When I first began this blog, one thing I wanted to do was to keep track of my bible study. Sadly, I let it fall away for the longest time. I tried bible study on my own, but each time I'd end up stopping for some reason or another. Knowing that I would be writing my notes here on the blog each day kept me accountable. It worked for me, so I'm bringing it back.
Last week my family went to the funeral of a dear lady. She was a good Christian woman, and one thing that was said about her, among many, is that she knew her bible well. She'd start in the beginning, read it from cover to cover, and start over again. She kept the word of God in her heart, and quite obviously fresh on her mind each day. She lived by the Word.
To me, she was the epitome of southern hospitality. I didn't know her as well as my husband did --she moved to be closer to family shortly after we married--but she welcomed guests into her home, fed them, and talked with them for long periods of time. And of course, she loved to talk scripture. It poured from her. There is another like her. My mother in law. But I'm getting off track here.
Today I began to read the book of Esther. The first chapter deals with king Ahasuerus. The very first verse says he ruled over 127 provinces, from India to Ethiopia. That's quite a spread! In the third year of his reign, Ahasuerus decided to throw this elaborate banquet for the nobles. They partied for several days with lots of food and wine. Vashti, the queen, had her own party in the royal house for the women. They spared no expense on all this.
Vashti was a beautiful woman, and Ahasuerus knew this. On the seventh day of feasting, being fairly well drunk, he sent for Vashti to come to him. He wanted to show off his lovely queen. Now, when the king calls you, you show up, no questions asked. He is after all, the king and it would be an insult (and could prove quite dangerous) to displease the king. But Vashti, for whatever reason, refused to make an appearance. Perhaps she had a headache and just did not feel well. Or maybe she just did not want to be shown off to a bunch of drunk men. She was sent for and she refused.
The king, not used to being ignored like this, was quite angry. His advisors told him to banish her. Give her position and estate to someone else. After all, the women of Persia and Media looked to Vashti as an example. If she could defy her husband like that and get away with it, the other women might defy their own husbands. Vashti would no longer be allowed time with the king. Ahasuerus agreed to this and it was so.
In time his anger waned, but he remembered that she had refused him and now was banished by his own decree. But a king needs a queen so he went to his advisors once again, and they came up with an idea to, well, audition for a queen. They would choose the most beautiful young maidens of the land and they would come to the palace to live for a year. They'd be given beauty treatments and such, and one by one they would spend time with the king himself. Then he could choose one of them to be his new queen. In chapter two, which I had just begun to read before I had to stop, Esther was introduced. We will talk more about her tomorrow.
It seems strange that the King and Queen would celebrate separately, and the queen would be at her husband's side only at his request, but this was the custom of the day. Vashti knew her role and she risked everything by defying her husband's command. And during this time is a young girl in the care of her cousin, with no idea that she would soon be a queen. Hope to see you tomorrow so we can continue.