Scriptures

40. Vashti, Quite A Character

Introduction

By Becky McCormick

The queen of Persia, Vashti, is not a prominent character of the Bible, but certainly an important one. Is there more to her inclusion in the Biblical narrative, more than just providing a path for Esther to get to the throne and save her people?

Like Rahab, the Lord used someone to fulfil His purpose that was not of his chosen people, someone who displayed great courage.

Like Rahab, we can learn some things from Vashti and see why her story has endured through the ages.

Read Esther 1

Vashti was the first queen of Ahasuerus, king of Persia. We know that she was considered to be very beautiful and the king was proud of that beauty, so much so, that while drinking he wanted to show her off to other leaders.

‘Queen Vashti also gave a banquet for the women in the royal palace of King Xerxes.’ Esther 1:9

In the above text, we see that Vashti was willing to do her duties as queen, hosting a banquet for the women in the royal palace, possibly the wives of the men being entertained by her husband.

We don’t know a lot about her, but since she’s in the Bible we can learn from her story. Some of the questions may require speculation based on what we know of the history of the time but might be worth considering.

Questions For Discussion

What kind of a marriage did Vashti have with the king? Was it likely an arranged one?

Did the king show the kind of love for his wife that is in the plan of Jehovah God for marriage?

Do you think that Vashti knew what would happen to her if she defied the king?

What did happen to her?

What values did Esther and Vashti share? Bravery, facing death to stand up for their beliefs, dignity.

It has always struck me that Vashti valued herself and found her main worth outside of her position, wealth, and power.

How did Esther and Vashti differ? Esther did what she was told, Vashti did not.

What do the scriptures say about when we should obey?

‘If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.’ John 14:15-17

‘And now, dear lady, I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another.’ 2 John 1:6

When should we disobey?

‘But Peter and John replied, ‘Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.’ Acts 4:19-20

‘Peter and the other apostles replied: ‘We must obey God rather than human beings!’ Acts 5:29

These are only a few scriptures. We know the Lord wants us to obey Him, those in authority over us, laws of the land, parents, etc, but only when obedience to them does not require disobedience to Him!

Why didn’t Vashti obey the king?

Is it possible that she was not so much brave, but that she was ‘between a rock and a hard place’?

Her husband was heavily under the influence of alcohol. If she had gone in to dance for him, even though obeying him, she might have faced consequences after, when he became sober and realised how he had humiliated himself by having his queen paraded around. As king, he would likely blame her if he regretted the choice he had made.

What kind of background might Vashti have had, being designated the queen, out of his entire harem of women?

Like Esther, was she chosen for beauty, or is it more likely she was in an arranged marriage, and was a woman of influence and wealth, due to family connections?

What did Vashti give up, to follow her own judgment? Her life, her riches, her position, her husband, adulation.

Is modesty still considered a virtue?

Do more people go along to get along, go along with trends in order to fit in and be popular, or stand up for their beliefs, no matter what it costs?

The story of this woman has long fascinated me, even though Esther is the main character of the book. Although Vashti was not one of God’s people, He used her inner strength and dignity for the accomplishment of His purposes and allowed her name and story to last.

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."

John 10:10

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