Esther 2:15, Question 5. Why is Heigai described as both “seris hamelech” (“eunuch of the king”) and “shomer hanashim” (“guard of the women”)?

The Malbim says that the verse describes Heigai as both “eunuch of the king” “guard of the women” to emphasize the legitimacy of his advice. As an officer of the king, Heigai knew the king well enough to understand his particular likes. And as guard of the women, he was perceptive of their behavior and was familiar with their best beauty tricks.

Advertisements

Esther 2:3, Question 3. How is the women being watched by Heigeh and their being given cosmetics or ointments important to the narrative?

  • The Midrash (Esther Rabbah 5:3) relates that the advisers told Achashverosh to utilize Heigeh for the position of harem guard because he was a eunuch, with no desire for the women gathered.
  • According to Rashi, these ointments removed hair and softened skin.
  • The Alshich adds that if the women used their own such remedies, how would the king know if the women were naturally beautiful, or just had better cosmetics or skillful use of them? Therefore, the women were only allowed the cosmetics provided by the palace.