I am still reading, Tommy Tenney’s “Finding favour with the king”. Tenney may have answered one of my questions about Esther. I could never really figure out why Esther was picked (I always felt there had to be something else apart from the God factor). She was just one of maybe 400 other (some commentators feel the number could have been as higher as 1400) beautiful girls. We are told that she alone (?) took the advice of Hegai, who was in charge of the king’s harem (2:15). But what was the advice?

In Esther 2:13-14 we are told that the girls could take whatever they wanted with them and that they were returned to a different part of the harem the next morning. Apparently the girls were allowed to keep whatever they took with them. Archaeologically digs of the area have found large amounts of jewellery so it seems they went to see the king dripping in jewellery. In this culture it may not have been that unusual anyway. And why not? If your chances of being queen were 1 in 400 at best, why not get what you can for yourself out of the whole abusive exercise. It may not have all been selfish either. Esther continued to have contact with her cousin from the king’s palace and perhaps the other girls also continued to have contact with their family members. Another thing is why would you want to be queen anyway? To me, it was a hazardous business. I mean, there is no word of what happen to Vashti, some feel she was executed. It would have been safer in the harem, kings generally don’t kill their concubines.

Anyway maybe Hegai advice was don’t go dripping in jewellery it makes you look like a gold digger. Which was a big risk for Esther to take, she could end up with very little, but it helps me to understand why Esther could have looked different to all the others. I find someone dripping in jewellery quite unattractive and it would have been obvious they were only there for what they could get for themselves.