After that, the young woman who pleases you most will be made queen instead of Vashti." This advice was very appealing to the king, so he put the plan into effect immediately.
Now at the fortress of Susa there was a certain Jew named Mordecai son of Jair. He was from the tribe of Benjamin and was a descendant of Kish and Shimei.
His family a had been exiled from Jerusalem to Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar, along with King Jehoiachin b of Judah and many others.
This man had a beautiful and lovely young cousin, Hadassah, who was also called Esther. When her father and mother had died, Mordecai adopted her into his family and raised her as his own daughter.
As a result of the king's decree, Esther, along with many other young women, was brought to the king's harem at the fortress of Susa and placed in Hegai's care.
Hegai was very impressed with Esther and treated her kindly. He quickly ordered a special menu for her and provided her with beauty treatments. He also assigned her seven maids specially chosen from the king's palace, and he moved her and her maids into the best place in the harem.
Esther had not told anyone of her nationality and family background, for Mordecai had told her not to.
Every day Mordecai would take a walk near the courtyard of the harem to ask about Esther and to find out what was happening to her.
Before each young woman was taken to the king's bed, she was given the prescribed twelve months of beauty treatments -- six months with oil of myrrh, followed by six months with special perfumes and ointments.
When the time came for her to go in to the king, she was given her choice of whatever clothing or jewelry she wanted to enhance her beauty.
That evening she was taken to the king's private rooms, and the next morning she was brought to the second harem, c where the king's wives lived. There she would be under the care of Shaashgaz, another of the king's eunuchs. She would live there for the rest of her life, never going to the king again unless he had especially enjoyed her and requested her by name.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)