William L. (William Loring) Worcester.

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

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be awaked. And they cried
aloud, and cut themselves after their manner with knives and lancets, till
the blood gushed out upon them. And it came to pass, when midday
was past, and they prophesied until the time of the offering of the
evening sacrifice, that there was neither voice, nor any to answer, nor
any that regarded. And Elijah said unto all the people, Come near unto
me. And all the people came near unto him. And he repaired the altar
of the Lord that was broken down. And Elijah took twelve stones,
according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, unto whom
the word of the Lord came, saying, Israel shall be thy name : and with
the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord : and he made a




(Copyright, 1903, by C. H. Graves, Phila.)
Place of Elijah's sacrifice, Mount Carmel.



ELIJAH'S SACRIFICE.



243



trench about the altar, as great as would contain two measures of seed.

And he put the wood in order, and cut the bullock in pieces, and laid him

on the wood, and said, Fill four barrels with water, and pour it on the

burnt sacrifice, and on the wood. And he said, Do it the second time. And

they did it the second time. And he said, Do it the third time. And they

did it the third time. And the water ran round about the altar; and he

filled the trench also with water. And it came to pass at the time of the

offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and

said, Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day

that thou art God in Israel,

and that I am thy servant,

and that I have done all

these things at thy word.

Hear me, Lord, hear me,

that this people may know

that thou art the Lord God,

and that thou hast turned

their heart back again. Then

the fire of the Lord fell, and

consumed the burnt sacrifice,

and the wood, and the stones,

and the dust, and licked up

the water that was in the

trench. And when all the

people saw it, they fell on

their faces : and they said,

The Lord, he is the God;

the Lord, he is the God.

And Elijah said unto them,

Take the prophets of Baal;

let not one of them escape.

And they took them: and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon,

and slew them there. And Elijah said unto Ahab, Get thee up, eat and

drink ; for there is a sound of abundance of rain. So Ahab went up to eat

and to drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; and he cast

bimself down upon the earth, and put his face between his knees, and said

to his servant, Go up now, look toAvard the sea. And he went up, and

looked, and said, There is nothing. And he said, Go again seven times.

And it came to pass at the seventh time, that he said, Behold, there ariseth

a little cloud out of the sea, like a man's hand. And he said, Go up, say

unto Ahab, Prepare thy chariot, and get thee down, that the rain stop thee

not. And it came to pass in the mean while, that the heaven was black with

clouds and wind, and there was a great rain. And Ahab rode, and went to

Jezreel. And the hand of the Lord was on Elijah; and he girded up his

loins, and ran before Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel. — 1 Kings XVIII.




opyright; 1903, by William H. Rau, Phila.)
The Kishon and Mount Carmel.



244



ON HOLY GROUND.



ELIJAH AT HOREB.



The people had seen the sacrifice on Mount Carmel, and
had said, "The Lord, he is the God." But this sign of the
Lord's power does not seem to have had any lasting effect
upon them. When Jezebel heard what Elijah had done, she
was the more angry and tried again to kill him. So Elijah
went for his life to Beersheba, in the south pastures of the

kingdom of Judah, and
f r o m there he went
alone a day's journey
into the wilderness.
The "juniper tree"
under which Elijah
rested was not a large
tree, but a shrub (a
kind of broom, genista,
with white pea-like
flowers) which grows in
countries about the
Mediterranean, and
even in the deserts.
Elijah was discouraged.
It seemed to him that all
his work was of no use,
and he prayed that he might die. But the Lord who had
cared for him and fed him at the Cherith and at Zarephath
cared for him still, as you will see when we read the story.

We have heard of Horeb. It is the general name for the
group of rough mountains among which Mount Sinai stands.
Here Moses came with the flock, and the Lord appeared to
him in the burning bush. Here the commandments were
spoken to all the people by the Lord. Going to Horeb was
like going where the Lord was, for help. And the Lord came
near to Elijah there, and gave him courage.

But I must not tell too much of what we are going to read.

Elijah came from Horeb with new strength, and went, as

the Lord sent him, back through the wilderness towards

Damascus. There was a place in the Jordan valley, a little

more than half way from the Dead Sea to the Sea of Galilee,




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

An oasis in the desert.



