William L. (William Loring) Worcester.

On holy ground : Bible stories with pictures of Bible lands online

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and stretched out their wings over the mercy-seat. The
presence of the Lord was felt and answers were given ' ' from
above the mercy seat. ' ' He was called, ' ' Thou that dwellest
between the cherubim." (Ps. lxxx. 1.)

The outer chamber of the tabernacle was the holy place.
Standing at the curtained doorway, on the right hand (which

was the north side, as the
tabernacle faced the east)
stood a table made, like the
ark, of shittim wood covered
with gold. It had a border
and a crown around it and
four rings at the corners, in
which the staves were put
for carrying the table. Upon
this table were golden dishes
and two piles of thin loaves
of bread called shewbread;
six loaves were in a pile, with
pure incense laid upon the
top. The shewbread was put in order upon the table every
Sabbath; and that which was taken away was eaten by the
priests in the holy place. (Lev. xxiv. 5-9.)

Opposite the table, on the left of one entering the taber-
nacle, was the ''candlestick" or branching lamp, of pure
gold. It was no doubt in general form like the lamp sculp-
tured on the Arch of Titus at Rome, which pictures the
triumph after the destruction of Jerusalem. (See page 461.)

(Published by C. H. Graves, Phila.)
Plain of encampment, from the foot of
the cliff.


It had a middle stem and three branches from each side,
wrought in the form of knops and almond flowers, each
ending in a little cup for oil. The lamp was carried upon
one bar. The people brought the best olive oil for the light,
and the priests trimmed the wicks and filled the lamps every
morning and lighted them every evening. So the holy place
was bright while the most holy place was dark.

There was one other thing in the holy place of the taber-
nacle just in front of the priest as he entered from the court,
the little altar of incense. It was of shittim wood covered

Convent of St. Catherine and plain of encampment, Sinai.

with gold, a cubit square and two cubits high, with a crown
of gold about it and horns, and two rings, one in each side,
under the crown, in which the staves were put to carry it.
Aaron burned sweet incense on this altar every morning
when he trimmed the lamps and every evening when he
lighted them.

In the court before the tabernacle there was a much
larger altar. It was made of shittim wood covered, not with
gold, but with brass or copper, and part of it was also of open
work of brass. There were horns at the four corners. All
the vessels and instruments of the altar were of brass. There
were rings in the sides in which the staves Were put to carry
it. This altar was not for incense but for burnt-offerings,
which were made every morning and evening and at many
other times.

Between the altar and the tabernacle was placed the laver


of brass, which was made of the polished mirrors of the
women. It was like a large basin resting upon a base. It
was filled with water, for Aaron and his sons must wash
their hands and feet before going into the tabernacle or
offering sacrifices on the altar.

And Moses spake unto all the congregation of the children of Israel,
saying, This is the thing which the Lord commanded, saying, Take ye from
among you an offering unto the Lord : whosoever is of a willing heart, let
him bring it, an offering of the Lord; gold, and silver, and brass, and blue,
and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen, and goats' hair, and rams' skins
dyed red, and badgers' skins, and shittim wood, and oil for the light, and
spices for anointing oil, and for the sweet incense, and onyx stones, and
stones to be set for the ephod,* and for the breastplate. And every wise
hearted among you shall come, and make all that the Lord hath commanded;
the tabernacle, his tent, and his covering, his taches, and his boards, his
bars, his pillars, and his sockets; the ark, and the staves thereof, with the
mercy seat, and the vail of the covering; the table, and his staves, and all
his vessels, and the shewbread; the candlestick also for the light, and his
furniture, and his lamps, with the oil for the light; and the incense altar,
and his staves, and the anointing oil, and the sweet incense, and the hanging
for the door at the entering in of the tabernacle; the altar of burnt offer-
ing, with his brasen grate, his staves, and all his vessels, the laver and his
foot; the hangings of the court, his pillars, and their sockets, and the
hanging for the door of the court; the pins of the tabernacle, and the
pins of the court, and their cords; the cloths of service, to do service in
the holy place, the holy garments for Aaron the priest, and the garments
of his sons, to minister in the priest's office.

