|Queen Vashti refused to come, then the king became furious and burned with anger.|
Who is Queen Vashti and why should she be included in our series of radical women? How important could she really be since she was talked about for less than one and a half pages in the book of Esther. For those of us that know the bible we remember the two books in the Old Testament that has a woman as the main character. It is Ruth and Esther. In the book of Esther the focus is on her and the bold move that she took to save God's people the Jews. However before we get to Queen Esther there is another queen that made a bold move that in my opinion showed the ancient world that women were more than just an object to be treated any old kind of way.
Queen Vashti was married to Xerxes the king over Persia from 486 to 465 B.C. The Persians defeated the Babylonians who had captured the Jews and placed them in exile. Now with their defeat and capture the Jewish exiles were transferred to Persia. The capital city of Susa was the setting for the story of Esther under the reign of King Xerxes I. So our story opens with the King of Persia Xerxes showing off his vast wealth for 180 days. After showing off his wealth he decided to have a party for all of his boys. (Now you must remember this is Radical RevLa's version).
King Xerxes had the best settings for his boys. The best hangings of linen fastened with white and purple materials with silver cords. In other words he brought out all of the good stuff to impress his guys with his wealth. He commanded his wine stewards to serve each man what he wished. They were allowed to drink all that they wanted. The King had their wine served in goblets of gold each different from the others and wine was plentiful the party was in high gear and on the seventh day old King Xerxes was about to take it up a notch.
Visual time: Picture a bunch of ancient rowdy men drinking to their hearts content. All yelling and cursing at the same time. Can you see them now "hey the roof, the roof, the roof is on fire....there's a party over here and there's a party over there...just throw your hands up in the air and wave them like you just don't care...its party time!!!!.....ha,ha,ha nothing like an ancient drunken boy party...OK visual over back to the point.
While all of this partying was going on Queen Vashti also gave a banquet for the women in the royal place. Visual time: The Queen and her ladies sitting around drinking tea...pinkies up in the air. Tea cookies and sandwiches. Dressed to kill latest ancient designer shoes.....ha,ha,ha...I know bad RevLa...but really the ladies were being just that and the men were off the royal chain. By day 7 it all came to a head.
According to the Word it states : "On the seventh day, when King Xerxes was in high spirits from wine, he commanded the seven eunuchs who served him 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."
Translation: These men were beyond drunk...the king was now ready to humiliate the queen. He wanted her to come down naked except for her crown and to display her beauty in front of a room full of drunks. He wanted to let these men without any sense of self-control to see her in the nude. His wife and the queen of his land to be put on display like a common whore.
When the eunuchs came with the kings request the Words tells us this: "but when the attendants delivered the king's command, Queen Vashti refused to come. Then the king became furious and burned with anger."
Sidebar Ladies: Queen Vashti is my kind of woman. She had heard this party going on for days. All this drinking and yelling. Now after seven days of this foolishness the king had the audacity to have some man without genitals to come and command her to come to the hall with who knows how many drunks. Not only was she to come but she the queen was to come nude wearing only a crown. Really...did he really think that anyone would come like that during that time....a roomful of drunks....absolutely no way!!!
So basically Queen Vashti just didn't come. King Xerxes was so amazed that she didn't follow his orders that he didn't know what to do. I mean here we have the conqueror of nations. The bad boy of the ancient world and this Woman had the very nerve not to follow his orders. He was so messed up that he had to call in his experts consults to decide what he could legally do. These men had to put their heads together to figure out what to do with this lady who just was not going to let a bunch of drunks humiliate her. So these so called great men and leaders of their day came together to decide how to handle Queen Vashti.
You must understand King Xerxes struck fear in the hearts of everyone. What he said was law. You could be killed even if you were his wife and approached him without permission. Now he had been disobeyed by a woman. Who did she think she was??? Not only that Ms. Vashti had set a standard. One that if the other women seen what she did and how she disobeyed they too would follow. According to the word it states: For the queen's conduct will become know 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."
The men were afraid that the other women would follow her lead. These ancient men knew that if the women did this they would never be able to control them again. So they came together and decided to stop the women in their tracts before things got out of hand. They told the king that he had to come up with a royal decree and have it written into law that Queen Vashti was never again allowed to be in the presence of the king. Also the king was to give her royal position to someone else who was better than she. Translation: Not a woman who was better but one who would do what she was told even if it meant to come into a room full of drunk men naked!!!
They thought this would make the other women respect the men. RevLa's opinion: I think that secretly the Persian and Median women praised their queen for her stand and dignity. They might not have been able to outright show it but Queen Vashti gave away everything to be her own person. She was not the focus of the book of Esther. She was the lesser queen but to me I feel she too was great. Queen Vashti only held a few pages in the very beginning of the book of Esther. The story was about the Jews and how they were saved via this brave Jewish queen. That's God's greatest story but I see God showing us as ladies another one.
Vashti shows us that we should never allow our dignity to be taken lightly. We should love ourselves enough that we can give up everything that this material world has to offer without looking back to maintain respect for who we are and who God made us to be. We were created from great stock and God created us as a gift. We are really something and we can not let any man reduce us down to nothing. An ancient pagan woman showed us that in no way should we allow anyone man or woman to disrespect us. Ladies we should never forget Radical Vashti. She gave up what most people would look at as everything but walked away with her self respect. She walked away with her head held high and a place in history as one of the world's greatest woman that ever lived. While I love what Esther did and trust me you will meet Radical Esther we can and should never over look Radical Vashti.
So who is Radical Vashti and why should she be included in our radical women series?
She is just one of the bravest women of her time and ours. To me she is the beginning of the women's movement. She stood for everything that's great in being a woman. She is a great example of love and respect for yourself as a woman. We as ladies of today should take notes from this great lady and never allow any man to compromise us in anyway form or fashion. The other great thing that she showed us is the power we really have. The bravest most vicious men of the ancient world was afraid that a little woman who refused to be placed on display would change the thinking of all the other women and that they would never have control if that happen. Hint, hint ladies can you see our real power and strength??? It dwells within our being. We can make or break the world if we would just trust in our Lord and ourselves but then that's another blog.
Radical Vashti we want you to know that we have not forgotten you. You are not just a one page wonder. You are a true woman of God who when faced with a decision that could cost you your life and your crown you chose to stand up for the dignity and respect of womankind. We thank you for that!!!
Radical Vashti a Queen who chose to be deposed rather than Disrespected!!!