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*BIBLE CHILD IFE
Stories about Some of
:::::::-the children jeVetioned in the Bible
BY MARY ALICIA STEWARD
Tenth Edition, 1923.
REVIEW AND HERALD PUBLISHING ASSN.
WASHINGTON, D. C.
Printed in the U. S. A.
COPYRIGHTED 1896, BY
REVIEW AND HERALD PUBLISHING ASSN.
THE FIRST FAMILY 7
ABRAHAM'S FAMILY 18
THE STORY OF ISAAC 18
MOSES .. 32
THE FIRST PASSOVER .39
A JEWISH HOME ... 5
THE WIDOW'S SON ... 56
RAISING THE SHUNAMMITE CHILD 61
THE JEWISH MAID IN SYRIA .69
THE INFANT KING 75
JESUS COMES TO BETHLEHEM 81
PRESENTATION IN THE TEMPLE 86
THE VISIT OF THE WISE MEN .. 90
THE FLIGHT 96
FROM EGYPT TO NAZARETH 98
THE CHILD LIFE OF THE JEWS 103
THE EDUCATION OF JEWISH CHILDREN .106
JESUS AT THE PASSOVER .. 11
THE JOURNEY HOME ... 117
THE NOBLEMAN'S SON .. 123
THE DAUGHTER OF JAIRUS 127
THE LITTLE CANAANITE GIRL .133
CHRIST'S LOVE FOR CHILDREN 136
BLESSING THE CHILDREN .. 142
TEXT, EMBELLISHED 9
HAGAR AND ISHMAEL IN THE WILDERNESS 16
MY SON, GOD WILL PROVIDE HIMSELF A LAMB 20
I AM JOSEPH 30
JOCHEBED PUTTING LITTLE MOSES IN THE ARK 34
SPRINKLING THE BLOOD ON THE DOOR-POST 40
SAMUEL'S NEW ROBE .46
INTERIOR OF A JEWISH HOUSE 53
THE WIDOW'S SON RAISED TO LIFE 58
THE SICK BOY 64
THE JEWISH MAIDEN 70
THE CROWNING OF JOASH .78
PEACE ON EARTH 83
SIMEON THANKING GOD FOR LETTING HIM SEE JESUS 88
THE WISE MEN 92
JESUS WORKING WITH JOSEPH IN THE SHOP 100
LEARNING TO READ 108
TEXT, EMBELLISHED 110
JESUS AMONG THE RABBIS 120
TEXT, EMBELLISHED 126
THE RAISING OF JAIRUS'S DAUGHTER .130
FORBID THEM NOT 138
HILD training is the most important wo i
committed to parents. Like clay in the
7/ hands of the potter, the plastic mind of the
child readily yields to any and every im-
pression. There may the wise and careful parent implant the
noble qualities of love, reverence, charity, purity; or the care-
less training instil the ignoble qualities,- anger, hatred,
envy, strife, malice. And the impressions thus made are
there, never to be effaced, except by a miracle of divine grace.
It is said that what a child learns before he is seven
years old will never be forgotten, and will in a great meas-
ure determine his future character. How important, then,
that the lessons taught him in that period be those of truth
In the training of children there is one ever-present
factor to be taken into consideration, and that is heredity.
The visiting of the sins of the parents upon the children
unto the third and fourth generations is not an arbitrary
judgment of the Almighty, but the inevitable law of nature.
BIBLE CHILD LIFE.
It has been aptly remarked, "The time to begin to train
a child is four hundred years before he is born." So far-
reaching are the results of the lives we live here.
The inheritance of sin which Adam passed down to his
children has borne its dreadful fruit in crime and misery
from that time to this. Born into a world where sin has
entered, all the sons and daughters of Adam must battle
against wrong if they would attain unto perfection. He who
seeks with all his heart to resist the tide of evil, and in the
strength of God bids defiance to Satan and his evil hosts,
will find his heart growing better and purer day by day.
It is with the thought of helping some little child to
choose the good in life, and to learn to know and resist the
evil, that this book has been written. It is by comparing
our lives with those of others, by learning to avoid what
led to wrong in them, and seeking to follow everything
that is good, and especially by studying that truest of all
patterns,- Jesus Christ,- that we, by the aid of divine
grace, may make our lives a reflection of the good we see
in him. A character thus formed will stand the test of
time, and will at last be found perfect when the Father in
heaven shall call his children home.
"JVy son, give me thire heart."
THE FIRST FAMILY.
N the beginning, when God created this world,
he made in it a garden which was much more
beautiful than any garden now on earth. It
was called Eden, the garden of God, and was
the home of Adam and Eve, the first man and
woman that ever lived. In this happy home
angels visited Adam and his wife, and Go'l
also talked with them face to face, as friend
talks to friend.
For some time, we know not how long, Adam and Eve
lived here in the full enjoyment of Eden and their perfect
life. But at last Satan came and led them to disobey God
by persuading them to do what the Lord had told them
BIBLE CHILD LIFE.
they must not do. That was sin, and on account of it they
were driven from their beautiful garden, and were never
permitted to enter it again.
It was because the Lord loved them that he did not
let them stay in the garden; for the tree of life was there,
and if they had continued to eat of it while they kept on
sinning, they would have been immortal sinners, and then
they never could have been saved. The Lord is always
watching over the people of the earth, and trying to save
them from sin. He does not want sinners to live forever.
With heads bowed with grief and shame, Adam and Eve
left the home where they had been so happy, and went out
to earn their living by labor with their own hands. The
Lord told them that if they would obey him now, they
should be saved at last; for his Son Jesus was coming to
die for the sins of the world, and would save all who would
believe on him and do right.
After Adam and Eve had left their garden home, they
had to toil hard for a living. Food did not grow of itself,
but had to be cultivated, and weeds and thorns and thistles
grew up with it.
By and by a little boy was born to them, and they
called his name Cain. Soon Cain had a little brother, who
was named Abel. No doubt the two boys were very happy
together in their sports.
BIBLE CHILD LIFE.
The children of our first parents were not left to grow
up in ignorance of sin. Adam and Eve often related to
them the events of their own lives, and warned them not
to follow in the path of wrong-doing. These parents gave
heed to the precept afterward spoken from Mt. Sinai to
Israel, "These words which I command thee this day, shall
be in thine heart: and thou shalt teach them diligently unto
thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in
thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when
thou liest down, and when thou risest up."
The seeds of good were sown, and in the two lives of
these first earth-born children we see the effects of obedi-
ence and disobedience. Abel listened to the words of his
father and mother, and in spite of the evil tendencies of his
nature, his life grew sweet and lovely, temptation was re-
sisted, and sin found little room in his heart. On the other
hand, Cain cherished the evil, and yielded to temptation
until he became the victim of his passions.
The Lord had told Adam how to worship him. He was
to offer some of the fruits of the ground, that is, grain or
fruit, as a token of his thankfulness for the blessings God
had given, and to show his faith in Christ who was the
bread of life. He was also to kill a sheep or a lamb when
he confessed his sins, to show that he believed that Jesus
would sometime come and shed his own blood for sin.
THE FIRST FAMILY.
Abel believed God, and was so thankful for his love
and mercy that he gladly made all the offerings that the
Lord asked of him. But Cain was not willing to do this.
He offered only the fruits of the ground. He would not
acknowledge that he was a sinner, by offering a lamb. He
did not love God or believe in Christ.
So while Abel's offering was accepted, and fire came
down from heaven and consumed it, Cain's offering remained
just as he had placed it. Cain was very much displeased
about this. His parents talked with him, and tried to get
him to do right, and so did Abel, but he would not listen
to them. Finally the Lord came down from heaven to talk
with him. He asked why he looked so downcast; and when
Cain complained because Abel's sacrifice had been accepted
and his own rejected, the Lord told him that if he would
only do what was right, he would certainly be accepted
also, and the Lord would love him; but if he would not
do right, he could not be accepted, and no one but himself
was to blame.
These entreaties only made Cain hate Abel, and one day
he became so angry with his brother that he killed him.
The Bible tells us why he hated him: it was because his
own works were evil, and his brother's righteous. Those
who are determined to do wrong are always annoyed to see
good people doing right.
BIBLE CHILD LIFE.
The Bible says that every one who hates his brother is
a murderer. The word brother does not mean our own real
brother only, but our companions as well. If we allow our
hearts to be full of unkindness and anger, we are like Cain;
and unless we seek the Lord to help us to overcome these
evils in our hearts, we can never be saved.
Cain and Abel lived many, many years ago, but since
then thousands of people have been angry with their fel-
low men, and have killed them. Let us beware of anger,
hatred, and all unkindness; for they are dangerous and
sinful, and will shut us out of this earth when it has been
made new again, like the garden of Eden.
After a time, the Lord gave Adam and Eve another son,
to take the place of Abel. He was named Seth. This son
grew up to be a good man, and served the Lord faithfully,
as Abel had done; but Cain and his descendants became
idolaters; they did not love the Lord, or try to serve him.
BRAHAM was a man whom God
loved very much, because he was so
true and faithful. He believed all
that the Lord said; and though his
i father and brothers and all his rela-
tives were idolaters, he loved and
served the true God. Therefore the
Lord told him to go away from his home
into an unknown land, where he would be
free from their influence, could serve the true
God, and the Lord would make of his children
and grandchildren a very great nation.
So Abraham went away, "not knowing whither
he went," the Bible says, but trusting the Lord to
direct him where to go. At last he came to Canaan, and
lived there many years before he had any children, until
he began to wonder how the promise of God was going to
In those days people did not understand what was right
in some things as well as we do now. Most people did
not think it wrong for a man to have more than one wife,
so Abraham took Hagar, an Egyptian woman, for his wife,
BIBLE CHILD LIFE.
besides Sarah who was his first and true wife. By and
by Hagar had a son, and he was named Ishmael.