And all the congregation of the children of Israel departed from the
presence of Moses. And they came, every one whose heart stirred him up,
and every one whom his spirit made willing, and they brought the Lord's
offering to the work of the tabernacle of the congregation, and for all his
service, and for the holy garments. And they came, both men and women,
as many as were willing hearted, and brought bracelets, and earrings, and
rings, and tablets, all jewels of gold : and every man that offered, offered an
offering of gold unto the Lord. And every man, with whom was found blue,
and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen, and goats' hair, and red skins of rams,
and badgers' skins, brought them. Every one that did offer an offering of
silver and brass brought the Lord's offering:- and every man, with whom was
found shittim wood for any work of the service, brought it. And all the
women that were wise hearted did spin with their hands, and brought that
which they had spun, both of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, and of fine

* The " ephod" was a beautiful vest of bright-colored linen embroid-
ered with gold, which was made for Aaron the high priest. The " breast-
plate" was a square of linen beautiful with bright colors and gold, in which
were set twelve precious stones. It was fastened upon the front of the



linen. And all the women whose heart stirred them up in wisdom spun goats'
hair. And the rulers brought onyx stones, and stones to be set, for the
ephod, and for the breastplate; and spice, and oil for the light, and for the
anointing oil, and for the sweet incense. The children of Israel brought a
willing offering unto the Lord, every man and woman, whose heart made
them willing to bring for all manner of work, which the Lord had com-
manded to be made by the hand of Moses. . . .

And it came to pass in the first month in the second year, on the first
day of the month, that the tabernacle was reared up. And Moses reared
up the tabernacle, and fastened his sockets, and set up the boards thereof,
and put in the bars thereof, and reared up his pillars. And he spread
abroad the tent over the tabernacle, and put the covering of the tent above
upon it ; as the Lord commanded Moses. And he took and put the testi-
mony into the ark, and set the staves on the ark, and put the mercy seat
above upon the ark : and he brought the ark into the tabernacle, and set
up the vail of the covering, and covered the ark of the testimony; as the


(Photograph by G. L. Robinson.)

Bedouin tents, near Sinai.

Lord commanded Moses. And he put the table in the tent of the congre-
gation, upon the side of the tabernacle northward, without the vail. And he
set the bread in order upon it before the Lord ; as the Lord had commanded
Moses. And he put the candlestick in the tent of the congregation, over
against the table, on the side of the tabernacle southward. And he lighted
the lamps before the Lord; as the Lord commanded Moses. And he put
the golden altar in the tent of the congregation before the vail : and he
burnt sweet incense thereon ; as the Lord commanded Moses. And he set
up the hanging at the door of the tabernacle. And he put the altar of burnt
offering by the door of the tabernacle of the tent of the congregation, and
offered upon it the burnt offering and the meat offering; as the Lord com-
manded Moses. And he set the laver between the tent of the congregation
and the altar, and put water there, to wash withal. And Moses and Aaron
and his sons washed their hands and their feet thereat: when they went
into the ten! of the congregation, and when they came near unto the altar,
they washed; as the Lord commanded Moses. And he reared up the court


round about the tabernacle and the altar, and set up the hanging of the
court gate. So Moses finished the work.

Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the
Lord filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter into the tent
of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the
Lord filled the tabernacle. And when the cloud was taken up from over
the tabernacle, the children of Israel went onward in all their journeys :
but if the cloud were not taken up, then they journeyed not till the day
that it was taken up. For the cloud of the Lord was upon the tabernacle by
day, and fire was on it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel,
throughout all their journeys. — Exodus XXXV. 4-29; XL. 17S8.



