"Thou hast demanded of us where the Christ should be born."
The king bowed, though the evil eyes remained fixed upon the sage's face.
"Then, O king, speaking for myself, and all my brethren here, not one dissenting, I say, in Bethlehem of Judea."
Hillel glanced at the parchment on the tripod; and, pointing with his tremulous finger, continued, "In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet, 'And thou, Bethlehem, in the land of Judea, art not the least among the princes of Judah; for out of thee shall come a governor that shall rule my people Israel.'"
Herod's face was troubled, and his eyes fell upon the parchment while he thought. Those beholding him scarcely breathed; they spoke not, nor did he. At length he turned about and left the chamber.
"Brethren," said Hillel, "we are dismissed."
The company then arose, and in groups departed.
A man, quite fifty years old, but in the hearty prime of life, answered and came to him.