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And Haman said unto king Ahasuerus, There is a certain 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 the 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 Hammedatha the Agagite the Jew's enemy.

And the king said unto Hama, The silver is given to-thee, the people also, to do with them as it seemeth good to thee,

Then were the king's scribes called 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 pro-. 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 Ahasuerus was it written, and sealed with the king's ring.

And 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 one day, even upon the thirteenth day of the twelfth inonth, which is the inonth Adar, and to take the spoil of them for a prey.

The copy of the writing for a commandment to be given in every province was published unto all people that they should be really against that day. The posts went out, being hastened by the king's

commandment, commandment, and the decree was given in Shushan 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 as proud man, or he would not have taken such cruel revenge for a personal affront

personal affront. Not content with de-, siring the death of the offender, he wished to exterminate 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.

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· The great king Artaxerxes writeth these things to the princes and governors, that are under him from India unto Ethiopia, in an hundred and seven and twenty prorinces. After that I became lord over many nations, and had' dominon over the whole world, not lifted upwith presumption of my authority, but carrying myself always reith equity and mildness, I purposed to settle my subjects continually in a quiet life, and making my kingdom peaceable, and open, for a passage to the utmost coasts, to renew peace;, which is désired of all men. Vw zwhen I asked my counsellors how this

may

be brought to pass, Haman, that excelled in wisdom among z?, and was approteil for his constant good will, and

stedfast

( stedfast fidelity, and had the honour of the second place in the kingdom, declared unto us that in all nations throughout the world there was scattered a certain mabicious people that had laws contrary to all nations, and continually despised the commandments of kings, so as the uniting of our kingdoms, honourably intended by us cannot 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 state, working all the mischief they can, that our kingdom may not be firmly established: Therefore have we commanded, that all they that are signified in writing unto you by Haman (who is ordained over the affairs, and is next unto us) shall all

, with their wives and children, be utterly destroyed by the sword of their enemies, without all mercy and pity, the fourteenth day of the twelfth month Adar of this present year : that they who are old, and now also are malicious, may in one day with violence go into the grave and so ever hereafter cause our affairs to be well settled, and without trouble.

How unjust was Ahasuerus to consent that a set of people, who were under his protection, should be barbarously massacred without any enquiry into their conduct, only because his favourite had: represented themi as enemies to the state. To drown reflection, he had recourse to that intoxicating liquor that had once before hurried him into an act of severity, which his cooler judgment condemned!

No wonder that the city of Shushan should be per plexed : for it must needs grieve every person of loyalty and humanity to see the king so abused, and the innocent condemned to suffer..

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SECTION LXXIV.

MORDECAI'S DISTRESS.

From Esther, Chap. iv.

When Mordecai perceived all that was done, Mordecai rent his clothes, and put on sackcloth with ashes, and went out in the midst of the city, and cried with a loud and a bitter cry.

And came even before the king's gate: for none might enter into the king's gate clothed with sackeloth.

And in every province whithersoever the king's commandment and his decree came, there was great mourn. ing among the Jews, and fasting and weeping, and wailing; and many lay in sack cloth and ashes.

So Esther's maids and her chamberlains càme and told it her. -Then was the queen exceedingly grieved; and she sent raiment to clothe Mordecai, and to take away his sackcloth from him: but he received it not.

Then called Esther for Hatach, one of the king's chamberlains, whom he had appointed to attend upon her, and gave him a commandment to Mordecai, to know what it was, and why it was.

So Hatach went forth to Mordecai unto the street of the city, which was before the king's gate.

And Mordecai told him of all that had happened unto him, and of the sum of the money that Haman had promised to pay to the king's treasuries for the Jews, to destroy them : Also he

gave
him the

copy. of the writing of the des cree that was given at Shushan to destroy them, to shew it unto Esther, and to declare it unto her and to charge

her

her that she should go in unto the king to make supplication unto him, and to make request before him for her people.

And Hatach came and told Esther the words of Mor. decai.

Again Esther spake unto Hatach, and gave him commandment unto Mordecai.

All the king's servants, and the people of the king's provinces, do know, that whosoever, whether man or woman, shall come unto the king into the inner court who is not called, there is one law of his to put him to death except such to whom the king shall hold out the golden sceptre, that he may live :: but I have not been called to come in unto the king these thirty days.

And they told to Mordecai Esther's words.

Then Mordecai commanded to answer Esther, Think not with thyself that thou shalt escape in the king's house more than all the Jews.

For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father's bouse shall be destroyed : and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?

Then Esther bade them return Mordecai this answer.

Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast

ye
for me,

and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise ; and so will I go in unto the king, which, is not according to the law : and if I perish, I perish.

So Mordecai went his way, and did according to all that Esther had commanded him.

ANNOTA.

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