Esther - Part 2


Speaker: Gavin Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 3 January 2016


Sermon synopsis: Esther chapter 3 - We see the introduction of the villain Haman, a racist and type of the Antichrist who seeks to destroy the Jews.

In the Book of Esther, Mordecai is always a picture of the Holy Spirit while Haman is also a type of the flesh – the sinful self-centred old nature.

Just as the Amalekites were the sworn enemies of Israel, and Haman the Amalekite the enemy of the Jews, so the sinful nature is the sworn enemy of the Spirit.

The conflict here between Haman and Mordecai is typical of the ongoing battle we experience as Christians – the conflict between flesh and Spirit. The battle is internal and unseen to others, but it is as real as the conflict we see here in the book of Esther.
- Download notes (2.94 MB, 1424 downloads)

- Download audio (8.85 MB, 1663 downloads)
- All sermons by Gavin Paynter

- All sermons on ESTHER

- All sermons on TYPOLOGY

- All sermons on BOOK STUDY

- All sermons in ENGLISH

The Book of Esther


Chapter 1 focussed on the invitation of the king. A king summons his wife to his banquet. She defiantly refuses to come and is subsequently banished from his presence. The banishment is irrevocable. A new replacement wife is sought.

We saw that these events are typical of Israel and the church.

But there is also a personal application for these types.

Chapter 2 is about the preparation for the king.

In Esther’s preparation and her eagerness to please the king, we saw some useful types regarding the preparation that we as believers go through for our heavenly king.


2:19 (NIV) When the virgins were assembled a second time, Mordecai was sitting at the king’s gate.

Sitting at the gate of an ancient city was a sign of influence and power 1.

Legal transactions were conducted there, 2 markets were held there 3 and kings held audiences there. 4

Daniel administered Babylon from the king’s gate. 5

1 Gen 19:1, 23:10, 34:20, Job 29:7, Prov 31:23 2 Deut 21:18-19; Josh 20:4; Ruth 4 3 2 Ki 7:1 4 Jer 38:7, 1 Ki 22:10, 2 Chron 32:6 5 Dan 2:49 (KJV & NASB footnote)


2:20 (NIV) But Esther had kept secret her family background and nationality just as Mordecai had told her to do, for she continued to follow Mordecai’s instructions as she had done when he was bringing her up.

Clearly there was a strong anti-Semitic sentiment in Persia, judging by Mordecai’s advice for Esther to keep her nationality a secret.

This also indicates Esther’s humility. Even though she is now queen, she still respects her former guardian and continues to heed his advice.

Louise Lombard as Esther in the 1999 TV film “The Bible: Esther”


Do you, like Esther, allow others to have an input into your life?

When you make major decisions in your life:

Do you refuse to take advice from anyone because you think you have ‘arrived’ and you know better than everyone else?

Prov 12:15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice. (ESV)


Do you choose your path based on advice from ungodly family, friends and professional counsellors?

Ps 1:1 Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly… (NKJV)

Ps 1:1 How happy is the man who does not follow the advice of the wicked… (Holman Christian Standard Bible)

Eve walked in “the counsel of the ungodly” and had to live with the consequences.


While Eve didn’t ask the serpent for advice, he gave it anyway. Many people offer advice you didn’t ask for and often that advice may be ungodly.

But always look at the lifestyle of the person who is offering advice.

I’m amazed at how people who are negative, depressed and whose lives are in a mess, are so free with advice to others as to how they should live. The proverb of Jesus’ day springs to mind, “Physician, heal yourself!” (Luke 4:23)

If you also want to get your life together, just listen to me.


Or perhaps you - like many young people - know so much that the older generation can teach you nothing? Do you, like Rehoboam, look to counsel only from your peers, or do you also heed those who are older and more experienced?

2 Chron 10:8 But he abandoned the counsel that the old men gave him, and took counsel with the young men who had grown up with him and stood before him… (ESV)

Needless to say, by ignoring good advice Rehoboam lost most of the kingdom he had inherited.

See NOTE 3


Or do you ask advice from those you trust spiritually?

Prov 19:20 Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future. (ESV)

Prov 13:10 By insolence comes nothing but strife, but with those who take advice is wisdom. (ESV)

Prov 11:14 Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counsellors there is safety. (ESV)


Do you consult the Lord?