When Ishmael was born, Abraham thought that this
was the son God had promised him. He was accordingly
brought up as the heir of Abraham, and had a great many
privileges. He was taught by his mother that he would
sometime possess all the wealth of Abraham, and it made
him proud and unpleasant; for Abraham was very rich.
Instead of thanking God for what he supposed was to be
his, Ishmael thought only of the good things of this world,
and of how he might please himself.
But when Ishmael was fourteen years old, Isaac was
born; then there was great rejoicing in the household of
Abraham. The Lord had at last sent him the promised
heir. But Hagar and Ishmael were very much disappointed.
Till then they had hoped that Isaac might never be born.
Now he had come, and their hopes were dead. Ishmael
would never inherit the riches of Abraham, nor be a ruler
in his household. Very bitter was the hatred that sprang
up in the hearts of Hagar and her son toward Isaac.
When Isaac was about three years old, his father made
a great feast. While they were all rejoicing, Sarah saw
Ishmael mocking Isaac. He was probably ridiculing or
making fun of Isaac in some way. This displeased Sarah
very much, and she told Abraham, asking that Hagar and
Ishmael might be sent away from the place; for she did not
want her son Isaac to grow up with such a bad boy.
Of course Sarah had a right to ask this, but it seemed
very hard for Abraham to part with Ishmael. He loved
him, and hesitated about doing as Sarah wished, till the
Lord told him that it was the best thing he could do. He
-could never hope to have peace in his family with both the
sons at home. One of them must go, and Isaac was the
son the Lord had given him, who was to perpetuate his
name, inherit all his property, and his right to the prom-
ises of God.
Abraham always obeyed the Lord, no matter how hard
it was; so the next morning he rose up early, and taking
some bread and water, gave them to Hagar, and sent her
and Ishmael away. He did not know what would become
of them; but he had the promise that Ishmael should be-
come a great nation, so he trusted the Lord to take care
Hagar and Ishmael wandered about in the wilderness
of Beersheba, where they must have lost their way; for the
water gave out before they found any more. It was hot
.and dry in the desert, and Ishmael grew very thirsty.
Finally he became so weak that he could scarcely walk,
and his mother had to support him. When he could go
no farther, she laid him down under some little shrubs,
Hagar and Ishmael in the Wilderness.
--1;' II I'
,I. v ~I
and went away ; for she said, Let me not see the death
of the child." Hagar must have forgotten all about the
promise of God to make of Ishmael a great nation, which
had been made to her as well as to Abraham.
As she sat down a little way off from her child, his faint
cries reached her, and she "lifted up her voice, and wept."
Just then she looked up, and right there was a well of
fresh water, clear and sparkling, which she had not seen
before. The Bible says the Lord opened her eyes so that
she could see that well. Maybe it had never been there
until then; for the Lord can make things to be where there
was nothing before. Quickly she ran and filled her leather
bottle and gave Ishmael a drink of the life-giving water.
Ishmael lived to grow up, and his descendants became
a very great nation, as the Lord had said they would.
The fierce and warlike Arabs, Bedouins, and other tribes
who infest the wilds of Arabia at the present day, are a
literal fulfilment of God's word to Hagar, "His hand will
be against every man, and every man's hand against him."
They dwell in the most wild, inaccessible places among the
mountains, and travelers passing through that land have to
be protected by armed soldiers, or they would be killed
and robbed by these lawless children of Ishmael. Very
few of the Ishmaelites ever become Christians; most of
them are Mohammedans.
FTER Ishmael and his mother had
gone away, the household of Abra-
ham settled down in peace and
harmony once more, with Isaac
as the delight of his father and mother,
// and the hope of their declining years.
W One night, when Isaac had grown to be
quite a large boy, the Lord appeared to Abraham, and
gave him this command: "Take now thy son, thine only
son Isaac, whom thou lovest, 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." Can you imag-
ine the horror with which Abraham heard these words, and
realized that God was asking him to take the life of his
own son? This was indeed a test of Abraham's faith and
love for God.
The hours of that night of darkness and agony wore
slowly away. Abraham wrestled with his own heart till
faith triumphed. He believed that God would in some
way make it all right, for he had said that Isaac was the
THE' STORY OF ISAAO.
promised son, and that his seed should be as numberless
as the stars or as the sand on the seashore.
Going softly to the bedside of his boy, Abraham gazed
long and tenderly into the innocent face before waking
him. They did not rouse the household. Not even Sarah,
his mother, was told of this journey, for fear she would
persuade Abraham not to obey the Lord. It was very early
when Abraham and Isaac, with two young men servants,
started on the journey in obedience to God's command.
Mt. Moriah lay three days' journey to the northward
from Beersheba, where Abraham then lived. For three
days the little band rode on, only the father knowing just
why they had come. Such journeys were often taken in
those days for the purpose of offering sacrifices in a cer-
tain place, so their going excited no curiosity.
At last Mt. Moriah rose before them, and they were at
the end of their journey. Abraham took the sacred fire
and the knife, and Isaac took the wood that was to be used
for kindling the fire. Leaving the young men at the foot
of the mountain, the father and son climbed the steep path
How must the heart of the old man have ached as he
watched the happy boy beside him! And what a pang of
grief must have shot into his heart when Isaac innocently
asked, "Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the
"My Son, God will Provide Himself a Lamb."
"My Son, God will Provide Himself a Lamb."
THE STORY OF ISAAC.
lamb for a burnt-offering?" Abraham could not tell him
just yet what the sacrifice was to be, but he said, "My
son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt-offering."
Finally they came to the place that God had told him
of, and there they prepared for the sacrifice. The stones
were selected and piled up in the usual way, and the wood
laid on the top. Then Abraham, gathering his child to his
heart for the last time, as he thought, told him that he
himself was the lamb to be offered, according to the com-
mand of God. Doubtless Isaac was surprised and horrified
at the first news of this command; but he had learned
obedience in his early years, and now, though he could
have resisted his father, and thus escaped the fate, he did
not do it, but permitted his father to bind him on the
wood, to be offered as a sacrifice to God.
Now all is' ready; the fire is close at hand, the sacri-
ficial "lamb" lies bound upon the altar, and the father's
hand is raised to plunge the knife deep into his son, when
from the opening heavens comes a thrilling cry, Abra-
ham! Abraham!" The hand is stayed as the aged patri-
arch answers, "Here am I." Again the angel's voice is
heard, 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
BIBLE CHILD LIFE.
SWith what unbounded joy and thankfulness did Abra-
ham loose the cords that confined Isaac, and set him free,
now free indeed, for the command of God had been obeyed
to the very letter, and the blessing of the Almighty was
resting on both father and son in that happy hour. Their
faith had triumphed in the test.
Lifting up his eyes presently, Abraham saw a ram caught
in the thicket by his horns, and he took him and offered
him up as a sacrifice instead of his son.
Once more the voice from heaven was heard, saying,
"By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord, for because thou
hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine
only son: that in blessing I will bless thee, and in multi-
plying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven,
and as the sand which is upon the seashore; 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."
With the rich blessing of God resting on them, and joy
filling their hearts, Abraham and Isaac descended the moun-
tain to where they had left the young men. What a feast
of joy must Abraham have had on the way home! And
what a glad story they had to tell the mother when they
saw her once more! Truly "the blessing of the Lord, it
maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it."
THE STORY OF ISAAC.
The next twenty years or more were passed by Isaac in
quietness and peace in his father's dwelling. At the age
of forty he married a lovely and pious maiden from the
East, named Rebekah. Sarah, his mother, having now been
dead three years, he took his bride into Sarah's tent, and
"was comforted after his mother's death." Two children
were born to them, Jacob and Esau.
Isaac's life was so calm and good that there was little
remarkable about it. His early lessons of submission seem
to have followed him through all his life. To this day, in
Jewish families, Isaac is held up before the children as an
example of obedience, and the children are taught to obey
both God and their parents as did Isaac.
When Abraham died, Isaac was left the sole possessor
of his father's wealth; and though Ishmael came to the bur-
ial, he did not disturb Isaac in his possessions. The Lu'd
repeated to Isaac the same promises that he had made to
Abraham: "I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for
unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these coun-
tries, and I will perform the oath which I sware unto
Abraham thy father; and I will make thy seed to multiply
as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these
countries ; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth
be blessed; because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept
my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws."
ACOB, one of the sons of Isaac, had twelve sons,
the youngest of whom were Joseph and Ben-
jamin. Jacob loved Joseph more than any
S of his other children, because he was more
loving and obedient than they were. Joseph
S felt very sorry whenever he saw his brothers
doing anything wrong, and often reproved them.
He sometimes told his father about it, to see if
something could not be done to get them to turn
from their evil ways; but this only made matters worse.
As Joseph grew older, Jacob trusted him more and
more, an& unwisely showed him special favors. Once he
made him a little coat "of many colors" as a mark of love
and honor. The gift of this coat to Joseph made his older
brothers jealous of him. They saw that their father loved
him better than he did them, and it made them angry.
One night Joseph had a remarkable dream, and in the
morning he told it to his brothers. "Behold," he said,
we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf
arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves
stood round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf."
The brothers immediately interpreted the dream to mean
that Joseph, the brother whom they hated so, would some-
time rise to a position of honor where they would have to
obey him, and the very thought made them hate him still
more. They said to him, "Shalt thou indeed reign over
us ? or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us ?"
In another dream Joseph saw the sun, moon, and eleven
of the stars making obeisance, or bowing down, to him.
Again he told the dream to his brothers, and also to his
father; but Jacob rebuked him, saying, "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?"
Jacob felt sure that the Lord had given Joseph the
dreams, for he himself had often received instruction in the
same way; but because of the jealousy of his other children
he hid his true feelings, and rebuked Joseph.
The sons of Jacob were shepherds, and in seeking good
pastures for their flocks, they often wandered a long dis-
tance from home. Jacob was at this time living in Hebron,
BIBLE CHILD LIFE.
but his sons had taken their flocks to Shechem, and as it
had been some time since he had heard from them, he grew
anxious, and finally decided to send Joseph to find them.
