Although there are several secular books about Vashti, wife of King Ahasuerus, and references to her in a number of commentaries, she is only mentioned in two chapters of the Bible – Esther 1 and 2. She gave a feast for the women while King Ahasuerus gave a feast for his male officials and servants. Whether Queen Vashti’s feast was something simply expected of her as queen or a politically-cunning maneuver, we don’t know. We also know that the king commanded she be brought before him and his guests to show off her beauty. It is not known whether she was to be scantily dressed, as were the dancers who danced at the king’s feast, or if she was simply to model her beauty and crown. What we do know is that she flatly refused to do so. Feminists like to point to this refusal as one of the first strikes of women against male domination, and the last half of Chapter 1 does lend credence to that possibility. We also know that if the events in Chapter 1 did not take place, Esther would not have ascended to the position of Queen and saved the Jewish people; so apparently God had a purpose for Vashti in His plan.
However, for the sake of this article, I only want to view one aspect of this story and to use it as a valuable reminder to us as Christians. And, yes, I am basing this view on one very simple assumption which may or may not be the correct core intention behind Queen Vashti’s refusal.
As children, our Bible classes did not address all the political and social ramifications of this story. We were simply told that Queen Vashti was probably expected to dance and behave before the king and the other men in attendance in a manner that would not have been pleasing to God. If we look at this story wholly and solely from that very simple perspective and make the assumption (creative license, perhaps) that Queen Vashti knew that this display of immorality was wrong, what can we learn from Queen Vashti’s refusal?
From that perspective, Queen Vashti lost her throne refusing to do what would have been wrong in the sight of God. What are we asked to give up when we become Christians? Do we give up some of our friends who are ungodly and immoral? Do we give up hanging out at bars? Do we give up swearing? Do we give up fornication? Do we give up sleeping late or fishing on Sunday morning? Do we have to leave behind some family relationships? We go to school with, work with, and have to associate with many people who live their lives in direct opposition to God. We live in a world where we see Christianity mocked, the word “God” removed from public places, and ungodly lifestyles being glorified. We are increasingly being inundated with the idea that cohabitation is “good,” that homosexuality is “just another lifestyle,” and the list of sins goes on and on. Christian morals and ethics are increasingly being discriminated against. The trend is spiraling downward at an alarming rate. We have to study more, pray more, and teach our children what God says is right and wrong. As time goes on, we could conceivably be asked by the world to give up more and more to remain in God’s good graces.
If we use the simple premise that Queen Vashti might have known that what the king demanded was wrong and she gave up her throne because it was wrong, then what are WE willing to give up?