Esther Plans a Banquet
1 On the third day [of the fast] Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the king’s palace opposite his [throne] room. The king was sitting on his royal throne, facing the [main] entrance of the palace.2 When the king saw Esther the queen standing in the court, she found favor in his sight; and the king extended to her the golden scepter which was in his hand. So Esther approached and touched the top of the scepter.3 Then the king said to her, “What is troubling you, Queen Esther? What is your request? It shall be given to you, #This was probably a common expression of great generosity, rather than a literal offer.up to half of the kingdom.”4 Esther said, “If it pleases the king, may the king and Haman come this day to the banquet that I have prepared for him.”
5 Then the king said, “Bring Haman quickly so that we may do as Esther says.” So the king and Haman came to the banquet which Esther had prepared.6 As they drank their wine at the banquet, the king said to Esther, “What is your #Having been sumptuously entertained at the banquet, the king was now obligated by tradition to grant Esther something better in return.petition? It shall be granted to you. And what is your request? Even to half of the kingdom it shall be done.”7 Then Esther replied, “My petition and my request is this:8 if I have found favor in the sight of the king, and if it pleases the king to grant my petition and to do as I request, may the king and Haman come to the banquet that I will prepare for them; and tomorrow I will do as the king says [and express my request].”
9 Haman went away that day joyful and in good spirits. But when he saw Mordecai at the king’s gate refusing to stand up or show fear before him, he was filled with rage toward Mordecai.10 Nevertheless, Haman controlled himself and went home. There he sent for his friends and his wife Zeresh.11 Then Haman recounted to them the glory of his riches, the large number of his sons, and every instance in which the king had magnified him and how he had promoted him over the officials and servants of the king.12 Haman also said, “Even Queen Esther let no one but me come with the king to the banquet she had prepared; and tomorrow also I am invited by her [together] with the king.13 Yet all of this does not satisfy me as long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king’s gate.”14 Then his wife Zeresh and all his friends said to him, “Have a gallows #I.e. about seventy-five feet. This may instead have been a pole or spike for impalement.fifty cubits high made, and in the morning ask the king to have Mordecai hanged on it; then go joyfully to the banquet with the king.” And the advice pleased Haman, so he had the gallows made.