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    April 30, 1902

    “Restoration from Babylon. ‘The Hand upon the Throne of the Lord’” The Signs of the Times 28, 18, pp. 3, 4.

    BY ALONZO TREVIER JONE

    WITH every soul of them devoted to massacre on a day already fixed, and fixed by a law that could not be changed, the Jews throughout the whole empire of the Persians and Medes were in great distress. “In every province, whithersoever the king’s commandment and his decree came, there was great mourning among the Jews, and fasting, and weeping, and wailing; and many had on sackcloth and ashes.” And “Mordecai rent his clothes, and put on sackcloth with ashes, and went out into the midst of the city, and cried with a loud and a bitter cry; and came even before the king’s gate.” Esther 4:1, 2.SITI April 30, 1902, page 3.1

    Yet these expressions of distress and grief were not merely such, as tho they were hopeless lamentations. The living God was still their God. In their history there had been crises as desperate as was this; and when appealed to and trusted, He had never failed to work deliverance. They could surely trust that He would deliver them now. And because the examples of God’s wonderful deliverances in their history in their history, which they had as encouragements to their faith, they had the direct word of the Lord with respect to any such occasion as this that might ever arise in which the Amalekites were to have a part.SITI April 30, 1902, page 3.2

    When Amalek played his treacherous part, and attacked the weak, the feeble, the faint, and the weary, even the hindmost, in Rephidim, tho he was defeated, when the battle was over the Lord commanded Moses to write “for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua,” that “I will utterly blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.” Yet that matter did not end with only writing it for a memorial in a book. For Moses built there an altar unto the Lord, “and called the name of it Jehovah-nisai”—“The Lord my banner.” This was also a memorial of the affair of Amalek’s, that the Lord Jehovah would ever be His people’s banner against Amalek. For said Moses in the name of the Lord—SITI April 30, 1902, page 3.3

    “Because the hand of Amalek is against the throne of the Lord, therefore the hand upon the throne of the Lord hath sworn that the Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.” Exodus 17:16, margin.SITI April 30, 1902, page 3.4

    And now in this latest generation of Amalek, in this Haman the Agagite the hand of Amalek was still against the throne of the Lord. And now also the oath of the hand upon the throne of the Lord, was still good, the Lord Jehovah was still the banner of His people in the war with Amalek.SITI April 30, 1902, page 3.5

    And this is why it was that the distress, the mourning, the fasting, and the cry of His devoted people, was not hopeless. Indeed, it was not only not hopeless, but was full of faith; for the memorial and the oath of God, written in the Book, still stood as the door of faith, and therefore of victory. And this was their confidence. Therefore they expected victory and deliverance by that blessed hand that is upon the throne of the Lord. It is certain that they expected only victory and deliverance, for when Mordecai got word to Esther of the true state of their affairs, urging her to go to the king and make supplication and request for her people, and she pleaded the danger of death when she went without being called, Mordecai assured her that if she failed to do her part, then should “relief and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place.”SITI April 30, 1902, page 3.6

    God would not fail them. Esther was in a position to be an instrumentality in God’s working the deliverance that was certain to come. How could she know but that she was in that position for just such an occasion as this? and if, for any reason, even the certain risk of her own life, she should fail to rise to the occasion and do her part, still life and deliverance would certainly come, only it would come by other instrumentality; it would arise from another place. This was the faith of Mordecai and of his people. It was true faith in the word of God; it rested upon the word of God, and the oath of Him whose hand is upon the throne of the Lord. All that remained for them to do was to prove themselves appreciative of that word by separating themselves from all sin, and everything that was unbecoming to their Banner, so that the certain victory of the Hand upon the throne of the Lord should include very individual; and that they might see that Hand moving victoriously in this final war with Amalek.SITI April 30, 1902, page 3.7

    Esther did rise nobly to the occasion; she proved indeed to be the queen that her position implied that she was. She sent word to Mordecai to gather together all the Jews that were in Shushan, and fast for her “three days” night and day; “I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law; and if I perish, I perish.” And God began just then to work their glorious deliverance.SITI April 30, 1902, page 3.8

    On the third day Esther made her trembling venture into the king’s presence. The king graciously received her; and told her to ask anything she chose, even to the half of the kingdom, and it should be granted her. She simply asked that the king and Haman come that day to a banquet which she had prepared. The king caused Haman to be informed; and “so the king and Haman came to the banquet that Esther had prepared.” At the banquet the king said again to Esther, “What is thy petition? and it shall be granted to the half of the kingdom it shall be performed.” Esther most respectfully requested that the king and Haman come again on the morrow to a banquet which she would prepare; stating also that on the morrow she would present her petition and request that the king desired to know.SITI April 30, 1902, page 3.9

