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suerus. 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 put 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 exeuses, 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 againt Vashti, though, perhaps, agree able 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 wives, and not to be bitter against them*. Those of either sex, who are placed in exalted stations, ought, without doubt, to be particularly circumspect in *Col. ii, 10.,

their conduct; but happily for Britons, they have a pattern before them, the very reverse of that which was exhibited by. Ahasuerus to his subjects; and however the Persian husbands night fear the loss of their authority through the disobedience of their queen, no such danger at present exists in this nation. Happy would it be for thousands, were the royal example allowed to have the same extensive infuence as the nobles of Persia apprehended from poor Vashti's opposition to her haughty lord. We should then no longer see those who are designed to bear together the burden of evils incident to humanity, and share its joys, wasting in separate scenes of dissipation, the hours allotted by Divine Providence to domestic pleasures and employments, We should no longer hear of those divorées, which are a scandal to our age and nation, but every man would know how to bear proper rule in his house; and wires, both great and small, would learn,

from the consort of their sovereign, to give due honour to their husbands.

SECTION LXXII.

ESTHER MADE. QUEEN INSTEAD OF VASHTI.

From Esther, Chap. ii.

AFTER these things, when the wrath of king Aha suerus 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 the king.

And let the maiden which pleaseth the king, be queen instead of Vashti. And the thing pleased the king, and he did so. Now in Shushan the palace, there was a certain Jew, M 3

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whose name was Mordecai, the son of Jair, the of Shimei, the son of Kish, a Benjamite,

Who had been carried away from Jerusalem with 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, his uncle's daughter: for she had neither father nor mother, and the maid was fair and beautiful: whom Mordecai, when her father and mother were dead, took for his own daughter.

So it came to pass, when the king's commandment and his decree was heard, and when many maidens 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 wonnen.

Esther had not shewed her people nor her kindred: for Mordecai had charged her that she should not shew it.

And Mordecai walked every day before the court of the women's house, to know how Esther did, and what should become of her.

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 instead of Vashti.

Then the king made a great feast unto 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.

And when the virgins were gathered together the second time, then Mordecai sat in the king's gate. Esther had not yet shewed her kindred nor her

people;

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

ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS. 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. It was four 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 froin the knowledge of the Persians, and enjoyed a place under their government. He is supposed to have been one of those, who went up to Jerusalem with the first to obtain a settlement; and that he staid till the building of the Temple was stopped, and then went to Babylon and the Persian court, in hopes of 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 him. 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.

SECTION LXXIII.

HAMAN EXALTED_DECREE AGAINST THE JEWS.

From Esther, Chap. ii, iii. 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 to lay hand on the king Ahasuerus,

And the thing was known to Mordecai, who told it unto Esther the queen: 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 of the chronicles before the king.

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

And all the king's servants that were in the king's gate bowed, and reverenced Haman: for the king had so commanded concerning him. But Mordecai bowed bot, 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 khirn, and he hearkened not unto them, that they told Haman to see whether Mordecai's matters would stand; for he had told them that he was a Jew.

And when Haman saw that Mordecai bowed not, por did him reverence, then was Haman full of wrath.

And he thought scorn to lay hands on Mordecai alone; for they had shewed him the people of Mordecai: wherefore Haman sought to destroy all the Jews tiat were throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus, 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 is the lot, before Haman, from day to day, and from month to month, to the twelfth month, that is, the month Adar,

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