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her own life ; but was deeply afflicted by the calamities which threatened her country and people. This is a becoming disposition. It is an unhappy thing when men are so selfish as to forget or overlook the concerns of the public, and not to feel amidst its calamities and dangers.
3. From the care taken to transmit these edicts to every province and people in their own language, we are led to reflect on the absurdity and iniquity of the Romish church, in locking up the scriptures in an unknown tongue. It is the wisdom of all governments to promulgate laws in such a way, that all may know them, and understand their design. Sad indeed is it, when the laws of God are concealed from those for whose benefit they were designed. This shows the iniquity of the Romish church ; how censurable it is, and how inconsistent its doctrines and practices are with the rules of the gospel. He that walketh in darkness will not come to the light, lest his decds should be reproved.
4. When the righteous are in authority the people rejoice. When upright men, persons who have the real interest of their country at heart, are promoted, it gives joy to all who are wise and considerate.
The city of Shushan was glad. They knew the character of Mordecai as illustrated by the different character of Haman, and that he would seek the public good. Let us pray that such may be promoted among us; that those may fill public posts, who will be zeal. ous and faithful in discharging their duty.
5. The joy of God's people often rises in proportion to their sor. rows. There was great lamentation and distress among the Jews when the first edict was issued ; but when the second was known, light and gladness, joy and honour. They that sow in tears, shall reap in joy. The brightness of harvest is illustrated by the former gloom. Thus the rest and happiness of the future state of God's people, will be greatly enhanced by the sorrows and afflictions they experienced in this distant world.
6. It is happy when the deliverances and prosperity of the church tend to bring others into it. Such an event is more likely to take place at such a time, than when in distress. But it is more desirable that they should be brought from principle to know God and their duty, and walk in the way of his precepts. We should pray that this may be the case among us, that God would add to us such as shall be saved ; and let us maintain an holy cheerfulness and joy, than which, nothing will contribute more to recommend religion, and bring others to think favourably of it and embrace it.
CHAP. IX. and CHAP. X.
An account of the deliverance of the Jews, and the execution done upon
their enemies. The Jews were to sland upon their own defence, 6748 not make any attack upon those who were peaceable and quiet, The greatness of Mordecai.
TOW in the twelfth month, that [is,] the month Adar, on TV the thirteenth day of the same, when the king's commandment and his decree drew near to be put in execution, in the day that the enemies of the Jews, some of Haman's party, who were su enraged at his fall and the disappointment of their hopes that they could not help showing their indignation, hoped to have power over them, and to have destroyed them, though it was
turned to the contrary, that the Jews had rule over them that 2 hated them ;) The Jews gathered themselves together in their
cities throughout all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus, to lay hand on such as sought their hurt : and no man could withstand them ; for the fear of them fell upon all people ; the opposing,
party lo8t much of their courage and influence, since there were 3 such alterations in the king's counsels in favour of the Jews. And
all the rulers of the provinces, and the lieutenants, and the depua ties, and officers of the king, helped the Jews; because the fear of Mordecai fell upon them; the prime minister being of their
religion was of great advantage to the Jews, and disheartened their 4 enemies. For Mordecai (was) great in the king's house, and
his fame went out throughout all the provinces : for this man Mordecai waxed greater and greater ; it was soon known who
was the favourite at court ; and he was renowned not only for his 5 dignity, but for his wisdom and justice, 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 hated 6 them. And in Shushan the palace the Jews slew and destroyed
five hundred men ; who probably had been stirred up by Haman's
sons to revenge their father's death, if they died in the attempt. 7 8 And Parshandatha, and Dalphon, and Aspatha, And Poratha, 9 and Adalia, and Aridatha, And Parmashta, and Arisai, and Aridai, 10 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 11 their hand. On that day the number of those that were slain in
Shushan the palace was brought before the king, 12 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 13 be done. Then said Esther, If it please the king, let it be
granted to the Jews which (are) in Shushan, to do tomorrow also
according unto this day's decree, and let Haman's ten sons be 14 hanged upon the gallows. And the king commanded it so to be
done : and the decree was given at Shushan ; and they hanged 15 Haman's ten sons. For the Jews that (were) in Shushan gath
