Now it came to pass on the third day, that Esther put on her royal apparel, and stood in the inner court of the king's house, over against the king's house: and the king sat upon his royal throne in the royal house, over against the gate of the house.Over against the gate - This is the usual situation of the throne in the "throne-room" of an Oriental palace. The monarch, from his raised position, can see into the court through the doorway opposite to him, which is kept open.
And it was so, when the king saw Esther the queen standing in the court, that she obtained favour in his sight: and the king held out to Esther the golden sceptre that was in his hand. So Esther drew near, and touched the top of the sceptre.
Then said the king unto her, What wilt thou, queen Esther? and what is thy request? it shall be even given thee to the half of the kingdom.It shall be even given thee ... - Xerxes, on another occasion, when pleased with one of his wives, offered to grant her any request whatever, without limitation. Compare the margin reference.
And Esther answered, If it seem good unto the king, let the king and Haman come this day unto the banquet that I have prepared for him.Esther seems to have been afraid to make her real request of Xerxes too abruptly. She concluded that the king would understand that she had a real petition in the background, and would recur to it, as in fact he did Esther 5:6; Esther 7:2.
Then the king said, Cause Haman to make haste, that he may do as Esther hath said. So the king and Haman came to the banquet that Esther had prepared.
And the king said unto Esther at the banquet of wine, What is thy petition? and it shall be granted thee: and what is thy request? even to the half of the kingdom it shall be performed.The banquet of wine - After the meats were removed, it was customary in Persia to continue the banquet for a considerable time with fruits and wine. During this part of the feast, the king renewed his offer.
Then answered Esther, and said, My petition and my request is;
If I have found favour in the sight of the king, and if it please the king to grant my petition, and to perform my request, let the king and Haman come to the banquet that I shall prepare for them, and I will do to morrow as the king hath said.
Then went Haman forth that day joyful and with a glad heart: but when Haman saw Mordecai in the king's gate, that he stood not up, nor moved for him, he was full of indignation against Mordecai.He stood not up, nor moved for him - This was undoubtedly a serious breach of Persian etiquette, and may well have angered Haman.
Nevertheless Haman refrained himself: and when he came home, he sent and called for his friends, and Zeresh his wife.Zeresh - This name is probably connected with the Zend zara, "gold." Compare the Greek "Chrysis."
And Haman told them of the glory of his riches, and the multitude of his children, and all the things wherein the king had promoted him, and how he had advanced him above the princes and servants of the king.The multitude of his children - Herodotus tells us that, next to prowess in arms, it was regarded as the greatest proof of manly excellence in Persia to be the father of many sons." Haman had ten sons (see the margin reference).
Haman said moreover, Yea, Esther the queen did let no man come in with the king unto the banquet that she had prepared but myself; and to morrow am I invited unto her also with the king.
Yet all this availeth me nothing, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king's gate.
Then said Zeresh his wife and all his friends unto him, Let a gallows be made of fifty cubits high, and to morrow speak thou unto the king that Mordecai may be hanged thereon: then go thou in merrily with the king unto the banquet. And the thing pleased Haman; and he caused the gallows to be made.A gallows, in the ordinary sense, is scarcely intended, since hanging was not a Persian punishment. The intention, no doubt, was to crucify (see the Esther 2:23 note) or impale Mordecai; and the pale or cross was to be 75 feet high, to make the punishment more conspicuous.
Speak thou unto the king ... - Requests for leave to put persons to death were often made to Persian kings by their near relatives, but only rarely by others.