RIZPAH (rIz'pah), (Heb.ncr, coal).
A concubine of Saul,memorable for the touching example of maternal affection which she afforded, in watching the dead bodies of her sons, and driv ing the birds away from them, when they had been gibbeted by the Gibeonites (2 Sam. iii:7; xxi :8, to, II), B. C. about 980.
Every one can appreciate the love and endur ance with which the mother watched over the bod ies of her two sons and her five relatives, to save them from an indignity peculiarly painful to the whole of the ancient world (see Ps. lxxix :2; Hom. Iliad, i, 4, 5, etc.) But it is questionable whether the ordinary conception of the scene is accurate. The seven victims were not, as the A. V. implies, "hung:" they were crucified. The seven crosses were planted in the rock on the top of the sacred hill of Gibeah ; the hill which, though not Saul's native place, was through his long residence there so identified with him as to retain his name to the latest existence of the Jewish nation (I Sam. xi : 4, etc., and see Joseph. De Bell. Ind. V, 2, section 1 ). The whole or part of this hill seems at the time of this occurrence to have been in some spe cial manner dedicated to Jehovah, possibly the spot on which Ahiah the priest had deposited the Ark when he took refuge in Gibeah during the Philistine war (i Sam. xiv :18). The victims were sacrificed at the beginning of barley-harvest —the sacred and festal time of the Passover—and in the full blaze of the summer sun they hung till the fall of the periodical rain in October. During the whole of that time Rizpah remained at the foot of the crosses on which the bodies of her sons were exposed; the Mater dolorosa. if the expression may be allowed, of the ancient dispensation. She dad no tent to shelter her from the scorching sun which beats on that open spot all day, or from the drenching dews at night, but she spread on the rocky floor the thick mourning garment of black sackcloth which as a widow she wore, and crouch ing there she watched that neither vulture nor jackal should molest the bodies. We may surely
he justified in applying to Rizpah the words with which another act of womanly kindness was com mended, and may say, that "wheresoever the Bible shall go, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her." (George Grove, Smith's Bib. Diet.) ROAD (rod), (Heb. t41P,507v-shat', to spread out), a highway for travel.
In the East, where traveling is performed mostly on some beast of burden, certain tracks were at a very early period customarily pursued; and that the rather as from remote ages commerce and traveling went on by means of caravans, under a certain discipline, and affording mutual protection in their passage from city to city, and from land to land. Now wherever such a band of men and animals had once passed they would form a track which, especially in countries where it is easy for the traveler to miss his way, subsequent caravans or individuals would naturally follow ; and the rather inasmuch as the original route was not taken arbitrarily, but because it led to the first cities in each particular district of country. And thus at a very early period were there marked out on the surface of the globe lines of inter-communi cation, running from land to land, and in some sort binding distant nations together. These, in the earliest times, lay in the direction of east and west, that being the line on which the trade and the civilization of the earth first ran.
The purposes of war seem, however, to have furnished the first inducement to the formation of made, or artificial roads. War, we know, afforded to the Romans the motive under which they formed their roads; and doubtless they found them not only to facilitate conquest, but also to in sure the holding of the lands they had subdued; and the remains of their roads which are still to be seen in England, show with what skill they laid out a country, and formed lines of communica tion. To the Romans, chiefly, was Palestine in debted for such roads.