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Vashti's Defiance

BY ALEXANDER CABANEL, THE FRENCH MASTER,
DIED 1889. THE ORIGINAL IS IN THE METRO-

POLITAN MUSEUM, NEW YORK.

T

But the queen Vashti refused to come at the king's commandment by his chainberlains.Esther, 1, 12.

HE story of the book of Esther opens in the splendid

court of Ahasuerus, the Persian Emperor, lord

of all the world known to him, "from India even unto Ethiopia." History connects this monarch with Grecian story and regards his name as only another translation of Xerxes. If he was indeed that Xerxes who reigned over the Persian Empire from 485 to 465 B. C., and whose tremendous invading army was repelled by the Greeks, then we must regard the Biblical story as beginning in the early days of his reign, before his defeat at Salamis.

The luxurious emperor was holding high revel in his capital of Shushan or Susa. He had reached the closing of a stupendous festival displayed in evidence of his glory. It had lasted half a year, and now, as a climax, he resolved to display to the assembled princes, the wonderful beauty of his chief wife, his

The idea was opposed to all we know of Asiatic custom; the seclusion of the women of the harem is proverbial. Vashti when she received the summons, refused to obey it, refused to expose herself before the feasters.

queen, Vashti.

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PSALM XXXVII—THE REWARD OF GOODNESS

965

13 The Lord shall laugh at him: for he seeth that his day is coming.

14 The wicked have drawn out the sword, and have bent their bow, to cast down the poor and needy, and to slay such as be of

upright conversation.

15 Their sword shall enter into their own heart, and their bows, shall be broken.

16 A little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of

many wicked.

17 For the arms of the wicked shall be broken: but the LORD upholdeth the righteous.

18 The LORD knoweth the days of the upright: and their inheritance shall be for ever.

19 They shall not be ashamed in the evil time; and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.

20 But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the LORD shall be as the fat of lambs: they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away.

21 The wicked borroweth, and payeth not again: but the righteous sheweth mercy, and giveth.

22 For such as be blessed of him shall inherit the earth; and they that be cursed of him shall be cut off.

23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.

24 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand.

25 I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread. 26 He is ever merciful, and lendeth; and his seed is blessed. 27 Depart from evil, and do good; and dwell for evermore.

28 For the LORD loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved for ever: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off.

29 The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein for ever. 30 The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment.

31 The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide. 32 The wicked watcheth the righteous, and seeketh to slay him.

33 The LORD will not leave him in his hand, nor condemn him when he is judged.

34 Wait on the LORD, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it.

35 I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay-tree.

36 Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not: yea, I sought him, but he could not be found.

37 Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace.

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