Life of Jesus Christ by Anne Catherine Emmerich
Vol 2

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Jesus Travels to Ephron


 not be seen from here, though the high mountains in its vicinity were distinctly visible. Jesus now took leave of those that had accompanied Him from Azo, and proceeded to Ephron. Azo was the best place He had met on His way in these parts. Jesus was as usual received outside of Ephron by the Levites of the place, and here too were found already waiting for Him a crowd of sick. They lay in wooden chests to which handles were attached for convenience in carrying. Jesus cured them all. Ephron lay on the southern height of a narrow pass through which flowed a stream down into the Jordan. The latter could be seen far away through the defile. The stream of which I speak was often dried up. Opposite Ephron rose a narrow but lofty mountain. It was upon it that Jephte's daughter with her maids awaited the sig­nal of her father's victory, namely, the rising of a col­umn of smoke. The moment she descried it, she hurried back to Ramoth whence with great pomp she set out to meet her father. Jesus instructed and cured many here.

The Levites of this place belonged to an ancient sect called Rechabites. Jesus reproached them for the hardness and severity of their opinions, and advised the people not to observe many of their pre­scriptions. In His instruction He alluded to the pun­ishment of those Levites of Bethsames that had irreverently (too curiously) gazed upon the Ark of the Covenant which had been brought back by the Philistines. (3 Kgs. 6:15 et seq.). The Rechabites were descended from Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses. In early times they lived under tents, carried on no husbandry, and abstained from the use of wine. They exercised the office of chanters and gatekeepers in the Temple. Those men that near Bethsames had, contrary to orders, gazed upon the returning Ark and had for so doing been punished with death, were Rechabites who there dwelt under tents. Jeremias tried once, but in vain, to make them drink wine in


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 the Temple. He afterward held up to Israel as an example the obedience of these men to their laws. In Jesus' time they no longer dwelt under tents, though they still preserved many of their peculiar customs. They wore a hairy ephod (a scapular) as a cilicium [hair shirt] next their skin, and over that a garment made from the skins of beasts. Their outer robe was white, beautiful and clean, and was con­fined by a broad girdle. One of the points in which they differed from the Essenians was in their bet­ter mode of dressing. Their rules relating to purity were excessively strict, and they had very singular customs with regard to marriage. They passed judg­ment after examining blood drawn from the candi­date for marriage. According to this test they decided whether he should marry or not, enjoining it upon some of their sect and forbidding it to others. In early times they were to be found in Argob, Jabesch, and in Judea. They offered no opposition to the words of Jesus, but took His instructions and His reproaches alike humbly and in good part. He reprehended them most of all for their unmerciful severity to adulter­ers and murderers to whom they granted no quar­ter. There were on this mountain many foundries and forges. They made pots and gutters, also water pipes. These last were formed of two pieces soldered together.

17. Jesus in Betharamphtha-Julias. Abigail, the Repudiated Wife of Philip the Tetrarch

From Ephron, Jesus went with His disciples and several of the Rechabites about five hours to the north to Betharamphtha-Julias, a beautiful city situated on a height. On the way He gave an instruction near a mine from which was obtained the copper that was wrought in Ephron. There were some Rechabites in



 Betharamphtha, and among them priests. Those of Ephron appeared to me to be under their jurisdiction.

The city was large and extended far around a mountain. The western part was inhabited by Jews, the eastern and a portion of the heights by idol­aters. The two quarters were separated by a walled in road and a pleasure garden full of shady walks. High on the mountain arose a beautiful castle with its towers, its gardens, and trees. It was occupied by a divorced wife of the Tetrarch Philip, who had settled upon her all the revenues of this part of his territory. She was descended from the kings of Ges­sur, and had with her five daughters already well grown. She was named Abigail and, although toler­ably advanced in years, was still active and beau­tiful. Her disposition was full of goodness and benevolence.

