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die seed of Jews, before whom thou hast begun to fall, thou shalt not prevail against him, but shalt surely fall before him.

And while they were yet talking with him, came the king's chamberlains, and hasted to bring Haman unto the banquet that Esther had prepared.

So the king .and Haman came to the banquet with Esther the queen.

And the king said again unto Esther on the second day at the banquet of wine, What is thy petition, queen Esther? and it shall be granted thee: and .what is thy request? and it shall be performed, even to the half of the kingdom.

Then Esther the queen answered, and said, If I have found favour in thy sight, O king, and if it please the .king, let my life be given me at my petition, and my people at my request i .

For we are sold, I and ray people, to be destroyed, to , be slain, and to perish. But if .we had been sold for bondmen and bondwomen, I had held my tongue, although the enemy could not countervail the king's damage.

Then the king Ahasuerus answered and said unto Esther the .queen, Who is he, and where is he, that durst presume in his heart to do so?

And Esther said, The adversary and enemy is' this . wicked Haman. Then Haman was afraid before tha king and queen. . ,

And the king arising from the banquet of wine in , his wrath went into the palace garden: and . Haman stood up to make request for his life to Esther the queen; for he saw that there was evil determined . against him .by, the king.

, ^Then the king returned out of his pplace garden m'°

.• . :'• . the the place of the banquet of wine, and at the king's command they covered Haman's face. . v. •

And Harbonah, one of the chamberlains, said before the king, Behold also, the gallows fifty cubits high, .which Haman had made for Mordecai, who had spoken good for the king, standeth in the house of Haman, Then the king said, Hang him thereon.

So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then was the king's wrath

On that day did the king Ahasuerus give the house of Haman the Jew's enemy unto Esther the queen. Amd Mordecai came before the king; for Esther had told what he was unto her. . •,' • .i .. .

And the king took off his ring which he had taken from Haman, and gave it unto Mordecai. And Esther set Mordecai over the house of Haman.

ANNOTATIONS And REFLECTIONS,

It must doubtless be considered as an interposition of Providence, and not the effect of chance, that the king could not sleep, that he should send for the records, and that they should be opened at so critical a place. Haman's mortification and subsequent punishment bear evident marks of Divine judgments, and afford a warning to all who indulge in their minds the malignant passions of hatred and revenge. On the other hand, the honours which were paid to Mordecai, and his future advancement, plainly shew that the Lord is ever at handto maintain the cause of his faithful servants: and is not only able to defeat the schemes of the wicked, but to turn their mischief upon their own heads which they designed for others. In this case there was no miracle: all was brought about apparently in the usual

Vol. IV. N course course of ltamam.affairs, which gives particular encouragement to good people, who hve under a dispensation

'in. whieh i^iracles'are not to be expected. '. . '.. .'(Tltere was. admirable propriety in Esther's answer to

rking-Ahasuerus, and her' accusation ot'Haman was no

. ble and just.. tehe gave Iiim an opportunityof justifying himself, if he had any excuse to ofter for abusing the

i confidence) which .his monarch had reposed in him. Whiit repeated mortifications did Haman's pride endure! Before he could recover from that of paying homage to Mordecai, he was obliged to become a supplicancfep his life to Esther, and even this was not enough: the loss of his sovereign'6 favour, and the sentence of death suddenly followed ; and he, who in the morning boasted '«£'the glory of his riches, and his exalted station was now suspended as a common malefactor on that very gallows which his malice had caused to be erectedfor Mordecai. How justly maythewordsof the royal psalmist be applied to this portion of sacred history : / have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself' like a gret n bay-tree ; yet he passed away, and lo, Jte Whs not: yea, I sought him, but he could not be found.

, Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace. The transgressors shall be destroyed togetheri the end of the wicked shall be cut off', but the salvation of the righteous is of the Lord; He is their strength in the time of trouble. And the Lord shall help them, and deliver them ; He shall deliver them from. the' wicked, and save them, becduse they put their trust in Him.

. SECTION LXXVIH.

THE KING'S LETTER IN FAVOUR OF THE JEWS.

From Esther, Chap. viii. A«.b Esther spake yet again before the king, and fell dflwn at hie feet, and besought him with tears, to put

away away the mischief of Haman the Agagite, and his device that he had devised against the Jews.

Then the king held out the golden sceptre towards Esther. So Esther arose, and stood before the king,

And said, If it please the king, and if I have found favour in his sight, and the thing seem right before the king, and I be pleasing in his eyes: let it be written to reverse the letters devised by Human the son of Ham' medatha the Agagite, which he wrote to destroy the Jews which are in all the king's provinces.

For how can I endure to see the evil that shall come unto my people? or how can I endure to see the destruction of my kindred?

Then the king Ahasuerus said unto Esther the queen, and to Mordecai the Jew, Behold I have given Esther the house of Haman, and him they have hanged upon the gallows, because he laid his hand upon the Jews.

Write ye also for the Jews, as it liketh you, in the king's name, and seal it with the king's ring: for the writing which is written in the king's name, and sealed with the king's ring may no man reverse.

Then were the king's scribes called at that time in the third month, that is the month Sivan, on the three andtwentieth day thereof: and it was written according to all that Mordecai commanded unto the Jews, and to the lieutenants, and the deputies, and rulers of the provinces which are from India unto Ethiopia, an hundred twenty and seven provinces, unto every province according to the writing thereof, and unto every people after their language, and to the Jews according to their writing, and according to their language.

And he wrote in the king Ahasuerus' name, and scaled it with the king's ring, aud sent letters by posts on horseback, and riders on mules, camels, and young dromedaries:

Wherein the king granted the Jews which were in N 2 every every city, to gather themselves together, and to stand for their life, to destroy, to slay, and to cause to perish all the power of the people and province that would assault them, both little ones and women, and to take the spoil of them for a prey.

Upon one day, in all the provinces of king Ahasuerus namely, upon the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar,

The copy of the writing, for a commandment to be given in every province, was published unto all people and that the Jews should be ready against that day to avenge themselves on their enemies.

So ithe posts that rode upon mules and camels went out, being hastened, and pressed on by the king's commandment. And the decree was given at Shushan the palace. y

And Mordecai went out from the presence of the king in royal apparel of blue and white, and with a great crown of gold, and with a garment of fine linen, and purple : and the city of Shushan rejoiced and was glad.

The Jews had light, and gladness, and joy, and honour.

And in every province, and in every city, whithersoever the king's commandment and his decree came, the Jews had joy and gladness, a feast and a good day. And many of the people of the land became Jews; for the fear of the Jews fell upon them.

ANNOTATIONS And REFLECTIONS.

Esther had a greater object in view than the downfal of Haman. This was but a necessary prelude to the design she had formed for effecting the deliverance of her countrymen, whom his malice had devoted to destruction. Ahasuerus kept his royal word. He granted her

x request

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