Grecian net

Are you too old to be a woman?

2020.09.18 17:23 frysgirl Are you too old to be a woman?

I am turning 30 in two months and boy oh boy am I facing the fact that I am ageing, that my skin care routine has to change, that I have to start considering if I want to move out of our city, where my younger friends make jokes and call me “grandma”.
But I have always looked forward to getting older. I knew from childhood I was going to blossom in my 30s.
Anyway, I was on holiday recently with the hubster and an older woman, in her sixties, came into the hotel restaurant looking absolutely stunning. I mean just a golden skinned, sun-bleached blonde hair, excellent bone structure. But I was just floored by her elegance, eloquence and just the wisdom she radiated. It made me proud to think that women have role models like her. She dined alone in a Grecian resort made of white marble and my god did she own it.
So she sits with her back to me and I can see what she’s reading on her tablet. It’s a quiz entitled “are you too old to be a woman?”
https://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/quiz-are-you-too-old-to-be-a-woman
Apologies if this is not the way to link something... I am not tech savvy...unlike the woman twice my age.
So when I see what she’s reading I just think “did she see that and click feeling like this is a question she needs answered? Surely not! Surely she knows she’s a badass!” I told my husband and his reaction was similar to mine, I kinda pitied her thinking “I’m so sad this role model is insecure.”
After our dinner we walked past her table and I thought “fuck it I’m going to talk to her.”
She was a novel, full of stories, life, experience, advice. I was entranced and told my husband to do his own thing while we had a drink together.
I plucked up the courage to ask her about the article and she smiled an almost smug, cheeky smile like I caught her out- not the timid kind of embarrassed smile I had expected.
She told me that she never gives into constantly question what it means to be a woman when she would much rather focus on being a fulfilled human being, to die with no regrets, having tasted everything and listened to every song and worked on her soul and mind. She was just curious of the content of the quiz.
I just wanted to post this to remind us all that the conversation is not about age or gender, it’s about how we can be the best damn humans we can be. And fuck it I’ll say it- that’s what it is to be a woman.
Hugs all round.
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2020.05.29 03:15 NerdyOutdoors Exeter City (part 36): Prem League in the rearview; Champions League Final Ahead [story]

Exeter City (part 36): Prem League in the rearview; Champions League Final Ahead [story]
A thrilling season came down to the final day, but a late-season draw against Watford at the end of April meant that Exeter's fate was not in its own hands
Check out all our Exeter City News here!
Exeter sat 2nd to Tottenham as the final day of the 2025-2026 season arrived, with 91 points to Spurs 93. A win by Exeter would send them to 94 points-- and then Exeter fans would be watching the scoreboard, hoping for a Spurs loss or draw.
A year after Exeter's miraculous climb to the Premier League championship, it was not to be. Spurs won 2-0 at Bournemouth, while Exeter dispatched Everton--and then looked on at the video screens as Tottenham raised the trophy.
Exeter will not achieve a double this season
While Exeter fans have to be disappointed, they can take some consolation in the coming week--and what a consolation it is. Exeter have reached the Champions League final and face Barcelona for the coveted trophy as champions of all Europe.
How did Exeter players fare in the Premier League this season? It was not as dominant a performance as last, hampered by the glaring loss of Chris Mepham. Arguably, Exeter's final position can be traced back to the decision to not bring in a transfer to replace the England international defender until the winter window, when Exeter splashed for Manuel Akanji. The leaky defense allowed too many goals throughout the season, despite their record-setting attack.
Exeter enjoyed the services of two players in the top 15 goal-scorers, including golden-boot winning striker James Scott.
Top 15 Scorers, 2025-26
But what makes the difference for the Grecians? The sheer number of playmakers on the team able to unlock defenses with a key pass or assist. Two Exeter players are in the top 5 of assists; with a total of FIVE players in the top 15 for assists. With a diverse range of options, from winger Antonio Marin to deep-lying maestro Allan Campbell, no wonder teams struggled to stop Exeter on the attack.
5 key passing options made Exeter hard to stop
Player of the Year
While it's hard to top Scott's performance, the real man running the show plays further back. With a total rating of 7.80 in the Prem this season, Allan Campbell earns our nod for player of the year. The deep-lying midfielder spent the season shielding the back line, hounding strikers, and cycling the ball to his wide men and his attackers. With a stunning 17 goals on the team, he was the 2nd-leading scorer, and added 10 assists. Only Jack Sparkes was credited with earning more clean sheets than the Scottish International midfielder. One of the top players in the world now, Campbell said in an interview during the transfer window, "What could possibly turn my head for a move? We have European Football; I earn playtime with my manager's trust; we fight for the top of the Prem, I'm close to my mum in Scotland."
Just 7 seasons ago, Campbell joined the team after his move from Motherwell, when Exeter sat in EFL League 2.
One of the world's top defensive midfielders
Breakthrough Player(s) of the Year
Credit has to be given to a pair of youngsters who showed their class all season. despite Exeter's defensive lapses, the situation really revealed its limits when Craig McCarthy went down injured. The 6'2" Centre-back proved a stellar replacement in the defense and formed a strong partnership with Manuel Akanji. Their work saw Exeter climb to top of the Prem by March, when an MCL sprain sidelined the Northern Ireland international for 12 weeks. But after his rocky start, the 20-year old proved rock-soled, posting a 7.50 WhoScored rating in the Champions League and a 7.30 rating in the Prem.
Until injury, one of the best promising Exeter players. Missing 10 games at the end of the season probably hurt more than many thought.
The other shock youngster was not expected to see much field time this season, except in spot duty. But the injury to McCarthy forced Nathan Wood to play inside, and opened a spot for Ronan Connolly to impress. And impress he did. The Irish 18-year old flashed some of his skill with an assist in the round of 16 Champions league leg, and he ended up with 31 appearances-- 15 from the bench and 16 as a starter. "We saw Ronan's skill," observed manager Andrea Daudelin, "and we held to our principles of giving our own youth a shot before bringing an outside transfer in-- and Ronan really proved himself." The youngster himself said: "I have to give mad credit to the manager and to Nathan [Wood] and Manuel [Akanji]; both really help me back there and make me look good. Still young and raw, he has been a surprisingly strong force in the air, fending away crosses. In the Champions League semifinal, he went toe-to-toe with Valencia star man Marcus Rashford--and came away winning both legs, holding Rashford to 0 goals, 0 assists, and just 3 total key passes. His marshalling of Rashford in the first leg was pivotal in the 4-0 away victory that helped cement Exeter's place in the finals. It remains to be seen if he has the pace and acumen to face Barcelona, but the manager may have no choice.
Youngster Ronan Connolly is an exciting prospect opposite veteran Exeter man Jack Sparkes.
Game of the Season
Exeter's January 4-0 throttling of Spurs at Tottenham Stadium stands as one of the season's highlights--the defense was stifling, and the attack was in full flow. James Scott netted a hat trick and proved to Tottenham that their backline needed an overhaul, Antonio Marin added a goal through a brilliant 23-yard free kick that sailed into the top corner. The game marked the debut for Akanji and the return of Randell Williams, club legend from their climb up the league ladder. Akanji and Campbell together corralled Tottenham's Harry Kane, who found supply little and less as the game went on.
A look ahead
With Exeter in full throttle, the final game of the year is shaping up an epic clash. Club captain Archie Collins has said "This is unfinished business; we made it to this game last season and failed against Piemonte; we want to rectify that." And with the loss of the league fresh, and an FA cup exit in February, the team will feel that this is their chance to earn some hardware; a failure here would have to feel like a terrible squandering of an opportunity.
The team are expected to have Craig McCarthy back in time for the final, but if not, the lineup would look much the same as the lineup that saw them through the semifinals: The youngster Connolly along Akanji, Wood, and Sparkes; the powerful midfield including captain Collins, speedster James Rowland, and destroyer Campbell, and a front 3 of Marin, Scott, and Lafferty. Facing Barcelona, it looks to be a matchup of teams that prioritize their academy; Barca will likely field 7 or more graduates of La Masia against Exeter, who line up with 5 starters who have never left the south coast since their schoolboy days: Sparkes, Collins, Morgan, Lafferty, and Connolly; if McCarthy and Cruz play they will even the count.
https://preview.redd.it/q7imn9nwtl151.png?width=791&format=png&auto=webp&s=e4da9f6f396fd0bca4814eb011d9c172498f27e2
It promises to be an eventful final! Keep checking back for Exeter City updates as they look to close their season by hoisting the Champions League Trophy.
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2020.05.23 23:02 xoticbrands 5 Fascinating Facts About Mythical Creatures That Will Blow Your Mind

Mythical creatures are evidently an interesting part of human existence, found in stories, movies and even sung about. They have been introduced to us in so many ways, however, there are deeper and more complex traditions around these myths than what we see on our screens.
From mermaids to dragons, these 5 mythological creatures have long captured our imagination — but did you know these facts about them?
Mermaids
Mermaids in recent times have been painted as beautiful species that are kind-hearted, however this has not always been the case.
As far back as 2,000 years ago, the story began with the Syrian legend of Atargatis, who was worshipped as a goddess. Mermaids were said to have spelled bad luck and lure sailors to their deaths.
Fairies
Fairies hail originally from Northern Europe and they do not grant wishes or have magic wands as we have been made to believe. The word “fairy” is used to connote mischievous sprites.
They usually encompass a range of myths- from angelic spirits to demons, as representatives of the natural world or supernatural creatures.
The Phoenix
The phoenix is said to have a 500- year lifespan and only one exists on Earth at any given time. There are numerous versions of this mythical creature which comes from ancient Persian and Greco-Roman to Egyptian and Chinese.
A mind-blowing fact about this creature is that, after its life span it then builds a nest of fragrant wood that serves as its pyre.
Dragons
Dragons are one of those mythical creatures that are known the all over. With their popularity is both eastern and western worlds, it can be noted they are diverse creatures.
Even though some are described as small, while others as huge, fire breathing beasts, there are also sub species. The Wyverns are an example as they are dragons with only two feet.
On the other hand, dragons can be slayed but it seems they are great swimmers as they can never be drowned.
The Sphinx
One fact about the sphinx that may surprise you is that there are two different sphinx traditions. The Grecian sphinx has the head of a woman which is also known for being malicious.
The creature asks a riddle and devours any who gets it wrong. Tragic hero Oedipus was the first to defeat her. However, the Egyptian sphinx, though similarly hybrid, differs in that it has the head of a man and is generally protective and benevolent.

Before you leave

Check our mythical collections page and lots more — HERE
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2020.04.30 22:42 NerdyOutdoors Exeter City (part 27): Scott Hat-Trick Saves CL Run for Exeter

In a pressure-packed match, striker James Scott put Exeter on his back and dragged them through the Champions League Round of 16 match against BVB Dortmund
Check out our other Exeter City News Here
The first leg of the tie, in Dortmund, saw a tense match where Archie Collins put Exeter up 1-0 in extra time of the first half, after James Rowland reached the touchline then cut the ball back to the club captain. However, Exeter couldn't quite hold on to the points, as Jadon Sancho fended off defenders in the 88th minute to equalize, and send the game to Exeter all knotted at 1.
In Exeter, fans were treated to an electric display of attacking ball, as both teams came out firing for glory. Dortmund's Andre Silva treated Exeter's Omar Alderete like a training dummy, leaving him turned around and out of position before an easy tap home past Exeter goalkeeper Henry Morgan.
With Dortmund now leading on aggregate, the game became a contest between Exeter pushing for the equalizer, and Dortmund seeking to extend their away-goal advantage. It was James Scott who struck next, lurking in the box. James Rowland put the ball at the target man's feet, and Scott turned to his right and blasted the ball into the roof of the net to even the scoreline on aggregate at 2-2. Just five minutes later, Scott returned the favor: he pulled two defenders to him and then tapped the ball to the streaking Rowland, who coolly slotted it home to jump to a 3-2 lead on aggregate.
It was not to last, however. A Mepham tackle on Reiner jarred the ball loose, but it fell to Andre Silva, who faked past Alderete again and blasted past Morgan to tie the aggregate 3-3, but put Dortmund through on away goals. "At that point, I could sense that this was going to be two great teams giving their all," said manager Andrea Daudelin. "It was just down to us getting another crack at the aggregate, each time Dortmund got the away goal."
But good things came to the Exeter fans who didn't leave early for the halftime. At 1:30 of extra time, Sparkes tackled Sancho, who had let his wing-back overlap him. A ball to Rowland saw a 2-v-2 to goal, with the fullback stuck too far forward; a through-ball to Scott broke past the defense, and the Scottish international striker sprinted onto the ball, made the goalie commit, and slammed it home to lead 4-3 on aggregate. "James [Rowland] gave me that ball, and the defender reached for the ball, missed, and I could feel that I was free," Scott said in a post-match interview. "When the goalie came out, I knew he'd had such a good match against us in Dortmund, and I wanted to not blow it, so I kind of stepped left and he went that way, so I opened up and turned the ball to the right, and got it where I wanted it," he said.
Dortmund seemed to have Exeter all figured out, as in the 52nd minute, a long spell of Dortmund possession saw Sancho exchange with Silva and Reiner, then back to the top of the box to Riqui Puig. The Exeter defense stepped up and Reiner was open for an easy goal assisted by Puig.
Then James Scott did this:
Scott's stunning goal to win it in the 66th
His 3rd goal from a shockingly tight angle put Exeter back up 5-4 on aggregate and finally seemed to deflate Dortmund, who managed no more shots on frame for the rest of the match. Dortmund totalled 10 shots on goal to Exeter's 5, but the Grecians were able to make theirs count, and blocked two of Dortmund's shots just before Scott's final strike.
The win sees Exeter through to the Quarterfinals, and fans can keep dreaming of the even more silverware, as Exeter sit 2nd to Liverpool in the Premier League and reached the semifinals of the FA cup. Can captain Archie Collins lift another trophy? Or will someone see Exeter out? Post your thoughts in the comments below!
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2020.04.13 05:09 NerdyOutdoors Exeter City (Part 23): It's going to get interesting

Exeter City (Part 23): It's going to get interesting
A loss to Newcastle in League play leaves Exeter ahead of Spurs by one point, with a game in hand, with 6 matches to go.
The Table as of April 13, 2025
Click here for our other Exeter City news and coverage!
And this week, Exeter travel to the Camp Nou for a 2nd leg of the Champions' League Quarterfinals, facing a legendary challenge: Down 2-0 on aggregate, playing an away game against famed Barcelona.
The Quarterfinal draw includes a rematch against group foe Barcelona
Exeter opened the month stunning Tottenham at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, 2-1 on the strength of an Archie Collins brace and some stout last-ditch tackles by Justin Hoogma in the dying minutes to preserve the win. But Exeter faltered in their next game, unable to keep pace with Barca at St. James' Park, and watched as van der Beek added two more goals to his Champions League account.
Needing a rebound, Exeter couldn't get it in the north of England, as only midfielder James Rowland found the net in a 2-1 loss to Newcastle. With striker Scott and winger Antonio Marin resting, the Grecians lacked the pace to break through Newcastle, who came out in a 5-4-1 that frustrated the Exeter midfield and prevented the slick counters that have marked the south coast side.
So as the fatigue bites and the fixtures pile up, it's all to play for. Exeter fly to Barcelona to face Barcelona, down 0-2 on aggregate. What's arguably worse--they are down by 2 AWAY goals, which means Barca hold the edge in tiebreakers. Exeter need to win outright, and win big, to keep their European dreams alive. It's not an impossible task, as the Grecians shocked the Catalan side back in the group stage with a 4-2 win in the last fixture. But can the Exeter defense hold up? Can the attack provide the firepower to carry on?
And in the Premier League, Tottenham are hot on the heels of Exeter, just one point behind, but posting a better goal differential. The manager needs to balance squad rotation with the lofty goals that Exeter have set out for themselves. "It's a good problem to have," laughs manager Andrea Daudelin. "There are European teams sitting home wishing they had to figure out the quarterfinals rotation. But here we are, and the men are chuffed to have this chance. We intend to make our fans proud to wear the red and white."
Exeter's expected lineup
Exeter should roll out with their usual holding 4-3-3, which has generally served them well. Antonio Marin will often cut inside from the left and play as a 2nd striker or centre-forward, while Jack Sparkes provides overlapping width. Lutsharel Geertruida will likely stay back, keeping a strong three to slow counters, while midfielder Allan Campbell tries to cut passes to the single striker that Barcelona typically plays. Exeter are comfortable without possession, so we could see Barcelona with 60% or more of the ball in the match, while Exeter tucks into a 4-5-1 or a 5-4-1 in defense, depending on how deeply the wingers drop.
Exeter's expected starting XI
Can Exeter keep their dreams alive? Or is 0-2 and losing on away goals already too steep a mountain against Barcelona? Keep it here for matchday coverage, and post your thoughts in the comments below!
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2020.04.12 18:55 NerdyOutdoors Exeter City (Part 22): Shock League Loss, Blistering win at San Siro

Exeter City (Part 22): Shock League Loss, Blistering win at San Siro
Maybe it's tired legs, maybe the bad luck--Exeter suffer league setback amidst Champions' League Glory
Check out all our other Exeter City Coverage here
Bad Times at the AMEX
Exeter arrived at the AMEX Stadium and looked like they had no answers for Brighton and Hove Albion, falling by their worst scoreline in two seasons, 1-4. Randy Nteka and Bukayo Saka ran rampant over Exeter's famed defense, who struggled to close passing lanes all day. Down 2-0, matters were hindered further by a well-deserved red card in the 31st for midfielder James Rowland, who left his feet on a rash tackle that caught Nteka from behind. With their numerical advantage, Brighton pressed and earned their third goal before halftime. James Scott clawed one back in the 55th, but Brighton added a fourth late to seal the win. "Credit to Brighton, they closed our usual passing lanes and we struggled to adjust till it was too late," said boss Andrea Daudelin.
Brighton's 4-4-1-1 is typical of the formations that trouble Exeter this season: two forwards harry the passers in the back line, and Allan Campbell can't cover both target forwards in the transition. Nteka and Saka continually interchanged across the field, and young defender McAvoy was consistently dragged out of position by Brighton's movement.
The loss allows Spurs to close the gap to 4 points, promising an exciting run to the end of the season.
A Good Day at the San Siro
Exeter would rebound in stunning fashion, however.
Exeter and AC Milan were even 1-1 after the home leg at St. James' Park, Exeter, so the Grecians knew they needed a substantial away result to keep their European hopes alive. And the team responded, going ahead in the just the third minute and never looking back. Archie Collins threaded a through-ball to striker James Scott on the right side of the box, from whence he lashed it across the goal to the left netting. Milan struggled to contain Scott in the opening half, and he found the goal again on an assist from Cian Cafferty. The Northern Ireland international cut inside from the wing and squared past three defenders. Scott took a touch to control before poking home from 10 yards.
With a lead, Exeter were content to possess the ball, and AC Milan had no shots on goal at all in the first half. The second half picked up, as Henry Morgan was forced into a pair of saves, and Chris Mepham belted a rebound ball clear from the feet of Sandro Tonali. Milan looked good value to score, until James Rowland was subbed on in the 58th for Erick Gutierrez. The centre-mid made an immediate impact, running the channels and feeding balls to Antonio Marin, who had a relatively quiet day.
https://preview.redd.it/ms1ivr6dyes41.png?width=1496&format=png&auto=webp&s=5e74ce487244d6ac7965f788f380611f5053eb57
Marin was corraled by a strong right side of Milan's defense, but on the other flank, Cian Cafferty took measure, and found Milan's left entirely wanting. He bamboozled his defender again and chipped a cross into the box in the 75th minute, which Rowland volleyed home to ice the game. With two assists and 4 key passes, plus 2 50/50 balls won, Cafferty took home well-deserved man-of-the-match honors for his performance. He seems to have replaced Noah Okafor in the team lineups as the starter on the right, and his incredible fitness have him running the full 90 on most occasions.

After a quiet first season, Cafferty is stretching his potential against top competition
The road forward for Exeter
While March looks to end quietly, with just one game-- against Manchester City--followed by an international break, April looks indeed to be "The Cruelest Month," with major games all month.

A busy April for Exeter City
"We're at the sharp end now," says captain Archie Collins. "The gaffer has us well-placed, it's on us to execute the game plans, and to focus on every little touch." While flattered, the manager defers credit to the players themselves: "They work incredibly hard every match and we can see it pay off in the assists, the goals, the defensive work. All credit to the lads for getting here."
April opens with what is probably a title-deciding match against Tottenham. A win would likely position Exeter two full games clear of Spurs; while a loss would close the gap to just one point. That game is followed by a quarterfinals rematch of the group stage against tournament favorite Barcelona.
The Champions' League Quarterfinal matches
"It's a hard draw, to get that rematch," said Daudelin. "There are no easy teams left in the bracket, no teams you look at and say you want to face them. We played well at home against Barcelona but will need to improve our sharpness. We gave up goals early and had to fight back; Barca will not want to let us in the door again if they get the lead."
What glory can Exeter find? The spring will decide so much for the south coast side. Readers, post your thoughts in the comments!
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2020.04.08 05:22 NerdyOutdoors Exeter City (Part 19): Scintillating Start to European Expeditions

Exeter City (Part 19): Scintillating Start to European Expeditions
Exeter City stunned Benfica in front of an Exeter crowd at St James' Park
Check out our other Exeter City coverage here!
In a group where everyone will be chasing Barcelona, Exeter look to be best at it after three matches. The team's blistering counterattacks remain their signature, and it proved to the good against Portuguese champions Benfica. Star striker Vinicius was kept in check all night by Allan Campbell and Chris Mepham, who corralled the striker and limited him to just three shots on goal. One bounced off the crossbar past Henry Morgan, one was saved easily, and one found the back of the net in the 86th minute. But by then the game was long put to bed. Exeter came out in a defense that was content to sit back and let Benfica have 2/3 of the pitch. But with wingers Antonio Marin and surprise young star Cian Cafferty on orders to track back, Benfica found 9 men defending. When Campbell, Geertruida, or Mepham seized the ball, it was off to the races for Exeter. Counters scored with James Scott, James Rowland, and Marin, and then sub Cristian Gutierrez ended with a 78th minute tap-in to ice the game.
The away match at Camp Nou went about like expected; with Exeter sitting behind the ball again, waiting to counter. But this time, Barcelona was too clinical, and strikes by Frenkie De Jong and Ousmane Dembele put the Catalan team and Spanish champions up 2-0 before the half. A spirited shot by Campbell bounced off the post, and winger Noah Okafor's goalbound shot was blocked at the line. Barcelona played the ball around and maintained over 65% possession against Exeter as they eased to victory.
What would the home match against Spartak Moscow bring? It opened with a statement of intent by Exeter, as they fired six shots at goal in the opening fifteen minutes, with three saves, one off the woodwork, and two blocks by frantic Spartak defenders. But it opened up in the 28th, as Marin chipped the ball in, and a failed clear by a Spartak defender saw the ball fall to Campbell just two yard out for a tap-in. Then James Scott did this:
A brilliant turn and strike by Scott
The teams went into halftime with Exeter leading 2-0, but the Grecians were not done--Scott in particular. Another Marin counter saw the Croatian free on the left with the ball, and Scott running down the middle. In the past we might have seen the striker picking the wrong angle, but here, marked well initially, he finds a half-yard of space to fire a venomous volley:
Scott's volley past Spartak goalie Ananidze was unstoppable
Exeter wrapped it with a late goal by 65th minute substitute Callum Paterson and another by captain Archie Collins, both assisted by Cian Cafferty.
Exeter's midfield proved so dominant that Spartak Moscow mustered a stunning 0 shots on frame, and just two shots total in the game, both of which sailed wide.
After the first round of matches, Exeter look well positioned to advance out of the group, with a solid defensive effort and blistering pace on attack. "I think, you know, some commentators still think, 'Oh, Exeter, that's a rubbish club,'" said Campbell in a post-match interview. "We want to prove that those days are behind us, that we can face these top clubs and be one of them." While no one expects Exeter to take points from Barcelona in the group stage, the strong outing at home against Benfica bodes well for the south coast team.
The group after three matches
"Never say never," observes defender Chris Mepham. "We all watch the tape, we know what we need to do to improve against Barca. It's not easy to do, but other teams have done it." Indeed, Atletico Madrid have proven that a physical defense and compact midfield can pose problems for the Catalan side. But do Exeter have the discipline to pull it off? Can they make luck work for them in Exeter? Or will Barcelona run away with the group? We'll find out in just a few weeks time.
Rumors: Lawal unsettled?
It's not all harmony at St. James'. Rumors are rampant that young midfielder Gabriel Lawal, finding minutes hard to come by, is frustrated by his lack of game time. The young Nigerian international has been a steady game-day fixture on the substitute's bench, and frequently spells young speedster Rowland in the middle of the park. "Gabe's got phenomenal ball control and is developing into an excellent dribbler and passer," notes Daudelin. "He's definitely pushing for minutes. when a player like James [Rowland] is in form, it's hard to unseat him."
Could Lawal force a move?
With a recently renewed contract, and a great deal of value to the team as an effective substitute, Lawal is a commodity Exeter can ill afford to lose. But he will want to keep developing and earning game time, and in Exeter's crowded midfield, that has not been happening recently. We'll keep an eye on developments.
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2020.04.05 03:36 NerdyOutdoors Exeter City (part 17): the 2024-25 Season Preview

Exeter City (part 17): the 2024-25 Season Preview
After just missing the top spot last season, can Exeter continue the strong form? Or will they crash back to earth?
Check out all our Exeter City Coverage Here!
Callum Paterson joined the squad in the opening week of the transfer window
Exeter City have stunned the Premier League with back-to-back European finishes in their opening two seasons, a record rise by any standard. In their third season, they face massive challenges in defending their position.
The 2023-24 season was a smashing success by any standards, as Exeter advanced to the Europa League semifinals, where they bowed out to OL; they finished second to Manchester City, who ran away with the table; and they posted a healthy 60M profit from player transfers. Their war chest is rumored to be a healthy 70-90 million this year, a sum made up partly of European bonuses and partly from the blockbuster sales of Alexis Saelemaekers and Abou Ouattara last season, both of whom netted over 30 million each. The club put much of its profits back into operations, including upgrades around the grounds, improved training and fitness facilities for the players, and improved work spaces for the backroom staff. "I am finally working my weekdays in a space larger than a closet," joked Manager Andrea Daudelin.
Their high finish brings the midweek gauntlet of European football to St. James' Park-- which will be the smallest site by far in the competition, at just under 10,000 seats. While the draw has not been announced yet, the city waits with bated breath to see who the Grecian will face. "Looking at our team, and the competition--it will be fierce," says Julian Tagg, Director of Football Operations. "We will take it one day at a time. Of course we'd love to make it out of the group--no team plans for failure there. But the league will take priority."
And what a league it will be. 2nd place least season, Exeter came within just a few goals of toppling the traditional top 6. A slow September marked by an 0-2 loss to Manchester City, and a drab 0-0 tie against Manchester United, coupled with a shock loss to Cardiff later in the fall, were enough to bury their hopes--even though they didn't know it at the time. March and April saw a win streak extend to 12 games, but Manchester City matched win for win in their march to the title. "We all want a crack at them again," says striker James Scott. "I don't intend to leave until I can hold a trophy with the team that gave me so many opportunities." Other players echo his sentiments--Exeter has a real chance to earn a spot at the top.
Exeter started the transfer window with a quick move for Cardiff's Callum Paterson, who provides depth and veteran leadership at the striker position. He will not likely unseat James Scott, who won the Europa League's golden boot with a stunning 23 goals-- a new competition record. Scott also led the Premier League in scoring with 29 goals in 37 matches.
The right wing remains manned by Noah Okafor, who Exeter secured for a relative bargain 15 million last year. the electrifying league assist leader Antonio Marin holds his spot on the left wing, from whence he chipped 17 assists and 18 goals last season. "It would be great to draw Dinamo [Zagreb, Marin's former team] in the group stages, to see some old teammates," Marin said of the upcoming campaign. Cian Cafferty, Scottish international, is expected to push for game time on either wing. "He is a really exciting prospect," notes manager Daudelin, "and he will earn some more time this season. It's tough to bring youth along in the Premier League; the game is so fast and the touches so precise. But he has adapted well." Indeed, with 4 goals and 2 assists last season in the Prem, he flashed the class he will need.
Steady work on his technical game has Antonio Marin leading the attack in assists
Barring transfers, the midfield remains unchanged. Allan Campbell plays as the deep-lying number 8, flanked by Archie Collins and James Rowland. Collins, along with left-back Jack Sparkes, remains a success story from Exeter's famed youth academy. He and Campbell have played almost every match since Exeter's 2019-20 League 2 season, where they powered the team to promotion. Tactically, Campbell is expected to cut passing lanes and harry opposing strikers, which he has excelled at in the past seasons. Pint-sized dynamo James Rowland returns to chip in goals and assists as one of the most agile attacking midfielders in the league. "Don't let his size fool you," says partner Campbell; "he'll put in a tackle, steal your lunch money, and give you a finger as he runs off to score." All three of these midfielders have far exceeded the expectations and predictions of their potential from many seasons ago. "We all see what people think someone's potential can be," says team captain Collins. "Oh, so-and-so never lived up to his potential, or so-and-so is only going to top out as a 2nd-tier player. Well, we agreed as a team that's all bollocks and we just want to play out of our skulls."

