“Suffer ye thus far,” he said to the wounded man, and healed him with a touch.
Both friends and enemies were confounded- one side that he could do such a thing, the other that he would do it under the circumstances.
“Surely he will not allow them to bind him!”
Thus thought Ben-Hur.
“Put up thy sword into the sheath; the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?” From the offending follower, the Nazarene turned to his captors. “Are you come out as against a thief, with swords and staves to take me? I was daily with you in the Temple, and you took me not; but this is your hour, and the power of darkness.”
The posse plucked up courage and closed about him; and when Ben-Hur looked for the faithful they were gone- not one of them remained.
The crowd about the deserted man seemed very busy with tongue, hand, and foot. Over their heads, between the torch-sticks, through the smoke, sometimes in openings between the restless men, Ben-Hur caught momentary glimpses of the prisoner. Never had anything struck him as so piteous, so unfriended, so forsaken! Yet, he thought, the man could have defended himself- he could have slain his enemies with a breath, but he would not. What was the cup his father had given him to drink? And who was the father to be so obeyed? Mystery upon mystery- not one, but many.
Directly the mob started in return to the city, the soldiers in the lead. Ben-Hur became anxious; he was not satisfied with himself. Where the torches were in the midst of the rabble he knew the Nazarene was to be found. Suddenly he resolved to see him again. He would ask him one question.
Taking off his long outer garment and the handkerchief from his head, he threw them upon the orchard wall, and started after the posse, which he boldly joined. Through the stragglers he made way, and by littles at length reached the man who carried the ends of the rope with which the prisoner was bound.
The Nazarene was walking slowly, his head down, his hands bound behind him; the hair fell thickly over his face, and he stooped more than usual; apparently he was oblivious to all going on around him. In advance a few steps were priests and elders talking and occasionally looking back. When, at length, they were all near the bridge in the gorge, Ben-Hur took the rope from the servant who had it, and stepped past him.
“Master, master!” he said, hurriedly, speaking close to the Nazarene’s ear. “Dost thou hear, master? A word- one word. Tell me- ”
The fellow from whom he had taken the rope now claimed it.
“Tell me,” Ben-Hur continued, “goest thou with these of thine own accord?”
The people were come up now, and in his own ears asking angrily, “Who art thou, man?”