Esther: Thank God for the courage of disobedient women (@Seeking1st)


It astonishes me that in 2014 people still ask questions beginning ‘should women be allowed to…?’ The recent abduction of schoolgirls in Nigeria highlights the fact that the question ‘should girls be allowed an education?’ still gets the answer ‘no’ from some.

The story told in the book of Esther has 2 women, Vashti and Esther. They both did things they were not allowed to do in the king’s court of the mighty Persian empire, a world dominated by male power. In each case it took considerable courage not to comply with expectations. Thank God for women like Vashti and Esther who have the courage to challenge misuse of power that keeps them in oppression.

Queen Vashti – a woman of courageous disobedience

Vashti disobeyed her husband King Ahasuerus by refusing to come into his drunken presence when he wanted to flaunt her beauty before the drunken company. (It was the 7th day of a week long banquest when ‘drinking was by flagons without restraint’ so I assume not many were sober.) Her punishment was to be banished from her position as Queen and be replaced by whoever won a beauty competition.

Queen Esther – a woman of courageous disobedience

After 12 months of cosmetic treatment and a trial night with the King, Esther was the one chosen to be Queen in Vashti’s place. Perhaps the king thought that being a young orphan girl she would be more compliant than Vashti. But Esther also was disobedient. She disobeyed by coming into the king’s presence without his permission, a courageous act because the punishment could be her death. Her life was spared and the genocide planned by Haman of her Jewish people was prevented. Thank God that as a powerless woman she had the courage to disobey for the purpose of preventing mass murder. She saw something wrong and did something about it, risking her own life in the process.

For reflection:

  • What courageous women do you most want to thank God for?
  • In what circumstances is it right to disobey or break the rules?


About Nancy Wallace

Blogs as Seeker ( Tweets on Twitter as @Seeking1st. Church of England minister and grandmother, struggling to learn to pray, paint and play.