“Ahasuerus Seeks a New Queen—Mordecai Presents Esther—Esther Pleases the King and Is Chosen as Queen—Mordecai Exposes a Plot against the King”

(See Esther 2:1–23.)

Dr. Ellis T. Rasmussen wrote:

“A queen-contest was held to seek Vashti’s replacement. Young women were gathered from all realms by government officers. There is no indication that Esther’s guardian, Mordecai, offered her, but she also was taken into the contest.

“Mordecai was a great-grandson of Kish, a Benjamite ‘who had been carried away from Jerusalem with the captivity . . . with Jeconiah king of Judah,’ ca. 598 B.C., some one hundred twelve years before. He regarded his fair cousin as ‘his own daughter’ (Esth. 2:5–7).

“No reason is given for Mordecai’s advice that she hide her Jewish identity, but disclosure of it at a crucial time in the events became vital. Mordecai’s own Jewishness was known, however, and that became a critical factor.

“The process of Esther’s being chosen queen needs little analysis or explanation. Questions may arise about a good Jewish girl being taken in marriage by a gentile king, but it may have been because the Lord was preparing her opportunity to save her people.

“Esther’s name is interesting. Her Hebrew name was Hadassah, which is also the name of a hardy, perennial ground cover plant called myrtle. It bears five-petal flowers that are like little blue or white stars; Esther is an English rendition of a Persian word meaning ‘star.’ That name also appears sometimes as Ishtar, the name of the goddess-companion to Marduk, which name has the same root as Mordecai. Some symbolism therein may be significant.

“An eminent Jewish women’s organization for social and civic service is called by the name ‘Hadassah.’ . . .

“[The] incident [of a plot against King Ahasuerus] became a vital link in the later elevation of Mordecai as a hero and the degradation of Haman as a villain.”

(A Latter-day Saint Commentary on the Old Testament [1993], 387.)

Comments