Front Cover
 Front Matter
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 The grave at Bethlehem : Location...
 The grave at Bethlehem - continued...
 The grave at Bethlehem - continued...
 The bride of Bethlehem : Elimelech...
 The bride of Bethlehem - continued...
 The king of Bethlehem : The prophet...
 The king of Bethlehem - continued...
 The babe of Bethlehem : Christ's...
 The babe of Bethlehem - continued...
 The babe of Bethlehem - continued...
 Modern Bethlehem : Bethlehem as...
 Back Cover

Title: Bethlehem and her children
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00078094/00001
 Material Information
Title: Bethlehem and her children
Physical Description: 128 p. : ill. ; 16 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Hallock, M. A ( Mary Angeline ), b. 1810
American Tract Society
Publisher: American Tract Society
Place of Publication: New York
Publication Date: [1859]
Subject: Bible stories, English -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Juvenile literature -- Bethlehem   ( lcsh )
Bldn -- 1859
Genre: non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Statement of Responsibility: by the author of "That sweet story of old."
General Note: Baldwin Library c. 2 has variant cover.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00078094
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002218837
notis - ALF9016
oclc - 02663071

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Front Matter
        Front Matter 1
        Front Matter 2
        Page 1
    Title Page
        Page 2
    Table of Contents
        Page 3
        Page 4
    The grave at Bethlehem : Location of Bethlehem - Its antiquity - First mention in the Bible - Jacob passes through it on his way to Haran - His journey and arrival - His love for Rachel - His sojourn in that land
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
    The grave at Bethlehem - continued : Jacob's return to Canaan - His interview with Esau, and their reconciliation - Jacob's removal to Shechem
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
    The grave at Bethlehem - continued : Jacob called to go to Bethel - Deborah's death - The journey south - Rachel's death and burial at Bethlehem - Judge Ibzan
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
    The bride of Bethlehem : Elimelech and his family - Moab and its ruins - Elimelech's death - Return of Naomi to Bethlehem, with Ruth
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
    The bride of Bethlehem - continued : Ruth's gleanings - Her marriage to Boaz - The birth of Obed her son
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
    The king of Bethlehem : The prophet Samuel at Bethlehem - The sacrifice - David anointed king - Is summoned to court - Philistine invasion - David's encounter with the giant - His marriage with the king's daughter - Saul's jealousy
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
    The king of Bethlehem - continued : David a fugitive from Saul - The cave of Adullam - David's father and mother arrive - Their removal to Moab - Jesse's death - David in the wilderness of Ziph - In the cave at Engedi - He spares Saul's life twice - Dwells among the Philistines - Saul's death - David's successful reign
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
    The babe of Bethlehem : Christ's birth - The joy of angels - The flight into Egypt - The slaughter of Bethlehem's children - The character and death of Herod - Joseph recalled - Christ's residence at Nazareth, where he was afterwards rejected
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
    The babe of Bethlehem - continued : Capernaum - Christ's miracles - The leper - Peter's wife's mother - The sea of Galilee - The demoniac - Jairus' daughter - The storm on the sea - Christ's transfiguration - He leaves Capernaum - His visits at Bethany - The last supper
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
    The babe of Bethlehem - continued : Judas with the chief priests - Christ's agony in Gethsemane - His betrayal - His trial before Caiaphas and Pilate - His crucifixion - His resurrection
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Page 121
    Modern Bethlehem : Bethlehem as it is - Its inhabitants - The convent and church - The star of Bethlehem
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 127
        Page 128
        Page 129
    Back Cover
        Back Cover 1
        Back Cover 2
Full Text

The Baldwin Library
fRmmB (Lr|



And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, art not the least among the
princes of Judah: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my
people Israel. MATT. 2:6.



Location of Bethlehem-Its antiquity-First mention in the Bible-Jacob
passes through it on his way to Haran-His journey and arrival-His
love for Rachel-His sojourn in that land,------------------------ 5
Jacob's return to Canaan-His interview with Esau, and their reconcilia-
tion-Jacob's removal to Shechem,---------------------------- 15
Jacob called to go to Bethel-Deborah's death-The journey south-Ra-
chel's death and burial at Bethlehem-Judge Ibzan,--------------- 23
Elimelech and his family-Moab and its ruins-Elimelech's death-Return
of Naomi to Bethlehem, with Ruth,------------------------------ 31
Ruth's gleanings-Her marriage to Boaz-The.birth of Obed her son, 38
The prophet Samuel at Bethlehem-The sacrifice-David anointed king-Is
summoned to court-Philistine invasion-David's encounter with the
.giant-His marriage with the king's daughter-Saul's jealousy, - 49


David a fugitive from Saul-The cave of Adullam-David's father and
mother arrive-Their removal to Moab-Jesse's death-David in the
wilderness of Ziph-In the cave at Engedi-He spares Saul's life twice-
Dwells among the Philistines-Saul's death-David's successful reign, 63

Christ's birth-The joy of angels-The flight into Egypt-The slaughter
of Bethlehem's children-The character and death of Herod-Joseph re-
called-Christ's residence at Nazareth, where he was afterwards reject-
ed, --------------------------------------.------------. 82

Capernaum-Christ's miracles-The leper-Peter's wife's mother-The sea
of Galilee-The demoniac-Jairus' daughter-The storm on the sea-
Christ's transfiguration-He leaves Capernaum-His visits at Bethany-
Thelast supper,----------------------------------------------- 93

Judas with the chief priests-Christ's agony in Gethsemane-His betray-
al-His trial before Caiaphas and Pilate-His crucifixion-His resur-
rection,--------------------------------------------------- 112

Bethlehem as it is-Its inhabitants-The convent and church-The star of
Bethlehem, --------------------.------------- ------.... 122


THIS city is pleasantly situated in the land of
Judea, and lies, like many other places mentioned
in Scripture, upon the top of a hill. It is only six
miles south of Jerusalem, and as one travels tow-
ards it from that city, it suddenly bursts upon his
view, stretching itself on from east to west with
enchanting loveliness. The traveller passes through
a deep valley, and then wending his way up the
road, approaches the gates of the city, near which
of old was the famous well of water of which
David drank in his youth, and for which he after-
wards longed in time of war. 2 Sam. 23: 15.


- ai -- -

Bethlehem has been visited by many modern.
travellers, and they all unite in describing the first
view of it as very imposing. From its higher points
the eye takes in at one view "the mountains that

------- ~-
1~I ~1.~ :


are round about Jerusalem," the deep and luxuriant
valleys nearer at hand, and the far distant moun-
tains that lie in the land of Moab. Every thing
around it is beautiful and sacred.
Considering that Bethlehem has stood nearly or
quite four thousand years, and been the home or
tarrying place of many of whom we read in Scrip-
ture, we cannot fail to be interested in tracing the
history of some distinguished characters and events
most intimately associated with it.

The first mention we find made of Bethlehem is
in -Genesis 35: 19, and that record presents to our
view a scene of sadness and mourning. It was the
death and burial of RACHEL, the wife of Jacob the
Twenty-seven years previous to this time, Jacob
had passed through Bethlehem on a journey. How
many changes had since occurred. He had previ-
ously resided with his father Isaac at Beersheba, in

the southern part of Canaan; but his father and
mother, that he might avoid the wrath of his exas-
perated brother Esau, and be prevented from marry-
ing a heathen wife, sent him away from home on a
journey of over six hundred miles, to their pious
kindred in Haran.
With only his staff and a small bundle of pro-
vision for the way, Jacob walks on in a northerly
direction, through an inhospitable region, alone and
Hebron lies on the route, and we may naturally
suppose that his footsteps would turn towards the
cave of Machpelah, which lay in its suburbs. There
slept in unbroken rest Abraham and Sarah, Jacob's
grandparents, of whom he had heard so much; and
he undoubtedly stood before their graves in deep
communings with his own spirit; for unto them
and their children were "the promises."
With a softened and saddened heart he leaves
this hallowed spot, and walks on over the hill-tops


and through the deep passes of the mountains, gath-
ering perhaps ever and anon the juicy grapes that
hung in large clusters from the bending vine, or
partaking of the honey that dropped from the rocks
by his pathway.
Having journeyed about fourteen miles from the
graves of Machpelah, suddenly, on the distant hill-
top, Bethlehem bursts upon his sight. But as he
was ignorant of the sad events that were to- trans-
pire there affecting himself, and of that greater
event which was to affect the whole world, he passes
through it, and down the valley, and up the hill-
side, with his feelings undisturbed; and after six
more miles the city of Jebus, afterwards Jerusalem,
receives the weary traveller.
Melchizedek, the king of Salem, the priest of
the most high God, lived here but a short time
before, and blessed Jacob's grandfather Abraham:
and if this distinguished type of Christ was now
dead, yet his history and lineage were without

doubt familiar to Jacob, though so little is recorded
of them in holy writ.
The sun was sinking fast towards the Mediter-
ranean sea on the west, when the traveller, perhaps
on the second day of his journey, had gone about
twelve miles north of Jebus, and cast about for a
resting-place through the night. Finding no hospi-
table roof to offer him a shelter, he took the stones
of the place for his pillow, while the ground was
his bed, and laid him down to rest. This was the
time which he afterwards calls "the day of my
distress." But "man's extremity is God's oppor-
tunity;" and we find that the angels of the Lord
encamped round about him, and ascended and
descended upon the ladder which reached from his
resting-place to heaven.
Here God talked with him, and renewed the
promises which he had before made to Abraham
and Isaac, that the land of Canaan should be theirs
and their children's for ever.


