A drunken king and his tipsy advisors.
A trophy wife.
A new queen.
Sounds more like a soap opera, doesn't it? Or a Shakespearean play?
Nope, it's the book of Esther. No, I'm not kidding! There's going to be a lot for us to learn from this lady of the Bible!
First, let's lay the foundation; let's look at the background, in chapter one of the book of Esther:
Oy. Do you think that these men would have decreed these things if they hadn't been sozzled?
I wonder. Sure, women's place was definitely different from today, but to depose a queen? And make a new law? Just because they think they have been "dissed" in today's vernacular?
Let's dive in!
We're introduced here to an opulent palace where a lavish celebration is taking place. Whether it was a different part of the palace, or a separate building, the ladies were partying with Queen Vashti, and the men were lifting glasses with King Xerxes at his party. This is the culmination of a six month exhibition of all the wealth and power of the kingdom of Persia.
The wine is flowing freely -- too freely, perhaps. Maybe the men had a separate party because they had dancing girls, and more. I don't know for sure. But at some point, the king decided he wanted to show off his pretty wife. He sent his servants (eunuchs) to tell her to put on her best duds and her biggest crown and parade around for all these men to look at. Well, Queen Vashti didn't want a bunch of drunks ogling her, so she sent a message back to Xerxes: "No!"
To put it bluntly, he was steamed. Livid. Furious. And to make it all worse, embarrassed, since everyone had heard him give the command, and then they heard the eunuchs report when they returned. His pride was hurt.
His nobles were worried. What if their wives heard that the queen had refused the king his request? Would they disrespect their husbands, too?
So, still angry, and still inebriated, the king confers with his nobles and asks, "What should I do? This woman has embarrassed me!" And his tipsy nobles offered him some pretty drastic advice! Kind of like the queen in Alice in Wonderland, who keeps shouting "Off with his/her head!" as a solution to everything. (Grin) Their advice? Throw her out! Find another one! And make a new law so that our wives don't try it, too!
Ahhh, me. So he says, "Make it so." Or something similar.
And that is how the story of Esther begins.
Join us next time when we continue our study!