Bible Studies in the Book of Esther

Chapter 7: The Downfall of Haman the Wicked

 

By I Gordon

Introduction

 

The close of the last study in Esther chapter 6 saw the events drawing to a dramatic conclusion. The hatred Haman had for Mordecai had only intensified as he saw the king exalt Mordecai and not himself before the adoring crowds. Queen Esther had called for a second banquet where she planned to unmask her people’s enemy before the king. Haman’s gallows that he had constructed specifically for Mordecai was still empty but Haman was holding on to the hope that he can still win favour with the king and have Mordecai swinging from it by lunch time. Well, by the end of the chapter one thing is for sure and that is that someone will be swinging from that gallows. But who will it be? Oooooh the suspense is killing me!

 

Here is what we will look at in this study... We have mentioned previously that Haman is a type of the flesh (that sinful self-centered nature within all of us). We shall see more aspects of that in this study. But in Haman’s hatred and desire to destroy the Jewish people we also see a type of the spirit of the antichrist so this aspect shall be examined as well. Let’s have a look.  

 

A time to be silent and a time to speak

 

Now the king and Haman came to drink wine with Esther the queen. And the king said to Esther on the second day also as they drank their wine at the banquet, "What is your petition, Queen Esther? It shall be granted you. And what is your request? Even to half of the kingdom it shall be done." (Esther 7:1-2)

 

Ecclesiastes tells us that there is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven. There is a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time for peace and a time for war. Up until now Esther had been silent and kept her peace... yet it hadn’t been a time of inactivity. Esther had asked all the Jews to fast for three days as she sought God I believe in preparation for coming before the king and exposing Haman. This was no small event! We saw in a previous study that Esther got to the point where she was totally abanded to her own will and self-preservation saying only ‘if I perish I perish’. But the beauty of what was unfolding is that it all was done in accordance to the perfect precision of God’s timetable. Too often we try to run ahead of God instead of setting aside time to seek His will and ways[1]. We can learn a lot from Esther in this regard. But now the time for silence and holding her tongue had past. Now was the time to speak up. The stage was now set as the king, queen and Haman sat down at their second banquet and Esther would courageously declare her nationality and expose the wicked Haman!

 

A jaw dropping revelation

 

Then Queen Esther answered, "If I have found favor with you, O king, and if it pleases your majesty, grant me my life--this is my petition. And spare my people--this is my request. For I and my people have been sold for destruction and slaughter and annihilation. If we had merely been sold as male and female slaves, I would have kept quiet, because no such distress would justify disturbing the king. " (Esther 7:3-4)

 

Plonk! That would have been the sound of Haman’s jaw and heart dropping as he learns for the first time that the Queen herself belongs to the race of people he desires to annihilate! Oh boy... Haman’s own wife had said to him that day that – "Since Mordecai, before whom your downfall has started, is of Jewish origin, you cannot stand against him--you will surely come to ruin!" Now to drive home the final nail, he has found out that the Queen is Jewish as well! 

 

T’was a time when startled eyes and open mouths were in abundance! You can imagine that even the king was speechless at this revelation for he didn’t know the nationality of Esther either. He just thought he was coming to a nice private little banquet where his Queen wanted to make a petition known. But now the revelation has struck home that even his own wife’s life is on the line! Even she who he adores most is not safe within his own kingdom!

 

When knees won’t help but knock...

 

King Xerxes asked Queen Esther, "Who is he? Where is the man who has dared to do such a thing?" Esther said, "The adversary and enemy is this vile Haman." Then Haman was terrified before the king and queen. (Esther 7:5-6)

 

The king, now beside himself, demands to know who is behind such a dastardly deed! Who is it that would dare to even touch a hair on the head of his beloved queen? You can imagine that it was about now that Haman began to turn a ghostly shade of grey! What a change in fortunes! What a fall from grace! It was only yesterday that Haman believed there was no one within the kingdom that the king would desire to honour more than himself. Now there was no one within the kingdom that stood to face such great wrath from the king. Yesterday Haman had the world at his feet. Today, death itself was calling his name. If ever there was a time when the proverbial rug was pulled from under someone so that sudden defeat should be grasped from the jaws of victory, this was it![2]

 

The Prophetic Types

 

So let’s think about this passage in the prophetic sense. In unmasking the true villain, Esther says that the adversary and enemy is ‘Haman the wicked’. A.C Gaebelein writes concerning this that his title "Haman the wicked" represents in the numerical value of the Hebrew letters which compose this title, the number 666.’[3] That is rather remarkable given the character and purpose of Haman that has been revealed in this book! Let’s compare what have we seen about Haman so far with that which is revealed to us concerning the coming evil world leader[4] for Haman is but a type of him who is coming[5] and as terrible as things got for the Jews living in the days of Esther, it will unfortunately get worse in the days leading up to the return of Jesus Christ.

 

 

Aspect

Haman

Antichrist

His name

As mentioned above, the title given to Haman by Queen Esther is ‘Haman the wicked’. The numeric value of this is in the Hebrew is 666.

