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Turning, he beheld Gillul, priestess of Dusares, coming in sober garments. “I would learn of thee concerning El-Shaddai, o Jew. Teach me."
Said he, “Where?"
She answered and said unto him, “Wouldst thou have it so remain, or wouldst thou change it?"
But he, remembering Temunah and Emah, would nowise go with her.
She, on another day, having come yet again to the oil market, and finding there the Jew, said unto him again: “I would learn of thee concerning El-Shaddai."
But he answered, “Have I not already said to thee I would have naught to do with thee?"
“I have another purpose this time in that I ask thee to my house. Thy Law, saith it not: 'An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth?'"
“It saith it."
"And saith it not also, 'He that blasphemeth the name of the Lord, he shall surely be put to death'?"
“It saith even that also.” "Hast thou not," then asked Gillul, “an enemy that hath so
" blasphemed, making a jest both of God and of God's temple and of all the things which are God's-even God's priests ?”
Samson said, “Yea. I am a revenger to execute justice upon him. In the name of the Lord God, I will have upon him a full revenge.
Said Gillul, “I have heard of thee and thy just revenge, and he whom thou dost seek is here in Petra. I also do need revenge upon him-for he hath mocked at my religion too. Come to my house therefore on this night, when the redness of the sun is still upon the redness of the rocks, and I will lead thee straightway unto him, that thou mayest kill him, having thy just revenge, I mine also.”
Said Solomon with a shout, "Is it verily so I will be at thy house when the redness of the sun is still upon the redness of the rocks, and thou shalt show the Mocker unto me."
“I will show him unto thee," said Gillul. “But to do this thing I shall have sore need to take thee by a secret stair unto a secret High Place."
Samson said, “What matter Can I not climb a stair Show me Trivialis.'
She: “Thou art a true man. I will await thee. Lo! yonder in the scarlet stone live I—the house with the lofty pillars, next to the one that is carven in great blackness."
And he looked, and saw, and remembered the place.
And, awaiting the time, he gave great alms and was high compassionate unto many, even unto them that had by their own countrymen been neglected. For such was the use and custom of his people everywhere, in whatsoever land or nation they might be.
And when the red light of the sun was yet upon the redness of the rocks, he climbed the crooked stairway to Gillul's house, and knocked, and was straightway admitted to the dwelling.
And when he was set, then came forth Gillul, still in sober garments, saying: “It lacketh yet a little ere I can take thee to Trivialis. And when the time is come, a horn will sound. By that we shall know. Meanwhile, teach thou me Adonai."
She cast herself passionately upon the stone floor at his feet, crying: “See! I would learn at thy feet, for long have I wished to know.'
And Samson remembered his pride concerning this matter before Philostephanus, but behold, the woman was very beautiful, and he loved her exceedingly.
He therefore opened his mouth and taught her (for he asked in his soul, Should I be as Jonah, and neglect to teach the heathen ?).
He said therefore unto her, “See! there is but one God, and He hath chosen Israel for his priests. Even now go I up unto Jerusalem, where I shall be admitted to the High Priest, there to show my locket, in which is my credential to my priesthood. And he will take me to the Hall of Polished Stones, in the presence of the Sanhedrim, and when they have read my parchment and have seen me that I have no flaw, they will wholly array me in a shining garment, and will write my name in the book in which that name should be.”
He said also, “And God is wholly good, and wholly wise, and wholly powerful. Yet is he a jealous God too, and will have no other gods before Him.
“Adonai hateth sin, as do all men—but some are sore perverted in their natures. And the gods of the heathen, the Elilim, are not as the God of the Hebrews-Adonai, El-Shaddai. For they are workers of iniquity, and lure the hearts of men from truth and righteousness. They are adversaries of the Savior from sin, servants unto Satan.'
Said then Gillul, “Do ye not indeed worship the Lord with images, and have ye not a place that is high, even (as I have heard) on Mount Moriah?”
Samson said unto her, “Ye mean, Have we not altar, court, and laver, even as ye have, and show we not in shadows in our Temple the things that are not of sense even as ye do? But none of the things at all which are in the Temple do we worship. They are only allegories—pictures of things unseen, which things then the peoples, having beheld the pictures, may understand. But there is no picture of El-Shaddai there. He is beyond all picturing. He and His infinite attributes also-His tenderness, His mercy, His righteousness, His truth, His peace, His love."
The Jew fell silent. And a man that was a slave in Gillul's household, having overheard these things, grew deeply concerned. In after years, having been freed, he went up to Jerusalem, where he became a proselyte to righteousness. Going into many places, he taught that salvation is of the Jews, and brought many others also unto God, until at length Jehovah, who long had loved him and supported him in fleshly tribulations, reached forth and took him home.
