Can you imagine having a full year of spa treatments? It might sound luxurious to us, but for the young women in Susa, any pleasure that might have been enjoyed was certainly mixed with grief, fear, and shame. When it was each girl’s turn to spend the night with King Xerxes, she was allowed to take anything she wanted to the palace—jewelry or clothing, aphrodisiacs or a gift for the King.
When her turn came, Esther only took what Hegai, the king’s eunuch, suggested. Perhaps it was her compliant spirit that won her “the favor of everyone who saw her” (v. 15). The passage says Esther was “taken” to the king (v. 16). The author uses the passive voice again, suggesting that these events were out of Esther’s control. The King was so attracted to her, though, that—after only one night—he made her queen. He threw a great banquet and declared a holiday throughout the provinces (v. 18).
How should we interpret these events? Some take an exemplary view of Scripture. They see biblical men and women as examples to be followed or as cautionary characters to be condemned. Is Esther a role model—or should we judge her actions as deplorable? Was she brave and obedient—or compromising and immoral? Either side can be argued, and the author refuses to tip his hand. Esther’s situation is described without commentary.
But isn’t that just like life? Sometimes we, too, find ourselves in confusing situations, where right and wrong are not easy to discern. We pray for wisdom and seek clarity from God’s Word. And in the end, we make the best decision we are able. We can rest easier knowing God is in control.
>> One of the lessons we can learn from the book of Esther is that God is sovereign. He works even through the very complex situations in our lives. When you find yourself in the midst of a confusing situation, remember that God promises us wisdom and gives it generously.