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from twenty years old and upward, to set forward the work of the house of the Lord. Then stood Jeshua, with his sons and his brethren, Kadmiel and his sons, the sons of Judah, together, to set forward the workman in the house of God; the sons of Henadad, with their sons and their brethren the Levites. And when the builders laid the foun. dation of the temple of the Lord, they set the priests in their apparel with trumpets, and the Levites the sons of Asaph with symbals, to praise the Lord, after the ordinance of David king of Israel. And they sang together by course, in praising and giving thanks unto the Lord; be cause he is good, for his mercy endureth forever toward Israel. And all the people shouted with a great shout when they praised the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid."

Ezra iv. "Now when the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the children of the captivity builded the temple unto the Lord God of Israel, then they came to Zerubbabel, and to the chief of the fathers, and said unto them, Let us build with you, for we seek your God as ye do; and we do sacrifice unto him, since the days of Esarhaddon king of Assur, which brought us up hither. But Zerubbabel and Jeshua, and the rest of the chief of the fathers of Israel, said unto them, ye have nothing to do with us to build an house unto our God; but we ourselves together will build unto the Lord God of Israel, as king Cyrus, the king of Persia, hath commanded us. Then the people of the land weakened the hands of the people of Judah, and troubled them in building; and hired counsellors against them, to frustrate their purpose, all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia. And in the reign of Ahasuerus, in the beginning of his reign, wrote they unto him an accusation against the inhab. itants of Judab and Jerusalem. And in the days of Artarerxes wrote Bishlam, Mithredat, Tabeel, and the rest of their companions, unto Artaxerxes king of Persia; and the writing of the letter was written in the Syrian tongue, and interpreted in the Syrian tongue; Rebum the chancellor, and Shimshai the scribe, wrote a letter against Jerusalem to Artaxerxes the king, in this sort: This is the copy of the letter that they sent unto him, even imto Artaxerxes the king: Thy servants, the men on this side the river, and at such a time. Be it known unto the king, that the Jews, which came up from thee to us, are come unto Jerusalem, building the rebellious and the bad city, and have set up the

walls thereof, and joined the foundations. Be it known now unto the king, that if this city be builded, and the walls set up again, then will they not pay toll, tribute and custom, and so thou shalt endamage the revenue of the kings. Now, because we have maintenance from the king's palace, and it was not meet for us to see the king's dishonour; therefore have we sent and certified the king, that search may be made in the book of the records of thy fathers: so shalt thou find in the book of the records, and know, that this city is a rebellious city, and hurtful unto kings and provinces, and that they have moved sedition within the same of old time: for which cause was this city destroyed. We certify the king, that if this city be builded again, and the walls thereof set up, by this means, thou shalt have no portion on this side the river. Then sent the king an answer unto Rehuin the chancellor, and to Shimshai the scribe, and to the rest of their companions that dwell in Samaria, and unto the rest beyond the river, Peace, and at such a time. The letter which ye sent unto us hath been plainly read before me. And I commanded, and search hath been made, and it is found, that this city of old time hath made insurrection against kings, and that rebellion and sedition have been made therein. There have been mighty kings also over Jerusalem, which have ruled over all countries beyond the river; and toll, tribute and custom was paid unto them. Give ye now commandment to cause these men to cease, and that this city be not builded, until another commandment shall be given from me. Take heed now that ye fail not to do this: why should damage grow to the hurt of the kings? Now, when the copy of king Artaxerxes' letter was read before Rehum, and Shimshai the scribe, and their companions, they went up in haste to Jerusalem, unto the Jews, and made them to cease by force and power. Then ceased the work of the house of God, which is at Jerusalem. So it ceased unto the second year of the reign of Darius, king of Persia."

Josephus informs us, that Darius, while he was a private man, made a vow to God, that if ever he came to the throne, he would send all the holy vessels that were at Babylon, back again to Jerusalem; and it happened about the time of his accession, that Zerubbabel,* who was a cap

• In the index to Basket's edition of the Bible, published, London, 1722, which is generally considered more free from errors than any other in the English language, I find that in the second year of the reign of king Darius Hystaspes (the same with Ahaseuerus) Zerubbabel and Jeshua, incited by the prophets, Haggai and Zechariah, set forward the building of the temple: this

tain or prince of the Jewish captives, came from Jerusalem to Darius, as well to solicit his protection against their adversaries on the other side of the river, as to watch a suitable opportunity of endeavouring to persuade the king to fulfil his promise. He had long been known to Darius as a man of great judgment and understanding, and was therefore taken into the king's confidence, and put into a par. ticular trust, with two other great officers, as his constant attendants.

Darius, in the first year of his reign, gave a splendid and magnificent entertainment to the princes and nobility, and after they had retired, finding bumselí unable to sleep, he fell into discourse with his three favourite oflicers, to whom he proposed certain questions, telling them, at the same time, that he, who should give luim the most reasonable and satisfactory answer, should be clothed in purple, drink in a golden cup, wear a silken tiara, and a golden chain about his nerk.

