Ever met someone who only talks about themself? You stand there patiently listening as they drone on about all their accomplishments and wealth, never once asking about you. As they continue talking you hope it will end; your thoughts wander to that sock drawer you want to sort. I wonder if this is how Haman’s friends felt in Ester 5:9-13?
In this passage, Haman is very excited about the prestige he has acquired from the king. He calls his friends to his house (10). He then recounts to them “the glory of his riches, and the number of his sons, and every instance where the king had magnified him and how he had promoted him above the princes and servants of the king (11, NASB).” Then he tops all that by telling them, “Even Esther the queen let no one but me come with the king to the banquet which she had prepared; and tomorrow also I am invited by her with the king.”
Of course I could be wrong. Maybe his friends wanted to hear all this and share in his joy. When our friends have success, we should want to share that joy and celebrate it with them. But that joy is short lived for Haman because he is bitter about Mordecai not bowing to him. He tells his friends, “Yet all of this does not satisfy me every time I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king’s gate (13).”
Even with his position of power and all his wealth, Haman is not satisfied. At this point you would think his friends would tell him to count his blessings and forget about Mordecai. Instead, his wife and friends advise him, “Have a gallows fifty cubits high made and in the morning ask the king to have Mordecai hanged on it.” This makes me question Haman’s choice of friends. What kind of friends would advise you to use your power to kill someone who annoys you?
It’s easy to point a finger at Haman and say he should thank the Lord for all his blessings, but it’s also a warning to us that the things of this world will not satisfy; that bitterness can consume us. We should surround ourselves with wise friends who remind us of our blessings and to give grace as it has been given to us (Matthew 18:21-35). You can read on in Ester 6 about how well the advice of Haman’s friends works for him. I’ll give you a hint — it’s not good.
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