HE ME .:;E
THE OLD TESTAMENT
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THE READING OF THE LAW (see fage 96).
PICTURES AND STORIES
THE OLD TESTAMENT
KATE THOMPSON SIZER
Author of Our Blest Redeemer."
CHARLES H. KELLY, 2, CASTLE STREET, CITY ROAD, E.C.
AND 26, PATERNOSTER ROW, E.C.
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ADAM AND EVE
CAIN AND ABEL.
THE ARK AND THE FLOOD.
HAGAR AND ISHMAEL.
THE OFFERING OF ISAAC
ISAAC'S WIFE, REBEKAH
ESAU AND JACOB
JOSEPH AND IIIS BRETHREN
JACOB BLESSING PHARAOH .
THE FINDING OF MOSES
THE TROUBLES OF THE ISRAELITES
THE PASSOVER .
MANNA IN THE DESERT
WATER OUT OF THE ROCK
BUILDING THE TABERNACLE
THE SCAPEGOAT. .
THE SERPENT OF BIRASS
SALAAM AND THE ASS WHO SAW THE
HOW THE WALLS OF JERICHO FELL
ACHAN'S SIN AND ITS PUNISHMENT
A BATTLE WITHOUT A BLOW
SAMSON, THE STRONG MAN
RUTH'S CHOICE .
DAVID AND GOLIATH
DAVID AND JONATHAN
WATER FROM THE WELL OF BETH-
REHOBOAM AND THE YOUNG MEN
ELIJAH FED BY RAVENS
THE WIDOW OF ZAREPHATH
NAAMAN AND THE LITTLE MAID
GEHAZI, THE MAN WHO WAS NOT
AFRAID TO TELL A LIE
THE WONDERS DONE BY ELISHA
ELISHA AND THE KING'S ARROWS
THE BOY KING JOASH
HEZEKIAH, A GOOD AND GREAT KING
NO WINE NOR IDOL-MEAT"
THE THREE MEN WHO DARED TO SAY
DANIEL IN THE DEN OF LIONS
ESTHER, THE QUEEN
HAMAN AND MORDECAI
JONAH, THE PROPHET
THE'READING OF THE LAW (see Frontispiece) .
. page 96
ADAM AND EVE-
AI)AM AND EVE
ADAM AND EVE.
LONG ago, a man and woman, called Adam and Eve,
lived in a pretty garden called the Garden of Eden.
They were the first man and woman God had made,
and they lived such a happy, innocent life. All the animals
that came near obeyed them, and were like friends to them.
Beautiful flowers and sweet fruits grew there, and they
might gather all they liked, except from one tree. God
told them they must not eat the fruit of the tree of the
knowledge of good and evil.
At first they were good and happy. But one day the
wicked spirit, called Satan, came to Eve, looking like a
serpent, and persuaded her to taste the fruit of that tree.
"If you do, you will be wise, and know everything," he
said. He was wicked himself, and he wanted to make
Adam and Eve bad too. And poor foolish Eve believed
him. She and Adam both disobeyed God, and ate the
But, directly after, they knew they had done wrong;
and when God came to them at evening-time, they hid
themselves from Him. Then God said they must leave the
beautiful garden. They had done no work yet, except
take care of the flowers and trees, but now they must
work hard to gain their bread. They would often feel tired,
and in pain, too, for they could no longer eat of the tree
of life, whose leaves made them well. An angel with a
flaming sword was set at the gate of the Garden of Eden,
to make sure they would never go in it again.
Adam and Eve were the first people God made; and,
if they had remained good, we, who are their children,
would never have known sin or trouble. But, though they
had done wrong, God was sorry for them. He said that
He would one day send Jesus Christ into the world, to
show every one the way to Heaven, where we shall be
happier than even Adam and Eve were in Eden.
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CAIN AND ABEL.
CAIN AND ABEL.
A DAM and Eve had two children, called Cain and
Abel. When Cain was a big boy, he chose to dig
the ground and plant seeds, and be a gardener, like
his father Adam ; but Abel was a young shepherd, and liked
best to take care of the sheep and little lambs.
Their father and mother taught them about God, and
when Cain and Abel grew to be men, they wished to pray
to God and ask Him to love them. But they knew that
Adam and Eve had done wrong, and that they were not
always good themselves ; so they thought they would
bring a present to God to persuade Him to forgive
Cain took some corn or fruit, something that he had
planted and seen grow up in his fields. But Abel killed
one of the lambs of his flock, and brought that as an
offering. And God knew that Abel was thinking of Jesus
Christ, the Lamb who would afterwards be slain for the
sins of the whole world, and God said that Abel's present
was the better.
Then Cain was angry, so angry that he spoke hard
words to his brother; and at last, when they were away
from home, among the trees and rocks, Cain lifted up his
hand, and killed his brother. Adam and Eve at home
waited for Abel to come back, they did not know what had
happened. But God, who knows all, asked Cain where Abel
was; Cain told a lie, and said he did not know ; he was
not his brother's keeper.
Was that the way to make God love him? God does
not love angry, unkind people; and He said that Cain
must leave his father and mother, and wander far away,
because of what he had done. Cain cried out that his
punishment was greater than he could bear. Let us hope
he was really sorry for what he had done, and asked God
to forgive him.
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THE ARK AND TIE FLOOD.
THE ARK AND THE FLOOD.
ANY years went by, and there were many people living
in the world. But most of them, sad to say, were
wicked. They were so bad, that God was obliged
to punish them. But one man, Noah, was very good, and
God told him to build a ship, called an ark, and put much
food in it. The other people in the world wondered why
this was done, and if they would have listened to Noah,
he would have told them that God was preparing great
trouble for the world, but that, if they were sorry for their
sins, God would save them from it.
When the ark was finished, Noah and his wife and
children went into it, and with them went two of all kinds
of beasts and birds that lived on the earth. God shut the
door upon them, and then a great flood began. The rain
poured down; the seas and rivers overflowed; the water
rose higher and higher. All the bad people were drowned,
and their homes swept away. But the ark floated safely
on the top of the water, and Noah and his family were
quite safe and in peace.
After many months the rain stopped, and a wind dried
the earth. They could see the tops of the hills, and through
a window Noah put out a raven and a dove. The strong
raven flew away, but the gentle dove could find no food nor
shelter. Noah waited seven days, and sent out the dove
again. This time she flew about all day in the sunshine, and
came back at night, with an olive-leaf in her mouth. Then
Noah knew that the water no longer covered the trees, and
when, a week later, he let the dove fly again, she did not
return ; she could make a home in the green trees now.
Soon after, Noah and his family could leave the ark,
and the first thing they did was to build an altar, and
thank God for His goodness. And God said he would
never drown the world again, and made the rainbow a
sign of His promise.
HAGAR AND ISHMAEL.
HAGAR AND ISHMAEL.
OAH'S sons and daughters and their children in-
creased in number, and gradually the world became
full of people again.
Many years after the Flood, there lived a good man
called Abraham, about whom the Bible tells us many
beautiful stories. His wife Sarah was not so good, and
she was often very unkind to an Egyptian servant-girl of
hers, named Hagar. Once Hagar ran away from her
mistress, and wandered far away into the wilderness. But
God's angel found her there, and told her to go back to
her duty, and God would help her.
Hagar had a son named Ishmael, who was a big boy
when Sarah's son Isaac was quite small; and the big boy
teased the little one. That was wrong and unkind, and it
brought a great punishment on Ishmael. For Sarah was
very angry, and said that Hagar and her son must leave
their home and go far away. Abraham was sorry, and he
got up early in the morning, and gave Hagar bread and
a bottle of water as food for her journey. But they had
to travel through a hot, rocky country. The water was
soon finished, and they could find no more. There were
no houses nor people in that lonely place, of whom
they could ask help. Hagar put her poor, tired child
down under a tree, and went a little way off in her
sorrow, for she thought Ishmael was dying of thirst and
Then God sent an angel, who said to her: What
aileth thee, Hagar? Fear not! And he opened her eyes,
and she saw a well of fresh, cool water ; and she went and
filled the bottle, and Ishmael drank and got well again.
He grew up to be a strong man, and became an archer.
He had a home in the desert, and many sons and daughters.
But he and his mother never forgot how God had helped.
them in their hour of trouble.
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THE OFFERING OF ISAAC.
THE OFFERING OF ISAAC.
A BRAHAM loved his son Isaac very dearly. He was
born when his father was old, and God had
promised that a great blessing should come on him
first, and through him on all the world. How surprised
and sorry, then, Abraham must have been, when God said
to him one day: "Take your son, your only son, Isaac,
whom you love so much, and burn him on an altar as an
offering to Me."
In the time before Christ died for us, when people prayed,
they often slew some animal, that its death might show God
that they knew they deserved to die for their sins. Abraham
would rather have given all the sheep and oxen he had, than
kill his dear son; but he always obeyed God. So he took
Isaac, and they travelled together two days till he came to
Mount Moriah, to the place where God had told him.
He had brought wood with him, and Isaac carried the
sticks; and Abraham took fire and a knife. As they went up
the hill together, Isaac said : My father, here is fire and
the wood; but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?"
