And he brought up Hadassah (that is Esther) his
Her Hebrew name was Hadassah, which signifies a myrtle, to which the Israelites, and good men among them, are sometimes compared, ( Zechariah 1:8 ) . Her Persian name was Esther, which some derive from "satar", to hide, because hidden in the house of Mordecai, so the former Targum, and by his advice concealed her kindred: or rather she was so called by Ahasuerus, when married to him, this word signifying in the Persian language a "star" F8 and so the latter Targum says she was called by the name of the star of Venus, which in Greek is (asthr) ; though it is said F9, that the myrtle, which is called "hadassah" in Hebrew, is in the Syriac language "esta"; so "asa" in the Talmud F11 signifies a myrtle; and, according to Hillerus F12, "esther" signifies the black myrtle, which is reckoned the most excellent; and so "amestris", according to him, signifies the sole myrtle, the incomparable one. Xerxes had a wife, whose name was Amestris, which Scaliger thinks is as if it was (rtoa Mh) , and the same with Esther; but to this are objected, that her father's name was Otanes, and her cruelty in the mutilation of the wife of Masistis, her husband's brother, and burning alive fourteen children of the best families of the Persians, as a sacrifice to the infernal gods; and besides, Xerxes had a son by her marriageable, in the seventh year of this reign F13, the year of Ahasuerus, in which he married Esther: but it is observed by some, that these things are confounded with the destruction of Haman's family, or told by the Persians to obliterate the memory of Esther, from whom they passed to the Greek historians:
for she had neither father nor mother;
according to the former Targum, her father died and left her mother with child of her, and her mother died as soon as she was delivered of her:
and the maid was fair and beautiful;
which was both the reason why she was taken and brought into the king's house, and why Mordecai took so much care of her:
whom Mordecai, when her father and mother were dead, took
for his own
loved her, and brought her up as if she had been his daughter, and called her so, as the Targum. The Rabbins, as Jarchi and Aben Ezra observe, say, he took her in order to make her his wife; and so the Septuagint render it; though perhaps no more may be intended by that version than that he brought her up to woman's estate. Josephus
F8 Castell. Lex. Persic. Latin. col. 329. Vid. Pfeiffer. difficil. Script. cent. 3. loc. 28.
F9 Caphtor Uperah, fol. 60. 2.
F11 T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 44. 1.
F12 Onomastic. Sacr. p. 621, 622.
F13 Herodot. Calliope, sive, l. 9. c. 107. 111. & Polymnia, sive, l. 7. c. 61. 114.
F14 Ut supra. (Antiqu. l. 11. c. 6. sect. 2.)