Even the priestess, Gillul, because of the things she had just listened to, thought: “Would that I were now as this excellent Jew is—though not so easily misled.”
She bent her head in deepest consideration, and out of her bosom fell a letter, that which she had had from Ophidion.
She caught it quickly up, and was covered with blushes. Yet she put the letter back into her bosom, saying: “Let us go without, and sit upon the terraced place, until the horn doth sound.'
And they went and sate without, and looked down into the city. And Samson heard distinctly the tinkling of the rings about the camels' necks, and beheld a multitude of torches moving about the irradiated streets. After a time he beheld many a light that was fixed, and moved not. Gillul, who saw this also, said unto him: “See! It is just a little after the winter solstice, and the time is sacred to Dusares. There are lights on all the housetops, where much of the people worship, and these lights move not. But also a multitude is going toward the greatest of the High Places—for there the truest worship of our god is.”
Then said Samson, “On a time will come Messiah, and all these things shall pass."
'Cometh He with a sword ?!
“He cometh with a sword.” And Samson-Solomon dreamed in
" the presence of the priestess and with wide-waking eyes.
“If He come,” fared on the woman, “He may not bring a sword-so say Babylonian magi. Moreover, if so He came, then mightest thou, O most stiffnecked person, resist Him. Thou art a man set in all thy ways, and never a one can bend thee—so be thou like Him not." “I shall like Messiah," said Samson, “I will worship Him. If
” He come or ere I die, I shall see Him in the flesh, will touch the border of His sacred garment with my fingers, listen to His holy words with these my very ears, and, when He biddeth me arise, I will kiss Him on each cheek.'
A horn sounded.
Gillul arose, saying: “Let us mount to the High Place. Come, let us mount.
They ascended with torches up the scarlet rocks, and went to a secret high place of Dusares.
There they extinguished their flames, for the rites to the god Dusares were ever to be performed beneath the quivering gods of heaven.
Took she that was priestess unto Dusares Samson of Cyrene up before the silent congregation, and set him before them by an unhewn stone that was sacred to Dusares. But the Jew said unto her, “I see not Trivialis”—for he thought alone of a great revenge on him that had been a scoffer at Adonai.
The priestess answered and said unto him, “Be content. Thou shalt see Trivialis.” She laughed sweetly.
And she summoned a trembling father up before the congregation, who had with him a little child. Them twain set she down before the unhewn stone."
Said she to the father, “This is December 25. What hast thou as a gift unto Dusares ?”
Said he, “I have my child."
The father choked, and looked on his child weeping. Yet he said, "I do. I do give him freely."
Cried Gillul, “Hither, O priest of sacrifices."
1 For the ritual employed in the worship of Dusares (Dhu 'sh-Sharā) see, among other authorities, Hastings, "Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics,” I, pp. 663 and 665 (both_columns); also Wellhausen, “Reste Arabischen Heidenthums," zweite Ausgabe, Berlin, 1897, pp. 48-51 and 101-147.
having in his hand a great blade. Whereat the child did scream and press his head against his father's bosom.
* Assuredly, my son. I have always loved thee better than my own soul: thou art unto me first and last and only."
“Who then will be thy son, dear Father, when I am gone! Thou madest for me a little black tent. And who will be my mother's ? Art thou sure that this is right, O my father?"
“It is right,” said the father. “My son, it is very right. Dusares demandeth it."
“Dusares doth indeed demand it,” said in a low, dead tone the white priest. And he signed to the congregation, which arose and began singing, that the god, Dusares, might be unable to hear the screaming of the child, and, being offended by this, reject the sacrifice.
The priest plucked up the child out of its father's bosom, and cut its throat, and the blood spouted.
And the father fell straight down on the rocky ground.
But the priest took blood upon his hand, and, smearing the stone with it, cried out above the congregation: “We come unto thee, Dusares! We come, we come.'
And he moistened the soil about the stone with the blood of the child, and, digging a hole beneath the stone, did lay the child's body therein, and so buried it.
And the congregation (Philostephanus among them) left their places, and wildly marched around the stone, crying: “We come, Dusares! Great is Dusares! Holy is Dusares! We come, we come!”
Some did pass their hands both on and over the stone, some lay down and kissed it. All were barefoot, carrying, each, his shoes in his hands.
And Samson of Cyrene was deeply stirred in his soul.
Thought he, “Surely a sacrifice like this which I have seen, were acceptable to Adonai. And surely Adonai is in this stone, for else would a people which is mighty worship such a thing? But these do call Adonai by another name than do I-which is Dusares. And that is all the difference between them and me."
And he stripped him of his shoes, and took them in his hand, and marched with the other people round about the stone, crying “Great is Dusares !” And he felt of the stone, and lay on the ground and kissed the stone.