The Talmud: Selections, by H. Polano, , at sacred-texts.com
THERACH, the son of Nahor, was the chief officer of King Nimrod, and a great favourite with his royal master; and when his wife Amtheta, the daughter of Karnebo, bore him a son, she called the child Ab-ram, meaning "Great father;" and Therach was seventy years old when his son Abram was born.
Now it came to pass on the night of Abram's birth that Therach entertained a number of his friends, including the wise men and magicians of Nimrod the king. They passed the night in revelry and merriment, and when they went forth from the house of their host morn was dawning. Lifting their eyes heavenward, they beheld a large and brilliant star rise before them in the east, and swallow up or consume four stars from the four corners of the heavens. The magicians wondered much at this occurrence, and they said one to the other:
"Verily, this is an omen connected with the newly-born child of Therach. When he grows up he will be fruitful and increase' greatly in power and excellence, and his descendants will destroy this kingdom and possess its lands."
And they went home and pondered over the matter, and when they met in the house of assembly, they said:
"Behold, we had better inform the king of the wonderful occurrence which greeted our sight. Should it come to his knowledge indirectly, he will be wroth with us for keeping
it from him; he may even slay us for our neglect. Let us go to him at once that we may be free from blame in the matter."
Entering into the presence of the king, his wise men saluted him, saying, "O king, live for ever!"
And the chief of the wise men then related to the king the phenomenon which they had witnessed, and the interpretation or meaning which they assigned to it. Concluding the relation, he added:
"And now, if it be pleasing to the king, we would advise him to pay the value of this child unto his father and destroy him while in his infancy, lest in the days to come, through him and his descendants, we and our children be utterly destroyed."
The king listened attentively to the words of his servants and approved of their advice. He sent a messenger for Therach, and when the latter appeared before him he told him all that the wise men had related, and said:
"Now, therefore, give up the child, that we may slay him before misfortune falls upon us, and in payment we will fill thy coffers with silver and with gold!"
Then answered Therach:
"I have listened to the words of my lord, and all that he wishes I will do; yet first I beg, let me tell the king of a request made to me but yesterday, and ask his advice thereon."
"It is well," replied Nimrod; "speak."
"Yesterday," said Therach, "Ayon, the son of Morad, came to my house desiring to purchase from me the beautiful steed, which thou, oh king, didst graciously present to me. 'Sell me the horse,' said Ayon, 'and I will pay thee his full value and likewise fill thy stables with straw and provender.' And I answered him that I did not feel at
liberty to so dispose of the king's gift without the king's approval; and now, oh king! I ask thee for advice." Angrily the king answered:
"And thou wouldst think of selling my gift, of parting with that noble steed for gold and silver, straw and provender! Art thou in such need of these things that thou wouldst barter for them the horse which I have given thee, a steed unequalled in the land?"
Then Therach bowed before the king, and said, "And if such is thy feeling in regard to this horse, how canst thou ask me to give up my child? Gold and silver cannot pay me for the gift of my king, neither can gold or silver replace for me my child?"
This application of his advice was exceedingly disagreeable to the king, and his feeling was so plainly pictured on his countenance that Therach quickly added:
"All my possessions are my king's, even my child, without money and without price."
"No," said the king, "for money will I buy him."
"Pardon, my lord," returned Therach, "give me three days for consideration, and I will speak of this matter with the mother of the boy."
Nimrod granted this request, and Therach departed from his presence.
At the end of the three days the king sent a message to Therach, commanding him to send the child or be himself destroyed with all his family.
When Therach received this message, realising that the king was determined in his purpose, he took the child of one of his slaves, a child born on the day of Abram's birth, and sent it to King Nimrod, receiving the money for it and declaring it to be his child.
The king himself slew the child, and Therach hid his wife,
[paragraph continues] Abram, and the child's nurse in a lonely cave, sending them food secretly every week. And Abram remained in this cave until he was ten years old.
At the end of ten years Nimrod and his officers had forgotten all about Abram and the episode of his birth, and Abram came forth from the cave and was sent to live with Noah and his son Shem to learn from them the ways of the Lord; and he lived there thirty-nine years.
During these years Charan, the son of Therach, the elder brother of Abram, married, and his wife bore him a son whom he called "Lot;" she bore him also two daughters, one of whom he called Milcah and the other Sarai. At the time of Sarai's birth, Abram was about forty-two years of age.
From his earliest childhood Abram was a lover of the Lord. God had granted him a wise heart ready to comprehend and understand the majesty of the Eternal, and able to despise the vanity of idolatry.
