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Title: A Class-Book of Old Testament History
Author: Maclear, George Frederick
Language: English
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                            A CLASS-BOOK OF
                        OLD TESTAMENT HISTORY.

                      Illustration: (‡ Colophon)

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                  Elementary Theological Class-Books.

                             A CLASS-BOOK
                         OLD TESTAMENT HISTORY


                     THE REV. G. F. MACLEAR, D.D.

                     HONORARY CANON OF CANTERBURY.

                             _WITH MAPS._

                           MACMILLAN AND CO.
                             AND NEW YORK.

               [_The Right of Translation is reserved._]

    _First Edition printed January 1865. Second Edition printed
        November 1865. Reprinted with slight alterations 1866,
        with slight alterations 1868, with slight alterations 1869,
        1871, 1872, 1874, 1875, 1876, 1877, 1878, 1879, 1880, 1881,
        1883, 1884, 1885, 1887, 1888, 1889, 1890, 1892, 1894._


THE present Volume forms a Class-Book of Old Testament History from the
Earliest Times to those of Ezra and Nehemiah.

In its preparation the most recent Authorities[1] have been consulted,
and wherever it has appeared useful, Notes have been subjoined
illustrative of the Text, and, for the sake of more advanced students,
references added to larger Works.

The Index has been so arranged as to form a concise Dictionary of the
Persons and Places mentioned in the course of the Narrative, while the
Maps, which have been prepared with considerable care at Stanford’s
Geographical Establishment, will, it is hoped, materially add to the
value and usefulness of the Book.

_London, Christmas, 1864._

                         SYNOPSIS OF CONTENTS.

                                BOOK I.
           _From the Creation to the Dispersion of Mankind._

  CHAP.    I. The Creation
  CHAP.   II. The Fall
  CHAP.  III. The Flood
  CHAP.   IV. The Confusion of Tongues
  CHAP.    V. Rise of Idolatry. The Patriarch Job.

                                BOOK II.
                         _The Patriarchal Age._

  CHAP.    I. The Call of Abraham
  CHAP.   II. Life of Abraham continued
  CHAP.  III. The History of Isaac
  CHAP.   IV. Life of Jacob
  CHAP.    V. History of Joseph
  CHAP.   VI. Jacob’s Descent into Egypt, and Death of Joseph
        NOTE. _Survey of the Patriarchal Age_

                                BOOK III.
             _From the Settlement of the Israelites in Egypt
                       to the Giving of the Law._

  CHAP.    I. The Birth and Call of Moses
  CHAP.   II. Signs and Wonders in Egypt
  CHAP.  III. The Last Plague――The Passover――The Exodus
  CHAP.   IV. The Journey from the Red Sea to Rephidim
  CHAP.    V. Sinai and the Giving of the Law
  CHAP.   VI. Moses in the Mount. The Construction of the Golden Calf

                                BOOK IV.
                    _The Mosaic Worship and Polity._

  CHAP.    I. The Tabernacle
        NOTE. _History of the Tabernacle_
  CHAP.   II. The Priests
  CHAP.  III. The Sacrifices and Offerings
  CHAP.   IV. Holy Times and Seasons
  CHAP.    V. The Great Festivals――The Jewish Calendar
        NOTE. _Laws of Purity, &c._
  CHAP.   VI. Civil and Moral Laws

                                 BOOK V.
         _From the Departure from Sinai to the Death of Moses._

  CHAP.    I. Kadesh-Barnea and the Mission of the Spies
  CHAP.   II. The Wanderings――Death of Miriam and Aaron
  CHAP.  III. Conquest of the East of Jordan――Balaam and Balak
  CHAP.   IV. War with the Midianites――Death of Moses
        NOTE. _His Work and Character_

                                BOOK VI.
             _Joshua and the Conquest of Western Palestine._

  CHAP.    I. The Passage of the Jordan, and Fall of Jericho
  CHAP.   II. Conquest of the Southern and Central Mountains
  CHAP.  III. Battle of Merom, and Division of the Land

                                BOOK VII.
                         _Period of the Judges._

  CHAP.    I. Events subsequent to the Death of Joshua
  CHAP.   II. Micah and the Danites――The Tribal War
  CHAP.  III. Othniel and Ehud, Deborah and Barak
  CHAP.   IV. Invasion of the Midianites――Gideon
  CHAP.    V. Abimelech and Jephthah
  CHAP.   VI. Invasion from the South-west, Samson

                               BOOK VIII.
          _From the Time of Samuel to the Accession of David._

  CHAP.    I. Eli and Samuel
  CHAP.   II. Samuel’s Judgeship
  CHAP.  III. Election of the First King
  CHAP.   IV. The Battle of Michmash
  CHAP.    V. Saul and the Amalekites――David and Goliath
  CHAP.   VI. David’s Life as an Outlaw
  CHAP.  VII. David at Ziklag――Battle of Mount Gilboa

                                BOOK IX.
                   _The Reigns of David and Solomon._

  CHAP.    I. David’s Reign at Hebron
  CHAP.   II. David’s Reign at Jerusalem
  CHAP.  III. David’s Army, his Conquests, his Sin
  CHAP.   IV. The Rebellion of Absalom
  CHAP.    V. Close of David’s reign
    FOOTNOTE. _David’s Work and Character_
  CHAP.   VI. Accession of Solomon
  CHAP.  VII. The Building of the Temple
  CHAP. VIII. Solomon’s reign continued

                                BOOK X.
                    _Kingdoms of Judah and Israel._

                                PART I.
                     _Period of Mutual Hostility._

  CHAP.    I. The Revolt of the Ten Tribes
  CHAP.   II. Rehoboam and Abijah, Jeroboam and Nadab
  CHAP.  III. Asa and Baasha, Elah, Zimri, Omri

                               PART II.
         _Period of Mutual Alliance, and Hostility to Syria._

  CHAP.    I. Accession of Ahab――Era of Elijah
  CHAP.   II. Wars of Ahab and Benhadad
  CHAP.  III. Murder of Naboth――Battle of Ramoth Gilead
  CHAP.   IV. Wars of Jehoshaphat. Translation of Elijah
  CHAP.    V. Jehoshaphat and Jehoram――Era of Elisha
  CHAP.   VI. Elisha and Naaman――Siege of Samaria

                               PART III.
           _Renewal of Hostilities; Decline of both Kingdoms
               before the power of the Assyrian Empire._

  CHAP.    I. Accession of Jehu
  CHAP.   II. Athaliah and Joash; Death of Elisha
  CHAP.  III. Amaziah and Jeroboam II.; Era of Jonah
  CHAP.   IV. Decline and Captivity of the Kingdom of Israel
  CHAP.    V. Reign of Hezekiah
  CHAP.   VI. Reign of Manasseh――Reforms of Josiah
  CHAP.  VII. Death of Josiah――Captivity of Judah
        NOTE. _Duration, Relation, Contrasts of the Two Kingdoms_[441]

                               BOOK XI.
            _From the Captivity to the Close of the Canon._

  CHAP.    I. Daniel and Nebuchadnezzar
  CHAP.   II. Reigns of Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, and Darius
  CHAP.  III. Rebuilding of the Temple――Esther and Ahasuerus
  CHAP.   IV. Times of Ezra and Nehemiah――Close of Canon


  1. The Dispersion of Noah’s Descendants (Genesis x.)

  2. A Map of Canaan, Egypt, and Sinai, to illustrate the Patriarchal
       History and the Exodus. With Mount Sinai enlarged

  3. The Holy Land divided among the Twelve Tribes

  4. Solomon’s Dominions, The Kingdoms of Judah and Israel, and the
       Lands of the Captivities

                                BOOK I.


                              CHAPTER I.

                            _THE CREATION._
                       GEN. I. II.   B.C. 4004.

_IN the beginning God created the heavens and the earth._ With these
simple but sublime words commences the History contained in the
Scriptures of the Old Testament, teaching us that the Universe did
not exist from all eternity, but owed its origin to the creative act
of God. To us this truth appears so elementary and self-evident that
we can hardly appreciate the dim and uncertain notions on this point,
which the best and wisest of the heathen possessed. Certain it is,
however, they were very much in the dark respecting the origin of the
world. Some philosophers held that it existed from all eternity: others
taught that there are two independent Causes, the one Light, and the
other Darkness, and that out of the unending struggle between them
the Universe had its origin; others imagined that all the marvellous
order and harmony we see around us was the result of Chance; others,
again, conceived that the world was an emanation from Deity, and a
part of Deity. Distinct from all these guesses and conceptions is the
_declaration_ of the Scripture Narrative. It affirms that the world is
not eternal; that it had its origin with time and in time; that it owed
its beginning neither to Chance, nor Necessity, but the Creative will
of a Personal God, infinitely exalted above it, the Maker and Sustainer
of all things. (Comp. Joh. i. 1–3, Rom. xi. 36, 1 Cor. viii. 6, Col.
i. 15, 16, Heb. i. 2, 3).

The creation, however, of the present order of things was not
instantaneous, but progressive, and took place in six Days, or vast
Periods of time. On the _first_ day light was created, and divided from
the darkness; on the _second_, the firmament, or atmosphere encircling
the globe; on the _third_, a separation was made between the water and
the land, and the surface of the earth was covered with vegetation,
with _the herb yielding seed, and the tree yielding fruit after its
kind_. On the _fourth_, the sun, moon and stars were bidden _to give
light upon the earth, and to be for signs and for seasons, and for days
and years_. On the _fifth_, animal life appeared in its lowest forms,
the waters brought forth the various marine tribes after their kind,
and this was succeeded by the creation of every _winged fowl_. The
_sixth_ day was marked by the production of land animals, _cattle, and
creeping thing, and beast of the earth_, which, like all the preceding
products of Creative Power, received the Divine approval, and were
pronounced to be _very good_.

But the work of Creation was not yet complete. A being higher than
any yet created was to be called into existence. Accordingly _God said,
Let |us| make MAN in |our| image, after |our| likeness, and let them
have dominion over every living thing, and over all the earth; and the
Lord God formed Man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his
nostrils the breath of life, and Man became a living soul_. Then having
seen that all things He had made were _very good_ God ended His work,
and _rested on the seventh day_, sanctifying it as a day of Rest for
man. (Gen. i. 2–26).

The language here employed in reference to the creation of man deserves
attention. It teaches us that man did not, as some have taught, slowly
emerge by his own efforts from a brutish state. Unlike other created
objects, he was originally made in the _image_ and _after the likeness_
of God. Endowed not only with a body, but also with an immortal soul,
he was to combine intellectual power with liberty of will, and the
faculty of conscience. And as he was great himself, so also was the
work to which he was called. His was to be universal dominion _over
the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every
living thing that moveth upon the earth_. As God’s vicegerent, he was
to exercise lordship over nature, and guide it towards its destined
perfection (Gen. i. 26).

But though the first man ADAM, was endued with those high prerogatives,
he was not destined to attain immediately to the end for which he
was created. His activity was to commence in a particular spot, and
thence to extend in all directions, until all the earth was subdued and
moulded to the will of its Creator. The Almighty, therefore, planted
a garden in a region of the East, corresponding probably to the high
table-land of the modern Armenia, and watered by four streams. Of two
of these, Pison and Gihon, the situation is absolutely unknown, the
others were the Tigris and Euphrates. Here, then, in a spot endued with
everything pleasant to the sight and good for food, man’s work was to
commence. Action and not contemplation only was essential to his nature,
hence a charge was given to him to _dress_ and _keep_ the garden. Nor
amidst everything to gratify his senses and supply material for his
understanding and reflection was he left alone. A responsible being,
_bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh_, was created a _help-meet
for him_. The Lord _caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam_, and taking
one of his ribs, He made thereof a woman, and brought her unto him,
and EVE, _the mother of all flesh_, one with himself in nature and in
origin, was united to him in holy bonds, which HE, Who thus instituted
them in Paradise, afterwards adorned and hallowed with His own presence
and first miracle at Cana of Galilee (Joh. ii. 1; Eph. v. 23–33).

                              CHAPTER II.

                              _THE FALL._
                        GEN. III.   B.C. 4004.

OF the life of the first human pair in Paradise we are told but
little. We know, however, that it was not only a state of innocence,
and therefore of happiness, but also, like all human life since, of
_probation_. Besides the charge to dress and keep the fair enclosure
in which they had been placed, our first parents received but one
additional command. It was couched in negative terms, and forbade in
the most distinct and solemn manner possible the eating of the fruit
of a mysterious tree growing in the midst of the Garden, and called the
_tree of knowledge of Good and Evil_. Of the fruit of every other tree
they might eat freely, of the fruit of this tree the Almighty said to
them, _Ye shall not eat, for in the day ye eat thereof ye shall surely
die_. In this single prohibition lay the test of their loyal obedience
to their Creator, on it depended their innocence and their happiness
temporal and eternal. How long they were faithful and obedient we are
not told. But whether the period was long or short, certain it is that
it came to a close.

The Tree of _the Knowledge of Good and Evil_, implies that Evil was
already present in God’s world, and therefore in part prepares us for
the dark shadow that now gathers round the sacred page. The creation
of man had been watched by a supernatural Being of infinite subtilty
and malignity, the Enemy of God and of all goodness. Respecting this
mysterious Being, though the Sacred Narrative does not gratify our
curiosity with any lengthened details, yet to his existence and his
unceasing hostility to man, it bears direct and explicit testimony.
The name under which the supernatural Tempter appears in the earliest
and latest portions of the Bible is the same (comp. Gen. iii. 1, with
2 Cor. xi. 3; Rev. xii. 9, xx. 2), and though but seldom mentioned in
the Old Testament (Job i., ii.; 1 Chron. xxi. 1; Zech. iii. 1, 2), the
same attributes are uniformly ascribed to him. Created originally good,
like all the works of God, he _abode not in the truth_ (Jn. viii. 44),
but rebelled against his Maker and fell from his high estate (1 Tim.
iii. 6), and henceforth, at the head of numerous other spirits (Matt.
xxv. 41), whom he had dragged down with him in his fall (2 Pet. ii. 4;
Jude 6), he arrayed himself in conscious hostility to the Supreme.

This Being, then, here called the Serpent, in other places Satan, i.e.
the _Enemy_, and the Devil, i.e. the _Slanderer_, approached the woman,
as being the weaker vessel, for the purpose of seducing her, and so
her husband, from their allegiance to their Creator. With affected
solicitude he began by enquiring, _Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat
of every tree of the garden?_ To this the woman replied by repeating
the Divine prohibition respecting the fruit of one particular tree.
Thereupon the Tempter proceeded to declare that the penalty of death
would not follow the eating of this fruit, nay that the Almighty knew
that in the day they ate thereof, her eyes and those of her husband
would be opened, and they would _become as gods_, knowing good and
evil. A more subtle scheme for shaking her allegiance to the Almighty,
and her confidence in His goodness and His love, could not have been
devised. A prohibition hitherto regarded as a solemn but merciful
warning was now invested with an arbitrary character, and a selfish
motive. In mere envy, so the Tempter affirmed, the Almighty had
denounced an impossible penalty; what she had been taught to observe
as the condition of innocence and happiness was nothing more than the
expedient of One, who grudged His creatures their rightful advancement,
lest they should approach too nearly to Himself[2]. The idea of an
envious God, of a _hard taskmaster_, was thus instilled into the
mind of Eve, sapping the foundations of all real faith and trust, and
rendering the more irresistible the temptation to disobey the command
of Him, who had thus enviously set these bounds to her freewill. In an
evil hour she believed the Tempter’s words, and seeing that the _tree
was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be
desired to make one wise_, she took of the fruit, and did eat, and gave
also unto her husband with her, and he did eat. Thus the fell counsels
of the Tempter were accomplished. Through want of faith in God’s word,
through a longing for independence, through a vain desire to become
gods unto themselves, our first parents were beguiled into sin, and
when _their eyes were opened_, instead of greater happiness they now
experienced the strange and hitherto unknown consciousness of shame,
and degradation, and unmeetness for God’s presence (Gen. iii. 1–7).

Brief and summary as is the information here given us respecting
the enigma of enigmas, the origin of Evil, it is yet of unspeakable
importance. For it teaches us that Sin is not a part of man’s nature,
but _the fault and corruption_[3] of it, that it did not spring from
his nature by any inevitable necessity, but in consequence of his
yielding to the seductions of a powerful and malignant Foe. He did
not, like his Tempter, choose sin for its own sake, but was _beguiled_
into it. Hence, though he became liable to all the penal consequences
of his disobedience, though his being was _poisoned_ with sin, yet it
was not _converted_ into sin. He did not lose all remembrance of his
former state of purity and innocence; the shame which overwhelmed him
and made him hide himself from the presence of God, testified to his
consciousness of transgression, and in this sense of guilt lay the
possibility of his restoration[4].

For now the Sacred Narrative, while it refuses to gratify our curiosity
respecting a subject which doubtless passes our understanding, proceeds
to do what is for us of far greater practical importance, namely,
to place the inroad of sin in immediate connection with the Divine
Counsels of Redemption. We learn that God in infinite mercy now
intervened between His creatures and their Tempter. For them, indeed,
it remained to taste the bitter fruits of their disobedience and
mistrust. Eve was informed that sorrow and pain must henceforth be the
condition of her existence; _in sorrow should she bring forth children,
her desire should be to her husband, and he should rule over her_ (Gen.
iii. 16). Adam learnt that with himself henceforth nature too must
undergo a change; _thorns and thistles_ must grow upon the face of the
earth, toil must be the price of his existence, and his end the silence
of the grave, for _dust he was, and unto dust he must return_. Even
thus, however, Justice was tempered with sweet Mercy, and Love mingled
blessings with the bitterness of man’s cup. If pain and multiplied
sorrow was to be woman’s lot, yet through pain she was to know a
mysterious joy, and her anguish should be no more remembered, when
she knew that _a man was born into the world_. And if grievous toil
and irksome labour were to be the conditions of man’s existence, yet in
the provision of these effectual antidotes to idleness and many other
sins was truest mercy. But these gracious purposes extended only to
man, they tempered not the judgment denounced on his Seducer. Utterly
_cursed was he above all cattle, and above every beast of the field_.
The very creature, over whom he had seemed to triumph, should prove
his ultimate Conqueror. _I will put enmity_, said the Almighty to the
Tempter, _between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her
seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel_. In
these words we trace the _first_ distinct _Promise_ of man’s ultimate
Redemption. The state of degradation, into which he had suffered
himself to be seduced, was not to last for ever. “In conformity with
the Divine Equity, the deceiver was to be judged by the deceived, the
Conqueror was to be overcome by the conquered[5].” Man need not give
himself up to despair; there was still room for hope; in infinite mercy
the Almighty had espoused his cause, and He would Himself provide a
remedy for his fall.

We need not venture on any profitless speculations touching the precise
amount of hope the early generations of the human family were likely to
have derived from this first Gospel, this “first Promise” of a Saviour.
In terms it was undoubtedly indefinite. Neither the time, nor the
method, nor the precise mediating cause of man’s deliverance was made
known. It was not revealed whether the promised “Seed” should be one
or many, the collective Race, or a single Deliverer. On these points
greater light was to be shed as time rolled on, and many things were
to be revealed, which now man could not comprehend. But of the final
_Victory_, and of its _certainty_, direct and explicit assurance was
given. “Since religion cannot so much as exist without _hope_, the
earliest intimation of Prophecy was adapted to the support of that
essential feeling in the heart of man. It was clearly a promise of
relief, an antidote to perfect despair. It contained the prediction
that some one should be born of the Seed of the Woman, who ‘should
bruise the head of the Tempter,’ by whom, therefore, the penal effect
of man’s transgression should be in some way reversed. With all its
uncertainty as to the mode in which this End should be effected, the
Promise had within it a principle of _Hope_ and _Encouragement_, and
the materials of a religious trust fitted to keep man still looking to
his Maker[6].”

In the encouraging assurance thus given to Adam, in this first Promise
of a Saviour, Sacred History finds its definite starting-point, and
the Old Testament becomes a true introduction to the New, because it
reveals the several steps whereby the Divine Wisdom provided for its
fulfilment. From first to last Sacred History is “instinct with life
and hope;” it ever points onward to the future; its key-note is ever
preparation for the Coming of HIM, who was to be the true “Seed of
the Woman,” in whom the Father counselled before the worlds to _gather
together in one all things, both which are in heaven, and which are on
earth_ (Eph. i. 10; Phil. ii. 9, 10).

                             CHAPTER III.

                             _THE FLOOD._
                    GEN. IV.–IX.   B.C. 4004–2348.

THOUGH thus assured of ultimate restoration, the first man, as a fallen
being, could not be permitted to remain in the region, which had been
the scene of his trial and his failure. He might take of the fruit of
another Tree, that grew in the midst of the Garden, the _Tree of Life_,
and eat, and live for ever, and thus prevent the possibility of his
recovery. Accordingly he was sent forth from the Garden, at the east of
which were stationed Cherubim, a particular order, in all probability,
of Angels (Comp. Ex. xxv. 17–22; Ezek. i. 5, Rev. iv. 6), while a
_flaming Sword which turned every way_ guarded the approach to the Tree
of Life.

Thus driven forth from Eden, and re-commencing under new and altered
circumstances their course of probation, Adam and Eve in due time
became the parents of two sons, CAIN (_gotten_, or _acquired_), and
ABEL (_breath_, _transitoriness_). From their earliest years the most
opposite tendencies distinguished the brothers. The mysterious rite
of sacrifice, which meets us at the very threshold of Sacred History,
and which, it is supposed, not without probability, the Almighty
Himself instituted, when He made for the first pair _coats of skins,
and clothed them_ (Gen. iii. 21), became the occasion of a fatal
quarrel between them. Cain brought of the fruit of the ground, Abel of
the firstlings of his flock, an offering unto the Lord. The offering
of Abel was accepted, that of Cain rejected. The reason for this
distinction cannot be pronounced with absolute certainty. Either the
offering of Abel was a free and bounteous presentation of the best
that he had, while that of Cain was merely commonplace and perfunctory,
or Abel brought his offering in a spirit of faith, and trustful
acquiescence in a divinely-instituted though mysterious command
(Heb. xi. 4), a motive which the offering of his elder brother lacked.
Whatever was the precise reason of the distinction, it roused all
Cain’s latent jealousy, and he became his brother’s murderer (1 Joh.
iii. 12). For thus shedding _righteous blood_ (Matt. xxiii. 35) he
was condemned by the Almighty to perpetual banishment from the region
of Eden. Fearful of vengeance from the other children of Adam, whose
family we may infer from the mention of Cain’s wife had largely
increased, he feared to depart before he received from the Almighty a
special sign or pledge of security in the land of his banishment[7].
This having been granted, he removed into the region of Nod (_exile_),
and there became the ancestor of numerous descendants, the heads of
whom are enumerated to the sixth generation, under the names of Enoch,
Irad, Mehu-jael, Methu-sael, and Lamech. In this region, too, he
built the earliest city of which we have any record, and called it
_Enoch_, after the name of his eldest son. The Cainite families were
distinguished for their attention to the development of the arts and
pleasures of life. As Cain built the first city, so Lamech instituted
polygamy, while of his three sons JABAL introduced the nomadic life,
JUBAL the use of musical instruments, and TUBAL-CAIN the art of working
in metals (Gen. iv. 16–24).

Meanwhile with another son SETH (_substituted_), who had been given
to Adam in place of Abel, commenced a line distinct in its social
and religious tendencies from that of Cain. The heads of this family
are enumerated to the tenth generation under the names of Seth, Enos,
Cainan, Mahalaleel, Jared, Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech, Noah. While the
descendants of Cain advanced indeed in civilization, but were addicted
to luxury and violence, the descendants of Seth were distinguished for
pastoral simplicity. They _called upon the name of the Lord_ (Gen. iv.
26); they were the chosen repositories of the Promise of Redemption,
and the witnesses for a God of Righteousness in the midst of a
generation which already began to become corrupt, and in the seen
to forget the unseen. An eminent type of the characteristic virtues
of this line was ENOCH, the son of Jared, _the seventh from Adam_
(Jude 14). All his life long he walked in closest communion with the
Most High and the spiritual world. Faith (Heb. xi. 5), implicit trust
in a Righteous Ruler of the Universe, was the principle of his life,
and the secret spring of his holiness. One day he vanished from the
society of his fellowmen. _He was not_, for the God whom he served
_took him_ to Himself, and translated him to the unseen world, without
undergoing the penalty of death (Gen. v. 21–24).

A peculiar feature of this period was the great length to which human
life was prolonged. Adam attained to the age of 930 years, Methuselah
to that of 969, the others nearly as long. From this accrued many
advantages to the race. It tended to promote its speedy increase, it
preserved uninterrupted such knowledge as men were able to acquire, and
pre-eminently the original revelation respecting the one true God, the
remembrance of Paradise, and the hope of ultimate Redemption. But the
great longevity of the men of this period did not tend to hinder their
increasing alienation from the paths of righteousness, and obedience
to the Supreme. Amidst the extreme brevity of the sacred narrative it
is clear that the wickedness of men reached a desperate pitch, _the
earth was filled with violence_, and _all men corrupted their way_
upon it. At length this alienation from God reached its culminating
point in a catastrophe, to which the Sacred Record attaches a peculiar
and mysterious importance. _When men began to multiply on the face
of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, the sons of God saw
the daughters of men that they were fair, and they took them wives of
all that they chose._ Whatever be the true meaning of the expression
_sons of God_, whether it refers to the Angels, as some have thought,
or the descendants of Seth, certain it is that a superhuman spirit
of wickedness broke out at this period. From these mixed marriages
sprang men remarkable for strength and power, for violence and arrogant
wickedness, through whom both races speedily became hopelessly corrupt.
The salt even in the line of Seth lost its savour, and _the wickedness
of man was great on the earth, and every imagination of the thoughts of
his heart was only evil continually_ (Gen. vi. 1–5).

In this awful crisis one man only found favour with God, NOAH, the
son of Lamech, in whom at his birth, with prophetic glance his father
beheld a pledge of that _rest_ and _comfort_, which the men of faith
felt they so sorely needed from the burden of weary and irksome labour
on _the ground which Jehovah had cursed_ (Gen. v. 29). When Noah
was 500 years old, he became the father of three sons, SHEM, HAM,
and JAPHETH. Like Enoch he was a _righteous and perfect man in his
generation_, and in this age of universal apostasy maintained an
unflinching trust in the Righteous Ruler of the Universe, and at
length, when the cup of man’s iniquity was full, he received intimation
from the Almighty of His intention to bring an awful judgment upon the
world. _Behold I, even I_, said God, _do bring a flood of waters upon
the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from
under heaven; and everything that is in the earth shall die_. From
the general catastrophe Noah and his family alone were to be preserved,
and he was directed to construct an Ark, a huge vessel of enormous
dimensions, into which, when completed, he was to repair with his wife,
his three sons and their wives, and also two of every species of beasts
and birds accounted “unclean” or unfit for sacrifice, and seven of
every species accounted “clean.” The vessel thus ordered was to be
constructed of gopher-wood, probably cypress, and was to be overlaid
within and without with pitch or bitumen; in length it was to be
300 cubits, in breadth 50, in depth 30. But though the impending
Judgment was thus announced, and a visible pledge of it directed to
be constructed, the Doom itself was not to be as yet. He who afterwards
waited 400 years till the _cup of the iniquity of the Amorites_ was
full, who gave the Ninevites forty days for repentance, now _waited_
(1 Pet. iii. 20), _with much long-suffering_, for a space of 120 years.

During this period _according to all that God commanded Noah, so did
he_. Though the things, of which he was warned, _were not yet seen_
(Heb. xi. 7), nay, must have seemed to the men of his generation in
the extremest degree improbable, _moved with fear_ he yet persevered in
his awful task, and by this act of faith, as well as by his own works,
continued to warn his fellowmen of what was to come. But his warnings
fell on unheeding ears. The men of his generation set at naught all
his counsel and mocked at his reproofs: they _did eat, they drank, they
married wives, they were given in marriage_ (Matt. xxiv. 38; Lk. xvii.
26, 27), until the day of Doom arrived. On the seventeenth day of the
second month of the 600th year of Noah’s life he and his family entered
into the Ark, and _the Lord shut them in_. Then, after a solemn pause
of seven days, the elements of destruction were bidden to do their
work. _The fountains of the great deep were broken up, the windows of
heaven were opened_, and the rain descended, till the waters covered
the highest hills, _and all flesh wherein was the breath of life died,
of fowl, of cattle, of wild beast, and of every creeping thing which
creepeth upon the earth, and every man_.

In these simple but impressive words the Sacred Narrative describes
the appalling catastrophe. Written for a far higher purpose, it paints
no scenes as a human writer would have done. “We see nothing of the
death-struggle; we hear not the cry of despair; we are not called upon
to witness the frantic agony of husband and wife, of parent and child,
as they fled in terror before the rising waters. Not a word is said
of the sadness of the one righteous man who, safe himself, looked upon
the destruction, which he could not avert. But one impression is left
upon the mind with peculiar vividness, from the very simplicity of the
narrative, and it is that of utter desolation[8].” All flesh died, Noah
only was left, and they that were with him in the ark. For 150 days
the waters prevailed, till at length on the 17th day of the 7th month
the Ark rested on one of the peaks of Ararat. From this time the waters
gradually decreased till the first day of the 10th month, when the tops
of the mountains having begun to appear, Noah sent forth a raven, which
returned not to the Ark. A week afterwards he sent forth a dove, to see
if the waters were abated from the lower and more level country. But
the dove finding _no rest for the sole of her foot_ returned unto the
Ark. Again he waited seven days, and once more sent her forth, when
she returned with a fresh olive-leaf _pluckt off in her mouth_, a sign
that the waters had still further subsided. Yet again, after a similar
interval, Noah sent her forth. This time, however, she did not return,
having found on the earth _a rest for the sole of her foot_, and then
he knew that the awful Judgment had indeed come to a close, and at
the Divine command left the Ark, and set foot on the dry land[9] (Gen.
viii. 1–19).

                              CHAPTER IV.

                      _THE CONFUSION OF TONGUES._
                     GEN. X.–XI.   B.C. 2347–2233.

THE first act of Noah on leaving the Ark was to build an altar, and
offer burnt-offerings unto the Lord _of every clean beast, and of every
clean fowl_. His sacrifice was accepted, and now for the first time a
solemn Covenant was ratified between the Almighty and the Patriarch,
to which definite promises were annexed, and “an outward and visible
sign.” From its baptism of water the Earth had risen once more to be
the habitation of man, and Noah and his sons were solemnly assured that
all flesh should never again be cut off by the waters of a Flood, but
that _while the earth remained, seed-time and harvest, cold and heat,
summer and winter and day and night should not cease_. Again too the
blessing of Paradise was bestowed, sovereignty and dominion over the
animal creation were assured, and once more men were bidden to _be
fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth_. At the same time
animal food was expressly allowed, while the sanctity of human life was
as solemnly enforced, _whoso shed man’s blood, by man should his blood
be shed_. Of this covenant the Rainbow was the visible pledge, assuring
man that he might enter afresh on his course of probation, nor dread
its interruption by any catastrophe like that with which the earth had
been so lately visited (Gen. ix. 8–17).

The elevation of the Armenian plateau, in the neighbourhood of which
the Ark had rested, being equidistant between the Black and Caspian
Seas on the north, the Persian Gulf and Mediterranean Sea on the south,
being also the region in which all the great rivers of Western Asia,
the Tigris, the Euphrates, the Araxes, and the Halys take their rise,
formed a natural and convenient centre whence the descendants of Noah
might overspread the whole earth. But on this migration they did not
set out, before an unseemly incident revealed the natural character of
his sons, prophetic of their future destinies. Noah began to practise
agriculture, and planted a vineyard, and through ignorance, as it has
been supposed, of its properties, drank of the wine in excess, and
lay exposed in his tent. Ham, his youngest son, mocked him while he
lay in this condition, but Shem and Japheth, with more filial feeling,
averting their eyes covered their father with a garment. Awaking from
his slumbers Noah became conscious of what his youngest son had done,
and justly angry at the irreverence he had displayed, brake forth into
prophetic utterances of blessing and cursing, foreshadowing the diverse
destinies of the descendants of his family. Upon CANAAN, the fourth
son of Ham, and probably a partaker in his father’s transgression, he
pronounced the doom of perpetual servitude to his brethren[10]. Shem
he declared to be _the chosen one of Jehovah_, from whom the promised
Salvation should proceed, while Japheth, _multiplied_ and _enlarged_
should _dwell in his tents_[11], and be received as a partaker in his
spiritual privileges.

With their future destinies thus foretold, the sons of Noah went forth,
and took up their abode for some time on the rich alluvial plain of
Shinar between the Tigris and Euphrates. Here their descendants began
to form a great fraternal community, which it was the more easy to
do, seeing that they all proceeded from the same parental home, and
_had all one language_. But here, in defiance of the Divine command,
which bade them disperse themselves abroad and _replenish the whole
earth_, they resolved to make a City and a huge Tower _whose top might
reach unto heaven_, to serve as a central point of union, and a great
World-Metropolis. But their design was counteracted. The Almighty
interposed, and by confounding their language, so that they could
not understand one another’s speech, rent the closest bond of human
society. Unable to continue the erection of their City and Tower, which
was henceforth called Babel or _Confusion_, they were scattered abroad
over the face of the earth, and thus constrained to fulfil the eternal
designs of Him, who has _determined the times before appointed, and the
bounds of the habitations_ of the sons of men (Acts xvii. 26)[12].

Before, however, it leaves them to pursue their own ways, the Sacred
Narrative presents to us a Genealogical Table, in which the names
of the several nations descended from Noah, and their geographical
distribution, have been preserved. With this Table antiquity has handed
down nothing that can be compared for accuracy or comprehensiveness.
“It exposes the fallacies of the mythical genealogies of pagans,
contradicts their fables respecting gods, heroes, and periods
of millions of years, and also affords a firm foundation for
investigations concerning the origin and the traditions of nations.”
From this Table, then, it appears that

(i) The descendants of JAPHETH (_enlargement_) after leaving the
original cradle of the human race, occupied chiefly _the isles of the
Gentiles_, or the coast-lands of the Mediterranean Sea in Asia Minor
and Europe, and thence spread chiefly in a northerly direction over the
entire European Continent, and a great portion of Asia. Thus GOMER was
the ancestor of the Cymmerians or Cimbri, MAGOG of the Scythians, MADAI
of the Medes, JAVAN of the Ionians and Greek race, TUBAL and MESECH
of the Tibareni and Moschi, two Colchian tribes, and TIRAS of the

(ii) The descendants of HAM (“_heat_”) proceeded in a southerly
direction, and occupied the whole of Africa, and the Southern
peninsulas of Asia, India, and Arabia. Of his four sons CUSH extended
his settlements from Babylonia to Ethiopia, MIZRAIM colonized Egypt,
PHUT Libya, and CANAAN the land called by his name.

(iii) The descendants of SHEM established themselves in Central Asia,
and thence extended in an easterly and westerly direction, ARAM
colonising the country afterwards known as Syria, LUD Lydia, ARPHAXAD
Chaldæa, ASSHUR part of Assyria, ELAM Persia, JOKTAN a portion of the
Arabian peninsula (Gen. x. 1–26).

Thus He, _who hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell
on all the face of the earth_ (Acts xvii. 26), directed the repeopling
of the world by the descendants of Noah. Like prodigal sons they were
to go into far countries, and learn by bitter experience that neither
human strength nor human wisdom can work out _the righteousness of
God_, or win back for man his lost inheritance. But the preservation
of their names in this Table of Nations is a proof that no one of
them was forgotten by a God of Love; that though they might forget Him
He yet guided their destinies, and overruled their counsels only to
the accomplishment of His gracious purposes of Redemption. The Day of
Pentecost in the New Testament corresponds to the Confusion of Tongues
in the Old. Then, not till then, did men hear, each in their tongue
wherein they were born, the Glad Tidings of ONE, very God and very
Man, in whom _there is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither bond nor free,
neither male nor female_ (Gal. iii. 28).


                              CHAPTER V.

                         GEN. X. 6–12.   JOB.

SACRED History does not record many facts connected with the immediate
descendants of Noah. The scene of the Confusion of Tongues continued to
attract around it a large number of the early inhabitants of the world,
and here was established one of the earliest of the great empires
of the earth by NIMROD, a son of Cush, and grandson of Ham. Of great
powers and gigantic stature, he first obtained wide-spread renown by
his exploits as _a mighty hunter_, and the services he rendered the
surrounding populations by ridding them of the terror of noxious and
terrible animals. In process of time, however, he combined with his
exploits as a hunter the conquest of men, and founded a great empire
on the plains of Shinar, the chief towns of which were Babel, Erech
(_Edessa_), Accad (_Nisibis_), and Calneh (_Ctesiphon_). Thence (for
such seems to be the meaning of Gen. x. 11) he extended his dominions
along the course of the Tigris into Assyria, amongst the descendants
of Shem, where he founded a second group of cities, Nineveh, Rehoboth,
Calah, and Resen. At a period when men’s lives were prolonged so far
beyond the period now allotted them, it is probable that this great
conqueror may have carried on his successful invasions for nearly 200
years, and after death was worshipped under the title of Belus, or Bel,
_the Lord_. Certainly the vast ruins that overspread the site of the
ancient Babylonian empire seem to tell of the days when there were
great heroes in the earth; and to Nimrod the modern Arabs ascribe all
the great works of ancient times, the _Birs-Nimrûd_, near Babylon,
_Tel Nimrûd_, near Baghdad, and the _Mount of Nimrûd_, near Mosul[13].

Whether the practice of idolatrous worship was introduced, as some have
supposed, by this great hero of the ancient world, or not, certain it
is that mankind became more and more addicted to idolatry. Though the
knowledge of the one true God, and the promise of salvation, had been
handed down by tradition, and though His invisible attributes, _even
His eternal power and Godhead_, were clearly to be discerned in the
works of creation (Rom. i. 19, 20), yet mankind _glorified Him not
as God, neither were they thankful_. They began _to worship and serve
the creature rather than the Creator_. The sun, moon, and stars, the
principle of fire, even the inferior animals and departed heroes, came
to be regarded with veneration, and usurped the worship due only to
the Supreme. With idolatry came its usual consequences, a deep moral
degeneracy, cruelty, tyranny, and licentiousness.

One of the earliest allusions to the worship of the heavenly bodies
occurs in the Book of Job (xxxi. 26–28). The age and writer of this
book are alike unknown; by some it is ascribed to Job himself, by
others to Moses, by others to some writer who lived at a still later
period. As, however, the scenes therein described had with great
probability been referred to a period very little removed from that
at which we have now arrived, it may be well to speak of them here.
JOB was an eminent Eastern chief, dwelling in very early times in the
land of Uz (Job i. 1), probably Arabia Deserta, or, as some suppose,
Mesopotamia. Greatest among “the sons of the East,” endowed with
all the riches of his age, he ruled piously and wisely over a happy
and numerous household, having seven sons and three daughters. To
considerable mental attainments he added a moral uprightness, which
preserved him blameless in all the relations of life, and was declared
by the Lord Himself to be _without his like in all the earth, a perfect
and an upright man, one that feared God, and eschewed evil_ (Job i. 8).
With large and liberal hand he distributed to the necessities of the
poor, so that whenever _the ear heard him then it blessed him, when the
eye saw him it gave witness to him; the blessing of him that was ready
to perish came upon him, and he caused the widow’s heart to sing for
joy_. But in the midst of this almost perfect temporal happiness he was
suddenly overwhelmed with the heaviest misfortunes that can befall the
sons of men. He who slandered God to Eve slandered Job before God, and
affirmed that he did not fear Him for naught; that if he were stripped
of all his possessions he would be as other men, and curse the Lord to
His face (i. 11). To put, therefore, the patriarch’s faith to the most
certain test, the Accuser of mankind received mysterious permission
to cast him down, and try him with the most grievous afflictions. Blow
after blow descended upon him. From being the lord of a numerous and
attached household he suddenly became childless, for the storm of the
desert swept over the house where his sons and daughters were assembled,
and crushed them all beneath its ruins. From being the richest of the
sons of the East he suddenly became a beggar, for the thunderbolt, “the
fire of God,” fell and struck down all his sheep, as they were grazing
quietly with their shepherds, while his camels were carried off by a
band of Chaldean robbers, and his oxen and asses by a horde of Sabeans.
And not only did he become a childless, beggared, ruined man, but upon
his own body the black leprosy of the East set its awful mark, making
him an object hateful and loathsome to look upon. Smitten with sores
_from the sole of his foot even unto his crown_, he sat apart, forsaken
by his friends and even by his wife. But amidst these awful trials his
faith was not prostrated. When the terrible tidings reached him of the
fate of his household he said, in words of sublime resignation, _The
Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away, and blessed be the name of
the Lord_; when his wife, utterly unable to bear up, bade him curse his
Maker and die, he replied, _What? shall we receive good at the hand of
God, and shall we not receive evil?_ (Job i. 21, ii. 10).

Before long the news of his terrible affliction was noised abroad,
and three of his old friends, Eliphaz from Teman, Bildad from Shuah,
and Zophar of Naamath, came _to mourn with him and to comfort him_.
In their presence Job at length brake forth into desperate words,
and _cursed the day of his birth_ (Job iii. 1). The storm of his soul
was not calmed by the sympathy of his friends. Instead of pouring in
the oil of comfort, they only heightened his griefs by ascribing his
calamities to some great sin, some secret guilt, if not committed by
himself at least by his children, for which he was now punished. A
distinct question was thus propounded, Is great suffering a proof of
great guilt? Job’s friends affirmed it was, and exhorted him to repent
and confess. Job denied, and at great length laboured to refute this
(Job iv. 5–xxxii). At the close of their dialogue, Elihu, another
and younger friend of the patriarch, intervened, to moderate between
the disputants. Unable to solve the problem of Job’s calamities, he
declared that afflictions, even when not the direct consequences of
sin, were intended for good, and he reproved his friend for justifying
himself rather than the Almighty, and speaking unadvisedly of His
works (Job xxxii–xxxvii). At length the Lord Himself condescended to
interpose in the controversy. From the midst of a whirlwind, in words
of incomparable grandeur and sublimity, he silenced the murmurs of
his servant, bidding him reflect on the glory of creation, and learn
from the marvels of the animal kingdom the stupendous power and wisdom
of Him with whom it is useless for a created being to contend (Job
xxxviii–xli). Thereupon, in deep contrition, Job acknowledged his error
and supplicated the Divine pardon for the bitterness and arrogance of
his complaints. This penitent acknowledgment was accepted, and Job’s
three friends were severely reproved for their uncharitable surmises
respecting the origin of his misfortunes. On the intercession, however,
of the patriarch they were pardoned; and He who had suffered him
to be thus sorely tried, when his trials had served the purpose for
which they had been sent, once more showered down upon him the riches
of His goodness, restoring him to still greater prosperity than he had
even enjoyed before, and made him the father of seven sons and three
daughters[14], celebrated for their beauty above all the maidens of the
East. Job survived his altered fortunes upwards of 140 years, and then,
having seen his children to the fourth generation, died in a good old
age, an instructive example of integrity (Ezek. xiv. 14, 20), and of
patience under the most trying calamities (Jas. v. 11).

                               BOOK II.

                         THE PATRIARCHAL AGE.

                              CHAPTER I.

                        _THE CALL OF ABRAHAM._
                         GEN. XI.   B.C. 1921.

THERE will always, perhaps, be a doubt as to the exact period after
the Flood when Job lived, but there can be no doubt that neither
his constancy nor his faithfulness to the one true God, were the
characteristics of the age succeeding the Flood. Within ten generations
after that event mankind had again become forgetful of their Maker,
and corrupted their way, threatening a fresh outbreak of violence
and irreligion. Now, however, it was not the purpose of the Almighty
to visit the earth with any universal judgment. In the counsels of
Redemption it was His will to select a man, and through him, a nation,
to be His witness upon earth, to withdraw this nation from contact
with the surrounding world, to place it under a special and peculiar
constitution, to entrust to it the guardianship of ancient truths
and of future hopes, and out of it to bring, _in the fulness of time_
(Gal. iv. 4), the promised Saviour of the human race.

At this point, then, Sacred History becomes more full, and its stream
hitherto slender widens into a broad river. Mighty empires and great
nations seem for a while to be forgotten, but only because we are now
to be more especially concerned with the history of that particular
nation, in and through which _all nations of the earth were to be
blessed_ (Gen. xii. 3).

The man selected by the Almighty to be the ancestor of a people
destined to exert so momentous an influence on the salvation of the
world was ABRAHAM, or, as he was first called, _Abram_, the son of
Terah, who lived in the eighth generation from Shem, in Ur of the
Chaldees. Besides Abram, Terah had two other sons, Nahor and Haran,
but Abram, though mentioned first, was in all probability the youngest
of the three. From Ur, which may perhaps be identified with the modern
_Orfah_[15], in upper Mesopotamia, where his family had become tainted
with the generally prevailing idolatry (Josh. xxiv. 2, 14), Terah
removed, and travelling in a southerly direction arrived at Haran or
Charran[16], where he stayed. In this journey he was accompanied by
his son Abram, his daughter-in-law Sarai, and his grandson Lot, and
seems to have intended to go into the land of Canaan (Gen. xi. 31),
but this was prevented by his death at Haran, when he had reached the
age of 205. After this event, a still more distinct intimation of the
Divine Will was made to his son Abram, bidding him leave his country,
his kindred, and his father’s house, and go to a land which God would
shew him. _There_, said the Almighty, _I will make of thee a great
nation, and make thy name great, and in thee shall all the families
of the earth be blessed_. Severe as were the hardships which this call
involved, painful as it must have been to flesh and blood to sever
the ties which bound him to his family and his people, Abram did not
refuse to follow the Hand which promised him guidance, protection,
and a mighty future. At the age of 75, with his wife Sarai, his nephew
Lot, and all that he possessed, he left Haran, crossed the Euphrates,
and commenced his journey southward and westward towards the _Land of
Promise_ (Acts vii. 4, 5).

This country, the future home of the great nation destined to spring
from his loins, was in many respects eminently adapted for its special
mission in the history of the World. In extent, indeed, it was but
a narrow strip of country, but a little larger than the six northern
counties of England, being nearly 180 miles in length[17], and 75 miles
in breadth, and having an area of about 13,600 English square miles.
Bounded on the west by the Mediterranean Sea, on the north by the
mountains of Lebanon, on the east by the Syrian desert, on the south
by the wilderness of Arabia, it was situated at the meeting-point
of the two continents of Asia and Africa, “on the very outpost, on
the extremest western edge of the East.” It was a secluded land. A
wilderness encompassed it on the east and south, mountains shut it in
on the north, and the “Great Sea” which washed its western shore was
the terror rather than the thoroughfare of ancient nations. “Unlike
the coast of Europe, and especially of Greece, it had no indentations,
no winding creeks, no deep havens[18],” but one small port――that of
Joppa――with which to tempt the mariner from the west. But while thus
eminently adapted to be the “silent and retired nursery of the Kingdom
of God[19],” it was in the very centre of the activity of the ancient
world, _in the midst of the nations, and the countries that were round
about it_ (Ezek. v. 5). On the South was the great empire of Egypt,
on the North-east the rising kingdom of Assyria. Neither of these
great nations could communicate with the other without passing through
Palestine, and so learning something of its peculiar institutions and
religion; and when the _fulness of time was come_ no country was better
suited, from its position at the extremest verge of the Eastern World,
to be the starting-point whence the glad tidings of Redemption might
be proclaimed to all nations[20]. Moreover, narrow as were its limits,
and secluded as was its position, it yet presented a greater variety of
surface, scenery and temperature than is to be found in any other part
of the world, and needed not to depend on other countries for anything
that either the luxuries or actual wants of its inhabitants required.
Four broadly marked longitudinal regions divided its surface. (i) First,
there was the _low plain_ of the western sea-coast, broad towards
the south, and gradually narrowing towards the north, famous for the
Shephelah (_the low country_) with its waving corn-fields, and the vale
of Sharon (_level country_), the garden of Palestine. From this was an
ascent to (ii) _a strip of table-land_, every part of which was more or
less undulating, but increasing in elevation from north to south[21],
and broken only by the plain of Jezreel or Esdraelon. To this succeeded
a rapid descent into (iii) _a deep fissure or valley_, through which
the Jordan (_the descender_), the only river of importance in the
country, rushes from its source at the base of Hermon into the Dead
Sea, the surface of which is no less than 1316 feet below that of
the Mediterranean[22]. Hence was a second ascent to (iv) a _strip of
table-land_ on the east similar to that on the west, and seeming with
its range of purple-tinted mountains to overhang Jerusalem itself.
Crowned by the forests and upland pastures of Gilead and Bashan,
this eastern table-land gradually melted into the desert which rolled
between it and the valley of Mesopotamia. Thus within a very small
space were crowded the most diverse features of natural scenery, and
the most varied products. It was _a good land, a land of brooks of
water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills, a
land flowing with milk and honey_ (Deut. viii. 7–9; xi. 10–12). The low
plains yielded luxuriant crops of wheat and barley, of rye and maize;
on the table-lands with their equable and moderate climate grew the
vine, the olive, the fig, the almond, the pomegranate; in the tropical
neighbourhood of Jericho flourished the palm-tree and the balsam; while
the noble cedar waved on the mountains of Lebanon.

Such was the Land, secluded and yet central, narrow and yet wonderfully
diversified alike in its natural features and its products, whither
the Almighty now bade Abram direct his steps. Striking across the
great Syrian desert, the patriarch kept on his southward course, and
having crossed the Jordan, _passed through the land_, till he came
to Shechem[23], situated between the mountains Ebal and Gerizim. This
spot, destined afterwards to be so celebrated, was then only marked
by the majestic oak of Moreh, probably a Canaanitish chief, but its
many fountains, rills, and water-courses[24] made it then, as it ever
has been since, a natural pasture-ground for flocks and herds; and
here Abram halted, and learnt that he had reached the goal of his long
journey. _This land_, said God, _I will give unto thy seed_; and at
Shechem the patriarch built his first altar to the Lord in the “Land
of Promise[25]” (Gen. xii. 6, 7).

Thence he afterwards removed southward a distance of about twenty
miles, to the strong mountain country east of Bethel, or as it was then
called Luz; one of the finest tracts of the land for pasturage, and
here he erected his second altar unto the Lord. During his sojourn in
this neighbourhood he learnt that, though the heir of mighty promises,
he was not to be exempt from his share of trials and disappointments.
The first that befell him was a grievous famine, caused probably by a
failure of the usual rains; in consequence of which, finding himself
unable to support his numerous dependents, he resolved, though without
direct Divine suggestion, to go down into Egypt, then, as always, the
fertile granary of the neighbouring nations. As he drew near the land
of the mighty Pharaohs, he reflected that the beauty of his wife might
expose her to danger from the sensual, voluptuous Egyptians, and under
the influence of these apprehensions persuaded her to stoop to an
unworthy equivocation, and give herself out as his sister. What he
anticipated came to pass. The princes of Egypt _beheld the woman that
she was fair_, and recommended her to their monarch, by whom she was
taken into his palace, while numerous presents of cattle and sheep were
sent to her supposed brother. But the monarch found that the coming
of the stranger into his palace involved him in serious troubles, _the
Lord plagued Pharaoh with great plagues_, till, having ascertained the
true relation between her and Abram, he sent her back to her husband,
with a strong rebuke to the latter for the deception he had practised.

How long after this Abram stayed in Egypt we are not told. But at
length his wealth in cattle, and gold and silver, having materially
increased, he quitted the country, and once more took up his abode on
his former camping-ground between Bethel and Ai. Hitherto his nephew
Lot had accompanied him in all his wanderings, but now the increasing
numbers of their flocks and herds generated a quarrel between their
respective herdsmen, and it was plainly necessary that they should
separate. With characteristic generosity Abram bade his nephew take
the first choice, and select for himself, whether on the left hand or
the right, a place for his new abode. From the high mountain-range[26]
to the east of Bethel, where they were then encamped, Lot _lifted up
his eyes_ and looked down upon the wide and well-watered plain south
of the Jordan, then a very _garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt_
(Gen. xiii. 10) they had so lately left. As yet no terrible convulsion
had effaced the site of Sodom and Gomorrah and the other cities of the
plain. Fair and fertile the coveted possession stretched onwards unto
Zoar, and in spite of the notorious wickedness of the inhabitants Lot
chose it for his abode, and the two _separated themselves the one from
the other_. Though Abram was thus left to wait alone for the fulfilment
of the Promise, he was not forgotten by the God in whom he trusted. A
more full and more definite promise was now vouchsafed to him. _Lift
up thine eyes_, said the Almighty, _and look from place to place where
thou art, northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward; all the
land which thou seest to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever;
and I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth, so that if a man
can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered_
(Gen. xiii. 14–17).

Thus encouraged, _the Friend of God_ (Jas. ii. 23) removed his
tent, and travelling southward took up his abode under the spreading
terebinth[27] of Mamre, an Amorite prince (Gen. xiv. 13, 24), near
Hebron, or as it was then called Kirjath-Arba, _the City of Arba_
the father of Anak and the progenitor of the giant Anakim (Gen.
xxiii. 2; xxxv. 27; Josh. xiv. 15). While dwelling peacefully in this
neighbourhood, which like all other places he hallowed with an altar to
Jehovah, he received one day unexpected tidings of his nephew Lot. The
chiefs of the five cities in the tropical valley of the Jordan, SODOM,
GOMORRAH, ADMAH, ZEBOIM, and BELAH, had for twelve years been subject
to CHEDORLAOMER, a powerful king of Elam or Mesopotamia. But they had
lately united together to throw off his yoke. Thereupon the King of
Elam, aided by three other confederate chiefs, proceeded to make war
against the southern kings. Sweeping down on a sudden foray, he smote
the countries on the eastern uplands of the Jordan and the southern
region of Mount Seir. Returning thence he ravaged all the country
of the Amalekites, and with his allied chiefs met the kings of Sodom
and Gomorrah in pitched battle in the Vale of Siddim, probably at
the north-west corner of the Dead Sea. The five southern kings were
utterly routed, and with much spoil and many captives the Assyrian
invader commenced his return northwards. It was the news of this
sudden invasion which now reached the ears of Abram. Without losing
a moment he instantly armed his 318 trained servants, and, aided by
the confederate chief Mamre and his brothers Eshcol and Aner, arose
and pursued the Assyrians by night. The latter had in the meantime
reached the neighbourhood of the Sidonian Laish, far up in the northern
mountains. Thither, however, Abram pursued them, and falling upon
them suddenly, while all unconscious of coming danger, he smote them
and chased them to Hobah, on the left of Damascus. Thence, with the
recovered captives, amongst whom was Lot, he returned, and at the
_King’s Dale_, not far from Hebron, was met by the King of Sodom,
accompanied by a mysterious personage, who now meets us for the first
and only time, named MELCHISEDEC, a king of Salem and priest of the
Most High God. The sudden appearance of one thus uniting the kingly
and priestly functions, of whose origin and family we know nothing,
has led to much speculation. Putting aside more improbable conjectures,
we may perhaps conclude that he was an eminent Canaanitish prince in
the line of Ham, who had maintained the pure worship of the One true
God, and who, according to a custom not uncommon in patriarchal times,
was at once king and priest[28]. A sufficient proof of his high dignity
is afforded by the fact that to him the patriarch Abram reverently
gave tithes of all that he had taken in his late successful expedition,
and received his solemn blessing (Heb. vii. 2, 6). Before they parted
the King of Sodom pressed Abram to take a portion of the spoil as his
reward. This, however, the latter with his usual generosity firmly
declined; he would take nothing, _from a thread even to a shoelatchet_
(Gen. xiv. 23), save only a portion for his allies, the chiefs Aner,
Eshcol, and Mamre, and then returned to the shade of the oak or
terebinth near Hebron.

                              CHAPTER II.

                     _LIFE OF ABRAHAM CONTINUED._
                    GEN. XV.–XXV.   B.C. 1913–1822.

WE now enter on another and a different scene in the history of Abram.
He had been victorious over the Assyrian kings; he had gotten him
honour as the prompt avenger of injustice and oppression before the
chiefs of the land in which he was a pilgrim and a sojourner; he had
been solemnly blessed by the _King of Righteousness_; but where was
the fulfilment of the promise for which he had so long been waiting?
He had no son, no single pledge of the mighty nation destined to spring
from his loins. When, therefore, his all-merciful Guide appeared to
him again in vision, to assure him of safety and protection, he could
not restrain the deep sorrow of his heart, and mournfully complained
that in place of a son, _one born in his house_, probably Eliezer of
Damascus, _would be his heir_. On this occasion the Almighty not only
solemnly assured His desponding servant that a son should be born to
him, an earnest of a seed as numerous as the stars of heaven, and that
the land on which he walked should undoubtedly be their inheritance,
but, as in the case of Noah after the Flood, he vouchsafed to him _an
outward and visible sign_ to strengthen and support his faith. He bade
the patriarch take a heifer, a ram, and a she-goat, each three years
old, together with a turtle-dove and a young pigeon, and after dividing
them all, except the birds, to lay them piece by piece over against
the other. Familiar, doubtless, with this ancient method of ratifying
a covenant, Abram did as the Lord had told him, slew the victims, and
laid the divided portions in order. Then from morning until evening
he watched them, and from time to time drove away the birds of prey
which hovered over them. At length the sun went down, and a deep sleep
fell upon him, and a horror of great darkness gathered around him.
Amidst the deepening gloom there appeared to him a Smoking Furnace and
a Burning Lamp passing along the space between the divided victims.
Presently a Voice came to him telling him that _his seed should be a
stranger in a land that was not theirs, that there they should suffer
affliction 400 years; that afterwards, in the fourth generation, when
the cup of the Amorites was full, they should come out with great
substance, return to the spot where the patriarch now was, and enter
on their promised inheritance_. Thus, amidst mingled light and gloom,
the ancestor of the elect nation was warned of the chequered fortunes
which awaited his progeny, while at the same time he was assured of the
ultimate fulfilment of the Promise, and the actual boundaries of the
lands of his inheritance were marked out from the river of Egypt to the
distant Euphrates; and in this confidence Abram was content to _possess
his soul in patience_ (Lk. xxi. 19).

As yet, it will be observed, it had not been expressly said that his
wife Sarai was the destined mother of the long-promised son. As the
prospect, therefore, of her contributing to the fulfilment of the
Promise became more and more remote, she seems to have concluded that
this honour was not reserved for her, and accordingly persuaded her
husband to take her handmaid, HAGAR, an Egyptian, as a secondary wife,
that by her he might obtain what was denied herself. Abram complied
with her suggestion, and Hagar conceived; but the consequences did
not tend to increase the patriarch’s happiness. In a moment of elation
Hagar mocked her mistress, and Sarai dealt hardly with her, till she
fled from her into the southern wilderness, on the way that led to her
native land. There, as she halted near a fountain of water, an angel
of the Lord met her, and bade her return and submit herself to her
mistress, assuring her at the same time that she should give birth
to a son, whom she was to call ISHMAEL (_whom God hears_). Though the
_son of a bondwoman_ (Gal. iv. 22, 23), no mean future lay before him;
he should become the ancestor of a numerous seed, who, like himself,
would be true roving sons of the desert, _their hand against every man,
and every man’s hand against them_. In remembrance of this incident
Hagar named the fountain _Beer-lahai-roi_, (_the well of the God that
appeareth_), and returned to the tents of Sarah, where, in process of
time she gave birth to Ishmael, when Abram was 86 years old.

Again thirteen years rolled away, and still the Promise was not
fulfilled. But when hope might almost have ceased to hope, God
appeared once more to Abram, recapitulated the main outline of the
Covenant-Promise, changed his name from Abram (_a high father_), to
ABRAHAM (_the father of a multitude_), and assured him that at length
the long-expected time was well-nigh come. But in prospect of the
peculiar blessing about to be bestowed upon him, he himself, and all
his seed after him, must carry about with them a perpetual pledge of
their covenant relation to Jehovah. The rite of Circumcision must now
be adopted by him, and instead of being the badge of any favoured class
amongst the nation destined to spring from his loins, was, on pain
of excommunication, to be open to the lowliest member of the Hebrew
commonwealth, even to the bond-servant and the stranger. At the same
time it was intimated to the patriarch that his wife Sarai, whose name
also was now changed to SARAH (_princess_), and no other, was to be
the mother of the promised child, that it would be born during the next
year, and be called Isaac (_Laughter_); while Ishmael also, for whom
Abraham had prayed, would not be forgotten, but be a partaker in the
Divine blessing, and become the father of twelve princes, the ancestors
of a great nation. Thereupon Abraham complied with the Divine command,
and was circumcised, together with Ishmael, now thirteen years of age,
and all the male members of his household.

Shortly after this, as the patriarch sat, in the heat of the day, under
the oak of Mamre, he received a visit from three mysterious Strangers,
whom he entertained with becoming hospitality. The meal over which he
had hastily prepared, one of them inquired for his wife, and formally
announced that within the year she would be the mother of a son. His
words were overheard by Sarah, and she laughed incredulously at the
possibility of such an event, but was thereupon reproved by the Speaker,
and assured in a still more confident manner of the fulfilment of His
word. Then the Three left the tent and turned their steps eastward
towards Sodom. Abraham accompanied them, and on the way one of them, in
whom he recognised no other than the _Angel of the Covenant_, informed
him of the real purport of this visit to the cities where his nephew
Lot had taken up his abode. The sin of these cities was very great, and
their cup was now full; their inhabitants had wearied themselves with
wickedness, and their licentiousness and iniquity called to Heaven for
a visible revelation of Divine wrath, and judgment was now _even at the
door_. Informed of the impending doom the _Friend of God_ drew near,
and with marvellous boldness blended with the deepest humility pleaded
with the Almighty for the guilty cities. Peradventure there might be
found therein at least fifty, or forty-five, or forty, or thirty, or
twenty, or even ten righteous souls, would the _Lord of all the earth
spare_ them for ten’s sake? Thereupon he was assured that if only ten
righteous souls could be found the cities should be spared. While he
was thus pleading with God, the two other angels entered Sodom, and
were hospitably entertained by Lot. But their celestial beauty only
served to excite the wickedness of the inhabitants, who surrounded
Lot’s house, and, in spite of his earnest expostulations, would have
offered them personal violence had they not been suddenly stricken
with blindness. As the night wore on, his visitors assured Lot of the
certain destruction of the city, and warned him to gather together with
all speed every member of his family if he would save them from the
impending judgment. Lot did as he was advised; but his warning was
lost upon his sons-in-law and his daughters-in-law, and he seemed unto
them _as one that mocked_. When the day dawned, the angels broke off
any further delay by laying hold on him, and his wife, and his two
daughters, and having dragged them forth beyond the city, bade them
flee to the neighbouring mountain range if they would not be consumed.
But thither Lot was afraid to flee, and in compliance with his urgent
entreaty was permitted to betake himself to the town of Bela, or Zoar
(_Little_), on the southern extremity of the Dead Sea. The sun rose
as he entered this city of refuge, and then _the Lord rained upon
Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire out of heaven_, and utterly swept
away by an awful convulsion every trace of the guilty cities and their
inhabitants, the site of which became henceforth a perpetual desolation.
Few as were the remnants of this fearful overthrow, yet one of these
few failed to reach the little city of refuge. In spite of the Angel’s
reiterated warning, Lot’s wife lingered, looked back, and, caught by
the advancing sulphurous tide, was smothered as she stood, and became
a _pillar of salt_ (Gen. xix. 26; Lk. xvii. 32). As for Lot himself,
afraid to dwell even in Zoar, he fled with his two daughters to the
eastern mountains, and became the father of two sons, Moab and Ben-Ammi,
the ancestors of two powerful nations――the Moabites and Ammonites.

Shortly after this terrible judgment, Abraham left the oak of Mamre,
where he had so long encamped, and journeyed in a southerly direction
towards Gerar, between Kadesh and Shur, at that time the principal seat
of the Philistines, whose chief was known by the hereditary title of
Abimelech, or _Father-King_[29]. Under the same apprehensions which he
had felt when drawing nigh to Egypt, Abraham wished that Sarah should
pass for his sister, and again exposed her to imminent risk. But,
as before, the Lord mercifully intervened, and the Philistine chief
restored his wife to the patriarch, together with ample presents (Gen.
xx. 14–16). At length the time had come for which Abraham, now upwards
of 100 years of age, had so long waited. Either at Gerar or Beersheba,
Sarah gave birth to the _child of promise_, who was duly circumcised
on the eighth day, and named ISAAC (_Laughter_) according to the Divine
command. At the feast given on the occasion of his weaning, Ishmael
mocked, or in some way insulted the child. This act, observed by Sarah,
roused all her animosity, and she demanded the instant dismissal of the
boy and his mother. Though sorely against his will, Abraham, advised
by God, yielded to his wife, and early on the following morning Hagar
and her son were sent away to wander in the wilderness of Beersheba.
In a short time the water in her skin-bottle was spent, and the boy
tormented with thirst seemed at the point of death. Unable to endure
the sight of his sufferings, Hagar laid him under the shade of the
desert shrubs, and sat down about a bowshot off. But the boy was not
thus to die; God heard his cry, and the angel of the Lord called to
Hagar out of heaven, and bade her not despair. At the same time her
eyes were opened to discern a well of water, with which she filled
her bottle and gave the lad drink. Thus his life was preserved, and he
grew and prospered, and dwelt in the wild desert of Paran, near Mount
Sinai, and was renowned for his skill in the use of the bow. Marrying
an Egyptian he became the father of twelve sons and one daughter (Gen.
xxv. 13–15; xxviii. 9; xxxvi. 3), the ancestors of the chief portion of
the wild Arab tribes, living by warlike forays and plunder, _their hand
against every man, and every man’s hand against them_.

Meanwhile Abraham was living in peace and security, feared and
respected by his Philistine neighbours in the south country, near
Beersheba, when a far keener trial befell him than any he had yet
experienced. The call from his own country, the famine that drove him
into Egypt, the desertion of Lot, the long deferring of the promised
seed, the separation from Ishmael, all these had been sore trials to
flesh and blood. But now, when the hope of his life seemed at length
to have been gained, he was commanded to take _his son, his only
son Isaac_ a three days’ journey into the land of Moriah, and offer
him up as a burnt-offering on one of the mountains that should be
shown him. Utterly inexplicable as this command must have seemed, and
indescribably painful to his feelings, the patriarch’s trust in God did
not falter. Assured that He who had called him into being could, if it
pleased Him, _raise up_ his son _even from the dead_ (Heb. xi. 19), he
rose up early in the morning, clave the wood for the sacrifice, saddled
his ass, and with two young men and Isaac commenced his journey. On
the third day he lifted up his eyes, and beheld the spot afar off;
thereupon leaving the young men behind, he laid the wood upon his
son, and with the fire in his hand, and a knife, ascended the mountain
to the spot[30] of which God had told him. Marvelling that no victim
had been brought, but assured that _a lamb would be provided for a
burnt-offering_, Isaac accompanied his father to the summit, and when
the altar had been built and the wood laid thereon, submitted without a
murmur to be bound and placed upon it. Another moment and the father’s
hand was actually outstretched to slay his son, when a voice from
heaven arrested him, and bade him forbear to proceed further, seeing
that the end for which this mysterious trial had been sent was now
gained, for Abraham had not withheld his only son, but given proof of
his willingness to surrender even him to the Divine call. At the same
moment the patriarch looked, and beheld behind him a ram caught in a
thicket by its horns, which he took and offered as a burnt-offering
instead of his son. In memory of this eventful day he named the place
_Jehovah-Jireh_, i.e. _Jehovah will see_ or _provide_, and again
received the assurance of the Divine blessing upon himself and his
future descendants, who should be _multiplied as the stars of heaven,
and as the sand upon the seashore_, and become the channel of blessings
to _all the nations of the earth_.

This is the culminating point in Abraham’s life. Implicit trust
in the Most High, unfaltering obedience to His will, had never
been more signally displayed, and his faith _was counted to him for
righteousness_ (Rom. iv. 3, 9). From this time his course was calm
and peaceful. Leaving Beersheba he turned northwards, and once more
abode under the oak of Mamre. Here he lost the partner of his long
and eventful career. At the age of 127 (the only instance in which
the age of a woman is recorded in Scripture) Sarah died, and was laid
in the _cave of the field of Machpelah_, a spot now covered by the
Mosque of Hebron, which Abraham bought for 400 shekels of silver, _for
a possession of a burying-place_, of Ephron the Hittite. So deep was
the respect of the children of Heth for _the mighty prince_ who had so
long lived among them, that in spite of the usual Oriental jealousy on
this point they would willingly have permitted him to bury his dead in
the choicest of their own sepulchres. But this Abraham declined, and
the Cave of Machpelah with the surrounding field was made over to him
for a possession for ever[31].

Three years afterwards, anxious to prevent an alliance between his son
and any of the Canaanitish nations, he sent the eldest servant of his
house, probably Eliezer of Damascus, into Mesopotamia, to the city of
Nahor his brother, to procure from thence a wife for him. His servant
faithfully discharged his commission, and the piety he displayed
reflecting the goodness of the patriarch himself was rewarded. At
a well outside the city of Haran he met REBEKAH, the daughter of
Bethuel[32] the son of Nahor, going forth with her pitcher on her
shoulder to draw water. In answer to his inquiries she told him who
she was, and conducted him to the house of her brother Laban. There
he recounted all that had befallen his master in the land of his
pilgrimage, and made known the purpose of his errand. Rebekah, when
asked by her brother and mother, announced her readiness to accompany
the servant to the tents of Abraham, and in the course of time became
Isaac’s wife (Gen. xxiv.).

Before long Abraham himself also married again, and by KETURAH his
second wife, became the father of six children, Zimran, Jokshan, Medan,
Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah (Gen. xxv. 2), the ancestors of Arabian and
Midianitish tribes. Lest they should dispute the inheritance with Isaac,
the prudent patriarch, while he yet lived, presented them with gifts,
and sent them away into the south-east country (Gen. xxv. 6) where
their descendants settled along the borders of the Elanitic Gulf in
considerable numbers. And then the _Father of the Faithful, the Friend
of God_, being 175 years old, had reached the term of life allotted to
him. In _a good old age, and full of years_, he was gathered unto his
people, and was laid by Isaac and Ishmael also, who had come up from
the wild desert of Paran to assist in these last sad offices, by the
side of his beloved Sarah, in the cave of Machpelah[33].

                             CHAPTER III.

                        _THE HISTORY OF ISAAC._
                  GEN. XXV.–XXVII.   B.C. 1822–1760.

FOR nineteen years after their marriage Isaac and Rebekah were
childless. But at length, in answer to earnest prayer, Rebekah became
the mother of twin sons, ESAU (_hairy, rough_) and JACOB (_he that
holds by the heel_, or _supplanter_). The bitter enmity afterwards to
exist between the brothers was foreshadowed even before their birth,
and as they grew the difference in their characters became still more
prominent. Esau became a _cunning hunter_, wild and daring, even as
his rough and robust frame betokened, revelling like a true son of the
desert in the excitement of the chase. Jacob, on the other hand, was a
quiet domestic youth, _dwelling in tents_, the favourite of his mother,
while Esau, by a not uncommon caprice of affection, was the favourite
of the gentle retiring Isaac, whose keen relish for savoury food was
gratified by his success in the hunting-field (Gen. xxv. 24–28).

It is in connection with his favourite pursuit that Esau first attracts
our notice. As the eldest son he had several important privileges.
He held superior rank in the family (Gen. xlix. 3), and would succeed
to a double portion of his father’s property (Gen. xlviii. 22; Deut.
xxi. 17); his also was, in all probability, the priestly office (Num.
viii. 17–19), and the Covenant-Blessing (Heb. xii. 16, 17; Gen. xxvii.
28, 29, 36). These were the privileges of his birthright, and by an
Oriental patriarch were held as dear as life itself. On one occasion
Esau returned faint and weary from the chase, and saw his brother Jacob
preparing some dark red pottage of lentiles[34]. Famished and exhausted,
he longed for the fragrant mess, and implored his brother to let him
have it. Seeing his distress, Jacob determined to avail himself of
it for his own ends, and agreed to give his brother the pottage on
condition that he sold him his birthright. Unable to control the pangs
of hunger, bent on the immediate gratification of his appetite, Esau
was willing to barter all his privileges for a single meal. But words
were not sufficient for his artful brother. He must have an oath
solemnly attesting the exchange. _Swear unto me_, said he, and Esau
swore, and sold his birthright _for one morsel of meat_ (Heb. xii. 16),
and ate and drank, and rose up and went his way[35].

At a subsequent period, in consequence of a grievous famine, Isaac
left Lahai-roi, and journeyed southward to Gerar, within the fertile
coast-line of Philistia. While here he received a warning from
the Almighty against going down into Egypt, and was assured of the
continuance of the same blessing which his father had enjoyed (Gen.
xxvi. 1–5). Thus encouraged he continued to dwell at Gerar, but, like
his father, was not always proof against temptations to distrust his
Almighty Protector. He persuaded Rebekah to represent herself as his
sister, and subjected himself to a cutting rebuke from Abimelech for
this unworthy equivocation. At Gerar his wealth increased exceedingly,
and he made the first advance beyond the purely pastoral life. He
_sowed in that land_, and reaped within the year an hundred fold (Gen.
xxvi. 12). But his wealth and prosperity in time provoked the jealousy
of the Philistines, and they stopped up the wells which his father had
dug; nor did the patriarch feel himself secure till he had moved still
further southward to Beersheba. Here, like Abraham before him, he built
an altar unto Jehovah, and called upon His Name, and was rewarded by
a second confirmation of the covenant Promise, while his contentions
with the Philistines were brought to a close, and a mutual compact
ratified between them (Gen. xxvi. 26–31). But his domestic happiness
was not equally secured. To the great grief of both his parents, Esau,
now 40 years of age, contracted an alliance with Judith the daughter
of Beeri, and Bashemath, the daughter of Elon, both of the race of the
Hittites, to whom he afterwards added Mahalath, a daughter of Ishmael
(Gen. xxvi. 34; xxviii. 9).

Of the greater portion of Isaac’s life at Beersheba the Scripture
narrative tells nothing, nor is any incident recorded till we hear that
_he waxed old and his eyes grew dim so that he could not see_. Then
reminded of the uncertain tenure of life, he resolved by a solemn act
to bestow the patriarchal blessing upon his eldest son. Summoning Esau
before him, he bade him go forth to the hunt and bring him venison
such as he loved, promising the blessing as his reward. His words did
not escape the quick ears of Rebekah. Eager to obtain this important
privilege for her favourite Jacob, she bade him, during the absence
of his brother, slay two kids, with which she prepared savoury meat
such as Isaac loved. Then arraying him in garments belonging to his
brother, and placing the skins upon his hands and neck, she directed
him to go into the presence of his father, and pass himself off as his
wild, rough brother Esau. After some hesitation, Jacob fell in with
her plan, and in the disguise she had prepared presented himself before
his father. But Isaac, though old and dimsighted, was not free from
his suspicions. To Jacob’s assurance that he had been to the chase and
brought of the prey, he replied by enquiring how he had found it so
quickly. Nor did the ready but untruthful answer that the Lord had
brought it to him relieve his mind. _Come near_, said he, _that I may
feel thee, whether thou be my very son Esau or not_. And Jacob went
near, and his father felt him. Another question, and another falsehood
followed; and at length Jacob was bidden to present the venison that he
had taken, and the old man ate and drank, and then bestowed upon him in
all its fulness the Covenant Blessing. He prayed that God would _give
his son of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and plenty
of corn and wine; that He would make people to serve him, and nations
to bow down to him, so that he might be lord over his brethren, and see
his mother’s sons bow down to him, a blessing to all that blessed him,
a curse to all that cursed him_ (Gen. xxvii. 28, 29).

Thus successful in his shameful artifice, Jacob had scarcely gone forth
from his father’s presence, when the true Esau returned from the chase.
With savoury meat he too presented himself before Isaac, and besought
his blessing. The old man trembled very exceedingly when he heard the
voice of his eldest son, but told him that he had come too late. His
brother, _the Supplanter_, had been before him, and the irrevocable
words had been spoken. With _a great and exceeding bitter cry_ Esau
implored his father for one blessing which perchance might be left; and
at length Isaac assured him that _his dwelling would be of the fatness
of the earth, and of the dew of heaven from above; but he must live
by his sword and serve his brother, till the day when he too should
gain the dominion, and should shake his brother’s yoke from off his
neck_[36] (Gen. xxvii. 39, 40).

Enraged at the deception which had been practised upon him, Esau
did not conceal his design of revenging himself by putting Jacob to
death, and only deferred it till the days of mourning for his father
were ended, whose death he deemed to be near at hand. But his dark
threat became known to Rebekah. Anxious to save her favourite son, she
persuaded him to undertake a journey to his uncle Laban at Padan-Aram,
promising, when a few days were over, and his brother’s wrath was
appeased, to send for him again. Without communicating her real motive
in urging this journey, she at the same time secured the acquiescence
of Isaac, by pretending anxiety that Jacob should marry one of the
daughters of Laban, rather than follow his brother’s example, and
contract an alliance among the Hittites. Accordingly Isaac sent for
his son, and bade him go to Padan-Aram, urging him to take thence a
wife from amongst his own kindred, and then consciously and purposely
transferred to him and his seed after him the blessing of Abraham
(Gen. xxviii. 1–5).

                              CHAPTER IV.

                           _LIFE OF JACOB._
                 GEN. XXVIII.–XXXV.   B.C. 1760–1716.

THUS solemnly assured of the Covenant Blessing, JACOB bade farewell
to his mother, whom he was never to see again, and set out a solitary
traveller for the Eastern uplands of Aram, where in place of a few
days he was destined to spend many weary years, and amidst many trials
and vicissitudes to find the same measure that he had measured to
his brother measured also to himself. As the sun went down on the
first evening of his journey, he reached the site of one of Abraham’s
encampments, the stony soil[37] near the Canaanite town of Luz. Taking
of the stones that lay around, he put them for his pillow, and lay down
to sleep. As he slept, there appeared to him a vision of the night. A
ladder seemed to rise up from the bare ground on which he lay, and the
top of it reached even unto heaven, and on it he saw angels ascending
and descending. Moreover from above there came the Voice of God
assuring the wanderer of His protection, renewing to him the promise
of Abraham, and encouraging him with the hope of return from exile.
Jacob awoke trembling and afraid, _Surely_, said he, _the Lord is in
this place, and I knew it not; how dreadful is this place! This is
none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven._ Then
rising early, he took the stone that had formed his pillow, poured oil
upon it, and set it up for a memorial, calling the spot BETHEL, the
_House of God_. At the same time he made a solemn vow that, if Jehovah
would indeed sustain him in all his ways, and bring him back as He had
promised, he would not only dedicate the spot as His House, but would
give Him the tenth of all that he possessed (Gen. xxviii. 18–22).

Then he continued his journey, and striking in a north-easterly
direction, at length reached a well in Padan-Aram, round which were
gathered three flocks with shepherds from Haran. As he was conversing
with them, RACHEL, the daughter of his uncle Laban, approached, and
with true courtesy Jacob went near, rolled the stone from the well’s
mouth, and watered the flocks. He then kissed the maiden, and told
her he was Rebekah’s son, whereupon she ran and told her father, who
welcomed Jacob to the tents of Haran. After a stay of one month, Laban
proposed that the wanderer should serve him as a shepherd, to which
Jacob assented, and promised to serve him seven years on condition
of receiving the hand of Rachel. The seven years passed away, and he
who had _supplanted_ his brother twice, now learnt what it was to be
_supplanted_ himself. On the evening of his marriage Laban substituted
her sister LEAH in place of Rachel; nor was the deceit discovered
till the following morning, when, in answer to Jacob’s reproaches, he
informed him that it was not customary to give the younger before the
elder daughter, and that if he would have Rachel he must serve seven
more years for her. To these hard conditions Jacob assented, and in the
course of time became the father of a numerous family, eleven sons and
and a daughter DINAH, were born to Leah; DAN and NAPHTALI to Bilhah
Rachel’s maid, whom the latter, finding she had no children, gave to
Jacob as a secondary wife; GAD and ASHER to Zilpah, Leah’s maid; and
JOSEPH to Rachel.

Shortly after the birth of this last son, Jacob having completed his
time of service, proposed to Laban that he should return into his
own country. But the latter, who had found by experience that his
son-in-law had brought a blessing to his house, prevailed upon him to
continue in his service, on condition of receiving a certain portion
of the flocks as his hire. Six years longer, therefore, Jacob staid
with his father-in-law, and prospered, and became himself the owner
of numerous herds. But on Laban’s side the covenant was not strictly
kept. Again and again he changed the wages of his faithful servant,
till at length finding any longer stay rendered impossible by the
envy and jealousy of his father-in-law and his sons, and encouraged by
the Word of Jehovah, Jacob determined to set out for his native land.
Accordingly, availing himself of Laban’s absence at a sheep-shearing,
he gathered together all his goods, and with his wives and family
crossed the river, the great river Euphrates (Gen. xxxi. 21), and set
his face towards the uplands of Gilead, on the east of Jordan. Three
days after his departure, news of his flight reached the ears of Laban,
who forthwith pursued after him a seven days’ journey, and overtook
him as he was encamped in the range of Gilead. Warned by God in a dream
against using any violence towards his son-in-law, Laban contented
himself with reproaching him for his secret flight, hypocritically
complaining that he had not given him time to send him away with
due formality, and accusing him of stealing his household gods, the
_teraphim_ or images, which Rachel had taken and concealed in the
camel’s furniture. After some altercation it was resolved to come to
terms. Stones were gathered together, and set up as a Pillar of Witness,
in token of their agreement that neither party to injure the other
would cross over what was henceforth to be the boundary between their
respective territories; after which Laban returned to his home in the
distant East (Gen. xxxi. 43–55).

Thus relieved from pressing danger, Jacob continued his journey
westward. The twenty years of exile was over, and he was bound for his
native land. As if to welcome him thither, and to remind him of the
fulfilment of God’s Promise, the angels, whom he had seen twenty years
before in vision at Bethel, now met him in two hosts, to commemorate
which event he named the spot Mahanaim (_two hosts_). He was now on the
brink of the river which divided him from his father’s home, and the
remembrance of his brother Esau and the uncertainty of the reception he
might meet with from him caused the deepest anxiety. Sending messengers
into the land of Seir, he informed his _lord_ Esau of his return
from the land of exile, and of the success that had attended him. The
messengers went, and returned with the alarming intelligence that Esau
was coming to meet him with four hundred men. Jacob’s distress was
extreme, and he poured forth his whole soul in fervent prayer to God
for protection. Then selecting a valuable present from his flocks and
herds, he sent them to meet and propitiate his approaching brother,
and at midnight dispatched his wives and sons, and all that he had,
across the ford Jabbok, but staid himself behind to renew his earnest
supplications for the Divine protection. Through the night, even to the
breaking of the day, there wrestled with him One (Hos. xii. 3, 4), whom
he knew not, and whose Name he could not prevail upon Him to reveal,
but who left upon him a palpable mark of their mysterious conflict,
for He _touched the hollow of his thigh so that it was out of joint_.
But in memory of this same crisis in his life another sign was given
him. His name was changed. No more was he to be called Jacob, the
_Supplanter_. During the long years of his weary exile old things had
passed away, and all things were becoming new. Henceforth he was to
be known as ISRAEL, _the Prince of God_, for _as a Prince had he power
with God and with man, and had prevailed_ (Gen. xxxii. 28). The site
of this memorable conflict Jacob named Peniel (_the face of God_). When
the day broke he looked up, and saw Esau approaching with his retinue.
Thereupon in long procession he went forth to meet him; first advanced
the handmaids Bilhah and Zilpah with their children, then followed
Leah and her children, last of all Rachel and Joseph. Jacob himself
led the way, bowing to the ground seven times until he came near to his
brother, who ran to meet him, and fell upon his neck and kissed him.
The reconciliation was complete. After mutual converse, Esau agreed to
leave to Jacob the land of his inheritance, and retired himself to the
rugged mountains of Seir[38], whence he and his descendants expelled
the aboriginal tribes, and dwelt in their stead in the land henceforth
known as Edom or Idumæa, a race of hunters living by the sword.

Meanwhile Jacob continued his journey towards the valley of the
Jordan, and for a while settled at Succoth, where he puts up booths
(_Succoth_) for his cattle, as well as a house for himself. Thence
he moved westwards, and crossing the Jordan, advanced into the very
heart of Palestine, and pitched his tent before the city of Shechem.
Of Hamor its chief he subsequently bought a portion of the rich plain,
east of the city, and here he settled down, and, like Abraham before
him, erected an altar to Jehovah. During his stay at this place, which
appears to have been somewhat protracted, an unfortunate occurrence
caused him for a time the greatest anxiety, and eventually drove him
from the neighbourhood. One day, on the occasion, it is not improbable,
of some local festival, Dinah the daughter of Leah, at this time from
thirteen to fifteen years of age, went out _to see the daughters of
the land_, and was dishonoured by Shechem, the Hivite chieftain, in
whose territory the patriarch had settled. His father Hamor thereupon
proposed that his son should pay a certain sum, by way of reparation,
to her father and mother for the injury he had done to the maiden and
marry her, and that this should be followed by a general intermarriage
between the two peoples. To this proposition the brothers of Dinah
assented, but demanded, as the single condition of the treaty, that the
people of Shechem should consent to be circumcised. These terms were
unwittingly accepted by the Shechemites, and three days afterwards,
Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s own brothers, at the head of their households,
attacked the city, slew the chiefs and all the males in the place,
spoiled it of every article of value it contained, and took captive
even the women and little children. This bloody and treacherous act
excited Jacob’s deepest indignation, and shortly afterwards, fearful
lest the neighbouring tribes should gather together and slay him and
all his house, in accordance with a Divine warning, he determined to
repair to Bethel and dwell there and perform the vow, which till now
he seems almost to have forgotten. The journey partook somewhat of a
religious pilgrimage, and was preceded by a general purification on the
part of the patriarch’s followers, and a collection of the _teraphim_
or strange gods, which had been brought from Mesopotamia, and were now
hidden under an oak at Shechem. Arrived once more at the scene of his
wondrous Vision, Jacob erected an altar, which he called El-Bethel,
and here he was again visited by the Almighty, who renewed to him his
name of Israel, and assured him of his share in the blessings of the
Covenant (Gen. xxxv. 9–15). During his stay at Bethel his intimacy with
his father Isaac, who was still alive, appears to have been renewed;
for we are told that Deborah Rebekah’s nurse died, and was buried under
an oak, henceforth known as Allon-Bachuth, the _Oak of Tears_. But his
departure from the same place a day’s journey southwards was saddened
by a grievous trial. As he drew near to Ephrath, the Canaanitish name
of Bethlehem, Rachel his favourite wife died in giving birth to a son,
whom she called Ben-oni, _the son of sorrow_, but whom his father named
BENJAMIN, _the son of my right hand_. Over her grave the sorrowing
husband erected a pillar, and moving southward pitched his tent beside
Edar, or _the watch-tower of the flocks_, and subsequently beneath
the oak of Mamre before Hebron, where Isaac died, in the 180th year
of his age, and was committed to the tomb by Jacob and Esau (Gen.
xxxvi. 27–29).

                              CHAPTER V.

                         _HISTORY OF JOSEPH._
                 GEN. XXXVII.–XLII.   B.C. 1727–1707.

IT was while he was sojourning in the neighbourhood of Hebron, where,
like his father, he united agricultural with pastoral occupations (Gen.
xxxvii. 7) that the saddest trial of his life befell Jacob. Of all
his sons none was dearer to him than Joseph, the child of his beloved
Rachel. In token of his affection he bestowed upon him _a coat of many
colours_, probably a tunic furnished with sleeves and reaching down
to the ankles, worn by youths of the richer class[39]. By some this
is supposed to indicate his intention of transferring to him, as being
the _eldest son of the favourite Rachel_, the right of primogeniture.
Whether this was so or not, it roused much jealousy and ill-feeling
amongst Joseph’s brothers, already incensed by the circumstance of his
bearing to his father, when seventeen years of age, an evil report of
the sons of Zilpah and Bilhah, with whom he kept the flocks. Another
incident fanned the flame of ill-feeling. Joseph unwittingly told his
brethren of two dreams he had dreamt, in one of which he had seemed to
see them binding sheaves in the field, and lo! his sheaf rose and stood
upright, while their sheaves stood round about and made obeisance
to his sheaf; in the other he beheld the sun, moon, and the eleven
stars making obeisance to him. Even Jacob rebuked his favourite son
for his seeming self-exaltation, _though he observed the saying_ (Gen.
xxxvii. 11).

After a time an opportunity was presented to the brothers of taking
a cruel revenge. Though Jacob was settled in the vale of Hebron, a
portion of his numerous flocks and herds were kept by his sons on the
rich pasture-grounds near Shechem. Thither on one occasion Jacob sent
his favourite son to see how his brethren fared, and bring him word
again. Joseph set out, and being directed by a man whom he met, to
Dothan[40], or “_the Two Wells_,” a place about twelve miles north of
Shechem, famous for its pasturage, he went thither in quest of them.
From the rising ground, where they were keeping their flocks, the
brothers descried the _Dreamer_ approaching, and straightway resolved
to slay him and cast him into a pit, and then report to his father that
he had been devoured by wild beasts. From actually putting him to death
they were, however, dissuaded by Reuben, and contented themselves with
stripping him of his coat of many colours, and casting him into an
empty cistern, intending probably to let him die by hunger. But when
they had done this, and had sat down to eat, a company of Ishmaelite
or Midianite merchants (for the two names are used interchangeably)
approached, mounted on camels, and bearing spicery and balm, going down
the high road[41] which passed near from Gilead to Egypt. Thereupon
Judah proposed that they should sell him to these traders, and he was
taken up from the pit, and sold to the Ishmaelites, who paid for him
twenty pieces of silver, the usual price of a male slave from five to
twenty years of age. Reuben was not present when the cruel bargain was
struck, and was greatly distressed when, on his return, he found that
his brother was gone. But the others killed a kid, dipped Joseph’s
coat of many colours in its blood, and brought it to Jacob, with the
hypocritical enquiry whether it was his son’s coat or no, and informing
him that they had found it thus smeared with blood. Even Reuben did
not reveal the true state of the case, and Jacob, supposing that his
favourite son had been slain by wild beasts, put sackcloth upon his
loins, and refusing every proffered consolation, mourned for him many
days (Gen. xxxvii. 29–35).

Meanwhile the Midianitish caravan kept on its southward course, and
eventually reaching Egypt, sold Joseph to POTIPHAR[42], an officer of
Pharaoh, and _Captain of the Executioners_ (Gen. xxxviii. 36 _margin_).
In his house, Joseph though a foreigner and a slave, gradually won the
confidence of his master, who appears to have been a wealthy man, and
possessed of property in the field as well as in the house, so that
before long, in the capacity of overseer, he was entrusted with the
entire possessions of the Egyptian, and the Divine blessing rested upon
his house for Joseph’s sake.

But this period of happiness and prosperity was destined to come to an
abrupt termination. With the profligacy for which the Egyptian women
were notorious, the wife of Potiphar on one occasion tempted Joseph
to commit adultery with her, and when he resisted all her seductions,
charged him to her husband with the very crime she had ineffectually
tempted him to commit. Thereupon Potiphar, fully believing her story,
without bringing his faithful steward before any public tribunal, cast
him into the prison in his own house. But amidst this grievous trial
Joseph was not forsaken. _The Lord was with him, and gave him favour in
the sight of the keeper of the prison_, who, convinced of his fidelity
and uprightness, entrusted him with the care of all the prisoners there
confined. Amongst these there soon appeared the _Chief of Pharaoh’s
Cupbearers_, and the _Chief of his Bakers_, two high officers of the
Egyptian court, on whom Joseph was specially directed to wait. During
their imprisonment each of them dreamt a dream. The Chief of the
Cupbearers dreamt that _a vine was before him, on which were three
branches; that it was as though it budded, and its blossoms shot forth,
and its clusters brought forth ripe grapes, that of these he took and
pressed them into Pharaoh’s cup which was in his hand, and gave it to
that monarch_. The Chief of the Bakers dreamt that _he had three white
baskets on his head, the uppermost full of all manner of bakemeats for
Pharaoh, which the birds ate out of the baskets on his head_. Convinced
that these dreams portended events of great importance in their lives,
and unable to interpret them, these high officers were filled with
sadness. But Joseph, being informed of the cause, by virtue of his
prophetic gifts interpreted the dreams, and announced to the _Chief of
the Butlers_ that within three days, on the anniversary of Pharaoh’s
birthday, he should be restored to his office, while, within the same
period, his fellow-prisoner would be hanged upon a tree, where _the
birds would eat his flesh from off him_. As he had predicted, so it
came to pass. Within the specified period, the one of these grandees
was executed, and the other restored to his former high position. But
though the Hebrew Captive had told the _Chief of the Butlers_ his own
sad story, in the hour of prosperity the restored grandee forgat his
benefactor, and his touching request that he would intercede with
Pharaoh on his behalf (Gen. xl. 12–23).

Two more years, therefore, of tedious imprisonment passed over Joseph’s
head, when one night Pharaoh himself was troubled with two mysterious
dreams. In the first he seemed _to stand by the banks of the Nile, and
behold out of it there came seven well-favoured kine and fatfleshed,
and fed in the marsh grass that lined the banks. And behold after them
there came up seven poor, ill-favoured, leanfleshed kine, and they ate
up the seven well-favoured and fat kine, and when they had done so,
it could not be known that they had eaten them, for they were still
as ill-favoured as at the beginning._ In his second dream, the monarch
beheld _seven ears of corn growing upon one stalk, full, fat, and good,
and after them seven thin ears and blasted with the east wind, which
devoured the seven full and fat ears_. Troubled with these visions of
the night he awoke, and sent for all the magicians of Egypt and all
the wise men thereof, and told them his dream, but they were unable
to give him any interpretation. In this difficulty the _Chief of the
Butlers_ bethought him of his youthful benefactor in the prison, and
told Pharaoh what had befallen him there, and how a young man, a Hebrew,
servant to the Captain of the Executioners, had interpreted his dream.
Upon this the monarch sent for Joseph, who was brought into the royal
presence, and having been told the nature of the dreams, informed
Pharaoh that they were sent by the great God to forewarn him of what
He was about to do. The seven good kine and the seven good ears denoted
_seven years of plenty_; the seven thin ill-favoured kine and the seven
empty ears of corn denoted _seven years of very grievous famine_, about
to befall the entire land of Egypt. The doubling of the dreams denoted
that the event was certain and imminent. He advised, therefore, that
without delay the monarch should set over the land a man _discreet and
wise_, with overseers under him, to take up the fifth part of the land
during the seven years of plenty, and lay up corn and food in various
cities against the seven years of famine, which were assuredly to come
(Gen. xli. 14–36).

This advice found favour in the eyes of Pharaoh, and deeming no other
so well fitted for the post as the interpreter of his dreams, he
appointed him to fill it, and, in token of his freedom, placed on his
hand his own signet ring and a gold collar about his neck, and arraying
him in vestures of fine linen, he caused him to ride in the second
chariot that he had, preceded by heralds crying _Bow the knee_. Joseph
was thus invested with the dignity of an Oriental Vizier, and could act
in the name of the king. Besides these marks of honour, Pharaoh changed
his name to Zaphnath-paaneah[43], or _the Revealer of Secrets_, and
united him in marriage with ASENATH[44], the daughter of Poti-pherah
(_devoted to Ra_, or _the Sun_), priest or prince (Gen. xli. 45
_margin_) of ON, the later Heliopolis, and the religious capital of
the country.

Thus at the age of thirty, after thirteen years of painful vicissitudes,
the son of Jacob was elevated to the highest position next to the
sovereign himself in the great kingdom of Egypt. In accordance with
the plan he himself had indicated, he straightway commenced a tour
throughout the land, and during the seven years of plenty bought up a
fifth part of the corn in the country, and laid it up in granaries in
the various cities. During the same period he became the father of two
sons, to whom, though born of an Egyptian wife, he gave Hebrew names,
calling the first-born MANASSEH, “_a Forgetter_;” _for God_, said he,
_hath made me |forget| all my toil and all my father’s house_. The
second he named EPHRAIM, “_Fruitful_;” _for God hath caused me to be
|fruitful| in the land of my affliction_. At the close of the seven
years of plenty, the seven years of dearth drew on, and its effects
were felt not only in Egypt, but in all the neighbouring lands. During
the first part of this period, the wants of the people were relieved
by the abundance which the foresight of the Vizier had stored up. He
opened all his granaries and sold unto the Egyptians, delivering over
the money into Pharaoh’s exchequer. When money failed, barter was
resorted to, and the Egyptians obtained bread in exchange for their
horses, cattle, and flocks. When at length these means were exhausted,
they sold him their land, except that of the priests, who, being
provided from the royal treasury, did not feel the horrors of the
famine. Thus possessed of the entire country, Joseph improved the
opportunity to place the relations between the Egyptian monarch and his
people on a settled and legal footing. He made them, indeed, vassals
of their sovereign, but in place of allowing them to be taxed according
to royal caprice, he disposed of the land to them, on the understanding
that four parts were to be their own, for seed of the field, and for
food for them and their families, while a fifth part was to be paid
annually to the king in place of ground-rent; an arrangement by no
means oppressive, when it is considered that the soil sometimes yielded
thirty-fold, or even a greater increase (Gen. xli. 46–57).

At an early period during the seven years of famine, ten of Joseph’s
brethren went down into Egypt at the suggestion of their father, and
presented themselves before him with the petition to be allowed to
buy corn. In the Viceroy, second only to the great Pharaoh, they did
not for a moment recognize the boy whom twenty years before they had
lowered into the dry pit at Dothan. But though Joseph knew _them_,
and recognized the fulfilment of his early dreams, he did not reveal
himself to them. Through an interpreter he spake roughly unto them,
pronounced them to be spies who had come down to see the nakedness of
the land, and when they denied the charge, declared they should be
imprisoned till one of them had brought down their youngest brother.
For three days he actually kept them in ward, and finally, on condition
that one remained behind as a hostage, permitted them to return with
corn for their families. Stricken with remorse, and not imagining that
the Viceroy could understand their language, they acknowledged that
their sin had found them out, and recalled the day when they saw the
anguish of their brother, and turned a deaf ear to his beseeching
entreaties that they would not deal hardly with him. Then Simeon
was bound before their eyes, and sad and sorrowful they commenced
their return. But on the road they had fresh cause for alarm and
confusion. On opening their sacks they discovered not only that corn
had been supplied them, but that their money had been restored to
them. Marvelling at this strange circumstance, they reached home, and
recounted to their father all that had befallen them, and how he could
not hope to see Simeon again till they returned with their youngest
brother Benjamin into the presence of the Viceroy of Egypt. On hearing
this hard condition, Jacob burst forth into bitter complaints, and
though Reuben offered the life of his two children as a pledge for
Benjamin’s safe return, absolutely refused to allow him to accompany
them; _his brother_, said he, _is dead, and he is left alone; if
mischief befall him by the way, then shall ye bring down my grey
hairs with sorrow to the grave_ (Gen. xlii. 38).

                              CHAPTER VI.

                   GEN. XLIII.–L.   B.C. 1707–1635.

BUT as time went on, and the corn the Brothers had brought from Egypt
was consumed, it became absolutely necessary to go thither a second
time, if they would live and not die. Without Benjamin, however, they
knew the journey would be useless, and Benjamin their father would
not send. At length Judah stood forward as spokesman for the rest,
and offered to bear for ever in his own person the blame, if any evil
befell him, till after a struggle Jacob consented. With a present
of such things as the land afforded, a _little balm, a little honey,
spices, and myrrh, nuts, and almonds_, with double money also in their
hand, the brothers took Benjamin from his sorrowing father, and once
more commenced their journey to Egypt. Arrived there they were again
presented to the Viceroy, who perceiving that Benjamin was with them,
ordered the steward of his house to conduct them home, and to slay and
make ready, that they might dine with him at noon. Full of fear, the
brothers followed the steward, and on the way informed him of their
surprise, when on their return from their previous visit, they found
their money in their sacks. The steward, however, answered them kindly,
restored Simeon to them, and brought them water to wash their feet.
At noon Joseph returned, and the brothers spread out the present their
father had sent, bowing themselves before him to the earth. After some
questions touching the welfare of the _old man_ they had left in the
land of Canaan, he _lifted up his eyes, and saw his brother Benjamin,
his mother’s son_, and his whole soul yearned towards him, and he
entered into his chamber and wept there. Thence having washed his face
he returned, commanded the attendants to set on bread, and the brothers
sat down ranged each according to his age. Joseph sat at a table by
himself, and the Egyptians in his retinue by themselves; for to eat
bread with the Hebrews was regarded by them as an abomination. Then
from Joseph’s table portions were sent to his brethren, but Benjamin’s
portion was five times as great as any of theirs, and _they drank and
were merry with him_ (Gen. xliii. 34).

The next morning, as soon as it was light, with sacks replenished, and
rejoicing at the successful termination of their journey, the sons of
Jacob commenced their return to Canaan. But they had proceeded only a
little way from the city, when the Steward of Joseph overtook them, and
charged them with returning evil for all the good they had received,
and stealing the silver _divining cup_[45] (Gen. xliv. 5) belonging to
his master. In the full assurance of their innocence, the brothers not
only denied the charge, but declared their willingness that the guilty
one should die, and the rest become bondmen to the Viceroy. The sacks
were, therefore, taken from the asses, and lo! in Benjamin’s sack,
where it had been purposely placed by Joseph’s command, the cup was
found. Horror-struck at the discovery, the brothers returned to the
house, and flinging themselves on the ground before Joseph, expressed
their resolution to become slaves with Benjamin rather than return
without him to his heart-broken father. In the dialogue that ensued
Judah was again the chief speaker. _God_, he owned, _had found out
their iniquity, and they and he with whom the cup had been found would
become Joseph’s bondmen_. To this, however, Joseph would not consent;
he with whom the cup had been found, he alone need remain behind in
servitude, the rest might return in peace to their father. Then Judah
went near to him, _who was even as Pharaoh_ (Gen. xliv. 18), and in
words of utmost pathos related how in obedience to his command, their
father had with great difficulty been prevailed on to suffer the child
of his old age to accompany them, and how, if he failed to return,
he would certainly die, for his life was bound up in the life of his
favourite son. Nay, more, he continued, he himself had become surety
for the lad, and was now ready, rather than _bring down_ the old man’s
_grey hairs with sorrow to the grave_, to remain alone in the land of
Egypt a bondman unto his lord, if only Benjamin and the rest might
return into the land of Canaan (Gen. xliv. 18–34).

As Judah proceeded with his moving tale, Joseph could restrain himself
no longer. He desired every man to leave the chamber, and he and his
brethren were left alone. Then, amidst many tears, he at length broke
forth with the astounding words _I am Joseph_, coupling the revelation
with the enquiry _Doth my father yet live?_ But the brothers were too
terrified to answer him a word. Thereupon he bade them come near unto
him, and again assured them that he was _Joseph, their brother_, whom
they had sold to the Midianitish caravan. Let them not, he said, be
grieved that they had sold him into Egypt. God, who orders all things,
had sent him thither before them to preserve their lives, and had made
him _a father unto Pharaoh, and ruler throughout all the land of Egypt_.
Instead of repining for the past, let them return to the _old man,
their father_, and tell him of all his glory in Egypt, and bring him
down, and settle, they and their children, their flocks and their herds,
and all that they had, in the goodly country of Goshen, _frontier_.
Having thus at length poured forth his pent up feelings, Joseph fell
upon Benjamin’s neck, and wept, and kissed him, and likewise all his
brethren. Tidings of what had occurred soon reached the ears of Pharaoh,
who readily assented to Joseph’s wish that his father should be
suffered to settle in the land. Waggons were then made ready to bring
him and all that he had; ample provisions were supplied for the journey,
and rich presents bestowed upon all the brothers, but especially on
Benjamin. Then with a parting charge to see that they _fell not out by
the way_ (Gen. xlv. 24), the sons of Jacob returned to their father,
and recounted to him all the strange events that had befallen them.
The long lost Joseph, the son of the beloved Rachel, was _alive_, nay,
_he was governor over all the land of Egypt_. At the first announcement
Jacob’s heart failed him, nor could he believe their words. But when
the waggons that Joseph had provided came in sight, then at length his
spirit revived, and he exclaimed, _It is enough, Joseph my son is yet
alive, I will go and see him before I die_ (Gen. xlv. 28).

To forsake, however, the familiar pasture grounds of Hebron, to leave
the soil promised to him and to his seed for ever, required of the
patriarch no little resolution. Abraham had gone down to Egypt, but
only to involve himself in great difficulties; Isaac had been on the
point of going thither, when he was restrained by the hand of God
(Gen. xxvi. 2). Did the Divine Blessing rest on that journey, which an
imperious necessity now induced him to essay? Jacob was not long left
in doubt. On reaching Beersheba the Almighty appeared to him in vision,
and bade him lay aside all apprehensions. In Egypt, in the land of the
mighty Pharaohs, He would not fail to protect him, there He would make
him a great nation, and thence in the fulness of time He would bring
his seed back to the _Land of Promise_. Thus encouraged Jacob arose
from Beersheba, and with his sons, their wives, and their little ones,
their herds, their flocks, and all the goods they had gotten in the
land of Canaan, commenced his journey. Judah led the way, and on the
frontier of Egypt the patriarch met his long lost son, and _fell upon
his neck, and wept on his neck a good while_. Arrived in the land
of the Pharaohs, five of Joseph’s brethren were introduced to the
reigning monarch. They told him that they were shepherds, that they
had come down into Egypt in consequence of the severity of the famine,
and requested permission to settle as strangers and foreigners in
Goshen, the most easterly frontier-land of Egypt, and offered to become
guardians of the royal herds. Permission was granted, and Jacob himself
was introduced to Pharaoh, and bestowed his blessing upon the monarch
(Gen. xlvii. 1–10).

The period of Jacob’s own sojourning in the _land of Ham_ (Ps. cv. 23)
was limited to seventeen years, at the close of which he had reached
the age of 147, and perceived that his end was nigh. Informed that his
father was sickening, Joseph brought his two sons Ephraim and Manasseh
and placed them before his bedside. _Guiding his hands wittingly_, the
aged patriarch stretched out his right hand and laid it on Ephraim’s
head, though he was the younger, and his left hand on Manasseh’s head,
though he was the firstborn. At this Joseph was displeased, and would
have altered the disposition of his father’s hands. But Jacob refused,
and with his hands as they were, bestowed upon the young men and their
father his solemn and abiding blessing. Though born in Egypt, Ephraim
and Manasseh were to be reckoned as his own sons, and would both grow
into great tribes. But as it had been in Jacob’s own case, so would it
be with them; _the younger brother would be greater than the elder, and
his seed should become a multitude of nations_. Then turning to Joseph
the Patriarch bestowed on him a special mark of affection, even _one
portion above his brethren_, a piece of land which with _his sword and
his bow_ he had conquered from the Amorites, probably outside the green
vale of Shechem (Gen. xlviii. 22, Josh. xvii. 14, &c.).

And now the day drew nigh when the Patriarch’s eventful life must close.
Wishing by virtue of the gift of prophecy, which gained greater power
the nearer he approached the borders of the eternal world, to tell
them that _which should befall them in the last days_, he desired that
his sons might be summoned to his bedside. Obedient to his word, they
gathered round him, and then in prophetic trance “but having his eyes
open,” he beheld the mighty vision of the future, and predicted their
several fortunes in the land, through which he himself had wandered
as a pilgrim for more than one hundred years. First, before him
stood Reuben, over whom in the tents of Laban he had rejoiced as _his
firstborn, his might_, and _the beginning of his strength_. To him
by the law of primogeniture belonged the headship of the family, and
the double inheritance. But he had proved unworthy of his vocation.
_Unstable as water, he should not excel._ Next in order of their
birth came Simeon and Levi. Brethren of one mother, they had been
also brethren in cruelty and deceit. In their conduct towards the
Shechemites they had proved the fierceness of their anger, and the
cruelty of their disposition. Unworthy were they to be the head of a
nation which was to be a blessing and not a curse to all peoples of
the earth, therefore were they to be _divided in Jacob, and scattered
in Israel_. Next came Judah, and to him the patriarch could assign a
portion at least of the blessing of the firstborn. His should be the
pre-eminence in power and dignity, him should _his brethren praise_,
before him should _his father’s children bow down_; his should be the
_Sceptre and the Lawgiver_, nor _from beneath his feet should they ever
depart, till_ SHILOH, _the Peaceable_ or _Peace-maker came_[46] (Gen.
xlix. 1–10).

Having thus transferred the privileges of the firstborn to Judah and
predicted the fortunes of his other sons, the dying Patriarch once more
solemnly adjured them, as he had already adjured Joseph, not to leave
his bones in Egypt, but to carry them into the land of Hope and Promise,
and lay them in the cave of Machpelah, in the family-grave of his
fathers, and then he _gathered up his feet into the bed, and yielded
up the ghost_. Obedient to such reiterated commands, Joseph caused his
father’s body to be embalmed in the Egyptian fashion by the physicians,
and obtained permission from Pharaoh to accompany his remains to the
burial-place he had marked out for them. Then at the head of a numerous
retinue, composed not only of the members of his own family, but also
of the court-officers of Pharaoh, and the grandees of the empire, and
accompanied by chariots and horsemen, he set out. The nearest road
would have been by Gaza, and through the territory of the Philistines.
Instead of this, the funeral procession took a long circuitous route
round Mount Seir[47] and the eastern side of the Dead Sea, and halted
at the threshing-floor of Atad, on the east side of the Jordan,
opposite Jericho. Here seven days were spent in solemn mourning, and so
grievous was the lamentation that the Canaanites of the Jordan valley
called the spot Abel-Mizraim, _the Meadow_, or _the Mourning of the
Egyptians_. Further than this point the Egyptian retinue do not seem
to have proceeded. The sons of Jacob alone crossed the Jordan, into the
land of Canaan, and laid their father in the cave of Machpelah, by the
side of Abram, Isaac, and Sarah (Gen. l. 1–13).