We must keep the map before us and see how the chil-
dren of Israel went when they journeyed on from Sinai.
They followed the rough mountain valleys from Sinai north-
eastward by Hazeroth to Ezion-geber, at the head of the
Red Sea, and then passed up the desert valley which leads
towards the Dead Sea. Having gone about half its length,

they turned into the upland country on its west side. They
were now drawing near to the South Country of Palestine.
They camped at Kadesh, where there was no doubt some
water and more of greenness than on the plains and hills



At Kadesh the people were at a gateway of the promised
J and. They rested there while twelve spies — a ruler from
each tribe — went up through the land to learn what kind of
a land it was and what kind of people lived in it. We must
remember the names of two of the spies, Caleb of the tribe
of Judah, and Joshua, Moses' servant, of the tribe of

The people had heard many things about the land of
Canaan. The story of their fathers Abraham, Isaac, and
Jacob had been told from one to another. We have heard
the story, too, and
we know some of
the places which
the spies would see.
As they went up
from Kadesh they
would come first to
the South Country.
They passed the
open pastures where
the flocks of Abra-
ham and Isaac used
to graze, and so up
into the hills. It
was July or August,
the time of the first
ripe grapes. They
passed Hebron, high
among the hills, with
rich valleys about it green with vineyards. Here Abraham
had lived and here was the cave which Abraham had bought
for a burial-place. Hebron was a very old town, perhaps
one of the oldest in the land.

The spies found giants living in Hebron, the children
of Anak. They lived, too, in some other towns, but after-
wards they were destroyed, except in some Philistine

But the spies did not delay at Hebron. We think of them
passing on, perhaps, by Bethlehem and the hills where after-
wards Jerusalem would stand. So the way led up by Bethel
and Shechem. It is interesting to think of their passing

(Published by C. H. Graves, Phila.)

A pass in Wady el-Ain.


this place where Abraham and Jacob camped, where Jacob
dug the well, and where Joseph had come looking for his
brethren. They kept on, and saw the rich plain of Esdraelon
and the hills of Galilee as far as Rehob, near the springs
of the Jordan.

The spies came back after forty days, bringing pome-
granates and figs to show the people, and the great bunch
of grapes from the valley of Eshcol, which perhaps was near
Hebron. They told the people about the good land rich and
fertile, but also about the giants and walled cities, and made
them afraid.

We remember some of the names of the native tribes.
The Amalekites, a part of the same people who fought with
the children of Israel near Sinai, were in the south; the

Amorites, the high-
landers, lived in the
hills through the
middle of the land;
the Canaanites, the
lowlanders, in the
plains by the sea
and by the Jordan.
The Hittites were
the remnants of an

On the Keel Sea shore. ancient people who

were in Hebron and
other towns. Jebus, the city of the Jebusites, was where
Jerusalem afterwards stood. Caleb and Joshua tried to
quiet the people's fears, knowing that they would be able,
with the Lord's help, to overcome all their enemies. But
the people would not listen, and they were then told that they
must wander in the wilderness forty years till all those who
would not trust the Lord had died.

We think of the people as spending all these years in
the region about Kadesh. There were few towns and
there was little land good for farms and orchards, but still
there were green places in some valleys where flocks could
feed. The people lived in tents as the Bedouins do to-day,
and moved about with their flocks from place to place
wherever there was pasture. They also had the manna all
these years.



And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Send thou men, that they may
search the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel : of
every tribe of their fathers shall ye send a man, every one a ruler among
them. And Moses by the commandment of the Lord sent them from the
wilderness of Paran : all those men were heads of the children of Israel. . . .
And Moses sent them to spy out the land of Canaan, and said unto them, Get
you up this way southward,* and go up into the mountain : and see the
land, what it is; and the people that dwelleth therein, whether they be
strong or weak, few or many; and what the land is that they dwell in,
whether it be good or bad; and what cities they be that they dwell in,
whether in tents, or in strong holds; and what the land is, whether it be
fat or lean, whether there be wood therein, or not. And be ye of good
courage, and bring of the fruit of the land. Now the time was the time
of the first ripe grapes. So they went up, and searched the land from the

(Photograph by G. L. Robinson.)