When quite a child, beholding the brilliant splendour of the noonday sun and the reflected glory which it cast upon all objects around, he said, "Surely this brilliant light must be a god, to him will I render worship." And he worshipped the sun and prayed to it. But as the day lengthened the sun's brightness faded, the radiance which it last upon the earth was lost in the lowering clouds of night, and as the twilight deepened the youth ceased his supplications, saying, "No, this cannot be a god. Where then can I find the Creator, He who made the heavens and the earth?" He looked towards the west, the south, the north, and to the east. The sun disappeared from his view, nature became enveloped in the pall of a past day. Then the moon rose, and when Abram saw it shining in the heavens surrounded by its myriads of stars, he said, "Perhaps these
are the gods who have created all things," and he uttered prayers to them. But when the morning dawned and the stars paled, and the moon faded into silvery whiteness and was lost in the returning glory of the sun, Abram knew God, and said, "There is a higher power, a Supreme Being, and these luminaries are but His servants, the work of His hands." From that day, even until the day of his death, Abram knew the Lord and walked in all His ways.
While Abram, the son of Therach, added daily to his wisdom and knowledge in the house of Noah, none knowing aught of his whereabouts, the subjects of King Nimrod, who then reigned in Babel, continued in their evil ways, despite of the warnings which they had received of the destruction of the wicked. And the servants of Nimrod called him Amraphel. Merdon, the son of Nimrod, was more unrighteous than his father, and even Therach, who still remained chief officer to the king, became a worshipper of idols. In his house he had twelve large images of wood and stone, a separate god for each month in the year, and to these he prayed and made obeisance.
When Abram was fifty years of age he left the house of his instructor, Noah, and returned to Therach, his father. He beheld the twelve idols occupying the places of honour in his father's house, and his soul waxed full with wrath, and he uttered a vow, saying:
"By the life of the Lord, if these images remain here three days longer, may the God who created me make me even such as they."
And Abram sought his father when he was surrounded by his officers, and he spoke to him, saying:
"Father, tell me, I pray, where I may find the God who created the heavens and the earth, thee, me, and all the people in the world."
And Therach answered:
"My son, the creator of all things is here with us in the house."
Then said Abram:
"Show him to me, my father."
And Therach led Abram into an inner apartment, and pointing to the twelve large idols and the many smaller ones around, he said:
"These are the gods who created the heavens and the earth, thee, me, and all the people of the world."
Abram then sought his mother, saying:
"My mother, behold, my father has shown to me the gods who have created the earth and all that it contains, therefore, prepare for me, I pray thee, a kid for a sacrifice, that the gods of my father may partake of the same and receive it favourably."
Abram's mother did as her son had requested her, and Abram placed the food which she prepared before the idols, but none stretched forth a hand to eat.
Then Abram jested, and said, "Perchance ‘tis not exactly to their taste, or mayhap the quantity appears stinted. I will prepare a larger offering, and strive to make it still more savoury."
Next day Abram requested his mother to prepare two kids and with her greatest skill, and placing them before the idols he watched with the same result as on the previous day.
Then Abram exclaimed:
"Woe to my father and to this evil generation; woe to those who incline their hearts to vanity and worship senseless images without the power to smell or eat, to see or hear. Mouths they have, but sounds they cannot utter; eyes they have, but lack all power to see; they have ears
that cannot hear, hands that cannot move, and feet that cannot walk. Senseless as they are the men who wrought them, senseless all who trust in them and bow before them."
And seizing an iron implement, he destroyed and broke with it all the images save one, into the hands of which he placed the iron which he had used.
The noise of this proceeding reached the ears of Therach, who hurried to the apartment, where he found the broken idols and the food which Abram had placed before them. In wrath and indignation he cried out unto his son, saying:
"What is this that thou hast done unto my gods?" And Abram answered:
"I brought them savoury food, and behold they all grasped for it with eagerness at the same time, all save the largest one, who, annoyed and displeased with their greed, seized that iron which he holds and destroyed them."
"False are thy words," answered Therach in anger. "Had these images the breath of life, that they could move and act as thou hast spoken? Did I not fashion them with my own hands? How, then, could the larger destroy the smaller ones?"
"Then why serve senseless, powerless gods?" replied Abram, "gods who can neither help thee in thy need nor hear thy supplications? Evil is it of thee and those who unite with thee to serve images of stone and wood, forgetting the Lord God who made the heaven and the earth and all that is therein. Ye bring guilt upon your souls, the same guilt for which your ancestors were punished by the waters of the flood. Cease, oh, my father, to serve such gods, lest evil fall upon thy soul and the souls of all thy family."
