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 Gods 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.
Gods 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 Vashtis 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 queens refusal. In Vashtis 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 factorthe outrageous conduct of the king, in his drunken state, had brought about the difficulty initially. But Gods providential dealings are seen in a heathen land before the Jews are brought into view. We know who really rulesPs. 22. 28; 46. 10; Dan. 4. 17.