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Teourt of the garden of the king's palace; where were white, green, and blue hangings, fastened with corils ef fine linen and purple to silver rings, and pillars of marble; the beds were of gold and silver, upon a pavement of red, and blue, and white, and black marble.
And they gave them drink in vessels of gold, the vessels being diverse one from another, and royal wine in abundance, according to the state of the king.
And the drinking was according to the law: none did compel; for so the king had appointed to all the officers of his house, that they should do according u •very man's pleasure. *
Also Vashti the queen made a feast for the women in the royal house which belonged to king Ahasuerus.
On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he commanded Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, and Abagtha, Zethar, and Carcas, the seven chamberlains that served in the presence of Ahasuerus the king,
To bring Vashti the queen before the king, with the crown royal, to shew the people and the princes her beauty; for she was fair to look on.
But the queen Vashti refused to come at the king's commandment by his chamberlains: therefore was the king very wrcth, and his anger burned in him.
Then the king said to the wise men, (which knew the times), for so was the king's manner toward all that knew law and judgment:
And the next unto him was Carshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena, and Memucan, the seven princes of Persia and Media, which saw the king's face, and which sat the first in the kingdom?
What shall we do unto the queen Vashti according to law, because she hath not performed the command* went of the king Ahasuerus by the chamberlains?
• v .And Memucfn answered before the king' ami .<the princes, Vashti the queen hath not done wrong to,the king. only, but also to all the princes, and to aH the people that are in all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus. . r
For this deed of the queen shall come abroad unto all women, so that they shall despise their husbands in their eyes, when it shall be reported the king Ahasuerus commanded Vashti the queen to be brought in before him, but she came not. •
, Likewise shall the ladies of Persia and Media say this day unto all the king's princes, which have heard .of the deed of the queen. Thus shall there arise too much contempt and wrath.
. If it please the king, let there go a royal command, ment from bim, and let it be written among the laws .«f the Persians and the Medes that it be not altered,
. That Vashti come no more before king Ahasuerus, and let the king give her royal estate unto another that is better than she.
And when the king's decree which he shall make shall be published throughout all his empire, (for it is i great) all the wives shall give to their husbands honour both to great and small.
And the saying pleased the king and the princes; and
. the kiug did according to the word of Memucan: For . he sent letters into all the king's provinces, into every
province according to the writing thereof, and to every .people after their language, that every man shouluVbear rule in his own house, and that, it should be published according to the language of every people. . «
ANNOTATIONS And REFLECTIONS. 4
From the beginning of this Section we may form.a
lively idea of the greatness and magnificence of Aba
M 2 suerus. auerus. He Seems to have been possessed of a noble and liberal mind, and to have had a very just notion of hospitality, in allowing every one to follow his own inclinations, without being urged to exceed the bounds of temperance. He did not, however, observe the prudence which he meant to recommend: for the golden goblets circulated at the royal table, till the king lost the power of judging what respect and decorum were due to his queen, or he would not have desired Vashti to exhibit herself to public view, in those apartments appropriated to the men, contrary to the custom of the Persians. Vashti considered it as a great indignity puj upon her, to be required to expose her royal person to. the idle gaze of a set of riotous guests, who, in their hours of sobriety, might be the first to condemn her compliance. Had she softened her denial with kind remonstrances and respectful excuses, the king might perhaps have been induced to change his purpose; but the public contempt which she put upon his authority, both as her sovereign and her husband, was a real offence, which it was not easy, or indeed proper, to pass over, at such a time especially, when the eyes of all the kingdom were in a particular manner directed to the throne.
The sentence against Vashti, though, perhaps, agreeable to rigid justice, appears particularly severe, as Ahasuerus had required her to do what was generally esteemed by the Persians inconsistent with the rules of female delicacy. How far his example is deserving of imitation may be learnt from the New Testament, which requires wives to submit to their husbands, and husbands to love their wiws, and not to be bitter against ihem *. Those of either sex, who are placed in exalted stations, ought, without doubt, to be particularly circumspect in
• Col. iii. 19.
their conduct; but happily for Briton?; they have.% pattern before them, the very reverse of that which was exhibited by Ahasuems to his subjects; and however the Persian husbands might fear the loss of their authority through the disobedience of their queen, no such danger at present exists in "this nation. Happy woul$ it be for thousands, were the royal example allowed to have the same extensive influence as the nobles of Persia apprehended from poor Vashti's opposition to he* haughty lord. We should then no longer see thos^ who are designed to bear together the burden of evil* incident to humanity, and share its joys, wasting ia separate scenes of dissipation, the hours allotted by Divine Providence to domestic pleasures and employments. We should no longer hear of those divorces, which are & scandal to our age and nation, but every man mould know how to bear proper rule hi his house; and wives, both great and small, ivould learn, from the consort of their sovereign, to give due honour to their husbands.
* • i SECTION LXXII.
ESTHER MADE QUEEN INSTEAD OF VASHTI.
From Esther, Chap. ii»
After these things, when the wrath of king Ahasuerus was appeased, he remembered Vashti, and what she had done, and what was decreed against her. : Then said the king's servants, that ministered unto him, Let there be fair young virgins sought for thjt king. ,,
And let the maiden which pleaseth the king, be queen instead of Vashti., And the thing pleased the king, and he did so.
Nosv in Shushan the palace, there was a certain Jew, '.•* . M, 3, whose whorfe name was Mordecai, the son of Jair, the son of Sh'imei',' the son of Kish, a uerijamlte,'
Who had been carried away from Jerusalem whhr the captivity which .had been carried away.with Jeconiah king of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away. :- .' •"
• And he brought up Hadassah, that is Esther, hia uncle's daughter: for she kad neither father nor mot tber, -and the maid was fair and beautiful: whom Mordecai, when her father and mother were dead, took for - his own daughter. i :J"1
So it came to pass, when the king's commandment and his decree was heard, and when many maiden* were gathered together unto Shushan the palace, to the custody of Hegai, that Esther was brought also unto the king's house, to the custody of Hegai, keeper of the women. i
Esther had not shewed her people nor her kindred; Jfbr Mordecai had charged her that she should not (shew it. . „
c And Mordecai walked every day before the court of the women's house, to know how Esther did, and what should become of her. , „ t, ,
:- And it came to pass that the king loved Esther above all the women, and she obtained grace and favour in his sight more than all the virgins; so that he set the royal crown upon her head, and made her queen in. stead of Vashti.
Then the king made a great feast uirtb all his princes and his servants, even Esther's feast: and he made a release to the provinces, and gave gifts, according to the state of the king. U'i.
1 And when the virgins were gathered together tMe second time, then Mordecai sat in the king's gate.'
Esther had not yet shewed her kindred nor her people;