And seizing the iron from the hands of the remaining idol, he destroyed that also, before his father's eyes.
When Therach witnessed this deed of his son, he hastened before King Nimrod and denounced Abram, saying, "A son born to me fifty years ago has acted so and so,--let him be brought before thee, I pray, for judgment."
When Abram was summoned before the king, Nimrod said to him:
"What is this that thou hast done unto thy father's gods?"
And Abram answered the king in the same words that he had spoken to his father. And when Nimrod replied:
"The large god had no strength nor power to do this thing," Abram continued, saying:
"Then wherefore serve him? Why cause thy subjects to follow in thy vain ways? Rather serve the great Lord of the world who has power to do all things; who has the power to kill, the power to keep alive. Woe to thee, thou man of foolish heart. Turn from thy evil ways, serve Him in whose hands is thy life and the lives of all thy people, or die in reproach, thou and all who follow thee."
The king commanded his officers to seize Abram and lead him to confinement, and he remained in prison ten days. During this time Nimrod convened his council, and thus addressed his princes and his officers:
"Ye have heard of the deeds of Abram, the son of Therach. He has treated me with disrespect and shown no dread of my power. Behold, he is in prison; therefore speak and tell me what punishment should be inflicted on this man, who has acted so audaciously before me."
And the counsellors replied:
"He who acts disrespectfully to the king should meet
death upon the gallows; this man has done more; he is guilty of sacrilege, he has insulted our gods; therefore he should be burned to death. If it be pleasing to the king let a furnace be heated, day and night, and then let this Abram be cast therein."
This advice pleased the king, and he commanded such measures to be taken forthwith.
And when the furnace was heated to a great and consuming heat, all the officers assembled, and the people, both great and small, to witness the carrying out of the king's orders. The women, carrying their children with them, ascended to the roofs of their houses, and the men gathered in great numbers; but all stood afar off, for none dared approach the great heat to look into the furnace.
And it came to pass, when Abram was brought out from prison and the wise men and magicians beheld him, that they cried aloud unto Nimrod:
"Oh, king, we know this man! This is none other than the child, at whose birth, fifty years ago, one large star consumed four other stars. His father has mocked thee and played thee false in sending another child in his stead, to be slain according to thy will."
When the king heard these words he grew fiercely angry, and ordered Therach to be immediately brought before him. And he said to Therach:
"Thou hast heard what these magicians have asserted. Tell me, now, have they spoken truly?"
And Therach, observing the great anger of the king, answered truly:
"It is as these wise men have spoken. I had compassion upon my child, and sent thee in his stead the child of one of my slaves."
"Who advised thee to this? Speak truly, and thou shalt live?" demanded Nimrod.
The king's manner terrified Therach, and he answered quickly, not knowing what he said, and altogether without foundation:
"Charan, my other son, advised me to the thing."
Now Charan was a man without strength of mind in faith, and undecided as to whether the idols of his father or the God of Abram deserved his worship. When Abram was cast in prison, Charan said in his heart, "Now will I see what God is powerful. If Abram prevails I will profess his faith, and if he perishes I will follow the leading of the king."
When Therach thus accused his son, Nimrod answered:
"Then Charan must suffer with Abram, and both thy sons be cast into the furnace."
And both Abram and Charan were brought before the king, and in the presence of all the inhabitants their robes were removed from them, their hands and feet were bound, and they were cast into the flaming furnace.
Now the heat of the fire was so great that the twelve men who cast them therein were consumed by it, yet God had compassion upon his servant Abram, and though the ropes which bound him were burned from off his limbs, he walked upright through the fire, unharmed. But Charan, his brother, whose heart was not the Lord's, met instantaneous death in the flames. And the servants of the king called out to their master:
"Behold, Abram walks unhurt through the flames, the ropes with which we bound him are consumed, yet he is uninjured."
The king refused to believe so wonderful a thing, and
sent trusted officers to look into the furnace, and when they corroborated the words of their inferiors the king was lost in amazement, and commanded his officers to take Abram out of the fire. They were not able, however, to execute his order, for the forks of flame blazed in their faces and they fled from the great heat.
And the king reproached them, saying ironically:
"Haste ye,--take Abram out, else he may die!"
But their second attempt was fruitless as the first, and in it eight men were burned to death.
