William L. (William Loring) Worcester.

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

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we find her home! It was in the tribe of Ephraim, between
Ramah and Bethel. She called Barak to lead the army of
Israel. Can we find his home? It was in the tribe of Naph-
tali, at Kedesh, not far from Hazor. The army was from
the tribes nearest at hand, Naplitali and Zebulun. Deborah
and Barak gathered soldiers on Mount Tabor. Princes of
Issachar were also with them, who lived in the great green
plain below.

(From stereograph, copyright by Underwood & Un-
derwood, N. Y.)

Mount Tabor, from the west.


Sisera and his chariots came out from Harosheth into the
plain towards Tabor, and the army of Israel ca.me down
from the mountain and met them in the plain. In their
thanksgiving for the victory Deborah and Barak sang, "They
fought from heaven ; the stars in their courses fought against
Sisera. The river of Kishon swept them away. . . . Then
were the horsehoof s broken by the means of the pransings. ' '
Perhaps there was hail such as helped Joshua and the chil-
dren of Israel at Beth-horon. The rain also swelled the
stream and made the meadow along its banks a mire, in
which the horses and chariots sank. So "Sisera lighted
down off his chariot, and fled away on his feet, ' ' northward.

There were some
tents pitched on the
highland west of the
Sea of Galilee, near
the oak of Zaanaim,
belonging to a part
of the family of the
Kenites, descendants
of the old priest of
Midian, the father-in-

( Copyright, 1U03, by William H. Ran, Phila.) laW of MoSCS. Tile

Harosheth. Kenites had come

with the children of
Israel into the land of Canaan. Most of them lived in the
south, but Heber had separated from the rest of his people
and had pitched his tent in the highland west of the Sea of
Galilee. They were at peace with their strong neighbor
Jabin king of Hazor, but they still wished well to their old
friends the children of Israel. So Sisera fleeing from the
battle came to the tent of Heber. What befell him there,
we shall learn as we read the story.

And the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord, when
Ehud was dead. And the Lord sold them into the hand of Jabin king of
Canaan, that reigned in Hazor ; the captain of whose host was Sisera, which
dwelt in Harosheth of the Gentiles. And the children of Israel cried unto
the Lord : for he had nine hundred chariots of iron ; and twenty years he
mightily oppressed the children of Israel.

And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, she judged Israel
at that time. And she dwelt under the palm tree of Deborah between
Ramah and Beth-el in mount Ephraim : and the children of Israel came



(Copyright, 1903, by William H. Rau, Pliila.)
River Kishon and Mount Carmel.

up to her for judgment. And she sent and called Barak the son of
Abinoam out of Kedesh-naphtali, and said unto him, Hath not the Lord
God of Israel commanded, say-
ing, Go and draw toward mount i
Tabor, and take with thee ten
thousand men of the children
of Naphtali and of the children
of Zebulun? And I will draw
unto thee, to the river Kishon
Sisera, the captain of Jabin's
army, with his chariots and his
multitude; and I will deliver
him into thine hand. And Ba-
rak said unto her, If thou wilt
go with me, then I will go : but
if thou wilt not go with me,
then I will not go. And she
said, I will surely go with thee :
notwithstanding t h e journey
that thou takest shall not be
for thine honour; for the Lord
shall sell Sisera into the hand
of a woman. And Deborah

arose, and went with Barak to Kedesh. And Barak called Zebulun and
Naphtali to Kedesh; and he went up with ten thousand men at his feet:
and Deborah went up with him. Now Heber the Kenite, which was of the
children of Hobab the father in law of Moses, had severed himself from
the Kenites, and pitched his tent unto the plain of Zaanaim, which is by
Kedesh. And they shewed Sisera that Barak the son of Abinoam was
gone up to mount Tabor. And Sisera gathered together all his chariots,
even nine hundred chariots of iron, and all the people that were with

him, from Harosheth of the
Gentiles unto the river of
Kishon. And Deborah said
unto Barak, Up; for this
is the day in which the
Lord hath delivered Sisera
into thine hand : is not the
Lord gone out before thee?
So Barak went down from
mount Tabor, and ten thou-
sand men after him. And
the Lord discomfited Sisera,
and all his chariots, and all
his host, with the edge of
the sword before Barak; so that Sisera lighted down off his chariot, and
fled away on his feet. But Barak pursued after the chariots, and after
the host, unto Harosheth of (he Gentiles: and nil the host of Sisera fell
upon the edge of the sword; and there was not a man left.

