Esther is a wonderful young girl (about 12 or 13) who was obedient and faithful. She was carried away to Shushan in Chaldea which is south of where Daniel and Ezekiel were taken to in Babylon. Her life is a great example of obedience. She was obedient to Mordecai her cousin and the inspiration she received from God. She is in a similar situation as Daniel, being in the palace of the ruler but God had her handle herself differently.
E.W. Bullinger remarks that the Book of Esther began around 471 B.C. The king of Persia and Media at this time was Astyages who reigned from India to Ethiopia. In the Book of Esther he is called Ahasuerus, which is a title means the venerable king. This is the same king called Darius the Mede in Daniel 5. In 471 B.C. Astyages (Ahasuerus) is about 17-18 years old. However in Daniel 5:31 God says that Darius received the kingdom when he was 63 years old in 426 B.C. It is possible that the reference in Daniel 5 is in regard to receiving Chaldea after Belshazzar king of Chaldea was slain. He was already king over Babylon. The only reason why I mention this is that this same king-Astyages--called Darius/Ahasuerus/Artaxerxes is influenced by Esther, Daniel, Nehemiah and Ezra.
The Book of Esther begins with Ahasuerus (the venerable king Astyages) throwing a huge feast for his princes, nobles and servants--the power of Persia and Media--showing the greatness of his kingdom for 180 days. His dignitaries probably visited in succession, not all at once. After this feast he threw another seven-day party for all those in his palace at Shushan. Vashti, his queen, was also having a feast for the women in the royal house. On the seventh day "when the heart of the king was merry with wine" he called for Vashti his queen to show off her great beauty. But she refused to come. Of course this made the king mad and it was determined that her behavior was not a good example to all of the other women of Media and Persia so another fair maiden was sought to replace her. All throughout the provinces searches were made to bring in fair young virgins.
:5 Now in Shushan the palace there was a certain Jew,
whose name was Mordecai,
the son of Jair,
the son of Shimei,
the son of Kish, a Benjamite;
:6 Who had been carried away from Jerusalem with the captivity
which had been carried away with Jeconiah king of Judah,
whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away.
[II Kings 24:8-12, Jeconiah is Jehoiachin, about 489 B.C.]
:7 And he brought up Hadassah,
that is, Esther,
his uncle's daughter: [this makes Esther Mordecai's cousin]
for she had neither father nor mother,
and the maid was fair and beautiful;
when her father and mother were dead,
took for his own daughter.
:8 So it came to pass,
when the king's commandment and his decree was heard,
and when many maidens were gathered together unto Shushan the palace,
to the custody of Hegai,
that Esther was brought also unto the king's house,
to the custody of Hegai,
keeper of the women.
:9 And the maiden pleased him,
and she obtained kindness of him;
and he speedily gave her her things for purification,
with such things as belonged to her,
and seven maidens, which were meet to be given her, out of the king's house:
and he preferred her
and her maids
unto the best place of the house of the women.
:10 Esther had not shewed her people nor her kindred: [that she was Judean]
for Mordecai had charged her that she should not shew it.
Compare this to Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. They boldly proclaimed who they were, refused to eat meat offered unto idols and refused to bow to idols etc. Someone else's experiences and revelation doesn't pertain to all. Just because Daniel didn't hide his heritage doesn't mean God wanted Esther to reveal hers. There is a purpose. It is wonderful how she obeys Mordecai and keeps her heritage a secret.
:11 And Mordecai walked every day before the court of the women's house,
to know how Esther did,
and what should become of her.
:12 Now when every maid's turn was come to go in to king Ahasuerus,
after that she had been twelve months,
according to the manner of the women,
(for so were the days of their purifications accomplished,
to wit, six months with oil of myrrh,
and six months with sweet odours,
and with other things for the purifying of the women;)
[to remove the menstruation and instruct her sexually]
:13 Then thus came every maiden unto the king;
whatsoever she desired was given her
to go with her out of the house of the women unto the king's house.
:14 In the evening she went,
and on the morrow she returned into the second house of the women,
to the custody of Shaashgaz,
the king's chamberlain,
which kept the concubines:
she came in unto the king no more,
except the king delighted in her,
and that she were called by name.
:15 Now when the turn of Esther,
the daughter of Abihail
the uncle of Mordecai,
who had taken her for his daughter,
was come to go in unto the king,
she required nothing but what Hegai the king's chamberlain,
the keeper of the women,
And Esther obtained favour in the sight of all that looked upon her.
Esther radiated with beauty as God's people do. She was beautiful and she must have handled herself well to make that kind of impression.
:16 So Esther was taken unto king Ahasuerus into his house royal in the
which is the month Tebeth,
in the seventh year of his reign.
:17 And the king loved Esther above all the women,
and she obtained grace and favour in his sight more than all the virgins;
so that he set the royal crown upon her head,
and made her queen instead of Vashti.
:18 Then the king made a great feast unto all his princes and his servants,
even Esther's feast;
and he made a release to the provinces,
and gave gifts,
according to the state of the king.
:19 And when the virgins were gathered together the second time,
then Mordecai sat in the king's gate.
:20 Esther had not yet shewed her kindred nor her people;
as Mordecai had charged her:
for Esther did the commandment of Mordecai,
like as when she was brought up with him.
This is great obedience. Esther has also learned to not tell all she knows. She is not a blabbermouth. When one talks excessively information is given that isn't always expedient.
Next week we will see how Esther's position was essential to Christline.