Queen Vashti gets a bad rap. She’s used as an example of what women lose when they are not submissive to their husbands.
But let’s reframe the situation…
Queen Vashti’s husband, King Xerxes was drunk. He had thrown a kingdom-wide party that took place over a four-month period, and after drinking for seven days, he asked his wife to put on her crown, come to the palace and show off her beauty.
What’s the big deal about this request?
Some theologians argue that the king was asking her to parade naked (hence, the request to wear only her crown). This theory is discounted.
I believe that it was a matter of safety. She would be in a room full of drunk men. And drunk men do stupid things. Queen Vashti was not about to put her life in danger.
To refuse the king’s request could mean death…
It was her duty to submit to the king’s request. But because the king had submitted to a vice, and not to a Divine source, the queen had to refuse. She would do anything for her king, but not this.
So, she said “No.” Her dignity as a woman of royalty was more important than parading in front of her husband’s friends. She was deposed as queen and banished from the kingdom.
As Ronna Detrick states in a post she wrote about Queen Vashti’s no:
“She chose fierceness over fear. She rose up and stared down every single risk, consequence, and cost. She said NO because it was the only right thing to say.”
What are you willing to lose so you hang on to your dignity? What are you willing to say “No” to so you say “Yes” to what’s important to your humanity?