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Why did Esther marry a non-Jewish king?

Why did Esther marry a non-Jewish king?

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When reading the story of Purim as recorded in the Book of Esther (the Megillah), it is important to understand that the authors had to be extremely careful with their words and account of events—considering that the Jews were still under Persian rule. Undoubtedly, the Persians powers-that-be would get a hold of a copy of the Megillah. As such, many aspects of the Purim story – specifically those that would reflect badly on the king or empire – were included in a very veiled manner. Only in later generations was the full story transcribed in the Talmud, various midrashim, and commentaries.

Esther did not want to be taken to the palace. Not only was she an upright Jewish girl who abhorred the notion of marriage to a Gentile vile king, she was actually already married! The Talmud explains that she was married to Mordechai, her cousin, who was also the greatest sage of that generation.

Every time Esther was taken to Ahasuerus, she was literally taken and forced to be with him. Throughout her "marriage" to Ahasuerus, Esther still remained loyal to her true husband, Mordechai. After leaving Ahasuerus' presence she would immerse in a mikvah and then secretly rendezvous with Mordechai.

So, to get back to your question of how she could marry a non-Jew—it was not her choice, but rather something that she was forced to do. Had she refused to comply with the king's wishes, she would have been put to death. (Remember that Ahasuerus had already ordered his previous wife's execution in a fit of drunken rage.)1

That, in a nutshell, is why she was able to continue living in the palace.

See also Is a Jew required to die rather than disobey a Torah command?

I hope this clarifies the issue,

Chana Weisberg for Chabad.org

FOOTNOTES
1.

The obligation to be martyred rather than transgress sexual sins does not apply to one who is only a passive partner in the act.

Chana Weisberg is the editor of TheJewishWoman.org. She lectures internationally on issues relating to women, relationships, meaning, self-esteem and the Jewish soul. She is the author of five popular books.
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Discussion (16)
March 16, 2014
So in our megillah reading tonight, Mordechai was her adopted father, and that Esther's father was Mordechai's uncle.
Naomi Smith
Hernando
March 13, 2014
Actually whenever Esther was called to the king, an angel went instead of her.
Anonymous
February 21, 2013
Esther
There seems to be differences of opinion on her behavior.
It reminds me of the discussion about the second amendment to the US Constitution. It is being reinterpreted based on current events. This will continue same as with Esther's behavior.
jack
Midland Park
April 2, 2012
Re: Esther
The Midrash (Esther Rabah 6:11) elaborating on the verse in Esther 2:17 " And the king loved Esther more than all the women, and she won grace and favor before him more than all the maidens [Besulot - virgins], and he placed the royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti." explains that although in the beginning the decree was only about gathering virgins, later on, they gathered beautiful married women as well. It is for this reason that the verse states that the King loved Esther "more than all the women, and virgins, considering the 'women' and 'virgins' as two separate classes.

However, as noted in the article, for obvious reasons, these things could not be stated openly and explicitly in the text, although there are hinted at in the text.
Yehuda Shurpin for Chabad.org
March 19, 2012
To Miss Lilywhite, Leimen, Germany
I cant find it ANYWHERE in the Bible, saying that ... the ex-wife of the king got executed, rather divorced. BIG difference! Please do not take away or add anything from/to God`s Word!

Talmud - Megilah 11b
Then the Satan came and danced among them and slew Vashti.


תלמוד בבלי, סדר מועד, מגילה
מסכת מגילה פרק א
דף יא, ב גמרא
בא שטן וריקד ביניהן והרג את ושתי
Joseph.E
Givatayim, Israel
March 7, 2012
Esther
Esther 2: 2 Then said the king's servants that ministered unto him, Let there be fair young virgins sought for the king:

The word for Virgins is H1330 בְּתוּלָה bthuwlah (beth-oo-law') n-f.
1. a virgin (from her privacy)
2. sometimes (by continuation) a bride
3. (figuratively) a city or state
[feminine passive participle of an unused root meaning to separate]

IF Esther was previously married.....she would NOT have fit that description, now would she?
DH
Fresno
February 8, 2012
Megillah 13
The Oral Torah states that Mordechai married Esther see Megillah 13a & 13b.
Anonymous
Miami, Florida
August 6, 2011
Back up your claim!
I cant find it ANYWHERE in the Bible, saying that Esther was married to her uncle or "stepfather" Mordechai! Neither do I remember to ever have read that the ex-wife of the king got executed, rather divorced. BIG difference! Please do not take away or add anything from/to God`s Word!

Of course all the young women were taken to the palace, and I bet not all wanted to although chances are high that the majority did, maybe also Esther, knowing already her destiny... She found favor in the eyes of the king, so I conclude that king wasn`t cruel to her but rather loved her - and finally she loved him back. I bet it was a LOVE relationship. God would never force His child to become unhappy - that would not make God happy either! God is in control, He does things PERFECTLY!
Miss Lilywhite
Leimen, Germany
July 21, 2011
where in the Torah, or Talmud, does it say this?
Can you provide the reference?
Nahomi
ca, 92174
March 24, 2011
uncle/niece
An uncle is permitted to marry his niece. So, whether she was his cousin or niece their marriage was permitted.
Bryce
Edmonton, Canada
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