All the Beautiful Virgins?
In Esther chapter 2, King Ahasuerus finds himself without a queen.
He had sacked Queen Vashti in a rage because she had refused to entertain him and his guests with her beauty, thereby encouraging uppity-ness in all the women of the kingdom.
But a king needs a queen. My goodness, where does one even begin? His advisors come up with a doozy of an idea:
'…let the king appoint officers in all the provinces of his kingdom to gather all the beautiful young virgins to the harem in Susa the capital…And let the young woman who pleases the king be queen instead of Vashti.' This pleased the king, and he did so. (Esther 2:3)
Yes, the king was pleased. I wonder if he gave thought to how many hearts he was breaking?
All the beautiful young virgins? Ahasuerus ruled 127 provinces from India to Ethiopia. By anyone’s measurement this is overkill. It’s a really bad policy. It’s an abuse of power and a major waste of resources.
And God used it to save his people.
One lesson from the book of Esther is that God can make excessive government intervention and very bad legislation serve his purposes and expand his kingdom.