William L. (William Loring) Worcester.

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

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shalt do that which is right and good in the sight of the Lord; that it may
be well with thee, and that thou mayest go in and possess the good land
which the Lord sware unto thy fathers, to cast out all thine enemies from
before thee, as the Lord hath spoken.

And when thy son asketh thee in time to come, saying, What mean the
testimonies, and the statutes, and the judgments, which the Lord our God
hath commanded you? then thou shalt say unto thy son, We were Pharaoh's
bondmen in Egypt ; and the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty
hand : and the Lord shewed signs and wonders, great and sore, upon Egypt,
upon Pharaoh, and upon all his household, before our eyes : and he brought
us out from thence, that he might bring us in, to give us the land which
he sware unto our fathers. And the Lord commanded us to do all these

( Photograph by Putnam Cady. )

North shore of Dead Sea, looking east.

statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our good always, that he might
preserve us alive, as it is at this day. And it shall be our righteousness, if
we observe to do all these commandments before the Lord our God, as he
hath commanded us. . . .

All the commandments which I command thee this day shall ye observe
to do, that ye may live, and multiply, and go in and possess the land which
the Lord sware unto your fathers. And thou shalt remember all the way
which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to
humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether
thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no. And he humbled thee, and
suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not,
neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man
doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the
mouth of the Lord doth man live. Thy raiment waxed not old upon thee,
neither did thy foot swell, these forty years. Thou shalt also consider in
thine heart, that, as a man chasteneth his son, so the Lord thy God chasten-
eth thee. Therefore thou shalt keep the commandments of the Lord thy
God, to walk in his ways, and to fear him. For the Lord thy God bringeth
thee into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths
that spring out of valleys and hills; a land of wheat, and barley, and


vines, and fig trees, and pomegranates; a land of oil olive, and honey; a
land wherein thou shalt eat bread without scarceness, thou shalt not lack
any thing in it; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills thou
mayest dig brass.* When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless
the Lord thy God for the good land which he hath given thee. Beware
that thou forget not the Lord thy God, in not keeping his commandments,
and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day : lest
when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt
therein; and when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and
thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied; then thine
heart be lifted up, and thou forget the Lord thy God, which brought thee
forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage; who led thee
through that great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents, and
scorpions, and drought, where there was no water; who brought thee forth
water out of the rock of flint; who fed thee in the wilderness with manna,
which thy fathers knew not, that he might humble thee, and that he might

(Photograph by Putnam Cady,)

Mountains of Nebo.

prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end; and thou say in thine heart,
My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth. But
thou shalt remember the Lord thy God : for it is he that giveth thee power
to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy
fathers, as it is this day. And it shall be, if thou do at all forget the Lord
thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I
testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish. As the nations
which the Lord destroyeth before your face, so shall ye perish; because ye
would not be obedient unto the voice of the Lord your God. — Deuteronomy

* Read this further description of the abundant water of the land, in
Deuteronomy xi. 10-12 : " For the land, whither thou goest in to possess
it, is not as the land of Egypt, from whence ye came out, where thou
sowedst thy seed, and wateredst it with thy foot, as a garden of herbs;
but the land, whither ye go to possess it, is a land of hills and valleys,
and drinketh water of the rain of heaven : a land which the Lord thy
God careth for: the eyes of the Lord thy God are always upon it, from
the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year."



We must read also how the Lord let Moses see the prom-
ised land, which he was not to enter. The time was near for
Moses to die, and he blessed the people as an old father used
to bless his children before his death. Then he climbed to
the top of Mount Nebo, which is still called Neba, "height,"
rising nearly four thousand feet above the plain.

From this mountain-top the Lord showed Moses the land.
He looked northward over the land of Gilead on the east side
of the Jordan, towards Mount Hermon and Dan where the
Jordan rises. Some who have visited the mountain say that

(Photograph by Putnam Cady.)

Spring of Moses, at foot of Mount Nebo.

Mount Hermon itself can be seen. Then he looked westward
over the land of Canaan. It is called by the names of the
tribes to whom it soon was given. Naphtali reached to Mount
Hermon. Manasseh Jay in the middle of the land, including
Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim, which are plainly seen from
Nebo. Ephraim lay south of Manasseh, and Judah, just
across the Dead Sea, stretched away to the west towards the
Mediterranean. Still to the left lay the open pastures of the
South Country. Near by was the deep plain of Jordan, with


Jericho at the foot of the bluffs across the river, with its
groves of palms. Zoar was a city of the plain, which we
learned about in the story of Abraham and Lot. It was
probably close under the mountain, near the northern end
of the Dead Sea.

