Reflection: If you haven’t already, may we encourage you to first listen to the book of Esther from beginning to end here.
*Also, as we begin this new devotional series, a word of warning: much of Esther deals with R-rated themes. Some readers may find these devotions confronting.
Vashti hosts a separate banquet for the women of the palace to celebrate safely, away from the men. But the king commands her to display herself before a mob of drunken men, to display herself wearing a crown and, presumably, little else!
Spare a thought for Vashti. We don’t know how her marriage was arranged or whether it was happy. We do know that she was young and beautiful.
Imagine you are Vashti. How would you respond to the king’s command? How would you advise your daughter in a similar situation? The Women’s Bible, published in the late 1800’s, interpreted Vashti in two ways: as a disobedient wife who should submit to her husband, and as a model of women’s liberation. How do you interpret Vashti?
Engaging our world: Many Australian women and girls experience sexual violence. How might we build a safer society? How might we challenge aspects of our culture and economy that put girls and women on display?
Prayer: Creator God, we pray for women and children who have been put on display or used in other ways: restore their dignity and self-respect; may they know your love and acceptance. God of justice and compassion, we pray for those who have used and abused women or children: restore their dignity and self-respect; may they know your love and forgiveness. Amen.