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[The Bight of Tranalation is Reserved,] 








GonracTXOsr ov Saobsd History and Saorbd Okogbafht . , • • zii 



1. Nile in the Delta. 2. Viev from the Citadel at Cairo. 8. Heliopolls. 
4. Valley of the Nile. 5. Tombs of Beni-Haasan. 6. Tombs and Hermits. 
7. Thebes — Colossal statues. 8. Thebes— Kamac and the Eoyal Tombs. 
9. Nile at Silsilis. 10. At the First Cataract 11. Phihe. 12. Nile in 
Nubia. 13. Ipsambul. 14. Nfle at the Second Cataract. 15. Dendera. 
16. Memphis. 17. The Pynunids ....... 


L General configuration — ^the Monntains, the Desert^ and the Sea. 1. The Two 
Qnlft. 2. The Plateau of the Tlh. 8. The Sandy Tract of Debbet er- 
Bamleh. 4. The Mountains of the Tftr. (a) The KA'a-^the Shores. 
(b) The Passes, (c) The Mountains ; the Three Groups — the Colours — the 
Confusion — the Desolation — the Silence, (d) The WAdys — ^the Vegetation 
— the Springs — the Oases S 

n. Qeneral Adaptation to the Histoiy. The Scenery — the Phyacal Phenomena 

— the Present Inhabitants — Changes in the features of the Desert . 20 

m. Local Traditions of the History. 1. Arab Tradition — Traditions of Moses. 
Loss of the Ancient Nsmes. 2. Ghreek Traditions. 3. Early Traditions 
of Bnsebius and Jerome 29 

TV. Eoute of the Israelites. 1. Passage of the Bed Sea. 2. Maiah and Elim. 
3. Bncampment by the Bed Sea. 4. Wilderness of Sin. 5. Choice between 
Serb&l and Jebel M6sa as Sinai. 6. Special localities of the History . 88 

V. Later History of the Peninsula. 1. Elijah's Tisit. 2. Josep^us. 8. Allu- 
sions of St. PauL 4. Christian Hermitages; Convent of St. Catherine. 
5. Mosque in the Conrent ; Visit of Mahomet. 6. Present State of the 
CoHTcnt. 7. Sanctuary of Sheykh Saleh 48 

Vote A. Sinaitic Inscriptions • . 57 




I. Depftrtnre firom "Egypt ; Orerland Bonte ; First Encampment. 11. The 
Passage of the Eed Sea. 1. Approach to Saez. 2. Wells of Moses. IIL 
The Desert) and Sand-stcim. IV. Marah ; Elim. Y. Second Encampment 
by the Bed Sea ; '* Wildtimess of Sin." YL Approach to Mount Serb&l ; 
WAdySidiiandWAdyFekftn. YU. Ascent of Serb&l. YUI. Approach to 
. Jebel lAtauk, the traditional Sinai. IX. Ascent of Jebel Mttsa and BAs 
StkMfeh. X. Ascent of St. Catherine. XI. Ascent of the Jebel ed-Deir . 63 

XII. Bonte from Sinai to the Gnlf of *Akaba. 1. Tomb of Sheykh Saleh. 
2. WAdy Seyftl and W&dy el-* Ain. Hazeroth. XIIL Gulf of *Akaba ; 
Elath. XIY. The 'Arabah. XY. Approach to Petra. XYI. Ascent of 
MonntHor. XYII. Petra. Eadbsh 78 

XVIII. Approach to Palestine. XIX. First Day in Palestine. XX. Hebron. 
XXI. Approach to Bethlehem and Jemsalem. XXII. First View of Beth- 
lehem. XXIII. First View of Jerusalem 98 


The Highland of Syria : Lebanon ; the Four Bivers : the Orontes, the Leontes, 
the Barada, and the Jobdah 109 

PALESTINE. I. Seclusion. IL Smallness and narrovness of its territory. 
III. Central situation. lY. Land of Buins. V. '* Land of Milk and Hon^.'* 
YI. Earthquakes. YII. Variety of climate and structure. VIII. A Mountain 
Country ; the Views of Sacred History. The fenced Cities, and High Places : 
Political Diyisions and Conquests. High-lands and Lowlands. IX. Scenery: 
Character of Mils ; Vegetation : Flowers ; Olives ; Cedars — confined to Leba- 
non ; Oaks and Terebinths ; Sacred Trees : Palms; Sycamores; Oleanders ; 
Carob-tree. X. (Geological Features : 1. Springs and Wells ; 2. Sepulchres ; 
3. Cayes ; in ancient times ; in modem times ; 4. L^gendiuy curiosities . 112 


JuDJSA : — ^I. The "south" frontier — Simeon. H. Mountain country of Judah 
— Lion of Judah— Vineyards — Fenced cities — Herodion. Bethuehkx — 
Hebboh 159 

Jeeubalex : — I. Exterior aspect. 1. Long obscurity — Jebus — ^Mountain fastness. 
2. Barines of the Eedron and of Hinnom. 8. Compactness — Ghrowth. 
4. Surrounding mountains. 5. Central situation. U. Interior aspect. 
1. HiUs of the city. 2. Temple-mount — ^Bock of the Sakrah — Spring in 
the Temple Vaults. 8. Walls and Towers — Palaces — ^Buins — ^Earthquake. 
HL MouKT ov Oliyeb — Slight connection with the early history. Connection 
with the Gospel History — Presence of Christ — ^Betbany-->Sceno of the 
Triumphal entzy — The Ascension — Conclusion 166 


BsKJAMDr, the frontier tribe of Judah and Ephraim — Its independent power. 

I. The Passes of Benjamin. 1. The Eastern Passes, a. Battle of Ai. 

(. Battle of Michmash. c. Advance of Sennacherib. 2. The Western 
Passes — Battle of Bethhonm under Joshua. Later battles of Bethhoron . 199 

II. The Hmghts. 1. Neby-Samwil or Gibeon. 2. Bethel : Sanctuary — View 

of Abndiam — Sanctuary of Jacob and of the Northern tribes — J€roboam'8 

Temple— Joeiah 218 

Note on Bamah and Hispeh 224 




KtmntaLDB of Sph&aiv- Feitility and central mtnation — Supremacy of Ephraim. 229 

r. Shiix»h. n. Sbmjbxh, 1. First halting-place of Abraliam. 2. First 
settlement of Jacob. 8. First capital of tho conquest. Sanctnary of 
Honnt Gterizim. 4. Insurrection of Abimelech. 5. Sanctnarj of the 
Sunaxitaii& f. Jacob's veil 281 

HL Han A ETA : ' ts beantj — ^Ite stFOigfth — Sebaste. IV. Passes of Manasseh. 

Dothan 242 

Kote on Monni Gcviaim. Abraham and Melchixedek : Sacrifice of Isaac : 

KonntMori&h 248 


L The Shsphxlah, or the Low Country, — Fhilistia : 1. Maritime character of 
* the PhUistinea. 2. The Btrongholds ; thdr sieges. 8. Corn-fields — Contact 

irith Ban. 4. Level plain — Contact with Egypt and the Desert . . . 255 
n, Plu» o» Shabov — Pasture-land — Naphath-Dor — ^Forest — Caesarea — ^Con- 
nection with Apostolic History 259 

HL PuLiKandBATOFAoRB— Tribe of Asher 263 

lY. PxtAnr OF PHCBiraciA : 1. Separation from Palestine. 2. Harbonrs. 8. 

Security. 4. Birers. Ttrb and Sidon — Local Prophecies . ... 266 

Note A. House of Simon at Jaffa 274 

KoieB. YiUa^ of Sharon . . 275 

Kote C. Phoenician Antiquities : Sarcophagus of Esmunozar .... 277 


^ShB Four Rivers of Lebanon in their courses : — The physical peculiai ities of the 

Jordan — Unfrequented — Historical Scenes 281 

I. ^ale of Siddim. 1. Battle of the Kings. 2. OTcrthrow of Sodom and 
Gomorrah. 8. Appearance of the Dead Sea. 4. Vision of Ezekiel. 
5. En-gedi 287 

H. Plain and Terraces of the Jordan Valley. 1. Plain of Abel-Shittim — Encamp- 
ment of the Israelites — Views from Pisgah by Balaam and by Moses — 
Bozial-place of Hoses — Passage of the Jordan — ^Drying up of the RiTer. 
2. Jericho — ^At the time of the capture — In the time of the Prophets, and 
of Christ. 3. Scene of the Preaching of John — Bethabara — ^Scene of the 
Temptation — ^Baptism in the Jordan — Bathing of the Pilgrims . . . 296 


L General character of the scenery. 11. First view of the Holy Land. 
IlL Frontier land. — First yictories of Israel. IV. Isolation. V. Pastoral 
character of the (K>ontry and ita inhabitants. Nomadic Tribes — Benben — 
Gad — Manasseh— Elijah the Tishbite. VI. Land of exile. Last view of 
the Holy Land 319 


Genoal features. I. Boundary between northern and central tribes. II. Battle- 
field of Palestine. I. Victory OTer Sisera. Battle of Kisbon. 2. Victory 
over the Midianites. 8. Befeat of Saul. Battle of Mount Gilboa— Beth- 
shan and Jabesh Gilead. 4. Befeat of Josiah— -Battle of Megiddo . . 885 

in. Biehness and fertility of the Plain — Issaohar: Jezreel — Engannim. 
IV. Tabor : Fortress and Sanctuary of the Northern Tribes. V. Carxel — 
Scene of Elijah's sacrifice. VL Naih 347 




Sceneiy of Northern Palestine— The Four Northern Tribes— Their wealth — ^Their 
isolatios — Galilee in the New Testament 361 

I. Na£ARBth — Its npland basin — Its seclusion — Sacred looJities . . 864 

II. Lake of Gekkbsarbte. 1. Plain of Hattin, and Mountain of the Beatitudes 

— Battle of Hattin. 2. View of the Lake of Gennesareth. 8. Jewish Histoiy 
of Tiberias. 4. Plain of Gennesareth. Traffio— Fertility of the Plain — 
Villas of the Herods — Fisheries of the Lake. 5. Scene of the Gospel 
Ministry— "Manufacturing district " — ^The Beach — The Desert — The storms 
of wind— The Demoniacs — The Feeding of the Multitudes — The Phun of 
Gennesareth — Capernaum 367 



I. Upper Valley of the Jordan — ^Hills of Naphtali and Manasseh — Eedesh- 
Naphtali. II. Lake of Herom — Battle of Merom. III. Sources of the 
Jonlan — Tel el-Kady — City and Tribe of Dan — Caesarea Philippi — Hazor — 
Paneas — Hermou — ^Mount of theTransfigurataon 3S9 


I. Heruon : its Temples— Baalbek. H. The Vale of Hasbeya— The Vale of 
Cffile-Syria— Lbbahok — The Nahr-el-Kelb — ^The Cedars. HI. The LitJIiit. 
IV. The Orontks — Riblfth — Antioch. V. The Barada — Damasous : its 
Traditions 403 



I. The stages of the Gospel Histoiy. 1. In&ncy of Christ. 2. Youth. 8. Pub* 
lie ministry. 4. Betirement from public ministry. II. The Parables. 
1. Parables of Juda». a. The Vineyard, h. The Fig-tree. c. The 
Shepherd, d. The good Samaritan. 2. Parables of Galilee, a. The corn- 
fields. 6. The birds, tf; The fisheries. lU. The Discourses — The Sermon 
on the Mount. 1. The city on a hill. 2. The birds and the flowers. 
8. Th&torrent 416 

IV. Conclusions. 1. Reality of the teaching. 2. Its homeliness and universality. 
8. Its union of human and divine 431 


I. Bethlehbm : Church of Helena — Grotto of the Natirity-^Jerome. H. Nasa- 
RETH : Grotto in Latin C<mTent — Spring near the Greek church — House at 
Loretto — Compared with site at Nazareth— Origin of the Legend. III. 
Jerusalem : Lesser localities— Church of the Ascension — Tomb of the 
Virgin — Gethsemane — Ccenaculum — Cliurch of the Holy Sepulchi-e — Gk-eek 
Baster — Conclusion 437 





Introduction 475 

Index 479 

L — ^Valleys and Tracts of Land 481 

II._Moiintun^ Hills, and Bocks 494 

in. — ^Biren and Streams 501 

lY.— Springs^ Wells^ and Pits 509 

v.— Caves 616 

VI.— ForaBts and Trees 517 

YIL— Cities, Habitotions, Streets 521 

Fin.—^The Sea and its Shores 533 



I. JhJL&nAU OF THE Hbights ov BaTPT, SiHAi, AiTD Paustiri . Frontispieoe. 

II. EoTPT Page xxxri 

IIL PinvsuLA. ov Sdiai ,, 5 

lY. TmAi>inoari.L Sihai „ 42 

y. PALBTDra , 111 

TI. South ov PALxniiia ,, 161 

VIL PLAia OF Bn>AA>Lov AVD Galilsi ,, 887 

# ■ ■ 

1. Skstoh-haf of Stbxa Page lOS 

2. Skstob-plar of Jbbvsaiiic yy 158 

3. ScnoH-PLAH OF Shsohsx y, 228 

4. Map of trs Laki asd Dotbiot of Gsvhbsabrh • . „ 860 

5. Sketch-plav OF Hoora at Nazabith akd at Lobbtto . . „ 436 

In the refeienoes to the Erdhtnde of Professor C. Bitter thronghont this work, the 
following names have been adopted for the Tolnmes relating to Sinai and 
Palestine :— Part ZIV. (or Tol. I.) is designated Sinai : Part ZY. (Vol. U.), 
Sect 1. Jordan : Sect 2. Syria : Part XYI. (YoL UL) Palestine : Part ZVII. 
<ToL lY.), Sect 1. Lebanon : Sect 2. Bamascns. 


What is personal in this book may be briefly told. In 
the winter of 1852 and spring of 1858, in the company of 
three friends* (to whose kindness I shall always feel grateful 
for having enabled me to fulfil this long-cherished design), I 
visited the well-known scenes of Sacred History in Egypt, 
Arabia, and Syria. Any detailed description of this journey 
has been long since rendered superfluous by the ample illustra- 
tions of innumerable travellers. But its interest and instruc- 
tion are so manifold that, even after all which has been seen 
and said of it, there still remain points of view unexhausted. 

Much has been written, and still remains to be written; both 
on the History and the Geography of the Chosen People ; but 
there have been comparatively few attempts to illustrate the 
relation in which each stands to the other. To bring the 
recollections of my own journey to bear on this question ; to 
point out how much or how littie the Bible gains by being seen, 
80 to speak, through the eyes of the country, or the country 
by being seen through the eyes of the Bible ; to exhibit the 
effect of the *Holy Land' on the course of the * Holy History;* 
—seemed to be a task not hitherto fully accomplished. To 
point out the limits of this connection will be the object of the 
following Preface. 

As a general rule, it has been my endeavour, on the one 
hand, to omit no geographical feature which throws any direct 
light on the History or the Poetry of the Sacred Volume ; and, 
on the other hand, to insert no descriptions except those which 
have such a purpose, and to dwell on no passages of Scripture 
except those which are capable of such an illustration. The 
form of narrative has thus been merged in that of dissertation, 

' I tnut iliat I may be pennitted to nftme Mr. Walzondi Mr. Frenumtle, Mid ' 


following the course of historical and geographical divisions. 
Whenever I have given extracts from journals or letters, it has 
been when it seemed necessary to retain the impression not 
merely of the scene, but of the moment Only in a few 
instances, chiefly confined to notes, the main course of the 
argument has been interrupted in order to describe in greater 
detail particular spots, which have not been noticed in previous 
accounts. I have, as much as possible, avoided the controverted 
points of Sacred Topography, both because they mostly relate 
to spots which throw no direct light on the History, and also 
because they depend for their solution on data which are not 
yet fully before us. 

The Maps have been framed with the intention of giving not 
merely the physical features, but the actual colouring o£fered to 
the eye of the traveller at the present time. In the use of the 
geographical terms of the Old and New Testament, I have 
aimed at a greater precision than has been reached or perhaps 
attempted in the Authorised Version; and have thrown into an 
Appendix a catalogue of such words, as a help to a not unim- 
portant field of philological and geographical study. For the 
arrangement of this Appendix, as well as for the general verifica- 
tion of references and correction of the press, I am indebted 
to the careful revision of my friend Mr. Grove, of Sydenham. 
Throughout the work I have freely used all materials within 
my reach to fill up the deficiencies necessarily left by the hasty 
and imperfect character of my personal observation. It is 
unnecessary to describe more particularly the nature of these 
sources : they are mostly given in the long catalogues of 
writers affixed to Bobinson's "Biblical Besearches," and Bitter's 
volumes on Sinai, Palestine, and Syria; and I may perhaps be 
allowed to refer, for a general estimate of their relative value, 
to an essay on " Sacred Geography" in the Quarterly Beview 
for March, 1854. 

Finally, I have to express my deep sense of all that I owe to 
my friend and fellow-traveller, Mr. Theodore Walrond, Fellow 
of Balliol College, Oxford. Without him the journey, to which 
I shall always look back as one of the most instructive periods 
of my life, would in all probability never have been accom- 


plished: on his accurate observation and sound judgment I 
have constantly relied, both on the spot and since; and though 
I have touched too slightly on Egypt to avail myself of his 
knowledge and study of the subject where it would have been 
most valuable, I feel that his kind supervision of the rest of the 
Tolume gives a strong guarantee for the faithful representation 
of the scenes which we explored together, and of the conclu^ 
sions to be derived from them. 

Puonon^ Oaribbubt, 
Jawiarjf^ 1866. 

P.S. — Nine years after the journey to the East on which 
this volume is based, I was enabled to revisit Palestine in 
attendance on His Boyal Highness the Prince of Wales. The 
tour was necessarily rapid, and was chiefly confined to scenes 
already familiar; but it furnished me with illustrations, or 
corrections, of what I had before described; and some spots 
were seen which I had not been able to visit on the previous 
journey, and one of which (the Mosque of Hebron) I owe 
entirely to the privilege accorded to the Prince of Wales. 
The main topographical results of the journey are incorporated 
in this edition; though, for the convenience of those who have 
purchased the earlier editions, I have given the same, in sub- 
stance, in my " Lectures on the History of the Jewish Church,** 
and in the Appendix to my " Sermons in the East." 

In these same nine years the Geography of Palestine has 
been almost rewritten. Not only have new discoveries been 
made in every part (with which I have been hardly able to 
keep pace in the corrections of my successive editions), but 
the historical and topographical details of the subject have 
been worked up into a far more complete form than any to 
which I can lay claim. It is a satisfaction to me to think that 
this task has fallen to the lot of one to whose friendship I have 
been so greatly indebted in the present work, and that I may 
^refer my readers, for any shortcomings, to the numerous 
articles on Sacred Topography in the new '* Dictionary of the 
Bible '' signed by the well-known name of George Grove. 

DiAjriBT, WmnnnTBB, 



The historical interest of Sacred Geography, though belonging 
in yarious degrees to Mesopotamia, Egypt, Asia Minor, Greece^ 
and Italy, is, like the Sacred History itself, concentrated on the 
Peninsula of Sinai and on Palestine. Even in its natural 
aspect the topography of these two countries has features* 
which would of themselves rivet our attention ; and on these, as^ 
the basis of all further inquiry, and as compared with similar 
features of other parts of the world, I have dwelt at some 
length'* But to this singular conformation we have to add the 
fact that it has been the scene of the most important events in 
the history of mankind ; and not only so, but that the very fact of 
this local connection has occasioned a reflux of interest, another 
stage of history, which intermingles itself with the scenes of the 
older events, thus producing a tissue of local associations un» 
rivalled in its length and complexity. Greece and Italy have 
geographical charms of a high order. But they have never, 
provoked a crusade ; and, however bitter may have been the 

^ See Chapter! I. IL VII. and XTI. 

FBEFACE. ziii 

disputes of antiquaries about the Acropolis of Athen3 or 
the Forum of Bome, they have never, as at Bethlehem and 
Jerusalem, become matters of religious controversy — grounds 
for interpreting old prophecies or producing new ones — 
cases for missions of diplomatists, or for the war of civilised 

This interest in Sacred Geography, though in some respects 
repelled, yet in some respects is invited by the Scriptures them- 
selves. From Genesis to the Apocalypse there are — even when 
not intending, nay even when deprecating, any stress on the 
local associations of the events recorded — constant local allu- 
sions, such as are the natural result of a faithful, and, as is 
often the case in the Biblical narrative, of a contemporary 
history. There is one document in the Hebrew Scriptures to 
which probably no parallel exists in the topographical records 
of any other ancient nation. In the book of Joshua we have 
what may without offence be termed the Domesday Book of the 
conquest of Canaan. Ten chapters of that book are devoted to 
a description of the country, in which not only are its general 
features and boundaries carefully laid down, but the names and 
situations of its towns and villages enumerated with a precision 
of geographical terms which encourages and almost compels a 
minute investigation* The numerous allusions in the Pro- 
phetical writings supply what in other countries would be 
famished by the illustrations of poets and orators. The topo- 
graphical indications of the New Testament, it is true, are 
exceedingly slight ; and, if it were not for the occurrence of the 
same names in the Old Testament or Josephus, it would often 
be impossible to identify them. But what the New Testament 
loses by the rarity of its allusions, it gains in their vividness ; 


andy xnoreoYer, its general histoiy is connected with the 
geography of the scenes on which it was enacted, by a link 
arising directly fix>m the nature of the Christian religion itself. 
That activity and practical energy, which is its chief outward 
characteristic, turns its earliest records into a perpetual narra- 
tive of joumeyings to and fro, by lake and mountain, over sea 
and land, that belongs to the history of no other creed. 

It is easy in all countries to exaggerate the points of con- 
nection between history and geography; and, in the case of 
Palestine especially, instances of this exaggeration have some- 
times led to an undue depreciation of any such auxiliaries to 
the study of the Sacred History. But there are several land- 
marks which can be clearly defined. 

I. The most important results of an insight into the geogra- 
inflaence P^^^*^ features of any country are those which eluci- 
uftt^nai ^^ ^ ^^y degree the general character of the nation 
to which it has furnished a home. If there be any- 
thing in the course of human affairs which brings us near to 
the * divinity which shapes men's ends, rough-hew them how 
they will/ which indicates something of the prescience of their 
future course even at its very commencement, it is the sight of 
that framework in which the national character is inclosed, by 
which it is modified, beyond which it cannot develop itself. 
Such a forecast, as every one knows, can be seen in the early 
growth of the Boman commonwealth, and in the peculiai* con- 
formation and climate of Greece'. The question which the 
geographer of the Holy Land, which the historian of .the 
Chosen People has to propose to himself is. Can such a con- 

' For the Mke of eanTenienoe I tdmj gnphy of Greece,** in tlie fint nnmlei 
liere refer to m euaj on **Thp Topo- of the ClaaeuMl Muscmn. 


nection be traced between the sceneiy, ihe features, the 
boundaries, the situation, of Sinai and of Palestine on the one 
hand, and the histoiy of the Israelites on the other ? It may 
be that there is much in one part of their history, and little in 
another; least of all in its close, more in the middle part, most 
of all in its early beginnings. But whatever be the true answer, 
it cannot be indifferent to any one who wishes — ^whether from 
the divine or the himian, from the theological or the his- 
torical point of view — ^to form a complete estimate of the 
character of the most remarkable nation which has appeared on 
the earth. If the grandeur and solitude of Sinai was a fitting 
preparation for the reception of the Decalogue and for the 
second birth of an infant nation ; if Palestine, by its central 
situation, by its separation from the great civilised powers of 
the Eastern world, and by its contrast of scenery and resources 
both with the Desert and with the Egjrptian and Mesopotamian 
empires, presents a natural home for the chosen people ; if its 
local features are such as in any way constitute it the cradle of 
a &ith that was intended to be universal ; its geography is not 
without interest, in this its most general aspect, both for the 
philosopher and theologian'. 

XL Next to the importance of illustrating the general 
character of a nation from its geographical situation Influence 

on forms of 

is the importance of ascertaining how far the forms expression. 
and expressions of its poetry, its philosophy, and its worship, 
have been affected by it. In Greece this was eminently tlie 
case. Was it so in Palestine ? It is not enough to answer 
that the religion of the Jewish people came direct from God, and 

> See ChApten L and IL 


that the poetry of the Jewish prophets and psahuists was the 
immediate inspiration of God*8 Spirit, In the highest sense, 
indeed, this is most true. But, as every one acknowledges that 
this religion and this inspiration came through a human 
medium to men living in those particular * times * of civilisation, 
and in those particular * bounds of habitation,* which God had 
' before appointed and determined ' for them, we cannot safely 
dispense with this or with any other means of knowing by what 
local influences the Divine message was of necessity coloured 
in its entrance into the world'. Again, as there are some who 
would exaggerate this local influence to the highest, and others 
who would depreciate it to the lowest degree possible, it is 
important to ascertain the real facts, whatever they may be, 
which may determine our judgment in arriving at the proper 
mean. And lastly, as there was in the later developments of 
the history of Palestine, in the rabbinical times of the Jewish 
history, in the monastic and crusading times of the Christian 
history, an abundant literature and mythology of purely human 
growth, it becomes a matter of at least a secondary interest to 
know how far the traditions and the institutions of those times 
have been fostered by local considerations'. 

m. In the two points just noticed, the connection between 
Bxplan*- history and geography, if real, is essential. But this 
pi^eaUr connection must always be more or less matter of 
^^ opinion, and, for that very reason, is more open to 

fanciful speculation on the one side, and entire r^'ection on the 
other. There is, however, a connection less important, but 
more generally accessible and appreciable, that, namely, which, 

1 See ChApten IL md JUL ^ Bm diapien I. 11. and XIY. 


ffithoat actually causing or influencing, explains the events 
that hare occurred in any particular locaHfy. The most 
obvious example of this kind of concatenation between place 
and event is that between a battle and a battle-field, a campaign 
and the seat of war. No one can thoroughly understand the 
one without having seen or investigated the other. In some 
respects this mutual relation of action and locality is less 
remarkable in the simple warfare of ancient times than in the 
complicated tactics of modem times. But the course of armies, 
the use of cavalry and chariots, or of infantry, the sudden 
panics and successes of battle, are more easily affected by the 
natnril features of a country in earlier .than in later ages, and 
accordingly the conquest of Palestine by Joshua, and the 
numerous battles in the plain of Esdraelon* must be as indis- 
putably illustrated by a view of the localities as the fights of 
Marathon or Thrasymenus. So again* the boundaries of the 
different tribes, and the selection of the various capitals, must 
nther receive considerable light from a consideration of their 
geographical crcumstances, or, if not, a •further question must 
arise why in each case such exceptions should occui* to what is 
else the well-known and general rule which determines such 
events. It is to the middle history of Palestine and of Israel, the 
times of the monarchy, where historical incidents of this kind 
ore related in such detail as to present us with their various 
adjuncts, that this interest especially applies. But perhaps 

' See Gbaptert IV. YIL IX. and XL were to doiely blended, it seemed most 

la tlieae portiona of the work I haTe natnnl not to attempt a leparation. 

▼entiired on a more eontinnomi nanatiTe - See Ofaapten III. IV. V. YI. VIIL 

than wonld eliewhere have been ad- and X. 
nuoible. VTbere hiJitoiy and geography 

xviii FBEPAGB. 

there is no incident of any magnitude, either of the New or 
Old Testament, to which it is not more or less applicable. 
Even in those periods and those eyents which are least 
associated with any special localities, namely the ministrations 
and journeys described in the Gospels and in the Acts, it is at 
least important to know the course of the ancient roads, the 
situation of the towns and tillages, which must have determined 
the moYcments there described in one direction or another'. 

rV. Those who visit or who describe the scenes of Sacred 
Kvidencei ^^^^^J cxpressly for the sake of finding confirmations 
of ^^^ of Scripture, are often tempted to mislead themselves 
^* and others by involuntary exaggeration or invention. 
But this danger ought not to prevent us from thankfully wel- 
coming any such evidences as can truly be found to the faith- 
fulness of the Sacred records. 

One such aid is sometimes sought in the supposed fulfil- 
ment of the ancient prophecies by the appearance which some 
of the sites of Syrian or Arabian cities present to the modem 
traveller. But as a general rule these attempts are only 
mischievous to the cause which they intend to uphold. The 
present aspect of these sites may rather, for the most part, be 
hailed as a convincing proof that the Spirit of prophecy is not 
so to be bound down. The continuous existence of Damascus 
and Sidon, the existing ruins of Ascalon, Petra, and Tyre, 
showing the revival of those cities long after the extinction of 
the powers which they once represented, are standing monu- 
ments of a most important truth, namely that the warnings 
delivered by ' holy men of old ' were aimed not against stocks 

1 See Chapten YI. and XIIL 


and stones, bat thsn, as always, against living sonis and sins, 
whether of men or of nations ^ 

Bat there is a more satisfactory 'evidence* to be derived 
firom a view of the sacred localities, which has hardly been 
enough regarded by those who have written on the subject. 
Facts, it is said, are stubborn, and geographical facts happily 
the most stubborn of all. We cannot wrest them to meet our 
views ; but neither can we refuse the conclusions they force 
n}K>n OS. It is by more than a figure of speech that natural 
scenes are said to have ' witnessed ' the events which occurred 
in their presence. They are ' witnesses ' which remain when 
the testimony of men and books has perished. They can be 
cross»examined with the alleged facts and narratives. If they 
cannot tell the whole truth, at any rate, so far as they have any 
▼oice at all, they tell nothing but the truth. If a partial 
advocate on one side or the other has extorted from them a 
reluctant or an imperfect testimony, they still remain to be 
examined again and again by each succeeding traveller ; cor* 
recting, elucidating, developing the successive depositions which 
they have made from age to age. 

It is impossible not to be struck by the constant agreement 
between the recorded history and the natural geography both of 
the Old and New Testament. To find a marked correspondence 
between the scenes of the Sinaitic mountains and the events of 
the Israelite wanderings is not much perhaps, but it is certainly 
something towards a proof of the truth of the whole narrative*. 
To meet in the Gospels allusions, transient but yet precise, to 
the localities of Palestine, inevitably suggests the conclusion of 

' See Cbftpten VI. tad X. * See Chapter L 


their early origin, in the times ivhen Palestine was still familiar 
fuid accessible, when the events themselves were still recent in 
the minds of the writers'. The detailed harmony between the 
life of Joshua and the various scenes of his battles*, is a slight 
but true indication that we are dealing not with shadows, bat 
with realities of flesh and blood. Such coLucidences are not 
usually found in fables, least of all in fables of Eastern 

If it is important to find that the poetical imagery of the 
prophetical books is not to be measured by the rules of prose, 
it is not less important to find that the historical books do not 
require the latitude of poetry. Here and there, hyperbolical 
expressions may appear; but, as a general rule, their sobriety 
is evinced by the actual scenes of Palestine, as clearly as that 
of Thucydides by the topography of Greece and Sicily. That 
the writers of the Old and New Testament should have 
been preserved from the extravagant statements made on these 
subjects by their Babbinical countrymen*, or even by Josephus, 
is, at least, a proof of the comparative calmness and elevation 
of spirit in which the Sacred books were composed. The 
copyists who, according to Origen, changed the name of 
" Bethabara " into " Bethania," or " Gergesa " into " Gadara," 
because they thought only of the names* most familiar to their 
ears, without remembering the actual position of the places, com- 

1 See CUpten III. V. X. superficial urea of Palestine is l,4iO,000 

3 See Cbapten IV. VII. XI. Englisk square mUes. (Schwarts, p. 80.) 

* It is said for example, by Babbi- In Josepbua may be instanced the exag- 

nical authors, that Hebron could be seen gerated descriptions of the predpioes 

from Jerusalem ; that the music of the round Jerusalem (Ant. XV. iL 5), and 

Temple could be heaid at Jericho of the Care at Paneas (B. J. I. xxL 3). 
Uoma iu. 2. T^id iU. 2); that the < See Chapters VIL and X. 

FBBFAC& xxi 

mitted (if so be) the error into which the Evangelists were ahnost 
sore to hare been betrayed had they composed their narratives, in 
the second century, in some city of Asia Minor or Egypt. The 
impossible situations in numerous instances selected by the in* 
rentors of so-called traditional sanctuaries or scenes, from the 
fonrth century downwards — at Nazareth*, at Tabor', on Olivet*, 
at the Jordan* — are so many testimonies to the authenticity of 
the Evangelical narratives, which have in every case avoided the 
natural snares into which their successors have fallen. 

This kind of proof will have a different kind of value in the 
eyes of different persons. To some, the amount of testimony 
thus rendered will appear either superfluous or trivial ; to 
others, the mere attempt to define sacred history by natural 
localities and phenomena will seem derogatory to their ideal or 
divine character. But it will, at least, be granted that this 
evidence is, so far as it goes, incontestable. Wherever a story, 
a character, an event, a book, is involved in the conditions of a 
spot or scene still in existence, there is an element of fact which 
no theory or interpretation can dissolve. " If these should 
hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out." This 
testimony may even be more important when it explains, than 
when it refuses to explain, the peculiar characteristics of the 
history. If, for example, the aspect of the ground should, in 
^J case, indicate that some of the great wonders in the history 
of the Chosen People were wrought through means which, in 
modem language, would be called natural, we must remember 
^t such a discovery is, in fact, an indirect proof of the general 

' See Chapter X. ' See Chapten III. and XIV. 

' See Chapter IX. * See Chapter VIL 

xui F&£FAGK 

truth of the narrative. We cannot call from the contemporary 
world of man any mtnesses to the passage of the Bed Sea, or 
to the overthrow of the cities of the plain, or to the passage of 
the Jordan. So much the more welcome are any witnesses 
from the world of nature, to testify on the spot to the mode in 
which the events are described to have occurred ; witnesses the 
more credible, because their very existence was unknown to 
those by whom the occurrences in question were described. 
Some change may thus be needful in our mode of conceiving 
the events. But we shall gain more than we shall lose. Their 
moral and spiritual lessons will remain unaltered : the frame- 
work of their outward form will receive the only confirmation 
of which the circumstances of the case can now admit. The 
Sacred story would doubtless become more marvellous if it were 
found to be in direct contradiction to natural features now 
existing ; if Egypt had no river, Sinai no mountains, Palestine 
no rocks, springs, or earthquakes. But it would be not only 
less credible, but less consistent with itself, and less fitted for 
the instruction and guidance of men. 

y. Even where there is no real connection, either by way of 
niustnitioa ^*^®® ^^ explanation, between the localities and the 
wenesof cvents, there remains the charm of more vividly 
^^^ realising the scene ; if only that we may be sure that 

we have left no stone unturned in our approach to what has 
passed away. Even when, as in the last period of the Sacred 
History, local associations can hardly be supposed to have 
exercised any influence over the minds of the actors, or the 
course of events, it is still an indescribable pleasure to- know 
what was the outline of landscape, what the colour of the hills 

P&BFACB. zxiU 

aud fields, what the special objects, far or near, that met the 
eje of those of * whom we read. There is, as one of the pro- 
fonndest historical students of our day^ well observes, a satis- 
faction in treading the soil and breathing the atmosphere of 
historical persons or events, like that which results from 
famiharify with their actual language and with their contem- 
porary chronicles. And this pleasure is increased in proportion 
as the events in question occurred not within perishable or 
perished buildings, but on the unchanging scenes of nature ; 
on the Sea of Galilee, and Mount OHvet, and at the foot of 
Gerizim, rather than in the house of Pilate, or the inn of 
Bethlehem, or the Garden of the Holy Sepulchre, even were 
the localities now shown as such ever so genuine. 

This interest pervades every stage, of the Sacred History , 
from the earliest to the latest times, the earliest, perhaps the 
most, because then the events more frequently occurred in 
coBnection with the free and open scenery of the country, 
which we still have before us. It is also a satisfaction which 
extends in some measure beyond the actual localities of events 
to those which are merely alleged to be such ; a consideration 
not without importance in a country where so much is shown 
of doubtful authenticity, yet the object of centuries of venera- 
tion. Such spots have become themselves the scenes of a 
history, though not of that history for which they claim atten- 
tion ; and to see and understand what it was that has for ages 
delighted the eyes and moved the souls of thousands of man- 
Hnd is instructive, though in a different way from that intended 
by those who selected these sites ^. 

' P%aYe*a Histoiy of Nonnandy and Bngland, I 128. ' See Cliapter XIV. 

judv PEBFACB. 

In one respect the sight and description of Eastern countries 
lends itself more than that of any other countiy to this nse of 
historical geography. Doubtless there are many alterations, 
some of considerable importance, in the vegetation, the climate, 
the general aspect of these countries, since the days of the Old 
and New Testament^. But, on the other hand, it is one of the 
great charms of Eastern trayelling, that the framework of life, 
of customs, of manners, even of dress and speech, is still 
substantially the same as it was ages ago. Something, of 
course, in representing the scenes of the New Testament, must 
be sought from Roman and Grecian usages now extinct ; but 
the Bedouin tents are still the faithful reproduction of the 

outward life of the patriarchs; the vineyards, the corn-fields, 


the houses, the weUs of Syria still retain the outward imagery of 
the teaching of Christ and the Apostles ; and thus the traveller's 
mere passing glances at Oriental customs, much more the 
detailed accounts of Lane and of Burckhardt, contain a mine 
of Scriptiural illustration which it is an unworthy superstition 
either to despise or to fear*. 

YI. Finally, there is an interest attaching to sacred geo- 
Poetieal graphy hard to be expressed in words, but which 

and pro- 

rerbial use cannot be altogether overlooked, and is brought 

of the geo- 
graphy, home with especial force to the Eastern traveller. It 

has been well observed' that the poetical character of many 

1 Sea Chapters I. II. and X. least one genuine Oriental— in the per- 

s Although the natnro of the work mm of our fidthfnl and intelligent Arah 

haa not permitted me to enlarge on Mrrant, Mohammed of Ghiaeh. 

thii lonroe of knowledge^ I cannot * Milman*8 History of Christianity, 

rafrain from acknowledging the great toI. L p. 181. ** This language of poetic 

adTantage I deriyed from the qpportif- incident, and, if I may so speak, of 

mties of constant intereonrse with at imagery . • • • waa the Tsnacnlar 


erents in the Sacred History, so far from being an argument 
against their Divine origin, is a striking proof of that uniTersal 
Fiovidence by which the religion of the Bible was adapted to 
suit, not one class of mind pnly, but many in every age of 
time. As with the history, so also is it with the geography. 
Not only has the long course of ages invested the prospects 
and scenes of the Holy Land with poetical and moral associ- 
ations, but these scenes accommodate themselves to such para« 
bolical adaptation with singular facility. Far more closely as in 
some respects the Greek and Italian geography intertwines itself 
with the history and religion of the two countries ; yet, when 
we take the proverbs, the apologues, the types, furnished even 
bj Parnassus and Helicon, the Capitol and the Bubicon, they 
bear no comparison with the appropriateness of the corre« 
spending figures and phrases borrowed from Arabian and 
Syrian topography, even irrespectively of the wider diffusion 
giv^i them by our greater familiarity with the Scriptures. The 
passage of the Bed Sea — the murmurings at the " waters of 
strife "— " the wilderness " of life — the " Bock of Ages "— 
Mount Sinai and its terrors — the view from Pisgah — th^ 
passage of the Jordan — ^the rock of Zion, the fountain of Siloa, 
and the shades of Gehenna — the lake of Gennesareth, with its 
storms, its waves, and its fishermen, — are well-known instances 
in which the local features of the Holy Lands have naturally 
become the household imagery of Christendom. 
In fsLcU tlie whole journey, as it is usually taken by modem 

Umgob of Christumity, nniTcnally in- ordered, that they should ihiu lite in 

tciffigilile and responded to by the the thoughts of men ; the reyelattoA 

human heart timmghont many cen- itself was so adjusted and arxanged thai 

tuisi, • • • The inddents vere so it might insure its continued ezistenee.** 


travellers, presents the course of the history in a living parable 
before us, to which no other journey or pilgrimage can present 
any parallel. In its successive scenes, as in a mirror, is 
faithfully reflected the dramatic unity and progress which so 
remarkably characterises the Sacred History. The primeval 
world of Egypt is with us, as with the Israelites, the starting- 
^oint and the contrast of all that follows. With us, as with 
them, the Pyramids recede, and the Desert begins, and the 
wilderness melts into the hills of Palestine, and Jerusalem is 
the climax of the long ascent, and the consummation of the 
Gospel History presents itself locally, no less than historically, 
as the end of the Law and the Prophets. And with us, too, as 
the glory of Palestine fades away into the ' common day' of 
Asia Minor and the Bosporus, gleams of the Eastern light 
still continue, first in the Apostolical labours, then, fainter and 
dimmer, in the beginnings of ecclesiastical history, — Ephesus, 
Nicsea, Ghalcedon, Constantinople ; and the life of European 
scenery and of Western Christendom completes by its contrast 
what Egypt and the East had begun. In regular succession at 
** sundry " and '' divers ** places, no less than " in simdry times 
and divers manners " '^ God spake in times past to our fathers;** 
and the local, as well as the historical diversity, is necessary to 
the ideal richness and completeness of the whole. 

These are the main points, which, in a greater or less degree, 
are brought out in the following pages. One observation must 
be made in conclusion. A work of this kind, in whicli the 
local description is severed from the history, must necessarily 
bear an incoherent and fragmentary aspect It is the frame 

P£BFACS. zzrJ 

wiihont the piclure — ^the skeleton without the flesh — the stage 
mihont the drama. The matezials of a knowledge of the East 
are worthily tamed to their highest and most fitting use only 
trhen employed for a complete representation of tlie Sacred 
History as drawn out in its full proportions from the condensed 
and scattered records of the Scriptures. Without in the least 
degree overloading the narrative with illustrations which do not 
belong to it, there is hardly any limit to the legitimate advan- 
tage derived by the historical and theological student from even 
sach a transient glimpse of Eastern life and scenery, as that 
which forms the basis of the present volume. It is not so 
much in express elucidation that this additional power is felt» 
as in the incidental turn of a sentence — in the appreciation of 
the contrast between the East and West, of the atmosphere 
and the character of the people and the country — in the new 
bowledge of expressions, of images, of tones, and counte- 
nances, which in a merely abstract work like this can have no 
place. So to delineate the outward events of the Old and New 
Testament, as that they should come home with a new power 
to those who by long familiarity have almost ceased to regard 
them as historical truth at all, so to bring out their inward 
spirit that the more complete realisation of their outward 
fonn should not degrade but exalt the faith of which they are 
the vehicle, — ^this would indeed be an object worthy of all the 
labour which travellers and theologians have ever bestowed on 
the East. 

The present work is but a humble contribution towards this 
great end. It is an attempt to leave on record, however 
imperfectly, and under necessary disadvantages, some at least 

e 2 

xxTiii PREFACE. 

of the impressionSy whilst still fresh in the memory, which it 
seemed migrateful to allow wholly to pass away. Its object 
will be accomplished, if it brings away one with new interest 
to the threshold of the Diyine story, which has many approaches, 
as it has many mansions ; which the more it is explored the 
more it reyeals ; which, even when seen in close connection 
with the local associations from which its spirit holds most 
Aloof, is still capable of imparting to them, and of receiving 
'from them a poetry, a life, an instniction, such as has fallen to 
the lot of no other history in the world. 


Pfealm cxIt. 1 :— Imel came out of Egjpii and the house a£ Jaoob from 
^tttnng the itnuige people. 


1. First Tiew of the Nile in the Delta.— 2. Vieir from the Citadel of Cairo. 
—3. Heliopolis (or On). — L The Nile Vallej.— 5. The Tombs of Beni- 
Has8an.~d. The Tombs and the Hermits.— 7. Thebes— Colossal 
Statues. — 8. Thebes— Kamao and the Eoyal Tombs.— 9. Nile at 
Silnlia.— 10. At the first Cataract.- 11. Philn.— 12. Nile in Nubia.— 
18. IpssmbuL- 14. NUe at the seoood Gataraot.— 15. Deodera.— 
10. Kemphis.— 17. The Pyramids. 



Egypt, amongst its many other aspects of interest, has this 
special claim — that it is the background of the whole history of 
the Israelites; the land to which, next after Palestine, their 
thoughts either by way of contrast or association immediately 
turned. Even in the New Testament the connection is not 
wholly severed ; and the Evangelist emphatically plants in the 
first page of the Gospel Histoiy the prophetical text which 
might well stand as the inscription over the entrance to the 
Old Dispensation — "Out of Egypt have I called my Son." 
Doubtless some light must be reflected on the national feelings 
of Israel by their Mesopotamian origin ; and, when in the second 
great exile from the Land of Promise they found themselves 
once more on the shores of the Euphrates, it is possible that 
their original descent from these regions quickened their 
interest in their new settlement, and confirmed that attach- 
ment to the Babylonian soil which made it in later times the 
chief seat of Jewish life external to the boundaries of Palestine. 
But these points of contact with the remote East were too 
distant from the most stirring and the most brilliant epochs of 
their history to produce any definite result. Not so Egypt. 
The first migration of Abraham from Chaldsea is one continued 
advance southward, till he reaches the valley of the Nile; and, 
when he reaches it, he finds there a kingdom, which must have 
been to the wandering tribes of Asia what the Soman empire 
was to the Celtic and Gothic races when they first crossed the 


Alps. Egypt is to them the land of plenty, whilst the neigh- 
bouring nations starve ; its long strip of garden-land was the 
Oasis of the primitiye world ; through Abraham's eyes we first 
see the ancient Pharaoh, with palace and harem and princes, 
and long trains of slaves and beasts of burden, so familiar to 
the traveller in the sculptured processions and sacred images 
of Thebes and Ipsambul. What Abraham had begun, was yet 
further carried on by Jacob and Joseph. Whatever may have 
been the relations of this great Israelite migration to the 
dynasty of the Shepherd kings, — there can be no doubt that 
during the period of the settlement in Goshen, Egypt became 
''the Holy Land;" the Israelites to all outward appearance 
became Egyptians ; Joseph in his robes of white and royal 
ring— son-in-law of the High Priest of On — ^was incorporated 
into the reigning caste, as truly as any of those whose figures 
are seen in the Theban tombs. The sepulchres of Machpelah 
and Shechem received, in the remains of himself and his father, 
embalmed Egyptian mummies. The shepherds who wandered 
over the pastures of Goshen were as truly Egyptian Bedouins, 
as those who of old fed their flocks around the Pyramids, or 
who now, since the period of the Mussulman conquest, have 
spread through the whole country. 

As from that long exile or bondage the Exodus was the 
great deliverance, so against the Egyptian worship and imagery 
the history of the Law in Sinai is a perpetual protest, though 
with occasional resemblances which set off the greater differ- 
ence. Against the scenery of Egypt all the scenery of the 
Desert and of Palestine is put in continual contrast, though 
with occasional allusions which show that their ancient home 
was not forgotten. To that home* the heart of the people, as 
at first, so afterwards, was always " turning back.*' The reign 
of Solomon, the revival of the Egyptian animal-worship by 
Jeroboam, the leaning on the " broken reed" of the Nile in the 
Egyptian alliances of Hezekiah and Jehoiakim, interweave in 
later times the fortunes of the two nations, which else had 
parted for ever on the shores of the Red Sea. And in the 
new Egypt of the Ptolemies arose the second settlement of 
the Jews in the same land of Goshen, destined to exercise 
so important an influence on the last and greatest stage of 



their history by the Alexandrian translation of the Hebrew 
Scriptures, and by the Alexandrian forms first of Jewish and 
afterwards of Christian philosophy. 

Egypt, therefore, is a fitting, it may almost be called a neces- 
sary, prelude to Sinai and Palestine. Even the outward 
features of those countries, in their historical connection, 
cannot be properly appreciated without some endeavour to 
conceive the aspect which the valley of the Nile, with its 
singular imagery and scenery, offered to the successive genera- 
tions of Israel. To give such a picture in its full proportions 
would not be consistent with the object or limits of the present 
work. But, as no view of the Holy Land can for the reasons 
above stated be Complete without a glance at what may be 
called its mother country, I have ventured to throw together a 
few extracts from many letters written on the spot. The frag- 
mentary and prefatory form in which they are presented, will 
best explain their purpose, and excuse their superficial 
character. They contain no detailed discussions of Egyptian 
archaeology or geography, but are almost entirely confined to 
such general views of the leading features of the country, in 
its river and its moniunents^ as will render intelligible any 
subsequent allusions. 

^ For the points of contact between 
Egyptian and Israelite histoiy, the reader 
is referred to Hengstenbei^s ''Bgypt 
and the fiooks of Moses ;** for the general 
impression of Bgypt on Palestine, to the 
18th and 19th chapters of Isaiah, and 
the 29th, 80th, and 81st of Baekiel, with 
the nsnal commentaries. The only direct 
iliostimtion of Jewish histoiy contained 

in the monuments, is the prooession of 
Shishak and Ammon with the king of 
Jndah amongst the prisoners, on one of 
the outer walls of Kamao. It may be 
worth while to mention that this sculp- 
ture, which is incorrectly giyen by Cham- 
pollion-Figeac and by Dr. Robinson, is 
accurately represented, from Bosellini, in 
Kenrick*8 tigjpt, toL il. p. 849. 

SQYFT. xxxUi 


The eafltem sky was red witli the earlj dawn : we were on the 
broad waters of the Nile — or rather, its Bosetta branch. The first 
thing which struck me was its size. G-reater than the Bhine, Bhone, 
or Danube, one perceives what a sea-like stream it must have 
appeared to OreekiB and Italians, who had seen nothing larger than 
the narrow and precarious torrents of their own mountains and 
valleys. As the light broke, its colour gradually revealed itself, — 
hrovn like the Tiber, only of a darker and richer hue — no strong 
corrent, only a slow, vasl^ volume of water, mild and beneficent as 
his statue in the Vatican, steadily flowing on between its two 
almost uniform banks, which rise above it much' like the banks of a 
canal, though in some places with terraces or strips of earth, marking 
the successive stages of the flood. 

These banks form the horizon on either side, and therefore you 
can have no notion of the country beyond ; but they are varied by a 
snooession of eastern scenes. Villages of mud rise like ont-hillB, 
with human beings creeping about, — like ants, except in numbers 
and activity. Mostly they are distinguished by the minaret of a 
▼eil-built mosque, or the white oven-like dome of a sheykh's tomb ; 
mostly, also, screened by a grove of palms, sometimes intermixed 
with feathery tamarisks, and the thick foliage of the carob-tree or 
the sycomore. Verdure, where it is visible, is light green, but the 
£m» of the bank is usually brown. Along the top of the banks 
move, like scenes in a magic lantern, and as if cut out against the 
skj, groups of Arabs, with their two or three asses, a camel, or a 


The citadel, which stands on a low ridge of rocky hills on the east 
of the town, commands the whole. 

The town is a vast expanse of brown, broken only by occasional 
interludes of palms and sycomores, and by the countless minarets. 
About half a dozen larger buildings, mosques or palaces, also emerge. 
On each side rise shapeless mounds, — ^those on the east covered with 
tents, and, dimly seen beyond, the browner line of the Desert ; those 
<m the west, the town of Old Cairo, the site of the Boman fortress of 
Babylon, and of Postat, where Amrou first pitched his tent^ de- 
Krted since the time of Saladin. Beyond is the silver line of the 
Nile ; and then, rising in three successive groups, above the delicate 
green plain which sweeps along nearly to the foot of the African 


hills, the pjramids of Abusir, Sakarah, and Ghizeh, these last being 
'* The Pyramids," and the nearest. There is something Terj striking 
in their total disconnection with Cairo. Thej stand alone on the 
edge of that green Tale, which is Egypt. There is no intermingling, 
as in ancient and modem Bome. It is as if jou looked out on 
Stonehenge from London, or as if the Colosseum stood far away 
in the depths of the Campagna. Cairo is not " the ghost of the 
dead Egyptian Empire,*' nor anything like it. Cairo itself leaves 
a deep feeling that, whatever there was of greatness or wisdom in 
those remote ages and those gigantic monuments, is now the 
inheritance, not of the East, but of the West. The Nile, as it 
glides between the tombs of the Pharaohs and the city of the 
Caliphs, is indeed a boundary between two worlds. 


Through two hours of green fields, — green with com and clover, — 
avenues of tamarisk, fig-trees, and acacia ; along causeways raised 
high above these fields, — that is, above the floods of the summer 
inundations, — we rode to Heliopolis. ^t every turn there was the 
grateful sound of little rills of living water, worked by water-wheels, 
and falling in gentle murmurs down into these little channels along 
the roadside, whence they fell off into the fields, or the canals. The 
sides of these canals were black with the deep soil of the land ot 
Ham. Beyond was the green again, and, close upon that, like the 
sea breaking upon the shore, or (to compare, what is the most 
like it in England, though on a very small scale) the Cornish sand- 
hills overhanging the brook of Perran£abuloe, rose the yellow hills of 
the hazy desert. 

At the very extremity of this cultivated ground are the ruins of 
On or Heliopolis. They consist simply of a wide enclosure of 
earthen mounds, partly planted with gardens. In these gardens are 
two vestiges of the great Temple of the Sun, the high-priest of 
which was father-in-law of Joseph, and, in later times, the teacher 
of Moses. 

One is a pool, overhung with willows and aquatic vegetation* — 
the Spring of the Sun. 

The other, now rising wild amidst garden shrubs, the solitary 
obelisk which stood in front of the temple, then in company with 
another, whose base alone now remains. This is the first obelisk 
I have seen standing in its proper place, and there it has stood for 
nearly four thousand years. It is the oldest known in Egypt, and 
therefore in t^e world, — the father of all that have arisen since. 


It was nued ab^at a century before the coming of Joseph ; it has 
looked down on his marriage with Asenath ; it has seen the growth 
of Moses ; it is mentioned bj Herodotus ; Plato sate under its 
sbadow : of all the obelisks which sprung up around it, it alone has 
kept its first position. One bj one, it has seen its sons and brothers 
depart to great destinies elsewhere. Erom these gardens came the 
»beliska of the Lateran, of the Vatican, and of the Porta del 
Popolo ; and this yenerable pillar (for so it looks from a distance) 
id now almost the only landmark of the great seat of the wisdom of 

Bat I must not forget the view from the walls. Putting out of 
sight the minarets of Cairo in the distance, it was the same that 
Joseph and Moses had as they looked out towards Memphis, — the 
sandy desert ; the green fields of Egypt ; and, already in their time 
ancient, the Pyramids in the distance. This is the first day that 
baa really given me an impression of their size. In this view, the 
tvo great pyramids stand so close together, that they form one 
bifurcated cone; and this cone does, indeed, look like a solitary 
peak rising over the plain, — like Etna &om the sea. On the other 
side, in the yellow desert, seen through the very stems of the palm- 
trees, rise three rugged sand-hills, indicating the site of Leontopolis, 
the City of the Sacred Lions ; where in after-times rose the second 
colony and temple of the Jews under Onias. 

One more object I must mention, though of doubtful interest, and 
thoB, nnlike the certainties that I have just been describing. In a 
garden immediately outside the walls, is an ancient fig-tree, in form 
not unlike the sacred Ash of the sources of the Danube, its im- 
mense gnarled trunk covered with the names of travellers, where 
Coptic belief and the tradition of the Apocryphal G-ospels fix the 
refuge of Mary and Joseph on the flight into Egypt. There can, of 
course, be no proof, but it reminds us that for the first time, our 
eyes may have seen the same outline that was seen by our Lord. 


I am now confined within the valley of the Nile — I may say 
literally confined. Never in my life have I travelled continuously 
along a single valley with all the outer world so completely shut off. 
Between two limestone ranges, which form part of the table-land of 
tbe Arabian and African desert, fiows the mighty river, which the 
Egyptians called Hapi-Mu, " the genius of the waters ; " which the 
Hebrews called sometimes " lor,'' from some unknown meaning, — 
sometimes " Sihor," * the black.' Its brown colour, seen from the 
lights on either side and contrasted with the still browner and 


blacker colours of all around it, seems as blue and bright as tbo 
rivers of the North ; hence, some say, the word " Nue,*' which is the 
form adopted bj the Greeks, and bj all the world since. 

The two limestone ranges press it at unequal intervals, sometimes 
leaving a space of a few miles, sometimes of a- few yards, sometimes 
even a large plain. They are truly parts of a table-mountain. 
Hardly ever is their horizontal line varied ; the only change in them 
is their nearer or less approach to the stream. In this respect the 
eastern range is a much greater offender than the western ; and 
therefore the great line of Egyptian cities is on the western, not on 
the eastern shore ; and hence Egypt has never, in its political divi- 
sions, followed the two shores, but the upper and lower course of 
the river. On the other hand, the western range, where it does 
approach, is more formidable, because it comes clothed with the 
sands of the African desert — ^sands and sand-drifls, which in purity, 
in brightness, in firmness, in destructiveness, are the snows and 
glaciers of the South. Immediately above the brown and blue 
waters of the broad, calm, lake-like river, rises a thick, black bank of 
dod or mud, mostly in terraces. Green — unutterably green — 
mostly at the top of these banks, though sometimes creeping down 
to the water's edge, lies the Land of Egypt. Green — unbroken, 
save by the mud villages which here and there lie in the midst of the 
verdure, like the marks of a soiled foot on a rich carpet ; or by the 
dykes and channels which convey the life-giving waters through 
the thirsty land. This is the Land of Egypt, and this is the memo- 
rial of the yearly flood. Up to those black terraces, orei the green 
fields, the water rises and descends ; 


Ct viriden iBgyptmn nigrA foacundat areniL** 

And not only when the fiood is actually there, but throughout the 
whole year, is water continually ascending through innumerable 
wheels worked by naked figures, as the Israelites of old " in the 
service of the field," and then fiowing on in gentle rills through 
the various allotments. To the seeds of these green fields, to the 
fishes of the wide river, is attached another natural phenomenon, 
which I never saw equalled ; the numbers numberless, of all manner 
of birds — vultures, and cormorants, and geese, flying like constella- 
tions through the blue heavens ; pelicans standing in long array on 
the water side ; hoopoes and ziczacs, and the (so-called) white ibis, 
the gentle symbol of the god Osiris in his robes of white ; cV woaut 
ttX^fupoi — walking under one's very feet. 

KaYPT. ' xxxYii 


High along the eastern shore— sometimes yaried hj a green strip 
cf palms, sometimes a sheer slope of Desert-sand, broken only by 
the shadow of a solitary Arab — arises a white wall of limestone rock. 
Jn the face of this cliff are thirty holes — the famous tombs of Beni- 
Qassan, that is, of the children of Hassan, the wild Arab-tribe once 
settled near the spot. These tombs of Beni-Hassan are amongst 
the oldest monuments of Egypt, during or before the time of Joseph, 
Tet exhibiting, in the most lively manner, hunting, wrestling, and 
dancing — and curious as showing how gay and agile these ancient 
people could be, who in their architecture and graver sculptures 
appear so solemn and immoveable. Except a doubtful figure of 
Oairis in one, and a mummy on a barge in another, there is nothing 
of death or judgment or sorrow. 

Evexy one looks here for the famous procession long supposed to 
be the presentation of Joseph's brethren to Pharaoh. Clearly it 
CBJuxot be this. Besides the difference of numbers, and of gifts, and 
of name, there is no presentation to any one. The procession is in 
one of three compartments ; the two lower show the ordinar}* 
droves of oxen and Egyptian servants, all equally relevant or 
irrelevant to the colossal figure of the owner of the tomb, who stands 
in the comer towering above the rest, with his dog by his side. 
Poesibly, as the procession is of Asiatics — and yet not prisoners of 
war — ^they may, if the date will admit, be a deputation of Israelites 
after their settlement in Goshen. 


The rocky wall still continues on the eastern side, still called by 
the names of successive Sheykhs or hermits who have lived or died 
on its desert heights — still perforated by the square holes which 
indicato ancient tombs. This eastern range is thus the long ceme- 
tery, the Appian Way, the Valley of Jehoshaphat, of Egypt. It is, 
indeed, the Land of the Dead. Israel might well ask, " Because 
there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou brought us to die in the 
wilderness P" The present use of the tombs also brings before us 
bow those deserted dwellings of the dead made Egypt the natural 
parent of anchorites and monks 

In one of these caves, dose by the water's edge, lived for twelve 
fears Sheykh Hassan, with his wife, two daughters, and his son — a 
(permit, though according to the Mahometan notions, which permitted 
him still to have his family about him. Below was a little island 

xrxTui - IXTEODUCnON. 

which he cultivated for lentiles. The two daughters at hiat married 
into the village on the opposite shore, which here, as usual, spreads 
out its green plain for cultivation and habitation; whilst on the 
white cliffs of the eastern bank, the only mark of the fertilising 
inundation is in the line of brown discoloration immediately above the 
river — ^here alone unprofitable, or profitable only to such little portions 
of soil as the hermit had rescued. He still lived on with his wife and 
the little boy. One day the child climbed down the rocks to play on 
the island ; a crocodile came and carried him off. '' This was four 
years ago ; " and '' from that time," said the Arabs, who related the 
story, ** the Sheykh is gone — we have seen him no more — he took 
everything away ; and as soon as he was gone, the river washed away 
the island," and now nothing is left but the empty cave. 


