“‘There are certain Jews
Whom you have appointed
Over the affairs
Of the province
These pay no heed
They do not serve
They do not worship
The golden statue
That you have set up.’”
These Chaldeans were more specific. They accused the 3 companions of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who were in charge of the provinces of Babylon, of not listening to the king. They were not serving the gods of Babylon. They even did not worship the golden statue that the King had set up. Thus, these Babylonian officials, although Jewish, were not following the king’s orders.
“Then the satraps,
All the officials
Of the provinces,
For the dedication
Of the statue
That King Nebuchadnezzar
Had set up.
They stood before
That King Nebuchadnezzar
Had set up.”
Guess what! All these officials showed up for the dedication of this statue. The satraps, the prefects, the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the justices, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces gathered around the statue that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. They all understood that the request was really an order to show up.
“In the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar, on the thirteenth day, the king’s command and edict were about to be executed. On the very day that the enemies of the Jews had hoped to gain power over them. However, it had been changed to a day when the Jews would gain power over their foes. That day, the Jews gathered in their cities throughout all the provinces of King Artaxerxes to lay hands on those who had sought their ruin. No one could withstand them because the fear of them had fallen upon all the people. All the officials of the provinces, the satraps, the governors, and the royal officials were supporting the Jews because the fear of Mordecai had fallen upon them. Mordecai was powerful in the king’s house. His fame spread throughout all the provinces. The man Mordecai grew more and more powerful.”
When the 13th day of Adar arrived, the edict and decree of the king was to be executed. Originally, this was to have been a day set up by Haman to exterminate all the Jews. There must have been some hostility towards the Jews to make this seem plausible. Now, however, it had been changed to a day when the Jews would retaliate against their enemies. There must have been some real enemies of the Jews. Earlier a great fear had spread among the Jews. Now all the people were afraid of the Jews. Moreover, the royal and provincial officials were also afraid of Mordecai as he became more powerful in the Persian kingdom. These satraps were like ambassadors of the king.
“After these things, the anger of King Artaxerxes abated. He remembered Queen Vashti. He remembered what she had done, and what had been decreed against her. Then the king’s servants said.
‘Let beautiful and virtuous girls be sought out for the king.
Let the king appoint officers in all the provinces of his kingdom.
They shall select beautiful young virgins.
Let them be brought to the harem in Susa the capital.
Let them be entrusted to the king’s eunuch.
He is in charge of the women.
Let ointments be given them.
Let whatever else they need be given to them.
Let the woman who pleases the king
Let her be queen instead of Queen Vashti.’
This pleased the king. Thus he did so.”
Now we get to the practical problem. King Artaxerxes is no longer upset. He had condemned Queen Vashti, without saying what her punishment was. King Henry VIII of England started beheading his queens that he did not like. Nothing is mentioned here by way of punishment except that she will be dethroned. The king’s servants or advisors came up with an idea. Like Donald Trump, they would have a Miss Universe pageant. He appointed officers in all the provinces to select beautiful young women to send to the capital city of Susa. They would then be in the king’s harem, under the supervision of a eunuch, a castrated man. There they would be given perfume and whatever else they needed. Finally, the king would be a panel of one, like “The Bachelor” to decide who should take the place of Queen Vashti. The king as usual said that this was a good idea.