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Esther 2:8-14

Context

2:8 It so happened that when the king’s edict and his law became known 1  many young women were taken to Susa the citadel to be placed under the authority of Hegai. Esther also was taken to the royal palace 2  to be under the authority of Hegai, who was overseeing the women. 2:9 This young woman pleased him, 3  and she found favor with him. He quickly provided her with her cosmetics and her rations; he also provided her with the seven specially chosen 4  young women who were from the palace. He then transferred her and her young women to the best quarters in the harem. 5 

2:10 Now Esther had not disclosed her people or her lineage, 6  for Mordecai had instructed her not to do so. 7  2:11 And day after day Mordecai used to walk back and forth in front of the court of the harem in order to learn how Esther was doing 8  and what might happen to her.

2:12 At the end of the twelve months that were required for the women, 9  when the turn of each young woman arrived to go to King Ahasuerus – for in this way they had to fulfill their time of cosmetic treatment: six months with oil of myrrh, and six months with perfume and various ointments used by women – 2:13 the woman would go to the king in the following way: Whatever she asked for would be provided for her to take with her from the harem to the royal palace. 2:14 In the evening she went, and in the morning she returned to a separate part 10  of the harem, to the authority of Shaashgaz the king’s eunuch who was overseeing the concubines. She would not go back to the king unless the king was pleased with her 11  and she was requested by name.

1 tn Heb “were heard” (so NASB); NRSV “were (had been NIV) proclaimed.”

2 tn Heb “the house of the king.” So also in vv. 9, 13. Cf. NLT “the king’s harem.”

3 tn Heb “was good in his eyes”; NLT “Hegai was very impressed with Esther.”

4 tn Heb “being looked at (with favor).”

5 tn Heb “of the house of the women” (so KJV, ASV). So also in vv. 11, 13, 14.

6 tn Cf. v. 20, where the same phrase occurs but with the word order reversed.

7 tn Heb “that she not tell” (NRSV similar); NASB “that she should not make them known.”

8 tn Heb “to know the peace of Esther.”

9 tc The LXX does not include the words “that were required for the women.”

tn Heb “to be to her according to the law of the women”; NASB “under the regulations for the women.”

10 tn Heb “second.” The numerical adjective שֵׁנִי (sheniy, “second”) is difficult here. As a modifier for “house” in v. 14 the word would presumably refer to a second part of the harem, one which was under the supervision of a separate official. But in this case the definite article would be expected before “second” (cf. LXX τὸν δεύτερον, ton deuteron). Some scholars emend the text to שֵׁנִית (shenit, “a second time”), but this does not completely resolve the difficulty since the meaning remains unclear. The translation adopted above follows the LXX and understands the word to refer to a separate group of women in the king’s harem, a group housed apparently in a distinct part of the residence complex.

11 tc The LXX does not include the words “was pleased with her.”



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