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Title: Helon's Pilgrimage to Jerusalem, Volume 2 (of 2) - A picture of Judaism, in the century which preceded the - advent of our Savior.
Author: Strauss, Frederick
Language: English
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                          Transcriber’s Note:

This version of the text cannot represent certain typographical effects.
Italics are delimited with the ‘_’ character as _italic_.

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------------------------------------------------------------------------

                           HELON'S PILGRIMAGE
                                   TO
                               JERUSALEM.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

                           HELON'S PILGRIMAGE

                                   TO

                               JERUSALEM.

                         A PICTURE OF JUDAISM,

                IN THE CENTURY WHICH PRECEDED THE ADVENT
                            OF OUR SAVIOUR.

                    _TRANSLATED FROM THE GERMAN OF_

                           FREDERICK STRAUSS,

            WITH NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS BY THE TRANSLATOR.

                           ------------------

                    Ἡ ΣΩΤΗΡΙΑ ἘΚ ΤΩΝ ἸΟΓΔΑΙΩΝ ἘΣΤΙΝ.

                                VOL. II.

                           ------------------



                                LONDON:
                 PRINTED FOR J. MAWMAN, LUDGATE-STREET.

                                  ---

                                 1824.



           LONDON: PRINTED BY A. APPLEGATH, STAMFORD-STREET.



                               CONTENTS.

[Illustration]

                  ------------------------------------


                           VOL. II. BOOK III.

                               CHAPTER I.

                                                                   Page.

 The Sacerdotal Office                                                 1

                               CHAPTER II.

 The Journey to Joppa                                                 19

                              CHAPTER III.

 The Feast of the New Moon                                            50

                               CHAPTER IV.

 The Admission into the Priesthood                                    75

 CHAPTER V.

 The Essenes                                                         124

                               CHAPTER VI.

 The Betrothment                                                     151

                              CHAPTER VII.

                     The Feast of Pentecost      176

                                BOOK IV.

                               CHAPTER I.

 The Journey to Dan                                                  193

                               CHAPTER II.

 The Nuptials                                                        234

                              CHAPTER III.

 The Avenger of Blood                                                248

                               CHAPTER IV.

 The Water of Jealousy                                               267

                               CHAPTER V.

 The Day of Atonement                                                290

                               CHAPTER VI.

 The Feast of Tabernacles                                            312

                              CHAPTER VII.

 The Conclusion                                                      339



                           HELON'S PILGRIMAGE

                                   TO

                               JERUSALEM.

[Illustration]

                               BOOK III.
                        THE FEAST OF PENTECOST.

                               CHAPTER I.
                         THE SACERDOTAL OFFICE.


The feast of the Passover was ended. The multitude had returned to their
homes, or resumed their occupations in the city. The ashes on the altar
of burnt-offering, whose gradual accumulation, during the week of the
Passover, had raised them at last into a lofty pyramid, had been cleared
away. The days of unleavened bread were past; the people had returned to
their ordinary food, and all the glory of the festival seemed to have
disappeared from the city.

Helon stood on the roof, on the following morning, contemplating the
rising sun. His eyes turned towards the temple, and he remembered, with
a feeling of disappointment and regret, that on this as on the preceding
day, only a single customary sacrifice would be presented there. He
looked down upon the streets—the exhilarating commotion of the festival
had vanished, and all was solitary and still, save where a Tyrian
merchant was seen hastening through the gate with his empty sacks, or a
Galilean dealer in cattle, driving before him the remnant of his herd,
for which he had been unable to find a purchaser. No pilgrim from Hebron
or Libna, no stranger of the Diaspora was to be seen.

A deep melancholy took possession of Helon’s mind, and this day seemed
likely to pass even more gloomily than the preceding. The dejection of
mind which for several years past had been his habitual companion, had
suddenly vanished during the paschal week. The enthusiasm which began at
Beersheba, when he knelt down to greet the land of his fathers, had gone
on constantly increasing; and he had felt within himself a resolution,
which it seemed as if nothing could daunt, to keep the law of Jehovah.
But now, though still in the Holy Land and in the city of God, his
spirits sunk at every moment; his feelings had been too highly excited,
and this depression was the natural consequence. He could not descend to
the ordinary occupations of life in Jerusalem, in which, as the city of
Jehovah, it seemed to him that a perpetual festival ought to prevail.

In the preceding days only the psalms, with their tone of cheerful and
exulting piety, or the joyous prophecies of Isaiah, had been in his
heart and on his lips; now the plaintive strains of Jeremiah, his former
favourites, recurred to his mind, and he began to feel how removed he
still was from that inward peace for which he longed, and which he
thought that he had found in the first days of the festival. When he
looked down upon the streets, whose compatative emptiness seemed to him
absolute desolation, the beginning of the Lamentations came to his mind,

        How doth the city sit solitary that was full of people!
        How is she become as a widow!

And he could scarcely forbear adding from the same prophet,[1]

                  My soul is removed from peace,
                  And I said my confidence is perished
                  And my hope in Jehovah.

-----

Footnote 1:

  Lam. iii. 18.

-----

With such feelings he wandered up and down on the roof, in the cool air
of morning. Suddenly the smoke of the morning-sacrifice arose on mount
Moriah, and the sound of a solitary trumpet was heard from the hill of
the Lord. All Helon’s feelings returned with the associations of this
sight and sound. “There is then,” he exclaimed, “one occupation in
Jerusalem, which is a perpetual festival. It is theirs who dwell in the
house of the Lord and minister at his altar. Why do I delay my
resolution?”

At this moment the door of the Alijah opened, and the venerable Elisama
issued from it. He had been performing there his morning devotions.
Helon went up to him, wished him peace, and with kindling looks thus
addressed him; “My uncle, often hast thou told me that Israel is Israel
only in the Holy Land, yet even here I cannot remain, unless I become a
priest.”

“Restless youth,” said Elisama smiling; “is it not enough for thee that
thou art in the city of Jehovah?”

“But,” replied Helon, “even in the city of Jehovah, the priests alone
keep a perpetual festival; and I fain would keep it with them.”

Elisama looked at him in joyful surprise. It had been his own wish that
Helon, whose dislike of commerce he perceived, should become a priest,
but wishing that it should be his spontaneous choice, he had forborne to
suggest it to him; and he had not hoped for so speedy and so decisive a
declaration. Scarcely able to repress his joy, he replied, “In a son of
Levi the wish is natural; but what has suggested it?”

Helon related to him what he had felt on the second day of the Passover,
when offering the burnt-offering; how the desire of entering into the
sacerdotal order had ripened into resolution, and how ever since that
time the words of the prophet,[2] “the priest is an angel of the Lord,”
had been perpetually before his mind, till at length his painful
feelings on seeing the deserted city, and the joy which had revived in
him on hearing the trumpet from Moriah, had convinced him that he could
be happy only by entering into the priesthood.

-----

Footnote 2:

  Mal. ii. 7.

-----

Elisama embraced him, and both remained for a time weeping. At length
Elisama, breaking silence, said, “We will go to-morrow to the
high-priest; he knows our family and me. In truth,” he continued,
“Jehovah has blessed our house with much wealth in a foreign land, and
thou, alas, art its only heir. It is right that thou shouldest revive
the priesthood in our family, in which it has slept for four hundred
years. This is the curse which rests on Israel in foreign lands. The
privilege to be anointed to Jehovah by birth, and to have the right of
ministering before him, is despised, and a Levite becomes but like
another man. This I have often thought; the pursuits of commerce have
indeed prevented my acting on this conviction, but all my wealth has
been an inadequate consolation to me.”

“My second father,” exclaimed Helon, “my heart overflows with joy to
hear that you think so; and with gratitude, that you permit me to revive
the priesthood in our family.”

“Yes, Helon,” said Elisama, “I feel, too, that the priest is an angel of
the Lord of Hosts. In the hour in which thou didst resolve to make a
journey to the Holy Land, I framed in my heart the blessing which my
lips now pronounce upon thee. But let us go to the grave of thy father,
that thou mayest receive his blessing.”

Without entering the house, they descended the staircase which led
directly from the roof into the outer court, and so into the street.
Passing along the Broad-street they came immediately from the Higher
City into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and its cedars, and proceeded
beneath their solemn shade, till they reached the well-known sepulchre
of the Egyptian pilgrim.

Both stood before it awhile in silence, and seemed to expect that some
voice should still issue from it, or that the spirit of the beloved
father and brother should come forth.

“O! hadst thou lived to see this hour,” at length exclaimed Elisama,
“how had thy paternal heart rejoiced!”

Helon wept, whether in joy or sorrow he himself scarcely knew—but such
tears are of a higher kind. He threw himself upon the grave, and long
remained there praying and weeping. Elisama too gave free vent to his
tears. “Arise,” he said, at length, to Helon, “and let us repeat
together the 90th psalm. Thy father will answer thee in this song of
Moses, and bless thee in the words of the man of God.”

Helon arose, and they both said together,

   Lord, thou hast been our refuge
   From generation to generation.
   Before the mountains were brought forth,
   Or ever thou hadst fashioned the earth and the world,
   From everlasting to everlasting, thou art God!
   Thou turnest man to destruction,
   And sayest, Return ye children of men:
   For a thousand years are in thy sight
   As yesterday when it is past,
   And as a watch in the night.
   Thou sweepest them away; they sleep.
   In the morning they are as grass that groweth up,
   In the morning it is green and flourishing,
   In the evening it is cut down and withereth.
   For we are consumed by thine anger,
   And by thy wrath we are troubled.
   Thou settest our iniquities before thee,
   Our secret deeds in the light of thy countenance.
   Our days are wasted by thy anger,
   Our years are spent as a breath.
   The days of our years are threescore years and ten,
   And if by reason of strength they be fourscore years,
   Yet is their strength labour and sorrow;
   For it is soon cut off and we flee away.
   Who knoweth the power of thine anger
   Which is terrible that thou mayest be feared?
   So teach us to number our days,
   That we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.
   Return to us, O Jehovah—how long?
   Be again gracious to thy servants.
   O! satisfy us speedily with thy mercy,
   That we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
   Make us glad according to the days wherein thou hast afflicted us,
   And the years wherein we have seen evil.
   Let thy work appear unto thy servants
   And thy glory unto their children.
   May the favour of the Lord our God be upon us
   And prosper thou the work of our hands;
   Yea, the work of our hands may thy goodness prosper!

“Be that the blessing of thy father upon thee,” said Elisama when they
had finished. “Does not this psalm seem to have been composed to suit
our circumstances; beginning with lamentation on account of death, and
confession of sin; yet even in the midst of these, calling on Jehovah,
on him who has been our refuge from generation to generation? Yes,
Helon, such has he been to the whole series of our ancestors even to him
who, with the prophet Jeremiah, was compelled to flee into Egypt; and on
this we found our prayer, Return to us O Jehovah! The Lord has heard
thee, happy youth! Thou shalt behold the works of Jehovah! And from the
sepulchre of thy father, from beneath these primeval cedars, his spirit
blesses thee and says, The favour of the Lord thy God be upon thee. May
he prosper all the work of thy hands, yea the work of thy hands may his
goodness prosper. And now let us go. We will return home by Zion and by
the spring of Siloah.”

At the south-east corner of Jerusalem, near the termination of the
Kedron, lies the valley of Hinnom, where once sacrifices were offered to
Moloch on Tophet. They bent their course around the Water-gate and went
through this valley which lies on the southern side, along the aqueduct
of Siloah, which had been erected by Solomon. They came first to the
lower pool, then to the remains of a noble garden, and at last, opposite
to the south-west side of the city to the upper pool, near which was the
highly-prized fountain of Siloah, which Manasseh, on his return, had
connected with the city by means of a well. Isaiah describes the waters
of Siloah as “flowing softly.”[3]

-----

Footnote 3:

  Isaiah viii. 6.

-----

This is the holy spot where the wisest king of Israel was anointed.
David, then grey with years, said, “Set Solomon my son on my own mule,
and bring him down to Gihon (so this fountain was then called) and let
Zadok the priest, and Nathan the prophet, anoint him there king over
Israel. So Zadok and Nathan, and Benaiah and the Kerethites and the
Pelethites went down thither, and Zadok took a horn of oil out of the
sanctuary and anointed Solomon, and they blew the trumpet, and all the
people came up after him piping and rejoicing, so that the earth was
rent with their sound.”[4]

-----

Footnote 4:

  1 Kings i. 33.

-----

“It was not without reason,” said Elisama, “that I brought thee hither
to-day. As the king is the anointed of a people, so is the priest of a
family. For thy own sake I led thee to the valley of Jehoshaphat; it
shall serve as an omen to myself that I have brought thee hither.”

They were both silent. Passing by the Fuller’s Field,[5] as it was
called from ancient times, and bending round the western side of the
city, by the ruins of the aqueduct of Hezekiah, they entered the valley
of Siloah. Between the gate of the Fountain and the gate of the Valley
they saw the tower of Zion, formerly called the tower of the
Jebusites,[6] and now the city of David, rising in the midst of the
Higher City which had been built around it. The Higher and Lower City
were separated by a valley, which was called the Tyropœon (valley of
the cheese-makers.) They entered by the gate of the Valley and thus
reached again the house of Iddo, in the Higher City, and in the
Broad-street.

-----

Footnote 5:

  2 Kings xviii. 17. Isaiah vii. 3.

Footnote 6:

  Judges i. 21.

-----

How did Iddo sympathize in the joy with which Elisama announced to him
the determination of Helon! He was standing in the outer court, and had
just taken leave of some acquaintance, when they entered. Leading them
with exclamations of joy to the inner court, he called his wife from the
apartment of the women, made the slaves place cushions around the
fountain, and repeatedly exclaimed, “What a happiness for a family! The
priest is indeed an angel of Jehovah of Hosts.”

The day was spent in domestic festivity, but Helon could not be present
at the evening sacrifice, because he had made himself unclean by contact
with a grave.[7] It seemed somewhat strange to him, that he should have
been defiled by a visit to his father’s tomb, and be unfit to appear in
the temple of Jehovah, because he had shed there tears not of earthly
sorrow but of heavenly hope. But he consoled himself with the thought
that the priest was more secure even in this respect.

-----

Footnote 7:

  Numb. xix. 16.

-----

In the afternoon, as he could not go up to the temple, he strayed,
accompanied by his host, through the Higher City, the Lower City, and
came at last into the New City. The artisans were at their labours, in
shops open to the street, and presented a picture of animated activity.
They passed the ruins of the palaces of David, in the Upper City, and
Solomon in the Lower City, and saw the tower of Baris, where Helon was
to appear on the following day, before the high-priest, and at length
turned in the New City around the hill Bezetha, by the Gate of the
Corner which lay in the north-east side of the city. The sepulchres of
the kings,[8] a splendid work, hewn out of the rock, was near. Helon and
Iddo proceeded, and winding round the west side of the city came into
the vale of Gihon. “Yonder,” said Iddo, “is Golgotha,” as they came to
an open space.

-----

Footnote 8:

  2 Chron. xxi. 20.

-----

A dim remembrance of the connection of this place with some past event
of his life came into Helon’s mind, and he at length recollected his
dream. “I have had,” said he to his host, “an extraordinary dream, which
I have been unable to shake off and which ended with Golgotha.” When he
had related it to him, Iddo replied, “Remember the words of Elihu,

            In a dream, in visions of the night,
            When deep sleep falleth upon men,
            In slumberings upon their bed
            God giveth instruction unto men.—Job xxxiii. 15.

A part of the dream is on the point of being fulfilled, in your
receiving the sacerdotal unction, and we will hope that the rest
portends only good. What Golgotha should mean I do not understand.”

Helon purified himself in the evening, by the prescribed ablutions, from
the uncleanness which he had contracted by the contact of the grave.
Still he was not permitted to enter the temple for seven days to come;
for so long the uncleanness lasted which was produced by touching a
sepulchre. But the prohibition applied only to the temple.

The following day was a sabbath. Elisama took the presents which he had
destined for the high-priest, and Helon and he went together to the
castle of Baris. It was a stately edifice erected by Hyrcanus. It stood
at the north-east corner of the temple, on a steep rock fifty cubits
high, and formed a quadrangle, in the midst of which a splendid palace
stood. Besides a court, it was surrounded with a wall, on the four
corners of which were towers, that on the south-east side being the
highest, for the purpose of commanding the temple from it.

The high-priest received the stranger, sitting in the inner court, by
the fountain, and bade them welcome. Elisama had been known to him
before, and Hyrcanus rejoiced to see him after an interval of many
years. With lofty panegyrics of his government, and the heroic deeds of
himself and his progenitors, Elisama laid his Egyptian presents at his
feet, consisting of valuable or curious productions of nature and art
from that country, and then made application for Helon’s admission into
the priesthood. The high-priest lent a favourable ear to the request,
but observed, that as the triumphal entry of his sons was to take place
on the approaching new moon, he could not before that time admit Helon
to the temple service, and he recommended it to Elisama to employ the
interval in examining the genealogical table of the young candidate.
Having promised them all necessary aid in carrying their purpose into
effect, he dismissed them.

The first step had now been taken. Helon left the castle, full of
exultation, and congratulating Israel that such a hero as Hyrcanus sat
upon its throne. On their return home Elisama announced to Iddo his
intention of making a journey with Helon to Joppa, where the keeper of
the genealogical register of their family dwelt. “Since you are now to
be an inhabitant of the Promised Land,” said he to Helon, “it is right
that you should become acquainted with it and with your kinsmen who
dwell in it. We shall return in time to witness the triumphal entry.”
Helon requested that they might take Anathoth in their way, a place
which he felt an indescribable longing to see, as being the native town
of his prophet Jeremiah. Elisama agreed, and as soon as the sabbath was
ended preparations for the journey were hastily made.



                              CHAPTER II.
                         THE JOURNEY TO JOPPA.


The crowing of the cock had already announced the near approach of
morning, yet all was still in the streets of Jerusalem and in the
temple, when Elisama, Helon, and the faithful Sallu, their upper
garments girt short around them, with sandals on their feet, and staves
in their hands, passed through the gate of Ephraim, and took the road to
Anathoth.

They entered the territory of the tribe of Benjamin as soon as they had
passed the gate. Jerusalem lay on the confines of Judah and Benjamin, as
the metropolis of the whole people, and not belonging to any one tribe
exclusively. Since the return from the captivity the distinction of the
tribes had been obliterated, with the exception of that of Levi, and,
strictly speaking, only the name remained in the case of the others, as
a cherished memorial of former times.

A beautiful and fruitful plain, yet with something of declivity, lay
before them, the only level ground in the immediate vicinity of the
city. On whichever side you quit Jerusalem, the ground falls, for
Jerusalem stands elevated and conspicuous on the surface of the earth,
as it does in the history of the world. It was growing light when they
came into the King’s valley, so called because it was here that
Melchisedec, priest of the Most High God and King of Salem had met
Abram,[9] returning triumphant from his battle with Chedorlaomer and his
confederate kings, and brought wine and bread to the patriarch and
blessed him, and said, “Blessed be Abram of the Most High God, the
possessor of heaven and earth, and blessed be the Most High God, who
hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand.” Here too the king of Sodom
came to meet Abram. They passed along this beautiful valley, which was
beginning to be brightened by the first beams of the sun; the sickle of
the reapers was heard on every side, and they congratulated themselves
on being permitted to visit scenes where holy men had walked. “These,”
said Elisama, “are truly consecrated spots; the memory of the events
which passed here lives from generation to generation, and has outlasted
the pillar which Absalom raised yonder, hoping to perpetuate his name by
this monument, when he had no son to preserve it.[10] He had no son,
because he had shown that he could not teach him to honour a father; his
monument has disappeared; no man mentions the pillar of Absalom; but the
friendly meeting of the kings will be handed down to the latest
posterity, in the name which this valley bears.”

-----

Footnote 9:

  Gen. xiv. 18.

Footnote 10:

  2 Sam. xviii. 18.

-----

Helon was silent; for he perceived that his uncle had involuntarily
awakened a thought in his own mind, which never failed to give him pain.
Elisama had no children, and he regarded this as a grievous punishment
from heaven, for some unknown sin which he had committed. With an
agitated voice he turned to Helon and gave him his hand; “Be thou,” he
said, “my son! Like Absalom, I have sinned. I did indeed honour my
father to his dying day; but the ways of the Lord are unsearchable; he
is righteous, and it becomes me to say with David, 'Who can tell how
often he transgresseth! Cleanse thou me from secret faults.'”

“I am thy son,” replied Helon, and pressed Elisama’s hand. “But here
while Israel rejoices around us, in this lovely valley, in the blessing
of the harvest, let joy and thankfulness alone occupy our minds.”

They proceeded on their way. The fields of barley stood, golden ripe, on
either side of the road; troops of reapers were on their way to the
harvest, and the sound of the sickle, the song of the labourer, and the
rolling of the threshing-wain resounded through the air. While rows of
the reapers were busy in cutting down the grain, others were binding up
the sheaves, tying the stalks not far from the ears. Here a corner of
the field was left for the poor;[11] there a field already reaped was
affording them a gleaning. Some were carrying their sheaves to the
threshing-floor, others were loading them on waggons to convey them
thither. They past one of these threshing-floors: it was an open place
in the fields, where the soil had been made hard and smooth by stamping;
the width was on an average from thirty to forty paces, and oxen,
unmuzzled, according to the law, were treading out the grain.[12] In
another, which belonged to a rich man, a servant sat upon the
threshing-wain, guiding the beasts, who dragged this machine, with its
iron-shod wheels, over the sheaves, while another, following behind,
shook up the straw with a fork. All were enlivening their various
labours with a song; and such passages as these might frequently be
heard,

          He watereth the hills from his chambers,
          The earth is satisfied with the fruit of his works.
          He causeth grass to grow for cattle,
          And herb for the service of man,
          Bringing forth bread out of the earth.—Ps. civ.

Or this,

             Thou crownest the year with thy goodness;
             Thy paths drop fatness.
             They drop upon the pastures of the wilderness,
             And the little hills rejoice on every side.
             The pastures are clothed with flocks,
             The vallies also are covered over with corn,
             They shout for joy and sing.—Ps. lxv.

-----

Footnote 11:

  Lev. xix. 9.

Footnote 12:

  Deut. xxv. 4.

-----

The travellers joined in these festive songs, and, according to ancient
custom, pronounced, at every field which they passed, the benediction,

           The blessing of Jehovah be upon you!
           We bless you in the name of Jehovah.—Ps. cxxix. 8.

Helon felt now the full force of the prophecy of Jehovah by Isaiah;[13]
“They joy before thee, according to the joy in harvest.” They had
travelled about three sabbath-days' journies through this exhilarating
scene, when they reached the little town of Anathoth; their road to
Joppa did not necessarily take them through it, but it was the
birth-place of Jeremiah, and Elisama and Helon could not refuse
themselves the pleasure of hallowing the remembrance of the prophet, who
had been the guest of their family, on his own natal soil. It was here
that this man of God had spent his childhood—here, as a youth, he had
received the call of Jehovah; and when Helon, in his boyish days, had
heard from his father or his mother, or his uncle, any anecdote of their
prophet, the names of Jeremiah and of Anathoth bad always been connected
together.

-----

Footnote 13:

  Isaiah ix. 3.

-----

They halted at the gate, and asked to be shown the field of Hanameel,
which Jeremiah bought from the son of his father’s brother,[14] when the
king of Babylon was besieging Jerusalem, a transaction which Jehovah
designed to be an omen that the people then dispersed should be again
collected together, and return to occupy their ancient possessions. “For
thus saith Jehovah of Hosts, the God of Israel, they shall still buy
houses, fields, and vineyards in this land.” One of the severest
denunciations of the prophet, was that delivered against Anathoth, in
which, as his own city, he was least held in honour.

-----

Footnote 14:

  Jer. xxxvii. 7.

-----

          Thus saith Jehovah against the men of Anathoth,
          Who seek thy life and command thee,
          “Prophesy not in the name of Jehovah
          Lest thou die by our hand.”
          Therefore thus saith the Lord of Hosts,
          Behold, I will punish them:
          The young men shall die by the sword;
          Their sons and their daughters shall die by famine,
          And there shall be no remnant of them.
          For I will bring evil upon the men of Anathoth
          In the time when I visit them.—Jer. xi.

It was fearfully accomplished on this city of the priests; but so was
also the word spoken at the purchase of the field of Hanameel; for at
the return from the captivity one hundred and twenty-eight men undertook
to rebuild the city of their fathers.[15]

-----

Footnote 15:

  Ezra ii. 23.

-----

Helon’s ancestors, strictly speaking, derived their extraction from this
city of the priests in the tribe Benjamin, and therefore he regarded
this as his own city. He imagined a resemblance between himself, as he
was now about to assume the sacerdotal office, and the calling of the
prophet Jeremiah, and repeated the account of it to his uncle, as they
returned from seeing the field of Hanameel.

    The word of the Lord came unto me, saying,
    “Before I formed thee in the womb I knew thee,
    And before thou camest forth out of the womb I had chosen thee,
    And I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.”
    And I replied, “Ah, Lord God!
    Behold I cannot speak;
    For I am a child.”
    But the Lord said unto me,
    “Say not, I am a child:
    For thou shalt go to all to whom I shall send thee,
    And thou shalt speak whatsoever I command thee.
    Be not afraid of them;
    For I am with thee to help thee;”
    So saith Jehovah.
    Then Jehovah put forth his hand
    And touched my mouth,
    And said to me,
    “Behold I put my words into thy mouth.
    See, I have this day set thee before nations and kingdoms,
    To root out and to pull down,
    To destroy and to overthrow,
    To build up and to plant again.”—Jer. i.

But he had scarcely repeated this passage, when he began humbly to feel
that it would be better for him to keep all such comparisons out of
view. He left this remarkable place with regret; but it had ceased for
several generations to be the abode of his ancestors; Elisama had
neither kindred nor even acquaintance there, and they had a long journey
still before them.

They left Mizpah, Emmaus, Rama, and Kiriath-jearim to the north. Helon
lamented that they could not visit them all, but must bend their course
directly from Anathoth to Bethshemesh. Bethshemesh is the ancient city
of the priests in Judah, to which the alarmed Philistines brought back
the ark of the covenant, and where blamable curiosity respecting sacred
things was severely punished.[16]

-----

Footnote 16:

  1 Sam. vi. 19.

-----

From Bethshemesh they followed the road to Modin, a spot which their
admiration and loyalty towards the Maccabees would not allow them to
pass without notice. What could be more interesting to sons of Israel,
who had just come from a land which was still a house of bondage to
their nation, than the place where the heroes who had emancipated Judah
had begun their work in the might of Jehovah, and with his blessing. In
this little village of Modin lived the pious father with his five
valiant sons, whose family bore the name of the _Hammerer_, Maccabæus.
When the frenzy of Antiochus Epiphanes had arisen to the highest pitch,
and Jerusalem bent beneath his oppression, the aged Mattathias, in this
insignificant spot, declared, “Though all nations in the dominions of
the king obey him, so that every one falleth away from the worship of
his fathers, and obeyeth the commands of the king, yet I and my sons and
my brothers will not depart from the law of our fathers.”[17] So he
spoke, and punished the first apostate whom he saw, and overturned the
altars of the king, not in blind unauthorized fury, but in holy zeal for
the rights of his people. He and his family quitted their abode, took
refuge in the mountains, and collected around them the noblest and the
bravest of the nation. The father died; but his spirit rested upon his
sons; one after another fought and conquered for the law of Jehovah;
until at length, the son of Simon, our Hyrcanus, obtained the meed of so
many exploits, in the united dignities of prince and priest.

-----

Footnote 17:

  1 Maccab. ii.

-----

Simon, in the brilliant days of his prosperity, caused the sepulchre of
his family to be enlarged, and made it one of the most splendid works of
architecture in the country. Elisama and Helon hastened to visit it, and
admired the lofty work of hewn stones, the seven pyramids raised upon it
in honour of the five sons and their parents, the tall columns which
surrounded it, and the emblems of their victories carved in stone upon
the monument.[18]

-----

Footnote 18:

  1 Maccab. xiii. 27.

-----

“May Jehovah increase them a thousand times!” said Elisama. “May Jehovah
bless this heroic family of priests!” exclaimed Helon: and as they
pursued their way and looked back on the lofty monument, they observed
to each other, that even in the destruction of Samaria, that is to the
third generation, God continued to prosper them. Reclining under the
shadow of a few lofty palms, which stood by the road side, where they
could see the towering mausoleum, they refreshed their bodies in the
shade, and cheered their minds with the thought of Jehovah’s mercies.

At length they arose and set forward on their way, and reached the limit
of their first day’s journey, Lydda, which bears also the names of Lod
and Diospolis. In a direct line they were forty sabbath-days’ journies
from Jerusalem, but their circuitous route made it amount to a good deal
more. In the neighbourhood of this city, the rich corn-land of Ono
bordered on the fertile pastures of Sharon, which extends northward from
the Mediterranean sea. Close to the gate was a large house, where men in
festal attire were going in and out, and the open gate seemed to invite
the presence of the stranger.

“Let us turn in hither,” said Elisama; “hospitality never fails among
those who are celebrating a feast.”

The master of the house came to the outer court to receive them, and
conducting them to the house, bade them welcome to the feast of the
winnowing, which he was celebrating.[19] As the threshing-floor where
this feast was usually held was very near his house, he was accustomed
to transfer it thither. He led them into the inner court, where his
guests were assembled; the slaves untied the latchets of their sandals,
and washed their feet. Elisama was much fatigued and enjoyed repose; but
he was not allowed to enjoy it long, for they were speedily called to
the meal. A great abundance of dishes was placed upon the table, the
servants were treated as the chief persons, and milk, honey, wine,
fruit, cheese, rice, and flesh, were so plentifully supplied, that they
could not be consumed, though the appetite of the guests was keen.

-----

Footnote 19:

  Ruth iii. 1, 2.

-----

“Our doctors of the law,” said the master of the house, “reckon the
making a feast among good works, and I feel this doubly at the feast of
the winnowing, which I make for my servants.” Helon attached himself to
the priests and Levites of the place, who, according to the ancient
custom of Israel, had also been invited;[20] they received him into
their circle and related to him at his request the history of Lydda.
This town had been taken possession of by those who had returned from
the captivity of the tribe of Benjamin;[21] it had afterwards been
reckoned with Samaria, and finally along with Rama and Apherama had been
restored to the hero Jonathan by Demetrius Soter.[22] From this subject
it was an easy transition to the victory over the Samaritans which the
sons of Hyrcanus had just achieved. All these particulars arrested his
attention, but none more than a description which an aged Levite gave of
the desolation caused by a flight of locusts which he had witnessed in
his youth. These locusts are of about the length and thickness of a
finger; their numbers are countless, and they form swarms which extend
for several leagues in breadth. Such a swarm, when approaching, appears
like a mist; when it is arrived, it resembles the falling of thick
flakes of snow: the air is darkened and filled with a fearful murmur:
they cover the ground and all that grows on it, often to a foot in
height, devouring every green thing, grass, corn, and the trunks of
young trees. They creep into the houses, destroy clothes and furniture,
and besides this, lay their eggs in the ground, which in the course of
fifteen or sixteen days become young locusts. The south-east wind brings
them, and it is happy for the land when it also drives them into the
sea.

-----

Footnote 20:

  Deut. xii. 17, 18.

Footnote 21:

  Ezra ii. 33.

Footnote 22:

  1 Maccab. xi. 34.

-----

The aged Levite had retained such a lively impression of the misery of
those times, that he could not cease from describing the plague itself,
and the still more dreadful evils of pestilence and famine which it left
behind. Helon listened to him with shuddering, and then broke out in the
words in which the prophet Joel describes them:

       Blow ye the trumpet in Zion,
       And sound an alarm in my holy mountain!
       Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble.
       For the day of the Lord cometh—it is nigh at hand.
       A day of darkness and gloom—
       A day of clouds and thick darkness.
       As twilight spreads over the mountains,
       So now a people, great and strong.
       There hath not been ever the like,
       Nor shall be from generation to generation.
       A flame devoureth before them,
       And behind them a fire burneth.
       The land is as the garden of Eden before them,
       And behind them a desolate wilderness:
       Yea, nothing shall escape them.
       Their form is as the form of horses,
       And they leap as horsemen leap.
       They run like the noise of chariots on the mountain tops,
       Like the noise of fire that devoureth the stubble.
       They are a strong people, arrayed for battle.
       Before them nations tremble,
       And all their faces glow.
       They run like mighty men,
       They climb the wall like men of war;
       They march every one straight forward,
       And they shall not break their ranks.
       No one shall thrust another,
       They shall walk every one in his own path.
       They break through the midst of swords,
       And interrupt not their march;
       They run to and fro in the city,
       They mount the wall and climb up the houses,
       They enter the windows like a thief.
       The earth quakes before them,
       The heavens tremble,
       The sun and moon are darkened,
       And the stars withdraw their light.
       Jehovah thunders before his army:
       For his hosts are very great
       And mighty is he that executeth his word.
       The day of the Lord is great and terrible,
       Who can abide it?—Joel ii.

It was late when our travellers retired to rest; yet they arose early,
to reach Joppa before the heat of the day. Elisama left a present with
the master of the house, as a return for his hospitality, and they took
leave of each other, one saying, “God reward thee;” the other
acknowledging it as a gift of God, that such guests had taken up their
abode with him.

They had not travelled more than seven sabbath-days’ journies, when
Joppa, the _Beautiful_, as its name implies, rose before them. It is
close to the sea, is built upon a rising ground, and offers on all sides
picturesque and varied prospects. Towards the west the open sea extends;
towards the east spreads the fertile plain of Sephela, reaching as far
as Gaza, in which are the fifteen principal cities of the Philistines:
towards the north, as far as Carmel, the flowery meads of Sharon are
seen, and through the dark summits of the hills of Ephraim and Judah on
the east, a piercing sight can even discern one of the towers of
Jerusalem. A thin veil of morning vapour lay on the blue hills, on the
distant plains and the boundless sea. Our travellers gazed on the scene
with such a fulness of tranquil delight, that it was long ere they
remembered that they had business in the city. Elisama inquired at the
gate for his friend, and going to his house was received by him with a
hearty greeting. His first question was respecting the residence of the
genealogist. He was told that he no longer lived in Joppa, but was gone
to Ziklag. Elisama was provoked that he should have received false
information in Jerusalem, but Helon pacified his uncle, by reminding him
that they had enjoyed a pleasant journey and this mistake would afford
him an opportunity of seeing the south-west side of Judah. Elisama would
gladly have taken his departure instantly, and Helon have followed him;
but their host insisted that they should remain with him till the
morrow. Elisama agreed, on condition that he should furnish Helon with a
guide, to conduct him to the harbour, and show him what was remarkable
in it. He called for this purpose one of his sons, who was of nearly
Helon’s age, and they went down to the shore. Here Solomon had landed
his cedar-wood from Lebanon,[23] to be used in his works of
architecture, and it was by the same haven that the materials for the
building of the second temple were imported. Simon the Maccabee had
improved the harbour and fortified the city, which Jonathan had taken
from a Syrian garrison.[24] Helon, well acquainted with the celebrated
harbours of Egypt, examined it critically, and not being in his present
mood inclined to praise any thing connected with commerce, he excited
some displeasure in the mind of his companion, by observing how
inadequately it was sheltered from the north wind. It was about noon
when they arrived at home, and found the elders sitting around the
fountain in the court. “Do you remember,” said Elisama to Helon, “that
this was the place at which the prophet Jonah embarked on a voyage,
which had nearly terminated fatally for him, when he endeavoured to
escape from the mission to which God had appointed him.”[25] Helon was
about to answer, when he saw his host knit his brow and start up. “You
remind me,” said he, “of an accursed heathen, who arrived here lately
with a Phœnician caravan, a lively and acute Greek, who kept himself
aloof from all the rest, and amused himself by turning the Tyrians into
ridicule. This son of Belial had the assurance to ask me, if the history
of our prophet was not a new version of the Grecian story of Andromeda,
who was exposed here to the jaws of a sea-monster, and delivered by
Perseus. What his Grecian fable may be I know not, but I was so enraged
at his insinuation, that——”

-----

Footnote 23:

  2 Chron. ii. 16.

Footnote 24:

  1 Maccab. xiv. 5, 6.

Footnote 25:

  Jonah i. 3.

-----

“This can be no other than our Myron,” said Elisama. “How long since was
he here?” “About three weeks,” replied his host. “It is the same,” said
Elisama. “He came with us from Egypt as far as Gaza. The Greeks are a
nation of scoffers, but it shall one day fare with them, praised be
Jehovah, as it has fared with Samaria in our days.”

“Were that glory also reserved to our Hyrcanus,” said his host, “I would
do what this man has done,” pointing to a Nazarite who had just entered
the court.

It was a wild looking figure which presented itself to their view. His
upper garment was of rough hair, and his locks hung far down upon his
shoulders, tangled and neglected, and showing that it was long since
they had been shorn.

Helon had never yet seen a Nazarite, for they were seldom to be met with
but in the Holy Land. But he was acquainted with all the passages in the
law relative to this kind of vow,[26] by which a man for a time
consecrated himself, abstained from wine and from all the produce of the
vine, and allowed no razor to come upon his person, nor any contact of a
dead body to pollute him. This Nazarite was a Jew of Maresa, who had
been one of those that had lost their house and home, when, a year and a
half before, the Samaritans, at the command of the king of Syria, had
inflicted great injury on the Jews, who had settled again in Maresa,
subsequently to its devastation by Judas Maccabæus. In his wrath he had
vowed himself to Jehovah, till the time when the atrocities of the
Samaritans should cease and Samaria be razed to the foundations. He was
just come from the camp of Israel, and was expressing his joy and
gratitude that Jehovah had so soon accomplished the object of his vow.
He had seen the houses and the ramparts of Samaria levelled, amidst the
songs of the soldiery, and the spot on which the city had stood furrowed
with trenches of water and converted into a desert. He had much to
relate of the preparations which Hyrcanus had made for the reception of
his victorious sons, and he announced his intention of going up to the
Holy City, at the next feast of the new moon, to have his head shorn
there, and offer a sacrifice for the termination of his Nazarite’s vow.
This led them into a wide field of discourse, and the Nazarite remained
to partake of the evening meal, though he could not taste the choice
wine with which the citizen of Joppa regaled his guests. One remark of
the Nazarite threatened to destroy the harmony of sentiment which had
hitherto reigned between him and Elisama. He praised, among others,
Hilkiah and Ananias, (the sons of that Onias who had built Leontopolis)
who, being the principal advisers of Cleopatra the queen of Egypt, had
prevailed on her not to consent to the sending of the auxiliaries whom,
to the amount of six thousand men, her son and joint regent, Ptolemy
Lathyrus, had despatched to Antiochus Cyzicenus, to raise the siege of
Samaria. Every thing which was connected with the Hellenists of Egypt
was intolerable to Elisama, and above all, to hear their chiefs
mentioned with praise in the Holy Land itself. Their host made peace
between them, remarking that Jehovah had himself decided in this case,
by the miserable and ignominious fate which had befallen these
auxiliaries; and they were completely reconciled when the Nazarite spoke
of Iddo as his friend. They separated in peace and love, and with the
hope to meet again in a few days in the presence of Jehovah, at the
rejoicings for the victory. On the following morning, Elisama, quite
refreshed, grasped his staff, and, with Helon and Sallu, set out for
Ziklag.

-----

Footnote 26:

  Numb. vi.

-----

Their road led them first through Gazara, which had been a city of the
Philistines, burnt after they were conquered, and rebuilt by
Solomon,[27] and very recently strongly fortified by the Maccabees;[28]
next to Noba, celebrated for the terrible vengeance which Saul took
there upon the priest Ahimelech, and on all the other inhabitants, for
their crime in giving to David, when he fled from before Saul, the
loaves of the shew-bread and the sword of Goliath.[29] Leaving this
place they descended from the hills into the plain of Sephela. They here
came again into the scenes of harvest, and reached the town of Gath,
which stands at the limit of the territory of Dan, hearing on every side
shouts of joy and pious thankfulness. Gath was once the fourth among the
five chief cities of the Philistines, and in later times an apple of
discord between them and the Israelites, passing from the hand of one
party to that of the other. The giant Goliath was a Philistine of Gath.
It had been razed by king Uzziah,[30] and since that time had been a
very insignificant place.

-----

Footnote 27:

  1 Kings ix. 15.

Footnote 28:

  1 Maccab. ix. 52.

Footnote 29:

  1 Sam. xxii. 19.

Footnote 30:

  2 Chron. xxvi. 6.

-----

When they reached Gath, they had travelled twelve sabbath-days’
journies: they now entered the tribe of Judah, and had half that
distance to travel to Eleutheropolis, a small village. Their road led
them through the region which lies in the middle between Maresa and
Morescheth. They quickened their pace and arrived late in the evening at
Ziklag, having past through Agla, which was twelve miles distant from
Eleutheropolis. Ziklag had been the favourite abode of David; Achish,
the king of Gath, had assigned it to him for his residence;[31] its
destruction by the Amalekites had roused him to take exemplary vengeance
upon them, and he had afterwards rebuilt it.

When they arrived at Ziklag, they inquired for the house of the
genealogist, and went directly to it. It had long been dark, and Elisama
was very weary; and when the genealogist had given them a friendly
reception, as his Egyptian kinsmen, and expressed high approbation of
Helon’s determination to become a priest, they laid themselves down to
rest.

The institution of genealogists may be traced up to the earliest times
of Israel’s existence as a nation. Jehovah was their true and only
ruler. Under him the people lived in families, which together formed
tribes, the families themselves being subdivided into _houses_. Each
tribe had its own prince, chosen probably by the _heads of families_,
who were themselves chosen by the _heads of houses_. The princes and the
heads of families were called elders; their number was seventy-one, and
besides them there were judges, and genealogists who kept the registers
of the different families. Although at various times the supreme power
was by turns in the hands of heroes, kings, princes and high-priests,
yet the fundamental principle of the constitution was, that Jehovah was
sole and absolute monarch of his people Israel, and that they obeyed
him, under all intermediate magistrates, whatever their titles or
offices might be. In earlier times the heads of families, the judges,
and genealogists of each tribe, assembled occasionally together, under
the presidence of the prince of the tribe, for the purpose of joint
deliberation; sometimes these officers assembling from all the tribes
formed a species of Diet.

-----

Footnote 31:

  1 Sam. xxvii. 5.; xxx.

-----

The genealogist of each family was a very important person, and
especially in the tribe of Levi, in which so many privileges were
attached to purity and certainty of extraction. He who wished to serve
as a priest before Jehovah, must not only descend on the father’s side
from Aaron, but be of irreproachable birth on that of the mother. The
series of Helon’s paternal ancestors had been very exactly carried on in
Egypt, and Elisama had brought documents thence with him to establish
it. But his mother was also the daughter of a priest, and as her family
lived in Judah, it was necessary that the genealogy on this side should
be examined into, and the descent shown to be regular.

The following day was occupied with these researches. The genealogist
showed the pedigree of his family to Helon; his name was formally
entered under that of his mother, and he thus stood on her side among
the children of the course of Abia, as on his father’s he belonged to
the course of Malchia.

On the fifth day our travellers returned to Jerusalem. Helon, rejoicing
in the success of his journey, compared his own lot with that of the
children of Habaiah, Hakoz, and Barzillai, of whom Ezra and Nehemiah
write, that after their return from the captivity they sought for their
registers, and not being able to find them, forfeited their sacerdotal
office.[32] On their return they past through Lachish, which Helon had
not seen before, of which the prophet Micah said, “Thou art the
beginning of sin to the daughter of Zion.”[33] This town was taken by
Joshua from a Canaanitish prince;[34] it was fortified by Rehoboam.[35]
Amaziah was put to death in it;[36] and the ambassadors of Hezekiah came
hither with presents to Sennacherib.[37] Next he saw Libna,[38] which,
like Lachish, was situated in the plain of Sephela, and was memorable
for its defection from king Joram. At last they came to Socho, near
which is the grove of terebinths, where David fought with Goliath. In
the earlier part of their day’s journey they had also seen the cave of
Adullam, doubly memorable as having afforded a hiding-place to David,
and as being the place where Judas Maccabæus kept the first sabbath,
which we read of as having been celebrated after the atrocities of the
king of Syria.[39]

-----

Footnote 32:

  Ezra ii. 61. Neh. vii. 63.

Footnote 33:

  Micah i. 13.

Footnote 34:

  Josh. x. 32.

Footnote 35:

  2 Chron. xi. 9.

Footnote 36:

  2 Kings xiv. 19.

Footnote 37:

  2 Kings xviii. 14.

Footnote 38:

  2 Kings viii. 22.

Footnote 39:

  1 Sam. xxii. 1. 2 Maccab. xii. 38.

-----

Happy in having stored his memory with many pleasing pictures of the
Land of Promise, infinitely more happy in the thought that there was now
no obstacle to his admission into the priesthood, Helon greeted the Holy
City a second time.



                              CHAPTER III.
                       THE FEAST OF THE NEW MOON.


Elisama and Helon, as they drew near the gates of Jerusalem, soon
perceived from the commotion among the people, from the triumphal
preparations, some wholly, some only partially finished, and from the
influx of strangers, that a public rejoicing was at hand. It resembled
the preparation for the Passover, but there was more of mirth, and
altogether a more worldly character in it. The acclamations of joy which
had been heard on the first intelligence of the victory were now
renewed, on the evening before the victors were to make their solemn
entry into Jerusalem.

Iddo was standing at the gate of his house, a place in which, according
to the custom of the Jews, the father of the family was seldom seen, not
even Iddo, lively and active as he was. On this occasion, however, he
had stationed himself there, in order to lose none of the animating
sights which the busy and crowded streets exhibited. Beside him stood
the Nazarite, who had already arrived, in his coarse garments and
unshorn locks.

The feet of the guests were washed and the supper served up. The
conversation turned on what the travellers had seen during their
journey, and what had passed in Jerusalem during their absence. All were
in eager expectation of the spectacle of to-morrow, and as Elisama was
weary, they speedily separated and retired to rest. On the following
day, as early as the commencement of the morning-sacrifice, the
multitude streamed towards the gate of Ephraim, by which the victorious
army was to enter. The streets of the New City and the Lower City, as
far as the castle Baris, were strewed with fragrant flowers; tapestry of
various colours hung from the parapets of the roofs, and banners were
displayed from the Alijahs, while on the pinnacles of the temple were
hung the curtains which in former years had closed the entrance of the
sanctuary. A chorus of virgins passed out at the gate of Ephraim, under
a splendid triumphal arch, to meet the victorious army. Messengers were
hastening to and fro, the crowd increased, and every one was
endeavouring to find himself a commodious place. The music of the temple
was heard between. Sallu had secured one of the highest places for his
masters, from which the whole scene lay before their eyes. In this way
several hours had passed; the messengers, mounted on horseback, went and
returned more frequently—at length, from thousands of voices was heard
the exclamation, “They come!”

The chorus of virgins arose with their psalteries and tabrets, and sung
in bold strains the valour of the conquerors, the fall of Samaria, and
the mercy of Jehovah to his people. When they reached the advanced guard
of the army, way was made for them, till they reached the car on which
the youthful Maccabees were seated. Standing before it they began an
ode, the burthen of which recalled the immortal song of Miriam, the
sister of Moses, the first of the female singers of Israel.

          Sing unto Jehovah, for he has triumphed gloriously:
          He hath filled Samaria with trenches of water!

Then the hymn took up the praises of the princes and the warriors and
the whole people, and the defeat of Samaria; and at the close of every
strophe, all with united voice and instruments, raised the chorus of
Miriam.

The victorious princes thanked the virgins, who advanced before them to
the triumphal arch at the gate of Ephraim. Here stood the high-priest
with the whole of the Sanhedrim, and a great multitude of the priests
and Levites. To the sound of the temple music they sang the following
psalm:

 I will praise thee, O Lord, with my whole heart,
 I will show forth all thy marvellous works.
 I will be glad and rejoice in thee,
 I will sing praise to thy name, O thou Most High!
 My enemies were turned back,
 They sunk and perished at thy presence.
 For thou maintainest my right and my cause,
 Thou sittest on thy throne judging rightly.

