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cant spot, declared, "Though all nations in the dominions of the king obey him, so that every one falleth away from the worship of his fathers, and obeyeth the commands of the king, yet I and my sons and my brothers will not depart from the law of our fathers."* So he spake and punished the first apostate whom he saw, and overturned the altars of the king, not in blind unauthorized fury, but in holy zeal for the rights of his people. He and his family quitted their abode, took refuge in the mountains, and collected around them the noblest and the bravest of the nation. The father died; but his spirit rested upon his sons; one after another fought and conquered for the law of Jehovah; until at length, the son of Simon, our Hyrcanus, obtained the meed of so many exploits in the united dignities of prince and priest.
Simon, in the brilliant days of his prosperity, caused the sepulchre of his family to be enlarged, and made it one of the most splendid works of architecture in the country. Elisama and Helon hastened to visit it, and admired the lofty work of hewn stones, the seven pyramids raised upon it in honor of the five sons and their parents, the tall columns which surrounded it, and the emblems of their victories carved in stone upon the monument.f
"May Jehovah increase them a thousand times!" said Elisama. May Jehovah bless this heroic family of priests!" exclaimed Helon: and as they pursued their way and looked back on the lofty monument, they observed to each other that even in the destruction of Samaria, that is to the third generation, God continued to prosper them. Reclining under the shadow of a few lofty palms, which stood by the road side, where they could see the towering mausoleum, they refreshed their bodies in the shade, and cheered their minds with the thought of Jehovah's mercies.
At length they arose and set forward on their way, and reached the limit of their first day's journey, Lydda, which bears also the names of Lod and Diospolis. In a direct line
* 1 Maccab. ii.
+1 Maccab. xiii. 27.
they were forty sabbath-days' journeys from Jerusalem, but their circuitous route made it amount to a good deal more. In the neighborhood of this city, the rich cornland of Ono bordered on the fertile pastures of Sharon, which extends northward from the Mediterranean sea. Close to the gate was a large house, where men in festal attire were going in and out, and the open gate seemed to invite the presence of the stranger. "Let us turn in hither," said Elisama; ❝hospitality never fails among those who are celebrating a feast.” The master of the house came to the outer court to receive them, and conducting them to the house, bade them welcome to the feast of the winnowing which he was celebrating.* As the threshing-floor where this feast was usually held was very near his house, he was accustomed to transfer it thither. He led them into the inner court, where his guests were assembled; the slaves untied the latchets of their sandals, and washed their feet. Elisama was much fatigued and enjoyed repose; but he was not allowed to enjoy it long, for they were speedily called to the meal. A great abundance of dishes was placed upon the table, the servants were treated as the chief persons, milk, honey, wine, fruit, cheese, rice, and flesh, were so plentifully supplied, that they could not be consumed, though the appetite of the guests was keen.
"Our doctors of the law," said the master of the house, "reckon the making a feast among good works, and I feel this doubly at the feast of the winnowing, which 1 make for my servants." Helon attached himself to the priests and Levites of the place, who according to the ancient custom of Israel, had also been invited ; they received him into their circle and related to him at his request the history of Lydda. All the particulars arrested his attention, but none more than a description which an aged Levite gave of the desolation caused by a flight of locusts which he had witnessed in his youth. These locusts are of about the length and thickness of a finger; their numbers are countless, and they form swarms + Deut. xii. 17, 18,
*Ruth iii. 1, 2,
which extend for several leagues in breadth. Such a swarm, when approaching, appears like a mist; when it is arrived, it resembles the falling of thick flakes of snow: the air is darkened and filled with a fearful murmur: they cover the ground and all that grows on it, often to a foot in height, devouring every green thing, grass, corn and the trunks of young trees. They creep into the houses, destroy clothes and furniture, and besides this, lay their eggs in the ground, which in the course of fifteen or sixteen days become young locusts. The southeast wind brings them, and it is happy for the land when it also drives them into the sea.
