“If it pleases the king,” replied Esther, “let the king, together with Haman, come today to a banquet I have prepared for him.”
During the time of King Xerxes, Haman and Mordecai were enemies. They were opposites in their character and in their goals. When all the royal officials at the king’s gate knelt down before Haman because the king was honoring him, Mordecai, a Jew, wouldn’t kneel. Haman decided not to make Mordecai pay for his refusal to honor him. Instead, he’d make all of the Jews pay with their lives because of Mordecai.
Queen Esther sent a servant to find out about the rumor that Mordecai was in mourning, and she sent him clothes to wear instead of sackcloth. Mordecai refused the clothes and sent a message back to her. The only one who could save the Jews was the king. Esther would have to plead with him to save her life and the lives of all the Jews because she, being a Jew, would also die if the destruction of the Jews wasn’t stopped.
Mordecai advised her to speak to the king about this. Esther knew she would be risking her life by going to the king without being summoned, but she did it anyway. However, she didn’t explain the terror her people were facing. She simply invited the king and his right hand man, Haman, to a banquet to honor the king. She was able to show strength in a life and death situation.
If Esther had emailed or texted her request to the King, she might have put a winky-smile emoticon in there for good measure. But that would’ve given away the fact that she had something up her sleeve. At the first banquet, she invited them to a second banquet, where she would reveal her connection to the destruction of the Jews. Can you imagine having the patience to set up two banquets and rehearsing what to say to the king so that he could understand exactly what the problem was?
She wasn’t arrogant or vengeful. Esther knew the king would be able to stop the impending disaster, but she had to bring up the issue the right way. It was clear to the king that she wasn’t just trying to save herself, but her people and the people of Mordecai, the man who had already proven himself a huge asset to the king when he exposed an assassination attempt by two of the king’s officers.
Esther’s patience paid off. When she told the king of Haman’s plot to destroy her and her people, the king left the room in anger. Haman ran to where Esther was reclining to beg her to change the king’s mind. The king came back into the room to find Haman falling on the couch beside Esther, and he remembered that Haman had set up a pole on which to impale Mordecai and display his dead body. The king ordered that Haman be impaled on the pole he set up for Mordecai.
The king saved Esther’s life, but also allowed Mordecai to write an edict in the king’s name that would override the edict to kill all the Jews.
I love this story because of the example Esther gives to all women. Being beautiful is nice, but it’s not enough to stop a massacre. If a woman wants to change the world, she has to be strong, patient, and wise enough to listen to the good advice of others.