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gether the leaders of the people, and bring them hither." And Antipater vanishes.

Anon, in solemn procession, enter all the chief priests, and scribes, and doctors, and, after feigned ceremonial of loyalty, await the tyrant's pleasure.

" Reverend rabbis, declare to me, I pray you,' the king, with well-feigned courtesy and respect, begins, “where, think ye, shall Messiah the Prince be born ?"

At this, those hoary fathers look upon each other dubiously and hesitating, until, at length, their eyes, as by mutual consent, turn upon one of their number, of great age and profound attainments. Plucking from his bosom a roll of parchment, the venerable Hillel replies,

“ In Bethlehem of Judea shall our Redeemer be born, O king! as I was but now reflecting when thy summons came. Hearing somewhat of the mission of yon Eastern sages, I bethought me of the words of holy Micah," and, as he speaks, unrolling the scroll, he reads, “And thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me, that is to be ruler in Israel, whose goings forth have been from of old, even from everlasting !"

“And is this all ?" inquires the king. “Saith not the holy prophet aught beside ?"

“My lord, O king !" responds the sage," he doth. Therefore will he give them up, until the time that she that travaileth hath brought forth ; then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel. And he shall stand and feed in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God; and they shall abide ; for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth.' !!

6 Thanks, venerable father!" replies the monarch. Then, whispering aside to the vigilant Antipater, “ Depart,” he says," and search out secretly these magi, and bring them hither." Then, raising his voice, he asks,

“One thing further I would learn of thee, most learned Hillel: what is that remnant the prophet speaketh of, and wherefore saith he they are given up until she which travaileth hath brought forth ?'"

" It is well known to my lord the king," replies Hillel, " that these words of Micah were scarcely uttered when Shalmaneser took the ten tribes of Israel and carried them into captivity, where they remain to this day. Now it is to the reunion of these with Judah that the prophet here doubtless refers, in a style whereof the event alone can fully reveal the minute import; and this I humbly judge by reason of a sentence immediately preceding, if my lord the king shall vouchsafe to hear.”

“Read, read, holy father !” exclaims the king. “I am profoundly attentive."

“ If it please your majesty, then,” continues the sage, “the prophet saith before, “In that day,' that is, the day of Messiah, saith the Lord, I will assemble her that halteth, and I will gather her that is driven out, and her that I have afflicted ; and I will make her that halted a remnant;' that is, Judah, and her that was cast far off a strong nation,' that is, Israel; and the Lord' shall reign over them in Mount Zion from henceforth even forever.

6 And wherefore,” interrupts the monarch, “deem ye not this oracle already accomplished? Is not the Lord your king this very day, and ye restored to your city and to your land ?” " Let not the

lord the king wax hot against his 'servant,” replies the doctor, " and I will add to read yet another word; for my lord the king doth know that since the days of profane Zedekiah, who died in Babylon, no seed of David hath sat upon the throne of David; yet what saith the prophet: “And thou, O tower of the flock! the strong-hold of the daughter of Zion, unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion;' that is, if it please the king,


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as the Lord sware unto David that he should never want a man to sit upon his throne, so the prophet here limiteth the captivity of the ten tribes by the birth of that promised seed, whose right-"

But here the brow of Herod grows dark with wrath, and his cheek livid, and his eye, bloodshot and glaring, darts glances of ominous rage.

“Hence, thou prating owl! thou driveling, maudlin idiot! Comest thou here to insult the royal throne with thy treasonous oracles, thy lying legends? Hence! avaunt! with all thy priestly crew, lest I let loose upon thee them that will not spare for gray hairs and sanctimonious apparel."

And as he thus hurls almost inarticulate objurgations forth, foaming at the mouth, and striding to and fro, he seems like some wild beast of prey just ravening on the flock. They, with pallid cheeks and trembling limbs, fly unceremoniously, and in precipitate disarray, from the apartment, and seek their homes, praising God that their lives are spared.

Herod's passion gradually subsides in moody musings as he awaits the summoned magi.

“Ah !” he mutters, in disconnected soliloquy, “this is no child's play. The ground reels. A chasm yawns deep as hell. My brain grows giddy. Jerusalem ringing with the tale! Old and young, priest and people, open or in secret, all on fire! An angel! a prophet! a mysterious child! and pilgrim magicians! This inflammable populace! tow, kindling at a spark! Vermin! fanged reptiles! they hate me; they would swarm upon me--would gnaw my vitals. And who loves me? ah! hush! enough of that. Away, ye—Antipater? bland, perfidious; there's murder in every subtle smile; yea, murder! But I will reckon with him. His turn shall come! And these old fables, legends, oracles-PROPHECIES shall I call them? Ah! if that were credible !" And the tyrant pauses, buried in profound abstraction. “ They do most marvelously cohere, and fall out together! Can it be? Hath Jehovah spoken? And what, then, were I ? Where my scepter ? What the end ? Messiah? King ? and OF THE JEWs? There's a knell in every syllable! It must not, shall not be! And yet that star! Be the prophets true or false—be that babe Messiah or be he not-I will" and a ferocious expression settles darkly across his sinister visage, and his hand strains convulsively the hilt of his dagger, half drawing, and thrusting it forcibly back again. "Is it not written,” hisses forth from his clenched teeth, “have not I heard it some

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