Esther sees the king, her fear that he won’t see her is unfounded, he advances the sceptre. She invites Haman and the king to banquets on two successive nights. I expected her to raise the Jewish issue straight away, but she’s got a crafty plan. She’s a politician, Esther.
Is it too post modern to view her as a feminist hero? Certainly there are lots of feats in Esther, and they have their own story to tell. Commentators note that this is Esther’s feast, in contrast to the Kings feast which was Vashti’s downfall. Esther has taken control.
After the first Haman sees Mordecai and is all the more enraged at his non regard because he has been favored by Esther’s banquet. He thinks his stocks are ever on the rise because of the exclusive King/Queen time.
He is persuaded by his family to kill Mordecai more spectacularly than the rest of the Jews, on an impaling stick as big as his ego. A 75 foot pole is set up for the purpose.
Haman is built up to get the most spectacular schadenfreude in the Bible. You will almost feel sorry for how his fate will turn over the next few chapters. Unless that is, you forget he was planning arbitrary genocide.
Esther was almost fully assimilated into Persian culture. But the pull of her ethnicity and her god are stronger. Once you believe God is behind history its hard, in the crunch, to unbelieve.