Esther 1:1-8 1 This is what happened during the time of Xerxes, the Xerxes who ruled over 127 provinces stretching from India to Cush : 2 At that time King Xerxes reigned from his royal throne in the citadel of Susa, 3 and in the third year of his reign he gave a banquet for all his nobles and officials. The military leaders of Persia and Media, the princes, and the nobles of the provinces were present. 4 For a full 180 days he displayed the vast wealth of his kingdom and the splendor and glory of his majesty. 5 When these days were over, the king gave a banquet, lasting seven days, in the enclosed garden of the king's palace, for all the people from the least to the greatest, who were in the citadel of Susa. 6 The garden had hangings of white and blue linen, fastened with cords of white linen and purple material to silver rings on marble pillars. There were couches of gold and silver on a mosaic pavement of porphyry, marble, mother-of-pearl and other costly stones. 7 Wine was served in goblets of gold, each one different from the other, and the royal wine was abundant, in keeping with the king's liberality. 8 By the king's command each guest was allowed to drink in his own way, for the king instructed all the wine stewards to serve each man what he wished.
This is the first eight verses in the book of Esther - one of my favorite books. It's some of those verses in the Bible where we go "yeah, yeah, get to the point". But at the beginning of the book of Esther it's quite interesting to see why God has decided to let us in on this information.
First of all, Xerxes is the King at this time and we are given the geographical statistics so that we might see how far his kingdom stretches. In verse 4 we're told that he had all his staff over to his house for a party - 6 MONTHS LONG. It's hard to have family visit for a weekend, let alone all the nobles for 6 MONTHS. I can just imagine all the schmoozing that was going on and how every night Mr. Xerxes would fall into bed saying "if I have to hear Duke Johnny talk about his new sandals one more time. . ."
Then, to top this off, after the 6 months were over, he had a huge banquet for EVERYONE in the kingdom, and that lasted another week! This would've been sure to be an episode on HGTV or the Food Network. I often wonder why so much detail went into letting us know, as the audience, about the decorations and the finery - I don't think it was to appeal to our inner design star - I think there is more to this story. The truth is, Xerxes was on the verge of warring with Greece. But he had to have the backing of the people and prove that he was ready to do this. We see the same thing in companies today - tickets to major sport functions, wining and dining at the best restaurants - Xerxes is doing just that. Xerxes was showing his people that he had the funds to afford this war and wanted them to support him.
Wow! Isn't it great to know that we have a God who doesn't require all this. We can simply come to Him and ask for His will to be done and then let Him handle it. Not that a nice feast totally turns me off - but when our motives are simply to glorify God (with no ulterior motives) , we can be assured that He has it all under control...