William L. (William Loring) Worcester.

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

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near before the Lord : for he hath heard your murmurings. And it came
to pass, as Aaron spake unto the whole congregation of the children of
Israel, that they looked toward the wilderness, and, behold, the glory of the
Lord appeared in the cloud. And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, I
have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel : speak unto them,
saying, At even ye shall eat flesh, and in the morning ye shall be filled with
bread ; and ye shall know that I am the Lord your God. And it came to
pass, that at even the quails came up, and covered the camp : and in the
morning the dew lay round about the host. And when the dew that lay
was gone up, behold, upon the face of the wilderness there lay a small

The Written Valley, coming near to Bephidim. So called from many inscriptions

on the rocks.

round thing, as small as the hoar frost on the ground. And when the
children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, It is manna: * for they
wist not what it was. And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which
the Lord hath given you to eat. This is the thing which the Lord hath
commanded, Gather of it every man according to his eating, an omer for
every man, according to the number of your persons; take ye every man
for them which are in his tents. And the children of Israel did so, and
gathered, some more, some less. And when they did mete it with an omer,
he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had
no lack; they gathered every man according to his eating. And Moses
said, Let no man leave of it till the morning. Notwithstanding they heark-
ened not unto Moses; but some of them left of it until the morning, and
it bred worms, and stank : and Moses was wroth with them. And they

* One meaning of " manna" is " what V


gathered it every morning, every man according to his eating: and when
the sun waxed hot, it melted. And it came to pass, that on the sixth day
they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for one man : and all the
rulers of the congregation came and told Moses. And he said unto them,
This is that which the Lord hath said, To morrow is the rest of the holy
sabbath unto the Lord : bake that which ye will bake to day, and seethe
that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be
kept until the morning. And they laid ft up till the morning, as Moses
bade : and it did not stink ; neither was there any worm therein. And Moses
said, Eat that to day; for to day is a sabbath unto the Lord: to day ye
shall not find it in the field. Six days ye shall gather it; but on the
seventh day, which is the sabbath, in it there shall be none. And it came
to pass, that there went out some of the people on the seventh day for to
gather, and they found none. And the Lord said unto Moses, How long
refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws? See, for that the
Lord hath given you the sabbath, therefore he giveth you on the sixth -day
the bread of two days : abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out
of his place on the seventh day. So the people rested on the seventh day.
And the house of Israel called the name thereof Manna: and it was like
coriander seed, white ; and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey.
And Moses said, This is the thing which the Lord commandeth, Fill an
omer of it to be kept for your generations; that they may see the bread
wherewith I have fed you in the wilderness, when I brought you forth
from the land of Egypt. And Moses said unto Aaron, Take a pot, and put
an omer full of manna therein, and lay it up before the Lord, to be kept
for your generations. As the Lord commanded Moses, so Aaron laid it up
before the Testimony, to be kept. And the children of Israel did eat
manna forty years, until they came to a land inhabited : they did eat manna,
until they came unto the borders of the land of Canaan. Now an omer is
the tenth part of an ephah. — Exodus XV. 27; XVI.


The journey southward by the Red Sea had brought the
people to the valley which would lead them up into the heart
of the mountains. It is called now Wady Feiran, and in the
Bible Rephidim. (Wady is the Arabs' word for a valley
where the water runs during the winter rains.) The high
cliffs and peaks of the mountains are almost wholly of bare
rock, with valleys of sand and gravel winding in and out
among them. The scenery is very wild and yet not without
beauty, although it is so barren, for the rock is stained with



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

Amalekite battlefield

all sorts of colors and is often very rich in the changing

lights and shades.

If we follow up the Wady Feiran some miles from the

sea, we come to the most fertile spot in all this region. Here

is water, and many palms
and groves of other trees,
and even gardens, extend
some four miles along the
valley. The bare cliffs
rise above the green on
either side, and through
branch valleys are had
glimpses of one of the
highest and finest of all
the mountains (Mount
Serbal). This is a para-
dise to the people of the

The children of Israel

were toiling through the hot, barren valley, no doubt look-
ing forward to the refreshment further on. But there were

people living in this coun-
try, the Amalekite s, who

wandered through all the

region from Sinai to the

south of Palestine. If they

could they would keep the

Isrealites from this garden

spot among the mountains

and from the springs of

water. Then, in their

thirst, the people cried to

Moses, and the Lord gave

them water in the desert.
And now the armed

men of the desert came v*^***-*-***™-)

n t , -,-, ,-, i -i Wady Aleyat from side of Talmneh, Fei-

Out to fight With the cllll- ran ; . probab i y Moses' view as he watched

dren of Israel. There was the battle witb Amaiek.

a gravelly floor between

the cliffs." where Joshua led the soldiers out to meet the

enemy, and a little hill overlooking the valley, where Moses



stayed with the rod of God in his hand. The Lord gave
the children of Israel the victory, but the Amalekites were
their enemies for many years, even till the days of Saul
and David.