Eaily the next morning Jacob awoke, and said,
" Surely God is in this place, and I knew it not."
And he arose, and took the stone, his pillow, and
set it tp, and poured oil upon it, and called the
place Bethel, or "the house of God." And there he
vowed to the Lord, and worshipped the God of his
He then continued his journey, and probably
crossed the Jordan soon after; and many days of
weary and toilsome travel ensued before he arrived
in the vicinity of Haran. This place is situated
in the country of Mesopotamia, which lies between
the rivers Euphrates and Tigris, and is supposed by
many to have contained,the garden of Eden, and
the first home of some of Noah's descendants after
the flood.
It was towards the close of the day when Jacob
drew near to his journey's end; and seeing men
standing by a well watering their sheep, he ap-
proached to make some inquiries in regard to the

friends he was seeking. They told him they were
from iaran, and were acquainted with the family
of Laban, who was the brother of Rebecca, Jacob's
mother; and as they were speaking, Rachel, La-
ban's beautiful daughter, was seen approaching
with her father's sheep, coming to the well for
Jacob seems to have refrained himself while he
rolled away the stone from the well and watered
Rachel's sheep; but then his pent-up feelings could
no longer be controlled: he kissed her, and lifted up
his voice and wept, exclaiming, I am Rebecca's
SIn joyful surprise Rachel left Jacob to care for
her sheep, while she hurried back to tell her father
of his arrival; and from that time, probably, Jacob
dated the love which he ever after felt for Rachel.
Laban received him gladly into his family and ser-
vice, and a month passed away before any thing
was said of wages. Jacob was but too happy in


being under the same roof with Rachel to think of
wages; and when Laban finally proposed to remu-
nerate him for his labor, he replied in the fulness of
his heart, "I will serve seven years for Rachel."
Laban accepted the offer; and these seven years,
which might have appeared long to Jacob, "seemed
to him but a few days, for the love he had to her."
Jacob patiently toiled on fourteen long years for
Laban, and received in return his two daughters
Leah and Rachel.
Six years more he labored for wages; in which
time the Lord greatly blessed him, and increased his
substance. Thus twenty years passed by with no
intimation from the Lord that he ought sooner to
return to the land so long before promised to him
and his descendants. But at the expiration of that
period, when Jacob was one hundred years old, the
angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, and
said, "I am the God of Bethel, where thou anointedst
the pillar, and where thou vowedst a vow unto me;

now atise, and return unto the land of thy kindred,
and I will be with thee."
Fearing that Laban would do him some injury
if he were apprized of his design of leaving him and
his service, Jacob planned a secret removal, which
was carried into effect while Laban went to shear
his sheep. Leah and Rachel, dissatisfied with their
father's treatment of Jacob, were willing to go; and
the large distance over which the numerous flocks
of Jacob and of Laban were necessarily separated
from each other, favored a departure unobserved.
Three days passed by, after Jacob left, before Laban
heard that he had gone.




FIRED with wrath at losing so valuable a ser-
vant, Laban gathered up a company of men, and
pursued after Jacob with haste.
In the mean time, Jacob, fearing that this would
be the case, travelled on as fast as the state of his
flocks would allow; and having crossed the Euphra-
tes and a long desert that intervened, pitched his
tents upon mount Gilead, on the east side of Jor-
dan. Here we can imagine that he felt a degree of
security in view of the supposed distance between
himself and his unjust father-in-law. A magnifi-
cent landscape was spread out before him. There
were lofty mountains in the distance, and undulat-
ing hills at the north, bearing "oaks of Bashan,"
such as Solomon used in the building of the temple.

There too were deep valleys and flowing streams
and luxuriant meadows, in which fed the fat bulls
of Bashan." This was the country where after-
wards lived the giants, one of whom slept on a bed-
stead of iron which was more than thirteen feet
Jacob's rest upon this mountain was .of short
duration, for Laban and his company soon made
their appearance, intending to carry him and his
family back by force. But the protecting hand of
the Lord was with him, according to the promise;
and after an amicable adjustment of their difficul-
ties, Laban left them with the kiss of peace.
Joseph, the son of Jacob and Rachel, was at this
time about six years old; and as he parted with his
grandfather Laban, and turned again to his frolics
with his brothers, his young heart had no foreshad-
owings of those sore trials which were to come upon
him in the land to which they were going.
Rachel, his beloved mother, was by daily travel


drawing nearer and still nearer to the city of Beth-
lehem, where her loving heart was to be chilled by
death, and her. beloved body hid in the grave.
Happy for Rachel, happy for us, as we eagerly and
joyfully press on to what seem cheering resting-
places in the journey of life, that the impenetrable
veil which hides the future from our eyes is not

It would be reasonable to suppose that, after
such a signal interposition of God in turning away
the wrath of Laban, Jacob's fears of future evils
would have been: greatly lessened. But no sooner
had he escaped one danger, than we find him dis-
tressed to such a degree with forebodings of certain
death by the hand of his brother Esau, that God
condescended to open his eyes to see a host of angels
encamped around him. This was done to strength-
en his confidence in God's protecting power and
constant watchfulness.
eltlehellU 2


Yet Jacob did not neglect the means of safety
which prudence dictated. Hearing that his brother
.was approaching with an army of four hundred
men, and overwhelmed with fear, he prayed to God
to fulfil his promise and protect him. Hie then
called his servants, and with their help selected and
dispatched to his brother as a present cattle and
flocks of different kinds, in all five hundred and
eighty. He then went to lodge with his family.
But as, if all had not been done that could be,
he arose in the night, and sent his family and all
that he had over the brook Jabbok. This is a small
river from the east that empties into the river Jor-
dan between, the sea of Galilee and the Dead sea,
and is so thickly bordered with oleander, wild
olives, and wild almonds, and waving reeds ten or
fifteen feet high, that in some places the water is
entirely hidden from view. Yet the luxuriant bor-
der marks its course, and the musical murmur of its
flow is heard. In some places the stream is not


over ten yards wide, but it is nearly as rapid and
deep as the Jordan itself.
In the dark hours of the night, when nature
was hushed and at rest, Jacob labored untiringly in
removing all those dear to him across the Jabbok to
a place of greater safety. Then he remained alone
in the solitude, and the Angel of the covenant came
and wrestled with him till the breaking of the day.
In this wrestling with the sinner's Friend he pre-
vailed. He received the blessing which he sought,
and the new name ISRAEL, which means "a prince-
ly prevailer with God."
Jacob's seeking to be alone, that he might spend
the night ii prayer, shows to what source he looked
for help in the hour of fear and distress; and his
success is a great encouragement to Christians at
all times to follow his example.
Having sent forward hundreds of camels, kine,
and other animals, as a costly present to assuage the
wrath of Esau, the manner in which he arranged


his family to meet him indicates where his deepest
affection lay. The handmaids and their children
went first, Leah and hers next, and his beloved
Rachel and Joseph behind, that if the first should
be slain, the wife and child of his bosom might
When Esau had come in sight, Jacob walked
forth to meet him, and bowed himself seven times
to the ground. This conciliatory course, with the
blessing of God upon it, extracted the venom from
Esau's heart. He ran to meet his twin brother
Jacob, and embraced him, and fell on his neck and
kissed him; and they wept together. They had com-
menced life together, and for many years they loved
each other and were happy; but there came a quar-
rel, a family quarrel, bitter and hateful, and of thirty
years' duration. This was their first meeting after
it; and it is pleasant to see their anger giving place
to tears of affection.
Esau returned to Edom, and Jacob removed to


'P A

Succoth. Succoth was a little south of Gilead, on
the same side of the river. Here he built a house
for himself and booths for his cattle; but he soon
after took his family, and crossing the Jordan, pro-
ceeded northerly, and came and pitched his tent in

Shechem, a town about forty miles north of Jerusa-
lem. Here he paid a hundred pieces of money for
a parcel of ground, which he gave to Joseph; and
here he digged that well at which our Saviour after-
wards sat down, when he had the conversation with
the woman of Samaria. And here also Joseph's
bones were interred, after they had been brought
out of Egypt.
When the land became Jacob's, he built an
altar upon it unto the Lord, and called it "E1-Elo-
he-Israel"-" God the God of Israel."