Philip was older than Herod of Pera and Galilee. He was a pagan of peaceable inclinations, but a lover of pleasure. He was half-brother of the other Herod, born of a different mother, and had first married a widow with one daughter. When Abigail's husband was dispatched by Philip to a war or to Rome, I know not which, he left his wife behind. She meanwhile was seduced by Philip, who married her, whereupon her husband died of grief. When after some years Philip's first wife, whom he had repudiated for the sake of Abigail, was about to die, she begged him on her deathbed to have pity at least on her daughter. Philip, who had by this time grown tired of Abigail, married his step-daughter, and banished Abigail and her five daughters to Betharamphtha, called also Julias in honor of a Roman empress. Here she occu­pied herself in doing good. She was favorably dis­posed toward the Jews, and cherished a great desire after truth and salvation. She was, however, under the watchful guardianship of some of Philip's offi­cers, who had to render an account of her. Philip had one son, and his present wife was much younger than


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Jesus was received cordially and hospitably in Betharam. The morning after His arrival He cured many sick Jews, and taught that evening in the synagogue, as also on the next morning, His instruc­tions turning upon the tithes and the offering of the firstborn, and the sixtieth of Isaias. (Deut. 26-30, Is. 60).

Abigail was held in esteem by the inhabitants of Betharamphtha. She sent gifts down from her castle to the Jews for the more honorable entertain­ment of Jesus and His disciples. On the first of the month of Tisri the new year was celebrated, which fact was announced from the roof of the synagogue by all kinds of musical instruments, among them harps and a number of large trumpets with several mouthpieces. I saw again one of those wonderful instruments I had formerly seen on the synagogue of Capharnaum. It was filled with wind by means of a bellows. All the houses and public buildings were adorned on this feast day with flowers and fruit. The different classes of people had different customs. During the night many persons, most of them women clothed in long garments and holding lighted lanterns, prayed upon the tombs. I saw too that all the inhabitants bathed, the women in their houses and the men at the public baths. The mar­ried men bathed separate from the youths, as also the elder women from the maidens. As bathing was very frequent among the Jews and water not abun­dant, they made use of it sparingly. They lay on their back in tubs and, scooping up the water in a shell, poured it over themselves; it was often more like a washing than a bath. They performed their ablutions today at the baths outside the city, in water perfectly cold. Mutual gifts were interchanged, the poor being largely remembered. They commenced by giving them a good entertainment, and on a long rampart were deposited numerous gifts for them,

The New Year Celebration


 consisting of food, raiment, and covers. Everyone that received presents from his friends bestowed a part of them upon the poor. The Rechabites present superintended and directed all things. They saw what each one gave to the poor and how it was distrib­uted. They kept three lists, in which they secretly recorded the generosity of the donors. One of these lists was called the Book of Life; another, the Mid­dle Way; and the third, the Book of Death. It was customary for the Rechabites to exercise all such offices, while in the Temple they were gatekeepers, treasurers, and above all, chanters. This last office they fulfilled on today's feast. Jesus also received presents in Betharamphtha of clothing, covers, and money, all of which He caused to be distributed among the poor.

During the feast Jesus went to visit the pagans. Abigail had pressed Him earnestly to come to see her, and the Jews themselves, upon whom she bestowed many benefits, had begged Him to have an interview with her. I saw Jesus with some of His dis­ciples crossing the Jewish quarter of the city to that of the pagans. He reached the public pleasure grounds, pleasant and shady, that lay between the two quar­ters, and where the Jews and pagans usually met when necessary. Abigail was already there with her suite, her five grown daughters, many other heathen maidens, and some pagan followers. Abigail was a tall, vigorous woman of about fifty years, almost the same age as Philip. She wore an expression of sad­ness and anxious yearning. She sighed after instruc­tion and conversion to a better life, but she knew not how to set about its attainment, for she was not allowed to act freely and was jealously watched by her wardens. She cast herself at Jesus' feet. He raised her up and, walking up and down, instructed her and her companions. He spoke of the fulfillment of the Prophecies, of the vocation of the Gentiles, and of Baptism. From all the places at which Jesus had


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 been since He left Ennon proceeded caravans of Jews and Gentiles thither in uninterrupted succession, to receive Baptism from the disciples left there for that purpose. Andrew, James the Less, John, and the dis­ciples of John the Baptist were all busy administer­ing Baptism. Messengers were constantly going and coming between them and the imprisoned Baptist.

