[Illustration: The baby Moses in the bulrushes.]







* * * * *


Many long years had passed since the days when Joseph's brothers and

their families had settled in the land of Egypt. They were a great

nation in numbers now, but the Egyptians still ruled over them, and

used them as servants. The Pharaoh who had been so kind to the

shepherds from Canaan was dead long ago, and the new kings, or

Pharaohs as they were called, hated foreigners, and began to treat the

Israelites very harshly. There were too many of them, they said; it

was dangerous to have so many strong, powerful slaves. They must be

kept down, and made to work from morning till night, and be beaten if

they did not work fast enough.

That was very hard for the poor people; but worse was to come. An

order was issued one day which spread sorrow through all the land of

Goshen, where the Israelites lived. Every baby boy that was born was

to be thrown into the river. Girl babies might be allowed to live, for

they would be useful as slaves, but boys might grow up to fight for

their country, and so they must be destroyed.

In one little house, not far from the great river Nile, a woman sat

holding her tiny baby in her arms, while the tears ran down her

cheeks. He was such a beautiful baby, so strong and fair and healthy;

but the king's order was that he was to be thrown into the river,

where the cruel, hungry crocodiles were waiting to snap up everything

they could find for a meal. Jochebed, the poor mother, held her baby

closer in her arms. No, she could not obey the king's order. She would

try and hide the baby for a little while, at any rate.

It was easy to hide a baby while he was still tiny and slept most of

the day; but when he grew bigger it was much more difficult. His

sister Miriam did her best to help her mother; but any day, now that

the baby was three months old, he might be discovered, and something

must be done at once.

So Jochebed thought of a plan, and prayed to God that He would help

her to carry it out. At the edge of the river there grew tall

bulrushes, which, when cut down and dried, could be made into many

useful things. Taking some of these bulrushes, she wove them into a

little cradle with a cover to it, just like a little ark, and this she

covered with a kind of pitch, so that not a drop of water could come

through. Inside the cradle she made a soft bed, and laid the baby

there while he was fast asleep, and set the ark afloat in the water

where the bulrushes were growing. She knew that presently the great

princess, Pharaoh's daughter, would come down to bathe in the river,

and would notice the queer little ark floating there.

[Illustration: She laid the baby there while he was fast asleep.]

Very soon the royal procession came winding down from the palace

towards the river, as the princess in her gorgeous robes made her way

to bathe in the pool of the lotus flowers. But at the edge of the

river she stopped. What was that among the bulrushes? It was no lotus

flower, but a strange-looking covered basket, and she ordered her

maidens to bring it to her.

The little ark was lifted out of the water and carried to the

princess. There was surely something alive inside, and the princess

was full of curiosity as she leaned down and lifted the cover to look

in. Then she started back in amazement. The dearest little baby she

had ever seen lay there, all rosy and fresh after his sleep, gazing up

at her with wide-open eyes. The maidens crowded round, and the sight

of all those strange faces was more than the baby could bear. He

puckered up his face and began to cry.

The princess loved babies, and she had none of her own. That little

wailing cry went to her heart. She guessed at once that this was one

of the Hebrew babies which had been ordered to be destroyed, and she

made up her mind that this beautiful boy should at least be saved.

All this time Miriam had been watching from her hiding-place close by,

and with anxious, beating heart she came forward now. Could she help

the princess? she asked. Should she run and find some Hebrew woman who

might look after the baby?

Perhaps the princess guessed that the baby's mother would not be far

off, and she must have smiled a little when a nurse was so quickly

found. But she took no notice of that.

"Take this child away," she said, when Jochebed stood humbly before

her, "and nurse it for me, and I will give thee thy wages."

It was merely as a nurse that the mother was hired. The great princess

meant to adopt the baby as her own. But he was safe, and Jochebed's

heart was full of gratitude to God as she took her little son into her

arms again.

As long as he needed a nurse the baby was left to be looked after by

his mother in the little house by the river-side. The princess called

him Moses, which means "drawn out," because he had been drawn out of

the water, and she had made up her mind that as soon as he was old

enough he should come to live with her at the palace, and be brought

up as a prince. He would be treated just as if he was really her son.

[Illustration: She taught him about God.]

