Chick-fil-A Biblical Family of the Day

Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy: “We support biblical families.”

Today’s Chick-fil-A Biblical Family of the Day: Ahasuerus and Esther (Esther 2:1-17).

After these things, when the anger of King Ahasuerus had abated, he remembered Vashti and what she had done and what had been decreed against her. Then the king’s servants who attended him said, “Let beautiful young virgins be sought out for the king. And let the king appoint commissioners in all the provinces of his kingdom to gather all the beautiful young virgins to the harem in the citadel of Susa under the custody of Hegai, the king’s eunuch, who is in charge of the women; let their cosmetic treatments be given them. And let the girl who pleases the king be queen instead of Vashti.” This pleased the king, and he did so.

Now there was a Jew in the citadel of Susa whose name was Mordecai son of Jair son of Shimei son of Kish, a Benjaminite. Kish had been carried away from Jerusalem among the captives carried away with King Jeconiah of Judah, whom King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon had carried away. Mordecai had brought up Hadassah, that is Esther, his cousin, for she had neither father nor mother; the girl was fair and beautiful, and when her father and her mother died, Mordecai adopted her as his own daughter. So when the king’s order and his edict were proclaimed, and when many young women were gathered in the citadel of Susa in the custody of Hegai, Esther also was taken into the king’s palace and put in the custody of Hegai, who had charge of the women. The girl pleased him and won his favor, and he quickly provided her with her cosmetic treatments and her portion of food, and with seven chosen maids from the king’s palace, and advanced her and her maids to the best place in the harem. Esther did not reveal her people or kindred, for Mordecai had charged her not to tell. Every day Mordecai would walk around in front of the court of the harem, to learn how Esther was and how she fared.

The turn came for each girl to go in to King Ahasuerus, after being twelve months under the regulations for the women, since this was the regular period of their cosmetic treatment, six months with oil of myrrh and six months with perfumes and cosmetics for women. When the girl went in to the king she was given whatever she asked for to take with her from the harem to the king’s palace. In the evening she went in; then in the morning she came back to the second harem in the custody of Shaashgaz, the king’s eunuch, who was in charge of the concubines; she did not go in to the king again, unless the king delighted in her and she was summoned by name.

When the turn came for Esther daughter of Abihail the uncle of Mordecai, who had adopted her as his own daughter, to go in to the king, she asked for nothing except what Hegai the king’s eunuch, who had charge of the women, advised. Now Esther was admired by all who saw her. When Esther was taken to King Ahasuerus in his royal palace in the tenth month, which is the month of Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign, the king loved Esther more than all the other women; of all the virgins she won his favor and devotion, so that he set the royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti.

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  • The_L

    It always bothered me how people teaching this story to adults still gloss over the whole concubine part. Esther was forced to become a whore before she was made queen.

  • Vermic

    A whole year of cosmetic treatment?  If there are beauty problems that five months of myrrh oil won’t solve, then I don’t think a sixth month will help much either.  At some point, I think, diminishing returns set in and you just have to stand up and say: enough with the myrrh oil, already. Let’s stop throwing good myrrh oil after bad.

  • Ursula L

    A year locked up is enough that if any of the women were pregnant, it would be known (and the pregnancy over) before they were sent to the king.  Because, of course, virginity can’t really be proven.  

  • Claude

    You can never be too rich or too myrrh oily.

  • Seraph4377

    I read a book once – forget the title – that gave a fictional treatment of Esther’s life.  In the book, the year was to fatten ’em up so they didn’t look like skinny little peasant girls.

  • MaryKaye

    I agree that it was probably mainly a virginity test, but I wonder if losing your peasant-girl dark skin was also a goal.  Our culture is anomalous in favoring the tan look; in most situations being tan indicates being a laborer, and it’s a mark of low status.

  • EllieMurasaki

    It’s not an anomaly so much as a shift in expectations. A white person who is tan is now someone who has hours and hours of free time to spend outside (or the money and risk tolerance for a tanning bed). A white person who is pale is someone who sits their ass in a chair all day working. The favored look is still the one that better-off people can achieve and less-well-off people not so much.

  • Ben English

     Unless of course you’re a day laborer, farmer, construction worker, or other profession that requires you to work outside in the sun.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Yeah, but [perception is that] those are all brown people. The bad sort of brown, not the sort of brown that requires white privilege and some level of money to achieve.

  • AdrianTurtle

    In addition to changes in skin and hair, there is another aspect of taking a peasant girl into the harem and “making her beautiful.” She needs to learn the manners of the court–how to move and speak like the ladies of the palace do. Somebody who moves gracefully and speaks with a lovely cultured accent is perceived as more beautiful, and it takes time to learn those things.

    Spending a year not carrying firewood and buckets of water is also going to change a person’s muscle development. Especially if she is learning to dance or play the harp or something. Those changes are going to be a lot more evident after a year than after only 6 months.

  • Claude

    Esther, repeat after me: The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain.