All the drama of the book of Esther has been building to this scene in chapter 7. Queen Esther has risked her life to create an opportunity to plead with King Ahasuerus on behalf of her people. “For such a time as this” she prepared an elegant dinner for the king and Prime Minister Haman, knowing that before they left the table she would have to reveal the truth. It was “go time” for Esther — no turning back.
If I could summarize King Ahasuerus in one word, it would be “clueless”. Or maybe a word like “naive” or “unaware” sounds nicer. While he was obviously an intelligent man and an effective leader, the king was clueless about Haman’s treachery and his vendetta against the Jews. He was clueless about the implications of the decree he had signed to destroy the Jews. He was clueless about Esther’s Jewish heritage. He was clueless about the fact that he was being “played” by those around him. And the king was especially clueless about his part in the sovereign plan of God to rescue His people. Both Esther and Mordecai perceived God’s plan and knew their role in it, but the great king — who is pictured in the opening verses of the book as the powerful monarch of a vast kingdom and fabulous wealth — couldn’t buy a clue. When I think of Ahasuerus I am reminded that “The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He will” (Proverbs 21:1). The leaders of nations and the power brokers of politics may think they are in charge, but the King of Kings superintends all things; His will will be done.
Haman arrived at the party shaken by the events earlier in the day. In a scene of delicious irony, he had been forced to honor the man he hated, Mordecai. Haman, like his king, was unaware of Esther’s purpose in inviting him to her table.
After dinner the queen finally made her request of the king. She asked that her life be spared and that her people be rescued from annihilation. When she stated that the one who was responsible for the plot was “this wicked Haman” (v.6), everything became clear to the king (and to Haman): Esther was a Jew, and in signing the irrevocable decree to kill all Jews, the king had signed her death warrant.
Stunned and enraged, realizing that he had been duped by his most trusted advisor, the king stomped away from the table. At the same time Haman lunged toward Esther, pleading for his life. When the king turned to confront the traitor and saw him falling on the couch, perhaps grasping at the queen, he assumed that Haman was trying to take Esther’s life then and there. The king’s guards knew at that point that Haman was a dead man, and they subdued him, covering his face (v.8). One of them suggested that he be hanged on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. The king agreed and wicked Haman was executed.
Not only can we see the hand of God working behind the scenes here, but we can also see the Word of God at work. Consider the truth of Proverbs 26:24-27 and how it is proven in Haman’s life:
Whoever hates disguises himself with his lips and harbors deceit in his heart; when he speaks graciously, believe him not, for there are seven abominations in his heart; though his hatred be covered with deception, his wickedness will be exposed in the assembly. Whoever digs a pit will fall into it, and a stone will come back on him who starts it rolling.