Last devotion I talked all about what Christian feminism really looks like, and how it is actually a GREAT thing. This devotion is going to be all about real women in the Bible and their Godly, strong character traits. Today I want to really go deep and focus on 2 prominent women: Queen Esther and Queen Vashti. The book of Esther is one of my personal favorites, and not only have I read through it multiple times, but have also done some research about Esther, Vashti and the king. There are some things about them you might find surprising.
Queen Vashti. I don't know about you, but I used to always think of Vashti as a defiant, almost bad character in the book of Esther. For my quiet time one day I decided to do some research about this intriguing woman and found myself completely taken aback. In Esther 1 she and her husband, King Ahasuerus (Xerxes) are both throwing royal parties for 180 days. Esther 1:10-12 says, "On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he commanded Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, and Abagatha, Zether and Carkas, the seven eunuchs who served in the presence of King Ahasuerus, to bring Queen Vashti before the king with her royal crown, in order to show the peoples and the princes her beauty, for she was lovely to look at. But Queen Vashti refused to come at the king's command delivered by the eunuchs. At this the king became enraged, and his anger burned within him."
After reading this you are probably thinking something about how the king had just asked her to come show off her beauty and Queen Vashti was just being defiant—you may be surprised to hear, this is NOT the case.
PLEASE NOTE: THESE VIEWS ON QUEEN VASHTI ARE WHAT WE TAKE AWAY FROM THIS STORY, BUT THE BIBLE ISN'T REALLY CLEAR EITHER WAY.
Believe it or not, Vashti was actually a very inspirational, bold woman who gave up so much just to do the right thing. If she had listened to her husband and become a "trophy" for the men, Vashti would have been doing something very inappropriate for that time period. Does this give you a new perspective? If you look deeper through the words of the Bible you can see that Vashti valued feminine modesty, stood firm in womanly self respect, and was bold. She valued obedience to God by valuing her modesty over her position as queen. Not to mention she was most likely killed for her actions! Her husband, the king, was asking her to do something ungodly and sinful. Queen Vashti did the RIGHT thing by not displaying herself in front of drunken, lusting men. The king divorced her because she refused to display herself as a trophy for the men's pleasure. If someone is asking you to disobey God's law, you are 100% allowed to not obey them, no matter what their position. Acts 5:29 says, "But Peter and the apostles answered, 'We must obey God rather than men.'"
Despite everything her husband had done, Esther loved him and respected him. She showed insane courage by entering his presence without being summoned in order to save her people, the Jews, from the evil plot Haman had created—he wanted to annihilate the Jews! Esther valued selflessness by putting others before herself and risking her life to save the lives of the Jews. Esther showed wisdom and obedience by asking Mordecai for help/advice and listening to what he said. She had faith and trusted that God would deliver her and her people. She was submissive to God and His will. Queen Esther was a strong, faithful woman who God used to help save His people! Esther is one of the strongest female heroes in the Bible! If you haven't already, you MUST check out the book of Esther. It's 10 chapters and it is such an incredible story!
I have really enjoyed writing these for you all & I hope you enjoyed them too! Thank you all for reading.
P.S. I used BibleGateway.com for research about Vashti, and www.apologia7.com for research on King
Xerxes and Esther ❤
PHOTOS BY SHANNON LEE MILLER