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A PEACEFUL INTERVAL
 IT was one of the stipulations of the peace offered by the
young Antiochus, and accepted by Judas, that the
King should be admitted with due ceremony into the
surrendered fortress. It was to be a formal
of his authority, but nothing more. No change, it was
understood, was to be made; the King and his attendants
were not to go beyond the court which it was lawful for
the Gentiles to enter.
On the morrow, accordingly, the boy-King came with a
splendid procession of nobles and officers. In front
marched a company of soldiers, picked from the whole
army for their beauty of feature and commanding
and gorgeous with their gilded arms. Then, in the
order of their dignity, came the high officers of
last, the young monarch himself, the Governor Lysias
leading him by the hand.
The approach to the Temple was thronged by a crowd of
eager spectators, none of whom were more profoundly
interested in the sight than the little Daniel, with
his cousins Miriam and Judith. The
 child's fancy had been caught by all that he had heard
of the young prince. It seemed strange to him, almost
beyond belief, that a lad, a little older, it was true,
than himself, but younger than Miriam, should have
power to do so much harm. "Mother," he said one day to
Ruth, "why does God let him hurt so many people? It is
all his doing that the brave soldiers are shut up in
the Temple, and that we have so little to eat. Will he
be punished for it some day? I suppose, as he is a
king, nobody can punish him except God. But He will,
Then came the unexpected news of the peace; and nothing
would satisfy little Daniel but that he must see the
boy-King received in the Temple. Eagerly did the child
watch him as he walked in his little suit of armour,
which the most skilful artizans in Antioch had made so
light as not to be too much for his strength, and great
was his delight when Eupator, catching a sight of his
eager face, kissed his hand to him with a pleasant
That smile he never forgot, though it is true that his
old anger against the young king returned next day
almost as vehemently as ever when he heard that orders
had been given that the ramparts of the Temple fortress
were to be broken down, and that the Greek soldiers,
anxious to depart, had begun the work of destruction
very hour at which the edict had been published.
 Though this breach of faith was a great blow to the
patriots, still they had much to console them. In the
place, to their intense relief, the Greek army marched
away, and the Holy City was no more defiled by the
presence of the heathen. Then the renegade MenelaŘs,
whom every faithful Jew hated with a more bitter hatred
than he felt for the heathen themselves, went away, but
not of his own free choice, with the King. Lysias had
an honest man's dislike for a traitor, and indeed did
not scruple to say that this impostor, who was neither
good Jew nor real Greek, had done more than any one
else to cause the recent troubles.
Not less welcome was the end of the Sabbatical year.
This of itself would not, of course, have relieved the
pressure of scarcity; but there was help from without
which before had not been available. Hitherto the Jews
had been under a ban; they were enemies of the Syrian
King, and none who desired to be his friends would have
any dealings with them. Now all was changed. The ban
was removed. The people were in favour with Eupator and
Lysias. A brisk trade commenced, and supplies of food
came in abundance. With good heart and hope the people
set themselves to the work. From being a city of
mourning Jerusalem became gay and cheerful.
The general gladness culminated in the Feast of
Tabernacles, always the most joyous of Jewish
 festivals, and now celebrated with special
manifestations of delight. Never had the people felt so
pleasure of seeming at least to return to the simple
life of earlier times, the rustic enjoyments of a
that had not yet learnt to dwell in cities. It was the
ordinance that for seven days the Israelite should
dwell, not in his house, but in a booth of boughs. For
days waggon-loads without number of the boughs of the
olive, the palm, the pine, the myrtle, and other trees
which had a foliage sufficiently thick for the purpose,
were brought into the city. When a house had a roof of
a convenient size and situation, the booth was built
upon it; in many cases it was set up in the court.
Those who had come from elsewhere to share in the
set up their booths in the court of the Temple, in the
street of the Water Gate, and in the street of the Gate
of Ephraim. It was a beautiful sight at any time, and
now the fresh foliage hid the scars of many a grievous
wound that had been inflicted during the years of
Every day, at the time of the morning sacrifice, each
Israelite, gaily dressed in holiday attire, made his
to the Temple. Each carried in one hand a bundle of the
same branches that were used in the building of the
booths, and in the other a fruit of the citron tree.
When all the company was assembled, and the parts of
victim had been laid upon the altar, a priest was seen
approaching with a
 golden ewer in his hand. He had filled it at the pool
of Siloam, and he brought it into the court of the
Temple through the Water Gate. The trumpets sounded as
he came in and ascended the slope of the altar. On each
side of this were two silver basins; into that on the
eastern side he the sacred water; while another priest
poured wine into that on the western. Then the "Hallel"
was sung; when the singers came to the words, "O give
thanks unto the Lord; for He is good, because His mercy
endureth for ever," each Israelite shook his bundle of
branches; he did it again when they sang, "Save, Lord,
beseech Thee, O Lord: O Lord, I beseech Thee, send now
prosperity;" and a third time at the words, "O give
thanks unto the Lord; for He is good: for His mercy
endureth for ever." In the evening there was a grand
illumination. Eight lamps, so large and so high
that they sent their light over nearly the whole of the
were set up in the court of the Temple, while many of
the people carried flambeaux in their hands. Meanwhile
company of Levites, standing on the steps of the Court
of the Women, chanted to the music of cymbal and the
harp the fifteen "Songs of Degrees."