The poor father answered, "God will provide a lamb";
and soon Isaac knew what was meant. At the top of the
hill Abraham built an altar, put the wood on it, and bound
Isaac there. Then he took the knife to kill his son. But
as he did this, God spoke from heaven, and told him not
to hurt Isaac. Now I 'know that you love Me," God
said; because you were willing to slay your only son for
Me." Then God showed Abraham that, a little way off,
there was a ram, caught by its horns, in the bushes. He
might take that and offer it as a sacrifice. He did this,
and he and Isaac went home in joy. God never meant
Isaac to be killed, but He wanted to see how much
Abraham loved Him, and to make it a kind of picture of
the death of Christ.
Who was it gave His only Son to die for us?
A BRAHAM had a nephew named Lot, whose home
was in a city called Sodom. The people there were
very wicked, and God said to Abraham that He
must destroy them. But Abraham was so kind, he could
not bear to think of bad and good being punished together;
and he asked God to save Sodom if there were only ten
good people to be found in it. And God, who loves to be
merciful, said He would not hurt Sodom if only ten good
men were there.
But not even ten good men could be found in that
wicked city. Still, God did not forget His promise, and, for
Abraham's sake, He sent some one to save Lot. Two angels
came to Sodom one evening, and Lot, seeing they were
strangers, asked them to his house, and gave them food
and shelter. Then they told Lot: "The Lord is going to
destroy this town ; gather your family, and escape with
them early in the morning. If you do not escape, you will
Lot sent at once to tell all his children, but most of
his sons and daughters refused to believe the message,
and would not leave their homes. In the morning only
his wife and two young daughters went with him out of
the town. Make haste," said the angels; "escape for
your life. Do not look back, or you may die too." The
angels took hold of them to hurry them away. Then Lot
asked that one little town, named Zoar, might be spared,
so that he could take shelter there, for he was old, and
could not travel far. God did what he asked, and Lot
and his children entered Zoar safely.
But as soon as they were there, a dreadful rain of fire
fell on Sodom, and the whole city was burnt up. Lot's
wife forgot the angels' command, and looked back; and
she was turned into a pillar of salt for her disobedience.
We must always do exactly what God tells us.
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ISAAC'S WIFE, REBEKAH,
ISAAC'S WIFE, REBEKAH.
W HEN Isaac grew to be a man, Abraham wished
him to marry a wife who had been taught, like
himself, to fear God. The people in the countries
near them worshipped idols; so Abraham called his faithful
servant, Eliezer, and told him to go a long journey to visit
some distant relatives that Abraham had.
The servant took ten camels and rode away through
the desert till he came one evening to the town where the
friends of his master lived. Outside the city was a well,
and Eliezer made his thirsty camels kneel down and wait,
for he knew that the women of the town would soon be
coming to draw water for their homes. While he waited
he prayed. He wished very much to please his master,
and he asked God that, when the maidens came, if one of
them offered to give him and his tired camels some water,
she might be the one who was to be Isaac's wife.
Before his prayer was finished, God answered it. A fair
young girl came to the well, with her pitcher. Then Eliezer
said to her: Let me, I pray thee, drink a little water."
She was kind-hearted, for she made haste and gave him some
water, and she offered to draw some for the camels too.
Eliezer asked her name, and she said she was Rebekah, the
daughter of Abraham's nephew. Then Eliezer thanked God,
for he knew she was the wife God meant for Isaac.
He gave her a ring, and two bracelets of gold, and
went with her to her mother's house. He asked if she
might return with him to marry Isaac; and her father
was willing. She and her nurse went back with Eliezer.
They reached the end of their journey at evening. Isaac
had gone out into the quiet fields to think and pray; and
he saw in the distance the camels coming, which brought
his bride. Then he hastened to meet her, as you see in
the picture; while Eliezer took care of the tired, thirsty
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ESAU AND JACOB.
ESAU AND JACOB.
ISAAC and Rebekah had two sons, named Esau and
Jacob. They loved them very much, but not in the
right way; for Isaac spoiled Esau, and Rebekah made
a favourite of Jacob. Esau was a rough, strong man, who
hunted the wild deer in the fields; but Jacob was quiet and
liked best to stay at home. The two often quarrelled, for
Esau was hot-tempered, and Jacob could be untrue. One
day when Esau came in hungry from hunting, Jacob had
some red broth which Esau longed for ; but Jacob would
not give it him till Esau had promised him his birthright.
That meant certain rights which belonged to the eldest son.
When Isaac grew old, his eyes became dim. He told
Esau to get him some venison, of which he was very fond;
and then he would give him his fatherly blessing. While
Esau was gone into the fields for it, Rebekah put some of
Esau's clothes on Jacob, and gave him a dish of meat that
tasted like venison, and sent him to his father. Poor,
blind Isaac was deceived, and thought it was Esau, and he
gave Jacob the blessing. When Esau found what had been
done, he was very angry, and would have liked to kill his
brother. Jacob was obliged to leave his father and mother,
and go far away across the desert.
In his new home he had many troubles. He wanted to
marry his cousin, Rachel, and her father cheated him, and
gave him another wife. He took care of his father-in-law's
flocks, and he made him work very hard, and gave him
very small wages. At last Jacob thought he would take
his wives and children, and go back to his old home. On
the way he heard that Esau was coming to meet him with
an army, and he was frightened. In his troubles he had
learned to love God, and he prayed now very earnestly,
asking God to protect him. God heard him, and put a
forgiving spirit into Esau's heart, and the two brothers
met in peace.
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JOSEPH AND HIS BRETHREN.
JOSEPH AND HIS BRETHREN.
JACOB had twelve sons; and one of the younger ones,
Joseph, was a very good boy. His father, to show
his love for him, gave him a pretty coat of many
colours. But his brothers were jealous of Joseph, and
Once when they were taking care of their father's
sheep some way from home, Jacob sent Joseph on an
errand to his brothers. They were glad to get him in
their power, and meant at first to kill him. But, instead,
they threw him into a deep pit, and when some travelling
merchants came past, they sold him to be a slave. They
killed a kid, and dipped Joseph's pretty coat in the blood,
and sent it to their father, pretending that some wild beast
had slain their brother.
Joseph was carried down to Egypt, and became slave
to a rich man there. But through a false accusation he
was put into prison, and was there for years. But God
did not forget him there, and the keeper of the prison
was kind. God made Joseph very wise to understand
many things, and one day he was sent for to Pharaoh
the king, to tell him the meaning of a wonderful dream.
And Pharaoh was so pleased with Joseph's wisdom, that
he made him ruler over all the land of Egypt.
A great famine came, as had been told to Pharaoh in
his dream. No corn grew anywhere; but in Egypt during
the years before Joseph had ordered much corn to be laid
up; so that from other countries people came to buy corn.
Joseph's brothers came among the rest.
They did not know him, but he knew them. He was
powerful, and might have punished them for their past
unkindness; but the only thing he did was to have his
cup hidden in the sack of Benjamin, the youngest. He
wanted to know if they were as unkind to Benjamin as
they had been to him.
JOSEPH'S brothers were frightened when the cup was
found, for they thought Benjamin would be taken
as a slave for stealing it. They begged Joseph to
forgive their young brother, and one of them, Judah,
offered to be a slave for him. Then Joseph knew his
brothers had become better men, and he told them who
he was, and he was very kind to them. He said that
they must not be sorry for what they had done, because
it was God who had sent him there. He told them
of all the power and riches Pharaoh had given him, and
promised to take care of them till the famine was quite
Once before, while they did not know him, Joseph had
asked his brothers to a great feast in his house; now he
gave them fine clothes, and to Benjamin, the youngest, he
gave three hundred pieces of silver. Then he told them
to take wagons out of Egypt, and go back and fetch their
wives and children, for they should always live in Egypt
To his father he sent ten asses carrying fine presents,
and ten more laden with corn and bread and meat, so
that Jacob should have all he wanted for the journey.
When the brothers came to Jacob, and told him that
Joseph was alive, and was governor over the land of
Egypt, the old man could not believe it; for he had
thought such a long time that his dear son was dead.
But when he saw the wagons Joseph had sent for him,
he believed, and said: "I will go and see my son before
Joseph heard that Jacob was on the way, and rode in
his chariot to meet him; and when he saw his father he
put his arms round him, and wept for joy. How happy
Jacob must have been to see this loving son again! Do
you try to make your parents happy ?
JACOB BLESSING PHARAOH.
JACOB BLESSING PHARAOH.
JACOB lived for years in the land of Egypt. When
he first came Joseph took him to see Pharaoh, and
the old man gave the king his blessing. Pharaoh
gave leave to Joseph's brothers to dwell in the land of
Goshen, the best part of Egypt, where there was water
and grass for their flocks. They could live in peace there,
and fear no famine nor harm, for their brother protected
Joseph ruled the country with power and wisdom, and
in his beautiful palace-home two little boys were playing,
named Manasseh and Ephraim. Jacob seems to have
loved them best of all his grandsons, for when he was
dying and sent for Joseph, the father took these two boys
Jacob's eyes were dim with age, and when he first
saw the children come in, he said, Who are these?"
When Joseph told him, he took them in his arms and
kissed them, and said to Joseph: "I never thought to see
your face again; but God has shown me your children
too." Then the old man stretched his hands, and laid
them on the boys' heads; but he laid his left hand on
Manasseh, the elder, and his right on Ephraim, the
younger. He loved them both, but he knew that God
meant to give Ephraim the greater blessing.
Then he prayed that God, who had taken care of
Abraham and Isaac, the God who had fed him all his
life long, and kept him from evil, might bless the lads.
