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Day 2: Chapter 2

Have you ever seen a beauty contest? Well, in a way, that’s what Esther was here. Xerxes seems very interested in finding a “beautiful young virgin” for his bride, and he gathers young women that interest him. The women were given beauty treatments for twelve months, then paraded in front of Xerxes.

This may sound like a fun, spa event. On the contrary, women were taken against their will, thus depriving children of their mothers and husbands of their wives. Xerxes wanted virgins, but they were in short supply. There would be emotional deprivation for the women as well, being away from everything and everyone they knew for a year. And the beauty regime included some painful treatments. The rejected women were then sent back to their families or onto the street.

But… Xerxes picked Esther, and she was crowned queen. What do you think she was feeling, given what happened to Queen Vashti? Would she have wanted to be queen? Would she have had the feeling that God was orchestrating this scene? We don’t know, but we can be sure that God was using Esther for his purposes.

Notice that in verses 10 and 20, it’s mentioned that Esther has kept secret her family background and nationality. Why? Because Mordecai has told her to do so. This must be important, since it is mentioned twice in one chapter. Esther was risking her life in hiding her identity.

Compare Vashti with Esther. Vashti out and out refused to attend the banquet when Xerxes told her to appear; Esther “follows Mordecai’s instructions as she had done when he was bringing her up.”

After the description of the “beauty pageant,” we quickly turn to serious intrigue, with Mordecai uncovering a plot to kill Xerxes. Mordecai tells Esther, who tells the king and… Voila! Esther has street cred with the king. She is reliable in the eyes of the king. Was it a coincidence that Mordecai heard what he did?

Key Verse:
“Now the king was attracted to Esther more than to any of the other women, and she won his favor and approval more than any of the other virgins.” ~ Esther 2:17

Questions to ponder:

  • When has God used you for his purposes? Do you always have to feel good about something for it to be God?
  • Do you think Esther was being deceitful by not saying she was a Jew?
  • When have you been at the right place at the right time?
  • Do you think that God can use our appearance for his purposes?
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