(first visit.) 

No written account has given me an adequate impression of the 
effect, past and present, of the colossal figures of the Kings. What 
spires are to a modern city, — what the towers of a cathedral are to ita 
nave and choir, — that the statues of the Pharaohs were to the streets 
nnd temples of Thebes. The ground is strewed with their fragments : 
there were avenues of them towering high above plain and houses. 
Three of gigantic size still remain. One was the granite statue of 
Kameses himself, who sate on the right side of the entrance to his 
palace. By some extraordinary catastrophe, the statue has been 
thrown down, and the Arabs have scooped their miUstones out of his 
face, but you can still see what he was, — the largest statue in the 
world. Far and wide that enormous head must have been seen, eyes, 
mouth, and ears. Par and wide you must have seen his vast hands 
resting on his elephantine knees. You sit on his breast and look at 
the Osiride statues which support the portico of the temple, and 
which anywhere else would put to shame even the statues of the 
cherubs in St. !Peter*s — and they seem pigmies before him. His arm 
is thicker than their whole bodies. The only part of the temple or 
palace at all in proportion to him must have been the gateway, which 
rose in pyramidal towers, now broken down, and rolling in a wild 
ruin down to the plain. 

Nothing which now exists in the world can give any notion of what 
the effect must have been when he was erect. Nero towering above 
the Colosseum may have been something like it ; but he was of bronze, 
and Barneses was of solid granite. Nero was standing without any 
object ; Sameses was resting in awful majesty after the conquest of 


the whole of the then known world. No one who entered that 
building, whether it were temple or palace, could have thought of 
anything else but that Btupendoua being who thus had raised himself 
up above the whole world of gods and men. 

An^when from the statue you descend to the palace, the same 
impression is kept up. It is the earliest instance of tho enshrine- 
ment in Art of the historical glories of a nation. But everywhere 
the same colossal proportions are preserved. Everywhere the King 
is eonquering, ruling, worshipping, worshipped. The Palace is the 
Temple. The King is Priest. He and his horses are ten times the sixe 
of the rest of the armj. Alike in battle and in worship, he is of the 
same stature as the gods themselves. Most striking is the familiar 
gentleness with which— one on each side — ^they take him bj each 
hsnd, as one of their own order, and then in the next compartment 
introduce him to Ammon and the lion-headed goddess. Every 
distinction, except of degree, between divinity and royalty, is entirely 
levelled; and the royal majesty is always represented by making 
the King, not like Saul or Agamemnon, "from the head and 
shoulders," but from the foot and ankle upwards, higher than the rest 
of the people. 

It carries one back to the days " when there were giants on the 
earth." It shows how the King, in that first monarchy, was the 
visible God upon earth. The only thing like it that has since been 
seen is the deification of the Boman emperors. No pure Monotheism 
could for a moment have been compatible with such an intense 
exaltation of the conquering King. " I am Pharaoh ; " " By the life 
of Pharaoh ; " ** Say unto Pharaoh, Whom art thou like in thy 
greatness^ P " — all these expressions seem to acquire new life from 
the sight of this monster statue. 

And now let us pass to the two others. They are the only statues 
lemainiDg of an avenue of eighteen similar, or nearly similar, statues, 
some of whose remnants lie in the field behind them which led to the 
palace of Amenophis III., every one of the statues being Amenophis 
himself, thus giving in multiplication what Bameses gained in solitary 
elevation. He lived some reigns earlier than Bameses, and the 
statues are of ruder workmanship and coarser stone. To me they 
were much more striking close at hand when their human forma were 
distinctly visible, than at a distance, when they looked only like two 
towers or landmarks. • 

The sun was setting ; the African range glowed red behind them ; 

the green plain was dyed with a deeper green beneath them ; and 

the shades of eveniug veiled the vast rents and fissures in their aged 

frames. As I looked back at them in the sunset, and they rose up in 

front of the background of the mountain, they seemed, indeed, as if 

« Qen. 3di. 44 ; zliL 15, IC. Esek. xxxi. 2. 


they were part of it, — as if they belonged to some natural creation 
rather than to any work of art. And yet, as I have said, when 
anywhere in their neighbourhood, the human character is never lost. 
Their faces are dreadfully mutilated ; indeed, the largest has no face 
at all, but is from the waist upwards a mass of stones or rocks piled 
together in the form of a human head and body. Still, especially in 
that dim light, and from their lofly thrones, they seem to have facea, 
only of hideous and grinning ugliness. 

And now, who was it that strewed the plain with their countless 
fragments P Who had power to throw dovm the Colossus of Barneses ? 
Who broke the statue of Amenophis from the middle upwards P From 
the time of the Boman travellers, who have carved their names in 
verses innimierable on the foot of Amenophis, there has been but 
one answer, — Cambyses. He was, in the traditions of that time, the 
Cromwell of Egypt. It is possible that Bameses, it is probable that 
Amenophis, was shattered by earthquakes. But the recollection of 
Cambyses shows the feeling he had left while here, as the great 
Iconoclast. What an effort this implies of fanatical or religious zeal ! 
What an impression it gives of that Persian hatred of idols, which is 
described in the Bible, only here carried to excess against these 
majestic kings : ''Bel boweth down^ Nebo stoopeth.*' Well might 
the idols of Babylon tremble before Cyrus, if such was the fate of the 
Egyptian Pharaohs before Cambyses. 



Alone of the cities of Egypt, the situation of Thebes is as 
beautiful by nature as by art. The monotony of the two mountain 
ranges, Libyan and Arabian, for the first time assumes a new and 
varied character. They each retire from the river, forming a circle 
round the wide green plain: the western rising into a bolder and 
more massive barrier, and enclosing the plain at its northern 
extremity as by a natural bulwark ; the eastern, further withdrawn, 
but acting the same part to the view of Thebes as the Allelic 
mountains to the plain of Athens, or the Alban nills to Bome — a 
varied and bolder chain, rising and falling in almost Grecian outline, 
though cast in the comctd form which marks the hills of Nubia 
further south, and which perhaps, suggested the Pyramids. Within 
the circle of those two ranges, thus peculiarly its own, stretches the 
green plain on each side the river to an unusual extent ; and on each 
side of the river, in this respect unlike Memphis, but like the great 

> Isa. xItI 1. 


cify of the further East on the Euphrates, — like the cities of northers 
Europe on their lesser streams — spread the ciiy of Thebes, with the 
Nile for ifis mighty thoroughfare. " Art ^ thou better than No- 
'Amon' — that was situated by the 'rivers of the Nile * — that had 
^e waters round about it — ^whose rampart was ' the sealike stream/ 
and whose wall was the ' sealike stream * P " 

"Thebes" proper, "Taba," the capital — ^No-Amon (the Hebrew 
name of Thebes) the sanctuary of Ammon — stood on the eastern 
plain. This sanctuary, as fonnded by Osirtasen in the time of 
Joseph, as restored by the successor of Alexander the Oreat, still 
existe, a small granite edifice, with the vestiges of the earliest temple 
round it. This is the centre of the vast collection of palaces or 
temples which, from the little Arab village hard by, is called ELamac. 
Imagine a long vista of courts, and gateways, and halls — and 
gateways, and courts, and colonnades, and halls ; here and there an 
obelisk shooting up out of the ruins, and interrupting the opening 
▼iew of the forest of columns. Imagine yourself mounted on the 
top of one of these halls or gateways, and looking over the plain 
around. This mass of ruins, some rolled down in avalanches of 
stones, others perfect and painted, as when they were first built, is 
Approached on every side by avenues of gateways, as grand as that 
on which you are yourself standing. East and west, and north and 
south, these vast approaches are found, — some are shattered, but in 
eveiy approach some remain; and in some can be traced, besides, the 
further avenues, still in part remaining, by hundreds together, 
avenues of ram-headed sphinxes. 

Every Egyptian temple has, or ought to have, one of these great 

gateways formed of two sloping towers, with the high perpendicular 

£Knii between. But what makes them remarkable at Thebes is their 

munber, and their multiplied concentration on the one point 

of Eamac. This no doubt is the origin of Homer's expression *' The 

City of the Hundred Gfates ; " and in ancient times, even from a 

distance, they must have been beautiful. Eor, instead of the brown 

mass of sandstone which they now present, the great sculptures of 

the gods and conquering kings which they uniformly present were 

painted within and without ; and in the deep grooves which can still 

be seen, twofold or fourfold, on each side the portal, with enormous 

holes for the transverse beams of support, were placed immense red 

flag-staffs, with Isis-headed standards, red and blue streamers floating 

from them. Close before almost every gateway in this vast array, 

were the colossal figures, usually in granite, of the great Barneses, 

sometimes in white or red marble, of Amenophis and of Thothmes, 

whose fragments still remain. And close by these were pairs of 

*<wwring obelisks (for in Egypt they always stood in pairs), which 

1 Nahum iit 8. 


can generally be traced bj pedestala on either dde, or by the solitary 
twin, mourning for its brother, either lying broken beside it, or fkr 
away in some northern r^on at Borne, at Paris, or at Petersburg. 

I have spoken of the view from the top of the great gateway which 
OTerlooka the whole array of avenues. I must speak also of that 
which from the other end commanda the whole series of ruins, each 
succeeding the other in unbroken succession. It is a view something 
of the kind of that up the Porum from the Colosseum to the Capitol 
You stand in front of a stately gateway, built by the Ptolemies. 
Immediately in the foreground are two Osiride pillars — ^their phicid 
&ce8 fixed upon you — a strange and striking contrast to the crash 
of temple and tower behind. That crash, however, great aa it is, 
has not, like that of the fall of Bome, left mere empty spaces where 
only imagination can supply what once there was. No — there is not 
an inch of this Egyptian Forum, so to call it, which is not crowded 
with fragments, if not buildings, of the past. No Canina is wanted 
to figure the scene as it once was. You have only to set up again 
the fallen obelisks which lie at your feet ; to conceive the columns 
as they are still seen in parts, overspreading the whole ; to reproduce 
all the statues, like those which still remain in their august niches; 
to gaze on the painted walls and pillars of the immense hall, which 
even now can never be seen without a thrill of awe, — and you have 
ancient Thebes before you. 

And what a series of history it is ! In that long defile of roinfl 
every age has borne its part, from Osirtasen I. to the latest Ptolemy, 
from the time of Joseph to the Christian era; through the whole 
period of Jewish history, and of the ancient world, the splendour of 
the earth kept pouring into that space for two thousand years. 

This is the result of the eastern bank: on the western bank can be 
nothing more grand, but there is something more wonderful even 
than Karaac. 

The western barrier of the Theban plain is a mass of high 
limestone cliffs, with two deep gorges : one running up behind the 
plain, and into the very heart of the hills, entirely shut in by them; 
the other running up from the plain, so as to be enclosed within the 
hills, but having its face open to the city. The former is the valley 
of the Tombs of the Kings, the Westminster Abbey of Thebes; 
the latter, of the Tombs of the Priests and Princes, its Canterbury 

Ascend, therefore, the first of these two gorges. It is the veiy 
ideal of desolation. Bare rocks, without a particle of vegetation, 
overhanging and enclosing, in a still narrower and narrower embrace, 
a valley as rocky and bare as themselves: no human habitation 
visible, the stir of the city wholly excluded ; such is — such always most 
have been the awful aspect of the resting-place of the Theban kings. 

BGYPT. xliii 

Nothiog that has ever been said about tbem had prepared me for 
their extraordinary grandeur. You enter a sculptured portal in the 
&ee of these wild cliffs, and find yourself in a long and lofty galleiy, 
qwoing or narrowing, as the case may be, into successive h^s and 
ehambers, all of which are covered with white stucco, and this white 
ctacco brilliant with colours fresh as they were thousands of years 

Some, of course, are more magnificent than the others ; but of the 
diief seven all are of this character. They are, in fact, gorgeous 
palaces ; hewn out of the rock, and painted with all the decorations 
that could have been seen in palaces. No modem galleries or halls 
could be more completely ornamented. But splendid as they would 
be even as palaces, their interest is enhanced tenfold by being what 
thej are. There lie ** all the Kings in glory ; each one in his own 
house." (Tsa. xiv. 18.) Every Egyptian potentate, but especially 
eyeiy Egyptian king, seems to have begun his reign by preparing his 
sepulchre. It was so in the case of the Pyramids, where each suc- 
eeBsire layer marked the successive years of the reign. It was so 
equally in these Theban tombs, where the longer or shorter reign 
can be traced hy the extent of the chambers, or the completeness of 
their finish. ^ one or two instances, you pass at once from the 
most brilliant decorations to rough unhewn rock. The King had 
died, and the grave closed over his imperfect work. At the entrance 
of each tomb, he stands making offerings to the Sun, who, with his 
hawk's head, wishes him a long life to complete his labours. 

Two ideas seem to reign through the various sculptures. 

First, the endeavour to reproduce, as far as possible, the life of 
man, so that the mummy of the dead King, whether in his long 
^le^, or on his awakening, might still be encompassed by the old 
familiar objects. Egypt, with all its peculiarities, was to be perpe- 
tuated in the depths of the grave ; and truly they have succeeded. 
This is what makes this valley of Tombs like the galleries of a vast 
Museom. Not the collections of Pompeii at Naples give more 
knowledge of Greek or Soman life than these do of Egyptian. The 
Idtchen, the dinners, the boating, the dancing, the trades, all are 
there— all fresh from the hands of the painters of the primeval 

The other idea is that of conducting the King to the world of 

The farther you advance into the tomb, the deeper you become 
inrolred in endless processions of jackal-headed gods, and Aionstrous 
foniis of genii, good and evU; and the GK>ddess of Justice, with 
her single ostrich feather ; and barges, carrying mummies, raised 
aloft over the sacred lake, and mummies themselves { and, more 

d 2 


than all, eyerlasting convolutions of serpents in every possible fonn 
and attitude; human-legged, human-headed, crowned, entwining 
mummies — enwreathing or embraced by processions, — extending 
down whole galleries, so that meeting the head of the serpent at the 
top of a staircase, you have to descend to its very end before you 
reach his tail. At last you arrive at the close of all — the vaulted hall, 
in the centre of which lies the immense granite sarcophagus, which 
ought to contain the body of the King. Here the processions above, 
below, and around, reach their highest pitch — meandering round and 
round — white and black, and red and blue — legs and arms and wing$ 
spreading in enormous forms over the ceiling ; and below lies, as 
I have said, the co£5n itself. 

It seems certain that all this gorgeous decoration was, on the 
burial of the King, immediately closed, and meant to be closed for 
ever ; so that what we now see was intended never to be seen hj 
any mortal eyes except those of the King himself when he awoke 
from his slumbers. Not only was the entrance closed, but in some 
cases — chiefly in that of the great sepulchre of Osirei — the passages 
were cut in the most devious directions, the approaches to them so 
walled up as to give the appearance of a termination long before 
you arrived at the actual chamber, lest by any chance the body of 
the King might be disturbed. And yet in spite of all these pre- 
cautions, when these gigantic fortresses have been broken through, 
in no instance has the mununy been discovered 

Amongst the inscriptions of early travellers is one of peculiar 
interest. It was the ''torch-bearer of the Eleusinian mysteries/' 
who records that he visited these tombs ''many years after the 
divine Plato " — thanks " to the gods and to the most pious Emperor 
Constantino who afforded him this favour." It is written in the 
vacant space under the figure of a wicked soul returning from the 
presence of Osiris in the form of a pig, which probably arrested the 
attention of the Athenian by reminding him of his own mysteries. 
Such a confluence of religions — of various religious associations- 
could hardly be elsewhere found ; a Qreek priest philosopher recording 
his admiration of the Egyptian worship in the time of Constantine, 
on the eve of the abolition of both Greek and Egyptian religion by 
Christianity. .... 

It was on the evening of our last day that we climbed the steep 
side of that grand and mysterious valley, and from the top of the 
ridge had the last view of the valley itself, as we looked back upon 
it, and of the glorious plain of Thebes as we looked forwari 
over it. 

No distant prospect of the ruins can ever do them justice ; but 
it was a noble point from which to see once more the dim massei 
of stone rising here and there out of the rich green, and to knot* 

SeVFT. xlr 

that this was Earnac with its gateways, and thai Luxor with its long 
nlonnade, and those nearer fragments the Sameseum and Medinet- 
Haboa; and further, the wide green depression in the soil, once the 
fonereal lake. 

Immediatelj below lay the Yalley of Assasif, where in a deep 
recess under towering crags, like those of Delphi, lay the tombs of 
the priests and princes. The largest of these, in extent the largest 
of any, is that of Fetumenap, Chief Priest in the reign of Pharaoh 
Necho. Its winding galleries are covered with hieroglyphics, as if 
hung with tapestry. The only figures which it contains are those 
which appear again and again in these priestly tombs, the touching 
effigies of himself and his wife — the best image that can be carried 
away of Joseph and Asenath — sitting side by side, their arms 
afectionately and solemnly entwined round each other's necks. . . • 
To have seen the Tombs of Thebes is to have seen the Egyptians as 
they Hved and moved before the eyes of Moses — ^is to have seen the 
utmost display of funereal grandeur which has ever possessed the 
human mind. To have seen the Soyal Tombs is more than this — 
it is to have seen the whole religion of Egypt unfolded as it appeared 
to the greatest powers of Egypt, at the most solemn moments of 
their Hves. And this can be explored only on the spot. Only a very 
small portion of the mythological pictures of the Tombs of the 
Kings has ever been represented in engravings. The mythology of 
Egypt, even now, strange to say, can be studied only in the caverns 
of the Valley of the Kings. 


At Silsilia, the seat of the ancient sandstone quames, there was 
a scene which stood alone in the voyage. The two ranges, here of 
red sandstone, closed in upon the Nile, like the Drachenfels and 
Holandseck ; fantastic rockery, deep sand-drifls, tombs and temples 
hewn out of the stone, the cultivated land literally reduced to a few 
feet or patches of rush and grass. It was curious to reflect, that 
those patches of green were for the time the whole of the Land of 
Egypt, we ourselves, as we swept by in our boat, the whole living 
population contained within its eastern and western boundaries. It 
soon opened again^ wide plains appearing on each side. 



And now the narrow limits of the sandstone range, which had 
succeeded to our old friends of limestone, and from which were dug 
the materials of almost all the temples of Egypt, are exchanged at 
Assouan — ^the old Sjene — for the granite range ; the Syenite granite, 
from which the Nile issues out of the mountains of Nubia. 

For the first time a serrated mass of hiUs ran, not as heretofore 
along the banks, but across the southern horizon itself. The broad 
stream of the river, too, was broken up, not as heretofore by flat 
sandbanks, but by £mtastic masses of black porphyry and granite, 
and by high rocky islands, towering )iigh aboTe the shores ; strewn, 
far into the eastern Desert, far up the course of the Nile itself. 

These are the rocks which make, and are made by, the Cataract, 
— ^well so called, the rapid which ^^' breaks down*' a course for itself 
through the fragments of granite crags. 'These, too, furnish the 
quarries from whence came the great colossal statues of Barneses, 
and aU the obelisks. Prom thib wild and distant region sprang 
all those familiar forms which we know 'so well in the squares of 
Some. In the quarries which are still yisible in the white sands 
and black crags immediately east of Assouan, one obelisk still 
remains, hewn out, but never r^mbved from his original birth- 
place; the latest, as that of Heliopolis is the earliest bom of 
the race. And not only are these rocks the quarries of the statues, 
but it is hardly possible to look at their forms and not beUere 
that they suggested the idea. . Islands, quarries, crags, along the 
river-side, all seem either like grotesque colossal figures, sitting 
with their grim features carved out against the sky, their vast limbs 
often smoothed by the inundations of successive ages; or else like 
the same statues broken to shivers, like that we saw at Thebes. 
One can quite imagine how, in the days when power was will and will 
was power, Sameses, returning from his Ethiopian conquests, should 
say, " Here is the stone, hard and glittering, from which my statue 
shall be hewn, and here is the model afber which it shall be fsLshioned." 

This is the utmost limit of the journey of Herodotus. He had 
been told a strange story, which he says he could not believe, by the 
Treasurer at Sais, that at this point of the river there were two 
mountains running up into sharp peaks, and called Grophi and 
Mophi, between which were the soui'ces of the Nile, &om which it 
ran down northwards, on one side, into Egypt, and southwards, on 
the other, into Ethiopia. He came, he says, to verify it, and observes 
(doubtless with truth), that by those deep, unfathomable sources 
which they described, they meant the violent eddies of the Cataracts. 


To an inhabitant of Lower Egypt, the sight or the report of such 

a oonTulBion as the rapids make in the face of their calm and 

majestic river, must have seemed like the very beginning of his 

eziatence, the struggling into life of what afterwards became so 

gentle and beneficent. And if they heard that there was a river Nile 

farther south, it was then natural for them to think that this could 

not be the same as their own. The granite range of Syene was to 

them their Alps — ^the water-shed of their world. If there was a 

stream on the other side, they thought that it must needs flow far 

awaj into the Ocean of the South. And these fantastic peaks, not 

two only, but hundreds, were simplified by them into Crophi and 

Mophi— the names exactly suit the wild mysterious character of the 

whole scenery which they represent. 

And now it is immediately above the roar of these rapids, but 
still in the very centre of these colossal rockeries — ^that you emerge 
into sight of an island lying in the vnndings of the river, fringed 
with palms, and crowned with a long line of temples and colonnades. 
TtoB is Phila). 

11. PHILiE. 

The name expresses its situation — it is said to be "Pilek," "the 
frontier" between Egypt and Ethiopia, and the name seems to have 
been applied to all the larger islands in this little archipelago. One 
of these (Biggeh) immediately overhangs PhilsB, and is the most 
remarkable of all the multitude for its fantastic shapes. High from 
its black top, you overlook what seems an endless crater of these 
porphyry and granite blocks, many of them carved with ancient 
figures and hierogljrphics ; in the silver lake which they enclose lies 
PhiliBy the only flat island amongst them. Its situation is more 
curious than beautiful, and the same is true of its temples. As 
seen firom the river or the rocks, their brown sandstone colour, 
their dead walls, hardly emerge sufficiently from the sand and mud 
cottages which enclose them round, and the palms are not sufficiently 
Qamerous to relieve the bare and mean appearance which the rest 
^ the island presents. As seen from within, however, the glimpses 
of the river, the rocky knolls, and the feathery tresses of the palm, 
through the vista, the massive walls and colonnades, irregular and 
pcrrerse in all their proportions, but still grand from their size, are 
in the highest degree peculiar. Foreground, distance, Art and nature, 
^ here quite unique ; the rocks and river (of which you might see 
the like elsewhere) are wholly unlike Egypt, as the square towers, 
the devious perspective, and the sculptured walls, are wholly unlike 
anything else except E^^t. 


The whole temple is so modem, that it no way illustrates, except 
BO far as it copies them, the feelings of the religion of the old 
Egyptians. The earliest, and the only Egyptian, name that occurs 
upon it, is Nectaneho, an Egyptian prince, who revolted against the 
later Persian kings. All the rest are the Grecian Ptolemies, and 
of these the chief is Ptolemy Physcon, or the Eat, so called because 
lie became so bloated by his luxurious living that he measured six 
feet round, and who proposed, but in vain, to Cornelia, mother of 
the Gracchi. But in this very fact of its modem origin there is a 
peculiar interest. It is the fullest specimen of the restoration of 
the old Egyptian worship by the Ptolemies, and of an attempt, like 
ours, in Gothic architecture, to revive a style and forms which had 
belonged to ages far away. The Ptolemies here, as in many other 
places, were trying " to throw themselves" into Egyptian worship, 
following in the steps of Alexander ''the son of Ammon.*' In 
many ways this appears. Pirst, there is much for show without 
real use. One great side chapel, the finest of the group, is built 
for the sake of its terrace towards the river. The main entrance to 
the Temple is, in like manner, no entrance at all. Then there is the 
want of symmetry which always more or less distinguishes the 
Egyptian architecture, but is here carried to a ridiculous excess. 
No perspective is carried consistently through: the sides of the 
same courts are of different styles : no one gateway is in the same 
line with another. Lastly there is the curious sight of sculptures 
contemporary with the finest works of Greek Art, and carved under 
Grecian kings, as rude and coarse as those under the earliest 
Pharaohs to be ''in keeping" with Egyptian architecture, and to 
"preserve the ancient type," like the medieval figures in painted 
windows and the illegible inscriptions round the arches of some 
modem English churches. And not only are the forms but the 
subjects imitated, long after all meaning had passed away, and this 
not only in the religious figures of Isis and the gods. There is 
something ludicrously grotesque in colossal bas-reliefs of kings 
seizing innumerable captives by the hair of their head, as in the 
ancient sculptures of Bameses— kings who reigned at a time when 
all conquests had ceased, and who had, perhaps, never stirred out of 
the palaces and libraries of Alexandria. 

The mythological interest of the Temple is its connectioii with 
Isis, who is its chief divinity, and accordingly the sculptures of her, 
of Osiris, and of Horus, are countless. The most remarkable, though 
in a very obscure room, and on a very small scale, is the one repre- 
senting the death of Osiris, and then his embalmment, burial, gradual 
restoration, and enthronement as judge of the dead. But this legend 
belongs, like the rest of the Temple, to the later, not the ancient 
stage of Egyptian belief. 


12. KILB ly irCTBIA. 

We are still on the Nile, but it is no longer the Nile of Egypt. 
The two ranges are wild granite and sandstone hills, which enclose 
the river so completely, and render the banks so high and steep, 
that thero is no general cultivation. The waters rise to a certain 
height up the terraced shore, and accordingly here, as to, a certain 
extent in Upper Egypt, you see the springing corn and vegetation 
to the very edge of the stream. But beyond that the water can 
only be raised by water-wheels worked by oxen, which accordingly 
are here ten times as numerous as in Egypt, working by night and 
day, and — as all the grease in the country is used in plastering the 
long hair of the unturbaned heads of the Nubians— creaking by 
night and day, and all along the river, with a sound which in the 
distance is like the hum of a mosquito. How much that hum tells 
you of the state of the country if you inquire into all its causes ! 
The high banks which prevent the floods, the tropical heats which 
call for the labour of oxen instead of men, the constant need of 
water, and the wild costume of the people. 

Another feature of the country is, that you feel you are now 
beyond the reach of history. This is Ethiopia, and from this 
possibly the Egyptian race may have sprung; and there is no 
doubt that the great Pharaohs, and afterwards the Cssars, pushed 
their conquests over it far south. But it was, after all, a province 
without any national existence of its own, and accordingly of 
all the towns and temples we shall pass there is not one of the 
slightest historical interest — not the villages in the wilds of 
Australia or America can be less known or less important than 
these. Their sole interest is, that they assist you in filling up the 
broken outlines and vacant spaces of Thebes and Memphis ; and the 
^ery fact of their remoteness from the course of history conduces to 
this result, because this remoteness has preserved them, whilst the 
monuments of the better frequented country below the Cataract 
have perished. Already we have passed as many temples in one day, 
as we passed (with the exception of Thebes) during the whole of 
the rest of our Egyptian voyage. There they stand, broken and of 
^ous ages, but massive and striking on the river-side, taking the 
place of the tombs of Egypt, and of the castles on the Bhine and 

Further on we see clusters of deep purple hills rising, not in con- 
tinuous chains, but east and west, and north and south ; purple, not 
of the amethyst of the Apemunes, but of a black porphyry hue, 
that contrasts strangely with the bright green strip which lies at 


their feet, or else with the drifts of sand, sometimes the gray dust 
of the Nile alluTium, oftener the yellow sand of the Desert, which 
now appears far oftener than in Egypt. 

You feel here the force of that peculiar attribute of the Nile— hi» 
having no tributaries. After haying advanced 800 miles up hi» 
course, you naturally expect, as in the Bhine, that when you have 
tracked^him up inJ JrnJuntain-bed. and ar« approach, how- 
ever indefinitely, to his veiled sources, you will find the vast volume 
of waters shrink. But no— the breadth and strength below was all 
his own; and throughout that long descent he has not a drop of 
water but what he brought himself^ and therefore you have tho 
strange sight of a majestic river flowing like an arm of the sea in 
the Highlands, as calm and as broad amongst these wild Nubian hilla 
as in the plain of Egypt. 


Why the great Temple of Ipsambul should have been fixed at 
this spot, it is hard to say. Perhaps because, after this point, begina 
the more strictly Desert-part of Nubia, known by the name of the 
''Belly of Stone;" and thus, for a long way further south, on the 
western bank (to which all the Nubian temples, but two, are con- 
fined), there are no masses of rock out of which such a monument 
could be hewn. The great Temple is in the bowels of a hill^ 
obliquely facing eastwards, and separated from the smaller Temple, 
which immediately overhangs the river, by the avalanche of sand 
which for centuries had entirely buried the entrance, and now chokes 
up its greater part. 

There are two points which give it an essential and special interest. 
First, you here get the most distinct conception of the great 
Bameses. Sculptures of his life you can see elsewhere. But here 
alone, as you sit on the deep pure sand, you can look at his features 
inch by inch, see them not only magnified to tenfold their original 
size, so that ear and mouth and nose, and every link of his collar, 
and every line of his skin, sinks into you with the weight of a 
mountain ; but these features are repeated exactly the same, three 
times over — four times they once were, but the upper part of the 
fourth statue is gone. Kehama, victorious over gods and men, is the 
image which most nearly answers to these colossal kings : and this 
multiplication of the same statue — ^not one Bameses but four — ^not 
one Amenophis but eighteen — is exactly Kehama entering the eight 
gates of Padaloii by eight roads at once. Look at them, as they 
emerge, — the two northern figures, from the sand which reaches up 


to their throats — ^the BOuthermnoBt, as he sits unbroken, and rovealed 
from the top of his royal helmet to the toe of his enormous foot. 
Look at them, and romember that the face which looks out from the 
top of that gigantic statue is the face of the greatest man of the Old 
World that preceded the birth of Greece and Bome — the first 
conqueror recorded in history — the glory of Egypt — the terror of 
Africa and Asia — ^whose monuments still romain in Syria and in 
Asia Minor — ^the second founder of Thebes, which must have been 
to the world then, as Bome was in the days of its empiro. It is 
certainly an individual likeness. Three peculiarities I cany away 
with me, besides that of profound ropose and tranquillity, united, 
peihaps, with something of scorn — ^first, the length of the face, 
compared with that of most others that one sees in the eculpturos ; 
secondly, the curl of the tip of the nose ; thirdly, the overlapping and 
&D of liie under lip. 

One of the two southern colossal figuros, I said, was shatterod 
from the legs upwards ; but the legs are happily preserved, and on 
them, as on the Amenophis at Thebes, aro the scrawls, not of 
modem travellers — nor even as at Thebes, of Boman pilgrims — 
but of* the very earliest Greek adventurers who penetrated into 
Africa. Some of them aro still visible. The most curious^ how- 
erer, has been again buried in the accumulation of sand. It is 
the oldest Greek inscription in the world, — ^by a Ghreek soldier who 
came here to pursue some deserters in the last days of the Egyptian 

And now let us pass to the second groat interest of Ipsambul, 
which is this. Every other great Egyptian temple is more or less 
in rains. This, from being hewn out of the rock, is in all its 
arrangements as perfect now as it was when it was left unfinished 
by Barneses himself. 

Ton can explore every chamber from end to end, and you know 
that you have seen them all. The fact of its being a cave, and not 
a building, may of course have modified the forms. But the general 
phm must have been the same ; and the massive shapes, the low roofs, 
the vast surface of dead wall, must have been suggested in the 
temples of Lower Egypt, where these features were not necessary, by 
those in Ethiopia where they were. 

The temple is dedicated to Ba or the Sun. This is represented 
in a large bas-relief over the great entrance between the colossal 
figures. There is Barneses presenting offerings to the Sun, whom 
jou recognise at once here and elsewhere by his hawk's head. 
This in itself gives the whole place a double interest. Not only 
was the Sun the especial deity of the Pharaohs, (which means 
"Children of the Sun,") but he was the god of Heliopolis, and 
such as we see him here, and such in great measure as his worship 


was here, such was he and his worship in the great Temple of 
Heliopolis, now destroyed, from which came the obelisks of Europe, 
of which Joseph's father-in-law was High Priest, and where Moses 
must most freqaentlj have seen the Egyptian ceremonies. 

Now climb up that ridge of sand, stoop under the lintel of the 
once gigantic doorwaj, between which and the sand there is leit 
only an aperture of a few feet, and dive into the dark abyss of the 
Temple itself. Dark it must always have been, though not so dark 
as now. All the light that it had came through that one door. 
First, there is the large ball, with four pillars ranged on each side, 
colossal figures of Osiris; each figure with the feet swathed, the 
hands crossed on the breast, the crook and knotted scourge — ^his 
universal emblems — clasped in them; the face absolutely passion- 
less ; broad, placid, and seiene as the full Nile ; the highest ideal of 
repose, both as the likeuess of death in the mummy, and as the 
representative of the final Judgment. From this hall, richly 
sculptured round with the Homeric glories of Bameses, we pass 
into another filled with sculptures of gods. We have left the haunts 
of man and are advancing into the presence of the Divinities. 
Another corridor, and the Temple narrows yet again, and we are in 

the innermost sanctuary In that square rocky chamber, 

to which we are thus brought by the arms of the mountain closing 
us in with a closer and ever closer embrace, stood, and still stands* 
though broken, the oi-iginal altar. Behind the altar seated against 
the rocky wall, their hands upon their knees, looking straight out 
through the door of the sanctuary, through the corridor, through 
the second hall, and through the first, to the small aperture of day- 
light and blue sky, as it is now, — to the majestic portal as it was in 
ancient times, — sate, and stiU sit, the four great gods of the Temple. 
There they sate and looked out ; and as you stand far back in the 
Temple, and light up the Adytum by kindling fires once more on 
that forgotten altar, you can see them still. 

On the south side is the Hawkhead of the Sun. Next to hini^ 
Bameses himself; next Ammon, the Jupiter of Egypt — the great 
god of Thebes — you see his tall cap, or tiara, towering high above 
the heads of the rest in strong relief against the wall ; — and in the 
remaining comer, Kneph with the ram's head, the Spirit of the 
Universe. As the whole Temple has contracted in proportion to 
its receding inwards, so also have the statues in size. The sculptures 
of the Adytum on each side represent the processions of the Sacred 
Boat, floating to its extremity. There is no trace of habitation for 
the sacred hawk, who^ if he were in the Temple, must have been 
here, sitting at the feet of Ba. So at least it follows from Strabo's 
clear account, that in the Adytum of every Egyptian temple the 
Sacred animal was kept, whatever it might be, corresponding to the 


EGYPT. liii 

Btataeof the Ghreek and Boman sanctuarj, — to the no-statue of the 
Holy of Holies in the Jewish temple. 

The cbief thought that strikes one at Ipsambul, and elsewhere, is 

the rapidity of transition in the Egyptian worship, from the sublime 

to the ridiculous. The gods alternate between the majesty of ante- 

^QTian angels, and the grotesqueness of pre- Adamite monsters. Bj 

^hat strange contradiction could the same sculptors and worshippers 

'^▼e conceived the grave and awful forms of Ammon and Osiris, 

^d the ludicrous images of gods in all shapes, "in the heavens 

ted in the earth, and in the waters under the earth,'* with heads 

of hawk, and crocodile, and jackal, and ape ? What must have been 

the mind and muscles of a nation who could worship, as at Thebes, 

ia the assemblage of hundreds of colossal FashU (the Sacred Cats) ? 

And, again, how extraordinary the contrast of the serenity and the 

savageness of the kings ! Bameses, with the placid smile, grasping 

the shrieking captives by the hair, as the frontispiece of every 

temple ; and Ammon, with the smile no less placid, giving him the 

£iIchion to smite them. The whole impression is that gods and 

men alike belong to an age and world entirely passed away, when 

men were slow to move, slow to think, but when they did move or 

think, their work was done with the force and violence of Giants. 

One emblem there is of true Monotheism, — a thousand times 
repeated, — always impressive, and always beautiful, — chiefly on the 
roof and cornice, like the Cherubim in the Holy of Holies, — the 
globe, with its wide-spread wings of azure blue, of the all-embracing 
sky : " Under the shadow of thy wings shall be my refuge." 


The great peculiarity of this last stage of Nubia is, that whereas 

m Egypt the Nile flowed through its limestone ranges, in Lower 

Nabia through its wild mountain-passes, so here, in Upper Nubia, 

it flows through an absolute Desert. !From the high sandstone rock 

of Abou-Sir, that last monument of English travellers, you look 

over a wide expanse of sand, broken only by the sight of the turbid 

river which dashes below through innumerable islets of what look 

exactly like black bristling coal. This wide expanse ends, or ended, 

on the day when I saw it, in clouds of sand, such as overwhelmed 

ibe host of Cambyses, and which rose high in the heavens, like a 

tuck IK'ovember fog, the sun glaring with a sickly orb above, and his 

^yf streaming through the mist below, like the rain of northern 

'^^1X8. Sand is, as I have said before, the snow of these southern 

I^oxxb ; it is also its water, for rightly did the Prophet enjoin his 

foUo'^-^yg to use its fine and pure streams for their ablutions when 


water failed ; it is also, as I saw on this day, its mist, its . rain, its 
fog. In the dim distance rose the two isolated mountains on the 
southern horizon, which mark the way to Dongola. The Second 
Cataract is, geographically speaking and historically, of but little 
significance in the YaUey of the Nile : it stops the navigation, that 
is all : the Desert has begun before, and continues afterwards. 

One feature of the Nile I must here add to what I haye already 
said. Every one knows that the only mode of communication is the 
river : but the voyage up the Nile requires and possesses the consent 
of another power besides that of the stream ; namely, the wind. It 
is a remarkable provision that the north wind which blows for nine 
months in the year, and especially during the floods when the stream 
is strongest, acts as a corrective to enable navigation upwards when 
else it would be impossible. Hence the plausibility of the ancient 
conjecture that the inundation was caused by the '' yearly winds." 
So fixed, so regular a part of the economy of the river do they form, 
that it was natural to imagine that they actually prevented the 
waters of the river from entering the sea. And thus when we look 
at the boats with their white sails scudding before the breeze along 
the broad stream, we see how Egypt and Ethiopia might be fitly 
called '' a land shadowing with wings '.*' 

15. nENBERA.*. 

Dendera is the only perfect Temple lefb besides those in Nubia — 
that is, the only one perfect, not as an excavation from the rock, but 
as a building. But its interest is like Phil», not from its antiquity, 
but its novelty. Its oldest portion was built by Cleopatra ; its finest 
part by Tiberius. Here, . as at Hermonthis, is yet to be seen that 
famous form and face. She is here sculptured in colossal propor- 
tions, so that the fat full features are well brought out, and, being 
like those at Hermonthis, give the impression that it must be a 
likeness. Immediately before her stands, equally colossal and with 
the royal crown of Egypt, her son, by Cesar. 

These must be the latest sculptures of the independent sovereigns 
of Egypt. The interior is filled with the usual ovals for the names 
of kings — ^now blank — for before Cleopatra had time to fill them 
Actium was fought, and Egypt had passed into the hands of Home, 
and accordingly the splendid portico is the work of Tiberius. It is 
in these great porticoes that you trace the real spirit of Boman 
architecture in Egypt. The interior of the Temple, though very 

^ liA. xyiii. 1. (Ewald.) Tenienoe of their oontenta, arranged net 

^ These three last letters are, for oon- in order of plaoe^ bat of time. 


iMTge, is but a tedious and commonplace copy of the most formal 
piflii of a^ old temple ; but the portico has something of its own, 
▼bich is onljr seen here and in the correspondmg portico at Esneh, 
and of which the whole effect, though on a gigantic scale and with 
curious capitals of human faces, is like that of the colonnade in front 
of the Pantheon* 


Memphis was the second capital of Egypt — sometimes the first — 
and there the Pharaohs lived at the time of the Exodus; and 
there, if its monuments had remained, might have been found the 
traces of the Israelites, which we seek in vain elsewhere. Histori- 
«allj and religiously it ought to be as interesting as Thebes. Yet 
Thebes still remains quite unrivalled. There was never anything 
at Memphis like that glorious circle of hills — ^there is now nothing 
like those glorious ruins. Still it is a striking place. Imagine 
a wide green plain, greener than anything else I have seen in Egypt. 
A vast succession of palm-groves, almost like the Bavenna pine- 
forest in extent, runs along the river-side, springing in many spots 
from green turf. Behind these palm-forests — ^behind the plain — 
rises the white back of the African range ; and behind that again, 
^e?en as the hills stand round about Jerusulem,*' so stand the 
Pjrnunids round about Memphis. These are to Memphis as the 
Boyal tombs to Thebes, that is, the sepulchres of the Elings of Lower, 
as those of Upper, Egypt. And such as the view now is, such it 
must have been as far back as history extends. They are not actually 
as old as the hills, but they are the oldest monuments of Egypt and 
-of the world, and such as we see them in that distant outline, each 
group rising at successive intervals — Dashur, Sakara, Abou-Sir, 
•and Ghizeh — such they seemed to Moses, to Joseph, perhaps to 
Abraham. They are the sepulchres of the kings, and in the sand- 
hills at their feet are the sepulchres of the ordinary inhabitants of 

For miles you walk through layers of bones and skulls and 
mummy-Bwathings, extending from the sand, or deep down in shaft- 
like mummy pits ; and amongst these mummy-pits are vast gaUeries 
^ed with mummies of Ibises, in red jars, once filled, but now 
gradually despoiled. And lastly^-only discovered recently — are 
long galleries hewn in the rock, and opening from time to time-^ 
aaj every fifty yards — ^into high arched vaults, under each of which 
eposes the most magnificent black marble sarcophagus that can be 
conceived— a chamber rather than a coffin — smooth and sculptured 
^thin and without ; grander by far than even the granite saroo- 


phagi of the Tbeban kings — ^how much grander than any homan 
sepulchres anywhere else. And all for the successiye corpses of the 
bidl Apis! These galleries formed part of the great temple of 
Serapisy in which the Apis mammies were deposited; and here 
thej lay» not in royal, but in divine state. The walls of the 
entrances are coyered with ex-yotos. In one porch there is a 
painting at full length, black and white, of the Bull himself as he 
was in life. 

One other trace remains of the old Memphis. It had its own 
great temple, as magnificent as that of Ammon at Kamac, dedicated 
to the Egyptian Vulcan, Fthah. Of this not a yestige remains. 
But Herodotus describes that Sesostris, that is Bameses, built a 
colossal statue of himself in front of the great gateway. And there 
accordingly — as it is usually seen by trayellers, is the last memorial 
of that wonC<^rful King, to be borne away in their recollections 
of Egypt. Deep in the forest of palms before described, in a little 
pool of water left by the iaundations, which year by year always 
coyer the spot, lies a gigantic trunk, its back upwards. The name 
of Bameses is on the belt. The &ce lies downwards, but is visible in 
profile and quite perfect, and the very same as at Ipsambul, with the 
only exception that the features are more feminine and more beautiful, 
and the peculiar hang of the lip is not there 

17. THE FTBAKinS. 

The approach to the Pyramids is first a rich green plain, and 
then the Desert ; that is, they are just at the beginning of the Desert, 
on a ridge, which of itself gives them a lift above the valley of the 
Nile. It is impossible not to feel a thrill as one finds oneself 
drawing nearer to the greatest and the most ancient monuments in 
the world, to see them coming out stone by stone into view, and 
the dark head of the Sphinx peering over the lower sandhills. Xet 
the usual accounts are correct which represent this nearer sight as 
not impressive — their size diminishes, and the clearness with which 
you see their several stones strips them of their awful or mysterious 
character. It is not till you are close under the great Pyramid, 
and look up at the huge blocks rising above you into the sky, that 
the consciousness is forced upon you that this is the nearest approach 
to a mountain that the art of man has produced. 

The view from the top has the same vivid contrast of Life and 
Death which makes all wide views in Egypt striking — ^the Desert 
and the green plain : only, the view over the Desert — ^the African 
Desert — being much more extensive here than elsewhere, one gathers 
iu better the notion of the wide heaving ocean of sandy billows 

BQTPT. Ivii 

which hoyeni on the edge of the Yallej of the Nile. The white 
line of the minarets of Cairo is also a peculiar feature — ^peculiar, 
because it is strange to see a modem Egyptian citj which is a grace 
instead of a deformity to the view. You idso see the strip of Desert 
numing into the green plain on the east of the Nile, which mark« 
Heliopolis and Goshen. . . . . • 

The strangest feature in the yiew is the platform on which 
the Fframids stand. It comple^felj dispels the inyoluntarj notion 
that one has formed of the solitary abruptness of the Three Fyra» 
mids. Not to speak of the groups, in the distance, of Abou-Sir, 
Sakara, and Dashur — the whole platform of this greatest of them 
all is a maze of Pyramids and Tombs. Three little ones stand 
beside the first, three also beside the third. The second and third 
are each surrounded by traces of square enclosures, and their eastern 
faces are approached through enormous masses of ruins as if of 
some great temple ; whilst the first is enclosed on three sides by 
long rows of massiye tombs, on which you look down from the 
top as on the plats 'of a stone-garden. You see in short that 
it is the most sacred and firequented part of that yast cemetery 
which extends all along the Western ridge for twenty miles behind 

It is only by going round the whole place in detail that the con- 
trast between its present and its ancient state is disclosed. One is 
inclined to imagine that the Pyramids are immutable, and that such 
as you see them now such they were always. Of distant yiews this 
is true, but taking them near at hand it is more easy from the 
existing ruins to conceiye Elamao as it was, than it is to conceiye 
the Pyramidal platform as it was. The smooth casing of part of the 
top of the Second Pyramid, and the magnificent granite blocks which 
kim the lower stages of the third, serye to show what they must 
hare been all, from top to bottom ; the first and second, brilliant 
white or yellow limestone, smooth from top to bottom, instead of 
those rude disjointed masses which their stripped sides now present ; 
the third, aU glowing with the red granite from the First Cataract* 
As it is, they haye the barbarous look of Stonehenge ; but then 
they must haye shone with the polish of an age already rich with 
ciTilisation, and that the more remarkable when it is remembered 
that these granite blocks which furnished the outside of the third, 
and inside of the first, must haye come all the way from the First 
Cataract. It also seems, £rom Herodotus and others, that these 
smooth outsidea were coyered with sculptures. Then you must 
build up or uncoyer the massiye tombs, now broken or choked with 
ttQd, so as to restore the aspect of yast streets of tombs, like those 
on the Appian Way, out of which the G^reat Pyramid would rise like 
>^ cathedxal aboye amaller churches. Lastly, you must enclose the 


two other Pyramids witb stone precincts and gigantic gateways, and 
above all you must restore the Sphinx, as he (for it must nerer be 
forgotten that a female Sphinx was almost unknown) was in the days 
of his glory. 

Even now, after all that we have seen of colossal statues, there 
was something stupendous in the sight of that enormous head — its 
vast projecting wig, its great ears, its open eyes, the red colour still 
visible on its cheek, the immense projection of the whole lower part 
of its face. Yet what must it have been when on its head there 
was the royal helmet of Egypt ; on its chin the royal beard ; when 
the stone pavement, by which men approached the Pyramids, ran up 
between its paws ; when immediately under its breast an altar stood, 
from which the smoke went up into the gigantic nostrils of that 
nose, now vanished from the face, never to be conceived again ! AU 
this is known with certainty from the remains which actually exist 
deep under the sand on which you stand, as you look up from a 
distance into the broken but still expressive features. 

And for what purpose was this Sphinx of Sphinxes called into 
being — ^as much greater than all other Sphinxes as the Pyramids are 
greater than all other temples or tombs ? If, as is likely, he lay 
couched at the entrance, now deep in sand, of the vast approach to 
the second, that is, the Central Pyramid, so as te form an essential 
part of this immense group ; still more, if, as seems possible, there 
was once intended to be (according to the usual arrangement which 
never left a solitary Sphinx any more than a solitary obelisk) a 
brother Sphinx on the Northern side, as this on the Southern side 
of the approach, its situation and significance was worthy of its 
grandeur. And if, further, the Sphinx was the giant representative 
of Boyalty, then it fitly guards the greatest of Boyal sepulchres ; 
and, with its half-human, half-animal form, is the best welcome and 
the best farewell to the history and religion of Egypt. 




SxodoflziT. 18. "The Egyptians whom ye hare §een to-day, ye aball 
M ibem again no more for eyer.*' 

Dent TiiL 16. " That great and terrible irUdenieBB .... wh^re 
Aere wai no water.'* 

Ikot. zxxiii. 2. '* The Lord came from Sinai and roae np from Seir unto 
i^em : He shined forth from Mount Faran ; and he came with the ten 
thooaDds [*of Kadeah.* lsx].* 





L Ctaienl oonfigoratioii of the Peninsiila. 1. The Two Gul&. 8. The 
Pkteau of the Tlh. 8. The Sandy Tract. 4. The MountauiB of the 
Tta. (a) The K&'a— the Shores, (h) The Paaes. (c) The Moantains; 
Uie Three Groups — ^the Golonn — ^the Confuaion— the DMolation — ^the 
Silence, (d) The WAdys— the Vegetation— the Spiinga— the OaaeiL 
Pp. 1—19. 

II. General Adaptation to the History. The Scenery — ^the Physical Phe- 
nomena — ^the Pkesent Inhabitants — Changes. Pp. 19—27. 

III. Traditions of the History. 1. Arab Traditions—of Moses. 2. QnA 
Traditions. 8. Early Traditions. Pp. 27—83. 

lY. BonteofthelsiaeliteB. 1. Passage of the Bed Sea. 2. Harah and Elim. 
8. Encampment by the Bed Sea. 4. Wilderness of Sin. 5. Choice 
between Serb41 and Jebel Hiksa as SinaL 6. Special localities of tJi« 
History. Pp. 83 — iS. 

Y. Later History of the Peninsula. 1. Elgah'srisit. 2. Josephus. 8. StPkuL 
4. Hermitages, and CouTsnt of St. Catherine. 5. Mahomet. 6. Pi es cut 
State of the Conyent. 7. Tomb of Sheykh Saleh. ^. 48—67. 

Note A. ffinaitio Inscriptions. P^. 57 — 62. 




The Peninsula of Monnt Sinai is, geographically and 
geologically speaking, one of the most remarkable districts on 
the fEkce of the earth. It combines the three grand features 
of earthly scenery — ^the sea, the desert, and the mountains. It 
occupies also a position central to three countries, distin- 
gnished, not merely for their history, but f(Hr their geography 
amongst all other nations of the world — Egypt, Arabia, Pales- 
tine. And lastly, it has been the scene of a history as unique 
as its situation ; by which the fate of the three nations which 
surround it, and through them the fate of the whole world, has 
been determined. 

It is a just remark of Chevalier Bunsen, that " Egypt has, 
properly speaking, no history. History was bom on that night 
when Moses led forth his people from Ooshen." Most fully is 
this felt as the traveller emerges from the Valley of the Nile, 
the study of the Egyptian monuments, and finds himself on 
the broad track of the Desert. In those monuments, magnifi- 
cent and instructive as they are, he sees great kings, and 
mighty deeds — the father, the son, and the children, — ^tlie 
sacrifices, the conquests, the coronations. But there is no 
before and after, no unrolling of a great drama, no beginning, 
middle, and end of a moral progress, or even of a mournful 
decline. In the Desert, on the contrary, the moment the green 
fields of Egypt recede from our view, still more when we reach 

B 2 


• the Bed Sea, the further and further we advance into the Desert 
and the mountains, we feel that everything henceforward is 
continuous, that there is a sustained and protracted interest, 
increasing more and more, till it reaches its highest point in 
Palestine, in Jerusalem, on Calvary, and on Olivet. And in the 
desert of Sinai this interest is enhanced by the fact that there 
it stands alone. Over all the other great scenes of human 
history, — Palestine itself, Egypt, Greece, and Italy, — successive 
tides of great recollections have rolled, each to a certain extent 
obliterating the traces of the former. But in the Peninsula of 
Sinai there is nothing to interfere with the effect of that single 
event. The Exodus is the one only stream of history that 
has passed through this wonderful region, — a history which 
has for its background the whole magnificence of Egypt, and 
for its distant horizon the forms, as yet unborn, of Judaism, 
of Mahometanism, of Christianity. 

It is this district, which, for the sake of, and in connection 
with that history, it is here proposed briefly to describe. 

I. The great limestone range of Syria, which begins in the 
Oen ml i^^rth jfrom Lebanon and extends through the whole 
ooDfignra- of Palestine, terminates on the south in a wide table- 
MOTnuins, ^*^^^» which reaches eastward far into Arabia Petrsea, 
the Doaert, and westward far into Afidca. At the point where 
Sea. this rocky mass descends from Palestine, another 

element falls in, which at once gives it a character 
distinct from mountainous tracts in other parts of the world ; 
namely, that waterless region of the earth, which extends from 
the shores of the Atlantic to those of the Persian Gulf, under 
the familiar name of the Desert. But its character, both as a 
wilderness, and as a mountain country, is broken by three great 
clefts, which divide its several portions from each other. The 
westernmost of these clefts is the deep valley, which descending 
from the mountains of Abyssinia contains the course of the 
solitary, mysterious, and majestic river, with the green strip of 
verdure lining its banks, which forms the land of Egypt. The 
second runs almost parallel to this — ^the bed not of a fertilising 
stream, but of a desolate sea, — ^the Arabian Gulf of the Greeks, 
the Gulf of Suez in modem geography. The third and eastern- 
most cleft at its southern extremity is similar in character to 

PiU l] 


the second, and forms the Elanitic Gulf of the Greeks, the 
modem Gulf of 'Akaba; but farther north it passes into the 
deep and wide valley of the 'Arabah, which in turn communi- 
cates with the still deeper valley of the Jordan, running up into 
the heart of the mountains of Lebanon, the original basis from 
which the whole of the system takes its departure. 

1. It is between those two gulfs, the Gulf of Suez and the 
Golf of 'Akaba, that the Peninsida of Sinai lies, q^jiqi^q 
From them it derives its contact with the sea, and Chiifisofthe 
therefore with the world ; which is one striking dis- 
tinction between it and the rest of the vast desert of which it 
forms a part. From hardly any point in the Sinaitic range 
is the view of the sea wholly excluded; from the highest 
points both of its branches are visible ; its waters, blue with a 
depth of •colour more like that of some of the Swiss lakes than 
of our northern or midland seas, its tides imparting a life to 
the dead landscape, — ^familiar to modem travellers &om the 
shores of the Atlantic or German Ocean, but strange and 
inexplicable to the inhabitants of the ancient world, whose 
only knowledge of the sea was the vast tideless lake which 
washed the coasts of Egypt, Palestine, Greece, and Italy. It 
must have always brought to the mind of those who stood on 
its shores, that they were on the waters of a new, and almost 
unknown world. Those tides come rolling in from the vast 
Indian Ocean ; and with the Indian Ocean these two gulfs are 
the chief channels of communication from the Northern world. 
The white shells which strew their shores, the forests of sub- 
marine vegetation which gave the whole sea its Hebrew appel- 
lation of the " Sea of Weeds," the trees of coral, whose huge 
trunks may be seen even on the dry shore, with the red rocks 
and red sand, which especially in the Gulf of 'Akaba bound its 
sides, — all bring before us the mightier mass of the Bed or 
Erythraean' Ocean, the coral strands of the Indian Archipelago, 

} The appeUation "Bed Sea,** as ap- 
plied distbictiTely to the two guHs of 
Soez and Alcaba, ia comparatiTely 
modern. It seems to have been applied 
to tbem only as oontinitations A the 
Indiaa O^ean, to which the name of the 
BiTthnBan or Bed Sea was giyen, at a 
Auoe when the two gnlfs were known to 

the Hebrews only by the name of the 
<* Sea of Weeds,'* and to the Greeks by 
the name of the Bays of Arabia and 
Elath. This in itself makes it probable 
that the name of "Bed** was derived 
from the corals of the Indian Ocean, and 
makes it impossible that it should haye 
been from " ^om,**— the mountains of 



[OHAP. I. 

of which these two gulfs with their peculiar products are the 
northern offshoots. The Peninsula itself has been the scene of 
but one cycle of human events. But it has, through its two 
watery boundaries, been encircled with. two tides of history, 
which must not be forgotten in the associations which give it a 
foremost place in the geography and history of the world ; two 
tides, never flowing together, one falling as the other rose, but 
imparting to each of the two barren valleys through which they 
flow a life and activity hardly less than Uiat which has so long 
animated the Valley of the Nile. The two great lines of Indian 
traffic have alternately passed up the eastern and the western 
gulf; and, though unconnected with the greater events of the 
Peninsula of Sinai, the commerce of Alexandria and the com- 
munications of England with India, which now pass down the 
Gulf of Suez, are not without interest, as giving a lively image 
of the ancient importance of the twin Gulf of 'Akaba. That 
gulf, now wholly desei^d, was, in the times of the Jewish 
monarchy, the great thoroughfare of the fleets of Solomon and 
Jehoshaphat, and the only point in the second period of their 
history which brought the Israelites into connection with the 
scenes of the earliest wanderings of their nation. 

Such are the western and eastern boundaries of this mountain 
tract ; striking to the eye of the geographer, as the two parallels 
to that narrow Egyptian land from which the Israelites came 
forth : important to the historian, as the two links of Europe 
and Asia with the great ocean of the south — as the two points 
of contact between the Jewish people and the civilisation of the 

Bdom, M is well known, hardly reaching 
to the shores of the Gnlf of 'Akaba, cer- 
tainly not to the shores of the ocean. 
"As we emerged from the month of a 
small defile,** writes the late Captain 
Newbold, in describing his visit to the 
mountain of Naki^ near Tdr, ''the 
waters of this sacred galf bnrst npon our 
▼iew ; the surface marked with azmular, 
crescent-shaped, and irregular blotches of 
a purplish red, extending as far as the 
eye could readi. They were curiously 
contrasted with the beautiful aqua-marina 
of the water lying over the white coral 
reels. This red colour I ascertained to 
be caused by the subjacent red sandstone 
«nd reddish coral reefii; a similar phe- 

nomenon is obserred in the straits of 
Bab el-Mandeb, and also near Sues, par- 
ticularly when the ra3rs of the sun &11 on 
the water at a small angle.** — Joum. of 
R. Asiat. Society, No. ziii. p. 78. This 
accurate description is dedsiTe as to the 
origin of the name, though Captain New- 
bold draws no such inference. The 
Hebrew word aHpk, though used com- 
monly for "flags** or " rushes, •• would 
by an easy change be applied to any 
aqueous vegetation (see Dietrich's Abfaand* 
lungen, pp. 17, 28 — 25); just as Plinr 
(xiii. 25) speaks of it as "a vast forest ;*^ 
"Bubrum mare et totus orientia ooeanui 
r^fertus est syM." (Bitter, Sinai, 166— 
482.) See Fart n. p. 83. 


ancient world. From the sanunit of Mount St Catherine^ or 
of Um Shaomer, a wandering Israelite might have seen the 
beginning and the end of his nation's greatness. On the one 
side lay the sea through which they had escaped from the 
bondage of slavery and idolatiy — still a mere tribe of the shep- 
herds of the Desert. On the other side lay the sea, up which 
were afterwards conveyed the treasures of the Indies, to adorn 
the palace and the temple of the capital of a mighty empire. 

2. Of the three geological elements which compose the 
Peninsula itself , the first and the most extensive is ^^ p^^, 
the northern table-land of limestone which is known teaaofthe 
as the Desert of the " Tih," or the " Wanderings." It ™^ 
is supported and enclosed by long horizontal ranges, which keep 
this muform character wherever they are seen. They are the 
same which, under the name of the Mountains of Bahah, first 
meet the eye of the traveller approaching Suez from Egypt, as 
fomiing the western boundary of the great plateau ; the same 
which, under the name of the Mountains of the Tih, run along 
its southern border, as seen from Serbal or St. Catherine ; and 
which under the same name, form its eastern border, as seen 
from Mount Hor. However much the other mountains of the 
Peninsula vary in form or height, the mountains of the Tih are 
always alike ; always faithful^ to their tabular outline and 
blanched desolation. It is this which gives them a natural 
aflinity of appearance with the two long limestone walls which 
confine the traveller's view down the Valley of the Nile from 
Cairo to Thebes ; and, again, to the unbroken line of mountains 
which runs along the eastern side of the Jordan, from the Dead 
Sea to Mount Hermon*. 

