Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – A LOVELY QUEEN

Read ESTHER 1:9–12

After being imprisoned and threatened with execution in Iran, American journalist Roxana Saberi falsely confessed to being a spy. Later she recanted, even though she knew that telling the truth would jeopardize her freedom. And indeed, rather than release her as promised, her captors kept her in prison for months. She said about that harrowing time: “I would rather tell the truth and stay in prison instead of telling lies to be free.”

Standing for what’s right takes courage. The book of Esther includes the stories of two women who challenged corrupt rulers. The first woman we meet is Queen Vashti. We know that she was an incredibly beautiful woman. Just as King Xerxes lavishly decorated his palace with only the best that money could buy, he also insisted that the women in his life be physically attractive. He demanded only the best.

While Xerxes was holding a lavish seven-day banquet, the queen presided over a separate banquet for women (v. 9). On the last day of the banquet, a very drunk king called for his queen (v. 11). He demanded that she come to him so that he could display her before the attendees of his banquet. Some commentators interpret Xerxes’s request as a vulgar attempt to force the beautiful Queen Vashti to appear naked in front of these drunken men. Certainly his demand was insulting and embarrassing to Vashti, and she refused (v. 12).

Xerxes was not used to anyone denying his request. He was furious with Vashti. Not only had she disobeyed the king’s direct request, she had defied him in front of his guests. She undermined his illusion of total power and control. Queen Vashti was admired for her physical beauty. But what makes her stand apart in this text was her willingness to stand up to a despot.


When is it worthwhile to stand up for what you believe? At what cost? While many of us take the road of least resistance when it comes to conflict, sometimes it is necessary to do what is right, no matter the cost. Ultimately, our allegiance is to God. He can give us courage to stand up for what we believe, even when we are pressured to do wrong.

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