Did The King Have Sex With Esther At First Night?

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Posts 122
Peter Lever | Forum Activity | Posted: Sat, Apr 23 2016 6:46 AM

<QUOTE>

"Afterward, she was assigned to a “second harem” supervised by Shaashgaz, who “was in charge of the concubines” (Esth 2:14), indicating Esther was no longer a virgin. That Esther and the king had a sexual relationship during the night is clear from Esth 2:14: “She [Esther] would not go in to the king again unless the king delighted in her and she was summoned by name.”

Barry, J. D., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Mangum, D., & Whitehead, M. M. (2012). Faithlife Study Bible. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software."

</QUOTE>

The narration of Esther's meeting with the King starts in Esther 2:15. How can we unambiguously conclude that whatever is described in Esther 2:14 automatically happened to Esther also rather then she being made Queen upon first sight?

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Keep Smiling 4 Jesus :) | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Apr 23 2016 12:40 PM

Peter Lever:

<QUOTE>

"Afterward, she was assigned to a “second harem” supervised by Shaashgaz, who “was in charge of the concubines” (Esth 2:14), indicating Esther was no longer a virgin. That Esther and the king had a sexual relationship during the night is clear from Esth 2:14: “She [Esther] would not go in to the king again unless the king delighted in her and she was summoned by name.”

 

Barry, J. D., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Mangum, D., & Whitehead, M. M. (2012). Faithlife Study Bible. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software."

</QUOTE>

Quote context is a Faithlife Study Bible (FSB) Sidebar: Thematic Study The Virgin Shall Conceive: The Vocabulary of Virginity

Peter Lever:
The narration of Esther's meeting with the King starts in Esther 2:15. How can we unambiguously conclude that whatever is described in Esther 2:14 automatically happened to Esther also rather then she being made Queen upon first sight?

FSB Thematic Study has MICHAEL S. HEISER attribution.

One search result mentions queens and concubines having separate apartments:

Searching Everything for Hegai found Septuagint observation about Esther 2:17

Keep Smiling Smile

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Apr 23 2016 1:40 PM

Peter Lever:
How can we unambiguously conclude that whatever is described in Esther 2:14 automatically happened to Esther

How can we unambiguously conclude that the narrator provided the information for a reason other than to imply it happened to Esther? The most common verification method is statistical (usually informal and not explicitly) - looking at other passages by the author with the same structure and/or other literature from the same period and genre for the same structure.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

Posts 729
EastTN | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Apr 23 2016 5:22 PM

Peter Lever:

The narration of Esther's meeting with the King starts in Esther 2:15. How can we unambiguously conclude that whatever is described in Esther 2:14 automatically happened to Esther also rather then she being made Queen upon first sight?

Are you thinking that on the first night she came to him, the king may have made Esther his queen instead of having sex with her? That seems a rather improbably way for the king to react. Are you thinking that Esther's character would have meant that she would refuse sex until after she had formally been wedded to the king? Without casting any aspersions on Esther's character, I sincerely doubt she was given any choice in the matter. The entire process is described as being driven by the king and the king's desires - which seems entirely consistent with what we would expect. It seems to me that a much more natural reading of the text is that the king made Esther his queen in addition to having sex with her. Otherwise she would have ended up with the lesser legal status of a concubine (which was still a recognized status).

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Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Apr 23 2016 7:11 PM

I agree with you, Peter. And the commentaries are pretty hazy on unstrangling the hebrew in v14.

One example why I deleted the FSB ... too many liberties, without qualifying their guesswork.


Posts 1690
JoshInRI | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Apr 23 2016 8:01 PM

unrelated to Esther but above reminded me of it (and this all offered respectfully as a timid musing)

I have often wondered why the married Bathsheba didn't fend off King David.  Women have wisely asked/reminded me - "What choices did she really have - he was the King?!!"

Then again I wonder what she was doing bathing on the roof anyway...was that a common practice?

As for this topic...was there any doubt of God working out His plan?  I seem to remember a concubine in another instance not winding up so well in the Bible either....thankfully Esther fared far better than that poor woman.

I am always stunned how God turns evil circumstances and our sin around for His mighty glory and purposes.  I pray my own life evidences this (even more so) as it lives and one day ends. We (believers) were all ultimately born for such a time as this.  I enjoy believing so.

Kudos for the depth of your study into Biblical concubines and the details/understanding sought after.

