In this chapter we read of polar opposites of emotions and actions; one of which deals with favor, the other that illustrates cruelty.
After several weeks, King Ahasuerus found himself alone and without companionship of the queen. Friends and/or aides observed this and made a suggestion to search the land for a woman who pleased the king and make her queen instead of Vashti. This did in fact happen and for Esther, as we’ll soon discover.
Scores women were gathered from across the land, among whom was Esther or Hadassah. This orphan girl had been raised by Mordecai, even though she was his niece, he was old enough to be her father or uncle. He provided her counsel as how to act and respond to the various people in charge of this potential season of transition. One of the most significant bits of counsel was not to reveal her heritage, that of being a Jewess.
The favor of the Lord went before her which was evident in the manner in which Hegai treated and positioned her. After twelve months of preparation; six of oil and six of perfume. That twelve month period provided a time of for several things; one was to see if the woman was still a virgin and didn’t give birth to another’s child with the king expected to take care of it. Another was to rid her of any lingering body odor from the foods and environment she had lived in previously.
After this process each woman was requested to come before the king, for a type of interview; which dealt primarily with her attractiveness. When Esther was called, she deferred to Hegai’s wisdom and counsel as what to wear and how he should appear before the king. It was in this season that Esther found favor in the eyes of the king and she was made Queen Esther.
She still had kept secret her heritage, by directive from Mordecai.
Mordecai, while sitting at the gate, discovered a plot against the King and some even believe this included Esther as well; where their lives would be taken. Mordecai informed Esther who in turn shared it with the king. When the investigation discovered what had been reported was true; the two eunuchs were hung or placed on stakes, a very pained and cruel form of death. A record was made of this, which listed Mordecai as being the one who revealed the plot.
God’s favor can open doors for us that we would have never imagined, as for Esther. This was in part, including favor due to submission (to Mordecai) and deferring to authority’s (to Hegai) wisdom and understanding.