Esther 2: The Bachelor, c.480 BCE

Then the king commanded that all the beautiful young virgins from every corner of the kingdom be gathered at Susa and housed in the harem and given access to all the best beauty aids and then he would choose the most pleasing to be Miss Pers–er–the next queen.

The gathered virgins would each spend a year in the harem undergoing rigorous beauty treatments and charm schooling before being presented to the king for deflowering. After which, she would be sent into the harem for the concubines to await her fate. If she was lucky, she would be chosen Queen. If she wasn’t, her runner-up prize was to be a sex slave in the royal harem instead. 

Among the young virgins sent to try her fate was a young Jewish orphan named Esther. Esther had been adopted by her elderly first cousin, Mordecai, and he told her that she should keep mum about her heritage in case it mitigated against her.

Now Esther, like all fairy tale princesses, was the most beautiful, the most gentle, the most charming of teenagers ever to set her dainty foot upon a Susa cobblestone. She quickly won the heart of the head eunuch, Hegai, who made sure she had the best of everything and made she her time to go to the king would be opportune–that he was in a good mood and the right level of drunk, and all.

Of course, Esther won the king’s heart as she had everyone else’s, and he proclaimed he queen and the show over. Then he declared another massive feast to celebrate.

Shortly after, Mordecai learned of a plot against the king, and passed the information on to Esther, who told the king and prevented a coup, all of which doubly secured her favor in Ahasuerus’s eyes.

 

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