    Thus twice in immediate succession had Haman been shown the high honor of an exclusive banquet with the king and queen; and this upon the special invitation of the queen herself. This was honor and distinction surpassing all. He was correspondingly elated, and “went forth that day joyful and with a glad heart.” Yet there was one element that detracted from the perfection of his happy state: as he went forth from the royal banquet, he saw Mordecai in the king’s gate, who still “stood not up, nor moved for him.” This, and at such a time, was an ignominy too great to be borne, and filled him “full of indignation against Mordecai.” Nevertheless, in view of what he had prepared for Mordecai and all his people, “Haman refrained himself.”SITI April 30, 1902, page 3.10

    “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.”SITI April 30, 1902, page 3.11

    To Haman’s wife and his friends his affliction from the presence of Mordecai was exceedingly proper and reasonable, and a thing from which he ought to be speedily relieved. Therefore “said Zeresh his wife and all his friends unto him, Let a gallows be made of fifty cubits [seventy-five feet] 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.”SITI April 30, 1902, page 3.12

    “And the thing pleased Haman; and he caused the gallows to be made,” and went to sleep perfectly satisfied with all his arrangements and fair prospects for the morrow.SITI April 30, 1902, page 3.13

    But He that keepeth Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps. He whose hand is upon the throne of the Lord had other arrangements for both Mordecai and Haman on the morrow. Therefore that night, for some reason, king Xerxes found it impossible to sleep. In order to occupy the sleepless hours, the king caused the book of the chronicles of the kingdom to be brought and read to him, and the place where the reader read in the book happened to be the very place of the record of the late plot to assassinate the king, and of Mordecai exposure of the plot in time to save the king.SITI April 30, 1902, page 3.14

    When this had been read, the king asked, “What honor and dignity hath been done to Mordecai for this?” The king’s attendants answered, “There is nothing done for him.” The king inquired, “Who is in the court?” It was now morning, and Haman had come early to get the king’s order to hang Mordecai on that seventy-five-foot gallows that was waiting, so that Haman could go merrily to the coming banquet. Thus at so early an hour Haman was in the court, and was the only man in the court. So when the king’s attendants looked into the court, they saw Haman, and in answer to the king’s question said, “Behold, Haman standeth in the court.” The king said, “Let him come in.” The word was passed; anmd “so Haman came in.”SITI April 30, 1902, page 3.15

    But before Haman had a chance to present his request for the hanging of Mordecai, the king asked him, “What shall be done unto the man whom the king delighteth to honor?” Haman, having flattered himself beyond all judgment or reason, instantly thought, That man is myself. For “to whom would the king delight to do honor more than to myself?” The king designs some new honor for me, so that I can go to that banquet to-day in a style befitting my nobility and dignity: and he has even done me the honor of letting me name it myself. The only honor that remains, that could be really becoming to me, is that I should occupy the very place of the king.SITI April 30, 1902, page 3.16

    Therefore Haman answered:—SITI April 30, 1902, page 3.17

    “For the man whom the king delighteth to honor.SITI April 30, 1902, page 3.18

    “Let the royal apparel be brought which the king useth to wear.SITI April 30, 1902, page 3.19

    “And the horse that the king rideth upon;SITI April 30, 1902, page 3.20

    “And the crown royal which is set upon his head;SITI April 30, 1902, page 3.21

    “And let this apparel and horse be delivered to the hand of one of the king’s most noble princes,SITI April 30, 1902, page 3.22

    “That they may array the man withal whom the king delighteth to honor,SITI April 30, 1902, page 276.1

    “And bring him on horseback through the street of the city,SITI April 30, 1902, page 276.2

    “And proclaim before himSITI April 30, 1902, page 276.3

    That shall it be done to the man whom the king delighteth to honor.”SITI April 30, 1902, page 276.4

    Then said Xerxes to Haman:—SITI April 30, 1902, page 276.5

    “Make haste,SITI April 30, 1902, page 276.6

    “And take the apparel and the hose,SITI April 30, 1902, page 276.7

    As thou hast said,SITI April 30, 1902, page 276.8

    “And do even so to Mordecai the Jew,SITI April 30, 1902, page 276.9

    “That sitteth at the king’s gate;SITI April 30, 1902, page 276.10

    Let nothing fail of all that thou hast spoken.”SITI April 30, 1902, page 276.11

    For Haman, this was a terrific come-down. Yet there was no escaping it; he had fixed the whole matter himself. Therefore “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 it be done unto the man whom the king delighteth to honor.”SITI April 30, 1902, page 276.12

    “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 the seed of the Jews, before whom thou hast begun to fall, thou shalt not prevail against him, but shalt surely fall before him.”SITI April 30, 1902, page 276.13