The funeral over, Joseph and his brethren returned to Egypt. Fearful
now their father was dead that the Viceroy would requite them for all
the evil they had done towards him, the sons of Jacob sent a messenger
to intercede in their behalf. But Joseph calmed their fears, and
assured them of safety and protection. Together, then, they dwelt in
peace and security in the land of Goshen; and Joseph _saw Ephraim’s
children of the third generation, and the children of Machir the son
of Manasseh brought up upon his knees_. At length, when he had reached
the age of 110, perceiving that his end was near, he sent for his
brethren, and having assured them that God would certainly visit them,
and bring them up out of Egypt into the land which He had promised to
their forefathers, and taken an oath of them that they would remove his
bones into the same Good Land, he died, and was embalmed, and laid in
a coffin in Egypt (Gen. l. 26).


                    SURVEY OF THE PATRIARCHAL AGE.

  WITH the death of Joseph the Patriarchal Age of Israel’s history
  may be said to close. The _Family_ had now thrown out many
  branches, and was on the point of merging into the _Nation_.
  At this juncture, then, it may be well to look back, and review
  some of the chief features of Patriarchal Life.

  i. And the first of these that claims attention is its _Nomadic
  character_. Unlike the founders of Egypt, of Babylon, of Nineveh,
  the Patriarchs were not the builders of cities and towns, but
  _pilgrims and sojourners, dwellers in tents_ (Heb. xi. 9). But
  they were very different from rude hordes, like the Amalekites
  and other “sons of the desert,” abhorring any higher mode
  of life. Abraham was no stranger to the highest form of
  civilization that his age afforded. He was acquainted with Ur,
  with Nineveh, with Damascus, with Egypt; he had left his home in
  one of the chief cities of Mesopotamia, not from choice, but in
  consequence of a direct personal call from God. Moreover, so far
  from regarding his present mode of life as an ultimate end, he
  and Isaac and Jacob, were ever looking forward to a time when it
  would close, when their descendants should be _settled_ in the
  Land of Promise, and become a great _nation_, when the portable
  _tent_ should give way to the _city that had foundations_ (Heb.
  xi. 10, 13–16; comp. Gen. xxiv. 7; xxviii. 4; xlix. 1–27; l. 24).
  Hence, from time to time, as opportunity offered, we see the
  wandering life freely and willingly laid aside. Lot settled
  in Sodom (Gen. xiii. 10–12); Abraham in Egypt went direct to
  Pharaoh’s court (Gen. xii. 14); at Hebron he settled and became
  a “prince of God” in the midst of the Hittites (Gen. xxiii. 6);
  Isaac not only lived near the Philistines, but occupied a
  _house_ opposite the palace (Gen. xxvi. 8), and practised
  _agriculture_ (Gen. xxvi. 12); and Joseph’s _dream of the
  sheaves_ points out that this was also continued in the time
  of Jacob (Gen. xxxvii. 7)[48].

  ii. The _Family_ was the centre of the Patriarchal commonwealth.
  Its head was the source of authority and jurisdiction; he
  possessed the power of life and death (Gen. xxxviii. 24); he
  united in himself the functions of chief and priest; he offered
  the burnt-offering; he had his armed retainers (Gen. xiv. 14;
  xlviii. 22; xxxiv. 25; xxxiii. 20); his intercourse with his
  wives (for polygamy was not forbidden) was free and unrestrained;
  the wife’s consent was asked before wedlock (Gen. xxiv. 57, 58);
  love hallowed the relations of Abraham with Sarah, of Isaac with
  Rebekah, of Jacob with Leah and Rachel; woman, indeed, did not
  occupy the position since conceded to her, but her position
  was far from degraded, and the sanctity of the marriage-bond
  was defended by severe laws, which made death the punishment
  for adultery (Gen. xxxviii. 24). Slavery, it is true, existed,
  but in the tents of Abraham the slave was ever treated with
  consideration, and not excluded from, but made a partaker
  of religious privileges (Gen. xvii. 13). The fidelity and
  attachment of Eliezer the steward of Abraham’s house, the
  mourning for Deborah Rebekah’s nurse (Gen. xxxv. 8), are
  pleasing proofs of the peace that reigned in the Patriarchal

  iii. _Civilization._ The life of the Patriarchs was chiefly
  that of the shepherd, and their wealth mainly consisted in
  their flocks and their herds. But besides practising agriculture
  they were not unacquainted with money and the precious metals.
  Abraham paid for the field of Machpelah with coin (Gen. xxiii.
  9–20), and the sons of Jacob took money with them into Egypt
  (Gen. xlii. 25, 35); while the gold ring and armlets presented
  to Rebekah by Eliezer (Gen. xxiv. 22), the bracelet and signet
  ring of Judah (Gen. xxxviii. 18), the ear-rings of Rachel
  (Gen. xxxv. 4), the many-coloured coat of Joseph, indicate an
  acquaintance with the luxuries of life.

  iv. _Religion._ While other nations were rapidly learning
  to deify the powers of nature, the Patriarchs believed not
  only in a God above and beyond nature, but in a God Personal,
  Omnipotent, and Holy. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
  was no mere abstraction, no mere law. He could and did reveal
  Himself by angelic appearances, by visions, by dreams; He could
  console, strengthen, encourage; He could punish, rebuke, and on
  repentance forgive. Abraham, the _Friend of God_ (Jas. ii. 23),
  intercedes with Him in behalf of Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen. xviii.
  23–33); Isaac is warned by Him against going down into Egypt
  (Gen. xxvi. 2); Jacob is consoled by Him at Bethel when setting
  out into the land of exile (Gen. xxviii. 13–15), and wrestles
  with Him by the fords of Jabbok till the break of day (Gen.
  xxxii. 24); Joseph believes in His invisible but ever-present
  help in prison and in a strange land, and ascribes to Him all
  his wisdom in the interpretation of dreams (Gen. xli. 16).
  The Divine Promise of a great future Abraham believed under
  circumstances of greatest trial, and his faith was _counted to
  him for righteousness_ (Rom. iv. 3). Moreover the God of the
  Patriarchs was no mere “national or household God.” His sphere
  of operation was not restricted to the Patriarchs and their
  families; He is the God of all the earth (Gen. xxiv. 3), the
  God of Righteousness and Holiness. He punishes the people of
  Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen. xix. 24, 25); He plagues Pharaoh’s house
  (Gen. xii. 17); He is the God of the priest-king Melchizedek
  (Gen. xiv. 18), and of the Philistine Abimelech (Gen. xx. 3); He
  protects not only Isaac the “child of promise,” but the outcast
  Ishmael the “child of the bondwoman” (Gen. xxi. 13); He is with
  Joseph in prison, but He sends dreams to Pharaoh, and through
  Joseph He saves Egypt from famine (Gen. l. 20).

  v. The _Religious Worship_ of the Patriarchs was in keeping
  with the simplicity of their creed. The head of the family
  was also the priest of the family. Whenever Abraham, Isaac, or
  Jacob, reached any new spot in their pilgrimage, they invariably
  erected an altar, generally of stone and on a high situation
  (Gen. xxii. 9; xxvi. 25; xxxv. 7); there they called on the
  name of Jehovah, there they presented their burnt sacrifice,
  there they offered up their prayers. Their history also proves
  the existence of offering covenant-sacrifices, and celebrating
  covenant-feasts (Gen. xv. 9–18; xxi. 32); the making and paying
  of vows (Gen. xxviii. 23); the erection of memorial pillars, and
  the consecration of them by pouring upon them oil and wine (Gen.
  xxviii. 18); the rite of circumcision (Gen. xvii. 10–14); and
  the paying of tithes (Gen. xiv. 20)[49].

  vi. The _Character of the Patriarchs_ is never represented as
  perfect, their faults are freely exposed, theirs is no ideal
  history. If we compare the four most eminent amongst them,
  we seem to trace in (i) _Abraham_, “the faith that can remove
  mountains” in its power and in its fulness, revealing itself
  in unfaltering trust and unquestioning obedience under the most
  trying circumstances conceivable; in (ii) _Isaac_, the faith
  that can possess itself in patience, and discharge the ordinary
  duties of life in quietness and waiting; in (iii) _Jacob_, the
  violent contest of faith with the flesh, the higher with the
  lower nature, till by hard discipline the latter is purified,
  and the “Supplanter” becomes the “Prince,” the “Prevailer with
  God;” in (iv) _Joseph_, the fidelity and perseverance of faith,
  revealed not only in the patient endurance of the most grievous
  trials, but in energetic action, and at length crowned with
  victory. “He unites in himself the noble trust and resolution of
  Abraham, with the quiet perseverance of Isaac, and the careful
  prudence of Jacob.” He is moreover an eminent historic type
  of Christ, in (1) his persecution and sale by his brethren,
  (2) his resisting temptation, (3) his humiliation and exaltation,
  (4) his dispensing to a famine-stricken people the bread of life,
  (5) in the fulness of his forgiving love[50].

                               BOOK III.

                       TO THE GIVING OF THE LAW.

  Illustration:     A MAP OF CANAAN, EGYPT & SINAI
                           to illustrate the
                          PATRIARCHAL HISTORY
                              THE EXODUS.

                 Stanford’s Geographical Establishment
                        London: Macmillan & Co.

                              CHAPTER I.

                   _THE BIRTH AND CALLING OF MOSES._
                    EXOD. I.–VI.   B.C. 1706–1491.

THE district of GOSHEN (_frontier_), also called the _Land of Rameses_
(Gen. xlvii. 11), where the Israelites were settled during the period
of their sojourn in the land of the Pharaohs, was the most easterly
border-land of Egypt. It was scarcely included within the boundaries of
Egypt proper, and was inhabited by a mixed population of Egyptians and
foreigners (Exod. xii. 38). Eminently a pasture land and adapted to the
rearing of flocks and herds, it included also a considerable portion
of fruit-bearing soil, which owed its fertility to the overflowing of
the Nile, called by the Egyptians Hapi-Mu, _the genius of the waters_,
by the Israelites Sihor, or Shihor, _the black_ (Is. xxiii. 3; Jer.
ii. 18). Touching on the west the green valley of this wondrous river,
and stretching onwards to the yellow sands of the Arabian desert
immediately south of Palestine, it was then, as it has always been, the
most productive part of Egypt, yielding luxuriant crops of wheat and
millet, and abounding in cucumbers and melons, gourds and beans, and
other vegetable growths (Num. xi. 5).

Sacred History does not reveal to us many particulars respecting the
early portion of the period during which the sons of Jacob sojourned
in _the land of Ham_. We know that they were _fruitful and multiplied
and waxed exceeding mighty_, so that when the time came for them to
go forth from Egypt they could scarcely have numbered less than two
million souls. We need not, however, suppose that these were all the
direct descendants of the seventy immediate relatives of Jacob. When
that Patriarch and his sons went down into Egypt they would naturally
take with them not only their flocks and herds, but their menservants
and maidservants (Gen. xlv. 10, 11). Of the number of these we can
form some calculation by remembering the 318 _trained servants_, who
accompanied Abraham at the rescue of Lot[51] (Gen. xiv. 14); the _great
store of servants_ possessed by Isaac (Gen. xxvi. 13, 14), two-thirds
at least of whom passed into the possession of Jacob, and must be added
to the _two hosts_ which he brought from Mesopotamia (Gen. xxxii. 7, 8).
But even thus their increase was marvellous, and must be ascribed to
the direct superintending Hand of God. The effect, however, of their
stay was perceptible in other respects. They not only increased in
numbers, but became acquainted with many arts and sciences, and thus
fitted for their future national existence. One portion, indeed, of
the nation seems to have retained its pastoral habits even to the
end. The descendants of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh (Num. xxxii. 1)
probably tended their large flocks and herds on the eastern border of
Goshen, but others settled in the cities and villages on the confines
of the land of Goshen, and not only adopted more generally agricultural
pursuits (Deut. xi. 10), but became acquainted with many useful arts,
with writing, the working of precious and common metals, the grinding
and engraving of precious stones, with carpentry, byssus-weaving, and
pottery (1 Chr. iv. 14, 21, 23), with fishing, gardening (Num. xi. 5),
and artificial irrigation (Deut. xi. 10)[52]. On the other hand, they
could not fail to become acquainted with forms of religious worship
hitherto utterly unknown to them. Now, for the first time, could
they witness the gorgeous and mysterious ceremonies that attended the
worship of Ra, the “Sun-God,” or of Isis and Osiris. Now, for the first
time, they might behold the incense burnt three times every day[53],
and the solemn sacrifice offered once a month to the sacred black calf
Mnevis at On (_Heliopolis_), or to his rival the bull Apis at Memphis.
Now they saw, as they could scarcely have seen elsewhere, the adoration
of _the creature rather than the Creator_ carried to its furthest point,
and divine honours paid not only to the mighty Pharaoh, the Child,
the representative of the Sun-God, but to almost everything _in the
heaven above, and the earth beneath, and the waters under the earth_,
to the crocodile and the hawk, the cat and the dog, the hippopotamus
and the serpent. That the simple patriarchal faith of the descendants
of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob would suffer from contact with such
diverse forms of idolatry might naturally be expected. The worship
of the sacred calf exercised over them a peculiar fascination. _Your
fathers worshipped other gods in Egypt_, says Joshua afterwards (Josh.
xxiv. 14), _they forsook not the idols of Egypt_, is the accusation of
Ezekiel (Ezek. xx. 7, 8; xxiii. 3).

But an important event exercised a still greater influence on their
social and religious condition. A change took place in the reigning
dynasty. _There arose a new king over Egypt_ (Ex. i. 8; Acts vii. 18)
_that knew not Joseph_, who regarded with no friendly feelings the
strange community with alien rites and traditions, settled on the
eastern outskirts of his realm. He viewed with alarm their rapid
increase, and dreaded lest, in the event of a war, instead of guarding
his kingdom against, they might join the enemies of Egypt, the roving
tribes of the East, “the terror of the inhabitants of the Nile valley,”
and fight against his own people, and effect their escape from the land.
Accordingly he determined to reduce them to the condition of public
serfs or slaves; and in order to crush their free and independent
spirit, set taskmasters over them, and employed them in gigantic works,
making bricks for his treasure cities, PITHOM and RAAMSES. Day after
day, therefore, their lives were made bitter with hard bondage, while
beneath a burning rainless sky, naked and in gangs, they toiled under
the lash in the quarry or the brick-field. But this expedient did not
produce the effects the monarch desired. The more they were afflicted,
the more this strange people grew and multiplied, and _waxed exceeding
mighty_. Thereupon instructions were given to the Hebrew midwives to
destroy in some secret way every Hebrew man-child. And when this too
proved ineffectual, from the unwillingness of the midwives to obey so
cruel a decree, an order was issued that every Hebrew boy should be
flung into the waters of the Nile. What Abraham had seen in mystic
vision was now fulfilled (Gen. xv. 12); _a horror of great darkness_
had settled upon his descendants; strangers in a strange land, they
were suffering grievous affliction, they _sighed by reason of their
bondage, and their cry came up unto God_ (Ex. ii. 23).

But it was at this juncture, when every thing seemed at the worst,
that the future Deliverer of Israel was born. AMRAM, a man of the
house of Levi, married JOCHEBED, a woman of the same tribe, and became
the father of a daughter MIRIAM, a son AARON, and a boy remarkable
from his childhood for peculiar beauty (Ex. ii. 2; Acts vii. 20). For
three months his mother succeeded in eluding the vigilance of Pharaoh’s
inquisitors, and concealing her child. But at the close of that period,
finding further concealment impossible, she constructed an ark or
boat of papyrus stalks, and having protected it with pitch or bitumen,
placed the child therein among the reeds of the Nile. There the mother
left it, but Miriam the sister stood afar off to watch her brother’s
fate. As the ark floated with the stream, the daughter of Pharaoh,
attended by her maidens, came down to bathe in the waters of the sacred
river, and as she walked by the bank, her eye lit upon the basket, and
she sent one of her attendants to fetch it. It was brought, and when
opened, _behold! the babe wept_. Struck with compassion the Egyptian
princess, though she perceived it was _one of the Hebrews’ children_,
determined to rear it for her own. At this moment Miriam approached,
and asked permission to call a nurse for the child. Permission was
given, and Jochebed once more saw her boy restored to her, with the
command to rear it for its preserver. The child grew, and after a while
was brought to the Princess, and she, in memory of its preservation,
named it MOSES, or in its Egyptian form MO-SHE, from _Mo_, “water,” and
_Ushe_, “saved” (Ex. ii. 10).

The Foundling of the Nile was now formally brought up as the adopted
son of Pharaoh’s daughter, and, in conformity with his high position,
received a suitable education. He became _learned_, St Stephen tells
us (Acts vii. 22), _in all the wisdom of the Egyptians_; in all
therefore, we may believe, that the science of that day could teach
him of arithmetic, writing, astronomy, medicine, and sacred symbolism.
On the same authority we further learn that Moses became mighty not
only _in words, but also in deeds_ (Acts vii. 22). What these _deeds_
were is not known[54], but it is certain that the Hebrew youth was in
a position to have achieved a splendid career. He might have _enjoyed_
to the full _the pleasures_ of the Egyptian court (Heb. xi. 25),
and amassed much of its accumulated treasures. But the traditions,
the hopes, the creed of his own nation had not, we may believe, been
concealed from him by his mother. Hence when he came to the age of
forty, chancing to go forth from On or Memphis to the land of Goshen,
he beheld one of his countrymen not only toiling amidst the shadeless
brick-fields, but suffering the bastinado from his Egyptian taskmaster.
Filled with indignation Moses _looked this way and that way_, and
seeing no one by, slew the Egyptian, and hid the corpse in the white
sand of the desert. The next day, seeing two of the Hebrews quarrelling,
he tried to act as arbiter between them. His good offices, however,
were not only rejected by the one he decided to be in the wrong, but he
discovered that the murder of the Egyptian was no secret. He imagined
that his countrymen would have recognised in him a Deliverer sent from
the God of their fathers, but they did not. Before long, news of the
murder reached the ears of Pharaoh, and Moses perceiving that his life
was no longer safe fled from Goshen in a south-easterly direction to
the land of Midian, or the peninsula of Sinai in Arabia, peopled by the
descendants of Abraham by Keturah (Gen. xxv. 2).

He was sitting on a well in Midian, when he perceived the approach of
the seven daughters of JETHRO[55], the chief and priest of that country,
to draw water for their flocks. They were in the act of filling the
troughs, when certain Arabian shepherds rudely tried to drive them
away. Thereupon, with the same zeal he had shown in behalf of his own
countrymen, Moses intervened, and defended the maidens against the
intruders. Their unusually early return prompted the enquiries of their
father, and led to his introduction to the chivalrous stranger. Moses
was contented to dwell with the Midianitish chief, and kept his flocks,
and afterward married his daughter ZIPPORAH, by whom he became the
father of two sons, GERSHOM (_stranger_) and ELIEZER (_God is my help_).
And here amidst “the granite precipices and silent valleys of Horeb,”
in quiet and seclusion, forty years of his life passed away (Acts
vii. 30). Here, as nowhere else, he could commune alone with God, and
know himself, and learn the lessons of patience and self-control, and
dependence on the Unseen, while the daily duties of his shepherd life
made him acquainted with every path and track and fountain in a region,
which he was afterwards to revisit under such different circumstances.

Meanwhile, though there was a change of ruler, the lot of the
Israelites experienced no alteration. Still they toiled in cruel
bondage, still their cry went up to the God of their fathers. At length
the time drew near when the Promise made to Abraham was to be fulfilled,
the oppressing nation _judged_, and the people delivered (Gen. xv. 14).
One day Moses was leading the flocks of Jethro some distance from the
spots, where he seems to have usually tended them, _to the back of
the wilderness_, and came to _the mountain of God, even to Horeb_,
when a marvellous sight arrested his attention. He looked, and behold!
before him burning with fire was a bush of wild acacia[56], “the shaggy
thorn-bush of the desert.” But though enveloped in flames, it was
not consumed! It remained unsinged and uninjured by the fiery element
which played around it! Astonished at the prodigy, Moses determined
to draw near and ascertain the cause of this _great sight_, and as
he approached, lo! a Voice, the Voice of God, called unto him out of
the midst of the bush, saying, _Moses, Moses!_ The awe-struck shepherd
answered the Voice, and then was directed to draw not nearer, but take
his shoes from off his feet, for the place on which he stood was _holy
ground_. Moses complied, and hiding his face, for _he dared not look
upon God_, listened, while the Lord spake again, assuring him that He
was the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob; He had not
been unmindful of the sufferings of His people in Egypt; He had seen
their affliction; He had heard their cry; He had come down to deliver
them from their oppressors, and to bring them up into a land _flowing
with milk and honey_, and He had appointed no other than Moses himself
to be their Deliverer, and bring them forth from the land of Egypt.
Filled with awe and misgiving, Moses at first sought in every way to
excuse himself from the tremendous commission. _Who am I_, said he,
_that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the
children of Israel out of Egypt?_ _I will be with thee_, was the reply.
But who was this _I_? When Moses went to the children of Israel, and
assured them of the commission he had received, what was the Name he
was to announce to them as his authority? _Thus shalt thou say unto the
children of Israel_, replied the Almighty, _I AM_――JEHOVAH, the Eternal,
the Self-existent――_hath sent me unto you_ (Ex. iii. 14).

But this did not satisfy Moses. What outward and visible assurance
could he give the people of his divine mission? This difficulty was
also met. The Lord invested him with a threefold miraculous power,
whereby to attest his authority, alike before the people and before
Pharaoh. First, he should cast his staff, his shepherd’s crook, upon
the ground, and it would become a serpent, and on taking the creature
by the tail it would resume its former state. Then he should put his
hand into his bosom, and it would become leprous, but on returning it
to his bosom would become as his other flesh. Thirdly, if they believed
neither the first nor the second sign, he was to take of the water of
the Sacred Nile, and pour it upon the dry land, and it should become
blood. But now Moses pleaded another obstacle. He was not _eloquent_,
he was _of a slow speech, and a slow tongue_; no words had he wherewith
to bend the awful Pharaoh on his throne. _Who hath made man’s mouth?_
was the reply; _Who maketh the dumb, the deaf, the blind? Have not I
the Lord? Go, and I will be with thy mouth, I will teach thee what thou
shalt say._ Still Moses made another effort to roll off from himself
the awful responsibility of the commission. _O my Lord_, he cried,
_send, I pray Thee, by the hand Thou shouldest send_. This last proof
of distrust provoked even the Lord to anger, but it was the anger of
Love, the Love that remembers mercy and sustains the weak. The Lord
had already provided a spokesman. Aaron his brother was at this moment
on his way to meet him, and he was known to be able to speak well.
Together, like the Apostles afterwards, the Brothers should go in
before Pharaoh; Aaron should be _instead of a mouth_, and Moses should
be to him _instead of God_, and with his rod he should perform the
prescribed signs. Then, at last, his timidity was removed; he consented
to go, and the object of the Vision of the Burning Bush was thus far
attained (Ex. iv. 1–17).

                              CHAPTER II.

                     _SIGNS AND WONDERS IN EGYPT._
                      EXOD. IV.–XI.   B.C. 1491.

THE first step Moses took towards fulfilling the trust thus confided
to him was to request of his father-in-law permission to revisit his
brethren in Egypt. Jethro gave his consent, and then, having received
the Divine assurance that _all the men were dead which sought his life_,
accompanied by Zipporah and her two sons, Gershom and Eliezer, Moses
commenced his return to Egypt[57]. He had not proceeded far before
he encountered his brother Aaron coming forth to meet him, to whom
he explained their commission, and the signs that were to attest it.
On arriving in the land of Goshen the Brothers gathered together all
the clans of the nation. Aaron, as spokesman, rehearsed _the words
which the Lord had spoken to Moses, and did the signs in the sight of
the people_. His announcement had the desired effect. The Israelites
believed that the Lord God of their fathers had indeed interposed in
their behalf, _and bowed their heads and worshipped_. The next step
was to procure from Pharaoh the necessary permission for the departure
of the people. But now, even as the Almighty had forewarned them, the
difficulties of the Brothers commenced. On presenting themselves before
Pharaoh, and informing him of the will of Jehovah, the God of Israel,
that His people should be permitted to go three days’ journey into the
wilderness, there to offer sacrifice unto Him (Ex. v. 3), the monarch
haughtily asked, _Who is Jehovah, that I should obey His Voice to let
Israel go?_ Conceiving the God of Israel to be merely a national god,
it seemed to him inexplicable that One who had suffered His worshippers
to endure a lengthened and degrading bondage, could demand of him, the
mightiest monarch of the earth, to let His people depart. Concluding,
therefore, that it was only an expedient to excite aspirations for
freedom among the bondslaves, in contemptuous mockery of them and their
God, he ordered that the severity of their toil should be doubled.
Hitherto straw had been found them, wherewith to make bricks for the
treasure-cities and other gigantic works then in progress; but now it
was ordered that they must go and gather straw for themselves, and yet
the tale of bricks must not be diminished; what it was before, that it
was to remain, and to be completed also. To comply with this tyrannical
command was impossible, and the Israelitish officers, who had been
set over the people by the Egyptians were beaten, and their complaints
to Pharaoh were utterly disregarded. This produced a great change
of feeling towards Moses and Aaron, at whose announcement of speedy
deliverance the people had so lately _bowed the head and worshipped_.
They heaped reproaches upon them, and openly charged them with being
the cause of their now accumulated miseries, of _having made their
savour to be abhorred in the eyes of Pharaoh_ (Ex. v. 1–21).

Thus the first attempt of Moses to execute his commission ended
in complete failure. In deep dejection he laid before Jehovah the
ineffectual issue of his efforts, and in reply not only received a
second assurance of protection and ultimate triumph, but was told that
as Pharaoh had rejected the _word_ of God, God would now speak to him
in _deeds_, and multiply His _signs and wonders_ in the land of Egypt,
till the Egyptians knew that He was the Lord. But the contest, in which
Moses was now to engage, was not to be fought with _carnal weapons_.
As the accredited servant of Jehovah, he was to contend against the
gods of Egypt, against those arts, the very lifeblood of heathenism,
in which Egypt deemed itself so strong, its magic and necromancy, its
priests and conjurers. Accordingly the Brothers went a second time into
Pharaoh’s presence, and renewed their request. The monarch demanded
a miracle in attestation of their claim. Thereupon Aaron threw down
his rod before the king and his courtiers, and straightway it became a
serpent. But snake-charming was an art in which Egypt bore off the palm
from every other country of the world. Pharaoh, therefore, summoned
his magicians[58], who cast down their rods, and they likewise became
serpents. But though Aaron’s rod swallowed up their rods, the monarch
would not acknowledge that his servants had been defeated; he hardened
his heart, and refused to recognise in this miracle an authoritative
warning to let the people go. The “signs,” therefore, were now to
become _Plagues_ (Ex. vii. 8–14).

(i) Accordingly, on the morrow, at the command of God, Moses made his
appearance before Pharaoh, just as he was going to offer sacrifice to,
or perform his religious ablutions in the sacred waters of the Nile,
the “Father of Life,” the “Father of the Gods[59],” as it was called by
the Egyptians. In words few but decisive he announced the reason of his
coming, and then the word was given; Aaron lifted up his rod, and in a
moment, before the very eyes of the monarch and all his servants, the
waters of the sacred, fructifying river, not only in the stream itself,
but in the “canals and tanks, in the vessels of wood and vessels of
stone, then, as now, used for the filtration of the water from the
sediment of the river bed,” were turned into blood. The fish, though
similarly objects of religious reverence, died in incredible numbers,
and the “Father of Waters,” the source of health and blessing, stank,
nor could the Egyptians drink thereof, for there was blood throughout
all the land of Egypt. But again the magicians were summoned; with
their enchantments, they caused other water, probably obtained by
digging about the river, to assume the same blood-red appearance, and
Pharaoh turned into his house, and hardened his heart, neither _would
he let the people go_ (Ex. vii. 14–25).

(ii) After an interval, therefore, of seven days, Moses and Aaron
again presented themselves before him, and when their request was
again denied, inflicted the _second_ plague. From the streams, the
rivers, the ponds of Egypt, _Frogs_[60] came up over the whole land,
penetrating into the royal palace, the houses of the courtiers and of
the people, defiling bed-chamber and bed, oven and kneading-trough,
with their loathsome touch. Again the magicians were summoned, and
though they were utterly unable to counteract, they succeeded in
imitating this plague also. Pharaoh was more deeply moved than before;
he not only condescended to beg of Moses and Aaron that they would
intreat Jehovah to remove this plague from his people, but undertook
to allow the Israelites to depart and do sacrifice to the Lord. But
no sooner had the desired deliverance been vouchsafed, than he again
hardened his heart and refused to fulfil his word (Ex. viii. 1–15).

(iii) For the _third_ time, therefore, Aaron uplifted his rod, and
now, not from the “Father of Waters,” but from the fertile soil of
Egypt itself, came forth innumerable swarms either of _Lice_ or of
_Gnats_[61], which afflicted both man and beast with intolerable
discomfort. This plague all the spells and incantations of the court
magicians were unable to imitate, and they were fain to confess to
Pharaoh, _This is the finger of God_, but he hardened his heart, and
_hearkened not unto them_ (Ex. viii. 16–19).

(iv) On the morning after, as he went forth to the waters of the river,
which he had lately seen so grievously dishonoured, he was met by
Moses, and refused for the _fourth_ time to relieve the people of their
bondage. On this the servant of Jehovah spake the word, and there came
innumerable _Flies_ of various kinds[62], usually a fearful torment
in Egypt, but now attacking with unwonted fury both man and beast, and
swarming in every house of the Egyptians, while they touched neither
house nor person of the Israelites in Goshen. Such was the intolerable
severity of this plague that Pharaoh so far relented as to permit
the people to sacrifice to Jehovah _in the land itself_, but with the
proviso that they should not leave it. This Moses would not concede.
Therefore the monarch extended his concession to a journey some little
way into the wilderness, but on the removal of the judgment revoked it,
and retained the nation in bondage (Ex. viii. 20–32).

(v) The _fifth_ Plague was now inflicted. A grievous _Murrain_ broke
out amongst the horses, the asses, the camels, the oxen, the sheep
of the Egyptians, so that all the cattle of Egypt, including not only
the useful beasts, but probably “the sacred goat of Mendes, the ram of
Ammon, the calf of Heliopolis, the bull Apis[63],” died, while in the
land of Goshen, as Pharaoh himself ascertained, there was not one of
the cattle of the Israelites dead. But even this had no effect on his
proud heart (Ex. ix. 1–7).

(vi) Accordingly Moses and Aaron were commanded to take _handfuls of
ashes of the furnace_, and _sprinkle_ them upwards _towards heaven_,
and on their so doing, _Boils_ and _Blisters_, and other eruptive
disorders, broke forth upon man and upon beast. Even the royal
magicians suffered so terribly from this the _sixth_ plague, that they
_could not stand before Moses_, but the heart of their master was still
hardened, nor would he yield to the will of God (Ex. ix. 8–12).

(vii) With still greater solemnity, therefore, the coming of the
_Seventh_ Plague was announced to him, and he was warned to send his
servants and gather together such of his cattle as were grazing in
the fields, if he would not have them utterly destroyed by a terrible
_Storm of thunder, lightning, and hail_[64]. By some, who heard the
warning, it was heeded in time, by others it was utterly disregarded.
But it was too surely fulfilled. Moses stretched forth his rod toward
heaven, and on the fair garden of Egypt, with its green meadows
and fields of corn and barley and maize, the storm burst forth with
unwonted fury. _The Lord thundered out of heaven, and the Highest gave
His thunder_ (Ps. xviii. 13). _The fire ran along upon the ground_,
the hail rattled, and smote _the vines and fig-trees_ (Ps. cv. 33),
and every herb of the field, and every tree of the field, the barley
then _in the ear_, and the flax then _bolled_ or risen in the stalk,
as also the cattle and herdmen that had not been removed to any place
of shelter. Alarmed beyond measure at this unexampled tempest, Pharaoh
begged Moses to intercede for him, owned this time that he had sinned,
that the Lord was righteous, that he and his people were wicked, and
promised to do all that was required of him. But, as before, when the
fury of the elements was hushed he refused to abide by his word (Ex.
ix. 13–35).

(viii) And now for the _eighth_ time the release of the people was
demanded, and the monarch was told that, in the event of refusal,
the country, already grievously devastated, should be given up to the
awful ravages of the _Locusts_, which, in numbers, _such as neither his
fathers nor his fathers’ fathers had seen_, should swarm in the palace
and the hut, covering the face of the ground, and eating up whatever
herb or tree had escaped the fury of the late storm. This announcement
filled the Egyptians, already suffering severely, with uttermost alarm.
_Let the people go_, they cried to their king, _that they may serve
the Lord their God: knowest thou not yet that Egypt is destroyed?_
Even Pharaoh was fain to lend an ear to this remonstrance. Summoning
Moses and Aaron, he informed them that he was ready to allow such as
were _men_ amongst the Israelites to depart and serve their God, but
their wives and children must remain as a guarantee for their return.
The servants, however, of Jehovah, were not empowered to make this
concession, and the plague began. A strong east wind blew continuously
and brought the locusts, which in dense swarms covered the face of
the land, so that it was darkened and became a desolate wilderness,
without a leaf upon the trees or a blade of grass in the fields[65].
The obduracy of the monarch now broke down, and was followed by a
brief repentance, which lasted no longer than the west wind which swept
away the locusts; for once more, in the face of an utterly devastated
country and a murmuring people, he refused to hearken to the word of
the Lord (Ex. x. 1–20).

(ix) Without the pre-announcements, therefore, which had preceded
the infliction of the other plagues, the _ninth_ now appeared in the
shape of _Darkness_[66] so dense _that it might be felt_, which for
three days enveloped the entire land, save only the favoured country
of Goshen. During this period the light of the sun was obscured, an
awful and preternatural gloom shrouded the land, so that the Egyptians
neither could see one another nor rise from their place. At the end
of the three days Pharaoh once more capitulated; all the Israelites,
young and old, might depart, the flocks and herds alone must remain.
These conditions, however, were rejected by Moses, and he was dismissed
from the palace with the warning to take heed that he saw the face of
Pharaoh no more, for _on the day that he saw his face, he should surely
die_ (Ex. x. 21–29).

                             CHAPTER III.

                             EXOD. XI.–XV.

HITHERTO the elements of nature had each in their turn been
commissioned to fight against Pharaoh. In all the preceding plagues
there had been human intervention. The rod or the hand of Moses had
summoned from the sacred river, or the fertile soil, or the rainless
air, or the desert sands of Arabia, the ministers of punishment, and
wrought _signs and wonders in the land of Ham_, and had proved that
the God he served was no mere national god, but was Lord over earth and
air and water, over cattle and man, over tree and herb. But none of the
elements of nature were to bring on Pharaoh God’s _last sore judgment.
At midnight_, said Jehovah, _will I go out into the midst of Egypt, and
all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn
of Pharaoh that sitteth upon his throne, even unto the firstborn of the
maid-servant that is behind the mill, and all the firstborn of beasts;
I will execute judgment against all the gods or princes_ (Ex. xiii. 12
_Marg._) _of Egypt, I am Jehovah_.

Before, however, this last great blow was struck, involving the
firstborn of the highest and the lowest in one common fate, certain
important preliminaries were to be enacted. It was now the Hebrew
month of Nisan or Abib, the _month of green ears_. On the fourteenth
day of this month it was announced that the last sore judgment would
be inflicted. But on the tenth day of this month, a month to be to
the Israelites henceforth the _beginning of months_, the first month
of their sacred year, the father of every household was to select a
lamb or kid, without blemish, a male of the first year. It was to be
kept till the fourteenth day, and then slain just before the evening
twilight (Ex. xii. 1–6). A portion of the blood was to be sprinkled
with a bunch of hyssop on the two side-posts and the upper door-post
of the houses of the Israelites, and on the selfsame night the lamb,
roast with fire, whole, not a bone being broken, was to be eaten with
unleavened bread and bitter herbs. Of this meal each household was
to partake, with their loins girded, their shoes on their feet, their
staves in their hands, in haste like persons in a hurry to depart. Of
the flesh of the lamb nothing was to be allowed to remain until the
morning, and all remnants were to be burnt with fire. And at midnight,
while they were partaking of this mysterious meal, the Lord, they
were told, would _pass through the land of Egypt_, and smite all the
firstborn, both of man and beast, but when He saw the blood sprinkled
on the houses of the Israelites, He would _pass over_ them, and the
plague should not be upon them to their destruction (Ex. xii. 7–12).

Such was the ordinance of the PASSOVER, a Memorial-Feast to be
celebrated, not on that night only, but throughout all future
generations, and to be kept for a period of seven days, during
which leavened bread was neither to be eaten nor found in any of the
houses of the Israelites. On receiving from Moses the Lord’s commands
respecting this Feast, the elders of Israel, partakers with him of
a like faith in the certainty of the events about to be enacted (Heb.
xi. 28), _bowed their heads and worshipped_. On the tenth day of Nisan,
the Month of Redemption, each household selected a lamb or kid, kept
it till the fourteenth day, slew it, sprinkled the blood upon the
side-posts and the upper door-post of their houses, and at midnight
were eating of it with the prescribed ceremonies, when suddenly the
last and most awful of all the Ten Plagues began. The Lord smote all
the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of the captive
that was in the dungeon unto the firstborn of the mighty Pharaoh
himself, and all the firstborn of cattle. In the darkness of that
awful night the monarch rose up, he and all his servants, and all the
Egyptians, and a loud frantic cry arose throughout the land, for there
was not a house where there was not one dead. Terrified and confounded
the stubborn king could no longer resist the power of Jehovah. He
implored Moses and Aaron, as an act of kindness, to depart with
the utmost speed. And not only he, but all his people joined in
the petition, and pressed upon the Israelites jewels of silver and
jewels of gold, earrings, signet-rings, necklaces, and festal apparel.
Thus furnished by the Egyptians themselves with costly ornaments
befitting the great day of their deliverance[67], the whole host of
the Israelites, numbering 600,000 men capable of bearing arms, besides
women and children and a mixed multitude from the lower orders of the
Egyptians, went forth from RAMESES, and in the darkness and cool of the
night pursued their way (Ex. xii. 37, 38).

The nearest route to Canaan would have been the usual caravan route,
which runs in a north-easterly direction along the coast of the
Mediterranean, and would not have occupied more than a few days. But
it would have brought the host into collision with the warlike and
powerful nation of the Philistines, and for such an encounter they were
as yet totally unfit. From RAMESES, therefore, which was probably on
the eastern skirts of the Delta in the _Wady Tumeilat_, they proceeded
in a southerly course, and after a day’s journey halted for the first
time at SUCCOTH (Ex. xii. 37), the place of _booths_, “formed by the
luxuriant foliage of tamarisk, sycamore, and palm” at the verge of
the cultivated land of Egypt. The next day’s halt was at _Etham in the
edge of the wilderness_ (Ex. xiii. 20). At this point the Lord Himself
in an outward and visible form assumed the direction of their march,
appearing by day in a Pillar of Cloud, and by night in a Pillar of
Fire. Such a miraculous intervention was indeed needed to confirm the
faith of the host, for instead of being conducted round the northern
extremity of the Red Sea, so as to escape with all speed beyond reach
of their Egyptian oppressors, they were commanded to turn and encamp
before Pihahiroth (_the place of sedge_), between Migdol (a frontier
_Watchtower_) and the western side of the Red Sea over against
Baal-zephon. Here they had scarcely encamped, when lifting up their
eyes the Israelites discerned the terrible horses and chariots of
Pharaoh pursuing after them. Astonished that the people had not made
good their flight into Asia, and deeming them entangled in the land
and shut in by the wilderness, the monarch had directed all his forces
to give chase to the fugitives. In wild alarm the Israelites cried out
to Moses, and already complained of their deliverance from the bondage
of Egypt. But the faith of their leader was not shaken. He bade the
trembling, panic-stricken host stand still and _see the salvation of
the Lord_.

They had not long to wait. For at this moment the Angel of God,
who went before the host of Israel in the Pillar of Cloud and Fire,
stationed himself behind them so as to deepen the gloom in which the
Egyptians were advancing, and afford light and encouragement to the
Israelites. Simultaneously, Moses advanced towards the Red Sea, either
at the present fords of Suez, or at some point higher up, and stretched
over it his rod. Thereupon a strong East wind began to blow, the waters
were divided, the bottom of the sea was exposed, and amidst walls of
water standing up on either side of them on their right hand and on
their left, the caravan of the Israelites defiled in long procession.
All night the wondrous passage continued, and as the morning broke
they had safely landed on the further shore. Meanwhile their foes,
determined to prevent the second escape of their prey, had rushed on
amidst the pitchy darkness that surrounded them into the same awful
pass. But, at the morning watch, when they had reached the midst of the
sea, the Lord looked upon them from the Pillar of Fire and of the Cloud,
and troubled their hosts, and caused their heavy chariot-wheels to
sink in the sand, so that _they drave them heavily_. In wild confusion
they shouted to one another to turn back, but it was too late. Again
the hand of Moses was uplifted, and straightway the waters, till now
congealed from their lowest depths (Ex. xv. 8), began to break and give
way, and the sea _to return to his strength_. All efforts to escape
were fruitless, fast and furious the sea swept on, the engulphing waves
closed over them, horse and chariot and horseman _sank like lead in the
mighty waters_. Then from the Israelitish leader, and the host which
had stood still and seen the deliverance Jehovah had wrought for them,
there burst forth a noble song of praise and thanksgiving, while Miriam
his sister, and her women, accompanied them with timbrels and dances.
Together they sang the praises of Him who _had triumphed gloriously,
who had cast Pharaoh’s chariots and his host into the sea, and drowned
his chosen captains in the waves, whose right hand become glorious in
power had dashed in pieces the enemy, who had blown with His wind, and
gathered the waters with the blast of His nostrils, and in His mercy
led forth the people which He had redeemed_. (Ex. xv. 1–19. Comp. Ps.
lxxvii. 16–19.)

Thus, at length, the word of the Most High, which He spake to the
patriarch Abraham at least 400 years before, was fulfilled. The seed
of the Patriarch had grown into a great nation; they had been strangers
in a land that was not theirs; they had suffered cruel affliction and
degradation; but the oppressing nation had been judged, and _with much
substance_ the oppressed had come forth. The jewels of silver and gold
and the festal apparel, which their late tyrants had forced upon them,
well became this their national birthday. Once slaves, they were now
free; once a degraded tribe, they were now an independent people. They
had left behind them Egypt with its grinding tyranny, and its memories
of years of suffering. They had been _baptized unto Moses in the cloud
and in the sea_ (1 Cor. x. 2), their faces were set towards a Promised
Land, their hopes fastened on a glorious Future.

                              CHAPTER IV.

                      EXOD. XV.–XIX.   B.C. 1491.

AND now the ransomed people commenced their journey. Skirting the
eastern shore of the Red Sea, they “entered” the wilderness of Shur
(or Etham, Num. xxxiii. 8), on the western base of the high table-land
which forms the northern portion of the peninsula of Sinai[68]. A three
days’ march brought them to a well, probably _Ain Howâra_, plentifully
supplied, indeed, with water, but so bitter that they could not drink
of it, whence they called it Marah (“_bitterness_”). This was the first
test of their faith in their Invisible Leader, and they proved unequal
to it. They murmured against Moses, saying, _What shall we drink?_ In
his distress Moses turned to the Lord, who bade him cast a tree into
the waters, and they were straightway sweetened. Leaving Marah they
reached ELIM (Wâdy _Ghurundel_, or Wâdy _Useit_), where were twelve
wells of refreshing water, and three-score and ten palmtrees. Here
they probably staid some days, and then passing between vast cliffs,
probably at the mouth of the _Wâdy Tayibeh_, again came in sight of the
deep blue waters of the Red Sea (Num. xxxiii. 10), where they encamped,
and were able for the last time to discern the shadowy line of Egypt,
the land of bondage. Leaving the sea-shore on the fifteenth day of the
second month, they entered the shadeless desert of Sin (Ex. xvi. 1). By
this time the supply of bread they had brought with them from Egypt was
consumed, and the people burst forth into loud murmurings against Moses
and Aaron. _Would God_, they cried, _we had died by the hand of the
Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the fleshpots, and did eat
bread to the full_. Thereupon Moses was commissioned to assure them of
speedy relief, and that very evening dense flocks of quails, immense
numbers of which are found in Arabia Petræa and the adjoining countries,
covered the ground around their encampment (Ex. xvi. 13). Moreover
the next morning, when _the dew had gone up, behold! there lay on the
face of the wilderness a small round thing, as small as the hoar frost,
white, like coriander seed, the taste of which was like wafers made
with honey_. On seeing this curious substance, and not knowing its
origin or properties, the Israelites exclaimed Man-hu, “_What is it?_”
whence the substance hitherto unknown received the name of MANNA (Ex.
xvi. 14–36).

Two conditions were annexed to the enjoyment of this extraordinary
and unlooked-for blessing. The people were instructed to gather only a
sufficient quantity for the wants of a single day, an omer (about five
pints) each man, and they were to leave none of it until the morning.
Some of them, however, infringed both these conditions, and in both
instances found cause to regret their conduct. Some took the trouble
to gather more than the prescribed quantity, and found that in spite
of their exertions _he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that
gathered little had no lack_. Others _did_ leave some of it until the
morning, but they too found themselves disappointed, for it was in a
state of decomposition and utterly unfit for food. On the sixth day,
however, each man was surprised to find himself able to gather twice
the usual quantity. This circumstance Moses explained to them. The
seventh day was to be observed as a holy SABBATH (_rest_) unto the
Lord, on that day no manna would be found lying on the ground, but
on the sixth day they were to gather twice the usual quantity to make
provision for the deficiency on the Sabbath. This command, however,
was not universally obeyed. Some went out to gather on the Sabbath,
but returned empty-handed. Thus the institution of the Day of Rest
was presented as one of peculiar significance, and a preparation was
made for the more precise legislation respecting it to be afterwards
promulgated. In memory of this miraculous supply of the people’s needs,
Moses directed that an omer of the Manna should be put aside in a
vessel as a memorial to all future generations (Ex. xvi. 32–34; John
vi. 31, 32; 1 Cor. x. 3; Heb. ix. 4).

After a halt of a week in the wilderness of Sin, and also at two
intermediate stations, DOPHKAH and ALUSH (Num. xxxiii. 12–14), the
positions of which are unknown, the Israelites reached REPHIDIM
(“_places of Rest_”), most probably the _Wâdy Feirân_, and “the finest
valley in the whole peninsula.” Two circumstances distinguished their
encampment in this valley. In consequence of a second failure of water
the murmurings of the people against their leader reached such a pitch,
that they showed signs of a readiness even to stone him with stones.
Again, however, the Lord interposed, and mercifully directed Moses to
strike a rock in Horeb, _i.e._ one of the outer hills in the Sinaitic
group, whereupon a copious stream flowed forth, and refreshed the
thirsty host. In memory of the murmuring of the people, Moses named the
spot MASSAH (“_temptation_”), and MERIBAH (“_strife_”) (Ex. xvii. 7).

The other circumstance which rendered memorable the encampment at this
spot was of a different nature. One of the main streams of population
occupying at this time the Sinaitic Peninsula, was the powerful tribe
of AMALEK. Their settlements extended from the northern part of the
peninsula, even to the borders of Palestine. They were descended from
Esau, and were governed by a chief, who bore the title, by some deemed
hereditary, of AGAG, the “_Burner_” or “_Destroyer_.” (Comp. Num. xxiv.
7; 1 Sam. xv. 8, 9.) Regarding the encampment of the Israelites in the
rich and fertile valley of Rephidim with no friendly feelings, they
mustered their forces, and treacherously falling upon their exhausted
rear, _smote the hindmost of them and the feeble amongst them, when
they were faint and weary_ (Deut. xxv. 17–19). To repel this attack
Moses directed a young man, whose name is here for the first time
mentioned, JOSHUA, or as he was now called HOSHEA (_salvation_), the
son of Nun, of the tribe of Ephraim, to select a body of men, and go
forth to meet Amalek in the valley. Meanwhile he himself ascended the
hill, whence, probably, the refreshing streams had issued, with the
rod of God in his hand, and accompanied by Aaron and Hur. There within
sight of the battle in the valley below, he stood and stretched forth
his hands in supplication to heaven. So long as his hands remained thus
uplifted, the Israelites made good their superiority over the foe, but
as often as from weariness his hands drooped Amalek prevailed. For a
long time the contest seemed undecided. At length Aaron and Hur, seeing
Moses wearied with his exertions, took a stone and placed it under him,
and stayed up his hands in the attitude of supplication, till the sun
went down, by which time Amalek had sustained a total defeat, and been
smitten with the edge of the sword. This victory and the circumstances
leading to it were too important to be forgotten. On the summit of the
hill, where he had stood in the attitude of prayer, Moses erected an
altar, which he called JEHOVAH-NISSI (_the Lord is my Banner_), and,
by the Divine direction, inscribed in a book the account of Amalek’s
attack, and rehearsed it in the ears of Joshua. Their treacherous
conduct had placed them under the same ban as the nations of Canaan,
and the Lord _would utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from
under heaven_ (Ex. xvii. 14; 1 Sam. xv. 2, 3; 2 Sam. viii. 12).

Not long afterwards, JETHRO, the father-in-law of Moses, having
heard all that the Lord had done for his kinsman, and of the wonderful
deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt, left his tents among the
Midianites and came to meet him, with his daughter Zipporah, and
her two sons Gershom and Eliezer. After mutual salutation, the two
passed into the tent, and Moses recounted to his father-in-law the
marvels of the Exodus, the travail of the people by the way, and
their late deliverance from the sword of Amalek. Jethro rejoiced at
the recital, bestowed upon the Israelites his solemn blessing, and
offered sacrifices to Jehovah, to which and the thanksgiving-feast that
followed, Aaron the future high-priest, and all the elders of Israel
were invited. On the morrow, perceiving Moses occupied from morning
until evening with the administration of justice and the settlement
of disputes among the people, Jethro ventured to remonstrate with him
on the risk he incurred by undertaking unaided so heavy a burden. He
suggested that judges, rulers, and elders, _able men, such as feared
God, and hated covetousness_, should be appointed, who should at stated
seasons see justice done between man and man, and reserve only the
weightier matters for the attention of Moses himself. His wise advice
was adopted, and men were duly appointed to preside over every ten,
every fifty, every hundred, and every thousand of the people, and thus
equalize the burden hitherto sustained by Moses alone (Ex. xviii. 1–27).

                              CHAPTER V.

                  _SINAI AND THE GIVING OF THE LAW._
                      EXOD. XIX. XX.   B.C. 1491.

AT length the halt at Rephidim came to an end. In the third month (Ex.
xix. 1), the Israelites once more set out in a southerly direction,
and after ascending winding valleys and rugged passes and staircases
of lofty rocks rising one above the other in long succession, reached
a level plain (probably _Er-Raheh_)[69], in front of which “towered
the massive cliffs of Sinai,” rising “like a huge altar in front of
the whole congregation.” Here in a spot where they could find water and
pasture for their flocks and herds, they pitched their tents _before
the Mount_ (Ex. xix. 2). The natural aspect of everything around them
was of a character calculated to exert a most solemnising influence
upon their feelings. They had reached a kind of “natural sanctuary, not
made with hands,” which for magnificence and grandeur far exceeded any
of those massive Egyptian temples, on which their eyes had rested by
the green valley of the Nile. Far removed from the stir and confusion
of earthly things[70], amidst a scene of desolate grandeur and a
silence unbroken even by the sound of waters or the trickling of rills
down the mountain gorges[71], they experienced everything that the
natural influence of scenery and association could effect towards
fitting their minds for the great and sublime transactions now about
to be enacted between them and the Almighty. They were about to receive
direct communication from the Lord of all the earth, and to learn
why _with an outstretched arm, and signs and great wonders_, they had
been delivered from the bondage of Egypt, and thus led forth into the

By way of preparation for the great scene, Moses left the congregation
encamped on the plain, and proceeded up the winding steep ascent of
Sinai. On reaching the summit, the Lord called unto him, and made known
His intention of renewing the patriarchal Covenant, which, though it
might seem to have been forgotten during the weary years of bondage
in Egypt, had never been disannulled (Gal. iii. 17), and was now to be
solemnly republished. Like all Covenants, it contained a stipulation
and a promise. If Israel would obey the Voice of Him, who had delivered
them from Egypt, and _borne them on eagles’ wings, and brought them to
Himself_ (Ex. xix. 4), if they would submit themselves to His laws, and
keep His commandments, then, _though all the earth was His_, yet should
they be _a peculiar treasure unto Him above all people_. Jehovah “would
enter into a special relation towards them, He would undertake the
duties and claim the privileges of sovereignty,” while they should be
unto Him _a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation_. It was not a single
and peculiar order that was to be elevated to the high position of a
member of the priest-kingdom, as was the case in Egypt. Every Israelite
was to sustain this relation, and in the midst of a world given up to
idolatry, was called to preserve the knowledge of the one true God, and
exhibit to the nations the spectacle of a people walking in the ways
of Holiness, Righteousness, and Truth. The conditions of this Covenant
Moses made known to the Elders and people of Israel; he laid before
them _all the words which the Lord commanded Him_, and when they had
voluntarily agreed to obey them, he returned with their reply to the
Lord, and was told of the intention of Jehovah to come unto him _in a
thick cloud, that the people might hear him, and believe him for ever_
(Ex. xix. 9).

Three days, therefore, were now devoted to preparatory and ceremonial
ablutions, during which the people were commanded to abstain from all
sensual and worldly enjoyments. Then bounds were set round the mountain
on which a God of Holiness was about to appear, lest any of the people
should ascend or even touch it. Of any infringement of this prohibition
death was denounced as the certain penalty, and that not inflicted in
the usual way, lest the executioners should themselves be polluted, but
from a distance with stones and arrows (Ex. xix. 12, 13; Heb. xii. 20).
At length the morning of the third day dawned, and the awful silence
of the mountain-sanctuary was broken by peals of thunder, which echoed
and re-echoed amidst the rocky gorges, while flashes of lightning
lit up the peaks of Sinai, and revealed by their contrast the pitchy
darkness and the thick cloud which had settled upon the mountain-top.
Presently the Voice _as of a Trumpet_ (comp. Rev. i. 10, iv. 1),
sounded exceeding loud, audible even above the crash of the thunder,
so that every soul in the camp trembled. This was the signal God had
made known to Moses, who straightway led forth the people out of the
camp _to meet with God, and they stood at the nether part of the mount_,
which appeared _altogether on a smoke, like the smoke of a furnace_,
enshrouding a mysterious flame in which the Lord descended (Ex. xix.
18). Again the Trumpet pealed with a long-continued blast, and _waxed
louder and louder, and Moses spake, and God answered him by a voice_,
summoning him to meet Him on the top of Sinai. Arrived there, he was
commanded again to warn the people, and even the priests, against
drawing too near, or breaking through the bounds that had been set
about the mount for the purpose of indulging any profane gaze, and
so incurring the inevitable penalty of death (Ex. xix. 21). Moses
therefore returned to the awestruck crowd on the plain below, and
renewed the solemn warning. Then _from out of the midst of the fire,
and the cloud, and the thick darkness, with a great voice_ (Deut. v.
22), JEHOVAH Himself spake to the assembled host _face to face_, and
proclaimed the Ten fundamental Words of the law of the Covenant. Not
as the Lord of the universe, or the Creator of all things, did the Most
High now reveal Himself to the people, but as their Redeemer, who had
_brought them out of the land of Egypt, and from the house of bondage_
(Ex. xx. 2). (I) _Beside Him_, therefore, they were to have _no other
god_; (II) _of Him_ they were to make no _representation_, or construct
any _graven image_, or any _likeness_ in the form of anything either in
the heaven above or the earth beneath, or the waters under the earth;
(III) for His _Name_ they were to entertain the deepest reverence, nor
profane it by taking it in vain; (IV) His _Day_, the seventh Day, _the
Day of rest_, they were ever to observe; six days they might labour,
and do all their work, but on the seventh day, the Sabbath of the Lord
their God, no work might be done by the head of the family, or his
son, or his daughter, his manservant, or his maidservant, his cattle,
or the stranger sojourning within his gates. Such was the duty of the
Israelite towards God. But now also the Almighty proclaimed man’s duty
towards his neighbour. He enjoined and connected with a special promise
of temporal prosperity (V) _filial Reverence for Parents_, and forbade
(VI) _Murder_, (VII) _Adultery_, (VIII) _Theft_, (IX) _False Witness_,
and (X) _Covetousness_ (Ex. xx. 1–17).

These were the Ten Words, the fundamentals of the Divine Law, under
which the Israelites were henceforth called to live, and which they
were to accept as the charter of their constitution. But so great was
their terror, when they heard God thus speaking to them _face to face_,
that they fled, and standing afar off implored Moses to intercede with
the Almighty that they might no more hear His voice, lest they should
die. _Go |thou| near_, said they, _and hear all that the Lord our God
shall say, and speak thou unto us all that the Lord our God shall speak
unto thee, and we will hear it and do it_ (Deut. v. 27). Their request
found favour in the sight of Jehovah, and Moses was now solemnly
appointed as the Mediator between the Israelites and God. At the same
time, the Lord intimated that He would raise up a still greater PROPHET
than Moses, from the midst of the Israelites, yet like unto him, _that
He would put His words in His mouth, and He should speak unto them all
that He commanded_ (Deut. xviii. 13–19). Accordingly in his capacity
of Mediator, Moses now returned up the mountain, and ascended into the
thick darkness that still abode upon it for the purpose of receiving
the further commands of Jehovah. After remaining there for some time,
he came back to the people. They had on their part already agreed to
enter into covenant with God. But it was necessary that this Covenant
should now be solemnly ratified by them, its provisions read in their
hearing, and formally accepted as the basis of their constitution.
Accordingly Moses first wrote all the words that Jehovah had spoken
in a book, probably a papyrus-roll, and then, having built an altar at
the foot of the mount and set up twelve pillars, he caused calves and
goats to be slain as burnt-offerings and peace-offerings by the hands
of certain selected youths. In the ears of the assembled people he next
read every word of the Law, and when these conditions of the Covenant
had been formally accepted by them, he took the blood of the victims
already slain, together with water, scarlet wool, and hyssop (Heb.
ix. 19–21), sprinkled one half of the blood on the altar, and the roll
containing the Covenant-conditions, and the other half on the people,
saying as he did so, _Behold the blood of the Covenant which the Lord
hath made with you concerning all these words_.

But one portion only of the ceremony was complete. The victims had
yielded up their life. The blood, the source of life, had been
sprinkled on the altar and accepted by Jehovah. It was now necessary
that the sacrificers should join in the Covenant-feast. To celebrate
this, Moses, accompanied by Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy elders,
as representatives of the people, ascended to a level spot near the
summit of Sinai. There they saw the glory of the God of Israel, under
whose feet there was, as it were, _a paved work of a sapphire-stone,
and the body of heaven in its clearness_. But instead of suffering
any harm from such close proximity to the majesty of the Supreme, they
ate and drank in His presence of the Covenant-feast, and thereby were
assured of His mercy and loving-kindness (Ex. xxiv. 9–11).

                              CHAPTER VI.

                    EXOD. XXIV.–XXXIV.   B.C. 1491.

THUS the Covenant was formally ratified, and the nation solemnly
devoted itself to the service of the God of Israel. Further revelations,
however, awaited Moses, and after committing the charge of the people
to Aaron and Hur (Ex. xxiv. 14), he again went up into the mount
accompanied only by Joshua, his minister and attendant. After an
interval of six days the voice of God summoned him to ascend alone
yet higher into the midst of the cloud that still overhung the mount,
and for forty days and forty nights he there remained in mysterious
converse with Jehovah. During this period the Lord showed him in vision
a representation of the sanctuary (Heb. viii. 5), which He required
should be the solemn place of meeting between Him and the people, and
gave him the necessary instructions for its erection (Ex. xxv.–xxviii.),
together with full particulars respecting the order of its services and
ritual (Ex. xxix. xxx.), as also the names of the two men who were to
be employed in building it, viz. BEZALEEL of the tribe of Judah, and
AHOLIAB of the tribe of Dan (Ex. xxxi. 1–11). At the same time Moses
received two tables of stone, on which the Ten Commandments had been
written by the finger of God.

While, however, the Israelitish leader had been engaged in solemn
converse with the Supreme, a far different scene had been going on in
the plain below. His prolonged absence had filled the Israelites with
doubt and perplexity. When the glory of the Lord descended upon Sinai,
they had, indeed, felt the mountain quake, they had heard the thunder
roar, they had seen the lightning flash, but of JEHOVAH Himself they
had beheld no form or similitude. Now to believe in One who did not,
like the gods of every other nation round about, reveal Himself under
any palpable figure, was not easy for men who had so long lived amidst
the fascinations of the idolatrous rites of Pagan Egypt. As weeks
therefore passed away, and still no sign appeared of the return of
their leader, the people began to lose their trust in Him whom they had
promised to obey. They wished to break up their long encampment; but
who would go before them, and guide them in the way? Yearning therefore
for some visible representative of Jehovah, and possibly yielding to
the suggestions of some of the Egyptians amongst _the mixed multitude_
in the camp, they gathered themselves together before Aaron, with the
petition that he _would make them gods to go before them_, for as for
Moses, who had brought them up out of the land of Egypt, they knew
not what was become of him. Unable to stem the popular clamour, and
taking refuge in an unworthy expediency, Aaron bade them bring him
the golden earrings of their wives, their sons, and their daughters,
and of these he fashioned a calf, probably according to the well-known
form of the Egyptian Apis or Mnevis, whose worship the people must
often have witnessed during their sojourn in the Nile Valley. Then
building an altar he proclaimed a three days’ festival to Jehovah.
Accordingly, with the earliest dawn of the following day, the people
arose, and offered burnt-offerings and peace-offerings before the image,
exclaiming, _These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee out of the
land of Egypt_, and concluded the ceremony with one of those licentious
orgies, accompanied by song and dance, which were so common amongst
heathen nations (Ex. xxxii. 4; 1 Cor. x. 7).

It was while they were in the very act of celebrating this idolatrous
festival that Moses, accompanied by Joshua, returned from the presence
of the nation’s invisible King. He had already received Divine
intimation of the apostasy of the people, and in his capacity of
Mediator had already interceded in their behalf. Now with the two
tables of the Law in his hands he descended the Mount. To the ear
of his companion the noise of the host, as it ascended upwards from
the valley below, _sounded like the noise of war in the camp_. But
Moses knew otherwise. _It is not the noise of them that shout for the
mastery_, he replied, _neither is it the voice of them that cry for
being overcome, but the noise of them that sing do I hear_. Then as he
drew near the camp, and beheld with his own eyes the heathenish orgies
that were going on, his feelings overmastered him; his anger waxed
hot, and he cast the Tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath
the Mount. Next advancing towards the senseless image, he seized it,
burnt it with fire, reduced it to powder[72], strewed the ashes on the
neighbouring brook of Horeb, and compelled the people to drink thereof.
Then after sternly rebuking his brother for conniving at so heinous
a sin, he stationed himself at the entrance of the camp, and bade
all, who still remained faithful to Jehovah, gird on their swords, and
without regard to family tie or private friendship, slay the offenders
from gate to gate with the edge of the sword. It was a severe but
necessary test of the fidelity of the people, and the sons of Levi
were found faithful. With a zeal very dissimilar from that which had
animated their forefather at Shechem (Gen. xxxiv. 25, 26), instead
of siding with Aaron, though their tribal leader, they arose and slew
about 3000 of the offenders, thus effacing the blot on the memory
of their tribe, and qualifying themselves for high functions in the
sanctuary (Ex. xxxii. 25–29).

In order to make an atonement for the people’s sin, Moses, on the next
day, re-ascended the mount, and solemnly interceded with the Almighty
on their behalf. Standing _in the gap_ (Ps. cvi. 23) between a justly
offended God and an erring nation, he offered, if no other way of
forgiveness was possible, freely to surrender his own life, and to
suffer the blotting out of his own name from God’s Book. Eventually
his intercession prevailed. The Almighty promised that the nation
should not be cut off, and that He would send His Angel before them,
who should lead them into the land promised to their forefathers. But
further punishment certainly awaited them; in the day of His visitation,
He would visit their sin upon them, an earnest of which they speedily
experienced in the shape of plagues (Ex. xxxii. 35), with which _the
Lord plagued the people_, because of their sin in _turning His glory
into the similitude of a calf that eateth hay_ (Ps. cvi. 20).

The announcement of Moses that their journey into the Promised Land was
not to be suspended, but that Jehovah would not go up in their midst,
was received by the people with much lamentation (Ex. xxxiii. 4). Their
sorrow was accepted as a sign of repentance, and Moses caused his own
tent to be pitched at a long distance without the camp, and named it
the _Tent, or Tabernacle of Meeting_ (Ex. xxxiii. 7). Then, accompanied
only by Joshua, he passed through the long line of the people’s tents,
at the doors of which they stood and watched him, and, as he entered
his own, the Cloudy Pillar, which hitherto had rested on the top of
Sinai, descended, and stood before it, and amidst the joyful reverence
of the watching host, the Lord conversed with Moses, _face to face, as
a man speaketh unto his friend_ (Ex. xxxiii. 11). The descent of the
Cloudy Pillar, and its position at the entrance of the tent of Israel’s
leader, though at a distance from the people, was a sign that his
intercession had prevailed. In spite of their recent sin, Jehovah had
not _forgotten to be gracious_, He would fulfil His promise, and the
nation should be led into the land assured to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,
and every one, who sought the Lord, might draw nigh, and consult Him
through His servant Moses in the appointed place of meeting.

Emboldened by this measure of success, Moses expressed a desire,
since he was the ordained leader of the people, and had found grace in
the sight of God, that he might be permitted to behold the essential
Glory of Him, with whom he was privileged to speak face to face (Ex.
xxxiii. 13). He asked for more than he, or any other finite creature,
could endure. The Face――the essential Majesty――of Jehovah no man could
see and live. But if he ascended the mount on the morrow, and took
precautions that no man or beast appeared in sight, and brought with
him two fresh tables of stone hewn out of the rock, the Lord promised
that he should see so much of His Glory as mortal eye could bear.
Accordingly on the morrow with two fresh-hewn tables he ascended, and
awaited the mysterious revelation. Every precaution had been taken; no
man was allowed to be seen throughout all the mount, no flock or herd
was suffered to feed before it (Ex. xxxiv. 3). Alone, unattended even
by the faithful Joshua, the accepted mediator between the people and
their invisible King stood in a cleft of the rock. And while he stood
“covered with Jehovah’s hand,” the Lord passed by and proclaimed, _The
Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering and abundant
in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity,
transgression, and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty,
visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the
children’s children, unto the third and fourth generation_. As Moses
listened to this proclamation of the incommunicable attributes of the
Most High――“Justice and Mercy, Truth and Love”――like Elijah after him
in a cleft of the same jagged rocks (1 K. xix. 9–13), he bowed his head
towards the earth and worshipped, and interceded for a more complete
renewal of the broken covenant between Jehovah and His people. His
prayer was heard. The Covenant was once more renewed, and for a second
period of forty days and forty nights Moses remained in the Divine
Presence, and received fresh instructions respecting the moral and
ceremonial laws of the Theocracy.

At the close of this period, with the two fresh Tables, inscribed
with the Ten Words, he again returned to the people. On this occasion,
he retained more permanent marks of the awful converse he had been
permitted to hold. Aaron and the elders of the people were afraid
to approach him, for _the skin of his face shone_ with a celestial
radiance, and the reflection of Jehovah’s glory gilded his brow.
The lawgiver himself, not aware of the change that had come over his
features, called unto them, and at length emboldened to approach, they
heard at his mouth all the commands of God. But the unearthly splendour
was not permanent. Lest, therefore, the people should behold the fading
away of this visible credential of his interview with the Supreme,
Moses was in the habit of placing a veil upon his face whenever he
departed from them (Comp. 2 Cor. iii. 13)[73], but removed it as often
as he was permitted to behold the presence of the Lord, and receive
fresh renewals of the celestial radiance.

                               BOOK IV.

                    THE MOSAIC WORSHIP AND POLITY.

                              CHAPTER I.

                           _THE TABERNACLE._
                     EXOD. XXXVI.–XL.   B.C. 1490.

THE encampment of the Israelites before Sinai continued for more than
a year (Num. i. 1). At this point, then, it will be convenient to group
together and consider the most important of those ordinances which they
now received, and the chief features of the constitution under which
they were called to live.

The purpose for which the Jewish nation was raised up was of the
most momentous character. In the midst of surrounding idolatry and
moral degeneracy, they were called to preserve intact the doctrine of
_the Unity of God_, to be the guardians of _His gracious promises of
Redemption_, and to exhibit to the world _holiness_ (See Rom. ix. 4, 5).

The doctrine of the Divine Unity was the kernel of the Mosaic law, and
as such was defended by the sternest and most rigorous enactments. The
Israelites were forbidden even to mention the names of the gods of the
Canaanite nations (Ex. xxiii. 13); they were commanded to burn or
destroy their images, their altars, their sacred groves (Ex. xxiii. 24;
xxxiv. 13); they were to deem accursed the precious metals of which
their idols were composed (Deut. vii. 25), and on no pretence whatever
were they to conclude any treaty or make any marriage with them (Deut.
vii. 2, 3). Relapse into idolatry was to be regarded as the greatest
crime, and whether committed by a city or an individual was to be
punished with unrelenting severity. In the latter case, death by
stoning was the inevitable penalty; in the former, all the inhabitants
were to be put to the sword, the whole spoil was to be collected into a
heap and burnt, and a solemn curse was to be pronounced against any one
who attempted to rebuild it (Deut. xiii. 6–18). No less vigorous were
the enactments against the construction of any representation of the
true God under any form or similitude, whether of man or animal, of
bird or fish or star.

But while all idolatrous forms of worship were thus rigorously
forbidden, the Almighty condescended to make known to His people the
way in which He was willing to receive their adoration. Stooping to the
infirmities of a nation just delivered from degrading bondage, He took
them by the hand, and provided for the wants of their religious nature
in a way marvellously adapted to their native genius and character, as
also to their previous habits and modes of thought.

And first, that the Israelites might have a visible assurance of
the Divine presence in their midst, a sanctuary was to be erected,
not according to any model suggested by the people themselves, but
according to a Divine pattern shown to Moses in the Mount (Ex. xxv. 9;
Heb. viii. 5). The Patriarchs had their pillars of stone (Gen. xxviii.
18, 19), or the shade of the consecrated grove (Gen. xxi. 33). The
Egyptian had his huge colossal temples, built of vast granite blocks,
or hewn out of the solid rock. Not such was to be the sanctuary of
Jehovah amongst a people journeying through a wilderness to a Promised
Land. As the nomad chief had his tent in the midst of his tribe, so
Jehovah, as the Head of the Hebrew pilgrim-nation, ordained that a
Tent or _Tabernacle_ should be erected for Him, where He might _meet
and speak unto_ His people, and _they might draw nigh to Him. I will
sanctify_, said God, _the Tabernacle of meeting, ... there will I meet
with ... and will dwell among the children of Israel, and will be their
God, and they shall know that I am the Lord their God_ (Ex. xxix. 42–46;
xxx. 6, 36).

In the erection of this Pavilion-Temple every member of the nation was
invited to take a part, and to contribute either the gold and jewels
of which the Egyptians had been spoiled, or the arts which, as we have
seen, many of the Israelites had learnt from them. While, therefore,
the superintendence of the work was entrusted to two skilful artificers,
BEZALEEL of the tribe of Judah, and AHOLIAB of the tribe of Dan (Ex.
xxxi. 2, 6; xxxv. 34), many of the congregation contributed offerings
of gold and silver and brass, of blue and red and crimson, of fine
linen, and goat-skins, and ram-skins dyed red. Others were despatched
in different directions throughout the fertile valley where they were
encamped, to fell the Shittah or Acacia tree, which grew abundantly in
the neighbourhood of Sinai, and was exactly adapted by its durability
and lightness for the construction of a moveable tent, and while the
workmen prepared it for its different purposes, the women employed
themselves diligently in weaving and spinning blue and crimson hangings,
thus consecrating the arts which they had learnt, while serving as
bondslaves in the houses of the princes of Egypt (Ex. xxxv. 20–35).

(A) The AREA, or Court, within which the Tabernacle stood, was an
oblong square, 100 cubits[74] in length by 50 in breadth, formed by
curtains of fine linen 5 cubits in height, hanging from pillars of wood
with capitals overlaid with silver and furnished with sockets of brass.
These pillars, 20 on each longer side and 10 on each shorter, were held
together by means of silver rods attached by silver hooks, and were
fastened into the ground by means of pegs of brass. The entrance[75]
was from the east, so as to catch the rays of the rising sun. Here the
curtains extended only 15 cubits from each corner, and the intervening
space with its 4 pillars formed the entrance, and was overhung with
curtains of fine twined linen, of the richest and most brilliant
colours, blue and purple and scarlet.

In a line with the Entrance and the Tabernacle itself stood (a) THE

(a) _The Altar of Burnt-offering_[76] (called in Malachi i. 7, 12, _the
table of the Lord_) was in form a square, 5 cubits long, 5 broad, and
3 high, and was constructed of hollow boards of acacia-wood overlaid
with brass (Ex. xxvii. 4, 5). So long as the Tabernacle was stationed
in any one place, these were probably filled with earth, which thus
formed the upper side or surface, on which the sacrifices were offered.
Each corner of the altar was furnished with horns of acacia-wood
overlaid with brass; to these the victims were fastened, and on them
their blood was sprinkled at the consecration of the priests, and the
sacrifice of the sin-offering (Ps. cxviii. 27; Ex. xxix. 12; Levit.
iv. 7, 18, 25). From each side projected a horizontal ledge, to the
outer edge of which was attached a perpendicular grating of brass,
resting like the Altar upon the ground, for the purpose of catching
any portions of the sacrifice or the fuel that might fall. The ledge,
on which the priests officiated, was approached by a slope of earth,
for the Law forbade the construction of steps leading up to the altar
(Ex. xx. 26). The implements used in the sacrifices, such as pans and
shovels for collecting and removing the ashes, basins for receiving the
blood, fleshhooks for turning the pieces of flesh, were all of brass
(Ex. xxvii. 3; see 1 Sam. ii. 13, 14).

(b) _The great Laver for purification_ stood between the Altar of
Burnt-offering and the Tabernacle. It was made of the brass from
the metal mirrors belonging to the women who served at the door of
the Tabernacle (Ex. xxxviii. 8), and was probably of a circular form
standing on a basis or foot. In it the flesh of the victims was washed,
as also the hands and feet of the priests, before they performed any
holy function (Ex. xxx. 18–21).

(B) The TABERNACLE itself was entered, at its eastern side, through a
magnificent curtain, 10 cubits in width, supported on five pillars (Ex.
xxvi.). Its dimensions inside were 30 cubits in length, 10 in breadth,
and 10 in height. It was formed of planks of acacia-wood overlaid with
gold, fixed into the ground by means of two tenons, each fitting into
a socket of silver, resembling the sharp end of a spear. At the top
they were united by bars of acacia-wood, 5 bars to each piece, passing
through golden rings. The roof was formed of several sets of curtains;
the innermost, 10 in number, formed of fine twined linen of various
colours, and adorned with cherubic figures of curious workmanship;
next to these were 11 curtains of goats’ hair; then one of rams’ skins
with the wool on dyed red; and lastly, another of badgers’, or, more
probably, seals’ skins[77].

The Tabernacle consisted of two portions, (a) THE HOLY PLACE, and
(b) THE HOLY OF HOLIES (Ex. xxvi. 33, 34: and comp. Heb. ix. 2, 3).

(a) _The Holy Place_, 20 cubits in length and 10 in height and width,
was divided from the _Holy of Holies_ by a veil of the most costly
materials and the most splendid colours. Without any opening to admit
the light from above, it was illumined only by a _Golden Lamp_ or
_Candlestick_, with _seven_ lights, fed with pure olive oil, kept
burning day and night, and trimmed each morning by a priest with golden
snuffers, who carried away the snuff in golden dishes. From the base,
on which the lamp rested, rose a shaft dividing itself on either side
into three branches, so that it had seven arms, each adorned with
calyxes of almond flowers, apples, and buds of pomegranates or lilies
(Ex. xxv. 31; xxxvii. 17–25; Heb. ix. 2).

Opposite the Golden Lamp was the _Table of Shewbread_ (Ex. xxv. 23–29),
made of acacia-wood, overlaid with gold, 2 cubits in length, 1 in
breadth, and 1½ in height, and standing on 4 feet. It had a border to
prevent the loaves from falling off, and was furnished with rings and
staves for removal. Belonging to it were cups or spoons for incense,
bowls for wine, dishes for bringing and removing the loaves, all of
gold. These loaves, called also _bread of the face_, being set _before
the face of the Lord_ (Levit. xxiv. 5–9), were twelve in number,
according to the number of the tribes. Baked of the finest meal, flat
and thin, they were placed every Sabbath on the Table in 2 rows, 6 in
each, and sprinkled with incense, and accompanied with libations of
wine in the golden bowls. Here they remained till the next Sabbath,
when they were taken away and replaced by twelve fresh loaves, and
eaten by the priests[78] in the Holy Place, out of which they might not
be carried, the frankincense having been burnt as an oblation on the
Altar of Sacrifice.

Between the Table of Shewbread and the Golden Lamp and immediately
before[79] the veil separating the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies
was the _Golden Altar of Incense_ (Ex. xxx. 1–11). Made of acacia-wood,
in shape a square, 1 cubit in length and breadth and 2 in height, and
ornamented round the middle with a golden wreath, it was furnished,
like the Altar of Burnt-offering, with horns, rings, and staves; but
unlike it was wholly overlaid with _gold_. On it incense, carefully
prepared of four different ingredients (Ex. xxx. 34–38), was placed
by the officiating priest morning and evening, with live coals taken
from the Altar of Burnt-offering, that the smoke of the incense
might perpetually ascend before the Lord. Once a year its horns were
sprinkled with the blood of the sin-offering of the Atonement, and on
no other occasion, except when a sin-offering was presented for the
High-priest or the congregation.

(b) _The Holy of Holies_, separated, as we have just said, from the
Holy Place by a costly veil supported on a screen of 4 pillars, formed
_a perfect cube_ of 10 cubits in length, breadth, and height. While
the Holy Place, though never penetrated by the daylight, was illumined
by the splendid Golden Lamp, the Holy of Holies was left _in utter
darkness_, symbolical of Him whom _no man hath seen, nor can see_
(1 Tim. vi. 16). Within this most sacred enclosure neither priests nor
people as a body, but the High-Priest only, and that but once a year,
ever entered. Here stood nothing but the ARK _of the Covenant_ (Ex.
xxv. 10–16). This was an oblong chest of acacia-wood overlaid with the
purest gold within and without, 2½ cubits in length, 1½ in breadth,
1½ in height. It stood on 4 small feet, which were provided with
4 golden rings, through which staves of acacia-wood overlaid with gold
were passed, and which when once inserted were never to be removed.
Within it were placed[80] the two stone tables, on both sides of which
the Decalogue had been inscribed. Round the top ran a crown or wreath
of pure gold, and upon it was the _Mercy-Seat_, of the same dimensions
as the Ark, made not of wood overlaid with gold, but entirely of pure
gold. At either end of the Mercy-Seat rose two golden Cherubim, with
outspread wings and faces turned towards each other, and eyes bent
downwards, as though desirous _to look into_ its mysteries (1 Pet.
i. 12). Neither their size nor their form are distinctly described. By
some they are thought to have been handed down by patriarchal tradition
from those which were placed in Paradise (Gen. iii. 24); by others
to have resembled Egyptian models; while Josephus (_Ant._ III. vi. 5)
declares that they resembled no figures known to men, and that in his
day their form was utterly lost. In Ezekiel (i. 5–13) we find them
likened to compound figures with the head of a man, an ox, a lion, and
an eagle, with four wings, two serving for flight, two to cover the
body, and straight feet inflexible at the knee. It is not improbable
that they represented the manifold powers of nature――created life
in its highest form――their overshadowing wings meeting as in perfect
harmony, their eyes cast downwards towards the Divine Law, over which
seemingly so rigid and unbending was the compassion of ONE _forgiving
iniquity, transgression and sin_[81].


                      HISTORY OF THE TABERNACLE.

  SUCH was the Pavilion-Temple which Moses constructed _according
  to the pattern shown him in the Mount_. The chief facts
  connected with its history are as follows.

  i. During the wanderings in the wilderness it was the one place,
  where Jehovah “met His people,” and where from the ineffable
  glory above the mercy-seat He revealed His Will. There the
  Spirit came upon the 70 elders and they prophesied (Num. xi.
  24, 25); thither Moses and Aaron were summoned on all important
  occasions, as on that of the rebellion of Miriam (Num. xii. 4),
  of the unfaithfulness of the spies (xiv. 10), of the rebellion
  of Korah (xvi. 19), of the sin of Meribah (xx. 6); there on
  the death of Moses his successor was solemnly appointed (Deut.
  xxxi. 14).

  ii. During the conquest of Canaan it was, probably, moved from
  place to place, wherever the host of Israel was encamped.

  iii. Afterwards it was brought to _Shiloh_ (Josh. ix. 27; xviii.
  1; xix. 51), on account, doubtless, of its secluded and central
  position, and as being within the territory of the powerful
  tribe of Ephraim, to which Joshua belonged, and here it remained
  during the entire period of the Judges (comp. Josh. xix. 51;
  xxii. 12; Judg. xxi. 21).

  iv. But in the time of Eli, the licentiousness of his sons
  stained the sanctity of Shiloh, and degraded the Tabernacle
  almost to the level of a heathen temple (1 Sam. ii. 22), while
  the capture of the ark by the Philistines (1 Sam. iv. 22) still
  further dimmed its glories, and Samuel himself sacrificed at
  other places, Mizpeh (1 Sam. vii. 9), Ramah (ix. 12; x. 3),
  Gilgal (x. 8; xi. 15).

  v. After this it was for some time settled at _Nob_ (1 Sam. xx.
  1–6), and thither also misfortune followed it: Saul murdered the
  priests (1 Sam. xxii. 11–19), and Abiathar fled with the sacred
  ephod to David (xxiii. 6).

  vi. In the time of David and Solomon we find it at _Gibeon_
  (1 Chron. xvi. 39; xxi. 29), but the ark was now removed to
  Kirjath-jearim, and afterwards, on the capture of Jerusalem, to
  that city, where a new Tabernacle was constructed to receive it
  (1 Sam. vi. 17; 1 Chron. xv. 1). Its glory now waned more and
  more, it became connected with the worship of the high-places
  (1 Kings iii. 4), retained only the old altar of burnt-offering
  (1 Chron. xxi. 29), and eventually it seems to have been either
  taken down, or left to be forgotten and “_vanish away_[82].”

                              CHAPTER II.

                            _THE PRIESTS._
          EX. XXVIII. XXIX.   LEV. VIII. IX.   NUM. III. IV.

PRIOR to the Mosaic period, as has been already noticed[83], the head
of each family and the firstborn appear to have exercised all kinds
of government, ecclesiastical as well as civil, being both kings and
priests in their own houses.

At the departure, however, from Egypt, it was declared that all
the firstborn were specially sanctified to God in token of the
mercy shown to them there (Ex. xiii. 2), and when Moses received the
Divine commands concerning the construction of the Tabernacle, it was
ordered that from the children of Israel Aaron and his sons should be
specially selected _to minister in the priests’ office_ (Ex. xxviii. 1).
Subsequently, when the whole tribe of Levi displayed such signal zeal
on the occasion of the construction of the golden calf (Ex. xxxii. 26),
that tribe was separated for the service of the sanctuary, and accepted
in the place of the firstborn, as the royal guard to wait on Israel’s
King (Num. i. 47–54; iii. 5–13).

But though the whole tribe was set apart for these important purposes,
a strictly prescribed order regulated its particular functions to each
branch, of which there were three, (a) THE LEVITES, (b) THE PRIESTS,

(a) _The Levites_ entered on their duties at the age of 30 (Num. iv.
23, 30, 35), and were consecrated, not as the priests, by anointing and
investiture, but by a ceremony of washing accompanied by sacrifices,
after which the elders laid their hands upon them, and Aaron presented
them _as a wave-offering before the Lord_, in token that they were
offered to the Lord by the congregation for the service of the
sanctuary, and handed over by Him to the Priests[84]. Thus occupying
a middle place between the people, who were all ideally _a kingdom
of priests_, and the higher sacerdotal orders, they might approach
nearer to the Tabernacle than the other tribes, but they might not
offer sacrifice, nor burn incense, nor handle the holy vessels of the
Sanctuary, till they were concealed from view (Num. iv. 15).

The Levites, then, were _the assistants of the priests_, and consisted
of three families or sections, the sons of GERSHON, KOHATH, and MERARI.

i. The _Kohathites_ held the first rank, as being the family to which
Aaron belonged. It was their duty, on the removal of the Tabernacle, to
bear all the sacred vessels, including the Ark itself, but not before
the priests had concealed them from the profane gaze with a dark blue
pall (Num. iii. 31; iv. 6, 9, 15; Deut. xxxi. 25).

ii. The _Gershonites_ were charged with the removal of the curtains,
veils, and tent-hangings (Num. iv. 22–26).

iii. To the _Merarites_ was entrusted the heavier portion of the
Tabernacle furniture, such as the boards, pillars, and bars, and
therefore with the Gershonites they were permitted to use the oxen
and waggons contributed by the congregation, while the Kohathites
were only suffered to remove the sacred vessels on their shoulders
(Num. vii. 1–9). With this arrangement agreed their position in the
encampment in the wilderness. While the place of honour on the east
was occupied by the sons of Aaron, the Kohathites were on the south,
the Gershonites on the west, the Merarites on the north.

In place of territorial possessions, the Levites received the tithe
of the produce of land and cattle, of which they again gave one-tenth
to the priests (Num. xviii. 24–26). At the close of the wanderings
they would need a more fixed abode, and 48 cities with suburbs of
pasture-land for their flocks and herds were assigned them. Of these
the Levites had 35; Kohath 10; Gershon 13; Merari 12; while the
remaining 13, including the six _Cities of Refuge_, were assigned to
the Priests.

It was also designed that at the settlement of the nation in the Land
of Promise their functions should be not only diffused as widely as
possible, but should include others besides those of merely assisting
the priests. They were to take the place of the old _household priests_,
to share in all festivals and rejoicings (Deut. xii. 19; xiv. 26, 27;
xxvi. 11), to preserve and transcribe the law (Deut. xvii. 9–12), and
to read it publicly at the Feast of Tabernacles every seventh year
(Deut. xxxi. 9–13).

(b) The _Priests_ were consecrated to their office with far more
imposing ceremonies than the Levites. After laying aside their old
garments, they washed their bodies with pure water, were anointed with
the holy oil, and then arrayed in their new vestments (Ex. xxix. 4–7).
Themselves _compassed about with infirmity_, they needed to _offer up
sacrifice first for their own sins_ before they could intercede for
others (Heb. v. 2; vii. 27). On the head therefore of a bullock they
solemnly laid their hands, and thus symbolically transferred to it the
guilt that clung to themselves; then in token of their entire devotion
to their solemn calling, a ram was slain as a burnt-offering, and
its blood sprinkled on the altar (Ex. xxix. 10–18; Lev. viii. 18, 19).
Another ram was next slain as a peace-offering, and some of its blood
was smeared on the tip of the right ear, the thumb of the right hand,
the great toe of the right foot, in token of their intention to devote
every member to the service of Jehovah; and finally, as they were
not only to intercede for the guilt of the people, but to offer their
praises and thanksgiving, sacrificial cakes of unleavened bread with
portions of the sacrifice were placed in their hands, and these they
waved before the Lord (Ex. xxix. 19–24).

The vestments they wore during their ministrations consisted of fine
linen drawers, and over these a closely-fitting tunic or cassock,
white, woven whole in one piece and broidered, reaching to the feet.
This was confined round the waist by a girdle wrought with needle-work,
exhibiting the three sacred colours, blue, purple, and scarlet,
intermingled with white. Upon their heads they wore a linen tiara in
the form of the calyx of a flower. In all their ministrations they seem
to have been bare-footed.

Certain qualifications were essential before they could enter on the
discharge of their duties. As the victim was required to be without
blemish, so also was the sacrificer, and in Levit. xxi. 17–21 the
defects are enumerated, which excluded from the priestly office.
During their period of ministration they might drink neither wine nor
strong drink (Levit. x. 9); except in the case of the nearest relatives
they might make no mourning for the dead (Levit. xxi. 1–5); or shave
their heads, or, like the priests of heathen nations, “_make cuttings
in their flesh_,” or otherwise mutilate themselves (Levit. xix. 28;
1 Kings xviii. 28). They were permitted to marry, but might not ally
themselves with one of an alien race, or an unchaste woman, or one
who had been divorced, or the widow of any one but a priest (Lev. xxi.
7, 14).

Their duties were to keep the fire ever burning on the altar of
burnt-offering both day and night (Levit. vi. 12); to trim and feed
with oil the golden lamp (Ex. xxvii. 20, 21); to offer morning and
evening the regulated sacrifices at the door of the Tabernacle (Ex.
xxix. 38–44); to lay the fresh shewbread on the table every seventh
day (Lev. xxiv. 8); to blow the silver trumpets and proclaim all solemn
days (Num. x. 1–10); to examine the lepers and pronounce whether they
were clean or unclean (Lev. xiii.); to act as judges and expositors
of the law, and teach the people the statutes of the Lord (Lev. x. 11;
Deut. xxxiii. 10).

A distinct provision was made for their support, and consisted of
(i) one-tenth of the tithes of the whole produce of the country paid
to the Levites (Num. xviii. 21, 26); (ii) the loaves of shewbread
(Levit. xxiv. 9); (iii) the firstfruits of oil, wine, and corn (Num.
xviii. 12); (iv) the redemption-money for the firstborn of man or
beast, five shekels a head, and also for everything devoted (Num.
xviii. 14, 15); (v) the perquisites of the sacrifices, the flesh of
the burnt-offerings, peace-offerings, and trespass-offerings, and
especially the heave-shoulder and the wave-breast (Num. xviii. 8–14;
Levit. x. 12–15); (vi) a fixed portion of the spoils taken in war
(Num. xxxi. 25–47).

(c) The office of _High-priest_ was conferred first on Aaron, then
on his son Eleazar[85] and his descendants. At some period before the
time of Eli, the succession passed to the line of Ithamar, and there
continued till the time of Solomon, in whose reign it reverted to the
line of Eleazar (1 Sam. ii. 35; 1 Kings ii. 35).

The same ceremonies accompanied the consecration of the High-priest
as that of the priests, save that the anointing, which in the latter
appears to have been confined to the sprinkling of their garments with
the sacred oil, was more copious in his case, and the oil was poured
upon his head (Lev. viii. 12; Ps. cxxxiii. 2).

The vestments of the High-priest were far more rich and splendid than
those of the priests. Like the latter he wore the linen drawers, but
in place of the closely-fitting tunic he wore _the robe of the Ephod_,
which was all blue, of woven work, without sleeves, reaching down to
the feet, and drawn over the head through an opening, which was fringed
with a border of woven work to prevent its rending. The skirt of
this robe was set with a trimming of pomegranates of the three sacred
colours, blue, crimson, and purple, with a golden bell between each
pomegranate, designed to give forth a tinkling sound as he went in
and out of the holy place. Immediately above this robe was _the Ephod_
itself, a short cloak consisting of two parts, one covering the back,
and the other the breast and upper part of the body, wrought with
colours and gold. The two halves were united on the shoulder with two
onyx stones, on each of which were engraved the names of six of the
tribes. It was gathered round the waist by a curious _girdle_ of fine
twined linen, adorned with gold, blue, purple, and scarlet. Just above
the girdle, and attached to the Ephod by rings and ribbons of blue, was
the _Breast-plate_, or the _Breast-plate of Judgment_. This, like the
Ephod, was of cunning work, a square of a span breadth, formed double
so as to make a bag, set with 12 precious stones, in 4 rows, each
engraved with the name of one of the tribes. Within the Breast-plate
was the _Urim and the Thummim_ (_Light_ and _Perfection_, Ex. xxviii.
15–30). Not a word in Scripture explains the meaning of these
mysterious objects, but they were certainly employed in some way now
unknown for ascertaining the Divine will (comp. 1 Sam. xxviii. 6;
Judg. i. 1; xx. 18; 1 Sam. xiv. 3, 18; xxiii. 9; 2 Sam. xxi. 1). Some
identify them with the twelve stones inscribed with the names of the
twelve tribes, and suppose that “the illumination, simultaneous or
successive, of the letters” guided the High-priest to the answer;
others think that within the Breast-plate was a stone or a plate of
gold inscribed with the name of Jehovah, and that by means of this
he was enabled to discern the Divine Voice, as it proceeded from the
glories of the Shechinah.

Like the other members of the order, the High-priest wore on his head a
tiara, but attached to this by a blue ribbon was a gold plate, on which
was engraved _Holiness to the Lord_ (Ex. xxviii. 36–39; xxxix. 30).

Some of the functions of the High-priest were peculiar. (i) To him
alone it appertained to enter the Holy of Holies on one day in the
year, the day of Atonement, to sprinkle the blood of the sin-offering
on the mercy-seat, and burn incense within the veil (Lev. xvi.).
On this occasion he did not wear his full pontifical dress, but was
arrayed entirely in fine white linen (Lev. xvi. 4, 32), a custom which
afterwards seems to have undergone some change. (ii) To him alone it
belonged to consult the Divine Oracle (Num. xxvii. 21), and preside
over the Court of Judgment (Deut. xvii. 9). (iii) Even greater purity
and blamelessness was required of him than of the other priests; he
could marry none but a virgin in the first freshness of her youth (Lev.
xxi. 13), and as illegitimacy was an absolute bar to the office, the
importance attached to genealogies was great, and in these the name of
the mother as well as father was registered.

The office lasted for life, but does not seem to have had any peculiar
emoluments attached to it over and above those enjoyed by the Priests.

                             CHAPTER III.

                    _THE SACRIFICES AND OFFERINGS._
                EX. XXIX. XXX.   LEV. I.–VI.   NUM. XV.

THE rite of sacrifice so universal in the ancient world came down
to the Israelites from the earliest times, from the days of their
forefathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the generations that lived
before the Flood, and was regulated by Moses with the utmost precision.

One rule applied to all sacrifices. They could only be offered on the
_Great Brazen Altar of the Tabernacle_. To offer them on high places,
or spots selected by the caprice of the worshipper was expressly
forbidden (Lev. xvii. 4; Deut. xii. 13, 14), though this rule appears
to have been subsequently relaxed in the case of the prophets (1 Sam.
xiii. 8–14; xvi. 1–5; 1 Kings xviii. 21–40).

Perhaps the simplest classification of sacrifices is that which
arranges them under the heads of (I) THOSE OFFERED WITHOUT, and

I. _Unbloody sacrifices_ will include (a) _First-fruits and Tithes_,
(b) _Meat- and Drink-offerings_, (c) _Incense_.

(a) _First-fruits and Tithes_ were presented by every Israelite to
the priests in token of gratitude and humble thankfulness to Jehovah,
and consisted of the produce of the land either in its natural state,
as grain, fruit, grapes, wool, or prepared for human use, as meal,
oil, new wine (Ex. xxiii. 19; Num. xviii. 12; Deut. xviii. 4). To the
Levites also was paid the tenth part of all produce of the land and of
cattle (Lev. xxvii. 30–33; Num. xviii. 21–24).

(b) _Meat- and Drink-offerings_ generally accompanied each other.
The Meat-offering was composed of fine flour seasoned with salt, and
mingled with frankincense and oil, but without leaven. A portion of
the flour and oil the priest placed upon the altar, together with all
the frankincense, and there burnt them, the rest of the flour and oil
becoming his own perquisite. Sometimes cakes of fine flour were offered
with oil and salt, but without leaven or honey (Lev. ii. and vi. 14–23).
A Drink-offering consisted of wine, which was poured at the foot of the
altar; the quantity varying according to the victim, being for a lamb
or kid a quarter of a _hin_ (= 1 gallon, 2 pints); for a ram one-third,
for a bullock one-half (Num. xv. 5, 7, 10; xxviii. 14). By these
offerings, as by those of tithes and first-fruits, the Israelite
acknowledged the undeserved bounty of Jehovah, and dedicated to Him
the best of His gifts, _flour_ the staff of life, _wine_ the symbol
of strengthening and refreshing, _oil_ the symbol of richness. (Comp.
Ps. civ. 15.)

The Meat-offering might be presented,

Either (1) by itself as a free-will offering, as in the instance of
(i) _the twelve unleavened cakes on the Table of Shew-bread_, (ii) _the
sheaf of the first-fruits of barley on the second day of the Passover_,
(iii) _the two wheaten loaves at Pentecost_,

Or (2) together with the Burnt- and Thank-offering, but _not_ with
the Sin- or Trespass-offering; as (I) of _public_ sacrifices, with
(i) the daily morning and evening sacrifice, (ii) the Sabbath-offering,
(iii) the offering at the new moon, (iv) on the great day of Atonement;
(II) of _private_ sacrifices, at (i) the consecration of priests and
Levites, (ii) the cleansing of the leper, (iii) the termination of the
Nazarite vow.

(c) _Incense_, the last example of an unbloody offering, accompanied
every proper meat-offering, but was also offered daily on the golden
altar in the Holy Place, and on the great day of Atonement was burnt
in the Holy of Holies by the High-priest before the Ark. The greatest
pains were taken in its preparation. It was compounded by the “art of
the apothecary” of four ingredients beaten small[86], stacte, onycha,
galbanum, and pure frankincense (Ex. xxx. 34–36), nor could any other
kind be offered (Ex. xxx. 9). Desecration of this incense by using it
for common purposes was to be punished with death (Ex. xxx. 38).

II. In reference to the second class of sacrifices, in which the life
of a victim was taken and its blood poured upon the Altar, it is to
be observed that these were limited to the _herd, the flock, and all
clean birds_. All wild and unclean beasts were strictly excluded. The
Israelite was to select only those animals which were _most nearly
connected with man_, and of these, again, such as were _most meek,
innocent, pure, and valuable_, such as oxen, sheep, goats, pigeons,
and turtle-doves[87]. The selected victim was required to be perfect of
its kind and without blemish, not less than eight days old, and usually
a year. If it was blind, or broken, or maimed, or had any defect, as
a wen or scab, it could not be offered (Lev. xxii. 20–27; Deut. xv.
21, 22; xvii. 1).

Such being the conditions respecting the victim, the offerer was
required first to purify himself by ablutions, and then to bring the
victim to the door of the Tabernacle, _i.e._ to the _Great Brazen Altar
of Burnt-offering_ in the court. There, whatever might be the precise
kind of offering, he was to lay his hand on its head in token of
surrender, dedication, and substitution, and then to slay it _himself_
(Lev. i. 5). He had now performed his part, all the rest devolved upon
the priest. He began by receiving the blood of the animal in a vessel,
and then sprinkled it in different ways upon the Brazen Altar (Lev.
iv. 6, 7, 25; v. 9), or, as we shall see, in some cases, on the Golden
Altar of Incense, and, on one day in the year, on the Mercy-seat in
the Holy of Holies. He then performed other ceremonies, which varied
according to the nature of the sacrifice. _But uniformly it was
required_ (a) of the _offerer_, (i) to bring his victim to the altar,
(ii) to lay his hand upon it, and (iii) to slay it; (b) of the _priest_,
(i) to receive the blood in a vessel, and (ii) to sprinkle it upon the

Of the bloody sacrifices the chief were (a) BURNT-OFFERINGS,

(a) In the case of the _Burnt-offering_, any kind of animal fit for
sacrifice might be offered, but the victim was always required to be
a male, and to be accompanied by a meat-offering. After presentation
at the great altar, imposition of the hands of the sacrificer, and
slaughtering, the priest sprinkled the blood upon the altar round about
(Lev. i. 5, 11). The victim was then flayed, washed with water, and cut
in pieces, and the parts thus divided were laid on the altar upon the
wood, and entirely consumed by fire.

The _burning by fire_ was the chief point in this class of offering,
and “marked it as an expression of perpetual obligation to complete,
sanctified, self-surrender to Jehovah[88].” Hence it was not presented,
like the sin- and trespass-offerings, upon the commission of any
particular sin, nor like the peace-offerings upon the acceptance of any
special Divine mercies; it embodied the _general idea_ of sacrifice,
and in a sense represented the whole sacrificial institute. Every
morning and evening, therefore, a lamb was sacrificed with its usual
meat- and drink-offering as a burnt-offering on behalf of the whole
covenant people, and the evening victim was to be so slowly consumed
that it might last till the morning, an expressive symbol of that
continual self-dedication to God which is the duty of man[89] (Ex.
xxix. 38–44; Lev. vi. 9–13).

(b) Of _Peace-offerings_ there were three kinds, representing various
emotions of the offerer, the _thank-offering_, the _freewill gift_, and
the _vow_ (Lev. iii. 1–17; vii. 11–21, 28–36).

The nature of the offering was left to the sacrificer; it might be
taken from the herd or from the flock, might be male or female, but not
birds (Lev. iii. 1). Like the burnt-offering it was always accompanied
by a meat-offering, which consisted of unleavened cakes mingled with
oil, and leavened bread (Lev. vii. 12, 13).

The ritual of the Peace-offering was up to a certain point the same
as that of the Burnt-offering. The sacrificer brought his victim
to the Brazen Altar, laid his hands upon it and slew it, while the
priest sprinkled the blood upon the altar; but after this there was
a distinction. The victim was divided, and the priest laid upon the
altar the fat of the kidneys, and the “lobe” or flap of the liver,
and in the case of a sheep the fat tail, and burnt them with fire. He
then separated the right shoulder and breast, and waved them before
the Lord, and they became his portion which he was to eat _in a clean
place_ with his family and friends. The remaining portions of the
victim were then restored to the sacrificer, who the same day feasted
thereon, together with his whole family and his friends (Lev. vii.
15–21; xix. 6; xxii. 30).

This _Sacrificial Feast_ was peculiar to the _Peace-offerings_, and
indicated that the atonement was complete, that the sin was covered
and cancelled which had separated the offerer from Jehovah, who now
welcomed him to His table, and in this meal gave him a pledge of
reconciliation. “To an Oriental mind two ideas were inseparably united
in the notion of a meal; on the one hand, that of fellowship and
friendship existing among the participators themselves, and also
between them and the provider of the meal; and on the other hand,
that of joy and gladness, so that even the highest and purest joy,
viz. blessedness in the kingdom of heaven is described under the figure
of a meal[90]” (Ps. xxiii. 5; xxxvi. 8; Matt. viii. 11; xxii. 2–13;
Lk. xiv. 16). As the _total consumption by fire_ on the altar was the
culminating point in the burnt-offering, so this _sacrificial feast_
was that of the peace-offering, which, therefore, whenever presented
with other offerings, was invariably the _last_[91]. (Comp. Ex. xxiv.
5, 11; xxix. 1–32).

(c) The _Sin-_ and _Trespass-offerings_ were peculiar to the Mosaic
Law, which was _added on account of transgression_ (Gal. iii. 19), and
deepened the knowledge and conviction of sin (Rom. vii. 7, &c.).

(a) The _Sin-offering_ consisted of _one animal only_, and was
not accompanied by a meat-offering. The victim if offered for the
whole covenant people was _a kid of the goats_ (Lev. xvi. 5, 9, 15;
Num. xxviii. 15, 22, 30); for the priests and Levites at their
consecration _a young bullock_ (Ex. xxix. 11; Numb. viii. 8 ff.); for
the High-priest on the great day of Atonement _a young bullock_ (Lev.
xvi. 3, 6, 11); for the purification of women after childbirth _a young
pigeon or turtle-dove_ (Lev. xii. 6, 8; comp. Lk. ii. 22, 24); for
the cleansing of a leper or a leprous house _a yearling ewe_; or, in
a case of poverty, _a bird for the leper and two for the house_ (Lev.
xiv. 13, 22–49); for an inadvertent transgression of some prohibition,
(a) on the part of the whole congregation or the High-priest, _a young
bullock_, (b) a prince, _a he-goat_, (c) a common man, _a yearling ewe_
or _kid_ (Lev. iv. 1–35).

The Ritual of the Sin-offering deserves attention. The offerer brought
the victim to the great altar, laid his hand upon it with a confession
of the sin and a prayer for its expiation, and then slew it. The priest
then dipped his finger in the blood, and in the case of a prince or
individual, sprinkled it seven times on the horns of the Brazen Altar
(Lev. iv. 7, 18, 30, 34); in that of the High-priest and congregation
seven times on the veil before the Ark, and seven times on the horns
of the Golden Altar of Incense (Lev. iv. 6, 17, 25); on the great day
of Atonement, the High-priest himself sprinkled it seven times on and
before the Mercy-seat, and then seven times streaked with it the horns
of the Altar of Incense (Lev. xvi. 14, 15, 19); the rest of the blood
was poured on the ground before the Brazen Altar. After the sprinkling,
the same portions were burnt on the altar, as in the case of the
peace-offerings, and in ordinary cases the rest of the victim was
eaten by the priest in the court of the Tabernacle with only the males
of his family; but any vessels in which the flesh had been boiled
were required, if earthenware, to be broken; if metal, to be carefully
scoured (Lev. vi. 24–30). But in the case of the more important
Sin-offerings, where the blood was sprinkled within the Holy Place, or
the Holy of Holies, the entire carcase, except the altar-pieces, with
the hide, entrails, &c., was conveyed to a clean place without the camp,
and there burnt with fire (Lev. iv. 11, 12, 21; xvi. 27).

Except when offered for the whole people, or the priests and Levites
at their consecration, Sin-offerings were presented as an atonement
for sins of _culpable weakness and ignorance, negligence and frailty_,
repented of by the unpunished offender, who was thus restored to his
place in the commonwealth. They could not be offered for _presumptuous_,
or _deliberate_ and _unrepented_ sins, such as wilful murder or
adultery, for which the punishment of death was appointed (Num. xv.
30, 31; Deut. xvii. 12; and comp. Heb. x. 26).

(b) The _Trespass-_ or _Debt-offering_, on the other hand, though
closely connected with the Sin-offering and sometimes offered with it,
as in the case of the leper (Lev. xiv. 12), was always offered for some
_special act_ of sin, and was regarded in the light of reparation to
the Lord for a wrong done to Him. Hence it was presented for sins “in
which the offence given, or the debt incurred by the misdeed, admitted
of some sort of recompence, which could be actually estimated[92].”

The following cases will illustrate the occasions on which a
trespass-offering could be presented. A leper, on the occasion of
his cleansing, owed a debt-offering to Jehovah, for the time of his
exclusion from the camp; the Nazarite for a temporary suspension of his
vow by touching a dead body (Num. vi. 12); a man, who had inadvertently
appropriated or made away with anything consecrated to the Lord (Lev. v.
15, 16), or unwittingly violated a Divine prohibition (Lev. v. 17, 18),
or denied a trust or any damage sustained by the thing entrusted, or
denied having found some lost article of property, or sworn falsely
in such a matter (Lev. vi. 2 ff.). In these cases, whether the wrong
done was in a matter of property or to the Lord, the damage was made
good with an overplus, generally a fifth of the value, while the
trespass-offering itself was the substitute for the damages due to
the Lord, and assessed by the priest. The victim was, as in the case
of the sin-offering, _one animal only_, and always a ram.

                              CHAPTER IV.

                       _HOLY TIMES AND SEASONS._
            EXOD. XX.   LEVIT. XXIII. XXV.   DEUT. XV. XVI.

THE Holy Times and Seasons of the Israelites may be arranged under
three heads.

I. Those that were connected with the _Seventh Day of Rest_, such
as (a) the _Weekly Sabbath_, (b) the _Month-Sabbath_ or _New Moon_,
(c) the _Year-Sabbath_, (d) the _Year of Jubilee_.

II. The _Day of Atonement_.

III. The _Great Historical Festivals_; (a) The _Passover_, (b) The
_Feast of Pentecost_ or _Weeks_, (c) The _Feast of Tabernacles_.

I. Those connected with the _seventh Day of Rest_.

(a) The observance of the weekly Sabbath, or day of Rest, is not
improbably thought to have been known to the Israelites before the
giving of the Law (Ex. xvi. 22, 23), as, indeed, the words of the
Fourth Commandment, “_Remember_ the Sabbath-day to keep it holy,” seem
to imply (Ex. xx. 8–11, comp. Gen. ii. 1–3). The observance of this
day was appointed for _a perpetual covenant_, as _a sign between God
and the children of Israel for ever_ (Ex. xxxi. 16, 17). It was to
be shared by the whole people with the stranger; and, to complete the
picture of tranquillity, with the animals. Bodily labour was strictly
prohibited: it was unlawful to kindle a fire for cooking food (Ex.
xxxv. 3; Num. xv. 32), or to go out of the camp to gather manna (Ex.
xvi. 22–30). Wilful desecration of the day was punished by stoning
(Ex. xxxi. 14; Num. xv. 35).

In the Tabernacle-service the daily burnt-offering was doubled (Num.
xxviii. 9), the shew-bread was renewed (Lev. xxiv. 8), and the priestly
course for the week commenced their duties.

