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for a prey,

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the Jews according to their writing, and according to their A. C. 453. language.

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

11 Wherein the king granted the Jews which were in 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

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

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

14 So the 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.

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

16 The Jews had light, and gladness, and joy, and ho

17 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.

ESTHER IX.
1 The Jews (the rulers, for fear of Mordecai, helping them) slay their enemies,
with the ten sons of Haman. 12 Ahasuerus, at the request of Esther, granteth
another day of slaughter, and Haman's sons to be hanged. 20 The two days
of Purim are made festival.

1 Now in the twelfth month, that is, the month Adar, on the thirteenth day of the same, when the king's commandment and his decree drew near to be put in execution, in the day that the enemies of the Jews hoped to have power over them, (though it was turned to the contrary, that the Jews had rule over them that hated them ;)

2 The Jews gathered themselves together in their cities throughout all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus, to lay

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A.C. 452. hand on such as sought their hurt: and no man could with

stand them; for the fear of them fell upon all people.
3 And all the rulers of the provinces, and the lieutenants

,
* Heb, those and the deputies, and officers of the king, helped the Jews;
business that because the fear of Mordecai fell

upon

them.
belonged to
4 For Mordecai was great in the king's house

, and his
fame went out throughout all the provinces : for this man
Mordecai waxed greater and greater.

5 Thus the Jews smote all their enemies with the stroke Heb. accord of the sword, and slaughter, and destruction, and did + what

they would unto those that hated them.

☆ And in Shushan the palace the Jews slew and destroy.
ed five hundred men.

7 And Parshandatha, and Dalphon, and Aspatha,
8 And Poratha, and Adalia, and Aridatha,

9 And Parmashta, and Arisai, and Aridai, and Vaje-
zatha,

10 The ten sons of Haman the son of Hammedatha, the enemy of the Jews, slew they; but on the spoil laid they not their band.

11 On that day the number of those that were slain in Heb, came. Shushan the palace I was brought before the king.

12 9 And the king said unto Esther the queen, The Jews have slain and destroyed five hundred men in Shushan the palace, and the ten sons of Haman ; what have they done in the rest of the king's provinces? now what is thy petition ? and it shall be granted thee : or what is thy request further? and it shall be done.

13 Then said Esther, If it please the king, let it be grant

ed to the Jews which are in Shushan to do to morrow also Heb. let men according unto this day's decree, and 5 let Haman's ten

sons be hanged upon the gallows.

14 And the king commanded it so to be done : and the decree was given at Shushan ; and they hanged Haman's ten sons.

15 For the Jews that were in Shushan gathered themselves together on the fourteenth day also of the month Adar, and slew three hundred men at Shushan; but on the prey they laid not their hand.

16 But the other Jews that were in the king's provinces gathered themselves together, and stood for their lives, and had rest from their enemies, and slew of their foes serenty and five thousand, but they laid not their hands on the prey.

17 On the thirteenth day of the month Adar; and on the | Heb. In jl. fourteenth day || of the same rested they, and made it a day

of feasting and gladness.

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18 But the Jews that were at Shushan assembled to- A.C. 452. gether on the thirteenth day thereof, and on the fourteenth thereof; and on the fifteenth day of the same they rested, and made it a day of feasting and gladness.

19 Therefore the Jews of the villages, that dwelt in the unwalled towns, made the fourteenth day of the month Adar a day of gladness and feasting, and a good day, and of sending portions one to another.

20 | And Mordecai wrote these things, and sent letters unto all the Jews that were in all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus, both nigh and far,

21 To stablish this among them, that they should keep the fourteenth day of the month Adar, and the fifteenth day of the same, yearly,

22 As the days wherein the Jews rested from their enemies, and the month which was turned unto them from sorrow to joy, and from mourning into a good day: that they should make them days of feasting and joy, and of sending portions one to another, and gifts to the poor.

23 And the Jews undertook to do as they had begun, and as Mordecai had written unto them;

24 Because Haman the son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the enemy of all the Jews, had devised against the Jews to destroy them, and had cast Pur, that is, the lot, to sume them, and to destroy them;

25 But + when Esther came before the king, he com- + Heb. w manded by letters that his wicked device, which he devised against the Jews, should return upon his own head, and that he and his sons should be hanged on the gallows.

26 Wherefore they called these days Purim after the name of $ Pur. Therefore for all the words of this letter, That is, lot. and of that which they had seen concerning this matter, and which had come unto them,

27 The Jews ordained, and took upon them, and upon their seed, and upon all such as joined themselves unto them, so as it should not $ fail, that they would keep these two \ Heb. pase. days according to their writing, and according to their appointed time every year;

28 And that these days should be remembered and kept throughout every generation, every family, every province, and every city, and that these days of Purim should not | fail from among the Jews, nor the memorial of them *pe- !! Heb, pass. rish from their seed.

29 Then Esther the queen, the daughter of Abihail, and Mordecai the Jew, wrote with tall authority, to confirm this to her second letter of Purim.

con

* Heb. crush.

