The story of Esther in the bible tells of a beautiful young woman who happened to find favour in the eyes of a King named Hegai, and became his Queen in return. What was unknown about Esther, however, was that she was a Jew, and when the rest of the Jews in the province were being subject to a plot that would destroy them all, she used her position to fight for her people and save them from this massacre.
As I read through the book of Esther, the following verse in Chapter 2 made me reflect on my current season in life and brought to light a few lessons that challenged me to review about myself.
Esther 2:8-9 reads:
“When the king had issued his new proclamation and many young women were being brought to Susa, Esther was among them. She too was put in the royal palace in the care of Hegai, who had charge of the harem. Hegai liked Esther, and she won his favour. He lost no time in beginning her beauty treatment of massage and special diet. He gave her the best place in the harem and assigned seven young women specially chosen from the royal palace to serve her.”
🚩 I do not intend to project my perceptions onto anyone else’s beliefs and revelations of these verses. The following lessons I learnt are unilateral.
🚩 I’m sharing this to encourage others, not to assume that this is the only lessons one can perceive from these verses, and in light of the rest of the Book.
🚩 These lessons have been adapted to my personal season, and should be taken as such. Gauge the overall message and if it resonates with you in a different scope, amazing!
1. Tend to your garden.
“Hegai liked Esther and she won his favour”. There’s little said about what exactly of Esther made the King more inclined to her over the rest of the women, but one thing we can be assure of is that Esther must have displayed enough for the King to have crowned her his Queen. In this particular scenario, it was most likely her beauty. But in general, what does this look like for us? Be so diligent to upkeep your garden. As I’m currently in the season of seeking new employment, what does this look like for me? Develop your skills, hone your craft, and always be willing to learn new things, so that when it’s time to demonstrate my worth and value, I too will win favour in the eyes of my new employer. What could you be doing now that could help you be favoured & chosen when the opportunity presents itself? Which talents will you develop? What new skill will you learn? Who do you need to seek counsel from? Let us never grow weary in developing and pruning our garden.
2. Always be humble and don’t grow complacent.
Pride was the fall of Queen Vashti, the Queen prior to Esther, because when the King summoned her to join his banquet, she refused to come and this made the king furious, leading him to dismiss her and sought after a new Queen [Esther 1:12-20]. Queen Vashti knew she was beautiful, she knew King Hegai was in awe of her beauty and because of this, she grew prideful and began to act out of character, or of that which was expected of her. Later through the book of Esther, we see how she did just that. She upheld the favour the King first had for her, and maintained his desire to please her [Esther 5:2-3; 7:2; 8:7-8]. Esther understood, and respected, the power dynamics in the palace but knew how to navigate them in a way that gave her leverage and allowed her to make requests which later favoured her people. What does this look like for me? Go above and beyond in the workspace you’re currently in. Put in the extra work, support your manager to make their caseload easier to handle, offer ways to help your teammates and other teams. When the time comes, you too will be rewarded for your humility and diligence.
3. Be in the right place, at the right time.
When King Hegai was in pursuit of a new wife, Esther was among the group of women that were brought to Susa to be chosen from [Esther 2:6-8]. This is sometimes hard to gauge, especially in the context of our careers, but with the more opportunities you seek after, the connections you build, the lifestyle you nurture, the mannerisms and the culture you learn of the people you wish to associate yourself; this help to foster you into a better position that will lead you into the best opportunity for you.
4. Be integral
Esther was grounded in her identity and remained true to who she was as a Jew. When she became Queen, she could have forgotten about her past and the community she came from, and continued in her royalty. This was tested when Mordecai sought Esther’s help after learning of Haman’s plot to destroy the Jews [Esther 3]. In any, and every, area of your life, know and understand the values, morals & principles you want to be known for and identified by, as these will be your anchor in any situation and environment you find yourself in. They will also reflect the type of places you find yourself in, the people you associate yourself with and be your call to elevation.
5. Help level others up
In response to Mordecai’s request, Esther used her privelage to help Mordecai and the rest of the Jews in the province by seeking favour in the King and essentially saving her people [Esther 4:12-17; ch. 7-8]. As a Black woman, I fight two different types of oppression daily. History has shown countless times of how women and black people have fought for me to have the opportunities that I do today. What positions do you find yourself in that can help elevate others? How can you use your favour and power to save people? When you make it, whether it be in your career or elsewhere, don’t forget your tribe & community.
The book of Esther has so many gems to unpack and to learn from. I would emplore everyone to read through and also share your own nuggets!