In Hans Christian Andersen’s tale, ″The Emperor’s New Clothes,″ a vain ruler parades before his subjects. His clothes are supposedly made from a fabric invisible to the stupid and incompetent, but he is actually wearing nothing at all. Looking past all the pomp and grandeur of his position, what kind of man is King Xerxes?
Just as the king throws banquets, so does the queen. Queen Vashti throws a banquet, only for the women. By the seventh day of the second banquet, King Xerxes is ″in high spirits from wine″ (Esther 1:10). This is most likely a nice way of saying that he is drunk. Now that his judgement is impaired, we can expect something bad to happen, and it does. He thinks it’s a good idea to parade his wife, the queen, in front of a drunken crowd of men. He has shown off his objects of power and wealth, now he wants to show off another object, his wife. He commands his seven eunuchs to summon the queen.
In verse 11, we are twice told about her stunning beauty. In today’s language, King Xerxes wants to show off his trophy wife. But she says, ″No.″
The king is furious (Esther 1:12). What irony! The most powerful man in the world, who rules over 127 provinces, cannot command the respect of his own wife. The queen won’t obey the mighty king.
Humiliated, the king consults his experts in Persian law on what to do next (Esther 1:13).
So far we’ve looked at one king, King Xerxes. Let’s compare him with another king who is also present in this narrative. One is visible while the other is invisible. Although ″The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the LORD and against his anointed″, God who rules in heaven scoffs at them (Psalm 2:2-4). The ungodly kings of this world are ultimately powerless against Him. God’s anointed king (Acts 4:25-27)-Jesus, the king of the universe, reigns forever. He is a king of substance who seeks His Father’s will and uses His power for righteousness and justice.
Are there any areas where you thought you were in control but were not? How does knowing that God is in control help you deal with unfairness in life?
How does knowing that God is the ultimate ruler help us deal with unjust rulers in this world?