1On the third day Esther put her royal robes on. She stood in the inner courtyard of the palace. It was in front of the king's hall. The king was sitting on his royal throne in the hall. He was facing the entrance.2He saw Queen Esther standing in the courtyard. He was pleased with her. So he reached out toward her the gold rod that was in his hand. Then Esther approached him. She touched the tip of the rod.3The king asked, “What is it, Queen Esther? What do you want? I'll give it to you. I'll even give you up to half of my kingdom.”4Esther replied, “King Xerxes, if it pleases you, come to a big dinner today. I've prepared it for you. Please have Haman come with you.”5“Bring Haman at once,” the king said to his servants. “Then we'll do what Esther asks.” So the king and Haman went to the big dinner Esther had prepared.6As they were drinking wine, the king asked Esther the same question again. He said, “What do you want? I'll give it to you. What do you want me to do for you? I'll even give you up to half of my kingdom.”7Esther replied, “Here is what I want. Here is my appeal to you.8I hope you will show me your favor. I hope you will be pleased to give me what I want. And I hope you will be pleased to listen to my appeal. If you are, I'd like you and Haman to come tomorrow to the big dinner I'll prepare for you. Then I'll answer your question.”
Haman Brags About Being Invited to Esther's Dinner
9That day Haman was happy. So he left the palace in a good mood. But then he saw Mordecai at the palace gate. He noticed that Mordecai didn't stand up when he walked by. In fact, Mordecai didn't have any respect for him at all. So he burned with anger against him.10But Haman was able to control himself. He went on home. Haman called his friends and his wife Zeresh together.11He bragged to them about how rich he was. He talked about how many sons he had. He spoke about all of the ways the king had honored him. He bragged about how the king had given him a higher position than any of the other nobles and officials had.12“And that's not all!” Haman added. “I'm the only person Queen Esther invited to come with the king to the big dinner she gave. Now she has invited me along with the king tomorrow.13“But even all of that doesn't satisfy me. I won't be satisfied as long as I see that Jew Mordecai sitting at the palace gate.”14Haman's wife Zeresh and all of his friends spoke up. They said to him, “Get a pole. In the morning, ask the king to have Mordecai put to death. Have the pole stuck through his body. Set it up at a place where it will be 75 feet above the ground. Everyone will be able to see it there. Then go to the dinner with the king. Have a good time.” Haman was delighted with that suggestion. So he got the pole ready.