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We are considering Esther 1

Ahasuerus (Xerxes)[1] was a wealthy, powerful king. Understatement! He was one of the only three kings the Bible referred to as a world ruler with 127 provinces from India to Ethiopia. He threw a party for his regions which lasted 180 days or 26 weeks, or six months! After that, he invited everyone in Shushan (his capital), big or small, to another 7-day party. Reason for the parties? Oh, to show how rich Medes and Persia was under him.

According to NIV Student Bible and The Collector[1], he was so emotional and temperamental that when one of his governors (Pythias, a Lydian governor) pleaded that his young son should not be conscripted into the army, he had the lad sawn in two and the parts placed on either side of the road the military would use[2]. This is the king that Vashti refused to honour. He believed he had untold riches and was in complete control of everything. He probably imagined that his queen was one of his properties, so he asked her to come and display her beauty in the same way he had exposed his riches, glory and majesty. And modestly, wisely, the queen had refused.

Well, the king got furious. So he took counsel from his councillors and removed Queen Vashti. He even published a royal decree that women should honour their husbands (Est. 1.20). His reason for asking the presence of the queen was not the best. And yet, the poor lady had to suffer for it.

However, God was teasing out a well thought out plan for His people through all this. God was focused on securing the safety of the Jews when people like Haman eventually showed up. So He turned the king’s foolishness in favour of the Jews. Yes, He, God punished His people by sending them into captivity. Yet, even there, He was looking out for them.

Bible talks about God chastising those He loves (2Sam 7:14; Rev 3:19). He even promised more severe punishment if His people did not change with the light sentence (Lev 26:18, 24). God also promised to judge the nations that treated the Jews wickedly (Isa 10:12; Jer 25:12; 50:18). Matt23:37 reminds me of a Ghanaian proverb which states essentially that though the hen’s feet step on its chicks, they don’t kill the chicks (If stepped on a chick, believe me, it will be squelched). Also reminds me of the authoritarian parenting concept where a parents chides their child and stays with them in love. Several songs and writings capture this beautiful truth. That even while God corrects His children, His heart weeps over them. What a divine Parent! Wouldn’t you rather have a Father who punishes you for disobedience but observes over you while He does it? So, eventually, God also turned the tables in favour of the Jews He was punishing. He always does!

Ensure that you are on God’s side, cooperating with Him even when He’s correcting you. Your divine Parent’s plans for you cannot fail except you want that. He works through the play and counter-play of human wisdom to favour those He loves. He makes “All things” work for those called according to His purpose (Rom 8:28). A song I love says,

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,

But trust Him for His grace;

Behind a frowning providence

He hides a smiling face. [4]



[1] https://jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/967-ahasuerus

[2] https://www.thecollector.com/king-xerxes-i/

[3] https://david-ancienthistory.blogspot.com/2019/06/499-480bc-in-near-east.html

[4] https://sdahymnals.com/Hymnal/107-god-moves-in-a-mysterious-way/

Tags: Ahasuerus, Queen Esther, Mordecai, God’s loving correction, divine Parent, cooperating with God