So it came to pass, when the king's commandment and his decree was heard, and when many maidens were gathered together to Shushan the palace, to the custody of Hegai, that Esther was brought also to the king's house, to the custody of Hegai, keeper of the women.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Esther was brought, or taken, and that by force, as that word oft signifies. So great was the power and tyranny of the Persian kings, that they could and did take what persons they liked to their own use.
and when many maidens were gathered unto Shushan the palace, to the custody of Hegai; Josephus (o) says, there were gathered to the number of four hundred:
that Esther was brought also unto the king's house, to the custody of Hegai, the keeper of the women: by force, as Aben Ezra and the former Targum, and so the word is sometimes used.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.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)8. the king’s commandment and his decree] the former substantive referring to his orally expressed order, the latter being the same word as that used for ‘the laws of the Persians and the Medes’ (Esther 1:19).
Hegai] See Esther 2:3.
was taken] The Targum Shçnî says that Esther was hidden by Mordecai, before being removed from his custody by the exercise of the king’s authority.Verse 8. - His decree. Literally, "his law" - the same word as that which occurs in the phrase "the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not" (Daniel 6:8, 12, etc.). Hegai. The "Hege" of ver. 3. Slight differences in the mode of spelling names were common at this period. Esther was brought. Some have rendered, "was forcibly brought;" and in the second Targum on Esther there is a story that Mordecai concealed her to prevent her from becoming an inmate of the royal harem, and that the king's authority was invoked to force him to give her up; but the Hebrew word translated "was brought" does not contain any idea of violence; and the Persian Jews probably saw no disgrace, but rather honour, in one of their nation becoming even a secondary wife to the great king. Daniel 4:14); a desire for reunion with her evidently making itself felt, accompanied perhaps by the thought that she might have been too harshly treated. To prevent, then, a return of affection for his rejected wife ensuing, - a circumstance which might greatly endanger all who had concurred in effecting her repudiation, - the servants of the king, i.e., the court officials who were about him, said: "Let there be young maidens, virgins fair to look on, sought for the king." בּתוּלות, virgins, is added to נערות, the latter word signifying merely young women of marriageable age. Esther 2:3. "And let the king appoint (ויפקד is the continuation of יבקּשׁוּ) officers in all the provinces of his kingdom, that they may gather together every virgin who is fair to look on to the citadel of Susa, to the house of the women, unto the hand of Hega the king's eunuch, the keeper of the women, and let them appoint their things for purification; and let the maiden which pleaseth the king be queen instead of Vashti." To the hand of Hega, i.e., to his care and superintendence, under which, as appears from Esther 2:12, every maiden received into the house of the women had to pass a year before she was brought before the king. Hega (called Hegai, Esther 2:8 and Esther 2:15) was an eunuch, the keeper of the women, i.e., superintendent of the royal harem. ונתון is the infin. abs., used instead of the verb. fin. to give prominence to the matter: let them appoint. תּמרקום, from מרק, to rub, to polish, signifies purification and adornment with all kind of precious ointments; comp. Esther 2:12. This speech pleased the king, and he acted accordingly.
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