ered themselves together on the fourteenth day also of the month
Adar, and slew three hundred men at Shushan ; but on the prey 16 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, lest they should be thought selfish, and that they had slain some on that account. They had a commission to slay women and children, chap. viii. ll. but they were humanely spared, and
none were destroyed but those who took up arms against them. 17 This shows what multitudes of the Jews were still lef. 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. 18 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 19 a 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 ; a day of Thanksgiving and praise to God, and frosting one another, and
sendino portions to the poor, that they might share in their joy. 20 And Mordecai, in order to perpetuate the remembrance of this,
wrote these things, and sent letters unto all the Jews that (were]
in all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus, [both) nigh and far, 21 To stablish [this] among them, that they should keep the four
teenth day of the month Adar, and the fifteenth day of the same, 22 yearly, As the days wherein the Jews rested from their ene
mies, 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 23 to another, and gifts to the poor. And the Jews undertook to
do as they had begun, and as Mordecai had written unto them ; 24 Because Haman the son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, 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 25 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 26 that he and his sons should be hanged on the gallows. Where.
fore 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 27 them, The Jews ordained, and took upon them, and upon their
seed, and upon all such as joined themselves unto them, so as it
• The ancient Jewish writers s'y that most of these were Amalekites, which is not unlikely, as Haman inight have introduced great numbers of them into the provinces, and they would be peculiarly inveterare against the ]ws.
should not fail, that they would keep these two days according
to their writing, and according to their [appointed] time every 28 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 29 seed. Then Esther the queen, the daughter of Abihail, and
Mordecai the Jew, wrote with all authority, to confirm this 30 second letter of Purim. And he sent the letters unto all the
Jews, to the hundred twenty and seven pravinces of the king31 dom of Ahasuerus, [with] words of peace and truth, To con
firm 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, 32 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.
CHAP. X. And the king Ahasuerus laid a tribute upon the 2 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 3 Persia ? For Mordecai the Jew (was) next unto king Ahasue
rus, 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.
T E may here observe God's favourable interposition for
VV his people. He gave them success against their enemies, by striking a panic into their opposers ; and made way for their comfortable settlement, by removing so many of their enemies. All center in this grand design, to promote the knowledge and worship of God in the nations where they were scattered ; towhich these wonderful scenes of Providence would no doubt greatly contribute.
2. The practice of the Jews in establishing the feast of Purim, suggests the propriety of keeping anniversary days in commemoration of great and wonderful deliverances. Whether any prophet encouraged them in it, is not easy to say ; some might be yet live ing, as Malachi; but the order was commendable. Many have argued from hence the right of our national establishment to appoint holy days, or days to be kept sacred in remembrance of some circumstances in our Lord's history, such as his birth, death, resura rection, ascension, &c. But it should be remembered that this was only a human institution, a commemoration of a national deliverance, like the fifth of November with us. The Jews never instituted days for the remembrance of those blessings, for the commemoration of which particular days were set apart by God himself. The Lord's day is the only holy day of divine institution; and no man has a right to institute any other. However, as they may be kept to some good purpose, we should not censure those who choose to keep them. It is to be wished that they may be kept with piety, holy joy, and liberality to the poor
3. The character of Mordecai, as here related, is very honourable ; and it would be well if all ministers of state were like him. Notwithstanding his exaltation, he kept to his principles and practices as a Jew; he was not solicitous about aggrandizing his own family, but promoted the public good; he was celebrated through the provinces for his wisdom and justice; he was especially kind to the Jews; not only as his people, but as the people of God ; speaking peace to them, in an humble, condescending manner. Let us be thankful that we live under a government where the wealth and peace of the people are sought, and no tribute laid but by our repre sentatives. We have rest from our enemies, and have no bloody edicts against us. May God long continue our public mercies, and enable us to lead quiet and peaceable lives, in all godliness and hans esty. Amen.