And all the congregation of the children of Israel journeyed from the
wilderness of Sin, after their journeys, according to the commandment of
the Lord, and pitched in Rephidim : and there was no water -for the people
to drink. Wherefore the people did chide with Moses, and said, Give us
water that we may drink. And Moses said unto them, Why chide ye with
me? wherefore do ye tempt the Lord? And the people thirsted there for
water; and the people murmured against Moses, and said, Wherefore is

Rephidim, Wady Feiran.

this that thou hast brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children
and our cattle with thirst? And Moses cried unto the Lord, saying, What
shall I do unto this people? they be almost ready to stone me. And the
Lord said unto Moses, Go on before the people, and take with thee of the
elders of Israel ; and thy rod, wherewith thou smotest the river, take in
thine hand, and go. Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock
in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out
of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the
elders of Israel. And he called the name of the place Massah, and Meri-
bah,* because of the chiding of the children of Israel, and because they
tempted the Lord, saying, Is the Lord among us, or not?

* " Massah" means " proving" or " tempting," and " Meribah" means
" strife."




Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim. And Moses
said unto Joshua, Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek: to
morrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in mine
hand. So Joshua did as Moses had said to him, and fought with Amalek:
and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. And it came
to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed : and when he
let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses' hands were heavy; and
they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron
and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on
the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.


Palms in Wady Feiran.

And Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.
And the Lord said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book, and
rehearse it in the ears of Joshua : for I will utterly put out the remem-
brance of Amalek from under heaven. And Moses built an altar, and called
the name of it jEHOVAH-nissi : * for he said, Because the Lord hath sworn
that the Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation. —
Exodus XVII.

* " Nissi" means " my banner."




We are in the very heart of the mountains. Here are
great granite peaks (the highest is 8551 feet) from which
there is a grand view over the mountains to the sea on either
hand, and across the water to Egypt and Arabia. The view
at sunrise or at sunset, with its soft lights and shades and
colors, is said to be wonderfully beautiful.

One rough granite mountain is called Jebel Moosa.
(Jebel means "mountain," and Moosa is "Moses.") At one

Coming near to Sinai : the cliff of Sinai, Ras Sufsafeh, in the middle of the picture.

side the mountain ends in a fine great cliff, seamed and
scarred by the weather. (Ras Sufsafeh: Ras means
"head," and Sufsafeh "willow.") We can stand on the top
of the cliff and think that here Moses came and was taught
by the Lord what the people should do. We look down into
the broad valley below, with gravel floor, where most of
the people were camped; and there are smaller valleys at
either side where some of their tents were pitched. In one
of these valleys now stands the Convent of St. Catherine,
where monks still live. It is famous for a manuscript of
the Bible (the Codex Sinaiticus) which was found in its


We must go down and stand in the sandy plain where
the people stood. Bare rocky mountains were on either side.
The stern cliff of Sinai rose up in front. Moses had been
up into the mountain and had brought the command from
the Lord that the people should prepare themselves, for on
the third day He would "come down in the sight of all the
people upon mount Sinai." Bounds should be set before
the cliff that no one might go up into the mountain, nor even
touch it with his hand. Then all the people heard the Ten
Commandments. They are the Lord's own laws of life,
which teach the ways in which every one must live to be
happy in this world and in heaven.

