it. Tying a kid firmly to one end, he told Eben to draw it
up, then lower it again; then he sent up the second kid,
then the milk.
" .Disturb them not till 1 come," he called, springing
into the vines.
He was soon by Eben s side; and taking the little cup
from his bosom which he always carried now he gave
him a draught of milk.
"Ah! that is good!" cried the Ethiopian. Asaph,
thou art wise above the children of backsliding Israel!"
" Nay, tis but the experience of my childhood serving
me in time of need, so that I can comfort those who love
me. Man of war, refresh thyself," he said to the sentry,
giving him a cup of milk.
The sentry smacked his lips, and told him to come
again; several soldiers came near, to each of them Asaph
gave a portion, then he and Ebeu descended the wall.
Then Asaph said:
" Eben, divide this kid; give of the best portions to the
Princess Elia she will send some to the king, her uncle
then take the rest for thyself and friends; take of the milk
also, and let me begone, for my mother is also in need."
Hoon Asaph was at his home with the kid and milk hid
den under a large mantle loaned by the Ethiopian.
Helah s eyes sparkled at the sight of the welcome food.
She had not retaken her liberated slaves, so there were
none besides themselves and an old Hebrew woman who
had belonged to Helah s father; she had had her ear
pierced with the awl, and was thus a willing slave forever.
Soon old Marth was up and dressing the flesh of the kid ;
how she laughed with joy at the sight!
Every night, my mother, I shall go and get thee food
and for our friends, and for those who need it most that
my efforts can supply/
They soon sat down to a meal the like of which they
had not tasted for many days.
" Now for a few hours rest; then before the sun is up
I will take a portion of the kid and a bottle of milk to
good Shalmai; and, mother, have a piece nicely cooked on
my return for poor imprisoned Jeremiah."
For several hours Asaph slept the sleep of utter exhaus
tion; but Helah and old Marth were busy and happy pre
paring the food.
In seasons of great calamity the comfort of the present
moment seems the great desideratum; so it was in Jerusa
lem. Old Marth chatted and laughed, and fairly caressed
" Mistress, send not too much away old Marth gets
hungry." Then she slyly hid a small portion and a little
milk. " Ha, ha, ha! 5 she laughed, " old Marth knows."
Asaph entered the chamber refreshed and strengthened
by his sleep and food.
" Give me the shoulder joint, my mother, and a bottle
Receiving them he left his home while it was yet dark,
so that the hungry wretches on the streets should not tear
the food from him in their frenzy.
Arriving at Shalmai s house he knocked at the door;
but all was silent. He knocked again louder than before.
At length a voice came from a distance asking:
"Who is there?"
Asuph s heart srnote him for not bringing help before;
but he had naught to bring till Jehovah had put this good
thought into his mind. Suppose old Sara should be dead,
or the beautiful Adah!
".It is I Asaph!"
In a moment a light was kindled, and the bar taken
from the door.
Asaph started back with horror at the white, haggard
face that greeted him; then he said:
" Peace be upon this house," and entered. " How is
the good Sara, and thy fair daughter?"
" The hand of the Lord is heavy upon us. They but
live all our food is gone. Since two days we have only
tasted water and a little oil, and for many days before a
little fruit and herbs was all our food."
They passed into the room where Sara lay.
" Ah, good master, hast thou come to see us before we
die," she said, in a broken voice.
Then Adah came in like a beautiful spirit.
" J have brought you a little food, my friends, and, as
long as .Jehovah permits it, will do so each day."
Then he uncovered the llesh and set out the milk.
" Oh! Jehovah s name be praised! and be thou blessed,
my son, who hath not forgotten thy poor friends in their
Sara raised herself up in bed.
"Ah! the food the good food!" she cried, and her
Adah said not a word, but quickly kindled a fire, and
soon the smell of the roast kid was a sweet savor to this
poor, famished family. Asaph poured some milk and car
ried it to Sara.
Then they passed into the room where Adah had the
table spread. 80011 all was ready, and Sara joined them.
The roast was smoking hot; that and the milk was all, but
to them it was a delicious feast.
Shalmai asked a blessing, and then said:
" Gently, gently, Sara, and thcu, too, Adah, thou art
weak; eat slowly, and not too much;" and he set the ex
Asaph was pressed to join them; at last he did so, but
eating scarcely a morsel, not to deprive them of the
Then he told them how the thought had come to him,
when they, too, were suffering from hunger, and how he
had made his midnight journey to the cave and obtained
so much good food.