 Thou hast rebuked, thou hast destroyed the wicked,
 Thou hast blotted out their name far evermore.
 The swords of the enemy are come to an end,
 Their cities are destroyed, their remembrance is perished with them.
 Jehovah shall endure for ever,
 He hath prepared his throne for judgment;
 He judges the world in righteousness,
 He administers judgment in uprightness to the nations.
 Jehovah is the refuge of the oppressed,
 A refuge in time of trouble.
 They that know thy name put their trust in thee:
 For thou, Lord, forsakest not those that seek thee.
 Sing praises to the Lord who dwelleth in Zion!
 Declare among the people his doings.
 As the avenger of blood he remembereth them,
 He forgetteth not the cry of the humble.
 Have mercy upon me, O Jehovah!
 Consider my trouble among my enemies;
 Lift me up from the gates of death
 That I may show forth thy praise,
 That in the gates of the daughter of Zion I may rejoice in thy
    salvation.
 The heathen are sunk into the pit which they made,
 In the net which they hid is their own foot taken.
 Thus it is known that Jehovah executeth judgment.
 The wicked are snared in the work of their own hands,
 The wicked are cast into hell,
 And all the nations that forget God.
 The needy shall not always be forgotten,
 The hope of the poor shall not perish for ever.
 Arise, O Lord, let not man prevail,
 Let the heathen be judged by thee.

 Set a ruler over them, O Lord,
 Let the nations know that they are but men!—Ps. ix.

Priests, warriors, and citizens listened to the psalm in silent
veneration. The aged man who wore the insignia of the high-priest’s
office looked at times with moistened eyes upon the car in which his
sons were seated, as if the remembrance of his own youthful heroism
revived in his mind, and as if he would have said, “My Aristobulus, my
Antigonus, sons of Mattathias, noble Maccabees, perform deeds in Israel,
like those of the brethren Judas and Jonathan!”

When the psalm was ended, he approached his sons: they descended from
their chariot and hastened to throw themselves into the arms of their
father, who embraced and blessed them. The music began again; the
triumphal procession arranged itself and advanced through the city,
which resounded on every side with songs of congratulation. The maidens
with their tabrets and psalteries headed the procession: they were
followed by a multitude of victims for the sacrifice, adorned with
flowers, branches and fillets, designed to be offered as a
thank-offering on the morrow. Then came the prisoners in fetters, and
the huge elephants which had been taken from the Syrians. Each of these
animals bore a wooden tower upon his shoulders, in which were thirty-two
warriors, besides the Ethiopian who guided him.[40]

-----

Footnote 40:

  1 Maccab. vi. 37.

-----

After these came the high-priest with the Sanhedrim, the priests, the
Levites, and the temple-music. The two sons of Hyrcanus, on their car,
formed the centre of the procession, and after them came the military
music of flutes, horns, aduffes, and trumpets. The army itself followed,
adorned with branches of laurel and palm. First came the heavy-armed
infantry with shields and lances, in companies of hundreds and
thousands. They had no upper garment, and their under garment, which was
girt up short, was of various form and colour, as the fancy of each
individual dictated; but all had a sword hanging at their girdle; their
feet and arms were protected by metal greaves and arm-pieces, the body
was covered with a coat of mail, the head with a helmet, and over the
back hung the large shield. The light-armed infantry followed in like
manner, but with less cumbrous defensive weapons, and slings, bows, and
darts for offence. The cavalry were few in number and lightly armed: the
Jewish state had never maintained any large force of this description.
The military engines followed, of which the Israelites had learnt the
use from the Phœnicians and Syrians; catapults, bows which were bent
by machinery and threw beams of wood to a great distance; balistæ,
levers with one arm which hurled masses of stone of many hundred weight
into a fortress; battering rams, consisting of the trunks of trees,
armed at the extremity with an iron head of a ram, swung in chains,
which were set in motion by warriors who stood beneath a moveable
pent-house, and thus driven with great force against the walls. The
people, crowding behind, closed the whole procession. When they arrived
at the castle of Baris, the youthful warriors entered their father’s
palace, and the army dispersed itself through the city.

Helon had beheld with pride this display of the martial power of his
nation. War and its pomp and circumstance had hitherto possessed little
interest for him, who, from his youth, had been devoted to the peaceful
pursuits of science, and had now turned all his desires to the
priesthood; yet, on this occasion, an ardour was excited in him which he
had never felt before. These troops were the conquerors of the
Samaritans, that apostate people, who had opposed the rebuilding of
Jerusalem with such bitter hostility, and been a thorn in the side of
the people of Israel. At the same time memory recurred to the
manifestations of God’s power in behalf of his people in earlier times,
to the triumphs of Uzziah and David, to the songs of the virgins in
honour of him and of Saul, of the daughter of Jeptha, of Deborah, and
Miriam. What youth is there whose bosom does not glow at the sight of a
victorious army of his countrymen?

While the city was filled with tumultuous rejoicings, Helon drew aside a
relation of Iddo, who had served in the war, and led him home,
questioning him respecting all the events of the campaign. The
rejoicings of the inhabitants continued till the evening. But suddenly
the trumpets were heard to sound, to announce the appearance of the new
moon. The high-priest and the Sanhedrim had scarcely attended the
warriors home, when they had to assemble in their hall in the temple,
and fix the commencement of the festival. They were accustomed always to
meet here on the evening of the new moon. Men were stationed on all the
heights and watch-towers, who, as soon as they perceived the new moon,
hastened to announce it to the Sanhedrim; on this the high-priest said,
“The new moon is hallowed,” and the Sanhedrim replied, “It is hallowed.”
Fires were then kindled upon all the hills, or messengers sent to
different parts, and on the following day the people celebrated the
feast of the new moon.

For the first time for many years past, the fire was lighted on this
occasion on the mount of Olives. For several years, it had been the
practice of the Samaritans, always watching to do injury to Israel, to
light the fire on the wrong evening, and thus to mislead the people in
the distant towns. The custom of making the fire therefore had been
discontinued, and messengers sent through the country instead. Now,
however, that Samaria was destroyed, no deception was feared, and the
fires could be lighted as in old times; the citizens of Jerusalem
hastened to the roofs of their houses, to watch the blaze on the mount
of Olives, to which others soon answered on the more distant hills.

This new moon introduced the second month of the ecclesiastical year,
Sid or Ijar. The civil year began with the new moon of October, as the
natural commencement of the annual circle of agricultural operations.

When the morning came, the people crowded to the sacrifice through the
gate of Nicanor into the temple. All the courts were filled, and the
warriors supplied in some measure the place of the pilgrims. Elisama and
Helon remembered, that if they wished not to defile the temple, and
bring on themselves the punishment denounced by the law, of being cut
off from the people, they had a special duty to perform.[41] Before
their journey they had touched the grave of Helon’s father, in the
valley of Jehoshaphat, and had thus become unclean. This did not prevent
them from appearing before the high-priest, or from entering on their
journey, or from performing their morning and evening prayer; but they
were not allowed to go further into the temple than the court of the
Gentiles, and had they knowingly ventured even to enter the court of
Israel, they would have made themselves obnoxious to this terrible
punishment. Levitical uncleanness had reference exclusively to appearing
before Jehovah, in the place where his honour dwelt. The rigid demand of
the performance of a purifying ceremony conveyed this intimation, that
what is deemed pure by men, is not so regarded by Him, whose eyes are as
a flame of fire, until it has been again made holy by the rite which he
has ordained. After both had bathed themselves and washed their clothes,
they presented themselves, as they had already done the preceding day,
on the steps which lead from the court of the Gentiles into that of the
women; and underwent a sprinkling. This was performed by one, who was
himself clean, on those who were unclean, and with a bunch of hyssop
dipped in the water, mixed with the ashes of the red heifer.[42] Helon
thought of the words of David,

          “Purify me with hyssop, that I may be clean;
          Wash me, that I may be whiter than snow.”—Ps. li. 7.

-----

Footnote 41:

  Numb. xix. 20.

Footnote 42:

  Numb. xix. 17.

-----

On this day, as on every other day of the year, the daily service before
the altar of Jehovah began by the sacrifice of a lamb, with the meat and
drink offerings which belonged to it.[43] When this had been done, the
burnt-offering and the sin-offering which Moses had appointed on the new
moon, for the whole people, were offered up,[44] and finally the
thank-offering for individuals. The burnt-offering consisted of two
young bullocks, a ram, and seven lambs of the first year, with their
meat and drink offerings. The meat-offering to each bullock was three
ephas, to the ram two ephas, to each of the sheep a tenth of an epha of
flour, (the epha was equal to forty-three and a half egg-shells.) The
drink-offering to each bullock was half a hin of wine, to the ram a
third, and to the sheep a fourth of a hin. (The hin contained as much as
seventy-two egg-shells.) Besides this was added, to each meat-offering,
the same quantity of oil as there was of wine in the drink-offering, and
also a handful of incense. The sin-offering consisted in a goat. While
the burnt-offering was presented, the great Hallel was sung, and the
priests on the pillars blew the trumpets.[45]

-----

Footnote 43:

  Exod. xxix. 38.

Footnote 44:

  Numb. xxviii. 11-15.

-----

After this the high-priest presented his thank-offering for the victory,
consisting of a vast multitude of bullocks, rams, and sheep, with the
appropriate meat and drink offerings; his sons also testified their
gratitude by considerable sacrifices, and some of the principal officers
of the army took the same method of expressing their gratitude or
discharging their vows. The victims which had been seen in the
procession of the day before, adorned with flowers and fillets, were
brought to the altar; their blood was sprinkled upon it, the entrails
with the fat waved to the Lord, towards the four winds of heaven, and
then burnt upon the altar. The breast, the right shoulder, the jawbones,
the tongue, and the stomach came to the share of the priests, the rest
was prepared as a feast for the person who offered the sacrifice. During
the sacrifice the priests blew their silver trumpets, and the Levites on
the fifteen steps sung the following psalm of David:

 Blessed be the Lord, my strength,
 Who teacheth my hands to war
 And my fingers to fight.
 He is my friend and my fortress,
 My protector and my deliverer,
 My shield in whom I trust,
 Who made the nations subject to me.
 Lord! what is man, that thou carest for him,
 Or the son of man, that thou makest account of him?
 Man is like vanity;
 His days are a shadow that passeth away.

 Bow the heavens, O Jehovah, and come down!
 Touch the mountains and they shall smoke.
 Cast forth lightnings and scatter them,
 Shoot thine arrows and destroy them.
 Stretch thine hand from above,
 Save me, deliver me from great waters,
 From the hand of the sons of foreigners,
 Whose mouth speaketh falsely;
 Perjury is their right hand.
 I will sing a new song unto thee, O God,
 Upon a psaltery and an instrument of ten strings I will sing praises
    unto thee.
 Thou givest victory to kings,
 And deliverest David thy servant from the sword of the enemy.
 Save me, deliver me from the hand of the sons of foreigners,
 Whose mouth speaketh falsely;
 Perjury is their right hand.
 Our sons grow up in their youth as plants,
 Our daughters, as polished columns, after the fashion of a palace.
 Our granaries are full, affording all manner of store.
 Our sheep bring forth thousands,
 And ten thousands in our streets:
 Our oxen are strong to labour.
 There is no breaking in, no robbery,
 No complaining in our streets.
 Happy is the people that is in such case!
 Happy is that people whose God is Jehovah!—Ps. cxliv.

-----

Footnote 45:

  Numb. x. 10.

-----

Towards the end of all these offerings, which were so numerous that it
would not have been possible to have accomplished them all in so short a
time, but for the practised dexterity and systematic procedure of the
priests, the Nazarite made his appearance: he had already laid aside his
coarse garment, and he was now to be solemnly absolved from his vow. It
was necessary for him to present all the three principal kinds of
offerings, a lamb for a burnt-offering, a yearling sheep for a
sin-offering, and a ram for a thank-offering.[46] To these was added,
besides the drink-offering, a basket full of unleavened cakes, of the
finest meal, of which a part were kneaded with oil, a part had only had
oil poured upon them. The burnt-offering was wholly consumed on the
altar; the sin-offering was the portion of the priests; the
thank-offering served in a great measure to furnish a festive meal,
which was prepared for the Nazarite and his friends, in a small court in
the south-east corner of the court of Israel, called the court of the
Nazarites.

-----

Footnote 46:

  Numb. vi. 13.

-----

Helon, Elisama, Iddo, the relation of Iddo, who had returned from the
war, and many others were invited to partake of this meal, and
accompanied him to the court of the Nazarites. The excavation in which
the fire was burning was cleared, and fresh coals heaped upon it. Then
the Nazarite, returning thanks in a prayer to God, took the knife, and
cutting off the hair from his head, threw it on the coals to be
consumed. The flesh of the thank-offering was then roasted, and when it
was ready, a priest took the shoulder, together with a cake mixed with
oil, and another on which oil had been poured, and placed them in the
hands of the Nazarite. They went together to the front of the sanctuary:
the priest placed his own hands beneath those of the Nazarite and waved
what he held in them before Jehovah, towards the four winds of heaven,
and then received it for his own portion.

His vow was thus completely ended, and all the prescribed solemnities
had been observed. But not contented with this he offered several
special thank-offerings, which were sacrificed in the usual manner, and
the flesh prepared for the feast. The table was spread in one of the
galleries over the porticoes in the court. Iddo and Helon were made to
take the seats of honour, one on each side of the Nazarite. He, relieved
from the cumbrous and unseemly load which he had borne for a year, had
anointed his head, and was clad in a splendid caftan. The servants of
the temple waited on them during the whole of the meal.

The Nazarite spread his hands over the bread, and as a blessing ascribed
praise to Jehovah. Then, with more than ordinary solemnity, he took the
cup with both his hands, lifted it high above the table with his right,
and said, “Blessed be thou, O Lord our God, thou King of the world, who
hast given us the fruit of the vine.” The company said Amen! He then, in
a long draught, drank the first wine which he had tasted for a year, and
as the guests followed his example, he exclaimed, “It is time that wine
maketh glad the heart of man, as the Psalmist teaches us; but he who
would feel the full force of the saying, must have drank it for the
first time at the close of a Nazarite’s vow, before the face of Jehovah,
after the destruction of Samaria. This is the time to enter into the
full force of what the Preacher says, 'Eat thy bread with joy and drink
thy wine with a merry heart: for thy work is pleasing to God. Let thy
garments be always white and thy head lack no oil.'”[47]

-----

Footnote 47:

  Eccle. ix. 7.

-----

“I perceive,” said Iddo, “that you and I have reason to congratulate
ourselves, that we are children of Israel and not Rechabites, who after
the example and command of their ancestor Jonadab, refused to drink
wine, when it was set before them by the prophet Jeremiah.”[48]

-----

Footnote 48:

  Jer. xxxv.

-----

“I have found by experience,” said the Nazarite, “that zeal for Jehovah
makes abstinence easy, and burdensome observances light.”

“That may be seen,” said one of the company, “in the case of the
high-priest, who leads in some respects the life of a Nazarite
perpetually. He is not allowed to drink wine, or any strong drink in the
temple;[49] for the spirit of the Lord, and not intoxicating liquors,
must gladden his heart. He must not touch a corpse; for he must have no
communion with sin, or death which is its punishment. He must not make
his head bald; for that which in ordinary life might be a burden must be
an ornament of his head.”[50]

-----

Footnote 49:

  Lev. x. 9.

Footnote 50:

  Lev. xxi. 10-12.

-----

“This motive,” said Iddo, “makes many things light, that would otherwise
be grievous,” casting his eyes towards his young relative, who had just
returned from the war. “It is true,” said the youth, “I declined to
avail myself of the indulgence which the law would have granted me, I
had been just betrothed, when the war broke out. The keeper of the
genealogical register assembled our youth and read to us the law, as
spoken by the Lord our God to Moses. ‘When thou goest out to battle
against thine enemies, and seest horses and chariots and a people more
than thou, be not afraid of them: for the Lord thy God is with thee, who
brought thee out of the land of Egypt. And it shall be when ye are come
nigh unto the battle, that the priest shall approach and speak unto the
people, and shall say unto them; Hear, O Israel: ye approach this day
unto battle against your enemies: let not your hearts faint: fear not
and do not tremble, neither be ye terrified because of them. For Jehovah
your God goeth with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to give
you victory. And the officers shall speak unto the people, saying, Who
is there that hath built a new house, and hath not dedicated it? Let him
return to his house, lest he die in the battle and another man dedicate
it. And who is there that has planted a vineyard, and hath not yet eaten
of it? Let him also go and return unto his house, lest he die in the
battle and another man eat of it. And who is there that hath betrothed a
wife, and that hath not taken her? Let him go and return unto his house,
lest he die in the battle and another man take her. And the officers
shall speak further unto the people, and shall say unto them, Who is
fearful and fainthearted? Let him go and return unto his house, lest his
brethren’s heart faint, as well as his. And when the officers have made
an end of speaking unto the people, then shall captains place themselves
at the head of the people.’[51] On this proclamation being made, a
multitude of persons withdrew, who had built houses, or planted
vineyards, or been betrothed to wives. I however refused to avail myself
of this privilege, nor would my bride allow me to claim it. My father
had served when, twenty years before, our prince, John Hyrcanus, had
conquered Sichem and destroyed the temple on Gerizim, and he had talked
to me a thousand times of his campaigns and his victories. So I thought
it became his son to be with the sons of Hyrcanus, when they marched for
the destruction of Samaria, and I went therefore joyfully to the field.”

-----

Footnote 51:

  Deut. xx. 1-9.

-----

“And are you not now in haste to return home?” asked Iddo.

“I shall remain here till the fourteenth of this month Ijar, and then
with my comrades celebrate the latter Passover, not having been able to
keep the feast at the proper time.[52] Then I will return home and
relate to my bride the valiant deeds of Aristobulus and Antigonus, how
we defeated Antiochus Cyzicenus, who came to raise the siege of Samaria;
and how Jehovah strengthened my arm, so that I smote his general
Callimander in battle, whom he had left to command his army, when he
himself retired to Tripolis. She will laugh the Syrians to scorn, and
become my faithful wife.”

-----

Footnote 52:

  Numb. ix. 6.

-----

When he had said these words, the whole company were loud in his praise.
“Never,” exclaimed Iddo, “may the altar of Jehovah be without an
Hyrcanus; never may the chief of Israel when he goes to battle be
without such soldiers!”

The conversation respecting the events of the war continued during the
rest of the meal. The young soldier related to them the particulars of
the defeat of Antiochus and his generals, and the ravages which he had
committed upon the country when he dared not, even with the six thousand
Egyptian auxiliaries, attack the Jewish army. At length the last cup was
blessed, and they left the temple full of joy and gratitude. As they
descended, they heard the shouts of joy from the castle Baris, where the
high-priest had made a great banquet for his sons.



                              CHAPTER IV.
                   THE ADMISSION INTO THE PRIESTHOOD.


“O thou dream of my childhood and my youth, art thou then really about
to be fulfilled? O pride and sorrow of my forefathers, sacred
priesthood, art thou indeed about to be revived in their descendent?
Praised be Jehovah!”

Such were the exclamations of Helon, when, a few days after the feast of
the new moon, the morning dawned of the day on which he was to appear
before the Sanhedrim, and to undergo their scrutiny, preparatory to his
admission into the priesthood. The following day was the sabbath, when
he was to offer his first sacrifice. He opened the door of the Alijah on
Iddo’s house, while it was yet twilight, and after the performance of
the Kri-schma threw himself on the ground before Jehovah, and thus
prayed:

           Behold thou desirest truth in the inward part,
           Teach me then hidden wisdom!
           Cleanse me with hyssop, that I may be pure;
           Wash me, that I may be whiter than snow.
           Make me to know joy and gladness,
           That the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.
           Hide thy face from my sins,
           And blot out all mine iniquities.
           Create in me a pure heart, O God,
           And renew a right spirit within me.
           Cast me not away from thy presence,
           Take not thy holy spirit from me,
           Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation,
           And may a cheerful spirit support me.
           Then will I teach transgressors thy ways
           That sinners may be converted unto thee.—Ps. li.

The sun was rising as he quitted the Alijah. He looked towards the east,
where his father’s sepulchre lay in the valley of Jehoshaphat, and then
to the south-west towards Egypt, where the reflection of the rising sun
streaked the edge of heaven with a ruddy glow, and mentally greeted his
mother. Next to the image of his parents according to the flesh, that of
Aaron, the great progenitor of the sacerdotal order, took possession of
his mind, on this day, which was to witness his admission into their
society. Elisama came to fetch him from the roof, and with a step of
conscious dignity and pride conducted him to Iddo and the guests, who
were assembled in the inner court. Having received their hearty
congratulations, Elisama conducted his Helon to the temple-hill. Not
even on the day when he made his first pilgrimage, and passed through
the Beautiful gate and the gate of Nicanor, had the old man felt as he
did on this morning, in which his kinsman was to revive the priesthood
in his family. His heart beat not less high than Helon’s, and his aged
eye was lighted up with youthful exultation and hope. He blessed
Jehovah, who had given to him and to his deceased brother firmness to
withstand all the solicitations which had been addressed to them, to
assume the priesthood at Leontopolis.

Helon entered, with trembling steps, into the courts of the Lord. The
Sanhedrim was standing along with the course of priests for the week, in
the court of the Priests, and the morning-sacrifice was performed with
the customary rites. As the priests on the pillars blew their trumpets
at the pouring out of the drink-offering, and the Levites sung on the
fifteen steps, the sound of their voices and their instruments seemed to
him like the call of Jehovah to him. “To-day,” thought he, “I stand for
the last time, as one of the people in the court of Israel, to-morrow I
shall minister before the face of Jehovah!” When the sacrifice was over,
the high-priest and the Sanhedrim withdrew into their hall of judgment.
No meeting of this body was ever held for merely secular business,
either on the sabbath or the day of preparation, but they often
assembled to transact what related to the service of God.

With deep emotion Helon entered the hall; it was one of the largest and
most splendid of all which the courts of the temple contained. It lay
partly in the court of the Priests and partly in that of Israel, and was
called also Gazith, because it was paved with marble. There, was an
entrance from both courts, one called the Holy, the other the Common. In
this all the courses of the priests were exchanged, and here the great
council, or Sanhedrim, held its sittings.

The Sanhedrim consisted of seventy-one persons, partly priests, partly
Levites, partly elders. In extraordinary cases the elders from all the
tribes were convoked, who then formed the great congregation. The
high-priest occupied the place of president, and was seated at the
western end; he bore the title of Nashi, or Chief. On his right sat the
Ab-beth-din, Father of the Council, probably the most aged man among the
elders, and on his left the Wise Man, probably the most experienced
among the doctors of the law. The remaining sixty-eight sat in a half
circle, on either side, with a secretary at the end of each row. As the
three chief persons belonged respectively to the sacerdotal order, to
the body of the citizens, and the profession of the law, so the
remaining members were made up of these three elements. The twenty-four
courses of the priests were represented here by their heads, the elders
were a deputation from the chiefs of families and of houses; the doctors
of the law were the most learned of the Levites. The whole assembly was
seated, with crossed feet, on cushions or carpets. The Sanhedrim was the
supreme judicial and administrative court in Israel; every thing
relating to the service of God, foreign relations, and matters of life
and death, came under its cognizance. It was further their business to
scrutinize every son of Aaron, who wished to enter as a priest into the
service of Jehovah.

Elisama entered the hall attended by Helon. He announced the name of the
young man and of his father, and produced extracts from the registers,
which ascertained the legitimacy of his birth. The tribe of Levi, when
numbered in the wilderness, contained 22,000 males above a month
old,[53] and 8580 males between thirty and fifty;[54] they were all
devoted to the service of Jehovah; but only a single family, that of
Aaron, had the privilege of furnishing priests for the altar; the rest
of the Levites were only the servants of the priests.[55] In David’s
time the number of the Levites from twenty years and upwards was
38,000;[56] that of the priests perhaps not 6000. Aaron had four sons,
two of whom were punished with an early death in the wilderness, for
their presumption: the other two, Eleazar and Ithamar, had such a
numerous posterity, that these were divided into sixteen and eight, or
twenty-four courses or families.[57] As only four were found among those
who returned from the captivity, these were divided into the original
number of twenty-four, which bore the name of the ancestor of each
family.[58] Helon, by his father’s side, belonged to the course of
Malchia, which was the fifth; and by the mother’s to that of Abia, which
was the eighth.

-----

Footnote 53:

  Numb. iii. 39.

Footnote 54:

  Numb. iv. 48.

Footnote 55:

  Numb. iii. 5-10.

Footnote 56:

  1 Chron. xxiii. 3.

Footnote 57:

  1 Chron. xxiv. 4.

Footnote 58:

   Ezra ii. 36-39.

-----

Next, the passage of the law was read, in which Jehovah commands that no
descendent of Aaron should ever be admitted to the priesthood, who had
any natural imperfection or deformity of body, although he might still
claim a subsistence from the provisions of the temple.[59] Helon was
examined and found free from any of those imperfections which the law
enumerates. Had he proved otherwise, he would have been clad in black,
and dismissed, being only allowed in future to discharge menial offices
about the temple. The outward worship of Jehovah was to be a mirror and
emblem of the inward dispositions demanded from the worshipper; and
therefore he required, that both his sacrifices and those who offered
them should be without blemish.

-----

Footnote 59:

  Lev. xxi. 17.

-----

Helon having undergone the necessary scrutiny, and having been found not
only of pure descent but free from all bodily infirmity, was committed
to the care of one of the ministering Levites, and conducted by him into
the vestry, which stood near the gate of Nicanor. Here the Levite put on
him the white sacerdotal robes, which one of the same body had made.
They consisted of drawers reaching to the leg, the under-garment fitting
close to the body and descending to the ancles, woven of one piece
without a joining or a seam; the girdle of four fingers’ breadth, which
went twice round the body, and, being tied in front, both ends hung down
nearly to the feet;[60] it was woven so as to resemble a serpent’s skin,
and embroidered with flowers, purple, dark blue, and crimson; lastly,
the turban, which was wound firmly around the head in the form of a
crown. The feet were bare.

-----

Footnote 60:

  Exod. xxviii. 39-43.

-----

After being robed, Helon returned into the hall of the Sanhedrim, and
the law of Moses relative to the priests was read to him;[61] “And the
Lord said unto Moses, Speak unto the priests, the sons of Aaron, and say
unto them, None among them shall defile himself with a dead body among
his people, except for the nearest of his kindred, for his mother and
for his father, and for his son and for his daughter, and for his
brother and for his sister, while she is still a virgin and lives with
him, having no husband; for her he may defile himself. But he shall not
defile himself for any one that belongeth to him among his people, least
he desecrate himself. They shall not make their heads bald, nor shave
off the extremity of their beard, nor make incisions in their flesh.
They shall be holy to their God, and not profane the name of their God,
for the offerings of Jehovah made by fire, the food of their God, they
are to offer; therefore must they be holy. They shall not marry a woman
that is a harlot, nor one that has been polluted, for they are holy to
their God. And thou shalt esteem them holy for they offer the food of
thy God; they shall be holy unto thee; for I Jehovah who sanctify them
am holy.” When this passage had been read, the high-priest blessed the
candidate for the priesthood, and said, “Praised be God that no blemish
hath been found in the seed of Aaron, and praised be he who hath chosen
Aaron and his sons to stand and minister before God in his holy temple.”
And all the members of the Sanhedrim said Amen! The sitting was thus
ended, and Helon was led into the court of the Priests. Those of the
course which was then on duty were standing there, and, greeting him,
received him among their body.

-----

Footnote 61:

  Lev. xxi.

-----

The family of Aaron was consecrated once for all in the wilderness, when
they offered on eight successive days the sacrifice of initiation.[62]
Since that time it had been only renewed, and each new priest began his
ministration by a meat-offering,[63] on his presenting which the
original unction was imputed to him. This Helon was to do on the
following morning, and it fortunately happened that, owing to the delay
occasioned by the return of the victorious army, the course to which he
belonged entered on duty on this very sabbath.[64]

-----

Footnote 62:

  Lev. viii. ix.

Footnote 63:

  Lev. vi. 20.

Footnote 64:

  2 Chron. xxiii. 4-8.

-----

Elisama offered on this joyful occasion a magnificent thank-offering of
several bullocks, and invited the whole course of priests, who gradually
arrived to be in readiness to begin their functions, to feast upon the
sacrifice.

Among the rest he had invited the old man of the temple. He who bore
this name was a venerable priest, nearly one hundred years old, of the
course of Jojarib, to which the Maccabees also belonged. Engaged, since
his twenty-fifth year, in the service of Jehovah, he had now past eighty
years in the house of his God, and in the course of them had witnessed
very eventful times. He had entered the temple, in the life of the
excellent high-priest Onias III., and had endured the alternate yoke of
the Syrians and the Egyptians; he had seen Antiochus Epiphanes, and
known the victims of his sanguinary fury; he had been one of those who
followed the valiant Mattathias to the wilderness; he had admired the
heroic deeds of the members of the family of the Maccabees, Judas,
Jonathan, Simon, and John Hyrcanus, and had served them in succession.
In Egypt, where he had frequently dwelt, he had seen, forty years
before, the foundation of the temple of Leontopolis, and he had beheld
that of Gerizim levelled with the ground. As a doctor of the law, he was
master of all the knowledge of divine or earthly things which Israel
then possessed, and had been able to compare his experience with the
word of God. He knew accurately the opinions of all the sects into which
Israel was divided, and though he joined himself to none of them, yet
was honoured by them all, and almost reckoned by all to belong to
themselves. For a considerable time, during the last years of the
high-priest Simon, and in the first years of Hyrcanus, he had discharged
the honourable office of the Wise Man in the Sanhedrim, and in every
year of the thirty-four that had elapsed since the new era of Israel’s
emancipation began, some important affair had been decided by his
counsel. In consequence of his increasing years, he had laid down all
his offices, resigned his house and property to his children’s children,
and taken up his abode in a single apartment in the temple, where he
discharged the duty of a priest of the permanent course, as it was
called, that is of those who dwelt in Jerusalem and supplied the place
of any one in the other courses who could not serve in his turn. His
piety, his wisdom, his earnest longing for the advent of the Messiah,
and his affection for the house of the Maccabees, were become
proverbial. He united so well the mild dignity of age with the fresh
sensibility of youth, that he possessed a most decided influence over
the principal persons in the state, but more especially on all the
younger priests, whose teacher he might be considered, and who very
generally adopted his opinions. Even the heathens admired the vigour and
originality of his mind. What most surprised many of his countrymen was,
that he, whom they would, before all others, have called a Chasidean,
that is a man of extraordinary piety, laid no claim to so high a title,
and contented himself with the humbler name of a just man.

The old man made his appearance, but declared that he came only to bid
the youth welcome to the courts of the Lord. A feast, even in the
temple, he said, did not befit a man over whom one hundred winters had
already past. All rose up when he appeared, and, falling at his feet,
kissed the border of his robe. Helon had heard of him in Alexandria, and
Elisama had pointed out his venerable form to him, as he assisted at the
sacrifice; and when he saw him appear in the banqueting room, for his
sake, overpowered by such kindness and condescension, he too fell, in
silent reverence, at his feet, and kissed the border of his garment. The
old man raised him up, and said, “Praised be the God of Israel, who
bringeth the seed of Aaron out of Egypt, to the place where is the
memorial of his name.” He spoke of his grandfather, whom he had known at
Alexandria, and said that Jehovah would bless that house for ever, on
account of the zeal which every member of it had displayed for the
honour of his law. He then called Helon from the company, observing to
the rest, that before he partook of their feast, he would regale him
with food of another kind. Helon with profound veneration followed the
old man, who led him through the court of the Gentiles to Solomon’s
porch, which with its lofty pillars formed the eastern boundary of this
court. Here he placed himself on the ground and Helon beside him. He
made the youth relate to him the history of his life, and the manner in
which the desire of becoming a priest had been first awakened in him. He
afterwards addressed a few of those questions to him, by which one who
knows mankind penetrates into the bosom of a youth. His countenance
gradually assumed an expression of pleasure and good-will, which led
Helon to hope that his answers had been satisfactory.

“It cannot be said my son,” he at length began, “that the Hellenists
have been wholly wrong in their allegories. They are right in the
principle from which they set out, that the service of Jehovah contains
a hidden and deeper wisdom. Does not David say,

         Behold thou delightest in the truth in secret things,
         Teach me therefore thy hidden wisdom.—Ps. li. 6.

and Solomon in the Proverbs, ‘His secret is with the pious.’ Their error
lay in this, that they sought to discover in heathen and human wisdom
the secret meaning of our ordinances and laws. Here,” he continued, “is
the place which Jehovah hath chosen; since he brought his people out of
Egypt he has never fixed on any other city, among any other of the
tribes, in which a house should be builded for his name to dwell in. I
brought thee hither, that thou mightest see it in all its glory. Look
how its courts rise one above another, from the place on which we stand
to the altar of burnt-offering, and then to the sanctuary of Jehovah!
Look and wonder! This Moriah is the place where Abraham was commanded to
offer up his son Isaac, and where also was the threshing-floor of
Araunah, at which the angel of Jehovah stretched out his hand over
Jerusalem, to punish the sin of David.[65] David purchased the
threshing-floor and built an altar there and offered sacrifice upon it,
and when Jehovah heard him he exclaimed, ‘Here shall be the house of
Jehovah, and the altar of the burnt-offering for Israel;’ and his son
Solomon built the house and the altar. Dost thou know, Helon, the prayer
which he offered at the dedication of the temple?” Helon without the
least hesitation began: “And Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord,
in the presence of all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his
hands toward heaven; and he said, Lord God of Israel, there is no god
like thee in heaven above or on earth beneath, who keepest covenant and
mercy with thy servants, that walk before thee with all their heart: who
hast kept with thy servant David, my father, that thou promisedst him:
thou speakest also with thy mouth, and hast fulfilled it with thine
hand, as it is this day. Therefore now, Lord God of Israel, keep with
thy servant David that thou promised him, saying, There shall not fail
thee a man in my sight, to sit on the throne of Israel; so that thy
children take heed to their way, that they walk before me, as thou hast
walked before me: and now, O God of Israel, let thy word, I pray thee,
be verified, which thou spakest unto thy servant David my father. But
will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, the heaven and heaven of
heavens cannot contain thee, how much less this house of prayer that I
have builded! Yet have thou respect unto the prayer of thy servant and
to his supplication, O Lord my God, to hearken unto the cry and to the
prayer which thy servant prayeth before thee to-day: that thine eyes may
be open toward this house night and day, even toward the place of which
thou hast said, My name shall be there; that thou mayest hearken unto
the prayer which thy servant shall make toward this place. And hearken
thou to the supplication of thy servant, and of thy people Israel, when
they shall pray toward this place, and hear them in heaven, thy
dwelling-place, and when thou hearest, forgive. If any man trespass
against his neighbour, and an oath be laid upon him to cause him to
swear, and the oath come before thine altar in this house; then hear
thou in heaven, and do, and judge thy servants, condemning the wicked,
to bring his way upon his head, and justifying the righteous, to give
him according to his righteousness. When thy people Israel be smitten
down before the enemy, because they have sinned against thee, and shall
turn again to thee, and confess thy name, and pray, and make
supplication unto thee in this house: then hear thou in heaven, and
forgive the sin of thy people Israel, and bring them again unto the
land, which thou gavest unto their fathers. When heaven is shut up, and
there is no rain, because they have sinned against thee: if they pray
towards this place, and confess thy name, and turn from their sin, when
thou afflictest them: then hear thou in heaven, and forgive the sin of
thy servants, and of thy people Israel; that thou teach them the good
way wherein they should walk, and give rain upon thy land, which thou
hast given to thy people for an inheritance. If there be in the land
famine, if there be blasting, mildew, locust, or if there be the
caterpillar; if their enemy besiege them in the land of their cities,
whatsoever plague, whatsoever sickness there be; what prayer and
supplication soever be made by any man, or by all the people of Israel,
which shall know every man the plague of his own heart, and spread forth
his hands towards this house; then hear thou in heaven thy
dwelling-place, and forgive, and do, and give to every man according to
his ways, whose heart thou knowest, (for thou, even thou only, knowest
the hearts of all the children of men,) that they may fear thee all the
days that they live in the land which thou gavest unto their fathers.
Moreover, concerning a stranger that is not of thy people Israel, but
cometh out of a far country, for thy name’s sake, (for they shall hear
of thy great name, and of thy strong hand, and of thy stretched-out
arm,) when he shall come and pray towards this house; hear thou in
heaven thy dwelling-place, and do according to all that the stranger
calleth to thee for: that all people of the earth may know thy name, to
fear thee, as do thy people Israel, and that they may know that this
house which I have builded, is called by thy name. If thy people go out
to battle against their enemy, whithersoever thou shalt send them, and
shall pray unto the Lord, toward the city which thou hast chosen, and
toward the house that I have built for thy name; then hear thou in
heaven their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause. If
they sin against thee (for there is no man that sinneth not) and thou be
angry with them, and deliver them to the enemy, so that they carry them
away captives, unto the land of the enemy, far or near; yet if they
shall bethink themselves, in the land whither they were carried
captives, and repent, and make supplication unto thee in the land of
them that carried them captives, saying, We have sinned, and have done
perversely, we have committed wickedness; and so return unto thee with
all their heart and with all their soul, in the land of their enemies,
which led them away captive, and pray unto thee toward their land, which
thou gavest unto their fathers, the city which thou hast chosen, and the
house I have built for thy name; then hear thou their prayer and their
supplication in heaven, thy dwelling-place, and maintain their cause;
and forgive thy people that have sinned against thee, and all their
transgressions wherein they have transgressed against thee, and give
them compassion before them who carried them captive, that they may have
compassion on them; for they be thy people and thine inheritance, which
thou broughtest forth out of Egypt, from the midst of the furnace of
iron, that thine eyes may be open unto the supplication of thy people
Israel, to hearken unto them in all that they call for unto thee. For
thou didst separate them from among all the people of the earth, to be
thine inheritance, as thou spakest by the hand of Moses thy servant;
when thou broughtest our fathers out of Egypt, O Lord God.”[66]

-----

Footnote 65:

  2 Sam. xxiv. 16.

Footnote 66:

  1 Kings viii.

-----

“Praise Jehovah,” said the old man, when Helon had finished, “for the
blessing of a father who has so well instructed thee in the holy
Scriptures. It becomes a young priest to be able to give an answer from
them to every question that is put to him. Thou hast repeated Solomon’s
dedication prayer: his temple was founded amidst acclamations, and
destroyed amidst tears: this was founded amidst tears, but its glory
shall surpass that of the first temple, when He comes, for whom we wait.
He shall walk through this temple, stand in this porch of Solomon, pass
through this Beautiful Gate, approach the altar of burnt-offering, and
give this house its highest consecration. Helon, the whole earth lies
under a curse; it bears thorns and thistles, and the ground is accursed
on account of man, who has sinned thereon. Jehovah will take away the
curse, when he comes to his temple, and from this spot the change is to
begin. It has been for nearly a thousand years a holy land, free from
the curse, a type of what the whole earth is one day to become. This
Naaman the Syrian felt, when he had discovered, by the cleansing of his
leprosy, that there was a prophet in Israel, as he showed by carrying
away three mules’ burden of earth into his own country.[67]

-----

Footnote 67:

  2 Kings v. 17.

-----

“Learn too from this prayer, how holy is the place in which thou art,
and in which thou shalt in future serve Jehovah. Pray to him in his
temple, that his eyes may be open towards thee, and that he may make the
light of his countenance to shine upon thee. Go now to the feast, and if
thou desirest to hear more, come to the old man in the temple. There is
his apartment.”

The venerable man blessed him, and then crossed the court of the
Gentiles. Helon watched him, till he disappeared, and then remained for
a long time wrapt in thought, till some one came to summon him to the
company. The feast concluded early, for the course of Malchia had to
prepare, on the evening before the sabbath, for entering upon its
office. About the ninth hour all labour had ceased, the trumpets had
announced the sabbath, the Levites had baked the shew-bread, the twelve
priests had carried it in solemn procession to the porch, and hence two
of them had taken it into the holy place, and had deposited it upon the
table of shew-bread: the old shew-bread had been removed, and the two
censers of incense of the preceding week had been replaced by two new
ones. The rest of the priests and the Levites laid themselves down
betimes to sleep. Helon could not sleep. The past and the future were
both too interesting. A feeling of mingled joy and awe shot through his
frame when he heard the bars of the temple gates closed, and found
himself shut in within the sanctuary of Jehovah; it seemed as if he were
here protected from every earthly evil, as if nothing could now prevent
him from fulfilling the law of the Lord, and becoming complete in his
obedience. Often was he disposed to have cried aloud, “Better is a day
in thy courts, than a thousand elsewhere!” At times lost in thought, at
times wrapt in devotion, he passed the sleepless hours, while the
priests slumbered around him. When he heard the step of the guard of
Levites, in the court of the Gentiles, or when the guard of priests, as
they went their rounds in the court of Israel, with lighted torches in
their hands, approached the place where he lay, he envied the happy
persons who were not only allowed, but whose duty it was, to traverse
the courts and porticoes and palaces of the sanctuary, beneath the stars
of heaven. When the two companies of the priests, uniting after their
separate rounds, greeted each other with the words, “All is peace,” the
sounds came to his mind with a significance that was indescribable.

At an early hour the watch came again to waken those who slept. The
priests bathed themselves, and went to the vestry to put on their robes.
Next they assembled in the hall Gazith, to cast lots for the division of
the offices for the day. The first lot, which decided who should cleanse
the altar of burnt-offering from the ashes of the preceding day, fell
upon Helon, to his great astonishment. Then followed the lots of those
who were to sacrifice the lamb, to sprinkle the blood upon the altar, to
trim the lamps, to bring the parts of the victims to the altar of
burnt-offering, to burn incense in the holy place, &c.

One of the priests now opened the curtain of the portico, and another
the gate of Nicanor, and some of the Levites threw open the outer gates
of the temple, that the children of Israel might enter. The crowing of
the cock announced the time when the cleansing of the altar of
burnt-offering was to take place. The priests called out to Helon,
“Beware of touching any vessel, before thou hast washed thy hands and
feet and sanctified thyself.” He washed himself again, mounted with
trembling steps the sloping ascent to the altar, which was fifteen
cubits high. He cleared the burning coals from the ashes and collected
these in a heap at an appointed place. This was his first service as a
priest. As he performed it, he could not help inwardly praying that the
flame in his heart might in like manner be purified from every thing
that made it burn dim.

When the wood for the offering of that day had been prepared, and the
watches and the singers chosen, after a short interval some of the
priests exclaimed, “Light, light!” the others replied, “Is it light
towards Hebron?” and when the question was answered in the affirmative,
and the first beam of dawn struck upon the roof of the sanctuary, the
chief of the course of priests exclaimed, “Priests, to your duties!
Levites, to your steps! Children of Israel, to your station!”

The last words did not refer to the whole people of Israel, but only to
the Men of the Station, who represented the people at the sacrifice, in
the same way as there were substitutes for the priests in the temple,
chosen out of all the courses of priests. These substitutes of the
people resided in Jerusalem, and were divided according to the twelve
tribes.

All hastened to their respective posts. The service of Jehovah began
with the cleansing the altar of incense in the holy place, and laying
the wood on the altar of burnt-offering. A male lamb of a year old,
without blemish, was brought to the north side of the altar of
burnt-offering, the men of the station laid their hands upon it, in the
name of the people; one priest killed it, another received the blood, a
third sprinkled the altar with it, while others first extinguished five
of the lights in the seven-branched lamp in the holy place. Incense was
then brought in and burnt upon the altar of incense, and the remaining
lights extinguished.

The sun had now risen: the pieces of the animal which had been killed,
the usual meat-offering, as well as that which the high-priest offered
daily, and that which Helon was to present, and the drink-offering, were
all brought to the place between the altar of burnt-offering and the
sanctuary, heaved before Jehovah, and then brought to the opposite side
of the altar. The pieces were sprinkled with salt, the Kri-schma was
prayed, and the flesh laid upon the altar and offered as a
burnt-offering to the Lord. The meat-offering which belonged to it was
next burnt, and the high-priest’s meat-offering followed. Helon had
already heaved the offering, by which he renewed the priesthood in his
family, and now brought it to the altar. It consisted of incense and the
half of a tenth-deal of an epha of wheat-flour, baked in oil.[68] He
salted both and then threw all the incense, but only a handful of the
meal, into the fire; for all the rest belonged to the priests.[69]
Lastly, the drink-offering of wine was poured into a pipe, which ran
from the altar to the brook Kedron, and the daily burnt-offering was
closed. While the drink-offering was pouring out, the Levites played and
sang upon the fifteen steps the 92d psalm, it being the sabbath day, and
the two priests, upon the pillar near the altar, accompanied with their
trumpets.

-----

Footnote 68:

  Numb. xv.

Footnote 69:

  Lev. vi. 14.

-----

   It is a good thing to give thanks unto Jehovah,
   To sing praises unto thy name, O thou Most High,
   To show forth thy loving-kindness in the morning,
   And thy faithfulness every night,
   Upon an instrument of ten strings and upon the psaltery,
   Upon the harp with a solemn sound.
   For thou, Lord, makest me glad through thy work;
   I will triumph in the works of thy hands.
   O Lord, how great are thy works,
   And thy thoughts are very deep!
   A brutish man knoweth it not,
   A fool doth not understand it.
   Though the wicked spring as grass,
   Though the workers of iniquity flourish,
   Yet they shall be destroyed for ever.
   But thou, Jehovah, art Most High for evermore.
   For lo, thine enemies, O Lord,
   Lo, thine enemies shall perish;
   All the workers of iniquity shall be scattered.
   But thou wilt exalt my horn as an unicorn’s,
   I am anointed with fresh oil;
   Mine eye shall see my desire on my enemies,
   Mine ear shall hear it on the wicked that rise against me.
   The righteous shall flourish like the palm-tree,
   He shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
   Those that are planted in the house of the Lord,
   They flourish in the courts of our God.
   They still bring forth fruit in old age,
   They are fresh and full of sap:
   To show that Jehovah is upright.
   He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.—Psal. xcii.

After this daily-offering, the special-offering for the sabbath-day,
consisting of two lambs of the first year, was offered,[70] accompanied
with other psalms. At the close, the chief priest of the course gave his
blessing,[71] and the people replied by similar benedictions.

-----

Footnote 70:

  Numb, xxviii. 9, 10.

Footnote 71:

  Numb. vii. 23.

-----

Helon had been present at many sacrifices, but this was the first time
that as a priest he had stood beside the altar of burnt-offering. Seen
so much more nearly than before, every thing appeared in a new light to
him; he felt that something more profound must be hidden under this veil
of outward ceremonies, and he longed to be able to interrogate on this
subject the old man of the temple, who, when the sacrifice was over, had
betaken himself to his cell. Helon had several times watched his
countenance during the sacrifice, that he might read in it if possible
the interpretation of the rite. The priests dispersed after the
sacrifice was over. Helon also left the court of the Priests, and as he
was entering the court of Israel, he met Elisama, who with feelings of
the most animated pleasure had stood there the whole morning, to watch
the first ministrations of his Helon. He pressed his hand, and would
have embraced him but for the sanctity of the place. Helon regarded him
with a look which expressed the fulness of his happiness, and tears
stood in the eyes of both. “I have to greet thee in the name of Iddo,”
said Elisama. “And I thee in the name of the old man of the temple,”
said Helon. “Art thou going to him?” replied Elisama. “Go, and the God
of thy fathers go with thee!”

The old man was sitting before a roll of one of the prophets, and
invited Helon to seat himself beside him. After a time he asked him,
what had seemed most impressive to him in the psalm which he had heard
sung that day on the fifteen steps?

“The close,” replied Helon, “in which it is said, of those who are
planted in the house of the Lord, that they continue green even in old
age.”

“And who are they?” asked the old man. “The sons of Levi,” Helon
replied. “Repeat to me, if thou knowest it, the blessing with which
Moses blessed them before his death.”

Helon began,

       Moses said unto Levi,
       Thy holy one beareth thy light and thy truth,
       He whom thou didst prove at Massah,
       With whom thou didst strive at the waters of Meribah;
       Who saith unto his father and his mother, I see them not;
       And to his brother, I acknowledge him not;
       And to his sons, I know nothing of them.
       For they have observed thy word
       And kept thy covenant.
       They teach Jacob thy judgments,
       And Israel thy law.
       They shall put incense before thee,
       And whole burnt-offerings on thine altar.
       Bless, O Jehovah, his substance,
       And accept the work of his hands.
       Smite through the loins of them that rise against him,
       That those who hate him rise not again.—Deut. xxxiii. 8.

