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beautiful. Thy God can never be my god, for I wot nothing of sin, but of thee I have yet learned mightily.”
And he took from his pocket the knuckle-bone of a sheep, and said: “It is custom in our country when two friends part, to brake in twain the knuckle-bone of a sheep, each friend to take one part thereof, and to preserve that part forever-unless indeed being in sore perplexity or some great peril, he desireth assistance. And then, if he have but a messenger, he can send his portion of the knuckle-bone, whereby his friend shall know him, and shall come at once to his relief.'
And he brake the knuckle-bone in twain, and gave to the Jew a half thereof.
And the other half he placed in his wallet, and having set his countenance unto the westward, started swiftly on his journey.
But the Jew thought long about the history of his friendship with this man: that sudden vision of the beauteous light-bearer, while he, the shepherd lad, stood dejected and at gaze in the desolate darkness of his father's tomb; the happy walk beside him, then, in the dim desert-the instruction he had received from the Master's lips; the fierce battle, in which, at the beginning, the Greek had been as his hateful enemy, but, at the close, his sobbing friend; then the coming of the two to Sinai; the Cæsarian conflict in which he had himself unexpectedly taken high portion and joyous; then the second instruction of him, the Jew, by the light-and-laughter-loving master, who knew the secrets of this world. All these things returned, now, sacredly, unto the Jew.
But, by this, the Greek was far in the distance-a tiny figure, having, as it seemed, a bright light playing round about it. And the Jew watched both the figure and the light, and watched them, and yet for a very long time continued to watch them, until, at length, they had altogether vanished in the vague infinity of blue dust.
And all the while Samson had been sitting a-horseback, very straight and very still, upon one single spot. But, of a sudden, he bowed himself. And casting a corner of his raiment round about his head, he wept sore.
THERE came to Samson a woman's voice, saying: “Why weepest thou, O man of Cyrenaica? On a day thou shalt see Adonai in the flesh: then shalt thou have indeed a friend.”
He thought for a moment that he listened to the voice of Amahnah, so like were the words as well as the sound thereof unto that sweet woman's. Turning, he beheld that a short, though resplendent, caravan had come up, the while he had wept for Lampadephorus, and that, in the midst of the camels, was an Edomitish woman. She sate on a milk-white dromedary furnished with little bells and trappings of scarlet, and her face was like the sound of music in a sunlit temple. She it was that had spoke.
And Samson's sorrow left him, and he was filled with a great fear instead, for that the woman was beautiful, and yet strange, and he knew of the power which women had over him who were beautiful and strange. Moreover, the woman did seem to know both him and his heart.
He said, “Woman, whither goest thou ?”
She said, “Unto Petra, which is the chief city of Edom, and of all Asia-except Jerusalem," and rode on.
And Samson, who was also Solomon, of Cyrene, rode at the rear of the caravan, for he thought: “I also fare toward Petra, and, in the caravan, I am, in a way, safe from robbers. And when I am come within the city and am wholly safe, I will leave the caravan, and on to the house of Philostephanus.”
So he followed, and went in the wake of the splendid caravan toward populous Petra—but only the owls and the ravens inhabit that place today.
And, all the way along, he said in his heart: “Let me beware, O Adonai, of the woman which is both beautiful and strange.” And ofttimes he cried in the depths of his soul, “O Adonai, Adonai! If ever I do forget thee and thy child, Amahnah, even Machashebethel, then may the scarlet mountains fall upon me and the hills of white and blue cover over my bones.” But it came into his mind also that hard it was to serve any God which could neither be felt, nor seen, nor heard, nor anywise come anigh unto. “A sign, a sign! I will have a sign from Heaven!"
Then his heart smote him utterly, for he remembered that in such a mood it was he had wandered from Adonai,
He raised his hand, and sware by his soul's salvation that never again would he seek to know Adonai as a friend, and that all strange women and their ways should be far from him forever.
They came to a place of bones where crosses were, and they that were dead yet upon the wood. And he saw that the soldiers had been here, for, beneath each cross, was a board bearing the words, “Rome and revenge.” He said, “Adonai, keep me from all revenges.” But, remembering Trivialis, and saying: “That man I hate because he hath made a mockery of God, and not for mine own sake,” he rode up close to the hindmost men of the caravan (which were young men) saying unto them: “I prithee, who was she that just now spake unto me, and rideth on the little white dromedary with the scarlet trappings?”
The most of the young men answered not, but looked on him in a maze. One older than the others, cried out: “Now, by the blood that flows upon the stone!"
The caravan stopped. The woman dismounted, and drank beside a well. Then looked she at Samson-Solomon steadily.
She took in her hand a rod and wrote in the sand, then looked on Samson yet again.
And she gat upon her beast, and the caravan moved.
But when Samson had come to the sand by the well's side, he read: “O incomparable one! Thou who art Samson and also Solomon, both strength and wisdom, I would indeed see much of thee, and learn at thy feet the doctrines of God. For I have heard concerning thee and Adonai."
Then Samson bowed himself, and rode on silent and afraid.
And when they had threaded the tortuous defile of scarlet rock that leadeth downward into the city, then went she that was priestess of Dusares (but, as yet, Samson was unknowing of this matter) into a great temple which stood anigh. And the caravan went on.
And Samson was called from out the end of the caravan by a great voice shouting in Hebrew.
