Esther 2

Finding a new queen

1 Sometime later when King Ahasuerus was less angry, he remembered Vashti, what she had done, and what he had decided about her.
2 So his young male servants said, "Let the king have a search made for beautiful young women who haven't yet married.
3 And let the king choose certain people in all the royal provinces to lead the search. Have them bring all the beautiful young women together to the fortified part of Susa, to the women's house, to the care of Hegai the king's eunuch in charge of the women so that he might provide beauty treatments for them.
4 Let the young woman who pleases you the most take Vashti's place as queen." The king liked the plan and implemented it.
5 Now there was a Jew in the fortified part of Susa whose name was Mordecai, Jair's son. He came from the family line of Shimei and Kish; he was a Benjaminite. (
6 Benjaminites had been taken into exile away from Jerusalem along with the group, which included Judah's King Jeconiah, whom Babylon's King Nebuchadnezzar exiled to Babylon.)
7 Mordecai had been a father to Hadassah (that is, Esther), though she was really his cousin, because she had neither father nor mother. The girl had a beautiful figure and was lovely to look at. When her parents died, Mordecai had taken her to be his daughter.
8 When the king's order and his new law became public, many young women were gathered into the fortified part of Susa under the care of Hegai. Esther was also taken to the palace to the care of Hegai, the one in charge of the women.
9 The young woman pleased him and won his kindness. He quickly began her beauty treatments and gave her carefully chosen foods. He also gave her seven servants selected from among the palace servants and moved her and her servants into the nicest rooms in the women's house. (
10 Esther hadn't told anyone her race and family background because Mordecai had ordered her not to.)
11 Each day found Mordecai pacing back and forth along the wall in front of the women's house to learn how Esther was doing and what they were doing with her.
12 According to the rules for women, the moment for each young woman to go to King Ahasuerus came at the end of twelve months. (She had six months of treatment with pleasant-smelling creams and six months with fragrant oils and other treatments for women.)
13 So this is how the young woman would go to the king: They gave her anything that she asked to take with her from the women's house to the palace.
14 In the evening she would go in, and the next morning she would return to the second women's house under the care of Shaashgaz. He was the king's eunuch in charge of the secondary wives. She would never go to the king again unless he was so pleased that he called for her by name.
15 Soon the moment came for Esther daughter of Mordecai's uncle Abihail, whom Mordecai had taken as his own daughter, to go to the king. But she asked for nothing except what Hegai the king's eunuch in charge of the women told her. (Esther kept winning the favor of everyone who saw her.)
16 Esther was taken to King Ahasuerus, to his own palace, in the tenth month (that is, the month of Tevet)[a] in the seventh year of his rule.
17 The king loved Esther more than all the other women; she had won his love and his favor more than all the others. He placed the royal crown on her head and made her ruler in place of Vashti.
18 The king held a magnificent, lavish feast, "the feast of Esther," for all his officials and courtiers. He declared a public holiday[b] for the provinces and gave out gifts with royal generosity.
19 When they gathered the young women to the second women's house,[c] Mordecai was working for the king at the King's Gate.
20 Esther still wasn't telling anyone her family background and race, just as Mordecai had ordered her. She continued to do what Mordecai said, just as she did when she was in his care.

Mordecai saves the king

21 At that time, as Mordecai continued to work at the King's Gate, two royal eunuchs, Bigthan and Teresh, became angry with King Ahasuerus. They were among the guards protecting the doorway to the king, but they secretly planned to kill him.
22 When Mordecai got wind of it, he reported it to Queen Esther. She spoke to the king about it, saying the information came from Mordecai.
23 The matter was investigated and found to be true, so the two men were impaled on pointed poles.[d] A report about the event was written in the royal record with the king present.

Esther 2 Commentary

Chapter 2

Esther chosen queen. (1-20) Mordecai discovers a plot against the king. (21-23)

Verses 1-20 We see to what absurd practices those came, who were destitute of Divine revelation, and what need there was of the gospel of Christ, to purify men from the lusts of the flesh, and to bring them back to the original institution of marriage. Esther was preferred as queen. Those who suggest that Esther committed sin to come at this dignity, do not consider the custom of those times and countries. Every one that the king took was married to him, and was his wife, though of a lower rank. But how low is human nature sunk, when such as these are the leading pursuits and highest worldly happiness of men! Disappointment and vexation must follow; and he most wisely consults his enjoyment, even in this present life, who most exactly obeys the precepts of the Divine law. But let us turn to consider the wise and merciful providence of God, carrying on his deep but holy designs in the midst of all this. And let no change in our condition be a pretext for forgetting our duties to parents, or the friends who have stood in their place.

Verses 21-23 Good subjects must not conceal any bad design they know of against the prince, or the public peace. Mordecai was not rewarded at the time, but a remembrance was written. Thus, with respect to those who serve Christ, though their recompence is not till the resurrection of the just, yet an account is kept of their work of faith and labour of love, which God is not unrighteous to forget. The servant of God must be faithful to every trust, and watchful for those who employ him. If he appear to be neglected now, he will be remembered hereafter. None of our actions can be forgotten; even our most secret thoughts are written in lasting registers, ( Revelation 20:12 ) .

Footnotes 4

  • [a]. December–January
  • [b]. Or remission of taxes
  • [c]. Or to the women’s house a second time
  • [d]. Or hanged the two men on gallows

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO ESTHER 2

By the advice of the ministers of King Ahasuerus, fair virgins were sought for throughout his dominions, and brought to his chamberlain, the keeper of the women, among whom was Esther, a Jewish virgin, Es 2:1-8, who found favour with the chamberlain, and afterwards with the king, who made her queen instead of Vashti, and a feast on that account, Es 2:9-18. Mordecai, to whom Esther was related, and according to whose advice she acted, sitting in the king's gate, discovered a conspiracy against the king, which he now made known to Esther, Es 2:19-23.

Esther 2 Commentaries