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Esther maketh known her cause.

queen.

Haman is hanged.

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

2 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.

3 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:

4 For we are sold, I and my 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.

5 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?

7 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.

8 Then the king returned out of the palace garden into the place of the banquet of wine; and Haman was fallen upon the bed whereon Esther was. Then said the king, Will he force the queen also before me in the house? As the word went out of the king's mouth, they covered Haman's face.

9 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.

10 So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then was the king's wrath pacified. LECTURE 756.

6 And Esther said, The adversary and enemy is this wicked Haman. Then Haman was

The right direction of our sympathy, and its uses. Whence is it that we uniformly rejoice, when the crafty are taken in their own net, and the cruel overwhelmed with their own cruelty? Why do our hearts tremble for the danger of the Jews, long for the success of Esther's petition, and enjoy the discomfiture of Haman, when the queen plainly taxes him with his guilt, saying, "The adversary and enemy is this wicked Haman!" And why are we glad to see the king arise in wrath, and inclined even to rejoice in the misconstruction which he put upon Haman's attitude of earnest supplication for his life? And why is our satisfaction so complete when Haman is hanged "on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai ?" Is it a cruel triumphing over the fallen great? or is it a natural sense of justice that still main

tains its place in our corrupted estimate of right and wrong? or is it the work of grace within our hearts, inclining us, however much we may be biassed by nature to the contrary, to love that which God esteems, and to hate that which He abhors?

These are questions on which it much concerns us to be well informed. For certainly the feelings suggested by such a history as this, seem at first sight common to all classes of persons, to the unbelieving, and to the faithful, to the worldly minded, and to the heavenly minded. And yet if true faith and love really animate our hearts, we must have become new creatures in Christ Jesus. And nothing that we read or hear of, least of all any thing in God's word, will suggest the same reflexions to our minds, or the same feelings to our hearts, as to the hearts and minds of those who are unrenewed. Both parties may feel concern, when told of the risk of others. But whilst the one has true sympathy for his brethren, the other is apt to reflect with complacency on his own comparative security. Both parties may be glad to see the haughty humbled, the crafty outwitted, and the cruel overtaken in their own sort. But whilst the one with trembling for himself rejoices in the glorifying of God, and in the fulfilment of God's most holy will, the other is enjoying a vain and selfish triumph over the fall of his fellow creatures, exulting in the thought that he is not as bad as they are, or if as bad not so unfortunate.

Whilst then we search into our hearts, with a view to know what manner of spirit we are of, let us take pains to cherish such sympathy with the sufferers, and such share of joy with the triumphant, as is consistent with our own consciousness that to God we owe the grace whereby alone we can be safe. Let us harbour no secret enmity against the worst of sinners, but only loathe and abominate their sins. When they are manifestly overtaken in the midst of their misdoings by the just vengeance of the Lord, let us pray in their behalf, if there be yet life, and room for prayer, that God may bring them to repentance. Let us be led to watch and pray for ourselves; considering what a fearful thing it is to fall into the hands of the living God. And the more we are inclined to triumph in the victory of right over wrong, let this prove to us how reasonable a thing it is, to look for that great day of future reckoning, when they that have done evil shall go into everlasting fire, but the righteous into life eternal.

The decree in favour of the Jews. 1 On that day did the king Ahasuerus give the house of Haman the Jews' enemy unto Esther the queen. And Mordecai came before the king; for Esther had told what he was unto her.

2 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.

3 And Esther spake yet again before the king, and fell down at his feet, and besought him with tears to put away the mischief of Haman the Agagite, and his device that he had devised against the Jews.

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

5 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 Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, which he wrote to destroy the Jews which are in all the king's pro

vinces:

6 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?

7 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.

8 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.
9 Then were the king's scribes
called at that time in the third
month, that is, the month Sivan,
on the three and twentieth day
thereof; and it was written ac-
cording to all that Mordecai
commanded unto the Jews, and
to the lieutenants, and the de-
puties and rulers of the pro-
vinces which are from India
unto Ethiopia, an hundred twen-
ty 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.

10 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 for a prey,

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 that the of gold, and with a garment of fine linen and purple: and the city of Shushan rejoiced and was glad.

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.

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

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. LECTURE 757.

15 And Mordecai went out from the presence of the king in royal apparel of blue and white, and with a great crown

God's mercy and justice consistent.

It was a part of the law of the Medes and Persians, that no decree of the king might be reversed. Ahasuerus could not therefore withdraw the leave given to his subjects throughout the empire to slay the people of the Jews. In this difficulty an expedient was found which at once saved the respect due to the law, and prevented the intended massacre. Another decree was

sealed, and published abroad, wherein the king went so far as to authorize a civil war in his dominions. And in the approaching conflict, it was evident, that the sovereign gave his countenance against his own proper subjects to the people who were captives in the land. A striking instance of the favour which God secured unto his people, through the means of Esther the queen, in the sight of that very king who had so lately and so heedlessly given them over unto death. Such was the power of intercession in one greatly and justly beloved! It may lead us to think of our own spiritual conflict, of the sentence passed against us for death eternal, on the leave and opportunity afforded us to stand for our lives against our spiritual enemies, and on the countenance of our holy heavenly Sovereign, graciously favouring our exertions, and largely helping us to our wished for success. And hence we may go on to reflect on that marvellous dispensation of atoning sacrifice, by which God's justice is reconciled with his mercy, and his decree against sinners that they shall surely die, becomes consistent with his promise to the penitent and believing that they shall surely live. Further than this we pry in vain into the mystery of man redeemed by Christ. And though we learn hereby how God can at once be "just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus," Rom. 3. 26, we are still forced to exclaim with the apostle, as we ponder further on this great argument of the Gospel, "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!"

Rom. 11. 33.

The Jews slay their enemies.

1 Now in the twelfth month, of the Jews, slew they; but on that is, the month Adar, on the the spoil laid they not their hand. thirteenth day of the same, when 11 On that day the number of the king's commandment and those that were slain in Shushan his decree drew near to be put the palace was brought before in execution, in the day that the the king. 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 hand on such as sought their hurt: and no man could withstand them; for the fear of them fell upon all people.

3 And all the rulers of the provinces, and the lieutenants, and the deputies, and officers of the king, helped the Jews; because the fear of Mordecai fell upon them.

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 of the sword, and slaughter, and destruction, and did what they would unto those that hated them.

6 And in Shushan the palace the Jews slew and destroyed five hundred men.

7 And Parshandatha, and Dalphon, and Aspatha,

12 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 granted to the Jews which are in Shushan to do to morrow also according unto this day's decree, and 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 seventy and five thousand,

8 And Poratha, and Adalia, but they laid not their hands on and Aridatha,

9 And Parmashta, and Arisai, and Aridai, and Vajezatha, 10 The ten sons of Haman the son of Hammedatha, the enemy

the prey,

17 On the thirteenth day of the month Adar; and on the fourteenth day of the same rested they, and made it a day of feast

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