Esther 2

Esther is Chosen Queen

1 After these things, when the anger of King Ahasuerus subsided, he remembered Vashti and what she had done and what had been decreed against her.
2 And the king's servants attending him said, "Let them seek attractive young virgins for the king.
3 Let the king appoint chief officers in all the provinces of his kingdom, and let them gather every attractive young virgin to the {harem}[a] in the citadel of Susa {under the care of}[b] Hegai, the king's eunuch, who is in charge of the women; and let him give [them] their beauty treatment.
4 And let the young woman {who is pleasing}[c] in the king's eyes become queen in place of Vashti. The thing was good in the king's eyes, and he acted accordingly.
5 There was a Jew in the citadel of Susa whose name [was] Mordecai son of Jair, son of Shimei, son of Kish, a Benjaminite,
6 who was deported[d] from Jerusalem with the exiles[e] who were deported[f] with Jeconiah the king of Judah, whom King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon had deported.
7 He was raising Hadassah, that [is] Esther, his uncle's daughter, for she did not have a father or a mother; the young woman [had] a beautiful figure and [was] very attractive. When her father and mother died, Mordecai had taken her as his daughter.
8 And it happened, at the proclaiming of the edict of the king and his law, when many young women were being gathered to the citadel of Susa {under Hegai's care}, Esther was taken to the {king's palace} {under the care of} Hegai who was in charge of the women.
9 {The young woman pleased him} and she won favor in his presence, and he quickly provided for her beauty treatment and her portion of food, with seven chosen maids to give to her from the {king's palace}, and he advanced her and her maids to the best part of the {harem}.
10 Esther did not disclose her people and her family because Modecai had charged her that she must not tell.
11 And every day Modecai would walk up and down in front of the courtyard of the {harem} to learn {how Esther was doing}.
12 When the turn came for each girl to go to King Ahasuerus, after the end of twelve months of being under the regulations of the women--for the days of their beauty treatments had to be filled, six months with the oil of myrrh and six months with perfumes and women's cosmetics--
13 in this way, the girl goes to the king and all that she asks is given to her {to take} with her from the {harem} to the {king's palace}.
14 In the evening she would go and in the morning she would return to the {second harem} {under the care of} Shaashgaz, the king's eunuch in charge of the concubines. She would not go back to the king unless the king delighted in her and she was called by name.
15 When the turn came near for Esther daughter of Abihail the uncle of Mordecai, who had taken [her] as a daughter, to go to the king, she did not ask anything except what Hegai the eunuch of the king who was in charge of the women, advised. And Esther carried favor in the eyes of everyone that saw her.
16 Esther was taken to King Ahasuerus, to his {palace}, in the tenth month that is Tebeth in the seventh year of his reign.
17 And the king loved Esther more than all the women, and she won his favor and loyalty more than all the virgins, so he put a {royal crown} on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti.
18 And the king gave a great banquet, Esther's banquet, for all his officials and servants. And he granted a tax amnesty to the provinces and he gave gifts with royal liberality.

A Plot Against the King

19 When [the] virgins were gathered a second time, Mordecai [was] sitting at the gate of the king.
20 Esther had not made known her family and her people, just as Mordecai had instructed her; for Esther {did what Mordecai told her}, just as when she was brought up by him.
21 In those days Mordecai [was] sitting at the gate of the king. Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king's eunuchs from the keepers of the threshold, became angry and they conspired {to assassinate} King Ahasuerus.
22 And the matter became known to Mordecai and he told [it] to Queen Esther, and Esther told [it] to the king in the name of Mordecai.
23 And the matter was investigated and found [to be so]; and the two of them were hanged on [the] gallows, and it was written in the scroll of the events of the days before the presence of the king.

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 28

  • [a]. Literally "house of the women"
  • [b]. Literally "to the hand of"
  • [c]. Literally "who is good"
  • [d]. Or "exiled"
  • [e]. Hebrew "exile"
  • [f]. Or "exiled"
  • [g]. A variant spelling of "Jehoiachin"
  • [h]. Or "exiled"
  • [i]. That is, Mordecai
  • [j]. That is, his cousin
  • [k]. Literally "to the hand of Hegai"
  • [l]. Literally "house of the king"
  • [m]. Literally "to the hand of"
  • [n]. Literally "the young woman was good in his eyes"
  • [o]. Literally "house of the king"
  • [p]. Literally "house of the women"
  • [q]. Literally "house of the women"
  • [r]. Literally "the peace of Esther and how it does/does with her"
  • [s]. Literally "to go"
  • [t]. Literally "house of the women"
  • [u]. Literally "house of the king"
  • [v]. Literally "second house of the women"
  • [w]. Literally "to the hand of"
  • [x]. Literally "house of the reign" or "house of the kingdom"
  • [y]. Literally "crown of the kingdom"
  • [z]. See HALOT 252-253 s.v.
  • [aa]. Literally "did the word of Mordecai"
  • [ab]. Literally "to send a hand against"

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