A Sexual Reading of the Book of Esther OR Esther the Black Widow

I’m going to try to make this פירוש (interpretation) as צנוע or modest as possible given the racy subject matter here. If you can’t handle frank discourses of a sexual nature then go read something else.

I notice something new every time I read the Megilla, the Book of Esther. This year I had a question I was pondering for a few hours until it clicked during my Purim Seuda (party) yesterday. Esther 8:3. The context – Haman is already dead but the law sanctioning a coordinated genocide against the Jews on 13 Adar is still in force. This is a big problem. The verse reads thusly thus:

וַתּ֣וֹסֶף אֶסְתֵּ֗ר וַתְּדַבֵּר֙ לִפְנֵ֣י הַמֶּ֔לֶךְ וַתִּפֹּ֖ל לִפְנֵ֣י רַגְלָ֑יו וַתֵּ֣בְךְּ וַתִּתְחַנֶּן־ל֗וֹ לְהַֽעֲבִיר֙ אֶת־רָעַת֙ הָמָ֣ן הָֽאֲגָגִ֔י וְאֵת֙ מַֽחֲשַׁבְתּ֔וֹ אֲשֶׁ֥ר חָשַׁ֖ב עַל־הַיְּהוּדִֽים׃

Esther continued and spoke to the king. She fell to his feet and cried and begged him to get rid of the evil of Haman the Agagite and his plans that he cooked up against the Jews.

Why did Esther suddenly beg like a child? Why did she cry? Up until now she’s been cool as a cucumber, seductive and subtle, plotting and calculated. Why did she suddenly let go and fall at this fat zhlub’s feet like someone with no control over her emotions? What happened here?

What Men Really Want

Imagine the King of Persia. He’s all powerful. He can have absolutely anything he wants. Sex, drugs, alcohol, power, any woman of his choosing at any time. What is the ultimate sexual fantasy of such a man? What does he really want?

A man like that, where everything comes so easy, he wants a challenge. He wants a taste of being controlled, since he’s so busy controlling everyone else all the time. Controlling a woman in the bedroom is boring. What he really wants is a woman who is hard to break. A woman that can control him and twist him around her little finger, make him beg.

Being a woman married to an all-powerful man like that is extremely dangerous. You’re a beautiful woman and you twist him around your finger a little too tightly, and he can get frustrated and kill you. That’s what happened to Vashti. The king calls on her to dance naked in front of his drunken friends. She can’t say yes because then the King would lose respect for her as just another sex slave. Her only shot is to say no, but she doesn’t do it skillfully enough. She rejects him flat out, without hinting of any reward later. He is totally pissed. He kills her.

Enough of these strong-willed challenging women. They are too rebellious. Now, he wants something new. Someone who will obey. He wants a total submissive.

Enter Esther

Esther enters the scene, a quiet submissive girl, totally acted upon from the start, no will of her own at all. All the verbs in Hebrew relating to her at the beginning are in נפעל, passive form. She is taken by force to the palace. She is completely obedient. She listens to everything Mordechai tells her to do, not saying a word to anyone about being a Jew. She does absolutely nothing on her own initiative. She only dresses up exactly as Hegai, the Minister of Sex Slaves, tells her to. All the other women ask for this or that article of clothing, toy, accessory, whatever it may have been. They all want to flaunt something, play up their strengths, show how strong, creative, kinky they are. Esther is the only one who plays the quiet, modest, unassuming submissive obedient sex slave. She flaunts absolutely nothing. She is ready to simply obey. Esther 2:10:

וּבְהַגִּ֣יעַ תֹּר־אֶסְתֵּ֣ר בַּת־אֲבִיחַ֣יִל דֹּ֣ד מָרְדֳּכַ֡י אֲשֶׁר֩ לָקַֽח־ל֨וֹ לְבַ֜ת לָב֣וֹא אֶל־הַמֶּ֗לֶךְ לֹ֤א בִקְשָׁה֙ דָּבָ֔ר כִּ֠י אִ֣ם אֶת־אֲשֶׁ֥ר יֹאמַ֛ר הֵגַ֥י סְרִיס־הַמֶּ֖לֶךְ שֹׁמֵ֣ר הַנָּשִׁ֑ים וַתְּהִ֤י אֶסְתֵּר֙ נֹשֵׂ֣את חֵ֔ן בְּעֵינֵ֖י כָּל־רֹאֶֽיהָ׃

When it was Esther’s turn – daughter of Avichayil, uncle of Mordechai who adopted her as his daughter – to go to the king, she did not request a single thing other than exactly what Hegai the king’s Minister of Sex Slaves, told her to request. Esther charmed everyone who saw her.

