Vashti was no more, and the King needed a new queen. The King ordered a search throughout his kingdom for a fitting wife. All the beautiful daughters of the country were brought to the palace so that the King might choose one whom he desired for a wife in place of Vashti.
Mordechai, who lived in the capital city of Shushan (Susa), dreaded the moment when the King's men might come knocking on his door in search of a possible queen. For he was in charge of a very charming and good hearted cousin named Esther, or Hadassah. As Esther was an orphan, her cousin Mordechai brought her up.
To most parents it would have been a rare honor and a great privilege to have a daughter married to the King. But Mordechai feared the day when Esther would be called to the palace. He knew that he could not hide her successfully for long, and finally, the authorities heard of Esther and came to take her to the royal palace.
The contest for Vashti's place went on for several years. The fairest maidens from all the 127 provinces of the King's empire were assembled in the King's palace in Shushan to view for the King's favor. They received all the beauty treatments they requested, and the most exquisite clothing they asked for. Esther however, did not ask for anything at all. Nevertheless, from the moment of her appearance in the palace, she enchanted everyone by her modesty, and was treated with marked respect and deference. Her beauty radiated from her inner self, giving her special grace and charm that was hers alone.
Although Esther was by no means the most beautiful of all the assembled maidens, the King preferred her above all the others. When Esther found out that she was destined to be queen, she surrounded herself with faithful Jewish servants who provided her with kosher food and did not betray the fact that she was a Jewess -- for Mordechai had told her to keep her ancestry a secret until the day came for her to reveal it.
Thus Esther became the new queen. Esther did not tell the King that she was Jewish. All he knew was that she was an orphan. Each day, Mordechai would come to the palace to obtain news of Esther. He regarded Esther's lot as very unfortunate but found consolation in the thought that perhaps Esther was chosen by G-d, for her true devotion to Him, to help the Jewish nation in time of need. Mordechai began to feel that a dark cloud was looming upon the horizon, boding trouble for his brethren.