One solitary station-house and fort marks this wilderness. 
It probably derives its name of Nukhl, the *' Palm," from an 
adjacent palm-grove, now vanished ; a miniature in this respect 
of the midway station for the great Syrian desert — " Tadmor," 

^ For a ladd aeooixnt of the geology of * The Tth haa been traTened and 

the Penimwla, I refer to a Talnable paper described by Bftppell, Bnrokhaidt^ and 

en the subject by Captain Newbold in Bartlett from east to west, and by Robin- 

the Kadras Jonnal, toI. ziy. pt. iL ; son from south to north. I did not see it^ 

slso to Russeggei's map, and to Mr. Hogg's except from a distanoe. The passage of 

map and paper in Jameson's Bdinbnigh the Caravan has been described by Bfti^eU 

Phiksophieal Jooma], toIs. zlviiL p. 198» and Bartlett 


" Palmyra " — ^the palm-grove station of Solomon and Zenobia, 
whence in like manner the palms are now said to have dis- 
appeared^ It seems to have no peculiar features, beyond the 
general character of its horizontal hills, and its one wide un- 
dulating pebbly plain. If any of the stations of the Israelites 
mentioned in the Pentateuch were in this portion of the Penin- 
sula, it is useless to seek for them ; nor is there apparently any 
passage or scene in their wanderings which derives any special 
light from its scenery. Its one interest now is the passage of 
the Mecca pilgrimage. 
3. The plateau of the Tih is succeeded by the sandstone 

mountains which form the first approach to the higher 
tract of ^ Sinaitic range, called by the general Arabic name for 
^i^iflk * ^S^ mountain, the " Tur." One narrow plain or 

belt of sand, called from that circumstance the 
** Debbet er-Ramleh," divides the table-land of the north from 
these mountains of the south ; the hills of the " Tih " — ^the 
seat of the tribe thence called " Tiyahah,"-^from the hills of the 
" Tflr," the seat of the tribe thence called " Tawftrah." From 
SerbSl and St. Catherine this yellow line of sand is distinctly 
visible ; and seems to be, as its name implies, the only tract of 
pure sand which the desert of Sinai presents. The name is of 
itself sufficient to indicate to tke experienced geographer, what 
the traveller soon learns by observation, that sand is properly 
speaking the exception and not the rule of the Arabian desert. 
In the. usual route from Cairo to Suez, and from Suez to 'Akaba, 
it occurs only once in any great quantity or depth : namely, in 
the hills immediately about Hiider&h', where, it would seem, the 
Debbet er-Bamleh terminates on reaching the sandstone cliffs 
which here shut off both it and the table-land of the Tih from 
the Gulf of 'Akaba. There, after traversing the whole Peninsula, 
on hard ground of gravel, pebble, or rock, the traveller again 
finds himself in the deep sand-drifts which he has not seen 
since he left them on the western shores of the Nile, enveloping 

> Cane's Beoollectioiui of the East, gave it the name of Palmyra) ''PhoBniz** 

Tol. ii. p. 545. Is it quite oertain that JfoTyi^), See Hitrig, Zeitaehrifi der 

«Tadmor*' and "Pidmyia" are deriTed Deutsoh. MorgenL Oesellachaft, toL vilL 

fnm^9pdUn$f A palm is in Hebrew 222. 

tofliar, and not *<Tadmor ;" and in Qieek ' See P^fft IL p. 80. 
(and Joflephns lays that the Qreeka 


the temples of Ipsambril, and the Serapeum of Memphis. It 
is important to notice this, partly as a correction of a popular 
error, partly as an illustration, negative indeed, but not alto- 
gether worlMess, of the narrative of the Pentateuch. Whatever 
other sufferings the Israelites may have undergone, the great 
sand-drifts which the armies of Cambyses encountered in the 
desert qfAMca are never mentioned, nor could have been men- 
tioned, in their joumeyings through the wilderness of Sinai. 

4. This brings us to the mountains of the Tur (as distinct 
from the Tih), which form, strictly speaking, the ^^ ^ 
mountain-land of the Peninsula. This mass of tains of the 
mountains, rising in their highest points to the ^^* 
height of more than 9000 feet, forms the southern tower, if one 
may use the expression, of that long belt or chain of hills, of 
vhich the northern bulwark is the double range of Lebanon. 
It is the southern limit of the history of the Israelites. Their 
boundaries, in the narrower sense, were Dan and Beersheba ; 
in the wider sense Lebanon and Sinai \ 

(a) It is with the configuration and aspect of this district that 
we are now chiefly concerned. The sandy plain whic h ^j^^ ^^^ 
parts it from the table-land of the Tih on the north and the 
has been already noticed. A similar plain, though ^^^^ 
apparently of gravel rather than of sand, under the name of 
El-Ea'a, — "the plain," — ^runs along its south-western base, 
generally reaching the shores of the Gulf of Suez, but at times 
intezmpted by a lower line of hiUs, which form as it were the 
outposts of the Sinaitic range itself, and contain the two sin- 
gular mountains known respectively as the mountains of N&kus 
(the Bell), and Mukatteb (the Written.) On their north-western 
Bide, and on the whole of the eastern side of the Peninsula, the 
moxmtains of the Tur descend so steeply on the shores of the 
respective gulfs of the Bed Sea, that there is little more than the 
Vachleft between the precipitous cliffs and the rising tides. 

\b) From these shores or plains the traveller asoends into the 
momitain triangle of which they form the three sides. 

T • The Panes. 

It is approached for the most part by rugged passes, 

hading to the higher land above, firom which spring the cliffs 

1 See Chapter III. 


and mountains themselves. These begin in a gradual, but 
terminate usually in a very steep, ascent — almost a staircase of 
rock — ^resembling the " Puertas '* of the Andalusian table-land ; 
that, for example, of Gaucin, on the way from Gibraltar to 
Bonda; or the Sapphira, on the way from Malaga to Granada. 
To these steep and rugged defiles is given the name of" Nukb/' 
or " 'Akaba." It is from one of these — ^that down which the 
Eg3rptian pilgrimage descends, on the eastern branch of the 
Bed Sea — ^that the gulf and town of ' Akaba derives its name *. 
The others of note are, the Nukb Badera, which is the chief 
entrance to the cluster of SerbAl; the Nukb H&wy, to the 
cluster of Sinai; the Nukb um Bachi, through which the 
whole range is approached from the " Tih." ' 

(c) The cluster itself consists (speaking in general and 
The MoTtn- popular language) of two formations — sandstone, and 
*«»^ granite or porphyry. These two formations, of which 
it may be said generally that the first constitutes the northern, 
and the latter the southern division, play an important part, 
both in its outward aspect and in its history. To these it 
owes the depth and variety of colour, which distinguish it from 
almost all other mountainous scenery. Sandstone * ftnd granite 
alike lend the strong red hue, which, when it extends further 
eastward, is according to some interpretations, connected 
with the name of " Edom." It was long ago described by 
Diodorus Siculus as of a bright scarlet, and is represented 
in legendary pictures as of a brilliant crimson. But viewed 
even in the soberest light, it gives a richness to the whole 
mountain landscape which is wholly unknown in the grey and 
brown suits of our northern hills. Sandstone, moreover, when, 
as in the WAdy Mughareh, and on the clifEs which line the shores 
of the Bed Sea, it has become liable to the infirmities of age 
and the depredations of water, presents us with those still more 
extraordinary hues, of which the full description must be 
reserved for the scene of their greatest exemplification in the 
rocks of Petra\ In these formations, too, we trace the con- 

1 There IB another, 'Akjihftet-ShAin— AisUa to the higher level of Syria. 
'*ihe PasB of the Syrian Pilgrimage**— • For the four panes to the Tlh wi 

on the eastern aide of the 'Arabah (see Stewart^ Tent and Khan, p. 167. 
Borckhaidt's Arabia, ii. 94) vhich forma ' Euppell, p. 188. 

(he great aaoent from the lower lerel of * See Fart II. xriL 


nection of the Sinaitic range with the two adjacent countries, 
and with the historical purposes to which their materials have 
been turned. The limestone ranges of the Tih, in their 
abutment on the Valley of the NUe, furnished the quarries 
of the Pyramids. The soft surface of these sandstone cliffs 
in the WAdy Mukatteh, offered ready tablets to the writers 
of the so-called Sinaitic inscriptions and engravings, and to 
Egyptian sculptors in the WAdy Mughareh and the valley of 
Surabit el-Khddim, just as the continuation of the same forma* 
tion, far away to the south-west, reappears in the consecrated 
quarries of the gorge of Silsilis, whence were hewn the vast 
materials for the Temples of Thebes ; as the same cliffs, far 
away to the east, lent themselves to the excavations of the 
Edomites and NabatsBans at Petra, and of ancient Ammon' and 
Moab in the deep defiles of the Amon. So, too, the granite 
mountains, on whose hard blocks were written the Ten Com- 
mandments of the Mosaic Law, and whose wild rents and 
fantastic forms have furnished the basis of so many monastic 
or Bedouin legends, reappear in Egypt at the First Cataract, in 
the grotesque rocks that surround the island of Philae, and in 
the vast quarries of Syene ; and are to be found far off to the 
east, in Arabia Felix, forming the granite mass' of Ohod, the 
scene of Mahomet's first victory near Medina. 

The mountains, thus flanked by the sandstone formations— 
being themselves the granitic kernel of the whole The Three 
region — are divided into two, or perhaps three ^^'^P"; 
groups, each with a central suinmit. These are (1) the north- 
western cluster, which rises above Wady Feiran, and of which 
the most remarkable mountain — ^being in some respects also 
the most remarkable in the whole Peninsula — ^is Mount Serbal ; 
(2) the eastern and central cluster, of which the highest point is 
Mount St. Catherine ; — ^and (3) the south-eastern cluster, which 
forms as it were the outskirts of the centsal mass, the highest 
point of which is Um Shaumer, the most elevated summit of the 
whole range. Of these points Mount St. Catherine, with most 
of its adjacent peaks, has been ascended by many travellers ; 
Mount SerbSl by a very few, of whom only four have recorded 

* See Ljnch's « » Dend 8el^" p. 868. a Buiekbardt^ ii. 23! . 


their ascent ; Um Shaumer has been ascended by none except 
Burckhardt, and by him not quite to the summit. 

Beserving for the present the more special characteristics of 
these respective clusters, their general pecuKarities may be best 
the given in common. The colours' have been already 

Cdoun; mentioned. Red, with dark green, are the predomi- 
nant hues ; the two are most markedly combined in the long 
line of Jebel Musa, as Pococke, with more than his usual 
observation, noticed long ago. These colours, especially in the 
neighbourhood of Serbal, are diversified by the long streaks of 
purple which run over thera from top to bottom. But it is 
only in the parts of the sandstone cliffs where the surface has 
been broken away, as in the caves of the Wady Mughareh, 
or on the shores of the two gulfs, that they present the great 
variety of colour which reaches its highest pitch at Petra. 

Another feature, less peculiar, but still highly characteristic, 
the Confd- is the infinite complication of jagged peaks and varied 
*°^» ridges. When seen from a distance, as from the hills 
between Sinai and *Akaba, this presents as fine an outline of 
mountain sceneiy as can be conceived, but the beauty and 
distinctness of a nearer view is lost in its multiplied and 
intricate confusion — ^the cause no doubt, in part, of the nume- 
rous mistakes made by travellers in their notice of the several 
peaks to be seen from this or that particular point. This is 
the characteristic described by Sir Frederick Henniker, with a 
slight exaggeration of expression, when he says that the view 
from Jebel Musa (where this particular aspect is seen to the 
greatest perfection) is as if "Arabia Petrsea were an ocean of 
lava, which, whilst its waves were running moimtains high, had 
suddenly stood still.** 

It is an equally striking, and more accurate expression of the 
the Deao- Same traveller, when he speaks of the whole range as 
^^^^i being " the Alps unclothed*." This— their union of 
grandeur with desolation — is the point of their scenery abso- 

1 The most ftoenrate description of the of Ghamonni, called from their cdLovrths 

colours of the Desert is that given by Dr. AigvUUa JRovges, give some notion of iha 

Olin. (TiaTels, I 372, 890.) Unfor- colour and form of SinaL 
innately, no published views erer attempt > Notes daring a Visit to ^gypt, ^e., 

it. The three peaks of red granite which p. 214. 
overhang the northem side of the Yalley 


htdy nniiyalled. They are the "Alps" of Arabia — but the 
Alps planted in the Desert, and therefore stripped of all the 
clothing which goes to make up our notions of Swiss or English 
moimtains; stripped of the variegated drapery of oak, and 
birch, and pine, and fir, of moss, and grass, and fern; which to 
landscapes of European hills, are almost as essential as the 
rocks and peaks themselves. Of all the charms of Switzer* 
land, the one which most impresses a traveller recently returned 
from the East, is the breadth and depth of its verdure. The 
Tery name of "Alp" is strictly applied only to the green 
pasture-lands enclosed by rocks or glaciers ; — a sight in the 
European Alps so common, in these Arabian Alps so wholly 
nnknown. The absence of verdure, it need hardly be said, i& 
dae to the absence of water — of those perennial streams which 
are at once the creation and the life of every other mountain 

And it is this probably, combined with the peculiarity of the 
atmosphere, that produces the deep stillness and con- and the 
sequent reverberation of the human voice, which can ^^^' 
never be omitted in any enumeration of the characteristics of 
Moimt Sinai. From the highest point of Bas Siifsafeh to its 
lower peak, a distance of about sixty feet, the page of a book, 
distinctly but not loudly read, was perfectly audible ; and every 
remark of the various groups of travellers descending from the 
heights of the same point rose clearly to those immediately 
above them. It was the belief of the Arabs who conducted 
Niebuhr'y that they could make themselves heard across the 
Gnlf of 'Akaba; a belief doubtless exaggerated, yet probably 
originated or fostered by the great distance to which in those 
regions the voice can actually be carried. And it is probably 
from the same cause that so much attention has been excited 
by the mysterious noises which have from time to time been 
heard on the summit of Jebel Musa, in the neighbourhood of 
Um Shaumer, and in the mountain' of Nftkus, or the Bell, so 
called from the legend that the soimds proceed from the bells' 

I^eseription de 1' Ai&bie, p. 245. account by Gaptain Newbold, Jonrsal of 

' See the pictore and description of the B. Asiatic Society, No. xiii. 79. 
this mountain in Wellsted, iL 24 ; and * I use the word **bell" for the sake 

a more complete and lingnlarly graphic of convenience. Bnt '* the sound of the 



[OHAP. I. 

of a convent enclosed within the mountain. In this last instance 
the sound is supposed to originate in the rush of sand down the 
mountain side ; sand, here, as elsewhere, playing the same part 
as the waters or snows of the north. In the case of Jebel 
Musa, where it is said that the monks had originally settled 
on the highest peak, but were by these strange noises driven 
down to their present seat in the valley, and in the case of 
Um Shaomer, where it was described to Burckhardt as like the 
sound of artillery, the precise cause has never been ascertained. 
But in all these instances the effect must have been heightened 
by the deathlike silence of a region where the fall of waters, 
even the trickling of brooks, is imknown. 

This last peculiarity of the Sinai range brings us to another, 
which has hardly been sufficiently described in the accounts of 
the Desert — ^namely, the valleys or " W&dys." 

{d) It is by a true instinct that the Bedouins, as a general 
^e rule, call the mountains not by any distinctive name, 

WAdys. but after the valleys or w&dys which surround them. 
It is necessary to use this Arabic name, because there is no 
English word which exactly corresponds to the idea expressed 
by it. A hollow, a valley, a depression — ^more or less deep or 
wide or long — ^wom or washed by the mountain torrents or 
winter rains for a few months or weeks in the year — such is 
the general idea of an Arabian " w4dy,'* whether in the Desert 
or in Syria. The Hebrew word (nachal), which is as nearly as 
possible the correlative of the Wftdy of the Arabic, is unfor- 
tunately confounded in our translation with a distinct word 
(nahar) under the common version of ''river," though occa- 
sionally rendered, with a greater attempt at accuracy, by the 
name of "brook*." 

For a few weeks or days in the winter these valleys present, 
it is said, the appearance of rushing streams. A graphic de- 
scription is given of this sudden conversion of the dry bed of 

church-going bell" is unknoini in the 
East ; and the n6k(la is really the rude 
cymbal or sounding-board used in Qreek 
churches, such as are described further 
on in the Conyent of St. Catherine. 

^ The V3rd wddy (spelt by the French 
ouadi)^ is properly a ''hoUow between 

hiUs, vhether dry or moist'* It is said 
to be deriyed from wodo, a rerb of a 
strange signification, but of which ap- 
parently the fundamental idea must lie 
to "perforate by water." Nadud^ in 
like manner' is probably from tkalat^ ta 
*' perforate." See Appendix. 

fAlf I.] 



the WAdy Musa into a thundering mountain toirent, in Miss 
Martineaa's account of Petra. Another such is recorded by 
Wellsted near Tiir'. The WAdy Shellfll (the Valley of the 
Cataracts) both in its name and aspect bears every trace of its 
wintry cascades. But their usual aspect is absolutely bare and 
waste ; only presenting the image of thirsty desolation the more 
stnldngly, from the constant indications of water which is no 
longer there. But so essentially are they, in other respects, 
the rivers of the Desert, and so entirely axe they the only 
likeness to rivers which an Arab could conceive, that in Spain 
we find the name reproduced by the Arab conquerors of Anda- 
lusia: sometimes indeed fitly enough, as applied to the 
coimUess water-courses of southern Spain, only filled like the 
valleys of Arabia by a sudden descent of showers, or melting of 
snow; but sometimes to mighty rivers, to which the torrents of 
the Desert could famish only the most general parallel. Few 
who pass to and fro along the majestic river between Cadiz and 
Seville, remember that its name is a recollection of the Desert 
far away ; the Arab could find no other appellation for the 
Bctis than that of "The Great W&dy "— Guad-al-Khebir*. 

To these waterless rivers the Desert owes its boundaries, its 
form, its means of communication, as truly as the countries 
or districts of Europe owe theirs to the living streams which 
divide range from range, and nation from nation. Sometimes, 
as in the W&dy Taiyibeh and the W&dy Sey&l, a broad and 
winding track; sometimes, as in the W&dy Miisa, closed 

1 Quoted in Bitter, Sinai, p. 456. 

' A itill more remarkable instance of 
tlti* violent adaptation of the acanty no- 
meneiatnre of the Desert to the varied 
featores of European soeneiy haa been 
pointed out by M. Engelhardt, in his 
learned work on the valleys of Monte 
BoBL It appears that in the ninth and 
tenth centuries the valley of Saas was 
occupied by a band of Saracens ; and M. 
Rigflhardt Ingenionsly, thon^ in one 
or tvo instances fandfolly, derives the 
existing names of the localities in that 
valley from these strange occupants. 
AiDoogst these are the Monte Moro — ^the 
Pass of the Moors — ^e two villages or 
stations of AlmagtUf and the mountain 
of MUehdel; of which the former, by 
the likeness of its first syllable to the 

Arabian artide al, the latter of its ter- 
mination to the word jebd, certainly 
confirm the hypothesis. But the most 
curious and the most probable is the 
name of the huge glacier through which 
rushes the wild torrent of the Yisp. 
Hardly two objects less like can be con- 
ceived than tiiat mass of ioe^ with its 
lake reflecting the glaciers in the tranquil 
water, and the abundant stream gushing 
from its bosom, on the one hand ; and 
on the other hand, the scanty rivulet or 
pool in the hot rocky bed of the Desert, 
fringed with palm or acacia. But this 
was the only image which the Arabs had 
of a iouree or tpring of a river. And 
**Al-al-'Ain," accordingly, is the pre- 
sent name of the leader of their Alpino 

16 SINAI AND PALESTINE. [gbap. i. 

between oyerarching clifEs; sometimeSy as in the Wadj es^ 
3heykh, leaying a vast margin on each side, such as in a happier 
soil and climate would afford pasturage for a thousand cattle; 
sometimes, as in the W&dy Sidri, expanding into a level space» 
where, in Switzerland and Westmoreland, the surrounding 
precipices would descend, not as there on a waste of sand or 
gravel, but on a bright lake; they yet all have this in common, 
that they are the high roads of the Desert : the stations, the 
tribes, the mountains, are as truly along their banks, and 
distinguished by their courses, as if they were rivers or rail 
roads. By observing their peculiarities, their points of 
junction, and their general direction, any one who had once 
traversed the route from Cairo to Petra, would probably find 
his way back without any great risk or difficulty* And, as in 
western countries, amongst a variety of lesser streams there is 
generally one commanding river which absorbs all the rest, and 
serves as the main line of communication for the whole region, 
so it is with the wftdys of the Desert. Um Shaumer, St 
Catherine, and Serbftl, are not more decisively the dominant 
sununits of the Sinaitic moxmtains, than is the W&dy es-Sheykh 
— ^the " valley of the saint " — the queen of the Sinaitic rivers. 
The immense curve by which it connects the two great clusters 
of the Peninsula is as clear in reality as on the map. 

Thus the general character of the wftdys, as well as of the 
The Vege- mountains of Sinai, is entire desolation. If the moun- 
****®^ » tains are naked Alps, the valleys are dry rivers. But 
there are exceptions in both instances. There is nearly every- 
where a thin, it might almost be said a transparent coating of 
vegetation. There are occasional spots of verdure, which 
escape notice in a general view, but for that very reason are the 
more remarkable when observed. It is said that travellers, on 
arriving at Lisbon from Madrid, after crossing the bare table- 
land of central Spain, are asked, " Do you remember that tree 
you passed on the road ? " The same feeling is more strongly 
experienced in the passage of the Desert. Not perhaps every 
single tree, but every group of trees, lives in the traveller's 
recollection as distinctly as the towns and spires of civilised 
countries. Accordingly, both the valleys, and (where they are 
not named directly from the valleys) the mountains also are 

MU X.] 



usually named from the slight vegetation by which they are 
distuiguished from each other. The highest peak of the whole 
range is known by no other name than the trivial appellation 
of Urn Shaumer, — "the mother of fennel," doubtless from the 
femiel which Burckhardt describes as characteristic of the 
Peninsula. The Bas Siifsafeh, which represents, according to 
Dr. Bobinson's view, the Horeb of Moses, is the "willow- 
head," from the group of two or three willows which grow in 
the Wady Sufsafeh, in its recesses. Serbdl is possibly so called 
from the a^r, or myrrh, which creeps over its ledges up to the 
very summit. And (judging by this analogy) the most probable 
origin even of the ancient " Sinai " is the aeneh or acacia, with 
which, as we know, it then abounded. The Wady AbA- 
Hamad — the " father of fig-trees " — is from the old fig-tree in 
its deep clefts ; the Wady Sidri from its bushes of wild thorn*; 
the Wady Seyal from the acacia; the Wady Taiyibeh, from the 
" goodly" water and vegetation it contains*. 

The more definitely marked spots of verdure, however, are 
the accompaniments not of the empty beds of winter The 
torrents, but of the few living, perhaps perennial 8p"^^« 
springs, which by the mere fact of their rarity, assume an 
importance difiicult to be understood in the moist scenery of 
the West and North. These springs, whose sources are for 
the most part high up in the mountain clefts, occasionally send 
down into the wudys rills of water, which however scanty — 
however little deserving of the name even of brooks* — ^yet 
become immediately the nucleus of whatever vegetation the 
desert produces. Often their course can be traced, not by 
visible water, but a track of moss here, a fringe of rushes there. 

1 See KiUer, Sin&i, pp. 346, 748. 

* The names of the Alps are, for the 
nunt part, deriTed from some pecnliaritj 
of the moontain — ^the Wetterhom, Silber- 
bom, the Jnngfran, Mont Blanc, and the 
like. But one of the most striking has 
reodred its name, like those Arabian 
hiUi^ from the Tegetatiou of the TaUeys 
at its foot The marvellons peak of 
**the lialterhom*' is so called, not from 
its eztraordinaiy formation and shape, 
jmt frtan. the &ct that the first viev of 
ik nsnally obtained bringH it before ns in 
Mnnection with the green pastures and 
voods of Katt or Zer-Matt, abore which 

it rises; "Matt*' being the provincial 
word for meadow or mead, of which it is 
in fact only another form — as in An-dcr- 
Mattf the village on the nuad of the St. 
(iothard Pass. The German name of the 
mountain is thus "the peak of the 
mea<2oto«,*' as the Italian name (for a 
similar reason) is Monte Silvio— the 
Mountain of the Forests. 

' RQimell notioes four perennial brooks: 
1. The WAdy el-'Ain. 2. The Wftdy 
Sslaka. 8. The WAdy Feirftn. 4. The 
WAdy HibrAn. I only saw the first and 
third. See Part II. vl. vii. zii. 


a solitary palm, a group of acacias — which at once denote that 
an unseen life is at work. Wherever these springs are to be 
found, there, we cannot doubt, must always have been the 
resort of the wanderers in the Desert; and they occur at such 
frequent intervals, that, after leaving Suez, there is at least on6 
such spot in each successive day's journey. In two of the 
great wadys which lead from the first beginnings of the Sinai 
range to the Gulf of Suez — Ghuriindel, and Useit with its con- 
tinuation of the Wady Taiyibeh — such tracts of vegetation are 
to be found in considerable luxuriance. In a still greater degree 
is this the case in all the various wadys leading down from the 
Sinai range to the Gulf of 'Akaba— of which the Wady el-*Ain 
is described by Biippell and by Miss Martineau; the Wady 
Siimghy by Dr. Robinson ; and the Wady Kyd by Burckhardt 
— in all of which this union of vegetation with the fantastic 
scenery of the desolate mountains presents a combination as 
beautiful as it is extraordinary. In three spots, however, in 
the Desert, and in three only so far as appears, this vege- 
tation is brought by the concurrence of the general configura- 
tion of the coxmtry to a still higher pitch. By far the most 
remarkable collection of springs is that which renders the 
clusters of Jebel Musa the chief resort of the Bedouin tribes 
during the summer heats. Four abundant sources in the 
_ ^ mountains immediately above the Convent of St. 

The OsMB. . 

Catherine must always have made that region one of 
the most frequented of the Desert. The two other exceptions 
are of a different character. It has been already observed that, 
in order fully to understand the geography of Sinai, we most 
combine it with the geography of the neighbouring countries. 
Every one has heard of the Oasis of A mm on, in the western 
desert of the Nile. What that oasis is on a great scale may be 
seen on a small scale elsewhere ; namely, deep depressions of 
the high table-land, which thus become the receptacles of all 
the rain and torrents, and consequently of the vegetation and 
the life, of the whole of that portion of the Desert These 
oases, tlierefore, are to be found wherever the waters from the 
different wadys or hills, whether from winter-streams, or firom 
such living springs as have just been described, converge to 
a common reservoir. One such oasis in the Sinaitic desert 

nai i.J 



seems to be the palm-grove of El-Wady at TAr\ — the sea-port 
half-way down the Gulf of Suez, — ^which receives all the waters 
which flow down from the higher range of Sinai to the sea. 
The other, and the more important, is the Wady Feir&n, high 
up in the table-land of Sinai itself; but apparently receiving all 
the waters which, from the springs and torrents of the central 
cluster of Mount Sinai, flow through the W&dy es-Sheykh into 
this basin, where their further exit is forbidden by the rising 
ground in the W&dy Feir&n*. These two green spots are the 
^ses of Sinai, and with the nucleus of springs in Jebel Musa, 
form the three chief centres of vegetation in the Peninsula. 

n. This is the general conformation of the scenery through 
which the Israelites passed. Even if their precise General 
route were unknown, yet the peculiar features of the J^he^hS^ 
country have so much in common that the history tory. 
would still receive many illustrations. They were brought 
into contact with a desolation, to them the more remarkable by 
its contrast with the green valley of the Nile. They The 
were enclosed within a sanctuary of temples and Scenery, 
pyramids not made with hands, — the more awful from its total 
dissimilarity to anything which they or their fathers could have 
remembered in Egypt or in Palestine. They were wrapt in a 
silence which gave fall efiiect to the morning and the evening 
shout witK which the encampment rose and pitched ; and still 
more to the "thunders, and the voice exceeding loud" on the 
top of Horeb. The Prophet and his People were thus secluded 
from all former thoughts and associations, that 

*' Separate from the world, hiB breast 
Might duly take and strongly keep 
The print of Heaven, to be expiest 
Ere long on Sion*8 steep ^'* 

Not less illustrative, though perhaps less explanatory, of the 
^ore special incidents recorded, are some of the more local 

' Borekhaidt (Arabia, ii. 362) de- 
Kribes the palm-grore as so thick that 
be could hardly find his way through it. 
It is two miles from the village of Tt^, 
in a viUey called emphatically, £1- Wddy, 
"n«WJidy." (Welkted, ii. 9.) 

• SeePartlL vi. Tftr I did not see. 

' Keble'i Christian Tear, ISth Sun- 
day alter Trinity. I have everywhere 

quoted from this work the illustrations 
it contains of Scripture scenery, not only 
because of its wide circulation, but be- 
cause the careful attention of its learned 
author to all local allusions renders it 
almost a duty to test these allusions, 
whenever opportunity occurs, by reference 
to the localities themselves. 





peculiarities of the Desert. The occasional springs, and wells, 
and brooks, are in accordance with the notices of the *' waters '* 
of Marah ; the ' springs ' (mistranslated *' wells ") of Elim ; the 
*'• brook " of Horeb ; the " well " of Jethro's daughters, with its 
** troughs " or tanks, in Midian'. The vegetation is still thai 
which we should infer from the Mosaic history. The wUd 
Acacia (Mimosa Nilotica), under the name of "sunt/* everywhere 
represents the " seneh " or " senna " of the Burning Bush*. A 
slightly different form of the tree, equally common under the 
name of " sayal," is the ancient " Shittah*," or, as more usually 
expressed in the plural form (from the tangled thickets into 
which its stem expands), the " Shittim*," of which the taber- 
nacle was made, — an incidental proof, it may be observed, of 
the antiquity of the institution, inasmuch as the acacia, though 
the chief growth of the Desert, is very rare in Palestine*. The 
"Retem," or wild broom, with its high canopy and white 
blossoms, gives its name to one of the stations of the Israelites 
(Rithmah*), and is the very shrub imder which — in the only 
subsequent passage which connects the Desert with the histoiy 
of Israel — Elijah slept' in liis wanderings. The " palms " — not 
the graceful trees of Egypt, but the hardly less picturesque wild 
palms* of uncultivated regions, with their dwarf trunks and 
shaggy branches, — vindicate by their appearance the title of 
being emphatically the ''trees" of the Desert; and therefore^ 
whether in the cluster of the seventy palm-trees of the second 
station of the wanderings*, or in the grove, which still exists at 
the head of the Gulf of 'Akaba*, were known by the generic 
name of "EUm/' "Elath," or "Eloth*,"— "the trees." The 

> Ex. XV. 23, 27 ; Dcut. ii. 21 : Ex. 

3 Ex. iii. 2 ; Dent, xxxiii. 16. See 
?irt II. ir. 

s laa. xli. 19. 

* Exod. xxT. 5, 10, 13; xxvi. 2C; 
xxrii. 1, 6, &c. 

^ The gum which exndei from it is 
nid 16 be the old Arabian frankinoenie, 
and ia brought firom Sinui by Tfir. See 
Clarke's Travel*, vol. v. 76. 

« Numb, xxxui. 18, 19. 

^ 1 Kings xix. 4, mistranslated *'ju' 

niper.'* It is the * * spartinm joncom** of 

LmnKns. In Job xxx. 4, it is described 

as the food of the wild inhabitants of 

Edom when driven into tlie desert. The 
word is also used in Ps. cxx. 4. See 
Part II. iv. xii. 

^ The palms in the palm-groves at Tftr 
are all registered. Property in them is 
capital ; marriage porUons are given in 
dates, like tolips in Holland. (Henniker, 
p. 217.) 

» Exod. XV. 27; xvi. 1; Num. xxxiiL 9. 

^ Deut. ii. 8; 1 Kings ix. 26; 2 Kings 
xiv. 22 ; xvi. 6 ; 2 Chr. viii. 17 ; xxvi. i. 

* It is the same word which in Pales- 
tine is used habitually for the ttex vt 
terehifUh ; an instructive change^ becsuse 
the terebinth is as emphatically the dis* 
tinguished tree (if one may so say) of 

riBT I.] 



^tarfa/' or tamarisk, is not mentioned by name in the historj 
of the Exodus ; yet, if the tradition of the Greek Church and 
of the Arabs be adopted, it is inseparably connected with thft 
wanderings by the *^ manna*' vrhich distils from it, as gum- 
arabic from the acacia. It is also brought within the limit 
of their earlier history by the grove of " tamarisks,*" which 
Abraham planted round the wells of Beersheba, as soon as be 
iiad exchanged the vegetation of Palestine — ^the oaks of Moreh 
and of Mamre, — for the wild and scanty shrubs of the desert 
frontier. The lasaf or asaf^ the caper plant, the bright green 
creeper which climbs out of the fissures of the rocks in 
the Sinaitic valleys', has been identified on grounds of great 
probability with the " hyssop " or ezoh of Scripture, and 
thus explains whence came the green branches used, even 
in the Desert, for sprinkling the water over the tents of the 

Again, it has often been asked whether there are any natural 
phenomena by which the wonders of the giving of the ^j^^ j^ ^.^ 
Law can be explained or illustrated. There are at calpheno- 
first sight many appearanoes which, to an unpractised "^^"^ 
eje, seem indications of volcanic agency. But they are all, it is 
believed, illusory. The vast heaps, as of calcined mountains, 
are only the detritus of iron in the sandstone formation*. The 
traces of igneous action on the granite rocks belong to their 

^^Mne, ai tbe palm ib of the Desert. 
See Gbtpter II. 

I Tie "Eihel" of Gen. xxi. 33. It 
1* also used in 1 Sam. xxii. 6, for a tree 
at Eamah ; and in 1 Sam. xzzi. 13, for 
A tree St Jabeah, which in 1 Chron. x. 12, 
i< called an '< oak** (Elah). Thislastex- 
smple pahape throws doubt on the pre- 
vious asi^. But it can hardly be doubted 
t^t the Tamarisk is intended in Gen. 
ui. 33. See Part II. It., and Appendix. 

' Bitter, Sinai, 345, 761. I remember 
it espedally in the WAdy ShelUl, theWAdy 
d.'Ain, and the Stk at Petra. (See Part 
Q- pp. 70, 80, 89.) To us, as to Lepsins 
•nd Porska], the Bedouin name seemed to 
be Liuaf or LoMf, But it is the same as 
Burekhardt, FttjtMg, and Richardson giye 
under the name of Aaef and Ataf; and 
tbe other farm is probably only a oorrup- 
teofa^oM/ (See Journal of B. Asiat. 
Boc, No. XT. 203). The ai^gnmenta in 

favour of the identification are thus 
summed up by Professor Boyle. '*It is 
found in Lower Bgypt, in the Deserts of 
Sinai. . . . Its habit is to grow on the most 
barren soil, or rocky precipice, or the side 
of a wall. ... It has, moreover, always 
been supposed to possess cleansing pro- 
perties, Cespedally in cutaneous disorders. 
Pliny, H. K., xx. 15]. . . It is capable 
of yielding a stick, to which the spongv 
might be affixed.'* (Journal of R. Asiat. 
Soc, No. XV. p. 202.) The word Sa-aunos 
sAms to have been used by the LXX 
as the Greek name most nearly resemb- 
ling the Hebrew txoh in sound, though 
differing in sense. Thus Bo^ts is used for 
** Bir^" and B»/ios for <* Bcmah,** 

' Num. xix. 18. 

* See Part II. vL I ought perhaps to 
notice the ' 'hot springs " of the Peninsula^ 
which however are^ I believe, all on the 


first upheaving, not to any subsequent convulsions. Every- 
where there are signs of the action of water, nowhere of 
fire. On the other hand, the tremendous thunderstorms re- 
verberated amongst the mountains have greatly impressed on 
those who have heard them the likeness to " the voice of the 
trumpet," the '' trembling of the earth," the " blackness and 
thick darkness'." The mysterious sounds which have been 
mentioned on XJm Shaumer and Jebel Musa, may also be in 
some way connected with the terrors described in the Mosaic 
narrative. If there is such a connection, additional proof 
is famished of the historical truth of the narrative. If not, it 
must rest, as heretofore, on its own internal evidence. 

Finally, the relation of the Desert to its modem inhabitants 
The present is Still illustrative of its ancient history. The general 
inUbitanta name* by which the Hebrews called " the wilderness," 
including always that of Sinai, was *' the pasture." Bare as 
the surface of the Desert is, yet the thin clothing of vegetation 
which is seldom entirely withdrawn, especially the aromatic 
shrubs on the high hill sides, furnishes sufficient sustenance 
for the herds of the six thousand Bedouins who constitute the 
present population of the Peninsula. 

*' Along the mountain ledges green, 
The scattered sheep at will may glean 
The Desert^s spicy stores '.*' 

So were they seen following the daughters or the shepherd* 
slaves of Jethro. So may they be seen climbing the rocks, 
or gathered round the pools and springs of the valleys, under 
the charge of the black- veiled Bedouin women of the present 
day. And in the Tiyahah, Tawarah, or 'Alawin tribes, witl. 
their chiefs and followers, their dress, and manners, and 
habitations, we probably see the likeness of the Midianites, 
the Amalekites, and the Israelites themselves in this their 
earliest stage of existence. The long straight lines of 
black tents which cluster round the Desert springs, present 
to us on a small scale the image of the vast encampment 

1 Stewart, Tent and Khan, 189. * Christian Year, 5th Sunday in Lent 

* '*Midbar.*' See Append! z,«tt6voA0. 


gathered round the one Sncred Tent which, with its cover- 
iDgs of dyed skins, stood conspicuous in the midst, and 
which recalled the period of their nomadic life long after 
their settlement in Palestine*. The deserted villages — ^marked 
bj rude enclosures of stone — are doubtless such as those 
to which the Hebrew wanderers gave the name' of " Hazeroth/' 
and which afterwards furnished the t3rpe of the primitive 
sanctuary at Shiloh'. . The rude burial-grounds, with the 
many nameless bead-stones, fetr away from human habita- 
tion, are such as the host of Israel must have left behind 
them at the different stages of their progress — at Massah, 
at Sinai, at Kibroth-hattaavah, " the graves of desire*." The 
salutations of the chiefs, in their bright scarlet robes, the 
one "going out to meet the other," the "obeisance," the 
'"kiss" on each side the head, the silent entrance into the 
tent for consultation, are all graphically described in the 
encounter between Moses and Jethro'. The constitution of 
the tribes, with the subordinate degrees of sheykhs, recom- 
mended by Jethro to Moses, is the very same which still exists 
amongst those who are possibly his lineal descendants — the 
gentle race of the Taw&rah^ . 

As we pass from the Desert to its inhabitants, a question 
naturally arises — How far can we be sure that we 
have the same outlines, and colours, and forms, thefmtuiM 
that were presented to those who wandered through ^*^® 
these mountains and valleys three thousand years 
ago ? It might at first sight seem, that in this, as in other 
respects, the interest of the Desert of Sinai would be unique ; 
that here, more than in any other great stage of historical 
events, the outward scene must remain precisely as it was; 
that the convent of Justinian with its gardens, the ruins 
of Paran, with the remains of hermits* cells long since deso- 
late, are the only alterations which human hands have 
introduced into these wild solitudes. Even the Egyptian 

* 1 Chnm. xzi. 20; 2 Chron. i. 8. c&Ued by the Anbs TurBet es T&bond 
' See p. 81, and Appendix, Chat' (graveflofthe Jews), near the WadyFeizan, 

ttr. and Wady Berah. 
' See Chapter Y. ^ Exodus zriii. 7. 

* Dr. Stewart, Tent and Khan, pp. • &itter, Sinai, pp. 986, 987. 
9% 159, Bientionfl cironlar oaima, aa 

24 SINAI AND PALBSTINE. [obap. i. 

monuments and sculptures which are carved out of the sand- 
stone rocks were ahready there, as the Israelites passed 
by — memorials at once of their servitude and of their 
deliverance. But a difficulty has often been stated that 
renders it necessaiy somewhat to modify this assumption 
of absolute identity between the ancient and modem Desert 
The question is asked — "How could a tribe, so numerous 
and powerful as, on any hypothesis, the Israelites must 
have been', be maintained in this inhospitable desert?" It 
is no answer to say that they were sustained by miracles; 
for except the manna, the quails, and the three interventions 
in regard to water, none such are mentioned in the Mosaic 
history ; and if we have no warrant to take away, we have 
no warrant to add. Nor is it any answer to say that this 
difficulty is a proof of the impossibility, and therefore of 
the unhistorical character of the narrative. For, as Ewald 
has well shown, the general truth of the wanderings in the 
wilderness is an essential preliminary to the whole of the 
subsequent history of Israel. Much may be allowed for the 
spread of the tribes of Israel far and wide through the whole 
Pemnsula, and also for the constant means of support from 
their own flocks and herds. Something, too, might be elicited 
from the undoubted fact that a population nearly if not 
quite equal to the whole permanent population of the Penin- 
sula does actually pass through the Desert, in the caravan 
of the five thousand African Pilgrims on their way to Mecca. 
But amongst these considerations, it is important to observe 
what' indications there may be of the moimtains of Sinai 
having ever been able to furnish greater resources than at 
present. These indications are well summed up by Bitter'. 
There is no doubt that the vegetation of the wAdys has con- 
siderably decreased. In part, this would be an inevitable 
effect of the violence of the winter torrents. The trunks 

^ In spite of the difficulties attending critioal investigation of this history id- 

upon the statement of the 600, 000 armed clines to adoiit the numbot of 600, 000 aa 

men, as given in the Pentateuch, and the authentic Ewald, Gtsehieht€f (2nd edit) 

uncertainty always attached to attaining ii. 61, 258, 859. 

exact statements of numbers in any an- ' Ritter, Sinai, pp. 926, 927. See 

dent text, or in any calculation of this also Captain AUen*a ''Dead Sea," vuL ii« 

kind, yet the most recent and the most 200 — 298. 


of palm-trees washed up on the shore of the Dead Sea, 
from which the living tree has now for many centuries dis- 
appeared, show what may have been the devastation produced 
amongst those mountains, where the floods, especially in 
earlier times, must have been violent to a degree unknown 
m Palestine ; whilst the peculiar cause — ^the impregnation of 
salt — which has preserved the vestiges of the older vege- 
tation there, has here, of course, no existence. The traces 
of such a destruction were pointed out to Burckhardt on the 
eastern side of Mount Sinai*, as having occurred within half a 
century before his visit ; also to Wellsted', as having occurred 
near Tur, in 1832. In part, the same result has followed 
from the reckless waste of the Bedouin tribes — reckless in 
destroying, and careless in replenishing. A fire, a pipe, lit 
nnder a grove of Desert trees, may clear away the vegetation of 
a whole valley. 

The acacia trees have been of late years ruthlessly de- 
stroyed by the Bedouins for the sake of charcoal ; especially 
since they have been compelled by the Pasha of Egypt to 
pay a tribute in charcoal for an assault committed on the 
Mecca caravan in the year 1823*. Charcoal from the acacia 
is, in fact, the chief, perhaps it might be said the only, 
traffic of the Peninsula. Camels are constantly met, loaded 
with this wood, on the way between Cairo and Suez. And 
as this probably has been carried on in great degree by 
the monks of the convent, it may account for the fact, 
that whereas in the valleys of the western and the eastern 
clusters this tree abounds more or less, yet in the central 
cluster itself, to which modem tradition certainly, and geo- 
graphical considerations probably, point as the mountain of 
the burning ' thorn,* and the scene of the building of the Ark 
and all the utensils of the Tabernacle from this very wood, 
there is now not a single acacia to be seen. If this be so, the 
greater abundance of vegetation would, as is well known, have 
furnished a greater abundance of water, and this again would 
re-act on the vegetation, from which the means of subsistence 
would be procured. How much may be done by a careful use 

' BireUiaidt» p. 5SR. > RiippeU, ^ 100. 

> WeDitod. ii. ir>. 



[chap. 1. 

of such water and such soil as the Desert supplies, may be 
seen by the only two spots to which, now, a diligent and provi- 
dent attention is paid ; namely, the gardens at the Wells of 
Moses, under the care of the French and English agents from 
Suez, and the gardens in the valleys of Jebel Musa, under 
the care of the Greek monks of the convent of St. Catherine. 
Even as late as the seventeenth century, if we may trust the 
expression of Monconys^ the Wady er-Bahah in front of the 
convent, now entirely bare, was " a vast green plain," — " une 
grande champagne verte.** And that there was in ancient times 
a greater population than at present — ^which would, again, by 
thus furnishing heads and hands to consider and to cultivate 
these spots of vegetation, tend to increase and to preserve 
them — may be inferred from several indications'. The Amalek* 
ites, who contested the passage of the Desert with Israel were, 
— if we may draw any inferences from this very fact, as well as 
from their wide-spread name and power even to the time of 
Saul and David, and from the allusion to them in Balaam's 
prophecy as " the first of the nations," — something more than 
a mere handful of Bedouins. The Egyptian copper-mines and 
monuments and hieroglyphics, in Surabit el-Khadim and the 

1 Journal des Yoyages, p. 420. 

* In the question of the maintCDanoe 
of the Israelites, it is impossible to avoid 
considering the qnestion of the identity 
of the present manna vith that described 
in the Mosaic history. The hypothesis of 
their identity, it must be remembered, is 
no modem fimcy ; but was believed by 
Josephns (Ant. III. i. 6) and has always 
been maintained by the Greek Church in 
its representatives at the Convent of St. 
Catherine ; and portions of it have been 
by them deliberately sold as soch to 
pilgrims and travellers for many centu- 
ries. It must be acknowledged, with 
all deference to so ancient a tradition, 
that the only arguments in its favour are 
the name and the locality in which it is 
found. An exudation like honey, pro« 
duoed by insects from the leaves of the 
tamarisk, used only for medicinal pur- 
poses, and falling on the ground only from 
accident or neglect^ and at present pro- 
duced in sufficient quantities only to sup- 
port one man for six months, has obviously 
but few points of similarity with the 

"small round thing, small as the hoar* 
frost on the ground ; like coriander seed, 
white, its taste like wafers made with 
honey; gathered and ground in m^ 
and b«it in a mortar^ baked in pans and 
made into caJcea, and its taste as the 
taste of fresh oil ;" and spoken of as 
forming at least a considerable part of 
the sustenance of a vast caravan like that 
of the Israelites. AU the arguments in 
favour of the ancient view of the identity 
may be seen in Ritter (pp. 665—695), 
all those in favour of the modem view of 
the diversity of the two kinds of manna, 
in Robinson (vol. i. p. 170) and Iftborde 
(Commentary on Exodus and Numbers, 
p. 97). So far as the argument against 
its identity depends on its insufficiency, 
the greater abundance of vegetation, and 
therefore of tatfa trees, shoidd be taken 
into account. And it should be observed* 
that the manna found in Kurdistan and 
Persia hr more nearly coirespondto to the 
Mosaic account, and also is asserted by 
the Bedouins and others to faU fresh from 
heaven (WeUsted, ii. 48). 


WAdj Mughareli, imply a degree of intercourse between Egypt 
and the Peninsula in the earliest days of Egypt, of which all 
other traces have long ceased. The ruined cities of Edom 
in the mountains east of the 'Arabah, and the remains and 
history of Petra itself, indicate a traffic and a population in 
these remote regions which now seems to us almost incon- 
ceivable. And even much later times, extending to the sixth 
and seventh centuries of our era, exhibit signs both of move* 
ments and habitations which have long ago ceased ; such as 
the writings of Christian pilgrims on the rocks, whether in the 
Sinaitic characters, in Greek, or in Arabic ; as weU as the 
nmnerous remains of cells, gardens, houses, chapels, and 
churches, now deserted and ruined, both in the neighbourhood 
of Jebel Musa and of Serb&l. It must be confessed that 
none of these changes solve the difficulty, though they may 
mitigate its force ; but they at least help to meet it, and they 
mnst under any circumstances be borne in mind, to modify the 
image which we form to ourselves of what must always have 
been — as it is even thus early described to be — " a great and 
terrible wilderness." 

III. And now, is it possible to descend into details, and to 
ascertain the route by which the Israelites passed — j^^^^ ^^^ 
over the Bed Sea, and then through the Desert to ditions of 
Palestine? First, can we be guided by tradition? ^' 

In other words, has the recollection of those great events formed 
part of the historical consciousness and tradition of the Desert, 
or has it been merely devised in later times from conjectures 
either of the Greek monks and hermits of Sinai speculating on 
the words of the Old Testament, or of the Bedouin ^ ^^y, 
chiefs applying here and there a fragment of their tradition, 
knowledge of the Koran? Such a question can only be 
authoritatively answered by a traveller who, with a complete 
knowledge of Arabic, has sifted and compared the various 
legends and stories of the several tribes of the Peninsula. But 
any one, by combining his own experience, however slight, 
with the accounts of previous travellers, especially of Burck- 
hardt, may form an approximation to the truth. From what- 
ever source it be derived, there is unquestionably a general 
atmosphere of Mosaic tradition everywhere. From Petra to 

28 SINAI AND PALB3TINB. [orap. i. 

Cairo — ^from the northern platform of the peninsula to its 
Tiaditiona southern extremity, the name and the story of Moses 
of Moset. are still predominant. There are the two groups of 
** Wells of Moses," one on each side the Gulf of Suez — there 
are the " Baths of Pharaoh " — and the "Baths of Moses " further 
down the coast ; there is the " Seat of Moses," near Bes&tan, and 
in the W&dy es-Sheykh ; there is the " Mountain of Moses " in 
the cluster of Sinai ; the " Cleft of Moses " in Mount St Cathe- 
rine ; the " Valley " and the " Cleft of Moses " at Petra ; the 
*' Island of Pharaoh," or of " Moses," in the Gulf of 'Akaba. 
There is the romantic story told to Burckhardt', that the 
soughing of wind down the Pass of Nuweibi'a, on that gulf, 
is the wailing of Moses as he leaves his loved mountains; 
there is the '' Hill of Aaron," at the base of the traditional 
Horeb ; the " Tomb of Aaron," at the summit of the " Moun- 
tain of Aaron," overhanging Petra. It is possible, too, th^t 
the plateau of the Tih, or the Wanderings, on tlie north of ihfi 
Peninsula — the valley of the Tih, with the Mountain of 
Gharbiin (Doubt), on the southern road from Cairo to Suez 
— ^and the Jebel 'Atakah, or Mountain of Deliverance, between 
that valley and Suez, have reference to the wanderings and the 
escape of Israel. But these latter names may perhaps have 
originated in the dangers and deliverances of the Mecca 

-Two circumstances throw doubt on the continuity of this 
tr&dition. The first is, that hardly in one instance do the 
actual localities bear the names preserved in the Old Testa- 
Low of the ^^^^' These names are frequent and precise. The 
ancient different regions of the Desert which are indicated by 
°*°^**' their natural features, as above described, all seem to 
have had their special nomenclatures. All these as general 
names have perished. One name only, that of Paran^ has 
lingered in the valley and city of that name — apparently the 
same as that corrupted into Feirdn, The names of the 
particular stations which are given both in the general 
narrative, and in the special enumeration. in the d3rd chapter 
of the Book of Numbers, have also disappeared. There are 

' Bnrckhardt^ p. 517. 




thiee possible exceptions : the defile of Muktala may be a 
comiption of Migdol; Ajerud of Pi-hahiroth; Huderah of 
Hazeroth. But these are all doubtful, and of the others, even 
the most celebrated, Marah, Elim, and Bephidim, no trace 
remains. More remarkable still, perhaps, if we did not 
remember how very rarely mountains retain their nomen- 
clature from age to age, is the disappearance of the names 
of Horeb and Sinai'. What was the original meaning or 
special appropriation of these two names it is difficult to 
determine*. Horeb is probably the " Mountain of the Dried- 
up Ground;" Sinai the "Mountain of the Thorn." Either 
name applies, therefore, almost equally to the general aspect 
or to the general vegetation of the whole range. But both 
are now superseded by the fanciful appellations which attach 
to each separate peak, or by the common name of " Tur," in 
which all are merged alike. 

The names now given to the mountains, as before observed^ 
are chiefly derived either from the adjacent wadys, or from their 
peculiar vegetation. Some few are called from some natursd. 
peculiarity, such as, Jebel Hammam, so called from ^^ , 
the warm springs at its foot; or Tftset S&dr, from its nameB. 
caplike shape. Some, however, both of the w&dys and the 
mountains, are called from legendary or historical eventa 
attached to them. Such are the Wftdy es-Sheykh*, — the 
central valley of the Peninsula, which derives its name from 
the tomb of Sheykh Saleh ; the Jebel el-Benftt— the " Moun- 
tain of the Damsels," so called from a story of two Bedouin 

^ One of the most inteUigent guides I 
ever saw in any monntain country — 
Sbcykh Zeddan, Sheykh of Serb41— who 
soeompaaied ns to the top of that monn- 
<i>B, WES wholly nnaoqnainted with the 
Baaes of Horeb and Sinai ; and this 
Menied to be the general rule. But it 
mst be obseired, that in Niebahr^s time 
the Arabs spoke of the whole duster now 
csUed "Ttir" as "TAr Sina" (Descrip- 
tim de T Arable, p. 200) : and the little 
Aiab guides of tlie convent (as will be 
notioed afterwards, see p. 42) gave to one 
]wticalar peak the name of ** Sena." 

' The special use of "Horeb" and 
''Saai" in the Old Testament has often 
kea discussed. It appears to me that 
this depends rather on a distinction of 

usage than of place. 1. in Exodus, 
Leriticus, Numbers, and Judges, Sinai i» 
always and ezclusiTely used for the scene 
of the GiTuig of the Law ; Ifore^ being only 
used twice— for the scene of the Burning 
Bush, and of the Striking of the Bock. 
(Ex. iii. 1, xriL 6, are doubtful; Ex. 
zzxiii. 6, is ambiguous.) 2. In Deutero- 
nomy, Ilortb is substituted for Sinai, thff 
former being always used, the latter nerer, 
ibr the Mountain of the Law. 3. In the 
Psalms, the two are used indifferently fot 
the Mountain of the Law. 4. In 1 Kings xix. 
8, itisimpossibletodetermine to what part, 
if to any special part, J7ofv6 is applied. For 
a further discussion of the subject, see 
Lopeius* Letters, p. 81 7. Bwald, ii. 84. 
* Seep. 66; PartlL p. 78. 



[UHAP. t« 

sisters having, in a fit of disappointed love, twisted their hair 
together, and leaped from the two peaks of the mountain — 
which, in all probability, originated the legend; the Jebel 
Katherin, or Mountain of St. Catherine, the scene of the 
miraculous translation of the body of that saint from Alex- 
andria. This nomenclature suggests the likelihood that the 
various names before mentioned in connection with the Mosaic 
history are comparatively modem. If the monks of the convent 
have been able so completely to stamp the name of St. Cathe* 
rine on one of their peaks, there is no reason to doubt that 
they may have been equally able to stamp the name of Moses 
on the other \ 

But, secondly, the moment that the Arab traditions of Moses 
Variations ^® examined in detail, they are too fantastic to be 
of tradi- treated seriously. They may well be taken as repre- 
senting some indistinct or mysterious impressions left 
by that colossal figure as he passed before the vision of their 
ancestors. But it is not possible to apply them for verification 
of special events or localities. The passage of the Red Sea, as 
Niebuhr has well remarked, is fixed wherever the traveller puts 
the question to his Arab guides. The ** Wells of Moses," the 
*' Baths of Pharaoh," the " Baths of Moses," all down the Gulf 
of Suez ; and the " Island of Pharaoh," in the Gulf of *Akaba, 
equally derive their names from traditions of the passage at 
each of these particular spots. The ''warm springs of 
Pharaoh" are his last breath as the waves passed over 
him; the "WeUs of Moses," the " Baths of Moses," the great 
" Clefts of Moses " on St. Catherine, and at Petra, are equally 
the results of Moses' rod. The " Mountain of Moses " is so 
called, not so much from any tradition of the Giving of the 
Law, as because it is supposed to contain in the cavity of the 
granite rock the impression of his back, as he hid himself from 
the presence of God. His visit to Sinai is apparently separated 

1 At the same time it is impossible 
not to remark the much greater idowness 
with which foreign traditions strike root 
here than wonld be the case in Europe. 
Since Burckhard^s time, the spring of 
HawArahhas been generally assumed to be 
Mamh. Had this spring been in England, 
Italy, or Qreece^ the place would long 

before this hare received the name of 
Marah, which travellers and guides are 
anxious to impose upon it. But here, in 
spite of the endeavours made by every party 
that passes to extract a confession of the 
desired name, '* Haw&rah" it atill ia^ and 
probably will remain. 


from that of the Children of Israel, who, according to the 
Bedouin story, occupied the whole forty years in vainly endea- 
vouring to cross the platform of the Tih. 

2. If ^e Arab tradition fails in establishing particular locali- 
ties, so does also the Greek tradition as preserved in q^^]^ |„. 
the convent How far in earlier times the monks were ^i^ona. 
better guides than they are at present, it is difficult to deter- 
mine. At present, and as far back as the modem race of 
travellers extends, there is probably no branch of the vast 
fraternity of ciceroni so unequal to their task as the twenty- 
one monks of the most interesting convent in the world. 
Exiles from the islands in the Greek Archipelago; rebels 
against monastic rules at home; lunatics sent for recovery; 
none as a general rule remaining longer than two or three years; 
with an imperfect knowledge of Arabic, with no call upon their 
exertions, and no check upon their ignorance, they know less 
about the localities which surround tliem than the humblest of 
the Bedouin serfs who wait upon their bounty. It may be 
said, perhaps, that for this very reason, they may have the 
more faithfully handed down the traditions of the first inhabi- 
tants of the convent. Yet, when we remember how many 
of these sites have evidently been selected for the sake of 
convenience rather than of truth, it is not easy to trust a 
tradition that has descended through such channels even for 
fifteen hundred years, tmless it can render good its claim to be 
the o&pring of another, which requires for its genuineness 
another fifteen hundred still. In order to bring it into the 
round of the daily sights, the cleft of Korah, Dathan, and 
Abiram, is transferred from Eadesh Bamea to the foot of 
Horeb. The peak of Jebel MAsa, now pointed out by them as 
the scene of the Giving of the Law, fails to meet the most 
pressing requirements of the narrative. Bephidim has been 
always shown within an hour's walk instead of a day's march 
^m the mountain. The monks in the last century confessed 
or rather boasted that they had themselves invented the foot- 
niark of Mahomet's mule, in order to secure the devotion of 
the Bedouins. The cypress, surmounted by a cross and cut 
into the shape of a serpent, in the court of the convent, in all 
probability was intended to commemorate the really remote 



[chip I, 

event of the erection of the Brazen SerpenV. Tiir, and even 
'Akaba, were long shown as Elim*. 

3. There are, however, some few traces of traditions extend* 
Eftrlytra- ^S beyond the age of Justinian or of Mahomet, 
ditiona, which ought not to be disregarded. Josephus, here, 
as elsewhere, refers throughout to sources of information not 
contained in the Old Testament, yet free from the grotesque- 
ness and absurdity of the Rabbinical interpretation. Eusebius 
f Eusebi ^^^ Jerome also speak as if the nomenclature of the 
and Je- Desert * was in some instances known to them, either 
""** * by tradition or conjecture. The selection of the sites 
of the two great convents of Feir&n and St. Catherine, though 
it may have been dictated in part by the convenience of the 
neighbouring water and vegetation, yet must also have been in 
part influenced by a pre-existing belief in the sanctity of those 
spots. One point there is,— not, indeed, in the Peninsula 
itself, but in connection with the route of the Israelites — ^in 
which the local tradition so remarkably coincides with every 
indication furnished by historical notices, and by the nature of 
the country, as not only to vindicate credibility for itself, bat 
to lend some authority to the traditions of the Desert generally 
—the " Mountain of Aaron," in all probability the " Hor " of 
Bndre- Aaron's grave*. The cycle of Mosaic names and 
55^^^ traditions, which seems most reasonably to point to 
Hor, a genuine Arab source, is that which relates to the 

Arab chief Jethro, or (as he is called from his other name 
•ndJetbro. ^^bab) Shu'eib. The most remarkable of these is 
the Wady Shu'eib; according to one version, the 

^ This obflerration I owe to the aocu- 
rate drawing of the convent by my friend 
Mr. Herbert Herriea. 

> Wellfited (ii. IS) says that "the 
traditions of the country assert Ttr to be 
Blim, where Moses and his household 
encamped ;** and that *' the Mohamedan 
pilgrims proceeding to or returning from 
Mecca, giro implicit credence to the tradi- 
tion,'* and '* believe the waters to be effi- 
eacious in removing cutaneous and other 
tropical disorders." This shows the im- 
portance of an accurate distinction between 
the different classes of tradition. There 
is no doubt that the Mussulmans regard 
the wells as the Baths of Moses : but the 

question is, whether they regard them as 
Elim, or whetlier, as is probable, that is 
not a name given by the Greek oonvent» 
to which the palm-grove of T&r belongs. 

* At the same time the rash conjecture 
that Jerome makes about the second 
encampment by the Bed Sea, (Numb, 
xxxiii. 10) shows that he was quite 
unacquainted with the details of the 
geography. He speaks of it as a great 
difficulty, aud solves it by imaginiog 
that there was a boy running inland, or 
that a pool of water with reeds (!) may 
possibly have been the Becdy Sea. (Bp. 
ad Fabiolam.) 