(Copyright, 1903, by William II. Rau, Phila. I

Plain of Esdraelon and Mount Tabor.


Howbeit Sisera fled away on his feet to the tent of Jael the wife of
Heber the Kenite : for there was peace between Jabin the king of Hazor
and the house of Heber the Kenite. And Jael went out to meet Sisera, and
said unto him, Turn in, my lord, turn in to me; fear not. And when he
had turned in unto her into the tent, she covered him with a mantle. And
he said unto her, Give me, I pray thee, a little water to drink; for I am
thirsty. And she opened a bottle of milk, and gave him drink, and covered
him. Again he said unto her, Stand in the door of the tent, and it shall
be, when any man doth come and inquire of thee, and say, Is there any
man here? that thou shalt say, No. Then Jael Heber's wife took a nail
of the tent, and took an hammer in her hand, and went softly unto him,
and smote the nail into his temples, and fastened it into the ground : for
he was fast asleep and weary. So he died. And, Behold, as Barak pursued
Sisera, Jael came out to meet him, and said unto him, Come, and I will
shew thee the man whom thou seekest. And when he came into her tent,
behold, Sisera lay dead, and the nail was in his temples. So God subdued
on that day Jabin the king of Canaan before the children of Israel. And
the hand of the children of Israel prospered, and prevailed against Jabin
the king of Canaan, until they had destroyed Jabin king of Canaan. . . .

And the land had rest forty years. — Judges IV.; V. 31.


We learned of one enemy of Israel who had chariots of
iron. Again the people forgot the Lord and the Midianites
troubled them. The Midianites were a different kind of
enemy from the Canaanites. You remember the old home
of these people by the arm of the Red Sea, where Moses lived
when he fled from Egypt. They roamed through the country
far to the east and north. They were wandering people like
the Bedouins of to-day, living in their black tents of goats'
hair, which they moved about from place to place. They
had their flocks for which they must find pasture and water,
and their camels with which they did trading between one
country and another.

The Midianites, when they could, crossed over the Jordan
from the east when the harvests were ripe in the land of
Canaan. They crossed below the Sea of Galilee, and came
up the green valley that leads between the mountains of
Gilboa and Little Hermon, into the great rich meadow of
Esdraelon; and sometimes they would go over to the sea-
shore plain as far as Gaza. When they came they pitched


their tents where they pleased, and took all that they could
of the grain, and pastured their camels and their flocks on
the rest. They carried off the flocks of the Israelites too,
and took themselves away again across the Jordan. To this
day, if the people in the plain of Esdraelon should raise a
good crop, the Bedouins would be sure to come just as the
Midianites came in the old time and carry it away.

No wonder that the children of Israel were afraid and
hid themselves in caves when the Midianites came like a
swarm of locusts, eating up every green thing. The Amalek-
ites and the children of the East came with the Midianites,
wandering people like themselves. Where have we heard of
the Amalekites before ?

The Lord sent a leader to deliver the children of Israel;
it was Gideon. He lived in the tribe of Manasseh, in a town

^By permission of Palestine Exploration Fund.)

Jezreel and Mount Gilboa.

called Ophrah, not far from Shechem. Gideon was afraid
like all the rest of the people, and was threshing out wheat
in a wine-press to hide it from the Midianites.

The threshing-floor was usually a piece of ground made
level, or sometimes a smooth ledge of rock, just outside the
village, where the grain was brought from the field to be
threshed and winnowed. Later in the chapter we read of
"the floor." A wine-press in that country was usually a vat
cut in the rock, where the grapes were trodden out. Such a
vat would be a good place to hide the wheat.