26-year old Allan Campbell has the acumen and stamina to direct the team
In defence, we expect Nathan Wood to earn significant starting minutes, and youth product Craig McEvoy will likely win playing time in cup ties and to rest starters Hoogma and Mepham. Sparkes patrols the back left, and Lutsharel Geertruida, who earned two player-of-the-month honors last season, lurks on the right. Against top teams, Geertruida has been tasked with staying back, forming a 3-man back line to stop counters, while Sparkes ranges forward and overlaps Marin.
Exeter need to target quality reinforcements before the end of the window. Youth prospect Gabriel Lawal is certainly exciting, but Aiden O'Neill and Arnor Ingvi Traustason probably cannot handle the increased load of either weeknights in Europe, or substantial time stepping in for Rowland. Indeed, rumors are swirling of Exeter scouts seen watching the likes of Erick Gutierrez, Sofiane Kiyine, and Mexico international Orbelin Pineda. The lure of Champions League football is sure to entice some of Exeter's targets.

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Rumors abound regarding reinforcements in the center of the park
Exeter have sold off some assets as well, moving goalkeeper Okara for a tidy 12 million, and backup goalkeeper Brian Murphy moved to Koln for another 18 million. With a strong war chest, Exeter are poised to mount a stern challenge in their race to upend the table. Will they be successful? Leave your comments below!
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2020.03.31 02:43 NerdyOutdoors Exeter City (part 13): Exeter's Academy Grads Make the Difference

Exeter City (part 13): Exeter's Academy Grads Make the Difference
Today we look at Exeter City's Youth Academy graduates through the years
Click here to read our other Exeter City Coverage
It's been a long road for some of the lads who started with Exeter City as schoolboys, but some of them are reaping the rewards for sticking with the club. And the club has seen some stunning performances from them.
First up under the microscope: Archie Collins
With 23 starts in the Prem in 23-24, Collins is nothing but class
Collins earned the manager's trust with composed performances back in his league 2 days, where, manager Andrea Daudelin notes, "I could see his dynamic potential, knew he could be great, we just had to unlock that confidence." Collins has repaid the manager's faith in spades, consistently notching an assist every third game. What has been most impressive has been the addition of his goal-scoring abilities from the midfield, even as competition has grown fiercer and fiercer. In Exeter's first season in the Premier League, Collins fired in a whopping 16 goals to secure Exeter's top-half finish. Stunningly, that tally led the team, eclipsing striker James Scott's 11 and winger Antonio Marin's 12

Collins' midfield presence has been invaluable to the Grecians
Collins is effective as a true box-to-box midfielder, tracking back diligently as part of a midfield three set to defend the centre-backs. While he doesn't show the tackling stats of partner Allan Campbell, his work helps funnel the balls out to the wings, where they are far less dangerous, as he shuts down attacking runs in the middle.
Next on our review is old boy Jack Sparkes, who made his Exeter breakthrough in 2019-20, after loan spells with non-league Salisbury and Chippenham Town.

Sparkes often plays as a true wing-back, pressing high up the pitch
Since his breakthrough, Sparkes has only come off the team sheet in times of injury or youth cup rotations. A slightly undersized wing-back at the Premier League level, Sparkes has hit the weight room to develop the strength needed to bang around with larger midfielders and forwards.
He provides a dangerous overlap going forward. Tactics recently have seen the right-back Lutsharel Geertruida stay back to help counters, while Sparkes is free to push forward. Marin cuts inside, from the wing--with the ball, playing a Robben-style cut-in to shoot; without the ball he plays as a centre-forward next to James Scott, opening the wing for Sparkes. This play has notched Sparkes 3 assists already in Europa League games and one more in the Prem.
Our last look-in is academy winger Cian Cafferty, who moved to the academy as a 15-year-old schoolboy from Derry, Northern Ireland. After a full year with the reserves and academy teams, he earned 12 matches in the second half of the 22-23 Prem season, mostly as a second-half substitute. "You can see his great potential when he gets on the pitch" notes manager Daudelin; "we are just working on getting that positioning, those runs timed right."
Cian Cafferty's Scouting Report
Cafferty notched 4 assists and 1 goal in his debut campaign, and has improved on those numbers in 23-24. In a stunning Europa group stage, he tallied 4 goals and 3 assists in the 6 games played, stunning crowds in Utrecht, Fiorentina, and Genk, and electrifying the home fans.

Cafferty has earned significant minutes this season
Cafferty comes with incredible fitness. "I enjoy a cross-country run and a steeplechase in me spare time," he said in an interview. "The gaffer had me put in my contract that I wouldn't do them during the season, but I said 'okay, as long as my offseason is fine,' and she agreed that was swell." As games wear on and his opposing fullback wears down, Cafferty seems to enjoy a second wind and fresh legs, leading opposing managers to a dilemma-- leave a tired fullback for Cafferty to beat; or sub that fullback and risk another tired player struggling against Exeter's blazing fast counters.
In addition to academy youngsters earning significant minutes, the Academy remains a substantial source of income for Exeter City. This season alone, academy players have netted 6,320,000 in sales. The record was the 2021 sale of goalkeeper Ian Morrison for 17,400,000; that sum would only be rivaled by the 2022 sale of MacDonald for 13,400,000. And there are rumors swirling that starting goalkeeper Henry Morgan and backup Christopher Okara have been scouted by other Prem sides and even European teams.
Can Exeter's academy keep producing? Is Cafferty good enough to make everyone forget about the sales of Ollie Watkins and Ethan Ampadu? Keep reading right here for more!
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2020.03.24 21:16 NerdyOutdoors Exeter City (part 9): Premier Profits and Financial Security

Exeter City (part 9): Premier Profits and Financial Security
Fan-owned Exeter City have released their books from the 2022-23 season, their first in the Premier League. Here we break down their finances.
Click here for the rest of our Exeter City News and Coverage!
Guest Analysis by the Lichtenstein Stroll, football and finance blogger.
2022-23 saw Exeter's first season in the Premier League and a stunning Carabao Cup win to earn them Europa League Qualifying status. Some thoughts on their finances, below.
First, a brief review of Exeter's unique team ownership. The club is 100% supporter-owned via the Supporter's Trust scheme. The trust employs a board of directors, including a fan representative, to make club decisions. Director of Football Operations Julian Tagg is the public face of this board, and he is the team's appointed representative in negotiating the transfer fee pool that the board makes available, and the liaison between the board and the manager.
Income the team earns through its revenue streams is first apportioned back to football operations, less a fixed percentage to the trust, as a rainy day fund. This is most apparent in transfer fees--the football operations side keeps 65% of transfer fees, while the trust keeps 35% for the fund. After the football team's "break even," profits are distributed back into the trust and paid to individual shareholders. Last year saw a record payout to shareholders in the form of 43 million payout; the average shareholder would have earned a windfall of almost 10,000. Shareholders can choose the cash option and maintain their share, or may choose to purchase another share with the money, in the hopes of a larger payout later.
Exter posted a healthy 43.5 million profit after all expenses this year. This amount does not include the massive prize money the Premier League pays out to teams based on their placement in the league (more on that later). This amount includes player sales, matchday tickets, and merchandising, minus the operating costs, player wages, and other assorted team expenses. Exeter (in blue) are ahead of some of their free-spending competitors, such as West Ham United (18 Million), Manchester United (26 Million) and Chelsea (30 Million), although Chelsea labor yet again under Financial Fair Play sanctions.
Exeter sit in a healthy 6th position on profits
However, Exeter trail far behind table-topping Liverpool, whose commercial and matchday income are almost three times the Grecians, and Tottenham, who cam in a respectable fourth. Both those teams have income significantly augmented by European competitions.
Exeter have posted steady increases in earnings since 2019-20's last season in League 2. Their meteoric rise through the leagues has been accompanied by commensurate earning power. In 19-20, the team posted a net loss, mostly due to transfers, and the limited TV money that League 2 earns. But by their Championship season, marketing, merchandising, and player sales had significantly improved Exeter's income, to the tune of 27.9 million.
Steady Rise in Exeter Income
Exeter, with one of the smallest stadiums in the league at just 8,696 seats, have seen a rise in matchday ticket income, partly through the increasing number of fans and sellouts at St. James' Park, and partly through a small but noticeable rise in ticket prices. Exeter have justified the rise in ticket prices as "necessary to finance our recruitment and transfer efforts" in the words of Director of Football Operations Julian Tagg. The least expensive and many mid-price seats have remained frozen in price since the Covid-19-shortened 2019-20 season. "Many of our fans are still feeling the effects of those economic shocks, and we felt it was vital that the Exeter community not face price hikes for their seats," Tagg said.
Season Tickets: $1.69 million total; matchday $8.63 million total
To remain a going concern as a team, and not suffer the fates of Bury, Bolton, and many others in the league, the team is explicitly and signifcantly reliant on player sales. "Our youth academy is one important revenue stream," says Tagg. "Lads know they can play in our academy, play the U-18 and U-20 leagues with us, and be seen, and have an opportunity to play--either here at Exeter, or somewhere else. Our mission is to develop technical players and let them earn a living in professional football."
In the 22-23 season, Exeter posted a net profit of 8.7 million on player sales overall. This puts them in the top 5 profit-making teams, although they were vastly outpaced by Liverpool's sales of youth and academy products.

Exeter are a selling club
The spike in profits in 21-22 comes mostly the sale of academy product goalie Ian Morrison for 17,900,000. The most recent season saw earnings from the sale of McDonald (13 Million), Randell Williams (5.7 Million), Jake Cooper (6 million) and a number of academy prospects. Given Exeter's stadium size and sponsorship partners, it is unlikely that Exeter will change this transfer philosophy in the future. At the same time, while no player is entirely not for sale, the team have done an excellent job maintaining some top talent. This season will likely continue to show a profit, as Exeter have just sold winger Abou Ouattara for a shocking 30 million.
Combined with other income, such as merchandising and sponsorships, Exeter would have done a commendable business on 80 million in income, and a shockingly low 56 million on expenses, including transfers.
But to maintain their Premier League status, Exeter will be one team that is MOST reliant on the lucrative TV broadcast package. Once the TV and prize money (this year, 149 million for teams 6-12 in the table) is factored in, Exeter will earn a sharp 57% of their revenue for the year from this souce. By comparison, the 300 million earned each by Liverpool, both Manchester teams, and Chelsea, will make up under 20% of those team's total revenues.

Exeter cannot afford relegation
It seems unlikely based on recent form, but relegation would likely decimate Exeter's playing squad. Major earners would likely be released, given the loss of TV and prize money would evaporate a significant revenue source.
Speaking of wages, Exeter's remain some of the lowest in the Prem, although that is changing slowly. Their rapid rise has been coupled with a very strict wage policy, set by the Supporter's trust. The maximum salary in their first Premier League campaign was just 35k per week, and it has not crept noticeably up yet this season.

The smallest payroll in the Prem
In fact, Exeter's 17-million-per-year wage bill for the WHOLE TEAM is less than just ONE player on Manchester City: Kevin DeBruyne, who earned 19.6 million last season.
Exeter Win a Carabao Cup with a wage bill lower than that of just one Man City player
Wages have risen steadily, and Tagg has said that players will be paid market rates as best Exeter can manage. Europa Cup reward money should alleviate the tight purse strings somewhat, as Marin and Campbell can expect significant increases if they revisit their contracts. During the 22-23 season, Exeter's starting XI all saw significant raises in weekly wage values and player bonus payments.
Steady rise in wages
Tagg said "As part of our promise to players, we did include contract language about promotions and competitive salaries. We understand we cannot skimp entirely on wages; at the same time we cannot hope to match the 300k-a-week that some teams offer." It is widely expected that Exeter, unless they miraculously top the table, will likely cap salaries in the relatively reasonable 50-60k range.
It remains to be seen if Exeter can maintain their league position; but maintaining their recent financial successes will absolutely depend on it. The TV and prize money are central to their Premier League stability; a change in Premier League fortunes would likely dramatically alter the team's ability to attract and secure high-level players in the future. For the time, though, it remains the lot of Exeter City fans to enjoy the ride, especially the midweek European adventure they have embarked on.
What are your thoughts about Exeter's finances and league position?
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2020.03.22 02:43 NerdyOutdoors Exeter City (part 6): Lucky vs. Liverpool and proving their Premier League Bona Fides

Exeter City (part 6): Lucky vs. Liverpool and proving their Premier League Bona Fides
Exeter City kick on the Carabao Cup after a thrilling semi-final tie that sends them through!
Check here for more of the Exeter City stories you want

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After a rollicking first leg at Anfield that saw Exeter come from behind THREE TIMES to earn a 3-3 draw, it was going to come down to the home leg at St. James' Park, Exeter. This game didn't disappoint, with Exeter spurred on by home fans to take a 1-0 lead in the 6th after James Scott laid the ball back to James Rowland, who buried a shot into the roof of the net past helpless Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson. But that lead held for just twenty minutes, as Liverpool equalized through a thunderous strike from 17 yards by Wijnaldum.
Halftime saw the teams level, and then Exeter struck again through Rowland in the 63rd, when a blistering counterattack sprung Rowland and Marin past Liverpool's high line. They played tika-taka and then Marin squared it to Rowland past a diving van Dijk, and Rowland tapped it home. But alas, the weaknesses of Exeter's back line revealed themselves again, as Roberto Firmino pulled midfielder Allan Campbell away. Leon Goretzka was left with acres of space and no defender closed him down. He struck from the top of the box while Wout Faes lunged for the block to no avail.
The clock ran down on a 2-2 draw that went to penalties. The first kicks, by Scott and Liverpool's Firmino, were both buried easily; the next two kicks were both blocked by the keepers. Archie Collins buried his kick, and up stepped Robertson. In a stunning turn, goalkeeper Henry Morgan guessed right and turned it over the bar. Jack Sparkes tapped a looping kick home to the top right. To keep the game alive, Goretzka arrived at the spot. Taking a straight approach, he swept the ball to the left--and missed past the post, sending Exeter on to the final.
In other Exeter news, the team sit 7th ahead of their clash with Leicester this weekend, on 38 points, just 6 points behind Manchester United, but a full 10 points out of European spots. No one looks likely to catch Liverpool, who remain undefeated.
League table, Jan 28 2022
Exeter's defense remains suspect, shipping a stunning 36 goals and working on just three clean sheets in 24 games, but their front line continue to save the day, posting 40 goals-- 11 more already than number 8 Aston Villa, and 5 more than 9th place Wolves, who tallied 35.
Results have been a mixed bag, with a 0-4 drubbing by Arsenal followed fast by a convincing 2-0 away win at Old Trafford over Manchester United. But the team expect to build on the first half of the season, and 38 points by the end of January should be enough to secure mid-table safety. At the bottom of the table, fellow promotion team Cardiff have notched just 6 points, and West Brom and Fulham join them in the bottom three with 11 and 14, respectively.
By any measure, Exeter's debut season in the Premier League must be judged a qualified success. With two days left in the transfer window, they have secured Chris Mepham from Bournemouth on a free Bosman transfer. He will join the team in the summer. The team shed the contract of Jake Cooper, who has been supplanted by Nathan Wood as a defensive sub; and sold two academy products for fees reputed to be between 500k and 800k. "Team know your needs in the winter, and will charge a premium," says Director of Football Operations Julian Tagg about the lack of purchases so far. "So we need to be smart and not overpay. Our first priority remains keeping the club financially sound for the fans."
Exeter should be able to add some points with games against Leicester and Cardiff bookending a clash with Chelsea. The prior fixture agains the London giants at Stamford Bridge ended in a thrilling 2-2 draw; the Grecians will look to at least equal that result at home in front of their own fans. The end of February will see the EFL cup final against Manchester City.
With a few months left, Exeter City look likely to hang on and see out a chance at a second season. It will be an exciting spring to watch the young players earn minutes, although fans hope to see some defensive improvement soon.
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2020.03.20 13:55 NerdyOutdoors Our Way-Too-Early Review of Exeter City's First Experiences in the Premier League

Our Way-Too-Early Review of Exeter City's First Experiences in the Premier League
Three league matches have come and gone, and one Carabao Cup tie as well. How is Exeter City faring at the top tier of English football?
Check out our other Exeter City Coverage here!
Exeter have posted a respectable start and demonstrated they are no pushovers. But will their season look like Leicester's sustainable growth? or more like Blackpool's slow fade back down the league?

Exeter sit 10th with a respectable 0-goal differential after facing two top-tier teams
Exeter opened with a statement victory over Newcastle, 3-1, in a game that demonstrated Exeter's couinterattacking danger. After falling behind to a Joelinton strike in the 28th minute, Exeter rallied with its electric attack. James Scott proved he can be the right man at the right time, with a goal-mouth scramble from a rebound that he headed past a flailing Tim Krul in the 35th minute. And in the 41st minute, Alexis Saelemakers opened his account with a debut-day goal assisted by Archie Collins. Collins played give and go with the Belgian, who cut inside and took a return pass before burying the shot into the roof of the net. A cagey 2nd half saw Newcastle and Exeter both struggle to score, until Abou Ouattara came on as a sub for James Rowland, playing in the midfield triangle. Ouattara took a pass from Scott at the top of the box, fended off two defenders, and slid the shot home from 7 yards out.
Exeter next faced Manchester City on August 14th, where they had no answers for the Blues' possession game. City held the ball a whopping 78% of the game and eased past the Grecians 2-0. Leroy Sane opened the scoring by leaving Leutsharel Geertruida tripping over himself on the side of the box and fired his strike to the far corner. Sergio Aguero doubled the lead in the 51st minute with a driven strike from the top of the box. After that, it was keep-away for Man City, who were content to see the clock out.
The road didn't get any easier back at St. James' Park, when Exeter hosted Tottenham. The hosts held up for 20 minutes under a barrage of pressure from Tottenham, and often gave up the ball to Tottenham's high press and cutting into passing lanes. The struggles to clear were finally punished with Son's strike in the 28th minute. But Exeter rallied through midfielder Archie Collins, who took an Allan Campbell assist, pushed away a Spurs defender, and buried it past Lloris. Then in a shock, Exeter took the lead in the 65th minute through James Rowland. Striker James Scott laid off the ball to a streaking Rowland, who fired it past a diving keeper. Exeter then faced almost 30 minutes of desperate defending. And it was working so well until a moment of sheer brilliance from Dele Alli, who fired a shot from more than 20 yards away that nestled into the top corner. The game ended in a respectable 2-2 draw, which Exeter fans had to feel generally happy with.
In the Carabao Cup, Exeter faced Norwich City, and dominated the Championship Canaries, winning 3-1. Another goal by Scott, a strike by Arnor Ingvi Traustason, and one by Collins, put Norwich in a depp hole, and they only earned their consolation goal in the 80th minute. The cup tie saw the debut of promising academy youths Gabriel Lawal (Nigeria) and Cian Cafferty (Northern Ireland). Cafferty, in particular, electrified from the start with pace and energy, although he demonstrated a tendency to drift inside too early.

Our profile of Cafferty, Exeter's exciting young winger
With just days left in the transfer window, we wait to see if Exeter can fend off interest in its star players. Winger Marin has said "Look, I sign a contract, I honor it. The manager here has trusted me for several seasons, and I want to return that trust and help build something special." Of other interest would be new additions. Exeter could benefit from another full-back to provide depth; there are concerns that Pierce Sweeney is out of his element against pacey Premier League attacks.
Our prognosis: Exeter are a few injuries away from slipping down the table, but a healthy team can see them to safety. Marin and Scott are expected to lead in scoring, with Marin and Collins providing assists. Allan Campbell has exceeded all expectation and proved he can marshall top strikers, as he covered and frustrated Harry Kane in the Spurs match. Hanche-Olsen and Faes will need to improve their work at limiting shots from the middle, and adding depth at fullback might be a priority before deadline day.
Can Exeter kick on and avoid relegation? Will they be scrapping all the way in a dogfight till the last day? Or is the team strong enough to build on this start? Next up is a trip to Selhurst Park to face Crystal Palace, who sit 9th in the table.
Exeter City's expected team sheet against Crystal Palace
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2020.03.18 13:26 NerdyOutdoors Exeter City 2021-22 Transfer Wrap-up!

Exeter City 2021-22 Transfer Wrap-up!
Exeter City fans have to regard the transfer window as a mixed bag this summer.
Click here to see our other Exeter City Coverage!
The sale of star goalkeeper Jack Morrison, a youth academy product, was both blessing and curse for fans. The July sale netted the team 17.4 million, and the board allocated about 60% of that to the transfer kitty for squad improvement. "But you see our philosophy," Director of Football Operations Julian Tagg noted; "We have a very specific list with a very specific set of criteria. We cannot overpay on salary and bonuses to land a player, because our club finances can't allow that."
Sources around Exeter City mooted several names after the sale, but Exeter had Morrison's replacement all along-- another exciting prospect from the youth academy, Henry Morgan. He slotted into the starting lineup and after a rocky 3-2 win in his debut, posted three consecutive clean sheets to give Exeter a strong start.
But with a rookie goalie between the sticks, Exeter coach Andrea Daudelin asked for defensive help for the coming campaign. Free transfer Jake Cooper has struggled to gel with the defensive unit, and the long season begs for another starting-caliber centre-back.
Rumors flew through August, and sources reported that the team had conversations with Poland international Michal Helik and English ace Nathan Wood. Wood was even spotted meeting with manager Daudelin, but reports from inside St. James' Park indicate that Wood expected a greater role than the manager could promise. Exeter scouts were also spotted at PSV watching Derrick Luckassen, but it is thought that the team will wait to see if they can secure him on a free as his contract winds down.
On a dramatic deadline day, Exeter shocked fans and pundits alike by dropping a club record 8.75 million on Belgian Wout Faes, who was playing at Oostend FC. A tall, strong centre-back, Faes immediately provided pace and defensive acumen, along with the team's best haircut. Sources report that while the fee is significant for Exeter, it represents a good value; Faes also reportedly accepted wages in line with the team's current wage structure, with a maximum weekly wage around 8,000 and significant performance bonuses.

Wout Faes is a tall and physical centre-back with great defensive awareness.
The team made other shrewd transfer moves, adding two strikers to compete for depth and bench positions. Conor Simpson, a towering 6'6" target, will provide an aerial threat, while Ben Stephens is a changer of pace as an attacker with speed and agility. Neither are expected to supplant James Scott, who posted 4 goals in 4 games to start the campaign. Hallur Hannsson, 29-year-old centre-midfielder, joined as well, with his fee reported to be around 600,000. He is expected to be a cup-tie player and make an impact coming off the bench.
The team broke mostly even, with the sale of several academy youngsters to balance the books. Centre-mids Ian Kelly (550,000) and Peter Cooper (1.15 million) left to pursue play time elsewhere, while talented young centre-back Lewis Clark was sold to Hobro IK for 1.3 million, where he is a likely starter immediately.
Exeter seem to have made a strong start to the Championship season, earning 3 wins, one draw, and one loss in the opening month. But it's a long campaign; only time can tell whether the Grecians have made all the right moves in their team-building approach.

Exeter City's projected starting lineup.
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2020.03.17 20:12 NerdyOutdoors Three Questions for Exeter City as they face the Championship

Three Questions for Exeter City as they face the Championship
Exeter City fans are over the moon after back-to-back promotions to reach the EFL Championship!
Click here for Our coverage of Exeter City!
A stunning run of 10 unbeaten games to end the 2020-21 season saw Exeter run away with EFL League 1, outpacing Colchester by 10 points to the league title.
But The Grecians face a tall task in the upcoming season, as they look to establish themselves in England's second tier and solidify their finances. As we look ahead at the coming season, we ask three key questions of each team in the Championship. Up today: Exeter City and their high-powered attack.

