“The empowered woman is powerful beyond measure and beautiful beyond description.” -Steve Maraboli
An empowered female can be described as having a sense of self-worth, someone who understands and utilizes their right to have and determine choices. All women deserve the right to feel and express empowerment. Our society has cultivated various female role models that embrace their right to be phenomenal individuals. This encompasses standing for change, lending a hand to those in need, encouraging and supporting growth and positive change or simply being a positive example for younger generations.
When I think of empowered females I think of you, I think of Maya Angelou, Michelle Obama, and Malala Yousafzai.
However, we tend to forget that there are many females outlined in the Bible that are also recognized for empowerment. One such heroine is Queen Esther. Her entire story is outlined in the Bible as one of faith and bravery.
Truth be told her story does not follow the typical narrative of damsels in distress being saved by heroes well-dressed. Instead, it can be summarized into a tale of seeking courage from God, finding courage within one’s self, embracing the encouragement of those around us and acting on this courage to help others. Her story denies the "once upon a time" and is summarized into this:
King Ahasuerus ruled over a great empire called Persia, over 127 provinces stretching from India to Ethiopia. His kingdom was vast, he had power beyond measure, and he had a beautiful queen by the name of Vashti. But one day, Queen Vashti refused to listen to the king’s demands. Upset by the audacity of his queen, the king asked his advisors what he should do. They were concerned that if word of this got out among the people, all wives in the kingdom would rebel against their husbands. Something had to be done. They decided to remove Vashti from her royal place. But who would be the new queen? How would they find someone suitable? The king’s advisor’s suggested that the king invite all the most beautiful women from the region to the palace and adequately trained them for six months so that a suitable queen could be selected. Whoever found favour in the king's eyes would be Queen. One such woman stood out above the rest; her name was Esther. She quickly won the favour of the chief eunuch, Hegai, and when her turn came to spend the night with the king, Ahasuerus fell in love with her and made her his queen. Esther, an orphan with Jewish heritage, raised mainly by her cousin Mordecai, was advised by him to keep her Jewish heritage a secret, for he did not know how the king would react as Jews were considered lower class citizens, people who were exiled and sent to live in Persia. Esther became queen and served the king well. With Mordecai’s help, she even alerted the king to an assassination attempt on his life.
But all was not well in the kingdom. A vile man named Haman, the king’s right-hand man, came to dislike Mordecai. In his displeasure, Haman devised a plan to rid the kingdom of all Mordecai’s people, the Jewish people. The king was not an attentive person, which gave Haman freedom to do as he saw fit. A decree went out into the land to rid the kingdom of all the Jewish people. Distraught about this news, Mordecai approached Esther to see if she would approach the king. Fearing the worst about this request, she wasn’t sure what to do. Nevertheless, she executed a plan to save her people from destruction.
I believe Esther’s beauty fell under 1 Peter 3:4-5 “You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. This is how the holy women of old made themselves beautiful.” Queen Esther must have had more than just outward beauty as Queen Vashti was also outwardly beautiful. Queen Esther in my opinion had both the inward and outward beauty that enraptured the king due to its rarity. It is important to note that Queen Esther was not only beautiful but she was selfless, caring, obedient, loyal and loving.
Esther 4:11 "All the royal officials and the people of the king's provinces know that one law applies to every man or woman who approaches the king in the inner courtyard without being summoned, that he be put to death. Only if the king extends the gold sceptre may that person live." She knew that her life would be at risk by breaking this law, there was no guarantee that the king would hand her the golden sceptre.
In Esther 4:16 “Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my young women will also fast as you do. Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish.”
Can we imagine the fear that Queen Esther was experiencing risking her life to save her people? Mind you, at first, she was hesitant (Esther 4:11) but then in (Esther 4:13-14), Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, “Do not think to yourself that in the king's palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
Queen Esther does something very admirable after receiving her reply from Mordecai, she seeks the Lord through fasting and encourages those around her to do the same. Most of us forget that in trying to change or create an impact in the world, we must seek the creator of the world to guide our plans so that they fall under his will. After fasting, now gaining a renewal of faith and courage, she makes her requests to the king. In Esther 7:3, Queen Esther answered, “If I have found favour in your sight, O king, and if it pleases the king, let my life be granted for my wish, and my people for my request." In this chapter, Queen Esther asks the king to allow the decree against her people to be removed and upon agreeing, the decree becomes nonexistent.
It is through God's Plan, Queen Esther’s faith and courage that so many innocent Jews were spared. To think of the alternative (Queen Esther not appealing for her people) would have marked another downfall in history. But, let us focus on a true role model who chose to do what was right, to help others and to remove fear and become an empowered woman of action.
My name is Serena Richards and I, along with other helpful contributors, and of course the inspiration of God have written these posts as a source of help FOR YOU <3