Check out all the previous Esther readings here.
Take thirty seconds to be silent. Be still and listen to yourself breathing. This will help you to be present to hear from God. After this moment of silence, thank God that he loves you with a love that will never stop.
Bible Reading: Esther 1:13-22
Read these verses three times slowly.
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 and were closest to the king—Karshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena and Memukan, the seven nobles of Persia and Media who had special access to the king and were highest in the kingdom.
“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 Memukan 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. 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.’ 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.
“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pleases the king, let him issue a royal decree and let it be written in the laws of Persia and Media, which cannot be repealed, that Vashti is never again to enter the presence of King Xerxes.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 her. 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.”
The king and his nobles were pleased with this advice, so the king did as Memukan proposed. He sent dispatches to all parts of the kingdom, to each province in its own script and to each people in their own language, proclaiming that every man should be ruler over his own household, using his native tongue.
Reflection & Questions
Yesterday, Xerxes was denied by his Queen. Rather than talk it out with her, he goes to his advisers. He wants to know what he can do.
The advisers are panicking, because Vashti’s denial might threaten the very kingdom: “For the queen’s conduct will become known to all the women, and so they will despise their husbands… there will be no end of disrespect and discord.” It would be hilarious, except that they don’t see their hypocrisy. Where’s the recognition of the incredibly disrespectful request Xerxes had made of Vashti?
So the king makes an edict: “All the women will respect their husbands.” I can imagine that really improved things! And again it would be funny if it wasn’t true: there’s no guidance for husbands.
How much different are our King’s “edicts”! For example, Ephesians 5:21-23, 25: “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior….Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.”
Xerxes is a “do as I say, not as I do” kind of king. Jesus is a “I’m going to out love you, out sacrifice you, and out respect you” kind of King – and that’s why he’s awesome!
- Why is submission to each other (Ephesians 5:21) key to lasting relationships?
- Is there a relationship that is broken in your life right now? What caused the brokenness? Talk to God about it and how you might move forward.
Pray in response to today’s reading.
You might use this song today to worship Jesus today:
Prepare to Meet with Jesus
Go to your quiet place with no devices to bother you. Take three deep breaths. See if you can be perfectly still and quiet for 30 seconds. If you don’t have a timer, just guess how long that is. Ask God for His help to read and understand.
Bible Reading: Esther 1:5-6
Read these verses three times slowly.
When those days were over, the king gave another feast. It lasted for seven days. It was held in the garden of the king’s courtyard. It was for all the people who lived in the fort of Susa. Everyone from the least important person to the most important was invited. The garden was decorated with white and blue linen banners. They hung from ropes that were made out of white linen and purple cloth. The ropes were connected to silver rings on marble pillars. There were gold and silver couches in the garden. They were placed on a floor that was made out of small stones. The floor had purple crystal, marble, mother-of-pearl and other stones of great value.
Reflection & Questions
Imagine the fanciest place you have ever been. That is what Xerxes’ palace was like. No place else in the city was as beautiful and fancy as his palace. He had the most jewels, the biggest house, and the nicest stuff of anyone.
He had his servants decorate, then invited everyone to the palace because he wanted all the citizens in his capital city to know how rich and powerful he was. He wanted to give them a great party so they would like him and keep doing what he said.
The people in King Xerxes’ city had to do whatever Xerxes told them to do. The party was a special treat for them. It made Xerxes seem friendly and caring. It may have made it seem very special to live in the palace. I am sure many of them wanted to live there.
- Do you like being told what to do? What would you do if a king told you what to do all the time?
- Would you want to live in a palace? What would it be like if you did?
- How is today’s part of the story like yesterday’s part of the story?
- Do you think Xerxes really cared about the people in his city?
Thank God we do not have a king telling us what to do. Ask Him to help you obey the authorities you have in your life. Ask Him to help you understand the story of Esther.
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