Of course, the king falls in love. Here is the perfect obedient submissive who will shut up and do what I tell her.

The King Gets Bored

Except, the king totally forgets about his truest, deepest sexual desires. He starts getting bored again. He now misses the strong-willed coy tease who can really drive him up the wall. Vashti was good at that. But Esther? She’s just a boring slave. That charmed him at first, but now it’s getting old. He stops having sex with her. He hasn’t slept with her in a month.

That’s when serious trouble starts brewing. Esther has to step up, Mordechai tells her, and save the Jews. She has no choice. She cannot hide in the palace. If she even tries, says Mordechai, salvation will absolutely come for the Jews some other way, but Esther and her whole family will surely die.

She tells Mordechai, of course, that she hasn’t been with the king for 30 days now. He has lost interest in her. If she goes to the King’s court without being called, she is liable to get killed, unless the king saves her life by touching her with the head of his golden scepter.

At this point, Esther completely changes one hundred and eighty degrees. No more submissive house wife sex slave who just sits there and follows orders. Now she has to really up her game or it’s all over for her and Mordechai.

She prays and fasts and has all the Jews of Shushan pray and fast with her, for three days. While she’s fasting and praying to God, she thinks, he’s lost interest in me sexually. I can’t just go in there and start begging and pleading. That will not work. He doesn’t want a beggar. I need a plan. I need to show him I am not just some submissive boring obedient sex slave. I need to show him I am a queen. But not only a queen. I need to show him I am his queen.

She takes a deep breath, and puts on her full queen’s attire. It’s time to be a ruler. It’s time to be a powerful dominant monarch. It’s time be risqué. It’s time to show the king, carefully and seductively, that she is more than just a pretty face and a boring obedient sex slave.

Esther 5:1:

וַיְהִ֣י ׀ בַּיּ֣וֹם הַשְּׁלִישִׁ֗י וַתִּלְבַּ֤שׁ אֶסְתֵּר֙ מַלְכ֔וּת וַֽתַּעֲמֹ֞ד בַּחֲצַ֤ר בֵּית־הַמֶּ֙לֶךְ֙ הַפְּנִימִ֔ית נֹ֖כַח בֵּ֣ית הַמֶּ֑לֶךְ וְ֠הַמֶּלֶךְ יוֹשֵׁ֞ב עַל־כִּסֵּ֤א מַלְכוּתוֹ֙ בְּבֵ֣ית הַמַּלְכ֔וּת נֹ֖כַח פֶּ֥תַח הַבָּֽיִת׃

On the third day, Esther put on royal attire and stood in the king’s inner courtyard across from the king’s chambers. The king was sitting on his royal throne in the throne room, across from the entrance.

The king looks across and sees what he was sure until now was just this shy, pretty, submissive, obedient and boring slave, approaching him uninvited, dressed like absolute royalty. She’s risking her life. He knows it. She knows it. He knows that she knows it. Wow. This is no sex slave. This woman is actually confident and possibly dangerous. All of the sudden his golden scepter wakes up again and he remembers his real sexual desires, repressed for so long ever since he acted like a drunk idiot and killed Vashti.

The king is really intrigued. There’s a subtle grin on his face. He extends his golden scepter and Esther touches it. What does this woman want from me? It must be really good. Otherwise she wouldn’t have risked her life. Where did she get such courage?!

Speaking very respectfully, teasing, even subtly weaving in orders with some gall, mixing her former obedient submissiveness together with her now tempered steel will, she invites the king to a drinking party. With Haman. Esther 5:4 (emphasis mine):

וַתֹּ֣אמֶר אֶסְתֵּ֔ר אִם־עַל־הַמֶּ֖לֶךְ ט֑וֹב יָב֨וֹא הַמֶּ֤לֶךְ וְהָמָן֙ הַיּ֔וֹם אֶל־הַמִּשְׁתֶּ֖ה אֲשֶׁר־עָשִׂ֥יתִי לֽוֹ׃

Esther said, “If it please the king, the king and Haman will come to the banquet I have prepared for him.

