It was late in the evening, but Esther awaited her king. She had spent the past twelve months beautifying her body, mind, and soul in preparation for this day. Six months she had oiled her skin with myrrh, followed by six months lavishing her body with exotic spices and ointments. Though she had never before been with a man, she had spent the last twelve months learning the ways of women.

Powerful men became powerless in the arms of women, she learned, and it was for this reason that she became practiced in the ways of seduction. Her teacher would hold her to him, relishing the warmth of her body, the feel of her breasts against his skin, the way her gaze held his eyes in depths of passion. She tested his breath, not allowing one intake to escape her notice. It was in this way that she learned the power of pleasure. It was in this way she learned the ways through which a woman could tempt, taunt, and tease promise, from a man’s lips.

This she needed above all. The promise of her king to take action for her family. Her people had been under the tyranny of a powerful commander. Second only to the king himself, this man sought out her people one by one and executed each and every one for their truth. But truth was a powerful motivator, and powerful men merely needed powerful suggestion. So tonight she waited.

Night after night, women walked away from the king’s tent hopeful that their bellies would now hold the child of a king. The mother of a prince, after all, was a queen, and it was a queen the king sought above all. But Esther knew it was more than her body, more than a baby, that the king searched for in the beds of women, so when the time came for her seduction she asked not for a favor from her teacher, but what favor she could provide the king.

A whisper was all it took to set Esther apart from her peers. Her teacher had spent many evenings outside the king’s tent and he knew the ways in which the king took his pleasure. Armed with this knowledge, and a body decadent with desire, she stepped between the folds of his tent, garnished head to toe in gold and jewels.

Her toes held rings of sapphires and rubies, and the white stola that adorned her body was sheer to the point of suggestion. She had concealed only that which the king most desired, draping the fabric around her hips, allowing it to cling to her breasts, and held together only at her shoulder in a gilded brooch of amethysts.

She quickly removed a pin from her tresses allowing dark flowing waves to cascade over her body to her waist. Already as he watched her, the king was enraptured by her body and he reached for her waist. But Esther remembered the words of her teacher and stepped from his grasp. The king was used to having his way and every woman sought to give it to him. But Esther was not most women.

She had been taught in the many ways a man wanted a woman, just as the others had, but what she had learned was far more important: a man required most what he didn’t know he desired. From that moment on she teased the king, settling her hips upon his and allowing her legs to pull him toward her.

The king tried to gain control, once again pulling her toward him. But she resisted his grasp and instead bound his hands with her stola as she teased his lips with her teeth. His eyes spoke of beguile, of intrigue, of pleasure, and she heard that sharp intake of breath that signaled the path she should follow. She continued to seduce him, seeking one breath and then the next, starting first with his lips, then his shoulder, his stomach, his hips.

She stood up then and pulled the brooch from her shoulder, allowing gems and garlands to fall from her body as her stola fell to the king’s body. She understood his need for mystery and so it was that the absence of her dress revealed rich emerald jewels ensconcing only what the king wanted most. He gasped at the sight of her, taunted by mystery as she straddled his hips once more. This time covering his eyes with the rest of her stola.

“Who are you?” he breathed, enthralled by the power she held over him. She intertwined her hands through his hair, pulling him softly to her bosom, and allowed his lips a brief moment at her breasts before whispering into his ear “I am the queen.”

She left him then, and silently slipped from the king’s tent. With a brief nod to her teacher, Esther walked away into the night. The king would call for again, of that she was sure. She would win the king’s favor. He would host a feast in her honor. She would become queen. She would save her people.

The above is an imagined account of Esther’s seduction of King Ahasuerus from the second chapter of the book of Esther, verses 2-18.

This article was originally published on Patheos Magazine.