What a beautiful blessing! May God give it to each
one of us. too! When Jacob had blessed all his twelve
sons, God took him to be with those he loved who
were in heaven. Joseph carried his father's body to be
buried in Canaan, and a great company of Egyptians,
with chariots and horses, went with him and mourned
THE FINDING OF MOSES.
THE FINDING OF MOSES.
A FTER Joseph's death there was a king in Egypt, a
bad, harsh man. The Israelites, as Jacob's family
were called, had become very many, and the king
ordered them to work hard for him. But though they
worked for him as slaves, making bricks all the day long
in the hot sun, to build cities for the king, they were not
fewer in number. They increased still more, and King
Pharaoh made a cruel law. He said that every baby boy
must be killed as soon as he was born.
Now there were two people named Amram and Jochebed,
who had a fair little son. They could not bear that he
should be killed, and for three months they kept him hidden.
But he grew too big and noisy to hide, so the mother wove
a little ark or cradle out of the bulrushes that grow by the
river, and covered it inside with mud to keep it dry. Then
she laid it among the reeds and rushes by the river, and
told the baby's sister, Miriam, to stand near, and watch.
She was afraid the fierce crocodiles would come out of
the water, and eat the baby.
But no crocodile came to hurt the little one. A beautiful
princess, Pharaoh's daughter, came to walk by the river,
and saw the little green ark. She wondered what it could
be, and sent one of her maidens to fetch it, and, when they
looked inside, they saw a pretty baby, who cried at the
strange faces. She said : "This is one of the poor Israelites'
children." Then Miriam ran up, and asked the kind
princess: Shall I get you a nurse for the baby?" The
princess said Yes," and Miriam called the child's mother.
Then the princess said, "Take the child home to nurse,
and I will give you money."
How happy Jochebed must have been to get her baby
safely back !
The princess called him Moses, and by and by she took
him to live with her in the king's palace.
THE TROUBLES OF THE ISRAELITES.
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THE TROUBLES OF THE ISRAELITES.
W HEN Moses was a man, he wanted to help his
friends, the Israelites, and in doing that, he one
day killed an Egyptian, and had to fly from the
country. He went to live in the desert for forty years, and at
the end of that time God appeared to him, and told him that
his people were in great trouble, and he must go to help
them. Moses at first was afraid, but God said he would always
be with him, and Aaron his brother should speak for him.
Then Moses and Aaron went boldly to Pharaoh, and
asked him to give the Israelites a little rest for three days.
The Israelites were making bricks to build Pharaoh some
cities, as the picture shows. If they could not make a
certain number in the day they were beaten and punished.
The king was very angry at Moses' request, and said the
people were idle, and he should give them even more to do.
Then Moses used the power God had given him, and said
that Pharaoh and his servants would be punished if they
were so unmerciful. He brought ten plagues on the land of
Egypt. Plagues mean a punishment that is sent by God;
and some of these punishments were very dreadful ones.
One plague was this : the river Nile, of whose sweet
water the Egyptians loved to drink, was changed like
blood, and no one could drink of it. Then afterwards
great swarms of frogs and of flies filled the houses; and
locusts ate all the green plants. 'The Egyptians lived very
much on vegetables and fruit, and this plague took much
of their food away. Painful diseases came upon men and
animals. Terrible storms of hail and lightning beat down
and burnt up the crops. Then God sent a great darkness,
and for three days no one could see each other. They sat
in their places, afraid to move while this long night lasted.
But in spite of all they had to suffer, Pharaoh remained
harsh and cruel, and would not let the people go. And
God was obliged to send him the last, worst plague of all..
OD said to Moses that He must punish Pharaoh
once more, and afterwards the king would let the
Israelites go. In that night He would kill all the
firstborn in every house in Egypt; but none of the
children of Israel should be hurt. Then men would
know the difference between those who served God and
those who did not. Moses gave this message from God
to Pharaoh, but the king would not heed pay attention.
Then Moses told all the Israelites to dress themselves
for a long journey, and to borrow gold and silver from
their neighbours. Also they were each to choose from their
flocks a spotless lamb, and when evening came, they were
to kill it, and dip a bunch of herbs in the blood and
sprinkle their doorposts over. Then, when God came
down to punish the Egyptians, He would see the blood
on the door, and pass over that house. The lamb must be
roasted, and eaten with bitter herbs, and bread in which
there was no leaven or yeast. They were to stand while
they ate it, with their shoes on their feet, their staves in their
hands, as if in great haste.
The Israelites did as they were told. And while they
were standing at the Passover supper, a great cry rose
suddenly at midnight. In every home in Egypt, from
Pharaoh's palace to the humblest cottage, the eldest child
lay dead. They came together from all parts of Egypt, and
the poor sorrowful fathers and mothers shrieked and wept.
Then Pharaoh and his servants came quickly in fear to
the Israelites, and said: Go, leave our country; take your
flocks and herds, or we shall all be killed because of you."
They gave them costly gifts of gold and silver. They
pressed them to go away at once--that very night.
So the Israelites at last became free, and Moses led
them out from the land of slavery. Who is the spotless
Lamb whose blood sprinkled on us saves us from death ?
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MANNA IN TIE DESERT.
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MANNA IN THE DESERT.
AS soon as Pharaoh was less frightened, he was angry
that he had let the Israelites go so easily. He took
his chariots and horsemen and followed them, and
found them shut in between the mountains and the sea.
Then the Israelites were afraid. But God bade them go
forward and fear not.
God came down in a pillar of cloud to guide them, and
at night the cloud shone like fire to give them light, and
He sent a great wind which turned the waves of the sea
backward, and left a dry path in the midst of the sea.
The Israelites were able to walk across in safety, but when
Pharaoh and his army started to follow, the sea returned
and the waters covered them. The proud host was drowned,
and lay dead on the shore. When they reached the other
side, the Israelites gave thanks and sang praises to God
for this great mercy.
And yet when they found themselves wandering in the
desert, they soon forgot God's kindness. They cried: "We
wish we were back in Egypt. Though we were slaves
there, we had meat and bread and all we wanted." Then
God said He would send them bread in plenty, fresh every
day. Next morning when the Israelites woke, the dew lay
thick on the ground between their tents, and after the
dew had gone they saw something round and white.
"What is it?" they asked, and they called it Manna.
They gathered it in their basins, and each had enough.
Those who gathered much had none over, and those who
gathered little had quite enough. They baked it into
bread, which tasted sweet as honey. When the sun was
hot the manna melted, but the next morning more was
there. God sent them this daily bread till they came to
the land of Canaan, where they could sow and reap corn.
It is God who sends us our food day by day; let us
not forget to thank Him for it.
WATER OUT OF THE ROCK.
WATER OUT OF THE ROCK.
HE Israelites were now travelling to the land of
Canaan, which God had promised them they should
have for their own. But the way led through a long
and weary desert; and, though God went before them by day
in a cool, shadowy pillar of cloud, which turned to cheerful,
warming fire at night, yet they had some trials to bear.
More than anything else they missed the beautiful river
Nile which flowed through Egypt, and always gave them
water to drink. It was very hot among the bare rocks
and dry sand of the desert. They grew tired of marching
on, day after day, and, when they went a long way and
found no water, the people became very angry. They
forgot that God would soon lead them to a land where
they would have all they wanted. They cried to Moses:
"Give us water. You have brought us here to kill us
with thirst in this hot desert."
Moses asked God what to do, and God told him to
take his rod, his shepherd's rod which he always carried,
and strike the hard rock. Moses did so, and out of the
bare, dry rock the fresh, cool water came leaping and
sparkling, enough to give drink to all who were thirsty.
Many years after in their journey they wanted water once
again, and were angry with their kind leader, Moses. God
told Moses once more to strike the rock, but Moses was
vexed at the people's grumbling, and he said as he did so:
"Ye rebels, must we fetch you water out of this rock?"
The water came at his bidding, a full flowing stream,
from which all the men and women, and their flocks and
herds, could drink all they needed. But God was not
pleased with Moses for being angry, and because he did
not tell the people that it was God who gave the water,
God would not let Moses go over into the land of Canaan.
If good men must be punished for their sins, what will
happen to those who never try to be good?
.- r K W:
* ~ c ~ rr'.
BUILDING THE TABERNACLE.
BUILDING THE TABERNACLE.
W HILE the Israelites were wandering through the
wilderness God did not wish them to forget to
worship Him. On the day before the sabbath
they were told to gather enough manna to last for two
*days, so that on the sabbath they might rest and think
of God. And now God bade them build a tabernacle for
prayers and sacrifices, that is, a sort of church that they
could carry about. It had to be light, and strong too; and
the priests, the sons of Aaron, took it to pieces whenever
they moved from one place to another, and carried every
part of it with the greatest care.
The pattern was given to Moses, and Bezaleel and
Aholiab were made wise by God to do all the. work. The
Israelites gave presents of all the best they had, to build the
tabernacle. They brought gold and silver and brass and
sweet-scented wood. The women spun blue and purple
and scarlet cloth, and wove fine linen garments for the
priests to wear.
Bezaleel and Aholiab took the offerings, as you see in
the picture, and out of them they made the tabernacle,
which was like a very big tent. Inside were boards of
shittim wood overlaid with gold. Over these hung curtains
of blue and purple and scarlet, worked with pretty figures;
and a covering of rams' skins dyed red, and another
covering of badgers' skins outside that kept the dust and
rain from spoiling the tabernacle. Within it stood an altar
of gold, and a golden candlestick with seven branches,
and the mercy-seat, and many cups and vessels of gold.
