Monday, November 26, 2012

they began happily ever after

...the king loved Esther more than all the women, and she won grace and favor in his sight more than all the virgins, so that he set the royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti.
Esther 2:17

Esther was the "winner" of a year-long beauty pageant. The king's advisors got the bright idea to make a public spectacle of the search for a queen to replace Vashti. And so this massive search led to a large harem assembled from across the Persian empire. The goal was for Ahasuerus to pick a new queen from among them. This was sort of like "X-factor", but with sex and politics thrown in for good measure. And one young Jewish woman was among the crowded field of contestants.

For one year these women were pampered and sequestered. They were given the best beauty treatments of the day. It was like living at a spa at royal expense. Then one by one they were brought before the king in some sort of court contest. When Esther was summoned, her beauty, protocol, graciousness, and charm all immediately caught the eye of the king. There was an overwhelming attraction and he made her his new replacement queen, thus permanently deposing the disgraced Vashti.

In most romantic tales this would have been the ending. But in Esther, now that the girl has found her Prince Charming, the story is just beginning. All of the preceding events were the background to a much bigger story. A story in which the fate of a people and the sovereign work of the hand of God are crucially told to us. It is filled with political intrigue, big-scope suspense, and personal conviction. From here on out the Book of Esther is not a romance, but a thriller.

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