“Oh I will come, will I? Ordering me around, this sudden queen of mine? What’s all this all of a sudden? The banquet she prepared for him? Who’s him? Me, or Haman? She risked her life to order me to a party she made for him? That’s hot. And a bit worrying. What is going on here?

Then, at the party, the king is almost begging her to tell him what’s up. But there’s not enough sexual tension yet. She dials it up even more. She speaks even more carefully. She changes the language ever so slightly. Every word, every pronoun is designed to drive him crazy. Esther 5:8:

אִם־מָצָ֨אתִי חֵ֜ן בְּעֵינֵ֣י הַמֶּ֗לֶךְ וְאִם־עַל־הַמֶּ֙לֶךְ֙ ט֔וֹב לָתֵת֙ אֶת־שְׁאֵ֣לָתִ֔י וְלַעֲשׂ֖וֹת אֶת־בַּקָּשָׁתִ֑י יָב֧וֹא הַמֶּ֣לֶךְ וְהָמָ֗ן אֶל־הַמִּשְׁתֶּה֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר אֶֽעֱשֶׂ֣ה לָהֶ֔ם וּמָחָ֥ר אֶֽעֱשֶׂ֖ה כִּדְבַ֥ר הַמֶּֽלֶךְ׃

If I have found favor in the eyes of the king, and if it please the king to grant my request and to do my will, the king and Haman will come to the banquet I will prepare for them, and tomorrow I will do what the king asks.

Prepare for them now? Both of us?! AHHH! I can’t take it anymore! This woman is driving me nuts! How am I going to sleep tonight?

Of course he doesn’t sleep that night. We know what happens that night.

At the party the next day, Achashverosh is about to lose his mind. What does she want? TELL me already! What does Haman have to do with any of this?!

Here’s what I want Achashverosh, says Esther. I want my life. I want my people to live. That’s what I want.

What? What are you talking about? Who wants to kill you?! (This guy hasn’t slept in two days, remember. He’s really worked up in more ways than one.)

Esther pounces. She sinks her teeth in. She shows the king she can attack viciously. That’s who she really is.

“It’s that evil prick over there who wants to kill me! Haman!”

The king completely loses it and leaves the party to cool off. Meanwhile, Haman falls all over Esther begging for his life. The king comes back, seeing this scene, ramped up sexually out of his mind, thinking his wife is being raped. “Get off the queen! NOW!” he screams, “You sick murdering wannabe rapist!

The King’s Sexual Fantasies Finally Fulfilled

At this point, Haman is out of the picture, but the decree to kill all the Jews on Adar 13 is still on the books. It’s at this point that Esther pivots again and fulfills the very deepest part of Achashverosh’s sexual desires.

See, a king like Achashverosh doesn’t just want a powerful woman who’s good at ordering him around in the bedroom. He does not want Vashti. Neither does he want a total boring submissive slave. What a king like that really wants, is a strong, confident, and powerful woman that he can ultimately break and turn into a begging pile of tears, just at the right time.

Esther goes in for the kill. She begs. She pleads. She cries. 8:3-6:

וַתּ֣וֹסֶף אֶסְתֵּ֗ר וַתְּדַבֵּר֙ לִפְנֵ֣י הַמֶּ֔לֶךְ וַתִּפֹּ֖ל לִפְנֵ֣י רַגְלָ֑יו וַתֵּ֣בְךְּ וַתִּתְחַנֶּן־ל֗וֹ לְהַֽעֲבִיר֙ אֶת־רָעַת֙ הָמָ֣ן הָֽאֲגָגִ֔י וְאֵת֙ מַֽחֲשַׁבְתּ֔וֹ אֲשֶׁ֥ר חָשַׁ֖ב עַל־הַיְּהוּדִֽים׃