Then the king called to Abram, saying:
"Servant of the God of Heaven, come forth from the fire and stand before me."
And Abram walked out of the fire and the furnace and stood before the king. And when the king saw that not even a hair of Abram's head was singed by the flame, he expressed wonder and amazement.
"The God of Heaven, in whom I trust," said Abram, "and in whose hand are all things, hath delivered me from the flames."
And the princes of the king bowed before Abram, but he said to them:
"Bow not to me, but to the great God of the Universe, who hath created you. Serve Him and walk in His ways; He is powerful to deliver and to save from death."
The king, too, looked on Abram with awe, and made him many valuable presents, and parted from him in peace.
And it came to pass after this that Nahor and Abram took to themselves wives; the name of Nahor's wife was Milcah, and the name of Abram's wife Sarai, or Yiska. They were both the daughters of Charan, the brother of their husbands.
About two years after Abram's deliverance from death by
fire, King Nimrod dreamed. And behold, in this dream, he was standing with his army in a valley, opposite to a great furnace, in which a fire blazed; and a man, resembling Abram, came forth from the furnace and stood before the king, holding in his hand a drawn sword. And the man approached Nimrod with this sword uplifted, and Nimrod turned and fled. Then, as the king fled, the man threw after him an egg, and a huge river of water flowed forth from this egg, engulfing the king and all his army, and all were drowned save the king with three men. As they fled, the king turned to look at the companions who had been saved with him, and behold they were men of tall stature and commanding appearance, and attired in royal apparel. And the river disappeared and only an egg remained. And further in his dream, King Nimrod beheld a bird issue forth from this egg, and the bird flew upon his head and pecked out his eyes. Then the king awoke in great terror, and lo, his heart was beating rapidly and his blood was feverish.
In the morning the king sent for his wise men, and relating to them his dream, he demanded its interpretation. And one of the wise men, whose name was Anuki, answered, saying:
"Behold, this dream foreshadows the evil which Abram and his descendants will cause the king in time to come. It foretells the day when they will rise and smite our lord the king with all his hosts, and there will none be saved except the king, with three other kings who will battle on his side. And the river and the bird, these that came forth from the egg, lo, they but typify the descendants of this man, who will work much evil to our nation and our people in after days.
"This is the interpretation of the dream, its only meaning. And well thou knowest, oh, any lord the king, that many
years ago thy wise men beheld this very thing, and yet to thy own misfortune thou hast still allowed this man to live. While he walks on earth thy kingdom remains imperilled."
The words of Anuki made a deep impression on the king, and he sent secret emissaries to take Abram's life. The king's design, however, was frustrated by Eleazer, a slave of Abram's, whom Nimrod had presented to him. He learned of the king's intention, and warned his master, saying:
"Arise, get thee quickly hence, that thou mayest escape destruction."
And he told Abram of the king's dream, and the interpretation which the wise men had given to it.
So Abram hastened to the house of Noah, and remained there hiding while the servants of the king searched his own home and the surrounding country in vain, and he remained a longer time, even until the people had forgotten him.
And it came to pass during this period of concealment that Therach, who was still a favourite with the king, came in secret to visit his son. And Abram spoke to him, saying:
"Come, let us all journey to another land; let us go to Canaan. Thou knowest that the king seeks my life, and even though he honours and exalts thee, yet wealth and power amount to naught in the hour of death and trouble. Journey with me, oh, my father; abandon the vanity which thou pursuest; let us live in safety, worshipping the great God who created us in happiness and peace."
And Noah and his son Shem added their entreaties to those of Abram, till Therach consented to do as they wished. And Therach with Abram his son, and Lot his son's son, and Sarai his daughter-in-law, and all his family, went forth from Ur Chaldee, from the city of Babel to the land of Charan, and there they tarried.
And the country around them was pleasant and fertile, and there was ample space for the men and the cattle they had with them. And the people of Charan respected and honoured them, and God blessed them and looked with favour on their household.
And it came to pass after Abram had dwelt in Charan about three years, that the Lord appeared to him, and said:
"I am the Lord who brought thee safely through the fire of the Chaldeans, and delivered thee from the strength of thy enemies. If thou wilt hearken earnestly to my words and follow diligently my commands, I will make thy seed even as the stars of the heaven, and those who hate shall likewise fear thee. My blessing shall rest upon thee and my favour on thy doings. Now, arise, take Sarai thy wife, and those who belong to thee, and all thy possessions, and journey to Canaan and dwell there, and I will be thy God and bless thee."