"Go," he said, "see whether it be well with thy brethren,
and well with the flocks; and bring me word again."
Young as he was, his father knew he could be. trusted.
It was more than fifty miles from the vale of Hebron
to Shechem, but Joseph was eager to go. He loved his
brothers, and was glad at the prospect of seeing them again.
Joseph must have been very tired and hungry when at
last he reached Shechem. He looked all around for his
father's flocks, but could not find them. At last a certain
man, seeing him wandering in the fields, inquired for whom
he was seeking. Joseph answered, "I seek my brethren:
tell me, I pray thee, where they feed their flocks." The
man then told him they had gone to Dothan, about fifteen
miles farther on.
Do you suppose that Joseph felt like sitting down and
crying when he heard that, or do you think he pushed
bravely on, forgetful of himself, and anxious only to do the
errand on which he had been sent ? It must have seemed
pretty hard to have to go fifteen miles farther, when he
thought his journey was done. But on he went, and at
last saw his brothers with their flocks on the hills around
Before he reached them, the brothers saw him coming,
and their angry feelings rose against him. They said one
to another, "Behold, this dreamer cometh. Come now
therefore, and let us slay him, and cast him into some pit,
and we will say, Some evil beast hath devoured him: and
we shall see what will become of his dreams."
But Reuben, the oldest of the brothers, and therefore
one to whom the rest would listen, persuaded them not to
kill him, but to cast him alive into the pit. Reuben thought
that after awhile he could come and take Joseph out and
send him home safe, but he did not tell the others what
he intended to do.
As the lad drew near, so glad to see them, and eager
to hear of their prosperity, and to tell them of their father
and home, he was met with angry looks; his brothers would
not speak to him. His tender heart began to sink, and he
was afraid. What did it all mean ?
Simeon was the first to seize Joseph; they stripped the
pretty coat from the trembling lad, and threw him into the
pit, as Reuben had advised, and there they left him to die.
Poor Joseph He had left home so happy in thinking
of the meeting with his brothers, and all through the long
journey he had thought kindly of them, forgetting their
anger and jealousy; and now how have they returned his
love and care for them ?
BIBLE CHILD LIFE.
As the men sat down to eat bread, they did not feel
as satisfied as they thought they would. It began to seem
like a dreadful sin thus to cause the death of their brother.
While they were eating, they saw in the distance a train
of camels approaching. It proved to be some merchants,
descendants of Ishmael, on their way from Gilead beyond
Jordan to Egypt, with spices, balm, and myrrh.
At last Judah spoke, "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 and our flesh." The rest eagerly
agreed to this, so they drew up Joseph out of the pit. As
soon as the poor boy saw what they were going to do, he
begged with tears to be allowed to go home, appealing
first to one and then another brother ; but in their hardened
hearts were no thoughts of mercy. They had cherished
their angry feelings so long that Satan now controlled them,
and they would not listen to the agonized entreaties of the
young brother whom they should have loved and protected.
Joseph was sold to the merchants for twenty pieces of sil-
ver, and they took him with them on their way to Egypt.
The road lay to the south, perhaps over the very path
that Joseph had traveled so happily only a little while be-
fore. By and by they came to a spot where he could look
across to the hills among which lay his father's tents, and
how his heart ached both for himself and for the beloved
father he might never see again! Perhaps Jacob himself
watched the long line of camels winding over the distant
hills, little dreaming that his dearest son was being borne
away from him to be a slave in a strange land.
After the merchants had departed, Reuben came back,
and not finding Joseph in the pit, turned to his brothers
with the despairing cry, "The child is not; and I, whither
shall I go?" They told him how they had sold Joseph,
so seeing he could do nothing now for his little brother,
he joined the others in the deception they were planning
for their father. Killing a young kid, they dipped Joseph's
coat in the blood and returned home, bearing the token of
their guilt. They showed it to Jacob, saying, This have
we found: know now whether it be thy son's coat or no."
"It is my son's coat," answered Jacob; "an evil beast
hath devoured him; Joseph is without doubt rent in pieces."
The poor father was overwhelmed with grief. His children
tried to comfort him, but he said, "I will go down into the
grave unto my son mourning;" he could not be comforted.
When the Ishmaelites bearing Joseph to Egypt were
gone, the ten brothers felt much relieved to think that now
he and his dreams would be forever out of their way, for
those dreams could never come true. Little did they know
that God would overrule their own treacherous conduct to
"I am Joseoh."
bring about the very fulfilment they so much dreaded, and
that it would be to save their own lives also. Such care
does God have for the children of his beloved, even though
they may be wicked themselves, and grieve him sorely.
Joseph was carried down to Egypt, and there sold to
Potiphar. Although he was only a youth, and had been
treated so cruelly, he resolved to be faithful to God and to
do just right in all things. And the Lord made everything
he did to prosper, so he came to be loved and trusted by all
who knew him. When he was tempted to do wrong, he
refused, and for this was thrown into prison. Here he was
so kind and patient that after a time even the prisoners
were left in his charge.
The Lord told Joseph the meaning of dreams, and in
this way he was brought before the king, and interpreted
his dream about the great famine that was to come.
Pharaoh saw in him such wisdom that he made him ruler
over the whole country of Egypt, next to himself.
It was during this famine that Joseph's brothers went
down into Egypt to buy food. Joseph knew them, but they
did not know him. They greatly feared the lordly man
whom they saw, and bowed humbly before him. Thus
were his dreams fulfilled. At their second visit Joseph
made himself known to his brethren, and finally had them
and all his father's household come to live in Egypt.
HEN the famine was over, instead of
going back to Canaan, the family of
Jacob stayed in Egypt, and it was
several hundred years before they
finally left there.
At first the king of Egypt was
very kind to them, for Joseph's sake.
But when this king died, another took
S his throne, who had not known Joseph,
and he oppressed them.
By this time there had come to be so
many of the Israelites that the Egyptians
feared that if they should have a war, these
descendants of Jacob would join their ene-
Smies, and fight against them. To lessen
their numbers, the king commanded that
all the little boys should be killed as soon as they were
born. They made the Israelites a nation of slaves, and
compelled them to work very hard. Their labor was to
make bricks and build houses. The ruins of some of the
cities they built are still to be seen.
During this time that the king was so unmerciful, a
little boy was born to Amram and Jochebed, a good man
and his wife who belonged to the tribe, or family, of Levi.
& Jewish writer says that the Lord had given Amram a
dream some time before the baby was born, telling him
about the child, and that he should deliver the Israelites
Erom their Egyptian oppressors.
Jochebed hid her little boy in the house till he was
bhree months old, so that the Egyptians did not even know
she had one. But when the poor mother could not hide
him any longer, she made a little ark, or boat, of bulrushes,
-a kind.of grass that grows in the water,-with a cover
to fit down over it, and plastered it all over with pitch
and slime so it would not leak. Then she made a nice
bed in the basket, and putting her little baby into it, took
him down to the brink of the river, and hid him among
She did not dare to stay and see what became of him
herself, so she left his older sister, Miriam, to watch.
0, how lonely that poor mother must have felt as she
went home, leaving her precious baby there in the river!
But she knew that God could take care of him, and so he
did, in a most wonderful manner.
In the river Nile were places especially prepared for
bathing. It was in one of these places that Jochebed put
the precious boat. In a little while the king's daughter
came down to the river to bathe, and she spied the ark,
and wondering what could be in it, sent one of her maids
to fetch it. When they opened it, lo, there was a wee
baby! The poor little fellow was tired of being shut up
there alone, I suspect, for he was crying when they took
him up. The heart of the princess was touched at the
sight of the little one's tears, and she took him into her
Though the royal lady knew that he must be a child of
one of the Hebrew women, she determined to keep him,
and bring him up as her own son. Pharaoh, the king, had
no son to take his place as king when he should die, and
so his daughter thought she would educate this little boy
to be the king of Egypt. She called him Moses, which
means drawn out," because she had drawn him out of the
It was a wonderful thing for a princess to take the
child of a slave and bring him up as her son, but it was the
Lord who put the thought into her mind ; because he
wanted this little boy to be a great man, and do a great
BIBLE CHILD LIFE.
work for him in the world. He wanted him to have the
best education the world could give him.
As soon as Miriam saw that Pharaoh's daughter was
not going to hurt the baby, she ventured to go up and
ask her if she should not call a nurse from among the He-
brew women. I think it was God who put it into her
heart to ask that, too. Pharaoh's daughter told her to go,
so Miriam went and called her own mother. When Joche-
bed came, the princess gave her the child, and told her to
nurse him for her, and she would give her her wages.
So the good mother had her own baby back again, and
was paid for taking care of him too. After that there was
no more fear that he would be taken from her and killed.
Do you not think Jochebed was happy now ? and that she
thanked the Lord over and over again for his kindness to
As soon as little Moses could understand her, his mother
began to teach him to love and reverence the true God, to
love truth, and to always do right. She took special pains
to make him a kind, unselfish boy. Jochebed believed that
Moses had been thus miraculously preserved by the Lord
for some great work, and she was very careful in his train-
ing. She knew that after awhile he would go to live with
those who worshiped idols, so she talked to him a great
deal about how wrong it is to serve false gods. She also
told him about the troubles of the Israelites, till his young
heart loved and pitied them very much. She did not con-
ceal from him the fact that he was a Hebrew himself, so
in all his life at the court of Pharaoh his heart was not
there, but with those poor slaves, his own people.
Moses stayed with his mother till he was twelve years
old, and then went to live at the palace of Pharaoh, with
the princess who had adopted him. He now began to re-
ceive instruction from the teachers of Egypt, who taught
him all they knew, and at that time the Egyptians were
the wisest nation on the earth. He became a great mili-
tary leader, and was also educated as a priest. But he
would never worship the false gods of the Egyptians,
though the Egyptians tried very hard to induce him to do
so, and told him he could not be king unless he worshiped
When a child, Moses is said to have been so beautiful
that as he went along the streets, people would stop their
work and turn to look after him. He was perfect in form
and had a very lovely face. That may have been one
reason why Pharaoh's daughter loved him so much. But
Moses never seems to have been at all proud of his great
beauty. He cared more for what the Lord thought of him
than for all that the people might say. The Bible says
that Moses was "exceeding fair," yet he was very meek,
BIBLE CHILD LIFE.
