Esther Online Bible Study Week 1

Welcome back to the Womens Bible Cafe as we join together to study Esther: It’s Tough Being a Woman by Beth Moore. Your assignment last week was to read chapter one, and if using the video/audio segments, listen to the Introduction. Many of you also joined us in the small groups via Facebook and it was pure joy to get to know you better! For those women who are not using the Facebook group, you’ll use this website to post your answers to the discussion questions. Each week we present a summary of the lesson and group discussion questions for you to answer. Let’s jump into week one…

During our study Beth Moore introduced us to Vashti, the beautiful Queen of Persia and trophy wife for King Xerxes. We know that a lavish party was occurring, wine flowed freely, and when summoned by her husband to make an appearance, the Queen refused. As a consequence of her rebellion, all women were then legally required to submit to their husbands. Since he banished the beautiful Vashti, the King opened the door for a new wife to enter the scene.  For the new queen, it’s tough being a woman in another woman’s shadow. Especially if that woman was a trophy wife!

After reading the first chapter of Esther, you realize that many details are missing from the story. We don’t know why the men and women were divided into two different settings. My imagination went wild on this one…and Beth gave some possible explanations of her own. Since the Old Testament is acknowledged by many other religions besides Christianity, I think it would be fascinating to know how they ‘translated” Esther chapter one. From the perspective of our Beth Moore Bible study, I gather there was a room full of drunk men, the king desired his wife, he sent seven castrated men (eunuchs) to fetch her, and she refused him publicly. Ouch!

Queen Vashti was beautiful, rich, had friends to entertain and lived in an amazing palace. With one decision she made, she was tossed out as Queen and burdened all women as a result of her action.  For Queen Vashti, it was tough being a woman because she was disposable.

Prayer Requests

Our Prayer Wall is the place to reach out with your prayer needs and praise reports. Please visit the page and pray for those people who are asking for you to lift them up in prayer. Pray for the leaders of this study and the women in your small group.

Homework For The Week

  • Read Week Two in your workbook.
  • If you’re using the video or audios for this study, watch Session One.
  • Join a small group this week. To see the small group schedule please click here
  • For those in my Saturday small group, we’ll be discussing week 1 and 2 this Saturday

Discussion Questions- Discuss with your small group or answer them here when you post a comment below

  1. King Xerxes threw a lavish 180-day expo to show his wealth and power. Do we still see examples of this today? Give an example.
  2. Why do you think Queen Vashti refused to come when the King summoned her?
  3. Beth believes the seven wise men (nobles) gave the King inflammatory advice, taking advantage of his situation and mood. How can you keep from giving someone inflammatory advice when the temptation is strong?
  4. Have you ever been in another woman’s shadow? What happened?

Related Articles for Esther Online Bible Study

Esther Online Bible Study Begins Today

Esther Online Bible Study Begins Sept 24, 2012 (sign up here)

Comments

  1. Ceasar Benjamin Brantley says:

    My opinion may be unwelcome here, however, I must say, that I believe the traditional interpretation of this story is incorrect. The holy scriptures say that the men were in “high spirits” which is far from a drunken stupor. I believe that they never asked Vashti to do anything demeaning, but rather treated her as though she was Mrs. Universe, at a formal gathering. I do not believe that her character was in any jeopardy, as I don’t believe they desired to see her in the nude.

    I think, she carried a great amount of influence as a female celebrity, and so her refusal to arrive to such a great event (especially a banquet hosted by her own husband) was seen as arrogant and rebellious behavior. It was after all, scandalous on her part, because she did not arrive.

    She may have been outwardly beautiful, but she may have had a cold heart. Her cold heart may have been witness openly by the men and the king, as they could see that she had no care for the king’s agenda.

    • I have heard that opinion also Ceasar, thanks for sharing it. There are numerous Bible translations and commentaries on Esther and what matters most is how the Holy Spirit leads you to understand it.

    • I have to say I agree with Ceasar for the most part. Vashti could have had any number of reasons for refusing to answer Xerxes’ call to his side of the celebration: Pregnancy, cramps, bad hair day, dislike of his drunken company, or according to the Midrash, a disfiguring illness rather than modesty. It is said the angel Gabriel was to have come down and “fixed a tail on her” which might have been a euphemism for miraculous transformation to the male anatomy. A more logical explanation is that of leprosy. Who knows? I am more inclined to stick to what the scripture says directly about the situation which is that her husband summoned her, which according to Esther 2:11, wasn’t so much a regular occurrence seeing as she hadn’t been called to the king for thirty days at that point. Instead of sending back a reply of explanation to the king, Vashti refused. This was considered disrespectful to her king, and also to the people present at the celebration. When you compare Vashti to the person of Esther, you see that at every turn, in spite of her agenda to save the Jewish people, Esther submitted to her husband as was fitting for the time. At no point was she in turn disrespected for her behavior of humility and grace, but rather honored and offered her share of half the kingdom multiple times! And beyond that, when she was presented with Haman’s share of land,she didn’t keep it for herself but rather entrusted it to her cousin/father, Mordecai..So again, I don’t know Vashti’s reasoning for refusing to meet her king and subjects, but her reasons are irrelevant, What I do know is that she was a minor character in a story much larger than a feminist movement to refuse one’s husband and had she responded with the same dignity and grace as Esther, she may not have been replaced as queen.

  2. Linda White says:

    Hello, my name is Linda,will you start this study again on Esther?

  3. connie salamy says:

    One of the inferences is that she was ordered to appear wearing only a crown, but nude, otherwise, in front of the drunken group of men. She did not want to give up her dignity. Plus, she was in the middle of hosting the banquet for the women. The women of the royal palace might have not been encouraged to join King Xerxes party for the men since they were drinking to great excess. Plus the leaders made lots of important decisions when they were drunk and wouldn’t want the interference of the women. Great study! Connie

  4. great last week is working now.people are always trying to show off what they have by buying things throwing partys thats why everyone is in doubtthe queen probably dident want to be veiwed as aprize or object and did not want to be seen nude.when someone is upset we should just listen and wait for the person to be calm to ask what they want to do or think of the situation im in love right now with a guy who does not feel the same and talks to several femals with me in the room it hurts

  5. Jennifer Deffendall says:

    1. King Xerxes threw a lavish 180-day expo to show his wealth and power. Do we still see examples of this today? Give an example. Yes we do still have that in today’s world. Examples would be political arenas, and even weddings also.
    2. Why do you think Queen Vashti refused to come when the King summoned her? She was getting tried of being a trophy wife and not being a “real” wife.

  6. Jennifer Kerby says:

    2. Well to me it seemed obvious she did not want to leave her own large banquet and parade herself around a bunch of intoxicated men. Then I was looking through my Bibles notes and found more reasons as to why she refused… One was that they believe she may have been pregnant and did not want to display herself in that condition also the King implies wearing only the royal crown so does that mean that she would be naked in front of all those men. Lots of reasons I would have refused.

    3. Sometimes I find it easy to throw my advice out there when someone asks me my opinion yet I should maybe be more cautious and be sure not to give advice outside my scope and leave my emotions behind. I think that is the first clue it’s inflammatory, if my emotions are in full swing. I found it interesting to learn that it was customary at that time to get drunk to make important decisions.

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