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 Esther’s Make-over, Fit for a Queen

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FORGOTTEN AS A ORPHANE BUT REMEMBERED AS A QUEEN

 

Each young woman’s turn came to go in to King Ahasuerus after she had completed twelve months’ preparation, according to the regulations for the women, for thus were the days of their preparation apportioned: six months with oil of myrrh, and six months with perfumes and preparations for beautifying women (Esther 2:12, NKJV).

Before a girl’s turn came to go in to King Xerxes, she had to complete twelve months of beauty treatments prescribed for the women, six months with oil of myrrh and six with perfumes and cosmetics (Esther 2:12, NIV).

Why did the young women go through such a lengthy beauty preparation?

The scripture does not answer the question of why the long beauty process, but it stresses that the procedures were “according to the regulations for the women.” Were the procedures known and practiced by women in general? Did mothers pass on recipes for soothing oils and perfumes to their daughters? It is likely women used oils and scents to some extent and taught their daughters how to make fragrances. But only the women inducted into the king’s harem would have had the luxury of a twelve-month beauty program.

Hegai, the king’s eunuch in charge of the harem, required all the candidates to undergo the twelve-month regimen; one could not opt out of the treatment. The words that form the basis of “beauty treatment” are translated “to scour, polish” (Expositor’s Bible Commentary, p. 804). In a dry climate subject to drought and water shortage, people did not bathe frequently. The twelve-month process might be thought of as a cleansing, hygienic exfoliation, followed by a refinement with fragrances.

Candidates for queen came to the king’s palace in Susa from “all the provinces of his kingdom” (Esther 2:2). The Persian Empire extended east toward India and west toward Greece. It encompassed expansive deserts and a sub-tropical area along the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. The climate in most of the kingdom was hot, dry, desert or semi-desert. Droughts and shortage of rainfall were common. Weather along the two rivers was humid, but regions distant from the Tigris-Euphrates plain suffered blistering heat. Southern winds blowing off the Persian Gulf kicked up sandstorms, and dry winds blew down from the north.

One of Hegai’s objectives was to ameliorate the effects of heat, wind and evaporation.  His plan placed skin care first. Six months of oils addressed troublesome conditions such as cracking, wrinkling, wind damage, sunburn, healing of sores and skin diseases. Several of the oils available in Esther’s time had disinfectant and anti-fungal properties. Because every young woman underwent a thorough oil exfoliation, skin disorders were noted and treated. The king was protected from picking up skin diseases and infections that could have been introduced into the harem.

After six months of basic skin health care, Hegai’s attendants incorporated oils, spices and fragrances to enhance (polish) each girl’s natural beauty.  The scriptures do not say whether the cosmetics of Egypt such as kohl for the eyes, henna for hair color, pomegranate juice for blush and lip stain figured in the finishing process.

What oils were used in the beautifying process?

Although scripture doesn’t reveal much, it is thought that the women had daily massages with olive oil, cassis oil, myrrh oil and honey to moisturize, heal, disinfect and promote uplifting emotions.

Cassis berries


The on-line website Vision Smart Center in an article entitled “Super Cassis Power” states that cassis oil expressed from cassis berries has properties of settling PMS emotional flare-ups, bloating and cramps. It is used to relieve joint and body pain.

Olive oil is touted for its anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities. It soothes inflammation and heals burns. It softens skin texture and is thought by some to cure dandruff (Shop.Newsmax.com, “The Healing Powers of Olive Oil”).

As a natural humectant or moisturizer, honey plays a role in natural cosmetics today as well as in Esther’s time. It retains moisture, is mildly antiseptic, and has been found helpful in healing acne caused by hormonal changes (Benefits of Honey, “Favorite Tips on Natural Skin Care With Honey”).

English: Myrrh (Commiphora myrrha) Essential O...

English: Myrrh (Commiphora myrrha) Essential Oil in clear glass vial (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Scripture lists myrrh oil first in the list of oils, and it may have been the most important ingredient in the regimen. In a YouTube presentation, Kenneth Gardner states that of the essential Biblical oils, myrrh is “top of the list” or “close to it.” He states that myrrh oil increases spiritual awareness and strengthens memory. It is effective in treating candida, yeast and ringworm (Young Living Essential Oils, “Myrrh Oil”).

