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Sunday, September 28 2014

Esther 1: How Did Vashti's Refusal Change Bible History?

"Queen Vashti refused to come at the king's commandment by his chamberlains: therefore was the king very wroth, and his anger burned in him"

The Persian era of the history of the Kingdom of Judah saw the "Jews" (see Jews - Three Tribes and Three Meanings) return to Jerusalem by the command of kings of Persia (see The Prophecies Of Cyrus of Persia, The Decree Of Darius and The Letter From Artaxerxes To Ezra). The events of the Book of Esther happened during that era when Persia (Persia has been known as Iran since the 1920s) and its emperor-kings ruled the "world."

"1:1 Now it came to pass in the days of Ahasuerus, (this is Ahasuerus which reigned, from India even unto Ethiopia, over an hundred and seven and twenty provinces:) 1:2 That in those days, when the king Ahasuerus sat on the throne of his kingdom, which was in Shushan the palace, 1:3 In the third year of his reign, he made a feast unto all his princes and his servants; the power of Persia and Media, the nobles and princes of the provinces, being before him:" (Esther 1:1-3 KJV)

The grand feast held by Ahasuerus was an exhibition of Persia's beauty.


"1:4 When he shewed the riches of his glorious kingdom and the honour of his excellent majesty many days, even an hundred and fourscore days. 1:5 And when these days were expired, the king made a feast unto all the people that were present in Shushan the palace, both unto great and small, seven days, in the court of the garden of the king's palace; 1:6 Where were white, green, and blue, hangings, fastened with cords of fine linen and purple to silver rings and pillars of marble: the beds were of gold and silver, upon a pavement of red, and blue, and white, and black, marble. 1:7 And they gave them drink in vessels of gold, (the vessels being diverse one from another,) and royal wine in abundance, according to the state of the king. 1:8 And the drinking was according to the law; none did compel: for so the king had appointed to all the officers of his house, that they should do according to every man's pleasure." (Esther 1:4-8 KJV)

Queen Vashti was the wife of Ahasuerus. On the seventh day of his banquet, when "the king was merry with wine," Ahasuerus summoned his wife to appear before the crowd "with the crown royal, to shew the people and the princes her beauty: for she was fair to look on." Some believe, from the context and the situation around it, that the command by the drunken king was for his wife to appear wearing only her royal crown, "to shew the people and the princes her beauty." Vashti refused.

"1:9 Also Vashti the queen made a feast for the women in the royal house which belonged to king Ahasuerus.

1:10 On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he commanded Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, and Abagtha, Zethar, and Carcas, the seven chamberlains that served in the presence of Ahasuerus the king, 1:11 To bring Vashti the queen before the king with the crown royal, to shew the people and the princes her beauty: for she was fair to look on. 1:12 But the queen Vashti refused to come at the king's commandment by his chamberlains: therefore was the king very wroth, and his anger burned in him." (Esther 1:9-12 KJV)

It was a tragic and unjust incident for Vashti who, at the very least simply refused to appear before a drunken crowd, but moreover may have done so as a refusal to be reduced from a Queen to a "burlesque queen" by her drunken husband. The event itself changed Bible history (see the Fact Finder question below).

"1:13 Then the king said to the wise men, which knew the times, (for so was the king's manner toward all that knew law and judgment: 1:14 And the next unto him was Carshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena, and Memucan, the seven princes of Persia and Media, which saw the king's face, and which sat the first in the kingdom;)

1:15 What shall we do unto the queen Vashti according to law, because she hath not performed the commandment of the king Ahasuerus by the chamberlains?

1:16 And Memucan answered before the king and the princes, Vashti the queen hath not done wrong to the king only, but also to all the princes, and to all the people that are in all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus. 1:17 For this deed of the queen shall come abroad unto all women, so that they shall despise their husbands in their eyes, when it shall be reported, The king Ahasuerus commanded Vashti the queen to be brought in before him, but she came not. 1:18 Likewise shall the ladies of Persia and Media say this day unto all the king's princes, which have heard of the deed of the queen. Thus shall there arise too much contempt and wrath.

1:19 If it please the king, let there go a royal commandment from him, and let it be written among the laws of the Persians and the Medes, that it be not altered, That Vashti come no more before king Ahasuerus; and let the king give her royal estate unto another that is better than she. 1:20 And when the king's decree which he shall make shall be published throughout all his empire, (for it is great,) all the wives shall give to their husbands honour, both to great and small.