Ile then proposed this question: Which is greatest, the strength of wine, of the king, of women, or of truth? To this the first answered, wine is the strongest; the second, that the king was strongest; and the third (who was Zerub. banel) that woman were stronger, but above all things TROTH beareth the victory.

On the following day the king assembled together the princes and mobility, to hear the question debated; and hav. ing placed himself upon the royal seat of judgment, he called upon them to make a public defence of their several opinions; whereupon the first began upon the strength of wine, as follows:

“1 ye princes and rulers, how exceeding strong is wine! it caus<th all men to err that drink it: it maketh the mind. of the king and the beggar to be all one; of the bondman and the freeman; of the poor man and of the rich; it turneth also every thought into jollity and mirth, so that a man remembereth neither sorrow nor debt; it changeth and elevateth the spirits, and enliveneth the heavy hearts of the miserable. It maketh a man forget his brethren, and draw bis sword against his best friends. O ye princes and was 520 years before the birth of Christ: in the same year Haggai prophe sieth that the glory of this second temple shall be greater than that of the for. mer; not as being a more magnificent structure, but in regard the blessed Mes. siah shall one day honour it with his presence, and from thence propagate peace to all nations. The same authority informs us that the temple was finisher and dedicated with joy, in the sixth year of the same reign, which was 515 years before the Christian era.

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rulers, is not wine the strongest, that forceth us to do these things?”

Then began the second upon the power of kings, and spoke as follows: “It is beyond dispute, o princes and rul. ers, that God has made man master of all things under the sun; to command them, to make use of them, and apply thein to his service as he pleases: but whereas men have only doininion over other sublunary creatures, kings have an authority even over men themselves, and a right of ruling thein by will and pleasure. Now, he that is master of those who are masters of all things else, hath no earthly thing above him."

Then began Zerubbabel upon the power of woman and of truth, and spoke as follows: “O princes and rulers, the force of wine is not to be denied; neither is that of kings, that unites so many men in one common bond of allegiance; but the supereminency of woman is yet above all this; for kings are but the gifts of women, and they are also the mothers of those that cultivate our vineyards. Women have the power to make us abandon our very country and relations, and many times to forget the best friends we have in the world, and forsaking all other comforts, to live and die with them. But when all is gaid, neither they, nor wine, nor kings, are comparable to the almighty force of truth. As for all other things, they are mortal and transient, but truth alone is unchangeable and everlasting; the beneats we receive from it are subject to no variations or vicissitudes of time and fortune. In her judgment is no un. righteousness, and she is the strength, wisdom, power, and majesty, of all ages.-Blessed be the God of truth."*

When Zerubbabel had finished speaking, the princes and rulers cried out, “Great is truth, and mighty above all things."

Then said the king to Zerubbabel, “Ask what thou wilt and I will give it thee, because thou art found wisest among thy companions."

Then said he to Darius, “Oking, remember thy vow, which thou hast vowed, to build Jerusalem in the day when thon shouldst come to thy kingdom, and to restore the holy vessels which were taken away out of Jerusalem. Thou

The same story is recorded in the 3d and 4th chapters of the first book of Esdras, which although apocryphal, is entitled to as much respect proba. bly, as the writings of Josephus; the story is there told in rather different and I think more interesting language.

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hast also vowed to build up the temple, which was turned when Judah was made desolate by the Chaldees. And now, O king, this is that I desire of thee, that thou make good the vow, the performance whereof with thive own mouth thou hast vowed to the King of Heaven."

Then Darius the king stood up and embraced him, and gave him passports and letters to his governors and officers, that they should safely convey both bim and those, who should go with him, to Jerusalem; and that they should not be delayed or hindered from building the city and the temple. until they should be finished. He also restored all the holy vessels remaining in his possession, that had been taken from Jerusalem, when the children of Israel were carried away captive to Babylon, and reserved by Cyrus.

Nehemiah iv. 7–21. “But it came to pass, that when San. ballat, and Tobiah, and the Arabians, and the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites, beard that the walls of Jerusalem were made up, and that the breaches began to be stopped, then they were very wroth, and conspired all of them together, to come and to fight against Jerusalem, and to hinder it. Nevertheless, we made our prayer unto our God, and set a watch against them day and night because of them. And Judah said, The strength of the bearers of burdens is de. cayed, and there is much rubl h, so that we are not able to build the wall. And our adversaries said, They shall not know, neither see, till we come in the midst among them, and slay them, and cause the work to cease. And it came to pass, that when the Jews, which dwelt by them, came, they said unto us ten times, From all places whence ye shall return unto us, they will be upon you. Therefore set I in the lower places, behind the wall, on the higher places, I even set the people after their families, with their s.words, their spears, and their bows. And I looked, and rose up, and said unto the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, Be not ye afraid of them: Remember the Lord, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your houses. And it came to pass, when our enemies heard that it was known unto us, and God had brought their counsel to nought, that we returned all of us to the wall, every one unto his work. And it came to pass, from tbat time forth, that the half of my servants wrought in the work, and the other half of them held both the spears, the shields, and the bows, and the habergeons; and the rulers were behind all the house of Judah. They which builded

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