Ain Kadis (Kadesh-barnea?), looking west.

wilderness of Zin unto Rehob, as men come to Hamath. And they ascended
by the south, and came unto Hebron; where Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai,
the children of Anak, were. (Now Hebron was built seven years before
Zoan in Egypt.) And they came unto the brook of Eshcol, and cut down
from thence a branch with one cluster of grapes, and they bare it between
two upon a staff; and they brought of the pomegranates, and of the figs.
The place was called the brook Eshcol, because of the cluster of grapes
which the children of Israel cut down from thence. And they returned
from searching of the land after forty days. And they Avent and came to
Moses, and to Aaron, and to all the congregation of the children of Israel,
unto the wilderness of Paran, to Kadesh; and brought back word unto
them, and unto all the congregation, and shewed them the fruit of the land.
And they told him, and said, We came unto the land whither thou sentest
us, and surely it floweth with milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it.
Nevertheless the people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are

By or into the South Country.



walled, and very great : and moreover we saw the children of Anak there.
The Amalekites dwell in the land of the south : and the Hittites, and the
Jebusites, and the Amorites, dwell in the mountains : and the Canaanites
dwell by the sea, and by the coast of Jordan. And Caleb stilled the people
before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are
well able to overcome it. But the men that went up with him said, We be
not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we. And
they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the
children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search
it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; * and all the people that
we saw in it are men of a great stature. And there we saw the giants, the
sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight
as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.

And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the
people wept that night. And all the children of Israel murmured against

Moses and against Aaron : and
the whole congregation said
unto them, Would God that
we had died in the land of
Egypt ! or would God we had
died in this wilderness ! And
wherefore hath the Lord
brought us unto this land, to
fall by the sword, that our
wives and our children should
be a prey? were it not better
for us to return into Egypt?
And they said one to another,
Let us make a captain, and let
us return into Egypt. Then
Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congre-
gation of the children of Israel. And Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb
the son of Jephunneh, which were of them that searched the land, rent
their clothes : and they spake unto all the company of the children of Israel,
saying, The land, which Ave passed through to search it, is an exceeding
good land. If the Lord delight in us, then he will bring us into this land,
and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey. Only rebel not
ye against the Lord, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are
bread for us : their defence is departed from them, and the Lord is with
us : fear them not. But all the congregation bade stone them with stones.
And the glory of the Lord appeared in the tabernacle of the congregation
before all the children of Israel.— Numbers XIII. IS, 17S3 ; XIV. 1-10.

(Photograph by G. L. Robinson.)

At el-Birein, in the South Country.

During the years that the children of Israel lived and
wandered in the wilderness, some of the people rebelled

* Perhaps referring to the wars in which the people of the land were



against Moses and Aaron, saving that they ought not to
make themselves rulers over their brethren; and the Lord
gave the people a beautiful sign which should remind them
always that the tribe of Levi was chosen to serve at the
tabernacle and the family of Aaron was chosen from all the
rest to be the family of priests.

Before we read about the sign, let me ask, How many of
us have seen the little flowering almond trees in the gardens f
The pink blossoms open very early, before the leaves, and
are among the first signs of spring. In Palestine they open
as early as January, and this, probably, is the reason for the
Hebrew name for the almond, ''watchful." The princes of
the tribes perhaps carried rods as a sign of office.

And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of
Israel, and take of every one of them a rod according to the house of their
fathers, of all their princes according to the house of their fathers, twelve
rods: write thou every man's name upon his rod. And thou shalt write
Aaron's name upon the rod of Levi : for one rod shall be for the head of
the house of their fathers. And thou shalt lay them up in the tabernacle
of the congregation before
the testimony, where I will
meet with you. And it
shall come to pass, that
the man's rod, whom I shall
choose, shall blossom : and
I will make to cease from
me the murmurings of the
children of Israel, whereby
they murmur against you.
And Moses spake unto the
children of Israel, and
every one of their princes
gave him a rod apiece, for
each prince one, according
to their fathers' houses,
even twelve rods: and the
rod of Aaron was among
their rods. And Moses
laid up the rods before
the Lord in the tabernacle
of witness. And it came
to pass, that on the mor-
row Moses went into the
tabernacle of witness; and,
behold, the rod of Aaron for the house of Levi was budded, and brought
forth buds, and bloomed blossoms, and yielded almonds. And Moses

