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o Wines,") notices its existence in some of the islands of the Greek Archipelago, at St. Lucar in Spain, in Italy, east in Calabria—and in some of the north-eastern departments of France. He adds, “In some parts of France a purer, with sabots, treads the grapes out, as they come from the vineyard, in a square box having holes in the tom, and placed over a square vat. The mark is then removed, and he proceeds with fresh grapes until the vat eath is full. Sometimes they are squeezed out in troughs, by men who get into the vats and use both sabots and ds at once (pp. 26, 27). It is highly probable that such humbler processes were employed by those Hebrews who no extensive vineyards, but cultivated some vines and made wine with their produce. There is no notice in Scripture, so far as we recollect, of any other or after process for obtaining the juice in the first ance, or for extracting what remained in the mark after the treading process. If the Jews had none such, they ably mixed it with water, and thus obtained a wine of inferior quality. But it is probable that treading, although principal, was not the only process known among them. Most nations had probably some other besides (see derson's 'Hist. of Ant. and Mod. Wines,' p. 38), and if so, they could not have had anything more simple than t is shown in the other Egyptian processes which our remaining cuts exhibit. From these, however, it does not clearly appear whether the method is employed to extract juice that remained in the mark after being trodden, or different process for pressing the fresh grapes in the first instance. Every probability is in favour of the former ion; but the engravings themselves seem to exhibit baskets of perfect grapes being subjected to this process, and therefore we must conclude them to be, unless we supposed that the mark is intended, although the grapes be esented, as perhaps the artists felt that the mark could not be, by them, so represented as not to be mistaken for ething else. However this may be, we see that the substance to be pressed (whether perfect grapes or grapes already len) is put into a sort of bag, apparently made of flags or rushes. This bag is sometimes suspended horizontally in me, but not always, and, whether so or not, is twisted round by means of strong staves or handspikes ; the juice h is squeezed out being received into a vessel placed underneath. The third cut exhibits the bag in its last state ompression, which is so complete as to show that the juice must have been very completely extracted. The last sconnected with the preceding, exhibiting persons employed in carrying grapes to replenish the exhausted press. observe a number of large heaped baskets or buckets, from which a man supplies smaller buckets, which boys carry their heads to the press, where they deposit the contents in other large buckets, and return with their small y ones for more. What makes us the rather think that, although perfect grapes are represented, those that have already trodden are intended, is that there is here an intermediate process—the substance is deposited in large ets, and thence conveyed to the press; whereas, when the process of supply is connected with ireading, we see Tapes brought at once from the vine to the wine-press, without any intermediate deposit.

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THE BOOK

OF

E S T H E R.

CHAPTER I.

upon a pavement of red, and blue, and 1 Ahasuerus maketh royal feasts. 10 Vashti, sent white, and black, marble. for, refuseth to come. 13 Ahasuerus, by the coun- 7 And they gave them drink in vessels of sel of Memucan, maketh the decree of men's so- gold, (the vessels being diverse one from vereignty.

another,) and royal wine in abundance,

'according to the state of the king. O W it came 8 And the drinking was according to the to pass in the law; none did compel: for so the king had days of Aha- appointed to all the officers of his house, suerus, (this that they should do according to every man's

is Ahasuerus pleasure.
h which reign- 9 Also Vashti the queen made a feast for

ed, from India the women in the royal house which be-
even unto longed to king Ahasuerus.
Ethiopia, over 10 g On the seventh day, when the heart
an hundred of the king was merry with wine, he com-
and seven and manded Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Big.
twenty pro- tha, and Abagtha, Zethar, and Carcas, the
vinces :) seven @chamberlains that served in the pre-

2 That in sence of Ahasuerus the king,

those days, 11 To bring Vashti the queen before the when the king Ahasuerus sat on the throne king with the crown royal, to shew the of his kingdom, which was in Shushan the people and the princes her beauty: for she palace,

was "fair to look on. 3 In the third year of his reign, he made 12 But the queen Vashti refused to come a feast unto all his princes and his servants; at the king's commandment by his chamthe power of Persia and Media, the nobles berlains: therefore was the king very wroth, and princes of the provinces, being before and his anger burned in him. him:

13 Then the king said to the wise men, 4 When he shewed the riches of his glo- which knew the times, (for so was the king's rious kingdom and the honour of his excel- manner toward all that knew law and judg. lent majesty many days, even an hundred ment : and fourscore days.

