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And Hainan said unto king Ahasuerus, There is * 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 Haman, 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 te 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 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 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 reaily against that day.

The posts went out, being hastened by. the king's
M ii 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 Axd 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 wouM 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, who is there called Artaxerxes.

The great'king Artaxerxes xvriteth these things to the princes and governors, that are- under him from Indiaunto Ethiopia, in an hundred and seven and twenty provinces. After that I became lord over want/ nations,. and had dominon over the whole world* not lifted vp with presumption of my authority y but carrying myself always idth equity and mildness, Ipurposed to settle mysubjects continually in a quiet life, and making my kingdom peaceable, and open, for a passage to the titmost coasts, to renew peace,. which is desired of all men. ,v/w when I asked my counsellors how tltis may be brought topass, Haman, that excelled in wisdom among us, and was approved for- his constant good will, and:

stedfast

Stedfastfidelity, 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, arid 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 iiiis people alone. is continually in opposition unto all men, differing in the strange manner of iheir laws, and evilqffected 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 Hainan (who is ordained over the affairs, and is next unto us) shall aty with their wives and children, be utterly destroyed by the sivord 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 Ahasiierus 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' them as enemies to the state.. To drown reflection, he had recourse to that intoxicating liquor that had once before hurriedhmi into an act of severity, which his cooler judgment condemned;

No wonder that the city of Shushan should be perplexed : 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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M G SECTION

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SECTION LXX1V.

MORDECAl's DJSWRESS.

From Esthtr, 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 aloud and a bitter cry.

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

And in every province whithersoever the king's commandment and his decree came, there was great mourning among the Jews, and fasting and weeping, and wailing; and many lay in sackcloth and ashes. . So Esther's maids and her chamberlains came 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 tho. Jews, to destroy them:

Also he gave him the copy of the writing of the de-. 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 Mofdecai. •

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 hokl 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 ; butthou and thy father's jjouse 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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