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13 The Pking's daughter is all glorious within: Her clothing is of wrought gold. 14 She “shall be brought unto the king in raiment of needlework: The virgins (her companions that follow her) Shall be brought unto thee. 15 With gladness and rejoicing shall they be brought; They shall enter into the king's palace. 1° Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children, Whom thou mayest make princes in all the earth. 17 I" will make thy name to be remembered in all generations; Therefore shall the people praise thee forever and eVel".

p Rev. 19.7, 8. q Cant. 1.4. r 1 Peter 2.9. Rev. 1. 6, and 5, 10. and 20. 6. s. Mal. 1. 11.


There lived at the court of Ahasuerus (Xerxes, see preceding Introduction) one “Haman, the son of Hammedatha, the Agagite.” We know that Agag was the title of the Amalekitish kings, (1 Samuel xv. 32, 33,) and it is commonly supposed that Haman was a descendant of the kings of Amalek. We know, moreover, that between Amalek and Israel there had existed a state of war and implacable mutual enmity, since the day that the latter departed out of Egypt, (Exodus xvii, 8–16,) but especially since King Saul's wasting war upon that tribe. This Haman, by means of which we are not informed, had ingratiated himself with the king, and had been promoted to the highest rank among the nobility. Whenever he made his appearance in public, the people, and the officers and dignitaries of the kingdom, paid him reverence by prostration of the body, after the Eastern custom. Mordecai was, at this time, one of the king's officers, who “sat in the king's gate,” and he disdained to bow before one whose nation the law of Moses had devoted to destruction, (Exodus xvii, 14; Deuteronomy xxv, 19,) and who was an irreconcilable enemy to his own people. Haman perceived that Mordecai refused the accustomed homage, and on learning he was a Jew, he instantly formed a purpose of revenge, not by laying hands on him alone, but by exterminating the thousands of remaining Jews throughout the provinces of the empire. It is not improbable that he intended thus to avenge his nation upon the Jews, for the devastations of the wars of Saul. 1 Samuel, xv. Accordingly, he represented to the king that there was “a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the people, in all the provinces of his kingdom,” whose laws were diverse from all people; neither kept they the king's laws, and it was not for the king's profit to suffer them. “If it please the king,” added he, “let it be written that they may be destroyed.” At the same time, to indemnify the king's revenues, he offered to pay into the royal treasury “ten thousand talents of silver,” that is, about fifteen million one hundred and ninety-three thousand one hundred and twenty dollars. Haman was careful not to mention what people he referred to, but only called them, “a certain people.” The king was accustomed to resign the administration of public affairs wholly to his ministers, and it was perfectly in keeping with his character, on the one hand, to be ignorant of the varied tribes and nations under his government, and, on the other, to resign the fate of this anomalous people, of whom Haman spake, wholly into his power, without troubling himself to inquire into the matter. The whole procedure is a remarkably true and lifelike picture of Oriental despotism, as it exists in these days and has existed from time immemorial. Xerxes declined the rich offer of Haman, but drew from his finger the ring containing the seal of state, and gave it to Haman, thus transferring to him all the authority of the crown respecting the matter. Immediately the king's secretaries were called, and an edict was written, and sealed with the king's seal, and sent through all the 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.” Esther iii, 13. This order was hastily sent to all places of the empire. The day for its bloody execution was fixed eleven months from its date, and the fact that the wealth of the Jews everywhere fell into the possession of those who seized upon it on that day, while the Jews themselves were denied the privilege of self-defence, tempted the cupidity of their enemies, and was sufficient to secure the sanguinary infliction of the sentence. The publication of this atrocious edict threw the Jews everywhere into the utmost perplexity and distress. They saw no escape from their inhuman persecutor, and the impending calamity exceeded all that had hitherto befallen the nation. “Mordecai rent his clothes, and put on sackcloth with ashes, and went out into the midst of the city, and cried with a loud and bitter cry.” “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.” It might be asked, Why did not Mordecai go at once to Queen Esther, and engage her mediation with the king This, indeed, might have been done in a European court, but not in an Asiatic. The royal harem in which the queen lived was so retired from all public avenues, that Mordecai’s “loud and bitter cry” at the king's gate could not be overheard by Esther. Moreover, “it is a crime for any person from without (says Chardin) even to inquire what passes inside of a harem.” The eunuchs who have the charge of the apartments can be induced to speak to another from without, only with the greatest difficulty; so that “a man may walk a hundred days in succession by the house where the women are kept, (says the same author,) and yet know no more what is done therein than at the farther end of Tartary.” Mordecai's only hope, (and that was now forlorn,) was, that by walking as near the queen's apartments as possible, and by uttering his loud and lamentable cry, and giving signs of extraordinary distress, he might prevail on some of the servants of the king about the harem to listen to him, to befriend his cause, and carry his messages to Esther. As yet, it must be remembered, no one knew Mordecai's relation to Esther, nor Esther's Jewish descent. At last