GOD now called upon Jacob to arise and go to
Bethel, and make an altar unto the God who ap-
peared to him there when he fled from his brother
Esau. Jacob obeyed. All things were made ready;
and with his numerous family and flocks and herds,
he began to move forward. The host presented an
imposing appearance; and the terror of the Lord
was upon the cities around about them, so that this
large company passed on undisturbed, and arrived
at Bethel in safety.
But death, who is ever lurking in ambush
around the paths of life, shot a fatal arrow into the
iidst of this family, and Deborah, a beloved and
aged servant, received its stroke. While the altar
which Jacob-built in that place had scarce received
its first bleeding victim, she died, and the place was

consecrated by the grave of a child of God. This
Deborah was the same nurse that was sent away,
one hundred and twenty-five years before, with
Rebecca, when Abraham's servant went into Padan-
Aram, (the Hebrew name of Mesopotamia,) to get a
wife for Isaac. She was with Rebecca when she
alighted from her camel to meet Isaac as he walked
in the field to meditate; saw her given to him as
his wife; travelled with them in their various jour-
neyings; nursed Jacob and Esau in their helpless
infancy, and watched their growth and different
dispositions for more than seventy years. She was
probably present when the savory meat was made
to deceive her master Isaac; and grieved to see
Jacob sent off alone to go to her native country.
After Rebecca's death and Jacob's settlement in the
promised land, Deborah seems to have been taken
into the family of Jacob; and notwithstanding her
usefulness was gone, and she was only a care and
expense, her death was sincerely mourned, which


speaks well for the kindly feeling existing between
the family and this their faithful friend. They
buried her under an oak in Bethel, and called it
"the oak of weeping."
While Jacob remained in this place the Lord
appeared to him again, and blessed him; changing
his name to Israel, which means "a prince that
prevails with God," and renewing the promises he
made to Abraham and Isaac, To thee and to thy
seed after thee will I give this land." And he set
up another pillar, and poured a drink-offering upon
it, and called the name of it. Bethel."
Jacob had now performed at the altar of Bethel
the vow which he made in the day of his dis-
tress;" and the Lord had again confirmed his prom-
ises. In this consecrated spot he had made the first
grave of his household; and with many endearing
remembrances of Bethel, we find him again taking
down his tents and gathering up his substance for
another removal.

This time he turns his face towards the home of
his childhood. Rebecca, his fond and indulgent
mother, who had sent him to her own kindred "to
be gone a few days," had long since closed her eyes
in death, without one more view of her beloved
Jacob. But his aged father Isaac was still alive;
and with.the hope of being a comfort to him in his
declining days, Jacob purposes to visit his early
Twelve miles of his journey are passed, andhe
arrives again at Jerusalem; but how different is his
entrance into the city from what it was some thirty
years before, when, alone and sad, he passed through
it a fugitive from 'his father's house. Now he has
at his command a host, besides immense wealth
and an extended influence. He could say emphat-
ically, I went out empty, but Thou hast brought
me back full."
Jerusalem is "beautiful for situation;" but this
could not detain the travellers. Commanded of


God, the angel of death had passed on before, only
to await their approach at Bethlehem; and all un-
conscious of his fearful presence, this large company
passed on with their usual cheerfulness.
Jacob's camel is close by that upon which sits
his beloved Rachel; these wero among the last
hours he would ever pass with her. Only six miles
were between him and his greatest sorrow; yet,
with cheerful anticipations of happiness in the
future, Jacob and his Rachol wended their way
through the valleys and up the hill-sides, followed
by the long droves of lowing cattle and bleating
sheep, till Bethlehem on the distant hill-top burst
upon their view.
How sad that death should mar a scene like
this. Even now his shadow is falling upon Rachel,
robbing her cheek of its bloom. The journey is
stayed; the camels' furniture is removed; the tents
are pitched; and Rachel has all the attention that
could possibly be given. Yet the angel of death

steadily approaches, till his presence is evident even
to Jacob, whose heart now begins to fail. It is his
own Rachel, his dear Joseph's mother, and how can
he give her up? God has heard his prayers in other
troubles, and.will he not help now? Undoubtedly
he wrestled long and earnestly for her life; but as
an importunate child, who knows not what is for
his own good, is refused by a loving father, so Jacob
was refused; and with a bleeding heart the aged
saint bowed to the will of God.
Neither the encouraging Fear not" of Rachel's
attendants, nor her own wishes,, nor her friends'
efforts, nor her husband's prayers, could retain the
spirit; and as her soul was departing, the son of her
sorrow was bequeathed to the broken-hearted Jacob,
and the babe became his Benjamin.
It was the custom in that country for the near-
est relative of the deceased to close the eyes and
give the parting kiss. And can we not see this
trembling patriarch, with his long white hair and


beard, bending over his beloved wife? His hands
were pressed upon her eyelids; his frame trembled;
he kissed her, and lifted up his voice and wept.
He had kissed her and wept at their first meeting;
then for joy, now for grief. Thus the two extremes
of our feelings meet in tears.
The loving Joseph mingled the tears of this his,
first grief with the bitter waters that welled up from
his father's wounded spirit; and as Jacob's eye of
faith caught glimpses of that better land where his
beloved was at rest, did not Joseph learn from his
father's words of confidence in God, lessons which
were lasting and salutary ?
The day of interment came, "and Jacob buried
Rachel in the way to Ephrath, which is Bethle-
hem." That the spot might not be forgotten, he
placed a pillar of stone upon her grave; and the
pillar of Rachel's grave is the first monument of
which we have any account at Bethlehem.


About six hundred years after Rachel's burial,
we have another glimpse of Bethlehem, which was
honored by having one of its citizens chosen as
judge in Israel. His name was lbzan, and he was
the successor of Jephthah; but little is recorded of
him. He judged Israel seven years, and died, and
was buried in Bethlehem.




TIME rolls on, and Bethlehem's sons and daugh-
ters are born and buried for one hundred and seventy
years, unnoted in sacred history. But at the expi-
ration of that period the record again begins; and
we see Elimelech, with his wife arid two sons, gath-
ering up their substance and preparing to remove.
There was a famine in the land; provisions
were getting dear; and'this family arrived at the
determination to forego the privileges of home and
the ordinances of God, and to dwell for a time
among the idolatrous Moabites.
This nation descended from Moab, the son of
Lot, and inhabited the country lying east of the
Dead sea. Here is where Zoar lies, the city to,
which Lot and his daughters fled when Sodom was

burned; previous to which event this region was
inhabited by a race of giants great and tall. The
Moabites called them Emim. These they conquer-
ed, and the country afterwards attained a state of
great luxuriance and beauty; but the inhabitants
worshipped the idols Chemosh and Baal-peor, and
God sent many and remarkable threats to them by
his prophets, which were afterwards literally ful-
filled. At this day the country contains many
splendid ruins of temples, hanging gardens, and
sepulchral monuments; and the wandering Arabs
pitch their tents here and there in the region which
was once studded with cities.
To this land Elimelech and his family bent
their steps. After several days of weary toil and
travel, they reached their place of destination, and
made for themselves a home.
Here undoubtedly Elimelech had an abundance
of food; but while God granted him his desires, he
visited him and his family with righteous judg-


ments. Elimelech was laid upon a bed of death,
and his grave was made among idolaters.
Naomi, with her two sons, was left in great
affliction, a widow among strangers, with no dear
friend of her kindred to advise or assist her; and
she undoubtedly looked back with regret to her
early home and friends, and would gladly have re-
turned and suffered with them in the famine.
But God had designs which were not yet accom-
plished. There was a Moabitish woman in the
land from whom the Saviour was to descend, and
she was to have her home in Judah. These secret
purposes of God were unknown to Naomi and her
son Mahlon; but as he associated with the inhab-
itants of the land, he became interested in a daugh-
ter of Moab named Ruth, and in process of time she
became his wife. Chilion the younger son also
married Orpah, and the widowed heart of Naomi
began to rejoide. But her cup of bitterness was not
yet full. Soon Mahlon and Chilion died, and these
Bethlhem. ,

three widows mingled their scalding tears around
the same hearthstone. Well might Naomi exclaim,
"Were there no graves in Bethlehem, that I have
come into Moab to bury my dead?"
Ten years before, she came from home a beloved
wife and a happy mother, and possessed of the com-
forts of life; but now, bereft of all, she arises with
her daughters-in-law to return, for she had heard
that the famine was past.
Being destitute of property, they probably left
on foot the place where they had been living, and
for some time the three travelled on together. But
Naomi, whose mind dwelt upon her destitute and
helpless condition, turned to her daughters-in-law,
and advised them to return each to her mother's
home, for she herself could offer no inducements
for them to follow her; and she also expressed the
wish that the Lord would deal as kindly with them
as they had dealt with the dead and with her.
She then kissed them a farewell. But they lifted


up their voices and wept; and amid their tears they
said, Naomi, we surely will go with you.
Naomi assured them that she was exceedingly
sorry for their sakes, but that the hand of the Lord
had gone out against her; she was now poor, and
although about to return to her native city, she had
no home to go to, and could offer them no induce-
ments to follow her. And now, my daughters, she
said, go back, and find husbands in your own coun-
try, and be prosperous and happy, and I will go on
alone to die and be buried with my people. And
they lifted up their voices and wept again.
Orpah accepted the advice, and after kissing her
mother-in-law again, she turned back; but Ruth
said, "Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return
from following after thee; for whither thou goest I
will go, and where thou lodgest I will lodge: thy
people shall be my people, and thy God my God;
where thou diest will I die, and there will I be

