« FöregåendeFortsätt »
cedars of Lebanon,-and all the oaks of to wean my father's favour from me. Bashan, shall be brought low.”
| Happy with my mother, I did not ask Arrayed in all the gorgeous robes of their love, nor knew what sorrow was her ancient glory, ere yet her “time to until she died. Rejoiced to find me withweep" had come, the land of Bashan out protection, my cruel mother-in-law burst upon the gaze of two persons as and brothers, redoubled all their efforts they gained the brow of one of the hills to effect my ruin. I sought by engaging which separated her from the land of in manly sports, or by joining in excurGilead.
sions against the enemy, to keep aloof “Ha! by Moloch this is a glorious from them; but the fame I acquired in country,” said one-a tall man clad in a these pursuits aroused their evil passions dark dress which fell to his sandalled feet, anew, and, by a united effort, they preand in a corslet of rusty steel, and battered vailed upon my poor old invalid father to helmet.-"Behold those frowning moun- i deny me all share of my patrimony, and tains,” he added—“ see how they spring finally to turn me from his house ?" io the skies, and then sink down into soft “ Shame on them! Had you no friends grassy slopes losing themselves in these who might use their influence for you?” pretty green vales. Mark how the glitter- “None of sufficient authority to break ing Jabbok, like a jewelled necklace, rests the phalanx of interested persons who upon the bosom of these verdant plains ; ! surrounded my old father.” reflecting upon its shining surface, city, “Were I in your place, I would have and tower, and marble palace.”
: applied to the elders of the city that they "Yea, Haziel, it is a beauteous country,” might force your brothers to reinstate you returned his companion,-a man of lordly in your rights.” bearing; “but as a painting it stands “That, my good Haziel, is one of all before my eyes creating admiration alone; ' my sorrows and my injuries that affects my heart, untouched by its loveliness, still me most. I did apply to them, and they fondly turns to Gilead."
refused my suit. I, who so faithfully had "I hope the heart of my Jephthah is not served them, who had kept at bay the 80 wedded to his native country, that it neighbouring nations, and raised the fame sees no beauty in our favoured land. of Gilead to its present height!” What charm is there in Gilead, my lord, i “Oh, they were purchased by your that you so cherish it ? Your kindred, as brothers' gold!" you tell me, have thrust you from your “ From my infirm father, and my father's house, and you have quitted Gilead, brothers I expected nothing, but from my never to return."
country I surely had a right to look for “My poor old father still remains there, i justice. So keenly did I feel my fellowand loves me I am sure, in spite of all. citizens ingratitude, that I shook the dust Sometimes my heart reproaches me for from off my feet upon the city, and left it, leaving him in the hands of his unruly vowing never to return." sons.”
i “A brave resolve, my noble Jephthah ! "Think not of him my Jephthah, he Think no more of such false friends and hath treated you with much unkindness. turn to those, who, with open arms, are What, will he idly stand and see one son waiting to receive you. Trust yourself to robbed of his patrimony, that the others my direction, and by Baal! the citizens may riot on it, and never lift a hand to of Gilead shall rue the day they ever right you ?-You, so famed for worth and ' injured Jephthah !”. every manly grace?”
La Gently my friend. Ere I join your "He is old and powerless, Haziel. I band, I must exact that I never be ream not his lawful son. Child of a favourite quired to attack my countrymen. In any handmaid, I shared with her all his heart, excursion against the neighbouring Caneven after he married and was again a aanites or the Ammonites, who so often father. His wife ever looked upon my harry our borders, I will take a part, bnt mother and myself, with envious eyes. against my native city, although so greatly Her dislike was infused into the bosoms injured by it, I will never lift my arm. If of her sons, and they, by every art, sought ye accept me as your comrade on these terms, I am yours.” “We are too proud from that destruction you could not to number the celebrated Jephthah among | avert!' us, to refuse anything be may demand. Forced to obey, these proud old men, Your wishes shall be obeyed. Follow me, who as rulers of the city had seen all at good sir; our friends expect us in the their feet,—now reluctantly prepared to cave below this hill.”
seek out him they had so deeply injured, The new friends descended the hill, and and pray him to forgive them and return. advanced toward a large cave whose yawn-1 “Noble Jephthah !" said their spokesman, ing mouth opened into the dark bosom of as the deputation was presented to the exile, the mountain. As they entered, deafening | " you see before you the elders of your shouts of “Welcome Haziel! welcome i city, who, finding their messengers unnoble Jephthah!” awoke the echoes of the heeded, have come this weary journey to vault.
