(It is recommended that you read Esther 1:1-22 before reading this. Or afterwards)
Vashti, we are told that you disrespected the king. How is this possible?
You were summoned to show yourself in before the king in the presence of his friends. We are not told how many times you were paraded before the friends of Xerxes yet we are told only of the time when you refused.
The king summoned you to parade before his friends. He wanted to show them what he has in his private space. No one tells of the story of the times you actually agreed and went before them to show yourself to them at his request. But, then again; we are never told how many times a woman was beaten by her husband, boyfriend or any type of male companion. We are only told of the time he finally managed to end her life. Some times we are told of how she left him; as if she was expected to stay through the abuse.
They tell us that you disrespected the king by refusing to heed to his call. Were you simply supposed to agree because he had married you? Does marriage permit abuse? Were you not tired of the constant humiliation? To heed to his call would have been to simply preserve his ego. To help him feel better about himself as strange men would view your body as though it is an ornament to them. You would be making him feel good by having them comment on your beauty which only he should be exposed to.
He wanted you to leave your banquet for his. As though his was more important than yours. You were expected to leave your guests unattended simply to entertain his guest. The audacity of this man!! Who did he think he was? Oh, oops. He was your husband. But at this point, your drunk husband to be correct. However, just because he was drunk did not mean that he had to be unreasonable. He expected you to leave what you were doing to be around him and what he was doing. So many replicas of Xerxes live in our world today. They ask us to leave our jobs, families and friends for them and their world. So many of us do it, blinded by love we throw it all out for them. Then they turn around and abuse us. Some of us stubbornly stay in our jobs and they become our only escape from the abuse. Some of use still have family and friends but they don’t know that we are being abused.
How many of us today are raped and abused in relationships and remain silent simply because “I love him” or “he’s the father of my children” or “what would people say?” or “Who will provide for me if I leave him” So many of us are afraid.
Afraid of what people would say about him. Afraid of what he would look like in front of them. In the meanwhile, we are the ones that walk around with blue eyes. We cry ourselves to sleep and we feel ashamed around people because of our scars. It is us who walk around scared of trusting men who we don’t know simply because the men we know abuse us. We are the ones who carry the emotional scars. While he lives his life as normally as before the day we met.
Vashti, we were taught that his word is law and you knew this too. Many times, you also listened to him, you believed that his word was law, you believed that he loved you through the pain until your pain was too great to bear. When will our pain be too great to bear? When will we stop listening to him and protecting him while we suffer? You see, Vashti, we recognize your strength.
We see you. Xerxes dethroned you out of fear, you were to become a revolutionist. He would have not been able to handle your strength. He and his friends saw a revolution rising up. They knew that women would stand up and fight to own their bodies and they could not phantom a world wherein women had a say over their bodies and lives so Xerxes took your crown. They tried to silence you but they did not imagine their actions letting your voice be heard. We hear you through their noise. Xerxes thought he had broken you to a point where you could not see life without him. Little did he know that in your pain you found your voice. You found the strength to say “No.” A firm and clear NO. he thought he discarded you and they wrote you out of the bible but we see you, we hear you.
We need more women like you, Vashti. Women who will stand up for themselves. Women who are tired of being abused and want out of abusive relationships. We recognize and admire your strength and wisdom. You knew that you would be punished for refusing to parade yourself, yet you refused. You knew that you could die but you did it anyway. The fact that you could lose everything crossed your mind but you’d rather preserve your dignity than stroke his ego. Xerxes may have stripped you of the royal throne but he did not take away your royal blood. This is something that we are yet to learn. That even if he strips me of the title Girlfriend, Fiancée, or Mrs, he does not take away who I am. He does not change the fact that I am loved by a creator more powerful than he will ever be. He does not change the fact that I am wonderfully made, I am powerful beyond measure and I can be anything I want to be.