Jesus received from Abigail the customary marks of honor. She had appointed Jewish servants to wash His feet and to offer Him the refreshments usually extended to strangers as tokens of welcome. She very humbly begged His pardon for desiring an interview with Him, but, as she said, she had so long sighed after His instructions. She begged Him to take part in an entertainment she had prepared in His honor. Jesus was very condescending toward all, but espe­cially toward Abigail herself. His every word and glance made a strong impression on her soul. She was full of anxiety, and was not without some glim­mering of the truth. This instruction to the pagans lasted till nearly afternoon. Then at Abigail's in­vitation Jesus passed to the east side of the city not far from the pagan temple. There were many baths in the vicinity and a kind of public feast going on, for the heathens also celebrated the new moon today with special magnificence. In coming hither Jesus took the road that separated the two quarters of the city, the Jewish from the heathen. In the abodes formed in the walls were many poor, sick pagans lying in chests full of straw and chaff. The destitute among the heathens were numerous. As yet Jesus cured none of their sick.

On the pleasure grounds of the heathens, where the entertainment was prepared, Jesus taught for a long time, sometimes walking around, and again dur­ing the meal. He made use of all kinds of parables relating to animals, in order to illustrate to them their own vain and fruitless lives. He spoke of the unwearied and often useless labor of the spider, of

The Pagan Temple


 the active industry of the ant and wasp, and placed before them as a contrast the beautifully ordered work of the bee. The viands of the entertainment, at which Abigail assisted in person, reclining at the table, were for the most part distributed at Jesus' request to the poor. There were also on this day great solemnities in the pagan temple, a very mag­nificent building with large open porticos on five sides through which was afforded a view into the interior. It was capped by a high cupola. There were many idols in the different halls of the temple, the principal one being named Dagon. The upper part of its body was like a human being, the lower part like a fish. There were others in the form of ani­mals, but none so beautiful as the idols of the Greeks and Romans. I saw young maidens hanging wreaths on and around the idols, then singing and dancing before them, while the pagan priests burnt incense on a little three-legged table. On the cupola was a very wonderful and ingenious piece of mechanism which revolved the whole night. It was a brilliant globe covered with stars. As it slowly revolved, it could be seen from the interior of the temple as well as from without. It represented something connected with the course of the stars and the new moon, or the new year. The globe revolved slowly. When it had reached one of the extreme points in its orbit, the songs and rejoicings in the temple ceased on the opposite side, to be taken up on that to which the globe had turned.

Not far from the festive scene where Jesus had been entertained was a large pleasure garden, and in it were the young girls amusing themselves at var­ious games. Their robes were slightly raised and their lower limbs strapped with bands. They were armed with bows, arrows, and little spears wreathed with flowers. A kind of race course had been ingeniously formed of branches, flowers, and decorations of all kinds, along which the girls ran, shooting their arrows


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 at the same time after the birds that were fastened here and there for that purpose, and darting their spears at the different animals, the kids and little asses, that were fenced in around the course. On this festal race course was a horrible idol with broad, open jaws like a beast, and hands hanging before it like a human being. It was hollow, and under it blazed a fire. The animals killed by the girls were placed in its jaws, where they were consumed, their ashes falling into the fire below. Those that had escaped the darts of the young huntresses were set aside and regarded as sacred. The priests laid upon them the sins of the people and set them free. It was something like the Jewish scapegoat. Were it not for the torture of the animals, so painful to behold, and the horrible idol, the fleetness and skill of the young girls would have been a very pleasing sight. The feast lasted till evening and, when the moon rose, animals were offered in sacrifice. When night closed, the whole temple and Abigail's castle were ablaze with torches.

