by Gail Peo
Queen Vashti, queen to King Ahasuerus, in the kingdom of Persia, was dismissed from
this position because she refused to come to the king when he called her. Later, the
king’s anger abated, and he began to remember Queen Vashti. In response, the young
men in the king’s presence suggested that he make some changes. He was told to:
1)seek out all the beautiful, young virgins in the kingdom; 2)gather them in Susa; 3)give
them cosmetics; and 4) and then select the young woman who pleased him to be the
next queen. This would certainly cheer up the moody king, wouldn’t it?
At this point in Esther we were introduced to Mordecai and Esther. Both were Jews
living, by choice, in the land of Persia. Both “Mordecai” and “Esther” were known by
their Persian names, not their Jewish names. Mordecai was taking care of Esther, his
orphaned cousin. Esther was taken into the king’s palace during the search a for new
queen. How did Esther rise so quickly to the top of the women in the kingdom? Was this
simply because she was “beautiful and lovely of form and face?”
Note that Esther was hiding her ethnicity, her Jewish heritage, as prescribed by her
cousin, Mordecai. He walked by the harem everyday to check on her.
In the harem, Esther found favor with Hegai, the eunuch who was in charge of the
women. How did Esther rise so quickly to the top of the women in the harem?
Esther began 12 months of preparation to make her suitable to spend one night alone
with the king. After that one night with the king, she would not go into the king’s
presence again, unless he summoned her by name. She was allowed to take anything
from the harem with her that night. She turned to Hegai for advice about this, only
taking what he advised. We are told that, “Esther was winning favor in the eyes of all
who saw her.” Was this simply because of Hegai’s advice?
More important, Esther was winning the favor of the king. The king loved Esther more
than the other women, and set the royal crown on her head. Was this coincidence? Was
this because she was “beautiful and lovely of form and face?” Was this simply because
of Hegai’s advice?
A “side story” was then introduced, that seemed to be unresolved, unrelated. Mordecai
overheard two eunuchs plotting to kill the king. He told Esther, and Esther told the king,
in Mordecai’s name. The plotters were hung. This was recorded in the book of the
chronicles. This story has no other relevance, or does it???