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CHAPTER XIV.

THE ROYAL HONORING.

" Array him in the robe of honor,
And place a chain of gold around his neck,

And bind around his brow the diadem,
And mount him on my steed of state,

And lead him through the camp,
And let the Heralds go before and cry

"Thus shall the Sultan reward
The man who serves him well!'
Then in the purple robe

They vested Thalaba,
And hung around his neck the golden chain,
And bound his forehead with the diadem,

And on the royal steed
They led him through the camp,
And Heralds went before and cried,

• Thus shall the Sultan reward
The man who serves him well!'"

Southey's Thalaba.

It was found, on reading the Chronicles, which the sleepless king had called for, that the portion read told how Mordecai had saved the king's life, but as there was no record of any reward or honor having been shown to him for such distinguished service, the king inquired whether there was an omission in the record, or whether this man had been neglected. And his servants that ministered unto him, said : “ There is nothing done for him." And the king said, who is in the court? Now Haman was come into the outward court of the king's house, to speak unto the king to hang Mordecai on the gallows that he had prepared for him. And the king's servants said unto him, “ behold, Haman standeth in the court.” Esth. vi: 4, 5. Though Haman was a great favorite, he could not enter till called.

There was a waiting room where the servants and visitors were to remain in readiness to come in whenever called. Herod. lib. ji: c. 120.

It is plain enough why Haman is so early this morning in the waiting room of the king. Although he knew nothing of the king's dream nor want of sleep, he is early in the outer court, just as the Targum already cited says the king's early night vision had revealed to him. Haman's pride and revenge would not let him sleep. As soon as the king is informed that Haman is in the waiting room, he says, let him come in, and then, without giving him time to make any request, puts the question direct to him : “What shall be done unto the man whom the king delighteth to honor ?" At first blush, Haman thought this promises everything I can ask. For the thought in his heart was, “To whom would the king delight to do honor more than to myself ?" See also vi: 7, 11, inclusive.

Here let us observe, first, the discovery of neglect toward Mordecai prepared the way for his honor. Being a Jew, no reward had been given him for his fidelity to the king; or, through the envy of courtiers or forgetfulness of the king, nothing had been such signal service. But a record had been made of it. This was all ordered by Divine Providence, that the

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HAMAN'S ADVICE.

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developments might all be made at the proper time. And so, also, secondly, Haman's spleen and malice brings him early to the court of the king. Impatient to have his revenge, he intends, this morning, at the very first moment, to ask the king to have Mordecai hanged, and has everything in readiness. So politic was he, that, though he had the powerin his own hand, he preferred the king should, personally, order the execution. Neither Haman nor the king could sleep. The cause of their wakefulness was different, but both are working together, without knowing it, for the same result. And, thirdly, although Haman was exceedingly impatient and burning with rage, he could not enter the royal presence until called to come, and although the king knows nothing of the high gallows which he has had built for Mordecai, nor anything of his designs against him, yet he does not give him time to open his mouth, before he demands from him, What shall be done unto the man whom the king delighteth to honor ? And Haman, believing no man was so high in the royal favor as himself, and that, in giving advice, he was only issuing a decree to heap glory on himself, said: “ For the man whom the king delighteth to honor, let the royal apparel be brought which the king useth to wear, and the horse that the king rideth

and the crown royal which is set upon his head : And let this apparel and horse be delivered into the hand of one of the king's most noble princes, that they may array the man withal whom the king delighteth to honor, and bring him on horseback through the street of the city, and proclaim before him, Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delighteth to honor. Then the king said to Haman, Make haste, and take the apparel and the horse, as thou hast said, and do even so to Mordecai, the Jew, that sitteth at the king's gate: let nothing fail of all that thou hast spoken. Then took Haman the apparel and the horse, and arrayed Mordecai, and brought him on horseback through the street of the city, and proclaimed before him, Thus shall it be done unto the man whom the king delighteth to honor."

upon,

Royal honoring, in this style, was common in those days. Kings had horses kept especially for their own use, and robes and apparel, of all sorts, that no one else was allowed to wear, or, if bestowed on any one else, they were not used again by the sovereign. In 1 Kings i: 33, we find David making Solomon ride

upon his mule, as a token of the great honor he would have put upon him.

Ancient authors, as Justin, Curtius and others, bear testimony to the use of such robes of purple, interwoven with gold. Scarlet and purple are royal colors.

Commentators do not agree as to the crown; whether it is the meaning of the text, that the crown royal itself was placed on the horse's head, or a mere effigy of the crown; or a make-belief of placing it on the horse's head, but really setting it only on the king's head. It seems to me the meaning of the passage is, that the king's crown was set upon the horse's head. 1. The original Hebrew, as well as our translation, favors this construction. 2. This is, also, the Chaldee and the Jewish interpretation. 3. No mention is made of the crown in the verses, after the eighth verse; but only the horse and apparel, which seems fairly to imply that the crown was identi

THE HORSE CROWNED.

227

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fied with the horse, as one of his ornaments, from the moment of his decoration to the end of the triumphal procession. And, 4. It is known, from history, that such a custom did prevail among the ancient Persians and Ethiopians, and, at a later period, in Italy. The crown royal was put on the head of the horse that was led in state, and the horses attached to the triumphal chariots were adorned with crowns, just as in our gala days our horses are adorned with flowers, ribbons and flags. It is written that a Roman consul, once, put the insignia of his office on his horse's head, and then told the people, so fickle and corrupt had they become at their elections, that his crowned horse was the best consul the Romans had ever had. Let Americans profit by the lesson. When Alexander entered Babylon, the way was covered with flowers and branches of trees, and his horse was made to walk on roses, sugar and cloth of gold. And you all recollect the history of our Lord's entrance into Jerusalem, not long before his crucifixion. The proclamation made before Mordecai was according to oriental custom.

The same was done for Joseph in Egypt. (Gen. xli: 43.) When a Pasha rides through the streets of an Eastern city, it is the custom, to this day, for a man to run before, flourishing a long whip, to clear the way for the great man who cometh—sometimes calling out his name and titles, that all may get out of the way, or fall down in humble prostration before him. And observe, fourthly, how terribly bitter was this pill to Haman—to fail to receive the honor himself, and to be compelled to bestow it, by his own hand and with his own lips, upon the man whom, of all others, he hated with the most

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