Esther won a beauty contest and became the queen of Persia! But there are two queen stories here. Queen Vashti (queen #1) was also beautiful but she was headstrong, and she refused to appear before the king at his every whim. She pays dearly — losing her crown. Though Vashti and Esther never meet, Vashti casts a long shadow over the rest of the book. She represents those who are brave and DO NOT win the day.
See, the K.I.P. (thinking of Esther) chose “Brave” as the theme word for this story. Everyone knew that those who appear before the king unbidden are condemned to die. Esther knows from Vashti’s experience that the queen’s job is to come when she is called. But when Esther looks into the mirror she discovers that a reverse image does not make her look that different from Vashti. When she decides that the time is right (after three days of fasting), Esther was also brave, and the rest is our story today!