" I will come to thee, good Asaph, for after such exer
tions, this long walk is asking too much even of so good a
So it was arranged that each day before the sun was up,
Shalmai should come and give two soft raps upon the
door, and then receive what Asaph had for thorn.
" Now 1 must go. Farewell, and peace be upon you
Shalmai blessed him, and Sara and Adah made obei
sance to the ground.
Asaph hastened home. There everything was ready, so
he was soon giving pleasure to his friend Jeremiah with
the nicely cooked morsels.
" Surely Jehovah put it in my thoughts, thinkst thou
not so, my friend?" he asked him when he had told him
" Ay, my son, our Clod is a God of tender mercy. I am
glad thou hast found employment to satisfy the feelings of
thy gentle heart. But, oh! if the king would only obey
the Lord all this misery might be spared our people.
Nebuchadnezzar would be a father to them and harm
them not; but novr," oh, Jerusalem! Jerusalem! must I
see thy strong walls leveled to the ground, thy houses and
palaces become heaps, the dwelling-place of bats and owls,
thy fair pools the habitation of the bittern and the
" Is there uo hope, good .Jeremiah, that Jehovah will
repent and lift His heavy hand that He has laid so hard
upon His children?"
" Ay, did they but obey. But soon the time of obedi
ence will be past, and nothing can then avert the destruc
tion of Jerusalem!"
For awhile Asaph was silent and sad, then he said:
" Shall I bring thee food to-morrow, my father?"
The food is scarce in the city? Has the famine com
" Ay, and the pestilence, too. Hast thou not noticed
the haggard faces around?"
" 1 thought perhaps my eyes deceived me. Now could
I weep rivers of water for my poor people!"
Asaph turned away, and said:
" I will come again to-morrow. Farewell."
" Peace be with thee!" cried Jeremiah, and Asaph was
ASAPH BRINGS COMFORT TO MANY. HAGGITH IS STARV
THE sun was pouring down its fierce rays upon the de
voted city. The effluvia arising from the unburied dead
was something terrible. The sanitary condition of Jeru
salem had long been neglected. Asaph thought what must
be the condition of the houses of the poor, when even a
building belonging to the king, in a good quarter of the
city, was allowed to contain rotten rags and cast-off clouts.
The streets had not been cleaned for months, and each
one threw his filth and garbage into the street before his
door. No wonder pestilence went hand in hand with
Every now and then came loud shouts from the walls at
a particularly good shot by sling or bow.
As he passed one of the towers where the fighting
seemed the fiercest, he paused a moment and looked up.
.Suddenly a whistling sound, a cry of pain, and a body
came Hying through the air. Involuntarily he stretched
his mantle out wide; the man struck it in his descent, and
they both fell to the earth together. Eor a moment Asaph
was stunned, but he soon regained consciousness, and not
thinking of his own bruises, he turned to the wounded
man. An arrow had pierced the fleshy part of his thigh.
To withdraw it, Asaph had to break olT the feathered end,
and draw the pointed portion, which already projected,
through the wound. The blood gushed out, and the man
groaned with pain. Quickly taking a bandage from his
bosom, he moistened it v/ith wine and water from his
bottle, and when the wound had bled sufficiently to free it
from deleterious matter, he bound it quickly with a dexter
ous hand; then placing a cup of the iluid to the soldier s
" Drink, my brother."
The man did so, then opened his eyes.
" Ah, thou hast rescued me from death!"
" Shall 1 help thee to thy house?
"Ay; tis not far."
lie leaned heavily on Asaph s shoulder, and thus they
walked with a slow pace till they came to his door.
His wife and children lamented loudly when they saw
him in this sad plight, for beside sorrow at his suffering
it meant loss of food to them; for he always carried home
part of his rations, and the soldiers were supplied as long
as there was food in the city.
Asaph bade them be of good cheer, and said:
"Jehovah will provide."
But they laughed sadly.
" If the kind God of our fathers puts it into my heart to
bring you food, will He not then provide it?"
" But wilt thou? How canst thou obtain it? See the
babe there famishing for want of a little milk
" I will bring thee some. Now fetch a basin."
They did so, and he poured into it some Wine and water.
" Dampen the bandage with it ever and anon, and give
him a small portion to drink to keep up his strength/
They looked at him with awe, but the wife said:
" Art thou the king?"
" Nay, I am only thy brother, who trusts in God;" and
he hastened away.