The aged Levite had retained such a lively impression of the misery of those times, that he could not cease from describing the plague itself, and the still more dreadful evils of pestilence and famine which it left behind. Helon listened to him with shuddering, and then broke out in the words in which the prophet Joel describes them:
Blow ye the trumpet in Zion,
And sound an alarm in my holy mountain!
Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble.
For the day of the Lord cometh—it is nigh at hand.
A day of darkness and gloom -
A flame devoureth before them,
And behind them a fire burneth.
The land is the garden of Eden before them,
Yea, nothing shall escape them. - Joel ii.
It was late when our travellers retired to rest; yet they arose early, to reach Joppa before the heat of the day. Elisama left a present with the master of the house, as a return for his hospitality, and they took leave of each other, one saying, "God reward thee;" the other acknowledging it as a
gift of God, that such guests had taken up their abode with him.
They had not travelled more than seven sabbath-days' journeys, when Joppa, the Beautiful, as its name implies, rose before them. It is close to the sea, is built upon a rising ground, and offers on all sides picturesque and varied prospects. Towards the west the open sea extends; towards the east and south spreads the fertile plain of Sephela, reaching as far as Gaza, in which are the fifteen principal cities of the Philistines: towards the north, as far as Carmel, the flowery meads of Sharon are seen, and through the dark summits of the hills of Ephraim and Judah on the east, a piercing sight can even discern one of the towers of Jerusalem. A thin veil of morning vapor lay on the blue hills, on the distant plains and the boundless sea. Our travellers gazed on the scene with such a fulness of tranquil delight, that it was jong ere they remembered that they had business in the city. Elisama inquired at the gate for his friend, and going to his house was received by him with a hearty greeting. His first question was respecting the residence of the genealogist. He was told that he no longer lived in Joppa, but was gone to Ziklag. Elisama was provoked that he should have received false information in Jerusalem, but Helon pacified his uncle, by reminding him that they had enjoyed a pleasant journey, and this mistake would afford him an opportunity of seeing the southwest side of Judah. Elisama would gladly have taken his departure instantly, and Helon have followed him; but their host insisted that they should remain with him till the morrow. Elisama agreed, on condition that he should furnish Helon with a guide, to conduct him to the harbor, and show him what was remarkable in it. He called for this purpose one of his sons, who was of nearly Helon's age, and they went down to the shore. Here Solomon had landed his cedar-wood from Lebanon,* to be used in his works of architecture, and it was by the same haven that the materials
* 2 Chron. ii. 16.
for the building of the second temple were imported. Simon the Maccabee had improved the harbor and fortified the city, which Jonathan had taken from a Syrian garrison.* Helon, well acquainted with the celebrated harbors of Egypt, examined it critically, and not being in his present mood inclined to praise anything connected with commerce, he excited some displeasure in the mind of his companion, by observing how inadequately it was sheltered from the north wind. It was about noon when they arrived at home, and found the elders sitting around the fountain in the court. "Do you remember," said Elisama to Helon, "that this was the place at which the prophet Jonah embarked on a voyage, which had nearly terininated fatally for him, when he endeavored to escape from the mission to which God had appointed him." Helon was about to answer, when he saw his host knit his brow and start up. "You remind me," said he, "of an accursed heathen, who arrived here lately with a Phœnician caravan, a lively and acute Greek, who kept himself aloof from all the rest, and amused himself by turning the Tyrians into ridicule. This son of Belial had the assurance to ask me, if the history of our prophet was not a new version of the Grecian story of Andromeda, who was exposed here to the jaws of a sea-monster, and delivered by Perseus. What bis Grecian fable may be I know not, but I was so enraged at his insinuation, that—
"This can be no other than our Myron," said Elisama. "How long since was he here ?" "About three weeks," replied his host. "It is the same," said Elisama. with us from Egypt as far as Gaza. The Greeks are a nation of scoffers, but it shall one day fare with them, praised be Jehovah, as it has fared with Samaria in our days."
“Were that glory also reserved to our Hyrcanus,” said his host, "I would do what this man has done," pointing to a Nazarite who had just entered the court.
It was a wild looking figure which presented itself to their
* 1 Maccab. xiv. 5, 6.
† Jonah i. 3.