"above all the men that were upon the face of the earth."
He knew that it was the Lord who had made him beauti-
ful, if he thought about it at all, and that his beauty
only made it more necessary for him to do just as God
wanted him to do.
Thus passed the first forty years of Moses' life. He be-
came "learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and
was mighty in words and in deeds."
When the time came that the Lord would deliver the
Israelites from their slavery in Egypt, he sent Moses and
his brother Aaron to Pharaoh demanding their release, but
as he steadfastly refused to do as they asked, the Lord
sent ten plagues on the land and the people till the stub-
born king was forced to yield.
Moses led them out of Egypt by the Red Sea, through the
wilderness of Sinai, to the borders of Canaan. Here Moses
died on Mt. Nebo, and the arigels buried him. He did
not long remain in the grave, however, for the Lord Jesus,
the Lifegiver, came down from heaven, and calling his
faithful servant to life again, took him up to heaven, where
he has been ever since that time. Thus the life of that
little babe, so cunningly hid in the rushes of the river Nile,
is still flowing on, and shall never end,
THE FIRST PASSOiER.
4 ATHER, I cannot sleep; the prophet's words
Ring in my ears; they fill my heart with fear;
For am I not the first-born, and the one
On whom the destroying angel's shaft would fall
Were not the token on the lintel found?
Thrice have I named the patriarchs, and once
The creatures great and small that Noah drove
Before him in the ark; but all in vain.
I cannot sleep. 0 Father, art thou sure
The blood is sprinkled as God gave command?"
Peace, peace, my child; just as the evening fell
The fairest lamb of all the flock was slain,
And roasted then with purifying fire;
With bitter herbs, and bread devoid of leaven,
In haste we ate the Lord's appointed feast.
Nor were the means of saving thee forgot;
Scarce was the yearling slain ere I gave word
For sprinkling of the blood upon the door;
Sleep, then, my first-born; God's avenging one
Will see the signal, and pass over thee."
Thus on that dark night which God had chosen
For passing throughout all fair Egypt's land,
To smite on every side the loved first-born,
Sparing not e'en the firstlings of the flock,
A Hebrew father soothed his restless child;
140] Sprinkling the Blood on the Door-post.
THE FIRST PASSOVER.
Restless himself, as now with girded loins,
Sandals upon his feet, and staff in hand,
He waited for that solemn midnight hour,
When God's almighty arm should break the chain
That bound his people to proud Pharaoh's throne.
The night wore on,
And yet again the pleading voice was heard:
" Father, sleep will not come; before my eyes
I see the angel pass, and at our door
Pause sadly, as though he wept to enter,
Yet dared not hasten unavenging by.
0 father, if the blood has been removed,
Or if the herdboy heeded not thy voice,
Then never shall my weary eyes behold
The land of Canaan with its waving fields."
"Rest, little one; faithful our Jared is.
Not only on the side-posts of the door
Should be the stain, but on the one above;
So if some hungry dog should from its place
One token lick, the others would remain.
Sleep, my sweet child, for thou hast need of rest;
The journey will be rough for little feet."
The anxious voice was silent; for in that home
Obedience reigned supreme, though not as yet
The law had sounded forth from Sinai's top;
With patience dutiful she sought to woo
Soft slumber to her long unclosed eyes;
BIBLE CHILD LIFE.
Sleep came at last, but with it dreams of fright,
Wherein she tossed, and moaned, and oft cried out.
The midnight hour drew nigh; unbroken still
The darkness' solemn hush; the child awoke
With a loud cry, "Father, I thought I heard
The cock's shrill crow to greet approaching morn.
My heart is beating with a sick'ning dread
Of danger near. Oh! take me to the door,
And let me see the red blood sprinkled there."
Lighting a torch, the father gently took
His first-born in his arms, and bore her forth-
Started and paled to see no paschal sign,
No warning that their door should be passed by!
With trembling hand he snatched the hyssop then,
Himself applied the blood in eager haste.
A long sigh of relief escaped the child;
Almost before he placed her on the couch
Sweet sleep had fallen on her heavy lids,
Nor when that "great cry" rose did she awake;
That agonizing wail of man and beast
Reached not her ears, with drowsy slumber sealed,
And at the dawn they bore her, sleeping still,
Away from Egypt's darkness and despair.
Christ, our blest Passover, is slain for us;
The "blood of sprinkling" for our sins is shed;
Have we the atoning sacrifice applied,
Made sure our entrance to the promised land ?
OR some four hundred years after
aH the children of Israel went to the
Island of Canaan from Egypt, they were
i ruled by men called judges. Samuel
S was the last of these judges. After
him, Israel had kings till they were
conquered by Nebuchadnezzar, and many
of them taken to Babylon as slaves.
Samuel's father belonged to the family
of Kohath, a son of Levi and a grandson
Sof Jacob. The Levites ministered in the
tabernacle, and the priests were chosen from that
S G' tribe. The tabernacle was at that time located at
Shiloh, some fifteen miles north of Jerusalem. This
was the same tabernacle that had been made in the wilder-
ness of Sinai.
Three times a year Samuel's father, Elkanah, had to
go to Shiloh to the feasts. On one of these occasions his
wife, Hannah, went with him. As she saw the happy
BIBLE CHILD LIFE.
mothers come to the tabernacle with their little boys, she
longed to have a child of her own. One woman taunted
her because she had no children, saying it was because
God was displeased with her. It was thought to be a
disgrace in those days not to have children in the family.
These cruel remarks made Hannah feel very sad, and
she wept bitterly. While her husband was in the taber-
nacle making the sacrifices, Hannah prayed very earnestly.
She told the Lord that if he would only give her a son,
she would train him for God, and give him to his service
as long as he lived.
After a while the little boy came, and was named Sam-
uel, which means "asked of God." Hebrew children were
very often named from something which happened before
they were born. The name also sometimes represented the
character or condition of the person who bore it.
Hannah taught Samuel from the first that he belonged
to the Lord, and she made the service of God so delightful
to him that he was anxious to work for him. She told
him a great deal about the love of God, and showed him
his wisdom in the things he has made. Little Samuel
thus learned to love and reverence his heavenly Father.
It is not known just how old Samuel was when Han-
nah took him to the tabernacle to give him to the Lord,
but it was when he was still a lad. His mother must
have felt very lonely to go home without her little boy.
She would not see him again for a whole year. Do you not
think she must have loved the Lord very much to be will-
ing to leave her dear child and go away, never to have
him for her own again ?
Eli was the high priest as well as the judge of Israel
when Samuel went to live at the tabernacle, and his sons
ministered in the holy place. Eli was very glad to have
Samuel come there to stay, and the child was so good and
true and did all his work so faithfully that the old man
came to love and trust him more than he did his own sons.
Between the old man and the little child a strong affection
Samuel never complained of anything he was told to do,
no matter how unpleasant it was, because he knew it was
the Lord's work. And the Lord was so pleased with Sam-
uel that he blessed and prospered him in everything he
did. Our Father in heaven always sees and remembers
everything we do for him.
As a rule, the priests did not begin to minister in the
tabernacle till they were thirty years old, but Samuel be-
gan when he was young. He was so good, and had given
himself so completely to the work of the Lord, that the
linen ephod a garment that showed that he was a priest
- was placed upon him while he was yet a child.
1461 Samuel's New Robe.
Once a year Samuel's mother went up to Shiloh to
attend the passover, and then she saw her son. She always
brought him a new coat or robe, to wear when he was do-
ing the work of the tabernacle. It must have been a great
satisfaction to Hannah to see how good Samuel was, and
how the Lord was blessing him. The Bible says, "The
child Samuel grew on, and was in favor both with the
Lord, and also with men."
It was fortunate that Samuel had learned to love and
serve God before he went to live with Eli; because Eli's
sons were not good men, and they might have led him to
do wrong. It made Eli very sorry to see his sons so bad,
but all he said to them was, "Why do ye such things? it
is no good report that I hear." He did not compel them
to do right, nor did he punish them for doing wrong. Be-
ing the judge of Israel, he ought to have taken them out
of the office of the priesthood, if they would not do right.
God had commanded that when a priest kept on doing
such wicked things as Eli's sons did, he should be stoned
to death; yet Eli let them live on, and worse than that,
he let them stay in the tabernacle, doing the work of the
Lord, till the people came to despise the service of God,
and would not go to the tabernacle to worship. So you
see it was a terrible thing for Eli not to control his
BIBLE CHILD LIFE.
Little Samuel slept within hearing of Eli. One night
he heard his name called, and supposing it was Eli, cheer-
fully answered, Here am I," as he ran to Eli's bedside.
But Eli had not called him. Samuel went back, but it
was not long before he heard the call again. Running
quickly to Eli, he said, "Here am I; for thou didst call
me." Still Eli had not spoken. Again Samuel sought his
couch, only to hear the same call repeated the third time,
"Samuel, Samuel!" This time Eli felt sure that it was
the Lord calling the child, so he told Samuel to answer, if
the voice came again, Speak,. Lord; for thy servant heareth."
The obedient child, silent and awe-struck, went back to
his couch. When the voice came again, he answered rever-
ently, Speak; for thy servant heareth." Then the Lord told
him what he was about to do to Eli and his sons, because
they did not obey him. He had told Eli before this, what
the punishment should be if they did not repent, and now
he repeated it to Samuel. He said that Hophni and Phin-
ehas, the two sons of Eli, should be slain in battle, and that
there should never be an old man in the family of Eli for-
ever. The priest's office was to be taken away from him,
and given to one who would obey the Lord.