Exeter City's current lineup as the Championship Season begins
Question 1: Can the Defence hold up? Free transfers dominated Exeter's transfer strategy so far. Last season saw O'Donnell and Hanche-Olsen come in on frees and establish a strong defense; this season it's Jake Cooper adding size and strength to the centre of defence. His arrival probably displaces Tom Parkes to the reserves, as youth academy prospect Fagan has flashed the potential to be special and will likely see time from the bench. Jack Sparkes holds down the left after a season that saw 6 assists and 4 goals in League 1. But this squad remains untested against Championship attackers, with only Cooper having experience at this level. His height and strength remain assets in the box, while Hanche-Olsen may be asked to cover for his lack of real pace.
Question 2: How Good is Henry Morgan? The pre-season saw a record sale of Scottish International Jack Morrison to Sampdoria for a shock 17,500,000. While fan-owned Exeter will benefit from the sale financially, it will put a huge strain between the sticks. Morgan is relatively untested at any level outside the U-23 squad, and he has big shoes to fill. Physically, he is shorter than Morrison, at only 6'2" compared to Morrison's towering 6'7". With an unproven defence in front of him, he will need to find the peak of his game quickly. If he struggles, Exeter could find themselves looking far up at the table.
Question 3: Can Exeter hold their young stars? Morrison's departure was typical for fans who have followed Exeter. With no billionaire corporate owner to prop them up, Exeter are reliant on tournament money, TV fees, league and cup prize money, and yes, player sales, to remain a going concern. Exeter have been shrewd in recent years, using the free transfers and contract expiry markets well, as well as their own youth academy, to field quality teams and to build funds. The sale of Morrison, however, will be a worrying sign. Star men Antonio Marin and James Scott will undoubtedly attract some attention. "We can only offer within our means," notes the coach, "But we are building something great and hope that we can entice them to stay with a cup run, Championship competition, and promotion bonuses." It is widely rumored that the team has renegotiated contracts with Marin, Campbell, and Collins to try and lock in their services.
Exeter enjoyed a profitable season in 2020-2021, but needed the proze money from winning the season to fill their coffers after the expenses of Marin and Campbell in the 19-20 season. The sale of Morrison is a significant and necessary step in firming up Exeter's finances. Fans should not expect all of that money to be used for transfers.

19-20: -3.21 million net spend. 20-21: +2.895 million net profit
Bonus Question: Will there be more changes to the lineup? Exeter remain an exciting mystery in the Championship! Marin and Scott provide bags of goals, while Allan Campbell and Archie Collins are joined by free transfer Arnor Ingvi Traustason in the engine room. The three of them will probably provide stout extra cover for the back four, while exciting youth James Rowland, who enjoyed a stellar League 1 season, will come on from the bench this season.
Sources indicate that the manager has identified transfer targets at centre-back, where there is little competition currently for a starting position. An extra starting-caliber defender there would soothe fans' worries about injury and depth, and provide a challenge for the starting spots. Rumors that Poland international Michal Helik have been spotted chatting with the manager remain unsubstantiated at this time.
The team could benefit from more depth in the centre of the park as well, since James Rowland remains the 4th man in the squad there, and there is very little depth behind him. Joel Randall provides some change-of-pace on the wing and can play on the side of the midfield three, but fans and pundits agree that a strong holding midfielder for cup ties and congested fixture weeks should be high on the list.
Watch this space for more Exeter City News! Coming next: the Championship transfer roundup!
submitted by NerdyOutdoors to FifaCareers [link] [comments]


2020.03.12 17:54 bikingfencer Daniel 11:21-end Antiochus

 
“THE DOINGS OF ANTIOCHUS EPIPHANES (11:21-45)  
“This section describes the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes (175-164 B.C.) and the enormities committed under him. He was the younger son of Antiochus the Great, and when his father in 190 made submission to the Romans he was taken to Rome as a hostage. He remained there fourteen years, during which time the Romans, as he himself admits, treated him as royalty, not as a prisoner. Then, for some reason that is not clear, there was an exchange whereby Demetrius [his nephew] the eldest son of Seleucus was sent to replace him as hostage. Antiochus was at Athens on his way home when he heard the news that his brother was dead and Heliodorus was attempting to take over the kingship under pretense of a regency for the younger son of Seleucus. Antiochus hastened to Antioch, where, aided by Eumenes king of Pergamum and Attalus his brother, he was able to thwart Heliodorus and seize the power for himself.” (Jeffery, 1956, p. VI 524)  
-21. “‘And [will] stand upon his stead a contemptible one [נבזה, NeeBZeH],
and will not be given upon him a splendid kingship,
and [he will] come in tranquility [בשלוה, BeShahLVaH], and will seize [the] kingdom by flatteries [בחלקלקות, BahHahLahKOTh].  
“In the eyes of the people Antiochus, as the younger son, had never been considered as a possible successor to his father, and when Seleucus was murdered, it was his son Demetrius who in their eyes would be the rightful heir to the throne.  
“…Shalwāh is ‘carelessness,’ and so without warning means when folk were careless or unheeding. The word occurs again in vs. [verse] 24 and was used in 8:25 of Antiochus’ sudden attack on the unsuspecting people of Jerusalem. Since it commonly means ‘security’ or ‘peace,’ Charles would translate ‘in time of security.” (Jeffery, 1956, pp. VI 524-525)  
-22. “‘And arms [of] the flood will be flooded from before him and broken,
and also [the] leader [of] [the] covenant.  
“Heliodorus and other domestic enemies championing the cause of claimants who had a more legitimate title to the throne than he had needed to be dealt with by force, and dissident elements in Syria had to be suppressed. Thus it is more likely that this verse concerns event of the years 175-170 in Syria than that it refers to Antiochus’ campaign against Egypt.  
Armies shall be utterly swept away before him: Lit. [literally], ‘and the arms of the flood shall be flood-swept from before him.’ Arms is the same word as in vs. 15 and occurs again in vs. 31… Since arms of a flood is awkward, Bevan reads השטף not according to the Masoretic vocalization, hashshéṭeph, but hashshāṭōph, and translates, ‘and forces shall be utterly overwhelmed before him.’ This emendation has had wide acceptance…  
And broken: As in vs. 20…The prince would seem to refer to Onias III, whom Antiochus removed from office in 175 and who was murdered in 170. He is the ‘anointed one’ of 9:26 (cf. [compare with] II Macc. [Maccabees] 4:7-10…). Nāghȋdh is a title used for the high priest. Berȋth means the covenant of God with Israel. It is used here and in vs. 32 without the article.” (Jeffery, 1956, p. VI 525)  
-23. “‘And from confederation unto him he will make deceit [מרמה, MeeRMaH],
and ascend and strengthen in a little nation.  
“The various allusions in this verse are quite uncertain…With him is most probably with Antiochus, though some think it means with the prince of the covenant; in that case the reference would be to the arrangement with Jason, whom Antiochus had appointed in the place of Onias… He shall act deceitfully: ‘He shall work deceit,’ a reference to Antiochus’ way of overreaching his friends, a conspicuous case being that of Jason…  
“The meaning of he shall become strong is much disputed… Montgomery translates, ‘with a small nation,’ taking the reference to be to the much smaller kingdom he ruled as compared with his father.” (Jeffery, 1956, pp. VI 525-526)  
-24. “‘In tranquility and in fatness of [the] state he will come and do that [which] did not do his father, and fathers of his fathers;
spoil [בזה, BeeZaH] and plunder [ושלל, VeShahLahL] and goods [ורכוש, OoRKhOoSh] to them he will scatter [יבזור, YeeBZOR],
and upon fortresses he will think his thoughts, and until a time.  
Plunder, spoil, and goods: These words remind one of the many references to the plundering activities of Antiochus (I Macc. …) The generosity of Antiochus in distributing lavishly to those about him is also often mentioned (I Macc..)…  
But only for a time: Lit., ‘but until a time,’ as in vs. 35. Only is an interpretation. Theod. [Theodotian] has εως καιρου [eos kairou], i.e. [in other words], for the limited time God has appointed for these things (cf. vs. 27).” (Jeffery, 1956, p. VI 526)  
 
Rome begins to become a factor  
25-28. See I Macc. 1:20. Cleopatra queen of Egypt was a sister of Seleucus IV and Antiochus IV, and when Seleucus was murdered, there seems to have been a party in Syria which supported the claim of her son Ptolemy VI Philometor to succeed to the throne there and thus unite the Seleucid and Ptolemaic empires as a measure to stem the growing influence of Rome in the eastern Mediterranean. When Cleopatra died in 172 B.C., both her sons Philometor and Physcon were minors, and though the former was on the throne, the real power was in the hands of his guardians, the eunuch Eulaeus and the Syrian Lenaeus. They seem to have persuaded Philometor that he had only to venture a bold stroke to recover Syria and Palestine for Egypt. Antiochus got word of this and moved forces down into Phoenicia, visiting Jerusalem on the way, where he was received by Jason (II Macc. 4:21-22). He sent an embassy to Rome to justify his action, claiming that he held these provinces by inheritance from his father and was being unjustly attacked by Egypt. But Egypt also sent an embassy to Rome to complain that these provinces had been wrongly wrested from her and now Antiochus was preparing to attack Egypt itself. In 169 Antiochus captured the key border city of Pelusium and entered Egypt. The two guardians saw they could offer no effective resistance to him and so advised Ptolemy to flee to Samothrace. He did so, but was captured by his uncle on the way and taken into ‘protective custody.’ Pretending to be acting in his nephew’s interests, Antiochus now proceeded to occupy the greater part of Egypt, but was unable to take Alexandria, where the Egyptian nobles had set up Physcon as king. A combination of circumstances demanded Antiochus’ return from Egypt, one of them being troubles in Jerusalem. Rumors had got abroad that Antiochus had been killed during the Egyptian campaign, on the strength of which Jason, who had been superseded by Menelaus, attempt to reinstate himself, thereby causing considerable disturbance in Jerusalem… Antiochus… came to Jerusalem, joined forces with the Hellenizing Jews, massacred many of the inhabitant, and entered the sanctuary whose treasure he plundered (I Macc. 1:20-24…). During his absence Cleopatra, the sister of Philometor and Physcon, succeeded in reconciling them, an arrangement being worked out whereby they were to reign conjointly. This reconciliation having greatly enraged Antiochus, in the summer of 168 he set out on his second Egyptian expedition. The Egyptian embassies to Rome, however, had borne fruit, and as he moved toward Alexandria, he was met by Popilius Laenas at the head of Roman delegates and ordered to evacuate Egypt by a certain day. It was in the ill-temper that followed on this repulse that he vented his spleen on the non-Hellenizing Jews and desecrated the Jerusalem temple in 167.” (Jeffery, 1956, p. VI 527)  
-25. “‘And he will rouse [ויער, VeYah`ayR] his strength and his heart upon king [of] the NehGehB in force great,
and king [of] the NehGehB will stir to war in force great and numerous [ועצום, Ve`ahTsOoM] until much,
and he will not stand, for they thought upon him thoughts.  
“… great army. I Macc. 1:17 describes it as a ‘strong,’ force,’ recounting that besides infantry there were cavalry, an elephant corps, and war chariots, while a fleet assisted them by sea. “His defeat was perhaps due to treachery on the part of some of his own people who ventured ‘to devise against him devices’ (cf. vs. 26). To what this refers in uncertain. There is some suspicion that the border city Pelusium was betrayed to Antiochus. Devised: The same verb occurs in vs. 24, and plots here is the same word as ‘plans’ there.” (Jeffery, 1956, pp. VI 527-528)  
-26. “‘And consumers of his rich food [פת-בגו, PhahTh-BahGO] will break him,
and his force overwhelmed [ישטוף, YeeShTOPh],
and will fall casualties multitudinous.  
Those who eat his rich food: His courtiers, as in II Sam. [Samuel] 9:7… Food is the same Iranian word as was used in 1:5… These courtiers may be those who ‘devised devices’ against him in vs. 25, though it is generally considered that the reference here is to his guardians whose ill advice first brought him into conflict with his uncle and then to the mistaken flight which let him fall into his uncle’s hands (Polybius op. cit. XXVIII. 21…).  
His army shall be swept away involves the reading of not yishṭôph but yishshāṭēph, as in vs. 22, for the army must surely be that of Philometor, and the reference to the defeat at Mount Casius. ‘Sweep away’ used again the flood image of Isa. 8:8, as noted in vs. 10. The slaughter was great. I Macc. 1:18 seems to be based on the Greek of this passage…” (Jeffery, 1956, p. VI 528)  
-27. “‘And [the] two [of] them, the kings, their hearts to evil [למרע, LeMayRah`],
and upon one table deceit [כזב, KahZahB] they will speak,
and it will not succeed,
for more end to season.  
The two kings are Antiochus and Ptolemy Philometor, who was living in his uncle’s custody. The Hebrew here, ‘and the two of them, the kings,’ is hardly tolerable and seems to be merely an awkward rendering of the Aramaic ‘both kings’… When Physcon was crowned at Alexandria, Philometor was theoretically in alliance with his uncle against the usurping younger brother, so Antiochus, according to Livy… kept up the pretense that all he did in Egypt was in the interests of his nephew. Yet this writer suggests that Philometor, though so young, was merely feigning gratitude and regard for his uncle while plotting against him. Montgomery makes the point that in Oriental eyes this was the more disgraceful, as they were eating at the same table where by the laws of hospitality friendship should be genuine.  
Their minds shall be bent on mischief: Lit., ‘their hearts are at wickedness.’ Mērā‘ is from the verb ‘to be evil.’ But to no avail may mean that Antiochus’ scheme to reinstate Philometor and rule through him did not prosper, since he was unable to take Alexandria and drive out Physcon. Or it may mean that his attempt to subdue all Egypt after having captured its king did not succeed (see vs. 30). It is more likely, however, that we should connect this clause with the words that follow and interpret it as meaning that all his plans connected with the Egyptian campaign will prove unavailing because the end is at hand. This involves taking for the end is yet to be at the time appointed as eschatological… His campaign will avail nought, for the end of Egypt is to be at the time appointed yet to come, now at the hands of Antiochus.” (Jeffery, 1956, p. VI 528)  
28. “‘And he will return [to] his land in goods great,
and his heart upon covenant holy,
and he will do and return to his land.  
“On his return from the first expedition Antiochus brought back much booty. With great substance is the ‘plunder of the land of Egypt’ of I Macc. 1:19… Rekhûsh is goods and chattels, as in vs. 24. In vs. 13 it means implements of war. His heart shall be set against the holy covenant must refer to his appearance at Jerusalem to reinstate his nominee Menelaus and drive out Jason. To Antiochus this was not a matter of any holy covenant but a question whether his royal authority was to be observed. He did, however, massacre many Jews, and he did enter the sanctuary and plunder the treasury, which may well have seemed to indicate to pious Jews that the ruler’s heart was set against the holy covenant (II Macc. 5:5-21…). Holy covenant here, like the διαθηκη αγια [diathyky agia] of I Macc. 1:15… means the Jewish religion. He shall work his will: Lit., he shall do, as in vs. 30… The reference is apparently to the punishment inflicted on Jerusalem for the affair of Jason. Not only was the temple robbed but a garrison was stationed in the city.” (Jeffery, 1956, p. VI 529)  
-29. “‘To a season he will return and come in[to] [the] NehGehB,
and there will not be like at first and like the last.  
“The second Egyptian campaign started by a march to the south. Return and come into: Perhaps the use of mô‘ēdh suggests that the time of this second campaign was something decreed by God. ‘But not as the former time shall be the latter time’: The first Egyptian expedition, in spite of all that it failed to accomplish, had been a great success for Antiochus, who returned from it laden with spoil and full of honor. From the second expedition he not only gained nothing but was sent back home alike a whipped schoolboy (Polybius op. cit. XXIX. 23-27…).” (Jeffery, 1956, p. VI 529)  
-30. “‘And will come in[to] it ships [ציים, TseeY-YeeM] of KeeTheeM.
And he will be despondent,
and return and rage upon covenant holy,
and do and return,
and will understand upon forsakers of [עזבי, `oZBaY] covenant holy.  
“It is … likely … that the word Kittim is used here as a dramatic device to suggest the fulfillment of the prophecy in Num. 24:21-24…  
Kittim means properly Cyprus or the inhabitants thereof (Gen. [Genesis] 10:4…) but in the Prophets (cf. Jer. 2:10…) it is used more loosely to include the islands and coastlands of the Mediterranean and later came to be a name applied to Macedonia (I Macc. 1:1…). That it could also mean Romans appears from the fact that the LXX here has ‘Ρωμαιοι [Romaioi]…  
And he shall be afraid: Some translators prefer ‘disheartened’ (cf. Ps. 109:16, ‘broken in heart’)… The story in Polybius by its ‘deeply hurt’ curiously confirms the M.T. [Masoretic Text, the standard Hebrew Bible] ‘And he shall turn back and be wroth against holy covenant, and shall do [his will], and shall return hand have regard unto those who forsake holy covenant… the reference is to the beginning of the great persecution after the second attack on Jerusalem in 167… It is usually assumed that in his rage at being thwarted in Egypt he needed to work off his anger on someone, and as the refractoriness of the Jews happened to be brought to his attention just at that moment they were the ones on whom he turned. There may, however, have been something more important than just working off his rage. This may have been part of his general policy of Hellenization, a policy the more urgent now that it was necessary to stem the Parthian expansion westward. To favor the Hellenizers at Jerusalem and deal harshly with those who opposed Hellenization was clearly an advisable policy.  
Zā‘am is ‘to be irritated,’ to be angry,’ and then ‘to punish.’… ‘Have regard’: Bȋn here has the sense of give heed, ‘pay attention to,’ as in vs. 37; Job 31:1. Even after his return to Antioch, Antiochus seems to have kept in communication with the Jewish Hellenizers, those who ‘forsook holy covenant’ (I Macc. 1:15…).” (Jeffery, 1956, pp. VI 529-530)  
-31. “And arms [וזרעים, OoZRo'eeYM] from him will stand and defile [וחללו, VeHeeLeLOo] the sanctuary, the stronghold [המעוז, HahMah`OZ],
and remove the always,
and give the abomination desolating.  
“Both Sir Isaac Newton and Bp. [Bishop] Newton agree, that what follows is spoken of the Romans.” (Adam Clarke, 1831, p. IV 350)  
Forces from him shall appear: Lit., shall stand. The simplest explanation is that this means that Seleucid troops will be sent to carry out his orders in Jerusalem. …  
And profane the temple and fortress: … Fortress is here in apposition to temple. At this period the temple area was fortified so that it was a stronghold in the technical sense; see I Chr. 29:1, 19, where the temple is called ‘the fortress’ (KJV [King James Version] ‘palace’). Others think that here the holy place and the fortifications are two different things. In Neh. [Nehemiah] 2:8; 7:2 we seem to have a fortress near the temple and such fortifications are mentioned in the account of the rebuilding under the Maccabees (I Macc. 4:60; 6:7).  
Miqdāsh is ‘holy place,’ but here must mean the whole temple complex. It is the word used in 8:11; 9:17. Ḥillēl means ‘to defile,’ ‘to desecrate,’ ‘to make common,’ hence pollute, profane (cf. I Macc. 1:37)… Fortress: Lit., ‘the strength,’ is a word used in vss. [verses] 7, 10, 19 and again in vs. 39 for ‘stronghold.’…  
“Not content with polluting the place by their presence, the troops abolished the daily cult sacrifice and in its place set up a cult center of their own. As the verbs are plural, we should understand that it is the forces which are doing these things (for the abolition of the tāmȋdh see 8:11, 13; 9:27; 12:11). I Macc. 1:45 ff. [and following] enumerates the various rites and customs which Antiochus, I pursuance of his policy of Hellenization, declared forbidden. Negative measures prohibiting the practice of the old religion, however, were not enough; there must be positive substitution of something Hellenistic to take its place. So within the temple there was set up an altar to Zeus Olympius (II Macc. 6:2). This was the ‘abomination of desolation’ of 8:13… From I Macc. 1:59 it seems that the new altar was set up on the place of the ancient altar of sacrifice.  
Abomination: Shiqqȗç here and in 12:11 is clearly what was referred to in 8:13; 0:27, viz. [namely] the altar to Ba‘al Shāmēm set up in the temple. Charles thinks that the reference was first to the heathen altar and then to the statue of Zeus Olympius which, according to Taanith3 4:6, was set up beside it.” (Jeffery, 1956, pp. VI 530-531)  
-32. “‘And violators of [ומרשיעי, OoMahRSheeY`aY] covenant will flatter in smooths [בחלקות, BahHahLQOTh],
and people knowers of their Gods will hold fast and do.  
“‘And those who bring guilt upon the covenant shall he seduce by flattering words’ (cf. 9:5; 1210). The reference is apparently to the apostates mention in the last clause of vs. 30… The word רשע [RehSh`ah] is ‘to be wicked,’ and the Hiphil4 is ‘to put to the worse’… Seduce: Ḥānēph is an impious hypocritical person (Job 13:16 …), and the Hiphil of the verb is ‘to seduce, i.e., to make a person impious or hypocritical. By specious promises Antiochus persuaded the Jews who were favorable to Hellenism to renounce openly their religion……  
“‘A people, those who know its [i.e., the people’s] God’: For the construction see Ps. 95:10; Ezek. [Ezekiel] 3:5…  
“‘Shall hold fast and shall do’: So in I Macc. 1:62, many in Israel were fully resolved and exerted their strength… Ḥāzaq is ‘to be strong,’… The absolute use of ‘and do’ has already been met with in 8:12…” (Jeffery, 1956, pp. VI 531-532)  
-33. “‘And schooled of [ומשכילי, OoMahSKeeYLaY] people will understand to multitudes,
and they will stumble [ונכשלו, VeNeeKhSheLOo] in sword and in flame, in captivity and in plunder [ובבזה, OoBeBeeZaH] [for] days.  
Wise; Maskȋlȋm, as in vs. 35… It is the word used in 1:4 for ‘apt in all learning.’…  
“… Bentzen suggests that …they will make clear to their contemporaries that the sufferings through which they are passing are a punishment from God (II Macc. 7:18, 32, 38), and thus a means of national purification (cf. vs. 35).  
“The early attempts at resistance were not very successful, and many were lost in the struggle (I Macc. 1:60…). These are the matters referred to in Heb. [Hebrews] 11:36-38.” (Jeffery, 1956, p. VI 532)  
-34. “‘And in their stumbling they will help, help little [מעט, Me`ahT],
and will join upon them multitudes in smooth [words].  
“‘And while they are falling they shall be assisted a little assistance’ seems to refer to the first minor successes of the Maccabean party under Mattathias and his son Judas (I Macc. 2:15-28…) …  
“There are many references to the ruthless measures Judas used against the Hellenizers (I Macc. 2:44…), and such severity caused many to join his party out of sheer terror, but such forced adherents would not be sincere.” (Jeffery, 1956, p. VI 533)  
-35. “‘And from the schooled they will stumble,
to burn in them and to verify [ולברר, OoLeBahRayR] and to whiten them until time [of the] end,
for more to [the] season.  
Çāraph is used of smelting and refining metals in Pss. [Psalms] 12: (M.T. 12:7)… and so comes to mean ‘to purge,’ as in Isa. 1:25… Bārar is used of polishing metal to remove impurities that have tarnished it (Isa. 49:2…), and then in a spiritual sense, as in Ezek. 20:38… And to make them white: וללבן [VeLaLBayN] is a peculiar form. It is generally thought to be a contraction of the Hiphil infinitive, and so ‘to cause to be white.’ … Montgomery compares Rev. [Revelation] 3:18, which combined gold purified in the fire with white clothing. The three verbs occur again in 12:10.” (Jeffery, 1956, p. VI 533)  
-36. “‘And he will do as he wants, the king,
and be exalted and greatened upon every god,
and upon God of gods he will word wonders,
and prosper [והצליח, VeHeeTsLeeY-ahH] until is finished [the] rage,
as inscribed [נחרצה, NehHehRahTsaH] will be done.  
“The secular historians… do not seem to have been struck by any particular impiety in Antiochus. On the contrary, both Pliny and Polybius remark on the honor he paid the gods, and it is a matter of record that he contributed lavishly to the shrines at Athens and Delos. To an Oriental writer, however, things may have looked somewhat different. He bore the title ‘Epiphanes,’ which practically meant ‘god manifest,’ assumed the title ‘Theos’ on his coins, and seems to have progressively added divine symbols to them, and to have approximated his portrait to that of Zeus Olympius. Moreover, his contempt for other religions in the Orient, and his plundering of their temples as though their wealth belong to him, may have favored this notion that he was setting himself above every god.  
“…The expression used here for God of gods is the equivalent of the Aramaic expression in 2:47, but is not the usual Jewish phrase used in Deut. [Deuteronomy] 10:17; Ps. 136:2 et al. [and others]” (Jeffery, 1956, p. VI 534)  
-37. “‘And upon gods of his fathers he will not understand,
and upon desire of women and upon any god he will not understand,
for upon all he will greaten.  
Nor the desire of women: In all probability, the reference is to the god Tammuz-Adonis, whose cult was then popular among women as it had been from ancient times (cf. Ezek. 8:14). Hippolytus (Refutation V. 9) records that Adonis was called ‘the thrice-desired.’ The statement he shall not give heed to any other god might seem to be contradicted by the known fact that Antiochus made considerable contributions to certain shrines and even helped with the building of temples to other gods (Livy XLI…). Moreover, in vs. 38 he is said to honor a certain god of fortresses. It may be urged, however, that while he looked on these as sharing divinity, he regarded them as inferior to himself, for he would magnify himself above all.” (Jeffery, 1956, p. VI 535)  
-38. “‘And to god of strongholds instead [על-כנו, `ahL-KahNO] he will honor,
and to a god that did not know him, his fathers, he will honor in gold and in silver and in stone precious, and in desirables [ובחמדות, OoBahHahMooDOTh].  
“Ginsberg… thinks that in this verse we have a mistranslation of an Aramaic original. The Jews, he says, would have cared nothing for his honoring Jupiter Capitolinus or any other such deity. What worried them was his disrespect toward the God of Zion…” (Jeffery, 1956, p. VI 536)  
-39. “‘And do to fortresses of [למבצרי, LeMeeBTsRaY] strongholds with a god alien [נכר, ayKhahR],
that he will acknowledge [הכיר, qere יכיר, YahKeeYR], multiply honor,
and make them rulers [והמשילם, VeHeeMSheeYLahM] in multitudes,
and ground and portion in price.  
“The M.T. here does not make sense. It reads, ‘and he shall do to the fortifications of strongholds with a strange god,’ and no manipulation of the words as they are seems to make anything intelligible out of it… ‘Fortifications of strongholds,’… is… an awkward expression… Ginsberg (ibid.) feels that we have the same mistranslation as in vs. 31…. Foreign god; Nēkhār is the normal O.T. [Old Testament, the Hebrew Bible] word used in connection with ‘strange gods’ (Deut. 32:12…)  
“The syntax of the clause is uncertain…  
Acknowledge: The Kethȋbh is hikkȋr and the Qerê yakkȋr, but they mean much the same thing, viz., ‘to take notice of,’ as in II Sam. 3:36; Ruth 2:10. How Antiochus made those who pleased him rulers over many is well illustrated by the cases of Jason and Menelaus (II Macc. 4:8-10, 24)…  
“‘And the land shall he portion out as wages’ is doubtless a reference to his bestowing land on favorites. Bimeḥȋr is for a price (cf. II Sam. 24:24…)…” (Jeffery, 1956, pp. VI 536-537)  
 
