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Esther 5

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Esther Appeals to the King for Help

5:1 It so happened that on the third day Esther put on her royal attire and stood in the inner court of the palace, 1  opposite the king’s quarters. 2  The king was sitting on his royal throne in the palace, opposite the entrance. 3  5:2 When the king saw Queen Esther standing in the court, she met with his approval. 4  The king extended to Esther the gold scepter that was in his hand, and Esther approached and touched the end of the scepter.

5:3 The king said to her, “What is on your mind, 5  Queen Esther? What is your request? Even as much as half the kingdom will be given to you!”

5:4 Esther replied, “If the king is so inclined, 6  let the king and Haman come today to the banquet that I have prepared for him.” 5:5 The king replied, “Find Haman quickly so that we can do as Esther requests.”

So the king and Haman went to the banquet that Esther had prepared. 5:6 While at the banquet of wine, the king said to Esther, “What is your request? It shall be given to you. What is your petition? Ask for as much as half the kingdom, 7  and it shall be done!”

5:7 Esther responded, 8  “My request and my petition is this: 5:8 If I have found favor in the king’s sight and if the king is inclined 9  to grant my request and perform my petition, let the king and Haman come tomorrow to the banquet that I will prepare for them. At that time 10  I will do as the king wishes. 11 

Haman Expresses His Hatred of Mordecai

5:9 Now Haman went forth that day pleased and very much encouraged. 12  But when Haman saw Mordecai at the king’s gate, and he did not rise nor tremble in his presence, 13  Haman was filled with rage toward Mordecai. 5:10 But Haman restrained himself and went on to his home.

He then sent for his friends to join him, 14  along with his wife Zeresh. 5:11 Haman then recounted to them his fabulous wealth, 15  his many sons, 16  and how the king had magnified him and exalted him over the king’s other officials and servants. 5:12 Haman said, “Furthermore, Queen Esther invited 17  only me to accompany the king to the banquet that she prepared! And also tomorrow I am invited 18  along with the king. 5:13 Yet all of this fails to satisfy me so long as I have to see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king’s gate.”

5:14 Haman’s 19  wife Zeresh and all his friends said to him, “Have a gallows seventy-five feet 20  high built, and in the morning tell the king that Mordecai should be hanged on it. Then go with the king to the banquet contented.” 21 

It seemed like a good idea to Haman, so he had the gallows built.

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1 tn Heb “of the house of the king”; NASB, NRSV “of the king’s palace.”

2 tn Heb “the house of the king”; NASB “the king’s rooms”; NIV, NLT “the king’s hall.” This expression is used twice in this verse. In the first instance, it is apparently the larger palace complex that is in view, whereas in the second instance the expression seems to refer specifically to the quarters from which the king governed.

3 tn Heb “the entrance of the house” (so ASV).

4 tn Heb “she obtained grace in his eyes”; NASB “she obtained favor in his sight”; NIV “he was pleased with her”; NLT “he welcomed her.”

5 tn Heb “What to you?”; NAB, NIV NRSV “What is it, Queen Esther?”

6 tn Heb “If upon the king it is good”; NASB “If it please the king.”

7 sn As much as half the kingdom. Such a statement would no doubt have been understood for the exaggeration that it clearly was. Cf. the similar NT scene recorded in Mark 6:23, where Herod makes a similar promise to the daughter of Herodias. In that case the request was for the head of John the Baptist, which is a lot less than half the kingdom.

8 tn Heb “answered and said.” This is somewhat redundant in contemporary English and has been simplified in the translation.

9 tn Heb “if upon the king it is good.” Cf. the similar expression in v. 4, which also occurs in 7:3; 8:5; 9:13.

10 tn Heb “and tomorrow” (so NASB); NAB, NRSV “and then.”

11 tn Heb “I will do according to the word of the king,” i.e., answer the question that he has posed. Cf. NCV “Then I will answer your question about what I want.”

12 tn Heb “happy and good of heart”; NASB “glad and pleased of heart”; NIV “happy and in high spirits.”

13 tn Heb “tremble from before him”; NIV “nor showed fear in his presence”; TEV “or show any sign of respect as he passed.”

14 tn Heb “sent and brought.” The expression is probably a hendiadys (a figure of speech in which a single idea is expressed through two words or phrases), in which case the two verbs could be translated simply as “summoned” (so NAB) or “sent for” (NASB).

15 tn Heb “the glory of his riches” (so KJV, NASB); NRSV “the splendor of his riches.”

16 sn According to Esth 9:10 Haman had ten sons.

17 tn Heb “caused to come”; KJV “did let no man come in…but myself.”

18 tn Heb “called to her”; KJV “invited unto her”; NAB “I am to be her guest.”

19 tn Heb “his”; the referent (Haman) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

20 tn Heb “fifty cubits.” Assuming a standard length for the cubit of about 18 inches (45 cm), this would be about seventy-five feet (22.5 meters), which is a surprisingly tall height for the gallows. Perhaps the number assumes the gallows was built on a large supporting platform or a natural hill for visual effect, in which case the structure itself may have been considerably smaller. Cf. NCV “a seventy-five foot platform”; CEV “a tower built about seventy-five feet high.”

21 tn Or “joyful”; NRSV “in good spirits”; TEV “happy.”



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