Archive for February 20th, 2014

Esther 1

Esther 1 is a man’s dream scripture if interpreted incorrectly.  The short story is that the queen disobeyed the kings request and he, following the suggestion of his advisor, put her away to never come before him again.  It would be easy to interpret this passage as saying that man is the ruler of woman and if she does not obey, she can be put away for ever at his whim.  Sounds pretty appealing doesn’t it?  But that isn’t exactly what this passage is about, so lets dig in a little deeper.

It is true that King Ahasuerus threw a big party to celebrate with people from all over the world at that time.  They came and “he showed the riches of his royal glory and the splendor and pomp of his greatness for many days, 180 days”.  Not only did they eat, and drink, and drink, and be merry, but there was some chest pounding going on as well.  The king allowed his staff to enjoy the party and also allowed Queen Vashti to give “a feast for the women in the palace that belonged to King Ahasuerus”.  Everyone was having a good time and enjoying the party.

But on the seventh day, “when the heart of the king was merry with wine”, the king asked his men to bring Queen Vashti “before the king with her royal crown, in order to show the peoples and the princes her beauty, for she was lovely to look at”.  Now the show and tell was going beyond his riches and glory to showing off the Queen. And in his drunken stupor, it is believed he wanted her to show with only her crown – in the nude as a display for the other drunken men of his court.  But that wasn’t the result.  The Queen refused the king’s command that was delivered by his eunuchs.  She disobeyed his order and the King got extremely angry.

One of his key men, Memucan, suggeseted that this might get out of control if left unchecked.  All the women of the kingdom would believe they could treat their husbands in the same way, and that could not be tolerated.  The king had to take action to correct the disobedience to his order.  “For the queen’s behavior will be made known to all women, causing them to look at their husbands with contempt”.  He convinces the king to issue a decree that “that Vashti is never again to come before King Ahasuerus”.  Probably not a just punishment given the request that he had made.  But the king followed the suggestion and sent letters to every province that “every man be master in his own household”.  This sets a search in motion to find a new queen

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