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to be wished that princes may have wisdom to see, arid honesty to advance, real merit, and reward faithful services. This is a comfort to God's faithful servants, that there is no unjust or partial proceedings in the court of heaven; He is not unrighteous to forget any works or labours of love. There is, in allusion to the chronicles of kingdoms, a book of remembrance written by him; and though, tvhfi they have done all, they are unprofitable servants, yet they shall not by any means loose their reward.
3. See how wretchedly the pride of men's hearts deceives them.. Observe the vanity of Haman, in v. 6. Now Haman thought in his heart, la whom would the king delight to do honour more than to myself? he thought much better of himself than he deserved, because the king esteemed him, and courtiers bowed to him: he thought himself xome great one, end-in a state of security. Thus it is through pride that many think themselves wise, and pious too; and because they meet with esteem and respect from others, imagine there is something uncommonly valuable in themselves, and that none are like them. We need to search and try, to watch over our hearts, and not be deceived by our own judgments, or even the judgments of others concerning us; but daily pray, that God, who cannot be deceived, would search and try us, and see if there be any evil way in us.
A. It is an admirable thing for a person to bear honour and advancement humbly : Mordecai was a remarkable instance of this. It was as great a force upon him to march through the city with the state of a king, as upon Haman to conduct him, and be his lacquey. Honour is well bestowed .on those who know how to bear it meekly, without growing proud and insolent in consequence of it. This is the character of the saints and angels in all their exaltation; they are eminently humble, and, amidst all the pomp of heaven, acknowledge themselves less than nothing, and vanity.
• CHAP. VII.
Mtther sues for her own life, and the lives of her ficofile; and the king cauneth Haman to be hanged on his own gallows.
1 O O the king and Haman came to banquet with Esther
2 O the queen. And the king said again unto Esther on the second day at the banquet of wine, What [is] thy petition, queen Esther? and it shall be granted thee : and what [is] thy request? and it shall be performed, [even] to the half of the kingdom: the king by thus renewing his desire to know what her
3 request was, gave her greater courage to make it. Then Esther the queen answered and said, If I have foilnd favour in thy sight, O king, and if it please the king, let my life be given me
4 at my petition, and my people at my request For we are
• The kin? no donbr expected some im;,ortun»te Petition for wealth or honour, or the 'advancement of seme of her friends, ami tuufct be much surprized when she only begged for feer life, and the deliverance of her people ; his rage agaiuu her enemies mutt rise in proi portion to her humility^"
«old, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be slain, and to perish.* JJut if we had been sold for bondmen and bondwomen, I had held my tongue, as we might some way or other have been redeem* ed, although the enemy could not countervail the king's dami age ; the Ifing would not have gained so much by it, as he would
5 have lost. Then the king Ahasuorus answered and said unto Esther the queen, Who is he, and Where is he, that durst presume in his heart to do so? It seemed incredible that any should entertain such a thought as to destroy a whole innocent nation.
§ And Esther said, The adversary and enemy [is] this wicked Haman.f Then Haman was afraid before the king and the queen ; and well he might be so when he saw /lis danger, when he found the queen was a Jewess, and the king was enraged.
7 And the king arising from the banquet of-wine in his wrath, [went] into, the palace garden ; no doubt in strong commotion^ arising from love to his queen, from the conduct of Humanx and that he should be so imposed ufion as to be engaged in so odious a design i and Haman stood up to make request for his life to Esther the queen; for he saw that there was evil determined against him by the king; fff^now became an humble petitioner to Rsther, seeing by the Ring's countenance as he was going out, ihat he was violently
8 angry. Then the king returned out of the palace garden, into the place of the banquet of wine; and Haman was fallen upon the bed whereqn Esther [was ;] he fmnd Haman in the posture if a suppliant, fallen at the queen's feet as she reclined on her coueh, and probably embracing them. Then said the king, Will he force the queen also before me in the house As the word went out of the king's mouth, they covered Haman's face, bet cause they looked upon l*m as a condemned person, whose sight was
9 offensive to the king- And Harbonah, one of the chamberlains, who had probably been to fetc/i Haman, and had seen the gallows, and been told who it was designed for, said liefore the king, liohold also, the gallows fifty cubits high, which Haman had made for Mordecai, who had spoken good fotathe king, standeth in the house of Haman ; he was forward to tell the king tlus, for a person of so haughty a behaviour as Human was, could uot be be* loved. This completed his crime, that he intended so shameful a
\0 death for a man, to whom the king was so muc!f obliged. Then the king said, Hang hira thereon.]| §o they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then was the king's wrath pacified ; and in his cooler movyents he could not but appr-ve of what he had done.