Beautiful garments, adorned with gold and jewels, were
made for Aaron the High Priest to wear when he offered
When all was finished, the glory of God came down like
a cloud, and filled the tabernacle. Then the Israelites knew
that God was among them, and would hear their prayers.
i~ ~ _~ ______~ ___ _~__ _i_~_ ~__~~__~
ii ~ ''':
: ~%I IPIY~' U~IY~LIBIUI.B1~LIIIYI~D-~
~hlij I: Ill1 11
A ARON the High Priest offered up the sacrifices when
the Israelites came to confess their sins or give
thanks. He stood, as it were, between the people
and God. But even Aaron had to own that he too was
a sinful man, who needed God's forgiveness.
At the end of the tabernacle there was one part shut off from
the rest by a beautiful worked veil, of blue and purple and
scarlet. This part was called the Holy Place, and there was
no window there. No one might look in it. Here stood the
ark that held the ten commandments written by God's own
hand on tables of stone. The mercy-seat was over the ark,
and there God's presence dwelt. Aaron was only allowed to
come into the Holy Place at certain times and with special
offerings. He brought a young bullock as a sacrifice for
his sins, and two goats as a sin-offering for the people.
The service was a very solemn one. Before all the con-
gregation a lot was cast on these goats. One was chosen
to be killed, the other to go free. When the first goat
had been slain, Aaron dipped his finger in its blood, and
sprinkled the blood on the mercy-seat to show that he was not
fit to come before God without a sacrifice. After this he laid
his hands on the living goat, and over his head repeated
all the wrong things that the Israelites had done. Then
he told a man to lead the scapegoat (which means the goat
that was to escape) into the wilderness, and the goat went
away, bearing on him the sins of all the people. They
watched the man take it far off, among the wild rocks and
bushes where no one lived, and then the people rejoiced and
were happy, for they knew that all their sins were forgiven
by God. Does this seem to you a strange thing to do?
In this way God taught His people, and showed them that
one day Christ would come. He was killed for our sins like
the goat whose blood Aaron sprinkled on the mercy-seat;
and He bears our sins away as the scapegoat did.
I'~t ;~'-,~; I', H
THE~ SERPENT OF BRASS
THE SERPENT OF BRASS.
THE Israelities often forgot God's kindness, and found
fault because the desert way was hard and long.
They grew tired of the manna, with which God fed
them. Sometimes they even wished to go back to Egypt
and be slaves again. They disobeyed God in many ways.
Then God had to punish them. Once He allowed a fiery
kind of snake or serpent, which lives in the desert sand,
to come up in numbers among the people, and many were
killed by their bite.
It was a terrible and painful death to die. Besides,
those who perished in the desert journey would never see
the beautiful land of Canaan, to which they were travelling.
When the Israelites saw so many of their friends dead,
and felt themselves the pain of the serpents' bite, they
came to Moses, and said: "We have sinned; ask the
Lord to take the serpents away from us." And Moses,
who was ever ready, like God, to forgive them-though
they were so ungrateful-prayed for the people.
Then God said to Moses : Make the image of a serpent,
just like those that have come among you, and put it on
a pole up high, where all the people can see it; and let
each one who is bitten look at that, and he will get well."
So Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it on a
high pole, and when the poor dying Israelities, in their
pain and fear, looked towards it, at once they grew well.
There is a serpent, called Sin, which has bitten us all,
and we shall die for ever if we cannot get cured from its
bite. But Jesus Christ was lifted up on the cross, like the
brazen serpent on the pole. If we look to Him He will
cure us, and give us life eternal. The Israelites did not
ask for help at first, and therefore many of them died.
But let us not wait to feel how painful sin can be; let us,
vhile we are yet young, go at once to our kind Healer,
BALAAM AND THE ASS WHO SAW THE ANGEL.
BALAAI AND THE ASS WHO SAW THE ANGEL.
BALAAM AND THE ASS WHO SAW THE ANGEL.
A S the children of Israel travelled towards Canaan
they passed through the land of Moab. Balak, the
king of Moab, was afraid of them, and asked a
prophet, named Balaam, to come and curse them. To
curse means to try and bring dreadful unhappiness on
Balaam was a follower of God, though not a very
faithful one. When Balak's messengers told him what the
king wished, he said: I cannot come till the Lord shall
speak to me." And God said: "You must not curse the
people of Israel, for I have blessed them."
But Balak sent again, and promised Balaam great
treasures. Balaam wanted the king's presents, so he asked
God once more. God said he might go, and he went. But
God was angry with him, and sent an angel to be his
As Balaam rode along, his ass turned out of the path
into the field. Balaam struck her, but again in a road
between two vineyards the ass turned aside, and crushed
Balaam's foot. Once again in a narrow place the ass fell
down under him, and Balaam was very angry, and beat
her with a staff. Then a strange thing happened. The
ass spoke, and she said: "Why have you struck me?
Have I ever done like this before ?" Then Balaam's eyes
were opened, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing
in the way with a drawn sword. And the angel said,
"Your ass has saved your life three times. She saw me
when I was going to slay you, and she turned aside that
my sword should not reach you."
Then Balaam was sorry for his sin. When he came
to the king, and saw the Israelites in the distance, he
obeyed God, and blessed the people instead of cursing them.
So God always takes care of His own children, and delivers
them from danger.
HOW THE WALLS OF JERICHO FELL DOWN.
HOW THE WALLS OF JERICHO FELL DOWN.
IN the land of Canaan there were many strong cities,
where men lived who wanted to fight the Israelities
and conquer them. The people of Israel were not
clever soldiers, and had not swords nor horses and chariots
as the Canaanites had. They would have soon been beaten
in the battles with these enemies if God had not taken care
of them in special ways.
Soon after they had crossed the Jordan they came to
a strong city with high walls, named Jericho. One day as
Joshua was looking at the city, and thinking how he could
best fight against it, he saw a man standing over it with
a sword in his hand. "Are you for us or for our
enemies ?" asked Joshua. "No," said the man; "as the
captain of the host of the Lord am I now come." It was
the Lord who had come down to fight for Israel, and He
told Joshua what was best to do.
God said that all the strong men of Israel must march
round outside the city. Seven priests were to go before
them with seven trumpets made out of rams' horns. Other
priests were to carry the ark of the covenant. For seven
days they must do this, and on the last day they were to
oo round the city seven times. We read that God had
sent a great fear on all the natives of Canaan. While the
Israelites were near Jericho, the warriors of the city did
them no harm. They watched in wonder and alarm while
all these strange doings happened.
Joshua did as the Lord told him. Seven days all the
people marched round Jericho, with no sound except the
blowing of the rams' horns. On the last day, when for
the seventh time they had done this, the priests blew a
long blast of the trumpets, and Joshua told the people to
shout. And as they shouted, the high walls fell flat, and
they could go straight into the city. God had given them
tillN'S SIN A S H
B Jim M
-- ... .....
ACHA'S IN AD IS PUISHENT
ACHAN'S SIN AND ITS PUNISHMENT.
T HE people of Jericho had been very wicked, and God
did not want the Israelites to grow like them. He
would not even let them speak together, for fear the
Israelites should learn the sinful ways of Canaan. So he
told them to kill all the people, and burn the city, and
keep nothing that they found there for themselves. Only
one woman, Rahab, and her family, was saved, because she
had been kind, and had given shelter to the first Israelites
who were sent by Joshua to find out what the city was
like. But a certain man called Achan disobeyed God; and
this is how it was found out.
A few days later Joshua took the Israelites to fight
against the city of Ai, and they could not conquer it. Some
of them were killed, and the rest ran away. Then Joshua
knew that God was not helping them, and he asked God
to tell them why this was. God answered that it was
because some one had sinned. Then Joshua got up early
in the morning and called all the people together. He
cast lots to find who was the guilty person, and the lot
fell on Achan.
"Tell me what you have done," said Joshua, and Achan
confessed his sin. When they were in Jericho he saw a
beautiful coat, and some silver money, and a great lump of
gold. He took the things and hid them in his tent. Joshua
sent messengers to look for them, and they found them there.
Then Achan, and his sons and daughters, and his oxen
and sheep, and all that he had, with the gold and silver and
fine coat, were taken away to a lonely valley. Stones were
thrown on them to kill them, and afterwards they were
burned with fire. What a dreadful punishment! How
much better if Achan had done exactly as God commanded.
For the sake of a little gold and silver and a coat he
threw away his life, and the lives of his innocent children.
Sin is never worth what it costs us.
,p., *g \$
A BATTLE WITHOUT A BLO\V.
~ ;-- -~-~
`"- :.B i
A BATTLE WITHOUT A BLOW.
G IDEON was a brave leader who helped the people of
Israel in a time of great trouble. Some enemies,
the Midianites, had come to the land, and taken
their corn and cattle, and all they could find. For fear of
these fierce soldiers the Israelites went to hide in dens and
caves of the rocks. But when Gideon called them, they
left their hiding-places and came to him in numbers.
But some were not very bold, and God does not want
cowards to serve Him, so He told Gideon to say that all
who were afraid might go home. More than half the people
went back. But a great many were left. God only wanted
those who were brave and quick to act; so He told Gideon
to watch when he came to a stream. The men who drank
quickly, taking the water up in their mouths, were the
right kind; but those who kneeled down to drink a great
deal easily, were lazy people, not fit to make good soldiers.
