Skip to content
Foolish Passion

Foolish Passion

By: Alistair Begg - July 23, 2023
Alistair Begg Devotional Photo

On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he commanded Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha and Abagtha, Zethar and Carkas, the seven eunuchs who served in the presence of King Ahasuerus, 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.

Esther 1:10-12

In a display of pride and bravado, King Ahasuerus issued a command for the presence of his queen. This was not the gesture of a kind, caring husband who wanted his wife to meet his friends. Rather, this was Mr. Big planning a show-and-tell for his friends in which everything was calculated to indicate his majesty, might, and significance. Josephus, the Jewish historian, records that it was a violation of the Persian code of ethics for a man’s wife to be the occasion of observation or approbation of any other men. The king, then, was breaking the bounds of propriety in every way.

There was a progression in the king’s behavior. The wine had gone to his head, and he made an ill-thought summons to his wife. When she refused to come, he became enraged. He then sought the advice of those around him, who only pandered to his ego. He could have paused to consider if their advice was proper in relation to the laws of the land or to the queen and his esteem for her—but instead, his anger and weak will led him to a quick, foolish decision. Earlier that morning, if someone had told the king that by midnight he would have banished the queen from his life forever, he probably would have thought it impossible. But still he did it. A big ego, too much alcohol, a quick temper, and bad advice led to an outcome he surely never desired.

Three years after he had deposed the queen and fresh off a disappointing military campaign against the Greeks, we read that “the anger of King Ahasuerus had abated,” and “he remembered Vashti and what she had done and what had been decreed against her” (Esther 2:1). He was bruised in his ego and saddened by his past—a picture of the empty sorrow of someone who has pursued everyone and everything, and particularly his own agenda, at the expense of the living God (Ecclesiastes 4:7-8). King Ahasuerus’ experience serves as a warning to us that in a moment of foolish passion, we, too, can alter and diminish, or even destroy, our lives forever.

There is a path that seems right, but we are told that in the end it leads to emptiness and death (Proverbs 14:12). As you face decisions, be quick to ask yourself whether your ego, your temper, false friends or overconsumption are guiding you; and be equally quick to look to the Savior to guide you in the way of wisdom, along the narrow road that leads to fullness of life (Matthew 7:13-14).

About the Author(s)
author profile image

Alistair Begg

Alistair Begg has been in pastoral ministry since 1975. Following graduation from The London School of Theology, he served eight years in Scotland at both Charlotte Chapel in Edinburgh and Hamilton Baptist Church. In 1983, he became the senior pastor at Parkside Church near Cleveland, Ohio. He has written several books and is heard daily and weekly on the radio program, Truth For Life. His Daily Devotionals are presented here via a syndication agreement.
More From This Author
Faith  |  Alistair Begg  • 
September 21, 2023

A Mind for Others

Faith  |  Alistair Begg  • 
September 20, 2023

A Firm Obligation

Faith  |  Alistair Begg  • 
September 19, 2023

The God of Great Reversals

Previous Story
Faith  |  Alistair Begg  • 
July 21, 2023

Where is God?

Next Story
Faith  |  Alistair Begg  • 
July 24, 2023

Citizens and Foreigners