But his poor mother had him for those first precious years while he

was still a little boy, and she did not waste one minute of that time

in her training of him. She taught him about God, and told him all the

wonderful stories about his own country, so that he should never

forget that he belonged to God's people, even when he should become a

prince in the Egyptian palace. Just as a gardener sows seeds in a

garden which afterwards grow up into beautiful flowers, so she sowed

the seeds of truth in the heart of her little son, which long

afterwards were to blossom out and bear such wonderful fruit.

[Illustration: Beating him unmercifully with a long whip.]

Then when Moses was old enough to do without a nurse, she took him to

the palace, and "brought him unto Pharaoh's daughter, and he became

her son."

But deep down in his heart he never forgot his own people.

It happened one day that he saw one of the Egyptian taskmasters

treating one of the poor Israelite slaves with great cruelty, beating

him most unmercifully with a long whip. This made Moses so angry that

he rushed in to defend the slave, and dealt the taskmaster such a blow

that it killed him.

But instead of being grateful the Israelites would not trust him, and

began to whisper the tale of how he had killed the Egyptian, so that

Moses was obliged to flee for his life, leaving behind all the riches

and honours he had enjoyed so long.

A very different kind of life began now for Moses. He journeyed far

into the desert and joined company there with an Arab tribe, and

wandered from place to place feeding their flocks and living the life

of a shepherd.

But God had more difficult work for him to do than feeding sheep, and

one day when he was in the desert he saw a strange sight. A bush was

growing there, and in the middle of the bush a fire was burning, and

the strange thing was that although the fire kept on burning fiercely

the bush was not burnt at all. It was the Angel of the Lord that was

in the midst of the fire, and as Moses drew near God called him by his

name, and told him that he was to go back and set his people free

from the tyranny of Pharaoh and lead them into the Promised Land.

[Illustration: In the middle of the bush a fire was burning.]

At first Moses said it was impossible for him to do this. His own

people would not trust him, and he was no great speaker; he would

certainly fail. But God bade him do his best, and Aaron his brother

would speak for him; and above all God would be his helper.

[Illustration: "Arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this

people." Joshua i. 2.]

So Moses returned to the land of Egypt and boldly asked Pharaoh to

allow the people to go and worship God. Time after time Pharaoh

refused, although God sent dreadful plagues to warn him. At last,

however, when the angel of death killed all the eldest sons of the

Egyptians, Pharaoh was terrified and said the people might go at once

and take all their belongings with them.

[Illustration: The Land of Canaan lay stretched out before him.]

It was a great company of people that set out, and Moses the great

leader guided them on their way. They had many adventures, and braved

many dangers and difficulties, but God was always their shield and

defence. He delivered them by parting the waters of the Red Sea and

allowing them to walk over dry-shod when Pharaoh and his army were

pursuing them. And when the pursuers tried to follow them, the waters

rolled back, and the whole great army were swept away by the returning


Yet in spite of God's care and goodness towards them, these Israelites

were often ungrateful, and complained bitterly when they suffered any

want. And it was always Moses whom they blamed.

Moses was very patient with them; but once he was so angry that he was

tempted to disobey God's direction, and as a punishment God told him

that though he should see the Promised Land from afar he would never

enter it himself.

There on the mountain top he stood, gazing into the far distance,

where the Land of Canaan, that fair land flowing with milk and honey,

lay stretched out before him. Then he bowed his head to God's will.

The murmuring people never saw their great leader again. He "was not,

for God took him."


Along the hot, dusty road that led from the country of Moab to the

fair land of Judah three women were walking with bowed heads and

weary, halting steps. Their sorrowful, heavy eyes took no pleasure in

the summer beauty of the harvest fields, the shimmering silver of the

olive trees, and the rich promise of the vineyards which bordered

their way. The whole world looked sad to them, seen through a mist of


There behind them, in the land of Moab, each of these women had left

green graves, which held all they loved best. Naomi, the eldest, was

perhaps the most desolate. Her thoughts went back to the time when she

was as young and fair as the two daughters-in-law who walked at her

side--when with her husband and her two boys she had trod that very

road, seeking a home in a strange country to escape the famine which

threatened them in her own land. Now she was returning to her native

town of Bethlehem, a childless, lonely widow.