All day long some poor wounded man blessed the minis
tering of Asaph s tender hands. Then, as the sun set in a
blaze of glory, and the arrows and stones fell in dimin
ished quantities, he went to his own home.
A savory meal awaited him, and while they eat his
mother asked him of all his doings of the day.
He always conversed with her unreservedly, and kept
her well informed of the state of the siege.
Old Marth was ever smiling; she had food, she was
happy; so the animal in earth s children betrays itself.
" Hast a little milk remaining, my mother? A wound
ed brother, whom I helped to-day, hath a babe who is
famishing for lack of it."
" Poor thing! Here is a little bottle full."
Marth s face lengthened.
" Is master going again to-night to get the pretty
" Ay, Marth; thou shalt not starve if 1 can prevent it.
Now 1 will sleep awhile."
A new life seemed to be introduced into the house with
the advent of food. Old Marth was ever busy preparing
food or polishing pots and pans, and llelah worked with
ASA PH. 163
renewed energy, preparing things that Asaph needed in his
ministrations to the wounded.
When it was time to go on his excursion for food, Helah
placed her hand upon his forehead, and he arose immedi
" I feel refreshed, my mother. Give me the bottle of
milk, and 1 will be gone."
Helah gave it to him, and kissed him on the cheek.
" Be careful, my loved son."
" Ay, trust me."
He stopped on his way to leave the milk for the soldier s
babe, but without, waiting for their thanks, he hurried on.
Soon he was at the secret gate of the king s palace. At
the signal Eben admitted him. In a moment Cleo pros
trated herself before him.
" Cleo thanks master for the flesh. Cleo is his slave!"
Speaking a kind word to her, he hastily ascended the wall.
The sentry greeted him with pleasure, remembering the
draught of milk.
" Eben, have the ropes ready when 1 give the signal of
the night-owl s cry," said Asaph; then he disappeared over
Cautiously he picked his way as the night before, and
at length found himself at the cave. Again he milked the
goats, and again two kids were bound upon his back. He
did not dare overburden himself, lest his strength should
fail or he should be discovered. When he was safely over
the walls again, he divided the provender, one half to the
palace and one half to himself. Cleo was there with
bottles ready for the milk.
Asaph did not forget the sentinel, and also said:
" Eben, give him a small portion of flesh for me, for 1
dare not tarry."
Cleo followed him.
" Can Cleo do aught for the master?"
" Take good care of thy mistress, the fair princees. See
that she wants for naught. Should she need my help,
knowest thou where I live?"
" Ay, good master. Many nights has Cleo passed in
shadow of thy house. No ill come to Cleo when master
Asaph looked horrified.
" What? Kay, do not so, but trust in the Holy One of
Israel. He will protect thee. "
" Cleo trust master. Cleo no love God!"
" Cleo," he said, softly, " wouldst thou please me?"
" Ay, master, with Cleo s life!"
" Then learn from thy good mistress how to serve the
great Jehovah, and be kind to the poor."
He then quickly went his way, and soon was at his
home. Marth opened the door.
" Much food this time, master? In the market to-day
they were selling asses heads. Ay, old Marth would go
much hungry before she would seethe one in her pot!"
She took the kid into the kitchen and dressed it, saving
each portion carefully, then she secreted a piece and
laughed slyly. All this while Ilelah slept, and soon Asaph
* * * * * # *
Before the sun was up a soft knock sounded upon the
door. Old Marth opened it slightly and stealthily peered
out. A gentle voice said-
" The master bade me come for food."
" Ay, ay, indeed! We keep not the market."
" I am his friend, and came to save his gentle kindness
from a tedious walk."
" Marth knows thee not."
And she partly closed the door.
The noise awoke Asaph, and he came quickly.
" Is it thou, Shalmai?"
" Ay, my master; but thy servant did not believe my
" Enter, my friend."
The old man removed his shoes and left them at the
door, then followed Asaph.
" Bring food for my guest, good Marth."
The old slave turned pale with anger, and shook her fist
" These hungry sons of Benjamin will eat all the food
and let us starve!"
But Asaph turned and said:
" Marth, I will bring more to-morrow."
But with her what was now in their possession was sure
and better than the uncertainty of to-morrow. But she
had to obey. She placed one plate upon the table.
