Queen Vashti loses her crown but keeps her dignity


The book of Esther opens with King Xerxes of Persia throwing himself a very big party. At that time, Xerxes ruled over an area of 127 provinces stretching from India to Ethiopia. All the princes, nobles and military leaders from all 127 provinces were there and the celebration lasted for 180 days. “For a full 180 days [Xerxes] displayed the vast wealth of his kingdom and the splendor and glory of his majesty” (Esther 1:4). At the end of 6 months of partying, the king threw one more banquet that lasted seven days. On the seventh day, he ordered his servants to go summon the Queen “in order to display her beauty to the people and nobles, for she was lovely to look at” (1:11). But much to the king’s dismay, Queen Vashti refused to come.

Furious over this lack of obedience, the king consulted with his “cabinet” of counselors over what to do. The king was angry, but mostly embarrassed. It made him look weak as one who had no control over his Queen. This is what concerned his counselors. “This very day the Persian and Median women of the nobility who have heard about the queen’s conduct will respond to all the king’s nobles in the same way. There will be no end of disrespect and discord” (1:18). They were concerned about what their own wives might do. This is a show of feminism, oh King, and it must be squelched right now!

So they encouraged the king to issue a royal decree, written into the laws of the land, “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. Then when the king’s edict is proclaimed throughout all his vast realm, all the women will respect their husbands, from the least to the greatest” (1:19-20).

John Wayne rules. We’ve got to nip this kind of behavior in the bud, little lady!

Obviously there was much going on here that we don’t know about. Why didn’t the queen come before the king? She must have had a good reason. Why didn’t the king summon her himself and find out? Intimacy and oneness define a real marriage; there was obviously none of that here. There appears to be no real love, only show. It may be that Vashti was over being dragged out and put on display only for her looks and not given any credit for her thoughts and opinions. The passage said earlier that Queen Vashti had also given her own banquet for the women in the royal palace. Maybe the women had something going on here that made the men suspicious.

Whatever was going on, there was no communication, turning relationships into more of a power struggle than anything. It shows you how far back these gender issues go. You’ve got all the men consulting with each other, and the women doing the same. If no one’s coming together, nothing will change.

From the beginning, God designed that two become one in marriage. Paul later added to that mutual submission, love and respect — submission being utter vulnerability to each other. Take any of these away and you have power struggles, abuse, manipulation and resulting inhumanity. Maybe Queen Vashti had had enough.

Long Way Back

Words and Music by John Fischer


There was a day when a cigar band

Was enough for her hand

And life was built on dreams together

Love was forever

Now she’s wearing diamonds

And the band’s on his cigar

He may have made it big

But he may have gone too far


They say he goes away for months now

Nobody knows how

She’s got to work so she can be sure

Her life is so insecure

She looks at her hand

And wishes for the old band


You’ve come a long way

It’s a long way back

You’ve come a long way

It’s a long way back


He’ll call her once or twice this weekend

No one will be in

He’ll recite excuses as the phone recites the ring

Got her what she wanted

Gave her everything


Now he’s turning the corporate big wheel

Landed a big deal

He’s passing out the best Havanas

And somewhere over Montana

He looks at the band

And remembers her hand


You’ve come a long way

It’s a long way back

You’ve come a long way

It’s a long way back

This entry was posted in Esther, relationships, women and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Queen Vashti loses her crown but keeps her dignity

  1. Mark D Seguin says:

    I hate it when relationships end!

    It always breaks my heart & think / believe as you wrote pastor John it comes down to poor communication skills (which am no better than most!) and lack of humility too in not be able to admit being wrong!

    PS That’s one the biggest lessons I learned from read Dale C’s classic people skills book: “How to Win Friends..” is to say: Excuse me, I maybe wrong, I have been before, yet consider viewing an issues this way…” Who can argue when you say I maybe wrong, I’ve been before..?

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