14 And the next unto him was Carshena, 5 And when these days were expired, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Mar. the king made a feast unto all the people sena, and Memucan, the 'seven princes of that were 'present in Shushan the palace, Persia and Media, which saw the king's face, both unto great and small, seven days, in and which sat the first in the kingdom ;) the court of the garden of the king's pa

15 What shall we do unto the queen

Vashti according to law, because she hath 6 Where were white, green, and 'blue, not performed the commandment of the king hangings, fastened with cords of fine linen Ahasuerus by the chamberlains ? and purple to silver rings and pillars of 16 And Memucan answered before the marble: 'the beds were of gold and silver, king and the princes, Vashti the queen hath

1 Heb. found. Or, violet. Or, of porphyry, and marble, and alabaster, and stone of blue colour. 4 Heb. wine of the kingdom. Heb. according to the hand of the king. Or, eunuchs. 7 Heb. good of countenance. 8 Heb, which was by the hand of his cu nucks.

9 Ezra 7. 14. 18 Heb. what to do

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lace;

not done wrong to the king only, but also That Vashti come no more before king to all the princes, and to all the people that Ahasuerus; and let the king give her royal are in all the provinces of the king Aha-estate "unto another that is better than suerus.

she. 17 For this deed of the

queen
shall come

20 And when the king's decree which he abroad unto all women, so that they shall shall make shall be published throughout despise their husbands in their eyes, when all his empire, (for it is great,) all the wives it shall be reported, The king Ahasuerus shall give to their husbands honour, both to commanded Vashti the queen to be brought great and small. in before him, but she came not.

21 And the saying "pleased the king and 18 Likewise shall the ladies of Persia and the princes; and the king did according to

this day unto all the king's the word of Memucan: princes, which have heard of the deed of the 22 For he sent letters into all the king's queen. Thus shall there arise too much con- provinces, into every province according to tempt and wrath.

the writing thereof, and to every people after 19 "If it please the king, let there go a their language, that every man should bear royal commandment isfrom him, and let it rule in his own house, and that it should be written among the laws of the Persians be published according to the language of and the Medes, that it be not altered,

every people. 11 Heb. If it be good with the king. 18 Heb. from before him.

14 Heb. unto her comparion. 15 Heb. was goud in the eyes of the king. 16'Heb. that one should publish it according to the language of his people.

Media say

13 feb. that it piss not away.

Esther. - This book takes its name from that of the person who is the leading character in the history it relates. The Jews call it Megillah Esther, or "The Volume of Esther, and sometimes • The Volume' simply, by way of eminence; for by them this book is held in peculiar veneration. They place it on the same level with the law of Moses, affirming that when all other Scripture shall cease, the book of Esther shall be as stable as the Pentateuch, which shall never cease, or be destroyed, or lost. There is a statement which has become popular, in consequence of its being found in so common a book as Baxter's “Saints' Everlasting Rest'—that the Jews treat this book with peculiar disrespect, and cast it to the ground before they read it, because the name of God does not once occur in it. But this statement is by no means correct. In consequence of this remarkable omission of the Divine name, however, some of the fathers doubted its authenticity: but there really seems scarcely any historical book the authenticity of which is less open to question. Independently of the peculiar hononr in which the Jews have always held it, the institution and continued observance of the feast of Purim affords the strongest possible evidence for the reality of the history here recorded. The author and precise date of the book are unknown. Some attribute it to Ezra, others to Nehemiah, others to Mordecai, and some to Mordecai and Esther jointly. There are some who conceive it composed by the men of the great synagogue which is said to have been established by Ezra. We concur with Horne, that the most probable opinion is, that the whole, with some explanations and adaptations, was extracted from the Persian annals, probably by Ezra, Neheiniah, or More decai. This would account for many peculiarities of the book, such as the omission of the Divine name, when such opportunity was offered for the recognition of God's providence-for the Jews being spoken of in the third person-for Esther being so continually distinguished as “the queen,” and Mordecai as “the Jew;" and for the numerous parenthetical explanations which appear to have been considered necessary for a Jewish reader. This also explains how so many particulars are introduced concerning the court and empire of the Persian king, and how it happens that there is nothing strictly peculiar to the Jews, except the genealogy of Mordecai, which may have been added. There seems, moreover, to be, in chap. x. 2, a distinct reference to the source of information," the book of the chronicles of the kings of Media and Persia." The history, strictly speaking, extends from the third to the twelfth year of Artaxerxes (chap. i. 3, and iii. 7), but the institution of the feast of Purim, as mentioned in chap. ix., with the particulars in chap. x., were of course posterior to the historical statement. Therefore the estimate of the time which the book embraces varies in different authors from ten or eleven to eighteen or twenty years.

