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Title: Shorter Bible Plays
Author: Benton, Rita
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Shorter Bible Plays" ***

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Stars, TIA American Library and the Online Distributed


The Abingdon Religious Education Texts
David G. Downey, General Editor

Shorter Bible Plays




Copyright, 1922, by
All Rights Reserved

The right to produce these plays for religious and educational
purposes (without personal profit), is freely granted.

All professional acting rights and moving picture rights are
fully protected by copyright, and any individual or company desiring
to produce these plays for profit must make application to
the author and pay a royalty as agreed upon.

Printed in the United States of America


    Unto her little child, a mother saith:
      "The Lord is everywhere, so have no fear."
      The child is quieted to have her near.
    Like unto God a mother comforteth.

    And for her little child a mother prays:
      "That he may love me much, but love God more!"
      But 'tis our mothers that we all adore;
    And for our mothers, give we God the praise.

    For childhood clearer sees God's wondrous grace,
    Sees God's love shining in his mother's face.

Copyrighted, 1922, by Rita Benton


  EDITOR'S INTRODUCTION                        5
  NOAH'S FLOOD                                11
  THE PROVING OF ABRAHAM                      38
  MOSES IN THE BULRUSHES                      44
  THE CALL OF SAMUEL                          63
  DAVID AND GOLIATH                           74
  THE JUDGMENT OF SOLOMON (Longer Version)    99
  THE JUDGMENT OF SOLOMON (Shorter Version)  116
  THE GOOD SAMARITAN                         122
  MANGER SERVICE                             129


  THE DAUGHTER OF PHARAOH              _Frontispiece_

  _Noah's Flood_                                PAGE
    NOAH'S WIFE                                   10
    A SON OF NOAH                                 15
    WIFE OF NOAH'S SON                            20
    A SON OF NOAH                                 24
    WIFE OF NOAH'S SON                            26
    THE ANIMALS LEAVE THE ARK                     29
    THE RAINBOW                                   32

  _The Proving of Abraham_
    ABRAHAM                                       37

  _Moses in the Bulrushes_
    MOSES IN THE BULRUSHES                        43

  _Up, Up From Egypt to the Promised Land_
    A PAGE OF PHARAOH                             52

  _The Call of Samuel_

  _David and Goliath_
    DAVID                                         73
    THE CHALLENGER FOR GOLIATH                    93

  _The Judgment of Solomon_
    THE JUDGMENT OF SOLOMON (Longer Version)      98
    THE CHILDREN (Shorter Version)               115

To the kindness of Edward D. Waters we are indebted for the use of
many of these photographs.


Increasingly the church is coming again to use religious pageantry
and plays for instruction and worship. In the earlier history of
religion the dramatic expression of religious aspiration and feeling
was almost universal. The dramatic impulse is deeply grounded in
human nature, and may be made to appeal to the highest attributes of
reverence and devotion.

Children should usually themselves be the actors and not mere
spectators. In acting Bible stories they learn how intimately the
past is linked to the present, and how the struggles of to-day after
truth, courage, love, are like the struggles of the patriarchs and
prophets. The stories become more vivid, their charm grows, as we
study them in action--our own action. And when we have finished the
production of a Bible play a portion of the most beautiful of all
literature is ours forever.

In a portion of the plays they act out, the children should, under
wise leadership, devise and prepare their own parts and lines. Along
with these spontaneously planned representations, however, should
come a fair proportion of carefully prepared simple artistic plays
adapted to the age and understanding of the child and calculated
to teach the lesson desired. Besides teaching their own particular
lessons, such plays will serve as a model and standard for the
children in preparing their own presentations.

It is the purpose of the present volume to offer a collection of
shorter Bible plays of high standard, great beauty, simplicity, and
careful adaptation. All of these plays have been used many times over
with groups of children in church schools, and their value thoroughly
proved. The editors offer the book to the church public believing it
will be a helpful factor in the field of religious education.


The costumes used in these Bible plays have been largely copied from
Tissot's illustrations of the Bible.

A straight piece of bleached or unbleached muslin, seamed at the
sides up to arm-hole, with a slit for the neck, has been found the
simplest foundation costume.

Variations on this are:

A girdle.



A cloak of contrasting color, of the same pattern as the slip, but
open in front.

Several yards of material of contrasting color, thrown over the head
or shoulders, or draped.

Strips of cloth, four to six inches wide, sewed the length of the
costume. Black strips against white make an effective costume.

For the head use a square of white cloth bound round with a thick,
dark cord.

For women the cloth may be lighter. They may wear two girdles instead
of one, with the material puffed out between the girdles. Their veils
also should be of lighter material; over these a heavy mantle may
hang, if desired.

Barefoot sandals or Japanese sandals will do for the feet, if antique
sandals cannot be made. In many cases it is preferable that the
actors go barefoot.

For bracelets, crowns, scepters, fans, buy sheet copper or brass, tin
shears, and cut as desired. These will last forever.

For soldier costumes, make brilliant, short tunics. Belt these in
with a twelve-inch strip of brown buckram, which, in turn, is tied on
with a bright cord. Use cone-shaped caps.

Egyptian costumes may always be indicated by a belt with a broad
flap in the center, reaching from waist to hem. For headdresses, use
striped cloth; draw the two front ends under the cloth and pin at the
back of the head.

For Babylonian costumes, take several yards of material; sew fringe
to the ends and one side; pin one end of the goods at the back of
model; wind goods about waist of model so as to form a skirt, and
pin to end of goods; carry the rest of the goods around, under right
arm, over left shoulder, about neck, over right arm; tuck in and hold
in place by a three-inch belt. For head-gear use tall caps rather
resembling a sugar loaf. Use heavy white canvas; this may be painted
or fringed.

Try to use strong, bright colors, with white and black and brown.
Avoid navy blue, turkey red, baby blue or pink. Try to use the same


A sea-blue curtain is the one essential.

[Illustration: NOAH'S WIFE]




(The number and kind of animals must be left to the costumer. Where
the animals mentioned in the play are left out, mention of them must
be omitted.)


  SCENE I. _The building place of the Ark._
  SCENE II. _Mount Ararat._

The Ark may be built on a framework of wood,
covered with cloth to represent a child's toy. Bright
colors are preferable, such as gray and scarlet. Or the
Ark may be cut out of wall board. A door on hinges must be
cut in the side, also a window. A gangplank may lead up
to door. If the play is given indoors, a blue back-drop
may be used against which colored lights may be thrown, to
indicate storm. If given out of doors, a blue, smiling sky
is always desirable.

Thin tarlatan may be cut in the shape, and painted to
represent the rainbow, and stretched on a curved bit of


  A hammer and nails.
  Pitchers and platters of food.
  A rainbow.
  An idol.
  A few stones for altar.
  Two doves or pigeons.
  A Flood Curtain.

Trees, such as are seen in a child's Noah's Ark, may be cut out of
wood and painted a vivid green. These will aid the picture.


(_Taken in large measure from the play by Ranulf Higden of Saint
Werburg's, Chester._ A. D. 1299-1364.)

SCENE I. _The building place of the Ark._

(_The three_ SONS _of_ NOAH _enter and work upon the ark with hammer
and nails, or any building tools. Occasionally comes a distant cry
of_, "Ho, ho! Ark-builders!" _They look up impatiently. Presently
some impish_ CHILDREN _run in._)

FIRST CHILD (_jeeringly_): Ark-builders, ark-builders, where is your

SECOND CHILD: Ark-builders, ark-builders, when do you flit?

(SHEM AND HAM _drop their tools and chase the children out, following
them._ JAPHETH _continues his work at the door. Presently the
children reappear, entering from the other side._)

CHILDREN (_laughing merrily and pointing at ark_): Ho, ho, ho, ho, ho!

(JAPHETH _goes inside and slams the door._)

THIRD CHILD: Ark-builder, ark-builder, come out again.

CHILDREN: Ark-builder, ark-builder, where is your rain? (_They run

(NOAH _comes out of the door and looks anxiously up at the sky.
The_ MESSENGER _enters_; NOAH _bends prostrate._)

    God, who all this world has wrought,
    Heaven and earth and all of naught,
    Sees his people in deed and thought
      Are lost in sin.
    Man that he made he will destroy,
    Saving a few who are his joy,
      And have his servants been.
    Noah, a righteous man thou be,
    A ship hast thou ma-de me,
      Of trees dry and stout.
    Three hundred cubits is it long,
    And fifty broad to make it strong,
    Of height fifty, lest it be wrong,
      Thus measure it about.
    One window's made with skill and wit,
    A cubit of length and breadth is it;
    A door upon the side doth sit,
      For to come in and out.
    Destroy-ed all the world shall be,
    Save thou, thy wife and children three;
    And their three wives also with thee,
      Shall live without a doubt.

(_The_ MESSENGER _goes._)

NOAH (_rising and raising arms to heaven_):
    O Lord, I thank thee; thou art kind,
    That savest me from all man-kind.

[Illustration: A SON OF NOAH]


    Haste ye, children; God doth call.
    Hie ye, lest the water fall.
    Shem, Ham, Japheth, come ye here!
    Haste ye, haste ye, son-nes dear.

(JAPHETH _enters from within ark_; SHEM _and_ HAM _enter shaking
their fists angrily at_ IDOLATERS _without, who mock and jeer._)

IDOLATERS (_without_): Ho, ho! Ark-builders! Ark-builders, ho, ho!

    Father, the people mock at us and jeer.
    They say, "See Noah and his son-nes dear!
    Where is the flood of which they have such fear?"

    Aye, let them mock, for God hath said to me:
    "_Thy_ house shall live; the rest shall swallowed be
    E'en in the mighty belly of the sea."

JAPHETH: But, father, art thou sure?

NOAH (_sternly_): Well? Sure of what?

JAPHETH (_hastily_): Nay, nay, I see I'm wrong; I question not.

    Doubt not, for God hath given a sign.
    Now let your wives bring food and wine,
    Water and fodder for the kine,
    And work right busily.

(_All work busily. The_ WIVES _enter carrying pitchers and platters
of fruits._ NOAH'S WIFE _enters leisurely, carrying a distaff, or a
plate of fruit._)

    Noah, my husband, dost thou then believe
    That the good God would so his children grieve,
    And drown them all? Thou dost thyself deceive.

NOAH: I do believe it.

    Nay, how comes it, when
    The world is drowned that _we_ be sav-ed then,
    That we alone be saved of living men?

    Because to no false gods we've bowed the knee,
    Therefore God hath said to me:
    "Thou and thy family shall sav-ed be."

    And must our friends and all our kindred die?
    I cannot save myself and hear their cry.
    If they cannot be saved, no more will I.

NOAH: Peace, woman, go within. (_Points sternly._)

NOAH'S WIFE: I will not go.

    Then stand without and watch the waters flow.
    Thou wilt be glad to enter soon, I know. (_She seats
    herself beside ark and munches apple or plies distaff._)
    Hark, what was that?

HAM (_sullenly_):
    'Tis the idolaters; they make them merry
    With worship of false gods--and all contrary
    To the true God's command.

    How long, O Lord, how long must we
    Listen to this mockery?
    O let the flood appear on sea and land!

(_Music. Enter the_ IDOLATERS _carrying an idol of gold. They
sing and dance about it._)

UNISON. CHORUS _"Soldiers' Chorus" from Faust_

    Pour out the wine to the gods of old;
    Praise be to gods that are fair and bold!
    Glo-ry to gods that our eyes be-hold!
    Hail to the gods! The earth-lov-ing gods! The gods of gold!

Arrangement Copyright, 1911, by The Cable Company

(_One_ IDOLATER _pours out a libation of wine._ NOAH _strides forward
and knocks over idol. The_ IDOLATERS _huddle back._)

NOAH: Cursed be the man that maketh any graven or molten image, an
    abomination to the Lord!

IDOLATERS: Sacrilege!

NOAH: Cursed shalt thou be in the city, and cursed shalt thou be in
    the stall! Cursed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and cursed shalt
    thou be when thou goest out!

SONS (_loudly_): Amen!

IDOLATERS: Woe! Woe! Woe! (_They surge forward._)


SECOND IDOLATER: Scatter them!

THIRD IDOLATER: Destroy them!

FOURTH IDOLATER: No! (_He pushes others back._)
    It is the old ark-builder. Very sad!
    Cursing of other men hath made him mad.

[Illustration: WIFE OF NOAH'S SON]

A MAIDEN (_holding out her hand to_ JAPHETH):
    Come, join in the dance;
      Be glad and sing.
    For the juice of the grape
      Is a pleasant thing,
    And hath sweet fragrance.
      Be glad and sing.

(_The_ IDOLATERS _start out_, JAPHETH _following._)

NOAH'S WIFE: My son, and dost thou leave me?

    Go thy ways.
    Thou shalt repent thee before many days.

FIRST IDOLATER (_pointing upward mockingly_):
    I see a cloud in the sky; it grows.
    Perchance, it is your flood. Who knows?
    Get into the ark lest it wet your toes.

ALL THE IDOLATERS (_laughing_): Get into the ark lest it wet your
    toes. (_They dance out with_ JAPHETH.)

NOAH (_arms upraised_):
    Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth,
    For the hour of her desolation cometh!

(_Turns to other sons._)
    Have done, ye men and women all,
    Hie ye, lest the water fall.
    Of clean beasts, seven shall be,
    Of unclean, two; thus God bade me;
    The flood is nigh, I plainly see;
    Wherefore hasten ye,
    And see now that each beastie be in stall.

