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were encamped, was Endor, the spring of Dor,' marked in Hebrew poetry as the scene of the slaughter of the fugitive host of Sisera. On that rocky mountain-side dwelt a soli- The witch
of Endor. tary woman-according to Jewish? tradition, the mother of Abner—who had escaped the King's persecution. To her, as to one who still held converse with the other world, came by dead of night three unknown guests, of whom the chief called upon her to wake the dead Samuel from the world of shades, which at that time formed the utmost limit of the Hebrew conceptions of the state beyond the grave. They were Saul, and, according to Jewish tradition, Abner and Amasa. The sacred narrative does not pretend to give us the distinct details of the scene. But we hear the shriek of double surprise, with which when the woman saw Samuel, she cried with a loud voice;' we see with her the venerable figure, rising from the earth, like a God, his head veiled in bis 6 regal or sacred mantle, with the threatening and disquieted countenance which could only be, as she surmised, assumed against his ancient enemy. 'How different from that joyous meeting at the feast at Ramah, when the Prophet told
"Ps. lxxxiii. 10. See Lecture XIV. obvious meaning tends to the hypo• Jerome, Qu. Heb. ad loc. Volumes thesis of some kind of apparition. have been written on the question, : Meyer, notes to the Scder Olam, whether in the scene that follows we are to understand an imposture or a 4 The witch is called in the Hebrew real apparitiou of Samuel. Eustathius a woman of Ob, i. e. of a skin or and most of the Fathers take the bladder, or murmuring voice, which former view; Origen, the latter view. the LXX. have rendered ényaotpiuvdos Augustine wavers. (See Leo Allatius, (ventriloquist), and the Vulgate PyDe Engastrimytho, in Critici Sacri, thoness. It is a curious instance of rol. ii.) The LXX, of 1 Sam. xxriji. the dangers of relying on the trans7 (éprastpluvios) and the A. V. (by lation, even of the most highly its omission of himself' in xxviii. 14, authorised version, that Voltaire and insertion of when'in xxviii. (Phil. of Hist. 35) argues from the 12) lean to the former. Josephus expression Pythoness the Grecian (who pronounces a glowing eulogy on origin of the whole story. the woman, Ant. vi: 14, 82, 3), and 5 1 Sam. xxviii. 13 (Hebrew). See the LXX. of 1 Chr. x. 13 to the lat- Lecture XVIII, p. 392, 404. ter. At this distance of time it is iepatikdiv ola Hotda, Joseph. Ant. vi. impossible to determine the exact in- 14, $2. See Lecture XVIII., ibid. tention of the Darrative, though its
him that on him was all the desire of Israel, on him and on his father's house. How different from that chosen' and ' goodly' youth, to whom there was none like among the
people,' was the unhappy king, who, when he heard the Prophet's judgment, fell and lay “the whole length of his gigantic stature upon the earth, and was sore afraid, and there was no strength left in him.'
It was on the following day that the Philistines charged the Israelite army, and drove them up the heights of Gilboa! On the high places of Gilboa,' on their own familiar and friendly high places, the pride of Israel was slain.”? On the green strip which breaks the slope of the mountain upland as it rises from the fertile plain, the final encounter took place. Filled as it seemed to be with the pledge of future harvests and offerings, benceforth a curse might well be called to rest upon it, and the bareness of the bald mountain, without dew or rain, to spread itself over the fertile soil.
The details of the battle are but seen in broken snatches, as in the short scenes of a battle acted on the stage, or bebeld at remote glimpses by an accidental spectator. But amidst the shower of arrows from the Philistine archers-or pressed hard even on the mountain side by their charioteers 3_the figure of the King emerges from the darkness. His three sons have fallen before him. His armour-bearer lies dead
' beside him. But on his own head is the royal crown-on his arm the royal bracelet. The shield or light buckler which he
. always wore has been cast away in his flight, stained with blood, begrimed with filth; the polish of the consecrated oil was gone—it was a defiled polluted thing. The huge spear
11 Sam. xxviii. 20. So (as in 1 Sam. xvi. 7, the height of his stature) should be translated the words which are rendered—all along. As in Homer, μέγας μεγαλωστί.
