A brief glance at pre-Esther commentary in Scripture, gives insight into the culture in which Esther found herself. Women were easily acquired…and just as easily discarded. With a single denial of the king’s wishes, the previous queen, Vashti, was removed from the king’s harem. This queen was known for her stunning loveliness. It was the feature the king had wanted to flaunt. His wish to parade her before his nobles said he desired her, that she held the king attention. But in a moment, this attractive queen, who had once pleased the king, was easily dismissed, banished with a stamp of the royal seal. Therefore, Esther understood that her appeal to the king, was temporary at best.
In movies and in literary depictions of Esther's story, the king is so besotted with Esther that it takes little stretching of our imaginations to envision that this attraction caused him to extend his scepter to her. We assume that he favored her to such an extent that he was glad to see her. We like to think of her as his soul mate, his true love. We want to believe he found something in her that dulled his need for anyone else. However, shortly after she was crowned queen, Esther found herself in a position of easy replacement. Scripture says, in Esther 2:9 “…the virgins were gathered together a second time…” There was another round up of young virgins AFTER Esther wore the royal robes. Potential queen replacements waited in the wings, warming the king’s bed, giving Esther very little security in her sex appeal, her position as queen, or in the king’s attachment to her. Even in a system in which harems were common, the awareness that someone more graceful, more delightful, or more pleasing to the king and who could easily find favor in his eyes would have undermined Esther’s reliance the king’s devotion.
When Mordecai encouraged Esther to go before the king and plead for the lives of the Jews, Esther knew genuine fear. She faced the very real possibility of death. This king may have chosen her as queen, but he still acted on whims. The fact that Esther would step into his inner sanctum without having been called into his presence was just as unbecoming of a woman as Vashti’s failing to go into his presence when he called. Both would have been actions not permitted to a woman of the time.
Truly, Esther’s acceptance of the king was an act of God. It is a story that requires no embellishment on our part because God was the true hero.
Today, people can look into our lives and romanticize our situations. To them, it can appear that we have certain advantages because of who we know or because of particular beneficial circumstances we may have experienced. The fact, however, is we are much like Esther. The successes that we enjoy, the blessings we receive, and the eternal rewards extended to us are nothing short of the favor of God. As He was for Esther, He is the hero in our story.
Tip/Tidbit: Give God the glory for what you see in other people. Honor Him for what you have. No skill, no opportunity, or no accomplishment could have been attained without His kindness and favor.