These were the public rejoicings; the private
festivities were on the most liberal scale. Never did
 the maxim that he who fails to contribute according to
his means to the general joy is a sinner above other
meet with a more hearty acceptance.
Azariah with his daughters and little Daniel were
watching the ceremonies of the last and greatest day of
feast from the roof of the Governor's house, where they
were joined by Micah and by Joseph, who, it will be
remembered, had shared with him the disastrous command
of the city during the absence of Judas in Gilead.
Joseph was exultant; Micah's face was grave and even
"Thank the Lord, Azariah," cried Joseph, "for He has
dealt with the traitor after his deservings."
"Whom mean you?" asked Azariah; "for we have had more
traitors here than one."
"Whom should I mean but MenelaŘs, the false priest who
sat in Aaron's seat?"
"And what has befallen him?"
"The King has caused him to be put to death. He was in
little favour when they took him home, for Lysias said
that he had wrought all the mischief that had been
done. And when they came to Antioch the matter of Oniah
brought against him, for there were many who loved the
old man, and had taken it ill that his death had not
been fully avenged. And when the young King heard the
story, MenelaŘs being present, and having nothing to
against it, he cried, 'I wonder that the King, my
father, suffered this murderer to escape, but he shall
 not go unpunished any more. Take him, and cast him
alive into the Tower of Ashes.' So they took him and
the King had commanded."
"And what is the Tower of Ashes?" asked the little
Daniel, who had been listening to this conversation
sort of terrified interest.
Micah answered his question. "At Berea is a tower, the
bottom of which is full of ashes, and in the tower is a
machine which revolves and plunges the criminal who is
bound to it deep into the ashes until he is smothered.
But as for this unhappy man, the Lord have mercy upon
Joseph turned fiercely upon him. "I marvel," he said,
"that you should pray for this fellow, who was worse
the heathen. He has but had his deservings."
"And where should I be, if I had had mine?" answered
Micah. "I walked in the same way with this MenelaŘs,
sinned against the Law, even as he sinned, and but that
God had mercy upon me, surely I had come to the same
"Don't be sorry, uncle," said the boy, holding up his
little face for a kiss; "I am sure that God has
you, for He knows how bravely you have fought for Him,
and how many of the heathen you have killed with your
"May it be so, dear child! But though He has forgiven
me, yet I must reap as I have sown."
 "And who shall be high priest in this traitor's place?"
asked Joseph, after a pause. "For Oniah, the son of him
that was slain at Antioch, is in the land of Egypt, and
he takes part with the unfaithful brethren who would
build another Temple among the temples of the heathen;
leaving the place which the Lord has chosen to set His
"And if the House of Zadok have perished, why should
not Judas, son of Mattathias, be high priest?" said
Azariah. "He is of a principal house among the sons of
Aaron, and the Lord has been with him always."
Joseph had never forgiven Judas for his own disaster.
His was one of those mean natures that justify the
saying, "The injured may forgive, the injurer never."
The captain had treated him with the same generous
kindness which he had showed to Azariah, but this
kindness had not been received in the same temper. On
contrary it rankled in his mind, till by a strange, yet
not uncommon, perversion of feeling, it had produced a
positive sense of injury. He now broke out:
"Nay, nay, my friend, you say too much. That he has won
victories I deny not; but was the Lord with him when he
fled before the face of the heathen at Beth-Zachariah,
or when Beth-zur was yielded up to Lysias, or when we
had well-nigh perished with famine in the siege, or
when the King broke down the ramparts of the Temple?
what-  ever the people may shout or sing in his praise, he too has
known defeat, even as we have."
"This I know," said Azariah, "that whereas we were
trodden underfoot by the heathen till there was no life
in us, now we are risen and stand upright."
"And how long, think you," returned Joseph, "will it be
so with us? Did we drive away the King, or did he not
rather depart of his own accord, because of what he and
his counsellors had heard of the doings of Philip? And
will he not return, and the end be worse than the
Azariah answered, with some heat, "As for that which
may happen hereafter, I say nothing. These things are
the hand of God. But that the young Antiochus departed
to his own land was, I doubt not at all, of the Lord's
doing. Why, even this child knows the story of
Sennacherib, and the words which Isaiah the prophet
Hezekiah when the King was faint-hearted, and could not
see how there should be any deliverance for Israel. Did
not the prophet say, 'He shall hear a rumour, and shall
return unto his own land?' "
Joseph said nothing. With all his meanness and
littleness he was a patriot, and really loved his
it went against his heart and conscience to prophesy
evil against her.
Then the little Daniel startled them all by saying,
with flashing eyes, "And I will cause him to fall by
sword in his own land."