The party was roaring. Ahasuerus and his guests were “feeling good from the wine” (Esther 1:10). They were inebriated. Blotto. Smashed. There had been one-too-many twelve-packs!
To impress his pals, the king commanded that his servants “bring Queen Vashti before him with her royal crown. He wanted to show off her beauty to the people and the officials, because she was very beautiful” (Esther 1:11).
Read that again.
Did the king ask the queen to appear before him dressed in her best royal gown? “Wear the purple one that I like so much!” Did he request that Vashti wear the gold and diamond necklace? No. He said, “come in here wearing nothing by a smile and your crown! Parade yourself around before me and my intoxicated buddies!”
Picture a bunch of drunken frat-boys, and the especially loud-mouthed jerk saying, “You should see my girlfriend in the buff!” Ahasuerus was a chauvinist pig, a jerk who treated his wife like trash!
In the New Testament, John records the time that a bunch of guys drug a half-dressed woman before Jesus. “The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, making her stand in the center” (John 8:3). The religious leaders treated the woman like Xerxes treated the queen.
“ ‘Teacher,’ they said to him, ‘this woman was caught in the act of committing adultery’ ” (John 8:4). After the judgmental thugs threw the sheets back, exposing the sinful act, they wouldn’t have politely asked the woman to get dressed. No. They drug her by the hair, kicking and whimpering, fully exposed, into the condemning crowd.
Jesus didn’t treat women like cattle. He didn’t consider them as second-class citizens or treat them as less-than.
You probably know the story. The Pharisees were toying with Jesus, trying to catch Him in their well-planned trap. “In the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” (John 8:5).
Jesus didn’t take the bait. “Jesus stooped down and started writing on the ground with his finger. When they persisted in questioning him, he stood up and said to them, ‘The one without sin among you should be the first to throw a stone at her.’ Then he stooped down again and continued writing on the ground. When they heard this, they left one by one, starting with the older men. Only he was left, with the woman in the center. When Jesus stood up, he said to her, ‘Woman, where are they?’ ” (John 8:6-10). Jesus didn’t condone the sin, and He didn’t condemn the woman.
For Queen Vashti’s forgivable transgression, she was condemned and banished from the king’s presence forever (Esther 1:19). It wasn’t fair. It wasn’t right. But that’s what happened.
But with Jesus things were different. As a result of her transgression, the adulteress woman was brought before the eternal King, where she found unbridled compassion, unreserved grace, and undeserved redemption. She wasn’t banished. She was set free! “Go, go and sin no more” (John 8:11, NKJV).