It is customary to think that Esther was selected to become Ahasuerus’ wife because of her beauty and Godly luck. Such an explanation, however, obscures a Biblical lesson in how to supplement luck with good analysis and planning, a lesson that can be gleaned from observing Mordecai’s actions in the Book of Esther.

In the third year of his reign, after consolidating his rule, King Ahasuerus celebrated his coronation with a marvelous party for all the leaders of the kingdom, which lasted for 180 days (Est. 1:3-4). After this, the king threw a seven-day party for the citizens of the capital, Shushan, as a show of his power and wealth (1:5). It is not clear whether the king ever presented his beautiful queen, wearing her royal dress and crown, to his subjects. But on the seventh day, when he was lit up with wine, he sent his servants to invite his queen, wearing her royal crown, to show herself to his ministers and his guests (1:4; 1:10). The Jewish elders have determined, through a careful reading of the king’s order, that he had been commanding the queen to appear wearing her crown–and no clothes.[1] It is possible that the queen, Vashti, thought that this was what the king ordered, since, in her eyes, he was a womanizing drunkard. The queen refused to Çeşme Escort honor the king’s demand. The king was thus publicly humiliated in two ways: by her refusing of his order; and by the exposure of her contempt of his character. At her hearing in front of the kingdom’s historians and lawyers, the king’s words provided a valid defense of her refusal to come, but she was still deemed unfit to serve as queen. And so the king lost his beautiful queen and her services.

After that, the king’s servants suggested assembling beautiful virgins from the entire kingdom,[2] and letting the king select the most qualified lady to be his new queen (2:4), in contrast to the custom of selecting a queen from a first ranked family.[3] The girls were allowed to present themselves to the king as they wished (2:13). At sunset, they were taken to the king while he was with his dinner guests, and in the morning she was either selected as a queen or sent to the king’s harem (2:13-14). Beautiful young virgins were brought in from the whole kingdom, from India to Africa. Most of them did not speak Persian; they dressed in their native clothes; they looked foreign, which may have been worrisome because their children–the king’s children, should one of them become his queen–would look foreign, as well; they ate different type of foods (2:14); and it is likely that they smelled unpleasant to the king, since he insisted on baths and perfumes for the women (2:12).

Meanwhile, Hadassah, an orphan, was taken in childhood to the house of Mordecai, one of the Jewish community leaders in Shushan; and he raised her like a Jewish princes. Hadassah remembered the horrendous experience of living as an orphan and was a cautious and cooperative girl (2:7). Luckily for Hadassah, she met the requirements necessary to be taken to the king’s harem, the first step in potentially becoming queen (2:7). Mordecai immediately began planning, giving Hadassah a more powerful name: Esther (2:7), after the goddess Ishtar, the goddess of love, futility, and war.[4]

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