דוַיּ֤וֹשֶׁט הַמֶּ֙לֶךְ֙ לְאֶסְתֵּ֔ר אֵ֖ת שַׁרְבִ֣ט הַזָּהָ֑ב וַתָּ֣קָם אֶסְתֵּ֔ר וַֽתַּעֲמֹ֖ד לִפְנֵ֥י הַמֶּֽלֶךְ׃וַ֠תֹּאמֶר אִם־עַל־הַמֶּ֨לֶךְ ט֜וֹב וְאִם־מָצָ֧אתִי חֵ֣ן לְפָנָ֗יו וְכָשֵׁ֤ר הַדָּבָר֙ לִפְנֵ֣י הַמֶּ֔לֶךְ וְטוֹבָ֥ה אֲנִ֖י בְּעֵינָ֑יו יִכָּתֵ֞ב לְהָשִׁ֣יב אֶת־הַסְּפָרִ֗ים מַחֲשֶׁ֜בֶת הָמָ֤ן בֶּֽן־הַמְּדָ֙תָא֙ הָאֲגָגִ֔י אֲשֶׁ֣ר כָּתַ֗ב לְאַבֵּד֙ אֶת־הַיְּהוּדִ֔ים אֲשֶׁ֖ר בְּכָל־מְדִינ֥וֹת הַמֶּֽלֶךְ׃

וכִּ֠י אֵיכָכָ֤ה אוּכַל֙ וְֽרָאִ֔יתִי בָּרָעָ֖ה אֲשֶׁר־יִמְצָ֣א אֶת־עַמִּ֑י וְאֵֽיכָכָ֤ה אוּכַל֙ וְֽרָאִ֔יתִי בְּאָבְדַ֖ן מוֹלַדְתִּֽי׃

Esther continued and spoke before the king. She fell at his feet and cried and begged him to get rid of the evil of Haman the Agagite and his plot against the Jews.

She said, “If it please the king and I have found favor in his eyes and the matter is fitting before the king and I am pleasing in the kings eyes, he will write to rescind the books of Haman son of Hamdata the Agagi who ordered the genocide of all the Jews in all of the king’s empire!”

I just can’t bear to see the evil that will befall my people. I cannot suffer the loss of my nation! PLEASE!

If the king can just give her what she wants, he knows he will not regret it.

The Jews Attack

But he can’t! What he can do, though, is let Esther and Mordechai write whatever they want in his name. And he does. And they do. The Jews can now defend themselves against their attackers on 13 Adar.

Esther’s fury inspires all the Jews of Persia to band together and attack. The Jews get together, fight, and win, killing 75,000 people throughout the empire and 500 in Shushan. They don’t touch the disgusting spoils. We don’t need any of your S&$! and we’re not doing this for any material gain. We’re just killing you because you all deserve to die. No other reason at all.

One Last Twist of the Knife – Esther the Black Widow

Black WidowBut it’s not over yet!

The King loves his new wife, and asks her what else she wants from him. Tell me. I’ll give it to you. Anything.

Esther has a smirk on her face. She doesn’t want anyone to ever believe that the Jews are just one and done. No. We will not just fight for one day only and then call it a day. We are not that predictable.

No. Esther the Black Widow makes one final request. Let’s twist this knife deep, she says. Let’s make them bleed. Let’s do it again! 9:12-14:

וַיֹּ֨אמֶר הַמֶּ֜לֶךְ לְאֶסְתֵּ֣ר הַמַּלְכָּ֗ה בְּשׁוּשַׁ֣ן הַבִּירָ֡ה הָרְגוּ֩ הַיְּהוּדִ֨ים וְאַבֵּ֜ד חֲמֵ֧שׁ מֵא֣וֹת אִ֗ישׁ וְאֵת֙ עֲשֶׂ֣רֶת בְּנֵֽי־הָמָ֔ן בִּשְׁאָ֛ר מְדִינ֥וֹת הַמֶּ֖לֶךְ מֶ֣ה עָשׂ֑וּ וּמַה־שְּׁאֵֽלָתֵךְ֙ וְיִנָּ֣תֵֽן לָ֔ךְ וּמַה־בַּקָּשָׁתֵ֥ךְ ע֖וֹד וְתֵעָֽשׂ׃

