Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

V is for Vashti

My A to Z blogging theme is characters in (people from) the scriptures. Since my blog is a book blog, this theme would fit right in and help me strengthen a weakness at the same. How fantastic is that?!  This challenge is a blessing. Thank you A to Z Challenge team!  *Book: LDS quad combo scriptures: KJV Holy Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine & Covenants, Pearl of Great Price. (p)1989, (c)1979.

(By Edwin Long)

The story of Queen Vashti can be found in the first couple chapters from the book of Esther.  She was the first wife of Persian king Ahasuerus.  The book starts off with a celebration that King Ahasuerus was throwing, inviting all his princes and servants, lasting 800 days.  When that was over he threw another feast now including all the people in the Shushan palace.  Lots of drinking was involved and one day the king, quite inebriated, summoned his wife Vashti to come so he can show off her beauty to all the people and princes.  However, Queen Vashti refused.  That lead the king to seek the wise men for what the law said about such disobedience.  They counseled that this could lead to other women disobeying their husbands so Vashti should be removed from her royalty.  So Ahasuerus banished Vashti.

Not knowing much about Vashti and specific details of the situation (was she mean, had a bad day, etc?), we can guess at her character as crass or courageous for standing up for herself.  I'd like to see her as the latter.  Her boldness to say no showed strong dignity in matter of how a queen should act and in regards to womanhood in general.  She respected her body enough that it not be used it such a way.  You go girl!!  Thank you for setting a great example.

By the way, her banishment lead to Esther becoming the next queen and as you may know, Esther is revered highly for saving her people from destruction (we'll talk more about that later).  So, looks like Queen Vashti's bold move also lead the way to other great things.


  1. In many Christian circles, Vashti has become the poster child that many folks use to encourage wives to submit to sin, foolishness, or destructive behavior. They place all of the responsibility to submit on the wife's shoulders. Yet, they place little to no responsibility on the husband to
    (1) submit to God
    (2) love his wife like Christ loved the church and died for it.

    The idea of a wife submitting to her husband was not a new one. It had been taught from Genesis throughout the Bible. When Paul taught about a wife’s duty to submit to her husband, he was merely recapping an age old teaching. However, he had to spell it out for husbands. (Ephesians 5:25-32) This was a revolutionary concept for husbands. It had never been taught like that before. Some might say “love your neighbor as yourself” had been taught before (Luke 10:27). But that was the problem. Husbands were expressing love for their neighbors outside of the home, while regarding their wives as mere maids and sex objects.

    The king did this to Vashti. She refused to submit to his foolish and drunken request. Jewish tradition says that he instructed her to appear nude. We can't be sure whether he requested her nude or not. Either way, flaunting your beauty in front of several drunk men couldn't have been too safe for Vashti. I have had alcoholic men in my family, and when they were drunk their behavior was impulsive and destructive. Vashti simply did what she thought was right and safe for her at that particular time.

    She evidently valued modesty and would not promote lustfulness. (Matt 5:28, Ex 20:17, Deut 5:21) The king’s foolish and self serving friends were angered by her refusal and encouraged him to exile her, and he did.

    This is a prime example of how many husbands use their position of power to abuse defenseless wives. It’s also an example of how many husbands express love for their neighbors and friends outside the home, while treating their wives with utter cruelty. This is a perfect example of why Paul needed to spell out (Ephesians 5:25-32) for husbands.

  2. Bathsheba - another woman who had been the victim of a king's abuse of power - gave Solomon this wise advice:

    It is not for kings, O Lemuel, to guzzle wine. Rulers should not crave alcohol. For if they drink, they may forget the law
    and not give justice to the oppressed (Pro 31:4-5). That's exactly what happened between Vashti and the King. He got drunk and forgot his duty to love, honor, and protect his wife.

    As a result of Vashti's refusal, she was banished. Sometimes, bad things happen when you take a stand. Vashti's hardship is similar to that of Uriah. Uriah was a loyal military man. He refused to go home and sleep with his wife because of his commitment to his army. Uriah was actually more committed at that time than David because David took a day off to commit adultery. Although Uriah took an honorable stand, he was still killed. Although Uriah was killed, God still used the incident for his glory. Solomon became one of the wisest kings to ever live. This is no different from how the book of Esther unfolds. God uses an unfortunate tragedy to accomplish his plans.

    Like David, Ashasuerus had some redemptive qualities. That's why God used him and gave him a second chance. He was remorseful for the way he had treated Vashti. He learned from his mistakes and treated Esther better than he treated Vashti. He also made a decree with Haman to kill the Jews. When he realized how egregious that decree was, he rectified it. He did in that situation what he had failed to do concerning Vashti. This is an admirable quality. Ashasuerus learned from his past mistakes.

    There are some many other relevant themes within this text that many commentators fail to deal with like alcoholism, substance abuse and/or sexual immorality within marriage. Unfortunately, far too many women are married to alcoholic, drug addicted or porn addicted husbands. What happened between Vashti and the King could easily be used to try to convince wives to enable, support and/or excuse their husband's addiction. Far too many lives, families and marriages have been destroyed as a result of addiction.

    A local pastor taught on this, and it really opened my eyes and understanding. My church volunteers at a shelter for abused women. As Christians, we have to be so careful how we teach and address submission in light of abuse.

    Thanks for allowing me the opportunity to share!

  3. Thank you so much Moderator for the awesome insights!! --Yes, some missuse the "wife submit to your husbands" and that clarification in Ephesians was needed. --It's wonderful that there are women in the scriptures that exemplified self respect, honor, and courage to stand up to wrongs. Indeed, addictions are often looked passively when within the boundaries of the home's heartbreaking to see wives suffer the abuse from these bad vices/men who misuse their power. It's wonderful that you/church are part of volunteering at a shelter for abused women. I am personally thankful that people care (I know someone too close to me that's victim of such atrocities) so thank you, thank you!!!

    Oh, the many lessons we learn from the scriptures! Thank you for summing up these related stories to show how we can learn from them and about God. You are ROCK!!


Thank you for taking the time to write a comment. You are fabulous! :)

Template by:
Free Blog Templates