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shows his sovereign power in upholding the world, and that this same power is that which in grace“ keeps the feet of his saints.”
The hand of the Lord was strong on those who kept the ark, taken from Israel by the Philistines—“And it came to pass, as the ark of God came to Ekron, that the Ekronites cried out, saying, They have brought about the ark of the God of Israel to us, to slay us and our people. So they sent and gathered together all the lords of the Philistines, and said, Send away the ark of the God of Israel, and let it go again to its own place, that it slay us not, and our people; for there was a deadly destruction throughout all the city; the hand of God was very heavy there. And the men that died not were smitten with the emerods : and the cry of the city went up to heaven” (ch. v. 10–12). The scourge on the land was a plague of mice; that on the
bodies of those who had not been stricken down by death was emerods. The ark was to be sent away, and with it golden images of what had been sent as the means of judgment—" Then said they, What shall be the trespass-offering which we shall return to him? They answered, Five golden emerods, and five golden mice, according to the number of the lords of the Philistines : for one plague was on you all, and on your lords. Wherefore
your emerods, and images of your mice that mar the land; and ye shall give glory unto the God of Israel : peradventure he will lighten his hand from off you, and from off your gods, and from off
land” (vi. 4, 5). Emerods," Heb. aphalim, tumours (tumores ani).
Mice,” Heb. achbarim. The Arabs give a name nearly resembling this to the dipus or Egyptian jerboa, the Egyptian mouse (Mus Ægyptius) of Hasselquist. In Isaiah lxvi. 17, reference is made to the mouse (achbar) as an animal used for food by the idolaters whom backsliding Israel followed. It is known that the Arabs sometimes eat the jerboa, but we have no information regarding any nation by whom the mouse, properly so called (Mus musculus), or any one of the fieldmice (M. messorus, M. sylvaticus, Arvicola agrestis, Plate XXXII.), was eaten. This has strengthened the belief that the jerboa is intended in this and other passages. But it is much more to the purpose to regard the Hebrew name as a general term for a group of animals of corresponding habits with the mice (Muridæ), the voles (Arvicolida), and the jerboas (Dipodidae), of modern classification.
The golden image made by the Philistines would represent the species wbich had spread over their fields as a plague. The reference to the mouse in Levit. xi. 29, is from this wide point of view.
Kine” are mentioned in verses 7, 10, 12, 14.–See under Genesis xli. 2-4.
In Samuel's instructions given to Saul after he had anointed him (x. 1-8), the “hill of God” is mentioned (ver. 5). This was not Mount Zion, but a high place which was at that time devoted to sacred purposes.
The strong desire expressed by the people for a king to rule over them, was directly ascribed to their unbelief. God had been their king from the days of old. Now, however, they wished to see the evidences of kingly pomp among them, as these stood out in the nations around them. Samuel wished to show them, that these views were not cherished by him from any feeling of disappointed ambition or pride. Thus he told them that God regarded them just as he had done :—“Now therefore stand and see this great thing, which the Lord will do before your eyes. Is it not wheat-harvest to-day? I will call unto the Lord, and he shall send thunder and rain ; that ye may perceive and see that your wickedness is great, which ye have done in the sight of the Lord, in asking you a king. So Samuel called unto the Lord; and the Lord sent thunder and rain that day: and all the people greatly feared the Lord and Samuel. And all the people said unto Samuel, Pray for thy servants unto the Lord thy God, that we die not: for we have added unto all our sins this evil, to ask us a king” (xii. 17). Rain at the time of wheat-harvest was evidently regarded by the people as miraculous. When it fell with the accompaniments noted here, “they greatly feared.” The climate in the locality where they were, continues much the same now as at that time. The early rains begin gradually in the end of October or beginning of November. These continue till April. Slight showers only fall occasionally at that season. The wheat-harvest occurs about the second week of May in the valley of the Jordan, when even the occasional showers have ceased.
After the rash act of worship (xiii. 6-14), Saul betook himself to “the hill of Benjamin.” The Philistines were encamped at Michmash. Thence they sent out their spoilers, one company of whom went to Ophrah, another to Beth-horon, a third “turned to the way of the border that looketh to the valley of Zeboim, toward the wilderness” (ver. 18). " Zeboim” means hyænas. The ravine had been so named from its having been a noted haunt of these ferocious animals, just as
Ajalon " had got its name from the stag, “ Lebaoth ” from its lionesses, and “ Shaalbim ” from its foxes.