seek your aid against the Ammonites, who The Ammonites had long meditated an press us sore." inroad into Gilead, and now that Jephthah, "Truly, for men of age, your minds are the only man they feared, was expelled the very changeful,” said Jephthah, bitterly. city, they commenced an attack upon its “ How short a time is it since ye thrust borders. Many divisions of the Gilead- | me from your doors, and now ye come thus ites were sent against therp, but they were far to seek me! Once it was my pleasure repelled, and the enemy entered the land and my highest joy to do your bidding and directed their march towards the city. but ye repelled me--and now ye come in The brothers of Jephthah had all been your distress to pray me to return ?" defeated, and had withdrawn themselves | “O noble Jephthah, pity that distress into the city where they were the scorn of which brings us here! -Reject us not. all. The defeated soldiers, now encamped Our hosts call upon you to take their head, without the walls, were disheartened with as their chosen captain. The name of their repeated unsuccess. “O that the Jephthah once resounding before our noble Jephthah were here," said one of the walls, the dreaded sound shall strike soldiers," and Ammon would not shame our foes with terror, and Gilead shall us thus !” “ Yea,” said another, “had we be free! Turn not away.—Wilt thou see but Jephthah for our captain, we should Gilead low ? wilt thou see thy home, thy soon repel the invaders !"
friends doomed to destruction ?”“What The murmurs spread through the camp home! what friends ?” said Jephthah, and reached the city. “Where is Jeph- gloomily.—“Behold thy repentant brethren thah ?” became the public cry. Shouts here,” said the elder, pointing to a group of derision against his brothers, and dis- of young men who just then entered the approbation against the elders who had gate, "they yield their gold, their all !" turned the warrior from the city, resounded “No, no!'' exclaimed Jephthah, in viofrom every quarter. From rumours they lent agitation, motioning them backrose to open rebellion, and the elders and i “Do not let them come! I cannot see Jephthah's family were obliged to fly from them. Years of humiliation, of reproach, the wrath of the people and shelter them- and of injury rise before me and shut my selves in a fortified tower. In front of heart against them. I cannot see them!" this the populace assembled, vowing There was silence in the court, and the destruction upon the elders unless Jeph-dejected young men turned to retire. thah were placed at the head of the army. “And yet, as a follower of the just God The elders, to appease them, promised to of Israel, I must forgive. Young men, send messengers after him into the land return! I do forgive you, for ye are my of Bashan. Messengers were accordingly father's sons; but stay not here if ye wish dispatched. After several days passed in Gilead well. Repose in yonder roomsgreat suspense, they returned with Jeph- there shall my people minister to your thah's refusal to aid his ungrateful city. wants." Jephthah waved his hand, and “Go yourselves !” cried the people to his degenerate brethren crossed the court the elders —" take with you Jephthah's to the interior apartments. recreant brothers, and upon your knees “O Jephthah, I deemed your heart were entreat him to return and redeem us formed of nobler nature than thus to
harbour vengeance," said the elder, re- ! Jephthah was wrapped in their warm proachfully. “Ye ther. reject us-refuse ! embraces, and blessed and thanked by the to aid your native city, and thus devote us happy elders. all to slaughter! Remember your aged! “Farewell, Haziel !" he said, turning father-your daughter!”
towards his friend.--"Farewell, Jephthah “Ha! my sweet young child! I had the ingrate! Jephthah the tool!" said forgotten her -I must to her rescue, Haziel, bitterly. indeed. My fathers, accuse me not of “Speak not thus, thou son of Napthali!" cherishing revenge?' It is my only wish | said the elder. “Thou seest thou art to act according to the laws of God. For- known under thy bandit disguise. What give me that I have grieved ye thus, but dost thou here when war threatens Israel? you know not all the suffering my late and thou, son of the great house of Issaexile has cost me!")
char! and ye, noble youths, whom I see Haziel, who had stood with his hands around me!" continued the elder, adfolded in the loose sleeves of his scarlet dressing the assembled band of Haziel ; dress, an attentive listener to all that “ follow the steps of Jephthah, I entreat passed,—now saw with alarm that Jephthah ye, ere it be to late. Here is an honwas relenting. “My friends, your time is ourable opening by which ye may retrace wasted in vain words," he said, advancing your path. In this coming war, your lost to the elders. “All ties between the honour and fallen fortunes may be renoble Jephthah and yourself are broken by trieved, and ye be worthy yet of your lofty your own strong arm. Ye sent him poor, race ?” The elders each addressed the and sorrow-stricken from your walls, I young men, urging them to return with took him in, clothed, fed, and cheered them. Their patronage and protection him. Think ye he can thus lightly leave was promised them, with honourable posts ine?”
in the war. Jephthah's entreaties were Haziel looked at Jephthah, but he was joined to theirs, which were in a measure silent.
successful; Haziel and some of his friends “Yea, I brought him hither," continued agreed to accompany Jephthah, and they Haziel, growing warmer," that he might followed the triumphant elders to the reap fame and riches in the enemy's land; camp at Mizpeh. and think ye he is so lost to honour as to Shouts of joy welcomed Jephthah's arriabandon me here to be devoured by the val from the soldiers. He was led by the Canaanite? Jephthah, speak! ye will not elders towards a magnificent tent of leave me?"
scarlet, bordered with gold. “Enter Jephthah seemed torn with conflicting great Jephthah, the tent of the captain of emotions. “Elders of Gilead," at last he | our host," said the elder.-—"May the said, " ye must return alone !"