The Sabbath was not regarded as a fast, but a day for rest from
worldly occupation and holy joy; it was ordained by God _for man_ and
the furtherance of his truest and highest interests (Mk. ii. 27, 28).
“The thought of HIM, who is raised above all change, and who after the
completion of the works of Creation rejoiced that everything was very
good; this coupled with the cessation from work was to lead man up to
the contemplation of his own origin from God. As the bodily refreshment
restored his physical energies, so should the consciousness of
union with the Almighty and the Eternal restore the true life to the

(b) _The Month-Sabbath_, or _New Moon Festival_, was ushered in by
blowing with the silver trumpets, and by the sacrifice of eleven
victims in addition to the daily offering (Num. x. 10; xxviii. 11,
&c.). Business and trade were in later times suspended (Amos viii. 5),
sacrificial feasts were held (1 Sam. xx. 5–24), and the people resorted
to the prophets for religious instruction (2 Kings iv. 23).

The New Moon of the _seventh_ month (_Tisri_, October), being the
commencement of the civil year, was observed with still greater
solemnity. It was one of the seven[94] days of Holy Convocation. Not
merely were the trumpets blown at the time of offering the sacrifices,
but it was a day _for the blowing of trumpets_ (Num. xxix. 1–6), whence
its name the _Feast of Trumpets_. In addition to the daily sacrifices,
and the eleven victims offered on the first day of each month,
nine other victims were offered as burnt-offerings with a kid for
a sin-offering[95].

(c) During the _Seventh_ or _Sabbatical year_ the land was to lie
fallow, and _enjoy her Sabbaths_ (Ex. xxiii. 10, 11; Lev. xxv. 2–7;
Deut. xv.). No tillage or cultivation of any sort was to be practised,
and the spontaneous produce of the fields, instead of being reaped, was
to be freely gleaned by the poor, the stranger, and even the cattle. By
this rest the land, like man, was to do homage to its Lord and Creator,
and the poorest were to share without stint in those spontaneous
blessings which by His will it brings forth, and the Israelite,
who every seventh day acknowledged God’s claim on his time, thus
acknowledged also His claim upon his land. In Deut. xv. we find that
the seventh year was also to be one of release for debtors. In spite
of the threatenings in Lev. xxvi. the Sabbatical year, as appears from
2 Chron. xxxvi. 20, 21, was greatly neglected; after the return from
the Captivity its observance revived (see 1 Macc. vi. 49)[96].

(d) _The Year of Jubilee._ At the end of seven times seven years, that
is, forty-nine entire years, the fiftieth was observed as the year
of _Jubilee_, a word of uncertain meaning. It was proclaimed by the
sound of trumpets on the tenth day of the seventh month, Tisri, the
Day of Atonement. During this year the soil was to lie fallow, as in
the Sabbatical year, but in addition to this, all land that had been
alienated was to return to those to whom it had been allotted at the
original distribution, and all bondmen of Hebrew blood were to be
liberated (Lev. xxv. 8–16, 23–35; xxvii. 16–25). “As the weekly Sabbath
and the Sabbatical year was intended to restore thorough rest to man
and to the land, so the year of _Jubilee_ was designed to raise the
whole people, in respect to their rights and possessions, from the
changeableness of outward circumstances to the unchangeableness of the
Divine appointment; to prevent the inordinate accumulation of wealth
in the hands of a few; to relieve those whom misfortune or fault had
reduced to poverty; to restore that equality in outward circumstances
which was instituted on the first settlement of the land by Joshua; and
to vindicate the right of each Israelite to his part in the Covenant,
which God had made with his fathers respecting the Land of Promise[97].”

II. _The Day of Atonement_ was observed on the tenth day of the seventh
month, Tisri, as the great day of national humiliation, and for the
expiation of the sins both of the priests and the people. This was the
highest, the most perfect, the most comprehensive of all the acts of
expiation, and not only took place but once in the entire year, but was
performed by the High-priest alone, and that not in the Holy Place but
the Holy of Holies.

Its celebration is prescribed in Lev. xvi.; xxiii. 26–32; Num. xxix.
7–11. The day was to be regarded as a _high Sabbath_, a day of _holy
Convocation_, on which the Israelites, under pain of extirpation, were
expected to _afflict their souls_ with fasting and mourning. (Comp.
Lev. xvi. 29, 31 with Acts xxvii. 9.) The ritual was as follows. The
High-priest having bathed, arrayed himself not in his gorgeous robes,
but in the white linen garments common to himself and the rest of
the priesthood. As a sacrifice for himself and the priests he brought
a bullock for a Sin-offering, and a ram for a Burnt-offering, which
he had purchased at his own cost; as a sacrifice for the people two
he-goats for a Sin-offering, and a ram for a Burnt-offering, which were
purchased out of the public treasury. The two he-goats he then brought
to the Door of the Tabernacle, _i.e._ to the Brazen Altar, and there
having presented them before the Lord, cast two lots upon them, one
inscribed _for Jehovah_, the other for _Azazel_[98]. This done, as the
head of a priesthood itself _compassed with infirmity_ (Heb. v. 2), he
first proceeded to make atonement for his own order. Accordingly he
slew the bullock, and taking a censer filled with live coals from the
Altar of Burnt-offering and two handfuls of Incense, he passed with
these through the Holy Place onwards behind the veil into the Holy of
Holies, and there threw the incense upon the coals so that the fragrant
cloud might envelope the Mercy-Seat. Then returning to the Brazen Altar
and taking some of the blood of the bullock in a vessel he once more
passed into the Holy of Holies, and sprinkled it seven times before
the Mercy-Seat, the seat of the glory of Jehovah. Having thus made
expiation for himself and his own order, he slew the goat upon which
the lot _for Jehovah_ had fallen as a Sin-offering for the people, and
sprinkled its blood as he had done that of the bullock. Then on his
return from the Holy of Holies he purified the Holy Place, now solitary
and deserted, by sprinkling the blood of both victims seven times on
the horns of the Golden Altar of Incense, and, as some think, on those
of the Altar of Burnt-offering.

The purification of the Tabernacle completed, he came forth and laid
both his hands upon the goat, on which the lot _for Azazel_ had fallen,
solemnly confessed over it the sins of the people, and then gave it
to a man chosen for the purpose to be led away into the wilderness,
_into a place not inhabited_, and there let loose. This done, he once
more entered the Tabernacle, bathed, and having arrayed himself in
his gorgeous robes, offered the two rams as a burnt-offering, one for
himself, the other for the people, and at the same time placed upon the
altar the fat of the two sin-offerings[99]. While these were consuming,
the remains of the victims were conveyed outside the camp, nor could
they who were deputed for this office, or the man who had led away the
scape-goat, return into the camp till they had purified themselves and
their clothes with water.

The distinction between this solemnity and others is very striking.
It took place but once a year, five days before the joyous Feast
of Tabernacles, which testified to the nation’s gratitude for
the preservation of _the seasonable fruits of the earth_. In it
the High-priest alone officiated. Clad not in his gorgeous robes,
but in the simple, pure white robes common to him and the rest of
the priesthood, he made expiation for himself, his order, and the
people,――an atonement for the sins of the whole year. On this day,
and this day only, he entered within the Veil, and sprinkled the blood
before the Mercy-Seat seven times. On this day, and this day only,
the idea of the remission of sin found its highest expression in the
sacrifice of one goat as a sin-offering to Jehovah, and the solemn
confession of the sins of the whole people over another, and its
dismissal laden with its awful typical burden into a far distant and
separated land, _a land not inhabited_, lying, as it were, under the
curse of Jehovah. This solemnity contained the exact antidote to the
sombre and often cruel rites of heathenism. The lots were cast over
both the goats, both were presented to Jehovah at the Door of the
Tabernacle, at _His_ command the Scape-Goat carried away the burden
of the people’s sins into an unknown desert land, _He_ sanctified the
people, and accepted the atonement for the High-priest, the priestly
order, and the entire nation, and the purification of the Place where
He had condescended to meet the Israelites. In the Epistle to the
Hebrews (ix., x.) we have the key to the expressive imagery of this
Great Day in the Jewish year. The fact that once in the year the
High-priest could enter within the Veil, intimated that under a system
of provisional and typical ordinances the way _into the Holiest of
all was not as yet made manifest_. But when the true High-priest, even
Jesus Christ, offered Himself unto death on the Altar of His Cross for
the sins of the whole world, the Veil of the Temple _was rent in twain
from the top to the bottom_ (Matt. xxvii. 51; Mark xv. 38). He died,
He rose again, and, clad not in the resplendent robes of that Divine
Nature He had before the world, but in the garb of our human nature,
He ascended into the Heavenly Sanctuary, the antitype of the Jewish
Sanctuary on earth, and there pleads, and will for ever plead, the
merits of His blood before the throne of God.

                              CHAPTER V.

                        _THE GREAT FESTIVALS._
                EXOD. XXIII. 14–17;   LEV. XXIII. 1–22;
                NUM. XXVIII. 16–31;   DEUT. XVI. 1–16.

THE great Historical Festivals, at which all males amongst the
Israelites were required to appear before the Lord, were, as has
been said already, (i) _The Passover_; (ii) _The Feast of Weeks or
Pentecost_; (iii) _The Feast of Tabernacles_.

(i) _The Passover._ The original institution of this Festival has been
already noticed. The directions for its yearly celebration are given in
Ex. xxiii. 14–17; Lev. xxiii. 5–8; Num. xxviii. 16–25; Deut. xvi. 1–8.

As in Egypt, so now, on the 10th day of _Nisan_ or _Abib_,
corresponding to the close of March or the beginning of April, each
Paschal company, which might not exceed twenty or be less than ten,
was to select a lamb or kid, a male of the first year, and keep it till
the 14th day. If pronounced by the priests to be free from blemish, it
was to be slain _between the evenings_, in the Court of the Tabernacle,
and its blood poured round the Altar of Burnt-offering. It was then,
after being flayed, to be taken to the house where the Paschal Company
intended to assemble, to be roasted with fire, whole and entire without
the breaking of a single bone, and to be eaten with unleavened bread
and bitter herbs.

The Festival lasted from the 14th to the 21st of Nisan, and during
this period nothing but unleavened bread might be eaten, and all leaven
was to be carefully removed from the house before the 14th. The daily
sacrifices for the nation consisted of (i) a _Burnt-Offering_ of two
bullocks, one ram, seven yearling lambs, accompanied by the usual
meat-offering, and (ii) one goat for a _Sin-Offering_. Thank-offerings,
called by the Jews _Chagigah_, might also be offered by individuals
during the Festival, especially on the 15th, the first day of Holy
Convocation. (Comp. Lev. vii. 29–34; 2 Ch. xxx. 22–44; xxxv. 7.)

On the 16th the first ripe sheaf of barley was to be brought into the
sanctuary, and there waved by the priest before the Lord, and at the
same time a yearling lamb was offered with a meat- and drink-offering
(see Lev. xxiii. 9–14). Till this sheaf had thus been waved, and
this offering presented, no produce of the now ripening harvest,
whether bread or parched corn, or green ears, might be eaten (Josh.
v. 11, 12)[100].

(ii) At the end of seven complete weeks from the 16th of Nisan, the
second day of unleavened bread, commenced _the_ FEAST OF WEEKS (Ex.
xxxiv. 22; Deut. xvi. 10), or of _Harvest_ (Ex. xxiii. 16), or of
_First-fruits_ (Numb. xxviii. 26), or of _Pentecost_ (Acts ii. 1),
from the Greek word for the _fiftieth_ day.

The passages bearing on it will be found in Ex. xxiii. 16; Lev. xxiii.
15–22; Num. xxviii. 26–31; Deut. xvi. 9–12.

The Festival lasted but one day, which was kept with a holy Convocation.
Its distinguishing feature was the offering of _two leavened loaves_,
made from the new corn of the now completed harvest, which together
with two lambs as a thank-offering were waved before the Lord. The
especial sacrifices in addition to the daily offering were one young
bullock, two rams, and seven yearling lambs as a _Burnt-offering_ with
the usual meat- and drink-offering, and a goat for a _Sin-offering_;
but thank-offerings might, as at the Passover, be made at pleasure by

The character of the Festival was pre-eminently an expression of
gratitude for the harvest, which commenced with the offering of the
first sheaf of ripe barley at the Passover, and ended with that of
the two loaves now presented and made of the newly-ripened wheat. In
its festive joy the man-servant and maid-servant, the stranger, the
fatherless and the widow were to share with the freeborn Israelite, who
was to be reminded of the bondage in Egypt, and his obligation to keep
the Law[101] (Deut. xvi. 12).

(iii) The Feast of _Tabernacles_ or of _Ingathering_ (Ex. xxxiv. 22)
was so called as being (i) a feast of thanksgiving for the completion
of the ingathering of fruits and of the vintage, and (ii) as
commemorating the dwelling of the Israelites in tents during their
wanderings in the wilderness (Lev. xxiii. 43).

The chief passages relating to it are Ex. xxiii. 16; Lev. xxiii. 34–43;
Num. xxix. 13–39; Deut. xvi. 13–15; and compare with these Neh. viii.

It was celebrated in the autumn on the 15th of the seventh month Tisri,
and lasted seven days, of which the first and last were days of Holy
Convocation. It was the most joyous of all the Festivals. During it the
Israelites were commanded to live in tents or booths of green boughs of
the olive, palm, pine, myrtle, and other trees with thick foliage (Neh.
viii. 15, 16). The burnt-offerings were more numerous at this Feast
than any other, including, besides the sacrifice on each day of 2 rams,
14 lambs, and a kid for a sin-offering, that of 70 bullocks, 13 on the
first day, 12 on the second, and so on to the seventh, when 7 bullocks
only were offered. If the Festival fell in a Sabbatical year, portions
of the Law, chiefly Deuteronomy, were read each day in public (Deut.
xxxi. 10–12; Neh. viii. 18). The most remarkable celebrations of this
Feast were (i) at the dedication of Solomon’s Temple (1 Kings viii.
2, 65); (ii) after the Captivity (Ezra iii. 4; Neh. viii. 17)[102].

Later festivals were (i) the Feast of PURIM, or _Lots_, instituted
by Mordecai to commemorate the defeat of Haman’s machinations against
the Jews (Esth. iii. 7–15; ix. 24–26). It began on the 14th day of the
12th month Adar, and lasted two days. (ii) The Feast of DEDICATION,
to commemorate the cleansing of the Temple after its defilement by
Antiochus Epiphanes (Dan. xi. 31). Established by Judas Maccabæus,
it was kept on the 25th of the winter month Chisleu, _December_ (Jn.
x. 22), and lasted eight days, being distinguished by the offering of
many sacrifices, a general illumination (hence its name the _Feast of
Lights_), and other rejoicings.

In Scripture, dates are often fixed by a reference to the seasons
or productions (Num. xiii. 20; 2 Sam. xxi. 9). The following Table,
therefore, is here given, in which the civil and sacred months, their
_approximate_ English equivalents, the various annual feasts, and the
chief features of the seasons are combined. It is assumed that _Abib_
or _Nisan_ answers to April. (See Article _Month_ in Smith’s _Bib.
Dict._ and Angus’s _Bible Handbook_, p. 270.)

  ─────────                       English               Seasons
  Sacred                Month                             and
      Civil   Month    (nearly)  Festivals    │       Productions
     i.│ 7│  ABIB or   │April│14. The PASSOVER│  Fall of the _latter_
       │  │   NISAN    │     │                │    or _spring_ rain.
       │  │  (_green   │     │                │    (Deut. xi. 14.)
       │  │    ears_)  │     │                │    Floods
       │  │  Days 30   │     │                │    (Josh.  iii. 14).
       │  │Exod. xii. 2│     │16. First-fruits│HARVEST
       │  │            │     │  of            │  Barley ripe at Jericho.
       │  │            │     │  barley-harvest│
       │  │            │     │  presented     │  Wheat partly in the ear.
    ii.│ 8│    ZIF     │ May │14. _Second     │  Barley harvest general
       │  │(_blossom_) │     │  Passover_ for │    (Ruth i. 22).
       │  │  Days 29   │     │  those who     │
       │  │  1 Kings   │     │  could not keep│  Wheat ripens.
       │  │   vi. 1    │     │  the first.    │
       │  │            │     │  Num. ix.      │
       │  │            │     │  10, 11        │
   iii.│ 9│   SIVAN    │ June│  6. PENTECOST  │  Wheat harvest. Summer
       │  │  Days 30   │     │    or FEAST OF │    begins.
       │  │    Esth.   │     │    WEEKS       │  No rain from April
       │  │  viii. 9.  │     │                │    to Sept. (1 Sam.
       │  │            │     │                │    xii. 17).
    iv.│10│  THAMMUZ   │ July│                │HOT SEASON.
       │  │  Days 29   │     │                │  Heat increases.
       │  │    Zec.    │     │                │
       │  │  viii. 19  │     │                │
     v.│11│     AB     │ Aug.│                │  The streams dry up.
       │  │  Days 30   │     │                │  Heat intense.
       │  │Esth. vii. 9│     │                │  Vintage (Lev. xxvi. 5).
    vi.│12│    ELUL    │Sept.│                │  Heat still intense
       │  │  Days 29   │     │                │    (2 Kin. iv. 18–20).
       │  │Neh. vi. 15 │     │                │  Grape harvest general
       │  │            │     │                │    (Num. xiii. 23).
   vii.│ 1│  TISRI or  │ Oct.│1. Feast of     │SEED TIME
       │  │  ETHANIM   │     │  _Trumpets_    │
       │  │  Days 30   │     │10. Day of      │  Former or early rains
       │  │   1 Kin.   │     │  ATONEMENT     │    begin (Joel ii. 23).
       │  │  viii. 2   │     │15. Feast of    │  Ploughing and sowing
       │  │2 Chr. v. 3 │     │  TABERNACLES   │    begin.
       │  │            │     │  First-fruits  │
       │  │            │     │  of wine and   │
       │  │            │     │  oil (Lev.     │
       │  │            │     │  xxiii. 39)    │
  viii.│ 2│    BUL     │ Nov.│                │  Rain continues.
       │  │  (_rain_)  │     │                │
       │  │  Days 29   │     │                │  Wheat and barley
       │  │   1 Kin.   │     │                │    sown. Vintage in
       │  │   vi. 38   │     │                │    N. Palestine.
    ix.│ 3│  CHISLEU   │ Dec.│                │WINTER
       │  │  Days 30   │     │25. Feast of    │  Winter begins. Snow on
       │  │ Neh. i. 1  │     │  _Dedication_  │    the mountains.
       │  │            │     │    (1 Macc.    │
       │  │            │     │   iv. 52–59)   │
     x.│ 4│  THEBETH   │ Jan.│                │  Coldest month. Hail,
       │  │  Days 29   │     │                │    snow (Josh. x. 11).
       │  │Est. ii. 16 │     │                │
    xi.│ 5│   SHEBAT   │ Feb.│                │  Weather gradually
       │  │  Days 30   │     │                │    becomes warmer.
       │  │ Zech. i. 7 │     │                │
   xii.│ 6│    ADAR    │March│                │COLD SEASON
       │  │  Days 29   │     │14, 15. Feast of│  Thunder and hail
       │  │Esth. iii. 7│     │  _Purim_       │    frequent.
       │  │Esth. ix. 27│     │                │  Almond-tree blossoms.


                           _Laws of Purity._

  Not altogether unconnected with these regulations respecting
  Holy Times and Seasons were other enactments of the Mosaic code,
  having for their object the enforcement of ideas of purity and
  holiness. _Ye shall be holy unto Me_, was the Divine command;
  _for I the Lord thy God am holy, and have severed you from other
  people that ye should be Mine_ (Lev. xix. 2; xx. 7). Many of
  these regulations were, doubtless, laws of health, tending
  to regulate diet, enforce cleanliness, and guard against many
  prevalent disorders. But over and above this, they had a higher
  object, and formed part of the moral discipline of the elect

  They regard (i) things unclean to eat; (ii) things unclean to
  touch; (iii) unclean matters or conditions[103].

  i. _Things unclean to eat._ The prohibitions respecting food
  follow directly the laws concerning sacrifice. Portions of many
  sacrifices, as we have seen, might be eaten. From this eating
  the Law passes on to food generally, the nature of which has
  “commonly no little influence on the refinement and manners of a
  people.” Concerning vegetable eating, no rules are laid down. In
  respect to animal food, the laws are clear and precise. (i) Of
  _quadrupeds_, the clean were such as _both parted the hoof and
  chewed the cud_, all others were unclean. All animals, therefore,
  used in sacrifice might be eaten, as also the numerous species
  of deer and gazelles (Deut. xiv. 5), but none of the _carnivora_,
  or such animals as the camel, coney, hare, or pig. (ii) Of
  _birds_ also, all that were offered in sacrifice might be eaten,
  such as doves, pigeons, and also quails, but all birds of prey,
  and nearly all the water-fowl, were unclean. (iii) Of _Fish_,
  those only were clean that had both fins and scales. (iv) All
  _Reptiles_ and _Insects_ were unclean, except locusts, and such
  as had four legs for walking and two for springing (Lev. xi.
  21, 22; comp. Matt. iii. 4). But the Israelite was also strictly
  forbidden to eat anything that died of itself (Ex. xxii. 31), or
  was torn by beasts, emphatically the blood of any animal (Gen.
  ix. 4; Lev. iii. 17; xvii. 10, 12; Comp. 1 Sam. xiv. 32, 33).

  (ii) _Things unclean to touch._ An Israelite incurred defilement
  who touched or handled (i) the dead body of any animal, whether
  clean or unclean (Lev. xi. 24–28), (ii) the body, bones, or
  grave of a dead man (Num. xix. 11, 13, 16). The latter was
  deemed a defilement calling for special purification. The person
  was unclean seven days. For his cleansing a young red heifer
  was slain outside the camp or town, in the presence of one of
  the priests. Some of the blood the priest was then to sprinkle
  seven times in the direction of the Sanctuary, to burn the
  entire carcase, and cast into the fire cedar-wood, scarlet wool,
  and hyssop. The ashes were then collected, and laid up in a
  clean place, and a portion mixed with water was to be sprinkled
  on whatever had been defiled, man, or place, or vessel. This
  ceremony was to be repeated twice, on the third and on the
  seventh day. On the latter day the person defiled washed his
  clothes, bathed, and was clean at even. But still stricter
  regulations were enforced when a priest or a Nazarite had become
  defiled (Num. xix. 1–22).

  (iii) _Unclean matters or conditions._ Many are enumerated, but
  we need speak of only one, the disease of LEPROSY. This fearful
  malady, indigenous in Egypt and Asia Minor, disfiguring the
  whole person, and making it horrible to the beholder, was called
  by the Jews _the Stroke_, and even by the Greeks the _first-born
  son of Death_[104]. It made itself apparent by a white swelling
  on the skin, especially on the face, turning the skin white (Ex.
  iv. 6), and the hair white or yellow (Lev. xiii. 3, 10, 30), and
  producing other disfigurements. The person affected with it was
  instantly to repair to the priests (Lev. xiii. 2, 9), whose duty
  it was to make a minute examination, and pronounce whether it
  was a case of “true leprosy.” If so, the sufferer was pronounced
  _utterly unclean_, and forthwith assumed the awful badges of
  his sad condition. He rent his clothes, bared his head, put
  a covering on his upper lip (Lev. xiii. 45), as though he was
  mourning for the dead (Ezek. xxiv. 17, 22), and wherever he
  went cried out, _Unclean! unclean!_ An exile from his home, his
  family, his friends (Num. v. 2), he was bound to reside without
  the camp or city in a separate house by himself, or in the
  society of others similarly afflicted (Lev. xiii. 46; 2 Kings
  xv. 5; 2 Kings vii. 3; Lk. xvii. 12). No Israelite ever pretended
  to effect a cure of this awful malady. The priest could pronounce
  upon the symptoms, shut out the sufferer from the congregation,
  but he had no power to heal. If, however, the symptoms abated,
  and there were any signs of a cure, the sufferer again went to
  the priest, who carefully ascertained whether this was the case.
  If so, a peculiar ceremony celebrated the healing. It consisted
  of two stages, (i) Two birds were taken, one killed by the
  priest over running water, the other dipped, together with
  cedar-wood, scarlet wool, and hyssop, in its blood, and suffered
  to fly away into the open air. The priest then sprinkled the
  leper with the blood seven times, and pronounced him clean.
  (ii) But before he could return to the society of his fellowmen,
  he must wash his clothes, shave off all his hair, bathe, and
  then present himself at the Sanctuary with a he-lamb as a
  _Trespass-offering_, an ewe lamb as a _Sin-offering_, and
  a he-lamb as a _Burnt-offering_ with its usual meat-offering.
  In cases of poverty two doves or pigeons might be presented
  in place of the two latter offerings, but the he-lamb as a
  _Trespass-offering_ was indispensable. This was first slain,
  and its blood smeared by the priest on the leper’s right ear,
  the thumb of his right hand, and the great toe of his right foot.
  Consecrated oil was then similarly applied, and poured on his
  head, and the other sacrifices offered, at the conclusion of
  which atonement was deemed to have been made, and the Leper was
  clean (Lev. xiv. 49–53).

  The regulations respecting this fearful malady were no mere
  sanitary regulations, for it was not catching from one person
  to another (comp. 2 Kings v. 1; viii. 4), and the ordinances
  respecting it did not apply to the stranger and the sojourner.
  “From the whole host of maladies and diseases which had
  broken in upon man’s body, God selected this, the sickness of
  sicknesses, that He might thereby testify against that out of
  which it and all other sicknesses grew, against SIN, as not
  from Him, and as grievous in His sight[105].” It was the outward
  and visible sign of the innermost spiritual corruption, a meet
  emblem in its small beginnings, its gradual spread, its internal
  disfigurement, its dissolution little by little of the whole
  body, of that which corrupts, degrades, and defiles man’s inner
  nature, and renders him unmeet to enter the Presence of a Pure
  and Holy God.

  (iv) Among the _Vows_ known before the time of Moses (and which,
  as a general rule, were discouraged by him, comp. Deut. xxiii.
  21–23) was that of the _Nazarite_. The person making this vow
  was bound, usually for a certain term, to abstain from wine or
  strong drink, from grapes or anything made from the vine, from
  cutting the hair of his head, or approaching a corpse, even
  that of his nearest relative (Num. vi. 2–7). If he accidentally
  touched a corpse, he was obliged on the seventh day to cut
  off his hair, and begin his vow afresh on the next day, after
  presenting to the priest two turtle-doves, or two young pigeons,
  one for a sin, and the other for a burnt-offering, and a lamb
  as a trespass-offering. At the expiration of his vow, he brought
  to the Tabernacle a burnt-, sin-, and thank-offering (Lev. vii.
  12, 13) with a meat- and drink-offering (Num. vi. 15), had the
  left shoulder of the thank-offering waved upon his hands by the
  priest (Num. vi. 19, 20), and cutting off his hair burnt it in
  the fire on the altar. Of Nazarites for life three are mentioned
  in Scripture, _Samson_ (the only one actually called a Nazarite,
  Judg. xiii. 5), _Samuel_ (1 Sam. i. 11), _John the Baptist_
  (Lk. i. 15).

                              CHAPTER VI.

                        _CIVIL AND MORAL LAWS._
                 EXOD. XXI.–XXIII.   DEUT. XIX.–XXIV.

HITHERTO we have been concerned with those portions of the Mosaic Law,
which instructed the Israelite in his duty towards God, and the mode in
which He was to be worshipped. We will now turn to the chief of those
which instructed him in his duty as (i) _a member of a family_, and
(ii) _of a nation_.

(i) The FAMILY RELATIONS include (1) _The mutual duties of Parents and
Children_, (2) _of Husband and Wife_, (3) _of Master and Servant_.

(1) _The duties of Parents and Children._ Reverence for parents
is enjoined in the Decalogue as the first duty next after those
appertaining to God Himself. _Honour thy father and mother_ is the
first and the only commandment to which a promise of long life and
continuance in the Promised Land is definitely attached (Ex. xx. 12;
Eph. vi. 2), and to smite or revile father or mother is made a capital
offence (Ex. xxi. 15, 17; Lev. xix. 3; xx. 9). In the Patriarchal
times, as we have already seen[106], the authority of the father over
his children was very great. His blessing conferred special benefits,
his curse special injury (Gen. ix. 25, 27; xxvii. 27–40; xlviii. 15, 20;
xlix.). His authority was of great moment, not only in the marriage of
sons (Gen. xxiv. 3), but of daughters, though in the latter case the
consent of the brothers, or at least of the elder brother, was deemed
important (Gen. xxiv. 50, 51; xxxiv. 11). But the Mosaic Law did not
invest the father with the same boundless power as the Greek or Roman
Law[107]. He could not inflict death irresponsibly. The incorrigible
son, whom he could not restrain from flagrant crimes, he might bring
before the elders of the city, who, having obtained the concurrence of
_both_ parents, might sentence him to be stoned to death. But in the
execution of the judgment the whole congregation were required to take
part, in order to promote a more general abhorrence of the sin (Deut.
xxi. 18–21). The father could not disinherit his sons; to the firstborn
he must give two portions, and equal shares to the rest; but in case of
extreme indigence he might sell his children, especially his daughters,
into servitude, or surrender them to creditors as a pledge (Ex. xxi. 7).

(2) _The Relations of Husband and Wife._ The institution of marriage
was jealously guarded by the Mosaic Law. Adultery ranked next to
murder, and the punishment for both parties was death by stoning (Lev.
xviii. 20; xx. 10; Deut. xxii. 22). In deference to the universal
custom of Oriental nations, and the example of the Patriarchs, polygamy
was _allowed_, though by no means _encouraged_, and though frequently
practised by the kings of Israel, was rare in private life (1 Sam.
i. 2). The right of divorce was conceded (Deut. xxiv. 1–4) on account
of _the hardness of the hearts_ of the people (Matt. xix. 8), but a
woman once divorced and marrying again might not return to her first
husband, either on the death of, or when put away by, the second. The
Mosaic Law sanctioned a custom of the Patriarchal age (Gen. xxxviii. 8),
which made it necessary that if a man died childless, his wife should
be taken in marriage by his surviving brother, and it was further
ordained that the firstborn son by such a marriage should succeed
in the name of his brother, that it be not put out in Israel (Deut.
xxv. 5, &c.). The rigour, however, of the old custom was relaxed. If
the brother had children of his own alive, he was exempt; and if he
declared in open court his unwillingness to enter into the marriage,
the duty devolved on the next relation of the deceased husband. (See
Ruth iv. 5–11.)

(3) _The Relation of Master and Servant._ Slavery existed amongst
the Israelites as amongst all other Eastern nations. Slaves could be
acquired in four ways. (1) They might be taken in war (Num. xxxi. 11,
35; Deut. xx. 14); (2) they might be purchased of parents or former
owners or merchants in time of peace (Gen. xvii. 23; Lev. xxv. 44, 45);
(3) they might have sold themselves in satisfaction for a debt (Lev.
xxv. 39–43; 2 Kings iv. 1); (4) they might be the children of slaves
born in their master’s house. But while slavery was thus recognised
as an institution, it was the aim of the Mosaic Law to mitigate its
evils as much as possible. Thus, not only does it open with a number
of precepts relating to slaves (Ex. xxi. 2–6), but it ever pronounced
them to be equal before God as regarded their spiritual relation, and
freely admitted them to all religious privileges, circumcision (Gen.
xvii. 10–14; Ex. xii. 44), the rest of the Sabbath (Ex. xx. 10),
the festivals (Ex. xii. 44), and gave them an interest in all the
sacrifices offered by the family (Deut. xvi. 11, 14).

In regard, again, to civil rights, the Hebrew slave was never looked
upon as a mere _thing_ or _chattel_. A master could not chastise a
slave to death without being punished (Ex. xxi. 20, 21), and if he
inflicted bodily mutilation, the slave, whether male or female, might
claim to be free (Ex. xxi. 26, 27). In the seventh year of his service
the Hebrew slave might take up his freedom, leaving, however, his
wife given him by his master during service and her children (Ex. xxi.
3, 4); if he declined to avail himself of this privilege, his master
might take him before the elders, bore his ear with an awl to the door,
and then he was his servant for ever, _i.e._ till the year of Jubilee
(Ex. xxi. 5, 6; Deut. xv. 16, 17). Moreover, as the Israelites when
delivered from Egyptian bondage had not gone forth empty, so the
Hebrew bondslave at his release (which took effect in the Jubilee
year, even though he had not served his full time) was to be furnished
liberally out of the flock, the floor, and the winepress (Deut. xv.
13, 14). Besides bondslaves we also find _hired servants_ among the
Hebrews. They were to be treated kindly, and their wages duly paid (Lev.
xix. 13; Deut. xxiv. 14, 15). Strangers also within the gates, whether
runaway slaves or exiles from their own land, who would naturally be in
extreme want, were to be treated with great kindness, for the Israelite
himself was a _stranger in the land of Egypt_ (Ex. xxii. 21; xxiii. 9).
Together with the poor generally, whether Hebrews or heathens, they
were to have the free enjoyment of the gleaning of the field and
the garden (Lev. xix. 9, 10; xxiii. 22; Deut. xxiv. 19–21), of the
spontaneous produce of the Sabbatical year (Lev. xxv. 5, 6), of the
sacrificial and tithe-feasts (Deut. xiv. 28, 29), and their share at
joyous family festivals, such as marriages, circumcision, the weaning
of children.

(ii) The Laws affecting the Israelite in his civil capacity may be
arranged in three groups, according as they regarded the sanctity of
(1) _Life_, (2) _Character_, and (3) _Property_.

(1) _Life._ The Laws protecting the life and person include those
against (a) _premeditated murder_, and (b) _unintentional manslaughter_.

(a) _Premeditated murder._ The wilful shedder of man’s blood met with
no compassion from the Mosaic Code. The original law at Sinai (Ex.
xxi. 12–14) and the subsequent repetition of it (Deut. xix. 11–13) made
death the inevitable penalty of murder, even as it had been in the days
of Noah (Gen. ix. 6). The murderer was regarded as accursed; for him
the horns of the altar were to be no refuge; he was to be dragged from
them by force to suffer his doom, nor could rank or wealth exempt him
from it, for it was expressly provided that on no pretext whatever
should any ransom be taken (Num. xxxv. 31, 32). Nor was his person only
regarded as accursed, but so long as he remained undiscovered, even
the land was looked upon as polluted. If no efforts could detect the
murderer, the elders of the nearest town were to take a heifer, and
bring it down to a _rough valley, neither eared nor sown_, and there
strike off its head. They were then to wash their hands over it, and in
the presence of the Levites pronounce the following words; _Our hands
have not shed this blood, neither have our eyes seen it. Be merciful,
O Lord, unto Thy people, whom Thou hast redeemed, and lay not innocent
blood to Thy people of Israel’s charge_. Thus atonement was to be made
(Deut. xxi. 1–9).

(b) _Unintentional homicide._ Prior to the Mosaic age, the duty of
avenging blood devolved upon the next of kin, who was called the Goel
or _Avenger_, and together with his office inherited the property of
the deceased. Sometimes a whole family took upon them this duty (2 Sam.
xiv. 7). Amongst the other nations, as the Arab tribes of the present
day, “any bloodshed whatever, whether wilful or accidental, laid the
homicide open to the _duteous_ revenge of the relatives and family of
the slain person, who again in their turn were then similarly watched
and hunted by the opposite party, until a family war of extermination
had legally settled itself from generation to generation, without the
least prospect of a peaceful termination.” It was the aim of the Mosaic
Law, without abolishing this long established custom, to mitigate its
evils as far as possible. Accordingly it was directed that, on the
arrival of the people in the Promised Land, six _Cities of Refuge_
should be set apart, to which the homicide might fly, if not overtaken
by the _Avenger_. Of these, three were to be on either side of the
Jordan, almost equally remote from each other, and the roads leading
to them were to be kept in a state of perfect repair (Ex. xxi. 13; Num.
xxxv. 11; Deut. xix. 3). They were to be chosen out of the priestly
and Levitical cities, as likely to be inhabited by the most intelligent
portion of the community. On reaching one of them, the case of the
homicide was to be examined by the elders; if they pronounced him
guilty he was to be delivered up to the Avenger; if innocent, an abode
was to be provided him in the city, where he was to remain till the
death of the high-priest, but if found at any time by the Avenger
beyond the limit of protection, 2000 cubits, he was liable to be put to
death. On the demise of the high-priest he might return to the city of
his possession (Num. xxxv. 25, 28)[108].

(2) The sacredness of a _man’s character_ was enforced by the
commandment in the Decalogue forbidding _false witness_, and by laws
prohibiting calumny, hatred, partiality in judgment for rich or poor
(Ex. xxiii. 1–3; Lev. xix. 16–18). No exact penalty was enforced,
but it was enjoined that in case of false witness the parties should
be brought before the priests and judges, and if after diligent
inquisition the charge was established, then should be done unto the
slanderer as he had thought to have done unto his brother, that so the
evil might be put away (Deut. xix. 19–21).

(3) _Property_ was carefully guarded in the Mosaic Law, which forbade
not only stealing, the act, but coveting, the intention.

(a) _Direct theft_ was punished by restitution. If the stolen goods
were found in the hands of the thief, he was to restore twofold; if
before his detection he had applied them to his own use, he was to
restore five oxen for an ox, four sheep for a sheep (Comp. 2 Sam.
xii. 6); but a still heavier fine was exacted if he had not only sold,
but killed and injured. If unable to pay the fine, he was to be sold
into slavery to a Hebrew master, and serve him till he could pay (Ex.
xxii. 1–4). A night-thief might be resisted even to death (Ex. xxii. 2).
Man-stealing or kidnapping was a capital offence (Ex. xxi. 16). The
crime of removing a neighbour’s landmark was severely reprobated (Deut.
xix. 14; xxvii. 17).

(b) _Indirect injury through carelessness or other causes._ This
included injury done to property entrusted to another for safe keeping.
If it was stolen and the thief detected, he was to repay double; if he
could not be found, the trustee, on being declared guilty of negligence
by the judges, was to restore twofold. Compensation was also exacted,
where property was injured through a pit being left open, through
cattle straying amongst other cattle or trespassing on another’s land,
or through fire spreading to standing corn (Ex. xxi. 33–36; xxii. 5, 6).
Straying or suffering beasts, even if the property of an enemy, were to
be brought back or relieved (Ex. xxiii. 4, 5).

  _Land._ All land was to be regarded as belonging to God, and
  the holders as His tenants. At the conquest of Palestine each
  tribe was to have its allotment, and each family its portion,
  and these were to remain for ever inalienable (Num. xxvii. 1–11;
  xxxvi.; comp. 1 Kings xxi. 3; 2 Kings ix. 25, 26). All sold land,
  therefore, was to return to its original owners at the Jubilee,
  but might be redeemed by the owner or his representative at any
  period before then (Lev. xxv. 13–16, 23–28).

  _Laws of debt._ An Israelite who had fallen into debt from
  any cause, might (i) sell himself as a slave to one of his
  own nation, with the right of resuming his freedom after six
  years, and at the Jubilee recovering his inheritance, (ii) claim
  a timely loan (Deut. xv. 1–11), but no usury might be taken
  from an Israelite (Ex. xxii. 25–27; Deut. xxiii. 19, 20). Thus
  pledges would become frequent, but they might not be cruelly or
  ruinously exacted. The handmill, a necessity in every family,
  might not be pledged (Deut. xxiv. 6); the cloak must be restored
  before nightfall when it became essential (Ex. xxii. 26, 27;
  Deut. xxiv. 12, 13); the lender was not to go into the house of
  his debtor to claim his pledge, or seize any article he chose;
  he was to stand abroad, and the pledge was to be brought out to
  him (Deut. xxiv. 10, 11).

                                BOOK V.


                              CHAPTER I.

                      NUMB. X.–XIV.   B.C. 1490.

THE period of the encampment of the Israelites at Sinai had now
occupied upwards of a year. The Covenant had been concluded, the Law
had been given, the Tabernacle had been erected, the priests had been
consecrated, and Jehovah dwelt in the midst of His chosen people. It
was now time to think of marching onwards towards Canaan. As, however,
the occupation of that country must of necessity be preceded by its
conquest, an organization of the Israelitish forces was the first duty.
Accordingly, a census was taken of all who were fit for war, or about
twenty years old, and the result gave a total of 603,550 fighting
men (Num. i. 46), to whom if we add the Levites, the women, and the
children, we may conclude that the host numbered altogether between
two and three millions. The first anniversary of the Passover was then
duly celebrated, and on the twentieth day of the second month in the
second year, the Pillar of Cloud moved from off the Tabernacle, and
this signal for departure having been given, the order of the march
was marshalled.

First, borne by the Kohathites, went the Ark of the Covenant, the
lid of which was the throne of Jehovah, and was overspread by the
Cloudy Pillar (Num. x. 33). Then followed the tribe of Judah, the most
numerous and the strongest of all the tribes, supported by Issachar
and Zebulun, under the standard of a “Lion,” the ensign of Judah. Then
followed the sons of Gershon and Merari, bearing the external portions
of the Tabernacle, the coverings and hangings, the boards, the pillars,
and the sockets. They were succeeded by the tribe of Reuben, flanked by
Gad and Simeon, marching under the common standard of Reuben, a “Man’s
Head.” Next came the rest of the Kohathites, bearing the sacred vessels
of the Sanctuary. Then the tribe of Ephraim, flanked by Benjamin and
Manasseh, under the standard of Ephraim, the figure of an “Ox;” and
the long procession closed with the tribe of Dan, between Naphtali
and Asher, with the standard of Dan, an “Eagle with a Serpent in its

These arrangements having been made, the Silver Trumpets sounded, the
silence of the desert was broken by the shout, _Rise up, Lord, and let
Thine enemies be scattered, and let them that hate Thee flee before
Thee_ (Num. x. 35; comp. Ps. lxviii. 1, 2), and the march began. At
this time there was present in the camp HOBAB, by some supposed to
have been the father-in-law, by others the brother-in-law of Moses. The
Israelitish leader knew how invaluable would be the experience of one
so well acquainted with every track and pass in the terrible wilderness
they were now about to traverse, and he earnestly entreated him to
continue with them, and share the goodness which the Lord would show
to Israel (Num. x. 29). There seems little doubt that Hobab consented
to accompany the people, and to be to them _instead of eyes_ amidst the
dangers of the inhospitable desert[109].

In the course of three days the host entered on the sandy plain which
parts the mountain-mass of Sinai from the table-land of the Tîh[110].
Having for more than a year enjoyed the pleasant encampment before
the Mount of God, they no sooner entered on this arid tract, than
they gave vent to their feelings of discontent. During the journey
from the Red Sea to Sinai God had borne with similar manifestations
of their weakness. But now that they had been brought into nearer and
more visible relations with Him, having the Sanctuary in their midst,
the Ark preceding them, and the Manna dropping upon them from day to
day, their murmurings could not be thus passed over, but brought down
instant rebuke and punishment. On this occasion the Divine displeasure
was marked by the outbreak of a fire on the extreme outskirts of the
encampment, which inflicted considerable damage, and was only removed
by the intercession of Moses, who called the spot TABERAH, or _the
burning_ (Num. xi. 1–3).

But this judgment had scarcely been removed when the same spirit
of discontent broke out afresh. The _mixed multitude_, which had
accompanied them from Egypt, and soon afterwards the Israelites
themselves, began to complain of the Manna, _this light food_, as
they called it, and lamented the loss of the fish, the cucumbers,
the melons, the leeks, and other vegetables, they had enjoyed in the
fertile valley of the Nile. So loud and general were their complainings,
that Moses despaired of accomplishing the purport of his mission, and
poured out his soul in prayer to God, begging for some relief from the
burden of daily anxiety which weighed him down. In mercy towards His
despairing servant, the Lord bade him select seventy elders, and bring
them to the door of the Tabernacle, and promised to take of the spirit
that was upon him and bestow a portion on them, that they might share
with him the weight of responsibility. He also promised that on the
morrow flesh, such as the people had pined after, should be given them,
and that not for one day only but for a whole month, until it became
even more loathsome to them than the celestial food they had so lately
despised. In obedience to this command, the seventy elders were brought
before the Tabernacle, and the Lord bestowed upon them a portion of
the spirit that was upon the Israelitish leader, and _they prophesied,
and did not cease_. Two of their number, ELDAD and MEDAD, though
selected for this high office, either from accident or some other cause,
did not accompany the rest to the appointed place, and though they
remained in the camp, and at a distance from the Cloudy Pillar, became
inspired with the same spirit. This striking incident was announced
to Moses by Joshua, who, jealous for his master’s honour, thought that
such prophesying ought to be prohibited. But Moses thought otherwise.
_Enviest thou for my sake?_ he replied; _would God that all the Lord’s
people were prophets, and that the Lord would put His Spirit upon them_
(Num. xi. 24–30. Comp. Mk. ix. 38; Lk. ix. 49).

Shortly afterwards the second promise of the Lord was also fulfilled.
A strong wind brought up a prodigious number of quails from the sea
in the proximity of the Gulf of Akaba, which covered the ground to the
extent of a day’s journey on either side of the camp. For two days and
a night the people were busily occupied in collecting, and spreading
the birds abroad, probably for the purpose of drying them. So they _did
eat and were filled_; for _God gave them of their own desire, they were
not estranged from their lust_ (Ps. lxxviii. 29, 30). But while the
meat was still _between their teeth_, His _wrath fell upon them_, and
He smote them with a severe plague, _and slew the mightiest of them,
even the chosen ones of Israel_ (Ps. lxxviii. 31), and the spot where
they were buried was named KIBROTH HATTAAVAH, the _graves of lust_.

From this ill-omened encampment the host proceeded in a
north-easterly direction to _Hazeroth_, which is thought to have
been the modern _Ain-el-Huderah_, and to have consisted of the
unenclosed semi-permanent villages, in which the Bedouins are found
to congregate[111]. Here a still severer trial awaited Moses. There
arrived in the camp a Cushite or Ethiopian woman (Num. xii. 1) whom he
had married, and who is identified by some with Zipporah, while others
believe her to have been an Egyptian whom he had espoused previous to
his flight from that country. Hitherto the position of Miriam had been
one of great influence in the camp, and second only to that of Moses
and Aaron (Comp. Micah vi. 4). To her the arrival of the stranger was
most unwelcome, and she feared she would now be deposed from her high
position as a “mother in Israel.” Having, therefore, induced Aaron to
share her views, she openly turned against Moses and maintained that he
was not the sole expositor of Jehovah’s will, that she and Aaron were
of equal authority with him (Num. xii. 1–4).

With his wonted self-control Moses was content to endure these
reproaches in silence. But the Lord interposed to defend the honour
of His servant. The Pillar of Cloud suddenly appeared before the
Tabernacle, and thither Aaron and Miriam were summoned together with
Moses himself. There in words of stern rebuke the Lord denounced
their hard speeches against His chosen servant. Very different was
his position from that of an ordinary prophet, to whom the Divine
will might be made known by vision or dream. _My servant Moses_, said
Jehovah, _is faithful in all my house. With him will I speak mouth to
mouth, even apparently and not in dark speeches, and the similitude of
the Lord shall he behold; wherefore, then, were ye not afraid to speak
against my servant Moses?_ With this vindication of the true position
of the Hebrew leader the Cloud removed, and Aaron looked on Miriam,
and behold! she had become leprous, _as white as snow_. Thereupon Moses
interceded for her, and the Lord promised that the judgment should
not be permanent, but as unclean she must remain without the camp for
seven days, during which period the host remained at Hazeroth (Num.
xii. 4–16).

The days of her purification being ended, the Israelites resumed their
march, and striking northwards across the plateau of the Tîh, probably
after several intermediate encampments, reached KADESH or KADESH-BARNEA
(Num. xxxiii. 36). This spot, whether identified with the spring of
_Ain-Kŭdes_, or with _Ain-esh-Shehabeh_ south of _Jebel-el-Mŭkhrah_, or
with _Ain-el-Weibeh_ in the _Arabah_[112], was at the very gates of the
Promised Land. It required but a strenuous and persevering effort to
reach the final goal of their long journey. This effort Moses exhorted
them to make (Deut. i. 20, 21), bidding them not be afraid, but go
up boldly and possess the land, which the Lord God of their fathers
had given them. On this the people proposed (Deut. i. 22) that spies
should first be sent to ascertain the best route, and what cities
ought first to be attacked. Moses consented to this proposal, and with
the Divine concurrence selected twelve princes, one from each tribe,
whom he exhorted to make a thorough search throughout the length and
breadth of the land, and ascertain its character, its products, and its
inhabitants (Deut. i. 23; Num. xiii. 1–20).

One of the select twelve was HOSHEA, the valiant attendant of Moses,
whose name was now changed to JEHOSHUA or JOSHUA (_God the Saviour_),
a title which well became the future leader of the Israelitish hosts.
It was now _the time of the first ripe grapes_ (Num. xiii. 20), or the
month of September[113]. Setting out from the wilderness of Paran, the
spies traversed the land as far north as Rehob on the way to Hamath,
in the valley of the Orontes, which divides the ranges of Lebanon
and Anti-Lebanon. Then they _ascended by the south_[114], and came to
Hebron, where dwelt Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, the gigantic sons of
Anak. In a valley opening on this city, celebrated even now for its
vineyards, they plucked pomegranates, and figs, and a bunch with one
cluster of grapes of such enormous size that it required to be carried
on a staff between two men, whence the valley was named ESHCOL, or
the _Valley of the Cluster_. With these proofs of the fertility of the
land, after an absence of forty days, the spies returned and presented
themselves in the camp at Kadesh before the host assembled to hear
their report.

The productiveness of the promised land, they said, was sufficiently
attested by the fruits they had brought back. It was, indeed, _a good
land, and flowed with milk and honey_. But the people, it could not
be denied, were strong, and of great stature, and among them were the
sons of Anak, before whom they themselves appeared as grasshoppers
(Num. xiii. 33). They were proceeding to enumerate the chief tribes
whom they had encountered, when Caleb, the Kenezite, of the tribe
of Judah, one of their number, anxious to dispel the feelings of
despondency with which their report was received, broke in with the
advice that the people should make an immediate attack, and promised
them speedy and certain success. But, save the valiant Joshua, he found
no other to support his brave counsels; the rest of the spies dwelt
only on the dangers of the expedition, and their despondency found
but too faithful an echo in the hearts of the people, who burst forth
into lamentation, openly murmured against Moses and Aaron for having
brought them thither, and even proposed to appoint a captain to lead
them back into Egypt. In vain Joshua and Caleb tried to calm the
tumult, and to check the mutiny. The host would listen to nothing, and
even threatened to stone them to death. But at this moment the Glory
of Jehovah appeared before the Tabernacle in the sight of the whole
people. Terrible though most just was His wrath at this signal proof of
faithlessness, in spite of all the signs and wonders He had wrought in
their midst. He threatened to destroy them utterly with pestilence, and
make of Moses a nation greater and mightier than they. But, as before
on Sinai, so now that unselfish leader stood heroically in the gap.
He pleaded earnestly with the justly offended Jehovah; he represented
the joy the rejection of the people would cause to the Egyptians and
the nations of Canaan, who had all heard of _the mighty Hand and the
stretched out Arm_, which had guided them through the wilderness.
Finally, he appealed to the NAME which the Lord Himself had proclaimed
on the top of Sinai[115], _the Lord God, merciful and gracious,
longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth_, and implored the
forgiveness of the people (Num. xiv. 11–19).

His prayer was heard. The Almighty assured him that the nation, as a
nation, should be preserved, their name should not be utterly blotted
out. But, save Joshua and Caleb, not one of that generation, which
in spite of the wonders they had seen in Egypt and in the wilderness
had refused to trust in God, should enter into the promised Land. For
them, all hope of entry was cut off; every one, from twenty years old
and upwards, should die; their carcases should lie bleaching in the
wilderness (1 Cor. x. 5), while their children, whom they had deemed a
certain prey to the Canaanites, should atone for their faithlessness by
wandering forty years, a year for each day the spies had been engaged
in searching out the land (Num. xiv. 33, 34). As an earnest of this
judgment, the ten spies, who by their faithless despondency had been
the primary cause of the mutiny, were struck with instant death, and
the command was given to the rest of the host to _return into the
wilderness by the way of the Red Sea_. This announcement was received
by the people with universal lamentation, and on the morrow they rose
up, and in spite of the earnest exhortations of Moses (Deut. i. 42, 43),
and the ominous circumstance that the Cloud had not removed from the
Tabernacle, made a wild rush up the steep and difficult pass, probably
_es-Sufah_, leading into the uplands of Southern Palestine, where
they encountered the Amorites (Deut. i. 44), the _highlanders_ of the
mountains, and their old enemies the Amalekites (Num. xiv. 45), by whom
they were driven back, routed and discomfited as far as Hormah (Num.
xiv. 20–45).

                              CHAPTER II.

                   NUMB. XV.–XXI.   B.C. 1490–1451.

AFTER this signal defeat it was clear that the sentence pronounced
upon the existing generation was irrevocable, and the host remained
for a considerable time at Kadesh (Deut. i. 46). During this period
a formidable conspiracy broke out against the authority of Moses and
Aaron. In their natural state of mortification at recent events, the
people were now more than ever likely to lend a ready ear to those
who whispered that under the auspices of any other than their present
leaders, they might escape from their humiliating doom, and reach the
goal of their hopes. Such fatal advisers soon appeared in the persons
of KORAH, a Kohathite, of the tribe of Levi, and DATHAN, ABIRAM, and ON,
of the tribe of Reuben. The former, jealous probably of the sacerdotal
pre-eminence of the line of Amram, and the latter loth to see their
tribe deprived of their ancestor’s right of primogeniture, conspired,
it is thought, “to place Korah at the head of a priesthood chosen by
popular election, and possibly to restore the tribe of Reuben to the
rights of the firstborn, of which it had been deprived[116].”

Successful in gaining over to their views 250 princes of the people,
they rose up against Moses and Aaron, and publicly charged them with
_taking too much upon themselves_, and usurping functions which ought
to have been shared by the congregation at large, who were all, every
one of them, _holy unto the Lord_. On hearing these charges Moses
resolved to refer the matter to the Divine decision, and bade Korah
and his company assemble on the morrow with lighted censers before the
Tabernacle. A similar summons was addressed to the Reubenite leaders,
but they flatly refused to attend at the place of meeting, and charged
Moses with having disappointed the hopes of the people, and being
anxious only to make himself a prince over them. Curiosity, however,
induced them to stand at the doors of their tents in full view of the
Tabernacle, where Korah and his associates stood with lighted censers
awaiting the Divine decision (Num. xvi. 1–16).

Before long the Glory of the Lord appeared, and Moses was instructed
to command that a clear space should be kept round the tents of Korah,
Dathan, and Abiram, and that the people should be careful to touch
nothing belonging to them, lest they should be consumed in their sin.
Then the servant of Jehovah offered to submit his claims to an awful
and infallible test. If the ringleaders in this rebellion _died the
common death of all men, or were visited after the visitation of all
men, then the Lord had not sent him_; but if a new and terrible fate
befell them, and _the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them
up_, then it would be known that they had provoked the Lord. His words
had hardly been uttered, when this awful catastrophe took place. The
earth clave asunder, and swallowed up Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, with
everything belonging to them, and at the same time a fire burst forth
and consumed the 250 men, who had presumed to offer incense at the
Sanctuary. Thus this great conspiracy was signally punished, and as a
memorial of the occurrence, Eleazar the son of Aaron was directed to
take the brazen censers of the offenders, and therewith to make plates
for the altar of burnt-sacrifice.

In spite, however, of this terrible proof of the Divine displeasure,
the very next day saw the people again murmuring against Moses and
Aaron, complaining that they had slain _the people of Jehovah_, and
threatening to break out into a fresh and general mutiny. Thereupon the
Glory of Jehovah once more overshadowed the Tabernacle, and a plague
broke out amongst the host. But at the exhortation of Moses, Aaron
took a lighted censer from off the altar, and standing between the
living and the dead, made an atonement for the people, but not before
14,700 men had by their deaths paid the penalty for their murmuring and
insubordination. Thus the divinely-ordained priesthood of Aaron averted,
while that assumed by Korah only brought destruction upon the host. But
in order that the Aaronic priesthood might be still further attested,
and that for all future generations, another sign was vouchsafed.
Moses was directed to receive from the Prince of each tribe an almond
rod with the name of the tribe inscribed thereon, and to lay these
rods before the Ark in the Holy of Holies, that on the morrow it might
be proved incontestably which tribe had been selected to perform the
priestly functions. Moses obeyed, and on the morrow, when the rods
were removed, behold! that of Levi, on which the name of Aaron had been
inscribed, instead of being dry like the rest, _had brought forth buds,
and bloomed blossoms, and yielded almonds_. Thus to the confusion of
all other pretenders, the claims of this branch of the tribe of Levi
were confirmed in a way that could not be gainsaid, and the Mystic Rod
was directed to be laid up before the Ark, as a testimony against all
future pretenders, and a pledge of the Divine choice (Num. xvii. 1–11;
Heb. ix. 4).

From Kadesh the host now _took their journey into the wilderness by
the way of the Red Sea_ (Deut. ii. 1), and for thirty-eight years
continued to wander in the deserts of Paran. This long period of
punishment and humiliation is shrouded by the sacred historian in
profound obscurity. It is probable that Kadesh was for some time a sort
of head-quarters, whence the great mass of the people were scattered
far and wide in smaller or larger groups over the peninsula, while
afterwards encampments were made at different spots, ♦wherever Moses
and the Tabernacle were settled (Num. xxxiii. 19–36). From a comparison
of the four passages[117] of Holy Scripture which alone throw any light
upon this dark period of Israel’s history, Deut. viii. 2–6; Josh. v.
4–9; Ezek. xx. 10–26; Amos v. 25, 26, we infer that it was a period
of “training and temptation, of humiliation and blessing, of natural
wants and supernatural existence;” that the rite of circumcision was
neglected, and the annual celebration of the Passover not kept up,
while the Sabbath also was not strictly observed[118] (Josh. v. 5; Ezek.
xx. 13). Meanwhile, according to the sentence pronounced upon them, all
the men of that generation from twenty years old and upwards died, save
Moses and his brother, and the two faithful spies Joshua and Caleb.

At the close, however, of this period, the host once more assembled at
Kadesh. Moses was now far advanced in years, and his second approach to
the very threshold of the Promised Land was saddened by two events of a
peculiarly mournful character. First, Miriam his sister, and companion
of his childhood, died, and was buried at Kadesh (Num. xx. 1). But,
however afflicted he may have been at her loss, the conduct of the
people, whom he led, must have grieved him still more. For, again,
on a failure of water, the new generation proved faithless, and brake
forth into murmurings and complainings as violent as their forefathers
at Rephidim. For the second time the ill-omened words of disaffection
sounded in his ears, and roused in him and his brother feelings of
greater irritation than they had ever displayed before. On appealing
to the Lord, they were commanded to assemble the people before the Rock
facing the encampment, and it was promised that it should bring forth
water in obedience to their word. Thereupon the Brothers gathered
the people together before the Rock, but instead of appealing to _it_,
Moses began to speak _unadvisedly_ (Ps. cvi. 32, 33) _to them_, saying,
_Hear now, ye rebels! must we fetch you water out of this rock?_ Then,
instead of doing as he had been instructed, he lifted up his hand,
and with the rod struck the Rock, not once, but twice, on which the
refreshing streams indeed flowed forth abundantly, and supplied the
wants of the people and their cattle, but the fidelity and self-control
of the Brothers, of the Prophet and the Priest, had alike failed,
neither had they sanctified Jehovah in the eyes of the host. (Comp.
Num. xxvii. 14; Deut. xxxiii. 51.) For this sin, whatever may have been
its precise heinousness, the Almighty pronounced on both the Brothers
the sentence of exclusion from the Promised Land. Into it they were
never to enter, or realise with the people they had led the hopes and
anticipations of so many long and weary years.

But though thus excluded from the goal of his long pilgrimage,
there was on the part of Moses no diminution of the zeal he had ever
displayed in behalf of the people. Always preferring their welfare to
his own, he was ready to lead them _towards_, if he was not to lead
them _into_ the Promised Land, and as a preliminary he sent ambassadors
to the Edomites and Moabites, requesting a free passage through their
territory. But though his messengers recounted the various proofs of
Divine protection which had accompanied the journeyings of the people,
and promised to keep to the highway, and injure neither the fields, the
vineyards, nor the wells, but pay for any water they might use, they
met with a direct refusal. Edom not only forbad them a passage through
his territory, but posted a strong force to guard all the approaches
into it. Thereupon, in obedience to the Divine command, the Israelites
abstained from any retaliation against the descendants of Esau, and
the latter did not openly venture to attack them. But an Amorite tribe
inhabiting the southern highlands of Palestine, under the command of
their chief Arad, fell upon them, and took some of them prisoners. This
roused the spirit of the people; they attacked their foes, and utterly
destroyed them and their cities, naming the spot in memory of the
incident Hormah, or _utter Destruction_ (Num. xxi. 1–4).

Thus debarred from what would have been the natural route towards
the country east of the Jordan, nothing remained but to march
southward down the Arabah towards the eastern arm of the Red Sea,
and then take a long and wearisome circuit round the territory of
the Edomites. Accordingly they set out, and reached Mount Hor[119],
at the edge of the land of Edom (Num. xxxiii. 37), and the highest
and most conspicuous of the whole range of its sandstone mountains,
overshadowing the mysterious city of Sela, or Petra, _the Rock_. Here
it was intimated to Moses that another of the few remaining links which
connected him with the generation that had come forth from Egypt must
be taken from him. He had already laid Miriam in her desert-grave at
Kadesh; now he was told that on the craggy top of Hor he must leave
his brother, the high-priest Aaron, who in accordance with his recent
sentence must die for his sin at the Waters of Strife. For the last
time, therefore, the Brothers repaired to the Tabernacle, where Aaron
was arrayed in his priestly robes, and then, accompanied by Eleazar
his son, the three ascended the toilsome height in the sight of the
mournful and watching host. Arrived at the summit Moses stripped his
brother of his priestly garments, and put them on Eleazar, and there,
in full view of the desert, the scene of his long pilgrimage, and just
in sight of the utmost borders of the Land of Promise, on the first day
of the fifth month, in the 123rd year of his age, the great High-priest
was gathered to his fathers. Then Moses and Eleazar reverently interred
him in his rocky tomb, and descended from the mount, and Eleazar
ministered “that evening in the familiar garments of him, whom the
people would see no more” (Num. xx. 22–29)[120].

Thirty days were spent in mourning for Aaron, and then the host
continued their march down the Arabah, and after encamping at
Ezion-geber at the eastern head of the Red Sea, entered on the sandy,
shadeless waste, which stretched eastward from the mountains of Edom
far on to the Persian Gulf, and was even more terrible than the desert
they had left. This and the thought of the long circuit that awaited
them so wrought upon the spirit of the people, that they again broke
out into bitterest complaints against their leader, their tedious
march, and their food. The region they were now traversing abounded
in _fiery_ or deadly serpents[121], of which the Lord sent many among
the people, and much people of Israel died. But on the manifestation
of a spirit of repentance, Moses, by the Divine command, made a Brazen
Serpent, and fixed it upon a pole in the sight of the congregation,
and all who looked thereon were healed. The symbol of this wonderful
deliverance was long preserved, and was regarded with veneration
as late as the days of Hezekiah (2 Kings xviii. 4), by whom it was
destroyed. The occurrence is also memorable as having suggested one of
the most sacred similitudes of the New Testament, for in His well-known
conversation with Nicodemus, the Saviour likened to the uplifting of
this serpent by Moses His own uplifting upon the Cross, _that whosoever
believeth on Him should not perish, but have eternal life_ (John iii.
14, 15).

After this incident the Israelites resumed their march, and pressing
forward in a northerly direction, skirted the eastern frontier of
Edom, and eventually encamped near the willow-shaded brook or valley
of Zered[122], which ran into the Dead Sea near its south-east corner,
and formed the southern boundary of Moab. Hence they advanced towards
the rushing stream of the Arnon (_swift, noisy_), “dashing through a
deep defile of sandstone rocks,” the first river they had seen since
they left the Nile. Crossing one of its fords, an incident commemorated
in an ancient song (Num. xxi. 14, 15; Deut. ii. 24), they reached a
spot which they called by a name sufficient of itself to indicate that
their weary wanderings were at an end, and that they were approaching a
cultivated land. Needing water, the princes and nobles, at the command
of Moses, dug in the ground with their staves till they reached a cool
refreshing spring. In memory of this grateful discovery they called
the spot BEER-ELIM[123], _the well of the Heroes_, and celebrated their
thanksgiving in a burst of sacred poetry (Num. xxi. 17, 18). They were
now encamped on “the vast range of forest and pasture on the east of
the Jordan.”

                             CHAPTER III.

                     NUM. XXI.–XXIV.   B.C. 1451.

THE country north of the present encampment of the Israelites from the
Arnon to the Jabbok was at this time possessed by the Amorites. We have
already met with this tribe on the western side of the Jordan (Gen. xiv.
7, 13; xiii. 18; Num. xiii. 29[124]). Tempted by the rich pasture lands
east of this river a colony of them appears to have crossed, and having
driven the Moabites with great slaughter and the loss of many captives
from the country south of the Jabbok (Num. xxi. 26–29), to have made
the wide chasm of the Arnon henceforth the boundary between them.

The Amorite king at this time was SIHON, and his capital was Heshbon,
twenty miles east of the Jordan, on the parallel of the northern end of
the Dead Sea. Thither the Israelitish leader sent messengers requesting
a peaceful passage through his territory, and promising the same
respect for his land and possessions, which had already been proposed
to the Edomites. But their request was rudely rejected. Sihon would not
allow them even to pass through his borders, but assembled his forces,
and prepared for battle. The Israelites did not decline the engagement,
which took place at Jahaz, probably a short distance south of Heshbon,
and resulted in the total defeat of the Amorites; Sihon himself, his
sons, and all his people were smitten with the sword, his walled towns
Ar and Heshbon, Nophah and Medeba were captured, and his numerous
flocks and herds fell into the hands of the victors, who thus became
masters of the entire country between the Arnon and the Jabbok (Num.
xxi. 27–30).

Apparently about the same time that Sihon had expelled the Moabites
from the rich territory south of the Jabbok, another Amorite chief
seized the country extending from that river to the foot of Hermon,
and known as the land of Bashan. His name was OG, one of the last
of the giant-race of Rephaim. He ruled over sixty cities, and his
stronghold was a remarkable oval district, about 22 miles from north
to south by 14 from west to east, called by the Hebrews _Argob_, or the
_stony_, afterwards by the Greeks _Trachonitis_, and now _Lejah_. This
extraordinary region has been described as “an ocean of basaltic rocks
and boulders, tossed about in the wildest confusion, and intermingled
with fissures and crevices in every direction, and yet in spite of its
ungainly and forbidding features thickly studded even now with deserted
cities and villages, in all of which the dwellings are solidly built
and of remote antiquity[125].” On a rocky promontory south-west of
this marvellous region, “without water, without access, save over rocks
and through defiles almost impracticable[126],” was the city of Edrei
(_strength_). Here, “as if in the Thermopylæ of his kingdom,” the giant
king of Bashan and all his people resolved to encounter the advancing
hosts of the Israelites, led, it seems probable, by two eminent chiefs
of the tribe of Manasseh, Jair and Nobah. (Comp. Num. xxxii. 41, 42;
Deut. iii. 14.) Like the Amorite chief of Heshbon, Og could not
withstand the valour of the Israelites. He was utterly routed, and
_his threescore cities fenced with high walls, gates and bars_, besides
_unwalled towns a great many_, fell into their hands. A trophy of this
victory, long preserved by the children of Ammon in the city of ♦Rabbah,
was the huge iron bedstead[127] of the Amorite king, nine cubits long,
by four wide; and long afterwards the subjugation of _Sihon king of
the Amorites_, and _Og the king of Bashan, great kings, famous kings,
mighty kings_, was deemed worthy of being ranked with the tokens and
wonders wrought in the land of Egypt, and the overthrow of Pharaoh in
the Red Sea (Ps. cxxxv. 10–12; cxxxvi. 15–21).

After these two decisive engagements, which made them masters of the
entire country east of the Jordan, from the wide chasm of the Arnon
to the foot of the snow-capped Hermon, the Israelites encamped in the
plains of Shittim, or _the Meadow of the Acacias_, amidst “the long
belt of acacia-groves, which, on its eastern as well as its western
side, line the upper terraces of the Jordan over against Jericho[128].”
South of the Arnon was the little corner of territory occupied by Moab,
who viewed with no little alarm the successes of the Israelites against
such _mighty kings_ as Sihon and Og. _This people_, said BALAK the
king of Moab to the elders of Midian, _lick up all that are round
about us, as the ox licketh up the grass of the field_. Sensible of the
uselessness of attacking a nation so manifestly under the protection of
an Invisible Power, the two confederate tribes resolved before falling
upon them to place them under an awful curse, which might have the
effect of paralysing their arms[129]. At this time no man was supposed
to have greater power in this way than a famous Prophet named BALAAM,
the son of Beor. He lived far away from the present encampment of
the Israelites at Pethor, beyond the Euphrates, in Aram among _the
mountains of the East_, but his fame had spread across the Assyrian
desert even to the shores of the Dead Sea. His gifts he exercised as a
Prophet of the same God, who had wrought so many miracles in behalf of
the Israelites. If, therefore, he could be persuaded to lay upon them
his powerful ban, their further success the Moabites thought might be
checked, and the children of Lot might not only recover the land of
which they had been deprived by the Amorites, but possibly add to them
the fertile territory the Israelites had so lately won from Sihon and

Accordingly, elders both of Moab and Midian, with the rewards of
divination in their hands, were despatched eastward across the Assyrian
desert to intreat the aid of the powerful Prophet. On reaching their
destination and announcing the purport of their errand, Balaam,
uncertain of the lawfulness of complying with it, requested them to
lodge there that night, while he ascertained the will of Jehovah. The
answer he obtained was unfavourable. _Thou shalt not go with them_;
said God, _thou shalt not curse the people: for they are blessed_.
On the morrow, therefore, he sent the messengers away, bidding them
announce to their master that Jehovah forbade his accompanying them.

Undeterred by this failure, and possibly informed by his messengers
that the Prophet _himself_ did not seem unwilling to come, the king
of Moab sent a second embassy consisting of princes _more and more
honourable than the last_, to inform him that he would advance him to
very great honour, and do whatever he commanded, if only he would come.
Again, therefore, the toilsome Syrian desert was traversed, and the
messengers preferred their request. But again they seemed to have come
in vain. _If Balak would give me his house full of silver and gold_,
said the Prophet, _I cannot go beyond the word of the Lord to do less
or more_. But instead of at once sending the messengers away, he bade
them lodge with him that night, while he consulted the Lord a second
time. On this occasion the word of the Lord came to him, and bade him
go, but authorized him to speak nothing more and nothing less than the
very words that should be put into his mouth. Balaam accordingly set
out on his journey, but he was not to accomplish it without receiving
another and a more terrible warning against it and its object. As
he rode upon his ass, the _Angel of the Lord_ stood in the way, with
his sword drawn in his hand. As if in derision of his claims to be a
powerful Seer, the beast alone discerned the celestial Adversary, and
started aside out of the way into a field. On this, Balaam smote it,
and turned it into a path running through some vineyards. But again
the Angel confronted the wilful Prophet, and the frightened ass in its
efforts to avoid him crushed his foot against the wall. Therefore
Balaam struck it a second time, and now, as if in still deeper derision
of one, who claimed to be able to reveal to kings and princes the will
of the Invisible, the dumb beast, in the accents of a man _forbad the
madness of the Prophet_ (2 Pet. ii. 16). On this, Balaam’s eyes were
at length opened, and as he bowed himself down before the Angel, he was
sternly rebuked for his wilfulness, and proposed to turn back rather
than displease the Lord. But since his mind was wholly bent on that
course, he was a second time bidden to proceed, but a second time also
warned against uttering any other words than those which a Divine Power
should put into his mouth.

The journey was now resumed, and at length the watchmen of Balak
announced to their master that the mighty Prophet was approaching.
Therefore Balak went forth to meet him, and after a brief rebuke of his
delay, conducted his visitor to Kirjath-Huzoth, _the Town of Streets_,
a place in the furthest borders of his kingdom, and possibly of sacred
or oracular reputation[130], where he entertained him at a great feast.
On the next day he conducted him to the high places dedicated to Baal
(Num. xxii. 41) that rose above the encampment of the Israelites,
whence he might gain a view of the utmost part of the people he had
desired him to curse. There by the Prophet’s direction the king erected
seven altars, and on each they offered together a bullock and a ram,
and while Balak with his attendant princes stood by his burnt-offering,
Balaam went forth to _a high place_ (Num. xxiii. 3) to learn the Divine
will. _And God met Balaam, and put a word in his mouth_, and returning
to the expectant king, he declared that it was impossible for him to
curse Jacob and defy Israel, that he could not _curse him whom God had
not cursed, or defy him whom Jehovah had not defied_.

On hearing this response so entirely opposite to what he had expected,
Balak was highly incensed, but thinking a change of view might have
a different influence on the Prophet’s spirit, he brought him to
Zophim[131], a _cultivated field of the Watchmen_ high up on the range
of Pisgah. Again the altars were built, and the victims slain; again
the king stood by his burnt-sacrifice, and again Balaam went forth _to
meet the Lord_. But still the answer was unfavourable. The steam of
sacrifice could not bend the will of Jehovah; _He was not a man that He
should lie_, or repent of His fixed purpose; what He had said He would
do, what He had spoken He would perform; _in Jacob He had not beheld
iniquity, neither had He seen perverseness in Israel; He had brought
them out of Egypt_, and neither augury nor divination could prevail
against them.

More incensed than before, the king of Moab burst forth into bitter
complaints against the Prophet, and though the latter reminded him
that he could speak nothing but the word of Jehovah, yet he determined
from one more point to show him the people, that peradventure he might
thence effect the potent curse. He led him up, therefore, to a peak,
where stood the sanctuary of Peor (Num. xxiii. 28), looking toward
Jeshimon or _the waste_, “probably the dreary barren waste of the hills
lying immediately on the east of the Dead Sea.” There the seven altars
were for the third time built, and the victims for the third time slain.
But Balaam was now convinced that Jehovah was pleased only to bless the
people. Without resorting, therefore, any more to useless divinations,
he lifted up his eyes, and looked down upon the tribes encamped in the
acacia groves below him, with their _goodly tents spread out like the
valleys_, or watercourses of the mountains, like the hanging gardens
beside his own great river Euphrates, as _lign-aloes which the Lord had
planted, as cedar trees beside the waters_ (Num. xxiv. 6). And as he
stood, “with tranced yet open gaze” he saw the Vision of the Almighty,
and “in outline dim and vast” beheld the future of the “desert-wearied
tribes” that lay encamped before him “in sight of Canaan[132].” He
beheld them _pouring water from their buckets, their seed in many
waters, their king higher than any Amalekite Agag_ ruling in the
Arabian wilderness south of where he stood. He knew that God had
_brought them forth out of Egypt_, and that their _strength was like
that of the unicorn_. He foresaw them _couched as a lion, and lying
down as a great lion, eating up the nations their enemies, breaking
their bones, and piercing them through with the arrows_ of their
archers. _Blessed was he that blessed them, and cursed was he that
cursed them_ (Num. xxiv. 1–9).

Balak’s vexation was now increased tenfold. Smiting his hands together
he upbraided the Prophet for his deceit, and in place of advancing him,
as he had intended, to high honour, bade him flee for his life to his
native land. Nor was the other loath to go. But before he went, for he
felt himself still moved by the prophetic spirit, he would _advertise_
the king of what this mysterious people _would do to his people in the
latter days_ (Num. xxiv. 14). Again, therefore, he took up his parable,
_and saw, but not now,――he beheld but not nigh, a Star_, bright as
any that spangled the Eastern sky, _coming out of Jacob, and a sceptre
rising out of Israel, smiting through the princes of Moab[133], and
destroying_ all their wild warriors _the sons of tumult_[134]. One by
one he saw “the giant forms of empires on their way to ruin;” Edom and
Seir becoming a possession for their enemies; Amalek, then _the first
of the nations, in his latter end perishing for ever_; the Kenites,
then _strong in their dwelling-place, and putting their nest in the_
neighbouring _rocks_ of En-gedi _wasted and made a prey_; nay even
Israel _carried away captive by Asshur_. And yet once more he saw
woe in store even for Asshur, even for his own native land. Far
in the distant future he saw _ships_ coming _from Chittim_, the
island of Cyprus, _to afflict Asshur and to afflict Eber_, till the
proud kingdoms of the Eastern world, and he who should _afflict_
them _perished for ever_[135]. And then the Vision closed. The
“true Prophetic light died away,” and the king of Moab, baffled and
disappointed, returned to his people.

                              CHAPTER IV.

             NUMB. XXV.–XXXII.   DEUT. XXXII.   B.C. 1451.

BUT though his tongue had pronounced eloquent blessings upon the
people he found he could not curse, Balaam’s heart was filled with
malice against them. Dismissed by the king of Moab without the promised
honours and rewards, he lingered amongst the neighbouring Midianites,
and with the keen hatred of his now hardened heart counselled them
to join the children of Moab in seducing the Israelites from their
allegiance to Jehovah. The festival of Baal-Peor was at hand, and was
celebrated with all the unbridled licentiousness of a heathen orgy.
If the Israelites could be persuaded to join in it, they might, he
suggested, become “as other men,” and the Invisible protection now
vouchsafed would be withdrawn (Num. xxxi. 16). His artful suggestion
was adopted. The festival was celebrated, and the Israelites fell
into the snare. They joined themselves to Baal-Peor, took part in
the hideous rites, and defiled themselves before the Lord. Thus
they brought upon themselves a curse far more real than any that the
divinations of Balaam could have effected. Had such apostasy gone
unpunished, the Strength of Israel would indeed have ceased, and the
counsels of the wily Prophet would have been successful. The crisis
required severe and exemplary visitation. A plague broke out which
swept off upwards of 24,000, and the princes of the tribes, at the
command of Moses, slew the guilty with unsparing vigour, and hanged
them up before the Lord. On this occasion PHINEHAS, the son of Eleazar,
and grandson of Aaron, particularly distinguished himself by his
righteous zeal, which was accepted as an atonement for the people,
and rewarded not only by the cessation of the pestilence, but with
a promise that the priesthood should remain in his family for ever.

But a terrible vengeance was denounced against the crafty Midianites,
and after a second numbering of the people by Moses and Eleazar, a
Sacred War was proclaimed. A thousand warriors from each tribe, led not
by Joshua, but by Phinehas, and accompanied by the Ark, went forth to
execute the task of righteous retribution. The silver trumpets sounded
the signal for the onset, and the Midianites were utterly routed. Five
of their chiefs, Evi and Rekem, Zur and Hur and Reba, as also all their
males, were put to death; their cities were burnt; their goodly castles
fired; their women and children taken captive; nor did the crafty
prophet escape; _he received the wages of his unrighteousness_, and
perished by the sword (Num. xxxi. 8; 2 Pet. ii. 15).

The country east of the Jordan, which the Israelites had now wrested
from Sihon and Og, was to a great extent a long table-land of
undulating downs famed for its rich pasturage[136], and clothed with
luxuriant vegetation. It was the forest-land, the pasture-land of
Palestine, _a place for cattle_ (Num. xxxii. 1). Of the tribes of
Israel, as we have already noticed[137], Reuben and Gad were eminently
pastoral, _they had a very great multitude of cattle_ (Num. xxxii. 1).
On the conclusion, therefore, of the Sacred War against the Midianites,
they approached Moses and the elders of Israel with the petition that
they might be allowed to settle down in a region so peculiarly suited
to their requirements. This request seemed to the Israelitish leader
to savour of a desire to shrink from the arduous work which lay before
the nation, and as likely to discourage the people from crossing over
and attempting the conquest of the rugged western country, and he
reproached them for their apparent selfishness and indifference to
the welfare of their brethren. But the two tribes protested their
perfect sympathy with the great national cause; they were ready to
send the flower of their troops across the river, and only wished for
the present _to build sheepfolds for their cattle, and cities for their
little ones_, whither they might return on the conquest of the western
country. This promise was deemed sufficient, and Moses distributed
between them the lately conquered territory, assigning to Reuben
and Gad the kingdom of Sihon from the Arnon to the Jabbok[138], and
intrusting to the half of the warlike tribe of Manasseh, whose warriors
had taken so prominent a part in the conquest of the east of Jordan
(Num. xxxii. 39; Deut. iii. 13–15), the inaccessible heights and
impassible ravines of Bashan, and the almost impregnable tract of
Argob[139], the chief stronghold of the giant Og.

Meanwhile it had been once and again intimated to the Israelitish
leader that the day drew near, when he must be gathered unto his
fathers. Under the special direction, therefore, of Jehovah, he now
occupied himself with giving final and specific instructions respecting
the future government of the nation. Joshua “his minister” was solemnly
appointed to be his successor; the boundaries of the Promised Land were
definitely marked out (Num. xxxiv.); its cities with their suburbs,
including six “cities of refuge” for the unwitting manslayer, were
assigned to the tribe of Levi (Num. xxxv.), and other necessary
regulations were made.

For an ordinary leader this would have been enough. But the recent sad
occurrences in the matter of Baal-Peor had only too surely reminded
Moses of the fickle tendencies of the nation, and none knew better
than himself the awful consequences of national apostasy. For the last
time, therefore, he assembled the people together and delivered to
them his final counsels. Commencing with a retrospect of the past forty
years, he reminded them of the _goodness and faithfulness_ which had
always followed them, in spite of their murmurings and discontent,
and the victories they had been enabled to achieve (Deut. i–iv. 43).
He recapitulated the Law given on Mount Sinai, with such additions
or modifications as his own enlarged experience suggested (Deut.
v. 1–xxvi. 19), and appointed a day, on which, at the conclusion of the
conquest, its blessings and curses were to be ratified by the nation
with the most imposing and solemn ceremonies (Deut. xxvii.). He then,
for the last time, enlarged on the exalted vocation of the nation, and
the blessings which would assuredly accompany obedience to the Divine
laws, _in the city and the field, in their basket and their store,
in their going out and their coming in_, and dwelt with no less
earnestness on the terrible punishments which would follow apostasy
and transgression, “in furnishing images for which the whole realm
of nature was exhausted, and which nothing excepting the real horrors
of the Jewish history, the misery of their sieges, the cruelty, the
contempt, the oppressions, which for ages this scattered, despised, and
detested nation have endured, can approach[140]” (Deut. xxviii.–xxx.).

But oral delivery was not deemed sufficient. He, therefore, wrote out
the Law, with its blessings and its curses, and gave it to the priests,
charging them to place it beside the Ark in the Holy of Holies, and to
read it, in the hearing of all the people, once every seven years, at
the Feast of Tabernacles (Deut. xxxi. 9, 26). Then turning to Joshua,
whom he had already nominated as his successor, he bade him _Be strong
and of a good courage_, assuring him that Jehovah would be with him,
and would make all he did to prosper. But as if to deepen the gloomy
forebodings past experience must have suggested, the Lord Himself not
only announced in the clearest terms the future apostasy of the people
(Deut. xxxi. 16–18), but directed Moses to compose a Song, which the
people were to learn and teach their children, as a testimony against
themselves in the days to come, when they should have turned unto other
gods, and served them, and provoked the Lord, and broken His covenant
(Deut. xxxi. 18, 21; xxxii. 1–43). Having composed this Song of
Witness[141], and pronounced his last solemn blessing, not like Jacob
upon twelve men gathered round his deathbed, but on a mighty nation, on
_the ten thousands of Ephraim, and the thousands of Manasseh_, the aged
Prophet, _whose eye was not dim nor his natural force abated_, was
warned that his hour was come. From the plains of Moab he went up the
mountain of Nebo, to the highest point in the long eastern range over
against Jericho, and there He who called him to his high mission at the
Burning Bush showed him that land, which had been so long sworn to the
sons of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Eastward and westward, southward and
northward, he surveyed that goodly Land; he saw it all with his eyes
though he was not to set his foot thereon. “Beneath him lay the tents
of Israel ready for the march; and ‘over against’ them, distinctly
visible in its grove of palm-trees, the stately Jericho, key of the
Land of Promise. Beyond was spread out the whole range of the mountains
of Palestine, in its fourfold masses; ‘all Gilead’ with Hermon and
Lebanon in the east and north; the hills of Galilee, overhanging the
lake of Gennesareth; the wide opening where lay the plain of Esdraelon,
the future battle-field of the nations; the rounded summits of Ebal and
Gerizim; immediately in front of him the hills of Judæa, and, amidst
them, seen distinctly through the rents in their rocky walls, Bethlehem
on its narrow ridge, and the invincible fortress of Jebus[142].” Such
was his Pisgah-view, and then all was over. The great Prophet had
served his day and his generation, he had reached his 120th year,
and his work was ended. There, _in the land of Moab_, he died, and He
whom he had served faithfully in all His house, buried him in a valley
or ravine in the land of Moab, over against the idol-sanctuary of
Beth-Peor (Deut. xxxiv. 6), but _no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto
this day_.


  Three points in reference to Moses deserve attention: (i) His
  work, (ii) His character, (iii) His office. (i) _His work._
  “The Hebrew lawgiver was a man who, considered merely in
  an historical light, without any reference to his Divine
  inspiration, has exercised a more extensive and permanent
  influence over the destinies of his own nation and mankind
  at large, than any other individual recorded in the annals of
  the world.... To his own nation he was chieftain, historian,
  poet, lawgiver. He was more than all these, he was the founder
  of their civil existence. Other founders of republics and
  distinguished legislators have been, like Numa, already at
  the head of a settled and organized community; or have been
  voluntarily invested with authority, like Lycurgus and Solon,
  by a people suffering the inconvenience of anarchy. Moses had
  first to form his own people, to lead them out of captivity, to
  train them for forty years in the desert, and bestow on them a
  country of their own, before he could create his commonwealth.”
  (ii) _His character._ “The word _meekness_ (Num. xii. 3)
  which is used in Scripture in reference to his personal
  character ‘represents what we should now designate by the word
  _disinterested_.’ All that is told of him indicates a withdrawal
  of himself, a preference of the cause of his own nation to his
  own interests, which makes him the most complete example of
  Jewish patriotism.” He joins his countrymen in their degrading
  servitude (Ex. ii. 11; v. 4); he forgets himself to avenge their
  wrongs (Ex. iv. 13). He wishes that not he only, but all the
  nation were gifted alike: _Enviest thou for my sake?_ (Num. xi.
  29.) When the offer is made that the people should be destroyed,
  and that he should be made a great nation (Ex. xxxii. 10),
  he prays that they may be forgiven――_if not, blot me, I pray
  thee, out of Thy book which Thou hast written_ (Ex. xxxii. 32).
  Even when excluded from realizing the hopes of a lifetime, his
  zeal for his people suffers no diminution. (iii) _His office._
  While other prophets saw Jehovah only in visions and dreams,
  Moses spake with Him _mouth to mouth_, and was entrusted _with
  the whole household of God_ (Heb. iii. 2, 5). He was at once
  Deliverer, Lawgiver, Priest, Teacher, Leader, and Judge. His
  prophetic gift controlled, pervaded, inspired, and regulated
  all these functions, and he was thus an eminent type of a still
  greater PROPHET (Deut. xviii. 15, 18) to be raised up to Israel
  _from among their brethren_, (i) as a Redeemer of his people;
  (ii) as a Mediator between them and God; (iii) as a Teacher and
  Lawgiver; (iv) as receiving the fullest communications from God;
  (v) as the Revealer of a new name of God; (vi) as the founder
  of a new religious society. See Milman’s _History of the Jews_,
  I. 214; Article _Moses_, in Smith’s _Bib. Dict._; Kurtz’s
  _History of the Old Covenant_, III. 478; Davison _On Prophecy_,
  pp. 110–112.

                               BOOK VI.


                              CHAPTER I.

                       JOSH. I.–VI.   B.C. 1451.

JOSHUA, the son of Nun, of the powerful tribe of Ephraim, had, as we
have seen, been already selected as the successor of Moses, and the
leader of the Israelitish forces. When, therefore, the thirty days of
mourning for that eminent servant of God were ended (Deut. xxxiv. 8),
he was encouraged by the Lord to undertake the task of conquest, which
now devolved upon him, and was assured of complete success, if careful
to observe the commandments of the Law. Accordingly preparations
were made for the enterprise without delay; provisions for three days
were issued to the host, and the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh,
already located on the eastern side of the Jordan, were reminded of
their promise to accompany their brethren, and share the perils and
hardships of the campaign.

  Illustration:              THE HOLY LAND
                             divided among
                           THE TWELVE TRIBES

                _Stanford’s Geographical Establishment_
                  London & Cambridge Macmillan & Co.

The general distribution of the nations now inhabiting western
Palestine has been already described[143]. Along the valley of the
Jordan, and a large portion of the plain of Esdraelon, as also the
sea-coast, dwelt the CANAANITES proper or _Lowlanders_; the JEBUSITES
held the strong fortress of Jebus (_Jerusalem_); the HITTITES Hebron
and its vicinity; between the HITTITES and the Dead Sea were the
powerful and warlike AMORITES or _Highlanders_; the HIVITES occupied
the country about Gibeon and under Mount Hermon; the PERIZZITES the
high plains under the range of Carmel; while in the extreme north dwelt
a powerful chief, who bore the hereditary name of JABIN, or _the wise_.
His fortress was at Hazor, somewhere on the high ground overlooking
the waters of Merom, a strong and fortified position, and the principal
city of that portion of the land.

The first step to any complete subjugation of the country was the
capture of the important city of Jericho, situated immediately opposite
the camp of Joshua in a vast grove of noble palm-trees, nearly three
miles broad, and eight miles long, which “must have recalled to the
few survivors of the old generation of the Israelites the magnificent
palm-groves of Egypt, such as may now be seen stretching along the
shores of the Nile at Memphis[144].” It was a fenced city, enclosed
by walls of considerable breadth, was the residence of a king, and not
only contained sheep and oxen, but abounded in silver and gold, and
vessels of brass and iron (Josh. vi. 24). From its position it was the
key of Western Palestine, and “commanded the two main passes into the
Central Mountains.”

The first act of Joshua, therefore, was to send two spies to
reconnoitre this important place. Setting out from Shittim, or the
_meadows of Acacia_, and crossing the Jordan, they effected their
entrance into the house of a woman named Rahab on the city wall. Their
arrival was not unobserved, and was reported to the king of Jericho.
He sent to Rahab’s house, and demanded their surrender, but she had
already concealed her visitors among the flax-stalks spread out to dry
on the flat roof of her house, and when the king’s messengers arrived,
she informed them that the two men had departed, and advised a speedy
pursuit. Misled by this information, the officers of the king went
after them in all haste, while she came up to the spies upon the roof,
and related what had occurred. The townsfolk, she said, had heard of
the marvellous passage of the Red Sea, and of the defeat of the great
Amorite chiefs on the east of Jordan, and despaired of offering any
effectual resistance to a nation thus visibly protected by a God
powerful _in heaven above, and in earth beneath_ (Josh. ii. 11). These
fears she herself shared, and now offered to assist them (Heb. xi. 31,
Jas. ii. 25) in escaping, by letting them down by a cord from her
window, that they might fly to the “jagged range of the white limestone
mountains[145]” behind the city, and conceal themselves for three days
till their pursuers were returned. As a requital for this kindness she
implored them at the capture of the city, which she regarded as certain,
to spare her life, and the lives of her father and mother, and all
her relatives. To this the spies assented, and having agreed that the
scarlet cord should be bound in the window whence they effected their
escape, to mark out the house to their comrades, and be a pledge of its
security, suffered themselves to be lowered down, and in the course of
three days, after hiding in the mountains, once more crossed the Jordan,
and announced to Joshua the despondency of the people of Jericho.

Early therefore the next morning the Hebrew leader broke up the
encampment on the upper terraces of Shittim, and descended to the
lower banks of the Jordan, where three days were spent in ceremonial
purifications, and in preparing for the passage of the river. The Ark
was to lead the way borne by the priests, and the people were to follow
at a distance of 2000 cubits, or nearly a mile, and were assured that
the feet of the priests should no sooner rest in the river, than the
waters from the south would be cut off from the waters that came down
from above, and would stand on a heap, thus at once affording a passage,
and a pledge of future and complete victory over all the nations of
Canaan (Josh. iii. 1–13).

It was now the time of harvest, which ripens three weeks earlier in
the plain of Jericho than in other parts of Palestine; and the Jordan,
at this point three quarters of a mile wide, had overflowed all its
banks[146]. On the 10th of Nisan, the sacred month, and therefore four
days before the Feast of the Passover, the signal for the passage was
given. The priests advanced bearing the Ark, and presently reached the
brim or “broken edge” of Jordan (Josh. iii. 15). But no sooner were
their feet dipped in the water, than far up the river, _in Adam, the
city which is beside Zaretan_, that is, about thirty miles from the
place where the Israelites were encamped, the waters which rushed down
from above _stood and rose up upon a heap_, while those that came down
towards the Salt Sea _failed, and were cut off_ (Josh. iii. 16). Thus
from north to south the waters were _driven backwards_ (Ps. cxiv. 3),
and the dry river-bed was exposed to view. Into it the priests
descended bearing the Ark, and there they stood firm and motionless, as
if on dry ground. Meanwhile, below the spot where they stood, the host,
probably at various points, _hasted and passed over_ (Josh. iv. 10),
led by the tribes of Reuben and Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh,
whose vanguard amounted to 40,000 men ( Josh. iv. 12). When at length
from the deep bed of the river all had ascended to the desert plains
on the further side, Joshua gave the signal to the priests to come
out of the river. Preceded by twelve chiefs of the tribes with twelve
huge stones taken from the bed of the Jordan, which were set up as a
memorial on the upper bank of the Jordan valley, they moved from the
spot where they had stood so long, and no sooner had they reached the
other side than the waters rushed back to their accustomed channel, and
the river overflowed its banks as before (Josh. iv. 18).

Intelligence of this marvellous event reached the ears not only of the
Amorite mountain-chiefs, but also of the Canaanite lowlanders on the
sea-coast, and filled them with the utmost alarm, _their heart melted,
neither was there spirit in them any more_. No attack, therefore,
was made upon the Israelites, who were left in quiet possession of
their advanced post on the western side of Jordan. Here the rite of
circumcision, so long neglected during their desert wanderings, was
performed, and in memory of this removal of the reproach of their
uncircumcised state, the rising ground of their encampment was called
Gilgal, _rolling away_ (Josh. v. 9). They were now also in a condition
to keep the Passover, which was duly celebrated on the 14th day of
the month at even _on the plains of Jericho_, and the unleavened cakes
prescribed for this Festival were made of the old corn of the land,
and not of the manna, which on the next day entirely ceased, and thus
proved that their desert life was really over (Josh. v. 10–12).

The capture of Jericho was the next step to be taken, and while Joshua
was, in all probability, deeply meditating thereon, there appeared
to him _a Man with his sword drawn in his hand_, who in answer to the
enquiries of the Israelite leader declared himself to be the _Prince of
the army of Jehovah_[147]. In deep reverence Joshua fell on his face to
the ground, and was bidden to loose his shoes from off his feet, _for
the place on which he stood was holy ground_. Instructions were then
given him respecting the method of the city’s capture. To mark in the
strongest manner the singularity of the campaign, to distinguish it
from anything that had been known before, the great frontier fortress
of the Jordan valley was to fall in a way above all others calculated
to show that _the Lord fought for Israel_. Once a day for six days
the host, preceded by the sacred Ark and seven priests each blowing
a trumpet of ram’s horn, was to march in procession round the city.
On the seventh day the circuit was to be made seven times, at the
conclusion of which the priests were to sound a long blast with the
rams’ horns. This was to be the signal for a general shout, on which
Joshua was assured that the walls of Jericho would fall down flat, and
the host would be enabled to advance every man straight before him into
the doomed city. Once within it, the Israelites were to consider every
thing save the house and family of Rahab as devoted to Jehovah. Man and
woman, young and old, ox and sheep, were to be given up to wholesale
destruction, and the city itself was to be burnt with fire, and all
that was therein, save the vessels of gold and silver, of brass and
iron, which were to be consecrated to the service of Jehovah.

Accordingly, early the following morning, the strange advance was
ordered. First went a select body of armed men (Josh. vi. 9), then
followed the priests blowing with the trumpets, next the Ark, and
lastly the vanguard. Save the blast of the trumpets, there was no war
cry of the troops, no sound even of human voice. Once a day for six
days the strange procession passed round the city. What the swords of
the Israelites could effect had already been proved in fierce conflicts
with Sihon and Og, but now they hung unused in their sheaths. At
early dawn on the seventh day the same procession went forth, and
compassed the city not once but seven times. The last circuit complete,
the priests sounded a long continued blast, and on a given signal
from Joshua, the _great shout_ of the entire army rose to heaven.
Immediately the walls of Jericho fell down flat, and the host advanced
straight into it, and captured it. In the house of Rahab her father and
mother and other relatives were gathered together as had been agreed,
and having been identified by the spies, were led forth to a place of
safety without the camp of Israel. The rest of the inhabitants without
exception were slain with the edge of the sword; the city was burnt,
and everything was consumed save the vessels of gold and silver, of
brass and iron. And not only was the proud “City of Palm-trees” thus
utterly destroyed, but Joshua imprecated a solemn curse on any one
who attempted to rebuild it, he should lay the foundation _thereof
in his firstborn, and in his youngest son should he set up the gates
of it_[148] (Josh. vi. 26). Thus the first step in the conquest
was brought to a successful end, and the most important town in the
Jordan valley, the key of western Palestine, was in the hands of the

                              CHAPTER II.

                      JOSH. VII.–XI.   B.C. 1451.

THE passes into the central hills being thus secured, Joshua without
delay sent men to reconnoitre the position of AI, a royal city,
strongly posted beside Beth-aven, on the east side of Bethel, “at
the head of the ravines running up from the valley of the Jordan.”
The spies reported it as easy of capture, and suggested that two or
three thousand men would be amply sufficient for the undertaking.
Acting on their advice Joshua dispatched the suggested number, who
advanced boldly up the ravine, but only to meet with an unexpected
and disastrous repulse. The men of Ai, strong in their high position,
chased them down the “steep descent” from the gates, and slew about
thirty-six men.

This unlooked-for reverse excited the profoundest despondency in
the Israelitish camp. Joshua and the elders, with dust upon their
heads, lay till eventide upon the ground before the Ark, which had so
lately been led triumphantly round Jericho, anticipated nothing less
than a general attack of the collected Canaanites, emboldened by the
discomfiture of the people. From this dejection they were roused by
the Voice of the Captain of the Lord’s Host informing them that the
Israelites themselves were the cause of this defeat; they had not kept
themselves from _the accursed thing_ in the devoted city of Jericho,
but had taken and concealed a portion of the spoil, nor till atonement
was made for this sin, could they expect any further success to attend
their arms.

On the morrow, therefore, all Israel was assembled by their tribes,
and an appeal was made to the sacred Lot to discover the offender. The
tribe of Judah having been taken, its clans, families, and households
were successively led forth, and at length the transgressor was
found in the person of ACHAN, the son of Carmi. Adjured by Joshua
to make a full confession, he owned that from the spoils of Jericho
he had secretly set aside a richly ornamented Babylonish or Assyrian
robe[149], 200 shekels of silver, and a solid wedge of gold weighing
50 shekels, and had hidden them in the ground under his tent. Thither
messengers were sent, and there the stolen property was found, and
spread before the assembled host. Achan was then taken to a valley
south or south-west of Jericho, and there stoned to death, together
with his sons, his daughters, and all his family; their remains
together with his tent, the stolen property, and all his possessions
were then burnt with fire, while a great mound of stones was set up
over the scene of the execution, and the valley was henceforth known
as that of Achor (_trouble_).

The host was now in a position to resume the attack upon Ai.
Selecting[150] 30,000 men from his forces, Joshua set out from Gilgal,
and on reaching the neighbourhood of the city detached 5,000 men
to place themselves during the night in ambush behind it. Meanwhile
he himself, with the rest of his army, took up his position on an
eminence near the north side of the town. Early the following morning
he descended into the valley, and the king of Ai no sooner detected
them than he advanced with all his forces to the encounter. Thereupon
the Israelites feigned a retreat, and were hotly pursued by their foes
towards the desert of the Jordan[151], while at the signal of Joshua’s
uplifted spear the ambuscade rushed into Ai and set it on fire. The
smoke of their city ascending up to heaven was the first announcement
to the inhabitants of the success of the stratagem practised by the
Israelites. Attacked before and behind they were utterly routed,
and their whole population, numbering 12,000, were put to the sword.
The city itself was sacked and burnt, and its king having been taken
prisoner was hanged upon a tree till sunset, when the body was taken
down, and a huge heap of stones was piled up over his grave.

After this signal victory the Israelitish leader determined to take
advantage of the terror which the success of his arms had inspired in
the hearts of the Canaanites, and carry out the command of Moses[152]
touching the ratification of the Law with imposing and solemn
ceremonies, on the mountains Ebal and Gerizim (Deut. xxvii.). From Ai,
to the north of which the host had already advanced, Ebal was about
20 miles distant. Thither accordingly the host repaired; an altar of
unhewn stones was erected, and burnt-offerings and peace-offerings were
sacrificed to Jehovah. The stones were then plastered with lime, and
the words of the Law, probably the Ten Commandments, or the Blessings
and Cursings contained in Deut. xxvii. inscribed thereon[153]. Half of
the assembled tribes then ascended the summit of Ebal, the other half
that of Gerizim. In the intermediate valley[154] stood the priests and
Levites with the Ark, surrounded by the elders, officers, and judges,
with Joshua at their head. Of the blessings and cursings of the Law
each was then read aloud by the Levites, and as they read, to each
curse the six tribes on Ebal responded with a unanimous loud _Amen_,
and to each blessing the assembled thousands on Gerizim similarly
testified their acquiescence[155].

On their return from this solemn ratification of the Covenant the
Israelites assembled at Gilgal[156]. Here they were met by an embassy
from GIBEON, now _El-Jib_. It was a royal city, situated exactly
“opposite the opening of the pass of Ai,” inhabited by the commercial
Hivites, and was at this time the head of a small group of confederate
cities, _Chephirah_, _Beeroth_, and _Kirjath-jearim_ (Josh. ix. 17).
Alarmed by the successes of Joshua, the Canaanite kings of the hills,
the valleys, and the sea-coast had mustered their forces for a general
attack upon him. In this the Gibeonites had resolved to take no part,
but determined if possible to make a league with the Israelites. For
this purpose they sent ambassadors arrayed in old and tattered garments
and clouted shoes, carrying old sacks upon their asses, dry and mouldy
bread, and goat-skin bottles patched and shrivelled, the better to keep
up the appearance of being toil-worn travellers from a far country
(Josh. ix. 3–13).

Completely deceived by this wily embassage, without waiting to take
counsel of the Lord, Joshua and the princes concluded a covenant with
them, and solemnly swore that they would spare their lives. Within
three days, however, they arrived in the midst of their cities, and
ascertained that instead of being very far off, they were their near
neighbours. Loud was the murmuring of the people against their chiefs,
when they saw how they had been duped. But the latter nobly determined
to abide by their oaths, and in place of putting the Gibeonites to
death reduced them to the condition of bondmen, and made them _hewers
of wood and drawers of water_ for the congregation, and for the altar
of the Lord[157].

Meanwhile news of the capitulation of Gibeon having reached the ears of
the southern kings, they resolved to attack the recreant city, and five
powerful chiefs, the king of JEBUS, the king of HEBRON or KIRJATH-ARBA,
the king of JARMUTH, the king of LACHISH, the king of EGLON, marched
against it, and commenced a regular siege. In their alarm the
Gibeonites sent an urgent message to Joshua at Gilgal, bidding him
_slack not his hand_, but come to their aid with the utmost speed, and
deliver them from their powerful foes. Perceiving that not a moment was
to be lost, Joshua instantly arrayed all his forces, and by a forced
march suddenly burst upon the Amorite kings, as they lay encamped
before the city. Unable to offer any effectual resistance to this
utterly unexpected attack, they were helpless before the Hebrew leader,
and _the Lord who fought for Israel_. Numbers were slaughtered at
Gibeon itself, numbers fled along the rocky ascent leading to Upper
Beth-horon (_the house of Caves_), about four miles distant. Hence,
however, they were chased by the triumphant Israelites along the rough
descent leading to Lower Beth-horon, and thence to Azekah and Makkedah,
when a terrific storm burst forth; _the Lord thundered out of heaven_
and _cast down great hailstones_ upon the flying Canaanites, _so
that they were more which died with the hailstones than they whom the
children of Israel slew with the sword_ (Josh. x. 11). Standing on
the summit of Upper Beth-horon[158], Joshua watched the foe flying in
helpless confusion towards the western lowlands. The Lord had already
delivered them into his hands, and time only was needed to render the
rout complete and enable his forces to _avenge themselves_ on their
enemies. But the day was far advanced, and he feared the Canaanites
might yet make good their escape. _In the sight_, then, _of all Israel_,
he cried, _Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon, and thou, Moon, in the
valley of Ajalon_ (_the place of deer_ or _gazelles_). And the Lord,
who fought for Israel, hearkened to the voice of His servant: _the
sun stood still, and the moon stayed_, and in the lengthened afternoon
the pursuit was continued without pause or rest. Arrived at Makkedah,
somewhere in the Shephelah or maritime plain, the five kings hid
themselves in a well-known cave[159] shaded by trees. But thither
also the tide of battle brought the triumphant Joshua, who bade his
followers only pause _to roll great stones to the mouth of the cave,
and set men by it for to keep them_. Longer he would not tarry; intent
upon the pursuit he urged his forces to smite the hindmost of their
foes, and prevent their escaping into their cities. His words were
obeyed, nor till they had made an end of slaying the Canaanites with
a great slaughter did the pursuers return to Makkedah. Here a camp was
formed, and the mouth of the cave having been opened, the five kings
were dragged forth in the sight of Joshua and all the men of Israel.
As they lay prostrate upon the ground, the Israelite leader bade the
captains of the men of war put their feet on their necks, and then
smote them, and slew them, and hanged them upon five trees, until
the evening. Then, as the sun went down upon that memorable day, like
which was _no day before or after it_, they were taken down, and flung
into the cave where they had vainly tried to conceal themselves, great
stones were once more rolled to its mouth, and the royal sepulchre was
closed (Josh. x. 16–27).

Such was the issue of the eventful battle of Beth-horon. It sealed the
fate of every important city of southern Palestine. One after another,
Makkedah and Libnah, Lachish and Eglon, Hebron and Debir fell before
the victorious Israelites. From one captured city they passed on to
another conquering and to conquer, till they had smitten _all the
country of the hills and of the south, and of the vale, and of the
springs_ from Kadesh-Barnea in the southern desert to the central plain
of Esdraelon (Josh. x. 41).

                             CHAPTER III.

                   JOSH. XI.–XXI.   B.C. 1450–1444.

INTELLIGENCE of the decisive battle of Beth-horon before long reached
the ears of that powerful chief in northern Palestine, who has been
already mentioned, JABIN, _the Wise_, whose capital Hazor was the
principal fortress in that part of the country. Determined to make a
last effort to defeat the Israelites he rallied round his standard[160]
not only the chiefs in his own immediate neighbourhood, but from the
plains south of the sea of Galilee, or, as it was then called, _the sea
of Chinnereth_, from the valley of the Jordan, the maritime plain of
Dor, and the as yet unconquered fortress of Jebus.

Again encouraged by the Lord with the promise of a decisive victory,
Joshua did not shrink from encountering this formidable confederacy.
Setting forth on a forced march, he burst upon the combined armies
of the northern chiefs, as they were encamped by the waters of Merom.
As before, his attack was irresistible. The Lord delivered the vast
hosts of the foe into the hands of Israel, who smote them with great
slaughter, and chased them as far as the friendly city of great Zidon
on the west, and the valley of Mizpeh on the east. This was the first
occasion on which the Israelites encountered the horses and iron
chariots of the Canaanites. According to the special command of their
leader (Josh. xi. 6), they cut the ham-strings of their horses, so as
to render them unfit for further use, and burnt the chariots with fire.
Hazor, the stronghold of Jabin, was captured and burnt, its king and
all its inhabitants were put to the sword, the flocks and herds only
being reserved as spoil for the people.

The battle of Merom was the last of Joshua’s recorded engagements, but
a long war, considered to have lasted nearly seven years, now occupied
his energies, during which he proved his fidelity to the instructions
given by the great Lawgiver of the nation. _As the Lord commanded Moses
His servant, so did Moses command Joshua, and so did Joshua_, till by
the time he had completed his campaigns, six nations and thirty-one
kings had swelled the roll of his triumphs (Josh. xi. 18–23; xii. 24).

At length, when he was old and stricken in years, he was commanded to
divide the conquered territory among the nine tribes and the half tribe
of Manasseh.

The mode adopted was twofold.

1. In some cases individual chiefs claimed particular spots on the
score of their own prowess, or putting themselves at the head of armed
predatory expeditions conquered certain portions with the sword. The
chief instance of this was afforded by the aged compeer of Joshua,
CALEB the son of Jephunneh, who now won distinction and renown for his
own tribe of Judah. Forty-five years had elapsed since as one of the
twelve spies in company with Joshua he had come down the _Valley of the
Cluster_ to Hebron, the fortress of the giant Arba, where they gathered
the enormous bunch of Syrian grapes. On that memorable day Moses had
rewarded his eminent faithfulness by promising him the _land whereon
his feet had trod as an inheritance for himself and his children for
ever_ (Num. xiv. 23, 24; Josh. xiv. 9). This winding _Valley_, then,
_of the Cluster_, this _mountain_ (Josh. xiv. 12) on which rose the
stronghold of the Anakims, was the portion Caleb desired for himself,
and hence with the Divine aid he vowed to drive forth its gigantic
possessors, and take it for his own.