(SHEM _and_ HAM _go out._ NOAH _turns his back and laments_):
    And Japheth hath forsaken me--my son!
    O my son Japheth, O my son, my son!

NOAH'S WIFE (_mocking_):
    Why dost thou grieve? The Lord hath promised thee,
    Thou shalt be saved and all thy family.

NOAH (_turning_):
    Yea, it is well, and God doth not deceive.
    He will return again, I do believe.

HAM (_returns_):
    The animals are in the ark,
    Save those which Shem now bringeth. Hark!
    Hear ye the roaring and the bark?

(_Loud roarings heard outside._)

(_Enter_ SHEM _with procession of animals._ HAM _aids him drive the
animals. First of all enters a solitary_ DRAGON.)

NOAH: Where is your mate, good Dragon? Tell me--where?

DRAGON (_with a mournful flap of his claw_):
    She is eating up the village over there.
    She bade me ask how many there would be
    Within the ark?

NOAH: My sons, their wives and me.

DRAGON: I cannot add.

NOAH: In all there will be eight.

DRAGON (_mournfully_):
    Alack, alack, good Noah, it is fate.
    I fear she would not enter if she knew.
    She eats a man a day; ye are too few.

WIVES (_to_ NOAH, _with horror in their faces_): O father!

    Do not fear; too few ye be,
    And eke too thin, to suit my wife and me.
(_Crawls out._)

SHEM (_bringing other animals up_):
    Sir, here are monkeys, frogs and bears,
    Kangaroos, giraffes and hares,
    Elephants also in pairs.
(_Goes out._)

(_The_ BEAR _sits down facing audience, and scratches his nose. The_
MONKEY _runs away; he is brought back. The other_ MONKEY _climbs on
roof of ark and pulls the ear of_ GIRAFFE _as that beast looks out
of window. They drag the_ ELEPHANT _in with great difficulty._ NOAH
_counts off the animals as they enter._)

    Enter monkeys--frogs--bears--
    Elephants also in pairs--
    Stop! Stop! Too many rabbits far there be.

[Illustration: A SON OF NOAH]

RABBIT (_one of a group of little white rabbits_): O sir, I only
    brought my family. (_Weeps._)

NOAH: Where are the lions? (_One_ LION _stalks in;_ WIVES _flee._)
    Thou art late; turn ye, O Lion; seek your mate.

(_Whereupon the_ LION _shall turn to audience and roar_
_until his mate shall run to him, and both shall enter the ark

(_If so be that any child shall cry or whimper when he heareth the
lion roar, then shall the lion remove his mask and say_, "Good child,
be not afraid.")

    Now all are in, I plainly see
    The ark can nowise fuller be,
    Save should my son return to me.

(JAPHETH _enters running._)

JAPHETH (_kneeling_):
    Lo, I have sin-ned against thee;
    I pray forgiveness heartily,
    And do repent me sore.

NOAH (_embracing him_):
    Haste ye, haste ye, son-ne dear!
    The sky grows dark; the flood is near;
    And waters 'gin to roar.

(_The waters begin to rise. This may be shown by a painted curtain,
by folds of green tarlatan or in any way the wisdom of the producer
may suggest._ NOAH'S WIFE _begins to look uneasy and regards the

NOAH: Good wife, wilt thou enter now?

NOAH'S WIFE (_hastily_): Yes, good Noah, yes, I trow!

(_She runs up gang-plank._)

NOAH (_to sons_):
    Draw the plank; make all fast.
    The flood cometh quick at last.

[Illustration: WIFE OF NOAH'S SON]

(_They draw up plank; then_ SHEM _points to distance. Two_ TORTOISES
_enter, panting. With grins, the sons shove out the plank and_
TORTOISES _enter ark. They close the door and window. Enter a_
WOMAN _of the_ IDOLATERS. _carrying a baby. She enters between the
flood-curtain and the ark._)

WOMAN (_cries_):
    Good Noah, I repent me of my sin!
    O ope the door, good man, and take me in!
    O ope the door!

NOAH (_looking out of window_):
    Call on your gods to lift you from the wave.
    Are your gods helpless that they cannot save?

WOMAN (_holding up baby_): Yet save my child!

NOAH'S WIFE (_at the window_):
    Yea, save the child we must;
    For God is merciful as well as just.

    Cry to the gods of gold to give release.
    I am forbid to save you; go in peace.

(_He closes the window; she sinks with her child behind the waves.
The water rises; those within the ark chant a psalm._)

NOAH (_chanting_):
    The floods have lifted up, O Lord,
    The floods have lifted up their voice;
    The floods lift up their waves;

ALL (_chanting_):
    Above the noise of many waters,
    And mighty breakers of the sea,
    The Lord on high is mighty.


Enter the MESSENGER. (_If the play is given in-doors, this may be

    Although yon sky be peaceful and serene,
    I pray you that the son-ne be not seen,
    And that instead, ye hear the thunder's roar,
    And lightning's flash, as ne'er ye've seen before,
    And rains descend as ye shall see no more.

(MESSENGER _goes._)

(NOAH _opens window; there is a loud roaring._)

    Peace! (_The noise stills._)
    Now forty days are fully gone,
    Send a dove I will anon,
    To see if aught of tree or stone
      Be dry in any place.
    And if this fowl come not again,
    It is a sign God stops the rain,
    And all is dry in hill and plain,
      By God, his grace.
    Go forth, O Dove, and quickly see
    If this flood yet doth cease;
    If so, return again to me
      With the olive branch of peace.
(_He lets dove loose._)

CRIES WITHIN ARK: The dove! The dove!


JAPHETH (_appearing at window_):
    O father, in the east a dove is seen,
    And in his bill, an olive branch, right green.

(NOAH _disappears within ark and returns, bearing dove and olive

    O Lord, blessed be thou for aye,
    That us hath comforted this day,
    And turned toward us thy face.
    Yet once again, sweet dove, go forth,
    To the east, west, south and north,
    And find a resting place.
    If thou come not again to me,
    Then full plainly can I see
    The flood is over by God's piteous grace.
(_He sends dove forth again._)

NOAH'S WIFE (_opening door_):
    The dove returns not; it is gone for aye.
    Let us go forth out of the ark, I pray.

    Ah, Lord, honored must thou be.
    All the earth's dry, I can see.

    Son-nes, open wide the door;
    See the plank be shoved ashore;
    Lead the animals before
    Right merrily.

FIRST SON'S WIFE (_beckoning others_):
    Sisters, come; dance and sing!
    The earth is all a-blossoming.

    Sing and dance with glee and mirth;
    For the floods have left the earth.

    Raise your voices with a shout:

    We're out of the ark at last! We're out!

(_The wives dance in a little circle and sing._)


    Sum-mer is i-co-men in, ... loud-ly sing, Cuc-koo!
    Grow-eth seed and blow-eth mead, and spring-eth the wide earth new.
    Sing, Cuc-koo Ewe bleat-eth af-ter lamb, cow af-ter calf doth moo,
    Bird greet-eth, ewe bleat-eth, loud-ly sing, Cuc-koo.

[Illustration: THE RAINBOW]

NOAH (_scandalized, descends upon them_):
    Peace! A psalm of thanks now raise,
    Unto God with hymns of praise,
    For his mighty and his wondrous ways.

(_All gather about altar of stones._)

    Lord God in majesty,
    That such grace hath granted me
    Alone of mankind saved to be,
    Therefore make I offering meet,
    A sacrifice of savor sweet;
    And let the incense mount unto thy heavenly seat.

(JAPHETH _brings a sacrifice;_ NOAH _lays it on altar. If the play be
out of doors, they offer it up by fire. Enter the_ MESSENGER.)

    Noah, list ye God, his will:
    To obey is better still
      Than sacrifice; and thou hast God obeyed.
    God doth promise now through me,
    Never again a flood shall be.
      Thou hast done in all things as he said.
    My bow between you and me
    In the firmament shall be;
    By this token you shall see
    That man and woman shall nevermore
    Be wasted with water as hath been before.

(_Here let a rainbow appear in the sky._)
    Now when falleth fast the rain,
    I will bring the sun again;
    And this bow shall plain be seen
    As token that my wrath and spleen
      Shall never wakened be.
    The bow-string is turned towards you;
    And toward me is bent the bow.
    That such weather shall be no mo'e,
      I promise thee.
    God's blessing, Noah, I give thee here
(_Blesses him; all kneel_),
    For vengeance shall no more appear.
    And now farewell, my darling dear.
(MESSENGER _goes._)

_Song_: Music; "GAUDEAMUS"

    Lord God, in ma-jes-ty,
    Prais-es we will raise to thee.
    Thou hast sav-ed man and beast,
    From the great-est to the least.
    Let thy bow for-ev-er be ...
    Sign of love 'tween us and thee!
    Lord God, in ma-jes-ty,
    Prais-es we will raise to thee.

(NOAH, _his_ WIFE, _his_ SONS _and_ SONS' WIVES _move slowly off.
The_ ANIMALS _form a circle and dance._)

[Illustration: ABRAHAM]





  SCENE I _is outside the tent of Abraham._
  SCENE II _is Mount Moriah._

The Prologue takes the place of scenery or program.


  A chair or bench.
  A bundle of wood.
  A knife.


(_The_ PROLOGUE, _or the_ SERVANT _of_ ABRAHAM (_acting as_
PROLOGUE), _enters and bows low; then, drawing himself erect, points
to imaginary scenery._)

PROLOGUE: This is the tent of Abraham, the father of his people,
    where he lives with Sarai, his wife, and his son, Isaac, whom he
    loves above all else.

    I am the servant of Abraham.

    Lo, Abraham enters now with Isaac. (_The_ PROLOGUE _goes._)

(ABRAHAM _enters, leaning on_ ISAAC.)

ISAAC (_pointing_): My father, behold the lambs yonder!

ABRAHAM: Aye, my son, they are for the sacrifice. I offer them up to
    God for a thank-offering that he hath given thee to me, O my son.
    (_Seats himself._)

ISAAC (_clinging close to him_): Dost thou love me more than the
    little lambs?

ABRAHAM (_embracing him_): I love thee more than all that is in
    heaven or earth.

ISAAC (_struggling_): My father, let me go; I would go play with the

ABRAHAM (_releasing him_): Then go, my son.

(ISAAC _runs out._ ABRAHAM _remains seated; then suddenly he starts,
    rises, and stands with arms uplifted in prayer._)

ABRAHAM: Here am I, Lord. (_He listens with strong emotion._) O Lord,
    Lord, what is this thou dost require of me? Must I give up Isaac to
    thee, Isaac the joy of mine old age? (_There is a pause while he
    prays silently; then he speaks humbly._) Nevertheless, not my will, O
    Lord, but thine be done. (_There is another pause; then he calls._)
    Isaac! Isaac!

(ISAAC _runs in._)

ISAAC: Here am I, father.

ABRAHAM: Get ye wood for a burnt-offering, and saddle ye the ass, for
    I will go up upon the mount to sacrifice.

ISAAC: Aye, father, and shall I go with thee?

ABRAHAM: Thou shalt indeed go with me, thou and the servant. Get thee
    gone. (ISAAC _runs out._) Not my will, O Lord, but thine! O Lord, I
    will trust in thee.

(ISAAC _enters, carrying a bundle of fagots._)

ISAAC: My father, all is ready. The ass is saddled, and I have here
    wood for the burnt-offering.

ABRAHAM (_placing his arm about him_): Come, my son. (_They go slowly

(_The_ PROLOGUE _or_ SERVANT _enters._)

PROLOGUE: Behold, now Abraham and Isaac approach the mountains of
    Moriah. I, the servant, follow after. (_He follows them._)

(ABRAHAM _and_ ISAAC, _having made the circuit of the room,

ABRAHAM: This is the mountain on which I shall sacrifice. (_To
    servant._) Abide thou yonder with the ass. I and the lad will
    worship; then I will come again to thee. (_The_ SERVANT _bows and

ISAAC: My father?

ABRAHAM: Here am I, my son.

ISAAC: My father, behold the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb
    for the burnt-offering?

ABRAHAM: O my son, God will provide the sacrifice. (_Bends over
    him._) O my son, before thou wert born I longed for thee, and since
    thou wast a little lad I have loved thee with a greater love than I
    have given my God. Now I am punished. For the Lord hath commanded me,
    saying: "Take thou thine son, thine only son whom thou lovest, even
    Isaac, and offer him up for a burnt-offering upon the mountains." O
    my son, I shall do even as the Lord hath commanded me, for all his
    ways are perfect. Fare thee well. (_He embraces him._)

ISAAC (_fearfully_): Father--father--I--I fear--

ABRAHAM: Kneel thou upon the wood.

(ISAAC _kneels_; ABRAHAM _raises his knife to slay; a voice calls
from distance._)

VOICE OF MESSENGER: Abraham! Abraham!

ISAAC: Hark, O my father! A voice calls, "Abraham."

ABRAHAM (_with knife still raised_): Here am I, Lord!

(_The_ MESSENGER _enters and stays_ ABRAHAM'S _hand._)

MESSENGER: O Abraham, thus saith the Lord: "Because thou hast put thy
    trust in me, therefore will I deliver thee. Lay not thine hand upon
    the lad, for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not
    withheld thy son, thine only son, from me."

ABRAHAM (_raising arms to heaven_): O Lord, blessed be the man that
    trusteth in thee.

