William L. (William Loring) Worcester.

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

. (page 2 of 42)
Online LibraryWilliam L. (William Loring) WorcesterOn holy ground : Bible stories with pictures of Bible lands → online text (page 2 of 42)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

thee every living thing that is with thee, of all flesh, both of fowl, and of
cattle, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth; that
they may breed abundantly in the earth, and be fruitful, and multiply
upon the earth. And Noah went forth, and his sons, and his wife, and
his sons' wives with him : every beast, every creeping thing, and every
fowl, and whatsoever creepeth upon the earth, after their kinds, went forth


out of the ark. And Noah builded an altar unto the Lord; and took of
every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on
the altar. And the Lord smelled a sweet savour; and the Lord said in his
heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the
imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth : neither will I again
smite any more every thing living, as I have done. While the earth remain-
eth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and
day and night shall not cease.

And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful,
and multiply, and replenish the earth. . . .

And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between
me and you, and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual genera-
tions : I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant
between me and the earth. And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud
over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud : and I will remember
my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all
flesh ; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh. And
the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember
the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh
that is upon the earth. And God said unto Noah, This is the token of the
covenant, which I have established between me and all flesh that is upon
the earth.— Genesis VI. 9~22; VII. 24; VIII.; IX. 1, 12~17 .


Abram was a man who lived a long time ago. His first
home was at Ur by the Euphrates River, not far from the
Persian Gulf, but there are only ruins now to show where
the city was. Abram had left his home and journeyed with
his father and brother and all their family and flocks of
sheep and goats and herds of cattle far up the Euphrates
River to a town which they called Haran, for a brother of
Abram who had died in Ur. The other brother Nahor and
his father died at Haran, and Abram was then the head
of the tribe.

The people of that country worshipped idols, and the
Lord called Abram to come to another land, the land of
Canaan, where he and his family could learn to obey and
worship the Lord. So Abram journeyed on with his wife
Sarai and Lot his brother Haran 's son, and a company of
men and women and children and flocks and herds. There
were camels for the journey, and when they stopped they
pitched their black goats' hair tents.


They crossed the Euphrates River at some ford and came
by the old city Damascus and down the east side of the
Jordan. They crossed the Jordan and now they were in
the land of Canaan. They spread their tents by the oak or
terebinth tree of Moreh, by the town of Shechem, near the
middle of the land, in a beautiful plain where there was
pasture for their flocks. Abram was the priest as well as
the chief of the tribe, and wherever they stayed he built an
altar to the Lord who had called him and was leading him.

They journeyed on towards the south and camped next
upon the hill between Bethel and Ai, or Hai, where you can

(Photograph by Babylonian Expedition, University of Pennsylvania ; courtesy of H. V. Hilprecht.
Copyright, 1903, by A. J. Holman & Co.)

Daghara canal, near Babylon.

look westward to the sea and eastward across the Jordan.
From here they still journeyed south, and, because there was
a famine in the land, they went down into Egypt. Egypt was
a great rich country, and the river Nile watered its farms
and gardens when other countries were dry for lack of rain.
You have seen pictures of the great pyramids in Egypt.
They were there when Abram came and were already very
old. We shall learn more about Egypt and see more pictures
of it by and by.

Then Abram and Lot came back from Egypt to the land
of Canaan. They came up through the great sunny pastures
that were called "the South Country" to the high hills of

p*v^ *' w ll ■ *

'Wl ''•>*'/



Bethel. Abram and Lot both had large flocks and herds.

So they separated, and Lot lived in the rich meadows by the

Jordan where the

cities Sodom and Go-

morrali and Zoar

were, and Abram

made his home by

the oaks of Mamre

or H e b r o n, which

was an old city high

up among the hills.

There is an old tree

near Hebron which is

still called " Abram 's

Oak," and perhaps

it may be descended

from trees that were

there in those days.

Listen while we read

the story.

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

Bedouin tents in the plain of Esdraelon.

Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and
from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew

thee : and I will make of thee
a great nation, and I will bless
thee, and make thy name
great; and thou shalt be
a blessing: and I will bless
them that bless thee, and curse
him that curseth thee : and in
Igafc^ thee shall all families of the

earth be blessed. So Abram
departed, as the Lord had
spoken unto him ; and Lot
went with him : and Abram
was seventy and five years
old when he departed out of
Haran. And Abram took
Sarai his Avife, and Lot his
brother's son, and all their
substance that they had
gathered, and the souls thai
they had gotten in Haran ; and
they went forth to go into the
land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came. And Abram
passed through the land unto the place of Sicheni, unto the plain of

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

Plain of Sheehem (Maknah) and Mount Ebal,

from Jacob's well ; Joseph's tomb in centre

of picture.


