Imatges de pÓgina

draelon at all when the army of Sisera was there. It deserves also to be remembered that if the Kenites had attempted to shield and aid Sisera after his defeat, they would have rendered themselves partisans in the war on the losing side, and might have been treated as enemies by the now victorious Israelites. On the whole, therefore, I conclude, that if all the circumstances and influences which impelled Jael to the daring act, and sustained her in it, were known, we should find that she violated neither the customs of her people, nor the laws of war then in force, nor the abstract and greater laws of righteousness, by thus destroying the enemy of God's people and the oppressor of her own, who from necessity sought in her tent an asylum to which he had no right, and the granting of which might have involved her and her whole family in ruin.

Under these impressions, I can join with Deborah in celebrating the deed and the actor.

Blessed above women shall Jael, the wife of Heber, the Kenite, be; blessed shall she be above women in the tent. He asked water, and she gave him milk; she brought forth butter in a lordly dish. She put her hand to the nail, and her right hand to the workman's hammer, and with the hammer she smote Sisera, she smote off his head when she had pierced and stricken through his temples. At her feet he bowed, he lay down; at her feet he bowed, he fell; where he bowed, he fell down dead. The mother of Sisera looked out at a window, and cried through the lattice, Why is his chariot so long in coming? why tarry the wheels of his chariots? Her wise ladies answered her, yea, she returned answer to herself, Have they not sped ? have they not divided the prey, to every man a damsel or two; to Sisera a prey of diverse colors, of diverse colors of needle-work, a prey of diverse colors of needle-work on both sides, meet for the necks of them that take the spoil ? So let all thine enemies perish, O Lord; but let them that love him be as the sun when he goeth forth in his might. There is nothing, ancient or modern, more beautiful, appropriate, or sublime than this close

"Judg. v. 24-30.



of Deborah's triumphal ode. No gloss, paraphrase, or comment can add to its graces.

There are a few allusions, however, in it which may be better understood by brief explanations. The “nail” which Jael used was a tent-pin, now, as then, called wated, and the "hammer" was the mallet with which it is driven into the ground. It is not necessary to suppose that either of them was of iron, as nail and hammer would imply. The wated was probably a sharp-pointed pin of hard wood, and the hammer was the ordinary mallet used by these tent-dwelling Arabs.

There is a curious use of the word nail in Isaiah xxii. 23, 25, which must also refer to those wooden wateds, I suppose, for it is the same Hebrew word: I will fasten him with a nail-yutad-in a sure place; and again, in the 25th, this yutad, fastened in a sure place, shall be removed, and cut down, and fall. It is not every place that will hold the tent“nail” securely; it must be driven into suitable ground.

Doubtless a wooden pin or peg is here meant, not an iron nail. It is, however, not a tent-pin, but a peg driven into the wall, and used to hang clothes and household utensils upon.

. There is significance in the statement that it should be made fast in a sure place, because, in general, these pins are driven into the wall through the plaster, and are every thing but steady and secure. Not one in a score of them but what bend down, or get loose and fall out. There is a reference to the same thing, and the same Hebrew word, in Zech. x. 4: Out of him came forth the corner, out of him the nailyutad. And this, by the way, gives an intelligible idea to this expression of Zechariah. The tent-pin is absolutely essential to the stability and safety of the Arab's habitation.

Again, it is absurd to suppose that Jael brought Sisera butter to drink. Neither the ancients nor the modern Orientals make butter at all, as we understand the word, and what takes the place of it is never used as a beverage. Butter is the exponent of milk in the other member of the paralellism, showing that sour milk, or leben, was meant, and this, properly prepared, makes a most cooling and refreshing drink.

Lastly, the entire soliloquy of Sisera's mother is worked out with admirable skill and truthfulness. When standing on the lofty tell of Harosheth, which commands the view of the pass up the Kishon, and out into Esdraelon toward Megiddo, I could fancy her ladyship sitting at a latticed window, and impatiently looking up the wady. She knew that a battle was to take place, was certain of victory, and longed not so much to see her son as to grasp the spoils. Knowing that these lewd warriors would chiefly value the fair damsels of the Hebrews, she mentions them first, but does not appear to relish this sort of “prey” for her house, and therefore does not give any to Sisera—most mothers can understand and sympathize with her—but she feasted her imagination with the goodly garment of diverse colors which her son was to lay at her feet. She looks at it again and again; turns it over first on this side, then on that, to see and admire the “diverse colors." This is eminently Oriental and feminine; and the childish repetition of " diverse colors" is all the more striking in an ode distinguished for rapid narrative, abrupt exclamation, and the utmost conciseness of style and diction.

