Esther joins the king’s harem (Esth 2:8-2:11)

“So when the decree of the king was proclaimed, many girls were gathered in Susa the capital in the custody of Hegai. Esther also was brought to Hegai who had custody of the women in the king’s palace. The girl pleased him and won his favor. He quickly provided her with her ointments and her portion of food, as well as seven maids chosen from the king’s palace. He treated her and her maids with special favor in the harem. Esther had not disclosed her people or kindred country because Mordecai had charged her not to make it known. Every day Mordecai walked around in the courtyard of the harem, to see what would happen to Esther.”

Esther must have made the cut to join the harem of King Artaxerxes. Since she was already in Susa, it was not far for her to go. This may have helped her to adjust since she had already lived in Susa. She was part of the king’s harem preparing to meet him. Although the Greek text says the head of harem was Gai, I prefer the Hebrew Hegai. Esther got along very good with this eunuch, Hegai so that he gave her perfumes, ointments, and plenty of food. He also gave her 7 maids from the king’s palace, which seems odd. She and her maids got special favors and attention. She never revealed her Jewish background, but there was no need to do so since King Artaxerxes had been kind to Nehemiah, a Jewish official cup bearer. Mordecai wanted her to keep that quiet anyway. He also seemed to be in good with the eunuchs since he sometimes slept in the courtyard with them as in preliminaries of the Greek text to this book.

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