Theology

The request: Vashti’s “such a time as this” (part 3)

If, as we have been discovering, Vashti’s story is critical to Esther’s, the king’s request and Vashti’s refusal represent the climax of her story. But how should we interpret it? Is it a case of insubordination, an example of wilfulness – as has often been implied. Or was her refusal virtuous and providential? First the request. The king’s request, the reason he sent seven men was: to bring Queen Vashti before the king with her royal crown,…

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Theology

Drunk on power: Vashti’s “such a time as this” (part 2)

Having discussed the general context of the book of Esther and Vashti’s importance in it as well as some of the background to Vashti’s introduction, let’s take a closer look at the verse preceding her denial of the king’s request: On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he commanded Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha and Abagtha, Zethar and Carkas, the seven eunuchs who served in the presence of King Ahasuerus.…

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Theology

Vashti’s “such a time as this” (part 1)

The book may be named after Esther, but it is remarkable that neither “Esther” nor our protagonist’s Hebrew name (Hadassah) are mentioned in more than a chapter. When you consider that the whole book of Esther is just 10 short chapters, the fact that more than 10 per cent of the book is devoted to Vashti suggests that the opening chapter is more than just background. Vashti’s story is presented as the context for Esther’s. Therefore, we must…

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Theology

Liberality versus insecurity

The book may be named after Esther, but it is remarkable that neither “Esther” nor our protagonist’s Hebrew name (Hadassah) are mentioned in more than a chapter. When you consider that the whole book of Esther is just 10 short chapters, the fact that more than 10 per cent of the book is devoted to Vashti suggests that the opening chapter is more than just background. Vashti’s story is presented as the context for Esther’s. We much read Vasti to read Esther.

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Theology

Re-reading the book of Esther

More than 18 months ago, a friend asked what the deal is with Esther chapter 1. It is such a good question. So, having spent more than a year re-reading Esther, Vashti, the book of Esther and issues around these themes, I now feel ready to begin to address the question and share what I believe is going on in Esther 1. However, reading scripture is best done in community and hearing God works best in…

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