Myrrh oil is derived from a resin that bleeds from a wound in the bark of a commiphora tree, native to Arabia and the eastern Mediterranean. The resin has been used for thousands of years as an ingredient in perfume, as incense and as a wound dressing (Wikipedia, “Myrrh”).

Ancient Egyptians “carried cones on their heads that contained myrrh to prevent sunburn and repel insects” (Experience-Essential-Oils.com, “Myrrh”). Myrrh is believed to have anti-aging and hormone-like properties. It is reported to stimulate circulation, decrease inflammation, soothe inflamed skin, prevent wrinkles, heal fungal infections, heal mouth sores, alleviate stretch marks, and repel parasites and insects (Women of Valor, “Skin Care in the Bible,” and Easy-Essential-Oils.com, “Myrrh oil”).

What is known about fragrant oils?

To make fragrant lubricants, women placed resins of myrrh, or any of a number of aromatic peels, leaves, petals, or spices such as cinnamon and saffron into stone bottles of oil. The bottles sat in the sun for several days. Each morning the aromatic matter was refreshed, until the scent had sufficiently infused the oil (Women of Valor, “Skin Care in the Bible”).

Are the ancient oils used beauty products today?

Many people believe the oils are effective, safe and desirable. The natural oils are free of carcinogens and chemicals that disturb metabolism. A number of the oils and aromatics listed in scripture are incorporated into lotions and creams.♥ Mary Hendren

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FORGOTTEN AS A ORPHANE BUT REMEMBERED AS A QUEEN

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Helpful Tips From Leora - Deanna Dorman
 
The 7 Benefits of Weight Lifting Every Woman Should Know
 
It’s still a large misconception that women should not lift weights and many women still spend most of their time in the gym on cardio machines. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, only about 20 percent of women practice strength training.
It’s time for that number to change. Pumping iron a few times a week will not only trim inches off your hips and waist, it can transform your entire body and your health. The benefits of strength training can last hours after a workout and can boost your mood all day.
1. Lose Body Fat
Weight training builds muscle, as lean muscle increases so does metabolism. A higher metabolism means that you will burn more calories all day long. Studies found that the the average woman who strength trains two to three times a week for two months will gain nearly two pounds of muscle and will lose 3.5 pounds of fat. For each pound of muscle you gain, you’ll burn 35 to 50 more calories per day. That can really add up over the long term; for example, 4 extra pounds of muscle can burn up to 10 extra pounders per year!
2. Gain Strength Without Bulking
One of the most common reasons women avoid weight training is because they are afraid of “bulking.” This is a misconception as it physically can not happen. Women simply don’t have the testosterone to build muscle like men. Women have 10 to 30 times less testosterone than men and have a much harder time gaining size from strength training. Insead women develop muscle definition and strength without the size.
3. Decrease Risk of Osteoporosis
Weight training not only strengthens muscles, it strengthens your bones. Weight training increases bone density, which reduces the risk of fractures and broken bones. Research has also shown weight training can increase spinal bone density to create a strong and healthy spine.
4. Reduce Risk of Injury
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Weight training also increases strength in connective tissues and joints. Strong joints, ligaments, and tendons are important to prevent injury and can relieve pain from osteoarthritis. Strengthening muscles and connective tissue will make injury from daily tasks and routine exercise less likely, and can even improve sports performance.
5. Burn More Calories
Weight training has been proven to raise your metabolism for up to 24 hours after a workout. The more intense the workout the more calories are burned. After an intense workout there is more Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption, or EPOC, meaning there is an increase in oxygen consumption, helping break down fat stores in the body.
6. Improve Posture and Reduce Back Pain
Weight-training will strengthen your back, shoulders, and core, helping to correct bad posture so that you can stand taller, with shoulders back and spine straight. A stronger back and core will also prevent lower back pain
7. Enhance Mood and Reduce Stress
Exercise and weight-training release endorphins. Endorphins are neurotransmitters that prevent pain, improve mood, and fight depression. An increased in endorphins naturally reduces stress and anxiety. Endorphins also stimulate the mind, improving alertness and boosting energy. Weight-training can brighten your entire day or help you combat a bad one.
Beginner’s Dumbbell Workout
Complete 10-20 repetitions, depending on your strength, and three sets of each exercise. Do this workout two to three times per week to build strength and muscle

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