■i.A ■ - *_

(Published by C. H. Graves, Pliila. )

Almond tree in Llossom, Sinai.



brought out all the rods from before the Lord unto all the children of
Israel: and they looked, and took every man his rod. And the Lord said
unto Moses, Bring Aaron's rod again before the testimony, to be kept for
a token against the rebels; and thou shalt quite take away their murmur-
ings from me, that they die not. And Moses did so : as the Lord com-
manded him, so did he. — Numbers XVII. 1—11.

Once before on the journey, when the people were thirsty,
the Lord had given them water from the rock. And now
again, in Kadesh, He gave them water in the same way.
But this time Moses and Aaron did not help the people to
trust in the Lord. Moses spoke as if it were he who was
giving them water, and because of this the Lord told Moses
and Aaron that they should not bring the people into the land.

We will read the story.

Then came the children of Israel, even the whole congregation, into the
desert of Zin in the first month : and the people abode in Kadesh ; and
Miriam * died there, and was buried there. And there was no water for the
congregation : and they gathered themselves together against Moses and

The approach to Canaan from the wilderness of Kadesh.

against Aaron. And the people chode with Moses, and spake, saying, Would
God that we had died when our brethren died before the Lord ! And why
have ye brought up the congregation of the Lord into this wilderness, that
we and our cattle should die there? And wherefore have ye made us to
come up out of Egypt, to bring us in unto this evil place? it is no place

* The sister of Moses and Aaron.



of seed, or of figs, or of vines, or of pomegranates; neither is there any
water to drink. And Moses and Aaron went from the presence of the
assembly unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and they fell
upon their faces : and the glory of the Lord appeared unto them. And the
Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly
together, thou and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock before
their eyes; and it shall give forth his water, and thou shalt bring forth
to them water out of the rock: so thou shalt give the congregation and
their beasts drink. And Moses took the rod from before the Lord, as he
commanded him. And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together
before the rock, and he said unto them, Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch
you water out of this rock? And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his
rod he smote the rock twice : and the water came out abundantly, and the
congregation drank, and their beasts also. And the Lord spake unto Moses
and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the
children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the
land which I have given them. This is the water of Meribah ; * because the
children of Israel strove with the Lord, and he was sanctified in them. —
Numbers XX. 1~13.


The forty years were almost passed, and it was time for
the people to take up their journey to the promised land.

The K

>r Treasury, of Pharaoh, probably a temple, Petra.

They were to come into the country from the east, by the
gate-way of the Jordan.

On the east side of the great valley which leads south

* " Meribah" means " strife."



from the Dead Sea to the Red Sea was a rough, mountain-
ous country with upland pastures and deep, narrow valleys.
About midway, where the mountains rise the highest, they
are called Mount Seir. Here are the cliffs with caves which
in Abraham's day were the homes of the cave-dwellers, the
Horites. And here, long after the time of our story, in the
Roman days, the buildings of Petra the "rock city" were

cut out. Near by,
in Mount Seir, we
may believe, was
the high top called
Mount Hor. The
natural wildness of
the scenery, the
carved buildings,
and the bright and
rich colors of the
rock make Petra
strange and beau-

The people of
this mountain coun-
try were the Edom-
i t e s, the descend-
ants of Esau,
Jacob's brother.
But they were not
friendly to the chil-
dren of Israel, and
would not let them
pass through their
country. So the
people must go a
long way to the south to go around the land of Edom.

Online LibraryWilliam L. (William Loring) WorcesterOn holy ground : Bible stories with pictures of Bible lands → online text (page 10 of 42)