וַתֹּ֤אמֶר אֶסְתֵּר֙ אִם־עַל־הַמֶּ֣לֶךְ ט֔וֹב יִנָּתֵ֣ן גַּם־מָחָ֗ר לַיְּהוּדִים֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר בְּשׁוּשָׁ֔ן לַעֲשׂ֖וֹת כְּדָ֣ת הַיּ֑וֹם וְאֵ֛ת עֲשֶׂ֥רֶת בְּנֵֽי־הָמָ֖ן יִתְל֥וּ עַל־הָעֵֽץ׃

וַיֹּ֤אמֶר הַמֶּ֙לֶךְ֙ לְהֵֽעָשׂ֣וֹת כֵּ֔ן וַתִּנָּתֵ֥ן דָּ֖ת בְּשׁוּשָׁ֑ן וְאֵ֛ת עֲשֶׂ֥רֶת בְּנֵֽי־הָמָ֖ן תָּלֽוּ׃

The king said to Esther the Queen, “In Shushan the capital the Jews killed and annihilated 500 people including Haman’s 10 sons and whatever else they did in the rest of the King’s empire. Now What else do you want and I will give it to you. What is your request and it will be done!

Esther responded, “If it please the king, let the Jews of Shushan fight again, tomorrow, just like today, and I want you to impale the dead corpses of Haman’s sons on spikes!

The King ordered that this be done. An order was given in Shushan and Haman’s ten sons were impaled.”

Kill them again. One. More. TIME. Oh, and hang those rotting corpses of Haman’s sons for EVERYONE to see. And to know. And to fear. 

Achashverosh loves it. 

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what Shushan Purim is all about. For Jews. What’s the message for the gentiles?

Mind the Jews and Do Not Kick Us While We’re Down

The ending of the Book of Esther is tragic. Chapter 10 makes me want to cry. The exile is not over. Esther is stuck as a permanent sex slave to a maniacal king, whose first move after this whole episode is to raise taxes on everyone, even the islands. The book ends with praise for Achashverosh, but it’s obviously tongue in cheek. The first edition of the Megillah was scrapped, probably for being too honest and politically incorrect in terms of the Persian regime’s true behavior. We only have the second, censored version, full of sarcasm, code, and surreptitious mockery of the government.

According to the Gemara, Sanhedrin 74B, Esther never actively participated sexually with Achashverosh. אסתר קרקע עולם הייתה – Esther was merely plowed earth, so to speak. She was passive. It is not clear if Achashverosh ever really got what he wanted from her behind closed doors. He may have, in terms of transposing her public behavior in that period onto the bedroom, but actively during, it is not clear. In any case, Esther probably hated his guts, and was stuck as a slave for the rest of her life in the palace. Achashverosh could rape her freely, knowing who he had. That’s where the story ends. It’s very sad.

But the message to the gentiles, is clear. The Jews are in exile. It looks like God has rejected them. They have assimilated and they’re drinking together with the Persians. But a warning from God – punishing the Jews is for God only. Do not come close, and do not assume I have given up on them. They are Mine, says God, so back off. If you try anything, I’ll come after you. They will always be protected. I’ll make sure everything is set up perfectly for you to ultimately fail even before you try to make a move. Esther became queen long before Haman ever plotted to kill us.

So don’t mess with the Jews. Don’t mess with Esther the Black Widow, that absolute vixen sexual genius who knows how to drive a king totally insane. You will regret it. We are not submissives.

We are geniuses. We are God’s people. Now keep your distance. Purim, especially Shushan Purim teaches the world to stay away from us. Be respectful. And be afraid.

And for us, we must remember that just because we are protected from Above, does not mean we are free from punishment, or that everything will be OK. It might not. So stay vigilant.

Happy Shushan Purim, world.

An aside: After Martin Luther יימח שמו failed in converting us to his protestant BS, he called on all of us to be burned alive. And he specifically called to expunge the Book of Esther from the Bible, since it lacked “spirituality” in his words.

Martin Luther…what a ₱μ$$¥!

If Hollywood ever does the Book of Esther, Scarlet Johansson, the hottest Jewish actress ever, in my opinion. Whew!

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