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"And so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law; and if I perish, I perish.”Esther, 4, 16. THE story of Esther stands first among the
poetic books of the Bible. It is the story of
her devotion to her race. She had been chosen as the chief wife of Ahasuerus, king of Persia; but because the Jews were prisoners in that land she had not revealed her nationality to the king or his courtiers. Haman, the king's favorite, hated the Jews and secured from Ahasuerus orders to destroy the entire race. Esther, learning of this, resolved to save her people; but she might not go to the king until he sent for her, because the law said that whoever approached the king unbidden, should die. For a whole month Ahasuerus did not send for Esther, and at length in desperation, as the time for the slaughter of the Jews drew near, she defied the law and went to the monarch,
He spared her, yet she still feared lest her plea for her people might anger him, and so hesitated to tell him all. Instead, she invited him to a feast and then to another, ere at length she spoke in full. Her waverings, her fear, her heartrending anxiety have all been here conceived and expressed by the artistic spirit of Heyden.