Verse 5.The court of the garden of the king's palace.”—The details concerning the palace, here and elsewhere, would, if adequately explained, tend greatly to illustrate the several texts which refer to them. On considering the best mode of obtaining such explanation, the preferable course seems to be, to refer to the remains of the only existing Persian palace that belongs to this remotely ancient period. We accordingly give a ground-plan of the remains of the royal palace at Persepolis, now called the Tackt-e-Jemsheed, or “throne of Jemsheed.” As the site is not Scriptural, we shall not enter into any discussions concerning these wonderful ruins, or give any other description than is necessary for the immediate purpose we have in view.

These ruins appear upon an extensive artificial terrace or platform at the base of a mountain, and having before it, westward, a great plain. This platform is faced with enormous blocks of smoothed stone, and appears to have been, ia different parts, from thirty to fifty feet above the level of the plain. The western face of this platform is more than a quarter of a mile (1425 feet) in length, and its depth eastward is more than 900 feet. The ascent is only from the west, by a magnificent staircase formed by two double flights of steps. On ascending these, the most extensive level of the plain is gained; for there are three levels or terraces, one higher and another lower than this. So much of this average level as our cut comprehends is marked by the letter a; the lowest terrace is w, the highest c. As the properly palatial remains are upon this last high terrace, we shall confine our brief notice to it, merely suggesting the obvious probability, that the terrace a was the palace garden, with various buildings dispersed in it. The ascent to the platform c from that of A is by four flights of steps (a)—two corresponding ones near the opposite extremities, and two others towards the middle. The front is covered with interesting and multifarious sculptures, which have furnished many valuable illustrations to the present work. Ascending the steps, the spectator arrives at the most striking part of the ruins (6), consisting of a number of lofty and beautiful pillars of a peculiar order. Of the whole number, fifteen only remain entire, but these, with the pedestals of many others, sufficiently point out the arrangement which the ground-plan exhibits This is the Chehel Minar, or “Palace of Forty Columns," as it is improperly called. That they formed no part of an inhabited building must be quite certain, but rather a vast and magnificent hall, for the display of “the great king's' state, and the riches of his glorious kingdom” on occasions of high ceremony or regal festival-such as the present chapter records. In fact we conceive it to answer to "the court (hall or vestibule) of the garden of the king's palace," in which Artaxerxes made his great feast. Some of the best travellers doubt that this hall even could have had a roof. The distance of the pillars from each other, and many other circumstances, sanction this conclusion. Neither does it appear that it had any walls ; and, therefore, when in use it was probably covered with an awning, and more or less enclosed with curtains, doubtless of great magnificence. Thus it would form a sort of tent, the grandest that ima. gination can well conceive. Now, let us see how this idea illustrates the text: “The king made a feast ... in the court of the garden of the king's palace; where were white, green, and blue hangings, fastened with cords of fine linen and purple, to silver rings and pillars of marble... upon a pavement of red, and blue, and white, and black marble." Here we see that the entertainment was not in the palace itself, nor in any building, but in the court of the palace garden. And yet it was not in a temporary erection for the occasion, for there was a marble pavement, and marble pillars, which pillars were for the support of rich hangings, under which term an awning is probably included. All these circumstances are applicable to the Chehel Minar, and we think that the comparison does, on the one hand, well illustrate the use of this remarkable hall, while, on the other, that the hall furnishes a most authentic and striking illustration of the present text.

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It is to be observed that, although we have spoken generally of the platform c as one, yet, in fact, different masses of building thereon, stand on distinct terraces, not of uniform height. Avoiding minute details, we only observe that the lowest is that on which is the hall of columns (6), and the highest the mass of buildings at the opposite extremity, at g. This last building, forming of itself a great mansion, is generally supposed to have been the residence of the monarch: this conclusion being favoured by the arrangement of its parts and the character of the sculptures, which also would denote that the large central hall was the scene of his private banquets and audiences. This then we may understand to have answered to “ the king's house” (chap. v. 1). We see that it is quite a distinct building, with two opposite lights of steps, one (e) leading from the great general platform, and the other (f) from the inner court of the mass of building at de This last is also a distinct and, though very large. smaller building than the “ king's house." Heeren thinks it answers to “the queen's house.” or “ house of the women.” that is, the harem, which is mentioned in this book, and which forms an essential and important part of every Oriental palace. On this point there can be nothing but a bare conjecture, and its probability in this instance arises from its appearing that this building is the only part besides that considered as the king's house, which appears to have been suited to domestic habitation. tt c, and occupying great part of the space between that which we call the king's house and the great hall of columns, is an immense mound which doubtless is composed of the ruins of an important part of this imperial seat. Sir R. K. Porter thinks that it formed a division of the palace answering to that more to the south at g, but probably still more magnificent, as being nearer to the grand hall or colonnade of Chehel Minar. He thinks, indeed, that this was probably the grand banquetinghall, and perhaps the same that was fired by Alexander the Great. This idea does not interfere with our previous