Jesus taught again after the repast. Many of the heathens were converted and went to Ennon for Bap­tism. That evening Jesus went up the mountain by torchlight and had an interview with Abigail in the portico of her castle. Near her were some of Philip's officers, who watched her constantly. Her every action was on that account one of constraint, and she gave the Lord to understand her embarrassing position by the look she cast upon those men. Jesus, however, knew her whole interior and the bonds that held her captive. He had compassion upon her. She asked whether she might hope for pardon from God. One thing in particular constantly harassed her, namely, her infidelity to her lawful husband and his death. Jesus comforted her, saying that her sins would be forgiven her, she should continue her good works, persevere and pray. She was of the race of Jebusites. These heathens were accustomed to allow their

Feast of Tabernacles


 deformed children to perish, and were very super­stitious about the signs that accompanied their birth.

In all the places through which Jesus had passed lately, preparations were busily going forward for the Feast of Tabernacles. They were transporting lath­work from place to place and putting up light tents and huts made of foliage here and there on the roofs of Betharamphtha. The maidens were busied with plants and flowers which they put into water and set in the cellars to keep fresh. There were so many fast days before the feast, and so much was needed on account of the entertainments given upon it, that everything had to be prepared some time before. Such cares were entrusted to many of the poor, who received food and money in return for their services. When all was over they were entertained at a grand feast and again recompensed. In all these places no open shops were to be seen. Outside the Temple in Jerusalem, there were some places around upon which stood shops; in other cities, here and there, but chiefly at the gate, was a tent in which covers were sold. One never saw in Palestine people sitting together in the public houses. Here and there in the corner of a wall might be seen a man standing with a leath­ern bottle or pitcher. The traveler in passing got his little jug replenished, but rarely did he sit down to drink. A drunkard was never seen on the streets. The water vendors carried a pole across the shoul­der on which were hung two leathern bottles, one in front, the other behind. As for dishes and vessels of iron, to procure them a man had to mount his ass and go to where they were fabricated.

On the following day Jesus cured, on the walled in road between the Jewish and the heathen quar­ters, all the poor, sick pagans who were lying so miserably in the cavities of the wall, and the disci­ples distributed alms among them. After that until the time of His departure, Jesus taught in the syn­agogue. As the feast then celebrated was likewise


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 commemorative of the sacrifice of Isaac, Jesus spoke of the true Isaac, but His hearers did not understand Him. In all these places, He alluded very signifi­cantly to the Messiah, though without saying in ex­press terms that it was Himself.

18. Jesus in Abila and Gadara

Jesus with the disciples and accompanied by the Levites went three hours to the northwest toward a deep dale through which the brook Karith flowed to the Hieromax. In this dale lay the beautiful city of Abila built around the source of the brook Karith. The Levites accompanied Him to a mountain that stood halfway on the road, and then went back to Betharam. It was three o'clock in the afternoon when the Levites of Abila, among whom were several Rech­abites, received Jesus outside the city. Three of the disciples from Galilee were with the Levites await­ing His arrival. They conducted Him at once into the city and to a very lovely fountain, the source of the brook Karith. The beautiful little edifice, supported by columns that had been built over the source, formed the central point, to which ran colonnades connect­ing it with the synagogue and other public build­ings. The city was built on both sides of the gently rising height. The streets ran from these central build­ings in the form of a star so that from everyone of them the fountain could be seen. It was at this foun­tain that the Levites washed the feet of Jesus and the disciples, and offered them the customary refresh­ments. In the neighboring gardens and on the build­ings around were men and maidens busily preparing for the Feast of Tabernacles.

From here Jesus accompanied the Levites north­ward about half an hour outside the city into the valley to where a broad, stone bridge was built over the stream. On it, in memory of Elias, was a low pedestal, or column, surmounted by a cupola resting

Jesus outside Abila


 on eight pillars. The pedestal supported a pulpit to which the teacher mounted by steps. Both banks of the narrow stream were cut in tiers to afford seats for the audience, and both were now crowded with people. In addressing them Jesus turned from side to side that all might hear.

Today was a feast in this city commemorative of Elias, of something that had happened to him here by the stream. The instruction was followed by a banquet at the baths and pleasure garden outside the city. The festival ended with the Sabbath, because on the following day a fast was kept in remembrance of the murder of Godolias. (4 Kgs. 25:22-25). The sound of trumpets was still heard during the day.

