What a make-over! Today we see overnight changes to appearances simply by restyling the hair, applying makeup in the correct manner, and choosing clothes that fit and accentuate one’s features more appropriately. I think of the show, “What Not To Wear.” Or you may remember the makeover scene from the movie, “Princess Diaries” where an unlikely young woman now must act like the princess she didn’t know she was. The list goes on to include “Pretty Woman,” “Miss Congeniality” — you get the idea.
What these all have in common is that these individuals needed to be ready for something, or needed to improve their place in life thinking that changing their outer beauty would do it. You’ve probably seen countless before and after pictures on social media showing weight loss, skin improvement, muscle tone, etc. Our society eats that stuff up. Interesting that Esther went through something similar, isn’t it?
Today we meet Esther. She was of Jewish descent and cousin to Mordecai. Esther probably looked to him more as her guardian since he had taken care of her after her parents had died. Esther was one of the many women to be brought to the King as a replacement for his queen, Vashti, who had been banished because of her disobedience. Esther will keep her nationality and background quiet at the suggestion of Mordecai. Was it because he feared she be discriminated against? Or worse?
Whatever the case, Mordecai wanted Esther to make a good impression. We know when we are put in new situations, we want to do the same. You can only make a first impression once. It’s important to make it a good one. It’s like that in life and in business. We are always striving to be the best we can be to attract the right friends, business partners, success, happiness, etc.
Do you feel sorry for the queen? Did you find it surprising she was banned from the kingdom for not being obedient to her husband’s request? Or maybe you are applauding the king’s actions? I’m not sure how I feel. Surprised, I suppose. After such generosity, the king didn’t give his wife a chance. Well, he did have some help in coming to that decision. He was the king after all.
I do wonder if Queen Vashti wished she could rethink her decision to blow off the king’s request. She was probably aware that when he had had some wine he was not the same man as he otherwise was. Was that a good enough reason to ignore his command? Or perhaps she was just a headstrong woman who was having fun with her women subjects at their own party. Whatever her side of the story was, she wasn’t being obedient. There were appearances to keep and a price to pay.
King Xerxes must have been feeling very hospitable. His banquet turned into 180 days of celebration with military officers, princes and nobles. It appears he was putting on quite a display of his wealth. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never attended a 6 month banquet. It seems a little hard to believe.
We’re told that King Xerxes reigned over 127 provinces stretching from India to Ethiopia from 486-465 B.C. What was King Xerxes’ motive? Was it more than making sure all the invited guests and dignitaries were impressed? Did King Xerxes want something in return? Why do I have a hard time believing he was just a nice guy?