The younger women, who were the wives of those two dead sons, were

very sorrowful too, but for them there might yet be happiness in the

world. They still had near and dear relatives and many friends in

Moab, which was their native land. They had come far enough now, and

it was time for them to return.

"Turn again, my daughters," said Naomi, "and go your way."

Their homes lay behind, and she must journey on alone to the little

hill town which she had not seen for so many long years. They had

kindly come so far to see her on her way, but they must come no


So the little party halted, and one of the young women, weeping

bitterly, kissed her mother-in-law and turned to go back. But the

other one, whose name was Ruth, clung to Naomi, and would not leave


In vain the elder woman urged her to return, and pointed out that

Orpah had gone, that home and friends and happiness awaited her there,

while in front was only poverty and loneliness. Ruth only clung the

closer as she sobbed out her tender, loving words.

"Entreat me not to leave thee," she said, "or to return from following

after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest,

I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God. The

Lord do so to me, and more also, if aught but death part thee and me."

The tender words brought comfort to the heart of Naomi, as soft rain

brings refreshment to the hard, dry earth. After all, she was not

quite alone; she still had some one to love and care for. So together

they journeyed on again, and at last came to the winding road which

led up to the town of Bethlehem, nestling like a white bird upon the

long ridge of hills.

Naomi knew every step of the way. It seemed almost like a dream to

tread on more that winding road, to pass through the city gates and

find her way to the little house she knew so well. Although she had

been gone so many years there were still people who remembered her,

and these came running out to greet her.

"Is this Naomi?" they asked wonderingly.

They could scarcely believe that this sad, broken-down woman could be

the pleasant-faced, happy girl who had gone away with her husband and

boys in the year of the great famine. But as they listened to her

story they did not wonder that she seemed so old and talked so

bitterly. It made them look very kindly upon the beautiful girl who

kept so close to her mother-in-law, who had given up everything rather

than leave her alone.

[Illustration: He spoke very kindly.]

Naomi had been quite right when she had told Ruth that poverty lay

before them. She had come back quite empty-handed, and it was

necessary to find some work at once which would at least provide them

with daily bread. Ruth, looking out over the fields where already the

barley was being cut, made up her mind to go and work there. The poor

were always allowed to follow the reapers and glean the stray ears of

corn that fell unnoticed. She might at least gather enough to feed her

mother-in-law and herself.

Very happily, then, Ruth set out, and found her way into the harvest

field, which belonged to a rich man called Boaz. The reapers treated

her kindly when she timidly asked for permission to glean there, and

when the master arrived to see how the harvest went, he too noticed

her at once, for she was very beautiful.

"Whose damsel is this?" he asked.

There were many people ready to tell him her name, and also to tell

him how she had left her land and her people to come with Naomi, her

mother-in-law. The story had been repeated all through the town.

Boaz listened with interest. Naomi was his kins-woman, and it was only

right that he should help her. He would begin by helping the

sweet-faced daughter-in-law who had chanced to come gleaning upon his

land. So he went and spoke very kindly to the beautiful Ruth, and told

her to come every day to his harvest field and share the reapers'

food, and he would see that no one troubled her. He even told the

reapers to let some handfuls of corn fall in her way, on purpose, so

that there might be plenty for her to glean.

[Illustration: The two loving hearts rejoiced in their happiness.]

So each day Ruth went back and worked in the harvest fields, and each

day as Boaz watched her he grew to love the gentle, loving-hearted

woman more and more. And when at last the harvest days were over, he

went to Naomi and asked that Ruth might become his wife.

There was no more poverty or hard work now for Ruth or Naomi, no

anxious days of wondering how long their flour and oil would last.

Boaz was very rich, and nothing was too good for his fair young wife,

whom he had first seen humbly gleaning in his harvest field.

