The Passover 


A LARGE part of the Holy Land is rocky and hilly, some parts being even mountainous, with deep rugged ravines and gorges that cannot easily be crossed. At the time we are writing about, the southern part of the country was called Judea; the middle part was called Samaria; and the northern part, Galilee. Judea, lying west of the Dead Sea, and extending a little farther north, is the most uneven and broken. Samaria is hilly, contains the mountains of Ephraim, and extends northward to the southern end of the Carmel range. The plain of Es-dra-e'-lon, in the southern part of Galilee, is the most fertile and beautiful part of the Holy Land. Jerusalem and Bethlehem were in Judea; but Nazareth was far to the north, among the hills of Galilee. It is situated on the lower slope of a hill, at the west end of a narrow plain about a mile long and one-fourth as wide. This beautiful valley is enclosed by a girdle of rounded hills, or low mountains, which shut out all the world besides. In this quiet, secluded place, our Lord spent his childhood and youth. Here he wandered over the meadows, beneath overhanging cliffs, and through the wild, rugged glens that were so numerous on all sides of the valley. 

These deep, winding glens, abounding, as they still do, in birds and flowers, must have been delightful retreats in childhood; and as Jesus grew older, they must have afforded him that solitude so agreeable to thoughtful minds. Here he could think of the great work he had to do upon the earth, and pray to his Heavenly Father for help in carrying it out.

The hill just back of the village was higher than the others, rising more than four hundred feet above the plain. From the top of this hill, one can see many miles over rolling plains, wooded hills, and fertile valleys. Upon this spot, Jesus must often have stood, gazing upon the snowcapped summit of Mount Hermon rising proudly in the northeast, or upon the blue waters of the Mediterranean lying far away to westward.

We cannot now tell just where the house of Joseph and Mary stood, but there is in the village a fountain from which all the people obtain their water, and to this spot, Jesus must often have come. Every year, Joseph and Mary went to Jerusalem to attend the Passover. 

This yearly journey must have been an occasion to which the children would look forward with great pleasure; for nearly all the people went, and as company after company joined, the procession must have been many miles in length before it reached Jerusalem.

The feast usually lasted eight days, and during this time many of the people had to camp out; for no lodging place could be found within the city for such a vast multitude of people. The Bible describes one of these visits as follows: "And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast. And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it. But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day's journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him. And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers. 

And when they saw him, they were amazed; and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? Behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business? And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them. And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them; but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart."


THE following, taken from Geikie's "Life of Christ," describes the journey to Jerusalem to attend the Feast of First Fruits, which was held in June. Probably, in most respects, the description would apply as well to the journey to the Feast of the Passover, which was held in the early spring.

"The intending pilgrims in Nazareth and the district round met in the town, as a convenient center, to arrange for the journey. The early harvest was mostly over, so that many could go. Wives, unmarried sisters, and children accompanied not a few. Flocks of sheep and oxen, for sacrifice and feasting, were driven gently along with the bands of pilgrims; and strings of camels and asses, laded with provisions and simple necessaries, or with freewill gifts to the temple, or bearing the old or feeble, lengthened the train. Every one wore festal clothes, and not a few carried garlands and wreaths of flowers. 

The cool banks of streams, or some well, offered resting-places by the way, and the pure water, with melons, dates, or cucumbers, sufficed for their simple food. Different bands united as they passed fresh towns and villages. All were roused, each morning, with the cry, 'Rise, let us go up to Zion, to the Eternal, our God!'

"The offerings of first-fruits the choicest of the year in baskets of willows, or even of gold or silver; doves for burnt-offerings, with their wings bound, and the ox, intended for a peace-offering, its horns gilded, and bound with wreaths of olive, went first. Flutes forthwith struck up, and the cavalcade moved on, to the chant, 'I was glad when they said to me, We shall go into the house of the Lord.'  Similar hymns cheered them ever and anon on each day's march. When within sight of Jerusalem, all was enthusiasm. Many threw themselves on their knees in devotion, lifting their hands to heaven. Presently all burst into the grand ode, 'Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is Mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King' the excitement culminating in the climax - -'for this God is our God forever and ever; he will be our guide even unto death.'

"A halt was now made to get everything in order. All arrayed themselves to the best advantage. The wheat-sheaves were wreathed with lilies, and the first fruits bedded in flowers, and set out as effectively as possible. Each company unrolled its banner, bearing the name of the town or village from which it came. When near the city, priests in their white robes came out to meet them, accompanied by a throng of citizens in holiday dress; and as they entered the gates, they sang aloud to the accompaniment of flutes, the psalm,' I was glad when they said to me, Let us go into the house of the Lord. Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem. The workmen at their trades in the streets, or at their doors, rose in honor of the procession as it passed, with the greeting, 'Men of Nazareth (or elsewhere), welcome!' a great crowd as they advanced, filling the air with gladness. At the temple hill, every one, rich and poor for all who shared in these processions took his basket on his shoulder and ascended to the Court of the Men, where the Levites met them, and fell into the procession, singing to the sound of their instruments, the psalm, beginning, 'Hallelujah! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in the firmament of his power.' 'I thank Thee O Lord, for thou hast heard me, and has' not let mine enemies rejoice over me.'"


TELL the truth. There are many false tongues. Let yours speak the things that are pure, lovely, and true.