Daily Thought for: 18th July


Esther 1. 1-22

Vashti was queen of Persia when Ahasuerus ruled over a kingdom covering more than half of the known world. He is almost certainly to be identified with the king known as Xerxes who was king of Persia about 500 years before the advent of Christ. He is referred to over 180 times in Esther which relates to the period falling between Ezra chapters 6 and 7. The book of Esther is concerned with the Jews who remained in the relative prosperity of their land of captivity rather than returning to their own desolate country, as recorded in Ezra. The book emphasizes God’s providence in His deliverance of the Jews from the evil Haman, through the elevation of Esther as queen, and the institution and celebration of the annual feast of Purim. 

God’s providence is evident, even prior to the raising up of Esther. Secular history informs us that Ahasuerus, having waged a successful war against Egypt, held a great feast in celebration and made arrangements for the forthcoming invasion of Greece, Esther 1. 3. On the seventh day, the king, being excited with wine, gave instructions to his chamberlains to bring queen Vashti, ‘wearing her royal crown, to shew the peoples and the princes her beauty’, 1. 10-11. This most unseemly demand for a public appearance in a scene of intoxication is met by Vashti’s refusal. She acts with womanly dignity on this occasion. Here is a lesson from a heathen woman relating to the true honour of womanhood. 

The king, in his right senses, would never have made such a request of his queen, but being in a drunken state, he not only commands but is most angry at the queen’s refusal. In Vashti’s bold act we see that in the midst of the grossest darkness the human soul is not without some consciousness of higher things, Rom. 2. 14-16. After consulting his wise men, it was decided that Vashti should be deposed because of the widespread domestic trouble which could follow if she was not punished. However plausible this may appear it omits one vital factor—the outrageous conduct of the king, in his drunken state, had brought about the difficulty initially. But God’s providential dealings are seen in a heathen land before the Jews are brought into view. We know who really rules—Ps. 22. 28; 46. 10; Dan. 4. 17. 


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