God of Israel be with thee, and make thee “Nay, nay, Jephthah !” they cried, conqueror over Ammon!” Jephthah paused kneeling before him, “listen to the cry before the entrance of the tent, and turning, of your perishing country! Come with us addressed them thus—“Ye have promised -Do not refuse our prayer ?”.
me, O elders of Gilead, the post of captain When Jephthah beheld the rulers of his over your armies; but how know I, when city upon their knees before him; those I return from the wars, ye will not thrust august old men to whom since childhood me out as before ? Ere I consent to lead he had looked as if to very gods--their you to battle, ye must agree unto these robes of state in the dust, their venerable two things,-that I be not only captain in beards dropping with tears, and their aged war, but ruler in peace. If ye now make hands lifted to him for succour, he thought me Judge over Gilead, I will take the his heart would have burst within him. command of your armies,- if not, I will
"Rise! rise, my lords!” he cried, return to my stronghold." mingling his tears with theirs as he The elders willingly agreed to his destooped to raise them, “Do yourselves not mands, as they were fully aware of the this great dishonour as to kneel to me. I superiority of Jephthah over all his people, go; I am yours !-Receive me again as and would gladly elect him as judge. your son, and I will follow you to death!" Jephthah, rendered wise by the events of the past, directed an altar of commemora-, of Ammon-Why is it that thou hast tion to be erected, that the people might come up to fight me in my land? Have vitness and confirm his installation in I evil-entreated thee? If I have injured those great offices. The altar was raised thee, speak, and I will repay if it be in in the centre of the host, in front of the ny power.” tent of Jephthah, and there, before the as- ! “Go, and tell your leader,” replied the sembled army, and before the Lord, whose king, “I come to recover those lands name was called upon to witness the com- which the children of Israel took from me pact, he was installed as judge, and cap. when they came up out of Egypt.” tain over Gilead. The elders repeated “What land was this, o king?" asked before the people the conditions they had the messenger. “The richest part of my agreed upon between themselves and Jeph- | inheritance have they ravished from me; thah, and then turning towards him, said, that fertile tract whose bounds three rivers “ The Lord be witness between us, if we | lave, the Jabbok, Arnon, and Jordan. do not so, according to thy words.” The Restore this portion peaceably, and I grateful acclamations of the men of Gilead, will return to Ammon. If ye refuse, they iestified to their joy at his elevation over shall be mine by force, my chariots shall them. Their God, who had been called crush your ranks, and seize them from upon to bless the newly-elected judge, your hand.” signified his assent to their choice, by shed. The messengers departed, and repeated ding down wisdom and might from on to Jephthah all that had been spoken by the highi, upon their chosen leader.
king of Ammon. Fully instructed by Determined not to await the coming their captain, they again stood before the Ammonites, Jephthah immediately march king and said "Thus saith great Jephthah, ed to meet the foe. Wherever he appeared, o king—Israel took not this land from the people, become more confident now the children of Ammon, nor of the they beheld him at the head of the army, Moabite their ally; it was in posseshastened to join his forces. After wind- sion of Sihon, king of the Amorites, and ing through a defile in the mountains of from them they conquered it. Nor would Gilead, Jephthah beheld against the distant they have thus bereft him, had he granted horizon, the banners, and spears, and glit- them that peaceful passage through his tering chariots of the Ammonites. Here land which they requested. Listen, O he halted, and drew up his men in order king, while I rehearse the facts relating to of battle. Although his faith assured him their march, and to their battle with the the Lord would give him the victory, | Amorites. When Israel came through Jephthah was anxious it should be a blood. the wilderness from Egypt, then Israel less one, and resolved by negotiation, to sent messengers to the kings of Edom, induce the Ammonites to retire. Many and the king of Moab, saying, “Let me men, newly elected leader of an army, I pray thee pass through thy land ?' but who knew much was expected from them, they would not consent; then they comwould be eager to signalise themselves by passed the land of Edom, and the land of some warlike exploit ; but Jephthah's con Moab, and encamped upon the banks of duct was ruled by the laws of God rather the Arnon, which is the border of Moab. than of man, and he sent to demand of the Israel then sent messengers unto Sihon, Ammonite king the cause of his appear- king of the Amorites, saying, Let us pass ance in arms. The king of Ammon, who we pray thee, through thy land unto my had imagined Gilead already in his power, place. Sihon refused and gathered his was surprised and alarmed when he be- people together, and fought against Israel. held a numerous army posted in his path. The God of Israel delivered the land of He paused in his victorious career, and the Amorites into the hand of Israel, from encamped upon the plain, where he awaited Arnon even unto Jabbok. Wilt thou then the heralds which he saw approaching. ask from us the land given to us by our Admitted into the tent of the king, Jeph. God? Take what thy own god Chemosh thah's messengers thus addressed him : giveth thee. Zippor, king of Moab, did