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A.C. 452. 30 And he sent the letters unto all the Jews, to the hm

dred twenty and seven provinces of the kingdom of Ahasue-
rus, with words of peace and truth,
31 To confirm these days of Purim in their times appoiul

.
ed, according as Mordecai the Jew and Esther the queen had
Heb.for enjoined them, and as they had decreed * for themselves and

for their seed, the matters of the fastings and their cry.

32 And the decree of Esther confirmed these matters of Purim; and it was written in the book.

their souls.

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ESTHER X.
1 Ahasuerus's greatness. 3 Mordecai's advancement.
1 And the king Ahasuerus laid a tribute upon the land,
and
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the isles of the sea.
2 And all the acts of his power and of his might, and the

declaration of the greatness of Mordecai, whereunto the king
+ Heb. made + advanced him, are they not written in the book of the

chronicles of the kings of Media and Persia?

3 For Mordecai the Jew was next unto king Ahasuerus, and great among the Jews, and accepted of the multitude of his brethren, seeking the wealth of his people, and speaking peace to all his seed.

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him great.

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CHAPTER III.
From the Reformation, by Nehemiah, to the closing of the

Canon.

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SECTION 1.
First Commission of Nehemiah 34.

NEHEMIAH 1.
| Nehemiah, understanding by Hanani the misery of Jerusalem, mourneth, fast-

eth, and prayeth. 5 His prayer.
1 The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah. And it

445.

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34 The commission of Ezra continued till the end of the year 446: at which time he was superseded by Nehemiah, who was high in office at the court el Persia, and was sent to Jerusalem with greater powers than were possessed by Ezra. These two great reformers, however, were not divided by any inferiore jealousy; they co-operated zealously together, and completely re-established the Jewish polity, both in church and state.

The book of Nehemiah is in some versions termed the second book of Ezra ar Esdras, from an opinion which anciently obtained, and was adopted by Athanasius, Epiphanius, Chrysostom, and other eminent fathers of the church, that Ezr was the author of this book. In the modern Hebrew Bibles it has the name of Nehemiah prefixed to it, which is also retained in pur English Bibles.

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came to pass in the month Chisleu, in the twentieth year, A.C. 415. as I was in Shushan the palace,

2 That Hanani, one of my brethren, came, he and certain men of Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews that

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That Nehemiah, who was cup-bearer to Artaxerxes Longimanus, was the anthor of this book, there cannot be any reasonable doubt; the whole of it being written in his name, and, what is very unusual when compared with the preceding sacred historians, in the first person. The insertion of the greater part of the register in chap. xii. 1---26, (which is thought to militate against this generally received opinion), may be accounted for by supposing it either to have been added by some subsequent author, or perhaps by the authority of the great synagogue: for it seems to be unconnected with the narrative of Nehemiah, and ascribes to him a degree of longevity which appears scarcely credible.

Nehemiah was the son of Hachaliah, and, according to some writers, was nf the tribe of Levi; but, in the opinion of others, of royal house of Judah: as the office he held in the Persian court that of cup-bearer) was a post of great honour and influence, it is certain that he was a man of illustrious family; and of his integrity, prudence, and piety, the whole of this book presents abundant evidence. He arrived at Jerusalem thirteen years after Ezra, with the rank of governor of the province, and vested with full power and authority to encourage the rebuilding of the walls of that city, and to promote the welfare of his countrymen in every possible way.

Having governed Judea for twelve years, (Neh. xii. 6.) Nehemiah returned to his royal patron, (2–6.) and after a short absence, he obtained permission to go back again to his country, where he is supposed to have spent the remainder of his life.

Nehemiah was probably the last governor appointed by the kings of Persia : after his time Judea was governed by the high priests under the Persian, Macedo Grecian, Asmonean, and Roman dynasties, till the destruction of their city and temple.

It is supposed to have been chiefly owing to the influence of Esther, that Ezra and Nehemiah were permitted by Artaxerxes Longimanus to rebuild Jerusalem, and restore the ecclesiastical and civil polity of the Jews. Dr. Hales, however, is of opinion, that the conduct of Artaxerxes respecting the Jews may be accounted for upon sound political principles, and not merely from regard to the solicitations of his cup-bearer (Nehemiah), or the influence of his queen.

Pour years before Nehemiah rebuilt the city, Artaxerxes suffered the celebrated defeat of his forces by Cimon, the Athenian general, which compelled him to make an inglorious peace upon the humiliating conditions that the Persians should be excluded from the whole line of sea-coast within three days journey, and precluded from keeping a garrison in any of the maritime towns. On account of this treaty it became a matter of state necessity to conciliate the Jews, and attach them to the Persian interest by further privileges; that the Persians might have the benefit of the fortified town of Jerusalem, which was within

three days journey of the sea, and at the same time opened to them a most imy portant pass, for communication between Persia and Egypt.-Vide Hales's Anal. vol. ï. p. 528.

VOL. II,

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