On the declivity of the mountain west of the city of Abila I saw a very beautiful sepulcher in front of which was a little garden. In the latter were assem­bled the women belonging to three families of Abila. They were celebrating a solemnity in honor of the dead. They sat on the ground closely veiled, wept, uttered lamentations, and frequently prostrated with the face to the earth. They killed several birds of very beautiful plumage, plucked them, and burned the lovely, shining feathers on the tomb. The flesh was afterward given to the poor. The tomb was that of an Egyptian woman from whom the mourners had descended. Before the departure of the Children of Israel, there lived in Egypt an illegitimate relative of the Pharaoh then reigning. She was very favor­ably disposed toward Moses, and rendered great ser­vices to the Israelites. She was a prophetess, and she it was that had discovered Joseph's mummy to Moses on the last night of his stay in Egypt. Her name was Segola, and she was the mother of Aaron's wife, from whom, however, he separated and mar­ried Elizabeth, the daughter of Aminadab of the tribe of Juda. The repudiated wife also was connected in some way with Aminadab, but how I do not now know. She had by her mother Segola, as well as by


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 Aaron himself, been richly dowered. Taking with her large treasure, she accompanied the Israelites on their departure and married a second time during their stay in the desert. She afterward attached her­self to the Madianites, especially to the family of Jethro. Her descendants settled near Abila where they dwelt under tents, and it was here that she was buried. After the time of the Prophet Elias, Abila was built, and it was then that those descendants settled there. I did not see the city in Elias' time; it may have been destroyed before him. There were still three families of those descendants in Abila, and they were celebrating today the anniversary of the death of their ancestress, Segola's daughter, whose mummy had been transported hither from the desert and entombed. The women made an offer­ing of their earrings and other trinkets to the Levites in memory of their deceased relative, Jesus praised her from the pulpit of Elias and spoke of the good­ness of Segola, her mother. The women listened at­tentively from where they stood behind the men. There were numbers of poor at the banquet in the bathing garden, and every guest was obliged before partaking of the viands to give something from his own plate to his poor neighbor.

I saw the Levites conducting Jesus next day into a great court all around which were cells. Here were found about twenty patients, some of them deaf and dumb, others blind from their birth, who were cared for by attendants and two physicians. It was a kind of hospital. The deaf and dumb were exactly like chil­dren. Each had a little garden in which he amused himself and raised flowers. Soon all gathered around Jesus, laughing and pointing with their finger to their mouth. Jesus stooped and wrote all kinds of signs in the sand with His finger. They watched Him attentively and, at every mark He made, pointed around them to this or that object. It was in this way that He made them understand something about

A Joyous Scene


 God. I know not whether He formed letters or fig­ures, or whether the mutes had ever before been in­structed in that way. After that Jesus put His finger into their ears and touched them under the tongue with His thumb and forefinger. They shuddered as if a shock thrilled through their whole being, they gazed around, they heard, they wept, they stammered, they talked, they cast themselves down at Jesus' feet, and broke forth into a most touching, monotonous chant of a few words, It sounded almost like that sweet singing I heard in the caravan of the holy Three Kings.

Then Jesus turned to the blind men who were standing still in a row. He prayed and laid His two thumbs on their eyes. They opened their eyes, fixed them upon their Saviour and Redeemer, and min­gled their songs of praise with those of the once deaf and dumb, but who could now extol His goodness and listen to His words. Oh, what a charming, what a joyous scene! No words can describe it! The whole city crowded in joy and jubilation to hail Jesus as He came forth from the court surrounded by the miraculously cured, whom He had ordered to bathe.

