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Find Mount Lebanon and Jerusalem on your map, and trace the course of the rafts.

What are “cymbals”?

NOTES

318:1 Nebuchadnezzar. King of Babylon 605–561 B. C.,

and one of the greatest monarchs of the ancient world.

318:28 Babylon. An ancient country of Asia, situated about the lower course of the Euphrates River.

319: 6 Judah. The most powerful of the twelve tribes of Israel.

320: 6 Medes. The inhabitants of Media, an ancient country of Asia. In 560 B. c. Media united with Persia.

322:9 Gabriel. The archangel who interpreted to Daniel his visions. It was the Angel Gabriel who also announced the birth of John the Baptist and Jesus. (See St. Luke, 1, 19, 26.)

322:30 Levites. Those who belonged to the tribe of Levi, son of Jacob, especially the descendants of Levi, acting as assistants of the priests of the tribe in the services of the sanctuary.

323: 12 Tyre. A city of Phænicia, and next to Sidon the oldest and most important of this country.

VOCABULARY

Belshazzar (bel-shaz'är)
Darius (da-ri'us)
Lebanon (leb'a-non)

Nebuchadnezzar (neb-ū-kad

nez'är) Tyre (tīr)

THE STORY OF ESTHER

The Jews had not all come back to Jerusalem. Many of them still lived in the land of Persia, under Ahasuerus. In the third year of his reign, this king made a great feast for his servants in the court, or garden, of his palace. 5 Around the court were hung curtains of white and green and blue, which were fastened by cords and silver rings to pillars of marble. The beds in the palace were made of gold and silver, and the pavement was of red and blue

and white and black marble. The persons at the feast 10 drank from vessels of gold, and the king's wine poured freely.

Vashti, the queen, also made a feast for the women in the palace. And on the seventh day of the king's feast, after

he had drunk wine and was merry, he sent to bring Vashti 15 before him, with the crown upon her head, that the princes

and people might see her beauty. Now, in Persia, the women lived in a separate part of the house by themselves, and never came out before men unless they wore veils.

So, when King Ahasuerus sent for Vashti, the queen, to 20 come before all the princes and people, that they might

see her face unveiled, she refused to obey the king's command.

At this the king was angry. “What shall we do to Queen Vashti, and how shall she be punished, because she has not 25 obeyed the command of the king?” he cried.

One of the wise men answered, “Vashti has done wrong, not only to the king, but also to all the princes and people of thy kingdom. Therefore let the king make a decree, and let it be written among the laws of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be changed, that Vashti shall come no more before the king; and let the king choose another woman for queen, who is better than she.”

These words pleased the king and his princes; and the 5 king did as the wise man had told him. He sent letters through all the different provinces of his kingdom, making this law known to all the people. Then the king's servants came to him, saying, "Let the king send officers to all the

provinces of his kingdom, that they may gather together; 10 all the beautiful young women of Persia into the palace,

and let the one who pleaseth the king best be queen instead of Vashti.

Now, there was among the servants at the palace a Jew, named Mordecai, who had a cousin, named Esther. Her 15 father and mother were dead; but when they died, Mor

decai took Esther to his house and brought her up as his own fair and beautiful daughter. Now, it happened, when the king's command was made known throughout

the land, and the young maidens were gathered together 20 at the palace, that Esther was brought there among them

and given to the care of the king's officer. The officer was pleased with Esther, and gave her a present, and also seven young maidens to wait on her; and he put her and her

maidens into the best part of the house. But Esther did 25 not let it be known that she was a Jewess, for Mordecai had advised her not to tell it.

When King Ahasuerus saw Esther, he thought her more beautiful than all the other maidens who were brought

before him. He set the royal crown upon her head at 30 once and made her queen instead of Vashti. Then the

king made a great feast — called Esther's feast- and he gave gifts to his servants for her sake.

But Esther was still careful to do all that Mordecai told her; for she obeyed

him now, although she had been made queen, as willingly 35 as when she lived a daughter in his house.

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At one time, in those days, two of the king's officers, being angry, wanted to lay hands on the king and kill him. But Mordecai, who was a watchman at the king's gate, heard what they said, and told Esther to tell the king. 5 When the officers were examined, their guilt was found out, and they were both hanged on a gallows. And what Mordecai had done to save the king's life was written down in a book, where an account was kept of all the things that happened in the kingdom.

Now, there was at the palace a servant named Haman. Ahasuerus had made Haman a great man, and had set him above all the princes who were at the palace with him. And all the king's servants who watched by the king's

gate bowed down and did reverence before Haman, except 15 Mordecai, who would not bow down before him.

When Haman saw that Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence, he was angry. But he was not satisfied to punish Mordecai alone; he determined to punish and

destroy all the Jews that were in Persia. So Haman 20 went to King Ahasuerus and said, “There are Jews liv

ing in the provinces of thy kingdom, and they have laws of their own which are different from the laws of thy people, neither do they obey the king's laws. Therefore

it is not well for the king to let them live. And if thou 25 wilt make a decree that every Jew shall be destroyed, I

will pay ten thousand talents of silver into the king's treasury.”

King Ahasuerus listened to what Haman said, and took his ring from his finger and gave it to Haman; for this ring 30 the king used when he made a law, or decree. So when he

gave Haman his ring, he meant that Haman should make such a decree as he chose against the Jews and seal it with his ring; for then it would be the same as if the king himself had made it.

Haman at once called the king's scribes or writers

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together, and they wrote for him a decree, that, on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the people of Persia should kill and destroy all the Jews in the kingdom, both young

and old, little children and women. And the 5 slayers had permission to take the houses, and lands, and money of those they slew, and to keep them for their own. Then Haman sealed the decree with the king's ring, and copies of it were sent by messengers to the governors

and rulers of all the provinces, so that it might be made 10 known to all the people of Persia.

When Mordecai heard of the decree that Haman had made, he was filled with sorrow. He rent his clothes, and put on sack-cloth, and went out into the streets of the city,

and cried with a loud and bitter cry. He came even before 15 the king's gate, though he might not pass through there,

because it was forbidden that anyone should pass through the king's gate who was clothed in sack-cloth. And in every province where the messengers brought the decree,

there was great mourning among the Jews, and fasting, 20 and weeping, and wailing; and many lay down in sack-cloth and ashes, because of their grief

Now, Queen Esther had not heard of the decree; but when her maids came and told her that Mordecai was clothed

in sack-cloth, and that he cried in the streets of the city, 25 Esther sent new garments to him, that he might take

off the sack-cloth. But he would not change. Therefore Esther called one of the king's officers to her, and sent him to ask why he was troubled. Mordecai told the officer all

that happened, and of the money that Haman had promised 30 to pay into the king's treasury, if he might be allowed to

destroy the Jews. He gave the officer also a copy of Haman's decree to show Esther; and he bade the officer tell the queen to go into the palace to the king and beseech him to save the Jews.

The officer came and told Esther what Mordecai said.

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