A³ B¹ 1-4. Maidens. Sought. C¹ e¹ 5,6. Mordecai. Position. f¹ 7. Esther. Relation. B² 8-. Maidens. Gathered. C² f² -8,9. Esther. Included. e² 10,11. Mordecai. Solicitude. B³ 12-14. Maidens. Rotation. C³ f³ 15-18. Ester. Selection. e³ 19,20. Mordecai. Station.
1 After these things (i.e. in 467 B.C. Astyages was now 21. In the 7th year [v.16]; one of these spent in preparation [v.12].), when the wrath of king Ahasuerus was appeased, he remembered Vashti, and what she had done, and what was decreed against her.
2 Then said the king's servants that ministered unto him, Let there be fair young virgins (see Gen. 24:43) sought for the king:
3 And let the king appoint officers in all the provinces of his kingdom, that they may gather together all the fair young virgins to Shushan the palace, to the house of the women, to the hand of Hege the king's eunuch, keeper of the women; and let their things for purification be given them:
4 And let the maiden (a young person) which pleases the king be queen instead of Vashti. And the thing pleased the king; and he did so.
5 Now in Shushan the palace there was a man, an Israelite (The contrast between Judah and Israel was lost in a strange land; and, as Nebuchadnezzar's campaign was against Judah, so "Jew", a slang word became the name used by the Gentiles), whose name was Mordecai (= little man, or worshiper of Mars. Daniel and Ezekiel taken to Babylon [2 Kings 24:14,15]; Nehemiah and Mordecai to Shushan; and Mordecai dwelt in the royal palace, as did Daniel and others [Dan. 1:4. 2 Kings 24:16-18]), the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, a Benjamite; (Thus Mordecai, a Benjamite, ends Yahaveh's war against Amalek. Ex. 17:16. Cp. 3:1 with 7:10; 9:10. A work entrusted to Saul [a Benjamite]. 1 Sam. 15:2-33.)
6 Who had been carried away from Jerusalem with the captivity which had been carried away with Jehoiachin (2 Kings 24:6) king of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away. (Cp. 2 Kings 24:14,15. Jer. 52:24-34. 133 years before the generally received date [i.e. 598-465 B.C. = 133 years], which, therefore, cannot be correct. From the carrying away of Jehoiachin to the marriage of Esther to Astyages in his 7th year was only 22 years [489-467 B.C.])
7 And he brought up Hadassah (= myrtle. Not living with Mordecai [who was in the palace, v.5], but brought up by him), that is, Esther (= a star. But Rabbi Yehudah derives it from sathar, to hide, because she was hidden in her guardian's house; and her nationality also was concealed [v.10]), his uncle's daughter: for she had neither father nor mother, and the maid was fair and beautiful; whom Mordecai, when her father (Abihail: now dead. See v.15; 9:29) and mother were dead, took for his own daughter.
8 So it came to pass, when the king's word and his Imperial decree was heard, and when many maidens were gathered together to Shushan the palace, to the custody of Hegai,
that Esther was brought also to the king's house, to the custody of Hegai, keeper of the women.
9 And the maiden pleased him, and she won kindness of him; and he speedily gave her her things for purification, with such things as belonged to her, and seven maidens, which were meet to be given her, out of the king's house: and he promoted her and her maids to the best place of the house of the women. (Probably influenced by Mordecai)
10 Esther had not showed her people nor her kindred: for Mordecai had charged her that she should not show it. (Not till 7:3-5. This was Mordecai's wisdom. Cp. v.20)
11 And Mordecai walked every day before the court of the women's house, to know how Esther did, and what should become of her. (This was Mordecai's solicitude. All this proves that these events must have taken place before the emancipation made by Cyrus [the son of this Astyages], recorded in Ezra 1. No such secrecy would have been necessary, and no thought of allowing the People, whom he had just emancipated, to be exterminated, as described in the book of Esther: But Cyrus, being her son, would be carefully prepared by her and Mordecai to begin his reign by such emancipation from Babylon [note, not from Shushan: cp. Ezra 1:1 with Jer. 25:11,12], thus fulfilling Isa. 44 28 and 45:1-4)
12 Now when every maid's turn was come to go in to king Ahasuerus, after that she had been twelve months, according to the manner of the women, (for so were the days of their purifications accomplished, to wit, six months with oil of myrrh, and six months with sweet odors, and with other things for the purifying of the women;)
13 Then thus came every maiden to the king; whatsoever she desired was given her to go with her out of the house of the women unto the king's house.
14 In the evening she went, and on the morrow she returned into the second house of the women, to the custody of Shaashgaz, the king's eunuch, which kept the concubines: she came in unto the king no more, except the king delighted in her, and that she were called by name.
15 Now when the turn of Esther, the daughter of Abihail the uncle of Mordecai, who had taken her for his daughter, was come to go in unto the king, she required nothing but what Hegai the king's eunuch, the keeper of the women, appointed. And Esther obtained favour in the sight of all them that looked upon her.
16 So Esther was taken to king Ahasuerus into his house royal in the tenth month, which is the month Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign. (The 1st feast was in the 3rd year. The search probably took 1 year; the preparation another; oblation another. Other seasons are unnamed.)
17 And the king loved Esther above all the women, and she obtained grace and favor in his sight more than all the virgins; so that he set the royal crown upon her head, and made her queen instead of Vashti.
18 Then the king made a great feast to all his princes and his servants, even Esther's feast; and he made a a holiday to the provinces, and gave gifts, according to the state of the king.
19 And while they were collecting the second time, then Mordecai sat in the king's gate. (Mordecai was of the king's household. See v.5. This guarded Esther's interests, and enabled him to obtain all information)
20 Esther had not yet showed her kindred nor her people; according as Mordecai had charged her: for Esther did the commandment of Mordecai, like as when she was brought up with him. (Thus revealing a new characteristic of Esther. This secrecy was hardly needed if the emancipation of Ezra 1:1 had already taken place)
F g 21-. Mordecai. Station. h -21. Conspiracy. Made. g 22,23-. Mordecai. Discovery. h -23. Conspiracy. Punished.
21 In those days, while Mordecai sat in the king's gate (the lofty gate of the palace), two of the king's eunuchs, Bigthan and Teresh, of those which kept the threshold, were wroth, and sought to lay hands on the king Ahasuerus.
22 And the thing was known to Mordecai (he sat in the king's gate: the very place to hear all the news), who told it to Esther the queen; and Esther certified the king thereof in Mordecai's name.
23 And when inquisition was made of the matter, it was found out; therefore they were both hanged on a tree: and it was written in the book of the chronicles (see 6:1) before the king.