“Thou hast said what is required of the tribe of Levi,” said the old
man. “It was not without reason that to the whole tribe no portion was
given in Israel: for, ‘Jehovah is their heritage.’ He had first of all
chosen the eldest-born in every family to be his ministers, and still
the priesthood so far rests upon them that they must be ransomed for
five shekels on the thirtieth day.[72] In this way the office is
transferred to the tribe of Levi. Others have so much to do with worldly
things, that they could not instruct their children from their infancy
in the knowledge of the law. But the sons of Levi with their children
are to live only for the temple and the laws, and on this account the
rest of the people give up three-tenths of their income, of which
one-tenth supports the Levites, the second is for the expenses of
sacrifices and feasts, and for coming up to Jerusalem at the festivals;
the third is for the maintenance of the king.[73] Thus the priest and
the Levite, free from the ordinary cares of life, are devoted
exclusively to Jehovah. They are to present the offering of Jehovah, the
bread of their God. Hence the purity which they are so carefully to
preserve, not allowing themselves to come in contact with any thing
which might defile them. The sacerdotal order is the most exalted in the
world. Yet its dignity lies not in any preeminence of its own; but in
God’s choice of it, to preserve and make known his law. Be not thou
therefore unduly exalted, but rejoice that thou art permitted, as a
priest of Jehovah, to minister in his temple. Before the full light of
day is spread over heaven and earth, some one spot is brightened by a
partial gleam. But has that spot done any thing to merit this
distinction? Give thanks then to Jehovah that thou standest in the
earliest beams of that dawn which is the harbinger of light to all
mankind. When He comes for whom we wait, the brightness of his rising
shall illuminate the whole earth, and the heathens shall walk in his
light.”

-----

Footnote 72:

  Exod. xiii. 12-16; Numb. iii. 12, 13.

Footnote 73:

  Lev. xxvii. 30-33; Numb. xviii. 21-32; Deut. xii. 17-19; xiv. 22-29;
  xxvi. 12-15; 1 Sam. viii. 15.

-----

The old man ceased, and departing, left Helon alone, who remained till
near the ninth hour, when the evening-sacrifice began; and he hastened
forth, that he might not be too late for his duties. The
evening-sacrifice on the sabbath was in no respect different from that
on ordinary days. The priests had prepared the incense, the Levites the
meat-offering; Helon arranged his own, which consisted of the other half
of the tenth-deal of the epha, of which he had offered one-half in the
morning. The ceremonies and sacrifices already described were repeated;
the lamb was killed and its portions burnt, the daily meat-offering, the
meat-offering of the high-priest, and lastly, that of Helon, were
presented; incense was burnt again in the holy-place, and the
seven-branched lamp lighted for the night. The drink-offering was poured
out upon the altar, accompanied by the songs of the Levites, and the
trumpets of the priests, and followed by the benediction, which closed
the service of the day. It was about the twelfth hour. But the flame
continued long after it was dark to shoot up from the altar of
burnt-offering, and even through the whole night the embers continued
glimmering. The consecrated vessels were restored to their places: the
whole course of Malchia had been in attendance this day, as it was the
sabbath, but only a sixth part of them prepared themselves for service
on the morrow. When all was finished in the temple, the priests prepared
their meal and then laid themselves down to rest.

So closed the first day of Helon’s sacerdotal life; his heart was
agitated, as it had been at his first entrance into the land of his
fathers; but the sanctity of the place forbade every violent expression
of his emotions. He had become more serious, it might almost be said
more manly; and his joy and gratitude, instead of dissipating themselves
in words, seemed to reserve their energy for action and the fulfilment
of duty. A new life seemed to have begun in the temple of Jehovah.

As on the following day he attended the usual morning-sacrifice,
although only as a spectator, he observed a woman who was undergoing the
ceremony of purification after childbirth. She had bathed herself at
home, first on the seventh and afterwards on the fortieth day, and she
now brought to the temple a burnt-offering and a sin-offering—a lamb of
the first year for the former, a turtle-dove for the latter.[74] The
priest sprinkled her with the blood of the sin-offering, and she was
purified, and praised the Lord, who had done great things for her, had
preserved her own life, and had given a son into her arms. Helon beheld
the ceremony with profound attention. The old man approached him, and
after the rites of the morning-sacrifice were ended, turning to Helon,
said to him, “Son of Adam, remember that for thee, too, a mother once
offered a sin-offering and a burnt-offering.”

-----

Footnote 74:

  Lev. xii.

-----

“I know it,” replied Helon, “but I have been in vain endeavouring to
discover what is the import of this purification of the mother.”
“Compare it,” said the old man, “with what thou thyself didst, to obtain
purification at the festival of the new moon, after having touched a
grave. Since man defiles, at his death, those who lament his departure
with the tears of affection, and by his birth those who embrace him with
joy, can he himself be pure by nature?”

Helon started. After a pause the old man continued: “Does not David say,
I was shapen in iniquity and in sin did my mother conceive me! And did
not God say to the first man, In the day that thou eatest of the tree,
thou shalt die the death? Is any thing more necessary, in order to prove
that the birth of man is in sin, and that his death is the wages of sin?
Forty days, after the birth of a male, eighty, after that of a female,
(the sex which first sinned,) is the mother unclean. For a
burnt-offering she brings a lamb, for a sin-offering a turtle-dove, and
reconciled by the blood of these innocent animals, she is permitted to
appear before Jehovah. See what are the consequences of our birth!

“A red heifer, without blemish,[75] that has never borne the yoke, is
brought before a priest, led by another priest out of the Holy City, and
killed yonder on the mount of Olives. The priest dips his finger in the
blood and sprinkles it seven times towards the temple; then he burns the
cow with the hide and the hair, and throws upon it cedar-wood, hyssop,
and a red thread. Another priest collects the ashes, and carries them to
an appointed place. All the three are rendered unclean. When any one who
has denied himself with a dead body is to be made clean again, these
ashes are mixed with water, and one who is himself clean sprinkles it
upon him upon the third and the seventh day; and while thus he that was
unclean becomes clean, he that was clean becomes unclean. See what are
the consequences of our death!”

-----

Footnote 75:

  Numb. xix.

-----

The old man continued his walk in the court of the Priests, and left
Helon standing in the greatest astonishment at the new and profound
views which had been opened to him. He saw him not again till after
the evening-sacrifice on the second day after the sabbath, when the
family of the course of Malchia, to which Helon belonged, had been
called to take its turn in ministering at the altar. He found the old
man engaged in prayer, and was invited by him to place himself beside
him on the carpet. After a short silence he began; “I trust that from
our previous conversations you have clearly perceived, that the earth
with all its inhabitants is unholy, and every individual a sinner! Is
Jeremiah still the favourite prophet of your house?” Helon replied
that he was. “Do you understand a passage in his prophecies, in which
the same thought is twice repeated, ‘Behold the days are coming, saith
Jehovah, that I will raise up unto David a righteous branch, and a
king shall reign and act wisely, and shall execute justice and
judgment in the land. In his days Judah shall be saved and Israel
shall dwell in security; and this is the name by which he shall be
called, Jehovah who is our Righteousness’.’[76] What means this?”
“Instruct me,” replied Helon. “This is the Messiah: on the earth which
lies under the curse, man, himself sinful, cannot exhibit that
righteousness which is acceptable to God. Therefore Jehovah himself
will be our righteousness in the Messiah. He is the great object of
prophecy, from its commencement in the days of our first parents to
the present day, a period of near four thousand years, till the
appearance of him for whom we wait, the Consolation of Israel. But on
account of the dulness of the people’s heart this intimation is given
in a twofold way, audibly by the words of holy writ, and visibly in
the sacrifices. The sacrifices are visible prophecies of the Lord who
is our righteousness. How often does Jehovah declare, that he has no
pleasure in sacrifices and burnt-offerings, i. e. when they are not
presented with a reference to the Messiah. Taken in this connection,
they have a reconciling virtue. Every sacrifice, therefore, has a
double import. The sacrificer lays his hand upon the victim’s head,
and thus transfers his own sin to it, and so far sacrifice is a
memorial of the offerer’s guilt: but on the other hand, when Jehovah
accepts the sacrifice and permits the blood to be sprinkled and the
flesh to be burnt upon his altar, he confirms the promise which Moses
made at the establishment of the covenant in the wilderness. ‘Behold,
this is the blood of the covenant which Jehovah maketh with you
concerning all these laws.’[77] The Messiah will be the true offering.
As Isaiah prophesies that God will ‘Lay our sins upon him and inflict
chastisement upon him that we may have peace,’[78] so by this means he
will become our righteousness, and the promise of God is confirmed and
fulfilled in him. But these are dark, sacred, unfathomable thoughts,
who can comprehend them in all their extent? Thus much is certain,
that in his sacrifice all others will be united, and what are now
called by different names, will form only one. Till he comes, there
are various sacrifices according to our various necessities; some for
the people collectively, as on the day of atonement and at the
Passover; others for individuals; morning and evening sacrifices for
each day; sabbath-offerings for the week; offerings at the new moon
for the month, and at the annual festivals for the whole year. There
are trespass-offerings for sin; thank-offerings of gratitude for
blessings received. But enough of these things, on which it is so easy
but so dangerous to enlarge. Yet hope not to understand them, till
light from heaven has beamed upon thee here. Keep these principles in
view, pray for divine illumination, and the dark shall become light to
thee. Thou knowest, even from those heathens who were the objects of
thy former admiration, that there are things the knowledge of which
cannot be learnt, but must be given.”

-----

Footnote 76:

  Jer. xxiii. 9.; xxxiii. 16.

Footnote 77:

  Exod. xxiv. 8.

Footnote 78:

  Isaiah liii. 5.

-----

While they were speaking, Elisama came to the door and announced that
Selumiel of Jericho was standing without, and that he wished to speak
with the old man. He himself called Helon aside, while Selumiel
conversed with the old man, and told him that in the ensuing week he was
going to Jericho, and wished him to accompany him, as his week of
service would expire on the morrow. Helon was unwilling to leave
Jerusalem, but he bethought himself that it became a priest to honour
his father and his mother, or those who stood in this relation to him,
that his days might be long upon the earth. He therefore assented to the
proposal of his uncle, especially as he heard that their journey would
take them near the Oasis of the Essenes, whom he had a great desire to
see. Elisama left him well pleased, and Helon hastened back into the
court of the Priests.

On the fifth day the old man called Helon after the morning-sacrifice,
and commanded him to follow him to his apartment. Both of them seated
themselves on the carpet, and the old man began with unusual energy.

“Thy week of service is drawing to a close, and Selumiel tells me that
he purposes to take thee to the pleasant city of Jericho. The angel of
the Lord encamp on the journey about those that fear him! But as I
foresee that he will introduce thee to the knowledge of the Essenes, I
must, ere thou depart, give thee one admonition; and O, young man!
remember that it is written, ‘Days should speak and length of years
should give understanding.’

“Eighty years have now passed over me, since I began to be acquainted
with men of every variety of religious opinion among my people. I was
then, as thou art now, young, without an adviser, and easily attracted
and deceived by every new wisdom which appeared. I wish to guard thee
against errors into which I fell; for it is a bitter feeling at last to
discover that we have been wandering from the truth. Thou rejoicest in
Israel and the temple, and holdest the Hellenists alone in abhorrence.
But believe me that there are things yet more to be abhorred in Israel
itself, nay even in those that are within the walls of the temple. There
is a fearful division and confusion in Israel; seven sects wage war
against each other. May it fare with thee as with the old man! Thou wilt
find many things in all of them which will not displease thee, but pray
to God that thou mayest be enabled to see, that each of them has more or
less departed from the right way, and mingled human wisdom with the
divine law. Thou wilt find in all, honourable and upright men, but also
among all, the proud man and the hypocrite; and all, without exception,
are deficient in the humility and the simplicity which are essential to
the knowledge of divine truth. I do not reckon among them the
_proselytes of the gate_, whom we have in all nations; and I mention
them only that I may omit none, and may begin where I have least to
blame. Praise Jehovah that their number is constantly increasing, and
pray that he would guide them yet further—that they may renounce every
thing that is heathenish, and become proselytes of righteousness. It is
still worse with the _Hellenists_, who have been punished, by the
blindness with which they have plunged into allegory, for that
worldly-mindedness which made them disdain to return to the land of
Promise. This the _Essenes_ did in some measure, and for this, and for
their rigid obedience to the law, I praise them—but why do they imitate
foreign manners in the land of Jehovah, pride themselves on vain wisdom,
drawn from their ancient books, and despise the temple of our God? The
_Pharisees_ are their opponents, and while I justly praise their zeal
for the faith of our fathers, I must blame them for mixing oral
traditions so lightly with the written law, and for the pride which has
prompted them to do it. For this fault they are justly reproved by the
_Sadducees_: but much greater is their departure from the truth, who
reject the prophets of Jehovah, and resemble more the disciples of a
heathen Epicurus, than of the Lord who spake on Sinai. I say nothing of
the _Samaritans_, who like ourselves expect a Messiah, but prefer the
desolate Gerizim to our Moriah. What confusion in Israel! What
dissension and mutual hatred! There is still a small handful, whom I
will not call a sect, men of pious, peaceful minds, who wait in
simplicity and humility for the appearance of the Messiah, who reject
every other word but that of God, and keep his ordinances in his temple.
Of their number I reckon myself one—Elisama also belongs to them, as do
nearly all the Aramæan Jews who live in the Diaspora. In Jerusalem,
however, there are few such to be found. Now thou art forewarned, go,
and Jehovah bless and keep thee!”

This was the last interview which Helon at this time had with the old
man. On the sixth day, the last before the new sabbath, the course of
Malchia finished its term of service after the evening-sacrifice. Helon
quitted the temple, and hastened to join his friends in the house of
Iddo.



                               CHAPTER V.
                              THE ESSENES.


The impression which the first week of his sacerdotal duties had made
upon Helon was quite different from all that he had experienced before.
Hitherto his mind had been excited, and his curiosity and expectation
raised; what he had lately seen and felt had given a quiet sober
calmness to his mind, which was only broken at times by the eager desire
of further knowledge on those subjects, on which his conversations with
the old man in the temple had turned.

The following sabbath he attended the morning and evening sacrifice, in
a portico, which lay on the northern side of the court of the Priests,
and opposite to the altar of burnt-offering, and was called the Covert
of the sabbath. This was a distinction allotted to the course of priests
who had been on duty the preceding week, and were now resting from the
noblest of all occupations, the service of Jehovah.

The sun was rising on the Holy City on the first day of the week, when
Iddo took leave of his guests at the Water-gate. They took the road to
Jericho, which leads over the mount of Olives. They had before them a
journey of one hundred and fifty stadia, or about twenty-four
sabbath-days’ journies. Passing the dry bed of the brook Kedron, they
walked under the shade of the cedars, till the road wound up the side of
the mount and led them through rows of olive-trees over the easternmost
of the three summits. It is loftier than any of the hills on which the
city stands. As they ascended it, Helon cast back a look of gratitude
and regret on the sacred spot, where God had shown him so much good. The
summit commanded on one side a view of the temple, the castle Baris,
Zion, and the wide-stretched city; on the other, the eye could reach to
the Dead Sea and the glittering line of the Jordan’s course, which winds
on the other side of the walls of Jericho and falls into the Dead Sea.
Towards the east, the exhalations rose from the sea, at the place where
once Sodom and Gomorrah stood—a terrible memorial of Jehovah’s vengeance
on the transgressors. Towards the west the smoke of the
morning-sacrifice was ascending from the altar of burnt-offering in the
temple. “See,” said Elisama, as he pointed to Moriah, “the fulfilment of
the words of Moses, the glory of the Lord appearing to all the people in
the fire that comes from before him and consumes the burnt-offering on
the altar.”[79] And then turning to the clouds of pitchy smoke that hung
over the Dead Sea; “Behold there the fulfilment of another word of
Scripture, 'The Lord thy God is a consuming fire and a jealous
God.'”[80]

-----

Footnote 79:

  Lev. ix. 23, 24.

Footnote 80:

  Deut. iv. 24.

-----

They proceeded in silence. At length Helon observed, “When the flame
ascends upon our altar of burnt-offering, or the seven-branched
candlestick is lighted at evening in the holy place, I cannot but think
of Jehovah’s comparison of himself to a light, in our psalms and
prophets. Fire is the most ethereal of the elements, and is a symbol as
well of the grace of God to the pious, as of his indignation against
sinners.”

“Beware,” interrupted Selumiel, “of making to thyself any likeness of
God.”

“I understand,” said Helon, “what you mean. Even the doctrine of
Zerdusht is superstition, because he has disfigured, by human additions,
the knowledge which is handed down in its purity in our sacred writings.
Yet it is remarkable that the children of the east have selected
precisely this point from the divine wisdom of their forefathers,
worshipping, alas, the visible sun, instead of the eternal light.”

“Be satisfied,” said Selumiel, “those whom thou art about to see to-day,
have already prayed some hours ago for the return of the heavenly light.
They do so every morning, and every morning their prayer is heard. You
shall see my Essenes.”

“_Thy_ Essenes!” said Elisama. “Thou hast already thrown out hints of
this kind more than once, Selumiel, greatly to my surprise. I remember
when we were young together in Egypt, thou hadst a similar passion for
the doctrines of the Therapeutæ; and an early passion, it seems, never
dies.”

“I confess,” said Selumiel, “that in my youth I often looked with
veneration towards the hill beside the lake Mareotis, where they had
their favourite abode. But at a later period of my life I perceived that
the contemplative life of the Therapeutæ, their profound solitude, and
their enthusiastic passion for allegory, are not to be compared with the
pious but active life led by the Essenes. I could say much to you of
this people, but I will reserve it till we have passed through Bethany.”

This was indeed a spot more adapted for seeing than for listening.
Bethany was a village on the eastern slope of the mount of Olives, and
about two sabbath-days’ journies from Jerusalem. It was a still and
lovely spot, surrounded with olives, palm-trees, figs, and dates, so
that it seemed to stand in the midst of a large garden. They often
turned to look back upon it, when they had passed through it. As they
crossed a sparkling brook which ran at the foot of a steep hill,
Selumiel exclaimed, “I will first quench my thirst, according to the
manner of the Essenes, from this pure stream, and will then tell you, as
I proposed just now, what I think of this people.”

A wild and dreary region lay before them, called the desert of Jericho.
“I know,” said Selumiel, “that our Sadducees ridicule the Essenes, and
our Pharisees curse them. But however the former may ridicule the idea
of self-communion and moral strictness, it is certain that there is a
deeper foundation for this self-communion at least, than individual
inclination or caprice. The aged are generally inclined to it, and I
know not what more genuine happiness one who has seen the world can
propose to himself, in declining years, than the undisturbed society of
persons like minded with himself, engaged in the united worship of
Jehovah. And as there is a period of life, in which almost all men feel
the disposition to turn the thoughts inward, circumstances may arise to
produce this inclination at an earlier period. Calamity and sorrow
respect no age; and as it may be said of some men that they are children
even in their grey hairs, so is it true of others, that even from their
childhood they show the contemplative and serious character of age. Why
then should not a whole society, consisting of such youths and such old
men, unite to devote themselves to self-communion? It has been said of
the Greeks, that they are always children; it may be said with equal
truth and more honour of the Essenes, that they are always old men.”

“But,” said Elisama, “they never appear in the temple.” “That is what
the Pharisees condemn in them, and I will not undertake to decide upon
the question: but thus much is certain, that they fulfil all the other
precepts of the law so much the more zealously, and appeal, on this
point, to passages of holy writ, which teach the inefficacy of any
ritual of sacrifice. But I will not defend them for not coming to mount
Moriah; and I am so far from agreeing with them in this respect, that I
am, as you know, a punctual visiter at all the festivals. Let us rather
consider what both Sadducees and Pharisees blame in them, and see
whether this blame does not really redound to their praise. You know
that the Sadducees in their folly maintain, that the whole course of the
events of life depends upon man’s own free will, that fate has no
influence over human affairs, and that it rests with ourselves to be the
authors of our own weal or woe. The Pharisees, with more reason, teach
that some things in our lives are the work of fate, but not all, and
that in some cases it depends upon ourselves whether events shall happen
or not. But how many rulers of the world must they then suppose to
exist, or how would they contrive to keep this host of rulers in order
and in harmony? How much more just and consistent is the doctrine of the
Essenes, that fate disposes of all events, that nothing happens to man
without its appointment, and that the great and the trifling in events,
what is necessary and what is apparently arbitrary, all is alike subject
to a predestined order!”

“Nay,” Elisama exclaimed, “these are subjects on which only the Messiah
when he comes can instruct us fully—but this doctrine is horrible.”

“Myron would say,” observed Helon, “that the Essenes were Jewish
Pythagoreans; as the Pharisees might be called Jewish Stoics; and the
Sadducees, Jewish Epicureans.”

Their conversation broke off here, all parties being a little out of
humour, an effect to which the desert on which they had now entered
perhaps contributed. It was a long, hilly, dreary waste. Deep ravines
without verdure opened beside serrated cliffs, sometimes of a chalky
whiteness, sometimes of sand. No fountain, no shrub, was to be
discerned, as far as the eye could reach; scarce here and there a
stunted plant or a dry blade of grass. The rocks were rent and thrown in
such wild confusion, that Helon thought an earthquake must have torn up
the bowels of the earth, in this abode of desolation and of death.
Towards the east, between the ragged summits of the hills, the thick
clouds of smoke from the Dead Sea arose, as from the bottom of the
abyss. From the higher ground the region around Jericho might indeed be
seen, but it served by the contrast rather to aggravate the dreariness
of the nearer scene.

Selumiel was the first to resume the discourse. “You remarked,” said he
to Helon, “that the Essenes are Jewish Pythagoreans; and there are in
truth many points of resemblance between them. Both practise community
of goods, both hold in abhorrence every kind of effeminacy and
voluptuousness, both love white garments, forbid to take an oath, drink
only water, pay extraordinary reverence to old age, enjoin silence for a
stated time upon their novices, offer only unbloody sacrifices, and
teach that destiny is supreme and uncontroulable in human affairs. They
agree besides in this, that both believe the soul alone to be immortal;
while the Sadducees deny that any thing of man is imperishable, and the
Pharisees maintain the resurrection of the body. This coincidence in so
many remarkable points may give us a clue to the common source of their
doctrines and institutions. Pythagoras is said to have been in Babylon
at the time of our captivity, and Zerdusht to have known Israel on the
banks of Chebar—may not these both have drawn from the same source as
our Essenes? For my own part, I consider the Essenes to be those who
have preserved the original knowledge of divine things in the greatest
purity. Hence it is that they so zealously observe the law, that they
keep the sabbath with peculiar sanctity, that they consider agriculture
as the most honourable of all occupations, that they hold Moses in the
highest veneration, and endeavour to observe the precepts of the law
with unusual strictness, directing their attention to its inward
fulfilment in the heart, rather than the outward act of conformity to
its commands. Of their mode of life you shall judge for yourself, when
we visit their village; their heroic deeds in war are known from the
recent history of our country.”

Helon’s attention and interest were very powerfully excited, but the
last warning of the old man of the temple resounded in his ears, and to
interrupt the panegyrics of Selumiel, he asked him, “Can you tell me
when they made their first appearance, and what is their origin?”

“Some,” said Selumiel, “suppose them to descend from Jonadab, the son
Rechab, who lived before the captivity; others, from those who fled into
the desert with Judas Maccabæus, during the oppression of the Syrian
kings; while others deduce them from Egypt, and from some of its sects
of heathen philosophers. I hold them, however, to be of very high
antiquity.”

While he was thus speaking, they saw a wanderer hastening over one of
the naked hills which were near them. He was an aged man, of a spare
form and long white beard, who, supporting his steps with a staff, kept
on his way without looking around him, the human counterpart of this
ungenial region. “This,” said Selumiel, “is one of them: I know him by
his clothing, and by his only spitting behind him.” As he approached
they greeted him, and he gravely returned the salutation. According to
the custom of the Essenes he was clad only in white garments, and
carried nothing but a staff on his journey.

“Wilt thou guide us to the Oasis of the Essenes?” asked Helon.

“Follow me,” he replied abruptly.

“How many are there of you?” asked Helon, endeavouring to engage him in
conversation.

“There are four thousand of us in this country.”

“But I am surprised that you travel without any wallet.”

“I am come, curious youth, from a distance, to assist at the trial of
one of our body, which cannot be held by fewer than one hundred persons.
Among us every thing is in common. We avoid great cities, but where we
go we trust to the hospitality of our brethren.”

“Who is the transgressor on whom ye are to sit in judgment?” asked
Selumiel.

“A man who had scarcely completed his probation, and was not able to
keep the secret of our institution.”

“Tell me,” said Helon, “I beseech you, what is the probation which must
be gone through, before any one can be received as a member of your
society.”

“He receives a white garment, a girdle of peculiar sanctity, and a
spade, after which he must labour for a year, and practise
self-examination. He is then received into our society, but for three
years is not admitted to the common table. If in this time he gives
evident tokens of being discreet, just, temperate, and chaste, an oath
of tremendous sanctity is demanded from him, that he will before all
things honour and serve the Lord, that he will be just towards men, that
he will hate all unrighteousness, assist the pious, keep his faith and
word towards every man, and pay profound obedience to the magistrate,
who rules not but by the ordination of God; that he will not himself
abuse power if he should be in possession of it, that he will keep his
hands pure from theft and his mind from the desire of unlawful gain;
that he will conceal nothing from his brethren, nor reveal their secrets
to any other, even when threatened with tortures and death; that he will
not communicate the doctrines of the body to any one, in any other form
than that in which they have been taught to him, and that he will keep
with equal care the books of doctrine and the names of the angels. When
he has sworn to do all this, he is admitted to a participation in the
bath, in the common meal, and all the secrets of the society.”

The gravity of the man, the solemnity of his words, and the earnestness
with which he spoke, thrilled through Helon’s frame, combined as they
were with the peculiar character of the scene.

They proceeded without further speaking, till they came within sight of
an Oasis, a fruitful spot amidst the waste. A fountain rose here from a
cleft in the rock, and a few cottages, surrounded by cultivated fields,
stood under the shade of palm-trees. Beyond the immediate neighbourhood
of the fountain all was wild, desolate, and barren, an emblem, according
to the Essenes, of the soul of an unrighteous man, and the naphtha-smoke
which rose in the distance from the Dead Sea, they regarded as a type of
the future punishment of the wicked. This was the settlement of the
Essenes. As they approached, they perceived by the multitude of persons
who were going to and fro, that the trial had occasioned an unusual
resort. Yet, in spite of this, every thing went on with such a
stillness, as if single individuals were pursuing some noiseless
occupation. An Essene, an acquaintance of Selumiel, told them how great
was the consternation and horror of the whole body, at the discovery
that a traitor had divulged their secrets. This offence was to be
visited by the most fearful penalty of their code, expulsion from their
society. Its terror consisted in this, that having bound himself by an
oath, which even the unworthy dared not violate, never to use ordinary
food, nor even to receive food at all from other men, there was nothing
left him, but to support himself on roots and herbs till he died.

They arrived about the fifth hour (eleven o’clock) the time when they
took their meal in common. They had risen before daylight, had conversed
together briefly, but only concerning divine, never concerning human
things, and had then greeted the sun as if imploring him to rise. After
this every one had been dismissed by the person under whose
superintendence he was placed, to pursue his labour for the day, and
having now pursued it for several hours, they had bathed themselves in
cold water a second time, and girded themselves with the sacred linen
dress. Assembling in a hall, the entrance to which was forbidden to all
but the members of their own order, they had thence proceeded, as
carefully purified as if they were in a temple, to their refectory,
where they seated themselves at table, not reclined as was the custom of
the east. Bread and vegetables were placed before them; a priest prayed
before and after the meal; while eating, a solemn silence was preserved,
and when they had finished, they laid aside the holy garment, and each
prepared himself to pursue his labour without intermission till the
evening.

Food was placed before the strangers, Essene fare, bread and hyssop. No
women were to beseen: for the Essenes on this Oasis belonged to the
highest class, in which marriage was forbidden: it was allowed in the
inferior classes, only with strict limitations and restraints. They must
speedily have become extinct, had it not been that they received many
children among them for education, and that many grown-up persons
constantly joined their society, weary of the cares and vicissitudes of
busy life. Thus they formed a society which never died out, although no
child was born among them. They allowed no traffic in their community,
because it must have been carried on through the medium of gold, which
they considered as the root of all moral corruption; they had no
servants, for each ministered to the other; and they took no oath, that
which they had taken at their admission rendering every other
superfluous.

Although our travellers were not admitted into the refectory of the
Essenes, they were not alone. They found a multitude of sick persons
assembled, who had come in hope of relief from the secret wisdom of the
Essenes. They performed their cures by means of mysterious formularies,
and recipes carefully preserved in their ancient books. These books had
come to them in times of venerable antiquity from remote regions of the
east, and were carefully studied by them, especially on the sabbath,
which they held even more sacred than the other Jews. Their cures were
wrought chiefly by enforcing temperance, self-command, and the dominion
of the soul over the body; and with these means they performed wonders.
The simplicity of their lives preserved their health to extreme old age,
and not a few boasted that the spirit of prophecy had been wakened in
them.

When Selumiel and Elisama had laid themselves down after the frugal
repast, to rest beneath the palms, Helon went about to examine the whole
arrangement and economy of this establishment. He would gladly have
entered into conversation with some of the Essenes, but no one addressed
him, and the determined taciturnity of their looks, and the profound
stillness which reigned around these cottages, deterred him from making
the attempt. He silently followed an aged man, who with his staff was
making his round through the fields, when about noon every one was
already again at his labour, and who seemed to be superintending their
operations. The bending of the men, the prostration of the youths, as he
approached them, showed to Helon that reverence for age was here
inculcated and practised as a part of the duties of religion. Every
thing here was done by command; no man followed a will of his own;
indeed the will itself appeared to be social not individual, one thing
only was excepted—beneficence. If those who were in need were not his
own kindred, every one might assist and relieve them without asking
permission or waiting for a command. The fields were covered with
luxuriant crops, but the cultivators themselves were spare and pale.

Selumiel and Elisama had rested themselves, the heat of the mid-day was
past, and there was no more to be discovered in a day than in an hour
respecting the Essenes. The simple exterior of their habits and customs
was easily seen. To learn any part of their secrets, it was necessary to
listen in silence for years together. Our travellers therefore broke up
immediately after the mid-day, and continued their tedious way through
the desert to Jericho. Selumiel had requested his friend, the Essene, to
be their guide, as the road was intricate even to those who had
frequently travelled it. The Essene, at home amidst these solitudes,
readily complied, and led them through ravines, amidst precipices,
through sandy plains destitute of vegetation, and over naked hills.
Always alert and ready to assist, he went before them, gave them his
hand in difficult parts of the way, supported the elder men in the
steeper ascents, and answered every question that was addressed to him,
but so briefly that he seemed to weigh every word, and to be in
perpetual apprehension of allowing one that was superfluous to escape
his lips.

In answer to the question of Elisama, whence the name of Essene was
derived, he informed them that it was Persian, and denoted the
resemblance of their life to that of bees. “We learn from them to be
unwearied in our diligence, to live in brotherly union, to be without
distinction of sex in respect to desire, and to gather stores for the
supply of others.” Their contempt for the female sex and aversion from
matrimony displeased Elisama, who called the latter an ordinance of God,
and pronounced it a vain and presumptuous thought of man, to wish to
annihilate the distinction of sex, when the Creator had made the human
race male and female.

Selumiel endeavoured to silence Elisama, by reminding him that nearly
all the members of this community were old men. But the Essene himself
would not accept this explanation; he maintained that this opinion was
intimately and necessarily connected with the rest of their system. “The
body as ye see,” said he, “is perishable and its elements for ever
changing; the soul is immortal and unchangeable. Sprung from the purest
ether, it is drawn down to the body by a certain natural impulse, and
kept as it were imprisoned there while the body continues to exist. When
freed from the fetters of the flesh, it rejoices like those delivered
from a long and galling bondage, and wings its flight upwards. The souls
of the just are conducted to an abode, beyond the ocean, of
indescribable delight, where neither rain nor snow deforms the sky, and
mild sea-breezes temper the rays of the sun. The wicked, on the
contrary, are condemned to eternal thraldom and torment in a dwelling of
frost and darkness. Should not then every soul abhor and shun
intemperance and pleasure, as its worst enemies, and renounce every
gratification which would give the body an ascendency over it, while it
cultivates sobriety and chastity as the means of making its present
captivity more tolerable, and of being ultimately delivered from it?”

The Essene spoke thus, animated in the defence of his doctrines, and
almost forgetting the ordinary conciseness of his discourse. When he had
ended, he turned abruptly round, after a brief salutation to the
travellers. A hill higher than any in the desert, and equally bare,
though on its verge, stood before them. They looked back, and saw the
Essene vanishing among the intricacies of the path which they had just
quitted, carefully holding his garments together, and hastening back to
his brethren, without looking to the right hand or to the left. Helon
seemed to breathe more freely as they emerged from this region of
desolation. Selumiel, looking back towards the Oasis, and leaning on his
staff, asked his companions, “Now, then, how like ye my Essenes?”

“Call them not _thy_ Essenes,” said Elisama, “for, Jehovah be praised,
there is a wide difference between them and thee.”

“Allow me this,” said Selumiel, “and I will in return allow thee to
speak of _thy_ Pharisees.”

“That,” said Elisama, very earnestly, “I shall never be; call me an
Aramæan Jew, and I shall gladly accept the title.”

“What difference should one or the other make in our friendship?” said
Selumiel. “Cannot we attach ourselves to different opinions, without any
breach of our mutual good-will? Iddo takes it ill if I call him a
Sadducee.”

“Alas for Israel,” said Elisama; “shall peace never come to thee? It has
been a melancholy reflection to me, that in the land where alone Israel
is truly Israel, I have scarcely found a single old friend who does not
lean to one sect or other. What will be the end of these things?”

The young priest, dissatisfied with the turn which their conversation
had taken, said hastily, and in a manner which neither of the old men
understood, “In my service in the temple one thing only displeased me,
that the turn of duty comes to each course of priests but once in
twenty-four weeks. I fain would live the life of a priest every week and
every day.”

“You might have discovered the method of doing so this very day,” said
Selumiel.

“The Essenes do not sacrifice,” said Helon; “how then shall I find among
them a perpetual priesthood?”

Elisama looked at him with astonishment. Selumiel, rejoiced as if he had
come over to his opinion, replied, “You may find it in the daily
mortification of your body and obedience to the law.”

“No,” said Elisama, “I will tell you—the conjugal and domestic life is
the perpetual priesthood. You know that the patriarchs sacrificed with
their own hands, and even now the master of the house becomes a priest,
when, at the feast of the Passover, he kills the lamb, blesses the
bread, and praises Jehovah. In spite of all the Essenes and their
admirers,” said he, looking significantly at Selumiel, “it is my
opinion, that the true Chasidean must be the father of a family.”

Selumiel stretched out his hand to the friend of his youth; they turned
round, and scarcely had they advanced a few steps further when they had
reached the summit of the hill, and the garden of God, the plain of
Jericho, lay before them. The towers of the city arose from amidst the
fertile fields, through which the silver Jordan wound its course. From
the valley of death through which they had just passed, they had emerged
into a scene where life displayed itself in all its luxuriance and
fulness. The wide meadows through which the Jordan rolled were adorned
by groups of towering palm trees and balsam bushes; the hills on both
sides closed in the landscape with a beautifully picturesque effect. The
air was fragrant with the odour of the roses which bear the name of
Jericho. The note of the quail was heard in the corn-fields, the eagle
swept his majestic way through the air, and the stork and the pelican
strode stately beside the flood.



                              CHAPTER VI.
                            THE BETROTHMENT.


Selumiel led his friends from Egypt through the gate of Jericho. Not far
from it stood a house distinguished from all in its neighbourhood by its
size and the style of the architecture. It was the house of Selumiel,
who filled the office of an elder in Jericho. He had scarcely bidden his
guests welcome in the outer court, and invited them to enter the inner
by the covered way, when his son met him with his new-born grandson. The
joy of the old man was indescribable. “You see,” said he to his guests,
when he had led them to the fountain under the palms, and had called the
slaves to wash their feet, “you see by my joy at the sight of my
grandchild, that notwithstanding all I have said in their praise, I do
not belong to the highest class of the Essenes. While the slaves do
their duty, allow me to take a short walk into the Armon.”

Helon, in the mean time, viewed with admiration the splendour and wealth
of the mansion. Its general arrangement was that which is common to
houses in the east; but the solidity of construction and elegance of
finish which characterised each part, showed that it was the residence
of a wealthy man. Marble, cedar of Lebanon, brass, gold, silver, ivory,
silk, and whatever else contributes to the splendour of an oriental
house, glittered here on every side.

Selumiel’s house was built in such a way, that it enclosed a large open
quadrangular space, called Chazer, or Thavech, (the middle or inner
court,) which, under a sky that was almost uninterruptedly serene,
served as a great chamber, even on great and festive occasions. The
pavement was composed of variegated marble, tastefully disposed. In the
middle, where in houses of humbler construction a simple basin stood,
was a fountain, enclosed with marble and surrounded with lofty palms,
which cast such a cooling shade beneath, that our travellers felt
themselves instantly refreshed. In the angles stood rows of vases filled
with flowers, especially the roses of Jericho, and many other
odoriferous shrubs, planted in bowers. Their grateful shade, and the
ever fresh and green turf around the fountain, made the coolness as it
were visible, which in the hottest days was to be found there. On the
sides of this quadrangle stood three rows of pillars, forming two
parallel porticoes. The floor of them was covered with carpets and
cushions of very elaborate workmanship, and before some of the pillars
hung curtains, which gave the space behind the convenience of an
enclosed chamber. The cushions were embroidered with gold and silver,
and the curtains were of silk, red, white, green, and blue. Against the
interior sides of the porticoes were divans and sofas, elevations of the
height of from two to three feet, which were surrounded with a lattice,
and in the day time were covered with carpets and served as seats, in
the night were used as beds. Above, the porticoes were covered by three
galleries one above another, for the house had three stories, and each
gallery had a parapet breast-high towards the court.

Round this court the principal parts of the house were disposed. The
side which adjoined the street contained a small court, separated from
the inner only by a wall and a door, contrary to the common mode of
building, according to which this court lay beyond the outer wall and in
front of the house, being connected with it by a covered way: some
houses again had both the small internal court, which we have described
in Selumiel’s house, and the larger exterior court, the latter then
serving to receive horses and camels. In Selumiel’s house the court was
furnished with a sofa, visitors were received here, and only those whom
the master of the house specially invited into the interior went any
further. The house-door, which was in the wall of the house and was
covered with inscriptions, led to the outer court. In this court was a
staircase, which led to the upper stories of the house and immediately
to a little building directly over the small interior court, called
Alijah, which rose like a tower upon the flat roof. An awning was
fastened to the parapet of the roof in such a manner, that it could be
drawn over the whole of the innermost court, and produce complete shade
in the brightest sunshine.

The side of the court which was furthest from the street formed the
communication with the Armon, or house of the women. The apartments of
the females were universally in the east separate from those of the men,
and in Selumiel’s mansion they formed a distinct house, divided and
arranged much in the same way as we have already described, so that
there were in fact two houses, having one side in common.

Elisama and Helon had been so much occupied with the splendour which
they beheld around them, that they had allowed the slaves with their
silver ewers to wait, without performing their office. Selumiel
re-entered, and said, smiling, to Elisama, observing how he was
occupied, “Doubtless you are used to see more splendid edifices in
Alexandria.” “Nay,” said Elisama, laughing, “I recall what I said on the
way. An elder of Israel who dwells so sumptuously and tastefully is
assuredly no Essene.” Selumiel led his guests into one of the bowers,
and after they had rested here a short time, to the richly spread table.
When the dishes were taken away, and the dessert set on, the mother and
her daughter appeared, to bid a solemn welcome to the guests from
Egypt—a condescension which showed the esteem in which Selumiel held
them. The mother, though advanced in years, was active and still
handsome; but Sulamith her daughter, who stood by her side, was glowing
in all the freshness of youthful beauty, and united in herself every
charm by which a daughter in Israel could fix the attention of the
beholder. From beneath the large eyebrows, coloured of a brilliant
black, dark eyes, like those of the gazel, sent forth their quiet
brilliancy, through the transparent veil which descended from the
turban. Her tall and stately form was clad in a robe of fine cotton,
which flowed down in folds like a wide mantle; the sleeves hung loose,
except where they were fastened with costly bracelets; the ears and the
nose were adorned with rings of gold, in which rubies, emeralds, and
topazes were set. Helon, dazzled by so much beauty, on which he hardly
dared to gaze, and agitated by an emotion which he had never felt
before, thought he read in the looks with which the old men regarded his
surprise, the interpretation of some words which had occasionally
escaped Elisama and Selumiel, and which till now he had not understood.

When the females had retired, and the men continued their conversation,
Selumiel’s son addressed himself to Helon, and proposed to him that in
the coolness of the early morning on the following day he would be his
guide through the region round Jericho, and as far as to the Dead Sea.
Helon, lost in feelings to which he had hitherto been a stranger, had
scarcely heard the conversation of the elders; but he was roused from
his reverie by this offer, which it was the more difficult to decline
without discourtesy, as an oriental seldom imposes on himself the
fatigue of a walk. Yet it seemed to him as if he were forcibly torn from
that world of delightful illusions, to which he had been just
transported.

At the first dawn of the following day, the two young men issued from
the mansion of Selumiel, into the streets of Jericho. The city is about
six sabbath-days’ journies from Jordan, and three sabbath-days’ journies
in circumference. It was considered at this time as the second city in
Judea, and had been in ancient times one of the thirty-one royal cities
of Canaan. It was chiefly inhabited by priests, whose number was
estimated by some as high as 12,000.

The son of Selumiel was well acquainted with the ancient history of his
nation, and had discovered Helon’s enthusiasm for every thing which
recalled it. As they quitted the city he pointed to the other side of
the Jordan. “There,” said he, “our forefathers encamped in the fields of
Moab, opposite to Jericho, and thither Balak the king of Moab summoned
Balaam to curse them.[81] The blue hill seen far in the distance is the
hill of Abarim, and part of it is Nebo, to which Jehovah led Moses and
showed him the land which he was not permitted to enter,[82] the future
heritage of the children of Israel. Thence Joshua sent out spies to
explore the land, and especially Jericho, when Rahab saved them by her
humanity.[83] There,” pointing to the banks of the Jordan itself, “our
fathers crossed the flood, Jehovah renewing the miracle by which they
had passed through the Red Sea.[84] They destroyed the city, and not
only exterminated every living thing, but their leader laid a curse on
him who should rebuild it, which six hundred years afterwards fell on
Hiel of Bethel, whose eldest son died when he laid the foundation of it,
and the youngest when he set up the gates.[85] Yet its sanctity was
recovered by the residence of the prophets Elijah and Elisha, who long
dwelt here, and the schools of the prophets which they superintended. In
later times we must confess, with grief, that it was here the valiant
chief and high-priest Simon, father of Hyrcanus, fell by the hand of his
son-in-law.”[86]

-----

Footnote 81:

  Numb. xxii.

Footnote 82:

  Deut. xxxiv.

Footnote 83:

  Josh. ii.

Footnote 84:

  Josh. iii.

Footnote 85:

  Josh. vi. 26.; 1 Kings xvi. 34.

Footnote 86:

  1 Maccab. xvi. 14.

-----

Helon thanked his companion for his information, dissatisfied with
himself that the present and the past contended with each other for the
possession of his mind. They continued their way to an eminence, from
which they had a prospect scarcely to be equalled even in the Holy Land
itself. They had here a view of the course of the Jordan. In its
progress from its source in Antilibanus, a course of about one hundred
sabbath-days’ journies, it had attained a breadth of thirty paces; it is
about the depth of a man, and in the neighbourhood of Jericho it has a
strong current. It abounds in fish, and its banks were overgrown with
sedges, reeds, willows, and tamarisks, among which, jackals, lions,[87]
and other wild beasts harboured. The river had just overflowed its
banks,[88] in consequence of the melting of the snows of Lebanon, and
this annual exundation greatly promoted the fertility of the adjacent
fields. On the banks of Jordan lies Gilgal, the place where the people
of Israel crossed over under Joshua, and erected twelve stones as a
memorial. A little further on was Bethabara, where the pilgrims from
Galilee crossed to the eastern side of the Jordan, in order to avoid
going through the country of the Samaritans. Thus a great part of the
beautiful valley of the Jordan lay before them, whose fertile fields are
enclosed by hills on each side, on the east by the mountains of Judah,
on the west by Abarim, with the summits of Pisgah and Nebo on Peor,
followed by the mountains of Moab. Southward they beheld the plain of
Jericho, ten sabbath-days’ journies in length, and almost three in
breadth, extending to Engeddi, containing the celebrated grove of
palms,[89] adorned with olives and balsam shrubs, and known in all the
ancient world for its honey and its roses. Joining this plain the Dead
Sea extended itself far to the south, called also the Sea of the Plain,
from its vicinity to the plain of Jordan; the Salt Sea, from the taste
of its waters; and the Eastern Sea, in contradistinction from the
Mediterranean, which lay westward of Palestine. It was formed in the
time of Lot and Abraham, by the destruction of the towns of Sodom,
Gomorrah, Adama, and Zeboim, the place of which this lake now
covers.[90] Its length amounts to eighty-three, its breadth to
twenty-one sabbath-days’ journies; its waters, being impregnated with
naptha and asphaltus, are salt and bitter; and all around it had the
appearance of conflagration, because the frequent exundations of the
lake covered the adjacent soil with a coating of salt. The fruits
correspond with the water; the son of Selumiel related to Helon, that
the apples of Sodom, as they are called, were beautiful to the eye, but
bitter and unfit to eat, and that when they were dried, they were
nothing but dust.

-----

Footnote 87:

  Jer. xlix. 19.

Footnote 88:

  Josh. iii. 15.

Footnote 89:

  Deut. xxxiv. 3.

Footnote 90:

  Gen. xix. 24-26.

-----

The world of external nature is but the mirror which reflects to us what
interests our feelings in the world of man. Helon had never looked on
the beauties of nature with so true a relish for them, as now that they
gave him back the image of his own fond hopes and gay imaginations; nor
had he ever felt so deeply the impression of her awful scenes, as now
when they harmonized so well with the trembling anxiety which chastised
his hopes.

On their return to the house they found all busy with preparations for
the solemnity of the circumcision of Selumiel’s grandson, which was to
take place on the following morning. At the third hour accordingly of
the next day, a large company assembled in Selumiel’s house. Besides the
two witnesses, who must be married persons of either sex, ten men were
necessary, in whose presence the circumcision was to take place, and
besides these had been invited the heads of all the courses of priests
who lived in Jericho, the elders and the friends of Elisama. The family
remembered the command of God to Abraham, when he spoke to him, and
said, “This is my covenant which ye shall keep between me and you, and
thy posterity after thee: every male child among you shall be
circumcised, when he is eight days old; and the uncircumcised male child
shall be cut off from his people, because he hath broken my
covenant.”[91]

-----

Footnote 91:

  Gen. xvii. 9.

-----

The rite was performed in the largest apartment of the house, and by the
hand of the grandfather, in the presence of the whole assemblage. When
the child was born and had been washed, rubbed with salt and wrapped in
swaddling-clothes, the father had placed it on his bosom, as a sign that
he acknowledged it as his own. He now fetched it from the apartment of
the mother, who had been purified, by bathing, from the impurity of the
first seven days after childbirth, and brought it to the room where the
company was assembled. A psalm was sung, alluding to the covenant which
God had made with his people Israel, and then the song of Moses after
the deliverance from Egyptian bondage. The rite was then begun; in the
midst of it, the father of the child said, “Blessed be thou, O Lord our
God, king of the world, who hast sanctified us by thy precepts, and
commanded us to enter into the covenant of Abraham.” Those who stood
around replied, “Lord, as thou hast permitted this child to enter into
the covenant of our father Abraham, grant also that he may enter into
thy law, into the marriage-state, and into good works.” Selumiel then
laid his hand upon the child’s head, and asked the father what its name
should be. The name was commonly derived from the circumstances under
which the child was born or circumcised. The father, in honour of the
guests from Egypt, who were then present, replied, “His name shall be
called Mizraim.” The grandfather then prayed, “O Lord our God, God of
our fathers, strengthen this child and preserve him to his parents. His
name shall be called in Israel, Mizraim, son of Abisuab, the son of
Selumiel. May his father rejoice in the son of his loins and his mother
in the fruit of her womb!”

The boy was then carried back to his mother, and all who were present
congratulated the father and the grandfather. Selumiel invited them to
the inner court, where they partook of refreshments and remained till
afternoon, when a splendid banquet was served up, consisting of every
thing which one of the wealthiest citizens of Jericho could collect for
such an occasion. Two oxen, twenty lambs, and twelve fatted calves were
killed; for the master of the feast was thought to show his wealth and
his hospitality by the unexpected abundance of every kind of food that
was produced. Every guest found in the fore-court a splendid caftan,
which he put on for the feast, and deposited there again on his
departure. These garments were always in readiness to be worn on festive
occasions, and their number and costliness was one of the surest pledges
of the master’s wealth. The guests, after their feet had been washed,
were anointed with costly ointment, and when they took their leave they
were perfumed, especially the beard.