And Moses went up from the plains of Moab unto the mountain of
Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, that is over against Jericho : and the Lord
shewed him all the land of Gileacl, unto Dan, and all Naphtali, and the land
of Ephraim, and Manasseh, and all the land of Judah, unto the utmost sea,
and the south, and the plain of the valley of Jericho, the city of palm
trees, unto Zoar. And the Lord said unto him, This is the land which I
sware unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, saying, I will give it unto
thy seed: I have caused thee to see it with thine eyes, but thou shalt not
go over thither. So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land
of Moab, according to the word of the Lord. And he buried him in a
valley in the land of Moab, over against Beth-peor : but no man knoweth
of his sepulchre unto this clay. And Moses was an hundred and twenty years
old when he died : his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated. And
the children of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days :
so the days of weeping and mourning for Moses were ended. And Joshua
the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid his
hands upon him : and the children of Israel hearkened unto him, and did
as the Lord commanded Moses. And there arose not a prophet since in
Israel like unto Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, in all the signs
and the wonders which the Lord sent him to do in the land of Egypt, to
Pbaraoh, and to all his servants, and to all his land, and in all that mighty
hand, and in all the great terror which Moses shewed in the sight of all
Israel. — Deuteronomy XXXIV.


Joshua became the leader of the people after the death
of Moses. He had been Moses' servant. We first learned
of him when he led the men who fought with Amalek, before
the people came to Mount Sinai. He was with Moses in
Mount Sinai when the first tables of stone were broken. We
remember him also as one of the spies, one of the two who
encouraged the people not to be afraid to go into the land.
Now he was to be the one, in the Lord's strength, to lead
them in.

The way led across the Jordan. We must know what sort
of a stream the Jordan is which forms the eastern border
of the Holy Land, and which opened as a gate to let the chil-



Longitude 35° East from 30' Greenwich




dren of Israel pass in. It comes from the large springs
under Mount Hermon, and runs down hill very fast. That is
the meaning of its name, the "descender." At the Sea of
Galilee it is six hundred and twenty-five feet lower than the
Mediterranean Sea. It rests awhile in that lovely lake and
runs out at the southern end and hurries on, still descending.
When it meets the salt water of the Dead Sea, it is nearly
thirteen hundred feet below the ocean level.

Brooks run into the river from the hills on both sides.
Near where the Jabbok meets the Jordan the mountains
crowd close upon the river. Here we think of Adam and
Zaretan. The name
Adam, meaning
"red," is due per-
haps to the red color
of the clay soil at
this place. Below
this narrow pass
the valley widens,
till at Jericho the
meadows are some
eight miles across
between the hills on
the east and west.

The sun beats
down into this
sunken valley and
makes it very hot.
"The time of har-
vest" here is earlier than in other parts of the land, — in
April and May. At this season the warm sun melts the
snow-drifts on Mount Hermon, and "Jordan overfloweth all
his banks." This was the season in which the children of
Israel crossed.

We must not think that the Jordan ever overflows the
great meadows. Along through the middle of the meadow
is a lower bed about a mile wide, which is grown up with a
thicket of trees. The river winds among them sweeping the
overhanging branches, here and there rippling on a beach
of stones, or washing against a high clay bank until it un-
dermines it and the earth falls into the stream. The river

(From stereograph, copyright by Underw

The Jordan and its banks.


is about one hundred feet wide, as wide as a broad street,
but there are shallow places where it can be forded. When
it is swollen it overflows among the trees, but never reaches
to the meadows.

Let us also remember who the people of the land were
before the children of Israel took it. There were the Canaan-
ites, the lowlanders, by the sea and in the Jordan valley.
The Hittites and Hivites were remnants of ancient peoples,
living in several towns. The Perizzites were " villagers"
of the middle part of Canaan. Of the Grirgashites nothing is
known but their name. The Amorites were the "highland-
ers," and the Jebusites lived upon the hills where Jerusalem
afterwards stood.

The children of Israel moved their camp near to the
Jordan River. The ark must now go first to lead the way.
When the ark was carried, the priests went into the taber-
nacle and laid the veil over it, and over this a cover of skins,
and over this a cloth wholly of blue or purple. Then the
Levites, whose duty it was, lifted it by its staves to their
shoulders and carried it on before. Now the priests took up
the sacred burden and moved towards the river bank. The
people followed at a distance, leaving a space of two thou-
sand cubits (three thousand feet) between them and .the
ark. As we read the story you will see what happened when
the ark came to the river. As soon as the feet of the priests
who bore the ark touched the stream, it was divided and the
river-bed was left dry. Whether the Lord used some natural
means to divide the river, as He sent the east wind to divide
the Red Sea, we are not told. But we know that it was done
by the Lord's power in His commandments.

