If you were to name the “Top Ten Egotists of All Time,” whom would you include? One such list features Billy the Kid, one of the most lethal men in the Wild West, and John Wilkes Booth, the stage actor who shot President Abraham Lincoln in an effort to become a “hero” in the eyes of the South.
If such a list had been created in Esther’s time, Haman’s name certainly would have appeared near the top. In today’s passage, the point of view in the narrative suddenly changes. We find ourselves viewing life through Haman’s eyes, and his mind isn’t a particularly pleasant place to be.
Haman left Esther’s first banquet “happy and in high spirits” (v. 9). But as soon as he saw Mordecai at the king’s gate and Mordecai refused to show him honor, Haman was filled with rage. What an abrupt and drastic shift of mood!
When Haman got home and gathered an audience, he launched into a prideful rant—boasting about his wealth, his progeny, and the honors he had received from the king. Ironically, the pinnacle of his tirade was Queen Esther’s invitation to her banquets. However, none of this would give Haman any satisfaction, as long as Mordecai the Jew was sitting at the king’s gate.
To deal with his anger, Haman followed the advice of his wife and friends and plotted a vastly disproportionate revenge—a 75-foot tall gallows on which to have Mordecai hanged. Haman’s pride was only matched by his foolishness. Unfortunately, these character flaws often go hand-in-hand. Pride can drive people to do dastardly things.
>> It’s time to examine our own hearts! If you struggle with arrogance, ask God to reveal your own areas of conceit or self-absorption. Consider the situations that might trigger these traits. How do you allow other people to push your buttons or poke your pride?
The story of Haman in today’s reading is a sobering reminder of the gravity of the sin of pride. We all are guilty of it! But we can rejoice in the redemptive power of Christ’s sacrifice that set us free of the guilt of sin and death.