Queen Vashti considered herself to be a good queen. However, she was considered by many to be a rebellious queen, a law-breaker, a sinner. Look at the first chapter of Esther to discover the story of this defiant queen.
During his third year as king, the great monarch Xerxes summoned to his presence his governors, military chiefs and all nobles in the city of Susa. Doubtlessly there was a long agenda of administrative plans to be considered by this select group.
These meetings were held for a period of six months. Extensive banquets were frequent and the monarch boasted his riches and the splendor of the court with pride.
To end this encounter with the greats from his kingdom, Xerxes scheduled a week of banquets and feasting, ordering drinks to he served according to each one's fancy. The invitation was extended to all the inhabitants of Susa, and the citizens were served generously in the royal palace gardens.
In cooperation with the King Xerxes politics to strengthen popular loyalty to the throne, Queen Vashti offered a simultaneous festive banquet to the guests' wives in the palace.
After the seven days of feasting and drinking, Xerxes and his guests could not think normally. They were a little "high" and "happy".
At that time Vashti was ordered by the king to appear before him wearing the royal crown. He wanted to present the queen in her magnificence and physical beauty to his guests; this would be the culmination of his feast.
Vashti went through moments of great anxiety because she felt she should not go, but at the same time, she knew that refusing could possibly mean the death decree for her.
She had to think and act quickly. She chose to be open to the misunderstanding and punishment, be it fatal if it were. She did not wish to he morally insulted. She did not want to go through the shameful situation of entering the royal stage to face whistles, applause and brazen remarks. She did not want to risk suffering physical aggression in that great auditorium of drunken men.
The seven servants the king sent to get her returned without the queen, and of course, Xerxes was furious. Nevertheless, some very important reason made him control himself; in all probability Vashti was the daughter of one of the greats present there. Therefore, Xerxes did not issue her execution.
Xerxes consulted with his advisors regarding the laws and they found no punishment in the books because this type of behavior had never happened before. The case was considered a State problem. The queen's sentence was to never again appear before the king.
Vashti considered herself fortunate to have been dethroned and not decapitated. However, she was saddened when she saw that her attitude of good sense was broadcast as being that of a law breaker. Many thought she had sinned against the king, his greats and the citizens. Vashti was saddened because she had not been understood. Moreover, her rebellion had to be punished because her actions affected the marital relationships throughout the kingdom. The king had to find a better woman to be his queen.
Vashti's adherence to good habits and to being prudent was misinterpreted and it seems her sacrifice in favor of good sense was lost, wasn't it?
However, upon analyzing the consequences of her courageous decision for personal dignity, it can be seen that the results were highly positive, even if she was unable to perceive it.
Vashti's noble attitude attributed worth to the woman as a person, and discreetly, nevertheless very clearly, she gave the king and his subjects and to all the people a great lesson in the field of human relationships. It saved many of the women of her day from having to yield, even unwillingly, to abusive and improper orders from their husbands, orders that were based on insensitivity or authoritarianism.
The men became aware of the reality that they should be more considerate when giving their wives orders. They realized that women have courage and are able to give up their lives instead of bowing to abusive orders.
In addition, the next queen received much more respect and was valued. So much that a short while later, Esther was well received during an off season and was listened to with full attention and love by the same monarch. Her courageous petition was granted and her people were saved from extinction.
How much of the attention that Queen Esther received is owed to the decisive actions of the previous queen in favor of feminine dignity? It is hard to know. But it is clear Vashti made an impact on the king and his subjects.
Is it possible that some of us are not being understood, or even being ridiculed by those closest to us because of our definite posture in favor of what is right and worthy? We must be patient while praying fervently to God who sees everything. Though we may feel the cause is lost, God knows the beginning to the end and our actions often help shape and improve the future.