ELIJAH AT HOREB.



245



called Abel-ineholah ; it was the home of Elisha. He was
ploughing in the field. Twelve ploughs, each drawn by a
yoke of oxen, were making as many furrows across the field.
His servants were driving those that went before him, and
Elisha himself was with the twelfth. We think of rude
ploughs, such as the people in that country use to-day,
which only scratch the ground. Elijah left the path and
crossed over to Elisha and cast his mantle upon him. We
hear several times of Elijah's mantle. It was probably a
rough, hairy mantle such as prophets wore ; perhaps it was
of camel's hair, like John the Baptist's.

Elisha understood the sign to mean that he was to be
Elijah's servant, and to become prophet in his place. He
asked first to go and kiss his father and mother good-by.
Elijah's answer shows displeasure, and it means that when
the Lord says something is right, we ought not to linger or
delay for anything. ' l Gro back again : for what have I to do
with thee 1 " as if he said, ' ' Stay in your old home if you are
not ready to leave everything for the Lord."

Elisha made a farewell feast, which was perhaps also a
sacrifice. It would
seem to have been
made hastily in the
field. And he went
after Elijah and be-
came his servant.

Now let us read.




(Copyright, 1003, by William H. Ran, Phila.)

Yoke of cattle ploughing.



And Ahab told Jeze-
bel all that Elijah had
done, and withal how he
had slain all the prophets
with the SAVord. Then
Jezebel sent a messenger
unto Elijah, saying, So
let the gods do to me,
and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by to
morrow about this time. And when he saw that, he arose, and went for
his life, and came to Beer-sheba, which belongeth to Judah, and left his
servant there. But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness,
and came and sat down under a juniper tree : and he requested for himself
that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, Lord, take away my
life; for I am not better than my fathers. And as he lay and slept under
a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise



246



ON HOLY GROUND.



and eat. And he looked, and, behold, there was a cake baken on the coals,
and a cruse of water at his head. And he did eat and drink, and laid him
down again. And the angel of the Lord came again the second time, and
touched him, and said, Arise and eat; because the journey is too great
for thee. And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength
of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God.
And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word
of the Lord came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here,
Elijah? And he said, I have been very jealous for the Lord God of hosts:

for the children of Israel have for-
saken thy covenant, thrown down
thine altars, and slain thy prophets
with the sword; and I, even I only,
am left; and they seek my life, to
take it away. And he said, Go
forth, and stand upon the mount
before the Lord. And, behold, the
Lord passed by, and a great and
strong wind rent the mountains,
and brake in pieces the rocks be-
fore the Lord; but the Lord was
not in the wind : and after the
wind an earthquake; but the Lord
was not in the earthquake : and
after the earthquake a fire; but
the Lord was not in the fire : and
after the fire a still small voice.
And it was so, when Elijah heard
it, that he wrapped his face in his
mantle, and went out, and stood in
the entering in of the cave. And,
behold, there came a voice unto him,
and said, What doest thou here, Eli-
jah? And he said, I have been very
jealous for the Lord God of hosts:
because the children of Israel have
forsaken thy covenant, thrown down
thine altars, and slain thy prophets
with the sword; and I, even I only,
am left; and they seek my life, to
take it away. And the Lord said
unto him, Go, return on thy way
to the wilderness of Damascus: and when thou comest, anoint Hazael to
be king over Syria: and Jehu the son of Nimshi shalt thou anoint to
be king over Israel: and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah
shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy room. And it shall come to
pass, that him that escapeth the sword of Hazael shall Jehu slay: and
him that escapeth from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha slay. Yet I have
left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed




(By permission of Palestine Exploration Fund.)

Moabite stone, found at Dibon, telling
of the victories of Mesha, king of
Moab, over Israel, after the death
of Ahab.



