Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

the lives of so many thousands of her nation and of God's people, whatever had been the consequence. Providence may sometimes bring us into such circumstances; wc may be called to hazard our comforts and even our lives, for the good of our brethren, and a christian should not shrink back. We ought, says the apostle, to lay down our lives for the brethren; and his love should constrain Us to itj in ho gave /us life a ransom for many.

CHAP. V.

At the dose of the last chafitcr we left the Jews fasting and (iraying, to engage the favour of heaven; we have here Esther's suit to the king, and the kind recr/ition he gave her.

1 ^TOW it came to pass on the third clay, that Esther put on JLN [her] royal [apparel,] and stood in the inner court of the king's house, over against the king's house: and the king sa,t upon his royal throne in the royal house, over against the gate

2 of the house, where he could see every one who came in. And it was so, when the king saw Esther the queen standing in the court, [that] she obtained favour in his sight: and the king held out to Esther the golden sceptre that [was] in his hand, as a sign of his favour, and to invite her afifiroach. So Esther drew near and touched the top of the sceptre, in token of subjection, and

3 thankfulness for his favour.* Then said the king unto her, What wilt thou, queen Esther? and what [is] thy request? it

4 shall be even given thee to the half of the kingdom.t And Esther answered, If [it seem] good unto the king, let the king and Hainan come this day unto the banquet that I have prepared for him, when she intended to request some farther favour .\

5 Then the king said, Cause Haman to make haste, that he may do as Esther hath said. So the king and Haman immediately comfilied with her request, and came to the banquet that Esther had prepared.

6 And the king said again 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

7 be performed. Then answered Esther, and said, My petition

8 and my request [is ;] If I have found favour in the sight of the king, andif 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 tomorrow as the king hath said.*

• Jnicjihcs de scribes the splendor of her drc*s, antl her appeal to Cod that it was not out of vaniry; U-n being struck with the majesty of the k'mt;, and a fear of hit displeasure, she tainted in tru* arms of her attendants; this touched the king so. th.it he ran to her and took her in his arms with great tenderness. Sue also the fifteenth chapter of £;t/ifr in the Apocrypha.

t Tins is a proverbial e*prrs»ion, similar to that of Herod in Msrk vi. 23. as much as to say, I will ijrajit any thing in re ison, because thou art so dear tome.

% It w:is prudent in Esther net to open her mind ar once, and to trv the king how far ho •ton.l affected to her; for if he refused this favour then, would he no hope of the other ; »he might endear herself to him the more, by tU: ejneruuuncnt, and she would lattiici please bim ev umuiui hu favourite.

A Then went Haman forth that day, joyful and with a glad heart; pleated that ht via» in inch favour with the queen as well aa the king: 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 Mordecai; when Mordrcai heard of the queen'» favourable acceptance, he put off his sackcloth, and came to hia filace at the king's gate; but etitl refused to bow de-am to Haman,

I в notwithstanding the bloody edict. Nevertheless Haman refrained

himself from sudden revenge, put aferce upon himself; and when he came home, he sent and called for his friends, and Zeresh his

I1 wife. And Haman told them of the glory of his riches, and the multitude of his children, and all [the things] wherein the king liad promoted him, and how he had advanced him above

12 the p;inces 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 tomor

13 row am I invited unto her also with the king. Yet all this availeth me nothing, so long as I see Morclecai the Jew sitting at the king's gate; to see him continue his place at court, is as odious

14 if litad hit my all. Then said Zeresh his wife and all hia friends unto him, Let a gallows be made of fifty cubits, or twenty

Jive yard*, high, that it may be the more conspicuous, and tomorrow speak thou unto the king that Mordecai may be hanged thereon; do not tuait till the general destruction of the Jeius, but rid thyself of this enemy immediately ¡ you will then have a fair opportumty of soliciting tlus, and it will be easily granted: then go thou in merrily with the king unto the banquet, -nihich you will enjoy with double pleasure when this your enemy is slain. And the thing pleased Haman; and he caused the gallows to be made, little flunking that he himself should hang upon it.

