Biblical People

Biblical People: Vashti

At this point, some of God’s people have returned home from exile, but not all have. 

Back in Persia (formerly Babylon) the mighty King Xerxes shows off his wealth, splendor, and majesty to his people for a full 180 days, nearly half a year. Then he gives a weeklong banquet for everyone in the citadel, complete with an open bar.

At the same time, Queen Vashti gives her own celebration, a seven-day party for the women of the palace. 

On day seven, an inebriated Xerxes commands the beautiful Vashti to parade herself in front of his drunken guests. The virtuous queen, however, refuses to debase herself before their ogling eyes. 

Embarrassed, the enraged ruler asks his advisors what to do. Their answer is quick. 

They want to keep other women from following Vashti’s example of insubordination and thereby disrespecting their husbands. They fear widespread marital conflict. Therefore, they advise the king to immediately remove Vashti from her position as queen and forever ban her from being in his presence. 

With little thought, the king agrees to their proposal. He issues an irrevocable edict and sends Vashti away. 

Queen Vashti reacted to the king’s degenerate request with chaste virtue. She refused to stoop to his drunken depravity, regardless of the cost. In doing so, she paid a heavy price for her integrity. 

This is the last we hear of Vashti in Scripture.

How much value do we place on maintaining our integrity? How much will we risk to do what’s right?

[Read Vashti’s story in Esther 1:7–20.]

Learn about more biblical characters in Old Testament Sinners and Saints, available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover. Get your copy today.

A lifelong student of the Bible, Peter DeHaan, PhD, wrote the 1,000-page website to encourage people to explore the Bible. His main blog and many books urge Christians to push past the status quo and reconsider how they practice their faith in every area of their lives.

By Peter DeHaan

Peter writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and make a faith that matters. Learn more at