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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesBen Hur: A Tale Of The Christ - BOOK I - Chapter X
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Ben Hur: A Tale Of The Christ - BOOK I - Chapter X Post by :mekell Category :Long Stories Author :Lew Wallace Date :March 2011 Read :698

Click below to download : Ben Hur: A Tale Of The Christ - BOOK I - Chapter X (Format : PDF)

Ben Hur: A Tale Of The Christ - BOOK I - Chapter X

At a certain hour in the evening the shouting and stir of the
people in and about the khan ceased; at the same time, every
Israelite, if not already upon his feet, arose, solemnized his
face, looked towards Jerusalem, crossed his hands upon his breast,
and prayed; for it was the sacred ninth hour, when sacrifices were
offered in the temple on Moriah, and God was supposed to be there.
When the hands of the worshippers fell down, the commotion broke
forth again; everybody hastened to bread, or to make his pallet.
A little later, the lights were put out, and there was silence,
and then sleep.

* * * * * *

About midnight some one on the roof cried out, "What light is that
in the sky? Awake, brethren, awake and see!"

The people, half asleep, sat up and looked; then they became
wide-awake, though wonder-struck. And the stir spread to the
court below, and into the lewens; soon the entire tenantry of
the house and court and enclosure were out gazing at the sky.

And this was what they saw. A ray of light, beginning at a height
immeasurably beyond the nearest stars, and dropping obliquely
to the earth; at its top, a diminishing point; at its base,
many furlongs in width; its sides blending softly with the
darkness of the night, its core a roseate electrical splendor.
The apparition seemed to rest on the nearest mountain southeast
of the town, making a pale corona along the line of the summit.
The khan was touched luminously, so that those upon the roof saw
each other's faces, all filled with wonder.

Steadily, through minutes, the ray lingered, and then the wonder
changed to awe and fear; the timid trembled; the boldest spoke
in whispers.

"Saw you ever the like?" asked one.

"It seems just over the mountain there. I cannot tell what it is,
nor did I ever see anything like it," was the answer.

"Can it be that a star has burst and fallen?" asked another,
his tongue faltering.

"When a star falls, its light goes out."

"I have it!" cried one, confidently. "The shepherds have seen a
lion, and made fires to keep him from the flocks."

The men next the speaker drew a breath of relief, and said, "Yes,
that is it! The flocks were grazing in the valley over there to-day."

A bystander dispelled the comfort.

"No, no! Though all the wood in all the valleys of Judah was brought
together in one pile and fired, the blaze would not throw a light so
strong and high."

After that there was silence on the house-top, broken but once
again while the mystery continued.

"Brethren!" exclaimed a Jew of venerable mien, "what we see is the
ladder our father Jacob saw in his dream. Blessed be the Lord God
of our fathers!"

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Ben Hur: A Tale Of The Christ - BOOK I - Chapter XI Ben Hur: A Tale Of The Christ - BOOK I - Chapter XI

Ben Hur: A Tale Of The Christ - BOOK I - Chapter XI
A mile and a half, it may be two miles, southeast of Bethlehem,there is a plain separated from the town by an intervening swellof the mountain. Besides being well sheltered from the north winds,the vale was covered with a growth of sycamore, dwarf-oak, and pinetrees, while in the glens and ravines adjoining there were thicketsof olive and mulberry; all at this season of the year invaluablefor the support of sheep, goats, and cattle, of which the wanderingflocks consisted.At the side farthest from the town, close under a bluff, there wasan extensive marah, or sheepcot, ages old. In some long-forgottenforay, the building

Ben Hur: A Tale Of The Christ - BOOK I - Chapter IX Ben Hur: A Tale Of The Christ - BOOK I - Chapter IX

Ben Hur: A Tale Of The Christ - BOOK I - Chapter IX
To understand thoroughly what happened to the Nazarene at the khan,the reader must be reminded that Eastern inns were different from theinns of the Western world. They were called khans, from the Persian,and, in simplest form, were fenced enclosures, without house orshed, often without a gate or entrance. Their sites were chosenwith reference to shade, defence, or water. Such were the innsthat sheltered Jacob when he went to seek a wife in Padan-Aram.Their like may been seen at this day in the stopping-places ofthe desert. On the other hand, some of them, especially thoseon the roads between great cities, like Jerusalem