Joshua willingly granted his request, and the great warrior of the
tribe of Judah went up against the city of Arba, and drove out the sons
of Anak, Sheshai, Ahiman, and Talmai. Thence he proceeded southward to
DEBIR or Kirjath-sephir[161], _the City of Books_, probably a sacred
oracular place, and promised to give to its successful assailant his
daughter Achsah in marriage. Thereupon OTHNIEL his nephew, or according
to others his younger brother, attacked and took the fortress, and won
the promised prize. On the way to Othniel’s house, Achsah dismounted
from the ass on which she rode, and begged her father to give her some
“better heritage than the dry and thirsty frontier of the desert.”
Below the spot on which rose the newly captured fortress was a bubbling
rivulet, falling into a rich valley. _Thou hast given me_, said she,
_a south land, give me also the bubbling rills_, and he gave her _the
upper and lower bubblings_, and thus Hebron and Debir with the rich
valley below became the inheritance of the great warrior of Judah, and
was long after known by his name (1 Sam. xxv. 3; xxx. 14).

2. But the more general mode of dividing the conquered land, in
accordance with the Divine instructions, was by casting lots before the
Tabernacle at Shiloh[162], in the presence of Joshua, the High-priest,
and the elders of the nation. As the distribution of the tribes of
REUBEN, GAD, and the half-tribe of MANASSEH on the east of the Jordan
has been already described, we may confine ourselves to those on the
western side, under the threefold division of (a) _The South_, (b) _the
Centre_, (c) _the North_.

                           (a) _The South._

  i. The most southerly frontier was assigned first to Judah but
  afterwards to SIMEON (Josh. xix. 9), and is often called in
  Scripture _the South_ (Josh. x. 40; Judg. i. 9). Like Reuben on
  the east of Jordan, Simeon was destined to have little influence
  on the subsequent history, to be _divided in Jacob and scattered
  in Israel_ (Gen. xlix. 5–7), and to be constantly exposed to
  the attacks of the Amalekites and other nomadic tribes on its
  frontier (comp. 1 Chron. iv. 39–43).

  ii. Next to Simeon on the North was the territory of the lion
  tribe of JUDAH, comprising the undulating pasture country of the
  South, the fertile lowland of the West, the hill fortresses of
  the centre, and the wild desert bordering on the Dead Sea. Part
  of his inheritance was fertile, and covered with corn fields and
  vineyards (Gen. xlix. 11), part was a wild country, “the lair
  of savage beasts,” where amidst caverns, ravines and mountains,
  Judah, true to the description in the blessing of Jacob, could
  _stoop down and couch as a lion_, guarding the southern frontier
  of the Promised Land.

  iii. North-east of Judah was the warlike little tribe (Ps.
  lxviii. 27; 1 Sam. ix. 21) of BENJAMIN, famous for its archers
  (2 Sam. i. 22), slingers (Judg. xx. 16), and left-handed
  warriors (Judg. iii. 15; xx. 16). Its territory was small, being
  hardly larger than the county of Middlesex, but its position
  was of great importance. Containing numerous rounded hills[163],
  which presented favourable sites for strong fortresses, it
  commanded the chief passes leading down from the central hills
  to the Jordan on the one side, and the plains of Philistia on
  the other. In this broken and hilly country the tribe became
  warlike and indomitable, _ravening as a wolf_ (Gen. xlix. 27).

  iv. Compressed into the narrow space between the north-western
  hills of Judah and the Mediterranean was the tribe of DAN,
  containing within the 14 miles from Joppa to Ekron one of the
  most fertile tracts in the land, the corn-field and garden of
  southern Palestine. But for this rich prize it had to contend
  first with the Amorites (Judg. i. 34), and afterwards with the
  Philistines (Judg. xiv. &c.), and eventually, as we shall see,
  was obliged to seek a new home in the North (Judg. xviii. 27–29).

                           (b) _The Centre._

  The central portion of the Holy Land, the _Samaria_ of after
  ages, was assigned to the two brother tribes of the _house of
  Joseph_, EPHRAIM and MANASSEH. Of this territory, which may
  be roughly estimated at 55 miles from E. to W., and 70 from
  N. to S., and which was about equal in extent to the counties
  of Norfolk and Suffolk combined[164], (i) the more southerly
  portion was assigned to Joshua’s own tribe of EPHRAIM. It
  extended as far south as Ramah and Bethel within a few miles
  of Jerusalem, and was rich in fountains and streamlets, in
  “wide plains in the hearts of mountains, and continued tracts
  of vegetation,” in corn-fields and orchards, _the precious
  things of the earth and the fulness thereof_, which the Lawgiver
  invoked on _the ten thousands of Ephraim_ (Deut. xxxiii. 13–17),
  and of whose father Jacob had said that he should be _a fruitful
  bough, a fruitful bough by a well_ (Gen. xlix. 22). (ii) And
  as the duty of guarding the northern outposts on the east of
  Jordan had been assigned to one half of the tribe of MANASSEH,
  so to the remaining half on the west was assigned the duty
  of defending the passes into the great plain of Jezreel. Its
  territory stretched westwards to the Mediterranean and the
  slopes of Carmel, but did not quite reach the Jordan on the East.

                           (c) _The North._

  The northern portion of the Holy Land, the _Galilee_ of after
  times, extending from the range of Carmel to the mountains
  of Lebanon, was assigned to four tribes “allied by birth, and
  companions on the desert march,” ISSACHAR, ZEBULUN, ASHER, and

  i. The territory of ISSACHAR lay above that of Manasseh, and
  exactly consisted of the plain of Esdraelon (the Greek form of
  the Hebrew _Jezreel_, = _the seed-plot of God_). The luxuriance
  of this plain,――the battle-field of Palestine[165]――is the theme
  of every traveller. The soil yielded corn and figs, wine and
  oil (1 Chr. xii. 40), the stately palm waved over the villages,
  and the very weeds to this day testify to its extraordinary
  fertility. Here Issachar rejoiced in his _tents_ (Deut. xxxiii.
  18, 19), couched down as the strong he-ass (Gen. xlix. 14, 15)
  used for burden and field-work, and seeing that _rest was good,
  and the land that it was pleasant, bowed his shoulder to bear,
  and became a servant to the tribute_, which various marauders,
  Canaanites (Judg. iv. 3, 7), Midianites, Amalekites (Judg. vi.
  3, 4), Philistines (1 Sam. xxix. 1; xxxi. 7–10) exacted, bursting
  through his frontier open both on the east and west, and tempted
  by his luxuriant crops[166].

  ii. Immediately north of Issachar was the allotment of ZEBULUN,
  extending from the _Sea of Chinnereth_[167] (afterwards _the
  Lake of Gennesareth_) on the east, towards the Mediterranean on
  the west. Besides the fertile plain near the fisheries of the
  lake, this tribe possessed the _goings out_ (Deut. xxxiii. 18),
  the outlet of the plain of Akka, where it could _suck of the
  abundance of the seas_.

  iii. The land of NAPHTALI stretched from the Sea of Chinnereth
  to the valley which separates the ranges of Lebanon and
  Anti-Lebanon, and was one of the most densely wooded districts
  of the country; its forests surpassed even those of Carmel,
  and the land has been described as a “natural park of oaks and
  terebinths.” Its soil also was rich and fertile, _full with the
  blessing of the Lord_ (Deut. xxxiii. 23).

  iv. To the West of Naphtali and resting on the sea-shore was
  the lot of the tribe of ASHER. It was an important position,
  including the creeks and harbours (Judg. v. 17, 18) on the coast,
  and commanding all approaches to Palestine from the sea on the
  north. Its soil was pre-eminently fertile, and well fulfilled
  the blessings of Jacob and Moses. Here Asher could dip his foot
  in the _oil_ of his luxuriant olive-groves (Deut. xxxiii. 24),
  fatten on the _bread_, the fruit of his rich plains, and the
  _royal dainties_ (Gen. xlix. 20), the produce of his vineyards
  and pastures, while _for_ or _under his shoes_ (Deut. xxxiii. 25)
  was the _iron_ ore of Lebanon, and the _brass_, or copper, of
  the neighbouring Phœnician settlements[168].

  One tribe alone received no share in this allotment. Like Simeon,
  but in a different sense, the tribe of LEVI was to be _divided
  in Jacob and scattered in Israel_ (Gen. xlix. 7). Devoted to the
  service of the sanctuary and sacrificial and other ministrations,
  this tribe depended for its maintenance on the tithes of the
  produce of land and cattle (Num. xviii.); but besides this,
  from each tribe, four cities and their suburban pastures, or
  forty-eight in all, were set apart for it, and amongst these
  were included the _six cities of Refuge_, three on each side of
  the Jordan,

                            _On the West._

                      1. _Kedesh_ in Naphtali.
                      2. _Shechem_ in Mt Ephraim.
                      3. _Hebron_ in Judah.

                            _On the East._

                      4. _Golan_ in Bashan.
                      5. _Ramoth-Gilead_ in Gad.
                      6. _Bezer_ in Reuben.

The division of the Promised Land being thus concluded, and his own
inheritance having been assigned to him at Timnath-serah in Mount
Ephraim, where he built a city and settled amongst the people he had
led so prudently, Joshua summoned the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the
half tribe of Manasseh, and having commended them for their bravery
and fidelity, gave them his blessing, and bade them return to their
own settlements beyond the Jordan (Josh. xxii. 1–6).

Accordingly these tribes departed. But while yet on the western side
of the river they set up a great Altar, not indeed for burnt-offering
or for sacrifice, which could only be presented at the Brazen Altar of
the Tabernacle at Shiloh (Lev. xvii. 8, 9; Deut. xii. 4–29), but as a
standing witness to all generations, that though parted by that river,
they were not sundered in religion or national interests from their
western brethren. No sooner, however, was the erection of this altar
announced to the other tribes, than they assembled at Shiloh, and
made war upon their brethren, whom they deemed guilty of apostasy. But
first, they prudently resolved to send an embassy, with Phinehas and
ten princes at its head, to try the effect of a friendly expostulation.
Phinehas accordingly set out and laid before them the complaint of
their brethren. What trespass, he asked, was this of which they were
guilty in building this altar? Had they forgotten the judgments the
nation had incurred by their sin in the matter of Baal-Peor, or the
trouble the nation suffered in consequence of the trespass of Achan?
What, then, did they mean by this turning away from following the Lord,
and exposing the whole people to His deserved wrath?

Startled at this suspicion of faithlessness, the two tribes and a
half reiterated the most solemn protestations of their innocence. The
Altar they had erected was not intended for any sacrificial purposes
whatsoever. It was simply an Altar of Memorial, a Testimony to future
generations that they had the same part and lot in the interests of
the nation as their brethren on the west of Jordan. Even the zealous
Phinehas could not but be satisfied with this explanation. It was
no apostasy or rebellion, but at the worst an error in judgment. And
the embassy returned with the joyful intelligence that there were no
grounds for a quarrel or an appeal to arms, while the two tribes and a
half, having named the altar ED, or a Witness, continued their journey
to their eastern homes, where they settled down in the territories
assigned them by Moses.

And now at length the land had rest. The tribes east and west of Jordan
established themselves in _the lands of the heathen, and inherited
the labour of the people_ (Ps. cv. 44). Before long Joshua, already
stricken in age, became aware that the day was at hand when he must go
the way of all the earth. Summoning, therefore, the tribes of Israel,
with their elders, their judges, and their officers to Shechem, a spot
consecrated by the remains of Joseph (Josh. xxiv. 33), and the national
acceptance of the blessings and cursings of the law (Josh. viii. 30–35),
he for the last time exhorted the nation to faithfulness to Jehovah.
He reviewed their history from the day that their fathers dwelt on the
other side of the Euphrates in the old time until now, when the Lord
had given them cities which they builded not, vineyards and oliveyards
which they planted not. The call of Abraham, the descent of Jacob into
Egypt, the wonders of the Exodus, the desert wanderings, the conquest
of the Amorites on the east of Jordan, of the Canaanites on this, all
these great events in their history were reviewed, and then the aged
Chief solemnly bade them choose whom they would serve, Jehovah who had
done so great things for them, or the gods of their fathers and of the
nations in whose land they dwelt. Thereupon the people solemnly renewed
the Covenant they had before made on the same spot, and as an abiding
memorial of their promise Joshua set up a Stone Pillar under a sacred
oak of Abraham and Jacob[169], and wrote out the words of the Covenant
in the _Book of the Law of God_ (Josh. xxiv. 26). This done, he bade
every man depart unto his inheritance, and shortly afterwards, at the
age of 110, this devout, blameless, fearless warrior died, and was
buried in the border of his inheritance in Timnath-serah[170] (Josh.
xxiv. 30).

                               BOOK VII.

                         PERIOD OF THE JUDGES.

                              CHAPTER I.

                      JUDG. I.   B.C. CIRC. 1425.

THE position of the Israelites at the death of Joshua was eminently
favourable. A nation of freemen, entrusted at Sinai with the “Oracles
of God,” they were now in possession of the Promised Land. Though their
late leader had not appointed any successor to those extraordinary
functions he had retained throughout his life, a complete form of
government had always obtained amongst them ever since they became a
nation in Egypt. This was mainly kept up by the chiefs of the several
tribes, the heads of the great families or clans, and the heads of
houses. (Comp. Josh. viii. 33; xxiii. 2; xxiv. 1.) God Himself was
their King, and in a sensible and living presence manifested Himself at
the Tabernacle now set up at Shiloh, and revealed His will through the
mediation of the High-priest.

But though their position was one of great privileges and blessings,
it was none the less one of trial and probation. The purposes for
which the Vine of Israel had been called out of Egypt (Ps. lxxx. 8) and
planted in this goodly land could not be fulfilled without trouble and
exertion. There were enemies without and within their newly-acquired
territory, ready at the first opportunity to attempt its recovery
from their hands. If they were secure from their old oppressors
the Egyptians, yet on the south and south-east the Midianites and
Amalekites were only too likely to attack a people, whose late
victories must have been a continual source of jealousy; while on the
north-east were formidable chiefs, who might, as in the days of their
forefather Abraham[171], sweep down upon the country beyond the Jordan,
and grievously harass the eastern tribes. Moreover, extensive as the
conquests of Joshua had been, they had not achieved nor were they
intended to achieve the entire extirpation of the Canaanites. The
conquered population retained large tracts and important positions in
the very heart of the country. The Philistines retained the fertile
plain of the Shephelah in the south-west; the almost impregnable
fortress of Jebus still remained unconquered on the very border of
Judah; well nigh the entire sea-coast from Dor to Sidon was in the
hands of the Phœnicians; the strong towns of Beth-shean, of Taanach,
and Megiddo were still held by the Canaanites in the fertile plain
of Jezreel; while on the north still lingered formidable remnants of
the great confederacy under Jabin. These nations had _not been driven
out hastily_, but had been left to test and prove the fidelity of the
generation that _had not known the wars of Canaan_ (Judg. ii. 22), and
the duty of subjugating them had been solemnly enforced by Joshua in
his last address to the assembled tribes (Josh. xxiii. 5–10).

Accordingly we find that all the days of the elders that outlived
Joshua, the nation did not forget its vocation, but carried on the work
to which it had been called (Judg. ii. 7).

1. Thus _Judah_, whose conquest of Hebron and its vicinity has been
already related, in alliance with the neighbouring tribe of Simeon,
attacked Bezek, slew 10,000 of its Canaanite and Perizzite inhabitants,
and captured its ferocious king Adoni-bezek, whose cruel mutilation of
seventy vassal princes gives us an insight into the character of the
native chiefs, whom Israel was commissioned to expel (Judg. i. 6, 7).
As he had done to others, so Judah did to him. They _cut off his thumbs
and his great toes_, and carried him captive to Jerusalem, _i.e._
to the Lower City, which was taken, and set on fire. But the Upper
City resisted all their efforts, as afterwards those of the tribe of
Benjamin (Judg. i. 21[172]). They were more successful, however, in
other places, and reduced numerous cities of the Canaanites in the
central mountains, the southern desert, and the low country of the west
(Judg. i. 17, 18).

2. The powerful house of _Joseph_ was not behind-hand in following the
example of the lion-tribe of Judah. They sent spies to descry the town
of Luz, who seeing a man coming from thence, seized him, but consented
to spare his life and that of his family on condition that he shewed
them the entrance, on ascertaining which, they smote the place with
the edge of the sword. Thus in addition to Shechem, the house of
Joseph became possessed of another spot consecrated by the most sacred
associations, even the town, near which was the stone Pillar their
father Jacob had set up on his way to Padan-Aram, and called the
place Beth-el, _the House of God_ (Judg. i. 22–26). But they were not
similarly successful in expelling the Canaanites from Gezer near lower
Beth-horon (Judg. i. 29), or from their strongholds in the plain of
Jezreel, Taanach, Megiddo, and Beth-shean. Instead of utterly driving
them out, they put them under tribute, as also the Amorites, who
succeeded in thrusting the children of Dan from the fertile lowland of
the sea-coast into the mountains, to be themselves dispossessed in turn
by the Philistines (Judg. i. 34, 35).

3. Similar declensions from the strict line of duty marked the conduct
of other tribes. _Zebulun_ contented itself with merely imposing
tribute on the nations within its borders; _Asher_ made no attempt to
expel the powerful Phœnicians on the sea-coast from Accho to Zidon,
or from their more inland settlements; and _Naphtali_ spared the
inhabitants of the fenced cities of Beth-shemesh and Beth-anath
(Judg. i. 30–33). This neglect of an obvious duty soon led to worse
results. Contrary to the express commands of the Law, and the repeated
exhortations of Moses and Joshua, the Israelites began to make leagues
with the heathen nations. Leagues with nations led to marriages with
individuals, and these to their natural consequences. Their new
relatives invited the Israelites to their idolatrous festivals, where
the consecrated licentiousness gratified their sensual appetites, and
before long there _arose a generation, which knew not the Lord, nor yet
the works which He had done for Israel_ (Judg. ii. 10). Forgetting Him
who had done so great things for them, they bowed themselves to strange
gods, and practised the worst abominations, even sacrificing their
sons and their daughters to Baal and Ashtaroth (Ps. cvi. 37, 38; Judg.
ii. 13).

This gradual spread of idolatry, and as a natural consequence, of
moral and social degeneracy, is strikingly illustrated by two incidents
recorded in the last five chapters of the Book of Judges, which seem to
have been inserted for this very purpose as a kind of appendix to that

                              CHAPTER II.

                  JUDG. XVII.–XXI.   B.C. CIRC. 1406.

THERE was living about twenty years after the death of Joshua in
Mount Ephraim in central Palestine a man named MICAH, whose mother
one day lost 1100 shekels of silver. So terrible was the curse she
imprecated on the thief, that her son in alarm confessed that he had
abstracted the money. Instead of reproaching him, his mother thereupon
informed him that she had dedicated this sum, probably the savings of
a lifetime[174], to the Lord, to make a graven and a molten image. Upon
this Micah restored the money to his mother, who sent 200 shekels to
a founder for the purpose of fashioning the idol. When made, it was
set up in Micah’s house, and he consecrated one of his sons as priest,
and arrayed him in a sacred vestment, probably made in imitation
of the ephod of the High-priest. Not satisfied, however, with the
ministrations of his son, on the arrival of a young Levite of Bethlehem
in Judæa, travelling, probably, in search of employment as a teacher of
the Law, he persuaded him also to become his priest, and agreed to give
him 10 shekels of silver a-year, suitable sacerdotal vestments, and his
living. On these terms the Levite was content to dwell with him, became
his priest, and _was unto him as one of his sons_.

Soon after this it happened that the tribe of Dan being still hard
pressed by the Amorites[175], and desirous of an addition to their
territory, sent five spies from two towns in the low country to
discover a new and advantageous settlement. The spies set out, and
on their way came to Mount Ephraim, where they obtained a lodging
in the house of Micah. Recognizing the voice of the young Levite,
they enquired the cause of his presence there, and on ascertaining
the position he held, begged him to ask counsel of Jehovah as to the
success of their expedition. The Levite did so, and the answer was
propitious. Thereupon the spies resumed their journey, and tracking the
Jordan to its source beyond the waters of Merom, came to an eminence
on which rose the town of Laish (_Tell el-Kâdy_), a colony from Sidon,
whose inhabitants, “separated from their mother-city[176] by the huge
mass of Lebanon and half of Anti-Lebanon,” _dwelt quiet and secure_
(Judg. xviii. 7) in the enjoyment of the warm climate and exquisite
scenery, and tilling the fertile soil irrigated by many streams.

The spies marked the spot, and on their return bade their brethren
arise, and take possession of a place _where there was no want of
anything that is in the earth_ (Judg. xviii. 10). Upon this, six
hundred Danites from Zorah and Eshtaol girded on their weapons of war,
and went up and encamped at a spot behind Kirjath-jearim, which though
it belonged to Judah, they named Mahaneh-Dan, or _the Camp of Dan_.
Thence they ascended into the mountain-range of Ephraim, and like the
spies before them, drew near the house of Micah. Informed that here
there was an ephod and teraphim, a graven image and a molten image, the
six hundred warriors took their stand by the gateway leading into the
court, and engaged the Levite in conversation, while the spies ascended
into the sanctuary, and stole away the images with the sacerdotal
vestments. On re-appearing, the Levite tried to expostulate, but was
speedily bidden to hold his peace, and without much difficulty suffered
himself to be persuaded that it would be better to accompany them,
and instead of being a priest unto one man, to become a priest _unto a
tribe and a family in Israel_ (Judg. xviii. 19). With such secrecy was
their departure effected, that the Danites had got a good way from the
house of Micah, before the latter became aware of the grievous wrong he
had sustained. Gathering together the inhabitants of the houses, which
had gradually clustered round his idolatrous sanctuary, he pursued
after the roving warriors. But it was in vain that he gave vent to his
grief and rage. The spoilers only mocked him, and bade him take care he
did not lose his life as well as his gods; consequently he was fain to
return to his rifled sanctuary, while the six hundred held on their way

Reaching the source of the Jordan far up in the northern mountains,
they found the town of Laish just as the spies had described it. Far
from its mother-city, the careless colony had no deliverer in its
hour of peril. Without warning the spoilers burst upon it, scaled
its walls, set it on fire, and massacred its inhabitants, men, women
and children without mercy. They afterwards rebuilt it, called it
_Dan after the name of Dan their father_, and there set up the images
they had taken from Micah. There too the young Levite, who, it seems,
was no unimportant personage, but no other than Jonathan, the son of
Gershom, the son of the great lawgiver Moses[177], ministered at this
new sanctuary, and his descendants remained till the Captivity (Judg.
xviii. 14–31).

If any proof were wanting of the association of religious with moral
declension at this period, it is supplied by the biography of another
Levite, which is also given in these concluding chapters of the Book of

2. This Levite, who, like the other, dwelt on the edge of Mount Ephraim,
took him a concubine out of Bethlehem-Judah, who proved faithless, and
returned to her father’s house. On this her husband went in quest of
her, and was received by her father with true Eastern hospitality. As
the fifth day declined after his arrival, resisting the importunities
of his father-in-law who would have had him stay longer, he rose up
to return, and as night fell drew near the town of Jebus, which still
remained in the hands of its Canaanite inhabitants. Rejecting the
advice of his servant to lodge there during the night, he pressed on,
and it was already dark when he reached Gibeah in Benjamin.

As he was sitting in the streets of the town awaiting an offer of
shelter, an old man approached coming from his work in the fields. His
home, too, was in Mount Ephraim, but he was sojourning at Gibeah, and
taking compassion on the homeless condition of the Levite he brought
him into his house, and gave him a lodging for the night. As they sat
at meat, certain of the lowest inhabitants of the place set upon the
house, and treated the Levite’s concubine with such violence, that
in the morning when he arose he found her lying dead before the door.
Enraged at this savage act he took her home, and there with his knife
divided her together with her bones into twelve pieces, and sent them
among the twelve tribes. This ferocious summons to vengeance roused
all Israel as one man (Judg. xx. 1). Even the tribes beyond the Jordan
assembled with the rest of their brethren, and 400,000 warriors met at
Mizpeh in Benjamin, a fortified eminence a little to the north of Jebus,
and listened to the Levite while he recounted the dark tale of outrage
(Judg. xx. 2–6).

The recital excited still greater indignation, and all the people _knit
together as one man_ bound themselves by a solemn vow never to return
to their homes till they had taken deep vengeance on the inhabitants
of Gibeah for the disgrace they had brought upon Israel. Messengers
were accordingly sent through the territory of Benjamin demanding their
surrender. This the Benjamites absolutely refused, and making the cause
of Gibeah their own, prepared to encounter the men of Israel with all
their forces, amounting to 26,000, together with the 700 warriors of
Gibeah, chosen men, left-handed, every one of whom _could sling stones
at an hair breadth, and not miss_ (Judg. xx. 16).

In this juncture, instead of consulting the Divine Will whether they
should embark in this war at all, the indignant tribes having already
decided on the campaign only sought to know who should take the lead.
Judah was the tribe indicated by the Divine response, and in the
engagement that ensued, the Israelites were defeated with a loss of
upwards of 22,000 men. On the day following they renewed the attack,
but only to sustain a second reverse and a loss of 18,000 of their
best troops. In the greatest distress at this double defeat, the eleven
tribes assembled at Bethel, fasted the whole day until the evening,
and offered burnt-offerings and peace-offerings before the Lord. Then
Phinehas, who had led the sacred war against the Midianites, enquired
whether a third engagement should be hazarded, and in reply was bidden
to go up, for this time the Lord would deliver Benjamin into their hand
(Judg. xx. 28).

Thereupon it was resolved to repeat the tactics so successful at Ai.
An ambuscade was planted behind Gibeah, and on the descent of the
Benjamites a flight was feigned to draw them from the town towards
a spot, where the road divided into two paths, the one leading to
Bethel, the other to Gibeah-in-the-Field, probably the modern _Jeba_.
Unconscious of their danger the Benjamites suffered themselves to
be decoyed from the town, and slew about 30 of their foes. Meanwhile
the ambuscade arose, and bursting on the defenceless town, put
the inhabitants to the sword. A great pillar of flame and smoke
signalled to the rest of the army the success of the stratagem, and
the Benjamites at last awakened to their danger fled eastward to the
desert region bordering on the Jordan valley. But their foes now turned,
and inclosing them round about (Judg. xx. 43), trode them down, and
slew 25,000.

From this indiscriminate massacre only 600 of the Benjamites effected
their escape to the cliff of Rimmon, an inaccessible natural fortress
situated about 7 miles north-east of Gibeah, and overhanging the wild
region bordering on the Jordan. Here they entrenched themselves for a
space of four months, while the eleven tribes not content with firing
and ravaging every town in the territory of Benjamin, bound themselves
by a vow to abstain from all intermarriage with them. Regret, however,
for the almost entire extinction of a tribe in Israel subsequently
softened their hearts, and by a curious stratagem characteristic of
this troubled period, when there _was no king in Israel_, and _every
man did that which was right in his own eyes_ (Judg. xxi. 25), they
enquired whether any city had failed to take part in the late tribal
war. Thereupon it was discovered that Jabesh-gilead, a city on the
east of the Jordan, had sent no forces to aid their brethren. Thither,
therefore, 12,000 men were despatched, with instructions utterly
to destroy the recreant city and massacre every man and married
woman. This ruthless order was executed to the letter, and the entire
population was put to the sword, save 400 virgins, who were given in
marriage to the remnant of Benjamin. These not sufficing for wives,
the Benjamites took advantage of a yearly festival at the sanctuary of
Shiloh, when the daughters of the place assembled to take part in the
sacred dances, and concealing themselves in the neighbouring vineyards,
burst forth upon the unsuspecting maidens and carried off each one a
wife for himself, with whom they returned, repaired their towns, and
dwelt in them (Judg. xxi. 23–25).

                             CHAPTER III.

                 JUDG. II.–V.   B.C. CIRC. 1406–1296.

THE two incidents just recorded are illustrations of the turbulence and
disorder of the period which followed the death of Joshua and of the
elders that outlived Joshua. Forgetful of their vocation, the Chosen
People intermingled with the heathen Canaanites, conformed to their
rites and customs, and so forfeited the protection and blessing of
their Invisible King. He therefore _delivered them into the hands of
spoilers that spoiled them, He sold them to their enemies round about
... and they were greatly distressed_ (Judg. ii. 14, 15).

But on the first manifestation of repentance, _He regarded their
affliction, He heard their cry_ (Ps. cvi. 44, 45), and raised up
_Deliverers_, who saved them from their enemies. The Hebrew word used
to denote these Deliverers, these Saviours of their country, _Shofet,
Shophetim_[178], and which we have translated _Judge_, is much the same
as the _Suffes, Suffetes_ of the Carthaginians at the time of the Punic
wars. Raised up on extraordinary occasions, like the Dictators in the
history of Rome, they delivered the nation from some pressing danger,
and their power and authority generally terminated with the crisis
which had called them forth. Higher than the princes of the tribes,
vested with extraordinary powers for the emergency, their office was
not hereditary, though we shall see it finally tending in more than
one instance towards fixedness and perpetuity, and in the person of Eli
united with that of the High-priest (Judg. x. 3, 4; xii. 8–14; 1 Sam.
viii. 1–3).

               _Invasion from the North-east. Othniel._

The crisis, which called forth the first of these Deliverers, was the
invasion of the country by _Chushan-rishathaim_, king of Mesopotamia.
From the seat of his dominion between the Euphrates and the Tigris he
extended his conquests so far southward, that the Israelites suffered
grievously from his oppressions for a space of 8 years. At the close
of this period, OTHNIEL, whose valour in attacking Kirjath-sepher
and marriage with the daughter of the famous Caleb have been lately
recorded[179], went out against him and defeated him, and restored rest
to the land for 40 years (Judg. iii. 8–11).

                 _Invasion from the South-east. Ehud._

On his death, the people again fell into idolatry, and the Moabites
under EGLON, aided by their old allies the Ammonites and Amalekites,
crossed the Jordan and seized the ruined site of Jericho. From this
vantage ground, Eglon was enabled to extend his dominion at least
over the tribe of Benjamin, from which, if not from other tribes, he
exacted annual tribute for a space of 18 years. This was brought to him
at Jericho, where he would seem to have constructed a palace. On one
occasion, EHUD, the son of Gera, a Benjamite, was selected to command
the party deputed to carry this proof of subjection. Having executed
his commission, he accompanied his men as far back as the _quarries_,
or rather the _graven images_ at Gilgal (Judg. iii. 19, _margin_),
possibly the idol-temples, with which the Moabites had profaned
the associations of that sacred spot. Thence he turned back, and on
pretence of having a message from God to deliver to him, obtained a
private interview with Eglon, as he sat in his _summer parlour_, or
“parlour of cooling” (Judg. iii. 20, _margin_), probably on the roof
of his house, where he might catch the cool breezes that tempered
the tropical heat of the Jordan valley. On entering, Ehud repeated
the purport of his errand, and Eglon bade the attendants instantly
withdraw. Then as he rose from his seat to meet his visitor, Ehud, who
was left-handed like many of his tribe, drew a long two-edged dagger,
which he had made[180] and hidden under his mantle upon his right thigh
(Judg. iii. 16), and stabbed him with such force as to leave the weapon
in his body. Without lingering a moment, he then shut and locked the
doors of the chamber, and fled “through the porch or gallery that ran
round the roof[181],” and passing beyond Gilgal, made for the wooded,
shaggy, hills of Seirath, in the mountains of Ephraim. There he blew a
horn, and roused the Israelites, who rushed down the hills and followed
him in the direction of Jericho. Meanwhile the attendants had opened
the door of Eglon’s chamber, and beheld the corpse lying on the floor.
Panicstricken at this unexpected death of their leader, and still more
by the sudden rising of the Israelites, the Moabites fled towards the
fords of the Jordan. But the Israelites had been beforehand with them,
and suffering none to cross, slew upwards of 10,000 men.

Rest was now restored at least to the tribe of Benjamin for 80
years, but in the south-west the Philistines, encouraged probably
by the success of the Moabites, made an inroad, and reduced the
Israelites to great straits (Judg. v. 6). But SHAMGAR, the son of
Anath, was raised up to be a deliverer. Armed with nothing but a long
iron-spiked ox-goad[182], he made a sudden and desperate assault upon
the Philistines, and slew 600 of them, thus obtaining a temporary
respite for his people (Judg. iii. 31).

             _Invasion from the North. Deborah and Barak._

But a more terrible invasion was in store for the nation, which again
on the death of Ehud relapsed into idolatry (Judg. iv. 1). This time
the oppressor came from the north, where under a second JABIN, the
Canaanites, whom Joshua had defeated in his memorable victory at the
waters of Merom, had recovered a portion of their former strength. With
his vast hosts, and his 900 chariots of iron commanded by SISERA his
captain, who resided at _Harosheth of the Gentiles_[183], he overran
the country of the neighbouring tribes, Asher, Naphtali and Zebulun.

Such was the general prostration and terror that, as had already
been the case in the days of Shamgar, _the highways were unoccupied_,
and the travellers stole from place to place by _crooked, tortuous
by-paths_ (Judg. v. 6). Village life ceased in Israel, and the
peasantry, abandoning the cultivation of the ground, retired for
refuge to the walled towns. But even here they were not secure. There
was _war in the gates_, the place usually devoted to the administration
of justice, and even _in the places of drawing water the noise of the
archers_ could be heard twanging their terrible bows (Judg. v. 8, 11).
No resistance could be offered, for according to a common policy (1 Sam.
xiii. 19–22) there had been a general disarmament of the people, and
_not a spear or shield was to be seen among forty thousand in Israel_
(Judg. v. 8). The spirit of the nation was completely crushed, and the
second Jabin and Sisera his captain carried on unchecked for upwards
of 20 years those measures, whereby they reduced the Israelites to a
condition of degrading servitude (Judg. iv. 3).

At length, however, a Deliverer appeared. Under a solitary palm-tree
in the mountain-range of Ephraim between Ramah and Bethel, lived a
prophetess named DEBORAH, who was or had been the wife of Lapidoth.
In the failure of all other leaders she was now regarded by the
oppressed people with the utmost reverence, and _they went up to her
for judgment_ (Judg. iv. 5). Like Joan of Arc in after times, her
whole soul was fired with indignation at the sufferings endured by
her people, and at length from Kadesh-naphtali, a City of Refuge,
not far from Jabin’s capital (Josh. xx. 7; xxi. 32), and therefore
peculiarly animated with hostility to the oppressor, she summoned
BARAK[184] (_lightning_) the son of Abinoam. On the strength of a
Divine commission, she then enjoined him to gather 10,000 men from
his own and the neighbouring tribe of Zebulun to the green summit of
Tabor[185], and promised to draw to the river Kishon in the plain of
Esdraelon the great captain of Jabin’s army with his chariots and his
host, and there deliver them into his hand. Barak declined to undertake
the arduous enterprise, unless the Prophetess promised to accompany him.
To this she assented, but distinctly warned him that the expedition
would not be for his honour; as he was thus willing to lean upon a
woman’s aid, so into the hands of a woman would the Lord deliver the
leader of his enemy’s forces.

Leaving her seat of judgment, Deborah then accompanied Barak to
Kedesh, and he employed himself in rousing his own tribe of Naphtali
and that of Zebulun to join in the insurrection. Having at length
gathered 10,000 men around his standard he marched, still attended
by the Prophetess, to the high places of Tabor. There he was joined by
portions of other tribes, whom the influence of Deborah had roused to
take part in the great struggle, consisting of the princes of Issachar,
a body of Ephraimites, and detachments from Benjamin and north-eastern
Manasseh (Judg. v. 14, 15). Other tribes, however, came not thus
zealously _to the help of the Lord against the mighty_. Of the two
maritime tribes, Dan on the south clung to his ships in the port of
Joppa, and Asher forgat the perils of his fellows in the creeks and
harbours of his Phœnician allies (Judg. v. 17). The name of Judah is
not even mentioned among the patriot forces. Amongst the tribes across
the Jordan _great was the debate_ as to the course to be pursued.
Reuben preferred to _abide secure among his sheepfolds_[186], and
to _listen to the bleating of his flocks_, and Gad to _linger beyond
Jordan_ in his grassy uplands (Judg. v. 17). But amidst the wavering
of many hearts, Zebulun and Naphtali remained firm, and prepared _to
jeopardize their lives unto the death_ on the high places of Tabor
(Judg. v. 18).

Meanwhile certain of the Kenites[187], who had separated from the
rest of their tribe in the hill country of Judah (Judg. i. 16), and
now dwelt under the oaks of Zaanaim[188] near Kedesh, informed Sisera
of the sudden movement of Barak towards Tabor (Judg. iv. 11, 12).
Thereupon, without delay he gathered all his forces, and encamped on
the level plain of Esdraelon, between the friendly towns of Taanach
and Megiddo[189], where he was also joined by other Canaanite chiefs
anxious to quell the sudden insurrection (Judg. v. 3, 19).

At length the heroic Deborah gave the encouraging command to Barak,
_Up, for this is the day in which the Lord hath delivered Sisera into
thine hand_. Probably long before it was light[190] the camp of Barak’s
little army was struck, and the patriot tribes rapidly descending the
winding mountain-path fell upon the hosts of Sisera and threw them
into wild confusion. As they fled in utter dismay along the plain,
not only the troops of Barak, but _the stars in their courses_ (Judg.
v. 20), the elements of heaven, began to fight against the Canaanites.
A furious storm of rain and hail[191] gathered from the east, and
bursting right in their faces, rendered useless the bows of their
archers[192], and swelled into a mighty torrent the rivulets, springs,
and spongy marshes near Megiddo. Before long _the ancient torrent_
of the _Kishon_ (_twisted_ or _winding_) rose in its bed, and the
plain became an impassable morass[193]. The chariots of Sisera were
now utterly useless. The hoofs of the horses vainly plunging in the
tenacious mud and swollen streams _were broken by means of their
pransings_ (Judg. v. 22). The torrent of the Kishon, now rushing fast
and furious, _swept them away_, and the strength of the Canaanites _was
trodden down_. Stuck fast, entangled, overwhelmed they could not stand
for a moment before the avenging Barak, and not a man made good his
escape to the city of their great leader, _Harosheth of the Gentiles_,
before their pursuers had smitten them with the edge of the sword (Judg.
iv. 16).

Meantime, while his mother and her attendants were vainly awaiting the
return of his triumphal chariot (Judg. v. 28), Sisera himself fled away
on foot to the friendly tribe of Heber the Kenite beneath the oaks of
Zaanaim, where he hoped for safety from his remorseless pursuers. After
a while he drew near the tent of Jael, Heber’s wife, and chieftainess
of the tribe. She herself had descried him approaching, and went
forth to meet him. _Turn in, my lord_, said she, _turn in to me, fear
not_. And he turned in, and she covered him with a rug or blanket
(Judg. iv. 18). Spent and weary, before he lay down, he asked for a
little water to drink; but she gave him something better than water.
She opened the skin bottle of milk, such as always stands by Arab
tents, she brought forth butter, or “thick curdled milk” in a _lordly
dish_[194], or the bowl used for illustrious strangers, and covered him
again with the rug.

Thus doubly assured of hospitality Sisera bade her deny his presence
if any enquired after him, and then laid him down and slept. But as she
stood at the tent-door, other thoughts than those of kindness towards
the slumbering chief came over Jael. At length taking one of the wooden
sharp-pointed tent-nails in one hand and a mallet in the other, she
went softly unto him, and smote him with such force that the nail
entered into his temples, and fastened his head to the ground, _for
he was fast asleep and weary, and so he died_. Meanwhile the pursuing
Barak drew near. Him too Jael went forth to meet, and taking him within,
showed him his terrible foe, the captain of the nine hundred iron
chariots, lying dead upon the ground, with the nail driven through his

Thus on that day, as the Prophetess had said, God delivered Sisera
into the hand of a woman. Together she and Barak returned from the
battle-field, and chanted responsively a sublime Triumphal Hymn,
celebrating the recent victory over the northern Canaanites, which now
secured to the land rest for 40 years (Judg. v.).

                              CHAPTER IV.

                JUDG. VI.–VIII.   B.C. CIRC. 1256–1249.

AS so often before, the effects of this last great deliverance were
but transitory. Again the Israelites relapsed into idolatry, and in
consecrated groves practised all the abominations that disgraced the
worship of Baal. The national punishment they thus drew down upon
themselves was more severe than anything they had yet endured. Since
the sacred war led by Phinehas against the Midianites[195] (Num. xxxi.
1–13), that people had recovered much of their ancient strength, and
now in concert with the Amalekites, and _the children of the East_
(Judg. vi. 3), or the Arabian tribes beyond the Jordan, they determined
to invade the territory of Israel. Led by two superior chiefs, having
the title of king, ZEBAH and ZALMUNNA, and two inferior chiefs, OREB
and ZEEB (_the Raven and the Wolf_), they poured into the country with
their herds, their flocks, and their camels, like locusts for multitude,
and gradually overran it from the plain of Jezreel down the valley of
the Jordan, and southward as far as Gaza in the fertile Lowlands of
the west. Here they established themselves, destroyed the crops[196],
and for a period of seven years reduced the Israelites to the greatest
straits, so that they left the plains, and fled for refuge to dens or
catacombs, which they cut out of the rocky mountains, to inaccessible
strongholds, and the limestone caves with which Palestine abounds[197]
(Judg. vi. 2).

As so often before, the Deliverer came from the quarter most exposed
to the ravages of the invaders. At Ophrah, in the hills of western
Manasseh, not far from Shechem, and overlooking the plain of Jezreel,
the head-quarters of the Midianitish host, lived a high-born Abi-ezrite,
a descendant of one of the princely families of Manasseh (Josh.
xvii. 2; Num. xxvi. 30), named JOASH. The invasion had brought not only
impoverishment but dire bereavement into his home. In a skirmish near
the heights of Tabor the Midianite kings, Zebah and Zalmunna, had slain
all his noble sons save one, GIDEON (Judg. viii. 18, 19).

On one occasion, as Gideon was threshing wheat, not in the open summer
threshing-floor, but by the winepress[198] near his native Ophrah, to
hide it from the Midianites, an Angel appeared and saluted him with
the words, _The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valour_. In reply
Gideon contrasted the present degraded condition of the nation with the
glorious days when Jehovah brought them out of Egypt, and complained
that He had now deserted them, nor was there any hope of deliverance.
Thereupon the Angel informed him that _he_ was the destined Saviour of
his people, that the Lord would be with him, and that he should _smite
the Midianites as one man_ (Judg. vi. 16). Unable to believe that
such a mission could be designed for himself, Gideon requested a sign
to assure him that the Speaker was a messenger of Jehovah, and by
direction of the Angel made ready a kid, and cakes of unleavened bread,
and presented them under the oak. The Angel then bade him lay the
flesh and unleavened cakes upon the rock and pour the broth over them,
and when he had done so touched them with a rod he bore in his hand.
Instantly there rose up fire from the rock, and consumed the offering,
in the midst of which the Angel suddenly disappeared. The fact that
he had thus been permitted to converse face to face with Deity filled
Gideon with alarm, but the Lord reassured him, and he built an altar
there which he called Jehovah-Shalom, or, the _Lord send Peace_, in
memory of the salutation of the Angel (Judg. vi. 24).

i. Thus solemnly called to be the Deliverer of his countrymen, Gideon
was first commissioned to testify against the idolatrous practices
which had caused the present national degradation. The Lord appeared to
him in a dream, and bade him throw down an altar which his father had
erected in honour of Baal, and cut down a grove he had set up, and then
to build in an orderly manner an altar to Jehovah on the rock where
his meat-offering had been accepted, and sacrifice thereon his father’s
second bullock of seven years old. With the assistance of his servants,
Gideon during the night-time executed this commission, and on the
morrow the townspeople were surprised to find that both altar and grove
had disappeared. Enquiry led to the detection of the offender, and
Joash was bidden to bring forth his son that he might be put to death
for the sacrilege of which he had been guilty. But Joash replied with
much irony that he was truly guilty of impiety who believed that Baal
could not defend himself. _Will ye take upon yourselves_, said he,
_to plead Baal’s cause? let him plead for himself_. A new name, which
Gideon henceforth bore, JERUB-BAAL, or the _Tryer of Baal_, attested
the national acquiescence in the wisdom of his father’s reply (Judg.
vi. 32).

ii. Tried and not found wanting in moral courage, Gideon was now
directed to carry out the second part of his commission. Blowing a
trumpet he first gathered around him his own clan of Abi-ezer, and
then sending messengers throughout Manasseh, Asher, Zebulun, and
Naphtali[199], invited the aid of these tribes against the common
enemy. With characteristic caution, however, he requested a further
sign from Jehovah before actually entering upon his arduous task. A
double sign was vouchsafed to him. A fleece of wool, first dripping
with dew while all the soil around was hot and dry, then dry while
all the soil around was damp, convinced him that the Lord would indeed
deliver Israel by his hand.

By this time upwards of 32,000 of his countrymen had gathered around
him, and with this force he encamped on the slope of Gilboa, near
the spring of Jezreel, henceforth known as the _Spring of_ Harod or
_Trembling_, overlooking the plain of Jezreel covered with the tents of
the Midianites. But the host was too many and too great for God to give
victory thereby. If they were successful with their present numbers
they might vaunt that their own hand had saved them. Proclamation was,
therefore, made that from the _Spring of Trembling_ all who were afraid
to persevere in their arduous enterprise might return to their homes.
Of this permission 22,000 at once availed themselves and went their way.
But another trial was to test the qualifications of the rest. By Divine
command Gideon took the remaining 10,000 of his forces to the spring,
and watched them as they asswaged their thirst. While all the rest
bowed down upon their knees, three hundred _putting their hand to their
mouth, lapped of the water with their tongues as a dog lappeth_ (Judg.
vii. 5, 6).

These three hundred Gideon set by themselves, the rest he sent away.
Night now drew on, and with his little band, like the same famous
number at Thermopylæ, he was left alone on the brow of the steep
mountain which overlooks the vale of Jezreel, where Midian and Amalek
and all the children of the east lay along like locusts for multitude,
their camels gaily caparisoned, numerous as the sand on the seashore
(Judg. vii. 12). To confirm the faith of Gideon in this great crisis,
God now bade him, attended by Phurah his armour-bearer, drop down from
the height where he was, and go to the host of his enemy. Accordingly
the two crept down cautiously from rock to rock[200] in the still
night to the outskirts of the Midianitish tents, where Gideon overheard
a man tell his fellow how he had dreamt a dream, _and lo! a cake
of |common|[200] barley bread tumbled into the host of Midian, and
came unto a tent, and smote it that it fell, and overturned it, that
the tent lay along_. To this recital the other replied, showing the
reputation Gideon had gained even amongst his foes, _This is nothing
else save the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel: into
his hands hath God delivered Midian, and all the host_ (Judg. vii.
13, 14).

The Listener heard the dream and the interpretation, and straightway
knew what he was to do. Returning up the mountain to his faithful three
hundred, he divided them into three companies, and gave to every man a
horn, an earthen pitcher, and a firebrand or torch[201] (Judg. vii. 16,
_margin_) to put therein. Then bidding them follow him, and do exactly
as they saw him do, in the beginning of the middle watch he again stole
down towards the outskirts of the tents of the Midianites, while the
three companies following silently took their places every man round
about the slumbering camp. Then Gideon and his company suddenly blew
their horns, and at this signal 300 horns blew, 300 pitchers crashed,
300 torches blazed, and the always terrible war-cry of the Israelites,
_The Sword of Jehovah and of Gideon_[202], rent the midnight air. In
a moment the Midianites and Amalekites were roused, and thrown into
inextricable confusion and alarm. Amidst the blazing of so many torches,
the crashing of so many pitchers, and the blast of so many trumpets all
on different sides, they imagined themselves attacked by an enormous
force. Filled with uncontrollable terror, they turned their swords
against one another, and then rushed with one accord down the steep
descent towards the Jordan eastward, to Beth-Shittah, _the House of the
Acacia_, and Abel-Meholah, _the Meadow of the Dance_, hotly pursued not
only by the three hundred, but some of the forces of Naphtali, Asher,
and Manasseh, now convinced amidst the returning light of day that
Gideon had indeed achieved a great victory (Judg. vii. 23).

The Midianites hoped to reach the fords of Beth-barah immediately
under the highlands of Ephraim. But Gideon had already sent messengers
thither, and the Ephraimites were not slow to seize the fords and
intercept the flying foe, but not before a considerable body had
already crossed with the two kings, Zebah and Zalmunna. But they were
in time to capture the two inferior chiefs, Oreb and Zeeb, the one
at a sharp cliff, the other at a winepress, where they slew them,
and cutting off their heads hurried after Gideon, who with his three
hundred was already on the other side of the Jordan, _faint yet
pursuing_. Annoyed, now the victory was won, that they had not been
summoned to join in the battle, the haughty Ephraimites chode with
him, and manifested great resentment. With rare self-restraint the
victorious Leader asked what after all he had done in comparison with
them. Pointing to the bloody heads of the princes they had slain, he
enquired whether the _grapes_ Ephraim had already _gleaned_ were not
better than the entire _vintage_ of his little clan of Abi-ezer. This
soft answer turned away the wrath of the offended tribe, and the chase
was renewed (Judg. viii. 1–3).

Two places on the track of the pursuit refused to befriend Gideon. The
men of Succoth[203] on the east of Jordan, near the ford of the torrent
Jabbok, and of Penuel further up the mountains, declined to supply his
nearly exhausted troops with bread, and mocked at him, when he said
he was chasing the kings of Midian. Halting only to threaten them with
vengeance on his return, he hurried on after the enemy. The victorious
Israelites had already slain 120,000, but 15,000 with the two kings had
reached Karkor, far from any towns in the open desert-wastes east of
the Jordan. Here they thought themselves secure, but Gideon ascending
from the valley of the Jordan burst upon them, put them to a complete
rout, and at last captured the two kings, Zebah and Zalmunna.

Then in triumph the conqueror returned down the long defiles leading
to the Jordan, followed by his cavalcade of captives mounted on their
gaily decked camels (Judg. viii. 21). As he passed Penuel he razed to
the ground its lofty watchtower, and slew the men of the city. Reaching
Succoth he obtained from a young man of the place a description of
its 77 head-men, and showed them the captive kings, and then “with
the thorny branches of the neighbouring acacia-groves” he beat them
to death. Then pushing westwards he reached his native Ophrah. There
turning to the captive kings[204] and at length revealing the secret
of this long pursuit, he enquired what manner of men they were whom
they had murdered on the green slopes of Tabor. _As thou art, so were
they_, was the reply, _each one resembled the children of a king_. The
remembrance of his brethren, _the sons of his own mother_, filled the
warrior with wrath. Had they shown mercy to them, he would have spared
his prisoners, but now that could not be. Summoning, therefore, his
firstborn Jether, he bade him draw his sword and slay them. But the boy
quailed before those mighty kings, and at their request Gideon himself
took the sword and slew them, and gathered up the golden chains and
crescent-shaped collars and trappings of their camels (Judg. viii.

The immediate effect upon the nation of this deliverance was greater
than that of any other. Not only had the country quietness for 40
years (Judg. viii. 28), not only did Gideon’s Altar, and the Spring of
Trembling, and the rock Oreb (or the _Raven’s Crag_), and the winepress
of Zeeb remain standing monuments of this great day, when God _made
like a wheel_[205], and drove over the uplands of Gilead _as stubble
before the wind_ (Ps. lxxxiii. 13, 14), like clouds of chaff blown from
the summer threshing-floors, the proud people which had said, _Let us
take to ourselves the pastures of God in possession_ (Ps. lxxxiii. 12),
but for the first time the Israelites offered hereditary royal dignity
to the great conqueror. _Rule thou over us_, said they, _both thou,
and thy son, and thy son’s sons also_. Gideon had the rare self-control
to decline the flattering request. _I will not rule over you_, said he,
_neither shall my son rule over you; Jehovah shall rule over you_. One
request only and a strange one did he make of the grateful tribes, that
they would give him the golden earrings and other ornaments they had
taken from the conquered foe. Willingly into his cloak the people flung
the ornaments, jewels, and chains from the camels’ necks to the weight
of 1700 shekels, and with these Gideon made an ephod, and put it in his
native Ophrah, and all _Israel went a whoring after it_, which thing
became a snare unto Gideon and to his house. Though he declined the
royal dignity, he was addicted to a royal failing. He multiplied wives
and begat 70 sons, and after living to a good old age descended in
peace to the tomb of his father Joash in Ophrah of the Abi-ezrites[206]
(Judg. viii. 32).

                              CHAPTER V.

                       _ABIMELECH AND JEPHTHAH._
                JUDG. IX.–XII.   B.C. CIRC. 1249–1188.

AFTER the death of Gideon, Jehovah, whose minister he had been for
the deliverance of the people, was again forgotten by the Israelites.
Forgetting Gideon, forgetting Him who had sent Gideon, they made
Baal-Berith, _Baal of the Covenant_, their god, and set up his
sanctuary even in Shechem, though hallowed by the memories of the
patriarchs[207] and the solemn ratification of the Law[208].

Meanwhile Gideon’s 70 sons appear to have exercised authority over some
portion of the country. One of them, whose name was ABIMELECH, the son
of a slave a Canaanite native of Shechem, after consultation with his
mother’s brethren and her relatives (Judg. ix. 1), suggested that in
place of the divided authority of his numerous brothers, he, _their
bone and their flesh_ (Judg. ix. 2), should be vested with the supreme
authority. The spirit of clanship was strong. _He is our brother_,
whispered the family to the Shechemites, who at length fell in with the
scheme, and lent Abimelech seventy pieces of silver from the sanctuary
of Baal-Berith.

With the money he hired a body of men, and going to his father’s house
at Ophrah, murdered all his brethren, save JOTHAM the youngest, who
managed to escape. He was now left alone, and was solemnly anointed
king by the men of Shechem, who thus formally signified their revolt
from the Hebrew commonwealth. Tidings of what was going on reached the
ears of Jotham. Emerging from his hiding-place, he stationed himself on
one of the rocky inaccessible spurs of Mount Gerizim[209], and taking
up his parable from the variegated foliage of the valley below and the
neighbouring forest, bade the men of Shechem listen while he addressed
to them the earliest Parable, that of the Bramble-King. _Once, he said,
the Trees went forth to anoint a king over them. The Olive, the Vine,
the Fig were each asked to accept the royal dignity, but each declined;
the Olive could not leave his fatness, or the Fig-tree his sweetness,
or the Vine the juice of his grapes. Recourse was then had to the
Bramble, which not only accepted the proffered honour, but bade the
other trees put their trust in its shadow, and threatened, if they did
not, that fire should come forth from it and devour even the cedars
of Lebanon._ Jotham then reminded the Shechemites of the services
his father had rendered to the nation, and rebuked them for their
gross ingratitude to his family. If they thought they had done well
in electing Abimelech, the Bramble-King, he bade them rejoice in him;
if not, he hoped a fire might come forth from the king, in whose shadow
they had placed their trust, and destroy him and all who had joined in
electing him. With these words the speaker fled.

In a short time his words were fulfilled. For three years Abimelech
maintained his supremacy, residing himself at Arumah (Judg. ix. 41),
not far from Shechem, while that place was entrusted to Zebul, his
viceroy. During the joyous season of the vintage[210] (Judg. ix. 27)
Gaal the son of Ebed, a leader of a body of freebooters tried to
persuade the people of Shechem to transfer their allegiance from
Abimelech, who was but half a kinsman, to the Hivite tribe of Hamor.
Intelligence of this movement reached the ears of Zebul, who without
delay sent word to Abimelech, bidding him levy his forces and surprise
the plotters in the city. After a desperate battle Abimelech captured
the place, put the entire population to the sword, and sowed the
ruins of the city with salt (Judg. ix. 45). A remnant, however, of the
insurgents took refuge in the temple of Baal-Berith. Thither Abimelech
pursued them at the head of his followers, whom he commanded on their
way to cut down boughs from the trees on the wooded eminence of Zalmon
(Ps. lxviii. 14) close to the city. These he piled against the hold,
set them on fire, and suffocated and burnt the refugees. From Shechem
he repaired to Thebez[211] (_Tûbas_) and speedily captured the town;
but again the inhabitants took refuge in one of its strong towers, and
there held out. Forcing his way up to it, Abimelech was about to repeat
the stratagem he had found so successful at Shechem (Judg. ix. 52),
when a woman flung a fragment of millstone at his head[212]. Unwilling
to die thus ingloriously, he bade his armour-bearer thrust him through
with his sword, and so expired.

Other judges now succeeded, of whom TOLA, of the tribe of Issachar,
governed Israel for a space of 23 years at Shamir in Mount Ephraim
(Judg. x. 1, 2); he was succeeded by JAIR of Gilead, who during 22
years shared his almost regal honours with his thirty sons (Judg. x.
3, 4).

                _Invasion of the Ammonites; Jephthah._

But recent judgments had not the effect of restraining the people from
apostasy. To the worship of Baal and Astarte they now added that of the
gods of Syria, of Zidon, of Moab and Ammon, as also of the Philistines.
The national punishment they thus drew down upon themselves came from
two quarters. On the south-west and along the fertile borders of the
Shephelah the Philistines rose and reduced a portion of the country
to subjection, while the tribes on the east of Jordan fell a prey to
the Ammonites, and for 18 years endured the humiliation of irksome
oppression. Nor were they the only sufferers, for the Ammonites crossed
the Jordan and carried on their ravages even in the territories of
Judah, Benjamin, and Ephraim (Judg. x. 6–9). So terrible was the
oppression they now endured, that at length the Israelites were roused
to a deep repentance; finding it in vain to cry unto their false gods
in the day of tribulation, they put them away, and besought Jehovah
if only this once to stretch forth His hand and deliver them. _Grieved
for the misery of Israel_ (Judg. x. 16), the Lord raised up a deliverer
in the person of JEPHTHAH, a base-born native of Gilead. Driven forth
from his father’s house by his legitimate sons, Jephthah had fled
into the land of Tob, somewhere on the east of Gilead, where putting
himself at the head of brave but lawless men, he lived the life of a
freebooter, making incursions from time to time into the territories
of neighbouring tribes, and living on the proceeds of the spoil (Judg.
xi. 1–3).

Determined to throw off the Ammonitish yoke, the tribes on the east
of Jordan now turned to Jephthah, and promised him the chieftaincy, if
he would undertake to lead them against the enemy. Jephthah consented,
and it was formally agreed that, in the event of success, he should
retain the supreme command. His first step was to send an embassy to
the Ammonites urging the right of the Israelites to the land of Gilead.
This being unsuccessful, he prepared for open war, and traversing
Gilead and Manasseh collected warriors from such places as acknowledged
his authority. But before entering on the campaign, in imitation
probably of heathen customs, and especially of the Ammonites (2 Kin.
iii. 27), he solemnly vowed to offer as a burnt-offering to Jehovah
whatever should first come forth from his house to meet him on his
return from battle. The engagement took place in the forests of Gilead,
and the Ammonites were utterly routed. Twenty cities, from Aroer on the
Arnon to Minnith and Abel Keramim (_the Meadow of the Vineyards_), fell
into the hands of the conqueror (Judg. xi. 33).

But his rash and heathenish vow cast a deep shadow on his triumphal
return. As he drew near his home in Mizpeh (_the Watch-tower_) of
Gilead, his daughter and only child came forth to meet him with
timbrels and with dances. When the father saw her he rent his clothes,
and with the utmost grief made known to her his vow, from which he
declared he could not go back. But the noble maiden did not decline
the awful sacrifice demanded of her. All she requested was that for
two months she might be allowed to wander with her companions among
the mountain-gorges of her native Gilead, and bewail her virginity. At
the expiration of this period she returned to her father, and Jephthah
without referring the matter to the High-priest, or remembering the
strict commands of the law on this subject[213], his spirit clouded
with gloomy superstition, _did with her according to his vow that he
had vowed_ (Judg. xi. 39). The memory of this awful sacrifice was kept
up by a yearly festival, lasting four days, during which the daughters
of Israel went up into the mountains of Gilead to praise and lament the
death of their heroic sister.

Jephthah, however, was not long suffered either to enjoy his triumph,
or lament the fatal vow which had stained it. Like Gideon before him,
he had to encounter the complaints of the proud and jealous tribe of
Ephraim for not summoning them to share the glories of the late victory.
In vindication of their absurd claims, they even threatened to burn his
house over his head, and invaded the territory of the Gileadites, whom
they taunted with being _fugitives of Ephraim among the Ephraimites and
Manassites_. A second tribal war ensued, in which the men of Ephraim
were thoroughly worsted. Rushing routed to the fords of the Jordan,
they found them already in possession of Jephthah’s forces, who allowed
none to cross that failed to pronounce the word _Shibboleth_[214].
Upwards of 42,000 revealed their Ephraimite origin by substituting
the simple _s_ for _sh_, and were massacred. The supreme authority,
for which he had covenanted, Jephthah only lived to enjoy for 6 years,
when he died, and was buried in one of the cities of his native land
(Judg. xii. 1–7).

After him other and obscurer judges rose to display the growing
tendency towards hereditary monarchy. Thus IBZAN of Bethlehem in
Zebulun judged, at least north-western Israel, for 7 years, and
conferred a portion of his dignity on his 30 sons and 30 daughters;
ELON of the same tribe ruled for 10 years; and after him ABDON, of
Pirathon in the land of Ephraim, about 6 miles from Shechem, exercised
the supremacy for 8 years, and was succeeded in a portion of his almost
regal honours by his numerous children (Judg. xii. 8–14).

                              CHAPTER VI.

                  JUDG. XIII.–XVI.   B.C. 1161–1120.

MEANWHILE the Philistines[215] on the south-west had not only
established themselves in the Shephelah, or Low Country, but now
commenced that long and deadly hostility to the Israelites, which
lasted from this time through the reigns of Saul and David, and was
not finally terminated till the time of Hezekiah (2 Kings xviii. 8).
Their oppressions naturally pressed most heavily on the little tribe
of Dan, already hard pushed by the Amorites. From this tribe, then,
the Deliverer came. But unlike others who had been called to the same
office, he was specially set apart for it even before his birth.

On the high hill of Zorah overlooking the fertile lowlands of Philistia
lived a Danite named Manoah. To his wife, who as yet had no child, it
was announced by an Angel that she was about to become the mother of a
son, whom she was to devote as a Nazarite[216] unto God from his birth;
no razor was ever to come upon his head; wine and strong drink he was
never to touch; and he should _commence_ the deliverance of Israel
from the Philistines (Judg. xiii. 5). These words were announced to
Manoah by his wife, and a second appearance of the Angel was vouchsafed
to assure both parents of the certainty of these events, which was
further confirmed, as in the case of Gideon, by the disappearance
of the Angel in the flames which consumed the Danite’s meat-offering
(Judg. xiii. 20).

In process of time the child was born, and was named SAMSON, either
_the sunlight_, or _the strong_. As he grew, he became distinguished
for supernatural strength, and from time to time in Mahanah-Dan, the
camp of the famous Six Hundred of his tribe[217], was moved to perform
those exploits which made him the terror of the Philistines. His
first action, however, when come to man’s estate, did not display that
hostility to the national enemy which his parents would naturally have
expected. At Timnath, then in the occupation of the Philistines, he
saw one of the daughters of the place, whom he was resolved to marry.
Very unwillingly did his father and mother give their consent, and
went down from Zorah with their wayward son “through wild rocky gorges”
to the vineyards of Timnath, situated, as was often the case, far from
the village to which they belonged, and amidst rough wadies and wild
cliffs[218]. In one of these Samson encountered a young lion, and,
though he had nothing in his hand, rent it _as he would have rent a
kid_. Thinking little of the circumstance, he did not mention it to his
father and mother, but went with them to Timnath, and talked with the
woman, and she pleased him well. On his second descent through the same
wild rocky pass, he turned aside to see the carcase of the lion, and
discovered amongst the bones a swarm of bees. A portion of the honey
he took himself, and gave a portion to his parents, saying nothing of
his exploit, or the place whence he had obtained the honey. The wedding
festival was celebrated at Timnath, and lasted several days, on one
of which the bridegroom put forth a riddle to his thirty Philistine
“companions,” promising thirty sheets and thirty changes of garments to
any that guessed it, but demanding the same of them if within the days
of the feast they failed to discover it. The young men accepted the
challenge, and Samson put forth his riddle, saying,

                _Out of the eater came forth meat,
                Out of the strong came forth sweetness._

For three days the Philistine youths tried to unravel it, and failed.
Then they beset Samson’s wife, and threatened to burn her and her
father’s house, if she did not ascertain for them the interpretation.
During the remaining days, therefore, she implored of Samson with
tears the revelation of the secret. At first he was proof against
her entreaties, but on the last day of the feast he told her, and she
revealed it to the thirty Philistines, who came to him in the evening
and said,

                    _What is sweeter than honey?
                    What is stronger than a lion?_

_If ye had not ploughed with my heifer, ye had not found out my riddle_
was the giant’s brief reply, and going down to Ashkelon, one of the
five cities of the lords of the Philistines, on the extreme southern
edge of the Mediterranean Sea, he slew thirty men and of the spoil
brought the stipulated reward.

Then in great wrath he returned to Zorah. But when wheat-harvest
came round, his passion for the woman was somewhat rekindled, and he
resolved to present her with a kid, and now learnt from her father
for the first time, that, probably during his absence at Ashkelon,
thinking he utterly hated her, he had bestowed her upon another.
Thereupon Samson, being enraged, resolved to wreak his vengeance on the
Philistines, and catching, probably in pitfalls and snares, 300 foxes,
he fastened them tail to tail with lighted firebrands in the midst, and
sent them into their cornfields, olive-yards, and vine-yards. Terrible
was the mischief thus inflicted in a country, which even now, “in the
summer months, is one sea of dead-ripe grain, dry as tinder[219].”
At length the Philistines ascertained who was the author of this
destructive conflagration, and went to the house of his late wife, and
burnt her and her father to death. Thereupon Samson avenged himself
by inflicting upon them a great slaughter, and went and took up his
abode on the lofty cliff of Etam, probably not very far from Bethlehem.
Thither the Philistines pursued him, and demanded his surrender of the
men of Judah. So utterly lost to all feelings of honour, so degraded
from its former high estate was this tribe, that 3000 men actually
scaled the rocky cliff, and brought Samson bound with two new cords
to his enemies. On his approach, the Philistines raised a mighty shout.
But at the moment supernatural strength was given to the captive. He
burst his bonds as though they had been cords of flax burnt in the
fire, and seizing the jawbone of an ass, and aided probably by the now
inspirited Israelites, slew a thousand of the Philistines. In memory of
this exploit, he named the place Ramath-Lehi (_the casting away of the
jawbone_). Sore athirst after his exertions, he feared that from sheer
exhaustion he might fall once more into the hands of his foes, but
from a hollow place in Lehi God caused water to issue, and his spirit
reviving he called the spot En-hakkore (_the Spring of the crier_)
(Judg. xv. 16–19).

Samson is next found at Gaza (_the strong_), which though allotted to
and conquered by Judah ( Josh. xv. 47; Judg. i. 18) had fallen into
the hands of the Philistines, who now encompassed the gate of the city,
intending to capture him in the morning. But at midnight he arose,
and taking the doors of the gate and the two posts, carried them, bar
and all, to the top of the hill before Hebron. After this, he fell
in love with Delilah, a Philistine courtesan, of the valley of Sorek,
apparently near Gaza. This last amour led to his capture and death. For
the enormous reward of 1100 pieces of silver from each lord, equivalent
to 5500 shekels, the five lords of the Philistines persuaded her to
undertake the task of discovering the secret of his great strength.
Three times she importuned him to reveal the mystery, but he succeeded
in putting her off with wiles. Green withes, new ropes, the binding
of his seven clustering locks to the web, all these expedients were
powerless to detain him prisoner, and he escaped with ease from the
hands of the Philistines. The fourth time, however, she succeeded, and
he told her all his heart, revealing the secret of his Nazarite vow.
Accordingly, while he was asleep upon her knees, she caused the seven
locks to be shaved off, and when he awoke the giant found that his
strength had departed from him. The watching Philistines sprang into
the chamber, took him, bored out his eyes, and brought him bound with
brazen fetters to Gaza, where they made him grind in the prison-house
(Judg. xvi. 21).

Then a day was fixed for a solemn festival in honour of Dagon, their
national deity, half man and half fish[220], to whom the deliverance
of the nation from their dreaded foe was ascribed. In the midst of the
feast, Samson was brought in to make sport for his unfeeling captors.
The temple, where the festival was held, situated probably on a sloping
hill, was full of men and women, and even on the roof upwards of 3000
were packed together. The blinded giant was led in by a lad, and at his
own request was suffered to feel the pillars on which the temple stood.
Standing there, he prayed that his old strength might for this once
be restored to him, and that he might be enabled to wreak a complete
revenge on his unfeeling enemies. Taking hold of the pillars with both
hands, and praying that he might die with the Philistines, he bowed
himself with all his might, and the temple walls fell in, and crushed
the lords of the Philistines and the assembled crowd. Samson’s body
was extricated from the ruins, and in sad procession was borne by his
brethren and kinsmen “up the steep ascent to his native hills,” and
laid between Zorah and Eshtaol in the burial-place of Manoah his father
(Judg. xvi. 31).

As Judge, Samson’s supremacy had lasted twenty years. The words of
the Angel to his parents had declared that _he should begin to deliver
Israel out of the hand of the Philistines_, and in truth his work
was only begun. Its completeness was marred chiefly by himself. “His
acts were dictated mainly by caprice and the impulse of the moment; he
frittered away the great powers which had been bestowed upon him, and
forgot the Divine call which he had received. Still these incomplete
results may in some measure be fairly ascribed to the character of
his countrymen; they always permitted him to stand unaided and alone,
and even surrendered him to the enemy[221].” The work that he _began_
needed a very different man to _complete_ it, the spirit of the people
needed renewal, and an internal reformation was essential.

Before recounting the means whereby this was brought about, the
Sacred Narrative presents us with a little history, which strikingly
illustrates the repose and peacefulness which characterized some
of the calmer intervals in the disturbed period of the Judges. From
Bethlehem-Judah there went forth during a season of famine[222] two
Ephrathites of the place, ELIMELECH and NAOMI, with their sons MAHLON
and CHILION, to seek a home across the Jordan in the land of Moab. Here
Elimelech died, and his two sons married two of the daughters of Moab,

After a period of about ten years his sons also died, and Naomi
hearing that the famine had ceased in the land of Israel, prepared to
return to her native town accompanied by her daughter-in-law Ruth, whom
no entreaties could induce to remain amongst her own people. It was
the beginning of barley-harvest[223] when they returned, and Ruth went
to glean near Bethlehem in the fields of Boaz, a man of wealth and a
kinsman of Elimelech. The appearance and the story of the beautiful
stranger, which he learnt from the townspeople, attracted the attention
of Boaz to the Moabitess, and he permitted her not only to glean in his
fields, but to share with his labourers the provisions supplied them.
By the advice of her mother-in-law, Ruth afterwards claimed kinship
with the wealthy Boaz, and he was not slow to acknowledge it. A nearer
kinsman, however, was first asked to discharge these duties, which
included not only the redemption of the land that had belonged to
Elimelech, but also the taking of Ruth in marriage _to raise up the
name of the dead upon his inheritance_ (Deut. xxv. 5–10). On his
declining to perform the latter duty, Boaz redeemed the land in the
presence of ten elders of Bethlehem and the assembled people, and
married Ruth, by whom he became the father of Obed, the grandfather
of King David[224].

A more pleasing picture of Hebrew country life can hardly be imagined
than the story of “the gleaner Ruth,” illustrating, as it does, “the
friendly relations between the good Boaz and his reapers, the Jewish
land-system, the method of transferring property from one person to
another, the working of the Mosaic Law for the relief of distressed
and ruined families, but above all handing down the unselfishness, the
brave love, the unshaken trustfulness of her, who though not of the
chosen Race was, like the Canaanitess Tamar (Gen. xxxviii. 29; Matt.
i. 3) and the Canaanitess Rahab (Matt. i. 5), privileged to become the
ancestress of David, and so of great David’s greater SON” (Ruth iv.

                              BOOK VIII.


                              CHAPTER I.

                           _ELI AND SAMUEL._
                 1 SAM. I.–IV.   B.C. CIRC. 1171–1141.

DURING the twenty years that Samson judged Israel, the High-priesthood,
diverted for reasons not revealed from the line of Eleazar to the
younger line of Ithamar (1 Chron. vi. 4–15; xxiv. 4), had been filled
by ELI, who henceforth appears to have discharged the united duties of
High-priest and Judge. The Tabernacle with the Ark was now at Shiloh,
where a town had rapidly grown up. Inside the gateway leading up to it
was a “seat” or “throne” (1 Sam. i. 9; iv. 13), on which Eli used to
sit, and thence survey the worshippers as they came up on high days to
the Festivals.

Year by year, as he sat there, he would see amongst the pilgrims
coming up to the Feast of Tabernacles the family of ELKANAH, a man of
Ramathaim-Zophim[225] in Mount Ephraim. Though a Levite in the line
of Kohath (1 Chron. vi. 27–34), he affords one of the few instances of
polygamy in the ranks of the lower orders. By his wife Peninnah he had
several children; by Hannah, his favourite wife, he had none, which was
to her a source of much trouble, and brought down upon her many taunts
from her rival. On one occasion, as Eli sat on his throne at the gate,
he was led more particularly to notice one of this little family group.
At the close of the sacrificial Feast, unable any longer to endure the
mockery of her rival and her own bitterness of heart, Hannah remained
long in silent prayer at the Sanctuary. The High-priest saw her lips
move, but heard no sound of her voice, as she prayed. Thinking that
she had indulged to excess at the feast, he rebuked her, and bade her
put away her wine from her. Then Hannah told him of her secret grief,
and the aged priest, convinced of his error, quickly made amends by
bestowing upon her his blessing, and expressing a hope that the God of
Israel might grant the petition she had preferred (1 Sam. i. 17).

The story of the wife of Manoah was, probably, not unknown to Hannah,
and she too prayed that if the Lord would grant her a man-child, she
would devote him as a Nazarite to His service all the days of his life.
Her prayer was heard. Before the Feast of Tabernacles came round again,
she had become the mother of a son, to whom she gave the appropriate
name of SAMUEL, “_the Asked_ or _Heard of God_.” When he was weaned,
she brought him to Shiloh, with three bullocks, an ephah of flour, and
a skin bottle of wine, and having poured forth her thankfulness in an
inspired hymn, presented the boy to Eli, as the child for whom she had
prayed, and whom she now wished to return to the Lord (1 Sam. ii. 1–11).

In striking contrast with the simplicity and innocence of the young
child, who henceforth waited upon Eli, the two sons of that pontiff,
HOPHNI and PHINEHAS were _sons of Belial, they knew not the Lord_. By
their rapacity and lust they had filled all Israel with loathing and
indignation, so that _men abhorred the offering of the Lord_. But Eli
_restrained them not_, and, as years went on, their wickedness seemed
only to increase in spite of his expostulations. It was a dark day in
Israel, and their conduct gives us a terrible glimpse into the fallen
condition of the chosen people (1 Sam. ii. 12–21).

Before long the first warning came to Eli. A _man of God_ stood before
him, and after reminding him of the high honour God had conferred
upon him, when He chose him to be His priest, sternly rebuked him
for honouring his sons above their Maker, and announced that instead
of the office remaining in his family, its high functions should be
transferred to another and more faithful line. And not only did he thus
denounce distant punishment but an immediate and speedy pledge of it in
the death on one day of both his sons (1 Sam. ii. 27–36).

But this warning produced no effect. Eli was old and greyheaded.
However fitted he might have been once for the task of ruling his
family, that day was gone by now. A second warning, therefore, of
coming doom was now given him, not by the mouth of any stranger, but
of the child, whom Hannah had left in the Tabernacle at Shiloh _a loan
unto the Lord_. Clad in a white linen ephod, and the little mantle[226]
reaching to the feet, which his mother brought him from year to year,
his long flowing hair betokening his Nazarite vow, Samuel ministered
before Eli. The degraded state of the priesthood in the hands of
Hophni and Phinehas had made intimations of the Divine Will rare and
precious in those days, _there was no open vision_. But the Lord found
a way to intimate the coming doom of Eli’s house. One night, when the
aged priest had lain down to rest in one of the chambers hard by the
Tabernacle, which was illumined only by the light of the seven-branched
Golden Candlestick, in the early morning, before it was yet light,
a Voice called Samuel and awoke him from his slumber. Thinking Eli
had called him, he went to him, and enquired the cause. But Eli had
not spoken, and bade him lie down again. He did so, and again the
Voice pronounced his name. Once more he ran to the bed-side of the
High-priest, who as before denied that he had called him, and told him
to return to his bed. A third time the Voice pronounced his name, and
then Eli perceived that the Lord had called the child, and bade him,
if he heard it again, reply, _Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth_.
Samuel returned to his bed, and when the Voice called to him for the
fourth time, answered as the aged priest had bidden him, and heard
the purport of the mysterious call. _The Lord was about to do a thing
in Israel, at which both the ears of him that heard it should tingle.
Eli’s sons had made themselves vile, and he had not restrained them.
For this iniquity his house was now to be judged and neither sacrifice
nor offering could make atonement; when the Lord began, He would also
make an end._

Until the sun was up, Samuel lay still, and forbore to tell Eli what he
had heard. But the High-priest, whose conscience, doubtless, only too
surely whispered what it was, bade him hide nothing from him. And then
the old man, whose eyes were dim that he could not see, listened, while
the child told him every whit. Death awaited his sons, beggary and
desolation his family. _It is the Lord_, was his brief reply, _let Him
do what seemeth Him good_, and in the course of time the warning was
fulfilled. As Samuel grew, the Lord began to reveal Himself more and
more to him. The influence of Eli, already weakened, now dwindled from
day to day. He “decreased” and Samuel “increased,” and the Lord was
with him, and _let none of his words fall to the ground_, so that all
Israel, from Dan even to Beersheba, knew that he was established to be
a Prophet, a revealer of the Divine Will (1 Sam. iii. 19–21).

Meanwhile the strength of the Philistines had recovered from the wounds
it had received from the champion of Dan. Advancing their forces to
Aphek, no great distance from the fortress of Jebus, they attacked
the Israelites, and inflicted on them a loss of 4,000 men. Alarmed at
this reverse, the Israelites resolved to fetch the Ark and take it into
battle, that it might save them out of the hands of their enemies. The
sacred symbol was thereupon removed from the curtains that enclosed it,
and the two sons of Eli accompanied it to the field. _A great shout, so
that the earth rang again_, greeted its arrival in the Israelite camp,
and the Philistines alarmed at the proximity of the _mighty Gods, that
smote the Egyptians with all the plagues_, resolved to sell their lives
dear, rather than become subject to their enemies. Again, therefore,
the battle was joined, and Israel sustained a still more disastrous
defeat. Upwards of 30,000 were slain, amongst whom were Eli’s sons, and
worse than all, the _Ark of God was taken_ (1 Sam. iv. 11).

On his elevated “seat” by the wayside Eli sat to receive any tidings
from the battle-field, his heart trembling for the sacred Symbol of
which he was the guardian. As the day closed, a young man of the tribe
of Benjamin came running into the town of Shiloh. His clothes were
rent, his hair sprinkled with dust. A wail of lamentation arose from
the people, who no sooner saw him thus attired, than they knew how the
day had gone. Eli heard the noise of the tumult, and enquired the cause.
_I am he that came out of the army, and I fled to-day out of the army_,
said the young man. _And what is there done, my son?_ enquired the
pontiff. _Israel is fled before the Philistines_, was the reply, _and
there hath been also a great slaughter among the people――and thy two
sons, also, Hophni and Phinehas are dead――and the Ark of God is taken_.
No sooner did the last part of his terrible tidings fall from his
mouth, than the aged priest fell _from his seat backwards, and his neck
brake, and he died_. Ninety-eight summers had passed over his head, and
forty years he had judged Israel, and now his doom was come. But still
another death was to mark that dreadful day. The wife of Phinehas
was near to be delivered of her second child. The news reached her
that her husband and her father-in-law were dead, that Israel had been
defeated, that the Ark had been taken. She bowed her head, the pangs of
childbirth came upon her, a son was born, and the women that stood by
tried to cheer her fainting spirits. But in vain. _The Ark of God was
taken_, that was all her mind could realize. With her last breath she
gave the child a name that should be a memorial of that fearful day.
_Call him_ ICHABOD, she said, _The glory is departed from Israel_[227]
(1 Sam. iv. 12–22).

                              CHAPTER II.

                         _SAMUEL’S JUDGESHIP._
                   1 SAM. V.–VIII.   B.C. 1141–1095.

MEANWHILE the Ark was carried by the Philistines in triumph to
Ashdod[228], one of their five confederate cities, and placed in the
Temple of Dagon. But there its sanctity was remarkably vindicated, for
on the morrow that idol was found lying on its face upon the ground. In
vain did its votaries set it up in its place again. The next day saw it
a second time laid prostrate, and not only fallen, but broken, without
head or hands. Moreover while a plague of mice destroyed their crops,
“emerods,” _i.e._ hemorrhoids or piles, tormented their bodies. In
great consternation they, thereupon, removed the Ark to Gath, but there,
too, the same plague broke out, and when they were on the point of
removing it to Ekron, the inhabitants of that city interfered, and
declared they would not admit it within their walls.

The advice of the priests and diviners was then asked, and they
suggested that the sacred Coffer should be placed in a new cart
drawn by two milch kine, which had never been yoked, and with a
trespass-offering of five golden mice and five golden emerods be sent
back to the Israelites. If the kine of their own accord took the road
to Beth-shemesh, (_house of the Sun_[229]), under the hills of Dan, and
close to the Philistine lowlands, then it would be certain that their
misfortunes were due to the hostility of the Gods of the Israelites,
otherwise it might be concluded that some chance had smitten them.

The plan was adopted. The Ark was placed in the new cart, together with
the coffer containing the trespass-offerings, and the kine took the
high-road from Ekron to Beth-shemesh, without turning to the right hand
or the left. It was the time of wheat-harvest, and the people of the
town were busy gathering in their corn, when lifting up their eyes
they with joy beheld the Ark, which they had not seen for seven months
(1 Sam. vi. 1). The kine, meanwhile, stopped not till they had reached
the field of Joshua, an inhabitant of the place, where there was a
great stone. Beth-shemesh being a suburb-city, and allotted to the
priests (Josh. xxi. 16; 1 Chr. vi. 59), the Levites residing there
took down the Ark and the coffer, placed them on the great stone, then
clave the wood of the cart, and offered up the kine as a burnt-offering
to Jehovah, at the close of which ceremony, the five lords of the
Philistines, who had joined the procession, returned to their own
country (1 Sam. vi. 10–16).

But even this joyous day was not to pass by without a great calamity.
Not content with offering sacrifices, the people of Beth-shemesh
approached the Ark, and though even the priests were not allowed to
touch it, removed the lid, to do which some force must have been used,
and looked into it, for which profanity a considerable number were
stricken with instant death. Messengers were, therefore, dispatched
to Kirjath-jearim (_the fields of the wood_, see Ps. cxxxii. 6), and
thither through the hills the Ark was sent, and placed in the house of
the Levite Abinadab, whose son Eleazar was consecrated to keep it, and
there it remained until the time of David (1 Sam. vii. 1).

Meanwhile Samuel, of whom we have not heard since he denounced the doom
of the house of Ithamar, was growing up an acknowledged Prophet of the
Lord. In this sad crisis of the nation’s history he now came forward
and convening an assembly at Mizpeh, probably the _Watch-tower_ of
Benjamin, solemnly expostulated with the Israelites on their idolatrous
practices. With fasting and public confession they acknowledged the
righteousness of the late judgments. Water was poured upon the ground,
and the people entered into a covenant to abandon the worship of Baal
and Ashtaroth. From this day Samuel’s career as Judge began, and was
inaugurated by a great victory over the Philistines, who hearing that
the Israelites were recovering from their former depression, once more
gathered together at Mizpeh, prepared to give them battle. At this
crisis, Samuel taking a lamb offered it as a whole burnt-offering for
the nation’s sins, and was thus piously employed when the Philistines
made their onslaught. But at this moment a terrific thunder-storm burst
forth, accompanied, according to Josephus, by an earthquake. Seized
with a sudden panic, the Philistines fled in disorder, and were pursued
with great slaughter by the victorious Israelites as far as Beth-car
(_the house of lambs_), a height to the west of Mizpeh. On the very
spot, where twenty years before the Philistines had gained their most
signal triumph, Samuel now set up a huge stone to commemorate his
victory, and named it Ebenezer, _the Stone of Help_ (1 Sam. vii. 12).

The subsequent effects of this success were still more apparent. Not
only did the Philistines receive a decided check, but the Amorites also,
the scourge of the little tribe of Dan, made peace with Israel, and
all the cities in the Philistine territory, which had been taken from
the Israelites, from Ekron to Gath, were restored. Samuel’s office as
Judge was now confirmed. Ramah, his birth-place, was his residence,
and here he erected an altar to the Lord, and thence from year to year
went forth in solemn circuit to the old sanctuaries, Bethel, Gilgal,
and Mizpeh, combining with the duties of a Judge the functions also of
a Seer or Prophet, and with all the weight of an Oracle advising in any
of the troubles of national or domestic life (1 Sam. ix. 11, 18, 19).
As years passed on, and he waxed old, his sons JOEL and ABIAH, like
those of Jair and Abdon before him, shared a portion of his judicial
functions, and administered justice in the more southerly portions of
the country. But they did not walk in their father’s footsteps. He who,
when a child, had denounced the terrible doom on Eli for the wickedness
of his sons, lived to see his own sons turning aside after lucre,
exacting excessive usury, and perverting judgment (1 Sam. viii. 3).

A new and more advanced period in the history of the nation was at hand,
and the supremacy of the Judges was about to close. Samuel, who came
like Numa after Romulus, did not fail to prepare the people for the
new epoch. At Ramah, at Bethel, at Mizpeh, at Gilgal[230] he gathered
together _Schools of the Prophets_, and was the great reformer of the
prophetical order, a work of such importance that he is even classed
with Moses, the great Lawgiver of the nation. (Comp. Ps. xcix. 6;
Acts iii. 24; xiii. 20.) The title, indeed, of “prophet” has occurred
already more than once, and is applied to Abraham (Gen. xx. 7), to
Moses (Deut. xviii. 15–18), to Aaron (Ex. vii. 1), to Miriam (Ex.
xv. 20), to the seventy elders (Num. xi. 24–30), to Deborah[231] (Judg.
iv. 4). But these were isolated cases. It was the work of Samuel to
give permanence and effectiveness to the prophetical functions.

Promising youths were gathered by him into Schools or Colleges of
Prophets, where they lived together in a society or community, under a
head or leading prophet, whom they called their _Father_ (Comp. 1 Sam.
x. 12; xix. 20), or _Master_ (2 K. ii. 3), while they were termed his
_sons_. Here they employed themselves in studying the Law of Moses;
practised the composition of sacred poetry; and became skilled in
sacred music, _the psaltery, harp, tabret, pipe, and cymbals_ (1 Sam.
x. 5; 2 K. iii. 15; 1 Ch. xxv. 1, 6). They also preserved and copied
historical records, and “gathered up the traditions of their own and
former times.” Their calling was not merely, sometimes not at all,
to predict future events. They were to be forth-speakers for God, to
commune with God, to speak of God, to teach His truth, to declare His
will, and that not only in words, but sometimes in action. Studying the
Law of Moses, and the records of God’s past dealings with their nation,
they were to see the earnest of His presence for rebuke or consolation
in the present. Their vocation required of them to preach morality and
spiritual religion, to denounce oppression and covetousness, injustice
and profligacy, cruelty and idolatry. And while called to reveal God’s
will in each successive crisis of the nation’s history, they were also
specially raised up to fix the eye of their countrymen on the future,
to keep alive the belief in God’s promises of Redemption, and to
foretell the incarnation of Him, in whom all nations were to be blessed.
If they often typified Him, whose appearance they announced and whose
Spirit dwelt in them, in His humiliation, being despised and rejected
by the generation in which they lived, yet from time to time they
typified Him also in His exaltation, for the Lord, whose messengers
they were, stood by them, frequently confirmed their word by miracles,
and punished those who injured them[232].

The subsequent position of the Prophetical order at momentous periods
of the national history is strikingly illustrated by the conduct of its
Reformer and Organizer now. The misconduct of Samuel’s sons produced
dissatisfaction and a cry for change. Samuel himself was stricken in
age. He had been a man of peace. One military success and one only had
distinguished his Judgeship. On the west the ever-restless Philistines
gave signs of recovery from their late defeat (1 Sam. x. 5), while
beyond the Jordan Nahash the Ammonite threatened the cities of the
tribes of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh (1 Sam. xii. 12). There was no
known general in Israel qualified by his position or powers to take the
command of the nation’s armies, and lead them to battle. The fixed form
of kingly government, which the people saw enjoyed by all the nations
around, which they had themselves partially adopted under Gideon and
Abimelech, under Jair and Abdon, and to which events appeared to have
been rapidly tending, was not yet realized.

At this juncture, then, the elders and accredited heads of the nation
repaired to Ramah, and on the ground of Samuel’s advanced age, the
misconduct of his sons, and, as we gather from an incidental remark
of Samuel himself afterwards, an apprehended invasion by the Ammonites,
they requested that the form of government might be changed, that
a king might rule over them, like the nations round about (1 Sam.
viii. 5).

This demand was a shock to Samuel’s feelings, and _the thing displeased
him_. He knew well the abuses such a form of government was too likely
to entail. But he did not reject the petition of the nation. He was
a true mediator between the old order that was changing and the new
order, to which it was destined to give place. He prayed to the Lord
for advice and direction in this great crisis, and his prayer was heard.
Though he had been rightly displeased with the people’s request, though
they had done worse than rejecting him and had rejected their invisible
Ruler, he was directed to hearken to their voice, but he was not to
leave them without warning. He was to _shew them the manner of the king
that should reign over them_ (1 Sam. viii. 9).

Accordingly Samuel convened an assembly, and faithfully described
the Oriental court and ceremonial, which the election of a king would
inevitably entail; how he would at his own pleasure take their sons
and appoint them to command his chariots and his horses, would set
them to ear his ground and reap his harvest, and fashion his chariots
and instruments of war; how he would take their daughters to be his
confectioners, his cooks, and his bakers; how their property would
cease to be their own, and their fields, their oliveyards and vineyards,
their flocks and herds, their menservants and maidservants would be
required to be at his disposal. Under this despotism he warned them
that a day would come when they would cry unto the Lord, but He would
not hear them (1 Sam. viii. 10–18).

His words, however, fell on unheeding ears. The pomp and ceremonial
of a court had too many attractions for the nation; without a king
to judge them and fight their battles, they affected to feel isolated
and degraded in the eyes of neighbouring peoples, and a king they were
resolved to have. This answer of the elders Samuel carried back to
the Lord, who again bade him hearken to their voice, and promised the
fulfilment of their wishes, with which assurance they were dismissed to
their several cities[233] (1 Sam. viii. 22).

                             CHAPTER III.

                     _ELECTION OF THE FIRST KING._
                        1 SAM. IX.   B.C. 1095.

THE elders of Israel had not long to wait for the king they so
earnestly desired. Shortly after Samuel’s return to Ramah he received
Divine intimation that on the morrow one would be sent him, whom he was
to anoint to be _captain over the Lord’s people_. Accordingly the next
day, as he was on his way to the high place to give his benediction
at a sacrificial feast, he met two wayfaring men. One was a man of
Benjamin, SAUL the son of Kish, of a noble and handsome mien and
gigantic stature, from his shoulders and upward higher than any of
the people; the other was his servant. In quest of the asses of Saul’s
father, which had strayed, the two had been traversing without success
the central region of Palestine, and now guided by certain maidens of
Ramah, whom they had met at the entrance of the place going out to draw
water, they had resolved to ask the advice of Samuel.

The Prophet had already noticed the tall handsome stranger, and as he
drew near the Divine Voice assured him that he was the destined Ruler
of His people (1 Sam. ix. 15, 16). When, therefore, Saul enquired for
the Seer’s house, Samuel not only declared that he was the person he
sought, but revealed his mysterious acquaintance with the secret of
his three days’ journey, and bade him lay aside all further anxiety,
for the asses were found. Then, turning to Saul, he added in yet
more mysterious words, _On whom is the desire of Israel? Is it not on
thee, and on all thy father’s house?_ Marvelling at the import of this
significant question addressed to one who belonged to _the smallest
of the tribes of Israel_, and whose family was _the least of all the
families of Benjamin_ (1 Sam. ix. 21), Saul followed the Prophet to the
high place, where with his servant he was made to sit in the chiefest
place among the thirty guests assembled at the sacrificial feast, and
to partake of a special portion which had been reserved for him.

Thence he returned to the town, and in the evening held further
conversation with Samuel on the house-top of his dwelling. Next morning
at daybreak Samuel roused his guest, and accompanied him some little
way to the end of the town. There the servant was bidden to pass on,
and the two being left alone the Prophet taking a phial of oil poured
it on Saul’s head, and kissed him, and assured him of his election
to be the first King of Israel. To this assurance he added prophetic
intimations of incidents which would occur on Saul’s return homewards,
and which could not fail still further to confirm him in the conviction
that his sudden elevation was indeed of the Lord. Two men would meet
him at Rachel’s sepulchre, and inform him that the asses were found,
and that his father’s anxieties now centred on himself; at the “plain,”
or rather the “oak” of Tabor (1 Sam. x. 3) he would meet three men
going to Bethel carrying gifts of kids, bread, and a skin bottle of
wine; they would salute him, and offer him two loaves of bread, which
he was to receive at their hand; then, thirdly, on reaching _the hill
of God_, probably Gibeah, where the Philistines had posted a garrison,
he would meet a company of the prophets coming down from the high place
with psaltery, tabret, pipe, and harp, whose inspired strains would
so affect him that he would join himself to them, and be turned into
another man. After the fulfilment of these three signs, he was to go
to Gilgal, and there tarry seven days till Samuel’s arrival to offer
sacrifices, and tell him what he should do (1 Sam. x. 8). Then the two
men parted, each of the three signs came to pass, and God gave the son
of Kish _another heart_. Convinced of his call to inaugurate the kingly
period of Israel’s history, his soul rose to the greatness of the
occasion; the strains of the prophetic choir so wrought upon his spirit
that he felt inspired to join them, and his appearance in their society
became the occasion of a well-known proverb, _Is Saul also among the
prophets?_ (1 Sam. x. 12).

Meanwhile Samuel convened all the people to Mizpeh of Benjamin, and
after again rebuking them for their want of faith in thus hastily
seeking a change of government, bade them present themselves before
the Lord by their tribes and by their thousands, in order that the
sacred lot might decide the election of the king. In solemn order
the tribes passed before him, and the lot fell upon that of Benjamin.
Then the same ceremony was successively repeated with the clans, the
families, the individuals, and in a manner that none could dispute, it
was indicated that Saul the son of Kish was the object of the Divine
choice. But when search was made for him, he was not to be found. Still
unwilling to accept the arduous duties of the kingdom, he had concealed
himself in the circle of baggage round the encampment at Mizpeh. The
search was renewed, and he was brought forth from his hiding-place. As
he advanced into the midst his exalted stature struck the spectators
with admiration, and a universal shout of _Long live the King_
betokened the nation’s acceptance of its new head (1 Sam. x. 24).

Left to themselves, the Israelites would, doubtless, have stood
committed to the new form of government, without pausing to insist
on any conditions from their Ruler, well content if he proved as
absolute and irresponsible as those of the nations round about. But the
far-seeing Samuel was wiser than they. Well knowing the bearing of the
transactions of that day on the nation’s future, he not only expounded
to the people the manner of the kingdom as set forth by their great
Lawgiver in the Book of Deuteronomy (xvii. 14–20), but for the sake of
greater security committed the regulations thus accepted to writing,
and laid them up in safe keeping before the Lord, and thus, “under
Divine sanction, and amidst the despotisms of the East, arose the
earliest example of a constitutional monarchy[234].”

This ceremony concluded, the people returned to their homes, and
Saul retired to Gibeah. Though his elevation had been thus formally
approved, there were not wanting those who, on the score, probably,
of the obscurity of his tribe, and the fact that his capacities were
as yet unknown, expressed much dissatisfaction at his promotion,
questioned his ability to rule them, and brought him none of the usual
presents (1 Sam. x. 27). With rare self-control, however, he held his
peace, and in a short time was enabled to justify the confidence that
had been reposed in him.

While living in retirement at Gibeah, he received intelligence which
roused all his martial ardour, and for the first time revealed his
talents as a military leader. The Ammonites, recovered from the
defeat they had sustained from Jephthah, had under the leadership of
their king NAHASH laid siege to Jabesh-gilead (See Judg. xxi. 8), the
inhabitants of which place in their terror invited the heathen king
to make a covenant with them, and agreed to serve him. This, with
characteristic haughtiness he declined, except on the condition that he
might put out their right eyes, and thus render them unfit for further
military service. In this strait, the elders of the place requested
seven days’ respite, and meanwhile sent messengers to their brethren
imploring assistance. Saul was driving his herd homewards from the
field, when the sound of wild lamentation in his native town revealed
the danger which threatened the friendly[235] town of Jabesh-gilead.
Immediately _the Spirit of the Lord came upon him_ (1 Sam. xi. 6),
filling him with courage and resolution for the emergency. Taking
a yoke of oxen, he hewed them in pieces, and sent this war-token
throughout all the tribes, summoning them under pain of eternal
disgrace to rally round himself and Samuel and hasten to the rescue
of their brethren. He then bade the messengers return to Jabesh-gilead
with the assurance of succour, _before the sun was hot on the morrow_.
His determined spirit quickly communicated itself to others, and
300,000 from Israel, and 30,000 from Judah gathered round him and the
Prophet. Bezek, a place apparently within a day’s march of Jabesh,
was appointed their head-quarters, and thence dividing his forces into
three companies Saul executed a swift night-march, and burst upon the
Ammonites in the morning watch, who panic-stricken by this unexpected
onslaught were defeated with enormous loss, _so that not two of them
were left together_ (1 Sam. xi. 11).

This signal success had an instantaneous effect upon the people. The
Israelites hailed Saul as the deliverer of their country, and even
proposed to put to death those who had not at first acknowledged him as
king. With continued self-command, however, he calmed their zeal, and
declined to stain with innocent blood the memory of a day, on which,
as he said with becoming modesty, _not he but Jehovah had wrought
salvation in Israel_. At this juncture, the new ruler having been tried
and not found wanting, Samuel suggested that the people should once
more repair to Gilgal, and there renew the kingdom. Accordingly after
the sacrifice of peace-offerings and amidst great rejoicings Saul was
solemnly inaugurated in his regal functions, while Samuel embraced the
opportunity afforded by so large a gathering to bid farewell to the
people he had ruled so prudently with all his power (1 Sam. xii.). _He
had hearkened_, he said, _to their voice; he had made a king over them.
For himself, he was old and grey-headed, he had walked before them from
his childhood unto that day. Let them now testify if they had ought
against him. Had he defrauded any? Had he oppressed any? Had he taken
any bribe to blind his eyes? If so, he would make ample restoration._
With one voice the whole people bore witness to the integrity and
uprightness of his public life. Then, like Moses and Joshua, he gave
them his parting counsels, and after exhorting them by the memory of
past mercies and past deliverances to cleave fast to the Lord, and
not forsake His commandments, called on the Lord Himself to ratify
his words by an outward and visible sign. It was the season of
wheat-harvest[236], when thunder and rain seldom or never occurred.
But at the word of Samuel, the sky became black with clouds, the
thunder rolled and the rain fell, bearing witness to the solemnity of
the Prophet’s warnings; who having thus bidden farewell to the people,
henceforth retired from any share in the government, which now devolved
on Saul alone.

                              CHAPTER IV.

                       _THE BATTLE OF MICHMASH._
                  1 SAM. XIII. XIV.   B.C. 1093–1087.

IN dismissing Saul from Ramah after their first interview, Samuel,
it will be remembered, had told him that he would pass _a garrison of
the Philistines_ (1 Sam. x. 5; xiii. 3) Recovering from their defeat
at Ebenezer this people had again renewed their old hostilities, and
pitched in the heart of the mountains of Benjamin. Two years after his
accession (1 Sam. xiii. 1), Saul resolved to throw off a yoke which
pressed so severely on the neighbourhood of his native place. Gathering
round him a small standing army of 3,000 men, he placed 1,000 under the
command of his valiant son JONATHAN at Geba[237], while he himself with
2,000 took up a position at Michmash (_Mŭkhmas_) about 7 miles north of
Jerusalem, and along the ridge of intervening heights in the direction
of Bethel. Either at or close to Jonathan’s position was posted a
garrison of the Philistines. For some time the rival forces stood
watching one another, and at length Jonathan in a fit of youthful
ardour fell upon the garrison, and put it to flight.

Tidings of this event quickly reached the Philistines in their rich
southern plains, who forthwith swarmed with a vast force up through the
passes of Benjamin, while Saul retired to Gilgal, and there summoned a
general gathering of the nation. But in face of the enormous masses of
their foes, the Israelites, seized with a sudden panic, as in the days
of Gideon (Judg. vi. 2), fled for refuge to the natural hiding-places
of the country, to the dens, the inaccessible fastnesses, and the caves
with which it abounded, while some even crossed the Jordan into the
territory of Gad and Gilead (1 Sam. xiii. 7).

The Philistines now in their turn occupied Michmash, and their
oppression of the Israelites was most grievous. A regular disarmament
was carried out, so that none of the Hebrews had sword or spear save
the king and his son, and their immediate retainers; nay, the very
smiths were removed, and the Hebrews were constrained to go down to
their enemies to get their agricultural implements sharpened. In this
terrible crisis Saul sent messages from Gilgal to Samuel at Ramah,
who promised within seven days to join the king and celebrate solemn
sacrifices, preparatory, probably, to some concerted plan of action.
But the days passed away, and Samuel came not. The Philistines were
collecting in constantly increasing numbers at Michmash, and the
terrified Israelites dropped off more and more, leaving their king
with barely 600 followers. The present posture of affairs imperatively
demanded prudence and caution, and from Samuel the king would,
doubtless, have learnt the Divine will, and He, who had enabled Gideon
with only 300 men to conquer even more numerous foes, would have opened
up some mode of deliverance. But Samuel came not, and Saul, unable to
restrain his impatience, resolved to offer the sacrifices himself. He
had scarcely done so when the Prophet arrived and sternly rebuked him
for his impetuous zeal. _Thou hast done foolishly_, said he, _thou
hast not kept the commandment of the Lord thy God_, and he proceeded
to intimate that the kingdom, which might have been established in his
family, would not continue, but would be transferred to another (1 Sam.
xiii. 11–14).

Meanwhile the Philistines continued their oppressive and tyrannical
exactions. Roving bands from their camp went forth in three
directions[238], and committed disastrous depredations, while from
the heights, where they were encamped, Saul and Jonathan, at the head
of their little band, looked down upon a ravaged and terror-stricken
country, unable and afraid to lift a hand against its oppressors. At
length Jonathan resolved to strike another blow. Between the Israelite
position at Geba and the Philistine garrison at Michmash was a distance
of about three miles, part of which consisted of a deep gorge, running
between two sharp jagged rocks, the one called Bozez (_Shining_),
probably from the white chalky cliffs, the other Seneh (_the Thorn_ or
_Acacia_), so called probably from some solitary acacia on its summit.
Above this gorge[239] was the Philistine garrison. Without informing
his father, or communicating his design to any one, except the young
man his armour-bearer, Jonathan resolved to ascend the steep sides of
the ravine, and then to take the conduct of the enemy as an omen for
further operations. If the Philistines came forth and threatened an
attack, they would remain in the valley; if they challenged them to
advance, they would take this as an augury of success, and press on.
Upon their hands and feet, then, the two climbed up, and at length were
detected by the Philistines. _Behold_, they cried in derision, _the
Hebrews come forth out of the holes, where they have hid themselves.
Come up and we will shew you a thing._ The omen was favourable, and
the two pressed on.

_Strong as a lion, and swift as an eagle_ (2 Sam. i. 23), Jonathan no
sooner reached the summit than he rushed upon his unexpecting foes,
and aided by his armour-bearer, slew at the first onset upwards of
twenty men. Thereupon a sudden and uncontrollable panic seized the
garrison and spread to the camp, and even the marauding hordes in the
neighbourhood. A simultaneous earthquake (1 Sam. xiv. 15) increased
the confusion, and when Saul’s watchmen at Gibeah looked towards the
opposite end of the gorge of Michmash, they beheld the multitudes
_melting away, going and beating down one another_. Unable to explain
the cause of this sudden movement, the king ordered the High-priest
Ahiah to enquire who had left the Israelite camp. On ascertaining that
Jonathan was leading an attack upon the enemy, he would have a second
time consulted the ark of God, but while he was talking, the noise
in the Philistine host grew louder and louder. On this he bade the
High-priest stay his enquiries, and putting himself at the head of his
600 followers, he rushed up the defile, and on reaching the opposite
side found that a general panic had seized the foe, _every man’s hand
was against his fellow, and there was a great discomfiture_ (1 Sam.
xiv. 20).

It was the signal for a general rising. Even the Israelites in the
Philistine camp turned against their captors, and were quickly joined
by others of their brethren, who till now had remained concealed in the
mountains of Ephraim. Onwards the pursuit swept over the high ground
of Bethel and down the pass of Beth-horon to Ajalon[240]. In the
excitement of the hour, and carried away by that rash impetuosity which
henceforth seemed to mar all his actions, Saul cried to heaven, _Cursed
be the man that eateth any food until evening, that I may be avenged of
mine enemies_ (1 Sam. xiv. 24). He had not yet encountered his heroic
son, and the fasting people were spent and wearied. Soon the pursuit
lay through a forest bedewed in divers places with the droppings
of wild honey. Overcome with his exertions, which had brought such
glory to the nation, and unaware of his father’s rash adjuration,
Jonathan put forth the end of his staff into a honeycomb, and therewith
refreshed his parched lips. An Israelite saw what he had done, and
revealed the terms of the royal curse. _My father hath troubled the
land_, said he, and once more mingled in the pursuit (1 Sam. xiv.

The day must now have been far advanced, and the host utterly unable
to endure any longer the enforced fast flew upon the spoil, and taking
sheep and oxen slew them on the ground, devouring the fresh carcases
even with the blood[241]. When the news of this infraction of the law
was announced to Saul, he directed that a large stone should be set up
to serve as a kind of altar. Still eager and impetuous, late as it was,
he wished to continue the pursuit and to spoil the Philistines till the
morning light. The more prudent Ahiah suggested that the Divine Will
should first be ascertained. Arrayed in his ephod (1 Sam. xiv. 3), he
consulted, probably, the “Breastplate of Judgment[242],” while the king
enquired of the Lord, _Shall I go down after the Philistines? Wilt Thou
deliver them into the hand of Israel?_ But no answer was vouchsafed,
the Oracle was dumb. Suspecting there was something to intercept the
Divine response, Saul proposed to ascertain the cause by appealing
to the sacred lot, exclaiming with all his former rashness, _As the
Lord liveth, though the sin be found in Jonathan my son, he shall
surely die_. In solemn silence the chiefs of the host divided; Saul and
Jonathan stood on one side, the people on the other. The lot was cast,
and it was ascertained that the sin lay between the king and his son.
Again the lot was cast, and this time Jonathan was taken. Adjured by
his father, the youthful conqueror confessed that with his staff he had
taken and eaten some honey. Saul declared he would abide by his vow,
and Jonathan would have fallen a victim to the royal rashness, had
not the people interfered. With a determination he dared not oppose,
they declared that not one hair of his head should fall to the ground.
Thus Jonathan was saved; and Saul returned to his native hills, and the
Philistines, defeated and disgraced, to their fertile lowlands (1 Sam.
xiv. 24–46).

                              CHAPTER V.

                  1 SAM. XV.–XVII.   B.C. 1079–1063.

THIS signal victory materially confirmed Saul’s supremacy. Acting no
longer merely on the defensive, he now directed expeditions against
Moab, Ammon, Edom, and even the king of Zobah, a region east of
Cœle-Syria and extending towards the Euphrates. While in the full
tide of his success he received a visit from Samuel, who on the
strength of a Divine command, entrusted him with a commission, which
he was to execute to the very letter. The treacherous hostility of the
powerful tribe of Amalek, when they fell upon the exhausted rear of
the Israelites at their departure from Egypt, had not been forgotten by
God (Ex. xvii. 8, 14; Num. xxiv. 20). Since then they had on more than
one occasion evinced the same hostility[243]. They were now devoted to
utter destruction. _Go and smite Amalek_, ran the Divine commission;
_utterly destroy all that they have; spare them not; slay both man
and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass_ (1 Sam.
xv. 2, 3).