Sulamith and her mother did not appear to-day, but confined themselves
to the chamber of Abisuab’s wife, and celebrated the festival there.
Helon had seen Sulamith only once and in passing on the preceding day,
but her image had remained involuntarily imprinted upon his mind. In the
midst of the lively conversation which passed at the banquet, the
proverbs which were quoted and the riddles which were propounded, she
was always present to his thoughts, and so animated the powers of his
mind, that his eloquence and ingenuity drew on him the attention of all.
His _mashal_ was the most pregnant and striking; his riddle, the most
ingenious; his solution the readiest and most happy. When he laid
himself down on the divan beside his uncle, he could not sleep nor rest,
and to calm the tumult of his breast, he arose, and passing through the
courts ascended the Alijah, in which at Alexandria he had passed many a
sultry night, and there, kneeling, prayed to the God of his fathers. But
his prayer partook of the general state of his feelings; unable to
collect his thoughts sufficiently for meditation, he could only pour out
before Jehovah the fulness of a grateful heart.

It was just beginning to dawn when he left the Alijah, and walked up and
down upon the roof. The stars were dim; the hills of Moab lay in
darkness, and the Dead Sea was wrapt in vapour, but on the summits of
the hills of Judah the first distant beam of light appeared to break.
“What are they doing now in the temple?” he asked himself; “perhaps they
are changing the watch, or clearing the altar, or opening the gates that
Israel may come up and appear before Jehovah. And how is the venerable
old man of the temple employed?” He remembered with gratitude how much
light he had derived from his conversations with him, and then the
warning recurred to his mind which he had received from him. He now
fully comprehended its meaning. In the journey through the desert, in
the visit to the Essenes, in the discourse of Elisama and Selumiel, and
the conversation of the priests at the banquet, he had found abundant
proofs of the truth of the old man’s assertions respecting the parties
by which Israel was distracted. He grieved to think that the highest and
the noblest in Israel were arrayed against each other in hostile sects;
that simplicity of faith and purity of life were so little honoured, and
heathen philosophy, in a Jewish garb, exalted to the throne. “Should the
Messiah come,” said he, “I verily believe that, after having disputed
about his claims, they would finish by all rejecting him. The priests
themselves descend from their dignity, as the appointed conservators of
divine knowledge, to the wranglings of human philosophy, and the light
of heavenly truth, which they should transmit pure and direct, is
absorbed or diverted by the gross medium through which it passes; and
thus this unhappy land, so awfully chastised by the justice of God, so
graciously received back to favour by his mercy, is deprived of the
bliss which Providence designed for it. Who could have believed,” he
continued, “when a few weeks ago I approached Jerusalem, when I saw for
the first time the temple and the priests, and all my wish was to be
enrolled among them and to dwell on the hill which Jehovah has chosen
for his peculiar presence, who could have believed that so short a time
would have made every thing appear to me so tame and common? Is the
fault my own, that I pass too easily from the one extreme to the other;
or am I disappointed, that, instead of a perpetual ministration before
Jehovah, I am only called at long intervals and for a short time to
appear in his temple? Yet surely even this might be sufficient to keep
alive my zeal, were it not that the moment he quits the temple the
dreams of Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes again take possession of the
mind of a priest, and seduce him into transgressions of the law. What
hope then, under such circumstances, of becoming a Chasidean? There was
another priesthood of which Elisama spoke, as we stood together at the
foot of that pointed hill. O that I could but be assured that I was not
mistaken in the meaning of his often repeated hints!” As he spoke his
face turned involuntarily towards the Armon. Some one came behind him
and touched him on the shoulder; it was Elisama. He started, as if it
were possible that he might have heard his soliloquy, and could scarcely
return his uncle’s salutation, “I am glad,” said Elisama, with a serious
look, “to find you here alone: for some days past I have wished for an
opportunity of speaking to you alone on important matters. Let us go
into the Alijah, we shall be most secure there from the danger of
interruption.

“When we left Egypt it was all thy wish to see the land of thy fathers:
thy mother had another wish. Thou art of that age when the youth of
Israel take to themselves wives. Doubtless we are all agreed in this,
that thy wife should not come from any Hellenistic family. Among the
Aramæan Jews of Alexandria, there was none with whom so near a
connection would have been honourable for us. Besides it is thy mother’s
wish that her daughter-in-law should be, as she herself was, a native of
the Holy Land. I have been occupied in looking round for a wife for
thee. What sayest thou to Sulamith, the daughter of Selumiel?”

Helon fell at his uncle’s feet, and embracing his knees exclaimed, “Is
it possible? Ah! give me Sulamith!”

“Rise,” said Elisama. “May Jehovah bless you both! I have already
settled the conditions with Selumiel in Jerusalem, and we kept silence,
only that we might see whether Sulamith would please you. He wished to
have a priest for a son-in-law, and one who should not come
empty-handed.”

“O give my whole fortune, if he demands it,” said Helon.

“At this moment he is speaking with Sulamith.” Looking through the
lattice of the Alijah, he saw Selumiel passing along the court, and
called to him to come up to them. He came and Helon fell before him on
his face.

“I know enough,” said he, “I will call my wife and daughter—follow me to
the large saloon of the Armon.”

He led them from the Alijah through the outer and inner court to the
Armon, which no foot of a male stranger had ever trodden before. He left
them standing in the richly adorned saloon, and went to call Sulamith
and her mother. They came with him, and the brother also made his
appearance. The mother was in tears: Sulamith stood with her face
completely veiled. Elisama then came forward and said, “If ye will deal
kindly and truly with my nephew Helon, tell me, and give him this your
daughter Sulamith to wife; and if not, tell me, that I may turn to the
right hand or to the left.”[92] Then Selumiel and Abisuab answered, “The
thing proceedeth from the Lord, therefore we cannot speak unto thee bad
or good. Behold Sulamith is before thee; take her and go thy way, that
she may be the wife of thy nephew Helon.” Elisama and Helon bowed
themselves to the earth; and Elisama said, “I will pay thee for thy
daughter 10,000 shekels.” “I give them to her for her dowry,” said
Selumiel, “and add to them 10,000 more.” Then Selumiel, turning to
Sulamith, said, “Wilt thou go with this man into the land of Egypt, or
remain with him in Jericho, as Jehovah shall appoint?” Sulamith,
sobbing, answered, “Yes.” Then the mother led her daughter to Helon,
whose joy was without bounds; she bowed down before him, and he took her
by the hand and raised her up. The father, the mother, and the brother
of the bride, along with Elisama, then drew near to them, and blessed
them both, and said, “May ye grow and multiply a thousand times, and may
your seed possess the gate of your enemies!”

-----

Footnote 92:

  Gen. xxiv. 49.

-----

The company which had assembled on the preceding day was again invited,
and Selumiel said to his astonished guests, “Rejoice with me, my
friends, and bless the God of our fathers. I have received from Jehovah
two children, a grandson and a son-in-law.”

Elisama remained in Selumiel’s house. Helon, so propriety required, took
up his abode in a neighbouring house; but through the day he was chiefly
in the Armon of his Sulamith. The more intimately he became acquainted
with her, the higher his love and admiration rose. Every day discovered
to him some new excellence, her deep piety, her gentle temper, her quick
sensibility, her sound understanding, and playful, harmless wit. He
looked on with delight when, in the course of her daily occupations, she
prepared the meal for bread, kneaded it in flat round cakes, and baked
it in the deep oven. He stood beside her when, as became a female, she
wove cloth for the garments of the men. He lent his aid when she
prepared the perfumed ointments, and rubbed upon a smooth marble stone
the sandalwood, the juice of the date-palm, the kernel of the Behen-nut
from Egypt, oil of sesame, fragrant reed from Lebanon, oil of myrtle,
cypress, and mastix, and the juice of the pomegranate-rind. In whatever
occupation he had seen her, whatever had been the subject of their
conversation, he always returned home at evening more grateful to God.
The sabbath and the new moon, all the solemnities of religion had become
more interesting to him, and his confidence revived that with such a
daughter of Israel by his side, he should be able to keep the whole law,
and perhaps even become a Chasidean.


                              CHAPTER VII.
                        THE FEAST OF PENTECOST.


The feast of Pentecost drew near. It derived this name, which is Greek,
and its Jewish name of the Feast of Weeks,[93] from the circumstance
that seven weeks or fifty days elapsed between it and the day after the
Passover, on which the first-fruits of barley were offered, so that it
was the fiftieth day from that time. It fell on the sixth day of the
third month Sivan, and the days between the offering of the sheaf and it
were solemnly reckoned every evening, at the time of supper. The master
of the house, rising up with the rest of the company, said, “Blessed be
thou, O Lord our God, king of the world, who hast sanctified us with thy
precepts, and commanded us to count the days of harvest,” adding, this
is the fifth day, or one week, and the third day, and so on. In this way
they thought that they were fulfilling the command of the law, “Seven
weeks shall ye reckon; begin to reckon the seven weeks from the time
when thou beginnest to put the sickle to the corn; and thou shalt keep
the Feast of Weeks to the Lord thy God.”[94]

-----

Footnote 93:

  Exod. xxxiv. 22.

Footnote 94:

  Deut. xvi. 9.

-----

Helon wished, in virtue of his priestly office, to travel to Jerusalem;
Abisuab and his wife were going up to present their new-born child
before Jehovah; Sulamith was glad to join herself to her brother and
sister-in-law; and Selumiel and Elisama had to comply with the law,
which enjoins that all males should appear, thrice in the year, at each
of the great festivals, before Jehovah. The preparations were already
made, and the day of the pilgrimage was very near.

On the forty-seventh day Helon was sitting with Sulamith beside the
fountain in the inner court of the Armon. They were conversing on the
office of the priest: Sulamith expressed her joy in the thought that she
should see her betrothed husband ministering at the altar of Jehovah;
and Helon declared what increased delight he should have in every
service, when he reflected that the eyes of his Sulamith accompanied him
from place to place. As he spoke he saw in imagination her cedar-form,
conspicuous among all who filled the court of the Women, and her dark
eye watching him as he moved. As they conversed thus together, the
well-known sound of cymbal and flute was heard, accompanied by more than
a thousand human voices. “It is the Galileans going up to the festival,”
said Sulamith, listening as the sacred sounds seemed to descend from
heaven into the court where they were sitting. Helon hastened forth to
greet them. Although Samaria was destroyed, they still took their
ancient road by Bethabara and Jericho, in preference to that by Sichem,
especially as in the former track their train was swollen by accessions
from every village through which they passed. They were now about to
pass through Jericho, and to encamp at the western gate. Welcomes and
greetings met them from every house.

On the following morning, when the pilgrims from Jericho were going to
unite with them, the long-standing hatred between the Jews and the
Galileans displayed itself. The Galileans, who occupied the country
which had formerly made a part of the kingdom of Israel, had adopted
many customs from the heathens among whom they lived; inhabiting a
fertile region they lived in the possession of many physical comforts,
but neglected the cultivation of literature and knowledge, and their
uncouth pronunciation, by which the guttural letters were confounded,
bore witness to the low state of refinement among them. Their Jewish
brethren were proud of superior knowledge, as the Galileans of superior
wealth, and they seldom came together without some explosion. The
present dispute was about precedence in the march. The men of Jericho
claimed it, as genuine Jews and inhabitants of a city of priests,
reproaching the Galileans that their ancestors were only the common
people of the land, left behind when the great and noble were carried
into captivity. The men of Jericho at length prevailed: Selumiel, as
elder of the city, led the march with the heads of the courses of
priests; the Levites struck up their music, and all the people sung
together.

          The city whose foundation is in the holy mountains,
          The gates of Zion, Jehovah loves
          More than all the dwellings of Jacob.
          Glorious is it to speak of thee
          O City of God!
          Of Zion it is said,
          This and that man was born in her.
          He, the Most High buildeth her.
          When God reckoned up the people
          He wrote, This man was born there.—Ps. lxxxvii.

Thus the train quitted the smiling fields of Jericho, and entered on the
wilderness, which they crossed by a nearer way than that which led by
the Oasis of the Essenes. By mid-day they had reached a verdant spot,
shaded with palm-trees, and, encamping beneath them, opened their
wallets, and distributing their provisions, endeavoured to exhilarate
themselves amidst the desolation which surrounded them. Sulamith,
sitting between her father and her bridegroom, had taken her sister’s
first-born from her arms and playfully placed it on her lap, when a
Galilean approached them and asked Selumiel, if Elisama and Helon from
Alexandria were with him. Selumiel having pointed them out to him, he
informed them that he was charged with the salutations of a young Greek
of Alexandria, of the name of Myron, whom he had recently seen in his
visit to Damascus. Myron had commissioned him at the same time to say,
that his affairs would not allow him to come to Jerusalem at Pentecost.
He regretted that he must thus lose their society on his return to
Egypt, which had been a source of so much pleasure to him on his journey
thence. If, however, they could wait, he requested to be informed by
this Galilean, who was about to return to Damascus immediately after the
feast.

“A fair opportunity,” said Selumiel’s son, “for you, Helon, to meet him
in the north of Judea, and bring him to the festivities of the marriage;
while you at the same time visit that part of the Holy Land which you
have not seen. I know what you are going to object—but while
preparations for the nuptials are going on, no one can be more easily
spared, even by the bride, than the bridegroom.” Selumiel agreed; and,
notwithstanding the remonstrances of Helon and Sulamith, it was finally
arranged that the Galilean should carry back word to Damascus, that
Helon would meet Myron, in three weeks time, at Dan, the frontier town
of Judea on the north.

The pilgrims resumed their march, the desert was soon left behind, and
Bethany with its gardens and olive-yards appeared. The train ascended
the mount of Olives and wound along its western descent, among the
cedars in the valley of Jehoshaphat. The temple, which was seen from
this side under its most imposing aspect, was brightened with the glow
of sunset; and the whole city, with its hollows and eminences, and the
white tents which in some places were erected, and in others erecting,
partook of the illumination of the evening lights. Companies of pilgrims
hastened from all sides to the city, but none drew the attention of the
spectators more than that which was descending the mount of Olives.

Selumiel and his party were received with undiminished hospitality into
the house of Iddo, who poured out his hearty congratulations to Sulamith
and Helon, telling the latter that from the time when he had first seen
him, he had anticipated that they should be more nearly related. In the
midst of his friendly greetings and compliments, however, it was plain
that something weighed upon his mind; and when the women had retired
into the Armon, and the men were sitting around the fountain in the
court, he asked whether they had heard of the event which had occurred
in their absence. They asked him of what kind, and he replied respecting
the high-priest. They had heard imperfect rumours of it on the way, and
requested him to relate the circumstances more fully.

“You know,” he began, “that Hyrcanus has from his youth inclined to the
party of the Pharisees, though with moderation. I must confess that I
have been astonished how he, who himself possesses the gift of
foreknowledge, uniting, as the Messiah shall hereafter do, the triple
office of high-priest, king, and prophet, and to whom a voice foretold
the approaching victory of his sons over the Samaritans, when he came
out of the Holy of Holies, on the last day of atonement, how such a man
should not have seen through these hypocrites. It is true, he was
brought up by them, and their influence, which since the time of
Jonathan has been unfortunately on the increase, has been very
serviceable to him in the support of his government. They have now
scandalously repaid his over-confidence in them. At one of the feasts
which were held in the castle of Baris, in celebration of the victory
over the Samaritans, the pious prince, moved by gratitude towards
Jehovah, called upon those who were present to tell him if there were
any point in which he had neglected to fulfil the commands of God, and
his duties towards men. As was natural, they broke out into the warmest
encomiums on his administration. One of them only, the haughty Eleazar,
whom you know, Selumiel, alleged that he could mention an instance of
his violation of the law. Hyrcanus urged him to speak, and he said,
‘Thou canst not legally be high-priest, for thy mother was a bondwoman.’
The accusation was as groundless as it was insolent: Hyrcanus was stung
by it to the quick, and even the rest of the Pharisees blamed him who
had made it, for uttering a falsehood. The banquet was interrupted;
Jonathan, the confidential friend of the high-priest and a zealous
Sadducee, advised him to call the council together, and lay the matter
before them. He did so, but the Pharisees, who predominate there,
proposed only the imprisonment of the offender; and the high-priest
chose rather that the indignity offered to him should pass unavenged,
than that this inadequate punishment should be inflicted. He has now,
however, seen the Pharisees in their true colours, and he and his sons,
it is to be hoped, will in future be on their guard against these
hypocrites. They will seek to do him mischief, but the conquerors of
Samaria may set them at defiance.”

All were astonished and shocked at the recital; Selumiel strengthened
Iddo in his displeasure. Elisama lamented that Israel should be
distracted by such dissensions, and that a canker should be at the root
of its fair appearance of prosperity. Helon rejoiced in the prospect of
that domestic felicity with his Sulamith, which should remove him from
the scene of these unholy contentions of party spirit. They repaired to
supper, and Iddo counted the forty-eighth day from the offering of the
first-fruits.

The following day was the preparation for Pentecost, and was passed in
bathing, cutting off the hair, and other purifyings. An hour after the
evening-sacrifice Helon went up to the temple and knocked at the door of
the old man’s cell. “Welcome to Azereth!” he exclaimed, as Helon
entered. Azereth, or Day of Assembly was the name given to the day of
Pentecost as well as to the seventh of the Passover, and to the eighth
of the Feast of Tabernacles. “Will it in truth be Azereth to Hyrcanus
and the Pharisees?” said Helon. “Did I not tell thee, young man,” he
replied, “that it would be so? Believe me, this scene is only the
commencement of long and ruinous dissensions between the council and the
prince. God grant that I may not live to see them! But for thee, at
least, priest and bridegroom both, it is truly Azereth, and in a
different sense from the seventh day of the Passover.” “Give us thy
blessing,” said Helon; and as he knelt down the old man stretched out
his hands upon his head and blessed him. Helon then asked him to explain
the design of the feast which was about to commence. “As,” said he,
“when the first barley sheaf was offered, we prayed to Jehovah for his
blessing upon the harvest, so now that both the barley and the wheat are
gathered in, we thank him that he has given us the early and the later
rain, and dew from heaven, and the appointed weeks of harvest. Thus the
Pentecost is a harvest feast: but it is also a commemoration of the
giving of the law: for it was on this fiftieth day, the sixth after
Israel’s arrival in the wilderness of Sinai, and the third after the
purification of the people, that Moses led them out of the camp to meet
Jehovah, and to receive the law amidst the thundering and lightning, and
the sound of the trumpet. But pray to God that he would disclose to thee
the sublimer meaning which lies hidden under these more obvious
purposes. Bethink thee of that approaching time, when all the gifts of
Jehovah shall be poured out upon his kingdom on earth, when all prayers
shall be granted, and the law shall be universally known and kept in its
purest and most spiritual sense. Let this thought guide thy devotions at
the feast. And now, if thou art pure, go to the evening-sacrifice. Hark!
the trumpets announce that the Pentecost is about to begin.”

Helon departed, was present at the evening-sacrifice, and remained in
the temple through the night with all the priests who had assembled at
Jerusalem for the festival. On the following day the principal duty fell
to the course whose week was just beginning; but there was so much to be
done beyond the common offices, that they needed the aid of the others.
The dissensions of the Pharisees and Sadducees were more visible than
ever, and ceased not even in the temple and on the holy night.

The gates were opened, and among the rest who filled the courts before
the crowing of the cock, Iddo, Selumiel, Abisuab, and Elisama presented
their victims to the priests; and Sulamith with the wife of Iddo and her
own sister-in-law were in the court of the Women. The ordinary
morning-sacrifice was first offered, then the special offering of the
festival, consisting of seven lambs of the first year, a young bullock
and two rams for a burnt-offering, a goat for a sin-offering, and two
yearling sheep for a thank-offering. The difference between the
offerings on this occasion and at the Passover was, that there were then
two bullocks and one ram offered, and now two rams and one bullock.[95]
When the drink-offering was poured out, the priests blew upon their
pillars, the Levites sung on the fifteen steps, and the whole
congregation sung the great Hallel.

-----

Footnote 95:

  Lev. xxiii. 18.

-----

Now came the special-offering of the Pentecost. It consisted of two
loaves and a tenth of an epha of fine wheat flour, the first-fruits of
the harvest, which a priest had waved before Jehovah towards all the
four winds of heaven, in the open space between the altar and the
sanctuary. When this offering had been presented to Jehovah, the
sacrifices of individuals began. Selumiel, his son, and Elisama, brought
their noble victims; thousands followed them, and among the rest, Helon
offered his thank-offering, and paid to the Lord the vow which he had
formed in the happy hour of his betrothment. Selumiel’s son offered for
the purification of his wife, as it chanced to be the fortieth day from
her delivery, a lamb of the first year as a burnt-offering and a
turtle-dove as a sin-offering. She prayed while they were slain, and a
priest, bringing the blood of the sin-offering in a dish, sprinkled her
with it, and thus she became clean. She had brought her first-born in
her arm, and presented him before Jehovah; and her husband redeemed him,
according to the law, by the payment of five shekels.[96] For thus said
Jehovah, “Behold I have taken the Levites unto myself among the children
of Israel, instead of all the first-born; therefore the Levites shall be
mine. For the first-born are mine, since the time when I slew all the
first-born in Egypt: then did I set apart all the first-born in Israel,
both of man and beast, that they should be mine. I am Jehovah.”[97]

-----

Footnote 96:

  Numb. xviii. 15.

Footnote 97:

  Numb. iii. 12.

-----

When all these were ended, and the blessing given to the people in the
name of Jehovah, Iddo, with the assistance of his own slaves and of
Sallu, presented his own thank-offering. The wife of Abisuab, Sulamith,
and the wife of Iddo, partook of the feast which the sacrifice furnished
in one of the apartments of the temple, and in addition to them some
priests and Levites who had been bidden. Helon, once more in the temple,
in sight of the crowds of worshippers who poured in streams along its
courts, within hearing of the solemn sound of the temple music,
surrounded by all the circumstances which made this consecrated spot a
little world within itself, and seated by his Sulamith, forgot his
native country Egypt, his longing for his mother and his home, the
factions of Pharisees and Sadducees; and nothing occupied his thoughts,
but the wish to live in the Holy Land as a priest of Jehovah, and to
endeavour to fulfil the law, with all his soul, and with all his mind,
and with all his strength.

The Feast of Pentecost lasted only one day.



                                BOOK IV.



                               CHAPTER I.
                          THE JOURNEY TO DAN.


On the day which followed the feast of Pentecost, Helon stood upon the
highest of the three summits of the mount of Olives, and with a heavy
heart and weeping eyes watched the train of the pilgrims from Jericho,
as they disappeared among the groves and gardens of Bethany, and
listened to their songs, in which the voice of Sulamith seemed to warble
to him a farewell, full of affection and regret. It had cost him many a
struggle, to resolve to undertake this journey to Dan—but Selumiel had
determined to put his self-command to this proof, and Helon was forced
to comply. There was a certain hardness in Selumiel’s natural
disposition, which the influence of an amiable wife had not entirely
mollified; he had been compelled in his youth to practise much
self-denial and bear many mortifications, and he could not deny himself
the pleasure of making even those he loved undergo a similar discipline,
persuading himself perhaps that he was improving their tempers, while he
was indulging his own. “The path of obedience is arduous and rough,”
said Helon with a sigh, as he turned from where the Jordan wound its way
through the meadows of Jericho, to the northern hills of Ebal and
Gerizim, over which his destined journey lay; “the path of obedience is
rough, but it shall be trodden.” He called to mind the first commandment
with promise, and he thought that when he had made this sacrifice to the
sense of duty, he should be able, without difficulty, to fulfil the rest
of the commandments, and become a Chasidean. Ambition came to the aid of
virtue, and he returned towards the city, resolved, though not
satisfied.

On the following morning he took his departure, in company with the
Governor of Samaria, whom Hyrcanus had just appointed, and some Galilean
Jews, who preferred returning into their own country by the nearer way.
Iddo accompanied his friend as far as to the gate of Ephraim, not
without a secret dissatisfaction at the ill-nature of his brother. The
travellers were mounted, and attended by such a train as became the rank
of the principal person in the party. They entered the King’s valley,
and directed their course between Mizpa and Nob towards Geba, which lay
not far from Rama, the city where Samuel judged,[98] called in latter
times Arimathea. The road was stony; the conversation of the party
turned wholly on worldly topics. This Geba is also called Geba of
Benjamin, to distinguish it from another of the same name: it was
celebrated for David’s victory over the Philistines.[99] It lay on a
rising ground, six sabbath-days’ journies from Jerusalem, and was one of
the cities of the priests.[100] As they had been late in quitting
Jerusalem, they halted here for their rest at noon, and as most of the
party were disposed to consult their own ease, they remained till late
in the afternoon. The road to Michmash was more steep and rocky than
that which they had travelled. Here they had to traverse a defile,
between two abrupt and rugged rocks, in the mountains of Ephraim,
forming a pass which had been rendered celebrated by the exploits of
Jonathan in Saul’s first expedition against the Philistines,[101] and by
the residence of the Maccabee prince Jonathan.[102] They halted for the
night at Bethel, a place of which the name often occurs in the sacred
writings. This city was sixteen sabbath-days’ journies from Jerusalem,
and Helon called to mind that from the mulberry-trees in its
neighbourhood it had been named Luz, when Abraham dwelt there; that
Jacob here saw the vision of the ladder on which the angels ascended and
descended, and that rising upon the following morning he built an altar
to Jehovah, and called the name of the place Bethel.[103] The ark of the
covenant had long stood here; and it was here too, alas, that Jeroboam
had set up the worship of the golden calves which he had learnt in
Egypt, causing Israel to sin.[104] The prophets so much abhorred its
idolatries that they changed its name into Bethaven, _place of
unworthiness_; and to go to Bethel, came to signify the same thing as to
apostatize from Jehovah to idolatry.[105]

-----

Footnote 98:

  1 Sam. vii. 17.

Footnote 99:

  2 Sam. v. 25.

Footnote 100:

  1 Chron. vi. 60.

Footnote 101:

  1 Sam. xiv. 4.

Footnote 102:

  1 Mac. ix. 73.

Footnote 103:

  Gen. xxviii. 19.

Footnote 104:

  1 Kings xii. 29.

Footnote 105:

  Hos. x. 5; Amos iv. 4.

-----

On the following morning, instead of taking the usual road by Lebona and
Gophna, they went by Shiloh, where the governor had business. Shiloh was
the first town in Samaria, and peculiarly interesting to Helon, from the
circumstance that Joshua came thither from Gilgal,[106] and that the
tabernacle had long stood there. It was very pleasantly situated on a
hill, whence the mountains both of Judah and Ephraim might be seen. For
nearly three hundred years it was the place in which the tribes
assembled, till the tabernacle was removed to Nob[107] and Bethel;
afterwards by Saul to Gibeon;[108] and finally by David to Jerusalem. It
was here that in the times of the Judges the maidens were carried off by
violence;[109] here Eli had fallen from his seat, at the news of the
capture of the ark by the Philistines.[110] After the mid-day rest at
Shiloh, the governor hastened to his residence at Sichem, which was
sixteen sabbath-days’ journies from Shiloh, thirty-six from Bethel, and
more than fifty from Jerusalem.

-----

Footnote 106:

  Josh. xviii. 1.

Footnote 107:

  1 Sam. xxi. 1.

Footnote 108:

  2 Chron. i. 3.

Footnote 109:

  Judges xxi. 16.

Footnote 110:

  1 Sam. iv. 18.

-----

Iddo had strongly recommended Helon to the good offices of the governor,
who, to do honour to the recommendation, invited him to take up his
abode in his own house, which displayed every luxury of furniture, and a
numerous train of servants. The pompous condescension, the free life and
licentious conversation of the governor, who was a Jew by birth, but a
Samaritan in sensuality and worldly mindedness, were so displeasing to
Helon, that he would instantly have departed; but his host would not
allow him to go without passing a few days with him. He endeavoured to
console himself by exploring every object of interest in the
neighbourhood, for which purpose the governor furnished him with
attendants and guides.

Sichem lay in a plain, or to speak more accurately, in a valley, which
extended to the east and west. On the northern and southern sides of the
long line of the city rose the two mountains, Ebal and Gerizim,
separated by so small an interval, that the voice might be heard from
the summit of the one to the summit of the other. Thus sheltered from
the pernicious winds of the north-west and south-west, it lay stretched
out in picturesque beauty, at the feet of the gigantic guards that
seemed stationed for its protection. It was half a sabbath-day’s journey
in length, but so narrow, that it consisted only of two parallel
streets, with an open space between them. The fruitful plain into which
the valley expanded was watered by several mountain streams, and
diversified by vineyards and olive-yards, plantations of mulberries, and
orchards of figs, citrons, and pomegranates. About a sabbath-day’s
journey from the city, on the road to Jerusalem, was the well of Jacob,
situated in the field or plain which Jacob had purchased from the
children of Hamor.[111] The well is nine feet in diameter, and a hundred
deep, with five feet of water. It was cut in the rock, and a flight of
steps descended to the water. In the midst of this lovely plain stood
the grove of Moreh.[112]

-----

Footnote 111:

  Gen. xxxiii. 19; Josh. xxiv. 32.

Footnote 112:

  Gen. xii. 6.

-----

From every part of the plain Sichem and its hills of Ebal and Gerizim
were seen. The city seemed more closely connected with Gerizim which lay
on the south, than with Ebal on the north. Gerizim was fruitful,
abounding in springs and covered with vines and olives; its principal
face being turned to the north, it escaped that parching heat which made
Ebal scorched and bare. The latter, on the side adjacent to the city was
full of caverns, which served the inhabitants as sepulchres.

The natural beauties of this exquisite scene were combined with a
multitude of historical associations. The grove of Moreh had been the
first resting-place of Abraham, when he entered the Land of Promise.
Jacob had dug the well, purchased the plain, and buried the idols of his
wives beneath the terebinth.[113] The outrage committed by his sons
Simeon and Levi had compelled him to retire to Bethel, through fear of
the men of Sichem.[114] Joshua had called the tribes together for the
last time to this place,[115] and had caused a stone to be erected on
Ebal, as a memorial of the renewal of the covenant with Jehovah. It was
Sichem which proclaimed Abimelech king, after he had murdered his
seventy brethren; it had also been the first to revolt from him, in
consequence of which it was destroyed and sowed with salt.[116] At
Sichem the schism between Israel and Judah was consummated, and Jeroboam
made it the metropolis of the new kingdom.[117] After the erection of
the temple on Gerizim, which Hyrcanus had destroyed, Sichem had been for
three hundred years the chief seat of the Samaritan idolatry.

-----

Footnote 113:

  Gen. xxxv. 4.

Footnote 114:

  Gen. xxxiv.

Footnote 115:

  Josh. xxiv. 1.

Footnote 116:

  Judges ix.

Footnote 117:

  1 King xii. 25.

-----

Helon dismissed his guides as soon as they had pointed out to him the
particular spots, and every morning wandered alone for several hours
over the neighbourhood. Now he lingered beside the well of Jacob, or
traversed the field of the patriarch, or rested in the grove of Moreh;
now, from the lofty side of Ebal or Gerizim, beheld the whole landscape
spread at his feet. His hours flowed on without his being conscious of
their lapse, while, in the dreams of thought, he pictured to himself his
approaching happiness, not without a secret feeling of pride in his
virtuous resolution, in having quitted Sulamith for a time, in
compliance with her father’s command. He returned unwillingly towards
evening, to take his place among the guests at the luxurious table of
the governor, and hear their heartless jests.

Once however, during his rambles, he found the governor’s protection of
great importance to him. He had joined some Samaritans who had laid
themselves down in the shade of some olives on the sloping side of
Gerizim, and were conversing about their temple and their worship, the
rites of which were still celebrated amidst its ruins. They reviled
Hyrcanus and his sons, and exalted the memory of Sanballat and Manasseh.
This was more than Helon could endure. He started up and exclaimed,
“Where is your temple? When Moses commanded that on the entrance of the
tribes into the promised land, one half should stand on Ebal to curse
the ungodly, and the other half on Gerizim to bless the godly, (as was
done under Joshua,) he said, ‘When ye go over the Jordan ye shall raise
up stones upon mount Ebal, and plaster them with lime, and there build
an altar of stones to Jehovah your God.’[118] And ye, contrary to the
express command of God, have built a temple upon Gerizim!”

-----

Footnote 118:

  Deut. xxvii. 4; Josh. viii. 30.

-----

The Samaritans arose, and in violent anger exclaimed, “Thou art a Jew,
one of those who through hatred against us have corrupted the law, have
effaced the name of Gerizim and inserted that of Ebal.”

“It is false,” said Helon.

“We alone possess the genuine law,” exclaimed the Samaritans. “And ye
have the curse,” replied Helon with equal emotion.

The dialogue was growing so warm, that Helon might probably have
suffered some personal violence from them, had not the officers of
justice made their appearance, who carried them all before the governor.
He speedily decided the matter, dismissed the Samaritans with
scorn—giving Helon at the same time many sarcastic admonitions, to
controul his zeal and enthusiasm more carefully in future. At the
evening’s banquet he had again to endure his raillery; and when he was
alone he could not help exclaiming, “Well may Sichem be called in Judæa
_Sichar_, for it is in truth the place of drunkenness and lies!”

On the following morning he took his departure. The governor politely
gave him an escort as far as Samaria; fearing, as he said, that he
should expose himself to the same dangers as on mount Gerizim: Helon
accepted the offer, but shook off the dust of Sichem from his feet when
he had quitted it.

Samaria was in the former territory of the tribe of Manasseh. Omri, the
sixth king of Israel, and father of Ahab, built it, and called it after
Samer, the possessor of the ground.[119] Thirza, which had before been
the royal residence, having been reduced to ashes, Samaria became the
capital of the kingdom of Israel, and remained so till its destruction.
At that time it was a league in circumference, was called the head of
Ephraim, and contained a magnificent temple of Baal which Jezebel had
erected.[120] It slighted the warnings of Elijah and Elisha, and was
destroyed by the Assyrian Salmanasser, after a siege of three
years.[121]

-----

Footnote 119:

  1 Kings xvi. 24.

Footnote 120:

  1 Kings xvi. 32.

Footnote 121:

  2 Kings xvii. 5.

-----

At this time it was a picture of desolation. The lofty hill on which it
once stood, with a view towards Joppa, Carmel, and the Mediterranean
sea, was covered with heaps of ruins and water-courses diverted from
their channels. Its commanding prospect only made it a more conspicuous
monument of the valour and the vengeance of the heroes of Judah and of
the wickedness of its inhabitants. A second time the prophetic word of
Hosea and Micah had received its accomplishment.[122] Helon looked down
at once with exultation and gratitude to God upon the scattered huts in
which the children of Samaria were hiding themselves, while the sons of
Jerusalem were praising Jehovah in their houses and their palaces.

-----

Footnote 122:

  Hos. viii. ix. x.; Micah i. 6.

-----

He dismissed the escort of the governor and pursued his way to Thirza,
the limits of this day’s journey. He had purposed to reach Megiddo, but
his progress was arrested by a spectacle equally new and interesting; a
tribe of wandering shepherds, who were making their annual migration
from the plain of Sharon to mount Hermon. They had been detained later
than usual, for they commonly remove early in the spring. The flocks and
herds led the way, behind them came camels laden with their tents,
baggage, and poultry, and the young of the flocks, which as yet were too
weak to accompany the march. The women and children followed, mounted on
other camels; some of the females were spinning as they rode, others
grinding in their hand-mills, others tending their infant children. The
boys ran by the side of the camels, playing or fighting. Lances, from
eight to ten feet in length, were every where seen above the heads of
this tumultuous train; and on all sides were heard the hoarse voices of
the men who carried them, some of whom were endeavouring to maintain
order, and others surrounded and protected the line of march.

When they reached their ordinary place of encampment, a new scene began;
the sheep and goats laid themselves in the grass, the camels knelt down,
the poultry flew from their backs. In two hours the dark brown tents
were erected. Helon made Sallu assist them, while he himself looked on
and enjoyed the animated confusion of the scene. With upright and cross
poles a large tent of an oblong form was erected. The coverings were of
a thick brown stuff made of goats’ hair, and the door of the tent was
nothing but a curtain of this cloth, which could be lifted up or drawn
aside. In the middle was the tent of the chief of this nomadic tribe;
the rest were pitched around it, to the distance of thirty paces. Every
one of the larger tents was divided into three parts by curtains; in the
outermost were the young and tender cattle which required shelter, in
the next the men, and in the innermost the women. The mattresses,
pillows, and coverlets for sleeping were laid in one corner; the weapons
were hung on the sides of the tent; carpets were spread upon the floor,
a hole dug in the middle for the fire, and the few and simple articles
of household furniture, wooden dishes, vessels of copper, a hand-mill,
and bottles of leather, easily found their appropriate place.

Helon beheld, with admiration, the rapid erection of this moveable town.
The number of the tents was about thirty, that of the men and women
above two hundred, and the cattle amounted to some thousands. Always
reminded of the past by the present, he thought he saw the Rechabites,
or Israel journeying in the wilderness, or the pastoral wanderings of
Abraham and Jacob. “How much more agreeable to nature, how much more
favourable to virtue,” thought he, “is this life of simplicity and
freedom, than the constraint and luxury of the governor’s palace!” He
laid himself down beside the well, and thought “what would be wanting to
the happiness or to the purity of life, if here, with Sulamith, I could
spend my days, far from the cares and the temptations of the busy
world!”

The chief of the tribe received him and Sallu hospitably, with their
horses and camels, and killed a calf for their entertainment, which the
women prepared by roasting in small square pieces. Milk, butter, and
cheese formed the rest of their repast. At the first dawn of morning the
whole encampment was in motion, to milk the cattle and lead them out to
their pasture. Helon often cast his eyes towards the spot where a few
scattered cottages marked the place on which the ruins of Thirza stood.
Though the city had disappeared, the loveliness of the site still showed
why Thirza had been to the Hebrews an emblem for beauty.[123] Baasha
governed Israel from this hill, and Zimri the murderer of his son, after
seven days’ enjoyment of the fruits of his crime, consumed himself along
with the royal palace.[124] “These,” said Helon, “are all passed away;
the capital and the kingdom are alike become a tradition; yet the tribes
of migrating shepherds still pursue the track which their forefathers
kept in ages past!”

-----

Footnote 123:

  Cant. vi. 4.

Footnote 124:

  1 Kings, xv. xvi.

-----

About noon a small caravan of merchants arrived, which usually followed
the shepherds: they pitched their white tents, and spread their wares
out around them. The shepherds came and purchased what they wanted,
giving in exchange skins, wool, goats’ hair, cheese, and even cattle.
Helon purchased some ornaments, which he designed to be a present to his
hospitable entertainer. He remained some days among them, delighted
beyond measure with their mode of life, and entering with the liveliest
interest into all their occupations. He helped the shepherds to water
their flocks from the well, played with the children, and related
stories in the evening, when they gathered with their camels around the
fire.

Only a few days now remained to the time when he was to meet Myron at
Dan. After taking a friendly leave, he directed his course to Megiddo,
which lies between the fragrant plain of Sharon on the south, and the
great plain of Jezreel on the north. Megiddo is celebrated for the
battle in which the kings Ahaziah and Josiah were killed fighting
against Neco, king of Egypt.[125] Helon had come hither to see the great
route of the Phœnician commerce, which pursued a course parallel to
the sea. He passed Tunis Stratonis, a small and now almost abandoned
town, but possessed, as he remarked, of an incomparable harbour. Here he
was a hundred stadia from Jerusalem. Keeping to the north from Turris
Stratonis, he came to Dor, which is also on the sea-coast, and thence by
Magdiel to the foot of Carmel.

-----

Footnote 125:

  2 Kings, xxiii. 29.

-----

Carmel joins the plain of Sharon to the south, and the hills of Ephraim
to the south-east; and on the north the bay of Acco and the plain of
Jezreel or Esdraelon, through which the Kishon runs, rising in mount
Tabor, and falling into the sea at the foot of Carmel, after having
divided the lands of Issachar and Zebulon. Helon ascended the mountain;
it is of great height, and has a wide and beautiful prospect both by
land and sea. It is distinguished, as its name expresses, by its
fertility. Its very summit is crowned with pines and oaks; its lower
regions abound with olives and laurels. Helon, as he stood on it,
thought with sacred awe of the victory which the worship of Jehovah had
gained over that of Baal, through the energetic zeal of Elijah of
Thisba, and of the slaughter of the priests of Baal, which made Kishon
run purple to the sea.[126] As he descended, he found a multitude of
Phœnician fishermen engaged in taking the shell-fish from which their
celebrated die is made. There are two species of this fish; one is
caught by bait, the other, which is particularly abundant on the shore
of Carmel, is gathered from the rocks. The die is contained in a white
vein or bladder in the neck; the Phœnicians made from it fourteen
shades of purple, of which the most highly prized, the bright red and
the violet, were manufactured with inimitable skill at Tyre. A
shepherd’s dog which had fed upon the fish, and had thus stained his
mouth of a beautiful colour, is said to have furnished the first hint
for this lucrative article of commerce.

-----

Footnote 126:

  1 Kings, xviii.

-----

Helon did not proceed from Carmel to Acco,[127] a Phœnician city on
the river Belus, for he had resolved to enter no heathen place on this
journey, devoted to exploring the regions of the promised land. Leaving
Carmel to the south, a high hill to the north, which bears the name of
the Tyrian Climax, (or stair) and the hills of Galilee on the east, he
entered the plain of Zebulon. But he often turned to look on the kingly
head of Carmel, and to admire the structure of the hills which form the
Tyrian Climax, descending, as by a flight of steps, from their highest
elevation to the level of the sea. The city of Tyre lay behind these
hills.

-----

Footnote 127:

  Judges, i. 31.

-----

Quitting Samaria, and entering Galilee, the plain of Zebulon brought him
to Gathhepher, the birthplace of the prophet Jonah; and thence he
proceeded through the land of Naphthali to Thisba, where in ancient
times the prophet Elijah, and more recently the pious Tobit,[128] had
been born. But neither beautiful scenery nor the gratification of
beholding the places where eminent men had lived, could efface from
Helon’s mind the painful feeling that every step which he took carried
him further from Jericho. His pride in the consciousness of fulfilling a
duty became less and less able to support him; he thought that he had
carried his obedience a point too far, and was angry with Selumiel, with
Elisama,—with himself. He was therefore rejoiced when he saw in the
distance Antilibanus, the southern branch of a chain of mountains, of
which the other branch lay in Phœnicia. This was consequently the
boundary of the promised land. Its name, Lebanon, was derived from the
whiteness of its rocks and peaks, especially from the perennial
snow[129] which covered the head of Hermon, its highest summit. The
morning sun was shining on its brilliant peak, as Helon crossed the
lesser Jordan, and entered Dan, the frontier town of Judæa on the north.
He inquired his way to the caravansera, and had just halted before it
with his horses and camels when Myron came out and embraced him.

-----

Footnote 128:

  Tobit, i. 2.

Footnote 129:

  Jer. xviii. 14.

-----

Helon joyfully returned his salutation. “And you will be ready,” said
he, “to-morrow, to set off for Jericho?”

Myron burst into a laugh. “It is true, I see, what the Galilean said, on
his return, of the good fortune which has befallen you there. My own
good star has brought me to be the witness of your nuptials. Receive my
hearty congratulations. How does my venerable Elisama? But our first
care must be to give your beasts rest and shelter.”

The Grecian levity of Myron’s manner was a relief to Helon. They entered
the court of the caravansera; in the middle of it was a large cistern of
water, from which the horses and camels drank; the baggage was deposited
in rooms behind the portico, and fodder for the beasts, with a scanty
supply for themselves, was to be purchased of the attendant in the
caravansera. When these things were done, Myron and Helon seated
themselves in a corner of the portico, where they should be most free
from interruption, and Helon related to his friend his adventures since
they separated. When his narrative was ended, Myron said, “After you
left the caravan at Gaza, I had a melancholy life in the midst of my
merchants, none of whom had a single thought in common with me. My
freedom of speech was perpetually involving me in disputes, out of which
I sometimes found it difficult to extricate myself. I remember
particularly at Joppa”—

Helon interrupted him to say, that he had heard of the offence which he
had given to a citizen of that place, and expressed his regret at
Myron’s want of caution.

“There is no malice,” said Myron, “in my pleasantries; and for the rest
be assured, that not one Greek in a hundred really feels such veneration
for your religion and your people as I do. When I had seen the singular
Tyrian Climax, I had a great curiosity to visit Tyre and Sidon. They
were the parents of Carthage, Thebes, Gades in Spain, and many other
powerful colonies. Arithmetic, astronomy, geography, navigation, were
either invented by them, or at least taught by them to the Greeks. It
was Hiram, king of Tyre, as you have told me, who built the eighth
wonder of the world, the temple of your king Solomon, at Jerusalem. Even
the great invention of alphabetical writing was probably made by them;
that of the purple die is not disputed. There is something too in the
situation of Tyre, in the midst of the sea, obliged to supply by her own
activity and ingenuity what a narrow and rocky country denied, which
made me very desirous of seeing by what institutions she had been able
to contend so successfully against natural disadvantages. I found
manufactures of glass and purple in full activity, docks crowded with
ships, and markets full of silk, wool, cotton, ivory, ebony, and cedar,
of all the precious and the useful metals, of wine and oil, of horses,
dromedaries, and slaves: but the character of the inhabitants pleased me
not; their sagacity is cunning; their polish, the want of force and
individuality of character; their pride, the ignoble pride of wealth. I
did homage in my own mind to the wisdom of your lawgiver, who chose to
form a nation of agriculturists, rather than of merchants.

“How exactly,” said Helon, “does your account of the new Tyre agree with
that which our prophet gives of the old. Shall I repeat you a part of
it?”

“I shall listen to it most willingly,” said Myron. “Since our separation
I have wished to hear more of your psalms and prophets, though when we
were together I was disposed to complain of excess rather than
deficiency.”

“Hear, then,” said Helon, “what Ezekiel spoke:

 The word of Jehovah came to me saying,
 “Son of man, take up a lamentation for Tyre,
 And say of Tyre;
 O city! that art at the entrance of the sea,
 Merchant of the nations in many islands,
 Thus saith the Lord Jehovah:
 Thou, O Tyre, sayest, I am mightiest (of cities)
 Thy borders are in the sea;
 Thy builders have made thee perfect in beauty,
 They have made all thy planks of firs of Shenir,
 They have fetched cedars from Lebanon to make thee masts,
 They made thine oars of oak of Bashan;
 Thy benches, inlaid with ivory,
 They made with box from the islands of Chittim.
 Embroidered byssus from Egypt thou didst spread forth,
 It served thee for a sail;
 Thy coverings (canopies) were blue and purple,
 From the isles of Elisha.
 Sidonians and men of Arvad were thy rowers;
 The most skilful, O Tyre, were from thyself;
 They were thy pilots;
 The oldest and most skilful men of Gebal were thy ship-wrights.
 All the ships on the sea and their mariners
 Came to thee to purchase thy merchandise.

 Persians, Lydians, and Lybians served as warriors in thine armies,
 They hung up their helmets and shields in thee;
 They upheld thy splendour.
 The men of Arvad with thine own warriors were upon thy walls,
 The Gammadæans in thy towers.
 They had hung their shields around on thy walls,
 They made thy splendour complete.
 Tarshish dealt with thee
 Through the abundance of thy merchandise of every kind:
 They brought silver, iron, tin, and lead for thy traffic.
 Grecians, Tibarenians, and Moschians dealt with thee,
 They brought men and vessels of copper to thy markets;
 From Togarmah they brought for thy traffic
 Horses of various breeds and mules.
 The men of Dedan trafficked with thee,
 (For many isles offered thee the hand for traffic)
 They brought ivory and ebony-wood
 In exchange for thy commodities.
 Idumea dealt with thee
 Through the multitude of thy fabrics;
 They brought rubies, purple, and embroidery,
 Corals, and crystal for thy traffic.
 Israel and Judah dealt with thee
 They brought wheat from Minnith and Pennag;
 Honey, oil, and balsam to thy mart.
 Damascus dealt with thee
 Through the multitude of thy fabrics,
 Through the abundance of thy riches;
 (They brought) wine of Chalybon and white wool.
 Vedan and Javan brought from Usul
 Polished steel for thy traffic;

 Cassia and cinnamon were in thy mart.
 Dedan dealt with thee
 With coverings of horses and chariots.
 Arabia and the princes of Kedar dealt with thee
 With lambs, and rams, and goats.
 The merchants of Sheba and Rama dealt with thee;
 They brought for thy traffic
 The best of spices, precious stones, and gold.
 Haran and Cane, and Eden, and the merchants of Sheba,
 Assyrians and Chilmedians dealt with thee;
 They dealt with thee in costly clothes,
 In blue and embroidered mantles,
 With store of clothes
 Which, bound up with cords,
 They brought to thy mart.
 But the ships of Tarshish were chief in thy mart,
 (By them) thou wast filled with treasures and renowned in the midst of
    the seas.”—Ezek. xxvii.