Moreh.* And the Canaanite t was then in the land. And the Lord ap-
peared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and
there builded he an altar unto the Lord, who appeared unto him. And
he removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of Beth-el, and
pitched his tent, having Beth-el on the west, and Hai on the east: and
there he builded an altar unto the Lord, and called upon the name of the
Lord. And Abram journeyed, going on still toward the south.

And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt
to sojourn there; for the famine was grievous in the land. . . .

And Abram went up out of Egypt, he, and his wife, and all that he
had, and Lot with him, into the south. And Abram was very rich in cattle,
in silver, and in gold. And he went on his journeys from the south even

to Beth-el, unto the place
where his tent had been at
the beginning, between Beth-
el and Hai; unto the place
of the altar, which he had
made there at the first : and
there Abram called on the
name of the Lord. And
Lot also, which went with
Abram, had flocks, and
herds, and tents. And the
land was not able to bear
(Copyright, 1903, by Wm. H. Rau. Phila.) them, that they might dwell

Shechem, from the west. together : for their substance

was great, so that they could
not dwell together. And there was a strife between the herdmen of
Abram's cattle and the herdmen of Lot's cattle : and the Canaanite and the
Perizzite t dwelled then in the land. And Abram said unto Lot, Let there
be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen
and thy herdmen; for we be brethren. Is not tke wkole land before
thee ? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me : if thou wilt take the left
hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand,
then I will go to the left. And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all
the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the
Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the Lord,
like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar. Then Lot chose him
all the plain of Jordan ; and Lot journeyed east : and they separated
themselves the one from the other. Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan,
and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom.
But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the Lord exceed-
ingly. And the Lord said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from

* The Revised Version reads " unto the place of Shechem, unto the oak
of Moreh."

t The Canaanites or " lowlanders" were native people who lived in the
low country by the sea and by the Jordan.

t The Perizzites were the native villagers of the middle country.



him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art
northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: for all the land
which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever. And I
will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number


the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered. Arise, walk
through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will
give it unto thee. Then Abram removed his tent, and came and dwelt
in the plain * of Mamre, which is in Hebron, and built there an altar unto
the Lord.— Genesis XII. 1-10; XIII.


Before reading about Abram 's first battle, let us look at
the map. Here is the land of Canaan, and here is the coun-
try beyond the river Euphrates, where Abram lived before
he was called to the Holy Land. There were four kings in
this eastern country, and Chedorlaomer was the chief. His
rule reached from Elam, east of the Tigris, to the Medi-
terranean Sea. Ellasar was probably near to Elam ; Shinar
was the district afterwards called Babylon; and "nations"

By the oaks of Mamre."



mean probably the tribes of northern Mesopotamia, — this
country between the two rivers.

Cities in the west, which had served the king of Elam
for twelve years, rebelled and refused to pay their tribute.
After two years the king of Elam came with others from

the east. He must move
as Abram did, northward
along the rivers, to go
around the desert. Near
Charchemish he would
cross the Euphrates, and
march southward by Ha-
math and Damascus, and
down the eastern side of
the Jordan.

Several tribes that
lived east of the Jordan
and the Dead Sea tried
to stop him, but the army moved on. Now they came into
the mountain gorge which leads from the Dead Sea south-
ward. By the side of this gorge is Mount Seir, where

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

Mountains of Edom



Petra, in Mount Seir : showing ancient caves and
temples of Boman time.

people lived in caves in the rocks. They are called
Horites, which means " cave-dwellers." Afterwards the
strongholds of the people of Edom were in these mountains,



and still later the beautiful buildings of Petra, the ''rock
city, ' ' were cut out in the cliffs. The Horites fought against
the kings and were overcome.

Then the kings turned westward and northward, con-
quering other tribes, and came to Engedi, the "spring of
the kid," at the middle of the west shore of the Dead Sea.
Here they overcame the Amorites, the mountain people, at
a place called Hazezon-tamar, ' ' groves of palms. ' '

Next, Chedorlaomer was met, probably in the plain at
the head of the Dead Sea, by the kings of five cities, among
them the king of Sodom with Lot. The "slime-pits" were
holes where there were springs of bitumen, like the asphalt
used in paving streets. There are such springs now under
the Dead Sea, which throw up lumps of bitumen which float
on the water. The kings of the plain were overcome in the
fight, and the victors started on their journey home. They
marched northward and
came to Laish, after-
wards called Dan, under
Mount Hermon.