Now find on the map the three mountains, Tabor, Little
Hermon, and Gilboa, which stand at the east side of the
great plain of Esdraelon. To the north of Mount Gilboa



between it and Little Hermon, which is the same as the hill
. Moreh, is a wide branch of the plain stretching down to the
Jordan. The town of Jezreel stood at the northwest end of
Gilboa, on the foot-hills above the plain, and gave its name
to the valley near by. There is a beautiful great spring
under the cliff on the north side of the mountain, which
makes a large pool where the cattle drink and cool them-
selves, and runs down towards the Jordan. This is prob-
ably the well of Harod, near which Gideon and his army
camped. The Lord would give them the victory ; but some
of the men must first be sent home lest they should say,
' ' Mine own hand hath saved me. ' '

All who were afraid were told to go home. Ten thousand
men were left; still too many. As the Lord commanded,

Gideon brought them to the
great spring. Some kneeled
down to the water to drink,
and some lapped as a dog
lappeth, stooping and put-
ting their hand to their
mouth. There were three
hundred who drank so, not
lingering comfortably by
the water but snatching it
as they went. These the
Lord said should go with
Gideon, while all the rest
were sent to their tents.

In the night, the Lord
scattered the great host of
Midian before Gideon and his little band. They fled by the
way they had come, down the valley to the Jordan. Beth-
shittah, "the place of the acacia trees," and the other towns
named, were probably in the plain not far from Bethshean
which you find on the map.

We must read together this grand story of the Lord's

And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord : and the
Lord delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years. And the hand
of Midian prevailed against Israel : and because of the Midianites the
children of Israel made them the dens which are in the mountains, and

A Bedouin head.


eaves, and strong holds. And so it was, when Israel had sown, that the
Midianites came up, and the Amalekites, and the children of the east, even
they came up against them; and they encamped against them, and de-
stroyed the increase of the earth, till thou come unto Gaza, and left no
sustenance for Israel, neither sheep, nor ox, nor ass. For they came up
with their cattle and their tents, and they came as grasshoppers for multi-
tude ; for both they and their camels were without number : and they
entered into the land to destroy it. And Israel was greatly impoverished
because of the Midianites ; and the children of Israel cried unto the Lord.

And it came to pass, when the children of Israel cried unto the Lord
because of the Midianites, that the Lord sent a prophet unto the children
of Israel, which said unto them, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, I brought
you up from Egypt, and brought you forth out of the house of bondage;
and I delivered you out of the hand of the. Egyptians, and out of the hand
of all that oppressed you, and drave them out from before you, and gave
you their land; and I said unto you, I am the Lord your God; fear not
the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell : but ye have not obeyed
my voice.

And there came an angel of the Lord, and sat under an oak which was
in Opbrah, that pertained unto Joash the Abi-ezrite : and his son Gideon
threshed wheat by the winepress, to hide it from the Midianites. And the
angel of the Lord appeared unto him, and said unto him, The Lord is with
thee, thou mighty man of valour. And Gideon said unto him, my Lord,
if the Lord be with us, why then is all this befallen us 1 ? and where be all
his miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not the Lord bring us
up from Egypt? but now the
Lord hath forsaken us, and de-
livered us into the hands of
the Midianites. And the Lord

looked upon him, and said, Go l j£JKBS6&38k- ■-■'■'
in this thy might, and thou
sbalt save Israel from the hand
of the Midianites : have not I
sent thee? And he said unto
him, my Lord, wherewith
shall I save Israel? behold,
my family is poor in Manas-
seh, and I am the least in my (Copyright, 1003, by William a. Ran, Phiia.)
father's house. And the Lord Plain of Esdraelon and Little Hermon.

said unto him, Surely I will be

with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man. And he said
unto him, If now I have found grace in thy sight, then shew me a sign
that thou talkest with me. Depart not hence, I pray thee, until I come unto
thee, and bring forth my present, and set it before thee. And he said, I
will tarry until thou come again. And Gideon went in, and made ready a
kid, and unleavened cakes of an ephah of flour: the flesh he put in a
basket, and he put the broth in a pot, and brought it out unto him under
the oak, and presented it. And the angel of God said unto him, Take the
flesh and the unleavened cakes, and lay them upon this rock, and pour out



the broth. And he did so. Then the angel of the Lord put forth the end
of the staff that was in his hand, and touched the flesh and the unleavened
cakes; and there rose up fire out of the rock, and consumed the flesh and
the unleavened cakes. Then the angel of the Lord departed out of his
sight. And when Gideon perceived that he was an angel of the Lord,
Gideon said, Alas, Lord God ! for because I have seen an angel of the
Lord face to face. And the Lord said unto him, Peace be unto thee;
fear not : thou shalt not die. Then Gideon built an altar there unto the
Lord, and called it Jehovah-shalom : * this day it is yet in Ophrah of
the Abi-ezrites. . . .

