Uh? Did Esther really do that?

via Gender Bending in Esther 2 « Ketuvim: the Writings of James R. Getz Jr.

I had to do a double take when I read the post, but Mr. Getz gets it right.

One of the little oddities in Esther 2 is the strange phrase used to describe the encounter between the king and each of his new ladies. On the surface, the escapade of the king with every attractive, eligible young woman seems like the ultimate show of masculine virility. However, a closer look at the text reinforces the weak portrayal of Ahasuerus in Esther 1 and seems to effeminate the king further.

Verse 2:12 begins “When the turn of each young woman came to enter to King Ahasuerus…”. A close look at the Hebrew find the construction of בוא אל being used to express the woman “entering to” the king. HALOT defines this usage as “cohabitation.” (1.c. p.113) Similar constructions are found in e.g. Gen 16:2; 29:21; 30:3; 38:8. Of course, “cohabitation” is a nice way of putting things, the text literally says “he came (in)to her.” Much like the encounter in Esther 2, these other passages refer to sexual intercourse.

Does this change the Queen Esther story for you?

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