I couldn’t have been more giddy about starting the Book of Esther today. I’ve been a little down in the lockdown dumps, and this book may be just what I need to fan the spark. But no spoilers! So, on with today’s reading. If you’ve never read the Book of Esther or even heard of Queen Esther or even don’t have a clue how you even got on this website, hang in there! You’re gonna love Esther. Woman or man or complete novice Bible studier, everyone loves Esther. It’s just a Bible thing.
Anyway, where are we? If you read along with us through Nehemiah, then we’re a little bit after that. According to my Bible, we are about 40 years post-Nehemiah, a.k.a. the restoration of the wall around Jerusalem and the revival of Judah. Now, if you remember, Nehemiah was the cupbearer for the king of Babylonia, which was a ways east of Jerusalem in what we now know as Iraq, in the Baghdad-ish area. And that’s where Esther is. Only we haven’t even met her yet. Right now, we’re just learning about her future hubs, who kings from India to Africa (Ethiopia) but is stationed at his royal quarters in Babylon. Right from the get-go, we get a super personal profile of King Xerxes. We can tell A LOT about this man: he’s generous; he’s a party boy; he treats his officers and the people in his kingdom well; people seem to respect him, but maybe only because he is so generous with the wine? And, apparently, he’s a pretty nice guy around the castle because his wife is not afraid of him. At. All. She was having a good time with the ladies when he called her to parade herself around and be ogled by all the men, so she told the king, “Ain’t nobody got time for that.”
Admittedly, that probably was embarrassing and a real rip to the king’s ego, so what did he do? He asked his guy friends for advice. Guys, sometimes your guy friends DO give you good advice, but you should get a second (lady) opinion before acting on the counsel of your beer and barbecue buddies. Know what I mean? If not, just give it a try. Please. Because if you don’t, then you do stuff like banish your wife for life, who will inevitably end up in a colony with all the other wives who were banished for life, and we all know what happens when a bunch of mad ladies who got their crowns and dressses taken away get together, don’t we? And while I would love to expand on that side of the story, this chapter doesn’t go there. It’s goes to what happens just after the queen is deposed, and it sets us up perfectly to meet Esther.
Writing prompt: Xerxes & Vashti
Write your thoughts about the events and characters in the opening chapter of Esther.