“A splendid, but not an exaggerated picture,” said Myron, “of the
commerce of Tyre. Yet with all its luxury and splendour it was so little
to my taste, that I left it and went to Damascus. But how, Helon, shall
I describe to thee this eye of the east, this terrestrial Elysium?
Imagine a lovely plain, fruitful, well watered, full of trees and
meadows, bordered on both sides by hills, but at a considerable
distance; by Antilibanus on the one hand, and the Arabian chain on the
other. From Antilibanus descends a stream which is called Chrysorrhoas;
on entering the plain it divides into three branches, of which the
principal flows straight towards Damascus, and separating its amber
waters into a multitude of little streams, refreshes every street of the
city. Reuniting below the city with the other two branches, they all
form a lake of great extent on the eastern verge of the plain. In the
red soil of which this plain is composed, every variety of fruit-tree
grows in greater perfection than elsewhere. The city itself is one of
the oldest in the world. I had passed my time there most happily, and
nothing would have drawn me from it so soon but your friendly
invitation. I have been waiting here for you since yesterday.”

On the following morning early they left the caravansera, and turning
from Hermon’s snowy peak, they passed between the hills of Antilibanus,
of which Hermon is only a part, and bending eastward, came first to
Paneas. It lies at the foot of a hill, which also belongs to
Antilibanus; and the Jordan flows from caverns in the rock. They were
wondering at its copiousness, so near its apparent source, when an
inhabitant of Paneas approaching, said, “Strangers, this is not the real
head of the Jordan. It has already flowed sixteen sabbath-days’ journies
under the earth. At that distance, to the east of Paneas, is a little
lake, called from its form Phiala, which is constantly receiving the
influx of streams, yet, without any visible outlet, never overflows. The
reason is, that its waters by a subterraneous channel pass to the hill
of Paneas, and break forth there as the Jordan, which from this cause
appears of such magnitude at its source.” They asked him how the
existence of this subterraneous channel was known, and he told them that
things which had been thrown into the lake of Phiala had reappeared in
the Jordan.

From Paneas they followed the course of the Jordan to the lake
Merom,[130] called also Samochonitis. Before it reaches this lake it
receives the lesser Jordan, which rises near Dan; and the Daphne, whose
source is not far from the place where it issues from the rock. The lake
Merom is ten sabbath-days’ journies long, and five broad, and full of
sedge and oozy water. In summer it is so much dried up, that only the
bright line of the Jordan’s current is visible; and lions, tigers,
bears, and other wild animals, harbour in the reeds and bushes with
which the rest is overgrown; till, when the snow of Lebanon begins to
melt, the Jordan overflows, and fills up the whole basin of the
lake.[131] It was now full. Not being able, owing to the inundation, to
take the nearest way to the lake of Genezareth, they struck into the
desert, thinking thus to reach Bethsaida, which was at the distance of
sixteen sabbath-days’ journies.

-----

Footnote 130:

  Josh. xi. 5.

Footnote 131:

  Jer. xlix. 19; Eccles. xxiv. 26; Josh. iii. 15.

-----

They had ridden a long time in this desert, under the burning rays of
the sun, and at last discovered that they had missed their way.
Perceiving some living figures in the distance, which they took for
shepherds, they made towards them in the hope of obtaining information.
As they came nearer to them the men warned them by gestures to keep at a
distance, with hoarse and broken voices, and melancholy looks, uttering
the words, Unclean, unclean![132] “They are lepers,” said Helon, with a
look of horror, and turning his horse’s head fled with precipitation,
followed by the others.

-----

Footnote 132:

  Lev. xiii. 45.

-----

The huts in which these unhappy victims of a loathsome disease dwelt
were hard by in the desert. As our travellers were hastening from the
scene, they met the relations of the lepers, who dwelt in Bethsaida, and
who were bringing them the food by which their miserable existence was
to be protracted. The lepers set down their vessels and retired out of
sight; the others then came, placed provisions in them with the greatest
caution, and carefully avoiding to touch them; and then hastened away,
as from the region of death. Father and mother, brother and sister,
children and wife, all forsake the miserable leper; scarcely will one of
those who are clean venture to bid him peace from afar; and when the
provision is no longer fetched away, they rejoice that his sufferings
are terminated.

These men had been attacked by the elephantiasis, the most virulent of
all the kinds of leprosy. It is gradual in its approaches, a scaly scurf
overspreading the body; the nervous system loses its sensibility, the
touch grows duller and duller, till it is lost altogether. Little pain
is felt by the afflicted person, but dejection and despondency take
possession of his mind. The breath becomes corrupt, swellings of the
size of a nut are formed, and ulcers cover the body. The nails fall from
the fingers and the toes; in some cases these parts themselves drop off;
the hair turns grey and falls; all the joints become stiff; and yet,
while the unhappy person becomes a burthen to himself and loathsome to
all around him, he eats and drinks as usual. This terrible disease is
not only in the highest degree contagious, but also hereditary,
sometimes continuing in a family to the fourth generation. No wonder
that it should be regarded as a judgment of God for some enormous crime.

Helon and his companions continued their hasty flight, till they reached
the Jordan, which soon conducted them to Bethsaida, which stood at the
place where it falls into the lake of Genezareth. Bethsaida is almost
wholly inhabited by fishermen, whom they found busily employed with the
angle and the net. They called some of them, and were conveyed in one of
their boats across the lake to Magdala The lake of Genezareth, called
also the lake of Chinnereth,[133] and the lake of Galilee, is twenty
sabbath-days’ journies long, and six broad. Its waters abound with fish,
and are so clear that the stones at the bottom can be seen. Aromatic
bulrushes and reeds grow along the shores. The form of the lake is
nearly oval, and it lies in a deep vale, which on the east and west is
closed in by high mountains, on the north and south expands into a
plain. As Helon and Myron sailed on its transparent waters, they saw
first of all, on its western side, Capernaum, which, as its name
implies, was delightfully situated, between the lake and the hills,
lower down to the east Chorazin, and a multitude of smaller places. The
celebrated region of Decapolis lay on the eastern side, beyond the
hills.

-----

Footnote 133:

  Josh. xiii. 27; Numb. xxxiv. 11.

-----

Arrived at Magdala, they quitted their boat, and traced the shore as far
as where the Jordan issues from the lake, crossed the river, and being
joined by the slaves with the horses and camels, took the road to Tabor,
which lies at the end of the plain of Jezreel, over against Carmel.
Notwithstanding Helon’s impatience, he could not pass so celebrated a
mountain without a nearer examination, and Myron willingly came into his
plans.

This lofty hill rises out of the middle of the plain, wholly unconnected
with any other. Its base is composed of an ash-coloured stone, and as
the upper part is covered with trees, it has the appearance of a tall
pillar with a verdant capital. The ascent to the summit is nearly five
sabbath-days’ journies, and on the top is a plain of about four in
circumference. Wild animals and birds abound on it; and Hosea alludes to
the fowling which was carried on here to a great extent.[134] Barak
assembled an army of 100,000 men on Tabor from Zebulon and Naphthali,
before he engaged with Sisera;[135] and indeed a fitter position for a
camp can scarcely be imagined. Helon and Myron were astonished at the
extent of the view. The snowy peak of Hermon and the dark exhalations of
the Dead Sea can both be discerned from it. “And there,” exclaimed
Helon, transported with delight, “are the towers of Jericho!” The sea of
Galilee, the Jordan and the Peræa, spread themselves on the east; on the
west the prospect reached to the Mediterranean and to Carmel; near which
the Kishon, which rises in Tabor, falls into the sea; a small branch of
it discharges itself into the lake of Galilee. Near Tabor, to the
north-west, was Nazareth, situated on the slope of a hill and extending
into a little valley, shut in on every side. To the south lay Endor,
famed in the history of Saul; and near to each other Shunam,[136] the
scene of Elisha’s miracle, and Jezreel, fifteen sabbath-days’ journies
from Samaria, on which was the vineyard of Naboth.[137] From this place
the whole plain derives the name of Jezreel, or Esdraelon. Further in
the distance, a dark shade lowered on the hills of Gilboa. Helon called
to mind the lamentation of David for Jonathan and Saul, who had been
slain in battle here against the Philistines; and he repeated it to
Myron, assuring him that he had never heard a more pathetic elegy.

-----

Footnote 134:

  Hos. v. 1.

Footnote 135:

  Judg. iv. 12.

Footnote 136:

  2 Kings iv.

Footnote 137:

  1 Kings xxi.

-----

 And David spoke this lamentation over Saul and over Jonathan his son:
 “Is the pride of Israel fallen on thy high places?
 So are the mighty fallen.
 O tell it not in Gath,
 Publish it not in the streets of Askelon,
 Lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice,
 Lest the daughters of the uncircumcised triumph!
 Ye mountains of Gilboa,
 No dew, no rain be on your field of slaughter!
 For there has the shield of the mighty been thrown away,
 The shield of Saul, as though he had not been anointed with oil.
 From the blood of the slain, from the marrow of the mighty,
 The bow of Jonathan turned not back,
 The sword of Saul returned not empty.
 Saul and Jonathan were lovely and pleasant in their lives,
 And in their death they were not divided.
 They were swifter than eagles,
 They were stronger than lions.
 Ye daughters of Israel, weep for Saul!
 He clothes you no more in purple,
 Nor puts ornaments of gold on your apparel.
 How are the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle!
 O! Jonathan, thou wast slain on thine high places;
 I am distressed for thee my brother Jonathan;
 Very dear wast thou to me:
 Thy love to me was wonderful, surpassing the love of women.
 How are the mighty fallen!
 How are the weapons of war cast away!”

Myron did justice to this pathetic elegy; and they descended Tabor
together.

Their journey was now directed to Bethshan or Scythopolis, the place at
which the Galilean pilgrims were wont to cross the Jordan, in order to
avoid the Samaritans, by keeping on the other side as low down as
Bethabara, where they crossed it again. The line from Dor on the
Mediterranean to Bethshan formed the boundary between Samaria and
Galilee. Galilee contained two hundred larger and smaller towns, some of
the latter having as many as 15,000 inhabitants. Agriculture, fishing,
and pasturage, the culture of the vine and the olive, all were carried
on with success in this country, which is diversified with hills and
plains, both of them abounding in water. The inhabitants were
characterised by their love of freedom, though both their language and
their manners were corrupted by their great intercourse with foreign
nations.

They quitted Galilee at Bethshan, and crossing the Jordan pursued their
journey along the numerous windings of the stream, which from Bethsaida
to the Dead Sea has a course of seventy-two sabbath-days’ journies.
Succoth,[138] where Jacob built huts, near Mahanaim,[139] a town on the
Jabbok, (so named by him from the vision which was granted to him there)
Debir[140] and Bethabara, were hastily passed. At length the Jordan
opened into the plain of Jericho; they passed through the city gate and
soon reached the hospitable mansion of Selumiel. The gate, with its
pious inscriptions,[141] opened to receive them; Myron was astonished at
the splendour of the house; while Helon thought only that this was his
happy home.

-----

Footnote 138:

  Gen. xxxiii. 17.

Footnote 139:

  Gen. xxxii. 2.

Footnote 140:

  Josh. xiii. 26.

Footnote 141:

  Deut. xi. 20.

-----



                              CHAPTER II.
                             THE NUPTIALS.


Helon found no one in the front court, and hastily entered the inner
court, followed by Myron. The slave came to tell them, that there was no
one in the house.

“Where are they, then?”

“In Helon’s house,” said the slave with a smile; and informed him that
Selumiel, Elisama, Iddo, the wife of Selumiel, Sulamith, and Abisuab
with his wife, had gone out a few hours before, in order to receive him
in the newly-purchased house. They had justly calculated that he would
return this evening.

Helon heard this intelligence with joyful surprise, and easily divined
the fact, that out of his affection for Sulamith, who wished not to be
separated from her parents, Elisama had purchased a house for him in
Jericho; and if not in Jerusalem, where could he be better pleased to
dwell than in the City of Palms? The splendid mansion was to be a
nuptial present to his beloved nephew. It is true that the property must
return to its owner in the year of Jubilee, and the contract for it was
therefore rather a lease than a purchase; but a considerable price had
nevertheless been set upon it, which Elisama’s wealth enabled him easily
to pay.

The slave showed them the way to the house which stood near the opposite
gate, so that they had to traverse the whole length of the city. A slave
had been waiting for some hours before the gate, and upon a signal given
by him to those within, all the males of the company were in waiting to
bid him welcome.

“See,” said Selumiel, “the rewards of self-denial!”

“Welcome, my brother, and henceforth fellow-citizen of Jericho,” said
Abisuab.

Helon, with moistened eyes, threw himself into the arms of Elisama. All
stood around, pouring out congratulations and blessings.

“What more do we want,” said Elisama, “but that thy mother from
Alexandria were here?”

Helon looked around with inquiring eye. Selumiel took him by the hand,
and led him through to the richly furnished inner court. Her mother and
sister-in-law came with Sulamith from the Armon. After their greetings
had been exchanged, Helon, at the command of Elisama, as now the master
of the house, re-conducted them to their apartments. Bewildered with
joy, he could scarcely speak. After a short interval they all returned
to the house of Selumiel, to the evening meal, and at night Elisama,
Helon, and the Greek, returned to the house of Helon, where they
thenceforth resided. Myron was in astonishment at all he saw, and began
to form a very different idea of Israel from that which he had
entertained before.

On the following morning Helon arose early, and traversed the house
which was to be the scene of his future happiness and duties. No other
feeling in life resembles that with which the youth, on the point of
emerging into manhood, wanders in solemn musing through the house in
which he is to sustain the duties of husband and father. As he explored
its courts, its porticoes, and chambers, by turns, he admired the
commodious arrangement and tasteful architecture, and the costly
furniture, or blessed the generous Elisama; or raised his thoughts in
pious gratitude to Jehovah, and implored the continuance of his mercies.
He ascended the roof, and looked westward towards the hills of Judah,
and eastward to Nebo and Abarim. Entering the Alijah, he consecrated it
as the future scene of his devotions by prayer to Jehovah. As he arose
from his knees, turning involuntarily towards Jerusalem, he broke out in
the words of the psalm:

     Unless Jehovah build the house,
     They labour in vain that raise it;
     Unless Jehovah guard the city,
     The watchman waketh but in vain.
     In vain ye rise early and sit up late,
     And eat the bread of care;
     He giveth it to his beloved in sleep.
     Lo! children are a heritage from Jehovah,
     The fruit of the womb is his reward.
     As arrows in the hand of a mighty man,
     So are the children of youth:
     Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them!
     They shall not be ashamed
     When they speak with their enemies in the gate.—Psal. cxxvii.

As he turned round, Elisama was behind him at the door, and was wiping
the tears from his eyes. “May Jehovah bless thee,” said he. “His counsel
is wonderful, and he will bring it to pass.”

“God grant me,” said Helon, “that I may keep his law with a perfect
mind.”

“May he give thee what thy psalm says,” replied Elisama. “Now that thou
art a priest and a husband in the promised land, I doubt no longer.
Marriage is a divine ordinance, and the divine blessing rests upon it.
This I myself experienced, alas, for too short a time! God said, It is
not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helpmate to be with
him.[142] And the Preacher says, There is one alone, and not a second;
yea, he hath neither child nor brother, yet is there no end of all his
labour, nor is his eye satisfied with riches. For whom do I labour (he
should ask himself) and bereave my soul of good? This also is vanity and
a fruitless travail.”[143] Elisama sighed and proceeded, “Two are better
than one: they have a good reward for their labour: for if they fall the
one will lift up his fellow; but woe to him that is alone! for when he
falleth he hath not another to lift him up. Helon, I _had_ once a wife
and a child—and I was happy. What have I done that such bliss—? but I
will say no more. The children of my brother are my children; thou art
my son; and I rejoice in thy happiness as my own. The marriage state is
a service of Jehovah, and one of the most effectual means of the
fulfilment of his law. By this image he has denoted the relation between
himself and the people of his covenant. But let me hear thine own lips
describe the blessing that awaits thee. Rehearse to me the conclusion of
the book of Proverbs; and bethink thee what is implied in this, that the
great master of wisdom could devise no better termination of his
precepts, than the praises of a virtuous wife.”

-----

Footnote 142:

  Gen. x. 18.

Footnote 143:

  Eccles. iv. 8.

-----

Helon began:

       Who can find a virtuous woman?
       Her price is above rubies,
       The heart of her husband trusts safely in her,
       And he shall have no want of spoil.
       She will do him good and not evil
       All the days of her life.
       She seeketh wool and flax,
       She worketh willingly with her hands;
       She is like the merchants’ ships,
       She bringeth her food from afar;
       She riseth while it is yet night,
       And giveth meat to her household and tasks to her maidens.
       She considereth a field and buyeth it,
       With the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard;
       She girdeth her loins with strength,
       And strengtheneth her arms;
       She enjoyeth the fruit of her labour,
       Her lamp goeth not out by night;
       She stretcheth forth her hand to the distaff,
       Her fingers hold the spindle.
       She openeth her hand to the poor,
       Yea, she stretcheth forth her hands to the needy.
       She feareth not the snow for her household,
       For all her household are doubly clad:
       She maketh herself coverings,
       She is clad in fine linen and in purple.
       Her husband is honoured in the gates,
       When he sitteth among the elders of the land.
       She maketh costly garments and selleth them,
       She delivereth girdles to the merchant,
       Strength and honour are her clothing;
       She feareth not for the future;
       She openeth her mouth with wisdom,
       On her tongue are precepts of kindness.
       She looketh well to her household,
       And eateth not the bread of idleness.
       Her children arise up and call her blessed,
       Her husband and he praiseth her (saying)
       “Many daughters have done virtuously,
       But thou excellest them all.
       Comeliness is deceitful and beauty is vain,
       But a woman that feareth Jehovah shall be praised.
       Praise her for the fruit of her hands;
       Let her works praise her in the gate.”

The preparations for the nuptials were speedily made in both houses. The
numerous female companions of Sulamith assembled in Selumiel’s Armon.
The bride, who had just completed her fourteenth year, was conducted to
a bath, at which, gratification for all the senses was properly provided
for her, and for all her young companions. After bathing, she was
anointed with the choicest perfumes, and her friends brought their
gifts, consisting of clothes and costly articles, most of them made by
themselves. Her hair was perfumed and braided, her eyebrows deepened
with a powder of brilliant black, and her nails coloured red. Next, the
young maidens, her companions, arrayed her in the nuptial robes, of the
finest texture and most brilliant colour, which flowed with ample folds
to her feet. The girdle was clasped around her waist, the veil hung down
from her head, and high above all her other ornaments rose a crown, from
which the bride was called _the crowned_.

The evening was come, and the stars twinkled on the court, where all was
prepared for festivity. Now appeared Helon, anointed and crowned in a
similar manner, with the sons of the bride-chamber. They were the young
priests and Levites of Jericho, who had been invited for this purpose;
and Myron was among them. Each of them, to the number of seventy, bore a
staff in his hand, on which was fixed a shallow vessel filled with
burning oil and pitch. The festal train was admitted into Selumiel’s
inner court; the bride and the virgins came forth from the Armon, and
the youths and maidens, with aduffes and guitars, sung, in alternate
strophes, the praises of the bridegroom and the bride.

Now began the ceremony of conducting the bride to the bridegroom’s
house. The seventy youths, with their flambeaux, headed the procession;
the bride was surrounded by her bridemaidens. Thus Sulamith left her
father’s house: arrived at the threshold, the feelings which she had
struggled to suppress, the mingled emotions of hope and fear, of regret
and joy, overpowered her, and she burst into a flood of tears. The
mother too wept, pressed her beloved daughter to her breast, and
blessing her said, “Be thou the mother of a numerous posterity, like
Rachel and like Leah!” Selumiel supported his child in his strong
paternal arms, and said, “God, I thank thee that I have lived to see my
child happy!”

The sounds of joy were heard from the companions. Sulamith was placed in
a litter, and her nurse beside her. All the females were closely veiled;
Sulamith in a veil of flame-colour. The long train moved through the
streets of Jericho. A multitude of persons preceded, carrying the
clothes, trinkets, and new furniture of the bride. As each carried only
one thing, the procession was very long. Next came the friends of the
bridegroom with Helon; then the bride in her litter, accompanied by the
virgins. The rest of Helon’s friends, male and female servants, and
children, closed the train. All the inhabitants of Jericho hastened from
their houses, or looked down from their roofs.

Thus at length they reached the house of Helon. The bride paused at the
threshold of the dwelling, in which so much happiness or misery might
await her, as if with a timid irresolution. She adorned the door-posts
with woollen fillets, and anointed them with oil, and at length the
virgins suddenly lifted her over the threshold, the boundary between her
past and her future life. The nuptial train entered the courts, and the
bride solemnly took possession of the Armon, while the male part of the
company remained in the outer apartments, where a splendid feast was
served up to them. When all had eaten and were satisfied, males and
females assembled in the inner court; the virgins presented the bride,
the youths the bridegroom, to Selumiel. In evident agitation, he said,
“Blessed be thou, O Lord our God, who didst create Adam and Eve! Blessed
be thou, O Lord our God, who causest Zion to rejoice in her children!
Blessed be thou, O Lord our God, who makest the bride and the bridegroom
to be glad together!” Then taking the right hand of his daughter, he
placed it in the right hand of Helon, and pronounced the benediction:
“The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob be with you,
and help you together, and give his blessing richly upon you! Jehovah
make the wife that comes into thy house like Rachel and like Leah, who
built up the house of Israel![144] May thy house be as the house of
Malchia, thy fathers’ father, and your sons be priests to minister
before Jehovah in his temple!”

-----

Footnote 144:

  Ruth, iv. 11, 12.

-----

Selumiel, while he pronounced this blessing, struggled with an emotion
which he was unwilling to betray; and Elisama stood near him, giving
freer vent to his feelings. The bride sobbed beneath her veil, and Helon
was melted into tears.

Kindred and friends now approached the married pair, and bestowed on
them their congratulations. The feast ended with the usual ceremonies.

On the following morning the nuptial festivities began afresh, and
lasted for seven days,[145] each distinguished by some new expression of
joy. Numerous presents were brought to the newly married pair by the
guests; and others given to them in return. The company exercised their
ingenuity in riddles and _maschals_; or a grave and learned rabbi would
discourse on the sanctity and duties of the marriage state, and the
honour and happiness of those who might thus be appointed to give birth
to the Messiah.

-----

Footnote 145:

  Judges, xiv. 17, 18; Tob. xi. 19.

-----

This protracted festival was at times wearisome to Sulamith and Helon,
who longed to begin their tranquil, solitary, and domestic life. In the
mean time, Helon was delighted to discover every day some new perfection
in Sulamith, some new resemblance to the maidens and mothers of Israel
in times past. Her domestic virtues assimilated her to Sara; her
poetical imagination to Miriam, the sister of Moses; her
disinterestedness and self-devotion to the daughter of Jephthah; and her
artless piety to Hannah, the mother of Samuel.



                              CHAPTER III.
                         THE AVENGER OF BLOOD.


It was determined that the young married pair should proceed with Myron,
immediately after the marriage, to Alexandria, to fetch Helon’s aged
mother from Egypt, in time to attend the feast of Tabernacles. Elisama
was to remain in the mean time at Jericho, least, as he observed, he
should bring on her the imputation of being a false prophetess. Alas! he
little knew what a melancholy accomplishment her prediction was about to
receive, and in his own person. The departure was delayed—neither
Sulamith nor Helon was impatient for it, and Myron was very willing to
remain. Helon found scarcely any thing left him to wish. All his
expectations of outward prosperity were fulfilled, and he flattered
himself that he was as near the summit of spiritual perfection as of
earthly bliss. The deep veneration which Sulamith expressed for his
purpose of becoming a Chasidean, regarding him as already being all that
he purposed to become, inspired him by degrees with a high opinion of
his own righteousness. His present happiness seemed to him a sign of the
favour of Jehovah. Accustomed to regard all calamity as a divine
judgment for sin, all prosperity as the reward of virtue, he considered
his present condition as a mark of the distinguished approbation of God.
His conscience seemed to join the league and promote his self-deception;
his tenderness for Sulamith, his readiness to make little sacrifices of
his wishes to hers, his gratitude and affection towards her parents and
his own benefactor Elisama, were magnified by him into a complete
obedience to the divine commands, into something more than mere
righteousness. As those are apt to do who have experienced hitherto
uninterrupted success, he began to think that every thing which he
undertook must be successful—that his mountain stood strong and should
never be moved. He never, alas, thought of inquiring how much youth and
good fortune, the sense of pleasure and pride of heart, had to do in the
construction of this showy edifice of self-righteousness.

Myron, during the first days of his residence at Jericho, found himself
in circumstances so different from what he had expected, that he held it
prudent to keep back as much as possible, and become better acquainted
with the scene and its personages, before he trusted himself to act upon
it. Hence during the festivities of the nuptials, he had been a quiet
and unobtrusive spectator, and had recommended himself to the Jewish
youths by the easy flexibility of his manners. He had particularly
attached himself to Selumiel, after the tumult of rejoicing had
subsided, and those who were left together had leisure to seek out the
persons who were most congenial to themselves. If he ever offended
Elisama, by some expression savouring of heathenism, which now and then
seemed to drop from him involuntarily, Selumiel took his part. He soon
discovered Selumiel’s partiality for the Essenes, and completely won his
heart by telling him, that the Tomuri of Dodona, the Orphici of Thrace,
the Curetes in Crete, were either degenerate branches of these Jewish
devotees, or had endeavoured to form a similar association of wisdom and
sobriety, but had remained at a much lower point in the scale of
perfection. Selumiel took him with him everywhere, even when he went in
the evening to the gates of the city, where the men of Jericho assembled
to pass the cool hours in conversation. Helon, of whom he stood most in
awe, happened to turn the discourse upon the superiority of Israel to
the worshippers of idols, and pointed out the absurdity of the worship
of the Egyptians and earlier Samaritans, among whom Apis was revered
under the form of a bull; Moloch of a mixed figure, partly man, partly
calf; Dagon was represented as having the lower part of a fish; Tartac,
as an ass; Nibbaz, as a dog. All expected to see Myron provoked by this
attack upon his religion; but to their great astonishment he not only
assented to all that Helon had said, but entertained the company, the
whole evening, with ludicrous tales of the adventures of the Grecian
gods. The grave Orientals were delighted with him, because his manners
were diametrically the reverse of their own. While they sat immoveable
in the position which they had once taken, he on his light and nimble
feet turned this way and that, alert to seize every opportunity of
mirth; ready to converse with those who were disposed for conversation,
or to talk alone when others were silent. Amused with his lively
sallies, they encouraged him to proceed from one freedom to another,
till he thought that every thing was allowed to him.

It chanced that a man passed by, loaded with a heavy burthen, and
hanging down his head like one conscious of ignominy. He had been
detected in frauds a few days before, and as a punishment his beard had
been cut off. The finger of scorn was pointed at him by the whole
assemblage, and the unfortunate man slunk hastily away. “How strange,”
said Myron, “that you should set so much value on a huge tuft of hair
upon your chins, that one who has been deprived of it dares not show
himself in your presence; and yet you seldom have taste enough to give
it an elegant form! Look for example at Elisama, who thinks so much of
his beard; what an unsightly encumbrance it is to him.” Encouraged by
the laughter which arose from the younger part of the assembly, he
approached Elisama, and plucked him by the beard; little aware that to
an Oriental, and especially a Jew, such an action was one of the
grossest outrages that could be committed—an attack upon the very
sanctuary of his personal dignity. Helon sprung to interpose—but it was
too late. Elisama arose, with glowing cheeks, and a look in which the
expression of the wildest rage grew every moment stronger. His limbs
trembled; his features were distorted, his hair stood on end, and his
breast heaved with a feverish gasp. “Accursed heathen!” he exclaimed in
fury, “accursed heathen!” he repeated, and drawing his sword, aimed a
blow at Myron. The offender, awakened to a consciousness of what he had
done, saw the weapon about to fall on him and evaded the stroke; a
citizen of Jericho, whom the tumult of the assembly had pushed forward,
received it, and fell mortally wounded at Elisama’s feet. In silent
horror all stood around, and looked by turns on the murderer, the
corpse, and the author of the mischief. The whole city hastened to the
spot; Myron escaped; and Selumiel, taking the unconscious Elisama by the
hand, led him home. Helon, preceding them, burst with a cry of horror
into the house, exclaiming, “Woe, woe—homicide—Elisama!” The women
hastened from their apartments, and knew not the cause of the confusion.
Selumiel entered with Elisama—one in eager haste, the other bewildered,
with fixed eye and open mouth. “Bring horses, bring camels, bring any
beast of burden,” exclaimed Selumiel. “Thou hast slain him, Elisama, and
must flee before the avenger of blood.” “Whither?” asked Helon. “To a
city of refuge—to Hebron in Judah—to Bezer in Reuben—to Ramoth Gilead
best of all.” At these words Elisama awoke from his trance. Tears flowed
from his aged eyes as he exclaimed, “Merciful God, must I in my old age
flee as a murderer, and die by the hands of the avenger?” His voice was
choked with sobs.

Two rapid dromedaries, ships of the desert, were brought. Helon
accompanied the unhappy man. It was already night, and they passed
unobserved out of Jericho. Without a salutation, or an adieu, they urged
their flight, in dread lest the avenger should be on their traces;
Elisama with his hair loose, his turban floating on the wind, and death
on his countenance.

It was one of the most terrific customs of the east, that the next of
kin of any one who had been slain, even unwittingly, was deemed infamous
if he did not avenge him, by putting to death the man who had killed
him. Moses, unable to eradicate this custom, had mitigated it by the
appointment of six cities of refuge, three on each side of the Jordan,
in which the unintentional homicide might be safe from the vengeance of
the _Göel_.[146] In these cities, and for a thousand yards around, he
could not be touched—if he ventured beyond these limits, before the
death of the high-priest, the Göel might lawfully kill him. The roads
and bridges leading to the city of refuge were to be kept in repair,
that the fugitive might not be impeded in his flight. The avenger was
called Göel, as being stained and impure, till he had acquitted himself
of his obligation. The son of the citizen of Jericho whom Elisama had
killed, had been fetched from the field, and had gone forth to avenge
his father; but he was too late: Elisama had already reached Ramoth
Gilead in safety.

-----

Footnote 146:

  Numb. xxxv.

-----

On the following morning a judicial investigation was held. The seven
judges took their places in an apartment at the gate, crouching on
carpets; beside them sat two Levites; Selumiel, who represented the
accused person, stood on the left; the avenger of blood, as the
complainant, on the right. Selumiel was clad in mourning and with
disordered hair. Behind him were the witnesses whom he had brought with
him; and who, before they delivered their testimony, took an oath, and
replied Amen, Amen, to the imprecations which the judges laid upon them,
if they should not speak the truth. They bore witness that Elisama had
harboured no malice against the deceased, and had not intended to smite
him, but had been provoked by the insult of a young heathen. The judges
did not immediately decide, but on the following morning a second
sitting was held, at which they pronounced that Elisama, of Alexandria,
had committed an involuntary homicide, and that the privilege of the
city of refuge was decreed to him. As he had already taken refuge in
Ramoth Gilead, a Levite was sent with a letter to the judges and elders
of that place, commending him to their protection.

Selumiel, who had remained behind to attend the judicial proceedings,
determined to go and see Elisama; and Sulamith could not be dissuaded
from accompanying him. Ramoth Gilead lay on the other side of Jordan, in
the country called in ancient times Gilead; a country not so fruitful as
this side, from its many mountains and sandy deserts, yet rich in
pasturage for cattle, and watered by two considerable streams, the Arnon
and the Jabbok; the former empties itself into the Dead Sea, and the
latter into the Jordan. The hills of Basan, Gilead, and Abarim,
extending from Antilibanus, send their branches through this country. It
was given on the conquest of Canaan to the tribes of Gad and Reuben and
the half tribe of Manasseh,[147] as their residence. Ramoth, situated on
the Jabbok, was the principal city, celebrated in history by the vow of
Jephthah,[148] and the battle between Ahab and Jehoshaphat and the
Syrians.[149]

-----

Footnote 147:

  Numb, xxxii.; Josh. i. 12.

Footnote 148:

  Judg. xi. 29.

Footnote 149:

  1 Kings xxii.

-----

On their arrival they learnt that Elisama was dangerously ill. The
agitation of mind and fatigue, attending on his flight, had overpowered
his feeble frame; he had been attacked by a fever, under which he was
hourly sinking. A Levite, who was the physician of Ramoth, and possessed
great knowledge of the human frame and the virtues of plants, had been
summoned. Strengthening baths had been employed, and the precious balm
of Gilead applied externally and internally. These were the two chief
remedies of the Hebrews.[150] But here they had lost their power;
Elisama fell into a deathlike slumber. When he was delirious, the image
of Myron seemed to be constantly before his eyes; and he upbraided him
with his ingratitude, and warned his son Helon to beware of him, as it
would not be the last of his misdeeds. On the following day his reason
returned for some hours, and he spoke calmly and clearly. It was the
last revival of the flame of life. He requested Helon to repeat to him
the prayer of Moses, the man of God. “Lord, thou hast been our refuge in
all generations,” Ps. xc. He heard it with great attention, and the
emotions of his heart were visible, at many passages, in his looks and
his clasped hands. He lay for a long time with closed eyes, but his lips
were in motion, and it was evident he was addressing himself to God,
probably in a penitential psalm; for once, when his voice grew stronger,
he was heard to say,

         My days pass away as a shadow,
         And I wither as grass;
         But thou, Jehovah, shalt endure for ever,
         And thy name remaineth from generation to generation;
         Thou wilt arise and have mercy on Zion.
         For the time is come that thou shouldest favour her,
         The appointed hour is come.

-----

Footnote 150:

  Jer. viii. 22; xlvi. 11.

-----

His voice again became faint, and it was after some interval that he was
heard to say—

                  He weakeneth my strength in the way,
                  He shorteneth my days.

And then with a firmer tone—

           The children of thy servants shall continue
           And their seed shall prosper before thee.—Ps. cii.

He turned with an expression of the deepest affection to Helon, and
said, “Greet thy mother from me—when the high-priest dies, carry my
bones to the valley of Jehoshaphat, and lay them beside thy
father’s—wait on the Lord, and thou shalt obtain”—his words became
inaudible. Helon held his cold hand, and bathed it with his tears; and
all who stood around his bed in mournful silence, thought him already
dead. But the dying eye opened once more,—gazed around on them all—then
fixed itself on heaven. His head sunk back in Sulamith’s arms. Twice the
mouth was distorted in the bitterness of pain—then once again. The body
became rigid—respiration ceased.

After a solemn pause, each reading in the countenance of the rest the
confirmation of his fears, all uttered at the same moment a piercing
shriek of grief. The men rent their upper garments, beat their breasts,
threw their turbans on the ground, strewed dust and ashes on their head,
put on sackcloth, covered their chins, and went barefoot. Helon was
hurried away, least, being a priest, he should contract pollution from
the dead body.[151] The eyes of the corpse were closed, and it was
carried into the Alijah by the nearest relatives. As it had been the
custom in Judæa, since the captivity, to bury very soon, the night was
passed in making preparations. The body was wrapped in a large sheet,
the head bound with a napkin, and then the whole from head to foot
swathed with a broad bandage, and each foot, each hand, each finger
separately. At midnight came the Levites with their musical instruments:
the female mourners began their office by lifting up their voices and
lamenting, strewing ashes on their heads and singing a dirge. On the
following morning the house was filled with neighbours and friends,
expressing their sympathy. Sulamith ran about weeping and wringing her
hands above her head. The men sat in another apartment upon the ground
and mourned in silence. Sulamith was conducted to the apartment of the
women, where she placed herself on a carpet in the middle, and the rest
of the females of the family sat round her. The hired mourners formed a
wide circle at a little distance. Each of the women held a handkerchief
in her hand by two of the corners. The mourners, who knew a variety of
funeral songs, began one which expressed the virtues and calamities of
the deceased. Sulamith gave them a sign and they ceased; and all the
females of the family began to weep along with her. They arose, twisted
their handkerchiefs together, and ran shrieking round the room, while
Sulamith, sitting motionless in the middle, wrung her hands and tore her
beautiful dark hair. When she ceased the mourners resumed their song,
till she again gave them a signal, and the relatives renewed their
lamentations. This lasted till towards evening, when the inhabitants
assembled at the door, and the corpse was carried to the grave. Those
who carried the bier proceeded with such hasty steps that they seemed
rather to run than walk—an usage which was said to bear this
meaning,—that death is the most terrible punishment of sin. Every one
who met the procession joined the mourners, and bore part in the cries
of the women.

-----

Footnote 151:

  Numb. xix. 14.

-----

Before the gate of the city, in a garden planted with trees, stood the
sepulchre of Elisama’s host, hewn out of the rock; and in this the
corpse was deposited; for burning was deemed dishonourable by the Jews,
and regarded with abhorrence. The bearers threw aloes, myrrh, and other
fragrant substances, upon the body, so as to cover it, and the sepulchre
was closed with a stone, which was annually whitened with lime. The
friends and relatives having remained standing awhile before the closed
sepulchre, bowed themselves thrice to the earth and prayed; then taking
up a sod threw it behind them, and said, “Remember, O man, that dust
thou art and to dust thou shalt return.” The procession returned with a
repetition of the funeral lamentations.

On reaching home they washed their hands, and the neighbours brought
them the bread of mourning. A beautiful and humane custom in Israel! No
victuals were prepared in the house which death had visited, but the
neighbours and friends came with delicate viands and invited the
mourners to partake of them, to recruit their strength and spirits. This
was called _the bread of mourning_; and the cup, which was handed round,
_the cup of consolation_. The mourning lasted seven days, during which
it was held indecorous to wash the garments, to bathe or anoint the
body, or to wear the sandals or the turban. Every day Sulamith went with
the women of the family to lament, at the tomb of the deceased, his true
affection and his calamitous fate. When the days of mourning were ended
suitable presents were made to the friendly host, and Helon, Sulamith,
and Selumiel returned from the Peraea over the Jordan to Jericho. The
bones of Elisama were to repose in the precincts of Ramoth Gilead till
the death of the high-priest, when they should be transferred to the
valley of Jehoshaphat, to rest there till the joyful morning of the
resurrection. He was at length at peace, after a life, to which, like
that of the patriarch Jacob, tranquillity had been a stranger. He had
died in the city of the daughter of Jephthah, a victim to his indulgence
of Helon’s wish to retain the friend of his youth; as she had been the
victim of her love to her country. The secret anticipation which had
always kept him at a distance from the heathen was now fulfilled; as
well as the prophecy of Helon’s mother, when she parted from them in
tears at Alexandria, and declared her apprehension that they would not
all return. “Oh! that such a righteous man should have died the death of
the sinner,” exclaimed Helon, in the bitterness of his grief, as he
stood beside the stream of the Jabbok. “Doth Jehovah then punish the
righteous as the sinner? O Elisama, Elisama, where shall I find light?”

“He has fulfilled his destiny,” said Selumiel. “Who may escape what fate
has ordained for him?”



                              CHAPTER IV.
                         THE WATER OF JEALOUSY.


Let him beware who thinks that he has attained the highest pinnacle of
temporal prosperity! The ball is in ceaseless vibration, and the moment
in which it reaches its greatest elevation is that in which its descent
must necessarily begin.

The death of Elisama had so disturbed the mind of Helon that Selumiel’s
wisdom and Sulamith’s affection could only for a moment yield him
consolation. Calamity had come like a flash of lightning, and revealed
to him the obscure recesses of his own character; but with what a
convulsive shock had this illumination entered, and how painful the
contemplation of the objects which it disclosed. The fabric of
self-righteousness, which for some months he had built up with so much
care, was overthrown; the vision which he had cherished was gone; what
would he not have given to have been able to arrest its flight?

The perverted state of his feelings showed itself most of all in his
fury against Myron. If his conscience ever remonstrated, he persuaded
himself that it was not Myron as an individual, but heathenism that he
abhorred. All those passages in the psalms and the prophets in which
Jehovah is implored to pour out his wrath upon the heathen, and is
declared to bring their counsels to nought, became his favourite theme
of meditation. By an incredible delusion he applied to his own personal
injury the denunciations of Jehovah’s wrath against apostasy from
himself. Even the love of Sulamith, who anxiously marked the state of
his mind, hardly availed to pacify and soften him.

In the mean time the joyous season of the vintage, and the gathering of
the olives and the fruit began. With shouts of joy they climbed the
lofty palms, of which the plain of Jericho was full, and gathered the
dates, which grew in large bunches of fifteen to twenty pounds in
weight. They were afterwards divided according to their different
degrees of ripeness; some were eaten fresh, others were pressed to
obtain from them the celebrated palm-wine. This was done amidst festive
shouts, and the praises of the tree were celebrated, of which every part
is applicable to some use of man. From the terebinths, some of which had
seen the lapse of centuries and were still vigorous and verdant, they
plucked the red and fragrant berries, or climbed the pistachio to bring
down its delicious nuts, or stored up the resin which spontaneously
exudes from both these trees. The figs and the pomegranates were
gathered, the balsam scraped from the weeping tree, or expressed from
its seeds. Later in the season the olive trees, some of which yielded a
thousand pounds of oil, were stripped of their yet unripe berries, which
were gently pressed that the virgin oil might run from them; or crushed
in the press that they might furnish oil for the necessary purposes of
food and anointing. Even the vintage was beginning here and there.

Sulamith was careful to accompany Helon to all these exhilarating
scenes; but it was long before the luxuriance of nature and the
happiness of man had any other effect upon him than to make him more
painfully conscious of his loss of inward peace; and the more he
scrutinized his own performance of the divine commands, the more was he
dissatisfied with himself.

One morning he was walking with Sulamith and Abisuab through a vineyard
and seeking the ripe bunches among the loaded trees. His mind was more
cheerful and more composed than it ever had been since the death of
Elisama. A slave of Selumiel’s came hastily to him and summoned him to
the house, saying, that a messenger from Gaza had arrived with letters
that required a speedy answer. He had brought letters from Myron
addressed to Selumiel and to Helon.

On the unfortunate evening when the homicide of Elisama had occurred,
Myron had hastily taken the road to Gaza, designing as speedily as
possible to return to Alexandria. With all his levity he joined a great
deal of good-nature, and when he reflected on his conduct, his
conscience found much to reproach him. He was compelled to wait at Gaza
for an opportunity of conveyance to Egypt, and during his stay the news
of what had happened in Jericho, soon followed by that of Elisama’s
death, was made public there, and excited a very general feeling against
him, both among Jews and heathens. The first effect was to make him wish
for a speedy departure—but then again the thought of his conduct towards
the friend of his youth smote him to the heart, and he could not go,
till he had sought his forgiveness. Thus he allowed several
opportunities of making the journey in company to pass by, and yet he
could not summon courage to go to Jericho. At length he resolved on the
following plan. He came to a place in the neighbourhood of that city,
and thence dispatched a messenger to Selumiel, to whom he testified his
sincere sorrow for what he had done, and earnestly requested his good
offices in reconciling him to Helon. To him also he wrote a letter,
which he entreated Selumiel to deliver to him.

Selumiel was much affected on reading the letter; he sent for Helon and
gave him that which was destined for him. It was with difficulty that he
could be prevailed on to receive it. Myron reminded him of their
youthful friendship, and earnestly supplicated for an interview.

“That,” said Selumiel, “would be an act of heroism well worthy of an
Israelite.”

“The heathens are threatened with Jehovah’s curse,” said Helon, “and we
reap nothing but misery from their friendship. I will not see him.”

“Did not Solomon pray even for the heathens,”[152] said Selumiel; “and
will not the Messiah be the light of the heathens? Thou must not be
implacable, if thou wishest to fulfil the law of the fathers. Was not
Joseph reconciled to his brethren? did not David show mercy to Saul his
enemy? did not Jehovah himself on Sinai command, ‘If thou seest the ox
or the ass of thine enemy going astray thou shalt lead him back;’ and is
not a heathen of more estimation than an ox or an ass?”

-----

Footnote 152:

  1 Kings viii. 41.

-----

“Forgive Myron,” said Sulamith, fondly laying her head on his bosom,
“forgive him, priest of Jehovah! Leave vengeance to him who hath
declared that he will repay; and think what joy thou wouldest feel, if
through thy means he became a proselyte of the gate.”

Helon’s former spirit revived, and he resolved that he would perform the
heroic act to which he was called. The messenger was sent back to Myron,
with permission to him to return. He soon made his appearance; for he
had wandered near the confines of the city while uncertain of the issue
of his embassy. He fell before the feet of his injured friend, clasped
his knees, and supplicated forgiveness, with all the force of Grecian
eloquence, and the emotion of sincere penitence and sorrow. Their
reconciliation was soon accomplished. Sulamith had the delight of seeing
her husband restored to the same peace and joy as in the first happy
days of their union.

Myron was received again into the house, and, in the freedom of their
renewed confidence, Helon informed him how much he was indebted for his
return to the good offices of Sulamith. Myron, as the remembrance of the
mischief which he had done began to be obliterated from his volatile
mind, resumed his gaiety, and with it the hasty thoughtlessness which
was his characteristic.

Helon had gone one day to the gate of the city alone; for Myron had
never since his return accompanied him thither. It suddenly occurred to
him that he had never duly expressed his gratitude to Sulamith, for her
mediation in his favour, and he went straightway to the Armon, in the
warmth of his feeling, without reflecting on what he was doing.

The citizens of Jericho, who sat in the gate, saw in the mean time that
red mist gathering in the north-west, which is the usual prognostic of
the approach of the pernicious wind of the east. This wind is felt in
all its pestilential fury in the desert, where it sweeps over the
surface, often to the height of a foot, destroying every thing which it
encounters. It is there called the simoom. In Palestine its effects are
not destructive to life, but in the highest degree oppressive and
disagreeable. All the citizens of Jericho arose hastily from the gate,
and hastened to their homes.

Helon, on his arrival at his home, went immediately to the Armon, to
warn Sulamith of the approach of the simoom. At the door he met Myron,
whose visit Sulamith had not received, but had warned him instantly to
withdraw, if he would not bring ruin on himself and her.

Helon started with surprise and horror when he saw Myron in his Armon,
which no foot of male, save his own, had ever trodden before. Wild
jealousy and furious anger took possession of his mind, and agitated his
whole frame. “Vile heathen,” he exclaimed, in a voice of thunder, “is
this thy return for my hospitality and friendship? Was it not enough
that thou didst murder Elisama?”

Myron’s protestations of his innocence were unheard or unheeded in the
whirlwind of Helon’s rage. His cries soon brought together the slaves of
the house. Seizing Myron by the arm, he fiercely thrust him towards
them, and they, laying hold of him, drove him with blows and curses from
the house. Sulamith had hastened from the Armon, and endeavoured to calm
her husband; but at the sight of her his fury burst forth more violently
than ever, and thrusting her back into the Armon, he ran like one
frantic through the streets of Jericho to find Selumiel, to whom he
related what had happened. They returned together, Selumiel’s
indignation scarcely less fierce than his own. Selumiel on entering went
immediately to his daughter, and laying hold of her exclaimed, “Monster!
am I then the father of an adulteress? Didst thou learn from thy mother
or from me to break thy marriage vow with a godless heathen?” She had
been sitting sobbing and in tears, her face hidden in the veil with
which she had wrapped her head. At these words, however, uncovering
herself and looking up at her father, she said with a firm voice, “I am
innocent!”

Helon and Selumiel were yet more provoked by this assurance. “If thou
art innocent,” said Selumiel, “thou shalt drink the water of jealousy. I
will know that my daughter is pure, or if not, may all that the law has
denounced against the adulteress light upon thee!” With these words he
went forth to call the elders together, and Helon shut himself up in the
Alijah. All the happiness of his life was fled; he wept, he complained,
he inveighed against the heathens, against Sulamith, against himself. In
the agony of his grief he threw himself on the ground, rent his clothes,
and tore his hair. Then again he sat in fixed and moping silence, or
opened his lips only to recite passages of Scripture, which describe the
harlot and the adulteress. “Yes,” he exclaimed, “the Essenes are right,
it is because they know the inconstancy of women that they have excluded
them from their society. Unhappy Israel, what shall become of thee, when
thy matrons are corrupt and thy wives give themselves up to folly! No
wonder that the once holy people is fallen even below the heathens
themselves.”

