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view. His upper garment was of rough hair, and his locks hung far down his shoulders, tangled and neglected, and showing that it was long since they had been shorn.

Helon had never yet seen a Nazarite, for they were seldom to be met with but in the Holy Land. But he was acquainted with all the passages in the law relative to this kind of vow,* by which a man for a time consecrated himself, abstained from wine and from all the produce of the vine, and allowed no razor to come upon his person, nor any contact of a dead body to pollute him. This Nazarite was a Jew of Maresa, who had been one of those that had lost their house and home, when, a year and a half before, the Samaritans, at the command of the king of Syria, had inflicted great injury on the Jews, who had settled again in Maresa, subsequently to its devastation by Judas Maccabæus. In his wrath he had vowed himself to Jehovah, till the time when the atrocities of the Samaritans should cease and Samaria be razed to the foundations. He was just come from the camp of Israel, and was expressing his joy and gratitude that Jehovah had so soon accomplished the object of his vow. He had seen the houses and the ramparts of Samaria levelled, amidst the songs of the soldiery, and the spot on which the city had stood furrowed with trenches of water and converted into a desert. He had much to relate of the preparations which Hyrcanus had made for the reception of his victorious sons, and he announced his intention of going up to the Holy City, at the next feast of the new moon, to have his head shorn there, and offer a sacrifice for the termination of his Nazarite's vow. This led them into a wide field of discourse, and the Nazarite remained to partake of the evening meal though he could not taste the choice wine with which the citizen of Joppa regaled his guests. They separated in peace and love, and with the hope to meet again in a few days in the presence of Jehovah, at the rejoicings for the victory. On the following morning, Elisama, quite refreshed, grasped his staff, and, with Helon and Sallu, set out for Ziklag.

* Num. vi.

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

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

When they arrived at Ziklag, they inquired for the house of the genealogist, and went directly to it. It had long been dark, and Elisama was very wcary; and when the genealogist had given them a friendly reception, as his Egyptian kinsmen,

1 Sam. xxii. 19.

* 1 Kings ix. 15. + 1 Maccab. ix. 52.
§2 Chron. xxvi. 6.
||1 Sam. xxxvii. 5; xxx.

and expressed high approbation of Helon's determination to become a priest, they laid themselves down to rest.

The institution of genealogists may be traced up to the earliest times of Israel's existence as a nation. Jehovah was their true and only ruler. Under him the people lived in families, which together formed tribes, the families themselves being subdivided into houses. Each tribe had its own prince, chosen probably by the heads of families, who were themselves chosen by the heads of houses. The princes and the heads of families were called elders; their number was seventyone, and besides them there were judges, and genealogists who kept the registers of the different families. Although at various times the supreme power was by turns in the hands of heroes, kings, princes and high-priests, yet the fundamental principle of the constitution was, that Jehovah was sole and absolute monarch of his people Israel, and that they obeyed him, under all intermediate magistrates, whatever their titles or offices might be.

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

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

*Zacharias, the father of John the Baptis', was of the course of Abia. Luke i. 5.

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

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

Ezra ii. 61. Neh. vii. 63.

$2 Chron: xi. 9.

** 2. Kings viii. 22.

+ Micah i. 13.

2 Kings xiv. 19.

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

Josh. x. 32.

12 Kings xviii. 14.

168

CHAPTER XVII.

THE FEAST OF THE NEW MOON.

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

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

The feet of the guests were washed and the supper served up. The conversation turned on what the travellers had seen during their journey, and what had passed in Jerusalem during their absence. All were in eager expectation of the spectacle of tomorrow, and as Elisama was weary, they speedily separated and retired to rest. On the following day, as early as the commencement of the morning sacrifice, the multitude streamed towards the gate of Ephraim, by which the victorious army was to enter. The streets of the New City and the Lower City, as far as the castle Baris, were strewed with fragrant flowers; tapestry of various colors hung from the parapets of the roofs, and banners were displayed from the Alijahs, while on the pinnacles of the temple were hung

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