So the king and his drinking buddy Haman had just passed the “let’s all kill the Jews next month” ordinance and are having it distributed throughout the Persian Empire. Mordecai learns of the decree and tears his clothes and puts on sackcloth and ashes, which was the avant garde’s way of showing you’re sad back then. Everyone who was anyone did it.
All the Jews follow suit when they learn that the king is ordering their deaths. Esther is sad too and tries to send her cousin some clothes, but he refuses them. Then she sends the eunuch in charge of her to ask her cousin why the king is doing this.
Mordecai spills the story about Haman and how the king is going to pay a large sum of money for the death of the Jews, Mordecai gives her a copy of the edict and asks Esther to go intercede on their behalf with the king.
Esther sends word back saying, “You know the rules of the court. If anyone goes to see the king and has not been summoned, they are to be put to death unless the king spares their life. The king has not summoned me for a month.”
Okay, maybe Persia wasn’t a great empire to live under. They seem to be a big fan of arbitrary rule making that results in death.
Also, not seeing your wife in a month? Dude, that’s just weird.
So Mordecai sends word back saying, “Hey, you’re not going to escape the edict either, cousin, but God will save some of us, and hey, ever think that maybe God put you in this sham marriage so you could save us all?”
So Esther says, “Get the gang together and fast and pray for me for three days. I’ll go to the king and if I die, I die.”
So Esther comes to the inner court of the palace and the king spares her life and asks her what is bothering her that she’d risk her life like that. She asks him and Haman to come to dinner at her place tonight.
So the king sends to fetch Haman and they eat and drink and the king asks again, “What’s up, Honey?”
“Uh… come back tomorrow night and I’ll have an answer for you.”
So the king agrees and as Haman leaves the palace, he’s feeling pretty good about himself, getting a personal invite from the queen and all, so he sees Mordecai standing in the king’s gate refusing to bow again and he storms off home. He sends for all of his friends and his wife and recounts what an awesome guy he is.
“I am so rich. Hugely rich. Bigly rich. The richest. And I know people. And people know me. I dined with the queen. Just the nicest lady and beautiful. But I really hate that Moredcai. Loser. Sad…”
So his wife says, “Why not build a really tall gallows and ask the king tomorrow to let you hang Mordecai on it?”
So that makes Haman happy and he heads off to bed.
That night, the king has some insomnia, so he asks one of his servants to go and get the book of Chronicles. Having read the book of Chronicles, I can confirm that this is a REALLY good idea on the part of the king.
So the servant is reading the book and he comes to the part where Mordecai saved his life from the plot of two of his servants, and the king asked, “Hey… I remember that. Did we do anything cool for that guy? Seems like we should, I don’t know, at least mail him a fruit basket or something…”
Servant: No. We didn’t do anything for him.
King: Huh… oh, hey, who’s out there in the court?
Servant: Haman, it looks like.
King: Oh, cool. Send him in.
King: Bro… hey, got a question for you. What should I do to the man that I want to honor?
Haman: That’s obviously me, right? Yeah, it’s me… I mean, uh, you should get a robe you’ve worn and dress the man in it. And put him on a horse that you have ridden on which is a royal crown, and let the robe and horse be taken to the man by an important man, and let that man lead your honored servant through the city proclaiming, “This is how the king honors a man!”
King: See? I knew this guy would have a good idea! Great. Go, grab a robe from my closet and get one of my horses from the stable and do that to Mordecai the Jew.
So Haman has to dress up Mordecai and lead him on a royal horse through the city proclaiming that the king is honoring Mordecai. Once they’ve made a circuit, Mordecai goes back to the king’s gate, and Haman hurries home with a big sad.
Haman’s wife: Well, I’d say Jehovah is going to really screw you over.
But before Haman can reply, the king’s men arrive to escort him to Esther’s banquet.