15 June 2011

She said NO!

Esther Chapter 1 is all about how Queen Vashti loses her crown.

But first, let's take a look at Queen Vashti and King Ahasuerus. Can you imagine what royal living would be like?  Especially from a Queen's perspective?  Sure they got to wear fancy clothes and have servants and constant meals, but were they happy?  How would you feel to be a queen knowing that your King was allowed (and many did) to be with other women (concubines).  How would you feel to not even have the freedom to just walk to your King and have a chat, but rather you had to wait for him to summon you to be with him and spend time with him?  Did they share a bedroom as man and wife, or did the King have his own quarters and the Queen have her own quarters and what did she do late at night as she would lie in her bed awake with no one to talk to?  Was love even a part of their union?  Was she chosen to be queen because of her family name or beauty or her status?  Did she want to be queen?  One has to wonder.  To me, it sounds like a rather lonely existence.

During the third year of the King's reign, King Ahasuerus decides to have a huge banquet.  He prepares feasts for all of his officials and servants (presumably all male?) and the powers of Persia and Media, the nobles and princes of the provinces were also invited.  This wasn't just a one day affair, this was a week long feast!   And the banquet lasted for several days.  Queen Vashti had a party of her own with all the women (What even their parties were separate?)  And the King spared no expense to have fine linens displayed, his best golden vessels were used, and an abundance of wine!

On the 7th day of the feast, the King calls his eunuchs to go and summon the Queen.  Finally!  It took seven days for him to ask for her to come to his side.  (Obviously the culture was extremely different from ours today).  The king's heart was merry with wine and he wanted to show her beauty to the people and the officials...But....The Queen Refused To Come!

No!  She said no to the King!  What was she thinking?  Was she crazy?  Were you allowed to say no to the King?  The King was FURIOUS.  And his anger burned within him.  She embarrassed him.  Have you as a wife ever done this?  Knowingly or unknowingly, I'm sure we all have at one time or another embarrassed our husbands by our behavior.  And vice versa.  But after reading this chapter over and over, I saw that Queen Vashti had a choice.  She could obey her husbands wishes or she could pridefully say no and embarrass him.  She had the power and her response caused her husband a lot of anger.

The King then asks the wise men what he should do (apparently these were men who understood the times as far as law and justice goes) and the wise men basically say, "Look, this cannot be taken lightly.  The Queen said no to you, the King, what will other wives say/do to their husbands?  Find another Queen!"  The wise men knew that this bit of gossip would get around the kingdom..."Did you hear about Queen Vashti?  She dissed the King!  Who does she think she is!?"  "Did you hear about King Ahasuerus, he can't even control his own Queen, she doesn't even listen to him, if his own queen doesn't obey him, how does he expect his own people to?"  I can hear the whispers and see the stares and glances as the King and Queen rode by in their limo, I mean on their chariot of course.

In verse 21 it says, "And the reply pleased the king and the princes, and the king did according to the word of Memucan."  So basically Queen Vashti is dethroned for refusing to come to the banquet and a letter (a decree) goes out to all the surrounding provinces that each man should be master in his own house, and speak in the language of his own people.

Is your husband the master in his own house?  It's a good question, isn't it?  Does your husband feel honored and respected in his house?  Can he trust you to treat his with respect in front of guests and your children?  Isn't it sad when we see Dads on T.V. be made fools of in front of their children. It's as if roles are reversed and women are the masters of the house.  Don't get me wrong, it is team work.  And we are all equal in the eyes of God, but we all have our roles.  And I will be the first to tell you that John is the leader and head of this house, but sometimes I can act like I'm in charge.  I don't mean to, but I know it's wrong.  It can be as simple as the tone of my voice, or not trusting John's judgment, or saying something doesn't need to be said.

I'm thankful for my role as wife/mother and home manager.  But I could never do what I do without John.  No way.  No how.  I'm thankful for my role, but my role just doesn't work without my man.

What made Queen Vashti say no to her King?  Was she tired?  Was she angry?  Was she showing off in front of the other women?  Why would she refuse to show herself in front of the other nobles and princes?  Did she know how angry the King would get?  Did she care?  What do you think?

Well, it sets the stage for Chapter 2 as King Ahasuerus searches for a new Queen.


Happy Birthday to my forever friend, Christy Weaver.  Christy has been in my life since I was 13 years old.  And for the past 20 years she has been more like a mom/mentor/best friend.  If I can be half the woman of God and wife/mother she is then I will have done a good job.  She has taught me so much about how to be a servant and how to be a host.  I love her to pieces!!!  And I can't wait til she gets her birthday surprise in the mail!  See you Saturday my Christy!!!!

1 comment:

  1. I appreciated your post today Kristi! I had never thought about the story in the light you have presented here. My sympathies had always aligned with Vashti because as the granddaughter of Nebuchadnezzar I thought she was perhaps choosing her dignity (saying no to being paraded in front of a room full of drunken men)over obedience. But maybe it was pride as you suggest. And I can definitely see how her decision made her husband look weak. I also appreciated the questions you posed as they relate to our own marriages...it's convicting to consider...do my choices cause my husband to feel honored and respected in our home? Thank you for all you've given me to think about this morning, and for getting me back into Esther - there are so many lessons for women here. xoxo C


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