This Deborah was certainly a remarkable lady, prophetess, poet, judge, and warrior. It is not a little singular that though her residence was near Jerusalem, between Ramah and Bethel, yet we meet her far north, at Kadesh in Naphtali, with Barak, who was of that city. We find her name also here, at the foot of Tabor, perpetuated in this miserable village of Debûrieh.

As judge and inspired guide to Israel, she probably itinerated a good deal, as did Samuel and other prophets; and her patriotic zeal would lead her wherever she could be of service to her oppressed people. I suppose she dwelt in a tent, like her heroine Jael, under that palm-tree which bore her name near Bethel, in Mount Ephraim. It was called the palm-tree of Deborah (see the Hebrew). It seems to me to be a fair inference from such expressions that trees were as rare in Palestine, even at that early age, as they are at

Judg. iv. 5.

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the present day, or we should not so often read of the oak, the terebinth, the palm-tree, of this or that important place or event. If trees were abundant, such a designation would signify nothing, and would not have been employed.

And one other thought about these remarkable trees. This country abounds in them. We have sacred trees, and trees that are inhabited by jin, or evil spirits; and we have single trees all over the land covered with bits of rags from the garments of passing villagers, hung up as acknowledgments, or as deprecatory signals and charms; and we find beautiful clumps of oak-trees sacred to a kind of beings called Jacob's daughters. These are doubtless relics of most ancient superstitions; and in the fact that the old patriarchs and prophets lived, and prophesied, and were buried under such trees, we find, I imagine, the origin of this curious custom and belief.

But it is time to descend and pursue our ride to Sulam, whither our tents have preceded us. There is no path but the one we came up, for on the south and east the declivity is too precipitous for roads. I once attempted to find my way down toward Khan et Tejjar, but did not succeed, and was obliged to return to our present path. The road to the khan leads through this rough oak wood for more than an hour, when the forest and the limestone on which it grows terminate together. Below, and all east to the valley of the Jordan, the country is volcanic and destitute of trees. The wady in which the khans are situated is called Mîdy. It comes from the northwest, drains all that part of the forest, and passes down southeast to the Sherrar and the Jordan. There are two khans: one on a hill about one hundred feet square, and having octagonal towers on the corners. It served the double purpose of castle and caravanserai. The other is in the vale below, and was much larger. It had also a division through the centre, with vaults and magazines on either side of it, and the great advantage of a fountain of water within the walls. It was fitted up with rooms for the protection of merchandise and the accommodation of travelers. The place is now entirely deserted, nor is there

an inhabited house in sight. Caravans do not spend the night there for fear of Arabs, who are always prowling about, watching for an opportunity to rob. I have never halted there for half an hour without having some of these rascals pass along, and scrutinize my party closely, to see whether or not it would do to attack us.

On Monday of each week a great fair is held at the khans, when, for a few hours, the scene is very lively and picturesque. These gatherings afford an excellent opportunity to observe Syrian manners, customs, and costumes, and to become acquainted with the character and quality of her productions. Thousands of people assemble from all parts of the country either to sell, trade, or purchase. Cotton is brought in bales from Nablûs; barley, and wheat, and sesamum, and Indian corn from the Hûleh, the Hauran, and Esdraelon. From Gilead and Bashan, and the surrounding districts, come horses and donkeys, cattle and flocks, with cheese, leben, semen, honey, and similar articles. Then there are miscellaneous matters, such as chickens and eggs, figs, raisins, apples, melons, grapes, and all sorts of fruits and vegetables in their season. The peddlers open their packages of tempting fabrics; the jeweler is there with his trinkets; the tailor with his ready-made garments; the shoemaker with his stock, from rough, hairy sandals to yellow and red morocco boots; the farrier is there with his tools, nails, and flat iron shoes, and drives a prosperous business for a few hours; and so does the saddler, with his coarse sacks and his gayly-trimmed cloths. And thus it is with all the arts and occupations known to this people.

The noise is incessant, and at a distance sounds like that “of many waters." Every man is crying his wares at the top of his voice, chickens cackle and squall, donkeys bray and fight, and the dogs bark. Every living thing adds somewhat to the many-toned and prodigious uproar. It is now a miscellaneous comedy in full operation, where every actor does his best, and is supremely gratified with his own performance.

The people find many reasons for sustaining these anti

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