Thereupon Saul mustered a force of 210,000 at Telaim in southern Judah,
and after warning the Kenites to betake themselves to a place of safety,
he attacked the Amalekites and smote them from Havilah to Shur. All the
people he utterly destroyed, but, in direct violation of the express
instructions he had received, spared all the best of the spoil and Agag
the Amalekite king. Returning from this expedition he set up a _place_,
or, probably, a _monument_ of his victory, at Carmel in the mountainous
country of Judah, and thence repaired to Gilgal. A Divine intimation
had already made known to Samuel how imperfectly the king had executed
his commission, and with a heavy heart he went forth to meet him. With
a haste which betrayed the misgivings of his conscience, Saul no sooner
saw the Prophet than he boasted of his execution of the Divine mandate.
But Samuel was not thus to be deceived. _The bleating of the sheep
and the lowing of oxen_ on all sides revealed but too clearly the lax
interpretation which Saul had chosen to put upon his instructions,
and he only increased his condemnation by trying to throw the blame
of his own shortcomings upon the people, who, he declared, _had spared
the best of the spoil to sacrifice to Jehovah_. The Prophet sternly
reminded him that Jehovah had far more delight in obedience to His
commands than in burnt-offerings and sacrifices, and for the second
time intimated that the continuance of his dynasty was forfeited; he
had _rejected the Word of the Lord, and the Lord had rejected him from
being king_ (1 Sam. xv. 12–23).

With much contrition Saul then confessed his error, and as the Prophet
turned to depart, grasped the skirt of his mantle to induce him to stay.
The mantle rent, and Samuel interpreted the omen; the Lord had _rent
the kingdom_ from its unworthy head, and designed it for _a neighbour
of his_, who was better than he. Without denying the justice of the
sentence, Saul entreated the granting of one concession, imploring
Samuel to _honour him before the elders of his people, and turn with
him and worship Jehovah_. The prophet yielded, and for the last time
the two offered sacrifice together. But if Saul had neglected his
duty, Samuel could not forget the captive king, whom the Divine decree
had devoted to death. He ordered Agag to be brought before him. The
king came forward _delicately_, remarking, as if to disarm hostility,
_surely the bitterness of death is past_. _As thy sword_, rejoined
the Prophet, _hath made women childless, so shall thy mother be
childless among women_; and he hewed him in pieces before the Lord.
The commission of Jehovah thus vindicated, Saul returned to Gibeah, and
Samuel to Ramah, there to mourn for one, whose career, once so hopeful,
was now obscured with such dark forebodings of coming doom (1 Sam. xv.

The sorrow of Samuel for Saul’s shortcomings was real. But he was
before long roused from his grief by a Divine commission to take a horn
of oil and go to Bethlehem, there to anoint another king. Fear lest the
purport of his errand should reach Saul’s ears would have deterred him
from venturing on the journey, but he was bidden to take a heifer and
invite the elders of the town to a sacrificial feast. In obedience to
this command he left Ramah, and proceeded on his way. As he ascended
the long gray hill leading to the village, his approach was discerned
by the elders, who trembled when they saw the venerable Prophet.
_Comest thou peaceably?_ they enquired anxiously. _Peaceably_, was the
reply, and they were bidden to prepare to accompany him to the feast.

Amongst those invited on this occasion was JESSE, sprung from one of
the oldest families[244] in the place, the son of OBED, and grandson
of the Moabitess RUTH. He was an aged man at this time, and the father
of eight sons, of whom seven now accompanied him to the feast (1 Sam.
xvii. 12). When they were all assembled, and waiting to commence, the
Prophet looked upon the eldest, the tall Eliab, and thought that of a
surety he beheld the Lord’s anointed. But the Divine Voice bade him not
look upon _his countenance_, or _the height of his stature_, for the
Lord, _who looketh not upon the outward appearance but upon the heart_,
had refused him. Then the old man’s second son Abinadab passed before
him, and his third son Shammah, and after them four other sons, but
the Lord had chosen none of them. _Are here all thy children?_ enquired
Samuel. _There remaineth yet the youngest_, said Jesse, _and, behold,
he keepeth the sheep_. _Send and fetch him_, rejoined the Prophet;
_till he come hither, we cannot sit round_ (1 Sam. xvi. 11, _margin_).

Accordingly a messenger was sent to the sheepfolds, and brought in the
youngest, DAVID (_the beloved_, _the darling_), the Benjamin of Jesse’s
house. With his shepherd’s staff in his hand, his scrip or wallet round
his neck (1 Sam. xvii. 40), a mere stripling beside the tall Eliab,
ruddy or auburn-haired, with fair bright eyes[245], _comely and goodly
to look to_ (1 Sam. xvi. 12, 18), he stood before the Prophet. _Arise,
anoint him, for this is he_, whispered the Divine Voice, and there
in the midst of his brethren and the assembled elders, Samuel poured
upon him the consecrated oil, on which the feast so long delayed was
celebrated, and Samuel rose up and returned to Ramah. (See Ps. lxxviii.

Meanwhile the Spirit of God, which came upon David from that day
forward, departed from Saul, and _an evil spirit troubled him_ (1 Sam.
xvi. 14). He became moody and liable to fits of sudden phrensy. To
rouse him from this distressing state, his servants advised that a
clever player on the harp should be sent for, that by the charms of
his music he might soothe his spirit. When enquiry was made for such
a minstrel, one of the royal servants mentioned the name of the son of
Jesse as not only cunning in playing, but of tried valour, prudent in
speech, comely in person, and prospered with the blessing of the Lord
(1 Sam. xvi. 18). Saul thereupon sent for him, and Jesse dispatched
him with a humble offering. Even the troubled spirit of the king was
soothed by the music of the future Psalmist of Israel; he loved him,
and made him not only his minstrel but his armour-bearer, and retained
him about his person (1 Sam. xvi. 21).

When the paroxysms of Saul’s malady abated, David would seem to have
returned to his old occupations on the bleak downs of Bethlehem, where
his faithfulness _in a few things_ fitted him to become a ruler _over
many things_. His shepherd life called into action some of the best
qualities in human nature. Firmness, nerve, energy and constancy were
all required of him, who would in true devotion to this calling, endure
the heat by day and the frost by night (Gen. xxxi. 40), climb narrow
ledges and scale lofty precipices in quest of pasture for his flocks,
and defend them against wild beasts, such as lions and wolves, bears
and panthers, or robbers of the desert. All these tests David had stood.
His strength and courage were well known beyond the boundaries of his
native village. Once during his solitary shepherd life a lion, and at
another time a bear attacked his father’s flock. He fled not like a
“hireling shepherd,” but put his life in his hand, and went after them
and slew them (1 Sam. xvii. 34–37).

Meanwhile the ever active Philistines had once more risen in arms
against the Israelites. Gathering together their forces they took up a
position on a height, which, probably from being the scene of frequent
sanguinary encounters, was known as Ephes-dammim (_the boundary of
blood_), situated on the frontier hills of Judah between Socoh and
Azekah. Separated from their foes by a deep ravine or glen, Saul and
his followers pitched on the north side of the Valley of Elah[246]
(_the terebinth_). For forty mornings and evenings there descended into
this valley from the camp of the Philistines a giant named GOLIATH of
Gath. Of enormous height and clad in complete armour, he openly defied
any one of the Hebrew host to mortal combat, and offered to stake the
supremacy of either people on the issue. Even the tall majestic Saul
declined the challenge, and, like his people, _was dismayed and greatly
afraid_ (1 Sam. xvii. 11).

While the two armies thus stood confronting each other, early one
morning David entered the camp, having been bidden by his father to
visit his three eldest brothers, then serving in the army. As he drew
near the outskirts of the camp, the host with the well-known war-cry
was advancing to take up its daily position in battle-array. Hastily
leaving with the keeper of the baggage the provisions which his father
had sent as a present to their captain, he hurried within the lines,
and was in the act of saluting his brethren, when the voice of the
giant was audible calling across the ravine his morning challenge.
David heard his words of haughty defiance, and lost in wonder at the
despondency of the people, listened eagerly to the bystanders, as they
recounted the reward, which the king had promised to bestow on any
one who was willing to accept the giant’s challenge, and slew him in
the fight. Heeding nothing the taunts of his eldest brother ELIAB, who
would have had him mind the few sheep he had left amidst the pastures
of Bethlehem, instead of coming thither to see the battle, he went
from soldier to soldier listening again and again to the account of the
king’s promised reward, till at length his bold defiance of the giant
reached the ears of Saul (1 Sam. xvii. 31).

Summoned into the royal presence, David declared his readiness to go
forth and encounter his gigantic foe, and at Saul’s request tried on
his armour, which, however, did not fit him, and he speedily put it off
again. Then, choosing five smooth stones from the dry torrent-bed which
ran through the ravine, he placed them in his shepherd’s script, and
with his staff in one hand, and a sling[247] in the other, drew near
the Philistine. The latter enraged at the youthful appearance of his
assailant cursed him by his gods, and threatened _to give his flesh
to the fowls of the air and the beasts of the field_. Undismayed David
returned threat for threat, and as his foe drew near, put his hand into
his bag and took thence a stone, which he slang with all his might,
and smote the Philistine in his forehead, _that the stone sank into his
forehead, and he fell upon his face to the earth_. Then without delay
he stood upon the prostrate body, and drawing the giant’s huge sword
from its sheath, finished the work by cutting off his head. The sight
of their champion lying weltering in his blood filled the Philistines
with consternation, and they commenced a precipitate flight. Raising
their well-known war-cry, the Israelites then rushed across the ravine
and up the opposite heights, and chased their foes to the gates of
Ekron and Gath, and spoiled their tents. On their return the youthful
warrior, who had in so signal a manner proved that the Lord saved
not with sword and spear, bearing the head of his gigantic enemy in
his hand, was conducted to Saul’s tent by Abner the king’s uncle and
captain of the host. Some two or three years had probably elapsed since
the days when David soothed Saul’s melancholy with the strains of his
harp, and in his altered visage the king did not recognise his former
minstrel[248]. But he now took him permanently into his service, and
would let him no more return to his father’s house (1 Sam. xviii. 2).

                              CHAPTER VI.

                     _DAVID’S LIFE AS AN OUTLAW._
                1 SAM. XVIII.–XXIII.   B.C. 1063–1061.

THE victory over Goliath was the turning-point in David’s life.
He was now no longer the obscure shepherd of Bethlehem, but the
recognised deliverer of Israel, and the chief of Saul’s men of
war (1 Sam. xviii. 5). Moreover he now became the devoted friend
of Jonathan, the king’s son. The hero of Michmash would naturally
sympathise with the daring shepherd of Bethlehem, and _his soul was
knit with the soul of David_ (1 Sam. xviii. 1; Comp. 2 Sam. i. 26). The
two ratified a solemn vow of undying friendship, and Jonathan bestowed
on his new-found friend almost every article of his attire, not only
the costly robe that he wore, but even his sword, his bow, and his
girdle (1 Sam. xviii. 4).

But the hour of David’s triumph was the signal for the commencement of
those embittered relations which subsisted between him and Saul till
the day of the latter’s death. As the royal party returned from the
Valley of Elah, they were met by companies of Hebrew maidens, who in
their songs expressed the discerning feelings of the nation, singing,
_Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands_. To the
king this was gall and wormwood; in the youthful warrior he saw that
_other more worthy than himself_, for whom the kingdom was designed,
and _he eyed him from that day and forward_ (1 Sam. xviii. 9).

As the king’s armour-bearer David did not neglect his musical talents,
and when Saul’s fits of madness were upon him he soothed him with the
strains of his harp. But more than once he did so at the peril of his
life, for in a sudden paroxysm of rage the king flung at him the long
spear he held in his hand, and would have pinned him to the wall, had
he not escaped out of his presence (1 Sam. xviii. 11). Perceiving that
the Divine favour was withdrawn from himself, Saul now became afraid of
David, and in the hope of getting rid of him gave him the command of a
thousand men (1 Sam. xviii. 13), and sent him on several expeditions;
but David’s uniform success and the prudence he displayed only won
for him still more the favour of the people. The king then tried other
expedients. He promised him his eldest daughter MERAB in marriage,
on condition that he fought against the Philistines. David went, and
instead of falling in battle, only covered himself with fresh glory,
but when the time for the marriage came, Merab was given to another
(1 Sam. xviii. 19).

Meanwhile MICHAL, the king’s second daughter, had fallen in love with
her father’s armour-bearer. As if to bring his previous designs to
a positive fulfilment, Saul named as her dowry proof that David had
slain a hundred of the Philistines. At the head of his men David went,
and slew twice that number, and brought the required proofs of their
death. The marriage was celebrated, and David became captain of the
royal body-guard, second only, if not equal, to Abner. But the king’s
jealousy of his successful rival was only the more increased, and
he went so far as to propose to Jonathan and his servants that David
should be put out of the way, and was only dissuaded by the moving
intercession of Jonathan himself. A partial reconciliation with the
king ensued, and David returned to court. But his life was not more
secure. On one occasion his own vigilance in eluding the royal javelin,
on another the devotion of his wife Michal, alone saved his life.
On the last occasion, the officers charged to put him to death had
actually penetrated into his chamber, but only to find in the bed, in
place of the object of their search, an _image_, or household god, with
the head enveloped in a net of goats’ hair[249]. During the night his
wife had let him down from the window. (Comp. Ps. lix.)

David now fled away to Naioth[250], the _huts or habitations_ near
Ramah, where he enjoyed a brief respite from danger and anxiety in the
congenial society of the aged Samuel, whom he had not seen since the
occurrence at Bethlehem, and of the company of prophets there gathered
together under his superintendence. News of his hiding-place reached
the ears of Saul, who forthwith sent messengers to take him. But the
sight of the prophets performing their sacred functions under the eye
of the venerable Samuel and their strains of sacred melody so wrought
upon the messengers, that they could not refrain from joining in their
religious exercises. A similar issue attended a second, and even a
third deputation. At length Saul went in person to the great well or
cistern of Sechu, not far from Ramah, and enquired for the Prophet
and the fugitive. But as he drew near the place, he himself could not
resist the prophetic impulse, and for the second time justified the
enquiry, _Is Saul also among the prophets?_ (1 Sam. xix. 24).

Thus the danger was for the time averted. But this state of suspense
was intolerable, and David felt there was _but a step between him and
death_. Probably by Samuel’s advice, he now obtained a secret interview
with Jonathan at Ezel, a well-known stone near Gibeah. In pathetic
language he poured out his whole soul to his friend, and besought him
to make an effort to ascertain once for all the real feelings of his
father, which he might think had undergone a change after the incidents
at Naioth. The morrow was a festival of the New Moon. Saul would hold
a solemn feast, and at his table would sit Abner and Jonathan, but
David’s place would be vacant. The demeanour of the king on observing
his absence was to be taken as an omen. If he acquiesced in Jonathan’s
explanation that David was absent at a similar festival under the
family roof at Bethlehem, all would be well. If he was wroth, then it
would be certain that the old grudge was not healed, and that evil was
determined against him. A solemn compact was then ratified between the
two. Jonathan undertook to ascertain his father’s mind; David promised
to shew kindness not only to Jonathan himself, but to all his posterity
(1 Sam. xx. 5–10).

When this compact had been duly ratified, Jonathan suggested an
expedient, whereby the news was to be made known to David. Within three
days he would again repair to the “great stone” with his bow and arrows,
and accompanied by a little lad. He would then shoot three arrows,
as though he shot at a mark, and his words to the lad, which David
would overhear, must decide the point. If he said to the lad, _Behold,
the arrows are on this side of thee, take them_, then David might
come forth, and know that all was well. If he said, _The arrows are
beyond thee_, then he might go his way, certain that the wrath of the
king could not be appeased. The day came, and David repaired to his
hiding-place. In due time Jonathan and his little lad appeared, and the
three arrows were shot as agreed upon, and as the lad ran to pick them
up, he cried, _Is not the arrow beyond thee?_ Then David knew that he
must fly, and, when the lad was gone to carry back the bow and arrows
to Gibeah, rose from his hiding-place, and with passionate embraces
and many tears parted from his friend, who once more commended his
posterity to his care (1 Sam. xx. 35–42).

David now betook himself to Nob, a sacerdotal city in the tribe
of Benjamin, and situated on an eminence near Jerusalem. Here the
High-priest Ahimelech resided with the Tabernacle, and trembled when
he saw the captain-general of the royal troops approaching alone, and
unattended by his usual retinue. But David disarmed his suspicions
by pretending a secret mission from the king, and in this character
obtained, in the failure of other bread, the sacred[251] loaves of
Shew-bread, which having served their turn in the weekly course, were
about to be replaced by new loaves. With these and the sword of Goliath,
which was brought forth from its receptacle behind the ephod, he fled
away, resolved to seek refuge amongst his enemies the Philistines[252].

On his arrival at the court of Achish, king of Gath, he was recognised
by the royal guards as the famous champion of Israel, and the sword he
carried doubtless recalled bitter memories of the Valley of Elah. He
was accordingly thrown into prison[253]. But in this dilemma he changed
his behaviour, scrabbled on the doors of the gates, let his spittle
fall upon his beard, and gave every sign of being insane. The oriental
respect for madness[254] procured him his release, and he was suffered
to depart.

From the Lowlands of the Philistines he now betook himself to the town
of Adullam (Josh. xv. 35), at the foot of the mountain-range of Judea,
and found a secure retreat in one of the extensive caves, with which
the limestone cliffs of the neighbourhood are pierced[255]. News of his
coming reached Bethlehem (1 Sam. xxii. 1), and straightway his brethren
and all his father’s house, feeling perhaps insecure from Saul’s
vengeance, came down to his stronghold from the Judean hills. These
probably included his nephews, the sons of Zeruiah, JOAB and ABISHAI;
but besides these, were 400 men who joined him from various motives,
some from distress, others to avoid exacting creditors, others from
some private sorrow. Not considering, however, his aged father and
mother secure even in this secluded spot, David hastily crossed the
Jordan, and conveyed them into the friendly territory of Moab, and
there consigned them to the king, who agreed to protect them (1 Sam.
xxii. 3, 4).

By the advice of his friend the prophet Gad, he now retired to the
forest of Hareth, not far from Adullam. It was probably while he was
here in hold that the sons of Zeruiah performed the memorable exploit
recorded in 2 Sam. xxiii. 14–17, 1 Chr. xi. 16–19. A garrison of the
Philistines had established themselves even in David’s native town
of Bethlehem. One day, sorely tried by thirst, he expressed a longing
for the delicious water of its well near the gate. Upon the word the
three heroes burst through the Philistine forces, and returned with
the much-coveted draught[256]. But their leader would not drink of the
blood of the men that _had gone in jeopardy of their lives_, and poured
it forth as a libation before the Lord.

Other bands now joined him. Amongst these were eleven mighty men,
_their faces like the faces of lions, their feet as swift as the roes
upon the mountains_ (1 Chr. xii. 8), from the uplands of Gad beyond
Jordan, who swam that river when it had overflowed all its banks (1 Chr.
xii. 15), and found their way to his hold. They were followed by men,
not only from the tribe of Judah, but from that of Benjamin, with their
chief Amasai. This defection of members of Saul’s own tribe at first
excited David’s suspicion, but the straightforward, honest words of
their leader convinced him of their sincerity, and he associated them
in the command of his band of six hundred faithful followers (1 Chr.
xii. 16–18).

Meanwhile the Philistines attacked Keilah, a town of uncertain
situation in the lowland district of Judah, and robbed the
threshing-floors. At first David’s men, in spite of a Divine assurance
of success, feared to relieve the place, and so incur the hostility
of their powerful foe. A second assurance restored their courage.
Keilah was rescued, and the Philistines defeated with great slaughter.
Whilst here David was joined by another and an important ally in the
person of Abiathar, the son of the high-priest Ahimelech, bearing sad
intelligence. On the day of David’s visit to Nob, there was a stranger
watching intently all that took place between him and the high-priest.
This was Doeg, an Edomite, and the chief of Saul’s herdmen (1 Sam.
xxi. 7). When the king was deploring at Gibeah the defection even of
his own tribe, Doeg poured into the royal ear _his_ version of what
had occurred at Nob. Transported with rage the king sent for Ahimelech,
and all the priests of the line of Ithamar, and charged them with
befriending his enemies. In vain the high-priest repelled the charge.
Saul sentenced the entire body of the priests to instant death, and
gave the signal to his guard to execute it. But they declined to imbrue
their hands in such a bloody murder. Thereupon he called on Doeg, who
straightway obeyed, and falling upon the unresisting priests slew in
one day _fourscore and five persons that did wear a linen ephod_. Not
content with this, the king put the entire population of the place to
the sword, _both men and women, children and sucklings_ (1 Sam. xxii.
19). Such was the sad news which the solitary survivor of the house
of Ithamar now announced to David. _I knew it_, replied the latter,
_I knew it, that day when Doeg the Edomite was there, that he would
surely tell Saul; I have occasioned the death of all the persons of
thy father’s house_[257]. From this day forward Abiathar remained
with David, and having brought with him the high-priest’s ephod, was
enabled by his oracular answers materially to aid David’s movements
on occasions of difficulty or danger. Meanwhile the entry of his rival
_into a town that had gates and bars_ (1 Sam. xxiii. 7) inspired Saul
with the hope of at length capturing David. Summoning his forces,
as if for a regular military expedition, he marched down to Keilah,
to besiege him and his followers. Aware of the king’s secret designs,
David consulted the Divine Will by means of the ephod, and thus
ascertaining the intention of the townspeople to betray him, he and his
men departed, _and went whithersoever they could_ (1 Sam. xxiii. 13).

                             CHAPTER VII.

                 1 SAM. XXIV.–XXXI.   B.C. 1061–1056.

FROM Keilah David now removed to a stronghold in the wilderness of
Ziph[258], in the highlands of Judah, between Carmel and Juttah, about
three miles south of Hebron. Hither Saul pursued him with ceaseless
zeal, but was utterly unable to discover his hiding-place. Jonathan,
however, sought him out and found him in a neighbouring wood, _and
strengthened his hand in God_, assuring him of his belief that his
father would never find him, that he would live to come to the throne,
and that he himself should be next unto him. The former covenant was
now for the third time ratified, and the two friends parted, never to
meet again (1 Sam. xxiii. 16–18).

Meanwhile Saul returned to Gibeah, whither messengers from the Ziphites
followed him with news of David’s hiding-place, and offering to betray
him into his hands[259]. Thereupon the king set out, and so close
were the pursuer and pursued on one another’s track, that while David
was climbing down one side of a cliff in the waste pasture ground of
Maon, in the extreme south of Judah, Saul and his men were posted to
intercept them on the other. But the arrival of a messenger, with news
of a sudden inroad of the Philistines, obliged the king to discontinue
the pursuit, and the name of the spot Sela-hammahlekoth, _The Cliff of
Divisions_, long commemorated David’s narrow escape (1 Sam. xxiii. 28).

Engedi[260], or _The Spring of the Wild Goats_, a town on the western
shore of the Dead Sea, was his next hiding-place, and the scene of an
instance of magnanimity on his part, rare at all times, especially rare
amongst Oriental nations. The panic of the Philistine invasion being
over, Saul advanced to Engedi at the head of 3,000 men, and on one
occasion entered one of the numerous caves of the neighbourhood. David
and his men, seeing but not seen, were concealed in the dark recesses
of the same retreat. Had he listened to the advice of his men, he might
now have surprised and slain his unsuspecting foe, but he contented
himself with cutting off the skirt of the royal robe. Even for this,
however, his heart smote him, and bidding his men remember that the
king was _his master_ and _the Lord’s anointed_ (1 Sam. xxiv. 6), he
refused to permit them to rise up against him. Presently Saul left the
cave, and then David followed, and cried after him, _My lord the king!_
Saul looked behind him, and David, bowing before him with his face to
the ground, expostulated with him in words of touching beauty, and in
the skirt of his robe bade him behold a pledge of his unwillingness to
do him any harm[261]. Even Saul himself was deeply moved, and lifted
up his voice and wept, frankly acknowledging the generosity of his
rival. He then owned how well he knew David was to be the future
king, and made him solemnly swear not to visit his own ill-will on
his posterity, or destroy his name out of his father’s house. All
this David faithfully undertook to perform, but knowing well the
capriciousness of the king did not quit his stronghold. About this time
the aged prophet Samuel died, and _all the Israelites_ were gathered
together, and lamented him, and buried him within the walls of his own
house at Ramah (1 Sam. xxv. 1).

The relations of David towards the neighbouring landholders is
strikingly illustrated by an incident which now took place. On the
neighbouring range of Carmel dwelt a rich sheep-master named NABAL.
In these troublous times his shepherds experienced more than usual
difficulty in safely keeping his 3,000 sheep and 1,000 goats. The
presence, therefore, of David’s valiant men was a matter of no small
importance, for instead of injuring or robbing them, _they were a wall
unto them both by day and by night_ (1 Sam. xxv. 15–17). Hearing that
Nabal was about to shear his sheep, an occasion of much festivity,
David sent ten of his retinue to request a small reward for the
kindness he had ever shewn to his shepherds. This Nabal, who was
notorious for his churlish temper, flatly and insultingly refused.
Enraged at such selfish insolence, David resolved on vengeance. Leaving
200 men to guard the baggage, he marched with the remaining 400 towards
Carmel, and would certainly have inflicted severe punishment on the
churlish sheep-master, had he not on the way encountered his beautiful
and prudent wife ABIGAIL, who, informed of her husband’s uncivil
conduct, had come forth to meet him with a long train of asses laden
with provisions. In language courteous and politic she deprecated his
vengeance, frankly allowing that as for her husband, Nabal (_fool_)
_was his name, and folly was with him_ (1 Sam. xxv. 25). David
consented to desist from his determined revenge, and Abigail returned
to find her lord drinking to excess at the feast. The next morning she
told him of the risk he had run, _and his heart died within him, and
he became as a stone_ (1 Sam. xxv. 37). Smitten with a sudden stroke he
only lingered ten days, when he died. Thereupon David married Abigail,
and besides her, his wife Michal having been bestowed by Saul upon
another, he espoused Ahinoam of Jezreel (1 Sam. xxv. 43, 44), a town
in the neighbourhood of the southern Carmel. (See Josh. xv. 56.)

Returning once more to the old hiding-place in the pasture country of
Ziph, and the neighbouring hill of Hachilah, the secret of his retreat
was again betrayed to Saul by the Ziphites[262], who at the head of
3,000 men went forth to capture David (1 Sam. xxvi. 3). Informed of
his approach, David retired from the hill to the lower ground, the
wood which then covered the country concealing him from view[263].
Saul advanced to the hill, and there pitched his tent, with Abner his
captain-general, and his forces round about him. Accompanied by his
nephew Abishai, David in the dead of the night penetrated through the
lines to the spot where the king slept within the baggage, his spear
stuck in the ground at his bolster[264]. Again Abishai bade him take
advantage of the opportunity, and asked permission to smite but once
the sleeping king, promising not to smite a second time. But again
David refused, and contented himself with taking the royal spear, and
the cruse of water from his bolster, and passing through the lines of
sleeping warriors went over to the other side, and standing on the top
of a hill afar off, called across the long intervening space to Abner,
who was sunk in heavy sleep after the fatigues of the day. Roused by
the strange voice disturbing the still midnight air, Abner awoke, and
asked who called. Then David reproached him for the little care he
had taken of his master, and in the well-known royal spear and the
cruse of water bade him see a second proof of his generosity towards
an unrelenting foe. Presently Saul himself awoke, and recognised the
voice of David. Again the fugitive pleaded in moving words with the
pursuer, and again Saul, touched to the heart with admiration for his
magnanimous rival, acknowledged his own guilt, and bestowed a blessing
upon him (1 Sam. xxvi. 13–25).

This last occurrence seems to have convinced David that there was no
hope of any permanent change in the king’s feelings towards himself
(1 Sam. xxvii. 1), and he therefore determined to seek refuge once more
among the Philistines. No longer a solitary fugitive, but accompanied
by his two wives, and his 600 followers with their households, he again
presented himself before the king of Gath. In answer to his petition
for a place in some town in the country[265], Achish assigned to him
and his retinue the town of Ziklag, situated at some distance from
Gath, towards the south or south-east of the Philistine frontier[266]
(1 Sam. xxvii. 5). His stay here lasted over a year and four months,
and during this period he and his men made an expedition against
the Geshurites, Gezrites, and Amalekites, who roamed over the desert
plateau overhanging the Philistian plain, and having carried off
enormous booty, lest the truth should reach the ears of Achish,
saved neither man nor woman alive. The king, however, did hear of the
expedition, but in reply to his enquiries, was assured that it had been
directed against the country south of Judah, and against the south of
the Kenites. Satisfied with this proof of the fidelity of his vassal,
he rejoiced that David had made _his own people Israel utterly to
abhor him_, and deemed it an earnest of still greater services (1 Sam.
xxvii. 8–12).

Before long the Philistines gathered their armies together for another
and a decisive contest with the Israelites for the supremacy. Achish
and his contingent prepared to take part in the expedition, and as
his vassal, David consented to accompany him with his 600 men. Aphek,
near Jezreel, was fixed upon as the place of rendezvous, and thither,
probably along the sea-coast, the hundreds and thousands of the
Philistines poured up from their fertile lowlands. As David passed on
the way to Aphek, seven valiant chiefs, captains of thousands of the
powerful tribe of Manasseh, instead of joining Saul’s army, preferred
to throw in their lot with him and share his fortunes (1 Ch. xii.
19–21). But the unsuspecting confidence of Achish in his new-found
vassal was not shared by the other Philistine chiefs, and they
protested against David’s followers being allowed to accompany them.
Achish was, therefore, constrained much against his will to dismiss him,
and with the first dawn David set out on his return to Ziklag (1 Sam.
xxix. 11). On arriving there, no town was to be found, nothing but a
mass of burning ruins. During his absence the Amalekites had burst upon
the place, burnt it to the ground, and carried off David’s wives and
those of his retinue, whose faith in their leader, now for the first
and only time, seems to have failed, and in the extremity of their
grief they even threatened to stone him to death. It was a critical
moment, but David’s old trust did not fail him, and he _encouraged
himself in the Lord his God_ (1 Sam. xxx. 6). Abiathar was bidden to
bring the ephod and ascertain the Divine Will. _Shall I pursue after
this troop?_ David enquired. The reply was favourable, and his six
hundred men, accompanied by the chiefs of Manasseh, set out in the
direction of the brook Besor, a wady somewhere in the extreme south of
Judah. Here 200 of his forces were so spent that he was fain to leave
them by the brook, while the remainder pressing on, found in a field an
Egyptian at the point of death, who had neither eaten bread nor drunk
water for three days and three nights. But being supplied by David’s
men with food and drink he revived, revealed that he was a slave of one
of the Amalekite chiefs, and on promise of his life consented to guide
the avengers to their foes. On coming up with them they were found
_spread abroad upon all the earth, eating, drinking, and dancing_ in
honour of their late victory (1 Sam. xxx. 16). The attack was instantly
made, and David smote them from the twilight of the early dawn to the
evening of the next day, till none remained, save only 400 young men,
who effected their escape on camels. With all the captives recovered
and enormous spoil[267] the conqueror returned to Ziklag, and was now
for the first time enabled to requite the kindness of many of his own
tribe, who had protected him during the long period of his wanderings,
and distributed of the spoil to the elders of many friendly towns
(1 Sam. xxx. 26–31).

Two days after his return news arrived of the utmost importance
respecting the Philistine invasion. With their chariots and horses
the Philistines had pressed forward towards the plain of Esdraelon and
pitched their camp by Shunem[268], on the southern slope of the range
now called Little Hermon, or _Jebel ed Dûhy_, while Saul encamped his
forces on the opposite heights of Mount Gilboa, at _the fountain that
is in Jezreel_[269], on the eastern side of the plain. As he beheld the
masses of his foes passing on by hundreds and thousands, the Israelite
king was filled with the utmost alarm (1 Sam. xxviii. 5). In this
dreadful crisis he felt himself utterly alone. Samuel, his old adviser,
had been sometime dead; the cruel massacre at Nob had alienated from
him the entire priestly body; he enquired of the Lord, but _the Lord
answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets_
(1 Sam. xxviii. 6). Alone, and distrusted even by his own army, he
bade enquiry be made for a woman _that had a familiar spirit_. After
diligent search it was ascertained that by going a distance of about
7 or 8 miles to Endor, he would find, in one of the dark and gloomy
caverns[270] with which the mountain here is hollowed, a woman who
might serve his purpose. Disguising himself, therefore, and accompanied
by two of his retinue, the unhappy king set out under cover of night.
It was an undertaking perilous in the extreme, and nothing but the
agony of despair would have induced him to venture upon it. Stealing
down the mountain from the camp, the three crossed the shoulder of the
very hill on which the Philistines were entrenched, and made for Endor,
which lay behind Shunem. Reaching the cave, the king told the witch the
object of his coming. He longed to have one more interview with his old
adviser, the prophet Samuel, and desired her by her arts to bring him
up. At first the woman demurred, and pleaded the danger of exciting the
wrath of the king, who in better days had distinguished himself by his
zeal against all magic and sorcery. But her visitor calmed her fears.
She exercised her arts, and the awful form of Samuel, _an old man,
and covered with a mantle_, appeared. Bowing himself with his face to
the earth, Saul made known his deep distress. _The Philistines_, said
he, _make war against me: God is departed from me, and answereth me
no more, neither by prophets, nor by dreams: I have called thee, that
thou mayest make known unto me what I shall do_ (1 Sam. xxviii. 15).
In reply the Prophet could only inform the king that the Day of Doom
was near. _To-morrow_, said he, _the Lord will deliver Israel with thee
into the hand of the Philistines: and to-morrow shalt thou and thy sons
be with me_. This awful sentence utterly prostrated the unhappy king.
He fell _with the fulness of his stature all along upon the earth_ (1
Sam. xxviii. 20, _marg._). For a day and a night he had eaten nothing,
and now there was no more strength in him. With the utmost difficulty
the woman and his two attendants succeeded in compelling him to partake
of food, and then he rose up, once more crossed the shoulder of the
hill, and reached the heights of Gilboa (1 Sam. xxviii. 21–25).

The next morning broke, and the Philistines made their onset. The
Israelite leader, with his doom upon him, could do little in such a
crisis. His army was driven up the sides of Gilboa, and as it fled from
the victorious Philistines, numbers were slain on the heights. Resolved
on striking a decisive blow, the Philistine archers and charioteers
followed hard after Saul and his sons. Three of the latter, including
the valiant Jonathan, were slain outright, and Saul himself was sore
wounded. In this extremity he implored of his armour-bearer to thrust
him through with his sword, and put an end to his sufferings. But his
armour-bearer refused, and Saul, taking his own sword, fell upon it
and died, and the other then followed his example. The rout of the
Israelites was now complete, and extended even to the tribes beyond
the Jordan. Even here the Israelites fled from their cities, and _the
Philistines dwelt in them_ (1 Sam. xxxi. 7).

On the morrow after this disastrous battle, the bodies of Saul and
his three sons were found by the Philistines, when they came to strip
the slain. With savage glee they cut off his head, stripped him of
his armour, and sent it into their own land, to be placed as a trophy
in the temple of Ashtaroth, probably at Ashdod, and fastened his
body and those of his three sons to the wall overhanging the open
space in front of the gate of the Canaanite city of Beth-shan[271].
On the mountain-range beyond Jordan in full view of Beth-shan[272]
was the town of Jabesh-Gilead, by his heroic relief of which Saul
had inaugurated his reign[273]. Hearing from the fugitives what
had occurred to their king, the grateful inhabitants, mindful of
past services, determined that his remains should not continue thus
dishonoured. Their valiant men arose, crossed the Jordan, and under
cover of night took down his body and those of his sons, buried them
under the terebinth of their native town, and fasted seven days (1 Sam.
xxxi. 13).

Such was the news David now received at Ziklag from a young Amalekite,
who had been present at the battle. Deeming himself sure of the reward
that greeted the bearer of glad tidings, he had brought with him Saul’s
crown and the bracelet that was on his arm, and pretended to have slain
him at his own request (2 Sam. i. 1–12). But David’s wrath was kindled,
and having sternly rebuked him for touching _the Lord’s anointed_,
he bade one of his young men put him to death, and then burst into a
strain of passionate lamentation over Saul and Jonathan. Forgetting
all that had passed between him and the fallen king, he remembered only
the better features of his character, while towards Jonathan his whole
soul gushed forth in expressions of the tenderest affection (2 Sam.
i. 17–27).

                               BOOK IX.


                              CHAPTER I.

                      _DAVID’S REIGN AT HEBRON._
                   2 SAM. II.–IV.   B.C. 1055–1048.

THE hour which the prophet of Ramah had long ago foretold was now come.
The long period of trial and discipline was over. The brave shepherd,
the conqueror of Goliath, the daring but prudent leader of attached
followers was the only one left, to whom the Israelites could look for
guidance in this great crisis of their national history.

But though the way was open, David did not enter upon it without
seeking the Divine direction. _Shall I go up into any of the cities of
Judah?_ he enquired of the Lord; and the Lord bade him go up to Hebron,
“the ancient sacred city of the tribe of Judah, the burial-place of
the patriarch[274], and the inheritance of Caleb[275].” Accordingly,
leaving Ziklag, he repaired thither with his two wives Ahinoam and
Abigail, and his faithful band of six hundred; and there the chiefs of
Judah, now after a long period of obscurity to become the ruling tribe,
anointed him as their king. His first act after his accession was
to thank the men of Jabesh-Gilead for their bravery in removing the
corpses of Saul and his sons from the walls of Beth-shan (2 Sam. ii.

Of the family of the late king there now remained only ISHBOSHETH his
youngest son, and Mephibosheth the son of Jonathan, a child but five
years old. Ishbosheth, according to the law of Oriental succession,
ascended the throne, and, under the protection of his kinsman, the
powerful Abner, established his kingdom at the ancient sanctuary of
Mahanaim[276] on the east of the Jordan, ruling over not only the
eastern tribes, but the territory of Asher, the plain of Esdraelon,
central Ephraim, his own tribe of Benjamin, and eventually over all
Israel (2 Sam. ii. 9), excepting only Judah, which remained faithful
to David.

The first of many skirmishes between the rival kings took place at
Gibeon, to the heights of which, in their native Benjamin, Abner and
his forces went out from Mahanaim (2 Sam. ii. 12). Thither also, as if
to watch their movements, repaired the three nephews of David, Joab,
Abishai, and Asahel. On the east side of the hill of Gibeon, at the
foot of a low cliff, was a large pool or tank, on either side of which
the rival forces encamped, and, as if to try their respective strength,
Abner proposed that a select body from both sides should engage in
combat. Joab accepted the challenge, and twelve picked champions of the
party of Ishbosheth met an equal number of the warriors of David[277].
The struggle was desperate; each combatant caught his fellow by the
head, and thrust his sword into his side, and thus all fell dead
together on a spot henceforth called Helkath-hazzurim, the _Field of
Heroes_. This brought on a general engagement, in which the forces
of Ishbosheth were defeated, and Abner himself was fain to fly hotly
pursued by Asahel, the youngest of David’s nephews, and _as light of
foot as a wild roe_ (2 Sam. ii. 18). Abner recognised his fleet pursuer,
and advised him to desist from the chase. But the youth, heeding not,
pressed on, and Abner, turning back upon him, thrust him through with
a spear.

The bleeding corpse lay in the middle of the road, and was quickly
surrounded by the men of Judah, who as they came up stood still in
mournful astonishment (2 Sam. ii. 23). But the sight of their brother’s
body only roused Joab and Abishai to greater fury, and they pursued
after Abner as far as the hill of Ammah, by the way of the wilderness
of Gibeon, which they reached at sunset. There the men of his own tribe
of Benjamin rallied round the general of Ishbosheth, and stood on the
top of the hill, while he cried to the pursuing Joab, and implored
him not to push matters further. On this Joab gave the signal for
a cessation of the pursuit, and drew off his men, and conveying his
brother’s corpse to Bethlehem, laid it in the ancestral tomb. Then at
daybreak he rejoined David at Hebron, to whom he announced the loss of
only 19 men in the late encounter. Meanwhile Abner returned to Mahanaim,
whence he carried on a series of petty wars with the adherents of David,
in which _David waxed stronger and stronger, and the house of Saul
waxed weaker and weaker_ (2 Sam. iii. 1).

In the course of time a quarrel with his kinsman and general
precipitated the fall of Ishbosheth. Abner had married Rizpah, the
daughter of Aiah, and a concubine of Saul. According to the notions of
Orientals, this very nearly amounted to treason (Comp. 2 Sam. xvi. 21;
xx. 3; 1 K. ii. 13–25), and as such Ishbosheth flung it in the teeth
of his general. Abner replied in words of utmost anger and reproaching
Ishbosheth with the basest ingratitude, straightway began to open
communications with David, who agreed to receive him at Hebron, on
condition that Michal, his former wife, was restored to him. This
condition was complied with, and after sounding the chiefs of Israel
and of his own tribe, Abner with twenty men came to David at Hebron.
A feast greeted his arrival, and he departed with the avowed intention
of _gathering all Israel unto his lord the king_ (2 Sam. iii. 17–21).

He had hardly departed from the royal presence, when Joab returned from
a foray, and was informed of this unexpected visit. Jealous probably of
a possible rival, and burning with rage against his brother’s murderer,
he remonstrated in no measured terms with David for his imprudence, as
he termed it, in admitting the general of Ishbosheth to an audience
and sending him away in peace. Then, unknown to the king, he sent
messengers after Abner to call him back. Not suspecting treachery the
latter returned to Hebron, and, as he entered the gate, Joab took him
aside, and stabbed him to death, as he had stabbed his brother Asahel.
News of this cruel and treacherous deed roused David’s unbounded
indignation. Unable to punish the assassin, he imprecated on the
house of Joab the most fearful curses, and compelled him to attend the
funeral of his murdered victim, robed in sackcloth, and wearing all the
signs of mourning. He himself fasted till sunset, and as he followed
the bier to the burial-place at Hebron, poured forth a solemn dirge.
This incident gave David an insight into Joab’s unscrupulous character,
which he never forgot. _These men_, he said, _the sons of Zeruiah, be
too hard for me, and I am this day weak though anointed king_ (2 Sam.
iii. 39).

The death of Abner was the signal for the dissolution of the tottering
kingdom he had supported. On receiving the tidings of his kinsman’s
murder, Ishbosheth’s _hands were feeble, and all the Israelites were
troubled_ (2 Sam. iv. 1). His body-guard was composed of men from his
own tribe of Benjamin, but two divisions of it were commanded by two
men, Baanah and Rechab, who, though descendants of the Canaanitish
natives of Beeroth[278], were reckoned among the Benjamites. In
revenge, it has been suggested, for some injury they had received from
Saul――possibly the slaughter of their Gibeonite kinsmen (Comp. 2 Sam.
xxi. 1, 2)――and certainly with the hope of conciliating the new king
at Hebron, these two resolved to take the life of Ishbosheth. _About
the heat of the day_ (2 Sam. iv. 5), therefore, they entered the palace
under pretence of fetching some wheat piled up near the entrance (2 Sam.
iv. 6), and finding Ishbosheth lying on his bed they stabbed him to
the heart, and cut off his head. Then hurrying all that afternoon and
all night (2 Sam. iv. 7) down the valley of the Jordan, they presented
themselves before David at Hebron with the bloody head in their hands.
But they met with no better reception than the pretended slayer of
Saul. David sternly rebuked them for their cold-blooded _murder of
a righteous person in his own house upon his bed_, and ordered their
instant execution. Their hands and feet were cut off, and their bodies
were suspended over the pool at Hebron, while the head of Ishbosheth
was buried with all honours in the sepulchre of Abner (2 Sam. iv. 8–12).

                              CHAPTER II.

                     _DAVID’S REIGN AT JERUSALEM._
                   2 SAM. V.–VII.   B.C. 1048–1042.

EVERY obstacle was thus removed that had hitherto prevented David’s
assuming the royal power over all the tribes. Ishbosheth was dead,
Abner was dead, Mephibosheth, Jonathan’s only surviving son, was barely
12 years of age. The son of Jesse had long waited for his hour, and at
length it was come. A deputation from all the tribes of Israel (2 Sam.
v. 1) repaired to Hebron, and formally offered him the crown. A solemn
league was then entered into, and for the third time David was anointed
amidst great rejoicings. At Hebron he had reigned for 7½ years over
Judah; he was now king of all Israel. His band of six hundred faithful
followers had rapidly swelled into a great host, _like the host of God_
(1 Ch. xii. 22). And now not only Dan and Judah and Simeon, not only
Benjamin and Ephraim, not only the tribes beyond the Jordan, Reuben,
Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh, flocked around his standard, but
Issachar sent _men that had understanding of the times, to know what
Israel ought to do_ (1 Ch. xii. 32), and Zebulun and Naphtali sent
not only men, but the peculiar products of their rich territory[279]
(1 Ch. xii. 40), while a still more important accession consisted of
4,600 warriors of the Levitical tribe, and 3,700 of the house of Aaron,
headed by Jehoiada, and the youthful but valiant Zadok (1 Ch. xii.
25–28). Upwards of 300,000 choice warriors of the flower of Israel were
thus gathered together _to turn the kingdom of Saul to David_, and join
in celebrating the three days’ festival which greeted his accession to
the throne (1 Ch. xii. 39).

His first act after his coronation was significant. Saul had been
always content with the obscurity of his native Gibeah, and had cared
little for any central point of union for the tribes. As sovereign over
all Israel, both north and south, David resolved to move the seat of
government from Hebron nearer to the centre of the country. No spot
seemed to present so many advantages as the rocky mass on which rose
the city of the Jebusites[280]. It was neutral ground, on the very
meeting-point of his own tribe and that of Benjamin[281]. The lower
city had been once taken by the warriors of Judah (Judg. i. 8)[282],
but the fortress of the Jebusites, strong in its seemingly impregnable
position, had never been reduced. The presence of so many warriors
from all the tribes was favourable for making an attempt on so renowned
a citadel, and at the head of all his forces David advanced against
it, probably from the south. As before, the lower city appears to have
been easily captured, but again the fortress held out against every
attack[283]. Moreover, so convinced were the Jebusites of the strength
of their castle and of the ancient “everlasting gates” of its rocky
ravines, that they merely manned its walls with _the lame and blind_
(2 Sam. v. 6), deeming them amply sufficient for the defence. Their
taunts roused the wrath of David, and he promised that whoso first
scaled the rocky sides of the citadel and smote the Jebusite garrison,
should have the post of captain-general of the forces. Thereupon the
agile Joab climbed up first, and as the conqueror of the fastness of
Jebus was rewarded with the post of commander-in-chief, the same office
that Abner had held under Saul. Then, without loss of time, David took
measures for securing his new possession. He enclosed the whole city
with a wall, and connected it with the newly-captured fortress, and
there took up his abode, and thus the Jebusite stronghold became the
_City of David_.

The effect of the conquest of this celebrated fortress was very great.
The news no sooner reached the court of HIRAM, king of Phœnicia[284],
than he despatched messengers to David with offers of artificers and
materials for constructing a palace, which was accordingly built, and
hither David removed his wives from Hebron, and increased his already
numerous household (2 Sam. v. 13–16). In other quarters the news was
very differently received. The Philistines made two distinct attempts
to crush the new king, of whose powers they were well aware. On the
first occasion they came and encamped their numerous forces in the
valley of Rephaim, or the _Valley of Giants_, south-west of Jerusalem,
and stretching thence half-way to Bethlehem. After duly enquiring
of the Lord, David marched out against them, and swept them away, as
though with a “burst of waters,” whence he named the spot Baal-perazim,
_the Plain of Bursts_ or _Destruction_ (2 Sam. v. 17–20). A second
attempt of the same pertinacious foe met with no better success; they
were entirely routed, and the fame of David _went out into all lands,
and the Lord brought the fear of him upon all nations_ (1 Chr. xiv. 17).

His next care was to consecrate his new capital with religious
associations. After consultation with the chiefs of the nation, he
assembled 30,000 from all Israel (2 Sam. vi. 1; 1 Chr. xiii. 1), and
went to Kirjath-jearim, _the Village of Forests_, where the Ark seems
to have remained all through the reign of Saul in the custody of the
Levite Abinadab (1 Sam. vii. 1, 2). The sacred coffer was placed in a
new cart drawn by oxen, and with Uzzah and Ahio the sons of Abinadab
preceding it, was escorted towards Jerusalem amidst great rejoicings,
and the sound of psalteries, cornets, timbrels, and cymbals. On
reaching the threshing-floor of Chidon or Nachon (1 Chr. xiii. 9,
_margin_), the oxen stumbled, and Uzzah put forth his hand to hold
the ark. In a moment he fell dead (2 Sam. vi. 7). This untoward
event filled David with alarm; the spot itself was henceforth known as
Perez-uzzah, _the breaking_ or _disaster of Uzzah_ (1 Chr. xiii. 11),
and it was resolved to desist from any further attempt at present to
remove the sacred coffer. Accordingly it was carried aside to the house
of Obed-Edom the Gittite, that is, probably, a native of Gath-Rimmon,
a town of Dan, allotted to the Kohathite Levites, of whom Obed-Edom
was one, where it remained three months (2 Sam. vi. 10, 11; 1 Chr.
xiii. 13).

Meanwhile David prepared a new Tabernacle at Jerusalem, and hearing
that the presence of the Ark had brought a blessing to the house of
Obed-Edom, he assembled the Levites, and Zadok and Abiathar the two
representatives of the Aaronic family, and bade them prepare for the
duty of removing the sacred symbol. Solemn purifications, neglected on
the previous occasion (1 Chr. xv. 12–14), were now performed, and the
Levites, arranged in orderly divisions with singers and musicians, the
elders of Israel, and captains of the host, set out for the house of
Obed-Edom. On this occasion the Levites, as enjoined in the Law, lifted
it with the long staves passing through the rings of the ark[285],
and raising it upon their shoulders, commenced the joyous procession
(1 Chr. xv. 15).

When they had advanced six paces (2 Sam. vii. 13), it was clear that
the Lord was this time helping them, and the procession paused to offer
a sacrifice of seven bullocks and seven rams in token of thankfulness
for this proof of the Divine favour. Then the march was resumed amidst
shouting and the joyful sounds of all kinds of music, headed by David
himself in an ephod of linen, and by the singers and Levites arrayed in
white vestments. As they ascended the path leading upwards to the
ancient fortress of the Jebusites, the king, carried away by the
associations of this great day, not only played on a stringed
instrument, but accompanied the music with leaping and dancing. At
length the city was reached, and the gates of the ancient fortress
lifted up their heads, as the symbol of the presence of Jehovah, _the
King of Glory, the Lord strong and mighty_, entered in (Ps. xxiv. 8, 9),
and was placed within the awnings of the new Pavilion-Tent that had
been prepared for it. A series of burnt-offerings and peace-offerings
were then celebrated, and the king blessed the people, and dismissed
them to their homes with ample presents. A single untoward incident
marred this the greatest day in David’s life. As the procession passed
under the windows of her apartments, Michal, the daughter of Saul,
deeming David’s dance undignified, _despised him in her heart_ (2 Sam.
vi. 16), and when at the conclusion of all the gorgeous ceremonial
he entered his house to bless his family (2 Sam. vi. 20), she came
out to meet him, but in place of congratulations taunted him with his
indecorous appearance that day. David replied with great bitterness to
this untimely scoffing, and _Michal had no child unto the day of her
death_ (1 Sam. vi. 23).

The construction of his own palace and the reception of the Ark within
the folds of a new Tabernacle in Zion, now awoke in the king the desire
to build a more ample and permanent Temple for Jehovah. The design
received the Divine approval, but it was intimated to him by Nathan the
prophet, that as _he was a man of war and blood_ (1 Chr. xxviii. 3),
so peaceful a work would be better reserved for another. The refusal,
however, was accompanied by a promise of the permanence of his dynasty;
the mercy of Jehovah should not be taken from him as it had been from
Saul; a son of his own should carry on the work, and his throne should
be established for ever (2 Sam. vii. 12–17; 1 Chr. xvii. 3–15).

                             CHAPTER III.

       2 SAM. VIII.–XII.   1 CHRON. XVIII.–XX.   B.C. 1040–1033.

THUS assured of the continuance of his kingdom, David began by a series
of conquests to extend his power beyond the immediate boundaries of his
own people, and to found an imperial dominion, which for the first time
realized the prophetic description contained in the Promise made to his
forefather Abraham (Gen. xv. 18–21).

As instrumental to these conquests the military organization[286] of
the Israelites was now materially developed, and David was enabled
within ten years after the reduction of the fortress of Jebus to push
his conquests far and wide, and _get him a name like unto the name of
the great men that are in the earth_ (2 Sam. vii. 9).

1. On the South-west he turned his arms against his old enemies the
_Philistines_, and subdued them, capturing Gath with its _daughter
towns_[287] (1 Chr. xviii. 1).

2. On the South-east the _Edomites_ felt the weight of his arms.
Together with Joab he carried on a campaign of six months against
them (Comp. 2 Sam. viii. 14 with 1 K. xi. 15), during which period he
put vast numbers to the sword, established garrisons in the country,
and thus became master of the Eastern arm of the Red sea, and the
caravan-routes to the marts and harbours of Arabia[288]. (Comp. Gen.
xxvii. 29, 37, 40; Ps. lx. 6–12.)

3. On the North-east the kingdom of _Zobah_ had acquired considerable
influence under Hadadezer, son of Rehob. David attacked him as he went
to _recover his border at the river Euphrates_ (2 Sam. viii. 3), and
defeated him with a loss of 1,000 chariots, 700 cavalry, and 20,000
infantry. Hadadezer’s allies, the Syrians of Damascus, then marched
to his assistance, but they were routed with a loss of 22,000 men, and
became David’s vassals. The wealth of Zobah was considerable. Several
of Hadadezer’s officers carried _shields of gold_ (2 Sam. viii. 7),
that is, probably, “iron or wooden frames overlaid with plates of the
precious metal;” these David brought to Jerusalem, as also large stores
of brass from other Syrian cities (1 Chr. xviii. 7, 8).

4. On the East of Jordan he had hitherto maintained the most amicable
relations with the king of _Moab_[289] (1 Sam. xxii. 3, 4), but now
from some unexplained cause, he not only attacked and defeated, but
well-nigh extirpated the nation. Two-thirds of the people were put
to death, the rest were reduced to bondage, and paid regular tribute,
while the spoils were treasured up in Jerusalem (2 Sam. viii. 2;
1 Chr. xi. 22). This campaign, in which the valiant Benaiah greatly
distinguished himself (2 Sam. xxiii. 20), fulfilled the prophecy of
Balaam; _a Sceptre had risen out of Israel, and smitten through the
princes of Moab_, and destroyed the city of _Ar_, that is, Rabbath-Moab,
the capital of the children of Lot (Num. xxiv. 17)[290].

5. It was, however, from the kindred people of _Ammon_ that the royal
conquests experienced the greatest resistance. During the period
of his wanderings David had received much kindness from Nahash the
king of Ammon, and on his death he sent a royal embassy to offer his
condolences to the new king Hanun. But Hanun’s courtiers persuaded
him that this embassy was really dictated by a wish to spy out his
land, and probably add it to the many others that David had conquered.
Accordingly on the arrival of the ambassadors, Hanun treated them with
the utmost indignity. He shaved off the one half of their beards, cut
off their garments in the middle, and so sent them away (2 Sam. x. 1–3;
1 Chr. xix. 1–4).

As soon as David was informed of this aggravated insult, he bade his
ambassadors remain at Jericho till the traces of the indignities they
had suffered were removed, and then made preparations for sending Joab
with the “Mighty Men” and the host to take summary vengeance on the
Ammonites. Truly divining the consequences of their folly, the latter
prepared for the impending war by raising a mercenary force of 32,000
men from the Syrians of Beth-rehob and Zoba, from those owning fealty
to the king of Maacah, a region in the valley of the Jordan south of
Zoba, and from the land of Tob[291]. Aided by these allies the Syrians
awaited the onset of the Hebrews.

On his arrival Joab, perceiving that he was confronted by two very
considerable armies, divided his forces, and assigned to his brother
Abishai the task of assaulting the Ammonites, while he himself with
a picked body of troops attacked the Syrians, situated a little to
the south of Heshbon. At Medeba the latter were quickly routed, and
the Ammonites, in alarm at their speedy defeat, fled to their capital,
Rabbah[292], now called _Ammân_, situated on a very advantageous
position, and well supplied with water.

Meanwhile the Syrians beyond the Euphrates, under the command of
Shophach or Shobach, a general of ♦Hadadezer, assembled their forces
with the intention of avenging the repulse sustained by their kindred,
the allies of the Ammonites. Crossing the Euphrates they joined the
Syrians at Helam, the site of which is unknown. The occasion was deemed
of sufficient importance to justify the personal interference of David.
Gathering all Israel and passing over Jordan, he attacked the Syrians,
and defeated them with great slaughter. Shobach himself was slain,
and the allied princes quitted the Syrian confederacy, and became the
tributary vassals of the Hebrew monarch (2 Sam. xi. 15–19; 1 Chr. xix.

Early in the following year the campaign against the Ammonites was
resumed, and the command of the forces, including the royal body-guard
(2 Sam. xi. 1), and the troops of Ephraim and Benjamin as well as Judah
(2 Sam. xi. 11), was again entrusted to Joab, and the army was for the
first time since the disastrous battle of Aphek accompanied by the Ark
and its Levitical guard[293] (2 Sam. xi. 11). On this occasion Rabbah
was the main object of the attack, and after ravaging the country, Joab
drove the Ammonites into their citadel, and commenced a regular siege,
which lasted very nearly two years (2 Sam. xi. 1).

Meanwhile, critical as was the nature of the campaign, instead of
accompanying the Ark, David lingered behind at Jerusalem, and there
wrought that “deed of shame,” which has left so dark a blot upon his
character, and which threw a gloom over all the rest of his life. One
day on rising from his afternoon repose, he saw from the roof of his
palace a woman of extraordinary beauty, for whom he instantly conceived
a most violent passion. On making enquiry, he discovered that her name
was BATHSHEBA, the daughter of Eliam or Ammiel, and wife of URIAH the
Hittite, who was at that time serving in the army against Rabbah, as
one of the famous “Thirty” (2 Sam. xxiii. 39; 1 Chr. xi. 41). The fact
that she was the wife of one of his most distinguished officers did
not make David hesitate, he sent for her, and committed adultery with
her. As time went on, he found it would be no longer possible to screen
her from the death-punishment of an adulteress. Accordingly, after
vainly trying other and most unworthy expedients to cover his own
guilt, he sent a letter to Joab, bidding him expose this chivalrous and
high-minded officer where the contest was hottest, so as to ensure his
death. The unscrupulous Joab did as he was told, and Uriah fell happily
unconscious of his wife’s dishonour. Joab then sent a trusty messenger
to David to inform him that Uriah was dead, and the days of mourning
for her husband were no sooner over, than the king sent for Bathsheba,
and she became his wife (2 Sam. xi. 14–27).

But though David had done all this secretly, an all-seeing Eye had
watched each step in this dreadful crime, and punishment quickly
appeared at the door. The prophet Nathan was sent to him, and with
wonderful tact roused the royal attention by the well-known Parable of
the _Rich man and the Poor man’s ewe lamb_. Unsuspecting its purport,
David’s wrath was kindled, and he denounced death as the penalty of
the rich man, and the restoration of the property fourfold[294]. Then
turning to the king the prophet sped his winged arrow, saying, _Thou
art the man_, and announcing the awful penalty. As David had measured
unto others, so should it be measured to him; evil was to rise up
against him out of the bosom of his own family, and _the sword should
never depart from his house_ (2 Sam. xii. 10).

Unlike other kings of Israel and Judah, unlike any common Eastern
despot, David did not slay or ill-treat the messenger of judgment,
he acknowledged his sin and the justice of the sentence. On this
Nathan went on to tell him that _the Lord had put away his sin_, and
he himself was not to die. But an earnest of future judgments soon
appeared. The Lord struck the child that Uriah’s wife bare unto him,
and it died[295]. But in the midst of judgment God remembered mercy;
and in the course of time a second son was born to Bathsheba, whom
Nathan named JEDIDIAH, _beloved of the Lord_, but David himself called
him SOLOMON, _the peaceful one_ (2 Sam. xii. 15–25).

Meanwhile Joab had been pushing forward the siege of Rabbah, and
eventually succeeded in capturing the _city of waters_, that is, the
lower town, which “contained the perennial stream, which rises in,
and still flows through it[296].” But the citadel, a place of great
strength, still held out. The possession of the perennial stream was,
however, the next step to the capture of the stronghold, and Joab sent
messengers to David bidding him gather the rest of the people, and
come himself, unless he wished him to have the honour of capturing the
place, and calling it after his own name. Accordingly the king set out,
and the fortress was speedily taken. Enraged, it is not improbable,
at the obstinacy of the siege, he wreaked a terrible vengeance on the
inhabitants, some were decapitated, others sawn asunder or crushed
beneath iron instruments, others were passed through the fire in
brick-kilns[297] (2 Sam. xii. 31). The royal crown, “the crown of
Milcom,” weighing a talent of gold with the precious stones, was then
placed on David’s head, and he and his army returned in triumph to
Jerusalem with abundant spoil.

                              CHAPTER IV.

                      _THE REBELLION OF ABSALOM._
                  2 SAM. XIII.–XX.   B.C. 1032–1022.

THE reduction of Rabbah was the last of David’s conquests. His kingdom
had reached the limits foretold to the patriarch Abraham, and vied in
extent with some of the great empires of that age. But from this point
dark clouds began to gather round his own personal history, and the
doom denounced by the prophet found its fulfilment. The terrible secret
of his adultery and murder may at first have been known only to a few,
but its results were soon proclaimed upon the housetops. Out of the
numerous harem which, in defiance of the law of the kingdom, he had
multiplied to himself, out of his own household, came the instruments
of his punishment. First, his daughter Tamar was outraged by her
half-brother and his eldest son AMNON. Two years afterwards Amnon
fell a victim to the wrath of Tamar’s own brother ABSALOM (_father of
peace_), who caused him to be murdered at a sheep-shearing festival,
and then, apprehensive of the resentment of David, fled to the court of
Talmai his grandfather, the king of Geshur, a district on the east of
the Jordan south of Mount Hermon (2 Sam. xiii. 36).

Here he remained secure in its rocky fastnesses for three years, during
which time the soul of David was _consumed_ (2 Sam. xiii. 39, _margin_)
with longing for his favourite son. Perceiving this, Joab availed
himself of the services of a wise woman of Tekoa[298], who sought an
interview with the king, and addressing him in an apologue similar to
that which Nathan had employed, succeeded in obtaining permission for
the exile’s return. Joab, therefore, went to the court of the king of
Geshur, and thence brought back the young prince, who took up his abode
at Jerusalem, but was not suffered to see his father’s face. Twice
he sent a message to David’s general, begging him to intercede in
his behalf with the king, but Joab deemed he had done enough, and
would take no further steps in the matter. Thereupon Absalom caused a
barley-field belonging to Joab, which was near his own estate, to be
set on fire, and the latter, probably fearing further outrage, informed
the king, who consented to see his son, and gave him the kiss of peace
(2 Sam. xiv. 23–33).

But the ungrateful son was no sooner thus restored, than he began to
form plots against his father. First he surrounded himself with a small
body-guard, with chariots and horses, and fifty men to run before him.
Then, to ingratiate himself with the people, he took his stand by “the
way of the gate[299],” a duty which David appears to have neglected,
and conversed with suitors coming up to the city for judgment, lamented
the delays they would encounter in obtaining a hearing of their causes
(2 Sam. xv. 3), and insinuated how different would be the aspect of
affairs if _he_ was made judge in the land. Young, handsome beyond
compare in Israel (2 Sam. xiv. 25), sprung from a royal house both
on his father and his mother’s side (2 Sam. iii. 3), he made a deep
impression on the people, and his insinuating manners and unusual
condescension stole away their hearts (2 Sam. xv. 6). Since the dark
sin of which he had been guilty, the hold of the king upon the nation
appears to have been weakened, and he had become less fitted for the
more personal and more energetic duties of his position. And now the
powerful tribe of Judah, fretting, it has been suggested, under their
absorption into one great kingdom, or looking for some greater degree
of power under the supremacy of a prince like Absalom, showed signs of
a want of confidence in their sovereign, and in the course of two years
Absalom perceived that matters were ripe for a revolt[300].

Under pretence, therefore, of a vow which he had vowed to the Lord
(2 Sam. xv. 7–9), he succeeded in obtaining from David permission to go
to Hebron, the old capital of the tribe of Judah, and repaired thither
accompanied by 200 men from Jerusalem, probably of the chief families,
who were, however, entirely ignorant of his designs. To the same place
also he summoned Ahithophel the Gilonite, the _familiar friend_ and
_counsellor_ of his father, whose advice was deemed to have the value
of a Divine oracle[301].

While Absalom was taking these measures, news of the conspiracy and
of the popular feeling reached the royal palace. Instantly, without
offering any resistance, or striking a single blow in defence of his
crown, David resolved on flight. Accompanied by the royal body-guard
and the 600 Gittites, and a vast concourse of people, he left Jerusalem,
and early in the morning crossed the brook Kidron. As far as the city
boundaries he was also followed by the Levites, and the high-priests
Zadok and Abiathar with the Ark. But David had no wish to expose the
sacred symbol to any risk, and the two chiefs of the Levitical tribe
might do him better service at Jerusalem; accordingly they were bidden
to turn back. Then crossing the ravine of the Kidron, with head covered
and unsandalled feet, his retinue manifesting every sign of profound
sorrow, the king ascended the slopes of Olivet, and as he went received
intelligence that his privy counsellor Ahithophel had gone over to
the ranks of his rebellious son. In the defection of this man, his
_equal_[302], his _guide_, his _own familiar friend_, he instantly saw
his danger, and prayed that the counsel of Ahithophel might be _turned
into foolishness_ (2 Sam. xv. 31).

Reaching the summit of the hill, he encountered Hushai the Archite[303],
_the king’s friend_, with torn robe and dust upon his head. In him
David saw a fitting instrument for counteracting the influence of
Ahithophel, and persuaded him to return to Jerusalem, and undertake
the dangerous task of pretending a devotion to the cause of Absalom,
while really, in conjunction with Zadok and Abiathar and their two
sons, he kept a strict watch over all that occurred. Hushai accordingly
turned back, and David descended the further slopes of Olivet. Here
he met Ziba, the wily servant of Mephibosheth, the son of his old
friend Jonathan, with welcome supplies of wine, bread, and fruit. Ziba
represented that his master was staying behind at Jerusalem, awaiting
any change in his fortunes which the rebellion might bring, and, as
a reward for his services, obtained a ready grant of his estates. At
Bahurim, a little further down the hill, David encountered Shimei, a
Benjamite of the house of Saul, who flung stones at the royal retinue,
and imprecated on them the most furious curses, in which he perhaps
expressed the long pent-up hatred of the family of Saul, as well as
the popular feeling against the author of Uriah’s death. The impetuous
Abishai would have instantly cut off his head, but David stayed his
hand, _Let him curse_, said he, _for the Lord hath bidden him_ (2 Sam.
xvi. 10–12). The way now led into the Jordan valley, and for the first
time the weary retinue halted, and refreshed themselves with Ziba’s
welcome supplies.

Meanwhile Absalom, with Ahithophel and a numerous retinue, had reached
Jerusalem. There he met Hushai, who saluted him with the words, _Long
live the king_. Even Absalom was startled, and reproached him for his
apparent treachery, but kept him by him. The first step of the usurper,
suggested by Ahithophel, was to take possession of his father’s
harem[304], and so render all reconciliation impossible (Comp. 2 Sam.
iii. 7, 8).

The course to be next taken was anxiously debated. Ahithophel was for
instant measures, and offered with 12,000 men to head a pursuit after
David that very night, while he was weary and weak-handed. If he smote
the king, he felt sure the whole people would side with Absalom, and
his triumph would be complete. The advice found favour with the usurper,
and the elders about him. But first he resolved to call in Hushai,
and ascertain his opinion. Hushai pronounced the plan imprudent in the
extreme. To attack the king while surrounded by his _mighty men, all
chafing in their minds, as a she bear robbed of her whelps_, was very
dangerous. From a partial defeat the prince had everything to fear, and
the king everything to gain. He counselled, therefore, delay, and the
mustering of the entire national forces from Dan to Beer-sheba. Absalom
approved of this plan, and Ahithophel, probably seeing the certain
effects of such delay, and chagrined at the adoption of another’s
counsel in preference to his own, retired to Giloh, _put his household
in order, and hanged himself_ (2 Sam. xvii. 23).

Without a moment’s delay Hushai now sought out Zadok and Abiathar,
related all that had occurred in the council, and urged that a
messenger should be instantly sent to David, to bid him not linger in
the Jordan valley, but cross the river with all speed. The two sons
of the high-priests were in concealment at the fountain of En-rogel,
ready for such an errand. A female slave was sent thither to bid them
instantly carry the message to David. They forthwith started, but
narrowly escaped detection. At Bahurim a lad saw them and conveyed
the news to Absalom, and it was only by hiding in a well that they
escaped the vigilance of their pursuers, and announced their errand to
David. Though it must have been midnight, the king instantly crossed
the river, and before the dawn of the following day not one of his
retinue remained on the western side of the Jordan[305]. Mahanaim, the
former capital of Ishbosheth, now became his head-quarters, and here he
mustered his forces, and placed them under the command of Joab, Abishai,
and Ittai, and received a welcome supply of provisions from Shobi, the
son of his old friend Nahash of Rabbah, from Machir of Lodebar, and
Barzillai a wealthy Gileadite.

Meanwhile Absalom also had mustered his forces, and having entrusted
the command to AMASA, the son of Ithra or Jether by Abigail David’s
sister (2 Sam. xvii. 25), he too crossed the Jordan. The decisive
engagement, which was not long delayed, took place not far from
Mahanaim, in the dense forest of Ephraim, a region still “covered
with thick oaks, and tangled bushes, and thorny creepers growing over
rugged rocks and ruinous precipices[306].” Here the army of Absalom was
utterly routed. Entangled in the thick undergrowth, crushing each other
in remediless ruin, upwards of 20,000 perished in that fatal wood,
which _devoured more people that day than the sword devoured_ (2 Sam.
xviii. 8). Amidst the crowd of fugitives Absalom also fled, and as he
rode on his mule where “the strong arms of the trees spread out so near
the ground that one cannot walk erect beneath them[307],” his long hair
caught in an oak, and he hung suspended from the tree. A man chanced to
see him, and forthwith told Joab. He himself had forborne to touch the
prince, having heard the strict injunctions of the loving David to his
three captains before the battle _to deal tenderly with the young man_.
But Joab had no such scruples; with three darts in his hand he went
to the spot and transfixed him while yet alive. A great pit was then
dug, and into it the corpse was flung, and covered with a great heap of
stones. With the death of the usurper Joab knew the rebellion was at an
end, he therefore sounded the signal of recall, and the battle closed.

Meanwhile David, who had been sitting at the gate of Mahanaim
anxiously awaiting tidings of the battle, no sooner heard that his son
was dead, than he gave way to the most violent grief. Joab alone dared
to confront him, bidding him bestir himself if he would not see another
popular revolt. Roused at last, the king consented to present himself
at “the gate.” But he could not forget who had given the death-blow
to his favourite son, and even vowed to transfer the chieftaincy of
the troops to Amasa, though he had led the forces on the other side,
and “in this was laid the lasting breach between himself and his
powerful nephew, which neither the one nor the other ever forgave.”
The rebellion ended, the rightful monarch could return to his kingdom.
With a self-control rare in Western no less than Eastern history, every
step in his progress was marked by forgiveness. Shimei was forgiven,
Mephibosheth, proved to have been faithful, was partially reinstated,
and Barzillai rewarded with ample gifts (2 Sam. xix. 16–43).

But the danger was not yet over. In bringing about the king’s return,
his own tribe of Judah had the largest share. This provoked the old
jealousy of the other tribes[308] (Comp. Judg. viii. 1; xii. 1), while
the Benjamites even took up arms, and placed themselves under the
leadership of Sheba, son of Bichri, a man of Mount Ephraim. Many others
also rallied round him, and when Amasa, the new general-in-chief failed
within three days to muster the forces of Judah, David was afraid lest
more harm should come of this fresh rising than had come from that
of Absalom. Accordingly Abishai with the “Mighty Men” was dispatched
to quell the insurrection, and to pursue after Sheba before he reached
any fortified towns. Taking with him the royal body-guard, Abishai,
accompanied by Joab, set out, and at the great stone of Gibeon
encountered Amasa. Joab’s robe was girded round his waist, and in the
folds was a sword, which “by accident or design protruded from the
sheath.” _Art thou in health, my brother?_ he saluted Amasa, and took
him by the beard as if to kiss him. The other rushed into his embrace,
and was instantly stabbed to the heart, his blood spirting out upon his
cousin’s girdle and sandals. Leaving the body in the road, Joab hurried
on after Sheba, who, rousing the tribes as he passed, had made for Abel
Beth-Maachah[309], a town of some importance far up in the north by the
waters of Merom. Thither Joab rushed in pursuit, threw up an embankment,
and battered the walls. A wise woman saved the town from destruction.
Approaching the wall, she gained a parley with the angry general, who
promised to leave the place, if Sheba was put to death. Thereupon she
returned to her people, and the head of the rebel was soon flung into
Joab’s camp, who straightway sounded a trumpet, and with his troops
returned to Jerusalem (2 Sam. xx. 22).

                              CHAPTER V.

                       _CLOSE OF DAVID’S REIGN._
         2 SAM. XXI.–XXIV.    1 KINGS I. II.   B.C. 1022–1015.

SHORTLY after David’s restoration, his kingdom was visited for three
years with a grievous famine. Enquiry was made of the Divine Oracle,
and it was discovered to be a punishment for an act of faithlessness
on the part of Saul, who had broken the solemn covenant made by Joshua
with the Gibeonites (Josh. ix. 3–27). In a fit of sudden zeal for the
children of Israel and Judah he had killed some of them, and devised
a general massacre of the rest (2 Sam. xxi. 2, 5). The Gibeonites were
now asked what atonement they were willing to receive for the wrongs
they had suffered. In reply, they demanded neither silver nor gold.
Blood had been spilt, and blood they would have, and nothing would
satisfy them but permission to take seven of Saul’s sons and hang, or
rather crucify, them at Gibeah. Accordingly the two sons of Rizpah,
the daughter of Aiah, and the five sons of Michal, whom they had
borne to Saul, were delivered up, and the Gibeonites crucified them
on the hill of Gibeah. This was done in April, at the beginning of
barley-harvest[310] (2 Sam. xxii. 9), and there the bodies remained
till the periodical rains in October _dropped upon them out of heaven_
(2 Sam. xxii. 10). All this while, spreading on the rock a coarse
sackcloth robe, Rizpah watched over the blackening corpses, and
_suffered neither the birds of the air to rest on them by day, nor the
beasts of the field by night_. The tale of her devoted love at length
was conveyed to David, who had the remains removed, and at the same
time directed that the bones of Saul also and of Jonathan should be
taken from Jabesh-Gilead, and buried in the ancestral sepulchre of
Kish, _after which God was intreated for the land_ (2 Sam. xxi. 14).

Meanwhile, in consequence probably of the intestine feuds of the
Israelites, the Philistines had recovered sufficient strength to
venture on once more attacking them. David himself went with the host
to battle, and in mortal combat with another descendant of the giant
race was near falling a victim to his rashness, when he was succoured
by the valiant Abishai, and the people, fearful lest _the light of
Israel should be quenched_ (2 Sam. xxi. 17), prevailed upon him to
desist from accompanying them to battle in future. Other attempts were
afterwards made by the Philistines, but the valour of David’s captains
served to keep them in check (2 Sam. xxi. 18–22).

The Hebrew kingdom had now attained its farthest limits, even those
which God had revealed many centuries before in vision to Abraham (Gen.
xv. 18). Not only had David given a capital to his people, but he had
conquered all the nations on the immediate frontier of his realm. His
kingdom had become like one of the kingdoms of the world[311]. It had
its court, its palace, its splendour, its tributaries. In this hour
of his prosperity the monarch was tempted (1 Chr. xxi. 1) to yield to
pride and self-exaltation, and gave directions to Joab to carry out a
general census of the people from Dan even to Beer-sheba. His object,
it has been supposed, was either the levying of a poll-tax or the
formation of a standing army with a view to foreign conquests[312].
Whatever was his precise motive, it excited the repugnance of the
captains of the host, and even of Joab himself, who not only warned the
king against being _the cause of a trespass in Israel_, but regarded
the royal proposition as actually _abominable_ (1 Chr. xxi. 6). When,
however, he found that nothing would turn the king from his fixed
purpose, he set out, and after the lapse of 9 months and 20 days
reported 800,000 in Israel as fit for military service, and 500,000 in
Judah. But before he had numbered Benjamin or Levi (2 Sam. xxiv. 10)
David’s heart smote him, and Gad, the seer, was commissioned to offer
him the choice of 7 years’ famine, or 3 months’ defeat before his
enemies, or a 3 days’ pestilence. David chose _to fall into the hands
of God rather than into the hands of man_. Thereupon the plague began,
and during three days swept off upwards of 70,000. But when the hand
of the destroying angel was uplifted over Jerusalem, the Lord, _whose
mercies are great_ (2 Sam. xxiv. 14), repented of the evil, and on
the intercession of the king the angel desisted, when he was by the
threshing-floor of Ornan or Araunah, a wealthy Jebusite. By the advice
of Gad David now bought the site of the threshing-floor and a yoke of
oxen, erected there an altar, and offered thereon burnt-offerings and
peace-offerings. Fire descended in testimony of the acceptance of the
sacrifice, and with the cessation of the plague consecrated the rocky
site of the future altar of Solomon’s Temple on Mount Moriah (2 Chr.
iii. 1).

The remaining years of David’s life were spent in amassing treasures
and materials, and making preparations for the erection of the Temple
(1 Chr. xxii. 5, 14). But even now the truth of the prophet’s words was
forced upon him, that his foes should be those of his own household.
The three eldest of his sons, Amnon, Chileab, and Absalom being dead,
the fourth――ADONIJAH――resolved to put forth his pretensions to the
kingdom. Like Absalom, whom he resembled in personal beauty, he began
by surrounding himself with chariots and horsemen, and succeeded in
drawing over to his side not only the high-priest Abiathar, but even
Joab, the commander-in-chief, whose loyalty at last wavered. Confident
in the support of such old servants of the king, the pretender
proclaimed a great sacrificial festival at the _Stone of Zoheleth_,
south of Jerusalem, near the fountain of En-rogel, and invited to it
all the royal princes, except Solomon, and not a few of the captains
of the royal army (1 K. i. 5–9).

While they assembled at Zoheleth, Nathan the prophet persuaded
Bath-sheba to seek an interview with the king, and inform him of what
was going on. Bath-sheba did so, and had hardly concluded her tale,
when Nathan himself entered, confirmed her account, and demanded to
know whether Adonijah’s actions had the royal approval. Though old and
feeble, David had sufficient energy to rise to the present emergency,
and solemnly assured Bath-sheba of his unalterable determination that
Solomon should succeed to the throne. Then summoning Zadok and Benaiah
he bade them, together with Nathan, convey Solomon in state down to
Gihon, and there formally anoint and proclaim him king. Accordingly
these officers, accompanied by the royal guards, escorted Solomon
thither, mounted on the royal mule (1 K. i. 38), and there Zadok
anointed him with oil from the sacred horn of the Tabernacle, amidst
the sound of trumpets and loud shouts of _God save the King_. Thence
the new monarch was escorted in triumph back through the city, and
sat on the royal throne amidst general applause, in the sight of his
aged father, who blessed God that during his own lifetime he had been
permitted to behold his successor (1 K. i. 45–48). Intelligence of
these transactions was conveyed to the conspirators, in the midst of
their festivities at En-rogel, by Jonathan the son of Abiathar. They
had already heard the noise of the people shouting as Solomon passed
in procession through the city, and no sooner learnt the cause than,
seized with alarm, they instantly dispersed, and _every man went his
way_ (1 K. i. 49). Dreading the vengeance of the new king, Adonijah now
fled to the Tabernacle, put himself in sanctuary by grasping the horns
of the altar, and refused to quit the spot till Solomon had promised
with an oath to spare his life. The young and politic monarch, on
being informed of this, abstained from binding himself by any oath,
and simply assured Adonijah of safety _so long as he shewed himself a
worthy man_, but threatened him with death, _if wickedness should be
found in him_ (1 K. i. 49–52). On these conditions he quitted his place
of refuge, and, having made obeisance to the new king, returned to the
privacy of his own house (1 K. i. 53).

The days of David were now rapidly drawing to a close. He therefore
convened a solemn assembly of all the chiefs and elders of his people,
the royal princes, the captains of his army, and his public officers,
and standing up, aged as he was, gave them his last charge, and
exhorted his son to constancy in the service of Jehovah. He then
solemnly delegated to him the accomplishment of the desire of his life,
the erection of the Temple, and committed to him in trust the abundant
materials he had amassed for this purpose, as well as a pattern of the
building, and of everything belonging to it. This address, confirmed
as it was by the sight of the gold and silver, the brass and iron and
precious stones, which the royal prudence had collected, had a great
effect upon the people, and they also joyfully contributed to the
execution of their sovereign’s design. Then, in language of unequalled
pathos and beauty, the aged monarch solemnly thanked God for all His
goodness, and prayed that He would bestow upon his son “a perfect
heart,” enabling him to keep His testimonies and statutes, and build
the Temple for which he had made provision. Amidst sacrifices of
unusual abundance and great feastings and rejoicings, Solomon was then
for the second time anointed king, and received the formal submission
of all the royal princes, and the chiefs of the nation. In another
and more secret interview David gave his son his last counsels, not
only concerning his own deportment as ruler, but also respecting Joab
and Shimei, who were committed to his vigilance, and Barzillai the
Gileadite, who was entrusted to his regard. Then after a reign of
7½ years at Hebron, and of 33 years at Jerusalem, _in a good old age,
full of years, riches, and honour_, the son of Jesse, the Shepherd,
the Warrior, the King, the Psalmist, was gathered to his fathers, and
buried in the city which had been once the fortress of the heathen
Jebusites, but was now the capital of an empire that realised the
loftiest ideal of prophecy, stretching from the “river of Egypt” to
the Euphrates, and from the range of Lebanon to the gulf of Akaba[313].

                              CHAPTER VI.

                        _ACCESSION OF SOLOMON._
           1 KINGS II.–VIII.   1 CHRON. I.–IX.   B.C. 1015.

THE new king was hardly seated on the throne before he was called
upon to repress with a high hand a second and dangerous attempt of
Adonijah to obtain the kingdom. As is usual in Oriental countries,
the influence of Bath-sheba the queen-mother was very great. To her
Adonijah preferred a request that she would intercede with the king
in obtaining for him the hand of ABISHAG the Shunammite, his father’s
latest wife (1 Kings ii. 17). Bath-sheba sought an interview with
Solomon, who instantly saw in this petition a design upon the throne,
and declaring that Adonijah had forfeited his claim to the indulgence
extended to him after the late rebellion, directed that he should be
put to death by the hand of Benaiah. But he divined that others were
concerned in the insinuating request, and notably the high-priest
Abiathar, and Joab the commander-in-chief. The former, in consideration
of his past services, was not put to death, but simply degraded from
his high office, and ordered to live in retirement at Anathoth, a
Levitical city, about 3 miles north of Jerusalem, whereby the word of
the Lord concerning the house of Eli was fulfilled (1 Sam. ii. 31–33).
News of these events no sooner reached the ears of Joab than he
fled for refuge within the curtains of the Tabernacle at Gibeon, and
caught hold of the horns of the altar. Thither, however, Solomon sent
Benaiah with orders to put him to death. Benaiah went and told his old
companion-in-arms the king’s command. But Joab refused to stir from
sanctuary, and the other returned to the king for fresh instructions.
Solomon bade him not spare, but fall upon him even at the altar, urging
his execution as a just recompense for the murder of Abner and Amasa.
Thereupon he returned once more, and fell upon him at the altar,
and obtained the important post of commander-in-chief, while Zadok
succeeded to the high-priesthood (1 K. ii. 28–34).

Though David had spared the life of Shimei, he had on his death-bed
cautioned Solomon against him, and now, possibly owing to some
unrecorded symptoms of disaffection, the young king renewed the
concession, but on condition that Shimei confined himself to the
city of Jerusalem, and did not stray beyond the brook Kidron, which
separated him from the road to his old home at Bahurim. For three years
Shimei carefully complied with this condition. But two of his slaves
fleeing to Achish king of Gath, he went thither and brought them back.
This sealed his fate. Intelligence of what he had done was conveyed to
Solomon, who sent for him, and ordered his execution by the hands of
Benaiah (1 K. ii. 36–46).

Shortly before this last event the king convened a general assembly
of all the notables of the realm at Gibeon, where was not only the
venerable Tabernacle of the Wanderings, but the brazen altar of
burnt-sacrifice (2 Chr. i. 3, 5). There accordingly were gathered
together all the great officers of state, the judges, the governors,
and the chief of the fathers, and a thousand burnt-offerings were
consumed on the Altar. On the night following this solemn ceremonial,
the Lord appeared in vision to Solomon as he slept, and bade him prefer
any petition he desired. Impressed with the magnitude of the office to
which he had been called, as yet _humble in his own sight_, and mindful
of the mercy bestowed upon his father, the young king prayed not for
riches, or honour, or long life, or the life of his enemies, but _for
a wise and understanding heart_, that he might know how to rule his
people. His prayer pleased the Lord, and because he had requested
nothing for himself, He, who is wont to give to the sons of men “more
than they ask or think,” not only promised him wisdom and knowledge,
but assured him that all the blessings he had not asked should be
“added unto him,” including length of days, if he, for his part, took
heed to observe the statutes and commandments of Jehovah, as his father
had done before him (1 K. iii. 6–14). Returning to Jerusalem the king
offered burnt-offerings and thank-offerings to the Lord before the
Ark of the Covenant, and celebrated a sacrificial feast with his whole
court (1 K. iii. 15).

Very shortly he was called upon to give proof of that sagacity and
clearness of judgment, especially in judicial cases, so much prized
by Orientals. Of two women inhabiting one house together, each had an
infant child. The mother of one overlaid hers while she was asleep,
and rising at midnight, laid it in the bosom of the other woman, taking
her live child in its place. In the morning the latter discovered the
deception that had been practised upon her, and demanded the living
infant. This the other woman refused, claiming it for her own, and
both of them appealed to Solomon, who commanded the living child to
be divided into two halves, one of which should be given to each.
The anguish of the real, and the cruel acquiescence of the pretended
mother in this sentence, decided the point in a moment, and proved
the sagacity of the king. But besides judicial sagacity, Solomon was
eminent for his attainments. He was deeply versed in all the knowledge
of his age, his _wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the
East country, and all the wisdom of Egypt_ (1 K. iv. 30). In the course
of his life he spake 3,000 proverbs, of which a considerable portion
remain in the “Book of Proverbs,” and his Songs, of which the “Song of
Songs” alone survives, were a thousand and five. He spoke or wrote also
of trees, from the lofty cedar of Lebanon to the humble hyssop _that
springeth out of the wall, of beasts, of fowl, of creeping things, and
of fishes_. His fame spread abroad among surrounding nations; and there
came of all people to hear his wisdom (1 K. iv. 34).

                             CHAPTER VII.

                     _THE BUILDING OF THE TEMPLE._
        1 KINGS V.–VIII.   2 CHRON. II.–VII.   B.C. 1012–1005.

MINDFUL of the repeated instructions of his father, Solomon no sooner
received the congratulations of Hiram, king of Tyre, upon his coming to
the throne, than he sent to that monarch requesting that he would let
him have Sidonian artisans, and a supply of cedar wood from the forests
of Lebanon, for the construction of the Temple. Hiram responded with
alacrity to the request, and a regular treaty was entered into between
the two kings. Solomon bound himself to send yearly 20,000 cors[318]
of wheat, and 20 cors of oil to the Phœnicians, while Hiram undertook
to float cedar trees and fir-trees to Joppa, and to send a number of
skilled artificers to Jerusalem. For the purpose of felling the timber,
a levy of 30,000 Israelites was made, who were placed under Adoniram;
10,000 were employed at a time, and relieved each other every month,
spending a month in the mountains of Lebanon, and the other two
months at their own homes (1 K. v. 13, 14). Besides these, 70,000
were employed as porters, and 80,000 as hewers in the various quarries.
These latter were bondslaves, remnants of the Canaanites, who had not
been expelled from the land. Under the eye of Tyrian master-builders,
they hewed, and squared, and bevelled the stupendous blocks, some
measuring even 17 and 18 feet, for the foundation of the sacred edifice.

The site, which had been already selected by David, was the eminence
of Moriah, on the east of the city, rendered sacred at once as the
spot where Abraham had offered up Isaac, and where the plague had been
stayed during the last reign[319]. “Its rugged top was levelled with
immense labour; its sides, which to the east and south were precipitous,
were faced with a wall of stone, built up perpendicular from the
bottom of the valley, so as to appear to those who looked down, of most
terrific height; a work of prodigious skill and labour, as the immense
stones were strongly mortised together and wedged into the rock.”

On this site, after 3 years of preparation, in the 4th year of
Solomon’s reign, and the 480th after the departure from Egypt, the
foundations were laid. No sound of hammer or axe, or any tool of iron,
was heard as the structure rose (1 K. vi. 7). Every beam already cut
and squared, every stone already hewn and bevelled, was laid silently
in its appointed site,

      _Like some tall palm the noiseless fabric sprung_[320].

Within a quadrangle formed by a solid wall was an open court,
afterwards known as the _Court of the Gentiles_. Within this,
surrounded by another wall and on a higher[321] level, was the _Court
of the Israelites_, and within this, and on a still higher level, the
_Court of the Priests_. The Temple itself was built on the model of the
ancient Tabernacle, but of more costly and durable materials, and like
it consisted of the Porch, the Holy Place, and the Holy of Holies[322].

(1) The _Porch_ or Hall, which faced the East, was 10 cubits deep
from E. to W., by 20 in width from N. to S., and 30 cubits high[323].
Either within, or, as some think, on either side of it, rose two
brazen Pillars, the one called JACHIN (_durability_), the other BOAZ
(_strength_), their capitals ornamented with network, chainwork,
and pomegranates. (2) _The Holy Place_, the dimensions of which were
exactly double those in the Tabernacle[324], was 40 cubits long, by
20 wide, and 30 high. Its walls were of hewn stone, wainscotted with
cedar and overlaid with gold[325], and adorned with beautiful carvings
representing cherubim, fruit, and flowers. It was entered by folding
doors, similarly overlaid with gold and richly embossed. The floor
was of cedar, boarded over with planks of fir or cypress; the ceiling
was of fir, but both, as indeed every part, overlaid with gold in the
richest profusion. In the Holy Place, as in the Tabernacle, stood the
golden Altar of Incense, the Table of Shew-bread, and the Candlesticks
of pure gold, five on the right, and five on the left. (3) A rich veil
of the brightest colours separated the Holy Place from _the Holy of
Holies_, which was a perfect cube of 20 cubits. Here was the original
Ark overshadowed by two colossal Cherubim of olive wood overlaid with
gold, 10 cubits in height. These stood at each end, N. and S., and
faced each other, each having two wings expanded, so that one wing of
each touched over the Ark, and the other touched the wall. Outside the
Holy Place stood a great Tank or “Sea” of molten brass, 10 cubits in
diameter, 30 round, 5 high, and capable of holding 2000 baths. It was
supported on 12 oxen, three turned each way, and its rim was ornamented
with blossoms. Besides this there were 10 Lavers, for the purpose of
ablutions, which stood on moveable bases of brass; each side of these
was formed in three panels, and adorned with figures of oxen, lions,
and cherubim. The great Brazen Altar of Burnt-sacrifice, 20 cubits long
and 10 high, stood on the exact site of the threshing-floor of Araunah.

At length, by the 7th month in the 11th year of Solomon’s reign, the
work was completed, and the king invited the chiefs of the different
tribes, all the notables of the realm, as also the entire priestly and
Levitical body[326], to the solemn dedication. He himself took his seat
on a raised throne of brass; the sacrificers stood before the Altar
of Burnt-offering, surrounded by the choir arrayed in white robes, and
playing on cymbals, psalteries, and harps; while the assembled nation
crowded the courts without. Countless sheep and oxen were first laid
on the brazen altar. Then from under the covering, where David had
placed it, the priests solemnly brought the Ark of the Covenant to
the folding-doors of the Temple. These were opened, and then past the
Table of Shew-bread, and the golden Candlesticks, and the Altar of
Incense, it was conveyed through the Veil to its appointed place,
and the Cherubim spread over it their wings, and “received it, as
it were, under their protection.” At this moment the choir lifted up
their voices _with the trumpets and cymbals, and instruments of music,
and made one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord[327],
whose mercy endureth for ever_, and simultaneously the Temple was
filled with a cloud (1 K. viii. 10, 11), the “Glory” of the Lord
descended, and Jehovah took possession of His new abode. Thereupon the
king, rising on his brazen throne, and kneeling down upon his knees,
spread forth his hands toward heaven, and offered up a solemn and
sublime prayer. As he concluded with the petition, _Arise, O Lord God,
into Thy resting-place, Thou and the Ark of Thy strength_, fire flashed
forth from the “Glory” already filling the Temple, and consumed the
burnt-offerings and the sacrifices (2 Chr. vii. 3), while the priests
stood without, blinded with the excess of splendour, and the people
bowing with their faces to the ground, worshipped and praised the Lord.
The ceremony of dedication lasted seven days, and was succeeded by
the Feast of Tabernacles, which was continued for two weeks, or twice
the usual time[328]. During it, upwards of 22,000 oxen and 120,000
sheep were partly offered in sacrifice, and partly made the materials
of a great sacrificial feast, from which, on the 23rd day of the 7th
month, the king sent the people away, _glad and merry in heart for the
goodness that the Lord had shewed unto David, and to Solomon, and to
Israel His people_ (2 Chr. vii. 10).

                             CHAPTER VIII.

                     _SOLOMON’S REIGN CONTINUED._
          2 KINGS IX.–XI.   2 CHR. VIII. IX.   B.C. 1005–975.

BEFORE the Temple was thus completed, Solomon had proceeded to
construct other magnificent buildings. Amongst these was a sumptuous
palace for himself, surrounded with beautiful pleasure-grounds, which
stood within the city opposite to the Temple, and occupied 13 years in
building (1 K. vii. 1). Another palace he built for Pharaoh’s daughter,
whom he had espoused, and besides it the house of the forest of
Lebanon[329], 175 ft. long, half that measurement in width, and 50 ft.
high. The roof, which was made of cedar, was supported by 4 rows of
cedar columns, and the whole received light from 3 rows of windows on
each side. Adjoining it were the women’s apartments, a banqueting-hall,
and spacious and luxuriant gardens.

Other works were designed for use and security; among these were
artificial reservoirs for supplying the city with water, and the
strengthening or repairing of a fortress called Millo (1 K. ix. 15),
already begun by David (2 Sam. v. 9). Solomon also fortified
Baalath[330]; Gezer[331] and the two Beth-horons on the great road
towards the sea-coast; the strong and important post of Hazor[332]
to defend the entrance from Syria and Assyria; Megiddo to guard the
Esdraelon plain; while, for the protection of his eastern caravans, he
built Tadmor, afterwards called _Palmyra_, in the Syrian wilderness,
and Tiphsah or _Thapsacus_[333] on the Euphrates (2 Chr. viii. 3–6).

  Illustration:          SOLOMON’S DOMINIONS,
                      KINGDOMS OF JUDAH & ISRAEL
                                AND THE
                       LANDS OF THE CAPTIVITIES.

                        London: Macmillan & Co.

His reign was a period of great commercial activity. On the North-west
the important kingdom of Phœnicia was united with him by the bonds
of a strict alliance. Once only did Hiram, king of Tyre, express any
dissatisfaction with the dealings of his powerful friend. Solomon had
bestowed upon him twenty cities which he had conquered in the land of
Galilee, on the borders of Asher. But when the Tyrian king came forth
to see them, he was much dissatisfied. One of them named Cabul, now
_Kabûl_, about 8 or 9 miles east of _Akka_, in his own Phœnician tongue
denoted _displeasure_, and this name he gave to them all (1 K. ix.

1. But Phœnician enterprise was turned to account in other directions.
Having possession of the Eastern shore of the Red Sea, Solomon
strengthened the ports of Elath and Ezion-geber (_the giant’s
backbone_), and with the assistance of Tyrian shipwrights, constructed
a fleet, which sailed to Ophir[334], and returned with gold, silver,
ivory, and other products (1 K. ix. 26–28).

2. The Tyrian alliance opened up also the traffic of the Mediterranean.
On every shore washed by this sea Phœnician energy had founded
colonies, and opened trading ports, of which the chief was Tarshish,
or Tartessus――“the Peru of Tyrian adventure[335]”――on the southern
coast of Spain, at this time abounding in gold and silver mines. Hither
Solomon’s fleet sailed in company with that of Hiram, and brought back
every three years of its precious products (1 K. x. 22).

3. Another important outlet for trade was supplied by Egypt. Not only
had Solomon espoused a daughter of Pharaoh, but in defiance of the
Mosaic Law (Deut. xvii. 16) he exchanged the produce of his own country
for the horses and chariots of Egypt, as also for the linen-yarn,
spun from the flax which the Nile valley yielded in abundance (1 K.
x. 28, 29).

4. Last, but not least important, was the inland trade of the Arabian
peninsula. Caravans of the native tribes transported on camels the
spices, incense, gold, precious stones, and valuable woods of the
country, especially the almug or sandal, and brought them into the
dominions of Solomon, or, if they were intended for his Tyrian allies,
to Gezer and Beth-horon, whence they were transported to the port of

But though these several branches of commerce opened up to the Hebrew
kingdom many and various sources of national prosperity, and tended to
multiply the luxuries and magnificence of the court, this prosperity
was on the surface only. Hidden beneath its external splendour were
several cankers, which surely though secretly undermined the true
life of the nation. First of all, this massing of gold and silver, as
doubtless the Jewish Lawgiver had foreseen, could only be brought about
by a process of severe taxation. And while forced to bear burdens heavy
and grievous, the nation saw the tide of commercial profits, instead of
being fairly distributed among the people, flowing only into the royal
exchequer. Secondly, these commercial alliances seriously affected the
nation’s allegiance to Jehovah. In imitation of other Oriental empires
Solomon surrounded himself with a numerous harem, having 700 wives
and 300 concubines (1 K. xi. 1–3). Besides the daughter of Pharaoh,
he espoused women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians,
and Hittites, and, as he grew old, they turned away his heart from
the worship of the true God. Three times, indeed, during the year he
celebrated the Festivals of Jehovah (1 K. ix. 25), but the licentious
worship of Baal and Ashtaroth, of Moloch and Chemosh, found its way
even into the Holy City, and their hideous orgies were enacted “hard
by the oracles of God” (1 K. xi. 5–8).

At first, perhaps, there may have been few signs of weakness in a
fabric so vast and so magnificent. In the figurative language of the
sacred record, _silver was in Jerusalem as stones, and cedar-trees as
sycamores; Judah and Israel were many, as the sand which is by the sea
in multitude, eating and drinking and making merry_; in the enjoyment
of profound peace, _every man dwelt safely under his vine and under his
fig-tree_. Princes administered the government of various portions of
the empire (1 K. iv. 1–6); officers deputed for the purpose provided
victual for the royal table, and barley and straw for Solomon’s 40,000
chariot-horses, his 12,000 war-horses (1 K. iv. 26), and his swift
mules; kings and princes of subject-provinces brought in their tribute
at a fixed rate year by year (1 K. x. 25); and when the queen of Sheba
came with her great train from distant Yemen in Arabia to prove the
king with hard questions, and beheld his palace, _and the meat of
his table, and the sitting of his servants, and the attendance of his
ministers, and their apparel, and his cup-bearers_, and the ascent from
his own palace to the Temple[336], there was no spirit left in her, and
she confessed that the half of his fame and magnificence had not been
told her (1 K. x. 1–9).

Before long, however, clouds began to gather portending the coming
storm. Once at Gibeon, on the occasion of his accession, again after
the dedication of the Temple (1 K. iii. 5; ix. 2), the Lord had
appeared to Solomon, and on condition that he continued to walk in
the ways of his father, had promised to crown him with prosperity, and
establish his dynasty, but at the same time had warned him that any
apostasy would bring down severe punishment. But promise and warning
had been alike forgotten, and when the Lord appeared for the third
time, it was to announce that the kingdom should be rent from him
(1 K. xi. 9–13).

i. The quarter, whence danger first threatened, was on the south,
in the land of Edom. When Joab invaded that country during the late
reign, and for six months directed an indiscriminate massacre of the
male population, HADAD, who was of the blood royal, and at that time
a little child, was carried off into Egypt, where he was hospitably
received by the reigning Pharaoh, and rapidly rising in the royal
esteem, obtained the hand of Tahpenes, the sister of the Egyptian
queen. On the death of David and of Joab, he returned from Egypt, and
thirsting to break off the hard yoke of Jacob from the neck of Esau,
organized a revolt in his native land, and began to threaten Solomon’s
communication with the Elanitic Gulf (1 K. xi. 15–22).

ii. A second adversary appeared in the north-eastern provinces of
the empire. ♦REZIN, the Syrian, the son of Eliadah, flying from the
defeat which his feudal lord Hadadezer, king of Zobah, had sustained
at the hands of David, put himself at the head of a band of adventurers
and seized Damascus. Here he set up a petty kingdom, and _became an
adversary to Israel all the days of Solomon_, and an impediment to the
king’s commerce with Tadmor and the Euphrates (1 K. xi. 23–25).

iii. But a far more formidable adversary appeared nearer home. When
Solomon was constructing the fortifications of Millo under the citadel
of Zion, he observed the industry and activity of JEROBOAM, already
known as a man of valour, the son of an Ephraimite, named Nebat.
Perceiving his worth, the king not only employed him on the works,
but elevated him to the rank of collector of the taxes from his native
tribe. On one occasion as he was going out of Jerusalem, Jeroboam
encountered the prophet Ahijah of the ancient sanctuary of Shiloh,
and accompanied him to a neighbouring field. When they were alone, the
prophet rent the new outer robe in which he was attired into twelve
pieces, and gave ten of them to Jeroboam, assuring him at the same
time that he should reign over ten of the tribes, and that if he proved
faithful to His laws God would establish his dynasty as he had done
that of David (1 K. xi. 26–39). News of this mysterious intimation in
some way reached the ears of Solomon, and he sought to put Jeroboam
to death, but the latter fled for refuge to the court of Shishak
(_Sheshonk_ I.), a powerful monarch, who was bent on restoring Egypt
to its former greatness. Here he remained during the rest of Solomon’s
reign. Departing from his earlier policy the king had laid the burden
of compulsory labour not only on the remnant of the Canaanites, but
on the Israelites themselves (1 K. v. 13, 14). This increased the old
jealousy of the great house of Joseph, and a man like Jeroboam was
certain at any time to rally round him all the national discontent and
ill-feeling against the once prosperous monarch.

While the signs of coming danger were thus becoming more and more
evident, Solomon’s reign of 40 years came to a close, B.C. 975. The
hopes he might have inspired when first elevated to the throne had
not been fulfilled. He had, indeed, built the promised Temple; he had
adorned Jerusalem with sumptuous palaces; his wisdom and learning had
attracted the notice and roused the envy of distant monarchs; but he
had not been mindful, save for a short time, while the example of David
and the instructions of his preceptor Nathan were fresh in his memory,
of the vocation to which he had been called. His kingdom exhibited some
of the worst faults of other Oriental monarchies. He had violated each
and all of the fundamental principles of the kingdom as laid down by
the great Lawgiver of his nation. He had encouraged the worst forms
of idolatry, had multiplied wives, had amassed enormous wealth, had
laid heavy burdens on the people, and sated with pomp and splendour
and selfish luxuries, he had confessed the vanity of his life (Eccles.
i. 12–18). The kingdom which Abraham had seen in vision stretching from
the river of Egypt to the gates of Damascus had, indeed, been realized,
but its unity was not destined to survive the reign of the son of

                                BOOK X.

                     KINGDOMS OF JUDAH AND ISRAEL.

                                PART I.

                     _Period of mutual hostility._

                              CHAPTER I.

                    _THE REVOLT OF THE TEN TRIBES._
                1 KINGS XII.   2 CHRON. X.   B.C. 975.

REHOBOAM, the successor of Solomon, was 41 years of age when he came
to the throne. Though his title does not seem to have been disputed
at Jerusalem, he deemed it right to obtain a more general and public
recognition, and probably as a concession to the powerful house of
Joseph, convened a solemn assembly of the tribes at Shechem, its
ancient but ruined[338] capital. On his arrival there he encountered
JEROBOAM, who had been summoned from his retreat in Egypt, and now
boldly appeared at the head of a deputation from all the tribes
requesting a remission of the taxes and other heavy burdens, which had
been laid upon the nation during the late reign. Thus directly appealed
to, Rehoboam requested a space of three days for deliberation, and
during this period first consulted the old advisers of his father. They
unanimously suggested that he should accede to the nation’s request,
and lighten its burden. But besides these experienced counsellors
there were young men of rank, who had been the king’s companions,
and were now about his court. They could ill brook any line of policy
that seemed likely to lower the power of their patron, and advised him
to take up the matter with a high hand, and by a firm denial of the
nation’s request put down once and for all any similar demand. In an
evil hour Rehoboam listened to their counsel, and at the end of the
three days, when the envoys, again headed by Jeroboam, were summoned
into his presence, announced to them his final resolve. _My father made
your yoke heavy_, said he in the true spirit of an Oriental despot,
_and I will add to your yoke; my father chastised you with whips, but
I will chastise you with scorpions_ (1 K. xii. 1–15).

This senseless reply was no sooner made known to the tribes than it
roused a general spirit of rebellion. _What portion have we in David?_
exclaimed the great tribe of Ephraim, _and what inheritance in the son
of Jesse? To your tents, O Israel; now see to thine own house, David_
(comp. 2 Sam. xx. 1). The assembly broke up in confusion, and each
man returned to his home. But Rehoboam did not yet discern the full
force of the rising storm. He was unwise enough to send Adoram, who had
been chief receiver of the tribute during the reigns of his father and
grandfather (2 Sam. xx. 24; 1 K. v. 14), to levy the usual dues. But
the fate of his envoy proved the strength of the popular feeling. _All
Israel stoned him with stones, that he died_, and the king himself was
obliged to fly in haste to Jerusalem. His first impulse on his return
was to punish the rebellious tribes, and for this purpose he gathered
together an army of 180,000 men. But his preparations for a civil war
were forbidden by Shemaiah, a man of God, who declared it to be the
will of Jehovah that all hostilities should be laid aside, for the
rending of the kingdom _was from Him_ (1 K. xii. 18–24). Thereupon the
projected war was given up, and the rebellion was complete[339].

According to the new division of the land, (i) _The kingdom of Judah_
included that tribe itself, together with Benjamin, which transferred
to it its allegiance probably because Jerusalem was within its borders,
and, at least eventually, a part if not all of the territory of Simeon
and of Dan. For the present Edom appears to have remained its faithful
vassal, and guarded the caravan trade with Ophir, while Philistia
continued, for the most part, quiet. (ii) _The kingdom of Israel_,
on the other hand, included that of the remaining eight tribes, _i.e._
Ephraim, and half Manasseh, Issachar, Zebulun, Asher, and Naphtali,
as well as the coast line between Accho and Joppa, on the west of the
Jordan; Reuben, Gad, and the remaining half tribe of Manasseh on the
east of that river. Its vassal states were Moab (2 K. iii. 4), and so
much of Syria as had remained subject to Solomon (1 K. xi. 24)[343].

The first act of Jeroboam, on being declared ruler of the Ten Tribes,
was to give a capital to his kingdom. For this purpose he rebuilt and
fortified Shechem. His next step was to secure his dominions against
his powerful northern neighbour, Syria. He, therefore, fortified
Penuel[344] beyond the Jordan, which commanded the fords of Succoth,
and was on the great caravan road leading over Gilead to Damascus.
But it required little reflection to convince him, that so long as the
yearly pilgrimages summoned their thousands and tens of thousands to
Jerusalem, his authority was but nominal. The Levitical class would
constantly require to go up to the City of David in the order of their
courses[345], and the majority of them began to leave his kingdom for
that of Judah. Without a Temple, without the Ark, without a Priesthood,
he felt he could not maintain his power. Within the boundaries, however,
of his realm were two sanctuaries, Bethel in the south, and Dan in the
north. These, after some deliberation (1 K. xii. 28), he resolved to
elevate into seats for national worship, which he hoped might rival
the Temple at Jerusalem. Instead, however, of erecting altars there in
honour of Jehovah, he made two calves of gold, figures probably of Apis
or Mnevis, whose worship he had often witnessed during his residence in
Egypt, and set them up at either sanctuary, with the address, _Behold
thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt_
(1 K. xii. 28). Moreover, at both places he established a new order of
priests, not taken from the sons of Levi, but from the lowest of the
people, and therefore absolutely dependent on himself, and into this
order any one could obtain admission on sacrificing a young bullock and
seven rams (2 Chr. xiii. 9).

Having taken these measures, on the 15th day of the eighth month[346]
he proclaimed a solemn Festival of Dedication, and went up to Bethel,
to offer incense in person on the altar. But at this critical moment,
as he was standing there, a man of God from Judah appeared, who boldly
confronted the king, denounced the idolatrous service, and foretold
the desecration of the altar by a future king of the house of Judah,
JOSIAH by name, who would offer upon it the priests of the high-places,
and burn men’s bones upon it (See 2 K. xxiii. 15). Enraged at this
out-spoken defiance, Jeroboam stretched forth his hand, and bade the
bystanders seize the bold stranger. But at the moment his hand became
suddenly paralysed, and at the same time the altar was rent asunder,
and the ashes of the victims were poured out. Now thoroughly alarmed,
the king implored the prophet to intercede with the Lord for him, that
the heavy judgment he had incurred might be removed. The other complied,
and the king’s hand was restored. Grateful for this signal favour,
Jeroboam would now have hospitably entertained the man of God. But
the latter had been sent on a special errand, and his commands had
been precise, and peremptory, neither to eat bread, nor drink water
in a place so openly profaned with idolatry, nor even to return thence
by the same road that he had come. Accordingly he declined the royal
invitation, and went his way (1 K. xiii. 10).