Then all the Midianites and the Amalekites and the children of the
east were gathered together, and went over, and pitched in the valley of

Jezreel. But the Spirit of the
Lord came upon Gideon, and he
blew a trumpet; and Abi-ezer
was gathered after him. And
he sent messengers throughout
all Manasseh; who also was
gathered after him : and he
sent messengers unto Asher,
and unto Zebulun, and unto
Naphtali; and they came up
to meet them. And Gideon
said unto God, If thou wilt
save Israel by mine hand, as
thou hast said, behold, I will
put a fleece of wool in the
floor; and if the dew be on
the fleece only, and it be dry
upon all the earth besides, then
shall I know that thou wilt save
Israel by mine hand, as thou
hast said. And it was so : for
he rose up early on the morrow, and thrust the fleece together, and wringed
the dew out of the fleece, a bowl full of water. And Gideon said unto
God, Let not thine anger be hot against me, and I will speak but this once :
let me prove, I pray thee, but this once with the fleece; let it now be dry
only upon the fleece, and upon all the ground let there be dew. And God
did so that night : for it was dry upon the fleece only, and there was dew
on all the ground.

Then Jerubbaal, who is Gideon, and all the people that were with him,
rose up early, and pitched beside the well of Harod: so that the host of
the Midianites were on the north side of them, by the hill of Moreh, in
the valley.

And the Lord said unto Gideon, The people that are with thee are too
many for me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel vaunt
themselves against me, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me. Now there-

(Copyright, 1903, by William H. Rau, Phila. )
Gideon's spring, under Mount Gilboa.

* Jehovah send peace.



fore go to, proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, Whosoever is fearful
and afraid, let him return and depart early from mount Gilead.* And
there returned of the people twenty and two thousand; and there remained
ten thousand.

And the Lord said unto Gideon, The people are yet too many; bring
them down unto the water, and I will try them for thee there : and it shall
be, that of whom I say unto thee, This shall go with thee, the same shall
go with thee; and of whomsoever I say unto thee, This shall not go with
thee, the same shall not go. So he brought down the people unto the water:
and the Lord said unto Gideon, Every one that lappeth of the water with
his tongue, as a dog lappeth, him shalt thou set by himself; likewise every
one that boweth down upon his knees to drink. And the number of them
that lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, were three hundred men :
but all the rest of the people bowed down upon their knees to drink water.
And the Lord said unto Gideon, By the three hundred men that lapped will
I save you, and deliver the Midianites into thine hand : and let all the
other people go every man unto his place. So the people took victuals in
their hand, and their trumpets : and he sent all the rest of Israel every
man unto his tent, and retained those three hundred men : and the host
of Midian was beneath him in the valley.

And it came to pass the same night, that the Lord said unto him, Arise,
get thee down unto the host; for I have delivered it into thine hand. But
if thou fear to go down, go
thou with Phurah thy servant
down to the host : and thou
shalt hear what they say; and
afterward shall thine hands be
strengthened to go down unto
the host. Then went he down
with Phurah his servant unto
the outside of the armed men
that were in the host. And the
Midianites and the Amalekites
and all the children of the
east lay along in the valley
like grasshoppers for multi-
tude; and their camels were
without number, as the sand
by the sea side for multitude.
And when Gideon was come,
behold, there was a man that told a dream unto his fellow, and said, Be-
hold, I dreamed a dream, and, lo, a cake of barley bread t tumbled into
the host of Midian, and came unto a tent, and smote it that it fell, and
overturned it, that the tent lay along. And his fellow answered and said,
This is nothing else save the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man
of Israel : for into his hand hath God delivered Midian, and all the host.

(Copyright, 1903, by William H. Rau, Phila.)

The stream from Gideon's spring.

* Probably a name for a part of Mount Gilboa.

t We think of a thin round cake overturning the tent as it rolled alono-.



And it was so, Avhen Gideon heard the telling of the dream, and the
interpretation thereof, that he worshipped, and returned into the host of
Israel, and said, Arise ; for the Lord hath delivered into your hand the host
of Midian. And he divided the three hundred men into three companies,
and he put a trumpet in every man's hand, with empty pitchers, and lamps
within the pitchers. And he said unto them, Look on me, and do likewise :
and, behold, when I come to the outside of the camp, it shall be that, as I
do, so shall ye do. "When I blow with a trumpet, I and all that are with
me, then blow ye the trumpets also on every side of all the camp, and say,
. The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon.

