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The Beauty and Character of Queen Vashti

As little girls we are taught to be nice and polite. Not too long ago I heard on the news about a man who was going about the city hugging women. Now, the shocking part is, these women were allowing this man to hug them. I couldn't believe my ears. The man would go up to women and share with them that he knew them from years past and would love to hug them. Excuse me, but were these women a tad bit out of their mind? If a man comes out of no where and attempts to hug me without my permission, someone is going to find a fist in their face.

We must have boundaries.

Remember that shot heard around the world that we have all learned about in history class? We all learned the power that one shot held and it changed the world. Queen Vashti didn't have a weapon in her hand. She held something of greater value. Her voice. She was the woman who stood with integrity and honor. As politely as she could she said, "No". This one word held a great impact on the world.

She was married to King Ahasuerus of Persia. Here is a little fact that I found fasinating. Queen Vashti was the daughter of King Belshazzar and great granddaughter of King Nebuchandnezzar. She was a woman of beauty, in a marriage not created in love. Queen Vashti was forced into marriage. Can you imagine the pain her heart held? Did she live in anger and resentment toward the king?

We can read about Queen Vashti in Esther 1-2. See, the king was a show off. It seems he enjoyed the spot light and was a party host to all. He throws a party. A party of all parties and goes on a benge for seven days. He doesn't just invite the royals. He rolls out the red carpet for everyone. So, what does a king do next to grab the attention of those at his party? He wants to have his queen brought to the party to parade in front of everyone. You know, kind of like saying, "Yep boys, this one belongs to me". Queen Vashti sends her reply back to the king.

Now, I can invision this so well. I can see her sitting in her room. Maybe the music is getting to her and she a bit aggrivated that the king is spending so much time with his friends. Maybe she would just really like to spend some one on one time with the king. So, what does she do? She calls her girfriends to complain. Of course, she picks up a romantic love story to escape. Looks to those who have come to get her and says, "Are ya all insane? I am not going to another stupid party. I am spending the evening in so I can enjoy this book".

Maybe she just wanted to shave her legs or wash her hair. Maybe she had a migraine. Maybe she was tired. You know what? The reason doesn't matter. She said no and that's all that matters. No means no. So the king is mad and throwing a fit. Oh, this poor helpless fool. He has so much to learn about women.

Instead of the king going to his wife to mend what has been done, he instead goes to his friends. Okay, this is beginning to look a bit like high school to me. Reminds me a few boys I dated. So, his friends give their advice. They say he should just kick her butt to the curb and let that be it. He not only listens to their advice, but he follows it. I'm telling you, this guy is not the leading man I would choose for the next The Bachelor.

I can't imagine Queen Vashti being too upset over this. I mean, her no could have brought her death. So, doesn't that tell us that her no was worthy? She chose to take a stand and instead of being paraded for all to see in front of drunkards, she stands firm and says, "No more, my king. I'm done". I love the strength she is portraying.

Just maybe she wanted to feel more than just pretty. Maybe she wanted the king to see her for her heart. None the less, her no, changed the world. In her no, the king went on a search for the next great queen. He finds her and replaces the first queen with Esther. Esther now moves all her things in and is about to change the world for our coming Savior.

See, what I can learn from Queen Vashti is the fact that it's okay to say no. In fact, it's more than okay. It's okay to set boundaries. In this case, Queen Esther was destined to move heaven and earth to save the the Jewish people. God had set forth a plan. His Son was preparing to coming. Esther was a vessel able and willing to do the work of God. Queen Vashti's refusal was set in motion by a God who was in control.

Every choice we make has a lasting impact. Queen Vashti was part of God's plan. No more is said of her in the Bible. We can only imagine what happened to her as she carried her bags out for her ride home. Did she have regret or did she find freedom? I see a strong woman who was willing to stand firm no matter the cost.

I'm sure it was all over town. News was popping and everyone wanted to know the details. The men were now in fear their wives would stand in refusal to them. I'm sure there were women who knew Vashti's story and were cheering her on. As beautiful as she was I'm sure there were men lining up to date her. Her next choice could have been a good one or a bad decision that cost her greatly. We just don't know. I hope she went on to have a life filled with more than what the king could give her or take from her. For us, that is a life with the Lord. Making Him our focus changes things. It gives us a new perspective. When we are focused on Him we don't have to be in search of the bachelor who can give all and make our dreams come true. It is our Savior who makes us complete.