In the third month, when the children of Israel were gone forth out
of the land of Egypt, the same day came they into the wilderness of Sinai.
For they were departed from Rephidim, and were come to the desert of
Sinai, and had pitched in the wilderness; and there Israel camped before
the mount. And Moses went up unto God, and the Lord called unto him
out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob,
and tell the children of Israel; Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyp-
tians, and how I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself.
Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then
ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people : for all the earth
is mine : and ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation.
These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.
And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before
their faces all these words which the Lord commanded him. And all the
people answered together, and said, All that the Lord hath spoken we will
do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the Lord. And the
Lord said unto Moses, Lo, I come unto thee in a thick cloud, that the people
may hear when I speak with thee, and believe thee for ever. And Moses
told the words of the people unto the Lord. And the Lord said unto Moses,
Go unto the people, and sanctify them to day and to morrow, and let them
wash their clothes, and be ready against the third day: for the third day
the Lord will come down in the sight of all the people upon mount Sinai.
And thou shalt set bounds unto the people round about, saying, Take heed
to yourselves, that ye go not up into the mount, or touch the border of it:
whosoever toucheth the mount shall be surely put to death : there shall not
an hand touch it, but he shall surely be stoned, or shot through; whether it
be beast or man, it shall not live: when the trumpet soundeth long, they
shall come up to the mount. . . . And it came to pass on the third day in
the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud
upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all
the people that was in the camp trembled. And Moses brought forth the
people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether
part of the mount. And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because
the Lord descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the


smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly. And when the
voice of the trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Moses
spake, and God answered him by a voice. . . .

And God spake all these words, saying,

I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of
Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness
of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or
that is in the water under the earth: thou shalt not bow down thyself to
them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting
the iniquity • of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth
generation of them that hate me; and shewing mercy unto thousands of
them that love me, and keep my commandments.

Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain: for the
Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour,
and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy
God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daugh-
ter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger
that is within thy gates: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth,
the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day : wherefore the
Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon
the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.

Thou shalt not kill.

Thou shalt not commit adultery.

Thou shalt not steal.

Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy
neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor
his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's.

And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the
noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking : and when the people saw
it, they removed, and stood afar off. — Exodus XIX. 1~13, 16~19; XX. 1~18.

The Lord also wrote the Ten Commandments on two
tables or tablets of stone. As you read the story you will
learn that Moses broke the first tables which the Lord gave
to him in the mountain, because the people were so dis-
obedient : they made a golden calf to worship, such as they
had seen worshipped in Egypt. But you will learn how
other tables were made on which the Lord wrote the same
words, and these were kept.

And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing
with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written
with the finder of God.



And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the
mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto
him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses,
the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is
become of him. And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden earrings,
which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters,
and bring them unto me. And all the people brake off the golden earrings
which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron. And he received
them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made
it a molten calf : and they said, These be thy gods, Israel, which brought
thee up out of the land of Egypt. And when Aaron saw it, he built an
altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, To morrow is a
feast to the Lord. And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered
burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to
eat and to drink, and rose up to play. . . .

And Moses turned, and went down from the mount, and the two tables
of the testimony were in his hand: the tables were written on both their
sides; on the one side and on the other were they written.* And the tables
were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, graven upon

the tables. And when
Joshua heard the noise
of the people as they
shouted, he said unto
Moses, There is a noise
of war in the camp.
And he said, It is not
the voice of them that
shout for mastery,
neither is it the voice
of them that cry for
being overcome; but the
noise of them that sing-
do I hear. And it came
to pass, as soon as he
came nigh unto the camp,
that he saw the calf, and
the dancing: and Moses'
anger waxed hot, and he
cast the tables out of his
hands, and brake them be-
neath the mount. And he
took the calf which they had made, and burnt it in the fire, and ground it
to powder, and strawed it upon the water, and made the children of Israel
drink of it. . . .

And the Lord said unto Moses, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto
the first : and I will write upon these tables the words that were in the first

The cliff of Sinai, from er-Kahah, the plain of

* Perhaps the meaning is that the writing on one table faced the
writing on the other, as Moses held them one in each hand.



tables, which thou brakest. And be ready in the morning, and come up in
the morning unto mount Sinai, and present thyself there to me in the top
of the mount. And no man shall come up with thee, neither let any man
be seen throughout all the mount; neither let the flocks nor herds feed
before that mount. And he hewed two tables of stone like unto the first;
and Moses rose up early in the morning, and went up unto mount Sinai, as
the Lord had commanded him, and took in his hand the two tables of stone.
. . . And he was there with the
Lord forty days and forty nights;
he did neither eat bread, nor drink
water. And he wrote upon the
tables the words of the covenant,
the ten commandments.

