Today, we move on to the last book to be considered under the bible history books – the book of Esther. The first chapter sets the background for what’s to come, how Esther became the queen, and how her story became a reference one in the history of God‘s people. Do come along!
In the third year of King Ahasuerus‘ reign ( he was ruler over one hundred and twenty seven provinces), he decided to make a feast for all his officials and servants, the of Persia and Media. The feast had a strong element of showing off. Ahasuerus showed off the riches of his glorious kingdom and splendor of his excellent majesty for many days, culminating in a seven day feast.
On the seventh day however, the showoff went “not as planned”. After Ahasuerus’ heart was merry with wine, he ordered his eunuchs to go fetch Vashti, the queen, to come and display her royal beauty and majesty – even the bible attested that she was beautiful to behold. Queen Vashti however refused to obey the king’s command, inciting the king’s fury.
Ahasuerus then consulted with his wise men on what was to be done to Vashti for her disobedience. Memucan told the king that Vashti’s action would result in wives everywhere despising their husbands, breeding contempt and wrath. To avoid this he advised the king to make a royal decree to be announced all through the province, that Vashti was to come no more before the king, and her position given to another more worthy. This when spread through all the empire, would cause all wives to honour their husbands, both great and small. The advise was pleasing to the king and implemented.
The king’s request to Vashti was awkward at the best, but we also asked the question of whether she could have responded in a more honourable way. There was however no question about the veracity and decisiveness of the action taken against Vashti to serve as a lesson for all. No matter the causes of all the actions and reactions, these set the background for the appointment of another queen, and the introduction of Esther to the royal stage.
Some verses to remember
19: Let there go a royal commandment from him, and let it be written among the laws of the Persians and the Medes, that it be not altered, That Vashti come no more before king Ahasuerus; and let the king give her royal estate unto another that is better than she.