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the devil himself could do it. It is difficult-indeed I do not know that it is possible—to overstate the importance of female influence in our country. As long as our sisters, mothers and wives are pure, patriotic and pious, so long our Institutions are imperishable. As long as a husband has a wife, or a son has a mother to pray for him, so long there is hope of him. The husband or the son may be engrossed in the pursuit of wealth, or of pleasure, or of fame, but as long as his name is daily breathed up to the ear of God by a pious wife or mother, so long is there a golden chain still holding his soul to the anchor of hope. It may often seem to be ready to break, yet the chances are that at last he will be saved. “ They that rock the cradle, govern the world.

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"Then the king said, Hang him thereon."

Esther vii. 9.

“The vengeance-hour is come,

He tarried not—he past
The threshold, over which was no return."

Southey's Thalaba.



appears that Haman was not in so great a haste to go to the second banquet as he had been to attend the first. For while he was yet talking with his wife and friends, about the mortification he had received, and his probable downfall before Mordecai, the king's chamberlains came and hastened to bring him unto the banquet that Esther had prepared. It is not hard to divine the reason of his tardiness. He had prepared himself for another feast, of a very different kind. He had more appetite for Jewish blood than for the queen's wine. Perhaps, indeed, he had some forebodings of his doom. Wicked men, even professed skeptics, are exceedingly prone to omens, and all kinds of superstition. The Orientals are great believers in the evil eye, and in signs and lucky days, and lucky faces, and lucky

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persons. Among them an individual, thought to be an unlucky person, is shunned. They do not wish him to travel with them, nor to do any business for them. We have seen Haman “ with fuller reach and stronger swell, wave after wave advancing,” until he seemed to have secured his purpose, the utter destruction of the Hebrew race. But he has gone the full length of his tether. He is now brought to his last feast. Here his life is to pay the reckoning. To him this wine banquet is to be like Mohammed Ali's to the Mamelukes—The feast of death.”

But let us go with the king and Haman to the second wine banquet of the peerless queen of Shushan. At the banquet the king said to Esther, “What is thy petition queen Esther? and it shall be granted thee,

even to the half of the kingdom. Then Esther, the -1 queen, answered and said, If I have found favor 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." Esther vii : 3. As if she had said, save me, and the lives of my people, from the malice of our are sold to destruction. We are delivered to be destroyed, and to be killed, and to utterly perish, by the very man that offered so large a sum for the destruction of the Jews. And had it been a calamity in anywise short of the extinction of the people from whom I am descended, I would have kept silent. But it is their utter annihilation that is decreed. And the ten thousand talents promised, if paid into the king's treasury, will not countervail the king's damage—will not repair his loss of tribute from the Jews within his dominions.

“ Then the king answered, and said unto the queen,

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Who is he, and where is he, that durst presume in his heart—that is, whose heart hath filled him to do so—to do such a cruel thing, and by it deprive me also of my revenue, and of my queen ?

And Esther said, the adversary and enemy of the king, and of me, is this wicked Haman. " Then Haman was afraid before the king and the queen. 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.” It was a well-known custom, that if the king left a feast displeased with any one, and retired to the women's apartment, that there was no hope, and that when the king ordered an execution no one was permitted even to ask for mercy.* By rising in anger, therefore, it was the same as if sentence of death had been pronounced. Rosenmuller gives an instance from Olearius to this effect. Shah Sefi, of Persia, once felt himself offended by some unseasonable jokes that one of his favorites allowed himself to indulge in, accordingly he at once arose and left the apartment, by which the favorite knew his life was forfeited. He went home in alarm, and in a few hours the king sent for his head. Another instance is given in the books of a high officer having displeased the Sultan, who immediately ordered his head to be placed on the top of a pyramid of fruit that had just been brought into his court. Persian

* En Perse, lorsque le roi a condamné quelqu'un, on ne peut plus lui en parlet ni deinander grace. S'il etait ivre on hors de sens, il faudrait que l'arret s'executal tout de meme; sans cela il se contredirait, el la loi ne peut se contredire.—Montesquieu L'Esprit. Des Lois Liv. iii: C. 8.

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and Egyptian kings affected so much majesty that they did not allow a malefactor, or any one sentenced to death, to look at them. Hence they covered Haman's face when the king's displeasure was manifested“putting him in a winding sheet that was dead in the king's favor.

When a criminal was condemned by a Roman judge, he was delivered to the executioner in these words : “I, Victor, caput obnubito arbori infelici suspendito." Go, Seargent, cover his head, and hang hin on the unlucky tree. Perhaps, indeed, they covered his face partly also because the king was in such a rage that they wished to hide from him an object that was so displeasing to him. In addition to the places cited in the previous chapter, where the covering of the head was significant of reverence, distress and submission, we find other Scriptures that speak of the covering of the head as expressive of the hatefulness of the person—as of one condemned, and his fate unchangeably fixed. See Job ix: 24; Isa. xxii: 17.

The original for “who is he, and where is he,” is peculiarly emphatic. Who? - He-This one? And where? This one?He? Modes of expression that show the great excitement of the king—as if his mind was at once filled with the idea of a terrible conspiracy, and as if he expected armed men to leap out of the divans and hanging curtains, and from the silk festoons, and take his life. Under the circumstances, and considering that he was an Oriental despot, he shows considerable forbearance in leaving the banquet, and going into the palace garden-out of sight of the infamous wretch-to cool his anger, and consider the extent and bearing of the mischief intended. He may have felt


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