REFLECTIONS.

1. OEE the advantage of prayer. Esthcf and her countrymen О fasted and prayed. It gave her courage when she committed her ways to God; and it will embolden us to do any thing for him. He heard and answered her, and inclined the king to be favourable. God magnifies his mercy toward us when we are most humble and diffident. This is a great encouragement to pray. The golden sceptre is always held out; God's chief favourite is our friend and advocate: therefore let us come boldly to the throne of grace, that -we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in every time of need.

2. The hearts of kings, even those who act most Arbitrarily* arw in the hand of the Lord; he can easily direct them to answer his wise purposes, and by his influence on their minds, often outdoes the fears or hopes of his people. Let us then wait on him by whom kings reign, and who does what he pleases among the greatest and most powerful of the children of men.

3. We here see the misery of a proud, envious, ungovernable spirit. Haman had every thing he could desire, riches, hono'urs, a large family, and the king's favour. A small part of this would have satisfied any reasonable modest man: but all was nothing to him, because only one man denied him the respect and homage he expected. It is of little consequence what such men have, if they have not every thing. The proud and envious will always have something to make them uneasy. May we guard our hearts against such a wretched disposition, or else we shall have no true enjoyment of what we possess, but have our heart* jiierced through with many sorrows.

4. Here is an affecting instance of the vanity of all earthly grandeur. See how little a thing may spoil the enjoyments of the greatest affluence, dignity and pleasure. We cannot find perfect contentment in these things. Every man, be he ever so rich or honourable, and have he ever so many external comforts, has some mixture or other to embitter them: it is often seen where men endeavour tc conceal it. There is no true satisfaction to be had but in God, and his favour; and he who is truly wise will seek it there only, and then; he will surely find it. Ms favour is life, and his loving kindness is better than life. Psalm xxx. 5. lxiii. 3.

5. It is very unhappy for a man when his wife and friends are his counsellors to do wickedly. Had Haman's wife and friends been religious, Or even prudent persons, had they been true friends to him, they would never have given him such advice ; instead of encouraging and indulging those malignant passions, they would have endeavoured to moderate and restrain them. But many think it a kind of complaisance to their relations and friends to give them pleasing rather than profitable advice, and encourage those dispositions they should endeavour to correct. It is sad indeed when a man's enemies are of his own household, and his bosom counsellors arc counsellors of iniquity. The truest friendship is to endeavour to promote in others quietness, meekness, patience, and a humble spirit, without which they can never be happy. He that exakeih himself shall be abased, and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

CHAP. VI.

We left Haman jxleascd with the thoughts of destroying his enemy Mordccai; but a wonderful turn of affairs here o/iens in favour of

the Jews.

ha

ing the book of records gf the chronicles ; and they

1 f"\^ l'iat night could not the king sleep, and he commanded V_y to bring the book of records gf the <

J were read before the king.* And it was found written, that Mordecai had told of Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king's chamberlains, the keepers of the door, who sought to lay hand on the king Ahasuerus; it %uas a remarkable providence that the ser

3 -vants should light uflon this place. 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

4 nothing done for him.f And tohen.it was morning, the king said, Who [is] in the court? Now Hainan 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, Ihe king was resolved immediately to shew his grateful sense of Mordecai's fidelity, while Human'* malice had brought him early there

fi to seek Mordecai's destruction. And the king's servants said unto him, Behokl, Haman standeth in the court. And the king said, Let him come in, he is one of the proper est persons to consult with.