And it came to pass, when
Moses came down from mount
Sinai with the two tables of tes-
timony in Moses' hand, when he
came down from the mount, that
Moses wist not that the skin of
his face shone while he talked
with him. And when Aaron and
all the children of Isreal saw
Moses, behold, the skin of his
face shone; and they were afraid
to come nigh him. And Moses
called unto them; and Aaron
and all the rulers of the con-
gregation returned unto him: and
Moses talked with them. And
afterward all the children of
Israel came nigh : and he gave
them in commandment all that
the Lord had spoken with him

in mount Sinai. And till Moses had done speaking with them, he put
a vail on his face. But when Moses went in before the Lord to speak
with him, he took the vail oft', until he came out. And he came out, and
spake unto the children of Israel that which he was commanded. And
the children of Israel saw the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses' face
shone : and Moses put the vail upon his face again, until he went in to
speak with him.— Exodus XXXI. 18; XXXII. 1~6, 15~20; XXXIV. 1~4,

Image of the goddess Hathor.
(Boulaq Museum.)


We have learned how the Lord gave the Ten Command-
ments at Mount Sinai, first by a voice and then written on
tables of stone. Now we learn what was done by the Lord's



instruction to keep the precious tables safe and holy. The
ark was made, and the tabernacle was built and the ark was
put in its inmost chamber.

All the people who were willing hearted brought gold
and silver ornaments and brass (or copper) and shittim wood
(believed to be the thorny acacia of the desert) and skins.
The women spun and wove curtains, and the most skilful
workmen took charge of the work. And Moses told them
how every part of the tabernacle should be made, for the
Lord had told him in the mount and had showed him the

On the ground the building was ten cubits wide and thirty
cubits long. (The cubit is the length from the elbow to the


(Photograph by G. L. Robinson.)

Acacia trees, near Sinai.

end of the fingers, about a foot and a half, making the build-
ing forty-five feet long and fifteen feet wide.) It was
divided into two chambers; the inner chamber, which was
called the most holy place, was square; the outer chamber,
called the holy place, was twice as long as it was wide.

The walls of the tabernacle at the back and on the two
sides were made of heavy planks of shittim wood covered
with gold. The planks stood on end and were ten cubits
high, the same as the width of the building. Each plank
had two tenons at the bottom which fitted into a silver base
which rested on the ground. Poles run through rings in
the side of the planks helped to stiffen the walls.



The coverings of the building were curtains. Remember
that the people themselves lived in tents. The innermost
covering was of "fine linen" in beautiful colors, perhaps in
stripes, and embroidered with cherubim, which we may think
of as angel forms. The most holy and the holy chambers
were separated by a veil of this same beautiful cloth, sup-
ported by four poles covered with gold. This delicate cover
was protected by a tent of coarser goats' hair cloth; over
this was a cover of rams' skins dyed red, and over all, to keep
it safe from the weather, a cover of leather, called in our
translation "badgers' skins" and believed by some to have
been the skins of seals or dolphins, from the Red Sea. y

The beautiful embroidered cover and the goats' hair tent
were made, not in one piece, but in long, narrow curtains
something like the boards
of which the walls were
made, and these curtains
were joined into two sets,
and these two into one by
loops of blue and taches
or couplings of gold and

The front of the tab-
ernacle was closed by a
special curtain of bright
colors and needlework,
hung by golden hooks
upon five pillars covered
with gold, resting in
sockets of brass.

Around the building
there was a large yard
or court enclosed by a sort of fence five cubits high, half
the height of the tabernacle walls, made of "linen" cur-
tains hung upon little posts of brass, resting in bases of
brass, but with silver hooks and caps. The whole court
was one hundred cubits long and fifty cubits wide. At the
east end, the direction in which the tabernacle faced, the
curtain of the court for a length of twenty-five cubits was
beautiful with bright colors and needlework. This was the

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

Plain of encampment, from top of cliff.



Now we must look into the tabernacle. In the most holy
place was the ark with the commandments in it, written npon
the two tables of stone. The ark was a sacred chest made
of shittim wood and covered with gold within and without.
It was two and a half cubits long and one and a half cubits
broad and high; that is, about three feet nine inches long
and two feet three inches broad and high. There were four
rings near the corners, two on the front side and two on
the back, into which were put staves of shittim wood covered
with gold, by which the ark was carried. The ark had a
crown of gold about the edge. The lid, which was called the
mercy-seat, was of solid gold, and from the two ends of it
arose two cherubim, angel forms, which faced each other

Online LibraryWilliam L. (William Loring) WorcesterOn holy ground : Bible stories with pictures of Bible lands → online text (page 9 of 42)