ELIJAH AND ELISHA. 247

unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him. So he departed
thence, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with
twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he with the twelfth: and Elijah passed
by him, and cast his mantle upon him. And he left the oxen, and ran
after Elijah, and said, Let me, I pray thee, kiss my father and my mother,
and then I will follow thee. And he said unto him, Go back again: for
what have I done to thee? And he returned back from him, and took a
yoke of oxen, and slew them, and boiled their flesh with the instruments
of the oxen, and gave unto the people, and they did eat. Then he arose,
and went after Elijah, and ministered unto him. — 1 Kings XIX.



ELIJAH AND ELISHA.

The time had come when the Lord would take Elijah into
heaven. Elijah knew it and Elisha knew it, as they walked
on together. They went as the Lord sent Elijah, to visit for
the last time the companies of the prophets who were living
in several places.

They went from Gilgal, probably not the town of this
name which we know best, in the Jordan valley near Jericho,
but a place in the hills of Ephraim to the north of Bethel,
the home of one of the companies of prophets. From Gilgal
Elijah went to Bethel, and the faithful Elisha with him.
Here other prophets lived. They knew, as Elisha knew, that
Elijah was about to be taken into heaven. The two passed
on from Bethel down to Jericho, the home of another com-
pany of prophets.

Fifty of the prophets stood watching as Elijah and Elisha
went together across the plain and stood by the river. It
was almost like the day when the river divided before the
ark and let the people come into the land. This time the
prophet smote the water with his mantle wrapped together,
and they passed over, to the eastern side, perhaps to the
hills of G-ilead which had been Elijah's home.

As they walked, Elisha asked that a double portion of
Elijah's spirit might rest upon him as a parting blessing.
The words no doubt referred to the " double portion" which
a father left to his eldest son, making him his successor. It
should be granted if Elisha should see his master when he
was parted from him.



248



ON HOLY GROUND.



Now we must read so much of the story, and learn what
Elisha saw.



And it came to pass, when the Lord would take up Elijah into heaven by
a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal. And Elijah said
unto Elisha, Tarry here, I pray thee; for the Lord hath sent me to Beth-el.
And Elisha said unto him, As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will
not leave thee. So they went down to Beth-el. And the sons of the
prophets that were at Beth-el came forth to Elisha, and said unto him,
Knowest thou that the Lord will take away thy master from thy head
to day? And he said, Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace. And Elijah
said unto him, Elisha, tarry here, I pray thee; for the Lord hath sent me
to Jericho. And he said, As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will
not leave thee. So they came to Jericho. And the sons of the prophets
that were at Jericho came to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that
the Lord will take away thy master from thy head to day? And he
answered, Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace. And Elijah said unto him,
Tarry, I pray thee, here; for the Lord hath sent me to Jordan. And he
said, As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. And
they two went on. And fifty men of the sons of the prophets went, and

stood to view afar off: and
they two stood by Jordan.
And Elijah took his mantle,
and wrapped it together, and
smote the waters, and they
were divided hither and
thither, so that they two
went over on dry ground.
And it came to pass, when
they were gone over, that
Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask
what I shall do for thee, be-
fore I be taken away from
thee. And Elisha said, I pray
thee, let a double portion of
thy spirit be upon me. And
he said, Thou hast asked a
hard thing : nevertheless, if
thou see me when I am taken
from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so. And
it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there
appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both
asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha
saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the
horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more : and he took hold of his
own clothes, and rent them in two pieces. He took up also the mantle of
Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood by the bank of Jordan;
and he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and smote the waters,
and said, Where is the Lord God of Elijah? And when he also had smitten




(Copyright, 1903, by C. H. Graves, Thila.)

The Jordan.



ELIJAH AND ELISHA.



249



the waters, they parted hither and thither: and Elisha went over. And
when the sons of the prophets which were to view at Jericho saw him,
they said, The spirit of Elijah doth rest on Elisha. And they came to
meet him, and bowed themselves to the ground before him. And they said
unto him, Behold now, there be with thy servants fifty strong men; let
them go, we pray thee, and seek thy master : lest peradventure the Spirit
of the Lord hath taken him up, and cast him upon some mountain, or into
some valley. And he said, Ye shall not send. And when they urged him
till he was ashamed, he said, Send. They sent therefore fifty men ; and
they sought three days, but found him not. And when they came again
to him, (for he tarried at Jericho,) he said unto them, Did I not say unto
you, Go not?— 2 Kings II. 1-18.