ISAAC (_jumping up_): Lo, father, a ram is there, caught in the
    thicket. Lo, I shall fetch the ram for sacrifice. (_He runs out._)

MESSENGER: Moreover, thus saith the Lord God: "In blessing, I will
    bless thee, and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be
    blessed, for I have PROVED thee." (_The_ MESSENGER _goes out._)

(ISAAC _runs in with great excitement._)

ISAAC: My father, the ram is caught; I will carry the wood yonder.
    (_Runs out._)

ABRAHAM: O God, thou hast tried me and known me. O see if there be
    any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (_Goes with
    arms upraised._)

(_The_ SERVANT _or_ EPILOGUE _advances._)

EPILOGUE: Mark the perfect man, and behold the up-right: for the end
    of that man is peace. (_He goes out._)




  PROLOGUE and EPILOGUE. (The Prologue is introduced
      for clarity, where there is no scenery or program.)
  THE BABY MOSES. (Have a real, live baby.)


A marshy place by a river. If a little scenery is desired, take an
old window-shade, sketch upon it reeds and cat-tails, and cut it
so that when the little sister hides behind it she may appear to
be looking through the reeds. The Prologue may unfold this as she
speaks, and then hold it up so as to conceal herself.


  A curtain of reeds (if desired).
  An ark (a basket bound with reeds or raffia).
  A piece of gold.
  Two fans.
  Spears for soldiers.


(_The_ PROLOGUE _advances. She unfolds the curtain of reeds as she

PROLOGUE: This is Egypt. The wicked Pharaoh holds the children of
    Israel in bondage; but they are grown so many that he fears them.
    Therefore he has commanded that all boy babies be taken from their
    mothers' arms and put to death.

    But the mothers seek to hide their babies.

    Look and behold the marshy waters of the River Nile; tall reeds grow
    here; it is the hiding place one mother has chosen. See, she and the
    sister of the babe come now to hide him from the soldiers of Pharaoh.
    (_She raises the curtain of reeds above her head, or passes out._)

(_Enter the little_ SISTER _bearing the ark of bulrushes. She looks
this way and that way; then she calls softly._)

SISTER: Mother, this way! The wicked soldiers will not find him here.

(_The_ MOTHER _enters bearing the_ BABY.)

MOTHER: Is there no one in sight? (_She looks anxiously about._)

SISTER: No one!

MOTHER (_embracing the child_): O my son, the cruel Pharaoh would
    slay thee, but the Lord is gracious; he will save.

SISTER: Here is the ark of bulrushes; I have daubed it well with
    pitch. Shall I lay it among the flags at the river's brink?

(_The_ MOTHER _nods. The_ SISTER _arranges the coverings in the
basket. The_ MOTHER _hugs the child._)

MOTHER: O my baby! (_She places child in basket._)

SISTER (_peering into distance_): Mother, sh-h-h! I see the daughter
    of Pharaoh in the distance; she cometh to bathe in the river. Oh--if
    she should discover us!

MOTHER (_looking up anxiously_): God's will be done!

SISTER (_still peering out_): One of her maidens is a child of
    Israel, but the other is a proud Egyptian. See, now they stop to

MOTHER (_rising from her knees_): I must return lest I be missed at
    home when the soldiers make the daily search for children; but do
    thou watch beside the child, and in the nighttime I will return with

SISTER: That will I, mother. I will hide in the tall reeds yonder.
    (_The_ MOTHER _moves away_; SISTER _runs after her._) But, mother, if
    they discover the babe, what must I do?

MOTHER (_earnestly_): Surely God will teach thee. Pray. (_She goes._)

SISTER (_crouching beside ark_): O God, let no one hurt my little
    brother! O God, I pray thee. (_She sings a lullaby._)

_Lullaby_, "Coventry Carol"


    "Lul-lay, thou lit-tle, tin-y Child;
    By, by, lul-ly, lul-lay....
    Lul-lay, thou lit-tle, tin-y Child;
    By, by, lul-ly, lul-lay."

(_The_ SISTER _looks up, startled, then flees behind the reeds as
the_ DAUGHTER OF PHARAOH _approaches, followed by_ SLAVES _bearing

DAUGHTER OF PHARAOH: Come, maidens, we will rest by the river's
    brink, where the flag flowers grow. (_She approaches nearer._) But
    what is that, floating upon the water?

EGYPTIAN SLAVE: Lady, it is a babe.

DAUGHTER OF PHARAOH: Go fetch it, girl. No doubt it is one of the
    Hebrew children.

EGYPTIAN SLAVE: A Hebrew brat? I will not touch it, I!

(_The_ DAUGHTER OF PHARAOH _raises her hand and strikes the saucy
maid, as the other slave, the_ MAID OF ISRAEL, _brings the babe._)
(_Or kneels beside it._)

SLAVE OF ISRAEL: O lady, see how beautiful!

EGYPTIAN SLAVE: Let it die, even as Pharaoh commanded.


SLAVE OF ISRAEL: O lady, let it live! Think how the mother loved
    it. See how cunningly the ark is daubed with pitch and hidden here,
    'midst the flag-flowers.

EGYPTIAN SLAVE: If you let it live, you let live one more enemy to

DAUGHTER OF PHARAOH: Hold thy tongue, girl. (_She looks doubtfully at

EGYPTIAN SLAVE (_exultingly_): Here come the guard of Pharaoh; they
    will see the babe and slay it. (_She points to distance. All look._)

DAUGHTER OF PHARAOH: What to do? Think, girl, use thy wits. (_To_

(_The little_ SISTER _rushes from reeds and kneels._)

SISTER: O lady, lady, shall I go and call a nurse of the Hebrew
    women, that she may nurse the child for thee?

DAUGHTER OF PHARAOH: Go--go quickly. (_She looks apprehensively

EGYPTIAN SLAVE: The soldiers cross the river.

(_The little Sister returns, followed by the_ MOTHER.)

SISTER (_panting_): Lady, I have brought a nurse.

DAUGHTER OF PHARAOH: Woman, take thou this child and nurse it for me,
    and I will give thee wages. (_Gives a piece of gold._)

MOTHER (_taking child_): Daughter of Pharaoh, may the God of Israel
    bless thee.

DAUGHTER OF PHARAOH (_turning to go_): Fare thee well.

EGYPTIAN SLAVE (_cries_): The soldiers!

DAUGHTER OF PHARAOH (_turning back_): Fear ye not.

(_All huddle behind her. She faces the_ SOLDIERS _as they enter and

FIRST SOLDIER: Daughter of Pharaoh, we make search for Hebrew
    children. One hath escaped us.

DAUGHTER OF PHARAOH (_haughtily_): Who art thou to question me? Pass

SECOND SOLDIER: But--the babe yonder? (_Points._)

DAUGHTER OF PHARAOH: Is the adopted son of Pharaoh's daughter. Pass
    ye by. (_She waves them away. They salute and go. She takes the child
    in her arms and embraces him._) I love the child. (_She gives the_
    CHILD _to his_ MOTHER _and turns to go; then she turns back._) Call
    the child "Moses," for that means, "Drawn up out of the water," and
    remember he is dear to me for that _I_ have saved him. (_She goes out
    followed by her maids._)

(_The_ MOTHER _and_ SISTER _kneel with the_ CHILD.)

MOTHER (_prays_): O God of Israel, bless thou this child, and as
    _thou_ hast drawn him up out of the water, grant that he may be the
    means, through thee, to lift his people out of slavery. (_They rise
    and go._)

(_The_ EPILOGUE _folds curtain, advances to front of stage, and holds
up hand._)

    O give thanks unto the Lord, call upon his name:
    Make known his doings among the peoples.
    He sent Moses his servant,
    And Aaron whom he had chosen.
    And he brought forth his people with joy,
    And his chosen with singing.
(_The_ EPILOGUE _goes._)

[Illustration: A PAGE OF PHARAOH]



    (acted by the Class).


  SCENE I. _The palace of Pharaoh._
  SCENE II. _The Red Sea shore._

There is no actual change of scenery in this play, description
serving the purpose.


  A litter on which the dead son of Pharaoh is carried.
  Moses' rod.
  Miriam's cymbals.
  Fan which the page carries over Pharaoh.
  Spears for soldiers.


(_Enter_ PHARAOH, _followed by_ SOLDIERS _carrying the litter of his
dead_ SON. _The_ EGYPTIANS _follow, then_ MOSES _and_ AARON.)

FIRST EGYPTIAN (_bowing low_): O Pharaoh, let the children of Israel
    go. Lo, there is mourning in the land of Egypt because thou keepest
    them in bondage. (_He points to the_ SON _of_ PHARAOH.)

EGYPTIANS: Woe, woe, woe! Yea, the god of Israel is a jealous god!

PHARAOH: O Moses and Aaron, evil have ye wrought in the land of
    Egypt, and accursed is the land while the children of Israel remain.

    Rise ye, get ye forth from my people, lest your god smite us, and
    we be all dead men. (_He passes out followed by_ SOLDIERS _carrying

MOSES (_to_ CHILDREN OF ISRAEL _or_ CLASS): Ho, men of Israel! (_They
    stand._) Pharaoh commands, "Cease ye the burden of Egypt!"

CHILDREN OF ISRAEL (_shout_): To God the glory! (_They rush into

AARON: Assemble ye your wives and little ones, your camels and your
    asses. God leads us to a land of milk and honey. On now to Canaan, to
    the promised land!

CHILDREN OF ISRAEL (_shout_): The promised land!

(AARON _leads; the_ CHILDREN OF ISRAEL _follow;_ MOSES _brings up the
    rear. They march toward the back of the room singing._)

_Song_: "The Promised Land," by Unknown Author

    1. Up, up from E-gypt to the promised land!
    Up, up from E-gypt to the promised land!
    Where our God shall lead us, we will go.
    O hasten to the promised land!

    I'll a-way, I'll a-way to the promised land!
    I'll a-way, I'll a-way to the promised land!
    Where our God shall lead us, we will go.
    O hasten to the promised land!

(_The Egyptians watch with interest._)

FIRST EGYPTIAN: A mighty army!

SECOND EGYPTIAN: Six hundred thousand strong!

THIRD EGYPTIAN: Pharaoh will rue the day when he let these slaves
    escape from the land of Egypt.

FIRST EGYPTIAN: There he cometh in mad haste.

(PHARAOH _enters followed by_ PAGE _and_ SOLDIERS.)

PHARAOH: Lo, it repents me that I have let Israel go. Let my soldiers
    go after them and scourge them back. On the Red Sea shore we will
    come up with them. On, my men, on!

(PHARAOH, _the_ EGYPTIANS _and_ SOLDIERS _rush down aisle after
the_ CHILDREN OF ISRAEL. _They, in the meantime, have made the
circuit of the room, or church, and re-enter the stage, or chancel,

_Song:_ Same Music as before.
    "Flowing with honey is the promised land;
    Flowing with honey is the promised land.
    Where our God shall lead us, we will go.
    O hasten to the promised land!"

_Chorus:_ As before.

AARON: Men of Israel, before us stretches the Red Sea water; here we
    will make our camp.

MIRIAM (_clutching his arm_): O Aaron, look! Behind us see the
    shining spears! Behind us cometh Pharaoh and his hosts. Where now is

AN ISRAELITE: And before, stretches the Red Sea water. How may we
    cross? Where now is Moses?

ANOTHER ISRAELITE: We shall be brought to Egypt again as slaves.
    Where now is Moses?

(MOSES _pushes his way through the people._)

AARON AND OTHERS: O Moses, why hast thou thus dealt with us?

ANOTHER ISRAELITE: It were better for us to serve in the land of
    Egypt, than that we die here in the wilderness.

MOSES: Fear ye not. Stand still and see the salvation of your God.
    For the Egyptians which ye have seen to-day, ye shall see them no
    more forever. (_He stretches out his rod._)

MIRIAM (_exultingly_): The Red Sea parts! The waves do mount on
    either side like giant cliffs, upheld by a monster hand. See how the
    waves do lash and foam! See! See!

MOSES: Forward, ye men of Israel!

(_They pass down the central aisle, singing._)

_Song:_ Same Music as before.
    Through Red Sea waters to the promised land!
    Through Red Sea waters to the promised land!
    Where our God shall lead us, we will go.
    O hasten to the promised land!

_Chorus:_ As before.

(PHARAOH _and his men, having pursued the_ CHILDREN OF ISRAEL _around
the room, appear on the stage._)

FIRST EGYPTIAN: O Pharaoh, thy soldiers have them in a trap. Before
    stretches the Red Sea water, and behind, behold thy shining spears!

PHARAOH: On, my men, on!

(_The_ EGYPTIANS _and the_ SOLDIERS _rush after the_ CHILDREN OF
ISRAEL. PHARAOH _and his_ PAGE _remain._)

PAGE: See, see, the Red Sea parts! The children of Israel walk on it
    dryshod. Verily, their god is God.

PHARAOH (_loudly_): Is their god more than I? Who is Jehovah? On, my
    men, on!

PAGE: Thy soldiers obey; thy army follows after through the sea. (_A
    pause of ten seconds while they peer into distance._) The high waves
    tremble--O let thy soldiers haste! (_A pause of ten seconds. Then he
    cries, trembling and hiding his eyes._) O lord, the waves! The waves!

PHARAOH: Waves, stand ye back! I, Pharaoh, bid ye stay!


PAGE (_looking up_): They fall; they crush! Thy army, the waves go
    over them.

PHARAOH (_stretching out his arms_): O god of Moses, drive the sea

PAGE (_promptly_): The god of Moses will not hear _thy_ prayer.