Now after the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, it came to pass,
that the Lord spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses' minister, saying,
Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou,
and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the chil-
dren of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon,
that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses. From the wilderness
and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the
land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the
sun, shall be your coast. There shall not any man be able to stand before
thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee:
I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. Be strong and of a good courage :
for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I


sware unto their fathers to give them. Only be thou strong and very-
courageous, that thou niayest observe to do according to all tbe law, which
Moses my servant commanded thee : turn not from it to the right hand or
to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest. This book
of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth ; but thou shalt meditate therein
day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is
written therein : for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then
thou shalt have good success. Have not I commanded thee? Be strong
and of a good courage ; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed : for the
Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.

Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people, saying, Pass through
the host, and command the people, saying, Prepare you victuals; for
within three days ye shall pass over this Jordan, to go in to possess the
land, which the Lord your God giveth you to possess it.

And to the Reubenites, and to the Gadites, and to half the tribe of
Manasseh, spake Joshua, saying, Remember the word which Moses the

Mount Hermon, with snow.

servant of the Lord commanded you, saying, The Lord your God hath given
you rest, and hath given you this land. Your wives, your little ones, and
your cattle, shall remain in the land which Moses gave you on this side
Jordan ; but ye shall pass before your brethren armed, all the mighty men
of valour, and help them ; until the Lord have given your brethren rest, as
he hath given you, and they also have possessed the land which the Lord
your God giveth them : then ye shall return unto the land of your possession,
and enjoy it, which Moses the Lord's servant gave you on this side Jordan
toward the sunrising.* And they answered Joshua, saying, All that thou
commandest us we will do, and whithersoever thou sendest us, we will go.

* It is explained in Numbers xxxii. that the tribes of Reuben and
Gad desired the pasture land east of Jordan because they had " a very
greal multitude of cattle."


According as we hearkened unto Moses in all things, so will we hearken
unto thee : only the Lord thy God be with thee, as he was with Moses.
Whosoever he be that doth rebel against thy commandment, and will not
hearken unto thy words in all that thou commandest him, he shall be put
to death : only be strong and of a good courage. . . .

And Joshua rose early in the morning; and they removed from
Shittim,* and came to Jordan, he and all the children of Israel, and lodged
there before they passed over. And it came to pass after three days, that
the officers went through the host; and they commanded the people, saying,
When ye see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the priests
the Levites bearing it, then ye shall remove from your place, and go after it.
Yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits
by measure : come not near unto it, that ye may know the way by which
ye must go : for ye have not passed this way heretofore. And Joshua said
unto the people, Sanctify yourselves : for to morrow the Lord will do
wonders among you. And Joshua spake unto the priests, saying, Take up
the ark of the covenant, and pass over before the people. And they took
up the ark of the covenant, and went before the people. And the Lord said
unto Joshua, This day will I begin to magnify thee in the sight of all Israel,
that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee. And
thou shalt command the priests that bear the ark of the covenant, saying,
When ye are come to the brink of the water of Jordan, ye shall stand still
in Jordan.

And Joshua said unto the children of Israel, Come hither, and hear the
words of the Lord your God. And Joshua said, Hereby ye shall know
that the living God is among you, and that he will without fail drive out
from before you the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Hivites, and
the Perizzites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Jebusites.
Behold, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth passeth over
before you into Jordan. Now therefore take you twelve men out of the
tribes of Israel, out of every tribe a man. And it shall come to pass, as
soon as the soles of the feet of the priests that bear the ark of the Lord,
the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of Jordan, that the waters
of Jordan shall be cut off from the waters that come down from above ;
and they shall stand upon an heap. And it came to pass, when the people
removed from their tents, to pass over Jordan, and the priests bearing the
ark of the covenant before the people ; and as they that bare the ark were
come unto Jordan, and the feet of the priests that bare the ark were dipped
in the brim of the water, (for Jordan overfloweth all his banks all the time
of harvest,) that the waters which came down from above stood and rose
up upon an heap very far from the city Adam, that is beside Zaretan ; t and
those that came down toward the sea of the plain, even the salt sea, failed,
and were cut off : and the people passed over right against Jericho. And
the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firm on dry

* From the groves of shittim trees, where they had been camping.
t The Revised Version reads, " a great way off at Adam, the city that
is beside Zaretan."


ground in the midst of Jordan, and all the Israelites passed over on dry-
ground, until all the people were passed clean over Jordan.