    All this had occurred early in the day, and before the time of the banquet of the queen. And just now, even while Zeresh and Haman’s wise men were talking with him of what he should expect from this beginning, “came the king’s chamberlains, and hasted to bring Haman unto the banquet that Esther had prepared. So the king and Haman came to banquet with Esther the queen.” But Haman did not go to the banquet as “merrily” as had been planned by himself, and wife, and friends the evening before.SITI April 30, 1902, page 276.14

    As they sat at the banquet, the king again said to Esther, “What is thy petition, queen Esther? and it shall be granted thee; and what is thy request? and it shall be performed, even to the half of the kingdom.” Esther now, to the king and in the very presence of Haman, presented her petition and her request:—SITI April 30, 1902, page 276.15

    “If I have found favor in thy sight, O king, and if it please the king, let my life be given me at my petition, and my people at my request. For we are sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be slain, and to perish. But if we had been sold for bondmen and bondwomen, I had held my tongue, altho the enemy could not countervail the king’s damage.”SITI April 30, 1902, page 276.16

    In blank astonishment the king asked, “Who is he, and where is he, that durst presume in his heart to do so?” Esther answered, and Haman sitting there, “The adversary and enemy is this wicked Haman.” This revelation was more than the king could bear, and sit still. Therefore “in his wrath” he arose from the banquet and stepped into the palace garden. Haman, well knowing what the king’s wrathful astonishment must mean to him, arose from his seat to plead with Esther for his life. In his anxiety and fear in his pleading he fell upon the divan where queen Esther was sitting. Just then the king returned to the banquet room, and discovered Haman in that attitude. Instantly there flashed across the mind of the king a suspicion that in that murderous scheme Haman had a design to seize the kingdom: and he exclaimed, “Will he force the queen also before me in the house?”SITI April 30, 1902, page 276.17

    As the word “went out of the king’s mouth,” the chamberlains ran in and “covered Haman’s face. And Harbonah, one of the chamberlains, said before the king, Behold also the gallows fifty cubits high, which Haman had made for Mordecai, who had spoken good for the king, standeth in the house of Haman.” And the king said, “Hang him thereon. So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then was the king’s wrath pacified.”SITI April 30, 1902, page 276.18

    The same day Esther told king Xerxes what Mordecai was to her; and “the king took off his ring, which he had taken from Haman, and gave it unto Mordecai. And Esther set Mordecai over the house of Haman;” for the king had given “the house of Haman the Jews’ enemy unto Esther the queen.” And again Esther put her life at stake in approaching the king without being called. She came “before the king, and fell down at his feet, and besought him with tears to put away the mischief of Haman the Agagite, and his device that he had devised against the Jews.SITI April 30, 1902, page 276.19

    The king held out to Esther his golden scepter, and she arose and stood, and pleaded that letters be written and sent to every province, reversing the letters sent by Haman to destroy the Jews. In response the king directed that Esther and Mordecai should write as they liked in the king’s name, and to seal it with the king’s ring; “for the writing which is written in the king’s name, and sealed with the king’s ring, may no man reverse.”SITI April 30, 1902, page 276.20

    But already were the letters out in the king’s name, and sealed with the king’s ring, commanding that all the Jews should be destroyed. This could not be reversed by writing letters saying that the Jews should not be destroyed, or forbidding anybody to attack them. But letters were written to all the officials and all the people in all provinces of the empire, granting to the Jews full right and power to defend themselves against all who should attack them. This being published everywhere, and the favor of the king thus known toward the Jews, plainly it could be only the most desperate and murderous characters that would attempt to execute the first decree; and if, in so doing, they should fall, it would be only a benefit to the empire and to mankind.SITI April 30, 1902, page 276.21

    “And Mordecai went out from the presence of the king in royal apparel of blue and white, and with a great crown of gold, and with a garment of fine linen and purple: and the city of Shushan rejoiced and was glad. The Jews had light, and gladness, and joy, and honor. And in every province, and in every city, whithersoever the king’s commandment and his decree came, the Jews had joy and gladness, a feast and a good day. And many of the people of the land became Jews; for the fear of the Jews fell upon them.”SITI April 30, 1902, page 276.22

    These letters were sent out on the twenty-third day of the third month. Thus there were yet nearly nine months before the day fixed in Haman’s decree for the massacre. And when that day came, there were found in all parts of the empire the number of seventy-five thousand who were so set in their hatred of the Jews as to attack them under Haman’s decree. But “all the rulers of the provinces, and the lieutenants, and the deputies, and officers of the king, helped the Jews; because the fear of Mordecai fell upon them.”SITI April 30, 1902, page 276.23

    Among those who attacked the Jews were the ten sons of Haman the Agagite. These were all slain; the last remnant of the race of the Amalekites. And so ended the war of Amalek against the hand that is upon the throne of the Lord. And so also ended Satan’s master-stroke against the cause, and work, and people of God in the earth.SITI April 30, 1902, page 276.24

    [The next article is “The Second Return.”]SITI April 30, 1902, page 276.25

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