Seekers Sunday Schoool
Mount Pisgah United Methodist Church
Home Lesson Notes Homework Handouts Bibliography
The Expulsion of Vashti Decreed
King's Opening
Queen's Defiance
The Elevation of Esther Accomplished
The Extermination of the Jews Planned
The Extermination of the Jews Thwarted
The Exaltation of Mordecai

The Expulsion of Vashti Decreed
Esther 1:1-22

King's Opening

Esther 1:1-11

  • The story of Esther begins during the reign of Xerxes in Susa. (v. 1-2)
  • Susa is located about 150 miles north of the Persian Gulf in southwestern Iran.
  • In Xerxes' third year, he through a large party and many dignitaries were present. (v. 3)
  • The celebration lasted for 6 months, as Xerxes showed off all his stuff. (v. 4)
  • Xerxes had spent the beginning of his reign suppressing revolts in Egypt and Babylon. The display of his acquired wealth probably served several purposes - a reward for his military commanders, an opportunity to plan future military action, and a display of his wealth and power intended to impress allies and intimidate foes.
  • Having the celebration last so long would have allowed for successive roles of Persian officials to come in from the outlying provinces.
  • When the six months was over, King Xerxes threw another banquet. This banquet lasted seven days. (v. 5)
  • The decoration was very well done. (v. 6)
  • The wine flowed freely. (v. 7-8)
  • What did it mean to "drink in his own way" (v. 8)? According to Persian law, guests at the king's table could drink only when he drank. Xerxes set aside that law, giving permission for his guests to drink as much as they liked. This indicates both the extravagance and the revelry of Xerxes' banquet. (Quest Study Bible)
  • While the king was throwing his party, Queen Vashti also threw a party for the women. (v. 9)
  • It was the custom of Oriental society at this time for the men and women to not mix socially.
  • On the last day of the party, when the king was somewhat drunk, he demanded that Queen Vashti be brought to him so that he could display her great beauty. (v. 10-11)
  • According to Jewish historians, Vashti was to appear wearing only her crown. This may explain why she was reluctant to appear. The prospect of being naked on display before a crowd of drunken men would not have been a pleasant thought for Queen Vashti.
  • "Superiors should be careful not to command what may reasonably be disobeyed. But when wine is in, men's reason departs from them. He that had rule over 127 provinces, had no rule over his own spirit." (Matthew Henry Commentary)

Queen's Defiance

Esther 1:12-22

  • Queen Vashti refused to come. This greatly angered the king. (v. 12)
  • Vashti's refusal to appear in an indecent fashion before a group of drunken revelers speaks well of her modesty both as a woman and as the queen. Had the king not been intoxicated, or had he not allowed his anger to get the better of him, he would have realized that the queen was not only preserving her dignity, but also the dignity of the king.
  • King Xerxes wondered what he should do about Vashti's refusal to obey. He consulted with his advisors who were experts in matters of law and justice. (v. 13-15)
  • One of the advisors declared that Queen Vashti had done wrong - not only against the king, but also against all of the nobles. He feared that if the queen's actions were heard about throughout the land, women in the kingdom would start to be defiant. The thinking was that if not even the king could not control his own woman, any of the women could have courage to stand up to their men. They feared that there would be no end of the disrespect and discord that Vashti's defiance would cause. (v. 16-18)
  • The advisor suggested that the king expel Queen Vashti and choose a new wife. The advisor suggested that when the people saw how the king punished the disrespect of Queen Vashti, they would realize that the king was in control and the women would not be tempted to become defiant. (v. 19-20)
  • The king thought that was a great idea and did it. (v. 21-22)
  • Pay attention to how laws are made and enforced in the book of Esther. We will see several decrees during our study.

Last update: July 6, 2003

© 2003 Greg Cohoon

Made with a Mac! Valid HTML 4.01!