Posts 9944
George Somsel | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Apr 23 2016 11:57 PM

EastTN:

Peter Lever:

The narration of Esther's meeting with the King starts in Esther 2:15. How can we unambiguously conclude that whatever is described in Esther 2:14 automatically happened to Esther also rather then she being made Queen upon first sight?

Are you thinking that on the first night she came to him, the king may have made Esther his queen instead of having sex with her? That seems a rather improbably way for the king to react. Are you thinking that Esther's character would have meant that she would refuse sex until after she had formally been wedded to the king? Without casting any aspersions on Esther's character, I sincerely doubt she was given any choice in the matter. The entire process is described as being driven by the king and the king's desires - which seems entirely consistent with what we would expect. It seems to me that a much more natural reading of the text is that the king made Esther his queen in addition to having sex with her. Otherwise she would have ended up with the lesser legal status of a concubine (which was still a recognized status).

But we know that she would tell him a story each night but leave him hanging for the end of it until the next night.  Wink  Big Smile

george
gfsomsel

יְמֵי־שְׁנוֹתֵינוּ בָהֶם שִׁבְעִים שָׁנָה וְאִם בִּגְבוּרֹת שְׁמוֹנִים שָׁנָה וְרָהְבָּם עָמָל וָאָוֶן

Posts 729
EastTN | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Apr 24 2016 6:08 AM

George Somsel:

But we know that she would tell him a story each night but leave him hanging for the end of it until the next night.  Wink  Big Smile

Those must have been some very compelling stories!

Posts 1021
Liam | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Apr 24 2016 7:23 AM

I think Mark Ward's 2 part blog post is very relevant to this discussion. 

See here:

Part I

Part II

Posts 122
Peter Lever | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Apr 24 2016 8:18 AM

I am only questioning the statement "it is clear" that it happened. I agree  that the context makes it likely that it happened. I am no Hebrew Scholar, so was looking for any particular insights that someone might have that would make it 'clear' .

Posts 9944
George Somsel | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Apr 24 2016 8:36 AM

Peter Lever:

I am only questioning the statement "it is clear" that it happened. I agree  that the context makes it likely that it happened. I am no Hebrew Scholar, so was looking for any particular insights that someone might have that would make it 'clear' .

No help there.  Probably implied, but not stated.

george
gfsomsel

יְמֵי־שְׁנוֹתֵינוּ בָהֶם שִׁבְעִים שָׁנָה וְאִם בִּגְבוּרֹת שְׁמוֹנִים שָׁנָה וְרָהְבָּם עָמָל וָאָוֶן

Posts 122
Peter Lever | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Apr 24 2016 10:24 AM

@ Liam, great thoughts! At a cursory look, NIV Zondervan Study Bible does allude to issues of 'morality' and 'intermarriage'. It is challenging my assumption "Whatever Esther did is right and holy". Earlier I had felt kind of an obligation on the part of God to intervene on the day Esther appeared before the king to stop whatever happened to the others.

Posts 729
EastTN | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Apr 25 2016 7:24 AM

Peter Lever:

I am only questioning the statement "it is clear" that it happened. I agree  that the context makes it likely that it happened. I am no Hebrew Scholar, so was looking for any particular insights that someone might have that would make it 'clear' .

It may be that for the original readers the text gave all the information needed for it to be crystal clear what happened. Thankfully, none of us has ever been stuck in an ancient middle-eastern harem, so what would have been immediately obvious to them can be completely mysterious to us. My guess is that when the scene "cuts to black," so to speak, the original readers would have known exactly what was about to happen to Esther.

Posts 122
Peter Lever | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jul 14 2016 2:54 PM

Checked the new version of FSB. It retains the position that the 'She' in Esther 2:14 refers to Esther and not any virgin in general going to the king. I am not a Hebrew Scholar, and would like to know if FSB is presumptious or the Hebrew Text or context warrants the assertion that it explicitly refers to Esther. I know this forum has answered on the negative but would like to be sure why FSB is still stubborn to correct it.

https://ref.ly/logosres/fsb;art=sidebar.thevirginshallconceivethevocabularyofvirginity;off=55

Posts 9944
George Somsel | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jul 14 2016 4:55 PM

Peter Lever:

