Alcohol and anger led the king to make a decision that he would regret his entire life. During his “open bar” party with the princes of his kingdom, Ahasuerus called for the eunuchs to bring Vashti, the beautiful queen, into the room with her royal garb so he could show off her beauty. I expect Vashti had experienced many times when the king showed her off as one of his possessions. She was probably tired of it. She refused to come. In his embarrassment, the king turned to his princes and asked for advice. In itself, this is a pretty good idea, except that they had all been indulging in an “open bar” and were all under the influence of alcohol. Well, you know men! We have to teach women their place, right? Well, that’s what his drunken companions told him. They were afraid their women would follow Vashti’s lead. Esther 1:13-18 tell us this story. The king asks the princes that were with him, “According to the law, what is to be done to Queen Vashti because she has not performed the command of King Ahasuerus delivered by the eunuchs?” The answer is recorded as “Not only against the king has Queen Vashti done wrong, but also against all the officials and all the people who are in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus. The queen’s behavior will be made known to all women, causing them to look at their husbands with contempt…; this very day, the noble women of Persia and Media who have heard of the queen’s behavior will say the same to all the king’s officials, and there will be contempt and wrath in plenty.”

This is horrible advice! But what’s worse is that a wounded ego can lead a person to accept bad advice. It looks like the ego of all the men at the king’s party were afraid of having their authority challenged. But when the ego gets involved, things can go wrong fairly quickly. Ego operates out of one’s own wants and needs. It seeks approval, appreciation, and adoration at all costs and often results in horrible decisions. A person who can recognize the role of ego in their decision-making will rule the world and have a happy life. The first verse in the first Psalm in the Bible praises the “one who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked.” But when egos are involved, it becomes impossible to distinguish between wise and wicked advice. The king’s advisors might have been aware of their king’s big ego, but they overlooked their own in their advice. In their desire to gain his favor, they feed his ego. Look it up! To feed one’s ego is “To do something that encourages or affirms one’s inflated sense of self-importance.” The men at the open bar party felt it necessary to put up a front of authority to show that they were no one to be trifled with. They elevated what should have simply been a domestic dispute to a national crisis.

There are other examples of kings who listened to bad advice in the Bible. Rehoboam got some terrible advice from his advisors years earlier, which caused the nation to divide. His young friends advised him to increase taxes on the people and to show he was not a king to be trifled with. Ahaziah was another king who listened to bad counsel. He was only 22 years old when he became king of the Southern Kingdom of Judah. Unfortunately, he listened to the advice of his mother, Jezebel, and was led astray. When his father Ahab died, he brought his father’s counselors on board to help him. 2 Chronicles 22:4 tells us that Ahaziah “Did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, as the house of Ahab had done. For after the death of his father, they were his counselors, to his undoing.” Beware of advice that feeds the ego!