10 On the seventh day Xerxes was in a good mood because he had drunk a lot of wine. So he gave a command to the seven officials who served him. They were Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, Abagtha, Zethar and Carcas. 11 He told them to bring Queen Vashti to him. He wanted her to come wearing her royal crown. He wanted to show off her beauty to the people and nobles. She was lovely to look at. 12 The attendants told Queen Vashti what the king had ordered her to do. But she refused to come. So the king became very angry. In fact, he burned with anger. 13 It was the king’s practice to ask advice from those who knew a lot about matters of law and fairness. So he spoke with the wise men who were supposed to understand what was going on at that time. 14 They were the men who were closest to the king. They were Carshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena and Memucan. They were the seven nobles of Persia and Media. They were the king’s special advisers. In fact, they were the most important men in the kingdom. 15 “You know the law,” the king said. “What should I do to Queen Vashti? She hasn’t obeyed my command. The officials told her what I ordered her to do, didn’t they?” 16 Then Memucan gave a reply to the king and the nobles. He said, “Queen Vashti has done what is wrong. But she didn’t do it only against you, King Xerxes. She did it also against all of the nobles. And she did it against the people in all of the territories you rule over. 17 “All of the women will hear about what the queen has done. Then they will look down on their husbands. They’ll say, ‘King Xerxes commanded Queen Vashti to be brought to him. But she wouldn’t come.’ 18 Starting today, the leading women in Persia and Media who have heard about the queen’s actions will act in the same way. They’ll disobey all of your nobles, just as she disobeyed you. They won’t have any respect for their husbands. They won’t honor them. 19 “So if it pleases you, send out a royal order. Let it be written down in the laws of Persia and Media. They can never be changed. Let the royal order say that Vashti can never see you again. Also let her position as queen be given to someone who is better than she is. 20 “And let your order be announced all through your entire kingdom. Then all of the other women will have respect for their husbands from the least important of them to the most important.” 21 The king and his nobles were pleased with that advice. So he did what Memucan had suggested. 22 He sent messages out to every territory in the kingdom. He sent them to each territory in its own writing. He sent them to every nation in its own language. The messages announced in each nation’s language that every man should rule over his own family.
At the beginning of this story of Esther, we see in Queen Vashti a very different kind of woman to Esther. When the King summoned Queen Vashti, she had the audacity to ignore the command of her King.
For whatever reason, Queen Vashti thought herself above the commands of the King. Her independence was short-lived, however, as her rebellion cost her everything when she was thrown out of the palace.
As part of my allegiance to King Jesus, I have been given a royal inheritance – the Bible calls believers a “royal priesthood”. I need to be reminded, however, that I am neither equal to nor above my King. Absolute respect and obedience is required and there are dire consequences for pride and an independent spirit.
As we will read later in this book, Esther’s humility and obedience is a stark contrast to Vashti’s arrogance and independence. May I live in the place of humbly serving King Jesus, not thinking of myself more highly than I ought.
Written by Shelley Witt