He looked, and behold-a Jewish rabbi, both in tephillim and phy. lactery. The face of the man was like that of Isaiah and of them that were with him and somewhat before him.
The Rabbi called, “I know thee who thou art: blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. Thou art Samson, which is also called Solomon. As for me, I am Rabbi of this city, and am called Jeezer. But why hast thou not Amahnah with thee, O priest?”
Said the young man, “Hail to thee, Jeezer! It is only because of mine own sins, 0 reverend Rabbi, that I came away without the Child of God. On a future day-"
"May it be so," responded Jeezer. Then, “I have for thee, in addition to temporal blessings, a little letter from thine Amahnah, which is also Enooth, or Afiliction,' and Machashebethel, or 'God's purpose.
And Samson knew not why, but he loathed the Rabbi and the letter, for his heart was darkened. Yet he said with sweetness, "Peace be unto thee, O Jeezer.” He took the moneys into his wallet, and, breaking the seal of the letter, readAmahnah unto Samson of Cyrene, Greeting:
Art thou well? If so, then all is well.
We have learned from friends of Azrikam (who have watched over thee) that thou hast gone toward Petra way.
And behold we have also learned that Azrikam, that helper against the enemy, is now no more. We have lifted up our voices and wept long for him. And thou, when thou shalt learn of his death, wilt also weep.
I still look after thy flocks, and send thee moneys by the Rabbi, Jeezer, at whose house we know (by the friends of Azrikam) that thou shouldest abide.
When wilt thou return that we may once more see thee
AMAHNAH. And Samson lifted up his voice feebly, and wept a little for the former prophet. Then he kissed the letter, saying: "What a pity, O Amahnah, that thou art not so beautiful as is she which wrote at the well. Then should I follow the mind of the Chazzan, and so be thou wouldst have me, would espouse thee.”
Jeezer thereupon cried out, “Knowest thou who it was with whom thou camest hither? A treacherous woman, priestess unto Dusares. And, as for Azrikam, hast thou no more of a lamentation for him than this! Her beauty is that of the fungus growing on the bodies of the dead, and she is all hardness of heart. Well is she called Gillul, which meaneth 'Stones,' and well is she priestess in a scarlet city. Be ye therefore wise, and suffer her not to mislead thee, but take heed, lest by a stumbling thou shouldst fall."
And as Samson would have gone upon his way, Jeezer saith further: "Whither goest thou !!!
Samson: "About the streets of this city, and then to the house of a friend."
Jeezer: “I am thy friend. Come, abide with me. What! Hearken, give good heed to all I would say.
“O my dear Son, thou hast the calling of a priest. Upon thy bosom is a sacred locket. Within that golden sheath are three rare pearls, beside the credentials of thine ancestry. Adonai is one and not many, and one and not many El-Shaddai. And all the world is full of harlotry and images. Fare not unto the scarlet woman, but keep thee at a great distance from her. Follow not the ways of those
who worship stones, and who take the lives of innocents, and make priestesses from shameless harlots.
"Then shalt thou indeed be as a priest unto thy people and unto all the world. But, if thou hearken not, then, as Betah hath said unto thee, there shall be no rest for the sole of thy foot. And, as to thy priesthood, there shall come another
“Draw not away from me, but be submissive to counsel. Wilt thou be accursed? Take here the oath I will swear before thee. Swear! Swear that never, so long as thou shalt be in scarlet Edom, wilt thou look again upon the vile priestess, even Gillul-swear. Swear also that never, so long as thou shalt be in Edom, wilt thou look upon the stone of Dusares—swear. And swear, O Son, O priest of God Almighty- Swear, O swear. Wilt thou not swear? Wilt thou ever be breaking away from me? Go not, Son. Swear, My Son, my Son."
But Samson-Solomon was sore offended. He cried backward to Jeezer, "Am I an idolater? Am I ignorant of God! I need not ravings, thou who art mad. The Lord is known unto me, as well as unto thee.”
Jeezer wailed after him, "Lo, I am well named Jeezer, for I am 'helpless' indeed. And, as for thee, O Samson of Cyrene, thou shalt be as a wanderer and shalt know no rest for the sole of thy foot. Hath not Betah informed thee? Remember when the day shall come. Amid the nations where thou wanderest, there shall be unto thee no abiding place at all. And there shall rest upon thee a curse, as well as a blessing. And when Messiah"
The Rabbi cast dust on his head, and returned to his house.
But Samson went about the streets of scarlet Edom, hardened of heart and angered, amidst the comings and the goings of caravans. He sold his horse, and fared upon foot. And, as he fared on and on, the rocks retired and the valley opened, and he saw the wide city in its glory both of sin-black rock, and of pale, sickly rock, and of rock of the color of men's bones, and of mendacious amethyst, and lustful heliotrope, and of the yellow of bright gold, and the colors of idolatrous amaranth and ivy, and the sapphire blue of heaven (but fearfully clouded). And mostly the rocks were scarlet, scarlet and red. And, in the living surfaces of these colored mountains, he beheld the innumerable fronts of houses, temples, tombs, and zigzag, winding stairways. And all were carven in the living rock.
He said, “Mine eyes for color are dull,' as are indeed the eyes of
1"Jews are markedly more color blind than their neighbors.”—The Jewish Encyclopedia, I, p. 620, B.