Samuel's heart was very sad as he went about his daily
duties the next morning. He did not wish to tell Eli
what he had heard; but Eli knew that the message from
the Lord to Samuel was important, so he called the child to
him and said, "What is the thing that the Lord hath said
unto thee? I pray thee hide it not from me." Then Sam-
uel told Eli all that the Lord had said, and the old man,
bowed down with grief and shame, answered, "It is the
Lord: let him do what seemeth him good."
After this the Lord gave Eli another chance to reform,
but as things went on just as they had done, the punish-
ment was sent upon them, and not only on the wicked sons,
but on their indulgent father as well. Hophni and Phin-
ehas were slain in battle with the Philistines. The Israel-
ites were beaten, and the ark of God, which had been
carried out of the tabernacle to the battle-field, was taken by
the enemy. When Eli heard the result of the battle, and
that the ark of God was taken, he fell down and died.
After the death of Eli, Samuel ministered in the taber-
nacle, and he continually gained in favor with the people.
The Lord spoke through him as he had done through the
older prophets, and the Israelites knew that the young man
was to be a prophet of God. Through his influence Israel
turned once more to serve God, and the whole nation pros-
pered as they had not done for many years. He opened
schools for the education of young men, called Schools of
the Prophets, and went around to different places to teach
the people the word of God.
BIBLE CHILD LIFE.
How do you suppose Samuel became such a good man,
and kept from doing wrong? I think it was because he
never trusted himself. He knew that he could not make
himself good, so he just told the Lord he wanted to be
good, and asked him every day to keep him from doing
wrong. When any one chooses, in this way, to do right,
the Lord will help him, so he need not do wrong at all.
Every little child can do so, if he will only let the Lord
keep and help him, but he can never do it alone.
\veq a child is known by his doings, whether his work.
be pure, and whether it be rightt"
N Palestine and other countries of the East,
the houses are made very differently from
the way we make our houses. They are
square, usually one story high, and, if large
enough, have an open space in the center,
called a court. In this court are planted
flowers and shrubs, and even large trees. There
is usually a nice fountain sending up its spark-
1 ling jets of water to cool and freshen the air,
i which makes it very pleasant, for Palestine is a
i, wrm country. Here and there is a low sofa or
in lt on which to recline. The floor is paved with
tiling or marble. In hot weather, an awning, or
curtain, is often stretched over the court.
All the rooms in the house are entered directly from the
court, and all the windows look into it, except one, covered
with latticework, which overlooks the street.
The walls of the dwelling are made of stone, if the
owner is a rich man; but poor people have to use mud
BIBLE CHILD LIFE.
mixed with reeds or rushes. The roof is nearly flat, slop-
ing inward only enough to let the water run off, which is
collected in pipes and emptied into the cistern or the
fountain. The roof is paved like a floor, and makes a
pleasant place to sit in the evening, and a delightful place
in which to sleep during the hot nights, as it is always
cool, and above the reach of mosquitoes and other annoying
insects. Around the outer edge is a solid wall or parapet,
breast-high (three or four feet), built to prevent any one
from falling off into the street; and on the inner edge is
a similar one, overlooking the court, made of lattice or
carved work. This makes the roof a very safe place for
all purposes, and a favorite play-ground for the children.
One important use of the roof is as a place of prayer.
Here the rising sun greets the worshiper in his silent
devotions, and at its setting the same service is repeated.
Here the herald comes to make public announcements, and
here the housewives talk over their family affairs.
The house has but one door, and that is ; the center
of the front side of the house. This front door, or gate,
as it is called, opens from the street into an arched passage
way, or hall, which leads through the house into the court.
It is not a direct passage, but turns to one side, so that
no one passing in the street can look into the interior.
It is in this wide hall, with its benches on each side to
Interior of a Jewish House.
BIBLE CHILD LIFE.
sit upon, that the master of the house receives visitors and
Many of the rooms in the houses of the rich are large
and finished in fragrant woods. They are beautifully fur-
nished, with velvet or damask tapestry hung on the walls.
The floors are of wood, painted tiles, or marble, usually
spread with carpets or rich rugs. Low sofas or mattresses
are used instead of chairs. No one enters these rooms ex-
cept the family; visitors are never allowed to go beyond
From this it would seem that the Jews did not care to
make a display of their fine houses or rich furniture, and
it doubtless saved many a feeling of envy and jealousy, for
no one knew what another had inside of his house. Yet
one would think that a sight of the flowers and the foun-
tain in the court might have been a pleasure and blessing
to some weary passer-by.
The Bible often speaks of the "upper chamber," the
chamber on the wall over the gate, etc. This was usually
a little room built over the entrance to the house, and was
one story higher than the rest of the building. A stair-
way led to it from the hall below, so that one could go to
this room without disturbing the inmates of the house. It
had a door opening onto the roof. In this chamber stran-
gers were usually lodged and entertained, and thither the
A JEWISH HOME.
men were wont to retire from the hurry and noise of their
families to be more at leisure for meditation or devotion."
The room was sometimes used as a wardrobe or storeroom.
The Saviour told his disciples to go into their closet to
pray, because that was the most retired place in the house.
It must have been such a little chamber that he meant.
It was probably a little room like this which the Shunam-
mite woman had built for Elisha to stay in when he came
to her house.
"My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments:
for length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee. Let not
mercy and truth forsake thee; bind them about thy neck; write them upon
the table of thine heart: so shalt thou find favor and good understanding in
the sight of God and man."
U TJRING the reign of Ahab, one of the kings
of Israel, there came a drought throughout
e all the land of Palestine. For three years
not a drop of rain fell, and there was much
suffering. The famine was sent by the Lord
in answer to the prayer of Elijah; for the
people had departed so far from God that
they were worshiping idols, and had an
image of Baal set up in Samaria. Elijah was so troubled
ovei this state of things that he asked the Lord to send
the drought to turn the people to the worship of the only
true God once more.
When the Lord's people forsook him and served other
gods, he did not forsake them, but sent them sometimes
THE WIDOW'S SON.
one trouble, sometimes another, to make them think about
their sins, and turn to him again. The Lord was always
caring for them in every way, and working for their in-
terests. Yet they often forgot him and his kindness to
them, and would not do as he told them.
It seems strange that they should turn away from the
One who was so good to them, and serve a god that had
no feeling, that could neither see nor hear, and could never
help them in any way; but after all we do the same thing
when we neglect to serve God now. He is just as ready
to help us as he was the Israelites, yet we forget him, and
go on our own way, not trying to do as he has told us.
Let us always remember that our God is able to help us,
and wants to do it ; and that all we ever need do is to
ask him in earnest, and he will hear us, and answer in the
way that is best for us.
Elijah told king Ahab that the drought was coming,
but instead of being sorry for his sins and turning to God,
the king was angry with the prophet, and tried to kill
him. It was the Lord, not Elijah, who caused the drought,
and he protected his servant from the wrath of the king.
At first the Lord told Elijah to go and live by the
brook Cherith, which was near the river Jordan. There he
had plenty of good water to drink, and the ravens brought
him food twice a day.
1 / j
'i ; C
The Widow's Son Raised to Life.
THE WIDOW'S SON.
It must have been about two years that Elijah lived by
the brook before its waters were dried up. The Lord then
told him to go to a village called Zarephath, where he had
commanded a widow to furnish him food.
Zarephath was a city of the Sidonians, north of Pales-
tine. This widow, though not one of the Israelites, was
beloved by the Lord. She was living nearer right than
were some of those who knew so much about the true God,
and for whom he had done so many wonderful things.
Now, when the Lord wanted a safe place in which to hide
his servant, he sent him into a heathen country.
Elijah arose and went to Zarephath, as the Lord had
told him, and found the woman near the gate of the city,
gathering up sticks to make a fire. He spoke to her, ask-
ing for a drink of water. As she started to get it, he
called after her to bring him a morsel of bread in her
hand. Then the poor woman told the prophet all about
She had been gathering up some wood to make a fire
so that she could cook the last bit of meal and oil she had
in the house; and when she and her son had eaten that,
they expected to die, for there was no more to be had in
The prophet now said to her, "Fear not; go and do
as thou hast said : but make me thereof a little cake first,
BIBLE CHILD LIFE.
and bring it unto me, and after make for thee and for thy
son. For thus saith the Lord God of Israel, The barrel of
meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, un-
til the day that the Lord sendeth rain upon the earth."
The widow believed the word of Elijah, and gladly
went home and made the cake for him first. Sure enough,
when she had made that cake, there was just as much
meal in the barrel as there was before, and the oil had not
decreased. Thus it continued for a whole year, the widow's
family and Elijah living on what seemed to be just a hand-
ful of meal and a little oil; then the famine was over.
At the close of the three years, Elijah again prayed,
and the rain fell as usual. The fields again brought forth
abundant harvests, and there was plenty of food in Palestine.
While Elijah still abode at Zarephath, the widow's son
was taken sick and died. The mother immediately went
with her trouble to Elijah, who, when he heard that the
child was dead, went to her house, and taking him up to
the little chamber where he stayed, laid him on the bed.
Then he stretched himself on the child three times, and
prayed to the Lord, and the child began to breathe. Tak-
ing him up, Elijah carried him down to his mother, and
said, "See, thy son liveth." Was not that mother richly
repaid for all her kindness to the prophet of God?
T is believed that Elisha spent much of
his time visiting the schools of the proph-
ets, and in going from place to place to
S teach the people. In these journeys he
often passed through the city of Shunem,
d on the plain of Esdraelon.
A good woman lived here, a "great wo-
man," the Bible calls her. No doubt she was much loved
and honored by God and those who knew her. Her hus-
band, too, was a true child of God. These people were
wealthy, but they had no children tc share their nice home,
and they were lonely.
As this Shunammite woman saw Elisha go by her house,
she asked him to come in and have something to eat.
This he did whenever he passed through the city. After a
while she thought it would be a nice thing for him to have
a chamber on the wall, where he could feel at home, could
come and go as he pleased, and where he could be alone
to pray and read and study as long as he wished. She
talked with her husband about it, and soon the little room
u q ei n: Rif i '.