Concerning the coming world leader, the Bible tells us:
He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name. This calls for wisdom. If anyone has insight, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is man's number. His number is 666. (Revelation 13:16-18)

His Power

Haman was given a position of power by the king and rose quickly to the top above all his contempares. ‘The king elevated him and gave him a seat of honor higher than that of all the other nobles. All the royal officials at the king's gate knelt down and paid honor to Haman.’ (Esther 3:1-2)

In like manner, Revelation also tells us that the dragon (Satan) will give his power and authority to the coming world leader – the Antichrist:
The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority... And he was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation.’ (Revelation 13:2,7)

 

His Pride

Haman was known for his immense pride. Thus he was incensed when Mordecai would not bow down to him (Esther 3:5). And oh his boasts! ‘Haman boasted to them about his vast wealth, his many sons, and all the ways the king had honored him and how he had elevated him above the other nobles and officials.’ (Esther 5:11)

The coming world leader will be worse!
‘...and behold, this horn possessed eyes like the eyes of a man and a mouth uttering great boasts.’ (Daniel 7:8)
‘The king will do as he pleases. He will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will say unheard-of things against the God of gods.’ (Daniel 11:36)

‘The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise his authority for forty-two months.’ (Rev 13:5)

His Hatred

Haman is four times marked as ‘the enemy of the Jews’ (Esther 3:10, 8:1, 9:10, 24) and his hatred extended to all Jews. Thus it is no surprise to see He was connected with the Agagites and thus Amalek – the sworn enemy of the Jews (Exod. 17:16, Deut 25:17-19).

Satan’s hatred of the Jews (and people precious to God) will be seen through the coming world leader.
But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short. When the dragon saw that he had been hurled to the earth, he pursued the woman (Israel). (Rev 12:12)

His Plot

Haman arose through political power and used his position to plot the annihilation of the entire Jewish race! ‘Dispatches were sent by couriers to all the king's provinces with the order to destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews--young and old, women and little children - on a single day...’  (Esther 3:13)

The Antichrist’s rise through political power will mirror that of Haman with the same intended goal – annihilate the Jews. The political power and goal was seen in WWII with Hitler. Eventually political power will bring all nations against Israel to destroy her – ‘I will gather all the nations to Jerusalem to fight against it... (Zech 14:2)
‘Then they gathered the kings together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon.’ (Rev 16:16)

His Doom!

Haman’s rule was terrible but thankfully it only lasted a few years. He came to a sudden end! With victory and his stated goal of destroying the Jews within sight, the tables were turned and they hanged Haman on the gallows he had prepared for Mordecai.’(Esther 7:10)

The rule of the Antichrist will also be cut short after a few years for ‘the court will sit, and his power will be taken away and completely destroyed forever.’ (Dan 7:26) As he stands on the brink of totally achieving his goal and destroying the Jewish people, the tables will be turned for ‘the Lord Jesus will overthrow (him) with the breath of his mouth and destroy (him) by the splendor of his coming. (2Thes2:8)
 

 

Haman’s sobbing and the king’s rage

 

The king got up in a rage, left his wine and went out into the palace garden. But Haman, realizing that the king had already decided his fate, stayed behind to beg Queen Esther for his life. Just as the king returned from the palace garden to the banquet hall, Haman was falling on the couch where Esther was reclining. The king exclaimed, "Will he even molest the queen while she is with me in the house?" As soon as the word left the king's mouth, they covered Haman's face. Then one of them, who was named Harbonah, said, "Haman even went so far as to build a gallows at his house so that he could hang Mordecai, who saved Your Majesty's life. And it's seventy-five feet tall!" "Hang Haman on it!" the king commanded. So Haman was hanged on the gallows that he had built for Mordecai. Then the king's anger cooled down.

 (Esther 7:7-10)

 

Well, after that brief prophetic interlude, let’s get back to the main story. I know, I know... the prophetic part has spoilt the ending. It’s all true. So just act slightly surprised, like you don’t know where this is going and that it’s all fresh and new. Ok? Great. When we left the story, Esther had just made the shocking revelation that it was Haman that sought her and her people’s lives. The king went out of the room in rage, yet bewildered and almost in unbelief that he could have been so wrong about the man he had exalted and put his trust in. Now, remember how we said that Haman is a type of what the Bible calls ‘the flesh’? That is, he is a type of the self centred, carnal nature that each of us has. It is this nature that we are born with and dominates our soul just as Haman was seen previously calling the shots within the kingdom. It is this nature that must be unmasked and shown for what it is just as Esther had to unmask the wickedness of Haman before the king. But this self-centred sinful nature is not always easy to spot for it can be ‘good’ as well as ‘evil’.[6] Yet there must come a day when revelation is given concerning who is actually calling the shots in your life.[7] Often Christians don’t recognise the ‘Haman’ in their life. They are used to getting ‘snappy’ or easily aggravated with people. They are used to being fearful or jealous or greedy. They are used to having lust or continually worrying about things... “It is just who I am” they say. “It won’t ever change”. The Bible calls those things ‘the fleshly nature’ and in a sense they are right that ‘it’ won’t ever change. Yet the promise of the Bible is that you no longer have to be ruled by that principle anymore... Haman doesn’t have to stay on the throne! Reckon on the fact that ‘in Christ’ that old nature has no hold on you and in doing so send him to the gallows! The Bible says ‘walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh (Gal 5:16).’  

