Esther 2:1

"Later when the anger of King Xerxes had subsided, he remembered Vashti and what she had done and what he had decreed about her." NIV translation

The king had been so angry about Vashti's actions that he couldn't even think but now he has calmed down. He remembers that he has issued a law saying that Vashti must be replaced as queen.

Esther 2:2

"Then the king's personal attendants proposed, 'Let a search be made for beautiful young virgins for the king.'" NIV translation

Now, we see that the king's attendants propose what we would call a beauty pageant or contest. It is funny that what caused the problems with the former queen (Vashti) was the fact that the king wanted to put her on display. Now, the solution that is presented is to put a bunch of women on display but this isn't your ordinary beauty contest as we will see.

Esther 2:3

"'Let the king appoint commissioners in every province of his realm to bring all these beautiful girls into the harem at the citadel of Susa. Let them be placed under the care of Hegai, the king's eunuch, who is in charge of the women; and let beauty treatments be given to them.'" NIV translation

The attendants continue to explain the contest and we see that the girls were to be brought into the harem. A harem was a large group of women that were set aside to have sexual relations with the king. A eunuch (man that no longer had the ability to be with a woman) was put in charge so that there was no possibility of the girls being with another man.