As women we need to teach our daughters to have boundaries. We need to teach them to say no. They need to know how to respect themselves and stand in integrity and honor. As mothers if we don't teach this to our daughters, who will? Our daughters need to know beauty, no matter how great on the outside, begins in the heart. We need to be examples for our daughters and encourage them.

I can hear Vashti telling the young women in her life, "Oh sweetheart, have I got a life lesson for you".

"For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope."
Jeremiah 29:11

Comments

Fearfully Made said…
Beautiful! I always love the story of Vashti and what she stood for. Since I hang around with a great deal of...traditionalists (?) who fear their wives overtaking them, I'm not always free to speak highly of Vashti for fear of some sort of backlash or being labelled. Love this post!
Mystic_Mom said…
Love this post! Wonderfully written and so true. Nicely done.
Robin Prater said…
Oh, you ladies have blessed me today. We can learn so much from Vashti once we know her story. I am still learning as I read more in the book of Esther.

Sweet blessings to you.
KM said…
I enjoyed your post!

Perhaps more often than not, Vashti gets a bad rap. Unfortunately, she has become the poster child that many folks use to encourage wives to submit to sin, foolishness, or destructive behavior. They place all of the responsibility to submit on the wife's shoulders. Yet, they place little to no responsibility on the husband to
(1) submit to God
(2) love his wife like Christ loved the church and died for it.

The idea of a wife submitting to her husband was not a new one. It had been taught from Genesis throughout the Bible. When Paul taught about a wife’s duty to submit to her husband, he was merely recapping an age old teaching. However, he had to spell it out for husbands. (Ephesians 5:25-32) This was a revolutionary concept for husbands. It had never been taught like that before. Some might say “love your neighbor as yourself” had been taught before (Luke 10:27). But that was the problem. Husbands were expressing love for their neighbors outside of the home, while regarding their wives as mere maids and sex objects.

The king did this to Vashti. She refused to submit to his foolish and drunken request.
Jewish tradition says that he instructed her to appear nude. We can't be sure whether he requested her nude or not. Either way, asking her to flaunt her beauty in the presence of other drunken men was not modest (Matt 5:28, Ex 20:17, Deut 5:21). She valued modesty. The king’s self serving friends were angered by her refusal and encouraged him to exile her, so he did.

This is a prime example of how many husbands use their position of power to abuse defenseless wives. It’s also an example of how many husbands express love for their neighbors and friends outside the home, while treating their wives with utter cruelty. This is a perfect example of why Paul needed to spell out (Ephesians 5:25-32) for husbands.

Bathsheba - another woman who had been the victim of a king's abuse of power - gave Solomon this wise advice:

It is not for kings, O Lemuel, to guzzle wine. Rulers should not crave alcohol. For if they drink, they may forget the law
and not give justice to the oppressed (Pro 31:4-5).

That's exactly what happened between Vashti and the King. He got drunk and forgot his duty to love, honor, and protect his wife.

As a result of Vashti's refusal, she was banished. Sometimes, bad things happen when you take a stand. Vashti's hardship is similar to that of Uriah. Uriah was a loyal military man. He refused to go home and sleep with his wife because of his commitment to his army. Uriah was actually more committed at that time than David because David took a day off to commit adultery. Although Uriah took an honorable stand, he was still killed. Although Uriah was killed, God still used the incident for his glory. Solomon became one of the wisest kings to ever live. This is no different from how the book of Esther unfolds. God uses an unfortunate tragedy to accomplish his plans.

Like David, Ashasuerus had some redemptive qualities. That's why God used him and gave him a second chance. He was remorseful for the way he had treated Vashti. He learned from his mistakes and treated Esther better than he treated Vashti. He also made a decree with Haman to kill the Jews. When he realized how egregious that decree was, he rectified it. He did in that situation what he had failed to do concerning Vashti. This is an admirable quality. Ashasuerus learned from his past mistakes.

There are some many other relevant themes within this text that many commentators fail to deal with like alcoholism, substance abuse and/or sexual immorality within marriage.
Unfortunately, far too many women are married to alcoholic, drug addicted or porn addicted husbands. What happened between Vashti and the King could easily be used to try to convince wives to enable, support and/or excuse their husband's addiction. Far too many lives, families and marriages have been destroyed as a result of addiction.
Anonymous said…
I just Love Queen Vashti and I don't care who says what!!!

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