Four Bible Queens: How Physical Beauty Helped Or Hurt Them

Physical beauty opens doors, and the best doors are those that beckon purpose along with beauty.

The stories of these four women--all Bible Queens--show that physical beauty is an asset to be nurtured and appreciated; and that it brings more benefits to the wearer when it is combined with beauty of character.

What would these women say to the beautiful women of today?

Abigail: Intelligent and Beautiful

David y Abigail by Antonio Molinari
David y Abigail by Antonio Molinari | Source

“Beauty without wisdom doesn't take you very far."

— Abigail

She was an intelligent and beautiful woman, but her husband was surly and mean in his dealings—he was a Calebite (1 Samuel 25:3).

Before Abigail became the wife of a king, this portrait of brains and beauty was the wife of Nabal, a rich and foul-tempered man. She was wise and he was foolish (that being the meaning of his name). Her name means “my father’s joy,” so we wonder what gave her father joy when he approved her marriage to Nabal. Did it make him happy to have her marry a wealthy man, even though the man was a fool?

In her life with Nabal, Abigail’s wisdom and kindness benefited her more than her beauty. When her mean-spirited husband insulted King David and his men by refusing their request for food and water, Abigail appeased the king’s wrath and obtained his forgiveness.

She presented food to David, blessed him and asked to be remembered (hmmm). Not until the next day when Nabal sobered up after a drinking spree, did she tell him she had met with David. Ten days after, he died from a heart attack. David sent for her and made her one of his wives. Even he was primarily attracted by her physical beauty, it is safe to assume that her tact and kindness played a part in winning his heart.


Bathsheba: Unusually Beautiful

Bathsheba by Jan Matsys
Bathsheba by Jan Matsys | Source

“Your beauty is a treasure to be protected; not a toy to be played with."

— Bathsheba

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Late one afternoon, after his midday rest, David got out of bed and was walking on the roof of the palace. As he looked out over the city, he noticed a woman of unusual beauty taking a bath (2 Samuel 11: 2, 3 NLT).

David already had six wives who bore him children, plus others, when this incident happened. He was not looking for a wife; besides, the beautiful woman on the roof was Bathsheba a married woman, whose husband was a soldier in David’s army. He inquired about her, so he knew who she was when he sent for her.

Did Bathsheba anticipate the king looking down to her rooftop through the lattice in the palace window above? Did she and the king play this game before? Was either of them motivated by the fact that Uriah was away on the battlefield? People speculate about who seduced whom, but our main concern here is whether or not her beauty was an asset.

If she intentionally set out to seduce David, she acted irresponsibly like the woman who says, “I can’t help it if I’m beautiful, and men are attracted to me.” The result in this case was an unwanted pregnancy and the untimely death of a husband and soldier. (David had Uriah killed so he could have Bathsheba, but he repented later.)

If Bathsheba was taken against her will, and forced into adultery with the king, we would have to conclude that her beauty was clearly a disadvantage. Their love child died. Later, Bathsheba gave birth to Solomon who became king with the help of his mother's political wrestling maneuvering.

What a positively powerful story the Queen Mother would have had to tell if the story of her beauty did not have adultery and murder attached to it? Who knows how else she might have become queen?


Vashti: Lovely To Look At

Queen Vashti Refuses to Obey Ahasuerus' Command.  Painting by Gustave Doré
Queen Vashti Refuses to Obey Ahasuerus' Command. Painting by Gustave Doré | Source

“No matter what you lose, maintain the beauty of self-respect."

— Vashti

On the seventh day, when King Xerxes was in high spirits from wine, he commanded the seven eunuchs who served him . . . to bring before him Queen Vashti, wearing her royal crown, in order to display her beauty to the people and nobles, for she was lovely to look at (Esther 1:10,11).

King Ahasuerus of Persia held a celebration for his military leaders, nobles and supporters. It was a display of wealth and splendor. During the final day of a seven-day banquet, the king in his drunken stupor requested a new display for his guests to admire: the beautiful Queen Vashti. She refused to comply. The king was embarrassed; and fearing that other women would imitate the queen’s insubordination, his advisers convinced him to replace her with someone better.