PHARAOH: The Israelites exult.

CHILDREN OF ISRAEL (_in distance_):
    Who is like unto thee, O Lord, among the gods?
    Glorious in holiness--
    Fearful in praises--
    Doing wonders!
    The Lord shall reign forever and ever.

MIRIAM (_with a clash of cymbals_):
    I will sing unto the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously.
    This is my God and I will praise him,
    My father's God and I will exalt him. (_Clash of cymbals._)

    Who is like unto thee, O Lord, among the gods?
    Glorious in holiness--
    Fearful in praises--
    Doing wonders.
    The Lord shall reign forever and ever. (_Clash of cymbals._)

PHARAOH (_shaking his clinched fist_): Mocked at by god and man!

    I will raise me a mightier army and follow after.

    I will pray to the gods of Egypt. (_He passes hastily out._)

PAGE (_stretches out his arms to the departing Israelites_): O God of
    Moses, _I_ will pray to thee. (_He goes slowly after Pharaoh._)






Shiloh, before the door of the tabernacle.


  A seven-branched candlestick (if feasible).
  Two couches.
  A jar of wine.
  Spears and shields.


(_Enter the_ PROLOGUE.)

PROLOGUE: This is the story of the call of Samuel. The scene is
    Shiloh, before the door of the tabernacle. Lo, there entereth Eli,
    priest of Israel. (PROLOGUE _withdraws._)

(ELI, _the old priest, enters, and stands praying._)

ELI: O Lord God, turn thou my sons, I pray thee, from their evil
    ways. Lo, they come yonder, full of wine and drink, a disgrace to
    mine old age.

(HOPHNI _and_ PHINEHAS _come swaggering in, arm in arm. One has a
jug of wine; he drinks and hands it to the other._ ELI _raises a
trembling hand toward them._)

HOPHNI: Hi there, old man, art going to chide again?

PHINEHAS (_mockingly_): Do not show anger, for anger doth not become
    a man of God.

ELI: My sons, why will ye tempt the Lord your God? Turn from your
    evil ways and pray. (_Lays a hand on_ HOPHNI.)

HOPHNI (_jerking away_): I pray not, I! Thou hast ever said the Lord
    was slow to anger.

ELI: Yea, but the cup of your iniquity is full; and I--I suffer in
    your fall.


PHINEHAS (_laughs mockingly_): Ah, so? The iniquity of the children
    shall be visited upon the fathers? Eh? Well, who is responsible if
    not the father? Come, Hophni, come where it is merry.

HOPHNI (_eagerly_): Yea! (_They go out singing and taking turns at

ELI (_raising his arms despairingly to heaven_): O God! God! (_Passes

(_Enter_ HANNAH, _followed by her husband_, ELKANAH. _She is

ELKANAH (_imploringly_): Hannah, why weepest thou? And why is thy
    heart so grieved? If it be because thou hast no son, grieve not. Am I
    not better to thee than ten sons?

HANNAH: Ai, my husband, the women mock me that I have no child. (_She
    kneels and prays silently._)

(ELI _enters and observes her in wonder, for silent prayer was

ELI: Woman, what ails thee?

HANNAH (_rising_): Ah, sir, I am a woman of sorrowful spirit; I pour
    out my soul before the Lord.

ELI: Give me to know thy sorrow.

HANNAH: I prayed unto the Lord that he would look upon the affliction
    of his handmaid, and give unto me a man-child. If he do so, then will
    I give the child unto the Lord all the days of his life.

ELI: A man-child? Nay, ask more. Ask that he grow in the grace and
    love of God, else will the gift be one of sorrow.

HANNAH: Ah, sir, that shall be _my_ task--to lead him in the love of

ELI: Ai, 'tis there that _I_ have failed. (_He raises his hands and
    blesses her._) Go thou in peace, and the Lord grant thy petition.

HANNAH (_bowing_): May thy servant find grace in thy sight. (_She
    and_ ELKANAH _go._)

ELI (_prays_): O Lord God, O let this, thy servant, find grace in thy
    sight. Forgive thou the iniquity of my sons. For who shall follow
    after me, O Lord? Who shall be judge of Israel, if not my sons? Hear
    my prayer, O Lord, and give unto me an answer of peace. (_He bows his
    head and passes out._)

(_The_ PROLOGUE _reenters._)

PROLOGUE: Now many years have passed. Eli is still the priest and
    judge of Israel, though he is blind; and his sons continue still in
    evil. Yonder come Hannah and her husband to give thanks for the gift
    of the child Samuel, and to give him to the Lord. (PROLOGUE _goes._)

(_Enter_ HANNAH _and_ ELKANAH _leading the child_ SAMUEL.)

HANNAH (_caressing child_): See thou, this is the very spot on which
    I prayed the prayer which brought me thee.

SAMUEL (_roguishly_): God heard thy prayer, and sent thee a little
    son to boast of. (_He smiles up at her._)

ELKANAH (_rumpling_ SAMUEL'S _hair_): Nay, an imp of mischief!

(ELI _enters, groping blindly._ SAMUEL _regards him in amaze._)

SAMUEL: There cometh the priest in raiment. (_He shrinks away._) Ai!
    Why walketh he in such fashion?

HANNAH: He is become blind. (_She advances to him._) Sir--O Eli--

ELI: Woman, thy voice is known to me--and yet--who art thou?

HANNAH: O sir, I am that woman who stood here praying, these
    many years ago. For a child I prayed, and the Lord hath granted
    my petition. (_She leads_ SAMUEL _to_ ELI, _who passes his hands
    delicately over the child's head._) Therefore I also have given the
    child to the Lord. As long as he liveth he is granted to the Lord.
    (_She turns to_ SAMUEL.) Kneel thou, my son, before this holy man and
    beseech him to take thee into the service of the Lord.

SAMUEL (_pulls_ HANNAH _away and puts his lips to her ears_):
    Hark'ee, dear mother, I would fain go home with thee again.

HANNAH: Nay, little son, night approacheth; we must leave thee.

ELKANAH: Come, say, "Farewell." (SAMUEL _goes to him._)

HANNAH (_prays, as though facing the altar of the Lord_):
    My heart exulteth in the Lord;
    My horn is exalted in the Lord.
    The Lord maketh poor and maketh rich;
    He bringeth low; he also lifteth up.
    For by strength shall no man prevail.
    The Lord shall judge the ends of the earth;
    He shall give strength unto his king
    And exalt the horn of his anointed.

    (_She turns, embraces the child, then bows before_ ELI.)

    O Eli, priest of God and judge of Israel, the Lord be with thee.

(HANNAH _and_ ELKANAH _go._)

ELI (_sits on couch and beckons to_ SAMUEL): Come hither, lad.
    (SAMUEL _goes to him reluctantly._) What do they call thee?

SAMUEL (_sniffling_): Samuel, master.

ELI: Samuel? And what hath thy mother taught to thee?

SAMUEL: She hath taught me that the Lord Jehovah is one God, and
    there is none beside him, that I must love him and speak truth

ELI: And what else--if there be aught beside?

SAMUEL: She bade me serve and follow in thy steps.

ELI (_musing_): Follow in my steps? Come, thou shalt serve these
    blind eyes and quench the candles. (_Omit this if there are no
    candles._) (_While_ SAMUEL _puts out the candles_, ELI _muses._)
    Follow in my steps? Shall it then be this lad, and not my sons, who
    shall rule Israel? Come, little lad, thou shalt lie here the night.
    (_He motions to couch on which he sits._ SAMUEL _lies down._ ELI
    _kneels as though before altar._) O God, God, would that my sons
    were pure as is this child! Yea, I have reared my sons in folly; now
    I reap the punishment thereof. Lo, what shall be the end?

(_He falls silent._)

(_There is a pause; then_ SAMUEL _half rouses and listens. He runs
to_ ELI.)

SAMUEL: Here am I, master, for thou calledst me.

ELI: Nay, my son, I called thee not; lie down again.

(_He reclines on other couch._)

SAMUEL (_after a pause of about twenty seconds, again runs to_ ELI):
    Here am I, master, for thou calledst me.

ELI: Nay, my son, I called thee not; lie down again.

SAMUEL (_lies down for twenty seconds; then he half rises and looks
    bewildered_): He _did_ call me, he _did!_ he _did!_ (_He crosses to_
    ELI.) Here am I, master, for _truly_ thou didst call me.

ELI: Not I! (_He reflects._) It is the Lord, who speaketh
    to _thee_ and not to _me._ Alas, I have not the open
    vision. Go, lie down, and it shall be if he call thee, thou
    shalt say, "Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth."

(SAMUEL _lies down; presently he rises and kneels._)

SAMUEL: Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth.

(_There is a pause while_ SAMUEL _listens._ ELI _turns toward him
eagerly, then calls._)

ELI: Samuel, my son! (SAMUEL _goes to him slowly._) What is this
    thing the Lord hath spoken to thee? I pray thee, hide it not.

SAMUEL (_reluctantly_): He said--he said--the Lord hath
    said: Behold, I will judge the house of Eli forever,
    because his sons did bring a curse upon themselves, and he
    restrained them not. Master, what did he mean?

ELI (_slowly and mournfully_): It is the Lord! Let him
    do what seemeth unto him good. (_He raises his arms to

SHOUTS OUTSIDE: News! News for the priest!

ELI: What meaneth the noise of this tumult?

(THREE SOLDIERS _run in._)

FIRST SOLDIER: O Eli, servant of God, woe unto thee!

SECOND SOLDIER: O Eli, be strong, and hear the news we bring.

FIRST SOLDIER: Israel hath joined battle with the
    Philistines; Israel was smitten before the Philistines.

SECOND SOLDIER: We brought the ark of the covenant to save
    us: It was thy two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, who carried
    the ark.

THIRD SOLDIER: And there was a very great slaughter--And
    thy two sons, Hophni and Phinehas--

FIRST SOLDIER  } The Lord hath slain them!

(ELI _trembles and falls backward_; _the_ FIRST _and_ SECOND SOLDIERS
_support him._)

THIRD SOLDIER: Lo, ye have slain him with your evil tidings.

SAMUEL (_runs to_ ELI _lovingly, and kneels before him,
    embracing him_): O my dear master! (_A pause, then he rises
    and turns to the soldiers._) Bear him hence between you.
    (FIRST _and_ SECOND SOLDIERS _lead him out._) (_To_ THIRD
    SOLDIER.) Grieve not; ye have not slain him, but he is
    smitten of the Lord. For the Lord, he came unto me in a
    vision of the night, saying, I will smite the house of Eli
    forever, because his sons did bring a curse upon themselves
    and he restrained them not.

(FIRST _and_ SECOND SOLDIERS _return._)

FIRST SOLDIER: Alas, alas, who now shall judge our people?

THIRD SOLDIER (_seizes_ SAMUEL _and raises him aloft_):
    Behold the judge who shall rule Israel.

(_The_ SOLDIERS _pass out, bearing_ SAMUEL _and shouting_, "_Huzza!_")

(_The_ EPILOGUE _advances._)

EPILOGUE: Hear ye the words of the preacher, how he said:
    Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be
    pure and whether it be right. Bring up a child in the way
    he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from
    it. (_The_ EPILOGUE _passes out._)

[Illustration: DAVID]




  ELIAB,     }
  SHAMMAH,   }
  RADDAI,    }
  OZEM,      }
  ELIHU,     }
  DAVID,     }


  ACT I. _A field near Jesse's home in Bethlehem._
  ACT II. _A field near the pavilion of Saul._

(_The same blue curtain, or out of doors, will do for both scenes._)


  A horn of oil for the Prophet Samuel.
  A sword and horn for Eliab.
  A platter of food for Daughter of Jesse.
  A harp, a loaf of bread, a bottle of wine, a slingshot for David.
  Helmet, spear and shield for Armor-bearer.
  Pebbles for attendant to give David.
  Sword and shield for Challenger.
  Horn and spear for First Messenger.
  Horn and spear for Second Messenger.
  A crown of flowers for Michal.

For the head of Goliath take a fierce-looking mask; attach it to
helmet. Sew long swaggering locks of hair on either side, and a sweep
of red cloth at back. So, when David removes mask from Goliath's
face, in cutting off his head, the red cloth will give the whole a
solid appearance.

If possible, have a harp for the music.


ACT I. _A field in Bethlehem, near the home of_ JESSE.

(_Enter_ ELIAB, _polishing his sword. He practices fighting an
imaginary enemy. Presently he turns and calls._)

    Ho, David, tend my sheep for me;
    I make me ready to fight the Philistines.
    And see thou that no lion enter in,
    Else 'twill go hard with thee.

(_The sounds of a shepherd's pipe, or of a harp are heard, receding
in the distance._ JESSE _enters and speaks mildly and with

    My son, this night the first new moon arises of the new year;
    My son, this night we feast,
    And make our sacrifices on God's altar.
    My son, first be thou reconciled with thy brother David.

ELIAB (_impatiently_): I have done him no wrong.

    Thou and thy brothers are too harsh with him.
    He is a tender lad; be thou more gentle.
(_Lays hand on_ ELIAB'S _arm._)

ELIAB (_shaking off hand_): He is a babe, fit only to tend sheep.

JESSE: Where hast thou sent him?

ELIAB: To the hillside, away from Bethlehem.

JESSE: Where are thy brothers?

ELIAB: They make them ready to fight the Philistines.

JESSE: Who tendeth their sheep?

ELIAB (_sullenly_): David.

