “Nothing has been done for him” (6:3).
The next day Haman showed up intending on telling the king of his plan to execute Mordecai that day, when the king asked him a question: “What should be done for the man the king delights to honor?” Haman, who, in his narcissism, assumed the king was thinking about honoring him, poured it on thick, suggesting he should put him in the king’s robes on the king’s horse and be paraded around the city.
“Go at once … and do just as you have suggested for Mordecai the Jew, who sits at the king’s gate. Do not neglect anything you have recommended” (6:10). Humiliated by this turn of events, Haman had to carry this out.
That evening, at their second banquet, the king asked Esther one more time for her request. So she told him how she and her people had been sold to be destroyed, killed, and annihilated. When the king asked where was the man that would do such a thing, she played her final card. “An adversary and enemy! This vile Haman!”
The king was enraged at Haman and when he found out Haman had already constructed a pole to execute Mordecai, he commanded Haman be impaled on that very pole. “So they impaled Haman on the pole he had set up for Mordecai. Then the king’s fury subsided” (7:10).
So Esther continued her reign, Mordecai was put on the king’s court as second-in-command to the king, and the Jews not only survived, they were given authority to destroy their enemies, reversing the edict against them, all because one woman rose to the occasion when she realized that she had been put in this position “for such a time as this.”
Where does God have you? You are not there by accident. You have been put there for such a time as this.