We are in the second chapter of our Esther Bible Study. Specifically we will review:
Esther 2:8-10, New International Version (NIV)
8 When the king’s order and edict had been proclaimed, many young women were brought to the citadel of Susa and put under the care of Hegai. Esther also was taken to the king’s palace and entrusted to Hegai, who had charge of the harem. 9 She pleased him and won his favor. Immediately he provided her with her beauty treatments and special food. He assigned to her seven female attendants selected from the king’s palace and moved her and her attendants into the best place in the harem.
10 Esther had not revealed her nationality and family background, because Mordecai had forbidden her to do so.
These verses made me stop and pause… What was it about Esther that pleased Hegai and won his favor?
I think there may be some clues based upon Esther’s character. We already know she submits well to authority – she had not revealed her nationality because Mordecai had forbidden her to do so. But she also displays some other important traits beyond her physical beauty.
Esther had courage in the face of adversity. She was a foreigner in Persia and a part of a persecuted class of people – the Jews. In addition, she was a female in a society where women did not have equal rights – they were treated like property. Can you imagine? Being stripped from your family and everything familiar as a teenage girl and being tossed into a highly charged competition with the most beautiful women in the nation? Not to mention all the political ramifications – the gossip and the manipulation that would have gone on among the virgins of the harem in their quest to become the new queen. Being so young and innocent and being separated from family must have been hard enough, but to have been thrust into such a volatile situation would have been daunting even for the wisest of women.
I believe the fact that Esther is a Jew is also a valuable quality that separates her from all the other Persian women held in captivity awaiting review by the King. Esther, unlike the Persian women, would have had access to the old testament and would have been familiar with it’s teachings.
Joshua 1:9, (NIV)
9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
Proverbs 3:5-6, (NIV)
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
Esther, by virtue of her actions must’ve had some sense of courage in dealing with her circumstances. She did not allow herself to be discouraged (which would have made her unattractive) but instead trusted in the Lord and submitted to Him and the authority He had placed in her life – Mordecai and Hegai. She shows humility and wisdom in her steps.
Another important point to make about Mordecai – he was a Godly mentor in Esther’s life. It is unwise to submit to those who are not under God’s leading, but having a mentor in your life that can act as Godly counsel is very important. The book of Psalms talks about the person who meditates on the words of God and says:
Psalm 1:3, (NIV)
3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers.
Esther was young but also wise. She had witnessed Mordecai’s life and his devotion to her and her well-being. She followed her Godly mentor’s advice and was finding that she too was prospering despite her circumstances.
These verses are an example of proceeding with wisdom in our steps and not acting out in fear even when we face difficult circumstances. We are well advised to put our trust in the Lord and allow Him to guide our steps. It is beneficial and even wise to seek Godly counsel and follow the advice of those who follow the Lord and who have our best interests in mind. And as followers of Christ, we should have courage even when the future is uncertain.
I’d love to hear from you and what you’ve gathered from these verses and our study on Esther. Please leave a comment under the specific post and share your thoughts with other readers. I pray Proverbs 3:5-6 for you, that you trust in the Lord and that He directs your paths.
In His Grip,
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