40-45. This section contains a prediction of events leading up to the end. With vs. 39 the writer has brought history up to his own day. Now he commences to predict what he foresees the events will be during the short period still to elapse before the final consummation. These verses, therefore, are pure prediction. So far we have had vaticinia ex eventu [“prophecy after the event”], but now we enter upon prediction proper…  
“The writer expects a new venture against Egypt, in which Antiochus will be successful where previously he had failed. As before, he will be called away by rumors of troubles at home just as he was reaping the fruits of his victory, but on his way home, as he is once more approaching the Holy City with sinister purpose, he will meet his end.” (Jeffery, 1956, p. VI 537)  
-40. “‘And in [the] time [of] [the] end will charge [יתנגח, YeeThNahGahH] with him, king [of] the NehGehB,
and storm [וישתער, VeYeeSThah`ayR] upon them, king [of] the north,
in chariot and in cavalry [ובפרשים, OoBePhahRahSheeYM], and in ships multitudinous,
and come in lands and overwhelm [ושטף, VeShahTahPh] and cross over.  
The king of the south must be Ptolemy Philometor who, the writer thinks, will again invite disaster by provoking a war with uncle. No such attack is known to history. Attack: Lit., ‘shall exchange thrusts with him.’ The verb is that used in 8:4 in the Piel [active intensive] for the charging or butting of the ram.” (Jeffery, 1956, pp. VI 537-538)  
-41. “‘And come in[to] land the glorious,
and multitudes will stumble,
and these will slip [ימלטו, YeeMahLTOo] from his hand: ‘ehDOM, and MO‘ahB, and chief sons of `ahMON.  
“‘But these shall escape from his hand…’ This is a puzzle. Charles asks why … the Moabites should appear here when as a people they had long since disappeared from history…” (Jeffery, 1956, p. VI 538)  
But these shall escape – Edom and Moab, and the chief of the children of Amon.] These and other Arabians, they have never been able to subdue. They still occupy the deserts; and receive a yearly pension of forty thousand crowns of gold, from the Ottoman emperors, to permit the caravans, with the pilgrims for Mecca, to have a free passage.” (Adam Clarke, 1831, p. IV 352)  
-42. “‘And he will send forth his hand in[to] lands,
and [the] land MeeTsRahYeeM ["Straits", Egupt] will not be [able] to escape [לפליטה, LeePhLaYTaH].  
“‘And the land of Egypt shall not be for deliverance,’ i.e., this time there will be no Roman intervention to save Egypt from his hand.” (Jeffery, 1956, p. VI 538)  
-43. “‘And rule in treasures of [במכמני, BeMeeKhMahNaY] the gold and the silver,
and in all desirables [of] MeeTsRahYeeM, and LooBeeYM, and KhooSheeYM in his march.  
Treasures: Mikhmannȋm, ‘hidden things,’ occurs only here in the O.T. Precious things: Lit., ‘objects of desire,’ as in vs. 38… Lȗbhȋm means the Libyans, who dwelt to the west of Egypt, and the Kȗshȋm are the Ethiopians, whose habitat was to the south. They represent Cyrenaica and Ethiopia, which were regarded as the traditional limits of the Egyptian Empire; so this sentence means that Antiochus’ conquest of Egypt will be complete, and these people who formerly followed the king of Egypt will not follow him.” (Jeffery, 1956, p. VI 539)  
-44. “‘And hearings [ושמעות, OoShMoo`OTh] will terrify him [יבהלהו, YeBahHahLooHOo] from west and from north,
and he will go out in heat great to destroy and to devote multitudes.  
Tidings: Rumors, lit., ‘things heard.’ The word is used for the rumors which forced Sennacherib to withdraw from Palestine (II Kings 19:7) and for the ‘tidings’ that came to David (II Sam. 13:30) and to Joab (I Kings 2:28). Alarm him: The Aramaic form of this verb was used in chs. [chapters] 4-5; 7 for the troubles of mind caused by visions sent from God. Some frightening rumor would come to him.  
“Since it is a historical fact that the last months of Antiochus’ life were spent in a campaign against the Parthians and the kingdom of Armenia, it is by no means impossible that the writer and his audience knew of troubles in the north which they anticipated would surely demand an expedition to settle them. Charles, however, thinks that the writer anticipates Antiochus’ hearing during this expect Egyptian expedition of the Jewish successes in recovering Jerusalem, which will make him hurry back to Palestine. But he will perish on his way. Alarm engenders heat, so he will go north with great fury, lit. ‘heat,’ the Aramaic equivalent of which was used in 3:13, 19 of Nebuchadrezzar’s furious rage.  
“The two verbs destroy and exterminate mean the same thing. They occur in the reverse order in II Chr. 20:23. The second verb is ḥāram, ‘to put under a ban’ ‘to devote,’ which would involve destruction. Originally it had a peculiarly religious sense, being used in the O.T. for the ban placed on persons or things hostile to the people’s religion (as in Exod. 22:20…).” (Jeffery, 1956, p. VI 539)  
-45. “‘And he will plant [ויטע, VeYeeTah`] [the] tents of his pavilion [אפדנו, ’ahPahDNO] between seas to mount glorious holy,
and will come until his end,
and no help to him.”  
Pitch: Lit., plant, used in this sense only here in the O.T. ... The glorious holy mountain: Mount Zion (cf. Ps. 48:1-2)…  
“Actually he died at Tabae in Persia in the winter of 165/164 B.C., having been driven there by the infuriated people of Elymais, whose temple he had attempted to plunder (Polybius Histories XXXI. 9) … The book seems to have been finished while Antiochus was still alive and the temple not yet purified and rededicated. The writer had no knowledge of where Antiochus would die, but he anticipated that it would be in Palestine immediately before the final consummation.” (Jeffery, 1956, p. VI 540)  
“From the beginning of the Chapter to the end of ver. [verse] 30, all is very clear and plain, relative to the Grecian, Syrian, and Egyptian histories; from the thirty-first verse to the end, the mode of interpretation is not so satisfactory in its application to the times since Christ. Yet possibly these alone may be intended; though the whole might be, with considerable ease, applied to the remaining part of the Syrian and Egyptian history.” (Adam Clarke, 1831, p. IV 353)  
FOOTNOTES  
3 Ta'anit is a volume (or "tractate") of the Mishnah, Tosefta, and both Talmuds. In Judaism these are the basic works of rabbinic literature. Wikipedia  
4 Hiphil usually expresses the "causative" action of Qal (a simple active verb stem) - http://www.biblestudymanuals.net/hebrew_grammar.htm
 
An Amateur's Journey Through the Bible
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2020.02.27 00:34 NerdyOutdoors Exeter City 2022 September Surprise

Exeter City 2022 September Surprise
Exeter City look to be adjusting well to life in the Premier League with a run of games that has surprised pundits and pleased fans.
See our other Exter coverage of the 2022 season here!
After an admittedly small sample size of 8 games, Exeter sit 8th, taking 13 points from the possible 24. Predictable losses to Liverpool in the 2nd match of the season, and a thorough education in Premier life by Manchester City who posted a 4-0 whipping of the Grecians, have been tempered by a 3-2 win over Newcastle in the most recent week. While the look a likely mid-table side, Exeter have proven leaky in defense, with no clean sheets in 8 games so far; Exeter are tied for 2nd in goals scored but 12th in goals allowed with 15 allowed in 8--a ratio that will surely prove unsustainable. The manager will need to fix the goals, which have been a combination of high-variance bad luck, and a defense that sits too deep and lets teams run on to them.

The top half of the table, 2022
On the scoring front, James Scott looks to be a Premier-level talent, as the manager suggested when Scott was brought in for just 600,000 back in 2019. "We knew he had the potential to be special, and he's showing that class this season," noted the manager. Scott is tied for 3rd in the league with 6 goals, while strike force partner Antonio Marin has tallied 7, including his breakaway goal that defeated Wolves, and his sweet control of an Abou Ouattara cross in traffic that proved the goal winner against Newcastle.

The league is chasing Lacazette
Archie Collins has proven his merit in the midfield mix and leads the league on 6 assists. His silky touch and vision have proven indispensable, while his physical presence and tackling have effectively broken up many an attack.
Exeter looks most dangerous on counters, sitting deep with 9 behind the ball, waiting for a fast break where wingers Marin, Ouattara, Dabo, or Gordson can stretch centre-backs and create 2-on-1 opportunities, such as the one that earned James Rowland his first Prem goal, against Sheffield. Rowland added a second goal after a Marin cutback and pass opened up a lane to shoot, which he fired into the top netting.
The Grecians will have a hard fall maintaining this form, however, with consecutive fixtures against Arsenal, Manchester United, and Chelsea (in November) before the international break. Exeter should count themselves lucky if they can take ANY points from those fixtures, and could see themselves quickly in the bottom half before the break if other results don't go their way. It remains a work in progress, to see if Exeter go the way of promotion successes like Leicester, or if they fade fast like Blackpool.

https://preview.redd.it/eds7j04mrcj41.png?width=1199&format=png&auto=webp&s=5236551a81c1ed054180baaf5a7c8a84bbe5ad27
A murderous fixture list
The winning lineup against Newcastle:

https://preview.redd.it/b74aov8nscj41.png?width=836&format=png&auto=webp&s=dae16221f649bdcd0f7da54baa0d82d668aec913
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2020.01.19 15:48 Sachyriel Hazbin Hotel Bible Discussion and Study Meeting (BDSM)

Inside of every Demon is a Rainbow

This is what Charlie says, but what does it mean? Today we're going to put on our best English teacher trousers (the plaid ones that make your ass look phat) and overanalyze what it means, because that's what fandoms do, damnit. The fandom that speculates together, uhhh... invades Kuwait together?
Anyways, what do Rainbows have to do with the Bible, you might ask. They have to do with Mr. Boaty McBoatface himself, Noah. After God flooded the world to kill all the bad people and dinosaurs (all the dinosaurs, not just the bad ones) he gave Noah a Rainbow, to promise him he would never flood the world again.
Genesis 9:13-17 New International Version (NIV)
13 I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. 16 Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.”
17 So God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth.”
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+9%3A13-17&version=NIV
So, if Charlie is correct (and I assume she's right, cause after all beauty = trurth, isn't that right John Keats?) then inside of every demon is a symbol of Gods Mercy! This runs into a small complication with the Exterminators and the Cleansing.
In Hell, unlike on Earth, they know that they have a Cleanse every year. They have a big countdown, after which the clock resets, and everyone feels a new appreciation for life, like a corner store clerk let go by Brad Pitt. On Earth we do not know what time God will decide to kill us all, it's a known unknown.
No One Knows That Day and Hour
36 “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son,[a] but the Father only. 37 For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, 39 and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. 41 Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. 42 Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. 43 But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+24%3A36-44%2C1+Thessalonians+5%3A1-3%2C2+Peter+3%3A10%2CRevelation+3%3A3&version=ESV
There are more quotes in the link to back up the idea that no one on Earth knows what time it will be when God lays the smackdown.
Therefore Charlie knows she has a deadline of one (1) year to redeem some demons, to prove they have a rainbow in them. But of course, this theoretically goes against God.
Why would God put them in Hell, where he expects them to suffer for eternity, if he thought they cold be redeemed? :thinkyface:
So if Charlie could properly redeem a demon, and send it to the Pearly Gates, she would have successfully proven God wrong. And since I only get my theology from pop culture, I want to cite DOGMA, featuring the Jay and Silent Bob prophecy and Alanis Morrissette as the earthly incarnation of God.
Bethany: Look asshole, I don't know if anyone's explained it, but if those two enter that church, everything gets blinked out of existence, even you!
Azrael: Human, have you ever been to Hell? I think not. Did you know that once, Hell was nothing more than the absence of God? And if you'd ever been in His presence, you'd realize that's punishment enough. But then your kind came along, and made it so much worse.
Bethany: Humans aren't capable of one hundredth of the evil a shitbag demon like you is!
https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Dogma_(film)
So we can see that with evidence, if Charlie were to prove God wrong by redeeming the irredeemable, then it would prove God is not infailable. This would be classified as an XK-class End of the World Event.
Discuss
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2019.12.31 05:29 Nicky_XX The Burned Photo [Part 3]