Prov 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. (ESV)

You can get guidance from God:

by praying

James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. (ESV)


by reading Scripture

Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. (ESV)

Rom 15:4 For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction… (ESV)

2 Tim 3:16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness (ESV)


2:21 (NIV) During the time Mordecai was sitting at the king’s gate, Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king’s officers who guarded the doorway, became angry and conspired to assassinate King Xerxes. 1

1 Conspiracies inside the palace were ordinary occurrences in Persia. Xerxes was ultimately murdered by Artabanus, the captain of the guard, and Aspamitras, a chamberlain and eunuch. (Barnes’ Notes on the Bible)


2:22 (NIV) But Mordecai found out about the plot and told Queen Esther, who in turn reported it to the king, giving credit to Mordecai.

Again we see the nature of Esther’s character. Rather than taking the credit herself for exposing the plot, she humbly gives credit where credit is due.

By crediting Mordecai rather than highlighting her own role in exposing the assassination attempt, Esther is inadvertently setting in motion a course that will ensure the future delivery of her cousin from his enemy.

It was the recording of his act of loyalty to the king that was later used by God to thwart the attempted plan to execute Mordecai.


Note also that Mordecai spoke out against and exposed evil - and in so doing was instrumental in his own delivery from evil later. Do we speak out against evil when we see it?

Eph 5:11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. (NIV)

Psalm 94:16 Who will rise up for me against the wicked? Who will take a stand for me against evildoers? (NIV)

Remember that “all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” Or as Albert Einstein wrote as part of his tribute to Pablo Casals:

The world is in greater peril from those who tolerate or encourage evil than from those who actually commit it.


2:23 When the affair was investigated and found to be so, the men were both hanged on the gallows. And it was recorded in the book of the chronicles in the presence of the king.

Here again we have God’s providence at work which will later play out to save his people. So far we’ve noted that:

Queen Vashti falls out of favour.

Esther, a Jewess, is placed into a place of power where she will later be able to influence the king – this will save her people’s lives from the future genocide against the Jews planned by Haman.

Mordecai happens to be in the right place at the right time to grant him the king’s favour by thwarting an assassination plot – later the record of this will save Mordecai’s life by protecting him from Haman’s plot.


Definition of providence http://

the foreseeing care and guidance of God over the creatures of the earth.

God, especially when conceived as omnisciently directing the universe and the affairs of humankind with wise benevolence.

a manifestation of divine care or direction.

Providence is God working behind the scenes to work out his perfect plan despite circumstances which may initially appear to be thwarting his plan.


Providence is God’s intervention in the affairs of man within the confines of natural law to achieve his objectives.

The book of Esther: Nothing supernatural occurs, but what ultimately occurs in a miracle! 1

1 Daniel Schaeffer, in Dancing with a Shadow




Obvious while happening e.g. the miraculous healings that Jesus performed.

Providence is best seen in hindsight. We rarely see it while it is happening to us.

Cannot be explained.

Usually can be explained.

In chapters 1 and 2 we saw Esther rise from obscurity to become queen in the Medo-Persian Empire. Out of all the many women vying for the position, Esther was chosen by the king to become the queen.

The king is no longing moping over the loss of Vashti. Mordecai is in a position of prominence at the king’s gate. So Esther is happy, Mordecai is happy and the king is happy.

For about 5 years all is going well. But at this point our villain is introduced and the once rosy picture starts to change.


Israeli actress Hadar Ozeri as Esther in the 2010 Zola Levitt TV series “For such a time as this”

3:1-4 After these events, King Xerxes honoured Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, elevating him and giving him a seat of honour higher than that of all the other nobles.


All the royal officials at the king’s gate knelt down and paid honour to Haman, for the king had commanded this concerning him. But Mordecai would not kneel down or pay him honour.

Day after day they spoke to him but he refused to comply.

Then the royal officials at the king’s gate asked Mordecai:

Why do you disobey the king’s command?

Therefore they told Haman about it to see whether Mordecai’s behaviour would be tolerated, for he had told them he was a Jew.

