The Maharal notes that it is truly a miracle that the girls were “gathered,” and brought in this way. Otherwise, Esther, hidden deep in the confines of Mordechai’s home (as we shall see in future blogs), could never have been in position to save the Jews as she does.
The Rabbis of the Midrash (Esther Rabbah 5:3) care enough about justice and the plight of women to ask for what terrible deed this cruel denigration of Persian women could be a just punishment. They answer that Persian women at that time harassed Jewish women, calling them ugly and unable to win beauty contests. They were punished “mida kineged mida,” measure for measure, having to endure life-long rejection only to see a Jewess win the contest and rule over them.