JESSE (_with mild sarcasm_):
    And if a bear or a lion attack the flocks,
    The little David is alone;
    While his brave brothers abide here in safety.
    _He_ perchance fighteth, while they make them _ready._

ELIAB (_sneers_):
    Thou ever didst make much of David.
    The very name of "David" means "beloved."

    Nay, all my sons are equal in my love.
    But David--he is indeed a gentle lad.
(_He turns as though to go out. Left._)

(_The_ PROPHET SAMUEL _enters slowly from the right._)

    My father, who comes there?
    Nay, _there_, through the budding barley?
    The old man with so lofty a bearing?

JESSE: Mine eyes are dim. (_He shades them and peers out.
    Suddenly he speaks._)

    My son, it is the prophet Samuel.

    What can his coming bode of good or evil?
    Haste, haste, my son.

(_They advance to meet the prophet, bowing low._)

    O Samuel, O mouthpiece of the Lord,
    Comest thou in peace to Bethlehem?

SAMUEL: In peace!

JESSE: Make us to know thy will.

SAMUEL: Thou art Jesse, the Bethlehemite?

JESSE: Thou hast said it.

    I am the mouthpiece of the most high God.
    For the Lord spake unto me, saying:
    Mourn not over King Saul;
    For I repent me that I made Saul king over Israel.
    Fill thine horn with oil and go;
    I will send thee to Jesse the Bethlehemite;
    For I have provided me a king among his sons.

JESSE: _A king!_

ELIAB: _A king!!_

    Eliab, wind thy horn and call thy brothers;
    And bid thy sister bring both meat and wine
    To set before our guest.

(ELIAB _runs out to the left, winding his horn. He passes several
of his brothers who are entering, and points out the prophet._ JESSE
_motions_ SAMUEL _to a seat in the center._ SAMUEL _sits. The_
DAUGHTER _of_ JESSE _enters with food and drink, which_ SAMUEL

    And now make thou thy sons to pass before me,
    That I may choose.

(ELIAB _enters with other brothers._ ABINADAB _slips beside his
sister and eats the food. The_ DAUGHTER _stands beside her father, at
right of_ SAMUEL.)

    My sons, pass ye in order of your years,
    Before this man of God.

(ELIAB _advances and kneels._ SAMUEL _rises and regards him

SAMUEL: Surely the Lord's anointed is before me.

ELIAB (_triumphantly_): Ah, father, art so ready now to chide me?

    Nay, pause, my son, for the Lord hath said unto me:
    Look not on a man's countenance,
    Nor the height of his stature;
    For the Lord seeth not as man seeth.
    For man looketh on the outward appearance,
    But the Lord looketh on the heart.
    Thy heart is proud, and thou shalt not be king.

(ELIAB _passes with hanging head to the right._ ABINADAB _advances._)

ABINADAB: And I, sir, look on me.

    The Lord rejects thee,
    For thou art a wine-bibber and a glutton.

(ABINADAB _swaggers defiantly over to_ ELIAB, _who grins at him._
SHAMMAH _bows low and speaks slyly._)

    Sir, if thou crown _me_ king,
    I'll make thee rich in the spoils of the Philistines.

SAMUEL (_briefly_): The Lord rejects thee for a thief and robber.

(SHAMMAH _shrugs and joins others._ NATHANEEL _advances._)

    Make me king, sir,
    And I will drive out the Philistines,
    And all men shall bow down to the God of Israel.

    The Lord rejects thee, for thou boasteth thyself,
    And sayest thou canst do much,
    When thou canst do little.

(NATHANEEL _passes angrily to right._ RADDAI _advances._)

RADDAI (_cunningly_):
    Thou wilt anoint me, Samuel;
    For lo, the Lord came unto me in the night watches,
    Saying, Awake, awake, thou shalt be king of Israel.

(_The brothers stare angrily at him._)

SAMUEL: The Lord rejects thee, for thou art a liar.

(_The brothers double up with mirth._ RADDAI _joins them, shaking his
fist at_ SAMUEL. OZEM _advances and bows meekly._)

    For me, I would not be the king in Israel,
    Except the Lord command.

SAMUEL (_praying_): Lord, give me light! (_Then he motions_
    OZEM _away._) Thou art not the chosen one.

(OZEM _joins others._ ELIHU _advances triumphantly._)

    O mouthpiece of the most high God, behold _me_!
    I am the last.
    Anoint me, and let the oil run down to the hem of my garment!
    Anoint me, for I shall be a mighty king over Israel.

DAUGHTER OF JESSE (_starting forward_):
    O brother, thou hast forgotten little David. (_Turns to_ SAMUEL.)
    O sir, if thou despiseth these, my brothers,
    O let me show thee David. 'Tis the youngest,
    And the best loved by me.

(_The brothers surge forward angrily._)

ELIAB AND OTHERS: No, no! He is a babe--a child--a--

SAMUEL (_waves them back and turns to_ JESSE):
    Are all thy children here?
    Or hast thou another son?

    There remaineth yet the youngest;
    And behold, he keepeth the sheep.
    He is my dear-beloved.
    His years are yet too tender to rule Israel.

DAUGHTER OF JESSE: O let me go and bring him!

    Send and fetch him;
    For we will not sit down till he come hither.

(_The_ DAUGHTER OF JESSE _starts running out toward left._)

JESSE: Nay, daughter, blow the horn till he appear. (_She blows

    Speak not of his tender years;
    For the Lord knoweth the times and the seasons.

    (_She blows horn._)

    Neither will he cause the flower to blow on the seedling;
    Nor the fruit on the sapling;
    Nor an old head on young shoulders.

    (_She blows horn._)

(_There is a pause while all listen; then she blows again._)

DAUGHTER OF JESSE: He cometh, for I hear his harp in the distance.

(_The song is heard, beginning faintly, but growing stronger._ DAVID
_enters on the last two lines._)

_Song_: "The Lord is My Shepherd," Music by S. Liddle.

    The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
    He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
    He leadeth me beside the still waters.
    He restoreth my soul;
    He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
    The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

SAMUEL (_advancing to meet him_):
    O sweet singer of Israel,
    The Lord commandeth me, Arise, anoint him; for this is _he._

    (_He raises his horn of oil._ DAVID _kneels._ SAMUEL _pours oil upon

    For the Lord shall judge the ends of the earth:
    And he shall give strength unto his king,
    And exalt the horn of his anointed.

DAUGHTER OF JESSE (_embracing David_): O David, I _am_ glad.

JESSE: Come now to the feast.

(_All pass out but_ DAVID _and his sister. She waits for him as he
stands in prayer._)

    O God, thou hast anointed me with the oil of gladness,
    Above my fellows.
    I will sing a song unto thee, O God;
    Upon a psaltery of ten strings will I sing praises unto thee.

    (_He takes his harp and sings._)

    _Song: Music, Continuation of Psalm._

    Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies;
    Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
    Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
    And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
    The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

(_He passes slowly out while singing the last lines followed by his


(SAUL'S _pavilion in the Israelite encampment. The scene takes
place just outside the pavilion, where may be placed a couch for the
king. To the right is the army of Israel; to the left, the army of
the Philistines, and the road to Bethlehem. Sound of trumpets to the

(KING SAUL'S ATTENDANTS _run in, from right, shading their eyes and
peering into distance._ SOLDIERS _follow._)

ATTENDANT (_cries_): King Saul! Go summon the king; the
    king must know.

(_An_ ATTENDANT _runs back._)

(_Shouting from the left. A_ MESSENGER _runs in blowing his horn._)

MESSENGER: News for King Saul! Where is the king? The king?

(_Trumpets on the right. Enter_ KING SAUL _and his_ ARMOR-BEARER.
_The_ MESSENGER _rushes to him and kneels._)

MESSENGER: O my lord, I bear news;
    The Philistines with their thousands approach;
    They gather themselves together,
    And there is none to withstand them.

    Cursed be the day I was born,
    Or ever the Lord anointed me king over Israel!
    For a sickness is fallen upon me,
    And I know not where to look for help.

(_He advances to couch and rests._)

ATTENDANT: Behold now, an evil spirit from God troubleth

    Let my lord now command his servant to seek out a man who
    is a cunning player on the harp, and it shall come to pass
    when the evil spirit is upon thee, that he shall play and
    sing, and thou shalt be well.

    Do so.
    For I would hear of peace, and not of war.

ATTENDANT: Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse, David, a
    shepherd lad, that is cunning in playing. He is called "The
    sweet singer in Israel."

SAUL: Take thou this word to Jesse. Say to him: "Send me
    David, thy son, who is with the sheep."

ATTENDANT: Lord, I obey. (_He bows and goes._)

MESSENGER: O king, there be three young men, sons of Jesse,
    Who came but now to serve 'gainst the Philistines.

SAUL: Go, bring them hither.

(_The_ MESSENGER _goes out, left. At the same moment there is a
loud shouting from the left, and the_ SECOND MESSENGER _runs in._)

SECOND MESSENGER: News! News for the king!

SAUL: Hither, man! Speak!

    O king, I bear evil tidings:
    For every thousand Israelites,
    There are ten thousand Philistines.
    And there is none to withstand them.

SAUL: Go ye and summon the warriors of Israel.

(SECOND MESSENGER _goes out to right. Gradually the_ SOLDIERS _of_
ISRAEL _enter and group at back. The_ FIRST MESSENGER _reenters
with the three elder_ SONS OF JESSE.)

FIRST MESSENGER: Here are the sons of Jesse, lord.

    Come nearer, men. (_They stand before him._)
    And are ye sons of Jesse the Bethlehemite?

ELIAB: Yea, O lord king!

    Is one among you called by the name of "David,"
    Or "The sweet singer in Israel"?

    Nay, lord king,
    For we be men and warriors;
    But David is a little shepherd lad.

SAUL: But shepherd lads must needs defend their flocks.

(_The_ ATTENDANT _enters with_ DAVID.)

SAUL: How now, returned so soon?

    I met him, lord.
    He came but now to see his brothers there. (_Nods toward them._)

ELIAB (_angrily_):
    What do you here?
    And why art thou come down?
    And with whom hast thou left those few sheep in the wilderness?
    I know thy pride and the naughtiness of thine heart;
    Thou art come down that thou mightest see the battle.

    My father bade me seek thee with this loaf,
    And flask of wine. (_Offers them._ ELIAB _turns angrily
    away, but_ ABINADAB _accepts and eats._)

    Peace, men!
    And art thou he that's called "The sweet singer in Israel"?

DAVID: My lord, I--I--

SAUL: Be not ashamed, but sing thou sweetly to me.

DAVID: What shall I sing?

SAUL: Of peace and pleasantness and quiet ways. (_Reclines on couch._)

DAVID (_sings as before_):
    The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
    He maketh me to lie down in green pastures;
    He leadeth me beside the still waters.
    He restoreth my soul:
    He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness, for his name's sake.
    The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

SAUL (_to attendant_):
    Go, bid the Princess Michal bring a crown
    To crown his brow.
    For he _is_ the sweet singer of Israel. (ATTENDANT _goes out._)
    Sing yet again.

DAVID (_sings continuation of psalm_):
    Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
    I will fear no evil,
    For thou art with me:
    Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

(_The_ ATTENDANT _enters from right and is followed by the_ PRINCESS
MICHAL _and her slave girls bearing fans._)

ATTENDANT (_announces_): The Princess Michal!

    Come thou, Michal, here,
    And crown the sweetest singer in all Israel.

MICHAL (_bowing_):
    My father, as thou biddest! (_She turns to_ DAVID.)
    Sir, I crown thee,
    The sweetest singer in all Israel. (_Crowns him._)

(_Loud shouting to the left._ PRINCE JONATHAN _enters running._)

    Where is my father? O my father, hear:
    The army of the Philistines is at hand.
    And thy people fear, O father.
    For lo, one of the Philistines,
    A champion among them,
    And a giant for strength,
    He sendeth a challenge to the people of Israel.

SAUL: Admit the challenger. (_Enter from the left the_
    CHALLENGER _of_ GOLIATH _of_ GATH. _He surveys the people

    Give ear, O ye Israelites,
    Hear the words of Goliath of Gath:
    "Choose ye a man for your champion
    And let him come down to me.
    If he be able to fight with me and kill me,
    Then will we be your servants;
    But if I prevail against him,
    Then shall ye be our servants and serve us.
    I defy the armies of Israel this day."

(_The_ ISRAELITES _sway forward murmuring_: Ho! Indeed! Swaggerer!)

SAUL: We will consider. Go! (_The_ CHALLENGER _goes._)

    This challenge hath been cried before the army,
    And none is found who dare hope for the victory.

    Perchance a champion for Israel is here. (_Beckons._)
    Ho, sons of Jesse, ye are come to fight;
    Ye are big men.
    Which one of you will fight 'gainst this Philistine?

    (_There is a pause: all look on ground._)

    Unto the champion who kills Goliath,
    The king will give great riches.
    And to that man the king will give his daughter.

    (_There is another pause._)

ELIAB (_uncertainly_):
    I fear, lord king,
    For if I fail, then Israel is doomed to servitude.

ABINADAB: I am not strong.

SHAMMAH: I am not yet full-grown.

DAVID (_steps forth_):
    Let no man's heart fail because of him.
    Thy servant will go and fight with the Philistine.

(_Laughter and derision from his brothers. Smiles from others._)

SAUL: Thou art but a youth, and he a man of war.

DAVID: Thy servant kept his father's flocks, and when there
    came a lion or a bear and took a lamb out of the flock, I
    went down after it and killed it.

ELIAB: O foolish one!