Naomi saw that the lovely Ruth was willing to
share with her the hard lot which God had appoint-
ed her; and rejoicing in heart that she was still to
have her company and help day after day, they two
went on their weary journey, till again Bethlehem
in the distance, with its familiar and homelike look,
bursts upon Naomi's weeping eyes. Who can tell
the gush of mingled joy and grief that overwhelm-
ed her at this moment?
Ten years ago she stood on that spot crowned
with every blessing. Elimelech was by her side
to anticipate and supply all her wants, and her
two sons were ready to do her bidding. Where are
they now ? She stands riveted to the spot by pain-
ful remembrances. She is old and poor and sad,
with none to comfort her, save Ruth with the lov-
ing, kindly feelings of a hopeful heart beaming
from her face. Naomi points out the familiar
places of her youth, as they go down into the valley
and up -to the gates of the city.


One and another and another repeats the news
that "Naomi has come back," till all the 'city is
moved, and they exclaim, "Is this Naomi?" And
she replied in anguish of spirit, "Call me not Nao-
mi," which means pleasant, "but call me Mara,"
bitter, "for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly
with me. I went out full, and the Lord hath
brought me home again empty; why then-call ye
me Naomi, seeing the Lord hath testified against
me, and the Almighty hath afflicted me ?"

..'. i :


NAOMI evidently saw that their removing into
an idolatrous country for the sake of worldly good,
thereby exposing themselves and their children to
evil influences, was wrong, and she mourned the
unwise step.
It was the beginning of barley harvest when
Naomi arrived in Bethlehem and settled in her
homely lodgings; and Ruth, expecting nothing in
this country of her adoption but toil and hard fare,
said to her mother-in-law, "Let me go to the field
and glean after the reapers." Naomi probably was
too old and infirm to endure the fatigue of such an
employment, and knowing that she must have
something on which to subsist, said, though perhaps
reluctantly, "Go, my daughter."
So Ruth went out from the city early in the


morning, and arriving at a field where the reapers
were already at work, she asked leave to pick up
the scattering grain, and immediately set herself
to work, and was busily employed when Boaz the
owner entered the lot. He seems not to have
known who she was; and after inquiring, and being
told that it was Naomi's daughter-in-law, his kind-
ly feelings were at once awakened, and he told his
young men to let her glean where she pleased, and
also to drop occasionally a few handfuls of grain on
purpose for her. Boaz was a mighty man of wealth,
and a prince in Judah; but notwithstanding his
exalted position and power, he daily went out upon
his farm to superintend his workmen; and as he
approached, his common salutation to them was,
"The Lord be with you;" and they answered in
return, The Lord bless thee;" a salutation which
beautifully illustrates the genuine effects of true
religion in producing kindness in superiors, and
respect and affection in inferiors.


He soon after came to Ruth, and calling her his
daughter, told her to remain in his field and gather


after the reapers, and when she was thirsty to
drink of the water that the young men had drawn.
She with great humility and modesty expressed her
thanks for his kind consideration towards her a
"stranger," meaning one born and brought up in
heathen Moab. But Boaz replied that it had fully
been told him all that she had done for her mother-
in-law since the death of her husband, and how
she had left her father and mother and come to
dwell with a people with whom she was unac-
quainted; and that he hoped a full reward would
be given her by the Lord God of Israel, under
whose wings she had come to. trust. Little did he
know that he was to be the instrument in fulfilling
his own wishes. He also invited her to dine with
him, which invitation she accepted, and at dinner
she took her seat by the side of the reapers. Boaz,
although so high in rank and dignity, partook of
the homely meal with the workmen, and helped
Ruth at table to such things as they had, and in

such a bountiful manner, that after she had eaten,
a large quantity remained, which she carefully se-
cured and preserved to meet the wants of Naomi
her mother-in-law. Kind and thoughtful Ruth!
An own daughter could not have been more consid-
erate of a mother's need.
At night Ruth found to her joy, after she had
beaten out her grain, that she had three pecks of
barley. This she took home to Naomi, who receiv-
ed it with thankfulness, and said, "Blessed be Boaz
of the Lord, who hath not left off his kindness to
the living and the dead."
From this time till the end of the barley har-
vest, and then all through the wheat harvest, Ruth
went daily into Boaz's fields to glean, returning at
night, laden with the fruits of her toil, to her moth-
er-in-law. And who would not, in this world of
want, be at least a gleaner like Ruth, that he might
have not only a supply. for his own wants, but
wherewith to give to him who needeth, if it be but


a kind word, a loving smile, or an ephah of barley ?
And how many there are who could readily spare
from their own sumptuous supplies food sufficient
for some poor widow in Israel, to be repaid by her
blessing and prayers.
Naomi's anxiety to do something to place Ruth
in a more comfortable and eligible position in life
still continued; and bethinking herself of a law in
Israel, that the nearest relative of a married man
deceased without children should marry his widow,
she asked Ruth if she should not attempt to bring
about a marriage for her in accordance with this
law, that she might be placed above the hardships
to which she was then subjected.
"All that thou sayest I will do," meekly respond-
ed the trusting Ruth. Naomi then directed her in
regard to the steps she should take to bring Boaz's
attention to the subject, for he was the near rela-
tive; and Ruth implicity obeyed all her instructions,
having full confidence in her wisdom and goodness.

And when Ruth afterwards said to Boaz, "Spread
thy skirt over me, for thou art a near kinsman," he
understood at once that she was urging a customary
claim, and he acknowledged its justice, and prom-
ised to give it immediate attention.
Boaz then informed her that there was another
more nearly related to Mahlon, her first husband,
than he was; but if this man did not or could not
marry her, he himself would take her for his wife.
The next day Boaz repaired to the gate of Beth-
lehem, and sat down upon one of the seats. Jus-
tice was there statedly administered by the judges
to any requiring their aid. He had not waited long
when the kinsman of whom he spoke to Ruth passed
by, and Boaz said, Ho; turn aside, and sit down."
So he sat down. Boaz then took ten men of the
elders of the city, and said, Sit ye down here;"
and they sat down. The court was now in session,
the judges upon the bench, and the case was called.
Boaz's statement seems to have been about to


this effect: That the land of Naomi, which had
been sold till the year of jubilee, was about to be
redeemed, and this was to be done by paying cer-
tain charges. Then turning to his kinsman, he
said, There is none to redeem it, save you or I, and
it must be kept in the family. Will you do it?"
And he answered, "I will redeem it." Boaz then
informed him that Ruth was entailed upon the
property, and if he took the land, he must also
take her. This he said he could not do, and he
yielded up all claim upon it in favor of Boaz; and,
as was the custom at the time in sealing business
transactions, the kinsman pulled off his shoe and
gave it to Boaz. The business was now completed;
and turning to the elders, Boaz said, "Ye are wit-
nesses that I have purchased all that was Elime-
lech's; and moreover, Ruth the Moabitess have I
purchased to be my wife. To this ye are witnesses
this day." And all the people who had been stand-
ing by as spectators, and all the elders said, "We


are witnesses. The Lord make the woman that is
come into thy house like Rachel and like Leah,
which two did build the house of Israel; and do
thou worthily in Ephratah, and be famous in Beth-


This public recognition of Boaz's taking Ruth
for his wife, accompanied by prayers and benedic-
tions, was probably the customary method of dis-
tinguishing an honorable marriage; and Ruth be-
came his wife.
Her sudden exaltation, however, from the depths
of obscurity and poverty to wealth and an enviable
position in society, did not raise her above the poor
widowed Naomi; and like a good and dutiful
daughter, she took her to her own comfortable home,
and provided for all her wants during the remainder
of her life.
The divine historian records only one more event
in regard to this interesting family, and that is the
birth of a son. This was an, occasion of great
rejoicing, particularly with Naomi, for in him would
her family be represented and sustained. But the
joy was not confined alone to the home of Ruth,
the happy mother, for the neighboring women
flocked in to see the little stranger, and they called

his name Obed. And Naomi the grandmother took
the child and laid it in her own. bosom, and became
its nurse. Obed was grandfather to David the king
of Israel, and from them Christ descended.




