Queen Vashti Disobeys the King

This is what happened during the time when Xerxes[a] was king. Xerxes ruled over the 127 provinces from India to Ethiopia. King Xerxes ruled from his throne in the capital city of Susa.

In the third year of Xerxes’ rule, he gave a party for his officers and leaders. The army leaders and important leaders from all of Persia and Media were there. The party continued for 180 days. All during this time, King Xerxes was showing the great wealth of his kingdom and the majestic beauty and wealth of his palace. And when the 180 days were over, King Xerxes gave another party that continued for seven days. It was held in the inside garden of the palace. All the people who were in the capital city of Susa were invited, from the most important to the least important. The inside garden had white and blue linen hangings around the room. They were held in place with cords of white linen and purple material on silver rings and marble pillars. There were couches made of gold and silver. They were sitting on mosaic pavement made of porphyry,[b] marble, mother-of-pearl, and other expensive stones. Wine was served in golden cups, and every cup was different. There was plenty of the king’s wine, because the king was very generous. The king had given a command to his servants. He told them that each guest must be given as much wine as he wanted, and the wine server obeyed the king.

Queen Vashti also gave a party for the women in the king’s palace.

10-11 On the seventh day of the party, King Xerxes was in high spirits from drinking wine. He gave a command to the seven eunuchs who served him. The eunuchs were Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, Abagtha, Zethar, and Carcas. He commanded them to bring Queen Vashti to him wearing her royal crown. She was to come so that she could show her beauty to the leaders and important people. She was very beautiful.

12 But when the eunuchs told Queen Vashti about the king’s command, she refused to come. Then the king was very angry. 13-14 It was the custom for the king to ask the advice of the experts about the law and punishments. So King Xerxes spoke with the wise men who understood the laws. They were very close to the king. Their names were Carshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena, and Memucan. They were the seven most important officials of Persia and Media. They had special privileges to see the king. They were the highest officials in the kingdom. 15 The king asked them, “What does the law say must be done to Queen Vashti? She has not obeyed the command of King Xerxes that the eunuchs had taken to her.”

16 Then Memucan answered the king with the other officials listening, “Queen Vashti has done wrong. She has done wrong against the king and also against all the leaders and people of all the provinces of King Xerxes. 17 I say this, because all the other women will hear about what Queen Vashti did. Then they will stop obeying their husbands. They will say to their husbands, ‘King Xerxes commanded Queen Vashti to be brought to him, but she refused to come.’

18 “Today the wives of the Persian and Median leaders have heard what the queen did, and these women will be influenced by what she did. They will do the same thing to the king’s important leaders. And there will be plenty of disrespect and anger.

19 “So if it pleases the king, here is a suggestion: Let the king give a royal command and let it be written in the laws of Persia and Media. The laws of Persia and Media cannot be changed. The royal command should be that Vashti is never again to enter the presence of King Xerxes. Let the king also give her royal position to someone else who is better than she is. 20 Then when the king’s command is announced in all parts of his large kingdom, all the women will respect their husbands. From the most important to the least important, all the women will respect their husbands.”

21 The king and his important officials were happy with this advice, so King Xerxes did as Memucan suggested. 22 King Xerxes sent letters to all parts of the kingdom. He sent them to each province, written in its own language. He sent them to each nation in its own language. These letters announced in each person’s language that every man was to be the ruler over his own family.


  1. Esther 1:1 Xerxes Hebrew, “Ahasuerus.” He was king of Persia about 485-465 B.C.
  2. Esther 1:6 porphyry A dark red or purple stone.