< See Part 11. xvi. 


ralley east of Jebel Musa, in which the convent stands 
according to another, the ravine leading down into that valley 
from the Bfts Stifsafeh. Probably the W&dy Leja on the western 
side of the same range, and the Jebel Fureift above the plain 
Er-IUhah, point to the two daughters of Jethro , called in the 
Arabian legends Lija and Saforia (Zipporah). There is also the 
£aye of Shu'eib * on the eastern shores of the Gulf of 'Akaba, 
a tradition the more remarkable as being by its situation re- 
moved from any connection with the Christian convents, and 
also being the very region which, in all probability, is the 
country described as Jethro*s Midian in the Pentateuch. 

lY. Bearing these earliest traditions in mind, whenever they 
•can be traced, it may still be possible, by the internal ^^^ ^ 
evidence of the country itself, to lay down not indeed the is- 
ibe actual route of the Israelites in every stage, but, 
in almost all cases, the main alternatives between which we 
junst choose, and, in some cases, the very spots themselves. 
Hitherto no one traveller has traversed more than one, or at 
most two routes of the Desert ; and thus the determination oi 
these questions has been obscured, first, by the tendency oi 
eyery one to make the Israelites follow his own track, and 
secondly, by his inability to institute a just comparison between 
the facilities or the difficulties which attend the routes which 
he has not seen. This obscurity will always exist till some 
^competent traveller has explored the whole Peninsula. When 
this has been fairly done, there is little doubt that some of the 
most important topographical questions now at issue will be 
set at rest. Meanwhile, with the materials before us, it may 
he useful to give a summary of the noints in dispute as they at 
present stand '• 

1. Of all the events of the Israelite history, there is none 
irhich either from the magnificence of the crisis ^p. 
itself, or from its long train of associations, has Mgeofthe 
{ireater interest than the passage of the Bed Sea. In ^^ ^^ 
the history of the. Old Dispensation it took, not merely by 

' Bee Weil's Biblical Legends, p. 107. nstent with penpieuity. The mi^ mut 

' Ittneniy of Meocft Pilgrims, in Well- be in many oases its own interpnier. I 

rted'i " AiaUa," iL 459. must also refer to the subsequent portion 

3 In aU that follows I have eonfined of this Chapter (Part II). 

ttjBdf to the most oondse statement oon- 

36 SINAI AND PALESTINB. [ohap. i. 

the actual description accords with this, better than with the 
hypothesis which would lead the army through the more 
southern part of the gulf, where they would have passed not 
between *^ walls,'' but between '* mountains " of water, such as 
no faithful narrative could have failed to notice. Secondly, we 
are told that the host, to the number of 600,000 armed men, 
passed over within the limits of a single night. If so, the 
passage must have occurred in the narrower end of the gulf, and 
not in the wide interval of eight or ten miles between the 
W&dy Tawarik and the Wells of Moses *. Indetd, it should be 
remembered that the notion of the Israelites crossing the Bed 
Sea at its broader part is comparatively modem. By earlier 
Christian commentators, and by almost all the Babbinical 
writers who selected the wider road as the scene of the event, 
the passage was explained to be not a transit — ^which, as 
Ohytrseus of Bostock calculated, would have required at least 
three days — ^but a short circuity returning again to the Egyptian 
fihore, and then pursuing their way round the head of the 
gulf. Such an interpretation, faithfully represented on the 
old maps, and defended at great length by Quaresmius*, is 
worth preserving, as a curious instance of the sacrifice of the 
whole moral grandeur of a miracle, to which men are often (and 
in this case necessarily) driven by a mistaken desire of exag* 
gerating its physical magnitude. These reasons oblige us to 
look for the scene of the passage at tlie northern end of the 
gulf; whether at the present fords of Suez, or at some point 
higher up the gulf, which then probably extended at least as far 
as the Bitter Lakes, depends on arguments which have not yet 
been thoroughly explored. On the one hand, the exclamation 
of Pharaoh " They are entangled in the land ; the wilderness 
hath shut them in," is best explained by the supposition that 
they were hemmed in on the south by mountains ; and this was 
the view of Josephus, who repeatedly speaks of the " precipitous 
mountain descending on the sea." This could be no other 
than the Jebel Atakah, which borders the north-west side of the 
gulf, and which terminates the mountain range. Farther north, 
there are no eminences higher than sand-hills. The subse- 

^ This IB the vidih aoeording to the even en deep water ooenn constaiitly in 

Bunrey of the Bed Sea by Commander the FritEsler Hof on the ahores of the 

Moresby and Lientenant CareleBS. A Baltic between Memel and Eonigsbeig. 
remarkable instanoe of the effect of wind * Elaeidatb TemeSaneta, u. 955, t^ 

riif l] 



qaent route also agrees best with the passage at Suez. On the 
other hand, the previous route will best agree with some spot 
nearer to *' the edge '' of the cultivated land, that is, farther 
north; and the names, so far as they can be traced, point in 
the same direction. " Pi-hahiroth^" is probably an Egyptian 
word — "the grsissy places" — and, if so, can only be sought 
northwards, not in the naked desert either of 'Ajrud, where it 
has been sometimes found, or of the W&dy Taw&rik. " Migdol " 
may indeed be only the " watch-tower " of the fords ; but it 
may also be the ancient " Magdolum,*' twelve miles south of 
Pelosimn, and undoubtedly described as ''Migdol" by Jeremiah 
and Ezekiel*. 

Meanwhile, we must be content with the general scene placed 
before us on that memorable night — the Paschal moon, the 
darkness, the storm : — " The waters saw thee, God, the waters 
saw thee; . . • the depths also were troubled. The clouds 
ponred out water: the skies sent out a sound: . • . the voice of 
thy thunder was in the heaven : the lightnings lightened the 
vorld : the earth trembled and shook," — and then rest satisfied 
in the conclusion of the Psalmist (in this local question, as in 
so much of which it is the likeness),'* Thy way is in the sea, and 
thy path in the great waters, and thy footsteps are not known*.*' 

2. There can be no dispute as to the general track of the 
IsraeUtes after the passage. If they were to enter the ManOi and 
mountains at all, they must continue in the route of ^^^ 
all travellers, between the sea and the table-land of the Tih, tiU 
they entered the low hills of Ghurttndel. According to the 
view taken of the scene of the passage, Marah may either be at 
" the Spring3 of Moses '* or else at Hawftraah* or Ohiiriindel. 
Elim* must be Ghiirundel, XJseit, or Taiyibeh. 

* Bxod. zir. 2, 9. Ntmb. xzziii. 7, 

8. "Pi-]ui1iiroth"ma7.beeither-H[l)iii 
Hebrew, '* mouth of cayerns," as in the 
Vatican MS. of the LXX, Nnmb. xzxiii. 
7, T& rr6/ut Hfi^B ; or much more pro- 
Vably, (2) in Egyptian, **the grasBj 
pUeei,"— "Pi" being the Esyptian 
tttiele ; as in Alex. HS. of the LXX, 

^ Jer. zUt. 1 ; zlvi. 14. Bzek. zziz. 
10 ; zzz. 6. It may be hoped that in 
the UTestigation connected irith the pro- 

ject of the Sues Guial some light may be 
thrown on this interesting qaettion. 

> Psalm IzxTu. 1&— 19. 

^ Dr. Granl, however, was told that 
Tuweileb (the well-known Sheykh of the 
Tuwftrah tribe) knew of a spring near 
Tth d-^AmdrOf right (i. e. south) of 
HnwAra, so bitter that neither men nor 
camels could drink of it. From hence 
the road goes straight to WAdy Ghiirtbi* 
del. (Vol. u. p. 254.) 

* See Part XL p. 6a. 


3. The ** encampment by the Bed Sea " (Numbers xxxiii. 10) 
Encamp- i^^st almost certainly be at the descent of the WAdy 
oientby the Taiyibeh on the sea, or in some portion of the plain of 

Miirkhah, before they again turned up into the moun- 
tains ; the cliffs forbidding any continuous line of march along 
the shore between the Wady Ghiirfindel and the Wady Taiyibeh. 
It is indeed just possible that, like Pococke and Bartlett, they 
may have descended to the mouth of the Wady Ghuriindel, by 
the warm springs C' of Pharaoh "), and then returned to the 
Wady Useit. Such a d6tour is not likely: yet it must be borne 
in mind as possible. For if the " encampment by the Bed 
Sea " was at the mouth of the Wady Ghiiriindel, it must have 
been before the bifurcation of the two routes to Jebel Musa 
— ^that namely to the north by Surabit el Khadim, and that to 
the south by Wady Taiyibeh — ^and would thus open the alter- 
native of their haying gone by the former of these two roads» 
and so avoided altogether the W&dy Feiran. This is a mate- 
rial point in £Etvour of all views which exclude Mount Serbal 
from the history. If, on the other hand, they proceeded, as 
travellers usually do, by Ghuriindel, Useit, and Taiyibeh, (and 
if Taiyibeh or Useit be EUm, they must have done so,) and 
thus descended on the sea, here two other alternatives open 
upon us. 

4. For when arrived at the plain of Mtirkhah, they may have 
'Vnidernen gone, according to the route of the older travellers, — 
of Sin. Shaw, Pococke, and the Prefect of the Franciscan 
Convent, — ^to Tor, and thence by the Wady Hibran, and the 
Niikb Hawy, to Jebel Musa ; or they may have gone, 
according to the route of all recent travellers, by the Wady 
Shellal, the Niikb Badera, and the Wadys Mukatteb, Feiran, 
and es-Sheykh, to the same point. The former route is 
improbable, both because of its d6tour, and also because the 
Wady Hibran is said to be, and the Niikb Hawy certainly is, 
as difficult if not more difficult than any j>a8s on the route of 
the Wady Feiran. If it might seem to be in its favour that it 
was the habitual route of the early travellers, before the newly 
awakened love of scenery had induced any one to visit the 
W&dy Feiran, yet it must be remembered that all early travellers 
went and returned from Cairo to Sinai, and consequently took 

mt I.] 



one route on their egress and the other on their regress. Still 
it must be borne in mind as a possible alternative. 

5. Of the three routes just mentioned, which we may call the 
fiorthem, the central, and the southern, the northern ^ . , 

... Choice bo- 

and the southern combine in this result, that they tween 8er- 
omit Mount SerbAl, and necessarily take the Israelites j^{^^ 
to Jebel Musa, or at least some mountain in the M(^m 


eastern extremity of the peninsula. But the central 
route, after leaving the plain of Miirkhah, mounts by the succes- 
fiiye stages of the W&dy SheUal, the Nukb Badera, and the W&dy 
Mukatteb, to the Wady Feir&n and its great mountain, Serbfil, 
the pride of this cluster. If, as is most probable for the 
reasons just assigned, the Israelites took this road, the question 
is at once opened, Whether Serbfil be the Sinai of the Exodus ? 
If it be, then we are here arrived at the end of their journey. 
If, on the other hand, the Israelites could be shown to have 
taken the northern or the southern road, or if there are insupe- 
rable objections to the identification of Serbdl with Sinai, 
the end is to be sought where it has usually been found, in 
the cluster of Jebel Musa. Between these two clusters the 
question must lie'. 

Each has its natural recommendations, which will best appear 
on proceeding. The claims of tradition are very nearly equal. 
Jebel Musa is now the only one which puts forward any pre- 
tensions to be considered as the place, and is indeed the only 
region of the Sinaitic mountains where any traditions of Israel 
can be said to linger. They are certainly as old as the sixth 
century ; and they probably reach back still farther. On the 
other hand, though Serb&l has in later times lost its historical 
name, in earlier ages it enjoyed a larger support of tradition 
than Jebel Musa. This, at least, is the natural inference 
from the Sinaitic inscriptions, which, of whatever date, must be 
prior to the age of Justinian, founder of the Convent of St. 

1 Urn Shftomer, the Iiigheet point of the 
|)eamsala» vbs Moended by Bardkhaidtto 
within 200 feet of the tmnmit. The plain 
«f El-K4*a 18 immediately below. There 
is a spring and fig-treea^ the mins of a 
oontent (Deir AntCb), and there are 
«tnuige storiefl of lonnds like thunder. 
(Bnrekhazdt, 686—683.) Theee points 

agree to aoertain extent with the eeriptnral 
indications of Sinai, yet it is so far removed 
from any oonoeivable track of the Israelites 
as to render its claims highly imixrobahle. 
It has been since explored by Mr. Hogg^ 
who tells me that it meets none of the 
special requirements. 



[OHAP. k 

Catherine ; and which are found at the very top of the motin* 
tain and the ruined edifice on its central summit. This too is- 
the impression conveyed by the existence of the episcopal city 
of Paran, at its foot, which also existed prior to the foundations 
of Justinian. And the description of Horeb by Josephus* as a 
mountain, "the highest of the region," "with good grass 
growing round it," is more like the impression that is produced 
on a traveller by SerbAl than that derived from any other 
mountain usually seen in the range. It was undoubtedly 
identified with Sinai by Eusebius, Jerome, and Cosmas ; that 
is, by all known writers till the time of Justinian*. Btippell 
asserts, that the summit of Serbal was regarded by the Bedouins- 
who accompanied him, as a sacred place, to which at certain- 
times they brought sacrifices'. 

There remains the question. Whether there is any solution of 
the rival claims of Serbftl and Jebel Musa, which can give to 
each a place in the sacred history. Such an attempt has been 
made by Bitter, who, with his usual union of diffidence and 
learning, suggests the possibility that Serb&l may have been 
" the Moimt of God\" the sanctuary of the heathen tribes of 
the Desert, — already sacred before Israel came, and that to 
which Pharaoh would understand that they were going their 
long journey into the Wilderness for sacrifice. It may then 
have been the W&dy Feir&n that witnessed the battle of 
Bephidim*, the building of the Altar on the hill, and the visit of 
Jethro ; and after this long pause, in *' the third month," they 
may again have moved forward to " Sinai," the cluster of Jebel 
Musa. There are two points gained by any such solution: 
first, that Sinai may then be identified with Jebel Musa, with* 
out the difficulty, otherwise considerable, that the narrative 
brings the Israelites through the two most strildng features of 
the Desert — W4dy Feirftn and Serbdl — without any notice of 

1 Jot. Ant. n. zH. 1. 

* For the oompArison of all thete arga- 
ments in faronr of SerbAl, aee Lepeina' 
Letters (Bolin), pp. 810—821, 556—562. 
I hare been nnwilling to enter into more 
detail than was neoessary to gire a 
genezal Tiew of the qnestion at iasne. 
See Part II. tL 

' Thii was denied by the Arab Chief 
whom I queetbned on the spot. Bnt I 
am informed by recent trayelleri that, on 

being pressed, he acknowledges the onstom, 
and points ont the rook at the top firom^ 
which the goat iz thrown dowxL 

* Bzodns ill. 1 ; ir. 27. 

* Bitter, Sinai, pp. 728—744. The 
difficolty respecting the abnndanoe of 
water applies equally to Feirftn and to 
any spot in the neighbourhood of Jebel 
Miisa, and perhaps proceeds from a mis* 
conception of the SiMored NarratiTe. 


the fact ; and secondly, that it gives a scene, at least in some 
respects well suited, for the encampment at Bephidim, the most 
remarkable which occurred before the final one in front of Sinai 
itself. How far the narrative itself contains sufficient grounds 
for such a distinction between the two mountains is, in our 
present state of knowledge, very uncertain. If ** Horeb " be 
taken for the generic name of the whole range, and not neces- 
sarily as identical with Sinai, then there is only one passage 
left (Exod. xxiv. 13, 16) in which, in the present text, "the 
Mount of God " is identified with " Sinai' ; " and even if Horeb 
be identified with Sinai, yet the variations of the Septuagint on 
this point show how easily the title of one mountain might be 
assumed into the text as the title of the other after the dis- 
tmction between the two had been forgotten. In Exod. iii. 1, 
where the " Mountain of God " occurs in the present Hebrew 
text, it is omitted in the LXX, (though not in the Alexandrian 
MS.) as in Exod. xix. 8, where it occurs in the LXX, it is 
omitted in the Hebrew text. The identification of the W&dy 
Feir&n with Bephidim would also agree well with the slight 
topographical details of the battle. In every passage where 
Sinai, and Horeb, and the Mount of God, and Mount Paran 
are spoken of, the Hebrew word hor for ''mountain** is in- 
variably* used. But in Exod. xvii. 9, 10, in the account of 
the batUe of Bephidim, the word used is gihedhy rightly 
translated *'hill." Every one who has seen the valley oi 
Feirftn will at once recognise the propriety of the term, if 
applied to the rocky eminence which commands the palm- 
grove, and on which, in early Christian times, stood the church 
and palace of the Bishops of Paran. Thus, if we can attach 
any credence to the oldest known tradition of the Peninsula, 
that Bephidim is the same as Paran, then Bephidim, "the 
resting-places," is the natural name for the paradise of the 
Bedouins in the adjacent palm-grove; then the hill of the 
Church of Paran may fairly be imagined to be *' the hill " on 
which Moses stood, deriving its earliest consecration from the 
altar which he bmlt; the Amalekites may thus have naturally 

1 In Numb. x. 38, Sinai is called *' the word, though mistranBUted *' hilL" 8m 
iloiuit of the Lord." Appendix, tub voce, 

' In Szod. xzir. 4, it is the same 

42 8INAI AND PALR3TINS. losui. l 

fought for the oasis of the Desert, and die sanctuary of their 
gods ; and Jethro may well have foimd his kinsmen encamping 
after their long journey, amongst the palms ** before the Mount 
of God," and acknowledged that the Lord was greater even 
than all the gods who had from ancient days been thought to 
dwell on the lofty peaks which overhung their encampment. 
And then the ground is clear for the second start, described in 
the following chapter : " They ' departed ' from Bephidim, and 
came to the Desert of Sinai, and ' pitched ' in the Wilderness ; 
and there Israel encamped before the Mount'." 

If the WAdy Feirftn, by its palm-grove and its brook, be 
marked out as the first long halting-place of Israel, the high 
valleys of Jebel Miisa with their abundant springs no less 
mark out the second. The great thoroughfare of the Desert, 
the longest and widest and most continuous of all the valleys, 
the W&dy es-Sheykh, would lead the great bulk of the host, 
with the flocks and herds, by the more accessible though more 
circuitous route into the central upland ; whilst the chiefs of 
the people would mount directly to the same point by the 
Nukb Hawy, and all would meet in the W&dy er-Bahah, the 
" enclosed plain " in front of the magnificent cliffs of the Has 
Sufs&feh. It is possible that the end of the range Furei'a, to 
which the Arab guides give the name of Sena^ may have a 
better claim than the Bas Siifsafeh, from the fact that it com- 
mands both the Wady er-BAhah and the WAdy es-Sheykh; 
and that alone of those peaks it appears to retain a vestige of 
the name of SinaL It contains a bason surrounded by lofty 
peaks. That which commands the widest view is covered 
with giant blocks, as if the mountain had there been shattered 
and split by an earthquake. A vast cleft divides the peak 
into two summits^ But whether this high mountain or the 
Bas Sufs&feh be the Mountain of the Law, the plain below 
will still remain the essential feature of * the view of the 
Israelite camp.* That such a plain should exist at all in front 
of such a cliff is so remarkable a coincidence with the sacred 
narrative, as to furnish a strong internal argument, not 

1 Exod. xix. 2. Mikaa. As Uub Ib a matter of detul, I 

* Commimicated by the Bey. Donald have thought it beat to reaenre the argn- 
ITLeod. ment to be stated aooording to my own 

* Ritter (Sinai, 590 — £98) argnea for impresaioos on the spot. See Fart II. i« 
the WAdy Seb4'lyeh, at the back of Jebel 


London - John Murr,^. 


merely of its identity mth the scene, but of the scene itself 
haying been described by an eye-mtness. The awM and 
lengthened approach, as to some natural sanctuary, would have 
been the fittest preparation for the coming scene. The low 
line of alluvial mounds at the foot of the cliff exactly answers 
to the '' bounds " which were to keep the people off from 
"touching the Mount." The plain itself is not broken and 
uneven and narrowly shut in, like almost all others in the 
range, but presents a long retiring sweep, against which the 
people could *^ remove and stand afar off." The cliff, rising 
like a huge altar in front of the whole congregation, and visible 
against the sky in lonely grandeur from end to end of the whole 
plain, is the very image of '' the mount that might be touched," 
and from which the " voice " of God might be heard far and 
wide over the stillness of the plain below, widened at that point 
to its utmost extent by the confluence of all the contiguous 
valleys. Here, beyond all other parts of the Peninsula, is the 
adytum, withdrawn as if in the '^ end of the world," from all 
the stir and confusion of earthly things \ And as in the Wftdy 
Feirin, '' the lull " of Paran may be taken as fixing with some 
degree of probability the scene of Bephidim, so there are some 
details of the plain of er-B&hah, which remarkably coincide 
with the scene of the worship of the Golden Calf, evidently the 
same as that of the encampment at the time of the Delivery of 
the Law. In this instance the traditional locality is happily 
chosen. A small eminence at the entrance of the convent- 
valley is marked by the name of Aaron, as being that from 
which Aaron surveyed the festival on the wide plain below. 
This tradition, if followed out, would of necessity require the 
encampment to be in the W&dy er-B&hah, as every other 
circomstance renders probable. But there are two other 
points which meet here, and nowhere else : First, Moses is 
described as descending the mountain without seeing the 
people; the shout strikes the ear of his companion before 
they ascertain the cause ; the view bursts upon him suddenly 
as he draws nigh to the camp, and he throws down the tables 

^ **If I were to make 8 model of the valley of the oonyent of Mount SinaL** 
end of tbe world, it would be from the Henniker, p. 226. 

44 SINAI AND PALESTINS. [chap. i. 

and dashes them in pieces '' beneath ' the mount.*' Such a 
combination might occur in the Wfidy er-Bahah. Any one 
coming down from one of the secluded basins behind the Bas 
Siifsafeh, through the oblique gullies which flank it on the 
north and south, would hear the soxmds borne through the 
silence from the plain, but would not see the plain itself till 
he emerged from the Wddy ed-Deir or the W&dy Lejft ; and 
wlien he did so, he would be immediately under the precipitous 
cliffs of Siifsafeh. Further, we are told that Moses strewed the 
powder of the fragments of the idol on the " waters " of the 
" brook that came down out of the mount*," This would be 
perfectly possible in the Wady er-Bahah, into which issues 
the brook of the WAdy Leja, descending, it is true, from Mount 
St. Catherine, but still in sufficiently close connection with the 
Jebel Musa to justify the expression, ^' coming down out of 
the mount." These two coincidences, which must be taken for 
what they are worth, would not occur either at Serbal or in the 
Wady Seb&'iyeh. In the case of the former, although there is 
the brook from the W&dy Aleyat, which would probably meet 
the description, there is no corresponding contiguity of the 
encampment. In the case of the latter, both are wanting. 
6. It is hardly necessary, after what has been said, to 
examine minutely the special traditional localities of 
localities of Jebel Musa. How little could have been the desire 
the history, ^f finding a place which should realise the general 
impressions of the scene ; how the great event which has made 
Sinai famous was forgotten in the search after traces of special 
incidents, of which there could be no memorial, and in the 
discovery of which there could be no real instruction, is suffi- 
ciently apparent from the fact that, amongst all the pilgrims 
who visited Mount Sinai for so many centuries, hardly one 
noticed, and not one paid any attention to, the great plain of 
er-Bahah. And yet it is the very feature which since the time 
that Lord Lindsay first, and Dr. Bobinson shortly afterwards, 
discovered and called attention to it, must strike any thoughtful 
observer as the point in the whole range the most iUustrative 
of Israelite history. There is, however, one general remark 

1 Szod. uzU. 15—19. > Bzod. xxxii. 20 ; Beat. ix. 21. 

tlXS Lj 



that applies to almost all the lesser localities. If, on the one 
hand, the general features of the Desert, and of the plain 
beneath the Bfts Siifsafeh in particular, accord with the au- 
thentic history of Israel, there is little doubt, on the other, 
that the physical peculiarities of the district have suggested 
most of the legendary scenes which subsequent tradition has 
fastened on that history. Where almost every rock is a Ituus 
natura^ it is not surprising that men, like the Greek monks or 
the Bedouin Arabs, as keen in their search for special traces of 
the history as they were indifferent to its impression as a whole, 
should have seen marks of it everywhere. The older travellers, 
the Prefect of the Franciscan Convent, Pococke, Shaw, and 
others, all notice what they call Dendrite-stones,— i. e. stones 
into which moisture has percolated, and which have nen- 
ihus assumed the appearance of plants or trees. In drites. 
early ages they seem to have been regarded as amongst the 
great wonders of the mountain ; tliey were often supposed to 
be memorials of the Burning Bush*. The mark of The Back 
the back of Moses on the summit of the mountain ^ Mows. 
which bears his name, has been already mentioned. Still 
more evident is the mark of the body of St Catherine ^j^^ ^^^ 
on the summit of Jebel Katfaerin. The rock of of Saint 
the highest point of that moimtain swells into the *"^®' 
form of a human body*, its arms swathed like that of a 
mummy, but headless; the counterparty as it is alleged, of 
the corpse of the beheaded Egyptian saint. It is difficult 
to trace the earliest form of the legend, now so familiar 
through pictorial art, of the transference of the Alexandrian 
martyr by angelic hands to the summit of Mount Sinai, — a 
legend which, in the convent to which the relics are said to 
have been then carried down, almost ranks on an equality with 
the history of the Burning Bush and of the Giving of the Law. 
But not improbably this grotesque figure on the rock furnishes 
not merely the illustration, but the origin of the story*. A 

^ See Scheuchzei^s Pbynqne Saer^e, 
▼oL iL p. 26. They are now Been in 
grai nambers, in the new road made in 
1854 by Abbai Pasha. (Stewart, Tent 
and Khan, pp. 132, 134). 

* It is well desenbed by Monoonys, p. 
441. Paiakerley was told that the rock 
bad iwelled into this form on die arriyal 

of the body. (Walpole, iL 874.) 

' Falconios (see Butlei^s Lires of tht 
Saints, Nov. 25) expressly asserts hi» 
belief that the whole story of the miracn- 
lous transportation of the body by angels 
was merely a legendary representation of 
the '* translation of the relics** from Alex- 

46 SINAI AND FALRSTINB. [ohap. i. 

third well-known instance of the kind is what in earlier times 
The CoVs ^fts called the head — at present the mould ' of the head 
^^^^ — of the molten calf, just as the rock of St. Catherine 

is sometimes called the body itself; sometimes (to accom- 
modate it to the story of the transference of the relics to the 
convent), the place on which the body rested. It is a natural 
cavity, in the juncture of one or two stones, possibly adapted 
in some slight measure by art, representing rudely the round 
head, with two horns spreading out of it. A fourth is one of 
the many curious fissures and holes in the weather-beaten rocks 
near the summit of Jebel Musa, pointed out as the footmark 
Thofoot- ^^ ^® mule or dromedary of Mahomet. It is true 
mark of that the monks themselves, in the seventeenth cen- 
® ^®' tury, declared to the Prefect of the Franciscan 
Convent that this mark had been made by themselves, to 
secure the protection of the Bedouin tribes. But it has more 
the appearance of a natural hollow, and it is more probable 
that they were unwilling to let the Prefect imagine that such a 
phenomenon should be accidental, than that they actually 
The Ban- invented it. Another (which has not found its way 
b|^nof the -^^^ books) is the legend in the convent, (as repre- 
Baah. scnted in an ancient picture of the traditional 

localities,) of the sunbeam, which on one day in the year darts 
into the Chapel of the Burning Bush from the Jebel ed-Deir*. 
On ascending the mountain, the origin of the legend appears. 
Behind the topmost cliffs, a narrow cleft admits of a view, of 
the only view, into the convent buildings, which lie far below 
but precisely commanded by it, and therefore necessarily lit up 
by the ray, which once in the year darts through that especial 

But the most famous of all these relics is the Bock of Moses. 
The rock of Every traveller has described, with more or less accu- 
M0W8. racy, the detached mass', from 10 to 15 feet high, as 
it stands in the wild valley of the Leja, under the ridge of 
the B&s SiifsAfeh, — slightly leaning forwards, a rude seam or 

sndria to Sinai in the eighth centniy by head of the calf (p. 583). He noticei the 

the monks. It is thus a cnrions eastern fiu^t, that the Aiab goidea called it^ a^ 

eonnterpart of the angelio flight of the now, RAs Bnkkara, the head of tlie ww. 

House of Loretto. > See Part II. pp. 77, 78. 

> To Bnrckhardt it was shown aa the * See BnrcklMrdt, p. 579. 


scoop running oyer each side, intersected by wide slits or 
cracks, which might, by omitting or including those of less 
distinctness, be enlarged or diminished to any number between 
ten and twenty ; perhaps ten on each side would be the most 
correct account ; and the stone between each of those cracks 
worn away as if by the dropping of water from the crack imme ' 
diately above. Unlike as this isolated fragment is to the image 
nsoally formed of '^ the rock in Horeb," and incompatible as its. 
sitaation is with any tenable theory of the event with which it 
professes to be connected, yet to uncultivated minds, regardless- 
of general truth, and eager for minute coincidence, it was most 
oatoral that this rock should have suggested the miracle of 
Moses. There is every reason accordingly to believe that this is 
the oldest legendary locality in the district. It is probable that 
it was known even in the time of Josephus, who speaks ' of the 
rock as "lying beside them" — TrapaK€nUvr\v — ^an expression 
naturally applicable to a fragment like this, but hardly to a 
cliff in the mountain. The situation and form of this stone 
would also have accommodated itself to the curious Babbinical 
belief that the " rock followed* them " through the wilderness ; 
a beHef groundless enough under any circumstances, but more 
natural if any Jewish pilgrims had seen or heard of this 
detached mass by the mountain side. It next appears, or 
rather, perhaps, we should say, its first unquestionable 
appearance is, in the reference made more than once in the 
Koran* to the rock with the twelve mouths for the twelve 
tribes of Israel, evidently alluding to the curious cracks in the 
stone, as now seen. These allusions probably increased, if 
they did not originate, the reverence of the Bedouins, who, at 
least down to the present generation of travellers, are described 
as muttering their prayers before it, and thrusting grass inta 
the supposed mouths of the stone. From the middle ages 
onwards, it has always been shown to Christian pilgrims ; and 
the rude crosses on the sides, as well as the traces of stone 
chipped away, indicate the long reverence in which it has been 
held. In more modem times, it has been used to serve the 
two opposite purposes, of demonstrating on the one hand the 

■ Ant. m. L 7. 'See Notes on 1 Cor. z. 4. 

> Konn, u. 57; vii 160. 


truth of the Mosaic history, and on the other hand the lying 
practices of the monastic system. Bishop Clayton triumphantly 
quotes it as a voice from the Desert, providentially preserved 
to put the infidels of the eighteenth century to shame. Sir 
Gardner Wilkinson as positively brings it forward to prove the 
deceptions practised by the Greek Church to secure the respect 
of the Arabs and the visits of pilgrims. It is one of the many 
instances in which both arguments are equally wrong. It is 
evidently, like the other examples given above, a trick of 
nature, which has originated a legend, and through the legend, 
a sacred locality. Probably less would have been said of it, 
had more travellers observed what Sir Frederick Henniker* 
alone has expressly noticed, namely, the fragment which lies 
in the same valley, less conspicuous, but with precisely similar 
marks. But taking it merely for what it is, of all the lesser 
•objects of interest in Sinai, the Bock of Moses is the most 
iremarkable; clothed with the longest train of associations, 
allied in thought, though not in fact, to the image which, of all 
others in the Exodus, has, perhaps, been most frequently 
repeated in the devotions of Jewish and Christian worship; of 
all the objects in the Desert most bound up with the simple 
fiedth of its wild inhabitants and of its early visitants. 

y. It has been said, that the history of the Peninsula is 
Later hifl- confined to the histoiy of the Exodus. Yet we 
toryofihe must not forget that it is the oldest of the ''Holy 
Pemasuia. pj^ces, * and accordingly, the halo of that first glory 
has rested upon it long after the events themselves had ceased. 
There are, as has already been intimated, traces of a sanctity 
even anterior to the passage of the Israelites ; the '' Mount 
of God " was honoured by the Amalekite Arabs, and known at 
the Egyptian Court. A belief prevailed, as Josephus tells us, 
that a Divine presei^ce dwelt in those awful clifis, on that long 
ascent, deemed unapproachable by human footsteps ; the rich 
pastures round the mountain foot avoided even by the wander- 
ing shepherds*. On a lofty hill, to the north of the Sinai 

1 Henniket^s Notes, pp. 28S, 242. This might be the '*Seat of Moma,** described 

fragment we saw in 1863. Fococke (i. by liaborde, in the Bneib (little gate), or 

147) had heard of a similar stone, sixteen Pass of the WAdy es-Sh^kh. 
miles to the north-west^ Possibly this * Ant. IL xuL 1 ; III. ▼. 1. 

Pl&T L] 



range, are the remains of ancient Egyptian monmnents', prior, 
as it would seem, to the Exodus. This reverence, whatever it 
was, or to whichever point it might be more especially attached, 
must have been thrown into the shade from the moment that 
it was announced that the ground on which Moses stood was 
** holy ground," — still more from the day when the Law was 
given, in " fire, and blackness, and tempest." Yet, as it has 
been well observed, so high already did the Beligion which 
was there first proclaimed tower above any local bonds, that 
throughout the whole subsequent history of Judaism there is 
bat one known instance of a visit to this its earliest birthplace. 
The whole tenor of the historical and prophetical Scriptures 
is to withdraw the mind from the Desert to Palestine — from 
Sinai to Zion. " Why leap ye so, ye high * mountains ? * This 
(Jerusalem) is the * mountain ' which God desireth to dwell in. 
. . . The Lord is among them, as in Sinai, in the holy 'place.*' 
" God came from Teman, and the lloly One from Mount 
Paran'." The sanctuary of Horeb was not living but dead 
and deserted. One visitant, however, there was to El^ah*8 
this wild region — ^it may be, as the only one known, ^^** 
out of many unknown pilgrims, but, more probably, an excep- 
tion proving the rule — driven here only by the extraordinary 
drcomstances of his time, and by his own character and 
mission, the great prophet Elijah. The scene of the address 
to Elijah is now localised in the secluded plain immediately 
below the highest point of Jebel Musa, marked by the broken 
chapel, and by the solitary cypress. There, or at Serb&l, 
may equally be found "the *cave," the only indication by 
which the sacred narrative identifies the spot. There, or at 
Serbftl, equally may have passed before him the vision in 
which the wind rent the granite mountains, and broke in 

1 Those caUed <'Sar&bit-el-KhAdim." 
I did not lee them. They are described 
ly Rolooaon (B. K. i. 118), and LepdnB 
Ijttien, p. 300). 

» Pflalm IxTui. 16, 17. 

* Hab. ill. 3. 

* 1 Kings xix. 9 — 13. Ewald, in the 
expression **the catTC," Terse 9 (the 
uticle is not in the English version), 
eees the indication of its being a cavern 
*rell known for th« reception of pil- 

grims. The expression certainly seeme 
to indicate a special locality of some kind. 
If Serbftl urere either Sinai or ''Horeb 
the Mount of God," there is a cave — 
or rather cavity — ^mnch talked of by the 
Bedonin Sheykh of the Mountain as the 
cave (the **Megdra") to which tra- 
vellers are taken — formed by the over- 
hanging rook of the summit. See Fait 
II. vii. 


pieces the * cliffs *,* followed as at the time of Moses, by the 
earthquake and the fire, and then, in the silence of the desert 
air, by the " still small voice." 

We hear of Sinai no more till the Christian era. In the local 
touches that occur from time to time in Josephus, the question 

rises, whether he or those from whom he received his 
informants information, had really passed through the Desert. 
<tf Jose- The " mountain ** of which he speaks emphatically on 

the shores of the Red Sea can be no other than the 
Jebel 'Atakah : the " rock lying beside " Mount Sinai is pro- 
bably the stone of Moses ; and although it may be difficult 
in *' the highest mountain of the range, so high as not to be 
visible without straining of the 'sight," to recognise any peak of 
Sinai, yet the exaggeration is precisely similar to that in which 
he indulges in speaking of the precipices, which he had himself 
seen about Jerusalem. There is another traveller through 
Arabia at this time, on whose visit to Mount Sinai we should 
Allusions look with still greater interest. " I went into Arabia," 
ofSt. FauL gg^^g g|. Paui*^ in describing his conversion to the 

Galatians. And when, in a later chapter^ of the same Epistle, 
the words fall upon our ears, " This Hagar is Mount Sinai in 
Arabia," it is difficult to resist the thought that he, too, may 
have stood upon the rocks of Sinai, and heard from Arab lips 
the often repeated "Hadjar," — "stone" or "rock," — suggesting 
the double meaning to which that text alludes. 

If the sanctity of Sinai was forgotten under the Jewish 
Dispensation, still more likely was it to be set aside under the 
Christian, where not merely its contrast, but its inferiority, was 
the constant burden of aU the allusions to it — ** the mount 
that gendereth to bondage," "the mount that might be* 
touched." But gradually the combined passion for ascetic 
retirement and for pilgrimage to holy places, peopled its desert 
solitudes. From the neighbouring shores of Egj'pt — ^the 
parent land of monasticism — the anchorites and coenobites were 
drawn by the sight of these wild mountains across the Bed Sea. 
From Armenia and from Syria pilgrims came, if only for a 
moment, to offer their prayers on the spot where Moses had 

> Vcr. 11. The word is "Sela," not « Gal. i. 17. 

"Tzar ;" see p. 95, and Appendix. * Gbl. iy. 24, 25.Comp. Erald, tL 40O. 

« Ant. III. T. 1. * Heb. xii. 18. 


seen the Divine Presence *. Beside the palm-groves of Feii-ftn, 
and the springs of Jebel Musa, were gathered a host of cells 
and convents. The whole range must have been then to the 
Greek Church what Athos is now. No less than chriatUn 
six thousand monks or hermits * congregated round termitage«. 
Jebel Mftsa, and Paran must almost have deserved the name 
of a city at the time when it was frequented by the Arabian 
pilgrims, who wrote their names on the sandstone rocks of the 
Wady Mukatteb and the granite blocks of SerbAl *. Probably, 
the tide of Syrian and Byzantine pilgrims chiefly turned to 
Jebel Musa ; the African and Alexandrian, to the nearer sanc- 
tuary at FeirAn. Of all these memorials of ancient devotion, 
the great convent of the Transfiguration, or, as it was afterwards 
called, of St. Catherine, alone remains. It has been described 
by every traveller, and with the utmost detail by Burck- 
Iiardt and by Eobinson. But it is so singular of its st. Gathe- 
kind, that a short summary of its aspect and recollec- "^*' 
tions is essential to any account of the Peninsula of Sinai. 
Those who have seen the Grande Chartreuse in the Alps of 
Dauphiny, know the shock produced by the sight of that vast 
edifice in the midst of its mountain desert — the long, irregular 
pile, of the Parisian architecture of the fifteenth century, the 
one habitation of the upland wilderness of which it is the 
centre. It is this feeling, raised to its highest pitch, which is 
ronsed on finding in the heart of the Desert of Sinai the stately 
Convent of St. Catherine, with its massive walls, its gorgeous 
church hung with banners, its galleries of chapels, of cells, and 
of guest-chambers, its library of precious manuscripts, the 
sound of its rude cymbals calling to prayer, and changed by 
the echoes into music as it rolls through the desert valley, the 
double standard of the Lamb and Cross floating high upon its 
topmost towers *. And this contrast is heightened still more by 
the fact, that, unlike most monastic retreats, its inhabitants and 
its associations are not indigenous, but wholly foreign, to the 
soil where they have struck root. The monks of the Grande 
Chartreuse, however secluded from the world, are still French- 

' Thcod. FhiloU. ▼!. (toL ill. 1169 « Part of it is bnUt on the slope of 

-1171). Jebel MOua, to ayoid blockiDg up the 

' BorckhaiUt, 546. narrow Talley, and bo prerenting the mih 

' See Note A. p. 57, &e. of the tomnts. (Wellsted, u. 87.) 

« 2 


men ; the monks of Subiaco are still Italians. But the monks 
of Sinai are not Arabs, but Greeks. There in the midst of the 
Desert, the very focus of the pure Semitic race, the traveller 
hears once again the accents of the Greek tongue ; meets the 
natives of Thessalonica and of Samos ; sees in the gardens the 
produce, not of the Desert or of Egypt, but of the isles of 
Greece ; not the tamarisk, or the palm, or the acacia, but the 
olive, the almond tree, the apple tree, the poplar, and the 
cypress of Attica and Corc^Ta. And as their present state so 
also their past origin is alike strange to its local habitation. 
No Arab or Egyptian or Syrian patriarch erected that massive 
pile ; no pilgrim princess, no ascetic king; a Byzantine 
Emperor, the most worldly of his race, the great legislator 
Justinian, was its founder. The fame of his architectural 
magnificence, which has left its monuments in the most splendid 
churches of Constantinople and Bavenna, had penetrated even 
to the hermits of Mount Sinai ; and they, " when they heard 
that he delighted to build churches and found convents, made 
a journey to him, and complained how the wandering sons of 
Ishmael were wont to attack them suddenly, eat up their 
provisions, desolate the place, enter the cells, and carry off 
everything — ^how they also broke into the church and devoured 
even the holy * wafers." To build for them as they desired a 
convent which should be to them for a stronghold, was a union 
of policy and religion which exactly suited the sagacious 
Emperor. Petra was just lost, and there was now no point of 
defence against the Arabian tribes, on the whole route between 
Jerusalem and Memphis. Such a point might be furnished by 
the proposed fortress of Sinai ; and as the old Pharaonic and 
even Ptolemaic kings of Egypt had defended their frontier 
against the tribes of the Desert by fortified temples*, so the 
Byzantine Emperor determined to secure a safe transit through 
the Desert by a fortified convenL A tower ascribed to Helena 
furnished the nucleus. It stood by the traditional sites of 
the Well of Jethro and the Burning Bush, a retreat for the 
hermits, when in former times they had been hard-pressed by 

1 Eatychii Annales, torn. iL p. 190 ; ' See Sharpe's Histoiy of Elgypt^ P- 

Bobinsoa, Biblical Beiearchei, voL L 566. 
p 66(L 


their Bedouin neighbours. It still remains, the residence of 
the Archbishop of Sinai, if that term may be applied to an 
abode in which that great dignitary is never resident ; the very 
gate through which he should enter having been walled up 
since 1722, to avoid the enormous outlay for the Arab tribes, 
who, if it were open for his reception, have an inalienable right 
to be supported for six months at the expense of the con- 
vent'. Bound about this tower, like a little town, extend in 
every direction the buildings of the convent, now indeed nearly 
deserted, but still by their number indicating the former 
greatness of the place, when each of the thirty-six chapels 
was devoted to the worship of a separate sect". Athwart the 
whole stretches the long roof of the church ; within which, 
amidst the barburic splendour of the Greek ritual, may be 
distinguished with interest the lotus-capitals of the columns — 
probably the latest imitation of the old Eg3rptian architecture ; 
and high in the apse behind the altar — too high and too 
obscure to recognise their features or lineaments distinctly — 
the two medallions of Justinian and Theodora, probably, with 
the exception of those in St. Yitalis at Bavenna, the only exist- 
ing likenesses of those two great and wicked sovereigns ; than 
whom perhaps few could be named who had broken more com- 
pletely every one of the laws which have given to Sinai its 
eternal sacredness. 

High beside the church towers another edifice, which intro- 
duces us to yet another link in the recollections of ^ ^^ -^ 
Sinai — another pilgrim, who, if indeed he ever passed the Con- 
through these valleys, ranks in importance with any ^^ ' 
who have visited the spot, since Moses first led thither the 
flocks of Jethro. No one can now prove or disprove the 
tradition which relates that Mahomet, whilst yet a camel-driver 
in Arabia, wandered to the great convent, then not a Traditions 
century old. It is at least not impossible, and it is ^ m^^.*'* 
almost brought within the range of probability, by the met. 
repeated allusions in the Koran to the stone of Moses', evi- 
dently that now exliibited; to the holy valley of Tuwa*, a 

* See Eobinaon, Biblical Besearchea, p. 22. See also the plan in Canon's 

L 142. Monasteries, and ITeale!s Eastern Charch, 

' For a good aooonnt of the chapels, toL ii. 
tee the Jonmey of the Franciscan ' Koran, ii. 57 ; tU. 160. 

Prefect, publish^ by Bishop Clayton, * Koi'an, xx. 12. 


name now lost, but by which he seems to designate the present 
valley of the convent ; and to the special addresses made to 
\Ioses on the western and on the southern slopes of the 

His name certainly has been long preserved, either by the 
policy or the friendliness of the monks. No where else probably 
in the Christian world is to be found such a cordial, it might also 
be said such a tender feeling towards the Arabian prophet and 
his followers, as in the precincts and the memorials of the 
Convent of Mount Sinai. " As he rested," so the story has 
with slight variations been told from age to age ', " as he rested 
with his camels on Moimt Menejia*, an eagle was seen to spread 
its wings over his head, and the monks, struck by this augury 
of his future greatness, received him into their convent, and he 
in return, unable to write, stamped with ink on his hand the 
signature to a contract of protection, drawn up on the skin of 
a gazelle, and deposited in the archives of the convent." This 
contract, if it ever existed, has long since disappeared ; it is 
said, that it was taken by Sultan Selim to Constantinople, and 
exchanged for a copy, which however no traveller has ever seen. 
The traditions also of Mahomet in the Peninsula have evidently 
faded away. The stone which was pointed out to Laborde in 
1828 as that on which Moses first, and the youthful camel-driver 
afterwards, had reposed, and to which the Bedouins of his day 
muttered their devotions, is now comparatively imknown\ The 
footmark on the rock, whatever it is, invented or pointed out 
by the monks, as impressed by his dromedary or mule, according 
as it is supposed to have been left in his early visit, or on his 
nocturnal flight from Mecca to Jerusalem — is now confounded 
by the Arabs with the impress of the dromedary on which Moses 
rode up and down the long ascent to Jebel Musa, But there 
stiU remains, though no longer used, the mosque on the top of 
the mountain, and that within the walls of the convent, in which 
the monks allowed the Mahometan devotees to pray side by 
side with Cliristian pilgrims;, founded according to the belief 

1 Koran, xx. 82; xxvii. 45, 46. ' That which closes up the Valley of 

- See Laborde** Commentary on Exodus thA Conrent. 
and Numbers. * I oould hear nothinc of it^ though 

frequently inquiring 


of the illiterate Mussulmans, — in whose minds chronology and 
history have no existence, — in the times of the prophet, when 
Christians and Mussulmans were all one, and loved one another 
as brothers. 

As centuries have rolled on, even the Convent of Sinai has 
not escaped their influence. The many cells which 
formerly peopled the mountains have long been vacant, state of the 
The episcopal city of Paran, perhaps in consequence ^^^^^ 
of the rise of the foundation of Justinian, has perished almost 
without a history. The nunnery of St. Episteme has vanished; 
we see only the ruins of the convent of the good physicians 
Cosmo and Damian, the hermitage of St. Onufrius, tlie convent 
of the Forty Martyrs — each tinged with a certain interest from 
the famous churches of the same name, derived from them, in the 
Forum of Rome, on the Janiculan Hill, and on the Lateran. 
The great fortress of St. Catherine probably owes its existence 
more to its massive walls than to any other single cause. Yet 
it is a thought of singular, one might add of melancholy, interest, 
that amidst all these revolutions, the Convent of Mount Sinai 
is still the one seat of European and of Christian civilisation and 
worship, not only in the whole Peninsula of Sinai, but in the 
whole country of Arabia. Still, or at least till within a very 
few years, it has retained a hold, if not on the reason or the 
affections, at least on the superstitions of the Bedouins, beyond 
what is exercised by any other influence. Burckhardt, and 
after him, Bobinson', relate with pathetic simplicity the deep 
conviction with which these wild children of the Desert believe 
, that the monks command or withhold the rain &om heaven, on 
which the whole sustenance of the Peninsula depends. 

It is not for us to judge the difficulties of their situation, the 
poverty and ignorance of the monks, the untameable barbarism 
of the Arabs. Yet looking from an external point of view at 
the singular advantages enjoyed by the convent, it is hard to 
recall another institution, with such opportunities so signally 
wasted. It is a colony of Christian pastors planted amongst 
heathens, who wait on them for their daily bread and for their 
t^ &om heaven, and hardly a spark of civilisation or of 

1 Biirckhardt, p. 567 ; Robinson, L 132. 

66 8INAi AND PAUfiSTINE. [OHX?. l 

Chiistianity, so far as history records, has been imparted to a 
single tribe or family in that wide wilderness. It is a colony of 
Greeks, of Europeans, of ecclesiastics, in one of the most inte- 
resting and the most sacred regions of the earth, and hardly a 
fact, from the time of their first foimdation to the present time, 
has been contributed by them to the geography, the geology, 
or the history of a country, which in all its aspects has hem 
submitted to their inyestigation for thirteen centuries. 

One other sanctuary of the Desert must be mentioned. 

The Bedouin tribes, as has been said, have lost their 
of SSe^^ire ancient reverence for the traces of the Prophet, and 
of Sheykh every traveller has observed on their godless life '. It 

is very rare indeed that any sign of religious worship 
can be foimd amongst them. Few have any knowledge of the 
prescribed prayers of the Mussulman; still fewer practise 
them. But there is one exception. In the eastern extremity 
of the great crescent-shaped valley which embraces the whole 
cluster of Sinai, is the tomb of the Sheykh, from which the 
wady derives its name — " the WAdy es-Sheykh," the " Valley 
of the Saint." In a tenement of the humblest kind is Sheykh 
Saleh's grave. Who he was, when he lived, is entirely 
unknown. Possibly he may have been the founder of the 
tribe of that name which still exists in the Peninsula ; possibly 
the ancient prophet mentioned in the Koran as preaching the 
faith, of Islam before the birth of Mahomet*. The present 
belief would seem to be, that he was one of the circle of com- 
panions of the prophet, which, according to the defiance of all 
chronological laws in the minds of uneducated Mussulmans, 
included Saleh, Moses, David, and Christ, as well as Abu 
Bekr, Omar, and AIL This tomb is to the modem Bedouins 
the sanctuary of the Peninsula. As they approach it they 
exhibit signs of devotion never seen elsewhere; and once a 
year all the tribes of the Desert assemble round it, and cele- 
brate with races and dances a Bedouin likeness of the funeral 

1 They are^ it is nud, the old boathen (Stewart, Tent and Khan, SOI). 

Axabfl, but slightly influenced by the ' Koran, viL 71. For the Tarions 

Mahometaniflm of Mecca. Most of their ooojectureB as to this great Bedonin Sarnt, 

names are heathen (Barton, Pilgrimage, see Hitter, Sinai, 650. He seems to be 

iiL 78). At the tomb of Sheykh An^ more properly called "NebL" (Stewait 

they insnlt the Saint, in a manner, which 153). 
in Egypt would ensure their destruction 


games round the tomb of Patroclus. Sacrifices of sheep and 
camels, with sprinkling of the blood on the walls of this 
homely chapel, are described as accompanjdng this sepulchral 


(See page 51.) 

I HAVE preferred to give my account of these inscriptions as 
nearly as possible in the words of a letter, written immediately 
after having seen the last of them on the frontier of the Desert, 
because I wish to confine myself simply to facts which fell 
mider my own observation. It may however be well briefly to 
state their history down to the present time. 

1. The earliest indication of any such inscriptions is in 
Diodorus' (b.c. 10), who probably derived his information from 
Artemidorus (b.c. 110), or Agatharchides (b.c. 160). In speaking 
of the sacred palm-grove on the south-west shore of the Penin- 
sula, (possibly Feiran, but more probably Tor) he says, " There 
is also an altar of solid stone very old, inscribed with ancient 
imknawn letters" As the locality is uncertain we cannot 
identify this with any existing inscription. But it is important « 
as a record of inscriptions, already old and unknown, at that 

2. About A.D. 518, Cosmas, the Indian traveller, (Indico- 
pleustes) visited the Peninsula. He observed *' at all halting 
places, aU the stones in that region which were broken off from the 
numntains, written with carved Hebrew characters,** which were 
explained to him by his Jewish companions as '' written thus * 
' The departure of such and such a man of such a tribe, in 
wch a year, in such a month ; ' just as with us some people often 

^ ' Two deacriptioiis of these funeral 207 — 214 ; Bitter, 658), who law them 

rite hftTo hoen preserved : one hy Schim- in 1847. See Part IL xiL 

per, a Qennan, whose MS. traTeb are > III. 42. Strabo gives a similar aooonnt. 

qnoked hj Bitter, p. 652, and who saw See Bnnsen, Christianity and Mankind, toI. 

them in 1885 ; the other, Ij the oele- iii. pp. 231—236, which gires a short 

fantod sehdbr Teschendorf (Beise, ii. pp. and dear statement of the whole question. 


write in inns *." These words well describe the inscriptions in 
and near the Wady Mukatteb ; their position, their numbers, 
their accessibility, their likeness to the scribblings of casual 
travellers in halting-places. The only inaccuracy is the descrip- 
tion of them as Hebrew, which, to one unacquainted with the 
language, was a natural mistake from the occasional resemblance 
of the characters. His own explanation (lie does not say that 
of his guides) is, that they were the work of the Israelites exer- 
cising themselves in the art of writing, newly acquired, as he 
supposed, at Sinai, and thus followed up " witli the ardour of a 
new study" during the stay in the wilderness, '' as in a quiet 

3. The attention of scholars was again directed to them in 
1753, by the eccentric Irish prelate, Bishop Clayton ; who 
published an account of them by the Prefect of the Fran- 
ciscan Convent of Cairo, and offered a large reward for their 

4. Since that time they have been frequently described by 
travellers, and various copies taken, of which the most complete 
were those published (1820) by Mr. Gray, in Vol. 11. Part 1, 
of the Transactions of the Eoyal Society of Literature; in 
addition to which, in 1846, many more were copied by Dr. 
Lepsius, which will, it is hoped, soon appear. 

5. Of the copies so obtained two main explanations have 
been given. 

(a) In 1840, Dr. Beer of Leipsic published a work containing 
one hundred of these inscriptions, in which he arrived at the 
conclusion, first, that the language was a dialect of Arabic, and 
that their contents were the greetings and names of travellers; 
secondly, that they were the work of Christian pilgrims. The 
author of this work died of starvation and neglect, just as it 
had acquired celebrity enough to procure him aid too late. It 
has since been followed up by Professor Tuch of Leipsic^ 
(1849,) who agrees with Beer in the decypherment of the 
inscriptions ; but believes them to be of an earlier date, and 
chiefly by Pagans, pilgrims to Serbal. 

(h) In two works published respectively in 1851 and 1856, 

^ Montfanfon, CoU. Not. Pair., il p. 206. Beer, pp. 8, 4. Fonter's Yoioe of 
Israel, p. 16. 


the Rev. C. Forster revived Bishop Clayton's notion of their 
Israehtish origin, — combining it with a new theory, that the 
characters are identical with the enchorial Eg^'ptian alphabet : 
diat the rude accompanying pictures illustrate or explain 
the characters ; and that the inscriptions thus decyphered 
contain records of some of the chief events of the Exodus. 

It will be seen that, whilst in the account of their origin the 
theory of Cosmas agrees with Mr. Forster, in the account of 
their contents his statement agrees with Dr. Beer and 
Professor Tuch. 

The following observations have no further value than as 
the record of eye-witnesses. To enter more fully into the 
subject would require a knowledge of languages which I 
do not possess. But I may be permitted to draw a general 
conclusion from the facts just stated, combined with the 
appearance of the inscriptions themselves. On the one hand 
the statements of Cosmas, and still more, (if we could identify 
his description), of Diodorus, imply in some of the inscriptions 
an age prior, perhaps long prior, to the Christian era — which 
would receive an additional confirmation, if a statement made 
by Mr. Forster in his second work (p. 61), and by Dr.' Stewart, 
Tent and Klian (p. 88), should prove correct, that a Sinaitic 
inscription has been found contemporaneous with a tablet of 
Egyptian hieroglyphics. On the other hand, the existence of 
Christian crosses, and the intermixture of Greek, Latin, and 
Arabic inscriptions, require in many others a date long subse- 
quent, and prove that the whole series cannot be confined vrithin 
the limits of a single generation, but must have extended over 
a period of centuries. 

Of their origin much may be inferred from their contents, if 
truly decyphered ; nothing, from their position, their numbers, 
or their mode of execution, except as to the probable direction 

or intention of the writers. 


1. I have seen the inscriptions in the foUowing places : First, in 
the Wady Sidri, the Wftdy Miighareh, and in great numbers in the 
Wady Mukatteb. I class these valleys together, because tbey are 
within three hours of each other. Secondly, a few in the lower 
parts of the W4dy Feir&n. Thirdly, in considerable numbers up the 
Wady Aleyat, and five or six in the WAdy AbA- Hamad, and three 
on the summit of Mount Serbul. These I class together as being all 



[OflJLP X. 

on the passage to the top of SerbUl. Fourthly, in the W&dj Sokf, 
three or four, and in great numbers in the Niikb-H4wy. This valley 
and pass form together the lower road between Serblil and Sinai. 
Fifthly, in great numbers in the Lej&, up to the first ascent of the 
"Sh4k M(lsa," or ravine by which you mount St. Catherine. 
Sixthly, on the high table-plain, called Herimet Haggag, between 
the W4dy SeyM and the W&dy el-' Ain ; the rock which stands at 
the end of this plain has more in proportion than any other spot I 
have seen, and there are some in the sandstone labyrinths near it. 
Seventhly, a few on the staircase leading up to the Deir at Petra, 
and, apparently, on the '' isolated column '' in the plain. (Some of 
our fellow-travellers also found them in a tomb near the Theatre). 
Eighthly, on the broken columns of a ruin at or near the ancient 
Malatha, immediately before entering the hills of Judiea. 

2. This enumeration will show how widely spread they are. It 
will also, I think, show that in some instances at least they have 
been cut by pilgrims or travellers, visiting particular, and probably, 
sacred localities. I allude to those of the LejH, the Deir at Petra, 
and especially Serb4l. In all these places there is no thoroughfare^ 
and therefore the places themselves must have been the object of the 
writers. What could have been their purpose in the Leja it is 
difficult to say, for they go beyond the traditional Eock of Moses, 
and yet they fall far short of the summit of St. Catherine ; nor have 
they anyxK)nnection with the traditional scenes of the giving of the 
LaWy Jebel Miisa being entirely without them. At Petra, their 
object is evidently the Deir. At SerbM their object must have been 
something at the top of the mountain itself. It should also be 
observed, that they are nearly, though not quite, as numerous on the 
east as on the west of the peninsula. Those on the north and on 
the south lay out of my route \ 

3. Their situation and appearance is such as in hardly any case 
requires more than the casual work of passing travellers. Most of 
them are on sandstone, those of W&dy Mukatfceb, and Heiimet 
Haggag, and Petra, of course very susceptible of inscriptions. At 
Heiimet Haggag one of us scooped out a horse, more complete than 
any of these sculptured animals, in ten minutes. Those which are 
on granite are very rudely and slightly scratched. Again, none that 
I saw, unless it might be a very doubtful one at Petra, required 
ladders o^ machinery of any kind \ Most of them could be written 

^ Those on the nortb, 'between SArfthlt- 
el-KhAdim and WAdy es-Sheykh, are 
described by LepeiaB (Letters, 299), and 
Bobinaon (B. B. i. 123—125). Those on 
the south (on the Jebel Mukatteb, near 
Tdr), are de8cribe<l by the Comte d'Am- 
traagnes, as quoted in Mr. Forster's 
Yoioe of Israel, p. 81 ; also by Wellsted, 


15—28. (Bitter, Sinai, 459). It 
appears by the later work of Mr. Foister 
(Isiaelitidi Authorship, kc p. 16), that 
two trarellerB hare lately ''expended ten 
days of indefatigable labour in the attempt 
to disoorer them, bat without suooesBL** 

' It appears that fire more such cases 
hare been disooTered in or near the WAdy 

ri&T i.j FENmSULA OF SINAI. 61 

bj &DJ one, who, having bare legs and feet as all Arabs have, could 
take finn hold of the ledges, or by any active man. even with shoes. 
I think there are none that could not have been written by one man 
climbing on another's shoulder. Amongst the highest in the W&dy 
Makatteb are single Greek names. 