Two hundred and forty-eight years after the
birth of Ruth's son, an old man of venerable ap-
pearance entered the city of Bethlehem with an
attendant, and a heifer for sacrifice. The elders
who sat by the gate were exceedingly alarmed by
his presence, and anxiously asked, "Comest thou
peaceably ?" The old man was the prophet Sam-
uel, and he answered, "Peaceably. I am come to
sacrifice to the Lord. Sanctify yourselves, and come
with me to the sacrifice." Their fears may have
arisen from an apprehension that Samuel had come
to denounce some judgment upon them.
Obed had long ago grown up and settled in
Bethlehem, and among his children there was one
by the name of Jesse. Jesse, like his father, had
Bethlehem. 4

remained in his native town, and at the time of
Samuel's visit was the father of eight sons, the
youngest of whom was David, now eighteen or
twenty years of age.
After the elders were called to the sacrifice, Sam-
uel went to the house of Jesse to inform him that
the Lord had sent him to Bethlehem to anoint a
successor to Saul upon the throne of Israel. This
news no doubt exceedingly interested Jesse, and.he
cast about in his mind who would be the king elect;
but what must have been his surprise when told
that among his own sons was the favored one?
"Now sanctify yourself and your sons," said Sam-
uel, and come to the sacrifice, and there the Lord
will show which it shall be."
Samuel then left Jesse to his own reflections and
preparations, while he repaired to the spot upon
which the altar was to be erected; and after seeing
that every thing was properly arranged, he seated
himself to await the hour.


The elders of the people assembled, and with
them the aged Jesse and seven of his sons. Eliab
the eldest was tall and handsome; and as he passed
before Samuel, the prophet thought, Surely my eyes
now rest upon our future king; but God said, No,
I have refused him. Man looketh on the outward
appearance, but God looketh on the heart." Abin-
adab, and then Shammah, were called to pass before
Samuel, only to be refused. Then the others pass-
ed by. The Lord has not chosen these," said Sam-
uel; and he asked, "Are here all thy children?"
Jesse replied that the youngest was' absent, who
kept the sheep. Send and fetch him," said Sam-
uel; for we will not sit down to eat the sacrifice
"till he comes."
A messenger was immediately dispatched, and
David was soon after brought in. "He was of a
ruddy complexion, a beautiful countenance, and
goodly to look to."
No sooner had Samuel set his eyes upon him,

, than the Lord said, "Arise and anoint him." Then
Samuel took the consecrated oil, which was made
of the most exquisite and costly perfumes, and
anointed David in the midst of his brethren.
Anointing was the principal ceremony at the
induction of a king into office; and by David's
anointing we are to understand his inauguration,
although he did not at once enter upon his kingly
After the aged Samuel had fulfilled his mission,
he arose and returned to Ramah.
Not long after these events, while David was
employed as usual in watching his sheep, a messen-
ger from the king arrived in Bethlehem. He in-
quired for the house of Jesse, and when he found it
he entered, and making the usual salutations, said
to Jesse, The Spirit of the Lord has departed from
Saul, and an evil spirit is troubling him. And now
it has been told the king that your son David is a
skilful player on the harp, a mighty valiant man,


a man of war, prudent in matters, comely in person,
and that the Lord is with him. Wherefore now
saith the king, Send me David thy son, who is
with the sheep."
Jesse, obedient to the king's command, made
immediate preparations for David's departure. But
he must not go without a present for the king; so
an ass was brought to the door, and loaded with
bread, a leather bottle of wine, and a kid. David
then took his harp, and such other things as he
should need, and was soon on his way to Gibeah,
the city of the king, which was twelve miles north
of Bethlehem.
David seems to have made a very favorable im-
pression upon the king; and we find that Saul soon
after sent to Jesse to allow his son to remain with
him; for when he played upon his harp the evil
spirit departed from Saul, and he was well.
How this bad spirit affected Saul we have no
knowledge, except that it excited his worst pas-

sions, and led to the most wicked conduct. That it
was an evil spirit, was shown by the effects it pro-
duced upon him; but why music should have such
power in driving it from him, is difficult to explain.
How long David continued with the king is not
stated; but when there was no longer necessity for
his remaining, he returned to Bethlehem and his
flocks as contentedly as ever, and was soon forgot-
ten at court.
About four years after, another messenger hur-
riedly entered the gate of Bethlehem, and proclaim-
ed with trumpet voice, Up! the Philistines have
invaded the land, and are now only fifteen miles
east of your city. Rise, and fight the battles of the
Lord. The cry rang from house to house, and from
heart to heart. Eliab, Abinadab, and Shammah,
Jessie's elder sons, joined with others, and taking
their spears and javelins, hurried away to battle.
They found Saul and his army stationed upon a
mountain opposite the one the Philistines occupied;


and as recruits arrived from different directions,
their places were assigned them by the generals in
command. These three brothers were placed under
a captain who had charge of a thousand men. And
here the' two armies lay from week to week, the
army of Saul terrified by the appearance of a giant
full ten feet high, who daily came down into the
valley and defied them and their God. Saul was
trying to increase his army, but does not seem to
have offered sacrifices or made supplications to the
In the mean time, Jesse, the good and pious old
man of Bethlehem, began to feel solicitous for the
welfare of his sons, and anxious to know how they
fared; so he called David from tending the sheep,
and said, Take this parched corn, and these loaves
of bread, and run to the camp to your brothers; and
carry these ten cheeses to their captain, and see
how thy brethren fare.
David placed his sheep in the care of a keeper,

and rose up early in the morning, and went as his
father directed him.
When David came in sight of the army, their
shouts rang long and loud as they went forth to
battle. David hastened forward at the sound, and
leaving what he was carrying in the hands of his.
servant, mingled with the army, and finding his
brothers, saluted them.
While he stood talking with them, his attention
was attracted by the giant advancing towards the
Israelites. His head was covered with a brass hel-
met or cap, and his body by a coat of mail, which
weighed 'nearly two hundred pounds. The handle
of his spear was like a weaver's beam, and the spear-
head weighed about twenty-five pounds. The shield
to protect him in battle was carried before him by
another man.
As the giant approached with his haughty chal-
lenge, "I defy the armies of Israel this day; give
me a man, that we may fight together," David said,


"Who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he
should defy the armies of the living God ?"
These words of David were told to Saul, and
Saul sent for him. David undoubtedly remembered
the king, and expected to be recognized by him;
but receiving no intimation that he was known, he
immediately proceeded to tell Saul that he himself
would go down and fight with the giant. Saul
was surprised at his apparent rashness, and com-
menced telling him of the difficulties of the under-
taking. But David, confident of help from the God
whom he served, assured the king that he was not
unused to danger, for he said, As I was tending
my father's sheep, a lion and a bear came and seized
a lamb, and I went out after him and smote him,
and took the lamb out of his mouth; and when he
turned- upon me, I caught him by his beard and
killed him. I slew both the lion and the bear; and
this Philistine shall be as one of them. And Saul
said, Go, and the Lord be with you."

Saul then clothed David in his own armor; but
it was too large and clumsy, so David laid it off;
and with his staff in his hand, taking his simple
shepherd's sling and five smooth stones from the
brook, he went down the side of the mountain in
sight of both armies, who crowded forward in breath-
less suspense to view this strange combat.
The giant, coming down from the hill-side into
the plain, confident in his strength, looked proud
defiance at the stripling. As David advanced, stout
hearts trembled with excitement, and a silence pro-
found and awful pervaded the armies.
The silence was broken by the curses of the
Philistine, who demanded in his rage, "Am I a
dog, that you come to me with staves ? Come to
me, and I will give your flesh to the fowls of the
air, and to the beasts of the field."
David replied, You come to me with a sword
and a spear and a shield; but I come to you in the
name of the Lord of hosts: and all this assembly


shall know that the Lord saveth not with sword or
spear; for the battle is the Lord's, and he will give
you into our hands.