ABINADAB: Back to thy sheep!

SHAMMAH: Thou braggart!

    The Lord delivered me out of the paw of the lion,
    And out of the paw of the bear;
    He will deliver me out of the hand of the Philistine.

    Go, and the Lord be with thee.
    And take my armor and my sword and shield.

(_The_ ARMOR-BEARER _advances and offers weapons._)

    I have not proved them.
    But give me rather five smooth stones from the brook;
    Thus will I fight.

SAUL: Go, bid the champion of the Philistines come.

(_The_ FIRST MESSENGER _goes out left._ MICHAL _goes to_ DAVID.)

    O shepherd,
    O sweet psalmist of Israel,
    O do not let the giant get too near!
    Be careful, David. Jonathan, go with him.
    And come back safe to Michal. God go with thee.

(_She goes out._)

(DAVID _stands as though in prayer, while everyone sings very softly
    the following lines_:)
    Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
    I will fear no evil,
    For thou art with me:
    Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.

(_Or, merely the music may be played._)

(_The_ ATTENDANT _brings stones to_ DAVID.)

(_Enter the_ CHALLENGER _for_ GOLIATH _followed by Philistines._)

    Tremble, O people of Israel,
    For Goliath cometh.
    And the champion of Israel will fall down before him
    As barley before the sickle.
    Tremble, O Israelites!
    Have ye a champion?
    Have ye a man to stand before him?

(DAVID _stands forth._)

CHALLENGER: Ha, ha, ha! Is Goliath a babe, that thou
    sendest forth an infant against him?

    He cometh against me with a sword and spear;
    But I come against him in the name of the God of the armies of Israel,
    Whom he hath defied.
    Come forth, Goliath, for thou diest this day.

ELIAB (_to_ DAVID): O lad, I fear for thee; I'll take thy place.

    Be not afraid.
    Though I be little, I've the strength of ten.

    Huzzah! Huzzah!
    Though he be little, he's the strength of ten.

DAVID (_cries_): Come forth, Goliath!


(GOLIATH, _a heavy man, enters like a lion loosed from his cage. He
brandishes his sword, and attacks_ DAVID. DAVID _dodges and flees_;
GOLIATH _follows him, hacking the air with his sword. Again_
DAVID _dodges and runs to a sufficient distance to use his sling._
GOLIATH _crashes to earth._ DAVID _runs and stands over him, seizes_
GOLIATH'S _sword and cuts off his head._)

(_The_ CHALLENGER _and other_ PHILISTINES _flee, crying, "Woe! Woe!"_)

ISRAELITES: Huzzah! Huzzah! Huzzah!

DAVID (_holding up_ GOLIATH'S _head_):
    Give ear, O ye people,
    O ye Israelites, and O ye Philistines:
    For so shall all they triumph
    Who put their trust in the Lord!

ISRAELITES (_shout_):
    For so shall all they triumph
    Who put their trust in the Lord!

FIRST MESSENGER (_with wild enthusiasm_): Where now are the

ISRAELITES: They are fled.

SAUL: Proclaim through Israel the mighty tidings.

(_The_ SECOND MESSENGER _takes_ GOLIATH'S _head from_ DAVID, _and
repeats the tidings three times, standing at center, at right and at
left of stage. While he speaks the_ SOLDIERS _remove_ GOLIATH.)

SECOND MESSENGER (_blowing horn_):
    Give ear, O ye people:
    Slain is Goliath of Gath by the shepherd, David.
    And so shall all they triumph
    Who put their trust in the Lord.

JONATHAN (_goes affectionately to_ DAVID):
    O David, thou who art to me as a brother,
    I, Jonathan, prince of Israel, ask thy friendship.
    Take thou my robe in token of my love.

    O Jonathan, I am but a shepherd of the sheep,
    But I return thy love. (_They exchange shepherd skin and velvet._)

(_Enter_ MICHAL _and her dancing women, with cymbals. They chant as
they dance._)


    Saul hath slain his thous-ands, but Dav-id his tens of thous-ands.
    Saul hath slain his thous-ands, but Dav-id his tens of thous-ands.
    Saul hath slain his thous-ands, but Dav-id his tens of thous-ands.

(_Repeat three times in three different keys._)

SAUL (_angrily_):
    Peace, women!
    Ye ascribe unto David ten thousands,
    And to me ye ascribe but thousands.
    What more can he have but the kingdom?

MICHAL (_runs and kneels before him_): O my father, be not wroth at
my song.

SAUL (_wearily_):
    I have sworn thee to the man who slew Goliath;
    And that which the king sweareth will he do.
    David, I give thee Michal for thy wife. (_He turns away._)

DAVID: The king's daughter within the palace is all-glorious.

MICHAL (_smiling upon him and extending her hand_):
    O David!
    But see, my father is wroth at my song.
    Come and sing _thou_ to him.
    And so shall he forget the mighty warrior,
    In listening to the sweetest singer in all Israel.

    (_She runs to_ SAUL, _who is reclining on couch._)

    Father, would'st hear again the shepherd's psalm?

SAUL (_heavily_):
    Yea, for I have a sickness, daughter;
    And the song is verily one of delight.

(MICHAL _leans beside_ SAUL _as_ DAVID _sings._)

DAVID (_sings_):
    The Lord is my shepherd: I shall not want.
    He maketh me to lie down in green pastures;
    He leadeth me beside the still waters.
    He restoreth my soul:
    He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
    The Lord is my shepherd: I shall not want.
    Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
    I will fear no evil,
    For thou art with me:
    Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.
    Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:
    Thou anointest my head with oil:
    My cup runneth over--

SAUL (_rises threateningly_):
    What sayest thou?
    _Who_ hath anointed thy head with oil?

    O king, the prophet Samuel, sent of God!
    O king, one day I shall be king of Israel.

(SAUL'S _head sinks on his breast. He passes slowly out, followed by

DAVID (_sings_):
    Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
    All the days of my life;
    And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
    The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

    (_All turn to go, singing_):

    Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
    All the days of my life.
    And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
    The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.





  THE BABY. (A _real_ Baby.)
  A BOY.


Gibeon, where Solomon comes to offer sacrifice.

A judgment seat is raised two steps above the floor, a little to the
left of the room. From each side of the judgment seat extend walls,
three or four feet high, to the front corners of the room. These
walls may be black or white or yellow or terracotta cloth, stretched.
Against the walls paste or pin or paint some bold design, such as
diamonds, in a contrasting color, white against black; deep sea-blue
against terracotta. Or use the conventional lotus design. For the
background use a deep sea-blue curtain and throw a blue light upon it.


  Several gold pieces.
  Palms for children to carry in dance.
  A silver basket piled high with oranges.
  Rolls of parchment for the Judge.
  A trumpet.
  Two spears.
  A large sword.


(_The_ WICKED JUDGE _is seated on the High Place, judging the two
women. The_ FIRST WOMAN, _at his right, holds the_ BABY. _The_ SECOND
WOMAN _kneels at his left, with imploring gestures._)

WICKED JUDGE (_with a sweep of his hand_): No more! No
    more, I say! I will hear no more. Am I not judge in the
    king, his place? (_Points at_ FIRST WOMAN _sternly._) _You_
    say yonder woman's child died in the night-time, and she
    wants yours. (_Points at_ SECOND WOMAN.) _You_ say--stop
    sniveling--(SECOND WOMAN _shrinks away from him._) You say
    'twas _her_ child died and that she hath stolen _your_
    child. _I_ say, if you had minded your brats properly,
    there would not be this to-do. (_A pause._) What were you
    doing when one of you stole the other's child? Gadding
    about the streets? Eh?

SECOND WOMAN: O sir, sir, she stole him while I slept.

FIRST WOMAN: Most gracious Judge, I did not steal.

SECOND WOMAN (_turning on her_): But thou did'st!

WICKED JUDGE: O you women! Lo, all the troubles of this
    kingdom flow from this, that women do not properly observe
    the affairs of their households. As King Solomon remarks,
    with rather more wisdom than he usually manifests, "Who can
    find a virtuous woman?"

BOTH WOMEN (_together_): Sir! Most gracious Judge! Only hear me--

WICKED JUDGE (_crashing his fist down_): Silence!
    _Silence!!_ (_To_ SECOND WOMAN.) Where are your witnesses?

(SECOND WOMAN _makes an imploring and hopeless gesture._)

WICKED JUDGE (_fiercely_): What? No witnesses? Be off! Be
    off, I say. (_He waves both women away; then his voice
    changes._) Stay, wait--I had forgot. I must--er--consider
    the welfare of the infant. (_To_ SECOND WOMAN.) It may be
    _thou_ wouldest be the better guardian. Hast thou the means
    to feed and clothe the child, and--er--pay all needful fees?

SECOND WOMAN: I am poor, but, sir, I am the mother.

WICKED JUDGE: Pshaw! Pshaw! (_Turns to_ FIRST WOMAN.) And thou?

FIRST WOMAN (_producing gold pieces_): I have these bits
    of gold. (_Her voice takes a mocking inflection._) Most
    gracious Judge, it may be thou, of thy great kindliness,
    wilt guard the gold for me, for I, alas, am but a weakling
    woman, and my child needs all my care.

WICKED JUDGE (_pocketing gold_): Ah, yea, yea, thou art
    indeed the rightful mother. (_Raises his eyes to heaven._)
    More is a child to be desired than gold, yea, than much
    fine gold. I will indeed look after thy gold for thee. Now
    get ye gone. (_Turns crossly to_ SECOND WOMAN.) And count
    thyself lucky that I do not call the guard, and have thee
    cast into prison for bearing lying witness.

(A BOY _rushes in, shouting as he runs._)

BOY: Ohé! Ohé! King Solomon, he entereth now the city. He
    cometh here to offer sacrifice; the children dance before
    him. Ohé! Ohé! (_He runs out._)

WICKED JUDGE (_gathers up his rolls of parchment,
    shrugging_): I will not bow before him, I! And he but a
    beardless youth! (_Passes out._)

(_The_ SECOND WOMAN _crouches low, weeping and praying_; FIRST WOMAN
_regards her._)

FIRST WOMAN (_laughing_): Pray, aye, pray! The child will
    call _me_ "Mother." He will throw his little arms about my
    neck and hail me. For three pieces of ruddy gold have I
    bought him, and thy prayers shall never win him from me.

SECOND WOMAN (_fiercely_): As there is a God in Israel, to
    whom men pray, I yet shall have my child.

FIRST WOMAN: A God in Israel? (_Shrugs._) As there is
    god-head in gold, which men worship, lo, I shall keep thy
    child. (_She makes a sweeping bow and passes out._)

SECOND WOMAN: O God, God, give me my child, my son. Thou
    knowest the child is mine, thou knowest, _thou_ knowest.
    Thou sawest when in the dark of the night-time she crept
    into my chamber and stole him from me. She cradleth him,
    and I am desolate.

SHOUTS WITHOUT: King Solomon! King Solomon, all hail! Hail
    to King Solomon, the son of David!

(_The_ SECOND WOMAN _looks about wildly, then crouches in a dim
corner. The_ CHILDREN _enter dancing; they carry palms; they sing._)

_Song_: "Hail to the Monarch" (Cantata of Esther)

    Hail to King Sol-o-mon, ev-er vic-to-ri-ous!
    Sing-ing, we praise him and fall at his feet.
    His judgment hath not ev-er erred;
    he reads the heart of man and bird.
    Hail, son of Dav-id, in wis-dom com-plete!

(_Enter_ KING SOLOMON, _followed by two_ SOLDIERS _and_ PAGE.)

SOLOMON (_raising his hand in blessing_): My children, I
    thank you for your love. Now get ye gone, for I would offer
    sacrifice alone.

FIRST CHILD: But we have learned a psalm of David thy
    father, to do thee reverence; may we not say it?

FIRST SOLDIER: Do ye not hear the king? (_Threatens them._)

SOLOMON: Nay, let the little ones come hither. The psalms
    of David, my father, are dear unto me. Now, babes, speak up.

SECOND CHILD (_to_ FIRST): Do thou begin.

    Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly,
    Nor standeth in the way of sinners,
    Nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful;

    But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
    And in his law doth he meditate day and night.

    And he shall be like a tree, planted by rivers of water,
    That bringeth forth his fruit in due season;

    His leaf also shall not wither;
    And whatsoever he doeth, it shall prosper.

    The ungodly are not so,
    But are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.

    Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment,
    Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
    For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous:
    But the way of the ungodly shall perish.

SOLOMON: I thank you. (_He turns to_ SIXTH CHILD.) And why hast thou
    not spoken with the others?

(_The_ SIXTH CHILD _reaches a tiptoe and whispers in his ear._)

SOLOMON: Thou hast learned something more; then speak, little one.

    O king, a word fitly spoken,
    Is like apples of gold in baskets of silver.
    And the king that faithfully judgeth the poor,
    His throne shall be established forever. (_She presents basket of

SOLOMON (_in great delight_): Ha, whose words are those?

SIXTH CHILD (_with a demure courtesy_): Your Majesty's!

SOLOMON: Well done! Well spoken! I shall strive indeed to
    be a king whose judgments shall be like apples of gold in
    baskets of silver.

SIXTH CHILD (_to others_): Come now; the king would be alone.

SOLOMON: The Lord be with you!

