After these things, when the wrath of king Ahasuerus was appeased, he remembered Vashti, and what she had done, and what was decreed against her.
A. M. 3543. B.C. 461. he remembered
what was decreed
Then said the king's servants that ministered unto him, Let there be fair young virgins sought for the king:
Let there be
And let the king appoint officers in all the provinces of his kingdom, that they may gather together all the fair young virgins unto Shushan the palace, to the house of the women, unto the custody of Hege the king's chamberlain, keeper of the women; and let their things for purification be given them:
in all the provinces
that they may gather
This was the usual way in which the harem, or seraglio, was furnished; the finest women in the land, whether of high or low birth, were sought out and brought to the harem. They all became the king's concubines; but one was raised as chief wife, or sultana, to the throne; and her issue was especially entitled to inherit.
Heb. the hand. Hege.
the king's chamberlain. Saris hammelech, "the king's eunuch:" so the LXX., Vulgate, Targum, and Syriac.
And let the maiden which pleaseth the king be queen instead of Vashti. And the thing pleased the king; and he did so.
let the maiden
Now in Shushan the palace there was a certain Jew, whose name was Mordecai, the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, a Benjamite;
a certain Jew
the son of Shimei
Who had been carried away from Jerusalem with the captivity which had been carried away with Jeconiah king of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away.
And he brought up Hadassah, that is, Esther, his uncle's daughter: for she had neither father nor mother, and the maid was fair and beautiful; whom Mordecai, when her father and mother were dead, took for his own daughter.
fair and beautiful
Heb. fair of form and good of countenance.
So it came to pass, when the king's commandment and his decree was heard, and when many maidens were gathered together unto Shushan the palace, to the custody of Hegai, that Esther was brought also unto the king's house, to the custody of Hegai, keeper of the women.
One of Dr. Kennicott's MSS., instead of Hegai has HegÈ, as in ver. 3.
And the maiden pleased him, and she obtained 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 preferred her and her maids unto the best place of the house of the women.
her her things
Heb. her portions. preferred her. Heb. changed her.
Esther had not shewed her people nor her kindred: for Mordecai had charged her that she should not shew it.
had not shewed
And Mordecai walked every day before the court of the women's house, to know how Esther did, and what should become of her.
The apartments of the women are accounted so inviolable, that it is even a crime to enquire what passes within their walls. A man, says Chardin, may walk a hundred days, one after the other, by the house where the women are, and yet know no more what is done there than at the farther end of Tartary. This sufficiently explains the conduct of Mordecai.
how Esther did
Heb. the peace of Esther.
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 odours, and with other things for the purifying of the women;)
A. M. 3546. B.C. 458. to go in
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 chamberlain, 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.
she were called
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 chamberlain, the keeper of the women, appointed. And Esther obtained favour in the sight of all them that looked upon her.
who had taken
So Esther was taken unto king Ahasuerus into his house royal in the tenth month, which is the month Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign.
the tenth month
And the king loved Esther above all the women, and she obtained grace and favour 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.
or, kindness. in his sight. Heb. before him. so that he set.
4:14 1 Samuel 2:8 Psalms 75:6,7 113:7,8 Ezekiel 17:24 Luke 1:48-52 Bishop Patrick observes, that those who suggest that Esther committed a great sin to come at the dignity of queen of Persia, do not consider the custom of those times and countries. Every one that the king took to his bed was married to him, and was his wife of a lower rank, as Hagar was to Abraham.
Then the king made a great feast unto all his princes and his servants, even Esther's feast; and he made a release to the provinces, and gave gifts, according to the state of the king.
A. M. 3547. B.C. 457. made a great
We learn from Herodotus and AthenÊus, that the Persian monarchs were accustomed to give their wives distinct cities and provinces for the purpose of supplying them with different articles of dress: one was assigned for ornamenting the head and neck; another provided robes, zones, etc.; and the city of Anthilla was given to a Persian queen, we read, to supply her with shoes and sandals. It is probable, therefore, that, at the desire of Esther, Ahasuerus relieved those cities and provinces that had before paid it, from this expense.
Heb. rest. gave gifts.
And when the virgins were gathered together the second time, then Mordecai sat in the king's gate.
sat in the king's gate
Esther had not yet shewed her kindred nor her people; as Mordecai had charged her: for Esther did the commandment of Mordecai, like as when she was brought up with him.
had not yet shewed
In those days, while Mordecai sat in the king's gate, two of the king's chamberlains, Bigthan and Teresh, of those which kept the door, were wroth, and sought to lay hand on the king Ahasuerus.
door. Heb. threshold. and sought.
And the thing was known to Mordecai, who told it unto Esther the queen; and Esther certified the king thereof in Mordecai's name.
and Esther certified
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 before the king.