Expositor's Dictionary of Texts
On that night could not the king sleep, and he commanded to bring the book of records of the chronicles; and they were read before the king.An Ever-watchful Providence
'Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown,' and it is small wonder that the master of one hundred and twenty-seven provinces, stretching from Ethiopia to India, should have often been distracted by the cares of his mighty empire and so have his sleep driven from him.
I. But we may read these words in another way, and then the simple statement will convey a pregnant and marvellous truth. Read it in the light of its far-reaching results and it utters the great truth of Divine Providence. On that sleepless night hung the very existence of that people 'of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came'. That sleepless night was the cause of their preservation from decimation. Mordecai and Esther derived their moral strength and heroic patriotism from faith in and devotion to God. In a very real sense the atmosphere of the book breathes of God.
II. Some write over events like these the word 'chance' or 'accident,' and think that term covers the whole. What is chance? It is a word we use to hide our ignorance. There can be no such thing as chance from the standpoint of our religion. Our Master has taught us, in words we cannot forget, 'that even the very hairs of our head are numbered. So minute is the Divine care and interest in His children. The teaching of science points to the elimination of chance as a factor in life. We Christians believe in a Divine and sleepless Providence watching over our world, our lives, and so we cry with triumphant joy, 'All things work together for good to them that love God'. If the choice lies between inexorable, unconscious force and a supreme, personal, directing God, I, for my part, elect to believe in God, supreme, all-wise, all-watchful, all-loving.
III. Now, consider how this Divine Providence is seen working. It is seen working by ordinary, everyday means in which there is no trace of the miraculous, and this meets the great objection brought in the name of science against our teaching of Providence. It shows us Providence working by the means and methods of the everyday occurrences of life. We are apt to look for the working of Divine Providence in the catastrophes of history, not in its progress: this book shows the working of the ordinary affairs of life. This is what we mean, therefore, by Divine Providence—the affairs of men and nations overruled and ordered for a definite, wise, and benevolent purpose.
—H. Foster Pegg, Church Family, Newspaper, vol. xv., 1908, p. 414.
References.—VI. 1.—H. Melvill, Sermons, vol. i. p. 116. VI. 1-14.—A. D. Davidson, Lectures on Esther, p. 213. VI.—A. Raleigh, The Book of Esther, p. 134. VII. 1-10.—A. D. Davidson, Lectures on Esther, p. 236. VII. 2, 3.—J. M. Neale, Sermons on the Blessed Sacrament, p. 92. VII.—A. Raleigh, The Book of Esther, p. 155. VIII. 1-7.—Ibid. p. 180. VIII. 1-14.—A. D. Davidson, Lectures on Esther, p. 257. VIII. 6.—A. P. Stanley, Sermons on Special Occasions, p. 98. VIII. 7; IX.—A. Raleigh, The Book of Esther, p. 205. VIII. 15-17; IX. 1-19.—A. D. Davidson, Lectures on Esther, p. 278. IX. 1.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xx. No. 1201. IX. 20-32; XL 3.—A. D. Davidson, Lectures on Esther, p. 299. IX.-XI.—A. Raleigh, The Book of Esther, p. 231. X. 3.—C. Parsons Reichel, Sermons, p. 46.
And it was found written, that Mordecai had told of Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king's chamberlains, the keepers of the door, who sought to lay hand on the king Ahasuerus.
And the king said, What honour and dignity hath been done to Mordecai for this? Then said the king's servants that ministered unto him, There is nothing done for him.
And the king said, Who is in the court? Now Haman was come into the outward court of the king's house, to speak unto the king to hang Mordecai on the gallows that he had prepared for him.
And the king's servants said unto him, Behold, Haman standeth in the court. And the king said, Let him come in.
So Haman came in. And the king said unto him, What shall be done unto the man whom the king delighteth to honour? Now Haman thought in his heart, To whom would the king delight to do honour more than to myself?
And Haman answered the king, For the man whom the king delighteth to honour,
Let the royal apparel be brought which the king useth to wear, and the horse that the king rideth upon, and the crown royal which is set upon his head:
And let this apparel and horse be delivered to the hand of one of the king's most noble princes, that they may array the man withal whom the king delighteth to honour, and bring him on horseback through the street of the city, and proclaim before him, Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delighteth to honour.
Then the king said to Haman, Make haste, and take the apparel and the horse, as thou hast said, and do even so to Mordecai the Jew, that sitteth at the king's gate: let nothing fail of all that thou hast spoken.
Then took Haman the apparel and the horse, and arrayed Mordecai, and brought him on horseback through the street of the city, and proclaimed before him, Thus shall it be done unto the man whom the king delighteth to honour.
And Mordecai came again to the king's gate. But Haman hasted to his house mourning, and having his head covered.
And Haman told Zeresh his wife and all his friends every thing that had befallen him. Then said his wise men and Zeresh his wife unto him, If Mordecai be of the seed of the Jews, before whom thou hast begun to fall, thou shalt not prevail against him, but shalt surely fall before him.
And while they were yet talking with him, came the king's chamberlains, and hasted to bring Haman unto the banquet that Esther had prepared.