Hadassah, who became Queen Esther, was growing up simply as a peasant girl in the care of her guardian relative. Her parents were deceased, so she was an orphan. And she was living in the foreign territory of Persia.

The Jews had been dispersed from their land many years before. Several Kings had reigned over them. The Book of Daniel precedes Esther’s story chronologically. The miraculous deliverance of Daniel from the lions in the den had inspired the King, Darius, to make a decree that was not to be broken:

Daniel 6:25-28

 Then king Darius wrote to all the peoples, nations, and languages, who dwell in all the earth:

“Peace be multiplied to you.

“I make a decree that in all the dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel; for he is the living God,and steadfast forever. His kingdom is that which will not be destroyed. His dominion will be even to the end. He delivers and rescues. He works signs and wonders in heaven and in earth,who has delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.”

So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian. [WEB]
Queen Esther’s king was a successor in this lineage. Her Hebrew name Hadassah, meaning  “myrtle tree,” was necessarily hidden. King Xerxes [Ahasuerus] had been reigning for three years when the story begins…

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