Part 1, Part 2
*****
Felicia Cox, 10/21/2017
My name is Felicia. I live with my son in a twice-mortgaged, three-bedroom house at the foot of the Verdugo Hills in Glendale, California. The floors are treated hardwood, the furnishings are vintage, and lush rose bushes flourish in the backyard, but since the day I walked through the door and tripped over the blocks, the place never again felt like home.
My son’s name is Benjamin. He’s two years old, soft and adorably pudgy, with dumpling cheeks and a square jaw. His skin is several shades darker than mine, colored like his Nigerian grandmother. But his large, deep-set eyes are grey and expressive in a manner reminiscent of my own mother’s.
These days, monster stories define my life. Stories of women with snakes for hair, women with mouths in the backs of their heads, women that turn into bats and horses and sea creatures. Men who turn into wolves and coyotes, dogs with the faces of men. Demons that must be summoned, lost spirits confined for eternity to bridges and graveyards and forgotten old manors.
Monsters play by rules. Vampires must be invited inside. The Sphinx can’t hurt you if you answer her riddle. Werewolves are restricted by the full moon. Never feed a Gremlin after midnight. If you play fair, if you mind the boundaries between what is human and what is other, coexistence is possible. But if you cross the barrier, intentionally or otherwise… well, it’s best you keep on hand a rosary and a loaded revolver.
You must remember me.
A creature has been following me my whole life. No matter how far I run, no matter how many times I try and start over, it always finds me. It can start fires. It makes things appear and disappear. It always takes the form of a child. Its true image is only visible when it is captured on film. It tormented my late mother to near insanity, it drove my father to suicide, and it’s destroyed any hope I’ve ever had of a normal life.
It killed my brother. Now, it wants my little boy.
*****
Six months ago, I buried my husband.
I could try and blame The Thing for Isaiah’s death, but that’s a hard sell. It does tend to bring misfortune whenever it comes around. Even so, the lion’s share of culpability for my untimely widowhood can be squarely pinned to the asshole who plowed over my husband like a speed bump and left him to bleed out in a Lynwood gutter. They still haven’t caught the guy.
The cops tell me they’re looking, but I shouldn’t hold my breath - there were no witnesses, and it’s not like they’re going to find fingerprints. The driver was probably drunk. He had to be going at least twenty miles over the speed limit, judging by how far Isaiah was thrown. Isaiah had only stopped to get a sandwich at Ralphs on the way home from a marketing convention. It bothers me, the randomness. All it took was a fraction of a second to erase him from my life, forever. To take him away from our son.
Five days after Isaiah’s funeral, it left me the blocks.
The in-laws had departed that afternoon. Leaning over the barrier at Bob Hope Airport, they assured me one last time Benjamin and I were welcome to stay with them in Oakland, if our big house were to seem too lonely.
Maybe.
I woke around 3 am, drenched in sweat from a nightmare I didn’t remember. Something with dancing flames and a cacophony of screams. I was struck by just how silent the house was, now that the robust stream of houseguests, relatives and friends and assorted well-wishers bearing condolences and food, had dried up.
I plodded down the hallway to Benjamin’s room. My son was peacefully asleep, moonlight streaming through the blinds casting pale lines of light over his small body. God, he was a beautiful child.
For the first time since I’d gotten the call from the Long Beach PD, I saw beyond my shock and grief and focused on everything I had to worry about. Isaiah and I bought the house anticipating two incomes and a big family. Now, neither would be a possibility.
The house had been a little out of our price range. But it was so pretty, the charming French farmhouse at the end of the manicured, magnolia-lined block on a hill, purple mountains rising in the distance, and in the end we crossed our fingers and went for it. I was making good money as a senior accountant with PwC, and Isaiah insisted he and his partners would sell the company he co-owned, Royal Bash Marketing, within the year, netting him a seven-figure windfall.
Then the prospective buyout fell through, then fell through again. I quit my sixty-hour-a-week job when Benjamin was born and took a position at a mid-sized business management firm in Beverly Hills, handling tax preparation for their biggest clients. They let me work from home, but the cut in pay was substantial. Isaiah’s 401k - when it was released to me - would be enough to peel the bank off my ass temporarily, but once that was gone, my salary wouldn’t cover the mortgage. Default was a possibility. Foreclosure was a possibility.
I decided not to think about it. I closed the nursery door and stumbled groggily downstairs to the kitchen, visualizing a glass of the Pinot Noir left over from the funeral, and there they were. Sitting on the kitchen island. Five of them.
ALONE.
I think I screamed. I lunged for the “A” block (apples, aardvark, antelope, angel), praying it wasn’t real. I ran my fingers over the hand-carved surface, considered lifting the little cube to my lips to taste the wood. Convinced it was solid, I dropped the block. It clattered to a rest under the kitchen table.
I took the stairs two at a time, grabbed Benjamin and my keys, snapped my son into his car seat before he was aware enough to start crying, and took off driving… somewhere. Anywhere.
We drove for hours along the empty freeway, past the 405, through the twisted, treacherous mountain road of Las Virgenes until it backed into PCH, then north. I kept my foot on the gas until I saw the Pacific Ocean. 70, 80, 85, not fast enough. I was two miles outside Carpenteria when the first streak of blue cut through the black sky and, as the darkness receded, so did the fog in my head.
Benjamin had knocked out; his little head drooped on a shoulder and his pudgy lips curled into a dreamland smile. I pulled off the highway, turned around, and began the much-less-graceful trek back home. On the 101, somewhere around the Vineland exit, caught in a third snare of gridlocked traffic, I started thinking reasonably.
If The Thing was going to hurt us, it would have done so already.
This wasn’t the first time it had inserted itself into my adult life. Two years earlier, before my son was born, I’d come home to find the same blocks - blocks that had belonged to my dead brother, Shane, before burning with his childhood home - on the floor of my living room, spelling out BEnJAMIN. Moments later, the storage unit where I’d kept my late mother’s belongings caught on fire. The Thing stayed had quiet since then, biding it’s time.
My mother had been convinced it needed to be verbally invited inside to do any damage. She was wrong - I’d been very careful about who was and wasn’t invited into my home, Isaiah swore no strangers had crossed our doorway, and I doubt the guys at Rent-a-Box Storage handed over the keys to my unit to some unknown child. Yet The Thing had no problem hanging around, starting fires and leaving me messages in blocks.
But if The Thing meant harm to me or my son, I asked myself, why hadn’t it set my house ablaze? If it could access my kitchen, why not snatch up my toddler in the dead of night? I was left with two possible answers.
1.) The Thing, for some reason, couldn’t actually hurt us, or
2.) The Thing, for some reason, didn’t want to hurt us.
Forty-five minutes later, I pulled into my driveway. My house was empty and untouched. The blocks were gone.
I never took my in-laws up on their offer to accommodate us in Oakland. The Thing found me three times, it could manage a fourth. I did, however, cultivate a more strategic mindset. I didn’t intend on spending the rest of my life - and Benjamin’s - constantly looking over my shoulder. The Thing was playing a game with us. Games have rules.
There had to be a set of rules. And, if I knew exactly what I was up against, maybe I could do what my mother couldn’t. Fight back.
*****
A week later, I received some minor good news. I went into Isaiah’s office to sign the paperwork for his 401k, and came out with a side hustle. Apparently a new outfit was interested in buying Royal Bash Marketing - the entity I now owned a third of - but they were insisting on an audit. Isaiah’s surviving partners needed someone they trusted to sort through five years’ worth of disorganized invoices and receipts.
It was staff accountant work. But I couldn’t argue with a paycheck.
I also registered for an online class through Santa Monica College. Anthropology 112: Magic, Witchcraft, and Legends. According to the syllabus, I would be learning about storytelling traditions of cultures around the world, mythology as explanation for natural phenomena, and rituals as protection against the unknown. If I was serious about finding a strategy to deter The Thing, this seemed a better place to start than Conspiracies-R-Us on Youtube. I coughed up $200 for a hardback book as thick as a red brick called Our Stories, Ourselves.
At first, nothing was helpful. We spent a couple weeks dissecting macro mythology - how the world was created, comparisons of cross-cultural pantheons of deities. Despite the fantastical subject matter, our text was extremely dry. From gods and goddesses, we progressed to Judeo-Christian demonology. I briefly considered that my family was possessed. It seemed unlikely - the possessed are traditionally animalistic, violent, and vulgar, the direct opposite of whatever was attached to me. I did drive by a Catholic church and pick up a bottle of holy water, which I sprinkled around my house. Just to make sure.
When our discussion topic switched to modern folklore - which quickly turned to internet legends - I started getting somewhere.
If you’re reading this, I’m guessing you read my last account as well - the one where I shared my mom’s story. And if you read that, you probably read the comments. If you didn’t, here’s the summary: eight versions of “THIS IS FAKE;” three “I heard about the little boy who got killed in New Jersey in the 80’s, I thought the mom did it for sure;” four ads promising a “larger penis in seven days,” one that proclaimed “the curse of Paddington House strikes again” (huh?), and three individuals pegging the crime on Slenderman.
Yeah. Pretty useless.
This time, I presented the tale to my classmates with a degree of mystique.
“Someone told me about this spirit that poses as kids,” I typed on the discussion board. “It shows up on the doorsteps of other children. If the child allows it in, it kills the kid. It can create fire, and make solid objects appear temporarily. Its true form is only visible if you can get a photograph of it. Anyone know what legend this is, and/or has heard the same one?”
I got responses an hour later.
“Yeah, that’s the Black-Eyed Kids, or BEK,” wrote Jim Yee.
I Google’d “Black-Eyed Kids.” There were some similarities - the pale skin, their ability to disappear on a second glance. But that couldn’t be it. Black-Eyed Kids only come out at night and appear in pairs. And I definitely would have remembered if The Thing’s avatars, Katie and Zoe, had presented with pitch-black eyes.
I opened Excel and absentmindedly entered data from a zip file of K-1’s, checking the comments on my class discussion board every few minutes.
“I read a creepy story like that when I was a kid,” Kimberly Escobedo wrote. “Some lady took in a homeless black cat. Like, two weeks later the black cat disappeared, and took her pet cat with it. She developed this photograph she’d taken of the two cats, and the black cat didn’t show up in the picture. I didn’t sleep for days.”
“Lol, vampires don’t show up in pictures, either,” Jessie Fuentes added. “Because they have no souls. So that cat didn’t have a soul.”
“What do we call an element of culture that is passed from person to person until it becomes universally recognizable?” Professor Wells asked the class.
“A meme,” Kimberly Escobedo replied.
One of the guys, Alex Frinnell, posted a link. It was to a horror movie-disturbing, photo-shopped picture of a girl with an elongated face, evil eyes, and overlarge teeth. There was text below, in which the “narrator” claimed to be sharing a photo he’d taken of his neighbor’s daughter.
“That’s really creepy,” Jessie commented. “Also, it’s weird that you can’t see ghosts, but they show up in photographs. And you can see vampires, but they don’t show up in photographs.”
“That’s because ghosts have souls, but no body,” Mike Nguyen explained. “Vampires have bodies, but no souls.”
A thought occurred to me.
“So, if the soul is what the camera captures,” I typed, “then if something truly evil were to take over a body, it would show up twisted and ugly in a photo.”
I looked up from my laptop, pleased with my deductive reasoning. Then I saw them, four of them, lined up on the tile floor.
Four blocks. I170.
I froze. I’d been sitting in the same spot for several hours, and those blocks definitely hadn’t been there when I sat down. So if I was here, and they were there, that meant…
I heard something over the baby monitor, which sat on the table beside me. A crackling sound, static-like.
I didn’t think. I ran through the kitchen, grabbed the first knife I saw, and threw myself up the stairs. I screamed something - I couldn’t tell you what - as I ran. I barged into Benjamin’s room just in time to hear his first groggy wail.
His bookshelf was on fire. An oversized plush Dalmatian - a gift from Isaiah’s sister - resting atop it burned like a red and golden torch.
I grabbed Benjamin and fled. I ran with him to the neighbor’s house; pounded on their door until the wife opened it. I managed to communicate to her that my house was on fire, and she must’ve called 911, because several minutes later a brigade of red trucks converged outside, sirens howling and lights flashing like multicolored strobes.
But there was no fire to fight. My house stood as it always had, not so much as a hint of smoky stench in the air.
The firefighters milled in groups of twos and threes on my lawn. Some looked this way and that, confused and awaiting orders. One paramedic whispered something to another, and his buddy laughed. The man in charge listened as I told him exactly what had happened - I’d gone to my baby’s room and found his bookshelf on fire - and agreed to come upstairs with me to look around.
Once we were through the door, I returned to where I’d been sitting. My laptop was on the sofa, still open. The blocks were - as I’d expected - long gone.
What I hadn’t expected was the sight that awaited us in Benjamin’s room.
Benjamin’s crib was untouched. His toy box and closet and chests of drawers were exactly how I’d left them. Neither his mobile nor the rocking chair stirred. But his bookcase - the one only just engulfed in flames - was gone. The wall it rested against was charred brown. The bookcase had seemingly been reduced to a small pile of ashes, from which feeble wisps of smoke were emanating.
A firefighter knelt and put his hand against the wall.
“It’s still warm,” he said.
Benjamin and I slept in a hotel that night. By the next morning, both the char marks and the pile of ashes had completely disappeared.
The firefighters had checked the rest of the house, found nothing else amiss, and left. I think they thought I was looking for attention. I don’t blame them. Fire isn’t controlled like that; it doesn’t destroy children’s books and a stuffed dog then put itself out.
That day, I learned the Thing wasn’t scared of holy water. And that it could either create blocks and start fires from a distance, or be in my home, without a body, without me realizing it.
And the blocks. I170. Interstate 170? The freeway? I was mystified. The Thing was many things, but cryptic had never been one of them. I was left more confused than before, the same perplexing thoughts still connecting and disconnecting in my head, entangled with the unknown meaning of I170.
Did it want me to drive somewhere along the I-170 freeway? What, in the end, did it want? We didn’t talk much about motivation in my anthropology class. Spirits are destructive, life is hard, the end.
I moved Benjamin’s crib into my room. I knew The Thing was watching us.
It had been watching as Isaiah and I cuddled on the couch, boxes still unpacked, flipping through pages of a baby name book. It might have stood over my shoulder at Isaiah’s funeral, or lay quietly beside me all those nights I cried myself to sleep. Maybe it loitered in the shadows of that Lynwood street corner. Maybe it whispered in the ear of the drunk driver, or grabbed ahold of the wheel and swerved, icily robbing my son of a father. As it had robbed me.
I didn’t know the extent of The Thing’s powers. And I theorized it was holding back.
*****
Six weeks after the fire incident, Isaiah’s sister Chantal came to town with her husband and five-year-old. She immediately offered to watch Benjamin for an afternoon. It would be her pleasure, she assured me - they were planning a second child themselves, and wanted to give their daughter some practice being around a toddler.
“Take a Mom’s Day Off,” Chantal told me. “Go to the spa. How long’s it been since you did anything for yourself?”
She was right. I’d been on my son like a tick on a dog, and I did have some errands to run and a cardboard box full of purchase receipts from 2015 to dig through. Chantal was a responsible mom; I trusted she wouldn’t allow suspicious strangers around the kids. So I dropped Benjamin off with a change of clothes and his favorite stuffed dog, then drove home to tackle the mountain of dirty clothes inundating my laundry room floor.
Except there was something new on my kitchen table.
It wasn’t blocks. It was one of Benjamin’s toys - a puzzle that, when pieced together, depicted the the state of California, with pictures of landmarks drawn in the appropriate places. Disneyland, Hollywood, Redwood National Forest, etc. It sat there, fully assembled, though I hadn’t so much as pulled the plastic wrap off the box. Benjamin was way too young for the toy; it had been a baby shower present from a work acquaintance. I’d forgotten where I’d put it.
Just then, I remembered. I’d left it on the shelf in Benjamin’s room. The bookshelf that had been reduced to a pile of ashes.
I felt my pulse in my ears. My hands hung like weights at my side. I don’t know how I fought the urge to run, but I fought it, and I stepped closer.
Near the bottom of the puzzle-map were two slashes, forming an X. That wasn’t supposed to be there. The violent markings cut all the way through; the thick cardboard ribboned, betraying that the knife (claws?) had been dragged from left to right.
X marks the spot. This X was positioned over one of the cartoon-y illustrations. Through the chipped paint, I read the label.
Vasquez Rocks. The Thing wanted me to go to Vasquez Rocks.
Was this the meaning of ‘I170?’ I was supposed to drive to an over-filmed tourist trap to… meet The Thing? The thought dropped like a trap door in the pit of my stomach. But I wasn’t going to spend the rest of my life running. Benjamin wasn't going to spend the rest of his life scared.
I called Chantal, and was assured my son had fallen asleep in her daughter’s lap as the family watched Finding Nemo together. Then I scooped up my car keys and headed for the highway.
I veered left when the 134 Freeway split, away from the 170 turnoff. I noticed that the 170 wasn’t even an interstate freeway.
Eventually, I approached jutting rock formations silhouetted against deep blue twilight. By the time I parked alongside the weeded entrance to Vasquez Rocks, it was nearly night. I’d been hiking there, once, with some college girlfriends. Even during the day the place was eerie. If you looked past the burnt-gold weeds and occasional critter, Vasquez Rocks could be the surface of Mars.
I stood at the entrance for what felt like hours. Waiting for the Thing? Waiting for directions?
Then, the clouds shifted and, by the icy-pale moonlight, I saw the blocks.
The first one, E (eagle, eggplant, elephant, eggs), rested against a small tuft of grass about ten yards in front of me. I scrambled to pick it up. Once I did, I noticed the second block - one of the blank ones - a short distance from the first.
I double-checked to make sure my pocket knife, pepper spray, and rock salt were in my purse, then continued along The Thing’s breadcrumb trail.
It took awhile. I hiked across dusty flat land, up and down small hills, around shallow caves. In my head, I kept count: seventeen blocks, eighteen, nineteen. Several times I was sure I’d lost my way, only to see the next block half-buried in a shallow crater or positioned at the top of a rock formation. Twenty-nine, thirty, thirty-one…
I found the fortieth block - J (jaguar, jellyfish, juniper, jackrabbit) - bathed in moonlight, at the top of a gently-sloped, flat-topped hill. On the hill was a house.
It was a large house, and a beautiful one. Moss-drenched red brick walls, grand Palladian architecture with an angular roof, shaded porches, and white Grecian columns. It reminded me of a set piece from Gone with the Wind. Nobody in California lived in a house like this. I didn’t think anyone, anywhere owned a house like this anymore. The front door was wide open.
In retrospect, I ignored a whole lot of weird. I should have wondered what a large mansion was doing in the middle of a national park. I should have found it strange I hadn’t seen its outline as I approached - that it had appeared out of nowhere.
But I didn’t. I was drowning in a sea of weird, and working off the logic that only works in dreams - there’s a house there, the door is open, so I must go inside.
I found myself in a magnificent parlor room. The Neoclassical theme matched that of the exterior; doorways were buttressed by wood-carved columns, ornate flowers and swirls framed the windows and large stone fireplace, and the walls were painted a rich blue that complemented the dark-stained hardwood floors and spiral staircase. China figures sat on display in a buffed cabinet, and a large brass chandelier hung from the ceiling, lit candles sweating wax.
I didn’t know what to make of it. This house looked like an exhibit in a museum. Except - lived in. The velvet sofa covers were wrinkled, as if recently occupied. A painted tea pot sat on the coffee table, flanked by two teacups. I stepped closer, and saw that one of the cups still had tea inside. There was a plate of half-eaten finger sandwiches.
From there, I proceeded through a doorframe, which led into a curved alcove and then a palatial dining room with a long table. The scene was lit by a series of gas lanterns hanging from the walls. I assume there was food, though I couldn’t have told you what they were all eating.
Because I only saw the bodies.
I couldn’t scream. I couldn’t move. Before that moment, I didn't truly understand what it meant to be “frozen in fear.”
There were thirty of them, at least. All dressed in period clothes - the women wearing frilly gowns with hoop skirts, the men in button-down shirts and tailored jackets, the servants with lacy caps and black frocks. They hung off chairs, hunched over their plates, sprawled across the floor.
A young girl’s lily-white hand reached out for me. A small rivulet of blood pooled around the extended extremity, staining the lace cuffs of her dress and oxidizing her gold rings.
I guessed the head that lolled to my left - swollen tongue hanging out, delicate young features distorted, ice-blonde ringlets tangled around a dislodged spinal column - was hers. As was the decapitated body leaning back in its chair like a sleeping student, mangled arm at its side, ripped muscle tissue drooping like flaccid streamers, exposed at the stump of a right wrist.
There were chests torn open, spilling bowels and ribs and hearts dangling from severed vessels. Heads hanging upside down off folded skin and muscles, naked vertebrae popping out of stubbed necks like grotesque puppets. Arms, legs, hands, feet, and heads tossed about like broken extremities of discarded dolls.
I felt hot liquid bubbling in my throat. I turned away and lurched, puking, my vomit mixing with the puddle of blood draining from the girl’s disembodied, beckoning hand. I turned and ran, back the way I came, back through the quaint, historic, empty parlor.
Except it wasn’t empty anymore.
There were bodies - children, no older than five - in a pile on the sofa. A woman lay, face-down, midway up the stairs. There were several steps between her legs and her torso. I swallowed a second wave of vomit and looked only towards the open door.
A body lay in my way. It was a middle-aged man, face up. Even in death, his wide blue eyes betrayed unimaginable horror. His nose was large and bent, there was a pink birthmark under his right eye, and his mouth twisted in one final scream. He bore no injuries to his front, but if I had to guess, I’d say the slimy, gossamer sacs on his chest were his removed lungs.
He’d died running, I thought. He’d been attacked from behind. He was killed last. I jumped over him, clenched my eyes shut, and stumbled out the door.
I opened my eyes. I wasn’t back on the plateau.
My surroundings were dim and brown, lit by a single gas lamp.
I stood in a small dwelling, on a dirt floor. In stark contrast to the mansion I’d previously encountered, this home bore the countenance of abject poverty. The only furniture visible were a rotting wooden table and a single pallet bed with a leaking straw mattress.
Despite their vast differences, the hovel and the mansion had one thing in common.
Three bodies were piled on the bed. Three black women, all naked. The one nearest to me was a girl no older than sixteen. Rivers of blood ran down her legs; her face so badly bruised I could barely distinguish features. The second girl, maybe eighteen, was similarly disfigured, with the addition of a deep laceration from her ribcage to her pelvis, spilling bowels onto the bare legs of the third woman. This one was older, in her late thirties, sporting a nearly-decapitating gash across her throat.
I choked and stumbled backwards, into a crude wooden cradle. No, I couldn’t bear… but I looked anyways.
A naked child, a boy, no more than two, stared up into oblivion, his throat slashed. He looked so much like Benjamin I felt my eyes water and my heart gulp.
Two more bodies lingered at the table, one folded on the ground and another lying supine on top. I couldn’t see much of the body on the floor, and I had no desire to. Even at the odd angle, I was sure it was a child, and that the ground around him was moist with his spilled blood.
I stepped closer to view the body on the table. It was a little black boy, naked except for a pair of dirty shorts. I immediately determined how he had met his untimely end - dark blood leaked from the cut across his neck, trailing down his chest like a breastplate. But, unlike the others, who’d died where they’d fallen, this corpse looked specifically placed.
Blood had been smoothed across his closed eyelids. Lines and circles were painted on his cheeks, and his chest was covered in what I’d guess were words, but not words in any written language I had ever seen.
Finally, my eyes rested on a seventh corpse. This one was a grown man, dressed in a stained work shirt and torn slacks, sitting upright in a chair in the shadows, at the far wall of the dwelling. I guessed he was the father of the murdered children. He was dead as well, but dead in a completely different manner. I saw the bloody hole in his temple, and then the pistol on the dirt floor, fallen from his limp hand.
I turned away from him, back to the little boy on the table. Strange, he looked almost peaceful. If I hadn’t known better, I’d have said he was smiling. He’d been a cute kid, too, with a square jaw and a head full of dark frizz.
Then his eyes snapped open.
I cried out. The kid was alive. He pulled himself into a sitting position on the table, hole in his neck gaping like a screwed-up cartoon. He stared at me, big eyes wide and mirthful, grinning.
“Hi, Felicia!” he chirped joyfully. “Do you like my work?”
And, with that, he hopped off the table and sauntered out the door.
Then the house collapsed.
The walls melted into ash like butter in a pan. I was lost in a sea of grey, eyes burning, throat tight, air around me hot and oppressive. I couldn’t breathe. I coughed as I ran, eyes closed, arms flailing wildly, until I fell to my knees and curled into myself, shaking and crying and praying for help.
I don’t know how long I stayed like that. It was until I realized that the air had cooled and I’d cried the dust out of my eyes. I sat upright, and found myself atop an empty hill, surrounded by white ash that rested on the dirt and low shrubs like melting snow. As I stared at the golden city lights in the distance, I saw the whiteness receding, dissipating into nothingness, leaving the terrain as though untouched.
Utterly confused as to what I had just experienced, I pulled myself to my feet. My toe connected with something small and hard. I looked down.
It was a human skull. Child-sized.
Under any other circumstances I would have been terrified, but after what I’d just experienced, the presence of the tiny skull was almost anti-climactic. I knelt beside the bizarre object and examined it. It looked as though it had been exposed to the elements for years.
I don’t know how I made it back to my car that night. My trail of blocks had vanished, and I’d been led deep into the park. But finally, thighs aching, drenched in sweat, I pried open my driver’s-side door and sank into the seat, unsure of what to do next. Call Child Services? Report a five-year-old running around Vasquez Rocks, blood smeared across his face like warpaint, throat cut from ear to ear? Call the cops and report a vanishing house, serving as a ghostly tomb for thirty-aught dismembered bodies?
No. The Thing brought me here for a reason. I’d seen what it wanted me to see. And history - both mine and my mother’s - dictated The Thing could run rings around authority figures.
Panicking, I called Chantal’s number. She didn’t answer. I closed the door and stuck my keys in the ignition, inadvertently glancing in the rear-view mirror.
There was a sickly-white figure sitting in the back seat.
I screamed and groped for the door handle. In the process, I got a better view of my new traveling companion, and I almost felt stupid. It was just Benjamin’s oversized stuffed Dalmatian.
Benjamin’s oversized stuffed Dalmatian, which I’d last seen on top of that bookcase, functioning as a candle.
And then, it hit me in the face so hard I started laughing. Why had I not figured this out before?
The Thing could start fires. It could also re-create things that had been burned.
The blocks. The puzzle. The stuffed dog. The photograph of Shane I’d come across when I was fourteen. The horrifying, half-charred picture I’d discovered in my mother’s destroyed storage unit. All had been incinerated, then re-formed from ash. But these burned objects couldn’t retain their form forever - after a certain amount of time, they’d revert back to their true properties and disintegrate into dust.
Which meant that the mansion, and the one-roomed cabin, and the dozens of bodies…
Do you like my work?
The Thing always took the form of a child. I knew the little black boy with the cut throat was my childhood nightmare, wearing a new costume.
And I knew what it was capable of.
My odometer hit eighty on the freeway, long before I realized I’d forgotten to turn my lights on. I called Chantal eight times. Each time I heard her cheery message recording, I breathed faster and gripped the wheel harder. Why had I left Benjamin alone? How could I take my eyes off my child for a second, knowing what kind of monster stalked him?
I peeled into the driveway of Chantal’s mother-in-law’s house, where her family was staying, ten minutes to one. I pounded on the door like a madwoman; when fists weren’t loud enough, I took to kicking and yelling at the top of my lungs. No one answered. Fresh sweat running down my face, anguished warmth spreading from my chest to my extremities, I fought to keep the possibilities from my…
The door clicked open, and suddenly I was face-to-face with Chantal’s husband, Brian, bed-headed and bleary-eyed. I was immediately embarrassed, a feeling augmented when I saw he was holding a baseball bat in his right hand.
“Fuck, Felicia,” he mumbled. “You scared the shit out of Chantal.”
“I’m sorry,” I said meekly. “I… is Benjamin asleep?”
He nodded and shuffled back down the hall, revealing a disconcerted-looking Chantal, hair in rollers, a squirming Benjamin in her arms.
They were surprisingly nice about being woken up in the middle of the night; Chantal’s phone had been on silent, which was why she wasn’t answering. I don’t know why I hadn't assumed this was the case. I made up a story about falling asleep on my couch, sheepishly collected my son, apologized once more to Chantal, and got out of there as quickly as possible.
It was nearly two in the morning when I pulled into my driveway. My house was dark, and my chest tightened at the thought of entering. This would forever be my life, I realized. I was prey. Benjamin was prey. Prey of an omnipotent creature that could transcend the boundaries of space and time, capable of violent mass murder and fiery destruction - but enjoyed playing with its food, torturing and terrifying us until…
As I pulled Benjamin out of the car, I tripped the sensor. The outside lights came on.
There was a white girl sitting on the porch, looking at me expectantly.
Not a girl, a young woman. Maybe five years younger than me. She had pale skin and long, wavy red hair. She wore black jeans and a red t-shirt. I thought her eyes were blue. She may have had freckles. She stood up and smiled at me - she had a very big, very pretty smile.
“Um, Felicia? I’m Kira. Can, um, I come in so we can talk?”
She extended her hand, still smiling that Disney princess smile.
I felt the blood drain from my face. My brain screamed “run,” but my legs were numb. It had preyed on my fears all night, and now The Thing was making its move. I backed up slowly, Benjamin clutched tight in my arms.
The red-haired girl was two meters away when instinct kicked in. I whirled, half-tossed Benjamin in the back seat, slammed the door shut. Not thinking, not looking, I reached in my purse and pawed for something hard.
“Please?” the girl continued. She was leaning on the driver’s-side window now; her smile, close up, seemed menacing. “Can I talk to you? I know something I really think you should know.”
I found my pepper spray. In one movement, I dropped my purse, flicked back the cap, and pressed the trigger.
The girl hollered violently and dropped to the ground. I nudged her out of the way and pulled open the car door, smacking her in the face.
“Fuck! Are you fucking kidding me?”
“Stay away from my kid!” I screamed at her, climbing into the car. I tried to pull the door shut, but she clutched the frame. I reared back my foot to kick her. She reeled.
“Don’t!”
I hesitated.
Blinking manically, she rubbed her swollen eyes.
“The monster that’s after you,” she stammered. “It’s after me, too.”
submitted by Nicky_XX to nosleep [link] [comments]


2019.12.24 00:46 Server16Ark Pax Romana

[Preface]
Pax Romana Ad Infinitum.
The term “Pax Romana” was initially coined in 55 AD (810 AUC) by Seneca the Younger, meaning “Roman Peace” the age of Pax Romana was a time of peace within the friendly borders of Rome for a period of over two centuries by most accounts. This stretch of time was one in which Rome expanded its borders far further than ever before and prospered in ways that it had never known previously. While the period may seem rather short on a cultural scale, this was an unprecedented period of relative peace with no civil wars and relatively little internal strife when compared to the years prior and those that were to come after. For an empire that had been rocked by near ruin many times over the subsequent centuries, these were the best of times – a true Golden Age. Even if they had come at the price of the Republican spirit being ritualistically slaughtered at the hands of the Principate (the period of time in which one man ruled over all of Rome, the Emperor or princeps). In this story, that time of internal peace has never truly ended hence Pax Romana Ad Infinitum. Further, the Edict of Caracalla, the historic decree that granted nearly everyone in Rome and Rome’s provinces the status of Cives Romani (or Roman Citizenship) was never put into place. Leaving the journey to citizenship a mostly one way street – through service to Rome.
The story you are about to read comes after the Principate, during the age of the Dominate – when the rule of two Emperors, or Imperators, was employed to oversee the wellbeing of and keeping the peace in these separate but equal empires. One to the East and the one the West. In our time, as most readers know, the Western Empire fell in the 5th century AD, while the Eastern Empire would become the Byzantium Empire and last a further thousand years into the 15th century AD. Although the Crisis of the Third Century never takes place in this narrative, the Dominate was still whelped into existence by the Senate and Princeps due to the ever growing stresses of managing such a titanic bureaucracy, leaving two distinct halves of the same coin. Further the Western Empire is still a majority polytheistic region via the Imperial Cult, while the Eastern Empire has for the most part absorbed Nicene based Christianity. Finally, you will at times see two distinct dating systems. One utilizes the standard Roman method of dating years by the first elected consuls, and the second known as “Ab urbe condita” (shortened to AUC) is based off the founding of the city of Rome which is reckoned to be 753 BC or 1 AUC. From this, you should be able to determine the specific year(s) mentioned from time to time.
My hope is that the above primer carries enough basic information that would otherwise take a significant amount of time in order to expansively explain the archaic origins and various idiosyncrasies found within the story. For everything else I will pause to explain them in their due course over the forthcoming pages.
[Prologue]
Martius 12th, 2954 AUC – Province of Moesia Prima
Thomas Azzi Exacerbo quietly sipped the Rhaetic in his clay goblet. “The old ways were the best,” he told himself solemnly. It came off as more of a reminder than a reassurance. The diluted wine was still a valuable vintage, one that he held off from indulging outside of special occasions or moments in which introspection took him the strongest; moments like now. He was leaned up against one of the many white marble pillars that lined the large window to the outside world. It was raining. Thomas thought back on his life and the life of his father, pondering if his carrying on of the man’s legacy would have made him proud. Or if he should have sought out his own path. No, there was only one path. And that was to Rome.
Although he was not Roman (and would never be considered one) that had not stopped him nor his father from emulating the culture. They engrained themselves into it, as Rome was want to do with the cultures of others, they did Rome’s. When he was younger he had believed the whole practice to be a silly waste of time and effort; given the frankly overwhelming number of festivities, rituals, and customs that the Empire had developed over many, long centuries. It seemed a simpler thing to merely become a Brother of Christ, just as the first Constantine had done. That had been when his father reminded him there was a reason so many of these traditions had survived for so long. Rome’s elder gods were persistent and powerful, they had granted them strength over their own lands when Moesia Prima had been dominated in primitive times. During an age where men fought with bronze and iron. His father often eulogized about these old days, as if he had been there for himself to see Scipio defeat Carthage, the first Caesar cross the Rubicon, or Paulinus destroy the Iceni people, and so many others. Where had all the great battles gone? Everything seemed to be for plunder, and nothing else…
“Thomas?” The sweet voice gave him a start, causing him to shudder and his musculature to bulge in the darkness, nearly spilling his goblet over his semi-nude form. He turned to face the speaker, still heavily muscled even in his winter years, Thomas was a titanic man. Exacerbo was known for his strength, keen mind, and... brutal temperament; all traits he had intentionally inherited from his father. The form of his young wife filled his gaze in the darkened room. A smile played at the corners of his lips as he set the goblet down on a nearby dais and gesticulated with one arm for his wife to join him by the window. “It’s terribly dreary in here, and the hour is even worse – what are you doing?” Artemis’ voice came her voice again. He beckoned her a second time wordlessly, and now she glided across the tiled floor on bare feet to him.
He smiled down at her, and sighed heavily, his shoulders sinking as if they carried the burden of a Marian mule on them. She frowned while gazing into his green eyes. There was something troubling him, even if he hid it behind that slight smile of his. “Thomas…” She whispered, placing her hands on his bare chest. Though he was more than twice her age at 74, there was still such strength in him yet. In another time he might have passed for a man half that, if not for the mane of white plumage atop his head. Artemis lowered her gaze and stared forlornly at his waistline. She hated when the tar of malaise struck him, robbing him of that vigor he was known for. Many feared her husband, herself included at times, but there was a shadow of another man that sometimes peeked through his personality at times. A more introspective and somber man. It always made her sad when this apparition appeared, knowing that she would never know who he was.
An olive skinned hand reached down and grabbed her gently by the chin and brought it back up to meet his stare once again. “My little Astarte…” He murmured, she closed her eyes with a smile of her own and cupped his hand close. “Do not worry on my account, I was merely lost in time.” The burly man pulled his wife close, pressing her bulging stomach to himself, and breathed in the scent of her long, brown hair. “How are they this eve?” He questioned her gently.
She opened her eyes once more, they were orbs of teak, this time she looked down at her own abdomen. Artemis moved his hand down to the firm, yet pliable flesh of her midriff. It was warm against his palm, even through her gown. Artemis was nearing the end of her pregnancy, the portents and doctors all foretold it and by now she was carrying a tremendous load at the front of her otherwise slight frame. The twin bodies within were relaxed inside her womb, but they were not two of a kind. Thomas had been exacting when he requested of her to sire him a son and a daughter. She did not hate him for it, he was growing old and had yet to experience the pleasures of having either. He, they, wanted him to be around to see them grow up and perhaps bring their own children into this turbulent world.
“Strong.” She whispered for the hundredth time.
“Good.” He replied back for the hundredth time of his own. Silently he placed a kiss upon her head and allowed himself to get lost in this moment. He wondered if perhaps his father had ever once played out a similar act with his mother, doubtful. They were both long gone. “Artemis.” He murmured into her hair.
“Yes my beloved?” Came her reply, though she did not tear her eyes away from his hand on her belly, instead she started to thumb at it gently.
He breathed in heavily and asked, “Have we made the right decision?” The rain outside pattered away at the glass, constantly reminding him of the foreboding thoughts that lay on the periphery of his mind and his home.
She knew what he wanted to hear, but hesitated to say it. At night when she was awake and alone with her thoughts, the plan that her husband was meticulously working on for the twin lives inside her gave Artemis pause. Could she bare such a sacrifice? Or risk? She did not know, and did not deign to look him in the eyes. “I have never doubted you,” was her thoughtful response.
The pair stood for a while longer at the edge of their apartment, letting the evening sink in further and let the sporadic bolts of Jupiter’s wrath illuminate their figures.
September 14th, 2965 AUC – Ludi Romani
It was the day of the Equorum Probatio (the Approval of the Horses), the ninth day of the annual Roman Games. Although the primary celebrations occurred in Rome and Constantinople, various festivities could be found across the entire empire to mark the occasion. Inside the borders of Viminacium the celebrations had not abated. The Vigiles had been out on rigorous patrols of the city, far more than usual, to keep the peace whenever possible and of course control any fires that may have been set by fanatic celebrants.
Whenever and wherever possible people were engaging in debauchery, often in the public forums before being dispersed. Adultery was commonplace in these few days of revelrie, as was the widespread prostitution. Even amongst women who were of better breeding and status. There was little in the way of caring for moral decency by the city’s people beyond the more conservative members, who looked upon this time of excess as the indulgence of reprobates and degenerates.
This event in particular was important for the Azzi family. Exacerbo had specifically insured that they would be able to observe the processional unmolested. On this afternoon, like most afternoons Tamsin and Thomas were inseparable and precocious children. During the rare occasions that their father allowed them to travel with him about the city, they would tease and surprise the attendants and hanger-ons of their father’s retinue with their mental acumen. While others remarked upon the early development of Thomas, even at a mere twelve years old. It would be a few years longer until his coming of age ceremony and the removal of his bulla (an amulet). Yet this day, his father planned to make an auspicious one on par with any of the old ways. His goal was to shape and intrigue the young Thomas with the military display that they were to partake of. Showing the boy where he one day planned on having him start his military career and eventually open up avenues for the family that not even the resources of his estate could unlock.
In the same vein as his father, Exacerbo was a second generation merchant. Dealing in the highly lucrative trade of old world art, specifically anything Grecian or Scythian. There was no one area of these two regions that he focused on as finding anything authentic, or even copies of originals from the same time period was practically impossible. Which is what made Exacerbo such an effective merchant. While most people in his trade were not averse to getting their hands dirty, he was well known by all social circles for being a brutal trader that took more than bartered. Violence and intrigue were his tools, rather than mediation and guile. Despite this he had never had anyone formally raise charges against him. A feat that caused ever more people to fall under the wide net his auctoritas cast. Despite this, he was not overtly wealthy; which was not uncommon. For wielding a certain level of auctoritas did not always correspond with material wealth. And despite being feared, he would always remain a second class citizen within the Empire. Where even the worst wretches with Cives Romani had certain protections and political access that he would never be able to approach or gain for himself.
But that was the point of all this, wasn’t it? It had only taken three generations of preparation, but with his children he had created a formidable pair of political and military weapons. Once he had finished carefully molding their characters and reinforced the patrimonial power he exerted over them, he would have perhaps a few decades to begin building a small, but lucrative political dynasty of his own. Then with the foreseeable future safely in hand he could eventually pass on without undue regret. These were comforting and lofty goals.
The morning’s salutatio had come to an end, and Exacerbo had gathered to himself a group of his clients, freedmen, and slaves before setting off for the basilica. Artemis had not accompanied them on this trip, another spell of exhaustion had overcome his wife. He did not put much faith in rumors or gossip, not with the knowledge that this age had come to bestow upon its people. All the same he could not help but believe there was perhaps some parcel of truth to the hypothesis that the eugenic treatments for babes left their maternal hosts permanently debilitated. Exacerbo made a mental note to schedule his wife for a retreat outside of the city, and perhaps make some further inquiries if time permitted.
The men ahead of them cleared the way for the trio. During the festivities travel around the city was mostly restricted to being on foot or in litters, for those that still held onto those traditions. He took in the sights around him, such as those that could be seen. Lingering shadows from the titanic insula (apartment buildings) overhead cast much of the residential districts in darkness, even during the day. However the main road had been specifically designed so as to be unimpeded by such a problem.
As the city had grown, it had played host to various Imperators and Prefects when they travelled their respective domains. Keeping it beautiful to some extent or another had been deemed imperative. Particularly since with but a single word, the Imperator could make broad sweeping changes to anything. Overnight an edict might come down that he wished to level part of the city for a better view of outlying landscapes, or for personal projects. Thus keeping him unprovoked and mollified from outside suggestions, even if the intentions seemed well meaning was for the best of all -- particularly for those who made their bones in these cityscapes.
Despite the city’s size, navigating it with a group of armed men blazing a trail was a simple formality. Roman’s had always built their municipia with tantalizing exactness and simplicity that put other cultures to shame. If one could understand the concept of square blocks surrounded by roads, it was practically impossible to become lost and just as easy to find any building. For this trip they were headed to the main basilica in Viminacium. The Magister equitum himself would be leading the equites to their final destination for the governor to inspect. This was merely an ritual, like so many other traditions, but it was one that never failed to captivate. In more ancient times it had been men upon horseback, with swords, spears, and shields who stood as a living embodiment of the Empire’s power. Now it was soldiers encased in great husks of metal striding about unchallenged that performed the same duty.
Daylight broke through the horizon of megastructures signalling their arrival at the main road of Viminacium. Tamsin and Thomas’ minders stood close by lest they try and escape to explore the bleakness surrounding them. There really was no reason for them, but Exacerbo couldn’t keep his eyes on his children at all times. At times like this though, a single word would reduce them to dutiful sheep. His force of personality had already been rigidly instilling terror into his children, they feared but did not respect him. That would come, he was sure of it. Once they came to appreciate all that he had bestowed upon them, despite the hardships they may have had to endure to attain such status, he was certain that they would be all the stronger for it. That was all he could hope for. His strong progeny to create ever stronger progeny, and let the cycle repeat itself. Exacerbo thought on Vespasian, the Augustus had been a rallying cry for his father. The man’s father had started off a mere customs official, and his father before that a legionary, only for himself to be elevated to the throne. Low upbringings did not mean low standings for a Roman.
Three generations he reminded himself again. That was all it had taken. His eyes drifted over to his children, if only they had the strength of mind and body… Thomas might become Imperator, and Tamsin an Augusta. Although to find a man capable of binding her spirit, well that could take another three generations he mused silently.
The crowds continued to part before them steadily and dissipated entirely when they finally entered the stoa covered walkways. Row after row of gargantuan pillars flanked the path. Dim shade was cast to the ground below thanks to the vaulted ceilings overhead. Some of the people not part of Thomas the Elder’s now significantly reduced retinue perked up to see who the newcomers were. While there wasn’t anyone explicitly holding the rabble from this place, it was plain that the only citizens of the city in this space were residents of a higher station. Using a practiced eye he appraised them silently. Some of them he knew by sight, others he knew by station. Their attire was a direct pronouncement of who many of them were; Roman assemblymen here, deputies there, equestrians flashing their gold signet rings, merchants, even a few foreigners who had come to observe the annual commencement. Many of these people were his equals or his betters.
A stiff breeze pressed against everyone under the stoa suddenly, the structure was not enclosed and thus natural weather still ruled. However it was not nature that had conjured up the change, but rather an arriving Avis Lectica. The flying vehicle placed itself down rather inconveniently near a garden that broke up the scenery just outside of the stoa. Avis were tricky little pieces of technology. They could glide near silently through the air, but only for short distances and not to great heights. Exacerbo had only been inside one a few times, and thoroughly did not trust them. Each could uncomfortably seat four, and while they were silent on the outside -- the inside was another matter entirely. From what he had been told, they were also notoriously difficult to control. Not that he had ever flown one. He sniffed at the sight, it was a death trap in his opinion. They were purely objects of ostentatiousness given their outrageous cost to purchase and maintain, highly dangerous toys and little more.
Thomas the Elder nonetheless stopped walking and waited to see who would materialize from within, along with nearly everyone else. Although it seemed that these visitors were expected as several of the assemblymen moved towards the garden. The door to the vehicle slid away and a set of steps popped out from the undercarriage. Three men ingloriously stumbled down the stairs before planting their feet on terra firma again. He instantly recognized them. It was the provincial governor, the magister equitum, and the Bishop of Viminacium. Exacerbo thought it odd that the magister had come with the governor and not with the equites, doubtless they were waiting somewhere to begin their parade. They began to converse with the men who had come to greet them before quickly exiting the garden, and the Avis lifted away -- blasting the hall with another gust of wind. Annoying machine, muttered the merchant as he clutched his toga close and beckoned the group forward once more.
He could see the basilica’s doors in the distance. Everyone under the stoa seemed to take this arrival as some unspoken cue and began to move towards the great building. The Basilica of Moesia Prima or Basilica Primus was modeled after the original one in Constantinople, but many times larger. The Basilica was the gem of the entire city, its landmark feature that drew well respected individuals and dignitaries to the otherwise commonplace municipium.
A short while later and they were pressed into the expansive structure. All onlookers occupied the upper landings and watched intently below as the governor began a speech about confirming the strength of Viminacium, loyalty to the Imperators, loyalty to Rome, to the Empire, and so on. Exacerbo had never been one for the oratory, but this man was truly a dullard. The twins were having a tough enough time staying awake as it was, and he feared what might happen should the Bishop begin speaking about his Lord Christ. Although most of the city believed in the religion of the first Constantine, the Azzi were not one of those number. His father’s belief in the “old ways” had made sure of that. No, his gods were the warriors, the lovers, and the sages. They were many, and they were strong. The man’s iron grip wrapped around the railing before him, beginning to grow impatient.
Then, finally, and blessedly there was a tremendous rumbling approaching the basilica. The sound was fantastic. Lock step booming fired off in the distance as it grew closer. The Master of Horse took his position at the podium that the governor had been speaking from. Moments later the enormous wooden doors to the structure swung open, and in came the procession they had so eagerly been awaiting. There were hundreds, no thousands of them. Iron men of varying sizes, between twelve to twenty pes. Blistering with weapons of all sorts. At the front led the light cavalry, and behind them came the heavy cavalry. Each of those belonging to the legions looked practically identical with their red, and bronze trim. The auxiliaries were a colorful flourish of varying types of suits, and varying aesthetics by comparison. Each though was a terrifying tool of the Imperator, meant to meter out the justice and wrath of the Roman people.
Thomas the Elder grabbed his son tightly, and made him look upon the power wrought before them as the Master of Horse began speaking, not to the crowd above but rather to the soldiers filed in neatly below. They stood at attention is nigh perfectly rehearsed squares. A tinge of excitement touched the elderly man’s voice, “Someday, you.” He pointed with a rough finger at one of the auxiliaries in the squares below. “Look at their strength, it will become yours in time.” His son was silent, but he nodded in response. That answer would have to do.
Tamsin said nothing either, yet he knew she was cross with her brother. Exacerbo had deliberately brought them here for the benefit of his son, and not her. It was not her place. He wasn’t even certain where he wanted the girl to end up in the auxiliaries, so she had been shunted aside for the boy. “Now then.” Thomas drew himself up to his full height and turned away from the men below. “I wish to see combat, let us go.”
Soon the rhetoric would be replaced by the scream of crowds and the sounds of dying men.
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2019.11.13 22:28 MarleyEngvall الْاَقْـصَى has been created