Word was brought to
Abram, in his home by
the oaks in Hebron, of
what the eastern kings
had done, and how Lot
was carried away. He
armed his servants : and
we have some idea of
the size of his tribe
when we read of three
hundred and eighteen
men of his own house-
hold. He hurried northward with his little army and other
men of Hebron, and overtook the kings camping under
Mount Hermon. He scattered their army and chased them
to Hobah, "on the left hand" — that is, on the north — of
Damascus. So he saved Lot and all that the kings were
carrying away, and brought them back to their home,

The king of Sodom came out to meet Abram in "the
king's dale," which is probably the Kedron valley under
Jerusalem. Here also Melchizedek, the "king of justice."


(Published by 0. H. Graves, Phila.)

Sheik Salim and Petra Bedouins.



met him. He was king of Salem, no doubt the same town
which was afterwards called Jerusalem. Melchizedek was
"priest of the most high God." Abram gave him tithes
(tenths) of what he had taken, which was a grateful con-
fession that he had not gained the victory in his own
strength, but that the Lord had given him success. So he
came again to his home.

Let us follow the march of the kings on the map, while
we read the chapter.

And it came to pass in the days of Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch
king of Ellasar, Ckedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of nations;
that these made war with Bera king of Sodom, and with Birsha king of
Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, and Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and
the king of Bela, which is Zoar. All these were joined together in the
vale of Siddim, which is the salt sea. Twelve years they served Cked-
orlaomer, and in the thirteenth year they rebelled. And in the fourteenth
year came Chedorlaomer, and the kings that were with him, and smote
the Rephaims in Ashteroth Karnaim, and the Zuzims in Ham, and the
Emims in Shaveh Kiriathaim, and the Horites in their mount Seir, unto

El-paran, which is by the wil-
derness. And they returned,
and came to En-mishpat,
which is Kadesh, and smote
all the country of the Ama-
lekites, and also the Amorites,
that dwelt in Hazezon-tamar.
And there went out the king
of Sodom, and the king of
Gomorrah, and the king of
Admah, and the king of
Zeboiim, and the king of
Bela, (the same is Zoar;)
and they joined battle with
them in the vale of Siddim ;
with Chedorlaomer the king
of Elam, and with Tidal
king of nations, and Am-
raphel king of Shinar, and
Arioch king of Ellasar; four kings with five. And the vale of Siddim
was full of slimepits; and the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, and
fell there; and they that remained fled to the mountain. And they took
all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their victuals, and went
their way. And they took Lot, Abram's brother's son, who dwelt in Sodom,
and his goods, and departed. And there came one that had escaped, and
told Abram the Hebrew ; for he dwelt in the plain of Mamre * the Amorite,

(Photograph by Putnam Cady.)

West shore of the Dead Sea, near Erip-edi.

By the oaks of Mamre."



brother of Eshcol, and brother of Aner: and these were confederate with
Abram. And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he
armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and
eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan. And he divided himself against
them, he and his servants, by night, and smote them, and pursued them
unto Hobah, which is on the left hand of Damascus. And he brought back
all the goods, and also brought again his brother Lot, and his goods, and
the women also, and the people. And the king of Sodom went out to meet

him, after his return from : , ,... ussiHr

the slaughter of Chedorlaomer
and of the kings that were
with him, at the valley of
Shaveh, which is the king's
dale. And Melchizedek king
of Salem brought forth bread
and wine : and he was the
priest of the most high God.
And he blessed him, and said,
Blessed be Abram of the most
high God, possessor of heaven
and earth : and blessed be the
most high God, which hath de-
livered thine enemies into thy
hand. And he gave him tithes
of all. And the king of Sodom
said unto Abram, Give me the
persons, and take the goods to
thyself. And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand
unto the Lord, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth, that
I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not
take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram
rich : save only that which the young men have eaten, and the portion of
the men which went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take
their portion. — Genesis XIV.

(Copyright, 1903, by William H. Rau, Phila.)
The King's dale: looking up the Kodron
to the temple hill.


The Lord had changed Abram 's name to Abraham and
Sarai's name to Sarah. The "h" from the Lord's own name
Jehovah was added to their names as a sign that they were
the Lord's children.

The tents were still at Hebron. They were probably
black tents of goats' hair, such as are pitched in the pastures
of the South Country to-day. They are irregular in shape
and sometimes very large and spreading. Abraham was



chief of the tribe, and he set his tent near the path by which
travellers would pass, as is still the custom. He was sitting
at the door of the tent in the heat of the day.

The Arabs are very polite when strangers come to their
tents, and give them the best they have. Abraham seems
also to have known from the first that the three men whom
he saw when he looked up were angels of the Lord.

The first act of kindness was to bring water and pour
over the feet of a traveller who had been wearing sandals

on the hot, dusty paths.
Meal very likely must be
ground in the little hand-
mill. The lower stone of
the mill, a foot and a half
or so across, lies on the
ground; a pin rising from
its centre passes loosely
through a hole in the mid-
dle of the upper stone, and
a pin near the edge of the
upper stone gives a hold
for the hands of two women
who turn it. The sound of
these little mills is heard in every Eastern village and camp.
They were probably thin, round cakes which Sarah made,
baked on the hot stones. The "butter" was perhaps curds.