A moment after, reflecting on what he had said aloud, he started with
terror as from a frightful dream. “Can that be Sulamith?” he said with a
sigh. The image of his wife, in all her gentleness and loveliness, stood
before his mind, and softened, he exclaimed, “It is impossible.” Had
Sulamith at that moment spoken but a word to him, he would have forgiven
her all. He even quitted the Alijah to go to her: but when he looked
down on the door of the Armon, and the thought flashed on him that
through it the man had passed by whom he had been dishonoured, every
returning thought of love and compassion was banished from his mind.

The inferior court, which was held on the spot where the offence was
alleged to have been committed, assembled in this instance on the
following morning at the gate of the city; Selumiel, appearing as
accuser of his own daughter, stood on the right of the judges, and
Sulamith on their left. The whole gate was filled with citizens of
Jericho, among whom the news of this affair had rapidly spread, and
excited universal curiosity.

Sulamith felt, at her first entrance, overpowered by the solemnity of
this venerable assemblage, of which she had heard so much, but which she
had never seen; that feeling having subsided, she regained her
self-possession. Helon stood with a bewildered countenance, not
venturing to look at his wife, or he must have read her vindication in
her countenance, in which the pride of conscious innocence struggled
with the feeling of ignominious exposure, and in her bright eyes now red
with weeping, but untroubled by any expression of guilt or fear.

The father related what had happened, and Helon confirmed his statement.
The judges turned to Sulamith, and asked her if she acknowledged the
truth of what was alleged against her. “I call Jehovah to witness,” she
replied with lofty tranquillity of manner, “that I am innocent, and will
take the oath of purgation.” “Be it unto thee,” said the elder, “as thou
hast desired.” Two assessors were selected to accompany her to the
Sanhedrim, before whom alone the oath could be taken, to protect her on
the way from the fury of the men, and to lay the whole affair before the
supreme council.

They departed from Jericho immediately. The whole city was assembled,
men, women, and children. Sulamith’s mother stood among the crowd
wringing her hands. Most of the females sympathized with their suffering
sister; but the whispers of malice and the taunts of malignant joy were
also heard.

Helon followed them at a distance, by the same road by which at
Pentecost he had gone up to Jerusalem an affianced bridegroom, full of
joy and hope. Then the desert had seemed to be converted into a
paradise. How was his condition changed! Elisama was dead, the land of
promise had proved a land of chastisement to him; his enthusiasm for the
sacerdotal office was dead within him; his wife went before him as an
adulteress. With what regret did he look towards the distant Oasis of
the Essenes, and long to bury himself in it, without a wife, without the
priesthood, a stranger in the land of promise, solitary and single among
the people of Israel!

They arrived in the evening at Jerusalem. Iddo was sitting in the gate,
but when he saw them, and discovered the purpose for which they were
come, he fled with averted head, and hands stretched out as if to repel
some threatening evil. They ascended the temple-hill; all who met them
were astonished to see her, who at the feast had been the object of
universal admiration, brought up as a transgressor. She was confined for
the night in a chamber of the temple; and Helon and Selumiel passed it
in dejection and gloom in the house of Iddo.

The morning, the fearful morning came! After the usual sacrifice, the
Sanhedrim assembled in the hall Gazith. All its seventy-one members were
present, the high-priest, the elders, and the Levites sitting in a
semicircle. Sulamith was led through the multitude that filled the
courts, and placed before the tribunal. The assessors of the court of
Jericho then laid the matter before the Sanhedrim, and Selumiel and
Helon confirmed their statement. The father and husband were commanded
to withdraw, and Sulamith, in her mourning garments, remained standing
alone, in the midst of the judges.

They addressed her at first in a friendly tone, and endeavoured to bring
her to confession, alleging grounds of excuse from her youth and her
husband’s own culpability. “Daughter,” said one of the Sanhedrim,
“glorify the great name of God, and do not allow that this sacred name
should be washed with water and blotted out.” At other times they
assumed an angry tone, blamed her silence, which they interpreted as an
evidence of guilt, and bade her beware that she did not by her obstinacy
plunge herself into an untimely death. Sulamith adhered to her denial,
and, as they often urged her to confession, replied, “I am innocent and
falsely accused. Put me to what test ye will, but ask of me no other
confession than this, that I am innocent.”

The Sanhedrim, convinced by her noble firmness, ceased to importune her,
and decreed that she should drink the water of jealousy, and take the
oath of purgation. “Daughter,” said one of them, “if thou art innocent,
put thy trust in Jehovah and drink boldly. It is with the bitter water
as with poison, which laid upon a wounded part produces death, but has
no effect when the flesh is sound.”

She was led from the hall Gazith to the gate of Nicanor, not however by
the direct road, but by a long circuit, that she might still have time
to reflect and to confess. The crowd formed a lane through which she had
to pass, not only exposed to their gaze, but plucked scornfully by the
arms, enduring their taunts and blows. Only here and there some one of
more generous disposition, struck with her free and noble carriage,
exclaimed, “The water of jealousy cannot injure thee; thou mayest drink
it without fear.” At length they reached the gate of Nicanor, opposite
to the sanctuary, and the priest, who had been appointed for the
purpose, began the appalling ceremonies of the oath of purgation. Laying
hold of her garments, he rent them from the top of the neck to the
breast with expressions of horror, tore the veil from her head, and
threw her turban on the ground. He dishevelled her braided hair and let
it float upon the wind, and then turning his face from her, said, “Thou
hast forsaken the manner of the daughters of Israel who cover their
heads, and hast followed the manners of the heathens who go with their
heads uncovered.”

The men spat on the ground before her: the women uttered cries of
abhorrence, and a deep murmur of Woe! woe! ran from rank to rank among
the people, which even the unconcerned spectator could not hear without
shuddering. Helon stood with averted head, and stupified with horror.
Selumiel wept aloud.

The priest threw all the rest of Sulamith’s ornaments, her necklace,
ear-rings, and bracelets, to the ground, and girded her rent garments
over her bosom with a strip of bark. The more ignominious the outrages
to which she was subject, the more striking appeared the contrast of her
dignified air and demeanour. The husband was compelled to reach to the
priest the offering of jealousy, consisting of a tenth part of an epha
of meal, in a basket of osier. The meal was of barley, the meanest
grain, neither oil nor incense was mingled with it. Helon could not bear
to look, but reached it to the priest with averted head, least his eyes
should encounter those of Sulamith.

The priest took an earthen vessel that had never been used, filled it
with water from the laver beside the altar of burnt-offering, and
carrying it into the holy place put into it some of the dust of the
floor. When he returned, he exhorted her once more to reflect what she
was about to do, and if she were guilty not to drink, but to confess her
sin. The accused replied distinctly and firmly, “I am innocent.” Again
the deep murmur of Woe! woe! spread along the shuddering multitude, who
thronged the temple courts.

The priest then with an elevated and solemn voice said, “If thou art
innocent, and hast not gone aside to uncleanness with another, instead
of thy husband, be thou free from the curse of this bitter water, and
let it not harm thee. But if thou hast gone aside to another and hast
been defiled, then may Jehovah make thee a curse among thy people, and
bring on thee all the curses which are written in his law.”[153]

-----

Footnote 153:

  Numb. v. 19.

-----

Sulamith thus adjured, answered firmly, supported by the power of God,
Amen, Amen. And the murmur of Woe! woe! rolled deeper and more awfully
along the ranks of men and women.

The priest now wrote the curses on a roll. Helon took the barley meal
from the basket, placed it in a sacred vessel, and gave it into his
wife’s hands. Her look met his and pierced him to the heart, and roused
from the stupor in which he had been sunk during the preceding part of
the ceremonial, he made his way through the people, and rushed down from
the temple-hill. A pause of a few moments ensued, and then the priest,
laying his hand under the hand of Sulamith, waved the offering of
jealousy in the customary form before Jehovah, then took it from her,
carried it to the altar of burnt-offering, and, ascending it, mixed the
meal with salt, and burnt it in the fire. He then descended again to the
gate of Nicanor, took the roll, and washed the writing with the water in
which the dust of the sanctuary had been mixed. The assembled crowd
stood in deep and breathless attention. The priest reached to Sulamith
the vessel which contained the water of cursing: she took it, lifted her
eyes towards the holy of holies, and drank it off. There was a stillness
as of death amongst all who stood around, as if they were conscious of
the presence of Jehovah, to clear the innocent or punish the guilty.

Sulamith stood in the midst of the people, firm, and with her looks
fixed on the holy of holies; all eyes were directed towards her, and
watched what would be the effect of the draught. But when they saw that
she was unharmed by it, and that God had justified her from the
accusations of her enemies, they burst into a cry of joy, and Hallelujah
resounded from the temple to the city. Selumiel rushed to his daughter,
and folded her in his paternal arms. With shouts of triumph and
exclamations, “Blessed be Jehovah, she is innocent!” they accompanied
her into the inner court of the temple, where the priest formally
pronounced her acquittal. Thronging around her, all offered her their
congratulations. Her hair was braided anew, her turban, her veil, her
jewels were restored to her, and the dark garments of mourning exchanged
for festal attire. Sulamith descended from the temple with modest and
downcast looks. Iddo, who had heard the shouts of joy and had rightly
interpreted them, opened his gates and received her. The people who had
accompanied her remained long assembled on the open place before the
Water-gate.

But where is Helon? When he had fled from the temple, overpowered by the
look of Sulamith, he wandered about, shunned as one frantic by all who
observed him, and unconscious whither he was going, till his feet
carried him to the grave of his father in the valley of Jehoshaphat,
where, exhausted by fatigue and strong excitement, he fell before the
sepulchre and remained long insensible. Longer might he have remained,
but that he was roused from his stupor by voices which cried, He is
here, he is here! He opened his eyes and saw Iddo, who had come out with
several others to seek him. Iddo embraced him, repeating to him, She
lives, she is guiltless! while Helon, like one awakening from a dream,
scarcely understood the meaning or the reference of the words. When
fully restored to the consciousness of what had passed, joy, remorse,
and shame rushed in such a torrent upon his mind, that he would have
fallen again to the earth if they had not supported him. In this state
they led him home.



                               CHAPTER V.
                         THE DAY OF ATONEMENT.


Sulamith was waiting for her husband at the door, surrounded by her
friends. As he entered she threw herself at his feet, and implored his
forgiveness for the uneasiness which she had caused him. He raised her
up, and then throwing himself on his face before her, implored her
forgiveness with a look which penetrated her soul. To ask pardon in
words was beyond his power. The friends conducted them to the inner
court. Sulamith placed herself beside Helon, and endeavoured to
tranquillize him, but he sat with eyes fixed upon the ground. He could
scarcely even rejoice in the acquittal of his wife, so bitter was the
remembrance that it was by him she had been unjustly accused. For the
first time in his life he despised himself. It was in vain that Iddo
advised him to efface the remembrance of what was past, and enjoy the
present good; there was too much of Sadducean levity in this exhortation
to pass instantaneously from sorrow to joy, to suit a mind so deeply
agitated as Helon’s. Equally unavailing was the advice of Selumiel, to
regard it all as the result of inevitable destiny, and to resign himself
to it as the will of Jehovah. To reach the sublimity of this Essene
philosophy required a more buoyant spirit than his, who was so oppressed
by the sense of his own unworthy conduct.

Thus the day passed on. At evening the feast of the commencement of the
civil year was announced by the sound of trumpets. It was the new moon
of the seventh month, or Tisri, and was called the feast of Trumpets,
because from morning to evening trumpets of rams’ horns were blown in
the temple, according to the command of Moses.[154] “In the seventh
month, on the first day of the month, ye shall have a Sabbath, a
memorial of blowing of trumpets.” Helon resolved to pass this day and
the succeeding eight days of penitence, before the great day of
Atonement, which fell on the tenth of the month Tisri, with the old man
in the temple. While he remained with Sulamith, he was so painfully
reminded of the injury which he had done her, that he could have no hope
of consolation or tranquillity.

-----

Footnote 154:

  Lev. xxiii. 23.

-----

As soon as the gates were opened he went up to the temple, and as he
crossed the court of the Gentiles, the old man was coming from his
chamber. He went up to him and bade him welcome. “I purpose,” said
Helon, “to spend the next ten days in the courts of Jehovah and to
present a sin-offering.” “Come then to my chamber,” said the old man,
“and remain there.” He returned thither, and Helon followed him.
“Elisama,” said Helon, “is dead at Ramoth Gilead, whither he had fled
from the avenger of blood.”

“I know it,” replied the old man.

“I have accused my wife unjustly, and made her unhappy.” “I was present
yesterday, and saw how nobly she vindicated her innocence by the water
of jealousy,” the old man replied.

“Alas, I am no Chasidean,” said Helon mournfully, “and never shall be
one!” “It is true,” said the old man; “but you should be more than a
Chasidean.”

“All on earth is vanity and deception—happiness, hope, and love—all is
deception,” exclaimed the youth. “And the greatest deception of all is
that which as yet thou dost not suspect,” rejoined the old man. “Remain
here till thou art purified. I go to the sacrifice, for this day shall
no work be done, but offerings be offered to the Lord.”[155]

-----

Footnote 155:

  Lev. xxiii. 25.

-----

Helon remained in the old man’s chamber. As every festival was first
consecrated generally by the customary sacrifice, afterwards specially
by its own, the morning-sacrifice was first presented. Next came the
sacrifice of the new moon, two young bullocks, a ram, seven lambs of the
first year as a burnt-offering, with their appropriate meat and drink
offering, and a young goat as a sin-offering. Last of all the special
offering of the seventh new moon was sacrificed, a young bullock, a ram,
and seven lambs of the first year, with meal and wine, and a goat as a
sin-offering.[156] The law was afterwards read and explained in the
synagogue.

-----

Footnote 156:

  Numb. xxix. 1-3.

-----

Helon heard in his cell the blowing of the trumpets and the song of the
people; and in his solitude repeated after them the eighty-first psalm
which they were singing:

    Sing aloud unto God, our strength,
    Make a joyful noise unto the God of Jacob!
    Take psalms, strike the timbrel,
    The pleasant harp with the psaltery.
    Blow the trumpet in the new moon,
    On the solemn day of our feast:
    For this is a custom in Israel,
    A law of the God of Jacob,
    Which he ordained for a testimony in Joseph
    When he came out of the land of Egypt,
    Where I heard the voice of the unknown:
    I took the burden from his shoulder,
    His hands were delivered from the basket.
    Thou calledst in trouble and I delivered thee;
    I answered thee in the thunder cloud,
    I proved thee at the water of Meribah.
    Hear, O my people, I testify unto thee,
    O Israel, would that thou listenedst to me!
    Be there no strange god among thee,
    Worship not any strange god!
    I, Jehovah, am thy God,
    Who brought thee out of the land of Egypt:
    Open thy mouth and I will fill it.
    But my people would not hearken to my voice,
    Israel would not follow me.
    So I gave them up to their own desire
    And they walked according to their own counsels.
    O that my people would hear me
    And Israel walk in my ways!
    I would soon subdue their enemies
    And turn my hand against their oppressors.
    They that hate Jehovah should have submitted themselves to him,
    And their prosperity should have endured for ever;
    I would have fed them with the finest of the wheat,
    I would have satisfied them with honey from the rock.

After the evening-sacrifice the old man questioned him respecting the
state of his mind. Helon laid open his whole heart to him with filial
simplicity and unreservedness, and as he spoke he could have fancied
that Elisama, returned to life, was sitting before him. “Once only in my
life,” said he, “have I been happy, when I quitted Egypt and entered the
promised land, and kept the Passover in the temple of Jehovah. I was
then happy in sanguine anticipation. But I soon discovered imperfections
where I had thought every thing faultless; I found the truth, the
melancholy truth of the account which thou hadst given me of the
priests. I thought to find a sanctuary of pure happiness and virtue in
my own house. Jehovah bestowed on me a virtuous wife, but I proved
myself unworthy of her. Elisama died under the imputation of homicide,
and we all were guilty of injustice towards the excellent Sulamith. Thou
art right; Israel is a disobedient, sinful people. I condemn others
freely, because I include myself in the same condemnation. Jehovah has
given us his law, and the only fruit of it is that we are more criminal
than the heathen who live without a law. O that I had lived in Solomon’s
or David’s days! In our present condition it cannot be fulfilled. What
God has enabled thee to do is a miracle, as all the people regard it.”

The old man heard him calmly as he uttered all this and much more, and
then in a grave and serious tone began. “Thou talkest like a young man,
hastily and ignorantly, and in all that thou hast said scarcely any
thing is true, except the sinfulness of Israel. We are disobedient, as
thou hast described us, thou and I, and the whole people; in the days of
Solomon and David it was no better; and hadst thou lived in those times
thou wouldst have been as far as thou art now from the fulfilment of the
law. The law was given us to convince us of our sins, not to serve as
the basis on which our pride might build its towering edifice. When it
has convinced us of our sin, it awakens also our longing for help and
consolation. It is the lot, or rather the privilege, of Israel, that it
alone has the consciousness of sins, and the hope of a certain atonement
for them. If both are united in thee, if thou mournest truly for thy
sins, and truly desirest reconciliation, do what thou hast purposed and
offer thy sin-offering: afterwards we will discourse further.”

Helon purchased a goat for a sin-offering; this was the victim which a
ruler and a priest was to present; the high-priest, on the other hand, a
bullock; and a common Israelite, a sheep.[157] He carried it through the
gate on the northern side of the altar of burnt-offering; standing
behind it he laid his hands on the head of the animal between the horns,
and said, confessing his sins, “O Jehovah, I have transgressed against
thee! forgive my transgression and my sin which I have committed.” Then
he slew the goat: a priest received the blood in a basin and carried it
to the altar of burnt-offering, dipped his finger in it, and touched the
four horns of the altar, letting a few drops trickle down each of them.
He then ascended it, and poured the remainder of the blood down the
pipe. Helon took off the skin of the victim and taking the internal fat
gave it to the priest, who waved it with the liver and the kidnies
between the altar and the temple, salted it, and burnt it on the altar.
The rest of the flesh belonged to the officiating priest. Helon had
offered this sacrifice, in expectation that his conscience would be
tranquillized by it; but he did not experience the result which he had
promised himself. He found himself as full of sorrow and fear after the
offering as before. He complained to the old man, that he had desired to
walk in the way of the Lord, and had offered a sacrifice in pursuance of
it, but found no blessing follow it.

-----

Footnote 157:

  Lev. iv.

-----

“Has not David said,” replied the old man, “even he who so delighted in
the service of the sanctuary,”

 Thou desirest not sacrifice, else would I give it,
 Thou delightest not in burnt-offering.
 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,
 A broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.—Ps. li. 16.

“I would,” said Helon, “that my whole heart belonged to Jehovah, then
should I have peace and joy. But how may I attain this state?”

“Tell me,” said the old man, “when, as priest, would you declare the
leper cleansed from his leprosy?”

“When no spot of leprosy remains in him from head to foot,” said Helon,
“but all is sound, as far as the priest can see.” “So judge then of the
sinfulness of your whole state, from a single sin. Read the penitential
psalms, and tell me what you find in them most applicable to your own
condition.” Helon obeyed his injunctions, but for several days the old
man came and went without noticing him. One evening, however, when he
returned from the sacrifice, and was about to withdraw again, Helon
earnestly entreated him to stay. “I have found,” said he, “the words
which too truly describe my own condition,

       There is no soundness in my flesh because of thine anger,
       Nor any health in my bones because of my sins;
       For mine iniquities rise above my head;
       They weigh me down as a heavy burden.—Ps. xxxviii. 3, 4.

“What a new light has opened upon me from these words! in what a
condition do I now appear to myself! How did I deceive myself when I
supposed that, a learner as I was, I had already attained the rank of a
Chasidean! What miserable self-deception was I practising, when I
professed to renounce those things to which my heart so strongly clung!
What contemptible pride, to imagine that I could reach the summit of
perfection by ascending, step by step, from the fulfilment of one
commandment to that of another! And when one frail support of my
self-conceit gave way, how eagerly did I catch at another, to prop
myself up. I must confess with Cain ‘My sin is too great to be
forgiven,’ and I tremble at the words of the children of Korah, ‘No man
can by any means redeem his brother nor give to God a ransom for
him.’[158] I am under the curse pronounced from Sinai, 'Cursed be he
that fulfils not all the words of this law to do them.'” “Praised be
Jehovah,” said the old man, “that thou hast at length discerned one part
of the eternal truth; the other will not be withheld from thee in due
season. Israel is a people mourning for sin, but also hoping for
forgiveness. If our sins separate between God and us, we have the more
need of a mediator. The Messiah comes who shall also remove our
sins.[159] Say not therefore ‘My sins are too great to be forgiven.’
Thou knowest that the mercy of Jehovah is like his nature, infinite.
Pray then for faith, and even now thy offering on his altar shall
reconcile thee, by virtue of the future sacrifice of the Messiah. Thou
hast partaken of the sin of thy people, partake also with them in the
atonement which is to be made on the morrow.”

-----

Footnote 158:

  Ps. xlix. 7.

Footnote 159:

  Dan. ix. 24.

-----

On the following day Helon was early in the temple. The high-priest had
been already seven days there, preparing himself for the great solemnity
of atonement on the tenth day of Tisri, and along with him his
substitute, who was to fill his place, if any accidental impurity should
disqualify the high-priest. The solemnity began in the evening. It was
the greatest fast in the year, lasting twenty-four hours, from evening
to evening. The people assembled in the temple as soon as it was light.
The high-priest had watched all night and had bathed himself in the
morning. He was on this occasion the representative of the whole people
before Jehovah, and performed those services at the altar which were
usually the office of the priests. He offered the morning-sacrifice and
the meat-offering for himself as high-priest. Having again bathed
himself, he put on his under robe of byssus, his drawers, his upper
garments, and his girdle and turban. Once more he washed his hands and
feet, and then offered a bullock for a sin-offering for himself and his
house, and a goat for the sins of the people, at the door of the
sanctuary.

He laid his hand behind on the head of the bullock, and said, “O
Jehovah, I have sinned against thee, both I and my house! Forgive my
sins wherewith I have sinned against thee, I and my house, as it is
written, 'On this day is your atonement made, to cleanse you, that ye
may be clean from all your sins before Jehovah.'”[160] Thrice he uttered
the name of Jehovah in this confession, and thrice all the priests, the
Levites, and the whole people, fell on their faces and said, “Praised be
the holy name of his kingdom for ever and ever!”

-----

Footnote 160:

  Lev. xvi. 30.

-----

From the bullock he went to the two goats on the north side of the
altar, and placing himself between them, shook a box in which were two
small tablets, one inscribed “For Jehovah,” the other “For Azazel.” He
drew a lot for each, and placed it on the head of the goat for which he
had drawn. When he drew that which was for Jehovah, he said aloud “For
Jehovah;” and all the priests, the Levites, and the people, fell upon
their faces to the earth. The goat Azazel was then taken to the gate of
Nicanor. The high-priest returned to the bullock, made a new confession
over it for the sins of himself and his house, and the sons of Aaron,
then slew it, and another priest received the blood in a basin. The
high-priest took coals from the altar of burnt-offering, and laying
incense upon it, went through the holy into the most holy place, to burn
incense before Jehovah. He returned into the court, keeping his face
towards the holy of holies, and then taking the blood, carried it as he
had done the incense, and dipping his finger in it, sprinkled it once in
the air, and seven times on the ground towards the place where in the
former temple the ark of the covenant had stood.

When he returned into the court the goat for Jehovah was brought to him.
He slew it, carried the blood into the holy of holies for the sins of
himself, his house, and the sons of Aaron, as well as of the whole
people, and sprinkled it as before. Retiring from the most holy into the
holy place, he sprinkled the veil which was between them seven times;
first with the blood of the bullock, and then with that of the goat.
Then mingling their blood, he dipped his finger in it and let a few
drops trickle down the horns of the altar of incense. He cleared the
altar from ashes, and sprinkled the place seven times with blood. The
remainder of the blood he poured out at the bottom of the altar of
burnt-offering. The high-priest went next to the goat Azazel, laid his
hands upon his head, and confessed over him the sins of the people, as
he had before confessed those of himself and his house. As often as the
name of Jehovah recurred, the people fell on their faces and said,
“Praised be the holy name of his kingdom for ever and ever!” The goat
was then carried by an Israelite into the wilderness of Zuk, twelve
thousand paces from Jerusalem, and full of rocks: from the summit of one
of these he hurled the goat down that he might bear the sins of the
people into the desert.

The high-priest then took the skin and inward parts of the goat which
was for Jehovah, with the rest of the body, and sent it to be burnt
outside the city. The men who performed this office, as well as he who
carried the scape-goat to the wilderness, were unclean the rest of the
day.

These ceremonies made a deep impression upon Helon. He followed the
high-priest into the court of the Women, where he read the following
portion of the law. “And Jehovah spake unto Moses, saying, On the tenth
day of this seventh month shall be the day of atonement: it shall be a
holy convocation unto you and ye shall afflict yourselves and offer an
offering made by fire unto Jehovah. And ye shall do no work on that day:
for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before
Jehovah your God. For whosoever shall not afflict himself on that day
shall be cut off from among his people; and whosoever doeth any work on
that day him will I destroy from among his people. Ye shall do no manner
of work: it shall be unto you a statute for ever, in all your dwellings.
It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls;
on the ninth day of the month, from even unto even shall ye celebrate
your sabbath.”[161] The high-priest bathed himself, laid aside his
garments of byssus, and put on his pontifical array, his meil, his
ephod, his breastplate, and his turban with the name of Jehovah. In
these garments he approached the altar and offered a ram as a
burnt-offering for himself, and another for the people; with seven lambs
of the first year, and the fat of the sin-offering for himself and the
people. The people remained fasting in the temple; the hearing the law
was the principal occupation between the sacrifices. The fast continued
from evening to evening.

-----

Footnote 161:

  Lev. xxiii. 26.

-----

When evening came the high-priest offered, before the usual sacrifice, a
bullock for a burnt-offering and a goat for a sin-offering. After the
evening-sacrifice he bathed himself, washed his hands and feet, changed
his pontifical robes for his garments of byssus, went again into the
holy of holies and brought out the censer. This was the fourth time that
he entered it on this day, the only day in the year when he appeared
before the ark of the covenant. Having bathed again and put on his
pontifical array, he burnt incense in the holy place and lighted the
lamps, concluding by giving his benediction to the people, who
prostrated themselves while they received it. Helon had felt during the
solemnities of this day the weight removed from his mind which had so
long pressed upon it. He prayed in the words of the Psalmist:

 Blessed is the man whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is
    covered.

 Blessed is the man unto whom Jehovah imputeth not iniquity,
 And in whose spirit there is no guile.
 When I kept silence my bones waxed old
 Through my groaning all the day long.
 For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me;
 My moisture was turned into the drought of summer,
 Yet I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and my iniquity I did not conceal.
 I said, I confess my transgressions unto Jehovah;
 Thou forgavest the burthen of my sin.
 For this let every one that is godly pray unto thee
 While mercy may yet be found;
 The floods of mighty waters shall not come nigh unto him.
 Thou art my hiding-place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble;
 Thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance.
 Many sorrows shall be to the wicked:
 But he that trusteth in Jehovah shall be surrounded with mercy.
 Be glad in Jehovah, and rejoice, ye righteous;
 And shout for joy, all ye upright in heart.—Ps. xxxii.

His peace and joy increasing, as he poured out his soul in prayer before
the Lord, he continued;

 Bless Jehovah, O my soul;
 And all that is within me, bless his holy name!
 Bless Jehovah, O my soul,
 And forget not all his benefits;
 Who forgiveth all thine iniquities,
 Who healeth all thy diseases,

 Who redeemeth thy life from destruction,
 Who crowneth thee with loving-kindness and tender mercy,
 Who satisfieth thy desire with good things,
 So that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
 Jehovah executeth righteousness
 And judgment for those that are oppressed.
 He made known his ways unto Moses,
 His acts unto the children of Israel.
 Jehovah is merciful and gracious,
 Long suffering and plenteous in mercy.
 He will not always call to judgment,
 Nor keep his anger for ever.
 He dealeth not with us according to our sins,
 Nor rewardeth us according to our iniquities.
 For as the heavens are high above the earth,
 So great is his mercy towards them that fear him.
 As far as the east is from the west,
 So far hath he removed our transgressions from us.
 As a father pitieth his children,
 So Jehovah pitieth those that fear him.
 For he knoweth our frame,
 He remembereth that we are dust.
 As for man, his days are as grass;
 As a flower of the field, so he flourisheth.
 For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone;
 And the place thereof knoweth it no more.
 The mercy of Jehovah is from everlasting to everlasting upon those that
    fear him,
 And his righteousness unto children’s children;
 To such as keep his covenant,
 To those who remember his commandments to do them.
 Jehovah hath established his throne in the heavens;
 And his kingdom ruleth over all.

 Praise Jehovah, ye his angels,
 Mighty ones, that do his commands,
 Hearkening to the voice of his word!
 Praise Jehovah, all his hosts,
 Ye ministers of his, that do his pleasure!
 Praise Jehovah, all his works,
 In all places of his dominion!
 Praise Jehovah, O my soul!—Ps. ciii.

At evening he returned to the cell of the old man. A calm peace had
overspread his mind, to which he had long been a stranger. He no longer
prided himself in his imaginary self-righteousness, but he felt the
satisfactory assurance that his “transgression was forgiven, that his
iniquity was pardoned;” and in the midst of his gratitude to Jehovah, he
did not forget the filial effusion of thankfulness towards the venerable
man, whose counsels had taught him how to seek rest to his soul.



                              CHAPTER VI.
                       THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES.


The Feast of Trumpets, on the first day of the month Tisri, had been the
beginning of a series of solemnities crowned by the Feast of
Tabernacles, which began on the fifteenth and lasted till the
twenty-second day. While some of the people of Israel were gathering in
the latest gifts of the earth, and others preparing for the pilgrimage
to Jerusalem; while some, who were compelled to remain at home, were
beginning to dress their green bowers, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem
to collect branches from the adjacent country, to decorate their
tabernacles in the vallies around the city; Helon returned to his
friends in the house of Iddo. He said nothing of what had passed, but
they all perceived immediately that he was become a new man. He embraced
Sulamith with a pure affection, and a humbled consciousness of his past
injustice; his manner towards all around was full of mild benevolence.
There was none of the outward warmth and vehemence of manner which he
had exhibited before, yet his mind was full of activity and joy. The
calm composure of his whole demeanour was that of a man to whom the
mysteries of life are solved, and who feels that omnipotent love defends
and guides him through time and eternity. His thoughts and desires
seemed all directed towards an invisible, eternal, future good; and yet
never had his heart been more open to all the joys of nature, or more
susceptible to the tenderest feelings of human affection. Sulamith had
never loved him so much, nor ever been so beloved by him. The true
happiness of her married life now began; all that had passed was in the
strictest sense forgotten. She bloomed again, in more than her former
beauty, like the rose of Jericho, when the morning sun drinks from its
fragrant leaves the heavy dew which had weighed them down.

On the thirteenth day of the month Tisri, the companies of pilgrims
began to arrive from every side. The native of Lebanon, the inhabitant
of Beersheba, of Peræa, and Galilee, those that dwell on the seashore,
and the stranger from Syria, Asia Minor, Cyprus, and Lybia, after their
toilsome journies, greeted the temple and city of their God. From the
roof of Iddo’s house, Helon and Sulamith looked down on the festal
throng.

The sight which they witnessed on the following day, the day of the
preparation for the festival, was peculiar to the precincts of
Jerusalem. The courts of the temple, all the roofs of the houses, the
mount of Olives, as far as its highest pinnacle, the valley of the
Kedron, and the whole environs of the city were covered with a sudden
verdure. The gardens and fields had already assumed the yellow hue of
autumn, but the palms, the firs, the myrtles, and the pomegranates had
been compelled to yield their more durable foliage for this occasion.
The whole neighbourhood was parched by the heat of the sun, and the
vineyards had been already stripped, but at once spring and summer
appeared to return with all their variety of colours. The busy hands of
men and women were every where in full activity, the children waited on
the builders, and, as if by magic, Jerusalem seemed all at once filled
and encircled by an encampment of green bowers, a lively and refreshing
contrast to the mournful barrenness of the hills which were in the
distance of the picture.

By the evening all was ready. The citrons and apples of Paradise glowed
amidst the dark green of the bowers, their walls were hung with tapestry
and their floors covered with carpets, and the large lamp burnt in the
middle. When the evening star appeared in heaven above the western sea,
every family, after the customary ablutions, left its dwelling to occupy
its tabernacle. Iddo had resigned his house to strangers, and had
erected himself a tabernacle in a vineyard on the mount of Olives, to
which he and the family of Selumiel repaired, and placed themselves
around the richly furnished table. He prayed, “Blessed be thou, O Lord
our God, thou king of the earth, who hast sanctified us by thy precepts
and commanded us to dwell in tabernacles.” He then emptied the cup, the
rest followed his example; and the same thing was done almost at the
same instant in the surrounding tabernacles. The thousands of lamps in
the bowers on the mount of Olives, in the vale of Kedron, and on the
roofs of the houses in the city, seemed like stars of the earth,
answering to those by which the heavens were already overspread. A
gentle wind just stirred the leaves of the bowers, and the sounds of
festivity and mutual congratulation echoed on every side, amidst songs
and the music of cymbals and aduffes. Well may they rejoice whose sins
are removed: if the people afflicted themselves before the atonement was
made, it was natural that after it they should indulge in the mirth of
the Feast of Tabernacles.

Towards midnight the lamps were gradually extinguished, and all was
silent in the tabernacles. The women, the children, and the weakly
persons returned to their houses, and the men laid themselves down to
rest on the floor. But scarcely had the first beams of morning reddened
the summits of the Arabian hills, when they all left their bowers to
fill the courts of the temple. The usual ceremonies of extinguishing the
lamps, killing the lamb, burning incense in the holy place, and offering
the morning-sacrifice, were first gone through. The eight priests then
ranged themselves on the sloping ascent of the altar, each with that
part of the sacrificial instruments which was intrusted to his care, the
last being he who bore the golden vessel with the wine of the
drink-offering. At once all the instruments of music struck up together,
the Water-gate was opened, and through its lofty folding-doors a priest
entered with a golden ewer full of water which he had drawn from the
spring of Siloah, whose softly flowing stream runs at the south-eastern
foot of mount Moriah. All was silent, except the sound of the silver
trumpets. The people made a wide opening for the priest, who approached
the altar of burnt-offering and was met by him who bore the vessel of
wine. As soon as they saw each other they both exclaimed, “With joy we
draw water from the wells of salvation;”[162] and the people around
repeated, “With joy we draw water from the wells of salvation.” The
priest who had descended from the altar then took from the other the
ewer of water, and mingled it with the wine. The Hallel was sung in the
mean time by the Levites, the people who filled the courts holding a
citron in the one hand and a bundle of palm, willow, and citron branches
in the other.

-----

Footnote 162:

  Isaiah, xii. 3.

-----

This was the solemnity of which it was commonly said in Israel, “He who
has not seen the joy of the drawing of water has seen no joy.” Helon
regarded it as not only an expression of thankfulness for the early and
the latter rain, to which the fruits of the earth now gathered in had
owed their abundance, but as a memorial of the water which gushed forth
in the wilderness at the stroke of Moses’ rod; besides that still higher
meaning which it remained for the Messiah fully to disclose.

The special offering of this day,[163] consisting of thirteen bullocks,
two rams, and fourteen lambs of the first year, with their meat-offering
and drink-offering, and a goat for a sin-offering. On this day priests
of all the courses were on duty, and at least four hundred and
sixty-four. A multitude of Levites, skilful in their art were disposed
on the fifteen steps, and the great Hallel was sung by them and the
assembled myriads of the people. When they came to the Hosanna in the
118th Psalm, the people and priests moved around the altar, imitating
the journey of Israel through the wilderness, holding, as before, a
citron in one hand and a bundle of palm and myrtle branches in the
other, repeating, “O Lord help, O Lord grant success.” As they passed
the high-priest, they showered the fragrant leaves and fruit upon him,
heaping the choice gifts of the earth upon the person of highest
sanctity among the people. To the worshippers in general this solemnity
combined a grateful acknowledgment of the gift of the fruits of the
earth, with a memorial of the most important event in the history of
God’s chosen people. But Helon looked forward to a time when all the
promises of Jehovah should be fulfilled, and when to the shouts of
Hosanna should be added, “Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the
Lord!”

-----

Footnote 163:

  Numb. xxix. 12.

-----

When the circuit of the altar was completed, and the high-priest from
the summit of the fifteen steps had given his benediction to the people,
one part of them presented their own thank-offerings, another repaired
to the porticoes, to hear the law read and expounded.[164] In the
sabbatical year the whole law was read at the Feast of Tabernacles.[165]

-----

Footnote 164:

  Neh. viii. 18.

Footnote 165:

  Deut. xxxi. 10, 11.

-----

Immediately after the evening-sacrifice, when the water of Siloah had
been again mingled with the wine of the drink-offering, the multitude
crowded to the court of the Women, which was illuminated by lamps of
unusual size, disposed on four candelabra, fifty cubits in height. The
Levites with their instruments stood on the fifteen steps, which led
from the court of the Women to the court of Israel, and from the
galleries over the porticoes the women were spectators of what passed
below. The members of the Sanhedrim, the elders and chief men of the
people took torches in their hands, sung psalms, and performed sacred
dances, in honour of Jehovah; the youths displayed feats of corporeal
strength and dexterity; and the festal assemblage did not disperse till
a late hour of the night.

The feast lasted eight days: in the first seven the ceremonies of the
commencement were repeated, but with this difference, the number of
bullocks for the burnt-offering was diminished by one every day,[166]
and in the six following days civil occupations might be pursued, which
were forbidden on the first. The traffic, which took place at all the
great festivals, was especially active at this time. The curious
productions of Egypt, the imports and manufactures of Tyre, the spices
of the east, the balsam of Gilead, and the corn and cattle of Galilee,
were bartered or sold; and every one purchased what was necessary
against the approaching season of winter. Helon, however, had no
pleasure in seeing what he considered as a profanation of the house of
God, and withdrew from the sight of it to pass his days in the
tabernacle of Iddo, on the mount of Olives. On the third day he
presented his thank-offering, which was truly to him what its name
implied, an offering of peace. While Sulamith was engaged in preparing
the meal from that part of the victim which belonged to the offerer,
Helon availed himself of the permission which the priests enjoyed on
festival days, to go into the holy place and see its magnificence.

-----

Footnote 166:

  Numb. xxix.

-----

Standing at the altar of burnt-offering, which was itself raised
forty-two steps above the court of the Gentiles, a space of twenty-two
cubits intervened between the spectator and the temple building. The
altar, therefore, was not within but in front of the temple, the blood
of atonement which was to reconcile man to God being thus shed between
them. Twelve steps ascend from the level of the base of the altar to the
temple; and where the pillars Jachin and Boaz stood in the temple of
Solomon,[167] the portico began. The building consisted of three parts,
the portico, the holy place, and the holy of holies. The portico was a
hundred cubits high, a hundred long, and twenty broad: the entrance,
which was seventy cubits, and twenty-five broad, stood open without
folding-doors. Within, the portico was ninety cubits in height, fifty in
length, and twenty in breadth, from east to west. Every part of it was
gilded. Opposite to the entrance was the curtain which closed the
passage into the holy place, fifty-five cubits in height and sixteen in
breadth, exhibiting the colours of the four elements, white, dark blue,
crimson, and purple. A large vine, with golden clusters, of the size of
a man, was represented over the entrance. The holy place had not the
same proportions as in Solomon’s; it was twenty cubits in breadth, sixty
in height, and forty in length. In it stood the golden candlestick, the
golden altar of incense, and the golden table of shew-bread. The holy of
holies, before the entrance to which a second curtain hung, was a cube
of twenty cubits. In this temple it was empty; but in that of Solomon it
had contained the ark of the covenant with the tables of the law, above
which was the cover or mercy-seat, and over that the two cherubims,
between which the glory of Jehovah dwelt. There were chambers of three
stories high on the sides, and over the holy and most holy place,
entered by doors in the portico, which served as repositories for the
treasures and other valuables. The whole of this part of the building
was ceiled with plates of gold, and the flat roof furnished with gilded
iron spikes, to prevent the birds from settling upon it.

-----

Footnote 167:

  1 Kings, vii. 21.

-----

Helon contemplated with sacred awe the dwelling place of God. In company
with the other priests he ascended, in mental prayer and with deep
humility, the twelve steps; and was led through the apartments which are
around and over the holy and most holy place, and then descended again
into the portico. The curtain before the holy place was withdrawn. Helon
in his ministrations in the court of the priests had often seen thus
far, and with veneration contemplated the abode of the glory of Jehovah;
but now his trembling foot entered its hitherto unknown precincts. The
golden lampstand was on the southern side, whose seven lamps were
kindled every evening; towards the north, the table of shew-bread, on
which the loaves of the presence were placed every week; and in the
middle the altar of incense, of acacia wood, a cubit in length and
breadth, and two cubits in height, on which, morning and evening, a
priest burnt incense, while the lamb was offered. Only the foot of a
priest might enter the holy place; into the holy of holies none but the
high-priest’s, and that only once in the year, on the day of atonement.
What gave a higher interest to the indescribable feelings which occupied
Helon’s mind, as he stood before the veil of the holiest place, was the
company of the old man of the temple, who had dissuaded him from
entering on the festival of Pentecost, promising to be his guide at the
Feast of Tabernacles. He had prepared himself and Helon by a long and
fervent prayer. The old man manifested an unusual degree of emotion. On
ordinary occasions, the frame of his mind seemed equally removed from
grief and joy, from emotion and apathy, but now he was visibly agitated,
and his venerable form seemed to acquire a supernatural dignity from the
feeling with which he laboured. In passing through the sacred building
profound silence was always observed; but when they returned from it he
still remained silent; and Helon, much as he wished to ask him questions
respecting the import of all he saw, durst not speak to him while he saw
him in this mood. The old man led him to Solomon’s porch, where he had
received him on the first evening, and pointed with his hand to the
courts of the temple which were within their view. After a long silence,
during which he was strongly agitated, he said, “Kneel down, my son! I
will give thee my blessing. I promised thy father and thy uncle to do
for thee what I have done: I am hastening to where they already are; may
we meet there again! Jehovah has guided thee by my means; be thine own
spirit henceforth thy guide; for thou wilt see me no more on earth.”
Helon, astonished and overpowered, sunk upon the ground and received the
old man’s blessing; and while he lay weeping on the earth, he had
disappeared. Helon went to his cell; it was open, but there was no man
within. He hastened to Selumiel, who told him that the old man often
disappeared for a long time together, and that his words were always
true.

They returned together after the meal to Iddo’s tabernacle on the mount
of Olives. When they had seated themselves, the figure of a stranger
appeared among them, whom they did not at first recognise. It was Myron.
In the first moment of their surprise they seemed doubtful how to act;
Iddo was inclined to thrust him out by force; when Myron, whose pale
face and shrunk figure had prevented their knowing him at first,
exclaimed, “Let Helon decide!” He turned to him and said; “On the day
when my foolish thoughtlessness a second time gave a wound to the
happiness of your life, I fled into the wilderness of Judah. A priest
found me wandering, brought me back to Jerusalem, and received me
hospitably. He told me what had befallen you; and I testified to him my
deep remorse and penitence. He seized the opportunity to persuade me to
abandon the fables and follies of the religion in which I had been
brought up, and to turn to the worship of the one true God. This evening
an aged and venerable man entered the house of my host, and bade me seek
thee out, and tell thee, in his name, that thou shouldest receive me not
only into thy friendship, but into thy faith. Behold me ready to become
a proselyte!”

“This,” said Helon, “must be the old man of the temple; his word shall
be obeyed.” He embraced the friend of his youth, and begged him to
forgive his groundless suspicions. “O,” said he, “had Elisama but lived
to see this day! He had always hope that thou wouldest be one of us. Did
I not too always predict, that if thou shouldest see Israel in all its
glory in the Land of Promise, thou wouldest desire to become a partaker
in their hopes?” “The God who made heaven and earth hath done this,”
said Myron; “he has severely punished my folly, and in the midst of my
chastisement made me to know your law and your hopes. I now understand
why in every land I have found prophecies which pointed to Judæa for
their accomplishment.”

“Praised be Jehovah,” exclaimed Iddo, “who increaseth his people Israel,
and hath spoken by his prophet the word of which this day we behold the
accomplishment, 'Arise, shine for thy light is come and the glory of
Jehovah riseth upon thee. For behold darkness shall cover the earth and
thick darkness thy people: but Jehovah shall arise upon thee, and his
glory shall be seen upon thee, and the Gentiles shall come to thy
light.'”[168]

-----

Footnote 168:

  Isaiah, lx. 1.

-----

Myron, in his usual hasty and decided manner, pressed his speedy
reception as a proselyte, and his friends were desirous that this
festival should be made still more solemn by his conversion. In later
times accessions from among the heathens to the Jewish religion had
become very common, and they were regarded as a pledge of the approach
of the time when the promises of God should be fulfilled, which, as they
understood them, implied the dominion of Israel over the whole earth.

Iddo and the priest with whom Myron had lodged endeavoured to prevail on
him, by submitting to circumcision, and baptism to become one of the
family of Abraham and an heir of its promises, after which, on the
offering of three turtle-doves, he would become a proselyte of
righteousness, and be permitted to bring his sacrifice, like a native
Jew, into the court of the priests. Myron was more inclined to become
only a proselyte of the gate; and Helon took his part, and asked what
more was necessary, since he could thus enjoy the benefits of the law,
could partake in all the civil privileges of Israel, and dwell in their
gates? “Would there not too,” he asked, “be danger that he should be
seduced by the Hellenists to join the worship at Leontopolis, if he
returned to Egypt in every respect a Jew?”

On the following morning they conducted Myron before the tribunal which
sat in the gate of Nicanor. In the presence of three witnesses, Helon,
Selumiel, and the priest his host, he solemnly abjured idolatry,
professed his belief in all the truths which are revealed in the law,
and promised obedience to the seven Noachic precepts, as they were
called; namely, to abstain from idolatry, to worship only the true God,
to avoid incest, not to commit theft, or robbery, or murder, to maintain
judgment and justice, and to abstain from blood and all that contained
blood, consequently from things strangled. He then presented his
offering, but he was not allowed to come any further than to the
enclosure between the court of the Gentiles and the court of Israel.
From this time he bore the name of a devout man, one that feared God, a
stranger or proselyte of the gate.

As Helon and Myron spent the last day but one of the feast in Iddo’s
tabernacle on the mount of Olives, Helon read to him the description
which Nehemiah gives of the first celebration of the Feast of
Tabernacles after the captivity:[169]

-----

Footnote 169:

  Neh. viii. 13.

-----

“And on the second day were gathered together the chief of the fathers
of all the people, the priests, and the Levites, unto Ezra the scribe,
even to understand the words of the law. And they found written in the
law which the Lord had commanded by Moses, that the children of Israel
should dwell in booths in the feast of the seventh month. And that they
should publish and proclaim in all their cities, and in Jerusalem,
saying, “Go forth unto the mount, and fetch olive branches, and pine
branches, and myrtle branches, and palm branches, and branches of thick
trees, to make booths, as it is written. So the people went forth, and
brought them, and made themselves booths, every one upon the roof of his
house, and in their courts, and in the courts of the house of God, and
in the street of the Watergate, and in the street of the gate of
Ephraim. And all the congregation of them that were come again out of
the captivity made booths, and sat under the booths; for since the day
of Joshua, the son of Nun, unto that day, had not the children of Israel
done so. And there was very great gladness. Also day by day, from the
first day unto the last day, he read in the book of the law of God. And
they kept the feast seven days: and on the eighth day was a solemn
assembly according unto the manner.”

“It is not to be denied,” said Myron, when it was finished, “that the
Dionysian festivals of the Greeks have considerable resemblance to the
Feast of Tabernacles; the mixt offering of water and wine reminds me of
the gift of Bacchus; the bundle of palm, myrtle, and willow branches, of
the Thyrsus; the Hosanna, of the Evoe; the procession round the altar,
of the Dionysian train; the dance in the court of the Women, of the
dances of the Grecian youths. The torch too is in both cases found in
the hands of the votary. But the resemblance of the Dionysia of the
Greeks to the Feast of the Tabernacles is that of a distorted image to
the faithful picture.”

