Sleepless in Susa


By Pastor Roger Eng, October 31, 2021

TITLE: Sleepless in Susa (Esther 6)

  1. The of Xerxes (6:1-5)

Esther 6:1 (NLT), That night the king had trouble sleeping, so he ordered an attendant to bring the book of the history of his reign so it could be read to him. 2 In those records he discovered an account of how Mordecai had exposed the plot of Bigthana and Teresh, two of the eunuchs who guarded the door to the king’s private quarters. They had plotted to assassinate King Xerxes. 3 “What reward or recognition did we ever give Mordecai for this?” the king asked. His attendants replied, “Nothing has been done for him.” 4 “Who is that in the outer court?” the king inquired. As it happened, Haman had just arrived in the outer court of the palace to ask the king to impale Mordecai on the pole he had prepared.

• “As it happened” is an interesting phrase. “As it happened” the sleepless king asks for the records. “As it happened” he reads the text how Mordecai saved his life five years ago. “As it happened” he discovered nothing was done to recognize him. “As it happened” Haman is the first one to see the king in the morning. Is all this a coincidence?

• Yogi Berra, “That’s too coincidental to be a coincidence.”

• The Greek version of the Old Testament (the LXX) says, “And the Lord removed the sleep from the king.” God’s providence is seen again. He is the invisible hero in Esther, and given the central place in the story – the turning point.

  1. The of Mordecai (6:6-12a)

Esther 6:6 (NLT), So Haman came in, and the king said, “What should I do to honor a man who truly pleases me?” Haman thought to himself, “Whom would the king wish to honor more than me?” 7 So he replied, “If the king wishes to honor someone, 8 he should bring out one of the king’s own royal robes, as well as a horse that the king himself has ridden—one with a royal emblem on its head. 9 Let the robes and the horse be handed over to one of the king’s most noble officials. And let him see that the man whom the king wishes to honor is dressed in the king’s robes and led through the city square on the king’s horse. Have the official shout as they go, ‘This is what the king does for someone he wishes to honor!’”

Esther 6:10 (NLT), “Excellent!” the king said to Haman. “Quick! Take the robes and my horse, and do just as you have said for Mordecai the Jew, who sits at the gate of the palace. Leave out nothing you have suggested!” 11 So Haman took the robes and put them on Mordecai, placed him on the king’s own horse, and led him through the city square, shouting, “This is what the king does for someone he wishes to honor!” 12 Afterward Mordecai returned to the palace gate…

• Painting: The Triumph of Mordecai by Pieter Lastman, 1624

• In the last chapter of Esther, Mordecai was wearing ashes on his head and wearing burlap – dramatizing the king’s decree to exterminate the Jews. • Here, Mordecai is high up on the king’s horse – dramatizing a king’s coronation – for HIM!

• Riding the king’s horse (a symbol of victory).

• Wearing the king’s robe (a symbol of nobility/favor).

  1. The of Haman (6:12b-14)

Esther 6:12b (NLT), … but Haman hurried home dejected and completely humiliated. When Haman told his wife, Zeresh, and all his friends what had happened, his wise advisers and his wife said, “Since Mordecai—this man who has humiliated you—is of Jewish birth, you will never succeed in your plans against him. It will be fatal to continue opposing him.” 14 While they were still talking, the king’s eunuchs arrived and quickly took Haman to the banquet Esther had prepared.

• The Jewish people are protected by God’s ancient promise to Abraham in Genesis 12:3, “I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt.”

• God doesn’t just do justice, but poetic justice.

• Haman wanted to publically humiliate Mordecai on a 75’ pole. Instead, Haman takes the role of a servant, and is publically praising Mordecai high up on the king’s horse.


  1. God never our worship and work for Him.

• Hebrews 6:10, “For God is not unjust. He will not forget how hard you have worked for him and how you have shown your love to him by caring for other believers, as you still do.”

  1. God the proud but gives grace to the humble. (James 4:6)

• James 4:6 is perfectly illustrated in this story. Haman is a case study in pride.

• Matthew 23:12, “But those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

• “As long as you are proud, you cannot know God.” - C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

  1. God’s nudges are His significant turning points.

• Romans 13:11b-12 (NLT), “Wake up, for our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12 The night is almost gone; the day of salvation will soon be here. So remove your dark deeds like dirty clothes, and put on the shining armor of right living.”

• Karen Jobes, “Our God is so great, so powerful, that he can work without miracles through ordinary events of billions of human lives through millennia of time to accomplish his eternal purposes and ancient promises. God delivered an entire race of people in Persia because the king had a sleepless night. Because a man would not bow to his superior, because a woman found herself taken to the bedroom of a ruthless man for a night of pleasure. How inscrutable are the ways of the Lord.”

• Pay attention to God’s insignificant “nudges.” They may be turning points in your life.