Queen Vashti (“Beautiful Woman”) was the first wife of King Xerxes/Ahasuerus in the book of Esther. She was banished for her refusal to appear at the king’s banquet… and Esther was eventually chosen to succeed her as queen.
I. A Banquet for the King’s Political Officials… Esther 1:1-4
Officials from 127 provinces, stretching from India to Ethiopia… were invited to a 6-month celebration!
II. A Banquet for the King’s Palace Officials (Esther 1:5-22)
Apparently, as a “Thank You” for helping with the previous banquet, King Xerxes gave another banquet for his palace officials.
- The Details… Esther 1:5-9
The palace was richly decorated; all present were encouraged to gorge themselves for 7 days!
- The Drunkenness… Esther 1:10
Be the final day, the king was VERY drunk.
- The Demand… Esther 1:11
The king viewed Vashti as his “trophy wife”. He ordered to come and parade her beauty before his drunken officials.
- The Defiance… Esther 1:12
Queen Vashti refused the order of her king.
- The Dilemma… Esther 1:13-18
The king found himself in a dilemma; how could he save face? He consulted his advisors concerning Vashti’s defiance… and the convinced him that her actions might spark a rebellion among the women of the kingdom.
By the way, Harriet Beecher Stowe called Vashti’s disobedience the “first stand for woman’s rights”.
- The Decision… Esther 1:19,20
The advisors recommended that the king should banish his queen from the palace.
- The Decree… Esther 1:21,22
King Xerxes followed his advisors’ counsel, and decreed that each man should be the ruler of his own home… including himself!
Then, he began to look for a new queen… which would lead him to Esther.
Vashti lost her position as Queen of Persia when she refused the king’s command to show herself off to the king’s guests.
While Vashti’s strength of character earns our admiration, we also see God’s sovereign hand at work in her situation… because Esther’s resulting “promotion” put her in a position to save God’s people from being massacred.
* God’s purpose ALWAYS trumps any king’s decision.
Sometimes, the decisions we make – even those that don’t seem to make sense – can be used in God’s overall plan.
You can read Vashti’s story in Esther 1.