Vashti was hurt, not by her beauty, but by the king’s attempt to trivialize it. He aimed to make her an object equal in value to the palace furniture and furnishings. She was not the fearful, subservient kind of woman who would be obedient at the cost of disrespecting herself. She refused to participate in her own abuse.


Esther: Lovely Figure and Features

Queen Esther by Edwin Long
Queen Esther by Edwin Long | Source

“If you use your beauty for God's purpose, He will reward you."

— Esther

Poll on the Most Admired

Which one of these beautiful women do you admire most?

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This young woman, who was also known as Esther, had a lovely figure and was beautiful . . . And Esther won the favor of everyone who saw her (Esther 2:7, 15).

Among the beautiful women gathered in the search for a queen to replace Vashti, was a Jewish girl named Hadassah (meaning myrtle) whose Persian name was Esther. She had been adopted by her cousin Mordecai who raised her to be self-confident. Hegai, who was in charge of the candidates favored Esther and “immediately he provided her with her beauty treatments and special food."

When Esther’s turn came to spend time with King Ahasuerus, he “was attracted to Esther more than to any of the other women, and she won his favor and approval. So he set a royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti” (2:17).

Esther’s physical beauty helped her win her royal position, but it was her beauty of character that kept her on the throne. Her obedience to the principles that Mordecai taught her, and her loyalty to her faith motivated her to become involved in the struggles of her Jewish people. She fasted with them in their time of crisis.

The beauty of Esther's femininity and grace was not lost on the king. She became a prominent figure in her nation’s history.


© 2011 Dora Isaac Weithers

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Comments 17 comments

moiragallaga profile image

moiragallaga 5 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal

Very good article Msdora. You tell the stories of those women in an entirely different context that makes their tales all the more interesting.


Dave Mathews profile image

Dave Mathews 5 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

MsDora: From EVE,to the present, women have applied the looks and intelligence to achieve for themselves and for those they love what is needed desired and sought after the most.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 5 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Thanks Moiragallaga, for your interest and your comment. There is so much fun in reading and re-telling the stories with a different emphasis each time.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 5 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Thanks Dave, for your continual support. I always appreciate your input.


homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 5 years ago from Texas

Great, great hub. I really enjoyed this read. It made me see things a little differently. And that's a good thing. Thanks!


MsDora profile image

MsDora 5 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Thank you homesteadbound, for taking time out from your busy writing schedule to read and comment. You're a treasure!


Stephen Noel 4 years ago

AHA... - You reference a King 'Asheurus' in Esther's tale instead of the King 'Ahasuerus' of Persia (a 'misspelling, I think) from the link to Queen Vashti. My question though, is why you did not mention this 'king' character as the King Xerxes who seems to be the one mentioned in the Book of Esther in the Bible, and from whom your Bible Quotation seems to flow?

STEPHEN NOEL


MsDora profile image

MsDora 4 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Stephen, thanks for taking time to point out my misspelling. I've corrected it. Perhaps I like "Ahasuerus" better than "Xerxes." I can't think of another reason since both names are used in the different versions. Thanks for reading -- and editing.


anonymous 3 years ago

good advice Ms Dora on this stuff


MsDora profile image

MsDora 3 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Glad you think so, anonymous. I re-read it just now to get some of that advice. Thanks for your input.


Phoebe Pike 3 years ago

Beauty, a curse and a blessing that is still punishing society today.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 3 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Phoebe, thanks for your input Perhaps the beautiful women will get better results if they align their thoughts about their beauty with the God-given purpose for their beauty. That should help.


Robert Sacchi profile image

Robert Sacchi 11 months ago

Thank you. You give a good insight into these Biblical characters. I'm surprised there isn't any information about Vashti outside of the Bible.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 11 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Robert, Vashti continues to be upstaged by Esther, but she also continues to be an inspiration to women who cannot be bought. I hope that women who need her story will find it.


Robert Sacchi profile image

Robert Sacchi 11 months ago

The upstaging is inevitable since it is Ester's actions that is the focus of the story. She saved her people from extermination.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 11 months ago from The Caribbean Author

That's the truth, Robert. I really appreciate your contribution to this article.


Robert Sacchi profile image

Robert Sacchi 11 months ago

Thank you.

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