After that, Jesus, with the disciples and Levites, traversed the city to the pulpit of Elias. The excite­ment throughout the city was great. At the news of the miracles just wrought, several possessed had been set at large. On a corner of one of the streets some women, poor simpletons, ran after Jesus, chattering and repeating the words: "Jesus of Nazareth! Prophet! Thou art a Prophet! Thou art Jesus! Thou art the Christ! The Prophet!" They were harmless fools. Jesus commanded them to be silent, and they became quiet. He laid His hand on their heads, and they fell on their knees in tears. Silent and confused, they allowed themselves to be quietly led away by their friends. Then several possessed pressed raging through the crowd as if to tear Jesus to pieces. He cast upon them a single glance, and they fell like whining dogs at


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 His feet. With a word of command, He drove the devil forth. They sank down unconscious, a dark vapor escaped from them, and then they arose weeping and thanking and were led to their homes by their friends. Jesus generally ordered such persons to perform cer­tain purifications. He again taught from the pulpit on the brook, alluding in the course of His instruc­tion to Elias, to Moses, and to the departure of the Israelites from Egypt. He spoke of the cures that had just been effected in their midst, and of the Prophe­cies which declared that in the Messiah's time the dumb would speak and the blind see. He also made allusion to those that saw these signs and yet would not acknowledge them.

I saw on that occasion many things connected with Elias. He was a tall, spare man with hollow, reddish cheeks, a bright, piercing glance, a long, thin beard, and a bald head with only a circle of hair around the back. On the top of his head were three large protuberances almost of the form of bulbs, one in the middle, two somewhat toward the forehead. He wore a garment made of two skins fastened together on the shoulder, open at the sides, and bound around the waist with a cord. Over his shoulders and around his knees hung the hair of the beast's skin. He car­ried a staff in his hand. His shins were far darker than his face. He was nine months in Abila, and two years and three months in Sarepta with the widow. While at Abila, he dwelt in a cave on the eastern slope of the valley not far from the brook. I saw how the bird brought him food. At first there arose a lit­tle dark figure like a shadow out of the earth, hold­ing in its hand a thin cake. It was neither man nor beast, it was the evil one come to tempt the Prophet. Elias would not touch the bread, but bade the tempter be gone. Then I saw a bird coming to the vicinity of his cave with bread and other food, which it hid under the leaves, as if for itself. It must have been a waterfowl, for it was web-footed. Its head was some­what



 broad, and by the side of the beak hung bags something like pockets, and under the beak hung a craw. It made a cracking noise with its bill, like a stork. I saw that this bird was quite at home with Elias, so much so that on a sign from the Prophet it came and went. I saw him pointing to it right and left. I have often seen the same kind of bird with the hermits, also with Zozimus and Mary of Egypt.2 When Elias was with the widow of Sarepta, besides the oil and meal that never decreased, other food was sometimes brought him by ravens.

Jesus went with the Levites to the cave of Elias. On the eastern declivity of the valley under a broad, overhanging cliff was a narrow rocky bank upon which Elias, under shelter of the upper rock, used to sleep on a couch overgrown with moss. When the Sabbath, on the fourth of the month Tisri, began, and the fast was over, there was an entertainment in the bathing gardens, at which again the poor were fed.

Next morning, after Jesus had again taught and cured the sick in the synagogue, He went with the disciples, the Levites, the Rechabites, and some of the citizens to the western heights of the mountain. There making a circuit of about an hour, He went through the vineyards giving instructions. On this mountain range, as far as Gadara, were numerous rocky projections like mounds. Some had been raised by nature, others formed by the hand of man, and around them vines were planted, the vine stocks as thick as one's arm. They were planted far apart and threw out their branches to a great distance. The bunches of fruit were often as long as one's arm, while the single grapes were large as plums. The leaves were larger than those of our vines, though small when compared with the fruit. The Levites

2. The Hebrew word which is translated as "raven" ("corous," 3 Kings 17) signifies, according to the interpreters of Holy Scripture, various kinds of birds, among them a corvus aquaticus with colored feathers and a long beak. See Calmet, Diction. S. Script. S. V. corvus.


