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The King Rejects His Queen

Scripture Passage: 
Esther 1:1-22
Attached audio files: 

INTRODUCTION: The first chapter of Esther sets the scene for the book. The story is told plainly and simply without any moralizing. Other scriptures must be found to determine the right and wrong of the actions. Esther simply tells the story. The main theme of this chapter is how God can use the ways of the world, even the wrath of man, to bring about His own pleasure (Psalm 76:10).

  1. THE WALK OF THE WORLD (Esther 1:1-12)
    1. Extravagance (Esther 1:1-6; 1 Peter 4:3-4)
      1. The power of King Ahasuerus (Esther 1:1-2; Ecclesiastes 8:4)
        1. The mighty empire of Persia (Esther 1:1)
          1. From India to Ethiopia (Esther 8:9)
          2. 127 provinces
        2. From his throne in Shushan (Esther 1:2; Nehemiah 1:1)
      2. The feast of 180 days (Esther 1:3-4)
        1. In the third year of his reign (Esther 1:3)
        2. For those who served under the king (Esther 1:3)
          1. His princes
          2. His servants
          3. The nobles
        3. To show the riches of his glorious kingdom and the honour of his excellent majesty (Esther 1:4; Isaiah 39:1-6; Daniel 4:30)
      3. The feast of seven days (Esther 1:5-6)
        1. After the first feast was complete (Esther 1:5)
        2. For all the people in Shushan (Esther 1:5)
          1. Small
          2. And great
        3. In the court of the garden of the king’s palace (Esther 1:5)
        4. In the midst of great splendor (Esther 1:6; Amos 6:1, 4)
          1. White, green, and blue hangings
            1. Fastened with cords of fine linen and purple
            2. Fastened to silver rings
            3. Hung from pillars of marble
          2. Beds of gold and silver; Note: These beds were more like our couches and were used for reclining while eating and visiting. This is the manner in which Orientals ate in ancient times.
          3. Pavement of marble (probably in some sort of checkered pattern)
            1. Red
            2. Blue
            3. White
            4. Black
    2. Drunkenness (Esther 1:7-9)
      1. The drinking vessels (Esther 1:7)
        1. Vessels of gold
        2. Variety of vessels
      2. The supply of wine (Esther 1:7)
        1. Royal wine: the highest quality
        2. Wine in abundance: the greatest quantity
        3. According to the state of the king: as proof of his wealth and power
      3. The law of drinking (Esther 1:8; Proverbs 20:1)
        1. Not compelled
        2. Not refused
        3. Every man to drink according to his pleasure (Romans 15:2-3)
        4. Note: This was the world’s way of avoiding any kind of responsibility for what might go wrong. The world is still implementing this philosophy today.
      4. The feast for the women (Esther 1:9)
        1. Hosted by Queen Vashti
        2. Held in the royal house
    3. Immodesty (Esther 1:10-12)
      1. The command of the king (Esther 1:10-11)
        1. Under the influence of wine (Esther 1:10; Isaiah 28:7); He had likely been drinking for seven days, perhaps longer.
        2. Given to the king’s seven chamberlains (Esther 1:10)
        3. To display his wife’s beauty (Esther 1:11; Genesis 9:20-21; Habakkuk 2:15)
          1. To bring her before the king
          2. To show her to the people
          3. For she was fair to look upon
          4. Note: Alcohol often leads men to treat women in inappropriate ways.
      2. The refusal of the queen (Esther 1:12)
        1. She would not come.
        2. The king was very wroth.
        3. Note: Some have speculated this presentation of the queen meant she would be uncovered before the people, but this is probably not the case. The king was, however, planning to make a spectacle of her. In this day of showing off and uncovering for all, it is interesting to see a pagan queen who refused to be made a beauty queen (Proverbs 31:30).
  2. THE WISDOM OF THE WORLD (Esther 1:13-22)
    1. Counsel Sought (Esther 1:13-15)
      1. The wise men (Esther 1:13-14)
        1. Which knew the times (Esther 1:13; 1 Chronicles 12:32)
        2. Which knew law and judgment (Esther 1:13)
        3. Which sat first in the kingdom (Esther 1:14)
      2. The legal question (Esther 1:15)
        1. The queen hath not performed the commandment of the king as delivered by the chamberlains.
        2. According to the law, what shall we do unto the queen?
    2. Counsel Given (Esther 1:16-20)
      1. Counsel which ignored the king’s injustice (Esther 1:16; Matthew 7:3-5); claiming the queen injured all the people
        1. The king
        2. The princes
        3. The people in all provinces
      2. Counsel which protected the status quo (Esther 1:17-18; John 11:47-48); fear that other women would follow her lead
      3. Counsel which removed the queen’s relationship and estate (Esther 1:19-20)
        1. An unalterable law (Esther 1:19)
        2. A law that would take away Vashti’s estate (Esther 1:19)
        3. A law that would cause others to fear (Esther 1:20)
    3. Counsel Followed (Esther 1:21-22)
      1. The king pleased (Esther 1:21)
      2. The letters sent (Esther 1:22)
      3. Note: This enforced servitude must not be confused with the scriptural order for the home. Nothing has given greater dignity to women than complete submission to the New Testament plan for the home (see Ephesians 5:25, 28; Colossians 3:19).

CONCLUSION: If the book of Esther had only this chapter, we would be at a loss to know the purpose of it all. But that is the point. In those times when we cannot conceive of the reason for events, God may be setting things up for a great work at a later time. If Vashti had not lost the favor of the king, then she would not have been replaced. If Esther had not become queen, then she would not be in the position she was in when the crisis came. This entire book is about God’s providential care of His people. How has God providentially cared for you?

David Reagan and Andrew Ray

Daily Proverb

Proverbs 27:21

As the fining pot for silver, and the furnace for gold; so is a man to his praise.