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December 1, 2018

The book of Esther which is named after its heroine took place in Shushan in the fifth century B.C. This book tells the story of a young orphaned Jewess who was brought into the Persian harem of King Ahasuerus who is identified as Xerxes I the king of one hundred twenty-seven Persian provinces extending from India to Ethiopia The author of this book which took place over a span of four years and details Esther’s rise to power is unknown. This book never mentions God’s name, the commandments, laws and statues that were given to Israel or Jewish sacrifices; however, it reveals God’s divine intervention in the lives of His people and the consequences suffered by those who chose to do them harm.

Chapter one opens in the third year reign of the king in the city of Susa, the winter capital of the Persian kingdom where King Ahasuerus entertained a royal reception of his nobles, and rulers that commenced with a 180-day assembly. During this time, he displayed the kingdom’s power, wealth and grandeur, and ended with a seven-day feast in the royal gardens which included and citizens of the Shushan. Also, while the men in the royal gardens feasted and drank their fill of wine from gold wine goblets, Queen Vashti hosted a separate feast for the women in the royal palace.

On the last day of the feast seven eunuchs were instructed by the inebriated King Ahasuerus to bring Queen Vashti to the royal gardens where her beauty was to be witnessed by those present; however, the Queen refused to comply. Thus, the king filled with rage and anger consulted with seven wise men concerning what he should do. These men were concerned that other women would follow Queen Vashti actions when they heard about her response to the king, and if she were left unpunished, it would have far-reaching consequences for marriages in Persia.

One of the men named Memucan recommended that the king makes an irrevocable royal commandment that would be published throughout the empire acknowledging Queen Vashti would no longer be the queen, there would be a replacement, and furthermore, he hoped this would cause wives to honor their husbands.

Following the advice, he received, King Ahasuerus sent letters into every province about the fate of Queen Vashti and admonished men to rule their households.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Despite the many speculations by commentators, the bible does not record why Queen Vashti refused to comply with the king’s request. However, we understand the queen needed to be deposed so that Esther could be elevated to that position which would enable her possible access to the king on behalf of her kinsmen.

King Ahasuerus was a heathen king that God used in the deliverance of His people. History reveals during his life; he made some bad decisions that adversely affected his empire. Commentaries described him as boastful, revengeful, gullible, ill-informed, undisciplined, quick-tempered, and lustful. Despite all of these bad character traits God, used him. This shows us that individuals that we label wicked can be useful in the hands of God.

God knows what the future will be; He is omniscient. Though disaster for a people was in the heart and mind of a man, and though the king was often deceived and misled by people, God had a plan of deliverance for the Jews in the Persia Empire, and He used the deposing of Queen Vashti, King Ahasuerus, and Esther to bring it into fruition.

As you reflect on this first chapter of Esther, don’t worry and be alarmed about your present situation but remember despite what you see, feel, or think God has a plan for your life.



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  1. Today’s thought “If I perish I perish” (November 28) – Belgian Ecclesia Brussel – Leuven

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