So Gideon, and the hundred men that were with him, came unto the
outside of the camp in the beginning of the middle watch; and they had
but newly set the watch : and they blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers

that were in their hands. And
the three companies blew the
trumpets, and brake the pitch-
ers, and held the lamps in their
left hands, and the trumpets in
their right hands to blow withal :
and they cried, The sword of the
Lord, and of Gideon. And they
stood every man in his place
round about the camp : and all
the host ran, and cried, and fled.
And the three hundred blew the

(By permission of Palestine Exploration Fund.) trumpets, and the LORD Set

Bethshean : hill on which the citadel stood. every man's sword against his

fellow, even throughout all the
host: and the host fled to Beth-sbittah in Zererath, and to the border of
Abel-meholah, unto Tabbath. And the men of Israel gathered themselves
together out of Naphtali, and out of Asher, and out of all Manasseb, and
pursued after the Midianites. And Gideon sent messengers throughout
all mount Ephraim, saying, Come down against the Midianites, and take
before them the waters unto Beth-barah and Jordan. Then all the men
of Ephraim gathered themselves together, and took the waters unto Beth-
barah and Jordan. And they took two princes of the Midianites, Oreb
and Zeeb; and they slew Oreb upon the rock Oreb, and Zeeb they slew
at the winepress of Zeeb, and pursued Midian, and brought the heads of
Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon on the other side Jordan. — Judges VI. 1-24, 33-
40; VII.


The Philistines lived along the sea-coast of Canaan, in
the broad meadows between the Mediterranean Sea and the
hills which make the body of the land. The northern part


of this country was the plain of Sharon. The meadows were
great grain fields, and where a hill-side was not planted
it was bright with flowers. There were many towns, and
five chief cities. One of these cities was Ashkelon, by the
sea-shore, and another was Gaza, still further south. The
Philistines worshipped idols ; one of them was Dagon, which
had the head and hands of a man and the body of a fish.

In the border country where the meadows meet the high-
land there are beautiful sunny valleys reaching in among the
hills, and fine views from the hill-tops out over the plain.
One of the loveliest of these valleys is that ,of Bethshemesh,
"the house of the sun," nearly west from Jerusalem. We
shall learn about Bethshemesh by and by, but the place that
interests us now is a little town high on a hill-top on the

(By permission of Palestine Exploration Fund.)
Looking up the valley of Bethshemesh ; Zorah is on the white-topped hill near the

left of picture.

north side of this valley. It was called Zorah in the old
days, and was Samson's home. It was in the lot given to
the tribe of Dan.

The lot of Dan and also the lot of Judah reached to the
sea, but the Philistines were strong and warlike people and
the children of Israel never took their country from them.
At the time of our story Israel had disobeyed the Lord, and
the Philistines oppressed them for forty years.

In those troubled days, Manoah and his wife lived in the
little town of Zorah, on its high hill overlooking the sunny


valley and the Philistine plain. An angel came to tell them
that Samson should be born. The angel said that he should
be a Nazarite. The name means "set apart" for the Lord,
and there were strict rules for the Nazarites to keep. (Numb,
vi.) Some were Nazarites only for a certain time; others,
like Samson, for all their life. Among other things, during
the time of his vow, a Nazarite must not drink wine nor eat
grapes, and his hair must not be cut. Samson was born and
lived in Zorah in the tribe of Dan, on the edge of the Philis-
tine country.

We shall read about his marriage to a Philistine woman
of Timnath. The ruins of the town are now called Tibneh,
among the hills a little southwest of Zorah. It was the
custom in that land for the parents to arrange the marriage.
So Samson asked his father and mother to get the bride for
him, and it was as they went with him to arrange the mar-
riage that we learn first of the great strength that the Lord
gave to Samson. He used his strength against the Philistines
many times, and they were very much afraid of him.

We shall read too how Samson's enemies tried to find
out the secret of his great strength. At last they succeeded
by the help of Delilah, who lived in the valley of Sorek, the
valley which leads out from Zorah into the Philistine plain.
But I have told enough so that we shall understand the story
as we read it.

And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the Lord; and

Online LibraryWilliam L. (William Loring) WorcesterOn holy ground : Bible stories with pictures of Bible lands → online text (page 14 of 42)