Vashti: Queen of Ancient Iran
Isther 1:1-22 says, "This is what happened during the time of Xerxes, the Xerxes who ruled over 127 provinces stretching from India to Cush. 2At that time King Xerxes reigned from his royal throne in the citadel of Susa, 3and in the third year of his reign he gave a banquet for all his nobles and officials. The military leaders of Persia and Media, the princes, and the nobles of the provinces were present .4For a full 180 days he displayed the vast wealth of his kingdom and the splendor and glory of his majesty. 5When these days were over, the king gave a banquet, lasting seven days, in the enclosed garden of the king's palace, for all the people from the least to the greatest, who were in the citadel of Susa. 6The garden had hangings of white and blue linen, fastened with cords of white linen and purple material to silver rings on marble pillars. There were couches of gold and silver on a mosaic pavement of porphyry, marble, mother-of-pearl and other costly stones. 7Wine was served in goblets of gold, each one different from the other, and the royal wine was abundant, in keeping with the king's liberality. 8By the king's command each guest was allowed to drink in his own way, for the king instructed all the wine stewards to serve each man what he wished 9Queen Vashti also gave a banquet for the women in the royal palace of King Xerxes, also called Ahaseurus.10On the seventh day, when King Xerxes was in high spirits from wine, he commanded the seven eunuchs who served him-Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, Abagtha, Zethar and Carcas to bring before him Queen Vashti, wearing her royal crown, in order to display her beauty to the people and nobles, for she was lovely to look at. 12But when the attendants delivered the king's command, Queen Vashti refused to come. Then the king became furious and burned with anger. Since it was customary for the king to consult experts in matters of law and justice, he spoke with the wise men who understood the laws 14and were Closest to the king-Carshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena and Memucan, the seven nobles of Persia and Media who had special access to the king and were highest in the kingdom.5"According to law, what must be done to Queen Vashti?" he asked. "She has not obeyed the command of King Xerxes that the eunuchs have taken to her.Then Memucan replied in the presence of the king and the nobles, "Queen Vashti has done wrong, not only against the king but also against all the nobles and the peoples of all the provinces of King Xerxes. 17For the queen's conduct will become known to all the women, and so they will despise their husbands and say, 'King Xerxes commanded Queen Vashti to be brought before him, but she would not come.' 18This very day the Persian and Median women of the nobility who have heard about the queen's conduct will respond to all the king's nobles in the same way. There will be no end of disrespect and discord. Therefore, if it pleases the king, let him issue a royal decree and let it be written in the laws of Persia and Media, which cannot be repealed, that Vashti is never again to enter the presence of King Xerxes. Also let the king give her royal position to someone else who is better than she. 20Then when the king's edict is proclaimed throughout all his vast realm, all the women will respect their husbands, from the least to the greatest."21The king and his nobles were pleased with this advice, so the king did as Memucan proposed. 22He sent dispatches to all parts of the kingdom, to each province in its own script and to each people in its own language, proclaiming in each people's tongue that every man should be ruler over his own household.
In the Book of Esther 1:12 we read these words,, "But the Queen Vashti refused to come at the king's commandment brought by his chamberlains therefore the king was furious and his anger burned In him." I would like for us think together on the words, "But the queen Vashti refused to come."The life of the beautiful Queen of Persia holds a great lesson for men and woman of all times and all countries. The character of this woman should not be overlooked in all countries of the world. She proved that she had great nobility and character; she defended, not the welfare of a group but all womanhood, and she had no Ten Commandments to spur her on by the appeals to the one true and living God of heaven and earth. She was not moved by race pride or by threats addressed to the fear of herself. She has forever set before the world the importance of one of the most valuable word in any language, the word, "No." The setting for this incident was the city of Shushan, the capital of the Persian Empire in the 400's B.C., also called Susa, The partly uncovered ruins of this famous city can be seen today in the southwestern part of Iran. It is there that she ruled as queen known then as Persia.
We read that King Ahasuerus, King of Persia, Vashti's husband, was a typical Oriental monarach of an Empire that extended from India even to Ethiopia and was divided into 127 provinces. He made a great feast unto all his princes and his servants. He showed them the glorious riches of his kingdom and the honor of his majesty many days, even for six months. After that he gave a seven-day feast to all the people present in palace of Susa. We are told that Queen Vashti made a feast for the women in the royal house which belonged to the King. On the seventh day when the king had consumed to much wine, he commanded his seven eunuchs to bring Vashti before the king with her royal crown and prsent a view of her beautiful body to the over-sexed men of Susa. However to the surprise of all assembled, Vashti sent back the message by the eunuchs that she refused to come. She refused to exhibit her great beauty and attractive body before a lot of drunken revellers. In all probability he wanted her to appear thinly clad to show the men of Susa what an attracitive wife h e had. However, the beautiful Queen said "No" to the most powerful man in the world.. What a courageous lady! Her modesty, self-respect, and moral character would not allow her to expose herself to the lewd and lascivious glances of the men about the king's table. Vashti counted the cost before she made this noble decision. She knew what it would cost her. She knew the price she would have to pay was her removal as the Queen of Persia. It might even involve her banishment into exile or even the cost of her life. Nevertheless Vashit said, "No", I will not do it." As we might expect the king was furious at being embarrassed before hundreds of assembled guests. It was dangerous in Persia for any wife to disobey her husband, but how much more for the Qeen of Persia to disobey the King of Persia!
The king was so furious that he gathered the wise men of Persia together to counsel him on what he should do to Vashti for her disobedience. The wise men came to the decision that the Queen had not only wronged the king, but all the princes and all the pople as well. Here is the decision of the Wise men of Persia: "For this deed of the Queen shall come abroad unto all women, so that they shall despise their husbands in their eyes when it shall be reported that the king Xerxes commanded Vashti the Queen to be brought in before him, but she came not. If it please the king, let their go a royal commandment from him that Vashti come no more before king Xerxes, and let the king give her royal position to someone else who is better than she.
