Esther, CHAPTER 5
[Now on the third day, Esther put on her royal garments and stood in the inner courtyard, looking toward the royal palace, while the king was seated on his royal throne in the audience chamber, facing the palace doorway.
When he saw Queen Esther standing in the courtyard, she won his favor and he extended toward her the golden scepter he held. She came up to him, and touched the top of the scepter.]
On the third day, ending her prayers, she took off her prayer garments and arrayed herself in her splendid attire.
In making her appearance, after invoking the all-seeing God and savior, she took with her two maids;
on the one she leaned gently for support,
while the other followed her, bearing her train.
She glowed with perfect beauty and her face was as joyous as it was lovely, though her heart was pounding with fear.
She passed through all the portals till she stood before the king, who was seated on his royal throne, clothed in full robes of state, and covered with gold and precious stones, so that he inspired great awe.
As he looked up in extreme anger, his features fiery and majestic, the queen staggered, turned pale and fainted, collapsing against the maid in front of her.
But God changed the king’s anger to gentleness. In great anxiety he sprang from his throne, held her in his arms until she recovered, and comforted her with reassuring words.
“What is it, Esther?” he said to her. “I am your brother. Take courage!
You shall not die; this order of ours applies only to our subjects.
Raising the golden scepter, he touched her neck with it, embraced her, and said, “Speak to me.”
She replied: “I saw you, my lord, as an angel of God, and my heart was shaken by fear of your majesty.
For you are awesome, my lord, though your countenance is full of mercy.”
As she said this, she fainted.
The king was shaken and all his attendants tried to revive her.
Then the king said to her, “What is it, Queen Esther? What is your request? Even if it is half of my kingdom, it shall be granted you.”
Esther replied, “If it please your majesty, come today with Haman to a banquet I have prepared.”
The king ordered, “Have Haman make haste to fulfill the wish of Esther.”
First Banquet of Esther.
So the king went with Haman to the banquet Esther had prepared.
During the drinking of the wine, the king said to Esther, “Whatever you ask for shall be granted, and whatever request you make shall be honored, even if it is for half my kingdom.”
Esther replied: “This is my petition and request:
if I have found favor with the king and if it pleases your majesty to grant my petition and honor my request, let the king come with Haman tomorrow to a banquet I will prepare; and tomorrow I will do as the king asks.”
Haman’s Plot Against Mordecai.
That day Haman left happy and in good spirits. But when he saw that Mordecai at the royal gate did not rise, and showed no fear of him, he was filled with anger toward him.
Haman restrained himself, however, and went home, where he summoned his friends and his wife Zeresh.
He recounted the greatness of his riches, the large number of his sons, and how the king had promoted him and placed him above the officials and royal servants.
“Moreover,” Haman added, “Queen Esther invited no one but me to come with the king to the banquet she prepared; again tomorrow I am to be her guest with the king.
Yet none of this satisfies me as long as I continue to see the Jew Mordecai sitting at the royal gate.”
His wife Zeresh and all his friends said to him, “Have a stake set up, fifty cubits in height, and in the morning ask the king to have Mordecai impaled on it. Then go to the banquet with the king in good spirits.” This suggestion pleased Haman, and he had the stake erected.