THE HOPE OF ISRAEL
 A WEEK had passed since the fatal day of Eleasa. Judas had
been buried in peace in the grave where he had laid,
five years before, the aged Mattathias. The Greek
general had been so much impressed with the valour and
generalship of the Jewish hero that he strictly ordered
that no indignity should be offered to his remains; and
when an envoy came from the surviving brothers to ask
that the corpse should be given up for burial, made no
difficulty about granting the request. It was only
fitting that a brave man should be so honoured. The
too, had been avenged on his enemy, nor did he imagine
for a moment that the rebels, as he called them, would
continue to hold out now that their leader had been
taken from them. It was impossible for him to foresee
those undaunted brothers would maintain the desperate
struggle until they had wrung from the Syrian king the
recognition of Jewish
 independence. Accordingly he granted a truce for a
fortnight, and even sent some of his troops to
funeral procession. It had been a touching scene; and
when the hero had been laid to rest in the sepulchre of
his fathers, and the piercing voices of the women, many
of whom had struggled over the long and toilsome way
from Jerusalem to be present, raised the cry of
lamentation, many of the Greek soldiers found
to tears. This had been the dirge that had been sung
over the grave:—
"How is the valiant man fallen that delivered Israel.
In his acts he was like a lion, and like a lion's whelp roaring for his prey.
For he pursued the wicked, and sought them out, and burnt up those that vexed his people.
Wherefore the wicked shrunk for fear of him, and all the workers of iniquity were troubled, because salvation prospered in his hand.
He grieved also many kings, and made Jacob glad with his acts, and his memorial is blessed for ever."
And now once more the little company of those whom we
have known by name are gathered in Seraiah's house. The
orphaned girls are there, Miriam and Judith,
passionately grieving for their father, but yet
passionately that he was at the side of Judas to the
last, and that his hope had been at least so far
that he and the captain whom he loved had been saved
from drawing sword among the legions of Rome. Little
 too, is there, his childish heart sorely troubled with
the darkness of a dispensation which he cannot
understand; and Ruth, comforting herself and the
children with the thought that he whom they had lost
rejoined his own Hannah, and half reproaching herself
for her selfish joy in having her Seraiah still spared
her. Huldah and Eglah, who had been among the mourners
at Modin, are there also, and the aged priest Shemaiah.
"O father," cried one of the women, "tell us why these
things are so. Why does God so disappoint us of our
hopes? We trusted that it had been he who should have
delivered Israel, and now he is dead!"
"We must wait," said the old man, "for God's good time,
for He seeth not as we see. Did not David think that
Solomon, his son, should be the promised king of
Israel; and, behold, he turned aside to worship idols,
laid such burdens on the people that his kingdom was
broken in twain? And now we, too, have built our hopes
upon a man, and they have failed. Surely of Judas it
might have been said, 'He shall deliver the needy when
crieth, the poor also, and him that hath no helper; he
shall redeem their soul from deceit and violence, and
dear shall their blood be in his sight.'
"We looked," said Seraiah, for the time when all kings
should fall down before him, all nations should do him
service. He seemed like the stone cut out of the
mountain without hands that should
 smite all the kingdoms of evil, and we waited for the
reign of Messiah the Prince."
"And will Messiah come?" cried little Daniel, who had
been eagerly listening to these words, not
all, indeed, but catching their general purport.
"Surely, my son," said the old man; "but there are many
things to be suffered first."
He was silent for a time, sitting with eyes that seemed
to take no heed of the present, but to be gazing into a
far futurity. At last he spoke.
"He loved Israel with all his heart, but he has brought
upon us a people of iron, harder than the brazen
Greeks. He looked to them for help that he might build
up the walls of Sion, and behold! in the days to come
they will make Jerusalem a desolation and the
inhabitants thereof a hissing. And yet, by the Lord's
wrought a great deliverance for Israel. He recovered
and cleansed the Temple, and by his hand the Lord
the king's commandment, so that we may once more
worship Him in the beauty of holiness. And surely, had
been for him, when he put to flight the hosts of
Lysias, we should have been carried away again into
For this was in the heart of our persecutors; only
Judas stood in the way that it should
not be done. The Lord reward him for it, and impute not
his transgression unto him, for he did not transgress
wilfully, or out of an evil heart.
 Nevertheless, I am persuaded that it shall not be so
when Messiah shall come, for come He will at the
time, seeing that the Lord repenteth Him not of His
promises. Verily He shall not do homage to any godless
bestower of kingdoms, nor listen to the voice of the
Evil One, though he promise Him all the world and the
glory of it. With His own right hand and with His holy
arm will He get Himself the victory!"
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