4. Their numbers seem to me to have been greatly exaggerated. 
I had expected in the W&dy Mukatteb to see both sides of a deep 
defile covered with thousands. Such is not the case by any means. 
The Wady Mukatteb is a large open valley, almost a plain, with no 
continuous wall of rock on either side, but masses of rock receding 
and advancing ; and it is only or chiefly on these advancing masses, 
that the inscriptions straggle, not by thousands, but at most 
by hundreds or fifties. On Serb&l, I think we could hardly have 
overlooked any ; but we saw no more than three, though it is 
difficult to reconcile this with the statement of Burckhardt, that he 
bad there seen many inscriptions^ They are much less numerous 
than the* scribblings of the names of Western travellers on the 
monuments in the Valley of the Nile since the beginning of this 

5. So far as the drawings of animals, by which they are usually 
accompanied, indicate the intention of the inscriptions themselves, 
it is diifficult to conceive that that intention could have been serious 
or solemn. The animals are very rudely drawn ; they are of all 
kinds ; asses, horses, dogs, but, above all, ibexes ; and these last, in 
fonns so ridiculous, that, making every allowance for the rudeness of 
the sculpture, it is impossible to invest them with any serious signifi- 
cation. The ludicrous exaggeration of the horns of the ibex was 
almost universal ; and no animal occurred so frequently. Sometimes 
they are butting other animals. Sometimes they, as well as asses 
and horses, occur disconnected with inscriptions. 

6. As regards their antiquity, I obser\'ed the following data. 
There was great difference of age, both in the pictures and letters, 
aa mdicated by the difference of colour ; the oldest, of course, being 
those which approached most nearly to the colour of the rock. But, 
fint, I found none on fallen rocks inverted, and, though I doubt not 
that there may be such, the sandstone crumbles so rapidly that this 
is no proof of age. A famous Greek inscription at Petra fell in 
1S46. Secondly, they are intermixed, though not in great numbers, 
with Greek and Arabic, and in one or two instances Latin inscrip- 
tions, these in some cases bearing the same appearance of colour, 
wear and tear, as the Sinaitic. Thirdly, these Greek inscriptions, 

XnkaUeb (Isnelitish Authorship^ &e., ^ Perhaps they may hare been those 

^y the Bev. C. Forster, pp. 17 — 24). described by one of Mr. Forster's in- 

li<Re BQch may very possibly be found, formants as near the WAdy Aleyat (I»- 

bnt the general chuacter of their poei- raelitish Authorship^ &c., p. SO), 
tion is what I hare described. 


which alone I could read, were chieflj the names of the writers. The 
only Latin inscription which I rememher was in the sandstone rocks 
near Heiimet Haggag, — Pebtus. Fourthly, OrosMes ot all kinds, 
chiefly + and ^, were very numerous and conspicuous, standing 
usually at the heginning of the inscriptions, and (what is important) 
occurring also and in the same position before those written iu 
Greek and Arabic : often nothing but the cross, sometimes the cross 
with Alpha and Omega. These last were in the same place 
where I noticed the Latin inscription, (thus A + Q)> of the same 
colour as the contiguous Sinaitic characters. There are also said to 
be Ethiopic characters, and a peculiar figure used in the G-reek 
service books, when engravings are given representing some specially 
sacred subject K From having previously seen that Forster and Tuch 
(the last German writer on the subject) had united in the conclusion 
that the hypothesis of their being Christian inscriptions was ground- 
less, and that the alleged appearance of crosses was a mistake, I was 
the more surprised to find them in such numbers, and of such a 
character. However else the crosses may be explained, I can hardly 
imagine a doubt that they are the work, for the most part, of Chris- 
tians, whether travellers or pilgrims. They are in this case curious, 
and if their object could be ascertained, would throw great light on 
the traditions of the Peninsula. But they cannot have been the 
work of Israelites. The date of the columns at Malatha, or of the 
temple and tomb at Fetra, woiUd settle the question of the inscrip- 
tions written on them. The two latter, I presume, cannot be older 
than the Boman dominion of Arabia. 

1 T 

I 4m indebted for this to the Ber. J. Beynoldi^ Ilf onL Essex. 




Tee following extracts are either from letters, or from journals^ 
'written on the spot or immediately afterwards. Such oulj aro 
aelected as served to convej the successive imagery of the chief 
stages of the journey, or as contained details not mentioned by pre- 
vious travellers. My object has been to give the impressions of the 
moment, in the only way in which they could be given, — as the 
best illustrations of the more general statements elsewhere founded 
upon them. 

L Departure from Egypt ; Orerland Route ; First Encampment. — II. The Passage 
«f the Bed Sea. (1.) Approach to Suez. (2.) Wells of Moses.— III. The Desert, 
ttd Sand-storm. — IV. Marah ; Elim. — ^V. Second Encampment by the Red Sea ; 

TI. Approach to MoontSerbAl; W&dy Sidri and W&dy Felriln.—yil. Ascent of 

Tin. Approach to Jebel Miisa, the traditional Sinai. — IX. Ascent of Jebel MCtsa 
and R&8 Sufsftfeh.— X. Ascent of St. Catherine.— XI. Ascent of the Jebel ed-Deir. 

XII. Route from Sinai to the Gnlf of *Akaba. Tomb of Sheykh Saleh. WAdy 
SeTll and WAdy el-' Ain. HAnROTH.— XHI. Golf of 'Akaba ; Elath. 

XIT. The 'Arabah.— XV. Approach to Petra.— XYI. Ascent of Moont Hor.— 
Xyn. Petra. KAnssH. 

XTIIL Approach to Palestine. — XIX. Recollections of the First Day in Palestine. 
—IX. Hebron. — XXI. Approach to Bethlehem and Jemsalem.— XXII. First View 
«f firthldiem.— XXIII. First View of Jemsalem. 


out of the way, and so left on each side of the road to mark it more 


Nothing was more striking to me in our first encampment than 
the realisation of the first lines in Thalaba : — 

** How beautiful is night, 
A dewy frethness fills the tiUni air." 

There is the freshness without coldness, and there is the silence 
doublj strange as compared with the everlasting clatter of the streets 
8nd inns of Cairo, and the incessant sound of songs, and screams, and 
Ahocks of the boat upon the Nile ; nothing heard but the slight 
movement amongst the Bedouin circles round their fires, and firom 
time to time a plaintive murmur from the camels as they lie, like 
stranded ships, moored round the tents. 


(1.) ApproacJ^ to Suez. — ^I have at last, as far as mortal ejes can 
see it, seen the passage of the Bed Sea. It was about 3 p.h. yester- 
day, that as we descended from the high plain on which we had 
hitherto been moving, by a gentle slope through the hills, called, by 
figure of speech, the *^ defile " of Muktala, a new view opened before 
us. Long lines, as if of water, which we immediately called out 
to be the sea, but which was, in fact, the mirage ; but above these, 
indubitably, the long silvery line of even hills — the hills of Asu. 
Onwards Ave still came, and in the plain below us lay on the lefc a 
fortress, a tomb, and a fortified wall. 

This is 'Ajr{Ld, famous as the first great halting-place of thp 
Mecca Pilgrimage ; famous as the scene of Eothen's adventure ; 
still more famous as being the only sp6t on the road which, by its 
name and position, can claim to be identified with any of the stations 
mentioned in the flight of the Israelites. It may possibly be 
R-hahiroth \ 

If it was so, then the low hills of Muktala, through which we 
descended, are Migdol, and Baal Zephon was Suez, which lay on the 
blue waters of the sea, now incontrovertibly before us east and south; 
and high above the whole scene, towered the G-ebel 'At&kah, the 
^ Mountain of Deliverance," a truly magnificent range, which, after 
all, is the one feature of the scene unchanged and unmistakeable ; if, 
at least, this was the impediment which prevented the return of the 

1 Forthe name ofPi-hahiroth, seep. 37. Pilgrimage, i. p. 230), nnleaa, which ia 

The name of ' Ajriid may, after all, be equaUy probable, the name of the Saint 

lieriTed from the name of the Saint, was inrented to acconnt for the name ot 

'"AjrC^d," who is said to be buried in the place. See like instances in Chaptei 

l^he tomb beside the fortress (Burton's YI. 


Israelites into Egypt, when Pharaob appeared on theif rear and 
>< shut them in.*' 

(2.) From the Wells of Moses {'AyCn Mdsa). ^Tho wind droye 
us to shore : and on the shore — the shore of Arabia and Asia — ^we 
landed in a driving sand-storm, and reached this place, 'Ay^n 
Miksa, " the Wells of Moses." It is a strange spot, — this plot of 
tamarisks with its seventeen wells, — ^literally an island in the Desert, 
and now used as the Bichmond of Suez, — a comparison which chiefly 
serves to show what a place Suez itself must be. It is not mentioned 
m the Bible, but coming so close as it does upon any probable 
Bcene of the Passage, one may fairly connect it with the song of 
Miriam. And now once more for the Passage. Prom the beach, 
within half an hour's walk from hence, the shore commands a view 
across the Gulf into the wide opening of the two ranges of mountains \ 
the opening of the valley through which the traditional Exodus took 
place, and consequently the broad blue sea of the traditional passage. 
Ilis, therefore, is the traditional spot of the landing, and this, with 
the whole view of the sea as far as Suez, I saw to-night ; both at 
sunset, as the stars came out ; and later still by the full moon — the 
white sandy desert on which I stood, the deep black river-like sea, and 
the dim silvery mountains of 'At&kah on the other side. These are 
the three features which are indisputable. You know the Straits of 
Gibraltar, — the high mountains of Africa, the green swells of 
Europe, the straits which divide them. Such in their way are the 
three characteristic features of this great boundary of Africa and 
Asia, on which the Israelites looked through the moonlight of that 
memorable night. Behind that high African range lay Egypt, with 
all its wonders ; the green fields of the Nile, the immense cities, the 
greatest monuments of human power and wisdom. On this Asiatic 
side begins immediately a wide circle of level desert, stone and sand, 
&ee as air, but with no trace of human habitation or art, where 
they might wander, as far as they saw, for ever and ever. And 
between the two rolled the deep waters of the sea, rising and falling 
^th the tides, which, except on its shores, none of them could 
We seen, — the tides of the great Indian Ocean, imlike the stiU 
dead waters of the Mediterranean Sea. " The Egyptians whom they 
bad seen yesterday they will see no more for ever.*' Most striking, 
^1 it is to look on that mountain of 'At&kah, and feel that on its 
northern and its southern extremity settle the main differences 
which on so many like questions have divided the Church in after 
times. Eor the passage at its southern end are the local Arab 
iz^tions, the poetical interest of its scenery, the preconceived 

1 See Part I. p. 84. 

F 2 


notions of one's childhood. For the passage at the northern end 
are the ancient traditions of the Septuagint ; almost all the argu- 
ments founded on the text of the Bible itself; all the wishes to 
bring the event within our own understanding. It is remarkable 
that this event — almost the first in our religious history — should 
admit on the spot itself of both these constructions. But the 
mountain itself remains unchanged and certain — and so does the fact 
itself which it witnessed. Whether the Israelites passed over the 
shallow waters of Suez bj the means, and within the time, which the 
narrative seems to imply, or whether they passed through a channel 
ten miles broad, with the waves on each side piled up to the height 
of 180 feet, there can be no doubt that thej did pass over within 
sight of this mountain and this desert by a marvellous deliverance. 
The scene is not impressive in itself, — that at Suez especially is 
matter-of-fact in the highest degree, and even that at 'Ayibi Mtksa 
is not amongst those grand frameworks, such as at Marathon and 
elsewhere correspond to the event which they have encompassed. 
In this very fact, however, there is something instructive; ''a 
lesson," as the Arabian Nights say, *' to be graven on the under- 
standing for such as would be admonished." 


The clearing up of the sand the next morning revealed a low 
range of hills on the eastern horizon, the first step to the vast pUin 
of Northern Arabia. The day after leaving 'Aydn MCisa was at 
first within sight of the blue channel of the "Red Sea. But soon Bed 
Sea and all were lost in a sand-storm, which lasted the whole day \ 
Imagine all distant objects entirely lost to view, — the sheets of sand 
fleeting along the surface of the Desert like streams of water ; the 
whole air filled, though invisibly, with a tempest of sand, driving in 
your face like sleet. Imagine the caravan toiling against this, — the 
Bedouins each with his shawl thrown completely over his head, half 
of the riders sitting backwards, — the camels, meantime, thus virtually 
left without guidance, though, from time to time, throwing their 
long necks sideways to avoid the blast, yet moving straight onwards 
with a painful sense of duty truly edifying to behold. I had thought 
that with the Nile our doubles of wind were over ; but (another 
analogy for the ships of the Desert) the great saddlebags act like 
sails to the camels, and therefore, with a contraiy wind, are serious 
impediments to their progress. And accordingly Mohammed opened 

1 I have retained this aocotmt of the Martinean, all noticed it^ and it was jost 

Band-Btorm, chiefly because it seema to be aa violent at the passage of a fiiend in 

a phenomenon peculiar to this special 1841, and again of anoUier two znonihs 

region. Van Sigmonl^ Niebuhr, Miss after onrselTei in 1855. 


our tents this morning just as he used to open our cab in- doors, with 
the joyful intelligence that the wind was changed, — " good wind, 
master." Through the tempest, this roaring and driving tempest, 
which sometimes made me think that this must be the real meaning ^ 
of '' a howling wilderness," we rode on the whole day. 


We were undoubtedly on the track of the Israelites, and we saw 
the spring ' which most travellers believe to be Marah, and the two 
Talleys, one of which must almost certainly, both perhaps, be Elim. 
The general scenery is either immense plains, or latterly a succession 
of water-courses, that especially of Ghuriindel, exactly like the dry 
bed of a Spanish river. These gullies gradually bring you into the 
heart of strange black and white mountains, the ranges of which 
overhang the Bed Sea above the Hot Wells of Pharaoh, where, 
according to the Arab traditions of these parts, somewhat invalid- 
ating that of 'AyCin MQsa, Pharaoh literally breathed his last. Por 
the most part the Desert was absolutely bare, but W&dy Ohiiriindel 
and Wftdy TJseit, the two rivals for Elim, are fringed with trees and 
shrubs, the first vegetation we have met in the Desert. These are 
80 peculiar and so interesting that I must describe each. First, 
there are the wild palms, successors of the *' threescore and ten." 
Not like those of Egypt or of pictures, but either dwarf, — ^that is, 
tnmkless — or else with savage hairy trunks and branches all 
dishevelled. Then there are the feathery tamarisks, here assuming 
gnarled boughs and hoary heads, worthy of their venerable situation, 
on whose leaves is found what the Arabs call manna. Thirdly, there 
is the wild acacia, the same as we had often seen in Egypt, but this 
also tangled by its desert growth into a thicket — the tree of the 
Burning Bush, and the shittim-wood of the Tabernacle. Kebie's 
expression of the " towering thorn " is one of his few inaccuracies. 
No one who has seen it would have used that expression for the 
tangled spreading tree which shoots out its gray foliage and white 
blossoms over the Desert '; 

To-day occurred a curious instance of the tenacious adherence of 
the Bedouins to their own traditions. We passed a cairn, said to be 
the grave of the horse of Abii Zenneh, his horse killed in battle. 
Who AbA Zenneh was — when he lived — ^what the battle was — ^is 
quite unknown, but he left an ordinance that every Arab should 
throw sand on the cairn as if it were barley, and say, " Eat, eat, O 
horse of Abu Zenneh," as if the dead creature was still alive. So 

1 Jkni, xzzii. 10. It mutt mean either deaeripUoii (i. 96). See Fart L p. 87. 
tkifl, or the howling of wild boMte. ' See Part I. p. 20. 

* There is nothing to add to Bobinton's 



said our Bedouin, and accordingly eacH Arab muttered the words 
and pushed the sand twice or thrice with his foot as he passed. 
I could not help thinking of the Bechabites, as described by 




Another glorious day. We passed a third claimant to the title of 
Elim, the W&dy Taijibeh, palms and tamarisks, venerable as before ; 
then down one of those river-beds, between vast difis white on the 
one side, and on the other of a black calcined colour, between which 
burst upon us once more the deep blue waters of the Bed Sea, bright 
with their white foam. Beautiful was that brilliant contrast, and 
more beautiful and delightful still to go down upon the beach and 
see the waves breaking on that shell-strewn weed-strewn shore, and 
promontory after promontory breaking into those waters right and 
left : most delightful of all, the certainty, — I believe I may here saj 
the certainty (thanks to that inestimable verse in Numbers xzziii.), 
— that here the Israelites, coming down through that very valley, 
burst upon that very view, — the view of their old enemy and old 
friend, — that mysterious sea, and one more glimpse of Egypt dim in 
the distance in the shadowy hills beyond it. Above the blue sea 
rose the white marbly terraces, then blackened by the passage of the 
vast multitude. High above those terraces ranged the brown cliffs 
of the Desert, streaked here and there with the purple bands which 
now first began to display themselves. And as the bright blue sea 
formed the base of the view, so it was lost above in a sky of the 
deepest blue that I have ever observed in the East. 

We turned aside at last into the plain of MurkyLh — probably the 
Wilderness of Sin. 

Bed mountains closed it in on the north, one of which the Bedouins 
called Urn Shaumer— different from the far greater mountain of that 
name. Over the hills to the south was the first view of the peaks of 
Serbal. From this plain we entered the W&dy Shell41--the '* Valley 
of Cataracts ;" thus, for the first time, plunging into the bosom of 
the strangely-formed and strangely-coloured mountains we had seen 
80 long in the distance. They closed the prospect in front, — red tops 
resting on black or dark-green bases. The nearer rocks cast their 
deep evening shades along the level surface of the valley. The bright 
caper-plant hung from their cliffs, and dwarf palms nestled under the 
overhanging cliff at the entrance. 

^ Jcr. jxxr. This sligbtly diffen from Sobinaon^s aocount (i. p. 102). 




The first great ascent we had made was after leaving the WkAy 
Shellal. A stair of rock', the Niikb Badera, brought us into a 
glorious wftdy (Sidri) enclosed between red granite mountains 
descending as precipitously upon the sands as the Bavarian hills on 
the waters of the Ednigsee. It was a sight worthy of all remem- 
brance, before we reached this, to see, in the first break of day, the 
sunbeams striking the various heights of white and red, and to 
think what an effect this must have had as the vast encampment, 
dawn by dawn, in these mountains, broke up with the shout, " Bise 
up, Lord, and let Thine enemies be scattered ; and let them that 
h&te Thee flee before Thee '." In the midst of the W&dy Sidri, just 
▼here the granite was exchanged for sandstone, I caught sight of the 
first inscription. A few more followed up the course of a side valley 
where we turned up to see (strange sight in that wild region !) 
Egyptian hieroglyphics and figures carved in the cliffs, — strange 
sight, too, for the Israelites if they passed this way ; like that second 
glimpse of the Bed Sea, for these hieroglyphics are amongst the 
oldest in the world, and were already there before the Exodus. Of 
the other inscriptions, the chief part were in the next valley,Mukatteb, 
**of writing," so called from them. Of these I will speak elsewhere •. 
From the WMy Mukatteb, we passed into the endless windings of 
the W&dy FeidLn. I cannot too often repeat, that these w&dys are 
exactly like rivers, except in having no water ; and it is this appear- 
ance of torrent-bed and banks, and clefts in the rocks for tributary 
streams, and at times even rushes and shrubs fringing their course, 
which gives to the whole wilderness a doubly dry and thirsty aspect 
—signs of 

"Water, water everywhere^ and not a drop to drink." 

Here, too, began the curious sight of the mountains, streaked from 
head to foot, as if with boiling streams of dark red matter poured over 
them; really the igneous fluid squirted upwards, as they were heaved 
from the ground. On the previous part of that day, and indeed often 
since, the road lay through what seemed to be the ruins, the cinders, 
of mountains calcined to ashes ^ like the heaps of a gigantic foundry. 
I cannot conceive a more interesting country for a geologist. Even 
to the most uneducated eye the colours tell their own story, of chalk 

' It ii said that the Arabs describe ^ Num. x. 35. 

tlus IS called ap by Moses to enable the ' See Note A. to Part L 

Israelites to get out of the valley below. * See Part I. p. 21. 
(Lowth'a Wanderer in Arabia.) 

72 SINAI AND PALESTINE. [chaf. i. 

and limestone, and sandstone, and granite; and these portentous 
appearances are exactly such as give the impression that you are 
indeed travelling in the very focus of creative power. I have looked 
on scenery as strange \ and on scenery more grand, but on scenery 
at once so strange and so grand, I never have looked, and probably 
never shall again. One other feature I must add. Huge cones of 
white clay and sand are at intervals planted along these mighty water- 
courses, guarding the embouchure of the valleys ; apparently the ori- 
ginal alluvial deposit of some tremendous antediluvian torrent, left 
there to stiffen into sandstone. We encamped at El-Hessu^, the first, 
but not the largest of those groves of tamarisks and palms which make 
the Wady Feiran so important a feature in the Desert. 


At 5'30 A.M. we started. We passed the instructive and sugges- 
tive sight of the ruins of the old Christian city and episcopal palace 
of Paran, under the hill which has great claims to be that on which 
Moses prayed, whilst the battle of Bephidim was fought for the 
passage through what is now (whatever it may have been) the oasis 
of the Desert '. We then turned up the long watercourse occupied 
in part by the brook of Wady 'Aleyat, which conducted us to the 
base of the mountain, where the spripg rises amidst moss and fern. 

It is one of the finest forms I have ever seen. It is a vast mass of 
peaks, which, in most points of view, may be reduced to five, the 
number adopted by the Bedouins. These five peaks, all of granite, 
rise so precipitously, so column-like, from the broken ground which 
forms the root of the mountain, as at first sight to appear inaccessible. 
But they are divided by steep ravines, filled with fjraigments of fallen 
granite. Up the central ravine, W&dy Abii-Hamad (" valley of the 
father of wild figs," so called from half-a-dozen in its course), we 
mounted. It was toilsome, but not difficult, and in about three hours 
we reached a ridge between the third and fourth peak. Here we 
rested ; close by us were the traces of a large leopard. A little beyond 
was a pool of water surrounded by an old enclosure. 

Three-quarters of an hour more brought us over smooth blocks of 
granite to the top of the third or central peak, the steep ascent was 
broken by innumerable shrubs like sage or thyme, which grew to the 
very summit ; and at last, also helped by loose stones arranged by 
human hands (whether yesterday or two thousand years ago), and 
through a narrow pass of about twenty feet, to the two eminences of 
which this peak is formed. 

> I aUnded to the fentastic forms of Biblical fiesearehea, i. p. 113. 
the Saxon Switserland. The same compa- - See Part I. p. 41. 

riflon Mema to have stmck Dr. BobinaoD ; 


The highest of these is a Huge block of granite ; on this, as on tha 
back of some petrified tortoise, you stand and overlook the whole 
Peninsula of Sinai. The Bed Sea, with the Egyptian hills opposite 
and the wide waste of the Ka'a on the south, the village and grove of 
T6r just marked as a dark line on the shore; on the east the vast 
cluster of what is commonly called Sinai, with the peaks of St. 
Catherine ; and, towering high above all, the less famous, but most 
magnificent of all, the Mont Blanc of those parts, the unknown and 
nnvisited Um Shaumer. Every feature of the extraordinary confor- 
mation lies before you ; the w&dys coursing and winding in every 
direction ; the long crescent of the W&dy es-Sheykh ; the infinite 
number of mountains like a model ; their colours all as clearly dis- 
played as in Bussegger's geological map, which we had in our hands 
at the moment ; the dark granite, the brown sandstone, the yellow 
Deaert, the dots of vegetation along the W4dy Eeiran, and the one 
green spot of the great palm-grovp (if so it be) of Bephidim. On the 
northern and somewhat lower eminence are the visible remains of a 
building, which, like the stairs of stones mentioned before, may«be of 
any date, from Moses to Burckhardt. It consists of granite fragments 
cemented with lime and mortar. In the centre is a rough hole, and 
dose beside it, on the granite rocks, are three of those mysterious 
inscriptions, which, whatever they mean elsewhere, must mean here 
that this summit was frequented by unknown pilgrims, who used 
those characters ; the more so, as the like inscriptions were scattered 
at intervals, through the whole ascent. A point of rock immediately 
below this ruin was the extreme edge of the peak. It was flanked 
on each side by the tremendous precipices of the two neighbouring 
peaks— itself as precipitous; and as we saw them overlooking the 
circle of Desert — plain, hill, and valley, it was impossible not to feel 
that for the giving of the Law to Israel and the world, the scene was 
most truly fitted. I say "for the giving of the Law," because the 
objections urged from the absence of any plain immediately under 
the mountain for receiving the Law, are unanswerable, or could 
only be answered if no such plain existed elsewhere in the Peninsula. 

It was already dark by the time that we reached our encamp- 
ment at the eastern extremity of the W&dy Eeiran. It was a 
beautiful sight to see on our way the mountains lit up from top 
to bottom with the red blaze which shot up from the watchfires 
of the Bedouin tents. So they must have shone before the Pillar 
of Fire. The palm-groves of Eeirftn I saw only by the clear star- 
light; yet it was still possible to see how great must be the 
beauty of the luxuriant palms and feathery tamarisks — the wild 
glades below, the vast mountains above. 



We started at 5 a.k. The camels went round by Wftdj es- 
8hejkh ; we took the direct route bj W&dj Solaf, which, passing 
by several deserted Bedouin villages of the Arab serfs of the con- 
vent, with their lonely burial-grounds, brought us to the foot of 
the Nukb H&wy, the "Pass of the Wind," a stair of rock like 
that by which we had mounted to the cluster of Serbil, and by 
which we were to mount again into the second and highest stage 
of the great mountain labyrinth. Its entrance is formed by the 
white alluvial formations before-mentioned, as if lefb by the great 
streams of the central mountains when they first burst forth to feed 
the lower plains and valleys of the Wady Feir&n ; this being the 
opening into the dark range we had seen in the distance from the 
top of Serbal. The pass itself is what would be elsewhere a roaring 
torrent, Uke the Pass of St. Gothard. It is amidst masses of 
rock|«a thread of a stream just visible, and here and there forming 
dear pools, shrouded in palms. On many of these rocky frag- 
ments are Sinaitic inscriptions, mostly with crosses. The steep 
pass is broken in j)art by long green swells as of tufa. At its 
summit, the course of the stream is still traceable from time to time 
by rushes. 

We reached the head of the pass ; and far in the bosom of the 
mountains before us, I saw the well-known shapes of the cliffs 
which form the front of Sinai. At each successive advance these 
cliffs disengaged themselves from the intervening and surrounding 
hiUs, and at last they stood out — I should rather say the columnar 
mass, which they form, stood out — alone against the sky. On each 
side the infinite complications of twisted and jagged mountains 
feU away from it. On each side the sky encompassed it round as 
though it were alone in the wilderness. And to this giant mass 
we approached through a wide valley, a long continued plain, 
which, enclosed as it was between two precipitous mountain ranges 
of black and yellow granite, and having always at its end this pro- 
digious mountain block, I could compare to nothing else than 
the immense avenue, — the " dromos," as it is technically called, — 
through which the approach was made to the great Egyptian 
temples. One extraordinary sensation was the foreknowledge at 
each successive opening of the view of every object that would 
next appear; as cliff and plain, and the deep gorges on each 
side, and lastly the Convent with its gardens burst before me, it 
was the unfolding of the sight of sights, of which I had read and 
heard for years, till each part of it seemed as familiar as if I had 
seen it again and again. Was it the same or not ? Tlie colours 


and the scale of the scene, were not precisely what I should have 
gathered from descriptions : the colours less remarkable, the scale 
less grand. But the whole impression of that long approach was 
even more wonderful than I had expected. Whatever may have 
been the scene of the events in Exodus, I cannot imagine that 
any human being could pass up that plain and not feel that he was 
entering a place above all others suited for the most august of the 
sights of earth. We encamped outside the Convent, at the point 
where the great Wady es-Sheykh falls into the W&dy er-£&hah, 
immediately under the comer of the clifT. 


The next day we started for Jebel Miisa, the Mountain of Moses, 
the traditional scene of the Giving of the Law. I shall not go 
through all the steps of the well-known ascent. There were two 
points which especially struck me. First, the little plain just 
before the last ascent. The long flight of rude steps, which leads 
from the base to the summit, winding through crags of granite, 
at last brings you in sight of a grand archway standing between 
two of these huge cliffs, somewhat like that by which you enter 
the desert of the Chartreuse. You pass this, and yet another^ and 
then find yourself in that world-renowned spot.^ The tall cypress, 
which stands in the centre of the little basin, had already appeared 
towering above the rocks before we came in sight of the whole. 
There is a ruined church on the slope of the hill, built over the 
so-called cave of Elijah, and a well and tank on the other side of 
the basin, also ascribed to him. It is a solemn and beautiful 
scene, entirely secluded, and entirely characteristic, with the excep- 
tion of the cypress, which marks the hand of strangers. Next, 
the summit itself, whatever else may be its claims, bears on its 
front the marks of being, or having been, regarded as the spot 
most universally sacred on earth. Por there, side by side, and 
from reverence for the same event on which both religions are 
founded, stand the ruins of a small Christian church, once divided 
amongst all the Christian sects, and of a small Mahometan mosque. 
From whatever point we saw this famous peak, these two frag- 
ments of worship, almost always visible upon it, more distinctly 
than anything else told what it was. And now for the question 
which every one asks on that consecrated spot. Is this " the top 
of the mount " described in Exodus ', or must we seek it elsewhere P 

' I cftUBot forbear to refer to the description of it in '^Tanered.** 

a ExocL xix. 20. 


The whole question turns on another question, whether there is 
a plain below it agreeing with the words of the naiTati?e. Br 
Bobinson, \\ho has the merit of discoyering first that magnificent 
approach which I haye before described on the other side of 
the mountain, declares not : but Laborde and others have so con- 
fidentlj maintained that there was a large and appropriate place 
for the encampment below this peak, that I was fidlj prepared to 
find it, and to believe in the old tradition. This impression is 
so instantly overthrown bj the view of the Wady S^&'tyeh, as 
one looks down upon it from the precipice of Jebel Mdsa, that 
it must be at once abandoned in favour of the view of the great 
approach before described, unless either the view of the plain of 
Er-Bahah was less imposing from above than it was from below, 
or the plain of Seba'iyeh more imposing from below than it was 
from above. The first thing to be done was, therefore, to gain 
the summit of the other end of the range called the Bas Sufsifeh 
(Willow Head), overlooking the Er-Bihah from above. The whole 
party descended, and after winding through the various basins 
and cliffs, which make up the range, we reached the rocky point 
overlooking the approach we had come the preceding day. The 
efiect on us, as on every one who has seen and described it, was 
instantaneous. It was like the seat on the top of Serb&l, but 
with the difference, that here was the deep wide yellow plain^ 
sweeping down to the very base of the cliffs ; exactly answering 
to the plain on which the people " removed and stood afar off/' . . • 
There is yet a higher mass of granite immediately above this point, 
which should be ascended for the greater completeness of view 
which it affords. — The plain below is then seen extending not onlj 
between the ranges of Tlaha and Furei'a, but also into the lateral 
valleys, which, on the north-east, unite it with the wide W&dy of 
the Sheykh. This is important, as showing how far the encamp- 
ment may have been spread below, still within sight of the same 
summit. Behind extends the granite mass of the range of Jebel 
M^bsa, cloven into deep gullies and basins, and ending in the tra- 
ditional peak, crowned by the memorials of its double sanctity. 
The only other point which now remained was to explore the Widj 
Seba'iyeh on the other side, and ascertain whether its appearance 
and its relation to Jebel Miisa from below was more suit^le than 
it had seemed from above. This I did on the afternoon of the third 
day, and I came to the conclusion, that it could only be taken for 
the place if none other existed. It is rough, uneven, narrow. The 
only advantage which it has is, that the peak from a few points 
of view rises in a more commanding form than the B&s SiifsAfeh. 
But the mountain never descends upon the plain. No ! If we 
are to have a mountain without a wide amphitheatre at its base, 


let us have Serb&l ; but, if otherwise, I am sure that if the monks 
of Justinian had fixed the traditional scene on the S4s Sufs&feh, 
00 one would for an instant have doubted that this only could be 

the spot Considering the almost total absence 

of such conjunctions c^f plain and mountain in this region, it is a 
reallj important evidence to the truth of the narrative, that one 
such conjunction can be found, and that within the neighbourhood 
of the traditional Sinai. Nor can I say that the degree of uncer- 
tainty, which must hang over it, materially diminished my enjoyment 
of it. In fact, it is a great safeguard for the real reverence due 
to the place, as the scene of the first great revelation, of God to 
num. As it is, you may rest on your general conviction, and be 

[On a careful consideration of the traditional statements, it seems 
Tcry doubtful whether the scene of the Giving of the Law as we 
Dow^ conceiye it, ever entered into the minds of those who fixed the 
traditional site. The consecrated peak of Jebel Miisa was probably 
revered simply as the spot where Moses saw the vision of God, 
without reference to any more general event.] See Part I. pp. 


The next day we ascended the highest peak, not of the whole 
peninsula, but of the Sinai range. Its whole historical or legendary 
interest depends on the story from which it derives its name, that 
the angels bore St. Catherine's body from Alexandria over the 
Bed Sea and Desert, and placed it on this mountain top ^. It is 
a noble mountain, and glorious was the view from the top. It 
embraces not only the labyrinth of bare granite peaks which you 
see from Jebel Mdsa, but a panorama over the whole Peninsula. 
Once more we saw Serb&l itself; once more, and now nearer at 
hand the masses of Um Shaumer; and (what we could not see 
from Serb&l) both the gulfs of the Bed Sea, beautifully blue, 
with the high mountains of Egypt and Arabia beyond. Most 
complete, too, was the view of Jebel Miisa below ; the reddish 
granite of its lower mass ending in the grey green granite of the 


[This mountain is the only one of the group immediately around 

* Thu when the hennits of Syzia in saw God." Theod. Philott. vi. (vol fSL 
th« 4tli oenftozy went to Mount Sinai, it p. 1172). 
▼u to see ''the place in which Moees * See Parti, p. 45. 


the Convent which had never been explored^ Eor this reason, 
amongst others, we made the ascent, and for this reason I here 
give the account of it. It bears the various names of Jebel 
ed-Deir, '' the Mountain of the Convent/' irom the nunnery which 
once existed there — " Jebel Bestin," fi;om St. Episteme, the first 
abbess of the nunnery, — '^ Solab," the Cross, from the cross which 
stands on its summit ;— of " the 'Burning Bush,*' from the stoiy 
already given'.] " We went up with two Bedouin boys, belonging 
to the serfs of the Convent : — The name of the eldest was S&leh, 
of the younger, Hamad&n. Like all the young guides attached 
to the monastery, they were remarkably intelligent ; and though 
they had never been to the summit before, found their way with 
great sagacity. The ascent took three hours : it was steep, but 
the granite was sufficiently rough to afford hold and footing. In 
the recesses between the peaks was a ruined Bedouin village. On 
the highest level was a small natural basin, thickly covered with 
shrubs of myrrh, — of all the spots of the kind that I saw, the 
best suited for the feeding 6f Jethro's flocks in the seclusion of 
the mountain. From this, through the rock, a deep narrow cleft 
opens straight down upon the Convent, which lies far below, like 
a collection of houses of card or cork, with the leaden roof of 
the church standing athwart them. This, doubtless, is the explana- 
tion of the legend of the miraculous sun-beam. The highest point 
of all is a little above this, reached by clambering over blocks of 
granite, — and is crowned by the rude wooden cross which gives 
the mountain its name, and stands out in the blue sky, a strange 
sight in the Arabian wilderness. From this point, St. Catherine 
and Jebel MClsa are both visible ; also beyond St. Catherine, the 
long line of peaks, which we saw from thence ; and amongst them 
rose the tall pyramidal mountain, of which we were still in doubt 
whether it was XJm Shaumer. A light cloud veiled the summit 
of Bas Sufs&feh. This is the only spot which commands the view 
both of the WAdy Seb&'tyeh and of the Wl^dy er.E4hah. In 
other respects it is inferior to any of the other four mountain 
views we saw: less extensive than SerbM or St. Catherine, less 
wild than Jebel Miisa, and less imposing than Bas Sufsafeh. 
Thence we descended by a path on the south-west to the ruins 
of the nunnery, called Magarefeh Q* Security "), which was under a 
steep rock, and above a little spring or stream. Steps of broken 
stones, like those on the ascent of Jebel Mdsa, lead from thence 
to the W4dy ed-Deir. In the course of the descent, we came to a 
precipitous granite rock, so smooth as to render it almost impossible 
to pass down its surface ; the boys, with much ingenuity, turned 

1 Bitter ; Smai, p. 544. « Part L ^ 4(1 


the difficnltj hj discovering a fissure, tbrougli which we could creep 
ondemeath it." 


[The approach to Sinai from the west has been so often described, 
that I haye hitherto only given the general outline contained in the 
letters. But the descent to the east has been so seldom and so 
erroneously delineated, both in books and maps, that I venture to 
add here a few words from my journal.] 

On leaving the Convent, the road soon falls into the crescent 
Tomb of ^^ *^® WAdy es-Sheykh, — which widens till it opens 
Sbeykh into a large plain. In the midst of this was a small 
^**** chapel, with a white conical roof, containing the tomb 
of Sheykh Saleh, who gives his name to the w&dy. Bound it are 
a collection of small gravestones. He was, according to the Bedouins 
with us, one of the Su&bis, or companions of the Prophet, "in 
the time of Miisa and Mohammed," and attended the latter, and 
was buried on the journey, — ** as if— excuse me— one of you, 
masters, fell sick, and died, and was buried." " The tomb is still 
risited by all the Taw^rah Arabs, and by them alone." "The 
burial place belongs to them." "Bedouins not of the Taw&rah, 
however near, could not be buried here," The Arabs who accom- 
panied us (here and here only on tha journey) began to mutter 
prajers aa they approached. They (with our own Mohammed) 
stood for a few minutes, saying a few prayers or addresses to the 
dead saint, with a great appearance of solemnity, and then entered 
the hoveL The Saint is buried in the floor. His wooden coffin, 
▼ith a wooden handle to mark the bead, closed with a cloth — and 
sticks are rudely put up round it, hung with old rags and lid above, 
is supposed to be above the grave. This is covered with shawls. 
''If they were of Cashmere, no one would take them." The one 
Bedouin who entered with us knelt down, and taking dust from the 
coffin, threw it on his head. One by one they all entered, but with 
a kind of delicacy, waiting till we had left it. 

From this point we struck off from the W^dy es-Sheykh, 
leaving it to pursue its winding course towards the W&dy Feir&n, 
—and went up the W&dy Suweiiiyeh, — near the spring of Ab{i 
Suweiiiyeh, whence the Bedouins fetched water. Up the N&kb 
Suweiiiyeh, — an abrupt but not high or difficult pass into the w&dy 
or wide broad plain of £1-Wah, the watershed between the cluster 
of Sinai and 'Akaba. From this pass, and from this plain, the 
backward view of the Sinai mountaius was ver^ fine, — St. Catherine, 


and at times jebel Mdsa and B&s Siifsafeli toweiiiig above the 
rest ; and in front a long bulwark of black and jagged peaks, like 
the Grampians. 

From this plain we descended into the W&dy Seyal, — so called, 
apparently from a few scattered acacias, the first we have Widy 
seen since leaving the W&dj Solaf. This wd^j is a SeyftL 
continuous descent, between high granite rocks, occasionallj red— 
sometimes like the deep red of old brick. In this we encamped. 
The next daj it widened, and the acacias increased into spreading 
mazj thorns. A sharp storm of rain, the only one we experienced 
in our whole journey, swept from the Sinai range, during which 
we took shelter under a "Betem,*' or broom. The shrubs on 
the ground were myrrh (ser), a yellow flowering shrub, caDed 
« Abeithiran," and a blue thorny plant, called " Silleh." The hills 
here are of a conical shape, curiously slanting across each other, 
and with an appearance of serpentine and basalt. The w^y, still 
bearing the same name, then mounted a short rocky pass — of hills 
capped with sandstone — and entered on a plain of deep' sand— 
the first we had encountered — over which were scattered isolated 
clumps of sandstone, with occasional chalk — to which the Arabs 
gave the name of " 'Adjerat-el-Farfts.*' On two of these rock*? 
were Sinaitic inscriptions ; one with animals, one without. At 
the close of this plain, an isolated rock, called by the Bedouins 
"Herlmet BEaggag," "Aboutig Suleman," "Kel'at 'AbdaUah,"— 
its high tiers rising out of lower tiers, like a castle. Almost all 
round the lower tier are inscriptions, some Sinaitic, some Arab, two 
or three Greek, — many animals, some recent, but the greater part 
of the same colour as the inscriptions, — and chiefly ibexes, with 
enormous horns, overlapping the whole body like a rainbow ; — also 
camels and ostriches ^ 

Leaving this rock, — and leaving also the level ranges of EI-T!b, 
which now rose in front, — ^we turned down from the Maharid-el 
Huder&h, — ^the " network," so called from the extreme complication 
of small isolated masses — through a sandy desert, amidst fantastic 
sandstone rocks, mixed with lilac and dull green, as if of tufa 
Here were some more inscriptions, — and here we encamped. Above 
the encampment was a crumbling sandstone ridge, which commanded 
our last great view, and almost equal in beauty to any that we had 
seen in the Sinaitic Peninsula'. On the south-west was the whole 
Sinai range. Tim Shaumcr and St. Catherine were veiled in dond, 
— ^but Serbftl and El-Ben&t were just visible, — the first like one dot, 
the second, with its double peak, like two dots, on the far horiioD 

> Oompare Bnrckliardt) 505, rM, See Part I. p. 60. 
' Gocspare a aimilar view, farther west, Stewart^ Tent and Kkui, p. 168. 


On the north-west were the level ridges of the Tih : on the east 
was the vast and beautiful outline of the Arabian mountains on 
the other side of the gulf of 'Akaba, with yet another range beyond 
them, rifling as if to a very great height. The near view was of 
sand, isolated sandstone hills, and the green and purple hill on 
which we stood. 

At 7*30 A.ii. we started through deep sand^ aixd what Dr. 
Robinson well calls " fragments of the T!h,"oTer a flat plain called 
bj the Arabs Eidh&n-es-Shak4'a. This presently contracted into a 
valley (WWy Grhiiz&leh), winding, like the WIdy SeyAl, between 
high granite rocks. At 9*30, the W&dy Hiider&h fell into it from 
the north-west, and the W&dy Ghiiz4]eh now opened into another 
and a still more tortuous valley, which, from first to last, was called 
bj the Arabs the Wady el-*Ain — "of the Spring." The spring, 
or brook, which gives it its name, is a rill of clear fresh water, 
which descends into it, winding through a winding ravine from 
the west : its course marked by rushes, the large-leaved plant called 
'* Esher," tamarisks, and vrild palms. A venerable group of these 
Ust stands near the entrance of the brook into the Wd^dy el-'Ain, 
the rough stems springmg up from one vast shaggy root, — the 
branches, dead and living, hangmg over in a tangled canopy. As 
it descends into the w&dy, it spreads out its stream with more 
rushes and more palms. The rocks rise, red granite or black basalt, 
occasionally tipped as if with castles of sandstone, to the height of 
about 1000 feet. They are absolutely bare, except where the green 
"lasaf" or caper plant springs from the defts. Occasionally they 
overlap and narrow the valley greatly. Finally they open on the. 
sea— the high Arabian mountains rising beyond. At the mouth of 
the pass are many traces of flood — trees torn down, and strewed 
along the sand. 


Besides the interest of the physical peculiarities of this 
route is the faint probability that this beautiful valley and its 
neighbourhood may have been the scene of the first long halt 
^fter the departure from Sinai. After Taberah and Eibroth- 
Hattaavah, the people '* abode** ''for seven days" at least, in 
Hazeroth*. Burckhardt, and most travellers after him, have 

' i^ Part I. p. 8. Arguments are well stated in Riiter ; 

* Kumb. zL 35 ; xu. 15, 16. The Sinai, 251, 261, 270. 


from the resemblance of the two radical letters in the two 
words, identified this with HUderah* Such a conjecture must 
be very uncertain, the more so as the name of Hazeroth is one 
the least likely to be attached to any permanent or natural 
feature of the desert. It means simply the " enclosures*,*' 
such as may still be seen in the Bedouin villages, hardly 
less transitory than tents. Three points, however, may be 
mentioned, as slightly confirmatory of the hypothesis that the 
Israelite route lay in these valleys. First the brook of el-'Ain, 
as its name implies, is emphatically " the water," " the spring," 
of this region of the desert, and must therefore have attracted 
round it any nomadic settlements, such as are implied in 
the name of Hazeroth, and such as that of Israel must have 
been. If they descended at all to the western shores of the 
Gulf of 'Akaba, this is the most natural spot for them to have 
selected for a long halt. Secondly, in the murmurs previous 
to their arrival at Hazeroth, " the sea" is twice mentioned, in a 
manner which may indicate its proximity, and which is there* 
fore certainly more appropriate to these valleys touching on the 
Gulf of 'Akaba, than to the more inland route over the Tih. 
** Shall the flocks and the herds be slain for them to suffice 
them ? or shall all the fish of the sea be gathered together, to 
suffice them*? " " There went forth a wind firom the Lord, and 
brought quails from the sea*. " Thirdly, in connection with 
this incident of the " quails," may be mentioned the fact, that on 
the evening and the morning of our encampment, immediately 
before reaching the W&dy Huderah, the sky was literally 
darkened by the flight of innumerable birds, which proved to 
be the same large red-legged cranes, three feet high, with black 
and white wings, measuring seven feet from tip to tip, which 
we had seen in like numbers at the First Cataract of the Nile. 
It is remarkable that a similar flight was seen by Schubert 
near the very same spot. That any large flights of birds should 
be seen in those parts at any rate illustrates the scripture 
narrative. But if a recent* explanation of the difficult passage 

■ For the name, wee AppendtA. « <* Voice of Sinai," bj the Ber. C. 

* Numb. xL 22 ; see Bitter, 827. Fonter, if. 168. 

* Numb. xi. 81. 


in Numbers xi. 31, be correct, and the expression "two cubits 
high upon the face of the earth," be applied, not to the 
accumulation of the mass, but to the size of the individual 
birds ; the flight of cranes, such as we saw, may be not merely 
an illustration, but an instance, of the incident recorded in the 
Pentateuch, and the frequency of the phenomenon in this 
locality may serve to show that Kibroth-Hattaavah and 
H&derah were not far distant. 


The 8ca on which we descended is the Gulf of Elath and Ezion- 
Geber, up and down which the fleets of Solomon brought the gold 
of Ophir : the great channel of commerce till it was diverted by 
Alexandria to the Gulf of Suez. The two gulfs seem, hke Castor 
and Pollux, to have risen and set alternately. Now there is not a 
nngle boat upon it from end to end. Once a-year, and once only, 
boats come round from Suez to 'Akaba with provisions for the 
Mecca pilgrims ; at all other times it is desolate as the wilderness. 
But what a sea ! and what a shore ! 

From the dim silveiy mountains on the further Arabian coast, 
OTer the blue waters of the sea^ malting into colourless clearness as 
they roll up the shelly beach, — that beach red with the red sand, or 
red granite gravel that pours down from the cliffs above, — those 
cliffs sometimes deep red, sometimes yellow and purple, and above 
them all the blue cloudless sky of Arabia. And the sight of the 
shore at once reveals why this sea, in common with the Indian 
Ocean, was called Bed by the Greeks, and the Sea of Weeds by the 
Hebrews. Of the red sand and rocks I have spoken : but, besides 
these, fragments of red coral are for ever being thrown up from the 
stores below, and it is these coralline forests which form the true 
" weeds ^" of this fantastic sea. But, above all, never did I see such 
shells. Far as your eye can reach you see the beach whitening with 
them, like bleaching bones : and as you break them under your 
dromedary's feet, they are like the earthenware on Monte Testaccio, 
only, instead of broken pottery, like white porcelain. These are the 
larger ones; but there are smaller ones, of every size and shape, 
and colour: sometimes, too, the trunks of trees of white coral, 
shooting their roots through the sand, the upper branches gone, 
bat still showing what these trees must be in the depths below. 
On the second day we had to leavQ the shore to cross a high mountain 
pass (Niikb-Huweimir&t), by a very rugged path, the highest and 
roughest that we have seen ; the line of camels, going in single file, 

1 See Part I. p. 6, 

a 8 



extended almost from top to bottom. It is important, because, being 
the onlj means of reaching the head of the Gulf, it proves either that 
the Israelites could not have come our route, or that no pass which 
vre have seen in Sinai would have impeded their march to any point 
in the Peninsula. 

It was about four p.m. that we reached 'Akaba. *Akaba is a 
wretched village, shrouded in a palm-grove at the north end of 
the Gulf, gathered round a fortress built for the protection of the 
Mecca pilgrimage ; into whose route we here again fell for the first 
time since we left it at *Ajeriid, which is guarded bj a fort like this. 
This is the whole object of the present existence of * Akaba, which 
stands on the site of the ancient Elath, — '' the Falm-Trees," so 
called from the grovel Its situation, however, is verj striking, 
looking down the beautiful gulf, with its jagged ranges on each 
side : on the west is the great black pass down which the pilgrimage 
descends, and from which 'Akaba ("the Pass*') derives its name; 
on the north opens the wide plain, or Desert Valley, wholly different 
in character from anything we have seen, still called as it was in the 
days of Moses, "the *Arabah." Down this came the Israelites 
on their return from Kadesh, and through a gap up the eastern hiUa 
they finally turned off to Moab. On this view they undoubtedly 
looked. It was a new Sed Sea for them, and they little knew the 
glory which it would acquire when it became the channel of all the 
wealth of Solomon. 


Our journey for the first two days was along the wide i^id desert 
valley of the *Arabah. It is one great peculiarity of the whole of 
the passage through the Desert, that every day you pass over a 
battle-field of historical or topographical controversy; not the 
Forum of Eome is more fertile in such disputes. In this great 
valley there is no more question of the coarse of the Israelites. It 
is indeed doubtful whether they passed up it on their way to Canaan, 
but no one can doubt that they passed down it, when the valleys 
of Edom were closed against them. But the geographical contro- 
versy of which the ' Arabah is the scene, though it has or ought to 
have been set at rest in its essential points by the comparative levels 
of the Gulf of * Akaba and the Lake of Gennesareth, still remains 
unsettled in its lesser details. 

On the west are the limestone ranges of the Tth, horizontal as 
before. On the east is a low gap in the hilld with three low peaks 
visible beyond. This is the Wady Ithm, which turns the eastern 

> See Fart I. p. 20. There is nothing to fix the precise site of Baon-Geber, **iht 
Giant*! Backbone.** 


range of the 'Arabah, and through which the iBraelites must have 
passed on their way to Moab. It is still one of the regular roads to 
Petra, and in ancient times seems to have been the main approach 
from Elath or *Akaba, as it is the only road from the south which 
enters Petra through the Sik ^ The only published account of it 
is tbat of Laborde. These mountains appear to be granite, till as 
we advance northward we reach the entrance of the Wadj Tubal* 
where, for the first time, red sandstone appeared in the mountains* 
rising, as in the Wkdj el-'Ain, architecture-wise, above grey granite. 

Two circumstances always make it difficult for travellers posi- 
tively to ascertain the watershed of the 'Arabah. First, the slope 
in the level from east to west, which distorts the course of the tor- 
rents, and makes it almost impossible to distinguish whether they 
descend in a northerly or a southerly direction ; secondly, the diffi- 
culty of traversing the 'Arabah (when in a caravan) directly from 
east to west. The ridge which is pointed out as such is a long line 
of hills, formed apparently of a detritus of stone and sand, called 
''Chragi er-Bishi" (saddlebags of feathers), which runs due west 
across the 'Arabah. Just before reaching these was the first view cf 
Mount Hor, and on ascending them we looked back for the last 
dme over the southern 'Arabah, which from this point looks like 
a waste of sand ; whereas, when on its own level, the shrubs at times 
give it almost the appearance of a jungle. The wide opening to the 
sea is also visible from hence, though not the sea itself. In the 
midst of these bills, or rather of the undulations formed by their 
sumD.its, all intersected by lesser watercourses, is one broad water- 
course, running from east to west, called "Wady Howar, i, «., " the 

It is this which Sheykh Mohammed declares to be the watershed, 
and which, he maintains, " shuts out " the waters of the Qulf of 
'Akaba from side to side. 


The whole prospect changes at this point. We lose the opening 
of the valley into the Gulf of 'Akaba, and we gain the view of Mount 
Hor, — the " Mountain of Aaron," as it is still called. Behind it lies 
Petra^ and to Petra, through fantastic rocks, we turned aside, and 
encamped at last at the entrance of the pass, and waited for the 
morning.' One isolated rock, with an excavation inside, in front 
of the hill, indicated the region we were approaching, apparently 
an outpost for a sentinel, — perhaps the very one which the Prophet 
had in his eye in that well-known text', "Watchman, what of the 

* See p. 89. > Isaiah zxi. 11. « He caHeth to me out of Selrr 




And now arose the strange feeling of arriving at a place which it 
was possible we might be prevented by force from entering, or have 
by force to enter. Fifty years hence, when our friend Sheykh 
Mohammed * has put down the surrounding tribes, Petra will have 
lost half its interest ; but now the failures and dangers are sufficiently 
recent to form part of the first impressions of the place. It is 
literaUy ** paved with the good intentions " of travellers, unfulfilled. 
There, was Mount Hor, which Eobinson and Laborde in vain wished 
to ascend ; there, the plain half-way, where Burckhardt was obliged 
to halt without reaching the top ; here, the temple which Irby and 
Mangles only saw through their telescope ; here, the platform from 
which the Martineau party were unable to stir without an armed 
guard; and, lastly, on the very plain of our encampment, at the 
entrance of the pass, travellers with our own dragoman were driven 
back last year without even a glimpse of the famous city. 


We ascended the pass early in the morning; and leaving the 
camels and tents to go on to Petra^ turned to climb the summit of 
Mount Uor. 

It is one of the very few spots connected with the wanderings of 
the Israelites, which admits of no reasonable doubt?. There Aaron 
died in the presence of Moses and Eleazer; there he was buried; 
and there Eleazer was invested with the priesthood in his stead. 
The mountain is marked far and near by its double top, which rises 
like a huge castellated building from a lower base, and on one of 
these is the Mahometan chapel erected out of the remains of some 
earlier and more sumptuous building, over the supposed grave. 
There was nothing of interest within; only the usual marks of 
Mussulman devotion, ragged shawls, ostrich eggs, and a few beads. 
These were in the upper chamber. The great High-priest, if his 
body be really there, rests in a subterraneous vault below, hewn out 
of the rock, and in a niche now cased over with stone, wood, and 
plaster. Prom the flat roof of the chapel we overlooked his last view 
— that view which was to him what Pisgah was to his brother. To 
us the northern end was partly lost in haze; but we saw all the 

^ Sheykh Mobammed is the eldest Km 
^ the celebrated Sheykh of the Alawioe, 
HonayD. Hie iather, now adTancing in 
yean, deputed his eon to escort us ; and 
I feel bound to mention the idmost 
princely courtesy which he showed to us 
during the journey. 

3 The proofs of the identity of Jebel 
HadiTi, as it ia now called, with Mount 

Hor, are— <1) The situation '<by the 
coast of the land of Bdom," where it is 
emphatically "the Mountain *' (Hor). 
Numb. zx. 23. (2) The sUtement of 
Joeephus (Ant IV. iv. 7), that Aaron's 
death occurred on a high mountain en- 
closing Petra. (3) The modem name 
and teaditional sanctity of the mountain 
as connected with Aaron*s tomb 


main points on which his eje must have rested. He looked over 
the yallej of the 'Arahah, countersected bj its hundred watercoursee^ 
and bejond, over the white mountains of the wilderness they had so 
long traversed ; and at the northern edge of it, there must have been 
visible the heights through which the Israelites had yainlj attempted 
to force their waj into the Promised Land. This was the western 
view. Close around him on the east were the rugged mountains ot 
£dom, and far along the horizon the wide downs of Mount Seir, 
thix)agh which the passage had been denied by the wild tribes of 
Esaa who hunted over their long slopes. A dreary moment, and a 
dreary scene, — such at any rate it must have seemed to the aged 

The peculiarity of the view was the combination of wide extension 
with the scarcity of marked features and points on which to observe. 
Petra itself is entirely shut out by the intervening rocks. But the 
survey of the Desert on one side, and the mountains of Edom on 
the other, is complete ; and of these last the great feature is the mass 
of red bald-headed sandstone rocks, intersected, not by valleys, bat 
bj deep seams. In the heart of these rocks, itself invisible, lies 
Petra. Beyond spreads the range of yellow downs, tufted with 
vegetation, now called Sherfth. And now to Petra let us descend. 

XVn. — ^FBTBA« 

The first thing that struck me in turning out of the 'Arabah up 
the defiles that lead to Petra was, that we had suddenly left the 
Desert. Instead of the absolute nakedness of the Sinaitic valleys, 
we found ourselves walking on grass, sprinkled with flowers, and the 
level platforms on each side were filled with sprouting com : and this 
continues through the whole descent to Petra, and in Petra itself. 

The next peculiarity was when, after having left the summit of 
the pass, or after descending from Mount Hor, we found ourselves 
insensibly encircled with rocks of deepening and deepening red. 
Bed indeed, even from a distance, the mountains of '* Hed *' Edom 
appear, but not more so than the granite of Sinai : and it is not till 
one is actually in the midst of them that this red becomes crimson, 
and that the wonder of the Petra colours fully displays itself.* 

Two mijitakes seem to me to have been made in the descriptions. 
All the describers have spoken of bright hues— scarlet, sky-blue, 
orange, &c. Had they taken courage to say instead, " dull crimson, 
indigo, yellow, and purple," their account would have lost some- 
thing in effect, but gained much in truth. Nor really would it have 
lost much any way. I'or the colours though not gaudy, — or rather 
because they are not gaudy, — are gorgeous. You are never, or 
hardly ever, startled by them. You could never mistake them 


for anything else but nature ; thej seem the natural clothing of the 

Another mistake is, that the descriptions lead jou— or, at least, 
thej led me — to suppose that wherever 70U turn at Petra, jou see 
nothing hut these wonderful colours. I have already said, that 
from a distance one hardlj sees them at alL One sees the genera] 
contrast only of the red sandstone cliffs standing out against the 
white limestone and yellow downs, which form their higher ba^* 
ground. But when one comes in face of the very cliffs themself es» 
tben they are, as I have said, a gorgeous, though dull crijnson, 
streaked and suffused with purple. These are the two predominant^ 
colours, — " ferruginous,'* perhaps, they might best be called, — ^and 
on the face of the rocks the only colours. But one striking feature 
of the whole scenery is, that not merely the excavations and build- 
ings, but the rocks themselves, are in a constant state of mouldering 
decay. You can scarcely tell where excavation begins and decay 
ends. It is in these caves, and roofs, and recesses, whether natural 
or artificial — very numerous it is true, but not seen till you are dose 
within them — ^that there appears that extraordinary veining and 
intermixture of colours, in whi<5h yellow and blue are occasionally 
added — ribbon-like — ^to red and purple. Of the three comparisona 
usually made — mahogany, raw-flesh, and watered-silk — ^the last ic 
certainly the best. 

This brings me to the third great feature of Petra — its exca- 
vations. Here again the same error has been committed. I had 
expected to be surrounded by rocks honeycombed with caves. By 
no means. I do not doubt, that by calculation of all in the out- 
lying ravines, you might coimt up thousands; but in the most 
populous part that I could select, I could not number in one view 
more than fifty, and generally much fewer. It is their immense 
ramifications, rather than their concentrated effect, that is remark- 
able, and this of course cau no more be seen in one view than all 
the streets of London. The larger excavations are temples; the 
others may be divided between modem (i. 0., Boman or Arab) 
tombs, and Edomite or Horite* habitations. Bound about, or rather 
cast and west, are masses of crumbling rock, their faces immediately 
above this mass of ruins cut out into holes, and sometimes with 
Grecian fa9ades. Of these, the most remarkable are in the eastern 
cliffs, where four of these great excavations, apparently not tombs 
or houses, but temples, stand dose together with tiers of pillars one 
above another, giving to that cliff an embattled appearance, which, 
architecturally speaking, is the only remarkable feature in the basin 
of Petra, taken by itself. • • • • 

i The name of the "Harim,*' who preceded the Sdomitfs (Deak iL 22) td^Bifici, 
'* dweUen in caTea.** 


But Petra, that is, the mere site of the city, is bj far the least 
striking part of Fetra. There anj one, I think, with highly-raised 
expectations will feel disappointment. In the two points I am 
going to describe, I believe no one. 

First there is the famous defile which, in ancient times, was the 
chief— the only usual — approach to Fetra ; and I feel so strongly 
the loss of interest which Fetra suffers by the present gradual 
entrance, that I would strongly recommend all travellers-— even at 
the cost of another day's journey — to come round by this eastern 
approach, through which, though wo only saw it reversed, I mean 
now to conduct you, as if entering from the east. 

