I started reading the book of Esther this month as its the bible chapter of the month for my online bible study group and I had so many thoughts why I have decided to share here. I have studied the book of Esther before but the thing about studying the bible is that you learn new things every single time you read a passage again. So lets study Esther like it’s our first time.
My fun summary of Esther Chapter 1:
In a land so far away… Cue Game of thrones music There was this beautiful and wealthy kingdom that stretched out from India to Ethiopia.. (that’s like half of Asia btw). It was a very large kingdom. In this Kingdom, there lived a King with too much money and a drinking problem. He ruled his land well, we can’t say the same about his household. He got bored one day and thought to himself, “why don’t I throw a part for everyone?” Not a bad idea his aides said… But they were used to parties all the time as there wasn’t much going on. They had money and slaves and everything else they wanted. The King thought again to himself ” How can I make this party groundbreaking and earth-shattering?” hmmmmmmnnn…. Let’s have a party that never stops for 6 months… ” wow”, his aides said ” Now that will be an unforgettable party”
And so they did it… They threw a party which lasted for 3 months… In the middle of this party, The King asked for his wife to be brought in so that he could show her off to his friends…Well, she said NO. She was busy and wasn’t going to honour his request. He had forgotten that while his queen was very beautiful, she was also strong-willed and opinionated.. A Feminist some would say. But we don’t know that.. Maybe she was just in a bad mood. Well, whatever the reason was… The King was not having it… ” How dare she tell me no? does she know who I am?” He was super drunk and super angry and he had her thrown out of the Palace thanks to the advice of his friends who obviously didn’t like her much.
Now I wish this was where the story ended but no, In addition to throwing Queen V out of the palace, He made a rule that every woman had to obey her husband no matter what. 🙁 Now that’s where the first part of our story ends… What a damper to the epic party… I’m sure no woman in the kingdom wanted to party after this happened.
Now lets come back to real life: My thoughts were all over the place about this bible verse.. some supporting queen V, some others not so supportive.
Here’s what I think.
- I don’t think queen Vashti was a bad person: We weren’t told so much about her so I can’t prove this, but I don’t think the fact that she said no to her husband made her a bad person.
- Marriage is between 2 people but there are external stakeholders involved. While a lot of us may not like this, its the reality of life. No man is an island. Your spouse has family, friends, enemies, colleagues, etc. Based on this bible chapter, I learnt that you shouldn’t marry a man/woman who’s friends he listens to and these friends don’t like you. or whose family has an influence on him but don’t like you. Always have an advocate when it comes to marital issues. I don’t think the Kings friends liked Queen V very much.
- Don’t make decisions when you are drunk, angry, excited or emotional. You’ll make the wrong decisions
- Stay away from people who are power-drunk or have fragile egos especially if you have a mind of your own. Stay in environments that will edify you not the ones that will bring you down.
- There will always be a backlash to strong women exhibiting their strength. It has always been and unless there’s a radical change, it will continue in the next generation. I see this happen around me a lot. Whenever a woman takes a stance that men don’t like or agree with, then there’s a problem. I am not trying to bash men, neither am I saying women shouldn’t do this. it’s just an observation.
- Gods power in making otherwise negative decisions turn for your good. Let’s face the fact, Esther and Vashti were both married to a toxic but powerful man. They probably both didn’t have a choice (this is contestable). Wisdom and God helps to turn an otherwise negative situation for your good. Look, Wisdom is profitable to direct all.. sometimes I look at being Nigerian at this time to being in a not so good situation (perspectives I know) but making the best out of being Nigerian instead of complaining, ranting and just giving negative vibes is what I try to do. so why not look for ways to use what you have for something positive like Esther did.. How? Wisdom.
- Looking at how the king selected his queens based on beauty, should queen V not have expected this to happen? .. that the king would want to show her off.. or maybe it had happened and she felt like a piece of meat after and she swore to herself it was never going to happen again but didn’t communicate to the king… Maybe the issue here was communication. I don’t know, I’m just guessing.
- We gain favour by being obedient. It’s just a rule of life. Obedience is better than sacrifice.
- Let’s flip the script a little. What if the king had every right to summon her to his party, In this scenario, Queen V dishonoured her husband.
- As Christians, when making decisions, start with God before you move on to the council of men. Always ask for what God thinks before consulting with any man.
- As Christians, our lives are on blast for the world to see, judge, blast and emulate.
In conclusion, Maybe we shouldn’t feel bad for queen V, who knows maybe after she left the king, she found a man who valued her guts, beauty and brain.. (I really hope she did) yea, not a man whose story we know about but a man she was happier with.. Esther became stuck with a husband she could only see once in a year. lol. another back story I created but if this is true then queen V didn’t lose much. In this way, God would have worked for her good. If it didn’t work out this way for her then I have no comment.. We’ll ask God in heaven.
In summary, while I know this piece was about a bible character (
who may or may not be fictional), I really learnt a lot from studying this chapter of the bible. My outtake is,
The difference between this earthly king and our heavenly father is that our heavenly father always gives us a second, third, fourth, multiple and unlimited chances. no matter how many times we’ve said no to his call, disobeyed or ignored him. He never ignores, discards nor casts us away. His grace is ever sufficient and his love is all-encompassing… (both male and female so some people don’t feel left out).
That’s my ultimate takeout from this chapter. What’s yours?
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God always give second or multiple chances. It is what is in the that matters not Beauty .
As you said, Queen V was married for her Beauty not love. She wouldn’t have been banished if love was involved.
In fact,this chapter is really interesting and full of questions that need answers.
Another thing I realised is that you need to be careful of the kind of people that lead you.
King Xerxes wasn’t a really wise man and that was why he called his wife to display her beauty in front of everyone — both powerful people and the masses.
As a queen,I think that’s very disrespectful.
I related this story with Jodha and Akbar and I had to ask: “what kind of a king in his right senses would allow his followers see more than 20% of his wife’s beauty?
2. We can also see that in his drunk state….he revealed his true colours. It is true,one reveals himself when he’s drunk. The king,although powerful and honoured by many,lacked a honourable character.
3. When one is in power or in limelight, you no longer live for yourself alone but for the people that look up to you. Why? Because any action you make can make or mar their beliefs and mindset.
4. According to some people, it is said that Queen Vashti was meant to show herself in a sexual or inappropriate way. I feel if that was the case,she could have still gone— but with wisdom. She could have won her most expensive outfit. One that’s really decent and signifies power…with her crown and gone with her head up high. Do you know what else she could have done after wearing those clothes? She could have gone to meet them and changed the tides. How? It could go like this:
“Good day, everyone. I’m honoured to stand before you all today. In fact, I am glad and privileged to be the King’s wife and that’s why I must honour him. Can we all rise up and appreciate the king for ruling us well? It’s not easy to rule over 127 provinces. Let’s appreciate him!”
You know that statement can boost both the king and Vashtis reputation.
There are ways one can change a disrespectful situation to one that favours them.
5. This leads to marriage. Whether you like it or not. Women must always be submissive to their husbands. It’s a rule from the word of God. So this should make you know that you must marry the will of God for your life. Marry a man who loves God and respects God. Once you find someone like that,it’s easier to submit because you know that this man won’t lend you to do something that’ll disgrace God or bring dishonour.
6. I come against every Memucan in my life.
Memucan was the one that gave that advice and the king followed it. The kind of people you trust with advice matters.
Advice may look wise to the listener,but it doesn’t really mean it’s a good one. Be careful who you listen to!
I think the king lack wisdom, he made his decision without consulting God