Looking Pretty

When the king’s order and edict had been proclaimed, many young women were brought to the citadel of Susa and put under the care of Hegai. Esther also was taken to the king’s palace and entrusted to Hegai, who had charge of the harem.  She pleased him and won his favor. Immediately he provided her with her beauty treatments and special food. He assigned to her seven female attendants selected from the king’s palace and moved her and her attendants into the best place in the harem.

Esther had not revealed her nationality and family background, because Mordecai had forbidden her to do so.  Every day he walked back and forth near the courtyard of the harem to find out how Esther was and what was happening to her.

Before a young woman’s turn came to go in to King Xerxes, she had to complete twelve months of beauty treatments prescribed for the women, six months with oil of myrrh and six with perfumes and cosmetics.  And this is how she would go to the king: Anything she wanted was given her to take with her from the harem to the king’s palace.  In the evening she would go there and in the morning return to another part of the harem to the care of Shaashgaz, the king’s eunuch who was in charge of the concubines. She would not return to the king unless he was pleased with her and summoned her by name.

  • Esther 2:8-14

“Make no mistake, we have become a people who believe in some cosmetic overhauls. … between the bleached blonde hair and the enhancements, it’s hard to tell a thirty-year-old from a sixty-year-old.

“And I’m not even saying I’m against the Botox or the Restylane or whatever else is out there that serves as a proverbial fountain of youth.  In fact, there have been times I’ve considered it myself.  Like the time Caroline [her daughter] examined my forehead closely one morning and rubbed it with her tiny fingers before exclaiming, ‘Mom!  I can see your brains on your forehead!’  Really?  Because I can see me dropping you off at a fire station to see if you can be adopted.”

  • Melanie Shankle, Church of the Small Things

Looking at her book jacket photograph, the author looks very young, indeed.  Her daughter is at least a teen-ager, but the author doesn’t look that old.  Of course, I am an old man.  Everyone from forty to twenty looks eighteen.  Funny.  I used to be pretty good at guessing age, but now I am not.  I think it’s because I don’t care.

Then I see a television ad for one of the products mentioned in the book quote.  You see a variety of very young people who have never had a wrinkle in their lives.  The ad talks about how the wrinkles will be a thing of the past.  Then the ad goes into all the ways the treatment can disfigure you, cause paralysis, and even death.

After all, they are injecting a toxin under the skin to paralyze a muscle that is “overactive,” thus causing a wrinkle.  Ummm.  They are injecting a toxin into your system that causes paralysis.  Does anyone have a red flag that pops into their head?  If not, come try my new method for the prevention of aging.  It’s a combination of cyanide and arsenic and maybe some strychnine.  You may be dead, but isn’t that the only foolproof way to avoid getting older?  Sorry if that might cause people to think about that option.  It is not the right path.

But for the beauty treatment, if done by someone who knows what he / she is doing and there are no complications, putting poison into your body will get rid of a wrinkle.  It just sounds insane.

Is that what 20-somethings and 30-somethings fear, getting a wrinkle?  Why the obsession?  In the chapter from the quoted book, the author wrote about women on a reality show that she watches that were afraid to drink their alcoholic drinks without a straw.  Their lips had no feeling and they didn’t want to dribble their drink onto their clothing.  Is that the price we pay to stay looking pretty?

Esther, in the Scripture above, was obviously pretty.  Yet, the king’s servants also helped her.  The book of Esther doesn’t speak of God’s influence, but why were Hegai and Shaashgaz so attentive to Esther?  But in reading the book of Esther, we find that Esther was beautiful in other ways.  Esther had courage to face the king without being called before him – something forbidden as written in the Scripture above.  Esther had wisdom and integrity.  She was loyal to the Jewish people.

There are more ways to be beautiful than just looking pretty.  We should each, male and female alike, focus on those things instead of worrying about a wrinkle.

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.

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