About Jesus Steve Sweetman
Mae Queen (ch. 2:1 - 18)
here in verse 1, as I've said earlier, "King Xerxes".
The KJV uses the name Ahasuerus", which is the Hebrew name
1 uses the word "later". Non-Biblical
history tells us that "later' most likely means at least three and
a half to four years later, after Xerxes came home from losing a long
drawn out battle.
the king remembers after these years was that he deposed Queen Vashti as
his queen. Now that he is back home and getting settled in, he wants a
new queen to replace Vashti.
verse 2 the king's personal attendants suggests that they gather lots of
beautiful girls, virgins, from all over the empire so the king can check
them out and see who he would like for his queen.
Obviously, when I say "check out", that includes having
sex with them. It is said of
Xerxes that he has 360 wives, many concubines, and even more virgins.
the term "eunuch" in verse 3. Eunuchs were either men who had
become sterile for some reason, or, were important men in the king's
palace. Both definitions are
used in the Bible. The
important men didn't necessarily have to be single or sterile.
also in verse 3 that a man named Hegai was "in charge of the
women". These women
would be "Xerxes' women, which there would have been many.
Again, some suggest he could have had up to 360 wives.
Then beyond that, concubines and virgins.
told the king that he'd make sure these young virgins would have
"beauty treatments" before they king got to sleep with them.
I guess they needed to be next to perfect before they could be
seen by the king. The king,
and kings in general, were pretty proud men.
verse 4 we see that this advice appealed to the king, and why not.
Xerxes wasn't your nice Christian king.
During the long battle that he just came home from, he probably
didn't have much of a sex life, and this should make up for lost time.
verses 6 and 7 we see Mordecai, from the tribe of Benjamin enter the
picture. The text states
that he was brought to
Mordecai as a historical figure has been discovered in archeological
excavations that appears to be this very Mordecai.
verse 7 we note that Mordecai's cousin, who had lost her parents, was
being looked after by him. Her
Hebrew name was Hadassah, which means "myrtle".
Hadassah is another name for Esther, which means
course, Esther is her Persian name.
verses 8 and 9 we see that Esther was one of the countless virgins that
were conscripted from across the land for Xerxes to choose his wife
from. Esther pleased Hegai
and so he gave her seven maids, special food and beauty treatments and
the best place to live. Clearly,
Esther was one good looking girl and now would be even better looking.
The king needed the best. Nothing
else would suffice.
10 and 11 state that Mordecai told Esther not to reveal the fact that
she was a Jew. This would
probably have spoiled the chances of her being chosen by the king to be
his queen. Mordecai hung out
daily around the place where Esther was staying.
This shows us the concern he had for Esther.
She wasn't his daughter, but he had raised her as if she was his
daughter. That being said,
there is some evidence according to some, that Mordecai just didn't hang
out at the king's gate. He
actually worked there in some capacity, and that is probably correct.
verses 12 to 14 we see the procedure how the king would select his
queen. First of all, the
virgins who were chosen to go before the king had 12 months of beauty
treatments. I can't imagine
twelve months of beauty treatments, but I guess the girls had to be
perfect. Every night the king would have one of the virgins come to him.
In the morning they would not return to where they came from.
They'd go to another place especially prepared for them.
If the king really liked one of the girls, he could call her back
for another night. You
wonder, if any of these girls, or, how many of these girls got pregnant
in the mean time. You'd then
wonder how many children were born from these sexual encounters.
this shows us something of the culture in Persia
back then, especially the king's culture.
Women were not seen as they are today.
Whether the modern woman believes it or not, it wasn't until the
advent of the Judeo Christian consensus in society that women lost their
status of being property of men. The
fact that the Judeo Christian teaching actually elevates women is
something that is lost in today's world.
note in verses 15 and 16 that Esther's turn finally came to visit the
king. Everyone, that is, all
the other girls, thought she was simply stunning.
I imagine then hat the other girls probably thought that they had
just lost their chance at becoming queen.
verses 17 and 18 we see that Xerxes really like Esther, and she was
chosen to be queen. Xerxes
called a special holiday, which means people would not have had to pay
any taxes that day, and, no man could be drafted into the army that day
19 says that the "virgins were assembled for a second time".
Most scholars really are unsure to what this second time really
means. Many guess, but it's
pretty much speculation.
see in verse 20 Esther's devotion to how Mordecai has trained her.
He told her not to divulge her Jewish heritage, and she didn't,
even after she had become queen. We
should realize that just because she is queen, doesn't mean she had a
real close relationship with Xerxes and would tell him everything.
Xerxes still had other sex partners.
She might have been intimate with Xerxes in a physical way but I
doubt if she was intimate in her thoughts and feelings, which was
probably the case with most women in that culture.
last few verses of this chapter relates the event of Mordecai
overhearing two guards conspiring to kill Xerxes.
Mordecai told Esther and Esther told the king.
The two men were executed on the gallows, according to the NIV.
What most likely happened is that the two men were pierced with a
very long pole, the pole was raised from the ground and displayed until
the men died. This was the
beginning of what became known as crucifixion that Romans made popular.
Crucifixion evolved from men being impaled on poles.
will see later that Mordecai was never rewarded for his good deed done
for the king. This is
clearly God working behind the scenes, because this lack of recognition
is important to the story line of the book.
This is an example how God works behind the scenes in world
events and national and international affairs of nations.
Those without this Biblical understanding don't see this, but for
those who are educated in the Bible, we see that God does work behind
the scenes, and this is one important lesson we learn from the book of