CHILDREN: And with thee also, O thou son of David! (_They
    courtesy and go._)

SOLOMON (_ascends to High Place and prays_): O Lord God of
    my fathers, thou hast showed unto my father, David, great
    mercy according as he walked before thee in uprightness
    of heart; and thou hast kept for him this great kindness,
    that thou hast given him a son to sit on his throne, as it
    is this day. And now, O Lord my God, thou hast made thy
    servant king instead of David my father; and I am but a
    little child. I know not how to go out nor come in. Give
    therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy
    people, that I may discern between good and bad. For who is
    able to judge this thy so great a people?

(_There is a pause during which the_ SECOND WOMAN _rises slowly and
approaches_ SOLOMON. _She kisses the hem of his robe. He turns and
regards her with astonishment. She rises and speaks prophetically._)

SECOND WOMAN: O king, because thou hast asked this thing,
    and hast not asked for thyself long life; neither hast thou
    asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine
    enemies, but hast asked understanding to discern judgment,
    behold, God will give unto thee a wise and understanding
    heart; so that there was none like thee before thee;
    neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee.

SOLOMON: Who art thou? for it was thus I heard the words of
    God speaking to my heart! Who art thou?

SECOND WOMAN (_prostrating herself_): The least of thy
    servants! A grain of dust by the roadside!

SOLOMON: Why art thou come here to the Hall of Judgment?

SECOND WOMAN: I came hither for justice; but thy judge in
    Gibeon is as the chaff which the wind beareth away--

SOLOMON (_sternly_): Beware how thou speak evil of them in
    authority. (_Then he smiles._) I gather that the case went
    against thee. What hast thou lost? Fear not; I will requite
    thee. (_He offers her gold._)

SECOND WOMAN: O lord king, my loss was not of gold.

SOLOMON: What then? Of land? Lo, I will give to thee a bit
    of land, hard by a spring of water--

SECOND WOMAN: O lord king, I have lost no rood of land.

SOLOMON: Speak then thy sorrow.

SECOND WOMAN: O lord king, God gave unto thy father David
    a little son to sit upon his throne. Speak, was thy father

SOLOMON: Yea, verily, he rejoiced with great rejoicing.

SECOND WOMAN: And thy mother, Bathsheba, was her heart
    likewise merry?

SOLOMON: My father rejoiced, but his rejoicing was naught
    in the measure with my mother's joy.

SECOND WOMAN: She would have grieved had'st thou been
    stolen from her?

SOLOMON: What mother would not? But, woman, to thy tale--

SECOND WOMAN: My tale is told. O son of Bathsheba, God
    hath given to thee an understanding heart. Let it read my
    sorrow; give me back my child.

SOLOMON (_bewildered_): Woman, I have not thy child.

SECOND WOMAN: Nay, but thy judge in Gibeon, for gold he
    hath rendered false judgment; for gold, he hath given my
    child to another woman.

SOLOMON: Thou canst prove this? (_She makes a despairing
    gesture of denial._) (SOLOMON _claps; the_ SOLDIERS
    _enter._) The court of justice was held here this morn?
    (SOLDIER _bows._) Bring hither the case of the child and
    the two women. (SOLDIERS _salute and go._ SOLOMON _speaks
    sternly to the_ WOMAN.) If thou speakest truly, the child
    shall be given thee: but if thou hast sought to move me by
    a lying tale--; lo, I shall punish thee so thou shalt wish
    thou never had'st been born.

SECOND WOMAN (_regarding him steadfastly_): I have no fear,
    for God hath given to thee an understanding heart.

(_The_ JUDGE _waddles in._)

WICKED JUDGE: What's this? What's this? My lord the king
    desired me? (_He sees the_ WOMAN.) Aha! Now I understand.
    This woman hath filled thy ears with lying tales. Lord
    king, the woman is mad--

SECOND WOMAN (_indignantly_): I am _not_ mad.

WICKED JUDGE (_blandly_): Mad, I say, mad! Deeming her mad,
    I have excused what otherwise I had--er--severely punished.

SECOND WOMAN: I am not mad.

WICKED JUDGE: She claims the child of another woman. (_He
    taps his brow significantly._) What her game is, I know
    not, but she saith, I am corrupt, and thou but a beardless
    youth. She saith God hath given thee a kingdom, but not the
    wit to rule it. Ha, ha!

(SOLDIERS _enter with_ FIRST WOMAN _and_ CHILD.)

SOLOMON (_turning furiously to_ SECOND WOMAN): Didst thou
    say this?

(_The_ SECOND WOMAN _pays no attention to him; she is devouring the
child with her eyes. She holds out her arms yearningly._)

SECOND WOMAN: O my dove, my fair one! (_She turns to_
    SOLOMON.) Look, behold my baby! See his little leg--; lord
    king, behold his dimples. His eyes are like doves beside
    the water brooks; his cheeks are as a bed of spices; yea,
    he is altogether lovely. And he is _mine._ (_She turns
    with pride to the_ KING, _but shrinks away as she sees his

FIRST WOMAN (_advancing to High Place_):
    King Solomon, all hail!
    Thou wisest of all judges!
    Thou canst read the hearts of men;
    Thou understandest the language of beasts and birds;
    Lo, I bare my heart to thee.
    Read thou!
    I lay my child before thy feet;
    Judge thou! (_She places child at foot of step._)

SOLOMON: Guard, take the child. (SECOND SOLDIER _lifts the child
    stiffly._) (_To_ FIRST WOMAN.) Is this thy child?

FIRST WOMAN: God _knows_.

SOLOMON: Aye, but I would likewise know. Hath neither woman a witness?

WICKED JUDGE (_brusquely_): Pshaw! Nonsense! There is
    no doubt at all, O mighty son of David. I have examined
    witnesses; they swear the child is _hers_. (_Nods toward_
    FIRST WOMAN.) Moreover, she hath the child; possession
    witnesses. (_Pats_ FIRST WOMAN.) Fear not, my girl; the
    king will do thee right.

SECOND WOMAN: O my lord, I and this woman dwell in one
    house. And this woman's child died in the night; and she
    arose at midnight, and took my son from beside me, while
    thine handmaid slept, and laid her dead son beside me. And
    when I arose in the morning, the child was dead; but when I
    had considered it, behold, it was not my son.

FIRST WOMAN: Nay, but the living is my son, and the dead is
    thy son.

SECOND WOMAN: Nay, but the dead is thy son, and the living
    is my son.

SOLOMON (_sternly_): Women, approach. (_Both stand before
    him. To_ FIRST WOMAN.) Thou sayest, "This is my son that
    liveth, and thy son is the dead." (_To_ SECOND WOMAN.) And
    thou sayest, "Nay, but thy son is the dead, and mine is
    the living." (_To_ SOLDIER.) Bring hither a sword. (FIRST
    SOLDIER _goes out._)

WICKED JUDGE: Lo, what is in the king's mind? Will he slay yonder
    woman for bearing lying witness?

(SOLOMON _raises his hand with a threatening gesture_; JUDGE _shrinks
back._ FIRST SOLDIER _returns with sword._)

SOLOMON: I cannot judge between you; let God judge. (_Turns
    to_ SOLDIER.) Take thou the sword; divide the living child
    in twain, and give half to the one and half to the other.

(_The_ FIRST WOMAN _shrinks away. The_ SECOND WOMAN, _with a little
cry, rushes between the_ SOLDIER _who holds the_ CHILD, _and the_
SOLDIER _who holds sword. She stands with fists doubled, to defend
the_ CHILD. FIRST SOLDIER _throws her aside; she falls._)

WICKED JUDGE: O clever judge! O mighty son of David!

FIRST WOMAN (_kneeling_): I bow, lord king, to thy decree.
    Let the child be neither mine nor hers, but divide it.

SECOND WOMAN (_throwing herself before_ KING): O my lord,
    my lord, give _her_ the child, give her the _living_ child,
    and in nowise slay it! Let the child live, even though it
    be within her arms, lord--lord--

WICKED JUDGE: O clever judge! Ha, ha, ha! Through thee
    indeed the Lord hath spoken! Who would have thought to see
    such mighty wisdom, yea, in a beardless youth? Thy wit hath
    showed the truth, and made yon lying woman eat her lies.
    (_Taps_ FIRST WOMAN.) Even as I said, the child is hers.
    (_To_ SOLDIER.) Give unto this woman her child.

FIRST SOLDIER (_with sword upraised_): Is it thy will, O
    king, I slay the child, or give it to yon woman?

SOLOMON: It is my will (_he bends and raises_ SECOND WOMAN
    _gently_) thou give unto _this_ woman the living child, and
    in nowise slay it; for she is the mother thereof, because
    she loveth much. For love is strong as death; jealousy is
    cruel as the grave. Many waters cannot quench love; neither
    can floods drown it.

WICKED JUDGE (_sourly_): Humph!

SECOND WOMAN (_receiving_ CHILD, _radiantly_): He that
    ruleth over men righteously, that ruleth in the fear of
    God, he shall be as the light of the morning when the sun
    riseth, a morning without clouds, when the tender grass
    springeth out of the earth through clear shining after
    rain. King Solomon, all hail!

ALL: King Solomon, all hail!

(_All pass out singing._) (_If desired, the earlier song may be

_Song: Music, "Ancient Days"_

    Hail to King Dav-id's son!
    Hail, O thou Wis-est one!
    Hail, Sol-o-mon!
    Language of beast and bird
    By thee is ev-er heard;
    Thou read-est ev-ery word,
    O Sol-o-mon!

[Illustration: THE CHILDREN]




  BABY. (A _real_ baby.)


Gibeon, where Solomon comes to offer sacrifice.


  Palms, or branches for children to carry in dance.
  A silver basket piled high with oranges.
  A trumpet.
  Two spears.
  A large sword.


(_The_ HERALD _enters, followed by two_ SOLDIERS. _The_ HERALD _blows
his trumpet; the two_ SOLDIERS _flourish their spears._)

HERALD: Make way, make way; he entereth now the city! Way
    for King Solomon, the son of David!

SOLDIERS: Way for King Solomon, the son of David! Way! Way!

(_They take positions, one on the right hand and one on the left._)

FIRST SOLDIER (_conversationally_): He cometh hither for
    sacrifice, they say.

SECOND SOLDIER: Aye, and to render judgment.

FIRST SOLDIER: Is it true, think you, that he is wiser than
    all men that have gone before him?

SECOND SOLDIER (_shrugs_): So men say. As for me, I shall
    judge for myself.

FIRST SOLDIER (_poses mockingly_): O King Solomon, King
    Solomon, little thou thinkest that the while thou art
    judging others, a mightier shall judge thee!

SECOND SOLDIER (_prodding_ FIRST _with spear_): Be still,
    thou ass; he cometh.

(_The_ SOLDIERS _stiffen to attention as the_ CHILDREN _enter dancing
and singing._)

_Song_: Music, "Hail to the Monarch." (See Longer Version.)
(Cantata of Esther)

(_Enter_ KING SOLOMON _followed by_ TWO WOMEN _and_ BABY, _also by_
PAGES _and more_ SOLDIERS _if desired for effect. The_ CHILDREN _bow

SOLOMON (_lifting his hand_): The Lord be with you!

ALL: And with thee also, O thou son of David!

CHILD (_offers silver basket of oranges_): O king, a word
    fitly spoken is like apples of gold, in baskets of silver,
    and the king that faithfully judgeth the poor, his throne
    shall be established forever.

SOLOMON (_in delight_): Ha! Who said that?

CHILD (_courtesies demurely_): Your Majesty!

SOLOMON: Well done! Well spoken! I shall strive to be
    indeed a king whose judgments shall be like apples of gold
    in baskets of silver. (_He turns to altar and prays._) O
    Lord God of my fathers, thou hast made thy servant king
    instead of David my father, and I am but a little child. I
    know not how to go out or to come in. Give therefore thy
    servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I
    may discern between good and bad. For who is able to judge
    this, thy so great a people?

(_While he prays the_ FIRST WOMAN _creeps forward and kisses the hem
of his robe._ SOLOMON _turns and regards her with wonder. She rises._)

FIRST WOMAN: O king, because thou hast asked this thing,
    and hast not asked for thyself long life, nor hast asked
    the life of thine enemies, but hast asked understanding
    to discern judgment, behold God will give to thee a wise
    and understanding heart, so that there was none like thee
    before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto

SOLOMON: Who art thou? For it was thus I heard the word of
    God ringing in my heart. Who art thou?

FIRST WOMAN (_prostrate_): The least of thy servants--a
    grain of dust by the roadside.

SOLOMON: Why art thou come--here to the Hall of Judgment?

FIRST WOMAN (_rising_): O my lord, I and this woman
    (_Indicates_ WOMAN _with_ BABY.) dwell in one house, and
    her son died in the night-time, and she arose at midnight
    and took my son from beside me, while thine handmaid slept,
    and laid her dead son beside me--

SECOND WOMAN (_insolently_): She lieth, lord king.

FIRST WOMAN: When I arose in the morning the child was
    dead, but when I had considered it, behold, it was not my

SECOND WOMAN: Nay, but the living is _my_ son, and the dead
    is _thy_ son.

SOLOMON (_regards both silently for a few seconds_): Women,
    approach! (_Both women stand before him._) _Thou_ sayest,
    "This is my son that liveth, and thy son is the dead," and
    _thou_ sayest, "Nay, but thy son is the dead, and mine is
    the living." (_To_ SOLDIER.) Bring hither a sword. (SOLDIER

HERALD (_with curiosity_): What is in the king's mind? Will
    he slay yonder woman for bearing lying witness?

(FIRST SOLDIER _returns with sword._)

SOLOMON: I cannot judge between you; let God judge. (_To_
    SOLDIER.) Take thou the sword; divide the living child in
    two, and give half to the one and half unto the other.

