The Book of Esther is another great story about God's people in exile. Interestingly enough God is never mentioned in the book, but God's presence and protection is evident just the same. The book begins with a royal feast. Drunk and eager to impress his guests, King Ahasuerus (AKA King Xerxes) calls in his beautiful wife, Vashti, to dance for the crowd. She refuses, so after consulting with his advisers she loses her position as queen. To fill the gap, Ahasuerus holds a beauty pageant (which seems from our passage to have a sexual component as well). The winner of the contest will become queen. We aren't going to follow the whole story, so suffice it to say that the plot thickens after our passage.