My favorite Bible woman is Esther. Her story was just so very cool. It was like the ultimate fairytale, only it was real. She went from peasant girl to queen in no time flat–and she went on to become a heroine, saving the entire Jewish population of Persia from annihilation. Wow.
To refresh your memory, the king had his buddies over for some drinks one night….a few too many drinks, apparently, because in their intoxicated state they called for Queen Vashti to come to the party so the king could show her off. She was reportedly a sight to behold.
Well, Vashti refused to come. And who could blame her? I certainly wouldn’t want to be a spectacle in front of a bunch of drunk, smelly men. This made the king kind of furious (and probably pretty embarrassed, because he couldn’t control his “woman”). So, he got some advice from his trusted advisors. They warned the king that when the women of the province heard that Vashti had refused his order, they, too, would become emboldened and would disobey him.
So, to put a stop to any potential mutiny, the king kicked Vashti out of the palace, never to return. And he didn’t stop there. He sent out a decree to all parts of his kingdom, declaring that “every man should be ruler over his own household.” I’d call that part overkill, but I wasn’t consulted in the matter.
Well, the king began to get “lonely” after a while and probably started to second guess his decision to banish his beautiful wife. So his trusty dusty advisors suggested another brilliant plan: round up all of the beautiful young virgins of the kingdom, parade them before the king, and let him pick one to be his wife. The whole thing sounds like sex trafficking to me.
So, Esther was kidnapped–I mean forcefully invited–and taken to the palace for beauty treatments FOR AN ENTIRE YEAR before she could go before Xerxes. Esther’s turn finally came, and she appeared before the king. The Bible tells us that he was “attracted to Esther more than to any of the other women.” So, Esther was crowned queen, whether she liked it or not.
Then Esther’s cousin Mordecai, who had raised her after her parents died, learned of a plot afoot to kill all of the Jews in Persia. He persuaded Esther to go before Xerxes to ask him to spare the Jews. The only glitch was that Esther could be killed for approaching the king uninvited. So she had the Jews fast and pray for three days, and then she went to Xerxes. Thankfully for everyone, the king summoned her in, and she was able to expose the evil plot and save her people.
I’ve been wondering just how Esther might’ve felt about all of that drama in her life. She was likely a young teenager when she was plucked from the streets to live in the palace of King Xerxes. From what we read, she didn’t have a choice in the matter. Women of that day didn’t have a choice in much of anything. Of all of the girls taken to the palace (maybe thousands?), she, a Jewish girl, was the one chosen to be the king’s wife.
Something that jumps out at me is that the king probably was a lot older than Esther. So, unless he was a handsome older man, as the Bible describes King David, and chances are he wasn’t, Esther probably felt little in the way of “attraction” toward him. I would’ve been thinking, “Ewww, gross! I don’t want to marry him!” But not Esther. We’re aren’t told that she fell madly in love with him or anything like that, but she submissively fulfilled her queenly roles.
Out of all of the beauties of Persia, Esther was the chosen one. For a reason. “For such a time as this.” You see, God knew that a plot was going to be hatched to wipe out the Jews in Persia, so He put in place Esther, a young Jewish girl, to capture the king’s heart.
Esther was seemingly a nobody. She was an orphaned girl who ended up queen of Persia and saved her people from death. Why? Simply because she was available and she obeyed God.
That’s the kind of hero our children need–not the kind we see in Hollywood. Not the ones who sell their souls for fame and fortune. But the ones who store up treasures in heaven because they please the Lord. She’s one of my heroes.