In this lesson we are going to learn about one of the most destructive characters in our lives.
1. Pride is ugly.
1 This is what happened during the time of Xerxes, the Xerxes who ruled over 127 provinces stretching from India to Cush :
2 At that time King Xerxes reigned from his royal throne in the citadel of Susa,
3 and 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.
4 For a full 180 days he displayed the vast wealth of his kingdom and the splendor and glory of his majesty.
5 When 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.
6 The 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.
7 Wine 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.
8 By 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.
9 Queen Vashti also gave a banquet for the women in the royal palace of King Xerxes.
10 On 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--
11 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.
12 But when the attendants delivered the king's command, Queen Vashti refused to come. Then the king became furious and burned with anger.
13 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 times
14 and 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.
15 "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."
16 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.
17 For 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.'
18 This 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.
19 "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.
20 Then 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."
21 The king and his nobles were pleased with this advice, so the king did as Memucan proposed.
22 He 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.
King Xerxes threw a banquet lasting 7 days. Queen Vashti also gave a banquet for the women in the royal palace. On the 7th day when King Xerxes was in high spirits, he wanted Queen Vashti to be brought wearing her royal crown. The king wanted his wifeís beauty to be displayed before the people and the nobles.
In Vs. 11 the Bible says Vashti was lovely to look at. In Vs. 12 Queen Vashti refused to come, this made the king very furious.
What are some reasons why she didnít come?
Probably she thought it was an insult for her or she felt Iím not respected here, my husband is drunk. She wanted to be respected, but she never thought that by her act she was disrespecting her husband. She was very self focussed. Her self-focussed heart led her to total rebellion.
In Vs. 13-22 we see King Xerxes and the nobles discussed this matter and came to the decision to replace her with one better than her.
Queen Vashti was in a very high position and her example was very important.
Her bad example would lead many to disrespect husbands. Queen Vashtiís beauty had no value when it came to her pride. Even though she was very beautiful her beauty became ugly because of Pride.
We need to understand no matter how beautiful, talented or intelligent we are; it values to nothing when there is Pride.
2. Humility is Beauty
1 Later when the anger of King Xerxes had subsided, he remembered Vashti and what she had done and what he had decreed about her.
2 Then the king's personal attendants proposed, "Let a search be made for beautiful young virgins for the king.
3 Let the king appoint commissioners in every province of his realm to bring all these beautiful girls into the harem at the citadel of Susa. Let them be placed under the care of Hegai, the king's eunuch, who is in charge of the women; and let beauty treatments be given to them.
4 Then let the girl who pleases the king be queen instead of Vashti." This advice appealed to the king, and he followed it.
5 Now there was in the citadel of Susa a Jew of the tribe of Benjamin, named Mordecai son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish,
6 who had been carried into exile from Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, among those taken captive with Jehoiachin king of Judah.
7 Mordecai had a cousin named Hadassah, whom he had brought up because she had neither father nor mother. This girl, who was also known as Esther, was lovely in form and features, and Mordecai had taken her as his own daughter when her father and mother died.
8 When the king's order and edict had been proclaimed, many girls were brought to the citadel of Susa and put under the care of Hegai. Esther also was taken to the king's palace and entrusted to Hegai, who had charge of the harem.
9 The girl pleased him and won his favor. Immediately he provided her with her beauty treatments and special food. He assigned to her seven maids selected from the king's palace and moved her and her maids into the best place in the harem.
10 Esther had not revealed her nationality and family background, because Mordecai had forbidden her to do so.
11 Every day he walked back and forth near the courtyard of the harem to find out how Esther was and what was happening to her.
12 Before a girl's turn came to go in to King Xerxes, she had to complete twelve months of beauty treatments prescribed for the women, six months with oil of myrrh and six with perfumes and cosmetics.
13 And this is how she would go to the king: Anything she wanted was given her to take with her from the harem to the king's palace.
14 In the evening she would go there and in the morning return to another part of the harem to the care of Shaashgaz, the king's eunuch who was in charge of the concubines. She would not return to the king unless he was pleased with her and summoned her by name.
15 When the turn came for Esther (the girl Mordecai had adopted, the daughter of his uncle Abihail) to go to the king, she asked for nothing other than what Hegai, the king's eunuch who was in charge of the harem, suggested. And Esther won the favor of everyone who saw her.
16 She was taken to King Xerxes in the royal residence in the tenth month, the month of Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign.
17 Now the king was attracted to Esther more than to any of the other women, and she won his favor and approval more than any of the other virgins. So he set a royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti.
18 And the king gave a great banquet, Esther's banquet, for all his nobles and officials. He proclaimed a holiday throughout the provinces and distributed gifts with royal liberality.
19 When the virgins were assembled a second time, Mordecai was sitting at the king's gate.
20 But Esther had kept secret her family background and nationality just as Mordecai had told her to do, for she continued to follow Mordecai's instructions as she had done when he was bringing her up.
21 During the time Mordecai was sitting at the king's gate, Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king's officers who guarded the doorway, became angry and conspired to assassinate King Xerxes.
22 But Mordecai found out about the plot and told Queen Esther, who in turn reported it to the king, giving credit to Mordecai.
23 And when the report was investigated and found to be true, the two officials were hanged on a gallows. All this was recorded in the book of the annals in the presence of the king.
Esther had grown up in the care of Mordecai. Mordecai took care of Esther as his own daughter. Esther was also chosen among the many women to be the Queen.
Vs. 10. Esther had not revealed her nationality and family background because Mordecai had forbidden her in doing so.
Vs. 12. Esther was willing to go through the beauty treatment for 12 months. It takes a lot of humility and patience.
Vs. 13. Esther had the choice to take with her anything she wanted before she went to the Kingís presence.
Vs. 15. She asked for nothing other than what Hegai had suggested. Here we see a sense of humility in Esther. She didnít think that she knew better. The Bible says she won the favour of everyone and even the King was attracted to her and set a Royal crown on her head and made her Queen in place of Vashti.
Vs 20 Esther hid her family back ground just as Mordecai had told her. She even continued to follow his instructions as she was brought up. Estherís respect for Mordecai was the same even after the change of her position. She always believed that Mordecai knew better. This shows a deep sense of humility in Esther. It was humility that made her Queen.
Humility always adds a lot of beauty to our lives.