On the road, however, as he lingered under an oak, he was overtaken
by an old prophet of Bethel, who had heard from his sons of the day’s
occurrences at the festival. His own guilty silence had wellnigh
made him a partaker in the sins of the king, and the bold bearing
of the stranger reminded him of what he himself should have done.
Either, therefore, from a wish to win respect for himself once more by
intercourse with such an accredited messenger of the Most High, or with
the full intention of deceiving him, and so bringing discredit on his
words, he hurried after him, and now announced himself as the bearer
of a distinct Divine command that he should return to Bethel. Overcome
by this solemn declaration, the other accompanied him to the town. But
as they were seated at the meal, the Spirit of the Lord came upon the
guilty host, and the Deceiver was constrained to pronounce the doom
of the Deceived. The man of God had been faithless to the terms of his
commission, and a certain death awaited him, nor should his body ever
come into the sepulchre of his fathers. With his doom upon him he went
his way, and a lion met and slew him (1 K. xiii. 24).

But though dead, he was yet to speak, and testify to the solemnity of
the mission on which he had been sent. When he was found lying dead on
the road, the lion also was standing there, as well as the ass on which
he had ridden; the beast of prey had not eaten the corpse, nor torn the
ass. Thus the mysterious circumstances of the prophet’s death confirmed
that sign of his authority, which he had weakened during his life; and
the old prophet of Bethel, by laying him in his own sepulchre with all
honour, and charging his sons after his death to bury him beside the
victim of his own deceit, preserved in Jeroboam’s new religious capital
a silent witness against the idolatries there practised (1 K. xiii.

                              CHAPTER II.

         1 KINGS XIII.–XV.   2 CHR. XI.–XIII.   B.C. 975–955.

THIS warning, however, though confirmed by signs and wonders, had
little or no effect on Jeroboam himself. He persisted in his evil
courses, and his dynasty was destined to pass away, a fact before
long revealed to him under very mournful circumstances. His son ABIJAH
fell sick. In his anxiety to know the fate of the hope of his kingdom,
Jeroboam bade his wife disguise herself, and repair to Shiloh, and
there consult the now blind and aged prophet, who had foretold his
own elevation to the throne. Though she was effectually disguised, and
presented only the gift of an ordinary person, a few loaves, some cakes,
and a cruse of honey, the prophet detected his visitor as soon as he
heard the sound of her feet at the door, and confirmed her worst fears.
In words of utmost sternness he denounced her husband’s idolatries,
and distinctly told her that her son would die. He, indeed, as one in
whom _was found some good thing towards the Lord God of Israel_, would
descend into the grave mourned and lamented by the whole people. But
no other of his family would thus receive an honourable funeral, and
his death would be but the prelude of the destruction of his father’s
dynasty. With a heavy heart the mother returned, and as she entered
the town of Tirzah, Abijah sickened, and the blind prophet’s words came
true (1 K. xiv. 1–18).

Meanwhile, the relations between the rival kingdoms had been marked
by continued hostility (1 K. xiv. 30; 2 Chr. xii. 15). The first step
taken by Rehoboam, when the disruption of the kingdom was complete,
was to fortify 15 cities in the neighbourhood of his capital, and in
the southern and south-western portions of Judah (2 Chr. xi. 5–12).
All these he stored with provisions and arms, and placed over them
commandants. During the first three years of his reign he walked in the
ways of the Lord, and was strengthened in upholding the principles of
true religion by numerous bodies of priests and Levites, who flocked
into the territory of Judah from that of Jeroboam, as also by many of
the tribes of Israel, who still remained faithful to the Lord God of
their fathers (2 Chr. xi. 13–17). But soon, like Solomon before him,
he too was found wanting. Surrounding himself with a numerous harem,
he took 18 wives and 60 concubines, by whom he became the father of
numerous sons and daughters. Reserving the throne for Abijah, the son
of Maachah daughter of Absalom, he dispersed the rest of the royal
princes among his fortified cities, and in the splendour of his court
and the security of his now established throne, forgat the law of the
Lord (2 Chr. xii. 1), and set an evil example to his subjects, who
speedily began to build high places, and set up _images and groves
on every high hill, and under every green tree_ (1 K. xiv. 22–24).

Five years, however, after his accession, his peace was rudely
disturbed. Shishak the Egyptian king, instigated probably by Jeroboam,
whom as we have already seen, he had befriended in exile, advanced
against Judah with 1200 chariots, 60,000 cavalry, and an enormous
host of Libyans, Nubians, and Ethiopians. Having made himself master
of Rehoboam’s fenced cities, he penetrated as far as his capital,
and forced him to purchase an ignominious peace by delivering up the
treasure of the royal palace and the Temple, even to the shields of
gold, which Solomon had made for the purpose of being borne before him
whenever he visited the Temple in state[347] (1 K. x. 16, 17). More
than this the Egyptian monarch did not attempt, as Shemaiah the prophet
had promised would be the case, if the king and his people displayed
signs of real contrition for their idolatries. After this deep
humiliation, the moral condition of Judah seems to have improved, and
the rest of Rehoboam’s reign is not marked by any remarkable event. He
died, B.C. 957, at the age of 58, after a reign of 17 years, and was
succeeded by his son ABIJAH.

The new king continued the war with Jeroboam, and made a determined
effort to recover the ten tribes. At Mount Zemaraim, in the range of
Ephraim, he confronted with 400,000 troops twice that number of the
enemy; and previously to the battle endeavoured by a solemn address
to win over the subjects of his rival to their former allegiance. He
reminded them of the Divine election of David to the throne of the
entire nation, and the emphatic manner in which the monarchy had been
covenanted to him; he recounted the circumstances under which Jeroboam
had usurped the regal power, and contrasted the idolatrous worship he
had established with the time-honoured ritual of the Temple, and its
divinely-ordained priests. While he thus sought to awaken the loyalty
of the tribes, his rival had posted an ambuscade behind the men of
Judah, who found themselves entrapped. But, nothing daunted, they cried
unto the Lord, and, while the priests sounded with the silver trumpets,
raised a shout, and fell upon the foe. The forces of Jeroboam were
utterly routed, and Abijah succeeded in capturing the towns of Bethel,
Jeshanah, and Ephraim with the surrounding villages. From this signal
defeat the king of Israel never _recovered strength again_ (2 Ch.
xiii. 20), and soon after died, bequeathing his throne to his son
NADAB, while his rival Abijah, after a brief reign of three years, also
died, and was succeeded by his son ASA, B.C. 954.

                             CHAPTER III.

                 _ASA AND BAASHA, ELAH, ZIMRI, OMRI._
          1 KINGS XV. XVI.   2 CHR. XIV.–XVI.   B.C. 955–918.

THE reign of NADAB was very brief, lasting only two years. As he
was besieging Gibbethon, a town allotted to Dan (Josh. xix. 44), and
afterwards given to the Kohathite Levites (Josh. xxi. 23), but which
was now in the hands of the Philistines, BAASHA, the son of Abijah,
of the house of ♦Issachar, conspired ♦against him, and, usurping
the throne, smote all the house of Jeroboam till he left none that
breathed, thus fulfilling the words of Ahijah, and destroying the first
Israelitish dynasty, B.C. 953.

Between the new king and Asa constant hostilities were maintained.
The latter, mindful of the conditions on which he held the kingdom,
no sooner ascended the throne, than he commenced a general religious
reform throughout his dominions. He removed the idols his father had
set up, the high places, the images, and the groves; nor did he spare
the idolatrous ritual even of his grandmother Maachah, who held the
special dignity of queen-mother; he removed the symbol of her religion,
and flung the ashes into the brook Kidron. Having thus restored the
worship of Jehovah to something of its former purity, he strengthened
his kingdom by fortifying the frontier towns, and raised and equipped
a large army. He was thus in a condition to confront the enormous host
with which his realm was invaded by Zerah, the Ethiopian, probably
_Osorkon II._[348], the successor of Shishak, and the inheritor of his
quarrel with Rehoboam. The Egyptian host penetrated as far as Mareshah
in the low country of Judah, where they were confronted by Asa, whose
confidence in his God was rewarded by a complete victory, and the
Egyptian host fell back routed as far as Gerar, leaving immense spoils
in the hands of the men of Judah (2 Chr. xiv. 9–15).

After this signal success, encouraged by the assurances of the prophet
Azariah, Asa resolved to continue his religious reforms, and on his
arrival at Jerusalem convoked an assembly of the tribes of Judah and
Benjamin, as well as of the strangers sojourning amongst them from
Ephraim, Manasseh, and Simeon, and in the 3rd month of the 15th year
of his reign, renewed with solemn sacrifices a national Covenant. _With
a loud voice, and with shouting, and with trumpets, and with cornets_,
the assembly swore fealty to their God and king, and vowed to put to
death all who proved unfaithful to Jehovah (2 Chr. xv. 1–15).

The peace which his kingdom now enjoyed was soon disturbed by the
hostility of Baasha, who marched against Asa, and having recovered the
territory which he had lost, fortified Ramah, about 6 miles north of
Jerusalem, not only to annoy his enemy, and stop the tide of emigration
from his own kingdom into that of Judah, but also to cut off Asa’s
communications with the central portion of Israel. On this that monarch
resolved to purchase the aid of the king of Syria, Benhadad I.[349],
and persuade him to break off his alliance with his rival. Sending,
therefore, all the silver and gold left in the treasuries of the Temple
to the Syrian monarch, he succeeded in inducing him to fling an army
into northern Palestine, which smote Ijon, Dan, Abel-beth-Maachah,
Cinneroth, and all the land of Naphtali. This forced Baasha to withdraw
his forces, and retire to Tirzah; whereupon Asa summoned all Judah,
and having destroyed the works at Ramah, used the stones and timber to
fortify two towers, Geba and Mizpeh, as checks to any similar attempts
in future. This is the first instance of a Hebrew king courting
an alliance with a heathen power in a great crisis of the national
fortunes, and it did not pass unnoticed by the prophetical order.
Hanani the seer denounced such faithless leaning on an arm of flesh,
and foretold that from henceforth he should have wars. The outspoken
rebuke roused the anger of Asa. He flung the bold prophet into prison,
and oppressed some of the people, who probably sympathised in his
denunciations. In other respects he had ruled his kingdom with energy,
loyalty, and piety, and after a severe attack of gout, died in the 41st
year of his reign, and was committed to the tomb amidst general sorrow,
bequeathing his throne to his son JEHOSHAPHAT (2 Chr. xvi. 7–14),
B.C. 914.

Meanwhile there had been great vicissitudes in the kingdom of Israel.
After destroying the whole house of Jeroboam, Baasha made the beautiful
city of Tirzah[350] his capital, and in spite of the warnings of the
prophet Jehu the son of Hanani (1 K. xvi. 1–7), persisted in walking
in the ways of Jeroboam, _wherewith he made Israel to sin_. His reign
of 24 years was chiefly distinguished by his persistent hostility to
his rival Asa, which cost him, as we have seen, several cities in the
northern part of his dominions, in consequence of Asa’s alliance with
Benhadad. He was succeeded in the year B.C. 930 by his son ELAH; who
had barely reigned for the brief space of a year, when on the occasion
of a riotous feast in the house of his steward at Tirzah, he was
assassinated by ZIMRI, _the captain of half his chariots_, B.C. 929.
The usurper signalized his accession by ruthlessly murdering every
member of the family of Baasha, but had barely occupied the throne for
seven days, when OMRI, captain of the army then besieging Gibbethon,
attacked him at Tirzah. Despairing of aid Zimri anticipated the wishes
of his rival by firing the palace over his head, and perished in the

But the claims of the usurper to his blood-stained throne were not
universally acknowledged. Half the people sided with him, and half with
another aspirant, TIBNI the son of Ginath (1 K. xvi. 21). For 5 years
the latter reigned as rival king, and the land was desolated with civil
discord. At length the faction of OMRI prevailed, and Tibni dying,
he became sole king of Israel, and founder of its third dynasty. For
6 years he made Tirzah, though now in ruins, his capital, and then
in spite of its proverbial beauty (Cant. vi. 4) determined to remove
his residence elsewhere. About 6 miles north-west of Shechem was “an
oval-shaped isolated hill, rising by successive terraces 600 feet above
the surrounding plateau, and combining in union not elsewhere found in
Palestine, strength, beauty, and fertility.” This hill Omri purchased
of Shemer, its owner, for two talents of silver, and on its “long
flat top” built a city, which instead of naming after himself, he
called after the name of its owner _Shomrôn_, “the city of Shemer,”
afterwards corrupted into the Chaldee _Shemrin_, and thence into the
Greek _Samaria_[351]. In his new capital Omri reigned 6 years more. A
vigorous and unscrupulous ruler, he did evil in the eyes of the Lord
more than all his predecessors on the throne. He not only courted an
alliance with Benhadad I. and surrendered to him some border towns (1 K.
xx. 34), and admitted a resident Syrian embassy[352] into Samaria, but
gave his son and successor AHAB in marriage to JEZEBEL, the daughter of
Ethbaal, king of Zidon (1 K. xvi. 31), thus introducing the worship of
Baal as the recognised religion of his kingdom.

                     KINGDOMS OF JUDAH AND ISRAEL.

                               PART II.
         _Period of mutual alliance, and hostility to Syria._

                              CHAPTER I.

                    _REIGN OF AHAB. ERA OF ELIJAH._
           1 KINGS XVII.–XIX.   2 CHR. XVII.   B.C. 918–915.

THE first act of JEHOSHAPHAT, who succeeded Asa on the throne of Judah,
was to fortify and garrison the fenced cities in his dominions, as well
as the towns in Ephraim, which his father had captured (2 Chr. xvii. 2).
With much zeal for the national faith he next endeavoured to put down
the high places and groves, and sent a commission of princes, priests,
and Levites to traverse the various towns, and instruct the people
out of the Book of the Law (2 Chr. xvii. 6–9). His pious zeal did not
go unrewarded. _The Lord established the kingdom in his hand_, and
gave him peace round about. Not only his own subjects, but even the
Philistines and Arabians brought him tribute (2 Chr. xvii. 5, 11),
which enabled him to build castles and store-cities in Judah, and
maintain a large standing army (2 Chr. xvii. 12–19).

Meanwhile, very different scenes were enacted in the rival kingdom of

Ithobalus or Ethbaal[353], the father of Ahab’s queen, had once been a
priest of the Phœnician goddess Astarte, and had usurped the throne of
his brother Phalles[354]. Jezebel inherited the spirit of her father,
and quickly acquired the most unbounded influence over her weak-minded
husband, so that he became a mere puppet in her hands. The first effect
of her influence was the establishment of the worship of Baal on the
most extensive scale. Near the palace at Samaria rose a temple in
honour of this Phœnician deity, and an oracular grove, while 450 of
the prophets of Baal, and 400 of Astarte, were supported at the queen’s
table (1 K. xvi. 31, 32, xviii. 19). She also resolved that a worship,
now formally legalized, should be forcibly imposed on her husband’s
subjects, and so great was her severity towards the prophets of
Jehovah, that they were constrained to conceal themselves in caves,
and there eke out a precarious existence (1 K. xviii. 13). While she
thus persecuted the servants of Jehovah, her yielding husband occupied
himself chiefly with indulging a taste for splendid architecture. He
erected several cities, and built an ivory palace; and while Samaria
remained his capital, sought another Tirzah in the beautiful city of
Jezreel, the very name of which, _the seed-plot of God_, indicates the
fertility of the neighbourhood[355].

In this crisis of the Israelitish kingdom came forth, sudden as the
lightning, alarming as the thunder, one of the most remarkable men
that Israel ever produced. From the wooded uplands across the Jordan,
“from the country of the rude soldier-judge Jephthah[356],” clad in the
austere garb of the prophets, consisting of a girdle of skin round his
loins, and a sheep-skin “mantle,” his “hair long and thick, and hanging
down his back” (2 K. i. 8), appeared in the palace of Ahab, _Elijah the
Tishbite, of the inhabitants of Gilead_. Without a word of comment or
introduction, he announced in the name of that God, whom the monarch
had insulted, a speedy and awful judgment. _As the Lord God of Israel
liveth, said he, there shall be neither dew nor rain these years but
according to my word[357]._ Having thus boldly delivered his message,
he fled for his life to the brook or torrent-bed of the Cherith, either
amongst his own native hills, or on the west of Jordan and nearer to
Samaria. Here he was for some time miraculously supported by ravens,
which _brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh
in the evening_, while he drank of the water of the brook (1 K. xvii.

After a while the slender streamlet was dried up. Guided by the Divine
direction the prophet now repaired to Zarephath or Sarepta (Lk. iv.
25–29), a Phœnician village on the sea-shore between Tyre and Sidon,
and in the very midst of Phœnician heathenism. As he drew nigh the
place he met the widow, with whom he was to lodge, gathering sticks.
Though she was so poverty-stricken, that she had but a handful of
meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse, and the sticks she was
gathering were to make a last meal for her child and herself before
they died, he yet bade her make a little cake for him first, and
assured her that the barrel of meal should not waste, nor the cruse
of oil fail, till the rain returned. Strong in faith, the woman did as
he bade her, and found his words true. For a full year (1 K. xvii. 15,
_margin_) she and her house did eat, nor did their supplies fail. But
before long a sore trouble visited her home. Her son sickened, and
seemed at the point of death. In the agony of her grief she imputed
this trial to the presence of the mysterious prophet. But Elijah
took the boy up to his chamber, and laid him on his own bed; then he
stretched himself three times upon him, and cried mightily to the Lord
that his life might be restored to him. His prayer was heard; _the
soul of the child came into him again, and he revived_, and the prophet
restored him to his mother, who was now convinced that her guest was
a man of God, and _that the word of the Lord in his mouth was truth_
(1 K. xvii. 8–24).

Meanwhile, the kingdom of Israel was suffering the most grievous
extremities from the prolonged drought. The earth lay cracked and
parched and barren. Sheep, cattle, horses, perished from want of
water, and from the failure of the crops. So great was the destitution,
that Ahab left his luxurious palace at Samaria, and divided with
Obadiah――his chief domestic officer, and who, at the peril of his life,
remained faithful in his allegiance to Jehovah――the duty of examining
every spring and “nook of the most shaded torrent-bed” to discover
any sign of herbage, wherewith to _save the horses and mules alive,
that they might not lose all the beasts_. While, then, Ahab went one
way by himself, and Obadiah went another way by himself, suddenly the
latter discerned the prophet standing in the midst of the path. At the
Divine command Elijah had left his retreat at Zarephath, and now bade
the minister of Ahab announce to his master his own return. At first
Obadiah demurred. He feared lest, while he had gone on this mission,
the Spirit of the Lord might summon the prophet in some other direction,
and the king would slay him in his disappointment. But Elijah reassured
him, and he went and told Ahab, and Ahab went to meet the servant
of Jehovah. Few but pointed were the prophet’s words, when he was
confronted with the weak woman-governed king. After sternly denouncing
his idolatries, he commanded him to summon instantly to the top of
Carmel[358] the 450 prophets of Baal, and the 400 prophets of Ashtaroth.
Awed by the bearing of the seer, the monarch dared not disobey, and
the prophets, followed by a large concourse of people, repaired to the
appointed spot, at the extreme eastern point of the long Carmel range,
“commanding the last view of the sea behind, and the first view of the
great plain in front[359].”

It was the crisis in the history of the Ten Tribes. On that day it
was to be proved, once for all, who was supreme, Baal or Jehovah. With
his one attendant Elijah proceeded to the Place of Controversy, and
proposed to the assembled multitudes a decisive test. Let two bullocks
be chosen; let one of them be slain by the priests of Baal, and cut in
pieces; let these be laid upon an altar, with no fire under; let them
then call upon the name of their gods, and _the God that answered by
fire let him be God_. The challenge was accepted. The altar was built;
the victim slain; the pieces laid in order; and the priests of Baal
commenced their incantations. _But there was no voice, neither any that
answered._ Morning passed, and noon came, and still there was no reply.
Meanwhile Elijah suggested to them that they should _cry aloud, for_,
said he, with cutting irony, _he is a god; either he meditateth, or he
is pursuing, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked_. Stung to
the quick, the priests redoubled their invocations. They cried aloud,
_they cut themselves, after their manner, with knives and lancets, till
the blood gushed out upon them_. But prayers, cries, lacerations were
each and all in vain (1 K. xviii. 1–30).

The hour for the evening-sacrifice now drew near, and Elijah bade the
people approach, and with twelve stones, according to the number of the
tribes of Jacob, repaired an ancient altar on the mountain-top, which
Jezebel probably had caused to be thrown down. Round about it he next
caused a trench to be dug, and having slain his victim, laid it upon
the altar. Then once, twice, and yet again he caused victim and altar
to be drenched with water[360], till it filled even the trench. This
done, the solitary prophet poured forth his whole soul to the God of
Abraham, of Isaac, and of Israel, praying Him that He would that day
prove that He was indeed the Lord, and that he himself had done all
these things at His word. His prayer was answered. The Fire of the
Lord descended, and consumed the _burnt-sacrifice and the wood, and
the stones and the dust, and licked up even the water that was in the
trench_. The effect on the people was profound. Falling on their faces
to the earth, they with one accord confessed, _Jehovah, He is the God;
Jehovah, He is the God_ (1 K. xviii. 30–39).

It was the moment for still more decisive measures. Elijah had _bowed
the hearts of the people as one man. Take the prophets of Baal_, he
cried, _let not one of them escape_; and down the steep sides of the
mountain they were brought to the level plain below[361], where flowed
the Kishon. There these troublers of the nation’s peace were slain, and
this stern act of duty done, the prophet bade the king accompany him up
the mountain to join in a sacrificial feast. Then, while Ahab ate and
drank, he himself ascended to a higher level, and on the bare ground,
with his face between his knees, remained wrapt in prayer, having
bidden his servant ascend yet higher, and look towards the blue waters
of the Mediterranean Sea. Six times he came back to his master with
the announcement that he could see nothing. But the seventh time he
returned, saying, _Behold, there ariseth a little cloud out of the sea,
like a man’s hand_. It was the long-desired sign, “the first that had
for days and months passed across the heavens,” telling of the coming
rain. Instantly the prophet bade the king descend the mountain, prepare
his chariot, and make for his palace. The king obeyed, and meantime the
little cloud had grown and overcast the whole evening sky. Soon a wind
arose and shook the forests of Carmel, and the welcome rain poured down
in torrents. Across the bed of the Kishon Ahab urged his chariot along
the road to Jezreel, while Elijah, girding up his loins and tightening
his hairy mantle about him, ran before the chariot of his sovereign at
least 16 miles to the entrance of the city[362].

Thus far the triumph of the Prophet was complete. But now, when victory
seemed to be in the hollow of his hand, at the most critical moment of
his life, his courage failed him. Jezebel, informed of what had taken
place on Carmel, sent a messenger threatening him with certain death,
and Elijah, who had boldly defied multitudes on Carmel, fled before
the face of a woman, in a southerly direction towards Beer-sheba. There
he left his attendant, and went alone a day’s journey into the waste
uninhabited country, which borders on the south of Palestine. Wearied,
disappointed, he requested that he might die, and flinging himself
under a juniper-tree[363] fell asleep. Presently an angel awoke him,
and pointing to a cake baked on the coals, and a cruse of water, bade
him refresh himself, and in the strength of that meat go still further
southward, to Horeb the Mount of God.

Arrived there, he remained at least one night in one of the caverns of
the awful mountain-range, and in the morning heard the word of the Lord
enquiring, _What doest thou here, Elijah?_ In reply, the prophet urged
his eminent services for the cause of Jehovah. The children of Israel
had forsaken the covenant, thrown down the Lord’s altars, and slain the
prophets with the sword, he alone was left, and they sought his life
to take it away. In this dejected, murmuring mood he was not fit to
discharge the duties of his office. The Lord, therefore, bade him leave
his cave, and stand before Him face to face upon the mountain, while
He passed by “in all the terror of His most appalling manifestations.”
First, a mighty rushing wind rent the solid mountain, and brake in
pieces the cliffs of Sinai, _but the Lord was not in the wind_. Then an
earthquake shook the rocks, and the mountain trembled with the crash,
_but the Lord was not in the earthquake_. Then a fire blazed forth, and
burned with a consuming heat, _but the Lord was not in the fire_. Then
all was quiet; the convulsion of nature was hushed; and presently there
came _a still, small, Voice_, and as Elijah listened, his face wrapped
in his mantle, he learnt that there was yet something left for him to
do, that he was not the only instrument the Lord could employ. He was
to return, and anoint HAZAEL king over Syria, JEHU the son of Nimshi
king of Israel, and ELISHA of Abel-meholah as his successor in the
prophetical office; and whereas he had complained that he was the only
faithful servant of Jehovah, he now learnt that the Lord had left him
7000 in Israel, _all the knees which had not bowed unto Baal, and every
mouth which had not kissed him_ (1 K. xix. 1–18).

                              CHAPTER II.

                     _WARS OF AHAB AND BENHADAD._
                        1 KINGS XX.   B.C. 901.

OF the three commands thus laid upon him, Elijah straightway proceeded
to execute the last. From Horeb he journeyed to Abel-meholah[364]
(_the Meadow of the Dance_), in the northern part of the Jordan valley.
Here he met ELISHA, the son of Shaphat, apparently a man of substance,
plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him and he with the twelfth.
Casting his well-known mantle upon him, the prophet by this symbolic
action claimed him as his son, and called him to follow him. Lingering
only to bid farewell to his father and mother, and to celebrate a
parting feast with his people, Elisha arose and hurried after the great
Prophet, and became henceforth his constant attendant.

Meantime Ahab, while he retained Samaria as the capital of his kingdom,
adorned with a palace and park the beautiful city of Jezreel, in the
Esdraelon plain. But ere long this and other instances of his passion
for splendid architecture received a rude check. At the head of a large
army and aided by 32 vassal kings, Benhadad II., king of Syria[365],
laid siege to Samaria. While this was in progress, with true Oriental
haughtiness he made a formal demand of all the silver and gold, the
wives, and children belonging to his enemy. Hoping to disarm hostility,
the servile Ahab replied by a promise of faithful vassalage to the
lord of Syria. But Benhadad, emboldened by this weak compliance, sent
ambassadors with the announcement that on the following day he should
enforce his demand by an actual search of Ahab’s palace. Even the
king of Israel was stung to the quick by this insulting message, and
summoning all the elders of his kingdom he laid the matter before
them. It was resolved to defend Samaria at all risks, and Benhadad
was informed that his demand could not be entertained. On receiving
this reply, the king of Syria sent another message to declare his
intention of laying Samaria level with the ground. _Tell him_, rejoined
Ahab, _Let not him that girdeth on his armour boast himself as he that
putteth it off_, a spirited reply, which filled Benhadad with rage, and
he ordered preparations to be made for an instant assault.

At this juncture a prophet stood forth, and assured Ahab of a
complete victory over the vast host of his enemy, which should be
achieved by a mere handful of men. In accordance with his suggestion,
the king thereupon numbered the 232 attendants on the “princes of the
provinces[366],” and prepared to send them against the Syrian camp,
while 7,000 of the regular troops followed behind. The little band left
the gates of Samaria and proceeded towards the _pavilions_, or rather
“the tents and booths of branches, boughs, and brushwood, which were
erected for the Syrian chiefs in the camp, as they are still erected
for the Turkish pashas and agas in their expeditions[367].” Though it
was only high noon, Benhadad with his vassal chiefs was carousing over
his wine-cups. But he no sooner heard of the approach of the little
band from the city, than with drunken insolence he ordered that they
should be taken alive, whether they came for peace or war. The force,
however, sent to execute this order found it no easy one, for the 232
“princes of the provinces” offered a strenuous resistance, and struck
down all who opposed them. This, and the sight of the 7,000 following
behind, filled the Syrian host with a sudden panic, and they fled
precipitately, headed by Benhadad himself on a fleet horse, and pursued
by the victorious Israelites, who inflicted upon them a great slaughter
(1 K. xx. 1–22).

Thus Samaria was delivered. But the same prophet, who had predicted
the victory, now warned Ahab to be on his guard, for with the return
of spring the enemy would renew the invasion, which duly came to pass.
Annoyed at their late humbling defeat, the Syrians had concluded that
it was owing to the fact that they had attacked in a hilly region a
people, whose gods _were gods of the hills_[368]. They now resolved
to fight in a more level region, and in place of the vassal kings,
who probably had been the first to fly in the late battle, they had
substituted captains, and mustered an army as large as the last.
Accordingly, at the season named by the prophet, they advanced with
a vast host to Aphek[369], a town in the level country, east of the
Jordan, on the military road from Syria to Israel. Hither the army of
Ahab went forth to meet them, and encamped, appearing _like two little
flocks of kids_ in comparison of their formidable foes, who filled
the country round. But again a prophet appeared to encourage Ahab, and
assure him of a second victory. The Syrians had imagined Jehovah to be
merely a god of the _hills_, they should know that he was a god also of
the _valleys_ (1 K. xx. 28).

For seven days the two armies confronted one another, and then the
battle was joined. The Syrians were utterly routed, and fled in
confusion to Aphek, resolved there to make a stand. But the wall of
the town, in consequence probably of a sudden earthquake, fell with a
terrible crash and buried upwards of 27,000 in the ruins[370]. Benhadad
himself with his immediate attendants escaped, and was advised by
them to throw himself on the mercy of the conqueror. They proposed to
go forth with sackcloth on their loins and ropes on their heads, and
plead for their lives. Mounted in his chariot Ahab received the envoys,
enquired after the welfare of his late dreaded enemy, and called him
his _brother_. The word _brother_ revived the courage of the Syrian
ambassadors, and they were presently bidden to return and usher their
master into Ahab’s presence. Benhadad came, and was invited to take his
place in the chariot by the side of his conqueror. Grateful for this
unexpected clemency, he promised to restore to the king of Israel all
the towns his father had taken from the Israelites, and to permit his
subjects to have a quarter in the Syrian capital, similar to that which
Benhadad’s father had obtained in Samaria (1 K. xx. 34).

This impolitic clemency to an unrelenting national foe was sternly
rebuked by one of the sons of the prophets. Having caused himself to be
wounded and disguised with a headband, he awaited Ahab’s coming along
the road, and said, _Thy servant went out into the midst of the late
battle; and, behold, a man turned aside, and brought a man unto me, and
said, Keep this man: if by any means he be missing, then shall thy life
be for his life, or else thou shalt pay a talent of silver; and as thy
servant was busy here and there, he was gone_. Instantly Ahab decided
the matter, and pronounced that he must bear the penalty. On this the
headband was removed, and the king perceived not only that the speaker
was a scholar of the prophets, but understood also the true meaning of
his parable. Because he had spared a man, whom Jehovah had devoted to
utter destruction, the punishment should fall upon him and his people,
which he had failed to execute on Benhadad (1 K. xx. 35–43).

                             CHAPTER III.

            1 KINGS XXI. XXII.   2 CHR. XVIII.   B.C. 898.

SHORTLY after these events an incident occurred, which brought down
upon Ahab and his house an awful doom. Adjoining his palace at Jezreel
was a vineyard belonging to a native of the place named NABOTH. Eagerly
desirous to add the vineyard to his palace grounds and convert it into
a garden of herbs, Ahab proposed to its owner to purchase it, or give
him in exchange another and even a better piece of ground. This Naboth
stoutly refused to do, alleging his unwillingness to part with the
inheritance of his fathers (Lev. xxv. 23; Num. xxxvi. 8). Annoyed at
this rebuff, the king returned to his palace, and in his vexation flung
himself on his bed, turned away his face, and would eat no bread. While
in this mood he was visited by Jezebel, to whom he explained the cause
of his vexation. She instantly resolved to take the matter into her own
hands, and bade her lord trouble himself no more, _she would give him
the vineyard_. Thereupon she wrote a warrant in Ahab’s name, sealed it
with his seal, and sent it to the elders of the city, directing that,
as if on the occasion of some great calamity, a solemn fast should
be proclaimed; that two men should be set up to charge Naboth with
blasphemy against God and the king, and that then he should be stoned
to death (Exod. xxii. 28; Lev. xxiv. 15, 16). It is a striking proof of
the degeneracy of the nation at this period, that the elders of Jezreel
never for one moment scrupled about carrying out this inhuman order.
Naboth was dragged forth, arraigned, condemned, and stoned together
with his sons (See 2 K. ix. 26), and the elders reported to the queen
that the guilt of blasphemy against Jehovah and His anointed had been
avenged[371]. The vineyard had now lapsed to the crown, and Jezebel
bade her lord go down and take possession of it. But on proceeding
thither, the king found himself confronted by no other than the great
Elijah, who in words of utmost sternness denounced the late cruel
murder, and declared the sentence of the Lord. The king and all his
house should share the fate of Jeroboam and of Baasha; his queen should
be eaten by the dogs at the wall of Jezreel, and dogs should lick
up his own blood on the very spot where they had licked up that of
Naboth. Appalled at this awful sentence, Ahab rent his clothes, put on
sackcloth, fasted, and displayed all the signs of a sincere repentance.
Such as it was, it was accepted, and Elijah was bidden to announce
to him that the punishment should not be inflicted during his own
lifetime, but in his son’s days it would surely descend upon his house
(1 K. xxi. 29).

Meanwhile the relations between the rival kingdoms of Israel and
Judah had been more peaceful than at any other period, since they had
parted 60 years before at Shechem. Not only were hostilities laid aside,
but an alliance between the sovereigns was cemented by the marriage
of JEHORAM, son of Jehoshaphat, with ATHALIAH, the daughter of Ahab
and Jezebel. Moreover about the 16th year of his reign, B.C. 898,
the king of Judah went on a visit to the court of Israel. He was
received with every mark of distinction, and Ahab slew sheep and oxen
in abundance for him and his retinue (2 Chr. xviii. 2). During this
visit, the king of Israel took occasion to propose to his ally that
they should undertake an expedition for the purpose of recovering
Ramoth-gilead[372], a strong fastness and the key to an important
district east of Jordan, which Benhadad I. had wrested from Omri.
Jehoshaphat expressed his willingness to take part in the expedition,
but proposed that the will of Jehovah should first be ascertained. For
this purpose Ahab summoned about 400 of the prophets of his kingdom,
who all advised him to go up, and assured him that the Lord would
deliver the place into his hands (1 K. xxii. 6).

But this did not satisfy the king of Judah. He enquired if there was
not a true prophet of Jehovah, at whose mouth they might seek counsel.
Ahab confessed that there was one, MICAIAH, the son of Imlah, but
openly avowed that he hated him, because he never predicted good to
him but only evil[373]. Jehoshaphat, however, overruled the objection,
and Micaiah was summoned from his prison, where he had been confined
by Ahab, probably for some disagreeable prediction. Meanwhile the
two kings, arrayed in their royal robes, sat at the entrance of
Samaria, and the 400 prophets standing before them persisted in their
predictions of success. One of them, Zedekiah, the son of Chenaanah,
even made him horns of iron, and by this symbolic action assured the
kings that they would push the Syrians till they had destroyed them.
But Micaiah had the courage to differ from all. At first, indeed, he
ironically assured the king of success, but, when Ahab adjured him
to speak the truth, he boldly affirmed that the prophets, in whom he
trusted, were all filled with lying spirits, and that he was destined
to fall in the campaign. This outspoken declaration brought down upon
the faithful seer the mockery and scorn of the other prophets, and
still greater severity from Ahab, who ordered him to be sent back to
the city gaol, and there fed on the scantiest fare (1 K. xxii. 27).

Then the two kings set out on the expedition, and on crossing the
Jordan found that Benhadad and his vassal princes were prepared to
contest the possession of Ramoth. On this Ahab, the more surely to ward
off a fate he too clearly divined, disguised himself, while the king
of Judah went into battle in his royal robes. The contest began, and
the 32 captains of Benhadad, acting on instructions they had received,
bent all their efforts to slay Jehoshaphat, whom they mistook for the
king of Israel. But his voice convinced them that he was not the man
they sought, and they desisted from the pursuit. In spite, however, of
his disguise Ahab could not escape his doom. _A certain man drew a bow
at a venture_, and the arrow pierced the joints of his breast-plate.
That the troops might not be discouraged, he was kept up standing in
his chariot till the evening, when he died. From the battle-field the
corpse was then borne to Samaria, and there interred, while the bloody
chariot was washed in the pool[374] of the city, beside which Naboth
and his sons had been murdered. Without a _shepherd_ and without a
_master_, the people were scattered abroad, and returned home defeated
before their enemies, and the words of Elijah (1 K. xxi. 19), and of
Micaiah (xxii. 17) were fulfilled.

                              CHAPTER IV.

             2 KINGS I. II.   2 CHR. XIX. XX.   B.C. 896.

ON his return from a campaign, in which he had so nearly lost his life,
JEHOSHAPHAT was sternly rebuked by one of the prophets (2 Chr. xix. 2)
for the guilty alliance he had formed with the court of Israel, and
he resolved henceforth to devote himself to the spiritual and temporal
welfare of his own subjects. Accordingly he went on a second personal
tour through his dominions from Beer-sheba to Mount Ephraim, and strove
to reclaim his people to the worship of Jehovah. He also provided for
the better administration of justice; placed judges in all the fenced
cities, and remodelled the tribunals in his capital. He next turned his
attention to foreign commerce, and at Ezion-geber constructed a fleet
for the purpose of trading in gold with Ophir. In this project he was
aided by AHAZIAH, who had succeeded Ahab on the throne of Israel. But
the unfortunate issue of the enterprise determined him to decline the
proposal of his ally, that the attempt should be renewed (2 Chr. xx. 37;
1 K. xxii. 49, 50).

The remainder of his reign was not, however, destined to be peaceful.
A vast host of the people of Moab, Ammon, and Edom invaded his
territory, and encamped at Hazazon-tamar or En-gedi[375]. In his alarm,
Jehoshaphat proclaimed a solemn fast throughout his kingdom, assembled
all Judah together with their wives and their children, and offered up
a pathetic petition for the Divine aid. He had hardly concluded, when
the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jahaziel a Levite, and one of the sons
of Asaph then in attendance at the Temple, commissioning him to assure
the pious king of a victory on the morrow, which he would only need to
stand still and see. A Psalm of thanksgiving[376] was straightway sung,
and on the morrow the army, preceded by choirs of Levites, left the
Holy City, and at about 12 hours’ distance from Jerusalem came to “the
uneven table-land” of Tekoa, _Tekûa_, abounding in hidden caverns,
clefts, and excavations[377], where David and his men had often hidden
during the period of his wanderings. It was not a locality adapted to
the “sons of the desert,” and the ambushments, for which it afforded so
much opportunity, sadly galled their wild hordes, and the children of
Ammon and Moab turned their swords against their allies from Mount Seir,
and then fell upon one another. On reaching the Watch-tower of Tekoa
the warriors of Judah beheld only a mass of dead bodies, and busied
themselves for three days in stripping them of their rich ornaments,
and gathering up the riches and jewels they had flung away in their
hasty flight. Four days afterwards a Psalm of thanksgiving once more
ascended to Jehovah from the valley of Berachah (_blessing_)[378], and
the army of Jehoshaphat returned in triumph to Jerusalem (2 Chr. xx.

Meanwhile Ahaziah, during his short and troubled reign over Israel,
began to feel the effects of the late disastrous campaign against
Ramoth-Gilead. The Syrians, now masters of the country East of the
Jordan, cut off all communication between his realm and his vassal
the king of Moab. The latter, therefore, rebelled against Israel, and
refused to send his yearly tribute of 100,000 lambs, and 100,000 rams
(2 K. iii. 4). Before he could take measures for punishing this revolt,
Ahaziah fell through a lattice in his palace at Samaria, and sustained
much injury. A devotee to the Phœnician idolatries of his mother,
he sent messengers to the Philistine city of Ekron to enquire of the
oracle of Baal-Zebub (_the lord of flies_), whether he should recover.
On their road thither the messengers encountered Elijah, who, after
reproaching them for consulting a heathen deity instead of Jehovah,
announced that their master would never leave his bed alive. Returning,
they informed Ahaziah of this occurrence, who enquired what kind of man
they had met. Their answer was decisive. In the hairy man, girt with a
girdle of leather about his loins, the king recognised all too clearly
his father’s enemy, and, ill as he was, this only served to kindle his
wrath. Dispatching a captain with 50 men to the recesses of Carmel,
where the prophet seems to have taken up his abode, he demanded his
instant surrender. The soldier went and found Elijah seated on the
mountain. _Man of God_, said he, _the king hath said, Come down. If
I be a man of God_, replied the other, _let fire come down from heaven,
and consume thee and thy fifty men_. With the word the fire descended,
and consumed the captain and his fifty. A similar force was then a
second time dispatched by the king, and they too met the same fate[379].
A third captain, in an altered tone, implored the prophet to come down,
and Elijah, assured by God of safety, descended and followed him into
the presence of the king, and announced in person his approaching end;
shortly after which Ahaziah died, and was succeeded by his brother
JEHORAM (2 K. i. 2–17).

This was the last time Elijah confronted any of the family of Ahab.
Once only is he recorded to have expostulated with any of the house
of Judah. Hearing that the son of Jehoshaphat, who seems to have
been entrusted with a portion of the regal power during his father’s
lifetime, was not walking in his father’s ways, but in those of
Ahab and the kings of Israel, he sent a letter to him, denounced his
idolatries, and threatened him with sore judgments (2 Chr. xxi. 12–15).

Shortly afterwards, though how soon is not certain, he received
intimation of his approaching removal from the earth. From Gilgal,
probably somewhere on the western edge of the hills of Ephraim,
accompanied by Elisha, whom he had vainly tried to persuade to remain
behind, he proceeded to Bethel. There the two were met by certain
of the sons of the prophets, who also had been warned of what was at
hand, and now enquired of Elisha if he knew of the loss he was about
to sustain. Elisha replied that he did, but bade them hold their peace.
Having again vainly tried to induce his faithful attendant to remain
at Bethel, the prophet repaired to Jericho, where another company from
the prophetic school warned his companion, and were similarly enjoined
to keep silence. From Jericho the two then held on their way towards
the Jordan, while 50 of the sons of the prophets ascended the abrupt
heights behind the city[380], which command a view of the plain below,
to watch what would occur. Arrived at the river’s brink, Elijah took
off his prophetic mantle, and, wrapping it together, smote the waters,
which divided “hither and thither,” and the two went over on dry ground.
Once on the other side, the prophet was within the borders of his
native land, and he now enquired of his companion, what he should do
for him before he was taken away. The other asked for a _double portion
of his spirit_. He had asked a hard thing; but still if he looked
steadfastly on his master while he was taken from him, he was told that
his request should be granted, but not otherwise. Still conversing the
two then walked on, till suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire
parted them asunder, and Elijah was carried by a whirlwind into heaven.
With a great and bitter cry Elisha called after him as he ascended, _My
father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof!_
But he was gone, and he saw him no more. In token of grief he thereupon
rent his clothes, and taking up the mantle of his master went back, and
once more stood by the banks of Jordan. Then wrapping the mantle, even
as he had seen the other do, he smote, saying, _Where is the Lord God
of Elijah?_ and the waters again parted “hither and thither,” and he
went over. Meanwhile the sons of the prophets, who had stood watching,
saw him coming towards Jericho, and going down to meet him, bowed
themselves to the ground before him. Contrary to his advice they then
insisted on sending fifty “strong men” to search for Elijah, lest
peradventure the Spirit of the Lord had taken him up, and cast him
upon some mountain, or into some valley. For three days the search
was continued, but they found him not. The work of the most wonderful
character Israel ever produced was over, and he had been summoned to
another world (2 K. ii. 11–18).

                              CHAPTER V.

                      2 KINGS II.–IV.   B.C. 895.

FOR a time Elisha tarried at the now rebuilt Jericho, and here he
performed his second miracle. “Of the two perennial springs which,
rising at the base of the steep hills behind the town, send their
streams across the plain towards the Jordan, scattering, even at the
hottest season, the richest and most grateful vegetation over what
would otherwise be a bare tract of sandy soil[381],” one at least was
at this time noxious and unfit for use. At the urgent request of the
inhabitants Elisha put salt into a new cruse, and poured it into the
spring at its source, and the waters were healed (2 K. ii. 19–22).
Thence he repaired to Bethel, which, though the seat of the school of
the prophets, was, it will be remembered, one of the centres of the
Calf-worship. As the prophet ascended the defile leading into the town,
the youths of the place came forth, and began to revile the gentle
successor of the terrible Elijah. _Go up, bald head!_ was their cry,
alluding, probably, “to the contrast between his closely-trimmed hair
and the shaggy locks of Elijah.” Turning round, the prophet looked
upon them, and cursed them in the name of Jehovah, and from a forest
hard by the road, and haunted by wild beasts, came forth two she-bears,
which tare forty-two of them. Elisha meanwhile passed on to Carmel,
the resort of his late master, and thence returned, and eventually took
up his abode at Samaria (2 K. ii. 25).

Jehoram, who now reigned in that capital, persisted in his idolatrous
courses, but, possibly owing to the late activity of Elijah, had
removed the image of Baal, and recurred to the old Calf-worship. He
now resolved to take that vengeance on the rebellious Moabites, which
the death of his brother Ahaziah had postponed. Accordingly, having
obtained the promise of the assistance of Jehoshaphat, he numbered his
forces, and set out on the campaign. Instead of crossing the Jordan
above the Dead Sea, and invading Moab from the North, it was resolved
to pass round the southern end of that sea, and thence push forwards
through the northern portion of the territory of Edom, whose king also
promised his aid in the expedition. Accordingly a long and tedious
circuit of 7 days was made, during which the armies suffered the
greatest extremities from the want of water. In this crisis Jehoshaphat
proposed that the advice of some prophet of Jehovah should be sought,
and, enquiry being made, it was found that Elisha was present with, or
in the near neighbourhood of, the armies. The three kings, therefore,
went down to consult him. The prophet evinced no willingness to
befriend the ruler of Israel, but in consideration of the presence of
the pious king of Judah, he relented, and summoned a minstrel before
him. The minstrel played, and in the usual prophetic ecstasy Elisha
directed that dykes should be dug in the valley, which he foretold
would speedily be filled with water sufficient for the host, and he
moreover assured the kings of a speedy victory over their enemies.

On the next day at early dawn, the hour of offering the meat-offering
at Jerusalem, in consequence probably of a great and sudden fall of
rain in the eastern mountains of Edom[382], water came down and filled
all the dykes, which the armies had dug in the red soil of the valley.
To the Moabites, who had mustered all their forces and awaited the
attack in the border of their territory, the water, glistening in
the rays of the morning sun, appeared to have assumed a red colour
like blood. Thereupon concluding that the confederate kings had turned
their arms against one another, they hastily marched on to gather up
the spoil. But they had no sooner reached their camp, than they were
attacked with great fierceness, and put to a complete rout. As they
fled to their own cities, the confederate kings pursued them, felled
their trees[383], stopped up their wells, filled their choice pieces
of land with stones, and ravaged all their towns, save the impregnable
fortress of Kir-haraseth[384] (_Kerak_), built on a high steep rock and
surrounded by a deep and narrow ravine. There the king of Moab made his
last stand, and with 700 picked men made a desperate attempt to break
through the besieging army. This last hope failing, he ascended the
wall with his eldest son, the heir to his throne, and in sight of the
allied besiegers, killed and burnt him as a propitiatory sacrifice to
his idol Chemosh. This frightful spectacle filled the allied hosts with
such horror that they raised the siege and departed to their own land
(2 K. iii. 20–27).

During the reign of Jehoram Elisha performed many miracles, the fame of
which could not fail to strengthen the cause of true religion.

i. A widow of one of the sons of the prophets was in debt, and her
creditor was coming on the morrow to take her two sons and sell them
as slaves. In her extremity she applied to the prophet, and told him
that the only thing she had in her house was a cruse of oil. This
Elisha caused to multiply, till she had filled all the vessels she
could borrow, and thus liquidated the debt (2 K. iv. 1–7).

ii. The little village of Shunem, in the tribe of Issachar, was a
frequent resort of the Prophet, and a rich woman of the place, at whose
house he stayed, on one occasion, persuaded her husband to permit a
little chamber to be prepared for him, that he might turn in there,
as often as he came that way. One day he came thither attended by
Gehazi his servant, and lodged in the little chamber. Grateful for
this kindness, Elisha enquired if there was anything he could do for
his benefactress; _Should he speak for her to the king, or the captain
of the guard?_ Both these offers the woman declined, alleging that
she _dwelt among her own people_. Thereupon Gehazi whispered that
she had no son, and her husband was old. Elisha promised that in the
ensuing year a son should be born to her. His words were fulfilled,
the boy grew, and in the course of time went to join his father in the
reaping-field. There struck by the fierce rays of the morning sun, he
cried, _My head, my head!_ and was carried home to his mother, on whose
knees he died at noon. In this sad crisis she immediately took the dead
body into the prophet’s chamber, and laid it on the bed. Then with a
single attendant, mounted on an ass, she set out for one of the heights
of Carmel, about 15 or 16 miles distant, where Elisha then was. Her
familiar form attracted the prophet’s attention as from the eminence
he discerned her approaching, and he sent Gehazi to enquire the reason.
But her errand was not to be revealed to the servant, and pressing
on she drew near the spot where the prophet himself was, and flinging
herself before him embraced his feet. The first word about her son
revealed the state of the case, and Elisha instantly bade Gehazi gird
up his loins, and with his staff in his hand hurry with all speed to
Shunem. Gehazi went, and was soon followed by Elisha, and the mother,
who would not leave him. As they drew near the town, they met Gehazi
returning. He had laid the staff upon the face of the child, _but
there was neither voice nor hearing_. Arriving at the house, Elisha
ascended to the well-known chamber, shut the door, and prayed mightily
unto the Lord. Then he stretched himself upon the dead body, and
the flesh of the child grew warm; presently he sneezed seven times
and opened his eyes. Gehazi was thereupon bidden to summon the
Shunammite, who received her boy restored to life, and went her way
(2 K. iv. 8–37)[385].

iii. Elisha is next found at Gilgal, at a time when there was a dearth
in the land. The sons of the prophets sat before him, and he bade the
great caldron be set on, and pottage be seethed. Into the caldron one
of the company shred wild gourds and grapes, and when they found out
the contents, all exclaimed, _there is death in the pot_. Thereupon
Elisha bade meal be cast into it, and the pottage was rendered fit for
food (2 K. iv. 38–41).

iv. While still at Gilgal, Elisha was visited by a man from
Baal-shalisha (See 1 Sam. ix. 4), with 20 barley-loaves, and roasted
ears of corn in his scrip or bag[386]. This moderate supply he ordered
to be distributed amongst the people who were present, to the number
of one hundred, and in reply to his hesitating “servitor” assured him
that there would not only be enough, but that the people _would leave
thereof_, which came to pass; and thus Elisha was enabled to anticipate
the works of Christ (2 K. iv. 42–44).

                              CHAPTER VI.

                    2 KINGS V. VI.   B.C. 894–892.

BUT Elisha’s fame was soon to overstep the limits of his own country.
The captain of the army of Ben-hadad, king of Syria, at this time was
named NAAMAN (See Lk. iv. 27). He had achieved many victories for his
master, and for personal prowess was held in high honour, being in
close attendance on his sovereign, but _he was a leper_. This frightful
malady which, had he been an Israelite, would have cut him off from all
intercourse with his fellows, does not appear to have laid him under
the same disadvantages in Syria, and he still retained his post as
commander-in-chief. In his harem, waiting on his wife, was a little
Israelitish maid, who had been taken prisoner in one of the forays of
the Syrians over the border. She knew what Elisha could do, and assured
her mistress that, if only Naaman was _with the prophet that was in
Samaria_, he would certainly be cured of his malady. Her words were
told to Naaman, who communicated them to Ben-hadad[387]. The Syrian
king thereupon wrote a letter to Jehoram, king of Israel, and sent
his general with it, accompanied by a large retinue bearing 10 talents
of silver, 6,000 pieces of gold, and 6 of the rich fabrics, for which
Damascus had always been famous. On reaching Samaria Naaman presented
the letter to Jehoram, who had no sooner read the curt words of the
Syrian king, than he rent his clothes, and exclaimed, _Am I God, to
kill and to make alive, that this man doth send unto me to recover a
man of his leprosy?_ He could only think of one motive for the letter;
_Consider_, said he, _how this man seeketh a quarrel against me_ (2 K.
v. 7).

News of Naaman’s arrival, of the purport of his coming, and of the
dismay of the king was conveyed to Elisha, who straightway sent to
Jehoram and bade him send his visitor to him, that he might know that
there _was a prophet in Israel_. With his horses, his chariots, and
entire cavalcade, Naaman thereupon came and stood before the door of
the prophet’s dwelling. But instead of coming forth himself, Elisha
simply sent his servant to tell him to go down to the rapid waters
of the Jordan and wash seven times, promising him a certain cure.
The prophet’s independent tone, the neglect to come out to him,
above all his command that he, the native of a city watered by such
famous streams as the Abana and Pharpar[388], should go and wash in
Jordan, was unbearable. Naaman _turned and went away in a rage_. But
his retinue, unwilling to throw up the hopes of their long journey,
succeeded in persuading him to make trial of the prescribed cure.
Naaman accordingly went down and dipped himself seven times in the
rushing stream, and _his flesh came again like the flesh of a little
child, and he was clean_. Full of gratitude for so priceless a boon,
he then returned with his whole retinue to Samaria, and once more stood
before the prophet’s door. This time, however, he not only stood there,
but went in and gratefully acknowledged the power of Israel’s God,
and urged the prophet to receive the present he had brought. This, the
latter absolutely declined, and in spite of Naaman’s urgency, persisted
in his refusal. But one thing the grateful soldier was resolved to have.
If Elisha would not accept his presents, he could not depart from a
land where he had received so great a benefit without two mules’ burden
of its hallowed earth, for the construction, probably, of an altar to
Jehovah. But here a difficulty occurred to him. If he became a servant
of Jehovah, how could he go to the house of Rimmon[389], and bow before
the Syrian god? Elisha’s simple reply was, _Go in peace_, and he went
his way (2 K. v. 1–20).

The generous conduct, however, of his master had not escaped the notice
of Gehazi, the attendant of Elisha, and the Syrian had not gone any
great distance when he ran after his chariot. Naaman discerned him
hurrying along the road, and alighting enquired if all was well. _All
was well_, the other replied; _but already there had come to his master
from Mount Ephraim, two young men of the sons of the prophets_, for
whom he solicited _a talent of silver, and two changes of raiment_. The
generous Syrian pressed upon him two talents and two changes of raiment,
and sent two of his retinue to bear them to a secret place, whence
Gehazi removed them into the house, and then presented himself before
his master, denying, when questioned, that he had gone anywhere. But
the prophet had marked his wickedness. His heart had gone after him the
whole while, and with righteous sternness he now pronounced upon him
the awful punishment from which Naaman had just been delivered; and _he
went out of his presence a leper as white as snow_ (2 K. v. 27).

Elisha is next found at Jericho. Here the habitation of the sons of
the prophets had become so small, that they desired to construct a new
dwelling near the Jordan. Accompanied by Elisha they proceeded towards
the river, and began to fell trees in the wood which lined its banks.
As they felled, the head of an axe, which one of them had borrowed,
flew off and sank in the water. He appealed to Elisha, who bade a piece
of wood be flung into the stream, when the iron re-appeared, and was
restored to the borrower (2 K. vi. 1–7).

Shortly after this, in spite of the cure wrought upon their general,
the Syrians renewed their marauding incursions, and even encamped
in spots which the king of Israel was wont to frequent. Warned by
Elisha, Jehoram was on more than one occasion able to escape the
ambuscades laid for him, which so annoyed Ben-hadad, that he even
suspected treachery among his own retinue. But one of his servants
pointed to the true cause. The informer was no other than the healer
of his general Naaman, and his power was such that he could tell
Jehoram the very words Ben-hadad uttered in his chamber. Thereupon the
king of Syria sent horses and chariots, and a considerable force to
Dothan[390], 6 miles north of Samaria, to capture Elisha. The Syrian
forces completely surrounded the village, and the prophet’s servant
came running in, crying, _Alas! my master, how shall we do?_ Elisha
calmed his fears with the assurance that _they which were with them
were more than they which were with the foe_, and the eyes of the
young man being opened he was enabled to discern the hill, on which
the village was built, filled with horses and chariots of fire ready to
protect his master. At the same moment the Syrian forces were smitten
with blindness, and were easily led away to Samaria; nor were their
eyes opened till they found themselves in the presence of Jehoram.
The first impulse of the king of Israel was to put them to death. But
Elisha dissuaded him from such unworthy conduct, and the men were sent
back to Ben-hadad, who drew off his army, and for a while desisted from
the invasion (2 K. vi. 8–24).

But the Syrian king could not long brook such a humiliating repulse.
Mustering, therefore, all his troops, he went up and besieged Samaria,
B.C. 892, for a space of 3 years, during which period the inhabitants
were reduced to the direst extremities. Two mothers even agreed to boil
their children for food (Comp. Deut. xxviii. 53, 57). One actually did
so, but the other hid her child lest it should suffer such an awful
fate. This story was told Jehoram, as he one day passed by on the city
wall, and in token of sorrow he put on sackcloth beneath his armour.
But deeming Elisha in some way culpable for the nation’s disasters, he
threatened to take away his life, and sent a messenger to the prophet’s
house, where he sat surrounded by the elders of the city, to carry it
into execution. Before however the messenger’s feet had touched the
threshold, Elisha, warned of his danger, had commanded that he should
be held fast. At this moment Jehoram himself also entered, leaning on
the hand of one of his officers. _This evil_, he burst forth, _is from
Jehovah; why should I wait on Jehovah any more?_ (Comp. Job xxi. 15;
Mal. iii. 14). To which the prophet replied, _Hear the word of Jehovah;
to-morrow about this time shall a measure of fine flour be sold for a
shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel, in the gate of Samaria.
Nay_, interposed the royal officer, _if Jehovah would make windows
in heaven, this could not be. It will_, replied Elisha; _thou thyself
shalt see it with thine eyes, but shalt not eat a morsel thereof_
(2 K. vii. 2).

These marvellous and prophetic words were fully verified. In the
twilight of the selfsame evening four lepers who were wont to take
their place at the gate of the city, despairing of life, resolved to
enter the Syrian camp, and brave their fate. Reaching the edge of the
encampment, to their great surprise they found no man there. Alarmed by
a mysterious noise of chariots, horses, and a great host, the Syrians
had concluded that the kings of the Hittites and Egyptians had come
to the aid of the beleaguered city, and had hastily fled, leaving
their camp and everything in it just as it was. Amidst the deepening
gloom the lepers entered a tent, satiated the pangs of hunger, and
then secretly hid a quantity of silver, gold, and raiment. Entering
a second they did the same, and then fearing harm if they concealed
such joyous news, they hastily returned to Samaria, and announced to
the warder at the barred gate (2 K. vii. 10) that they had visited
the Syrian camp, and found nothing but horses tied, and asses tied,
and the tents as they were. The warder carried the news to his chief,
and he communicated it to the king’s household. Though it was midnight
Jehoram was roused, and informed of the strange news. Fearful of a plot
to draw the Israelites away from the city, he ordered two horsemen to
reconnoitre and discover whether it was really true. They made their
way towards the Jordan, and found the road filled with garments and
vessels, which the Syrians had flung away in their precipitate flight.
Their return with this welcome news roused the whole city. Starving
and emaciated, the entire population rushed forth to the gate, and
thence made their way to the Syrian camp. To preserve some degree of
order, the king entrusted the command of the gate to the officer who
had scoffed at the prophecy of Elisha, but so great was the press and
confusion that he was trodden to death by the excited crowd, and before
evening the words of the prophet had been fulfilled to the letter. _Two
measures of barley were sold for a shekel, and a measure of fine flour
for a shekel_, and Samaria was delivered (2 K. vii. 17–20).

                     KINGDOMS OF JUDAH AND ISRAEL.

                               PART III.
       _Renewal of mutual hostilities; decline of both kingdoms
               before the power of the Assyrian Empire._

                              CHAPTER I.

                         _ACCESSION OF JEHU._
                     2 KINGS VIII.–X.   B.C. 884.

AFTER this signal discomfiture Ben-hadad returned to Damascus, and
before long lay prostrate with his last illness. At this time Elisha
was present in the city, and the king being informed of it, sent HAZAEL,
an officer in high position at his court, to enquire whether he should
recover of his disease. With 40 camels’ burden of the choicest products
of the Syrian capital, Hazael presented himself before the prophet, and
preferred his request in the most humble tones. Elisha replied that his
master _might_ indeed recover, but yet that he _would_ not. Wondering
at these ambiguous words, Hazael fixed upon him a long and searching
glance, and the prophet burst into tears. _Why weepeth my lord?_
enquired the other. And Elisha, who saw in him the destined successor
of Ben-hadad, replied, _Because I know the evil that thou wilt do unto
the children of Israel; their strongholds wilt thou set on fire, and
their young men wilt thou slay with the sword, and wilt dash their
children, and rip up their women with child_. But such a future had
no sorrow for his listener, it was only too good to expect. _What is
thy servant_, he replied, _dog that he is[391], that he should do this
great thing_? The prophet, without making any remark, simply announced
the message Elijah had long ago been bidden to deliver, _Jehovah hath
showed me_, said he, _that thou shalt be king over Syria_ (2 K. viii.
7–13). With these mysterious words sounding in his ears Hazael returned
to his master, and told him but the half of the prophet’s answer.
That day was the last of Ben-hadad’s life. On the morrow he was found
suffocated with a thick cloth dipped in water spread upon his face.
Whether or no Hazael’s hand had done the deed, his path was now
clear[392], and he mounted the Syrian throne[392a].

Meanwhile there had been changes in the kingdom of Judah. After
an unsuccessful attempt to quell a rebellion of his vassal, the
king of Edom (2 K. viii. 20; 2 Chr. xxi. 8–10; see Gen. xxvii. 40),
Jehoram died, and was succeeded by AHAZIAH, B.C. 885, the issue of his
father’s ill-starred marriage with the daughter of Jezebel. True to the
traditions of his mother, he signalized his accession by the grossest
idolatries (2 Chr. xxii. 3), but soon, like his rival the king of
Israel, began to feel the hand of the new monarch of Syria, who had
already made an attempt to recover the stronghold of Ramoth-gilead.
In intimate alliance the two kings now crossed the Jordan to defend
the place, and an engagement ensuing, Jehoram was severely wounded,
and forced to return to Jezreel, whither also Ahaziah followed him
(2 K. ix. 28, 29).

During their absence Elisha, knowing that the time was now come for the
doomed destruction of Ahab’s family, sent a young man, one of the “sons
of the prophets” to Ramoth-gilead, with a horn of oil and a commission
to look out and anoint JEHU the son of Jehoshaphat, the son of Nimshi,
king over Israel. As one of Ahab’s guards, Jehu, in company with Bidkar,
had ridden behind his master to the fatal plot of Naboth’s vineyard,
and heard the terrible warning of Elijah against his murderer (2 K.
ix. 25). Since then, he had risen to a position of some importance, and
was now well known for his vehemence and activity, as well as his rapid,
furious driving. According to his instructions the young disciple of
the prophets went to Ramoth-gilead, and finding Jehu seated in the
midst of his officers, intimated that he had an errand for his ear
alone. Together the two retired to an inner chamber, and there the
youth having poured the oil on Jehu’s head, and announced the Divine
Will that he should be king over Israel, and utterly exterminate the
whole family of Ahab, opened the door and fled.

Shortly afterwards Jehu came forth, and rejoined his comrades, who
eagerly enquired the purport of the _mad fellow’s_ visit. At first he
tried to evade the question, but soon revealed all that the other had
said. Instantly the enthusiasm of his hearers was kindled. Recognising
the truth of the prophetic call, they threw off each man his garment,
and placing Jehu on a rude throne or carpet of state, blew the trumpets,
and shouted _Jehu is king_. Then, for everything depended on the
speed of his movements, without losing a moment Jehu drove his chariot
towards the fords of Jordan, and thence direct to Jezreel. From the
tower[393] of the latter city the watchman observed his hurrying
chariot, and announced the fact to Jehoram, who straightway sent a
horseman to enquire, _Is it peace?_ The crafty conspirator detained
the messenger. Then a second horseman was despatched, and he too was
detained. By this time the watchman was better able to distinguish the
advancing charioteer, and pronounced him to be no other than _Jehu,
the son of Nimshi_. Thereupon the chariot of the king of Israel was
made ready, and with Ahaziah, king of Judah, he set out to meet him,
probably expecting tidings of the Syrian war. But he was quickly and
terribly undeceived. His question, _Is it peace, Jehu?_ was met by a
furious denunciation of the idolatries of his mother Jezebel, and in an
instant divining his danger, he turned his chariot towards Jezreel. But
at that moment Jehu drew a bow with his full strength, and shot him to
the heart. While he paused to charge Bidkar to take up his corpse and
fling it into the portion of Naboth, Ahaziah, pursued by his soldiers,
fled down the westward plain towards Beth-gan, or the village of
Engannim[394], but was overtaken, and wounded, and died at Megiddo,
whither he managed to escape.

Jehu’s next step was to make for Jezreel. Here Jezebel, the
queen-mother, still retained her influence, and hearing of the approach
of the conspirator, she resolved to confront him in person. After
the Oriental fashion, _she tired her head and painted her eyes_ with
antimony, and, as Jehu passed beneath the palace, cried out from the
latticed window, _Had Zimri peace, who slew his master[395]?_ On that
Jehu looked up, and called aloud, _Who is on my side? who?_ and two or
three eunuchs looking out, he bade them throw her down; and they threw
her down before his chariot, and her blood was sprinkled partly on the
palace-wall and partly on his horses, while with merciless severity he
trode her underfoot. Then he entered the palace, and ate and drank. But
remembering the fallen queen, he commanded that she should be buried.
His messengers went forth to execute his commands, but when they
reached the open space before the city walls, they found nothing but
her skull, and feet, and the palm of her hands. The dogs, which prowl
about the streets of Eastern cities, had devoured all the rest, and
thus fulfilled the words of Elijah, _In the portion of Jezreel shall
dogs eat the flesh of Jezebel_ (2 K. ix. 36).

The thoughts of the conqueror now turned towards Samaria. Here resided
the sons and grandsons of Ahab to the number of 70 persons. To the
elders of the city, therefore, he wrote letters, bidding them select
the best and meetest of their master’s sons, set him on his father’s
throne, and fight for their master’s house. This proposition terrified
the servile elders, and they replied that they had no idea of setting
up a rival king, and were perfectly ready to submit in all things to
the usurper’s will. On this, Jehu wrote a second letter, proposing as
a test of their fidelity, that they should send to Jezreel on the next
day the heads of the 70 descendants of Ahab, and then repair thither
themselves. His commands were duly executed, the 70 heads were sent to
Jezreel, and by Jehu’s command placed in two heaps at _the entrance of
the gate_, where they remained all night. In the morning the usurper
went forth, and acknowledged to the awe-struck crowd that he had
conspired against his master, but threw the blame of the slaughter
of Ahab’s descendants on their guardians at Samaria, who had thus
fulfilled the words of Elijah. He then proceeded to exterminate all
the acquaintance of Ahab at Jezreel, the officers of his court, and
the hierarchy of Ashtaroth, and finally set out in person for Samaria
(2 K. x. 12).

On the road, he first met 42 sons or nephews of the late king of Judah,
and discovering who they were, directed that they too should be put to
death at the _Well of the Shearing-House_, between Jezreel and Samaria.
A little further on he encountered Jehonadab the son of Rechab, of the
race of the Kenites, who had bound his descendants[396] to drink no
wine, to build no houses, to sow no seed, neither to plant nor possess
vineyards, but to adhere to the old nomadic life and dwell in tents
(Jer. xxxv. 6, 7). _Is thine heart right, as my heart is with thy
heart?_ exclaimed Jehu, when he saw him. The other assured him that it
was, and was bidden thereupon to ascend his chariot and _come and see
his zeal_ for Jehovah. Thus side by side the two drove into the city,
where the butchery of Ahab’s relatives was renewed, till none were left
remaining. But this was only preparatory to another and still greater
blow. Convening an assembly of the people, Jehu announced his intention
of inaugurating the worship of Baal on a scale of the greatest
magnificence; _Ahab_, said he, _served Baal a little, but Jehu shall
serve him much_. Then, under pain of death, he commanded the entire
hierarchy of Baal and all his worshippers throughout Israel to assemble
in the great temple, which Ahab had built in honour of this god (1 K.
xvi. 32). On the appointed day they came, and the building was filled
from end to end. The sacred vestments, probably of white linen, were
brought forth, the worshippers arrayed in them, the temple cleared of
any chance worshippers of Jehovah, and then Jehu and Jehonadab entered,
and the king himself offered the burnt-offering. He had hardly ended,
when eighty trusty warriors, who had secretly received their orders,
rushed in, and commenced an indiscriminate slaughter of the unarmed
and helpless assembly. The huge image of Baal was broken, the smaller
images burnt, and the temple itself converted to the basest uses (2 K.
x. 26, 27).

                              CHAPTER II.

        2 KINGS XI.–XIV.   2 CHR. XXII. XXIII.   B.C. 884–839.

THUS, after scenes hitherto unparalleled in the history of the Chosen
Nation, Jehu established himself upon the throne, and reigned upwards
of 28 years. Those years are almost a blank to us. All we know is,
that though commended for the destruction of Ahab’s worthless dynasty,
and assured that his descendants to the fourth generation should sit
upon the throne, he persisted in walking in the ways of Jeroboam, and
retained the old calf-worship at Dan and Bethel. But his reign was not
a peaceful one. _The Lord began to cut Israel short_, Hazael attacked
his kingdom, and ravaged the territories of the tribes east of the
Jordan (2 K. x. 33).

Meanwhile similar scenes of extermination had been enacted even in the
southern kingdom of Judah. On the death of Ahaziah, B.C. 884, ATHALIAH,
the queen-mother, who had probably been entrusted with the royal
functions during his absence at Jezreel, resolved to seize the supreme
power, and for this purpose put to death all the members of the royal
house who had not already perished by the sword of Jehu. From the
general massacre JOASH, the infant son of Ahaziah, alone escaped, and
was concealed by his aunt Jehosheba, wife of Jehoiada the high-priest,
in the house of the Lord for the space of 6 years (2 Chr. xxii. 11, 12).
During this period the usurpation of Athaliah was endured, but in the
seventh year (B.C. 878) her foreign practices having probably disgusted
the nation, the high-priest deemed it an auspicious moment to bring
about a change. Gathering round him all the supporters of the family of
David, he placed a large force of priests and Levites in three bands at
the entrances of the Temple, and armed the “captains of hundreds” with
the consecrated spears and shields placed there by David. Then before
them and a number of the people who favoured his design, he brought
out the infant Joash, and in the presence of all publicly crowned and
anointed him, and presented him with a copy of the Law. The noise of
the people reached the ears of the queen-mother, and she came into the
Temple only to see her grandson already placed on a raised throne, and
invested with regal functions. Jehoiada had given strict orders that
she should not be put to death within the sacred enclosure, and crying
_treason_, she was hurried from the ranges, and slain at the entrance
of the Horse-Gate by the royal palace (2 K. xi. 4–16; 2 Chr. xxiii.

A covenant was then solemnly ratified between the king, high-priest,
and people, by which they bound themselves to be faithful to Jehovah,
and in proof thereof attacked the temple of Baal, which Athaliah had
built, slew its attendant priest Mattan, and broke down the altars
and images. During the lifetime of his aged counsellor, the youthful
sovereign ruled his kingdom prudently, and was blessed with a large
measure of prosperity. In the 23rd year of his reign he commenced a
complete repair of the Temple, which had suffered much during the late
usurpation. Messengers were dispatched throughout his dominions to
levy contributions for the work, which were willingly bestowed both
by princes and people. But on the death of the high-priest, at the
advanced age of 130 years, a change came over the policy and character
of the king. At the suggestion of the princes of Judah, the worship of
Baal and Ashtaroth was revived, and the service of Jehovah neglected.
Prophets were sent to rebuke the king for this apostasy, but their
protests were unavailing. One of them, ZECHARIAH, the son of the late
high-priest, as a penalty for his bold outspoken honesty, was stoned
to death between the Holy Place and the Altar of Burnt-offering[397]
(Matt. xxiii. 35). His last words, _the Lord look upon it and require
it_, were speedily fulfilled. The year had not ended before the Syrian
army commanded by Hazael appeared before Jerusalem (2 K. xii. 17). It
had lately been successful against the Philistine city of Gath, and
now, though small in numbers, was able to defeat a large army of Judah,
and was only prevailed upon to depart by being permitted to carry away
to Damascus all the votive offerings and much of the Temple treasures.
Nor was Joash destined long to survive this disgrace. Afflicted with a
severe illness, probably in consequence of wounds received in the late
engagement, he was suddenly attacked by two of his servants, and slain
in his bed in the fortress of Millo, B.C. 839 (2 K. xii. 20, 21; 2 Chr.
xxiv. 26).

In addition to their victories over the Philistines, the Syrians
under Hazael had been equally successful against the king of Israel,
JEHOAHAZ, the son of Jehu, reducing him to such a depth of subjection,
that he was compelled to limit his army to 50 horsemen, 10 chariots,
and 10,000 infantry. After an inglorious reign, he bequeathed his
throne to his son JEHOASH or JOASH, B.C. 841, who in spite of the
warnings the nation had already received, persisted in practising
idolatry. During his reign the aged prophet Elisha fell sick, and
Jehoash went to his house and wept over him in the same words that
Elisha himself had used, when he beheld Elijah carried up into heaven,
saying, _O my father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the
horsemen thereof_! But other thoughts than the prophet’s approaching
end filled the hearts of both. Hazael _was cutting Israel short_, and
ravaging the country far and near. The aged prophet bade the king open
the window eastward towards the hated country, and place an arrow on
the string of his bow. Then, laying his own hands upon the king’s hands,
he bade him shoot, and as the shaft sped from the string, he followed
it with the prophetic blessing, _the arrow of the Lord’s deliverance,
and the arrow of deliverance from Syria, thou shalt smite the Syrians
in Aphek till thou hast consumed them_. At the prophet’s command the
king next took the arrows and smote them on the ground three times, and
then stayed. But he did it with no spirit or energy, and the victories
he might have achieved were limited to three (2 K. xiii. 14–19).

Shortly afterwards Elisha died, but his wonder-working power was not
to cease with his life. He had not been long laid in the tomb when
marauding bands of the Moabites invaded the land. A dead man was about
to be buried in the cemetery, which contained the prophet’s sepulchre.
Seeing the band of spoilers the mourners hastily thrust the corpse into
the receptacle where the prophet lay, and no sooner did it touch his
remains than the _man revived and stood upon his feet_. The victories,
however, which Elisha had promised were realised. Three times was
Jehoash enabled to triumph over the Syrian armies, and recovered the
cities which the Israelites had lost in previous wars (2 K. xiii. 25).

                             CHAPTER III.

              2 KINGS XIV.   JONAH I.–IV.   B.C. 840–758.

MEANWHILE AMAZIAH had succeeded to the throne of Judah. His first care
after his accession was to punish the murderers of his father, which
he did with unusual lenity, sparing their children, in accordance with
the true spirit of the Mosaic law (Deut. xxiv. 16; Ezek. xviii. 4, 20).
He next resolved to take vengeance on the revolted Edomites, and for
this purpose summoned to his standard 300,000 of Judah, and, at the
rate of 100 silver talents, hired 100,000 of Israel (2 Chr. xxv. 6).
Warned, however, by a prophet against leading any of the idolatrous
Israelites into battle amongst his own forces, he was induced to
dismiss his mercenaries, who returned home in great anger. With his
own army he then marched against the Edomites, and defeated them with
great slaughter in the Valley of Salt, south of the Dead Sea, capturing
also their rocky fortress-capital Petra or Sela, and flinging 10,000
of his captives headlong from their native cliffs. But with strange
perversity he now set up in Jerusalem the idols of the very nation he
had just subdued, and paid them religious honours (2 Chr. xxv. 14).
For this apostasy a prophet threatened him with speedy vengeance, and
misfortunes quickly thickened around him.

The Israelite mercenaries, in revenge for the loss of booty they had
sustained, on their way homewards ravaged many of the towns of Judah.
Smarting under this insult Amaziah was foolish enough to challenge
his rival, the king of Israel, to battle. Jehoash replied by the
contemptuous parable of the _Thistle and the Cedar_, and bade Amaziah
not provoke a contest. The other, however, would not yield, and the
rival armies met at Beth-shemesh[398], on the borders of Dan and
Philistia, and the men of Judah were utterly defeated. Jehoash even
took his rival prisoner, and conveyed him as a captive to Jerusalem,
the walls of which he broke down on the side nearest to his own kingdom
to the extent of 400 cubits, and after rifling the Temple of its
treasures and exacting hostages returned to Samaria. Shortly after this,
however, he died, and bequeathed his throne to his son JEROBOAM II.,
B.C. 825, while Amaziah survived him 15 years, at the close of which
period a conspiracy was formed against him, from which he fled to
Lachish, where he was assassinated, and was succeeded by his son
AZARIAH or UZZIAH, B.C. 810 (2 K. xiv. 19, 20).

The reign of Jeroboam II. which lasted 41 years[399], was the most
prosperous the kingdom of Israel had ever known. The new king did
not simply content himself with repelling the attacks of the Syrian
invaders, but carried the war into their own country, captured their
capital Damascus, and recovered all the old dominion of Israel from
Hamath to the Dead Sea, together with the territory of Moab and Ammon.
These successes had been predicted (2 K. xiv. 25) by the earliest of
the prophets, whose writings as well as words have come down to us,
JONAH, the son of Amittai, of Gath-hepher in Zebulun. The idolatries,
however, of the king called forth the protests of HOSEA, a prophet of
uncertain tribe and birth-place (Hos. i. 1), and AMOS, a herdsman of
Tekoa[400] (Am. i. 1). Those of Amos were keenly resented by Amaziah
the high-priest of Bethel (Am. vii. 10), and he reported him to the
king as having predicted the destruction of the royal house and the
captivity of the nation (Am. vii. 11–17), which, though not fulfilled
in his reign, were only deferred[401].

AZARIAH or UZZIAH, the new king of Judah, retained the sceptre for
upwards of 52 years, and was successful in several warlike expeditions.
He subjugated the Philistines, and dismantled Gath and Ashdod, reduced
the Arabians and Mehunims to obedience, and recovered Elath, the famous
port on the Red Sea (2 Chr. xxvi. 2, 7). He also improved the internal
resources of his kingdom, restored the fortifications of Jerusalem,
built military engines, and established a powerful army. Moreover
he devoted himself to the encouragement and protection of husbandry,
building towers and wells for his numerous herds in the low country
and in the plains, and growing vines on the terraces of the mountains
(2 Chr. xxvi. 9–15). But in the hour of prosperity _his heart was
lifted up to his destruction_. Assuming priestly functions, he entered
the Holy Place in the Temple for the purpose of offering incense on the
Golden Altar. This flagrant violation of the Law was resolutely opposed
by the high-priest Azariah and others of the Levitical body, and drew
down upon the king signal punishment. As he stood censer in hand by the
Altar, the leprosy _rose up in his forehead_, and he hurried in alarm
from the sacred enclosure. He was now incapable of discharging the
regal functions[402], and till the day of his death lived in a separate
house, while Jotham his son was entrusted with the regency, and
eventually succeeded him B.C. 758 (2 K. xv. 5; 2 Chr. xxvi. 16–22).

Meanwhile the great Empire, destined to be the instrument of
punishing the apostate kingdom of Israel, was advancing with gigantic
strides in the path of universal conquest. Beyond the territory of the
Syrians――the scourge of Jehu and his dynasty――was the far more powerful
Empire of the Assyrians, including the whole region watered by the
Tigris and Euphrates, and already augmented by important conquests in
Cappadocia, Armenia, and Babylonia. To Nineveh, its celebrated capital,
the prophet JONAH, already mentioned, was directed to go and denounce
its approaching doom, unless its people repented of their sins. The
prophet shrunk from this arduous commission, and instead of crossing
the Syrian desert, went down to Joppa, and there took ship for Tarshish,
probably Tartessus[403] on the southern coast of Spain (Jon. i. 3). But
during the voyage an awful storm arose, and in their alarm the mariners
threw him at his own request into the sea, where a large fish took
him up, and after three days and three nights flung him forth alive
on the dry land (Matt. xii. 40, xvi. 4; Lk. xi. 30). Thus miraculously
delivered he was a second time bidden to undertake the arduous journey,
and now not daring to disobey arose and went. Suddenly appearing in
the midst of Nineveh[404], clothed in his rough prophet’s robe, he
cried through corridor, and lane, and square, _Yet forty days, and
Nineveh shall be overthrown!_ His mysterious words filled the hearts
of all with fear and consternation, and before long reached the palace,
where the king sat “on his royal throne in the great audience-chamber,
surrounded by all the pomp and magnificence of his court[405].” The
words of the unknown prophet touched even his heart, and _he arose
from his throne, and laid aside his robe from him, and covered himself
with sackcloth, and sat in ashes_ (Jon. iii. 6). Then he proclaimed a
decree that all his people, from the greatest even to the least, should
be covered with sackcloth, and that even the beasts should be put in
mourning[406]. His decree was obeyed, a fast was observed, and the
people of Nineveh, laying aside their revelry and feasting, assumed
the garb of mourning, humbled themselves, turned from their evil way,
and offered up petitions for mercy to the Most High. Their repentance
was accepted, God had pity on the great city, with its 120,000 _persons
that could not discern between their right hand and their left_, and
deferred the judgment. In vain the prophet sat in his booth of woven
boughs, at the east side of the city, waiting for the doom he had
denounced. In vain he complained of the deferring of the punishment.
God was more merciful than man, and for more than another century
Nineveh was to stand unharmed (Jon. iv. 5–11).

                              CHAPTER IV.

                   2 KINGS XV.–XVII.   B.C. 773–721.

THE death of Jeroboam II., B.C. 783, was the signal for a frightful
state of anarchy in the kingdom of Israel. At length, after an
interregnum of 11 years, ZACHARIAH his son succeeded to the throne
(B.C. 773). His brief reign of six months served only to exhibit
his addiction to idolatrous practices, when he was assassinated by
SHALLUM, and with him the dynasty of Jehu came to an end. The reign
of the usurper was briefer still. For one month only did he retain the
royal power, and then was deposed in his turn by MENAHEM, the son of
Gadi, B.C. 772. Either at the beginning, or at a somewhat later period,
during his reign of 10 years, the new king ordered a promiscuous
massacre of the inhabitants of the country between Tirzah and Thapsacus,
probably for the purpose of inspiring terror into the hearts of
many who were unfavourable to his cause[407] (2 K. xv. 14). A more
significant circumstance during his reign was the appearance of the
Assyrians on the north-eastern frontier of his kingdom. PUL[408], king
of Assyria, having been successful in his expedition against Damascus,
advanced also against Israel, and was only induced to draw off his
forces by a timely gift of 1000 talents of silver, which Menahem wrung
from his people by an assessment of 50 shekels a head from 60,000
Israelites (2 K. xv. 20).

Menahem died in peace, bequeathing his throne to his son PEKAHIAH,
B.C. 761, who only reigned for 2 years, and was then assassinated
in his palace by PEKAH, son of Remaliah, a captain of his body-guard,
B.C. 759. The new king displayed far greater energy than his immediate
predecessors. The enormous tribute levied by the King of Assyria had
greatly exhausted the resources of his kingdom. He resolved, by way of
compensation, to ally himself with Syria, and attack the rival kingdom
of Judah. During the vigorous reign of JOTHAM he does not seem to have
been able to carry out the latter part of this design, but on the death
of that monarch, and the accession of his weak son AHAZ, B.C. 742,
he advanced against Jerusalem in alliance with Rezin, king of Syria,
and took a vast number of captives, who were, however, restored by the
advice of the prophet Oded (2 Chr. xxviii. 8–15). So far as the Syrians
were concerned, the expedition was successful. Rezin captured the port
of Elath, drove the Jews out of the place, and settled there a Syrian
colony. But in other respects the unnatural alliance of Israel and
Syria was calamitous. In his extremity, Ahaz resolved to seek the
assistance of TIGLATH-PILESER, the successor of Pul on the Assyrian
throne, and for this purpose sent him a large and valuable present
from the Temple treasures (2 K. xvi. 7). The Assyrian monarch readily
embraced the opportunity of crushing the formidable alliance of Syria
and Israel. Marching against Damascus, B.C. 740, he captured the Syrian
capital, slew Rezin[409], and carried off his subjects to Kir (2 K.
xv. 29). Then turning his arms still further westward, he fell upon the
northern towns in Pekah’s dominions, Ijon, Abel-beth-maachah, Hazor and
others, and carried off the inhabitants to remote districts within his
own dominions[410]. Pekah was now reduced to the position of a humble
vassal of the great Lord of Assyria, and was obliged to abstain from
any further hostilities against Ahaz.

But that king had purchased this temporary relief at a great cost.
Not only was he obliged to yield up the Temple treasures as tribute
to Tiglath-Pileser, but he had to appear also in person at Damascus
as a vassal of that monarch, and did homage to his protector, and even
to his protector’s gods. _Because_, said he, _the gods of the kings of
Syria help them, therefore will I sacrifice to them, that they may help
me_, and he not merely conformed to heathen rites, but actually sent
to Urijah, the high-priest at Jerusalem, the pattern of an altar he
had seen in the Syrian capital, and desired that another should be made
like it. The high-priest obeyed, and the idolatrous altar was placed
within the sacred precincts of the Temple, and the king himself offered
sacrifice thereon. Moreover, every city in his dominions shared in the
idolatries of the capital. Everywhere Ahaz _made high places to burn
incense to other gods_, introducing the worst superstitions of the
remotest East, practising necromancy and witchcraft (Isai. viii. 19),
causing his children to pass through the fire in the valley of Hinnom
to Moloch (2 K. xvi. 3), dedicating sacred horses to the Sun, and
raising altars on the housetops for the worship of the heavenly bodies
(2 K. xxiii. 12; 2 Chr. xxviii. 2–4).

While the Southern kingdom thus seemed bent on rivalling that of
Israel in idolatrous excesses, the fortunes of the latter kingdom
had become more and more gloomy. After a reign of 20 years, Pekah
was assassinated B.C. 737 by HOSHEA the son of Elah, who, after
several years of anarchy, was strong enough to secure the sceptre for
himself, B.C. 730. His reign, indeed, was not so sinful as that of
his predecessors (2 K. xvii. 2), but the doom of Israel was nigh at
hand. He had been on the throne but a few years when Shalmaneser, the
successor of Tiglath-Pileser, invaded his territory, and reduced Israel
to vassalage. This induced Hoshea to open a secret correspondence with
So, _Sabaco I._, king of Egypt. But news of his defection reaching the
ears of the Assyrian monarch, he summoned Hoshea to Damascus to explain
his conduct, and there placed him in prison. Then mustering his forces,
he invaded his territory, and laid siege to Samaria, B.C. 723. Its
natural strength enabled that city to hold out for three years, during
which period Shalmaneser appears to have been obliged to return to
Damascus, in consequence of a successful revolt headed by Sargon, to
whom he forfeited his crown[411]. But this change brought no respite
to the beleaguered capital of Israel. After a protracted resistance
it was captured, B.C. 721, and thus Sargon completed the conquest
which Shalmaneser had begun. Vast numbers of the remaining tribes
were now removed into captivity[412], and located partly in Gozan
or Mygdonia[413], and partly in the cities lately taken from the
Medes. Their place was filled by a foreign population from the more
inland districts of the empire, and colonies from Cuthah, Hamath, and
Sepharvaim, possessed Samaria, and dwelt in the cities of Israel, whose
existence as an independent kingdom now came to an end for ever.

                              CHAPTER V.

                         _REIGN OF HEZEKIAH._
      2 KINGS XVIII.–XX.   2 CHRON. XXIX.–XXXII.   B.C. 726–698.

WHILE the kingdom of Israel thus came to an end, that of Judah seemed
to have taken a fresh lease of vitality. At the close of the wicked
reign of Ahaz, his son HEZEKIAH succeeded to the throne, B.C. 726,
and proved one of the best of the monarchs of the line of David. His
first act after his accession was to set on foot a thorough religious
reformation. He removed the high places, brake down the images, and
even destroyed the Brazen Serpent, the ancient relic of the Wanderings,
which had become an object of idolatrous worship, under the name of
_Nehushtan_[414] (2 K. xviii. 4). He then cleansed and purified the
Temple, and re-opened it with splendid sacrifices, conducted by the
reinstated priests and Levites (2 Chr. xxix. 20–36), and resolved to
celebrate a peculiar Passover, and invite to it all throughout the land
of Palestine, who bore the Hebrew name (2 Chr. xxx. 1–10).

To this end he dispatched messengers throughout Judah, and northwards
through Ephraim and Manasseh as far as Zebulun. The remnant of the once
powerful house of Joseph treated his invitation with scorn, but all
Judah and many of the smaller tribes assembled at Jerusalem, and took
part in the great national rite, which was celebrated at an unusual
but not an illegal period[415], and lasted upwards of 14 days. The
associations awakened by this ancient ordinance roused the people to
a becoming zeal for the true God, and on their return from Jerusalem
a general destruction of idolatrous images and temples was set on foot
throughout Judah and Benjamin, and even some portions of the northern
kingdom (2 Chr. xxxi. 1).

Seconded in his pious efforts by the noble-minded prophet ISAIAH, the
king proceeded to carry out other religious reforms, and was rewarded
for his zeal by a large measure of prosperity. Venturing to assume the
offensive against the Philistines, he not only recovered the territory
which his father had lost, but gained other important advantages (2 K.
xviii. 7, 8). This success emboldened him to throw off the Assyrian
yoke, and to decline forwarding the usual tribute. The late capture
of Samaria by the Assyrians would render probable a speedy vengeance
for this defection. But the wealthy city of Tyre, now the head of
the Phœnician kingdom, was first to feel the weight of the Assyrian
arms, and its inhabitants made such a stubborn resistance, that after
operations extending over 5 years[416], the design was given up as

The time thus gained was not thrown away by Hezekiah. He used every
effort to strengthen his capital against the expected invasion;
repaired the walls; built towers; set captains over the host; stopped
up the wells; diverted the water-courses (2 Chr. xxxii. 3, 4); forged
weapons of war; and while most of his people trembled at the certain
coming of the great Assyrian conqueror, and many of his advisers would
have made an alliance with Egypt, the monarch was exhorted by Isaiah
not to lose his confidence in God. At length in the 14th[417] year of
his reign (2 K. xviii. 13), the invader appeared[418]. Sennacherib, the
successor of Sargon, _came up against all the fenced cities of Judah
and took them_ (2 K. xviii. 13). Thereupon Hezekiah thought it prudent
to avert his wrath by a promise of submission, and consented to pay
300 talents of silver and 30 talents of gold, to raise which enormous
sum he was obliged to spoil the Temple of many of its treasures, and
even to strip the gold from the gates (2 K. xviii. 14–16). The respite
thus obtained was only temporary. Two years had barely elapsed before
Sennacherib, resolved to conquer the now flourishing kingdom of Egypt,
commenced a second expedition through the dominions of Judah. While
one of his generals attacked and captured Ashdod, he himself marched
through Palestine, and laid siege to Libnah and Lachish, cities in
the maritime lowland of Judah, and at this time subject to Egypt. From
Lachish, however, he sent the _Tartan_ or his “commander-in-chief,”
the _Rab-saris_ or his “chief eunuch,” and the _Rab-shakeh_, his “chief
cupbearer,” with a large force to Jerusalem, to demand its surrender.
On this occasion, the “chief cupbearer” seems to have been at the
head of the embassy. Standing by _the conduit of the upper pool_
and speaking in the Hebrew tongue, he proclaimed to the advisers of
Hezekiah and the people assembled on the city walls the message of the
king of Assyria, exhorting them not to look for deliverance from Egypt,
or even to place any confidence in their God, for what god had yet
been able to deliver his land and people out of the hand of his master?
(2 K. xviii. 33, 34).

By command of Hezekiah his scornful message was received in profound
silence. The king himself, on being informed of the purport of the
Assyrian embassy, with clothes rent and robed in sackcloth, repaired
to the Temple, and sent his minister similarly attired to Isaiah, to
entreat him in his perilous hour to lift up his prayer in behalf of his
people. That undaunted prophet in reply bade his master defy boldly all
the efforts of the enemy. That God, whom the Assyrian had blasphemed,
would avenge His insulted honour; He would _send a blast upon him,
and he should hear a rumour, and should return to his own land, there
to fall by the sword_. These trustful words encouraged both king and
people, and the Assyrian ambassadors finding it impossible to terrify
the capital of Judah into subjection returned to Sennacherib, whom
they found at Libnah, having taken or raised the siege of Lachish (2 K.
xix. 8).

But while he was thus employed, news reached the ears of that monarch
that Tirhakah, or _Tarakos_, a powerful king of Ethiopia, was on the
march against him. On this he resolved to make one more effort to
terrify Hezekiah into submission, and sent a second embassy to him,
with a letter demanding in the most peremptory terms the surrender
of the city, recapitulating the cities whose gods had been powerless
to deliver them out of his hands, and bidding him dismiss the notion
that he could escape. On receiving this vaunting letter, Hezekiah again
repaired to the Temple, and there spread it before the Lord, entreating
in words of singular pathos and beauty the aid of the God of Israel,
_Who dwelt between the Cherubims_ (2 K. xix. 15).

His prayer was heard. Isaiah was commissioned to assure the king
that the _Virgin, the daughter of Zion_, might laugh to scorn all the
efforts of the invader. True it was that the Assyrian monarch had laid
waste many cities into ruinous heaps, but it was only because Jehovah
Himself had so willed it, and had raised him up to be an instrument
for the accomplishment of His own purposes. And now He would _put His
hook[419] in_ the Assyrian’s _nose, and His bridle in his lips_, and
turn him back by the way he had come, nor suffer him even to approach
the city, or shoot an arrow there, or cast up a bank against it (2 K.
xix. 32).

His words were destined to have a speedy and terrible fulfilment.
Having reduced Libnah, Sennacherib appears to have pushed forward
towards Pelusium[420], anxious to crush an Egyptian army under a native
prince, named Sethos, before the dreaded Ethiopian monarch Terhak or
Tirhakah could come to his aid. Within sight of each other the Assyrian
and Egyptian hosts lay down, awaiting the morrow’s battle, but that
very night the angel of the Lord, probably by a sudden pestilence, or
some more awful manifestation of Divine power, poured contempt on all
the pride of the Assyrian monarch. As they slept, a sudden destruction
fell upon his hosts, and when he awoke next morning, behold 185,000
corpses lay dead in his camp[421]! On this Sennacherib fled with the
shattered remnants of his forces to his own land, where, 17 years
after, or B.C. 680[422], he was assassinated by his sons Adrammelech
and Sharezer, as he was worshipping in the temple of Nisroch his god,
leaving his throne to another son Esarhaddon (2 K. xix. 37).

At some period after, or as some think, before[423] this signal
deliverance, Hezekiah was seized with a serious illness and was warned
by the prophet Isaiah _to put his house in order_, for the decree had
gone forth that he must die. This announcement caused the greatest
distress to the good king. He had striven to set a good example while
he lived, and had done much to reform his people and their religion,
and now in the very midst of his work he must die! With many tears,
therefore, he turned his face to the wall, and pleaded his case with
God, praying that the prophet’s words might not be so immediately
fulfilled. His prayer was heard. Isaiah was bidden to assure him that
his life would be prolonged for a space of 15 years, and as a sign
to confirm this assurance, the shadow on the great dial of his father
Ahaz went 10 degrees backwards, and by the application of a plaster
of figs, often used medicinally in such cases, his malady was healed.
News of his recovery, and of the astronomical marvel accompanying
it, was conveyed into many lands, and various ambassadors with
letters and gifts came to his court. Amongst the rest came those of
Merodach-Baladan[424], king of Babylon, who with their retinue were
escorted over the royal treasures. For the pride and ostentation with
which he displayed his rich stores, Hezekiah was rebuked by Isaiah,
who foretold that a day was coming, when all these treasures would be
carried away into the country of the very king whose ambassadors had
now come to congratulate him, and that his sons would be compelled to
serve as eunuchs in the Babylonian court (2 K. xx. 17–19).

The remainder of Hezekiah’s reign appears to have been spent in peace
and security. His treasury was full; the agricultural resources of
the country were developed; various new and useful improvements were
carried out in his capital; and on his death, lamented by all Judah and
Jerusalem, he was buried with especial honour _in the chiefest of the
sepulchres of the sons of David_, B.C. 698 (2 Chr. xxxii. 27–33).

                              CHAPTER VI.

     2 KINGS XXI.–XXIII.   2 CHRON. XXXIII.–XXXV.   B.C. 698–623.

ON the death of Hezekiah, his son MANASSEH succeeded to the throne at a
very early age, having been born in all probability twelve years before
his father’s death, B.C. 710. His mother, whose name was Hephzibah[425]
(_the delightsome one_, Isai. lxii. 4), was descended from one of the
princes of Jerusalem. His own name is remarkable, and was borne by
no one else in the history of the kingdom of Judah. It is the name of
the tribe second only to Ephraim in hostility to Judah, and has been
supposed to have been given to him in remembrance of the fond hope of
his father to unite the remnants of Manasseh and other northern tribes
in a common worship and faith[426].

The accession of this king at the early age of 12 years was the signal
for an entire revolution in the religious policy which his father had
so consistently carried out. It has been suggested that the idolatrous
party, which had sided with Ahaz, and had only been repressed during
the reign of Hezekiah, now recovered its old ascendancy, and exercised
a baneful influence over the youthful monarch. Whether this was so or
not, the spirit of loyalty to Jehovah which Hezekiah had evinced was
exchanged for a more general adoption of heathen modes of worship than
had disfigured even the idolatrous days of Ahaz. Not only were the
high places restored, but the worst enormities of Ahab were introduced
into Jerusalem. Altars were erected in honour of Baal and Ashtaroth and
all the host of heaven, even within the sacred precincts of the Temple
(2 Chr. xxxiii. 4, 5). The king himself, not _only observed times, and
used enchantments, and witchcraft, and dealt with a familiar spirit,
and with wizards_ (2 Chr. xxxiii. 6), but even dedicated some of his
sons in the fire to Moloch, and slaughtered others (Ez. xxiii. 37–39).
The cries of human victims offered in honour of this hideous deity
of the Ammonites re-echoed throughout the valley of Hinnom, and the
sins of Sodom and Gomorrah were practised with impunity in that city
where Jehovah had said that he would put His Name for ever (2 Chr.
xxxiii. 4). The consequent moral degeneracy was fearful. The old faith
was everywhere neglected and despised. The altar of Jehovah was broken
down (2 Chr. xxxiii. 16), even the ark was displaced (2 Chr. xxxv. 3),
and so systematic was the destruction of the Sacred Books, that fifty
years later the discovery of the Book of the Law was an event exciting
wonder and astonishment (2 K. xxii. 8), while the Sabbath, the sign
between the elect nation and Jehovah, was polluted (Isai. lvi. 2;
lviii. 13), and under the influence of the king and his idolatrous
advisers, the people _did more evil than did the nations whom the Lord
destroyed before the children of Israel_ (2 K. xxi. 9).

Meanwhile the voice of the prophets was not hushed. Heedless of the
doom they incurred, the Lord’s true servants bore their faithful
testimony against the deeds of the king. They predicted the coming
of such judgments on Judah and Jerusalem, that whoever heard of them,
_both his ears would tingle_ (2 K. xxi. 12). _The line of Samaria and
the plummet of the house of Ahab should be stretched over_ the capital
of Judah, and it should _be wiped as a man wipeth a dish_, and its
people should be _delivered into the hands of their enemies_ (2 K. xxi.
13, 14). These outspoken rebukes met with their natural reward. It was
now, according to the ancient Jewish tradition, that the aged ISAIAH
was _sawn asunder_[427], while of other less known but no less faithful
servants of Jehovah, such numbers were murdered, that the streets of
Jerusalem ran with blood (2 K. xxi. 16).

Such a policy brought its inevitable punishment. Risings of
the Philistines, Moabites, and Ammonites (Zeph. ii. 4–15; Jer.
xlvii.–xlix.), were speedily followed by an invasion of the territory
of Judah by the Assyrians (2 Chr. xxxiii. 11). The captains of
Esarhaddon, who had crushed the rebellion of Merodach-Baladan,
invested Jerusalem[428], took Manasseh captive, and carried him off to
Babylon[429], where loaded with fetters he was cast into prison. But
in the solitude of his dungeon the Jewish king repented of the awful
wickedness he had committed, and humbled himself greatly before the
God of his fathers, who in His infinite mercy listened to his petitions
for forgiveness. His defection was pardoned by Esarhaddon[430], and he
was permitted to return to Jerusalem (2 Chr. xxxiii. 13). The lessons
learnt in captivity were not forgotten by the restored monarch. He set
himself to effect so much of a religious reformation as his previous
character would allow. The worship of Jehovah was renewed, sacrifices
were once more offered in His honour, and the heathen altars within
the sacred precincts of the Temple were destroyed. But the change was
naturally but partial (2 Chr. xxxiii. 17). During his long reign of
55 years the evil he had done had sunk too deeply to be easily removed.
The recollection of the innocent blood he had shed was never forgotten,
and at his death he was not laid in the sepulchres of the kings, but
_in the garden of his own house, in the garden of Uzza_, B.C. 643 (2 K.
xxi. 26).

AMON his son now succeeded to the throne, and, after a short reign of
2 years, fell a victim to a conspiracy and was slain in his own palace.
The people, however, put the conspirators to death, and secured the
throne for his son JOSIAH, now only 8 years of age, B.C. 641. Young
as he was, the new king displayed a remarkable spirit of loyalty to
Jehovah, and surpassed even the best of his predecessors in his zeal
for the true faith. In the 12th year of his reign (2 Chr. xxxiv. 3),
B.C. 629, he commenced a great reform. In Jerusalem itself he removed
the altars dedicated to Baal and all the host of heaven, and burnt the
symbol of Ashtaroth at the brook Kidron, and the sacred horses that
had been dedicated to the Sun. He then commenced a personal tour, not
only throughout his own dominions, but throughout Simeon, Ephraim,
Manasseh, and even distant Naphtali (2 Chr. xxxiv. 6). At Bethel he
visited Jeroboam’s chapel, and agreeably to the remarkable prophecy
of the disobedient Prophet, uttered 300 years before[431], broke down
the altar and high places that king had set up, exhumed the bones from
the sepulchres in the neighbouring mount, and scattered them over the
altars. A little further, one of the sepulchres attracted his attention,
and in answer to his enquiries, he learnt that it contained the remains
of the old prophet of Bethel and his victim the man of God from Judah.
On this he directed that the sepulchre should be spared, and the
venerable relics carefully preserved (2 K. xxiii. 15–19).

Returning to Jerusalem, in the 18th year of his reign he empowered a
special commission to restore the Temple, and to levy contributions
for this purpose. In the course of the repairs, Hilkiah the high-priest
found a roll containing the Book of the Law, probably the Book of
Deuteronomy, which he delivered to Shaphan the scribe, or royal
secretary. By him portions were read in the ears of the king, who
struck with alarm at its awful denunciations, rent his clothes, and
directed that the Divine Will should be instantly consulted, that
the wrath of heaven might not descend on the apostate nation. The
High-priest and the rest thereupon sought the advice of a prophetess
named HULDAH, the wife of Shallum, keeper of the royal wardrobe, who
resided in one of the sacred cloisters of the Temple. In reply, she
assured them that the Divine judgments would certainly be fulfilled,
not indeed in the reign of Josiah, whose early piety had found favour
with Jehovah, but after he had been gathered to his fathers. This
answer was in due course returned to the king, who instantly repaired
to the Temple, and caused the awful denunciations on idolatry to be
publicly read in the ears of the assembled people. The effect was very
great. The people, conscience-stricken and appalled, made a solemn
covenant, and promised to adhere thenceforward to the worship of the
true God, and agreed to a still more thorough reformation. After a
restoration of the ancient Levitical service in the Temple, a national
celebration of the Passover was decreed, and was carried out with a
grandeur and magnificence exceeding anything that had been seen on any
former occasion (2 K. xxiii. 21–23).

                             CHAPTER VII.

     2 KINGS XXIII. XXIV.   2 CHRON. XXXV. XXXVI.   B.C. 623–588.

BUT the religious reformations of the pious king could not ward off the
destined destruction of his kingdom. At this period the great Assyrian
empire had considerably declined[432], while the kingdom of Egypt under
a powerful monarch named NECHO[433], had recovered much of its ancient
glory. This king now resolved to gain possession of Carchemish[434],
which commanded the passage of the Euphrates. From motives which cannot
be certainly divined, Josiah resolved to oppose his progress through
his own territory, and, in spite of an embassy from the Egyptian
monarch begging him not to interfere, drew up his forces at Megiddo,
and, as though with a presentiment of his doom, disguised himself
before entering into the battle. His fears were verified; struck by
the Egyptian archers, he was removed from the field to die before
he reached Jerusalem, where he was committed to the grave amidst the
profoundest grief of his people, and especially of the prophet JEREMIAH,
who composed a funeral elegy over this last and best of the kings of
Judah, B.C. 610 (2 Chr. xxxv. 25; Lam. iv. 20).

His son and successor JEHOAHAZ or SHALLUM (Jer. xxii. 11), only held
the throne for 3 months. On his return from Carchemish, Necho condemned
the land to pay a tribute of 100 talents of silver, and a talent of
gold, and sending for the new king to Riblah[435] in the land of Hamath,
put him in bonds, and thence removed him to Egypt, where he died (2 K.
xxiii. 34). His brother ELIAKIM was now permitted by the Egyptian
monarch to ascend the throne, and in obedience to the same authority
changed his name to JEHOIAKIM. In the 4th year of his reign, or
B.C. 606, NEBUCHADNEZZAR, placed by his father Nabopolassar at the
head of the Assyrian armies, marched forth to avenge the Egyptian
invasion. In a pitched battle at Carchemish (Jer. xlvi. 1–13) he
utterly defeated Pharaoh-Necho, and recovered Cœlesyria, Phœnicia, and
northern Palestine. Then advancing into Judæa he drove all who had no
fenced cities――and amongst the rest the Rechabites (Jer. xxxv. 11)――to
Jerusalem, captured that city, placed Jehoiakim in fetters, rifled the
Temple, and carried off to Babylon some of the sacred vessels, and many
of the principal Hebrew nobles, including DANIEL and his three friends,
Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (Dan. i. 1–6).

On promise, however, of faithfulness to his liege lord Jehoiakim was
suffered to retain his kingly dignity, at least in name, for 3 years
longer. At the close of this period he had the hardihood to try and
throw off the yoke, and rebelled against his suzerain. But this only
involved his kingdom in deeper misery[436]. Unable to take the field in
person, Nebuchadnezzar sent a numerous force against him from his now
subject provinces of Chaldæa and Syria, as well as Moab and Ammon (2 K.
xxiv. 2). These overran the whole country, and reduced it to the lowest
degree of wretchedness and misery.

During the period of degradation that now ensued, Jehoiakim, either
in a contest with some of his many foes, or owing to a rising of his
oppressed subjects, came to a violent end. His body lay ignominiously
exposed upon the ground, and was buried _with the burial of an ass_,
without pomp or ceremony, _beyond the gates of Jerusalem_, B.C. 599
(Jer. xxii. 18, 19; xxxvi. 30).

JEHOIACHIN his son, also called JECONIAH and CONIAH, was now placed
upon the throne (2 Chr. xxxvi. 9), but after a reign of 3 months and
10 days, Nebuchadnezzar’s army appeared before Jerusalem, and the
young king and his court surrendered at discretion. The Temple was
again pillaged of such vessels that yet remained, the king himself,
the nobles, and chief artisans were removed to Babylon[437], and none,
save the poorest of the population, were left behind (2 K. xxiv. 8–16).

MATTANIAH, the uncle of the captive king, was now placed by the
Babylonian monarch in charge of the exhausted kingdom, and took the
name of ZEDEKIAH. In defiance of the dictates of common prudence,
and of the advice of the prophet Jeremiah (Jer. xxvii. xxviii.; Comp.
Ezek. xvii. 12–21), he was foolish enough to court an alliance with
Pharaoh-Hophra, or Apries, a new and enterprising monarch in Egypt[438].
Instantly the Babylonian armies were put in motion, and overran all
Judah, while Jerusalem together with Lachish and Azekah alone held
out. A temporary delay was caused by an effort of the king of Egypt
to relieve his ally, and the necessity of first repulsing the Egyptian
forces. This achieved, the Chaldæans again presented themselves before
the walls of the Holy City, and besieged it for upwards of 16 months.
The wretched inhabitants were reduced to the most fearful straits.
Famine prevailed throughout the city (2 K. xxv. 3); _the tongue of
the sucking child clave to the roof of its mouth for thirst, the young
children cried for bread, and no man brake it unto them_ (Lam. iv. 4);
nobles that had ever before _fed delicately_, searched even _dunghills_
for any remnants of food that might be found (Lam. iv. 5); and mothers
_boiled their own children_ (Lam. iv. 10). The Lord at last poured upon
the city the cup of His fierce anger for all its iniquities, and its
Day of Doom was come. At length the Chaldæan armies effected a breach
in the strong walls, and made their way into the city. With a few of
his troops Zedekiah effected his escape to Jericho, but was pursued,
captured, and sent to Nebuchadnezzar at Riblah. Judgment was then
passed upon him (2 K. xxv. 6), and his sons having first been put to
death before his face, his eyes were thrust out[439], and laden with
fetters he was removed to Babylon, B.C. 588.

