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pl.e; as Mordecai had charged her; for Esther did. the commandment of Mordecai, like as when she was, brought up with him.

ANNOTATIONS And REFLECTIONS.

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It is thought that Ahasuerus had a great affection for his queen, and would have restored her to favour, but that the decrees of the Persians were irreversible. Itr was feur years before he made choice of another consort. Though Mordecai was zealously attached to the God of his fathers, he had, for prudential reasons, concealed his religion from the knowledge of the Persians, and enjoyed a place under their government. He issupposed to have been one of those, who went up to Je« rusalem with the first to obtain a settlement; and that lie staid till the building of the Temple was stopped, and then went to Babylon and the Persian court, in hopesof doing the Jews some service there.

Mordecai had the interest of his brethren at heart, when he laid a scheme to get Esther to be queen, and she was actuated by the same motives to coincide with liim. The sequel will shew, that her exaltation was productive of great benefit to the Jews. '• '«

It is very remarkable that a poor orphan captive 'should be raised to a throne. .'*

i.l

SECTION LXXIII.

HAM AN EXACTED—DECREE AGAINST THE JEWS*

From Either, Chap, ii, iii. . j i

In those days, while Mordecai sat in the king's gate, two of the king's chamberlains, Bigthan and Teresh, of those, which kept the door, were wroth, and sought Xo iay hand on,the king Ahasuerus. -' '.

. ,.i J* 4 And

"Anil the thing was known to Mordecai, who told "it Unto Esther the qneen: and Esther certified the king thereof in Mordecai's name.

- And when inquisition was made of the matter, it was found out: therefore they were both hanged on a tree. And it was written-in the book ef the chronicle* before the king.

, After these thmgs did king Ahasuerus promote Hainan the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, and advanced him, and set his seat above ali the princes that were with him.

And ail the king's servanis that were in the king's gate bowed, and reverenced Haman: for the king had so commanded concerning him. Bat Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence.

Then the king's servants which were in the king's gate, said unto Mordecai, Why transgressest thou the king's commandment?

Now it came to pass, when they spake daily unto him and he hearkened not unto them, that they told Hainan to see whether Mordecai's matters would stand j lor he had told them that he was a Jew.

And when Haman saw that Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence, then was Haman full of wraths

And he thought scorn to lay hands On Mordecai alone; for they had shewed him the people of Mordecai i wherefore Haman sought to destroy all the Jews that were throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerup, even the people of Mordecai.

In the first month, that is, the month Nisan, in the twelfth year of king Ahasuerus, they cast Pur, that i> the lot, before Haman, from day to day,'and fronoi month to month, to the twelfth month, that is, the* month Adar.

And '' And Ilaman said unto king Ahasuerus, Thare*is » eertain people scattered abroad, and dispersed among the people in all the provinces of thy kingdom; and their laws are diverse from all people; neither keep they the king's laws: therefore it is not for the king's profit to suffer them.

If it please the king let it be written that they may be destroyed: and I will pay ten thousand talents of silver to the hands of those that have the charge of thp business, to bring it into the king's treasuries.

And the king took his ring from his hand, and gave it unto Haman, the son. of Hamtnedatha the Agagite the Jews enemy.

And the king said unto Haman, The silver is given to thee, the people also, to do with them as it seeme.h $ood to thee.

Then were the king's scribes catted on the thirteenth; day of the first month, and there was written according to all that Haman had commanded unto the king s lieutenants, and to the governors that were over every pra« vince, and to the rulers of every people of every province according to the writing thereof, and to every people after their language; in the name of king Aha-, suerus was it written, and sealed with the king's ring. . Ajid the letters were sent by posts into all the king's provinces to destroy, to kill, and to cause, to perish, all Jews both young and old, little children and women, in oae day, even upon t!.ie thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar, and to take the spoil of them for a prey.

The copy of the writing for a commandments to be given in every province va.s published unto all p.eopl^ that they should be ready against that day.

The posts went out, being hastened by the kjng's, M 5' ico.ii*. commandment, and the decree was given In Shuslia* the palace. And the king and Haman sat down to drink, but the city Shushan was perplexed.

ANNOTATIONS And REFLECTIONS.

The service which Mordecai rendered to the king and government, was a very important one: what a happy circumstance was it for this monarch, that Esther had been honoured with his royal preference! The; reason that Mordecai would not bow to Haman was, that he knew him to be an Amalekite, one of those people who bore constant hatred to the God of IsraeL' Haman certainly must have been a very wicked as well 85 proud man, or he would not have taken such cruel revenge for a personal affront. Not content with desiring the death of the offender, he wished to externa*Bate the whole nation to which he belonged. * • •'

In the Apocrypha there is the following letter, said to be a copy of that sent by king Ahasuerus, who'is there called Artaxerxes. . •- i

The great'king Artaxerxes xeriteth thfse thihgFtcrthe princes and governors, that are under'him frwu-lndkf. vnlo Ethiopia, in an hundred end seven and twenty'provinces.. After that I became hrd oxer many notwtis'r' and had- dominion over the venule world, not'ijft¥S-i/pwith presumption of my authority, hut ccriyngWifself always, with equity and mildness, I purposed to settle'nip subjects continually in a quiet life,- and making my "Mng^ dom . peaceable and open-, for a passage t'G ihe'-'it&noat eoasts> to teiiew' peace, whit'h ts desired of'ulPWvtsZ if aw whea I asked my colmsttfer* how (hit- uiify'ibf brought to pass, Neman, that Excelled TM\Bt44imi anting as, and was approved for his constant govd will, end n .* tttdfast

sjedfa&t fidelity, and had the honour of the second place in the kingdoin, declared unto us that in all nations' throughout the world there was scattered a certain mali. cious people that had lams contrary to all nations, and continually despised the commandments of kings, so as the uniting of our kingdoms, honourably intended, by us eunnot go forward. Seeing then we understand that this people alone is continually in opposition unto all men, differing in the strange manner of their laws, and evilaffected to our slate, working all the mischief they can, that our kingdoin, may not be firmly established: Therefore hare we commanded, that all they that are signified in writing unto yqu by Haman (who is ordained over i,he affairs, and, ,i« next unto us) shall all with their vires and childrcp, he utterly destroyed by the sword of their enemies,- without all mercy and pity, the fourteenths day of the \lwelfth month Adar of this present year-; that they who are old, and now also are malicious, may tit one-day with violence go into the grave and so e^er Itereafier cause our affairs tu be well settled, and withouttrouble. , „,3, i.,.,., 0i„.l}

Haw unjust was Ahasuerus to consent that a set of people, who were under bis protection, should be barbarously massacred without any enquiry intothei^con^. duct, only because his favourite had represented them, ai^enernies (o the state. To drown reflexion, he had tf course to ttt'at intoxicating liquor that had once before harried him into an act of severity^ whioty-Jyek caplej jwlgHQQt condemned*,„, L ,,, ( i».m,. . »« ViJfo.wgflder.that ihp, cjty of Sshushan. should be ppr^ pje^«d V„fOTj iV/H1^ needs grieve.every person^ f,lpj^ alty .awl huraanjty to see the king so abused,, and the* i^Bo««nV<QJQ4ewas4.^»u(l«r» , ... ., \ <t . . 0\ v'-virU t.-a ,\.s- V.*^ i.--.»VD-. *.i." t .\'.-,.,» (. » »,.,•_ „.»;,,-v \,M.,v.i M.6; SECTION

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