Esther Seven: #MeToo

The weekend is over, and Esther is ready to wine and dine the king and Haman. This is somehow a multi-day affair, and finally, Esther has the king drunk enough – I’m guessing – that she feels ready to get real. “And Queen Esther replied and said, ‘If I have found favor in your eyes, O king, and if it pleases the king, may my life be given me in my petition and my people in my request (Esther 7:3).'” Esther reveals the whole plot to the king, including that Haman is the one behind the plot. Haman freaks out, and we have a piece of the text that I must have read before but never paid close attention to. The king leaves for a moment because he’s so angry.

“Then the king returned from the orchard garden to the house of the wine feast, and Haman was falling on the couch upon which Esther was, and the king said, ‘Will you even force the queen with me in the house?’ The word came out of the king’s mouth, and they covered Haman’s face (Esther 7:8).” I guess I’m paying attention in a closer way than before, because it seems obvious to me that Haman attempted to assault Esther in this moment. What does this mean? Was he trying to argue with her and got carried away? Was he actually trying to rape her? Is she fighting him or is she in shock over the whole thing? Is it because she’s a Jew, or because she outed him, or just because he’s an evil man left alone with a woman? Regardless of the ‘reason,’ it’s horrifying, and is one of way too many #MeToo moments in Tanakh. Thankfully, in this case, punishment is quick. Haman is hung, and with the ultimate poetic justice, he dies on the same gallows that he personally ordered built for Mordechai.


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