BIBLE CHILD LIFE.
was built. The good woman probably made this room very
nice and pleasant, because it was for a man of God, and
she loved the Lord very much. We always try to do our
best for one we love.
When the room was finished, they put into it "a bed,
and a table, and a stool, and a candlestick," or lamp. This
stool was not what we call a stool; in other places in the
Bible it is called a throne. It was probably a nice easy
chair. When Elisha chose, he could take his mattress out
onto the roof and sleep there, with the starry heavens for
The next time Elisha came, they took him up into the
chamber they had made. Do you not think he must have
been pleased to have such a pretty room all to himself?
And I think he must have been very glad that his friends
loved God so much as to be willing to do this for one of
From that little room Elisha could look out over the
beautiful plain of Esdraelon, the largest and most fertile in
Palestine. In the distance were the mountains of Gilboa,
Mt. Tabor, and Mt. Hermon, and on the west was the Car-
mel chain of mountains. What a satisfaction it must have
been to Elisha, to look across the plain to that very moun-
tain where, at the word of Elijah, fire had come down from
God out of heaven, and consumed his sacrifice when he was
RAISING THE SHUNAMMITE CHILD.
contending with the prophets of Baal, and Israel was de-
ciding which was the true God. A little nearer than Mt.
Carmel was the river Kishon, where Elijah had slain foul
hundred and fifty of the prophets of Baal. If Elisha had
to meet trials, here was an object-lesson for him, and he
knew that God would help him as he did his master
The prophet came often to this room with his servant
Gehazi. He felt so grateful to the Shunammite for her kind-
ness to him that he wished to do something for her. So
he said to his servant, "Call this Shunammite." He did
so, and she came and stood before the servant. Then Elisha
told him to say to her, "Behold, thou hast been careful
for us with all this care; what is to be done for thee?
wouldst thou be spoken for to the king, or to the captain
of the host?" But she said, "I dwell among mine own
people." What more could she desire?
After she had gone out, Elisha said to Gehazi, "What
then is to be done for her?" and Gehazi answered, Ver-
ily she hath no child." The prophet told him to call her
again, and she came and stood in the door of the room.
Elisha then told her that by that time next year she should
have a little son of her own. A little child had been
the one wish of her heart, but this was too much for her
to believe, it was too good to be true. She said to Elisha,
[641 The Sick Boy.
RAISING THE SHUNAMMITE CHILD.
"Nay, my lord, thou man of God, do not lie unto thine
handmaid." But the little boy came, sure enough.
One day, after the child had grown to be a lad, he
went out where the reapers were cutting down the grain,
to be with his father. The heat is so intense in that coun-
try at harvest time that many people are sunstruck. As
the little fellow was playing around, he suddenly cried out,
"My head my head!" His father sent one of the ser-
vants to take him to his mother in the house. The poor
little boy lay in her lap till noon, and then he died.
In the midst of her anguish the poor mother thought
how the Lord had given her the child, and taking him up,
she carried him to the chamber of the man of God and laid
him on the bed. Then she closed the door, and went out
to her husband. She did not tell him that the little one
was dead, but asked for a beast to ride on, and a young
man to go with her, for she wanted to go to see the man
of God. Her husband thought it very strange that she
should want to go then, because it was "neither new moon
nor Sabbath." But she said, "It shall be well," so he said
no more, and she rode in haste to Elisha.
It was five or six miles to Mt. Carmel, where she knew
Elisha to be at that time. As she drew near, the prophet
saw her, and said to his servant, Behold, yonder is that
Shunammite: run now, I pray thee, to meet her, and say
BIBLE CHILD LIFE.
unto her, Is it well with thee? is it well with thy hus-
band ? is it well with the child ?" Gehazi ran and asked
her, and she answered, "It is well." Not till the poor
mother reached the presence of Elisha did she make known
her trouble; then she fell down before him and caught hold
of his feet. Gehazi was going to push her away, but
Elisha said, "Let her alone ; for her soul is bitter within
her: and the Lord hath hid it from me."
At last she spoke, "Did I desire a son of my lord?
did I not say, Do not deceive me ?" Elisha now under-
stood that the child was dead, and he said to Gehazi,
" Gird up thy loins, and take my staff in thine hand, and
go thy way: and lay my staff upon the face of
the child." He was not to stop or speak to any one on the
way. But this plan did not satisfy the mother. She must
have the prophet himself go home with her. So he arose
and followed her. On the way they met Gehazi coming
back, and he said, "The child is not awaked."
When Elisha was come into the house, behold, the
child was dead, and laid upon his bed. He went in there-
fore, and shut the door upon them twain, and prayed unto
the Lord. And he went up, and lay upon the child, and
put his mouth upon his mouth, and his eyes upon his eyes,
and his hands upon his hands : and he stretched himself
upon the child; and the flesh of the child waxed warm.
RAISING THE SHUNAMMITE CHILD.
Then he returned, and walked in the house to and fro;
and went up, and stretched himself upon him: and the
child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes."
Then calling the mother, the prophet pointed to the
bed, saying, "Take up thy son." The good woman "fell
at his feet, and bowed herself to the ground." Her soul,
so lately full of anguish, was now overflowing with joy and
gratitude; but before she would clasp to her breast her be-
loved child, she showed how thankful she was to God for
his goodness in restoring her boy to life. Then she "took
up her son, and went out."
Some time after this there was a great famine in the
land, which lasted seven years. Before it began, Elisha
told the Shunammite woman to take her family and go to
some other country to stay till it was over. So they went
to the land of the Philistines, which was not far away.
While they were gone, her house and lands were seized
by some one else, and when they came back, she went to
the king to ask that her property might be restored to her.
She found Gehazi telling the king about the great things
that Elisha had done," and at that very moment he was
giving an account of his bringing the dead child to life.
As soon as the Shunammite entered, Gehazi knew her, and
said to the king, "My lord, 0 king, this is the woman.
and this is her son, whom Elisha restored to life."
BIBLE CHILD LIFE.
The king then asked the woman if that was true which
Gehazi had been telling him, and she said it was. The
king was so much affected by the story that he told an
officer to give the woman all that belonged to her, and all
the "fruits of the field" which had grown on her land
from the time she left until then.
Do you not see how the Lord cared for this woman and
her family all the time after she began to work for him
by providing for his servant ? He has said, Give, and it
shall be given unto you, good measure, pressed down, and
shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your
bosom." And the Lord is just as ready to take care of
every one of us as he was of that Shunammite woman, if
we too will only work for him.
N the days of Elisha the prophet, while the
Israelites were having a war with the Syrians,
a band of Syrians came to one of the happy
Jewish homes, stole one of the little girls, and
carried her to their own land. The poor child
must have cried very bitterly when she found
herself being taken away from her home and
friends, but the Lord was watching over her,
and though she did not know anything about it,
he had a mission for her in that foreign land,
among the enemies of her people.
Next to the king, Naaman was the greatest
man in the kingdom of Syria. He was the king's
favorite, and was beloved and honored by all the people;
but he had one sorrow so dreadful that not even his meanest
slave would have changed places with him. This mighty
general was a leper.
Leprosy is the most terrible disease that can afflict men.
Inch by inch the flesh and bones rot away, and there is
r"7i The Jewish Maiden.
THE JEWISH MAID IN SYRIA.
such a terrible smell from the decaying flesh that no one
can endure to stay near it. The poor leper becomes loath-
some to himself and a terror to every one else.
The little maid from Judea was given to the wife of
Naaman, to be her slave. She had a splendid home here,
and the people were doubtless very kind to her. But there
was one thing that troubled her more than anything else,
and that was, no one worshiped the God of her people.
Do you suppose the Jewish child went to the heathen tem-
ples with the rest, and bowed down to idols of wood and
stone ? 0 no she could never do that. She clung to
her own religion, and was not ashamed to tell those great
people about her God, of his willingness to be our Physi-
cian, and of his mighty works performed through his prophet
Elisha. She spoke as though she knew that if her master
could only see the prophet, he would be healed; for had
not Elisha raised to life the Shunammite's child ?
By and by the Syrians were convinced that what the
little maid said was true, and Naaman decided to go to
see the prophet. This little girl must have been a very
good child since she had been with her mistress, or they
would not have had so much confidence in what she said.
When the heathen go to ask a favor of their gods, they
take costly presents with them; so Naaman took a great
deal of gold and silver, and ten different suits of raiment,
BIBLE CHILD LIFE.
rich and beautiful. Then, sick and suffering as he was, he
started with his servants for the land of Israel.
Upon reaching that country, Naaman went directly to
the king, instead of to the prophet. The king of Syria
had sent a letter to the king of Israel, requesting him to
heal Naaman. He thought the king would know of the
prophet. But the king of Israel was a wicked man, who
knew not God nor his prophet. So he thought that the
king of Syria was seeking a quarrel, and sent Naaman
away in a rage. Elisha heard of this, for he lived near
the king, and sent word that if Naaman would come to
him, he would find out that there was a prophet in Israel.
At last they reached Elisha's house, but instead of com-
ing out himself to see Naaman, he simply sent his servant
to tell him what to do. This made Naaman very angry.
He thought surely Elisha would have come out to see him,
go through some great ceremony, and then, with a ges-
ture, as the priests of his own country would have done,
wave his hand over the place, and in some mysterious way
power would come from the hand to heal him.
Instead of that, Elisha only told him to go and wash
in the river Jordan seven times. He thought it was ab-
surd-were there not much better rivers in his own coun-
try than in Palestine? he said. He would go home and
THE JEWISH MAID IN SYRIA.
But the servants of Naaman, fearing that their master
was risking too much in not doing as the prophet had said,
tried to persuade him to follow the directions given. "My
father," they said, "if the prophet had bid thee do some
great thing, wouldst thou not have done it? how much
rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean."
Naaman saw how foolish he had been, and immediately
went down to the river and dipped himself seven times.