Punishment having thus been inflicted on the king, Nebuzar-adan,
an officer high in the confidence of the Babylonian monarch, was
dispatched to Jerusalem, to carry out the complete destruction of
the city. By his orders, the Temple, the royal palace, the houses of
the wealthy, were set on fire; the walls were broken down; the sacred
vessels of the once glorious House of Jehovah were plundered; the
brazen pillars were broken up; the chief priests were put to death;
and the rest with the greater part of the inhabitants were removed
to Babylon. A scanty remnant was permitted to remain in their native
land to be _vine-dressers and husbandmen_ (Jer. lii. 16), under the
superintendence of GEDALIAH, who with a Chaldæan guard (Jer. xl. 1,
2, 5) was stationed at Mizpeh[440] (2 K. xxv. 23; Jer. xl. 6), a strong
fortress 6 miles north of Jerusalem. Declining the offer of a retreat
at Babylon, Jeremiah resolved to share the lot of this miserable
remnant in his own land (Jer. xl. 6). But even the late terrible
misfortunes could not calm the spirit of faction. Gedaliah was
assassinated under circumstances of revolting treachery by ISHMAEL,
a man of royal blood, together with some of the Chaldæan guard (See
2 K. xxv. 25; Jer. xli. 1–10). Johanan, one of the captains of the
army of Judah, who had in vain warned Gedaliah of his danger (Jer.
xl. 13–16), gathered a force and pursued the assassin as far as
Gibeon, but he effected his escape beyond Jordan to the country of
the Ammonites (Jer. xli. 15). Then the little remnant of Jews, fearful
of the vengeance of the Babylonian monarch, contrary to the advice of
Jeremiah (Jer. xlii. 7–22), fled into Egypt, and after first settling
at Tahpanhes (Jer. xliii. 7), were scattered throughout the country
at Migdol, Noph, and Pathros (Jer. xliv. 1), whither also Jeremiah
accompanied them, to share their fortunes and to die[441].

                               BOOK XI.


                              CHAPTER I.

                     _DANIEL AND NEBUCHADNEZZAR._
                  DAN. I.–III.   B.C. CIRC. 606–570.

“Nothing,” it has been remarked, “could present a more striking
contrast to their native country than the region into which the Hebrews
were now transplanted. Instead of their irregular and picturesque
mountain-city, crowning its unequal heights, and looking down into
its deep and precipitous ravines, through one of which a scanty
stream wound along, they entered the vast, square, and level city of
Babylon, occupying both sides of the broad Euphrates; while all around
spread immense plains, which were intersected by long straight canals,
bordered by rows of willows. How unlike their national temple――a small
but highly finished and richly adorned fabric, standing in the midst
of its courts on the brow of a lofty precipice――the colossal temple
of the Chaldæan Bel, rising from the plain, with its eight stupendous
stories or towers, one above the other, to the perpendicular height
of a furlong! The palace of the Babylonian king was more than twice
the size of their whole city: it covered eight miles, with its hanging
gardens built on arched terraces, each rising above the other, and rich
in all the luxuriance of artificial cultivation. How different from
the sunny cliffs of their own land, where the olive and the vine grew
spontaneously, and the cool, shady, and secluded valleys, where they
could always find shelter from the heat of the burning noon! No wonder,
then, that in the pathetic words of their own hymn, _By the waters
of Babylon they sat down and wept, when they remembered thee, O
Zion_[442]” (Ps. cxxxvii. 1).

Thus far removed from their native land, amidst a strange people and
strange rites, and exposed to all the influences of contact with their
conquerors, we might, in the usual order of things, have expected that
the Jews would have ceased to remain a nation at all. But with them it
was not thus to be. The ten tribes, indeed, are never heard of more,
but the remnant of Judah and Benjamin in Babylonia so far from blending
its national life with that of its conquerors, remained a separate
people, and preserved its national institutions. We shall very much
misunderstand their condition, if we suppose that the Jews became
bondsmen or serfs[443]. They were “colonists rather than captives;”
they received grants of land, agricultural or pastoral, out of the
conquered territories at the disposal of Nebuchadnezzar; and so
valuable were their services considered that not a few rose to high
eminence (Dan. ii. 48), and held confidential positions next to the
person of the sovereign. While, moreover, they increased in numbers and
wealth, they retained an internal jurisdiction over their own members;
they kept up amongst themselves distinctions of rank; they preserved
their genealogies (Neh. vii. 5, 6, 64); and although from the absence
of any common centre of worship they could only observe the Mosaic
Law in part[444], still they retained the rite of circumcision, the
distinction of meats, and other points (Comp. Dan. i. 8; Esth. iii. 8).
Nor did the Providence, which had hitherto watched over them, fail
them in the land of exile. The voice of Prophecy, so far from being
hushed, now swelled into louder strains. While JEREMIAH[445] warned
and exhorted them at the outset of this sad period in their history,
EZEKIEL did not fail for 30 years to carry on the same work in the land
of exile itself, while another and one of the most illustrious of their
number rose to the very highest position, and proved the “Moses of the
Captivity,” and the fourth of the greater Prophets.

In the fourth year of Jehoiakim, B.C. 606, as we have already seen[446],
Nebuchadnezzar had ordered the Chief of the Eunuchs to remove to
Babylon certain select youths of royal descent, who from their talents
seemed likely to be of service in his court. Of these one was DANIEL,
apparently of the blood royal (Dan. i. 3), and gifted with no common
talents (Dan. i. 4). With three other companions of the tribe of Judah,
HANANIAH, MISHAEL, and AZARIAH, he was removed to the Babylonian court,
and there trained for the king’s service in _the learning and language
of the Chaldæans_ (Dan. i. 4). Moreover, in accordance with a common
custom, his name was changed, and he and his three companions were
the three years of their training they were not forgetful of the Law
and Religion of their fathers, and with unusual firmness of character
declined to partake of the daily allowance of meat and wine supplied
them from the royal table, either probably because it was ceremonially
unclean, or had been offered in sacrifice to the Assyrian gods.
Preferring to live on the simplest fare, they yet proved as comely and
well-favoured as though they had been fed on the rarest dainties, and
when brought before Nebuchadnezzar were pronounced to excel in wisdom
and knowledge the wisest men in his empire, and were rewarded with high
positions about his court (Dan. i. 15).

While they were thus employed, a remarkable circumstance took place.
Nebuchadnezzar dreamt a dream, which exceedingly troubled his spirit.
Summoning the magi and astrologers, he demanded that it should be
instantly interpreted. They promised the interpretation, if they might
be told the dream. But though this had escaped the monarch’s memory, he
reiterated his command; and when told that to obey it was impossible,
issued an edict commanding the instant destruction of all the wise
men throughout his realms. This despotic order was made known to
Daniel by Arioch the “captain of the executioners,” who was charged
to see it carried out. The Jewish exile instantly sought an audience
with the monarch, and having succeeded in gaining time for a fuller
consideration, summoned his three friends, who with fervent prayer to
HIM, “from whom no secrets are hid,” besought a revelation of the dream.
Their prayers were heard, and at a second audience Daniel disclosed the
Vision of the Night. _The monarch had beheld a great Image, the form of
which was terrible. The head was of fine gold, the breast and the arms
of silver, the belly and sides of brass, the legs of iron, the feet
partly iron and partly clay. The excellent brightness of this Image
the monarch had watched, till he suddenly saw a stone cut out of a
mountain without hands smite the feet of the Image till it broke in
pieces, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing-floors, while
the stone became a great mountain and filled the whole earth._ Such was
the Vision which Daniel then proceeded to interpret. “The king himself
was this head of gold. To him the God of heaven had given a kingdom,
power, and strength, and glory. After him should arise another kingdom
inferior to his; after that a third kingdom of brass, which should bear
rule over all the earth; to which would succeed a fourth kingdom strong
as iron, breaking in pieces and subduing all things. That kingdom,
with its feet and toes, part of iron and part of clay, would be partly
strong and partly brittle, and its subjects would mingle themselves
with the seed of men, but they would not cleave one to another, even as
iron is not mixed with clay, and would make room for another kingdom,
which God Himself would set up, to break in pieces and consume all the
previous kingdoms, and itself stand for ever[447]” (Dan. ii. 36–45).

The great Babylonian monarch was profoundly affected by this proof of
superhuman knowledge. He fell down on his face and worshipped Daniel;
commanded that _an oblation and sweet odours_ should be offered unto
him; bestowed on him costly presents, and made him viceroy over the
whole province of Babylon, and supreme over all the wise men of his
empire. In the hour of his prosperity Daniel did not forget his three
companions. By his intercession similar honours were bestowed upon them,
while he himself retained the pre-eminence _in the gate of the king_
(Dan. ii. 46–49).

Though on this memorable occasion the new viceroy had been
pre-eminently faithful to the God of his fathers, and by his ascription
of all his wisdom to a higher Power, had made the great monarch
he served acknowledge that there was a God of gods and Lord of lords,
the lesson does not seem to have made a very lasting impression
on Nebuchadnezzar’s mind. In the vast empire he had won by his
arms there were many different nations, with different gods, and
different modes of worship. Over all he was supreme, and with the
true feeling of an Oriental despot it seemed to him only right that
they should all acknowledge his chief deity. This was the great Bel,
or Bel-Merodach[448], “the supreme chief of the gods,” “the king of
the heavens and the earth,” the Jupiter of the Babylonian Pantheon. It
was possibly an image of this god[449], 60 cubits high and 6 broad, and
overlaid with golden plates[450], which he now proceeded to set up on
the plain of Dura, with the command that at the sound of instruments
of music, all his subjects, from the highest to the lowest, should
fall down and worship it, on penalty of being flung into a burning
fiery furnace (Dan. iii. 5, 6).

In accordance with this edict, all the officers of the court of
Babylon, and the governors of the different provinces who had been
summoned to assist at the ceremony, flocked to the plain of Dura, and
with one consent, as soon as the music sounded, prostrated themselves
before the great dumb image which their lord had set up. But Daniel’s
three friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in this hour of trial
remained faithful to the religion of their fathers, neither falling
down nor worshipping with the rest. This act of disobedience to their
master was quickly perceived by many of the native Chaldæans, who
were already filled with jealousy at the elevation of the exiles, and
they were not slow in reporting it to Nebuchadnezzar. On hearing it,
that monarch’s wrath knew no bounds. He summoned them before him; he
reiterated the command he had already issued; he warned them that in
spite of their high position they should certainly suffer the penalty
of their disobedience. But his words were wasted. These three mighty
ones in “the noble army of martyrs” replied that they were not careful
to answer him in this matter; their God could, if such was His will,
deliver them from the fiery furnace, and even if He did not, they would
not serve the monarch’s god, or bow before the Image he had set up
(Dan. iii. 16–18).

This outspoken refusal filled Nebuchadnezzar with still greater fury.
_The form of his visage was changed_, he bade _the furnace be heated
seven times more than it was wont to be heated_, and ordered the
mightiest captains in his army to bind the three, and fling them into
the fire. His words were obeyed, but at the cost of the lives of his
captains, who fell victims to their zeal, being caught by the raging
flames. Moreover, when he looked to see the three martyrs speedily
reduced to ashes, behold they were observed _loose, walking_ unscathed
in the midst of the fire, accompanied by a Celestial Being, in whom
the monarch discerned none other than a “Son of God!” Thereupon he drew
near to the mouth of the furnace, and bade his intended victims come
forth. And they came forth, and on their bodies, as all attested, the
fire was seen to have _had no power, neither was a hair of their head
singed, neither had the smell of fire passed over them_. Filled with
admiration for their heroic faith, the monarch issued a decree that
all men, far and wide, throughout his empire should revere the God of
these Hebrews, and that every people, nation, or language that spake
word against their God, should _be cut in pieces, and their houses made
a dunghill_ (Dan. iii. 29).

                              CHAPTER II.

                     DAN. IV.–VI.   B.C. 570–538.

THOUGH from the incident just recorded Nebuchadnezzar had learnt to
know the greatness of the God of Israel, a still sterner lesson was
needed to teach him his own position in reference to the Most High. He
was by far the greatest of the Babylonian monarchs. His name was known,
his power was dreaded throughout the entire Eastern world. He was the
conqueror of Syria, of Phœnicia, of Tyre, of Palestine. He was the
adorner and beautifier of his native land. He built noble cities; he
raised stately temples; he renovated, fortified, almost rebuilt Babylon;
he constructed quays and breakwaters[451], reservoirs, canals, and
aqueducts on a scale of grandeur and magnificence surpassing everything
of the kind recorded in history[452]. Perhaps no single man ever left
behind him as his memorial, one-half the amount of building which was
erected by this king. The palace he built for himself in Babylon with
its triple walls, its hanging gardens, its plated pillars, was regarded
in his day as one of the wonders of the world, while even at the
present hour[453] it is his name which is stamped upon well-nigh every
brick found amidst the ruins of his capital. Amidst all this earthly
grandeur he had grown and become strong; _his greatness reached unto
heaven, and his dominion to the end of the earth_. Inflated with
pride, he became a god unto himself, and knew not that he was but an
instrument in the hand of Him, _who ruleth in the kingdom of men, and
giveth it to whomsoever He will_ (Dan. iv. 17).

This was the lesson he had now to learn, and he learned it on this wise.
One night he dreamed a dream which none of his wise men could interpret.
Daniel, therefore, was once more summoned before him, and listened
while the monarch revealed the Vision of the Night. _I saw_, he said,
_and behold a Tree in the midst of the earth, and the height thereof
was great, reaching unto the heaven, and the sight thereof to the end
of all the earth. The leaves thereof were fair, and the fruit much, and
the beasts of the field had shadow under it, the fowls of heaven dwelt
in the boughs thereof, and all flesh fed of it. And, behold! there came
down from heaven a Watcher and a Holy One, who cried out, Hew down the
Tree, and cut off his branches, but leave the stump of his roots in
the earth, even with a band of iron and brass, and let it be wet with
the dew of heaven, and let his portion be with the beasts, and let
his heart be changed from man’s, and let a beast’s heart be given him,
and let seven times pass over him._ Such was the Vision. What was the
interpretation? Daniel did not disguise it from the monarch. “The Tree
was no other than himself. For him there was a great trial in store.
A day was near, when he would be cast down from his place of power,
would be driven from the society of men, would have his dwelling with
the beasts of the field, until seven times had passed over him and he
revived and knew for a truth that not he, but the Most High ruled in
the kingdom of heaven, and gave dominion and power to whomsoever He
would” (Dan. iv. 1–27).

Thus a warning was given him, but it was disregarded. Nebuchadnezzar
did not, as Daniel bade, _break off his sins by righteousness, and his
iniquities by shewing mercy to the poor_. Twelve months afterwards he
was walking in that glorious palace which he had made for himself, and
in a moment of overweening pride he cried, _Is not this great Babylon,
that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power,
and for the honour of my majesty?_ The words had hardly been spoken,
when his doom came upon him. The thick pall of madness[454] settled
down upon him; the mind of a man departed from him, and that of a beast
entered in. Casting off his robes, he refused the food and habitation
of men; mingling with the cattle in the fields, he remained exposed to
the weather day and night, _till his hair was grown as eagles’ feathers,
and his nails like birds’ claws_[455] (Dan. iv. 33).

Meanwhile, as seems most probable, his queen Nitocris administered his
kingdom, and at length, after an interval of four, or perhaps seven
years, as he did not scruple to declare in a proclamation addressed to
his people, he came to himself. His understanding came back to him; he
lifted up his eyes to heaven, and blessed the Most High, and praised
and honoured Him that liveth for ever. With his reason, the glory also
of his kingdom returned. His counsellors and his lords sought him and
brought him back to his palace, _and excellent majesty was added unto
him_. Resuming his great works which had been suspended, he “added
fresh wonders in his old age to the marvellous constructions of his
manhood,” and after a reign of 43 years died, B.C. 561, at the advanced
age of 83 or 84, and was succeeded by his son Evil-Merodach. Shortly
after his accession the new king released JEHOIACHIN, king of Judah,
from the prison where he had been confined for 38 years, set his throne
above the throne of the other captive princes at Babylon, and gave
him a daily allowance from the royal table (2 Kings xxv. 27–30). But
in the course of one or two years he was assassinated, and one of
the conspirators, Neriglissar or Nerigassolassar usurped the throne,
B.C. 559, and held the government for 3 years and a half, bequeathing
it to his son Laborosoarchod, B.C. 556. In the course of nine months,
he was succeeded by Nabonadius[456], or Labynetus, B.C. 555.

Meanwhile the neighbouring kingdom of Media had been the scene of
a great revolution, in which Babylon eventually became involved.
Mandane a daughter of Astyages, who mounted the Median throne B.C. 595,
married Cambyses, a Persian of the royal family of the Achæmenidæ, and
became the mother of CYRUS _the Great_[457]. Alienated by his tyranny
and wearying of his rule a large body of the subjects of Astyages
transferred their affections to this prince, who heading a revolt,
defeated and captured the Median king near Pasargadæ, B.C. 559, and
obtained the supremacy over the combined Medo-Persic empire. At first
the conqueror did not march against Babylon, and Nabonadius formed an
alliance with Crœsus king of Lydia, and employed himself diligently
in strengthening his capital, storing up provisions, and erecting
defensive works.

But Cyrus gained a complete victory over the Lydian king B.C. 546, and
at the end of about six years appeared before Babylon. After a single
engagement he drove the Babylonians within their defences (Jer. li. 30),
and commenced a regular siege. At this time Nabonadius does not appear
to have been present in his capital, having fled to Borsippa after
the late engagement. But he left behind him a son whom he had a few
years before admitted to a share in the government[458]. This was
_Bil-shar-uzar_, the _Belshazzar_ of the Scripture narrative. This
prince made a great feast for a thousand of his nobles, his wives
and concubines, and high estates of the realm, in the midst of which,
heated with wine, he commanded that all the gold and silver vessels,
which his grandfather[459] Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the plunder
of Jerusalem, should be brought forth, and from them the assembled
guests drank in honour of their various gods. But in the midst of their
festivities the Fingers of a Man’s Hand were seen to write mysterious
words on the plaister of the palace wall. Instantly all the brightness
of Belshazzar’s countenance vanished, _his thoughts troubled him,
his knees smote one against another_. With loud voice he bade the
astrologers and soothsayers be brought before him, and promised honour,
place, and power to any that would interpret the mystic words. But
this none of the wise men of his realm could do. Amidst the alarm and
confusion, the Queen-mother now entered, and advised that they should
consult Daniel, who seems at this time to have been living in close
retirement. Accordingly he was brought in, and after declining all the
monarch’s promised rewards, sternly rebuked him, for that though he
knew all that his grandfather’s pride had brought down upon him, he
had yet lifted up himself against the Lord of Heaven, and in impious
triumph profaned the sacred vessels once dedicated to that God who
now had sent him this message, MENE, _God hath numbered thy kingdom
and finished it_; TEKEL, _thou art weighed in the balances and found
wanting_; PERES, _thy kingdom is divided and given to the Medes
and Persians_ (Dan. v. 25–28). That very night the Prophet’s words
were fulfilled. Having diverted the course of the Euphrates, Cyrus
assaulted the city from the dry bed of the river, captured it, and
slew Belshazzar, B.C. 538, thus fulfilling the prophecies of Isaiah
(xxi. 9; xlv. 1) and Jeremiah (li. 31–39).

Hastening on to other conquests, Cyrus entrusted the captured city
to a viceroy[460], known in Scripture as _Darius the Mede_[461].
He signalized his accession to power by setting over the kingdom of
Babylon Proper, either as a body of councillors or provincial governors,
120 princes, subject to the authority of three presidents, of whom
Daniel, now far advanced in life, was chief (Dan. vi. 2). Old and
grey-headed, he still remained faithful to the God of his fathers. And
now moved with jealousy at his elevation, the other nobles resolved
to compass his ruin. Unable to accuse him of any failure in the
administration of the kingdom, they persuaded Darius to pass an
irrevocable decree, like the law of the Medes and Persians, ordaining
that for a space of 30 days no one should offer up any petition to
any god or man save to the monarch himself, on penalty of being flung
into a den of lions. This decree Daniel regarded not; steadfast in the
religion of his fathers, he opened the windows of his chamber towards
Jerusalem, and three times a-day, as had been his wont, offered up his
prayers to his God. The nobles now had the opportunity they had coveted,
and they reported his conduct to the king. Sorely against his will,
and after fruitless efforts to deliver him from their malice, Darius
bade the sentence be executed. The aged prophet was flung into the den,
the mouth thereof was closed, and sealed with the royal signet, and
the signet of the lords and princes. Fasting and sleepless the monarch
passed the night, neither were instruments of music brought before
him. Rising early in the morning he sought out the lions’ den, and to
his great joy found that Jehovah had protected His faithful servant,
had sent His angel, and shut the lions’ mouths. Thereupon he ordered
him to be brought forth, and then issued instructions for the immediate
execution of his accusers, who, according to the cruel but usual
Oriental custom, were with their wives and children flung into the
den and torn in pieces. Not content with this, he proclaimed that
throughout his vast empire adoration should be paid to the God of
Daniel, _the living God, steadfast for ever, who worketh signs and
wonders in heaven, and hath delivered His servant from the power of
the lions_ (Dan. vi. 27).

                             CHAPTER III.

              EZRA I.–IV.   ESTHER I.–X.   B.C. 536–479.

AT the time when Cyrus thus became the ruler of an empire greater even
than Assyria itself, seventy[462] years had elapsed since the capture
of Jerusalem in the reign of Jehoiakim (Dan. ix. 1, 2). The prosperity
he had already enjoyed under so many sovereigns Daniel still retained
under the new monarch, and it was probably through his influence that
in the first year of his reign, or B.C. 536, Cyrus issued a decree
giving permission to the Jews to return to their native land and
rebuild their Temple. To aid them in so doing he restored to them the
sacred vessels which Nebuchadnezzar had carried off from Jerusalem, and
instructed the pashas throughout the various provinces to afford them
every facility for their return (Ezra i. 1–6).

The majority, however, of the Jews who had for years been comfortably
settled in the land of exile, and had there risen to affluence and high
positions, preferred to retain their settlements[463], and only 42,360
attended by 7,337 servants were found willing to return to their native
land. Over this body ZERUBBABEL, the head of the house of Judah, and
grandson of King Jehoiachin, was invested with the supreme authority.
He had held some office in the Babylonian court, and had received the
Chaldæan name of Sheshbazzar. Appointed by Cyrus to the governorship of
Jerusalem, and accompanied by the high-priest JESHUA, and possibly the
prophets HAGGAI and ZECHARIAH, with copious presents of silver and gold
(Ezr. i. 7–11), he set out at the head of the returning colonists and
before long reached Jerusalem[464].

Seven months after their return, the Altar of Burnt-sacrifice was
re-erected on its ancient site, and the priests and Levites offered
burnt-offerings and sacrifices. This done, preparations were made by
the _Prince of the Captivity_ for his great work, the rebuilding of the
Temple. A grant of money for this purpose having been already received
from Cyrus, cedar trees were brought from Lebanon to Joppa; masons and
carpenters were hired; and in the 2nd month of the 2nd year of their
return, the foundations of the second Temple were laid, with all the
pomp and ceremonial that circumstances admitted. _The priests in their
apparel with trumpets, the Levites the sons of Asaph with cymbals_
(Ezr. iii. 10, 11), sang the same Psalms, to the sound of which the
first Temple had been dedicated, and the people responded with a
great shout, which, however, was well-nigh drowned by the sobs and
lamentations of many, especially the older men, who had beheld the
glories of the former Temple.

But the good work was not to proceed unopposed. Informed of their
design, the Samaritans requested to be allowed some share in its
promotion. This Zerubbabel and Jeshua unwisely rejected, and the
Samaritans thereupon exhausted every artifice to prevent the completion
of the work. After putting them to various other annoyances, they hired
counsellors to misrepresent them at the court of Persia, and eventually
succeeded in preventing any further progress during the reign of Cyrus,
and of his successors Cambyses and Smerdis, B.C. 525–521 (Ezr. iv.

But in the second year of Darius Hystaspes, B.C. 520, the stirring
words of the prophets HAGGAI and ZECHARIAH (Hag. i. 1–8; Zech. i. 1–6)
roused once more the spirits of Zerubbabel and Jeshua, and a fresh and
determined effort was made to complete the work. The Persian satraps
of the province, Tatnai and Shetharboznai, came to Jerusalem, and after
an inspection of the work applied to the Persian court for instructions
whether it was to be permitted to go on (Ezr. v. 6–17). Darius caused
the archives at Ecbatana to be searched, and at length the original
decree of Cyrus being discovered, he reissued it, and at the same time
commanded the Persian satraps instead of offering any molestation to
the Jewish colony, to promote the work to the utmost of their power
(Ezr. vi. 5–13). Thus aided, the Jews pressed forward with such vigour
that, in the 8th year of the reign of Darius, the Temple was completed
and ready for dedication, B.C. 516. This ceremony was performed with
every solemnity, numerous sacrifices were offered, the priests were
redistributed into courses, and the Passover was celebrated with great
rejoicings (Ezr. vi. 15–22).

During the remainder of the long reign of Darius, the Jews enjoyed
a continuance of peace and tranquillity. But in the year B.C. 485,
AHASUERUS[465], the XERXES of profane history, ascended the Persian
throne. When he had reigned three years, this capricious despot made a
feast for all his nobles at Susa, and on the seventh day of the revels
ordered Vashti his queen to grace the banquet with her presence. With
a due concern for her own dignity the queen declined, which so enraged
her lord that he issued a decree deposing her from her royal station,
and ordering a general levy of beautiful virgins, that he might select
from them a new queen (Esth. ii. 1–4). At this time there was living
at Susa a Jew named Mordecai, of the tribe of Benjamin (Esth. ii. 5).
Having no child of his own, he had adopted his cousin HADASSAH or
ESTHER, a beautiful orphan. Together with the other virgins she was
brought into the royal harem, and found such favour with the monarch
that in the seventh year of his reign, without enquiring into her
kindred or people, he ordered her to be crowned in place of the deposed
queen (Esth. iii. 16).

By virtue of his relationship Mordecai, too, shared in the prosperity
of his niece, and became one of those who _sat in the king’s gate_
(Esth. ii. 41). In this capacity he discovered a plot of the eunuchs to
assassinate the king, which he duly divulged, and they were executed,
while a record of his services was entered in the royal chronicles. But
Mordecai had a rival for the royal favour in the person of HAMAN, an
Agagite, _i.e._ probably a descendant of the ancient Amalekite kings.
Rapidly outstripping all his other competitors, the new favourite was
advanced to the highest position in the kingdom, and was treated with
the utmost reverence by everyone, save Mordecai only. Stung to the
quick at this slight, and having discovered the secret of his rival’s
lineage, Haman resolved to strike a blow against the nation to which
Mordecai belonged. Accordingly he represented to his royal master
that the Jews, scattered and dispersed throughout the provinces of
his empire, were a dangerous and turbulent race, of alien habits and
religion, who ought to be put to death; and from the confiscation of
their property he promised to place in the royal coffers upwards of
10,000 talents of silver. The prospect of so large an increase to his
dilapidated fortunes was eagerly favoured by the reckless despot, and
assenting to the cruel scheme, he placed his signet-ring in the hands
of Haman, who quickly saw that a decree was issued for the wholesale
destruction of the Jewish exiles throughout the Persian dominions,
without regard to sex or age (Esth. iii. 8–15).

News of what was designed before long reached the ears of Mordecai.
Knowing that he himself was the main cause of this bloodthirsty decree,
he was filled with the utmost alarm, and sat down arrayed in sackcloth
and ashes at the king’s gate. His strange conduct being reported to
Esther, she sent to her relative to ascertain the cause, and then for
the first time learnt the contents of Haman’s edict. In this awful
crisis she resolved to _put her life in her hand_, and to intercede
with the king in behalf of her people. Meanwhile, at her suggestion,
all the Jews at Susa maintained for three days a solemn fast, and then,
arrayed in her royal apparel, and radiant in her beauty, she presented
herself before the king. The captivated monarch stretched forth the
golden sceptre, and invited her to prefer her petition. Let the king
and Haman, she begged, come to a banquet of wine. They came, but
declining to make known her petition for the present, she invited the
two to a similar feast on the following day (Esth. v. 8).

Overjoyed at these special marks of honour, Haman eagerly recounted
them to his wife and family, but declared that they availed him nothing
so long as his rival was permitted to retain his place at the king’s
gate. They, therefore, advised that a gallows 50 cubits high should
be erected, and that he should request the king’s permission to hang
Mordecai thereon. But that night, the monarch, unable to sleep, ordered
certain of the chronicles to be read before him, and now for the first
time learnt the service the Jewish exile had rendered by revealing
the plot against his own life. In answer to his enquiries, he had just
ascertained that no mark of the royal approval had been bestowed upon
his benefactor, when Haman entered the court in the early morning to
request that execution might be carried out upon his hated rival. The
king enquired what ought to be done to the man he delighted to honour.
Imagining that none but himself could be intended, the favourite
suggested that he should be clad in royal apparel, crowned with the
king’s diadem, and mounted on the royal mule, be conducted through the
streets of Susa by one of the king’s most noble friends. The monarch
approved, and bade him straightway confer all these marks of honour on
no other than Mordecai. Not daring to disobey, he arrayed his rival in
the gorgeous robes of the king, and conducted him through the streets
of the city. Then with a heavy heart he returned home, and recounted
to his family the strange events of the day. A presentiment of coming
doom came over his relatives, but a hasty summons to the royal banquet
cut short their deliberations. For the second time the monarch desired
to learn the queen’s petition, and Esther now revealed the danger of
her nation, and denounced the wicked conspirator. Filled with wrath
Ahasuerus ordered his instant execution, and at the suggestion of one
of the eunuchs he was hanged on the very gallows he had constructed for
his rival (Esth. vii. 7–10).

But the execution of Haman was but a step in Mordecai’s designs for the
delivery of his nation. The edict for the massacre was still in force,
and couriers had already gone forth with it to the various provinces
of the empire. Its revocation was forbidden by Persian law, but a
second edict empowered the Jews to assume the defensive against their
adversaries, of whom, banding themselves together, they slew 800 at
Susa (Esth. ix. 6, 15), and 75,000 in the various provinces, while
Haman’s ten sons shared their father’s fate (Esth. ix. 12, 16). In
memory of this signal deliverance the Jews to this day celebrate the
Feast of PURIM or _Lots_, in ironical commemoration of their great
enemy, who had resorted to this mode of augury for ascertaining an
auspicious day for executing his bloody design against their nation.
Preceded by a strict fast on the 13th of Adar[466], the festival is
celebrated on the 14th and 15th with great rejoicings. According to
modern usage the book of Esther is read in the Synagogue, and when
the reader comes to the name of Haman, the entire assembly shout, _Let
his name be blotted out, let the name of the ungodly perish_; and the
conclusion of the service is followed by feasting and merriment.

                              CHAPTER IV.

             EZRA VII.–X.   NEH. I.–XIII.   B.C. 457–415.

IN the year B.C. 464 Artaxerxes Longimanus succeeded to the Persian
throne. His reign was favourable to the Jews, and was signalised, B.C.
458, by a fresh migration to Jerusalem headed by EZRA, a descendant
of Hilkiah the high-priest in the time of Josiah. A royal ordinance
empowered him not only to receive contributions from his own nation
scattered throughout Babylonia for the adornment of the Temple at
Jerusalem, but also to establish magistrates and judges throughout
all Judea, and to claim assistance from the various pashas of the
provinces through which he would pass (Ezr. vii. 11–26). Thus aided and
encouraged, Ezra persuaded about 6,000 of his countrymen to take part
in this second migration, amongst whom were many of the priesthood,
both of the higher and lower orders. After a fast of three days at the
river Ahava[467], to supplicate the Divine blessing on the enterprise,
the expedition set out, and, though not escorted by a royal guard,
reached Jerusalem in safety (♦Ezra viii. 32).

Ezra was well received by the Jewish governors, but was pained to
find much to blame in the conduct of his countrymen. Forgetful of
the commands of the Law, they had in many instances intermarried with
the surrounding heathen tribes. He therefore devoted himself with all
zeal to the correction of these abuses; proclaimed a fast by way of
atonement for past transgressions, and succeeded in inducing many to
put away their strange wives. At the same time he commenced a more
complete reorganization of the people according to the Mosaic Law and
the institutes of David, and, it is not improbable, a revision and
rearrangement of the sacred Books (Ezra x. 1–17).

But though the Persian monarchs had not been unwilling to render aid
in the rebuilding of the Jewish Temple, their policy had hitherto
forbidden the re-erection of the city itself, which still lay exposed
and defenceless, _its walls broken down and its gates burned with fire_
(Neh. i. 3), the Temple, and a few private dwellings, being the sole
result of 80 years of effort. In the 20th year, however, of Artaxerxes,
or B.C. 444, there arrived at Shusan a deputation from Jerusalem, with
a sad account of the condition of the city, which they laid before
NEHEMIAH, a Jew, probably of the tribe of Judah, who held a high
position amongst the royal cup-bearers. Nehemiah instantly conceived
the patriotic design of quitting the comforts of his present position,
and aiding his countrymen in their difficulties. With fasting and
prayer he sought the blessing of the Most High on his design, and
shortly afterwards, in reply to the enquiries of the king _why his
countenance was so sad_, poured forth the deep desire of his heart, and
begged that he might be allowed to go to Judea, and rebuild the city of
his fathers. Artaxerxes consented[468], on condition that he returned
within a certain period; and having appointed him Tirshatha or governor
of Judea, gave him letters to the pashas of the provinces through
which he would pass, as also to Asaph the keeper of the royal forests,
directing him to supply timber and other necessaries for the work
(Neh. ii. 1–8).

Thus empowered and guarded by a troop of cavalry, Nehemiah set out
on his journey. On his arrival at Jerusalem he for three days kept
silence as to his intentions, but after a midnight survey of the ruined
condition of the city, openly proclaimed the purport of his visit, and
the royal commission under which he was acting. He advised the instant
rebuilding of the city walls, till which was done the colony could not
but be a reproach to the surrounding tribes, with their city almost
deserted, and the Temple itself falling into decay (Neh. ii. 12–20).

His project was received with acclamation, and a resolution was formed
to press on with the work without delay. But the coming of the new
governor had reached the ears of the Samaritans, and Sanballat the
Horonite[469], Tobiah an Ammonite, and Geshem an Arabian, employed
every artifice to defeat his designs. Nehemiah, however, was not to be
daunted. His object was to finish the walls in the shortest possible
time, and he therefore directed that while one half of the people
wrought at the work, the other should stand by armed and ready to
defend them, and that the workmen should hold in the one hand a weapon,
and in the other their tools. Thus by dint of incredible exertions,
within the brief space of 52 days Jerusalem was again girded and
enclosed, the walls were rebuilt, the ancient towers set up, and
the gateways were ready for the doors to be swung upon them (Neh.
iv. 13–23).

Unable to impede by open violence the progress of the enterprise,
Sanballat and his friends resorted to various stratagems to get
Nehemiah out of the city. They began by proposing a conference with the
governor in one of the villages of the plain of Ono in Benjamin. Four
times was the proposition made, and as often declined. Then resort was
had to a still more cunning artifice. Sanballat sent to Nehemiah an
apparently friendly letter, announcing the prevalence of a rumour among
the heathen nations settled in Samaria that he intended Jerusalem to
become the capital of an independent kingdom, and had suborned prophets
to prophesy of himself, _There is a king in Judah_. Such rumours were
sure to reach the Persian court, but might be dissipated by a friendly
conference. At the same time Noadiah a prophetess and others were
bribed to represent to the governor the risk he was running, and to
persuade him to take refuge in the fortress of the Temple. But Nehemiah
saw through their designs, and refused to give them any pretext for
accusing him of conscious guilt (Neh. vi. 1–14). In addition to these
plots the governor had to be on his guard against treachery within
the city itself, where many of the Jewish nobles were carrying on a
secret correspondence with Tobiah, and even espoused his cause. But in
spite of all obstacles the work went on, and the essential part of the
governor’s design, the building of the gates, was accomplished.

Having thus provided for the external security of the city, Nehemiah
applied himself with equal zeal to the correction of internal abuses.
One of these was the high rate of usury, which those who had any money
at their command, exacted from their poorer brethren. To such an extent
was this the case, that some mortgaged their fields, vineyards, and
houses; others sold or pledged the freedom of their children; while
many borrowed at the most exorbitant rates sufficient to pay the royal
taxes (Neh. v. 1–14). The discovery of this nefarious system roused
the governor’s indignation. Himself noble, generous, and highminded,
he declined even the usual supplies for his own table which former
governors had received; defrayed many expenses out of his own purse;
and even entertained the poorer classes of his countrymen at his own
table (Neh. v. 14–19). With righteous sternness, therefore, he rebuked
the nobles who connived at this disgraceful traffic, and convoking an
assembly demanded that his enslaved country men should be set free,
their debts remitted, and the enormous interest foregone. His rebukes
had their effect. The assembly unanimously announced their willingness
to accede to his demands, and abstain from such conduct in future.
Other measures for the internal welfare of the city were then proceeded
with. The doors having been set up in the gates, the custody of the
city was committed to Hanani, a relative of the governor; a register
of the people was taken, the Law was solemnly read in their hearing by
Ezra (Neh. viii. 1–16), and the Feast of Tabernacles was celebrated
with due solemnities, from the 15th to the 22nd of the month Tisri[470].
Two days afterwards a Fast was proclaimed, and the people made a formal
confession of their national sins, and enumerated the gracious dealings
of the Most High with them, from the Call of Abraham to the return
from the Captivity (Neh. ix. 6–37). At the same time they ratified
a solemn covenant to serve the Lord with all their heart, and keep
the ordinances of the Lord; to avoid intermarriages with heathens;
to observe the Sabbaths and other holy days, and neither buy nor sell
goods thereon; to keep the seventh or Sabbatical year, and remit all
debts during it; to contribute each man one-third of a shekel towards
the support of the Temple-service, and to maintain the customary
first-fruits and tithes (Neh. x. 29–39).

Having in co-operation with Ezra thus restored the national
institutions, Nehemiah returned to the Persian court, B.C. 432.
During his absence the old abuses again began to creep in; the people
contracted alliances with foreigners, neglected the Sabbath, and
forgot the covenant they had so lately sworn to observe. As soon as
he was informed of this, Nehemiah sought and obtained permission to
revisit once more the scene of his former labours, and as Tirshatha
was invested with renewed powers. Returning after an absence of about
nine years, he found that Eliashib the high-priest had permitted Tobiah
the Ammonite to occupy a large chamber in the Temple, which had before
been used as a store for the frankincense, the holy vessels, and the
tithes of corn, wine, and oil. Thereupon he insisted on the expulsion
of the intruder, and the restoration of the ejected vessels and stores,
over which he appointed a Levitical guard (Neh. xiii. 1–15). He next
introduced measures for the prevention of traffic on the Day of Rest,
and the celebration of mixed marriages, alike amongst the lower and the
higher orders of the people, even deposing from his sacred functions
the high-priest Eliashib for permitting his son Joiada to ally himself
with a daughter of Sanballat the Horonite (Neh. xiii. 15–28). Having
thus completed his second administration, this truly patriotic and
upright governor in all probability returned to Persia about B.C. 413,
and there died.

With this date closes the History contained in the Scriptures of the
Old Testament. While the mass of the Hebrew people was scattered among
the nations, carrying with them, wherever they went, their Law and
their Institutions, we have seen a remnant, as had indeed been foretold,
restored to their own land, their holy Temple rebuilt, their glorious
City raised from its ruins. Very different, indeed, was their position
now from that which the nation had occupied during the palmy days of
Solomon, when their kingdom stretched from “the river of Egypt” to the
Euphrates, from the mountains of Lebanon to the Red Sea. Different,
too, and far less costly was their Temple in comparison with that which
the artisans of Hiram had built for the Son of David, but in its moral
and spiritual condition the remnant of the nation far excelled the
contemporaries of its greatest king. In the furnace of affliction
it had been thoroughly purified from all tendencies to idolatry. The
dreary years, when _their harps hung upon the willows by the waters of
Babylon_, had not been without their salutary effect upon the people.

There was no division now in the objects of their worship. No high
places were to be seen crowned with temples dedicated to Baal or
Chemosh; no groves screened with their leafy covert the impure orgies
of ♦Ashtaroth; no drums and cymbals drowned with their horrid clang
the wail of infants in the valley of Ben-Hinnom, as they were passed
through the fire to appease the cruel Moloch. These “oracles” were
“dumb.” The Jew was no longer an idolater. The Divine Unity was now
the central truth of his creed. The Law once neglected was now read,
copied, studied. While Nehemiah had earnestly applied himself to the
civil administration, Ezra[471], and others after him, with no less
zeal devoted their energies to collecting, transcribing, arranging
the Sacred Books. These were ultimately classed under three divisions;
(i) _The Law_, containing the five Books of Moses; (ii) _The Prophets_,
which included the historical and prophetical writings; (iii) _The
Psalms_, or Hagiographa (_sacred writings_), comprising the poetical

Meanwhile varied as had been the fortunes of the Chosen People, the
Assurance of a Saviour, of God’s purpose of love in the promised Seed,
had never been forgotten. As first made known to man in Paradise,
it did perhaps, as we have seen[472], little more than assure him of
a future interposition in his behalf, without informing him whether
his Redeemer should be one or many, the collective race, or a single
deliverer. But once given, the realization of the Promise becomes the
goal of Sacred History.

Through one of the sons of Noah[473], it is limited to a particular
race; through the call of Abraham[474] to a particular nation; through
Judah to a particular tribe. When the people flee away from the terrors
of Sinai, Moses predicts the coming of a greater _Prophet_[475], and
a mightier Mediator. When the Sceptre rises from Judah[476]. and David
sits upon his throne, he himself speaks of a Greater King[477], of ONE
he calls his Lord, _who shall sit upon his throne, and of whose kingdom
there shall be no end_. When the mournful close of Solomon’s reign
proves that he could not be the destined king, when his kingdom is
rent in twain, and his subjects become a prey to their enemies, and
are carried off into far distant lands, even then the very sadness of
the Captivity only serves to correct the idea of the Messiah, and the
“Son of David” gives place in the writings of Daniel to the “Son of
Man[478].” Thus each crisis of the nation’s history serves to bring the
Promise within narrower limits, and to illustrate it with fresh details.

Meanwhile, as time rolls on, and one prophet after another brings
out some new particular, foreshadowing the birth-place[479], or the
offices[480], or the works of the Messiah, another Voice begins to be
heard in the Temple of Prophecy. It is not jubilant and glad, telling
of triumph and of glory, of the subjugation of nations, or the setting
up of a kingdom. It is subdued and mournful. It whispers of suffering
and rejection, of a triumph indeed, but not the triumph of an earthly
conqueror. It speaks of the coming[481] of _a man of sorrows and
acquainted with grief_; of His being _wounded for transgressions
and bruised for iniquities_; of His being _cut off, but not for

The earliest prophecy had declared that the seed of the woman
should _bruise the Serpent’s head_, but had whispered that the
Serpent would _bruise his heel_. The latest declared that the Messiah
should _triumph_, but also that He should _die_. Thus gradually, but
harmoniously, was the person and work of man’s Redeemer unfolded.

And at length in _the fulness of time_[483] a Babe was born in
Bethlehem, and laid in a manger. Seed of the Woman, of the race of
Shem, of the descendants of Abraham, of the tribe of Judah, of the
lineage of David, He lived, He died, He rose again. Prophet like
unto, but infinitely greater than Moses, He gave us a law which shall
never pass away[484]; Priest like unto, but not as Aaron _compassed
about with infirmity_, He offered up on the Altar of His Cross a full,
perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, atonement, and satisfaction for
the sins of the whole world; King like unto, but infinitely higher
than David, He sitteth at the right hand of God, clad in the glorified
nature of the race He came to save, the predicted Redeemer of the Old,
the revealed Deliverer of the New Testament, in _whom there is neither
Jew nor Gentile, neither male nor female, neither bond nor free_[485].



                    ┌ Iscah
          ┌ Haran ──┤ Milcah
          │         └ LOT ────────┬ Moab
          │                       └ Ammon
          │                       ┌ Laban ────┬ LEAH
  TERAH   ┤ Nahor ─── Bethuel ────┤           └ RACHEL
          │                       └ REBEKAH
          │         ┌ (of Hagar)
          │         │   Ishmael
          │         │             ┌ ESAU
          └ ABRAHAM ┤             │           ┌ (of Leah)
                    │             │           │   Reuben
                    │             │           │   Levi
                    │ (of Sarah)  │           │   Issachar
                    └   ISAAC ────┤           │   Simeon
                                  │           │   Judah
                                  │           │   Zebulun
                                  │           │   Dinah
                                  └ JACOB ────┤ (of Bilhah)
                                              │   Dan
                                              │   Naphtali
                                              │ (of Zilpah)
                                              │   Gad
                                              │   Asher
                                              │ (of Rachel)
                                              │   JOSEPH ───┬ Ephraim
                                              │             └ Manasseh
                                              └   Benjamin

                       LEVI AND THE PRIESTHOOD.

                            ┌ MIRIAM
                            │         ┌ Nadab
                            │ AARON ──┤ Abihu
        ┌ Kohath  ─ Amram ──┤         │ Eleazar ― 16 courses
        │                   │         └ Ithamar ― 8 courses
  LEVI ─┤                   │                     (of Priests.)
        │                   └ MOSES
        │ Gershon
        └ Merari


                      KINGS OF JUDAH AND ISRAEL.

                            Saul      1095
                            David     1055
                            Solomon   1015

                  Division of the Kingdom, B.C. 975.

                     KINGDOMS OF JUDAH AND ISRAEL.

                    │ 1 Rehoboam    │ 975│ 1 _Jeroboam_     }
                    │ 2 Abijah      │ 958│                  }    I.
          I.        │ 3 Asa         │ 955│                  }
     B.C. 975–918   │               │ 954│ 2 Nadab          }
   Period of mutual │               │ 953│ 3 _Baasha_        }  II.
      hostility.    │               │ 930│ 4 Elah            }
                    │               │ 929│ 5 _Zimri_            III.
                    │               │ 929│ 6 _Omri_         }
  ──────────────────┤               │ 918│ 7 Ahab           }
                    │ 4 Jehoshaphat │ 914│                  }   IV.
         II.        │               │ 898│ 8 Ahaziah        ]
     B.C. 918–884   │               │ 896│ 9 Jehoram        }
   Period of mutual │ 5 Jehoram     │ 892│
    alliance, and   │ 6 Ahaziah     │ 885│
     hostility to   │ 7 (_Athaliah_)│ 884│10 _Jehu_         }
        Syria.      │ 8 Joash       │ 878│                  }
                    │               │ 856│11 Jehoahaz       }
  ──────────────────┤               │ 841│12 Jehoash        }
                    │ 9 Amaziah     │ 839│                  }   V.
                    │               │ 825│13 Jeroboam II.   }
                    │10 Uzziah      │ 810│  1st interregnum }
                    │               │ 783│of about 11 years*}
          III.      │               │ 773│14 Zachariah      }
     B.C. 884–588   │               │ 772│15 _Shallum_          VI.
  Renewal of mutual │               │ 772│16 _Menahem_      }  VII.
  hostilities,      │               │ 761│17 Pekahiah       }
  gradual decline   │               │ 759│18 _Pekah_           VIII.
  of both kingdoms  │11 Jotham      │ 758│
  before the power  │12 Ahaz        │ 742│
  of Assyria.       │               │ 737│  2nd interregnum
                    │               │ 730│19 _Hoshea_           IX.
                    │13 Hezekiah    │ 726│
                    │               │ 721│Capture of Samaria
                    │14 Manasseh    │ 698│and captivity of
                    │15 Amon        │ 643│Israel.
                    │16 Josiah      │ 641│
                    │17 Jehoahaz    │ 610│
                    │18 Jehoiakim   │ 610│
                    │19 Jehoiachin  │ 599│
                    │     or Coniah │    │
                    │20 Zedekiah    │ 599│
                    │   Jerusalem   │ 588│
                    │   destroyed   │

                  * See Clinton’s _Epitome_, p. 133.


                             THE PROPHETS.

              │                │ PERIOD ILLUSTRATED BY THEIR PROPHECIES.
              │    PROBABLE    ├───────┬──────────────┬──────────────────
     GENERAL  │     CHRON.     │       │   KINGS OF   │     KINGS OF
    DIVISION. │     ORDER      │  B.C. │    ISRAEL.   │      JUDAH.
      MAJOR   │    PROPHETS.   │       │              │
    PROPHETS. │i. _Before the  │       │              │
              │  Babylonian    │       │              │
     _Four._  │  Captivity._   │       │              │
   1 Isaiah   │*1 Jonah        │840–784│Jehoash,      │Joash, Amaziah
              │                │       │  Jeroboam II.│
   2 Jeremiah │ 2 Joel         │810–795│Jeroboam II.  │Joash
   3 Ezekiel  │ 3 Amos         │810–785│Jeroboam II.  │Uzziah
   4 Daniel   │ 4 Hosea        │800–725│Jeroboam II.– │Uzziah, Jotham,
              │                │       │  Hoshea      │  Ahaz
              │ 5 Isaiah       │758–699│Pekahiah–     │Ahaz, Hezekiah
              │                │       │  Captivity   │
      ―――     │ 6 Micah        │765–698│Menahem–      │Uzziah, Jotham,
              │                │       │  Captivity   │  Ahaz, Hezekiah
              │                │       │              │
     MINOR    │ii. _Near to    │       │              │
   PROPHETS.  │  and during    │       │              │
              │  the Captivity_│       │              │
   _Twelve_   │ 1 Nahum        │720–698│Captivity of  │Manasseh, Amon,
              │                │       │  Israel      │  Josiah
   1 Hosea    │ 2 Zephaniah    │640–609│              │Josiah, Jehoahaz
   2 Joel     │ 3 Habakkuk     │612–598│              │Josiah–Zedekiah
   3 Amos     │ 4 Jeremiah     │628–585│              │Jehoahaz–Captivity
   4 Obadiah  │ 5 Daniel       │606–534│              │The Captivity
   5 Jonah    │†6 Obadiah      │588–583│              │Captivity of Judah
   6 Micah    │ 7 Ezekiel      │595–574│              │Zedekiah, Captivity
   7 Nahum    │                │       │              │
   8 Habakkuk │iii. _After the │       │              │
   9 Zephaniah│  return from   │       │              │
  10 Haggai   │  the Captivity_│       │              │
  11 Zechariah│ 1 Haggai       │520–518│              │The Rebuilding of
  12 Malachi  │                │       │              │  the Temple
              │ 2 Zechariah    │520–510│              │Rebuilding and
              │                │       │              │  Dedication
              │ 3 Malachi      │420–397│              │2nd Reformation
              │                │       │              │  of Nehemiah
              │                │       │              │Close of the Canon

  * The order of the first six Prophets is much disputed, but the one
    above given seems to receive most support.
  † By some the prophecies of Obadiah are referred to the reign of
    Hezekiah, B.C. 726–698.



                     1. THE LATER ASSYRIAN EMPIRE.

      │  ASSYRIA.  │   BABYLON. │   EGYPT.   │   JUDAH.   │   ISRAEL.
  742 │TIGLATH-    │Nabonassar  │            │            │
      │ PILESER    │            │            │            │
      │ invades    │            │            │            │
      │ Babylon    │            │            │            │
      │            │            │            │            │
  741 │            │            │            │AHAZ        │PEKAH
      │            │            │            │            │
  740 │Takes       │            │            │            │Pekah
      │ tribute    │            │            │            │tributary
      │ from PEKAH │            │            │            │
      │ Defeats    │            │            │            │
      │ Rezin      │            │            │            │
      │            │            │            │            │
  737 │            │            │            │Pays homage │PEKAH slain
      │            │            │            │ to Tiglath-│
      │            │            │            │ Pileser at │
      │            │            │            │ Damascus   │
      │            │            │            │            │
  730 │            │            │            │            │HOSHEA
      │            │            │            │            │
  726 │Accession of│Elulæus     │            │HEZEKIAH    │Submission to
      │ SHALMANESER│            │            │            │ Shalmaneser
      │            │            │            │            │ (2 K. xvii. 3)
      │            │            │            │            │
  725 │            │            │Sabaco I.?  │            │Alliance with
      │            │            │ So         │            │ So (2 K.
      │            │            │            │            │ xvii. 4)
      │            │            │            │            │
      │            │            │            │            │
  723 │Siege of    │            │            │            │Siege of
      │ Tyre       │            │            │            │ Samaria
      │            │            │            │            │
  722 │Rebellion   │            │            │            │
      │ of SARGON  │            │            │            │
      │            │            │            │            │
  721 │SARGON takes│Merodach    │            │            │Samaria
      │ Samaria    │ Baladan    │            │            │ taken
      │            │            │            │            │
  715 │Attacks     │            │Sabaco II.? │            │CAPTIVITY of
      │ Arabia     │            │ Wars with  │            │ ISRAEL
      │            │            │ Sargon     │            │
      │            │            │            │
  713 │            │            │            │HEZEKIAH’S
      │            │            │            │ illness
      │            │            │            │ Embassy of
      │            │            │            │ Merodach
      │            │            │            │ Baladan
      │            │            │            │
  711 │Takes Ashdod│Attacked by │            │(See p.434
      │            │ Sargon     │            │ n.)
      │            │            │            │
  702 │SENNACHERIB │Belybus     │            │
      │ expels     │            │            │
      │ Merodach   │            │            │
      │ Baladan    │            │            │
      │            │            │            │
  700 │Advances    │            │            │First
      │ against    │            │            │ attack of
      │ Philistia  │            │            │ Sennacherib
      │ and Egypt  │            │            │ on
      │            │            │            │ Jerusalem――
      │            │            │            │ makes
      │            │            │            │ HEZEKIAH
      │            │            │            │ tributary
      │            │            │            │
  699?│Defeated    │Asshur-Nadin│            │Second
      │ before     │            │            │ attack
      │ Pelusium   │            │            │
      │            │            │            │
  698 │            │            │            │MANASSEH
      │            │            │            │
  690 │            │            │Tirhakah    │
      │            │            │            │
  680 │Accession of│Esarhaddon  │            │
      │ ESARHADDON │            │            │
      │ (2 K.      │            │            │
      │ xix. 37)   │            │            │
      │            │            │            │
  676?│            │Manasseh    │            │The captains
      │            │ brought to │            │ of
      │            │ Babylon    │            │ Esarhaddon
      │            │ (See p.    │            │ remove
      │            │ ♦445 n.)   │            │ MANASSEH
      │            │            │            │ to Babylon
      │            │            │            │
  660?│Assur-bani- │Saosduchinus│            │
      │ pal        │            │            │
      │            │            │            │
  664 │            │            │Psammetichus│
      │            │            │            │
  647 │Asshur-emit-│Cinneladanus│            │
      │ ili        │            │            │
      │            │            │            │
  643 │            │            │            │AMON
      │            │            │            │
      │            │            │            │
  630 │Scythian    │            │            │JOSIAH
      │ invasion   │            │            │
      │            │            │            │
  625 │Destruction │Nabopolassar│            │
      │ of Nineveh │            │            │
      │ by Cyaxares│            │            │
      │            │            │            │

    ⁂ This and the following Tables are framed from those given in
    Rawlinson’s Herodotus, Vol. I. pp. 489, 530, Clinton’s Epitome,
    and Prideaux’s Connection of Sacred and Profane History.

                         2. BABYLONIAN EMPIRE.

  B.C.│ BABYLONIA. │   MEDIA.   │   EGYPT.   │   LYDIA.   │   JUDAH.
  625 │Nabopolassar│8th year of │39th year of│Alyattes    │15th year of
      │            │ Cyaxares   │Psammetichus│            │JOSIAH
      │            │            │            │            │
  615 │Cyaxares    │            │            │Attacked by │
      │ attacks    │            │            │ Cyaxares   │
      │ Lydia      │            │            │            │
      │            │            │            │            │
  610 │Makes peace │            │NECO (2 K.  │Peace made  │
      │ between    │            │ xxiii. 28) │            │
      │ Cyaxares   │            │            │            │
      │ and        │            │            │            │
      │ Alyattes   │            │            │            │
      │            │            │            │            │
  609 │Attacked by │            │Invades     │            │JEHOAHAZ
      │ Neco       │            │ Syria      │            │ JEHOIAKIM
      │            │            │ Defeats    │            │
      │            │            │ JOSIAH     │            │
      │            │            │            │            │
  606 │Sends       │            │Defeated at │            │Submits to
      │ Nebuchad-  │            │ Carchemish │            │ Nebuchad-
      │ nezzar     │            │            │            │ nezzar
      │ against    │            │            │            │
      │ Nico       │            │            │            │
      │            │            │            │            │
  604 │NEBUCHAD-   │            │            │            │
      │ NEZZAR     │            │            │            │
      │            │            │            │            │
  602 │            │            │            │            │Rebels
      │            │            │            │            │
  599 │Besieges    │            │            │            │
      │ Tyre       │            │            │            │
      │            │            │            │            │
  597 │Besieges    │Assists     │            │            │JEHOIACHIN
      │ Jerusalem  │ Nebuchad-  │            │            │ 3 mo.
      │            │ nezzar     │            │            │ ZEDEKIAH
      │            │            │            │            │
  595 │            │Astyages    │            │            │
      │            │            │            │            │
  594 │            │            │Psammetichus│            │
      │            │            │ II.        │            │
      │            │            │            │            │
  588 │Second      │            │Apries      │            │Attacked by
      │ siege of   │            │ (Ezek.     │            │ Nebuchad-
      │ Jerusalem  │            │ xvii. 15)  │            │ nezzar
      │            │            │            │            │
  586 │Takes       │            │            │            │Taken
      │ Jerusalem  │            │            │            │ prisoner
      │            │            │            │            │
  585 │Takes Tyre  │            │            │            │
      │            │            │            │            │
  581 │Invades     │            │            │            │CAPTIVITY
      │ Egypt      │            │            │            │ of JUDAH
      │            │            │            │            │
  570 │Second      │            │Deposed by  │            │
      │ Invasion   │            │ Nebuchad-  │            │
      │ of Egypt   │            │ nezzar     │            │
      │            │            │ (Jer. xliv.│            │
      │            │            │ 30; Ezek.  │            │
      │            │            │ xxix. xxx. │            │
      │            │            │ xxxii.)    │            │
      │            │            │            │            │
  561 │EVIL-       │            │            │            │JEHOIACHIN
      │ MERODACH   │            │            │            │ released
      │            │            │            │            │
  560 │            │            │            │Crœsus      │
      │            │            │            │            │
  559 │Neriglissar │Defeated by │            │            │
      │            │ Cyrus at   │            │            │
      │            │ Pasargadæ  │            │            │
      │            │            │            │            │
  556 │Laboroso-   │            │            │            │
      │ archod     │            │            │            │
      │            │            │            │            │
  555 │Nabonadius, │            │            │            │
      │ Alliance   │            │            │            │
      │ with Crœsus│            │            │            │
      │            │            │            │            │
  546 │            │            │            │Defeated by │
      │            │            │            │ Cyrus      │
      │            │            │            │            │
  539 │Associated  │            │            │            │
      │ with       │            │            │            │
      │ BELSHAZZAR │            │            │            │
      │            │            │            │            │
  538 │Conquered   │            │            │            │
      │ by CYRUS   │            │            │            │

                   3. THE PERSIAN EMPIRE AND GREECE.

  B.C.│        JUDEA.       │       PERSIA.       │       GREECE.
  537 │                     │Supremacy of Cyrus   │
      │                     │                     │
  536 │Return of the Jews   │Decree for the return│
      │The Altar set up     │ of the Jews         │
      │                     │                     │
  534 │Interruption of the  │                     │
      │ Samaritans          │                     │
      │                     │                     │
  529 │                     │Death of Cyrus       │
      │                     │                     │
  525 │                     │Accession of CAMBYSES│
      │                     │                     │
  522 │                     │DARIUS HYSTASPES     │
      │                     │                     │
  520 │Prophecies of Haggai │                     │
      │ and ZECHARIAH       │                     │
      │Building of the      │                     │
      │ Temple resumed      │                     │
      │                     │                     │
  516 │ Temple dedicated    │                     │
      │                     │                     │
  510 │                     │                     │Expulsion of the
      │                     │                     │ Pisistratidæ
  499 │                     │Burning of Sardis by │
      │                     │ the Ionians         │
      │                     │                     │
  493 │                     │Darius declares war  │
      │                     │ against Greece      │
      │                     │                     │
  490 │                     │                     │Battle of Marathon
      │                     │                     │
  485 │                     │Accession of XERXES  │
      │                     │ (_Ahasuerus_)       │
      │                     │                     │
  480 │                     │                     │Battle of Salamis
      │                     │                     │
  479 │                     │Returns defeated     │
      │                     │ from Greece         │
      │                     │Era of _Esther_ and  │
      │                     │ _Mordecai_          │
      │                     │                     │
  466 │                     │                     │Battles at the
      │                     │                     │ Eurymedon
      │                     │                     │
  465 │                     │Death of Xerxes      │
      │                     │                     │
  464 │                     │Accession of         │Themistocles goes to
      │                     │ ARTAXERXES          │ Persia
      │                     │                     │
  458 │EZRA comes to        │                     │
      │ Jerusalem           │                     │
      │Last prophecies of   │                     │
      │ ZECHARIAH           │                     │
      │                     │                     │
  449 │                     │Artaxerxes makes     │Victory of the
      │                     │ peace with the      │ Athenians at Salamis
      │                     │ Athenians           │ in Cyprus
      │                     │                     │
  444 │NEHEMIAH rebuilds the│                     │
      │ walls of Jerusalem  │                     │
      │Opposition of        │                     │
      │ Sanballat           │                     │
      │                     │                     │
  433 │                     │Nehemiah returns to  │
      │                     │ Persia              │
      │                     │                     │
  432 │                     │                     │Peloponnesian war
      │                     │                     │ begins
      │                     │                     │
  428 │Return and further   │                     │
      │ reformations by     │                     │
      │ NEHEMIAH            │                     │
      │                     │                     │
  423 │                     │Accession of DARIUS  │
      │                     │ NOTHUS              │
      │                     │                     │
  420 │Prophecies of MALACHI│                     │
      │                     │                     │
  413?│                     │Final return of      │
      │                     │ Nehemiah            │



          1. _Jewish Weights reduced to English Troy Weight._

                                                lbs.   oz. dwts.  grs.
  The gerah, 1/20th of a shekel                   0     0     0    12
  Bekah, ½ a shekel                               0     0     5     0
  The shekel                                      0     0    10     0
  The maneh = 60 shekels                          2     6     0     0
  The talent = 50 maneh = 3000 shekels          125     0     0     0

     2. _Scripture Measures of Length reduced to English Measure._

                                                          feet.  inches.
    A digit, Jer. lii. 21                                    0    0·912
  │   4│ A palm, Exod. xxv. 25                               0    3·648
  │  12│  3│ A span, Exod. xxviii. 16                        0   10·944
  │  24│  6│  2│ A cubit, Gen. vi. 15                        1    9·888
  │  96│ 24│ 12│ 4│ A fathom, Acts xxvii. 28                 7    3·552
  │ 144│ 36│ 18│ 6│1½│ Ezekiel’s reed, Ezek. xl. 3–5        10   11·328
  │ 192│ 48│ 24│ 8│ 2│1⅓│ An Arabian pole                   14    7·104
  │1920│480│240│80│20│13│10│ Schœnus, or Measuring line,    145  11·040
  └────┴───┴───┴──┴──┴──┴──┘ Ezek. xl. 3

                   3. _The Long Scripture Measures._

                                                 miles.  paces.  feet.
   A cubit                                           0       0   1·824
  │  400│ A stadium or furlong, Luke xxiv. 13        0     145   4·6
  │ 2000│  5│ A Sabbath day’s journey, Acts i. 12    0     729   3·0
  │ 4000│ 10│ 2│ An eastern mile, Matt. v. 41        1     403   1·0
  │12000│ 30│ 6│ 3│ A parasang                       4     153   3·0
  │96000│240│48│24│ 8│ A day’s journey              33     172   4·0

            4. _Scripture Measures of Capacity for Liquids,
                   reduced to English Wine Measure._

                                                           gal.  pints.
   A caph                                                    0   0·625
  │  1⅓│ A log, Lev. xiv. 10                                 0   0·833
  │  5⅓│   4│ A cab                                          0   3·333
  │ 16 │  12│  3│ A hin, Exod. xxx. 24                       1   2
  │ 32 │  24│  6│ 2│ A seah                                  2   4
  │ 96 │  72│ 18│ 6│ 3│ A bath, or ephah, 1 Kings vii. 26;
  │    │    │   │  │  │   John ii.                           7   4
  │960 │♦720│180│60│30│10│ A kor or homer,
  │    │    │   │  │  │  │   Ezek. xlv. 14; Isaiah v. 10    75   0

           5. _Scripture Measures of Capacity for things Dry
                   reduced to English Corn Measure._

                                                      pks.  gal.  pints.
   A gachal                                             0    0   0·1416
  │  20│ A cab or chœnix, 2 Kings vi. 25; Rev. vi. 6    0    0   2·8333
  │  36│  1⅘│ An omer, Exod. xvi. 36                    0    0   5·1
  │ 120│  6 │  3⅓│ A seah, Matt. xiii. 33               1    0   1
  │ 360│ 18 │ 10 │ 3│ An ephah, Ezek. xlv. 11           3    0   3
  │1800│ 90 │ 50 │15│ 5│ A letech, Hos. iii. 2         15    1   7
  │3600│180 │100 │30│10│ 2│ A homer or kor, Num.
  │    │    │    │  │  │  │   xi. 32; Hosea iii. 2.    31    1   6

            6. _Jewish Money reduced to English Standard._

                                                          £   s.    d.
   A gerah, Exod. xxx.                                    0   0   1·3687
  │   10│ A bekah, Exod. xxxviii. 26                      0   1   1·6875
  │   20│   2│ A shekel, Exod. xxx. 13; Isa. vii. 23      0   2   3·375
  │ 1200│ 120│  60│ A maneh or minah Hebraica             6  16  10·5
  │60000│6000│3000│50│ A talent                         342   3   9
   A solidus aureus, or sextula, was worth                0   12  0½
   A siculus aureus, or gold shekel, was worth            1   16  6
   A talent of gold was worth                          5475    0  0

In the preceding table, silver is valued at 5s. and gold at £4 per oz.



    his parentage, 81;
    appointed spokesman to Moses, 85;
    fashions the calf, 112;
    rebuked by Moses, 113;
    made the first High-priest, 130;
    rebels against Moses, 171;
    priesthood of his race confirmed, 178;
    excluded from the Promised Land, 180;
    his death on Mount Hor, 182
    river, 412
    the judge, 258
    at Babylon, 457;
    in the fiery furnace, 456
    his sacrifice, 10;
    death of, 11
  Abel Beth-Maachah
    death of Sheba at, 343;
    its position, 343
  Abel Meholah
    meaning of, flight of the Midianites to, 249;
    residence of Elisha, 391
    son of Samuel, 275
  Abiathar, the priest
    joins David, 305;
    has charge of the Ark, 326, 338;
    rebels against David, 347;
    degraded from the Priesthood, 352
    David’s wife, 309, 318
    the sin of, 131
    king of Judah, 376;
    defeats Jeroboam, 377
    made king of his tribe, 252;
    destroys Shechem, 254;
    his death, 255
    rebellion of, 176, 177
    David’s nephew, 304, 310, 319;
    captain of the mighty men, 329, 343;
    saves David’s life, 345
    Saul’s general, 310;
    supports Ishbosheth, 319;
    kills Asahel, 320;
    joins David, 320;
    killed by Joab, 321;
    effect of his death, 321
    the call of, 26, 36;
    his descent and abode, 27;
    promises to him, 28, 34, 37;
    sets out for the Promised Land, 28;
    arrives at Shechem, 31;
    builds his first altar there, 32;
    removes to Bethel, 32;
    goes down to Egypt, 33;
    returns to Bethel, 33;
    separates from Lot, 34;
    removes to the oak of Mamre, 34, 44;
    rescues Lot, 35;
    blessed by Melchizedek, 36;
    solemn covenant to him, 37;
    his name changed, 38;
    entertains three angels, 39;
    pleads for Sodom and Gomorrah, 40;
    his offering of Isaac, 43;
    his subsequent history, 44;
    death, and burial at Machpelah, 45;
    summary of his character, 76
    murders Amnon, 336;
    forgiven by David, 336;
    his rebellion, 337;
    enters Jerusalem, 339;
    his defeat and death, 341
    his transgression and death, 208
    his policy towards David, 303, 311
    valley of, 208
    the creation of, 3;
    placed in Paradise, 3;
    his life there, 4;
    his disobedience, 6;
    the curse upon him, 7;
    the Promise to him, 8;
    his expulsion, 10;
    his sons and descendants, 10, 11;
    their longevity, 12;
    their general wickedness, 12
    his capture, 226
    rebels against David, 347;
    his life spared, 348;
    his rebellion against Solomon, 350, 351;
    put to death, 352
    stoned to death, 369
    David at, 303
    chief of the Amalekites, 103;
    spared by Saul, 292;
    slain by Samuel, 293
  Ahab, king of Israel
    married to Jezebel, 381;
    effects of her influence on him, 383;
    the drought during his reign, 385;
    denounced by Elijah, 383, 385, 397;
    his wars with Benhadad, 391–395;
    his death, 399;
    slaughter of his descendants, 421
    the Xerxes of history, 471;
    chooses Esther for queen, 472;
    exalts Mordecai, 474
    king of Judah, 433;
    his idolatry, 434
    king of Israel, 400;
    summons Elijah, 403
    king of Judah, 418
    David’s wife, 309, 318
    joins Absalom, 337;
    his counsels, 340
    artificer of the tabernacle, 119
    Abraham settles near, 33;
    its position, 207;
    reverse of the Israelites there, 207;
    its destruction by Joshua, 209
  Altar of Burnt Sacrifice
    in the Tabernacle, 120;
    in Solomon’s Temple, 357;
    its re-erection after the Captivity, 470
  Altar of Incense
    in the Tabernacle, 123;
    in Solomon’s Temple, 357, 358
    their settlements, 103;
    attack the Israelites, 103;
    their defeat, 104;
    destroyed by Saul, 292;
    they burn Ziklag, 312;
    David’s vengeance upon them, 313
    Absalom’s general, 341;
    promoted by David, 342;
    slain by Joab, 343
    king of Judah, 427;
    taken captive by Jehoash, 428
    their ancestry, 41;
    invasion of, 255;
    overthrown by Jephthah, 256;
    defeated by Saul at Jabesh-Gilead, 284;
    David’s conquests over them, 331–335
    killed by Absalom, 336
    king of Judah, 446
    their locality, 32, 184, 201;
    their total defeat, 185;
    their five kings killed by Joshua, 211–213
    the prophet, 428
    the sons of, 173, 216
    prohibited by the Mosaic law, 156
    its position, 393;
    defeat of the Syrians at, 394
  Araunah, threshing-floor of
    purchased by David, 346;
    becomes the site of the altar of Burnt Sacrifice, 358
  Ark, Noah’s
    its construction and dimensions, 14;
    locality of its resting-place, 17
  Ark of the Covenant
    in the Tabernacle, 124;
    directs the march of the Israelites, 168;
    at the passage of the Jordan, 203;
    at the destruction of Jericho, 206;
    taken by the Philistines, 271;
    placed in the Temple of Dagon, 272;
    its sanctity vindicated, 273, 274;
    given up to the Israelites, 273;
    removed to Kirjath-jearim, 274;
    removed from thence, 326;
    rests with Obed-edom, 326;
    its procession to the new tabernacle in Jerusalem, 326;
    placed in Solomon’s Temple, 358, 359;
    displaced under Manasseh, 444
    the probable site of Paradise, 3;
    of the Ark’s resting-place, 17
  Army of David
    its organization, 329
    king of Judah, 377;
    reforms the religion, 377, 378;
    overcomes the Egyptians, 378;
    attacked by Baasha, 378;
    his alliance with Benhadad, 379
    David’s nephew, 319;
    killed by Abner, 320
    Joseph’s wife, 63
    Philistine city, 259, 263, 272;
    the Ark carried there, 272
    Jacob’s son, 52;
    the tribe of, its portion, 220;
    its neglect of duty, 221
    Philistine city, 259, 263;
    Samson’s exploit there, 260
  Assyrian Empire
    the rise of, 430;
    its decline, 448;
    table of its connection with Israel, 488
    married to Jehoram, 397;
    her usurpation and death, 424
    the day of, 146
  Azariah, or Uzziah
    king of Judah, 428;
    his prosperous reign, 429;
    struck with leprosy, 429
    explanations of, 147


  Baal, worship of
    established by Jezebel, 383;
    overthrown by Elijah, 387;
    by Jehu, 423
    fortified by Solomon, its position, 360
    the apostasy at, 193;
    the plague there, 193
    usurps the throne of Israel, 377;
    his hostility to Asa, 378, 379;
    murder of his family, 380
    Tower of, 18;
    Town of, founded by Nimrod, 21
    captivity of Judah there, 452;
    contrasted with Jerusalem, 455;
    condition of the Jews there, 455;
    taken by Cyrus, 456
  Babylonian Empire
    table of its connection with Israel, 488
    his country, 187;
    sent for to curse Israel, 188;
    his failure, 188–192;
    his ass speaks, 189;
    his prophetic parable, 191, 192;
    his wiliness, 193
    king of Moab, 187;
    entreats the aid of Balaam, 188;
    his disappointment, 191
    summoned by Deborah, 238;
    overthrows Sisera, 240
    the land of, 185
    David’s sin with, 333;
    the mother of Solomon, 334
    the Israelites at, 183
    Abraham at, 41;
    Isaac at, 48;
    Jacob’s vision there, 69
    the feast of, 466
  Belus, or Bel
    first worship of, 21
    his command in David’s army, 329;
    kills Adonijah, 352;
    Joab, 352;
    Shimei, 353
  Benhadad I.
    his alliance with Asa, 378;
    with Omri, 381
  Benhadad II.
    his wars with Ahab, 391–395;
    with Jehoram, 414–416;
    his death, 418
    birth of, 57;
    goes with his brethren to Egypt, 66;
    Joseph’s conduct to him there, 66, 67;
    the cup found in his sack, 67;
    tribe of, its portion, 217;
    the war against, 232;
    massacre of, 233;
    revolt of, against David, 342
    valley of, 401
    Abram settles near, 32;
    its position, 51;
    Jacob’s vision and vow there, 51;
    its fulfilment, 56;
    acquired by the descendants of Joseph, 226;
    school of the prophets there, 276;
    Jeroboam establishes idolatry there, 372;
    Josiah overthrows it, 446
    the two, 212;
    the battle there, 213;
    fortified by Solomon, 360
    situation of, 316;
    Saul’s body there, 316
    the ark at, 273;
    battle at, between Jehoash and Amaziah, 428
    artificer of the tabernacle, 119
    friend of Job, 24
    oriental privileges of, 46
    his kindness to Ruth, 265;
    marries her, 266
  Brazen Serpent
    the uplifting of, 182;
    destroyed by Hezekiah, 436
    of the High-priest, 132
  Burning bush, the
    vision of, 84–86
    ceremonies for, 137;
    their symbolical meaning, 137


    his sacrifice, 10;
    murders Abel, 11;
    his condemnation, 11;
    his descendants, 11;
    builds the first city, 11;
    sin of his posterity, 12
    the faithful spy, 173;
    the promise to him, 175;
    his portion, 215, 216
    of Jewish Months and Seasons, 155
  Calf, the
    construction of, 112;
    its destruction by Moses, 113
    son of Ham, 17;
    the land called by his name, 20
    the seven nations of, 32, 201
    their locality, 32, 201;
    their position at the death of Joshua, 224
  Candlesticks, the golden
    in the Tabernacle, 122;
    in Solomon’s Temple, 357, 358
  Canon, the
    of the Old Testament, close of, 481
  Captain, the
    of the Lord’s host, 204, 207
  Captivity, the
    period of, 450–469;
    its effects on the Jews, 470
  Carmel, Mount
    Elijah’s sacrifice there, 386
    of Israelitish forces at Sinai, 167
    commenced by David, 345
    Mosaic laws regarding, 164
    defeated by Abram, 35
    in the Tabernacle, conjectures upon, 124
    Mosaic law regarding, 159
    typified in Melchizedek, 35;
    in Joseph, 76;
    in Moses, 199;
    in Joshua, 223;
    in David, 351
    established, 39;
    renewal of, after passing the Jordan, 204
  Cities of Refuge
    the institution of, 164;
    names of, 220
    in the Patriarchal age, 74
  Cluster, Valley of the
    173, 215
  Commandments, the Ten
    delivered from Sinai, 108;
    written on the Tables of Stone, 111
  Confusion, of Tongues
    approximate date of, 19;
    its teaching, 20
    _see_ Jehoiachin.
    days of, 144
    of the priests, 358
  Covenant, the
    with Noah, 16;
    with Abram, 37;
    with Moses on Sinai, 106;
    its condition, 107;
    its solemn ratification, 110;
    broken in absence of Moses, 113;
    further renewal of, 116;
    its fulfilment under David, 342
  Creation, the
    heathen notions of, 1;
    Scripture declaration concerning it, 1;
    its progressive order, 2
    captures Babylon, 466;
    permits the return of the Jews, 469


    the Philistine Deity, 263;
    the Ark in his temple, 272
    Elisha at, 417
    Jacob’s son, 52;
    tribe of, its portion, 218;
    dispossessed by the Amorites, 227;
    expedition of, to Laish, 229;
    oppressed by the Philistines, 259
    taken captive to Babylon, 450;
    his life there, 457;
    interprets the visions of Nebuchadnezzar, 458, 463;
    his exaltation, 459;
    interprets the writing on the wall, 467;
    preserved in the lions’ den, 468
    viceroy of Babylon, 467
    the rebellion of, 176, 177
    his genealogy, 294;
    anointed by Samuel, 295;
    his shepherd life, 295;
    slays Goliath, 297;
    his friendship with Jonathan, 298, 302, 306;
    persecuted by Saul, 300;
    flies to Naioth, 301;
    to Nob, 303;
    seeks refuge with the Philistines, 303, 311;
    at Adullam, 303;
    Ziklag, 306, 309;
    spares Saul at Engedi, 308;
    and at Ziph, 309;
    his reign over Judah at Hebron, 319;
    becomes king of all Israel, 323;
    removes to Jerusalem, 325;
    his army and its conquests, 329–335;
    his deed of shame, 333;
    denounced by Nathan, 334;
    Absalom rebels, 337;
    his flight from Jerusalem, 338;
    grief for Absalom, 342;
    numbers the people, 346;
    the plague sent, 346;
    purchases the Temple site, 346;
    makes Solomon his successor, 347;
    his last charge, and death, 349;
    summary of his life, 349;
    his character, 350;
    a type of Christ, 351
  Day of Atonement, the
    rites observed upon it, 146;
    its distinction from other solemn rites, 148;
    its typical meaning, 149
  Dead Sea, the
    its low level, 30
    captured by Othniel, 216
  Deborah, the prophetess
    summons Barak, 238;
    rouses the tribes, 239;
    her song of triumph, 242
    Mosaic laws regarding, 166
    the feast of, 154
    betrays Samson, 263
    Jacob’s daughter, 52;
    outrage upon, 55
  Disobedient Prophet, the
    his tomb spared by Josiah, 446
  Divining cups
    the use of in Egypt, 67
    the treachery of, 305
    Joseph sold at, its position, 58, 59;
    Elisha’s miracle there, 414
  Drink-offerings, the
    the plain of, the golden image upon, 460


  Ebal, Mount
    the altar there, 209;
    ratification of the law there, 210
    the Altar of, 222
    Esau so called, 47;
    gives the name to a country, 55;
    passage through it refused to the Israelites, 181
  Edomites, the
    David’s conquests over, 330;
    defeated by Amaziah, 427
    killed by Ehud, 236
    Abram goes there, 33;
    Joseph carried there, 54;
    the seven years’ famine in, 63;
    Joseph’s government of, 63, 64;
    Jacob settles there, 69;
    its idolatrous worship, 79;
    the plagues of, 88, 94–96
    kills Eglon, 236
    Philistine city, 259, 263, 272;
    refuses to receive the Ark, 273
    king of Israel, 380
    the elder, 170
  Elders, the seventy
    appointed, 169
    succeeds Aaron as high-priest, 181
    high-priest and judge, 267;
    wickedness of his sons, 269;
    rebuked by God, 269;
    through Samuel, 270;
    his death, 272
    David’s brother, 294;
    his taunts, 297
    _see_ Jehoiakim.
    friend of Job, 24
    his denunciations to Ahab, 383, 385, 397;
    fed by ravens, 384;
    his miracles at Zarephath, 389;
    overcomes the prophets of Baal, 386;
    flies from Jezebel, 389;
    his interview with the Lord at Horeb, 390;
    calls Elisha, 391;
    his interview with Ahaziah, 403;
    his translation, 404
    friend of Job, 24
    called by Elijah, 390;
    witnesses his translation, 404;
    his miracles, 404, 408–410, 413, 426;
    cures Naaman, 411;
    his sickness and death, 426
    father of Samuel, 267
    the judge, 258
    Saul at, 314
    David’s generosity at, 308
  Enoch, son of Cain
    the first city named from him, 11
  Enoch, son of Jared
    his translation, 12
  Ephod, the
    of the high-priest, 131
    Joseph’s son, 63;
    Jacob’s dying blessing upon, 70;
    the tribe of, its position, 218;
    its rivalry with Judah, 370
  Ephraimites, the
    chide Gideon, 249;
    their complaint to Jephthah, 257;
    massacred by him, 258
    character of, 46;
    sells Jacob his birthright, 47;
    his marriage, 48;
    threatens Jacob, 50;
    his reconciliation to Jacob, 55
    plain of, its fertility, 219
    the valley, 173, 215
    queen of Ahasuerus, 472;
    intercedes for her nation, 473, 474
    River, 3, 17, 18
    the creation of, 3;
    beguiled by Satan, 5;
    the curse upon her, 7;
    its mitigation, 8
    the origin of, 6
  Exodus, the
    from Egypt, 96
    prophecies of, 457
    his reforms at Jerusalem, 476


  Fall of man, the
    its teaching, 6
    relations in the patriarchal age, 74;
    under the Mosaic law, 159
    seven years’, in Egypt, 63;
    three years’, in reign of David, 344
    of the New Moon, 143;
    of Trumpets, 144;
    of the Passover, 95, 150;
    of Weeks, 152;
    of Tabernacles, 153;
    of Purim, 154;
    of Dedication, 154
    death of the, 96
  First-fruits and tithes
    offerings of, 134
  Flood, the
    Scripture account of, 15;
    its duration, &c., 15;
    numerous heathen traditions of, 16
    description of, 135


    Jacob’s son, 52;
    tribe of, their pastoral character, 78, 194;
    the portion of, 195
  Gad, the prophet
    David’s friendship with, 301, 304;
    his mission to David, 346
    position and extent of, 219
    Philistine city, 259;
    the ark removed there, 273
    Philistine city, 259, 262;
    Samson carries off its gates, 263
    Jonathan at, 286
    assassination of, 452
    the sin and punishment of, 413
  Gerizim, Mount
    ratification of the law on, 209;
    Jotham’s parable from, 253
    section of Levites, 127
    probable site of, 361
    outrage at, 231;
    taken by the tribes, 233;
    Saul’s retirement there, 283
    situation of, 210;
    the Tabernacle there, 126;
    combat at, 319;
    Solomon’s convention there, 353
  Gibeonites, the
    embassy of, 210;
    its result, 211;
    the covenant with them broken by Saul, 344;
    their vengeance, 344
    the Angel’s message to him, 244;
    throws down the altar of Baal, 245;
    the sign given him, 246;
    his army at the spring of Jezreel, 247;
    enters the camp of the Midianites, 247;
    his victory over them, 248, 249;
    slays their kings, 250;
    declines being king, 251;
    his ephod, 252
  Gihon, River
  Gilboa, Mount
    the battle there, 315
    encampment at, 204, 210;
    school of the prophets there, 276;
    inauguration of Saul there, 284;
    general gathering at, 286;
    Elisha’s miracles at, 410
  Golden Altar
    of the Tabernacle, 123
  Golden Lamp
    of the Tabernacle, 122
    defies the Israelites, 296;
    killed by David, 297
    its destruction, 41
    meaning of the word, 68, 77;
    Jacob settles there, 70;
    its position and fertility, 77;
    escapes the plagues of Egypt, 91, 94
    their tradition of the Flood, 16


    his revolt against Solomon, 365
    gives birth to Ishmael, 38;
    dismissed by Abraham to the wilderness, 42
    the prophet, 470, 471
    son of Noah, 14;
    mocks his father, 17;
    the curse upon him, 18;
    its fulfilment, 18;
    his descendants and their settlements, 19
    his jealousy of Mordecai, 472;
    his execution, 474
    mother of Samuel, 266
  Hanun, king of Ammon
    insults David’s embassy, 331
    its situation, 27;
    Jacob serves Laban there, 52
  Hazael, king of Syria
    his interview with Elisha, 417;
    success against Judah, 425;
    and Israel, 425
    its position, 201;
    its destruction by Joshua, 215;
    fortified by Solomon, 361
    their notions of the Creation, 1;
    their numerous traditions of the Flood, 16
    Abram dwells near, 34, 36;
    Jacob dwells near, 57, 58;
    its conquest by the tribe of Judah, 215;
    David king there, 318;
    Absalom at, 337
  Heroes of David’s army
  Hezekiah, king of Judah
    his religious reforms, 436;
    his policy, 437;
    contention with Sennacherib, 438–441;
    his life prolonged, 441;
    his death, 442
  High-priest, the
    lineage of, 131;
    his vestments, 131;
    his peculiar functions, 132
  Hiram or Huram
    architect of Solomon’s Temple, 356
  Hiram, king
    his embassy to David, 325;
    his treaty with Solomon, 355
    their locality, 32, 201
    their locality, 32, 201
    accompanies the Israelites, 168
  Holy Convocation
    days of, 144
  Holy of Holies
    in the Tabernacle, 123;
    in Solomon’s Temple, 357
  Holy Place
    of the Tabernacle, 122;
    of Solomon’s Temple, 357
    Mosaic law regarding, 163
  Hophni, son of Eli
    wickedness of, 269;
    his death, 271
  Hor, Mount
    death and burial of Aaron there, 181
    the scene of the burning bush, 84;
    Elijah at, 390
    the prophet, 428
    king of Israel, 435;
    deposed by the Assyrians, 434
    the prophetess, 447
    Mosaic law regarding, 160
    the friend of David, 338;
    his policy with Absalom, 339


    the judge, 258
    birth of, 272
    the rise of, 21;
    its prevalence under the Judges, 227, 234, 243, 252, 255
    offering of, 135;
    its composition, 135
    in Israel, 432, 435
    the promise of, 39;
    his birth, 41;
    offered by Abraham, 43;
    marries Rebekah, 45;
    his two sons, 46;
    the promise confirmed to him, 47, 48;
    his blessing on Jacob, 49;
    and on Esau, 49;
    his death, 57;
    his character, 76
    the prophet, 437;
    encourages Hezekiah, 439, 440, 441;
    his violent death, 444
    succeeds Saul, 319;
    quarrels with Abner, 320;
    his murder, 321
    the promise concerning him, 38;
    is circumcised, 39;
    his subsequent history, 42
    Jacob so named, 54
  Israel, kingdom of
    first called so, 342;
    its extent and area, 371;
    drought in, during Ahab’s reign, 385;
    interregnums, 432, 435;
    its extinction, 436;
    its connection with the surrounding nations, 488
  Israel and Judah
    alliance between, 397;
    summary of their duration, 453;
    of their mutual relations, 453;
    of their contrasts, 454
  Israelites, the
    in Egypt, their numbers, 78;
    their pursuits, 78;
    corrupted by its idolatry, 79;
    their grievous bondage, 80, 83;
    Moses announces himself their deliverer, 86;
    their toil increased, 87;
    their Exodus, 96;
    their numbers at Sinai, 167;
    their wanderings in the wilderness, 175;
    their position at the death of Joshua, 224;
    they demand a king, 278
    Jacob’s son, 52;
    tribe of, its portion, 219


    introducer of nomadic life, 11
  Jabesh Gilead
    its destruction, 233;
    the Ammonites defeated there, 284;
    its position, 316
    the country of, 201;
    withstands the Israelites, 214;
    overcome and killed by Joshua, 215
  Jabin, 2nd
    invasion of, 237;
    his success, 238;
    reverses under Sisera, 240
    his disposition, 46;
    buys Esau’s birthright, 47;
    craftily obtains the blessing, 49;
    flies from the wrath of Esau, 50;
    his vision and vow at Bethel, 51;
    the promise renewed to him, 51, 56, 69;
    serves Laban 20 years, 52;
    his wives and children, 52;
    separates from Laban, 53;
    wrestles with the Angel, 54;
    name changed to Israel, 54;
    reconciled to Esau, 55;
    dwells at Shechem, 55;
    fulfils his vow at Bethel, 56;
    his preference for Joseph, 57;
    and grief at his supposed death, 59;
    parts with Benjamin, 65;
    goes down into Egypt, 69;
    settles at Goshen, 70;
    blesses his children, 70, 71;
    his death, 72;
    his burial in the cave of Machpelah, 72;
    his character, 76
    kills Sisera, 242
    the judge, 255
    son of Noah, 13;
    the blessing upon, 18;
    his descendants and their settlements, 19
    their locality, 32, 201;
    their fortress at Jerusalem, 323;
    captured by Joab, 325
    _see_ Jehoiachin.
    a name of Solomon, 334
    king of Israel, 425
    king of Judah, taken captive to Egypt, 449
    king of Israel, 426;
    his interview with Elisha, 426;
    overcomes the Syrians, 426;
    captures Amaziah, 428
  Jehoiachin, or Jeconiah or Coniah
    king of Judah, carried captive to Babylon, 451;
    released from prison, 465
  Jehoiakim, or Eliakim
    king of Judah, overcome by Nebuchadnezzar, 450;
    his death, 450
    joins Jehu, 422
  Jehoram, king of Israel
    his idolatry, 406;
    overthrows the Moabites, 407;
    his wars with the Syrians, 414;
    slain by Jehu, 420
  Jehoram, king of Judah
    marries Athaliah, 397;
    threatened by Elijah, 403;
    death of, 418
    king of Judah, 379;
    his successful reign, 382;
    his alliance with Ahab, 397;
    his wars, 400
  Jehu, king of Israel
    anointment of, 419;
    kills Jehoram, 420;
    puts down the worship of Baal, 422;
    his reign, 423
    overthrows the Ammonites, 256;
    his vow, 256;
    sacrifices his daughter, 257;
    massacres the Ephraimites, 258
    the prophet, 449, 457;
    his prophecies in the reign of Zedekiah, 451;
    shares the lot of his countrymen, 452
    its important position, 201;
    mission of the spies there, 202;
    divine instructions for its capture, 205;
    the fall of, 206;
    the curse upon rebuilding it, 206;
    its fulfilment, 206;
    Elisha there, 404, 413
  Jeroboam I.
    assured of being king, 366;
    his appeal to Rehoboam, 368;
    declared king of Israel, 371;
    establishes idolatry, 372;
    denounced, 372;
    defeated by Abijah, 376;
    extinction of his race, 377
  Jeroboam II.
    king of Israel, his prosperous reign, 428
    its elevated site, 30;
    the city of the Jebusites, 32, 201;
    the lower city captured, 226;
    its peculiar situation, 323;
    the fortress taken, 324;
    becomes the city of David, 325;
    effects of its conquest, 325;
    occupied by Absalom, 339;
    invested by Shishak, 370;
    taken by Jehoash, 428;
    delivered from Sennacherib, 440;
    taken by the Assyrians, 445;
    by Nebuchadnezzar, 450, 451, 452;
    its destruction, 452;
    its contrast to Babylon, 455;
    rebuilt by Nehemiah, 477
    high-priest at the restoration, 471
    genealogy of, 294
    father-in-law of Moses, 83;
    meets Moses at Rephidim, 104;
    his advice, 105
    Calendar, the, 155;
    weights and measures, 492;
    money, 493
    taken captive to Babylon, 451;
    their condition there, 456;
    their return to their native land, 469;
    effects of their captivity, 470;
    their position at the close of the Canon, 481.
    _See_ Israelites.
    married to Ahab, 381;
    her character, 383;
    establishes the worship of Baal, 383;
    threatens Elijah, 389;
    causes Naboth’s murder, 396;
    Elijah’s denunciation of her, 397;
    its fulfilment, 421
    meaning of the word, 219;
    Ahab at, 383, 391;
    death of Jezebel at, 421
  Jezreel, the spring of
    Gideon’s army at, 247
    David’s nephew, 304, 319;
    kills Abner, 320;
    cursed by David, 321;
    takes the fortress of Jerusalem, 325;
    made commander-in-chief, 325, 329;
    kills Absalom, 341;
    and Amasa, 343;
    rebels against David, 347;
    put to death, 352
  Joash, father of Gideon
  Joash, king of Israel
    _see_ Jehoash.
  Joash, king of Judah
    restores the temple, 425;
    his apostasy, 425;
    death, 425
    probable country and era of, 22;
    his character, 23;
    afflicted by Satan, 23;
    his resignation, 24;
    his three friends, 24;
    his contrition and recompence, 25;
    his death, 25;
    the Book of, uncertainties concerning it, 22, 26
    son of Samuel, 275
    the prophet, 428;
    his mission to Nineveh, 430
    at Geba, 286;
    his valour at Michmash, 288;
    falls under Saul’s curse, 290;
    saved by the people, 291;
    his friendship for David, 299, 302, 306;
    his death, 315;
    David’s lament for him, 317
    the one port of Palestine, 29
  Jordan, River
    its physical features, 30;
    the passage of the, 203
    son of Jacob and Rachel, 52;
    his father’s favourite, 57;
    meaning of his coat of many colours, 57;
    his dreams, 58;
    their fulfilment, 64;
    cast into a pit, 58;
    sold to the Ishmaelites, 59;
    carried into Egypt, 59;
    bought by Potiphar, 59;
    his prosperity and its termination, 60;
    interprets dreams in prison, 61;
    and Pharaoh’s, 62;
    his exaltation, 62;
    his wife and sons, 63;
    his government of Egypt, 63, 64;
    his conduct to his brethren, 64–67;
    makes himself known to them, 68;
    sends for Jacob, 68;
    their meeting in Egypt, 69;
    Jacob’s dying blessing upon him, 70;
    buries his father, in the Promised Land, 72;
    his death and commandment concerning his bones, 72;
    his character, 76;
    a type of Christ, 76;
    probable place of sepulture of his bones, 210, 222;
    conquests of his descendants in the Promised Land, 226
    defeats the Amalekites, 104;
    ascends Sinai with Moses, 111;
    one of the twelve spies, 173;
    the promise to him, 175;
    assumes the leadership of the Israelitish forces, 200;
    crosses the Jordan, 203;
    mysterious appearance to him, 204;
    his curse upon Jericho, 206;
    takes Ai, 209;
    his ratification of the Law, 209;
    commands the sun to stand still, 212;
    his military successes, 215;
    his division of the Land, 215;
    his inheritance, 220;
    his last address to the Tribes, 222;
    his death, 222;
    a type of Christ, 223;
    the position of the Israelites at his death, 224
  Josiah, king of Judah
    foretold, 372;
    his religious reformations, 446;
    restores the Temple, 447;
    killed at Megiddo, 449
  Jotham, king of Judah
  Jotham, son of Gideon
    his parable, 253
    inventor of musical instruments, 11
    the year of, 145
  Judah, Jacob’s son
    pleads with his father, 65;
    with Joseph in Egypt, 67;
    Jacob’s dying blessing upon, 71
  Judah, Tribe of
    its portion, 217;
    its conquest of Hebron, 215;
    its subsequent conquests, 226;
    its degraded state, 262;
    its rivalry with Ephraim, 370
  Judah, Kingdom of
    physical geography of, 30;
    its area and extent, 370;
    its degradation under Jehoiakim, 450;
    the captivity of, 452
  Judah and Israel, kingdoms of
    alliance between, 397;
    summary of their duration, 453;
    their mutual relations, 453;
    their contrasts, 454
  Judges, Hebrew
    word denoting them, 234;
    their office and position, 235
  Judges, Book of
    purport of its last five chapters, 227


    encampment at, 172;
    mutiny of Israelites there, 175;
    rebellion of Korah at, 176;
    the Plague at, 177;
    Miriam buried there, 179
    rescued by David, 305
  Kerak (Kir-haraseth)
    situation of, 407
    Abraham’s second wife, 45
    the Israelites demand one, 278;
    Divine promises concerning, 279;
    Saul elected, 282;
    regulations of the office, 282
  Kings of Judah and Israel
    chronological table of, 486
    the ark removed to, 274;
    fetched thence by David, 326
    taken by Othniel, 216
  Kishon, River
    account of, 241
    section of the Levites, 127
    rebellion of, 176, 177


    Jacob’s uncle, 50, 51;
    his unfairness towards him, 52
    taken by the Danites, 230
    institutes Polygamy, 11
  Lamp, the golden
    of the Tabernacle, 122
    Mosaic laws regarding, 166
  Land of Promise
    description of, 28;
    Abram arrives there, 32.
    _See_ Palestine.
    for purification, 121
  Law, the
    delivered from Sinai, 108;
    committed to writing by Moses, 109;
    copy of, given by Moses to the Priests, 196;
    its ratification by Joshua, 209
  Laws, Mosaic
    of purity, 156
  Leah, Jacob’s wife
    substituted for Rachel, 52;
    her children, 52
    Mosaic laws regarding them, 157
    description of, 157
  Levi, Jacob’s son
    attacks Shechem, 56;
    Jacob’s dying blessing upon, 71
  Levi, the sons of
    their zeal in the destruction of the Calf, 114, 126;
    separated for the Service of the Sanctuary, 126;
    the Cities of Refuge assigned to them, 195;
    the portion of, 220
  Levi and the Priesthood
    genealogical table of, 485
    their special functions, 127, 128, 354;
    the three sections of, 127;
    tithes assigned to them, 128;
    transgressions of two of them, 221, 231
    Mosaic laws affecting, 162;
    the sacredness of, 163
  Longevity of the antediluvians
    advantage of, 12
    nephew of Abram, 27;
    accompanies him in his journeys, 33;
    they separate, 34;
    rescued by Abram, 35;
    escapes from Sodom, 40;
    his wife perishes, 41


  Machpelah, Cave of
    purchased by Abraham, 44;
    he is buried there, 45;
    and Sarah, 44;
    and Jacob, 72
    origin of its name, 53;
    Ishbosheth reigns there, 319;
    David retreats to, 341
  Makkedah, the Cave of
  Mamre, the Oak of
    Abraham dwells under, 34, 36, 44;
    and Isaac and Jacob, 57
    the creation of, 2;
    his distinctive position, 3;
    the fall of, 4;
    his sinfulness before the Flood, 12, 14;
    after the Flood, 26
  Manasseh, Joseph’s son
    Jacob’s dying blessing upon, 70;
    the portions of, 195, 218
  Manasseh, king of Judah
    his idolatry, 443;
    taken captive to Babylon, 445;
    his return and repentance, 445
  Manna in the wilderness
    conditions regarding it, 102
    father of Samson, 259
    the waters of, 101
  March of the Israelites from Sinai
    order of, 168
    in the Patriarchal age, 74;
    Mosaic law regarding it, 160
    Mosaic law respecting, 161
    _see_ Zedekiah.
  Measures, Scripture
    table of, 493
  Meat-offerings, the
    the Elder, 170
    a Canaanite stronghold, 226, 240;
    position of, 361;
    Josiah killed there, 449
    conjectures concerning him, 35;
    blesses Abram, 36;
    a type of Christ, 36
    king of Israel, 432
    Saul’s daughter, 300
    section of Levites, 128
    in the Tabernacle, 124
    battle of, 214
    at Babylon, 457;
    in the fiery furnace, 461
    great age of, 12
    idolatry of, 228
    the prophet, 398
  Michal, David’s wife
    her devotion, 301;
    is taken from him, 309;
    restored, 320;
    scoffs at him, 328;
    her punishment, 329
    occupied by the Philistines, 286;
    Saul there, 286;
    battle of, 289
    Moses dwells there, 82
    sacred war against, 194;
    the invasion of, 243;
    overthrown by Gideon, 248, 249
  Mighty men
    of David’s army, 329
    sister of Moses, 81;
    her song at the Red Sea, 99;
    rebels against Moses, 171;
    struck with leprosy, 172;
    her death, 179
    assembly of the tribes at, 231;
    Jephthah at, 257;
    Philistines defeated there, 275;
    school of the prophets there, 276;
    Saul chosen king there, 281;
    the station of the Chaldæan Guard, 452
    their ancestry, 41;
    their territory, 187;
    the invasion of under Eglon, 235;
    David’s conquest over, 330;
    routed by Jehoram, 406
  Money, Jewish
    table of, 493
    or New Moon festival, 143
    the Eastern worship of, 144
    Haman’s jealousy of, 472;
    his triumph, 474
  Moriah, Mount
    the site of the Temple, 43, 346, 356
  Mosaic Law
    the chief features of, 117
    his parentage, 81;
    rescued from the Nile, 81;
    meaning of his name, 81;
    his education, 81;
    flies to Midian, 82;
    his life there, 83;
    vision of the burning bush, 84;
    is called by God, 84;
    returns to Egypt, 86;
    appears before Pharaoh, 87–94;
    works signs and wonders in Egypt, 88–94;
    leads out the Israelites, 96;
    draws water from the rock, 103;
    the covenant renewed to him on Sinai, 106, 116;
    receives the two tables of stone, 111;
    intercedes for the people, 114;
    Miriam and Aaron turn against him, 171;
    his position confirmed, 172;
    pleads for the people at Kadesh-Barnea, 174, 177;
    his sin at the ‘Waters of Strife,’ 180;
    appoints Joshua his successor, 195;
    his final counsels to the people, 196;
    views the promised land from Mount Nebo, 197;
    dies, 198;
    summary of his career, 198;
    a type of Christ, 199
    Mosaic law regarding, 163


    cured of his leprosy, 411
    his churlishness to David, 308;
    his death, 309
    the murder of, 396
  Nadab, Aaron’s son
    the sin of, 131
  Nadab, king of Israel
    besieges Jabesh-Gilead, 283
    mother-in-law of Ruth, 265
    Jacob’s son, 52;
    tribe of, its portion, 219;
    its neglect of duty, 227;
    its firmness under Barak, 239
  Nathan the prophet
    confirms the kingdom to David, 328;
    denounces his sin, 334
    their vows, 158;
    Samson becomes one, 259
  Nebo, Mount
    Moses views the Promised Land from, 197
    captures Jerusalem, 450, 451, 452;
    his visions interpreted by Daniel, 458, 463;
    his golden image, 460;
    his greatness and power, 462;
    stricken with madness, 464;
    his recovery and death, 465
  Necho, king of Egypt
    overcomes Josiah, 449;
    takes Jehoahaz captive, 449;
    defeated by Nebuchadnezzar, 449
    rebuilds Jerusalem, 477;
    opposed by Sanballat, 478;
    his reforms, 477;
    his death, 481
  New Moon festival
    or Month-Sabbath, 143
  Nile, the
    Moses rescued from, 81;
    its position in Egyptian theology, 89;
    turned into blood, 89
    the empire of, 21;
    worshipped as Bel or Belus, 21
    founded by Nimrod, 21;
    Jonah’s mission to, 430
    his righteousness, 13;
    his three sons, 13;
    builds the Ark, 14;
    saved from the Flood, 15;
    leaves the Ark, 16;
    his sacrifice, 16;
    the covenant made with him, 16;
    plants the vine, &c., 17;
    his prophecy on his sons, 17;
    his descendants and their dispersion, 19
    David at, 303;
    Saul’s massacre of the priests there, 305
  Nomadic character
    of the Patriarchal age, 73


    the Ark at his house, 326
  Offerings, the
    of the Mosaic Law, 133
    king of Bashan, 185;
    routed by the Israelites, 186
    usurps the throne of Israel, 380;
    opposed by Tibni, 380;
    builds Samaria, 381
    conjectures regarding, 362
  Order of the March
    from Sinai, 168
    takes Kirjath-Sephir, 216;
    his exploits, 236


    its position and extent, 28;
    its adaptation to the Divine purpose, 29;
    ancient routes through it, 29;
    its physical geography, 30;
    its produces and fertility, 31;
    its division amongst the twelve tribes, 195, 216–222
    built by Solomon, 361
    its probable position, 3;
    life of our first parents there, 4
  Paran, deserts of
    the long wandering in, 178
    Mosaic law regarding, 159
  Passover, the
    institution of, 95;
    rites observed at, 150;
    its typical meaning, 151;
    celebration of, on the plains of Jericho, 204
  Patriarchal age, the
    survey of, 73
  Patriarchs, the
    their nomadic life, 73;
    their family relations, 74;
    civilization, 74;
    religion and worship, 76;
    their character, 76
  Patriarchs, the twelve
    and their descendants, genealogical table of, 485
  Peace offerings
    various kinds of, 138;
    the ritual observed at, 138;
    meaning of, 139
    king of Israel, 433;
    defeated by the Assyrians, 434
    king of Israel, 433
    the feast of, 152
    fortified by Jeroboam, 371
    their locality, 32, 201
  Persian Empire
    table of its connection with Israel, 491
    his dreams, 61;
    interpreted by Joseph, 62;
    he exalts Joseph, 62;
    receives Jacob’s blessing, 70
    his hardness of heart, 87–94;
    lets the Israelites go, 90, 96;
    pursues after them, 97;
    drowned in the Red Sea, 99
  Pharpar, River
  Philistines, the
    their immigration into Palestine, 258;
    their five cities, 259;
    Samson’s exploits against them, 261–264;
    their deities, 263;
    they capture the ark, 271;
    defeated at Mizpeh, 275;
    and by Jonathan at Michmash, 291;
    their invasion under Achish, 311;
    their victory, at Gilboa, 315;
    their defeat in the valley of Rephaim, 325;
    David’s conquest over them, 329, 345
  Phinehas, grandson of Aaron
    his righteous zeal, 193;
    the priesthood settled in his race, 193;
    routs the Midianites, 194
  Phinehas, son of Eli
    wickedness of, 269;
    his death, 271
    their tradition of the Flood, 16
  Pillar of cloud
    67, 98, 167
  Pillar of fire
    97, 98
  Pison, River
  Plague, the
    at Kadesh-Barnea, 177;
    at Baal-Peor, 193;
    in the reign of David, 346
    of Egypt, 88–94, 96
    institution of, 11;
    Mosaic law regarding it, 160
    of Solomon’s Temple, 357
    buys Joseph, 59;
    etymology of his name, 59;
    profligacy of his wife, 60
  Priests, the
    their consecration, 128;
    their vestments, 129;
    the qualifications necessary for, 129;
    their duties, 130;
    their provision, 130, 134;
    their functions and courses, 358
  Prince, the
    of the army of Jehovah, appears to Joshua, 204
  Promise, the
    to Adam, gradual fulfilment of, 482–484
    Mosaic law respecting, 165
  Prophetical order, the
    its duties and position, 276, 277
    the disobedient, 373;
    his tomb spared by Josiah, 446
    the Chronological Table of, 487
    of Solomon, 354
    of David, their pre-eminence as sacred poetry, 350
  Pul, king of Assyria
    bought off by Menahem, 432
    the feast of, 154
    Jewish laws regarding, 156


    sent in the wilderness, 170


    trophy of Og there, 186;
    its position, 332;
    besieged by Joab, 333;
    taken by David, 335
    her meeting with Jacob, 51;
    becomes his wife, 52;
    the mother of Joseph, 52;
    and of Benjamin, 57;
    her death, 57
    protects the spies, 202;
    preserved at the destruction of Jericho, 206
  Rainbow, the
    pledge of the Covenant with Noah, 17
    the residence of Samuel, 275;
    school of the prophets there, 276
    its probable position, 97
    situation of, 398;
    the battle of, 399
    wife of Isaac, 45
    the first promise of, 8;
    its gradual fulfilment, 482–484
  Red Sea, the
    Israelites arrive at, 97;
    their passage over it, 98
    the cities of, 164;
    their names, 220
    succeeds Solomon, 368;
    his impolitic conduit, 369;
    the ten tribes revolt from him, 369;
    his idolatry, 375;
    overcome by Shishak, 376;
    his death, 376
    in the Patriarchal age, 75
    Moses smites the rock there, 103;
    the Israelites attacked by the Amalekites at, 103;
    Jethro meets Moses there, 104
    Jacob’s son, 52;
    intercedes for Joseph, 58;
    Jacob’s dying blessing upon, 71;
    tribe of, rebels against Moses, 176;
    its pastoral pursuits, 78, 194;
    its portion, 195
    of the ten tribes, 369;
    predisposing causes of, 370
    revolts against Solomon, 365
    position of, 449
  Rimmon, the fortress of
  Rimmon, the Syriac deity
    her sons killed, 344;
    her devotion, 344
    history of, 265;
    its value and interest, 265


  Sabbath, the
    institution of, 102;
    Mosaic law regarding it, 142
  Sabbatical year, the
    its meaning, 145
    first institution of, 10;
    Noah’s, 16;
    Abraham’s, 43;
    Elijah’s, 386
  Sacrifices of the Mosaic law
    unbloody, 133;
    of blood, 137
    built by Omri, 381;
    its position, 218, 381;
    sieges of by Benhadad, 391, 414;
    slaughter of priests of Baal there, 422;
    besieged by Shalmaneser, 435;
    captured by Sargon, 435
    his birth announced, 259;
    his exploits, 260–264;
    his riddle, 261;
    betrayed by Delilah, 263;
    his death, 264
    his early dedication to the Lord, 268;
    called by God, 270;
    recognized as a Prophet, 271;
    becomes Judge, 274;
    establishes Schools of the Prophets, 276;
    meets Saul, 280;
    declares him king, 281;
    his farewell to the people, 285;
    rebukes Saul at Gilgal, 287;
    rejects Saul, 292;
    anoints David, 295;
    his death, 308;
    appears to Saul at Endor, 314;
    traditionary site of his tomb, 267
    his opposition to Nehemiah, 478
    wife of Abraham, 27;
    her name changed, 39;
    gives birth to Isaac, 41;
    her death and burial, 44
  Sargon, king of Assyria
    captures Samaria, 435;
    ends the kingdom of Israel, 436
    Scripture testimony respecting, 5;
    tempts Eve, 5;
    is cursed, 8;
    afflicts Job, 25
    met by Samuel, 280;
    anointed, 281;
    joins the prophets, 281, 301;
    chosen king, 282;
    defeats the Ammonites, 284;
    assumes the government, 285;
    his sin, 287;
    rebuked by Samuel, 287;
    destroys the Amalekites, 292;
    his disobedience, 292;
    rejected by Samuel, 292;
    his jealousy of David, 299;
    his cruelty at Nob, 305;
    spared by David, 307;
    at Endor, 314;
    Samuel’s sentence upon him, 315;
    his death, 315;
    his body rescued, 316;
    his sons crucified, 344
  Saviour, the
    first promise of, 8;
    its gradual fulfilment, 482–484
  Scape-goat, the
    its meaning, 149
  Schools of the Prophets
    established by Samuel, 276;
    their object and purpose, 276
    mountains of, 55
    invades Judah, 438;
    summons Jerusalem, 439;
    destruction of his army, 440
  Serpent, the Brazen
    typical of Christ, 183;
    destroyed by Hezekiah, 436
  Serpents in the Wilderness
    the plague of, 182
    Mosaic law regarding, 161
    son of Adam, 11;
    his descendants, 12;
    their righteousness, 12;
    repositories of the promise, 12;
    they become corrupt, 13
    at Babylon, 457;
    in the fiery furnace, 454
    usurps the throne of Israel, 432
  Shalmaneser, king of Assyria
    invades Israel, 435
  Shamgar, the Judge
    assaults the Philistines, 237
  Sharon, the vale of
    its position, 30
  Sheba, Queen of
    visits Solomon, 364
    revolts against David, 342;
    his death, 343
    description of, 31;
    Abram builds his first altar there, 32;
    Jacob’s abode there, 55, 58;
    Joseph’s bones buried there, 210, 222;
    Joshua assembles the tribes at, 222;
    temple of Baal there, 252;
    destroyed by Abimelech, 254;
    Rehoboam’s convention at, 368;
    rebuilt by Jeroboam, 371
    son of Noah, 13;
    the blessing upon, 18;
    his descendants and their settlements, 20
    account of, 122;
    obtained by David, 303;
    placed in Solomon’s Temple, 357, 358
    meaning of, 258
    conjectures concerning, 71;
    the tabernacle there, 125, 267;
    its position, 217;
    the rape at, 234;
    Samuel ministers there, 268;
    Eli dies at, 272;
    date of its supposed destruction, 272
    curses David, 339;
    is forgiven, 342;
    put to death, 353
    the Plain of, 18;
    the site of Nimrod’s Empire, 21
    king of Egypt, 366;
    overcomes Rehoboam and despoils the Temple, 376
  Sihon, king of the Amorites
    opposes the Israelites, 184;
    is slain, 185
    Jacob’s son, 52;
    attacks Shechem, 56;
    bound hostage for Benjamin, 64;
    Jacob’s dying blessing upon, 71;
    tribe of, its portion, 217
  Sinai, Mount
    the Israelites encamp before it, 105, 117;
    scenery around it, 106;
    the Covenant renewed there to Moses, 106, 116;
    the Law delivered from, 108;
    the ascents of Moses, 111, 116;
    events accomplished there, 167
  Sinai, Peninsula of
    Moses flies there, 82;
    description of it, 100
  Sin-offering, the
    its peculiar ritual, 140;
    its intention, 141
    Jabin’s captain, 237;
    overthrown by Barak, 240;
    killed by Jael, 242
    in the Patriarchal age, 74;
    under the Mosaic law, 161
    Lot settles there, 34;
    its destruction, 41
    the birth of, 334;
    proclaimed king, 347;
    David’s last charge to him, 348;
    his accession, 350;
    his prayer for Wisdom, 353;
    his judgment, 354;
    his proverbs and songs, 354;
    commences the Temple, 355;
    dedicates it, 358;
    his public works, 360;
    commercial activity of his reign, 361–363;
    bad tendency of this, 363;
    his splendour, 364;
    his failings, 363, 367;
    his troubles, 365;
    his death and character, 366;
    causes of the dismemberment of his kingdom, 370
  Song of Witness
    composed by Moses, 197
  Songs of Solomon
  ‘Sons of God’
    conjectures concerning, 13
    mission of the twelve, 173;
    the faithless ten struck dead, 175;
    two sent to Jericho, 201
  Springs in the East
    Jacob settles at, 55;
    the Israelites first halt there, 97


  Tabernacle, the
    pattern of, revealed to Moses, 111, 118, 125;
    its construction, 119;
    its area, 119;
    description of, 121;
    its history, 125;
    fixed at Shiloh, 216;
    David’s new one on Zion, 326
    the feast of, 153;
    its observances, 153;
    other customs connected with it, 154
  Table of Shewbread
    in the Tabernacle, 122;
    in Solomon’s Temple, 357, 358
    built by Solomon, 361
    probable situation of, 362;
    Jonah at, 430
    position of, 401
  Temple, the
    site of purchased by David, 346, 356;
    treasures accumulated for it, 356;
    the building of, by Solomon, 355–358;
    its dedication, 358, 359;
    despoiled by Shishak, 376;
    repaired by Joash, 419;
    rifled by ♦Jehoash, 425;
    despoiled by Nebuchadnezzar, 450, 451;
    its destruction, 452;
    the rebuilding of, commenced, 469;
    its interruption and completion, 470, 471
  Ten Tribes
    their revolt, 368
    father of Abraham, 27
    silver mines of, 362
    its position, 255
    Mosaic law regarding, 165
  Things unclean
    forbidden by the Law, 156
    Lake of, 30
    rival king to Omri, 380
  Tiglath-Pileser, king of Assyria
    his successes, 433
  Tigris, River
    3, 17, 18
    position of, 361
    capital of Israel, 380
    assigned to the Levites, 128;
    and Priests, 134
  Tola the Judge
    the confusion of, 16–20
  Tree of Knowledge
  Trespass Offering, the
    occasions for presenting it, 141
  Tribal wars, the
    232, 256
  Trumpets, feast of
    its intention, 144
  Tubal Cain
    inventor of metal working, 11


    things forbidden by the law, 156
    probable locality of, 27
    David’s treachery to, 333
  Urim, the, and the Thummim
  Uz, the land of
    its probable site, 22
    sudden death of, 326
  Uzziah, king of Judah.
    _See_ Azariah.


    used for sacrifice, 135;
    the requisites of, 136


  Wanderings, the
    in the desert, 175–178
  ‘Waters of strife,’ the
  Weeks, the feast of
    or Pentecost, 152;
    its character, 152
    Jewish Tables of, 492
  Wells in the East
  Widow’s son, the
    raised by Elisha, 409
    Mosaic law regarding, 160
  Worship, religious
    of the Patriarchs, 75


  Year of Jubilee, the
  Year-Sabbath, the


  Zachariah, king of Israel
    brief reign of, 432
  Zadok the priest
    joins David, 323;
    has charge of the Ark, 326, 338;
    anoints Solomon, 347;
    becomes High-priest, 352
    the widow of, 384;
    Elijah there, 384
    Jacob’s son, 52;
    tribe of, its portion, 219;
    its neglect of duty, 227;
    its firmness under Barak, 239
    the stoning of, 425
  Zechariah, the prophet
    the false prophecy of, 398
  Zedekiah or Mattaniah
    king of Judah, 451;
    taken captive to Babylon, 452
    invasion and defeat of by Asa, 378
    Governor of Jerusalem at the restoration, 469
    David at, 311
    usurps the throne of Israel, 380
    David at, 306;
    spares Saul there, 310
    wife of Moses, 83
    defeated by David, 330
    friend of Job, 24

                               THE END.



