The background to the book of Esther is fascinating. I hate to send you to Wikipedia, but seeing in the comments that you are very familiar with it, I will send you there. Check out this webpage and it will give you some great background information:
We have to keep in mind that Esther is an absolutely vital book even today. Jewish families on the day of Purim celebrate the conquest of Esther and Mordecai over the evil Haman. One of my favorite Veggie Tales ever is the one about the story of Esther. Here is a link to that for your viewing pleasure.
The book of Esther also contains one of my favorite quotes which we will see coming up in chapter 4, so I don’t want to steal my own thunder. Let’s get on with chapter 1.
Chapter 1 sets up the story for why Esther had to be chosen in the first place. The king had ordered the queen to come before him and she refused. He was embarrassed and didn’t want others to think he wasn’t in control of his own family so he kicked her out. We need to remember that this was taking place in the 5th century BC. But having said that can you think of what is prevalent in our news today and has some bearing to this story?
So, I’m the father of 3 daughters. I grew up in a family of boys. We respected my mom because my dad obviously loved and respected his wife. We were taught by example how to treat women. On very many levels when I read of men who take advantage of their position as men and have some power that others don’t have and then use that to their advantage to curry sexual favors, I don’t have much respect for them. So, as a result I don’t have much sympathy for the king as he is about to choose Esther as her queen. That comes next chapter.
When we live as Christians and see men who treat women abhorrently or call them certain names or speak of their exploits as trophies to be brandished, that is a person who should be corrected from a Christian perspective. This comes through clearly here that women were not treated with the equal footing that they ought to be as we read in Paul’s writings.