Checked the new version of FSB. It retains the position that the 'She' in Esther 2:14 refers to Esther and not any virgin in general going to the king. I am not a Hebrew Scholar, and would like to know if FSB is presumptious or the Hebrew Text or context warrants the assertion that it explicitly refers to Esther. I know this forum has answered on the negative but would like to be sure why FSB is still stubborn to correct it.

https://ref.ly/logosres/fsb;art=sidebar.thevirginshallconceivethevocabularyofvirginity;off=55

Es 2.14 refers to the practice regarding the harem girls, not necessarily Esther.  Esther's experience is narrated in 2.15 ff.

george
gfsomsel

יְמֵי־שְׁנוֹתֵינוּ בָהֶם שִׁבְעִים שָׁנָה וְאִם בִּגְבוּרֹת שְׁמוֹנִים שָׁנָה וְרָהְבָּם עָמָל וָאָוֶן

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Bruce Dunning | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jul 14 2016 5:52 PM

Liam:

I think Mark Ward's 2 part blog post is very relevant to this discussion. 

See here:

Part I

Part II

Thanks for pointing these out. I somehow missed them back in February.

Using adventure and community to challenge young people to continually say "yes" to God

Posts 1021
Liam | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jul 16 2016 6:56 AM

Yes

Bruce Dunning:

Liam:

I think Mark Ward's 2 part blog post is very relevant to this discussion. 

See here:

Part I

Part II

Thanks for pointing these out. I somehow missed them back in February.

👍

Posts 67
LogosEmployee
Doug Mangum | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Jul 18 2016 10:57 AM

Peter Lever:

Checked the new version of FSB. It retains the position that the 'She' in Esther 2:14 refers to Esther and not any virgin in general going to the king. I am not a Hebrew Scholar, and would like to know if FSB is presumptious or the Hebrew Text or context warrants the assertion that it explicitly refers to Esther. I know this forum has answered on the negative but would like to be sure why FSB is still stubborn to correct it.

https://ref.ly/logosres/fsb;art=sidebar.thevirginshallconceivethevocabularyofvirginity;off=55

Hi, Peter. First, I apologize that we somehow missed this thread back in April and never replied. Second, while the study notes of FSB were substantially revised, all sidebar articles were not. Heiser authored this sidebar, and the sidebar reflects his interpretation of the passage. The explicit reference to Esther is not relevant for the article's point that the biblical text makes distinctions among words describing the status of young women. However, the Hebrew narrative context of the passage warrants his assertion. It may not require the assertion, but the narrative structure strongly implies that the general description in 2:12–14 also applied to Esther. For one example, v. 12 and v. 15 begin the same way.

I'm not saying it isn't possible that Esther's experience was completely different, but it seems unlikely. I could ask Heiser to revise the wording of this sidebar since it seems to be distracting from his point, but his interpretation is not unfounded. 

Posts 122
Peter Lever | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Jul 18 2016 12:16 PM

Hi Doug,

Thanks for the reply, and is in line with the thinking of this forum and that of mine. While it is highly likely that Esther's experience was in line with Esther 2:14 than not, nothing in the context or text proves this beyond doubt. Mr. Heiser seem to assert that it "is clear" and in doing so seem to go against the very same rigour and standard he himself proposes and upholds in exegesis. To approve and preserve this assertion in FSB would leave warrant for many such presumptions, and seems to go against the high view of scriptures held by many.

Posts 9944
George Somsel | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Jul 18 2016 12:25 PM

Peter Lever:

Hi Doug,

Thanks for the reply, and is in line with the thinking of this forum and that of mine. While it is highly likely that Esther's experience was in line with Esther 2:14 than not, nothing in the context or text proves this beyond doubt. Mr. Heiser seem to assert that it "is clear" and in doing so seem to go against the very same rigour and standard he himself proposes and upholds in exegesis. To approve and preserve this assertion in FSB would leave warrant for many such presumptions, and seems to go against the high view of scriptures held by many.

As I previously stated, 2.14 sets forth the general pattern while 2.15 ff speaks specifically of Esther.  2.14 is thus setting the stage for 2.15 ff.  It is to be expected that the situation with regard to Esther will follow the same pattern as in the previous section.  That is the purpose of 2.14.

george
gfsomsel

יְמֵי־שְׁנוֹתֵינוּ בָהֶם שִׁבְעִים שָׁנָה וְאִם בִּגְבוּרֹת שְׁמוֹנִים שָׁנָה וְרָהְבָּם עָמָל וָאָוֶן

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