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The Feast of Purim Commanded

BY H. MELVILLE, AN ENGLISH ARTIST OF THE EARLY

NINETEENTH CENTURY.

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And Mordecai wrote these things, and sent letters unto all the Jews that were in all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus, both nigh and far.Esther, 9, 20.

HE closing scenes of the tale of Esther seem slightly

confused. Again, on the first day of the slaughter,

the queen came unbidden to her husband; and again he extended the sceptre to her. He seemed, however, to reproach her somewhat for the number of his people whom the Jews had slain. But it is recorded proudly that the Jews had taken no spoil from their enemies, so the king was soon convinced that they had only acted in self defense. At Esther's request he then granted her people in the capital a second day whereon to continue the slaying of their enemies. The ten sons of Haman are all recorded by name as having been slain and hanged upon their father's gallows.

After this, followed a time of great rejoicing among the Jews. Each man gave gifts among his neighbors, and the occasion become one of the great annual feasts of the Hebrews, the feast of Purim, at which presents are exchanged. Esther and Mordecai sent out a decree commanding that the feast should be commemorated forever. As for Mordecai, so useful and efficient had he proven himself in the king's service that he succeeded to Haman's place as chief minister, becoming the second person of the king

dom, “next unto king Ahasuerus.”

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PSALM LXXXI-STRANGE GODS FORBIDDEN

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in the secret place of thunder: I proved thee at the waters of Meribah. Selah.

8 Hear, O my people, and I will testify unto thee: O Israel, if thou wilt hearken unto me;

9 There shall no strange god be in thee; neither shalt thou worship any strange god.

1o I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.

11 But my people would not hearken to my voice; and Israel would none of me. 12 So I

gave

them up unto their own hearts' lust: and they walked in their own counsels.

13 Oh that my people had hearkened unto me, and Israel had walked in my ways! 14 I should soon have subdued their enemies, and turned

my

hand against their adversaries.

15 The haters of the LORD should have submitted themselves unto him: but their time should have endured for ever.

16 He should have fed them also with the finest of the wheat: and with honey out of the rock should I have satisfied thee.

Psalm 82 1 The psalmist, having exhorted the judges, 5 and reproved their negligence, 8 prayeth God to judge.

FOD standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods.

2 How long will ye judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked ? Selah.

3 Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy.

4 Deliver the poor and needy: rid them out of the hand of the wicked.

5 They know not, neither will they understand; they walk on in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are out of course.

6 I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.

7 But ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes.

8 Arise, O God, judge the earth: for thou shalt inherit all nations.

Psalm 83 1 A complaint to God of the enemies' conspiracies. 9 A prayer against them that oppress the church. A Song or Psalm of Asaph.

JEEP not thou silence, O God: hold not thy peace, and be not still, O God.

2 For, lo, thine enemies make a tumult: and they that hate thee have lifted up the head.

A Psalm of Asaph.

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PSALM LXXXIII–THE LEAGUE AGAINST ISRAEL

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3 They have taken crafty counsel against thy people, and consulted against thy hidden ones.

4 They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance.

5 For they have consulted together with one consent: they are confederate against thee:

6 The tabernacles of Edom, and the Ishmaelites; of Moab, and the Hagarenes;

7 Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalek: the Philistines with the inhabitants of Tyre;

8 Assur also is joined with them; they have holpen the children of Lot. Selah.

9 Do unto them as unto the Midianites; as to Sisera, as to Jabin, at the brook of Kison:

10 Which perished at En-dor: they became as dung for the earth.

11 Make their nobles like Oreb, and like Zeeb: yea, all their princes as Zebah, and as Zalmunna: 12 Who said, Let us take to ourselves the houses of God in

possession,

13 O my God, make them like a wheel; as the stubble before the wind.

14 As the fire burneth a wood, and as the flame setteth the mountains on fire;

15 So persecute them with thy tempest, and make them afraid with thy storm.

16 Fill their faces with shame; that they may seek thy name, O LORD.

17 Let them be confounded and troubled for ever; yea, let them be put to shame, and perish;

18 That men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth.

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Psalm 84

1 The prophet, longing for the communion of the sanctuary, 4 sheweth how blessed they are that dwell therein.
8 He prayeth to be restored unto it.
To the chief Musician upon Gittith, A Psalm for the sons of Korah.

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OW amiable are thy tabernacles, O LORD of hosts!

2 My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of

the LORD: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God. 3 Yea, the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O LORD of hosts, my King, and my God.

4 Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be still praising thee. Selah.

5 Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; in whose heart are the ways of them.

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