King Xerxes has spent the last six months displaying “the vast wealth of his kingdom and the splendor and glory of his majesty” (Esther 1:4) trying to impress all of the nobles, the officials, and the military leaders of his kingdom.
Esther 1: 5-6 “When these days were over, the king gave a banquet, lasting seven days, in the enclosed gardens of the king’s palace, for all the people from the least to the greatest, who were in the city of Susa.”
What a magnificent sight that must have been. King Xerxes gave a lavish banquet lasting seven days in the enclosed garden of his palace. He invited all the people, “from the least to the greatest.” There were no words to describe the beauty and the splendor of those royal gardens, the furnishings, the mosaic pavement; the table settings.(Esther 1:6) It was all too awesome to accurately describe with words.
Ironically, in Luke 14, Jesus also talked about a banquet. Like King Xerxes, this man prepared a great banquet and invited many to attend. (Luke 14:16)
Esther 1: 7-8 Wine was served in goblets of gold, each one different from the other, and the royal wine was abundant, in keeping with the king’s liberality. By the king’s command each guest was allowed to drink in his own way, for the king instructed all the wine stewards to serve each man what he wished.”
The “royal wine,” the King’s own, personal wine was “abundant and in keeping with the King’s liberality.” The King’s generosity was even more extravagant than his palace.
Wine is often used in the Bible to represent the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is referred to as “the new wine.” Have as much as you want. The supply is unlimited. Keep refilling your glasses.. If you have too much, you’ll start acting crazy for Jesus. Our God is a generous God; continually providing for His people out of the abundance of His riches.
Esther 1:9 “Queen Vashti also gave a banquet for the women in the royal palace of King Xerxes.”
Enter Xerxes’ wife, Queen Vashti; soon to become known as his first wife, the Ex Queen Vashti; his wife under the old contract, the old covenant.
Esther 1: 10-11 “On the seventh day, when King Xerxes was in high spirits from wine, he commanded the seven eunuchs who served him… to bring before him Queen Vashti, wearing her royal crown, in order to display her beauty to the people and the nobles, for she was lovely to look at.”
King Xerxes gave a special invitation to Queen Vashti to come to his banquet. “She was lovely to look at” and he wanted to show off in front of his friends. He wanted to put her amazing beauty on display to impress all his guests. The King always got the best of everything and like his palace with its gardens and furnishings, Queen Vashti’s beauty was greater than mere words alone could describe.
` Esther 1:12a “But when the attendants delivered the king’s command, Queen Vashti refused to come.”
Queen Vashti refused the King’s invitation to come to his banquet. Ironically, the same thing happened to the man who gave the banquet Jesus was talking about.
“At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’ Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.” Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’” (Luke 14: 17-20)
Like Queen Vashti, they all refused to attend the Banquet.
Esther 1:12b “Then the king (Xerxes) became furious and burned with anger.”
Again, the same thing happened to the man Jesus was talking about.
“The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry.” Luke 14:21a
The owner of the house became angry because his invitation had been rejected. King Xerxes was furious when his wife, Queen Vashti, refused to attend the banquet he had given to impress everyone in his kingdom.
Esther 1: 13-15 “Since it was customary for the king to consult experts in the matters of law and justice, he spoke with the wise men who understood the times and were the closest to the king…who had special access to the king and were the highest in the kingdom. ‘According to the law, what must be done to Queen Vashti?’ he asked. ‘She has not obeyed the command of King Xerxes that the eunuchs have taken to her.’”
“According to the Law, what must be done?” The marriage of King Xerxes and Queen Vashti was built upon and was governed by Law. In Babylon, King Xerxes’ word was the Law. Everything he said had to be done. Every command he gave had to be obeyed. Every one of his orders had to be carried out, even the commands that were given to his beautiful and loving wife.
When the King said, “Come to my banquet;” Queen Vashti was obligated by law to be there. But she said, “No.” She rejected the king’s invitation. She outright refused to come to His banquet. Because she refused to carry out the command of the king, she was guilty of breaking the law.
Israel’s relationship to God was built on and governed by the Old Testament Law. In order to be in a right relationship with God, everything God said had to be done exactly as the Law required. Every command God gave had to be obeyed completely. If you disobeyed one commandment, you were guilty of breaking them all.
According to Romans 2:12 – “All who sin under the Law will be judged by the Law.” So, according to the law of Babylon, what must be done to Queen Vashti? What is the penalty for saying, “No” to the king?
Lord willing, we’ll see how this all plays out next Tuesday. Thanks for being in God’s word with Pastor Buj.