Zeresh

She is mentioned three times in the Book of Esther. Zeresh was the wife of Haman, the Agagite, the “enemy of the Jews” because of his deep hatred for Mordecai, the Jew who refused to bow and pay homage to him like everyone else. When Haman’s joy at being invited by the Queen Esther to another banquet turned into indignation because Mordecai didn’t stand or tremble before him when he saw him at the king’s gate, he went home and called his friends and his wife to complain.

His wife and friends offered this advice, “Get ready a 75-foot-high gallows, and in the morning ask the king to let you hang Mordecai on it; and when this is done you can go on your merry way with the king to the banquet.” This pleased Haman and he ordered the gallows to be built.

Unfortunately for him, things go as he planned. When the king asked him for his advice on how to honor a man who pleased him, Haman, assuming that he was the man, suggested that the king, “Bring out some of the royal robes the king himself has worn, and the king’s own horse, and the royal crown, and instruct one of the king’s most noble princes to robe the man and to lead him through the streets on the king’s own horse, shouting before him, ‘This is the way the king honors those who truly please him!’”

Imagine his great shock and dismay when the king instructed him to, “Hurry and take these robes and my horse, and do just as you have said—to Mordecai the Jew, who works at the Chancellery. Follow every detail you have suggested.”

How humiliating for a proud man like Haman to be bestowing this great honor to his sworn enemy, Mordecai, the Jew whom he wanted to destroy along with his people. After this great spectacle, Mordecai returned to his job, but Haman hurried home utterly humiliated.  This is the same Haman whom all the king’s officials bowed before in deep reverence whenever he passed by as commanded by the king. One can only imagine what they and the ordinary people must have thought when they saw him leading Mordecai whom everyone knew refused to bow, thereby disobeying the king’s commandment, through the streets of the city, shouting, “This is the way the king honors those he delights in.”

As soon as he got home, he called his wife, Zeresh and his friends and told them everything that happened. They said to him, “If Mordecai is a Jew, you will never succeed in your plans against him; to continue to oppose him will be fatal.” In other words, they were telling him that he couldn’t continue to plot against the man whom the king himself honored. It would be futile and fatal for him to do so.

Unfortunately for Haman, when it was discovered that Queen Esther was a Jew and that it was her people whom he wanted to annihilate, the king was furious. When he realized that he was doomed, he fell before the queen after the king had left them. When the king saw that, he was enraged and exclaimed, “Will he even rape the queen right here in the palace, before my very eyes?”

The death veil was immediately placed over Haman’s face and when one of the king’s aides informed the king, “Sir, Haman has just ordered a 75-foot gallows constructed, to hang Mordecai, the man who saved the king from assassination! It stands in Haman’s courtyard,” the king’s immediately ordered, “Hang Haman on it.”

Haman was hanged on the very same gallows he had built for Mordecai. How did Zeresh feel, I wonder? And the worst was yet to come. Haman’s ten sons were killed by the Jews and then hanged on the gallows at the queen’s request. Why did she request the hanging? Haman’s sons were among those who fought against the Jews but they were defeated. Perhaps it was because Haman was a descendant of Agag who was the king of the Amalekites which were to have been utterly destroyed by King Saul but he failed to do that by spearing the king. Samuel, the prophet ended up killing Agag. Perhaps this was the reason for Haman’s animosity towards the Jews. Perhaps the hanging of Haman’s sons was to warn everyone of what would happen to them if they thought of harming the Jews. Hanging was shameful type of death.

What happened to Zeresh? There is no further mention of her. What a state she must have been in when she learned that her sons were killed and then hanged like their father. She ended up losing everything. Her husband, her sons and her home which was given to Esther by the king. Esther then appointed Mordecai over it.

Did Zeresh regret her advice to her husband? What about his wealth, his many children, and promotions by the king which he had boasted about to her and his friends? He ended up losing all of that because of his hatred for one man who refused to bow to anything or anyone except his God.

If Zeresh had known that she would have ended up a widow and motherless, she would not have ill advised her husband. His fate, though had already been sealed the day when he decided that he would wipe out an entire race of people. God would never have allowed His people to be destroyed by Haman, the enemy of His people. Unknowingly, Haman was fighting against God and he lost. And his widow is left with her grief and sorrow.

Sources: La Vista Church of Christ

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