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which this seeming accident was to overthrow a plot as yet unformed, and to save from a cruel death the queen and all her people? Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection? (Job. xi, 7.)

King Ahasuerus, soon after this, formed a peculiar partiality for Haman, an Agagite or Amalekite. He raised him to the highest dignity among his princes, placing him next in honor to himself, and making him his intimate companion and counsellor. Still more to gratify his ambition, the king commanded that all should bow down to him, and reverence him; an act of homage which the Persian kings were accustomed to receive from all who came into their presence. Accordingly, as he went in and out from the palace, all the king's servants that sat in the gate bowed down to him, but Mordecai bowed not. His companions reproved him, saying, “Why transgressest thou the king's commandment ?” this they did day after day, but he replied that he was a Jew. He meant to say by this, that he did not deny this reverence to Haman out of pride, or from contempt of the king's authority ; but because Jehovah, the God whom he worshipped, and whom he acknowledged as King of kings, had said, “ Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.”' Mordecai was not alone in this; for it is said that some of the wiser Grecians positively refused this act of homage to the Persian kings. Besides, Haman was an Amalekite, one of that nation upon whom the curse of God rested, and with whom he had sworn that he would have war from generation to generation. (See Exod. xvii, 16.) Mordecai's refusal soon came to the knowledge of Haman, who highly resented the affront, perhaps the more, because he was of that hated nation the Jews, and he resolved to seek the destruction both of him and his people. The time in which this plan was to be executed was to be decided by lot.

In ancient times it was customary to refer all important events in this way to their gods, and Haman supposed the time thus fixed upon would be most favorable to his purpose: he little thought that the disposal of the lot was from the Lord, the God of the Jews; and He, who was overruling all events for their good, so ordered it, that sufficient time was left for the accomplishment of their deliverance. The lot was cast in the first month, and it fell upon the twelfth month of the same year. Haman now carries the matter to the king, and, by an artful address, gains full liberty to accomplish, in his own way, the destruction of the Jews. “There is a certain people,” he says, as if too small or too contemptible to be named, “scattered abroad in thy kingdom, who have laws of their own, and keep not the king's laws; therefore it is not for the king's profit to suffer them.” Perhaps he represented that their example might injure others, and so disturb the peace of the community. “If it please the king, let it be written, that they may be destroyed.” Let it be written ;and he knew, if once written, it could never be reversed. Thinking, perhaps, that the king's avarice would suggest an objection, on the ground that the loss of so many subjects would diminish his revenue, he offers to pay ten thousand talents into the king's treasury. It was a part of his plan in the destruction of the Jews, to take all that belonged to them; so that he could so manage it as to be no loser in the end by the payment of this great sum.

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