Beauty and The Banquet

This is a story of two women.
Two stories of two women.

Of their beauty. Of a banquet.

Strikingly similar stories.
Shockingly different outcomes.

beauty and the banquet

For when Herodias’ daughter came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests.

The young woman had a beautiful figure and was lovely to look at. The king loved Esther more than all the women, and she won grace and favor in his sight more than all.

In both cases, a portrayal of beauty.

Herodias’ daughter flaunts herself in what surely must have been a provocative dance. Perhaps Herodias was really the one to blame, placing her daughter in this position at such an age of vulnerability. Yet no one, neither Herod nor his high-ranking guests, protests such an inappropriate display.

Esther was chosen for her physical beauty, yes. Perhaps the heart of Ahasuerus was no more pure than Herod’s. But in surrounding passages, we discover the way in which Esther presents herself: always with grace and humility. She’s not in it for personal gain. She probably doesn’t care to be there in the first place. But she proceeds honorably until the beauty of her heart outshines any other kind.

An opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet.

“If I have found favor in the sight of the king, let the king and Haman come to the feast that I will prepare for them.”

A banquet brings opportunity. But opportunity for whom?

Herodias seizes the moment when her husband, likely half-drunk, is ready for a night of entertainment. She’ll parade her young daughter before him, and maybe he’ll offer something in return. If she’s lucky, she’ll get him to kill John before he even realizes what he’s doing.

Esther prepares a banquet. And then another. For her, it’s an opportunity to properly appeal to the king with sincerity and respect.

And the king said to the girl, “Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will give it to you. Whatever you ask me, I will give you, up to half of my kingdom.”

“What is your wish, Queen Esther? It shall be granted you. And what is your request? Even to the half of my kingdom, it shall be fulfilled.”

The same offer. “Up to half of the kingdom.” Not that a king would literally give anyone half his kingdom, or that anyone would reasonably want it. But who makes such an outrageous offer?

A distracted king who is consumed with pleasure. He offers half his kingdom to a teenage girl, because she made him happy for a minute or two.

King Ahasuerus, on the other hand, is intrigued by the daring maneuver of an honorable woman. A woman who has graced his home, come boldly to his throne, and shown respect at every turn.

“I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.”

“Let my life be granted me for my wish, and my people for my request. Let an order be written to revoke the letters devised by Haman, which he wrote to destroy the Jews. For how can I bear to see the calamity that is coming to my people? Or how can I bear to see the destruction of my kindred?”

What would you do if a king offered you half his kingdom?

Well, you could have a man killed. A man who, with a few words of truth, has turned your mother into a raging storm. You would love to get rid of that man in the prison cell if it calms your frantic mother.

Or you could save an entire race of people. You could gently open the eyes of your husband-king to the wicked decision he has carelessly made, and because he’s pleased not just with your physical beauty, but with the beauty of your character, you could save thousands of lives and impact the course of history.

And immediately the king sent an executioner with orders to bring John’s head. He went and beheaded him in the prison.

In every province and in every city, wherever the king’s command and his edict reached, there was gladness and joy among the Jews, a feast and a holiday.

While we know nothing happens that God himself does not ordain, the impact of these two stories for me is the fact that a beautiful woman at a banquet had a say.

And oh, the weight of their words.

What will you do when the opportunity comes?

Like Herodias’ daughter, there’s always the choice to flaunt and scheme and kill.

Or, like Esther, you can walk in favor with God and man, fast and pray for God’s help, and do everything in your power to change the world.

The choice is yours.

{The passages above quote only small portions of the stories.
Please read Mark 6:14-29 and the book of Esther for the complete and definitive accounts.}

 [image credit: &]

17 thoughts on “Beauty and The Banquet

  1. This is a really interesting read! I once read that in ancient Hebrew culture, beauty was seen as another gift a person can be given (like intelligence, strength, logic, etc). This is such a great comparison. Thanks for sharing! (I just randomly chose both of your posts at Thought-Provoking Thursday! 🙂 )

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Change the world!

    What a unique way of looking at the scriptures. Thanks so much for sharing and linking up with either Titus 2 Tuesdays or Wedded Wednesday, or maybe 100 Happy Days (I forget!). LOL!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I loved this. Beautiful way of portraying truth and the power of our words and the purity of our heart. This was such a blessing to spend time reading and thinking on. Thank you for sharing this and for linking up at Deb’s little space of grace.

    Bless you!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Excellent post! We just learned about Esther this week in homeschool with my sons. How interesting to have the story of Herod and the daughter in comparison to that, and how we would choose if given similar circumstances. Thanks for sharing with #SocialButterflySunday! Hope to see you link up again this week 🙂


  5. Lydia this is brilliant and beautiful. As a new believer, I used to get these events confused! I love the compare and contrast and heart behind this. Thank you!


    1. Oh thanks! I wrote this about a year ago, but it happened to come up today, and I thought it might grab the attention of some due to the Beauty and the Beast showing today. So, “Beauty and the Banquet” instead, and it has nothing to do with Beauty and the Beast except that I like these stories better. 😉


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