Ebed-melech was an Ethiopian or Cushite eunuch in King Zedekiah’s house. Eunuchs normally controlled the harem for the king. Thus he was a foreign confidant of the king. When he heard about what happened to Jeremiah, he went to the king who was sitting at the Benjamin Gate on the north side of Jerusalem. He told the king that these officials had acted wickedly by casting the prophet Jeremiah into a well to starve him to death. He was not aware that the king had given his okay to these royal officials. Ebed-melech was afraid that Jeremiah would starve to death, since there was so little bread in the city of Jerusalem.
“The turn came for each girl to go in to King Artaxerxes. This took place after being twelve months under the regulations for the women. The regular period of their beautifying treatment was six months with oil of myrrh and six months with perfumes and cosmetics for women. When the girl went in to the king, she was given whatever she desired to take with her from the harem to the king’s palace. In the evening she went in. Then in the morning, she came back to the second harem in the custody of Shaashgaz the king’s eunuch who was in charge of the concubines. She did not go in to the king again, unless the king delighted in her and she was summoned by name.”
The audition with the king was pretty simple. Each girl had to wait a year in the harem in order to be beautiful enough for the king. These girls would spend 6 months with myrrh massage treatments and another 6 months with perfume and cosmetics massage treatments. When the girl went in to visit the king, she could bring whatever she wanted with her. She would then spend the evening with the king. Then in the morning, she would be part of the concubine harem that was under the custody of another eunuch, where she stayed until and if she was called again to be with the king.