Esther 2:1 “After these things…”
No specific time given. According to commentary and historians could have been several years, after a military campaign against Greece.
1 “…he remembered Vashti, what she had done, and what had been decreed against her”
Regret. He remembered her, her actions, and his own actions. But since their law couldn’t be revoked, he was stuck with his rash behavior.
2-4 “…Let beautiful young virgins be sought for the king…let the young woman who pleases the king be queen”
Not a contest per se. They wouldn’t be volunteering.
5 “…Jew whose name was Mordecai…”
Introduction of Mordecai, Esther’s cousin. Born during the exile. Apparently his great grandfather Kish had been one of the ones taken to Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar.
7 “…Hadassah, that is, Esther, his uncle’s daughter…When her father and mother died, Mordecai took her as his own daughter”
Hadassah was her Jewish name. Commentary doesn’t specify, but Esther was probably Persian meaning Venus. Doesn’t tell how old she was when her parents died.
8 “…Esther also was taken to the king’s palace…”
Esther was caught in the decree for young women for the king.
9 “…the young woman pleased him…”
She pleased the custodian to the point he did extra things for her. Gave her extra supplies, maidservants, and the best place in the house. Probably a combination of very good looks and kind personality.
10 “Esther had not revealed her people or family, for Mordecai had charged her not to reveal it.”
Reason isn’t given. I’ve heard people preach on this and say it was because the Jews were hated/despised and could be killed immediately. Commentary doesn’t say. They may have been despised by some, but it obviously wasn’t universal as certain Jews were raised to positions of prominence in the Babylonian and Persian empires. Not to mention, the exiles were still a separated bunch, although some had assimilated somewhat. It would have been easy to wipe out a large number of them if that had been the general feeling toward them. My best guess is that Mordecai didn’t want her singled out as a Jew alone. He was also probably already aware of Haman and knew there could be trouble there.
11 “…Mordecai paced in front of the court of the women’s quarters…”
Wasn’t allowed to see her, but was probably told of her welfare by the servants who attended.
12 “…twelve months’ preparation…”
A whole year to get ready.
14 “In the evening she went, and in the morning she returned to the second house of the women, to the custody of Shaashgaz, the king’s eunuch who kept the concubines. She would not go in to the king again unless the king delighted in her and called for her by name.”
Choosing the queen. Each woman would get a single shot. Spend the night with the king and then move to the house of the concubines, never to sleep with the king again unless he called for her specifically. I’m sure the concubines were kept in decent conditions in the event the king required them again, but it obviously wasn’t the best life position. Apparently remained the property of the king for the rest of their lives.
15 “…she requested nothing but what Hegai…advised…”
She took the custodian’s advice on what to take with her to the king. Intelligent as well as good looking.
17 “…he set the royal crown upon her head and made her queen instead of Vashti”
Esther made queen. Interesting choice of wording, queen instead of Vashti. Text doesn’t say so this is only my impression, but given how they dealt with the king’s harem, I’m betting when they removed Vashti, all they did was remove the crown and send her on to the house of the concubines along with the others. She would no longer be queen, just one of the other women in the harem.
19, 21 “When virgins were gathered together a second time, Mordecai sat within the king’s gate…In those days, while Mordecai sat within the king’s gate…”
Not sure which time this is referring to, a second gathering during which Esther was taken or the gathering when Esther was taken with the gathering when Vashti was taken being the first. I tend to lean toward the latter due to the repeat of the phrase regarding Mordecai. The focus seems to be placed on a point in time to explain what is about to be mentioned, namely the assassination plot of the doorkeepers. The plot arises after Vashti is deposed and a search for a new queen is initiated. Commentary suggests the plot may have been because of what happened to her. I can see that with this emphasis.
19 “…Mordecai sat within the king’s gate”
Had not given much thought to this, given the wording, but commentary suggests Mordecai may have had a place of prominence within the administration. King’s gate may very well refer to the outer chambers of the palace where those who attended the king would be until the king called for them. Not sure if that wording is common or a Hebrew way of looking at it, similar to how Jewish men would sit in the gates of their cities and conduct business. At any rate, considering all that is said regarding Mordecai’s actions in the book of Esther, it makes more sense that he would have some position as opposed to just being someone hanging around outside the palace.
20 “Esther had not revealed her family…”
Since she had not revealed her connection to Mordecai, bringing the news of the plot to the king in Mordecai’s name wouldn’t be seen as personal favoritism as it might if all knew she was related to him. Having that separation may have been a possible political advantage which Mordecai considered.
23 “…it was written in the book of the chronicles in the presence of the king”
An incident that will play a role in the coming drama. Surprising that nothing was done for Mordecai at this time.
I hope you enjoy reading and studying His word. May it accomplish what He desires. Please feel free to comment or post questions. Thanks for reading!
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.