Did Queen Esther Live Happily Ever After?
Applying the Fairytale Story of Cinderella to Esther Disrespects Her Situation
I’ve always liked the story of Queen Esther. She’s an ordinary girl who wins a national beauty pageant and becomes queen. If this story seems familiar, consider the fairytale story of Cinderella. The two have much in common.
- Both are orphans.
- Both are raised by a relative.
- Both are beautiful.
- Both are common people.
- Both have an improbable, amazing interaction with royalty.
- Both are elevated to a high position.
Given all this, in my imagination, I’ve ascribed to Esther a Cinderella-like romanticism, with Esther and the king falling in love and living happily ever after.
Alas, this isn’t what the Bible says.
The biblical account of Esther doesn’t mention love. It fails to include any hint of happiness. Let’s review some more facts:
- Forcibly relocated to a foreign land, Esther and her people are victims of war.
- Esther doesn’t opt to take part in the beauty contest. All attractive virgins must participate. Her involvement is unwilling and more akin to slavery.
- Esther’s heritage prohibits her from marrying outside her faith. To do so is a shameful and disobedient act.
Contract Cinderella to Queen Esther
Whereas the prince rescues a Cinderella from a subservient life under her unloving stepmother, the king removes Esther from a loving life with her guardian Mordechai to make her subservient to the king’s sexual whims.
Add to this some reasonable conclusions about Esther’s “relationship” with the king:
- Even after she becomes queen, he continues to enjoy the company of other women in his harem.
- She and the king don’t have regular interaction; he hasn’t summoned her for thirty days.
- She fears him. She faces execution by merely approaching him without permission.
Esther’s elevation to queen isn’t to give her a grand life and make all her dreams come true. Instead God uses it to put her in a position where she can influence the king to save her people from annihilation. Queen Esther is a hero to her people, despite personally forced into a life she doesn’t want to live.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical spirituality, often with a postmodern slant. He seeks a fresh approach to faith and following God through the lens of scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.