As Haman walked back to his abode, head covered and red with humiliation, he kept wondering to himself: How the heck did this happen? How could I have been so embarrassed today? I should have been honoured in the most extravagant of ceremonies. How???
… It had all started when he found himself in the courtyard of King Ahasuerus early that morning, having inspected the work done on a seventy-five foot high gallows built for the Jew he despised so much. With the gallows completed, his plan was to inform the king of his desire to see his enemy hanged on it.
“How that man Mordecai annoys me!” he said to himself as he paced around the courtyard, waiting for the servants he had seen to inform the king of his arrival. “How dare he refuse to bow down to me? I mean, me – Haman, son of Hammedatha! Look at the position the king has given me – a position above all the princes that are with him. It is a command given by him that all his servants must bow and pay homage to me. But he refuses to! How despicable!”
“Honestly, the thought of him alone makes me burn with fury, not to mention the sight of him. Ugh, even with the knowledge that he and his people are going to be wiped out soon, I’m so livid whenever I see him at that gate, totally indifferent towards me. Not even an attempt to stand up and greet me. The disrespectful fool!”
“But I’m so grateful for my sweetheart Zeresh and all my friends. We had a great time last night. Oh yeah, a real wonderful time! It was so awesome telling the guys about the riches I have, my many sons, and how important I am because of the position the king gave me. Then the reason I’m here: that advice on the gallows. Can’t wait to bring my request to the king…”
A servant entered the courtyard. Bowing respectfully, he said, “Sir, the king will see you now.”
Snapping out of his monologue, he nodded curtly and brushed by the servant brusquely into the king’s bed-chamber, where he bowed and said, “Your Majesty!”
King Ahasuerus sat up and nodded. “Ah, yes. Haman, it is good that you are here. I’m in need of a little bit of advice.”
“Speak, your Majesty. I am listening,” Haman responded.
“Well, there is someone I would like to honour, but I don’t know exactly what to do for the fellow. Since you happen to be around, I thought you’d give the best suggestion. What do I do for the person I want to honour?” the king asked.
Haman’s face maintained its posture, but within he was ecstatic with glee and delight.
Oh my! This must be my lucky day! The king wants to honour me! He may not have said it out loud, but I just know it is me. There certainly is nobody as deserving of royal honour as I am, he thought to himself, whilst brainstorming of a good way to be honoured.
A minute or two later, with his chest puffed out, he announced, “For the one you wish to honour, your Majesty, let them bring royal attire which the king himself has worn and a horse on which the king himself has ridden – one bearing the royal insignia! Then let this clothing and this horse be given to one of the king’s noble officials. Let him then clothe the one whom the king wishes to honour, and let him lead him about through the plaza of the city on the horse, calling before him, ‘So shall it be done to the man whom the king wishes to honour!’”
The king sat back, seemingly deep in thought about what had been suggested. Haman, meanwhile, stood there, feeling very proud of himself. That is certainly the sort of honour I deserve. I know he’ll approve, then we can get it done and I’ll get him to have that foolish Jew hanged.
“Very well then! Your suggestion is what I’ll carry out,” the king said.
Haman felt his heart jump for joy. OH YES!! Bring on the parade!
“Get the attire and the horse ready, just like you’ve mentioned…” the king started.
Haman’s joy slightly dissuaded with that. Get the attire and the horse ready??
“… and everything you mentioned should be done for the one I want honoured, have it done to Mordecai, the Jew at the gate. Make sure you don’t leave anything out!”
Haman was shocked and stunned. Although he couldn’t let his emotions be apparent to the king, his mind was swirling. I can’t believe this! This honour should be mine! I should be the one to be dressed in the king’s attire and placed on his horse and paraded through town, not that Jew! And he wants me to parade the moron around too!
However, there was no way he could protest the king’s orders. It would be foolish to fight against his decision, anyway; he had chosen Mordecai to be honoured. So he quickly mumbled acknowledgement and left the bed-chamber, going to get the attire and horse ready.
When all was set, he approached the man he passionately despised and told him about the king’s order. The feeling of agony in his heart as he did this was something he could not describe. As he handed the royal attire to Mordecai, he just wanted to scream in frustration: “THIS IS NOT FAIR!!”
And when they made the trip around town, with Haman constantly announcing through gritted teeth, “So shall it be done to the man whom the king wishes to honour!”, each proclamation was a heavy blow to his already-fractured ego. Mordecai, though, was hardly enthused by the treatment he was receiving.
When it was all over, Haman took his nemesis back to the palace, where he resumed his normal duties. He then rushed back home, weighted down by shame and embarrassment, unaware that it was only the beginning of his impending downfall…
Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.