Then O! what a change! He who had been so full of
pain and disease, bounded out of the water perfectly well
and strong. His flesh was like that of a little child.
With the deepest gratitude he returned to Elisha to thank
him for his healing, and to offer him the gifts he had
brought, saying, "Now I know that there is no God in
all the earth, but in Israel."
Elisha would not take any present from Naaman, be-
cause he wanted him to see how different was the God of
Israel from all other gods. He would have those heathen
among whom Naaman lived, know that the blessing of God
is free, and that true religion is unselfish. Naaman was so
happy that the very ground of Judah looked good to him,
and he asked for just so much of it as two mules could
carry, to take home with him. Naaman had a new heart
as well as new flesh, and he felt that there was love and
beauty in all nature.
BIBLE CHILD LIFE.
It had been a sad and anxious company that went with
Naaman to see Elisha, but how different was the journey
home! Now they all felt like "walking and leaping and
praising God." The very desert seemed to blossom as the
rose." And what a moment of joy it was when Naaman
once more set foot in his own house No more shrinking
from the touch of a leper. Now he could embrace his
loved ones freely, who had not dared to touch him since
he became a leper.
And what of the little maid who was the cause of all
this happiness ? Do you not think she was happy too ?
Probably she had been praying earnestly to God ever since
her master went away, for the Lord to heal him.
And not only did the house of Naaman learn of the
true God of Israel, but the whole nation of the Syrians
had a chance to learn about God, and honored him, and
all because a little girl was not afraid or ashamed to tell
those heathen people about her people and her God.
Do you suppose, little reader, that if you, like that
little maid, had been stolen from your home, and taken
to a foreign land, where they did not know anything about
the God you had been taught to worship, you would have
done as she did? Have you learned so much about the
Bible that you could tell other people all about it, even if
you did not have it to read from? :,0;:
'-6F-E INFANT KING~--
EARLY nine hundred years before the
birth of Christ, there was a little boy
named Joash who was made king
over the Israelites when he was only seven
years old, and this was how it happened:-
There had been a dreadful war in Jerusalem,
and king Ahaziah, the father of Joash, had been killed.
The mother of Ahaziah must have been a very wicked wo-
man; for as soon as she saw that her son was dead, she
commanded that all his children should be slain, because
she wanted to reign over the kingdom herself. So the
cruel order was executed, and all the children of Ahaziah,
as their grandmother supposed, were killed, and she took
But there was one among the king's sons who escaped,
and that was Joash, who was then a little baby scarcely a
year old. His aunt, the wife of Jehoiada, the high priest,
had taken him from among his brothers, and hid him in one
of the chambers of the temple, where the officers of the
queen could not find him.
BIBLE CHILD LIFE.
In this secure hiding place little Joash stayed for si&
years, with his good aunt and uncle to care for him. No
doubt they provided for him the very best training that
could be had. Above all, we know they taught him to love
God and his service. It must have been very hard for
such a little boy to be kept in the house so long, but they
did not dare let him go out for fear he would be killed.
When Joash was seven years old, his uncle went to
some of the leaders of the people, and to the captains of
the army, and told them secretly about Joash. Then he
brought the little boy down and showed him to them. The
rulers were very glad when they saw him, for they hated
the wicked doings of Athaliah, the queen.
It was soon arranged to have the boy crowned king, in
the place of his father; for the throne was lawfully his, and
Athaliah had no right to be queen. These chief men of the
nation promised to do all that Jehoiada desired of them.
He sent them all over the country, to gather the leaders of
the people and the Levites, and interest them in the bring-
ing out and crowning of the rightful king.
When the time came, Jehoiada divided the men into
three parts: one part was to be the body-guard of the
young king; another was to watch all the gates and doors
of the temple; and the third was placed at the gate lead-
ing to the palace where the queen was.
THE INFANT KING.
This crowning of Joash must have taken place at the
time of one of the great feasts in Jerusalem, or the large
number of guards around the temple would have attracted
notice. The men all went into the temple unarmed, but the
high priest had arms with which to supply them, weapons
which had been king David's.
At last everything was ready, and Jehoiada appeared in
the court of the temple, leading by the hand the little boy
who was the last and only person left of the royal family
of David. Joash was placed by the pillar where the kings
always stood to be crowned; there they anointed him with
oil, and placed upon his head the golden crown, and dressed
him in the royal robes. Then the book of the law was put
into his hands, and he took the usual oath upon it, which
made him king. He was then seated on a throne, and all
the people shouted, Long live the king !"
Athaliah was in her palace all this time, but when she
heard the people shouting, she ran quickly to the temple
to see what was going on. The scene that met her eyes
as she rushed into the court filled her with anger and ter-
ror. There was the boy, enthroned, crowned, and dressed
like a king, while the chief men of the kingdom, the mili-
tary commanders, and the Levites, stood in their places as
though they were attending a monarch. The Levites were
blowing their trumpets and playing on musical instruments.
The Crownine of Joash.
THE INFANT KING.
Athaliah instantly tore her clothes, and cried, Treason!
treason!" She meant that they were rebelling against the
rightful government. The people rushed upon her to kill
her, but Jehoiada called to them to take her out of the
temple; for he did not want her killed in the holy build-
ing; so they carried her out by the king's stables, and
there she was slain.
What a change was this for Joash,--from being kept
close within a few rooms in the temple all his life, to being
a king. Of course he was not wise enough to rule the na-
tion at that age, but Jehoiada was his guardian, and he
acted as king in his place till Joash became old enough to
take the rule himself.
One of the first things Jehoiada did was to restore the
worship of the true God; for the people had been worship-
ing Baal and other false gods. The Israelites once more
promised to worship God, and in their enthusiasm they tore
down the temple of Baal at Jerusalem, and broke all his
images and altars.
During the life of Jehoiada, Joash seemed to be a very
good man. But there were some of the chief men of the
kingdom who were not at heart true to the worship of
God, and after the death of Jehoiada they came around
Joash with flattering words, and showed him so much at-
tention that he finally gave his consent for the worship of
BIBLE CHILD LIFE.
idols to be again established in the land. Afterward he
accepted that worship himself.
Zechariah, the son of Jehoiada, and cousin to Joash,
talked with the king about this, and told him that some
great trouble would come on the nation on account of it.
Joash was angry with him for speaking so; he made a
little sign to his soldiers, and they stoned Zechariah to
death right there. Was that not a terrible return for all
the kindness that Jehoiada had shown him when he was a
little boy? This shows the influence that evil associates
will have on even a good man.
The Lord look upon it, and require it," said the dying
Zechariah, and he did. That very year Hazael, king of
Syria, came to Palestine, and with a few men conquered a
large army of Israelites at Gath. Then he pushed on to
Jerusalem, but Joash took all the gold and silver and other
treasures that were in the temple and in the king's house
and sent them to Hazael, so he went away from the city
for that time. The chief men who had led Joash into
idolatry had been killed in the battle, and the king him-
self was badly wounded. Soon after this he was slain by
his own servants.
The Jews buried Jehoiada among their kings, because
"he had done good in Israel," they said, but they would
not bury Joash there.
BOUT seventy-five miles north of Bethlehem, in
a valley among the hills of Galilee, was the town
of Nazareth. It was a pretty place, lying on
a gentle side-hill at one end of a basin, or
little valley, with low mountains rising all
Around it, its white houses gleaming among the
green trees and the vines that clung to them.
This was the home of Joseph and Mary, the
parents of Jesus. Mary had been chosen by God
himself to be the mother of Christ; but before the infant
Saviour came, they had been summoned to Bethlehem to
have their names enrolled among those of their relatives for
taxation. Caesar Augustus, the Roman emperor who was
then ruling over Palestine, had given commandment that
"all the world should be taxed." Before the subjects of
the Roman empire could be taxed, a record had to be made
6 [1 ]
BIBLE CHILD LIFE.
of all of them, their wives and children, with their age,
qualities, trades, offices, and estates.
In obedience to this decree, Joseph and Mary prepared
to go to Bethlehem. It was a long and tiresome journey,
but they did not complain. It took three or four days to
go, and no doubt they were very tired when at last they
reached the city. How disappointed they must have been
to find the inn filled with guests, who had arrived before
them, and they had no place to lay their weary heads.
The best they could do was to find shelter in the khan,
which was a rude enclosure.for the beasts. Yet even here
a place had been provided for such as they; for all around
three sides was a raised platform, with a roof over it,
where the traveler might curtain off a little room to him-
self, and laying down his blanket on a bit of hay, sleep
very comfortably and without fear. This was probably
what Joseph did, and here, that very night, Jesus was
About a mile from Bethlehem, on the slopes of the val-
ley east of the village, were some shepherds tending their
flocks. For fear of wild beasts, which sometimes came out
of the wilderness and killed the sheep, the shepherds ar-
ranged it so that some of their number should keep
watch all the time. One night, while thus watching, a
bright light shone around them, and looking up, they saw
Peace on Earth.
BIBLE CHILD LIFE.
an angel in the sky. He was coming directly toward them,
and at first they were very much afraid; but he spoke so
quickly, and looked so lovingly at them, that they soon for-
got their fears, and were rejoicing at the good news he
brought. He said: "Fear not: for, behold, I bring you
good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a
Saviour, who is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign
unto you: Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling
clothes, lying in a manger."
As the angel ceased speaking, suddenly there was a
multitude of other angels with him, all praising God and
Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, good-will toward men."
This beautiful song has been sung over and over again by
all who have loved the Saviour since then.
Then the angels went back to heaven, and the shep-
herds said one to another, "Let us now go even unto
Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which
the Lord hath made known unto us." As soon as the gates
of the city would be open, the shepherds went, and found
the little baby, the infant Saviour, lying in the manger,
just as the angel said they would, with his mother Mary
happy in her new joy.
JESUS COMES TO BETHLEHEM.