These were the last words that Goliath heard,
for David by this time had placed a stone in his
sling, and running towards the giant, he threw it,

and it sank into his forehead, and he fell dead: and
while David was cutting off his head, the shouts of
the victorious army rang with deafening echoes from
rock to rock, and from mountain to mountain.
Then came a general onset, and the Philistines
fled in all directions, and were pursued and cut
down for miles, till there was not a man to be found.
The Israelites then returned, and entering into
the well-filled tents of their vanquished foe, they
took possession of the whole with great joy and
In the mean time, Abner, the general of the
host, took David, who stood with the giant's bleed-
ing head in his hand, and brought him before Saul.
This was a triumphant hour in the life of David;
but when the king asked, "Whose son art thou,
young man?" he replied with characteristic sim-
plicity and humility, "I am the son of thy servant
Jesse." There was no intimation that he was any
thing else, or ever expected to be, although he was


confident that he should one day occupy the very
throne itself.
Michal, Saul's daughter, was given as the wife
of David, and he seems to have accompanied the
king to Gibeah;. but notwithstanding all the noble
deeds of David, the popularity which his daring act
had gained him was very distressing to Saul, and
he watched him with envious hatred.
Notwithstanding Goliath was gone, the giants
were not all dead, for he had a brother of like dimen-
sions, who afterwards exceedingly annoyed and
troubled Israel. Here was another call for hazard-
ous daring; and Elhanan, who was brought up in
Bethlehem with David, and was probably one of his
associates, and of the same intrepid spirit, encoun-
tered this giant, and killed him. Elhanan after-
wards became one of David's valiant men, and re-
ceived a commission in his army.
For eight or ten years after David's encounter
with Goliath, he was obliged to hide himself from

the envious Saul in the silent recesses of caves and
mountains, and even among the enemies of his coun-
try. He first visited Samuel at Ramah, and poured
out his full heart to this aged and sympathizing
friend. Samuel undoubtedly encouraged him to put
his trust in the Lord, who bringeth all his purposes
to pass, and to feel that his life and interests were
secure in his keeping.
David and Samuel removed to Naioth as a place
of greater security; but not feeling safe here, David
hurried back to Gibeah, and seeking a private inter-
view with Jonathan, learned that he could hope for
no favor or security from Saul, and that his safety
lay in flight.


MAKING a covenant with Jonathan of everlasting
love and kindness, David hurried away, and after
various wanderings, sought refuge in the beautiful
city of Adullam, which lay a few miles south of
Bethlehem; but ho found to his grief that no one
here was willing to assist him, for fear of displeas-
ing the king, and he was obliged to hide himself in
a cave near by.
While he was there in fear and perplexity, Beth-
lehem was far from being quiet, for Saul was scour-
ing the city through, and menacing the .family of
Jesse, in order to discover David, till the aged man
could no longer endure it; and perhaps when all
eyes were shut, he sallied forth with his aged wife
and their sons to seek David. But what a comfort-

less home had he to offer them: a damp and gloomy
cave for their house, and cold rough rocks for
their beds. But as a dinner of herbs is rendered
sweet and palatable by love, so was this desolate
place made cheerful and happy by kind and living
hearts; and it became their home for a season.
Many others who were friendless and in trouble,
fled to David, and he soon had an army of about
four hundred men.
For some time David remained in this cave; but
finally, fearing or knowing that Saul had discovered
him, he hurriedly took his effects and all his com-
pany and went to the land of Moab, the birthplace
of his great grandmother Ruth.
Seeking an interview with the king of Moab,
David introduced to him his father and mother, and
requested him to allow them to remain quietly un-
der his protection, till he should know what the
Lord would do with him. To this the king readily
acceded; and as he was then at variance with Saul,


it undoubtedly gratified him to have this opportuni-
ty of showing him an indignity. This is the last
we hear of Jesse, who probably died away from
home and the privileges and ordinances of the land
of his birth, .and was buried among strangers and
idolaters. But he was not alone; for in that land
slept Elimelech and Mahlon and Chilion, and there
too God buried Moses.
We are not informed how long David remained
in Moab; but the word of the Lord came to him in
that place through the prophet Gad, commanding
him to return to the land of Judea. Gad had been
his constant companion through all his previous
wanderings, and now accompanied him back into
the dominions of Saul, and remained his friend and
counsellor for many subsequent years, and finally
wrote the life of David, as we find by 1 Chron.
29: 29
On David's arriving at home, he found that the
Philistines had invaded the land, and were then
Bethlehem, 5

but a few miles south-west of Bethlehem, gathering
up the wheat from the threshing-floors and commit-
ting other depredations upon the inhabitants. True
to his principle of doing good where he received
only evil, he took his men, who now numbered not
far from six hundred, and coming upon the Philis-
tines unawares, drove them from the country.
But Saul had heard of his return, and with un-
diminished hatred, summoned his army and hasted
in pursuit of him.
David and his men fled wherever they could;
and finally halted in the wilderness of Ziph, a little
east of Hebron and not far from the Dead sea. Saul
failed to discover his hiding-place; but Jonathan,
whose love for David had never abated, found him,
and held a private interview with him. Their
meeting was of the most tender and affecting char-
acter; heart flowed out lovingly to heart, and a
solemn compact was made between them of ever-
lasting friendship.


The Ziphites, however, in hope of gaining favor
with the king, secretly dispatched men to Saul with
this message: "VMake haste and come down, for
David is in our land, and we will deliver him into
your hand." Saul, quite overcome by their kindness
in offering to assist him and his army in capturing
this une innocent man, exclaimed in the fulness of
his heart, Blessed be ye of the Lord, for ye have
compassion on me." But while they were laying
their plans and spreading their nets, David was
praying, "Deliver me, 0 my God, out of the hand
of the unrighteous and cruel man. Be thou my
strong habitation, whereunto I may continually re-
sort. Deliver me in thy righteousness, and cause
me to escape."
When Saul and his mighty men of war arrived
at Ziph, David and his six hundred men were safely
lodged among the mountains of Maon, which were
several miles distant at the south-east.
But as if to try still more David's faith, God

allowed Saul to follow and surround him in this
solitary retreat. When David discovered his situa.
tion he was greatly alarmed; and in agony of spirit
cried out, "Make haste, 0 God, to deliver me;
mako haste to help me, 0 Lord. Let them be
turned backward, and put to confusion, that desire
my hurt."
Scarcely had this prayer fallen from his lips,
before a messenger was seen approaching Saul, cov-
ered with dust and panting with heat; and as soon
as he was within speaking distance, he called out in
great excitement, "Haste thee, and come; for the
Philistines have invaded the land."
There was no time to be lost; Saul and his army
fled like a retreating and discomfited host, leaving
David to escape like a bird from the snare. And as
he fell upon Saul's track, and pursued his way tow-
ards Bethlehem, he sang from a full heart, Bless
the Lord, 0 my soul, for he hath heard the voice of
thy supplications. The Lord is my strength and


shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped;
therefore my heart greatly rejoices, and in my song
will I praise him."
We find David soon after at Engedi, The rock
of the wild goats." This name was probably sug-
gested by the situation, it being among lofty and
precipitous cliffs, half way down the west side of
the Dead sea. Many of the cliffs around it could
be climbed only by the goats which inhabited this
region. Jerusalem lay about thirty miles north-
west, and Jericho about the same distance to the
north. Engedi was also called the city of palm-
trees, there being a great many around it, some
of which grew to the height of a hundred feet, and
bore yearly fifteen or twenty clusters of dates, each
weighing near twenty pounds. Palm-trees are said
to be the most beautiful of trees; and as David
and his men came out of the caves of these rocks,
and stretched themselves under the shade of these
trees, and ate of their delicious fruit, and looked

down upon the landscape which surrounded them,
a feeling of satisfaction and security must have
gratified their hearts. David could now exclaim,
with pious trust, The Lord is my light, and my
salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the
strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
Though a host should encamp against me, my heart
shall not fear."
While David was in this quiet retreat, Saul was
busy in repelling the Philistines; after which, he
chose from the ranks of all Israel three thousand of
the most valiant men, and started forth anew to
capture David. He had heard that he was in En-
gedi, and with a determination to succeed at all
hazards, came near it; and being weary from his
day's travel, he entered a cave alone and lay down
to rest.
But how strange! David and his men were
then, through fear of Saul, secreted in the inner-
most part of the same cave; and when Saul was


asleep, those persecuted men, with a full sense of
the wrongs they were suffering, raised their spears
to strike him dead. But David restrained them,

-.:-.- _---.... -. -.... .,; .
: -:: :---- --- .. '-. '.. ,;, v _I -. '. ..