• Haman offered a great sum for them ; if they were guilty, they should have bernsraia «t;thour it; if innocent, it was horribly wicked to devote theut to destruction, and it was at •Me price af innocent blood.
t Esaher found no reason to fear speaking plainly ; she therefore fixed her charge upon Haman. lie used 'g be caUcd high and mighty, noble, great, and magtnficent; but she gave hiS true character in one word, this wicked llam,io.
i The king could hardly suppose that Haman h id such an intention: but his passion had co blinded him that he pnt the worst construction upon every thing; and justly did Himan fail under a false pretence, who w ould have destroyed many thousands by a false ac ;usatioiv
; is the East, pcrsoas are' rat/mud .is sow; n» they arc ctfjidemned.
J. Tt T is cbrrtmon for irten to startle at those evils which they JL may have been the authors of. The king asks, Who ;«i he, and whefe is he, that durst presilrne in his heart to do so ? but fie forgot that he himself passed that decree a little before. He was Shocked to think that any man Could be so wicked, when he him* self had been accessary to' it. This is the case of some who lead Others into siri by their ill advice or ill example ; who corrupt their principles, or countenance their Vices ; they are accessary to all the mischief they do. This should make us very cautious how tie abet or countenance any bad design; how we say or do any thing to encourage malignant and revengeful passions in others; for they may produce effects Which will fill us with horror when they come to Hght, and bring an insupportable burden on our conscience.
2. See the justice of God' in humbling and destroying a proud and revengeful persecutor. He who expected all men should rev-' erence him, and had contrived the destruction of Mordecai and all the Jews, even he is brought to sudden destruction in a moment, and utterly consumed with terrors i his evil doings come ufion Ms own head. The righteous is delivered out of trouble, and the wicked cometh in his ttead; into the fat wMch He digged he is fallen himself, and in tfie tnare which he laid is his own foot taken. God has often in like man* ner confounded and destroyed proud oppressors ; and the enemies of his church hare great reason to say, the Lord is known by the Judgments that he execUteth.
3. If the wrath of an earthly king is so dreadful, what a fearful thing is it to fall into the hands of the living God! The wrath of the king, says Solomon, is as messengers of death. It was so in the present case. The supreme, universal King judges and condemns no man m a passion, for he cannot he trmptcd of evil; but xohen he maketh inquisition for blood, and riseth ufi to judge the earth, he will execute wrat/fiupon all Ms enemies : and who can abide the fierceness of his indignation? Who can stand before him when once he is angi y ? But we may say in this case, as the apostle says of the punishment which earthly rulers can inflict, Wilt thou not be afraid for the power? Do that which is good, and thou shall have praise
In the former chafiter we had the execution of Haman ; in this we 1 - are informed what became of Ms plot.
1 f-\ N that day did the king Ahasuerus give the house, or forV^/ feittd estate, of Human, the Jews' Cncmy, unto Esther the queen. And Mordecai same before the king ; for Esther had told what he [was] unto her, ar.d of all his kindness which
2 was not kno%on before, except by some of her confidanta. And the king took off his ring which he had taken from Human, and gave it unto Mordecai, and thus made Aim flrime minister in Ha
3 man's room. And Esther set Mordecai over the house of Haman, made him steward of her estate. And as the danger mas not yet over, Esther spake yet again before the king, without being called, and fell down at his feet, and besought him even with tears to put away the mischief of Haman the Agagite, and
4 his device that he had devised against the Jews. Then the king held out the golden sceptre toward Esther. So Esther
5 arose, and stood before the king, And said, If it please the king, and if I have found favour in his sight, and the thing [seem] right before the king, and I [be] pleasing in his eyes, let it be written to reverse the letters devised by Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, which he wrote to destroy the Jews
6 which [are] in all the king's provinces: For how can I endure to see the evil that shall come unto my people? or how can I endure to see the destruction of my kindred, even should I myself be spared?