These good men must have read many times the words
of the prophet Micah where he said, more than seven hun-
dred years before this night in which Christ was born,
"Thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among
the princes of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth
unto me that is to be ruler in Israel." And the beloved
prophet Isaiah had also told them many things about the
Saviour who was to come.
With glad and thankful hearts the shepherds bowed
before the little babe, who was really the Son of God, and
worshiped him. Then they went back to their flocks, tell-
ing every one they met all about the beautiful angels and
the infant Saviour. "And all they that heard it wondered
at those things which were told them by the shepherds."
HEN Jesus was forty days old,
Joseph and Mary took him to
Jerusalem, that they might present
him to the Lord in the temple, and
make the offerings required by the law.
Because they were so very poor, Mary's
offering was only two little doves. The
ceremony of "redemption" was probably
performed at the same visit to the temple.
This ceremony was for the purpose of
releasing, or buying back, the first-born son
of every family from the service of the
temple. In memory of the deliverance of
the first-born of the Israelites when the
children of the Egyptians were slain, the
Lord claimed them as his own, thus honor-
ing them above all the other children of the family.
Until the tabernacle service was begun, they were the
PRESENTATION IN THE TEMPLE.
specially chosen servants of God; but when the tabernacle
was built, the Lord set apart the children of Levi to do
that work. Every male child, after he was a month old,
must be redeemed by the payment of two shekels (about
three dollars), which was given to the priests for the serv-
ice of the tabernacle.
The ceremony as practised by the Jews at the present
time, is probably not very different from what it was in
those days. It is described by Geikie much as follows: -
The father invites to his house ten men, one of whom
must be a rabbi, or priest. The baby is then brought in
and laid on a table, and beside it is placed the money for
its redemption. The priest asks the father if he wishes to
redeem his child from the service of the temple, and the
father says that he does, because he is his first-born and he
loves him. So the money is given to the priest, who lays
his hand on the child's head and says, "This [child] is
instead of this [money], and this [money] instead of this
childj ; may this child be brought to life, to the law, and
good deeds." Then he blesses him in these words, "God
make thee as Ephraim and Manasseh. The Lord bless and
preserve thee. The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee,
and give thee peace. Length of days, years, and peace be
gathered to thee; and God keep thee from all evil, and
save thy soul," Then the son is free, and at liberty to fol-
I I I
Simcon Thanking God for Letting Him Se( jee55U55
PRESENTATION IN THE TEMPLE.
low whatever profession or trade he may choose, and the
father has complied with the law. It must have been in
some such way that Jesus was redeemed.
After the ceremonies were all over and the offering made,
Mary stood in the court of the women. While she was
thus waiting with Jesus in her arms, an aged man named
Simeon came in. The Lord had told him who the babe
was, and going up to Mary he took the little one tenderly
into his own arms, saying, "Lord, now lettest thou thy serv-
ant depart in peace, according to thy word: for mine eyes
have seen thy salvation, which thou has prepared before
the face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and
the glory of thy people Israel."
Mary did not understand these words about her little
baby; for, though she knew he was the Son of God, she
did not have a very definite idea of the work he had come
on earth to do. But she laid up all these words in her
heart, to think over when she should be alone.
Just as Simeon finished his prayer, Anna, a very old
woman and a prophetess, came in alsd. The Bible says of
her that she "departed not from the temple, but served
God with fastings and prayers night and day." When she
saw Jesus, she also thanked God for sending him, and she
afterward spoke of him to all in Jerusalem who were look-
ing for the Saviour to come.
EVERAL hundred years before the
birth of Christ large numbers of the
Jews had been taken captive and
carried to Babylon, a great and beautiful
i city on the banks of the river Euphrates,
far from Jerusalem. But however dear and
beautiful the city looked to the people whose home it was,
it was sad and dreary to the poor captives, and sometimes
they would go down by the river-side, and hanging their
harps on the drooping willow trees, weep and mourn for
their own beloved home, the Holy City---Jerusalem.
Not all were thus content to sit and weep; they found
work to do in telling the idolatrous Babylonians about the
true God whom they worshiped. Daniel and his three
friends were among the captives, and the people had a
chance to see for themselves who was the true God, because
he saved Daniel from the lions in the den, and kept the
three other men from being burned up in the fiery furnace.
Nebuchadnezzar, the king, finally came to believe in God so
THE VISIT OF THE WISE MEN.
fully that he commanded all his people to worship him, and
not to worship any other god.
When Cyrus the Persian came to be the ruler over
Babylon, he was reading in the writings of the holy proph-
ets one day, in a copy of the Scriptures which had been
given him, perhaps by Daniel himself, and there he learned
that the Lord wanted him to rebuild the temple at Jerusa-
lem. So he immediately sent a proclamation throughout his
kingdom, which read:--
"The Lord God of heaven hath given me all the king-
doms of the earth: and he hath charged me to build him a
house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there
among you of all his people ? his God be with him, and
let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build
the house of the Lord God of Israel (he is the God), which
is in Jerusalem."
The people were overjoyed when they read this, and
many of them returned to their own land, but some had
been so long in Persia that they did not care to go back.
As the years went on, the Persians learned more and
more about the Jews and their religion, and many believed
that they were right. Some among them looked anxiously
for the Saviour whom the Jews were expecting.
Six hundred years had thus rolled by since Nebuchad-
nezzar carried Daniel and his fellow captives away from
S921 The Wise Men.
THE VISIT OF THE WISE MEN.
Jerusalem to Babylon. In those days there were living in
Persia some men who were called magi, or wise men.
They spent all their time in study, and were especially
interested in studying the heavens. They would sit up
night after night, as people do now, to see the stars. And
they studied other sciences too, so they were very wise, and
knew more than any others of their people.
In ancient times the birth of a great man was often
believed to be heralded by a star, and those wise men were
anxiously watching to discover the star which should herald
the birth of the Jewish King. At last their expectation
seemed to be fulfilled : a very bright star appeared in the
sky, which had never been seen there before.< It did not
rise and set like other stars, but remained in the same
Baalam, who had prophesied many years before, had
foretold the appearance of a star, saying, There shall come
a star out of Jacob, a scepter shall rise out of Israel, and
shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the king-
doms of Sheth."
The wise men decided to go at once to Jerusalem in
search of the King. So taking some gold and frankincense
(a costly perfume) and myrrh (a precious gum used for
perfume, and embalming the dead), they set out on their
BIBLE CHILD LIFE.
What was their surprise to see the beautiful star, seem-
ingly not far above the earth, going just before them, lead-
ing the way! With joyful hearts they hastened on across
the great, barren desert of Arabia, and finally came to
When they reached Jerusalem, they inquired for "him
that was born King of the Jews," but no one knew any-
thing about him. This seemed very strange, for they
thought the Jews would be rejoiced to think their deliverer
had come. But the Jews expected their Messiah to come
as a king, born in royal grandeur, and to be heralded by
wonderful signs. They were not ready to greet a poor little
babe as king.
So the wise men sought, and found him not. Finally
Herod, who was then king of Judea, heard of them and
their strange errand. He was interested at once, and com-
manded the Jewish priests to appear before him. When
they had come, he ordered them to tell him, if they knew,
where the Christ was to be born. They answered, "In
Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written in the prophets,"
and they showed him the place in Micah where it tells
Then Herod sent for the wise men, and told them to go
to Bethlehem, and if they found the child, they must bring
him word again, so that he might also go and worship him.
THE VISIT OF THE WISE MEN.
But Herod did not want to worship Jesus at all; he was
determined to kill him, because if Jesus was really the
King of the Jews, and should live to grow up, he would
take the throne away from Herod and his sons. This made
the king very anxious about it.
The wise men did not wait long after they heard where
Jesus was. It was only six miles to Bethlehem, and as
they started from Jerusalem, lo! the very same star again
appeared in all its brightness, and led them out over the
hills till they came to Bethlehem. As they entered the
village, the star seemed to hang over one particular house,
and here they entered and found Jesus, a little babe.
I do not suppose that he looked at all different from
other little children, but the wise men believed that he was
the Son of God, and they knelt down and worshiped him,
and gave him the presents they had brought.
The parents of Jesus were very poor, and God had sent
them these rich gifts, for he knew that before long they
would need money.
After their errand was accomplished, the wise men pre-
pared to go to Jerusalem, to tell Herod about what they
had seen; but in the night the Lord told them not to go
back to Herod, because he only wanted to kill Jesus. So
they went back to their country by another road, and did
not go to Jerusalem at all.
EROD waited a long time for
the wise men to return, and
grew very angry because they
*" did not come. He determined
/ :: :"' to destroy Jesus in some way, even if
the wise men had "mocked him," as he said.
He declared that he would teach the Jews that
they could not rise up and put another king on his throne.
They should see what terrible things he could do to them
if they tried to rebel.
If the Jews had only understood how their King was
to come, all this trouble might have been saved. But their
boastings about the wonderful Ruler who was to come and
take the kingdom, and subdue all the other nations of the
world, had enraged Herod, till he was wild with jealousy.
Then that wicked king planned a most cruel thing,-to
kill all the little baby boys in Bethlehem under two years
old. For fear Jesus would live to grow up, he destroyed
all the little boys in a whole town. Bethlehem was quite
a large place, and there must have been many little boys
under two years old there.
Jeremiah the prophet had told about this long before it
happened. He said, "In Rama was there a voice heard,
lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel
weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, be-
cause they are not." These were the first martyrs for
Christ. But the Lord comforted those mothers by a prom-
ise that their little ones should have a resurrection. He
said, They shall come again from the land of the enemy.
Thy children shall come again to their own border." And
this promise is to all Christian mothers and children.
But Jesus was not killed at this time. His father in
heaven was watching over him, and in a dream he told
Joseph what Herod was going to do, and that he must take
Jesus and flee into Egypt.
We may be sure that Joseph lost no time in doing as
the Lord had told him, so that when Herod was slaughter-
ing the poor little infants in Bethlehem, the One whom he
hoped to kill was far away on the road to Egypt, safe from
his cruel power.