“You might have gone further,” said Helon, “and have added that such is
the relation generally of heathenism to Judaism. The heathens have
mingled poetry and fable with the tradition which they received from the
family of Noah; they have disfigured by human inventions the divine
truths which they learnt from the Jews. How indeed could it be
otherwise, since Jehovah found it necessary to preserve this knowledge
pure in Israel, by renewing and impressing more deeply the communication
of it by means of the law?”

“I understand now,” said Myron, “what you alluded to before, and I see
the history of antiquity in an entirely new light. The Greeks differ
from the Egyptians only in this, that they have given their distorted
images a more graceful form.”

“Bless Jehovah,” said Helon, “that thou hast returned at last to the
true source; and pray to him that all the heathens may come to draw from
it. The advent of the Messiah, who shall accomplish this, cannot be far
distant. He shall be the light of the Gentiles and the consolation of
Israel. The sceptre is already departed from Judah[170] and is in the
hand of Levi; and the seventy weeks of Daniel are hastening to their
close.”

-----

Footnote 170:

  Gen. xlix. 10.

-----

“And tell me,” said Myron, “my former friend, but now my brother in
faith, shall my heathen brethren in those days become proselytes of the
gate, or proselytes of righteousness? To me it seems, if I may venture
to confide to you my opinion on such a subject, that this distinction
points to an important difference in the laws of Jehovah themselves. I
have bound myself by an oath to obey those precepts of universal
morality, which are contained equally in the Noachic and Mosaic law; and
I have professed my belief in all the truths which your lawgiver taught;
but I have not bound myself to all the rites and ceremonies which your
nation practises. How then, if the former were what is truly valuable,
what all nations alike need; and in the days of which you speak shall
alike know; and if the latter were only important for their tendency to
preserve the others?”

“It may be so,” said Helon, musing. “The old man in the temple has
taught me, that the sacrifices are but a visible prophecy, commanded to
the people from their want of a more spiritual faith. But I will neither
deny nor affirm any thing in this matter. The Messiah comes who will
remove all our doubts. Meanwhile let us rejoice in the belief, that in
the manner which Jehovah in his counsels has decreed, 'the law shall go
forth from Zion and his word from Jerusalem; and he shall teach the
Gentiles his ways and they shall walk in his paths.'”[171] The friends
embraced each other, and descending from the mount of Olives Helon went
up to the altar in the temple.

-----

Footnote 171:

  Micah, iv. 2.

-----

The last day of the Feast of Tabernacles was the most joyous of all. The
drawing of the water, the Hosanna, the nightly illumination and dance
had been repeated every day; the seventh day was called the great
Hosanna and the day of Willows. The altar of burnt-offering was decked
with branches of willow, all bent inwards, as an emblem that earthly
glory must bow before the majesty of God. Instead of once, the people
went seven times around the altar with their branches and their citrons.
The last meal was taken in the tabernacles, whose green decorations had
already begun to fade; but to the freshness which had charmed the eye
when the feast began, succeeded the mind’s remembrance of seven happy
days which had been passed in them. The father of the family pronounced
the blessing over the last cup of wine which they were to drink here,
and when it was emptied gave his benediction to the company, who left
the tabernacle with that melancholy with which we quit a spot where we
have enjoyed much happiness. The women and children, and even Myron and
Helon, carried away a citron, a pomegranate, a branch, or a leaf, as a
memorial of the festival. In the evening the illumination and the dance
as before described were repeated. This part of the festivities, as well
as the drawing of the water, ceased on the eighth day, which was added
as a special sabbath to the full week of the feast. On this day no
circuit was made around the altar, and the offering consisted only of
one bullock, one ram, and seven lambs of a year old, as a
burnt-offering, with their usual meat and drink offerings, and a goat
for a sin-offering. Besides Azareth, Day of Convocation, it was called
the Day of Rejoicing in the Law, because every year on this day the
reading of the law and the prophets ended, and began afresh on the
following sabbath. Thus what every one had begun in his own synagogue at
home, he completed here in the midst of the assembled people. This took
place on the twenty-second day of the month, in which, up to this point,
there had been only four common days.



                              CHAPTER VII.
                            THE CONCLUSION.


The tabernacles were broken up, and only the scattered leaves, flowers,
and fillets testified that they had been. The pilgrims were preparing
for their departure, and exchanging their farewell salutations. Many
took leave of Jerusalem never to behold it again. The autumn wind blew
chill, and where a solitary tabernacle still remained as a monument of
the festival, its green was changed to an autumnal yellow. The circle of
the Jewish feasts was closed, the half year of harvest was at an end,
and the dark and rainy season of winter was fast approaching, when no
pilgrim’s song was heard on the roads to Jerusalem; a winter which to
many would prove the winter of death.

The companies of travellers arranged themselves for their departure.
Selumiel and his family, with Myron and Iddo, took the road by Bethany
to Jericho. As they passed through the hollow between the southernmost
and the middle summit of the mount of Olives, Helon thought of the tears
which he had shed on that spot at Pentecost, when he exclaimed, “The
path of obedience is difficult.” Now returning a happy husband, with the
peace of God in his heart, he was inclined to say, “Easy is the path of
obedience to him who walks in it with faith.” They halted at noon at the
Oasis, beneath the palms, and arrived late in the evening at Jericho. On
the following day the Galileans crossed the Jordan on their return home.

Helon, Sulamith, and Myron began to make preparations for their
departure to Alexandria, from which they were to fetch the mother of
Helon. When they were about to begin their journey symptoms of the
plague showed themselves at Jericho. This is the most terrific of all
diseases, as rapid in its operation as the leprosy is slow, and
producing an equally miserable death. Those who are seized with it are
suddenly attacked by pains in the head and loins; the speech becomes
inarticulate, and not unfrequently is lost altogether, as well as the
sense of hearing. The eyes become dull and heavy; lethargy succeeds, the
strength is prostrated, fever, delirium, and melancholy seize the
sufferer, and he commonly dies on the third day, unless a plague-boil
preserves him for a miserable existence. If the disease spreads, all
intercourse is at an end. The streets, the fountains, and the houses are
heaped with dead; infected persons are abandoned by their nearest
relatives; and despair and licentiousness walk hand in hand. The people
call the plague the arrows of God.

As the plague commonly rages most destructively on its first breaking
out, Selumiel considered this circumstance as a divine warning to
withdraw from Jericho with his whole family, and go into Egypt.
Preparations were speedily made, friends and household were commended to
Jehovah, and the city of palms abandoned as if a curse were upon it.
They hastened by Bethel, Gibeon, and Lydda, to Joppa, where Helon’s host
was requested to procure for them, as speedily as possible, an
opportunity of sailing to Alexandria in a Phœnician ship.

Helon looked from the heights of Joppa to the hills of Judah, and
blessed the beloved land which had been to him not only a land of
promise but a land of fulfilment. The image of his pious mother, all
whose expectations he was about to accomplish and surpass, her joy at
seeing him again, and the prospect of returning to the land of her
fathers and visiting the grave of her husband, her blessing bestowed on
him and Sulamith—all these things occupied his mind with delightful
anticipations.

His host seemed uneasy. Helon supposed he might apprehend that they had
brought infection with them, and might communicate it, and he hastened
to set him at ease on this point. His host shook his head in answer to
Helon’s assurances, and looked sorrowfully at him. At length he said,
“It is not to myself but thee that my grief relates. Collect all thy
firmness; in vain dost thou go to Alexandria to bring back thy mother.
She is dead! The tidings of the death of Elisama and the rumour of thy
wife’s unfaithfulness reached her together, and her heart broke with its
double weight of sorrow.”

Sulamith uttered a piercing shriek, and Myron wept in grief and shame.
Helon felt what an affectionate child feels when bereaved of a mother,
but he knew that the hand of Jehovah guided him; that the Lord woundeth,
but also healeth; that his ways are not our ways, nor his thoughts our
thoughts. “Comfort me, O Jehovah,” he exclaimed, his eyes raised to
heaven, “comfort me as one is comforted by his mother!” Then seating
himself in a corner he gave vent to those tears which soften the anguish
of the heart to a tender sorrow.

It was determined, notwithstanding this intelligence, that they should
continue their voyage to Alexandria, where Helon’s presence was
necessary. Selumiel with his wife, his son, his daughter-in-law, and his
grandson, Helon, Sulamith, Sallu, and Myron, embarked on board a
Phœnician vessel. They ran swiftly along the coast, and Jamnia,
Ashdod, Ascalon, Gaza, and Raphia were soon left behind. The mind of
Helon was as clear and calm as the mirror in which the sea reflected the
bright blue heavens. His grief for the death of his mother had only
increased his trust in the Divine compassion, which had bestowed on him
that perfect peace of mind, which neither in death nor life sees any
thing to fear. One morning they were watching the broad red dawn
announcing the approach of day. All were in an unusual frame of mind.
Helon, full of tranquil joy, was relating to his friends, as they sat
around him on the deck, the course of Divine Providence with respect to
him in the year that was just completed, and how it had conducted him to
that true peace which he had sought in vain before: “I could call upon
the whole world,

       Praise Jehovah, all the world,
       Serve Jehovah with joy!
       Come into his presence with rejoicing,
       Confess that Jehovah is God.
       He has made us and we are his,
       His people and the sheep of his pasture.
       Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
       His courts with songs of praise.
       Bless him, praise his name!
       For Jehovah is good, his mercy is everlasting,
       And his faithfulness from generation to generation.—Ps. c.

“And through all the vicissitudes of my life, in calamity and in death,
these words shall be my comfort, which the last of the prophets spoke,
when the oracle of prophecy was about to be closed in silence:

        The Lord whom ye seek will come speedily to his temple,
        And the Angel of the Covenant whom ye desire,
        Behold he cometh, saith Jehovah of Hosts.”[172]

-----

Footnote 172:

  Mal. iii. 1.

-----

While he thus spoke, delightful anticipations of futurity seemed to take
possession of his soul. All who sat around him were silent; for the
power of his faith seemed to communicate itself, by an indescribable
operation, to their minds. All at once, confused voices exclaimed
throughout the ship, A storm, a storm! The heavens grew black with
clouds, the tempest rose, and the waves beat on every side of the ship.
They endeavoured to avoid the shore, which was rocky and produced
breakers which threatened every moment to overwhelm the vessel. The
Phœnician mariners called on their gods, the children of Israel
prayed to Jehovah. Helon stood in the midst of threatening waves and
terrified men, tranquil and full of confidence. At once the ship
received a violent shock, and sprung a leak. Their efforts were in vain.
Sulamith flew to Helon’s arms, and each repeated to the other passages
from the Psalms. All hope of safety was at an end, and sounds of terror
and lamentation were heard on every side. Suddenly, the ship struck
violently upon a rock and went to pieces. The crew sunk, and no one
could bid another farewell. Helon supported himself for a short time
upon a plank, and looking round saw Sulamith and her father sink. Alone,
and scarcely conscious, he struggled for a few moments with the stormy
waves. One of tremendous height came rolling onward; Helon exclaimed
amidst the uproar of the elements,

               “The Angel of the Covenant—
               Behold he cometh, saith Jehovah of Hosts,”

and was buried in the waters.

After an hour the storm had ceased. And the storms of this world, too,
had ceased for those who had found death in the waves, and life in the
bosom of their God.



                        NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS.

[Illustration]

                               BOOK III.

Page 7.—_The staircase from the roof to the outer court._] See Bishop
Pearce on Mark ii. 4. Matt. xxiv. 17. Shaw’s Travels, p. 210, 214. The
bishop supposes the staircase to have gone immediately into the street,
but Shaw says that he never observed an instance of this.

Page 11.—_The termination of the Kedron._] The author means by this
expression the point where the Kedron, after skirting Jerusalem on the
east, turns off towards the Dead Sea. See what was said in the note on
p. 244, vol. i. of the locality of Siloah, and its identity with Gihon.
The valley of the Son of Hinnom, in which Tophet was a high place, (2
Kings xxiii. 10. Jer. vii. 31.) appears to have been on the _southern_
side of Zion and without the city. If it had been, as some suppose, the
same with the Tyropœon, which separated Acra from Zion, it would have
been within the city, which is incredible, considering its pollution.
What the author afterwards (p. 12) calls the valley of Siloah, appears
to be the western end of the Tyropœon, at the eastern end of which
was the fountain Siloah.

Page 14.—_Sepulchres of the kings._] See in Maundrell, p. 76, the
description of their still magnificent remains. “For what reason they go
by this name is hard to resolve, since it is certain that none of the
kings of Israel or Judah were buried here, unless it may be thought
perhaps that Hezekiah was buried here, and that these were the
sepulchres of the sons of David. 2 Chron. xxxii. 33.”

Page 15.—_Golgotha._] This spot, called also Calvary, according to the
common opinion of travellers, is included within the present city of
Jerusalem. See the plan in Shaw’s Travels, p. 277.

Page 16.—_Castle of Baris._] Baris בירה is an appelative, signifying a
tower, (Joseph. Ant. x. 11.) used as a proper name of the castle which
John Hyrcanus built, (Jos. Ant. xviii. 6.) as the royal residence. It
was afterwards enlarged by Herod and called Antonia. (Jos. Ant. xv. 14.)
In the text, “north-east corner of the temple” has been inadvertently
substituted for north-west, which was its real position.

Page 19.—_The crowing of the cock._] It has been asserted, on the
authority of the Rabbins, (see Lightfoot on Matt. xxvi. 34.) that no
cocks were kept in Jerusalem; but this appears to have been a later and
groundless tradition, (Kuinoel. Matt. xxvi. 74.) to exalt the purity of
the Holy City. For the same reason they said that no gardens were
allowed within the walls, Lightfoot, Matt. xxvi. 36.

Page 19.—_Confines of Judah and Benjamin._] See Reland, 840. It is
sometimes spoken of in Scripture as included in the territory of
Benjamin; Judges i. 21. Sometimes of Judah; Josh. xv. 63. The Rabbins
say that the boundary line passed through the temple. Josephus (Ant. v.
1. 22.) reckons it to belong to Benjamin.

Page 20.—_A beautiful plain._] “Jerusalem is surrounded by precipices on
the south-east, east, and west, having only a small level towards the
south, and a larger one to the north, which forms the summit of the
mountain over which is the road to Jaffa.” Travels of Ali Bey, ii. 240.

Page 21.—_Absalom’s pillar._] A monument, in part of the valley of
Jehoshaphat, which passes by the name of the pillar of Absalom, is
represented by Pococke, vol. ii. p. 22. It is cut out of the rock, and
the front is adorned with Ionic columns. It is probably a sepulchre of
much later origin.

Page 23.—_Modes of threshing._] See Russell’s Aleppo, i. p. 76. Lowth on
Isaiah, xxviii. 27, 28. Fragments to Calmet, No. xlviii.

Page 25.—_Anathoth._] “Civitas sortis Benjamin, sacerdotibus separata,
in tertio ab Ælia milliario: de qua Hieremias propheta.” Hieronymus in
locis.

Page 28.—_Elisama had neither kindred nor even acquaintance in
Anathoth._] The author appears to have forgotten what he had said, vol.
i. p. 16.

Page 28.—_Emmaus._] This is not the Emmaus mentioned Luke xxiv. 13., but
a town afterwards called Nicopolis. See Reland, 146. The Emmaus of the
gospel history was a village, and nearer to Jerusalem. Rama, too, must
not be confounded with the town of this name now called Ramla, about
three leagues from Joppa, on the road to Jerusalem. Pococke, ii. 4. The
ruins of Modin are said to be still visible on the top of a high
mountain to the south of the road from Joppa to Jerusalem, (Richardson,
ii. 26.) but I am not aware that any modern traveller has explored them.

Page 31.—_Lydda._] It is still known by the name of Loudd. It lies about
a league east-north-east of Rama, and in the same fertile plain. Poc.
ii. 4.

Page 31.—_Ono._] See Lightfoot’s Works, ii. 320. Reland, Cat. sub. voce.
It was three miles from Lydda. 1 Chron. viii. 12. From a passage quoted
by Lightfoot it appears to have abounded in figs. Sharon was a
continuation of the great plain of Sephela mentioned before. The whole
coast of Palestine, from Carmel to the limits of Egypt, is level. “Pro
campestribus in Hebræo _Saron_ ponitur. Omnis regio circa Lyddam,
Joppen, et Jamniam apta est pascendis gregibus.” Hieronym. ad Jes. lxv.
1 Chron. xxvii. 29. Reland, 370.

Page 32.—_The servants were treated as the chief persons._] The genius
of the Mosaic law was considerate of the comfort of servants, who were
to join in the festive meal made upon the unsacrificed portions of the
free-will-offerings, Deut. xii. 18. and in the feast of Pentecost, Deut.
xvi. 11. But I am not aware of any direct authority for representing it
as a Jewish custom to make a feast for the servants, in which they were
treated as the chief persons. Yet it is not probable that our Lord (Luke
xii. 37.) would have represented the master as girding himself and
waiting on the servants whom he wished to reward for their fidelity, if
such a thing were wholly unknown. Bishop Pearce, in his note on this
passage, explains it of the custom of the bridegroom’s waiting on the
company as a servant, which he says was common not very long since in
our own country. It would still remain to be explained how the servants
came to be included in the company on which he waited. The Roman
Saturnalia, however, may show that such an inversion of the customary
relations of life was not altogether foreign to ancient manners.

Page 34.—_Flight of locusts._] Blumenbach’s Nat. Hist. Art. _Gryllus
migratorius_. The epitome of Livy, lib. lx. mentions a pestilence as
breaking out in Africa, about this time, in consequence of the
putrefaction of a vast swarm of locusts. According to other accounts
nearly a million of persons perished. Oros. v. 11. Prid. Conn. An. 125.
Of their devastations, see Shaw, 187. who illustrates almost every
particular in the description of Joel, from his own experience.
Hasselquist, 444. Bryant’s Plagues of Egypt, p. 133-152.

Page 36.—_Joppa._] The author supposes this name to be derived from the
Hebrew יפה _beautiful_. Under the name of Jaffa, this port is celebrated
in the history of the middle ages, and in that of the late war. Josephus
speaks of the badness of the anchorage, (Bell. Jud. iii. 8. 3.) and
modern travellers confirm the account.

Page 37.—_One of the towers of Jerusalem can be discerned._] Ιόππη—ἐν
ὕψει ἱκανῶς, ὤστε ἀφορᾶσθάι φασιν ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ τὰ Ἱεροσόλυμα, την τῶν
Ιουδάιων μητρόπολιν. Strabo, lib. xvi. 759. This circumstance is not
confirmed by modern travellers. Pococke, ii. 3. “Joppa stood upon and
under a hill, from whence, as Strabo relates, but impossible to be true,
Jerusalem might be discerned; having an ill haven, defended on the south
and west with eminent rocks, but open to the fury of the north.” Sandys,
p. 118. Yet Josephus relates, (Bell. Jud. v. 4.) and in this he could
hardly be mistaken, that the sea was visible from one of the towers of
Jerusalem.

Page 39.—_Grecian story of Andromeda._] “Est Joppe ante diluvium, ut
ferunt condita: ubi Cephea regnasse eo signo accolæ adfirmant, quod
titulum ejus, fratrisque Phinei veteres quædam aræ cum religione plurima
retinent. Quinetiam rei celebratæ carminibus ac fabulis servatæque a
Perseo Andromedæ clarum vestigium, belluæ marinæ ossa immania
ostendunt.” Pomp. Mela, i. 11.

Page 40.—_A Nazarite._] See Lightfoot on Luke i. 15. 1 Cor. xi. 14.
Jennings’s Jew. Ant. i. 415. Mich. Mos. Law, § 143.

Page 41.—_Maresa._] See Josephus, Ant. xiii. 10. 2. Its capture by Judas
Maccabæus is mentioned, Ant. xii. 7. ad fin. It was at Maresa that Asa
defeated the Ethiopians. 2 Chron. xiv. 10. Jerome and Eusebius place it
at two miles from Eleutheropolis. Cellarius, iii. 13. p. 359.

Page 41.—_Destruction of Samaria._] See Jos. Ant. xiii. 10. 3. Prid.
Conn. An. 109. Antiochus Cyzicenus, who commanded the Egyptian
auxiliaries, had fallen into an ambuscade, and lost many of his men.
Callimander, whom he had left in command, was defeated and killed.

Page 43.—_Gazera._] This place, called also Gezer, or Gadara, (to be
distinguished from Gadara in the Peræa mentioned in the New Test.) is
several times spoken of by Josephus in connection with Joppa. Ant. xiii.
9. Reland, 778, 801. Strabo mentions it in connection with Ascalon and
Ashdod, xvi. p. 759. It was the western boundary of the portion of
Ephraim. The root of the word (גדר) denoting an enclosed place, gave
rise to several names of towns; among others the Phœnician Γάδειρα,
Cadiz.

Page 44.—_The five cities of the Philistines._] Gath, Ekron, Ascalon,
Gaza, and Ashdod, (Azotus.) Jos. Ant. vi. 1.

Page 44.—_Eleutheropolis._] Though scarcely mentioned in the times of
the Old or New Testament, it became afterwards a place of considerable
importance, and the episcopal see of _Palestina prima_. Epiphanius was
born there. Reland, 749.

Page 45.—_Institution of genealogists._] Michaelis supposes that the
שטרים (called _officers_ in our translation, Josh. xxiii. 1, 2.)
mentioned Exod. v. 10. were the genealogists of the Israelites. Mos.
Law, § 51. Of the division into families (משפחות), houses of the fathers
(בתי אבות), and heads of the houses (ראשיבתאבות), see Numb. i. 2. Jos.
vii. 14. 16. 17. Mich. § 46. Lowman, Heb. Gov. chap. v. Thus in the
affair of Achan, first the _tribe_ of Judah is taken, then the _family_
of Zerah, then the _house_ of Zabdi, and lastly the _individual_ Achan.
Josh. vii. 16. The political institutions of the Jews, the right to
landed property, &c. all depended on birth; and the keeping of accurate
genealogies was of the very first necessity. Josephus, c. Ap. i. 7.
describes the means which were taken to preserve the registers and to
repair any mutilations or imperfections which might have been occasioned
by political disturbances.

Page 46.—_Their number was seventy-one._] There were twelve princes and
fifty-eight heads of families. Num. xxvi. The supreme ruler for the time
being, under Jehovah, would naturally preside. Whether the princes and
heads were elective is doubtful. See Lowman, p. 77. The assembly of
Israel at Shechem by Joshua, (xxiv. 1, 2.) is an example of such a
_Diet_ as the text mentions.

Page 48.—_Lachish._] Rehoboam is said (2 Chron. xi. 9.) to have _built_
Lachish, but it is evident from the connection that this means
_fortified_: for he is said to have built Hebron and other cities, which
were in existence long before. So when Solomon is said to have built
Tadmor or Palmyra, the meaning probably is not that he founded, but that
he fortified and garrisoned it. Michaelis, Mos. Law, § 23.

Page 48.—_The grove of terebinths._] In the valley of Elah. 1 Sam. xvii.
2, 3. Dr. Clarke, iv. 421. describes it as being three miles from
Bethlehem, on the road to Jaffa.

Page 56.—_Aduffes._] The _Aduffe_ (a word which through the Spanish and
the Arabic appears to be connected with the Hebrew תף) is formed of a
circle of metal, over which a skin is stretched, and hung with bells at
the circumference. Mich. Mos. Law, § 197, note. Russell’s Aleppo, i.
152. where it is called _Diff_.

Page 56.—_Jewish army._] In the times of the Maccabees the Jews, who had
frequently served in the armies of the Grecian kings, appear to have
adopted the Grecian armour and discipline, as far as they could. But we
have few details of their military system in Josephus or the Apocrypha.
Their triumphs had been celebrated from early times with dance, song,
and sacrifice, and continued to be so under the Maccabees, 1 Macc. xiii.
51. iv. 34. Jos. Ant. xii. 7. 5. Judith xv. xvi. and probably in this
respect, _mutatis mutandis_, they imitated the heathens. So at least our
author presumes.

Page 57.—_Military engines._] The battering ram (כר) (Ezek. xxi. 22.)
and other engines (xxvi. 9.) are said to have been used by the
Babylonians, and the use of them might be learnt by the Jews. Uzziah is
said (2 Chron. xxvi. 14.) to have constructed machines for throwing
darts and stones. Calmet, Mil. des Héb. Diss. i. 237. Under the
Maccabees they appear to have been in common use. 1 Macc. xiii. 43.

Page 59.—_New moon._] Of the annunciation of the new moon and the fraud
of the Samaritans, see Lightfoot, Works, i. 950. “The Bairam,” or feast
which succeeds the fast of Ramadan, “is announced at Aleppo by the
castle guns, as soon as a declaration on oath has been made of the
appearance of the new moon. The person who bears this testimony commonly
comes from one of the villages.” Russell, i. 189.

Page 60.—_Sid or Ijar._] See the note, vol. i. p. 260, respecting the
Jewish calendar.

Page 61.—_Being cut off from the people._] It is probable that in all
cases where this is denounced as the punishment for violations of the
Levitical law, it was supposed that they were committed presumptuously;
and the omission of purification from forgetfulness would not have
entailed the punishment. Mich. Mos. Law, § 249. Comp. 2 Chron. xxx. 18.
“Quidquid de pœnâ excisionis statuendum fuerit, certius nihil est
quam eam nec a Talmudicis nec a Karæis inter humanas aut forenses
pœnas censeri, sed pro divinitus tantum infligencâ accipi.” Selden de
Synedr. p. 95. This is not probable.

Page 62.—_Touching a grave._] According to the law respecting impurities
contracted by this means, (Num. xix. 19.) there should have been a
purification on the third day.

Page 64.—_Share of the priests._] See Deut. xviii. 1-5. Lev. vii. 28-38.
Num. xviii. 8-20.

Page 66.—_Removal of the Nazarite’s vow._] Numb. vi. 13-21. comp. Acts
xxi. 24. Reland, Ant. Heb. 287. Id. 328. of the sacrifices which might
or might not be eaten. Of the court of the Nazarites, Lightfoot, Works,
i. 1092. As these sacrifices were expensive, it appears to have been a
usual act of pious benevolence, to “be at charges” for poorer Nazarites.
So Josephus (Ant. xix. 6.) relates, that Agrippa, on his coming again to
his government, caused many Nazarites to be shaved. If the Apostle
Paul’s vow was really a Nazarite’s, which many doubt, it should seem as
if it sometimes extended only to seven days, the term during which,
according to the original law, he remained unclean by funereal
defilement, while his vow was upon him.

Page 78.—_Gazith._] According to Reland, Ant. Heb. p. 104, half of this
hall was in the court of the priests, half in the Chel. (See vol. i. p.
253.) The reason for this division was, that the court of the priests
was within the precincts of the sanctuary, in which no one was allowed
to _sit_, except kings of the family of David. The Sanhedrim sat
therefore in the part which was not in the court of the priests. See
Maimon. de Æd. Templi, vii. 6. Lightfoot, Works, i. 2005. It is said to
have been built by Simeon Ben Shetach, a little later than the time of
John Hyrcanus.

Page 79.—_The Sanhedrim._] When Moses found the burden of judging the
people too great for him, (Numb. xi. 16.) he appointed seventy men,
elders of the people, to assist him. In the succeeding times of the
judges and kings, the traces of this institution disappear; but after
the captivity a great council (Synedrium) was formed, on the model and
consisting of the same number as this, uniting the political functions
of the diet and the juridical duties of Moses’s judges. Lowman, Heb.
Gov. ch. ix. Mich. Mos. Law, § 50. Seventy was a favourite number, Jos.
B. J. ii. 20. 5.

Page 80.—_Scrutiny of the priests._] Reland, Ant. Heb. 184. Maim. de
Rat. ad. Templi. c. vi.

Page 82.—_Clad in black._] Josephus (Bell. Jud. v. 5. 7.) says, those
who were excluded from the priesthood for bodily defects, wore _common
garments_.

Page 83.—_Sacerdotal robes._] Lightfoot, Works, i. 2049. Of the position
of the vestry, see Reland, 104. The girdle was hollow like a purse: this
is what is meant by being like a serpent’s skin.

Page 85.—_The unction was imputed to him._] “Sacerdotes gregarii semel
modo in solitudine adspersi fuere, uti Judæi tradunt, sic ut vi
unctionis illius vel adspersionis posteri eorum consecrati censerentur.”
Reland, Ant. Heb. 148.

Page 90.—_Behold thou delightest in the truth in secret things._] Such
is the turn which the author gives to the words, which in our version
are rendered, “Behold thou desirest truth in the inward parts; and in
the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.” The whole connection
is unfavourable to this interpretation, for David is evidently praying
for moral purity. “Truth in the reins” is, probably, sincerity in
virtue; and wisdom, in the book of Proverbs, is often used in the same
sense. It may be observed here, once for all, that the author appears to
put into the mouth of the old man of the temple, his own opinions
respecting the typical nature of the ordinances and sacrifices of the
law. Into this much controverted question the translator does not
consider himself called upon to enter. Every reader will judge according
to his own interpretations of the language of Scripture.

Page 99.—_Carrying the shewbread into the sanctuary._] Reland, Ant. Heb.
225. who, however, represents only eight priests as engaged in this
office. So Lightfoot, Works, i. 1082.

Page 100.—_The nightly watch of the priests and Levites._] Maim, de Æd.
Templi, c. viii. Fasc. Hist. et Phil. Sacr. vi. 69. Lightfoot, i. 941.

Page 101.—_Casting lots._] Lightfoot, i. 942. Reland, 198.

Page 102.—_Sloping ascent to the altar._] The altar of burnt-offering
was not to be ascended by steps, (Exod. xx. 26.) but by an inclined
plane. Of the men of the station (אנשי מעמד), see Reland, p. 186. Of the
priests who resided constantly in Jerusalem. Lightfoot, i. 917.

Page 103.—_The sun had risen._] It is commonly supposed that nine in the
morning and three in the afternoon were the hours respectively of
morning and evening sacrifice, as they were the two principal hours of
public prayer. Lewis, Ant. i. 501. Josephus, however, represents the
morning sacrifice as offered, πρωὶ, which, according to the common use
of the word, (Larch. Herod, ii. 173.) must mean in the earliest of the
morning, and this was the time of private morning prayer. Jos. Ant. v.
8.

Page 109.—_The sacerdotal order is the most exalted in the world._] The
priesthood was the Jewish aristocracy. Ὥσπερ δὴ παρ’ ἑκάστοις ἄλλη τίς
ἐστι εὐγεναιας ὑποθεσις, οὕτως παρ’ ἡμῖν ἡ τῆς ἱερωσύνης μετουσία
τεκμηρίον ἡστι γένους λαμπρότητος. Jos. Vit. i.

Page 111.—_Only a sixth part._] “Quælibet sacerdotum curia dividebatur
in familias septem, ex quibus unaquæque unum hebdomadæ diem obibat
altaris munia.” Crenius, Fasc. Hist, et Phil. Sacr. vii. 795.

Page 116.—_Jehovah our righteousness._] “Laudant qui in scriptis
Rabbinorum Messiam Jovam nuncupari contendunt, _Echa R._ ad Thren. i.
16. fol. 59. 2. _Quodnam est nomen regis Messiæ? R. Abba f. Cahana
dixit, Jova est nomen ejus, sec. Jer. xxiii. 6._ יהוה צדקנו (ubi tamen
hoc nomine symbolico Israelitæ insigniuntur et Jer. xxxiii. 15.
Hierosolymæ id ipsum nomen tribuitur) _quod dixit R. Levi, Bonum est
civitati si nomen habet quod rex et regi si nomen habet quod Deus ejus,
sec. Ezech. xlviii. 35._ Etiam Justi qui Dei favore perfruuntur, Dei
nomine insigniuntur, Bava Bathra, fol. 75. 2. _Tria sunt quæ nomine
ipsius Dei veniunt, nimirum Justi, Jes. xliii. 7. Messias, Jer. xxiii.
6. Hierosolyma, Ezec. xlviii. 35._ Quo autem sensu Messias in Rabbinorum
scriptis nuncupetur _Jehovah Zidkenu_ docet R. Albo in Sepher Ikkarim
(v. Schoettgen. Hor. Heb. ii. 200.) _Scriptura nomen Messiæ vocat
Jehovah Zidkenu, quia mediator Dei est, per quem justitiam a Deo
accipiemus._ Kimchi: _Israelitæ vocabunt Messiam hoc nomine Jehovah
Zidkenu, quia temporibus ejus justitia Dei nobis firma et stabilis erit,
quæ nunquam recedet._” Kuinoel ad Joh. i. 1.

Page 125.—_Covert of the sabbath._] See Lightfoot, i. 2028. 2 Kings xvi.
18.

Page 125.—_Distance of Jericho from Jerusalem._] Ἀπέχει δὲ Ἱεροσολύμων
μὲν σταδιόυς ἑκατὸν πέντήκοντα, τοῦ δὲ Ιορδάνου ἐξήκοντα. Jos. Bell.
Jud. iv. 8. The view from the Mount of Olives is described by most
travellers in the Holy Land.

Page 128.—_The Therapeutæ._] Philo, who is the only ancient author who
speaks of the Therapeutæ, says, (de Vit. cont. Op. 892.) that there were
many of them in all parts of Egypt; but that their favourite residence
was a hill near the lake Mareotis. The Therapeutæ were, according to
him, the contemplative Essenes. Op. 889. They were great allegorists;
Ἐντυγχάνοντες τοῖς ιἑρωτάτοις γράμμασι, φιλοσοφοῦσι, την πάτριον
φιλοσοφίαν ἀλληγοροῦντες. They were called Therapeutæ, ἄπο τοῦ
θεραπεύειν τὸ Ὀν, p. 890. The account of the Essenes and the other
Jewish sects, the Pharisees and Sadducees, may be seen in Philo, Op.
876. Joseph. Bell. Jud. ii. 8. Ant. xiii. 5. xviii. 1. or Prideaux,
Conn. An. 107. who has translated great part of what Josephus says.

Page 132.—_A dreary waste._] “After some hours travel you arrive at the
mountainous desert into which our blessed Saviour was led, to be tempted
by the devil. A most miserable, dry, barren place it is, consisting of
high rocky mountains, so torn and disordered as if the earth had here
suffered some great convulsion, in which its very bowels had been turned
outward. On the left hand, looking down in a deep valley as we passed
along, we saw some ruins of small cells and cottages, which they told us
were formerly the habitations of hermits, retiring hither for penance
and mortification. And certainly there could not be found in the whole
earth a more comfortless and abandoned place for that purpose. From the
top of these hills of desolation, however, we had a delightful prospect
of the mountains of Arabia, the Dead Sea, and the plain of Jericho.”
Maundrell, p. 80. The reader will observe with what propriety this
region has been chosen for the scene of the parable of the good
Samaritan. See Buckingham, 292.

Page 134.—_Valour of the Essenes._] Philo (Op. 877.) represents them as
holding war in the utmost abhorrence, and never fabricating any
instrument which could be employed in it. Josephus praises (Bell. Jud.
ii. 8. 10.) the constancy which they displayed in the Roman war, but it
was in enduring torture. He speaks of them, however, as carrying swords
for their defence against thieves; and Philo mentions that the
Therapeutæ united for mutual protection, if their settlements were
attacked. Op. 893.

Page 138.—_Oasis of the Essenes._] It is placed in this neighbourhood on
the authority of Pliny, who represents them as living near the Dead Sea,
on the western side, but at such a distance as to avoid the effects of
the pestilential effluvia. N. H. v. 17.

Page 138.—_The books of doctrine and the names of the angels._]
Συντηρήσειν ὁμοίως τάτε τῆς αἱρέσεως αὐτῶν βιβλία καὶ τὰ τῶν ἀγγέλων
ὀνόματα. Jos. Bell. Jud. ii. 17. Thus rendered by Prideaux, “to preserve
with equal care the books containing the doctrine of their sect, and the
names of the _messengers_ by whose hands they were written and conveyed
to them.”

Page 140.—_Seated themselves at table._] This was the primitive custom
of the Jews, (as of the heroic times of Greece, Athen. lib. i. p. 11.)
See Gen. xxvii. 19. 1 Sam. xx. 5. 24, Amos ii. 8. is the first passage
of Scripture in which the recumbent posture is mentioned.

Page 141.—_No women were to be seen._] “Gens sola, et in toto orbe
præter ceteras mira sine ullâ feminâ, omni venere abdicatâ, sine
pecuniâ, socia palmarum. In diem ex æquo convenarum turbâ renascitur,
large frequentantibus quos vita fessos ad mores eorum fortunæ fluctus
agitat. Ita per seculorum millia, incredibile dictu gens æterna est in
qua nemo nascitur.” Plin. N. H. v. 17.

Page 149.—_The garden of God, the plain of Jericho._] See the
description in Josephus, B. J. iv. 8. Huds. Ὡς οὐκ ἀν ἁμαρτεῖν τινα
ἔιποντα, θεῖον εἶναι τὸ χωρίον, ἐν ᾧ δαψιλῆ τὰ σπανιώτατα καὶ καλλίστα
γεννᾶται. Other particulars respecting the city and the region which
surrounds it may be found in Reland, 829. Most modern travellers to the
Holy Land also describe it. See Maundrell, p. 80. seq. Pococke, ii. 31.
Epiphanius describes Jericho as having a circuit of twenty stadia. It is
generally supposed that the village of Rihhah, about three miles from
the Jordan, marks the site, as it evidently bears the name of Jericho.
But Rihhah has no ruins, such as might have been expected on the site of
so considerable a city. Hence it has been thought that the ancient
Jericho stood nearer the mountains, at a place where many broken shafts
and other traces of buildings are visible, and at the distance of six
miles from the Jordan. Buckingham, 295.

Page 158.—_Chiefly inhabited by priests._] This circumstance serves
still further to illustrate the local propriety of the parable of the
good Samaritan.

Page 161.—_Bethabara._] Βηθαβαρὰ בית עברה denotes a place of passage.
John i. 28. Engeddi was called, from its palms, Hazazon Thamar, 2 Chron.
xx. 2. It was a large village. Pliny, who calls it the second town in
Judæa after Jerusalem, (v. 17.) must have confounded it with Jericho. It
was about three hundred stadia from Jerusalem.

Page 161.—_Balsam shrubs._] Pliny N. H. xii. 25. ii. 672. Hard. “Omnibus
odoribus præfertur balsamum, uni terrarum Judæa concessum, quondam in
duobus tantum hortis utroque regio, altero jugerum xx non amplius,
altero pauciorum. Opes Judæis ex vectigalibus opobalsami crevere, quod
in his tantum regionibus gignitur. Est namque vallis quæ continuis
montibus velut muro quodam ad instar castrorum clauditur. Spatium loci
ducenta jugera nomine Hierichus dicitur. In ea sylva est et ubertate et
amœnitate insignis; palmeto et opobalsamo distinguitur. Arbores
opobalsami formam similem piceis arboribus habent, nisi quod sunt
humiles magis et in vinearum morem excoluntur. Hæ certo anni tempore
balsamum sudant” Justin, xxxvi. 4. The balsam tree appears to be a
native of Arabia Felix, (see Bruce’s Travels, v. 19-24.) and, according
to Josephus, the queen of Sheba brought it into Judæa, Λέγουσι δ’ ὅτι
καὶ τὴν τοῦ ὀποβαλσάμου ῥιζαν, ἥν ἔτι καὶ νῦν ἡμῶν ἡ χώρα φέρει, δόυσης
ταῦτης τῆς γυναικὸς ἔχομεν. Ant. viii. 6. Various ancient authors
describe the shrub. See Dr. T. M. Harris’s Nat. Hist, of the Bible,
published at Boston, N. A. Beneath the desolating sway to which
Palestine is subject, the balsam has disappeared from the plain of
Jericho. Pococke, 32. Volney, Voy. en Syrie, ii. 187. Arabia now
supplies what is imported under the name of Balsam of Mecca.
Hasselquist, 293.

What is _now_ called the rose of Jericho is a species of _thlaspi_,
according to Pococke. Mariti describes it as a small plant, having a
number of stems which diverge from the earth; they are covered with few
leaves but loaded with flowers, which appear red in the bud, but turn
paler as they expand, and at length become white entirely. The flowers,
he says, have a great resemblance to those of the elder, but have no
smell. This can hardly be the plant of which Wisdom says, (Eccles. xxiv.
14.) “I was exalted like a palm-tree in Engaddi, and a rose plant in
Jericho.”

Page 162.—_The Dead Sea._] Of the ancient geographers, Strabo has given
the fullest account of the Dead Sea, but strangely confounding it with
the lake of Sirbonis, (xvi. p. 763. 4.) He particularly mentions the
tradition of the country, that the cities had been destroyed by an
earthquake and an eruption of sulphur and fire. It is not surprising
that where there was so much to astonish, imagination should have
exaggerated even the real wonders of the scene. What is mentioned in the
text is agreeable to the observations of the latest travellers, except
that it does not appear that those dark clouds of smoke rise from the
surface, which the author has described, p. 133. What has given rise to
the account has probably been the exhalations which often hang in a
dense cloud over the stagnant waters. Volney, i. 182. 3. Irby and
Mangles, p. 447. By far the most accurate account of the Dead Sea, is
that which is given by the authors last referred to, in their
unpublished Travels in Syria. Hitherto it had scarcely been explored by
an European traveller on the southern side, and consequently its extent,
in that direction, had been very much overrated. Including what they
call its _back-water_, a shallow bay forming a prolongation of it on the
south, (p. 454) it cannot exceed, they say, thirty miles at the utmost,
though the ancients have assigned to it a length of from seventy-five to
eighty. Nor is it possible that it should anciently have extended much
further than it now does; because at the distance of about eight or ten
miles to the south of the present limit of the backwater, a range of
cliffs completely closes the valley of the Ghor, (p. 454.) This is
therefore the utmost extent that the lake can have had in ancient times.

The saltness and bitterness of the water mentioned in the text does not
arise from a mixture of naphtha and asphaltes, but from the large
quantities of the muriates of magnesia, soda, and lime, which it
contains, amounting to a fourth part of the weight, according to Dr.
Marcet’s analysis. Phil. Trans. 1807, p. 296. Hence the great specific
gravity of the water, which has been exaggerated as if the human body
could not sink in it. Tac. Hist. v. 6.

Page 162.—_Apples of Sodom._] Wisdom x. 7. (where, however, the land is
only described as “bearing fruit that never comes to ripeness.”) Tac.
Hist. v. 7. Jos. Bell. Jud. iv. 8. “_Poma Sodomitica_, are the fruits of
the _Solanum Melongena_, Linnæi; these I found in plenty about Jericho,
in the vales near Jordan, not far from the Dead Sea. It is true they are
sometimes filled with a dust, yet this is not always the case, but only
when the fruit is attacked by an insect (_tenthredo_) which turns all
the inside into dust, leaving the skin only entire, and of a beautiful
colour.” Hasselquist, p. 287.

Page 164.—_Ceremonies of circumcision._] These are described from the
practices of the modern Jews; see Buxtorf. cap. ii. p. 79.

Page 166.—_Every guest found in the fore-court a splendid caftan._]
Comp. Matt. xxii. 11. the parable of the wedding garment; it has been
reasonably concluded that so severe a punishment would not have been
inflicted on the man who was not in a wedding garment, if it had not
been offered to all the guests.

Page 167.—_Mashal._] This name the Hebrews gave to those sententious and
figurative maxims of moral wisdom of which the Proverbs of Solomon are a
specimen. See Lowth, Prel. 24. Samson’s wedding affords an example of
such “wit-trials” as are here described, Judges xiv.

Page 176.—_Reckoning of the days from the Passover._] See Maimonides,
ap. Cren. Fasc. vi. 477.

Page 179.—_The Galileans._] Josephus (Bell. Jud. iii. 3.) describes the
extent and the fertility of Galilee. Lightfoot, Works, vol. ii. p. 78,
has collected from the Rabbins several instances of the false
pronunciation of the Galileans. Wetstein on Matt. xxvi. 73. The contempt
in which they were held by the learned inhabitants of Jerusalem is
sufficiently known from the New Testament.

Page 184.—_Insult offered to Hyrcanus by the Pharisees._] This
circumstance is related by Josephus, (Ant. xiii. 10.) The reason alleged
by the Pharisees, if it were their real motive, was honourable to them.
Οὐ γάρ ἐδοκει λοιδορίας ἕνεκα θανάτῳ ζημιοῦν· ἄλλως τε καὶ φύσει πρὸς,
τὰς κολάσεις ἐπιεικῶς ἔχουσιν οἱ Φαρισαῖοι.

Page 186.—_Azereth._] See Lightfoot, “of the Pentecost, עצרת,” Works,
vol. ii. p. 970. Josephus, Ant. iii. 10. 6. This name is given to other
festivals in Scripture, but never to this, except by the Rabbins. It is
not said in Scripture that the law was given on this day, but it is
inferred by calculation of the time. The Israelites came out of Egypt on
the fifteenth of Nisan, and they reached the foot of Sinai on the new
moon of the third month from their departure, (Exod. xix. 1.) adding the
fifteen remaining days of Nisan to twenty-nine of Siv, the first day of
Sivan would be the forty-fifth from their departure. Five days more
elapsed, (Exod. xix. 3. 7, 8. 11.) before the law was actually given.
Jennings’s Jew. Ant.

Page 195.—_Rama._] This, which signifies _high_, was a name borne by so
many places in Palestine, that it is difficult to discriminate them.
Reland, p. 581, 964, supposes that the Arimathea of the New Testament
was near Lydda. 1 Macc. i. 34.

Page 197.—_Lebona._] Now Leban, on the road from Jerusalem to Naplosa.
Maundrell, p. 63.

Page 199.—_Sichem._] Of its position see Buckingham, p. 63. Reland makes
Sichem or Sichar (John iv. 5.) to be ten miles from Shiloh, and forty
from Jerusalem, p. 1007. The town of Neapolis, called by the inhabitants
Mabortha, (Jos. Bell. iv. 8.) was built so nearly on the site of Sichem,
that it is generally spoken of as the same. The name is retained in the
modern Naplosa or Nablous. Dr. Clarke bears testimony to the romantic
beauty of the situation, (iv. 268.) Maundrell, p. 62, supposes that the
city may have anciently extended nearer to Joseph’s well, as a mile
seems a great distance to come to draw water. Mr. Buckingham, however,
says that there are traces of sepulchres _between_ the well and the
city, which must have been without the walls. Travels, p. 543.

Page 200.—_Moreh._] Like Mamre, it was celebrated for its terebinths,
(Deut. xi. 30.) and the two places have sometimes been confounded
together.

Page 203.—_The Samaritans._] A remnant of this people, escaping the
persecutions of the emperor Justinian, (Gibbon, viii. 323.) has still
continued to inhabit Sichem, and to celebrate their festivals on mount
Gerizim. Basnage, vii. c. 25, 26. Had the despot effected his purpose of
exterminating or converting them, Revelation would have been deprived of
the evidence which their copy of the Pentateuch furnishes of the general
integrity of the Mosaic writings. This invaluable document was first
brought into Europe about 1640 A. D. About forty of them still remain at
Naplosa. Jowett’s Christian Researches, p. 425. No ancient authority
supports the Samaritan reading of Gerizim for Ebal, Deut. xxvii. 4.
Josh. viii. 30. Had the Jews corrupted the reading out of hatred to the
Samaritan worship, they would have made Gerizim the Mount of Cursing,
Deut. xxvii. 12.

Page 204.—_Well may Shechem be called Sychar._] שכר, _Sicar_, signifies
in Hebrew to be intoxicated, and שקר to lye. Isaiah xxviii. 3. The Jews,
even in their most serious compositions, delighted in this play on
words. Isaiah x. 30.

Page 206.—_Samaria._] Dr. Richardson’s Travels (ii. p. 414) contain the
fullest account which any modern traveller has given of the present
state of Samaria. There are still many magnificent remains of the
buildings erected by Herod when he raised it from its ruins and named it
in honour of Augustus, Sebaste. Jos. Ant. xv. 8. 5. The historian
relates its destruction by Hyrcanus, Ant. xiii. 10. 4.

Page 206.—_A tribe of wandering shepherds._] Compare the picture of the
Bedouin Arabs in Volney (Voyage en Syrie, i. 235, 239, 40.) Clarke, vi.
248. and of the Turkmans, Russell, i. 388.

Page 211.—_Route of the Tyrian commerce._] The remains of this paved
road leading towards Tyre are still distinctly visible along the coast.
See Irby and Mangles, Travels, p. 197.

Page 211.—_Megiddo._] Called Μαγδόλος by Herodotus, ii. 159. in his
narrative of the victory of Pharaoh Necho.

