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Adalia, and Aridatha, and Parmashta, and Arisai, and Aridai and Vajezatha, the ten sons of Haman the son of Hammedatha, the enemy of the Jews, slew they; but on the spoil laid they not their hand. On that day the number of those that were slain in Shushan the palace was brought before the king.

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. Then said Esther, if it please the king, let it be granted 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. And the king commanded it so to be done : and the decree was given at Shushan; and they hanged Haman's ten sons. 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. 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, but they laid not their hands on the prey. On the thirteenth day of the month Adar; and on the fourteenth day of the same rested they, and made it a day of feasting and gladness. But the Jews that were at Shushan assembled together on the thirteenth day thereof, and on the fourteenth thereof; and on the fifteenth day of the same they rested, and made it a

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day of feasting and gladness. Therefore the Jews of the villages, that dwelt in the unwalled towns, made the fourteenth day of the month Adar a day of gladness and feasting, and a good day, and of sending portions one to another.

And Mordecai wrote these things, and sent letters unto all the Jews that were in all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus, both nigh and far, to establish this among them, that they should keep the fourteenth day of the month Adar, and the fifteenth day of the same, yearly, as the days wherein the Jews rested from their enemies, and the month which was turned unto them from sorrow to joy, and from mourning into a good day: that they should make them days of feasting and joy, and of sending portions one to another, and gifts to the poor.

And the Jews undertook to do as they had begun, and as Mordecai had written unto them; because Haman, the son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the the enemy of all the Jews, had devised against the Jews to destroy them, and had cast Pur, that is, the lot, to consume them, and to destroy them; but when Esther came before the king, he commanded by letters that his wicked device, which he devised against the Jews, should return upon his own head, and that he and his sons should be hanged on the gallows. Wherefore they called these days Purim, after the name of Pur. Therefore for all the words of this letter, and of that which they had seen concerning this matter, and which had come unto them, the Jews ordained, and took upon them, and upon their seed, and upon all such as joined themselves unto them, so as it should not fail, that they would keep these two days accord

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ing to their writing, and according to their appointed time every year; and that these days should be remembered and kept throughout every generation, every family, every province, and every city; and that these days of Purim should not fail from among the Jews, nor the memorial of them perish from their seed. Then Esther the queen, the daughter of Abihail, and Mordecai the Jew, wrote with all authority, to confirm the second letter of Purim. And he sent the letters unto all the Jews, to the hundred twenty and seven provinces of the kingdom of Ahasuerus, with words of peace and truth, to confirm these days of Purim in their times appointed, according as Mordecai the Jew and Esther the queen had enjoined them, and as they had decreed for themselves and for their seed, the matters of the fastings and their cry. And the decree of Esther confirmed these matters of Purim ; and it was written in the book.

And the king Ahasuerus laid a tribute upon the land, and upon

the isles of the sea. And all the acts of his power and of his might, and the declaration of the greatness of Mordecai, whereunto the king advanced him, are they not written in the book of the Chronicles of the kings of Media and Persia ? For Mordecai the Jew was next unto king Ahasuerus, and great among the Jews, and accepted of the multitude of his brethren, seeking the wealth of his people, and speaking peace to all his seed.

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CHAPTER ITI.

THESE HEBREW RECORDS CREDIBLE.

Precious Bible! "When yonder spheres sublime

Pealed their first notes to sound the march of time,
Thy joyous youth began: but not to fade-
When all the sister planets have decayed;
When wrapt in flames the realms of ether glow,
And Heaven's last thunder shakes the world below;
Thou, pure, unsoiled, shalt o'er the ruins smile!”

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It is a remark of the late venerable Dr. Alexander that, “there never has existed upon earth a nation whose history is so deserving of our attention as that of the Jews." This is certainly true, for they are and always have been a peculiar people. An extraordinary providence has always been exercised toward them.

Up to the carrying away into the Babylonish captivity, the history of the ancient Jews is contained in their sacred books, but subsequent to that event, we have nothing concerning them but fragments; and of these the Book of Esther is one of the most valuable During the period of their history between their captivity and the coming of Christ; many important prophe-cies were fulfilled; and in the days of Ezra, Nehemiah

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and Esther, we find the origin of the moral condition and of the political and ecclesiastical state of things that prevailed when Christ was born. A knowledge of Hebrew history for five hundred years immediately preceding the Advent is necessary to understand the New Testament.

It is not, then, merely because the Book of Esther is an interesting and true picture of the Persian court for thousands of years, but also because it is a chaptera very remarkable chapter-of God's dealings with his people, and of his care for his church, that we invite you to study it. But our Chronicles of Ahasuerus, Esther and Mordecai, are they of canonical authority ? I answer, we have the same authority for believing that the Book of Esther belongs to the Hebrew canon that we have for Ezra, Nehemiah, or any of their historical books. It is found in Hebrew just as we find them. For although several of the proper names of this book are of Persian origin, there is scarcely a doubt among scholars that it was written originally in Hebrew. Foreign names are found in the writings of Moses and in Daniel, as well as in other parts of the Old Testa. ment, but no one denies on that account that Hebrew is their original. The Book of Esther is not found in Arabic, nor in any other ancient Oriental language, but the Hebrew, Syriac and Chaldee. Ancient copies differing more or less from each other, and from the Hebrew text, are found in Greek and Latin. The Chaldee copy, as given in the London Polyglott, contains five times more than the Hebrew text, but the book, as we receive it, has always been considered as a part of the canon of their holy writings by the Jews. And as

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