Now the young woman pleased him, and she obtained his favor; so he readily gave beauty preparations to her, besides her allowance… Esther 2.9 (NKJV)
All species of animals have a unique way of attracting a mate. Some use a special call, or a bright display of colours, or a display of strength, or a weird dance or even a display of affection (such as licking themselves). The male hippo uses his faeces to attract the attention of the ladies while Amazon river dolphins initiate courtship by gently nibbling the flippers of their female counterparts and then presenting with clumps of weeds like exquisite bouquets.
But no matter how diverse or bizarre the methods of attraction are in the animal kingdom, there is no species on earth quite like humans!
The things we do for love. Waxing. Plucking. Exfoliating. Bleaching. Tattooing. Piercing. We put ourselves through grueling and often painful beauty regimes all in the hope of attracting that special someone.
In the quest for beauty it seems that anything that is part of or comes out of an animal is fair game. Sheep placenta treatments are said to keep the Hollywood elite looking gorgeous and youthful while others use bull semen on their hair, or as Victoria Beckham discovered, nightingale droppings on your face make a great skin cream. Japanese women drink collagen derived from pigs, chickens and cows to help boost their skin from the inside out. While many Westerners think nothing of having paralytic toxins injected into their face during their lunch breaks.
Hollywood actress Demi Moore traveled to Austria to be sucked by leeches, to help detoxify her blood.
In the Karo tribe of southern Ethiopia, village elders make cuts on young girl’s stomachs that heal into prominent scars, which are considered beautiful and will make them more attractive to men.
When it comes to pain, China ranks among the most masochistic. To add a few inches to their frames, some well off Chinese have both of their legs broken and steel pins inserted, just below the knees and above the ankles. Every day as the broken bones try to heal, the height seeking patient turns an adjustment knob to pull them apart, forcing a new bone to grow in the gap. The agonizing painful procedure takes six months, all for a typical gain of three inches.
The ancient Hebrew word for ‘beauty preparations’ comes from the root meaning “to scour, to polish.” Contrary to what you may think, Esther didn’t spend a year of her life living it up in some Persian spa. Rather, she underwent grueling skin treatments, as every blemish was removed. Often through pain. So that she could one day stand before the king.
God is not evil. His plans for my life are good. But He sometimes requires of me to undergo these ‘beauty preparations’. They are not pleasant or comfortable but they are necessary. And as much as I want to take the easy road, its often through those times of scouring and the polishing that I am refined.
So that one day, I can stand before my King spotless and without blemish.