  • beaten [´bi:tn] 移动到这儿单词发声  beat 的过去分词   (初中英语单词)
  • waiting [´weitiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.等候;伺候   (初中英语单词)
  • cradle [´kreidl] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.摇篮;发源地   (初中英语单词)
  • presently [´prezəntli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.不久;目前   (初中英语单词)
  • procession [prə´seʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.队伍 v.列队行进   (初中英语单词)
  • princess [,prin´ses] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.公主;王妃;亲王夫人   (初中英语单词)
  • curiosity [,kjuəri´ɔsiti] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.好奇;奇事;珍品   (初中英语单词)
  • amazement [ə´meizmənt] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.惊愕;惊奇   (初中英语单词)
  • anxious [´æŋkʃəs] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.担忧的;渴望的   (初中英语单词)
  • gratitude [´grætitju:d] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.感激,感谢   (初中英语单词)
  • prince [´prins] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.王子;亲王;君主   (初中英语单词)
  • egyptian [i´dʒipʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.埃及人a.埃及的   (初中英语单词)
  • blossom [´blɔsəm] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.花;开花期 vi.开花   (初中英语单词)
  • grateful [´greitful] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.感谢的;令人愉快的   (初中英语单词)
  • whisper [´wispə] 移动到这儿单词发声  v.耳语 n.低语;沙沙声   (初中英语单词)
  • speaker [´spi:kə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.演讲人;代言人   (初中英语单词)
  • worship [´wə:ʃip] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.&v.崇拜;敬仰   (初中英语单词)
  • dreadful [´dredful] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.可怕的;讨厌的   (初中英语单词)
  • shield [ʃi:ld] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.盾牌;防御 v.保护   (初中英语单词)
  • goodness [´gudnis] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.优良;美德;精华   (初中英语单词)
  • bitterly [´bitəli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.悲痛地;憎恨地   (初中英语单词)
  • punishment [´pʌniʃmənt] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.罚,刑罚   (初中英语单词)
  • harvest [´hɑ:vist] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.&v.收获;收割   (初中英语单词)
  • lonely [´ləunli] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.孤独的;无人烟的   (初中英语单词)
  • pointed [´pɔintid] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.尖(锐)的;中肯的   (初中英语单词)
  • poverty [´pɔvəti] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.贫穷(乏,瘠);不足   (初中英语单词)
  • running [´rʌniŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.奔跑的;流动的   (初中英语单词)
  • permission [pə´miʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.允许;同意;许可   (初中英语单词)
  • damsel [´dæmzəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.姑娘,未婚少女   (初中英语单词)
  • finding [´faindiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.发现物;判断;结果   (高中英语单词)
  • gorgeous [´gɔ:dʒəs] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.华丽的;宜人的   (高中英语单词)
  • crowded [´kraudid] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.充(拥)满了的   (高中英语单词)
  • gardener [´gɑ:dnə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.园艺家;园林工人   (高中英语单词)
  • cruelty [´kru:əlti] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.残忍;残酷行为   (高中英语单词)
  • tyranny [´tirəni] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.暴政;专制政治   (高中英语单词)
  • boldly [´bəuldli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.大胆地;醒目地   (高中英语单词)
  • eldest [´eldist] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.最年长的   (高中英语单词)
  • desolate [´desəleit] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.荒凉的;孤独的   (高中英语单词)
  • famine [´fæmin] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.饥荒   (高中英语单词)
  • loneliness [´ləunliniz] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.孤独,寂寞   (高中英语单词)
  • loving [´lʌviŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.爱的,有爱情的   (高中英语单词)
  • refreshment [ri´freʃmənt] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.精神爽快   (高中英语单词)
  • repeated [ri´pi:tid] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.反复的;重复的   (高中英语单词)
  • afloat [ə´fləut] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.&a.漂浮;在海上   (英语四级单词)
  • humbly [´hʌmbli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.恭顺地,谦卑地   (英语四级单词)
  • jordan [´dʒɔ:dn] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.约旦   (英语四级单词)
  • belongings [bi´lɔŋiŋz] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.所有物;行李   (英语四级单词)
  • parting [´pɑ:tiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.&n.分离(的)   (英语四级单词)
  • disobey [,disə´bei] 移动到这儿单词发声  v.不服从;不听命令   (英语四级单词)
  • sorrowful [´sɔrəuful] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.悲伤的,使人伤心的   (英语四级单词)
  • harshly [´hɑ:ʃli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.粗糙地,冷酷地   (英语六级单词)
  • taking [´teikiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.迷人的 n.捕获物   (英语六级单词)
  • beating [´bi:tiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.敲;搅打;失败   (英语六级单词)
  • timidly [´timidli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.胆怯地   (英语六级单词)

  • 上传人 欢乐鱼 分享于 2017-06-26 17:12:21
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