arose and cut off the skirt of Saul's robe, and then
secreted himself again in the recesses of the cave.
Saul finally awoke, and prepared to press for-

ward after one whom he would fain believe his
greatest enemy. David followed close after him,
and with the fearlessness which innocence gives,
called out, "My lord, 0 king." Saul, in great sur-
prise at the familiar voice, immediately came to a
stand with his army; and David in simple and
touching tones exonerated himself from. all inten-
tions of injuring the Lord's anointed," and as proof
of what he was saying, he showed the skirt of Saul's
robe, which he still held in his hand. Saul's better
feelings were touched; his heart relented; and burst-
ing into tears, he exclaimed, Is this thy voice,
my son David? Thou art more righteous than I;
for thou hast rewarded me good, whereas I have
rewarded thee evil."
Here we have a beautiful and striking exempli-
fication of the rule which our Saviour gave of doing
good to those who despitefully use us, thereby heap-
ing coals of fire upon their heads, and melting them
into contrition and kindness. For the time, Saul's


enmity was gone; and after acknowledging to
David that he knew he would sit on the throne,
and after making a covenant with him, he departed
peaceably to his own home.
But the human heart was not to be trusted in
that age of the world, any more than it now is;
and David, instead of being thrown off his guard by
favorable appearances, and the certainty that he was
to sit on the throne of Israel, still took care to pre-
serve his own life by keeping at a distance from
Saul and his army.
We next find him in the wilderness of Paran,
which lay south of Palestine, in the northern part
of that "great and terrible wilderness" in which
the children of Israel spent thirty-eight of their forty
years of wanderings.
It was while here that he sent to Nabal for pro-
visions, and was refused; and here he took Abigail
to be his wife. How long he remained in this re-
gion we are not told; but the enmity of Saul's heart

had been rekindled, and with an army of three thou-
sand men, he again went forth to seek David; and
he came near and pitched on a hill by the way.
David had an intimation from some one of the
approach of Saul, and immediately sent out spies to
ascertain his position. The next night David took
a few men with him and went down and discovered
Saul, lying in the midst of his army asleep. Abner,
the captain of the host, the same man who led Da-
vid to the king after he had slain the giant, was
also asleep, and the pale light of the moon revealed
the dim outlines of the sleeping host as they reposed
on their arms in supposed security.
David and his men listened; there was no sound,
save the gentle breathing of the wind among the
drooping branches, and their own hushed footsteps.
"Who will go down with me to Saul?" asked Da-
vid. Abishai, David's sister's son, who was a val-
iant young man, and who afterwards became gen-
eral-in-chief of David's armies, replied, "I will go


down with thee." Leaving the rest of the company
behind, these two daring men advanced with noise-
less step into the very midst of the sleepers; and
passing one and another who lay stretched upon the
ground, they stopped by the side of Saul. There at
their feet lay the tall handsome man, of whom Sam-
uel had said, There is none like him among all
the people." His spear was sticking in the ground
at his pillow, and his cruse of water was standing
by. Abishai cast his eye around; there was no
movement among the guard; he raised his spear,
and poising it over the helpless man, said to David,
" Let me smite him, I pray thee, to the earth; I will
not strike the second time." "Destroy him not,"
whispered David; "the Lord forbid that I should
stretch forth my hand against the Lord's anointed.
But take his spear and the cruse of water, and let
us go."
They then made good their escape over to an
adjoining hill, and there David stood and cried,

"Abner, Abner, answerest thou not ?" Abner was
aroused from his sleep, and springing up, called out,
"Who art thou ?"
"Are you not a valiant man ?" rejoined David,
"and who is like to thee in Israel? Verily thou
deserves to die, in that thou hast not kept thy mas-
ter. Look, see where the king's spear is, and the
cruse of water that was at his bolster." The king
by this time was a listener, and comprehending the
whole at a glance, he exclaimed, Is this thy voice,
my son David ?" David then reasoned with him of
his folly in pursuing after one who had no intention
or wish to injure him.
Saul's repentings were again kindled together,
and he exclaimed, "I have played the fool, and
erred exceedingly; return, my son David, and I
will no more do thee harm." He then sent a young
man over, and got his spear and cruse of water, and
after blessing David, he returned to his home.
But a feeling of discouragement passed over Da-


vid,. as he was again alone in his solitude, and he
exclaimed in sinful distrust, "I shall now perish
one day by the hand of Saul. There is nothing
better for me than to go down and live among the
Philistines; for Saul will never dare come after me
there." We now find him with his two wives, and
his six hundred men and their wives and children,
moving off in a north-westerly direction towards
Gath, an easterly city of the Philistines.
Saul soon after heard that David had placed
himself under the care of the Philistines; and know-
ing that it would be of no use to follow him there,
gave him up, and sought no more after him.
David remained among the Philistines about
sixteen months, during which time Saul was in
deep trouble at home. Samuel was dead, and al-
though Saul had hated and disregarded his warning
voice while he lived, he now found by bitter expe-
rience that he had not only lost a friend in him, but
had also lost all communication with the God who

had heretofore directed Israel's battles. The witches
and spiritualists he had put away out of the land,
and forbade their making any communications, on
pain of death; showing evidently that he had no
faith in their pretensions. But when the Philistines
gathered their overwhelming hosts and pitched be-
fore him, his heart trembled; and as the Lord would
neither answer him by dreams, nor by urim, nor by
prophets, he was ready to catch at a straw; and
thinking, or trying to think that it might possibly
be that God would answer him through a familiar
spirit, he sought out and consulted the witch of
Endor. God at this time, greatly to her alarm,
granted her request; and Samuel appeared. But a
few weeks, or months perhaps, had elapsed, since
the aged prophet had delivered his last warning to
this wretched king; and then wrapping his mantle
around him, he had laid him down and died, con-
scious that his messages were all unheeded. And
now, as he appears, he asks, "Why have you dis-


,, ;. .

quieted me to bring me up ? The Lord has depart-
ed from you, and to-morrow you and your sons shall
be with me in the eternal world."
Unhappy Saul! he was greatly distressed, but
had no comforter in this world or the next, save the

poor witch, who did what she could for his over-
whelmed and guilty soul, by setting before him her
fatted calf and some bread. Miserable comforters,
for such an hour as that.
The next day, according to the word of Samuel,
Saul and his three sons fell among the dead, in the
battle on mount Gilboa.
Two days afterwards, David heard of the death
of Saul and Jonathan; and when the tidings came,
with sincere grief he rent his clothes, and mourned
and wept and fasted till evening. And he lamented,
saying, "How are the mighty fallen! Saul and
Jonathan were lovely and pleasant in their lives,
and in their death they were not divided. How
are the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle!
0 Jonathan, thou wast slain in thy high places. I
am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan; very
pleasant hast thou been unto me: thy love to me was
wonderful, passing the love of women. How are the
mighty fallen, and the weapons of .war perished !"


David's way was now opened, by God himself, to
the throne of Israel, which he soon ascended. The
country he was to govern was distracted by civil
dissensions, and surrounded by enemies; but he suc-
ceeded in raising a large force, which he trained, and
with them conquered and drove from his borders his
enemies. He never lost a battle, and never besieged
a city. without taking it. He enriched his country
and enlarged its bounds; and from the spoils which
he took, he laid by large and abundant stores for the
temple of God which he anticipated building.
His inspired psalms have been a comfort and a
solace to thousands who like him have hid them-
selves in caves and mountains from those who
watched to entrap and destroy them; they have
blessed and strengthened the Christian of every age,
and will continue to do so down to the end of time.
He was eminently in many things a type 6f
Christ, who like him was born in Bethlehem, and
like him died and was buried in Jerusalem.
Bethleh em :


ONE thousand and fifteen years after the death
of David, while the Romans had the land of Judea
in subjection, an edict was issued by Augustus Ce-
sar, the Roman emperor, that all the provinces under
his rule should be taxed; and consequently each
individual, of every tribe, was obliged to repair tq
his or her respective city, to be enrolled and assessed.
All the lineal descendants of David vere to appear
in Bethlehem, the city of David; and consequently,
for many days previous to the set time, great prep-
arations were making in that place for the reception
of guests.
At length the whole country was on the move.
Some at the south were travelling north, while
others at the north were wending their way to
their southern birthplaces. Bethlehem's gates were


thrown open, and her long absent sons and daugh-
ters once more greeted each other within her walls.
Strangers too in groups, or singly, arrived and sought
the inn, till every resting-place was occupied.
Seventy miles north of Bethlehem, in Nazareth,
were Joseph and Mary, enjoying the quiet of their
new home, when the decree reached them; and in
obedience to its commands, they gathered up a suffi-
ciency for the journey, and set forward for Beth-
lehem. It was a long journey; and though the
young wife received every attention that could be
given by her kind husband, yet she arrived in the
city and before the door of the inn wearied and ill.
To the husband's inquiries for a resting-place, it
was replied, that there was no. room for them in the
inn; and having no kind friend to open to them the
door of hospitality, they were obliged to take lodg-
ings in the place prepared for beasts, where they
uncomplainingly made themselves as comfortable as
the circumstances would allow.

