And all the king's servants, that were in the king's gate, bowed, and reverenced Haman: for the king had so commanded concerning him…
Haman was not allowed to enjoy his high and ill-gotten position without trouble. Almost at the outset it brought him an annoyance which led to tragical results. In connection with this check to the triumph of his course, notice -
I. THAT A REAL AND MARKED CONTRAST EXISTS BETWEEN THOSE WHO "FEAR GOD" AND THOSE WHO "LOVE THE PRAISE OF MEN." The servants who "sat in the king's gate" readily obeyed the command that they should do homage to the favourite - all except one. Mordecai stood erect) with no fear or reverence in his look or attitude, when Haman passed in and out of the palace. It was a sight worth seeing) that of this man, too noble to bend to the world's idol, before which all others stooped in slavish adulation. Between Mordecai and his companions in office there was an evident gulf.
II. THAT CONDUCT WHICH CONTRASTS WITH THEIR OWN OFTEN EXCITES AN INQUIRING CURIOSITY IN THE WORLDLY. His fellow-servants at once noticed Mordecai's singularity. They daily questioned and expostulated with him, but "he hearkened not unto them." In silence he listened, and still disobeyed the king's command. Sincere inquiry is to be encouraged, and kindly met; but a prying curiosity into the affairs of others is unmanly, and to be reprobated. "Busy-bodies" in the Church were duly noted by Sts. Paul and Peter (2 Thessalonians 3:11; 1 Peter 4:15).
III. THAT CONTRASTS OF BEHAVIOUR WHICH SEEM TO REBUKE EASILY AROUSE THE SPIRIT OF MALEVOLENCE. Overcome by the importunity of his companions, or perceiving that his continued silence was regarded by them as an indication of his being afraid to speak out, Mordecai at length declared that he was a Jew, and gave that as a reason why he could not abase himself, as they did, before Haman. This announcement awakened in their minds a deeper and more evil curiosity. Their pride was wounded by the Jew's implied claim of superiority. How would it go with him if Haman were told of his obstinacy and its reason? So they told Haman. It was mean and wicked; but they were hurt, and they no doubt expected that the all-powerful favourite would soon compel the Jew to a behaviour in harmony with their own. Small minds, that bend before every breeze of authority or fashion, readily become ungenerous, and conceive malice towards those who are stronger than themselves in principle or self-respect (1 Peter 2:1-3).
IV. THAT IT TAKES LITTLE TO MAR THE ENJOYMENT OF A FALSE GREATNESS. The sight of Mordecai standing upright amongst the prostrate attendants of the palace filled Haman with a fierce and vindictive wrath. True greatness is magnanimous. It is above resenting little affronts, or jealously exacting the signs of outward respect. It does not rest on the humiliation of others. But Haman's glory was tarnished, and his happiness soured, by the stubbornness of one man who occupied a lowly position compared with that of the favourite. Mordecai was the fly in the ointment of his pride.
V. THAT A FALSE GREATNESS CONTAINS WITHIN ITSELF THE CAUSES OF TROUBLE AND DANGER. It is necessarily suspicious and exacting. Doubt and fear are ever springing up in its path. It imagines affronts when none are intended, and magnifies small annoyances into hostile designs. It is thus often driven into passions and crimes which endanger its existence. All evil ambitions possess in the heart of them the seeds of their own punishment. God vindicates himself in the natural working of human vanities. Lessons: -
1. Hate every false way, however alluring. Beware of its deceitful promises.
2. Cultivate a generous spirit. Show respect to rights of others. Avoid humiliating those who are dependent on you, or below you in social rank.
3. Make God your law-giver and guide, and Jesus your example and trust. - D.
Parallel VersesKJV: And all the king's servants, that were in the king's gate, bowed, and reverenced Haman: for the king had so commanded concerning him. But Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence.