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CONSTRUCTIVE BIBLE STUDIES

EDITED BY
ERNEST D. BURTON

HEROES OF ISRAEL

THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO PRESS
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS

Agents THE BAKER & TAYLOR COMPANY NEW YORK

THE CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS

LONDON AND EDINBURGH


HEROES OF ISRAEL

TEXT OF THE HERO STORIES WITH NOTES AND QUESTIONS FOR YOUNG STUDENTS

By

THEODORE GERALD SOARES

Professor of Homiletics and Religious Education in the University of Chicago

THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO PRESS

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS

Copyright 1908 By

The University of Chicago

All Rights Reserved

Published January 1909

Second Impression September 1909

Third Impression December 1909

Second Edition October 1911


Composed and Printed By

The University of Chicago Press

Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.


TO MY FATHER

MY FIRST HERO


PREFACE

It is the purpose to present these Hero Studies in two books, one being the present volume which is intended as a textbook for the students, the other being the teacher's manual with fuller explanations and suggestions. The necessary prefatory statements will be found in the respective books under the titles "Foreword to the Student" and "Foreword to the Teacher".

This volume contains the text of the stories, with explanatory notes and questions intended to stimulate study. Each lesson consists of a complete story arranged in such a way as to impress the main features of the narrative clearly upon the student's mind. The explanatory material is reduced to the minimum, since the main desire is to let the stories speak for themselves and not to burden the student with wearisome details. The three reviews divide the course into the three natural parts, the first extending to Christmas, the second to the end of March, the third, which is shorter, to the middle of June, when it is usually wise for the regular courses to end.

The text of the British Revisers is used in the reprint of the stories with the consent and approval of the Oxford and Cambridge University presses. As the plan of simplifying the narratives involved certain verbal changes, it has seemed wise to go a step farther and to use the spellings which would be more familiar to American students.

For constant suggestions as to form and method I am greatly indebted to my wife, who has taught the lessons from advance sheets to a class of boys. It is a pleasure to acknowledge the valuable counsel of Professor E. D. Burton, the editor of the series, and especially that of Professor J. M. P. Smith, who at Professor Burton's request, and to my own great satisfaction, assumed the editorial responsibility of reading the manuscript, and gave me the benefit of his ripe scholarship and judgment.

T. G. S.

July 29, 1908



CONTENTS

Foreword to the Student
I. Abraham, the Father of the Faithful
II. Abraham, the Magnanimous
III. Abraham and Isaac
IV. Jacob, the Clever
V. Israel, the Godly
VI. Joseph, the Slave
VII. Joseph, the Ruler
VIII. Joseph, the Generous
IX. Moses' Early Life
X. Moses' Commission
XI. Moses, the Deliverer
XII. Moses, the Lawgiver
XIII. Review: The Heroes of Israel's Wanderings
XIV. Joshua and Caleb
XV. Gideon, the Warrior
XVI. Samson, the Strong Man
XVII. Ruth, the Foreigner
XVIII. Samuel and Eli
XIX. Samuel and Saul
XX. Jonathan's Victory
XXI. David and the Giant
XXII. The Hero Friends, David and Jonathan
XXIII. David, the Outlaw
XXIV. David, the King
XXV. David and His Rebel Son
XXVI. Review: Ten Heroes of Israel
XXVII. Solomon, the Wise King
XXVIII. Elijah, the Champion of Pure Religion
XXIX. Elijah, the Champion of Justice
XXX. Elisha, the Healer and Counselor
XXXI. Nehemiah, the Builder
XXXII. Esther, the Patriot Queen
XXXIII. Judas, the Hammerer
XXXIV. Daniel and His Friends
XXXV. Review: Seven Heroic Names


MAPS AND ILLUSTRATIONS

Map of the Semitic World
A Caravan in Palestine
Map of Canaan
The Seal of the Grand Vizier of Ramses II
Portrait Statues of Ramses II
Oriental Sandals
Brick-making in Egypt
Moses
Winnowing Grain
A Philistine
David
Cedars of Lebanon
Esther's Palace


FOREWORD TO THE STUDENT

1. We are to study the heroes of Israel. What is a hero? We use this word of the chief character in a book or of one who does a very noble deed. It is also applied to the great men of the past, who have done deeds that have made their names famous in story and who have been the makers of nations. Call to mind some American heroes.

2. Why should we study the heroes of Israel? For three reasons: (1) The stories are very interesting and full of adventure. (2) Israel played a most important part in the world's history. The Jews, who now represent Israel, are no longer a nation, and unhappily they are often very badly treated, but they have many noble qualities. We owe some of the best things in our modern civilization to the men of old Israel. We shall find a great value in reading their story. (3) The questions of duty and religion that often puzzle us are very old questions. They came to these men thousands of years ago. We shall find them clearer to us as we read how the old heroes struggled with their difficulties.

3. How shall we study? The stories of the heroes are in the Old Testament, but in order to bring them together, and to separate them from other matter which is less profitable for young people to study they have been reprinted in this book. Most of the more difficult names have been omitted, together with everything that would take from the interest in the story. Each chapter is divided into three parts: The Story, The Meaning of the Story, and the Written Review. In preparing the lesson, the story should be read through first. It would be a very good plan to read it aloud to someone. Then take up the suggestions in the second part of the lesson, one at a time, and look up the sections of the story to find answers to the questions. When special Scripture references are given look them up, and use the maps whenever directions are given to that effect. When you have finished the study read the whole story through again and be sure that you understand it.

The Written Review is very important. Have a notebook in which you will write the review stories every week. The best time to write the review story is soon after the meeting of the class, while the lesson is still fresh in memory. Always read the story of the hero again before you write the review. Keep the notebook neat. It is a good plan to write the exercise in pencil first and then copy it into the book in ink. At the end of the year you will have a good-sized book full of your own hero stories.

A careful study of these lessons will make you acquainted with a score of the mighty men of the past. Many of them you will wish to keep as life-long friends.



ABRAHAM

I. Abraham, the Father of the Faithful
II. Abraham, the Magnanimous
III. Abraham and Isaac


I. ABRAHAM, THE FATHER OF THE FAITHFUL

THE STORY


§1. The Old Home of Abraham (Gen. 11:31)

Terah took Abraham his son, and Lot the son of Haran, his son's son, and Sarah his daughter-in-law, his son Abraham's wife; and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan; and they came unto Haran, and dwelt there, and Terah died in Haran.


§2. The Journey Westward (Gen. 12:1-5)

Now the Lord said unto Abraham, "Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto the land that I will show thee: and I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and be thou a blessing: and I will bless them that bless thee, and him that curseth thee will I curse: and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed."

So Abraham went, as the Lord had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abraham was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran. And Abraham took Sarah his wife, and Lot his brother's son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan: and into the land of Canaan they came.


§3. Abraham's Altars (Gen. 12:6-9)

And Abraham passed through the land unto the place of Shechem, unto the oak of Moreh. And the Canaanite was then in the land.

And the Lord appeared unto Abraham and said, "Unto thy seed will I give this land." And there built he an altar unto the Lord, who appeared unto him.

And he removed from thence unto the mountain on the east of Beth-el, and pitched his tent, having Beth-el on the west, and Ai on the east: and there he built an altar unto the Lord, and called upon the name of the Lord. And Abraham journeyed, going on still toward the South.


§4. A Test of Courage (Gen. 12:10-20)

And there was a famine in the land: and Abraham went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was sore in the land. And it came to pass, when he was come near to enter into Egypt, that he said unto Sarah his wife, "Behold now, I know that thou art a fair woman to look upon: and it shall come to pass, when the Egyptians shall see thee, that they shall say, 'This is his wife': and they will kill me, but they will save thee alive. Say, I pray thee, thou art my sister: that it may be well with me for thy sake, and that my soul may live because of thee."

And it came to pass, that, when Abraham was come into Egypt, the Egyptians beheld the woman that she was very fair. And the princes of Pharaoh saw her, and praised her to Pharaoh; and the woman was taken into Pharaoh's house. And he treated Abraham well for her sake: and he had sheep, and oxen, and he-asses, and menservants, and maidservants, and she-asses, and camels. And the Lord plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarah Abraham's wife.

A CARAVAN IN PALESTINE

And Pharaoh called Abraham, and said, "What is this that thou hast done unto me? why didst thou not tell me that she was thy wife? Why saidst thou, She is my sister? so that I took her to be my wife: now therefore behold thy wife, take her, and go thy way."

And Pharaoh gave men charge concerning him: and they brought him on the way, and his wife, and all that he had.


THE MEANING OF THE STORY

1 (§1). We begin with the man to whom Israel looked back as their first great hero. What was his name? What was his father's name?

2 (§1). Where did he come from? Look at the map of the Semitic world. You will see two great rivers which join and then flow into the Persian Gulf. It is not always possible to know where ancient cities were located, but it is supposed that Ur may have been on the Euphrates near the point where the rivers join. It is called Ur of the Chaldees, because people of that name lived there. Terah therefore came from the very old country of Babylonia, which was rich and fertile because it was in the valley of the two rivers. What American river has a rich country in all its wide valley?

3 (§1). What route would be taken to go from Ur to Canaan? If you lay a ruler on the map you will see that Jerusalem is almost directly west of Ur. They lay about six hundred miles apart. But there was a very good reason why they could not travel right across that way. What kind of country would they have had to pass through? They had to follow the river for nearly the same distance in a northwesterly direction. This would bring them to a very rich country where it seems they stopped for some time and where Terah died. What was its name?

4 (§2). Evidently most of Terah's tribe were satisfied to stay in Haran, but Abraham felt a great stir in him to continue the journey to the West land. He believed that God wanted him to go there and to become the founder of a great nation that should serve Jehovah. This feeling became so strong that at last it was clear to him that the Lord was calling him. Learn the beautiful passage of the Call of Abraham (Gen. 12:1-3) so that you can recite it.

5(§2). What route would Abraham take from Haran to Canaan? Let us look at the map again. There was a caravan road that ran from Haran west across the river, then it turned south and came down through the country of Syria to a very ancient city. Abraham's chief servant came from this city (Gen. 15:2). The road still runs south and then crosses the river Jordan into Palestine.

6(§2). How long would such a journey take? There were no railroads and there are still very few in that country. Travel was very slow. We have an account in Ezra 7:9 of how long it took a company to make the journey from Babylon long afterward. But Abraham's company would move more slowly, for we must think of him as traveling with a great many animals and servants and children. It was very much as the Arab tribes move about to-day.

7(§2). Think of what Abraham left behind when he obeyed God's voice and came into the strange land. What company of people in American history felt that God called them to leave their own country and come into the new land? Is it always safe to obey God? Look up Gal. 3:9 and Heb. 11:8-10 and see why Abraham is called "The Father of the Faithful."

8(§3). What promise did God give Abraham after he came to Canaan? What places did Abraham visit? Locate them on the map of Canaan. What religious act did he perform wherever he went? What act is the same in our lives?

9(§4). Abraham's numerous sheep and cattle required him to journey from place to place. Why was this? Why would dry weather cause him trouble? Notice on the map that when the famine came he was in the south of Palestine. It was only a short journey west to reach a very rich country, which lay in the valley of a great river. Name the country and its river and explain why there was no drought there.

10 (§4). We shall often notice that the old heroes did wrong. Tell the story of Abraham's visit to Egypt. What do you think of his conduct? If we knew only this part of Abraham's story we should not call him a hero. Ought we then to judge anyone by a single act?


WRITTEN REVIEW

This story deals with several journeys. Let us get them all before our eyes. Turn to the map of the Semitic world at the beginning of the book and make a very simple copy of it, according to the following directions: Mark the two great rivers in the east. Make the coast line of the Mediterranean Sea. Draw the River Nile. Make the coast line of the Red Sea. Locate Ur, Haran, Damascus, Canaan, Egypt. Make this map first in pencil and then ink it.



II. ABRAHAM, THE MAGNANIMOUS

THE STORY


§5. Abraham's Treatment of Lot (Gen. 13)

And Abraham went out of Egypt, he, and his wife, and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the South. And Abraham was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold. And he went on his journeys from the South even to Beth-el, unto the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Beth-el and Ai; unto the place of the altar, which he had made there at the first: and there Abraham called on the name of the Lord.

And Lot also, who went with Abraham, had flocks, and herds, and tents. And the land was not able to bear them, that they might dwell together: for their substance was great, so that they could not dwell together. And there was a strife between the herdmen of Abraham's cattle and the herdmen of Lot's cattle.

And Abraham said unto Lot, "Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we are brethren. Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou take the right hand, then I will go to the left."

And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the Plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere, before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, as thou goest unto Zoar. So Lot chose him all the Plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other. Abraham dwelt in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelt in the cities of the Plain, and moved his tent as far as Sodom. Now the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners against the Lord exceedingly.

And the Lord said unto Abraham, after that Lot was separated from him, "Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art, northward and southward and eastward and westward: for 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. Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for unto thee will I give it."

And Abraham moved his tent, and came and dwelt by the oaks of Mamre, which are in Hebron, and built there an altar unto the Lord.


§6. Abraham's Deliverance of Lot (Gen. 14:10-24)

And there came five kings from the East and made war against the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah. And the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, and they fell there, and they that remained fled to the mountain. And they took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their victuals, and went their way. And they took Lot, Abraham's brother's son, who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed.

And there came one that had escaped, and told Abraham the Hebrew: now he dwelt by the oaks of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol, and brother of Aner; and these were confederate with Abraham. And when Abraham heard that his brother was taken captive, he led forth his trained men, born in his house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued as far as Dan. And he divided himself against them by night, he and his servants, and smote them, and pursued them unto Hobah, which is on the left hand of Damascus. And he brought back all the goods, and also brought again his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people.

And the king of Sodom went out to meet him, after his return from the slaughter of the kings. And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was priest of God Most High. And he blessed him and said, "Blessed be Abraham of God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth: and blessed be God Most High, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand." And he gave him a tenth of all.

And the king of Sodom said unto Abraham, "Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself."

And Abraham said to the king of Sodom, "I have lifted up mine hand unto the Lord, God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth, that I will not take a thread nor a shoelatchet nor aught that is thine, lest thou shouldst say, I have made Abraham rich: save only that which the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men which went with me; Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre, let them take their portion."


§7. Abraham's Prayer for Sodom (Gen. 18:17-32; 19:29)

And the Lord said, "Shall I hide from Abraham that which I do; seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? For I have known him, to the end that he may command his children and his household after him, that they may keep the way of the Lord, to do righteousness and justice; to the end that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him."

And the Lord said, "Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know."

And Abraham drew near, and said, "Wilt thou consume the righteous with the wicked? Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou consume and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein? That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked, that so the righteous should be as the wicked; that be far from thee: shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?"

And the Lord said, "If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sake."

And Abraham answered and said, "Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes: peradventure there shall lack five of the fifty righteous: wilt thou destroy all the city for lack of five?"

And he said, "I will not destroy it, if I find there forty and five."

And he spake unto him yet again, and said, "Peradventure there shall be forty found there."

And he said, "I will not do it for the forty's sake."

And he said, "Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak: peradventure there shall thirty be found there."

And he said, "I will not do it if I find thirty there."

And he said, "Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord: peradventure there shall be twenty found there."

And he said, "I will not destroy it for the twenty's sake."

And he said, "Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: peradventure ten shall be found there."

And he said, "I will not destroy it for the ten's sake."

And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the Plain, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when he overthrew the cities in which Lot dwelt.


THE MEANING OF THE STORY

11 (§5). Follow Abraham's journey back from Egypt along the coast road. He reached the district in Southern Canaan that was called "the South." What wealth did he have? What would he need for his cattle? Notice how this caused him to journey from place to place.

12 (§5). On the western plains of America there have been disputes between the cattle men over the rights of grazing. The big men have driven the little men away. Tell the story of this old dispute in Canaan. What plan of settlement did Abraham suggest? How did Lot behave in the matter? What good result came to Abraham?

13 (§5). Look up the word "magnanimous." Could it be applied to Abraham? Have you ever known an act that was magnanimous?

14 (§6). Kings in old times used to make war on their neighbors just for the purpose of stealing their goods. This is the story of one of those plundering expeditions that was made against the country near the Dead Sea. Who had chosen that country for his residence? What was the result of the invasion? How did Abraham hear of it? How many young men did he have in his service? What does this show of the size of his camp? What did Abraham do?

15 (§6). What did Abraham do with the spoil that he captured? Was this magnanimous?

16 (§6). Compare Abraham's conduct with that of the United States in Cuba.

17 (§6). Abraham gave back the property that he had rescued: what should we do with property that we find?

18 (§7). Men of old loved to think of God appearing to them and talking to them. It is a beautiful picture of the silent message that comes to our hearts. What does Abraham learn is to happen to the wicked city of Sodom?

19 (§7). Is Abraham magnanimous in pleading for Sodom? What do the Lord's replies to Abraham's prayers teach us?

20 (§7). What happened to Sodom? Was Abraham's prayer answered?


WRITTEN REVIEW

Think over and write out the three ways in which Abraham was magnanimous. If you watch carefully the conduct of the best people you know you will be sure to see somebody do a magnanimous act before the next lesson. When you see it write it down in your notebook as your review work.



III. ABRAHAM AND ISAAC

THE STORY


§8. Abraham's Devotion (Gen. 21:2, 3; 22:1-19)

A. THE SACRIFICE OF THE FIRSTBORN

And Sarah bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken unto him. And Abraham called the name of his son Isaac. And the child grew. And it came to pass, that God did prove Abraham and said unto him, "Abraham."

And he said, "Here am I."

And he said, "Take now thy son, thine only son, whom thou lovest, even Isaac, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of."

And Abraham rose early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went into the place of which God had told him. On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off.

And Abraham said unto his young men, "Abide ye here with the ass, and I and the lad will go yonder; and we will worship, and come again to you."

And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took in his hand the fire and the knife; and they went both of them together.

And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, "My father."

And he said, "Here am I, my son."

And he said, "Behold, the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?"

And Abraham said, "God will provide himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son."

So they went both of them together. And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built the altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar, upon the wood. And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.


B. THE DIVINE INTERFERENCE

And the angel of the Lord called unto him out of heaven, and said, "Abraham."

And he said, "Here am I."

And he said, "Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou anything unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son, from me."

And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold, behind him a ram caught in the thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son. And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah-jireh: as it is said to this day, "In the mount of the Lord it shall be provided."

And the angel of the Lord called unto Abraham a second time out of heaven, and said, "By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord, because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: that in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice."

So Abraham returned unto his young men, and they rose up and went together to Beer-sheba; and Abraham dwelt at Beer-sheba.


§9. The Selection of Isaac's Wife (Gen. 24)

A. THE COMMISSION OF THE SERVANT

And Abraham was old, and well stricken in age: and the Lord had blessed Abraham in all things. And Abraham said unto his servant, the elder of his house, that ruled over all that he had, "Swear by the Lord, the God of heaven and the God of the earth, that thou shalt not take a wife for my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell: but thou shalt go unto my country, and to my kindred, and take a wife for my son Isaac."

And the servant said unto him, "Peradventure the woman will not be willing to follow me unto this land: must I needs bring thy son again unto the land from whence thou camest?"

And Abraham said unto him, "Beware thou that thou bring not my son thither again. The Lord, the God of heaven, that took me from my father's house, and from the land of my nativity, and that spake unto me and that sware unto me, saying, 'Unto thy seed will I give this land,' he shall send his angel before thee, and thou shalt take a wife for my son from thence. And if the woman be not willing to follow thee, thou shalt be clear from this my oath; only thou shalt not bring my son thither again."

And the servant sware to Abraham his master concerning this matter.


B. THE MEETING WITH REBEKAH

And the servant took ten camels, of the camels of his master, and departed; having all goodly things of his master's in his hand: and he arose, and went to Mesopotamia, unto the city of Nahor. And he made the camels to kneel down without the city by the well of water at the time of evening, the time that women go out to draw water.

And he said, "O Lord, the God of my master Abraham, send me, I pray thee, good speed this day, and show kindness unto my master Abraham. Behold, I stand by the fountain of water; and the daughters of the men of the city come out to draw water: and let it come to pass, that the damsel to whom I shall say, 'Let down thy pitcher, I pray thee, that I may drink;' and she shall say, 'Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also': let the same be she that thou hast appointed for thy servant Isaac; and thereby shall I know that thou hast showed kindness unto my master."

And it came to pass, before he had done speaking, that, behold, Rebekah came out, who was born to Bethuel the son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham's brother, with her pitcher upon her shoulder. And the damsel was very fair to look upon; and she went down to the fountain, and filled her pitcher, and came up.

And the servant ran to meet her, and said, "Give me to drink, I pray thee, a little water of thy pitcher."

And she said, "Drink, my lord:" and she hasted, and let down her pitcher upon her hand, and gave him drink. And when she had done giving him drink, she said, "I will draw for thy camels also, until they have done drinking." And she hasted, and emptied her pitcher into the trough, and ran again unto the well to draw, and drew for all his camels.

And the man looked stedfastly on her; holding his peace, to know whether the Lord had made his journey prosperous or not. And it came to pass, as the camels had done drinking, that the man took a golden ring of half a shekel weight, and two bracelets for her hands of ten shekels weight of gold, and said, "Whose daughter art thou? tell me, I pray thee. Is there room in thy father's house for us to lodge in?"

And she said unto him, "I am the daughter of Bethuel the son of Milcah, which she bare unto Nahor." She said moreover unto him, "We have both straw and provender enough, and room to lodge in."

And the man bowed his head, and worshipped the Lord. And he said, "Blessed be the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who hath not forsaken his mercy and his truth toward my master: as for me, the Lord hath led me in the way to the house of my master's brethren."


C. THE BETROTHAL OF ISAAC AND REBEKAH

And the damsel ran, and told her mother's house according to these words. And Rebekah had a brother, and his name was Laban: and Laban ran out unto the man, unto the fountain. And it came to pass, when he saw the ring, and the bracelets upon his sister's hands, and when he heard the words of Rebekah his sister, saying, "Thus spake the man unto me;" that he came unto the man; and, behold, he stood by the camels at the fountain.

And he said, "Come in, thou blessed of the Lord; wherefore standest thou without? for I have prepared the house, and room for the camels."

And the man came into the house, and he ungirded the camels; and he gave straw and provender for the camels, and water to wash his feet and the men's feet that were with him. And there was set meat before him to eat.

But he said, "I will not eat, until I have told mine errand."

And Laban said, "Speak on."

And he said, "I am Abraham's servant. And the Lord hath blessed my master greatly; and he is become great: and he hath given him flocks and herds, and silver and gold, and menservants and maidservants, and camels, and asses. And Sarah my master's wife bare a son to my master when she was old: and unto him hath he given all that he hath. And my master made me swear, saying, 'Thou shalt not take a wife for my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, in whose land I dwell: but thou shalt go unto my father's house, and to my kindred, and take a wife for my son.' And I said unto my master, 'Peradventure the woman will not follow me.' And he said unto me, 'The Lord, before whom I walk, will send his angel with thee, and prosper thy way; and thou shalt take a wife for my son of my kindred, and of my father's house: then shalt thou be clear from my oath, when thou comest to my kindred; and if they give her not to thee, thou shalt be clear from my oath.'

"And I came this day unto the fountain, and said, 'O Lord, the God of my master Abraham, if now thou do prosper my way which I go: behold, I stand by the fountain of water; and let it come to pass, that the maiden which cometh forth to draw, to whom I shall say, Give me, I pray thee a little water of thy pitcher to drink; and she shall say to me, Both drink thou, and I will also draw for thy camels: let the same be the woman whom the Lord hath appointed for my master's son.' And before I had done speaking in mine heart, behold, Rebekah came forth with her pitcher on her shoulder; and she went down unto the fountain, and drew: and I said unto her, 'Let me drink, I pray thee.' And she made haste, and let down her pitcher from her shoulder, and said, 'Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also.' So I drank, and she made the camels drink also. And I asked her and said, 'Whose daughter art thou?' And she said, 'The daughter of Bethuel, Nahor's son, whom Milcah bare unto him.' And I put the ring upon her nose, and the bracelets upon her hands. And I bowed my head, and worshipped the Lord, and blessed the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, which had led me in the right way to take my master's brother's daughter for his son. And now if ye will deal kindly and truly with my master, tell me: and if not, tell me; that I may turn to the right hand, or to the left."

Then Laban and Bethuel answered and said, "The thing proceedeth from the Lord: we cannot speak unto thee bad or good. Behold, Rebekah is before thee, take her, and go, and let her be thy master's son's wife, as the Lord hath spoken."

And it came to pass, that, when Abraham's servant heard their words, he bowed himself down to the earth unto the Lord. And the servant brought forth jewels of silver and jewels of gold, and raiment, and gave them to Rebekah: he gave also to her brother and to her mother precious things. And they did eat and drink, he and the men that were with him, and tarried all night; and they rose up in the morning, and he said, "Send me away unto my master."

And her brother and her mother said, "Let the damsel abide with us a few days, at the least ten; after that she shall go."

And he said unto them, "Hinder me not, seeing the Lord hath prospered my way; send me away that I may go to my master."

And they said, "We will call the damsel, and inquire at her mouth."

And they called Rebekah, and said unto her, "Wilt thou go with this man?"

And she said, "I will go."

And they sent away Rebekah their sister, and her nurse, and Abraham's servant, and his men. And they blessed Rebekah, and said unto her, "Our sister, be thou the mother of thousands of ten thousands, and let thy seed possess the gate of those which hate them."

And Rebekah arose, and her damsels, and they rode upon the camels, and followed the man: and the servant took Rebekah, and went his way.


D. THE MARRIAGE

And Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide: and he lifted up his eyes, and saw, and, behold, there were camels coming.

And Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she lighted off the camel. And she said unto the servant, "What man is this that walketh in the field to meet us?"

And the servant said, "It is my master." And she took her veil, and covered herself.

And the servant told Isaac all the things that he had done. And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah's tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her: and Isaac was comforted after his mother's death.


THE MEANING OF THE STORY

21. What promise had been made repeatedly to Abraham? But he had grown old and was still without a son. Yet the Lord repeated the promise and Abraham believed. At last to his great joy the son was born. It makes a man's life strong to believe that God will fulfil his promise. Faith and goodness are very near together (Gen. 15:6). A good boy believes his parents: surely he can believe God.

22 (§8A). In order to understand this story we must consider a strange and fearful custom of the old times. Read II Kings 3:26, 27, and note the awful sacrifice that a king, who was seeking help, made to his heathen god. The ancients felt that God ought to have the best that man has. They had not learned that he is loving and good, wishing our best to be given to him in loving service and not killed in sacrifice.

23 (§8A). Abraham knew that it was the custom of his neighbors to show their loyalty to their gods by killing their oldest sons. He was most anxious to do what God would wish, so what would he naturally think that he ought to do? Is a man wicked if he does what he thinks is right? But if he is pure in his motive and is very anxious to know what is right, he will often come to the truth. This story shows how God led Abraham to know what he really wanted of him.

24 (§8). It is a very striking story. Picture the scenes: (1) The long journey: who went? (2) Abraham and Isaac alone: what did Isaac ask? What was Abraham's confidence in God? (3) The preparation for the sacrifice. (4) The wonderful interference: what did this teach Abraham? What was the promise that was repeated?

25 (§8). Men have often used wrong methods, thinking to please God. What did the Puritans do to the witches? But the Puritans were good men, anxious to do right, and they soon learned that they had been wrong. It is not enough for us to be willing to do right. We must try hard to find out what is right.

26 (§9A). This section is a long one, but is full of interest and need not detain us for special study. It is the charming story of an old-time wooing. Parents often arranged the marriages of their children in those days as they do in many countries to-day. Abraham had a trusted servant who managed his business for him. What did he ask the servant to promise?

27 (§9B). Mesopotamia means "between the rivers." Locate it between the two rivers of Abraham's old country. Recall Abraham's journey (5, 6, §2) and trace the servant's journey.

28 (§9B). Tell the story of the meeting with Rebekah.

29 (§9C). Tell the story of the betrothal. Notice that the betrothal took place although Isaac was not there.

30 (§9D). Tell the story of the marriage.


WRITTEN REVIEW

We have finished the study of the "Father of the Faithful." He was a man who trusted God. Think over all that you have learned about him and write down in your notebook two or three ways in which you think that he showed his trust in God. Think whether there is any way in which you would be willing to trust God.



JACOB-ISRAEL

IV. Jacob, the Clever
V. Israel, the Godly


IV. JACOB, THE CLEVER

THE STORY


§10. The Purchase of the Birthright (Gen. 25:25-34)

Isaac and Rebekah had two sons who were twins. The first was red, all over like a hairy garment; and they called his name Esau, and the name of his brother was called Jacob.

And the boys grew: and Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field; and Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents. Now Isaac loved Esau, because he did eat of his venison: and Rebekah loved Jacob.

And Jacob boiled pottage: and Esau came in from the field, and he was faint: and Esau said to Jacob, "Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am faint."

And Jacob said, "Sell me this day thy birthright."

And Esau said, "Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall the birthright do to me?"

And Jacob said, "Swear to me this day."

And he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob. And Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentils; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: so Esau despised his birthright.


§11. The Deception of Isaac (Gen. 27:1-45)

A. ISAAC'S COMMISSION TO ESAU

And it came to pass, that when Isaac was old, and his eyes were dim, so that he could not see, he called Esau his elder son, and said unto him, "My son."

And he said unto him, "Here am I."

And he said, "Behold now, I am old, I know not the day of my death. Now therefore take, I pray thee, thy weapons, thy quiver and thy bow, and go out to the field, and take me venison; and make me savory meat, such as I love, and bring it to me, that I may eat; that my soul may bless thee before I die."

And Rebekah heard when Isaac spake to Esau his son. And Esau went to the field to hunt for venison, and to bring it.


B. REBEKAH'S SCHEME

And Rebekah spake unto Jacob her son, saying, "Behold, I heard thy father speak unto Esau thy brother, saying, 'Bring me venison, and make me savory meat, that I may eat, and bless thee before the Lord before my death.' Now therefore, my son, obey my voice according to that which I command thee. Go now to the flock, and fetch me from thence two good kids of the goats; and I will make them savory meat for thy father, such as he loveth: and thou shalt bring it to thy father, that he may eat, so that he may bless thee before his death."

And Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, "Behold, Esau my brother is a hairy man, and I am a smooth man. My father peradventure will feel me, and I shall seem to him as a deceiver; and I shall bring a curse upon me, and not a blessing."

And his mother said unto him, "Upon me be thy curse, my son: only obey my voice, and go fetch me them."

And he went, and fetched, and brought them to his mother: and his mother made savory meat, such as his father loved. And Rebekah took the goodly garments of Esau her elder son, which were with her in the house, and put them upon Jacob her younger son: and she put the skins of the kids of the goats upon his hands, and upon the smooth of his neck: and she gave the savory meat and the bread, which she had prepared, into the hand of her son Jacob.


C. Jacob's Deception

And he came unto his father, and said, "My father."

And he said, "Here am I; who art thou, my son?"

And Jacob said unto his father, "I am Esau thy firstborn; I have done according as thou badest me: arise, I pray thee, sit and eat of my venison, that thy soul may bless me."

And Isaac said unto his son, "How is it that thou hast found it so quickly, my son?"

And he said, "Because the Lord thy God sent me good speed."

And Isaac said unto Jacob, "Come near, I pray thee, that I may feel thee, my son, whether thou be my very son Esau or not."

And Jacob went near unto Isaac his father; and he felt him, and said, "The voice is Jacob's voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau." And he discerned him not, because his hands were hairy, as his brother Esau's hands: so he blessed him. And he said, "Art thou my very son Esau?"

And he said, "I am."

And he said, "Bring it near to me, and I will eat of my son's venison, that my soul may bless thee."

And he brought it near to him, and he did eat: and he brought him wine, and he drank. And his father Isaac said unto him, "Come near now, and kiss me, my son." And he came near, and kissed him: and he smelled the smell of his raiment, and blessed him, and said,

See, the smell of my son Is as the smell of a field which the Lord hath blessed: And God give thee of the dew of heaven, And of the fatness of the earth, And plenty of corn and wine: Let peoples serve thee, And nations bow down to thee: Be lord over thy brethren, And let thy mother's sons bow down to thee: Cursed be every one that curseth thee. And blessed be every one that blesseth thee.

D. ESAU'S DISAPPOINTMENT

And it came to pass, as soon as Isaac had made an end of blessing Jacob, and Jacob was yet scarce gone out from the presence of Isaac his father, that Esau his brother came in from his hunting. And he also made savory meat, and brought it unto his father; and he said unto his father, "Let my father arise, and eat of his son's venison, that thy soul may bless me."

And Isaac his father said unto him, "Who art thou?"

And he said, "I am thy son, thy firstborn, Esau."

And Isaac trembled very exceedingly, and said, "Who then is he that hath taken venison, and brought it me, and I have eaten of all before thou camest, and have blessed him? yea, and he shall be blessed."

When Esau heard the words of his father, he cried with an exceeding great and bitter cry, and said unto his father, "Bless me, even me also, O my father."

And he said, "Thy brother came with guile, and hath taken away thy blessing."

And he said, "Is not he rightly named Jacob? for he hath supplanted me these two times: he took away my birthright; and, behold, now he hath taken away my blessing. Hast thou not reserved a blessing for me?"

And Isaac answered and said unto Esau, "Behold, I have made him thy lord, and all his brethren have I given to him for servants; and with corn and wine have I sustained him: and what then shall I do for thee, my son?"

And Esau said unto his father, "Hast thou but one blessing, my father? bless me, even me also, O my father."

And Esau lifted up his voice, and wept. And Isaac his father answered and said unto him,

Behold of the fatness of the earth shall be thy dwelling, And of the dew of heaven from above; And by thy sword shalt thou live, and thou shalt serve thy brother; And it shall come to pass when thou shalt break loose, That thou shalt shake his yoke from off thy neck.

E. ESAU'S HATRED

And Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing wherewith his father blessed him: and Esau said in his heart, "The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then will I slay my brother Jacob."

And the words of Esau her elder son were told to Rebekah; and she sent and called Jacob her younger son, and said unto him, "Behold, thy brother Esau, as touching thee, doth comfort himself, purposing to kill thee. Now, therefore, my son, obey my voice; and arise, flee thou to Laban my brother to Haran; and tarry with him a few days, until thy brother's fury turn away; until thy brother's anger turn away from thee, and he forget that which thou hast done to him: then I will send, and fetch thee from thence: why should I be bereaved of you both in one day?"


§12. The Dream of the Heavenly Ladder (Gen. 28:10-22)

And Jacob went out from Beer-sheba, and went toward Haran. And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took one of the stones of the place, and put it under his head, and lay down in that place to sleep. And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it. And, behold, the Lord stood above it, and said, "I am the Lord, the God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed; and thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee whithersoever thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of."

And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, "Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not." And he was afraid, and said, "How dreadful is this place! this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven."

And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put under his head, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it. And he called the name of that place Beth-el. And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, "If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, so that I come again to my father's house in peace, then shall the Lord be my God, and this stone, which I have set up for a pillar, shall be God's house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee."


THE MEANING OF THE STORY

31. No man is altogether good and no one is wholly bad. Good and evil struggle for the mastery in us. Jacob is a man in whom this is very clearly seen. He was the twin brother of Esau, but Esau had the right of the oldest son. This was called the birthright. It was very important in that day. It meant that after the father's death Esau would become the head of the tribe, and would have twice as much of the property as his brother. Jacob did not like this and began to scheme to get the better of his brother.

32 (§10). What was the difference between the two men?

33 (§10). Tell the story of the hunting day and how Jacob sold the food to his brother.

34 (§10). What do you think of Esau in this affair? He gave up a great future for a little satisfaction.

35 (§10). Jacob was "smart" or "clever" in his bargain. Was he brotherly? Is it honest to charge all that you can get for something that people must have?

36 (§11A). The last solemn blessing of the head of the tribe was considered very important. How did Isaac arrange that it should be given to Esau?

37 (§11B). There was a wretched favoritism in this family. What was Rebekah's scheme to get the blessing for her favorite? Tell the story.

38 (§11C). Picture the blind old father and the crafty son coming to him. How did he secure the blessing? Notice how one wrong leads to another.

39 (§11D). Tell the story of Esau's bitter disappointment.

40 (§11E). What revenge did Esau plan? Rebekah was afraid: what advice did she give to Jacob? When the man had to flee for his life, how much had he gained by his deception? Do the "smart" men always win? If they do is it worth while?

41 (§12). The Lord is wonderfully forgiving, and he still wanted to lead Jacob to a noble life. Follow the journey on the map. What did Jacob do when night overtook him? There are great rocks at Beth-el that look something like a huge staircase. How did these form themselves in Jacob's dream? This is a simple, beautiful story of the old time when men thought they saw God in dreams. Tell the whole story in your own words.

42 (§12). What promise did the Lord give him? What vow did Jacob make?


WRITTEN REVIEW

Call to mind the meaning of magnanimous. Taking advantage of another's need as Jacob took advantage of Esau is the opposite of magnanimous. When the earthquake occurred in San Francisco some stores that had bread put up the price so high that very few could buy it. Soldiers compelled them to sell it for the regular price. How were those storekeepers like Jacob? Why was their conduct wrong? Write the answers to these two questions in your notebook.



V. ISRAEL, THE GODLY

THE STORY


§13. Jacob's Return after Twenty Years (Gen. 29:1, 16, 23, 28; 30:43; 31:17, 18)

And Jacob came to the land of the children of the East. And he served Laban, his mother's brother. And Laban had two daughters: the name of the elder was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. And Laban gave his two daughters to Jacob to be his wives.

And Jacob increased exceedingly, and had large flocks, and maidservants and menservants, and camels and asses.

And after twenty years Jacob rose up, and set his sons and his wives upon the camels; and he carried away all his cattle, and all his substance which he had gathered to go unto the land of Canaan.


§14. Jacob's Fear of Esau (Gen. 32:1-21)

A. THE MESSAGE TO ESAU

And Jacob sent messengers before him to Esau his brother unto the land of Seir. And he commanded them, saying, "Thus shall ye say unto my lord Esau, 'Thus saith thy servant Jacob, I have sojourned with Laban, and stayed until now: and I have oxen, and asses and flocks, and menservants and maidservants: and I have sent to tell my lord, that I may find grace in thy sight.'"

And the messengers returned to Jacob, saying, "We came to thy brother Esau, and moreover he cometh to meet thee, and four hundred men with him."

Then Jacob was greatly afraid and was distressed: and he divided the people that was with him, and the flocks, and the herds, and the camels, into two companies; and he said, "If Esau come to the one company, and smite it, then the company which is left shall escape."


B. JACOB'S PRAYER

And Jacob said, "O God of my father Abraham, and God of my father Isaac, O Lord, which saidst unto me, 'Return unto thy country, and to thy kindred, and I will do thee good': I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which thou hast showed unto thy servant; for with my staff I passed over this Jordan; and now I am become two companies. Deliver me, I pray thee, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau: for I fear him, lest he come and smite me, the mother with the children. And thou saidst, 'I will surely do thee good, and make thy seed as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.'"


C. THE PRESENT TO ESAU

And he lodged there that night; and took of that which he had with him a present for Esau his brother; two hundred she-goats and twenty he-goats, two hundred ewes and twenty rams, thirty milch camels and their colts, forty kine and ten bulls, twenty she-asses and ten foals. And he delivered them into the hand of his servants, every drove by itself; and said unto his servants, "Pass over before me, and put a space betwixt drove and drove."

And he commanded the foremost, saying, "When Esau my brother meeteth thee, and asketh thee, saying, 'Whose art thou? and whither goest thou? and whose are these before thee?' then thou shalt say, 'They be thy servant Jacob's; it is a present sent unto my lord Esau: and, behold, he also is behind us.'"

And he commanded also the second, and the third, and all that followed the droves, saying, "On this manner shall ye speak unto Esau, when ye find him; and ye shall say, 'Moreover, behold, thy servant Jacob is behind us.'" For he said, "I will appease him with the present that goeth before me, and afterward I will see his face; peradventure he will accept me."

So the present passed over before him: and he himself lodged that night in the company.


§15. The Wrestle and the New Name (Gen. 32:22-31)

And he rose up that night, and took his two wives, and his two handmaids, and his eleven children, and passed over the ford of Jabbok. And he took them, and sent them over the stream, and sent over that he had.

And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was strained, as he wrestled with him.

And he said, "Let me go, for the day breaketh."

And he said, "I will not let thee go, except thou bless me."

And he said unto him, "What is thy name?"

And he said, "Jacob."

And he said, "Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for thou hast striven with God and with men, and hast prevailed."

And Jacob asked him, and said, "Tell me, I pray thee, thy name."

And he said, "Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name?" And he blessed him there.

And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for, said he, "I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved." And the sun rose upon him as he passed over Peniel, and he halted upon his thigh.


§16. The Meeting With Esau (Gen. 33:1-16)

And Jacob lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold, Esau came, and with him four hundred men. And he divided the children unto Leah, and unto Rachel, and unto the two handmaids. And he put the handmaids and their children foremost, and Leah and her children after, and Rachel and Joseph hindermost. And he himself passed over before them, and bowed himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother. And Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him: and they wept. And he lifted up his eyes, and saw the women and the children; and said, "Who are these with thee?"

And he said, "The children which God has graciously given thy servant."

Then the handmaidens came near, they and their children, and they bowed themselves. And Leah also and her children came near, and bowed themselves: and after came Joseph near and Rachel, and they bowed themselves.

And he said, "What meanest thou by all this company which I met?"

And he said, "To find grace in the sight of my lord."

And Esau said, "I have enough; my brother, let that thou hast be thine."

And Jacob said, "Nay, I pray thee, if now I have found grace in thy sight, then receive my present at my hand: forasmuch as I have seen thy face, as one seeth the face of God, and thou wast pleased with me. Take, I pray thee, my gift that is brought to thee; because God hath dealt graciously with me, and because I have enough." And he urged him, and he took it.

And he said, "Let us take our journey, and let us go, and I will go before thee."

And he said unto him, "My lord knoweth that the children are tender, and that the flocks and herds with me have young: and if they overdrive them one day, all the flocks will die. Let my lord, I pray thee, pass over before his servant: and I will lead on softly, according to the pace of the cattle that is before me and according to the pace of the children, until I come unto my lord unto Seir."

And Esau said, "Let me now leave with thee some of the folk that are with me."

And he said, "What needeth it? let me find grace in the sight of my lord."

So Esau returned that day on his way unto Seir.


§17. The Altar of Beth-el (Gen. 35:1-7)

And God said unto Jacob, "Arise, go up to Beth-el, and dwell there: and make there an altar unto God, who appeared unto thee when thou fleddest from the face of Esau thy brother."

Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with them, "Put away the strange gods that are among you, and purify yourselves, and change your garments: and let us arise, and go up to Beth-el; and I will make there an altar unto God, who answered me in the day of my distress, and was with me in the way which I went."

And they gave unto Jacob all the strange gods which were in their hand, and the rings which were in their ears; and Jacob hid them under the oak which was by Shechem. And they journeyed: and a great terror was upon the cities that were round about them, and they did not pursue after the sons of Jacob. So Jacob came to Beth-el, he and all the people that were with him. And he built there an altar, because there God was revealed unto him when he fled from the face of his brother.


THE MEANING OF THE STORY

43 (§13). There is a long and interesting story of Jacob's marriage and of his twenty years' service with Laban. It was a hard service, for Laban was a hard master and was very jealous of the prosperity of his son-in-law. But in spite of difficulty Jacob was successful, though in the game of wits he was not always very scrupulous. At last he determined to return to his own land, but was obliged to go secretly for fear of Laban. Even so, Laban pursued him and there was a hot dispute. But at last they made a covenant of peace, and parted. Jacob journeyed as far as the brook Jabbok, a stream which flows westward into the Jordan, about twenty-five miles north of the Dead Sea. Locate it on the map.

44 (§14A). As Jacob returned home, what might he have to fear? The old sin comes up after twenty years. Note Jacob's plan. He is very courteous to Esau and yet he wants him to know what a great man he has become. What would the reply of the messengers indicate about Esau's life for the twenty years? How did Jacob feel when he heard of Esau, and what did he do?

45 (§14B). Jacob was very shrewd, but there is a better defense than cunning. Read the beautiful prayer. How does he think of God? How does he think of himself? What does he pray for? What promise does he plead?

46 (§14C). How many animals were there in each of the five droves? How many were there altogether? What was Jacob's plan to pacify Esau? Do you think this was a shrewd scheme?

47 (§15). In the old days the experiences and feelings of the heart were often told as if they were physical events. So we must understand the wonderful story of the wrestle. Jacob had been a clever man living by his wits. God had in many ways been seeking to bring him to obedience to his will. Now when the danger of Esau is upon him, Jacob has the fight of his life—but it is within his own heart.

48 (§15). Picture the loneliness of Jacob and describe how you think he felt that night? Did you ever have a great heart struggle about some duty, or over some temptation?

49 (§15). Jacob was defeated and yet he was victorious. When we give in to God, we are really victors. What was his new name? How are all his people called by it? The old name belongs to the clever man: the new name belongs to the godly man, who has received God's blessing.

50 (§16). This story may be passed rapidly, though it is full of interest. Tell in your own words: (1) what happened when the brothers met; (2) how Jacob wisely separated from Esau.

51 (§17). There was one place in Canaan that was very sacred to Jacob. What had happened at Beth-el? Why did God tell him to go there? How did he prepare his people for the visit? What thoughts do you think came to him when he returned to the spot where he had slept as a lonely young man twenty years before?


WRITTEN REVIEW

Tell your parents what you have learned about Jacob, and ask them if they ever knew a person who had done wrong and was in danger from it years afterward, and who was sorry for the wrong, and was helped by God's goodness. Write what they tell you in your notebook.



JOSEPH

VI. Joseph, the Slave
VII. Joseph, the Ruler
VIII. Joseph, the Generous


VI. JOSEPH, THE SLAVE

THE STORY


§18. Joseph and His Dreams (Gen. 37:3-11)

Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a long garment with sleeves. And his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren; and they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him. And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it to his brethren: and they hated him yet the more.

And he said unto them, "Hear, I pray you, this dream which I have dreamed: for, behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves came round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf."

And his brethren said to him, "Shalt thou indeed reign over us? or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us?" And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words.

And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it to his brethren, and said, "Behold, I have dreamed yet a dream; and, behold, the sun and the moon and eleven stars made obeisance to me."

And he told it to his father, and to his brethren; and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, "What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth?"

And his brethren envied him; and his father kept the saying in mind.


§19. Joseph Sold as a Slave (Gen. 37:12-35)

And his brethren went to feed their father's flock in Shechem. And Israel said unto Joseph, "Do not thy brethren feed the flock in Shechem? come, and I will send thee unto them."

And he said to him, "Here am I."

And he said to him, "Go now, see whether it be well with thy brethren, and well with the flock; and bring me word again."

So he sent him out of the vale of Hebron, and he came to Shechem. And a certain man found him, and, behold, he was wandering in the field: and the man asked him, saying, "What seekest thou?"

And he said, "I seek my brethren: tell me, I pray thee, where they are feeding the flock."

And the man said, "They are departed hence: for I heard them say, 'Let us go to Dothan.'"

And Joseph went after his brethren, and found them in Dothan. And they saw him afar off, and before he came near unto them, they conspired against him to slay him. And they said one to another, "Behold, this dreamer cometh. Come now therefore, and let us slay him, and cast him into one of the pits, and we will say, 'An evil beast hath devoured him': and we shall see what will become of his dreams."

And it came to pass, when Joseph was come unto his brethren, that they stript Joseph of his coat, the long garment with sleeves that was on him; and they took him, and cast him into the pit: and the pit was empty, there was no water in it. And they sat down to eat bread: and they lifted up their eyes and looked, and, behold, a traveling company of Ishmaelites came from Gilead, with their camels bearing spicery and balm and myrrh, going to carry it down to Egypt. And Judah said unto his brethren, "What profit is it if we slay our brother and conceal his blood? Come, and let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, and let not our hand be upon him; for he is our brother, our flesh."

And his brethren hearkened unto him. And they drew and lifted Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver. And they brought Joseph into Egypt. And they took Joseph's coat, and killed a he-goat, and dipped the coat in the blood; and they brought it to their father; and said, "This have we found; know now whether it be thy son's coat or not."

And he knew it, and said, "It is my son's coat; an evil beast hath devoured him; Joseph is without doubt torn in pieces." And Jacob rent his garments, and put sackcloth upon his loins, and mourned for his son many days. And all his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted; and he said, "For I will go down to the grave to my son mourning." And his father wept for him.


§20. Joseph's Faithfulness (Gen. 39:1-6)

And Joseph was brought down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh's, the captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him of the hand of the Ishmaelites, which had brought him down thither.

And the Lord was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. And his master saw that the Lord was with him, and that the Lord made all that he did to prosper in his hand. And Joseph found grace in his sight, and he ministered unto him: and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into his hand. And it came to pass from the time that he made him overseer in his house, and over all that he had, that the Lord blessed the Egyptian's house for Joseph's sake; and the blessing of the Lord was upon all that he had, in the house and in the field. And he left all that he had in Joseph's hand; and he knew not aught that was with him save the bread which he did eat.


§21. Joseph in Prison (Gen. 39:17-23)

But Potiphar's wife spoke false words concerning Joseph, and she said unto her husband, "The Hebrew servant, which thou hast brought unto us, came in unto me to mock me: and it came to pass, as I lifted up my voice and cried, that he fled out."

And it came to pass, when his master heard the words of his wife, which she spake unto him, saying, "After this manner did thy servant to me," that his wrath was kindled. And Joseph's master took him, and put him into the prison, the place where the king's prisoners were bound: and he was there in the prison.

But the Lord was with Joseph, and showed kindness unto him, and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph's hand all the prisoners that were in the prison; and whatsoever they did there, he was the doer of it. The keeper of the prison looked not to any thing that was under his hand, because the Lord was with him; and that which he did, the Lord made it to prosper.


THE MEANING OF THE STORY

52. The story of Joseph is remarkably beautiful and interesting. It is more fully told than many of the other stories, and we seem to know Joseph better than almost any of the older Bible characters. His life was full of startling adventure and shows how a strong, noble young hero can meet danger.

53 (§18). Joseph was the youngest but one of Jacob's sons. The others were grown up, and many statements show that they were not very good men. How did Jacob feel toward Joseph? He gave him a long garment with sleeves, which was a mark of distinction. The ordinary working garments were short and had no sleeves. How did Joseph's brothers feel toward him? What do you think of favoritism in families? Can a father feel the same toward good sons and bad sons?

54 (§18). In old times they thought much of dreams and believed they had important meanings. Tell Joseph's two dreams. What were they supposed to mean? Do boys often dream of their future?

55 (§19). Why do men with large flocks need to move from place to place? Locate Hebron on the map. Then note how far the shepherds had wandered to Shechem, which is a very rich pasturage. Then notice Dothan, 15 miles farther north, where the pasturage is still richer. About how far was Dothan from Hebron? (Use the scale on the map to measure.) Tell how Joseph found his brothers.

56 (§19). Tell the story of the plot. What had prepared these men for the crime they committed? (See I John 3:15.) It is a fearful thing to keep hatred in the heart. Shut the book and think for a moment whether you really hate anyone. Tell what they did with Joseph. How does one sin lead to another? What did they tell Jacob? Notice how sorry the old man was and how they showed their sorrow in those days.

57 (§20). What happened to Joseph when he reached Egypt? What is the position of a slave?

58 (§20). Notice how Joseph, although he was sold into slavery, determined to do his duty to his master. Some people will only do their best when they are well paid. How was faithfulness rewarded in this case?

59 (§21). This story is full of strange surprises. Just as Joseph was enjoying his place as overseer, a new enemy arose. His master's wife made false charges against him. She was a wicked woman and wanted Joseph to be put out of the way. Her husband believed her. What did he do with Joseph?

60 (§21). Joseph might well be discouraged, but even in prison he was determined to do his best. Whose favor did he gain? In our prisons they call the good prisoners "trusties." The jailer soon found that Joseph was a "trusty," and gave him charge of all the other prisoners.


WRITTEN REVIEW

Bear in mind Joseph's trouble in slavery and in prison, and try to find out about someone who has had a very hard time, but who is patiently and cheerfully doing his work, trusting in God. Write the account of it.



VII. JOSEPH, THE RULER

THE STORY


§22. Joseph's Interpretation of the Dreams (Gen. 40)

A. JOSEPH AND THE STATE PRISONERS

And it came to pass after these things, that the butler of the king of Egypt and his baker offended their lord the king of Egypt. And Pharaoh was wroth against his two officers, against the chief of the butlers, and against the chief of the bakers. And he put them in the house of the captain of the guard, into the prison, the place where Joseph was bound. And the captain of the guard charged Joseph with them, and he ministered unto them: and they continued a season in prison.

And they dreamed a dream both of them, each man his dream, in one night, each man according to the interpretation of his dream, the butler and the baker of the king of Egypt, which were bound in the prison.

And Joseph came in unto them in the morning, and saw them, and, behold, they were sad. And he asked them, saying, "Wherefore look ye so sadly to-day?"

And they said unto him, "We have dreamed a dream, and there is none that can interpret it."

And Joseph said unto them, "Do not interpretations belong to God? tell it me, I pray you."


B. THE CHIEF BUTLER'S DREAM

And the chief butler told his dream to Joseph, and said to him, "In my dream, behold, a vine was before me; and in the vine were three branches: and it was as though it budded, and its blossoms shot forth; and the clusters thereof brought forth ripe grapes: and Pharaoh's cup was in my hand; and I took the grapes, and pressed them into Pharaoh's cup, and I gave the cup into Pharaoh's hand."

And Joseph said unto him, "This is the interpretation of it: the three branches are three days; within yet three days shall Pharaoh lift up thine head, and restore thee unto thine office: and thou shalt give Pharaoh's cup into his hand, after the former manner when thou wast his butler. But have me in thy remembrance when it shall be well with thee, and show kindness, I pray thee, unto me, and make mention of me unto Pharaoh, and bring me out of this house: for indeed I was stolen away out of the land of the Hebrews: and here also have I done nothing that they should put me into the dungeon."


C. THE CHIEF BAKER'S DREAM

When the chief baker saw that the interpretation was good, he said unto Joseph, "I also was in my dream, and, behold, three baskets of white bread were on my head: and in the uppermost basket there was of all manner of baked food for Pharaoh; and the birds did eat it out of the basket upon my head."

And Joseph answered and said, "This is the interpretation thereof: the three baskets are three days; within yet three days shall Pharaoh lift up thy head from off thee, and shall hang thee on a tree; and the birds shall eat thy flesh from off thee."


D. THE INTERPRETATION COMES TRUE

And it came to pass the third day, which was Pharaoh's birthday, that he made a feast unto all his servants: and he lifted up the head of the chief butler and the head of the chief baker among his servants. And he restored the chief butler unto his butlership again; and he gave the cup into Pharaoh's hand: but he hanged the chief baker: as Joseph had interpreted to them. Yet did not the chief butler remember Joseph, but forgot him.


§23. Joseph's Interpretation of Pharaoh's Dreams (Gen. 41:1-16, 25-36)

A. THE KING'S DREAM

And it came to pass at the end of two full years, that Pharaoh dreamed: and, behold, he stood by the river. And, behold, there came up out of the river seven kine, well favored and fatfleshed; and they fed in the reed-grass. And, behold, seven other kine came up after them out of the river, ill favored and leanfleshed; and stood by the other kine upon the brink of the river. And the ill favored and leanfleshed kine did eat up the seven well favored and fat kine. So Pharaoh awoke. And he slept and dreamed a second time: and, behold, seven ears of corn came up on one stalk, rank and good. And, behold, seven ears, thin and blasted with the east wind, sprung up after them. And the thin ears swallowed up the seven rank and full ears. And Pharaoh awoke, and, behold, it was a dream. And it came to pass in the morning that his spirit was troubled; and he sent and called for all the magicians of Egypt, and all the wise men thereof: and Pharaoh told them his dream: but there was none that could interpret them unto Pharaoh.


B. THE BUTLER'S RECOMMENDATION OF JOSEPH

Then spake the chief butler unto Pharaoh, saying, "I do remember my faults this day: Pharaoh was wroth with his servants, and put me in prison in the house of the captain of the guard, me and the chief baker: and we dreamed a dream in one night, I and he; we dreamed each man according to the interpretation of his dream. And there was with us there a young man, an Hebrew, servant to the captain of the guards; and we told him, and he interpreted to us our dreams; to each man according to his dream he did interpret. And it came to pass, as he interpreted to us, so it was; I was restored unto mine office, and he was hanged."


C. JOSEPH INTERPRETS PHARAOH'S DREAM

Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him hastily out of the dungeon: and he shaved himself, and changed his raiment, and came in unto Pharaoh.

And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, "I have dreamed a dream, and there is none that can interpret it: and I have heard say of thee, that when thou hearest a dream thou canst interpret it."

And Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, "It is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace."

And Pharaoh told Joseph his dreams.

And Joseph said unto Pharaoh, "The dream of Pharaoh is one: what God is about to do he hath declared unto Pharaoh. The seven good kine are seven years; and the seven good ears are seven years: the dream is one. And the seven lean and ill favored kine that came up after them are seven years, and also the seven empty ears blasted with the east wind; they shall be seven years of famine. That is the thing which I spake unto Pharaoh: what God is about to do he hath showed unto Pharaoh. Behold, there come seven years of great plenty throughout all the land of Egypt: and there shall arise after them seven years of famine; and all the plenty shall be forgotten in the land of Egypt; and the famine shall consume the land; and the plenty shall not be known in the land by reason of that famine which followeth; for it shall be very grievous. And for that the dream was doubled unto Pharaoh twice, it is because the thing is established by God, and God will shortly bring it to pass. Now therefore let Pharaoh look out a man discreet and wise, and set him over the land of Egypt. Let Pharaoh do this, and let him appoint overseers over the land, and take up the fifth part of the land of Egypt in the seven plenteous years. And let them gather all the food of these good years that come, and lay up grain under the hand of Pharaoh for food in the cities, and let them keep it. And the food shall be for a store to the land against the seven years of famine, which shall be in the land of Egypt; that the land perish not through the famine."


§24. Joseph Made Ruler of Egypt (Gen. 41:37-45, 47-57)

A. JOSEPH HONORED BY PHARAOH

And the thing was good in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of all his servants. And Pharaoh said unto his servants, "Can we find such a one as this, a man in whom the spirit of God is?" And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, "Forasmuch as God hath showed thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou: thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than thou." And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, "See, I have set thee over all the land of Egypt."

THE SEAL OF THE GRAND VIZIER OF RAMSES II THE SEAL OF THE GRAND VIZIER OF RAMSES II

And Pharaoh took off his signet ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph's hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck; and he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried before him, "Bow the knee," and he set him over all the land of Egypt. And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, "I am Pharaoh, and without thee shall no man lift up his hand or his foot in all the land of Egypt."

And he gave him to wife Asenath the daughter of Poti-phera priest of On. And Joseph went out over the land of Egypt.


B. JOSEPH'S PROSPERITY

And in the seven plenteous years the earth brought forth by handfuls. And he gathered up all the food of the seven years which were in the land of Egypt, and laid up the food in the cities: the food of the field, which was round about every city, laid he up in the same. And Joseph laid up grain as the sand of the sea, very much, until he left numbering; for it was without number.

And unto Joseph were born two sons before the year of famine came. And Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh: "For God hath made me forget all my toil, and all my father's house." And the name of the second called he Ephraim: "For God hath made me fruitful in the land of my affliction."

And the seven years of plenty, that was in the land of Egypt, came to an end. And the seven years of famine began to come, according as Joseph had said: and there was famine in all lands; but in all the land of Egypt there was bread. And when all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to Pharaoh for bread: and Pharaoh said unto all the Egyptians, "Go unto Joseph; what he saith to you, do."

And the famine was over all the face of the earth: and Joseph opened all the storehouses, and sold unto the Egyptians; and the famine was sore in the land of Egypt. And all countries came into Egypt to Joseph to buy grain; because the famine was sore in all the earth.


THE MEANING OF THE STORY

61. Recall rapidly the story of Joseph as far as we have studied it. Read §21 and consider the situation of the young prisoner.

62 (§22A). Who were these two great men that were sent to prison? It was a high office to be cupbearer to the king. The butler's speech later shows that it was his duty to squeeze the grapes into a goblet of water, making the refreshing drink for his royal master. The officer who had charge of the kitchen in a great palace would also be an important man. In our time a French "chef" sometimes has a salary of $25,000. Why were these men in prison? What did Joseph have to do with them?

63 (§22A). This was three days before the king's birthday and on that day it was customary to decide the fate of state prisoners. How would the two men feel as the day drew near? Would they be likely to dream about their former occupations? Tell the conversation that took place between them and Joseph in the morning.

64 (§22B). Tell the story. Note how natural it was for the butler to dream that he was again preparing the king's grape juice. What do you think of Joseph's request? Was it a reasonable request?

65 (§22C, D). Tell the story of the baker's dream and the interpretation. What happened on the king's birthday? How was it that the chief butler was so ungrateful?

66 (§23A). Pharaoh was the title given to all the kings of Egypt, as Czar is given to the Russian emperors, Sultan to the rulers of Turkey, and President to our own chief executive. The most important thing in Egypt is its famous river. (What is its name?) It was natural for the king to dream of it. Tell the story of his dream.

67 (§23B). We have already noted how much significance was attached to dreams. A king would have a company of learned men who were supposed to be able to interpret his dreams. How was it in this case? What did the chief butler do? How long had he forgotten Joseph?

68 (§23C). How did they get Joseph ready to appear before the king? If you look at Egyptian pictures you will see that the great men never wore beards. The Egyptians were also very cleanly and particular about white garments. What did Pharaoh say to Joseph? Note Joseph's modesty.

69 (§23C). Tell Joseph's interpretation of the dreams. Of course we naturally ask how Joseph could know these things. But we can only say that it is part of the story, and our interest is in finding just what these beautiful old tales of the heroes have to say to us. What advice did Joseph give to the king? Famines were rare in Egypt, because the country is not dependent upon rainfall but upon the overflow of the Nile. Occasionally, though very seldom, the water does not come from the upper river in sufficient quantity; then there is no inundation and the crops fail.

70 (§24A). What did Pharaoh think of Joseph's interpretation? What did he think of his advice? What did he decide to do with him. Note the six distinctions he gave him and explain what they meant? In England one of the highest officers is the Keeper of the Great Seal. And there the aldermen wear gold chains round their necks. It was a notable honor to be married to the daughter of the high priest, who was a great dignitary.

71 (§24B). What did Joseph do during the seven prosperous years? How many sons were born to him? What did he do when the famine came?

72. When Joseph was in the pit in slavery, and in the prison, whom did he trust? Did he ever think the happy dreams of youth were hopeless? What is the best way to meet bad fortune? Now note how he meets good fortune. Read Rom. 8:28.


WRITTEN REVIEW

Like Joseph, you doubtless have some tasks put upon you that are unpleasant. Note one of those tasks this week. Do it as Joseph would have done. You will feel after you have done your best that it was worth while. Then think again how Joseph behaved. Write out in your notebook why Joseph always did his duty.



VIII. JOSEPH, THE GENEROUS

THE STORY


§25. Joseph and the Guilty Brothers (Gen. 42)

A. THE FIRST JOURNEY OF THE BROTHERS

Now Jacob saw that there was grain in Egypt, and Jacob said unto his sons, "Why do ye look one upon another? Behold, I have heard that there is grain in Egypt: get you down thither, and buy for us from thence; that we may live, and not die."

And Joseph's ten brethren went down to buy grain from Egypt. But Benjamin, Joseph's brother, Jacob sent not with his brethren; for he said, "Lest peradventure mischief befall him."


B. JOSEPH'S TREATMENT OF HIS BROTHERS

And Joseph was the governor over the land; he it was that sold to all the people of the land: and Joseph's brethren came, and bowed down themselves to him with their faces to the earth. And Joseph saw his brethren, and he knew them, but made himself strange unto them, and spake roughly with them; and he said unto them, "Whence come ye?" And they said, "From the land of Canaan to buy food."

And Joseph remembered the dreams which he dreamed of them, and said unto them, "Ye are spies; to see the nakedness of the land ye are come."

And they said unto him, "Nay, my lord, but to buy food are thy servants come. We are all one man's sons; we are true men, thy servants are no spies."

And he said unto them, "Nay, but to see the nakedness of the land ye are come."

And they said, "We thy servants are twelve brethren, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan; and, behold, the youngest is this day with our father, and one is not."

And Joseph said unto them, "Ye are spies." And he put them all together into prison three days. And Joseph said unto them the third day, "This do, and live; for I fear God: if ye be true men, let one of your brethren be bound in your prison house; but go ye, carry grain for the famine of your houses: and bring your youngest brother unto me; so shall your words be verified, and ye shall not die."

And they said one to another, "We are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the distress of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear; therefore is this distress come upon us."

And they knew not that Joseph understood them; for there was an interpreter between them. And he turned himself about from them, and wept; and he returned to them, and spake to them, and took Simeon from among them, and bound him before their eyes.


C. THE RETURN TO JACOB

Then Joseph commanded to fill their vessels with grain, and to restore every man's money into his sack, and to give them provision for the way: and thus was it done unto them.

And they laded their asses with their grain and departed thence. And as one of them opened his sack to give his ass provender in the lodging place, he espied his money; and, behold, it was in the mouth of his sack. And he said unto his brethren, "My money is restored; and, lo, it is even in my sack." And their heart failed them, and they turned trembling one to another, saying, "What is this that God hath done unto us?"

And they came unto Jacob their father unto the land of Canaan, and told him all that had befallen them. And it came to pass as they emptied their sacks, that, behold, every man's bundle of money was in his sack; and when they and their father saw their bundles of money, they were afraid.

And Jacob their father said unto them, "Me have ye bereaved of my children: Joseph is not, and Simeon is not, and ye will take Benjamin away: all these things are against me."

And Reuben spake unto his father, saying, "Slay my two sons, if I bring him not to thee: deliver him into my hand, and I will bring him to thee again."

And he said, "My son shall not go down with you; for his brother is dead, and he only is left: if mischief befall him by the way in the which ye go, then shall ye bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave."


§26. Joseph and Benjamin (Gen. 43)

A. THE SECOND JOURNEY TO EGYPT

And the famine was sore in the land. And it came to pass, when they had eaten up the grain which they had brought out of Egypt, their father said unto them, "Go again, buy us a little food."

And Judah spake unto him, saying, "The man did solemnly protest unto us, saying, 'Ye shall not see my face, except your brother be with you.' If thou wilt send our brother with us, we will go down and buy thee food: but if thou wilt not send him, we will not go down."

And Israel said, "Wherefore dealt ye so ill with me, as to tell the man whether ye had yet a brother?"

And they said, "The man asked straitly concerning ourselves, and concerning our kindred, saying, 'Is your father yet alive? have ye another brother?' and we told him according to the tenor of these words: could we in any wise know that he would say, 'Bring your brother down'?" And Judah said unto Israel his father, "Send the lad with me, and we will arise and go; that we may live, and not die, both we, and thou, and also our little ones. I will be surety for him; of my hand shalt thou require him: if I bring him not unto thee, and set him before thee, then let me bear the blame for ever: for except we had lingered, surely we had now returned a second time."

And their father Israel said unto them, "If it be so now, do this; take of the choice fruits of the land in your vessels, and carry down the man a present, a little balm, and a little honey, spicery and myrrh, nuts, and almonds: and take double money in your hand; and the money that was returned in the mouth of your sacks carry again in your hand; peradventure it was an oversight: take also your brother, and arise, go again unto the man: and God Almighty give you mercy before the man, that he may release unto you your other brother and Benjamin. And if I be bereaved of my children, I am bereaved."


B. THE KIND RECEPTION

And the men took that present, and they took double money in their hand, and Benjamin; and rose up, and went down to Egypt, and stood before Joseph. And when Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the steward of his house, "Bring the men into the house, and slay, and make ready; for the men shall dine with me at noon."

And the man did as Joseph bade; and the man brought the men into Joseph's house. And the men were afraid because they were brought into Joseph's house; and they said, "Because of the money that was returned in our sacks at the first time are we brought in; that he may seek occasion against us, and fall upon us, and take us for bondmen, and our asses."

And they came near to the steward of Joseph's house; and they spake unto him at the door of the house, and said, "Oh my lord, we came indeed down at the first time to buy food: and it came to pass, when we came to the lodging place, that we opened our sacks, and, behold, every man's money was in the mouth of his sack, our money in full weight: and we have brought it again in our hand. And other money have we brought down in our hand to buy food: we know not who put our money in our sacks."

And he said, "Peace be to you, fear not: your God, and the God of your father, hath given you treasure in your sacks: I had your money."

And he brought Simeon out unto them. And the man brought the men into Joseph's house, and gave them water, and they washed their feet; and he gave their asses provender. And they made ready the present against Joseph came at noon: for they heard that they should eat bread there.


C. THE FEAST

And when Joseph came home, they brought him the present which was in their hand into the house, and bowed down themselves to him to the earth. And he asked them of their welfare, and said, "Is your father well, the old man of whom ye spake? Is he yet alive?" And they said, "Thy servant our father is well, he is yet alive." And they bowed the head, and made obeisance.

And he lifted up his eyes, and saw Benjamin his brother, his mother's son, and said, "Is this your youngest brother, of whom ye spake unto me?" And he said, "God be gracious unto thee, my son."

And Joseph made haste; for his heart yearned over his brother: and he sought where to weep; and he entered into his chamber, and wept there. And he washed his face, and came out; and he refrained himself, and said, "Set on bread."

And they set on for him by himself, and for them by themselves, and for the Egyptians, which did eat with him, by themselves: because the Egyptians might not eat bread with the Hebrews; for that is an abomination unto the Egyptians. And they sat before him, the firstborn according to his birthright, and the youngest according to his youth: and the men marvelled one with another. And he took and sent messes unto them from before him: but Benjamin's mess was five times so much as any of theirs. And they drank, and were merry with him.

§27. Joseph's Forgiveness (Gen. 44; 45:1-15)

A. THE HARD TEST

And he commanded the steward of his house, saying, "Fill the men's sacks with food, as much as they can carry, and put every man's money in his sack's mouth. And put my cup, the silver cup, in the sack's mouth of the youngest, and his grain money."

And he did according to the word that Joseph had spoken. As soon as the morning was light, the men were sent away, they and their asses. And when they were gone out of the city, and were not yet far off, Joseph said unto his steward, "Up, follow after the men; and when thou dost overtake them, say unto them, 'Wherefore have ye rewarded evil for good? Is not this it in which my lord drinketh, and whereby he indeed divineth? ye have done evil in so doing.'"

And he overtook them, and he spake unto them these words. And they said unto him, "Wherefore speaketh my lord such words as these? God forbid that thy servants should do such a thing. Behold, the money, which we found in our sacks' mouths, we brought again unto thee out of the land of Canaan: how then should we steal out of thy lord's house silver or gold? With whomsoever of thy servants it be found, let him die, and we also will be my lord's bondmen."

And he said, "Now also let it be according unto your words: he with whom it is found shall be my bondman; and ye shall be blameless."

Then they hasted, and took down every man his sack to the ground, and opened every man his sack. And he searched, and began at the eldest, and left at the youngest: and the cup was found in Benjamin's sack. Then they rent their clothes, and laded every man his ass, and returned to the city. And Judah and his brethren came to Joseph's house; and he was yet there: and they fell before him on the ground.

And Joseph said unto them, "What deed is this that ye have done? know ye not that such a man as I can indeed divine?"

And Judah said, "What shall we say unto my lord? what shall we speak? or how shall we clear ourselves? God hath found out the iniquity of thy servants: behold, we are my lord's bondmen, both we, and he also in whose hand the cup is found."

And he said, "God forbid that I should do so: the man in whose hand the cup is found, he shall be my bondman; but as for you, get you up in peace unto your father."


B. JUDAH'S NOBLE OFFER

Then Judah came near unto him, and said, "Oh my lord, let thy servant, I pray thee, speak a word in my lord's ears, and let not thine anger burn against thy servant: for thou art even as Pharaoh. My lord asked his servants, saying, 'Have ye a father, or a brother?' And we said unto my lord, 'We have a father, an old man, and a child of his old age, a little one; and his brother is dead, and he alone is left of his mother, and his father loveth him.' And thou saidst unto thy servants, 'Bring him down unto me, that I may set mine eyes upon him.' And we said unto my lord, 'The lad cannot leave his father: for if he should leave his father, his father would die.' And thou saidst unto thy servants, 'Except your youngest brother come down with you, ye shall see my face no more.' And it came to pass when we came up unto my father, we told him the words of my lord. And our father said, 'Go again, buy us a little food.' And we said, 'We cannot go down: if our youngest brother be with us, then will we go down; for we may not see the man's face, except our youngest brother be with us.' And my father said unto us, 'Ye know that my wife bare me two sons: and the one went out from me, and I said, Surely he is torn in pieces; and I have not seen him since: and if ye take this one also from me, and mischief befall him, ye shall bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave.' Now therefore when I come to my father, and the lad be not with us; seeing that his life is bound up in the lad's life; it shall come to pass, when he seeth that the lad is not with us, that he will die: and thy servants shall bring down the gray hairs of our father with sorrow to the grave. For thy servant became surety for the lad unto my father, saying, 'If I bring him not unto thee, then shall I bear the blame to my father for ever.' Now therefore, let thy servant, I pray thee, abide instead of the lad a bondman to my lord; and let the lad go up with his brethren. For how shall I go up to my father, and the lad be not with me? lest I see the evil that shall come on my father."


C. THE FORGIVENESS

Then Joseph could not refrain himself before all them that stood by him; and he cried, "Cause every man to go out from me." And there stood no man with him, while Joseph made himself known unto his brethren. And he wept aloud.

And Joseph said unto his brethren, "I am Joseph; doth my father yet live?" And his brethren could not answer him; for they were troubled at his presence. And Joseph said unto his brethren, "Come near to me, I pray you." And they came near. And he said, "I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt. And now be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life. For these two years hath the famine been in the land: and there are yet five years, in the which there shall be neither plowing nor harvest. And God sent me before you to preserve you a remnant in the earth, and to save you alive by a great deliverance. So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and ruler over all the land of Egypt. Haste ye, and go up to my father, and say unto him, 'Thus saith thy son Joseph, God hath made me lord of all Egypt: come down unto me, tarry not: and thou shalt dwell in the land of Goshen, and thou shalt be near unto me, thou, and thy children, and thy children's children, and thy flocks, and thy herds, and all that thou hast: and there will I nourish thee; for there are yet five years of famine; lest thou come to poverty, thou, and thy household, and all that thou hast.' And, behold, your eyes see, and the eyes of my brother Benjamin, that it is my mouth that speaketh unto you. And ye shall tell my father of all my glory in Egypt, and of all that ye have seen and ye shall haste and bring down my father hither."

And he fell upon his brother Benjamin's neck, and wept; and Benjamin wept upon his neck. And he kissed all his brethren, and wept upon them: and after that his brethren talked with him.


§28. Joseph and His Father (Gen. 45:25-28; 46:28-30; 47:7-11)

And they went up out of Egypt, and came into the land of Canaan unto Jacob their father. And they told him, saying, "Joseph is yet alive, and he is ruler over all the land of Egypt."

And his heart fainted, for he believed them not. And they told him all the words of Joseph, which he had said unto them: and when he saw the wagons which Joseph had sent to carry him, the spirit of Jacob their father revived: and Israel said, "It is enough; Joseph my son is yet alive: I will go and see him before I die."

And he sent Judah before him unto Joseph, to show the way before him unto Goshen; and they came unto the land of Goshen. And Joseph made ready his chariot, and went up to meet Israel his father, to Goshen. And he presented himself unto him, and fell on his neck, and wept on his neck a good while.

And Israel said unto Joseph, "Now let me die, since I have seen thy face, that thou art yet alive."

And Joseph brought in Jacob his father, and set him before Pharaoh: and Jacob blessed Pharaoh. And Pharaoh said unto Jacob, "How many are the days of the years of thy life?"

And Jacob said unto Pharaoh, "The days of the years of my pilgrimage are an hundred and thirty years: few and evil have been the days of the years of my life, and they have not attained unto the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their pilgrimage."

And Jacob blessed Pharaoh, and went out from the presence of Pharaoh. And Joseph placed his father and his brethren, and gave them a possession in the land of Egypt, in the best of the land.


THE MEANING OF THE STORY

73. This a rather long chapter, but it is so full of interest that it would not be well to divide it. Recall the last chapter and tell what was the condition in Egypt and what was Joseph's position.

74 (§25A). We turn back in our story to what persons? What was happening to them? What was this journey, who went, why did they go, who remained behind? Compare this with Abraham's journey (§4).

75 (§25B). How did Joseph feel when he saw his brothers after so many years? How did he recognize them, while they did not know him? Notice how roughly he treats them. He is going to see whether they care for the youngest brother Benjamin. How does he do this? We saw in the life of Jacob how an old sin comes back. So it is here, as the brothers realize. How does the interview end?

76 (§25C). What happened about the money? Describe the report that they made to Jacob.

77 (§26A). Why did they need to go to Egypt again? What did Judah say to his father? How did Jacob at last consent?

78 (§26B). Joseph is not yet ready to tell them of his forgiveness, because he wants them to be really repentant. He has a very good plan in his mind. What took place between the brothers and the steward?

79 (§26C). This description is very beautiful. What were Joseph's feelings when he saw Benjamin? How was the feast arranged? Notice that Joseph ate apart as the Egyptian custom required. How surprised they were that they should be seated according to their ages!

80 (§27A). What was Joseph's plan about the cup? Tell the story of the arrest. Notice the custom of expressing sorrow. The brothers find themselves in a hard case. Once, when they were guilty, they had been able to escape detection; now, when they are innocent, they cannot escape. What was Joseph's harsh decision?

81 (§27B). The brothers had not cared that Joseph should be sold as a slave and Jacob should be heartbroken. But now when Benjamin is to be a slave they feel different. Why is this? Tell in your own words Judah's noble speech. See how completely Joseph has brought his brothers to repentance.

82 (§27C). Notice (1) Joseph's loving words, (2) his faith in God's providence, (3) his message to his father, (4) his affection for his brothers. Have you ever known forgiveness to do any good?

83 (§28). How did Jacob receive the good news that Joseph was alive? Goshen was a fertile part of Egypt in which the Hebrews were to live. Describe the meeting of the father and son. Notice the formal presentation of Jacob to the king, and how stately is the old patriarch as he blesses the king.


WRITTEN REVIEW

Remember how happy Joseph was in forgiving his brethren. Read Rom. 12:20, 21. If anybody should annoy or anger you this week, try Joseph's plan. Instead of getting even with your enemy, be kind to him. See if you do not feel happier about it. Write in your notebook your own idea of whether Joseph was right in his forgiveness.



MOSES

IX. Moses' Early Life
X. Moses' Commission
XI. Moses, the Deliverer
XII. Moses, the Lawgiver


IX. MOSES' EARLY LIFE

THE STORY


§29. The Oppression of the Hebrews (Exod. 1:6-12, 22)

And Joseph died, and all his brethren, and all that generation. And the children of Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed exceeding mighty; and the land was filled with them.

Now there arose a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph. And he said unto his people, "Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we: come, let us deal wisely with them; lest they multiply, and it come to pass, that, when there falleth out any war, they also join themselves unto our enemies, and fight against us, and get them up out of the land."

Therefore, they did set over them taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh store cities, Pithom and Raamses. But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and the more they spread abroad. And they were grieved because of the children of Israel.

And Pharaoh charged all his people, saying, "Every son that is born ye shall cast into the river, and every daughter ye shall save alive."


§30. The Birth and Adoption of Moses (Exod. 2:1-10)

Copyright 1904 by Underwood and Underwood THE SIXTY-FIVE-FOOT PORTRAIT STATUES OF RAMSES II

Copyright 1904 by Underwood and Underwood

THE SIXTY-FIVE-FOOT PORTRAIT STATUES OF RAMSES II

And there went a man of the house of Levi, and took to wife a daughter of Levi. And the woman bare a son: and when she saw him that he was a goodly child, she hid him three months. And when she could not longer hide him, she took for him an ark of bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and with pitch: and she put the child therein, and laid it in the flags by the river's brink. And his sister stood afar off, to know what would be done to him. And the daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river; and her maidens walked along by the river side; and she saw the ark among the flags, and sent her handmaid to fetch it. And she opened it, and saw the child: and, behold, the babe wept.

And she had compassion on him, and said, "This is one of the Hebrews' children."

Then said his sister to Pharaoh's daughter, "Shall I go and call thee a nurse of the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for thee?"

And Pharaoh's daughter said to her, "Go."

And the maid went and called the child's mother. And Pharaoh's daughter said unto her, "Take this child away, and nurse it for me, and I will give thee thy wages."

And the woman took the child, and nursed it. And the child grew, and she brought him unto Pharaoh's daughter, and he became her son. And she called his name Moses.


§31. The Young Man's Unwise Methods (Exod. 2:11-15)

And it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown up, that he went out unto his brethren, and looked on their burdens: and he saw an Egyptian smiting a Hebrew, one of his brethren. And he looked this way and that way, and when he saw that there was no man, he smote the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand. And he went out the second day, and, behold, two men of the Hebrews strove together: and he said to him that did the wrong, "Wherefore smitest thou thy fellow?" And he said, "Who made thee a prince and a judge over us? thinkest thou to kill me, as thou killedst the Egyptian?" And Moses feared, and said, "Surely the thing is known." Now when Pharaoh heard this thing, he sought to slay Moses.


§32. Moses in Midian (Exod. 2:16-22)

Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh, and dwelt in the land of Midian: and he sat down by a well. Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters: and they came and drew water, and filled the trough to water their father's flock. And the shepherds came and drove them away: but Moses stood up and helped them, and watered their flock. And when they came to Reuel their father, he said, "How is it that ye are come so soon to-day?" And they said, "An Egyptian delivered us out of the hands of the shepherds, and moreover he drew water for us, and watered the flock." And he said unto his daughters, "And where is he? why is it that ye have left the man? call him, that he may eat bread." And Moses was content to dwell with the man: and he gave Moses Zipporah his daughter, and she bare a son, and he called his name Gershom: for he said, "I have been a sojourner in a strange land."


§33. The Unhappy Hebrews (Exod. 2:23-25)

And it came to pass in the course of those many days, that the king of Egypt died: and the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up unto God by reason of the bondage. And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. And God saw the children of Israel, and God took knowledge of them.


THE MEANING OF THE STORY

84. In any nation one of the greatest heroes is the man who was the founder of the national life. The Italians look to the great Garibaldi, who delivered them from their enemies and brought about a united Italy. Americans call Washington the father of his country, because he was the leader in the great struggle to make America a nation. The Hebrews always looked back to Moses as their great deliverer, who brought them out of Egypt and made them a nation. The study of this hero takes us to the second book of the Bible, which is called Exodus, meaning "Going out," because it gives the story of the escape of the Hebrews from Egypt.

85 (§29). In the last chapter we were studying about a small tribe of people. Now we find that a long time has passed and the people have greatly increased in numbers. Consider how the negroes have increased in numbers since the War. There were then four millions. How many are there now?

86 (§29). There probably arose a new dynasty, or line of kings. What did the king fear might happen if the Hebrews grew too numerous? These Pharaohs were mighty builders. What great objects had some of the earlier Pharaohs built? They loved to have splendid palaces and temples and strong fortifications. As there was no machinery, this work required great numbers of men. In the wars of those days all prisoners were made slaves and compelled to work. So the Egyptians treated the Hebrews as if they were prisoners. What kind of labor were they compelled to do?

87 (§29). We get a glimpse into the awful harshness of that old slavery. As we see the pictures of the magnificent structures of those days we remember that they cost the lives of millions of human beings. We have done away with slavery, but are not people still compelled to work in awful conditions? There are very many occupations where the health of the laborers is broken down and their lives shortened. We have still a great deal to learn about how men ought to labor.

88 (§29). When the harsh slavery did not prevent the increase of the Hebrews, it was brutally determined to murder them. What was the plan? The girls were saved because they could not fight.

89 (§30). Doubtless many of the Hebrew children were drowned, but one mother was determined to save her boy. Tell the story of how he was hidden and found and saved.

90 (§30). By the happy plan of the mother and sister the boy could be brought up safely in his own home. But he was also to have the opportunity of training in the royal palace. What did it mean that he was adopted by the princess?

91 (§31). Which people would it have been most profitable for Moses to belong to—the Egyptians or the Hebrews? Sometimes we see a boy who is clever and fortunate separating himself from his family. How did Moses feel when he grew up and saw the sad condition of his people? What hasty thing did he do? Was Moses justified in that act? Let us see how it turned out.

92 (§31). The young man was not only anxious to save his people from tyranny but also from quarreling among themselves. What happened the next day? People are not always willing to take good advice. What danger was Moses in?

93 (§32). What was Moses obliged to do because he had killed the Egyptian overseer? Locate Midian. When Moses was off in the desert, a fugitive from justice, could he help his people? Was not his hasty act unwise? Do you remember someone attacking saloons with a hatchet? Can we often do good by violence? Sometimes we are very indignant because we see injustice, but in the long run we shall gain all good ends by peaceful means. Lynching is a poor way to secure justice.

94 (§32). Notice that the girls were in charge of the flocks. What did the rude shepherds do? Again Moses interferes to help the weak, but this time he seems to have done it without fighting. Why did the girls think Moses was an Egyptian? How did it all turn out?

95 (§33). Meantime everything looked very dark for the Hebrews. But God was preparing a man to save them. Would it have been a good thing for the Hebrews to have been happy in Egypt and to have stayed there and become Egyptians? Would it have been well if the Pilgrims had been well treated in England and had stayed there? Are our troubles ever good for us? Who is watching all the time?


WRITTEN REVIEW

Moses was obliged to be a shepherd instead of a wealthy Egyptian. So sometimes our plans are changed. But often it turns out for good. Ask your parents, or your pastor, or some friend, to tell you if anything ever happened to them that seemed at the time to upset all their plans of life, but which turned out to be of great value in their training. Write an account of it in your notebook.



X. MOSES' COMMISSION

THE STORY


§34. The Call in the Wilderness (Exod. 3:1-11; 4:1-17)

A. THE BURNING BUSH

Now Moses was keeping the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the back of the wilderness, and came to the mountain of God, unto Horeb. And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.

And Moses said, "I will turn aside now, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt."

And when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, "Moses, Moses."

And he said, "Here am I."

And he said, "Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob."

And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God. And the Lord said, "I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; and I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey. Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt."

ORIENTAL SANDALS ORIENTAL SANDALS

B. MOSES' HESITATION

And Moses said unto God, "Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt? Behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, 'The Lord hath not appeared unto thee.'"

And the Lord said unto him, "What is that in thine hand?"

And he said, "A rod."

And he said, "Cast it on the ground."

And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it.

And the Lord said unto Moses, "Put forth thine hand and take it by the tail."

And he put forth his hand, and laid hold of it, and it became a rod in his hand.

And the Lord said furthermore unto him, "Put now thine hand into thy bosom."

And he put his hand into his bosom: and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous, as white as snow.

And he said, "Put thine hand into thy bosom again."

And he put his hand into his bosom again; and when he took it out of his bosom, behold, it was turned again as his other flesh.

And the Lord said, "It shall come to pass, if they will not believe thee, neither hearken to the voice of the first sign, that they will believe the voice of the latter sign."

And Moses said unto the Lord, "Oh Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: for I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue."

And the Lord said unto him, "Who hath made man's mouth? or who maketh a man dumb, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? is it not I the Lord? Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt speak."

And he said, "Oh Lord, send, I pray thee, by the hand of another whom thou wilt choose."

And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses, and he said, "Is there not Aaron thy brother? I know that he can speak well. And also, behold, he cometh forth to meet thee: and when he seeth thee, he will be glad in his heart. And thou shalt speak unto him, and put the words in his mouth: and I will be with thy mouth, and with his mouth, and will teach you what ye shall do. And he shall be thy spokesman unto the people. And thou shalt take in thine hand this rod, wherewith thou shalt do the signs."

And the Lord said to Aaron, "Go into the wilderness to meet Moses."

And he went, and met him in the mountain of God, and kissed him. And Moses told Aaron all the words of the Lord wherewith he had sent him, and all the signs wherewith he had charged him.


§35. The Return to Egypt (Exod. 4:18, 20, 27-31)

And Moses went and returned to Jethro his father-in-law, and said unto him, "Let me go, I pray thee, and return unto my brethren which are in Egypt, and see whether they be yet alive."

And Jethro said to Moses, "Go in peace."

And Moses took his wife and his sons, and set them upon an ass, and he returned to the land of Egypt.

And Moses and Aaron went and gathered together all the elders of the children of Israel: and Aaron spake all the words which the Lord had spoken unto Moses, and did the signs in the sight of the people. And the people believed: and when they heard that the Lord had visited the children of Israel, and that he had seen their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshipped.


§36. Pharaoh's Harshness (Exod. 5:1-6:1)

A. THE CHALLENGE

And afterward Moses and Aaron came, and said unto Pharaoh, "Thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel, 'Let my people go, that they may hold a feast unto me in the wilderness.'"

And Pharaoh said, "Who is the Lord, that I should hearken unto his voice to let Israel go? I know not the Lord, and moreover I will not let Israel go."

And they said, "The God of the Hebrews hath met with us: let us go, we pray thee, three days' journey into the wilderness, and sacrifice unto the Lord our God."

And the king of Egypt said unto them, "Wherefore do ye, Moses and Aaron, loose the people from their work? get you unto your burdens. Behold, the people of the land are now many, and ye make them rest from their burdens."


B. THE BITTER BONDAGE

And the same day Pharaoh commanded the taskmasters of the people, and their officers, saying, "Ye shall no more give the people straw to make brick, as heretofore: let them go and gather straw for themselves. And the number of the bricks, which they did make heretofore, ye shall lay upon them; ye shall not diminish aught thereof: for they be idle; therefore they cry, saying, 'Let us go and sacrifice to our God.' Let heavier work be laid upon the men, that they may labor therein; and let them not regard lying words."

And the taskmasters of the people went out, and their officers, and they spake to the people, saying, "Thus saith Pharaoh, 'I will not give you straw. Go yourselves, get you straw where ye can find it: for nought of your work shall be diminished.'"

So the people were scattered abroad throughout all the land of Egypt to gather stubble for straw. And the taskmasters were urgent, saying, "Fulfil your works, your daily tasks, as when there was straw." And the officers of the children of Israel, which Pharaoh's taskmasters had set over them, were beaten, and demanded, "Wherefore have ye not fulfilled your task both yesterday and to-day, in making brick as heretofore?"

Then the officers of the children of Israel came and cried unto Pharaoh, saying, "Wherefore dealest thou thus with thy servants? There is no straw given unto thy servants, and they say to us, 'Make brick': and behold, thy servants are beaten; but the fault is in thine own people."

But he said, "Ye are idle, ye are idle: therefore ye say, 'Let us go and sacrifice to the Lord.' Go therefore now, and work; for there shall no straw be given you, yet shall ye deliver the number of bricks."

And the officers of the children of Israel did see that they were in evil case, and they met Moses and Aaron, who stood in the way, as they came forth from Pharaoh: and they said unto them, "The Lord look upon you, and judge; because ye have made us to be abhorred in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of his servants, to put a sword in their hand to slay us."


C. THE PROMISE OF THE LORD

And Moses returned unto the Lord, and said, "Lord, wherefore hast thou evil entreated this people? why is it that thou hast sent me? For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in thy name, he hath evil entreated this people; neither hast thou delivered thy people at all."

And the Lord said unto Moses, "Now shalt thou see what I will do to Pharaoh: for by a strong hand shall he let them go, and by a strong hand shall he drive them out of his land."


THE MEANING OF THE STORY

96 (§34A). We left Moses in Midian. Locate it again on the map. With whom did he live? What was his occupation? Notice that he came to Mt. Horeb, which is also called Mt. Sinai. Locate it on the map.

97 (§34A). As Moses was alone in the wilderness, his thoughts would naturally turn to his people. What would he wish for them? How greatly they needed a leader! If ever the thought occurred to him that he ought to be their leader, how would he feel about it? At last God's message came to him. It is one of the beautiful stories of God speaking to man. How was Moses told to show his reverence? It is the custom in the East. How could they take off their shoes so easily? (See illustration of the sandal.) What custom do we have to show reverence? How did Moses show a still deeper reverence?

98 (§34A). What did God tell Moses? It might have seemed to the lonely exile that the Lord had forgotten all about the people in bondage. A commission is a duty given to a man: what was Moses' commission? At last God's plan for poor Israel was clear. The deliverer had been found.

99 (§34B). It was a startling commission for Moses. He remembered how the people had treated him when he had tried to help them. (Recall §31.) What was he now afraid of? Tell the story of the signs with which the Lord gave him confidence. People were always anxious for something wonderful in those old days.

100 (§34B). Moses had another reason for hesitation. Is humility a good preparation for a great work or is confidence better? How does the Lord fit an earnest man for his work? Humility is not good when it is through lack of faith. "The anger of the Lord" means his displeasure at what is not right. Who was sent with Moses?

101 (§35). How did Moses act after receiving the commission. Did he tell his father-in-law his plans? Describe the meeting, as you may imagine it, between the two brothers and the Hebrew people.

Copyright 1904 by Underwood and Underwood

Copyright 1904 by Underwood and Underwood

BRICK-MAKING IN EGYPT

102 (§36A). It was a bold thing to go to the king. What did Moses and Aaron demand? What did the king say about the Lord? What did he say Moses and Aaron were doing?

103 (§36B). Brick was made from the black Nile mud mixed with sand and with chopped straw. There are pictures in Egypt of captives making these bricks with overseers guarding them. The soft mud would be put into a wooden mold, which would then be lifted off and the brick left to dry in the sun. Sometimes the captives had to gather waste material or stubble instead of straw. Why was this such a hardship to the Hebrews?

104 (§36B). Note how the orders were carried out. There are two classes of officials mentioned: the Egyptian taskmasters and the Hebrew officers. The latter were responsible for the full work being done by their countrymen. Tell the whole story of the bondage.

105 (§36B). Describe the interview of the officers with Pharaoh. How did they feel toward Moses and Aaron?

106 (§36C). How did all this affect Moses? It is often darkest just before day. What did the Lord promise?


WRITTEN REVIEW

Think over the story carefully and prepare for a debate, the students taking different sides on the question: Resolved that Moses was wrong in settling down in Midian and leaving his people so long without help.



XI. MOSES, THE DELIVERER

THE STORY


§37. The Plagues of Egypt (Exod. 7:14-18, 25; 8:1-4, 6, 8, 13, 15-17, 20-24, 28, 31, 32; 9:1-6, 8, 9, 22-28, 33, 34; 10:3-6, 14, 19-23, 28, 29; 11:4-8; 12:29-36)

A. THE NILE TURNED TO BLOOD

And the Lord said unto Moses, "Pharaoh's heart is stubborn, he refuseth to let the people go. Get thee unto Pharaoh in the morning; lo, he goeth out unto the water; and thou shalt stand by the river's brink to meet him; and the rod which was turned to a serpent shalt thou take in thine hand. And thou shalt say unto him, 'The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, hath sent me unto thee, saying, Let my people go, that they may serve me in the wilderness: and, behold hitherto thou hast not hearkened. Thus saith the Lord, In this thou shalt know that I am the Lord: behold, I will smite with the rod that is in mine hand upon the waters which are in the river and they shall be turned to blood. And the fish that is in the river shall die, and the river shall be polluted; and the Egyptians shall loathe to drink water from the river.'"


B. THE SWARMS OF FROGS

And seven days were fulfilled, after that the Lord had smitten the river. And the Lord spake unto Moses, "Go in unto Pharaoh, and say unto him, 'Thus saith the Lord, Let my people go, that they may serve me. And if thou refuse to let them go, behold, I will smite all thy borders with frogs: and the river shall swarm with frogs, which shall go up and come into thine house, and into thy bedchamber, and upon thy bed, and into the house of thy servants, and upon thy people, and into thine ovens, and into thy kneading-troughs: and the frogs shall come up both upon thee, and upon thy people, and upon all thy servants.'"

And the frogs came up, and covered the land of Egypt. Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron, and said, "Entreat the Lord, that he take away the frogs from me, and from my people; and I will let the people go, that they may sacrifice unto the Lord."

And the frogs died, but when Pharaoh saw that there was respite, he hardened his heart.


C. THE STINGING GNATS AND SWARMS OF FLIES

And the Lord said unto Moses, "Stretch out thy rod, and smite the dust of the earth, that it may become stinging gnats throughout all the land of Egypt." And there were gnats upon man, and upon beast; all the dust of the earth became gnats throughout all the land of Egypt.

And the Lord said unto Moses, "Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh; and say unto him, 'Thus saith the Lord, Let my people go, that they may serve me. Else, if thou wilt not let my people go, behold, I will send swarms of flies upon thee, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people, and into thy houses: and the houses of the Egyptians shall be full of swarms of flies, and also the ground whereon they are. And I will separate in that day the land of Goshen, in which my people dwell, that no swarms of flies shall be there; to the end thou mayest know that I am the Lord in the midst of the earth.'"

And the Lord did so; and there came grievous swarms of flies into all the land of Egypt. And Pharaoh said, "I will let you go, that ye may sacrifice to the Lord your God in the wilderness."

And the Lord removed the swarms of flies from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people; there remained not one. And Pharaoh hardened his heart this time also, and he did not let the people go.


D. THE CATTLE PESTILENCE AND THE BOILS

Then the Lord said unto Moses, "Go in unto Pharaoh, and tell him, 'Thus saith the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, Let my people go, that they may serve me. For if thou refuse to let them go, and wilt hold them still, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thy cattle which is in the field, upon the horses, upon the asses, upon the camels, upon the herds, and upon the flocks: there shall be a very grievous pestilence. And the Lord shall separate between the cattle of Israel and the cattle of Egypt: and there shall nothing die of all that belongeth to the children of Israel.'"

And on the morrow all the cattle of Egypt died: but of the cattle of the children of Israel died not one.

And the Lord said unto Moses and unto Aaron, "Take handfuls of ashes, and let Moses sprinkle it toward the heaven in the sight of Pharaoh. And it shall become small dust over all the land of Egypt, and shall be a boil breaking forth with blains upon man and upon beast, throughout all the land of Egypt."


E. THE HAIL, THE LOCUSTS, AND THE DARKNESS

And the Lord said unto Moses, "Stretch forth thine hand toward heaven, that there may be hail in all the land of Egypt, upon man, and upon beast, and upon every herb of the field." So there was hail, and fire mingled with the hail, very grievous, such as had not been in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation. And the hail smote all that was in the field, both man and beast; and the hail smote every herb of the field, and brake every tree of the field. Only in the land of Goshen, where the children of Israel were, was there no hail. And Pharaoh sent, and called for Moses and Aaron, and said unto them, "I have sinned this time. I will let you go, and ye shall stay no longer."

And the thunders and hail ceased, and the rain was not poured upon the earth. And when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunders were ceased, he sinned yet more, and hardened his heart, he and his servants.

And Moses and Aaron went in unto Pharaoh, and said unto him, "Thus saith the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, 'How long wilt thou refuse to humble thyself before me? let my people go, that they may serve me. Else, if thou refuse to let my people go, behold, to-morrow I will bring locusts into thy border: and they shall cover the face of the earth, that one shall not be able to see the earth: and they shall eat that which remaineth unto you from the hail, and shall eat every tree which groweth for you out of the field: and thy houses shall be filled, and the houses of all thy servants, and the houses of all the Egyptians; as neither thy fathers nor thy fathers' fathers have seen, since the day that they were upon the earth unto this day.'"

And Moses stretched forth his rod over the land of Egypt, and the Lord brought an east wind upon the land all that day, and all the night; and when it was morning, the east wind brought the locusts. And they did eat every herb of the land, and all the fruit of the trees which the hail had left.

Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron in haste; and he said, "I have sinned against the Lord your God, and against you."

And the Lord turned an exceeding strong west wind, which took up the locusts, and drove them into the Red Sea; there remained not one locust in all the border of Egypt. But Pharaoh did not let the children of Israel go.

And the Lord said unto Moses, "Stretch out thine hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even darkness which may be felt."

And Moses stretched forth his hand toward heaven, and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days; they saw not one another, neither rose any from his place for three days: but all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings.


F. THE LAST PLAGUE

And Pharaoh said unto Moses, "Get thee from me, take heed to thyself, see my face no more; for in the day thou seest my face thou shalt die."

And Moses said, "Thus saith the Lord, 'About midnight 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 maidservant that is behind the mill; and all the firstborn of cattle. And there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as there hath been none like it, nor shall be like it any more.' But against any of the children of Israel shall not a dog move his tongue, against man or beast: that ye may know how that the Lord doth put a difference between the Egyptians and Israel. And all these thy servants shall come down unto me, and bow down themselves unto me, saying, 'Get thee out, and all the people that follow thee': and after that I will go out." And he went out from Pharaoh in hot anger.

And it came to pass at midnight, that the Lord smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle. And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead. And he called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, "Rise up, get you forth from among my people, both ye and the children of Israel; and go, serve the Lord, as ye have said. Take both your flocks and your herds, as ye have said, and be gone; and bless me also."

And the Egyptians were urgent upon the people, to send them out of the land in haste; for they said, "We be all dead men."

And the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses; and they asked of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: and the Lord gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they let them have what they asked.


§38. The Great Deliverance (Exod. 13:17, 18, 21, 22; 14:5-7, 10-14, 19-27)

A. THE FLIGHT AND PURSUIT

And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not by the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, "Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt:" but God led the people about, by the way of the wilderness by the Red Sea: and the children of Israel went up armed out of the land of Egypt.

And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; that they might go by day and by night: the pillar of cloud by day, and the pillar of fire by night, departed not from before the people.

And it was told the king of Egypt that the people were fled: and the heart of Pharaoh and of his servants was changed towards the people, and they said, "What is this we have done, that we have let Israel go from serving us?" And he made ready his chariot, and took his people with him: and he took six hundred chosen chariots, and all the chariots of Egypt, and captains over all of them.

And when Pharaoh drew nigh, the children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and, behold, the Egyptians marched after them; and they were sore afraid: and the children of Israel cried out unto the Lord. And they said unto Moses, "Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to bring us forth out of Egypt? Is not this the word that we spake unto thee in Egypt, saying, 'Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians'? For it were better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness."

And Moses said unto the people, "Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you to-day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to-day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace."


B. THE PASSAGE OF THE RED SEA

And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud removed from before them, and stood behind them: and it came between the camp of Egypt and the camp of Israel; and there was the cloud and the darkness, yet gave it light by night: and the one came not near the other all the night. And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all the night, and made the sea dry land. And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground. And the Egyptians pursued, and went in after them into the midst of the sea, all Pharaoh's horses, his chariots, and his horsemen. And it came to pass in the morning watch, that the Lord looked forth upon the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of cloud, and discomfited the host of the Egyptians. And he took off their chariot wheels, that they drove them heavily: so that the Egyptians said, "Let us flee from the face of Israel; for the Lord fighteth for them against the Egyptians."

And the Lord said unto Moses, "Stretch out thine hand over the sea, that the waters may come again upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen." And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to its strength when the morning appeared; and the Egyptians fled against it; and the Lord overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea.


§39. The Song of the Exodus (Exod. 14:30, 31; 15:1, 2, 20, 21)

Thus the Lord saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea shore. And Israel saw the great work which the Lord did upon the Egyptians, and the people feared the Lord: and they believed in the Lord, and in his servant Moses.

Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the Lord, and spake, saying,

I will sing unto the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously: The horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea. The Lord is my strength and song, And he is become my salvation: This is my God and I will praise him; My father's God, and I will exalt him.

And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances. And Miriam answered them,

Sing ye to the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously; The horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.

THE MEANING OF THE STORY

107. The story of the deliverance from Egypt makes a long chapter, but it is full of exciting interest and shows the fearless character of the great leader who trusted in his God. It was a bold thing for Moses to return to Egypt and try to persuade the king to let Israel go. But when he was sent to threaten Pharaoh it was indeed a task requiring courage. Imagine a single man to-day demanding of the sultan of Turkey that he should free his slaves.

108 (§37). Moses was sent to tell the king that terrible plagues would come upon his people if he refused to let the Hebrews go. Ten plagues are mentioned. Nine of them were as follows: (1) the water of the Nile turned to blood-red color and made undrinkable; (2) enormous numbers of frogs; (3) swarms of stinging insects, perhaps gnats or mosquitoes; (4) swarms of flies, which would be terrible in a hot country; (5) a cattle pestilence; (6) fearful boils on men and cattle; (7) destructive hail; (8) locusts that ate vegetation; (9) the awful hot desert wind filling the air with fine sand and causing darkness.

109 (§37). When Pharaoh was frightened by each of the plagues, what did he promise? What made him break his promise? Did you ever know anyone who was sorry for doing wrong when the punishment came, but forgot his promises afterward?

110 (§37F). What did Pharaoh threaten Moses after the ninth plague? What did Moses say should be the last plague? Probably some sudden terrible pestilence came upon Egypt. Tell the story of that night.

111 (§38A). Study the map and notice what a short journey it would be from Egypt along the coast to the Philistine country. But the borders of Egypt were strongly guarded, so that was a dangerous way to go. What might have happened if the Hebrews had seen that they would have to fight?

112 (§38A). Moses was a wise leader. He knew he had a host of slaves, who had not learned courage. So he led them southward toward the Red Sea. There was a road leading to the wilderness near the Bitter Lakes. Locate this.

113 (§38A). What happened when the Egyptians found that the people had actually gone? What did the Hebrews say when they learned that Pharaoh was following them? How did Moses encourage them?

114 (§38B). The Hebrews were in a very difficult situation. They had come to a place where the water from the Red Sea ran far up the low-lying sands. What great canal has since been dug there? The water was too deep for the Hebrews to cross. Pharaoh's army was coming up behind. The only thing that could save Israel would be a strong wind that should drive the waters back and leave the sands clear. How often God's great Providence helps his people in trouble! Moses bravely encouraged them.

115 (§38B). What separated the Israelites from the Egyptians? What made the crossing possible? What trouble did the Egyptians experience? What would naturally happen if the high wind stopped after the Israelites had crossed? Tell the story of the deliverance.

116 (§39). What do you think were the feelings of Israel when they found themselves safe? Recite the song in which they celebrated their escape? What does "Exodus" mean?


WRITTEN REVIEW

Let us try to see just what happened to the Hebrews. Draw a map of Egypt and the Sinai peninsula on a larger scale than that in your book. Mark Goshen, the region where the Hebrews lived. Mark the bitter lakes coming nearly to the Gulf of Suez. Connect these with a wavy line showing the shallow waters which were driven back for the passage of the Hebrews. Mark with a red line the road which the Hebrews might have taken along the coast road straight to Canaan and the road which they actually took south of the bitter lakes. Continue this last line into the Sinai peninsula, noting that the people were led into the wilderness.



XII. MOSES, THE LAWGIVER

THE STORY


§40. The Law at Sinai (Exod. 15:22-25, 27; 19:1)

A. THE MARCH AND THE MURMURING

And Moses led Israel onward from the Red Sea, and they went three days in the wilderness, and found no water. And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters for they were bitter. And the people murmured against Moses, saying, "What shall we drink?" And he cried unto the Lord; and the Lord showed him a tree, and he cast it into the waters, and the waters were made sweet.

And they came to Elim, where were twelve springs of water, and threescore and ten palm trees: and they encamped there by the waters. And they took their journey from Elim, and in the third month they came to the wilderness of Sinai; and there Israel encamped before the mount.

MOSES MOSES

B. THE TEN COMMANDMENTS

And Moses went up unto God, and the Lord called unto him out of the mountain, saying, "Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel;

I am the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

Thou shalt have none other gods before me.

Thou shalt not make unto thee a graven image, nor the likeness of any form that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, upon the third and upon the fourth generation of them that hate me; and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments.

Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is a sabbath unto the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.

Thou shalt do no murder.

Thou shalt not commit adultery.

Thou shalt not steal.

Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.

Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbor's.

And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the voice of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they trembled, and stood afar off. And they said unto Moses, "Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die."

And Moses said unto the people, "Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before you, that ye sin not."

And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was.


§41. The Great Rebellion (Exod. 24:13, 18; 32:1-8, 15-20, 30-35)

A. THE GOLDEN CALF

And Moses and Joshua his minister went up into the mount of God. And Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights. And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, "Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we know not what is become of him."

And Aaron said unto them, "Break off the golden rings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me."

And all the people brake off the golden rings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron. And he received it at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, and made it a molten calf: and they said, "These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt."

And when Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, "To-morrow shall be a feast to the Lord."

And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.

And the Lord spake unto Moses, "Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest up out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves: they have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed unto it."

And Moses turned and went down from the mount with the two tables in his hand. And when Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said unto Moses, "There is a noise of war in the camp."

And he said, "It is not the voice of them that shout for mastery, neither is it the voice of them that cry for being overcome: but the noise of them that sing do I hear."

And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf and the dancing: and Moses' anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount. And he took the calf which they had made, and burnt it with fire, and ground it to powder, and strewed it upon the water, and made the children of Israel drink of it.


B. MOSES' PRAYER

And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses said unto the people, "Ye have sinned a great sin: and now I will go up unto the Lord; peradventure I shall make atonement for your sin."

And Moses returned unto the Lord, and said, "Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin—; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written."

And the Lord said unto Moses, "Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book. And now go, lead the people unto the place of which I have spoken unto thee: behold, mine angel shall go before thee: nevertheless in the day when I visit, I will visit their sin upon them."

And the Lord smote the people, because they made the calf, which Aaron made.

[The people were forgiven, but again and again they rebelled. Moses prayed for them, but the Lord said they must wander in the wilderness forty years. At last Moses led them to the plains of Moab and to the river Jordan, where he made his farewell speech.]


§42. The Last Days of Moses (Deut. 31:1-3, 6-8; 34)

A. THE FAREWELL SPEECH

And Moses spake these words unto all Israel, "I am a hundred and twenty years old this day; I can no more go out and come in: and the Lord hath said unto me, 'Thou shalt not go over this Jordan.' The Lord thy God, he will go over before thee; he will destroy these nations from before thee, and thou shalt possess them: and Joshua, he shall go over before thee, as the Lord hath spoken. Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be affrighted at them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee."

And Moses called unto Joshua, and said unto him in the sight of all Israel, "Be strong and of a good courage: for thou shalt go with this people into the land which the Lord hath sworn unto their fathers to give them; and thou shalt cause them to inherit it. And the Lord, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed."


B. THE DEATH OF MOSES

And Moses went up from the plains of Moab unto mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, that is over against Jericho. And the Lord showed him all the land.

And the Lord said unto him, "This is the land which I sware unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, saying, I will give it unto thy seed: I have caused thee to see it with thine eyes, but thou shalt not go over thither."

So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord. And he buried him in the valley in the land of Moab, but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day. And Moses was a hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated. And the children of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days.

And there hath not arisen a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face; in all the signs and the wonders, which the Lord sent him to do in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh, and to all his land; and in all the mighty hand, and in all the great terror, which Moses wrought in the sight of all Israel.


THE MEANING OF THE STORY

117. After the Revolutionary War, the thirteen American states adopted a constitution. Washington was the great leader. We all honor him now, but during his life many were jealous of him and the people often found fault with him and lost confidence in him. He was greatly tried and would have given up the presidency but for his sense of duty. So it was with Moses. He brought deliverance to the people and gave them their first great laws, but they constantly murmured against him and against God. The long story of his leadership of Israel during forty years in the wilderness is told in the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. We shall study a few of the main incidents.

118 (§40A). After the victory over the Egyptians, Moses led the people toward Mt. Sinai. Notice on the map the mountain range in the Sinai Peninsula. What difficulty soon arose? How did the people meet it? This was the beginning of a number of trials that Moses had in his leadership.

119 (§40A). How long did it take to reach Mt. Sinai? The gathering at the mountain was a very solemn occasion. Israel was to receive a constitution. Think of the solemn time when the constitution of the United States was adopted.

120 (§40B). What do we call these great words? Every student should know them by heart. If they were learned in the Primary Department it would be well to recall them.

121 (§40B). How were the people impressed by the holy law? Let us understand that when we speak of "the fear of the Lord" it does not mean that we are afraid of him, but that we have a great reverence for him.

122 (§41A). How long had Moses remained in the mountain to which he had gone to receive the laws? The people could not understand a God whom they could not see. They wanted an idol such as the Egyptians had. Tell the story of the golden calf.

123 (§41A). How did Moses learn of what had happened? What did Moses bring down from the mountain? What did Joshua hear? What did Moses do when he found what had happened? Is it ever right to be angry?

124 (§41B). The people had greatly disappointed Moses, but he was very sorry for their sin. He went to pray for them. Read carefully his wonderful prayer. Moses well knew God's love, but he knew also that wickedness must be punished.

125. We shall consider another great rebellion in connection with the next two heroes whom we study. It resulted in the Hebrews being sentenced to travel about for forty years. Moses led them. He was their chief, ruling over them, and their general, enabling them to conquer their enemies.

126 (§42A). Moses had led the people for forty years. At last the grand old man brought them to the very border of the Promised Land. What river was all that separated them from Canaan? Locate the place of the last camp just opposite Jericho. The book of Deuteronomy gives the farewell speeches of Moses. This section is a part of what he said to them. Tell it in your own words. What great American gave a Farewell Message to his countrymen?

127 (§42B). It was a great disappointment to Moses that he could not lead the people into Canaan, but he cheerfully accepted God's will. It must have been a wonderful sight that the old man saw from the mountain. Imagine yourself on Mt. Nebo. Look over Canaan and tell what Moses saw. Where did Moses die? How did Israel mourn for him? What did the writer of the last verses think of this great man? Learn Mrs. Alexander's beautiful poem.

THE BURIAL OF MOSES

By Nebo's lonely mountain, On this side Jordan's wave, In a vale in the land of Moab, There lies a lonely grave; But no man dug that sepulchre, And no man saw it e'er, For the angels of God upturned the sod, And laid the dead man there.
That was the grandest funeral That ever passed on earth; But no man heard the tramping, Or saw the train go forth. Noiselessly as the daylight Comes when the night is done, And the crimson streak on ocean's cheek Grows into the great sun,
Noiselessly as the springtime Her crown of verdure weaves, And all the trees on all the hills Open their thousand leaves, So, without sound of music, Or voice of them that wept, Silently down from the mountain crown The great procession swept.
This was the bravest warrior That ever buckled sword; This the most gifted poet That ever breathed a word; And never earth's philosopher Traced, with his golden pen, On the deathless page, truths half so sage As he wrote down for men.
And had he not high honor? The hillside for his pall; To lie in state while angels wait, With stars for tapers tall; And the dark rock-pines, like tossing plumes, Over his bier to wave; And God's own hand, in that lonely land, To lay him in the grave.

WRITTEN REVIEW

Draw a picture of two large tables of stone. Write the first five commandments on one, using just the first sentence of each commandment. Write the last five commandments on the other in full, except that for the tenth commandment use only its first four words. Do this very neatly.



REVIEW

XIII. The Heroes of Israel's Wanderings


XIII. THE HEROES OF ISRAEL'S WANDERINGS

128. Our studies have brought us to the time when the Hebrews were about to enter the land of Canaan. Up to that time they were a wandering people going from place to place, seeking pasture for their flocks or refuge from famine. After they settled down they used to tell the stories of the heroes of the old wandering days. We have studied five of these. Who was called the Father of the Faithful? Who was his son? Who was the man who gave his name to the nation? Which of his sons became the ruler of Egypt? Who was the deliverer of the people from Egypt? Let us recall some of the stories of these five heroes.

129 (5-7, §2). Tell the story of Abraham's journey westward to the new land. Who did he believe called him and led him? What people in our own history did we compare with him?

130 (12, 13, §5). Abraham had a nephew with him: what was his name? What great wealth did these two men have? What trouble was caused by the increase of their wealth? How did Abraham settle the matter? Why did we call him "magnanimous"?

131 (23, 24, §8). Abraham was most anxious to do what he thought was right. Tell the wonderful story of how God showed him that he need not sacrifice his son.

132. Read §11A and see if you can recall the story of Jacob's deception of Isaac.

133 (50, §16). After many years and after Jacob had learned many hard lessons he turned back to his own land. Tell the story of his meeting with the brother whom he had wronged.

134 (§19). How many sons had Jacob? Who was his favorite? Why did his brothers hate him? Tell the story of how they sold him as a slave.

135 (§23C). Joseph prospered in Egypt, but through false accusation was thrown into prison. Here he interpreted the dreams of two men: who were they? which of the men was pardoned by the king and forgot Joseph? The king dreamed: how did this lead to Joseph's promotion?

136 (§27C). There were seven years of good crops followed by seven years of famine. How did the famine bring Joseph's brothers to Egypt? Why did they not recognize him when he knew them? What plan did he use to make them sorry for their unkindness and to make one of them willing to be a slave to save his youngest brother? Tell the story of the forgiveness.

137 (84, 89, 90, §30). After the Hebrews had been a long time in Egypt they became very numerous. Pharaoh was alarmed at their numbers. What order did he give so that there should be no more men? Tell the story of Moses' safety and adoption.

138 (97, 98, §34A). Moses had been obliged to flee from Egypt and had lived a long time in the wilderness thinking about how his people could be saved. Perhaps sometimes he thought that he ought to deliver them, but he hesitated. Tell the story of the Burning Bush and how God encouraged him to go back to Egypt and be the deliverer.

139 (114, §38B). Moses boldly went back and told the king he must let the people go. After ten awful plagues Pharaoh let them go. But no sooner were they gone than he repented and followed after them. How did Moses lead them into safety by God's good providence?

140 (127, §42B). How many years did Moses lead his people in the wilderness? To what point did he bring them at last? There he made them a noble farewell speech of encouragement. Tell the story of how he saw Canaan, and of his death. What did the writer of the Book of Deuteronomy think of Moses?



WAR HEROES

XIV. Joshua and Caleb
XV. Gideon, the Warrior
XVI. Samson, the Strong Man


XIV. JOSHUA AND CALEB

THE STORY

§43. The Twelve Spies (Num. 13:1, 2, 17-21, 25-28, 30-33; 14:1-10, 26-33)

A. THE MISSION OF THE SPIES

The Lord spake unto Moses, saying, "Send thou men, that they may spy out the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel: of every tribe of their fathers shall ye send a man, every one a prince among them."

And Moses sent twelve men of the tribes of Israel, and of them Caleb was of the tribe of Judah and Joshua of the tribe of Ephraim. And Moses sent them to spy out the land of Canaan, and said unto them, "Get you up this way by the South, and go up into the mountains: and see the land, what it is; and the people that dwelleth therein, whether they be strong or weak, whether they be few or many; and what the land is that they dwell in, whether it be good or bad; and what cities they be that they dwell in, whether in camps, or in strongholds; and what the land is, whether it be fat or lean, whether there be wood therein, or not. And be ye of good courage, and bring of the fruit of the land."

Now the time was the time of the first-ripe grapes. So they went up, and spied out the land. And they came unto the valley of Eshcol, and cut down from thence a branch with one cluster of grapes, and they bare it upon a staff between two; they brought also of the pomegranates, and of the figs.


B. THE REPORT OF THE COWARDS

And they returned from spying out the land at the end of forty days. And they went and came to Moses, and to the children of Israel, and showed them the fruit of the land. And they told him, and said, "We came unto the land whither thou sentest us, and surely it floweth with milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it. Howbeit the people that dwell in the land are strong, and the cities are fenced, and very great: and moreover we saw the giants, the children of Anak, there."

And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, "Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it."

But the men that went up with him said, "We are not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we." And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had spied out unto the children of Israel, saying, "The land, through which we have gone to spy it out, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of great stature. And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight."


C. THE DISCOURAGEMENT

And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night. And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron: and said unto them, "Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness! And wherefore doth the Lord bring us unto this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones shall be a prey: were it not better for us to return into Egypt?"

And they said one to another, "Let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt."

Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the children of Israel.


D. THE ADVICE OF THE HEROES

And Joshua and Caleb, which were of them that spied out the land, rent their clothes: and they spake unto all the children of Israel, saying, "The land, which we passed through to spy it out, is an exceeding good land. If the Lord delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it unto us; a land which floweth with milk and honey. Only rebel not against the Lord, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defence is removed from over them, and the Lord is with us: fear them not."

But all the people cried to stone them with stones.


E. THE SENTENCE OF THE LORD

And the glory of the Lord appeared in the tent of meeting unto all the children of Israel. And the Lord spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, "I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against me. Say unto them, 'As I live, saith the Lord, surely as ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you: your carcases shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against me, surely ye shall not come into the land, concerning which I lifted up my hand that I would make you dwell therein, save Caleb and Joshua. But your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, them will I bring in, and they shall know the land which ye have rejected. But as for you, your carcases shall fall in this wilderness. And your children shall be wanderers in the wilderness forty years.'"


§44. After the Forty Years (Josh. 1:1-11; 11:16-18; 14:6-13)

A. JOSHUA'S REWARD

Now it came to pass after the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, that the Lord spake unto Joshua, Moses' minister, saying, "Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, to you have I given it, as I spake unto Moses. From the wilderness, and this Lebanon, even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your border. There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. Be strong and of a good courage: for thou shalt cause this people to inherit the land which I sware unto their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, to observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest have good success whithersoever thou goest. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth, but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not affrighted, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest."

Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people, saying, "Pass through the midst of the camp, and command the people, saying, 'Prepare you victuals; for within three days ye are to pass over this Jordan, to go in to possess the land, which the Lord your God giveth you to possess it.'"


B. JOSHUA'S CONQUESTS

So Joshua took all that land, the hill country, and all the South, and the lowland, and the hill country of Israel, and the lowland of the same; and all their kings he took, and smote them, and put them to death. Joshua made war a long time with all those kings. So Joshua took the whole land, according to all that the Lord spake unto Moses; and Joshua gave it for an inheritance unto Israel according to their divisions by their tribes.


C. CALEB'S REWARD

Then the children of Judah drew nigh unto Joshua: and Caleb said unto him, "Thou knowest the thing that the Lord spake unto Moses the man of God concerning me and concerning thee in Kadesh-barnea. Forty years old was I when Moses the servant of the Lord sent me from Kadesh-barnea to spy out the land; and I brought him word again as it was in mine heart. Nevertheless my brethren that went up with me made the heart of the people melt: but I wholly followed the Lord my God. And Moses sware on that day, saying, 'Surely the land whereon thy foot hath trodden shall be an inheritance to thee and to thy children for ever, because thou hast wholly followed the Lord my God.' And now, behold, the Lord hath kept me alive, as he spake, these forty and five years, from the time that the Lord spake this word unto Moses, while Israel walked in the wilderness: and now, lo, I am this day fourscore and five years old. As yet I am as strong this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me: as my strength was then, even so is my strength now, for war, and to go out and to come in. Now, therefore, give me this mountain, whereof the Lord spake in that day; for thou heardest in that day how the giants, the sons of Anak, were there, and cities great and fenced: it may be that the Lord will be with me, and I shall drive them out, as the Lord spake."

And Joshua blessed him; and he gave Hebron unto Caleb for an inheritance. And the land had rest from war.


THE MEANING OF THE STORY

141. We have followed the story of Moses to the time of his death. Now we shall go back to notice the part that two other heroes played in the wilderness. It was at the time when Moses had led the people from Mount Sinai toward the southern part of Canaan. Locate this journey on the map.

142 (§43A). Notice that we take up the Book of Numbers, which is so called because it tells of the census of the people in the wilderness. Try to imagine the feelings of the people who had come from slavery in Egypt and had reached the borders of the strange new land. They would wish to know what was before them. What plan was to be used to find out?

143 (§43A). The southern part of Canaan was called "the South." Locate it. They were to go through there and then to the higher country where the vineyards were planted on the hills. What seven different things were these men to find out? What were they to bring back with them? What time of the year was it? We can imagine how the settlers in the early history of our country might have sent scouts to go through the Indian lands to find out what they were and what kind of people the Indian tribes were.

144 (§43A). These twelve men went all through the land. What did they get as a sample of the fruit? Why did two men have to carry it? What does this show of the character of the land?

145 (§43B). How long did it take them to find out about the country? What did they do when they came back. What report did they give? The children of Anak were very tall men. It seems that there must have been a tribe of exceedingly big men in Canaan. These frightened the spies.

146 (§43B). There was one of the committee who spoke out a bold word. Who was he and what did he say? But what did the others reply? Notice that at first they said they saw some tall men. Soon they began to think that all the Canaanites were giants. So difficulties grow in our minds when we are cowardly.

147 (§43C). What happened when the people heard the discouraging report? It shows how a few men can discourage a whole army. What rebellion did they plan? Would it have been wise to go back to Egypt?

148 (§43D). Moses and Aaron were very much troubled. But the two heroes out of the twelve spies made a great speech. They were troubled so they tore their clothes. But what did they say about the land? Who did they say would bless the people if they would be faithful and brave? How did the people respond? Think of the two noble men standing against the great crowd.

149 (§43E). The message of the Lord tells of the punishment for the rebellion. What was to happen to all the grown men? What two men were to be an exception? What was to happen to the children? Notice that the punishment is that they shall not go into the land. But they did not want to go. Sometimes the worst punishment is to take a person at his word.

150 (§44A). Now imagine forty years to pass. All the old men are gone. The great leader is gone. Let us see what became of the two brave men. We turn to a new book, the sixth in our Bible, which is called after the name of the hero. Who was chosen to succeed Moses? Was not this an honor and reward? What was to be his duty for the people? What spirit was he to have? What was to be his guide? Who promised to be with him? What did he immediately do as the first act of his leadership?

151 (§44B). The first eleven chapters of this book give the account of Joshua's wars to gain the land for his people. This passage tells how he succeeded. Tell it in your own words.

152 (§44C). The old hero Caleb comes up to get his share of the new land. Tell what he says to Joshua. As he states that it is forty-five years since Moses gave him the promise, there must have been five years spent in conquering the land. It was a long time to wait for his reward, but at last the old man receives it. It is interesting to note that he chooses his own reward. He asks to be given the very highland country that the spies were so much afraid of. He expects the Lord to help him to drive the giants out. One would think that an old man would ask for an easy place. Caleb asks for a hard one. What do you think of Caleb? What kind of a place do you want in the world—an easy place with plenty to get or a hard place with plenty of chance to do good? Think about that question and then answer it to yourself.


WRITTEN REVIEW

This week you will undoubtedly have some difficult lessons assigned in school. It will seem that they are too hard and you will feel inclined to give them up. Do not be afraid of the giants, be like Joshua and Caleb and you can conquer if you are brave enough. Make up your mind to conquer some hard task each day. When you are sure you have really conquered a difficulty think how those heroes must have felt about the giants. Write in your notebook the reason why Caleb and Joshua wanted to do the hard duty.



XV. GIDEON, THE WARRIOR

THE STORY


§45. The Call of Gideon (Judg. 6:2-6, 11-24, 36-40)

A. THE OPPRESSION OF THE MIDIANITES

The hand of Midian prevailed against Israel: and because of Midian the children of Israel made them the dens which are in the mountains, and the caves, and the strongholds. And so it was, when Israel had sown, that the Midianites came up and encamped against them, and destroyed the increase of the earth, and left no sustenance in Israel, neither sheep, nor ox, nor ass. For they came up with their cattle and their tents, they came in as locusts for multitude; both they and their camels were without number: and they came into the land to destroy it. And Israel was brought very low because of Midian; and the children of Israel cried unto the Lord.


B. THE ANGEL'S VISIT TO GIDEON

And the angel of the Lord came, and sat under the oak that belonged unto Joash the Abiezrite: and his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the winepress, to hide it from the Midianites. And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him, and said unto him, "The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valor."

And Gideon said unto him, "Oh my lord, if the Lord be with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where are all his wondrous works which our fathers told us of, saying, 'Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?' but now the Lord hath cast us off, and delivered us into the hand of Midian."

And the Lord looked upon him, and said, "Go in this thy might, and save Israel from the hand of Midian: have not I sent thee?"

And he said unto him, "Oh Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel? behold, my family is the poorest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house."

And the Lord said unto him, "Surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man."

And he said unto him, "If now I have found grace in thy sight, then show me a sign that it is thou that talkest with me. Depart not hence, I pray thee, until I come unto thee, and bring forth my present, and lay it before thee."

And he said, "I will tarry until thou come again."

And Gideon went in, and made ready a kid, and unleavened cakes of an ephah of meal: the flesh he put in a basket, and he put the broth in a pot, and brought it out unto him under the oak, and presented it.

And the angel of God said unto him, "Take the flesh and the unleavened cakes, and lay them upon this rock, and pour out the broth."

And he did so. Then the angel of the Lord put forth the end of the staff that was in his hand, and touched the flesh and the unleavened cakes; and there went up fire out of the rock, and consumed the flesh and the unleavened cakes; and the angel of the Lord departed out of his sight. And Gideon saw that he was the angel of the Lord; and Gideon said, "Alas, O Lord God! forasmuch as I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face."

And the Lord said unto him, "Peace be unto thee; fear not: thou shalt not die."

Then Gideon built an altar there unto the Lord.


C. THE SIGN OF THE FLEECE

And Gideon said unto God, "If thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast spoken, behold, I will put a fleece of wool on the threshing-floor: if there be dew on the fleece only, and it be dry upon all the ground, then shall I know that thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast spoken."

And it was so: for he rose up early on the morrow, and pressed the fleece together, and wrung the dew out of the fleece, a bowlful of water. And Gideon said unto God, "Let not thine anger be kindled against me, and I will speak but this once: let me prove, I pray thee, but this once with the fleece; let it now be dry only upon the fleece, and upon all the ground let there be dew."

And God did so that night: for it was dry upon the fleece only, and there was dew on all the ground.


§46. The Defeat of the Midianites (Judg. 6:33-35; 7:2-24; 8:4, 10-12, 21)

A. THE GATHERING OF THE TRIBES

Then all the Midianites assembled themselves together; and they passed over, and pitched in the valley of Jezreel. But the spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon; and he blew a trumpet; and Abiezer was gathered together after him. And he sent messengers throughout all Manasseh; and they also were gathered together after him: and he sent messengers unto Asher, and unto Zebulun, and unto Naphtali; and they came up to meet them.


B. THE CHOICE OF THE WARRIORS

And the Lord said unto Gideon, "The people that are with thee are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hand, lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, 'Mine own hand hath saved me.' Now therefore go to, proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, 'Whosoever is fearful and trembling, let him return and depart from mount Gilead.'"

And there returned of the people twenty and two thousand; and there remained ten thousand. And the Lord said unto Gideon, "The people are yet too many; bring them down unto the water, and I will try them for thee there: and it shall be, that of whom I say unto thee, 'This shall go with thee,' the same shall go with thee; and of whomsoever I say unto thee, 'This shall not go with thee,' the same shall not go."

So he brought down the people unto the water: and the Lord said unto Gideon, "Every one that lappeth of the water with his tongue, as a dog lappeth, him shalt thou set by himself; likewise every one that boweth down upon his knees to drink."

And the number of them that lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, was three hundred men: but all the rest of the people bowed down upon their knees to drink water.

And the Lord said unto Gideon, "By the three hundred men that lapped will I save you, and deliver the Midianites into thine hand: and let all the people go every man unto his place."

So the people took victuals in their hand, and their trumpets: and he sent all the men of Israel every man unto his tent, but retained the three hundred men: and the camp of Midian was beneath him in the valley.


C. THE DREAM OF THE ENEMY

And it came to pass the same night, that the Lord said unto him, "Arise, get thee down into the camp; for I have delivered it into thine hand. But if thou fear to go down, go thou with Purah thy servant down to the camp: and thou shalt hear what they say; and afterward shall thine hands be strengthened to go down into the camp."

Then went he down with Purah his servant unto the outermost part of the armed men that were in the camp. And the Midianites lay along in the valley like locusts for multitude; and their camels were without number, as the sand which is upon the sea shore for multitude.

And when Gideon was come, behold, there was a man that told a dream unto his fellow, and said, "Behold, I dreamed a dream, and, lo, a cake of barley bread tumbled into the camp of Midian, and came unto the tent, and smote it that it fell, and turned it upside down, so that the tent lay flat."

And his fellow answered and said, "This is nothing else save the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel: into his hand God hath delivered Midian, and all the host."

And it was so, when Gideon heard the telling of the dream, and the interpretation thereof, that he worshipped; and he returned into the camp of Israel, and said, "Arise; for the Lord hath delivered into your hand the host of Midian."


D. THE PLAN OF THE BATTLE

And he divided the three hundred men into three companies, and he put into the hands of all of them trumpets, and empty pitchers, with torches within the pitchers. And he said unto them, "Look on me, and do likewise: and, behold, when I come to the outermost part of the camp, it shall be that, as I do, so shall ye do. When I blow the trumpet, I and all that are with me, then blow ye the trumpets also on every side of all the camp, and say, 'For the Lord and for Gideon.'"

So Gideon, and the hundred men that were with him, came unto the outermost part of the camp in the beginning of the middle watch, when they had but newly set the watch: and they blew the trumpets, and brake in pieces the pitchers that were in their hands. And the three companies blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers, and held the torches in their left hands, and the trumpets in their right hands to blow withal: and they cried, "The sword of the Lord and of Gideon."

And they stood every man in his place round about the camp: and all the host ran; and they shouted, and put them to flight. And they blew the three hundred trumpets, and the Lord set every man's sword against his fellow, and against all the host: and the host fled and the men of Israel pursued after Midian.


E. THE PURSUIT AND THE VICTORY

And Gideon sent messengers throughout all the hill country of Ephraim, saying, "Come down against Midian and take the Jordan before them." So they came down.

And Gideon came to the Jordan, and passed over, he, and the three hundred men that were with him, faint, yet pursuing.

Now the two kings of Midian had with them about fifteen thousand men, all that were left of the host. And Gideon smote the host. And the two kings of Midian fled. And Gideon pursued after them and took them. And he slew them, and took the crescents that were on their camels' necks.


§47. The Result of the Victory (Judg. 8:22-27)

Then the men of Israel said unto Gideon, "Rule thou over us, both thou, and thy son, and thy son's son also: for thou hast saved us out of the hand of Midian."

And Gideon said unto them, "I will not rule over you, neither shall my son rule over you: the Lord shall rule over you."

And Gideon said unto them, "I would desire and request of you, that ye would give me every man the earrings of his spoil."

And they answered, "We will willingly give them."

And they spread a garment, and did cast therein every man the earrings of his spoil. And the weight of the golden earrings that he requested was a thousand and seven hundred shekels of gold; beside the crescents, and the pendants, and the purple raiment that was on the kings of Midian, and beside the chains that were about their camels' necks. And Gideon made an idol thereof, and put it in his city, even in Ophrah: and all Israel went after it there: and it became a snare unto Gideon, and to his house.


THE MEANING OF THE STORY

153. After the death of Joshua, the Hebrews had a hard time from their many enemies. Just as our forefathers were constantly in danger from the Indians, so the Hebrew settlers were often attacked and their goods taken from them. But in their case it was worse, because their enemies often came against them in great armies and conquered them. Israel had no king or governor, but from time to time some hero rose up to deliver them. These men were called "judges," because in addition to leading the people in war they decided matters of dispute. Their stories are told in the Book of Judges. Gideon was one of these military heroes.

154 (§45A). The Midianites were a wandering people of the desert. They wandered on the borders of Edom and Moab. Find these places on the map, southeast of Canaan. As they raised no crops themselves they delighted to attack the agricultural people after the crops were harvested and steal all the result of the year's work. That is the meaning of the fear of the Hebrews that is described. Where did the Hebrews hide? How many were there of the enemy?

155 (§45B). Notice that Gideon was afraid to thresh his wheat in the open place, so he was beating out a few sheaves in the hollow where they pressed the grapes. What did the angel say to him when he saw his powerful frame and how vigorously he was beating his wheat? Tell the conversation, showing how the angel encouraged Gideon. He was a brave man, but like everyone else he had lost heart. What sign was given to Gideon? It was such a solemn thing to be called by God to deliver the people that Gideon was afraid, but God encouraged him. What did Gideon build there? What did that mean?

156 (§45C). What further sign was given to Gideon to make him sure that the Lord was with him?

157 (§46A). There were twelve tribes in Israel and each tribe consisted of a number of clans. Gideon was of the clan of Abiezer, which was part of the tribe of Manasseh. Look at the map of Canaan and note the names of the Twelve Tribes. In the tribe of Issachar is the Plain of Esdraelon. That was the great plain where many of the battles of Israel were fought. If you can look at a relief map you will see how this great plain lay. The enemy had crossed the Jordan and camped on this plain. When Gideon heard it, he was stirred to the heart. What did he do? First his own clan followed him. Then he called his own tribe to follow him. Then he sent to three of the northern tribes. Find all these on the map. Try to imagine the Israelites all gathering together at the call of the hero.

158 (§46B). Here we have a strange story. It would seem as if the army ought to be as large as possible, but the Lord told Gideon that he did not want the people to boast of the victory. Who were told to go home? How large was the army? How many went home? How many remained? But still the numbers were too large: what was the second plan to reduce them? How many at last were left?

159 (§46C). What did Gideon do in order to find out about the enemy? Tell the dream that he heard explained.

160 (§46D). Read carefully and explain what Gideon told his men. He had a stratagem in mind to frighten the enemy. It is to be noted that the men who went home left their provisions and their trumpets, so Gideon had as many trumpets in his little army as in the big army. What would the Midianites think when they heard three hundred trumpets blowing? The night was divided into three watches. The sentries had just been set for the second watch when the attack was made. Describe the actions of the Israelites. What did they shout? The Midianites killed one another in the confusion.

161 (§46E). Gideon wanted the great tribe of Ephraim to help in the fight, so he asked them to go down to the river Jordan to cut off the flying enemy. What did Gideon do himself? What happened to the kings of Midian and the host?

162 (§47). What did the grateful people offer Gideon? Why did he refuse? What great American refused to be a king? The story closes in disappointment. Is it not strange that after the great victory Gideon should forget God? Tell the story of making the idol.


WRITTEN REVIEW

Make a search during the next week for an example of some brave person standing up like Gideon for a good cause when others hold back. There is sure to be someone if you are keen enough to find him. It may be at school or in the city, or you may hear of someone in the newspapers. Talk it over with your companions until you have found the best example. Write about it in your notebook.



XVI. SAMSON, THE STRONG MAN

THE STORY


§48. The Birth of Samson (Judg. 13:2-6, 24)

There was a certain man of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife bare no child. And the angel of the Lord appeared unto the woman, and said unto her, "Behold now, thou shalt bear a son. Now therefore beware, I pray thee, and drink no wine nor strong drink, and eat not any unclean thing: for, lo, thou shalt bear a son; and no razor shall come upon his head: for the child shall be a Nazirite unto God from his birth: and he shall begin to save Israel out of the hand of the Philistines."

Then the woman came and told her husband.

And the woman bare a son and called his name Samson: and the child grew and the Lord blessed him.


§49. The Riddle at the Wedding Feast (Judg. 14)

And Samson went down to Timnah, and saw a woman in Timnah of the daughters of the Philistines. And he came up, and told his father and his mother, and said, "I have seen a woman in Timnah of the daughters of the Philistines: now therefore get her for me to wife."

Then his father and his mother said unto him, "Is there never a woman among the daughters of thy brethren, or among all my people, that thou goest to take a wife of the Philistines?"

And Samson said unto his father, "Get her for me; for she pleaseth me well."

Then went Samson down, and his father and his mother, to Timnah, and came to the vineyards of Timnah: and, behold, a young lion roared against him. And the spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him, and he rent him as he would have rent a kid, and he had nothing in his hand: but he told not his father or his mother what he had done. And he went down, and talked with the woman; and she pleased Samson well.

And after a while he returned to take her, and he turned aside to see the carcase of the lion: and, behold, there was a swarm of bees in the body of the lion, and honey. And he took it into his hands, and went on, eating as he went, and he came to his father and mother, and gave unto them, and they did eat: but he told them not that he had taken the honey out of the body of the lion. And his father went down unto the woman: and Samson made there a feast; for so used the young men to do. And it came to pass, when they saw him, that they brought thirty companions to be with him.

And Samson said unto them, "Let me now put forth a riddle unto you: if ye can declare it me within the seven days of the feast, and find it out, then I will give you thirty linen garments and thirty changes of raiment: but if ye cannot declare it me, then shall ye give me thirty linen garments and thirty changes of raiment."

And they said unto him, "Put forth thy riddle, that we may hear it."

And he said unto them,

"Out of the eater came forth meat, And out of the strong came forth sweetness."

And they could not in three days declare the riddle.

And it came to pass on the seventh day, that they said unto Samson's wife, "Entice thy husband, that he may declare unto us the riddle, lest we burn thee and thy father's house with fire: have ye called us to impoverish us? is it not so?"

And Samson's wife wept before him, and said, "Thou dost but hate me, and lovest me not: thou hast put forth a riddle unto the children of my people, and hast not told it me."

And he said unto her, "Behold, I have not told it my father nor my mother, and shall I tell thee?"

And she wept before him the seven days, while their feast lasted: and it came to pass on the seventh day, that he told her, because she pressed him sore: and she told the riddle to the children of her people. And the men of the city said unto him on the seventh day before the sun went down, "What is sweeter than honey? and what is stronger than a lion?"

And he said unto them,

"If ye had not plowed with my heifer, Ye had not found out my riddle."

And the spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him, and he went down to Ashkelon, and smote thirty men of them, and took their spoil, and gave the changes of raiment unto them that declared the riddle. And his anger was kindled, and he went up to his father's house. But Samson's wife was given to his companion, whom he had used as his friend.


§50. Samson's Strength (Judg. 15:1-17; 16:1-3)

A. THE STORY OF THE FOXES

But it came to pass after a while, in the time of wheat harvest, that Samson visited his wife with a kid; and he said, "I will go in to my wife into the chamber."

But her father would not suffer him to go in. And her father said, "I verily thought that thou hadst utterly hated her; therefore I gave her to thy companion: is not her younger sister fairer than she? take her, I pray thee, instead of her."

And Samson said unto them, "This time shall I be blameless in regard to the Philistines, when I do them a mischief."

And Samson went and caught three hundred foxes, and took firebrands, and turned tail to tail, and put a firebrand in the midst between every two tails. And when he had set the brands on fire, he let them go into the standing grain of the Philistines, and burnt up both the shocks and the standing grain, and also the oliveyards.

Then the Philistines said, "Who hath done this?"

And they said, "Samson, the son-in-law of the Timnite, because he hath taken his wife, and given her to his companion."

And the Philistines came up, and burnt her and her father with fire.

And Samson said unto them, "If ye do after this manner, surely I will be avenged of you, and after that will I cease."

And he smote them hip and thigh with a great slaughter: and he went down and dwelt in the cleft of the rock of Etam.


B. THE STORY OF THE JAWBONE

Then the Philistines went up, and pitched in Judah, and spread themselves in Lehi. And the men of Judah said, "Why are ye come up against us?"

And they said, "To bind Samson are we come up, to do to him as he hath done to us."

Then three thousand men of Judah went down to the cleft of the rock of Etam, and said to Samson, "Knowest thou not that the Philistines are rulers over us? what then is this that thou hast done unto us?"

And he said unto them, "As they did unto me, so have I done unto them."

And they said unto him, "We are come down to bind thee, that we may deliver thee into the hand of the Philistines."

And Samson said unto them, "Swear unto me, that ye will not fall upon me yourselves."

And they spake unto him, saying, "No; but we will bind thee fast, and deliver thee into their hand: but surely we will not kill thee."

And they bound him with two new ropes, and brought him up from the rock. When he came unto Lehi, the Philistines shouted as they met him: and the spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him, and the ropes that were upon his arms became as flax that was burnt with fire, and his bands dropped from off his hands. And he found a new jawbone of an ass, and put forth his hand, and took it, and smote a thousand men therewith. And Samson said,

"With the jawbone of an ass, heaps upon heaps, With the jawbone of an ass have I smitten a thousand men."

And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking, that he cast away the jawbone out of his hand.


C. THE STORY OF THE GATES OF GAZA

And Samson went to Gaza. And it was told the Gazites, saying, "Samson is come hither." And they compassed him in, and laid wait for him all night in the gate of the city, and were quiet all the night, saying, "Let be till morning light, then we will kill him."

And Samson lay till midnight, and arose at midnight, and laid hold of the doors of the gate of the city, and the two posts, and plucked them up, bar and all, and put them upon his shoulders, and carried them up to the top of the mountain that is before Hebron.


§51. Samson's Weakness (Judg. 16:4-22)

And it came to pass afterward, that he loved a woman, whose name was Delilah. And the lords of the Philistines came up unto her, and said unto her, "Entice him, and see wherein his great strength lieth, and by what means we may prevail against him, that we may bind him to afflict him: and we will give thee every one of us eleven hundred pieces of silver."

And Delilah said to Samson, "Tell me, I pray thee, wherein thy great strength lieth, and wherewith thou mightest be bound to afflict thee."

And Samson said unto her, "If they bind me with seven new bowstrings that were never dried, then shall I become weak, and be as another man."

Then the lords of the Philistines brought up to her seven new bowstrings which had not been dried, and she bound him with them. Now she had liers in wait abiding in the inner chamber. And she said unto him, "The Philistines be upon thee, Samson."

And he brake the bowstrings as a string of tow is broken when it touches the fire. So his strength was not known.

And Delilah said unto Samson, "Behold, thou hast mocked me, and told me lies: now tell me, I pray thee, wherewith thou mightest be bound."

And he said unto her, "If they only bind me with new ropes wherewith no work hath been done, then shall I become weak, and be as another man."

So Delilah took new ropes, and bound him therewith, and said unto him, "The Philistines be upon thee, Samson."

And the liers in wait were abiding in the inner chamber. And he brake them from off his arms like a thread.

And Delilah said unto Samson, "Hitherto thou hast mocked me, and told me lies: tell me wherewith thou mightest be bound."

And he said unto her, "If thou weavest the seven locks of my head with the web."

And she fastened it with the pin, and said unto him, "The Philistines be upon thee, Samson."

And he awaked out of his sleep, and plucked away the pin of the beam, and the web.

And she said unto him, "How canst thou say, 'I love thee,' when thine heart is not with me? thou hast mocked me these three times, and hast not told me wherein thy great strength lieth."

And it came to pass, when she pressed him daily with her words, and urged him, that his soul was vexed unto death. And he told her all his heart, and said unto her, "There hath not come a razor upon mine head: for I have been a Nazirite unto God from my birth: if I be shaven, then my strength will go from me, and I shall become weak, and be like any other man."

And when Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart, she sent and called for the lords of the Philistines, saying, "Come up this once, for he hath told me all his heart."

Then the lords of the Philistines came up unto her, and brought the money in their hand. And she made him sleep upon her knees: and she called for a man, and shaved off the seven locks of his head; and she began to afflict him, and his strength went from him. And she said, "The Philistines be upon thee, Samson."

And he awoke out of his sleep, and said, "I will go out as at other times, and shake myself."

But he wist not that the Lord was departed from him.

And the Philistines laid hold on him, and put out his eyes; and they brought him down to Gaza, and bound him with fetters of brass; and he did grind in the prison house. Howbeit the hair of his head began to grow again after he was shaven.


§52. Samson's Vengeance (Judg. 16:23-31)

And the lords of the Philistines gathered them together to offer a great sacrifice unto Dagon their god, and to rejoice: for they said, "Our god hath delivered Samson our enemy into our hand." And when the people saw him, they praised their god: for they said, "Our god hath delivered into our hand our enemy, and the destroyer of our country, which hath slain many of us." And it came to pass, when their hearts were merry, that they said, "Call for Samson, that he may make us sport."

And they called for Samson out of the prison house; and he made sport before them: and they set him between the pillars. And Samson said unto the lad that held him by the hand, "Suffer me that I may feel the pillars whereupon the house resteth, that I may lean upon them."

Now the house was full of men and women; and all the lords of the Philistines were there; and there were upon the roof about three thousand men and women, that beheld while Samson made sport.

And Samson called unto the Lord, and said, "O Lord God, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once. O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes."

And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars upon which the house rested, and leaned upon them, the one with his right hand, and the other with his left. And Samson said, "Let me die with the Philistines." And he bowed himself with all his might; and the house fell upon the lords, and upon all the people that were therein. So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life.

Then his brethren and all the house of his father came down, and took him, and brought him up, and buried him in the burying-place of Manoah his father.


THE MEANING OF THE STORY

163. All peoples have their old stories of heroes who had great strength. The Greeks had their Hercules and the Hebrews had their Samson. In reading his story we must remember that it belongs to a rude age, when men's passions were strong and they had not learned the gentler ways of life. The story is full of adventure; it is very well told; it shows us much of the old Hebrew life; and it helps us to see how hard the lot of the people must have been under their oppressors. Of course they remembered any strong man of those days, and his story grew as it was told from generation to generation.

164 (§48). The first thing that we learn about the hero is that he was a promised child. He was set apart from his birth to the Lord. Such persons were called Nazirites. They had to abstain from wine, and their hair was not to be cut.

165 (§49). With whom did Samson fall in love? The Philistines were the oppressors of his people. What did his parents think of it? It would seem that they all went down to make the betrothal feast. What great feat of strength did Samson perform on the way? Then there was a second visit for the marriage itself. What did Samson find this time on his way?

166 (§49). The story describes some of the old customs. What was Samson expected to provide for the wedding? How many young men were there? What bet did he make with them? What was the riddle? Could you have guessed it?

167 (§49). How did the young men find out the riddle? How did Samson pay his bet? Consider what rude times those must have been.

168 (§50A). We have a number of the old stories of Samson's strength. Consider what injury was done to Samson. What humorous and savage revenge did Samson take upon his enemies? It was considered a great insult to burn the standing grain. What horrible vengeance did the Philistines take on the bride's family?

169 (§50B). Tell what Samson's own people did to him. Why did they do it? What was Samson's great feat? Notice how big they made the stories—one man killing a thousand.

170 (§50C). They loved the stories of Samson's clever escapes. How did the men of Gaza think he was caught? How did Samson escape?

171 (§51). This strong man was not really a great man. After he had lost his first Philistine wife he fell in love with another woman of the same race. She proved as deceitful as the first. Note the enormous bribe that the Philistine lords offered Delilah. What was the first trial of Samson's strength? The new bowstrings were probably cords made from the intestines of animals. If they were not dried they would be tougher.

172 (§51). Tell the story of the second trial. The story of the third trial is not quite so plain. It means that his long hair was to be woven in with a piece of stuff that was being woven in the loom. When he woke up he walked off with the whole heavy loom.

173 (§51). Notice how he let the wicked woman tease him. Was he strong or weak? Is it the part of a strong man to go into temptation or to run away from it? What was done to Samson? He makes us think of many a big strong man who was weak when it came to a question of goodness. Most of the big prize fighters are so weak that they become drunkards. Think of this hero doing the work of a slave.

174 (§52). Notice how delighted the Philistines were that they had overcome their great enemy. Imagine the crowd gathered in a temple, the roof of which rested upon two central pillars. When they were very merry they sent for the poor blind Samson to make fun of him. What happened?

175. Do you think Samson was a great man?


WRITTEN REVIEW

Discuss the question whether Samson ought to have been put among the heroes of Israel. Read over the story carefully and see why the Hebrews would have wished to class him with their heroes. Read it again to see what there is against giving him that distinction. Prepare for a debate upon the question.



A HEROINE

XVII. Ruth, the Foreigner


XVII. RUTH, THE FOREIGNER

THE STORY


§53. The Three Widows (Ruth 1:1-5)

And it came to pass in the days when the judges judged, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehem went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he, and his wife, and his two sons. And the name of the man was Elimelech, and the name of his wife Naomi, and the name of his two sons Mahlon and Chilion. And they came into the country of Moab, and continued there.

And Elimelech, Naomi's husband died; and she was left, and her two sons. And they took them wives of the women of Moab; the name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth: and they dwelt there about ten years. And Mahlon and Chilion died both of them; and the woman was left of her two children and of her husband.


§54. The Return to Bethlehem (Ruth 1:6-22)

A. THE TWO DAUGHTERS-IN-LAW

Then she arose with her daughters-in-law, that she might return from the country of Moab: for she had heard in the country of Moab how that the Lord had visited his people in giving them bread. And she went forth out of the place where she was, and her two daughters-in-law with her; and they went on the way to return unto the land of Judah.

And Naomi said unto her two daughters-in-law, "Go, return each of you to her mother's house: the Lord deal kindly with you, as ye have dealt with the dead, and with me. The Lord grant you that ye may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband." Then she kissed them, and they lifted up their voice, and wept.

And they said unto her, "Nay, but we will return with thee unto thy people."

And Naomi said, "Turn again, my daughters: why will ye go with me? have I yet sons that they may be your husbands? Turn again, my daughters, go your way; for I am too old to have a husband. If I should say, I have hope, if I should even have a husband, and should also bear sons; would ye therefore tarry till they were grown? would ye therefore stay from having husbands? nay, my daughters: for it grieveth me much for your sakes, for the hand of the Lord is gone forth against me." And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law; but Ruth clave unto her.

And she said, "Behold thy sister-in-law is gone back unto her people, and unto her god: return thou after thy sister-in-law."

And Ruth said, "Entreat me not to leave thee, and to return from following after thee; for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge; thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God; where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if aught but death part thee and me." And when she saw that she was stedfastly minded to go with her, she left off speaking unto her.


B. THE ARRIVAL IN BETHLEHEM

So they two went until they came to Bethlehem. And it came to pass, when they were come to Bethlehem, that all the city was moved about them, and the women said, "Is this Naomi?"

And she said unto them, "Call me not Naomi, call me Mara; for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me. I went out full, and the Lord hath brought me home again empty; why call ye me Naomi, seeing the Lord hath testified against me, and the Almighty hath afflicted me?"

So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter-in-law, with her; and they came to Bethlehem in the beginning of barley harvest.


§55. In the Barley Field (Ruth 2)

A. THE GLEANERS

And Naomi had a kinsman of her husband's, a mighty man of wealth; and his name was Boaz.

And Ruth the Moabitess said unto Naomi, "Let me now go to the field, and glean among the ears of grain after him in whose sight I shall find favor."

And she said unto her, "Go, my daughter."

And she went, and came and gleaned in the field after the reapers: and she happened to light on the portion of the field belonging unto Boaz.

And, behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said unto the reapers, "The Lord be with you."

And they answered him, "The Lord bless thee."

Then said Boaz unto his servant that was set over the reapers, "Whose damsel is this?"

And he answered, "It is the Moabitish damsel that came back with Naomi out of the country of Moab: and she said, 'Let me glean, I pray you, and gather after the reapers among the sheaves.' So she came, and hath continued even from the morning until now, save that she tarried a little in the house."

Then said Boaz unto Ruth, "Hearest thou not, my daughter? Go not to glean in another field, neither pass from hence, but abide here fast by my maidens. Let thine eyes be on the field that they do reap, and go thou after them: have I not charged the young men that they shall not touch thee? and when thou art athirst, go unto the vessels, and drink of that which the young men have drawn."

Then she fell on her face, and bowed herself to the ground, and said unto him, "Why have I found favor in thy sight, that thou shouldst take knowledge of me, seeing I am a foreigner?"

And Boaz answered and said unto her, "It hath fully been showed me, all that thou hast done unto thy mother-in-law since the death of thy husband; and how thou hast left thy father and thy mother, and the land of thy nativity, and art come unto a people that thou knewest not heretofore. The Lord recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to take refuge."

Then she said, "Let me find favor in thy sight, my lord; for that thou hast comforted me, and for that thou hast spoken kindly unto thy handmaid, though I be not as one of thy handmaidens."

And at meal-time Boaz said unto her, "Come hither, and eat of the bread, and dip thy morsel in the vinegar."

And she sat beside the reapers; and they reached her parched grain, and she did eat, and was sufficed, and left thereof.

And when she was risen up to glean, Boaz commanded his young men, saying, "Let her glean even among the sheaves, and reproach her not. And also pull out some for her from the bundles, and leave it, and let her glean, and rebuke her not."


B. THE HUMBLE AND HAPPY HOME

So she gleaned in the field until even; and she beat out that which she had gleaned, and it was about a bushel of barley. And she took it up, and went into the city; and her mother-in-law saw what she had gleaned: and she brought forth and gave to her that which she had left after she was sufficed.

And her mother-in-law said unto her, "Where hast thou gleaned to-day? and where hast thou wrought? blessed be he that did take knowledge of thee."

And she showed her mother-in-law with whom she had wrought, and said, "The man's name with whom I wrought to-day is Boaz."

And Naomi said unto her daughter-in-law, "Blessed be he of the Lord, who hath not left off his kindness to the living and to the dead." And Naomi said unto her, "The man is nigh of kin unto us, one of our near kinsmen."

And Ruth the Moabitess said, "Yea, he said unto me, 'Thou shalt keep fast by my young men, until they have ended all my harvest.'"

And Naomi said unto Ruth her daughter-in-law, "It is good, my daughter, that thou go out with his maidens, and that they meet thee not in any other field."

So she kept fast by the maidens of Boaz, to glean unto the end of barley harvest and of wheat harvest; and she dwelt with her mother-in-law.


§56. At the Threshing Floor (Ruth 3)

A. THE PLAN

And Naomi her mother-in-law said unto her, "My daughter, shall I not seek rest for thee, that it may be well with thee? And now is not Boaz our kinsman, with whose maidens thou wast? Behold, he winnoweth barley to-night in the threshing-floor. Wash thyself therefore, and anoint thee, and put thy raiment upon thee, and get thee down to the threshing-floor; but make not thyself known unto the man, until he shall have done eating and drinking. And it shall be, when he lieth down, that thou shalt mark the place where he shall lie, and thou shalt go in, and uncover his feet, and lay thee down: and he will tell thee what thou shalt do."

And she said unto her, "All that thou sayest I will do."

Copyright 1904 by Underwood and Underwood WINNOWING GRAIN Copyright 1904 by Underwood and Underwood
WINNOWING GRAIN

B. THE DUTY OF THE KINSMAN

And she went down unto the threshing-floor, and did according to all that her mother-in-law bade her. And when Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was merry, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of grain: and she came softly, and uncovered his feet, and laid her down. And it came to pass at midnight, that the man was afraid, and turned himself; and, behold, a woman lay at his feet.

And he said, "Who art thou?"

And she answered, "I am Ruth thy handmaid: spread therefore thy skirt over thy handmaid; for thou art a near kinsman."

And he said, "Blessed be thou of the Lord, my daughter: thou hast showed more kindness in the latter end than at the beginning, inasmuch as thou followedst not young men, whether poor or rich. And now, my daughter, fear not; I will do to thee all that thou sayest; for all the city of my people doth know that thou art a worthy woman. And now it is true that I am a near kinsman; howbeit there is a kinsman nearer than I. Tarry this night, and it shall be in the morning, that if he will perform unto thee the part of a kinsman, well; but if he will not, then will I do the part of a kinsman to thee, as the Lord liveth: lie down until the morning."

And she lay at his feet until the morning: and she rose up before one could discern another. For he said, "Let it not be known that the woman came to the threshing-floor."

And he said, "Bring the mantle that is upon thee, and hold it," and she held it; and he measured six measures of barley, and laid it on her: and he went into the city.

And when she came to her mother-in-law, she said, "How hast thou fared, my daughter?"

And she told her all that the man had done to her. And she said, "These six measures of barley gave he me; for he said, 'Go not empty unto thy mother-in-law.'"

Then she said, "Sit still, my daughter, until thou know how the matter will fall; for the man will not rest, until he have finished the thing this day."


§57. At the City Gate (Ruth 4:1-17)

A. THE PURCHASE

Now Boaz went up to the gate, and sat him down there: and, behold, the near kinsman of whom Boaz spake came by: unto whom he said, "Ho, such a one! turn aside, sit down here." And he turned aside, and sat down.

And he took ten men of the elders of the city, and said, "Sit ye down here." And they sat down.

And he said unto the near kinsman, "Naomi, that is come again out of the country of Moab, selleth the parcel of land, which was our brother Elimelech's: and I thought to disclose it unto thee, saying, 'Buy it before them that sit here, and before the elders of my people.' If thou wilt redeem it, redeem it: but if thou wilt not redeem it, then tell me, that I may know; for there is none to redeem it besides thee; and I am after thee."

And he said, "I will redeem it."

Then said Boaz, "What day thou buyest the field of the hand of Naomi, thou must buy also Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of the dead, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance."

And the near kinsman said, "I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I mar mine own inheritance: take thou my right of redemption on thee; for I cannot redeem it."

Now this was the custom in former time in Israel concerning redeeming and concerning exchanging, to confirm all things; a man drew off his shoe, and gave it to his neighbor; and this was the manner of witness in Israel.

So the near kinsman said unto Boaz, "Buy it for thyself." And he drew off his shoe.

And Boaz said unto the elders, and unto all the people, "Ye are witnesses this day, that I have bought all that was Elimelech's, and all that was Chilion's and Mahlon's, of the hand of Naomi. Moreover Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of Mahlon, have I purchased to be my wife, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance, that the name of the dead be not cut off from among his brethren, and from the gate of his place; ye are witnesses this day."

And all the people that were in the gate, and the elders, said, "We are witnesses. The Lord make the woman that is come into thy house like Rachel and like Leah, which two did build the house of Israel: and do thou worthily in Ephrathah, and be famous in Bethlehem."


B. THE HAPPY MARRIAGE

So Boaz took Ruth, and she became his wife, and she bare a son.

And the women said unto Naomi, "Blessed be the Lord, who hath not left thee this day without a near kinsman; and let his name be famous in Israel. And he shall be unto thee a restorer of life, and a nourisher of thine old age; for thy daughter-in-law, who loveth thee, who is better to thee than seven sons, hath borne him."

And Naomi took the child, and laid it in her bosom, and became nurse unto it.

And the women her neighbors gave it a name, saying, "There is a son born to Naomi." And they called his name Obed. He is the father of Jesse, the father of David.


THE MEANING OF THE STORY

176. We study one of the heroines of Israel. She was a foreigner of the country of Moab, but held a most important place in Israel's history as the great-grandmother of King David. The story tells of her devotion and of its reward.

177 (§53). Notice the time in which the story is placed. The town which is mentioned is well known to us because of one who was born there long afterward: who was he? The farmer with his wife and two sons went over to the rich high country of Moab. Locate it on the map, east of the Jordan. What happened in Moab?

178 (§54A). What did Naomi decide to do? These three women loved one another very dearly, but Naomi thought that the young women ought to marry again, so she told them to stay in their own land as they would not be likely to find husbands among strangers.

179 (§54A). According to the Hebrew custom, if a man died his brother would marry the widow, but Naomi had no sons who could marry these young widows. Why did Orpah return? Why did Ruth refuse to leave her mother-in-law? Note how beautifully Ruth spoke. Love does not count the cost. What do we mean by Ruth's devotion?

180 (§54B). Why were the Bethlehem women so surprised at Naomi's appearance? Naomi means "Pleasant." Perhaps the name had been given to her because of her beauty. Mara, the same as our name Mary, means "Bitter." Explain what Naomi meant by her speech to the women. What time of year was it when they returned?

181 (§55A). The principal man of the story is introduced to us. The two women had nothing to live on, but the Hebrew law permitted the poor to follow the reapers and to gather up the stalks that were dropped or left. This was called gleaning. Where did Ruth go to glean? This young woman did not leave her mother to do the work. Her love expressed itself in deeds.

182 (§55A). Tell the conversation between Boaz and the foreman. Note the kindness of this Bethlehem gentleman to the stranger. It is the mark of a gentleman to be kind. It was not usual to invite the gleaners to share the lunch with the farm hands, but Boaz was especially kind to Ruth. What directions did he give to the young men? How would this help her in gleaning?

183 (§55B). Notice that she beat out the ears of barley, so as not to carry home the straw. How much did she have? This was a good day's gleaning. How surprised Naomi was that she had secured so much! Tell their conversation in your own words. They were poor, but they were happy all that harvest time: why?

184 (§56A). Remember that it was the Hebrew custom for a man's widow to be married by his brother. If he had no brother his nearest relative was expected to marry her. So Naomi hoped that Boaz, who was related to her dead husband, would marry Ruth. She plans a little scheme to let him know privately that he is a near relative who ought to do this honor for those who were dead. There would be a great feast at the time the barley was threshed, and then all the men would go to sleep in the open air on the smooth floor where the threshing was done. Ruth was instructed to let Boaz know the plan when the others were asleep.

185 (§56B). Tell the story in your own words. Notice especially that Boaz explains that there is a nearer relative who ought to marry Ruth. What did Boaz give to Ruth to take to her mother-in-law? Tell the conversation of the two women.

186 (§57A). The Gate was the place where all the business was done. Note how the business was begun, and how arrangements were made for the bargain to be witnessed. The conversation refers to the Hebrew laws of real estate. It is enough for us to see that the kinsman was not willing to marry Ruth. What interesting old custom is shown? They were sitting on the ground cross-legged, so one could easily pull off his shoe or sandal. What other story have we had in which the sandal was easily taken off? (See 97 and illustration.) Note Boaz' solemn statement of the agreement. How did all the people congratulate Boaz?

187 (§57B). It is interesting to see that the people congratulated Naomi when Ruth's baby was born, because there was again a son for her family. This grandson would take the place of the sons whom she had lost. What did the women think of Ruth? What relation was Ruth to David?

188. What do you think of Ruth? Look up I Cor. 13:13 in the Revised Version and see what it says about the greatest thing in the world. Can everybody have this greatest thing? How much does it cost? Think whether you are bringing that into your home.


WRITTEN REVIEW

We do not always see the heroism that is just about us. The only women whom we think about as heroines are those who have done some great public work, but there is many a heroine who is quietly giving up her ambitions to make the home happy as Ruth gave up herself to go with Naomi. Ask your mother to tell you about some young woman who gave up opportunity of education, or ease, or pleasure, in order to help the family. Write about it in your notebook.



THE FOUNDERS OF THE KINGDOM

XVIII. Samuel and Eli
XIX. Samuel and Saul
XX. Johnathan's Victory


XVIII. SAMUEL AND ELI

THE STORY


§58. The Birth of Samuel (I Sam. 1:1-4, 8-28; 2:11)

A. HANNAH'S GRIEF

Now there was a certain man of the hill country of Ephraim, and his name was Elkanah. And the name of his wife was Hannah and she had no children. And this man went up out of his city from year to year to worship and to sacrifice unto the Lord of hosts in Shiloh. And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, priests unto the Lord, were there. And when the day came that Elkanah sacrificed, Hannah wept, and did not eat.

And Elkanah her husband said unto her, "Hannah, why weepest thou? and why eatest thou not? and why is thy heart grieved? am I not better to thee than ten sons?"

So Hannah rose up after they had eaten in Shiloh, and after they had drunk. Now Eli the priest sat upon his seat by the door post of the temple of the Lord. And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the Lord, and wept sore. And she vowed a vow, and said, "O Lord of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head."

And it came to pass, as she continued praying before the Lord, that Eli marked her mouth. Now Hannah, she spake in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard: therefore Eli thought she had been drunken. And Eli said unto her, "How long wilt thou be drunken? put away thy wine from thee."

And Hannah answered and said, "No, my lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit: I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I poured out my soul before the Lord. Count not thine handmaid for a wicked woman: for out of the abundance of my complaint have I spoken."

Then Eli answered and said, "Go in peace: and the God of Israel grant thy petition that thou hast asked of him."

And she said, "Let thy servant find grace in thy sight."

So the woman went her way, and did eat, and her countenance was no more sad. And they rose up in the morning early, and worshipped before the Lord, and returned, and came to their house to Ramah.


B. THE DEDICATION OF SAMUEL

And it came to pass, that Hannah bare a son; and she called his name Samuel. And the man Elkanah went up to offer unto the Lord the yearly sacrifice, and his vow. But Hannah went not up; for she said unto her husband, "I will not go up until the child be weaned, and then I will bring him, that he may appear before the Lord, and there abide for ever."

And Elkanah her husband said unto her, "Do what seemeth thee good; tarry until thou hast weaned him; only the Lord establish his word."

So the woman tarried until she weaned him. And when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, with three bullocks, and one ephah of meal, and a bottle of wine, and brought him unto the house of the Lord in Shiloh: and the child was young. And they slew the bullock, and brought the child to Eli. And she said, "Oh my lord, as thy soul liveth, my lord, I am the woman that stood by thee here, praying unto the Lord. For this child I prayed; and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of him: therefore I also have granted him to the Lord; as long as he liveth he is granted to the Lord."

And Elkanah went to Ramah to his house. And the child did minister unto the Lord before Eli the priest.


§59. The Wicked Priests (I Sam. 2:12-17, 22-25, 18, 19, 26)

Now the sons of Eli were wicked men; they knew not the Lord. And the custom of the priests with the people was, that, when any man offered sacrifice, the priest's servant came, while the flesh was being boiled, with a fleshhook of three teeth in his hand; and he struck it into the kettle; all that the fleshhook brought up the priest took. So they did in Shiloh unto all the Israelites that came thither. Yea, before they burnt the fat, the priest's servant came, and said to the man that sacrificed, "Give flesh to roast for the priest; for he will not have boiled flesh of thee, but raw." And if the man said unto him, "They will surely burn the fat presently, and then take as much as thy soul desireth;" then he would say, "Nay, but thou shalt give it to me now: and if not, I will take it by force." And the sin of the young men was very great before the Lord; for they despised the offering of the Lord.

Now Eli was very old; and he heard all that his sons did unto all Israel. And he said unto them, "Why do ye such things? for I hear of your evil dealings from all this people. Nay, my sons; for it is no good report that I hear: ye make the Lord's people to transgress. If one man sinned against another, God shall judge him: but if a man sin against the Lord, who shall entreat for him?"

Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto the voice of their father.

But Samuel ministered before the Lord, being a child, girded with a linen ephod. Moreover his mother made him a little robe, and brought it to him from year to year, when she came up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice. And Eli blessed Elkanah and his wife. And the child Samuel grew on, and was in favor both with the Lord, and also with men.


§60. The Call of Samuel (I Sam. 3:1-18)

And the child Samuel ministered unto the Lord before Eli. And it came to pass at that time, when Eli was laid down in his place, (now his eyes had begun to wax dim, that he could not see,) and the lamp of God was not yet gone out, and Samuel was laid down to sleep, in the temple of the Lord, where the ark of God was; that the Lord called Samuel: and he said, "Here am I." And he ran unto Eli, and said, "Here am I; for thou calledst me." And he said, "I called not; lie down again."

And he went and lay down. And the Lord called yet again, "Samuel."

And Samuel arose and went to Eli, and said, "Here am I; for thou calledst me."

And he answered, "I called not, my son; lie down again."

Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, neither was the word of the Lord yet revealed unto him. And the Lord called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli, and said, "Here am I; for thou calledst me."

And Eli perceived that the Lord had called the child. Therefore Eli said unto Samuel, "Go, lie down: and it shall be, if he call thee, that thou shalt say, 'Speak, Lord; for thy servant heareth.'"

So Samuel went and lay down in his place. And the Lord came, and stood, and called as at other times, "Samuel, Samuel."

Then Samuel said, "Speak; for thy servant heareth."

And the Lord said to Samuel, "Behold, I will do a thing in Israel, at which both the ears of every one that heareth it shall tingle. In that day I will perform against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from the beginning even unto the end. For I have told him that I will judge his house for ever, for the iniquity which he knew, because his sons did bring a curse upon themselves, and he restrained them not."

And Samuel lay until the morning, and opened the doors of the house of the Lord. And Samuel feared to show Eli the vision.

Then Eli called Samuel, and said, "Samuel, my son."

And he said, "Here am I."

And he said, "What is the thing that the Lord hath spoken unto thee? I pray thee hide it not from me: God do so to thee, and more also, if thou hide any thing from me of all the things that he spake unto thee."

And Samuel told him every whit, and hid nothing from him. And he said, "It is the Lord: let him do what seemeth him good."


§61. The Punishment of the Wicked Priests (I Sam. 4:1-18)

A. ISRAEL'S DOUBLE DEFEAT

Now Israel went out against the Philistines to battle. And the Philistines put themselves in array against Israel: and when they joined battle, Israel was smitten before the Philistines: and they slew of the army in the field about four thousand men. And when the people were come into the camp, the elders of Israel said, "Wherefore hath the Lord smitten us to-day before the Philistines? Let us fetch the ark of the covenant of the Lord out of Shiloh unto us, that it may come among us, and save us out of the hand of our enemies."

So the people sent to Shiloh, and they brought from thence the ark of the covenant of the Lord of hosts; and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with the ark. And when the ark of the covenant of the Lord came into the camp, all Israel shouted with a great shout, so that the earth rang again.

And when the Philistines heard the noise of the shout, they said, "What meaneth the noise of this great shout in the camp of the Hebrews?" And they understood that the ark of the Lord was come into the camp. And the Philistines were afraid, for they said, "God is come into the camp." And they said, "Woe unto us! for there hath not been such a thing heretofore. Woe unto us! who shall deliver us out of the hand of these mighty gods? these are the gods that smote the Egyptians with all manner of plagues in the wilderness. Be strong, and quit yourselves like men, O ye Philistines, that ye be not servants unto the Hebrews, as they have been to you: quit yourselves like men, and fight."

And the Philistines fought, and Israel was smitten, and they fled every man to his tent: and there was a very great slaughter; for there fell of Israel thirty thousand footmen. And the ark of God was taken; and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were slain.


B. THE DEATH OF THE OLD PRIEST

And there ran a man of Benjamin out of the army, and came to Shiloh the same day with his clothes rent, and with earth upon his head. And when he came, lo, Eli sat upon his seat by the wayside watching: for his heart trembled for the ark of God. And when the man came into the city, and told it, all the city cried out.

And when Eli heard the noise of the crying, he said, "What meaneth the noise of this tumult?"

And the man hasted, and came and told Eli. Now Eli was ninety and eight years old; and his eyes were set, that he could not see. And the man said unto Eli, "I am he that came out of the army, and I fled to-day out of the army."

And he said, "How went the matter, my son?"

And he that brought the tidings answered and said, "Israel is fled before the Philistines, 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."

And it came to pass, when he made mention of the ark of God, that he fell from off his seat backward by the side of the gate, and his neck brake, and he died: for he was an old man, and heavy. And he had judged Israel forty years.


THE MEANING OF THE STORY

189. We turn to the Books of Samuel, which take their name from one of the great heroes of Israel. He did not write the books, for they contain the story of what happened long after his death, but as he was the noblest character in the books they were named after him.

190 (§58A). At the beginning of this story we learn that Elkanah the husband and Hannah his wife had no children. They had gone up to Shiloh to the sacred building that was called the house of God, and had celebrated a sacred feast. But Hannah was greatly troubled that she had no child. What did she do? What did she promise if she could have a son? We remember from the story of Samson that leaving the hair uncut was a mark that the child was to serve God.

191 (§58A). When Hannah prayed, did she speak aloud? What did Eli, the old priest, think about her? Tell in your own words their conversation.

192 (§58B). The boy whom Hannah longed for was born. What was his name? It was the custom to kill animals at the house of God as a sign of thanksgiving: what did Hannah take with her for this sacrifice? What did she say to Eli? Note that she brings the boy to the old priest to learn the duties of the house of God.

193 (§59). Perhaps the wrong-doing of the priests seems rather difficult to understand. Eli, the old priest, was assisted by his two sons. Their duty was to offer the sacrifices for the people, and they would be allowed part of the meat as their pay. That was one of the ways in which a priest had his living. But these young priests would send their servants to stick a large fork into the pot where the meat was boiling and whatever came out they would take. Or they would take the meat first, before the offering to the Lord had been made, and this was considered a dishonor to the sacrifice. It often happens that public officers are more anxious to get what they can than to do their duty.

194 (§59). How did the father feel about his sons? What did he say to them? What ought he to have done to them? Why did he not do so?

195 (§59). What was happening to Samuel all this time? The linen ephod was a white dress such as a priest would wear. Who made the boy's garments? Think what those happy meetings of the parents and boy once a year must have been.

196 (§60). Imagine how the little church, or temple, was at night. There was a room in which the sacred box called the ark was kept. A lamp burned in this room all night. Samuel had a room near by, where he slept, and old Eli had another. What wonderful thing happened to Samuel one night? Tell it in your own words. Nearly all men and women who have become great have heard calls in some manner in their youth. Joan of Arc, the young girl who saved France from her enemies, thought that she heard God calling to her, though she was only thirteen years of age. This was a vision that Samuel saw in the night. Do you remember the dreams of Joseph? It is often in conscience and in times of thoughtfulness that God speaks to us.

197 (§60). How did Samuel do as Eli had told him? Note that God tells the boy that a great punishment will come upon Eli's family. How was Eli to blame for the wickedness of his sons?

198 (§60). What did Samuel do as soon as he got up in the morning? What does this show us regarding his duties? What did he think about the vision? But old Eli knew that there was something very important that had happened. Tell in your own words the conversation between them. Note that the poor old man can simply say that he must bear what comes upon him. What do you think of Eli?

199 (§61A). With whom did Israel go to war? Locate the country of these enemies on the map. How did the battle come out? The people thought that if they could have the ark with them they could conquer. They thought the Lord would fight for them. Where did they go to get the ark? Who were with the ark?

200 (§61A). When the two priests brought the ark to the camp, what happened? What effect did this have upon the Philistines? What was the result? What happened to the two priests? What happened to the ark?

201 (§61B). When a Hebrew felt very sad he covered his head with dust and tore his dress. Tell the story of how the news of the defeat was brought to Eli. How old was the priest? What was he doing? Why did he care so much about the ark of God? What happened to him? Eli was a noble man himself, but could he not have done better for Israel than he did? Remember that young Samuel was growing up while these things were going on.


WRITTEN REVIEW

Think of what paragraph 196 means to you. It is at Samuel's age that most young people come into the full membership of the church. Write what you think that means.



XIX. SAMUEL AND SAUL

THE STORY


§62. The Meeting of Samuel and Saul (I Sam. 9:1-25)

A. SAUL SEEKING THE DONKEYS

Now there was a man of Benjamin, whose name was Kish, a mighty man of valor. And he had a son, whose name was Saul, a young man and a goodly: and there was not among the children of Israel a goodlier person than he: from his shoulders and upward he was higher than any of the people. And the asses of Kish, Saul's father, were lost. And Kish said to Saul his son, "Take now one of the servants with thee, and arise, go seek the asses."

And he passed through the hill country of Ephraim, and there they were not: and he passed through the land of the Benjamites, but they found them not. When they were come to the land of Zuph, Saul said to his servant that was with him, "Come and let us return; lest my father cease caring for the asses, and take thought for us."

And he said unto him, "Behold now, there is in this city a man of God, and he is a man that is held in honor; all that he saith cometh surely to pass: now let us go thither; peradventure he can tell us concerning our journey whereon we go."

Then said Saul to his servant, "But, behold, if we go, what shall we bring the man? for the bread is spent in our vessels, and there is not a present to bring to the man of God: what have we?"

And the servant answered Saul again, and said, "Behold, I have in my hand the fourth part of a shekel of silver: that will I give to the man of God, to tell us our way."

Then said Saul to his servant, "Well said; come, let us go."


B. SAUL ENTERTAINED BY SAMUEL

So they went unto the city where the man of God was. As they went up the ascent to the city, they found young maidens going out to draw water, and said unto them, "Is the seer here?"

And they answered them, and said, "He is; behold, he is before thee: make haste now, for he is come to-day into the city; for the people have a sacrifice to-day in the high place: as soon as ye be come into the city, ye shall straightway find him, before he go up to the high place to eat: for the people will not eat until he come, because he doth bless the sacrifice; and afterwards they eat that be bidden. Now therefore get you up; for at this time ye shall find him."

And they went up to the city; and as they came within the city, behold, Samuel came out toward them, to go up to the high place.

Now the Lord had revealed unto Samuel a day before Saul came, saying, "To-morrow about this time I will send thee a man out of the land of Benjamin, and thou shalt anoint him to be prince over my people Israel, and he shall save my people out of the hand of the Philistines: for I have looked upon my people, because their cry is come unto me."

And when Samuel saw Saul, the Lord said unto him, "Behold the man of whom I spake to thee! this same shall have authority over my people."

Then Saul drew near to Samuel in the gate, and said, "Tell me, I pray thee, where the seer's house is."

And Samuel answered Saul, and said, "I am the seer; go up before me unto the high place, for ye shall eat with me to-day: and in the morning I will let thee go, and will tell thee all that is in thine heart. And as for thine asses that were lost three days ago, set not thy mind on them; for they are found. And on whom is all the desire of Israel? Is it not on thee, and for all thy father's house?"

And Saul answered and said, "Am not I a Benjamite, of the smallest of the tribes of Israel? and my family the least of all the families of the tribe of Benjamin? wherefore then speakest thou to me after this manner?"

And Samuel took Saul and his servant, and brought them into the guest-chamber, and made them sit in the chiefest place among them that were bidden, which were about thirty persons. And Samuel said unto the cook, "Bring the portion which I gave thee, of which I said unto thee, 'Set it by thee.'"

And the cook took up the thigh, and that which was upon it, and set it before Saul.

And Samuel said, "Behold that which hath been reserved! set it before thee and eat; because unto the appointed time hath it been kept for thee, for I said, 'I have invited the people.'"

So Saul did eat with Samuel that day. And when they were come down from the high place into the city, he communed with Saul upon the housetop.


§63. Saul Anointed by Samuel (I Sam. 9:26-10:7)

A. THE PROMISE OF THE KINGDOM

And they arose early: and it came to pass about the spring of the day, that Samuel called to Saul on the housetop, saying, "Up, that I may send thee away."

And Saul arose, and they went out both of them, he and Samuel, abroad. As they were going down at the end of the city, Samuel said to Saul, "Bid the servant pass on before us, (and he passed on,) but stand thou still at this time, that I may cause thee to hear the word of God." Then Samuel took the vial of oil, and poured it upon his head, and kissed him, and said, "Is it not that the Lord hath anointed thee to be prince over his inheritance? When thou art departed from me to-day, then thou shalt find two men by Rachel's sepulchre, in the border of Benjamin; and they will say unto thee, 'The asses which thou wentest to seek are found: and lo, thy father hath left the care of the asses, and taketh thought for you, saying, What shall I do for my son?' Then shalt thou go on forward from thence, and thou shalt come to the oak of Tabor, and there shall meet thee there three men going up to God to Beth-el, one carrying three kids, and another carrying three loaves of bread, and another carrying a bottle of wine: and they will salute thee, and give thee two loaves of bread; which thou shalt receive of their hand. After that thou shalt come to the hill of God, where is the garrison of the Philistines: and it shall come to pass, when thou art come thither to the city, that thou shalt meet a band of prophets coming down from the high place with a psaltery, and a timbrel, and a pipe, and a harp, before them; and they shall be prophesying: and the spirit of the Lord will come mightily upon thee, and thou shalt prophesy with them, and shalt be turned into another man. And let it be, when these signs are come unto thee, that thou do as occasion serve thee: for God is with thee."


B. SAUL'S RETURN HOME

And it was so, that when he had turned his back to go from Samuel, God gave him another heart: and all those signs came to pass that day. And when they came thither to the hill, behold, a band of prophets met him; and the spirit of God came mightily upon him, and he prophesied among them. And it came to pass, when all that knew him before-time saw that, behold, he prophesied with the prophets, then the people said one to another, "What is this that is come unto the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets?"

And when he had made an end of prophesying, he came to the high place. And Saul's uncle said unto him and to his servant, "Whither went ye?"

And he said, "To seek the asses: and when we saw that they were not found, we came to Samuel."

And Saul's uncle said, "Tell me, I pray thee, what Samuel said unto you."

And Saul said unto his uncle, "He told us plainly that the asses were found." But concerning the matter of the kingdom, whereof Samuel spake, he told him not.


§64. Saul's Opportunity (I Sam. 11:1-11, 15)

Then Nahash the Ammonite came up, and encamped against Jabesh-gilead: and all the men of Jabesh said unto Nahash, "Make a covenant with us, and we will serve thee."

And Nahash the Ammonite said unto them, "On this condition will I make it with you, that all your right eyes be put out; and I will lay it for a reproach upon all Israel."

And the elders of Jabesh said unto him, "Give us seven days' respite, that we may send messengers unto all the borders of Israel: and then, if there be none to save us, we will come out to thee."

Then came the messengers to Gibeah of Saul, and spake these words in the ears of the people: and all the people lifted up their voice, and wept. And, behold, Saul came following the oxen out of the field; and Saul said, "What aileth the people that they weep?"

And they told him the words of the men of Jabesh. And the spirit of God came mightily upon Saul when he heard those words, and his anger was kindled greatly. And he took a yoke of oxen, and cut them in pieces, and sent them throughout all the borders of Israel by the hand of messengers, saying, "Whosoever cometh not forth after Saul and after Samuel, so shall it be done unto his oxen."

And the dread of the Lord fell on the people, and they came out as one man. And he numbered them in Bezek; and the children of Israel were three hundred thousand, and the men of Judah thirty thousand. And they said unto the messengers that came, "Thus shall ye say unto the men of Jabesh-gilead, 'To-morrow, by the time the sun is hot, ye shall have deliverance.'"

And the messengers came and told the men of Jabesh; and they were glad. Therefore the men of Jabesh said, "To-morrow we will come out unto you, and ye shall do with us all that seemeth good unto you."

And it was so on the morrow, that Saul put the people in three companies; and they came into the midst of the camp in the morning watch, and smote the Ammonites until the heat of the day: and it came to pass, that they which remained were scattered, so that two of them were not left together.

And all the people went to Gilgal; and there they made Saul king before the Lord in Gilgal; and there they sacrificed sacrifices of peace offerings before the Lord; and there Saul and all the men of Israel rejoiced greatly.


THE MEANING OF THE STORY

202 (§62A). Look at the map of Canaan and find the tribe of Benjamin. Is it a very large tribe? The tribes occupied separate districts, something like our states. This story is going to tell us about how the first king was chosen, so it is particular to tell us where he came from and how it happened. What kind of man was Saul? Some animals that are used very much in Palestine had strayed: tell about them.

203 (§62A). Saul and the servant had wandered a long way looking for the donkeys, probably spending several days in the hunt. At last Saul made up his mind to do something: what was it? But the servant thought of a plan to help them in their search. The man of God was one who could help people in their troubles. They were supposed to bring him a present. What did Saul do about the present?

204 (§62B). Try to imagine the whole scene. Think what Saul and the servant were doing: whom did they meet and what did they ask? We must understand that a feast was to be held. The people were going to cook a whole animal. They would pour out the blood and burn the fat, which was called a sacrifice and was part of their religion; then they would eat the rest of the animal with great joy. It happened that the two men reached the city just as the feast was to be held. And Samuel would be there to ask the blessing. The girls told the two men all this. What happened just as they reached the city?

205 (§62B). The Philistines were enemies of Israel who greatly troubled them. Samuel had been wondering how the people could be saved from their enemies. What had the Lord told him? What did Samuel feel just as soon as he saw Saul?

206 (§62B). Try to imagine the meeting. What did Saul say? What did Samuel answer? Notice the invitation, the information about the donkeys, and especially the hint of some great thing. Saul is surprised: what does he say to Samuel?

207 (§62B). What did Samuel do for Saul? What plan had Samuel made so that a good piece of meat could be kept? Note the part of the animal that they thought best is the same that we like: it is the leg of lamb or the second joint of the turkey. What did Samuel say to Saul?

208 (§62B). Evidently Samuel took Saul to his own house. What part of the house did they use in those days for visiting? How could they do so? What do you think they talked about? Once during the Civil War Abraham Lincoln went to visit Henry Ward Beecher: what do you think they talked of? Samuel had great hopes that Saul was the man to save Israel.

209 (§63A). After the conversation they went to bed. Then they talked again early in the morning. Then Samuel walked with Saul out of the city. What plan did Samuel use to be alone with Saul? Picture the scene to yourself: the old man with the flask of olive oil in his hand, the tall young man wondering about his future, the anointing, the solemn kiss, the promise.

210 (§63A). What signs was Saul to have? Samuel's last word meant that Saul was to wait until some great opportunity should arise and then to do as God led him. We shall see how the opportunity came.

211 (§63B). Tell the story of what happened to Saul after he left Samuel. What was the conversation between Saul and his uncle? What did Saul keep silent about? Why do you think he did so? He was modest; he did not want to boast. It seems that he went quietly to work on his father's farm and waited for something to happen that should show him what to do.

212 (§64). The scene of the story changes. Locate Ammon on the map, east of the Jordan. The Ammonites were old enemies of Israel. Locate Jabesh-Gilead, the town which they attacked. The people were afraid and begged for mercy. What terms did the cruel king offer them? He was so sure that no one in Israel could save them that he let them send messengers asking for help. The messengers came to the town where Saul lived. Locate Gibeah in Saul's tribe. How did the people feel when they heard the news? What had Saul been doing since his return from Samuel? Tell the story of how he came home on the day the messengers arrived.

213 (§64). How did the news affect Saul? This was the opportunity that Samuel had told him to wait for. What striking thing did he do to gather an army? Tell the story of the successful march to relieve Jabesh-Gilead.

214 (§64). What did the people think of the hero who had saved them? What did they do? Who was the first president of the United States? Why was he elected? Who was the first king of Israel? Why was he chosen?


WRITTEN REVIEW

Consider which man you would rather have been: A wise, good man who was magnanimous enough to see that a king was needed and to choose him, or the vigorous man who could conquer the enemies and win the kingship. Think carefully of the heroic qualities of each of them. Write down which you admire the most and why you would rather be that one.



XX. JONATHAN'S VICTORY

THE STORY


§65. The New King and the Old Foes (I Sam. 13:2-7, 15-17; 14:1-23)

A. THE OUTBREAK OF WAR

When Saul had reigned two years over Israel, he chose him three thousand men of Israel; whereof two thousand were with him in Michmash and in the mount of Beth-el, and a thousand were with Jonathan in Gibeah of Benjamin: and the rest of the people he sent every man to his tent. And Jonathan smote the garrison of the Philistines that was in Geba, and the Philistines heard of it.

And Saul blew the trumpet throughout all the land, saying, "Let the Hebrews hear."

And all Israel heard say that Saul had smitten the garrison of the Philistines, and that Israel also was had in abomination with the Philistines. And the people were gathered together after Saul.

And the Philistines assembled themselves together to fight with Israel, thirty thousand chariots, and six thousand horsemen, and people as the sand which is on the sea shore in multitude: and they came up, and pitched in Michmash, eastward of Beth-aven. When the men of Israel saw that they were in a strait, (for the people were distressed,) then the people did hide themselves in caves, and in thickets, and in rocks, and in holds, and in pits.

A PHILISTINE A PHILISTINE

Now some of the Hebrews had gone over Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead. And Saul numbered the people that were present with him, about six hundred men. And Saul, and Jonathan his son, and the people that were present with them, abode in Geba of Benjamin: but the Philistines encamped in Michmash. And the spoilers came out of the camp of the Philistines.


B. JONATHAN'S BOLD ATTACK

Now it fell upon a day, that Jonathan the son of Saul said unto the young man that bare his armor, "Come and let us go over to the Philistines' garrison, that is on yonder side." But he told not his father.

And Saul abode in the uttermost part of Gibeah under the pomegranate tree which is in Migron: and the people that were with him were about six hundred men. And the people knew not that Jonathan was gone. And between the passes, by which Jonathan sought to go over unto the Philistines' garrison, there was a rocky crag on the one side, and a rocky crag on the other side. The one crag rose up on the north in front of Michmash, and the other on the south in front of Geba.

And Jonathan said to the young man that bare his armor, "Come and let us go over unto the garrison: it may be that the Lord will work for us: for there is not restraint to the Lord to save by many or by few."

And his armorbearer said unto him, "Do all that is in thine heart: turn thee, behold I am with thee according to thy heart."

Then said Jonathan, "Behold, we will pass over unto the men, and we will discover ourselves unto them. If they say thus unto us, 'Tarry until we come to you;' then we will stand still in our place, and will not go up unto them. But if they say thus, 'Come up unto us,' then we will go up: for the Lord hath delivered them into our hand: and this shall be the sign unto us."

And both of them discovered themselves unto the garrison of the Philistines: and the Philistines said, "Behold, the Hebrews come forth out of the holes where they had hid themselves." And the men of the garrison answered Jonathan and his armorbearer, and said, "Come up to us, and we will show you a thing." And Jonathan said unto his armorbearer, "Come up after me: for the Lord hath delivered them into the hand of Israel."

And Jonathan climbed up upon his hands and upon his feet, and his armorbearer after him: and they fell before Jonathan; and his armorbearer slew them after him. And that first slaughter, which Jonathan and his armorbearer made, was about twenty men, within as it were half an acre of land. And there was a trembling in the camp, in the field, and among all the people; the garrison, and the spoilers, they also trembled: and the earth quaked; so there was an exceeding great trembling.


C. THE GENERAL BATTLE

And the watchmen of Saul in Gibeah of Benjamin looked; and, behold, the multitude melted away, and they went hither and thither.

Then said Saul unto the people that were with him, "Number now, and see who is gone from us."

And when they had numbered, behold, Jonathan and his armorbearer were not there. And Saul said unto Ahijah the priest, "Bring hither the ark of God." For the ark of God was there at that time with the children of Israel.

And it came to pass, while Saul talked unto the priest, that the tumult that was in the camp of the Philistines went on and increased: and Saul said unto the priest, "Withdraw thine hand."

And Saul and all the people that were with him were gathered together, and came to the battle: and, behold, every man's sword was against his fellow, and there was a very great discomfiture. Now the Hebrews that were with the Philistines as before-time, which went up with them into the camp from the country round about, even they also turned to be with the Israelites that were with Saul and Jonathan. Likewise all the men of Israel which had hid themselves in the hill country of Ephraim, when they heard that the Philistines fled, even they also followed hard after them in the battle. So the Lord saved Israel that day: and the battle passed over by Beth-aven.


§66. Saul's Oath and Jonathan's Danger (I Sam. 14:24-46)

A. THE OATH OF ABSTINENCE

And the men of Israel were distressed that day: for Saul had adjured the people, saying, "Cursed be the man that eateth any food until it be evening, and I be avenged on mine enemies."

So none of the people tasted food. And all the people came into the forest; and there was honey upon the ground. And when the people were come unto the forest, behold, the honey dropped: but no man put his hand to his mouth; for the people feared the oath. But Jonathan heard not when his father charged the people with the oath: wherefore he put forth the end of the rod that was in his hand, and dipped it in the honeycomb, and put his hand to his mouth; and his eyes were enlightened.

Then answered one of the people, and said, "Thy father straitly charged the people with an oath, saying, 'Cursed be the man that eateth food this day.'" And the people were faint.

Then said Jonathan, "My father hath troubled the land: see, I pray you, how mine eyes have been enlightened, because I tasted a little of this honey. How much more, if haply the people had eaten freely to-day of the spoil of their enemies which they found? for had there not been now a much greater slaughter among the Philistines?"


B. THE HUNGRY WARRIORS

And they smote of the Philistines that day from Michmash to Aijalon: and the people were very faint. And the people flew upon the spoil, and took sheep, and oxen, and calves, and slew them on the ground: and the people did eat them with the blood.

Then they told Saul, saying, "Behold, the people sin against the Lord, in that they eat with the blood."

And he said, "Ye have dealt treacherously: roll a great stone unto me this day." And Saul said, "Disperse yourselves among the people, and say unto them, 'Bring me hither every man his ox, and every man his sheep, and slay them here, and eat; and sin not against the Lord in eating with the blood.'"

And all the people brought every man his ox with him that night, and slew them there. And Saul built an altar unto the Lord: the same was the first altar that he built unto the Lord.


C. JONATHAN'S DANGER AND RESCUE

And Saul said, "Let us go down after the Philistines by night, and spoil them until the morning light, and let us not leave a man of them."

And they said, "Do whatsoever seemeth good unto thee."

Then said the priest, "Let us draw near hither unto God." And Saul asked counsel of God, "Shall I go down after the Philistines? wilt thou deliver them into the hand of Israel?" But he answered him not that day.

And Saul said, "Draw nigh hither, all ye chiefs of the people: and know and see wherein this sin hath been this day. For, as the Lord liveth, which saveth Israel, though it be in Jonathan my son, he shall surely die." But there was not a man among all the people that answered him.

Then said he unto all Israel, "Be ye on one side, and I and Jonathan my son will be on the other side."

And the people said unto Saul, "Do what seemeth good unto thee."

Therefore Saul said unto the Lord, the God of Israel, "Show the right." And Jonathan and Saul were taken by lot: but the people escaped.

And Saul said, "Cast lots between me and Jonathan my son." And Jonathan was taken.

Then Saul said to Jonathan, "Tell me what thou hast done."

And Jonathan told him, and said, "I did certainly taste a little honey with the end of the rod that was in mine hand; and, lo, I must die."

And Saul said, "God do so and more also: for thou shalt surely die, Jonathan."

And the people said unto Saul, "Shall Jonathan die, who hath wrought this great salvation in Israel? God forbid: as the Lord liveth, there shall not one hair of his head fall to the ground; for he hath wrought with God this day."

So the people rescued Jonathan, that he died not. Then Saul went up from following the Philistines: and the Philistines went to their own place.


THE MEANING OF THE STORY

215 (§65A). There was a strong enemy on the western coast that was the most serious trouble to Israel. It was to save themselves from these people that the Hebrews had longed for a king. Imagine how we should feel if some foreign nation should capture New York and Chicago and St. Louis and San Francisco and should compel us to give up a large part of our crops every year. We should look for a great general to lead us to turn them out. What then did Saul feel was his first duty as king? He had with him his noble son: what was his name? The first blow was struck at the town of Geba: what followed at once?

216 (§65A). Note the great force of the Philistines. What do you think they expected to do with the Hebrews? How did the Hebrews behave? We have seen before how the people would hide from their enemies. How many warriors did Saul have left? Notice that the two forces were drawn up on opposite sides of a valley. Each was on a height which it was difficult to attack. The reference to "the spoilers" means that the Philistines determined to destroy all the Hebrew country. The little army of Saul was unable to prevent the raids.

217 (§65B). Evidently some bold deed had to be done. We find that the king had a hero son. The knights in Europe used to have their squires: Jonathan had his armorbearer. Why did he not tell his father of his plan? At the battle of Santiago in the Cuban war Lieutenant Hobson wanted to do a very bold deed, but it was so dangerous that he had difficulty in getting permission. Jonathan was afraid his father would think his plan foolhardy. Study the description of the place. There was a narrow pass between two rocky crags. In order to reach the Philistines, Jonathan would have to climb the steep rock. Note that Jonathan hopes for the Lord to be with him. How does the armorbearer respond?

218 (§65B). Jonathan proposes to go into the open at the bottom of the valley and call to the Philistine sentinels, and then to decide whether to attack according to their reply. He thinks that they will make one of two replies: what were they? Tell what happened. How do you think the sudden attack of two men could have frightened the Philistines?

219 (§65C). The Hebrew sentinels on their crag suddenly saw a great disturbance on the opposite height, which the Philistines held. What did Saul do? The king intended to consult God through the priest, but the confusion in the enemy's camp grew so great that he decided to attack at once. Three causes helped to put the Philistines to flight: what were they?

220 (§66A). In the old time it was thought to be very religious to make solemn vows to God. Saul felt that the Lord was saving Israel from the oppression: what oath did he put upon the people? What did the hungry people find in the forest? How did they act? How did Jonathan act? The little food was so refreshing that he seemed to see clearly again, so it is said "his eyes were enlightened." Tell what conversation took place about the honey.

221 (§66B). In order to understand this story, we must remember that it was considered wrong to eat meat unless it had been properly killed so that the blood could run off. The blood was thought to be an offering to God. The Jews still keep up the same custom, and their meat is always specially killed. When the Philistines fled, what property did they leave behind? How did the hungry Hebrews behave? How did Saul secure an altar where the animals could be properly killed? Saul was very careful to do everything that was considered right.

222 (§66C). The king thought that the victory should be followed up, so that the Philistines could not return to trouble them. They had a custom of seeking to find out God's will about any matter through the priest, just as people do in the temples of Japan to-day. But there was some difficulty in securing an answer, so Saul felt sure that someone had broken the oath. It was a most solemn matter to him. What did he say to the leaders of the people? Tell how they found out that Jonathan was guilty.

223 (§66C). When a man was found out by the lot, he was expected to confess. What did Jonathan confess? Do you think that he had done wrong? Evidently Saul thought so, because at that time it seemed terrible to break a solemn oath. Picture the scene to yourself and see how nobly Jonathan was ready to bear the punishment.

224 (§66C). It seems to us most strange that the king should think so much of the matter as to feel that his son must die, but we must remember that it was part of their religion. It makes us very glad that we know God so much better, and that we can see that he must have been pleased with the hero who had risked his life to save his people from their enemies. Indeed we find that Jonathan's noble conduct was so clear that the people decided that the old custom must be broken. What did they say? Why did they think the Lord would not wish Jonathan to die?


WRITTEN REVIEW

Imagine that you were Jonathan's armorbearer. Write a letter home, just as the young man might, telling what happened that day. Make it as full of description as possible.



DAVID

XXI. David and the Giant
XXII. The Hero Friends, David and Jonathan
XXIII. David, the Outlaw
XXIV. David, the King
XXV. David and His Rebel Son


XXI. DAVID AND THE GIANT

THE STORY


§67. The Anointing of David (I Sam. 16:1-13)

And the Lord said unto Samuel, "I have rejected Saul from being king over Israel. Fill thine horn with oil, and go, I will send thee to Jesse the Bethlehemite: for I have provided me a king among his sons."

And Samuel said, "How can I go? if Saul hear it, he will kill me."

And the Lord said, "Take an heifer with thee, and say, 'I am come to sacrifice to the Lord.' And call Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show thee what thou shalt do: and thou shalt anoint unto me him whom I name unto thee."

And Samuel did that which the Lord spake, and came to Bethlehem. And the elders of the city came to meet him trembling, and said, "Comest thou peaceably?"

And he said, "Peaceably: I am come to sacrifice unto the Lord: sanctify yourselves, and come with me to the sacrifice." And he sanctified Jesse and his sons, and called them to the sacrifice. And it came to pass, when they were come, that he looked on Eliab, and said, "Surely the Lord's anointed is before him."

But the Lord said unto Samuel, "Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have rejected him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart."

DAVID DAVID

Then Jesse called Abinadab, and made him pass before Samuel. And he said, "Neither hath the Lord chosen this."

Then Jesse made Shammah to pass by. And he said, "Neither hath the Lord chosen this."

And Jesse made seven of his sons to pass before Samuel. And Samuel said unto Jesse, "The Lord hath not chosen these." And Samuel said unto Jesse, "Are here all thy children?"

And he said, "There remaineth yet the youngest, and, behold, he keepeth the sheep."

And Samuel said unto Jesse, "Send and fetch him: for we will not sit down till he come hither."

And he sent, and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and withal of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look upon. And the Lord said, "Arise, anoint him: for this is he."

Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David from that day forward.


§68. David and Goliath (I Sam. 17:1-14, 16-52)

A. GOLIATH'S CHALLENGE

Now the Philistines gathered together their armies to battle, and they were gathered together at Socoh, which belongeth to Judah. And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered together, and pitched in the vale of Elah, and set the battle in array against the Philistines. And the Philistines stood on the mountain on the one side, and Israel stood on the mountain on the other side: and there was a valley between them.

And there went out a champion out of the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. And he had an helmet of brass upon his head, and he was clad with a coat of mail; and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of brass. And he had greaves of brass upon his legs, and a javelin of brass between his shoulders. And the staff of his spear was like a weaver's beam; and his spear's head weighed six hundred shekels of iron: and his shield-bearer went before him. And he stood and cried unto the armies of Israel, and said unto them, "Why are ye come out to set your battle in array? am not I a Philistine, and ye servants to Saul? choose you a man for you, and let him come down to me. If he be able to fight with me, and kill me, then will we be your servants: but if I prevail against him, and kill him, then shall ye be our servants, and serve us." And the Philistine said, "I defy the armies of Israel this day, give me a man, that we may fight together."

And when Saul and all Israel heard those words of the Philistine, they were dismayed, and greatly afraid, and the Philistine drew near morning and evening, and presented himself forty days.


B. DAVID'S VISIT TO THE ARMY

Now Jesse had eight sons: and the man was an old man in the days of Saul, stricken in years among men. And the three eldest sons of Jesse had gone after Saul to the battle: and the names of his three sons that went to the battle were Eliab the firstborn, and next unto him Abinadab, and the third Shammah. And David was the youngest: and the three eldest followed Saul.

And Jesse said unto David his son, "Take now for thy brethren an ephah of this parched corn, and these ten loaves, and carry them quickly to the camp to thy brethren; and bring these ten cheeses unto the captain of their thousand, and look how thy brethren fare."

And David rose up early in the morning, and left the sheep with a keeper, and took, and went, as Jesse had commanded him; and he came to the place of the wagons, as the host which was going forth to the fight shouted for the battle. And Israel and the Philistines put the battle in array, army against army. And David left his baggage in the hand of the keeper of the baggage, and ran to the army, and came and saluted his brethren. And as he talked with them, behold, there came up the champion, the Philistine of Gath, Goliath by name, out of the ranks of the Philistines, and spake according to the same words: and David heard them. And all the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him, and were sore afraid. And the men of Israel said, "Have ye seen this man that is come up? surely to defy Israel is he come up: and it shall be, that the man who killeth him, the king will enrich him with great riches, and will give him his daughter, and make his father's house free in Israel."

And David spake to the men that stood by him, saying, "What shall be done to the man that killeth this Philistine, and taketh away the reproach from Israel? for who is this Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?"

And the people answered him after this manner, saying, "So shall it be done to the man that killeth him."

And Eliab his eldest brother heard when he spake unto the men; and Eliab's anger was kindled against David, and he said, "Why art thou come down? and with whom hast thou left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know thy pride, and the naughtiness of thine heart; for thou art come down that thou mightest see the battle."

And David said, "What have I now done? Is there not a cause?" And he turned away from him toward another, and spake after the same manner: and the people answered him again after the former manner.


C. THE ACCEPTANCE OF THE CHALLENGE

And when the words were heard which David spake, they rehearsed them before Saul; and he sent for him. And David said to Saul, "Let no man's heart fail because of him; thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine."

And Saul said to David, "Thou art not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him: for thou art but a youth, and he a man of war from his youth."

And David said unto Saul, "Thy servant kept his father's sheep; and when there came a lion, or a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock, I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him. Thy servant smote both the lion and the bear: and this Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God." And David said, "The Lord that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine."

And Saul said unto David, "Go, and the Lord shall be with thee." And Saul clad David with his apparel, and he put an helmet of brass upon his head, and he clad him with a coat of mail. And David girded his sword upon his apparel, and he essayed to go; for he had not proved it.

And David said unto Saul, "I cannot go with these; for I have not proved them." And David put them off him.


D. THE COMBAT

And he took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in the shepherd's bag which he had, even in his scrip; and his sling was in his hand: and he drew near to the Philistine. And the Philistine came on and drew near unto David; and the man that bare the shield went before him. And when the Philistine looked about, and saw David, he disdained him: for he was but a youth, and ruddy, and withal of a fair countenance. And the Philistine said unto David, "Am I a dog, that thou comest to me with staves?" And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. And the Philistine said to David, "Come to me, and I will give thy flesh unto the fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the field."

Then said David to the Philistine, "Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a javelin: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, which thou hast defied. This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from off thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel: and that all this assembly may know that the Lord saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the Lord's, and he will give you into our hand."

And it came to pass, when the Philistine arose, and came and drew nigh to meet David, that David hastened, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine. And David put his hand in his bag, and took thence a stone, and slang it, and smote the Philistine in his forehead; and the stone sank into his forehead, and he fell upon his face to the earth. So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and smote the Philistine, and slew him; but there was no sword in the hand of David. Then David ran, and stood over the Philistine, and took his sword, and drew it out of the sheath thereof, and slew him, and cut off his head therewith.

And when the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled. And the men of Israel and of Judah arose, and shouted, and pursued the Philistines, until thou comest to Gath, and to the gates of Ekron.


§69. David before Saul (I Sam. 17:15-18:5)

And when Saul saw David go forth against the Philistine, he said unto Abner, the captain of the host, "Abner, whose son is this youth?"

And Abner said, "As thy soul liveth, O king, I cannot tell."

And the king said, "Inquire thou whose son the stripling is."

And as David returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, Abner took him, and brought him before Saul with the head of the Philistine in his hand. And Saul said to him, "Whose son art thou, thou young man?"

And David answered, "I am the son of thy servant Jesse the Bethlehemite."

And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. And Saul took him that day, and would let him go no more home to his father's house. Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul. And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was upon him, and gave it to David, and his apparel, even to his sword, and to his bow, and to his girdle.

And David went out whithersoever Saul sent him, and behaved himself wisely: and Saul set him over the men of war, and it was good in the sight of all the people, and also in the sight of Saul's servants.


THE MEANING OF THE STORY

225 (§67). It is a surprise to read that Saul who had begun his reign so well had made a failure so early. But he was a headstrong man. He would not take Samuel's advice, and the old prophet realized that a new king would have to be chosen. We have now the interesting story of how David was given his first knowledge of the great future that was before him.

226 (§67). Tell the story of the plan for a visit to Bethlehem. What did Samuel think when he saw Jesse's oldest son? What did the Lord tell him about the way to judge of men? Saul was a man of noble appearance, but sometimes such men are disappointing. What occurred regarding the other sons? Tell the story of the anointing of David. Compare this with the anointing of Saul.

227 (§68A). We hear again of the same old enemies of Israel. Who were they and where did they live? Who was their champion? Six cubits and a span would be at least ten feet, so we may suppose that as this story was told over and over again they came to exaggerate the height of the giant. But he must have been a very big man. He had heavy bronze armor. How many pieces? Five thousand shekels would be about 150 lbs.—a heavy coat of mail. Who was with him? Tell the story of his challenge.

228 (§68B). How many of David's brothers were in the army? Why did Jesse send David to the army and what presents did he send with him? Tell the story of David's inquiry about the Philistine. What did his brother say to him? What did David think of the challenge?

229 (§68C). Tell the story of David's interview with Saul. What kind of a young man was he? What had he been able to do in his shepherd life? How did he get along with Saul's armor?

230 (§68D). There was one weapon with which David was very skilful. Some of the Israelites could do wonders with this simple weapon: read Judg. 20:16. Try to imagine what the two men looked like when they met. Describe the meeting.

231 (§68D). What did Goliath say to David? The young man knew that the safety of his people depended upon this fight. What noble words did he say? Did he boast of his own skill? Tell the story of the combat.

232 (§69). What conversation took place regarding David? What did Saul do for the young victor?

233 (§69). Jonathan comes out nobly in the story. We might think that he would be jealous of David's success, but instead of that, he was delighted with his fine appearance and his courage. How did Jonathan show his pleasure in David? There began that day a great friendship that lasted till death. There can be no jealousy between friends. It is one of the noblest feelings, when one friend can be glad of another's advancement.


WRITTEN REVIEW

When David was practicing with his sling and keeping his flocks he little thought that he would ever be king of Israel. We do not know how our common duties are getting us ready for a greater work. Make a list of the principal things that you will have to do this week. Write them down in your notebook. Then write down what good you think they will do to prepare you for your work when you are grown up.



XXII. THE HERO FRIENDS, DAVID AND JONATHAN

THE STORY


§70. Saul's Jealousy of David (I Sam. 18:6-9, 27-29; 19:1-18)

A. THE BEGINNING OF THE JEALOUSY

And it came to pass as they came, when David returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, that the women came out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet king Saul, with timbrels, with joy, and with instruments of music. And the women sang one to another as they played, and said,

Saul hath slain his thousands, And David his ten thousands.

And Saul was very wroth, and this saying displeased him; and he said, "They have ascribed unto David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed but thousands: and what can he have more but the kingdom?" And Saul eyed David from that day and forward.

And Saul gave him Michal his daughter to wife. And Saul saw and knew that the Lord was with David; and Michal Saul's daughter loved him. And Saul was yet the more afraid of David; and Saul was David's enemy continually.


B. JONATHAN THE PEACEMAKER

And Saul spake to Jonathan his son, and to all his servants, that they should slay David. But Jonathan, Saul's son, delighted much in David.

And Jonathan told David, saying, "Saul my father seeketh to slay thee: now therefore, I pray thee, take heed to thyself in the morning, and abide in a secret place, and hide thyself: and I will go out and stand beside my father in the field where thou art, and I will commune with my father of thee; and if I see ought, I will tell thee."

And Jonathan spake good of David unto Saul his father, and said unto him, "Let not the king sin against his servant, against David; because he hath not sinned against thee, and because his works have been very good toward thee: for he put his life in his hand, and smote the Philistine, and the Lord wrought a great victory for all Israel: thou sawest it, and didst rejoice: wherefore then wilt thou sin against innocent blood, to slay David without a cause?"

And Saul hearkened unto the voice of Jonathan: and Saul sware, "As the Lord liveth, he shall not be put to death."

And Jonathan called David, and Jonathan showed him all those things. And Jonathan brought David to Saul, and he was in his presence, as before-time.


C. SAUL'S ATTEMPTS TO KILL DAVID

And there was war again: and David went out, and fought with the Philistines, and slew them with a great slaughter; and they fled before him. And an evil spirit from the Lord was upon Saul, as he sat in his house with his spear in his hand; and David played with his hand. And Saul sought to smite David even to the wall with the spear; but he slipped away out of Saul's presence, and he smote the spear into the wall: and David fled, and escaped that night. And Saul sent messengers unto David's house, to watch him, and to slay him in the morning: and Michal David's wife told him, saying, "If thou save not thy life to-night, to-morrow thou shalt be slain." So Michal let David down through the window: and he went, and fled, and escaped.

And Michal took the teraphim, and laid it in the bed, and put a pillow of goats' hair at the head thereof, and covered it with the clothes. And when Saul sent messengers to take David, she said, "He is sick."

And Saul sent the messengers to see David, saying, "Bring him up to me in the bed, that I may slay him." And when the messengers came in, behold, the teraphim was in the bed, with the pillow of goats' hair at the head thereof. And Saul said unto Michal, "Why hast thou deceived me thus, and let mine enemy go, that he is escaped?"

And Michal answered Saul, "He said unto me, 'Let me go; why should I kill thee?'"

Now David fled, and escaped, and came to Samuel to Ramah, and told him all that Saul had done to him. And he and Samuel went and dwelt in Naioth.


§71. The Two Friends (I Sam. 20:1-39)

A. THE COVENANT OF THE FRIENDS

And David fled from Naioth in Ramah, and came and said before Jonathan, "What have I done? what is mine iniquity? and what is my sin before thy father, that he seeketh my life?"

And he said unto him, "God forbid; thou shalt not die: behold, my father doeth nothing either great or small, but that he discloseth it unto me and why should my father hide this thing from me? it is not so."

And David sware moreover, and said, "Thy father knoweth well that I have found grace in thine eyes; and he saith, 'Let not Jonathan know this, lest he be grieved': but truly as the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, there is but a step between me and death."

Then said Jonathan unto David, "Whatsoever thy soul desireth, I will even do it for thee."

And David said unto Jonathan, "Behold, to-morrow is the new moon, and I should not fail to sit with the king at meat: but let me go, that I may hide myself in the field unto the third day at even. If thy father miss me at all, then say, 'David earnestly asked leave of me that he might run to Bethlehem his city: for it is the yearly sacrifice there for all the family.' If he say thus, 'It is well;' thy servant shall have peace: but if he be wroth, then know that evil is determined by him. Therefore deal kindly with thy servant; for thou hast brought thy servant into a covenant of the Lord with thee: but if there be in me iniquity, slay me thyself; for why shouldest thou bring me to thy father?"

And Jonathan said, "Far be it from thee: for if I should at all know that evil were determined by my father to come upon thee, then would not I tell it thee?"

Then said David to Jonathan, "Who shall tell me if perchance thy father answer thee roughly?"

And Jonathan said unto David, "Come and let us go out into the field." And they went out both of them into the field.

And Jonathan said unto David, "The Lord, the God of Israel, be witness; when I have sounded my father about this time to-morrow, or the third day, behold, if there be good toward David, shall I not then send unto thee, and disclose it unto thee? The Lord do so to Jonathan, and more also, should it please my father to do thee evil, if I disclose it not unto thee, and send thee away, that thou mayest go in peace: and the Lord be with thee, as he hath been with my father. And thou shalt not only while yet I live show me the kindness of the Lord, that I die not: but also thou shalt not cut off thy kindness from my house for ever: no, not when the Lord hath cut off the enemies of David every one from the face of the earth."

And Jonathan caused David to swear again, for the love that he had to him: for he loved him as he loved his own soul. Then Jonathan said unto him, "To-morrow is the new moon: and thou shalt be missed, because thy seat will be empty. And when thou hast stayed three days, thou shalt go down quickly, and come to the place where thou didst hide thyself when the business was in hand, and shalt remain by the stone Ezel. And I will shoot three arrows on the side thereof, as though I shot at a mark. And behold, I will send the lad, saying, 'Go, find the arrows.' If I say unto the lad, 'Behold, the arrows are on this side of thee': take them, and come; for there is peace to thee and no hurt, as the Lord liveth. But if I say thus unto the boy, 'Behold, the arrows are beyond thee'; go thy way; for the Lord hath sent thee away. And as touching the matter which thou and I have spoken of, behold, the Lord is between thee and me for ever."


B. SAUL'S DEADLY ANGER

So David hid himself in the field: and when the new moon was come, the king sat him down to eat meat. And the king sat upon his seat, as at other times, even upon the seat by the wall; and Jonathan stood up, and Abner sat by Saul's side: but David's place was empty. Nevertheless Saul spake not any thing that day; for he thought, "Something hath befallen him, he is not clean; surely he is not clean." And it came to pass on the morrow after the new moon, which was the second day, that David's place was empty: and Saul said unto Jonathan his son, "Wherefore cometh not the son of Jesse to meat, neither yesterday, nor to-day?"

And Jonathan answered Saul, "David earnestly asked leave of me to go to Bethlehem: and he said 'Let me go, I pray thee; for our family hath a sacrifice in the city; and my brother, he hath commanded me to be there: and now, if I have found favor in thine eyes, let me get away, I pray thee, and see my brethren.' Therefore he is not come unto the king's table."

Then Saul's anger was kindled against Jonathan, and he said unto him, "Thou son of a perverse rebellious woman, do not I know that thou hast chosen the son of Jesse to thine own shame? For as long as the son of Jesse liveth upon the ground, thou shalt not be established, nor thy kingdom. Wherefore now send and fetch him unto me, for he shall surely die."

And Jonathan answered Saul his father, and said unto him, "Wherefore should he be put to death? what hath he done?"

And Saul cast his spear at him to smite him: whereby Jonathan knew that it was determined of his father to put David to death. So Jonathan arose from the table in fierce anger, and did eat no meat the second day of the month: for he was grieved for David, because his father had done him shame.


C. THE PARTING OF THE FRIENDS

And it came to pass in the morning, that Jonathan went out into the field at the time appointed with David, and a little lad with him. And he said unto his lad, "Run, find now the arrows which I shoot." And as the lad ran, he shot an arrow beyond him. And when the lad was come to the place of the arrow which Jonathan had shot, Jonathan cried after the lad, and said, "Is not the arrow beyond thee?" And Jonathan cried after the lad, "Make speed, haste, stay not." And Jonathan's lad gathered up the arrows, and came to his master. But the lad knew not any thing: only Jonathan and David knew the matter.


THE MEANING OF THE STORY

234. When David returned victorious from the fight with Goliath, Jonathan, the king's son, made a fast friendship with him. Read §69. What do you think each of these young men would admire in the other? There was the beginning that day of a life-long friendship.

235 (§70A). It is still the custom among the Arabs for the women to go dancing and singing to meet the warriors returning from a fight. The women of Israel had the simplest musical instrument, the tambourine, such as the Salvation Army women use. They composed a little verse to sing: what was it? How did Saul feel when he heard it? Was it natural for him to have this feeling? It was a very sad thing connected with the Spanish War, that after the battle of Santiago there was a bitter jealousy between the two American admirals. It is a most pitiful thing when great men are jealous. Recall why we called Abraham "magnanimous." What would have been magnanimous conduct in Saul? Was Jonathan jealous?

236 (§70B). There are a number of stories of Saul's enmity
against David. We shall study a few of them. How did Jonathan try to be the peacemaker? How did he praise David to the king? What effect did it have? Evidently Saul had a better nature, to which Jonathan could appeal, but there was always danger that the fit of jealousy would return.

237 (§70C). David had been appointed to a high command in the army. He seems always to have been successful against the Philistines. But it made Saul jealous. Saul had been subject to fits of melancholy, which was explained in those days as caused by an evil spirit. David, who was a skilful player on the harp, had often been able to soothe the king. So, when the jealousy made him moody, David tried to cheer him with music. But a sudden fit of rage came upon Saul. What happened?

238 (§70C). David had married Michal, the daughter of the king. What plan of Saul's did she discover? How did she help her husband to escape? The teraphim was an idol about the size of a man: how did Michal use it to deceive Saul's messengers? But when Saul was determined to have David brought to him even if he were sick in bed, how was the deceit discovered? What did Saul say to his daughter? Notice that she told her father a falsehood, saying that David had threatened to kill her. Where did David flee?

239 (§71A). This is another story of how Jonathan helped David when he first found out his father's jealousy. Note that Jonathan feels sure that Saul will not do evil to David, but David is certain of his danger. A plan is thought of to find out whether the king is really David's enemy. There was to be the regular monthly religious feast at the time of the new moon and it was David's duty to be present. What was the plan that he suggested to test the king? What appeal does David make to Jonathan? The two friends go out into the field where they can talk unobserved.

240 (§71A). This is the story of the covenant or agreement. If Jonathan finds that Saul is well disposed to David, what does he promise to do? If Saul is evil disposed, what does he agree to do? He is sure that David will succeed to the throne; what therefore does he ask of him in the future? We are glad to know that David remembered this promise long after and took care of Jonathan's lame son.

241 (§71A). Jonathan knows that it will be dangerous for him to tell David the result of his observation of the king as he would probably be watched, so he arranges to tell him by signal. Read the story carefully, and then tell in your own words how David was to know if he could return safely, and how he was to know if he must escape.

242 (§71B). Tell the story of the Feast of the New Moon. Notice that Saul did not object to David's absence the first day, thinking that there might be some religious cleansing that was necessary. What excuse did Jonathan make? The king thought that Jonathan could not understand that David would get the throne, and he was angry with him for being so foolish as to be friends with him. Do you think Jonathan knew that David was to be king? What was the end of the discussion between the king and his son?

243 (§71C). How did Jonathan inform David that the king was his enemy? Why did he say to the boy, "Make speed, haste, stay not"? So these two friends parted, each trusting the other.


WRITTEN REVIEW

Have you known a friend who was magnanimous when he might have been jealous? Write about it in your notebook.



XXIII. DAVID, THE OUTLAW

THE STORY


§72. The Band of Outlaws (I Sam. 22:1, 2; 23:1-8, 13, 14; 25:2-42)

A. THE GATHERING OF THE BAND

David arose and fled for fear of Saul, and escaped to the cave of Adullam: and when his brethren and all his father's house heard it, they went down thither to him. And every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt, and every one that was discontented, gathered themselves unto him; and he became captain over them: and there were with him about four hundred men.

And they told David, saying, "Behold, the Philistines are fighting against Keilah, and they rob the threshing-floors."

Therefore David enquired of the Lord, saying, "Shall I go and smite these Philistines?"

And the Lord said unto David, "Go, and smite the Philistines, and save Keilah."

And David's men said unto him, "Behold, we be afraid here in Judah: how much more then if we go to Keilah against the armies of the Philistines?"

Then David enquired of the Lord yet again. And the Lord answered him and said, "Arise, go down to Keilah; for I will deliver the Philistines into thine hand."

And David and his men went to Keilah, and fought with the Philistines, and brought away their cattle, and slew them with a great slaughter. So David saved the inhabitants of Keilah.

And it was told Saul that David was come to Keilah. And Saul summoned all the people to war, to go down to Keilah, to besiege David and his men. Then David and his men, which were about six hundred, arose and departed out of Keilah, and went whithersoever they could go. And it was told Saul that David was escaped from Keilah; and he forbare to go forth.

And David abode in the wilderness in the strongholds, and remained in the hill country.


B. DAVID'S REQUEST OF NABAL

And there was a man in Maon, whose possessions were in Carmel; and the man was very great, and he had three thousand sheep, and a thousand goats: and he was shearing his sheep in Carmel. Now the name of the man was Nabal; and the name of his wife Abigail: and the woman was of good understanding, and of a beautiful countenance: but the man was churlish and evil in his doings.

And David heard in the wilderness that Nabal did shear his sheep. And David sent ten young men, and David said unto the young men, "Get you up to Carmel, and go to Nabal, and greet him in my name: and thus shall ye say to him that liveth in prosperity, 'Peace be both unto thee, and peace be to thine house, and peace be unto all that thou hast. And now I have heard that thou hast shearers: thy shepherds have now been with us, and we did them no hurt, neither was there aught missing unto them, all the while they were in Carmel. Ask thy young men, and they will tell thee: wherefore let the young men find favor in thine eyes; for we come in a good day: give, I pray thee, whatsoever cometh to thine hand, unto thy servants, and to thy son David.'"

And when David's young men came, they spake to Nabal according to all those words in the name of David. And Nabal answered David's servants, and said, "Who is David? and who is the son of Jesse? there be many servants now-a-days that break away every man from his master. Shall I then take my bread, and my water, and my flesh that I have killed for my shearers, and give it unto men of whom I know not whence they be?"

So David's young men turned on their way, and went back, and came and told him according to all these words. And David said unto his men, "Gird ye on every man his sword." And they girded on every man his sword; and David also girded on his sword: and there went up after David about four hundred men; and two hundred abode by the stuff.


C. ABIGAIL'S PEACEMAKING

But one of the young men told Abigail, Nabal's wife, saying, "Behold, David sent messengers out of the wilderness to salute our master; and he flew upon them. But the men were very good unto us, and we were not hurt, neither missed we anything, as long as we were with them, when we were in the fields: they were a wall unto us both by night and by day, all the while we were with them keeping the sheep. Now therefore know and consider what thou wilt do; for evil is determined against our master, and against all his house: for he is such a worthless fellow, that one cannot speak to him."

Then Abigail made haste, and took two hundred loaves, and two bottles of wine, and five sheep ready dressed, and five measures of parched corn, and a hundred clusters of raisins, and two hundred cakes of figs, and laid them on asses. And she said unto her young men, "Go on before me; behold, I come after you." But she told not her husband Nabal. And it was so, as she rode on her ass, and came down by the covert of the mountain, that, behold, David and his men came down against her; and she met them. Now David had said, "Surely in vain have I kept all that this fellow hath in the wilderness, so that nothing was missed of all that belonged unto him: and he hath returned me evil for good. God do so unto David, and more also, if I leave of all that pertain to him by the morning light so much as one man child."

And when Abigail saw David, she hasted, and lighted off her ass, and fell before David on her face, and bowed herself to the ground. And she fell at his feet, and said, "Upon me, my lord, upon me be the iniquity: and let thine handmaid, I pray thee, speak in thine ears, and hear thou the words of thine handmaid. Let not my lord, I pray thee, regard this worthless fellow, even Nabal: for as his name is, so is he; Nabal, fool, is his name, and folly is with him: but I thine handmaid saw not the young men of my lord, whom thou didst send. Now therefore, this present which thy servant hath brought unto my lord, let it be given unto the young men that follow my lord. Forgive, I pray thee, the trespass of thine handmaid: for the Lord will certainly make my lord a sure house, because my lord fighteth the battles of the Lord; and evil shall not be found in thee all thy days. And though man be risen up to pursue thee, and to seek thy life, yet the life of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of life with the Lord thy God; and the lives of thine enemies, them shall he sling out, as from the hollow of a sling. And it shall come to pass, when the Lord shall have done to my lord according to all the good that he hath spoken concerning thee, and shall have appointed thee prince over Israel; that this shall be no grief unto thee, nor offence of heart unto my lord, either that thou hast shed blood causeless, or that my lord hath avenged himself: and when the Lord shall have dealt well with my lord, then remember thine handmaid."

And David said to Abigail, "Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, which sent thee this day to meet me: and blessed be thy wisdom, and blessed be thou, which hast kept me this day from bloodguiltiness, and from avenging myself with mine own hand. For in very deed, as the Lord, the God of Israel, liveth, which hath withholden me from hurting thee, except thou hadst hasted and come to meet me, surely there had not been left unto Nabal by the morning light so much as one man child."

So David received of her hand that which she had brought him: and he said unto her, "Go up in peace to thine house; see, I have hearkened to thy voice, and have accepted thy person."


D. THE END OF NABAL

And Abigail came to Nabal; and, behold, he held a feast in his house, like the feast of a king; and Nabal's heart was merry within him, for he was very drunken: wherefore she told him nothing, less or more, until the morning light. And it came to pass in the morning, when the wine was gone out of Nabal, that his wife told him these things, and his heart died within him, and he became as a stone. And it came to pass about ten days after, that the Lord smote Nabal, that he died.

And when David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, "Blessed be the Lord, that hath pleaded the cause of my reproach from the hand of Nabal, and hath kept back his servant from evil; and the evil-doing of Nabal hath the Lord returned upon his own head."

And David sent and spake concerning Abigail, to take her to him to wife. And when the servants of David were come to Abigail to Carmel, they spake unto her, saying, "David hath sent us unto thee, to take thee to him to wife."

And she arose, and bowed herself with her face to the earth, and said, "Behold, thine handmaid is a servant to wash the feet of the servants of my lord." And Abigail hasted, and arose, and rode upon an ass, with five damsels of hers that followed her; and she went after the messengers of David, and became his wife.


§73. David's Generosity to Saul (I Sam. 26:2-25; 27:1-4)

A. THE SLEEPING ENEMY

And Saul arose, and went down to the wilderness, having three thousand chosen men of Israel with him, to seek David. David therefore sent out spies and knew where Saul was come. And David arose, and came to the place where Saul had pitched: and David beheld the place where Saul lay, and Abner, the captain of his host: and Saul lay within the place of the wagons, and the people pitched round about him. Then answered David and said to Ahimelech the Hittite, and to Abishai, "Who will go down with me to Saul to the camp?"

And Abishai said, "I will go down with thee."

So David and Abishai came to the people by night: and, behold, Saul lay sleeping within the place of the wagons, with his spear stuck in the ground at his head: and Abner and the people lay round about him.

Then said Abishai to David, "God hath delivered up thine enemy into thine hand this day: now therefore let me smite him, I pray thee, with the spear to the earth at one stroke, and I will not smite him the second time."

And David said to Abishai, "Destroy him not: for who can put forth his hand against the Lord's anointed, and be guiltless?" And David said, "As the Lord liveth, either the Lord shall smite him; or his day shall come to die; or he shall go down into battle, and perish. The Lord forbid that I should put forth mine hand against the Lord's anointed: but now take, I pray thee, the spear that is at his head, and the cruse of water, and let us go."

So David took the spear and the cruse of water from Saul's head; and they gat them away, and no man saw it, nor knew it, neither did any awake: for they were all asleep; because a deep sleep from the Lord was fallen upon them.


B. SAUL'S REPENTANCE

Then David went over to the other side, and stood on the top of the mountain afar off; a great space being between them: and David cried to the people, and to Abner, saying, "Answerest thou not, Abner?"

Then Abner answered and said, "Who art thou that criest to the king?"

And David said to Abner, "Art not thou a valiant man? and who is like to thee in Israel? wherefore then hast thou not kept watch over thy lord the king? for there came one of the people in to destroy the king thy lord. This thing is not good that thou hast done. As the Lord liveth, ye are worthy to die, because ye have not kept watch over your lord, the Lord's anointed. And now, see, where the king's spear is, and the cruse of water that was at his head."

And Saul knew David's voice, and said, "Is this thy voice, my son David?"

And David said, "It is my voice, my lord, O king. Wherefore doth my lord pursue after his servant? for what have I done? or what evil is in mine hand? for the king of Israel is come out to seek a flea, as when one doth hunt a partridge in the mountains."

Then said Saul, "I have sinned: return, my son David: for I will no more do thee harm, because my life was precious in thine eyes this day: behold, I have played the fool, and have erred exceedingly."

And David answered and said, "Behold the spear, O king! let then one of the young men come over and fetch it. And the Lord shall render to every man his righteousness and his faithfulness: forasmuch as the Lord delivered thee into my hand to-day, and I would not put forth mine hand against the Lord's anointed. And, behold, as thy life was much set by this day in mine eyes, so let my life be much set by in the eyes of the Lord, and let him deliver me out of all tribulation."

Then Saul said to David, "Blessed be thou, my son David: thou shalt both do mightily, and shalt surely prevail." So David went his way, and Saul returned to his place.


C. DAVID'S FLIGHT FROM ISRAEL

And David said in his heart, "I shall now perish one day by the hand of Saul: there is nothing better for me than that I should escape into the land of the Philistines; and Saul shall despair of me, to seek me any more in all the borders of Israel: so shall I escape out of his hand."

And David arose, and passed over, he and the six hundred men that were with him, unto Achish the king of Gath. And David dwelt with Achish at Gath, he and his men. And it was told Saul that David was fled to Gath: and he sought no more again for him.


THE MEANING OF THE STORY

244. It was clear to David that Saul had determined to kill him. He therefore decided to flee to his own tribe of Judah and to dwell in the mountains where it would be hard for Saul to reach him. The caves in the Judean hills have been the refuge all through the centuries for those who were in danger from the government. In thus fleeing from the king, David became an outlaw, that is, one who refuses to be under the law. Of course he was obliged to do so by the king's tyranny.

245 (§72A). Adullam was probably about twelve miles from Bethlehem. David would have friends near his own town. He gathered to him all his own relatives, who otherwise might have been killed by the king. Three classes of people are mentioned as joining him: who are they? The first would be those who were oppressed, the second those who were likely to be sold as slaves for debt, the third those who had some grievance. It has often happened in countries where there was no free government that men have banded together in sufficient strength to defy the rulers. In English history we read of Robin Hood and his outlaws, who made the rich pay tribute, when they caught them in the forest. Of course in our modern free states there is no excuse for any such life, and we rightly put down all bandits as criminals. How many men did David have at the first?

246 (§72A). News soon came to David that the people of Keilah, a few miles south of Adullam, were being robbed by the old enemies, the Philistines. They had come when the people were threshing the grain, and intended to steal it. How did David use his band of adventurers against the Philistines? What food supply did he secure?

247 (§72A). How was David's expedition brought to an end? How large had his band grown to be? He must have been an able chieftain to attract these men to him. The next story shows how he provided for them.

248 (§72B). Find Maon and Carmel on the map, just south of Hebron. Who was the rich sheep owner? What kind of man was he and what kind of wife had he? It is evident that David's men had protected the shepherds. What request did he make at the time of the shearing feast? Was this a reasonable request? There were so many bands of robbers abroad that it was a great advantage to the Judean shepherds to have David's protection. Of course he in turn needed supplies for his men.

249 (§72B). What answer did Nabal send back? How did he sneer at David's band? What did David decide to do? How did he divide his men?

250 (§72C). What report was brought to Abigail? What did the shepherds think of David? What did Abigail immediately do? David was in a great rage with Nabal, though of course he really had no right to any pay from the man. What vengeance had he decided to take? What do you think of that? How thankful it makes us feel that we live in times when we have strong laws, and no man is permitted to take the law in his own hands.

251 (§72C). Notice how beautifully Abigail speaks to David, telling him that she knows he will never be sorry that he was merciful. How does David respond? What do you think of a man who gives up his purpose so suddenly?

252 (§72D). Note the character of the drunken fellow and his cowardice when he learned of his escape. Probably his drunkenness and the shock of his terror seriously affected him. How long afterward did he die? When David heard the news, what message did he send to the beautiful Abigail? How did she reply?

253 (§73A). Saul had not given up his determination to kill David. He had made several unsuccessful attempts to capture him. At last he heard of David's hiding-place. How many men did he take with him? But David was ever on the watch. How did he discover that Saul was coming?

254 (§73A). Tell the story of the sleeping camp, of David's stealthy approach with a single companion, of the proposal of Abishai, of David's reply, of the spear and the jug of water. What did we mean when we said Abraham was "magnanimous"? Would you say that David was magnanimous? Read Rom. 12:19-21. Where does David appear best—when he threatens Nabal or when he spares Saul?

255 (§73B). Tell the story of the conversation with Saul: David's summons to the sleepers, his reproach of the captain, Saul's recognition, David's appeal, Saul's repentance, the peaceful separation.

256 (§73C). David knew that he could not trust Saul. There was constant danger from the jealous king, so he decided to leave the country. We are surprised to find that he found refuge with Israel's enemies. Where did he go? Locate the city on the map. How was he received? What did Saul decide? But David could afford to wait. In a little while everything was going to turn to his advantage.


WRITTEN REVIEW

Imagine that you were Abishai. Write the story as though you were telling your brother Joab about that night when you crept with David to the sleeping camp. Describe all that happened and tell what you thought of David.



XXIV. DAVID, THE KING

THE STORY


§74. The Way to the Throne (I Sam. 31:1-6; II Sam. 1:1-4, 17, 19, 20, 23, 24, 26, 27; 2:1-4, 8-11; 3:1; 5:1-3)

A. THE BATTLE OF GILBOA

Now the Philistines fought against Israel: and the men of Israel fled from before the Philistines, and fell down slain in mount Gilboa. And the Philistines followed hard upon Saul and upon his sons; and the Philistines slew Jonathan, and Abinadab, and Malchi-shua, the sons of Saul. And the battle went sore against Saul, and the archers overtook him; and he was greatly distressed by reason of the archers. Then said Saul to his armorbearer, "Draw thy sword, and thrust me through therewith; lest these Philistines come and thrust me through, and abuse me."

But his armorbearer would not; for he was sore afraid. Therefore Saul took his sword, and fell upon it. And when his armorbearer saw that Saul was dead, he likewise fell upon his sword, and died with him. So Saul died, and his three sons, and his armorbearer, and all his men, that same day together.


B. DAVID'S DIRGE OVER SAUL AND JONATHAN

And it came to pass after the death of Saul, that a man came out of the camp from Saul with his clothes rent, and earth upon his head: and so it was, when he came to David, that he fell to the earth, and did obeisance. And David said unto him, "From whence comest thou?"

And he said unto him, "Out of the camp of Israel am I escaped."

And David said unto him, "How went the matter? I pray thee, tell me."

And he answered, "The people are fled from the battle, and many of the people also are fallen and dead; and Saul and Jonathan his son are dead also."

And David lamented with this lamentation over Saul and over Jonathan his son:

Thy glory, O Israel, is slain upon thy high places! How are the mighty fallen!
Tell it not in Gath, Publish it not in the streets of Ashkelon; Lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice, Lest the daughters of the enemy triumph.
Saul and Jonathan were lovely and pleasant in their lives, And in their death they were not divided; They were swifter than eagles, They were stronger than lions.
Ye daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, Who clothed you in scarlet delicately, Who put ornaments of gold upon your apparel.
I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan: Very pleasant hast thou been unto me: Thy love to me was wonderful, Passing the love of women.
How are the mighty fallen, And the weapons of war perished!

C. DAVID MADE KING

And it came to pass after this, that David enquired of the Lord, saying, "Shall I go up into any of the cities of Judah?"

And the Lord said unto him, "Go up."

And David said, "Whither shall I go up?"

And he said, "Unto Hebron."

So David went up thither, and his men that were with him did David bring up: and they dwelt in the cities of Hebron. And the men of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah.

Now Abner, the captain of Saul's host, had taken Ish-bosheth the son of Saul, and made him king over Israel. But the house of Judah followed David. And the time that David was king in Hebron over the house of Judah was seven years and six months.

Now there was long war between the house of Saul and the house of David: and David waxed stronger and stronger, but the house of Saul waxed weaker and weaker, and when Ish-bosheth was dead, then came all the tribes of Israel to David unto Hebron, and spake, saying, "Behold, we are thy bone and thy flesh. In times past, when Saul was king over us, it was thou that leddest out and broughtest in Israel: and the Lord said to thee, 'Thou shalt feed my people Israel, and thou shalt be prince over Israel.'"

So all the elders of Israel came to the king to Hebron; and king David made a covenant with them in Hebron before the Lord: and they anointed David king over Israel.


§75. David's Great Reign (I Chron. 11:4-9; II Sam. 5:17-25; 8:2-6, 13, 14; 10:6, 17-19; 11:1; 12:29-31; 5:11, 12; 23:14-17)

A. THE NEW CAPITAL

And David and all Israel went to Jerusalem, where the Jebusites were, the inhabitants of the land. And the inhabitants said to David, "Thou shalt not come hither."

Nevertheless David took the stronghold of Zion. And David said, "Whosoever smiteth the Jebusites first shall be chief and captain."

So Joab the son of Zeruiah went up first, and was chief. And David dwelt in the stronghold; therefore they called it the city of David. And he built the city round about, from Millo, even round about: and Joab repaired the rest of the city. So David waxed greater and greater: for the Lord of hosts was with him.


B. DAVID'S WARS OF DEFENSE

And when the Philistines heard that they had anointed David king over Israel, they went up and spread themselves in the valley of Rephaim.

And David enquired of the Lord, saying, "Shall I go up against the Philistines? wilt thou deliver them into my hand?"

And the Lord said unto David, "Go up; for I will certainly deliver the Philistines into thy hand."

And David went up and smote them; and he said, "The Lord hath broken down mine enemies before me like the breaking of waters."

And the Philistines came up yet again, and spread themselves in the valley of Rephaim. And when David enquired of the Lord, he said, "Thou shalt not go up. Go about to their rear and come upon them opposite the mulberry trees. And it shall be, when thou hearest the sound of marching in the tops of the mulberry trees, that then thou shalt bestir thyself; for then is the Lord gone out before thee to smite the host of the Philistines."

And David did so as the Lord commanded him, and smote the Philistines, and subdued them.

And he smote Moab. And the Moabites became servants to David and brought tribute.

And David put garrisons in Damascus; and the Syrians became servants to David, and brought tribute. And the Lord gave victory to David whithersoever he went.

And David got him a name when he returned from smiting Edom in the valley of salt, even eighteen thousand men. And he put garrisons in Edom; and all the Edomites became servants to David.

And the children of Ammon hired the Syrians. And it was told David; and he gathered all Israel together, and passed over the Jordan. And the Syrians set themselves in array against David, and fought with him. And the Syrians fled before Israel; and David slew the men of seven hundred chariots of the Syrians, and forty thousand horsemen, and smote the captain of their host.

And when all the kings saw that they were smitten before Israel, they made peace with Israel, and served them. So the Syrians feared to help the children of Ammon any more.

And it came to pass, at the return of the year, that David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the children of Ammon. And David went to Rabbah, and fought against it, and took it. And he brought forth the spoil of the city exceeding much. And thus did he unto all the cities of the children of Ammon.

And Hiram king of Tyre sent messengers to David, and cedar trees, and carpenters, and masons: and they built David a house. And David perceived that the Lord had established him king over Israel, and that he had exalted his kingdom for his people Israel's sake.


C. DAVID'S KNIGHTS

And at one time David was in the stronghold, and the garrison of the Philistines was then in Bethlehem. And David longed, and said, "Oh that one would give me drink of the water of the well of Bethlehem, which is by the gate!"

And the three mighty men brake through the host of the Philistines, and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem, that was by the gate, and took it, and brought it to David: nevertheless he would not drink thereof, but poured it out unto the Lord. And he said, "Be it far from me, O Lord, that I should do this: shall I drink the blood of the men that went in jeopardy of their lives?" therefore he would not drink it.

These things did these three mighty men.


THE MEANING OF THE STORY

257. David spent many years as captain of his outlaw band, first in the mountains of Judah and then in Philistia. The Philistines thought he had given up his own people and become one of them. Fortunately, however, they did not wish him to fight against Saul, so he was not obliged to meet that difficulty. He had simply to wait till the end of Saul's reign. It came very tragically.

258 (§74A). The battles of Israel were generally fought on the broad plain of Esdraelon. Find it on the map southeast of Mt. Carmel. In this case, however, Saul had entrenched his army on the high ground to the south of the plain. But the terrible enemies who had troubled Israel so long were too strong for him. How did the battle result? Who were killed? How did Saul die?

259 (§74B). David was still in the Philistine town of Ziklag. He had been fighting the Amalekites who had attacked him. How was the news of the battle of Gilboa brought to him? How would you expect him to feel about Saul's death? how about Jonathan's? As a matter of fact he forgot all his wrongs, and remembered only how he had loved Saul and honored him in the early days, and of course he remembered his great friendship with Jonathan. Was this "magnanimous"?

260 (§74B). A dirge means a song for the dead. David was a fine poet and he sang this beautiful song of lamentation over the king and the prince. Notice the six stanzas. The first and the last are a refrain. The second is a hope that the Philistines will not know the sad news. The third is a praise of Saul and Jonathan. The fourth is a special praise of Saul, whose victories had brought spoil to Israel. The fifth is the tender lament of the singer for his friend. This would be a noble poem to learn by heart.

261 (§74C). After Saul's death, it was a question whether David should return home. Tell what happened. Find Hebron on the map in the south. But Saul's general had another policy. What did he do? So there was war between the north and south. At last Ish-bosheth, Saul's son, was murdered by two men who thought they would get reward from David. He punished them of course, but the way was open for David to be king of the whole land. Tell how David was elected king.

262 (§75A). When the thirteen American colonies adopted the Constitution and became the United States, it was necessary to have a capital that should not be in any one state. So two of the states gave a piece of land, which was called a District: what is its full name? What is the name of the city that was built to be the capital of our country? Does it belong to any one of the states in particular? Saul had not had a definite capital, except his own town. David had his headquarters at the old town of Hebron. But it would not do to have a town of Judah as capital of all Israel. There was a strong town that had never been conquered and occupied by the Israelites, but was still inhabited by the old Jebusites. David decided to capture this city and make it his capital. What is the name of the city that is still after 3,000 years the chief city in Palestine? Find it on the map. The fortress was so strong that there was a proverb that it could be defended even by the blind and the lame. Tell the story of the capture.

263 (§75B). The first necessity was to prevent the enemies all around Israel from interfering with the new kingdom. Who was the first enemy subdued? Locate their territory. In several campaigns these old enemies were prevented from giving any more trouble. The next enemy was in the southeast: who were they? Locate their territory. The next was an old city in the north, then a people in the south, then a nation to the east who hired northern allies. Locate all these, and note that David subdued all his troublesome neighbors. One people was left on the northwest coast, but they were a commercial and not a military people. What alliance did David make with them?

264 (§75C). David was able to conquer all these enemies because he had a noble company of knights about him. They were brave and loyal to their king. We study one fine passage that tells of a heroic deed during one of the Philistine campaigns. What do you think of the bravery of the heroes and the conduct of the king?


WRITTEN REVIEW

Draw an outline map of Canaan. Mark Jerusalem which David made his capital. Mark the territory of each of the enemies whom David conquered. You will find that you will have to go all around the map showing that David had to defend his people on every side.



XXV. DAVID AND HIS REBEL SON

THE STORY


§76. The Treacherous Son and the Loyal Friends (II Sam. 14:25, 26; 15:1-15, 18-37)

A. ABSALOM'S BEAUTY AND TREACHERY

Now in all Israel there was none to be so much praised as Absalom for his beauty: from the sole of his foot even to the crown of his head there was no blemish in him. And when he cut the hair of his head, (now it was at every year's end that he cut it: because the hair was heavy on him, therefore he cut it:) he weighed the hair of his head at two hundred shekels, after the king's weight.

And Absalom prepared him a chariot and horses, and fifty men to run before him. And Absalom rose up early, and stood beside the way of the gate: and it was so, that when any man had a suit which should come to the king for judgment, then Absalom called unto him, and said, "Of what city art thou?"

And he said, "Thy servant is of one of the tribes of Israel."

And Absalom said unto him, "See, thy matters are good and right; but there is no man deputed of the king to hear thee." Absalom said moreover, "Oh that I were made judge in the land, that every man which hath any suit or cause might come unto me, and I would do him justice!"

And it was so, that when any man came nigh to do him obeisance, he put forth his hand, and took hold of him, and kissed him. And on this manner did Absalom to all Israel that came to the king for judgment: so Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.

And it came to pass at the end of four years, that Absalom said unto the king, "I pray thee, let me go and pay my vow, which I have vowed unto the Lord, in Hebron."

And the king said unto him, "Go in peace."

So he arose, and went to Hebron. But Absalom sent spies throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, "As soon as ye hear the sound of the trumpet, then ye shall say, 'Absalom is king in Hebron.'"

And with Absalom went two hundred men out of Jerusalem, that were invited, and went in their simplicity; and they knew not any thing. And Absalom sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David's counselor, from his city, even from Giloh, while he offered the sacrifices. And the conspiracy was strong; for the people increased continually with Absalom.


B. DAVID'S FLIGHT

And there came a messenger to David, saying, "The hearts of the men of Israel are after Absalom."

And David said unto all his servants that were with him at Jerusalem, "Arise, and let us flee; for else none of us shall escape from Absalom: make speed to depart, lest he overtake us quickly, and bring down evil upon us, and smite the city with the edge of the sword."

And the king's servants said unto the king, "Behold, thy servants are ready to do whatsoever my lord the king shall choose."

And the king went forth, and all his household after him. And all his servants passed on beside him; and all the Cherethites, and all the Pelethites, and all the Gittites, six hundred men which came after him from Gath, passed on before the king.

Then said the king to Ittai the Gittite, "Wherefore goest thou also with us? return, and abide with the king: for thou art a stranger, and also an exile; return to thine own place. Whereas thou camest but yesterday, should I this day make thee go up and down with us, seeing I go whither I may? return thou, and take back thy brethren; mercy and truth be with thee."

And Ittai answered the king, and said, "As the Lord liveth, surely in what place my lord the king shall be, whether for death or for life, even there also will thy servant be."

And David said to Ittai, "Go and pass over."

And Ittai the Gittite passed over, and all his men, and all the little ones that were with him. And all the country wept with a loud voice, and all the people passed over: the king also himself passed over the brook Kidron, and all the people passed over, toward the way of the wilderness.

And, lo, Zadok also came, and all the Levites with him, bearing the ark of the covenant of God; and they set down the ark of God, until all the people had done passing out of the city.

And the king said unto Zadok, "Carry back the ark of God into the city: if I shall find favor in the eyes of the Lord, he will bring me again, and show me both it, and his habitation: but if he say thus, 'I have no delight in thee;' behold, here am I, let him do to me as seemeth good unto him."


C. DAVID'S PLAN

The king said unto Zadok the priest, "Return into the city in peace. See, I will tarry at the fords of the wilderness, until there come word from you." Zadok therefore carried the ark of God again to Jerusalem: and they abode there.

And David went up by the ascent of the mount of Olives, and wept as he went up; and he had his head covered, and went barefoot: and all the people that were with him covered every man his head, and they went up, weeping as they went up.

And one told David, saying, "Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom."

And David said, "O Lord, I pray thee, turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness."

And it came to pass, that when David was come to the top of the ascent, behold, Hushai came to meet him with his coat rent, and earth upon his head: and David said unto him, "If thou passest on with me, then thou shalt be a burden unto me: but if thou return to the city, and say unto Absalom, 'I will be thy servant, O king; as I have been thy father's servant in time past, so will I now be thy servant': then shalt thou defeat for me the counsel of Ahithophel. And hast thou not there with thee Zadok and Abiathar the priests? therefore it shall be, that what thing soever thou shalt hear out of the king's house, thou shalt tell it to Zadok and Abiathar the priests. Behold, they have there with them their two sons; and by them ye shall send unto me everything that ye shall hear."

So Hushai, David's friend, came into the city.


§77. The Folly and Fate of Absalom (II Sam. 16:15, 16, 20; 17:1-16, 22, 24; 18:1-17, 21, 24, 25, 31-33)

A. ABSALOM'S COUNCIL OF WAR

And Absalom, and all the people, the men of Israel, came to Jerusalem, and Ahithophel with him. And it came to pass, when Hushai, David's friend, was come unto Absalom, that Hushai said unto Absalom, "God save the king, God save the king."

Then said Absalom to Ahithophel, "Give your counsel what we shall do."

And Ahithophel said unto Absalom, "Let me now choose out twelve thousand men, and I will arise and pursue after David this night: and I will come upon him while he is weary and weak-handed, and will make him afraid: and all the people that are with him shall flee; and I will smite the king only: and I will bring back all the people unto thee: so all the people shall be in peace."

And the saying pleased Absalom well, and all the elders of Israel.

Then said Absalom unto Hushai, "Ahithophel hath spoken after this manner: shall we do after his saying? if not, speak thou."

And Hushai said unto Absalom, "The counsel that Ahithophel hath given this time is not good. Thou knowest thy father and his men, that they be mighty men, and they be chafed in their minds, as a bear robbed of her whelps in the field: and thy father is a man of war, and will not lodge with the people. Behold, he is hid now in some pit, or in some other place: and it will come to pass, when some of them be fallen at the first, that whosoever heareth it will say, 'There is a slaughter among the people that follow Absalom.' And even he that is valiant, whose heart is as the heart of a lion, shall utterly melt: for all Israel knoweth that thy father is a mighty man, and they which be with him are valiant men. But I counsel that all Israel be gathered together unto thee, from Dan even to Beer-sheba, as the sand that is by the sea for multitude; and that thou go to battle in thine own person. So shall we come upon him in some place where he shall be found, and we will light upon him as the dew falleth on the ground: and of him and of all the men that are with him we will not leave so much as one. Moreover, if he be gotten into a city, then shall all Israel bring ropes to that city, and we will draw it into the river, until there be not one small stone found there."

And Absalom and all the men of Israel said, "The counsel of Hushai is better than the counsel of Ahithophel."

Then said Hushai unto Zadok and to Abiathar the priests, "Thus and thus did Ahithophel counsel Absalom and the elders of Israel; and thus and thus have I counselled. Now therefore send quickly, and tell David, saying, 'Lodge not this night at the fords of the wilderness, but in any wise pass over; lest the king be swallowed up, and all the people that are with him.'"

Then David arose, and all the people that were with him, and they passed over Jordan: by the morning light there lacked not one of them that was not gone over Jordan. And when Ahithophel saw that his counsel was not followed, he saddled his ass, and arose, and gat him home, unto his city, and set his house in order, and hanged himself; and he died, and was buried in the sepulchre of his father.


B. THE BATTLE AND THE DEATH OF ABSALOM

And David numbered the people that were with him, and set captains of thousands and captains of hundreds over them. And David sent forth the people, a third part under the hand of Joab, and a third part under the hand of Abishai, Joab's brother, and a third part under the hand of Ittai the Gittite. And the king said unto the people, "I will surely go forth with you myself also."

But the people said, "Thou shalt not go forth: for if we flee away, they will not care for us; neither if half of us die, will they care for us: but thou art worth ten thousand of us: therefore now it is better that thou be ready to succor us out of the city."

And the king said unto them, "What seemeth you best I will do."

And the king stood by the gate side, and all the people went out by hundreds and by thousands. And the king commanded Joab and Abishai and Ittai, saying, "Deal gently for my sake with the young man, even with Absalom."

And all the people heard when the king gave all the captains charge concerning Absalom. So the people went out into the field against Israel: and the battle was in the forest of Ephraim. And the people of Israel were smitten there before the servants of David, and there was a great slaughter there that day of twenty thousand men. For the battle was there spread over the face of all the country: and the forest devoured more people that day than the sword devoured. And Absalom chanced to meet the servants of David. And Absalom rode upon his mule, and the mule went under the thick boughs of a great oak, and his head caught hold of the oak, and he was taken up between the heaven and the earth; and the mule that was under him went on.

And a certain man saw it, and told Joab, and said, "Behold, I saw Absalom hanging in an oak."

And Joab said unto the man that told him, "And, behold, thou sawest it, and why didst thou not smite him there to the ground? and I would have given thee ten pieces of silver, and a girdle."

And the man said unto Joab, "Though I should receive a thousand pieces of silver in mine hand, yet would I not put forth mine hand against the king's son: for in our hearing the king charged thee and Abishai and Ittai, saying, 'Beware that none touch the young man Absalom.' Otherwise if I had dealt falsely against his life, (and there is no matter hid from the king,) then thou thyself wouldest have set thyself against me."

Then said Joab, "I may not tarry thus with thee." And he took three darts in his hand, and thrust them through the heart of Absalom, while he was yet alive in the midst of the oak. And ten young men that bare Joab's armor compassed about and smote Absalom, and slew him. And Joab blew the trumpet, and the people returned from pursuing after Israel: for Joab held back the people. And they took Absalom, and cast him into the great pit in the forest, and raised over him a very great heap of stones: and all Israel fled every one to his tent.


C. DAVID'S GRIEF

Then said Joab to the Cushite, "Go tell the king what thou hast seen." And the Cushite bowed himself unto Joab, and ran.

Now David sat between the two gates: and the watchman went up to the roof of the gate unto the wall, and lifted up his eyes, and looked, and, behold, a man running alone. And the watchman cried, and told the king. And the king said, "If he be alone, there is tidings in his mouth." And, behold, the Cushite came; and the Cushite said, "Tidings for my lord the king: for the Lord hath avenged thee this day of all them that rose up against thee."

And the king said unto the Cushite, "Is it well with the young man Absalom?"

And the Cushite answered, "The enemies of my lord the king, and all that rise up against thee to do thee hurt, be as that young man is."

And the king was much moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept: and as he went, thus he said, "O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son!"


THE MEANING OF THE STORY

265. David did not bring up his sons well and there were very bad family quarrels. At last Absalom murdered one of his brothers and was obliged to flee. The king allowed him to return, but the wicked young man planned to rebel against his father.

266 (§76A). What are we told of this handsome young man? Beauty of face and figure is very desirable, but it frequently makes a person vain and selfish. Probably Absalom had been admired and spoiled, and had come to think only of himself.

267 (§76A). How did the young prince make a fine appearance? We see that people were accustomed to come to the king to have their matters of law decided. He was the supreme court. Of course it was not always possible to hear all the cases at once. How did Absalom persuade the people that he would make a better king than his father? Note how the prince pretended to be democratic. What do you think of all this conduct?

268 (§76A). This deceitful conduct continued for four years until Absalom thought he was ready to strike the blow. He decided to make Hebron the headquarters of his rebellion. Locate Hebron. It was where David had his capital when he was king of Judah. Can you think of any reason why that city might have been dissatisfied? What excuse did Absalom give for a journey to Hebron? How did he plan to gather an army? How many innocent men went with him? What wise man did Absalom get on his side?

269 (§76B). What did David decide upon as soon as he heard the news? Notice that he had a body guard of 600 Philistine soldiers. The old enemies were good warriors and he had taken them into his service. David had a wonderful way of gaining friends. Tell the story of Ittai. How did the people feel about the flight of the old king?

270 (§76B). It was customary for the ark to be taken when the army went to battle (§61A). So the priest thought he ought to carry it with David. But the king sent it back again, saying that he would trust in the Lord. Moreover he was glad to have a friend in the city. How did he arrange with Zadok to have news sent to him? Describe the sad journey up the Mount of Olives. What signs of grief did they show?

271 (§76C). Whom did David hear had joined Absalom? How did he plan that bad advice might be given to Absalom? How did he arrange for news to be brought to him? Let us get the movement of the story before us. Absalom is marching from Hebron with his counselor and his army; David is in flight with his 600 guards and some faithful friends, but he has left some friends in the city to send him news; presently Absalom marches into the city.

272 (§77A). The first act of the new king is to decide what to do. Ahithophel advised immediate pursuit of David. Tell what he said. Absalom decided to ask the wise old Hushai his advice also. Whose side was Hushai really on? What advice did he give? How did he frighten Absalom and how did he flatter him? Why was this advice good for David? What was decided?

273 (§77A). How was David informed of the council? He decided to cross the river at once, so as to have the swift stream between himself and his pursuers. Locate the Jordan. Did he succeed in getting his whole company over? What became of Ahithophel? Meantime Absalom was gathering a considerable army. After a lapse of a little time he followed his father, who had been gathering all the people that were loyal to him. The matter could only be settled by battle.

274 (§77B). How many divisions were there of David's army? Why did he not go himself to battle? Notice how he reviewed the troops as they went forth. What special command did he give to the captains? Why did he do this? Give an account of the battle.

275 (§77B). In the battle, which was going against him, Absalom met David's guards. What accident happened to him as he was trying to escape? What dispute took place between the soldier and Joab? What did Joab do? There was no need for further pursuit, so Joab called back his troops. What was done with Absalom? We see that with the death of the leader the rebels fled to their homes. Joab called a Cushite, that is a negro slave: what command did he give him?

276 (§77C). Where was David during the battle? What conversation took place between the king and the Cushite? How was David affected? What do you think of David in all this matter?

A REVIEW OF DAVID

David was one of those men who loved others and could make them love him. It will be interesting to make a list of all those of whom we have studied who felt the influence of his winning disposition. Read I Sam. 16:12, 21; 18:1, 20; 24:16; 25:42; II Sam. 1:26; 2:4; 5:3; 15:21, 32; 18:3; 23:15, 16. Write a little paper telling of all the people who loved David.



REVIEW

XXVI. Ten Heroes of Israel


XXVI. TEN HEROES OF ISRAEL

After we had studied the heroes of Israel's wanderings we looked back over the stories and tried to remember the great characters we had learned to know. Now we have added ten more heroes to our acquaintance since Moses. Let us look back over the stories of these ten, and see if we can remember about them.

277. Moses brought the people near to Canaan and then sent twelve spies into the land to find out about it. Ten of the men were afraid, and said that the Hebrews could not conquer it, but two men were brave, and told their countrymen to trust in the Lord and go up. Tell the story of these two and what happened to them later. (§44; Josh. 1:1, 2; 14:13.[1])

278. After the Hebrews had settled in Canaan they were greatly troubled by enemies. Many heroes arose who delivered them. One, who was called by the Lord, gathered a large army, then sent home all who were not fit and reduced his army to 300 men. He then devised a strange plan to frighten the enemy. Tell the story. (§46; Judg. 7:19, 20.)

What reward did this hero refuse? (§47; Judg. 8:22, 23.)

279. One of the heroes of Israel was a man of enormous strength. What were some of the stories told about him? How did he foolishly sin and lose his strength? (§51; Judg. 15:14, 15; 16:18, 19.)

280. Who was the heroine of whom we studied? Tell what you remember of her. (§54.)

281. Do you remember the story of the good old priest who had two wicked sons, and of the little boy who came to live with him? Tell the story of how the boy came, and what happened one special night, and how the old priest died. (§§60, 61; I Sam. 3:10, 11; 4:18.)

282. The little boy grew up to be a great prophet. He saw that the people could never be saved from their enemies without a strong king. One day a young man who was seeking some straying animals came to see him. Tell the story of what happened. What great blow for liberty did this young man strike and so become king? (§64; I Sam. 11:6-11.)

283. The new king had a brave son. This young man determined to help free his people from their oppressors. Tell the story of his bold attack upon the Philistines. (§65; I Sam. 14:13.) How did Saul follow up the attack?

284. The young man who was to be the great king of Israel performed a wonderful feat of arms. One of the Philistine heroes challenged the Hebrews to send a single man against him. Who accepted the challenge and how did the combat turn out? (§68; I Sam. 17:48,49.)

285. Who were the two hero friends? Tell the story of their parting. (§71; I Sam. 20:35-39.)

286. Why was David an outlaw? Tell the story of his sparing the king's life. (§73; I Sam. 26:9-12.)

287. David had a company of heroes about him. Tell the story of the knights who brought him the drink of water. (§75C; II Sam. 23:14-17.)

288. David had a bitter trial in his wicked son who rebelled against him. But many loyal friends stood by him: who were these, and how did they show their loyalty? (§76; II Sam. 15:19-34.)

289. Write down the names of the ten heroes in a column. How many were great patriots? How many trusted God? How many showed fine leadership? How many showed weakness of character? Who showed a great love? How many were unselfish? Which of them do you think the greatest?



SOLOMON

XXVII. Solomon, the Wise King


XXVII. SOLOMON, THE WISE KING

THE STORY


§78. Solomon's Wise Choice (I Kings 2:12; 3:3-15)

Solomon sat upon the throne of David his father; and his kingdom was established greatly. And Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of David his father.

And the king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there; for that was the great high place: a thousand burnt offerings did Solomon offer upon that altar. In Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, "Ask what I shall give thee."

And Solomon said, "Thou hast showed unto thy servant David my father great kindness, according as he walked before thee in truth, and in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with thee; and thou hast kept for him this great kindness, that thou hast given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day. And now, O Lord my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child; I know not how to go out or come in. And thy servant is in the midst of thy people which thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude. Give thy servant therefore an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and evil; for who is able to judge this thy great people?"

And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing. And God said unto him, "Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life; neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies, but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern justice; behold, I have done according to thy word: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there hath been none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee. And I have also given thee that which thou hast not asked, both riches and honor, so that there shall not be any among the kings like unto thee, all thy days. And if thou wilt walk in my ways, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as thy father David did walk, then I will lengthen thy days."

And Solomon awoke, and, behold, it was a dream: and he came to Jerusalem, and stood before the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and offered up burnt offerings, and offered peace offerings, and made a feast to all his servants.


§79. Solomon and the Temple (I Kings 5:1-12; 6:1, 2, 7, 15, 16, 19, 21, 22, 38; 8:1, 6, 10, 11, 22, 23, 26, 27, 30, 54-58, 62)

A. PREPARATIONS FOR THE TEMPLE

And Hiram king of Tyre sent his servants unto Solomon; for he had heard that they had anointed him king in the room of his father: for Hiram was ever a lover of David.

And Solomon sent to Hiram, saying, "Thou knowest how that David my father could not build a house for the name of the Lord his God for the wars which were about him on every side, until the Lord put them under the soles of his feet. But now the Lord my God hath given me rest on every side, so that there is neither adversary nor evil occurrence. And, behold, I purpose to build a house for the name of the Lord my God, as the Lord spake unto David my father, saying, 'Thy son, whom I will set upon thy throne in thy room, he shall build a house for my name.' Now therefore command thou that they cut me cedar trees out of Lebanon; and my servants shall be with thy servants: and I will give thee hire for thy servants according to all that thou shalt say: for thou knowest that there is not among us any that knoweth how to cut timber like unto the Sidonians."

And it came to pass, when Hiram heard the words of Solomon, that he rejoiced greatly, and said, "Blessed be the Lord this day, which hath given unto David a wise son over this great people."

And Hiram sent to Solomon, saying, "I have heard the message which thou hast sent unto me: I will do all thy desire concerning timber of cedar, and concerning timber of fir. My servants shall bring them down from Lebanon unto the sea: and I will make them into rafts to go by sea unto the place that thou shalt appoint me, and will cause them to be broken up there, and thou shalt receive them, and thou shalt accomplish my desire, in giving food for my household."

CEDARS OF LEBANON CEDARS OF LEBANON

So Hiram gave Solomon timber of cedar and timber of fir according to all his desire. And Solomon gave Hiram twenty thousand measures of wheat for food to his household, and twenty measures of pure oil: thus gave Solomon to Hiram year by year.

And the Lord gave Solomon wisdom, as he promised him; and there was peace between Hiram and Solomon; and they two made a league together.


B. THE BUILDING OF THE TEMPLE

And it came to pass in the fourth year of Solomon's reign, in the second month, that he began to build the house of the Lord. And the house was sixty cubits in length, twenty cubits in breadth, and thirty cubits in height. And the house was built of stone made ready at the quarry; and there was neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron heard in the house, while it was in building.

And he built the walls of the house within with boards of cedar: and he covered the floor of the house with boards of fir.

And he built an oracle, even the most holy place, in the midst of the house within, to set there the ark of the covenant of the Lord. Solomon overlaid the house within with pure gold: and he drew chains of gold across before the oracle; and he overlaid it with gold. Also the whole altar that belonged to the oracle he overlaid with gold.

And in the eleventh year, in the eighth month, was the house finished throughout all the parts thereof, and according to all the fashion of it. So was he seven years in building it.


C. THE DEDICATION OF THE TEMPLE

Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel, and all the heads of the tribes, the princes of the children of Israel, to bring up the ark of the covenant of the Lord. And the priests brought in the ark of the covenant of the Lord unto its place, into the oracle of the house, to the most holy place. And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the Lord so that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord filled the house.

Then Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in the presence of all the assembly of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven; and he said, "O Lord, the God of Israel, who keepest covenant and lovingkindness with thy servants, that walk before thee with all their heart, let thy word, I pray thee, be verified, which thou spakest unto thy servant David my father. But will God in very deed dwell on the earth? behold heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded! Yet hearken thou to the supplication of thy servant, and of thy people Israel, when they shall pray toward this place: yea, hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place; and when thou hearest, forgive."


D. THE BENEDICTION

And it was so, that when Solomon had made an end of praying all this prayer and supplication unto the Lord, he arose from before the altar of the Lord, from kneeling on his knees with his hands spread forth toward heaven. And he stood, and blessed all the congregation of Israel with a loud voice, saying, "Blessed be the Lord, that hath given rest unto his people Israel, according to all that he promised: there hath not failed one word of all his good promise, which he promised by Moses his servant. The Lord our God be with us, as he was with our fathers: let him not leave us, nor forsake us: that he may incline our hearts unto him, to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and his statutes, and his ordinances, which he commanded our fathers."

And the king, and all Israel with him, offered sacrifice before the Lord.


§80. The Greatness of Solomon (I Kings 10:1-10, 13, 23-25)

A. THE VISIT OF THE QUEEN OF SHEBA

And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the Lord, she came to prove him with hard questions.

And she came to Jerusalem with a very great train, with camels that bare spices, and very much gold, and precious stones: and when she was come to Solomon, she communed with him of all that was in her heart. And Solomon told her all her questions: there was not anything hid from the king, which he told her not.

And when the queen of Sheba had seen all Solomon's wisdom, and the house that he had built, and the food of his table, and the sitting of his servants, and the attendance of his ministers, and their apparel, and his cupbearers, and his ascent by which he went up unto the house of the Lord; there was no more spirit in her. And she said to the king, "It was a true report that I heard in mine own land of thy acts and of thy wisdom. Howbeit I believed not the words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen it: and, behold, the half was not told me: thy wisdom and prosperity exceed the fame which I heard. Happy are thy men, happy are these thy servants, which stand continually before thee, and that hear thy wisdom. Blessed be the Lord thy God, which delighted in thee, to set thee on the throne of Israel: because the Lord loved Israel for ever, therefore he made thee king, to do justice and righteousness."

And she gave the king a hundred and twenty talents of gold, and of spices very great store, and precious stones: there came no more such abundance of spices as these which the queen of Sheba gave to king Solomon.

And king Solomon gave unto the queen of Sheba all her desire, whatsoever she asked, besides that which Solomon gave her of his royal bounty. So she turned and went to her own country, she and her servants.


B. HIS WEALTH AND WISDOM

So king Solomon exceeded all the kings of the earth in riches and wisdom. And all the earth sought the presence of Solomon, to hear his wisdom, which God had put in his heart. And they brought every man his tribute, vessels of silver, and vessels of gold, and raiment, and armor and spices, horses, and mules, a rate year by year.


THE MEANING OF THE STORY

290. We are to study the story of the man whom the Hebrews loved to think of as one of their heroes, because of his great wisdom and wealth. He was the most splendid of all their kings. To be sure he laid very heavy taxes upon the people to raise money for his magnificence, but the later ages forgot all that in admiration of his glory.

291 (§78). When David died he left a throne to his son that was secure from all enemies. The young king had a great opportunity to be a noble ruler. Read carefully the story of the young man's dream. What offer did God make to him in the dream? In what spirit did Solomon reply? When he says he is a little child he means that he is young and inexperienced. Remember that one of the important duties of an eastern king was to hear cases, as a kind of chief justice. What quality did Solomon ask for? Why was the Lord pleased? What did he give Solomon?

292 (§78). It is often true that the young man who desires above all things to fit himself to do his duty, without thinking of honor or wealth, actually obtains those also. Washington never sought greatness, but what do we think of him? Tennyson wrote of the great Duke of Wellington,

Not once or twice in our fair island story The path of duty was the way to glory.

Learn these lines.

293 (§79A). One of David's great hopes was that he could build a noble house of worship. He had been unable to do so, partly because of his many wars. Solomon therefore decided to carry out his father's plan. But the Hebrews were not skilful as artists or mechanics. They were at that time mostly farmers and shepherds. Solomon therefore decided to secure the help of the people of Phoenicia, called the Sidonians, who lived on his northwest border. Locate the country. What are its two chief cities? Who was the king who sent to congratulate Solomon on his succession to the throne?

294 (§79A). Read carefully Solomon's message to Hiram. What proof does he give that he is able to build the temple? What trees does he ask for? These were the noble trees that grew in the mountains of Lebanon. Locate this region to the north of Israel. What reason does Solomon give why the Sidonians (that is, the people of Sidon) should cut the trees?

295 (§79A). Read Hiram's reply. Notice the plan of getting the timber to Jerusalem. The lumbermen from Tyre and Sidon would cut it in the mountains. It would be hauled by the nearest route to the sea. Note on the map where that would be. Then how was it to be taken by sea to the port nearest to Jerusalem? This port was probably Joppa. Locate it. What then was to be done with it before it was hauled up the steep roads to Jerusalem? It was a hard job in those days when they had no railways. How different from the way our lumber trains carry the great timbers! What was Solomon to give Hiram in exchange? This is a very old story of trade between nations.

296 (§79B). When did Solomon begin to build? The building itself was not very large. A cubit is rather less than two feet, so the structure was about 100 feet long, 35 feet wide, and 50 feet high. Do you know any building about that size? Inside, one-third of the space was partitioned off for the ark. How was this room ornamented? How long did it take to finish the work?

297 (§79C). What solemn procession was held? How was the glory of the Lord shown? Read carefully the prayer of Solomon and see that it is reverent and trustful. What is his great hope that God will do for the people when they pray? We are quite sure that God will do that. Read I John 1:9.

298 (§79D). Who pronounced the benediction upon the people? What does he feel that God has done for them? What does he hope that God will do for them?

299 (§80A). This is one of the stories showing the fame of Solomon. Sheba was in Arabia. Note how much information the story gives us of the products of those times. Tell the story of the visit.

300 (§80B). What does the story tell us finally of Solomon's wealth and wisdom?


WRITTEN REVIEW

Recall the lines about the Duke of Wellington and write them in your notebook. Find out if there is any man in your own state of whom that would be true. Find someone in politics or business or in one of the professions who has been more anxious to do his duty than for anything else and to whom reward has come. Write an account of it.



TWO PROPHETS

XXVIII. Elijah, the Champion of Pure Religion
XXIX. Elijah, the Champion of Justice
XXX. Elisha, the Healer and Counselor


XXVIII. ELIJAH, THE CHAMPION OF PURE RELIGION

THE STORY


§81. Elijah and the Drought (I Kings 16:30-17:24)

A. THE STARTLING PROPHECY

Ahab the son of Omri did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord above all that were before him. And it came to pass, that he took to wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and went and served Baal, and worshipped him. And he reared up an altar for Baal in the house of Baal, which he had built in Samaria. And Ahab did yet more to provoke the Lord, the God of Israel, to anger than all the kings of Israel that were before him.

And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the sojourners of Gilead, said unto Ahab, "As the Lord, the God of Israel, liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word."


B. ELIJAH AT THE BROOK

And the word of the Lord came unto him, saying, "Get thee hence, and turn thee eastward, and hide thyself by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan. And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there."

So he went and did according unto the word of the Lord: for he went and dwelt by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan. And the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening; and he drank of the brook. And it came to pass after a while, that the brook dried up, because there was no rain in the land.


C. THE WIDOW'S CAKE

And the word of the Lord came unto him, saying, "Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Sidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee."

So he arose and went to Zarephath; and when he came to the gate of the city, behold, a widow woman was there gathering sticks: and he called to her, and said, "Fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in a vessel, that I may drink."

And as she was going to fetch it, he called to her, and said, "Bring me, I pray thee, a morsel of bread in thine hand."

And she said, "As the Lord thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in the barrel, and a little oil in the cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die."

And Elijah said unto her, "Fear not; go and do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it forth unto me, and afterward make for thee and for thy son. For thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel, 'The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the Lord sendeth rain upon the earth.'"

And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she, and he, and her house, did eat many days. The barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the Lord, which he spake by Elijah.


D. THE WIDOW'S SON

And it came to pass after these things, that the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, fell sick; and his sickness was so sore, that there was no breath left in him. And she said unto Elijah, "O thou man of God? thou art come unto me to bring my sin to my remembrance, and to slay my son!"

And he said unto her, "Give me thy son."

And he took him out of her bosom, and carried him up into the chamber, where he abode, and laid him upon his own bed. And he cried unto the Lord, and said. "O Lord my God, hast thou also brought evil upon the widow with whom I sojourn, by slaying her son?" And he stretched himself upon the child three times, and cried unto the Lord, and said, "O Lord my God, I pray thee, let this child's soul come into him again."

And the Lord hearkened unto the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived. And Elijah took the child, and brought him down out of the chamber into the house, and delivered him unto his mother: and Elijah said, "See, thy son liveth."

And the woman said to Elijah, "Now I know that thou art a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in thy mouth is truth."


§82. Elijah's Victory (I Kings 18:1-46)

A. THE SEARCH FOR PASTURAGE

And it came to pass after many days, that the word of the Lord came to Elijah, in the third year, saying, "Go, show thyself unto Ahab; and I will send rain upon the earth." And Elijah went to show himself unto Ahab.

And the famine was sore in Samaria. And Ahab called Obadiah, who was over the household. (Now Obadiah feared the Lord greatly: for it was so, when Jezebel cut off the prophets of the Lord, that Obadiah took a hundred prophets, and hid them by fifty in a cave, and fed them with bread and water.) And Ahab said unto Obadiah, "Go through the land, unto all the fountains of water, and unto all the brooks: peradventure we may find grass and save the horses and mules alive, that we lose not all the beasts."

So they divided the land between them to pass throughout it: Ahab went one way by himself, and Obadiah went another way by himself.


B. ELIJAH'S CHALLENGE TO THE KING

And as Obadiah was in the way, behold, Elijah met him: and he knew him, and fell on his face, and said, "Is it thou, my lord Elijah?"

And he answered him, "It is I: go, tell thy lord, 'Behold, Elijah is here.'"

And he said, "Wherein have I sinned, that thou wouldest deliver thy servant into the hand of Ahab, to slay me? As the Lord thy God liveth, there is no nation or kingdom, whither my lord hath not sent to seek thee: and when they said, 'He is not here,' he took an oath of the kingdom and nation, that they found thee not. And now thou sayest, 'Go, tell thy lord, Behold, Elijah is here.' And it shall come to pass, as soon as I am gone from thee, that the spirit of the Lord shall carry thee whither I know not; and so when I come and tell Ahab, and he cannot find thee, he shall slay me: but I thy servant fear the Lord from my youth. Was it not told my lord what I did when Jezebel slew the prophets of the Lord, how I hid a hundred men of the Lord's prophets by fifty in a cave, and fed them with bread and water? And now thou sayest, 'Go, tell thy lord, Behold Elijah is here': and he shall slay me."

And Elijah said, "As the Lord of hosts liveth, before whom I stand, I will surely show myself unto him to-day."

So Obadiah went to meet Ahab, and told him: and Ahab went to meet Elijah. And it came to pass, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said unto him, "Is it thou, thou troubler of Israel?"

And he answered, "I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father's house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the Lord, and thou hast followed the Baalim. Now therefore send, and gather to me all Israel unto mount Carmel, and the prophets of Baal four hundred and fifty, which eat at Jezebel's table."


C. THE TEST AT CARMEL

So Ahab sent unto all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together unto mount Carmel.

And Elijah came near unto all the people, and said, "How long halt ye between two opinions? if the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him." And the people answered him not a word.

Then said Elijah unto the people, "I, even I only, am left a prophet of the Lord; but Baal's prophets are four hundred and fifty men. Let them therefore give us two bullocks; and let them choose one bullock for themselves, and cut it in pieces, and lay it on the wood, and put no fire under: and I will dress the other bullock, and lay it on the wood, and put no fire under. And call ye on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the Lord: and the God that answereth by fire, let him be God."

And all the people answered and said, "It is well spoken."

And Elijah said unto the prophets of Baal, "Choose you one bullock for yourselves, and dress it first; for ye are many; and call on the name of your god, but put no fire under."

And they took the bullock which was given them, and they dressed it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even until noon, saying, "O Baal, hear us." But there was no voice, nor any that answered. And they leaped about the altar which was made.

And it came to pass at noon, that Elijah mocked them, and said, "Cry aloud: for he is a god; either he is musing, or he is gone aside, or he is on a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked."

And they cried aloud, and cut themselves after their manner with knives and lances, till the blood gushed out upon them. And it was so, when midday was past, that they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice; but there was neither voice, nor any to answer, nor any that regarded.

And Elijah said unto all the people, "Come near unto me." And all the people came near unto him.

And he repaired the altar of the Lord that was thrown down. And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob. And with the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord; and he made a trench about the altar, as great as would contain two measures of seed. And he put the wood in order, and cut the bullock in pieces, and laid it on the wood. And he said, "Fill four barrels with water, and pour it on the burnt offering, and on the wood." And he said, "Do it the second time." And they did it the second time. And he said, "Do it the third time." And they did it the third time. And the water ran round about the altar; and he filled the trench also with water.

And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, "O Lord, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word. Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that thou, Lord, art God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again."

Then the fire of the Lord fell, and consumed the burnt offering, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, "The Lord, he is God; the Lord, he is God."

And Elijah said unto them, "Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape."

And they took them: and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there.


D. THE COMING OF THE RAIN

And Elijah said unto Ahab, "Get thee up, eat and drink; for there is the sound of abundance of rain." So Ahab went up to eat and to drink.

And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; and he bowed himself down upon the earth, and put his face between his knees. And he said to his servant, "Go up now, look toward the sea."

And he went up, and looked, and said, "There is nothing."

And he said, "Go again," seven times. And it came to pass at the seventh time, that he said, "Behold, there ariseth a cloud out of the sea, as small as a man's hand."

And he said, "Go up, say unto Ahab, 'Make ready thy chariot, and get thee down, that the rain stop thee not.'"

And it came to pass in a little while, that the heaven grew black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain. And Ahab rode, and went to Jezreel. And the hand of the Lord was on Elijah; and he girded up his loins, and ran before Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel.


THE MEANING OF THE STORY

301. In the beautiful city of Florence in Italy there was once a great prince named Lorenzo, whose reign was very splendid, but who oppressed the people and lived an evil life. The people followed his bad example and there was great immorality in Florence. But a fearless preacher came to the city who told the prince and the people plainly of their sins. Great crowds went to hear him and he became the most influential man in Florence. By his stirring words he compelled the government to give back the liberties to the people, and he led the citizens to promise to serve God with good lives. His enemies finally proved too strong for him and killed him, but this noble Italian preacher, Savonarola, left an influence that has lasted to this day.

Among the heroes of Israel were some bold preachers, called prophets, who did not hesitate to denounce the sins of kings and people. One of the greatest of these was Elijah.

302 (§81A). Ahab was a very wicked king who married a princess from Sidon. Locate the city on the coast of Palestine. The Sidonians worshipped a god called Baal, and so the king built a temple for this idol in his capital. He thought he could go on serving the Lord and serve Baal also. Suddenly a man appeared in the court. He was roughly clad, not a man of the city. What startling message did he bring?

303 (§81B). While the drought came upon Israel the prophet was taken care of. Tell the story of Elijah at the brook. What happened to the brook at last?

304 (§81C). Elijah was east of the Jordan. He was sent to Zarephath near Sidon. Locate it. Tell the story of his conversation with the widow. The "cruse" was a flask or small jug for holding liquids.

305 (§81D). Many wonderful stories were told of this great prophet. Tell the story of the widow's son. Think of the prophet waiting all this time till he should be sent back to the king.

306 (§82A). At last Elijah's message came. How long had he waited? Meantime what was the condition in Israel, and Samaria the capital? Who was Obadiah? What had he done? What did the king and Obadiah undertake?

307 (§82B). Tell the story of Elijah's conversation with the timid Obadiah. This man was good, but he was having a hard time as the servant of a bad king. What bold answer did Elijah make to the king? What is a challenge? What challenge did Elijah make?

308 (§82C). This is the important part of the story. Find Mt. Carmel on the coast. Imagine the scene: the king, the prophets of Baal, and Elijah, as the actors, and the great crowd as an audience. What was Elijah's first question to the people? We have a saying that no one can be on the fence: everyone must be on one side or the other. Whenever there is a right and wrong, people must take sides.

309 (§82C). What test did Elijah propose? Who prepared the bullock for the sacrifice first? How did they try to gain the attention of their god? Could Baal hear them? How did Elijah mock them? What was the result of all the excitement?

310 (§82C). Notice how serious Elijah was. How did he prepare for the sacrifice? How did he arrange so that nobody could say there was a trick? What prayer did Elijah offer? Learn this noble prayer so that you can recite it. What happened? How did it affect the people?

311 (§82C). Those were days when men were very stern. What awful punishment did Elijah inflict on the false prophets?

312 (§82D). Elijah was sure that the drought would now be over. What did he say to Ahab? They had eaten nothing all day, so everyone went eagerly to the food. But Elijah went back to the mountain. Who went with him? What happened? What message did the prophet send to Ahab? Notice how quickly the storm came up. Elijah was a man of the desert, hardy and strong; he was also under great excitement from the events of the day. It was sixteen miles from Carmel to Jezreel. Locate these places on the map. The king drove his horses hard in the storm. What did Elijah do?


WRITTEN REVIEW

Imagine yourself present at the scene on Mt. Carmel and that your parents were unable to go. How would you tell them the story of all that happened that day? Write it out just as you would have told it, if you were a young Israelite on that great occasion.



XXIX. ELIJAH, THE CHAMPION OF JUSTICE

THE STORY


§83. Elijah's Discouragement (I Kings 19:1-21)

A. THE BITTER DISAPPOINTMENT

And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and how he had slain all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah, saying, "So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by to-morrow about this time."

And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life, and came to Beer-sheba, which belongeth to Judah, and left his servant there. But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, "It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers."

And he lay down and slept under a juniper tree; and, behold, an angel touched him, and said unto him, "Arise and eat."

And he looked, and, behold, there was at his head a cake baked on the coals, and a bottle of water. And he did eat and drink, and laid himself down again.

And the angel of the Lord came again the second time, and touched him, and said, "Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee."

And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God.


B. ELIJAH COMFORTED AND INSTRUCTED

And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and he said unto him, "What does thou here, Elijah?"

And he said, "I have been very jealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword: and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away."

And he said, "Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord."

And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: and after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, "What doest thou here, Elijah?"

And he said, "I have been very jealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away."

And the Lord said unto him, "Go, return on thy way to the wilderness of Damascus: and when thou comest, thou shalt anoint Hazael to be king over Syria: and Jehu shalt thou anoint to be king over Israel: and Elisha the son of Shaphat shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy room. And it shall come to pass, that him that escapeth from the sword of Hazael shall Jehu slay: and him that escapeth from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha slay. Yet will I leave me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him."


C. THE CALL OF ELISHA

So he departed thence, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing, with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he with the twelfth: and Elijah passed over unto him, and cast his mantle upon him. And he left the oxen, and ran after Elijah, and said, "Let me, I pray thee, kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow thee."

And he said unto him, "Go back again; for what have I done to thee?"

And he returned from following him, and took the yoke of oxen, and slew them, and boiled their flesh with the instruments of the oxen, and gave unto the people, and they did eat. Then he arose, and went after Elijah, and ministered unto him.


§84. Elijah and the Tyrant (I Kings 21:1-24)

A. AHAB COVETS NABOTH'S VINEYARD

And it came to pass after these things, that Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard, which was in Jezreel, hard by the palace of Ahab king of Samaria. And Ahab spake unto Naboth, saying, "Give me thy vineyard, that I may have it for a garden of herbs, because it is near unto my house; and I will give thee for it a better vineyard than it: or, if it seem good to thee, I will give thee the worth of it in money."

And Naboth said to Ahab, "The Lord forbid it me, that I should give the inheritance of my fathers unto thee."

And Ahab came into his house heavy and displeased because of the word which Naboth the Jezreelite had spoken to him: for he had said, "I will not give thee the inheritance of my fathers." And he laid him down upon his bed, and turned away his face, and would eat no bread.

But Jezebel his wife came to him, and said unto him, "Why is thy spirit so sad, that thou eatest no bread?"

And he said unto her, "Because I spake unto Naboth the Jezreelite, and said unto him, 'Give me thy vineyard for money; or else, if it please thee, I will give thee another vineyard for it': and he answered, 'I will not give thee my vineyard.'"

And Jezebel his wife said unto him, "Dost thou now govern the kingdom of Israel? arise, and eat bread, and let thine heart be merry: I will give thee the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite."


B. JEZEBEL'S PLOT

So she wrote letters in Ahab's name, and sealed them with his seal, and sent the letters unto the elders and to the nobles that were in the city, and that dwelt with Naboth. And she wrote in the letters, saying, "Proclaim a fast, and set Naboth on high among the people: and set two wicked men before him, and let them bear witness against him, saying, 'Thou didst curse God and the king.' And then carry him out, and stone him, that he die."

And the men of his city, even the elders and the nobles who dwelt in his city, did as Jezebel had sent unto them, according as it was written in the letters which she had sent unto them. They proclaimed a fast, and set Naboth on high among the people. And the two wicked men came in and sat before him: and the men bare witness against him, even against Naboth, in the presence of the people, saying, "Naboth did curse God and the king." Then they carried him forth out of the city, and stoned him with stones, that he died. Then they sent to Jezebel, saying, "Naboth is stoned, and is dead."

And it came to pass, when Jezebel heard that Naboth was stoned, and was dead, that she said to Ahab, "Arise, take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, which he refused to give thee for money: for Naboth is not alive, but dead."

And it came to pass, when Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, that he rose up to go down to the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, to take possession of it.


C. ELIJAH'S STARTLING SENTENCE

And the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, "Arise, go down to meet Ahab king of Israel, who dwelleth in Samaria: behold, he is in the vineyard of Naboth, whither he is gone down to take possession of it. And thou shalt speak unto him, saying, 'Thus saith the Lord, Hast thou killed, and also taken possession?' and thou shalt speak unto him, saying, 'Thus saith the Lord, In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth, shall dogs lick thy blood, even thine.'"

And Ahab said to Elijah, "Hast thou found me, O mine enemy?"

And he answered, "I have found thee: because thou hast sold thyself to do that which is evil in the sight of the Lord. Behold, I will bring evil upon thee, and will utterly sweep thee away, and will cut off from Ahab every man child, and him that is shut up and him that is left at large in Israel, for the provocation wherewith thou hast provoked me to anger, and hast made Israel to sin. And of Jezebel also spake the Lord, saying, 'The dogs shall eat Jezebel by the rampart of Jezreel.' Him that dieth of Ahab in the city the dogs shall eat; and him that dieth in the field shall the fowls of the air eat."


§85. The Old Prophet and the New Prophet (II Kings 2:1-15)

A. THE FAREWELL OF THE OLD PROPHET

And it came to pass, when the Lord would take up Elijah by a whirlwind into heaven, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal. And Elijah said unto Elisha, "Tarry here, I pray thee; for the Lord hath sent me as far as Beth-el."

And Elisha said, "As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee."

So they went down to Beth-el. And the sons of the prophets that were at Beth-el came forth to Elisha, and said unto him, "Knowest thou that the Lord will take away thy master from thy head to-day?"

And he said, "Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace."

And Elijah said unto him, "Elisha, tarry here, I pray thee; for the Lord hath sent me to Jericho."

And he said, "As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee."

So they came to Jericho. And the sons of the prophets that were at Jericho came near to Elisha, and said unto him, "Knowest thou that the Lord will take away thy master from thy head to-day?"

And he answered, "Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace."

And Elijah said unto him, "Tarry here, I pray thee; for the Lord hath sent me to Jordan."

And he said, "As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee."

And they two went on. And fifty men of the sons of the prophets went, and stood over against them afar off: and they two stood by Jordan. And Elijah took his mantle, and wrapped it together, and smote the waters, and they were divided hither and thither, so that they two went over on dry ground. And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, "Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken from thee."

And Elisha said, "I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me."

And he said, "Thou hast asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so."

And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, which parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha saw it, and he cried, "My father, my father, the chariots of Israel and the horsemen thereof!"


B. THE NEW PROPHET

And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces. He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood by the bank of Jordan. And he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and smote the waters, and said, "Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah?" and when he also had smitten the waters, they were divided hither and thither: and Elisha went over.

And when the sons of the prophets which were at Jericho over against him saw him, they said, "The spirit of Elijah doth rest on Elisha." And they came to meet him, and bowed themselves to the ground before him.


THE MEANING OF THE STORY

313. How did the great day close after Elijah had defeated the prophets of Baal? How do you think Ahab felt about it? Elijah probably hoped to see a complete return of the people to the Lord and he expected the wicked queen Jezebel to be prevented from interfering with the prophets of the Lord.

314 (§83A). What did Ahab do when he returned home? What did Jezebel decide? Was she willing to give up her power? Elijah saw that nothing had been gained, for the wicked queen was still in control. Where did he go? Follow his journey on the map. Mention all the circumstances that would make Elijah tired out. His discouragement was largely due to his exhaustion from hunger and travel. What kind thing did the Lord do for the tired prophet?

315 (§83B). Where did Elijah go? Horeb is another name for Mount Sinai. Do you remember what great hero led the people to Sinai? (§40A.) Elijah wanted to go back to the mountain where his people had heard of the Lord. Tell the story of what happened at the cave. The Lord would show Elijah that the people could not be saved by great contests, but by gentle means. He also told him that it would take time to get rid of the idolatry. He told him three important persons would all have a part in the work, even after he was dead: who were these?

316 (§83B). Elijah was mistaken in thinking that he was the only faithful man left. How many were there? There are often more good people than we think.

317 (§83C). Tell the story of the call of Elisha.

318 (§84A). Locate Jezreel on the map. We found it before, near Mt. Carmel. King Ahab had a fine palace there, though his capital was in Samaria. But the king needed some more land to make a garden. How did he try to get it? Why would not the man sell it? We must remember that in those times a farm would sometimes remain in one family for centuries. How did Ahab behave? What did Jezebel say that she would do?

319 (§84B). A king of Israel could not do as he pleased. He was bound to respect the rights of his people. Jezebel therefore thought out a plan to have Naboth killed. What was the plan and how did it work?

320 (§84B). When Jezebel heard of the success of her plot she told the king. What did he do? What ought he to have done?

321 (§84C). The king and queen had forgotten all about Elijah. How did he suddenly appear? Imagine how frightened the king must have been when he saw the stern prophet coming to meet him in the garden. So conscience suddenly speaks when we have forgotten it. What did Elijah say?

322 (§84C). We have seen Elijah the champion of pure religion, now we see him the champion of justice. There was no one else who dare speak against the king's tyranny. Do you think he was brave? Why did not Ahab kill him?

323 (§85A). Tell the story of the last journey of Elijah and Elisha. Follow the journey on the map. Imagine the fearful mountain storm on the east of Jordan in the midst of which Elijah was carried away. Is it not a grand story of the end of such a stormy life?

324 (§85B). How did the new prophet begin his work?


WRITTEN REVIEW

Ahab, although in many respects an able king, showed himself in this incident a bully. A bully is one who does wrong to a person who is too weak to resist. There is generally a bully in every school. Is there also a hero? Write what you think a hero ought to do with a bully.



XXX. ELISHA, THE HEALER AND COUNSELOR

THE STORY


§86. The Payment of the Widow's Debt (II Kings 4:1-7)

Now there cried a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets unto Elisha, saying, "Thy servant my husband is dead: and thou knowest that thy servant did fear the Lord: and the creditor is come to take unto him my two children to be slaves."

And Elisha said unto her, "What shall I do for thee? tell me; what hast thou in the house?"

And she said, "Thine handmaid hath not any thing in the house, save a pot of oil."

Then he said, "Go, borrow thee vessels abroad of all thy neighbors, even empty vessels; borrow not a few. And thou shalt go in, and shut the door upon thee and upon thy sons, and pour out into all those vessels; and thou shalt set aside that which is full."

So she went from him, and shut the door upon her and upon her sons; they brought the vessels to her, and she poured out. And it came to pass, when the vessels were full, that she said unto her son, "Bring me yet a vessel."

And he said, "There is not another vessel."

And the oil stopped. Then she came and told the man of God. And he said, "Go, sell the oil, and pay thy debt, and live thou and thy sons on the rest."


§87. The Healing of the Leper (II Kings 5)

A. NAAMAN'S VISIT TO ISRAEL

Now Naaman, captain of the host of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master, and honorable, because by him the Lord had given victory unto Syria: he was also a mighty man of valor, but he was a leper. And the Syrians had gone out in bands, and had brought away a captive out of the land of Israel a little maid; and she waited on Naaman's wife. And she said unto her mistress, "Would God my lord were with the prophet that is in Samaria! then would he recover him of his leprosy."

And one went in, and told his lord, saying, "Thus and thus said the maid that is of the land of Israel."

And the king of Syria said, "Go to, go, and I will send a letter unto the king of Israel."

And he departed, and took with him ten talents of silver, and six thousand pieces of gold, and ten changes of raiment. And he brought the letter to the king of Israel, saying, "And now when this letter is come unto thee, behold, I have sent Naaman my servant to thee, that thou mayest recover him of his leprosy."

And it came to pass, when the king of Israel had read the letter, that he rent his clothes, and said, "Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man doth send unto me to recover a man of his leprosy? but consider, I pray you, and see how he seeketh a quarrel against me."


B. NAAMAN HEALED

And it was so, when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had rent his clothes, that he sent to the king, saying, "Wherefore hast thou rent thy clothes? let him come now to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel."

So Naaman came with his horses and with his chariots, and stood at the door of the house of Elisha. And Elisha sent a messenger unto him, saying, "Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean."

But Naaman was wroth, and went away, and said, "Behold, I thought, He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the place, and recover the leper. Are not Abanah and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? may I not wash in them, and be clean?"

So he turned and went away in a rage. And his servants came near, and spake unto him, and said, "My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, 'Wash, and be clean'?"

Then went he down, and dipped himself seven times in Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God: and his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.


C. NAAMAN'S GRATITUDE

And he returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and came, and stood before him: and he said, "Behold now, I know that there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel: now therefore, I pray thee, take a present of thy servant."

But he said, "As the Lord liveth, before whom I stand, I will receive none."

And he urged him to take it; but he refused. And Naaman said, "If not, yet I pray thee let there be given to thy servant two mules' burden of earth; for thy servant will henceforth offer neither burnt offering nor sacrifice unto other gods, but unto the Lord."

And he said unto him, "Go in peace."

So he departed from him a little way.


D. PUNISHMENT OF GREED AND DECEIT

But Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said, "Behold, my master hath spared this Naaman the Syrian, in not receiving at his hands that which he brought: as the Lord liveth, I will run after him, and take somewhat of him."

So Gehazi followed after Naaman. And when Naaman saw one running after him, he lighted down from the chariot to meet him, and said, "Is all well?"

And he said, "All is well. My master hath sent me, saying, 'Behold, even now there be come to me from the hill country of Ephraim two young men of the sons of the prophets; give them, I pray thee, a talent of silver, and two changes of raiment.'"

And Naaman said, "Be content, take two talents."

And he urged him and bound two talents of silver in two bags, with two changes of raiment, and laid them upon two of his servants; and they bare them before him. And when he came to the hill, he took them from their hand, and bestowed them in the house: and he let the men go, and they departed. But he went in, and stood before his master.

And Elisha said unto him, "Whence comest thou, Gehazi?"

And he said, "Thy servant went no whither."

And he said unto him, "Went not mine heart with thee, when the man turned again from his chariot to meet thee? Is it a time to receive money, and to receive garments, and oliveyards and vineyards, and sheep and oxen, and menservants and maidservants? The leprosy therefore of Naaman shall cleave unto thee, and unto thy seed for ever."

And he went out from his presence a leper as white as snow.


§88. Mysterious Capture of the Syrian Soldiers (II Kings 6:8-23)

A. THE SYRIANS' FEAR OF ELISHA

Now the king of Syria warred against Israel; and he took counsel with his servants, saying, "In such and such a place shall be my camp."

And the man of God sent unto the king of Israel, saying, "Beware that thou pass not such a place; for thither the Syrians are coming down."

And the king of Israel sent to the place which the man of God told him and warned him of; and he saved himself there, not once nor twice.

And the heart of the king of Syria was sore troubled for this thing; and he called his servants, and said unto them, "Will ye not show me which of us is for the king of Israel?"

And one of his servants said, "Nay, my lord, O king: but Elisha, the prophet that is in Israel, telleth the king of Israel the words that thou speakest in thy bedchamber."

And he said, "Go and see where he is, that I may send and fetch him."

And it was told him, saying, "Behold, he is in Dothan."


B. THE UNSEEN ARMY OF THE LORD

Therefore sent he thither horses, and chariots, and a great host: and they came by night, and compassed the city about. And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host with horses and chariots was round about the city. And his servant said unto him, "Alas, my master! how shall we do?"

And he answered, "Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them." And Elisha prayed, and said, "Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see."

And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha. And when they came down to him, Elisha prayed unto the Lord, and said, "Smite this people, I pray thee, with blindness." And he smote them with blindness according to the word of Elisha.

And Elisha said unto them, "This is not the way, neither is this the city: follow me, and I will bring you to the man whom ye seek." And he led them to Samaria.


C. THE RELEASE OF THE PRISONERS

And it came to pass, when they were come into Samaria, that Elisha said, "Lord, open the eyes of these men, that they may see." And the Lord opened their eyes, and they saw; and, behold, they were in the midst of Samaria.

And the king of Israel said unto Elisha, when he saw them, "My father, shall I smite them? shall I smite them?"

And he answered, "Thou shalt not smite them: wouldest thou smite those whom thou hast taken captive with thy sword and with thy bow? set bread and water before them, that they may eat and drink, and go to their master."

And he prepared great provision for them: and when they had eaten and drunk, he sent them away, and they went to their master. And the bands of Syria came no more into the land of Israel.


§89. Elisha's Last Counsel (II Kings 13:14-19)

Now Elisha was fallen sick of the sickness of which he died: and Joash the king of Israel came down unto him, and wept over him, and said, "My father, my father, the chariots of Israel and the horsemen thereof!"

And Elisha said unto him, "Take bow and arrows." And he took unto him bow and arrows.

And he said to the king of Israel, "Put thine hand upon the bow." And he put his hand upon it. And Elisha laid his hands upon the king's hands.

And he said, "Open the window eastward." And he opened it.

Then Elisha said, "Shoot." And he shot.

And he said, "The Lord's arrow of victory, even the arrow of victory over Syria: for thou shalt smite the Syrians in Aphek, till thou have consumed them."

And he said, "Take the arrows." And he took them.

And he said unto the king of Israel. "Smite upon the ground." And he smote thrice, and stayed.

And the man of God was wroth with him, and said, "Thou shouldest have smitten five or six times; then hadst thou smitten Syria till thou hadst consumed it: whereas now thou shalt smite Syria but thrice."


THE MEANING OF THE STORY

325. Different kinds of men are needed for different times. Severe contests require vigorous men: times of trouble require patient men. When the king and all Israel were going into heathen worship, the strong, stern Elijah was the man to force them back to right conduct. But when the kingdom of Israel fell into great weakness and was beaten again and again by the Syrians, there was need of a prophet who could comfort and encourage the nation. The young man who had been trained by Elijah was fitted for this work. What was his name? He must have been a most kindly and helpful man as there are more wonderful stories gathered about his name than about any of the other heroes of Israel. We shall study four of these stories.

326 (§86). This story shows us how harsh the old law of debt was. Why were the widow's two sons to be sold as slaves? She came to Elisha in her trouble, and he said that they would use whatever she had. What did she have? How was the debt paid?

327 (§87A). Locate Syria on the map to the north of Israel. What is the capital? These people had been fighting against Israel and had taken many prisoners and made slaves of them. What was the name of the Syrian general? He was a great man, but he had the terrible disease of leprosy. It is a most frightful malady, slowly eating away the body. The general's wife had a little Hebrew slave. How did she get her? What did the little slave say to her mistress? Tell the story of Naaman's visit to Israel.

328 (§87B). How was the king of Israel troubled, and what did Elisha say to him? Describe the grand visit of the general with all his servants to the simple home of the prophet. What message did Elisha send? Why was Naaman angry? What did his servants say to him? How did it all turn out?

329 (§87C). What great change of feeling came over Naaman? What did he wish to give Elisha? The prophet did not want any present, because he wished Naaman to know that the Lord's prophet would help anyone in need without money.

330 (§87D). What did Elisha's servant think of this conduct of his master? Tell the story of his greed and deceit. Notice how one sin leads to another and one lie leads to another. But the prophet understood the wicked servant. What terrible punishment came upon him?

331 (§88A). How did Elisha help his people against the plans of the Syrians? What did the Syrian king think of it? It seems evident that Elisha was the counselor of Israel. Locate Dothan on the map.

332 (§88B). Tell the story of the two armies, one of them visible and the other invisible. This is a beautiful way of telling of God's power and care that are always over us. How did Elisha lead the army to Samaria?

333 (§88C). How did the Syrians find that they were in the capital of their enemies? What did the king want to do to them? How did Elisha say they should be treated? Do you remember that several times we have called the heroes "magnanimous"? Elisha has this character. After all, forgiveness is the best revenge.

334 (§89). At last the old prophet who had been the counselor of several kings was about to die. Who visited him? Notice he used the same words of him that Elisha had used of Elijah. What did it mean? Tell the story of the bow and arrows. The king was not a strong character and he showed it in this little bit of play. Elisha meant to tell him that great things in the world can only be done by determination. In the Civil War our great generals did not give up after three endeavors. Grant said "I propose to fight it out on this line, if ..." (finish the quotation), and Lee held together his gallant army to the last limit of endurance.


WRITTEN REVIEW

Tell your parents, or some friend, what you have learned about Elisha, and explain that you are to write a short story in your notebook on "A Hero of Helpfulness." Ask them if they can tell you about some good doctor who was unselfish and kindly and gave himself for the good of others. Or perhaps they know some pastor who was always seeking to help his people and cared very little what good things he got himself. Or they may be able to tell you of a good woman who spent her life in doing good to people. She would be "A Heroine of Helpfulness." Find out some strong character who did good unselfishly like Elisha, and write the story for the next class.



PATRIOTS IN TROUBLOUS TIMES

XXXI. Nehemiah, the Builder
XXXII. Esther, the Patriot Queen
XXXIII. Judas, the Hammerer
XXXIV. Daniel and His Friends


XXXI. NEHEMIAH, THE BUILDER

THE STORY


§90. Nehemiah's Plans (Neh. 1:1-4, 11. 2:1-9, 11-13, 16-18)

A. NEHEMIAH'S SORROW FOR JERUSALEM

Now it came to pass as I was in Shushan the palace, that Hanani, one of my brethren, came, he and certain men out of Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews that had escaped, which were left of the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem. And they said unto me, "The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire."

And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days; and I fasted and prayed before the God of heaven, and said, "O Lord, I beseech thee, let now thine ear be attentive to the prayer of thy servant, and to the prayer of thy servants, who delight to fear thy name: and prosper, I pray thee, thy servant this day, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man." (Now I was cupbearer to the king.)


B. THE KING'S PERMISSION TO REBUILD

And it came to pass in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king, when wine was before him, that I took up the wine, and gave it unto the king. Now I had not been before-time sad in his presence. And the king said unto me, "Why is thy countenance sad, seeing thou art not sick? this is nothing else but sorrow of heart."

Then I was very sore afraid. And I said unto the king, "Let the king live for ever: why should not my countenance be sad, when the city, the place of my father's sepulchres, lieth waste, and the gates thereof are consumed with fire?"

Then the king said unto me, "For what dost thou make request?"

So I prayed to the God of heaven. And I said unto the king, "If it please the king, and if thy servant have found favor in thy sight, that thou wouldest send me unto Judah, unto the city of my fathers' sepulchres, that I may build it."

And the king said unto me, (the queen also sitting by him,) "For how long shall thy journey be? and when wilt thou return?"

So it pleased the king to send me; and I set him a time. Moreover I said unto the king, "If it please the king, let letters be given me to the governors beyond the river, that they may let me pass through till I come unto Judah; and a letter unto Asaph the keeper of the king's forest, that he may give me timber to make beams for the gates of the castle, and for the wall of the city, and for the house that I shall enter into."

And the king granted me, according to the good hand of my God upon me.


C. NEHEMIAH'S ARRIVAL IN JERUSALEM

Then I came to the governors beyond the river, and gave them the king's letters. Now the king had sent with me captains of the army and horsemen. So I came to Jerusalem, and was there three days.

And I arose in the night, I and some few men with me; neither told I any man what my God put into my heart to do for Jerusalem: neither was there any beast with me, save the beast that I rode upon. And I went out by night by the valley gate, and viewed the walls of Jerusalem, which were broken down, and the gates thereof were consumed with fire. And the rulers knew not whither I went, or what I did; neither had I as yet told it to the Jews, nor to the priests, nor to the nobles, nor to the rulers, nor to the rest that did the work.


D. THE BEGINNING OF THE WORK

Then said I unto them, "Ye see the evil case that we are in, how Jerusalem lieth waste, and the gates thereof are burned with fire: come and let us build up the wall of Jerusalem, that we be no more a reproach." And I told them of the hand of my God which was good upon me; as also of the king's words that he had spoken unto me.

And they said, "Let us rise up and build." So they strengthened their hands for the good work.


§91. Nehemiah's Difficulties (Neh. 4:1-4, 6-9, 16-20; 6:1-9)

A. SCORNFUL JEALOUSY OF THE ENEMIES

But it came to pass that, when Sanballat heard that we builded the wall, he was wroth, and took great indignation, and mocked the Jews. And he spake before his brethren and the army of Samaria, and said, "What do these feeble Jews? will they fortify themselves? will they sacrifice? will they make an end in a day? will they revive the stones out of the heaps of rubbish, seeing they are burned?"

Now Tobiah the Ammonite was by him, and he said, "Even that which they build, if a fox go up, he shall break down their stone wall."

"Hear, O our God; for we are despised: and turn back their reproach upon their own head; for they have provoked thee to anger before the builders."

So we built the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto half the height thereof: for the people had a mind to work.


B. CONSPIRACY OF THE ENEMIES

But it came to pass that, when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and the Arabians, and the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites, heard that the repairing of the walls of Jerusalem went forward, and that the breaches began to be stopped, that they were very wroth; and they conspired all of them together to come and fight against Jerusalem, and to cause confusion therein. But we made our prayer unto our God, and set a watch against them day and night, because of them. And it came to pass from that time forth, that half of my servants wrought in the work, and half of them held the spears, the shields, and the bows, and the coats of mail; and the rulers were behind all the house of Judah. They that builded the wall and they that bore burdens laded themselves, every one with one of his hands wrought in the work, and with the other held his weapon; and the builders, every one had his sword girded by his side, and so builded. And he that sounded the trumpet was by me. And I said unto the nobles, and to the rulers and to the rest of the people, "The work is great and large, and we are separated upon the wall, one far from another: in what place soever ye hear the sound of the trumpet, resort ye thither unto us; our God shall fight for us."


C. PLOTS OF THE ENEMIES

Now it came to pass, when it was reported to Sanballat and Tobiah, and to Geshem the Arabian, and unto the rest of our enemies, that I had builded the wall, and that there was no breach left therein (though even unto that time I had not set up the doors in the gates); that Sanballat and Geshem sent unto me, saying, "Come, let us meet together in one of the villages in the plain of Ono."

But they thought to do me mischief. And I sent messengers unto them, saying, "I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you?"

And they sent unto me four times after this sort; and I answered them after the same manner. Then sent Sanballat his servant unto me in like manner the fifth time with an open letter in his hand; wherein was written, "It is reported among the nations, and Gashmu saith it, that thou and the Jews think to rebel; for which cause thou buildest the wall: and thou wouldest be their king, according to these words. And thou hast also appointed prophets to preach of thee at Jerusalem, saying, 'There is a king in Judah': and now shall it be reported to the king according to these words. Come now therefore, and let us take counsel together."

Then I sent unto him, saying, "There are no such things done as thou sayest, but thou feignest them out of thine own heart." For they all would have made us afraid, saying, "Their hands shall be weakened from the work, that it be not done." But now, O God, strengthen thou my hands.


§92. Nehemiah's Success (Neh. 6:15, 16; 7:1-3; 12:27, 31, 38, 40, 43; Ps. 122:2,3)

A. THE COMPLETION OF THE WALL

So the wall was finished in the twenty and fifth day of the month Elul, in fifty and two days. And it came to pass, when all our enemies heard thereof, that all the heathen that were about us feared, and were much cast down in their own eyes: for they perceived that this work was wrought of our God.

Now it came to pass, when the wall was built, and I had set up the doors, that I gave my brother Hanani, and Hananiah the governor of the castle, charge over Jerusalem: for he was a faithful man, and feared God above many. And I said unto them, "Let not the gates of Jerusalem be opened until the sun be hot; and while they stand on guard, let them shut the doors, and bar ye them: and appoint watches of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, every one in his watch, and every one to be over against his house."


B. THE DEDICATION OF THE WALL

And at the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem they sought the Levites out of all their places, to bring them to Jerusalem, to keep the dedication with gladness, both with thanksgivings, and with singing, with cymbals, psalteries, and with harps. Then I brought up the princes of Judah upon the wall, and appointed two great companies that gave thanks and went in procession; whereof one went on the right hand upon the wall eastward. And the other company of them that gave thanks went to meet them, and I after them, with the half of the people, upon the wall. And the two companies of them that gave thanks met in the house of God, and stood still, and the singers sang loud:

Our feet are standing Within thy gates, O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, that art builded As a city that is compact together.

And they offered great sacrifices that day, and rejoiced; for God had made them rejoice with great joy; and the women also and the children rejoiced: so that the joy of Jerusalem was heard even afar off.


THE MEANING OF THE STORY

335. When a man has been prominent in a great undertaking it is very interesting to have his own account of it. General Grant was persuaded by friends to write a story of his own campaigns. It was called "Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant," the word "memoirs" meaning his own recollections of the events. Perhaps the first man who ever wrote such a personal story was the Governor of Judah, 2,300 years ago. The story we study here might be called "Personal Memoirs of Nehemiah."

336. Nehemiah was a great patriot. It is easy to be a patriot when it simply means shouting for a great, prosperous country. But this man had never seen his own land. His great-grandparents had been taken away as prisoners, and the family had been one hundred and fifty years in the foreign land. But they had never forgotten their own beloved country. Nehemiah was rich, and in a high office in Persia, but he loved Jerusalem and longed to be able to serve her. Read (and learn) Ps. 137:5, 6, and you will see how the patriotic Jews in the East felt about their fatherland. Let us read this personal story of the patriot and see what he did.

337 (§90A). Look at the map of the Semitic world and find Persia in the East. Find Susa, which is the same as Shushan. It is a long way from Jerusalem. But one day some of the Jews came from Jerusalem to the palace of the Persian king to tell the story of the sad condition of their city. What did they tell Nehemiah? How did the story affect him? What office did he hold? Look up the description of this office that we had some time ago (62).

338 (§90B). Oriental kings are very arbitrary and the courtiers have to be most careful not to offend them. Note how cleverly Nehemiah managed, so that he obtained all that he wanted from the king. What did he obtain?

339 (§90C). Look again at the map. What is the river that Nehemiah mentions? Recall the first journey that we followed from the East to Palestine (§§3, 5). Note that the Governor traveled with a body guard. What did he do first in Jerusalem?

340 (§90D). The people who had lived so long in the ruined city were discouraged. How did Nehemiah cheer them? How did they respond?

341 (§91A). There were jealous enemies all around Judah, so Nehemiah soon found himself in difficulties. First they despised his efforts. How did he meet this ridicule?

342 (§91B). When the enemies could not stop him by laughing at him, what did they try? How did Nehemiah plan his work so as not to be surprised?

343 (§91C). What plots did the enemies devise? How did Nehemiah meet the plots?

344 (§92A). In the old times, cities had to have walls all around them to prevent attacks. How long did it take this vigorous governor to repair the fortifications? How did he plan to guard the city?

345 (§92B). What help did Nehemiah feel that he had in all his work? "Dedication" means an offering to God. They gave the city to God. Tell the story of this joyful patriotic service. Learn the song that they sang.


WRITTEN REVIEW

You will probably find that people to-day are opposed in their determination to do what is right in just the same three ways that Nehemiah suffered. Keep a good lookout during the week and see if you can find anyone, young or old, trying to do some right thing while somebody else laughs, or while somebody tries to stop it by force, or while somebody tells falsehoods about it. If you find any hero who goes straight on in right-doing in spite of these oppositions, give a short account of it in your notebook.



XXXII. ESTHER, THE PATRIOT QUEEN

THE STORY


§93. Esther Made Queen (Esther 1:1, 5, 7, 9, 11-13, 15, 16, 19, 21; 2:1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 15-18, 20)

A. QUEEN VASHTI DEPOSED

King Ahasuerus made a feast unto all the people that were present in Shushan the palace, both great and small, seven days in the court of the garden of the king's palace. And they gave them in vessels of gold royal wine in abundance, according to every man's pleasure.

Also Vashti the queen made a feast for the women in the royal house. On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he commanded to bring Vashti the queen before the king with the crown royal, to show the peoples and the princes her beauty: for she was fair to look on. But the queen Vashti refused to come at the king's commandment by the chamberlains: therefore was the king very wroth, and his anger burned in him.

Then the king said to the wise men, "What shall we do unto the queen Vashti according to law, because she hath not done the bidding of the king?"

And Memucan answered before the king and the princes, "If it please the king, let there go forth a royal commandment from him, and let it be written among the laws of the Persians and the Medes, that it be not altered, that Vashti come no more before king Ahasuerus; and let the king give her royal estate unto another that is better than she."

And the saying pleased the king and the princes; and the king did according to the word of Memucan.


B. THE SELECTION OF ESTHER

After these things, when the wrath of king Ahasuerus was pacified, he remembered Vashti, and what she had done, and what was decreed against her. Then said the king's servants that ministered unto him, "Let there be fair young maidens sought for the king in all his kingdom; and let the maiden which pleaseth the king be queen instead of Vashti." And the thing pleased the king; and he did so.

There was a certain Jew, whose name was Mordecai, who had brought up Esther, his uncle's daughter: for she had neither father nor mother, and the maiden was fair and beautiful; and when her father and mother were dead, Mordecai took her for his own daughter. So it came to pass, when the king's commandment and his decree was heard, and when many maidens were gathered together unto Shushan the palace, that Esther was taken into the king's house.

Now when the turn of Esther was come to go in unto the king, she required nothing but what the keeper of the women appointed. And Esther obtained favor in the sight of all them that looked upon her. So Esther was taken unto king Ahasuerus into his house royal in the tenth month, in the seventh year of his reign. And the king loved Esther above all the women, and she obtained grace and favor in his sight more than all the virgins; so that he set the royal crown upon her head, and made her queen instead of Vashti.

Then the king made a great feast unto all his princes and his servants, even Esther's feast; and he gave gifts, according to the bounty of the king.

Esther had not yet showed her kindred nor her people; as Mordecai had charged her: for Esther did the commandment of Mordecai, like as when she was brought up with him.


§94. The Plot against the Jews (Esther 3:1, 2, 5, 6, 8-13; 4:1, 2, 4, 5, 8, 11-17)

A. THE ENMITY OF HAMAN

After these things did king Ahasuerus promote Haman, and advanced him, and set his seat above all the princes that were with him. And all the king's servants, that were in the king's gate, bowed down, and did reverence to Haman: for the king had so commanded concerning him. But Mordecai bowed not down, nor did him reverence.

And when Haman saw that Mordecai bowed not down, nor did him reverence, then was Haman full of wrath. But he thought scorn to lay hands on Mordecai alone; for they had showed him the people of Mordecai: wherefore Haman sought to destroy all the Jews that were throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus, even the people of Mordecai.

And Haman said unto king Ahasuerus, "There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of thy kingdom; and their laws are diverse from those of every people; neither keep they the king's laws: therefore it is not for the king's profit to suffer them. If it please the king, let it be written that they be destroyed."

And the king took his ring from his hand and gave it unto Haman, and said, "The people is given to thee to do with them as it seemeth good to thee."

Then were the king's scribes called, and letters were sent by posts into all the king's provinces, to destroy, to slay, and to cause to perish, all Jews, both young and old, little children and women, in one day, even upon the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar, and to take the spoil of them for a prey.


B. MORDECAI'S APPEAL TO ESTHER

Now when Mordecai knew all that was done, Mordecai rent his clothes, and put on sackcloth with ashes, and went out into the midst of the city, and cried with a loud and a bitter cry: and he came even before the king's gate: for none might enter within the king's gate clothed with sackcloth. And in every province, whithersoever the king's commandment and his decree came, there was great mourning among the Jews, and fasting, and weeping, and wailing; and many lay in sackcloth and ashes.

And Esther's maidens and her chamberlains came and told it her; and the queen was exceedingly grieved: and she sent her chamberlain to Mordecai to know what this was, and why it was.

And Mordecai gave him a copy of the writing of the decree that was given out in Shushan to destroy them, to show it unto Esther, and to declare it unto her; and to charge her that she should go in unto the king, to make supplication unto him, and to make request before him, for her people.

And he came and told Esther the words of Mordecai. Then Esther gave him a message unto Mordecai, saying: "All the king's servants, and the people of the king's provinces, do know, that whosoever, whether man or woman, shall come unto the king into the inner court, who is not called, there is one law for him, that he be put to death, except such to whom the king shall hold out the golden sceptre, that he may live: but I have not been called to come in unto the king these thirty days."

And they told to Mordecai Esther's words. Then Mordecai bade them return answer unto Esther, "Think not with thyself that thou shalt escape in the king's house, more than all the Jews. For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall relief and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place, but thou and thy father's house shall perish: and who knoweth whether thou art not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?"

Then Esther bade them return answer unto Mordecai, "Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast in like manner; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish."

So Mordecai went his way, and did according to all that Esther had commanded him.


§95. Esther's Brave Intercession (Esther 5:1-5; 7:2-6, 9, 10; 8:1-8, 9, 11, 15-17; 9:1, 2, 5, 20-23, 32)

A. THE DANGEROUS INTERVIEW

Now it came to pass on the third day, that Esther put on her royal apparel, and stood in the inner court of the king's house, over against the king's house: and the king sat upon his royal throne in the royal house, over against the entrance of the house. And it was so, when the king saw Esther the queen standing in the court, that she obtained favor in his sight: and the king held out to Esther the golden sceptre that was in his hand. So Esther drew near, and touched the top of the sceptre. Then said the king unto her, "What wilt thou, queen Esther? and what is thy request? it shall be given thee even to the half of the kingdom."

From Price, The Monuments and the Old Testament From Price, "The Monuments and the Old Testament"

ESTHER'S PALACE

And Esther said, "If it seem good unto the king, let the king and Haman come this day unto the banquet that I have prepared for him."

Then the king said, "Cause Haman to make haste, that it may be done as Esther hath said."

So the king and Haman came to the banquet that Esther had prepared. And the king said unto Esther, "What is thy petition, queen Esther? and it shall be granted thee: and what is thy request? even to the half of the kingdom it shall be performed."

Then Esther the queen answered and said, "If I have found favor in thy sight, O king, and if it please the king, let my life be given me at my petition, and my people at my request: for we are sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be slain, and to perish."

Then spake the king Ahasuerus and said unto Esther the queen, "Who is he, and where is he, that durst presume in his heart to do so?"

And Esther said, "An adversary and an enemy, even this wicked Haman."

Then Haman was afraid before the king and the queen. Then said one of the chamberlains that were before the king, "Behold also, the gallows fifty cubits high, which Haman hath made for Mordecai standeth in the house of Haman."

And the king said, "Hang him thereon."

So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then was the king's wrath pacified.


B. THE DELIVERANCE OF THE JEWS

On that day did the king Ahasuerus give the house of Haman the Jews' enemy unto Esther the queen. And Mordecai came before the king; for Esther had told what he was unto her. And the king took off his ring, which he had taken from Haman, and gave it unto Mordecai. And Esther set Mordecai over the house of Haman.

And Esther spake yet again before the king, and fell down at his feet, and besought him with tears to put away the mischief of Haman and his device that he had devised against the Jews. Then the king held out to Esther the golden sceptre. So Esther arose, and stood before the king. And she said, "If it please the king, and if I have found favor in his sight, and the thing seem right before the king, and I be pleasing in his eyes, let it be written to reverse the letters devised by Haman which he wrote to destroy the Jews which are in all the king's provinces: for how can I endure to see the evil that shall come unto my people? or how can I endure to see the destruction of my kindred?"

Then the king Ahasuerus said unto Esther the queen and to Mordecai the Jew, "Behold, I have given Esther the house of Haman, and him they have hanged upon the gallows, because he laid his hand upon the Jews. Write ye also to the Jews, as it liketh you, in the king's name, and seal it with the king's ring: for the writing which is written in the king's name, and sealed with the king's ring, may no man reverse."

Then were the king's scribes called at that time, and it was written according to all that Mordecai commanded unto the Jews, and to the satraps, and the governors and princes of the provinces, that the king granted the Jews which were in every city to gather themselves together, and to stand for their life, to destroy, to slay, and to cause to perish, all the power of the people and province that would assault them, their little ones and women, and to take the spoil of them for a prey.

And Mordecai went forth from the presence of the king in royal apparel of blue and white, and with a great crown of gold, and with a robe of fine linen and purple: and the city of Shushan shouted and was glad. The Jews had light and gladness, and joy and honor. And in every province, and in every city, whithersoever the king's commandment and his decree came, the Jews had gladness and joy, a feast and a good day. And many from among the peoples of the land became Jews; for the fear of the Jews was fallen upon them.


C. THE FEAST OF THE DELIVERANCE

Now in the twelfth month, which is the month Adar, on the thirteenth day of the same, when the king's commandment and his decree drew near to be put in execution, in the day that the enemies of the Jews hoped to have rule over them; whereas it was turned to the contrary, that the Jews had rule over them that hated them; the Jews gathered themselves together in their cities throughout all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus, to lay hand on such as sought their hurt: and no man could withstand them; for the fear of them was fallen upon all the peoples. And the Jews smote all their enemies with the stroke of the sword, and with slaughter and destruction, and did what they would unto them that hated them.

And Mordecai wrote letters unto all the Jews that were in all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus, both nigh and far, to enjoin them that they should keep the fourteenth day of the month Adar, and the fifteenth day of the same, yearly, as the days wherein the Jews had rest from their enemies, and the month which was turned unto them from sorrow to gladness, and from mourning into a good day: that they should make them days of feasting and gladness, and of sending portions one to another, and gifts to the poor. And the Jews undertook to do as they had begun, and as Mordecai had written unto them.

And the commandment of Esther confirmed these matters of the feast of Purim; and it was written in the book.


THE MEANING OF THE STORY

346. Among the stories of their heroes the Jews preserved several stories of heroines, and none is more striking than that of the patriot queen, whose extraordinary bravery saved her people. There are many kinds of bravery, some in doing, some in suffering. Let us try to get a correct judgment of Esther.

347 (§93A). The first part of the story shows how Esther became the queen of Persia. What kind of feast did the king give? What command did he give to Vashti? Let us remember that ladies in the East do not often appear in public before men. How did it happen that Vashti was deposed?

348 (§93B). What plan was proposed to secure a most beautiful wife for the king? Who was Mordecai? How did he get Esther introduced to the king? How did she become queen? Note that her cousin had advised her not to let it be known that she was a Jewess, because there was a prejudice against her nation.

349 (§94A). The villain of the story is Haman. What high place did he hold? How did Mordecai offend him? What revenge did he plan?

350 (§94B). Mordecai knew that when a royal decree had been issued it could not be changed. How did he behave? What did he request Esther to do?

351 (§94B). Notice the strict rule of the Persian court. No one could see the king unless summoned by him. How different from our democratic government, where any citizen may at least ask permission to see the president! But Mordecai urged Esther to risk her life to save her people. Now see how brave she was. She might have said, "No one knows that I am a Jewess. I am quite safe as the king's wife. I will keep silent. It would be folly to risk my life by offending the king." But she decided to risk her great place with its wealth and luxury, and also her life, because her duty to her people required it. What answer did she send to Mordecai?

352 (§95A). Describe Esther's approach to the king. The tyrant happened to be in a good humor, so she was safe. What invitation did she extend?

353 (§95A). Haman was delighted with the great honor the queen did him. He had no idea that his enemy, whom he had planned to hang on a high gallows, was the queen's cousin. How did it all turn out?

354 (§95B). How was Mordecai promoted? We must remember that although Haman was dead, the king's decree for the slaughter of the Jews could not be changed. But permission could be given to the Jews to defend themselves on the day of the massacre. How was this arranged?

355 (§95C). Of course this is an old story of times when people took fierce revenge, so we learn that the Jews slaughtered their enemies. But it was a great deliverance, and Mordecai and Esther planned that a great feast should be kept to celebrate it. What kind of feast was it?

356 (§95C). The Jews still keep the Feast of Purim. It is one of the merriest times they have. They have all kinds of fun and give presents, as we do at Christmas. And they still honor the beautiful queen, who stood with her own people in their peril, and saved them by her wit and courage.


WRITTEN REVIEW

Recall Mordecai's suggestion to Esther (p. 356). In the days of chivalry knights had a motto: Noblesse oblige meaning that those of noble rank had an obligation to serve those in need. Any strength or good we have is not for our own use, but to help others with. Take this as your motto. Draw a banner and inscribe in colors: Noblesse oblige.



XXXIII. JUDAS, THE HAMMERER

THE STORY


§96. The Tyrant and the Heroes (I Macc. 1:41-50, 54-57; 2:1-7, 14, 15, 17-25, 27, 28, 44, 45, 48-50, 64-66, 70)

A. THE TYRANNY OF ANTIOCHUS

Antiochus, king of Syria, who had rule over many peoples and over the Jews, wrote to his whole kingdom, that all should be one people, and that each should forsake his own laws. And all the nations agreed according to the word of the king, and many of Israel consented to his worship, and sacrificed to the idols, and profaned the sabbath. And the king sent letters by the hand of messengers unto Jerusalem and the cities of Judah, that they should follow laws strange to the land, and should profane the sabbaths and feasts, and pollute the sanctuary; that they should build altars, and temples for idols, and should sacrifice swine's flesh and unclean beasts. And whosoever shall not do according to the word of the king, he shall die.

And they built an abomination of desolation upon the altar, and in the cities of Judah they built idol altars. And they rent in pieces the books of the law which they found, and set them on fire. And wheresoever was found with any a book of the covenant, and if any consented to the law, the king's sentence delivered him to death.


B. THE OLD HERO AND HIS FIVE SONS

In those days rose up Mattathias the priest, who dwelt at Modin. And he had five sons, John, Simon, Judas who was called Maccabæus (the Hammerer), Eleazar, Jonathan. And he saw the blasphemies that were committed in Judah and in Jerusalem, and he said. "Woe is me! wherefore was I born to see the destruction of my people and of the holy city? Wherefore should we live any longer?"

And Mattathias and his sons rent their clothes, and put on sackcloth, and mourned exceedingly.

And the king's officers came into the city Modin to sacrifice. And they spake to Mattathias saying, "Thou art a ruler and an honorable and great man in this city, and strengthened with sons and brethren; now therefore come thou first and do the commandment of the king, as all the nations have done, and the men of Judah, and they that remain in Jerusalem: and thou and thy house shall be in the number of the king's Friends, and thou and thy sons shall be honored with silver and gold and many gifts."

And Mattathias answered and said with a loud voice, "If all the nations that are in the king's dominion hearken unto him, to fall away each one from the worship of his fathers, and have made choice to follow his commandments, yet will I and my sons and my brethren walk in the covenant of our fathers. We will not hearken to the king's words, to go aside from our worship, on the right hand, or on the left."

And when he had left speaking these words, there came a Jew in the sight of all to sacrifice on the altar which was at Modin, according to the king's commandment. And Mattathias saw it, and his zeal was kindled, and he showed forth his wrath, and ran and slew him upon the altar. And the king's officer, who compelled men to sacrifice, he killed at that time, and pulled down the altar. And he cried with a loud voice, "Whosoever is zealous for the law, let him come forth after me."

And Mattathias and his sons fled into the mountains, and they mustered a host and smote sinners in their anger, and they went round about, and pulled down the altars, and they rescued the law out of the hand of the Gentiles.

And the days of Mattathias drew near that he should die, and he said unto his sons, "My children, be ye zealous for the law, and give your lives for the covenant of your fathers. Be strong and show yourselves men in behalf of the law; for therein shall ye obtain glory. And, behold, Simon your brother, I know that he is a man of counsel; give ear unto him alway: he shall be a father unto you. And Judas Maccabæus, he hath been strong and mighty from his youth: he shall be your captain, and shall fight the battle of the people."

And he blessed them, and was gathered to his fathers. And all Israel made great lamentation for him.


§97. The Great Deliverance (I Macc. 3:1, 2, 13, 15-23, 25, 34, 35; 4:14, 25, 28, 34, 36-40, 42, 43, 47, 48, 53-56, 58; 9:20-22)

A. THE VICTORIES OF JUDAS

And his son Judas, who was called Maccabæus, rose up in his stead. And all his brethren helped him, and so did all they that clave unto his father. And they fought with gladness the battle of Israel.

And Seron, the commander of the host of Syria, heard that Judas had gathered a congregation of faithful men with him, and of such as went out to war. And he went up with a mighty army of the ungodly to take vengeance on the children of Israel.

And Judas went forth to meet him with a small company. But when they saw the army coming to meet them they said unto Judas, "What? shall we be able, being a small company, to fight against so great and strong a multitude? And we for our part are faint, having tasted no food this day."

And Judas said, "It is an easy thing for many to be shut up in the hands of a few; and with heaven it is all one to save by many or by few: for victory in battle standeth not in the multitude of a host; but strength is from heaven. They come to destroy us and our wives and our children: but we fight for our lives and our laws. Be ye not afraid of them."

Now when he had left off speaking, he leapt suddenly upon them, and Seron and his army were discomfited before him.

And the fear of Judas and his brethren, and the dread of them, began to fall upon the nations round about them. And king Antiochus gave Lysias half of his forces, and the elephants, and gave him charge to destroy the strength of Israel, and the remnant of Jerusalem. And Lysias chose three mighty men; and with them he sent forty thousand footmen, and seven thousand horse, to go into the land of Judah, and to destroy it. And Judas joined battle, and the Gentiles were discomfited. And Israel had a great deliverance that day.

And the next year Lysias gathered together sixty thousand chosen footmen, and five thousand horse. And Judas met them with ten thousand men. And they joined battle; and there fell of the army of Lysias about five thousand men.


B. THE TEMPLE CLEANSED

Judas and his brethren said, "Behold, our enemies are discomfited; let us go up to cleanse the holy place and to dedicate it afresh."

And all the army was gathered together, and they went up unto mount Zion. And they saw the sanctuary laid desolate, and the altar profaned and the gates burned up, and shrubs growing in the court as in a forest, and the priests' chambers pulled down. And they rent their clothes, and made great lamentation, and put ashes upon their heads, and fell on their faces to the ground, and cried toward heaven.

Then Judas chose blameless priests, and they cleansed the holy place. And they built a new altar after the fashion of the former; and they built the holy place, and the inner parts of the house; and they hallowed the courts.


C. THE OLD WORSHIP RESTORED

And they offered sacrifice according to the law upon the new altar of burnt offerings which they had made. At what time and on what day the Gentiles had profaned it, even on that day was it dedicated afresh, with songs and harps and lutes, and with cymbals. And all the people fell upon their faces, and worshipped, and gave praise unto heaven, which had given them good success. And they kept the dedication of the altar eight days, and offered burnt offerings with gladness, and sacrificed a sacrifice of deliverance and praise. And there was exceeding great gladness among the people, and the reproach of the Gentiles was turned away.


D. THE DEATH OF JUDAS

And when Judas died all Israel made great lamentation for him, and mourned many days, and said, "How is the mighty fallen, the Savior of Israel!"

And the rest of the acts of Judas, and his wars, and the valiant deeds which he did, and his greatness, they are not written; for they were exceeding many.


THE MEANING OF THE STORY

357. Three hundred years ago King Philip II of Spain was the most powerful king in Europe. He was a bitter tyrant, determined to rule his people according to his own will. He was a Roman Catholic and hated all Protestants. The little country of Holland was part of his territory and he ordered the people to become Roman Catholics. They refused, for they were loyal to their own religion. He sent against them a great army under the command of a brutal general, Alva, and all Europe thought that the little people would be crushed. But they fought for their faith and their homes so valiantly that the tyrant was compelled to withdraw. It is almost impossible to destroy patriots.

358. We always admire the heroism of those who resist tyrants. The Jews were often bitterly persecuted and they had many a hero who defended them. One of the greatest of all their heroes was Judas, who was called the Maccabee, or the Hammerer. With a great faith in God and a wonderful courage he defeated large armies. His story is not found in the Old Testament, but in another collection of Hebrew books called "The Apocrypha." The book is I Maccabees.

359 (§96A). At the time of this story the Jews were under the rule of Antiochus, the king of Syria. What was the wish of this tyrant? What insults were offered to the religion of the Jews?

360 (§96B). An old priest was living in one of the villages of Judah with his five noble sons. They were very much distressed about the sad state of their people: but what could they do against the strong king? At last the king's officers came to this village to order the heathen sacrifices. What did they demand of Mattathias, and what did they promise him? How did the old priest answer? What followed?

361 (§96B). The priest and his sons went to the hills, where they could find refuge in the caves. Who joined them? What did they do? The fierce contest was too severe for the old man, and he soon fell ill. What were his last words to his sons?

362 (§97A). Who took the lead after the death of the old priest? Note that there was no jealousy among those noble brothers. Tell the story of the first victory over the Syrians.

363 (§97A). The king was astonished that his forces should be defeated by the little army of patriots. Great preparations to crush the Jews were made. Note that elephants with armed men were employed. What was the result of the campaigns?

364 (§97B). At last the victories were so conclusive that they thought it safe to go to Jerusalem and clean out the abominations from the temple. In what condition did they find the temple? How did it affect them? How did Judas purify it?

365 (§97C). Note how happy they were when they could worship once more in the house of God. Describe the celebration.

366 (§97D). One can imagine how greatly the Jews would honor such a deliverer as Judas. How did they mourn for him at his death?


WRITTEN REVIEW

Imagine yourself a boy (or girl) about thirteen years old, living in the village of Modin a little over two thousand years ago. Imagine that you were present on the day when the officers came to command the heathen sacrifice. Then imagine yourself writing a letter describing everything that took place that day. Write it in the first person to some friend who was absent. Describe the whole scene just as it lies in your mind, and tell what you think of the heroes.



XXXIV. DANIEL AND HIS FRIENDS

THE STORY


§98. The Training of the Young Men (Daniel 1:1-19)

When Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, came against Jerusalem and captured it, certain of the youths of the nobility were taken and given into the charge of the master of the king's servants that he should teach them the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans. And the king appointed for them a daily portion of the king's meat, and of the wine which he drank, and that they should be nourished three years; that at the end thereof they might stand before the king. Now among these were, of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. And the master gave names unto them: unto Daniel he gave the name of Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; and to Azariah, of Abed-nego.

But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the king's meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the master that he might not defile himself. Now God made Daniel to find favor and compassion in the sight of the master. And he said unto Daniel, "I fear my lord the king, who hath appointed your meat and your drink: for why should he see your faces worse liking than the youths which are of your own age? so should ye endanger my head with the king."

Then said Daniel to the steward, whom the master had appointed over them, "Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us vegetables to eat, and water to drink. Then let our countenances be looked upon before thee, and the countenance of the youths that eat of the king's meat; and as thou seest, deal with thy servants."

So he hearkened unto them in this matter, and proved them ten days. And at the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer, and they were fatter in flesh, than all the youths which did eat of the king's meat. So the steward took away their meat, and the wine that they should drink, and gave them vegetables. Now as for these four youths, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams. And at the end of the days which the king had appointed for bringing them in, the master brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar. And the king communed with them; and among them all was found none like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: therefore stood they before the king.


§99. The Golden Image and the Fiery Furnace (Dan. 3:1, 2, 4-30)

A. THE WORSHIP OF THE GOLDEN IMAGE

Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was sixty cubits, and its breadth six cubits: he set it up in the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon. Then the king sent to gather together all the rulers of the provinces to come to the dedication of the image.

Then the herald cried aloud, "To you it is commanded, O peoples, nations, and languages, that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of music, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up: and whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace."

Therefore at that time, when all the peoples heard the music, they fell down and worshipped the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up.


B. THE THREE JEWS DEFY THE KING

Wherefore at that time certain Chaldeans came near, and brought accusation against the Jews, and said to Nebuchadnezzar, "O king, live for ever. Thou, O king, hast made a decree, that every man that shall hear the sound of the music, shall fall down and worship the golden image: and whoso falleth not down and worshippeth, shall be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. There are certain Jews whom thou hast appointed over the affairs of the province of Babylon, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego; these men, O king, have not regarded thee: they serve not thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up."

Then Nebuchadnezzar in his rage and fury commanded to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego. Then they brought these men before the king. Nebuchadnezzar said unto them, "Is it of purpose, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, that ye serve not my god, nor worship the golden image which I have set up? Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the music, ye fall down and worship the image which I have made, well: but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that god that shall deliver you out of my hands?"

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego answered and said to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace; and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up."


C. DELIVERANCE FROM THE FIERY FURNACE

Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego: therefore he spake, and commanded that they should heat the furnace seven times more than it was wont to be heated. And he commanded certain mighty men that were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace. Then these men were bound in their hose, their tunics, and their mantles, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. Therefore because the king's commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flame of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego. And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.

Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonished and rose up in haste: he spake and said unto his counselors, "Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?"

They answered and said unto the king, "True, O king."

He answered and said, "Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the aspect of the fourth is like a son of the gods."

Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace: he spake and said, "Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, ye servants of the Most High God, come forth, and come hither."

Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, came forth out of the midst of the fire. And the satraps, the deputies, and the governors, and the king's counselors, being gathered together, saw these men, that the fire had no power upon their bodies, nor was the hair of their head singed, neither were their hose changed, nor had the smell of fire passed on them.

Nebuchadnezzar spake and said, "Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king's word, and have yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God. Therefore I make a decree, that every people, nation, and language, which speak anything amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a ruin: because there is no other god that is able to deliver after this sort."

Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, in the province of Babylon.


§100. Daniel and the Lions (Dan. 6:1-28)

A. THE DECREE OF KING DARIUS

It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom a hundred and twenty satraps, which should be throughout the whole kingdom; and over them three presidents, of whom Daniel was one; that these satraps might give account unto them, and that the king should have no damage. Then this Daniel was distinguished above the presidents and the satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm.

Then the presidents and the satraps sought to find occasion against Daniel as touching the kingdom; but they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him. Then said these men, "We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God."

Then these presidents and satraps assembled together to the king, and said thus unto him, "King Darius, live for ever. All the presidents of the kingdom, the deputies and the satraps, the counselors and the governors, have consulted together, to establish a royal statute, and to make a strong decree, that whosoever shall ask a petition of any god or man for thirty days, save of thee, O king, he shall be cast into the den of lions. Now, O king, establish the decree, and sign the writing, that it be not changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not."

Wherefore king Darius signed the writing and the decree.


B. DANIEL AT HIS PRAYERS

And when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house (now his windows were open in his chamber toward Jerusalem); and he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime. Then these men assembled together, and found Daniel making petition and supplication before his God.

Then they came near, and spake before the king concerning the king's decree; "Hast thou not signed a decree, that every man that shall make petition unto any god or man within thirty days, save unto thee, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions?"

The king answered and said, "The thing is true, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not."

Then answered they and said before the king, "That Daniel, which is of the children of the captivity of Judah, regardeth not thee, O king, nor the decree that thou hast signed, but maketh his petition three times a day."

Then the king, when he heard these words, was sore displeased, and set his heart on Daniel to deliver him: and he labored till the going down of the sun to rescue him.

Then these men assembled together unto the king and said unto the king, "Know, O king, that it is a law of the Medes and Persians, that no decree nor statute which the king establisheth may be changed."


C. DANIEL DELIVERED FROM THE LIONS

Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the den of lions. Now the king spake and said unto Daniel, "Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee."

And a stone was brought, and laid upon the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet, and with the signet of his lords; that nothing might be changed concerning Daniel.

Then the king went to his palace, and passed the night fasting: neither were instruments of music brought before him: and his sleep fled from him. Then the king arose very early in the morning, and went in haste unto the den of lions. And when he came near unto the den to Daniel, he cried with a lamentable voice: the king spake and said to Daniel, "O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions?"

Then said Daniel unto the king, "O king, live for ever. My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions' mouths, and they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt."

Then was the king exceeding glad, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no manner of hurt was found upon him, because he had trusted in his God.

And the king commanded, and they brought those men which had accused Daniel, and they cast them into the den of lions, them, their children, and their wives; and the lions had the mastery of them, and break all their bones in pieces, or ever they came at the bottom of the den.


D. THE PROSPERITY OF DANIEL

Then king Darius wrote unto all the peoples, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; "Peace be multiplied unto you. I make a decree, that in all the dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel: for he is the living God, and stedfast for ever, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be even unto the end: he delivereth and rescueth, and he worked signs and wonders in heaven and in earth; who hath delivered Daniel from the power of the lions."

So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.


THE MEANING OF THE STORY

367. In the last chapter we studied the bitter persecution of the Jews in the time of Antiochus. God sent them a great deliverer in Judas the Hammerer. He also sent them a helper who told them heroic stories of the olden time to encourage them to believe that God would surely deliver them. These stories were of Daniel and his three friends who were taken to Babylon in the captivity. They were under great temptation to be untrue to their religion. We can see how these stories would help the people to be faithful.

368 (§98). In the old times the food and wine for the king's table would first be offered to the heathen gods, so Daniel felt that he would really be an idolator if he took them. What request did he make? How did the master think it would be discovered that he had not fed them on rich food? What test did Daniel propose? How did it turn out? Of course it was really much more healthy for the young men to live simply. It took some courage to stand out against the officer, but it was a matter of conscience with Daniel and his friends.

369 (§99A). Imagine the great golden image 100 feet high. What was the king's command to the people? What was to be the penalty if they refused to obey? How would a faithful servant of the Lord feel about it?

370 (§99B). We do not know where Daniel was at this time, but what did his three friends do? What did the king say to them? What did they answer him? Notice carefully that they said they were sure God could save them, but whether he did or not they would be faithful. God does not always save people from death. The noble army of martyrs have been faithful unto death. But God has always brought good out of their sufferings.

371 (§99C). Describe the scene when these men were thrown into the furnace? What did the king think he saw? What did he do to the three? What impression did it make on the king? We can understand how the Jews would have told such a wonderful story as this to cheer those who were under great temptation to give up their faith.

372 (§100A). Long after, when Daniel was an old man, another great danger arose. He had meantime been promoted to the highest station. Great men always have many enemies who are jealous of them. All our great Americans have had those who envied them. What foolish thing did Daniel's enemies persuade the king to do? There seems to have been a rule that if the king gave an order it could not be changed.

373 (§100B). What had been Daniel's custom regarding prayer? How did he change it when he heard of the decree? Would he have been wiser to pray secretly? Some of our soldier boys that went to the war were ashamed to kneel down and pray at night, but some of them were not afraid even when their companions jeered them. Do you remember a story like that in Tom Brown at Rugby? How did the king feel when he found that Daniel had refused to obey the decree? Why could not the king pardon him? Notice how bitterly his enemies insisted on the penalty.

374 (§100C). What did the king say to Daniel? How did the king pass the night? What happened in the morning? What was done to his enemies?

375 (§100D). What message did the king send to his people? Daniel's bravery made the king respect his religion. What was the result of all this to Daniel? Suppose Daniel had been killed by the lions, what would you think of him?


WRITTEN REVIEW

Think about Daniel's refusal to do wrong. You have probably known one of your companions who refused to do some wrong when it was hard to refuse. Young people can be heroes in standing up for duty. Write about anybody whom you have known who did this. Or perhaps you will find somebody actually doing such a thing now. Make a good story of it for your notebook.



REVIEW

XXXV. Seven Heroic Names


XXXV. SEVEN HEROIC NAMES

376. The Hebrews always looked back to their magnificent king, whom they thought of as the wisest of men. What was his name? Tell the story of his great building. (§79; I Kings 5:2-6.[2])

377. What great prophet was the champion of pure religion? Tell the story of the test at Mount Carmel. (§82; I Kings 18:20-24.)

378. King Ahab had a fine palace in Jezreel and Naboth had a vineyard near by. Tell the story of the king's covetousness. Why did Elijah interfere? (§84; I Kings 21:17-23.)

379. Who was the prophet that followed Elijah? Why did we call him the healer and counselor? We read a number of stories of his kindly deeds to the people. Tell one of them.

380. One of Israel's heroes was a man who had always lived far away from Jerusalem. He had a high office, and would have found it more profitable not to trouble himself about his countrymen. But he heard of their sad condition and persuaded the king to let him help them. Tell the story of Nehemiah building the wall of Jerusalem. (§91; Neh. 6:15, 16.)

381. Two books in the Old Testament are named after women. One was a foreigner who came into Israel, the other was the beautiful Jewess who married the Persian king. Who was the wicked man that wanted to kill all the Jews? How did the queen risk her life to save her people? (§95; Esther 4:13-17.)

382. We studied about one hero, whose story is not in the Old Testament. What did his surname Maccabæus mean? How did he deliver his people? (§97.)

383. Sometimes the noblest heroism is just to refuse to be frightened away from doing right. Who was the man who prayed three times a day when the king had commanded that no prayers should be offered except to himself. Tell the story of the den of lions. (§100.)

384. Write down these seven heroic names. Which of them was honored as the kindly helper of the needy and the wise adviser of his nation in days of trouble? Which was the gallant soldier who defeated the tyrant? Who risked life and fortune to save the people? Who started out in his youth to be a good judge and ruler of the people? Who was loyal to his conscience at the risk of his life? Who was the stern rebuker of injustice? Who gave up his ease to work for his troubled people? Note that there are many ways to be a hero.

Footnote

[1] Very short Scripture references are given—just enough to recall the story. Read these and glance over the section in the textbook to refresh the memory.

[2] Very short Scripture references are given, just enough to recall the story. It might be well to read these as well as to look at the section in the textbook.

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Transcribers Note:
skekels changed to shekels
thuo changed to thou
Eljiah changed to Elijah
Scripture references have been standardised as this example (Gen. 21:2, 3; 22:1-19)
Punctuation moved inside end quote on the following lines:-
Drink, my lord:" Sect. 9 B
"Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt:"
Word hyphenation has been standardised.



				

				

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