First, , I would suggest that Vashti's noble example has set before the world one of the most important words in our vocabulary. It is the word, "NO." The word is one of the greatest words in all languages. When Vashti was requested to excite the men of Susa by showing them her alluring body she in effect said, "No." It is almost the shortest of words, yet it is the hardest of words for us to pronounce. We all too often explain our unbecoming, perhaps even shameful, conduct with the words, "I just couldn't say, "No." Never was it spoken under more difficult circumstances or with greater emphasis than on this occasion by Vashti, the Queen of the Persians. A ringing "No" saved Vashti from dishonor and lasciviousness. She lost position, wealth and an easy berth in life, but she saved her honor, self-respect and character. A "No" spoken in season will guard the young man, and especially the young woman, from hurt, stain and danger. The very first woman, the mother of all mankind would not say, "No" to Satan and neither would Adam. Adam had such a large vocabulary that he named all the animals God created, but he didn't appear to have "No" in his vocabulary. All human offspring have to die for Adam's inability or unwillingness to say "No" to disobeying God. That was the first time it was imperative for man to say "NO." About all that Adam could say about it was, "I just couldn't say, No."
Let us now turn to the practical side of this discussion and give consideration to the application of Vashti's example to our own day and time. Vashti said, "No" and immortalized her name in history. If she had said, "Yes," neiher she nor Esther would have been heard of. Esther was a beautiful Jewish woman who became the new queen of Persia, and she won the kingdom by her beauty. There is a very important way that Vashti's example relates to this modern generation. Vashti may be regarded as one of the earliest martyrs to the cause of self-control, one of the greatest virtues of Christian character. She deserves to be remembered now when wives have ceased to be the helpless victims of intoxicated husbands. I am of the opinion that Vashti's example implies that she was taught and understood the meaning of "No" in childhood. I believe her parents instilled in her respect for authority. They unnderstood the meaning of "No."
I would offer this suggestion to young parents who are raising children in the 21st century when so many children are getting in serious trouble with the law because they lack respect for authority. I would say the greatest thing you can do for your children is to teach them the meaning of "No," and the earlier the better. If children have learned to accept "No" as meaning " No" very early in life, they have gone far on the road to character. In any case, we must not let them grow to be eight or ten years old without having learned the meaning of "No." Corporal punishment is too late then. Some things God gives often; some He gives only once. Seasons returns and flowers change, but youth comes only once, and by the same law childhood comes but once. Whatever we mean to do as parents, whatever stamp we want to leave on our children, be it strength, beauty, self control, harmony, respect for authority, we must put it on quickly.
Our aim with the little child is implicit obedience in ordinary matters. The habit of cheerful obedience in childhood is paramount in ordinary matters. We live in a universe of law and happiness can be obtained only by obedience. The sooner the child learns this lesson, the better. Children must be taught that fire burns, water drowns, arid electricity can kill. Obedience is important not for its own sake, but for what it involves Obedience is a means to an end, and that end is always self-control. We must not allow ourselves to be weaker than a little child. Practice firmness and this need not be with abusiveness or harshness. When we defer to a child's judgment too early, we are letting him do as he feels like doing, and in so doing he neither grows strong nor does he respect us. Obedience is not so important because the child is ours and we have a chance to make him do as we say, but because it is necessary to the child's safety, success, and happiness. He must learn it, for only so can he learn a wholesome respect for la w and order.
Observe the simple law of pains and pleasures. Let the child learn that obedience pays in comfort for himself. " No" and pain occurring together in his experience will grow into a conviction that they belong together. As to the age to teach obedience a year old baby can understand, "No, No. That will hurt baby." At eighteen months he is not too young to be talked to in a sensible, straightforward manner. A two-year- old can understand many simple explanations. But the three-year-old who has learned to force his parents to gratify his wishes is pretty likely to go on having his own way. When little Johnny decides that nobody in the family means what he says, he takes the law into his own hands. If you want a self-disciplined, straight-thinking child you have to be that sort of person yourself. You probably won't like that; neither will your child. But if you cannot manage yourself, how can you hope to manage him? I am inclined to believe that Vashti had learned early in life how to say, "No." I am in agreement with those who think teaching small children respect for authority is somewhat like breaking the will of a young broncho. The will of a young children must also be broken just as the will of young horses have to be broken. It is well known when a young horse is once "broken" the animal obeys the instructions of its owner and master. Consider what I say and the Lord give you understanding.
Finally, the example of Vashti shows the world that all peopole in all periods of history have a sense of right and wrong, good and bad. Every human being has been given a conscience which is a faculty of the soul. The conscience always comands us to do what is right, and it condemns us when we do what we believe is wrong. Vashti did not live under the law of Moses. She was a Gentile.What the King asked her to do was wrong. She would have had to violate her conscience to obey him. . Before Gentiles were placed under the supernatural revelation of the religion of Christ they lived under the law of conscience and the religion that came down from Adam and Eve. Before the begining of the Christian religion in 33 A.D., the Gentiles lived under the religion revealed by Paul in Romans 2:14-16, "When the Gentiles who do not have the law(of Moses), by nature do the things that are in the law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law weritten in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them, in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel." Paul revealed here that Gentiles can no longer be saved as they could in ancient times. The one true God sent his divine Son, Jesus Christ, to die for the sins of entire world. All Gentiles must now convert to the one true religion in the world which is the Christian religion. Gentiles can be saved now in no other religion but the Christian religion. Many messages on the Christian religion are on this website.