« AnteriorContinuar »
thing seem right before the king, and I be pleasing in his eyes, let it be written to reverse the letters devised by Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, which he wrote to destroy the Jews which are in all the king's provinces : for how can I endure to see the evil that shall come upon my people? or how can I endure to see the destruction of my kindred ?” She prudently spares the king all the part he had taken in the scheme, and lays all the blame upon Haman. He assures her of his readiness to grant all her desire, and gives her permission to devise whatever remedy she pleased, and to write in his name, and seal it with the king's ring. This she and Mordecai might have done before, as Mordecai had been invested with full power, by the giving of the ring; but they would do nothing without the king's consent.
On the twenty-third day of the third month, the king's scribes were called together again, and letters written, under the direction of Mordecai, addressed to the king's officers in all the various provinces, to each people in their own language, as before, and to the Jews, according to their writing, and according to their language. They were left out of the former letters; so that Haman's plan appears the more cruel, in giving them no opportunity for defence, or to make their escape. And Mordecai wrote in the king Ahasuerus' name, and sealed it with the king's ring, and sent letters by posts on horseback, and riders on mules, camels, and young dromedaries, – wherein the king granted the Jews which were in every city to gather themselves together, and to stand for their life ; to destroy, to slay, and to cause to perish, all the power of the people and province that would assault them, both little ones and women, and to take the spoil of them for a prey ; upon one day in all the provinces of king Ahasuerus, namely, upon the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar. This decree, coming forth from the king's palace, would intimidate the most bitter enemies of the Jews, and make friends of those who would
otherwise have stood still. And Mordecai went out from the presence of the king in royal apparel of blue and white, and with a great crown of gold upon his head, - such a one, probably, as was worn by Persian princes, with sufficient distinction from the king's crown,—and with a garment of fine linen and purple; and the city Shushan rejoiced and was glad. And in every province, and in every city, whithersoever the king's commandment and his decree came, the Jews had joy and gladness, a feast, and a good day. And many of the people of the land became Jews; for the fear of the Jews fell upon them.
When the thirteenth day of the twelfth month arrived, the day that Haman had looked upon as the most auspicious for his purposes, the Jews, having gathered themselves together in the cities, stood for their own defence against those that should assault them. Scattered as they were before, they would have fallen an easy prey to their enemies; but now their union is strength: all the officers of the king, too, in all the provinces, helped the Jews, and no man could withstand them; for the fear of them fell upon all people. The power of the court was on their side, and, above all, the secret hand of their God was with them. Thus the Jews smote all their enemies with the stroke of the sword, and slaughter, and destruction, and did what they would unto those that