Women in the Word

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9/01/2014 8:54 pm  #1

Chapter One

The first chapter of Esther was brief. Basically, Xerxes wanted to show off his queen, Vashti. She refused. He dumped her. My first reaction was wow! Just like that. He's awful. Then I wondered why didn't Vashti come? We're not privy to that information. And why didn't Xerxes ask her what was wrong? Was she not feeling well? Did she not want to be shown off in that way, or at that time? The scripture doesn't say. What I took away from it was that had they had a conversation with each other, they might have saved the marriage.


9/01/2014 9:23 pm  #2

Re: Chapter One

It is interesting to wonder what was going through each of their minds.  I was reading John MacArthur's background on Esther and he was saying that this King historically had a really, really bad temper, like he killed his engineers when a bridge they built was destroyed in a natural disaster, etc.  There was a lot on this guy.  Apparently he was a prominent historical figure in the struggle between Persia and the Greeks and he was crazy.


9/02/2014 11:03 am  #3

Re: Chapter One

King Xerxes gave banquet to his nobles and officials and other important people(v3) to show off the wealth of his kingdom  for 180 days(v4). After that was another 7 day banquet in his palace(v5), each man to be serve what wine he wished(v7). Queen Vashti also gave banquet for the women in the royal palace(v9).  King Xerxes, on the 7th day, asked the Queen to come out with her royal crown wanted to display the beauty of the Queen but Queen Vashti refused (v 10-11).  My observation on these verses are the following: (1) King Xerxes was embarrassed, Queen Vashti can be the highlight of his pride,power and possession (2.)Everyone can be assumed to be drunk and not in the right frame of mind, including Queen Vashti ( in the context of her role during that time) (3) There was no regard for Queen's personal feeling vs regard to what other people would perceived of the king (4) Queen is dispensable at the king's disposal.

On the other hand, King Xerxes had also soft heart  for he did not kill the Queen. ( context in that culture).
Another observation, men were threatened by the Queen's action. 


9/02/2014 2:25 pm  #4

Re: Chapter One

I agree. There does seem to be an overall theme of people not being concerned with feeling of others but being focused on individual pride.


9/02/2014 2:27 pm  #5

Re: Chapter One

Moving my post into this thread:


So, I am roughly using GoodMorningGirls SOAP method of Bible study. (Esther SOAP Workbook)



1. King seems to have issues with pride
Verse 4 says “he showed the riches of his glorious kingdom and the splendor of his excellent majesty for many days, one hundred and eighty days in all.”  And verse 11 it says he wanted to queen to come “in order to show her beauty to the people and the officials”

2. The drinking was not compulsory (verse 8) – so it was not as if the King needed to feel pressured into drinking, and yet the servants were ordered to give everyone however much they wanted so there was no attempt at moderation.  So the King chose intoxication and made no effort to moderate the drinking at the event

3. The king was intoxicated when he ordered the queen to be brought forth
4. He wanted her brought out to show her off
5. There was concern that the queen's refusal would encourage other women to act in a belligerent manner towards their husbands

It seems to me that the king was being prideful and in a 7 day drunken binge he ordered his wife in to be ogled by a bunch of drunken men.  Vashti may have felt that this was demeaning.  Her refusal however publically humiliated the king and could be used as an example for other wives to defy their husbands.

The first thing I see is how pride can consume us.  He was really so enraged and angry because he felt he lost face in front of these dignitaries.  But if he had not been prideful, he would not have attempted to show off his wife.  Also, if he had not been willing to allow others to define his value, he would not have been out of control with rage when she embarrassed him. 
For me, it is a reminder to not live life trying to impress others and needed to illustrate my “treasures” be they financial, intellectual, talents, beauty, etc.  I think we struggle with wanting to highlight ourselves and wanting people to think highly of us and wanting to showcase our “treasures.”
Submission to Authorities in Unjust Situations:
I am not in any way implying that it was a proper for women to be subject to their husbands in the way shown in this chapter.  However, the reality is that whether it was right or wrong in this society and with the king, Vashti did have an obligation to obey the orders of the king.  She may have rightfully been offended and it may have rightfully been unkind and inconsiderate of him to ask. 
For me it reminds me that (within reason – I think the Bible is clear you should never sin at another’s behest) we need to follow those in authority over us, like employers or government, even when we feel they are being unfair or unjust.  Esther is an historical narrative and as such does not lay out doctrine, but I believe this is shown in other scriptures specifically New Testament calls to obey even corrupt governments as long as it is not calling one to sin.
But that is a very hard thing to do especially when we feel things are unfair.  But we are to be examples of doing right and above reproach, meaning, we give no one cause to criticize us for anything wrong or defiant.  Now, since we live in a free country and a representative republic we certainly can change jobs if we feel our employer is unfair or vote out leaders.  But, as long as the person is our employer or leader we need to be subject to their authority.  Again, this does not mean one cannot complain or express disagreement in appropriate ways and at appropriate times as our society allows for this.  But the two New Testament incidents that come to mind about obeying those in authority were referring to a brutal, totalitarian Roman Empire so how much more do they apply to our representative republic where we are free to speak up and to change both jobs and leaders.
We are an Example to Others
Vashti’s example could have led other women into rebellion and let us not forget that we are ambassador’s of Christ and we are to be good examples to others.
Prayer (Point of Action - the things I will be praying for God to change in my life, heart)

Pride: Definitely need to worry a lot less about how I appear to others and my image.  A good approach would be to focus more on understanding those around me and thinking about how I can express love to them and less on managing my image.  Because the ultimate root is that my value must not come from others but from what God wants to do through me.
Submission to Authorities in Unjust Situations: I have always had the theology that we are subject to governing officials, I think the harder issue for me is the employer issue.  Because a lot of times I can push back when I don’t think something is right or be evasive.  Again, not saying I should not appropriately speak up, but definitely need to not be evasive or manipulative and just either do what I am asked or appropriately express my concerns.
Being an Example: Try to act above reproach with my attitude not just my behavior.  I don’t usually do wrong, but I can frequently have the wrong attitude.  I need to remember that I am to be an example to others.


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