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every day for the strength we need; and to be always preparing for that world where the inhabitants are for ever young, for ever active, for ever holy, for ever happy.
THE FOX, or JACKAL.
It is not quite certain whether the fox mentioned in the Bible is the same animal that we now call by that name. It probably means what we now call the jackal. This animal is about as large as a common sized dog, and its color is yellow, or reddish brown. It never goes out alone to seek its food, but always in companies of forty or fifty together. Then they make strange noises, which sound very much like the crying of children.
They do not go out for their food in the daytime, but wait till it begins to be dark; and then they kill all the animals they can find that are not too strong for them. Sometimes a large animal like the lion will hear the cries that they
`make when they are hunting, and will come and snatch away from them whatever they have found. These foxes or jackals have been known to scratch away the earth from graves that have been lately made, and then devour the bodies of the dead. This explains a verse in the sixty-second Psalm, where David says of those who "seek his soul to destroy it,"—" They shall fall by the sword; they shall be a portion for foxes."
They eat plants of different kinds; sometimes roots, and sometimes fruits. This is one of the verses in Solomon's Song, "Take us the foxes, the little foxes which spoil the vines; for our vines have tender grapes."
These animals are often found in great numbers around the walls and ruins of old cities; they live in holes or burrows which they dig in the ground. Our Savior says, "The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.” We have read this verse so many times that we scarcely think how much it means; but was it not a wonderful thing that when Christ came from his bright throne in heaven to this poor earth, he should not find even a home here?
Every animal on all the hills has its shelter and hiding-place; every little bird in all the forest has its comfortable nest; but our Savior "had not where to lay his head." During all his life he was ९९ a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief." For whom did he suffer all this?—and when his sorrowful life was ended, for whom did he die? I need not tell you this, dear child, but I may ask you,
There are two kinds of goat in the countries where the Bible was written; one very much like those that we sometimes see; the other differing from it in several respects, especially in the greater length of its ears. It is supposed that the prophet Amos speaks of the latter kind when he says, "As the shepherd taketh out of the mouth of the lion, two legs or a piece of an ear."
The ear of this kind of goat is so long that a large piece might easily be bitten off; it sometimes measures more than a foot.
Solomon says, in the Proverbs, when speaking to a man who is diligent in his work, "Thou shalt have goats' milk enough for thy food, for the food of thy household, and for the maintenance of thy maidens." This seems strange to us, because we are not much used to it; but in those countries the milk of the goat is very sweet and good, and is often made into cheese.
The people there often have a great number of goats. Jacob sent a present of two hundred and twenty to his brother Esau; and a great king, mentioned in the Bible, once received seven thousand seven hundred as a gift. A man is mentioned in the first book of Samuel who owned a thousand goats: perhaps you can find the place; and if you do, you will see in the next verse what his name was, and also the name of his wife.
There are two kinds of hair upon the goat; one is long and coarse, the other soft and fine. Of the first kind the people make a kind of rough, coarse cloth; the other is made into very fine cloth, almost as soft as silk. A part of the
curtains for the tabernacle were made of goats' hair.
The bottles mentioned in the Bible were usually made of goat-skins: the people in those days had not learned to make glass. When they had been used a long time, they became worn, so that they would not hold what was put in them. Our Savior once said, "Neither do men put new wine into old bottles;" this was because the new wine would ferment and the leathern bottles would burst. There is a story in the Old Testament about some men who wished to deceive Joshua, and lead him to think that they lived at a very great distance from him, when they really lived very near. So it is said, (Josh. 9:4, 5,)
They took old sacks upon their asses, and wine-bottles, old and rent, and bound up; and old shoes and clouted upon their feet, and old garments upon them; and all the bread of their provision was dry and mouldy." Then they said to Joshua, (verses 12 and 13,) "This our bread we took hot for our provision out of our houses on the day we came forth to go unto you; but now, behold it is dry, and it is mouldy. And these bottles of wine which we filled were new, and behold they be rent; and these our garments