6 So Haman came in. And the king said unto him, What shall be done unto the man whom the king delighteth to honour? There is a certain person descii'cs some special token of my

favour, what shall be done to him to raise his character to uneom, men glory? The king would not have asked the question, but have ordered such honours as he thought proper, had not Providence intended that Mordecai should have the greatest honour, and Haman the greatest mortification possible. Now Haman thought in his heart, To whom would the king delight to do honour more than to myself, considering bi what high favour I stand

7 with the king and queen? And Haman answered the king, For

8 the man whom the king delighteth to honour, Let the royal apparel be brought which the king [useth] to wear, and the horse {hat the king rideth upon,, and the crown royal which is

9 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 m,ay array the man [withal] whom the king delighteth to hon» our, and bring him on horseback through the street of th,e city, and proclaim before him, Thus shall it be done to the man

10 whom the king delighteth tq honour.^ Then the king said to Haman, Make haste, [and] take the apparel and the horse, as thou hast said, and do even, so tp Mordecai the Jew, that sitteth at the king's gate: how confused and thunderstruck must Human be at such an order; and the king, perhaps seeing his disorder, is very peremptory in the command; let nothing fail of all that

• One would rftther have expected that he would have called for music ; but his mind was composed, and at leisure fpr a more profitable entertainment; he called tor a journal of tha most niateri.il occurrences of his retail, in which Ihey were used to insert what services were dune for the King, and what rewards and honours were cont'd red in consequence.

t Some think some reward had been ordered, but through the ill will of Human, or some other courtiers, he had been deprived of it. Perhajis the account of rewards conferred up. on others, led the king to ask what had been done for him.

t Haman considered that he did not want money, nor could he have a greater posr, and th-refore proposes rlie highest honour he could conceive. There seems to have hern nothi-rj but the sceptre that he did not think it proper to invest himstlf with: and probably thought 4t wduM be an agreeable circumstance to have Mordecai hanged to grace the cavalcade.

11 thou hast spoken. Then took Haman the apparel and tfce horse, and arrayed Mordecai, and brought him on horseback through the street ol the city, and proclaimed before him, Thus shall it be done unto the man whom the king delighteth to honour. Haman instantly obeyed the order, and it may be easily conceived what looks passed btiiveen them. Mordecai now began lift ufi his head, and concluded that he had not fasted and prayed in vain.

12 And Mordecai came again to the king's gate; he did not spend the rest of the day in mirth and gaiety, but came to his place at the king's gate: but Haman hasted to his house mourning, and having his head covered, with all the tokens of sadness and

13 dejection of'spirit. 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 the seed of the Jews, before whom thou hast begun to fall, thou shalt not prevail against him, but shalt surely fall before him.*

14 And while they [were] yet talking with him, came the king's chamberlains, and hasted to bring Haman unto the banquet that Esther had prepared. Being thus extremely mortified, and being discouraged by these discourses of his privy counsellors, he was not eager to go; Providence ordered that he should be seized loi'h this panic, and meet with this mortification just before he went to the banquet, and Esther fixed her charge upon him; but indeed Us cause was so bad, that if he had been in the sa?ne good spirits, as in the morning, we can hardly think he could have been capable of making a defence to any purpose.

REFLECTIONS.

1. "\X7"^ are here shown some farther instances of the vanity of V V the world. Ahasuerus, with all his pomp and grandeur, ■who commanded one hundred and twenty seven provinces, could not command one hour's sleep ; that is often the happiness of the poor, when it is denied the rich and the mighty. Haman, disappointed in his favourite schemes, shows the vanity of ambition, and the uncertainty of all hopes which depend on the caprices and humours of men.

2. Gratitude for public services and benefits, is always becoming, though not always met with. Mordecai's fidelity and kindness to the king was forgotten, and was not at all likely to save him from destruction. This is too much the casep in the courts of princes, where the greatest friends and benefactors often meet with less favour and kindness than flatterers and knaves. It was proper in Ahasuerus to reward Mordecai; better late than never.' It is much

• Tbey probably grounded this opinion upon recollecting some remarkable providence in favour of the jew,, and the destruction of those who had sought their ruin, as in the case of Daniel and the three Jewish youths. Such interpositions led them to conclude thai they were more immedatcly under tie care of heaven, and therefore that all ttwir enemies would fiU before them. ~

« AnteriorContinuar »