There were three hundred of the first kind, and Gideon
gave them trumpets to carry, and lamps that were set inside
empty pitchers. In the middle of the night Gideon took his
soldiers to the valley where all the Midianites lay sleeping
in their tents. He placed them round the camp, and said
to them : Look on me; as I do, so shall ye do." Then
in the darkness he blew his trumpet and broke his pitcher,
but kept his lamp safe in his hand. His three hundred
men did the same, and all shouted with a loud voice:
"The sword of the Lord and of Gideon."
The Midianites woke at the sound of the trumpets
and the crash of the falling pitchers, and they were very
frightened. They saw the lights round them, and thought
a great army was come to fight them. They cried out
and ran, and Gideon won the battle without striking one
blow. He pursued the Midianites as they ran away, and
slew many of them, and for a long time after that the
country of Israel was in peace.
It' 6 .r:,
SAMSON, TIE STRONG MAN.
SAMSON, THE STRONG MAN.
THE Philistines were great enemies of the Israelites.
They were strong and clever in war, and often made
the Israelites serve them. But God sent a strong
man, Samson, who did all he could to set his people free.
An angel came to tell his father and mother that a
son would be given them. The angel said he was not
to drink wine nor strong drink, and his hair must never
be cut, for that was a sign that he belonged to God. The
parents did as they were told, and God blessed the boy
and made him very strong. When a man he did many
Once, as he was travelling, a lion sprang out on him
from a vineyard, roaring loudly. Samson took him in
his strong hands, and broke his bones as easily as if the
lion had been a little kid. When the Philistines treated
him badly, he slew three hundred of them with the jaw-
bone of an ass, which he happened to find. The Philistines
were very angry, and often tried to take him prisoner.
One night they thought they had caught him in one of
their towns. They barred the gates, and watched, but he
lifted the doors with their posts, bar and all, and carried
them on his shoulders to a hill near. Often they tried to
find out what made him so strong, but he laughed at them
and would not tell them. If they bound him with new,
strong cords, he could break them as easily as a thread.
But Samson did wrong, and the Philistines found out
that his strength lay in his long hair. They cut it off
while he was asleep, and took him to a prison and put
out his eyes. They made him a slave and set him to grind
corn for them, and once when they had a feast they led him
out to mock him. But he prayed God to give him back
some of his old strength, and then he pulled the pillars
of the house down, and many of the mocking Philistines
were killed, and poor, blind Samson died with them.
-. T -Fa -- DR-
HERE was once a woman named Naomi, who had a
husband and two sons. No corn grew in the land
of Israel for a long time, and Naomi and her family
went to live in Moab to seek food. The sons married
Moabitish maidens, but in ten years they died, and Naomi's
husband died, and she was left alone. Then she thought
she would go back to her old home and old friends.
Her daughters-in-law, Orpah and Ruth, were very sorry.
They did not want to lose Naomi, who had been so kind
to them, and who had taught them about the true God.
They started with her on the journey, but Naomi said
they had better stay in their own land. Orpah cried and
kissed Naomi and went, but Ruth would not be sent
away. She loved her mother-in-law so dearly, that she
said: "Your people shall be my people, and your God
So they went to Bethlehem, Naomi's old home. Naomi's
friends saw her come back as a lonely widow, and they
were very sorry for her. Even Naomi said: Do not call
me Naomi (which means pleasant) but Mara (which means
bitter)." But she had her kind daughter still left. The
barley was ripe in the fields, and Ruth at once began
to earn their living. She went to glean the fallen ears of
wheat and barley, and at night she took what she had
gathered to her mother. She was so diligent and modest
that the master of the fields where she worked soon
noticed her. He was a rich man called Boaz, and he
asked Ruth to be his wife. She and her mother-in-law,
Naomi, lived in his pleasant home, and by-and-by a little
son was given to Ruth, who became an ancestor of Jesus
Ruth chose to serve God, and God gave her this
happiness. Make God your choice, dear children, and He
will show you His love.
.I : 4
T HERE was once a mother named Hannah who waited
long before she had the joy of a little child all her
own. She prayed for one, and when God heard her
prayer she named the little boy that was sent her Samuel,
which means "Asked of God" ; and when he was about
three years old, she did as she had promised God to do,
she brought him to God's house in Shiloh, and left him
there to grow up as God's minister.
Poor little child, he must have missed his mother. But
she did not forget him. Every year when she came to
worship in Shiloh, she made a little coat and brought it
him. Samuel waited on a good old priest named Eli, and
did his duty so well that every one loved him, and God
was with him.
One night, after Samuel had laid down to sleep in his
little bed, he heard a voice call, Samuel, Samuel He
ran quickly to Eli, and said: Here am I, you called
me." But Eli said: No; I called not; lie down again."
But when Samuel went back, again the voice said,
" Samuel! "; and again he went to Eli, and said: "You
did call me." But Eli said: No." When this happened
a third time, Eli knew that the voice that called was the
Lord's, and he said: Go back, and say, 'Speak, Lord,
for Thy servant hcareth.' Samuel went back to his little
bed and waited, and the Lord came near, and spoke again.
He had chosen Samuel to be His messenger, because he
was such a good, true child. And Samuel said the words as
Eli told him, and God went on to speak to him, and from
that day Samuel became a prophet of the Lord. He taught
Israel for many years, and then he anointed Saul and after-
wards David, as the picture shows you, to be kings of Israel.
Samuel was faithful and obedient to his kind master,
Eli, and God chose him to do great things. God will
bless us if we do our little duties well.
DAVID AND GOLIATH.
DAVID AND GOLIATH.
SAUL, the king of Israel, was not good, and God told
Samuel to choose another king. Samuel went to an
old man named Jesse, who had eight sons, all strong,
fine men. But God, who knows what is in the hearts of
all, chose the youngest son, named David. David was a
shepherd boy, and took care of his father's sheep. He
was brave and strong. Once when a lion and a bear
wanted to steal the lambs, David killed them, and kept
his little lambs safe.
The Philistines came to fight the Israelites again.
David's big brothers were soldiers, and Jesse sent David
with a present to them, some corn, and bread, and cheeses.
When he got to the camp, he saw a big giant, Goliath,
come out before the Philistines. Goliath said: "Come
and fight with me, O Israelites! If you can kill me, we
Philistines will be your servants. But I know that you
cannot kill me." When the Israelites heard him, they were
frightened and ran away.
But David said: "I will fight Goliath. He is a bad
man, and God will take care of me." King Saul said:
" Will you go ? You shall have my armour and my sword."
So he put his helmet and his breast-plate on the boy, but
they were too heavy for David. He only took his shepherd's
strong stick, and five smooth stones, and went to meet
Goliath laughed at David when he saw he was so young
and fair. He said: "I will soon kill you, and the birds
will eat your flesh." But David answered: "The battle is
the Lord's, and He will give you into our hands."
Then David put a stone in his sling and threw it, and
the stone went into Goliath's forehead. He fell to the
ground, and David ran, and took Goliath's own sword,
and cut off his head with it. God gave David the victory,
because he trusted in Him.
DAVID AND JONATHAN.
~Bs~pc;~jt~~l~ %.' ~;i
DAVID AND JONATHAN.
T HE eldest son of King Saul was named Jonathan.
He was a noble young man, who had done very
brave deeds himself. When he saw how brave and
good David was, he loved him at once. They promised
each other to be friends for all their lives, and, to show
that he loved him, Jonathan took off his fine robe and his
sword and his bow and his girdle, and gave them to David.
But King Saul did not love the brave young soldier
who had slain Goliath, as Jonathan did. Saul knew that
David was to be king after him, and he was afraid of him
and jealous. Once Saul threw a spear at him, to kill him.
Afterwards he sent soldiers to his house to take him.
David was obliged to run for his life, and hide in the
rocks and woods; and there Jonathan came to him, as the
picture shows. He put his arms round him, and they wept
together a long time. Jonathan comforted David, and made
him promise that when he was king he would always be
kind to him and his children. Then they said good-bye,
and Jonathan went back to his duties in the king's house,
and David went to wander among the mountains.
Saul brought his army, and tried again and again to
kill David. Wherever David hid, in caves, or on the
hillsides, or in woods, Saul followed him; but God kept
David safe from the wicked king, because he had done
no wrong thing. Twice Saul's life was in David's power,
and he might easily have killed him, but he would not.
He forgave him, and let him go free. At last, in a great
battle with the Philistines, Saul and Jonathan were slain.
David grieved very much to lose his dear friend, and made
a beautiful song about his death. And when David became
king he sent for Jonathan's son, a little lame boy called
Mephibosheth, and gave him land to grow corn for him,
and servants to wait on him, and a place at his own table
. '. '
WATER FROM THE WELL OF BETHLEIEM
-. .. .5
4 ; ,' /"
WATER FROM THE WELL OF BETHLEHEM.
D AVID was king for forty years. He had many
joys and many sorrows. His children were not so
good as he was. One son whom he dearly loved,
Absalom, behaved very unkindly, and wanted to be king
instead of him. The poor father had to leave Jerusalem,
and go away over Jordan, or this wicked son would have
killed him. But David's soldiers fought against Absalom's
men, and conquered them, and killed Absalom, and David
went home again in peace.
David wished very much to build a temple to the
Lord in Jerusalem, but God said he must leave it for
his son Solomon to do, because David was a man of war,
and had slain many people; but Solomon was to be a
man of peace. Then David gathered much gold and silver
and iron and stone, and made all things ready for Solomon
to build it after his death. David loved God very much,
and though he sinned deeply once or twice, yet God called
him a "man after his own heart." David was a sweet
singer, and wrote most of the beautiful Psalms in the Bible.