    1 – The Edition of Dr Robinson’s _Biblical Researches_
        referred to is the second American Edition, 3 Vols. 1860;
        that of Dean Stanley’s _Sinai and Palestine_, the 3rd,

    2 – Hence the idea of an _envious_ and jealous God so common
        in heathenism, as in Herodotus, I. 32, III. 40, VII. 46.

    3 – The Ninth Article of the Church of England.

    4 – Kurtz’s _History of the Old Covenant_, I. 49: “However
        weakened and darkened by sin, the divine image in man is
        not wholly destroyed (Gen. ix. 6, James iii. 9), and even
        after the Fall man continues the offspring of God (Acts
        xvii. 28).”

    5 – Kurtz’s _Sacred History_, p. 48.

    6 – Davison, _On Prophecy_, p. 55.

    7 – This seems to be the true meaning of the expression, _the
        Lord set a mark upon Cain_. Compare the sign given to
        Noah (Gen. ix. 13), to Moses (Ex. iii. 2, 12), to Elijah
        (1 Kings xix. 11), to Hezekiah (Isai. xxxviii. 7, 8).

    8 – Smith’s _Bibl. Dict._ Art. _Noah_.

    9 – The traditions of many nations preserve the recollection
        of the Flood. They may be found in the Chaldæan and
        Phœnician mythology, among the Persian, Indian, Chinese,
        and American nations. The Greeks had their tradition of
        Deucalion and Pyrrha. Among the Phrygians was a legend of
        a King Annakos or Nannakos in Iconium, who lived to the
        age of 400 years, foretold the Flood, and in prospect of
        the destruction awaiting them, wept and prayed for his
        people. As late as the time of Septimius Severus, a medal
        was struck at Apamea commemorating this event. On it is
        the representation of a square vessel floating on the
        water, and through an opening in it two persons, a man and
        a woman, are visible. On the top a bird is perched, while
        another is flying towards it carrying a branch between its
        feet. In front of the vessel the same pair stand as though
        they had just landed on dry ground. On some specimens the
        letters ΝΩ or ΝΩΕ have been found. See Kurtz’s _Sacred
        History_, p. 56.

   10 – This prediction that Canaan should become the servant of
        Shem is thought to have been primarily fulfilled, when the
        nations of Palestine were conquered by Joshua (Josh. xviii.
        10; xxiii. 4; 2 Chron. viii. 7, 8), when Tyre fell before
        the arms of Alexander, and, again, when the Carthaginians
        were subdued by the Romans.

   11 – The words _he shall dwell in the tents of Shem_ are
        somewhat obscure. If they denote that God would dwell
        in his tents, they probably refer to the fact that the
        “promised Seed” was restricted to this line, and the
        special presence of God with the Jews (Rom. ix. 4, 5);
        if they mean that Japheth should dwell in his tents, they
        probably point to the occupation of Palestine and the
        surrounding countries by the Romans, and in a spiritual
        sense to the adoption of the Gentiles into the Church of
        God (Eph. iii. 6).

   12 – An approximate indication of the Time when this Dispersion
        took place is afforded in Gen. x. 25, where we find one of
        the descendants of Shem named Peleg (“_Division_”), _for
        in his days was the earth divided_.

   13 – Smith’s _Dictionary of the Bible_, Article _Nimrod_.

   14 – Jemima = _day_ or a _dove_, Kezia = _cassia_, a sweet
        aromatic plant, and Keren-Happuch = either _horn of
        antimony_, the pigment used by Eastern ladies to colour
        the eye-lashes, or, according to the LXX., _horn of

   15 – Called by the Greeks Edessa, and Callirrhoe, “the
        Beautiful Spring,” from a “pool of transparent clearness”
        hard by. Others place Ur at _Mugheir_, much further to the
        south, and on the right bank of the Euphrates, about six
        miles from the present course of the stream.

   16 – Haran, or Charræ, now _Harrán_, in N.W. Mesopotamia,
        situated “on the point of divergence between the great
        caravan routes towards the various fords of the Euphrates
        and the Tigris,” was afterwards celebrated for its temple
        of Luna, the Moon-goddess, and still more as the scene
        of the famous defeat of Crassus by the Parthian general
        Suræna. Here the descendants of Abraham’s brother Nahor
        settled, so that Haran is called _the city of Nahor_
        (Gen. xxiv. 10; xxvii. 43).

   17 – The distance from London to York or Exeter. The limits
        here taken are the parallels of 31° and 33½° north
        latitude, and the meridian of 34° to that of 36° east
        longitude. “In Palestine, as in Greece, every traveller
        is struck with the smallness of the territory. He is
        surprised, even after all that he has heard, at passing,
        in one long day, from the capital of Judea to that of
        Samaria; or at seeing within 8 hours, three such spots
        as Hebron, Bethlehem, and Jerusalem.” Stanley, _Sinai and
        Palestine_, 114; see Note 337.

   18 – Stanley’s _S. and P._ p. 113.

   19 – Kurtz’s _History of the Old Covenant_, I. 147, 8.

   20 – “All the _routes_――both by land and water――which connected
        the three parts of the ancient world, passed through
        Palestine. The commerce between Asia on the one, and
        Europe and Africa on the other hand, had its centre in the
        great mercantile cities of Phœnicia and Philistia. Towards
        the South the ♦Arabah led to the Gulf of Elath, and the
        Shephelah to that of Heroopolis, while toward the East the
        ordinary caravan road led to the neighbouring Euphrates,
        to the Persian Gulf, and thence to the important countries
        of Southern Asia. Even the highways which connected Asia
        and Africa touched Palestine. A much frequented commercial
        route led from Egypt to Gaza, and from Damascus over the
        plain of Jezreel to the Phœnician coast.” Kurtz, I. 149.

   21 – Hence the cities of Judah are higher than the summits of
        many mountains of Samaria and Galilee. Thus while Tabor is
        1865 feet above the sea-level, and Carmel 1800, as high as
        the Peak in Derbyshire, Jerusalem is 2610 feet, or higher
        than Plynlimmon, and Hebron 3029 feet, or nearly as high
        as Helvellyn.

   22 – While the lake of Cinneroth (or as it is called in the
        New Testament _Tiberias_), is only 653 feet below the
        same level. The two principal features in the course of
        the Jordan are its _descent_ and its _sinuosity_. From
        its fountain-head it rushes down one continuous plane,
        only broken by a series of rapids or precipitous falls,
        traversing, in a space of 60 miles of latitude and 4 or 5
        miles of longitude, at least 200 miles. See Smith’s _Bib.
        Dict._ Article _Jordan_.

   23 – “Shechem” (now _Nablous_) = “shoulder,” “ridge,” like
        _dorsum_ in Latin, was situated on the “saddle” or
        “shoulder” of the heights which divide the waters there
        that flow to the Mediterranean on the west and the Jordan
        on the east.

   24 – “Here there are no impetuous torrents, yet there is water;
        water, too, in more copious supplies than any where else
        in the land; and it is just to its many fountains, rills,
        water-courses, that the valley owes its exquisite beauty.”
        Van de Velde, I. 386. Stanley, _S. and P._ 142, 235. “The
        whole valley,” writes Dr Robinson, “was filled with gardens
        of vegetables, and orchards of all kinds of fruits, watered
        by fountains, which burst forth in various parts and flow
        westwards in refreshing streams,” _Bibl. Res._ II. 275.

   25 – “_The Canaanite was then in the land_,” Gen. xii. 6. Of
        these seven Canaanitish nations, descended from Canaan the
        son of Ham (Gen. x. 15–19), (i) the JEBUSITES inhabited
        Jerusalem (Jebus) and its neighbourhood (Num. xiii. 29;
        Josh. xi. 3; xv. 8, 63); (ii) the HITTITES, Hebron and
        its vicinity (Gen. xxiii. 7, 10; Num. xiii. 29); (iii)
        the HIVITES were located (a) north of the Jebusites about
        Gibeon and Bethel (Josh. xi. 19) and Shechem (Gen. xxxiv.
        2), (b) in the neighbourhood of Hermon (Josh. xi. 3;
        Judg. iii. 3); (iv) the AMORITES, or “_highlanders_,”
        the most powerful and warlike tribe, occupied the country
        (a) between the Hittites and the Dead Sea (Gen. xiv. 7, 13;
        Judg. i. 34–36); (b) at a later period, the east of Jordan,
        where they founded two great kingdoms, that of Og in
        Bashan and Sihon in S. Gilead (Num. xxi. 13–26; Deut. iii.
        8; Judg. xi. 13, &c.); (v) the CANAANITES, “_lowlanders_,”
        were distributed along the sea-coast (Gen. xv. 21; Exod.
        xxiii. 23; Josh. xi. 3) and the valley of the Jordan
        (Num. xiii. 29), thus encircling (vi) the PERIZZITES, who
        probably inhabited the high plains of the west country
        under the range of Carmel (Gen. xiii. 7; Josh. xi. 3);
        the position of (vii) the GIRGASHITES (Gen. x. 16; Deut.
        vii. 1) is uncertain.

   26 – Stanley’s _S. and P._ 218.

   27 – See Article _Oak_, in Smith’s _Bibl. Dict._

   28 – For other notices of Melchisedec see Heb. vii. 1–21;
        Psalm cx. 4. His relation to Christ, as type and antitype,
        consists in the fact that each was a priest, (i) not of
        the tribe of Levi, (ii) superior to Abraham, (iii) whose
        beginning and end are unknown, (iv) and not only a priest,
        but a priest-king, of righteousness and peace.

   29 – Corresponding to _Padishah_ (_father-king_) the title of
        the Persian kings, and _Atâlîh_ (father) the title of the
        Khans of Bucharia. Smith’s _Bibl. Dict._ Art. _Abimelech_.

   30 – Either, (1) according to the prevailing belief, the hill
        at Jerusalem on which the Temple was afterwards built, or
        (2) Mount Gerizim, near Sychem. See Stanley’s _S. and P._
        251; and compare Thomson’s _Land and the Book_, 474, 475.

   31 – “The tomb of Machpelah is a proof, standing to this day,
        of the long predetermined assurance that the children of
        Abraham should inherit the land in which this was their
        ancestor’s sole, but most precious possession. It is like
        the purchase of the site of Hannibal’s Camp by the strong
        faith and hope of the besieged senators of Rome.” Stanley,
        _Lectures on the Jewish Church_, p. 40.

   32 – On the consistent insignificance of Bethuel in this affair,
        see Blunt’s _Coincidences_, p. 32.

   33 – On Abraham’s character, see p. 76.

   34 – The red lentile is still a favourite article of food in
        the East. “I can testify,” writes Dr Thomson, “that when
        cooking, it diffuses far and wide an odour extremely
        grateful to a hungry man. It was, therefore, no slight
        temptation to Esau, returning weary and famished from
        an unsuccessful hunt in this burning climate.” _Land and
        the Book_, p. 587. See also Robinson, _Bib. Res._ I. 246.

   35 – From this transaction Esau acquired the name of EDOM,
        or “_Red_,” though the name is more usually applied
        to the land of his descendants. “The ruddy hue of the
        mountain-range given to Esau would at once suggest the
        word _Edom_, and cause it to be preferred to the better
        known Esau.” Comp. Obad. 8, 9, 21.

   36 – For the fulfilment compare 2 Kings viii. 20–22; 2 Chron.
        xxi. 8–10, and see p. 327.

   37 – Bethel lay in the direct thoroughfare of Palestine. “...
        The track of this thoroughfare winds through an uneven
        valley, covered, as with gravestones, by large sheets of
        bare rock; some few here and there standing up like the
        cromlechs of Druidical monuments.”――Stanley, _S. and P._

   38 – Mount Seir (“rough” or “rugged,” see Jer. xlix. 16,
        Obad. 4) extended along the east side of the Arabah, from
        the Dead Sea to the Elanitic gulf, and “was originally
        inhabited by the Horites, or ‘troglodytes,’ who were
        doubtless the excavators of those singular rock-dwellings
        found in such numbers in the ravines and cliffs around
        Petra.” These Horites were dispossessed by the descendants
        of Esau, who gave to the country the name of Edom, and
        were divided into tribes under a sheikh or duke (Gen.
        xxxvi. 15–19).

   39 – See Smith’s _Bib. Dict._ I. 452 b.

   40 – Dothan has been discovered by Van de Velde and Dr Robinson,
        “still bearing its ancient name, and situated at the S.
        end of a plain of the richest pasturage, 4 or 5 miles S. W.
        of En-gannim or _Jenîn_, and separated only by a swell or
        two of hills from the plain of Esdraelon.”――Smith’s _Bib.

   41 – Close to the large mound, on which Dothan stood, “is an
        ancient road running N. and S., the remains of the massive
        pavement of which are still visible. The great road from
        _Beisân_ to Egypt also passes near _Dothân_.” Rob. III.
        122. The caravan coming from the spice-district of Gilead
        would cross the Jordan below the Sea of Galilee, pass
        over the plain of Jezreel, and thence proceed along the
        sea-shore to Egypt. Thomson’s _Land and the Book_, 466.

   42 – Also written Potipherah = the Egyptian PET-P-RA or
        PET-PH-RA, “_belonging to the sun_.” Compare Pharaoh =
        P-RA or PH-RA, “_the sun_,” as the representative on earth
        of the god RA, “_the sun_.”

   43 – The Greek translation of the Septuagint, which was made
        in Egypt, has here the word “_Psonthomphanech_” = “the
        preserver of the world” or “of the land.”

   44 – Asenath, interpreted by some “_the servant of Neith_,”
        the Egyptian Minerva. Others take it to be a Hebrew word,
        denoting “_storehouse_.”

   45 – Divining out of cups was practised in Egypt. “The
        soothsayer drew his auguries either from the rays of light
        which played upon the water in the cup, or threw in pieces
        of gold and silver with jewels, and then pretended to see
        signs of future events from the figures which appeared on
        the surface, after an incantation had been pronounced.”
        For instances of a similar mode of divination in the South
        Sea Islands, see Kitto’s _Daily Biblical Illustrations_,
        I. 424.

   46 – Comp. Is. ix. 6. Others, not understanding the word to
        have a personal reference, translate it “Rest.”

   47 – “The reason of this may be attributed to political
        circumstances, with which we are unacquainted. So
        large a procession, attended by an armed guard, would
        probably have met with difficulties from the contentious
        Philistines. It is a remarkable coincidence, however,
        that Jacob’s corpse should have taken, or have been
        compelled to take the same road, which his descendants
        were afterwards obliged to follow in their journey to
        the Promised Land.” Kurtz, _History of the Old Covenant_,
        II. 91. Abel-Mizraim is placed by some on the east, by
        some on the west of the Jordan.

   48 – See Kurtz, _History of the Old Covenant_, II. 115.

   49 – Blunt’s _Scriptural Coincidences_, Pt. I. 1.

   50 – Smith’s _Bibl. Dict._ I. 1140 b.

   51 – This, with the keepers of his flocks and herds, would make
        the adult males in his service certainly not less than 500
        or 600, “implying a household of about 2000.” See Kurtz,
        II. 149.

   52 – Kurtz’s _History of the Old Covenant_, II. 156–161.

   53 – Stanley’s _Jewish Church_, p. 90.

   54 – Josephus tells us that he became a distinguished military
        commander, and led an expedition against Meroe, and
        married an Egyptian princess. _Ant._ Lib. II. 10. 1.

   55 – Called also Jether “_excellence_,” Ex. iv. 18 (marg.),
        Hobab “_beloved_,” Num. x. 29, and Reuel or Raguel, Ex.
        ii. 18.

   56 – “The wild acacia (_Mimosa Nilotica_) under the name of
        ‘sont,’ everywhere represents the ‘seneh’ or ‘senna’ of
        the Burning Bush.”――Stanley’s _S. and P._ p. 20.

   57 – On account, however, of the incident related in Ex.
        iv. 24–26, Zipporah and her sons returned to Midian.

   58 – Their names are given in 2 Tim. iii. 8, as _Jannes_ and
        _Jambres_. The same names are also found in the Targum and
        the Talmud.

   59 – As Oceanus, or the “Watery Element,” the Nile was a member
        of the first Ogdood of the Egyptian theology, and the
        opponent of Phtah or the “Element of Fire;” its sacred
        emblem was the “tame crocodile.” On the monuments it is
        still called the god Nile, “the life-giving Father of
        all that exists,” “the Father of the Gods,” &c. “What
        the heart is to the body,” says an Egyptian, “the Nile
        is to Egypt; it is one with Osiris and the Supreme God.”
        Herodotus (II. 90) speaks of priests of the Nile, and at
        Nilopolis there was a temple to it. “Flowing, as it did,
        between sand and rock, the sole giver and sustainer of
        life in that valley of death, it was both in its increment
        and its decrease, in its course through vast solitudes and
        thronged populations alternately, the most expressive and
        suggestive of emblems for a religion which represented
        in such marked contrast the realms of creation and
        destruction, of Osiris and Typhon.”――See Kurtz, II. 273, 4,
        and Article _Nile_ in Smith’s _Bibl. Dict._

   60 – Frogs were regarded as sacred by the Egyptians; like
        the crocodile they were included in the second class
        of objects of worship. Smith’s _Bibl. Dict._ Article,
        _Plagues of Egypt_.

   61 – The meaning of the Hebrew word is doubtful. The LXX. has
        σκῖφες, and the Vulgate _sciniphes_, mosquitos; which
        Herodotus (II. 95) mentions as an intolerable plague in
        Egypt. Josephus (_Ant._ II. 14. 3) makes them lice; if so,
        this would have been especially humiliating to the priests,
        who regarded cleanliness as a religious duty.

   62 – The exact meaning of the Hebrew word is here also unknown:
        1. Some, as the English Version, understand it to denote
        _swarms of flies_, but see Margin at Ex. viii. 21;
        2. Others, as the LXX., take it to be the _dog-fly_;
        3. Others, the _beetle_.

   63 – Stanley’s _Lectures_, p. 119. Smith’s _Bibl. Dict._
        II. 885.

   64 – Hail and thunderstorms are by no means of rare occurrence
        in Egypt, but by the concurrent testimony of all
        travellers mild and harmless in their effects.

   65 – For a wonderfully vivid description of the ravages of the
        locust see Joel ii. 1–11.

   66 – The horrors of the Egyptian Samoom or _Chamsîn_, which
        is regarded by some as the basis of this Plague, has been
        described by many travellers. See Robinson’s _Bib. Res._
        I. 207. Kurtz, II. 287. Smith’s _Bib. Dict._ II. 888.

   67 – Moses had already _before_ the tenth day of Nisan (Ex.
        xi. 1–3) notified to the elders (xii. 21) what was to
        be done respecting the Departure, and, therefore, ample
        preparations had doubtless been made.

   68 – The triangular peninsula of Sinai, bounded on the west by
        the Gulf of Suez, and on the east by the Gulf of Akaba,
        consists of three main divisions. (i) The northern part,
        the desert of Et-Tîh, or “the Wanderings,” is a high
        table-land of limestone, of which the _western_ portion is
        called in Scripture _the wilderness of_ SHUR (Ex. xvi. 22),
        and the _eastern, the wilderness of_ PARAN. (ii) To this
        succeeds a range called _Jebel-et-Tîh_, which extends in
        a curved direction from the upper end of the Gulf of Suez
        to that of the Gulf of Akaba, and skirts the sea for some
        distance on either side. (iii) South of this ridge, and
        separated from it by “a narrow plain or belt of sand”
        is the great triangular mass of red granite mountains
        called the Tôr (_rock_), the approach to which from its
        three sides is through rugged passes leading upwards
        to the cliffs and mountains, “beginning in a gradual,
        but terminating usually in a very steep ascent――almost
        a staircase of rock.” Of this mountain-mass the chief
        heights are (a) on the N.W. _Jebel-Serbâl_, overlooking
        _Wady Feirân_ = Rephidim; (b) in the centre, _Jebel
        Katherin_ (5705 ft.) and _Jebel Mousa_ (7560 ft.); (c) on
        the S. _Um Shômer_ (8850 ft.). On which summit the Law was
        given is uncertain, but not improbably it was the majestic
        height of _Ras Sasâfeh_ at the N.W. end of Jebel Mousa,
        which overlooks the plain of _Er-Raheh_. The country
        between the _Jebel-et-Tîh_ and the Gulf of Suez is called
        in Scripture the wilderness of ETHAM (Num. xxxiii. 8);
        that between the Gulf and the western base of the Tôr _the
        wilderness of_ SIN (Num. xxxiii. 11, 12) = the N. portion
        of the present _plain of El-Kâa_, which must be carefully
        distinguished from _the wilderness of_ ZIN (Num. xx. 1;
        xxxiii. 36), a desert tract between the Dead Sea and the
        Gulf of Akaba, now _the Arabah_.

   69 – See note 68.

   70 – “If I were to make a model of the end of the world, it
        would be from the valley of the convent of Mount Sinai.”
        Quoted in Stanley, _S. and P._ 43, n.

   71 – Stanley, _S. and P._ 14; _Lectures_, p. 140.

   72 – Probably, if it was a laminated figure, he destroyed the
        wooden portion of it with fire, reduced the gold to dust,
        and then strewed it upon the water. Kurtz, III. 162.

   73 – See the LXX. Version of Exod. xxxiv. 30–35, and Alford’s
        and Wordsworth’s Notes on 2 Cor. iii. 13.

   74 – The ordinary cubit was = 18¼ English inches; there was
        a shorter one = 15 inches; the Babylonian cubit was = 21

   75 – It seems probable that the Tabernacle did not stand in the
        centre of the area, but 20 cubits from N., S., and W., so
        that there was a square of 50 cubits in front, where the
        sacrifices were offered, and the worshippers assembled.

   76 – The position of the altar of Burnt-offering was very
        striking. It was the first object that confronted the
        worshipper on his entrance. The High-priest could not go
        into the sanctuary to burn incense before the Lord without
        taking live coals from this altar, nor could he enter
        and perform his holy functions without being himself
        sprinkled with the blood of the victims slain thereon.
        See Fairbairn’s _Typology_, II. 282.

   77 – Seals were numerous on the shores of the Sinaitic
        peninsula. Pliny mentions the use of the skins of seals as
        a covering for tents, and as a protection from lightning.
        The exact meaning, however, of the Hebrew word _tachash_
        is very uncertain. See Smith’s _Bib. Dict._ III. 21;
        article _Badger_.

   78 – Comp. Matt. xii. 4; Mark ii. 26; Heb. ix. 2; and, for the
        importance of the Shewbread, the words of Abijah (2 Chron.
        xiii. 11)

   79 – In Heb. ix. 4, it is mentioned among the objects within
        the _second veil_, and in 1 Kings vi. 22 is said to belong
        to the _Oracle_ or _Holy of Holies_. Possibly, from its
        position and great typical importance, it was considered
        to belong to the “second Tabernacle.”

   80 – From Heb. xi. 4 it appears that the _pot of manna_ and
        _Aaron’s rod that budded_ were also laid up before the Ark.

   81 – Hardwick’s _Religions of Egypt_, p. 114.

   82 – See Art. _Tabernacle_ in Smith’s _Bib. Dict._

   83 – See p. 75.

   84 – Kurtz, _Sacrificial Worship of the Old Testament_, 341.

   85 – NADAB and ABIHU, his two elder sons, having been suddenly
        struck dead for presuming to burn incense with common or
        _strange_ fire (Levit. x. 1–11).

   86 – (i) _Stacte_ (Heb. _drops_), probably the gum from the
        storax tree, a plant about twelve feet high, like the
        quince; (ii) _Onycha_, the name of the covering of a
        shell-fish, met with in the Red Sea, yielding a scent not
        pleasant in itself, but giving strength and continuance
        to other perfumes; (iii) _Galbanum_, resin from a shrub
        growing on the Syrian mountains, with a strong and
        disagreeable odour, but when mixed with other perfumes,
        increasing their sweetness; (iv) _Frankincense_, the
        highly prized resin of a small shrub, about ten feet high,
        growing in Arabia (Is. lx. 6; Jer. vi. 20), especially
        Saba and India. Successive incisions were made in the bark
        of the tree, the first yielded the purest and whitest kind,
        the succeeding incisions yielding the same, but spotted
        with yellow. For the comparison of prayer to incense, see
        Ps. cxli. 1, 2; Rev. v. 8; viii. 3, 4.

   87 – The animals offered by the Greeks and Romans were
        generally of the domestic kind, but also included pigs,
        dogs, horses, and sometimes even fish, which are mentioned
        as pleasing to certain gods. The Hebrew sacrificial
        system, therefore, which rejected all animals caught in
        the chase, as stags, gazelles, antelopes, could never
        have contemplated such a sacrifice as that of the Roman
        emperors, who not unfrequently slaughtered for their
        hecatombs a hundred lions, and as many eagles. See
        Hengstenberg, _On the Sacrifices of Holy Script_. p. 377;
        Kurtz, p. 59; Michaelis’ _Laws of Moses_, III. 95.

   88 – Kurtz’s _Sacrificial Worship_, p. 250.

   89 – The chief public burnt-offerings were presented at (i) the
        daily morning and evening service; (ii) on the Sabbath,
        which was double that of every day, with a double meat-
        and drink-offering (Num. xxviii. 9, 10); (iii) at the
        New Moon, the three great Festivals, the great Day of
        Atonement, and the Feast of Trumpets (Num. xxviii. 11).
        Private burnt-offerings were appointed (i) for the
        consecration of the priests (Ex. xxix. 15); (ii) the
        purification of women (Lev. xii. 6–8); (iii) the
        cleansing of the leper (Lev. xiv. 10); (iv) removal of
        any ceremonial uncleanness (Lev. xv. 15, 30); (v) any
        accidental breach, and the conclusion of the Nazarite vow
        (Num. vi. 10, 14; and comp. Acts xxi. 26).

   90 – Bähr’s _Symbolik_ quoted in Kurtz’s _Sacrif. Worship_,
        p. 163.

   91 – From this circumstance also arises the fact that
        Peace-offerings were offered on the most magnificent
        scale at seasons of great solemnity and rejoicing; _e.g._
        at the inauguration of the Covenant (Ex. xxiv. 5); the
        consecration of Aaron and the Tabernacle (Lev. ix. 18);
        the solemn reading of the Law on Ebal and Gerizim (Josh.
        viii. 31); at the accession of Saul (1 Sam. xi. 15); at
        the introduction of the Ark by David into Mt. Zion (2 Sam.
        vi. 17); at the dedication of the Temple by Solomon (1 Kin.
        viii. 63; ix. 25); at the great Passover of Hezekiah
        (2 Chron. xxx. 22); while on two occasions only do we find
        them connected with national sorrow (Judg. xx. 26; 2 Sam.
        xxiv. 25).

   92 – See Kurtz’s _Sacrificial Worship_, p. 192; Fairbairn’s
        _Typology_, II. 348; Browne’s _Hebrew Antiquities_,
        114, 115.

   93 – Von Gerlach, _On the Pentateuch_. After the return from
        the Captivity the observance of the Sabbath was fenced
        about by a multitude of petty prohibitions. Not only
        was marketing prohibited (Neh. x. 31; xiii. 15–19), but
        travelling beyond a Sabbath-day’s journey, i.e. 2000 paces
        or about 6 furlongs, bearing arms even in time of war
        (1 Macc. ii. 36), plucking ears of corn, healing the sick,
        carrying a bed (comp. Matt. xii. 10; Mk. iii. 2; Lk. vi. 7;
        Jn. ix. 14, 16).

   94 – Of these there were two at the Passover, one at Pentecost,
        one at the feast of Trumpets, one on the Day of Atonement,
        and two at the feast of Tabernacles.

   95 – The tendency of the Eastern nations to worship the Moon
        was inveterate. In Egypt this luminary, under the name of
        Isis, was one of the only two deities which commanded the
        reverence of all the Egyptians (Herodotus, II. 42, 47);
        in Syria she was worshipped under the name of Ashtaroth
        Karnaim, the _horned Astarte_; in Babylonia under the name
        of Sin, and called _Lord of the Month_. We see, therefore,
        how necessary it was that the Israelites should have,
        besides a penal prohibition, some positive preservative
        against such worship, and by the blast of the sacred
        trumpets and the additional sacrifices be taught to pay
        honour to the Eternal One, the Creator and Sustainer of
        all things, who _appointed the moon for seasons_ (Ps.
        civ. 19).

   96 – Both Alexander and Julius Cæsar exempted the Jews from
        tribute during it. Comp. Joseph. _Ant._ XIV. 10, § 6.
        See article _Sabbatical Year_, in Smith’s _Bib. Dict._ At
        first sight, it is there observed, the provisions of this
        enactment seem impracticable. But it is to be remembered
        (i) that the land would actually derive much benefit from
        lying fallow at a time when the rotation of crops was
        unknown; (ii) in no year was the owner allowed to reap the
        whole harvest (Lev. xix. 9; xxiii. 22); and the remainder
        would in the fertile soil of Palestine resow itself and
        produce a considerable result; (iii) the vines and olives
        would naturally yield their fruit; (iv) owners of land
        were expected to lay in provision during previous years
        (Lev. xxv. 20–22).

   97 – Von Gerlach, _On the Pentateuch_.

   98 – This most difficult word is variously explained, as a
        designation (i) of the _goat_ itself, and = _the goat
        sent away_, or _let loose_, the _scape-goat_; (ii) of the
        _place_ to which it was sent, and = _desert places_, or
        the name of a mountain near Sinai; (iii) of a _personal
        being_ to whom the goat was sent, and = _the apostate,
        the unclean_, an evil demon, or the devil himself; (iv)
        of the lot cast upon it, = for _complete sending away_, or
        _removal of sin_. Of these explanations, No. i. has in its
        favour the most ancient authorities; No. ii. the largest
        majority of the latest commentators, who compare Isai.
        xiii. 22; xxxiv. 14; Lev. xvii. 7; Matt. xii. 43; Lk.
        viii. 27; Rev. xviii. 2.

   99 – And, according to Num. xxix. 7–11, other sacrifices with
        the usual meat-offering.

  100 – The Passover was eminently an Historical Festival. Year
        after year, from generation to generation, it was to
        recall, as in “a living drama,” the great facts of the
        national deliverance, the awful night when there was not
        a house in Egypt where there was not one dead, when the
        Destroying Angel passed over the houses of the Israelites,
        and the people were delivered, not by their own might or
        by their own strength, but by the uplifted hand of Jehovah.
        It was the nation’s annual Birth-day Feast, the Festival
        of Redemption. Its chief features were (i) the offering
        of a _single victim_ for each Paschal company; (ii) the
        _Paschal Meal_ with which the Festival began; (iii) the
        eating of _unleavened bread_ during the whole time it

        No other Festival was so full of typical meaning, or
        pointed so clearly _to good things to come_ (Heb. x. 1).
        (i) It was a Feast of Redemption foreshadowing a future
        and greater Redemption (Gal. iv. 4, 5); (ii) The Victim,
        a lamb _without blemish and without spot_, was a striking
        type of the _Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the
        world_ (Jn. i. 29; 1 Cor. v. 7; 1 Pet. i. 19); (iii) Slain
        not by the priest but by the head of the Paschal company,
        its blood shed and sprinkled on the Altar, roasted whole
        without the breaking of a bone, it symbolized Him who
        was put to death by the people (Acts ii. 23), whose Blood
        during a Paschal Festival was shed on the Altar of His
        Cross, whose side the soldier pierced, but brake not His
        legs (Jn. xix. 32–36); (iv) Eaten at the sacrificial meal
        (peculiar to the peace-offering) with bitter herbs and
        unleavened bread (the symbol of purity) it pointed to
        that one Oblation of Himself once offered, whereby Christ
        has made us at peace with God (Eph. ii. 14, 15), in which
        whosoever truly believes must walk in repentance, and
        sincerity and truth (1 Cor. v. 7, 8); (v) It was at a
        Paschal Supper that its Antitype the Christian Eucharist
        was instituted by our Lord. (Matt. xxvi. 17; Mark xiv. 12.)

  101 – Though nowhere mentioned in Scripture, the later Jews saw
        in this Festival a commemoration of the giving of the Law
        on Mount Sinai, which is made out from Ex. xix. to have
        taken place on the fiftieth day after the departure from
        Egypt, and may possibly be hinted at in Deut. xvi. 12.
        Certainly Christians in the early ages of the Church
        observed the coincidence between the bestowal of the Holy
        Spirit on the Apostles at Pentecost (Acts ii. 1), and the
        giving of the Law on the same day. “It may have been on
        this account that Pentecost was the last Jewish Festival
        (as far as we know) which St Paul was anxious to observe
        (Acts xx. 16; 1 Cor. xvi. 8), and that _Whitsunday_
        came to be the first annual Festival instituted in the
        Christian Church.”――Art. _Pentecost_ in Smith’s _Bib. Dict._

  102 – Other customs are alluded to in the New Testament in
        connexion with this Feast. (a) On the evening of the first
        day the Court of the Women at the Temple was illuminated
        with golden candelabra (Jn. viii. 12), accompanied by the
        chanting of eleven Psalms, cxx–cxxxi, and the same joyous
        ceremony was renewed on each of the seven days. (b) Every
        day, at the time of morning sacrifice, the Israelites
        in festive attire, and bearing branches in their hands,
        repaired to the Temple, and the priest having drawn
        water in a golden vessel from the fountain of Siloam,
        advanced to the Brazen Altar amidst the sound of trumpets,
        and poured it into a vessel on the western side furnished
        with small openings at the bottom, and wine into a
        similar vessel at the eastern side, whence by pipes it
        was conveyed to the Kidron (comp. Jn. vii. 37–39 with
        Isai. xii. 3).

  103 – Browne’s _Hebrew Antiquities_.

  104 – Æschylus, _Choeph_. 271.

  105 – Archbp. Trench _On the Miracles_, pp. 210–214.

  106 – See p. 74.

  107 – Milman’s _History of the Jews_, I. 171.

  108 – The same respect for the sacredness of human life marked
        other regulations. If an ox gored a man to death, it was
        to be killed, and if its owner, conscious of its ferocity,
        did not keep it in, he was also liable to death, but in
        this case a compensation was allowed to be assessed by
        the Avenger (Ex. xxi. 29–32). For other offences, such as
        cutting, maiming, wounding, assault, the _lex talionis_,
        _an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth_, was enforced,
        and, in certain cases, compensation for loss of time,
        and the expenses of the cure (Ex. xxi. 24, &c. Lev. xxiv.
        19, 20; Deut. xix. 21).

  109 – For subsequent traces of the descendants of Hobab in
        connection with the Israelites, see Judg. i. 16; iv. 11;
        1 Chron. ii. 55; 2 Kings x. 15; Jer. xxxv. 2. See Blunt’s
        _Coincidences_, Pt. I. xxii.

  110 – See note 68.

  111 – See Robinson, II. 175; Stanley, _S. and P._ 81, 82;
        Article _Hazer_ in Smith’s _Bib. Dict._

  112 – See Article _Kadesh_ in _Bib. Dict._ See Map.

  113 – See Calendar, p. 155.

  114 – See p. 30, and note 21.

  115 – See pp. 115, 116.

  116 – Kurtz, _History of the Old Covenant_, p. 293. See Blunt’s
        _Coincidences_, Pt. I. 75–79.

  117 – See Kurtz’s _History of the Old Covenant_, III. 310.

  118 – A recurrence also to idolatry was not uncommon, and
        especially the worship of the heavenly bodies. (Comp. Ezek.
        xx. 16, with Amos v. 25–29, and Acts vii. 42, 43.)

  119 – Even now called _Jebel Nebi-Haroûn_, the “Mount of the
        prophet Aaron.” Robinson, _Bib. Res._ II. 125.

  120 – Drew’s _Scripture Lands_, p. 84.

  121 – “The snakes against which the Brazen Serpent was
        originally raised as a protection, were peculiar to the
        eastern portion of the Sinaitic desert. There and nowhere
        else, and in no other moment of their history, could this
        symbol have originated.”――Stanley, _Lectures_, 182. “The
        sand on the shore (of the Gulf of _Akaba_) showed traces
        of snakes on every hand. They had crowded there in various
        directions. Some of the marks appeared to have been made
        by animals which could not have been less than two inches
        in diameter. My guide told me that snakes were very common
        in these regions, and that the fishermen were very much
        afraid of them, and put out their fires at night before
        going to sleep, because the light was known to attract
        them.”――Burckhardt’s _Travels_, II. 814, quoted in Kurtz,
        _History of the Old Covenant_, III. 343.

  122 – Comp. Deut. ii. 13, 18; Isai. xv. 7; Amos vi. 14.

  123 – “The _well_ of the Hebrew and the Arab is carefully
        distinguished from the _spring_. The _spring_ (_ain_) is
        the bright, open source――the _eye_ of the landscape, such
        as bubbles up among the crags of Sinai, or rushes forth
        in a copious stream from En-gedi or from Jericho. But the
        _well_ (_beer_) is the deep hole bored far under the rocky
        surface by the art of man.... Such wells were the scenes
        of the earliest contentions of the shepherd-patriarchs
        with the inhabitants of the land; the places of meeting
        with the women who came to draw water, ... the natural
        halting-places of great caravans, or wayfaring men,
        as when Moses gathered together the people to the well
        of Moab, which the princes dug with their sceptered
        staves.”――Stanley, _S. and P._ 147.

  124 – See p. 32, note.

  125 – Porter’s _Syria and Damascus_, II. 220; _Handbook_, II.
        506; Article _Argob_, _Dictionary of the Bible_, p. 42.

  126 – Article _Edrei_, Smith’s _Bib. Dict._ “Ibrahim Pasha,
        flushed with victory, and maddened by the obstinacy of
        a handful of Druzes, attempted to follow them into the
        _Lejah_, but scarcely a soldier who entered it returned.
        Every rock concealed an enemy. From inaccessible nooks
        death was dealt out; and thousands of the bravest of
        the Egyptian troops left their bones amid the defiles
        of the Lejah. The Turks were still less successful in
        1852.”――Porter’s _Handbook_, p. 504.

  127 – Probably one of the common flat beds used at times on
        the housetops in Eastern countries, and made of bars
        of iron instead of the usual palm-sticks, Kitto’s _Bib.
        Illustrations_, II. 210. Others, however, suppose it
        was “sarcophagus of black basalt.”――Smith’s _Bib. Dict._
        Stanley’s _Lectures on Jewish History_, p. 216.

  128 – Stanley, _S. and P._ p. 298. Porter’s _Handbook_, I. 198.

  129 – “Even at the present day the pagan Orientals, in their
        wars, have always their magicians with them to curse their
        enemies, and to mutter incantations for their ruin. In
        our own war with the Burmese, the generals of the nation
        had several magicians with them, who were much engaged in
        cursing our troops; but as they did not succeed, a number
        of witches were brought for the same purpose.”――Kitto’s
        _Bible Illust._ II. 214, where he also quotes such a
        formula of imprecation from Macrobius. Comp. also Butler’s
        _Sermon on the Character of Balaam_. Blunt’s _Script.
        Coincidences_, Pt. I. xxiv.

  130 – Article _Kirjath-huzoth_, in Smith’s _Bib. Dict._

  131 – Porter’s _Handbook_, p. 300.

  132 – Keble’s _Christian Year_, 2nd Sunday after Easter;
        Stanley’s _S. and P._ p. 299.

  133 – Num. xxiv. 17 _Margin_.

  134 – Article _Sheth_ in Smith’s _Bib. Dict._

  135 – For the version here adopted, and on this early prophecy
        of the future rise of the power of Greece and of Europe,
        see Dr Pusey’s _Lectures on the Prophet Daniel_, pp.
        58, 59.

  136 – Stanley, _S. and P._ p. 324. “It is still the favourite
        tract of the Bedouin shepherds.”

  137 – See p. 78.

  138 – “And the eastern side of the Jordan valley up to the
        lake of Chinnereth, or Gennesareth” ( Num. xxxii. 34–38),
        Article _Gad_ in _Bib. Dictionary_.

  139 – Article _Manasseh_ in Smith’s _Bib. Dict._; Stanley,
        _S. and P._ p. 327.

  140 – Milman’s _History of the Jews_, p. 211.

  141 – On the expressive figure of _the Rock_, as applied to God
        six times in this Song, xxxii. 4, 15, 18, 30, 31, 37, see
        Stanley, _Lectures_, 198.

  142 – Stanley’s _Lectures on Jewish History_, pp. 199, 200; Comp.
        also _S. and P._ p. 301.

  143 – See p. 32, note.

  144 – Stanley, _S. and P._ p. 307; _Lectures_, p. 235. Its
        modern name is _Erîha_, or, as it is more commonly
        pronounced, _Rîha_, “a degenerate shoot, both in name and
        character, of the ancient Jericho.” One single solitary
        palm now timidly rears its head where once stood the
        renowned “City of Palm-trees,” Deut. xxxiv. 3; Judg. i. 16;
        Rob. _Bib. Res._ I. 552.

  145 – Stanley, _S. and P._ p. 307. Comp. 2 Kings ii. 7.

  146 – See the _Calendar_, p. 155.

  147 – By some the Captain of the Lord’s Host is supposed to have
        been a created being, by others an uncreated Angel, the
        Son of God.

  148 – Never again did Jericho become a _fortified city_: as a
        _town_, it was assigned to the tribe of Benjamin (Josh.
        xviii. 21), and as such was inhabited (Judg. iii. 13;
        2 Sam. x. 5); but not till the time of Ahab was the attempt
        made by the Bethelite Hiel (1 Kings xvi. 34), to make
        it once more a fortified city. In his case the curse of
        Joshua was fulfilled: his eldest son Abiram died at its
        foundation, and his youngest, Segub, when the gates were
        set up.

  149 – Probably a stiff embroidered robe, made in the loom with
        the needle and of several colours. See Layard’s _Nineveh_,
        II. 319, quoted by Kitto, _Bib. Illustrations_, II. 204.
        This seems to indicate the existence of a trade between
        Canaan and Mesopotamia.

  150 – See Keil’s _Commentary on Joshua_, p. 208. And for the
        situation of Ai, Smith’s _Bib. Dict._, Article _Ai_.

  151 – Stanley’s _S. and P._ p. 203.

  152 – See p. 196.

  153 – “Such writing was common in ancient times: I have seen
        numerous specimens of it certainly _more than two thousand
        years old_, and still as distinct as when they were first
        inscribed on the plaster.” Thomson’s _Land and the Book_,
        p. 471, Mill’s _Modern Samaritans_.

  154 – The acoustic properties of this valley are interesting,
        the more so that several times they are incidentally
        brought to our notice in Holy Writ (comp. Josh. viii. 33;
        Judg. ix. 7). It is impossible to conceive a spot more
        admirably adapted for Joshua’s purpose than this one, in
        the very centre of the newly acquired land, nor one which
        could more exactly fulfil all the required conditions....
        A single voice might be heard by many thousands, shut in
        and conveyed up and down by the enclosing hills. In the
        early morning we could not only see from Gerizim a man
        driving his ass down a path on Mount Ebal, _but could hear
        every word he uttered as he urged it on_; and in order to
        test the matter more certainly, on a subsequent occasion
        two of our party _stationed themselves on opposite
        sides of the valley, and with perfect ease recited the
        commandments antiphonally_.” Tristram’s _Land of Israel_,
        pp. 149, 150.

  155 – It was probably on this occasion that the Egyptian coffin
        containing the embalmed body of their great ancestor
        was laid by the two tribes of the house of Joseph in the
        _parcel of ground_ near Shechem, _which Jacob bought of
        the sons of Hamor_ (Gen. xxxiii. 19; l. 25).

  156 – Or another place of the same name now called _Jilgilia_,
        situated near Bethel in the direct route from Shechem to

  157 – They became “slaves of the Sanctuary,” = Deo donati. Comp.
        Ezra viii. 20; 1 Chron. ix. 2; Num. viii. 16, 19. On the
        subsequent breaking of this compact by Saul, see 2 Sam.
        xxi. 1–5.

  158 – In this same locality Judas Maccabæus won his first great
        victory over the forces of Syria (1 Macc. iii. 16–24), and
        later the Roman army under Cestius Gallus was totally cut
        up by the insurgent Jews (Joseph. _B. J._ II. 19, 8, 9).
        See Stanley’s _S. and P._ p. 212; Smith’s _Bib. Dict._,
        Article _Beth-horon_.

  159 – See Keil _on Joshua_, p. 219; and Article _Makkedah_ in
        Smith’s _Bib. Dictionary_.

  160 – “As the British chiefs were driven to the Land’s End
        before the advance of the Saxon, so at this Land’s End of
        Palestine the kings were gathered for this last struggle.”
        _S. and P._ p. 391.

  161 – See Keil _on Joshua_, x. 39. The etymology, however, is
        not certain. It was also called Kirjath-sannah, _city of
        palms_ (Josh. xv. 49). See Wilton’s _Negeb_, 212 _n._

  162 – The position of _Shiloh_ is very definitely described in
        Judg. xxi. 19, as _on the north side of Bethel, on the
        east side of the highway that goeth up from Bethel to
        Shechem, and on the south of Lebonah_. Exactly in the
        position here indicated, Dr Robinson found a ruin called
        _Seilûn_. “We were,” he says, “on the east of the great
        road between Bethel and Shechem, and in passing on towards
        the latter place we came, after half-an-hour, to the
        village of Lebonah, now _El-Lubban_.” _Bib. Res._ II. 269.
        “The selection of the site for the Tabernacle belongs to
        this period, and could belong to no other. The place of
        the sanctuary was naturally fixed by the place of the Ark.
        This was, in the first instance, at Gilgal. But as the
        conquerors advanced into the interior, a more central
        situation became necessary. This was found in a spot
        unmarked by any natural features of strength or beauty,
        or by any ancient recollections, recommended only by its
        comparative seclusion, near the central thoroughfare of
        Palestine, yet not actually upon it.” Stanley, _Lectures
        on Jewish History_, p. 278.

  163 – Gibeon, Gibeah, Geba and Gaba, all mean _hill_; Ramah and
        Ramathaim, _eminence_; Mizpah, _a watch-tower_.

  164 – Article _Ephraim_ in Smith’s _Bib. Dict._

  165 – It has been compared to the plain of Stirling, situated
        in like manner at the opening of the Scottish Highlands,
        and in like manner the scene of almost all the decisive
        battles of Scottish history. Stanley’s _S. and P._
        p. 337 _n._

  166 – Porter’s _Handbook of Syria and Palestine_, II. 352.

  167 – By some derived from Cinnoor (κινύρα, _cithara_, a “harp”),
        as if in allusion to the oval shape of the lake.

  168 – Porter’s _Handbook of Syria and Palestine_, II. 363;
        Pusey’s _Lectures on Daniel_, p. 294.

  169 – Keil _on Josh._ xxiv. 26–28.

  170 – Holy Scripture itself suggests (Heb. iv. 8) the
        consideration of Joshua as a type of Christ. The following
        amongst many other typical resemblances may be pointed out:
        (1) the name common to both; (2) Joshua brings the people
        of God into the land of Promise, and divides it among
        the tribes; Jesus brings His people into the presence
        of God, and assigns to them their mansions; (3) as Joshua
        succeeded Moses and completed his work, so the Gospel of
        Christ succeeded the Law, announced One by whom all that
        believe are justified from all things from which we could
        not be justified by the Law of Moses (Acts xiii. 39). See
        Article _Joshua_ in Smith’s _Dictionary_; Pearson _on the
        Creed_, Art. II.

  171 – See p. 35.

  172 – Such is the explanation of Josephus, _Ant._ V. ii. § 2,
        who adds that the siege lasted some time.

  173 – See the marginal date at Judges, chap. xvii. It is to be
        observed that (i) Dan was not yet settled, Judg. xviii. 1;
        (ii) Phinehas, the grandson of Aaron, was living (Judg.
        xx. 28), as also the grandson of Moses; (iii) the iniquity
        of Gibeah is mentioned, Hos. x. 9, as the first open sin of
        Israel in Canaan. See Angus’ _Bible Handbook_, 460 _n._

  174 – Kitto’s _Bibl. Illus._ II. 447.

  175 – See p. 218.

  176 – Mr Thomson compares it with the soil of the lower portion
        of the Mississippi; “even now the region produces large
        crops of wheat, barley, maize, sesame, rice, and other
        plants, with very little labour ... while horses, cattle,
        and sheep fatten on the rich pastures, and large herds
        of black buffaloes luxuriate in the streams and in
        the deep mire of the marshes.” Thomson’s _Land and the
        Book_, p. 214; Robinson, _Bib. Res._ III. 396; Blunt’s
        _Coincidences_, Pt. II. 108–110.

  177 – In the English version the reading is _the son of
        Manasseh_ (Judg. xviii. 30), a name probably substituted
        out of respect for the great Lawgiver, whose name is
        preserved in several Hebrew MSS. and the Vulgate. See
        Articles _Micah_, _Jonathan_, _Manasseh_, and _Laish_ in
        Smith’s _Bib. Dict._

  178 – Comp. Livy, XXX. 7; XXVIII. 37; in XXXIII. 46, XXXIV. 61
        they are called _judices_. Stanley’s _Lectures_, p. 292.

  179 – See p. 216.

  180 – See Blunt’s _Coincidences_, Pt. II. v. 114–117.

  181 – Stanley’s _Lectures on Jewish History_, p. 317.

  182 – “The ploughman still carries his goad――a weapon apparently
        more fitted for the hand of the soldier than the peaceful
        husbandman. The one I saw was of the ‘oak of Bashan,’ and
        measured upwards of 10 feet in length. At one end was an
        iron spear, and at the other a piece of the same metal
        flattened. One can well understand how a warrior might use
        such a weapon with effect in the battle-field.” Porter’s
        _Syria and Damascus_, II. 35. Comp. Homer, _Il._ VI. 135.

  183 – Identified by Thomson with _Harothieh_, the Arabic form
        of the Hebrew Harosheth, an enormous double mound about
        8 miles from Megiddo, exactly in the line of the retreat
        of the Canaanites, at the entrance of the pass to Esdraelon
        from the plain of Acre. “It was,” he writes, “probably
        called Harosheth _of the Gentiles_, or _nations_, because
        it belonged to those Gentiles of Acre and the neighbouring
        plains whom we know from Judg. i. 31 the Hebrews could not
        subdue.” _The Land and the Book_, p. 437.

  184 – Compare the family name of Hannibal, Barca = fulmen belli.
        See _Barak_ in Smith’s _Bib. Dict._; Joseph. _Ant._ V. 5,
        § 2.

  185 – Probably = _height_, “rising abruptly to a height of
        about 1000 ft. from the north-eastern arm of the plain
        of Esdraelon, and standing entirely insulated, except on
        the W., where a narrow ridge connects it with the hills of
        Nazareth.” See Robinson, _Bib. Res._ II. 352.

  186 – See pp. 78, 194.

  187 – See note 109.

  188 – Or the “Oak of the Unloading of Tents,” Stanley’s
        _Lectures_, p. 326. “The black tents of the Turkman and
        Kurds, strangers like the Kenites, may still be seen
        pitched among the oaks and terebinths that encompass the
        little plain of Kedesh; proving that after the lapse of
        more than 3000 years the state of society in the country
        is but little changed.” Porter’s _Handbook of Syria and
        Palestine_, II. 444. For the forests of Naphtali, see
        p. 219.

  189 – See p. 226.

  190 – Thomson, _Land and the Book_, p. 435.

  191 – Josephus, _Ant._ V. 5, § 4. See Thomson, p. 436.

  192 – “As in like case in the battle of Cressy.” Stanley’s
        _Lectures_, p. 324.

  193 – “I have seen this stream swollen and rapid, after heavy
        rains, when the winter torrents of Galilee and Carmel flow
        into it; then it is a river ‘with waters to swim in, a
        river that cannot be passed over;’ and I can well imagine
        the hosts of Sisera, his chariots and horses, struggling
        there.” _Domestic Life in Palestine_, pp. 111, 112. “When
        largely swollen during the great rains of winter it is
        _spongy_ enough――much easier to find than to get over――I
        once crossed through the lower part of Esdraelon ...
        and had no little trouble with its _bottomless mire_
        and _tangled grass_.” Thomson, _L. and B._, p. 435; and
        compare Van de Velde, I. p. 289. Some of the results of
        this battle were nearly reproduced in the battle of Mount
        Tabor, April 16, 1799, when many of the fugitive Turks were
        drowned in the Kishon. See Smith’s _Bib. Dict._, Article

  194 – See Thomson, _The Land and the Book_, p. 441.

  195 – See p. 194.

  196 – “In precisely the same manner do the Bedawîn Arabs, these
        modern Midianites, come up the Wady of Jezreel and Wady
        Sherrar, _after the people have sown_, and destroy the
        increase of the earth; and not only destroy the increase
        of the field, but commit wholesale murder, as these
        did upon the brethren of Gideon at Tabor.... Both these
        valleys are now swarming with these _children of the East_,
        come over Jordan to consume the land.” Thomson, _The Land
        and the Book_, p. 448; _Domestic Life in Palestine_, pp.
        178, 179. “This is one of the chief causes of the present
        poverty of the country.”

  197 – Stanley, _S. and P._ p. 151; Smith’s _Dict._, Article

  198 – “The summer threshing-floors are in the open country, and
        on an elevated position, to catch the wind when winnowing
        the grain, and of course they would be altogether unsafe
        at such a time, while the vineyards are hid away in the
        wadies and out on the wooded hills, and thus adapted
        for concealment. Indeed, I myself have seen grain thus
        concealed in this same country, during the lawless days
        of civil war.” Thomson, _The Land and the Book_, p. 448.

  199 – “It is worthy of remark that the men of Issachar are not
        mentioned, and we can from this point readily imagine
        the reason. The people of Issachar lived here on this
        great plain (Esdraelon), and were, of course, altogether
        surrounded by and at the mercy of the Midianites, as these
        villages of Sulan, Shŭtta, Zer’in, &c., now are in the
        power of these Bedawîn. They therefore _could not_ join
        the army of Gideon.” Thomson, _The Land and the Book_,
        p. 449; Stanley’s _Lectures_, p. 344.

  200 – Thomson, _The Land and the Book_, p. 449.

  201 – The _Zabit_ or _Agha_ of the police at Cairo carries with
        him at night “a torch which burns soon after it is lighted,
        without a flame, excepting when it is waved through the
        air, when it suddenly blazes forth: it therefore answers
        the same purpose as our dark lantern. _The burning end_ is
        sometimes concealed in a small pot or jar, or covered with
        something else, where not required to give light.” Lane’s
        _Modern Egyptians_, I. ch. iv.; Smith’s _Bib. Dict._

  202 – For similar stratagems, see Liv. xxii. 16; Sall. _de Bell.
        Jug._ ch. 99.

  203 – See p. 55.

  204 – See Article _Zebah_, in Smith’s _Bib. Dict._; Josephus,
        _Ant._ V. 6, § 5.

  205 – Rendered in Isai. xvii. 13 a “_rolling_ thing.” Probably
        the allusion is to the wild artichoke which “in growing
        throws out numerous branches of equal size and length in
        all directions, forming a sort of sphere or globe, a foot
        or more in diameter. When ripe and dry in autumn, these
        branches become light and dry as a feather, the parent
        stem breaks off at the ground, and the wind carries these
        vegetable globes whithersoever it pleaseth.... The Arabs
        derive one of their many forms of cursing from this plant;
        ‘May you be whirled like the ’akkûb (wild artichoke),
        before the wind, until you are caught in the thorns, or
        plunged into the sea.’” Thomson, _Land and the Book_,
        p. 564.

  206 – For subsequent mention of this deliverance, see 1 Sam.
        xii. 11; Ps. lxxxiii. 11; Isai. ix. 4, x. 26; Heb. xi. 32.

  207 – See pp. 31, 55.

  208 – See p. 209.

  209 – “Several lofty precipices of Gerizim literally overhang
        the city, any one of which would answer Jotham’s purpose.
        Nor would it be difficult to be heard, as everybody knows
        who has listened to the _public crier_ of villages on
        Lebanon. In the stillness of the evening, after the people
        have returned home from their distant fields, he ascends
        the mountain-side above the place, or to the roof of some
        prominent house, and then _lifts up his voice and cries_
        as Jotham did. Indeed, the people in these mountainous
        countries are able, from long practice, so to pitch their
        voices as to be heard distinctly at distances almost
        incredible. They talk with persons across enormous wadies,
        and give the most minute directions, which are perfectly
        understood; and in doing this they seem to speak very
        little louder than their usual tone of conversation.
        Jotham, therefore, might easily be heard by the greater
        part of the inhabitants of Shechem.... The very trees
        which most abound at Nablous (Shechem) are the olive, the
        fig, the vine, and the bramble.” Thomson, _The Land and
        the Book_, p. 474; Stanley’s _Lectures_, p. 350; Tristram,
        p. 150.

  210 – See Calendar, p. 155.

  211 – “Situated 13 Roman miles from Shechem, on the road to
        Scythopolis. There it still is; its name――_Tubâs_――hardly
        changed; the village on a rising ground to the left of
        the road, a thriving, compact, and strong-looking place,
        surrounded by immense woods of olives.” See Robinson, _Bib.
        Res._ III. p. 305; Smith’s _Bib. Dict._, Article _Thebez_.

  212 – See 2 Sam. xi. 21.

  213 – Lev. xviii. 21; Deut. xii. 31.

  214 – Signifying 1st _an ear of corn_, and 2ndly _a stream or

  215 – The PHILISTINES, a race of “strangers,” appear to have
        made three immigrations into the fertile south-western
        Lowland of Palestine, just as there were different
        immigrations of Saxons and Danes into England. (i) The
        _first_ came from the _Casluhim_ (Gen. x. 14); (ii) the
        _second_ and chief from the _Caphtorim_ (Deut. ii. 23;
        Jer. xlvii. 4; Am. ix. 7), either from some part of Egypt,
        or of Asia Minor and its adjacent islands, probably Crete;
        (iii) the _third_ from the _Cherethim_ (1 Sam. xxx. 14).
        The earliest immigrants having expelled the _Avim_ (Deut.
        ii. 23) had in the time of Abraham and Isaac established a
        kingdom, the capital of which was at Gerar, and possessed
        a standing army (Gen. xxi. 22; xxvi. 26). After the Exodus,
        Gerar disappears from history, and the power of Philistia
        is concentrated in five new towns, _Gaza_, _Ashdod_,
        _Ashkelon_, _Gath_, _Ekron_, each raised on its slight
        eminence above the maritime plain, each possessing its
        dependent or “daughter towns” and villages (Josh. xv.
        45–47; 1 Ch. xviii. 1), and each having its own king or
        prince, who all consulted and acted as one. “The third
        immigration of the _Cherethim_ would account for the
        sudden increase of the strength of the Philistines at this
        period.” See Pusey, _Comment. on Amos_ ix. 7.

  216 – See pp. 158, 159.

  217 – See p. 229.

  218 – Thomson, _The Land and the Book_, p. 566.

  219 – Thomson, _The Land and the Book_, p. 552. “So great is the
        dread of fire in harvest-time, that the Arabs punish with
        death any one who sets fire to a wheat-field, even though
        done by accident.” _Ibid._ p. 553.

  220 – “The five cities of the Philistines divided, as it were,
        their idolatry between them; Ashdod being the chief seat
        of the worship of _Dagon_; Ashkelon of _Derceto_; Ekron of
        _Baal-zebub_; Gaza of the god _Marna_ (‘nature’).” Pusey,
        _Comment. on Amos_ i. 8.

  221 – Kurtz’s _Sacred History_, p. 171.

  222 – Some think during the judgeship of Ehud, others during
        that of Gideon. Kurtz, p. 164.

  223 – See Calendar, p. 155.

  224 – For David’s subsequent connection with Moab, see p. 303.

  225 – The situation of Ramathaim = _double eminence_, is
        uncertain. “But the place long pointed out as Samuel’s
        tomb, and therefore the site of his birth, 1 Sam.
        xxv. 1, is the height, most conspicuous of all in the
        neighbourhood of Jerusalem, immediately above the town
        of Gibeon, known to the Crusaders as ‘Montjoye,’ being
        the spot from whence they first saw Jerusalem, now
        called _Neby Samwil_, ‘the Prophet Samuel.’” Smith’s
        _Bib. Dict._, Article _Ramah_, No. 2.

  226 – See Smith’s _Bib. Dict._, Article _Mantle_.

  227 – According to some, it was now that Shiloh was destroyed.
        See Ps. lxxviii. 60 sq., and Jer. vii. 12.

  228 – “Ashdod, as well as Ekron, have their name from their
        strength; Ashdod = _the mighty_, like Valentia; Ekron =
        _the firm-rooted_.” Pusey, _Comment. on Amos_ i. 8.

  229 – A name which suggests an early worship of the Sun there.
        In Josh. xix. 41, it is called _Ir-shemesh_. It is now
        called _’Ain es-Shems_, about 2 miles from the great
        Philistine plain, and 7 from Ekron. Thomson, _Land and
        Book_, p. 535.

  230 – For subsequent notices of such schools at Bethel and
        Jericho see 2 Kings ii. 3, 5; at Gilgal, iv. 38; vi. 1; on
        Mount Carmel, 1 Kings xviii. 30–42; 2 Kings ii. 25; iv. 25.

  231 – See also Judg. vi. 8; 1 Sam. ii. 27.

  232 – See Kurtz’s _Sacred History_, p. 176.

  233 – It is to be remembered that God had promised to Abraham
        that _kings_ should come from him (Gen. xvii. 6); Jacob
        had prophesied that the _Sceptre_ should not depart from
        Judah till Shiloh came (Gen. xlix. 10); and Moses had
        distinctly anticipated, nay, provided for the election of
        a king by laying down specific directions concerning the
        kingdom (Deut. xvii. 14–20). The elders, therefore, of
        Israel might well have inferred that it was the Divine
        intention ultimately to give the nation a monarchical
        constitution, and consequently that it was their duty
        patiently to await the development of the Divine counsels.
        See Kurtz’s _Sacred History_, p. 177.

  234 – According to the law as laid down in the above quotation
        from Deuteronomy, (i) The nomination of any Israelite
        king rested with Jehovah, whose Will would be made known
        through the High-priest, or the voice of a Prophet, or
        the sacred lot, a provision which could not fail to remind
        him that he was not an irresponsible autocrat, but the
        representative and viceroy of Jehovah: (ii) The monarch
        must be a native Israelite, not a foreigner, or even
        a proselyte: (iii) On his accession he must transcribe
        a copy of the Law, that he might know it and keep its
        Statutes: (iv) He was forbidden to maintain any large body
        of cavalry with a view to aggressive warfare: (v) He was
        to eschew the usual accompaniment of Oriental despotism,
        a numerous _Harem_, and the excessive accumulation of gold
        and silver, which could only be acquired by oppressive
        exactions from his subjects. Jahn’s _Heb. Comm._ 64, 65.

  235 – See p. 232.

  236 – See Calendar, p. 155.

  237 – Now Jeb’a, see 1 Sam. xiii. 16 (_margin_); Robinson, _Bib.
        Res._ I. 441, _n._; Porter’s _Handbook_, p. 214.

  238 – “East, and west, and north, through the three valleys
        which radiate from the uplands of Michmash――to Ophrah on
        the north, through the pass of Beth-horon on the west,
        and down the ravine of the hyenas, ‘toward the wilderness
        of the Jordan on the East.’” Stanley’s _S. and P._ 204;
        Robinson, _Bib. Res._ I. 441.

  239 – The deep gorge of the Wâdy-Suweinît, or Harith.
        “Immediately on leaving Jeb’a we descend by a rugged,
        zigzag track, apparently intended only for goats, into
        Wâdy-es-Suweinît, here tolerably wide, though deep and
        rocky. A few hundred yards to the right it contracts to
        a narrow ravine, shut in by high, almost perpendicular
        cliffs, above which on each side the ground is tolerably
        level. This is doubtless the scene of Jonathan’s adventure.”
        Porter’s _Handbook_, I. 215; Robinson, I. 440, 441.

  240 – Smith’s _Bib. Dict._, Article _Jonathan_; Stanley’s
        _S. and P._ p. 205.

  241 – See p. 156.

  242 – See p. 132.

  243 – Comp. (i.) Num. xiv. 45; (ii.) Judg. iii. 13; (iii.) Judg.
        vi. 3.

  244 – The family belonged to the greatest house in Judah, the
        descent being as follows: _Judah_, _Pharez_, _Hezron_,
        _Ram_, _Amminadab_, _Nahshon_ (Num. i. 7), _Salmon_, who
        married Rahab the Canaanite, _Boaz_, _Obed_, _Jesse_.
        (Ruth iv. 18–22; 1 Chr. ii. 5–12.)

            _Eliab._                      ┌ ABISHAI.
            _Abinadab._        _Zeruiah._ ┤ JOAB.
            _Shammah._                    └ ASAHEL.
            _Raddai._          _Abigail._ ─ AMASA.
            [_One not given._ 1 Chr. ii. 15.]
            [Comp. 1 Sam. xvi. 7–10 with 1 Chr. ii. 13–17.]

  245 – Article _David_ in Smith’s _Bibl. Dict._

  246 – Identified by Robinson with the _Wady es-Sŭmt_. “It took
        its name Elah of old from the terebinth, of which the
        largest specimen we saw in Palestine still stands in the
        vicinity; just as now it takes its name _es-Sumt_ from the
        acacias which are scattered in it.”――_Bibl. Dict._ II. 21.

  247 – In all ages the favourite weapon of the shepherds of Syria.
        See Thomson, _The Land and the Book_, p. 572.

  248 – “We do not know how long a period intervened between the
        return of David to his father’s house and his appearance
        before the king on the morning of the _duel_ with Goliath.
        If it were two or three years, it is possible that David
        had, in the meanwhile, suddenly shot up from boyhood to
        youth, tall and robust, and his personal appearance might
        have so changed as to bear little resemblance to the ruddy
        lad who played skilfully on the harp. It is a fact that
        lads of this country, particularly of the higher classes,
        are often very fair, fullfaced, and handsome, until about
        fourteen years of age, but during the next two or three
        years a surprising change takes place. They not only
        spring into fullgrown manhood as if by magic, but all
        their former beauty disappears; their complexion becomes
        dark, their features harsh and angular, and the whole
        expression of countenance stern, and even disagreeable.
        I have often been accosted by such persons, formerly
        intimate acquaintances, but who had suddenly grown
        entirely out of my knowledge, nor could I, without
        difficulty, recognize them.” Thomson’s _Land and the Book_,
        p. 569.

  249 – Used as a protection from gnats.

  250 – See _Naioth_ in Smith’s _Bib. Dict._ It was now, probably,
        that he became acquainted with the prophets _Nathan_ and

  251 – See Matt. xii. 3; Mark ii. 23; Luke vi. 3, 4.

  252 – Compare the histories of Coriolanus and Themistocles.

  253 – See titles of Psalms xxxiv. and lvi.

  254 – Thomson, _The Land and the Book_, p. 148.

  255 – See Robinson, I. 481, 2; Van de Velde, II. 156.

  256 – Comp. the story of Alexander in the Desert of Gedrosia.

  257 – Compare Psalms cxl., cxlii.

  258 – Robinson, _Bib. Res._ I. 492.

  259 – See Psalm liv.

  260 – Its original name was Hazazon-Tamar (_the pruning of the
        palm_), on account of the palm-groves which surrounded it
        (Gen. xiv. 7; 2 Chr. xx. 2). Wilton’s _Negeb_, 120. “We
        were now in the ‘wilderness of Engedi,’ where David and
        his men lived among ‘the rocks of the wild goats’....
        The whole scene is drawn to the life. On all sides the
        country is full of caverns, which might then serve as
        lurking-places for David and his men, as they do for
        outlaws at the present day.”――Robinson, _Bib. Res._ I.
        p. 500.

  261 – See Psalm lvii.

  262 – Psalms liv., lvii., lxiii. by their titles relate to this
        period, and it has been remarked that “probably these
        Psalms made the Psalter so dear to Alfred and to Wallace
        during their like wanderings.”――Smith’s _Bib. Dict._, Art.

  263 – See Smith’s _Bib. Dict._, Article _Hachilah_.

  264 – “I noticed, at all the encampments which we passed, that
        the sheikh’s tent was distinguished from the rest by a
        tall spear stuck upright in the ground in front of it; and
        it is the custom, when a party is out on an excursion for
        robbery or for war, that when they halt to rest, the spot
        where the chief reclines is thus designated.... The cruse
        of water is in exact accordance with the customs of the
        people at this day. No one ventures to travel over these
        deserts without his cruse of water, and it is very common
        to place one at the ‘bolster,’ so that the owner can
        reach it during the night. The Arabs eat their dinner
        in the evening, and it is generally of such a nature as
        to create thirst, and the quantity of water which they
        drink is enormous. The _cruse_ is, therefore, in perpetual
        demand.”――Thomson’s _L. and B._ 367.

  265 – Compare the story of the Persian king and Themistocles.

  266 – Wilton’s _Negeb_, p. 207.

  267 – “A lasting memorial of this battle was the law, which
        traced its origin to the arrangement made by David,
        formerly in the attack on Nabal (1 Sam. xxv. 13), and
        now again more completely, for the equal division of the
        plunder amongst the two-thirds who followed to the field,
        and the one-third who remained to guard the baggage”
        (1 Sam. xxx. 21–25). Smith’s _Bib. Dict._

  268 – See Robinson, _Bib. Res._ II. 325. “Shunem (_Sulem_)
        afforded an admirable camping-ground for a large army,
        _Jebel ed Dûhy_ rising abruptly behind, and the top
        of it commanding a perfect view of the great plain in
        every direction, so that there could be no surprise,
        nor could their march be impeded, or their retreat cut
        off.”――Thomson’s _Land and the Book_, 451.

  269 – Probably the same as the Spring of Harod or _Trembling_,
        at which Gideon’s three hundred lapped (see p. 247), and
        “identical with the fountain of Jalûd, a few miles to
        the east of the modern village of Jezreel.” Hewitt’s
        _Scripture Geography_, p. 33.

  270 – “The rock on which Endor is built has been hollowed out
        by the hand of nature into large caverns, whose dark and
        gloomy entrances brought involuntarily to my mind the
        witch of the days of Saul.” Van de Velde, II. 383.

  271 – Beth-shan (now _Beisan_) was one of the Canaanite
        strongholds which the Israelites had never taken. (See
        p. 225.) Situated on a _tell_ or hill, about 200 ft.
        high, on the slope of the range of Gilboa, it was a very
        strong position, with nearly perpendicular sides, and was
        abundantly supplied with water. Thomson, 455. Stanley, _S.
        and P._ 346.

  272 – Jabesh-gilead “was on the mountain-range east of the
        Jordan, _in full view of Beth-shan_, and these brave
        men would creep up to the _tell_, without being seen,
        while the deafening roar of the noisy cascades leaping
        through the deep ravines dividing the city would render
        it impossible for them to be heard.” Thomson, _The Land
        and the Book_, p. 445. Van de Velde, II. p. 360.

  273 – See pp. 283, 284.

  274 – See p. 44.

  275 – See p. 215.

  276 – See p. 53.

  277 – Compare the combat of the Horatii and Curiatii. _Livy_, I.
        xxiv., xxv.

  278 – See p. 210, and Art. _Ishbosheth_ in Smith’s _Bib. Dict._

  279 – See p. 219.

  280 – “The situation of Jerusalem is in several respects
        singular amongst the cities of Palestine. Its elevation is
        remarkable, occasioned, not from its being on the summit
        of one of the numerous hills of Judæa, like most of the
        towns and villages, but because it is on the edge of
        one of the highest table-lands of the country. Hebron,
        indeed, is higher still, by some hundred feet; and from
        the south, accordingly, the approach to Jerusalem is by
        a slight descent. But from every other side, the ascent
        is perpetual; and, to the traveller approaching Jerusalem
        from the west or east, it must always have presented the
        appearance, beyond any other capital of the then known
        world――we may add, beyond any important city that has ever
        existed on the earth――of a _mountain city, enthroned on a
        mountain fastness_.” (Comp. Ps. lxviii. 15, 16; lxxxvii. 1;
        cxxv. 1; lxxvi. 1, 2; lxvi. 4.) But besides being thus
        elevated, Jerusalem was separated from the rocky plateau
        of which it forms a part by deep and precipitous ravines
        on its south-eastern, southern, and western sides, out of
        which the rocky slopes of the city “rose like the walls
        of a fortress out of its ditches, so that from them it
        must have appeared quite impregnable.” “Something of the
        same effect is produced by those vast rents which, under
        the name of ‘Tago,’ surround or divide Ronda, Alhama, and
        Granada, on the table-lands which crown the summits of the
        Spanish mountains. But in Palestine, Jerusalem alone is so
        entrenched, and from this cause derived, in great measure,
        her early strength and subsequent greatness.” Stanley’s
        _Sinai and Palestine_, p. 172. Robinson’s _Bib. Res._ I.

  281 – Stanley’s _Sinai and Palestine_, p. 176.

  282 – See p. 225, and Kitto’s _Daily Bible Illustr._ III. 340.

  283 – Joseph. _Ant._ VII. 3. § 1. See Article _Jerusalem_ in
        Smith’s _Bib. Dict._ Kurtz’s _Sacred History_, p. 183.

  284 – “It was necessary for the commerce of Phœnicia that she
        should enjoy the friendship of whatever power commanded
        the great lines of inland traffic, which ran through
        Cœle-Syria and Damascus, by Hamath and Tadmor, to the
        Euphrates.” Rawlinson’s _Bampton Lectures_, p. 97.
        Kenrick’s _Phœnicia_, pp. 201–205. Heeren’s _Researches_,
        II. pp. 116, 117.

  285 – See p. 124. Blunt’s _Coincidences_, p. 130.

  286 – i. _The Army._ In early times all males above twenty and
        under fifty years of age were required to serve in the
        wars, and formed a kind of national militia (Deut. xx.
        5–9). A standing army, as we have already seen, was
        first formed at the early part of Saul’s reign (1 Sam.
        xiii. 2; xiv. 52). Under David the national forces were
        divided into twelve divisions of 24,000 men, each division
        commanded by its own officer, and liable to be called on
        to serve in their respective months (1 Chr. xxvii. 1–15).
        Unlike the armies of the surrounding nations, that of
        the Israelites was composed only of infantry, and but few
        chariots were as yet introduced (2 Sam. viii. 4). Over the
        entire force of the nation JOAB was commander-in-chief by
        right of his services before Jebus, and whenever the king
        was absent, he led the troops to battle.

        ii. _The Royal Body-guard_, or _the Cherethites and
        Pelethites_. To defend the person of the king a force was
        now for the first time organized, consisting of foreign
        mercenaries, the command of which was entrusted to the
        Levite BENAIAH, the son of the high-priest Jehoiada.
        (For whose exploits, see 2 Sam. xxiii. 20, 21; 1 Chr.
        xi. 22–25.)

        iii. _The Heroes_ or _Mighty Men_. Round the king when
        a fugitive in the cave of Adullam had gathered, as we
        have seen, a body of six hundred men. This number David
        always preserved, but elevated it to a sort of military
        Order, with the special title of the GIBBORIM, _Heroes_
        or _Mighty Men_. This body was divided into 3 divisions of
        200 each, and 30 divisions of 20 each. The lowest rank in
        this order consisted of the captains of the 30 divisions,
        who were known as _the Thirty_; then came the captains of
        the three larger divisions, who were known as _the Three_;
        and lastly, the commander of the whole force, who was
        known as _the Captain of the Mighty Men_, and was at this
        time ABISHAI, David’s nephew (2 Sam. xxiii. 8–39; 1 Chr.
        xi. 9–47). See Articles _David_ and _Army_ in Smith’s
        _Bibl. Dict._ Kitto’s _Bibl. Illustr._ III. pp. 301–304.

  287 – See note 215.

  288 – See pp. 49, 50.

  289 – See p. 304.

  290 – See p. 192.

  291 – See p. 256.

  292 – Already mentioned as the place where the bedstead of the
        giant Og was deposited (see p. 186). It was on the road
        between Heshbon and Bosra, on the edge of the desert, near
        one of the sources of the Jabbok. Afterwards from Ptolemy
        Philadelphus (B.C. 285–247) it received the name of
        _Philadelphia_, and in the Christian era became the seat
        of a bishop and one of the 19 sees of “Palestina Tertia.”
        Smith’s _Bib. Dict._, Article _Rabbah_.

  293 – See p. 271.

  294 – See p. 165.

  295 – To this sad period belong Psalms xxxii. li.

  296 – “The ruins which now adorn the ‘royal city’ are of a
        later Roman date; but the commanding position of the
        citadel remains, and the unusual sight of a living stream,
        abounding in fish, marks the significance of Joab’s song
        of victory――_I have fought against Rabbah, and have taken
        the city of waters_.” _Sinai and Palestine_, p. 323.

  297 – See Kitto’s _Daily Bibl. Illustr._ III. 395.

  298 – A village about six miles to the south of Bethlehem, the
        birthplace of the prophet _Amos_ (Am. i. 1).

  299 – See p. 238.

  300 – See the dates in margin, 2 Sam. xv.

  301 – What was Ahithophel’s motive for this defection is
        not stated; but it is to be remembered that he was
        the grandfather of Bath-sheba (Comp. 2 Sam. xx. 3 and
        xxiii. 34), and was doubtless well aware of the sad fate
        of Uriah, his son Eliam’s brother-officer. See Blunt’s
        _Coincidences_, p. II. x. pp. 136, 137. Art. _Ahithophel_,
        Smith’s _Bib. Dict._

  302 – See Ps. xli. 9; lv. 12, 13, 20.

  303 – Probably an inhabitant of Erech, a place of uncertain site.
        See Smith’s _Bib. Dict._

  304 – Compare the account of Abner and Rizpah, p. 320.

  305 – To this period belong Psalms iii., iv., xlii.

  306 – Thomson, _The Land and the Book_, p. 490.

  307 – Ibid.

  308 – “Now for the first time called _Israel_, as distinct
        from Judah. But it is likely that, although it now first
        appears, this distinction had actually grown up while
        David reigned over Judah only, and Ishbosheth over the
        other tribes.” Kitto, _Bibl. Illustr._ III. 424.

  309 – Sometimes called Abel-maim, _Abel on the waters_ (2 Chr.
        xvi. 4). “Taking advantage of an oblong knoll of natural
        rock that rises above the surrounding plain, the original
        inhabitants raised a high mound sufficiently large for
        their city. With a deep ‘trench’ (2 Sam. xx. 15) and
        strong wall, it must have been almost impregnable. The
        country on every side is most lovely, well watered, and
        very fertile. The neighbouring fountains and brooks would
        convert any part of this country into a paradise of fruits
        and flowers; and such, no doubt, was Abel, when she was
        called a ‘mother in Israel.’” (2 Sam. xx. 19.) Thomson,
        _The Land and the Book_, p. 217.

  310 – See Calendar, p. 155, and Article _Rizpah_, in Smith’s
        _Bib. Dict._

  311 – See Rawlinson’s _Five Great Monarchies_, II. 333, _n._

  312 – Jahn’s _Hebrew Commonwealth_, p. 76.

  313 – The life of David admits of a fivefold division.
        (i) His shepherd life at Bethlehem; (ii) His courtier
        life with Saul at Gibeah; (iii) His life as an outlaw;
        (iv) His Kingly life at Hebron during 7½ years, and
        (v) at Jerusalem during 33 years, in all 40. His history
        will be ever memorable, whether we regard _the work he
        achieved_, or _his own personal character_.

        (i) _His work._ “He had succeeded to a kingdom distracted
        with civil dissension, environed on every side, or
        occupied by powerful and victorious enemies, without
        a capital, almost without an army, without any bond of
        union between the tribes. He left a compact and united
        state, stretching from the frontier of Egypt to the foot
        of Lebanon, from the Euphrates to the sea. He had crushed
        the power of the Philistines, subdued or curbed all the
        adjacent kingdoms; he had formed a lasting and important
        alliance with the great city of Tyre. He had organized
        an immense disposable force: every month 24,000 men,
        furnished in rotation by the tribes, appeared in arms,
        and were trained as the standing militia of the country.
        At the head of his army were officers of consummate
        experience, and, what was more highly esteemed in the
        warfare of the time, of extraordinary personal activity,
        strength, and valour[314].” He had also given especial
        attention to the management of public worship, as the
        most efficacious means of promoting religion and morality,
        and, consequently, obedience to the Invisible, Supreme
        Monarch. The solemn transfer of the Ark of the Covenant,
        at which almost all the people were present, had made
        a deep impression on their minds, and had awakened them
        to a sincere adoration of Jehovah. These favourable
        dispositions he had upheld and strengthened by suitable
        regulations in the service of the priests and Levites,
        and especially by the instructive and animating Psalms,
        which were composed partly by himself, and partly by other
        poets and prophets[315]. “In comparison with the hymns
        of David, the sacred poetry of all other nations sinks
        into mediocrity. They have embodied so exquisitely the
        universal language of religious emotion that they have
        entered, with unquestioned propriety, into the ritual
        of the holier and more perfect religion of Christ. The
        songs which cheered the solitudes of the desert caves of
        Engedi, or resounded from the voice of the Hebrew people
        as they wound along the glens or the hill-sides of Judea,
        have been repeated for ages in almost every part of the
        habitable world, in the remotest islands of the ocean,
        among the forests of America or the sands of Africa[316].”

        (ii) _His character._ Obedience to the Divine commands
        was ever with David the axiom of his life, and in every
        step he took he shewed the greatest anxiety to act as
        God’s servant (2 Sam. ii. 1; 1 Sam. xxiii. 2, 4). All
        deliverance from danger, and all victories from first to
        last, he ascribed to the Divine aid, and neither in the
        hour of danger, nor the more trying hour of prosperity,
        did he go after “strange gods,” or introduce any
        idolatrous rites. It was, probably, to this feature of his
        administration that God referred, when He described him as
        _a man after His own heart_ (1 Sam. xiii. 14, Comp. Acts
        xiii. 22), rather than to his private virtues. And yet
        these were of no mean order. “Shepherd, soldier, poet,
        king, the romantic friend, the chivalrous leader, the
        devoted father,” he was eminent alike for his exalted
        piety, and his noble patriotism. “During a war of seven
        years he never lifted his sword against a subject, and
        at the end of it he punished no rebels, and remembered no
        offence but the murder of his rival (2 Sam. iv. 10–12).”
        The adultery with Bath-sheba, the murder of Uriah, the
        numbering of the people, with a view, probably, to foreign
        conquests, are the deep blots on his fame, and the chief
        instances in which he forgot alike himself and his God.
        “And yet when we look at the piety of his youth, the depth
        of his contrition, the strength of his faith, the fervour
        of his devotion, the loftiness and variety of his genius,
        the largeness and warmth of his heart, his eminent valour
        in any age of warriors, his justice and wisdom as a ruler,
        and, above all, his adherence to the worship and will of
        God, we may well regard him as a model of kingly authority
        and spiritual obedience[317].”

        Moreover, not only was he the ancestor of Christ after the
        flesh, not only was the blessing of the Promise expressly
        transferred to his family, but in his humiliation and
        exaltation, as the king of the people of God, and as the
        vanquisher of heathen nations, he was a type of HIM whose
        coming he foretold in many of the Psalms, and who is not
        called the son of Abraham, or of Jacob, or of Moses, but
        the “_Son of David_.” Kurtz’s _Sacred History_, p. 189;
        Article _David_, in Smith’s _Bib. Dict._

  314 – Milman’s _History of the Jews_, I. 305.

  315 – Jahn’s _Hebrew Commonwealth_, p. 75.

  316 – Milman’s _History of the Jews_, I. 307.

  317 – Angus, _Bible Handbook_, p. 437; Jahn’s _Hebrew
        Commonwealth_, p. 76; Chandler’s _Life of David_,
        pp. 582–587.

  318 – See _Table of Weights and Measures_ in the _Appendix_,
        pp. 492, 493. “Each country needed what the other could
        supply. The wheat of the plains of Galilee and the
        oil of the hill-country of Judah maintained the royal
        household of Hiram (Comp. Acts xii. 20); the skill of
        the Phœnician artists supplied the want of it among the
        Israelites.”――Kenrick’s _Phœnicia_, p. 355.

  319 – See p. 346. Milman’s _History of the Jews_, I. 311.

  320 – Milman’s _History of the Jews_, I. 315.

  321 – “These successive terraces were an imitation of the
        Assyrian style of architecture, which at this time
        prevailed more or less all over Syria, and particularly
        at Tyre.” Lewin’s _Jerusalem_, p. 255; Art. _Palace_ in
        Smith’s _Bib. Dict._

  322 – The chief architect of the Temple was Hiram (1 K. vii.
        13, 40), called also Huram in 2 Chr. ii. 13; iv. 11, 16,
        an Israelite on his mother’s side, of the tribe of Dan or
        Naphtali, by birth a Tyrian.

  323 – In 2 Chron. iii. 4, the height is said to have been 120
        cubits. See Milman’s _History of the Jews_, I. p. 313.

  324 – See p. 122.

  325 – “Such a copious use of gold was a practice known to
        the Phœnicians, the Assyrians, and the Babylonians.”
        Rawlinson’s _Bampton Lectures_, p. 107.

  326 – The functions of the priests and Levites had already been
        duly arranged by David. (i) The Priests were divided into
        24 courses (1 Chr. xxiv. 1–19; 2 Chr. xxiii. 8; Luke i. 5),
        each of which served in rotation for one week, the special
        services of the week being assigned by lot (Luke i. 9).
        (ii) Of the Levites 24,000 were over the work of the
        temple; 6,000 were officers and judges; 4,000 were porters
        or sentries, and as such bore arms (1 Chr. ix. 19; 2 Chr.
        xxxi. 2); 4,000 formed the choir of singers and musicians.
        See Arts. _Priests_ and _Levites_ in Smith’s _Bib. Dict._

  327 – Comp. Psalms xxiv, xlvii, xcvii, xcviii, cvi.

  328 – See p. 153.

  329 – So called from its cedar pillars. Similarly the halls of
        the Nimroud palace “were supported by rows of pillars,
        not of stone, but of wood, and the Hall of Lebanon was
        supported by 3 rows of cedar pillars, 15 in a row, making
        45 in the whole.” Lewin’s _Jerusalem_, p. 270. Rawlinson’s
        _Bampton Lectures_, p. 106.

  330 – Baalath was a town of Dan near the Philistine plain. For
        the two Beth-horons, see p. 212. “The importance of the
        road on which the two Beth-horons are situated, the main
        approach to the interior of the country from the hostile
        districts on both sides of Palestine――Philistia and Egypt
        on the west, Moab and Ammon on the east――at once explains
        and justifies the frequent fortification of these towns
        at different periods of the history. This road is still,
        as in ancient times, the great road of communication and
        heavy transport between Jerusalem and the sea-coast.”
        Robinson’s _Bibl. Res._ II. 252. Smith’s _Bib. Dict._,
        Art. _Beth-horon_.

  331 – The exact site of Gezer has not been found, but it must
        have been between the lower Beth-horon and the sea, on the
        regular coast-road of communication with Egypt. Smith’s
        _Bibl. Dict._

  332 – For Hazor see pp. 201, 214. For Megiddo (now _el-Lejjûn_),
        see p. 240. It was a principal station on the caravan
        route from Egypt to Damascus, “and for a long while
        possessed a large khan, mentioned by Maundrell and many
        travellers after him.” Van de Velde, I. 353.

  333 – Tiphsah (= πόρος, “a ford”), the Thapsacus of the Greeks
        and Romans, “must have been a place of considerable
        trade, the land-traffic between the East and West passing
        through it, first on account of its fordway (which was
        the lowest upon the Euphrates), and then on account of
        its bridge, while it was likewise the point where goods
        were both embarked for transport down the stream, and
        also disembarked from boats which had come up to it, to be
        conveyed on to their final destination by land.” Smith’s
        _Bib. Dict._

  334 – “A region variously identified with (i) the south of
        Arabia, (ii) Sofala on the coast of Africa opposite to
        Madagascar, and (iii) India; the first was probably its
        locality, though the Jewish fleets may also have visited
        India.” Kenrick’s _Phœnicia_, p. 357.

  335 – Milman’s _History of the Jews_, I. 322. “Notwithstanding
        the long export of silver from the mines of Tartessus by
        the Phœnicians, who drew from them the wealth by which
        they founded so many powerful colonies, the Carthaginians,
        who succeeded the Phœnicians in their possession, derived
        from them the revenues by which they were enabled to pay
        their mercenary armies. Even in the Roman times 40,000
        men were employed as miners within a circuit of 400 stadia
        near Carthagena, and the workings yielded a revenue to the
        republic of 20,500 drachmas daily.” Kenrick’s _Phœnicia_,
        p. 211.

  336 – “The Palace of Solomon was below the Temple Platform,
        and in laying the solid foundations of Millo, provision
        had been made for a double passage from the Palace to
        the Temple, about 250 ft. long and 42 ft. wide, formed
        of bevelled stones, and rising by a gentle incline to
        one of the gates of the Inner Temple. This marvellous
        subterranean approach, impregnable from its nature to
        the ravages of time, still remains, though painfully
        disfigured; it is called to this day the Temple of
        Solomon.” Lewin’s _Jerusalem_, p. 270.

  337 – See Milman’s _History of the Jews_, I. 326–328; Art.
        _Solomon_ in Smith’s _Bib. Dict._; Jahn’s _Hebrew
        Commonwealth_, 78, 79; Kitto’s _Daily Bible Illustrations_,
        IV. 127–132.

  338 – See p. 254.

  339 – The disunion of the kingdom of Solomon, though apparently
        sudden, had been brought about by many pre-disposing
        causes. From the earliest period there had been a jealous
        rivalry between the powerful tribes of Ephraim and Judah,
        like that between the houses of York and Lancaster in our
        own history.

        For upwards of 400 years the leadership of the nation
        had been practically in the hands of Ephraim. From this
        tribe had come the great hero Joshua; to it belonged, at
        least by his place of birth, the great prophet Samuel;
        and though from “little Benjamin” had come the first king,
        yet hereditary ties as well as geographical position had
        united it to the house of Joseph. Within the boundaries,
        moreover, of Ephraim had been the sanctuaries of Shechem
        and Shiloh, which would naturally make it the resort of
        numbers from all parts of the country. Hence the spirit
        of jealousy this tribe was ever ready to evince if any
        exploit was performed or advantage gained in which it
        had not the lion’s share. Hence its complaints against
        Gideon[340], against Jephthah[341], against David[342].

        But its influence, hitherto so great, began to wane when
        the victories of the latter prince exalted the tribe of
        Judah to its proud pre-eminence. For seven years Ephraim
        supported Ishbosheth’s rival throne at Mahanaim, but when
        he died, and David captured Jebus, gave to the nation
        a fortress and a capital, and transferred thither the
        Tabernacle, the glories of Shechem and of Shiloh began
        to vanish away. For a time David’s personal influence
        preserved the semblance of union, and many Ephraimites
        were in high favour about his person (1 Chr. xii. 30;
        xxvii. 10, 14), but the restoration of the king after the
        rebellion of Absalom was the signal for an outburst of
        the old rivalry, which well-nigh precipitated a disruption
        (2 Sam. xx. 1), and when the smouldering feelings of
        jealousy were fanned into exasperation by the oppressive
        taxation of Solomon and the insane folly of his son,
        a leader only was required, like Jeroboam, to make the
        separation complete. See Blunt’s _Script. Coincid._ 164–175.

  340 – See p. 249.

  341 – See p. 257.

  342 – See p. 342.

  343 – “The whole area of Palestine was nearly equal to that
        of the kingdom of Holland (13,610 sq. m.), or rather
        more than that of the 6 northern counties of England
        (13,136 sq. m.). The kingdom of Judah was rather less than
        Northumberland, Durham, and Westmoreland (3,683 sq. m.);
        the kingdom of Israel was very nearly as large as
        Yorkshire, Lancashire, and Cumberland (9,453 sq. m.).”
        See Smith’s _Bib. Dict._, Article _Kingdom of Israel_.

  344 – See p. 250.

  345 – See p. 358, n.

  346 – The month of the Vintage in Northern Palestine. See the
        Calendar, p. 155.

  347 – “This success is found to have been commemorated by
        Shishak on the outside of the great temple of Karnak; and
        here in a long list of captured towns and districts, which
        Shishak boasts of having added to his dominions, occurs
        the ‘_Melchi Yuda_,’ or kingdom of Judah, the conquest
        of which by this king is thus distinctly noticed in the
        Egyptian records.” Rawlinson’s _Bampton Lectures_, p. 126;
        Herod. II. p. 376.

  348 – Rawlinson’s _Bampton Lectures_, p. 127.

  349 – Hadad or Adad was a Syrian god, probably the sun, still
        worshipped at Damascus in the time of Josephus (_Ant._ IX.
        4, 6), and from it several Syrian names are derived, as
        Hadadezer, i.e. _Hadad has helped_, Ben-Hadad, _worshipper
        of Hadad_.

  350 – “In the territory of Ephraim, the fertile plains and to a
        certain extent wooded hills, which have been often noticed
        as its characteristic ornaments, at once gave an opening
        to the formation of parks and pleasure-grounds similar
        to those which were the ‘Paradises’ of Assyrian and
        Persian monarchs. One of these was Tirzah (_Tellûzah?_)
        of unknown site, but evidently near Shechem, and of
        proverbial beauty,” Cant. vi. 4. Stanley’s _S. and P._ 243.
        It “was to Shechem what Windsor is to London, and had
        been the seat of a Canaanitish king before the conquest of
        the country by the Israelites” (Josh. xii. 24). Porter’s
        _Handbk._ II. 348.

  351 – “No better site for a capital could have been selected
        in the length and breadth of Palestine, combining a
        strong position, rich environs, central situation, and
        an elevation sufficient to catch the cool healthy breezes
        from the sea.” Porter’s _Handbook_, II. 345. “Situated on
        its steep height, in a plain itself girt in by hills, it
        was enabled, not less promptly than Jerusalem, to resist
        the successive assaults made upon it by the Syrian and
        Assyrian armies. The first were baffled altogether, the
        second took it only after a three years’ siege, that
        is three times as long as that which reduced Jerusalem”
        (2 Kings xviii. 10). Stanley, _S. and P._ 244.

  352 – The meaning of the expression “making streets in Samaria,”
        1 Kings xx. 34.

  353 – Ithobalus = _Baal with him_, Ethbaal = _with Baal_.

  354 – Kenrick’s _Phœnicia_, p. 362. The date of Ethbaal’s reign
        may be given at about B.C. 940–908. Smith’s _Bib. Dict._

  355 – See p. 219.

  356 – See p. 256.

  357 – That is, for 3 years and 6 months (Comp. Lk. iv. 25).
        “The annals of Tyre record a drought of a year’s duration
        in the reign of Ithobaal, who continued to reign at Tyre
        during a considerable portion of Ahab’s reign in Israel.”
        Kenrick’s _Phœnicia_, 362; Rawlinson’s _Bampton Lectures_,
        128, 129.

  358 – Carmel, nearly always found with the definite article, =
        _the park_, or _the well-wooded place_, and is famous even
        now for its “impenetrable brushwood of evergreens and oaks.”
        (See Isai. xxxiii. 9, xxxv. 2; Mic. vii. 14; Amos i. 2.)
        This well-known ridge, rising at the west end about 600,
        and the east about 1600 feet above the sea, stretches from
        the Mediterranean inland a little more than 12 miles, and
        separates the plain of Esdraelon from the plain of Sharon.

  359 – Stanley’s _S. & P._ 353. “We descended to the Mohrakah, or
        ‘place of sacrifice.’ It is a glade overlooking the plain,
        somewhat in the shape of an amphitheatre, and completely
        shut in on the north by the well-wooded cliffs down which
        we had come. No place could be conceived more adapted by
        nature to be that wondrous battle-field of truth. In front
        of the principal actors in the scene, with the king and
        his courtiers by their side, the thousands of Israel might
        have been gathered on the lower slopes, witnesses of the
        whole struggle to its stupendous result.” Tristram’s _Holy
        Land_, p. 117.

  360 – Obtained from a neighbouring fountain, Josephus _Ant._
        VIII. 13, § 5, which even now is found close beneath
        _el-Mohrakah_ (“the burning”), the spot pointed out
        as the scene of this event. “In the upper part of the
        amphitheatre to the left is an ancient fountain, overhung
        by a few magnificent trees, among them a noble specimen of
        the Turkey oak. The reservoir of the spring is stone-built
        and square, about 8 ft. deep, and the old steps which
        once descended to it may still be traced. The water is of
        some depth, and is perennial. This was corroborated by the
        existence of molluscs attached to the stones within the
        cistern. _In that three years’ drought, when all the wells
        were dry, and the Kishon had first sunk to a string of
        pools, and then finally was lost altogether, this deep
        and shaded spring fed from the roots of Carmel remained._”
        Tristram’s _Holy Land_, pp. 117, 118.

  361 – “Immediately below [the ♦Mohrakah], on the banks of the
        Kishon, was a small flat-topped green knoll, ‘Tell Cassis,
        ’ _the Mound of the Priests_, marking in its name the very
        spot where Elijah slew the prophets of Baal, when he had
        brought them down to the brook Kishon.” Tristram’s _Holy
        Land_, pp. 117, 118.

  362 – “This conduct of Elijah, when rightly understood, was
        full of important instruction. As God’s minister he had
        overwhelmed the king with shame and confusion in the
        presence of his subjects. The natural tendency of this
        would be to lower him in their eyes, and lessen their
        respect for his authority. It was not the intention,
        however, to weaken the government, nor to encourage
        rebellion. The prophet was, therefore, divinely directed
        to give a testimony of respect and honour to the king,
        as public and striking as from necessity had been the
        opposition and rebuke to his idolatry. The mode of doing
        honour to Ahab, by running before his chariot, was in
        accordance with the customs of the East, even to this day.
        I was reminded of this incident more than 20 years ago at
        Jaffa, when Mohammed Aly came to that city with a large
        army to quell the rebellion of Palestine. The camp was
        on the sand hills south of the city, while Mohammed Aly
        stopped inside the walls. The officers were constantly
        going and coming, preceded by runners, who always kept
        just ahead of the horses, no matter how furiously they
        were ridden; and, in order to run with the greater ease,
        they not only ‘girded their loins’ very tightly, but also
        tucked up their loose garments under the girdle, lest they
        should be incommoded by them. This, no doubt, did Elijah.”
        Thomson’s _Land and the Book_, p. 485. Kitto’s _Daily
        Bible Illustr._ IV. 271, 272.

  363 – Or rather a species of _broom_ very abundant in the
        desert of Sinai, and capable of “affording shade and
        protection, both in heat and storm, to travellers.” Smith’s
        _Bib. Dict._; Thomson’s _Land and the Book_, p. 611.

  364 – See p. 249.

  365 – “In the cuneiform annals of an Assyrian king we have a
        very curious and valuable confirmation of the power of
        Damascus at this time――of its being under the rule of a
        monarch named Benhadad, who was at the head of a great
        confederacy of princes, and who was able to bring into
        the field, year after year, vast armies, with which he
        repeatedly engaged the whole force of Assyria. We have
        accounts of three campaigns between the Assyrians on
        the one side, and the Syrians, Hittites, Hamathites, and
        Phœnicians, united under the command of Benhadad, on the
        other, in which the contest is maintained with spirit,
        the armies being of a large size, and their composition
        and character such as we find described in Scripture.”
        Rawlinson’s _Bampton Lectures_, p. 130, and notes;
        Rawlinson’s _Herod._ I. 464, 465.

  366 – “Probably _local governors_ or _magistrates_, who took
        refuge in Samaria during the invasion, while the ‘young
        men’ were their _attendants_.”――Smith’s _Bib. Dict._

  367 – See Keil on 1 K. xx. 16.

  368 – See Kitto’s _Daily Bible Illustr._ IV. pp. 286, 287.

  369 – Now called _Fîk_, a considerable village on the top of
        a mountain (Thomson, p. 388), at the head of the _Wady
        Fîk_, 6 miles east of the sea of Galilee, “the great road
        between Damascus, Nablous, and Jerusalem, still passing
        through the village.” Smith’s _Bib. Dict._

  370 – “This tremendous destruction was caused, as I suppose,
        by an earthquake; and after having seen the effects
        of the earthquake in Safed and Tiberias, I can easily
        understand this narrative. We are not required to limit
        the catastrophe to the falling of a single wall; or,
        if this be insisted on, we have only to suppose that it
        was the wall of the city, and a little consideration will
        convince any one familiar with Oriental fortifications
        that it might overwhelm a whole army. Those ramparts were
        very lofty and massive. An open space was always left along
        their base, and this would be packed, from end to end, by
        the remnants of Benhadad’s mighty host, and escape from
        the falling towers would be impossible. Burckhardt informs
        us that the town is built round the base of a hill, in
        the shape of a crescent, and this peculiarity of the site
        would render the destruction only the more extensive and
        inevitable.” Thomson’s _Land and the Book_, p. 389.

  371 – “The place of execution was by the large tank or reservoir,
        which still remains on the slope