So the king and Haman came to banquet with Esther the queen.
Verse 1. - The king and Haman came to banquet (marg. drink). In Persian feasts the solid dishes were few, and the time was mainly passed in drinking and eating dessert (Herod., 1:133).
And the king said again unto Esther on the second day at the banquet of wine, What is thy petition, queen Esther? and it shall be granted thee: and what is thy request? and it shall be performed, even to the half of the kingdom.
Verse 2. - And the king said again. Esther had promised to let her real request be known at this banquet (Esther 5:8). The king therefore once more gives her the opportunity. On the second day. On the second occasion of being entertained by Esther.
Then Esther the queen answered and said, If I have found favour in thy sight, O king, and if it please the king, let my life be given me at my petition, and my people at my request:
Verse 3. - Let my life be given me, etc. First of all, I ask at the king's hands my own life, which is threatened (Esther 4:13); secondly, I ask the life of my people, in whose sentence it is that I am involved. Some rhetorical skill is shown in separating the two, so as to make them correspond to the two clauses of the king's address "What is thy petition?" and "What is thy request?"
For we are sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be slain, and to perish. But if we had been sold for bondmen and bondwomen, I had held my tongue, although the enemy could not countervail the king's damage.
Verse 4. - For we are sold, I and my people. Haman has paid our price, has given ten thousand talents for us, and you, O king, have sold us to him. The reproach is covert, but clearly contained in the words; and so the king must have understood Esther. To be destroyed, to be slain, and to perish. The use of three synonyms for one and the same thing is not mere verbiage, but very expressive. "We are sold, all of us, to be overwhelmed in one universal, promiscuous, unsparing destruction." Although the enemy could not countervail the king's damage. "Although, even in that case, the enemy (Haman) could not (by the payment that he has made) compensate the king for the damage that he would suffer by losing so many subjects." So Gesenius, Rambach, Dathe, and others. But it is simpler, and Perhaps better, to understand the passage as Bertheau does: "for the enemy (Haman) is not worthy to vex the king," or "is not worth vexing the king about."
Then the king Ahasuerus answered and said unto Esther the queen, Who is he, and where is he, that durst presume in his heart to do so?
Verse 5. - Who is he? Ahasuerus asks the question to "make sure," as we say - not that he could really be in any doubt. That durst presume. Rather, "that hath presumed" (ὅστις ἐτόλμησε. - LXX.).
And Esther said, The adversary and enemy is this wicked Haman. Then Haman was afraid before the king and the queen.
Verse 6. - The adversary and enemy. Esther adds a second term of reproach - "enemy" - stronger than the one which she had used before (ver. 4), to stir up the king to greater anger.
And the king arising from the banquet of wine in his wrath went into the palace garden: and Haman stood up to make request for his life to Esther the queen; for he saw that there was evil determined against him by the king.
Verses 7, 8. - Ahasuerus rose up from the banquet "in his wrath" - he could no longer remain quiet - and entered the palace garden, on which Esther's apartment probably looked; partly, perhaps, as Bertheau says, to cool the first heat of his fury in the open air; partly to give himself time for reflection, and consider what he would do. Haman also rose from table, and standing near her, began pleading with Esther for his life, which he felt that she, and she alone, could save. Evil, he saw, was determined against him by the king; but a woman's heart might be more tender, and he might perhaps move the queen to allay the storm that she had raised, and induce the king to spare him. He therefore pleaded with all the earnestness in his power, and at last threw himself forward on the couch whore Esther reclined, seeking perhaps to grasp her feet or her garments, as is usual with suppliants in the East. At this crisis the king returned, and misconstruing Haman's action, or pretending to do so, exclaimed aloud, "Will he even force the queen with me in the house?" The terrible charge brought matters to a conclusion - it was taken as a call on the attendants to seize the culprit and execute him. They covered his face, apparently, as that of a condemned man not worthy any more to see the light, according to a practice common among, the Romans (Liv., 1:26; Cic. 'pro Rabir., 4:13) and the Macedonians (Q. Curt., 'Vit. Alex.,' vi. 8), but not elsewhere mentioned as Persian.
Then the king returned out of the palace garden into the place of the banquet of wine; and Haman was fallen upon the bed whereon Esther was. Then said the king, Will he force the queen also before me in the house? As the word went out of the king's mouth, they covered Haman's face.
And Harbonah, one of the chamberlains, said before the king, Behold also, the gallows fifty cubits high, which Haman had made for Mordecai, who had spoken good for the king, standeth in the house of Haman. Then the king said, Hang him thereon.
Verse 9. - Harbonah, one of the chamberlains, said before the king. Rather, "Harbonah, one of the chamberlains (eunuchs) that served before the king, said." The "eunuchs that served before the king" were those of the highest grade, as appears from Esther 1:10. Harbonah was one of them. Who had spoken good for the king. Or, "who spake good." The reference is to his detection of the conspiracy (Esther 2:22). In the house of Haman. This had not been mentioned previously. It adds one touch of extra barbarity to Haman's character, that he should have intended the execution to take place within the walls of his own house.
So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then was the king's wrath pacified.