He was a good master, and his servants loved and
served him faithfully. Once when they were at war, the
Philistines were in David's old home, the city of Bethlehem.
It was hot weather, harvest-time, and David thought of
the cool water in the well of Bethlehem, which he had often
drunk when he was a boy. He said: Oh, how I wish I
could drink some of that water." Then three of his bravest
soldiers fought their way through the Philistines, and reached
the well and got some of the water, and brought it to David.
But he poured it out on the ground as an offering to the
Lord. He said: "I cannot drink this water, for you went
in danger of your lives to bring this to me."
David was unselfish. He did not want his servants
to do dangerous things for him. We must be kind and
thoughtful for others.
S L'ii i
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REOOMADTH ON E
REHOBOAM AND THE YOUNG MEN.
SOLOMON the son of David reigned forty years, as his
father had done. He built the beautiful temple which
David had so wished to see, and he made it a splendid
building. The walls were of sweet-smelling cedar wood, and
covered with gold, and adorned with figures of angels and
Solomon was the richest king that ever reigned in
Israel, and the wisest too. No one could puzzle him
with questions; he knew about every tree and flower that
grew in his country, and he taught his people many things
about animals and birds and insects and fishes. He wrote
the Book of Proverbs.
But though he was so wise, he could not make his
son wise too. Though we may have good parents who
know a great deal, that fact alone will not make us like
them. We must work hard and try hard ourselves, if we
wish to be good and clever.
Rehoboam did not try at all, and when his father died
and left him alone, he soon got into trouble. His people
came to him and said: "We worked very hard for King
Solomon; give us a little rest now." Then Rehoboam
asked the old men, his father's friends, what he should
do, and they said: "Yes, listen to the people, and give
them some rest." But Rehoboam thought he would ask
the friends who were young like himself; and they said-
they are saying it in the picture: "No, make the people
work harder than before." And Rehoboam was so foolish
that he took their advice. He spoke roughly and unkindly
to his people, and most of them went away and chose
another king. Rehoboam was left with only a few servants
and a little kingdom, and the king of Egypt came up and
took away from him many of the beautiful things Solomon
had made. If Rehoboam had loved God more this would
not have happened.
-'- !. r-
IELIJAtI P'lU BY IAV rS.,
ELIJAH FED BY RAVENS.
A BAD king named Ahab once ruled over Israel. He
had married a wicked queen, Jezebel, and together
they worshipped idols and disobeyed God. They
cared for little but their own riches and pleasure, and to
remind them that He was the Ruler of the world God
sent a great trouble on the country. God gave the message
to a brave prophet, Elijah, who went to the king, and
said: "There shall not be dew nor rain these years, but
according to my word." And for more than two years no
rain fell. The grass withered; the corn could not grow ; the
brooks dried; and there was scarcely any food or water for
the people. But Elijah was kept safe, and I will tell you how.
When he had given his message, the king was no doubt
angry, and perhaps would have killed the prophet. So God
said to him: Go quickly away, and hide yourself by the
brook Cherith, which is near Jordan." Elijah went as he
was told, and hid himself among the trees and rocks by the
brook. He could drink of the clear water that flowed past,
so he was not thirsty; but where could he get 4ood ? There
were no houses nor people near.
Every morning when Elijah woke, he saw black wings
come flapping through the air. The wings belonged to
friendly ravens who brought a present to the lonely prophet,-
bread and meat carried in their mouths. Every night before
he went to sleep the ravens came again, and brought more
bread and meat. Though ravens are hungry birds who like
to eat flesh, they did not touch Elijah's portion, for God had
commanded them not. I cannot tell you where or how they
found it; God showed them where. So, while many people
in the land were starving, Elijah had all he needed. When
the water (of the brook dried at last, God told him what to do.
In the next story you shall hear about it.
God has often provided bread for His people in ways almost
as strange as the food sent by ravens. Trust Him always.
THE IDOW OF ZAREPHATH-
THE WIDOW OF ZAREPHATH.
THE WIDOW OF ZAREPHATH.
OD told Elijah to go to Zarephath, and a widow
woman there would take care of him. Widows in
that country are generally poor, and Elijah must
have wondered that he was not sent to some rich man
instead. But he obeyed God at once, and Elijah went, and as
he came to the city gate, he saw a poor widow gathering sticks.
He said to her: "Please bring me a little water to drink."
The kind woman started at once to fetch it, and Elijah said:
Bring me too a small piece of bread in your hand." The
prophet had had a long journey, and was tired and hungry.
But when he asked this the woman looked sorrowful.
She said: "I have not a loaf of bread. I have only a
little meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse (that
means a bottle); and I was gathering these sticks for a fire
to bake one small loaf, and when we have eaten it my son
and I will die, for we have no more."
But Elijah said : "Fear not. Go and bake the bread
for you and your son; but first make me a little loaf. For
God says : 'The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither
shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the Lord sendeth
rain upon the earth.' "
The woman believed God, and did as Elijah told her.
The meal and oil lasted on. Every day when she went to
the barrel and cruse, there was some left; and she and her
family and Elijah had as much food as they wanted. Very
likely they were better off than many rich people, for
when there was no corn money could not buy it. But
while the prophet was in the house God's blessing rested
there, and gave them enough. Then her son fell ill and
died, and she was in much trouble. But Elijah prayed and
took the dead child in his arms, and life came back to
him again. How glad was the poor mother that she had
received the prophet into her house. Her kindness to him
brought a great reward.
NIAAAN AND TIIE LITTLE MAID.
NAAMAN AND THE LITTLE MAID.
HE country of the Syrians was near the land of Israel,
and often the Syrians fought against the Israelites,
and took away their corn and cattle. But once they
came and carried off a little girl, who was given to a great
lady, the wife of Naaman, to wait on her. How sad for the
poor child to lose her home, and all she loved. But she tried
to do her duty faithfully in the new country.
Her master, Naaman, was a famous general, who
commanded the king's armies. But he was ill with a
dreadful disease, leprosy. The little maid, who did not
forget her old home and what she had learnt there, said to
her mistress: I wish my master would go to Samaria. A
great prophet lives there, who could make him well." Some
one told Naaman of her words, and even the king heard
about them. He said to his general: Go, and I will write
a letter to the king of Israel to help you."
So Naaman took much money as a present to pay the
prophet to make him well, and rode away in his chariot,
as the picture shows. The king of Israel sent him to the
prophet, Elisha, who had been the friend and servant of
Elijah. The chariot, and horses, and the fine servants
stopped before the prophet's humble door, but Elisha, with-
out looking at the great man, told him to wash seven times in
the river Jordan. Naaman was angry, because the prophet
did not even take the trouble to come out and speak to
him, and he said: We have great rivers at home, Abana
and Pharpar ; why should I wash in Jordan ? and he nearly
refused to try the remedy. But his servants persuaded him
to do as the prophet said. He went to the river, and dipped
seven times in the clear water, and the dreadful leprosy went
away. His skin became clean and fresh as a little child's.
All this happened through the words of one little girl.
Good and loving children are often allowed by God to be of
great use to others.
T1: B~\ N,
GEHAZI, THE MAN WHO WAS NOT AFRAID TO TELL A LIE.
GEHAZI, THE MAN WHO WAS NOT AFRAID
TO TELL A LIE.
AAMAN was so grateful to the prophet for curing him
that he wanted to give him the gold and silver and
fine clothes he had brought. Elisha said No." He
did not want to be paid for doing a kindness. But Gehazi,
Elisha's servant, was standing by, and when he saw that his
master took none of Naaman's gifts, he thought he would like
some of them for himself. Though Gehazi lived with Elisha,
he was not like him. He was greedy and deceitful and bad.
Naaman said good-bye to Elisha, and told him that
henceforth he should always pray to the God of Israel,
who had cured him through His prophet. Then Naaman
started for home, with his servants and chariot and the
camels which carried his luggage.
When he had gone a little way, out of sight of the
city, Gehazi followed. Naaman saw him running after,
and knew that it was Elisha's servant, and got out of his
chariot at once, to show politeness and gratitude to the
servant of the good prophet who had helped him, and said:
" Is all well ?" Gehazi answered: "Two visitors have come,
and my master asks you to give him a talent of silver and
two suits of clothes." A talent was a large sum of money,
nearly two hundred pounds. This was not a true story, but
Naaman of course could not know that. He answered: I
will give him two talents," and he made two of his servants
carry the bags of money and the clothes back with him.
Gehazi put them in a secret hiding place, and went in to
wait on his master as if nothing had happened. "Where
have you been ? asked Elisha. Nowhere," replied Gehazi.
But Elisha said: You cannot deceive me. You went to ask
Naaman for his money. The leprosy he has lost shall come
upon you." And from that moment Gehazi became a leper.
He was not afraid to tell a lie, and he had to bear the
punishment for it all his life.
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TIE WONDERS DONE BY ELISHA.
THE WONDERS DONE BY ELISHA.
MANY young men came to live with Elisha, and he
taught them. They were called the sons of the
prophets, because they wanted to be prophets
themselves. Elisha was like a father to them, and helped
them in all their difficulties.