7 Then the king Ahasuerus said tmto Esther the queen and to Mordecai the Jew, who was now come in, Behold, 1 have given Esther the house of Haman, and him they have hanged upon the gallows, because he laid his hand upon the Jews; they might therefore conclude tKat he would deny them nothing that was neces
8 vary fur their preservation. Write ye also for the Jews, as it liketh you, in as fiarticular and strong a manner as you please; in the king's name, and seal [it] with the king's ring: for the writing which is written in the king's name, and sealed with the king's ririg, may no man reverse ; giving Mordecai authority to do every thing he could to make the former decree of none effect.
0 Then were the king's scribes called at that (time in the third month, that [is,] the month Sivan, about two months after the former decree passed, on the three and twe»tieth [day] thereof; and it was written according to all that Mordecai commanded unto the Jews, and to the lieutenants, and the deputies and rulers of the provinces which [are] from India unto Ethiopia, an hundred twenty and seven provinces, unto every province according to the writing thereof, and unto every people after their language, and to the Jews according to their writing, and according to their
10 language. And he wrote in the king Ahasuerus' name, and sealed [it] with the king's ring, and sent letters by posts on horseback, [and] riders on mules, camels, [and] young dromedaries; in the most expeditious methods possible, that they might
11 have time to prepare for their defence: Wherein the king granted the Jews which [were] in every city to gather themselves together, and to stand for their life, to destroy, to slay, and to cause to perish, all the power of the people and province that would assault them, [both] little ones, and women, and [to take]
12 the spoil of them for a prey,* Upon one day in all the provinces of king Ahasuerus, [namely,] upon the thirteenth [day] of the
13 twelfth month, which [is] the month Adar. The copy of the writing for a commandment to be given in every province [was] published unto all people, and that the Jews should be readv
14 against that day to avenge themselves on their enemies. [So] the posts that rode upon mules [and] camels went out, being hastened, and pressed on by the king's commandment; orders were sent forth, and a strict charge given from the king to be at expeditious as possible in conveying and dispersing them. And the decree was given at Shushan the palace; it was signed by the king's counsellors, as the former edict had been.
b& And Mordecai went out from the presence of the«king in royal apparel of blue and white, and with a great crown of gold, and with a garment of fine linen and purple, with the pomp and state of prime minister: and the city of Shushan rejoiced and was glad
16 at his advancement, and at Haman's fall. The Jews had light, and gladness, and joy, and honour; they had great joy among them
IT selves, and were much respected by all the people. And in every province, and in every city, whithersoever the king's commandment and his decree came, the Jews had joy and gladness, a feast and a good day; they entertained themselves and one another upon this joyful occasion; thinking it would discourage many of their enemies, and that they should be able to deal with the rest. And many of the people of the land became Jews; for the fear of the Jews fell upon them, being now under the patronage of Esther and Mordecai; and one would hope that some became proselytes out of regard to their God, and in consequence of these vxnderfvl appearoners of fa's providence for his people.
1. 'T7CT E here see how suddenly God can change men's circumVV stances. Haman, so lately in the highest honour, and possessed of the greatest wealth, is hanged, and his estate confiscated; Mordecai is advanced to his honour, and made manager of his fortune. So unstable is worldly grandeur, so uncertain the continuance of poverty and meanness. The wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just. May we labour to secure true riches, which cannot be taken away, and honour, that can never be lost.
2. Let us cultivate a tender concern for the happiness of our country and people. Esther expressed her concern to the king in a very moving manner. She did not weep when she petitioned for
• The substance of this new edict was, Thar forasmuch as the lews had been formTly condemned upon a misrepresentation, they wcte hereby empowered, to rise up in their own defence against all that should assault them in constoueuee of the former decree. And secret orders were no doubt sent to all thp governors of the provinces, to discourage any attempts upon them. This shows the absurdity of this law of the Persians, the kiog was now, forced to atlow of a civil war, and permit the Jews and their enemies to take up arms hy hie authority to combat againtt it. lt is a rule in our constitution, that no law, by any word or •auction, become unrepeatable; though, if I rrmember riuhr, there is a clause in the act of settlement, which makes it high treason to propose the alteration of the succession in Use suxsenx royal bouse. This comes nearest to tke law of the Persians.
Vol. IV. N