" Two, good Marth," said Asaph. " Now bring some
nice cold roast and milk." He helped Shalmai to a gen
erous portion, who then asked a blessing. How he en
joyed the food! " Marth, cut from the kid a leg for Shal
mai, and fill the bottle he has brought with milk. "
166 ASA PH.
Martli stood still with folded arms; but Asaph looked at
her, and she, grumbling, left the room. He followed her
to see that his orders were obeyed; then she said:
" Oh, master, master, thy heart is too good for this
stiff-necked people! Give him but a little piece. "
" Marth, he was good to thy mistress and myself when
we both needed friends. Shall we not repay his kindness,
even to a hundred-fold? The whole leg, Marth and the
She obeyed, but her hands shook with anger.
Soon Shalmai went on his way rejoicing; but Marth
grumbled and fretted so that she awoke Helah, who arose.
Then Asaph, kissing her on the cheek, took a portion of
the roast under his mantle and a bottle of milk, and
Soon he was knocking at the door of the soldier s house.
His entrance was greeted with joy. The babe was in its
mother s arms.
" See, master, is she not bright? She would have died
but for thee," said the happy mother. And when he laid
the roast and milk upon the table they all fell prostrate
before him; but he said:
" Give thanks only to the Most High, the giver of all
good gifts to man."
Then he taught them a short prayer, after which he
hastened away to minister to the svounded and dying, first
carrying some food to Jeremiah.
To walk through the streets now was terrible especially
near the walls, where the dead lay thickest.
How could any one survive the fearful stench and the
terrible pestilence? The hollow, sunken eyes, the livid
cheeks, the trembling limbs! Were these the once glo
riously handsome men of Judah? Where now is all thy
comeliness, oh, men of war!
Oh, Jerusalem, Jerusalem, where now is the beauty of
thy daughters and the comeliness of thy matrons? How
Asaph s heart ached at the sight of the women as they
staggered from their doors to see if they could pick up
aught in the street to satisfy their hunger.
Toward evening he noticed a figure watching the evil
birds hovering over the dead. As he came near he recog
nized Haggith, but so changed she seemed like a wicked
witch as she stretched out her long bony fingers and tried
to seize one of the unclean things; but it would ever elude
her grasp, hover for a moment above its prey, then dart
down suddenly to its unholy feast.
Asaph looked on in horror. What was she about to do?
Just then a stray arrow pierced it in its flight, and it fell
dying at Haggith s feet. She grasped it in her bony
hands, and with a cry of joy she tore it with her teeth.
" Ilaggith!" he cried, sick with horror, " what dost
" I I am starving," she said.
" Kay- do not this thing, oh, Levite s daughter; eat
not the unclean thing and with the blood! Oh, it is too
" 1 I am starving/ was all she said.
" Stay but a little. 1 will send thee food some flesh
of kid and milk, and some for thy father; but do not eat
the unclean bird. 3;
The thought of the promised food somewhat calmed her.
" I 1 will wait," she said
Asaph hastened away. After walking some distance he
" Cleo, wilt do a message for me?"
" Ay, good master," she said, with a glad look.
" Then follow me to my house."
When he had reached it he bade her enter, then giving
her a piece of roast kid and a bottle of milk, he said:
" Take these to the Levite s daughter who once sold
flowers in the market. She is starving by the western
wall; haste, and tell no one what thou dost. Hide it
under thy mantle."
" Cleo Cleo like her not, oh, master!" she said, sul
" Do it as the will of our kind God, Cleo, so that He
may not forget theo when thy trouble comes."
She took it without another word and passed quickly
from his sight. Then she looked around.
" Cleo not take it to cat woman. Cleo hate her. Cleo
eat it when she hungry."
So, smiling, she passed the western wall where Ilaggith
was waiting. She stood and watched her.
As the minutes passed and Asaph did not come, she
wistfully eyed the bleeding bird. As the time lengthened
she stretched out her hands and touched it, then looked
around stealthily, then took it in her hand; then with a
cry she tore it ravenously and smacked her lips with fierce
" ILi, ha, ha!" laughed Cleo, sarcastically. " Levite
girl cat bad bird. Ha, ha, ha!"
" Ay, taunt on, thou fat slave of a wanton!" she cried.
" I sell not my body for food!"
"Levite girl is fool! Cleo s mistress lives in palace."
And she walked away indignantly.
% ^c % $z :jc ^; ^c
From the highest parts of the city the valley seemed
still as full as ever of the glittering enemy, well fed and
confident of victory. The towers they had built in so
many places around the walls had been the means of
great destruction to the people of Jerusalem. As the
number of men on the walls diminished the enemy grew
bolder, and again the battering-rams pounded on the
gates; but the very sound put renewed life into the hearts
of the Israelites, and they quickly gathered at these points,
and many a Chaldean fell dead for his temerity.
