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Persians is, That no decree nor statute which the king esta blisheth may be changed.

T'hen the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the den of lions. Now the king spake and said unto Daniel, Thy God, whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee.

And a stone was brought and laid upon the mouth of the den ; and the king sealed it with his own signet, and with the signet of the lords, that the purpose might not be changed concerning Daniel.

Then the king went to his palace and spent the night fas ting; neither were instruments of music brought before him: and his sleep went from him. Then the king arose very early in the morning, and went in haste unto the den of lions.

And when he came to the den he cried with a lamentable voice unto Daniel, and the king spake and said unto Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the Living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions ?

Then said Daniel unto the king, O king, live for ever. My God hath sent his angel, and shut the lions' mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt.

Then was the king exceeding glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no manner of hurt was found upon him, because he believed in his God.

And the king commanded, and they brought those men which had accused Daniel, and they cast them into the den of lions, them, and their children, and their wives; and the lions had the mastery of them, and brake all their bones in pieces or ever they came at the bottom of the den.

Then king Darius wrote unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you. I make a decree, that in every dominion of my kingdom, men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel : for he is the Living God, and stedfast for ever, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be even unto the end.

He delivereth and rescueth, and he worketh signs and wonders in heaven and in earth, who hath delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.

So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian, who ruled the kingdom after the death of Darius : And it was no longer called the kingdom of Babylon, but the kingdom of Persia.

LESSON CXXVIII. Ezra, CHAP. I. . Now in the first year of Cyrus, king of Persia, (that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled,) the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, the Lord God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth ; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah.

Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord God of Israel (he is the God) which is in Jerusalem.

And whosoever remaineth in any place where he sojourneth, let the men of his place help him with silver, and with gold, and with goods, and with beasts, besides the freewill-offering for the house of God which is in Jerusalem.

Then rose up the chief of the fathers of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests, and the Levites, with all them whose spirit God had raised, to go up to build the house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem.

And all they that were about them strengthened their hands with vessels of silver, with gold, with goods, and with beasts, and with precious things, beside all that was willingly offered.

Also Cyrus the king brought forth the vessels of the house of the Lord which Nebuchadnezzar had brought forth out of Jerusalem, and had put them in the house of his gods.

Even those did Cyrus king of Persia bring forth by the hands of Mithredath the treasurer, and numbered them unto Sheshbazzar the prince of Judah.

All the vessels of gold and silver were five thousand and four hundred. All these did Sheshbazzar bring up from Babylon unto Jerusalem.

LESSON CXXIX. Ezra, CHAP. V. THEN rose up Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua, the son of Jozadak, and began to build the house of God which is at Jerusalem; and with them were the prophets of God helping them.

At the same time came to them Tatnai, governor on this side the river, and Shethar-boznai, and their companions, and said thus unto them, Who hath commanded you to build this house, and to make up this wall ?

But the eye of their God was upon the elders of the Jews, and they could not cause them to cease till the matter came to Darius : and then they returned answer by letter concerning this matter.

The copy of the letter that Tatnai, governor on this side the river, and Shethar-boznai and his coinpanions the Apharsachites, which were on this side the river, sent unto Darius the king.

Unto Darius the king, all peace. Be it known unto the king, that we went into the province of Judea, to the house of the great God, which is builded with great stones, and timber is laid in the walls, and this work goeth fast on, and prospereth in their hands.

Then asked we those elders, and said unto them thus, Who commanded you to build this house, and to make up these walls? We asked their names also, to certify thee, that we might write the names of the men that were the chief of them.

And thus they returned us answer, saying, We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth, and build the house that was builded these many years ago, which a great king of Israel builded and set up.

But after that our fathers had provoked the God of hea. ven unto wrath, he gave them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, the Chaldean, who destroyed this house, and carried the people away into Babylon.

But in the first year of Cyrus the king of Babylon, the same king Cyrus made a decree to build this house of God.

And the vessels also of gold and silver of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took out of the temple that was in Jerusalem, and brought them unto the people of Babylon, those did Cyrus the king take out of the temple of Babylon, and they were delivered unto one, whose name was Sheshbazzar, whom he had made governor;

· And said unto him, Take these vessels, go carry them

into the temple that is in Jerusalem, and let the house of God be builded in its place.

Then came the same Sheshbazzar, and laid the foundation of the house of God which is in Jerusalem; and since that time even until now hath it been in building, and yet it is not finished.

Now, therefore, if it seem good to the king, let there be search made in the king's treasure-house, which is there at Babylon, whether it be so, that a decree was made by Cyrus, the king, to build this house of God at Jerusalem, and let the king send his pleasure to us concerning this matter.

LESSON CXXX. Ezra, CHAP. VI.

THEN Darius the king made a decree, and search was made in the house of rolls where the treasures were laid up in Babylon. And there was found at Achmetha, in the palace that is in the province of the Medes, a roll, and therein was a record thus written :

In the first year of Cyrus the king, the same Cyrus the king made a decree concerning the house of God at Jerusalem. Let the house be builded, the place where they offered sacrifices, and let the foundations thereof be strongly laid;

And also let the gold and silver vessels of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took forth out of the temple which is at Jerusalem, and brought unto Babylon, be restored, and brought again unto the temple which is at Jerusalem, every one to his place, and place them in the house of God. .

Now, therefore, Tatnai, Shethar-boznai, and your companions the Apharsachites, be ye far from thence : Let the work of this house of God alone : let the governor of the Jews, and the elders of the Jews, build this house of God in his place.

Then Tatnai, governor on this side the river, Shetharboznai, and their companions, according to that which Darius the king had sent, so they did speedily.

And the elders of the Jews builded and they prospered, through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet, and Zechariah, the son of Iddo. And they builded and finished it, according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the commandment of Cyrus, and Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia.

And this house was finished. And the children of Israel, the priests, and the Levites, and the rest of the children of the captivity, kept the dedication of this house of God with joy.

LESSON CXXXI. ESTHER, CHẠP. I. II. Now it came to pass, that in those days when the king Ahasuerus sat on the throne of his kingdom, which was in Shushan the palace.

In the third year of his reign, he made a feast unto al} his princes and his servants; many days, even an hundred and fourscore days.

And when these days were expired, the king made a feast unto all the people that were present in Shushan the palace, both unto great and small, seven days, in the court of the king's palace;

Also Vashti the queen made a feast for the women in the royal house which belonged to king Ahasuerus.

On the seventh day when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he commanded the seven chamberlains that served in the presence of Ahasuerus the king,

To bring Vashti the queen before the king with the crown royal, to shew the people and the princes her beauty; for she was fair to look on.

But the queen refused to come at the king's commandment by his chamberlains: therefore was the king very wroth, and his anger burned in him. :

Then the king said to the wise men, which knew the times,

What shall we do unto the queen Vashti according to law, because she hath not performed the commandment of king Ahasuerus by the chamberlains ?

And Memucan one of the princes answered before the king and the princes, Vashti the queen hath not done wrong to the king only, but also to all the princes, and to all the people that are in all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus.

If it please the king, let there go a royal commandment from him, and let it be written among the laws of the Persians, and the Medes, that it be not altered, That Vashti come no more before king Ahasuerus ; and let the king give her royal estate unto another that is better than she.

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