A great king once lived several centuries ago. His name was Ahasuerus, the great emperor who reigned over the Kingdoms of Persia and Media - the then world powers. The domain of this mighty King cut across the borders of many nations and tribes, having subdued one hundred and twenty-seven provinces of various kingdoms by his unrivalled military might and great political power. With unquestionable authority and supremacy, King Ahasuerus ruled majestically from Shushan the citadel.
King Ahasuerus’ awesome greatness was attested to by his decision to make a feast for his officials, servants, nobles, governors, princes from one hundred and twenty-seven provinces and every one that lived in Shushan, the capital city. The feast was the first and the last of its kind! It lasted for one hundred and eighty days! Imagine half a year of wining, dining, merry making and total holiday for a whole nation! Drinks were served in golden cups; foods were served in silver plates; the venue was heavily decorated with expensive fine linen, marbles and precious stones such as turquoise, gems and onyx. Such were the greatness and riches of Emperor Ahasuerus’ kingdom!
To crown this majestic event, King Ahasuerus wanted his wife - Her Majesty, Queen Vashti to impress his many guests with her beauty and splendour. The first lady was indeed beautiful to behold! Her charming look and captivating frame singled her out of all that dwelt in the kingdom; she was beauty personified! The King, apparently proud of Queen Vashti, wanted her to showcase her beauty before the seated guests in order to earn himself glory, respect and honour, so he sent for her. Surprisingly, Her Majesty Queen Vashti turned down the call of the King. She was not ready to come as the king commanded; she made light the order of her husband.
Queen Vashti’s refusal to come to the feast at the King’s order was a big slap on his face. The First Lady’s gross disrespect for King Ahasuerus became known to thousands of guests present at the feast. The disrepute, shame and contempt the King suffered as a result was enormous, to say the least! Her Majesty’s refusal of the King’s order suggested that though King Ahasuerus was a great Emperor who ruled the then world, yet he was not in control in his own home! The Queen’s contemptible act established that the honour, respect and reverence accorded the King by all nations, were far from his reach under his own roof! King Ahasuerus became disdained in the eyes of all that were present at the feast and in the capital city - Shushan. How sad!
Why did Her Majesty, Queen Vashti refused the King’s call? Why did she decide to bring her highly placed husband to contempt before the whole nation? Here is a clue!
‘ALSO Vashti the Queen made a feast for the women in the royal house which belonged to King Ahasuerus’ Esther 1:9;
It is apparent that Queen Vashti was busy with ‘her own feast’. She was not part of her husband’s feast; she also made her own feast for the women in the royal house. She must have been greatly engrossed in her own feast that she had no time to spare to answer the call of her husband the great King, who being proud of her, wanted to show-case her beauty to all present at the feast. She had her own aspiration, vision and pursuit separate from her husband’s, so she ran her own feast concurrently!
Why did Queen Vashti run her own feast when the King’s feast was supposed to be for everyone? It appears that Her Majesty also wanted to do something she could call her own; she needed recognition and self actualization as we call it nowadays; she was not readily available to run with the vision of her husband, so she didn’t see any reason being part of the King’s feast. Of course, in the midst of the women for whom she made her own feast, she was the greatest. She would have all the recognition that she had always desired for herself.
Somebody might want to give in to an assumption that separation of women from men folks during feasts was traditional to the Persian’s culture hence justification for Queen Vashti’s separate feast, but there seems to be no proof for this assumption. Her Majesty’s drive to run a separate feast for the women was born out of her own burning desire to do ‘her own thing’ even if her husband –the King would be brought to disrepute in the process.
As a result of this condemnable act, Queen Vashti was dethroned and replaced at the commandment of the King. Her position was subsequently given to Esther. We can imagine how Queen Vashti, the once respected First Lady would possibly end her life following humiliation out of the palace. No matter what her justification was for 'doing her own thing', nothing could save her.
The fall of Queen Vashti brings to light great truths about God’s order for the home. It is not surprising that Queen Vashti was dethroned and replaced; her action constituted a gross violation of God’s order. God’s order is that a wife must be an integral part and parcel of her husband’s God’s-given vision and pursuits. The fulfillment of a woman is complete only when she has found her place in the vision that God committed to her husband and run together with him. A wife that is not willing and prepared to identify herself with the vision and aspiration of her husband in all things is violating God’s order.
It must be emphasized that God did not create woman to be subservient to man in anyway; both man and woman were created in the image of God as co-regents according to Genesis 1:26-28. However, woman was never designed or made independently of man. Just like the church can never imagine being independent of Christ in anything, so also is a wife in relationship with her husband. She must be identified with her husband in all things.
It does not matter what the world teaches or encourages, the order of God cannot be changed. In the name of women emancipation and self actualization crusades in every quarter, a lot of women have neglected their God-ordained vital roles in the visions and aspirations of their husbands. I am not a proponent of male chauvinism in any way and would never approve of culture or traditions that attempt to reduce women to a sort of second-rated citizens or slaves. As long as a woman integrates herself into God-given calling, vision, aspiration, and pursuits of her husband, she will always know fulfillment and excitement. Remember God created Eve from one of the rib bones of Adam which suggest that she came out of man and she must always find her rightful place in the man’s life.
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Ezekiel, I know it took courage and commitment to the teachings of the Bible for you to write this. When a man and a woman marry, they are to become as one, not as two opposing, competing forces. If thier unity is grounded in Scripture, then it is a very strong unity, with each fulfilling God's purpose. Thanks for sharing. Thomas