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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Surprised (09/06/07)

TITLE: The Best Laid Plans...
By Lucile McKenzie


Haman leaned back and sipped appreciatively at his wine. Around the table family members and friends looked at him with admiration and awe, since the King had appointed him authority over all the princes. What an honor! Haman smiled. But this, he thought, is only the beginning. I shall go on to even greater honor and glory. How fine it is that whenever I appear, everyone bows down and pays homage to me.

Everyone, that is, except one. Haman frowned as he thought of the stubborn Mordecai, that worthless Jew! But, Zeresh, Haman’s good wife, had the perfect solution, and now a gallows stood waiting. Soon Mordecai would be hanged. Haman, now smiling again, thought how clever he was to have manipulated the king so that not only Mordecai, but also all the Jews in each province of the kingdom would be eliminated. Everyone at the table raised their glasses and cried, “A toast to Haman, a wise and clever man.” Haman nodded in self-satisfied acknowledgement.

The next day Haman told Zeresh, “today, I will speak to the king about hanging Mordecai on the gallows.” His plan was set aside, however, when upon entering King Ahasuerus’s presence, the king asked him “What is to be done for the man whom the king desires to honor?” (Esther 6:6 NAS) What joy! Here is my chance to finally receive all that is due to me. Happily, Haman told the King that the king’s most noble prince should array the honored man in a royal robe belonging to the King. Then, he should be placed on the King’s royal horse and led through the city square. Haman nearly laughed aloud with pleasure. I can hardly wait, he thought. How everyone will envy me when they see me receive these honors!

Wait! What’s this? Haman stood in stunned disbelief as the King said, “Take quickly the robes and horse as you have said and do so for Mordecai the Jew who is sitting at the king’s gate; do not fall short in anything of all that you have said.” (Esther 6:10 NAS)

All this is to be done for the hated Mordecai? Mordecai! How could this be? What? Aarrgh! King Ahasuerus has learned about Mordecai foiling the plot to kill him. That’s why Mordecai is being honored. Haman gnashed his teeth.

Later that night, Haman told Zeresh, “I went to great lengths to cover up Mordecai’s foiling that plot, so the King would not find out. But, I couldn’t keep it out of the Chronicles. How did I know he would want to read them now!”
Zeresh said, “I don’t think this is the end of it.”

But Haman relaxed when the eunuchs arrived to escort him to the banquet with the King and Esther. I’ll take care of Mordecai later, he thought, once the rest of the Jews have been killed. Calmly, he took another sip of the fine palace wine as the king asked Queen Esther to tell him her petition.

Haman choked on the wine as Esther asked the king to spare her people, the Jews. Her people! How could he have known the queen was Jewish! And what is this? He turned pale as Esther said, “ A foe and an enemy, is this wicked Haman!” (Esther 7:8 NAS) Stunned, he realized Esther knew it was his plot to have Mordecai and all other Jews killed.

No! No! This isn’t how it is supposed to be! What? Hanged? On the very gallows he erected for Mordecai? “But…but…I was the one to be honored!” He cried out in disbelief as palace officials led him away.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 09/16/07
One of the best Bible stories for this topic.

It's a good idea to avoid exclamation marks, and to choose strong verbs and nouns instead. I'd love to see this taken to the next level--with more details imagined from his life--what he's seeing, doing, touching...

It's a great illustration for irony, isn't it?
Dee Yoder 09/19/07
Who could have been more surprised than this guy? Good writing and retelling of this story.