After these things, when the wrath of king Ahasuerus was appeased, he remembered Vashti, and what she had done…
We observe here -
I. AN ABIDING MEMORY. The past cannot be wholly shut out from the present. The power of memory cleaves to the soul. The king "remembered Vashti." Time, which had appeased his wrath, had not destroyed the queen's image, or cast into oblivion the facts connected with her disgrace. The persons and things of the past continue to live in memory either to sweeten or embitter the life. We should lay up nothing in this storehouse but what will bear pleasant review.
II. AN UNAVAILING REGRET. The narrative seems to indicate that as the king's anger against Vashti died out, his love for her returned. But, with other memories, that of the irrevocable decree came into his mind. Whatever his regrets, they were in vain. It is a solemn thought that sins and wrongs once done cannot be undone. Even though bad decrees may be reversed, the evils they have wrought remain. How many through the follies of the present heap up regrets for the future!
III. A STRANGE DEVICE. Of the plan suggested by the courtiers, it may be said -
1. That it was significant of the king's state of mind. It showed a perception of the feelings that troubled him. Such an appeal to his sensual nature could only be intended to drown a reviving affection and troublesome regrets.
2. That it was selfish and cunning. The restoration of Vashti would have been dangerous to those who counselled her disgrace. The possibility of a change in the king's mind was anticipated in the decree that could not be altered. Yet such a king, under the prompting of passion, might break through any legal fiction, and therefore it was resolved to wean him from thoughts of Vashti by the prospect of an unlimited variety of sensual indulgence.
3. That it was heartlessly wicked. No thought or pity was expended on the many fair young maidens who were to be brought from their homes and sacri-riced to the lust of the king. The king and his courtiers would probably regard the transaction as bestowing a special honour on its victims. "The tender mercies of the wicked are cruel."
4. That it was, nevertheless, not out of harmony with prevalent ideas and customs. Few would be shocked by it in all the vast empire. Whilst we hold the truth to be one in all circumstances, our judgment of conduct (like Christ's - Matthew 11:21) should allow for differences of time and place.
5. That it marks a distinction between heathenism and Christianity. Under Christian rule such a device would be impossible. The mere idea of it excites a shuddering horror in the Christian heart. All heathenisms are hopelessly corrupt. They contain the seeds of their own decay. It is at once a blessed and a responsible thing to live in a country whose institutions, laws, and general life are governed by the Christian truth and spirit.
IV. AN INCURABLE FOLLY. "And the thing pleased the king; and he did so." The novelty of it arrested him; the pleasure which it promised charmed him; all memories and regrets were speedily swallowed up in the anticipated delights of a new self-indulgence. There is a folly which no lessons will teach wisdom, which no experiences will long influence for good. Sin hardens the heart. A yielding to carnal lusts destroys the power of the soul to follow the lights and monitions that would deliver it. Occasional fears and perplexities may arise, but "the dog returns to its vomit."
V. A SUGGESTION OF BETTER THINGS. The pleasures of sin may be fascinatingly great to the ungodly who have not tested their fruits. But however alluring, experience proves them to be short-lived, degrading to our nature, and laden with an ever-growing and corroding bitterness. They are not to be compared with the higher delights that spring from a virtuous and self-denying life, a conscious fellowship with Jesus Christ, a trustful obedience to the heavenly Father's will, a possession of the hope that is full of immortality (see Galatians 5:19-26). - D.
Parallel VersesKJV: After these things, when the wrath of king Ahasuerus was appeased, he remembered Vashti, and what she had done, and what was decreed against her.