Haman is called an ‘Agagite’, seemingly a reference to Agag, the earlier leader of the Amalekites. Josephus makes this connection writing, “Now there was one Haman… by birth an Amalekite…” 1 The Amalekites were the sworn enemies of Israel:

The Amalekites had attacked the Israelites when they left Egypt (Ex 17:8-16; 1 Sam 14:47-48) and extremely vulnerable.

Israel was to avenge this act (Deut 25:17-19).

When Saul attacked Amalek their king Agag was killed (1 Sam 15) .

Now 500 years later, the Amalekite Haman is again seen to be full of hatred for Jews.

1 Antiquities of the Jews - Book XI Ch 6 v5


Why wouldn’t Mordecai bow down to Haman? Was he just being stubborn or proud? Was this simply a refusal to show respect to one in authority or was he rejecting something more sinister?

The phrase “for he had told them he was a Jew” seems to indicate that his reason was related to his Jewishness. Josephus believed that it was not simple respect that was being requested, but a reverence similar to worship.

“… Haman… used to go in to the king; and the foreigners and Persians worshipped him, as Artaxerxes had commanded that such honour should be paid to him; but Mordecai was so wise, and so observant of his own country’s laws, that he would not worship the man.” 1

1 Antiquities of the Jews - Book XI Ch 6 v5


In the Book of Esther, Mordecai is always a picture of the Holy Spirit while Haman is a type of the flesh – the sinful self-centred old nature.

Just as the Amalekites were the sworn enemies of Israel, and Haman the Amalekite the enemy of the Jews, so the sinful nature is the enemy of the Spirit.

The conflict here between Haman and Mordecai is typical of the ongoing battle we experience as Christians – the conflict between flesh and Spirit.

The battle is internal and unseen to others, but it is as real as the conflict we see here in the book of Esther.

Mordecai is a type of the Holy Spirit who will not bow down and give any ground to Haman, the sinful nature.


3:5 When Haman saw that Mordecai would not kneel down or pay him honour, he was enraged.

Haman was enraged because Mordecai refused to pay him honour. It was not the fact that Mordecai was disobeying the king’s command. But we’ll see later, that when Haman reported to the king, he adjusts his story to imply that his main motivation was to uphold the king’s commands:

Esther 3:8 “There is a certain people … who do not obey the king’s laws…”

This is similar to what the religious leaders would do when they reported Jesus to Pilate. Their real reason for hating Jesus was fear of upsetting the Romans and losing their place of favour. 1 But they deliberately only give Pilate information that they think will upset the Romans. 2

1 John 11:48 “If we let him go on like this… the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.” 2 Luke 23:2 “… He opposes payment of taxes to Caesar and claims to be Christ, a king.”


Do you do the same?

Do you deliberately omit parts of a story which don’t support the desired response you are wanting to get?

Do you justify what you do because you are not telling outright lies, but in effect you only give selective information which is favourable to your cause?


3:6 Yet having learned who Mordecai’s people were, he scorned the idea of killing only Mordecai. Instead Haman looked for a way to destroy all Mordecai’s people, the Jews, throughout the whole kingdom of Xerxes.

Haman is a typical racist – He holds an entire race (the Jews) responsible because he dislikes one man’s (Mordecai’s) behaviour.

Do you do the same?

3:7 In the twelfth year of King Xerxes, in the first month, the month of Nisan, they cast the pur (that is, the lot) in the presence of Haman to select a day and month. And the lot fell on the twelfth month, the month of Adar.

These events happened in the twelfth year of King Xerxes. So this was fifth year of Esther being queen.

The lot fell on the twelfth month so again we see God’s providence at work. The date determined by casting of the lot gives the Jews almost a year to counteract Haman’s plot.

Being superstitious, Haman wanted the input and favour of his ‘gods’ in order to determine the exact month for his planned genocide of the Jews. He believed they would control the outcome of the casting of lots.

But clearly it wasn’t Haman’s false gods who were guiding the lot. It was the hand of the true God.

Prov 16:33 (NIV) The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD.


3:8-9 Then Haman said to King Xerxes:

There is a certain people dispersed and scattered among the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom whose customs are different from those of all other people and who do not obey the king’s laws; it is not in the king’s best interest to tolerate them.

