Esther 2:8
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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2:1-20 We see to what absurd practices those came, who were destitute of Divine revelation, and what need there was of the gospel of Christ, to purify men from the lusts of the flesh, and to bring them back to the original institution of marriage. Esther was preferred as queen. Those who suggest that Esther committed sin to come at this dignity, do not consider the custom of those times and countries. Every one that the king took was married to him, and was his wife, though of a lower rank. But how low is human nature sunk, when such as these are the leading pursuits and highest worldly happiness of men! Disappointment and vexation must follow; and he most wisely consults his enjoyment, even in this present life, who most exactly obeys the precepts of the Divine law. But let us turn to consider the wise and merciful providence of God, carrying on his deep but holy designs in the midst of all this. And let no change in our condition be a pretext for forgetting our duties to parents, or the friends who have stood in their place.Hadassah, הדסה hădassâh from הדס hădas ("myrtle") would seem to have been the Hebrew, and Esther the Persian, name of the damsel. Esther is thought to be connected through the Zend with ἀστήρ astēr, "star." But there is not at present any positive evidence of the existence in Old Persian of a kindred word. 5. Now in Shushan the palace there was a certain Jew—Mordecai held some office about the court. But his "sitting at the king's gate" (Es 2:21) does not necessarily imply that he was in the humble condition of a porter; for, according to an institute of Cyrus, all state officers were required to wait in the outer courts till they were summoned into the presence chamber. He might, therefore, have been a person of some official dignity. This man had an orphan cousin, born during the exile, under his care, who being distinguished by great personal beauty, was one of the young damsels taken into the royal harem on this occasion. She had the good fortune at once to gain the good will of the chief eunuch [Es 2:9]. Her sweet and amiable appearance made her a favorite with all who looked upon her (Es 2:15, last clause). Her Hebrew name (Es 2:7) was Hadassah, that is, "myrtle," which, on her introduction into the royal harem, was changed to Esther, that is, the star Venus, indicating beauty and good fortune [Gesenius]. 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. So it came to pass, when the king's commandment and decree was heard,.... In the several provinces of his kingdom:

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.

(o) Ibid. (Antiqu. l. 11. c. 6. sect. 2.)

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.
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. When, after these things, the wrath of King Ahashverosh was laid (שׁך, from שׁכך, to be sunk, spoken of wrath to be laid), he remembered Vashti and what she had done, and what was decreed against her (גּזר, to determine, to decree irrevocably; comp. גּזרה, 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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