Commentary on the Bible, by Adam Clarke, , at sacred-texts.com
The king at the banquet urges Esther to prefer her petition, with the positive assurance that it shall be granted, Est 7:1, Est 7:2. She petitions for her own life, and the life of her people, who were sold to be destroyed, Est 7:3, Est 7:4. The king inquires the author of this project, and Haman is accused by the queen, Est 7:5, Est 7:6. The king is enraged: Haman supplicates for his life; but the king orders him to be hanged on the gallows he had prepared for Mordecai, Est 7:7-10.
At the banquet of wine - Postquam vino incaluerat, after he had been heated with wine, says the Vulgate. In such a state the king was more likely to come into the measures of the queen.
Let my life be given me - This was very artfully, as well as very honestly, managed; and was highly calculated to work on the feelings of the king. What! is the life of the queen, whom I most tenderly love, in any kind of danger?
To be destroyed, to be slain - She here repeats the words which Haman put into the decree. See Est 3:13.
Could not countervail the king's damage - Even the ten thousand talents of silver could not be considered as a compensation to the state for the loss of a whole nation of people throughout all their generations.
Who is he, and where is he - There is a wonderful abruptness and confusion in the original words, highly expressive of the state of mind in which the king then was: מי הוא זה ואי זה הוא אשר מלאו לבו לעשות כן mi hu zeh veey zeh hu asher melao libbo laasoth ken.
"Who? He? This one? And where? This one? He? Who hath filled his heart to do thus?" He was at once struck with the horrible nature of a conspiracy so cruel and diabolic.
Haman stood up - He rose from the table to make request for his life, as soon as the king had gone out; and then he fell on his knees before the queen, she still sitting upon her couch.
Will he force the queen - On the king's return he found him at the queen's knees; and, professing to think that he intended to do violence to her honor, used the above expressions; though he must have known that, in such circumstances, the thought of perpetrating an act of this kind could not possibly exist.
They covered Haman's face - This was a sign of his being devoted to death: for the attendants saw that the king was determined on his destruction. When a criminal was condemned by a Roman judge, he was delivered into the hands of the serjeant with these words: I, lictor; caput obnubito, arbori infelici suspendito. "Go, serjeant; cover his head, and hang him on the accursed tree."
Behold also, the gallows - As if he had said, Besides all he has determined to do to the Jews, he has erected a very high gallows, on which he had determined, this very day, to hang Mordecai, who has saved the king's life.
Hang him thereon - Let him be instantly impaled on the same post. "Harm watch, harm catch," says the proverb. Perillus was the first person burnt alive in the brazen bull which he had made for the punishment of others; hence the poet said: -
- Nec lex est justior ulla, Quam necis artifices arte perire sua.
"Nor can there be a juster law than that the artificers of death should perish by their own invention."