Esther 2: The Rise of Queen Esther

Everyone loves a cinderella story, and that's exactly what Esther is.

Introduction

Born with the name Hadassah, Esther is orphaned as a young child. She is raised by her first cousin, an Israelite from the tribe of Benjamin named Mordecai. Esther is known for her beauty and was obedient to Mordecai, a bit of a contrast to Vashti. This made her the perfect candidate for the king's new wife.
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A Royal Decree

Photocredit: Unsplash.com/Ashton Mullins
After Vashti is ordered to leave the king's presence, and his wrath is appeased he "remembers Vashti." Most likely this means he missed her, or at least the presence of such a queen. Therefore he begins to search for a replacement. The king calls for all the virgins to be brought to him to find a new wife. A G-rated depiction of this would be like the ball in Cinderella, where all the eligible maidens (who should have also been virgins) were paraded before the prince at the ball. However, what actually happened was a little more like the bachelor. The women were housed in the palace and taken care of by the king's chamberlain. The women were given what ever they wished; however, once most women were given to the king, they were sent back as concubines. After having been with the king (likely having sex with the king as well), they were not only undesirable to society but viewed as belonging to the king. He kept them as concubines (i.e., lesser wives), since he had not found one he wished to make queen.

Before Esther joins the women, Mordecai charges her not to reveal herself as a Jew. Esther obeys Mordecai and never reveals her origin. After almost a year, she is chosen as the favored woman among the women. The king choses to make her his new wife. Esther went from an orphan of the people who had been taken captive to the queen of the most powerful empire of her time. That's what you call a true cinderella story!
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Passing as a Persian

In every renaissance painting, the Jews are painted as very European. In Hollywood movies about the Bible, the stars are often of European descent. Most of the Jews I know support this depiction, but the Bible seems to tell us a different story. When the Jews were in Egypt, Moses successfully passed as an Egyptian. Two of the tribes (Manasseh and Ephraim) were the descendants of an Israelite father and Egyptian mother. The tribe of Judah was born of a Canaanite woman (Tamar). Moses married an Ethiopian. There was quite a bit of mixing with the Hamites early in the Israelites' history, and once they reached the promised land, they continued to intermarry with other nations. The Jews of today appear European because they were absorbed into the Roman empire. After the Roman's destroyed the Temple the Jews were dispersed throughout the empire and married into European families. Though, there are people who claim Jewish ancestry (and are recognized as Jews) in Africa and Asia. The fact that Esther was able to simple not tell that she was of Jewish ancestry means that she had to blend in with the Persians of that time. I think the fact that the Jews of the Bible were able to "pass" among so many nations speaks volumes to the fact that God does not judge us by race.
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Mordecai Looks Out for the King

When Mordecai learns of a plot against the king, he tells Esther who is able to inform the king now that she is queen. Not only does this earns them the trust and respect of Ahasuerus, it becomes the catalyst for Ahasuerus siding with the Jews over Haman later in the book.
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References

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Author Image Author Image I love reading the Word of God. With prayer God's Word reveals so much: from comfort to temperance, from perspective to affirmation. Digging into the depths of the Word, cross-referencing history, language and time differences, is a passion of mine. In March of 2015 I decided to go back through the Bible doing an in depth study on each section I read. Eventually I decided to share my journal of notes as I partake in this journey. I hope you are blessed by God and inspired to pursue a deeper relationship with Him. I love reading and learning about God, nature, and science. I am interested in how it all connects. The Creator's fingerprints are all over his creation. We can learn so much about Him and how we came to be by exploring the world around us. Join me as I explore the world and draw closer to the One who created it all.
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