You descend from those wide downs and those white cliffs which 
I have before described as forming the background of the Bed City 
when seen from the west, and before you opens a deep cleft between 
rocks of red sandstone rising perpendicularly to the height of one, 
iwo, or three hundred feet. This is the Stk, or " cleft ;" through 
this flows — if one may use the expression — the dry torrent, which, 
risbg in the mountains half an hour hence, gives the name by 
which alone Fetra is now known amongst tho Arabs — Wady Miisa. 
"For," — so Sheykh Mohammed tells us — "as surely as Jebel 
Hanin (the Mountain of Aaron) is so called from the burial-place 
of Aaron, is W&dy MiUsa (the Valley of Moses) so called from the 
cleft being made by the rod of Moses when he brought the stream 
through into the valley beyond." It is, indeed, a place worthy of 
the scene, and one could long to believe it. Follow me, then, down 
this magnificent gorge — ^the most magnificent, beyond all doubt, 
which I have ever beheld. The rocks are almost precipitous, or 
rather, they would be, if they did not, like their brethren in all this 
region, overlap, and crumble, and crack, as if they would crash over 
you. The gorge is about a mile and a half long, and the opening of 
the cliffs at the top is throughout almost as narrow as the narrowest 
part of the defile of Ffefters, which, in dimensions and form, it more 
resembles than any other of my acquaintance. At its very first 
entrance you pass under the arch which, though greatly broken, 
still spans the chasm — meant apparently to indicate the approach to 
the city. You pass under this along the bed of the torrent, now rough 
vith stones, but once a regular paved road like the Appian "Way, 
the pavement still remaining at intervals in the bed of the stream 
—the stream, meanwhile, which now has its own wild way, being 
then diverted from its course along troughs hewn in the rock above, 
or conducted through earthenware pipes, still traceable. These, 
aud a few niches for statues now gone, are the only traces of human 
hand. "What a sight it must have been, when all these were perfect I 

A road, level and smooth, running through these tremendous 
r^Kjks, and the blue sky just visible above, the green caper-plant 

90 SINAI AND PALESTINE. [chip. i. 

and wild ivy hanging in festoons over the heads of the travellers nn 
they wind along, the flowering oleander fringing then, as now, tbi:ji 
marvellous highway like the horder of a garden-walk. You move on ; 
and the ravine, and with it the road, — and with the road in old times 
the caravans of India, — winds as if it were the most flexible of rivers, 
instead of being in truth a rent through a mountain- wall. In this 
respect, in its sinuosity, it differs from any other like gorge I ever 
saw. The peculiarity is, perhaps, occasioned by the singularly 
friable character of the cliffs, the same character that has caused 
the thousand excavations beyond ; and the eflect is, that instead of 
the uniform character of most ravines, you are constantly turning 
round corners, and catching new lights and new aspects, in which 
to view the clifls themselves. They are, for the most part, deeply 
red, and when you see their tops emerging from the shade and 
glowing in the sunshine, I could almost forgive the exaggeration 
that calls them scarlet. But in fact they are of the darker hues 
which in the shadow amount almost to black, and such is their 
colour at the point to which I have brought you, after a mile or 
more through the defile — the cliffs overarching in their narrowest 
contraction — when, suddenly through the narrow opening left be- 
tween the two dark walls of another turn of the gorge, you see a 
pale pink front of pillars and sculptured figures closing your view 
from top to bottom. You rush towards it, you find yourself at the 
end of the defile, and in the presence of an excavated temple, which 
remains almost entirely perfect between the two flanks of dark rock 
out of which it is hewn ; its preservation, and its peculiarly light and 
rosy tint being alike due to its singular posiition facing the ravine 
or rather wall of rock, through which the ravine issues, and thus 
sheltered beyond any other building (if one may so call it) from the 
wear and tear of weather, which has effaced, though not defaced, the 
features, and tanned the complexion, of all the other temples. 

This I only saw by degrees, coming upon it from the west ; but 
to the travellers of old times, and to those who, like Burckhardt in 
modem times, came down the defile, not knowing what they were U* 
see, and meeting with this as the first image of the Bed City, 1 
cannot conceive anything more striking. There is nothiug oi 
peculiar grace or grandeur in the temple itself — (the Ehazn6, or 
Treasury, it is called) — it is of the most debased style of Boman 
architecture ; but under the circumstances, I almost think one i» 
more startled by finding in these wild and impracticable mountains a 
production of the last effort of a decaying and over-refined civilisa- 
tion, than if it were something which, by its better and simpler 
taste, mounted more nearly to the source where Art and Nature 
were one. 

Probably any one who entered Petra this way, would be so 


electrified by this appantioa (wlucli I cannot doubt to bavo been 
evoked there purposely, as jou would place a fountain or an 
obelisk at the end of an avenne), as to have no eyes to behold or 
aense to appreciate anything else. Still, I must take you to the end. 
The Sik, though it opens here, yet contracts once more, and it is in 
this last stage that those red and purple variegations, which I haye 
before described, appear in their most gorgeous hues ; and here also 
begins, what must have been properly the Street of Tombs, the Appian 
"Way of Petra. Here they are most numerous, the rock is honey- 
combed with cavities of all shapes and sizes, and through these you 
advance till the defile once more opens, and you see — strange and 
unexpected sight ! — with tombs above, below, and in front, a Greek 
Theatre hewn out of the rock, its tiers of seats literally red and 
purple alternately, in the native rock. Once more the defile closes 
with its excavations, and once more opens in the area of Petra itself; 
the torrent-bed passing now through absolute desolation and silence, 
though strewn with the fragments which show that you once entered 
on a splendid and busy city gathered along in the rocky banks, as 
along the quays of some great northern river. 

The Sik is unquestionably the great glory of Petra ; but there is 
another point, on the other side, which struck me very much also, 
and which, if thoroughly explored, would I think be the most 
instructive and interesting spot in the place '. You turn up a torrent 
bed in the western clifiTs (for torrentrbeds from all sides pour 
down into this area in the heart of the hills), but soon leavo it to 
aacend a staircase hewn out of the rocks, steps not absolutely 
continuous now, though probably they once were ; broad steps 
glowing with the native colours, which conduct you through mag- 
nificent rocks, and along the banks of an almost second Sik, high 
up into the vast cluster of rocks which face Mount Hor on the 
north. This staircase is the most striking instance of what you 
aee everywhere. Wherever your eyes turn along the excavated 
sides of the rocks you see steps, often leading to nothing ; or to 
something which has crumbled away ; often with their first stops 
worn away, so that they are now inaccessible : sometimes as mero 
ornaments in the fafades, but everywhere seen even more than the 
caves themselves. High up in these rocks, withdrawn like the 
Khazn6 between two gigantic walls of clifiT, with a green platform 
before it, is another temple of the same kind, though not of the 
same singular colour. In fact, it has the appearance of yellow 
stone, but in form it is more perfect than the Khazn^, and its 
whole effect is so extremely modem, that I cannot better describe 
its impression on me than by comparing it to a London church of 
the last century. That is to say, you must imagine a London 

> See p. 00. 

92 SINAI AND PALESTINE. [.cuap. i 

Gburcb, of the most debased style of ornament and taste, trans- 
planted into a mountiim nook as wild and solitary as the Splugen. 
I call it solitary — but it was not always so. The Arabic name, £d- 
Deir, — " the Convent," — implies their belief that it was a Christiaa 
church. Crossi's are carved within it. The Sinaitic inscriptions are 
carved on the steps by which it is approached. Buins lie above} 
below, and around it. Everything, in short, tends to indicate that 
this was a specially sacred spot, and that it was regarded so by 
Christians afterwards. 


With the departure for Sinai, or at least from Hazeroth, the 
geographical interest of the Israelite history almost ceases till 
^e arrival in the table-lands of Moab, and the first beginning 
of the conquest. Not only is the general course of their march 
wrapt in great obscurity, but even if we knew it, the events are 
not generally of a kind which would receive any special 
illustration from the scenes in which they occurred. 

No attempt shall here be made to track their course in 
detail. It is possible that some future traveller may discover 
the stations recorded in the itinerary of the 33rd chapter of tlie 
Book of Numbers. At present none has been ascertained with 
any likelihood of trutli, unless we accept the doubtful identifi- 
cation of Hazeroth with Huderah*, of which I have alreadv 
spoken. All that is clear is, that they marched northward from 
Mount Sinai, probably over the plateau of the Tih — ^which 
seems to be designated as "the wilderness of Paran " — then that 
they descended into the 'Arabah — designated, apparently, as 
" the wilderness of Zin." Thence on the refusal of the king 
of Edom to let them pass through^ his territory, they moved 
southward, encamped on the shores of the Gulf of 'Akaba, 
at Ezion-Geber, and then turned the comer of the Edomite 
mountains, at their southern extremity, and entered the table- 
lands of Moab at the " torrent of the willows " (" the brook 
Zared "), at the south-east end of the Dead Sea. 

In this general obscurity, one place stands out prominently. 
There can be no question, that next to Sinai, the most im- 

* A list of poBable identifications may of Palestine by Babbi Joseph Schwan. 
be seen in the DescriptiTe Qeography p. 212—214. 

riaT ii.J. 



portant of all the resting-places of the Children of Israel is 
Kadesh'. It is the only one dignified by the name of "a city.'* 
Its very name awakens our attention — the " Holy Place " — the 
same name by which Jerusalem itself is still called in Arabic, 
**El-Khods.'' It is probably the old oracular "Spring of 
Judgment," mentioned as existing in the earliest times of 
Canaanite history'; as if , like Mount Sinai itself, it had an 
ancient sanctity before the host of Israel encamped within its 
precincts. The encampment there is also distinct in character 
from any other in the wilderness, except the stay at Sinai or 
perhaps at Bephidim. The exact time is not given ; but it is 
stated generally that "they abode in Kadesh many days'." 
They were there at least forty days*, during the absence of the 
spies. In its neighbourhood, the first battle was fought with 
the southern Canaanites*. There arose the demand for water, 
which gave to the place its new name of 'Meribah-Kadesh ; 
there also occurred the rebellion of Korah, and the death of 
the sister and the brother of Moses. 

All these indications compel us to look for some more definite 
locahty than can be found in the scattered springs and pools 
in the midst of the Desert, with which travellers have usually 
endeavoured to identify it — such, for example, as *Ain el- 
Weibeh, on the western side of the 'Arabah, which Dr. Bobinson 
selected as the spot, and which, but for the reasons just given, 
would not be an inappropriate scene. 

1 Although Beland (Palsstina, p. 115, 
it) is probftbly mistaken in supposing 
tiijit there were two halting-plooea of 
Intel caOed Kadeah, yet it does appear 
that b Gen. xtL 14 ; zx. 1 ; Josh. xy. 
23^ another Kadeah may he intended on 
the northeni plateau of the Tlh ; and, if 
m, this may be the one found by Mr. 
Bowlaada (Williams' Holy City, toI. i. 
Appw p. 466,) under the same name^ 
ia a place eorresponding with those 
iadicationa, but too fiir northward 
vA westward to be identified with 
Kadesh-Bamea. The fact of the affix 
«f '*Baniea'* may indicate that there 
vere two. Whether Israel was twice 
it Kadeah seems extremely doubtful. 
The diiBculty of reducing the second 
P|ui of the wanderings of Israel to dis- 
iaet chnmologieal order, will be STident 

to any one who compares Numb. xxxiiL 
80—36 with Dent. x. 6—7. 

3 Gen. xiv. 7. '' En-Mishpat (the 
spring of judgment), which is Kadesh 
Compare for the combination, Ex. xt. 
25, '*He made for them (at Marah)'a 
statute and a 'judgment' (mishpat).*' 
Jerome, howeveri distiuguishes Kadesh 
en-Hidipat from Kadesh-Bamea, making 
the former to be a spot in the Valley of 
Gerar, well known in his days as Beer- 
dan,— *' the well of the judge.*' De 
Loc. Heb. Yoe. Puteut Judicu, 

* Deut. L 46. 

4 Numb. xiiL 25. 

* Numb. xiy. 45. The victory in 
Numb, xxt 1, seems to be an anticipa- 
tion of Judg. L 17. 

' Deut. Tiiii, 51. 


blMAl AND FALBSTINK. [cuir. i. 

The geographical notices of its sitnation are unfortunately 
too slight to be of much service. Yet thus much they fix, that 
it was " in the wilderness of Zin '/' that it was " on the * edge' 
of the border of Edom'" — that it was near "Mount Hor/'— 
that it was at the southern point to which the territory of 
Judah afterwards reached. 

Is there any place to which these indications correspond ? 
Possibly, if the country were thoroughly explored, there might 
be found several in the deserted cities of Edom, known only to 
the Tery few travellers who have entered Edom by the W&dy 
Ithm. At present one only is known, and that is Petra. 

An oasis of vegetation in the desert hills: scenery only 
second in grandeur to that where the Law was delivered; a city 
of which the present ruins are modem, but of which the earlier 
vestiges reach back to the remotest antiquity — these are some 
of the points which give Petra a claim to be considered as the 
original sanctuary of the Idumean wilderness. It is moreover 
one of the few facts localised by anything like an authentic 
tradition, — in this case preserved by Josephus, the Talmudists, 
Eusebius', and Jerome*, — that Kadesh was either identical, 

1 Numb, xxrii. 14 ; xxziii. 86 ; Dent. identifies with Petra. Arke ia evidentiy 
xxxii. 51. In one passage, Kadesh ap- the same word (perhaps with the prefix of 

pears to be placed in '* the wilderness of . 'Arfor "mountain'* — as in Armageddon) 

Paran." Numb. xiii. 26. The spies re- as ^'Kekem,** the Syriac name for Petra 

turned '* unto the wilderness of Paran to (Jerome, De Loc Heb. toc. Petra and 

Kadesh" (cf. xii. 16). It is possible Jiekem) and the Talmudist name for 

that the other Kadesh (before noticed) Kadesh, — ^see also the Syriac and Arabic 

may be here meant. But, however it is versions, ^-deriyed (says Jerome, voc 

explained, a passage of this kind, — with Jtehemy and Josephus, Ant. IV. vii. 1) 

the liability to mistakes which seems to from the Midianite chief iSofem. Abolf^ds 

have beset the whole text of the wander- (Tabula Syris, p. 11,) speaks of Ar-Ba* 

ings,— cannot avail against the emphatic kera as near Al-Balk& (the Arabic Dam« 

contrast elsewhere drawn between the of the country east of the Ghor), and 

two wildernesses of Paran and of Zin, remarkable for the houses cut in the 

and the close connection of Kadesh-Bamea rock. There may be other places on the 

with Zin. east of the Ghor to which this description 

' The 'edge,' Numb. xx. 16, is the would apply, but none to which it would 
same word as is used in Numb, xxxiii. so well apply as Petra. The Targums of 
37, of Mount Hor. Modem writers who Onkelos, Jonathan, and Jerusalem, call 
represent Edom as extending west of the Kadesh-Bamea "Rekem-Giah,** — *of the 
'Arabah in the time of Moses, commit an ravine,' probably alluding to the Sik. 
anachronism, borrowed from the times See Schwars, p. 23, 24, who has^ how- 
after the Captivity, when the Bdomites, ever, his own explanations, 
driven from their ancient seats, occupied * '* Gades Bamea in deserto, qus loa- 
the '* sooth" of JudsBa as far ts Hebron ; jungitwr dviiati PetrcB in ArabiA" He 
1 Mace. V. 65. notices the tomb of Miriam as still shown 

* Josephus (Ant. lY. iv. 7) speaks of there, not that of Aiuon. (De Loc Heb.) 
Mount Hor as lying above Arke, which he 

I'AftT Il.J 



or closely connected with Fetra. With this the existing names 
(though capable of another origin) remarkably harmonise. The 
mountain which overhangs the valley of Petra has been known 
as far back as the knowledge of travellers extends, as the 
" Mountain of Aaron." The basin of Petra is known to the 
Arabs by no other name than '' the Valley of Moses.'' The 
great ravine through which the torrent is admitted into tlie 
?alley, is called " the Cleft of Moses " — ^in distiuct reference to 
the stroke of the rod of Moses \ 

In accordance with these confirmations are the incidental 
expressions of the narrative itself. The word always used for 
"the rock" of Kadesh*, in describing the second supply of 
water, is "sela" or * cliff/ in contradistinction to the usual 
word " tzur " — * rock,* which is no less invariably applied to 
"the rock " of Horeb — the scene of the first supply*. It may 
be difficult to determine the relative meaning of the two words. 
But it is almost certain that of the two, " sela" like our word 
" cliff," is the grander and more abrupt feature. On the one 
hand, this is of importance as excluding from the claimants to 
the name of Kadesh, such spots as 'Ain el-Weibeh, where the 
rocks are merely stony shelves of three or four feet in height. 
On the other hand, the name " Sela " is also the same as that 
by which in later times the place now called " Petra " was de- 
signated. As the southern boundary of Judah is described as 
reaching over the "ascent of scorpions" to Kadesh, so the 
Amorite boundary is described as '* from the ascent of scor- 
pions, from * the cliff * (sela) and* upwards." " Amaziah took 
* the cliff* {sela) by war." " Other ten thousand did the children 
of Judah carry away captive, and brought them up to the top of 
*the cliff' (sela), and cast them down from the top of * the cliff' 
(sela), that they were all broken into * pieces." The name of 

' See p. 89. This also agrees with 
Jeroiae*B deacription of Mount Hor. * * Or 
Mom, in qno mortuna est Aaron, juxla 
fivitateia Petram, ubi usque prcuentem 
*^M otltnditur rupes qud pereuasd 
msgnas aqnaa popnlo dedit." De Loc. 
Ueb. Toc Or. 

' Numb. XX. 8 — 11. See Appendix, 

» Rxod. xvu. 6. 
Joriiaa XT. 8 ; Jndg. i. 36. 

* 2 KiogB xir. 7 ; 2 Chron. xxt. 12. 
The use of this word in these passages 
makes it probable that the denunciatioD 
of Psalm cxxxvii. 9, is aimed not gainst 
the ** daughter of Babylon," but against 
"the children of Edom." — *' Happy 
shall he be that rewardeth thee as thou 
hast serred us ; happy shall he be that 
tidieth and dasheth thy little ones against 
the ' cliff* {telaV 



Kadesh almost entirely disappears from the Sacred Booka 
before the name of Sela appears, and it is therefore possible 
that the latter, taken from its natural peculiarity, may have 
been given to it by the Edomites or later settlers after the 
recollections of its earlier sanctity had passed away. That a 
sanctuary of this kind should have been gradually transformed 
into an emporium and thoroughfare of commerce, as was the 
case with Fetra during the Boman empire, would be one out 
of many instances with which oriental and ancient history 

If there be any ground for this conclusion, Petra assumes 
a new interest. Its rock-hewn caves may have served in part 
for the dwellings, in part for the graves of the Israelites ; it is 
dignified as tiie closing scene of the life both of Miriam and 
Aaron; its sanctity may account for the elevation and seclusion 
of some of its edifices, perched high among almost inaccessible 
rocks, and evidenUy the resort of ancient pilgrims ; its impres- 
sive scenery well accords with the language of the ancient 
h}'mns of Israel, in which Kadesh with the surroimding rocks 
of Edom is almost elevated to the rank of a second Sinai: 
" Lord*, when thou wentest out of Seir, when thou marchedst 
out of the field of Edom." " God* came from Tematiy and the 
Holy One from Moimt Paran." " He brought them to Mount 
Sinai and ^Kadesh-bai-nea" " The Lord came from Sinai, and 
rose up from Mount Seir unto them ; he shined forth from 
Mount Paran, and he came" — if we take the Hebrew as 
followed in the Authorised Version — " with ten thousands of* 
saints ; " if we take the Septuagint, '' with the ten thousands of 
Kadesh;" — if we follow the conjecture of Ewald*, "from 

And if any point is to be selected in Petra, as especially the 
Beat of this primeval sanctuary, it is that which I have just 
described, commonly known by the name of the Deir, 
or Convent. Its present' form is of the same modern 
character as that which deprives all these monuments of any 
deep interest — a facade, with a vast urn on the summit; the 

> Judg. ▼. i. 4 Dent, zxxiii. 2. 

3 HaUtk. iii 8. • GeBchichte, 2iid edit., iL 257. 

» JiiditL V. 14 


interior, one largo halL But its situation and its accompani* 
ments indicate the great importance, if not sanctity, with 
which it was invested at some period by Ihe inhabitants of 
Petra. Bemoyed as it is from Ihe sight not only of the town, 
but of the numerous sepulchres or excavations with which 
the cliffs which surround the town are perforated, it must 
have had some special purpose of its own. The long ascent 
by which it is approached, mostly along the edge of a pre- 
cipitous ravine, is carefully hewn, wherever the rocks admit, 
into a continuous staircase, of which the steps are in more 
than one instance marked by the unknown inscriptions in the 
so-called Sinaitic character. The walls of the interior of the 
Deir itself, as well as the steps, are sculptured with the usual 
accompaniments of these inscriptions, — crosses and figures of 
the wild goat, or ibex. Immediately opposite is a hill, with 
a large chamber below, partly natural, partly artificial; con- 
taining a sculptured niche at the end of it for a statue ; and 
bases of columns lie strewed around. A staircase leads to 
the roof of the Deir, which is again inscribed with a rude 
character; and on the rocky platform with which the roof 
communicates, is a circle of hewn stones, and again, still 
beyond, is a solitary cell' hewn in an isolated cliff, and joined 
to this platform by a narrow isthmus of rock. 

In the absolute dearth of records of Petra it is impossible 
to decide the reason of the selection of this lonely spot for a 
sanctuary, thus visited, as it would appear, by the same pil- 
grims who have left their traces so often elsewhere in the 
Peninsula. Yet its situation inevitably suggests some relation 
to Mount Hor. Froni the threshold, indeed, of the Deir, 
Mount Hor is not visible. But the whole of the upper story, 
and the roof — ^to which, as I have said, a staircase ascends as 
if for the express purpose of commanding a wider view,— both 
look upon the sacred mount of the High-priest's tomb, and are 
seen from thence. It is, in fact, the only building of Petra 
included in the view from Mount Hor, through which alone, in 
its deep seclusion, it was first revealed to the eyes of travellers. 

1 Tbis 1«fi feature I deriTe from UIsb record of its ezistenoe. From an over^ 
Hsrtiaeaii (Eaatem life, 2nd Ed. p. 410), light I omitted to see it on the spot. 
wka is tbe only perspn who has left a 


Is it too much to suppose tliat this point and Mount Hor 
were long regarded as the two sacred spots of Fetra ; that the 
scene of the death and sepulture of Aaron was designedly fixed 
in view of this, the innermost sanctuary of the Holy Place of 
" Kadesh ; " that this sanctity was retained through the suc- 
cessive changes of Pagan and Christian worship ; and that the 
pilgrims of the Desert mounted these time-worn steps, and 
traced their inscriptions upon the rock, on their way to the 
only spot whence they could see the grave of Aaron ? 


The day of leaving Petra was occupied in the passage of tlie 
mountains into the 'Arabah ; the next in crossing the ' Arabah ; on 
fche other side we came to 'Ain el-Weibeh — three springs with palms 
under the low limestone cliffs which form the boundary of the masa 
of the mountains of the TSh. This spot Dr. Bobinson supposes to 
be Kadesh 

It was at 'Akaba that Mohammed, stretching out his hands in 
prayer, after a few moments of silence exclaimed, pointing over 
the palm trees, '' There is the new moon," — the new moon which 
gave me a thrill no new moon had ever wakened before, for, if 
all prospered, its fulness would be that of the Paschal moon at 
Jerusalem. At 'Akaba, too, we first came within the dominions of 
David and Solomon. And now we were already on the confines of 
the tribe of Judah, and the next day we crossed the difficult 
high pass of S&feh, thought to be that through which the Israelites 
were repulsed by the Amorites \ Unfortunately a thick haze hang 
over the mountains of Edom, so that we saw them no more again. 
It was on Palm Sunday that we descended on the other side, and 
from this time the approach to Palestine fairly began. How the 
name of Aaron rang with a new sound in the first and second lessons 
'if that evening after the sight of Mount Hor. 

The Approach to Palestine — ^nothing can be more gradual There 
is no special point at which you can say the Desert is ended and the 
Land of Promise is begun. Yet there is an interest in that solemn 
and peaceful melting away of one into the other which I cannot 
describe. It was like the striking passage in Thalaba, describing 
the descent of the mountains, with the successive beginnings of 
vegetation and warmth. The first change was perhaps what one 
would least expect — the disappearance of trees. The last palms 
were those we left in the 'Arabah. Palm Sunday was the day 

> Deut I a. Or AmaUkites, Num. zit. 45. 


vbich abut U8 out, I believe, with few nie exoeptions, from 
thooe beautiful creatiouB of the Nile and the Desert springs^ 
The next daj we saw the Ust of our well-known Ax»da — ^that 
consecrated and yenerable tree of the Burning Bush and of the 
Tabernacle; and then, for the first time in the whole joumej, 
we had to take our mid-day meal without shade. But mean* 
while every other sign of life was astir. On descending from 
the Pass of S4feh, one observed that the little shrubs, which 
had more or less sprinkled the whole 'Arabah, were more thickly 
studded ; the next day they gave a gray covering to the whole 
hill-side, and the little tufts of grass threw in a general tint of 
green before unknown. Then. the red anemones of Fetra re- 
'^peared, and then here and there patches of com. Ajs we 
advanced, this thin covering became dee^r and fuller ; and daisies 
and hyacinths were mixed with the blood-drops^ of the anemones. 
Signs of ancient habitations appeared in the ruins of forts, and 
remains on the hill-sides; welLs, too, deeply built with marble 
eaaings round their mouths, worn by the ropes of ages. East 
and west, under a long Une of hills which bounded it to the north, 
IBS a wide plain in which verdure, though not universal, was still 
predominant. Up this line of hills our next day's course took us, 
and still the marks of ruins increased on the hiU-tops, and long 
courses of venerable rock or stone', the boundaries, or roads, or both, 
of ancient inhabitants ; and the anemones ran like fire through the 
mountain glens ; and deep glades of com, green and delicious to the 
eye, spread right and left before us. 

Most striking anywhere would have been this protracted approach 
to land after that wide desert sea — ^these seeds and plants, and planks, 
as it were, drifting to meet us. But how doubly striking, when one 
felt in one's inmost soul, that this was the entrance into the Holy 
Land—'* Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments 
from Bozra ? " Everything told us that we were approaching the 
sacred frontier. In that solitary ride — for all desert rides are more 
or less solitary — through this peaceful passing away of death into 
life, there was indeed no profanation of the first days of Passion 
Week. That wide plain of which I spoke, with its ruins and wells, 
was the wilderness of Beersheba : with wells such as those for which 
Abraham and Isaac struggled ; at which, it may be, they had watered 
their flocks ; the neutral ground between the Desert and 'the culti- 
rated region which those shepherd-patriarchs would most naturally 

> See Chapter n.v^ Sea, by Do Sanlcy (i 862, 547), who 

^ It is thMe which are called ** Blood- aptly likens them to the long low lines of 

dxxips of Christ." See Chapter IL p. 139. stone which form so large a part of 

' Compare the deeeription of f imilar Eamak in Brittany. 

STemes on the eastern side of the Dead h 2 


100 SDTAI AKD PAIiRBTINB. [chip. t. 

choose for their wanderings, before the idea of a more permanent 
home had yet dawned upon them. That long line of hills was the 
beginning of ^* the hill country of Judiea,*' and when we began tc 
oscend it, the first answer to our inquiries after the route told that it 
was ** Carmel," not the more famous mountain of that name, but 
that on which Nabal fed his flocks ; and close below its long ranges 
was the hill end ruin of " Ziph ; " close above, the hill of " Maon K" 
That is to say, we were now in the heart of the wild country where 
Dayid wandered firom Saul like those yeiy ** partridges in the moun- 
tains*," which we saw abounding in all directions. And in the 
eztensiye views which the tops of these hills commanded on the 
flouth, there was the long range of the Tih, — faithful to the last to 
that same horizontal character which we saw from Suez ; and to the 
east, towering high into the hazy sky, what looked like the Alps of 
Moab ; and between us and them a jagged line of lower hiUs, the 
rocks of En-gedi; and, in the misty depths which parted these 
nearer and those further mountains, there needed no guide to tell 
that there lay, invisible as yet, the Dbad Sea. 

From these heights, by gradual ascent and descent we went on. 
With Ziph the more desolate region ended. The valleys now began, 
at least in our eyes, almost literally " to laugh and sing." Greener 
and greener did they grow — ^the shrubs, too, shot up above that 
stunted growth. At last, on the summits of further hiUs, lines of 
spreading trees appeared against the sky*. Then came ploughed 
fields and oxen. Lastly, a deep and wide recess opened in the hills 
— towers and minarets appeared through the gap, which gradually 
unfolded into the city of '' the Friend of Ood " — ^this is its Arabic 
name*; &r up on the right ran a wide and beautiful upland valley, 
-all partitioned into gardens and fields, green fig-trees and cheny- 
trees, and the vineyards— famous through all ages : and far o^ gray 
und beautiful as those of Tivoli, swept down the western slope the 
-olive-groves of Hebron. Most startling of all was the hum through 
the air— hitherto ^'that silent air" which I described during our 
first encampment, but which had grown familiar as the Bounds of 
London to those who live constantly within their range — ^the hum, 
«t first, of isolated human voices and the lowing of cattle, rising up 
from these various orchards and cornfields, and then a sound, which 
i^o our ears, seemed like that of a mighty multitude, but which was 
only the united murmur of the population of the little town which 
we now entered at its southern end. They had come out to look 
at some troops which were going off to capture a refractory chief^ 
and they still remained sitting on the mounds — old men, women, 

> 1 Sun. zziii. 14, 24 ; xzr. 2. and of Jnta, the probftble biiili-plAoe oT 
3 1 Sam. zxTi. 20. John the BaptiBt. 

> Thii yt9M on the hilLi of Dhoherijeh < Bl KhaUl. 


and children, in their yarious dresses, which, after the monotonous 
brown rags of the Bedouins, looked guj and bright — sitting, with 
their hands shading their fistces from the rays of the afternoon sun^ 
to see the long passage of the carayan, guarded on each side by 
the officers of the Quarantine. High aboye ns on the eastern 
height of the town — which lies nestled, Italian-like, on the slope 
3farayine — rose the long black walls and two stately minarets of 
that illustrious mosque, one of the four sanctuaries of the Mahometan 
world, sacred in the eyes of all the world besides, which coyers the 
Caye of Machpelah, the last resting-place of Abraham, Isaac, and 
Jacobs We passed on by one of those two ancient reseryoirs, 
where King Dayid hanged the murderers of his riyal', up a slope of 
green grass, broken only by tombs and flocks of sheep, to the high 
gates of the Quarantine, which closed upon us, and where we are 
DOW imprisoned for the next three days, but with that glorious yiew 
of Hebron before us day and night. And now the second stage of 
our tour is finished. 


Let me say briefly what has chiefly impressed me during that firsn 
day in Palestine. After all the uncertainty of the Desert topo- 
gnpby, it was quite startling, though I knew it beforehand, to find 
the localities so absolutely authentic, to hear the names of Carmel^ 
Haon, Ziph, shouted out in answer to my questions from our 
Bedouin guides, and from the ploughmen in the fields, who knew no 
more of Dayid's wanderings than those of Ulysses. And now I am 
in Hebron, looking on the site of a sepulchre whose genuineness 
has nerer yet been questioned, and to that with equal certainty is ta 
anoceed Bethlehem, and to that Jerusalem. With this, how much 
of speciid localities may be spared again and again*. 

Then I am struck with the yast number and extent and massiye* 
neas of the ruins of the deserted cities, each on its mountain height, 
like those of Italy. I had expected mere fragments of stones — 
1 find solid walls, columns, towers. It is true they are all ascribed 
to Christian times. But any way, they giye a notion of what the 
country was. 

And I am struck by what is also noticed by Miss Martineau — tho 
weitem, almost the English, character of the scenery. Those wild 
uplands of Carmel and Zipb are hardly distinguishable (except by 
their mined cities and red anemones) from the Lowlands of Scot* 
land or of Wales ; these cultiyated yalleys of Hebron (except by 

' Qea. xlix. 31. traditions of Palestine, I xefer to an 

' 2 Ssm. IT. 12. Bssay on Saered Geography in the 

* For the detailed grouMb of the local Quarterly Aerieir, ICarch, 1864. 

102 SIMAI AND. PALB8T1NS. [oha?. x. 

their olives) from the general features of a rich valley in Yorkshire 
or Derbysbdre. The absence of palms and the presence of daisies 
greatly contributes to this result, and added to the contrast of the 
strange scenery which has been ours for the last month, gives a 
homelike and restful character to this first entrance which can never 
be effaced. 

Lastly, the great elevation of this country above the level of the 
sea is most forcibly brought out by the journey we have made\ 
From the moment of leaving the 'Arabah has been almost a 
continual ascent. We mounted the great Pass of S&feh, and, having 
mounted, hardly descended at all— crossed the great table-land <^ 
Beersheba — and then mounted the barrier of the hills of Judsh— 
and thence have been mounting ever since. . Hebron is, in fact, only 
four hundred feet lower than Helvellyn. How well One understands 
the expression, " They went dovm into Egypt.*' 


This afternoon (GkK>d Eriday) we walked, under the guard of the 
Quarantine, round the western hills of Hebron. There was little to 
add to the first impressions, except the deep delight of treading the 
rocks and drinking in the view which had been trodden by the feet 
and met the eyes of the Patriarchs and Kings. I observed, too, for 
the first time the enclosures of vineyards with stone walls, and towexs 
at the comers for guards. This was the first exemplification of the 
Parables'. The lulls, except where occupied by vineyards and olive> 
groves, are covered with disjointed rocks and grass, such as brought 
back dim visions of Wales. In that basin which lay amongst them, 
what well-springs of thought spring up ; numerous as those literal 
wells and springs with which the whole ground of the hills themselves 
is penetrated ! One that most strangely struck me, was, that here 
for the first time was heard that great funeral dirge over Abner, 
whose last echo I had heard in St. Paul's Cathedral over the grave of 
the Duke of Wellington. And marvellous, too, to think that within 
the massive enclosure of that Mosque, Ues, possibly, not merely the 
last dust of Abraham and Isaac, but the very body — ^the mummy — 
the embalmed bones of Jacob, brought in solemn state from Egypt to 
this (as it then was) lonely and beautiful spot. And to the east was 
the height, the traditional spot whence Abraham saw the smoke of 
Sodom rising out of the deep gulf between the hills of Engedi and 
the mountains of Moab. 

^ See Chapter IL p. 128. * BeeGhapten EL and XIIL 



In a long Une of hones and mnles, we quitted Hebron. 

Two more relics of Abraham we saw after leaving the mosque. 
The first was the beautiful and massive oak on its greensward, called 
by his name, and which, with two or three near it, at least enables 
one to figure the scene in G-enesis xviii., and to understand why it is 
that the spot was called ** the oaks " (mistranslated '* the plain **) of 
Mamre^ Whether this be the exact spot, or even the exact kind of 
tree, seems doubtful ; for the next object we saw was one of those 
Bolid and vast enclosures, now beginning to be so familiar ; which 
Beems to coincide with the account of the place which Josephus men- 
tions as the site of what he calls, not the oak, but the terebinth of 
Abraham*. However, there was the wide sceneiy ; the vinejards, too, 
with their towers, reaching down on every side of the valley of Eschol, 
whence came the famous cluster ; and the red anemones, and white 
roses on their briar-bushes. Next in one of those gray and green 
Talleys — ^for these are the predominant colours — appeared, one below 
the other, the three pools of Solomon — ^I must again say " venerable," 
for I know no other word to describe that simple, massive architecture 
in rain, yet not in ruin ; the ** pools of water that he made to water 
therewith the wood that bringeth forth trees,*' and there are the 
▼eiy gardens, not now, indeed, beautiful as when he came out in 
state as Josephus describes, with his gold-powdered servants', to see 
them, but narked by the long winding defile of Xlrtas — green, 
and firesh, and winding as a river — which leads towards Jerusalem. 
And along the mountain side runs the water through the channel 
b^on by him, but — strange conjunction — ^restored by Pontius 


Far away to the east rises the conical hill where Herod died, and 
now we mount the ridge of which that hill is the eastern extremity, 
and crowning the crest of the opposite ridge is a long line of houses, 
with the massive and lofty coiivent. There was a shout which 
ran down the long file of horsemen, followed by deep silence — 


It is a wild bleak hill, amidst hills equally bleak— if bleak may be 
applied to hills which are terraced with vineyards ; in autumn, of 

> Qcn. xiiL 18 ; zfiii. 1 SaeCOiapter > Ant Ym. tiL 8. SeeCUpterllL 
IL p. 142. « See Bitter; Pnlllsiina, p. 276. 

« BdL Jiid. lY. iju 7. 

104 SINAI AND PALBSTINB. [ohjlp. i. 

course, rich and green, and wliich now in part wave with com. One 
only green plain, I belieye of grass, hangs behind the town. Bat 
what most arrests the eye is the eleyation of the whole pkoe, and, 
above all, that most striking feature, which was to me quite unex- 
pected, — ^the immense wall of the mountains of Moab seeming to 
overhuig the lower hills of Judah, from which they are only separated 
by that deep mysterious gulf of the Dead Sea. Well might Mosea 
firom their summits overlook the Promised Land. Well might 
Orpah return as to a near country — and Naomi be reminded of 
her sorrows. Well might her descendant David choose their heights 
as the refuge for his aged parents whea Bethlehem was no longer 
safe for them. 

Of the one great event of Bethlehem the chief outward memorial 
is the enormous convent— or convents, Latin, Greek, and Armenian 
— clustering round the church, which is divided amongst them in 
different compartments — ^built on the Gave of the Nativity. Whether 
that cave be genuine or not, yet there is the deep interest of knowing 
that it is the oldest spedal locality fixed upon by the Christian 
Church. Before the Sepulchre, before the Church of the Ascension, 
before any of the other countless scenes of our Saviour's life had 
been localised, the famous passage in Justin Martyr proves that the 
cave of Bethlehem was already known and reverenced as the scene of 
His birth' 

I have said, one is reminded of the Nativity by the convent. But, 
in truth, I almost think it distracts one fpDm it. From the first 
moment that those towers, and hills, and valleys burst upon you, there 
enters the one prevailing thought that now, at last, we are indeed in 
the '' Holy Land." It pervades the whole atmosphere— even David 
and Buth wax faint in its presence 


Next came Bachel's Tomb — a modem mosque, but the site must 
be the true one — and then, far on the top of the hill opposite Bethle- 
hem, was the Convent of St. Elias, seen from Bethlehem, and from 
which I knew we should see Jerusalem. It is the one place which 
commands the view of both. We reached the spot from its broken 
ridge. I saw a wide descent and ascent, and a white line rising high 
— of I knew not what buildings — ^but I knew that it was Jerusalem. 
. . . What were the main features of the approach P First, there 
was still the mighty wall of Moab ; secondly, there was the broad 
green approach of the valley of Bephaim', so long, so broad, so green, 

> See GhApter XIV. yellen. But, in fiut, it is harily a 

' I give this broad ftpproBch the name *' ralley," — ^being much mors wliat is 

whifih is now uroally giren to it by trs- meant by its Aralno name *' El-BekA*i^*' 


tliat it almoBt seemed a natural entrance to the city, which still 

remaiQed suspended, as it were, aboye it — for that white line kept 

uicreasing in height and length, as we neared it jet saw not the deep 

'srines which parted us from it. The first building which catches 

the eje is the palace of the Armenian Patriarch, then the castle, then 

tile minaret over the mosque of David. The Mosque of Omar and 

eren the Mount of Olives were for a long time shut out by the Hill 

of Evil Counsel, which, with its solitary tree* before us, intercepted 

^ to the east. High beyond towere'd Bamah (of Benjamin). At 

|ttt the deep descent of the Yalley of Hinnom appeared, opening 

into that of Jehoshaphat. What struck me as new and unexpected 

▼aa the rush, so to speak, of both the valleys to the south-east 

comer of the city. We entered the Jaffa gate about 4*30 p.m. 

;;;^pUiii,— thenmewHehisgiTeiito < 'Valley of Eephaim'* farther west. See 
UMplilnof CoBle-Syria. (Bitter ; Jordan, Tobler^s UmgebnngeD, 402. 

tiJ^*" ^ ^**^ ^ ^^ ' ^- ^-^ ^^ » This is the traditional tree on which 

^here are some reaaona for finding the Judas hanged himself. 



Ifimben xiiL 17 — 20/ "And Moses sent them to spy oat the land of 
Csiiaim, and said unto them, Get yon up thiB way southward, and go np 
into the nurantain: and see the land, what it is; and the people that 
dwelleth therein, whether they be strong or weak, few or many ; and what 
the land is that they dwell in, whether it be good or bod ; and what cities 
they be that th^ dwell in, whether in 'camps,^ or in 'fortiesses ;' and what 
the land is, whether it be &t or lean, whether there be wood therein, or not. 
And be ye of good courage, and bring of the fruit of the land." 

DeuL L 7. ''Turn you, and take your journey, and go to the mount of 
the Amorites, and unto all the places nigh tiiereunto, in Uie ' desert,' in the 
'mountains^* and in the Mow oountiy,* and in the south, and by the 
■ea side^ to the land of the Canoanites, and onto Lebanon, unto the great 
rirer, the rirer Buphiatee. " 



Geoenl featnxcs. — ^The four riren of Sjria ; Hke Orontei, the Leontee^ tiit 
Buada, tha Jou>av. — Ooienl aspect of Palestine. — ^I. Seoliuion of Pftlesime. 
n. Smallnen and narrowiieM of its tenitorj. III. Central mtoAtion. IV. 
Land of rmna. Y. " Land of milk and hon^.** YL EarthquAkes and Yolcani': 
phenomMML YIL Yariety of otimate and stractnre. YUL Monntainona oha* 
xaeter. IX. Scenery : hiUs and Talleya ; flowers ; trees : cedars^ oaks, palms, 
sycamores. X. Geologieal features : 1. Springs and wells ; 2. Sepuldues 
3. GsTes ; 4. Natural cariosities. XL General condnsion. 

Between the great plains of Assyria and the shores of 
the Mediterranean Sea, a high mountain tract is ^^q;-]^ 
interposed, reaching from the Bay of Issus to the Land of 
Desert of Arabia. Of this the northern part, which ^^^ 
consists of the ranges known in ancient geography under the 
names of Amanus and Gasius, and which includes rather more 
than half the tract in question, is not within the limits of the 
Holy Land ; and, though belonging to the same general elcYa- 
Tation, is distinguished from the southern division by strongly 
marked peculiarities, and only enters into the sacred history at 
a later time, when its connection with any local scenes was too 
slight to be worth dwelling upon in detail. It is with the 
southern division that we are now concerned. 

The range divides itself twice over into two parallel chains. 
Tkere is first, the main chain divided into two by . ^^ 
the broad valley commonly called Ccele-Syria; the 
western mountain of Lebanon reaching its highest termination 
in the northern point above the cedars ; the eastern of Anti« 
Lebanon, in the southern point known by the name of Hermon. 
This last summit again breaks into two ranges, of which the 


* 110 SINAI AND PALBSTINS. [ohap. n. 


western, with the exception of one broad depression, extends as 
far as the Desert of Sinai; the eastern, as far as the mountains 
The Four ^^ Arabia Petrsea. From this double chain' flow four 
BiTen. riyers of unequal magnitude, on which, at different 
times, have sprung up the four ruling powers of that portion of 
Asia. Lebanon is, in this respect, a likeness of that primeval 
Paradise, to which its local traditions have always endeayoured 
The to attach themselves. The Northern Biver, rising 

Owmtea, fj^jj^ ^q f^jj^ ^f jj^q ^q ranges of Lebanon and Anti- 
Lebanon, and forming the channel of life and civilisation in 
that northern division of which we have just spoken, is the 
Orontes, — the river of the Greek kingdom of Antioch and 
• , ». . Seleucia. The Western, is the Lit&ny or Leontes', 

rismg from the same watershed between the two 
ranges, near Baalbec, and forcing its way through Lebanon 
into the Mediterranean, close to Tyre, — ^the Biver of Phoenicia. 
The Eastern, rising from the centre of Anti-Lebanon and 
ibe joined by one or two lesser streams, is the modem 

^*«^*» Barada, the Abana or Pharpar of the Old Testament 
— ^the river of the Syrian kingdom of Damascus. The king- 
doms which have risen in the neighbourhood or on the banks 
of these rivers, have flourished, not simultaneously, but succes- 
sively. The northern kingdom was the latest, and is only 
brought into connection with the Sacred History, as being that 
from which the " Kings of the North " made their descent upon 
Palestine, and in which were afterwards founded the first 
Gentile churches. It was, as it were, the halting-place of 
Christianity, before it finally left its Asiatic home — ^beyond the 
limits of the Holy Land, yet not in another country or climate ; 
naturally resting on the banks of the Orontes, on the way from 
the valley of the Jordan, before (to use the Boman poet's ex- 
pression in another and a better sense) it joined " the flow of 
the Orontes into the Tiber." The eastern kingdom of Damas- 
cus on one side, the western kingdom of Phoenicia on the other, 
claim a nearer connection with the history of the chosen people 
from first to last ; the one, as the great opening of communi- 

1 For the sketch of the Foar BiTen, each will be giren in Chapten TIL and 

■ee the inatmetiTe note on Syria in XII. 

Ka(oleon*8 Mifnoirei, toI. ii. 297, ' See note on the name ^Mfei^ Chapter 

298. The detailed eharacteriatiiai of XII. 


cation Tvith the distant Eastern deserts, the other ^th the. 
Mediterranean coasts. The Fourth and Southern river, which 
rises at the point where Hermon splits into its two parallel 
rangies, is the Eiver of Palestine — the Jordan. 

The Jordan, with its manifold peculiarities, must be reserved 
for the time when we come to speak of it in detail, ^sm 
Yet it must be remembered throughout, that this Jo"*^'- 
river, the artery of the whole country, is unique on the surface 
of the globe. The ranges of the Lebanon are remarkable ; the 
courses of the Orontes, the Leontes, and the Barada, are 
carious ; but the deep depression of the Jordan has absolutely 
no paralleL No other valley in the world presents such extra- 
ordinary physical fei^tures, none has been the subject of such 
various theories as to its origin and character. How far this 
strange conformation of the Holy Land has had any extensive 
influence on its history may be doubtful. But it is worth 
observing at the outset, that we are in a country, of which the 
geography and the history each claims to be singular of its 
kind: — ^the history, by its own records, unconscious, if one 
may so say, of the physical peculiarity ; the geography, by the 
discoveries of modem science, wholly without regard, perhaps 
even indifferent or hostile, to the claims of the history. Such 
a coincidence may be accidental ; but, at least, it serves to 
awaken the curiosity, and stiike the imagination ; at least it 
lends dignity to the country, where the Earth and the Man are 
thus alike objects of wonder and investigation. 

It is around and along this deep fissure tha{; the hills of 
western and eastern Palestine spring up, forming the 
link between the high group of Lebanon on the north, 
and the high group of Sinai on the south; forming the 
mountain-bridge, or isthmus, between the ocean of the Assyrian 
Desert, and the ocean (as it seemed to the ancient world) of the 
Mediterranean, or ''Great Sea" on the west. On the one' side 
of the Jordan these lulls present a mass of green pastures and 
forests melting away, on the east, into the red plains and blue 
hills of the Haur&n. On the other side they form a mass of 
gray rock rising above the yellow Desert on the south, bounded 
on the west by the long green strip of the maritime plain ; cut 
asunder on the north by the rich plain of Esdraelon ; rising 


again beyond Esdraelon into the wild sceneiy of mountain and 
forest in the roots of Lebanon. 

Each of these divisions has a name, a character, and, to a 
certain extent, a history of its own, which will best appear as 
we proceed. But there are features more or less common to 
the whole country, especially to that portion of it which has 
been the chief seat of the national life ; and these, so far as 
they illustrate the general history, must be now considered. 
** The Vine " was " brought out of ' Egypt : " what was the land 
in which God '' prepared room before it, and caused it to take 
deep root," and " cover the * mountains ' with its shadow ? " 

I. The peculiar characteristic of the Israelite people, 
Seduflion whether as contemplated from their own sacred 
fromtiie records, or as viewed by their Gentile neighbours, 
sBcieat was that they were a nation secluded, set apart, from 
^o»i^ the rest of the world ; ** haters," it was said, " of the 
human race," and hated by it in return. Is there anything in 
the physical structure and situation of their country which 
agrees with this * peculiarity ? Look at its boundaries. The 
most important in this respect will be that on the east. For in 
that early time, when Palestine first fell to the lot of the chosen 
people, the East was still the world. The great empires which 
rose on the plains of Mesopotamia, the cities of the Euphrates 
and the Tigris, were literally then, what Babylon is metapho- 
rically in the Apocalypse, the rulers and corrupters of all the 
kingdoms of the earth. Between these great empires and the 
people of Israel, two obstacles were interposed. The first was 
the eastern Desert, which formed a barrier in front even of the 
outposts of Israel — the nomadic tribes on the east of the Jordan; 
the second, the vast fissure of the Jordan valley, which must 
always have acted as a deep trench within the exterior rampart 
of the Desert and the eastern hills of the Trans-Jordanic tribes. 

Next to the Assyrian empire in strength and power, superior 
to it in arts and civilisation, was Egypt. What was there on 
the southern boundary of Palestine, to secure that " the Egyp- 
tians whom they saw on the shores of the Bed Sea, they should 

> PnOm Ixzx. 8—10. * See Htter ; JordMi, pfp. 1—22. 


see no more again?" Up to the very frontier of their own 
land stretched that ^' great and terrible wilderness," which 
rolled like a sea between the valley of the Nile and the valley 
of the Jordan. This wilderness itself — the platform of the 
nh — conld be only reached on its eastern side by the tremen- 
dous pass of 'Akaba at the southern, of Sdfeh at the northern 
end of the 'Arabah, or of the no less formidable ascents * from 
the shores of the *Dead Sea. 

On these, the two most important frontiers, the separation 
was most complete. The two accessible sides were the west 
and the north. But the west was only accessible by sea, and 
when Israel first settled in Palestine, the Mediterranean was 
not yet the thoroughfare — ^it was rather the boundary and the 
terror of the eastern nations. From the north-western coast, 
indeed, of Syria, the Phoenician cities sent forth their fleets* 
But they were the exception of the world, the discoverers, the 
first explorers of the unknown depths ; and in their enterprises 
Israel never joined. In strong contrast, too, with the coast of 
Europe, and especially of Greece, Palestine has no indenta- 
tions, no winding creeks, no deep havens, such as in ancient^ 
even more than in modem times, were necessary for the 
invitation and protection of commercial enterprise. One long 
line, broken only by the bay of Acre, containing only three 
bad harbours, Joppa, Acre, and Caipha — the last unknown in 
ancient times — ^is the inhospitable front that Palestine opposed 
to the western world. On the northern frontier the ranges of 
Lebanon formed two not insignificant ramparts. But the gate 
between them was open, and through the long valley of Coele- 
Syiia, the hosts of Syrian and Assyrian conquerors accordingly 
poured. These were the natural fortifications of that vineyard 
which was '' hedged round about " with tower and trench, sea 
and desert, against the *' boars of the wood," and " the beast of 

the field." 


n. In Palestine, as in Greece, every traveller is struck with 
the smallness of the territory. He is surprised, even after all 

X See Cliftptar I. Fart u. pp. 88, 98. frontier of Jvdali (Numb, xxzir. 4 ; Joah. 

3 One of theBo miut have been the xv. 8, &c.) Be Saolcy (I 628) euggeats 

'Aaeeoi of Soorptona' (Maaleh-Acrab- the Widy Zouara, and teatifieB to the 

Kim) eo often mentioned on tiie aoathcm aeorpiana there found nnder every pebble. 


that he has heard, at passing, in one long day, from the 
g^^^^j^ capital of Judsa to that of Samaria; or at seeing, 
and DAT- mthin eight hours, three such spots as Hebron, 
]^S^^ Bethlehem, and Jerusalem. The breadth of the 
country from the Jordan to the sea is rarely more 
than fifty miles. Its length from Dan to Beersheba is about 
a hundred and eighty miles. The time is now gone by, when 
the grandeur of a country is measured by its size, or the 
diminutiye extent of an illustrious people can otherwise than 
enhance the magnitude of what they have done. The ancient 
taunt, however, and the facts which suggested it, may still 
illustrate the feeling which appears in their own records. The 
contrast between the littleness of Palestine and the vast extent 
of the empires which hung upon its northern and southern 
skirts, is rarely absent from the mind of the Prophets and 
Psalmists. It helps them to exalt their sense of the &yoiir 
of God towards their land by magnifying their little hills 
and dry torrent-beds into an equality with the giant hills of 
Lebanon and Hermon and the sea-like rivers of Mesopotamia*. 
It also fosters the consciousness, that they were not always 
to be restrained within these earthly barriers — ** The place 
is too strait for me; give me place where I may *dweU." 
Nor is it only the smallness but the narrowness of the territory 
which is remarkable. From almost every high point in the 
country its whole breadth is visible, from the long wall of 
the Moab hills on the east, to the Mediterranean Sea on the 
west. Whatever may be the poverty or insignificance of the 
landscape, it is at once relieved by a glimpse of either of these 
two boundaries. 

" Two Toioes are there— one ia of the aea, 
Oae of Um moontaiiLB^*'— • 

and the close proximity of each — ^the deep purple shade of the 
one and the glittering waters of the other — ^makes it always 
possible for one or other of those two voices to be heard now, 

1 Gompve Pa. IxviiL 15 ;'''The liihed on tlie top of the monotaiiii-" 

'Moont' of God ia a high 'monnteiii,' Fe. zIti. 4 ;— "There is a xiTer, the 

M the 'mountain* of Balkan" (t. e., of atreama whereof ahaU make glad the 

Anti-Libanna). Isa. ii. 2 ;— '<The monn- city of God.** 

tain of the Lord*a house ahall be eatab- ' laaiah zliz. 20^ 

oHip. n.l PALESTINE. 116 


as they were by the Psalmists of old — " The strength of the 
* mountains* is his also — The sea is his, and he made it^*' 

Thus, although the Israelites were shat off by the southern 
and eastern deserts from the surrounding nations, they were 
yet always able to look beyond themselves. They had no con- 
nection with either the eastern empires or the western isles — 
but they could not forget them. As in the words and forms of 
their worship they were constantly reminded how they had 
once been strangers in the land of Egypt ; so the sight of the 
bills beyond the Jordan, and of the sea beyond the Philistine 
plain, were in their daily life a memorial that they were there 
seclnded not for their own sakes, but for the sake of the world 
in whose centre they were set. The mountains of Gilead, and 
on the south, the long ridges of Arabia, were at hand to remind 
tbem of those distant regions from which their first fathers 
Abraham and Jacob had wandered into the country, — from 
which " the camels and dromedaries of Midian and Ephah 
were once again to pour in. The sea, whitening then as now 
with the ships of Tarshish, the outline of Ghittim or Cyprus* 
just visible in the clear evening horizon, must have told them 
of the western world where lay the " isles of the Gentiles," 
which " should come to their light, and kings to the brightness 

of their rising Who are these that fly as a cloudy and 

as the doves to their windows ? Surely the isles shall wait for 
me, and the ships of Tarshish first*.'* The very name of the 
"west" was to them " the sea*;" and it is not merely a poetic 
inuige, but a natural reflex of their whole history and situation, 
that the great revelation of the expansion of the Jewish system 
to meet the wants of all nations should have been made to the 
Apostle on the house-top at Jaffa — 

** When o'er the glowing western main 
His wistfol brow was upward raised ; 
Where, like an Angel's train. 
The burnished water biased*.** 


in. This leads us to another point of view, in which the 

' K lev. 4, 5. * The Hebrew 7am is both "the 

' Bee Chapter XIT. sea " and " the west." See Appendix. 

' Isa. h. S, 8, 9. Christian Year. Monday in Easter 

week. See Chapter VI. 

I 2 

116 SINAI AND PALBSTINB. [chip. ii. 

siiuataon of Palestine is remarkably bound up with its future 
Gential destinies. " I have set Jerusalem in the midst of the 
ntoation. nations and countries that are round about her." In 
later times this passage' was taken in the literal sense that 
Palestine, and Jerusalem especially, was actually the centre of 
the earth ; a belief of which the memorial is yet preserved in 
the large round stone still kissed devoutly by Greek pilgrims, 
in their portion of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre'. It is 
one of the many instances in which the innocent fancy of an 
earlier faith has been set aside by the discoveries of later 
science. In the East probably there are still many points of 
this kind which have been long surrendered in the more 
stirring West. But there was a real truth in it at the time 
that the Prophet wrote, which the subsequent course of history 
makes it now difficult for us to realise. Palestine, though now 
at the very outskirts of that tide of civilisation which has swept 
far into the remotest West, was then the vanguard of the eastern, 
and therefore, of the civilised world ; and, moreover, stood mid- 
way between the two great seats of ancient Empire, Babylon 
and Egypt. It was on the high road lErom one to the other of 
these mighty powers, the prize for which they contended, the 
battlefield on which they fought the lofty bridge' over which 
they ascended and descended respectively into the deep basins 
of the Nile and Euphrates. Its first appearance on the stage 
of history is as a halting-place for a wanderer from Mesopo- 
tamia \ who ''passed through the land," and "journeyed going 
on stiU toward the south," and "went down into Egypt" 
The first great struggle which that wanderer had to maintain, 
was against the host of Chedorlaomer, from Persia and from 
Babylon. The battle, in which the latest hero of the Jewish 
monarchy perished, was to check the advance of an Egyptian 
king on his way to contest the empire of the then known world 
with the king of Assyria at Garchemish*. The whole history 

1 Ezek. T. 5. See the qnotftiioiui > See Rittet's iniereetmg Lecture od 

from Jerome, Theodoret, and Kimchi, in the Jordan and tiie Dead Sea (Berlin, 

Eeland*t Palestine, cap. x. p. 52. 1850), p. 8. 

> The same belief is seen in the old * Genesis ziL 6, 9, 10. 

medisval maps of the world — such as * 2 Kings xziiL 29. 2 Chnm. 

that of the 14th century, preserved in 20—24. 
Hereford GathedzaL 

CBAf, aj FALBSTINB. 117 

of Palestine, between the return from the Captivity and the 
Christian aera, is a contest between the " kings of the north 
and the kings of the south' " — the descendants of Seleucus 
and the descendants of Ptolemy, for the possession of the 
country. And when at last the West begins to rise as a 
new power on the horizon, Palestine, as the nearest point of 
contact between the two worlds, becomes the scene of the 
chief conflicts of Home with Asia*. There is no other country 
in the world which could exhibit the same confluence of asso- 
ciations, as that which is awakened by the rocks which over 
hang the crystal stream of the Dog Eiver*, where it rushes 
through the ravines of Lebanon into the Mediterranean Sea ; 
where side by side are to be seen the hieroglyphics of the 
great Barneses, the cuneiform characters of Sennacherib, and 
the Latin inscriptions of the Emperor Antoninus^. 

rv. This is the most convenient place for noticing a pecu- 
liarity of the present aspect of Palestine, which i^n^^^f 
though not, properly speaking, a physical feature, is Rtdna. 
so closely connected both with its outward imagery and with 
its general situation, that it cannot be omitted. Above all 
other countries in the world, it is a Land of Buins. It is not 
that the particular ruins are on a scale equal to those of 
Greece or Italy, still less to those of Egypt. But there is no 
country in which they are so numerous, none in which they 
bear so large a proportion to the villages and towns still in 
existence. In Judsea it is hardly an exaggeration to say that 
whilst for miles and miles there is no appearance of present 
life or habitation, except the occasional goat-herd on the hill- 
side, or gathering of women at the wells, there is yet hardly a 
hill-top of the many within sight, which is not covered by the 
vestiges of some fortress or city of former ages. Sometimes 
they are fragments of ancient walls, sometimes mere found- 
ations and piles of stone, but always enough to indicate signs 
of human habitation and civilisation. Such is the case in 
Western Palestine. In Eastern Palestine, and still more if we 

' Dan. xL 6, &C. SalTadoi'a Jkminaiion JRamaiine, toL L 

* Tkig renstanee of Palestine alter- p. 53. 

'*^\j to the eoDqneron from the East ' The NAhr-el-Kelb, jiuit above Beirftt. 

Aod fxm the West, ia well put in * See £itter, Lehanoo, pp. 631 — 646. 

118 SINAI AND PALBSTINB. [ohay. a 

include the Haur&n and the Lebanon, the same piotore is 
continued although under a somewhat different aspect. Here 
the ancient cities remain, in like manner deserted, ruined but 
standing ; not mere masses and heaps of stone^ but towns and 
houses, in amount and in a state of presenration whioih haye 
no parallel except in the cities of Herculaneum and Pompeii, 
buried under the eruption of Vesuvius. Not even in Borne or 
Athens, hardly in Egyptian Thebes, can ancient buildings be 
found in such magnitude and such profusion as at Baalbec, 
Jerash,' Ammftn, and Palmyra. No where else, it is said, can 
all the details of Soman domestic architecture be seen so 
clearly as in the hundreds of deserted villages which stand 
on the desert of the Hauran. This difference between the 
ruins of the two regions of Palestine arises no doubt from the 
circumstance, that whereas Eastern Syria has been for the 
last four hundred years entirely, for the last fifteen hundred 
years nearly, deserted by civilised, almost by barbarian, man. 
Western Palestine has always been the resort of a population 
which, however rude and scanty, has been sufficiently numerous 
and energetic to destroy and to appropriate edifices which in 
the less frequented parts beyond the Jordan have escaped 
through neglect and isolation. 

