Esther 1

Better is a dinner of herbs with quietness than the banquet of wine with its tumult and the sin sure to result from it.
When wine is in, wit is out.

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:)

2 That in those days, when the king Ahasuerus sat on the throne of his kingdom, which was in Shushan the palace,

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:

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.

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;

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.

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.

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.

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

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,

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.

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.

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:

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;)

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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

21 And the saying pleased the king and the princes; and the king did according to the word of Memucan:

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 – Vashti’s Noble Refusal

   The book opens with a royal festival, which lasted for six months, Esther 1:1-9. Perhaps the princes came up from their governments to partake of it in rotation. It finished with a banquet, open to all the people who dwelt in Shushan, great and small. Whenever men are overcome with wine, there is grave peril for women. Coarseness, indelicacy, and impurity troop in at the door, which has been unlocked by the excess of wine. Who can tell the anguish which has been caused to women, children, and the dumb creation through the intemperance of man! Here is given a glimpse of a noble woman, who respected herself too highly to yield to a demand, wholly foreign to the customs of the time, which forbade women to appear in public. Of course the king was incensed, all the more so because he knew that he was in the wrong. He had command over 127 provinces, but he could not rule his own spirit, and the sense of moral weakness is always irritating. He consulted his counselors, who were only too glad to fall in with and humor the royal whims; they counseled that the divorce of Vashti was a public duty, for the repression of wife-insubordination throughout the empire. Men are not always to be trusted when they legislate about women, or in respect to their own dignity. When wine is in them they may be expected to say and do very stupid things. It has been truly said that every Ahasuerus had his Memucan, a man who was sycophant and parasite, who held his influence by humoring caprice and lust. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Find the missing words then click and drag the letters in the grid below. Click “Start“

1 Now it came to pass in the days of __________________, (this is Ahasuerus which ______________, from __________ even unto Ethiopia, over an hundred and seven and twenty __________________:)

3 In the __________ year of his reign, he made a __________ unto all his princes and his servants; the __________ of Persia and Media, the nobles and ______________ of the provinces, being before him:

4 When he shewed the ____________ of his glorious kingdom and the ____________ of his excellent ______________ many days, even an hundred and fourscore days.

Esther 1:22—That every man should bear rule in his own house.

   One of the prerequisites in choosing a presiding officer in the early Church was that he should rule well his own house; “For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?” (I Timothy 3:4-5).
   When a man bears rule as husband and father in the love of God, there is no issue of commands which conflict with primary obligations; rather than that, his authority represents the Divine authority. As Christ received His authority from the Father, so does a man derive and receive his from Christ; and in the recognition of his delegated right and ability to lead, the entire household becomes well ordered. The relaxation of the bonds of authority and government in our homes is one of the saddest symptoms of national decay, as it is among the predicted signs of the end (II Timothy 3:2-3).
   But, on the other hand, you must show yourself worthy to lead and rule your home. Your character must be such as to command respect. Those whom God has put into your charge require that you do not use your authority for selfish or capricious ends. Above all, love is the source of the truest authority. We count nothing hard or irksome that we do for those we love. Show love, and you will win love; and on love will be built respect, reverence, and obedience.
   One of the most eloquent of modern Italians has said truly: “You can only obtain the exercise of your rights by deserving them, through your own activity, and your own spirit of love and sacrifice!” Christ’s golden rule holds good in every phase of life—“Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them” (Matthew 7:12). —Our Daily Homily