Saul had virtually ceased to be on the Lord's side (xiii. 11-16). He still fought as if for God against the wicked, but in reality it was for himself. Made weak by his sin, the influence of his condition spread like contagion among his soldiers. They were unwilling to meet the foe, and were consequently unable to do so. Under one of those impulses which frequently return with power to the backsliding, and lift them for a season to the level of past attainments, Saul led his soldiers up against the Philistines. In chapter xiv. they are seen face to face, as if about to try their strength. Michmash lay in the north of those wide wild pasture lands where Jacob prophesied that Benjamin was to "ravin as a wolf, devouring the prey in the morning, and dividing the spoil at night” (Gen. xlix. 27). While waiting for an advantageous opportunity of attack, “Saul tarried in the uttermost part of Gibeah under a pomegranate-tree which is in Migron ” (ver. 2).
“Pomegranate,” Heb. rimmon. This tree is the Punica granatum of botanists, one of the natural order Myrtaceae, or myrtle family. It is a native of Asia, and was common in Palestine. It is found also in Northern Africa, and must have been abundant in Egypt at the time of the Exodus :-“Wherefore,” cried the murmuring Israelites, “ have ye made us to come up out of Egypt, to bring us in unto this evil place? it is no place of seed, or of figs, or of vines, or of pomegranates; neither is there any water to drink ” (Numb. xx. 5). It is represented on Egyptian sculptures, whose date is as early as the Exodus, as a plant cultivated for its fruit, and as used in their temple worship. A figure of the pomegranate is given on the reverse of the coins of ancient Rhodes. “It is the ancient rhodon, or rose, which was used for its dye, and gave its name to the island of Rhodes.” —(Wilkinson). Pliny notices it as "the flower called Balausticum.' "
Scripture references to the pomegranate represent it-(1) As characteristic of Palestine-"a land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig-trees, and pomegranates ” (Deut. viii. 8). When the spies returned from Eschol“ they brought of the pomegranates and of the figs” to Kadesh ” (Numb. xiii. 23). In Joel i. 12 it is mentioned with the vine, the fig, the palm, and the apple trees, and in Haggai ii. 19, with the vine, fig, and olive. (2) As embroidered on articles of dress. It alternated with the golden bells on the robe of the high priest :-“And beneath upon the hem of it, thou shalt make pomegranates of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, round about the hem thereof; and bells of gold between them round about: a golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, upon the hem of the robe round about. And it shall be upon Aaron to minister: and his sound shall be heard when he goeth in unto the holy place before the Lord, and when he cometh out, that he die not” (Exod. xxviii. 33–35, and xxxix. 24-26). (3) As an ornament in architecture. Among Solomon's preparations for the temple, we are told “he made the pillars, and two rows round about upon the one net-work, to cover the chapiters that were upon the top with pomegranates: and so did he for the other chapiter. And the chapiters that were upon the top of the pillars were of lily-work in the porch, four cubits. And the chapiters upon the two pillars had pomegranates also above, over against the belly which was by the net-work; and the pomegranates were two hundred, in rows round about upon the other chapiter. And he set up the pillars in the porch of the temple; and he set up the right pillar, and called the name thereof Jachin; and he set up the left pillar, and called the name thereof Boaz" (1 Kings vii. 18–21).
These are mentioned in Jeremiah (lii. 20) as the “pillars which King Solomon made in the house of the Lord.” They were carried to Babylon by Nebuzar-adan at the time of the captivity in “ the nineteenth year of Nebuchadrezzar.” (4) As symbolic of spiritual graces. This use of the pomegranate is confined to the Song of Solomon.-See under Song iv. 3.
The pomegranate is still met with in Palestine-seldom, however, as a tree; mostly as a strong thorny-looking bush. Several varieties occur. In Jebaah, on Lebanon, there is a variety perfectly black on the outside. The general colour, however, is a dull
colour, however, is a dull green, inclining to yellow, and some even have a blush of red spread over a part of their surface. The outside rind is thin but tough, and the bitter juice of it stains every thing it touches with an undefined but indelible blue. The average size is about that of the orange, but some of those from Jaffa are as large as the egg of an ostrich. Within, the “grains” are arranged in longitudinal compartments as compactly as corn on the cob, and they closely resemble those of pale red corn, except that they are nearly transparent and very beautiful. A dish filled with these “grains.” shelled out is a very handsome ornament on any table, and the fruit is as sweet to the taste as it is pleasant to the eye. They are ripe about the middle of October, and remain in good condition all
winter. Suspended in the pantry, they are kept partially dried through the whole year. The flower of the pomegranate is bell or tulip shaped, and is of a beautiful orange-red, deepening into crimson on some bushes. There is a kind very large and double, but this bears no fruit, and is cultivated merely for its brilliant blossoms, which are put forth profusely during the whole summer. -(Thomson.)
In that rash impetuosity of spirit which so often led Saul into error, he had vowed for himself and his people that they would not taste