This is the first installment of a multi-part series on the book of Esther. Specifically Esther 1, verses 17-20. This series will explore the book of Esther at a pace of approximately one chapter per week. A schedule for this series can be found in a previous post at: Esther study.
In the first 16 verses of the book of Esther, an elaborate party is thrown by King Xerxes of Persia to impress his contemporaries and celebrate his power. During the multi-day party, the King asks for his queen to appear before his guests and she refuses. Her refusal to come at his command leads to some undesired consequences for the queen.
Esther 1:17-20, New International Version (NIV)
17 For the queen’s conduct will become known to all the women, and so they will despise their husbands and say, ‘King Xerxes commanded Queen Vashti to be brought before him, but she would not come.’ 18 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.
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pleases the king, let him issue a royal decree and let it be written in the laws of Persia and Media, which cannot be repealed, that Vashti is never again to enter the presence of King Xerxes.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. 20 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.”
This was not the first time a King sent a Queen away for not respecting his wishes. In much the same way, King David refused any intimate relations with his Queen after she scolded him publicly.
2 Samuel 6:20-23, New International Version (NIV)
20 When David returned home to bless his household, Michal daughter of Saul came out to meet him and said, “How the king of Israel has distinguished himself today, going around half-naked in full view of the slave girls of his servants as any vulgar fellow would!”
21 David said to Michal, “It was before the Lord, who chose me rather than your father or anyone from his house when he appointed me ruler over the Lord’s people Israel—I will celebrate before the Lord. 22 I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes. But by these slave girls you spoke of, I will be held in honor.”
23 And Michal daughter of Saul had no children to the day of her death.
The book of Esther is ripe with teaching, as we will explore, but for these focus verses one important point is that publicly humiliating our spouse is one way to severely damage our relationship with our husband.
Sometimes, in the heat of a disagreement, it’s hard not to bring up past events where your spouse may have made a mistake. It may be difficult not to expose something he’s doing as false right when it happens. Just keep in mind, respect is very important to all of us as human beings, but most especially to men, and even more importantly, to the man you married. If you are within earshot of anyone else, hold your thoughts until you can get his attention *** when you are alone ***. Michal daughter of Saul did not have infertility problems. She had no children because David was no longer intimate with her. To David, he could no longer trust or be intimate with a woman who did not respect him.
I think it’s also important to remember our role as influencers. The easy-to-read version of verse 18 puts it this way:
Esther 1:18, Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)
18 “Today the wives of the Persian and Median leaders have heard what the queen did, and these women will be influenced by what she did. They will do the same thing to the king’s important leaders. And there will be plenty of disrespect and anger.
As wives and mothers we have a tremendous amount of influence over our families and households. Our attitude towards our husband is contagious. Just as in the time of Persian rule, we have the opportunity to either build up our husband and his leadership, or tear him down.
If you’ve publicly humiliated your spouse – apologize. Commit yourself to never do it again, and work hard to let God heal your heart so you can respect your husband in public and have grace in the heat of the moment.
In my own experience, when things don’t go my way, I sometimes stumble, but in the end I take my requests to God.
Philippians 4:5-7, New International Version (NIV)
5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
I’ve learned over time, that even more important than having my way (or being right), I want the “peace of God.” I want my heart and mind to be guarded and for the peace of God to be with me and in my home. I have found that when I “present my requests to God,” I stop the struggle and I let Him, through the power of the Holy Spirit, heal my heart so I can have the right attitude and respect for my husband. Oftentimes too, when I make my desires known to my husband privately, and then appeal to God to aide us in coming to an agreement, 95% of the time we come to an amicable agreement. A peaceful household is much nicer to live in. The other 5% of the time, I’ve made my requests known to God and have asked Him to either change my heart or change my husband’s; and it’s a work in progress.
If you have any thoughts on this study so far I’d love to hear from you in the comments.
I pray Philippians 6 and 7 over you. That you will have the peace of God and the gentle comfort of a heart and mind that are under His protection.
In His Grip,
If you’d like to start at the beginning of this study, please go to:
Or, if you’d like to try a different study, go to
1 Peter Study
Images are from the movie “One Night with the King”. The movie plays out in elaborate detail the drama of the story of Esther. It’s fun to watch and a great catalyst for discussing the story of Esther.
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