Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Xerxes and Memucan

Inspite of his great anger and fury regarding Queen Vashti's insubordination, King Xerxes followed the proper protocol which is to consult his advisers. His advisory board is composed of the seven greatest nobles of Persia and Mede. 

He asked a direct question "According to the law, what should be done to Queen Vashti?"  He also described the action accurately, "She has not obeyed the command of King Xerxes that the eunuchs have taken to her." On all parameters, King Xerxes was politically correct. 

 Although it is not explicitely stated in the bible, it is generally accepted that Memucan is the same as Haman.  Memucan, who appeared to be the voice of the advisory board, did not match the directness of the question with his answer.  Instead he came back with his interpretation of Vashti's action. "Queen Vashti has done wrong, not only against the king but also against all the nobles and the peoples of all the provinces of King Xerxes." He also extrapolated his own interpretation. "For the queen's conduct will become known to all the women, and so they will despise their husbands... This very day the Persian and Median women of the nobility who have heard about the queen's conduct will respond to all the king's nobles in the same way.  There will be no end of disrespect and discord."   Can you say he's politicizing? This statements definitely aggrevates any attitude that was there originally.  This did not only add insult to injury but he also tried to get the vote of all the nobles in the advisory board and the sympathy of men in the land towards the proposal that he is about to state. 

Sometimes we get into the shoes of King Xerxes.  When things are not going right, we consult our trusted friends or family.  We go to them for advise, clarity, and confirmation on things that we already have thought.  Other times we are in distress that we just need someone to listen to us and not give us any advise.  Just like King Xerxes, instead of feeling better, we come out from that session with our ears and nostrils fuming with smoke.  When we feel helpless it is much better to seek God for guidance.  Later in the book when Queen Esther appeared in his presence without invitation, he did not ask Memucan (Haman) what to do.  Instead he trusted his own judgement and did what he believed was right. 

Sometimes we are Memucan.  The one who would dispense the elixir to our friend's problems.  In our desire to make our friend feel better we fuel their anger.  We feel as though we need to say something when in fact "Xerxes" just need to download.  I've thought about this and I came to the conclusion that the best way to help "Xerxes" is to alleviate his own emotions towards the problem.  He has control over his attitude and a friend can help.  The rest of the matter will be better resolved when anger is no longer part of the issue.

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