But the general fact of the ruins of Palestine, whether erect 
or fallen, remains common to the whole country; deepens and 
confirms, if it does not create, the impression of age and decay 
which belongs to almost every view of Palestine, and invests it 
with an appearance which can be called by no other name than 
veneraile. Moreover, it carries us deep into the historical 
peculiarities of the country. The ruins we now see are of the 
most diverse ages; Saracenic, Crusading, Boman, Grecian, 
Jewish, extending perhaps even to the old Ganaanitish remains 
before the arrival of Joshua. This variety, this accumulation 
of destruction, is the natural result of the position which has 
made Palestine for so many ages the thoroughfare and prize of 
the world. And although we now see this aspect brought out 
in a fuller light than ever before, yet as far back as the history 
and language of Palestine reaches, it was familiar to the 
inhabitants of the country. In the rich local vocabulary of the 
Hebrew language, the words for sites of ruined cities occupy 

OBAP. n.J 



a remarkable place. Four separate designations are used for 
the several stages of decay or of destruction, which were to be 
seen even during the first vigour of the Israelite conquest and 
monarchy. There was the rude "cairn," or pile of stones, 
roughly rolled together'. There was the mound or heap* of 
ruin, which, like the Monte Testaccio at Borne, was composed 
of ihe rubbish ^and debris of a fallen city. There were the 
forsaken villages% such as those in the Haurftn, when " the 
cities were wasted without inhabitant and the houses without 
man," — " forsaken, and not a man to dwell therein." There 
are lastiy true ruins, such as those to which we give the name 
—buildings standing, yet shattered, like those of Baalbec or 

What, therefore, we now see, must to a certain extent have 
been seen always — a country strewed with the relics of an 
earUer civilisation ; a country exhibiting even in the first dawn 
of history the theatre of successive conquests and destructions 
— " giants dwelling therein of old time .... a people great, 
and many, and tall, .... but the Lord destroyed them before 
those that came after ; and they succeeded them and dwelt in 
their stead*." 

y. But this aspect of the land, whilst it reminds us in 
some respects of the identity of its present appearance with 
that of the past, reminds us still more forcibly of its 

The countiess ruins of Palestine, of whatever date they may 
be, tell us at a glance that we must not judge the resources of 
the ancient land by its present depressed and desolate state. 

1 Gal, ''rolliiig." Sach were the 
Cftirns over Achan and the King of Ai ; 
JoahuTiL 26; tuL 29. 

' 7V2, *' heap." Such were the cities 
•o-called in the neighbourhood of Ba- 
hyloa :— Tcl-abib (Ezek. ill 16), Tel- 
ham, or haresha (Bzra ii. 59 ; Neh. tIL 
61), Tel-melah (do. do.), Telaesar (Isa. 
pxTii 12). The word has thence passed 
into Arabic as the common name for a 
" hiU," — ^In vhieh sense it seems to be 
ued m Joshua zi. 18, "the cities that 
«tood stiU on their 'heaps' (tdim)^ In 
tbe case of Tel-Hum, vhere there is no 
l^iUf the word seems to retiun its original 
i&caniDg of a heap of ruins. 

* Atubah, "forsaken;" Isa. ri. 12; 
z^. 2, 9 ; lziil2 ; Jer. !▼. 29 ; Zeph. iL 4. 
• * Ai. Three towns at least were so 
called from this drcumstanoe. 1. Ai, 
Josh. Tii. (compare Tiu. 28) ; 2. Ije- 
abarim, or lim, "in the border of 
Hoab" (Numb, zxziii 44) ; and 8. lim^ 
in the south of Judah (Josh. zt. 29). 
The Ayites, or Arim, the earliest inha- 
bitants of FhiHstia (Deut. ii. 23), seem 
to have derived their name irom this 
vord~*'The dwellers in ruins." To 
what an antiquity does this carry us 
back. Buins before the days of thostt 
who preceded the Philistines 1 

» Deut. ii. 10—23. 



[OHAP. n. 

They show us not only that " Syria might support tenfold 
its present population, and bring forth tenfold its present' 
produce/' but that it actually did so. 

And this brings us to the question which Eastern travellers 

The ^'Iduid so often ask, and are asked, on their return, " Can 

ofmiik and these stony hills, these deserted valleys, be indeed 

the Land of Promise, the land flowing with milk and 

honey ? '* 

There are two answers to this question. First, as has just 
been observed^ the country must have been very different when 
eveiy hill was crowned with a flourishing town or village, from 
what it is since it ceased to be the seat not only of civilisation, 
but in many instances even of the population and habitations 
which once fertilised it. " The entire destruction of the woods 
Destroction which once covered the mountains, and the utter 
of wood, neglect of the terraces which supported the soil on 
steep declivities, have given full scope to the rains, which 
have left many tracts of bare rock, where formerly were 
vineyards and cornfields*." As in Greece, since the fall of the 
plane-trees which once shaded the bare landscape of Attica, so 
in Palestine the gradual cessation of rain produced by this loss 
of vegetation has exposed the country in a greater degree than 
in early times to the evils of drought. This at least is the 
effect of the testimony of residents at Jerusalem, within whose 
experience the Kedron has recentiy for the first time flowed 
with a copious torrent, evidentiy in consequence of the nume- 
rous enclosures of mulberry and olive groves, made within the 
last few years by the Greek convent, and in themselves a 
sample of the different aspect which such cultivation more 
widely extended, would give to the whole country. There are 

' Report of Mr. Moore^ Oonsol-Gene- 
ral of Syria, appended to Dr. Bowrmg*B 
Report on the Commercial Statistics of 
Syria, presented to both Hooses of Par- 
liament, (London, 1840) pp. 90—111. 
It is needless to adduce proofs of a fact 
so well attested, both by existing Testigea^ 
and by universal testimony, as the popn- 
lonsness of Syria not only in the times 
of the Jewish monarchy but of the Qreek 
kingdom, the Roman empire, and the 
middle ages. But any one who wishes to 

see the argument drawn out in detaiL 
will find it in the Srd, 4th, and fith 
chapters of Keith's Land of Israel, — a 
book disfigured indeed by an eztravagant 
and untenable theory, but containing 
much useful information. 

s Dr. 01in*s Travels in the Baot, roL 
li. 428. The whole passage is worth 
perusal, as a calm and dear statement 
of a somewhat entangled and delicate 
question. See also Capt. AUen*s Bead 
8ea» ii. 280—290. 

OBAP. II.J FALflSTmE. 121 

proofs also of the same general change of climate, which in 
Europe has been effected by the disappearance of the Gennan 
forests. The constant allusions^ to winter-snow in the ancient 
writers, are not borne out by its rare occurrence in modem 
times. The forest of Hareth, and the thicket- wood of Ziph, in 
Jad»a'; the forest of * Bethel; the forest of ^Sharon; the 
forests which gave its name to Eirjath-jearim*, ''the city of 
forests," have long disappeared. Palm-trees which are now all 
bat unknown on the hiUs of Palestine, formerly grew, as we 
shall presently see, with myrtles and pines, on the now 
almost barren slopes of Olivet; and groves of oak and 
terebinth, though never frequent, must have been certainly 
more common than at present. The very labour, which 
was expended on these sterile hills in former times, 
has increased their present sterility. The natural vege- 
tation has been swept away, and no human cultivation now 
occupies the terraces which once took the place of forests and 

Secondly, even without such an effort of imagination as is 
required to conceive an altered state of population ooQ^nust 
and civilisation, it is enough to remember the actual ^^^ tJie 
situation of Palestine, in its relation to the surround- ' 

ing countries of the East. We do not sufficiently bear in mind 
that the East, that is, the country between the Mediterranean 
and the table-lands of Persia, between the Sahara and the 
Persian Gulf, is a waterless desert, only diversified here and 
there by strips and patches of vegetation'. Such green spots 
or tracts, which are in fact but oases on a large scale, are the 
rich plains on the banks of the Tigris and the withAs- 
Euphrates, the long strips of verdure on the banks of ■yria ; 
the Nile, the occasional centres of vegetation in Arabia Felix 
and Idumaea ; and, lastly, the cultivated though narrow territory 

^ FiL ezlm 16 ; exlrui. 8 ; 2 Sam. '^ The Emperor Napoleon, in his re- 

xxiii. 20. marks on the short-Uyed character of 

- 1 Sam. yyii 5 ; zziU. 15. Asiatic dynasties, ascribes it to the fact 

^ 2 Kings iL 24 ; 1 Sam. xiv. 25. that Asia is sorroonded by deserts, 

* See Chap. VI. ii. which famish a never-ceasing supply of 

* Gompire 1 Sam. yi. 21, tH. 1, and barbarian hordes to overthrow the seats 
1 Chron. xilL 5, with Ps. cxxxii. 6. of civilised power reared within their 

« This is well put in Eeith*s Land of reach. {MSmoireSf £ng. Transl. vol. ii. 
load, p. 425. 265.) 

122 SINAI AND PALESTINE. [chip, a 

of Palestine itself. It is tnie that as compared with the depth 
of soil and richness of vegetatioti on the banks of the Nile, 
or with the carpet of flowers described' on the banks of the 
Chebar, Palestine seems poor and bare. But as compared with 
the whole surrounding country in the midst of which it stands, 
it is unquestionably a fertile land in the midst of bairemiess. 
The impression on entering it from the south has been already 
described*. The Desert often encroaches upon it — the hills of 
Anti-Libanus which overhang the plain of Damascus, and those 
which boimd Jud«ea on the east, are as truly parts of the wilder^ 
ness as Sinai itself. But the interior of the country is never 
entirely destitute of the signs of life, and the long tracts of 
Esdraelon, and the sea-coast and the plain of Gennesareth, 
are, or might be, as rich with gardens and with corn-fields as 
the most favoured spots in Egypt. And there is, moreover, 
this peculiarity which distinguishes Palestine from the only 
countries with which it could then be brought into comparison. 
and with Chaldsea and Egypt — the latter of course in an eminent 
^P*- degree — depend on the course of single rivers. With- 
out the Nile, and the utmost use of the waters of the Nile, 
Egypt would be a desert. But Palestine is well distinguished 
not merely as ** a land of wheat and barley, and vines and fig- 
trees and pomegranates, of oil-olive and honey," but empha- 
tically as '' a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains 
and depths that spring out of * plains ' and * mountains * "— 
'* not as the land of Eg3rpt, where thou sowedst thy seed and 
wateredst it with thy foot, as a garden of herbs ; but a land of 
' mountains ' and * plains,' which drinketh water of the rain of 
heaven'." This mountainous character; this abimdance of 
water both from natural springs and from the clouds of heaven, 
in contradistinction to the one uniform supply of the great river ; 
this abundance of " milk " from its " cattle on a thousand hills,*' 
of " honey " from its forests and its thymy shrubs, was abso- 
lutely peculiar to Palestine amongst the civilised nations of the 
East Feeble as its brooks might be, — though, doubtless, they 
were then more frequently filled than now — ^yet still it was the 

^ Lajard*B Ninereb and Babylon, pp. ' See Chapter I. Part ix. p. 98. 

269, 273, 808. '» Dent. vui. 7, 8 ; xi. 10, 11. 


only country where an Eastern could have been familiar with 
the image of the Psalmist * : " He sendeth the springs into the 
Tallejs, which run among the ' mountains.' " Those springs 
too, however short-lived, are remarkable for their copiousness 
and beauty. Not only not in the East, but hardly in the West, 
can any fountains and sources of streams be seen so clear, so 
full-grown even at their birth, as those of the Eishon, the Jordan, 
and the whole of the Jordan valley. Wales or Westmoreland 
are, doubtless, not regarded as fertile regions ; and the green 
fidds of England to those who have come fresh from Palestine, 
seem, by way of contrast, to be indeed " a land of promise." 
But transplant Wales or Westmoreland into the heart of the 
Desert, and they would be far more to the inhabitant of the 
Desert than to their inhabitants are the richest spots of 
England. Far more : both because the contrast is in itself 
greater, and because the phenomena of a mountain country, 
with weUs and springs, are of a kind almost unknown to the 
dwellers in the deserts or river-plains of the East. 

Palestine therefore, not merely by its situation, but by its 
comparative fertility, might well be considered the prize of the 
Eastern world, the possession of which was the mark of God's 
peculiar favour ; the spot for which the nations would contend: 
as on a smaller scale the Bedouin tribes for some ** diamond of 
the desert " — some " palm-grove islanded amid the waste." 
And a land of which the blessings were so evidently the gift of 
God, not as in Egypt' of man's labour ; which also, by reason 
of its narrow extent, was so constantly within reach and sight 
of the neighbouring Desert, was eminently calculated to raise 
the thoughts of the nation to the. Supreme Giver of all these 
blessings, and to bind it by the dearest ties to the land which 
He had so manifestly favoured '. 

YI. With these gentler incentives to religious thought and 
feeling were blended the more terrible as well as the more 

^ Fk eiT. 10. rains. Ooremment haa, in this respect, 

> Compare the remarks of the Empe- no inflnimoe there. Bnt in Egypt, where 

ror Ntpoleon on Bgypt. MStnoires, toI. the irrigations can only be artificial, 

ii. 211. (Bng. Transl. ) '* The plains of govenunent is everything." 

Beanne and Brie in Champagne are fe- * See Ewald, Geschichtc, 2nd Editk 

eoDdated hy regnlar waterings from the to]. L p. 296. 

124 SINAI AND PALESTINE. [ohap. n. 

beautiful forms of tropical and eastern life. The " voice of the 
storma, Lord " made itself heard in storms, bursting sud- 
Earth- denly out of the clear heavens, preceded by violent 
v^IcjSc hurricanes, — the clouds with their thick darkness 
piienomena. almost seeming to touch the ground, — the thunder, 
heard, not as with us, in short and broken peals, but in one 
continuous roll, as if joining flash to flash without interruption^ 
** He bowed the heavens and came down, and there was dark- 
ness under his feet . . . He rode upon the wings of the wind 
/ . . The Lord thundered out of heaven, and the Highest gave 
his voice ; hailstones and coals of fire . . . The voice of the 
Lord divideth the flames of fire '." 

The volcanic phenomena of Palestine open a question of 
which the data are, in a scientific point of view, too imperfect 
to be discussed'; but there is enough in the history and 
literature of the people to show that there was an agency of 
this kind at work. The valley of the Jordan ^ both in its 
desolation and vegetation, was one continued portent; and 
from its crevices ramified even into the interior of Judsea the 
startling appearances, if not of the volcano, at least of the 
earthquake. Their historical effect in the special theatres of 
their operation will appear as we proceed ; but their traces on 
the permanent feeling of the nation must be noticed here. 
The writings of the Psabnists and Prophets abound with 
indications which escape the eye of a superficial reader. JJikb 
the soil of their countiy, they actually heave and labour with 
the fiery convulsions which glow beneath their surface; in 
part, it may be, from the recollection of the older catastrophe 
of Sodom and Gomorrah, but chiefly from more recent cala- 
mities, especially from the great earthquake * in the reign of 
Uzziah, which coincides in point of time with most of these 
allusions*. ^'Helooketh on the earth, and it trembleth: he 
toucheth the * mountains,' and they smoke.*' — " Therefore will 
we not fear, though the earth be removed." — "The mountains 

^ I gire them featiires from a thunder- Kitto*8 Physicftl Geography of Faleitiiic^ 

atorm that I witnessed in paBsing Mount c. iii. 

Hermon on April 7, 1858. * See Chapter YII. 

3 Pa. xviii. 9 ; xxix. 7. ^ See Chapter III. 

> See article Palestine in Dr. Smith'a < Pa. dr. 32. Micah L 4. Nahnm I & 

Dictionary of Classical Geography ; alao Isa. Ixir. 1, 2. 

oHAP.u.] PALBSTINB. 125 

shall be molten under him, and the yaUeys shall be cleft as 
wax before the fire, and as the waters that are poured down a 
steep place.*' — " The mountains quake at him, and the hills 
melt, aud the earth is burned at his presence; . . his fury is 
poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by him." — 
" The mountains flow down at thy presence, as when the 
melting fire bumeth, the fire causeth the waters to boil." The 
Prophecy of Amos is a succession of eartUquake-shocks. The 
thunder of the first ''roar" &om Jerusalem awakens him; 
"the lion hath roared, who will not fear? The Lord hath 
spoken, who will not prophesy ' ? " " The day of the Lord 
becomes darkness, very dark, and no lightness in it." The 
land heaves like the rising of the Nile flood *. The '' waters of 
the sea " rise, and are " poured over the face of the earth'." — 
The most ancient and the most recent of these convulsions 
are brought together by the links of this mysterious agency. 
" I have overthrown some of you, as God overthrew Sodom and 
Gomorrah, and ye were as a firebrand plucked out of the 
burning \" The temple, the ivory palaces, the gateways of 
Bethel are " smitten," " shake," " fall," perish, and come to an 
end ' ; even as at a more awful moment by a like convulsion 
'* the vail of the Temple" at Jerusalem "was rent in twain 
from the top to the 'bottom." 

It is probable that nothing conveys to the human mind so 
strong a sense of general instability and insecurity as the re- 
corrence of earthquake ; the only terror, of which, as has been 
often observed, the edge is sharpened, not blunted, by 
&miliarity. " Fear, and the pit, and the snare, are upon 
thee, inhabitant of the earth. And it shall come to pass, 
that he who fleeth from the noise of the fear shall fall 
into the pit ; and he that cometh up out of the midst of the 
pit shall be taken in the snare : for the windows from on high 
are open, and the foundations of the earth do shake. The 
earth is utterly broken down, the earth is clean dissolved, the 
earth is moved exceedingly. The earth shall reel to and fro 

^ Amos L 2 ; ir. 8. See Chapter IIL ^ Amos it. 11. 

^ AmoeTiii. 8 ; U. ff. See Appendix, ' Amoi iiL 14, 15 ; is. 1* 

^«r. • M&U. xxTii 62. 

120 8IKAI AND FAiifiSTINB. [oHiLP. n. 

like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage '." But 
the nerves of the faith of Israel were not unstrung by shocks 
which to them rather brought out the consciousness of that 
which was immoveable. ** Therefore will we not fear, though 
the earth be moved, and though the mountains be carried 
into the midst of the sea." — " The Lord reigneth; let the 
people tremble: he sitteth between the cherubim; let the 
earth be moved*/' 

VII. What has been already said is enough to indicate the 
Varict of €3Ltraordinaiy variety of structure and temperature 
0traetare exhibited in the Holy Land. It is said by Yolney', 
^ ' and apparently with justice, that there is no dis- 

trict on the face of the earth which contains so many and 
such sudden transitions. Such a country furnished at once 
the natural theatre of a history and a literature which were 
destined to spread into nations accustomed to the most various 
climates and imagery. There must of course, under any 
circumstances, be much in the history of any nation, eastern or 
<vestem, northern or southern, which, to other quarters of the 
^orld, will be more or less unintelli^ble. Still it is easy to 
conceive that whatever difficulty is presented to European or 
American minds by the sacred writings, might have been 
greatly aggravated had the Bible come into existence in a 
country more limited in its outward imagery than is the case 
with Palestine. If the Valley of the Nile or the Arabian 
Desert had witnessed the whole of the sacred history, we 
cannot but feel how widely it would have been separated firom 
the ordinary thoughts of a European ; how small a portion of 
our feelings and imaginations would have been represented 
by it. The truths might have been the same, but the forms 
in which they were clothed would have affected only a few 
here and there, leaving the great mass untouched. But 
as it is, we have the life of a Bedouin tribe, of an agricultural 
people, of seafaring cities; the extremes of barbarism and 
of civilisation; the aspects of plain and of mountain; of a 
tropical, of an eastern, and almost of a northern climate. In 

1 laa. zxhr. 17-30. < Ps. zlri. 2 ; zdz. 1. 

' See Bitter ; Joxdan, p. S50. 

ciup. n.] PAUtSTIKB. IS? 

Egypt there is a continaal contact of desert and cnltiyated 
land; in Greece, there is a constant intermixture of the views 
of sea and land; in the ascent and descent of the great moun- 
tains of South America there is an interchange of the torrid 
and the arctic zones ; in England there is an alternation of 
wild hills and valleys with rich fields and plains. But in 
Palestine all these are combined. The Patriarchs could here 
gradually exchange the nomadic life, first for the pastoral, and 
then for the agricultural ; passing insensibly from one to the 
other as the Desert melts imperceptibly into the hills of Pales- 
tine. Ishmael and Esau could again wander back into the 
sandy waste which lay at their very doors '. The scape-goat 
could still be sent from the temple-courts into the uninhabited 
wilderness '. John, and a greater than John, could return in a 
day's journey from the busiest haunts of men into the solitudes 
beyond the Jordan *. The various tribes could find their several 
occupations of shepherds, of warriors^ of traffickers, according 
as they were settled on the margin of the Desert, in the moun- 
tarn fiEistnesses, or on the shore of the Mediterranean. The 
sacred poetry which was to be the delight and support of the 
hnman mind and the human soul in all regions of the world, 
embraced within its range the natural features of almost every 
coontry. The venerable poet of our own mountain regions 
used to dwell with genuine emotion on the pleasure he felt in 
the reflection that the Psalmists and Prophets dwelt in a 
mountainous country, and enjoyed its beauty as truly as 
himself. The devotions of our great maritime empire find 
a natural expression in the numerous allusions, which no 
inland situation could have permitted, to the roar of the 
Mediterranean Sea, breaking over the rocks of Acre and Tyre, 
— " the floods lift up their voice, the floods lift up their waves,*' 
—the " great and wide sea," whose blue waters could be seen 
from the top of almost every mountain, " wherein are things 
creeping innumerable." "There go" the Phoenician "ships" 
with their white sails, and " there is that Leviathan," the 
monster of the deep, which both Jewish and Orecian fancy 

i 8ee Chapter I. Pkri ii. p. 99. < Ler. ztL 2S. 

* See Chapten Z. tod ZIIL 


was wont to place in the inltmd ocean, that was to them all, 
and more than all, that the Atlantic is to us. Thither " they 
went down " from their mountains, and '* did their business in 
ships," in the " great waters," and saw the " wonders " of the 
" deep ;" and along those shores were the " havens," few and 
far between, " where they would be *' when " the storm became 
calm, and the waves thereof were still '." Hermon, with his 
snowy summit always in sight, furnished the images which 
else could hardly have been familiar, — " snow and vapours," 
"snow like wool," "hoar-jfrost like ashes," "ice like morsels V* 
And then again, the upland hills and level plains experienced 
all the usual alternations of the seasons — the " rain descending 
on the mown grass," the " early and the latter rain," the 
mountains "watered from His chambers, the earth satisfied 
with the fruit of His "works" — ^which, though not the same as 
the ordinary returns of a European climate, were yet far more 
like it than could be found in Egypt, Arabia, or Assyria. 

Such instances of the variety of Jewish experience in Pales- 
tine, as contrasted with that of any other country, might easilj 
be multiplied. But enough has been said to show its fitness 
for the history or the poetry of a nation with a universal 
destiny, and to indicate one at least of the methods by which 
that destiny was fostered — the sudden contrasts of the various 
aspects of life and death, sea and land, verdure and desert, 
storm and calm, heat and cold; which, so far as any natural 
means could assist, cultivated what has been well called the 
" variety in unity," so characteristic of the sacred books of 
Israel; so unlike those of India, of Persia, of Egypt, of 

VIII. Amidst this great diversity of physical features, un- 
doubtedly the one which most prevails over the others, is its 
Palestine a iJ^o^^i^tainous character. As a general rule, Palestine 
moontam- is not merely a mountainous country, but a mass of 
^°^^' mountains, rising from a level sea-coast on the west, 
and from a level desert on the east, only cut asunder by the 

^ Pa. ciT. 26 ; criL 28 — SO. aerere than at preaent. See p. 181* 

s Pa. cxItu. 16 ; cxlTiiL S. At the > Pa. Ixiii 6 ; dT. 18. Ooapart 

aame time it mnat be remembered that Bent. xL 14 : zzxii. 2. 

the winten mnat hare been then more 

m±?, U.J 



valley of the Jordm irom north to south, and by the valley of 
Jezreel from east to west. The result of this peculiarity is« 
that not merely the hiU-tops, but the valleys and plains of the 
interior of Palestine, both east and west, are themselves so 
high above the level of the sea as to partake of all the main 
characteristics of mountainous history and scenery. Jerusalem 
is of nearly the same elevation as the highest ground in 
England, and most of the chief cities of Palestine are several 
hundred feet above the Mediterranean Sea. 

1. Many expressions of the Old and New Testaments have- 
immediate reference to this configuration of the ^ ^ 
country, the more remarkable from its contrast with 
the flat from which it rises on the east and south. This pro- 
bably is at least one signification of the earliest name hy 
which not Palestine alone, but the whole chain of mountains- 
of which it is an offshoot, was called, — "Aram," or the "high- 
lands," as distinguished from "Canaan," "the lowlands" or 
plain of the sea-coast on the west, and the " Bikah " or great 
plain of the Mesopotamian deserts on the east. " Aram " (or 
Syria, the word by which the Greeks translated the word into 
their own language) seems to have been the general appel- 
lation' uf the whole sweep of mountains which enclose the 
western plains of Asia, and which were thus designated, like 
the various ranges of Maritime, Graian, Pennine, and Julian 
Alps, by some affix or epithet to distinguish one portion 
from another. 

' " Anun-NahAralm," 'the hlgbUndB 
oftbetwo xiyen' (the word tranalated 
"H^aopotamia*' in the Greek, Latin, 
and English Teruons), Gen. zxir. 10, 
^«i zziii. 4, Jndges iii. 8, 1 Chron. 
xix. 6, is applied to the moontains from 
vhidi the Eaphrates and Tigris issae 
into the plain. It is also described, in 
Niaih.xziii. 7, as ^*Aram, ihemowiUanu 
of the East" ** Fadan-Aiam " is * the 
coltiTited field of the highlands,* Gen. 
«T.20,xxTiii. 2—7, xlviii. 7 ; appanntly 
either an upland Tale in the hills, or a 
fertile district inunedi&tely at their feet, 
niat this is the meaning of *< Fadaa," 
appears both from its deriTatlon from 
P«<aA ■• plough (lee Gesenios t» 
*0C«)— and from the eqniralent iodeh 

=: cnltiTated field — arvunif — used fiir it 
in Hosea zil. 12 (though there trans- 
lated " country "). *'Aram of Damas- 
ens" (2 Sam. tIu. 6) is *the highlands 
aboTe Damascus,* to vhich, in later 
times, the word **Aram" (Syria) became 
almost entirely restricted, as in Isa. vii. 
1, 8 ; Amos 1. 5 ; 1 Kings xv. 18 ; and 
so the lesser principalities of the same 
region are called '* Aram Zobah, ** ** Aram 
Maachah,*' «Anm Beth-Kehob.** To 
Palestine itself it is never applied in the 
Scriptures, but the constant designation 
of the country by Greek writers (see 
Beland, cap. riii.), is ** Syria Falsstina," 
which, in its Hebrew equiTalent, would 
be " Aram Fhilistim." For the meaning 
of SyriOf see Chapter YI. 

180 SINAI AND PALBBTINB. [chap. ii. 

However this may be, there can be no doubt that in Pales- 
tine we are in the " Highlands " of Asia. This was the more 
remarkable in connection with the Israelites, because they were 
the only civilised nation then existing in the world, which 
dwelt in a mountainous country. The great states of Egypt, 
of Assyria, of India', rose in the plains formed by the mighty 
rivers of those empires. The mountains from which those 
rivers descended were the haunts of the barbarian races, who 
from time to time descended to conquer or ravage these rich 
and level tracts. But the Hebrew people was raised above the 
other ancient states, equally in its moral and in its physical 
relations. From the Desert of Arabia to JEIebron is a continual 
ascent, and from that ascent there is no descent of any import- 
ance, except to the plains of the Jordan, Esdraelon, and the 
<;oast'. To '' go down into Egypt," to " go up into Canaan," 
were expressions as true as they are frequent in the account of 
the Patriarchal migrations to and fro between the two countries. 
From a mountain sanctuary, as it were, Israel looked over the 
world. " The mountain of the* Lord's house," — " established 
on the tops of the mountains," — " exalted above the hills," — ^to 
which ''all nations should go 'up," was the image in which the 
prophets delighted to represent the future glory of their countiy. 
When " the Lord had a controversy with his people," it was to 
be " before the mountaias and the hills," and '* the strong 
foundations of the *earth." When the messengers of glad 
tidings returned from the captivity, their feet were ''beautiful 
upon the "mountains." It was to the " mountains " of Israel 
that the exile lifted up his eyes, as the place " from whence 
his help 'came." To the oppressed it was " the mountains '* 
that brought "judgment, and the hills 'righteousness." "My 
mountains " — " my holy "mountain," — are expressions for the 
whole country*. 

One striking consequence of this elevation of the whole 

i See the fact weU giren in Hegel's 7 Pb. IzsdL 8. 

Fhiloflophy of History, p. 50. ^ Isa. xi. 9 ; xir. 25 ; hnl 13 ; 

> See Chapter I. Fart ii. p. 102. Ixy. 9. 

* Isa. ii. 2, 8. ' This whole aspect of the oonntry 
^ Micah Yi. 1, 2. is caught by Raawiilf with intelUgenee 

* Isa. lii. 7. remarkable for so early a tEiTdler 
^ Pa cxxj. I. (Travels, p. 220, 221). 

dup. n.J PALB8TINS. 137 

mass of the country is that every high point in it commands 
a prospect of greater extent than is common in ordi- ^^ y. 
nary mountain districts. On almost every eminence of Sacred 
there is an opportunity for one of those wide views or ^^**°^- 
surveys which abound in the history of Palestine, and which, 
more than anything else, connect together our impression of 
events and of the scene on which they were enacted. There 
are first the successive views of Abraham ; as when on '* the 
mountain east of Bethel," "Lot lifted up his eyes, q-- . 
and beheld all the plain of Jordan," and Abraham 
"lifted up his eyes, and looked from the place where he was, 
northward, and southward, and eastward, and 'west- ..^^ 
ward"; or again, when "Abraham looked towards 
Sodom and Gomorrah . . . and beheld, and lo the smoke of 
the country went up as the smoke of a furnace ; " or yet again, 
when "he lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off in the 
land of *Moriah." In the later history there is unfolded still 
more distinctly the view of Balaam from the "high places of 
Moab," when " from the top ^f the rocks he saw," ^,^^ 
''from the hills he beheld," not only "the tents of 
Jacob" and the "tabernacles of Israel," with their friture 
greatness rising far in the distance, but the surrounding nations 
also, whose fate was interwoven with theirs — and he thought of 
Edom and Seir, and " looked on Amalek," and " looked on the 
'Kenite." And close upon this foUows the view — ^the most 
fiunoos in all time, the proverb of all languages — when from 
that same spot — " the field of Zophim on the top of ^Pisgah,^ 
—Moses, from " the mountain of Nebo, the top of Pisgah/' 
saw "all the land of Gilead unto Dan, and all 
Naphtali, and the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, 
^d all the land of Judah unto the utmost sea, and the south, 
and the plain of Jericho, the city of palm-trees, imto *Zoar." 
Such too was the " very high mountain in the land of Israel," 
from which, in vision, Ezekiel' saw the " frame of the 
'City, and " the waters issmng to the east country, 

' GcB. xHi. 10, 14. See Chapter IV. * Namb. zzm. 14. 

' QeB.xiz.28: xzii. 4. BeeChftpten * Dent, xxzir. 1—3. See Ohapter 

T.YL ' VII. 

> Nuob. zzil 41 ; zziiL 9 ; xxir. 5, • Exek. zl. 2 ; zItu. 8. See Chapter 

57,18^20,21. See Chapter Vn. VIL 

182 SINAI AND PALBSTINB. [chap, n, 

** the desert/* and "the sea." Such — in vision also — was the 
mountain " exceeding high," which revealed on the day of the 
and of our Temptation " all the kingdoms of the world and the 
^^' glory of them^" Such — ^not in vision, but in the 

most certain reality, — was that double view of Jerusalem from 
Mount Olivet ; the first, when, at the sudden turn of the road 
from Bethany, "He beheld the city, and wept over it," the 
second, when " He sat on t^e Mount of OUves, over against the 
Temple," and saw those " great buildings'." 

Other prospects such as of Jacob from Mahanaim, of Deborab 
from Mount Tabor, of Solomon from Gibeon, though not 
detailed, can well be imagined; others again, though belonging 
to later times, are yet full of interest — ^the view, whether his- 
torical or legendary, of Mahomet* over Damascus ; the view of 
Jerusalem, as Titus saw it from the heights of Scopus, or as it 
burst, eleven centuries later, on the Crusading armies at the 
same spot, or as the pilgrims beheld it from " Montjoye\" 

To aU these I shall return in detail as we come to them in 
their several localities. No othqr history contains so many of 
these points of contact between the impressions of life and the 
impressions of outward scenery. But, besides this imaginative 
result, if one may so say, the mountainous character of Palestine 
is intimately connected with its history, both religious and 

2. The infinite multiplication of these hills renders intel- 
^^ ligible two points constantly recurring in the history of 

'* Fenced the Jewish people — the " fenced cities" and the "high 

' places." From the earliest times of the occupation of the 
country by a civilised and stationary people, we hear of the cities 
great and " walled up to heaven," which terrified the Israelite 
spies; of the "fenced cities " attacked by Sennacherib; of the 
various hill-forts, Jotapata, Masada, Bether, which in the last 
Jewish wars held out against the Roman forces. This is still 
the appearance of the existing villages or ruined cities, chiefly 
indeed in Judsea, but also throughout the country; in this 
respect more like the towns of the aboriginal inhabitants of 

1 Matt It. 8. See Chapter VIII. > See Chapter ZIL 

s Luke xix. 41 ; Mark xiii. 2. See « See Chapter IV. 
Chapter III. 

«UAP. li. 



Italy, ''praemptis oppida saxis," fhan those of any other 
'Cotintry. A city in a valley, instead of being as elsewhere the 
rule, is here the exception ; every valley has its hill, and on 
that hill a city is set that '' cannot be hid." From still earlier 
times, the same tendency is observable in their reli^ous history. 
These mnltiplied heights were so many natural altars: at 
Bethel', on Moriah*, at Dan', at Gibeon*, on Mount ^idthe 
Zion*, on Olivet*, altars were successively erected. High 
On the various heights of Hermon ruins of such* 
•temples everywhere exist'. The national worship down to the 
time of Hezekiah may almost be said to have been a religion 
of high places. There was no one height sufficient of itself 
to command universal acquiescence. In this equality of mouu- 
tains, all were alike eligible. 

3. Again, the combination of this mass of hills with its 
i>order plains and with the deserts from which it 
rises, has deeply affected its political and military divisions 
liifltory. The allocation of the particular portions "*!??''" 
•of Palestine to its successive inhabitants, will best 
appear as we proceed. But the earliest and most iunda* 
-mental distributions of territory are according to the simple 
division of the country into its highlands and lowlands. 
''The Amalekites," that is, the Bedouin tribes, "dwell in 
the land of the south/' that is, on the desert frontier ; " and 
Ihe Hittites and the Jebusites and the Amorites dwell in the 
mountains," that is, the central mass of hills ; " and the 
Canaanites dwell by the sea and by the * side ' of 'Jordan," 
that is, on the western plain and in the valley of the Ghor. 
And of the early inhabitants thus enumerated, those who at 
iep^t by their names are brought into the sharpest geographical 
contrast, are the Amorites or " dwellers on the summits," and 
the Canaanites or *' lowlanders*." 

But the conquest of Palestine brings out this peculiarity 
most strongly. In most countries which consist of . , . . 
mountains and lowlands, two historical results are uidoon- 
•observable ; first, that, in the case of invasion, the ^^^^^ 

' Gen. ziL 8. ' Q«ii. zzii. 4. 

' Jodgei zriii. 80. 

' 1 Kings Hi. 4 ; 2 Chran. i. 8. 


> 2 Sam. XT. 82; 1 Kings zi. 7. 
' See Chapter ZU. 

' Namb. xiii.29. Compare JoaliiiAzi. 8. 
• See Bwald'8 Gescbiehte (2nd edit.) i. 

184 SINAI AND FALESTIKE. [ohap. n. 

aboriginal inhabitants are driven to the mountains, and the 
plains fall into the hands of the conquerors ; secondly, that 
in the case of semi-barbarous countries so situated, the 
plains are the secure, the mountains the insecure parts of 
the region. In Palestine both these results are reversed. 
Although some few of the ancient Amorite tribes, such as the 
Jebusites, retained their strongholds in the hills for many 
years after the first conquest of Joshua, yet the instances re- 
corded of resistance to the progress of the conquerors, are for 
the most part in the plains. The hills of Judah and Ephraim 
were soon occupied, but '* Manasseh could not drive out the 
inhabitants of Bethshean, . . nor Taanach, . . nor Dor, . . . 
nor Ibleam, . . . nor Megiddo, . . [from the plains of Esdraelon 
and Sharon], but the Canaanites would dwell in that land. 
Neither did Asher drive out the inhabitants of Accho, . . nor 
of Zidon, . . nor of Achzib . . [in the bay of Acre, and the 
coast of Phoenicia] . . but the Asherites dwelt among the 
Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land : for they did not drive 
them 'out." "And the Ajnorites forced the children of Dan 
into the mountain : for they would not suffer them to come 
down into the valley : but the Amorites would dwell in Mount 
Heres in Aijalon and Shaalbim : yet the hand of the house of 
Joseph prevailed, so that they became ■tributaries." We are 
not left to conjecture as to one at least of the reasons. " The 
Lord was with Judah; and he drave out the inhabitants of the 
mountain ; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the 
valley, because they had chariots of iron*" The Israelites 
were a nation of infantry. Their nomadic life, in this respect 
differing froin that of the modem Bedouins, was without 
horses ; and even after their settlement in Palestine, horses 
and chariots were unknown as a national possession until the 
reign of Solomon. The Canaanites, on the contrary, were 
famous for their chariots. One chief alone* is described as 
possessing " nine hundred ; " and even after the partial intro- 
duction of them during the Jewish monarchy, the contrast 

315 ; and QeseniuB in vocUnu, Com« * Ibid. 84. 

pare Dent. i. 7, 19, 20, 44, **The monii' > Jadges L 19. See also Josh. xriL 1<^ 

tarn of the Amorites " ^ Jabin : Judges W. 8. 
1 Judges i. 27-^2. 

eBiP. n.] PALESTINE. ISff 

between the infantry of the Israelites and the chariots of th6 
armies from DamascnSy suggested the same comparison that 
might have been made by the Ganaanites in the days of Joshua. 
^' Their gods are gods of the ^mountaii^s;' therefore they are 
stronger than we ; but let us fight against them in the ' leyel/ 
and surely we shall be stronger than they." A glance at the 
description of Palestine given above will show how exactly this 
tallies with the actual results. Boads for wheeled vehicles are 
now unknown in any part of Palestine; and in the earlier 
history they are very rarely mentioned as a general means of 
communication. There is indeed mention of the '* chariots " 
of Jehu and of Ahab along the plain of Esdraelon ; and there 
was apparently a royal chariot-road between the capitals of the 
two kingdoms^ And imder the Bomans, the same astonishing 
genius for road-making, which carried the Via Flaminia through 
tibe Apennines and has left traces of itself in the narrow pass 
of the Scironian rocks, may have increased the facilities of 
communication in Palestine. Hence, perhaps, the mention of 
the chariot-road through the pass from Jerusalem to Gaza', 
where the Ethiopian met Philip. Hence the steep descent 
from Gadara is paved with the remains of a regular Boman 
road, marked by the ruts of wheels, where wheels have now 
never penetrated for at least a thousand years. But in esurHer 
times, and under ordinary circumstances, chariots must have 
always been more or less impracticable in the mountain 
regions. It was in the plains, accordingly, that the enemies of 
Israel were usually successful. 

Another cause, not indeed for the success of the Ganaanites' 
resistance, but for the tenacity with which they clung to the 
plains, is to be seen in their great superiority both for agricul- 
tural and nomadic purposes to anything in the hills of Judaea 
or Ephraim. " Judah," we are told, at first *' took Gaza, and 
Askelon, and Ekron." But these cities, with their coasts, soon 
fell again into the hands of the Philistines — whether the old 
inhabitants, or, as there is some reason to think, a new race of 
settlers, subsequent to the first conquest. And then, for more . 

' The royal corpses vere earried in 30. Behoboam fled in his cbariot from 
efaariota 5rom Samaria to Jenisalem. Shechem to Jerusalem. 1 Kings zii. 18. 
IKiogiiDiSS; 2KingB iz. 28, xziu. 'AcUtuLSS. 

186 SINAI AND PALB8TINB. [ohap. a 

ihan four centuries, a struggle was maintained till the reign of 
David. It was the richest portion of the country, and the 
Philistines might well fight for it to the last gasp. In the same 
way, Tyre and Sidon, Accho and Gaza, cared but little for the 
new comers, if they could but retain their hold on the corn- 
fields and the sea*. 

And this brings us to the other peculiarity which distm- 
guishes Palestine at the present day, from other 
cT^i^ half-civilised regions. In Greece and Italy and 
Spain, it is the mountainous tract which is beset with 
banditti, the level coimtry which is safe. In Palestine, on 
the contrary, the mountain tracts are comparatively secure, 
though infested by villages of hereditary ruffians here and 
there ; but the plaius, with hardly an exception, are more or 
less dangerous. Perhaps the most striking contrast is the 
passage from the Haurftn and plain of Damascus, to the up- 
lands of the Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon, with their quiet 
villages and firuit-gardens, breathing an atmosphere almost 
of European comfort and security. The cause is soon told. 
Palestine, as we have before seen, is an island in a desert 
waste ; but from this very fact it is also an island in the midst 
of pirates. The Bedouin tribes are the corsairs of the wilder- 
ness ; the plains which run into the mountains are the creeks 
into which they naturally penetrate. Far up the plains of 
Philistia and Sharon come the Arabs of the Tih ; deep into 
the centre of Palestine, into the plain of Esdraelon, especially 
when the harvest has left the fields clear for pasturage, come 
the Arabs of the Hauran and of Gilead. The same levels 
which of old gave an opening to the chariots of the Canaanites, 
now admit the inroad of these wandering shepherds. On one 
occasion, even in ancient times, there was a migration of 
Bedouins into Palestine on a gigantic scale ; when the Midianites 
and Amalekites, and children of the east, encamped against the 
Israelites in the maritime plain, *' with their cattle and their 
tents," and " pitched " their tents in Esdraelon, and '* lay along 
the valley like grasshoppers for multitude*." This, doubtless, 
was a great exception, and in the flourishing times of the 

* Sec Chapter VL - Judges >i 3, 5, 88 ; Tii. 12. See CUjpter IX. 

<aAP. n. PAIiBSTII?S. 1S7 

Jewish Monarchy and of the Boman Empire, the hordes of the 
Desert were kept out, or were, as in the case of the tribes of 
Petra in the time of the Herods, brought within the range of 
a partial civilisation. But now, like the sands of their own 
deserts which enguK the monuments of Egypt, no longer 
defended by a living and watchful population, they have broken 
in upon the country far and near ; and in the total absence of 
£oIitaiy dweUing-pIaces — in the gathering together of all the 
settled inhabitants into villages, — and in the walls which, as at 
Jerusalem, enclose the cities round, with locked gates and 
goarded towers — we see the effect of the constant terror which 
they inspire. It is the same peculiarity of Eastern life, as was 
exhibited in its largest proportions in the vast fortifications 
with which Nineveh and Babylon shut themselves in against the 
attacks of the Bedouins of the Assyrian Desert, and in the 
^eat wall which still defends the Chinese empire against the 
Mongolian tribes, from whom the civilisation of northern Asia 
has experienced the same reverses as that of southern Asia 
from the Arabs. 

IX. What has already been said of the physical configuration 
of the country, must to a great extent have anti- 8oene27of 
cipated what can be said of its scenery. Yet the ^■^e**"'®- 
character of scenery depends so much on its form and colour, 
as well as its material — on its expression as well as its features 
—that, unless something more is said, we shall have but a 
faint image of what was presented to the view of Patriarch or 
Prophet, King or Psalmist Those who describe Palestine as 
beautiful must have either a very inaccurate notion of what 
constitutes beauty of scenery, or must have viewed the country 
through a highly coloured medium. There are, no doubt, 
several exceptions — Shechem, Samaria, Jericho, Engedi, the 
sources of the Jordan. But as a general rule, not only is it 
without the two main elements of beauty — variety of outline 
and variety of colour — but the features rarely so group 
together as to form any distinct or impressive combination. 
The tangled and featureless hills of the lowlands of Scotland* 
^d North Wales are perhaps the nearest likeness accessible 

* Compara Hiss Kartineaa. Eastern and Leadhill (ii. 223). TheAbUMichon 

Idfe, Part IIL c 1. Dr. Bichardaon compares the hilla to those of the Voegea 

<iompares the road lietween JafEa and and the Limoiuin (Voyage BeligieuM, 

Jeninlein to the road between Sanquhar ij. 272). 



to Englishmen, of the general landscape of Palestine south of 
the plain of Esdraelon. 

1. Bounded hills, chiefly of a gray colour', gray partly from 
Chanuster the limestone of which they are all formed, partly 
of hills. froia the tufts of gray shrub with which their sides 
are thinly clothed, and from the prevalence of the olive ; their 
sides formed into concentric rings of rock, which must have 
served in ancient times as supports to the terraces of which 
there are still traces to their very summits ; valleys, or rather 
the meetings of these gray slopes with the beds of dry water- 
courses at their feet ; long sheets of bare rock' laid like flag- 
stones, side by side, along the soil ; these are the chief features 
of the greater part of the scenery of the historical parts of 
Palestine*. In such a landscape the contrast of every excep- 
tion is doubly felt. The deep shade of the mountain wall 
beyond the Jordan, or again the level plains of the coast and 
of Esdraelon, each cut out of the mountains as if with a knife, 
become striking features where all else is monotonous. The 
eye rests with peculiar eagerness on the few instances in which 
the gentle depressions become deep ravines, as in those about 
Jerusalem, or those leading down to the valley of the Jordan ; 
or in which the mountains assume a bold and peculiar form, 
as Lebanon and Hermon at the head of the whole country, 
or Tabor, Neby-Samwil, and the "Frank mountain," in the 
centre of the hills themselves. The strange scenes of the 
Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea are the standing marvel of 
the country. 

2. These rounded hills, occasionally stretching into long 
Vegetation ^^dulating ranges, are for the most part bare of wood. 

Forest and large timber (with a few exceptions, here- 
after to be mentioned,) are not known. Cornfields, and, in the 
neighbourhood of Christian populations as at Bethlehem, vine- 
yards creep along the ancient terraces. In the spring, the hills 
and valleys are covered with thin grass and the aromatic 

' This gray colour is exchanged for 
white in the hills immediately eastward 
sf Jemsalem. 

* WeU described by Richardson, iL 374. 
This feature of the rocky soil has some- 
times been mistaken for ancient pave- 
ment (Bobinson*B Later Kea., p. 11 9>. 

* Keith, in his Land of Lvael, p. 429, 
has exactly caoght this character. *' The 

rounded and rocky hills of Jadaea ivell 
oat in empty, nnattractlTe^ and even 
repulsiTe . barrenness, with n(vthing to 
relieve the eye or captivate the fancy." 

See Appendix, OibeaJL Hasselqiiist 
p. 126 ; *' The hiUs of Jndsea are of a 
moderate size, uneveii, not of any mathe- 
matical figure, conic iir hemispheric" 


shrubs which clothe more or less almost the whole of Syria 
and Arabia. But they also glow with what is peculiar to 
Palestine, a profusion of wild flowers, daisies, the white flower 
called the Star of Bethlehem, but especially with a blaze of 
scarlet flowers of all kinds, chiefly anemones, wild tulips, and 
poppies'. Of all the ordinary aspects of the country, this 
blaze of scarlet colour is perhaps the mOst peculiar ; and, to 
those who first enter the Holy Land, it is no wonder that it 
has suggested the touching and significant name of " the 
Saviour's blood-drops." 

It is this contrast between the brilliant colours of the flowers 
and the sober hue of the rest of the landscape, that gives force 
to the words, — ** Consider the lilies- of the field. . . For I say 
onto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like 
one of these*." Whatever was the special flower designated by 
the lily of the field, the rest of the passage indicates that it 
was of the gorgeous hues which might be compared to the 
robes of the great king. The same remark applies, though in 
a less degree, to the frequent mention of the same flower in the 
Canticles, — " I am the rose of Sharon, the lily of the valleys ; "' 
"as the lily among thorns ; " "he feedeth among the lilies; "" 
"he is gone to gather lilies"." The roses in the " Valley of 
Boses" near Bethlehem are said to be a striking though solitary 
instance of such a burst of fragrance\ 

The same general bareness and poverty sets off in the same 
way the rare exceptions in the larger forms of vege- 
table life. The olive, the fig, and the pomegranate, 
which form the usual vegetation of the country, are so humble 
in stature, that they hardly attract the eye till the spectator is 
amongst them. Then indeed the twisted stems and silver 
foliage of the first, tlie dark broad leaf of the second, the tender 
green and scarlet blossoms of the third, are amongst the most 
beautiful of sights, even when stripped of the associations 
which would invest the tamest of their kind with interest. On 
the lower slopes of the hills olives especially are more 
or less thickly scattered, with that peculiar colour and 
form which they share in common with those of Greece and of 
Italy; to English eyes, best represented by aged willows.*^ 

1 Wen d«Kribed in LyDoh'a Sxpedi- * Cant. ii. 1, 2, 16 ; tI. 2, 8. 

tkm, p. 225.— See Chap. L Part iL p. 99 . * Stewart, 345. 

* Siee Chapter XIIL ^ Those who hate nerer seen an olWe 



[oBkP. a 


Bat there are a few trees which emerge from this general 
obscurity. Foremost stand the Cedars' of Lebanon. 
In ancient times the sides of that mountain were 
covered with them. Now, they are only found in one small 
hollow on its north-western slope. But there can be little 
confined to doubt that they were always confined to the range of 
Lebanon. Lebanon, and therefore, properly spealdng, were not 
trees of Palestine at all*. The expression of Keble, — 

** Far o*er the oodar shade some tower of giant old. 


never could have been true of the woods and ruins of Judaea. 
It was the very remoteness of this noble tree, combined with its 
majestic height and sweeping branches, that made it, one may 
almost say, an object of religious reverence. It is hardly ever 
named without the addition, either of the lofty mountain where it 
grew, — " the cedars of Lebanon," — or of some epithet implying 
its grandeur and glory, — "the trees of the Lord," the " cedars 
which He hath planted," " the tall cedars," " the cedars high 
and lifted up," " whose height is like the height of the cedars," 
** spread abroad like the cedar," " with fair branches," ** with a 
fihadowing shroud," " of an high stature," "his top among the 
thick boughs," " his height exalted above all the trees of the 
field," " his boughs multiplied, his branches long," " fair in 
his greatness," " in the length of his branches," " by the 
multitude of his branches*." These expressions clearly indi- 
cate that to them the cedar was a portent, a grand and awful 
work of God. The words would never have been used had it 
been a familiar sight amongst their ordinary gardens, as it is 
in ours. The Maronite clergy for many years celebrated worsliip 
under their branches, as though they formed a natural temple; 

tree, must read the deeeription in Rnakin^s 
Stones of Venice, toI iii. p. 175 — 177. 

' With the exception of the oedan, I 
have confined myielf in this ennmera* 
tion strictly to the trees of Palestine. 
For a faUer aoooont of the cedars, see 
Chapter XII. 

3 It is not clear from the account in 
I Kings y. whether the cedars of Lebanon 
which Hirani*s workmen cat down for 
fiolomon, and sent on rafts to Joppa for 

the bnilding of the Temple, were withis 
the Jewish dominions at that time or 
not. Bat the stress laid on the skill of 
the Sidonians as wood-catters, and the 
fact that Solomon sent his own over* 
seers there, perhaps implies that they 

s Isa. ii. 13 ; xxxtU. 24 ; Amos U. 9; 
Esek. xzzi. 3—10 ; Fs. zzix. 5 ; xciL 13 
eiv. 16. 


and now have erected a chapel on the spot, which is frequented 
bj numbers on the Feast of the Transfiguration. This may 
now be a homage to the extreme antiquity of those whibh 
are left ; but it may also be a continuation of the ancient 
feeling towards them which filled the hearts of the poets of 
Israel. Another more practical indication of their size, as 
compared to any Palestine timber, is the fact, that from the 
earliest times they have been used for all the great worka 
of Jewish architecture. They were so employed for Solo- 
mon's Temple, and again for the Temple of ZerubabelS when 
nothing but sheer necessity could have induced the im* 
poveiished people to send so far for their timber. They 
were used yet once again, probably for the last time^ in 
Justinian's Church of the Virgin at Jerusalem. When the 
ceiling of the Church of Bethlehem, once of cedar, was last 
repaired, the rafters were no longer from the forests of Leba« 
non, bnt gifts from our own oaks by King Edward lY. 

Passing from these trees, which, secluded as they are in 
their retired nook on the heights of Lebanon, could oaks and 
therefore illustrate the scenery of Palestine only by Tcpebmtlis. 
contrast, we come to those which must always have presented 
striking objects in the view, wherever they appeared. The 
first were those to which the Hebrews in Palestine emphatically 
gave the name^ of "the tree," or "the strong tree," namely, 
the "Turkish oak" {el or *elah, in Arabic Sindian)^ and 
those to which the same name was given with a very slight 
variation of inflexion {aUon) — the turpentine or terebinth, 
in Arabic btUm, The trees are different in kind; but their 
general appearance is so similar, as well as the name which 
the Hebrews (doubtless from this similarity) applied to both, 
that they may both be considered together^. Probably the 
most remarkable specimen of the oak which the traveller 

* See BoVinson s Lat. Res. 590. presBly disiiiigmshed "as the terebinth 
' Bin ill 7. {elah) and the oak" (alhn). Bui, on 
' The same word which in the Deeert the other hand, they are also Ci«nfonnded ; 

u applied to the Paim ; as in the proper the same tree, apparently, which is called 

namei EUm and Ekah (See Chapter I. elah in Josh. xzir. 26, being called o/Zon 

^ 20), snd in Chaldee to the tree of in Gen. xzxt. 4. See Appendix tuh 

I^iePs vision. vodhtu^ 

* They are onee (buah tl 18) ex- 

142 6INAI AND PALRSTINB. [ceap. n. 

sees, is that called " the oak of Abraham,*' near Hebron, and 
Abmham's ^^ which an elaborate account is given by Dr. Robin- 
*^« son'. A familiar example of the terebinth is tLat 

on the west of Jerusalem, near the Jaffa gate, which foims 
a marked object in any view including that portion of the 
city. They are both tall and spreading trees, with dark green 
foliage; and by far the largest in height and breadth of 
any in Palestine. But these, too, are rare; and this also ia 
indicated by the allusions to them in the Old Testament In 
a less degree than the cedars of Lebanon, but more frequency 
from their being brought into closer contact with the history of 
Israel, they are described as invested with a kind of religions 
sanctity, and as landmarks of the country, to a degree which 
Gmsted, would not be possible in more thickly wooded 
*"^ ' regions. They were no unfitting image of the rem- 
nants of the ancient giant race, which had been " destroyed 
from before Israel " — ** the Amorite, whose height was like 
the height of the cedars, and he was strong as the oaks*'' 
Each successive step of the first patriarchal migration is 
marked by a halt under one or more of these towering trees. 
Under the oak of Moreh at Shechem, and the oak of Mamre at 
Hebron, was built the altar and pitched the tent of Abraham. 
And each, of these aged trees became the centre of a long 
Oak of succession of historical recollection. Underneath the 
^°"^ oak of Moreh, or its successor*, Jacob buried, as in a 
consecrated spot, the images and the ornaments of his Meso- 
potaniian retainers. In the same place, as it would seem, did 
Joshua set up the " great stone " that was " by the sanctnary 
of the *Lord ; " and the tree, or the spot, appears to have been 
known in the time of the Judges, as the traditional site of these 
two events, by the double name of the " oak of the enchant- 
ments," and "the oak of the "pillar." Still more remarkable 
f „ was the history of the " oak of Mainre." There are 

of Mamre; , "^ 

here indeed two rival claimants. The LXX, trans- 
lating the word aJXon by SpCy, evidently regard it as identicjd 

1 Vol. ii. p. 443. tnmdated << plain," after the Vnlgatf 

^ Amot ii. 9. (eonvallU), In tiio second cms Meo* 

^ Qen. xzxv. 4. nenim aigmfiee ' enehaatmenti,' in ^ 

I ^ Joshna xxiy. 26. Inaion to Q«n. xxrr. 4, where the otr 

« J'adgee Lx. 6, 37. In each ease mia- rings appear to have heen arnnkla. 

onip. XL] PALBSTINB. 143 

with elah, and therefore, as an oak ; and it is curious that the 
only large tree now existing in the neighbourhood, is that 
already alluded to as the chief of a group of ilexes in the valley 
of Eschol, about a mile from Hebron; and is, in all pro- 
bability, the same, or in the same situation, as that alluded to 
in the twelfth century by Ssewulf, and in the thirteenth and 
fourteenth by Mandeville and Sanutus, as possessed of extra- 
ordinary virtues, and the subject of a singular legend. But 
the tradition in the time of Josephus was attached to a 
terebinth^ None such now remains; but there can be Uttle 
doubt that it stood within the ancient enclosure which he 
mentions, and of which ruins stiU remain to the north of 
Hebron, under the name of ''Abraham's house." It was a 
gigantic tree, supposed to be coeval with the Creation. In the 
time of Constantine'it was hung with images and with a picture 
representing the Entertainment of the Angels; and underneath 
its shade was held a fair, in which Christians, Jews, and Arabs 
assembled every summer to traffic, and to honour, each with 
his own rites, the sacred tree and its accompanying figures. 
Constantine abolished the worship and the images, but the 
tree, with the fair, remained to the time of Theodosius*. It 
gave its name to the spot, and was still standing within the 
church which was built around it, till the seventh century; 
and in later times marvellous tales were told of its having 
sprung from the staff of one of the angelic visitants, and of its 
blazing with fire yet remaining always fresh\ The neighbour • 
ing field is stiU called " The Place of the Terebinth." 

These are the two most remarkable of the trees mentioned. 
But there are also others. The ''oak of Bethel," the Oak of 
under which Deborah the nurse of Jacob was interred, ]^ndulatb5 
was known by the name of the 'terebinth of * tears,' Zuii*im. 
and sometimes of ' Tabor ; ' a landmark to wayfarers over the 
central hills of Palestine. The terebinth near Eedesh, under 
which the nomad tribe of the Kenites was encamped in the 
north*, may even be the tree which caused the terebinth to be 
taken as a type of the tribe of Naphtali, by whose sanctuary 
it stood'. And in all these cases, as they had at first been 

I Jotephu, BelL Jnd. IT. iz. 7. hob. (Reland, p. 712.) 

* Eoaebina, Vik Const. 81 ; Demonit. * AUon-Badmtfa, Gen. zxrr. 8, where 
St. t. 9. « an oak," should he** the oak." 

> Soerase^ L 18; Soxomen, Hist. xL . * ''The *oak' bv Zeanaim,** Jn^gea 
(idwid, ppi 713, 714.) iv. 11. 

* £iutathi?j ; and Jalias Africa- 7 gee Lecture X. 


marked out as natural resting-places for the patriarchal or 
Arab encampments, so they were afterwards in all probability 
the sacred trees and the sacred groves under which altars were 
built, partly to the Ti*ue God, partly to Astarte. One sacb 
grove^ apparently with the remains of a sacred edifice, exists 
at Hazori, near Banias ; another, of singular beauty, on the 
hill of the lesser sources of the Jordan, at the ancient sanc- 
tuary of Dan*; a third', near Bludan, in the Anti-Lebanon, 
still the scene of an ancient superstitious rite. 

These instances are all more or less isolated. There is one 
district, however, where the oaks flourished and still flourish in 
such abundance as to constitute almost a forest. On the table- 
lands of Gilead are the thick oak-woods of Bashan, often 
alluded to in the Prophets* as presenting the most familiar 
image of forest scenery ; famous in history, as the scene of the 
capture and death of Absalom, when he was caught amongst 
the tangled branches of one of their largest trees. 

