This is the strange story of Hadassah, Esther, that could be sub-titled, “From virgin to Queen with one roll in the hay,” OR “Virgin girl is kings delight”
At what point in the story is she nicknamed Esther, it is not clear, but the meaning of the name has two main interpretations.
1. Shinning star, perhaps because she was so beautiful
2. A derivative of the Persian goddess, Ishtar, the goddess of love, fertility, and protection… i.e the Goddess of Love.
Many believe that it was given when she first entered the contest, because of her striking beauty that impressed everyone who saw her. ( see the example of Daniel and his three friends when they entered the kings court and her uncle Mordecai- “servant of the god, Marduk.” They all received heathen names even though they were true to the God is Israel )
It is true, but very seldom mentioned, or at least hurried over in the telling, that Queen Vashti was replaced by a beauty contestant who was also the best “lay” in the kingdom. All of the contestants were admitted to the kings harem because they were virgins (typically 12-13 years old), and beautiful. After one year of beauty treatments they each got their night with the king and the next morning they would be moved into his house of concubines (minus their virginity and available for sex at his will).
Esther was so good in bed, and the king was smitten by her knowledge and grace in his bedroom, so the next morning he makes his choice before sleeping with the rest of the virgin girls… there would have been at least two more, since this was only the tenth month.
By the way, what’s with this middle-aged man’s fixation with screwing with the virginity of little girls? Pardon the pun. I thought this was a modern-day phenomenon. How many girls were involved in this contest for a new queen? It is likely that the king’s handlers had at least one per month lined up, since the month of Esther’s visit is recorded as being the tenth month. Since the preparation of the girls lasted for one year it gave them a chance to grow up a little… to perhaps 14 years of age.
I think that it is interesting, that even though this young lady had gifted talents in the bedroom so that she could leave the experienced king “smitten,” God was able to use her to deliver her people from a death decree. God seems to have gifted her in other ways as well.
It is interesting to note also, that she had a touch of deceitfulness and cunning, by concealing her nationality as Jewish and as revealed in her treatment of the king and Haman. Why would she do that? Out of fear perhaps or was it Mordecai who was fearful? She also had a perverse, blood thirsty sense of revenge, even as Haman begged her forgiveness.
Why would she sacrifice her virginity, be willing to lay down her own life in an attempt to save her people? Why would she ply her feminine wiles in an effort to gain a position of power in a heathen country? Even as, many years earlier King David was a lying, thieving, murdering, bi-sexual, God was able to use him in a mighty way to lead Israel, He would also lead Esther. He will also use us… in spite of our frailties, to do His bidding, if we, like them are repentant, and are willing to be led.
Here are the pertinent parts of the story I have been discussing. I’ve quoted from several different versions to show that they all read pretty much the same. I found it interesting though that the Catholic Public Domain version completely omits the second half of chapter 2 from verse 6 onwards.
New International Version (NIV)
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.
Young’s Literal Translation
14 in the evening she hath gone in, and in the morning she hath turned back unto the second house of the women, unto the hand of Shaashgaz eunuch of the king, keeper of the concubines; she cometh not in any more unto the king except the king hath delighted in her, and she hath been called by name……
17 and the king loveth Esther above all the women, and she receiveth grace and kindness before him above all the virgins, and he setteth a royal crown on her head, and causeth her to reign instead of Vashti,
14 In the evening she would go in and in the morning she would return to the second harem, to the [b]custody of Shaashgaz, the king’s eunuch who was in charge of the concubines. She would not again go in to the king unless the king delighted in her and she was summoned by name. …..
17 The king loved Esther more than all the women, and she found favor and kindness with him more than all the virgins, so that he set the royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti.
14 In the evening she went and next day she returned into the second harem in the custody of Shaashgaz, the king’s eunuch who was in charge of the concubines. She came to the king no more unless the king delighted in her and she was called for by name……..
17 And the king loved Esther more than all the women, and she obtained grace and favor in his sight more than all the maidens, so that he set the royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti.
13 …she was given whatever she wanted to take with her when she left the harem for the king’s quarters. 14 She would go there in the evening; in the morning she would return to a second harem overseen by Shaashgaz, the king’s eunuch in charge of the concubines. She never again went back to the king unless the king took a special liking to her and asked for her by name….
17-18 The king fell in love with Esther far more than with any of his other women or any of the other virgins—he was totally smitten by her. He placed a royal crown on her head and made her queen in place of Vashti.