spa day? Nah…I’ll take a spa year, thanks…

Do you know when the FIRST beauty pageant happened?  Nope, wasn’t Vegas.  Nope, wasn’t Hawaii.  It was Persia!

Remember Esther?  Nooo, not Aunt Esther from Sanford and Son….Esther from the BIBLE….she was known in her village as Hadassah but soon became the wife of Ahasuerus, king of Persia.  She succeeded Queen Vashti who had the courage to REFUSE a demand from the king!  In other words, the king was celebrating a feast that lasted seven days and was open to all the people.  Wine was flowing and the guests were allowed to drink as much or as little as they wanted.  And drink they did. It was a par-taaay.

The king was wasted and ordered Queen Vashti to be brought to him so he could show off her beauty.  The queen gave the servants “hand” (as in ‘talk to the hand’) and said, “I don’t think so.”

The king became enraged and issued an order for a new queen.  Meanwhile, little Hadassah is being raised by her Uncle Mordecai, who was a Benjamite official at the palace gate.  He saw the decree that the king was looking for beautiful, young virgins and sent for her immediately.

This is where the beauty pageant starts.  All the young maidens were brought to the king to be paraded in front of him, so he could decide who was to be queen.  Right now there are women raising one eyebrow thinking that it was a little sexist, but this is old times we’re talking about, and that’s how they did it…so let’s just  run with it.

So Esther was a beautiful and a devout Jewess that only served the true God and did not worship idols.  And when she was presented to the king, he decidedly fell in love with her over all the other maidens and chose her to be queen.  After she became queen, her name was changed from Hadassah to Esther, meaning ‘star‘.

But here’s the coolio part.  So before she was brought to the king, Esther received beauty treatments and special foods.  Ok, let me give a little more detail here.  She received TWELVE months of beauty treatments.  ONE YEAR… TWELVE MONTHS, PEOPLE… She got six months of  an ‘oil of myrrh’ treatments and six months of ‘perfumes and cosmetics‘.  Can you imagine?  Living in a spa for a year? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? (I am so overcome that I have to take a minute here….)

Esther was beautiful and smart (and now smelled really, really good), and even better, she had an amazing heart for her Jewish people.    The law of the land required that anyone who approached the king without an invitation would die, unless the king agreed to see them.  It was a risk Esther was willing to take and she asked Mordecai to fast for her and to pray for her protection.

Esther used her femininity to catch the eye of the king as she stood in the courtyard all dolled up and smelling good.  She was hoping that he would look her way, and look her way he did!! See, she wasn’t allowed to approach him unless he held out the golden scepter… Can you imagine that the only time you could talk to your husband was to wait for him to hold out his golden scepter?  Wait….let’s put it into modern days here….you walk into the den as he is sitting on his throne (recliner) and just stand there hoping he looks your way and holds out the scepter (tv remote).  Boy, it must have been tough living in those days.  I’m afraid that I would be dead in a couple of hours after the wedding.

But that is why her name is Queen Esther and not Queen Sandi.  The king asked Esther what she requested and that sets the plan into motion to saving her people from the evil Haman, the kings right-hand man, who wished to destroy all the Jews.

What is beautiful about this story is that Esther used her beauty for the glory of her people and the glory of her God!  She wasn’t boastful or greedy.  Instead she was humble and merciful and even though the twelve months of beauty treatments made her beautiful on the outside…she was beautiful on the inside. She has become one of the jewish people’s greatest heroines because she served with fearlessness, intelligence, and don’t forget….she smelled reeeeally, reeeeally good.

Psalm 45:11 “The king is enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your Lord.”

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