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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 fod his queen,

and would have restored her to favour, but that the decrees of thc Persians were irreversible. It was four years before he made choice of another con: sort. Though Mordecai was zealously attached to the God of his fathers, he had, for prudential reasons, contealed his religion from 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 Jew rusalem 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, (wo 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 ünto Esther the qaeen': 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 80 commanded conceruing him. But 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 Haman to see whether Mordecai's matters would stands 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 Morde. cai: wherefore Haman sought to destroy all the Jews that 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.

And

And Haman said unto king Ahasuerus, There is a 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 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 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 gond 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 province, 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 Ahao. suerus 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 twelfili month, which is the month 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 ready against that day. posts went out, being hastened by the king's

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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. 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, whe'is there called Artaxerxes.

The great 'king Arta.rerres writeth those thing fro the princes and governors, that are under him from India unto Ethiopia, in an kundred and SETER "ARB tücätý provinces. After that I became lord oter many nations and had dominion over the whole world, wot-lifted up with presumption of my authority, but carrying self akrays with equity and mildness, I purposed to set the migi subjects continually in a quiet life, and making my tangan dom peaccable and open for a passage to the most coasts, to renew peace, which the desired ur alimenta Now when I asked 13g counseHors how this mity be brought to pass, Haman, that dréelled in tistihimari@ng: us, and was approved for his constant good will, and

stedfast

Bedfust fidclity, 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 malicious people that had laws contrary to all nations, and continually despised the commandments; of kings, so as the uniting of our kingdonis, honourably intended by us cannot go furuurd. Seeing then we understand that this people alone is continually in opposition unto all men, differing in the strange manner of their laws, and evil. affected to our state, working all the mischief they can, that our kingdom may not be firmly established: Therefore hare we commanded, that all they that are signified in writing unto you, by Hamar (who is ordained over the affairs, and is ncxtunto us) shall all with their wires and children, he 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.. eng pre-day with violence go into the grave and so, exer lacreafter cause our affairs to be well settled, and without: trouble.

kond's go.

How unjust was hasuerus to consent that a set of people, who were under his protection, should be, bar, barously massacred without any enquiry into their cont duct, only because his favourite had represented them, &ş, enemies to the state. To drown reflexion, he had. recourse to that intoxicating liquor that had once ben fore hurried bimiąto an act of severity, which his cepler judgment condemned... dow

* No wonder that the city of Shushạn: should be perm plexedsfor, it must needs: grieve every person, pf., loya. alty and humanity id see the king so, abused, and they iynocent condemned to suffer.

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