The banquet of Esther came as the queen prepared to make a brave request.  The king had offered her half of his kingdom, but she waited until now to make her request.  Women in Persia were not treated better than they are today in modern Iran.  The previous queen had been banished for being rebellious.  As with any court of judgment one could not be sure of the outcome.  When men make decisions, they are not always righteous ones. 

So the king and Haman came to banquet with Esther the queen.  And the king said again unto Esther on the second day at the banquet of wine, What is thy petition, queen Esther? and it shall be granted thee: and what is thy request? and it shall be performed, even to the half of the kingdom.  Then Esther the queen answered and said, If I have found favour in thy sight, O king, and if it please the king, let my life be given me at my petition, and my people at my request:  For we are sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be slain, and to perish. But if we had been sold for bondmen and bondwomen, I had held my tongue, although the enemy could not countervail the king’s damage.  Esther 7:1-7

Esther doesn’t ask for favor, except that her life be spared.  Until now neither the king nor Haman knew that the queen was one of the condemned Jews.  She would have been quiet if only destined for slavery, but she made a petition only when her people were marked for extermination.  The king is about to learn that Esther was condemned with her people by Haman.

Then the king Ahasuerus answered and said unto Esther the queen, Who is he, and where is he, that durst presume in his heart to do so?  And Esther said, The adversary and enemy is this wicked Haman. Then Haman was afraid before the king and the queen.  And the king arising from the banquet of wine in his wrath went into the palace garden: and Haman stood up to make request for his life to Esther the queen; for he saw that there was evil determined against him by the king.  Esther 7:5-7

The king knows that Haman has used him and he is trapped by his own royal decree.  He is angered by the lie of omission and goes outside to vent a bit.  Haman makes another mistake that is misinterpreted by the king.

Then the king returned out of the palace garden into the place of the banquet of wine; and Haman was fallen upon the bed whereon Esther was. Then said the king, Will he force the queen also before me in the house? As the word went out of king’s mouth, they covered Haman’s face.  And Harbonah, one of the chamberlains, said before the king, Behold also, the gallows fifty cubits high, which Haman had made for Mordecai, who spoken good for the king, standeth in the house of Haman. Then the king said, Hang him thereon.  So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then was the king’s wrath pacified.  Esther 7:8-10

The king mistakenly believes that Haman is about to rape the queen at this point.  While Haman is not guilty, others cover his face as if he should be ashamed to show his face.  And when you are down, everyone steps up to point out all of your other sins.  Harbonah volunteers information about the gallows intended for the king’s friend Mordecai.  He included the detail that the gallows was 150 feet high, seemingly to show off Mordecai’s dead body in a public display.  That provided the convenient sentence for this extremely short trial and guilty verdict. 

Esther began with prayer, and only sought the lives of her people.  She entered a dangerous mission but did not set all of these events in motion herself.  God roused the king from his sleep to remember the good deed of Mordecai earlier.  Prayer moved other events so Mordecai would be honored to Haman’s horror.  And Haman’s own wife was moved to suggest building the gallows.  Mordecai had requested that Esther keep her nationality secret, to provide this last surprise.  God was working behind the scenes like a master chess player…CHECKMATE!