If it pleases the king, let a decree be issued to destroy them, and I will put ten thousand talents of silver into the royal treasury for the men who carry out this business.

3:10 So the king took his signet ring from his finger and gave it to Haman … the enemy of the Jews.

Keep the money and do with the people as you please.

Haman simply refers to the Jews as “a certain people” and amazingly the king doesn’t ask for more details before endorsing their genocide.

Haman presents a case to the king for the genocide of an entire nation. And this because one Jew had annoyed him!

Haman uses words that appeal to the racist in the king.

Many Jews in captivity had not been absorbed into Persian culture and still kept their national identity. One of the charges Haman brings is that there is a people “whose customs are different from those of all other people”.

How often people, including some professing Christians judge others simply because they do things differently and have different customs.


Haman also appeals to fear by stating that these people “do not obey the king’s laws”.

At no time of course does he mention his personal vendetta with Mordecai. He creates a bogeyman by vilifying the Jews and then offers a solution to the supposed problem facing the kingdom. His tactics are the same as Hitler who also vilified the Jews and made them the scapegoat for all the woes of the Germans.

And again Haman’s solution is no different than the Nazi’s Final Solution for their “Jewish problem” – extermination. This similarity is not coincidental, the driving force behind all the types of the Antichrist is Satan and his aim and methods remain the same – destroy the Jews because they are God’s covenant people.


And because he is so big-hearted Haman offers to sponsor the operation to the tune of 10,000 talents of silver.

The Greek historian Herodotus recorded that the annual income of the Persian empire was 15,000 talents. So when Haman offers two-thirds of that amount – that is indeed a massive sum.

He possibly intended to raise the money from the plundered wealth of the targeted victims – again reminiscent of the way the Nazis plundered the European Jews’ wealth.


Racism is indefensible on biological grounds.

If any two people in the world are compared, the basic genetic differences between them is typically around 0.2% - even if they come from the same people group. 1

So-called ‘racial’ characteristics that many think are major differences (skin colour, eye shape, etc.) account for only 6% of this 0.2% variation, which amounts to a mere 0.012% difference genetically. In other words, the so-called ‘racial’ differences are absolutely trivial. 1

Recent IQ tests of people throughout the world have found that, with allowance for cultural differences, the IQ ranges of all existing races is extremely close. 2

1 “Creationists Link Evolution to Racism” Impact, Aug 2000, Coral Ridge Ministries 2 “Darwinism, Evolution, and Racism” - Dr. Jerry Bergman


Racism is also indefensible on Biblical grounds.

E.g. The Samaritans were foreign people that Assyria brought in to populate the Northern Kingdom of Israel (Samaria was the capital) after the native Israelites had been deported.

In Jesus’ day the term “Samaritan” was used as an insult (John 8:48).

John records that “Jews do not associate with Samaritans” (John 4:9).

Jesus was unwelcome at a certain Samaritan village because he was en route to the Jewish city of Jerusalem. In retaliation James and John want to call fire down from heaven to destroy them but Jesus rebukes them. (Luke 9:52-55).


Yet Luke in particular details Jesus dealings and positive comments about the Samaritans.

He relates how of the ten people healed from leprosy, only the Samaritan thanked Jesus and was commended accordingly (Luke 17:15-18).

He also records the parable of the “Good Samaritan”, a term which would have been considered somewhat of an oxymoron by the Jews.

Jesus took the time to witness to the Samaritan woman at the well. He stayed in the village of the despised Samaritans, evangelizing for two days (John 4:39-41).

He also nominated Samaria as an evangelical target for the apostles, after Jerusalem and Judea (Acts 1:8).


Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies…” (Matt 5:43-44)

Interestingly the Old Testament only tells us to “… love your neighbour as yourself” (Lev 19:8).

The people of Jesus’ day had added the “hate your enemy” part by redefining who their “neighbour” was. So they believed they could fulfil the command to “love your neighbour”, while still hating Samaritans and Romans, who after all were not their neighbours.

Some professing Christians do the same, claiming to love their neighbour but hating or mistreating people from different races and cultures.


This explains the last question in the following passage:

On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” He answered: ”‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’ ; and, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ ” “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.” But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbour?” (Luke 10:25-29)

How did Jesus answer this question?


