But the Sabines had too much right feeling to let her treachery go unpunished. She stood by the gate, hoping to receive the bracelets, but each Sabine soldier, as he entered, threw at her head his massive iron shield, which he also carried on his left arm, until she was crushed to the ground, and buried beneath a mass of metal. They had fulfilled their promise, but in a way the treacherous Tarpeia did not expect. When she was quite dead, they took up her body, and threw it over the rock which ever after bore her name, as a warning to traitors.
Treachery within the camp, those in league with the enemy in the very midst of the citadel, those who whilst pretending to be friends are secretly conspiring to hinder and annoy. Surely such a state of things is enough to move any man’s heart. Who could help feeling it bitterly?
David could not. Listen to his heartrending cry—
’For it is not an open enemy, that hath done me this dishonour; for then I could have borne it. Neither was it mine adversary that did magnify himself against me; for then I would have hid myself from him. But it was even thou, my companion, my guide, and mine own familiar friend.’
Nehemiah could not help feeling it. He had borne patiently ridicule, force, deceit from without; whatever of harm or mischief Sanballat did, he could not help, nor was he surprised at it. But when the trouble came nearer home, when he found that in Jerusalem itself, amongst those whom he had loved and for whom he had sacrificed so much, there were actually to be found traitors, then indeed Nehemiah’s soul was stirred to its very depths.
He discovered to his horror that letters, secret, treacherous letters, were constantly passing from Tobiah the secretary to some of his so-called friends in Jerusalem. Nay more, he discovered that these letters were diligently answered, and that a quick correspondence was being kept up by Tobiah on the one side and these treacherous Jews on the other.
Worse still, Nehemiah found that many of those round him were acting as spies, watching all he did, taking note of every single thing that went on in Jerusalem, and then writing it down for Tobiah’s benefit. And in spite of this, these Jews had the audacity and the bad taste when they met Nehemiah in the street, or sat at his table, or came across him in business, to harp constantly upon one string—the goodness, and perfections, and excellences of dear Tobiah.