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Fire, and hail ; snow, and vapours; stormy wind fulfilling His word ;

Mountains and all hills ; fruitful trees, and all cedars :
Beasts, and all cattle ; creeping things, and Aying fowl :

Kings of the earth, and all people; princes, and all judges of the earth :

Both young men and maidens : old men, and children :

Let them praise the name of the LORD: for His name alone is excellent ; His glory is above the earth and heaven. - He also exalteth the horn of His people, the praise of all

His saints ; even of the children of Israel, a people near unto Him. Praise ye the LORD.

Cyrus and Darius had assigned the tribute due to them from Samaria to be paid towards the building of the Temple, and furnishing the Jews with sacrifices, that oblations and prayers might be offered there for the king and royal family, and the welfare of the Persian empire, This was a great mortification to the Samaritans, and they used their utmost endeavours to get rid of what they thought an indignity, but could not succeed, and, on pretence that the temple was finished, they refused to let the Jews have the annual sum any longer; on which, complaint was made to Darius, and the Sama, ritans were enjoined to pay it, as formerly, i,

Darius, desirous of enlarging his empire, entered into India, and brought into subjection that large country; from which he annually received a considerable sum. Some years after, he invaded GREECE, but was repulsed with loss: he therefore resolved to make an invasion on it in person; and, notwithstanding the Egyptians revolted from him, he persisted in his design, but determined to send a part of his forces to reduce Egypt. Darius was at this time a very old man; and, as there was a contest amongst his sons about the succession, he thought it necessary to settle this point before he went

on

on his expedition, and declared Xerxes his successor, When all things were ready for the Grecian war, Darius fell sick and died, having reigned thirty-six years. He was a prince of wisdom, clemency, and justice. ..The Divine being who appeared to Daniel, declared, that the fourth king of Persia after his time should exceed all his predecessors in power and riches; that he should be puffed up with an idea of his grandeur, 'which would rise to the highest pitch: that he would assemble all the people in his boundless domi. nions, and lead them on to attempt the conquest of Greece. This prediction was remarkably fulfilled.

Xerxes, who was the fourth king of Persia, in the first year of his reign, carried on the preparations for the Grecian war:: he confirmed to the Jews all the privilegės granted to them by Darius, especially that of the tribute of Samaria. In the 2d year of his reign he subdued the Egyptians, and reduced them to a heavier yoke than before. Elated with this success, he resolved upon a war with Greece, and made great preparations for it. Joshua, the high priest of the Jews, died about this time, in the fifty-third year of his priesthood, and Jehoiakim his 'son succeeded in that office. Early in the next spring, Xerxes set out on his expedition against Greece, with a land army, consisting of one million seven hun. åred thousand foot, and eighty thousand horse, and a Heet proportionable ; but, being vanquished by Themistocles, the Athenian general, in a memorable battle at Salamis, he escaped in a small fishing-boat, and returned home, leaving three hundred thonsand soldiers, under the command of one of his generals, to conquer Greece; which army was, not long after, entirely destroyed at Platea, by Pausanias the Spartan. > Xerxes, on his return home towards Shushan, passing through Babylon, made great cievastation there by di stroying their temples and images, by which he helped

to

discou.

to fulfl the prophecies of Jeremiah and Isaiah. The gold and silver, of which the images were made, he converted to common uses. Being at last wholly discouTaged by his losses and defeats, he gave his mind entirely up to luxury and dissipation, and grew into great contempt with his people. Artabanes, the captain of his guards, conspired against him and with the assistance of Mithridates, his chamberlain, got into the royal apartment and murdered him while he slept in his bed.

ARTAXERXES, one of the sons of Xerxes, succeeded to the throne: he is by the Greek historians called LONGIMANUS, on accqunt of the great extent of his dominions. But in some parts of Scripture he is called AHASUERUS, and we have part of his history in the Bible.

satempt with hity and dissipati he gave his

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* Now it came to pass in the days of Ahasuerus, (this iş Ahasuerus which reigned from India'even unto Ethiopia, over an hundred and seven and twenty provinces:) That in those days, when the king Ahasuerus . sat on the throne of his kingdom, which was in Shùshan the palace,

In' the third year of his reign, he made a feast into all his princes and his servants; the powers of Persia, and Media, the nobles and princes of the provinces, being before him: when he shewed the riches of his glorious kingdom, and the honour of his excellent majesty, many days, even an hundred and fourscore days.

And when those days were expired, the king made a feast unto all the people that were present in Shushan the palace, both unto great and small, seven days, in the Vol. IV.

court

court of the garden of the king's palace; where were white, green and blue hangings, fastened with cords of 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 to every 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 wroth, and his anger burned in him. i

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, Ad. matha, 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. ment of the king Ahasuerus by the chamberlains ?

And

· And Memucan answered before the king and the princes, Vashti the queen hath not done wrong to the king only, but also to all the princes, and to all the people that are in all the provinces of the king Aha. suerus.

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 him, and let it be written among the laws of 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 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 king did according to the word of Memucan: For he sent letters into all the king's provinces, into erery. province according to the writing thereof, and to every people after their language, that every man should bear rule in his own house, and that it should be published according to the language of every people.

ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS. From the beginning of this section we may form 'a lively idea of the greatness and magnificence of Ala• M2

suerus.

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