1:21 And the saying pleased the king and the princes; and the king did according to the word of Memucan: 1:22 For he sent letters into all the king's provinces, into every province according to the writing thereof, and to every people after their language, that every man should bear rule in his own house, and that it should be published according to the language of every people." (Esther 1:13-22 KJV)

Fact Finder: Esther of Judah (she was actually a Benjamite i.e. Esther 2:5-7 and see Jews - Three Tribes and Three Meanings) became the Queen of Persia in place of Vashti. What national observance of Judah, that is still observed by Jews today, originated because Esther was the Queen of Persia?
See Esther: The Lots Of Purim

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This Day In History, September 28

48 BC: Roman General Pompey (Cneius Pompeius Magnus) was assassinated in Egypt by a soldier under orders from King Ptolomy (see A History Of Jerusalem: Greeks, Ptolemies, Seleucids, A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars and The Cleopatra Connection).

Pompey 351: The Battle of Mursa Major. Roman Emperor Constantius II defeated the usurper Magnentius.

365: Roman usurper Procopius gained the loyalty of two legions (by bribery) at Constantinople and proclaimed himself Roman emperor (see also Legions Of Men And Angels). Constantinople was named after Constantine (see Constantine's Crusades In History And Prophecy and A History Of Jerusalem: Constantine and Muhammad)

1066: William the Conqueror invaded England. He was later was crowned king after defeating and killing Harold at the Battle of Hastings.

1106: The Battle of Tinchebrai. Henry I of England defeated his brother, Robert Curthose.

1238: Muslim Valencia surrendered to the besieging King James I of Aragon.

1542: Spanish explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo "discovered" California (it wasn't a discovery to the native-born people who were already there).

1791: France became the first European country to emancipate its Jewish population.

1793: The Upper Canada legislators decreed that all slave children born in Canada after that date would become free at age 25. "Upper" and "Lower" Canada were terms of that time based on the flow of the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River to the Atlantic Ocean. "Upper" Canada (i.e. upriver Canada) was the general area of Ontario today, while "Lower" Canada (i.e. downriver Canada) was the general area of Quebec today.

1867: Toronto became the capital of the Canadian Province of Ontario.

1871: The Parliament of Brazil passed the Law of the Free Womb, thereby granting freedom to all children born thereafter to slave mothers.

1895: Louis Pasteur died at age 73. The French chemist made many important discoveries involving bacterial diseases and vaccination against them.

1922: Amidst strikes and general political turmoil, Benito Mussolini and his Fascists marched on Rome. King Victor Emmanuel III had him form a government.

1928: The Parliament of the United Kingdom outlawed cannabis with the passing the Dangerous Drugs Act (see also Seed-Bearing Plants: For Food Or For Folly?).

1928 Scottish biologist Sir Alexander Fleming discovered a bacteria-killing mold growing in his laboratory. It was later named penicillin.

1939: Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union agreed on a division of Poland after their invasion of the country at the beginning of the Second World War (1939-1945).

Hubble Space Telescope 1953: Astronomer Edwin Hubble died at age 63. The Hubble Space Telescope is named after him.

1956: William Boeing died at age 75. His U.S. aircraft manufacturing company produced many military aircraft ("B" as in Boeing) B-17 Flying Fortress, B-52 (i.e. from the year 1952) Stratofortress and civilian airliners such as the Boeing 747.

1961: A military coup in Damascus, Syria ended the United Arab Republic, a union between Egypt and Syria.

1978: The Israeli Knesset ratified the Camp David Peace Accord that had been signed between Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat (see A History Of Jerusalem: War And Peace).

1987: Palestinians ("Palestine" is an English word that originated from "Philistine"; see Where Is Palestine?) began their "Intifada" against Israel.

1994: About 900 people were killed when the ferry Estonia sank in the Baltic Sea southwest of Finland after the locking mechanism on a bow door failed.

1995: Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestinian terrorist leader Yasser Arafat signed an accord to transfer much of Israel's "West Bank" to the control of its Arab residents (see Jordan's West Bank Invasion; also Why East And West Manasseh?).

1999: Nigel Broakes died at age 65. The British financier's holdings included London's Ritz Hotel and the Cunard shipping line.

2000: Pierre Trudeau, the 15th Prime Minister of Canada (1968-1979 and 1980-1984), died at age 80.

2000: Riots by Palestinians began when Ariel Sharon visited the Temple Mount in Jerusalem (see also David's Altar and Israel In History and Prophecy: The Temple).


Copyright © Wayne Blank