Hello friends, and welcome to our month-long study of Esther! Each of the four weeks of our Esther study features a section of the Biblical text to read, and then some background and extra information for that portion of text. This is followed by a creative prompt that encourages you to get creative and art journal through the biblical passages. While the short prompts are available on this site, elaborated background, extra information, and interpretation is only available through the Esther Illustrated study guide, which is available through Gumroad for $2+.
Read: Esther 1-2:18
Focus on: Esther 1:11-12, Esther 2:15-17
“[King Ahasuerus commanded] to bring Queen Vashti before the king with her royal crown, in order to show the peoples and the princes her beauty, for she was lovely to look at. But Queen Vashti refused to come at the king’s command delivered by the eunuchs. At this the king became enraged, and his anger burned within him.”
“When the turn came for Esther the daughter of Abihail the uncle of Mordecai, who had taken her as his own daughter, to go in to the king, she asked for nothing except what Hegai the king’s eunuch, who had charge of the women, advised. Now Esther was winning favor in the eyes of all who saw her. And when Esther was taken to King Ahasuerus, into his royal palace, in the tenth month, which is the month of Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign, the king loved Esther more than all the women, and she won grace and favor in his sight more than all the virgins, so that he set the royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti.”
Today, we focus on the two queens of Esther 1-2. The first is the elusive Vashti, who rejects Ahasuerus’ demands to show off her beauty before his guests. Is she proud and spoiled, or simply standing up for her values by turning down the king’s order? Which side of her you bring out in your artwork today is up to you.
The second queen is Esther. She is beautiful, beloved, and forced to keep secret her identity once she enters the enclosed gates of the palace. Because of her beauty and her charm, she wins the favor of everyone who sees her, and is ultimately made queen. Perhaps when Ahasuerus marries Esther, he thinks that he has found a quiet, docile wife who will only obey him. But while Esther never defies the King’s orders, and while she honors him in their interactions, she is hardly docile. Instead, she ultimately uses her power and position to shape the events of the kingdom and alter the fate of her people.
Play around with the images of these two women in your journaling entries today. Think of the characteristics of Vashti and Esther that stand out to you, and how they compare to one another. You may want to illustrate the two women facing each other, or standing side by side. You may want to focus on just one of them, sketching how she looks, or writing the words about her that stand out to you. Play around with how these two queens each show us womanhood and honor. After you’re done, be sure to share your work in the Facebook group!