And it came to pass, when all the people were clean passed over Jordan,
that the Lord spake unto Joshua, saying, Take you twelve men out of the
people, out of every tribe a man, and command ye them, saying, Take you
hence out of the midst of Jordan, out of the place where the priests' feet
stood firm, twelve stones, and ye shall carry them over with you, and leave
them in the lodging place, where ye shall lodge this night. Then Joshua
called the twelve men, whom he had prepared of the children of Israel,
out of every tribe a man : and Joshua said unto them, Pass over before the
ark of the Lord your God into the midst of Jordan, and take you up every
man of you a stone upon his shoulder, according unto the number of the
tribes of the children of Israel : that this may be a sign among you, that
when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean
ye by these stones? then ye shall answer them, That the waters of Jordan
were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord; when it passed
over Jordan, the waters of Jor-
dan were cut off : and these
stones shall be for a memorial
unto the children of Israel for
ever. And the children of
Israel did so as Joshua com-
manded, and took up twelve
stones out of the midst of
Jordan, as the Lord spake
unto Joshua, according to the
number of the tribes of the
children of Israel, and carried

them over with them unto the (Published by C. H. Graves, Phila.)

place where they lodged, and North shore of Dead Sea, looking west.

laid them down there. And

Joshua set up twelve stones in the midst of Jordan, in the place where the
feet of the priests which bare the ark of the covenant stood : and they are
there unto this day. For the priests which bare the ark stood in the midst
of Jordan, until every thing was finished that the Lord commanded Joshua
to speak unto the people, according to all that Moses commanded Joshua:
and the people hasted and passed over. And it came to pass, when all the
people were clean passed over, that the ark of the Lord passed over, and the
priests, in the presence of the people. And the children of Reuben, and
the children of Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh, passed over armed
before the children of Israel, as Moses spake unto them: about forty
thousand prepared for war passed over before the Lord unto battle, to the
plains of Jericho. On that day the Lord magnified Joshua in the sight
of 'all Israel; and they feared him, as they feared Moses, all the days
of his life.

And the Lord spake unto Joshua, saying, Command the priests that
bear the ark of the testimony, that they come up out of Jordan. Joshua
therefore commanded (he priests, saying, Come ye up out of Jordan. And
it came to pass, when the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the



Lord were come up out of the midst of Jordan, and the soles of the
priests' feet were lifted up unto the dry land, that the waters of Jordan
returned unto their place, and flowed over all his banks, as they did before.
And the people came up out of Jordan on the tenth day of the first month,
and encamped in Gilgal, in the east border of Jericho. And those twelve

stones, which they took out
of Jordan, did Joshua pitch
in Gilgal. And he spake
unto the children of Israel,
saying, When your children
shall ask their fathers in
time to come, saying, What
mean these stones'? then ye
shall let your children know,
saying, Israel came over this
Jordan on dry land. For
the Lord your God dried
up the waters of Jordan
from before you, until ye
were passed over, as the
Lord your God did to the
Red sea, which he dried up
from before us, until we
were gone over: that all the people of the earth might know the hand of
the Lord, that it is mighty: that ye might fear the Lord your God for
ever. . . .

And the children of Israel encamped in Gilgal, and kept the passover
on the fourteenth day of the month at even in the plains of Jericho. And
they did eat of the old corn of the land on the morrow after the passover,
unleavened cakes, and parched corn in the selfsame day. And the manna
ceased on the morrow after they had eaten of the old corn of the land;
neither had the children of Israel manna any more; but they did eat of the
fruit of the land of Canaan that year. — Joshua I., III., IV., V. 10~12.

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

The Jordan, pilgrims' bathing place.


The children of Israel were still in the broad meadows
of the Jordan, but they had crossed the river into the prom-
ised land and were camping at Gilgal. The first city of the
land which they were to take was Jericho. Nowadays the
name Jericho is given to a poor little village of huts out in
the plain towards Gilgal. In the Gospel days Jericho was a
city standing back in the edge of the plain just where the
brook Kelt and the road from Jerusalem come out from the
hills. But the old Jericho of the time of Joshua was a mile



further north. The fine spring called Elisha's fountain is
still there, coming out from the foot of a hill which is formed
in part by the ruins of the old city. From this hill of ruins
you look out over the broad plain; and behind it is a stern
weather-beaten cliff with caves in which hermits live. The
mountain is called Karantel (from the Latin quadraginta,
forty) in memory of the Lord's forty days in the wilder-

The name Jericho means the "fragrant place." There
were fine gardens and orchards there when the rich sunny
plain was carefully watered and tended. It was called ' ' the
city of palm trees. ' ' The city had a wall about it and strong
gates, as was usual in the old time. Many Eastern cities
still have such walls, and gates that are shut at night. The
gates of Jericho were now kept shut for fear of the

The story tells us how Jericho was taken. It was not
the people's own power that threw down the walls, but the
power of the Lord in the commandments and the ark, the
same power which had divided the Jordan for the people to
pass over.

We shall read that the children of Israel destroyed the

Online LibraryWilliam L. (William Loring) WorcesterOn holy ground : Bible stories with pictures of Bible lands → online text (page 12 of 42)