One day they had no bread to eat, for there was a
famine in the land; and Elisha told his servant to put
a great pot on the fire and make bread for them all. Then
one of the young men went into the fields, and found a
wild vine with gourds on. He gathered a lap full, and
cut them up for the broth. But they were poisonous,
though he did not know it. When they had tasted the
broth, they found there was something wrong. They cried:
"There is death in the pot." But Elisha asked for some
meal and threw it in, and the broth became good, and they
could all eat it.
Another time they had only twenty loaves to set before
a hundred hungry men, but at Elisha's word the bread
became enough for them, just as Jesus Christ afterwards
made five loaves enough to feed five thousand people.
Another time the sons of the prophets wanted to make
the house where they lived bigger. They asked Elisha
to come with them, and they went down to the river
Jordan to cut wood. As one of them was chopping at a
tree, the heavy iron axe-head fell into the water. What
shall I do, master?" he said in distress; "it is not mine.
It is borrowed." "Where did it fall?" asked Elisha. The
young man showed him, and Elisha threw a stick into the
river. Then the heavy iron came to the top of the water
and the young man picked it up. Twice Elisha brought
dead people to life, and many years after he was dead
himself, when some one was laid in his tomb, as soon as
the dead man touched the bones of Elisha, he lived again.
God gave Elisha the power to do these wonders.
ELIS1IA AND THE KING'S ARROWS.
ELISHA AND THE KING'S ARROWS.
T HE Syrians often fought with the Israelites in the
days of Elisha. God gave wonderful knowledge to
him, and he knew what the king of Syria was think-
ing about in his most secret thoughts. Elisha used to say
to the king of Israel : Do not let your soldiers go to such a
place. The Syrians will come there." And when the Syrian
army came down to that place they found no one there. The
king of Syria was angry that he could not surprise the Israel-
ites and kill them, and he sent an army to take Elisha prisoner.
Elisha's servant was very frightened when he saw all these
soldiers with horses and chariots around the city, but Elisha
told him not to fear, and prayed for his eyes to be opened.
Then the servant saw that an army of shining angels was.
round them too, to take care of them. And God made all
the Syrian soldiers blind, and Elisha met them, and led them
into the city, Samaria, before they knew where they were.
But Elisha grew old, and was going to die. The king
of Israel came to visit him, and cried bitterly to think he
would soon lose the good prophet. Elisha said to him::
"Take your bow and arrows ready to shoot." The king
took his bow and arrows, and Elisha put his hand on the
king's hands. Open the window to the east, and shoot,"
said Elisha ; and when the king shot- The arrow of the
Lord's deliverance, and the arrow of the deliverance from
Syria," he said. Then he added: "Take the arrows and
shoot again upon the ground." The king shot three times.
and then stopped. Elisha was angry, and said: "You
should have shot five or six times, for then you would
have conquered Syria quite. Now you will only win the
battle over them three times."
Elisha died, and after his death the Israelites fought.
the Syrians, and conquered them three times. Elisha was.
the prophet most like Jesus Christ. He loved to do deeds.
THEBO KNG OAII
THE BOY KING JOASH.
AHAZIAH, the king of Judah, was killed when he was
away on a visit. His mother, Athaliah, was a bad
woman. When she knew that her son was dead,
she wished to be queen herself. She ordered all her sons
and grandsons to be killed. How very cruel! She was
the daughter of the bad queen Jezebel, whom we read of
in the days of Elisha, and she was like her mother.
But one baby boy was saved, though she did not know
it. Little Joash had a kind aunt who was married to a
priest, Jehoiada. They took the poor child and his nurse
and hid them in the temple of the Lord for six years. For
six years the little boy was kept shut up. They dared not
let him ride nor run in the streets of Jerusalem, for the
bad queen would have heard of it and killed him. But
his kind uncle and aunt were planning all the while how
they could make him king, and when he was seven years
old they thought the time had come. They gathered all
the priests together and gave them weapons. They told
them to stand close round about, and guard the young
king. Then they led Joash into the temple, and put a
shining crown on his head, and gave him a copy of the
law of God. All the guards had spears in their hands,
and they clapped and shouted: God save the king."
Queen Athaliah heard the noise, and came down to
the temple. She saw the boy king standing by a pillar,
while the trumpets blew, and the people rejoiced. Then
she cried: "Treason, treason ; but the guards carried her
out, and put her to death, as she had caused many others
to be killed. The young king remained in the temple,
promising with the people to love and serve God all
their days. He was one of the good kings of Judah. He
loved the house of God, and put it in order, mending the
parts that were broken, and making it fair and beautiful
for the people to worship in.
HEZEKIAH, A GOOD AND GREAT KING.
HEZEKIAH, A GOOD AND GREAT KING.
H EZEKIAH was a good king who tried to walk in
the ways of David. He would not let his people
worship idols, he loved God's house, and kept the
holy feasts as they had not been kept for a long time.
He took great care of his kingdom, and built cities, and laid
up corn in barns, and made sheep-cotes for his flocks, and
had much cattle. There was joy and prosperity in the land.
But suddenly a great danger came. The Assyrians,
a strong nation, had conquered the northern kingdom of
Israel, and carried away many people prisoners. They
wanted Hezekiah to give them money, or else, they said,
they would do the same to him. But he trusted in God,
and did not fear them.
Then their king, Sennacherib, came up with a large
army, and surrounded Jerusalem. Hezekiah made the walls
of the city strong, and built towers; but he had not nearly
as many soldiers as the Assyrians. He was afraid too of
being starved, because his people could not leave the city to
get food. The Assyrians thought they should soon conquer
them, and sent an angry letter to Hezekiah, saying that
his God could not save him out of their hands.
Hezekiah took the letter to the temple, and laid it
before the Lord, as you see in the picture. In answer to
his prayer God sent a message by the prophet Isaiah,
promising to help him. And that night the angel of the
Lord came down to the camp of the Assyrians. One hundred
and eighty thousand soldiers were there, proud of their
strength and their bright weapons. But they could not
be as strong as the power of the Lord. He sent a great
sickness upon these proud warriors, which slew them at
once. Their sharp swords could not help them against such
a foe, and when the sun rose in the morning, all the great
army lay dead in their tents. So God delivered Hezekiah
from his enemies.
" NO W.INE NOR IDOL-MEAT."
"NO WINE NOR IDOL-MEAT."
ABOUT a hundred years after Hezekiah's death, the
kings of Israel were not good men. They worshipped
idols, and did not listen to the prophets who brought
God's messages. And God let them fall into the hands of
their enemies. The king of Babylon came to Jerusalem, and
carried away the king and many other prisoners. Among
the rest he took some boys of noble birth, handsome and
clever. The king wished them, when they were older, to
wait on him in his palace, and to be wise men whose
advice he could ask in times of difficulty. They had lessons
given them by the wisest men in Babylon, and every day
wine and meat was sent them from the king's own table.
But before the wine and meat were put on the king's
table, they had been carried to an idol-temple, and offered
to some false god. Four of these young men, Daniel,
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, remembered what they
had learned in the home of their childhood. They knew
that God tells us in His Book that we must not worship
any one but Him; and they did not want even to eat meat
that had been set before idols. So they asked Melzar, who
took care of them, if they might have nothing but bread
and vegetables to eat, and water to drink. But Melzar
was afraid, and said: "The king will be angry if he sees
you look pale and thin." Then Daniel said: Let us
try for ten days, and you will soon see if we look worse
than the others." At the end of the ten days the four
young abstainers looked fairer and plumper than all the
We ought to try and please God even in what we eat
and drink. Do you think men who let strong drink take
away their senses have thought much of God? While
you are young, get the victory over yourselves even in
such things as food and drink, and you will be strong all
THE THREE MEN WHO DARED TO SAY NO."
THE THREE MEN WHO DARED TO SAY "NO."
N EBUCHADNEZZAR, the great king of Babylon,
was generally kind to his Jewish captives. But he
worshipped idols, and one wrong thing often leads
to another. It was so with him, for he made a new golden
idol, nearly a hundred feet high, and told all his people to
worship it. He brought musicians who could play all kinds
of music, and when the music began he said that all must
fall down before the image of gold. If not, they would be
cast into a burning furnace.
But there were three men in Babylon who dared to disobey
the king. Three of the boys who had once said they would
not touch the idol-meat and wine, refused to worship the
new idol. They were grown-up men now, but they feared
God as much as ever. Perhaps some people disliked them
because they were so good, for very soon word came to the
king: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego do not worship
the image." Nebuchadnezzar sent for these bold men, and
said: "Is this true? If you do not obey me, you will be
cast into a fiery furnace." Then these brave men answered :
0 Nebuchadnezzar, our God whom we serve is able to
deliver us out of the burning, fiery furnace. But if He
does not, still we will not serve your gods, 0 king."
The king was very angry, and he told his servants to
make the furnace seven times hotter. It was so hot that
the soldiers who threw them in were killed themselves. But
when the king looked, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego
were walking, unhurt, in the midst of the fire, and with
them was Another, whose form was like the Son of God.
Nebuchadnezzar called them to come out, and Shadrach,
Meshach, and Abednego came out of the burning flames,
safe and untouched, not a hair of their heads singed, nor
their garments even smelling of fire. Then Nebuchadnezzar
blessed the God who could so deliver His faithful servants
who trusted in Him.
W E read of four young men who would not touch the
idol-meat and wine. The fourth, Daniel, was as
wise and good as the others. He was very skilful
to interpret dreams. Twice he told Nebuchadnezzar the
meaning of wonderful dreams, when no one else could
interpret them, and Nebuchadnezzar made him a great man,
ruler of all the province of Babylon.
