The first beauty pageant?
Esther 1: He wanted to show off her beauty to the guests and officials.
Honestly, I don’t know what to do by way of “devotionally blogging” from much of the book of Esther. In spite of the seriousness of the threat to the people of God, portions of the story read like a TV sitcom. Xerxes throws a big drinking party, and after seven days of drunken revelry he gets the bright idea of putting his wife, Queen Vashti, on display for his guests. Vashti, who’s been having a party of her own, is insulted and refuses to come to be looked over by a bunch of drunks. So, instead of impressing all his buddies with what a manly man he is to have such a beautiful wife it appears that in spite of Xerxes ruling a vast kingdom that here at home it’s the hen that’s ruling the roost. Xerxes is so upset that he calls in his “expert advisors.” These “yes men” agree with him that it just won’t do for women to refuse to do their drunken husband’s bidding and suggest that Vashti be banished from ever seeing the king again (this is supposed to be a punishment, right?). Then, to replace her, they’ll have a beauty contest to pick a woman even more beautiful than Vashti to take her place. Xerxes goes along with his (obviously all male) board of advisors. Now, the story is ready for the lovely Jewess Esther to enter the picture. Again, not much devotional material here, but it is an interesting read.
Take Away: What can I say? Sometimes powerful people do dumb things.