The events recorded in the Book of Esther occurred between the completion of the Temple and the mission of Ezra (between Ezra 6:1-22; Ezra 7:1-28). In all likelihood the narrative, as we have it, was taken directly from the Persian records. It is a fragment of secular history taken for sacred purposes. The story reveals the same principle of the overruling of God on behalf of His people which marks all their history.
The first scene is a great feast in the palace of the king. It was characterized by all the gorgeousness peculiar to the East, and resolved itself into drunken revelry. In the midst of this, the king commanded Queen Vashti to appear before him and the assembled nobles. The one redeeming feature in the revelation of conditions at the court of Ahasuerus was Vashti's refusal to obey the king. She paid the price of her loyalty to her womanhood in being deposed. Incidentally, the story reveals the place which woman occupied outside the Covenant of the chosen people. She was at once the plaything and the slave of man.
the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26