Night drew her sable curtains over Judea's hills,
and darkness settled down upon her valleys. The
sweet songsters of the groves had warbled forth their
evening praises, and with a protecting wing over
their defenceless heads were rocked to sleep by the,
breath of their Creator. The sacrificial knife was
sheathed; the beasts of the field had lain down to
rest, and the lambs of the flock had been gathered
into the fold. Shepherds on the distant hill-sides
lay upon the grass. The tramp of beasts and the
voice of the newly arrived stranger in the city died
away, the gates were closed, and Bethlehem slept.
But that night angels were crowding the battle-
ments of heaven with wonder, and numberless bright
spirits sped their way over airy roads to earth, and
poising on tireless wings, hovered over Bethlehem.
And not angels only. Satan, the great archenemy
of all that is good, marshalled, without doubt, his
malignant legions upon her plains, with demoniac
rage and hatred, to destroy or defeat this great mir-


acle of mercy about to be performed. The hour
which he had so long expected, and towards which
the eyes of the whole universe had been turned for
ages, had now arrived. Never before had so start-
ling a blow been struck at Satan's power. Heaven,
earth, and hell, met that night upon the hills of
Bethlehem, when God the mighty Creator took
upon himself the form of the creature, and became
man. Heaven rejoiced; hell groaned; man slept!
Could those assembled at Bethlehem have seen
the hosts of spirits, good and evil, that surrounded
them, would they not have cried out in terror, and
eagerly inquired the cause ? But they slept on, and
the thrill of joy that electrified heaven was all un-
known to them.
An angel burning to carry the glad news of a
Saviour born, flew on swift wing, and hovering over
the shepherds, exclaimed, "Behold, I bring you glad
tidings of great joy; which shall be to all people; for
unto you is born this day in the- city. of David a


Saviour, which is Christ the Lord." And suddenly
there was with the angel a multitude of the heav-
enly host, praising God, and saying, Glory to God
in the highest, and on earth peace, good-will tow-
ards men."
The shepherds were amazed and alarmed at the
vision that had so unexpectedly appeared to them;
and as they looked and wondered in breathless sus-
pense, the angels arose higher and higher, till they
were lost to view.
Recovering from their surprise, the shepherds
said one to another, Let us go even to Bethlehem,
and see this thing which is come to pass, which the
Lord hath made known unto us." It is probable
that they were not far from Bethlehem, and as they
went with haste, they were perhaps there by the
time the city was astir in the morning. They soon
found.Joseph and Mary, and also the babe, which,
as the angel had said, was lying wrapped in coarse
cloths in a manger.



Filled with amazement and joy at what they
had seen and heard, they immediately told those

whom they met of the wonderful event that had
occurred during the night, and the manner of its
being made known to them. This excited surprise
and curiosity, and many gathered around the infant
stranger. But the babe appeared like any other poor
child, surrounded with the accompaniments of pov-
erty and destitution; stubborn unbelief fastened
upon the multitude, and they turned again to their
business or pleasure, and the story of the shepherds
was almost forgotten.
Bethlehem before had been the birthplace of an
earthly king; it had now become the birthplace of
the King of kings, and Lord of lords. Never was
such honor bestowed upon any spot of earth, and
never can men cease to wonder at this strange mani-
festation of divinity united with humanity. This
God-man, a being unlike all others, was not of the
order of angels, for it was not that class of beings he
came to benefit. Nor was he merely man; for had
he been, he could not have accomplished his mission,


Nor yet was he God alone; for in that nature only
he could not have taken upon him our infirmities,
nor borne our griefs. But he was both God and
man. The Most High took the form of an infant,
and was a mark for hateful men and malignant
devils; and while all heaven was rejoicing that the
door of mercy was opened to ruined man, devils and
men conspired to shut it, and leave the world in
midnight gloom for ever.
When Satan saw that Christ, the babe of Beth-
lehem, was beyond his power, he determined to
accomplish his designs through the agency of man.
Herod, who was surnamed the Great, became an
easy and ready tool, and willingly followed out Sa-
tan's suggestions. He dispatched a number of sol-
diers to destroy all the little boys of Bethlehem, and
so make sure of Jesus' death. These hard-hearted
men suddenly entered the city, and commenced
their horrible work. Who can imagine that deep,
heart-rending wail, that burst from the parents of

Bethlehem that day? The soldiers entered every
house, and every hearthstone was stained with
blood. In every home was left the bloody, man-
gled corpse of the little one, with hands still stretch-
ed out imploringly for help. In vain did mothers
madly rush from their own roofs with the lisping
infants clinging to their necks. The soldiers pur-
sued them, and these first martyrs for Christ were
slain in their mother's arms. Rachel, who was
buried near this scene of carnage, is represented in
Scripture as "weeping for her children, and refusing
to be comforted, because they were not."
But while Herod was executing his malignant
hatred upon the babes of Bethlehem, the infant Je-
sus, the object of his wrath, was quietly sleeping in
his mother's arms in the land of Egypt, far beyond
his reach. So easily does God accomplish his own
purposes, in spite of the combined wisdom of earth
and hell.
Herod did not long continue his course of crime.


God cut him off by a dreadful disease; and when
his son Archelaus had ascended the throne, an angel
was sent to Egypt to call back the Babe of Bethle-
hem. Joseph immediately obeyed the summons;
but fearing that the new king inherited the cruelty
of his father, he passed by Bethlehem and Jerusa-
lem, and stopped at Nazareth, in the central part of
Galilee, where he had formerly lived-preferring to
be under the rule of Philip, whom he knew to be
of a gentle and quiet disposition.
Nazareth, which now became the home of Christ,
and probably remained so till he arrived at manhood,
is a small city on the west side of mount Tabor. It
stood on the side and at the foot of an eminence
overlooking a small but beautiful valley. At this
day it is a town of some importance, having a popu-
lation of about three thousand industrious inhabi-
tants, part of whom are Turks and part nominal
Christians. What it was in the time of Christ we
do not know, except that it contained a synagogue

in which he preached, and where his hearers, being
astonished and vexed at the wisdom of Joseph's son,
rushed upon him, and led him out of the city to the
brow of the hill, to cast him down; but he released
himself from their grasp, and passing through the
midst of them, went on his way. Being rejected
by his own townsmen, he removed to Capernaum.


CAPERNAUM was at one time the metropolis of all
Galilee, and the principal port on the sea of Gennes-
areth. Here Christ performed many of his stupen.
dous miracles, and on an adjoining mountain he
ordained his twelve disciples. Here he preached
that divine sermon recorded in the sixth chapter of
John. In this vicinity it also was that he walked
through the cornfields on the Sabbath-day, where
his disciples plucked the ears of corn, and were re-
proved by the Pharisees. That sermon recorded in
Matthew, chapters five to seven, and familiarly
known as Christ's Sermon on the Mount," was
delivered on one of Capernaum's mountains, to a
great multitude of his countrymen. When even-
ing approached, he dismissed the concourse of people

that heard him, and came down from the mountain,
wearied with his day's toil, to go to the house of
Peter, in the city. Before he reached the place, a
leper met him and begged to be healed. Christ,
according to his invariable practice, restored him to
his usual health; and charging him to go and show
himself to the priest, and offer the gift which Moses
commanded, he left him and went on his way.
Scarcely had he parted from the leper, when a
centurion sent to him, and besought him earnestly
to cure a servant of his, who lay at home grievously
tormented. "I am not worthy that thou shouldest
come under my roof; but speak the word, and it shall
be done," was his language. Christ marvelled at
his faith, and performed the cure. When he arrived
at Peter's house, he found the mother of Peter's wife
lying sick of a fever. Here was another oppor-
tunity for displaying his power: he touched her
hand and her fever left her, and she arose and min-
istered to those around her.


All day Christ had been thronged with the mul-
titude, which had gathered around his pathway and
listened intently to his words. He had taught those
vital truths which, if received and practised, would
lead their sinful souls to heaven. And it was on
this eventful day that his mother and his brothers
came, desiring to speak with him, and he declared
that whosoever did his will was his brother and sis-
ter and mother. No sooner had the sun set, and the
cool of the evening arrived, than all those who had
friends sick, or possessed with devils, brought them
to Peter's house, and Christ graciously healed them
When he saw the multitudes of people that were
gathered and were still gathering about him, he
went down to the sea-coast, and sat in a ship and
taught the people who stood upon the shore.
His discourse ended, Christ commanded his dis-
ciples to depart to the other side of the sea; and
being now freed from the throng, he retired to the

hinder part of the boat, took a pillow, laid himself
down, and slept. He'did not awake, although a
tempest had gathered around them and the angry
waters dashed into the boat. Long and faithfully
the disciples, some of whom were fishermen, labored
to manage the boat and preserve themselves from a
watery grave; but still the tempest raged, and when
every other hope was gone, they went to Christ and
awoke him with these words, "Lord, save, or we
perish." Then he arose, and like a God rebuked
the sea and the wind, and there was a great calm.
Jesus is now glorified. He never sleeps or slum-
bers, but stands with outstretched arms, saying,
"Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy-
laden, and I will give you rest." Thus he cries to
the troubled soul, lashed by an awakened con-
science, and terrified by the prospect of eternal
death. And how great is the calm produced in the
breast of those who cast themselves upon him for

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