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Chronicles of Jerahmeel, by M. Gaster [1899], at

LXXXIII. (1) It is written, On that same night the sleep of the king was disturbed. God at that time said to the patriarchs, 'They have been condemned to destruction;' they replied, 'O Lord of the universe, for what reason?' 'Because in the time of Nebuchadnezzar they did not sanctify My name, and made Me to be one who hath no power to deliver.' Whereupon they replied, 'Now, O Lord, do unto them what seems good to Thee.' But as soon as God saw that they bowed to justice, He arose from His throne of justice, and sat upon the throne of mercy. Then did the heavenly host address God, saying, 'Didst Thou not create the whole world for the sake of the Torah, which Thou gayest to Israel? do not all things exist for their sake? as it is said, "If not for My covenant I would not have created day and night." Therefore, if Thou destroyest this nation, what shall become of us?' But God replied, 'My children have not done well.' 'O Lord of the world,' added they, 'it is revealed and known to Thee that they did this from fear.'

(2) The Lord was then filled with mercy for Israel, and, calling to the trees of the creation, He said, 'Who of you will be willing to serve as gallows for the wicked?' And the fig-tree replied, 'I am ready to be the gallows to hang that wicked man; for from me the Israelites brought the

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first ripe fruits into the temple, and not only this, but they were compared to me,' as it is said, 'I saw your fathers as the first ripe fruit on the fig-tree in its bud.' The vine also said, 'I will offer myself, for from me they obtained the drink-offering for the temple; and, moreover, to me they were compared,' as it is said, 'Israel is a budding vine.'

(3) Then said the pomegranate, 'I will offer myself, for the Israelites were compared to me,' as it is said, 'Like the heart of a pomegranate is thy temple.' And the walnut said, 'I will offer myself, for the Israelites were compared to me,' as it is said, 'I descended to the garden of nuts.' The citron also exclaimed, 'I will offer myself, for the Israelites praised God through me,' as it is said, 'And ye shall take you the fruit of goodly trees.' The willows of the brook said. 'They were compared to me,' as it is said, 'And they shall spring up among the grass, as willows by the water-courses.' The olive said, 'I will offer myself, for from me they kindled the lights in the temple,' as it is said, 'And they shall take unto me pure olive-oil'; 'they were, moreover, compared to me,' as it is said, 'His majesty is like the olive, and, further, the green olive whose fruit is beautiful to look at.'

(4) The apple also said, 'I will offer myself, for the Israelites were compared to me,' as it is said, 'And the sweet smell of thy breath is like apples.' The cedar said, 'I will offer myself, for from me the holy temple was built, besides which the Israelites were compared to me,' as it is said, 'He shall grow like the cedar in Lebanon.' The thorn next said, 'I will serve as gallows, for the wicked were compared to me,' as it is said, 'But the ungodly shall be all as thorns to be thrust away.'

(5) As soon as the thorn had offered itself, the Lord silenced all the trees of the creation, saying, 'Since thou offerest thyself, this wicked man, who desires to destroy My children, shall be hanged upon thee.' And at that moment that wicked man, summoning his wise men, said unto them, 'I will erect a tree, to hang Mordecai thereon,

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[paragraph continues] 50 cubits high, that all the surrounding countries may see him hanging.' 'But there is no tree as high as that, except in thine own house.' This wicked man then destroyed the hall of his own house in order to obtain the materials required for the gallows, and taking the beam of thorn from his house, he fixed it; but it fell upon him, and thereby took his measurement. Then exclaimed Gabriel, 'This tree has been prepared for thee from the creation.'

(6) The sages say that Michael came to the bedside of Ahasuerus in the night, and disturbed his sleep, for he knocked him on the ground 366 times. When he arose, in great anger, he saw three companies before him, one of butchers, one of bakers, and the third of butlers, and said to them, 'Ye have given me poison, and you seek to kill me and to blot me out from the world.' But they answered, 'The same bread that Queen Esther and Haman ate thou atest, and the wine they drank thou also drankest. Let us see Esther and Haman, and if they are as thou art, then thou doest rightly; but if not, then why should we be killed?'

(7) When they found that Esther and Haman had suffered no harm, the king ordered the Book of Chronicles to be brought before him. On that same night Gabriel appeared in his dream before Ahasuerus, in the likeness of Haman, with a drawn sword in his hand, seeking to kill him. Rising confusedly from his sleep he exclaimed, 'Who is in the court?' And the young chamberlains of the king replied, 'Haman is in the court.' Then he thought, and said,' The dream I have dreamt is true, and he has come here for no other reason than to slay me.' Then, commanding Haman to come into his presence, he said, 'I know that thou art a man of thought, and whoever follows thy counsel never fails. What shall be done to the man whom the king delights to honour?' Revolving this in his mind, Haman thought, 'Whom can the king desire to honour more than me?'

(8) He therefore said to the king: 'Let the man whom the king desires to honour be clothed in the royal garments,

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and let one of the greatest men of the kingdom walk in front of him and proclaim aloud these words, "Whoever will not bend himself or bow down before him shall be slain," and in addition, let the king's daughter be given him.' Then said the king to Haman, 'Go and do likewise to Mordecai the Jew who sits in the gate of the king.' 'But there are many Mordecais who sit in the king's gate, and is not a small province sufficient for him?' asked Haman. The king said, 'Let no word fail from all that thou hast said.'

[End of the letter of Haman. This is a Midrash, and is not to be found in the Book of Josippon.]

Next: LXXXIV. The Throne of Solomon, King of Israel