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The united armies of the seven chiefs against Thebes came on, led by Polynices. Eteocles sallied out to meet them, and there was a terrible battle, ending in all the seven chiefs being slain ; and the two brothers, Eteocles and Polynices, were killed by one another in single combat. Creon, the uncle, who thus became king, had always been on the side of Eteocles, and therefore commanded that, whilst this younger brother was entombed with all due solemnities, the body of the elder should be left upon the battle-field" to be torn by dogs and vultures, and that whosoever durst bury it should be treated as a rebel and traitor to the state.

This was the time for the sister to remember her oath to her dead brother. The more timid Ismene would have dissuaded her, but she answered,

To me no sufferings have that hideous form

Which can affright me from a glorious death.” And she crept forth by night, amid all the horrors of the deserted field of battle, and herself covered with loose earth the corpse of Polynices. The barbarous uncle caused it to be taken up and again exposed, and a watch was set at some little distance. Again Antigone

“Was seen, lamenting shrill with plaintive notes, Like the poor bird that sees her lonely nest

Spoiled of her young." Again she heaped dry dust with her own hands over the body, and poured forth the libations of wine that formed an essential part of the ceremony. She was seized by the guard, and led before Creon. She boldly avowed her deed, and, in spite of the supplications of Ismene, she was put to death, a sufferer for her noble and pious deeds; and with this only comfort:

“Glowing at


I feel this hope, that to my father, dear
And dear to thee, my mother dear to thee,
My brother, I shall go.'


Dim and doubtful indeed was the hope that upbore the grave and beautiful Theban maiden ; and we shall see her resolution equalled, though hardly surpassed, by Christian Antigones of equal love and surer faith.


Ntawich eine the history of the minstrel-king feeling towards him than his longing for the water at the well of Bethlehem. Standing as the incident does in the summary of the characters of his mighty men, it is apt to appear to us as if it had taken place in his latter days ; but such is not the case, it befell while he was still under thirty, in the time of his persecution by Saul.

It was when the last attempt at reconciliation with the king had been made, when the affectionate parting with the generous and faithful Jonathan had taken place, when Saul was hunting him like a partridge on the mountains on the one side, and the Philistines had nearly taken his life on the other, that David, outlawed, yet loyal at the heart, sent his aged parents to the land of Moab for refuge, and himself took up his abode in the caves of the wild limestone hills that had become familiar to him when he was a shepherd. Brave captain and Heaven-destined king as he was, his name attracted round him a motley group of those that were in distress, or in debt, or discontented, and among them were the “mighty men ” whose brave deeds won them the foremost parts in that army with which David was to fulfil the ancient promises to his people. There were his three nephews, Joab, the ferocious and imperious, the chivalrous Abishai, and Asahel, the fleet of foot; there was the warlike Levite Benaiah who slew lions and lionlike men, and others who, like David himself, had done battle with the gigantic sons of Anak. Yet even these valiant men, so wild and lawless, could be kept in check by the voice of their young captain ; and outlaws as they were, they spoiled no peaceful villages, they lifted not their hands against the persecuting monarch, and the neighboring farms lost not one lamb through their violence. Some at least listened to the song of their warlike minstrel :

“Come, ye children, and hearken to me,

I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
What man is he that lusteth to live,
And would fain see good days?
Let him refrain his tongue from evil
And his lips that they speak no guile,
Let him eschew evil and do good,

Let him seek peace and ensue it.” With such strains as these, sung to his harp, the warrior gained the hearts of his men to enthusiastic love, and gathered followers on all sides, among them eleven fierce men of Gad, with faces like lions and feet swift as roes, who swam the Jordan in time of food, and fought their way to him, putting all enemies in the valleys to flight.

But the Eastern sun burnt on the bare rocks. A huge fissure, opening in the mountain ridge, encumbered at the bottom with broken rocks, with precipitous banks scarcely affording a footing for the wild goats, - such is the spot where, upon a cleft on the steep precipice, still remain the foundations of the “hold,” or tower, believed to have been David's retreat, and near at hand is the low-browed entrance of the galleried cave, alternating between narrow passages and spacious halls, but all oppressively hot and close. Waste and wild, without a bush or a tree, in the feverish atmosphere of Palestine, it was a desolate region, and at length the wanderer's heart fainted in him, as he thought of his own home, with its rich and lovely terraced slopes, green with wheat, trellised with vines, and clouded with gray olive, and of the cool cisterns of living water by the gate of which he loved to sing –

“He shall feed me in a green pasture,
And lead me forth beside the waters of comfort.”

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His parched longing lips gave utterance to the sigh, “O that one would give me to drink of the water of the well of Bethlehem that is by the gate !”

Three of his brave men, apparently Abisha, Benaiah, and Eleazar, heard the wish. Between their mountain fastness and the dearly-loved spring lay the host of the Philistines ; but their love for their leader feared no enemies. It was not only water that he longed for, but the water from the fountain which he had loved in his childhood. They descended from their chasm, broke through the midst of the enemy's army, and drew the water from the favorite spring, bearing it back, once again through the foe, to the tower upon the rock! Deeply moved was their chief at this act of self-devotion, so much moved that the water seemed to him too sacred to be put to his own use. “ My God forbid it me that I should do this thing. Shall I drink the blood of these men that have put their lives in jeopardy, for with the jeopardy of their lives they brought it?” And as a hallowed and precious gift, he poured out unto the Lord the water obtained at the price of such peril to his followers.

In later times we meet with another hero who, by his personal qualities inspired something of the same

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