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I'm trying to understand the nature of the Harem's during the time period of the Persian and Median empire. I'm Not trying to be uncouth/brash/offensive but was said Harem like some kind of sex ring? The reason I'm asking is because in the bible it says that women of the Harem would "go in to the king".

Esther 2:8-18 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

8So it came about when the command and decree of the king were heard and many young ladies were gathered to the citadel of Susa into the custody of Hegai, that Esther was taken to the king’s [b]palace into the custody of Hegai, who was in charge of the women. 9 Now the young lady pleased him and found favor with him. So he quickly provided her with her cosmetics and [c]food, gave her seven choice maids from the king’s palace and transferred her and her maids to the best place in the harem. 10 Esther did not make known her people or her kindred, for Mordecai had instructed her that she should not make them known. 11 Every day Mordecai walked back and forth in front of the court of the harem to learn how Esther was and how she fared. 12 Now when the turn of each young lady came to go in to King Ahasuerus, after the end of her twelve months under the regulations for the women—for the days of their beautification were completed as follows: six months with oil of myrrh and six months with spices and the cosmetics for women— 13 the young lady would go in to the king in this way: anything that she [d]desired was given her to take with her from the harem to the king’s palace. 14 In the evening she would go in and in the morning she would return to the second harem, to the [e]custody of Shaashgaz, the king’s eunuch who was in charge of the concubines. She would not again go in to the king unless the king delighted in her and she was summoned by name. 15 Now when the turn of Esther, the daughter of Abihail the uncle of Mordecai who had taken her as his daughter, came to go in to the king, she did not request anything except what Hegai, the king’s eunuch who was in charge of the women, [f]advised. And Esther found favor in the eyes of all who saw her. 16 So Esther was taken to King Ahasuerus to his royal palace in the tenth month which is the month Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign. 17 The king loved Esther more than all the women, and she found favor and kindness with him more than all the virgins, so that he set the royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti. 18 Then the king gave a great banquet, Esther’s banquet, for all his princes and his servants; he also made a holiday for the provinces and gave gifts according to the king’s bounty.

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    Verse 17 says, "Esther found favor...more than all the virgins", indicating that Ester was still a virgin, and "he set the royal crown on her head and made her queen", strongly implying that he married her. The great banquet in verse 18 would then be the wedding celebration. So the whole process of gathering and preparing the virgins was a means of selecting a bride to replace Vashti. – enegue Nov 27 '19 at 23:48
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It appears from this article that "harems" were actually a kind of "cloister" or "sequester" for women, to protect the king's favorites from being treated commonly.

The bad reputation apparently arose with the rise of Islam.

Update

I'm not sure who wrote the Wiki above. I just came across this conflicting view from the Jews for Jesus:

...4. She was raped.

This part comes as a shocker to people – even to those who have read the whole Megillah as part of their yearly Purim celebration. But the Scriptures are pretty clear about what happened.

Now when the turn came for each young woman to go in to King Ahasuerus, after being twelve months under the regulations for the women, since this was the regular period of their beautifying, six months with oil of myrrh and six months with spices and ointments for women – when the young woman went in to the king in this way, she was given whatever she desired to take with her from the harem to the king’s palace. In the evening she would go in, and in the morning she would return to the second harem in custody of Shaashgaz, the king’s eunuch, who was in charge of the concubines. She would not go in to the king again, unless the king delighted in her and she was summoned by name.” (Esther 2:12–14)

The virgins, who were all quite young, were escorted to the king, who is said to have been approximately 40 years of age at the time. They were taken one by one, for him to sleep with. They didn’t return to the other virgins, but instead were added to the number of the king’s other concubines (a.k.a. sex slaves without wife status). No other man could ever be their husband, and they never saw the king again unless he was “pleased with them.” In short, the king test-drove all the models before making his purchase, and he “purchased” Esther to replace his former queen...

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    Thx for the jewsforjesus.org website article. The circumstantial evidence strongly suggests/hints that there some kind of premarital sex. – crazyTech Nov 30 '19 at 15:37
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    @crazyTech There is little evidence of a bias in the JFJ article but the other is a bit suspect in that regard. – Ruminator Nov 30 '19 at 16:25

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