During the three days of her fast, Esther ceaselessly prayed to G‑d to grant her success in her attempt to save her people. On the third day, she mustered all her courage and made her way to the throne room.

On the way she felt divinely inspired, and though weak and pale from the prolonged fast, she boldly ignored the King's bodyguard and entered the throne room. The King was on his throne surrounded by his attendants.

Among the King's attendants were Haman's sons and followers. They could scarcely disguise their glee at seeing Queen Esther enter the throne room uninvited. If only the King would ignore the unbidden guest, Esther would be no more...

Just then the King saw Esther, standing at the entrance. She looked very pale and troubled, but there was something about her face that made her look like an angel.

Achashverosh eagerly extended to her his golden scepter, and Esther, overcome with relief and hope, drew near and touched the top of the scepter.

Greatly surprised at Esther's unexpected visit, the King asked her affectionately:

"What troubles you, my dear Queen Esther, and what is your request? Even to the half of my Kingdom, it shall be granted to you."

Esther did not see a favorable opportunity to speak to the King of her true intention just then. So she merely asked the King if he would come to a banquet she had prepared especially for the King and his Prime Minister, Haman.

The King immediately granted her request, and sent for Haman to appear at the banquet.

Esther had many reasons for inviting Haman to the banquet instead of inviting the King alone. The most important reason was that she did not want the Jews to rely solely on her, but to constantly remember that their true salvation lay with G‑d, and with Him alone. When they would hear that she made a banquet in this hour of distress and invited their greatest enemy, Haman, they would begin to doubt her loyalty. They would then turn to G‑d with even greater earnestness and more fervent prayers than before. In addition, Esther also wanted to allay any fear or suspicion on Haman's part that she was plotting against him, for Haman might then have instigated an open revolt to depose the King. Finally, Esther planned for an opportunity to arouse the King's suspicion and anger against his treacherous Prime Minister, and thereby cause his immediate downfall.

When the King and Haman appeared at Esther's banquet, the King asked her again what her wish might be. Esther still did not think the time opportune for her petition, and merely extended another invitation to the King and his Prime Minister to attend a second banquet the following night. She promised to disclose her wish then.