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 put many questions to Jesus upon different portions of the Psalms that treated of the Messiah. They said: "Thou art certainly the greatest Prophet after the Messiah! Thou canst explain these points to us." Among other things there was question of the words: “Dixit Dominus Domino mea,” and of him that with blood-besprinkled garments trod the wine press alone. (Is. 63:3). Jesus explained all to them with its profound signification and applied it to Himself. During this little instruction they sat around one of the vine hills eating grapes. The Rechabites, how­ever, would not touch the fruit, because they were forbidden to drink wine. But Jesus challenged them upon their abstinence and commanded them to eat, saying that if they sinned by so doing, He would take the guilt upon Himself. When they brought for­ward their Law as an excuse for not complying, I heard them saying that Jeremias, on the command of God, had once forbidden it and they had obeyed. But now that Jesus ordered otherwise, they hear­kened to His word. Toward evening they returned to the city, and assisted at another entertainment to which the poor were admitted. Then Jesus taught in the synagogue and afterward went to the house of the Levites, where He passed the night on the roof under a tent.

Attended by the Levites, Jesus went from Abila to Gadara and reached the small Jewish quarter of the city in the evening. It was separate from the larger pagan quarter which had as many as four idolatrous temples. I knew at once that Gadara was a heathen city from seeing the idol of Baal standing under a large tree. Jesus was well received here. There were Pharisees and Sadducees among the inhabitants, also a Sanhedrim for the country around, although the male Jews of the place numbered from three to four hundred only. Jesus found some Galilean disciples awaiting Him in Gadara. They were Nathanael (Chased), Jonathan, Peter's half-brother, and I think

Jesus in Gadara


 Philip. Jesus put up at the inn outside the Jewish quarter, where already a great number of arbors had been erected for the Feast of Tabernacles.

Next morning when Jesus went to the synagogue to preach He was met by a great crowd of sick, who had assembled outside to wait for Him, and also by several raging possessed. The Pharisees and Sad­ducees, though apparently well-disposed, wanted to drive these people away. They should not be so impor­tunate, they said, it was not the time for that. But Jesus very graciously interposed, "Let them remain," He said, "for it was for them that I came," and He cured many of them.

The Jewish Sanhedrim of Gadara were meantime deliberating whether or not they should allow Jesus to teach, since so much was said against Him. They unanimously resolved to permit Him to do so, for they had heard Him very well spoken of, especially after the cure of the son of the Centurion of Capharnaum.

The disciples lately arrived spoke to Jesus of another person at Capharnaum who greatly needed His assistance.

In the synagogue Jesus taught of Elias, of Achab and Jezabel, and of the idol of Baal erected in Samaria. In speaking of Elias, Jesus said that he had not received bread from ravens, because he had been disobedient. There was also some allusion made to King Balthazar of Babylon, who had desecrated the sacred vessels and had seen the writing on the wall. Jesus taught long and earnestly from Isaias, most strikingly applying the Prophet's words to Him­self and uttering profound thoughts upon His own approaching Passion and victory. He spoke of the wine press, of the red, bloody garments, of the lonely worker, of the nations trodden down in wrath. He had previously spoken of the rebuilding of Sion, of the watchmen upon the walls of the Holy City, and I felt that He was alluding to the Church. To me His teaching, though so profound and earnest, was so


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 clear, and yet the Jewish Doctors, though surprised and deeply affected, failed to understand Him. That night they met together, consulted the Scriptures, weighed and compared various passages. They thought that He must surely be allied to some neigh­boring nation, and that He would soon return with a powerful army and conquer Judea.

The idol Baal, under a wide-spreading tree out­side the entrance of the pagan quarter, was of metal. It had a broad head and an immense mouth. The head went up in a point like a sugarloaf, and around it was a wreath of leaves like a crown. The idol, short, broad, and chunky, looked like an ox sitting upright. In one hand it held a bunch of corn, and in the other some kind of plant, perhaps grapes, or something similar. There were seven openings in its body, and it sat in a kind of cauldron in which a fire could be lighted under it. On its feasts, the idol was clothed.

Gadara was a stronghold. The pagan quarter was tolerably large and somewhat sheltered by the high­est peak of the mountain, at whose northern base were warm baths and beautiful buildings.

