2:9 favor. A secular use of the Hebrew word for covenant loyalty (hesed, Ex. 15:13 note). Pleasing the king and gaining his favor, so necessary for survival in Ahasuerus’s empire, can be seen as signs of God’s providential care and leading of Esther (cf. v. 17; 5:2; contrast the more explicit references to God’s providence in Dan. 1:9).
her portion of food. Esther’s reception of special portions of food contrasts with her intentional fast in 4:16. Unlike Daniel, Esther did not follow Jewish dietary laws (v. 10).