The Lord's power was with Elisha as it had been with
Elijah, and it was shown in many wonderful things that the
prophet did.

Where the city of Jericho stood in the Old-Testament
days there is a hill formed in part of the ruins of the city.




Looking south from old Jericho: Elisha's fountain.

As you stand on this hill a stern old cliff rises behind you,
and before you the broad plain stretches away to the Jordan
and the Dead Sea and the purple mountains on the eastern
side. The soil is good and the sunshine is hot, and wherever
there is water plants and trees grow finely. You can believe



250



ON HOLY GROUND.



that this was once "the city of palm trees," and can see why
it was called Jericho, "a fragrant place."

A fine spring which once gave water to the city and the
gardens comes from the ground just at the foot of the hill
of ruins. It is called Elisha's fountain. You will see why
when we read more of the story.



And the men of the city said unto Elisha, Behold, I pray thee, the
situation of this city is pleasant, as my lord seeth : but the water is
naught, and the ground barren. And he said, Bring me a new cruse, and

put salt therein. And they brought
it to him. And he went forth unto
the spring of the waters, and cast
the salt in there, and said, Thus
saith the Lord, I have healed these
waters; there shall not be from
thence any more death or barren
land. So the waters were healed
unto this day, according to the say-
ing of Elisha which he spake.

And he went up from thence
unto Beth-el : and as he was going
up by the way, there came forth
little children * out of the city, and
mocked him, and said unto him, Go
up, thou bald head ; go up, thou
bald head. And he turned back,
and looked on them, and cursed
them in the name of the Lord.
And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and
two children of them.t And he went from thence to mount Carmel, and
from thence he returned to Samaria. . . .

Now there cried a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the
prophets unto Elisha, saying, Thy servant my husband is dead; and thou
knowest that thy servant did fear the Lord : and the creditor is come to
take unto him my two sons to be bondmen. And Elisha said unto her,
What shall I do for thee? tell me, what hast thou in the house? And she
said, Thine handmaid hath not any thing in the house, save a pot of oil.
Then he said, Go, borrow thee vessels abroad of all thy neighbours, even
empty vessels; borrow not a few. And when thou art come in, thou shalt
shut the door upon thee and upon thy sons, and shalt pour out into all
those vessels, and thou shalt set aside that which is full. So she went




Earthen jars.



* " Young lads," Revised Version, margin.

f What happened to the boys at Bethel pictures the spiritual danger
of every one who treats the Lord's Word with contempt, and so fails to
find protection in its power.



ELIJAH AND ELISHA. 251

from him, and shut the door upon her and upon her sons, who brought
the vessels to her; and she poured out. And it came to pass, when the
vessels were full, that she said unto her son, Bring me yet a vessel. And
he said unto her, There is not a vessel more. And the oil stayed. Then
she came and told the man of God. And he said, Go, sell the oil, and pay
thy debt, and live thou and thy children of the rest. — 2 Kings II. 19~25;
IV. 1-7.

Here are two other short stories about Elisha, which
really belong a little later. One of them will remind you
of what Elisha saw when Elijah was taken up into heaven.

And the sons of the prophets said unto Elisha, Behold now, the place
where we dwell with thee is too strait for us. Let us go, we pray thee,
unto Jordan, and take thence every man a beam, and let us make us a
place there, where we may dwell. And he answered, Go ye. And one said,
Be content, I pray thee, and go with thy servants. And he answered, I
will go. So he went with them. And when they came to Jordan, they cut
down wood. But as one was felling a beam, the ax bead fell into the
water: and he cried, and said, Alas, master! for it was borrowed. And
the man of God said, Where fell it? And he shewed him the place. And
he cut down a stick, and cast it in thither; and the iron did swim. There-
fore said he, Take it up to thee. And he put out his hand, and took it.