On the following morning as Jesus was curing numbers of sick outside the city, the priests approached to salute Him. "Why," said He address­ing them, "Why were ye so disturbed last night over My teaching of yesterday? Why should ye tremble before an army, since God protects the just? Fulfill the Law and the Prophets! Why then should ye fear?" Jesus again taught in the synagogue as on the pre­ceding day.

Toward noon a pagan woman timidly approached the disciples and implored them to bring Jesus to her house that He might cure her child. Jesus went with several of His disciples into the pagan quarter. The woman's husband met Him at the gate and led Him into the house. The wife cast herself at Jesus' feet, saying: "Master, I have heard of Thy wonders

Jesus Restores a Child to Health


 and that Thou canst perform greater prodigies than Elias. Behold, my only boy is dying, and our Wise Lady cannot help him. Do Thou have pity on us!" The boy, about three years old, lay in a little crib in the corner. The evening before, the father had taken the child into the vineyard and he had eaten a few grapes. Soon after, the boy became sick, and the father had to take him back home whimpering loudly. The mother had held him all night in her arms, vainly trying to relieve him. He already wore the appear­ance of death, indeed he looked as if he might really be dead. At this point the mother had hastened to the Jewish quarter to implore Jesus' aid, for the hea­thens had heard of the cures wrought by Him on the day before. Jesus said to her: "Leave Me alone with the child, and send to Me two of My disciples!" Then came Judas Barsabas and Nathanael the bridegroom. Jesus took the boy from his crib into His arms, laid him on His breast, breast to breast, pressed him to Himself, bowed His face upon the face of the child, and breathed upon him. The child opened his eyes and rose up. Then Jesus held him out in His arms and commanded the two disciples to lay their hands upon the child's head and to bless him. They obeyed, and the child was cured. Jesus then took him to the anxiously waiting parents who, embracing the child, cast themselves down at Jesus' feet. The mother cried out: "Great is the God of Israel! He is far above all the gods! My husband has already told me that, and henceforth I will serve no other god!" A crowd soon gathered and several other children were brought to the Lord. He cured one little boy of a year old by the imposition of hands. Another of seven years was a simpleton and subject to convulsions arising from possession by the evil one. The child did not endure any violent assaults, but he was often paralyzed and speechless. Jesus blessed him and ordered him a bath of three different waters: some from the warm spring of Amathus north of the base of the mountain of


Life of Jesus Christ

 Gadara, some from the brook Karith near Abila, and lastly some from the river Jordan. The Jews of these parts kept on hand some of the water of the Jordan taken from the point over which Elias had crossed. They preserved it in leathern bottles, and used it in cases of leprosy.

The pagan mothers complained of the frequent illness of their children and of the little assistance they derived from their priestess in such trials. Jesus commanded the priestess to be summoned before Him. She obeyed reluctantly, for she did not want to enter Jesus' presence. She was closely enveloped in veils. Jesus ordered her to draw near. But she would not look at Him, she turned her face away and behaved exactly like the possessed. She was ir­resistibly forced to turn away from the glance of Jesus, though at His command she approached. Jesus, addressing the pagan men and women before Him, said: "I will show you now what wisdom you reverence in this woman and what is her skill," and He commanded the spirits to leave her. Thereupon a black vapor issued from her and all kinds of fig­ures: noxious insects, snakes, toads, rats, dragons withdrew from her like shadows. It was a horrible sight, Jesus exclaimed: "Behold what doctrine ye fol­low!" The woman fell upon her knees weeping and sobbing. She was now quite changed, quite tractable, and Jesus ordered her to disclose by what means she had tried to cure the children. With many tears and half reluctantly she obeyed. She told that she had been taught to make the children sick by charms and witchcraft, that she might afterward cure them for the honor of the gods. Jesus then commanded her to accompany Him and the disciples to where the god Moloch was kept, and He directed several of the pagan priests to be called. A crowd had gath­ered, for the news of the child's cure was soon spread. The place to which Jesus now went was not a tem­ple, but a hill surrounded by tombs. The god was in

Life of Jesus Christ by Anne Catherine Emmerich
Vol 2

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