Ahasuerus was King in Babylon; “In the third year of his reign, he made a feast to all his princes and his servants; the power of Persia and Media, the nobles and princes of the provinces, being before him.” Proud of Queen Vashti, he called for her to be brought; he would show the people and the princes her beauty. (Esther 1:3). But Vashti the Queen refused to come at the king’s bidding. As Queen, she had a role in the government. As Michelle Obama supports the President, Vashti should have supported her husband at this state function.
Her refusal was defiance and disloyalty to her husband, who happened to be an absolute monarch. He was embarrassed being undermined in front of all. Understandably, he was angry. He asked his counselors what he should do. Almost immediately she was deposed as queen, banished forever from the court by a newly enacted law. Her decision to defy the king before all the people, nobles and princes brought an unchangeable consequence.
A law was written that would affect her and every woman in the kingdom: King Ahasuerus “sent letters into all the king’s provinces, into every province according to the writing thereof, and to every people after their language, that every man should bear rule in his own house . . .” (Esther 1:22) (emphasis mine)
A man’s rule, whether good or bad, now had the force and effect of written law. Therefore, any man inclined to control by cruelty now had the law behind him. Good men would always be good. But the law now permitted and enforced control of men over women–and the bad ones could be justified by it.
Vashti’s reckless decision affected every woman. The stated expectation of the law was “all the wives shall give to their husbands honor, both to great and small.” (Esther 1:20). True honoring comes from an inward choice. Women who choose to honor do so from good character. Honor demanded by law does not change her heart.
What if your husband is asking for help at a “legitimate state function” as Ahasuerus was? Rather than challenging the man we loved enough to marry, we can choose to honor and respect him. By stepping up and growing in vision we assume our personal leading role in the romance. Cherish the freedom to choose your way. Consider the consequences of every decision. Rather than a reckless self centered existence, give honor to your husband without it being demanded. Give it because he is your head. He, like you, is in the image of God.
Then take his arm with pride and walk into the future.