12 Before a young woman’s turn came to go in to King Xerxes, she had to complete twelve months of beauty treatments prescribed for the women, six months with oil of myrrh and six with perfumes and cosmetics. 13 And this is how she would go to the king: Anything she wanted was given her to take with her from the harem to the king’s palace. 14 In the evening she would go there and in the morning return to another part of the harem to the care of Shaashgaz, the king’s eunuch who was in charge of the concubines. She would not return to the king unless he was pleased with her and summoned her by name. 15 When the turn came for Esther (the young woman Mordecai had adopted, the daughter of his uncle Abihail) to go to the king, she asked for nothing other than what Hegai, the king’s eunuch who was in charge of the harem, suggested. And Esther won the favor of everyone who saw her. 16 She was taken to King Xerxes in the royal residence in the tenth month, the month of Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign. 17 Now the king was attracted to Esther more than to any of the other women, and she won his favor and approval more than any of the other virgins. So he set a royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti. 18 And the king gave a great banquet, Esther’s banquet, for all his nobles and officials. He proclaimed a holiday throughout the provinces and distributed gifts with royal liberality.
Esther is an intriguing character in the Bible and this is one of the more… um… uncomfortable passages of the old testament.
We have a dodgy beauty pageant, which leads to a night with the pagan king, that he is so impressed by, that he wants to marry Esther. It all sounds very dodgy.
And what does God say? Not much. In fact, God isn’t even mentioned in the book.
Yet God’s blessing on Esther, Mordecai and even on the king is evident throughout the narrative of the book.
This passage is a reminder for me, that the kingdom of God is primarily about God’s love for us, even though we don’t deserve it.
Lord, thank you for your grace, that while we were yet sinners, you loved us, and send Christ to save us through his death in our place.
Written by Ps. Justin Ware