(_The_ SECOND WOMAN _crosses hastily to the left as though to flee;
the_ FIRST WOMAN _darts between her and the_ SOLDIER _and stands
ready, with clinched fists, to defend the_ BABY. _The_ SECOND SOLDIER
_throws her aside and takes the_ BABY _from the other woman._)

HERALD (_laughing_): O clever judge! O mighty son of David!

SECOND WOMAN (_bowing low_): I bow, lord king, to thy
    decree. Let the child be neither mine nor hers, but divide

FIRST WOMAN (_with a little panting cry, throws herself
    before_ SOLOMON): O my lord, my lord, give _her_ the child,
    give her the _living_ child, and in nowise slay it. Let the
    child live, even though it be within her arms--lord--lord--

HERALD: O prince of wisdom! Through thee indeed the Lord
    hath spoken. Who would have thought to see such mighty
    judgment, yea in a beardless youth? Thy wit hath showed the
    truth and made this lying woman eat her lies.

CHILDREN (_swarming about_ SECOND WOMAN _and bowing to
    her_): Hail, mother of the child!

FIRST SOLDIER (_raises sword and crosses to_ SECOND
    SOLDIER, _who holds_ BABY): Is it thy will, O king, I slay
    this child, or give it to yon woman? (_Indicates_ SECOND

SOLOMON: It is my will (_he raises_ FIRST WOMAN _tenderly_)
    thou give unto _this_ woman the living child, and in nowise
    slay it; for she is the mother thereof, because she loveth
    much. For love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the
    grave. Many waters cannot quench love; neither can floods
    drown it.

FIRST WOMAN (_eagerly receives_ BABY _and cuddles it_): O
    king, he who ruleth over men righteously, who ruleth in the
    fear of God, he shall be as the light of the morning when
    the sun riseth, a morning without clouds, when the tender
    grass springeth out of the earth through clear shining
    after rain. King Solomon, all hail!

ALL (_raising palms_): King Solomon, all hail!

(_All pass out singing the children's song._)





A lonely road with an inn in the distance. If the play is given
indoors, any door may represent the inn.


  Three sticks or cudgels for the thieves.
  A wine bottle, packet of food, and cloak for Jew.
  Huge empty boxes, covered with bright cloth and bound with heavy
      cord for the servants to carry.
  If the illusion of night-time can be carried out, have the Samaritan
      carry a lanthorn on a stick,
  and have the Host appear, wearing a nightcap and carrying a candle
      (electric candle).
  A cloth to bind the wounds of the Jew.


(_If this play be given out of doors, the thieves must conceal
themselves in the shrubbery before the play begins; if indoors, they
may conceal themselves in corners, or creep in._)

(_Enter the_ PROLOGUE.)

PROLOGUE: And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and
    tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit
    eternal life?

    He said unto him, What is written in the law?

    And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God
    with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all
    thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as

    And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do,
    and thou shalt live.

    But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And
    who is my neighbor?

    And Jesus spake unto them this parable.

(_The_ PROLOGUE _draws to one side and stands watching the action of
the parable._)

(_The_ THIEVES _pop their heads out of the shrubbery and advance

FIRST THIEF: Hark'ee, brothers, I have sure word that one
    of our profession is coming this day from Jerusalem to
    Jericho, bearing rich merchandise.

SECOND THIEF (_eagerly_): To join our band?

FIRST THIEF: Fool, I mean a rich man.

SECOND THIEF: Ohé, a _very_ rich man?

FIRST THIEF: A _very_ rich man!

THIRD THIEF: We will share his ill-gotten gains in right
    neighborly fashion--if he be willing.

SECOND THIEF: But if not--?

FIRST THIEF: If not? With a crack on the head!



(_They listen, then creep cautiously into shrubbery._)

(_Enter the_ JEW _and his_ SERVANTS. _They carry big bales of
merchandise and advance fearfully._)

JEW: Come on, my men, come on; what do ye fear?

FIRST SERVANT (_trembling_): Master, I like not the look of
    the lonely road; they say thieves lie in wait here to rob
    rich travelers.

JEW (_casting a worried look around_): Then hasten, hasten!
    (_He passes out._)

SECOND SERVANT (_scornfully_): Thieves! Thieves! Have we no
    sticks?--no cudgels?

FIRST SERVANT (_feelingly_): So have the thieves.

SECOND SERVANT: Faint-heart! Hath not the master paid us
    yellow gold to guard his merchandise to Jericho?

FIRST SERVANT: Ai! I would I were in Jerusalem again.
    (_Suddenly he clutches the other._) Yonder! Didst not see
    something stirring?

SECOND SERVANT: Bah! (_Shakes him off._)

FIRST SERVANT: Let us but say a prayer. (_His knees knock

(_The_ JEW _reenters and beckons angrily._)

JEW: Hurry, ye fools! It will be night ere-- (_Loud and
    piercing whistles and cries come from shrubbery. The_
    SERVANTS _drop their goods and flee wildly._)

JEW (_cries_): Stay! Stay! Ah, the good gold pieces I paid
    you rascals! (_He tries to gather together his goods_): Ai!

(_The_ THIEVES _gather closely round him._)

FIRST THIEF: Master, wilt help three poor and hungry men?

JEW (_looks up and cries_): Help! Help!

SECOND THIEF: 'Tis unneighborly ye are. Our stomachs yearn
    for some of thy rich wine. (_He lays hold of the_ JEW'S
    _wine bottle._)

JEW (_resisting_): Help! Help! Thieves!

THIRD THIEF: Bat him over the head. (_They do so; he falls._)

FIRST THIEF (_drinking of bottle_): Ah!

SECOND THIEF (_opening_ JEW'S _pack and eating_): Ah!

THIRD THIEF (_trying on_ JEW'S _outer garment._): Ah--ha!

(_The_ FIRST THIEF _makes a grab at the garment. Struggle. All fight
for the goods. Suddenly all listen intently, then flee, taking the
goods with them._)

(_The_ JEW _groans. Enter the_ PRIEST. _He regards the_ JEW.)

PRIEST: What's this? Er--r, a dead man surely! I must
    notify the authorities. Yet--'twould be very awkward to
    be detained and questioned. They will find him sooner or
    later. A dead man surely!

(_The_ JEW _groans. The_ PRIEST _stops his ears and hastens out.
Enter two_ LEVITES.)

FIRST LEVITE: Humph! One cannot come by this road without finding
      signs of thievery and murder.

SECOND LEVITE: It gives the district a bad name.

FIRST LEVITE: We might carry him as far as your home.

SECOND LEVITE: Nay! If I brought the fellow there, my wife
    might not like it. Let us carry him to your home.

FIRST LEVITE: We'd better not meddle, I reckon. After all
    it's no affair of ours.

SECOND LEVITE (_has a bright idea_): We'll tell the
    inn-keeper to send and fetch him.

(_The_ JEW _groans; the_ LEVITES _hurry out. Enter the_ SAMARITAN.)

SAMARITAN: Ah! Too bad! (_He bends over_ JEW.) Courage, my
    friend! (JEW _groans. The_ SAMARITAN _binds up his head._)
    Canst walk as far as the inn yonder? (_He assists_ JEW _to

JEW (_wails_): They have stolen my all! I am

SAMARITAN (_cheerfully_): Better ruined than dead! (_They
    approach inn. He cries_): Mine host! Ho! Ho! (_Knocks._)

(_Enter the_ HOST. _The_ PRIEST _and_ LEVITES _follow, peering over
the_ HOST'S _shoulder._)

SAMARITAN: I found this poor fellow in the road--beaten by
    thieves no doubt.

FIRST LEVITE (_to_ HOST): It's the fellow I told you of.
    (_To_ SAMARITAN.) Good heavens, fellow, why did'st carry
    him hither, and wake honest people up in the dead of night?
    The thing to do was to notify the authorities. You cannot
    go to the rescue of every man you see in trouble.

SAMARITAN: Why not? We are all brothers.

SECOND LEVITE: Bah! (_The_ LEVITES _retire._)

PRIEST: But, fellow, it was no concern of yours. He is a Jew and you
are a Samaritan.

SAMARITAN: Well, sir, we all have one Father.

PRIEST (_sourly_): Humph! (_He turns and goes._)

SAMARITAN: Will you take him in? Here is two pence for thy
    care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come
    again, I will repay thee.

HOST: I will obey thee, sir. (_He supports_ JEW _with his arm._)

SAMARITAN: Farewell. (_He goes._)

HOST (_watching him go_): He's a good fellow--that is, for
    a Samaritan. (_He leads_ JEW _within._)

(_The_ EPILOGUE _advances._)

EPILOGUE: Priest--Levite--Samaritan--which of these three,
    thinkest thou, proved neighbor unto him that fell among

(EPILOGUE _passes out._)





The chancel of the church, or platform.


  A manger filled with hay, in center of chancel.
  A big star on a pole.
  Shepherd's crooks.
  A hood.
  A doll.
  A toy.
  Stockings filled with gifts.

At the beginning of Advent each child, who so desires, is given
a stocking with its mate tucked in the toe, and the name of some
child, who would go without the joys of a Christmas stocking, if this
stocking were not filled.

Manger Sunday, the Sunday before Christmas, they bring these
stockings filled, with toys, something to eat and something warm to


(_The_ CHILDREN _robed as_ ANGELS _enter the chancel. They pause
before manger._)

    Why is this manger filled with hay,
    Placed here? Surely it stood one day
    In the stable of Bethlehem?

    There's a whisper of music in the air,
    And children's voices sounding fair.
    Wait, we will ask of them.

(_The procession starts from the back of the church, singing. First
come the three_ SHEPHERDS, _then the three_ KINGS, _bearing the star,
then the five little_ GIRLS, _then the_ CLASS _bearing gifts, and
lastly the_ CHOIR (_if there is a choir._))


    Onward, children, on-ward,
    Marching as we sing:
    Gifts un-to the Christ-Child
    We are car-ry-ing.
    On-ward, children, on-ward,
    Till the light we see.
    Like the Christmas shep-herds
    Shepherds too are we.


    On-ward, child-ren, on-ward,
    Fol-low-ing the star,
    Coming like the Wise Men:
    We the Wise Men are. A-men.

(_They reach the chancel. The_ ANGELS _question them in song._)

_Song_: Music, "Christmas-time Songs and Carols" by Mrs. Crosby Adams
(page 10).

ANGELS (_sing_):
    Little children, who are ye,
    Clad like shepherds? List to me,
    For I am a stranger:
    Why do ye come here to-day?

CHOIR _or_ CLASS (_sing answer_):
    It was the shepherds who first, they say,
    Beheld the Child in the manger,
    Beheld the Child in the manger.

(_The three_ SHEPHERDS _enter chancel and recite._)

    We come as the shepherds came that day
    To see where the baby Jesus lay.
    And we pray
    The Christ-love dwell in our hearts this Christmas day.

ANGELS (_sing_):
    Little kings whom I behold,
    Robed in purple, crowned with gold,
    Hearken to a stranger:
    Tell me why you carry a star!

CHOIR _or_ CLASS (_sing answer_):
    Led by such wonderful light afar,
    The wise kings found the manger,
    The wise kings found the manger.

(_The three_ KINGS _enter chancel and recite._)

    We come as the wise kings came, they say,
    Following ever the star-lit way;
    And we pray
    The light shine in our hearts this Christmas day.

ANGELS (_sing_):
    Children, 'tis two thousand years
    Since the kings and shepherd seers
    Found that Baby sleeping.
    Where the wise men of to-day?

CHOIR _or_ CLASS (_sing answer_):
    All those who follow in Jesus' way,
    And that's the way we're seeking,
    And that's the way we're seeking.

(_The five little_ GIRLS _enter chancel._)

FIRST LITTLE GIRL (_holding up a stocking filled with toys_):
    Years ago in a manger bare
    A Baby lay.
    He lived a life so wondrous fair,
    He showed the way.
    And as he bade, we'd like to give
    On Christmas day.

SECOND LITTLE GIRL (_holding up hood and mittens_):
    With other children we would share
    Our Christmas joy.
    A hood, some mittens too I bear.

THIRD LITTLE GIRL (_holding up doll_): I bring a doll.

FOURTH LITTLE GIRL (_holding up toy_): I bring a toy.

FIFTH LITTLE GIRL (_holding up stocking_):
    To children who have less than we,
    We bring these gifts right lovingly.

    O little children, if love ye bring,
    It equals the gift of shepherd or king.
    So kneel, little children, and humbly pray,
    Your gifts carry blessing on Christmas day.

    (_All kneel and sing. Music, "Gaudeamus Igitur." For music see
    conclusion Noah's Flood._)

    Father of all children,
    For all children we would pray:
    Thou who gave a little child
    To the world on Christmas day,
    Grant our gifts may carry gladness,
    Grant our love may banish sadness.
    Lead us in the loving way,
    Lead us in the loving way.

(_All rise. The_ CLASS _comes forward and places the stockings in
manger. Then all disperse, singing a Christmas carol._)

(_At the conclusion, if so desired, a very little child may repeat
these lines by_ Christina Rossetti.)

    "What can I give Him,
    Poor as I am?
    If I were a shepherd,
    I would give a lamb;
    If I were a wise king,
    I would do my part.
    What can I give Him?
    Give my heart!"


[Transcriber's note
Italics are rendered with underscores; e.g. _italics_.
Small caps are rendered as ALL CAPS.]

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