By Arthur Penrhyn Stanley, D. D. LECTURE XXX. (continued) THE HOUSE OF OMRI. ELIJAH. It was the early morning. There was a deep silence over the whole multitude, when the Prophet made his appeal to them. "They answered him not a word." Every incident that follows, well known through the sacred music into which it has been woven, enhances the contrast between the True and the False, in this grand ordeal. On the one side is the exact picture of Oriental fanaticism , such as may still be seen in Eastern religions. As the Mussulman Dervishes work themselves into a frenzy by the invocation of "Allah! Allah!" until the words themselves are lost in inarticu- late gasps; as Eastern Christians will recite the "Kyrie eleison," the "Gospidi Pomilou," in a hundred-fold repetition; as the pilgrims round the Church of St. John at Samaria formerly, and round the Chapel of the Holy Sepulchre now, race, and run, and tumble, in order to bring down the Divine Fire into the midst of them——so the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal (for the prophets of Ashtaroth seem to have shrunk from the contest) performed their wild dances round their altar, or upon it, springing up, or sinking down, with the fantastic gestures which Orientals alone can command, as if by an internal mechanism, and screaming with that sustained energy which believes that it will be heard from its much speaking——from morn till noon, "Hear us, O Baal, hear us." A larger spirit of Christian insight, or Christian compassion, either perceives under these desperate forms of su- perstition some elements of a nobler faith, or else is oppressed, even to tears of pity, by the thought of this dark abyss of human corruption. But there is a ludi- crous side, on which, in this instance, the Biblical nar- rative fixes our attention, in one of those bursts of laughter, which form rare exceptions in the Hebrew annals, and which when they occur need special notice. There is, for the moment, a savage humor, a biting sarcasm, in the tone of Elijah, which forms an exception alike to the general humanity of the New Testament and the general seriousness of the Old. He had already, in addressing the assembled people, placed before them in one sharp truculent ques- tion the likeness, it might also be said the caricature, of their stumbling, hesitating gait: "How long are you "to halt and totter, first on one knee, and then on the "other? If Jehovah be your God, walk straight after "Him; if Baal, walk straight after him!" It was the very action and gesture, represented in the grotesque dances, first on one foot, then on another, round the Pagan altars. And now the ridicule grows keener and stronger. It is noon, when gods and men under that burning sun may be thought to have withdrawn to rest. And "Elijah the Tishbite" (so he is described in his full human personality) cannot restrain himself, and cheers them on,——"Cry with a loud voice, louder "and louder yet, for he is a god; for he has his head "full, and is too busy to hear your prayer; or per- "chance he has his stomach full, and has gone aside "into retirement; or perchance in the heat of the day "he is asleep, and must be awakened." The prophets of Baal took Elijah at his word. Like the Dervishes, who eat glass, seize living snakes with their teeth, throw themselves prostrate for their mounted chief to ride over them; like the Corybantian priests of Cybele; like the Fakîrs of India,——they now, in their frenzied state, tossed to and fro the swords and lances which formed part of their fantastic worship, and gashed themselves and each other, till they were smeared with blood; and mingled with their loud yells to the silent and sleeping divinity those ravings which formed the dark side of the ancient prophecy. The mid- day heat is now passed; the altar still remains un- touched; even fraud, if there were fraud, has been unsuccessful. And now comes the contrast of the calmness and tranquility of the true Prophet. Elijah bade the hostile prophets stand aloof, and called the people round him. He was standing amidst the ruins of the ancient altar. With his own hands he gathered twelve stones from its fragments. The sacred character of the northern kingdom, as representing the twelve tribes of "Israel," the ancient Patriarchal Israel, was not forgotten. These twelve sacred blocks were piled up; the sacrifice duly prepared; the water brought from the adjacent well. And then as the hour of the evening sacrifice drew near, and as the sun began to descend towards the western sea, with no frantic gesticu- lation or vain reiteration, he sent up into the evening heaven four short cries to the God of his fathers:——"JEHOVAH, the God of Abraham, "Isaac, and Jacob, hear me: "Jehovah: hear me this day in fire, and LET all this "people know that Thou art JEHOVAH, the God of Israel, "and I am Thy servant, and through Thee I have done "all these things. "Hear me, O JEHOVAH: "Hear me, and let this people know that Thou, "JEHOVAH, art the God, and that Thou hast turned their "hearts back again." On the open mountain-top (this is the effect of the sacred narrative), and to the few words needing not more than a few seconds to utter, the answer came which had been denied to the vast concourse of prophets, to their many hours of eager application and self-inflicted torture. It was the difference between the vain and unmeaning superstition of fanatics, "which "availeth nothing," and the effectual fervent prayer of one righteous man, "which availeth much." "Then "fell fire from JEHOVAH from heaven." There is an exultant triumph in the words in which the sacred historian describes the completeness of the conflagration. The fragments of the ox on the summit of the altar first disappear; then the pile of wood, heaped from the forests of Carmel; next the very stones of the altar crumble in the flames; then the dust of the earth that had been thrown out of the trench; and lastly, the water in the deep trench round the altar is licked up by the fiery tongues, and leaves the whole place bare. The altar itself had been an emblem "of the tribes of the sons of Israel." Its envelopment in this celestial fire was an emblem no less of the reconstruction of the kingdom,——a token that "the God of Israel had turned their heart back "again." So for the moment it seemed. "JEHOVAH, "HE is God! JEHOVAH, HE is God!" was the universal cry; as if, turning (by slight inversion) the name of the Prophet himself into a war-cry, "Eli-Jah-hu,"—— "My God, He is Jehovah." Before him the whole multi- tude lay prostrate on the mountain-side. He was now the ruler of the nation. His word was law. In that sudden revulsion of feeling "the wheel "had come full cycle round." The persecutors became the victims. The prophets of Baal were seized; they were swept away by the wild multitude. Elijah him- self led them down the mountain-slopes to the gorge of the Kishon. As Phinehas, as Samuel, before him, so Elijah now took upon himself the dreadful office of executioner. Sword in hand he stood over the unresist- ing prophets, and in one swift and terrible slaughter they fell by the sacred stream. The name of the "Hill of the Priests" possibly commemorates their end. On the peaceful top of the mountain the sacrificial feast was spread, and to this, at Elijah's bidding, the King went up; for already in the Prophet's inward ear there was "the sound of the tread of rain." At "the top of the mountain," but on a lower declevity, Elijah bent himself down, with his head, in the Oriental attitude of entire abstraction, placed between his knees; whilst his attendant boy mounted to the highest point of all, whence, over the western ridge, there was a wide view of the blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea. The sun must have been now gone down. But the cloudless sky would be lit up by the long bright glow which succeeds an Eastern sunset. Seven times the youthful watcher ascended and looked; and seven times "there was noth- "ing." The sky was still clear; the sea was still calm. At last out of the far horizon there arose a little cloud, the first that for days and months had passed across the heavens; and it grew in the deepening shades of even- ing, and quickly the whole sky was overcast, and the forests of Carmel shook in the welcome sound of those mighty winds which in eastern regions precede a coming tempest. Each from a separate height, the King and the Prophet descended. The cry of the boy from his mountain watch had hardly been uttered when the storm broke upon the plain; and the torrent of Kishon began to swell. The King had not a moment to lose lest he should be unable to reach Jezreel. He mounted his chariot at the foot of the hill. And Elijah was touched as by a supporting hand; and he snatched up his stream- ing mantle and twisted it round his loins, and, amidst the rushing storm with which the night closed in he out- stripped even the speed of the royal horses, and "ran "before the chariot"——as the Bedouins of his native Gilead would still run, with inexhaustible strength——to he entrance of Jezreel, distant, though visible, from the scene of his triumph. The story of Elijah, like the story of Athanasius, is full of sudden reverses. The prophets of Baal were de- stroyed; Ahab was cowed. But the ruling spirit of the hierarchy and of the kingdoms remained undaunted; Jezebel was not dismayed. With one of those tremen- dous vows which mark the history of the Semitic race, both within and without the Jewish pale,——the vow of Jephthah, the vow of Saul, the vow of Hannibal,——she sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, "As surely as thou "art Elijah, and I am Jezebel, so may God do to me, and "more also, if I make not thy life to-morrow, about this "time, as the life of one of them." The Prophet who had confronted Ahab and the national assembly trembled before the implacable Queen. It was the crisis of his life. One only out of that vast multitude remained faithful to him,——the Zidonian boy of Zarephath, as Jewish tradition believed, the future Jonah. With this child as his sole compan- ion, he left the border of Israel, and entered——so far as we know for the first and only time——the frontier of the rival kingdom. But he halted not there. Only an apocryphal tradition points out the mark of his sleeping form, on a rock half-way between Jerusalem and Bethlehem. He reached the limit of the Holy Land. At Beersheba he left his attendant youth, and thence plunged into the desert. Under a solitary flowering broom of desert, he lay down to die. "It is enough; now, O JEHOVAH, take away my "life; for I am no better than my fathers." It is the desponding cry of many a gallant spirit, in the day of disappointment and desertion. But, once and again, an unknown messenger, or an angelic visitant, gave him sustenance and comfort; and "in the strength of that "meat he went forty days and forty nights" across the platform of the Sinaitic desert, till he came "to the "mount of God, to Horeb." It is the only time, since the days of Moses, that the course of the Sacred History brigs us back to those sacred solitudes. Of pilgrims, if any there were, to those early haunts of Israel, Elijah's name alone has come down to us. In "the cave" (so it is called, whether from its being the usual resort, or from the fame of this single visit)——in the cave, well-known them, though uncertain now, Elijah passed the night. There is nothing to confirm, but there is nothing to contradict, the belief that it may have been in that secluded basin, which has been long pointed out as the spot, beneath the summit of what is called "the Mount of Moses." One tall cypress stands in the centre of the little upland plain. A ruined chapel covers the rock on which the Prophet is believed to have rested, on the slope of the hill. A well and tank, ascribed to him, are on the other side of the basin. The granite rocks enclose it on every side, as though it were a natural sanctuary. No scene could be more suitable for the vision which follows. It was, if not the first Prophetic call to Elijah, the first Prophetic mani- festation to him of the Divine Will and the Divine Nature. It was a marked crisis not only in his own life, but in the history of the whole Prophetic Dispensation. He is drawn out by the warning, like that which came to Moses on the same spot, and stands on the mountain-side, expecting the signs of the Divine Presence. He listened; and there came the sound of a rushing hurricane, which burst through the mountain wall and rolled down the granite rocks in massive fragments round him. "But JEHOVAH was not "in the wind." He stood firm on his feet, expecting it again; and under his feet the solid mountain shook, with the shock of a mighty earthquake. "But JEHOVAH "was not in the earthquake." He looked out on the hills as they rose before him in the darkness of the night; and they flamed with flashes of fire, as in the days of Moses. "But JEHOVAH was not in the fire." And then, in the deep stillness of the desert air——unbroken by falling stream, or note of bird, or tramp of beast, or cry of man——came the whisper, of a voice as of a gentle breath——a voice so small that it was almost like silence. Then he knew that the moment was come. He drew, as was his wont, his rough mantle over his head; he wrapt his face in its ample folds; he came out from the sheltering rock, and stood beneath the cave to receive the Divine communications. They blended with the vision; one cannot be under- stood without the other. They both alike contain the special message of Elijah, and the universal message to the Universal Church. Each is marked and explained by the Divine question and the human answer, twice repeated: "What doest thou here, Elijah: thou, the "Prophet of Israel, here in the deserts of Arabia?"—— "I have been very jealous for JEHOVAH, the God of hosts: "because the children of Israel have forsaken Thy "covenants, thrown down Thine altars, and slain Thy "prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; "and they seek my life, to take it away." He thinks that the best boon that he can ask is that his should be taken away. It is a failure, a mistake; he is not better than his fathers. Such is the complaint of Elijah, which carries with it the complaint of many a devout heart and gifted mind, when the world has turned against them, when their words and deeds have been misinterpreted, when they have struggled in vain against the wickedness, the folly, the stupidity of man- kind. But the answer to them is contained in the blessing on independence. It is the blessing on Ath- anasius against the world; it is the encouragement to the angel Abdiel,——"Amongst the faithless, faithful "only he." Resistance to evil, even in the desert soli- tude, is a new starting-point of life. He has still a task before him. "Go, return on thy way to the wilderness "of Damascus." He is to go on through good report and evil; though his own heart fail him, and hundreds fall away. When he comes, he is to anoint Gentile and Hebrew, King and Prophet. His work is not over; it has but just begun. In the three names, Hazael, Jehu, Elisha, is contained the history of the next generation of Israel. But the vision reaches beyond his own immediate horizon. It discloses to him the true relations of a Prophet to the world and to the Church. The Queen with fire and sword, the splendid temples of Jezreel and Samaria, the whole nation gone astray after her, seemed to be on one side; and the solitary Prophet, in the soli- tary wilderness, on the other side. So it seemed but so it was not. The wind, the earthquake, and the fire might pass over him. But God was not in them. Nor was He in the power and grandeur of the State or Church of Israel. Deep down in the heart of the nation, in the caves of Carmel, unknown to him, unknown to each other are seven thousand, who had not, by word or deed, acknowledged the power of Baal. In them God was still present. In them was the first announcement of the doctrine often repeated by later Prophets, of an "Israel within Israel,"——of a remnant of good which embraced the true hope of the future. It is the pro- found Evangelical truth, then first beginning to dawn upon the earth, that there is a distinction between the nation and the individual, between the outward di- visions of sects or churches, and the inward divisions which run across them,——good in the midst of evil, truth in the midst of error, internal invisible agreement amidst external invisible dissension. It is further a revelation to Elijah, not only concern- ing himself and the world, but concerning God also. he himself had shared in the outward manifestations of Divine favor which appear to mark the Old Dispensa- tion,——the fire on Carmel, the storm from the Mediter- ranean, the avenging sword on the banks of the Kishon. These signs had failed; and he was now told that in these signs, in the highest sense, God was not; not in these, but in the still small gentle whisper of conscience and solitude was the surest token that God was near to him. Nay, not in his own mission, grand and gigantic as it was, would after-ages so clearly discern the Divine Ispiration, as in the still small voice of justice and truth that breathed through the writings of the later Proph- ets, for whom he only prepared the way,——Hosea, Amos, Micah, Isaiah, Jeremiah. Not in the vengeance which through Hazael and Jehu was to sweep away the House of Omri, so much as in the discerning Love which was to spare the seven thousand; not in the strong east wind that parted the Red Sea, or the fire that swept the top of Sinai, or the earthquake that shook down the walls of Jericho, would God be brought near to man, as in the still small voice of the Child at Bethlehem, as in the ministrations of Him whose cry was not heard in the streets, in the awful stillness at the Cross, in the never-failing order of Providence, in the silent insensible influence of good deeds and good words, of God and of man. This is the predictive element of Elijah's prophe- cies. This is the sign that the history of the Church had made a vast stride since the days of Moses. Here we see, in an irresistible form, the true unity of the Bible. The Sacred narrative rises above itself to a world hidden as yet from the view of those to whom the vision was revealed. There is already a Gospel of Elijah. He, the furthest removed of all the Prophets from the Evangelical spirit and character, has yet en- shrined in the heart of his story the most forcible of all protests against the hardness of Judaism, the noblest anticipation of the breadth and depth of Christianity. From this, the culminating point of Elijah's life, we are carried abruptly to the renewal of his personal history and his relations with Ahab. It is characteristic of the Sacred History that the final doom of the dynasty of Omri should be called forth, not by its idolatry, not by its persecution of the Prophets, but by an act of injustice to an individual, a private citizen. On the eastern slope of the hill of Jezreel, immedi- ately outside the walls, was a smooth plot of ground, which Ahab, in his desire for the improvement of his favorite residence, wished to turn into a garden of herbs and flowers. But it belonged to Naboth, a Jezreelite of distinguished birth, who sturdily refused, perhaps with something of a religious scruple to part with it for any price or equivalent: "JEHOVAH "forbid that I should give to thee the inheritance of my "fathers." The rights of an Israelite landowner were not to be despised. The land had descended to Naboth, possibly, from the first partition of the tribes. Omri, the father of Ahab, had given a great price for the hill of Samaria to its owner Shemer. David would not take the threshing-floor on Moriah, even from the heathen Araunah, without a payment. The refusal brought on a peculiar mood of sadness, described on two occasions in Ahab and in no one else. But in his palace there was one who cared nothing for the scruples which tor- mented the conscience even of the Kings of Israel. In the pride of her conscious superiority to the weakness of her husband, "Jezebel came to him "and said, Dost thou now govern the kingdom of Is- "rael? Arise, and eat bread, ad let thine heart be "merry, I will give thee the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite." It is the same contrast——true to nature ——that we know so well in Ægisthus and Clytemnestra, in Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, where the feebler reso- lution of the man has been urged to the last crime by the bolder and more relentless spirit of the woman. She wrote the warrant in Ahab's name; she gave the hint to the chiefs and nobles of the city. An assembly was called, at the head of which Naboth, by virtue of his high position, was placed. There, against him, as he so stood, the charge of treason was brought according to the forms of the Jewish law. The two or three necessary witnesses were produced, and sate before him. The sentence was pronounced. The whole family were involved in the ruin. Naboth and his sons, in the dark- ness of the night, were dragged out from the city. According to one biblical account, the capital was the scene; and in the usual place of execution at Samaria, by the side of the great tank or pool (Here as at He- bron), Naboth and his sons were stoned; and the blood from their mangled remains ran down into the reservoir, and was licked up on the broad margin of stone by the ravenous dogs which infest an Eastern capital, and by the herds of swine which were not allowed to enter the Jewish city. "Then they sent to Jezebel saying, Naboth "is stoned and is dead." And she repeated to Ahab all that he cared to hear: "Naboth is not alive, but is "dead." The narrative wavers in its account of his re- ception of the tidings. The more detailed version of the Septuagint tells us that, immediately the pang of remorse shot through his heart. "When he heard that "Naboth was dead, he rent his clothes and put on sack- "cloth." But this was for the first moment only. From the capital of Samaria, as it would seem, he rose up, and went down the steep descent which leads into the plain of Jezreel. He went in state, in his royal chariot. Be- hind him, probably in the same chariot, were two of the great officers of his court; Bidkar, and one whose name afterward bore a dreadful sound to the House of Ahab,——Jehu, the son of Jehoshaphat, the son of Nimshi. And now they neared the city of Jezreel; and now the green terraces appeared, which Ahab at last might call his own, with no obstinate owner to urge against him the claim of law and of property; and there was the fatal vineyard, the vacant plot of ground waiting for its new possessor. There is a soli- tary figure standing on the deserted ground, as though the dead Naboth had risen from his bloody grave to warn off the King from his unlawful gains. It is Elijah. As in the most pathetic of Grecian dramas, the unjust sentence has no sooner been pronounced on the unfortunate Antigone, than Tiresias rises up to pro- nounce the curse on the Theban king, so, in this grander than any Grecian tragedy, the well-known Prophet is there to utter the doom of the house of Ahab. He comes, we know not whence. He has arisen; he has come down at the word of the LORD to meet the King, as once before, in this second crisis of his life. Few and short were the words which fell from those awful lips; and they are variously reported. But they must have fallen like thunderbolts on that royal company. They were never forgotten. Years afterwards, long after Ahab and Elijah had gone to their account, two of that same group found themselves once again on that same spot; and the king, the son of Ahab, lay dead at their feet; and Jehu turned to Bidkar and said, "Remember "how that thou and I rode behind Ahab his father, "when the Lord laid this burden upon him. Surely "yesternight I saw the blood of Naboth and the blood of his sons, saith JEHOVAH, and I will requite thee in "this plat, saith JEHOVAH." And not only on that plat, but wherever the house of Ahab should be found, and wherever the blood of Naboth had left its traces, the decree of vengeance was pronounced; the horizon was darkened with the visions of vultures glutting on the carcasses of the dead, and the packs of savage dogs feed- ing on their remains, or lapping up their blood.——All these threats the youthful soldier heard, unconscious that he was to be their terrible executioner. But it was on Ahab himself that the curse fell with the heaviest weight. He burst at once into the familiar cry, "Hast "thou found me, O mine enemy?" The Prophet and the King parted, to meet no more. But the King's last act was an act of penitence; on every anniversary of Naboth's death he wore the Eastern signs of mourning. And the Prophet's words were words of mercy. It was as if the revelation of "the still small voice" was be- coming clearer and clearer. For in the heart of Ahab there was a sense of better things, and that sense is re- cognized and blessed. It was three years afterwards that the first part of Elijah's curse, in its modified form, fell on the royal house. The scene is given at length, apparently to bring before us the gradual working-out of the catas- trophe. The Syrian war, which forms the background of the whole of the history of Omri's dynasty, fur- nishes the occasion. To recover the fortress of Ramoth-Gilead is the object of the bat- tle. The Kings of Judah and Israel are united for the grand effort. The alliance is confirmed by the marriage of Athaliah, the daughter of Ahab, with Jehoram the son of Jehoshaphat. The names of the two royal families are intermixed for the first time since the separation of the kingdoms. Jehoshaphat comes down in state to Samaria. A grand sacrificial feast for him and his suite is prepared. The two kings, an unprecedented sight, st side by side, each on his throne, in full pomp, in the wide open space before the gateway of Samaria. Once again, though in a less striking form, is repeated the conflict between the true and false prophesyings, as at Carmel. Four hundred prophets of Baal, yet evidently professing the worship of JEHOVAH, and Israelites, not foreigners——all, in one mystic chorus, urged the war. One only exception was heard to the general acclamation; not Elijah, but one who, according to Jewish tradition; had once before foretold the fall of Ahab,——Micaiah, the son of Imlah. In the vision which he describes, we feel that we are gradually drawing nearer to the times of the later Prophets. It is a vision which might rank amongst those of Isaiah, or of Ezekiel. On earth, the Prophet sees the tribes of Israel, scattered on the hills of Gilead, like sheep who have lost their shepherd; and he hears a voice bidding them return each to their own homes, as best they can; for their human leader is gone——they have no help but in God. Above, he sees the God of Israel on His throne, as the kings on their thrones before the gate of Samaria. His host, as theirs, is all around Him. There is a glimpse into the truth, so difficult of conception in early ages, that even the Almighty works by secondary agents. Not by Himself, but by one or other of His innumer- able host; not by these indiscriminately, but by one, to whom is given the name of "The Spirit." Not by any stroke of vengeance, but by the very net- work of evil counsel which he has woven for himself, is the King of Israel to be led to his ruin. The imagery of the vision of Micaiah is the first germ of the Prologue of Job, and conveys the same exalted glance into the unseen guidance of good and evil, by the same unseen overruling Hand. In contrast with this one sublime Prophet is the vulgar advocate of the popular view of the moment, Zedekiah, the son of Chenaanah. He is also the first of a type that we meet frequently afterwards,——one filled with the spirit of false proph- ecy, not from any false doctrine, but from narrow or interested motives, leaning on the feeblest auguries, the most accidental tokens. According to Josephus, he relied on Elijah's prediction that Ahab's blood should be shed on the spot which had received the blood of Naboth, and that therefore he could not fall in battle. His imagery, too, was like that which prevailed among the later Prophets,——a parable, not of words, but of actions. He took horns of iron, with which, as with the horns of the wild bull of Ephraim, he would push the enemies of Ephraim to the ends of the earth. He struck Micaiah on the face, with the challenge, according to Jewish tradition, to wither his hand, as that of Jeroboam had withred at the command of Iddo. In the battle that follows under the walls of Ramoth- Gilead, everything centres on the foredoomed destruction of Ahab. All his precautions are baffled. Early in the day, an arrow, which later tradi- tion ascribed to the hand of Naaman, pierced the King's breastplate. He felt his death-wound; but, with a nobler spirit than had appeared in his life, he would not have it disclosed, lest the army should be dis- couraged. The tide of battle rose higher and higher till nightfall. The Syrian army retired to the fortress. Then, and not until then, as the sun went down, did the herald of the army proclaim: Every man to his "city, and every man to his country, for the King is dead." The long-expected event had indeed arrived. The King, who had stood erect in the chariot till that moment, sank down dead. His body was carried home to the royal burial-place in Samaria. But the manner of his end left its traces in a form not to be mistaken. The blood which all through that day had been flowing from his wound, had covered both the armor in which he was dressed and the chariot in which he had stood for so many hours. The chariot (perhaps the armor) was washed in state——according to one version in the tank of Samaria, according to another in the spring of Jezreel. The bystanders remembered that the blood, shed as it had been on the distant battle-field, streamed into the same waters which had been polluted by the blood of Naboth and his sons, and as lapped up from the margin by the same dogs and swine, still prowling round the spot; and that when the aban- doned outcasts of the city——probably those who had assisted in the profligate rites of the Temple of Ash- taroth——came, according to their shameless usage, for their morning bath in the pool, they found it red with the blood of the first apostate King of Israel. So were accomplished the warnings of Elijah and Micaiah. So ended what may be called the first part of the tragedy of the House of Omri. 
from The History of the Jewish Church, Vol. II: From Samuel to the Captivity, by Arthur Penrhyn Stanley, D. D., Dean of Westminster Charles Scribner's Sons, 1879; pp. 333 - 352
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By Arthur Penrhyn Stanley, D. D. LECTURE L. HEROD. ——•—— AUTHORITIES. I. Contemporary. 1. Nicolas of Damascus, private secretary of Herod, "Univer- "sal History," in 144 book, quoted by Josephus (Ant., xiii. 12, 6; xiv. 1, 3; 4, 3; 6, 4; xvi. 7, 1; C. Ap. ii.7). 2. Chronicles of Herod, quoted by Josephus (Ant., xv. 6, 3). II. Josephus, Ant., xiv. 1; xviii. 8, 4; B. J., i. 6-23. III. Heathen authorities:— 1. Dio Cassius, xxxvii. 8, 15-20. 2. Strabo, xvi. 3. Tacit. Hist. v. 4. 4. Plutarch, de Superst. 8; Lives of Pompey and Antony. 5. Cicero, Pro Flacco, §28. 6. Appian, de Bello Mithridat. IV. Talmudical authorities, as given in Derenbourg, c. vii. viii. ix. x. xi. and the Mishna. ——•—— THE civil war between Hyrcanus and Aristobulua was interrupted by the appearance of anew actor on the scene. Fresh from his beneficent war against the pirates who infested the Mediterranean, from his more brilliant victory over the last of the mighty potentates of Asia, Mithridates, the marvellous king of Pontus, Pompey the Great, with all his fame in its first and yet untarnished splendor, moved towards Palestine. At Antioch he dissolved the last remnant of the Syrian monarchy, on the ground that it was an insufficient rampart against the inroads of the Arme- nians and Parthians from the far East. He then ad- vanced to Damascus. It was a year memorable in Roman history for the consulship of Cicero, the conspiracy of Catiline, the birth of Augustus. it was not less memorable for the meeting which, in the oldest of Syrian cities, took place between the illustrious Roman and the two aspirants for the Jewish Monarchy. The rival were attracted by the enormous prestige of the man, who, having revived the terror of the Roman name in Africa, and crushed the most formidable insur- rections in Spain and Italy, had now vanquished the kings of Asia. They were led yet more by the wide- spread fame for humanity and moderation which made him the arbiter of the contending princes of the East. No personage of such renown and authority had been seen by any Israelite eyes since the meeting of Alexander and Jaddua. There was, indeed, something even in the outward appearance of the fa- mous Roman which recalled the aspect of the famous Greek. The august expression, almost as of venerable age, which blended so gracefully with the bloom of his manly prime and his singularly engaging manners, the very mode in which his hair was smoothly turned back from his brow, the liquid glance of his eyes, resembled the traditional likeness of Alexander. Modern travel- lers, as they stand before the colossal statues of Pom- pey, whether that gentler figure in the Villa Castellazzo, near Milan, or that commanding form in the Spada Pal- ace at Rome, "at whose base great Cæsar fell," so won- derfully preserved through the vicissitudes of neglect, revolution, and siege, can frame some notion of the mingled awe and affection which he inspired and which the Jewish princes must have felt when they bowed be- fore him. It was in such interviews that he must have shone conspicuously, of whom it was said that "when "he bestowed it was with delicacy, when he received it "was with dignity; and though he knew not how to "restrain the offences of those whom he employed, yet "gave so gracious a reception to those who came to "complain that they went away satisfied." On one side was Aristobulus, the gallant King whose high spirit called forth at every turn the reluc- tant admiration of the cynical historian, and which displayed itself even in the very act of pleading his cause, blazing, like an Indian prince, with every conceivable mark of royalty, surrounded by his young nobles, conspicuous with their scarlet mantles, gay trappings, and profusion of clustering locks. At the feet of the victorious general he laid a gift so magnifi- cent that long afterwards it was regarded as one of the wonders of the Capitol—a golden vine, the emblem of his nation, growing out of a "Pleasuance" and bear- ing the name of his father, Alexander. From all this barbaric pomp, which to the yet uncorrupted taste of the proud Roman citizen produced no other feeling than disgust, the conqueror turned to the other candidate. Hyrcanus was as insignificant as Aristobulus was commanding in character and appear- ance—then, as always, a tool in the hand of others. With him were the heads of the great party who, in their hostility to the Sadducaic and Pontifical elements represented by the rival brother, did not scruple to in- sinuate against him the charge that he was not a genu- ine friend of Rome. And with them, inspiring and guiding all, was the man destined to inaugurate for the Jewish nation the last phase of its existence. When John Hyrcanus subdued the Edomites, and incorpo- rated them into the Jewish Church, he little dreamed that he was nourishing the evil genius that would be the ruin of his house. The son of the first native gov- ernor of the conquered Idumæa, who himself succeeded to his father's post, was Antipater or Antipas, father of Herod. With a craft more like that of the supplanter Jacob than the generosity of his own ancestor Esau, he perceived that his chance of retain- ing his position would be imperilled by the indepen- dent spirit of the younger brother, and might be secured by making himself the ally and master of the elder. To his persuasions the Roman general lent a willing ear, and Hyrcanus was preferred. Not without a struggle did Aristobulus surrender his hopes. From Damascus he retired to the family fortress, the Alex- andreum, commanding the passes into southern Pales- tine. Thither Pompey followed, and after one or two futile parleys Aristobulus finally, in a fit of des- peration broke away from the stronghold, threw himself into Jerusalem, and there defied the conqueror of the East. The crisis was at once precipitated. Every step of Pompey's advance is noted, like that of Sen- nacherib of old. But it was by a route which no previous invader had adopted. From the fortress of Alexandreum, instead of following the central thor- oughfare by Shechem and Bethel, he plunged into the Jordan valley and encamped beside the ancient city where Joshua had gained his first victory over the Ca- naanites. It would almost seem as if it was the fame of Jericho which had occasioned this deviation. It was a spot, which, having long sunk into obscurity, at this period revived with a glory unknown in the earlier days of the Jewish Monarchy. Long afterwards in the homes of Roman soldiers was preserved the recollection of the magnificent spectacle which burst upon them, when for the first time they found themselves in the midst of the tropical vegetation which even now to some degree, but then transcendently, surrounded the city of Jericho. In the present day not one solitary relic remains of those graceful trees which once were the glory of Palestine. But then the plain was filled with a splendid forest of Palms, "the Palm-grove," as it was called, three miles broad and eight miles long, interspersed with gardens of balsam, traditionally sprung from the balsam-root that the Queen of Sheba brought to Solomon—so fragrant that the whole forest was scented with them, so valuable that a few years later no richer present could be made by Antony to Cleopatra. In this green oasis, beside the "diamonds "of the desert," which still pour forth their clear streams in that sultry valley, but which then were used to feed the spacious reservoirs in which the youths of those days delighted to plunge and frolic in the long days of summer and autumn, the Roman army halted for one night. It was a day eventful not only for Palestine. The shades of evening were falling over the encampment. Pompey was taking his usual ride after the march— careering round the soldiers as they were pitching their tents, when couriers were seen advancing from the north at full speed, waving on the top of their lances branches of laurel, to indicate some joyful news. The troops gathered round their general, and entreated to hear the tidings. At their eager wishes he sprang down from his horse; they extemporized a tribute, has- tily constructed of piles of earth and of the packsaddles which lay on the ground, and he read aloud the dispatch, which announced the crowning mercy of his Oriental victories—the death of his great enemy Mithridates. Wild was the shout of joy which went up from the army. It was as though ten thousand ene- mies had fallen. Throughout the camp went up the smoke of thankful sacrifice, and the festivity of banquets rang in every tent. Filled with this sense of triumphant success the army started at break of day for the interior of Judæa, after first occupying the for- tresses which commanded that corner of the Jordan val- ley—those which were known by the name, perhaps, of the foreign mercenaries who manned them—as well as those which guarded the Dead Sea. Thus Pompey advanced in perfect security towards the mysterious and sacred city which possessed, no doubt, a special at- traction for the curiosity of the inquiring Roman. From the north, from the south, from the west, the situation of Jerusalem produces but little effect on the spectator. But, seen from the east—seen from that ridge of Olivet, whence Pompey, alone of its conquer- ors, first beheld it, rising like a magnificent portent out of the depth and seclusion of its mountain valleys—it must have struck him with all its awe, and, had his generous heart forecast all the miseries of which his coming was the prelude, might well have inspired some- thing of that compassion which from the very same view, seen from the same spot ninety years later, awakened in One who burst into tears at the sight of Jerusalem, and mourned over her fatal blindness to the grandeur of her mission. From this point Pompey descended, and swept round the city, to encamp on the level ground on its western side. Once more Aristobulus ventured into the conquer- or's presence; but this time he was seized and loaded with chains. Then broke out within the walls that bitter internal conflict of which Jerusalem henceforth had been so often the scene. The Temple was occupied by the patriots, who, even in this extremity, would not abandon their king and country. The Palace and the walls were seized by those who, in passionate devotion to their party, were willing to admit the foreigner. The bridge between the Palace and the Temple was broken down; the houses round the Temple mount were occupied. Thus for three months the siege was continued. As if to bring out in the strongest relief the Jewish character in this singular crisis, the Sabbath, which, during the last two centuries had played so conspicuous a part in the history of the nation was turned to account by the Romans in pre- paring their military engines and approaches, which, even in spite of the example of the first Asmonean, were held by the besieged not to be sufficient cause for a breach of the sacred rest. It may be that it was one of the instances in which the strict inherence of the Sadducees of the letter of the Law outran the zeal of the Pharisaic opponents. However occasioned, the Jewish and the Gentile historians concur in represent- ing their enforced abstention as the cause of the capture of the city. It was the greatest sacrifice that the Sab- batarian principle ever exacted or received. At last the assault was made. So big with fate did the event appear that the names of the officers who stormed the breach were all remembered. The first was Cornelius Faustus, son of the dictator Sylla; and, immediately following, the centurions Furius and Fabius. A general massacre ensued, in which it is said that 12,000 perished. So deep was the horror and despair that many sprang over the precipitous cliffs. Others died in the flames of the house, which, like the Russians at Moscow, they themselves set on fire. But the most memorable scene was that which the Temple itself presented. On that solemn festival, which the enemy had chosen for their attack, the Priests were all engaged in their sacred duties. With a dignity as un- shaken as that which the Roman senators showed when they confronted in their curule chairs the Gaulish in- vaders, two centuries before, did the sacerdotal order of Jerusalem await their doom. They were robed in black sackcloth, which on days of lamentation super- seded their white garments, and sat immovable in their seats round the Temple court, "as if they were "caught in a net," till they fell under the hands of their assailants. And now came the final outrage. That which in Nebuchadnezzar's siege had been pre- vented by the general conflagration—that which Alex- ander forbore—that from which Ptolemy the Fourth had been, as it was supposed, deterred by a preternat- ural visitation—that on which even Antiochus Epiph- anes had only partially ventured—was now to be accomplished by the gentlest and the most virtuous soldier of the Western world. He was irresistibly drawn on by the same grand curiosity which had al- ways mingled with his love of fame and conquest, which inspired him with the passion for seeing with his own eyes the shores of the most dis- tant seas, the Atlantic, the Caspian, and the Indian Ocean, which Lucas has in part placed in the mouth of his rival in ascribing to him for his last great ambition the discovery of the sources of the Nile. He passed into the nave (so to speak) of the Temple, where none of the Priests might enter. There he saw the golden table, the sacred candlestick, which Judas Mac- cabæus had restored, the censers, and the piles of in- cense, the accumulated offerings of gold from all the Jewish settlements; but with a moderation so rare in those times that Cicero at the time, and Josephus in the next century, alike commended it as an act of almost superhuman virtue, he touched and took nothing. He arrived at the vast curtain which hung across the Holy of Holies, into which none but the High Priest could enter but on one day in the year, that one day, if so be, that very day on which Pompey found himself there. He had, doubtless, often wondered what that dark cavernous recess could contain. Who or what was the God of the Jews was a question com- monly discussed at philosophical entertainments both before and afterwards. When the quarrel between the two Jewish rivals came to the ears of the Greeks and Romans, the question immediately arose as to the Divinity that these Princes both worshipped. Some- times a rumor reached them that it was an ass's head; sometimes the venerable lawgiver wrapped in his long beard and wild hair; sometimes, perhaps, the sacred emblems which once were there, but lost in the Babylonian invasion; sometimes of some god or god- dess in human form like those who sat enthroned be- hind the altars of the Parthenon or the Capitol. He drew the veil aside. Nothing more forcibly shows the immense superiority of the Jewish worship to any which then existed on the earth than the shock of sur- prise occasioned by this one glimpse of the exterior world into that unknown an mysterious chamber. "There was nothing." Instead of all the fabled figures of which he had heard or read, he found only a shrine, as it seemed to him, without a God, because a sanctuary without an image. Doubtless the Grecian philosophers had at times conceived an idea of the Divinity as spir- itual; doubtless the Etrurian Priests had established a ritual as stately; but what neither philosopher nor priest had conceived before was the idea of a worship —national, intense, elaborate—of which the very es- sence was that the Deity that received it was invisible. Often, even in Christian times, has Pompey's surprise been repeated; often it has been said that without a localizing, a dramatizing, a materializing representation of the Unseen, all worship would be impossible. The reply which he must, at least for the moment, have made to himself was that, contrary to all expectation, he had there found it possible. It was natural that so rude a shock to the scruples of the Jews as Pompey's entrance of the Holy of Holies should have been long resented, that when the deadly strife began between the two foremost men of the Roman world they should have joined Cæsar with all his vices against Pompey with all his virtues. It was natural, though less excusable, that even Christian writers should have represented the calamities which afterwards overtook the hero of the East as a Divine vengeance for this intrusion. Yet, surely, if ever it was to be forgiven in one whose clean hands and pure heart, compared with most of the contemporary chiefs, David would have regarded as no disqualification for a dweller on God's Holy Hill—in one, through whose deep and serious insight, even if only for a moment, into the significance of that vacant shrine, the Gentile world received a thrill of sacred awe which it never lost, and the Christian world may receive a lesson which it has often sorely needed. On the next day, with the same highbred courtesy that marked all his dealings, like that which distin- guished even the Pilate and the Felix of a later day, he gave orders to purify the Temple from the contam- ination which he knew that his presence there must have occasioned, and invested with the Pontificate the unfortunate Hyrcanus, "destined" (if we may here thus apply the words of another claimant of shadowy sceptre) "to thirty years of wandering and exile, to be "the victim of honors more galling than insults, and "of hopes that make the heart sick." With the rule of a master he took command of the whole country. The chiefs of the insurgents were beheaded. The Jewish race was once more confined within the narrow limits of Judah, which henceforth takes the name of Judæa. Gadara was made over to its townsman, Pompey's favorite freedman, Demetrius. To all the outlying towns on the coast ad beyond the Jordan, which Simon had subdued, he restored their independence. The ancient capital of Samaria, which John Hyrcanus had de- stroyed, was rebuilt by Gabinus, and bore his name until it took from a far greater Roman the title, which through all its subsequent changes it has never lost, in Greek "Sebaste," in Latin "Augusta," "the "city of Augustus." The unity of government was broken into five separate councils which were to sit with equal power at Jerusalem, Gadara, Amathus, Jericho, and Sepphoris. And thus, says Josephus, one might suppose with bitter irony, "they passed "from a monarchy to an aristocracy." Meanwhile the Roman citizens witnessed the spec- tacle of Pompey's triumph—his third and greatest—the grandest that Rome had ever seen. First came the huge placards, with the enum- eration of the thousand castles and nine hundred cities conquered, the eight hundred galleys taken from the pirates, the thirty-nine cities re-founded. Then fol- lowed the splendid spoils, and amongst them the golden vine of Palestine; then the mass of prisoners, who added a peculiar interest to the procession, by ap- pearing not as slaves in chains, but each in his national costume. Immediately in front of the Conqueror him- self, in his jewelled car, surrounded by the pictures of his exploits, came the three hundred and sixty-two cap- tive Princes of the East, and amongst them the King of Judæa. Even at the time the countrymen of Pompey selected from the vast variety of objects the trophies of the strange city and people of whom they had heard so much_and bestowed upon him as his especial title "our hero of Jerusalem." It was the rare exception, the result of the rare humanity of the conqueror, that on reaching the fatal turn in the Sacred Way, whence the triumphal proces- sion ascended the Capitoline Hill, the prisoners were not led to execution, but either sent back to their homes or remained in Rome for whatever fortunes might await them. Amongst the train of the inferior captives who were thus left after the Triumph, and who, on re- covering their liberty, had either not the means or the inclination to return to their dis- tant country, was the large band of Jewish exiles, to whom was assigned a district on the right bank of the Tiber, convenient for the landing of merchandise to a people whose commercial tendencies were now develop- ing. This singular settlement, receiving constant ac- cession from the East, became the wonder of the Im- perial city, with is separate burial-places copied from the rock-hewn tombs of Palestine, with its ostentatious observance, even in the heart of the great metropolis, of the day of rest—with the basket and bundle of hay which marked the Jewish peasant wherever he was found; with its mysterious power of fascinating the proud Roman nobles by the glimpses which it gave of a better world. By establishing this community Pompey was, although he knew it not, the founder of the Roman Church. Amongst the more illustrious hostages were Aristo- bulus, his uncle Absalom, and his children. It will be our endeavor briefly to follow the fates of these last remnants of the Maccabæan race, whose spirit still showed itself in their unquenchable patriotism and their headlong resistance against the most overwhelming odds. Alexander, the eldest of the sons of Aristobulus—who had married a daughter of Hyrcanus, and thus might seem to represent both branches of the family—had escaped on the journey to Rome, and for a time defended himself in the family fortress of Alexandreum, against Gabinus and the reckless chief whose military capacity was first re- vealed on this excursion, Antony. It was taken, and the mountain fastnesses which had been erected by the Asmonean Princes—"the haunts of the robbers"— "the strongholds of tyrants," as they are called by the Roman writers—were all dismantled. In a few months, however, Aristobulus himself, with his son Antigonus, effected his flight from Rome, and fled, as if by instinct, to those same castles, which, even in their ruined state, were as the nests of that hunted race. The conflict revived in the famous scenes of Central Palestine. The Roman army, which had entrenched itself in the world-old sanctuary of Gerizim, under the shelter of the friendly Samaritans, broke out and finally overpowered the insurgents on the slopes of Tabor, the field of so many victories and defeats from Barak downwards to Napoleon. For a moment, by joining the cause of Cæsar, under whose standard some of their countrymen fought at Pharsalia, there seemed a chance for the Jewish Princes to retrieve their fortunes. But amidst their obscure entanglements in the struggle between the two mighty combatants for the empire of the world, Aris- tobulus, by poison, Alexander, by decapitation, were removed from the scene. There now remained Antigonus and his sister Alexandra and the two chil- dren of Alexander, Aristobulus and Miriam or Mary— better known by the more lengthened Grecian form of Mariamne. Round these princes and princesses re- volves the tragedy in which the Asmonean dynasty finally disappeared. But in order to catch the thread of that intricate plot we must introduce the new char- acter who appears on the scene. Throughout the struggles which we have traversed it is easy to discern the tortuous and ambitious policy of the crafty Idu- mæan Antipater, who had made himself indispensable alike to the feeble Priest Hyrcanus and to the powerful chiefs of the Roman Republic. But Antipater himself now makes way for a name far more renowned in his- tory, far more interesting in itself—his son Herod, whether by accident or design, sur- named the Great. In the darker traditions of the Tal- mud, he was known only as "the slave of King "Jannæus;" and the inferiority of his lineage was a constant byword of reproach amongst the members of the Asmonean family, in whose eyes his sisters were fit for nothing but seamstresses, his brothers for nothing but village schoolmasters. In the next gener- ation, when his power, on one side, and his crimes, on the other, had drawn a halo or a cloud round his head, the descent of Herod was alternately glorified or debased. In the annals of his secretary, Nicolas of Damascus, he was represented as a scion, not of the despised and hated Edomites, but of a noble Judæan family amongst the Babylonian exiles. Nor was this closer kinship altogether disclaimed by the Jews themselves. "Thou art our brother," they con- descended to say to one of the sons of Herod, who wept over his alien origin. But it is not necessary to go beyond the historical facts. Whether by race or education he belonged to the Edomite tribe, which, with singular tenacity, had retained the characteristics of its first father Esau through the long years which had elapsed since, in the patriarchal traditions, the two brothers had parted at the Cave of Machpelah. In their wilder nomadic customs, in their mountain war- fare—clinging like eagles to their caverned fastnesses, unless when they descended for a foray o their more civilized neighbors—they were hardly distinguishable from a Bedouin tribe; yet, with that sense of injured kinship which breeds the deadliest animosities, they maintained a defiant claim to hang on the outskirts and force themselves on the notice of the people of Israel; sheltering the revolted princes of Judah in their secluded glens; hounding on the enemies of Jerusalem in the hour of her sorest need; claiming complete possession of the whole country for their own, as if by the elder brother's right, which the supplanter had stolen from them. If for a moment they had bowed beneath the sway of the first Hyrcanus, and consented to reunite themselves with the common stock of Abraham by the rite of circumcision, it was that "they might once again have dominion and break "their brother's yoke from off their necks." The first Antipater secured for himself the place of a vassal prince under Alexander Jannæus; the second, as we have seen, became the master of the phantom priest Hyrcanus, and, alternately siding with each of the two parties which divided the Roman world, mounted, through the favor first of Pompey and then of Cæsar, to the high office of the Roman Procurator of Judæa. And now his son inherits the traditions of his house and nation, and the threads of that subtle influence by which Rome henceforth as- sumed the control of Judæa. Herod was hardly more than a boy—but fifteen years of age—when he was brought forward by his father into public life. Already when he was a child going to school, his future great- ness had been predicted by an ascetic seer from the Essenian settlement, who called him "King of the "Jews." The child thought that Menahem was in jest; but the prophet smacked the little boy on the back, and charged him to remember these blows, as a signal that he had foretold to him his future destiny —what he might be, and what, unfortunately, he be- came. Like a true descendant of Esau, he was "a "man of the field, a mighty hunter." He was re- nowned for his horsemanship. On one day he was known to have had such sport as to have killed no less than forty of the game of those parts—bears, stags, and wild asses. In the Arab exercises of the jerreed, or throwing the lance, in the archery of the ancient Edomites, he was the wonder of his generation. He had a splendid presence. His fine black hair, on which he prided himself, and which when it turned gray was dyed, to keep up the appearance of youth, was magnif- icently dressed. On one occasion, when he sprang out of a bath where assassins had surprised him, even his naked figure was so majestic that they fled before him. Nor was he destitute of noble qualities, however much obscured by the violence of the age, and by the furious, almost frenzied, cruelty which despotic power breeds in Eastern potentates. There was a greatness of soul which might have raised him above the petty intrigu- ers by whom he was surrounded. His family affections were deep and strong. In that time of general dissolu- tion of domestic ties it is refreshing to witness the al- most extravagant tenderness with which, on the plain of Sharon, he founded, in the fervor of his filial love, the city of "Antipatris;" to the citadel above Jericho he gave the name of his Arabian mother Cypros; to one of the towers of Jerusalem, and to a fortress, in the valley which retains the name, looking down to the Jordan, he left the privilege of commemorating his beloved and devoted brother Phasael. In the lucid intervals of the darker days which beset the close of his career, nothing can be more pathetic than his re- morse for his domestic crimes, nothing more genuine than his tears of affection for his grandchildren. Nor were there wanting signs of a higher culture than any Judæan Prince had shown since the time of Solomon. He had an absolute passion for philosophy and history, and used to say that there could be noth- ing more useful or politic for a king than the investi- gation of the great events of the past. He engaged for his private secretary Nicolas of Damascus, one of the most accomplished scholars of the age, and author of a universal history in 144 books; and on his long voyages to and from Rome, he loved to while away the hours by conversations on these subjects with Nicolas, whom for this purpose he took with him on board of the same ship. One example of his own philosophic sentiment is preserved in the speech which Josephus ascribes to him, endeavoring to dispel the superstitious panic occasioned by an earthquake. How completely, too, he entered into the glories of Greek and Roman art will appear as we proceed, from the monuments which place him in the first rank of the masters of architecture in that great age of build- ing. His contemporaries recognize in him one of those rare princely characters, who take a delight in beneficence, and in its largest possible scope. Not only in Palestine itself, but in all the cities of Asia and of Greece, which needed generous assistance, he freely gave it. At Antioch he left his mark in the polished marble pavement of the public square, and in the clois- ter which surrounded it. In many of the cities of Syria and Asia Minor he founded places for athletic exercises, aqueducts, baths, fountains, and (in the mod- ern fashion philanthropy) annexed to them parks and gardens for public recreation. With a toleration which seems beyond his time, but which kindles an admiration even in the Jewish historian, he repaired the Temple of Apollo at Rhodes, and settled a perma- nent endowment on the games of Olympia, the chief surviving relic of Grecian grandeur, which he had vis- ited on his way to Rome. This was the man who now stepped into the fore- most place of the Jewish history. It might have seemed as if the cry of Esau were to be again repeated: "Hast thou but one blessing? Bless me, even me "also, O my father." A chief of such largeness of mind, such generosity of disposition, such power of command, was well suited to take the lead in this distracted nation. Viewed as we now view him, through the blood-stained atmosphere of his later life, even the dubious eulogies of Josephus are difficult to understand. But viewed in the light of the nobleness of his early youth, and through the magnificence of his public works, it was natural that— as in the case of our own Henry VIII.——the judgment of his contemporaries should have differed from that of posterity, that he should have been invested with some- thing of a sacred character, as a dreamer of prophetic dreams, a special favorite of Divine Providence, and that a large party in the community should have borne his name as their most cherished badge, and regarded him as the nearest likeness which that age afforded to the Anointed Prince or Priest of the house of David who had been expected by the earlier Prophets. 
from The History of the Jewish Church, Vol. II: From The Captivity To The Christian Era, by Arthur Penrhyn Stanley, D. D., Dean of Westminster Charles Scribner's Sons, 1879; pp. 441 - 462.
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2019.10.17 00:04 MarleyEngvall Lecture XXII — The Youth of David (i)