he gains the attention of the “chamberlains,” (or eunuchs, as the Hebrew reads,) and through the maids they communicate Mordecai's message to Esther.

The following Psalm seems to have been written while these circumstances of woe overhung the captive Jews, and while, as yet, no visible prospect of release appeared to brighten the hopes of the future. The description of “the wicked and the evil man,” in this Psalm, is most appositely a portraiture of Haman. Dr. A. Clarke thinks the reference may be to Sanballat; but the Jews were never brought into such distress by Sanballat as to call forth such vivid delineations of helpless misery and peril as this Psalm contains. Calmet, A. Clarke, Horne, Dr. Gray, and others, place this Psalm during or immediately after the captivity. Read Esther iii, and iv., 1–9.

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The Psalmist complaineth to God of the outrages of the wicked, and describeth his artful and iniquitous devices, 1–11; he urgently prayeth for help, 12–15; he professeth his confidence in the Divine protection, 16–18.

! Why standest thou afar off, O Lord? Why hidest thou thyself in times of trouble? *"The wicked in his pride doth persecute the poor: Let "them be taken in the devices that they have imagined. * For the wicked boasteth of his "heart's desire, And 'blesseth the covetous, whom the LoRD abhorreth. * The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, Will not seek after God: “God is not in all his thoughts.

1 Heb. in the pride of 2 Heb. soul's. * Or, All his thoughts are, the wicked he doth * Or, the covetous blesseth There is no God. persecute. himself, he abhorreth

a Proverbs 5, 22. the LORD. Proverbs 28, 4. Romans 1. 32.

* His ways are always grievous, Thy "judgments are far above out of his sight: As for all his enemies, he puffeth at them. * He “hath said in his heart, I shall not be moved; For "I shall 'never be in adversity. 7 His “mouth is full of cursing and ‘deceit and fraud, Under his tongue is mischief and 'vanity. * He sitteth in the lurking-places of the villages, In the secret places doth he murder the innocent, His eyes "are privily set against the poor. * He lieth in wait 'secretly as a lion in his den; He lieth in wait to catch the poor; He doth catch the poor, when he draweth him into his net. 10 He "croucheth, and humbleth himself, That the poor may fall "by his strong ones. 11 He hath said in his heart, God hath forgotten, He f hideth his face, he will never see it. 12 Arise, O Lord; O God, lift up thy hand, Forget not the "humble. 13 Wherefore doth the wicked contemn God? He hath said in his heart, Thou wilt not require it. 14 Thou hast seen it; For thou beholdest mischief and spite, to requite it with thy hand; The poor "committeth himself unto thee, Thou & art the helper of the fatherless. 15 Break "thou the arm of the wicked and the evil man, Seek out his wickedness till thou find none. 6 The Lord is King for ever and ever, The heathen are perished out of his land.

b Prov. 24. 1. Isa. 26. 11. * Or, iniquity. 15 Heb, clearcth. 2 Tim. 1. 12.

c Eccl. 8, 11. Isa. 56. N2. • * Heb. hide themselves. 1 Pet. 4, 19.

d Rev. 1S. 7. • IIeb. in the secret places. E Psa. 68, 5. Hos. 14.8.

* Heb. unto generation and 10 Heb. breaketh himself. h Job 88.15. Psa. 37.17. generation. 11 Or, into his strong parts. i Psa. 29, 10. Jeremiah 10. 10.

* Rom. 3. 14. f See Job 22. 13. Larn. 5, 19. Dan. 4 34. and

Heb. deceits. 12 Or, afflicted. 6. 26, 1 Tim. 1. 17.

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