The Courage of Woman Amid Great Emergencies
2 Samuel 21:10-14
And Rizpah the daughter of Aiah took sackcloth, and spread it for her on the rock…

What mother, or sister, or daughter would dare to go out to fight the cormorant and jackal? Rizpah did it. And so would you if an emergency demanded. Woman is naturally timid and shrinks from exposure, and depends on stronger arms for the achievement of great enterprises. And she is often troubled lest there might be occasions demanding fortitude when she would fail. Not so. Some of those who are afraid to look out of door after nightfall, and who quake in the darkness at the least uncertain sound, and who start at the slam of the door, and turn pale in a thunderstorm, if the day of trial came would be heroic and invulnerable. God has arranged it so that woman needs the trumpet of some great contest of principle or affection to rouse up her slumbering courage. Then she will stand under the cross fire of opposing hosts at Chalons to give wine to the wounded. Then she will carry into prison and dark lane the message of salvation. Then she will brave the pestilence. Deborah goes out to sound terror into the heart of God's enemies. Abigail throws herself between a raiding party of infuriated men and her husband's vineyards. Rizpah fights back the vultures from the Rook. Among the Orkney Islands an eagle swooped and lifted a child to its eyrie far up on the mountains. With the spring of a panther the mother mounts hill above hill, crag above crag, height above height, the fire of her own eye outflashing the glare of the eagle's; and with unmailed hand stronger than the iron beak and the terrible claw she hurled the wild bird down the rocks. In the French Revolution, Cazotte was brought to be executed when his daughter threw herself on the body of her father and said, "Strike! barbarians! You cannot reach my father but through my heart!" The crowd parted, and linking arms father and daughter walked out free. During the siege of Saragossa, Augustina carried refreshments to the gates. Arriving at the battery of Portillo she found that all the garrison had been killed. She snatched a match from the hand of a dead artilleryman and fired off a twenty-six pounder, then leaped on it and vowed she would not leave it alive. The soldiers looked in and saw her daring, and rushed up and opened another tremendous fire on the enemy. The life of James I. of Scotland was threatened. Poets have sung those times, and able pens have lingered upon the story of manly endurance, but how few tell the story of Catherine Douglas, one of the Queen's maids, who ran to bolt the door, but found the bar had been taken away so as to facilitate the entrance of the assassins. She thrust her arm into the staple. The murderers rushing, against it, her arm was shattered. Yet how many have since lived and died who never heard the touching, self-sacrificing, heroic story of Catherine Douglas and her poor shattered arm. You know how calmly Madame Roland went to execution and how cheerfully Joanna of Naples walked to the castle of Mute, and how fearlessly Madame Grimaldi listened to her condemnation, and how Charlotte Corday smiled upon the frantic mob that pursued her to the guillotine. And there would be no end to the recital if I attempted to present all the historical incidents which show that women's courage will rouse itself for great emergencies.

(T. De Witt Talmage.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And Rizpah the daughter of Aiah took sackcloth, and spread it for her upon the rock, from the beginning of harvest until water dropped upon them out of heaven, and suffered neither the birds of the air to rest on them by day, nor the beasts of the field by night.

WEB: Rizpah the daughter of Aiah took sackcloth, and spread it for her on the rock, from the beginning of harvest until water was poured on them from the sky. She allowed neither the birds of the sky to rest on them by day, nor the animals of the field by night.

Sins of Lathers Visited Upon Children
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