Then the king of Syria warred against Israel, and took counsel with
his servants, saying, In such and such a place shall be my camp. And
the man of God sent unto the king of Israel, saying, Beware that thou
pass not such a place; for thither the Syrians are come down. And the
king of Israel sent to the place which the man of God told him and warned
him of, and saved himself there, not once nor twice. Therefore the heart
of the king of Syria was sore
troubled for this thing; and he
called his servants, and said
unto them, Will ye not shew
me which of us is for the
king of Israel? And one of
his servants said, None, my
lord, king : but Elisha, the
prophet that is in Israel, tell-
eth the king of Israel the
words that thou speakest in
thy bedchamber. And he said,

Go and Spy where he is, that (Copyright, 1903, by C. H. Graves, Phila.)

I may send and fetch him. Plain and hill of Dothan.

And it was told him, saying,

Behold, he is in Dothan.* Therefore sent he thither horses, and chariots,

and a great host : and they came by night, and compassed the city about.

And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth,




We heard of Dothan in the story of Joseph.



252 ON HOLY GROUND.

behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his
servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do? And he
answered, Fear not : for they that be with us are more than they that be
with them. And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his
eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man;
and he saw : and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots
of fire round about Elisha. — 2 Kings VI. 1~17.

The power and protection of heaven were with the Lord's
prophets, and the same power and protection come to us with
the Lord's Holy Word, which is our prophet, as we read it
and try to obey it.



ELISHA AND THE HOME IN SHUNEM.

Elisha journeyed about, as Elijah did, probably visiting
often the places where companies of the prophets lived.
He had a house in Samaria. He often went northward
into the plain of Esdraelon and to Mount Carmel, where
Elijah had made the sacrifice. Probably he also went from
Esdraelon by the branch of the plain which leads between
Gilboa and Little Hermon to the Jordan, and so down to
Jericho.

So he often passed the little town of Shunem, which
stands on the lower slopes of Little Hermon, looking out
from its gardens and orchards over the great plain to the
west. Here there was a woman of influence who lived with
her husband in a comfortable house with servants. She
made Elisha welcome whenever he passed on his journeys,
and they built for him a little room, cool and quiet, on the
roof of the house, and put for him there a bed and a table
and some sort of a comfortable seat and a stand for a lamp.
You know that the flat roofs of Eastern houses are often
used because they are so cool and pleasant, and chambers on
the roof are the best.

As we read the beautiful story you will see how a blessing
came to the home in Shunem, where they were so kind to
the Lord's prophet. A son was born.

The woman's saying, "I live among mine own people,"
seems to mean that she lived among friends and loved her
home, and had no need of favors from the king. But by and



THE HOME IN SHUNEM.



253



by sadness came to the home, for the boy went out to his
father to the reapers, and was taken sick, perhaps struck by
the hot sun. They carried him to his mother, but at noon
he died. Then read how the mother laid the child upon the
bed in the prophet's room, and took an ass, and a young man
to run at the side to drive it, and crossed the broad plain
some twenty miles, to Mount Carmel, to find the prophet and
get his help. No doubt the prophet was often there, and
perhaps they went to him sometimes at the new moon, or on
other feast days.

The woman's answer to her husband and to Elisha, "It
is well," or "Peace," was not meant to deceive; it was a
common greeting, and seems also to mean, "Say nothing."




(Photograph by S. E. Williams.)

Chambers on the wall.

As we read how Elisha went with the Shunammite, and
how the child was raised to life, we remember how Elijah
raised the widow's son at Zarephath, and we think of the
Lord, who years afterwards walked over these same paths
and brought a blessing to the homes where they received
Him, raising to life some who had died.

Now listen; you must not lose a word of this beautiful
story.



And it fell on a day, that Elisha passed to Shunem, where was a great
woman; and she constrained him to eat bread. And so it was, that as oft
as he passed by, he turned in thither to eat bread. And she said unto her
husband, Behold now, I perceive that this is an holy man of God, which
passeth by us continually. Let us make a little chamber, I pray thee, on



254



ON HOLY GROUND.



the wall; and let us set for him there a bed, and a table, and a stool, and
a candlestick : and it shall be, when he cometh to us, that he shall turn in
thither. And it fell on a day, that he came thither, and he turned into the



Online LibraryWilliam L. (William Loring) WorcesterOn holy ground : Bible stories with pictures of Bible lands → online text (page 22 of 42)