By Arthur Penrhyn Stanley, D.D. SPECIAL AUTHORITIES FOR THE LIFE OF DAVID. ———•——— I. The original contemporary authorities:—— 1. The Davidic portion of the Psalms, including such fragments as are preserved to us from other sources, viz. 2 Sam. i. 19—27, iii.33, 34, xxii. 1—51, xxiii. 1—7. 2. The "Chronicles" or "State-papers" of David (1 Chr. xxvii. 24), and the original works of Samuel, Gad, and Nathan (1 Chr. xxix. 29). These are lost, but portions of them no doubt are preserved in—— II. The narrative of 1 Sam. xvi. to 1 Kings ii. 11; with the supplementary notices contained in 1 Chr. xi. 1 to xxix. 30. III. The two slight notices in the heathen historians, Nicolaus of Damascus in his Universal History (Josephus, Ant. vii. 5, § 2), and Eupolemus in his History of the Kings of Judah (Eusebius, Praep. Ev. iv. 30). IV. David's apocryphal writings, contained in Fabricius, Codex Pseudoepig- raphus Vet. Test. 905, 1000—1005:——(1) Ps. cli., on his victory over Goliath. (2) Colloquies with God, (a) on madness, (b) on his tempta- tion, and (c) on the building of the Temple. (3) A charm against fire. V. The Jewish traditions, which may be divided into three classes,—— 1. Those embodied by Josephus, Ant. vi. 8 to vii. 15. 2. Those preserved in the Quœstiones Hebraicœ in Libros Regum et Par- alipomenon, attributed to Jerome. 3. The Rabbinical traditions in the Seder Olam, chap. xiii., xiv., and in the comments thereon, collected by Meyer, 452—622; also those in Calmet's Dictionary, under "David." VI. The Mussulman traditions are contained in the Koran, ii. 250—252, xxi. 80, xxii. 15, xxxiv. 10, xxxviii. 16—24, and explained in Lane's Selec- tions from the Kuran, 226—242; or amplified in Weil's Bibllical Le- gends, Eng. Tr. 152—170. The Psalms which, according to their titles or their contents, illustrate this period, are:—— (1) For the shepherd life, Psalms viii., xix., xxiii, xxix., cli. (2) For the escape, Psalms vi., vii., lix., lvi., xxxiv. (3) For the wanderings, Psalms lii., xl., liv., lvii., lxiii., cxlii., xviii. OF all the characters in the Jewish history there is none so well known to us as David. As in the case of Cicero and of Julius Cæsar,——perhaps of no one else in ancient history before the Christian era,——we have in his case the rare advantage of being able to compare a detailed historical narrative with the undoubtedly au- thentic writings of the person with whom the narrative is concerned. We have already seen the family circle of Saul. That of David is known to us on a more extended scale, and with a more direct bearing on his subsequent career. His father Jesse was probably, like his ancestor Boaz, the chief man of the place——the Sheikh of the village. He was of great age when David was still young, and was still alive after his final rupt- ture with Saul. Through this ancestry David inher- ited several marked peculiarities. There was a mixture of Canaanitish and Moabitish blood in the family, which may not have been without its use in keeping open a wider view in his mind and history than if he had been of purely Jewish descent. His connection with Moab through his great-grandmother Ruth he kept up when he escaped to Moab and intrusted his aged parents to the care of the king. He was also, to a degree unusual in the Jewish rec- ords, attached to his birthplace. He never forgot the flavor of the water of the well of Bethlehem. From the territory of Bethlehem, as from his own patrimony, he gave a property as a reward to Chimham, son of Barzillai; and it is this connection of David with Bethlehem that brought the place again in later times into universal fame, when "Joseph went "up to Bethlehem, because he was of the house and "lineage of David." Through his birthplace he ac- quired that hold over the tribe of Judah which as- sured his security amongst the hills of Judah during his flights from Saul, and during the early period of his reign at Hebron; as afterwards at the time of Absalom it provoked the jealousy of the tribe at having lost their exclusive possession of him. The Mussulman tra- ditions represent him as skilled in making hair-clloths and sack-cloths, which, according to the targum, was the special occupation of Jesse, which Jesse may in turn have derived from his ancestor Hur, the first founder, as was believed, of the town,——"the father of Bethlehem." The origin and name of his mother is wrapt in mys- tery. It would seem almost as if she had been the wife or concubine of Nahash, and then married by Jesse. This would agree with the fact, that her daughters, David's sisters, were older than the rest of the family, and also (if Nahash was the same as the king of Ammon) with the kindness which David re- ceived first from Nahash, and then from Shobi his son. As the youngest of the family he may possibly have received from his parents the name, which first appears in him, of David, the beloved, the darling. But, perhaps, for this same reason, he was never intimate with his brothers. The eldest, whose command was re- garded in the family as law, and who was afterwards made by David head of the tribe of Judah, treated him scornfully and imperiously; and the father looked upon the youngest son as hardly one of the family at all, and as a mere attendant on the rest. The familiarity which he lost with his brothers, he gained with his nephews. The three sons of his sister Zeruiah, and the one son of his sister Abigail, seemingly from the fact that their mothers were the eldest of the whole family, must have been nearly of the same age as David himself, and they accordingly were to him throughout life in the relation usually occupied by brothers and cousins. The family burial-place of this second branch was at Bethlehem. In most of them we see only the rougher qualities of the family, which David shared with them, whilst he was distinguished from them by qualities of his own, peculiar to himself. Two of them, the sons of his brother Simeah, are celebrated for the gift of sagacity in which David excelled. On was Jonadab, the friend and adviser of his eldest son Amnon. The other was Jonathan, who afterwards became the counsellor of David himself. The first time that David appears in history, at once admits us to the whole family circle. There was a practice once a year at Bethlehem, probably at the first new moon, of holding a sacrificial feast, at which Jesse, as the chief proprietor of the place, would preside, with he elders of the town, and from which no member of the family ought to be absent. At this or such like feast suddenly appeared the great Prophet Samuel, driving a heifer before him, and having in his hand his long horn filled with the consecrated oil preserved in the tabernacle at Nob. The elders of the little town were terrified at this apparition, but were reassured by the august visitor, and invited by him to the ceremony of sacrificing the heifer. The heifer was killed. The party were waiting to begin the feast. Samuel stood with his horn to pour forth the oil, which seems to have been the usual mode of invitation to begin a feast. He was restrained by a Divine control as son after son passed by. Eliab, the eldest, by his "height" and his "countenance," seemed the natural counterpart of Saul, whose successor the Prophet came to select. But the day was gone when kings were chosen because they were head and shoulders taller than the rest. "Samuel "said unto Jesse, Are these all thy children? And he "said, There remaineth yet the youngest, and behold he "keepeth the sheep." This is our first introduction to the future king. From the sheepfolds on the hill-side the boy was brought in. He took his place at the village feast, when, with a silent gesture, perhaps with a secret whisper into his ear, the sacred oil was poured by the Prophet over his head. We are enabled to fix his ap- pearance at once in our minds. It is implied that he was of short stature, thus contrasting with his tall brother Eliab, with his rival Saul, and with his gigantic enemy of Gath. He had red or auburn hair, such as is not unfrequently seen in his countrymen of the East at the present day. His bright eyes are especially mentioned, and generally he was remarkable for the grace of his figure and countenance, ("fair of eyes," "comely," "goodly,") well made, and of immense strength and agility. In swiftness and activity (like wild gazelle, with feet like harts' feet, with arms strong enough to break a bow of steel. He was pursuing the occupation usually allotted in Eastern countries to the slaves, the females, or the despised of he family. He carried a switch or wand in his hand, such as would be used for his dogs, and a scrip or wallet around his neck, to carry anything that was needed for his shepherd's life, and a sling to ward off beasts or birds of prey. Such was the outer life of David, when he was "taken "from the sheepfolds, from following the ewes great with "young, to feed Israel according to the integrity of his "heart, and to guide them by the skilfulness of his "hands." The recollection of the sudden elevation from this humble station is deeply impressed on his after-life. It is one of those surprises which are capti- vating even in common history, but on which the sacred writer dwells with peculiar zest, and which makes the sacred history a focus of disturbing, even revolutionary, aspirations, in the midst of the commonplace tenor of ordinary life. "The man who was raised up on high." "I have exalted one chosen out of the people." "I "took thee from the sheepcote." It is the prelude of the simple innocence which stands out in such marked contrast to the vast and checkered career which is to follow. Latest born of Jesse's race, Wonder lights thy bashful face, While the prophet's gifted oil Seas the for a path of toil . . . Go! and mid thy flocks awhile, At thy doom of greatness smile; Bold to bear God's heaviest load, Dimly guessing at the road—— Rocky road, ad scarce ascended, Though thy foot be angel-tended. Double praise thou shalt attain In royal court and battle-plain. Then comes heart-ache, care, distress, Blighted hope, and loneliness; Wounds from friend and gifts from foe, Dizzied faith, and gilt, and woe; Loftiest aims by earth defiled, Gleams of wisdom, sin-beguiled, Sated power's tyrannic mood, Counsels shar'd with men of blood, Sad success, parental tears, And a dreary gift of years. Strange that guileless face and form To lavish on the scathing storm! . . . Little chary of thy fame, Dust unborn may praise or blame, But we mould thee for the root Of man's promis'd healing fruit. But abrupt as the change seemed, there were qual- ities and experiences nursed even in those pastoral cares that acted unconsciously as an education for David's future career. The scene of his pastoral life was doubtless that wide undulation of hill and vale round the village of Bethlehem, which reaches to the very edge of the desert of the Dead Sea. There stood the "Tower "of Shepherds." There dwelt the herdsman Prophet Amos. There, in later centuries, shepherds were still "watching over their flocks by night." Amidst those free open uplands his solitary wander- ing life had enabled him to cultivate the gift of song and music which he had apparently learned in the schools of Samuel, where possibly the aged Prophet may have first seen him. And, accord- ingly, when the body-guard of Saul were discussing with their master where the best minstrel could be found to drive away his madness by music, one of them, by tradition the keeper of the royal mules, suggested with the absolute control inherent in the idea of an Oriental monarch, demanded his services, the youth came in all the simplicity of his shepherd life, driving before him an ass laden with bread, with a skin of wine and a kid, the natural product of the well-known vines, and cornfields, and pastures of Bethlehem. How far that shepherd life actually produced any of the existing Psalms may be questioned. But it can hardly be doubted that it suggested some of their most peculiar imagery. The twenty-third Psalm, the first direct ex- pression of the religious idea of a shepherd, afterwards to take so deep a root in the heart of Christendom, can hardly be parted from this epoch. As afterwards in its well-known paraphrase by Addison——who found in it throughout life, the best expression of his own devo- tions——we seem to trace the poet's allusion to his own personal dangers and escapes in his Alpine and Italian journeys, so the imagery in which the Psalmist describes his dependence on the shepherd-like provi- dence of God must be derived from the remembrance of his own crook and staff, from some green oasis or running stream in the wild hills of Judea, from some happy feats spread with flowing oil and festive wine beneath the rocks, at the mouth of some deep and gloomy ravine, like those which look down through the cliffs overhanging the Dead Sea. And to this period, too, may best be referred the first burst of delight in natural beauty that sacred literature contains. Many a time the young shepherd must have had the leisure to gaze in wonder on the moonlit and starlit sky, on the splen- dor of the rising sun rushing like a bridegroom out of his canopy of clouds; on the terrors of the storm, with its rolling peals of thunder, broken only by the dividing flashes of the forks of lightning, as of glowing coals of fire. Well may the Mussulman legends have represented him as understanding the language of birds, as being able to imitate the thunder of heaven, the roar of the lion, the notes of the nightingale. With these peaceful pursuits, a harder and sterner training was combined. In those early day, when the forests of southern Palestine had not been cleared, it was the habit of the wild animals which usually fre- quented the heights of Lebanon or the thickets of the Jordan, to make incursions into the pastures of Judea. From the Lebanon at times descended the bears. From the Jordan ascended the lion, at that time in- festing the whole of Western Asia. These creatures, though formidable to the flocks, could always be kept at bay by the determination of the shepherds. Some- times pits were dug to catch them. Sometimes the shepherds of the whole neighborhood formed a line on the hills, and joined in loud shouts to keep them off. Occasionally a single shepherd would pursue the ma- rauder, and tear away from the jaws of the lion morsels of the lost treasure——two legs, or a piece of an ear. Such feats as these were performed by the youth- ful David. It was his pride to pursue these savage beasts, ad on one occasion he had a desperate encoun- ter at once with a lion and a she-bear. The lion had car- ried off a lamb; he pursued the invader, struck him, with the boldness of an Arab shepherd, with his staff or switch, and forced the lamb out of its jaws. The lion turned upon the boy, who struck him again, caught him by the mane or the throat, or, according to an- other version, by the tail, and succeeded in destroying him. The story grew as years rolled on, and it was described in the language of Eastern poetry how he played with lions as with kids, with bears as with lambs. These encounters developed that daring courage which already in these early years had dis- played itself against the enemies of his coun- try. For such exploits as these he was, according to one version of his life, already known to Saul's guards; and, according to another, when he suddenly appeared in the camp, his elder brother immediately guessed that he had left the sheep in his ardor to see the battle. The Philistine garrison fixed in Bethlehem may have naturally fired the boy's warlike spirit, and his knowledge of the rocks and fastnesses of Judea may have given him many an advantage over them. Through this aspect of his early youth, he is grad- ually thrust forward into eminence. The scene of the battle which the young shepherd "came "to see" was in a ravine in the frontier-hills of Judah, called probably from this or similar encounters Ephes- dammim, "the bound of blood." Saul's army is en- camped on one side of the ravine, the Philistines on the other. A dry watercourse marked by a spreading terebinth runs between them. A Philistine of gigan- tic stature insults the whole Israelite army. He is clothed in the complete armor for which his nation was renowned, which is described piece by piece. as if to enhance its awful strength, in contrast with the defencelessness of the Israelites. No one can be found to take up the challenge. The King sits in his tent in moody despair. Jonathan, it seems, is absent. At this juncture David appears in the camp, sent by his father with ten loaves and ten slices of milk-cheese fresh from the sheepfolds, to his three eldest brothers, who were there to represent their father detained by his extreme age. Just as he comes to the circle of wagons which formed, as in Arab settlements, a rude fortification round the Israelite camp, he hears the well-known shout of the Israelite war-cry. "The shout of a king "is among them." The martial spirit of the boy is stirred at the sound; he leaves his provisions with the baggage-master. and darts to join his brothers (like one of the royal messengers) into the midst of the lines. There he hears the challenge, now made for the fortieth time,——sees the dismay of his countrymen,——hears the reward proposed by the king,——goes with the impetuosity of youth fro soldier to soldier talking of the event, in spite of his brother's rebuke,——he is introduced to Saul,——he undertakes the combat. It is an encounter which brings together in one brief space the whole contrast of the Philistine and Israelite warfare. On the one hand is the huge giant, of that race or family, as it would seem, of giants which gave to Gath a king of grotesque renown; such as in David's after-days still engaged the prowess of his followers,—— monsters of strange appearance, with hands and feet of disproportionate development. He is full of savage insolence and fury; unable to understand how any one could contended against his brute strength and impreg- nable panoply; the very type of he stupid "Philistine," such as has in the language of modern Germany not unfitly identified the name with the opponents of light and freedom and growth. On the other hand is the small agile youth, full of spirit and faith; refusing the cumbrous brazen helmet, the unwieldy sword and shield, ——so heavy that he could not walk with them,——which the King had proffered; confident in the new name of the "Lord of Hosts,"——the God of Battles,——in his own shepherd's sling,——and in the five pebbles which the watercourse of the valley had supplied as he ran through it on his way to the battle. A single stone was enough. It penetrated the brazen helmet. The giant fell on his face, and the Philistine army fled down the pass and were pursued even within the gates of Ekron and Ascalon. Two trophies long remained of the battle,——the head and the sword of the Philistine. Both were ultimately deposited at Jerusalem; but meanwhile were hung up behind the ephod in the Tabernacle at Nob. The Psalter is closed by a psalm, preserved only in the Septuagint, which, though prob- ably a mere adaptation from the history, well sums up this early period of his life: "This is the psalm of "David's own writing, and outside the number, when "he fought the single combat with Goliath."——"I was "small among my brethren, and the youngest in my "father's house. I was feeding my father's sheep. My "hands made a harp, and my fingers fitted a psaltery. "And who shall tell it to my Lord? He is the Lord, "He heareth. He sent his messenger and took me from "my father's flocks, and anointed me with oil of His "anointing. My brethren were beautiful and tall, but "the Lord was not well pleased with them. I went out "to meet the Philistine, and he cursed me by his idols. "But I drew his own sword and beheaded him, and "took away the reproach from the children of Israel." The victory over Goliath had been a turning-point of David's career. The Philistines henceforth regarded him as "the king of the land" when they heard the triumphant songs of the Israelitish women, which announced by the vehemence of the antistrophic response that in him Israel had now found a deliverer mightier even than Saul. And in those songs, and in the fame which David thus ac- quired, was laid the foundation of that unhappy jeal- ousy of Saul towards him, which, mingling with the king's constitutional malady, poisoned his whole future relations to David. It would seem that David was at first in the humble but confidential situation——the same in Israelite as in Grecian warfare——of armor-bearer. He then rose rapidly to the rank of captain over a thousand,——the subdivision of a tribe,——and finally was raised to the high office of captain of the king's body-guard, second only to Abner, the captain of the host, and Jonathan, the heir apparent. He lived in a separate house, prob- ably on the town wall, furnished, like most of the dwellings of Israel in those early times, with a figure of a household genius, which gave to the place a kind of sanctity of its own. His high place is indicated also by the relation in which he stood to the other members of the royal house. Merab and Michal were successively designed for him. There is a mystery hanging over the name and fate of Merab. But it seems that she was soon given away to one of the trans-Jordanic friends of the house of Saul. Michal herself became enamored of the boyish champion, and with her, at the cost of a hun- dred Philistine lives, counted in the barbarous fashion of the age, David formed his first great marriage, and reached the very foot of the throne. More close, however, than the alliance with the royal house by marriage was the passionate friend- ship conceived for him by the Prince Jonathan: the first Biblical instance of such a dear companionship as was common in Greece, and has been since in Chris- tendom imitated, but never surpassed, in modern works of fiction. "The soul of Jonathan was knit with the "soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own "soul." Each found in each the affection that he found not in his own family. No jealousy of future eminence ever interposed. "Thou shalt be king in "Israel, and I shall be next to thee." By the gift of his royal mantle, his sword, his girdle, and his famous bow, the Prince on his very first interview confirmed the compact which was to bind them together as by a sacramental union. The successive snares laid by Saul to entrap him, and the open violence into which the king's madness twice broke out, at last convinced him that his life was no longer safe. Jonathan he never saw again except by stealth. Michal was given in marriage to another—— Phaltiel, an inhabitant of the neighboring village of Gallim, and he saw her no more till long after her father's death. The importance of the crisis is revealed by the amount of detail which clings to it. he was himself filled with grief and perplexity at the thought of the impending necessity of leaving the spot which had be- come his second home. His passionate tears at night, his remembrance of his encounters with the lion in the pastures of Bethlehem, his bitter sense of wrong and ingratitude, apparently belong to this moment. The chief agent of Saul in the attack was one of his own tribe, Cush; to whom David had formerly rendered some service. A band of armed men encircled the whole town in which David's house stood; yelling like savage Eastern dogs, and returning, evening after evening, to take up their posts, to prevent his escape. So it was conceived, at least, in later tradition. That escape he effected by climbing out of the house-window, probably over the wall of the town. His flight was concealed for some time by a device similar to that under cover of which a great potentate of our own time escaped from prison. The statue of the household genius as put in the bed, with its head covered by a goat's-hair net; and by this the pursuers were kept at bay till David was in safety. He sang of the power of his Divine Protector. The bows and arrows of the Benjamite archers were to be met by a mightier Bow and by sharper Arrows than their own; he sang aloud of His mercy in the morning; for He had been his defence and his refuge in the day of his trouble. 
from The History of the Jewish Church, Vol. II: From Samuel to the Captivity, by Arthur Penrhyn Stanley, D.D., Dean of Westminster Charles Scribner's Sons, 1879; pp. 47 - 65
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Κοντυλιές μυλοποταμίτικες-Γιώργος Τζιμάκης Ode on a Grecian Urn by John Keats, original music Γαβαλοχωριανός συρτός- Γιώργος Τζιμάκης Κισσαμίτικα συρτά- Γιώργος Τζιμάκης Έξω τα χείλη μου γελάν- Φουσταλιέρης-Τζιμάκης Grecian Goddess Earrings Ode to a Grecian Urn ODE ON A GRECIAN URN, PRACTISE SET,for lt grade, tgt/pgt objective questions Ode on a Grecian Urn (Part-I) by John Keats#introduction#theme#meter Grecian Goddess Ring