In reply to the question “who is my neighbour?” Jesus tells the parable of the Good Samaritan, where the protagonist is the despised Samaritan (Luke 10). In summarizing the parable Jesus asks, “Which of these three do you think was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

So Jesus applied the command to “love your neighbour” to include people of a different race.


3:12 Then on the thirteenth day of the first month the royal secretaries were summoned. They wrote out in the script of each province and in the language of each people all Haman’s orders to the king’s satraps, the governors of the various provinces and the nobles of the various peoples. These were written in the name of King Xerxes himself and sealed with his own ring.

3:13-14 Dispatches were sent by couriers to all the king’s provinces with the order to destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews—young and old, women and little children—on a single day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar, and to plunder their goods. A copy of the text of the edict was to be issued as law in every province and made known to the people of every nationality so they would be ready for that day.

3:15 Spurred on by the king’s command, the couriers went out, and the edict was issued in the citadel of Susa. The king and Haman sat down to drink, but the city of Susa was bewildered.

Haman has just instigated the planned annihilation of thousands of innocent people because one man offended him, and the king has just approved the massacre of his subjects simply on the word of one man. While the city of Susa was bewildered, Haman and the king simply “sat down to drink” as if nothing of consequence had happened.

The decree called for the slaughter of an entire people group solely on the basis of their race.

Surely such a law would be unthinkable if the same thing had not happened again to the same people group within recent history?

The Final Solution during World War II was a plan to systematically exterminate the Jews. This policy, formulated at the Wannsee Conference in January 1942, culminated in the Holocaust, which saw the killing of two thirds of the Jewish population of Europe.


Reinhard Heydrich: the Nazi official who proposed extermination camps for executing enemies of the Nazis.

And tragically it will happen again. In a very sobering prophecy Jesus warns a future generation of Jews:

Matt 24:15-22 “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation… then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. For then there will be great distress, unequalled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equalled again. If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive…”

Haman is also a type of the coming Antichrist. Like Antiochus Epiphanies, Adolph Hitler and the Antichrist, the goal remains unchanged – killing Jews!

Esther 3:6 Haman looked for a way to destroy all Mordecai’s people, the Jews.


Two thirds of all Jews will be killed by the Antichrist. In Zechariah we are told that before the Lord returns in person to the Mount of Olives (Zech 14) that:

Zech 13:8 “In the whole land,” declares the LORD, “two–thirds will be struck down and perish; yet one–third will be left in it.

In 2012 the Jewish population worldwide was estimated at 13,746,100. 1

Two thirds of this is 9 million people. This figure surpasses both the casualty figures at the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD (1 million) and the Holocaust (6 million).

1 jsource/ Judaism/ jewpop.html


This is why Jesus said in Matt 24:21:

The remaining third of the Jews will turn to the true Messiah - Jesus Christ:

Zech 13:9 This third I will bring into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The LORD is our God.’


For then there will be great distress, unequalled from the beginning of the world until now – and never to be equalled again.

Haman is a type of the flesh – that sinful nature lurking within you which sometimes finds its way out.

The sinful nature (Haman) is responsible for a decree that ends in death. What is this typical of? This pictures the eternal decree by the king of heaven that:

… the soul that sins will die (Ezek 18:20 NASB).

Rom 6:23 The wages of sin is death…

Rom 7:5 For when we were controlled by the sinful nature, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in our bodies, so that we bore fruit for death.

Rom 8:13 For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live…


We see that “the city of Susa was bewildered” (Est 3:15) by the decree of annihilation.

Likewise to many the decree of God regarding the fate of unrepentant sinners leaves them bewildered. Surely their ‘good works’ will outweigh their ‘bad works’ and that will be enough?

Est 8:8 “… for no document written in the king’s name and sealed with his ring can be revoked”.

Like the Persian decree, the decree of death is irrevocable.

The entire Jewish race is condemned by this law.

God’s decree of death is also based on inheritance - we are born in sin.


So the first decree from the king was one of death with seemingly no way out.

But later we shall see a second decree of life that will offer hope to those affected by the first decree.

Rom 8:2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.

Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.



Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations are taken from the ESV:

Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations taken from the NIV:

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB:

New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission. (

PDF sermon