? 2 Sam. i.
is still in his hand.
He is leaning heavily upon it; he has received his death wound either from the enemy,' or from his own sword; the dizziness and darkness of death ? is upon him. At that moment a wild Amalekite, 3 lured pro- His death. bably to the field by the hope of spoil, came up and finished the work which the arrows of the Philistines and the sword of Saul himself had all but accomplished.
The Philistines when the next day dawned found the corpses of the father and of his three sons. The tidings were told in the capital of Gath, and proclaimed through the streets of Ashkelon; the daughters of the Philistines, the daughters of the accursed race of the uncircumcised, rejoiced as they welcomed back their victorious kinsmen. It was the great retribution for the fall of their champion of Gath. As the Israelites had then carried off his head and his sword as trophies to their sanctuary, so the head of Saul was cut off and fastened in the temple of Dagon at Ashdod, and his arms—the spear on which he had so often rested—the sword and the famous bow of Jonathan were sent round in festive processions to the Philistine cities, and finally deposited in the temple of Ashtaroth, in the Canaanitish city of Bethshan, hard by the fatal field. On the walls of the same city, overhanging the public place in front of the gates, were hung the stripped and dismembered corpses.
In the general defection, the Trans-Jordanic territory remained faithful to the fallen house. One town especially, Jabesh-Gilead, whether from its ancestral connection with the tribe of Benjamin, or from its recollection of Saul's former services, immediately roused itself to show its devotion. The whole armed population rose, crossed the Jordan at dead of night, and carried off the bodies of the king and
' 1 Sam. xxxi. 3, 4 (LXX.). The accounts vary.
2 2 Sam. i. 9 (LXX.).
• A son of Doeg (Jerome, Quæst. Heb. in loc.).
* i Chr. x. 10; 1 Sam. xxxi. 9, 10.
princes from Bethshan. There was a conspicuous tree, --whether terebinth orl tamarisk — close beside the town. Underneath it the bones were buried with a strict funeral fast of seven days. The court and camp of Saul rallied round the grave of their master beyond the Jordan, under the guidance of Abner, who set up the royal house at the ancient Eastern sanctuary of Mahanaim. Ishbosheth was the nominal head.3 He succeeded not as in the direct descent, but according to the usual law of Oriental succession, as the eldest survivor of the house. Thither also came Rizpah, the Canaanite concubine of Saul, with her two sons. There also were the two princesses — Michal with her second husband, Merab with her five sons, and her husband Adriel, himself a dweller in those parts, the son, perhaps, of the great Barzillai. Thither was brought the only son of Jonathan, Mephibosheth. He was then but a child in his nurse's arms. She, on the first tidings of the fatal rout of Gilboa, fled with the child on her shoulder. She stumbled and fell, and the child carried the remembrance of the disaster to his dying day, in the lameness of both his feet. He too was conveyed beyond the Jordan, and brought up in the house of a powerful Gileadite chief, bearing the old Trans-Jordanic name of Machir..
On the hills of Gilead, the dynasty thus again struck root, and Abner gradually regained for it all the north of western Palestine. But this was only for a time. An unworthy suspicion of Ishbosheth that his mighty kinsman, by attempting to win for himself the widowed Rizpah, was aspiring to the throne, drove that high-spirited chief into the court of David, where he fell by the hand of Joab.
The slumbering vengeance of the Gibeonites for Saul's
i The latter is stated in 1 Sam. xxxi. 13, the former in 1 Chr. x. 12.
2 1 Sam. xxxi. 13; 1 Chr. x. 12. 9 2 Sam. ii. 8.
2 Sam. iii. 7; xxi. 8. • Ibid. iii. 13; xxi. 8. * Ibid. ix. t.