Page 211.—_Turris Stratonis._] It is uncertain from, whom this town
received its name. Herod occupied ten years in restoring and beautifying
it, and forming the harbour; and gave it, in honour of Augustus, the
name of Cæsarea. Jos. Ant. xvi. 5. Bell. Jud. i. 21. It was called
Καισάρεια Σεβαστή (Augusta) and ἐπι τῇ θαλασσῇ, to distinguish it from
Cæsarea Philippi or Paneas, near Dan. It was to Cæsarea Augusta that
Paul was sent when his life was threatened by the Jews. Acts xxiii. 23.
From the account of Josephus it should seem as if it had had no harbour
before Herod formed one; for he observes, that the whole coast from Dan
to Joppa was without a harbour. Bell. Jud. i. 21.

Page 213.—_The purple dye._] The manner of making it is fully described
by Pliny, N. H. lib. ix. 60. seq. “Two shell-fish were employed to
furnish it, the _murex_ and the _purpura_; the former gave a dark blue
colour; the latter a brighter tint, approaching to scarlet. The liquor
is contained in a sort of pouch, which occupies the middle part of the
shell; the shells are carefully broken, so as to preserve the part
entire; they are sprinkled with salt, and the mucilage which they form
is put into a leaden caldron and heated; the fleshy particles are
gradually drawn off and the liquor left pure. The purple tint was given
by the mixture of the two juices.” Swinburne’s Travels in Sicily, ii.
64, 65.

Page 213.—_Acco._] It received the name of Ptolemais from one of the
kings of Egypt. In the middle ages, when it became celebrated in the
history of the crusades, it resumed its original name, slightly altered,
and is now called Acre. It lies on the northern side of the promontory
of Carmel. See Maundrell, p. 54.

The Τυρίων κλίμαξ, which, according to Josephus, (Bell. Jud. ii. 10.)
was one hundred stadia north of Ptolemais, appears to have been the
_White Cliff_ in which the chain of Antilibanus terminates, and it
probably derived its name from the road described by Egmont and Heyman,
ii. 232. Maundrell erroneously places it to the north of Berytus, (p.
35.) It is so steep, says Mr. Buckingham, (p. 58) as “in some places to
render _steps_ necessary:” hence the name κλίμαξ.

Page 215.—_Lebanon._] “Præcipuum montium Lebanum erigit, mirum dictu
tantos inter ardores opacum fidumque nivibus.” Tac. Hist. v. 6. לבן
signifies in Hebrew _white_. Libanus and Antilibanus are described by
Strabo, xvi. 755. Reland, lib. i. c. 47. The part of the chain
Antilibanus, which was called Hermon by the Israelites, was called
Sirion by the Sidonians, and Shenir (the Sannir or Sannin of the Arabs)
by the Amorites, Deut. iii. 9. They are sometimes distinguished from
each other (Cant. iv. 8.) as different points of the same mountain
chain. Some geographers have placed another Hermon in Galilee, near
Tabor, (see Reland’s and Pococke’s maps) from Ps. lxxxix. 12. where,
however, Tabor and Hermon seem to be conjoined, as having each witnessed
a signal display of Jehovah’s power. Josh. xi. 17. Judges iv. See
Lightfoot, ii. 369.

Page 215.—_Dan._] Josephus (Ant. v. 3. viii. 8.) speaks of Dan as
situated in the great plain of Sidon, and near Libanus and the source of
the Lesser Jordan. Lightfoot and Reland suppose that the _Lesser_ is the
Jordan before it reaches the lake Samochonitis. This seems not probable.

Page 218.—_Tyre._] In the description of Tyre, v. 6, the islands of
Chittim are Greece, Macedonia, Italy, and its dependent islands, Sicily,
Corsica, Sardinia, &c. Comp. Gen. x. 4. Dan. xi. 30. 1 Mace. i. 1. viii.
5. It is not wonderful that the Jews, knowing chiefly the southern parts
of Greece, Italy, Gaul, and Spain, which are so deeply indented by the
sea, should call them _isles_. Box, of extraordinary size, was produced
in Corsica, Plin. N. H. lib. xvi. 28. The prophet here describes some
extraordinary luxury in the equipment of a Tyrian vessel, not the
ordinary construction of their ships. V. 7. Elisha is Hellas, Greece.
Laconia was celebrated for its purple as well as many of the islands
adjacent to the Peloponnesus:

           ——nec Laconicas mihi
           trahunt honestæ purpuras clientæ.—Hor. Od. ii. 18.

See Bochart Geogr. Sacr. lib. iii. c. 4. It seems singular that Tyre, so
renowned for its own purple, should be represented as buying it from
Greece. Perhaps the fine linen or byssus of Elis, dyed purple, is meant.
Arvad is the Aradus of the ancients, on the coast of Phœnice. V. 9.
Gebal is the Byblos of the Greeks, another seaport of Phœnice, still
called Djebel. V. 11. Who the Gammadæans were is unknown; some consider
the word as meaning _guards_. See Rosenmüller in loc. V. 12. Tarshish is
generally agreed to be Tartessus in the south of Spain, celebrated for
its metallic riches. V. 13. The Tibarenians and Moschians (Tubal and
Meshech) inhabited the southern shores of the Pontus Euxinus.
Cappadocia, of which Tibarenia was a part, furnished many slaves to
other parts of the world; “Mancipiis dives eget æris Cappadocum rex.”
Hor. Epist. i. 6. Bochart, G. S. iii. 12. V. 14. Togarmah is Armenia,
which furnished an annual tribute of 20,000 colts to the kings of
Persia. Strabo, xi. p. 529. V. 15. Dedan is supposed by Bochart, iv. 6.
and Michaelis, Spic. Geogr. 201. to be Daden on the Persian gulf, and
the ivory and ebony to have been brought from India or Ethiopia. V. 16.
For ארם (Syria) the author has adopted the reading אדם, Edom, or Idumea.
V. 17. The narrow and rocky country of Tyre was “nourished” (Acts xii.
20. 1 Kings v. 9. 11.) from the abundance of corn in Judæa, especially
in Galilee. Minnith was on the other side Jordan; Pennag is unknown. It
is supposed by Newcome to be the grain called _panic_. V. 18. Chalybon
was the Greek name of the modern Haleb or Aleppo, whose wine was
celebrated as the best of Asia in ancient times, ὁ Περσῶν βασίλευς τὸ
Χαλυβῶνιον μόνον οἴνον ἕπινεν. Ath. i. c. 51. p. 28) and still much
esteemed. Russell’s Aleppo. V. 19. Nations of southern Arabia seem to be
meant by the names in this verse. V. 20. Dedan here mentioned is not the
same as that in v. 15, but an Idumean tribe. Isaiah xxi. 13. Gen. xxv.
3. V. 21. Kedar denotes an Arabic tribe, (Is. lx. 7.) celebrated for its
pastoral riches. V. 22. Sheba is the Sabæans; Rama, a town on the
Persian gulf, the Rhegma of Ptolemy; the wares which they are said to
bring must have been imported by them from India. V. 23. Haran, Cane,
and Eden, appear all to be places in Arabia; the meaning of
_Chilmedians_ is not ascertained. I have illustrated this passage at
some length from its importance in the history of the Tyrians, a people
by whom we have benefited so much, and yet of whom we know so little.

Page 221.—_Damascus._] See the description of the _Ager Damascenus_ in
Volney, Voyage en Syrie, ii. 158. Egmont and Heyman, ii. 255.

Page 222.—_The lake Phiala._] Φιάλη, _patera_, a round, or oval and
shallow vessel for drinking or libation, was a name given by the
ancients to other lakes from their form, especially those which are the
first receptacle of the waters of a river after issuing from their
source, Reland, p. 265. There can be little doubt that the lake of
Phiala is that which is described by Captains Irby and Mangles, p. 387.
“We saw close to us a very picturesque lake, apparently perfectly
circular, of little more than a mile in circumference, surrounded on all
sides by sloping hills, richly wooded. The singularity of this lake is,
that it has no apparent supply or discharge, and its waters appeared
perfectly still, though clear and limpid.” Ἐκ μὲν οὐν τῆς περιφερέιας
ἐτύμιως Φιάλη κέκληται τροχοειδὴς οὖσα λίμνη· μένειν δὲ ἐπὶ χέιλους αὐτη
ἀιει τὸ ὑδως, μήτε ὑπονοστοῦν μήτε ὑπερχεόμενον. Jos. Bell. Jud. iii. 9.
Josephus makes the lake Phiala to be one hundred and twenty stadia from
Cæsarea or Paneas, towards the Trachonitis, or north east; it also
agrees with the lake mentioned by Captains Irby and Mangles. The
apparent source of the Jordan at Banias, described with some
exaggeration perhaps by Josephus, Bell. Jud. i. 21. Ant. XV. 10. 3. as
in a mountain of immense height and itself unfathomable, is thus spoken
of by Seetzen. “The copious source of the river of Banias rises near a
remarkable grotto in the rock, on the declivity of which I copied some
ancient Greek inscriptions dedicated to Pan and the nymphs of the
fountain. The ancients gave the name of source of the Jordan to this
spring: but in fact it appears that the preference is due to the spring
of the river Hasberia, which forms the largest branch of the Jordan. The
spring of Tel-el-kadi, which the natives take for the source of the
Jordan, is that which least merits the name.” Yet the Tel-el-kadi, an
hour and a quarter north-east from Paneas, appears from Burckhardt, p.
42, to be the real Lesser Jordan of Josephus. It not unfrequently
happens that the smaller branch gives its name to the united stream, as
in the case of the Yorkshire Ouse, which is very small compared with the
waters of the Swale and Ure, whose names are lost in it. Whether the
fountain of Paneas have really that subterraneous communication with the
lake Phiala, of which Josephus Speaks, must be left to be ascertained by
future travellers. The experiment of throwing substances into the lake
which the spring casts up, is said by Josephus to have been made (Bell.
Jud. iii. 9. 7.) by Philip, tetrarch of Trachonitis. Our author
therefore speaks of it by a _prolepsis_. The Hasberia, which rises to
the north-west of Paneas, joins the stream from that place, about an
hour and a half below the town. Burckhardt, p. 38.

Page 223.—_The lake Samochonitis._] Josephus, Bell. Jud. iii. 9. 7. iv.
1. Reland, 262. It is now called Houle,[173] Burckhardt, p. 37. Pococke,
ii. p. 73, says of it: “The waters are muddy and esteemed unwholesome,
having something of the nature of a morass. After the snows are melted,
it is only a marsh through which the Jordan runs. The waters, by passing
through the rocky bed towards the sea of Tiberias, settle, purify, and
become very wholesome.”

-----

Footnote 173:

  Is this name a vestige of _Ulatha_, which Josephus (Ant. xv. 10. 3.
  xvii. 2, 3.) places near Paneas, and between Galilee and Trachonitis?

-----

Page 224.—_The leprosy._] Of this disorder and the Mosaic regulations
respecting it, see Michaelis, Mos. Law, 209. Jos. Ant. iii. 11.

Page 227.—_Bethsaida._] The name בית צידין implies a residence of
fishers, Reland, p. 653. According to Josephus, Ant. xviii. 2. the same
Philip who ascertained the real source of the Jordan, greatly enlarged
this fishing village, and changed its name from Bethsaida to Julias, in
honour of the daughter of Augustus. The old name however seems to have
kept its ground: for we never find the place called Julias in the New
Testament. According to Pococke, some ruins of it are to be found at a
place called Telouy. He mentions, however, a large village, still
bearing the name of Baitsida, about two miles west of the lake of
Gennesareth, and near the southern extremity, which he supposes to be
the Bethsaida of the gospels, while he regards the ruins of Telouy as
marking the site of the Bethsaida of the Gaulonitis, ii. 68.

Page 227.—_Magdela._] מגדל, signifying a tower, gave rise to the names
of many places in Palestine, Megiddo, Migdol, Magdela, &c. There is a
place which now bears the name of Magdol, a little to the north of
Tiberias; but the Magdala of the New Testament (Matt. xv. 39.) appears
to have been on the eastern side of the lake. Pococke, ii. 71.
Lightfoot, from the Talmudical writers, fixes it to the vicinity of
Gadara, or Omkeis, which is on the eastern side.

Page 227.—_Lake of Gennesareth._] Josephus (Bell. Jud. iii. 9.) makes
its length to be one hundred stadia, its breadth forty. Pococke thinks
its real length is about fourteen or fifteen miles. Clarke estimated its
breadth at six miles. “The water was as clear as the purest crystal;
sweet, cool, and most refreshing to the taste. Swimming to a
considerable distance from the shore, we found it so limpid that we
could discern the bottom covered with shining pebbles.” Clarke, v. 224.
Strabo, xvi. p. 755, mentions the aromatic plants of the shore; but
Burckhardt, p. 319, says he did not observe any of them.

Page 227.—_Capernaum._] Its situation is not accurately known; it is
commonly supposed to be _Telhoum_, (Burckhardt, p. 319) between the
Jordan and Tabegha. The plain of Gennesareth, (Pococke, ii. 71.) which
adjoins the lake on its western side, by its fertility, corresponds very
well with the description which Josephus (Bell. Jud. iii. 9.) gives of
the environs of the fountain of Capernaum. The name signifies the
_beautiful town_, (בפר נאה) an appellation which it must well have
deserved, according to the description which Josephus gives of the plain
of Gennesareth. Παρατείνει δὲ τὴν Γεννησὰρ ὁμώνυμος χῶρα, θαυμαστὴ φύσιν
τε καὶ κάλλος·—θιλοτιμίαν ἄν τις εἴποι τῆς θύσεως βιασαμένης εἰς ἔν
συναγαγεῖν τὰ μάχιμα καὶ τῶν ὡρῶν ἀχαθὴν ἔριν ἑκάστης ὥσπερ
αντιποιουμένης τοῦ χωρίου· καὶ γὰρ ου μόνον τρέφει παρὰ δόξαν τὰς
διαφόρους ὁπώρας ἄλλὰ καὶ διαφυλάσσει· τὰ μὲν γε βασιλικώτατα, σταφυλήν
τε καὶ σῦκον, δέκα μησὶν αδιαλείπτως χορηγεῖ· τοὺς δὲ λοιποὺς καρποὺς δὶ
ἔτους ὅλον περιγηράσκοντας αὐτοῖς. This plain may perhaps be that which
Burckhardt describes (p. 319) as lying at the southern foot of the
mountain which stretches down to the lake. It may be objected that
Tel-houm is not in this plain; but it is evident that Josephus speaks of
a larger plain, thirty stadia in length, while Burckhardt describes only
a part of it, which he occupied twenty minutes in crossing. The position
which the author assigns to Chorazin, on the eastern side, is very
doubtful. No traveller has hitherto been able to identify it. Jerome
places it two miles from Capernaum; and Dr. Richardson says, that the
natives, when he inquired for the ruins of Capernaum, told him that it
and Chorazin were near.

Page 228.—_Tabor._] The author (misled perhaps by the absurd prints in
Maundrell’s Travels) has rather fancifully described Tabor as resembling
a pillar; its real form is that of a truncated cone. Hence its name
טבור, _umbilicus_. See the view in Pococke, ii. pl. v. He says the
ascent is about two miles by a winding route, and the top of it half a
mile long and a quarter of a mile broad. Mr. Buckingham ascended it,
with great exertion, in half an hour. Others reckon the ascent at four
miles. Both Maundrell (p. 115) and Pococke speak of the magnificence of
the view from the summit. Egmont and Heyman mention its abounding in
game. (Travels, ii. 26.) I know not on what authority it is said that
the exhalations of the Dead Sea may be seen from it. The rivulet
mentioned as discharging itself into the sea of Tiberias, appears to be
that called Serrar by Egmont and Heyman, ii. 27. Mariti, ii. 126. But
Mr. Buckingham (p. 108) says, the Ain el Sharrar forms the Kishon; nor
is it probable, from the nature of the country, that a stream should
flow from the same point into the Mediterranean and the lake of Galilee.
There was a town on mount Tabor called Atabyrium, (Polybius, v. 70.)
which was taken by Antiochus. The mountain was very strongly fortified
by Josephus, when he commanded in Galilee, (Bell. Jud. ii. 20.) and
numerous traces of the works are still visible. Pococke, ii. 64.
Burckhardt, p. 332.

Page 229.—_Nazareth._] “Nazareth,” says Dr. Richardson, “stands in a
vale, resembling a circular basin encompassed by mountains: it seems as
if fifteen mountains met to form an enclosure for this delightful spot;
they rise round it like the edge of a shell, to guard it from
intrusion.” Travels with Lord Belmore, ii. 434. It does not stand, nor
do the words of the Evangelist imply it, (Luke iv. 29.) on the summit of
a hill, but on the side. Yet we should expect that the “brow” there
spoken of should be nearer to Nazareth than two miles, (Pococke, ii.
63.) or a mile and a half, (Richardson, ii. 441.) and Buckingham (p. 99)
mentions a precipice just above the town.

Page 231.—_Scythopolis._] It is uncertain for what reason the Greeks
gave the name of Σκυθοπόλις to Bethshan, unless from some event
connected with the incursion of the Scythians mentioned by Herod, i.
104. who spread themselves to the confines of Egypt, in the middle of
the seventh century before Christ. The present name is Bysan: many
remains of the ancient town of Su are still visible, from which
Burckhardt estimates its ancient circumference at three miles, (p. 343.)
Here he crossed the Jordan. From Bethshan to near Jericho, the western
bank of the Jordan is very barren, and there are no remains of cities on
it, (345 note.) Herod built a city to the north of Jericho, and thus
produced an increase of cultivation in the surrounding country, before
desert. Jos. Ant. xvi. 5. 3. The great plain of Esdraelon begins near
Bethshan, and extends across to Carmel. Egmont and Heyman, ii. 28. Jos.
Ant. xii. 8. 5. The boundaries of Galilee are laid down by Josephus, and
its fertility and populousness described, Bell. Jud. iii. 3. Vit. 45.

Page 233.—_The gate with its pious inscriptions._] The Jews of the
present day, to avoid profaning the word of God by public exposure,
write the passages of the law on parchment, (called Mezuzoth) and
enclose it in the door-post. Leo of Modena, P. i. c. 2.

Page 237.—“_He giveth it to his beloved in sleep._”] “Perennem et
solidam felicitatem dat suis quasi in somno,” Dathe, i. e. without
thought or labour on their part.

Page 241.—There are allusions in many passages of Scripture to parts of
the nuptial ceremonies; as Gen. xxiv. xxxiv. 8. Judges xiv. Isaiah lxii.
10. Esther ii. 8-12. Tobit viii. 19. 1 Maccab. ix. 37. Matth. ix. 15.
xxii. xxv. John ii. 1-10. Ps. xix. 5. Jer: vii. 34. But the
circumstances by which our author has filled up his description, are
chiefly taken from the accounts of nuptial ceremonies among the nations
of the east at the present day. See Russell’s Aleppo, i. 281; 436. ii;
48. 79. Harmer, iii. 295. Calmet’s Dict. Art. _Marriage_, Fragments to
Calmet, Nos. xlix. clvii. clxiii. Calmet’s Dissert. vol. i. 277.

The lifting of the bride over the threshold appears to be a Greek rather
than an Oriental custom; at least I do not remember to have seen it
mentioned in the authors who have described Oriental marriages. Nor is
it very probable that a Gentile, as Myron was, should have been allowed
to take part in so sacred a ceremony. Besides these companions, the New
Testament alludes to one, the paranymph or friend of the bridegroom,
(John iii. 29.) who stood at the door of the nuptial chamber.

Page 245.—These benedictions are those (much abridged) which the Jews
still employ at marriages. See Calmet.

Page 251.—_The Orphici of Thrace._] Of the Orphic and Pythagorean
discipline, see Herod, ii. 81. and Valckenaer on Euripid. Hipp. 956. The
Tomyri of Dodona were the priests of Jupiter, Strabo, 1. vii. p. 506.
They were the same probably as the Selloi, whose rigid mode of life is
alluded to by Homer, II. xvi. 233. Ἀπθὶ δὲ Σελλοὶ, Σοὶ ναίους’ ὑποθῆται
ἀνιπτόποδες χαμαιεῦναι. Soph. Trach. 1168. Heyne, Excurs. ad Il. loc
cit. A fragment of the Cretans of Euripides, preserved by Porphyry,
shows that the Curetes, priests of Idæan Jupiter, led a life very
similar to the Essenes. Καὶ Κουρήταν Βόκχος ἐκλήθην, ὁσιωθέις. Πάλλευκα
δ’ ἔχων εἴματα, θεύγω Γένεσίν τε βροτῶν καὶ νεκροθήκης Οὐ χριμπτόμενος·
τήν τ’ ἐπψύχων Βρῶσιν ἐδεστῶν πεθύλαγμαι.

Page 251.—_Worship of the earlier Samaritans._] When Salmanassar had led
captive the inhabitants of the kingdom of Israel, he supplied their
place by colonies from Babylon and other places, (2 Kings xvii.) who
brought with them their various idols. From this people and the
Israelites left in the land, sprung the Samaritans, who, if the Jews may
be believed, joined the worship of Jehovah with that of idols. Selden,
de Dis Syris, p. 327. Addit. p. 285.

Page 253.—_Insult to the beard._] The Scriptures contain proofs of the
susceptibility of the Hebrews on the subject of an indignity offered to
their beards, 2 Sam. x. 1-5. “The Arabs,” says Niebuhr, “never shave off
their beard. In the mountains of Yemen, where strangers are seldom seen,
it is a disgrace to appear shaven: they supposed our European servant
had committed some crime, for which we had punished him by cutting off
his beard.” I am not aware, however, that the cutting off the hair was a
judicial punishment among the Jews, unless Nehemiah xiii. 25. Isaiah 1.
6. should be thought to refer to it. The effect produced upon Elisama,
by Myron’s action, will hardly be thought to be exaggerated when
compared with the following passage from D'Arvieux’s account of the
Arabs: “The Arabians have so much respect for their beards that they
look upon them as sacred ornaments; nothing can be more infamous than
for a man to be shaved; they make the preservation of their beards a
capital point of religion, because Mahomet never cut off his. Among them
it is more infamous for any one to have his beard cut off, than among us
to be publicly whipped or branded with a hot iron. Many men in that
country would prefer death to such a punishment. The wives kiss their
husbands’ beards and children their fathers’, when they come to salute
them: the men kiss one another’s beards when they salute in the streets,
or come from a journey. They admire and envy those who have fine beards.
‘Pray do but see,’ they cry, ‘that beard; the very sight of it would
persuade any one that he to whom it belongs is an honest man.’ If any
one with a fine beard is guilty of an unbecoming action, ‘What a
disadvantage is this,’ they say, ‘to such a beard! How much such a beard
is to be pitied!’ If they would correct any one’s mistakes, they will
tell him, ‘For shame of your beard! Does not the confusion that follows
such an action light on your beard?’ If they entreat any one, or use
oaths in affirming or denying any thing, they say, ‘I conjure you by
your beard, by the life of your beard, to grant me this—or by your beard
this is or is not so,’ They say farther, in the way of acknowledgment,
‘May God preserve your blessed beard! May God pour out his blessings on
your beard!’ And in comparisons, 'This is more valuable than one’s
beard,'” Mœurs des Arabes par M. D'Arvieux, quoted in Fragments to
Calmet, xciii. Niebuhr (Descr. de l'Arabie, p. 26) mentions an Arab who
was so highly offended that a man had even accidentally let fall some of
his spittle on his beard, that it was with great difficulty he could be
prevented from taking sanguinary vengeance for the affront. The reader
who remembers Dr. Clarke’s description (Travels, v. 242.) of the
paroxysm of ungovernable rage produced in an Arab by a blow, will not
think the account in the text hyperbolical. “The Arab, recovered from
the shock he had sustained, sought only to gratify his anger by the
death of his assailant. Having speedily charged his _tophaike_,
(musquet) although trembling with rage to such a degree that his whole
frame appeared to be agitated, he very deliberately pointed it at the
object of his revenge, who only escaped assassination by dodging beneath
the horses, as often as the muzzle of the piece was directed against
him. Finding himself thus frustrated in his intentions, his fury became
ungovernable: his features livid and convulsed, seemed to denote
madness: no longer knowing what he did, he levelled his _tophaike_ at
the captain of Djezzar’s guard.”

Page 254.—_Ramoth Gilead._] It was fifteen miles to the westward of
Philadelphia or Amman. (Reland, p. 474, Burckhardt, p. 358.) Its site,
therefore, must be near that of Szalt, (Burckhardt, p. 347) perhaps El
Meysera, which stands on the Zerka, the Jabok of Scripture, and near the
mountains which are still called Djebal Djalaad (Gilead.) Or if the
words of Jerome, (Loc. Heb.) “juxta fluvium Jabbok,” should be thought
not necessarily to imply that it was _on_ the Jabbok, the site of the
ruined towns Djelaad and Djelaoud on mount Gilead itself, (Burckhardt,
348.) will suit the elevated position implied in the name Ramoth. The
Arnon is now called Modjet. See Burckhardt’s map. Mr. Buckingham
supposes Ramza (which is not upon the Zerka, nor on mount Gilead) to be
Ramoth. Travels, p, 337.

Page 255.—_Dromedaries._] The camel is the heavy beast of burden; the
dromedary is used on all occasions which require great expedition.
Shaw’s Travels, 167. The Arabs represent their speed as many times
exceeding that of the fleetest horse.

Page 256.—_The Goël._] The Jewish law respecting homicide and the
avenger of blood, has been fully discussed by Michaelis, § 131-136, who
has well illustrated the humanity and wisdom of the Mosaic legislation,
especially as contrasted with the precepts of the Koran. What is said in
the text of the practice of the east, applies in modern times, at least,
chiefly to the Bedoween Arabs. See Niebuhr, Descr. p. 28.

It may be observed, that Goël denoted the next of kin, not merely in his
character of avenger of blood, but as having the right of redemption of
an estate; (Mich. §. 137.) which may seem to make the etymology given in
the text doubtful.

Page 259.—_The balm of Gilead had been applied externally and
internally_.] The balm of Mecca is at this day used internally in
Palestine, according to Hasselquist; but I am not aware of any proof
that it was so anciently. “Les Hébreux ne parlent jamais des remèdes,
quand il s’agit de maux internes, de fièvres, de langueurs, de peste, de
douleurs de tête ou d’entrailles, mais seulement lorsqu’il y a blessure,
ou fracture, ou meurtrissure.” Calmet sur la Médecine des Hébreux, Diss.
vol. i. p. 331. That the Levites practised medicine, is probable from
the analogy of other sacerdotal castes, and from their being appointed
to decide in cases of leprosy: in their forty-eight cities they would be
sufficiently dispersed throughout the country to serve as physicians to
the people.

Page 261.—_Customs of mourning._] That it was usual in mourning to cover
the lower part of the face, appears from Ezek. xxiv. 16. where the
prophet is forbidden to adopt the customary marks of grief. “Forbear to
cry, make no mourning for the dead, _bind the tire of thine head upon
thee_, and put on thy _shoes upon thy feet_, and _cover not thy lips_,
and _eat not the bread of men_.” It appears from Addison’s account of
the Jews in Barbary, (Harmer, iii. 382.) that they still muffle the
lower part of the face in mourning. Probably the object was the same as
that of the muffling the lower part of the leper’s face, (Lev. xiii.
45.) to give an indistinct and lugubrious sound to the voice. Geier de
luctu Hebræorum, 259. The same passage of Ezekiel shows that it was
customary to lay aside the turban, (Harmer, iii. 386. Baruch vi. 31.)
and go barefoot in mourning, (Judith x. 4.) “Habebis calceamenta in
pedibus quæ lugentes solent abjicere: unde et David, Abassalon filium
fugiens et penitens super nece Uriæ, nudis pedibus incedit.” Hieronym.
in Ezek. loc. cit. 2 Sam. xv. 30. The laying aside the sandals was a
mark of humiliation, as well as sorrow; hence in times of public
calamity the Romans practised a solemn supplication, called
_nudipedalia_. “Cum stupet cœlum et aret annus nudipedalia
denunciantur, magistratus purpuras deponunt.” Tert. de Jej. 16. Geier,
p. 306. The rending of garments, beating the breast, strewing ashes on
the head, and putting on sackcloth, need no illustration.

The Alijah was probably the upper chamber in which the body of Tabitha
(Acts ix. 37.) was laid. Of the hasty interment of the Jews in later
times, the history of Ananias and Sapphira is a sufficient proof. Such
is the present practice of the east. Russell, i. 306.

It is plain, from the New Testament, that the custom of employing hired
mourners prevailed among the Jews in our Saviour’s time; (Matt. ix. 23.
Mark v. 38.) and probably the “mourning women” (Jer. ix. 17.) are to be
understood of hired mourners, such as the Romans called _præficæ_. It is
mentioned (Amos viii. 3.) as a characteristic of a great mortality, that
the dead should be _cast forth in silence_. Males seem also to have been
employed as mourners. Amos v. 16.

Page 262.—_The body was wrapped in a sheet._] That the arms and feet
were swathed separately, and not fastened to the body or together, is
rendered probable by John xi. 44. where Lazarus, when raised to life, is
represented as _coming forth_ from the sepulchre, before the grave
clothes are taken off. The sheet is the σίνδων, in which, according to
Matt, xxvii. 59. Joseph of Arimathea wrapt the body of our Saviour, on
the evening of the crucifixion, when there was no time for the minute
bandaging with the κειρίαι, mentioned in the history of Lazarus. But
whether both were combined, as mentioned in the text, may be doubted.

The wringing of the hands above the head was a mark of extreme grief.
Jer. ii. 37. Geier, 290.

Page 264.—_Burning was reckoned dishonourable._] “Corpora condere, quam
cremare, e more Egyptio.” Tac. Hist. v. 5. They differed, however, in
this from the Egyptians, that they only _wrapt_ the body in spices, and
did not fill the cavities with them. The burnings mentioned in
Scripture, in connection with royal funerals, appear to have been
burnings of spices, (2 Chron. xvi. 14.) in other cases a mark of a great
mortality, as (Amos vi. 10.) requiring a more expeditious kind of
sepulture. Josephus (cont. Apion. ii. 26.) is referred to as mentioning
the custom of all who met a funeral joining in the lamentation; Πᾶσι δὲ
τοῖς παριοῦσι θαπτομένου τινὸς καὶ συνελθεῖν καὶ συναποδύρασθαι ἐπόησε
νόμιμον. The common reading, however, is περιοῦσι, “survivors of the
family,” which suits the connection better. Of the Hebrew sepulchres a
large account is given in Nicolaus de Sepulchris Hebræorum, Lugd. Bat.
1606. The custom of throwing a sod is introduced from the practice of
the modern Jews. Buxtorf Synagoga, c. 35. p. 502. The annual whitening
of the sepulchres was, according to the Rabbins, a charge of the
magistracy, and performed in the month Adar, (Nicolaus, p. 237) i. e. a
short time before the Passover; a circumstance of which Harmer (iii.
449.) does not appear to have been aware. It is remarkable that the
Mahometans whiten their sepulchres before their great solemnity of
Ramadan.

Page 265.—_The bread of mourning and the cup of consolation._] This
custom is alluded to in Ezek. xxiv. 17. Jer. xvi. 5. 7. 8. “Neither
shall men break bread among them on account of a mourner, to comfort him
over a deceased friend; nor shall men make them drink of the cup of
consolation because of one’s father, or because of one’s mother.”
Blayney’s Translation, and the margin of the common Bible. “The origin
of this custom undoubtedly was, that the friends of the mourner who came
to comfort him; (and that they often came in great numbers we may learn
from John xi. 19.) easily concluding that a person so far swallowed up
of grief as even to forget his bread could hardly attend to the
entertainment of so many guests, each sent in his proportion of meat and
drink, in hopes to prevail on the mourner, by their example and
persuasion, to partake of such refreshment as might tend to recruit both
his bodily strength and his spirits.” Blayney. Geier de luct. Heb. p.
166.

Page 265.—_The mourning lasted seven days._] The shortest term of
mourning appears to have been seven days; (Gen. 1. 10. Jos. Ant. xvii.
8.) many extended it to thirty. Num. xxxiv. 8. Bell. Jud. iii. 8. “At
Aleppo,” says Russell, “the near relations visit the sepulchre on the
third, the seventh, and the fortieth day after the interment. The women
likewise visit the graves on their ordinary garden days. They set out
early in the morning, attended by a small train of females, carrying
flowers and aromatic herbs to bestrew the tomb. The moment they arrive
at the place, they give loose afresh to their sorrow in loud screams
interrupted at intervals by the chief mourner, who, in a lower tone of
voice, recalls the endearing circumstances of past times, or, in a
tender apostrophe to the deceased, appeals to the pains she incessantly
employed to render his life happy: she describes the forlorn condition
of his family now he is gone, and mingles fond reproach with professions
of unalterable affection.” ii. 311.

Page 269.—_The palms._] See the account of the various uses of this tree
(the natives reckon up 360) in Mariti’s Travels, ii. p. 348. Harris’s
Nat. Hist. of the Bible. “A considerable part of the inhabitants of
Egypt, Arabia, and Persia subsist almost entirely upon its fruit; they
boast also of its medicinal virtues. Their camels feed upon the
date-stone; and from the leaves they make couches, baskets, bags, mats,
and brushes; from the branches, cages for their poultry, and fences for
their gardens; from the fibres of the boughs, thread, ropes, and
rigging; from the sap is prepared a spirituous liquor, and the body of
the tree furnishes fuel.” Clarke, v. 409. Notwithstanding their being
wholly destitute of lateral branches, and of great height, they are
climbed with ease by the prominences of the bark, which form a kind of
natural ladder. “The _terebinth_,” says Mariti, (iii. 29.) “has leaves
of a figure much like that of the olive. The flowers are like those of
the vine, and grow in bunches; they are of a purple colour, and produce
no fruit. The fruit grows among the branches; they are of the size of
juniper berries, hang in clusters, and contain each a small seed, of the
size of a grape-stone: they are of a ruddy purple colour and are
remarkably juicy.” The _pistachio_, is the בטן of the Hebrews, (Gen.
xliii. 11.) still called _bouttoum_ in the Holy Land. (Burckhardt, 346.)
Harris’s N. H. of the Bible, Art. _Nut._ It was found, if not
exclusively, at least in the highest perfection, in Syria and Palestine;
(Bochart, Geogr. Sacr. lib. i. c. 10. Op. iii. 387.) and is reckoned by
Jacob (Gen. xliii. 11.) among the choice fruits of the land which his
sons were to carry down as a present into Egypt.

Page 269.—_The balsam was scraped from the tree._] “Balsamum, modica
arbor: ut quisque ramus intumuit si vim ferri adhibeas, pavent venæ:
fragmine lapidis aut testa aperiuntur.” Tac. Hist. v. 6. This was the
most precious kind of the balsam, called _opobalsamum_; that expressed
from the seeds, _carpobalsamum_; that obtained by crushing and boiling
down the shoots, _xylobalsamum_.

Page 275.—_The simoom._] Dr. Clarke (iv. 252.) says of the simoom, as
experienced by him in Palestine, “Its parching influence pervaded all
places alike, and coming as from a furnace, it seemed to threaten us all
with suffocation. The author was the first who sustained serious injury
from the fiery blast, being attacked by giddiness accompanied with
burning thirst, headach, and frequent fits of shivering ensued, and
these ended in violent fever.” Notwithstanding the respectable
authorities for its deadly effects in the desert, the accurate
Burckhardt (Travels in Nubia, p. 189) says, “I inquired, as I had often
done before, whether my companions had often experienced the Semoum,
which we translate by the poisonous blast of the desert, but which is
nothing more than a violent south-east wind. They answered in the
affirmative; but none had ever known an instance of its having proved
fatal. I have been repeatedly exposed to the hot wind in the Syrian and
Arabian deserts, in Upper Egypt and Nubia. The hottest and most violent
I ever experienced was at Suakin, yet even there I felt no particular
inconvenience from it, although exposed to all its fury in the open
plain. For my own part I am perfectly convinced that all the stories
which travellers, or the inhabitants of the towns of Egypt and Syria,
relate of the Semoum are greatly exaggerated, and _I never could hear of
a single well-authenticated instance of its having proved mortal either
to man or beast._ I never observed that the Semoum blows close to the
ground, as commonly supposed, but always observed the whole atmosphere
appear as if in a state of combustion: the dust and sand are carried
high into the air, which assumes a reddish, or bluish, or yellowish
tint, according to the nature and colour of the ground from which the
dust arises.”

Page 277.—The law respecting the water of jealousy will be found Num. v.
11-31. and the Rabbinical traditions in Lightfoot, Works, i. 982. Jos.
Ant. iii. 11. 6. To many readers it will doubtless appear a harsh and
unequal institution, authorizing one party to impose upon the other an
oath of purgation, to be taken under circumstances very painful to the
feelings, to remove a suspicion which might originate in unreasonable
jealousy. But it must be remembered, that the idea of equality between
the parties in the conjugal relation never entered into the minds of the
ancients, least of all of the Orientals; and that the jealous husband
would often have taken the law into his own hands and put the suspected
wife to death, if this mode of satisfying his doubts had not been
prescribed by the legislator. The Mosaic law did not undertake, by a
perpetual miracle, to create in a barbarous age and in the bosom of the
east, a people characterised by the refined humanity and respect for the
rights of human nature which the influence of Christianity and centuries
of improvement have produced in modern Europe, but to soften and elevate
as far as possible the national character. Regarded in this light, the
Mosaic law of the water of jealousy will be considered like the
institution of the cities of refuge, as a humane appointment, to
moderate an evil which it was impossible to eradicate. Michaelis (Mos.
Law, § 263.) has shown how well the whole ceremony was adapted to strike
terror into a guilty person, and prevent all but the most abandoned and
hardened from attempting to perjure themselves—so that it would rarely
happen that divine interposition would be called for to punish the
crime. It does not appear from the law in the book of Numbers, what was,
to be the punishment of the woman, if, under the influence of conscience
and apprehension, she made confession. The Rabbins say that she was to
be divorced; (Lightfoot, ubi supra) they also tell us that the
punishment sometimes did not follow the drinking of the water for two or
three years. It seems more probable, however, that it was the intention
of the lawgiver, whatever the practice might be, that the woman, if she
confessed, should be punished in the usual way as an adultress. See v.
31. We are told by the Rabbins that the use of this test was abolished,
when the Sanhedrim lost the power of life and death. Such an _ordeal_
was indeed very abhorrent from the Roman jurisprudence. Lightfoot,
Works, ii. 111.

It may be observed, that the law does not require the husband to put the
offering of jealousy into the wife’s hand, as represented in the text,
but into the priest’s.

Page 291.—_Blowing of trumpets._] The object for which this was
appointed is not well ascertained, and various fanciful reasons are
given by the Jews. Reland, Ant. Heb. p. 509. Perhaps it was nothing more
than to mark the commencement of the civil year.

Page 297.—_A goat for a sin-offering._] The directions for sin-offerings
are found, Lev. iv. Num. xv. 22. From these passages it appears, that
these offerings were prescribed in the case of sins of ignorance;
unintentional, and at the time unobserved, violations of the Levitical
law. The sacrifice of Helon in the text, appears to be represented by
the author as a voluntary expression of remorse for his unjust conduct;
a purpose very foreign from the design of the sin-offerings spoken of in
the passages above quoted. It may also be observed, that the law takes
no notice of the case of a priest incurring guilt: perhaps he might be
included under the general term ruler.

Besides sin-offerings, (called הטאת) trespass-offerings אשם were also to
be presented, Lev. v. vi. xiv. 12, 13. xix. 20. 22. Num. vi. 11, 12.;
chiefly in cases of the breach of some social duty, and in addition to
the penalties provided against the offence, but also for Levitical
defilement and sins of ignorance. They differed chiefly in this, that a
sin-offering was sometimes made for the whole congregation; a
trespass-offering only for individuals; a bullock was never sacrificed
for a trespass-offering, and the blood of the latter was sprinkled at
the bottom of the altar, not dropped on the horns. Jennings’s Jew. Ant.
ii. 332. Lightfoot, Works, i. 929. &c.

Page 302.—The ritual for the day of atonement will be found, Lev. xvi.
xxiii. 27-32. Num. xxix. 7-11. What is described in the text beyond the
warrant of these passages, is derived from Rabbinical authority. See the
treatise Joma יומא i. e. _the_ day κατ’ ἐξοχὴν) in Surenh. Mischna, ii.
206. et seq. Lightfoot, i. 961. It is doubtful whether a substitute were
chosen to fill the place of the high-priest; for Josephus (xvii. 6. 4.)
mentions an instance in which, having incurred pollution just before the
day of atonement, it was necessary to create another for the rites of
this day. As the high-priest had on this day to perform the office of a
common priest, for which his splendid robes of ceremony would have been
inconvenient, he went through this part of his duties in the ordinary
sacerdotal dress of byssus, i. e. probably at this time cotton. The word
by which the material of the priest’s dress is described in the Mosaic
law is שש or בד, בוץ (byssus) not occurring in any of the books of
Scripture before the captivity. As the Jewish ritual was formed in so
great a degree upon that of Egypt, where the priests certainly wore
linen garments, in a country early celebrated for its flax, (Exod. ix.
31.) it is probable that the garments of the priests were directed by
the law to be made of this material, but that when the use of cotton was
learnt, it was substituted for linen. This appears to have been the case
in Egypt also; for Herodotus (ii. 81.) describes the priests as wearing
κιθῶνας λινεόυς, but the mummies as being swathed, σινδόνος βυσσίνης
τελαμῶσι (85.) while Pliny (N. H. xix. 1.) says, “Superior pars Ægypti,
in Arabiam vergens, gignit _fruticem quem gossypion_ vocant; _vestes
inde sacerdotibus_ Ægypti gratissimæ.”

Page 306.—_He hurled the goat down._] It does not appear that the goat
was to be thrown from the rock for the purpose of destroying it, but to
be turned into the wilderness, (Jos. Ant. iii. 10. 3.) as an emblem of
the sin of the people, pardoned and removed from sight. This is the
obvious etymology of the name עו אול, _caper abitus_, or _scape goat_,
as our translation renders it. The desert of Zuk appears to have no
existence but in Rabbinical geography.

Page 307.—_His meil._] The meil (מעיל)of the high-priest was worn
immediately over his linen vest or tunic, and had bells and pomegranates
round the borders; it had no sleeves, and sat close round the neck. The
dress of the ordinary priests and the high-priest is described by
Josephus, (Ant. iii. 7.) who also unfolds the spiritual meaning of every
part.

Page 314.—_The Feast of Tabernacles._]—The law for its observance is
found Exod. xxiii. 16. (where it is called “the feast of ingathering at
the end of the year.”) Lev. xxiii. 33-43. Deut. xvi. 16. Jos. Ant. iv.
8. 12. It was one of the greatest of all the Jewish festivals. Jos. Ant.
viii. 4, The treatise entitled _Succah_ in the Mishna, (Surenh. ii.
259.) contains the traditions of the Rabbins. See Lightfoot, i. 974.
Reland, p. 477. It was at once a memorial of the wandering in the
desert, and a thanksgiving for the close of harvest.

The Jews, both in ancient and modern times, (Jos. Ant. iii. 10. xiii.
13. 5.) have interpreted the command in Lev. xxiii. 40. “And ye shall
take unto you the boughs of _goodly trees_,” to mean branches of the
citron. They make them into a bundle with the other boughs there
mentioned, though it is probable that the goodly trees are pointed out
as the materials of which the booths were to be constructed. Comp.
Nehem, viii. 18. The Samaritans (Basnage, History of the Jews, vii. c.
26.) and the Karaite Jews (Reland, 485.) appear to understand the words
of the law in this sense.

Page 317.—_Drawing of water from Siloah._] This was evidently practised
in our Saviour’s time; who, according to his usual custom of making
passing events subservient to purposes of instruction, “cried in the
temple on the last the great day of the feast, If any man thirst, let
him come unto me and drink.” John vii. 37. Which words, according to the
Evangelist, referred to the effusion of the Holy Spirit. It is probable
that the custom originally alluded to the rain: for, according to the
Mishna, they began to pray for rain after the Feast of Tabernacles, and
continued to do so till the Passover. Surenhus. ii. 356. It is doubtful
whether the drawing the water were performed, as here represented, on
every day of the festival: from the Evangelist we should rather conclude
that it was only on the last. The Rabbinical traditions are discordant.

Page 319.—I know not on what authority it is related that the people
showered their leaves and fruit on the high-priest; and I suspect that
it may have originated from a misapprehension of a passage in Josephus,
(Ant. xiii. 13. 5.) in which the Jews are said to have done this as a
mark of their displeasure against their high-priest Alexander. Another
instance is mentioned in the Talmud, in which the people testified in
the same way their displeasure against some one who had performed his
office carelessly, Lightfoot, i. 976.

Page 321.—_Dancing at the Feast of Tabernacles._] See Lightfoot, i. 978.
and comp. 2 Sam. vi. 14.

Page 329.—_Prophecies which pointed to Judæa for their accomplishment._]
“Percrebuerat Oriente toto vetus et constans opinio, esse in fatis ut eo
tempore Judæa profecti rerum potirentur.” Suet. Vesp. 4. Tac. Hist. v.
13. Jos. Bell. Jud. vi. 5. 4,

Page 330.—_Submitting to circumcision._] That among the Jews themselves
there was a variety of opinion respecting the necessity of circumcision,
is evident from the story of Izates, (Jos. Ant. xx. 2.) who was first
converted by a Jew who advised him to neglect this rite, as a
non-essential of Judaism, and afterwards was induced to submit to it by
a more rigid missionary.

Page 331.—_The tribunal which sat in the gate of Nicanor._] According to
the Rabbins, two tribunals sat in the temple, one in the gate of
Nicanor, another beside the entrance to the court of Israel. Mishna,
Surenh. v. 332.

Page 333.—_The Dionysian festivals of the Greeks._] The remark of Myron,
respecting the similarity of the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles to the
Dionysia, is founded on a passage of Plutarch, Probl. Symp. iv. Prob.
vi. vol. iii. p. 745, ed. Wyttenb. 8vo. The similarity is certainly
striking, and, according to the reasoning which was once commonly
applied to such coincidences, would be regarded as a proof that the
rites of the heathens were derived from the Jews. In the present state
of historical criticism, such a supposition would be thought improbable,
especially as none of all the circumstances in which the similarity
appears, is found in the institution of the festival by Moses, nor even
in the account of the first celebration of it after the captivity.

Page 336.—_The last day of the Feast._] It is doubtful whether “the
great day of the feast” (John vii.) were the seventh or the eighth.
Jennings (Jew. Ant. ii. 228.) supposes that the Feast of Tabernacles
lasted seven days, and that the eighth was the Feast of Ingathering.

Page 338.—_Day of rejoicing in the law._] Josephus represents it as an
injunction of Moses, that the law should be read every sabbath; (c.
Apion. ii. 17.) but this is only true of the practice of the Jews in
later times, after the establishment of synagogues.

                                THE END.

       ---------------------------------------------------------

           London: Printed by A. Applegath, Stamford-street.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

                               Footnotes

    ----------------------------------------------------------------

                           Transcriber’s Note

There a number of minor errors in the ‘Notes and Illustrations’ at the
end of the text.

  The page references are sometimes in error, but in this version that
  is immaterial, and were left as printed.

  The world ‘all’ on p. 175 was damaged (see below), and was restored
  based upon a different printing.

  On p. 356, the endnote referencing p. 57 refers to Ezekiel xxxi. 22.
  The word ‘battering ram’ occurs later, in verse 27.

The brief Hebrew phrases cannot always be exactly confirmed by modern
sources. They have been retained as printed, using those sources only to
confirm those characters which seem ambiguous.

In order to faciliate text searches, differences in spelling between the
text and the endnotes, were resolved by amending the notes.

Errors deemed most likely to be the printer’s have been corrected, and
are noted here. The references are to the page and line in the original.
The following issues should be noted, along with the resolutions.

  39.22    at his insinuation, that——[”]                  Added.

  40.2     “How long since was he here[./?]               Replaced.

  175.16   The sabbath and the new moon, [all] the        Restored.
           solemnities

  178.15   accompanied by more than [ /a] thousand human  Restored.
           voices.

  199.12   On the no[r]thern and southern sides           Inserted.

  202.14   the lofty side of Ebal or Geri[ri]zim          Removed.

  217.12   for your religion and your people as [?/.]     Replaced.

  240.3    than the praises of a virtuous wife.[”]        Added.

  257.5    to the imp[r]ecations which the judges         Restored.

  257.11   The judges did not immedia[t]ely decide        Restored.

  322.23   between the spectator and [t]he temple         Restored.
           building

  375.11   The lake Sam[a/o]chonitis.                     Replaced.





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