Imatges de pÓgina

officious zeal of the wicked Gehazi, who would thrust the broken-hearted mother away, probably thinking her touch pollution, agrees perfectly with what we know of the man, and of the customs of the East; and so, likewise, are the injunctions to Gehazi, Gird up thy loins that you may run; if thou meet any man, salute him not; and if any salute thee, answer him not—this is no time for idle compliments. The mother followed with the man of God in company; and when he had brought back her son to life, she fell at his feet, bowed herself to the ground, took up her son, and went out. Nothing can excel the touching simplicity of this narrative.

How came it to pass that the good Shunamite lost her land by merely going to reside during the famine in the country of the Philistines, as we read in 2 Kings viii. 3 ?

It is still common for even petty sheikhs to confiscate the property of any person who is exiled for a time, or who moves away temporarily from his district. Especially is. this true of widows and orphans, and the Shunamite was now a widow. And small is the chance to such of having their property restored, unless they can secure the mediation of some one more influential than themselves. The conversation between the king and Gehazi about his master is also in perfect keeping with the habits of Eastern princes; and the appearance of the widow and her son so opportune ly, would have precisely the same effect now that it had then. Not only the land, but all the fruits of it would be restored. There is an air of genuine verisimilitude in such simple narratives which it is quite impossible for persons not intimately familiar with Oriental manners to appreciate, but which stamps the incidents with undoubted certainty. The thing happened just as recorded. It is too natural to be an invention or fabrication.

Elisha seems to have had no settled place of abode. We read of him in Carmel, in Sulam, in Jezreel, in Gilgal, on the banks of the Jordan, in Dotham, in Samaria, and even in Damascus.

Among his many miracles, I have long wanted to inquire what sort of wild gourd it was that poisoned the

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Not much more than the prophet's son that gathered them knew. The Septuagint does not translate but gives the Hebrew word, showing that those learned men did not know what it was; and if they could not determine the question it is not likely that we can at this day. My Latin Bible calls it wild colocynth. I am not aware that there is any tame colocynth. The English renders it by the vague word gourd. I can not believe it was colocynth, because this is so well known, so bitter, and so poisonous, that the most ignorant peasants never dream of eating it. He must have been a very stupid son of a prophet, indeed, to have filled his lap with them. Various other herbs have been selected by “critics," as the Cucumus prophetarum, a small prickly gourd, very rarely met with. The Hebrew root seems to point to some herb that bursts or splits open, and I have thought that it might be the Elaterium, which is found all over the country, looks like a young squash, and is extremely poisonous. When green it might be mistaken for an edible "gourd” or cucumber, but when ripe it can not be "gathered" at all, for it bursts on the slightest pressure, with great violence, scattering the seeds in all directions. But all these are mere conjectures, and we had better turn our thoughts to these sorry representatives of Jezreel, to which our climb up this steep and rocky hill has brought us.

| 2 Kings iv. 38-41.

There is certainly nothing royal about it now except its position. That, however, is very fine. East of it rises the high mountain called Jebel Jalûd, and also Jebel Nûris, from a village of that name. Below it the valley of Jezreel sweeps round southward to the Jordan. On the north, Jebel ed Dûhy (Little Hermon) swells up like another Tabor, and to the west and south is the magnificent Esdraelon, surrounded by the mountains of Galilee, the "excellency of Carmel,” and the fat hills of Samaria. There is little to claim attention in the village itself. A few stones, built here and there in the rude huts, seem to claim the honors of antiquity; and these large sarcophagi are certainly relics of old Jezreel. The city could never have been large or splendid. The greater part was probably mere mud hovels, and yet there must have been some well-built palaces when Ahab resided here with his bold, but wicked queen. This apology for a castle may now stand upon the spot of that watch-tower from which the rebel Jehu was first seen driving furiously up the valley of Jezreel. The south part of the plain at Beisan is marshy, and farther this way the great fountain of Jalûd, with its spongy banks, renders the same side impassable. This fountain flows out from the base of the mountain below Nûris, and is immediately collected into a large pool by a dam of very ancient work, and from it the water is carried to a succession of mills stretching down the plain to the east. To avoid these mill-ponds, the road must have then passed along the valley, as it now does, not far from Kûmia. Jehu and his party could therefore be seen

2 Kings ix. 17.


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