And Abram journeyed with his family to Canaan in obedience to the Lord's command. And he was fifty-five years old when he left Charan.
When Abram had pitched his tent in Canaan, among the inhabitants of the land, God again appeared to him, and said:
"This is the land which I have given as a permanent possession to thee and thy descendants. For the generations to spring from thee shall be numerous as the stars in heaven, and the countries which I have shown thee shall be their heritage on earth."
Then Abram built an altar to God, and called it by the name of the Lord. And he continued to dwell in Canaan, and when he had lived there about three years Noah died at the age of nine hundred and fifty years.
After this Abram returned to Charan to visit his father and mother, and he remained with them in Charan for five years. During this time he endeavoured to spread a knowledge of the Eternal, and he succeeded in gaining among the Charanites many followers of the one God.
And the Lord appeared to him in Charan, saying:
"Arise and return to the land of Canaan, thou and thy wife and all born in thy house, and all the souls which thou hast made in Charan. To thee have I given the land from the river of Egypt even unto the great river, the river Euphrates."
And Abram did as the Lord commanded, and Lot, the son of his brother, went with him out of Charan to the land of Canaan.
Now Lot possessed large herds of cattle, for God had prospered him in his undertakings. And it happened that the herdsmen of Lot and the herdsmen of Abram quarrelled and disputed in regard to rights of pasturage and water, and they strove one with the other. Therefore Abram said to Lot:
"Thou hast done wrong, and through thy herdsmen thou wilt cause me to be hated by our neighbours. Thy shepherds have pastured their flocks on lands which belong to others, and I must bear the reproach therefor. Thou knowest that I am but a stranger and sojourner in this land, and thou shouldst bid thy servants to be heedful."
Despite the frequent rebukes of Abram, however, the herdsmen of Lot continued to quarrel with Abram's men, and to trespass upon the pastures of their neighbours. At last Abram spoke earnestly, saying:
"Let there be no strife between us, for we are near relations, yet we must separate. Go thou whither thou pleasest, choose thy dwelling-place where thou wilt, thou
and thy cattle and all thy possessions, but bide no longer with me. If thou art in danger I will haste to aid thee, and in all things will I be with thee, but separate thyself from me I pray."
And Lot lifted up his eyes and looked upon the land opposite the river Jordan. He saw rich plains and fertile fields, a country pleasant for man, and with wide pastures for flocks, rich in water and gratifying to the sight. And Lot was much pleased with the country, and journeyed thither even to Sodom, departing in peace from Abram with his flocks and all his possessions. And Abram remained and dwelt in the groves of Mamre, near to Hebron.
"The men of Sodom were wicked, and sinners before the Lord exceedingly."
Now, in these days Sodom and four other cities were inhabited by men of evil actions, who provoked the anger and indignation of the Most High. They planted in the valley a beautiful garden many miles in extent, a place adorned with fruits and flowers, and objects pleasing to the sight and intoxicating to the senses. Thither the people flocked four times a year with music and with dancing, indulging in all sorts of excesses and acts of idolatrous worship, with none to utter a word of warning or rebuke.
In their daily life they were both cruel and treacherous, oppressing the stranger and taking advantage of all persons thrown in contact with them. If a trader entered their city they would seize his goods either with violence or through trickery, and if he remonstrated they but mocked him and drove him from the place.
It happened once that a man from Elam, journeying to a place beyond Sodom, reached this latter city even as the
sun was setting. He had with him an ass bearing a valuable saddle to which some rare and precious merchandise was attached. Unable to find a lodging for himself and stabling for the animal, he resolved to pass the night in the streets of Sodom, and journey on in the morning. A certain citizen of Sodom, named Hidud, chanced to observe this stranger, and being cunning and treacherous, he accosted him, saying:
"Whence comest thou, and whither art thou travelling?"
"I am journeying from Hebron," replied the stranger; "my destination is beyond this place; but lo, the sun has set; I can obtain no lodging, and so I remain here in the streets. I have bread and water for myself and straw and provender for my beast, so I need not be under obligation to anybody."
"Nay, this is wrong," returned Hidud, "come pass the night with me, thy lodging shall cost thee naught, and I will attend also to the wants of thy animal."
Hidud led the stranger to his house. He removed the valuable saddle from the ass, and the merchandise which was attached to it he also removed, placing them in the closet in his house, then he gave the ass provender and set meat and drink before the stranger, who partook of the meal, and lodged that night with him.
