Theology

Vashti was a queen…

…so let’s stop using her as a way of talking down to women With hindsight, I can see the subtle ways in which Vashti has been downtrodden in common readings of scripture. However, I have also read some shockingly ill-considered views from both men and women. What both the subtle and the blatant have in common is that they seek to pitch Vashti against Esther as if the point of the book is to correct…

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Theology

Punishment and exile: Vashti’s “such a time as this” (part 5)

Vashti’s refusal of the king’s command is arguably the climax of the opening of the book of Esther. Indeed, it was so revolutionary in the context that the king didn’t know how to respond. So, he did something that he does throughout the book of Esther. He relied on the wisdom of others. Then the king said to the wise men who knew the times (for this was the king’s procedure toward all who were…

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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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