 

And so, when the king learned of the wickedness of Haman, there was only one course of action to take. “Get Haman’s gallows and hang him on it!” Revelation concerning the true nature of Haman had come to the king and the only just action for Haman’s murderous and deceitful ways was death.

 

One problem remained however. Haman’s plan to annihilate the Jews which was agreed to by the king, was still in place and couldn’t be overturned. It was now a law of the Medes and Persians and even the king couldn’t annul it. This will be explored in the next study for it is a useful tool in the teaching of some key New Testament truth.   

 

   

 

 

 

 

  



[1] The following poem is by an unknown author but is often quoted by Hudson Taylor. It expresses the need to wait upon God for His will before stepping forth: It is called "Standing still at Sovereign Will" -
In every life

There's a pause that is better than onward rush,

Better than hewing or mightiest doing;

'Tis the standing still at Sovereign will.

There's a hush that is better than ardent speech,

Better than sighing or wilderness crying;

'Tis the being still at Sovereign will.

The pause and the hush sing a double song

In unison low and for all time long.

O human soul, God's working plan

Goes on, nor needs the aid of man!

Stand still, and see!

Be still, and know! 

[2] Well, the ultimate example of this, as mentioned in other studies, was on a certain day of Passover 2000 years ago. There Satan thought he had victory over the Lord Jesus! Oh how wrong he was as what looked like defeat as the Lord Jesus died naked upon a cross, turned into the greatest victory ever. Oh the wisdom of God!

[3] The same point is brought out in J. Sidlow Baxter’s ‘Explore the book’ where he writes: ‘Esther brands him as ‘Haman the wicked’ and it is a singular fact that the numerical value of the Hebrew letters which make up his title is 666, the number of the Antichrist (Rev 13:18).

 

[4] The basis for these notes are taken from J.Sidlow Baxter’s ‘Explore the book’ pages 282-283.

[5] Randy Stonehill sings a song called ‘Counterfeit King’ about this coming one. Here are the lyrics:

 

counterfeit king in a garden that he stole, he's the outlaw with the diamonds in his eyes

like an angel of light he'll seduce your wandering soul, he's a master of the beautiful disguise

he has reaped what he's sown in his fatal act of pride, and he tumbles down like lightning from the sky

and his only desire is to brand us just like him, for in loving our own lives we're doomed to die... we're doomed to die


now we're all out on a tightrope, too proud to think we'll fall,
you can choose the freedom of God's love or laugh and lose it all


so beware of the words that he'll whisper to your heart, for he'll burn you with his twisted tongue of fire

and the song that he sings it's like poison to the soul, he's the counterfeit king and he's a liar... he's just a liar... a beautiful liar

[6] Just as the tree that Adam and Eve ate from was the tree of the knowledge of GOOD and EVIL so too have all their descendants had a nature that pushes them in both of these directions... But if it is still just human effort, empowered by the fleshly nature, it is still not LIFE. It is still just Haman exerting his control once again.   

 

[7] As always, Major Ian Thomas sums it up very well in his book on Esther – ‘If I perish, I perish’. Concerning this unmasking of Haman he writes: “God wants to bring you, no matter how bitter may be the experience, to the place of self-discovery... The moment of truth will come for you when, together with Esther, you quit exchanging courtesies with the flesh and repudiate it to its face, naming it for the treacherous, wicked, worthless thing it is - without any salvageable content and fit only for the gallows!... At this climactic stage in your Christian life you realize that there can be no compromise with the flesh, and that peaceful coexistence with a principle satanically hostile to the law of God and to the re- establishment of His sovereignty within your soul, is now beyond the bounds of possibility... You realize that it was never God's purpose to improve the flesh, to re-educate or tame it - let alone Christianize it. It has always been God's purpose that the flesh, condemned, sentenced and crucified with Jesus Christ, might be left buried in the tomb and re-placed by the resurrection life of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. He must wear the ring upon His finger, and once more exercise control in the area of your mind, your emotions and your will, expressing Himself through your personality. Paul described this clearly in his concern for the Ephesian Christians, when he wrote "For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. .."That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; "That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith..." (Ephesians 3:14-17).

 

How quickly the boastful swagger of the flesh, in the day of ascendancy, can be reduced to the sobbing cry of self-pity when the moment of truth has come. Beware of this subtlety, and never be sorry for yourself - just be sorry for your sin! If your pride is hurt and you feel that you have been misjudged, and you become all sensitive and begin to sulk, you can be quite certain that it is only Haman grovelling in the dirt, sobbing for the mercy he doesn't deserve. “