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. Then the king said, Cause Haman to make haste that he may do as Esther hath said. So the king and Haman came to the banquet that Esther had prepared.. . · And the king said unto Esther at the banquet of wine, What is thy petition? and it shall be granted thee; and what is thy request ? even to the half of the kingdom it shall be performed., . · Then answered Esther, and said, My 'petition, and my request is, If I have found favour in the sight of the king, and if it please the king to grant my petition, and to perform my request, let the king and Haman come to the banquet that I shall prepare for them, and I will do to-morrow as the king hath said.
The beautiful description, in the beginning of this section, of Esther's approach to king Ahasuerus, is taken from the Apocryphal book. It places the character of Esther in the most amiable light. While her heart, with truly feminine softness, trembled for fear, she assumed - a cheerful countenance that she might not, by an ap
pearance of timidity, impress the king with an idea that she was going to make an improper request. The trial was however too great for her delicate frame to sustain. The stern countenance of the king overcame her resolution; she fainted under the terror of his looks; but her sweet emotion was more powerful than eloquence, it spoke to the heart of the stern monarch; and he, who had banished one queen for refusing to obey his unreasonable command, was subdued by the gentleness of another, so as to give an unreserved promise of granting all she could desire. Scarcely recovered from her violent agitation of spirits, Esther thought it prudent to defer making her request known till she could do it
with coniposure. She also disdained to accuse the absent; and judged it advisable to explain her wishes to the king in those hours when, retired from state affairs, it was his usual custoni to unbend his mind at the soeial board with his favouritei Haman. . mer i · This part ef Esther's history affords a striking example of the force of female gentleness, which should recommend the practiee of it to every woman. There is a certain sense of superiority in the hearts of men, which it is the duty, and I may say the interest, of wives to gratify; for it is implanted by Heaven, and those who possess it not are seldom fit to govern their farnities, or able to afford to their wives that protection which they may frequently stand in need of.
Esther's example is also worthy of imitation in another particular: she assumed an amiable and cheerful countenance, and certainly intended toaddress her king and husband with gentle persuasion. The faintings which prevented her doing so were accidental, and by no means the effect of artifice or affectation. It seems, that at the banquet her courage again failed her, which occasioned the delay of her petition to another daya,
· HAMAN ERECTETH A GALLOWS FOR MORDECAI.
From Esther, Chap. v. Then went Haman forth that day joyful, and with a glad heart: but when Haman saw Mordecai in the king's gate, that he stood not up nor moved for him, he was full of indignation against Mordecais'. '
Nevertheless, Haman reframed himself; and when he came home, he sent and called for his friends, and Zeresh his wife
And Haman told them of the glory of his riches, and the multitude of his children, and all the things wherein the king had promoted him, and how he had advanced him above the princes and servants of the king.. - Haman said moreover, Yea, Esther the queen did let no man come in with the king unto the banquet that she had prepared but myself; and to morrow am I invited unto her also with the king.', .. , · Yet all this availeth me nothing, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king's gate.
Then said Zeresh his wife, and all his friends unto him, Let a gallows be made of fifty cubits high, and to-morrow speak thou unto the king that Mordecai may . be hanged thereon: then go thou in merrily with the king unto the banquet. And the thing pleased Haman, and he caused the gallows to be made.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
* From this account of Haman we learn, that the happiness of men depends more upon the state of their own minds than on any external circumstances. Inordinate passions are the great disturbers of life; and, unless we possess a good conscience, and a well-govern. ed mind, discontent will blast every enjoyment, and the highest prosperity will prove only disguised misery. Let us then fix this conclusion in our minds, that the destruction of our virtue is the destruction of our peace. Let us keep our hearts with all diligence, and govern them with the greatest care, for out of them are the issues of re. In no station, in no period, should we think ourselves secure from the dangers which spring from our passions, for they beset every station from youth to grey hairs, and from the peasant to the prince. At first setting out in life especially, when yet unacquainted with the world and its snares, when every pleasure enchants with its smile, and every object shines with the gloss of no. velty, youth should beware of the seducing appearances which surround them, and recollect what others have suffered from the power of headstrong desire. Pride in particular is of a most dangerous tendency, and prosperity is too apt to produce it; when once indulged, there is no knowing to what enormities it will lead. Haman was not delivered up all at once to the madness of revenge. His passions rose with the tide of prosperity, and pride completed what prosperity had begun.
* The anno‘ations to this section are taken from an excellent sermon by Dr. Blair on this subject, which may be read with great advantage as a farther comment on this striking passage.
MORDECAI HONOURED-HAMAN HANGED.
From Esther, Chap. vi, vii, viii. . On that night could not the king sleep, and he commanded to bring the book of records of the chronicles; and they were read before the king.
And it was found written that Mordecai had told of Bigthan and Teresh, two of the king's chamberlains, the keepers of the door, who sought to lay hand on the king Ahasuerus. ; And the king said, What honour and dignity hath been done to Mordecai for this? Then said the king's servants that ministered unto him, There is nothing .. done for him.
And the king said, Who is in the court? Now Hàman was come into the outward court of the king's house, to speak unto the king to hang Mordecai on the gallows that he had prepared for him. :
And the king's servants said unto him, Behold, Haman standeth in the court. And the king said, Let him come in. .
So Haman came in. And the king said unto him, What shall be done unto the man whom the king delighteth to honour? Now Haman thought in his heart, To whom would the king delight to do honor more than to myself ? ,
And Haman answered the king, For the man whom the king delighteth to honour, let the royal apparel be brought which the king useth to wear, and the horse that the king rideth upon, and the crown royal which is set upon his head:
And let this apparel and horse be delivered to the hand of one of the king's most noble princes, that they may array the man withal whom the king delighteth to honour, and bring him on horseback through the street of the city, and proclaim before him, Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delighteth to honour.
Then the king said to Haman, Make haste, and take the apparel and the horse, as thou hast said, and do even so to Mordecai the Jew, that sitteth at the king's gate : let nothing fail of all that thou hast spoken. .
Then took Haman the apparel and the horse, and arrayed Mordecai, and brought him on horseback through the street of the city, and proclaimed before him, Thus shall be done unto the man whom the king delighteth to honour.
And Mordecai came again to the king's gate. But Haman hasted to his house mourning, and having his head covered.
And Haman told Zeresh his wife and all his friends every thing that had befallen him.' Then said his wise men and Zeresh his wife unto him, If Mordecai be of