Picking a New Queen

Someone asked Emily Post, What is the correct procedure when one is invited to the White House and has a previous engagement? She answered.... More

Preparation

Some Bible scholars say there was an interval of two to four years between chapter one and this chapter. It appears that the king begins to wonder as to whether he had done the right thing in being so harsh with Vashti (v. 1). His attendants became afraid that the king would take out on them his regret over losing Vashti. To get his mind off of this they quickly suggested that the king seek out a new queen (v. 2). A suggestion was made that officers be selected in every province to find a beautiful woman to bring to the palace to be under observation (v. 3), This suggestion appealed to him and he acted accordingly (v.4). Over 200 women were brought to the palace to be placed in the king’s harem under the custody of Hegai. Mordecai, a Jew who worked in the palace, suggested Esther, a young Jewish girl. She was the cousin of Mordecai who had raised her in his home.

Hegai knew the type of woman the king liked and so he immediately saw Esther as the probable successor to Vashti (vv. 5-8). From the first day she was his favorite and he gave her special treatment (v. 9. Mordecai had told Esther not to reveal her nationality, probably thinking that the name “Jew” would bring discrimination (vv. 10-11). Twelve months in quarantine was required before a maiden in this harem could be brought to the king. Esther was among the virgins brought in to be made attractive to the king. We learn that she really impressed all those who worked with her. It is clear that God protected and used Esther and Mordecai in spite of the fact they were not living according to the law given to the people of Israel. (Deut. 7:1-4 and (Ex. 2-:14).

Application

If I have to change jobs, and can’t see God=s purpose I need to understand that God is in control. He may be placing me in this position so I can help when the need arises, as in Esther’s case.

Esther 2:1-11 (English Standard Version)

After these things, when the anger of King Ahasuerus had abated, he remembered Vashti and what she had done and what had been decreed against her. Then the king's young men who attended him said, "Let beautiful young virgins be sought out for the king. And let the king appoint officers in all the provinces of his kingdom to gather all the beautiful young virgins to the harem in Susa the capital, under custody of Hegai, the king's eunuch, who is in charge of the women. Let their cosmetics be given them. And let the young woman who pleases the king be queen instead of Vashti." This pleased the king, and he did so. Now there was a Jew in Susa the citadel whose name was Mordecai, the son of Jair, son of Shimei, son of Kish, a Benjaminite, who had been carried away from Jerusalem among the captives carried away with Jeconiah king of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had carried away. He was bringing up Hadassah, that is Esther, the daughter of his uncle, for she had neither father nor mother. The young woman had a beautiful figure and was lovely to look at, and when her father and her mother died, Mordecai took her as his own daughter. So when the king's order and his edict were proclaimed, and when many young women were gathered in Susa the citadel in custody of Hegai, Esther also was taken into the king's palace and put in custody of Hegai, who had charge of the women. And the young woman pleased him and won his favor. And he quickly provided her with her cosmetics and her portion of food, and with seven chosen young women from the king's palace, and advanced her and her young women to the best place in the harem. Esther had not made known her people or kindred, for Mordecai had commanded her not to make it known. And every day Mordecai walked in front of the court of the harem to learn how Esther was and what was happening to her.

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