In the book of Esther, I can’t help but take notice of Haman’s wholehearted narcissism I mean, the guy really does love himself, his accomplishments, and as a reader…we just know that something terrible is going to happen to this guy. Let me give you two instances in which we see Haman enjoying…well…himself. After coming home from the banquet with Esther, Haman gathers his family and friends together to share his experience with them:
5:10b Then Haman gathered together his friends and Zeresh, his wife, 11 and boasted to them about his great wealth and his many children. He bragged about the honors the king had given him and how he had been promoted over all the other nobles and officials.12 Then Haman added, “And that’s not all! Queen Esther invited only me and the king himself to the banquet she prepared for us. And she has invited me to dine with her and the king again tomorrow!”
Of course, his experience is not as happy and as self-aggrandizing as it could have been because Haman saw Mordecai on the way home and his presence was enough to stir up hatred in Haman. Yet, Haman has another opportunity when the king asks him how to honor a person who deserves the king’s acknowledgment. Haman’s response is self focused.
6:6b Haman thought to himself, “Whom would the king wish to honor more than me?” 7 So he replied, “If the king wishes to honor someone, 8 he should bring out one of the king’s own royal robes, as well as a horse that the king himself has ridden—one with a royal emblem on its head. 9 Let the robes and the horse be handed over to one of the king’s most noble officials. And let him see that the man whom the king wishes to honor is dressed in the king’s robes and led through the city square on the king’s horse. Have the official shout as they go, ‘This is what the king does for someone he wishes to honor!’”
The person to be honored was Mordecai, and the person to carry out the honor was Haman. This was not the way Haman wanted to spend his time, to say the least! Hamas will meet his demise at the end of chapter 7, but what I noticed is that there is not much sympathy for Haman, both in the text of scripture and in my reaction to the story.
As I hear the story unfold, and Haman’s death by the very devise he set up to kill Mordecai, I hear scriptures that warn about “unrighteous gain” and “scheming” and “not being boastful” and the list goes on and on. While Mordecai is crying out to God and doing the right things quietly, without honor (until the King can’t sleep that one night), Haman is loud, boastful, and conniving. So, justice comes…and we the readers of the book are relived to some extent because we agree with the king that Mordecai deserves honor and Haman deserves punishment.
Esther calls Haman, “wicked Haman” as she names him as an adversary and enemy. The story leaves little doubt that Haman really did love himself to death. Sometimes it isn’t as blatant as in this story, but the Bible warns us against this type of self-focus, self-love, and self-aggrandizement. I long for the day that all Hamans are brought to justice and all the Mordecais are honored…but first let me make sure I have put to death he Haman-like attitudes in my life!
I want to share thoughts, insights, and scriptures that lead us in the direction of Christ.