Narrative Lectionary Key Verse for Today
NL Daily Devotion for Friday, December 14, 2018
by Dr. Kimberly Leetch, Clergy Stuff
A war had been brewing between Mordecai (a Jew and uncle to Esther) and Haman (the king’s official, who was enraged by Mordecai’s unwillingness to bow before him). Haman had already tried to exterminate the Jews by genocide, but Esther had intervened and saved them all.
But Haman was not finished trying to discredit and destroy Mordecai. He plotted to have Mordecai hanged on the gallows for his insubordination. He didn’t know that Esther had already convinced the king that Mordecai should be honored for putting an end to an assassination plot by two of the king’s eunichs. When Haman came to ask for Mordecai’s death, the king asked him what should be done to honor the man most worthy of the king’s honor. Haman thought the king meant him, so he laid out a grand, glorious celebration. He didn’t realize the celebration would be for Mordecai.
Then Esther hosted a banquet for the king and Haman, at which she requested the man responsible for plotting her people’s genocide be terminated. The king agreed, and it was then revealed Haman was the man responsible. He was hanged on the very gallows he had built to hang Mordecai.
Treachery is a dangerous game. Deviousness requires patience, keeping track of your own lies, and keeping up many deceptions. If one piece of the puzzle falls, the entire treachery fails. A life of honesty, integrity, kindness, and justice is a much easier life to live in that regard. It requires little effort to tell the truth, and no effort to remember it. A virtuous life is not only good for humanity, but it is good for you, too.
Narrative Lectionary Daily Reading:
On that night the king could not sleep, and he gave orders to bring the book of records, the annals, and they were read to the king. It was found written how Mordecai had told about Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king’s eunuchs, who guarded the threshold, and who had conspired to assassinate King Ahasuerus. Then the king said, “What honor or distinction has been bestowed on Mordecai for this?” The king’s servants who attended him said, “Nothing has been done for him.”
The king said, “Who is in the court?” Now Haman had just entered the outer court of the king’s palace to speak to the king about having Mordecai hanged on the gallows that he had prepared for him. So the king’s servants told him, “Haman is there, standing in the court.” The king said, “Let him come in.” So Haman came in, and the king said to him, “What shall be done for the man whom the king wishes to honor?” Haman said to himself, “Whom would the king wish to honor more than me?” So Haman said to the king, “For the man whom the king wishes to honor, let royal robes be brought, which the king has worn, and a horse that the king has ridden, with a royal crown on its head. Let the robes and the horse be handed over to one of the king’s most noble officials; let him robe the man whom the king wishes to honor, and let him conduct the man on horseback through the open square of the city, proclaiming before him: ‘Thus shall it be done for the man whom the king wishes to honor.’” Then the king said to Haman, “Quickly, take the robes and the horse, as you have said, and do so to the Jew Mordecai who sits at the king’s gate. Leave out nothing that you have mentioned.” So Haman took the robes and the horse and robed Mordecai and led him riding through the open square of the city, proclaiming, “Thus shall it be done for the man whom the king wishes to honor.”
Then Mordecai returned to the king’s gate, but Haman hurried to his house, mourning and with his head covered. When Haman told his wife Zeresh and all his friends everything that had happened to him, his advisers and his wife Zeresh said to him, “If Mordecai, before whom your downfall has begun, is of the Jewish people, you will not prevail against him, but will surely fall before him.” While they were still talking with him, the king’s eunuchs arrived and hurried Haman off to the banquet that Esther had prepared.