Before a girl'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 perfumes1 and cosmetics.
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.
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.2 She would not return to the king unless he was pleased with her and summoned her by name.315
When the turn came for Esther (the girl Mordecai had adopted, the daughter of his uncle Abihail4) to go to the king,5 she asked for nothing other than what Hegai, the king's eunuch who was in charge of the harem, suggested. And Esther won the favor6 of everyone who saw her.
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.
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 queen7 instead of Vashti.
And the king gave a great banquet,8 Esther's banquet, for all his nobles and officials.9 He proclaimed a holiday throughout the provinces and distributed gifts with royal liberality.10
When the virgins were assembled a second time, Mordecai was sitting at the king's gate.1120
But Esther had kept secret her family background and nationality just as Mordecai had told her to do, for she continued to follow Mordecai's instructions as she had done when he was bringing her up.1221
During the time Mordecai was sitting at the king's gate, Bigthanaa and Teresh, two of the king's officers13 who guarded the doorway, became angry14 and conspired to assassinate King Xerxes.
But Mordecai found out about the plot and told Queen Esther, who in turn reported it to the king, giving credit to Mordecai.