  1. Κοντυλιές μυλοποταμίτικες-Γιώργος Τζιμάκης
  2. Ode on a Grecian Urn by John Keats, original music
  3. Γαβαλοχωριανός συρτός- Γιώργος Τζιμάκης
  4. Κισσαμίτικα συρτά- Γιώργος Τζιμάκης
  5. Έξω τα χείλη μου γελάν- Φουσταλιέρης-Τζιμάκης
  6. Grecian Goddess Earrings
  7. Ode to a Grecian Urn
  8. ODE ON A GRECIAN URN, PRACTISE SET,for lt grade, tgt/pgt objective questions
  9. Ode on a Grecian Urn (Part-I) by John Keats#introduction#theme#meter
  10. Grecian Goddess Ring

Ode on a Grecian Urn: John Keats, Explanation in HINDI, School Lect, UGC-NET English - Duration: 35:15. MY SUPER BITES 57,748 views. 35:15. Bill Wiese Man Who Went To Hell ... Kelly from Off the Beaded Path, in Forest City, North Carolina shows you how make a beautiful ring. We have materials used to make this, along with kits and ... Στέλιος Φουσταλιεράκης: http://rebetiko.sealabs.net/wiki/medi... Γιώργος Τζιμάκης(Τσαγκαράκης): http://www.grecian.net ... Kelly from Off the Beaded Path, in Forest City, North Carolina shows you how make earrings that completes the Grecian Goddess series. We have materials used to make this, along with kits and the ... Γιώργος Τζιμάκης: http://www.grecian.net/music/artists/tzimakis.htm Γιώργος Τζιμάκης: http://www.grecian.net/music/artists/tzimakis.htm Life & Literature : John Keats' Ode to a Grecian Urn UGC NET English - Duration: 2:31. Miracle English Language & Literature Institute 14,471 views. 2:31. For More practice set videos click here. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLDvrRVRyoSTFtGdqiL7OaAvnYxIVW5TXU ODE ON A GRECIAN URN, PRACTISE SET,for lt g... Γιώργος Τζιμάκης: http://www.grecian.net/music/artists/tzimakis.htm #100 Ode on a Grecian Urn John Keats Hindi Analysis Eng Literature DSSSB KVS NVS UP TGT PGT NTA NET - Duration: 22:37. ENGLISH IS EASY WITH VISHAL 1,837 views 22:37