Monday, April 24, 2006

Showing Off Your Wife

In the Book of Esther [1:11-16], King Xerxes calls for his wife [Queen Vashti] to come and show off her beauty to the people and nobles. Queen Vashti refuses to come before the King and his guests to display her beautiful body. King Xerxes is frustrated by her unwillingness, so he consults his wise men who understood the customs and laws of the time. They decide to banish Queen Vashti and King Xerxes begins looking for a new queen. This creates the opportunity for Esther, who eventually wins over King Xerxes with her attractiveness. Esther uses her beauty and attractiveness on multiple occasions to attract the attention of King Xerxes and ultimately to accomplish God's will.

Showing off a beautiful wife is natural, traditional, & biblical
For thousands of years it has been acceptable for men to show off their beautiful wives. For thousands of years the beauty of a woman's body was something that was treasured, valuable, and worthy of displaying, much like a work of art. History tells us that many kings chose their queens using a type of beauty contest.

There are only two books in the Christian bible named after women, and Esther is one of those. Esther is viewed as a powerful and influential woman of the bible. Traditionally, she has been a role model for Christian women and the subject of many Christian books and study guides. Esther was not ashamed of her beauty or body. She was willing to display her beautiful body to the King and his people.

Modern Views of Women
Beauty contests are no longer politically correct, and rapidly declining in popularity. Our culture is changing to the point where it is no longer considered appropriate for a woman to show off her beauty. If a business woman dresses up too nice and shows off the beauty of her female form, she will likely face peer pressure or discipline from a human resource department. If a woman attempts to use her beauty and looks to get ahead, she is viewed negatively.

I wonder what damage we are doing to our young people with these new views that beauty is not something that a woman should use and show off. Ironically, as our society tries to hide the beauty of the woman form, we still face many issues with sexuality. Some people believe we are an over-sexed society and that our young women are dressing too sexy. Are the youth rebelling against the social pressure to hide beauty?

Desires to show off the wife
I have found many husbands with this strong desire to show off their wives. Men that have the same desires as King Xerxes. Men that are proud of their wife's beauty and attractiveness. Likewise, it seems that we have a culture of women who share the same attitude as Queen Vashti. Wives who do not want to display their beauty, and consequently frustrate their husbands.

Our modern culture and most churches make it difficult to value the beauty of a woman's body. It is sad that in the last couple of decades we have reduced the value of a woman's beauty and attractiveness. Perhaps some of the challenges and desires that we face in our society are in part related to the changing value of beauty.


At 5/01/2006 7:16 AM, Blogger mdog said...

are you serious?

we are not sports cars to be shown off or trophies to be paraded around with pride.

just because something has been done "for thousands of years" does not make it okay.

the pressure for women to be "beautiful" is alive and well. if you only REALLY knew.

At 5/01/2006 8:39 PM, Blogger SAM said...

Mdog, perhaps your views represent the popular modern beliefs. But just because something is popular today does not make it okay.

Personally, I think it is kind of sad that we value our sport cars and trophies more than our spouse. I know many people who are more proud of their house, car, career, boat or some accomplishment than their spouse. They would rather show off and talk about their house, car, career, or boat than their spouse. And then we wonder why the divorce rate is at record levels.

My wife is beautiful and I support her decision to show off that beauty. I would rather show off and talk about the beauty of my wife than some material possession.

At 5/05/2006 12:40 AM, Blogger Marvin Thomas said...

I agree with you and your posting so far.
Most modern Christian and US beliefs is this way.
I saw a guy nearly start a fight with another guy, because he thought the guy was looking at his wife. The first guy needs this power over his wife.

At 5/22/2006 12:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Was King Xerses necessarily correct to want to show off his wife? The Bible doesn't portray him as a great guy. He does the right thing in the end (to listen to Esther and not kill all the Jews) but he listens to some pretty poor counsel from Haman before that.

And what of Vashti's refusal to be "shown off"? What if women don't want to be "shown off"? Do we get any say at all? I mean, don't get me wrong. I am happy that my husband finds me attractive. However, I'd rather be valued for my mind & spirit, not just looks.

I just feel that's really degrading women to be just a pretty face. Besides, what if the wife isn't pretty? What if she is overweight, unattractive, or not stylish? Does that negate how proud the husband is of her?

At 5/23/2006 11:09 PM, Blogger SAM said...

1. Was Xerses correct to want to show off his wife?He was the King and the highest authority figure, so the issue really is not whether he was right, but whether his wife and people were submissive to his authority. The bible gives us no reason to question his authority, and his decision paved the way for Esther to enter the picture.

What of Vashti's refusal? Once again the issue is submission and Vashti was not submissive to the King, who was her husband. It was not uncommon to put to death any person who refused to obey the King, so the Xerses was actually merciful to her by allowing her to live.

Do we (women) get any say?Personally, I believe a woman has a right to voice her opinion and to have her "say". But in the end, she has also has a responsibility to be submissive to the authority figures that God has placed in her life, which means that at times she may have to do things that she does not want to do in order to demonstrate a submissive spirit.

Just a pretty face?
I doubt that Vashti or Esther were just a pretty face. I also doubt that most husbands view their wives as just a pretty face. Once again, the issue is not an issue of beauty, but of submission and freedom. If a husband want's to show off his wife, who is beautiful in his eyes, should he not have the right to do so?

At 8/01/2006 1:04 PM, Anonymous Bouncer said...

