Now when every maid's turn was come to go in to King
Ahasuerus, after that she had been twelve months, according to the
manner of women
That were prepared in the house of the women to be presented to the king for his liking; for it seems that these virgins came in turns to him, according to the time they had been in the house; as did the wives of the kings of Persia, as Herodotus relates F16:
for so were the days of their purifications accomplished;
that is, in the space of twelve months, which were thus divided: to wit,
six months with oil of myrrh;
which Ben Melech interprets of musk:
and six month's with sweet odours;
the former was used to make the skin smooth and soft, and these to remove all ill scents through sweat, or any other cause:
and with other things for the purifying of women:
by bathing, rubbing, &c. and such a space of time was observed not only for the thorough purification of them, but partly was of state and grandeur, and partly that it might be a clear case they were not with child by another, before they came to the king.
F16 Thalia, sive, l. 3. c. 69.