In the morning the stranger rose up early intending to pursue his journey, but Hidud said to him, "Take first thy morning meal, then go thy way."
After the man had eaten he rose to go on his way, but Hidud stopped him, saying, "It is late in the day, remain I pray thee, bide with me yet this day and then depart."
The stranger remained in Hidud's house until the following morning, and then, declining another pressing invitation to remain one day more, he prepared for his departure.
Then said Hidud's wife:
"This man has lived with us two days and paid us naught."
But Hidud answered:
"Keep thy peace."
He then brought forth the stranger's ass, and bade him "fare thee well."
"Hold," said the stranger, "my saddle, the spread of many colours, and the strings attached to it, together with my merchandise, where are they?"
"What!" exclaimed Hidud.
"I gave thee," returned the stranger, "a beautiful spread with strings attached to it; thou hast hidden it in thy house."
"Ah!" said Hidud pleasantly, "I will interpret thy dream. That thou hast dreamed of strings, signifies that thy days will be prolonged even as strings may be stretched from end to end; that thou hast dreamed of a spread of many colours signifieth that thou wilt one day possess a garden rich in flowers and luscious fruits."
The stranger answered:
"No, my lord, I dreamed not; I gave to thee a spread of many colours with strings attached, and thou hast hidden it in thy house."
And Hidud said:
"And I have interpreted thy dream; I have told thee its meaning, ‘tis useless to repeat it. For the interpretation of a dream people generally pay me four pieces of silver, but as for thee, behold I will ask of thee only three."
The stranger was very angry at this outrageous conduct, and he accused Hidud in the court of Sodom of stealing his goods. Then when each man told his story, the judge said:
"Hidud speaks the truth; he is an interpreter of dreams; he is well known as such."
And Hidud said to the stranger:
"And as thou art such a liar, thou must even pay me the full price, four pieces of silver, as well as for the four meals eaten in my house."
"Willingly will I pay thee for thy meals," replied the other, "if thou wilt but return my saddle and my goods."
Then the two men wrangled with angry words, and they were driven forth from the court-house, and the men in the streets joined on Hidud's side, and they fought the stranger and thrust him forth from the city, robbed of all his possessions.
When a poor man entered the city of Sodom the people would give him money in order to save a reputation for charity, but they made an agreement among themselves that no one should either give or sell him food, or allow him to depart from the city. The man would consequently die of starvation, and the people would then regain the money they had given him. They would even rob the body of the rags which covered it, and bury it naked in the wilderness.
Upon one occasion Sarai sent her servant Eleazer to Sodom to inquire concerning the welfare of Lot and his family. As he entered the city, Eleazer observed a Sodomite fighting with a stranger whom he had defrauded, and who, running to Eleazer, implored him for assistance.
"What art thou doing to this poor man?" said Eleazer to the Sodomite; "shame upon thee to act in this manner towards a stranger in your midst!"
And the Sodomite replied:
"Is he thy brother? What is our quarrel to thee?" and picking up a stone, he struck Eleazer with it on the forehead, causing his blood to flow freely in the street. When the Sodomite saw the blood, he caught hold of Eleazer, crying
"Pay me my fee as a leech; see, I have freed thee of this impure blood; pay me quickly, for such is our law."
"What!" exclaimed Eleazer, "thou hast wounded me and I am to pay thee for it!"
This Eleazer refused to do, and the Sodomite had him brought into the court, and there before the judge reiterated his demand for a fee.
"Thou must pay the man his fee," said the judge, addressing Eleazer; "he has let thy blood, and such is our law."
Eleazer paid the money, and then lifting up the stone he struck the judge heavily with it, and the blood spurted out in a strong stream.
"There!" exclaimed Eleazer, "follow thy law and pay my fee to this man; I want not the money," and he left the court-house.
At another time a certain poor man entered Sodom, and as everybody refused to give him food, he was very nearly starved to death when Lot's daughter chanced to meet him. For many days she supported him, carrying him bread whenever she went to draw water for her father. The people of the city, seeing the poor man still living, wondered greatly as to how he managed to support life without food, and three men constituted themselves a committee to watch his goings and his doings. They saw Lot's daughter giving aim bread, and seizing her they carried her before the fudges, who condemned her to death by burning, and this punishment was inflicted on her.
Another maiden, who assisted a poor stranger, was smeared with honey, and left to be stung to death by bees.
For such acts were Sodom and her sister cities destroyed by fire from Heaven, and only Lot and his family spared through God's love for his servant Abram.