The streets were now in such a bad condition that the
princess was forced to confine her visits to those furthest
from the walls; but she did not neglect her devotions at
the holy Temple, so Asaph saw and conversed with her
Things became worse and worse; but Jerusalem would
not surrender. Some of the women would have been
too glad to see the Babylonians enter the gates and carry
them away that meant food and health and a chance to
live. They remembered when Jehoiakim had been taken
captive how the women had been put in carts and not
separated from their children. The Chaldeans were hand
some and kind; they did not fear them.
Cleo had been gradually learning, from listening to
Asaph in the Temple, to know the true God, and she
began to love and fear Him.
One day, while passing along the street, she noticed a
figure huddled up in a corner. She approached it was
Haggith gnawing one of her arms, which was bitten and
bloody. Cleo started at the ghastly sight, and her con
science smote her; so she said:
" Levite s daughter, forgive Cleo. Cleo was wicked.
Glorious master sent her food days ago. Cleo eat it
" I I have food. See!" and she held out her bleed
" Cleo sorry. Cleo come again."
She hastened away and sought Asaph. When she found
him she cried :
" Oh, master, Cleo so wicked. Levite s daughter dying
eating herself. Ugh! Cleo no gave food. Come
" Where is she?" he asked.
" Near Sheep Gate. Come!"
But Asaph took a tablet from his bosom and wrote a
message to his mother.
Take this to my house, Cleo, and bring what they
give thee to where thou sawest the Levite s daughter. I
will hasten to her." So saying, he hurried away.
What a terrible sight met his eyes the daughter of one
of the former servants of God eating her own flesh for
" Haggith," he said, gently; but she gazed at him with
the look of a wild animal. " Haggith, drink a little from
this cup; there now let me bind thy arm; thou shalt
have food in a little while."
" So thou saidst before. Ha, ha, ha!"
She laughed. It was ghastly.
"But I sent it, Haggith. Cleo has repented her
wickedness. Now drink a little more."
"It it gives life!"
Then he bound her wounded arm and said:
" Thy father is he with the fighting men?"
" He is at home starving, but hugging his gold;
but he can not eat it. Ha, ha, ha!"
Just then Cleo came in sight.
" Cheer up, Haggith, food conieth. Jehovah hath sent
it to thee."
Cleo gave the flesh to him slyly so that none could see.
He took a morsel in his fingers.
" Eat this then if thou canst. Show us thy house.".
She eat it ravenously.
" More! more!" she cried.
" Yes, when we reach thy father s house. Come."
She arose to her feet, but almost fell.
" Lean on me; 1 will help thee/ he said. Then Cleo
took her arm on the other side, and together they led her
home to a miserable hovel very forlorn and wretched.
They entered. The Levite was in a corner chattering to
himself and hugging some bags of gold. He was just
verging on insanity from starvation. They placed Haggith
on a seat, and CJeo went to the shelf and brought platters
and bowls and put them on the broken table.
Levite, the God of Israel hath sen u thee food eat!"
said Asa ph.
"Food! food! but thou canst not have my gold!" he
" Nay. Jehovah wants not thy mon.<>y eat!"
He poured some milk for each, and while he attended
to the Levite, Cleo ministered to Haggith. After they
had eaten a small portion Asaph said :
" No more now, or thou wilt die. Rest a little, then
" How good thou art! But even as a boy thy heart was
kind," said Haggith.
" Is is this the Moloch boy?" cried Zaccur. " I I
thank thee, master!"
" Levite, thank thy God, not me. If thou wilt come
each morning before the sun is up to my house, thou shalt
have food for thyself and daughter. Cleo, stay awhile and
see that they eat sparingly." Then he hastened away
ami.l their thanks.
Each night Asaph brought food, and each day many
blessed his name, and turned to the true God through his
JERUSALEM IS TAKEN AND THE KING ESCAPES.
THE siege continued, and month after month passed
away with ever-increasing horrors; still Jerusalem would
not surrender. At last affairs became so desperate that
parents, crazed with want of food, eat their own children,
Again the battering-rams thundered at the gates; but
now no fighting men gathered quickly to shoot the be
siegers down. Only a few were on the walls, and they so
haggard that even the enemy were touched with pit} T .