The old man paused, but his wife and Hogla, who had listened with sparkling eyes, leaned one on the other and, without any prompting, began the hymn of praise of the sons of Korah, the old woman’s faint voice mingling with touching fervor with the tones of the girl, whose harsh notes thrilled with the loftiest enthusiasm.
Hosea felt that it would be criminal to interrupt the outpouring of these earnest hearts, but Eliab soon stopped them and gazed with evident anxiety into the stern face of his lord’s first-born son.
Had Hosea understood him?
Did this warrior, who served under Pharaoh’s banner, realize how entirely the Lord God Himself had ruled the souls of his people at their departure.
Had the life among the Egyptians so estranged him from his people and his God, rendered him so degenerate, that he would bid defiance to the wishes and commands of his own father?
Was the man on whom the Hebrews’ highest hopes were fixed a renegade, forever lost to his people?
He received no verbal answer to these mute questions, but when Hosea grasped his callous right hand in both his own and pressed it as he would have clasped a friend’s, when he bade him farewell with tearful eyes, murmuring: “You shall hear from me!” he felt that he knew enough and, overwhelmed with passionate delight, he pressed kiss after kiss upon the warrior’s arms and clothing.
Hosea returned to the camp with drooping head. The conflict in his soul was at an end. He now knew what duty required. He must obey his father’s summons.
And the God of his race!
The old man’s tale had given new life to the memories of his childhood, and he now knew that He was not the same God as the Seth of the Asiatics in Lower Egypt, nor the “One” and the “Sum of All” of the adepts.
The prayers he had uttered ere he fell asleep, the history of the creation of the world, which he could never hear sufficiently often, because it showed so clearly the gradual development of everything on earth and in heaven until man came to possess and enjoy all, the story of Abraham and Isaac, of Jacob, Esau, and his own ancestor, Joseph—how gladly he had listened to these tales as they fell from the lips of the gentle woman who had given him life, and from those of his nurse, and his grandfather Elishama. Yet he imagined that they had faded from his memory long ago.
But in old Eliab’s hovel he could have repeated the stories word for word, and he now knew that there was indeed one invisible, omnipotent God, who had preferred his race above all others, and had promised to make them a mighty people.
The truths concealed by the Egyptians under the greatest mystery were the common property of his race. Every beggar, every slave might raise his hands in supplication to the one invisible God who had revealed Himself unto Abraham.