to obey is better than sacrifice / obedience is better than sacrifice
July 03, 2019 – Wednesday
Esther 1:15 NIV
15 “According to law, what must be done to Queen Vashti?” he asked. “She has not obeyed the command of King Xerxes that the eunuchs have taken to her.”
What command had King Xerxes given to Queen Vashti and why had she not obeyed? Perhaps a little more background would be useful as well. King Xerxes (pronounced Zerk-seas) inherited the vast Persian Empire from his father, Darius I and ruled over ruled over 127 provinces stretching from India to Cush (the upper Nile region). Like many kings he loved to show off his wealth and power, so
3 in the third year of his reign he gave a banquet for all his nobles and officials. The military leaders of Persia and Media, the princes, and the nobles of the provinces were present.
4 For a full 180 days he displayed the vast wealth of his kingdom and the splendor and glory of his majesty. 5 When these days were over, the king gave a banquet, lasting seven days, in the enclosed garden of the king’s palace, for all the people from the least to the greatest who were in the citadel of Susa.
You may be wondering what this has to do with Queen Vashti and her not obeying the command of Keng Xerxes, well apparently the king was drunk (in high spirits) on the seventh day and
10 On the seventh day, when King Xerxes was in high spirits from wine, he commanded the seven eunuchs who served him—Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, Abagtha, Zethar and Karkas— 11 to bring before him Queen Vashti, wearing her royal crown, in order to display her beauty to the people and nobles, for she was lovely to look at.
She refused and rightly so. The king wanted her to appear dressed immodestly to show off her beauty, but he was drunk and those around him were likely drunk as well. Also, according to the customs of Persia, the queen, even more than the wives of other men, was to be secluded from the public gaze. If she had done as the king had commanded there is no telling what would have happened to her once he sobered up. Still, she had refused a command of the king and being drunk his only concern was for his pride so the king became furious and burned with anger (v12b).
This was a sad state of affairs that only got worse because while still drunk he asked those drunk around him According to law, what must be done to Queen Vashti instead of waiting a day or so until he sobered up. All those around him wanted her punished and as sycophants were concerned their wives might also disobey. So a decision was reached.
19 “Therefore, if it pleases the king, let him issue a royal decree and let it be written in the laws of Persia and Media, which cannot be repealed, that Vashti is never again to enter the presence of King Xerxes. Also let the king give her royal position to someone else who is better than she.
As a result there was a search throughout the empire to find a replacement for Queen Vashti. Finally a new queen was chosen in his seventh year.
17 Now the king was attracted to Esther more than to any of the other women, and she won his favor and approval more than any of the other virgins. So he set a royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti. Esther 2
This is incredibly important to the rest of the book of Esther and while God is not mentioned in this book, His hand in the coincidences (Godincidences) throughout which result in saving the Jews that remain in exile under King Xerxes. Recommend the Bible Project video on Esther to see how God is involved in our lives even when He is not mentioned.
We should be able to look back at our lives and see how God was involved even when we were not aware of Him being involved just as we can in the book of Esther.
RileyD, nwJ (to obey is better than sacrifice / obedience is better than sacrifice)