1 This is what happened during the time of Xerxes,[a] the Xerxes who ruled over 127 provinces stretching from India to Cush[b]: 2 At that time King Xerxes reigned from his royal throne in the citadel of Susa, 3 and in the third year of his reign he gave a banquet for all his nobles and officials. The military leaders of Persia and Media, the princes, and the nobles of the provinces were present. 4 For a full 180 days he displayed the vast wealth of his kingdom and the splendor and glory of his majesty. 5 When these days were over, the king gave a banquet, lasting seven days, in the enclosed garden of the king’s palace, for all the people from the least to the greatest who were in the citadel of Susa. 6 The garden had hangings of white and blue linen, fastened with cords of white linen and purple material to silver rings on marble pillars. There were couches of gold and silver on a mosaic pavement of porphyry, marble, mother-of-pearl and other costly stones. 7 Wine was served in goblets of gold, each one different from the other, and the royal wine was abundant, in keeping with the king’s liberality. 8 By the king’s command each guest was allowed to drink with no restrictions, for the king instructed all the wine stewards to serve each man what he wished. 9 Queen Vashti also gave a banquet for the women in the royal palace of King Xerxes.
Although I have read this narrative many times, I’ve never really stopped to take note of the level of detail in the early part of this chapter, which sets up the whole story.
For instance, I noticed for the first time that King Xerxes held celebrations and feasts for all of the nobles of the region that lasted 180 days – about 6 months of partying! Some of the things that we read about later in the book of Esther make a sense when read in this context.
There is an old saying “the devil is in the detail”. Wikipedia tells me that this idiom is said to be derived from an earlier phrase “God is in the detail”, expressing the idea that details are important.
As we continue to read the book of Esther we will see that indeed, God is in the detail, in that He uses all of the many details of this story to bring about His purposes for His people.
I can certainly testify to this experience in my own life – God can and has worked things together for His good purposes even when I had no idea what He was up to.
I am grateful that God is in the detail!
Written by Shelley Witt