Abraham stood while his visitors were eating. And as
they ate they talked with him and promised that Sarah
should have a son.

The heavenly visitors rose up when they had eaten, to
go towards Sodom, in the plain of Jordan, near the northern
end of the Dead Sea. From the hills of Hebron there is a
wide view across the barren country towards the plain and
the cities which Lot had chosen for his home. The plain
was rich and beautiful as the garden of the Lord; but the
people were very wicked and the cities were to be destroyed.
Perhaps two angels went on their way and one still stood
with Abraham to speak the Lord's message to him. Abra-
ham thought of Lot and prayed earnestly, that if there were
fifty good people — forty-five, forty, thirty, twenty, or even
ten — in the city, it might be spared. But I must not tell you
too much of the story before we read it.

(Copyright. 1903, by William ii. Itau, Phila.)
Women gi'inding corn.



And the Lord appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre : * and he
sat in the tent door in the heat of the day; and he lift up his eyes and
looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran
to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground,
and said, My Lord, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away,
I pray thee, from thy servant : let a little water, I pray you, be fetcht,
and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree : and I will fetch a
morsel of bread, and comfort ye your hearts ; after that ye shall pass on :
for therefore are ye come to your servant. And they said, So do, as thou
hast said. And Abraham hastened into the tent unto Sarah, and said,
Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes
upon the hearth. And Abraham ran unto the herd, and fetched a calf
tender and good, and gave it unto a young man ; and he hasted to dress it.
And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it
before them ; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat. And
they said unto him, Where is Sarah thy wife? And he said, Behold, in
the tent. And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the
time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard
it in the tent door, which was behind him. . . .

And the men rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom: and
Abraham went with them to bring them on the way. And the Lord said,
Shall I hide from Abra-
ham that thing which I
do ; seeing that Abraham
shall surely become a
great and mighty nation,
and all the nations of
the earth shall be blessed
in him? For I know
him, that he will com-
mand his children and
his household after him,
and they shall keep the
way of the Lord, to do
justice and judgment ;
that the Lord may bring
upon Abraham that which
he hath spoken of him.
And the Lord said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great,
and because their sin is very grievous, I will go down now, and see
whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is
come unto me; and if not, I will know. And the men turned their
faces from thence, and went toward Sodom : but Abraham stood yet
before the Lord. And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also de-
stroy the righteous with the wicked? Peradventure there be fifty righteous
within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for
the fifty righteous that are therein? That be far from thee to do after

Abraham's oak, Hebron.

By the oaks of Mamre."


this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked; and that the righteous
should be as the wicked, that be far from thee : Shall not the Judge of all
the earth do right 1 ? And the Lord said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous
within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes. And Abra-
ham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto
the Lord, which am but dust and ashes : Peradventure there shall lack five
of the fifty righteous : wilt thou destroy all the city for lack of five ? And
he said, If I find there forty and five, I will not destroy it. And he spake
unto him yet again, and said, Peradventure there shall be forty found there.
And he said, I will not do it for forty's sake. And he said unto him, Oh
let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak : Peradventure there shall thirty
be found there. And he said, I will not do it, if I find thirty there. And
he said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord : Per-
adventure there shall be twenty found there. And he said, I will not

Descent to Jericho : looking out upon the plain.

destroy it for twenty's sake. And he said, Oh let not the Lord be angry,
and I will speak yet but this once : Peradventure ten shall be found there.
And he said, I will not destroy it for ten's sake. And the Lord went his
way, as soon as he had left communing with Abraham : and Abraham
returned unto his place. . . .

And Abraham gat up early in the morning to the place where he stood
before the Lord : and he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward
all the land of the plain, and beheld, and, lo, the smoke of the country
went up as the smoke of a furnace. And it came to pass, when God de-
stroyed the cities of the plain, that God remembered Abraham, and sent
Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when he overthrew the cities in the
which Lot dwelt.— Genesis XVIII. 1-10; 16S3; XIX. 27-29.


Abeaham had left the grove at Hebron and was living
in the South Country. It is a country of broad, rolling



pastures where you may ride all day and see hardly a tree.
You may pass now and then a group of tents of Bedouins,
as the wandering Arabs are called, and may see their camels

Beersheba was in this country, on a sunny slope looking
across a broad valley towards the south. There are stones
on the hill-side laid in _ _

rows, as if houses had
once stood there. Seven

Online LibraryWilliam L. (William Loring) WorcesterOn holy ground : Bible stories with pictures of Bible lands → online text (page 2 of 42)