conclusions concerning the Chehel Minar and its possible uses. For while that may have been employed for occasions of the grandest description, as that which the text records, the second would still have been required for the ordinary business of state, and the celebration of the more common festivals, while the mansion at g tormed the peculiar and proper residence of the great king.

The transactions of the present book took place at Susa, not Persepolis ; yet we may conceive that, in the great palaces, there was such an analogy in the distribution and adaptation of the parts as to enable us to oltain illustrative ideas from the view of these remarkable ruins, which, from their high antiquity, furnish the most authentic, if not the clearest, information which can now be obtained. We may indeed rely the more safely on this analogy, from considering that the principle of arrangement here exhibited is that which stíll, more or less, prevails in the muderu palaces of Persia. They consist generally of a number of distinct buildings, at least two, situated in adjoining courts or gardens; and, while the king's proper residence is in the innermost building (the harem), he appears at stated times (almost daily) in the great hall of the outer mansion, where he receives the homage of the princes and nobles of his empire, and transacts whatever public business requires his attention. As having a proper connection with this statement, we have here introduced a cut representing the exterior building of one of the modern royal palaces of Persia, at Ispahan.

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6." Hangings."--The great palace halls, mentioned in the preceding note, are usually open towards the garden in front; and when closed in summer, it is not by doors, but by rich curtains or hangings, which are considered preferable to doors, as they admit the air while they exclude the sun. But a different explanation has been given in the preceding note, which would suggest that it was a sort of tent-palace, supported on pillars. Such are still used in Persia, on great festivals, and also in India. Accordingly, the description here given appeared to Mr. Forbes to suggest an analogy to the shahmyanah, or large canopy, spread on lofty pillars in the gardens and courts of the Mogul princes, and attached by cords of various colours. Some of these awnings belonging to the Indian emperors were very costly, and distinguished by various names; the most so was that called the bargab, mentioned in the Ayeen Akbery,' belonging to the emperor Akber; which was of such magnitude as to contain ten thousand persons; and the erecting of it employed one thousand men for a week, with the help of machines. One of these shahmyanahs, without any ornament cost ten thousand rupees. (* Oriental Memoirs,' vol. iii. p. 191.)

8. “ Nune did compel.”—This was an excellent law, which reminds one of the proclamation made by the crier at the most magnificent marriage feast given by Tamerlane in the plain of Ganigul:-"This is the time for feasting and rejoicing, let no one encroach on another, or ask, Why have you done this ?” (Ranking’s ‘Historical Researches,' p. 163.) The Athenians had just the contrary practice, obliging a person either to drink his portion, or leave the company, according to the old law, H ribi, natibo-aut bibe, aut abi, “ Drink, or away.”

9. “ The queen made a feast.”—This is perfectly in accordance with existing Oriental usages, which oblige women to feast separately from the men, even on the same occasions of rejoicing. Vashti's feast is pointedly said to be in the palace, as if to mark the separation more distinctly; the king's entertainment being in “the court of the garden."

12. “ Vashti refused to come.”—It is carefully noted that the king was drunk, to account for his making such an order. That Vashti refused to comply with it is natural, for, according to Oriental notions, a woman of reputation would cousider it an ignominy worse than death to appear thus before a society of men with her face uncovered. None but courtezans do, or ever did, appear at the entertainments of men in Persia.

14. “ The seven princes.” – When Darius Hystaspes succeeded to the Persian throne, his coadjutors in the destruction of Smerdis, the usurping Magian, according to previous agreement, received the most distinguished honours. They had the right of entering the palace at any time without being announced ; of wearing their caps in a peculiar fashion. which distinguished them from all other Persians; and in all public affairs they were first to deliver their opinion.

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