But Nebuchadnezzar died, and there was a young king,
Belshazzar. He was quite a different kind of king, and was
neither wise nor good. He loved feasting and drinking, and
one night he sent for some golden cups that had been taken
from the house of the Lord in Jerusalem. He and his
princes drank from the sacred cups, and as they drank they
praised their false gods. Then suddenly there came a hand
upon the wall of the palace, which wrote some strange
words just where the light of the candle fell on them. The
king was frightened, and wanted to know the meaning of
them. They sent for Daniel, who seems to have been quite
forgotten. The young king had not given him any love
nor honour, but Daniel came at once to help him. He told
the frightened Belshazzar that he had not served the God of
Heaven as Nebuchadnezzar his father had done. God was
going to take his kingdom away from him, and give it to
the Medes and Persians.
That very night the king was slain. Darius the Mede
came to rule in the city. He heard how wise Daniel was,
and made him governor over all the kingdom under him.
With all this honour Daniel did not forget his God. Three
times a day in his own chamber he opened the windows
that looked to Jerusalem, and kneeling on his knees, gave
thanks and prayed to God.
Do we ever say we are too busy or too tired to pray?
Think of this man, who was next to the king, with many
great things to do, and yet always found time for prayer.
LO I -
DANIEL IN THE DEN OF LIONS.
DANIEL IN THE DEN OF LIONS.
GOOD men often have enemies who try to do them
harm. There were some people who wanted to get
Daniel into trouble, but they could not find any-
thing wrong that he had done, so that they might complain
of him. They went, however, to King Darius, and asked him
to make a law that any one who asked any thing of God
or man, except the king, for thirty days, should be cast into
the den of lions. Daniel knew about the law, but he could
not give up praying to God, and soon his enemies came
to the king, and said: Daniel is praying to his God
three times a day."
Then the king was very sorry, for he never meant to
hurt Daniel. He had not seen through the schemes of
Daniel's enemies. But he was obliged to keep his own
law. But the king said to Daniel : Your God, whom you
serve so faithfully, will take care of you." Then Daniel
was thrown down into the pit full of fierce lions, and a
big stone put over the mouth of the den, and sealed with
the king's seal, which no one might break.
How terrible to be shut up alone in the darkness with
the fierce lions, and no one near to help.
All night the king could not sleep for thinking of Daniel,
and early in the morning he went to see what had happened
to him. And when he came there, he cried anxiously:
" 0 Daniel, has your God saved you ? And Daniel's own
voice answered him: "O king, my God has sent His
angels, and shut the mouths of the lions, and they have
done me no harm."
The king was very glad, and told his servants to take
Daniel up out of the den. But the wicked men who had
brought Daniel there into danger were thrown into the
lions' den themselves. And the lions sprang on them, and
tore them to pieces at once. Then king Darius believed in
the God who could deliver and help His servants.
ESTHER, THE QUEEN.
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ESTHER, THE QUEEN.
SOME time after Darius died, a king named Ahasuerus
came to rule over Persia. He wanted to choose a
wife, so he ordered that all the beautiful maidens in
the land should come to the palace that he might see which
he liked best. There was a young Jewish girl called
Esther, who had no father nor mother, but had been
brought up by her uncle Mordecai. She was very fair,
and very good, and her uncle sent her to the palace,
and when the king saw her, he liked her best of all,
and chose her to be the queen. She was not proud at all
in her new position; she loved the uncle who had been so
kind to her, and in the king's palace she did whatever
her uncle told her, as much as when she had lived in his
Now the king's chief minister was Haman, a proud
and cruel man. He did not like Mordecai at all. Whenever
Haman came past the people bowed and knelt before
him, but Mordecai did not bow, because he felt no respect
for such a bad man. Haman was very angry and thought
he would punish Mordecai and all his people too. He
told the king that the Jews were a bad nation, and asked
him to kill all that were in his kingdom.
\Vhen Mordecai heard this he told Esther the queen
about it, and begged her to go to the king, and ask him
not to do this thing. But Esther was afraid. She said:
"I have not been called to see the king for thirty days, and
it is death to go to him unless he sends for me." But
Mordecai said: Perhaps God made you queen on purpose
that you should save your people." Then Esther said:
"I will go, but do you and all the Jews pray for me."
So she put on her royal robes, and beautiful jewels, and
when the king saw her he held out his golden sceptre,
which meant that he was not angry, but would hear what
she came to say. In the picture Esther is speaking to him.
- -~b~-:= -.i .- --- _~-:.-~--:-- -_. II:_---- ~-:~-~
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HAMAN AND MORDECAA
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HAMAN AND MORDECAI.
HAMAN AND MORDECAI.
AMAN did not know that Esther was a Jewess,
nor that she was Mordecai's niece. So he went
on with his wicked plans. He felt sure that he
should be able to do all that he wished, and he made a
gallows fifty feet high, and meant to ask Ahasuerus to
have Mordecai hanged on it the next day.
But that night the king could not sleep, and he told
his servants to bring the book in which was written all
that had been done in his reign, and read it to him. In
that book he found that at one time Mordecai had shown
the king that two bad men were going to kill him, but
Mordecai had received no reward for doing the king this
Then Ahasuerus said to Haman, who came in just at
that moment: What shall be done to a man whom the
king wishes to honour ? Haman thought he was the one
whom the king wanted to please, and he answered quickly:
"Put royal robes on the man, and the crown on his head,
and let him ride on the king's horse through the city, and
let one of the princes lead the horse and cry aloud as they
go, 'So shall it be done to the man whom the king wishes
to honour.' And Ahasuerus said: "Take all that you
have said, and do this for Mordecai, for it is he whom I
wish to reward." Haman was obliged to obey the king,
and he led Mordecai like a king through the city, showing
honour to the man whom he most hated.
The next day Queen Esther told the king all Haman's
wicked plots against the Jews, and Ahasuerus commanded
that he should be hung on the gallows he had made for
Mordecai. And the Jews were allowed to fight with their
enemies and kill all that wished to kill them. So Esther
saved her people, and there was great joy and gladness
among them. The Jews still keep that happy day in
JOnNAH, THE PROPHET,
1~-=~.. 3= ...--
JONAH, THE PROPHET.
OD often gave his prophets special messages to take
for Him. He told one prophet named Jonah to
go to Nineveh, a great and bad city, and say that
in forty days it should be destroyed. But Jonah did not
want to go. Nineveh was so large a city that he was perhaps
afraid the peolpe would kill him. He went on board a
ship that was going to Tarshish, a place far from Nineveh.
But God sent a great wind, and the sea became stormy;
the ship could not get along. Then the sailors said: "It
must be some one's fault that we are in such danger; let
us cast lots and see who it is." The lot fell on Jonah,
and he confessed that he had done wrong, and refused to
do what God told him. He said they must throw him into
the sea. They were not willing to be so unkind; but at
last they did, and at once the sea was quiet.
Now God had made a great fish ready to swallow
Jonah, and for three days and three nights Jonah was
inside the fish. He prayed there, and was sorry for his
sin; and the fish cast him out on the dry land; and Jonah
went his way to give his message.
Nineveh was a very large town ; it took a man three
days to walk through it. Jonah went into the midst of
the city, and cried aloud in the streets: "Yet forty days,
and Nineveh shall be overthrown." The King of Nineveh
came off his throne, and put on sackcloth instead of his fine
robes. He told his people to pray, and be sorry for their
sins. God saw their sorrow, and said He would not punish
Nineveh as He had thought, for God loves to be merciful.
In this book we have told you a few of the wonderful
stories that the Bible contains. But there are many more
besides. As you grow older, read them often and think of
them. You may get tired of other stories, but you will
never grow tired of these. The Bible is a book that will
last us all our lives.
THE READING OF THE LAW.
MOST of the Jews were prisoners in Persia for many
years. Jerusalem, the beautiful city they loved,
was in ruins, and the temple of God had been
destroyed. But God put it in the heart of Cyrus, king
of Persia, to pity the Jews, and allow them to go back to
their own land. He gave them the dishes and cups of
gold and silver that had been taken from the house of the
Lord, and a great many noble Jews went back to Jerusalem,
and began to build the city and temple. But they had
many enemies who troubled them, and made them stop
the work for a long time.
But at last Ezra, a good man, who had often read and
copied the law of God; and Nehemiah, who was the cup-
bearer to the king of Persia, came to Jerusalem, with the
king's permission, to go on building. They brought money
and men, and they persuaded the poor frightened Jews in
the city to have no fear, and all worked hard together to
make the wall of the town strong and safe. Again their
enemies came to fight them, but Nehemiah told his people
to work with one hand at the building, and in the other
to carry a sword or spear. Then their enemies let them
alone. The people worked from early morning till the
stars came out at night, and they soon finished the walls.
After this was done they rested awhile, and all gathered
together to hear Ezra read to them out of the book of
the law. He stood on a wooden pulpit, high up where
all the people could see him, and other priests stood with
him, and he read the words of God. The people were glad
to hear the Holy Book again, and praised God for all His
goodness, though they wept and were sorry to think how
often they had broken His law. But Ezra and Nehemiah
told them to rejoice; and they kept a great feast for seven
days together, and each day Ezra read to them out of the
book of the law.
Hazell, Watson,, & Viney, Ld., London and Aylesbury.