Isn't it funny how humor changes over time?

In the last blog, we discovered that Queen Esther agrees to talk to the king and try to persuade him not to follow through with the advice of his chief advisor to execute all the Jews in the kingdom.   So, Esther goes to the king and asks him and Haman, the advisor, to come to a banquet she has prepared for them.   The banquet was held, and the king asked Esther, “…Now what is your petition?  It will be given to you.  And what is your request?  Even up to half the kingdom, it will be granted.”  (Esther 5: 6)  Notice how cautious Esther is.  She doesn’t answer the king right away, but instead invites him and Haman to a second banquet where she promises to tell the king of her concern.

On the eve of the second banquet, Mordecai once again snubs Haman, and on the advice of his friends, Haman orders a gallows built in order to execute Mordecai.  Notice in chapter 5, verses 11-12, Haman boasts about all that he has.  He has great wealth, power second only to the king, and most of the subjects of the kingdom bow before him, yet in verse 13, Haman says, “but all this gives me no satisfaction as long as I see the Jew Mordecai sitting at the king’s gate.” (Esther 5: 13)  Without God, the soul cannot be satisfied.  We find other Biblical examples of this, and certainly this is just as true today!  (Historical note:  most of the Hebrews living in the kingdom were from Judah, and this is the first time they are referred to as Jews).

Something else happened the night the gallows was being built for Mordecai.  The king couldn’t sleep, so he ordered the book of the chronicles to be read to him.  The book of the chronicles are not the books found in the Bible.  These books would be a record of all the king had done while he lived.  And, just like the chronicles of any other ancient country, they would have been nothing but praise and success.  (Some Bible critics mention that the exodus out of Egypt cannot be found in any Egyptian record.  Of course not!  That event did not go well for the Egyptians.)  These chronicles would have given the king comfort.  As the chronicles were being read, the king was reminded that Mordecai had once save the kings life.  When the king discovered that Mordecai had never been rewarded for his deed, he demanded that that error be rectified.  The king called Haman and asked him, “What should be done for the man the king delights to honor?”

Now Haman assumed the king was referring to him, and he suggested an elaborate procession through the city.  The king was pleased with all of Haman’s suggestions and then dropped the bomb shell!  “Go at once,” the king commanded Haman.  “Get the robe and the horse and do just as you have suggested for Mordecai the Jew, who sits at the king’s gate.  Do not neglect anything you have recommended.”  So Haman got the robe and the horse.  He robed Mordecai, and led him through the city streets proclaiming before him, “This is what is done for the man the king delights to honor.”  (Esther 6: 10-11)  It’s interesting how humor changes over time.  Things that are amusing in one time period are not so funny in another.  In ancient times, the idea that Haman is now leading the man he was planning to execute and shout that proclamation would have been laugh out loud funny!

Next blog, the banquet.

About the Author

Dan Porte
Originally from Erie, Pennsylvania, Dan is a graduate of Otterbein College (now University). He graduated with a degree in education. From time to time Dan still substitute teaches. His interest in history led him to investigate the historical accuracy of the Bible. This, in turn, led to a full investigation of Apologetics.

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