Sam: I agree with you, a man does like to show off his wife and her beauty and since God made us visual, we like to look at them and admire God's creation.
I also believe that a wife should do everything in her power to keep her husbands eyes on her!
Anonymous: God made man a visual creature, so if you want him to get to know all of you get his attention.
I don't think that weight or anything can get in the way if you do not want them too.

At 2/01/2007 4:24 PM, Anonymous paul said...

I think that (sam) is forgetting one thing. That is, such things can become a stone to fall over. By "showing off" your wife you teach others that it is alright to do as well, what one feels is alright to do could cause anther to sin! I would caution you in your actions it is an terrifying thing to cause one of God's children to sin! The bible also shows in many many passages that men had "sex" with men and gave their wives to others, not to meantion that people were performing sex acts with animals. Does that mean that it is alright to do so now? When in Exodus chapter 22 God clearly tells them that these things are SIN! And punishable with death eternal, if forgiveness through Christ is not sought and found.

At 2/04/2007 2:39 PM, Blogger SAM said...

Hi Paul,

It sounds like you believe it is wrong for a woman to show off her body? I would hardly compare showing off a beautiful creation of God with the sinful deviant acts of mankind that exchange their natural desires for unnatural. The bible always condemns unnatural sex acts from the Old Testament to the New Testament; however, you will not find any condemnation for public nudity. On the contrary, God commanded Isaiah to go naked for 3 years (Is 20). How do you explain that? I suspect that your own personal value system cannot easily understand how God can command a person to expose his body for 3 years.

At 6/12/2011 10:06 PM, Anonymous songbird said...

I noticed this article is somewhat old but I have to tell you - I am a wife of 22 years and am so happy when my husband wants to show me off. I am overweight BUT he makes me feel beautiful and that's all that matters. The story of Esther is quite interesting. Seems like justice to me that the King sent her away. If she would not come to him, he made sure she would never come to him by sending her away. Also, why wouldn't she? Her actions spoke many words. Was she wondering what OTHER men would think of her? What about her husband? He thought it was fine. When I am concerned about my appearance, I ask my husband. It matters what he thinks only. I want to make him happy. He loves me for so much more than my beauty also. I am not "just a pretty face". He thinks I am smarter than he is. I think he is very smart too - he is a commercial pilot. We have many deep conversations. I am going to show this article to him. I believe he will resonate with it. :)

At 5/28/2013 6:40 AM, Blogger Pastor Charles said...

God made humans nude. We shower nude. We become nude for our doctors. Nudity is not sin. The issue at hand however addresses public nudity. Paul wrote: Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.
The heart of this message states that if my liberties encourage any of my fellow Christians to sin then I will not flaunt that liberty in front of them. It is wrong to purposefully tempt anyone to sin. My question to anyone wanting to be publicly nude is why. If you are trying to draw the opposite sex by your looks whether clothed or unclothed you are headed toward a shallow relationship.

1 Timothy 2:9,10 In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;
But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.

At the very least, this is stating that a woman needs to constrain her efforts of being seen as beautiful to her works instead of her appearance. I see a command to wear some descent clothes in there but that's me. Modest apparel could just mean something simple or not flashy.

Addressing the issue of wanting to show something off that you have attained I have somewhat to say. What are you really doing? Are you bragging? It appears to me that there is a pride issue. No doubt King Ahasuerus had a pride issue. Kind of hard not to when you have that kind of authority. I am not condoning Vashti's refusal to obey her husband in the least. I clearly see that they both were in the wrong. His pride and her rebellion. I agree that he was merciful in his sentencing. Back to the issue... why show off your wife's nudity? Do you want other men to be jealous? Do you want other men to lust after your wife? Do you want someone to set their mind to have your wife? Whether you want this to happen or not, in this society these things are going to be triggered in someone. Besides, if someone laughed at her or derided her in any way you would be setting yourself up for a fight. If you place the things that you prize dearly before a world that do not value them the way that you do then you are placing a chip on your shoulder daring someone to knock it off. Again... I see this as a pride issue that causes men to endanger the well being of both themselves and their wives. Consider Bathsheba's nude bath, David's sinful responses to seeing her naked(adultery and murder) and The death of Uriah who was named among David's 30 mighty men. If God tempts no man, we should be more like God and follow in his footsteps. It is better for everyone.

At 6/22/2013 11:55 PM, Blogger SAM said...

Pastor Charles, you bring up some very good points. Have you ever read 2 Cor 7:4 or 2 Cor 1:14? I agree that pride in ourselves is wrong, but expressing pride for someone else or boasting about another person can be an act of encouragement. Clearly, you have no children or at least no pride for your children. Are you saying that a father cannot be proud of his son, because this would be ungodly?

This post was about showing off the beauty of your wife. It was about encouraging a wife and showing confidence in her. Queen Esther showed off her beauty to the king, so was she wrong? She basically had to win a beauty contest to become the queen, so are you trying to say that she was wrong in showing off her beauty?

If a couple wanted to be nude on a beach, so they could enjoy each other and enjoy the sunshine that God created, is that wrong? If the couple wanted to go skinny dipping in the lake, so they could enjoy each other, would that be wrong? If someone was working in their yard and hot, so they took off their clothes to cool themselves, would that be wrong? Now this last question is a bit of a tricky question, because historically we know that people worked in the nude to stay cool...and it is even hinted several places in the bible. Hmm...just some things to think about.


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