" Thus sayeth Jephthah, captain of the never strive to regain these lands, and Lord's host, to the king of the children, now dost thou come to take them after
Israel hath possessed them three hundred in chains from his side, and shoes of brass years? Thou dost me wrong to war defended his feet, a scarlet mantle fell against me, and the Lord the Judge be from his shoulders, and around his head judge this day between the children of was a band of steel chain-work, from Israel, and the children of Ammon!" which, projected in front, a horn of gold,
The king of Ammon would not hearken giving him a fierce and terrible appearlonger to the messengers, but, breaking ance. When the procession arrived before up the conference, angrily dismissed them. the house of Jephthah, the gate was thrown
Trumpets now resounded from every open, and a group of young girls came side, and they rushed to meet each other dancing forth, mingling their jocund in deadly strife. Then was heard“ the music with the cheers of the populace. thunder of the captains, and the shouting.” What saw the conqueror in yon joyous The ground shook under the roar of the train, that he started as if a shot from the chariots, and tramp of armed men, camels enemy's archers had stricken him !-why and elephants. The war-horse was there bowed his lofty head unto his bosom ? in his strength; "who swallowed the At the head of the youthful train came ground with fierceness and rage,' who the hero's daughter, his only child, holdmocketh although “the quiver rattled ing aloft the sweet-sounding trimbrel, and against him, and the glittering spear and attired as became a ruler's daughter, in a shield.” In the whirlwind of battle, robe of divers colours, richly embroidered Jephthah for one moment forgot his trust with gorgeous feather-work, and gold, and in God, and tempted him to fight upon his silk of varied dies. A fillet of white roses side; he vowed a vow before the Lord, bound her dark tresses, and her tiny feet and said, “If thou shalt, without fail, were strapped in scarlet sandals. Smiles deliver the children of Ammon into my lighted up her fair face, and her soft doves hands, then it shall be, that whatsoever eyes beamed with filial tenderness when cometh forth of the doors of my house to raised to her lordly father. meet me, when I return in peace from the Behind her were the maidens of Gilead, children of Ammon, shall surely be the clad in white, with chaplets of red roses ; Lord's, and I will offer it up for a burnt their slender ankles circled with silver offering !" A rash vow which Jephthah bells. Like leaves from a gay parterre, ever after deplored, and which if he had swept onward by a summer breeze, these reflected one moment he would not have lovely flowerets floated in mazy whirls made. Jephthah suffered from his first until beside the chariot of the conqueror. error, evil communication ; he had “ stricken The daughter of Jephthah approached her hands" with idolaters, and while residing father, and when the people looked to see with them had witnessed their frequent him fold her in his embrace, with a frantic sacrifices to their gods, and forgot he start he rent the bosom of his gilded spoke to a God who delighted not in such robe, and covering his head with his manvows. Into this grievous error he had tle he groaned with anguish. “My not fallen, if he had shunned instead of father !” said a gentle voice beside him. making friends of the sons of Baal. “Alas, my daughter !" cried the conqueror,
The children of Ammon fled before the with a burst of agony—“froin my high host of Jephthah. They were pursued into estate of joy thou hast brought me low the heart of their country, and twenty down in the dust!" There was deep cities conquered, and the whole land com- silence while he spoke"O God, forgive pletely subdued.
| me! my child, forgive me! When I The city of Gilead was filled with re- faced the children of Ammon in battle, I oicing that their enemy was repelled, and vowed, if the Lord would deliver them its streets were crowded with the citizens, into my hands, I would offer up, as sacriBager to behold the triumphantentry of their fice unto him, the first that came forth victorious leader. Jephthah approached, from my house to meet me! Thou art the seated in a brazed chariot surrounded by first-my child ! my only one !" his steel-clad warriors. His robe of blue A deep consternation fell upon the embroidered with gold, was bound by a hearts of all, when this rash vow was broad girdle of golden mail, a sword hung | heard-on all, save upon that fair and