Following the death of Darius, Ahasuerus also known as Xerxes became king of the Medes and Persians. In the third year of his reign, he hosted a feast that lasted one hundred eighty days. Its purpose was to show off his riches and splendor. Following that six-month event, he hosted another seven-day feast. Being intoxicated with wine and pride, he called for Queen Vashti to come from her own feast with the women to show off her beauty before his guests. That did not happen. She refused the king. She would not be the object of drunken stares.
In his rage, the king asked his advisers for a course of action against the queen. Since her actions would be a bad example and undermine the respect of other wives for their husbands, Ahasuerus was advised to give her royal position to someone else.
After a period of several months and events, the king’s anger had abated. A search for a new queen was begun. Even though God is not mentioned in the story, His providential care is evident. One of the young women who gathered to be considered for queen just happened to be a Jewish orphan. She had been raised by her cousin, Mordecai as his own child. Several months later and about five years after Vashti’s deposal, Esther who had not revealed that she was a Jew was chosen from among the many beautiful young women to become the queen.
Mordecai may have been an officer of Ahasuerus since he sat at the king’s gate. He just happened to be sitting at the gate when he heard a plot against the king. After Mordecai reported the incident to Esther, she informed the king that Mordecai had heard the two men’s plans. An investigation was conducted and the men were hanged. Mordecai’s name was recorded as having saved the king’s life—God’s providence in action.
King Ahasuerus promoted one of his officials, Haman to be over all of the princes of the kingdom. Everyone was to bow and pay homage to him in his new position. However, to do so would be worshipping a man instead of God. Mordecai refused to bow to a man. In seeking to right that “wrong” that had been committed against him and to get revenge against Mordecai, Haman plotted with the king to destroy all of the Jews in the land. Due notice was sent throughout the land ordering the slaughter of the Jews on a certain day.