Another tree, which breaks the uniformity of the Syrian 
landscape by the rarity of its occurrence, no less than 
by its beauty, is the Palm. It is a curious fact that 
this stately tree, so intimately connected with our associations 
of Judsea by the Boman coins, which represent her seated in 
captivity under its shade, is now almost unknown to her hills 
and valleys. Two or three in the gardens of Jerusalem, 
some few at Nablus, one or two in the plain of Esdraelon, 
comprise nearly all the instances of the palm in central Pales- 
tine. In former times it was doubtless more common. In 
the valley of the Jordan, one of the most striking features 
used to be the immense palm-grove, seven miles long, which 
surrounded Jericho ; of which large remains were still visible 
in the seventh century and the twelfth, some even in the seven- 
teenth. En-gedi, too, on the western side of the same lake, vas 
known in early times as Hazazon-Tamar* — " the felling of palm- 
trees.*' Belies of its grove are still to be seen, in the trunks of 
palms washed up on the shores of the Dead Sea'^ pre- 
served by the salt with which a long submersion in those 
strange waters has impregnated them. Now, not one' is to be 

1 Chapter XT. Saewulf (iVid. p. 2S). Shiiw, p. 870. 

> See Porter's Damafcin, i. 281. * Gen. xiv. 7 ; 2 Chr. zx. 2. 

s laa. ii. 18 ; Bsek. zxTii. 6. See ' MacmichMrs Journey, p. 207. Set 

Chapter YIII. • Chapter YII. 

* Arenlf (Early Travellen, p. 7.) ' Eobinson, rol. ii. p. 211. 

jHA?. n.] PALRSTINB. 145 

seen in the deep thicket which surroands its spring, and at 
Jericho even the solitary pahn, for many years observed by 
travellers as the only remnant of its former glory, has dis* 
appeared* On Olivet, too, where now nothing is to be seen 
but the olive and the fig-tree, there must have been at least 
some pahns in ancient days. In the time of Ezra they went 
forth " unto the mount" to fetch for the Feast of Tabernacles 
"olive-branches, and pine-branches, and myrtle-branches, and 
palm-branches, and branches of thick' trees." Bethany, ''the 
house of dates," in all probability derives its name from the 
same cause, and with this agrees the fact that the crowd which 
escorted our Lord to Jerusalem firom Bethany " took branches 
of palm trees'." StiU, it is probable that even then the palm 
was rarely found on the high land which forms the main 
portion of historical Palestine. It is emphatically, as we have 
seen in the account of Sinai, the '* tree " of the Desert. It is 
always spoken of in Babbinical writers as a tree of the valleys*, 
not of the mountains. It grows naturally, and were it cultivated, 
might doubtless grow again in the tropical climate of the 
Valley of the Jordan. It is stiU found in great abundance on 
the maritime plains of Philistia and Phoenicia ; and probably 
from the palm -groves, which stiU strike the eye of the travel- 
ler in the neighbourhood of Gaza, Jaffa, Acre, Sidon, and 
Beirut, and which there probably first met the eye of the 
Western world, whether Greek, Roman, or Mediaeval, came 
the name of Phoenicia* or " the Land of Palms." Hence too, 
at least in recent times, came the branches, which dis- 
tinguished the Pilgrims of Palestine from those of Home, 
Compostella, and Canterbury, by the name of ''Palmer." 
Bat the climate of the hill country must always have been 
too cold for their frequent growth*. Those on Olivet most 
likely were in gardens ; the very fact of the name of the 
" City of Palm-trees,^' applied as a distinguishing epithet to 
Jericho; the allusion* to the palm-tree of En-gedi, as though 
found there and not elsewhere; the mention of the palm- 
tree of Deborah at Bethel', as a well-known and solitary 

> NdiemuOi Tui. 15. For the myrtle ' SeeBeland's Palestiiie^ 806, 368. 
trees on omear the Hune spot at the Mune * See Chapter VI. 
period oompare the ** mjrtle trees that * Backiogham, p. 217. 
wen in the holtom," Zech. i. 8, 10^ 11. ' Boolesiasticna uir. 14. 

•JohaziLlS. ^JodgMW. 6. 






landmark — ^probably the same spot as that called Baal-Tamar', 
'the sanctuary of ihe palm*' — all indicate that the palm was 
on the whole then, as now, the exception and not the rale. 

Combined with the palm in ancient times was the Sycamore. 
This too was a tree of the plain', — chiefly of the plain 
of the sea-coast — also, as we know by one celebrated 
instance', in the plain of Jericho. As Jericho derived its name 
from the palms, so did Sycaminopolis — ^the modem Caipha,— 
from the grove of sycamores, some of which still remain in its 

The large dark-leaved, wide-spread tree called the " Carob, ' 
TbeGarob- common in the forests of Galilee^ is not directly 
^*^' named in the Scriptures, nor is it frequent in the 

rest of Palestine. But it has two points of connection with - 
the Sacred History. Its pods are undoubtedly "the husks*'* 
of the Prodigal Son and of the swine which he tended. And 
a legend (founded perhaps on the popular name of " locust* 
tree" given to the Carob) has confounded them with the 
locusts which were the food of the Baptist*. Two or three 
carob-trees, memorials or causes of this belief, are still pointed 
out in the hills a few miles west of Jerusalem, traditionally but 
erroneously called " the Wilderness of St John." 

There is one other tree, only to be found in the valley of 
the Jordan, but too beautiful to be entirely passed 
over; the Oleander, with its bright blossoms and 
dark-green leaves, giving the aspect of a rich garden to any 
spot where it grows. It is rarely if ever alluded to in the 
Scriptures. But it may be the " tree planted by ihe ' streams ' 
of water, which bringeth forth his fruit in due season," and 
" whose leaf shall not wither " \ and it may be " the rose-plant 
in Jericho, " the rose growing by the hrook of the fields "— 
celebrated by the son of Sirach. 

^ Judges zx 33. 

' '* Cedars made he as the sycamore 
trees in the rale (Bhephela : t. 6. the low 
country of Philistia) for abundance :" 
1 Kings X. 27, and 2 Chr. i. 15 ; ix. 27 ; 
also 1 Chr. zzvii. 28. See also the 
Hishna quoted in Beland^s Palestine, 
pp. 806, 368. 

' Luke xix. 4. 

^ Van de Yelde, 1. 386 ; il 407. 

' Luke XT. 10, Kfpdria, the same stiU 
gjLTWL in modem Greek to the fruit of the 

tree icfparc&ria, which is the same as the 
Syrian or Egyptian "Carob." So the 
Syriao version renders it in this Tery 
passage, — ** Charoba.** 

* See the notes of moduli commenta- 
tors on Matt. iii. 4. For the true food 
of the Baptist) and the true scene of hit 
preaching, see Chapter YII. 

7 Ps. i 3. See Ritter, Jordan, p. 801. 
See Chapters X. and XL 

• Eccles. xxir. 14, xxxix. 18. The 
word in each ease is fic99tf. Bnt rhodo> 

cbjlp. xlJ PALBSTINB. H7 

X. The geological structure of Palestme^ as of Greece, ih 
almost entirely limestone. The few exceptions are in the 
Valley of the Jordan, which must be considered in ^ , . , 


its own place. This rocky character of the whole features of 
country has not been without its historical results. ^•i«*"»e, 

1. Not only does the thirsty character of the whole East 
give a peculiar expression to any pilaces where water 
may be had, but the rocky soil preserves their 
identity, and tiie Wells of Palestine serve as the links by 
which each successive age is bound to the other, in a manner 
which at first sight would be thought almost incredible. The 
mime by which they are called of itself indicates their perma- 
nent character. The " well " of the Hebrew and the Arab 
•is carefully distinguished from the "spring." The spring 
(ain) is the bright open source — the ** eye " of the landscape 
such as bubbles up amongst the crags of Sinai, or rushes forth 
in a copious stream from En-gedi or from Jericho. But the 
weU (beer) is the deep hole bored far under the rocky surface 
bj the art of man— the earliest traces of that art which these 
regions exhibit. By these orifices at the foot of the ' hills, 
surrounded by their broad margin of smooth stone or marble 
a rough mass of stone covering the top, have always been 
gathered whatever signs of animation or civilisation the neigh- 
bourhood afforded. They ;were the scenes of the earliest 
contentions of the shepherd-patriarchs with the inhabitants of 
the land; the places of meeting with the women who came 
down to draw water from their rocky depths ; of Eliezer witli 
Rebekah, of. Jacob with Bachel, of Moses with Zipporah, of 
Christ with the woman of Samaria. They were the natural 
halting-places of great caravans, or wayfaring men, as when 
Moses gathered together the people to the well of Moab, which 
the princes dug with their sceptered staves \ and therefore the 
resort of the plunderers of the Desert — of " the noise of archers 
in the places of drawing water'." What they were ages ago in 
each of these respects they are still. The shepherds may still 
be seen leading their fiocks of sheep and goats to their margin ; 
the women still come with their pitchers and talk to those 

dendnm and xliododophon (as lawrtu rote Qyelop. Bose, Rodcm* 
in Frendi) ^ve been often (and not ' Nnmb.xzi. 16, 18. 

nnsataiaDy} applied to the rose-like * Judges t. 11. 

lovexs of tlie oleander. (See Kitto^ 

L 2 

148 SINAI AND PALB8TINS. [ohap. u. 

** who sit by the well ; " the traveller still looks forward to it as 
his resting-place for the night, if it be in a place of safety ; or, 
if it be in the neighbourhood of the wilder Bedouins, is hurried 
on by his dragoman or his escort without halting a moment ;> 
and thus, by their means, not only is the image of the ancient 
life of the country preserved, but the scenes of sacred events 
are identified, which imder any other circumstances would 
have perished. The wells of Beersheba in the wide frontier- 
valley of Palestine are indisputable witnesses of the life at 
Abraham\ The well of Jacob, at Shechem, is a monument 
of the earliest and of the latest events of sacred history, of the 
caution of the prudent patriarch, no less than of the freedom of 
the Gospel there proclaimed by Christ '. 

2. Next to the wells of Syria, the most authentic memorials 
iiTM. ^^ P*^* times are the Sepulchres, and partly for the 
same reason. 

p _ 

The tombs of ancient Greece and Bome lined the public 
roads with funeral pillars or towers. Grassy graves and marble 
monuments fill the churchyards and churches of Ghristiaa 
EuropitB, But the sepulchres of Palestine were, like the habi- 
tations of its earliest inhabitants, hewn out of the living lime- 
stone rock, and therefore indestructible as the rock itself. In 
this respect they resembled, though on a smaller scale, the 
tombs of Upper Egypt; and as there the traveller of the 
nineteenth century is confronted with the names and records of 
men who lived thousands of years ago, so also, in the exca- 
vations of the vaUeys which surround or approach Shiloh,. 
Shechem, Bethel, and Jerusalem, he knows that he sees what 
were the last resting-places of the generations contemporary 
with Joshua, Samuel, and David. And the example of Egypt 
shows that the identification of these sepulchres even with 
their individual occupants is not so improbable as might be 
otherwise supposed. If the graves of Bameses and Osirei can 
stUl be ascertained, there is nothing improbable in the thought 
that the tombs of the patriarchs may have survived the lapse of 
twenty or thirty centuries. The rocky cave on Mount Hor 
must be at least the spot believed by Josephus to mark the 
grave of Aaron. The tomb of Joseph must be near one of the 

> See Chapter I. Pnri u. d^ 09. t Sec Cbaptor V. 


two monuments pointed out as such in the opening of the vale 
of Shechem. The sepulchre which is called the tomb of Rachel 
exactly agrees with the spot described as " a little way " from 
Bethlehem*. The tomb of David, which was known with 
certainty at the time of the Christian era, may perhaps still be 
foimd under the mosque which bears his name on the modem 
Zion*. Above all, the Cave of Machpelah is concealed, beyond 
all reasonable doubt, by the mosque at Hebron'. But with these 
exceptions, we must rest satisfied rather with the general than 
the particular interest of the tombs of Palestine. The proof of 
identity in each special instance depends almost entirely on the 
locaUty. Greek and Hebrew inscriptions have been found 
here and there in Jewish sepulchres, but (in this respect how 
fmlike Egypt), not a smgle letter which can with certainty be 
referred to an ancient period ; and tradition is, in this class of 
monuments, found to be unusually fallacious* Although some 
of those which are described as genuine by Jewish authorities 
can neither be rejected nor received with positive assurance, 
such as the alleged sepulchres of Deborah, Barak, Abinoam, 
Jael, and Heber, at Kedesh-Naphtali^; and of Phinehas, Elea* 
zar, and Joshua, in the eastern ranges of Shechem'; yet the 
passion of the Mussulman conquerors of Syria for erecting 
mosques over the tombs of celebrated saints (and such to them 
are all the heroes of the Old Testament) has created so many 
fictitious sepulchres, as to throw doubt on all. Such are the 
tombs of Seth and Noah, in the vale of the Lebanon ; of Moses, 
on the west of the Jordan, in direct contradiction to the Mosaic 
narrative; of Samuel, on the top of Neby-Samwil; of Sidon 
and Zebulun near Sidon and Tyre ; of Hosea, in GUead ; of 
Jonah, thrice over, in Judaea, in Phoenicia, and at Nineveh. 

Even the most genuine sepulchres are received as such by 
the highest Mussulman authorities on grounds the most puerile. 
The mosque of Hebron is justly claimed by them as the sanc- 
tuary of the tomb of Abraham, but their reason for believing 
it is thus gravely stated in the *' Torch of Hearts,'* a work 
written by the learned Ali, son of Jafer ar-Bayz, " on the 
authenticity of the tombs of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob." '* I 

> Qen. xxzT. 16. Tbere is a cave ' See Chsi>ter I. Part ii p. 100. 

andeneath it. See Schwan, p. 110. * Schwarz, 183. 

' See Chapter XIV. « Ibid. 147, 150, 151. 

150 SINAI AND PALBSTINE. [chap. ii. 

rely," he says, " on the testimony of Ahfi Hor&irah, who thus 
expresses himself: — ^It was said by the Apostle of God; * When 
the angel Gabriel made me take the nocturnal flight to Jerusa- 
lem, we passed over the tomb of Abraham, and he said, Descend, 
and make a prayer with two genuflexions, for here is the 
sepulchre of thy father Abraham. Then we passed Bethlehem, 
and he said, Descend, for here was bom thy brother Jesus. 
Then we came to Jerusalem */ " 

It may be well to notice the probable cause of this uncer- 
tainty of Jewish, as contrasted with the certainty of Egyptian 
and, we might add, of European tradition on the subject of 
tombs. However strongly the reverence for sacred graves may 
have been developed in the Jews of later times, the ancient 
Israelites never seem to have entertained the same feeling of 
regard for the resting-places or the remains of their illustrious 
dead, as was carried to so high a pitch in the earlier Pagan and 
in the later Christian world. " Let me bury my dead out of 
my sight" — "No man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this 
day'," — express, if not the general feeling of the Jewish nation, 
at least the general spirit of the Old Testament. Every one 
knows the most signal instance in which this indifference was 
manifested. Somewhere, doubtless, near the walls of the old 
Jerusalem, or buried under its ruins, is the "new sepulchre 
hewn in the rock," where " the body of Jesus was laid," but the 
precise spot, never indicated by the Evangelists, was probably 
unknown to the next generation, and will, in all likelihood, 
remain a matter of doubt always'. In tliis respect the contro- 
versy regarding the Holy Sepulchre is an illustration of a 
general fact in sacred topography. Modem pilgrims are troubled 
at the supposition that such a locality should have been lost. 
The Israelites and the early Christians would have been sur- 
prised if it had been preserved. 

3. But the tombs are only one class of a general peculiarity, 
resulting front the physical structure of Palestine. 

Like all limestone formations, the hills ef Palestine abound 
in caves. How great a part the caverns of Greece 
played in the history and mythology of that country 

1 Dm BaiaU, 116. > Qen. zziii. 4 ; Deat. xzzit. 6. > See ChApter XHT. 


is well known. In one respect, indeed, those of Palestine were 
never likely to have been of the same importance, because, not 
being stalactitic, they could not so forcibly suggest to the 
Canaanite wanderers the images of sylvan deities, which the 
Grecian shepherds naturally found in the grottoes of in aneient 
Parnassus and Hymettus. But £pom other points of **™**' 
view we never lose sight of them. In these innumerable rents, 
and cavities, and holes, we see the origin of the sepulchres, 
which still, partly natural, and partly artificial, perforate the 
locky walls of the Judaean valleys; the long line of tombs, of 
which I have just spoken, beginning with the cave of Mach- 
pelah and ending with the grave of Lazarus — which was " a 
cave, and a stone lay upon it " — and " the sepulchre hewn in 
the rock, wherein never man before was laid." We see in them 
the shelter of the people of the land, in the terrible visitations of 
old, as when " Lot went up out of Zoar, and dwelt in the moun- 
tain, ... for he feared to dwell in Zoar, and dwelt in a 'cave ; " 
or as when ** in the days of Uzziah, king of Judah, they fled 
before the earthquake to the ' ravine ' of the 'mountains ;" to the 
rocky fissures safer, even though theipselves rent by like con- 
vulsions, than the habitations of man. " Enter into the rock," so 
wrote 'Isaiah, probably in the expectation or the recollection of 
this very catastrophe, " and hide thee in the dust, for fear of the 
Lord, and for the glory of His majesty. . . . They shall go into 
the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, and the 
* clefts of the cUffs,* for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of His 
majesty, when He ariseth to shake terribly the earth." We see 
in them, also, the hiding*places which served sometimes for the 
defence of i^obbers and insurgents, sometimes for the refuge of 
those " of whom the world was not worthy ; " the prototype of 
the catacombs of the early Christians, of the caverns of the 
Vaudois and the Covenanters. The cave of the five kings 
at Makkedah ; the '* caves and dens and strongholds " and 
•* rocks " and " pits " and " holes," in which the Israelites took 
shelter from the Midianites in the time of Gideon \ from the 

^ Gen. xiz. 80. Compare Calman^s Safed to Tiberiaa where there were not 

iecoimt of the earthquake of Safisd in people." * Zech. xIt. 5. 

1837 (Kitto, Physic. Geogr. of Palestine, > Isa. ii. 10, 19, 21. 

167). "There was scarcely a cave from * Judges tL 2. 

152 SINAI AND PALBSTINB. [chip.u.. 

Philistines in the time of Saul'; the cleft' of the cliff Etam, 
into which Samson went down to escape the vengeance of his 
enemies ; the caves* of David at Adullam, and at Maon and of 
Saul at £n-gedi ; the cave in which Obadiah hid the ^ophets 
of the Lord^; the caves of the robber-hordes above the plain of 
Gennesareth*; the sepulchral caves of the Gadarene demoniacs*; 
the cave of Jotapata', where Josephus and his countrymen con- 
cealed themselves in their last struggle, — continue from first to 
last what has truly been called the *' cave-life " of the Israehte 
nation. The stream of their national existence, like the actual 
streams of the Grecian rivers, from time to time disappears 
from the light of day, and runs under ground in these subter* 
raneous recesses, to burst forth again when the appointed 
moment arrives*; a striking type, as it is a remarkable instance, 
of the preservation of the spiritual life of the Chosen People, 
'' burning, but not consumed," '' chastened, but not killed." 

In older times, there is no proof that these ancient grottoes 
were used for worship, either Canaanitish or Israelite. The 
" green trees,*' the " high places," served alike for the altars of 
the Lord, and for those of Baal and Ashtaroth. The free and 
open sky for the one worship, the unrestricted sight of the sun 
and the host of heaven for the other, were alike alien to the 
sepulchral darkness of the holes and caverns of the rocks. The 
one instance of a cave dedicated to religious worship, before the 
fall of the Jewish nation, is that at the sources of the Jordan, 
consecrated by foreign settiers as a sanctuary of their own 
Grecian Pan*. But the moment that the religion of Palestine 
fell into the hands of Europeans, it is hardly too much to say 
that, as far as sacred traditions are concerned, it became ''a 
reEgion of caves " — of those very caves which in earlier times 
had been unhallowed by any religious influence whatever. 
Wherever a sacred association had to be fixed, a cave was 

1 1 Sam. ziii. 6 ; ziv. 11. ' 1 Sam. zxii. 1 ; zxili. 25 ; zxlr. 3. 

' Judges XT. 8. So it should be ren- * 1 Kings xyiii. 4, 13 ; see Chapter DC. 

dexed. The paenge ia interestiug aa * Josephus, Bell. Jud. I. xtL 2 — A. 

illustrating the peculiar character of ' Mark ▼. 3. 

j some of the hiding-places — not what we ' Josephus, Vita, 74, 75. 

should oaU cares — ^but holes sunk in the * See Hengstenberg on Psalm IvL 1 ; 
earth. "Behold the Hebrews oome forth Bwald's Qeschichte, vol. t. p. 86. 

out of the holes where they had hid 'See Chapter XL 

I themselves." See Chapter lY. 


Mkr, 1I.J PALESTINE. 168 

immediately selected or found as its home. First in antiquity 
is the grotto of Bethlehem, already in the second cen- ^^^ . 
toiy regarded by popular belief as the scene of the moden 
Nativity. Next comes the grotto on Mount Olivet, **^^' 
selected as the scene of our Lord's last conversations before the 
Ascension. These two caves, as Eusebius emphatically asserts, 
were the first seats of the worship established by the Empress 
Helena, to which was shortly afterwards added a third, the 
sacred cave of the Sepulchre. To these were rapidly added 
the cave of the Invention of the Cross, the cave of the An- 
nmiciation at Nazareth, the cave of the Agony at Oethsemane, 
the cave of the Baptist in the '* wilderness of St* John," the 
cave of the shepherds of Bethlehem. And then again, partly 
perhaps the cause, partly the effect of this consecration of 
grottoes, began the caves of hermits. There was the cave of 
St Pelagia on Mount Olivet, the cave of St. Jerome, St. Paula, 
and St Eustochium at Bethlehem, the cave of St. Saba in the 
ravines of the Kedron, the remarkable cells hewn or found in 
the precipices of the Quarantania or Mount of the Temptation 
above Jericho. In some few instances this selection of grottoes 
would coincide with the events thus intended to be perpetuated, 
as for example the hiding-places of the prophets on Carmel, 
and the sepulchres of the patriarchs and of our Lord. But in 
most iDstances the choice is made without the sanction, in 
some instances in defiance, of the sacred narrative. No one 
wotdd infer from the mention of the " inn," or " house " of the 
Nativity, or of the entrance of the Angel of the Annimciation 
to Mary, that those events took place in caves. The very fact 
that in the celebrated legend, it is a house, and not a grotto, 
which is transplanted to Loretto, is an indication of w^hat would 
be the natural belief. AH our common feelings ai*e repugnant 
to the transference of the scenes of the Agony and Ascension 
from the free and open sides of the mountain to the narrow 
seclusion of subterraneous excavations. It is possible, as we 
are often reminded, that the very fact of caverns being so 
firequently used for places of dwelling and resort in Palestine, 
would account for the absence of a more specific allusion to 
them; for grottoes are stables at Bethlehem still ; and the lower 
stories of houses at Nazareth are excavated in the rock. But 

154 SINAI AND PALBSTINK. [chip. u. 

the more probable explanation is to be found in the fact, that 
after the devastating storm of the Roman conquest had swept 
away the traces of sacred recollections in human habitations, 
the inhabitants or pilgrims who came to seek them, would seek 
and find them in the most strongly marked features of the 
neighboiurhood. These, as we have seen, would be the caves. 
Helena, by the consecration of two of the most remarkable, 
would set the example ; the practice of the hermits, already 
begun in the rock-hewn tombs of Egypt, would encourage the 
belief of this sanctity. And thus the universality of the con- 
nection between grottoes and sacred events, which in later 
times provokes suspicion, in early times would only render the 
minds of pilgrims more callous to the improbabilities of each 
particular instance.' 

4. I have dwelt at length on the history of the caves, because 
Legendary it is the only instance of a close connection between 
cunositoes. ^^ history Or the religion of Palestine, and any of its 
more special natural features. In some few cases, the local 
legends may be traced to similar peculiarities. 

(1.) The stones called "Elijah's melons," on Mount Cannel, 
and " the Virgin Mary's peas," near Bethlehem, ar« instances 
of crystallisation well known in limestone formations. They 
are so called, as being the supposed produce of those two plots 
turned into stone, from the refusal of the owners to supply the 
wants of the prophet and the saint. Another celebrated 
example may be noticed in the petrified lentils of the workmen 
at the great Pyramid, as seen by Strabo at its base', and as still 
visible at the present day. In Palestine the tracer of these 
once well-known relics have now almost entirely disappeared*. 

(2.) Another peculiarity of the limestone rock has given birth 
to the legendary scene of the destruction of Sennacherib's 
army. Two pits were formerly pointed out near Bethlehem as 
the grave of the Assyrian host. One stiU remains. It is an 

^ See Chapter XIY. supposed to be the relica of the general 

* Strabo, xviL These petrified leotils petrifaction of lentils which had snpported 

were probably the same as the petrified Pharaoh at the time of tbe Kzodna. 

fruits said to have been in the possession Weil*s Legends, p. 121, 122. 

of Omar Ibn Abd al-Aziz, Caliph of * Clarke, t. 182. « Those <» Mount. 

BgTpt, in the 99th year of the Hejira. Cannel wei« carried off by Djenar Pasha 

In this version of the story, they were for cannon balls." Clarke, it. 117. 


iiregukr opening in the rocky ground, exactly similar to those 
which may be seen by hundreds, in the wild limestone district 
called the Karst, above Trieste. The real scene of the event 
is probably elsewhere'. 

(3.) The limestone, which is usually white or gray, is occa- 
sionally streaked with red. It is in these reddish veins that 
the pilgrims fancied they saw the marks of the drops of blood 
in the so-called Scala Santa ; or on the rock near Jerusalem, 
of late years pointed out as the scene of the martyrdom of 

(i.) The black and white stones, usually called volcanic, 
foond along the shores of the sea of Galilee, have been trans - 
fonned by Jewish fancy into the traces of the tears of Jacob in 
search of Joseph*. 

(5.) It is not of the nature of limestone rocks to assume 
fantastic forms, and in this respect the contrast between the 
legends of Palestine and Sinai is most apparent. Some few 
however there are ; their very slightness indicating that they 
have not been the occasion, but only the handles of the stories 
appended to them. The cavity of the footmark on Mount 
Olivet ; the supposed entombment of Adam's skull, in Gol- 
gotha; the sinuous mark of the Yirgin*s girdle by Gethse* 
mane; the petrifaction of the ass at Bethany'; the impression 
of Elijah's form on the rocky bank by the roadside, near the 
convent of Mar Elias, between Bethlehem and Jerusalem ^ are 
perhaps the only objects in which the form of the rocks can be 
supposed to have suggested the legends. But another place 
will occur for speaking of these more particularly*. 

It is worth while to enumerate these instances, trifling as 
they are, in order to illustrate the slightness of foundation 
which the natural features of Palestine afford, for the mytho- 
logy almost inevitably springing out of so long a series of 
remarkable events. And this is in fact the final conclusion 
which is to be drawn from the character, or rather want of 
character, presented by the general scenery. If the first feeling 
be disappointment, yet the second may well be thankfulness. 

I SeeChspter lY. 'See Chapter III 

' See Sudyi, p. 191. Van Bgmont| * See Qnaresmins, vol. ii. ; ri. 8. 

S6i. • See Chapter XIV. 

156 SINAI AND PALESTINE. [cuai. n 

There is little in these hills and valleys on which the ima- 
gination can fasten. Whilst the great seats of Greek and 
Roman religion, at Delphi and Lebadea, by the lakes of Alba 
and of Aricia, strike even the indifferent traveller as deeply 
impressive ; Shiloh and Bethel on the other hand, so long the 
sanctuaries and oracles of God, almost escape the notice even 
of the zealous antiquarian in the maze of undistinguished lulls 
which encompass them. The first view of Olivet impresses us 
•chiefly by its bare matter-of-fact appearance ; the first approach 
to the hills of Judaea reminds the English traveller not of the 
most but of the least striking portions of the mountains of his 
own country. Yet all this renders the Holy Land the fitting 
cradle of a religion which expressed itself not through the 
voices of rustling forests, or the clefts of mysterious preci- 
pices, but through the souls and hearts of men ; which was 
destined to have no home on earth, least of all in its own birth- 
place ; which has attained its full dimensions only in proper* 
lion as it has travelled further from its original source, to the 
daily life and homes of nations as far removed from Palestine in 
thought and feeling, as they are in climate and latitude ; which 
•alone of all religions, claims to be founded not on fkacy or 
feeling, but on Fact and Truth. 



Q«D. xlix. 9, 11, 12. " Jadali la a lion*8 wbelp : from the prey, my ion, 
tiion mrt gone up ; he stooped doim, he coached as a lion, and as an old 
lion; who shall ronse him npt — Binding his foal unto the Tine^ and his 
ssi^s oolt nnto the choice vine ; he washed his garments in wine^ and hit 
clothes in the blood of grapes : his eyes shall be red with wine, and hie 
teetli white with milk.'* 

FtalmlxxvL 2. « In Salem is his *coTert,*and his <lair' in Zion." 

Juvma: — I. The .''south** frontier — Simeon. — ^U. Mountain oonntiy of 
Jndah — Lion of Jndah — ^Vin^ards — Fenced cities — ^Brhlsbim— 
Capital dUes — ^Huboh — Gardens of Solomon--Jxau8ALiH. 

/■KTOALBX :-^L Exterior aspect. 1. Long obsoority — Jebus — ^Mountain 
fiButnesB, 2. Bavines of Kedron and Hinnom. 8. Compactness. 
4. Surrounding mountains. 5. Central situation. — U. Interior aspect. 
1. Hills of the dty. 2. Temple-mount — ^Boek of the Sakrah— Spring. 
3. Walls— PaUces— Ruins— Earthquakes.— nL Mount of OliTes— 
Slight connection with the earlier history — Presence of Christ — ^Belhanjr 
— Scene of Triumpbal entry — CoDdusiou. 


* Scene ot llio LammUitlDU orer Jenuoleni <p. Its). 

KoTi.— Tbo certain illea an is black, the unceitaln In m 


The southern frontier of Palestine almost imperceptibly 
loses itself in the desert of Sinai. It is sometimes j— ^^j. 
called the land of " Goshen'," or the " frontier," doubt- ^^ 
less from the same reason as the more famous tract ''South" 
between the cultivated Egypt and the Arabian desert, 
m which the Israelites dwelt before the Exodus. But it is more 
coimnonly known as " the south," " the south country." 
Abraham " went up out of Egypt into the south ; " " he went 
OE his journeys /rom the south even unto Bethel ; " " Isaac dwelt 
in the south country.** Here, in the wide pastures between the 
hills and the actual Desert, the Patriarchs fed their flocks ; 
here were the wells, — ^the first regular wells that are met by 
the traveller as he emerges from the wilderness — Moladah, 
Lahai-Boi, and, above all, Beersheba'. The exact limits of 
this '* southern frontier " axe, of course, difficult to be deter- 
mined. Its main sweep, however, was through the vast undu- 
lating plain which contains the greater part of these wells, 
immediately imder the hills of Judsa, now known as the 
Wftdy Kibftb, probably what in former times was called the 
"valley," i. e. the * torrent-bed ' or Wady* of Gerar. After 
the Patriarchal times, it has but few recollections. It was 
indeed the first approach of the Israelites to their promised 
home, when the spies ascended from Kadesh ** by the south\" 

> Josh. X. 41 ; xL 16. Stewart (214). xv. 5 ; 1 Cair. iv. 89 (LXX " Gerar'' for 

*IU)bmsoii (i. 800) dcKribes two, " Gedor"). See Chapter 1. Part U. p. 99. 

Tan de Velde (iL 136) five weHk For Qerar, lee Stewart^ Tent and Khan, 

' Geo. zzTi. 17, 19, "NachaT' (aee p. 192. 

Appendix). Numb. xir. 25 ; 1 Sam. « Nomh. xiiL 22. 

160 SINAI AND PALESTINE. [ooap. xzl 

but not that by which they finally entered. It was then still 
what it had been in the days of Abraham — ^a nomadic country^ 
though with less illustrious sheykhs ; ** the Amalekites dwelt 
in the land of the * south/' and after the occupation of Canaan 
by Joshua, " the children of the Kenite, Moses' father-in-law/' 
with a true Bedouin instinct, " went up 'into the wilderness of 
Judah, which lieth in the south of Arad/' and between them 
the country was shared. And the latest notices of this region 
agree with the earliest. The Amalekites of the Desert were 
still there, in the reign of Saul, with the Kenites amongst them, 
"with their sheep, and oxen, and 'lambs; " and again, in the 
close of his reign, they broke in once more upon the country 
from which he had driven them, upon " the south of the 
Cherethites and the south of Caleb, and burned Ziklag with 
"fire." So little were the inhabitants of the " south " distinguish- 
able from the Arab tribes of the wilderness, that David was 
able to represent his plunder of *' sheep, oxen, asses, and 
camels " equally as the property of either*. Nabal, who dwelt 
on the southern Carmel, was a borderer on the "wilderness;" 
his riches were his "three thousand sheep and a thousand 
goats ; " his fear, in that dry* region, was as much for his 
"water" as for his "bread'." Most of the habitable places 
in these parts were called " Hazer; " that is, they were merely 
the unwalled villages of Bedouins. The names of some indicate 
that they were stations of passage, like those which now are 
to be seen on the great line of Indian transit between Cairo 
and Suez. In " Beth-marcaboth," the * house of chariots,' and 
" Hazar-susim," the * village of horses,' we recognise the 
depots and stations for the " horses " and " chariots " such 
as those which in Solomon's time went to and fro between 
Egypt and Palestine*. 
To Simeon, the fierce and lawless tribe, the dry " south " was 
given, for " out of the portion of Judah was the inherit- 
ance of the children of Simeon ; for the part of the 
children of Judah was too much for them ; therefore the children 

1 Numb. xlii. 29 ; xir. 25. e ^egeh, tbe Hebrewword far "South* 

•Judges u 16. Cflmi»re Kinah, is derired from a xt)ot cigni^pag ^'diy." 

Joeh. XT. 22 ; tSaa, for And, see Numb. See Qeseniiis $mb voce. 

xxi. 1 ; Josh, xii. 14. » 1 Sam. xxv. 2, 11. 

a 1 Sam. xr. 6, 9. • Joah. xix. 6 ; 1 Kings x. 28. Com- 

Ml:S;^.'t-ia I-Cb.p.erI.P.rtu.p.64. 


Londonr John Murray. 


of Simeon liad their inheritance within the inheritance of them\" 
In the prophecy of Jacob he is " divided and scattered ; " in 
that of Moses he is omitted altogether*. Amongst these 
Bedouin villages his lot was cast ; and as time rolled on, the 
tribe gradually crossed the imperceptible boundary between 
civilisation and barbarism, between Palestine and the Desert, 
and, in " the days of Hezekiah," they wandered forth to the 
cast to seek pasture for their flocks, and " smpte the tents " 
of the pastoral tribes who " had dwelt there of old ; " and 
roved along across the 'Arabah till they arrived at the " Mount 
Seir "—the range of Petra — ^and " smote the rest of the 
Amalekites, and dwelt there unto this day^/' 

In the midst of this wild frontier, ruins still appear on the 
nsing grounds as if of ancient cities ; such as may have been 
Arad, the abode of the southernmost Canaanite king; and 
Kirjath-sannah, so called, doubtless, from its palm-trees; 
though also known by the appellation of Debir, or Kiijath- 
sepher, "the city of the Oracle," or the "Book." It was 
in the capture of this fortress that Othniel performed the feat 
of arms which won for him the daughter of Caleb\ But 
the speech of Achsah to her father was the best reason for 
the shght notice of this Desert tract in later times, and is the 
best introduction to the real territory of Judah, on which we 
are now to enter — " Give me a blessing, for thou hast given 
me a south land ; give me also uprings of water" The wells 
of Beersheba were enough for the Patriarchs, the Amalekites, 
And the Kenites, but they were not enough for the daughter of 
Jndab, and the house of the mighty Caleb. 

IL The " hiU country," — " the mountain country," as it is 
called, of "Judah" in earlier, of "Judaea" in later Moimtam 
times — ^is the part of Palestine which best exemplifies country oi 
its characteristic scenery ; the roimded hiUs, the 
broad valleys, the scanty vegetation, the villages or fortresses, 
sometimes Standing, more frequently in ruins, on ThoLion 
the hill tops ; the wells in every vaUey, the vestiges, o^«^"<*^- 
of terraces, whether for com or wine. Here, in this wide valley 
tract— the largest* of the territorial divisions of the country — tKe 

' Jodraa zlz. 9. sword, take vengeance on the strangersT* 

* Jndith is said to })e of the tribe of (Judith ix. 2). 
Simeon, and preserves the fierce chAiiicter' ' 1 Chron. It, 3& — 48. 
'^f her ancestors ;— " Lord God of my * Jos. xt. 15—17, 49 ; Jud. i. 11—13. 

fiihtr Simeon, to vhom Thou gayest a ^ Kobinson's (Later Hes. 160). 




" Lion of Judah " entrenched himself, to guard the southeni 
frontier of the Chosen Land, mth Simeon, Dan, and Benjamin 
nestled around him. Well might he be so named in this wli. 
country, more than half a wilderness, the lair of the savage 
beasts', of which the traces gradually disappear as we advance 
into the interior. Fixed there, and never dislodged except by 
the ruin of the whole nation, ^'he stooped down, he couched as 
a lion, and as an old lion — ^who shall rouse hirn up? " Through- 
out the troubled period of the Judges, from Othniel to Samson, 
Judah dwelt imdisturbed within those mountain fieistnesses. 
In these gray hills, and in their spacious caverns, David hid 
himself when he fled to the mountains like one of their own 
native partridges, and, with his band of freebooters, maintained 
himself against the whole force of his enemy. The tribes of 
the east and of the north were swept away by the Assyrian 
kings, Galilee and Samaria fell before the Boman conquerors, 
whilst Judah still remained erect ; the last, because the most 
impregnable, of the tribes of Israel. 

On these mountain tops were gathered all the cities and 
Fenced villages of Judah and Benjamin ; in this respect con- 
cities of trasted, as we shall see, with the situation of the 

T J t 

^ towns of the more northern tribes. The position 

of each is so like the other, that it is difficult to distinguish 
them when seen ; useless to characterise them in description. 
Hence, although when the names are preserved their identifi- 
cation is certain, when the name is lost, as in the case of 
Modin*, we must be satisfied with the selection of any one of 
the many heights which, according to the description of the 
_ ,. monument of the Maccabees, can be seen from the 
sea*. Two eminences stand out from the rest, marked 
by their peculiar conformation. One is the square-shaped 

^ The 'Mions** of Sariptore oocnr 
asnaUy in or near thoee mountains — for 
example that of Samson, and that of the 
Prophet of Bethel, and *' the lion and the 
bear" of Darid's shepheid-yonth. Com- 
pare^ too, the frequency of names deriTed 
from wild beasts in those parts — ' ' Shnal** 
^•< Shaalbim " (foxes and jackals), Josh. 
XT. 28 ; xix. 8, 42 ; Jndg. L 85 ; compare 
alsoJndg. XT. 4: " Lebaoth** (Ilonessts), 

Jos. XT. 82 ; xix. 6 ; the BaTine <^H7enu 
(Zeboim), 1 Sam. xTiL 18 ; YaUeyof Stig> 
(Ajalon), Jndg. i. 35 ; Josh. xix. 42. The 
only wild animal that we saw was a hjes* 
on the southern GarmeL 

3 1 Mace xiiL 25--S0. 

' Such a pomt may be found on any 
of the hills westward of the plateta «rf 
Jerusalem. Sehwan (p. 96) fixes on due 
of the name of Hidan, near KastaL 


mountain east of Bethlehem, known by the name of " the 
Frank Mountain/' from the baseless but not mmatural story 
that it was the last refuge of the Crusaders ; in fact, connected 
with the Jewish history only as the fortress and burial place of 
Herod the Great. The other, which will be best noticed in its 
connection with the shores of the Dead Sea, is the 
towering pinnacle known by the name of Masada', or 
''the Fortress," and used as such from the earliest to the 
latest times. 

Bat amidst this host of ''fenced cities of Judah," one may be 
specially selected, not only on account of its surpassing interest, 
but because its very claim to notice is founded on the fact that 
it was but the ordinary type of a Judsean Tillage, not distin- 
guished by size or situation from any amongst " the thousands 
of Judah'.** All the characteristics of Bethlehem brh- 
are essentially of this nature. Its confined position on i^hex. 
the narrow ridge of the long gray hill would leave " no room" 
for the crowded travellers to find shelter. Its elevation would 
naturally leeul the early Christians to connect it with the words of 
Isaiah, '' He shall dwell on high, in a lofty cave of the strong 
rock*.*' Its southern situation made it always a resting-place» 
probably the first halting-place from Jerusalem, on the way to 
Bgypt ** By Bethlehem " in ancient times * was the caravanserai 
or khan of Chimham, son of BarziUai, for those who would " go 
to enter into Egypt;" and from Bethlehem, it maybe, from 
that same caravanserai, Joseph *' arose and took the young 
child and his mother and departed into Egypt*.'* The 
Guniliar well appears close by the gate, for whose water David 
longed. Eastward extend the wild hills, where the flocks and 
herds of David, and of Amos, and of '* the shepherds abiding 
with their flocks by night," may have wandered. Amongst 
these hills is the long succession of rocky vaults, probably the 
'^caye of Adullam," to which David retired, in the neighbour- 
hood of his ancient home*. Below lie the corn-fields, the scene 
of Bath's adventures, from whi^h it derives its name, the 
*' house of bread." Along its slopes may be traced the vine- 
yards of Judah, here kept up with greater energy because its 
inhabitants are Christian. 

> See Ciuipter VII. « Jeran.zlLl?. Comp. 2Sam.zix.87. 
• KieahT. 2. » Matt. u. 14. See Chapter XIV. 

> la. xxziii 16. (See Chapter XIV. • 1 Sam. zxii 2. Bcn&r, Land of Pro- 
P> 441). BUM, p. 246. 



The mention of this last feature introduces us to another pecu- 
^ ^ liarity of Judsea. Here, more than elsewhere in Pales- 

tine, are to be seen on the sides of the hills, the vine- 
3*ards, marked by their watch-towers and walls seated on their 
ancient terraces— the earliest and latest symbol of Judah. The 
elevation of the hills and table-lands of Judah is the true cUmate 
of tlie vine'. He " bound his foal to the vine, and his ass's colt 
unto the choice vine ; he washed his garments in wine, and his 
clothes in the blood of grapes'." It was from the Judsean valley 
of Eshcol, "the torrent of the cluster," that the spies cut down 
the gigantic cluster of grapes*. "A vineyard on *a hill of 
olives,* " with the "fence," and "the stones gathered out," and 
" the tower in the midst of it," is the natural figure which, both 
in the prophetical and evangelical records*, represents the king- 
dom of Judah. The "vine" was the emblem of the nation on 
the coins of the Maccabees, and in the colossal cluster of golden 
grapes which overhung the porch of the second Temple; and 
the grapes of Judah still mark the tombstones of the Hebrew 
race in the oldest of their European cemeteries, at Prague. 

The vineyards and the green strips of vegetation, which 
thus break the gray surface of the hills, are so many threads 
to guide us to the chief centimes of history. Hebron, 

according to the Jewish tradition, was the primeval 
"^^"' seat of the vine; it was also the earliest seat 
of civilised life, not only of Judah, but of Palestine. Its 
very name indicates "community " or "society." It was 
the ancient city of Ephron the Hittite, in whose "gate" 
he and the elders received the offer of Abraham*, when as 
3'et no other fixed habitation of man was known in Central 
Palestine. It was the first home of Abraham and the 
Patriarchs ; their one permanent resting-place when they were 
gradually exchanging the pastoral for the agricultural life*. 
In its neighbourhood can be traced, by a continuous tra- 
dition, the site of the venerable tree under which Abraham 
pitched his tent, and of the double cavern in which he and 
his family were deposited, and perhaps still remain. It 
was the city of Arba, the old Canaanite chief, with his three 
giant sons', under whose walls the trembling spies stole 

> Hnmboldt, Comnoi, i. 125—126 ; zzi. 83. See Chapter XDL 

Ritter, iu. p. 220. » Q«n. xxiii. 10. 

' Gen. xlix. 11. 'Numb. xiii. 28, 24. • Gen xxxt. 27 ; xxrnl 14. 

♦ In. V. 1 (•'» very fruitftil hiU" is ' Josh. xv. IS ; xxi. 11 ; NamV. xTiL 

literally « alioro the eon of oil") : Matt. 22, 33. 


through the land by the adjacent valley of EshcoL Here 
Caleb chose his portion, when, at the head of his valiant tribe, 
he drove out the old inhabitants, and called the whole sur- 
rounding territory after his own name ' ; and here, under 
David, and at a later period under Absalom, the tribe of Judah 
always rallied when it asserted .its independent existence 
against the rest of the Israelite nation". It needs but few 
words to give the secret of this early selection, of this long 
continuance, of the metropolitan city of Judah. Every traveller 
from the Desert will have been struck by the sight of that 
pleasant vale, with its orchards and vineyards, and number- 
less wells, and in earlier times we must add tlie grove of 
terebinths or oaks, which then attracted from far the eye of 
the wandering tribes. This fertility was in part owing to its 
elevation into the cooler and the more watered region above the 
dry and withered valleys of the rest of Judsea*. Commanding 
this fertile valley, rose Hebron on its crested hill. Beneath 
was the burial-place of the foimders of their race. Caleb must 
have seen the spot, afterwards his own, when with the spies he 
passed through this very valley. A few miles south of it lies 
the deep green glen, marked by the upper and the lower 
"babblings" of the spring which Achsah claimed from Caleb 
as her* portion. When David returned from the chase of the 
Amalekite plunderers on the Desert frontier, and doubted "to 
which of the cities of Judah he should go up" from the wilder- 
ness, the natural features of the place, as well as the oracle of 
God, answered clearly and distinctly "Unto Hebron."* 

If Hebron and Bethlehem are the special memorials of 
David, there is one spot between the two, which ^ , 
calls to mind in a lively form the works of the and Pools 
peaceful reign which succeeded. In the long green ° °™°°* 
vale of Urtas, unusually green amongst the rocky knolls of 
Judaea, Solomon "planted him vineyards and made him 
gardens and a * paradise,* and planted trees in them of all 
kinds of fruits, and made him reservoirs of water to water 
therewith the wood that bringeth forth trees^•" From these 
gardens came, in part at least, the imagery of the Canticles ; 
and in these, probably more than anjrwhere else, the wise king 

* ISam XXX. 14. "Upon the South < See Lectures on the History of the 
of Caieh." Stewart (235) conjectures an Jewish Church, 262, and Sermons iu tUo 
VQcient tombon the W. of Hebron to be his. East, 167. 

* 28am. iL 11 ; xv. 9, 10. » 2 Sam. ii. 1. 

* Wiaptcr L Part iL « Eccl. iL 4—6. 

166 SINAI AND PALBSTINS. [chak ul 

cultivated bis knowledge of trees from the transplanted cedar 
to the native hyssop. The great reservoirs still remain ; and 
the huge square hill in its neighbourhood, by Europeans called 
*'the Frank Mountains'' is known to the Arabs only as the 
" Jebel el-Fureidis"." the " Mountain of the Little Paradise," 
evidently from its vicinity to the gardens of the Wady Urtos, 
which in the lament of Solomon are expressly called by this 
very name. 

III. But David's early predilections could not restrain him 
to Hebron ; still less could Solomon's passing fancy make a 
new capital, as did that of the kings of northern* Palestine, out 
of a palace of pleasure. 

Far removed in outward appearance from these, and in some 
JxRusA- respects from all the cities of Judsea, was the metro- 
"«• polls of Judah — of the Jewish monarchy — of Palestine 
— ^in one sense, of the whole world — Jebusalsm. It will be 
convenient first to give its general aspect expressed as nearly 
as possible in words written from the spot. 

The first sight* of Jerusalem as seen from the south, the fint 
moment when from the ridge of hills which divide the 
Krterior valley of Eephaim from the valley of Bethlehem one 
**^**'^' sees the white line crowning the horizon, and knows that 
it is Jerusalem — ^is a moment never to be forgotten. But there 
is nothing in the view itself to excite your feelings. Nor is tbeie 
even when the Mount of Olives heaves in sight, nor when ^the 
horses' hoofs ring on the stones of the streets of Jerusalem.** Nor 
is there in the surrounding outline of hills on the distant horison. 
Nebi-Samuel is indeed a high and distinguished point, and Bamah and 
Oibeah both stand out, but they and all the rest in some degree 
partake of that featureless character which belongs to all the hills 
of Judsaa. 

In one respect no one need quarrel with this first aspect of Jeru- 
salem. So far as localities have any concern with religion, it is well 
to feel that Christianity, even in its first origin, was nurtured in no 
romantic scenery; that the discourses in the walks to and from 
Bethany, and in earlier times the Psalms and Prophecies of David 
and Isaiah, were not as in Greece the offspring of oracular cliffs and 
grottos, but the simple outpouring of souls which thought of nothing 

> See Chapter L Part iL (Jer. ti. 1) aa a well-known beaoon- 

* See Kittoi'B Land of Promiae^ p. 2S. station in Jndsea. *'Set np a mgn, d 

The name slightly oonfirma the aupposi- fire in Beth hac-oerem/* — ^For the name 

tion that for the same reason it may in Furtiduj see Appendix in Tooe Pardu. 

earlier times have borne the name of 'See Chapter Y. 

"Beth hac-oexem," the "hoose of the * Chapter 1. Part ii. p. lOS. 

vineyard,** whidi is once mentioned 

coip. xii.l JUDJEA AND JERUSALEM. 167 

but God and maa. It is not, however, inconsistent with this view to 
add, that though not romantic — though at first sight hare and prosaic 
in the extreme — there does at last grow up about Jerusalem a beauty 
88 poetical as that which hangs over Athens and Borne. Pirst, it is 
in the highest degree venernAle, Modern houses it is true there are, 
the interiors of the streets are modem ; the old city itself (and I felt 
a constant satisfaction in the thought) lies buried twenty, thirty, 
forty feet below these wretched shops and receptacles for Anglo- 
Oriental conveniences. But still, as you look at it from any com- 
manding point, within or without the walls, you are struck by the 
gray ruinous masses of which it is made up ; it is the ruin, in fact, of 
the old Jerusalem on which you look, — ^the stones, the columns — the 
very soil on which you tread is the accumulation of nearly three 
thousand years. And as with the city, so it is with the view of the 
comitry round it. There is, as I have said, no beauty of form or 
outlme, but there is nothing to disturb the thought of the hoary age 
of those ancient hills ; and the interest of the past, ev^i to the 
hardest mind, wiU in spite of themselves invest them with a glory of 

their own 

The view of the Moab mountains is constantly intermingled 
with the views of Jerusalem itself. From almost every point, 
there was visible that long purple wall, rising out of its unfathom- 
able depths, to us even more interesting than to the old Jebusites 
or Israelites. They knew the tribes who lived there ; they had 
once dwelt there themselves. But to the inhabitants of modem 
Jerusalem, of whom comparatively few have ever visited the other 
side of the Jordan, it is the end of the world ; and to them, to 
US, these mountains have almost the effect of a distant view of the 
sea; the hues constantly changing, this or that precipitous rock 
coming out dear in the morning or evening shade— there, the form 
of what may possibly be Fisgah, dimly shadowed out by surrounding 
Tallejs — here the point of Kerak, the capital of Moab and fortress 
of the Crusaders — and then at times all wrapt in deep haze, the 
mountains overhanging the valley of the shadow of death, and all 
the more striking from their contrast with the gray or green colours 
of the hills and streets and walls through which you catch the 
glimpse of them. Next, there are the ravines of the city. This is 
its great charm. The Dean of St. Paul's once observed to me that 
he thought Luxembourg must be like Jerusalem in situation. And 
so to a certain extent it is. I do not mean that the ravines of 
Jerusalem are so deep and abrupt as those of Luxembourg, but 
there is the same contrast between the baldness of the level 
approach, the walls of the dty appearing on the edge of the table- 
land, and then the two great ravines of Hinnom and Jehoshaphat 
opening between you and the city ; and again the two lesser ravines, 

1<58 SINAI AND PALESTINE. [chap, iil 

riyal claimants to the name of TTropceon, intersecting the city itBel£ 
In this respect I never saw a town so situated, for here it is not 
merely the fortress, but the city, which is thus surrounded and 
entangled with natural fosses ; and this when seen from the walla 
cspeciallj from the walls on the northern side, and when combinec 
with the light and shade of evening, gives the wholo place a variety 
of colour and of level fully sufficient to relieve the monotony whidi 
else it would share with other eastern cities. And, thirdly, it must 
be remembered that there is one approach which is really grand, 
namely, from Jericho and Bethany. It is the approach by which 
the army of Fompey advanced, — the first European army that ever 
confronted it, — ^and it is the approach of the Triumphal Entiy of 
the Gospels. Probably the first impression of every one coming from 
the north, the west, and the south, may be summed up in the simple 
expression used by one of the modem travellers, — " I am strangelv 
affected, but greatly disappointed." But no human being could be 
disappointed who first saw Jerusalem from the east K The beauty 
consists in this, that you then burst at once on the two great 
ravines which cut the city off from the surrounding table-land, and 
that then only you have a complete view of the Mosque of Omar. 
The other buildings of Jerusalem which emerge from the mass of graj 
ruin and white stones are few, and for the most part unattractive. 
The white mass of the Armenian convent on the south, and the dome 
of the Mosque of David — the Castle, with Herod's tower on the 
south-west corner — the two domes, black and white, which surmount 
the Holy Sepulchre and the Basilica of Constantine — the green corn- 
field which covers the ruins of the Palace of the Knights of St. John 
— ^the long yellow mass of the Latin convent at the north-west comer 
and the gray tower of the Mosque of the Dervishes on the traditional 
site of the palace of Herod Antipas, in the north-east corner — ^these 
are the only objects which break from various points the sloping or 
level lines of the city of the Crusaders and Saracens. But none of 
these is enough to elevate its character. What, however, these fail to 
effect, is in one instant effected by a glance at the Mosque of Omar. 
From whatever point that gracefril dome with its beautiful precinct 
emerges to view, it at once dignifies the whole city. And when from 
Olivet, or from tho Governor's house, or from the north-east wall, 
you see the platform on which it stands, it is a scene hardly to be 
surpassed. A dome graceful as that of St. Peter's, though of course 
on a far smaller scale, rising from an elaborately finished circular 
edifice — this edifice raised oii a square marble platform rising on the 

^ It is this which causes Lieutenant Tslley, approadied it fint, as probably 

Lynches sorpriae at the magnificence of no other modem tiiayeller haa^ fitxm tbe 

his first view. He, coming up from his east, 
adventurotis expedition in the Jordan 


highest ridge of a green slope, which descends from ifc north, south, 
and east to the walls surrounding the whole enclosure — platform and 
enclosure diversified by lesser domes and fountams, hj cypresses, and 
olives, and planes, and palms — the whole as secluded and quiet as the 
interior of some college or cathedral garden, only enlivened by the 
white figures of veiled women stealing like ghosts up and down the 
green slope, or by the turbaned heads bowed low in the various nichee 
for prayer — this is the Mosque of Omar : the Haram es-Sherlf, " the 
noblo sanctuary," the second most sacred spot in the Mahometan 
worldy — that is the next after Mecca; the second most beautiful 

mosque, — ^that is the next after Cordova I for one felt 

abnost disposed to console myself for the exclusion by the additional 
interest which the sight derives from the knowledge that no European 
foot, except by stealth or favour, had ever trodden within these pre- 
cincts since the Crusaders were driven out, and tbat their deep 
seclusion was aa real as it appeared. It needed no sight of the 
daggers of the black Dervishes who sta^d at the gates, to tell you 
that the Mosque was undisturbed and inviolably sacred. 

I. Tliis is, in its main points, the modem aspect of the Holy 
City. Let us take these features in detail, and draw from 
them whatever light they throw on its long history. 

1. It is one of the peculiarities of Jerusalem, that it became 
the capital late in the career of the nation. Bome, i^ i^^g 
Athens, Egyptian Thebes ; the other ancient centres obacurity. 
of national life in Palestine itself, Hebron, Bethel, Shechem ; 
extend back to the earliest periods of their respective histor}\ 
But in those times.Jerusalem was still an unknown and heathen 
fortress in the midst of the land. There is something almost 
affecting in the thought, how many of those earlier events took 
place around it ; how often Joshua, and Deborah, and Samuel, 
and Saul, and David, must have passed and repassed the hills, 
and gazed on the towers of the city, unconscious of the fate 
reserved for her in all subsequent time ; how, as we shall see 
afterwards, the very worship of the Chosen People was for 
many years conducted within sight of their future sanctuary ; 
as if drawn towards it by an irresistible impulse, yet withheld 
from entering its walls*. " Thy birth and thy nativity," such 
is the language of the bitter retrospect of Ezekiel, " is of the 

' See the remarlu which follow in this Chapter on the Sanctmuy of Nob, and ia 
Chapter IV. on the Sanctuary of Gibeon. 

170 SINAI AND PALESTINE. kuaf. nx. 

land of Canaan ; thy father was an Amorite, and thy mother 
a Hittite ; and as for thy nativity, in the day thou wast bom 
.... thou wast not salted at all, nor swaddled at all. None 
eye pitied thee, to do any of these unto thee, to have compas- 
sion upon thee : but thou wast cast out in the open field, to 
the loathing of thy person, in the day that thou wast bom'.'* 

Yet the same circumstance, which afterwards contributed to 
the eminence of Jerusalem, in some degrlse accounts for its 
long previous obscurity. It was the only exception, so far as 
we know, to the rule, otherwise universal, that the aboriginal 
inhabitants of Palestine lingered not in the hills, but in the 
plains. After every other part of the mountains of Ephraim 
and Judah had been cleared of its Canaanite population, Jebus 
still remained in the hands of the ancient tribe which 
probably took its name from the dry rock on which 
their fortress stood. And the causes, which for so many 
centuries preserved this remnant of the early inhabitants of 
the country, were in great part the same as those which made 
it both the first object of David's conquest when he found him- 
self seated on the throne at Hebron, and the capital of his 
kingdom for all future generations. 

The situation of Jerusalem is in several respects singdar 
amongst the cities of Palestine. Its elevation' is remarkable, 
occasioned, not from its being on the summit of one of the 
numerous hills of Judsea, like most of the towns and villages, 
but because it is on the edge of one of the iiighest table-lands 
of the country'. Hebron, indeed, is higher still, by some 
himdred feet : and from the south, accordingly, the approach 
Monntam ^^ Jerusalem is by a slight descent. But from 
Fastnen. every other side, the ascent is perpetual ; and, to the 
traveller approaching Jerusalem from the west or east, it must 
always have presented the appearance, beyond any other 
capital of the then known world — we may add, beyond any 
important city that has ever existed on the earth — of a moun- 
tain city ; breathing, as compared with the sultry plains of the 

^ Ezek. XTi. 3, 4, 5. liar aspect of its geographical pontionak 

* This is giTen with great liTelinesa greater length aftor the excellent aoeorat 

and force by Kanwnlf, 271. of it in Bobinion*a Beseaitdies, tqL I pp^ 

' It IB needless to deicrihe this peen- 380 — 383. 

QEAI. in.] 



Jordan or of the coast, a mountam air ; enthroned, as compared 
with Jericho or Damascus, Gaza or Tyre, on a mountain 
fastness. In this respect, it concentrated in itself the character 
of the whole country of which it was to be the capital — the 
" mountain throne," the " mountain sanctuary," of God. 
*' The ' mount ' of God is as the ' mount * of Bashan ; an high 
moont as the mount of Bashan. Why leap ye so, ye high 
'mountains'? this is the 'mountain ' which God desireth to 
dwell in'." "Thou hast ascended up on high, thou hast led 
captivity captive"." " His foundation is in the holy moimtains'." 
"They that trust in the Lord shall be as the mount Zion, 
which may not be removed, but standeth fast for ever\" 
"God is in the midst of her, therefore shaU she not be 
removed*." It was emphatically the lair of the lion of Judah, 
of "Ariel," the Lion of God*. "In Judah is God known; 
his name is great in Israel. In Salem is his ' leafy covert/ 
and his 'rocky den' in Zion'. . . . Thou art more glorious 
and excellent than the ' mountains of the robbers*.' " And this 
wild and fastness-like character of Jerusalem was concentrated 
jet again in the fortress, the " stronghold " ' of Zion. That 
point, the highest in the city, the height' which most readily 
catches the eye from every quarter, is emphatically the " hill- 
fort," the " rocky hold**" of Jerusalem — the refuge where first 
the Jebusite, and then the Lion of God, stood at bay against 
the hunters. 

2. This brings 'us to the second feature which tends to 
ac<:onnt for its early selection or future growth as the capital 
of Palestine. As the traveller advances toward Jerusalem, from 

" P«. kriii, 15, le, 

2 Ibid. 18. 

' Ps. IzzzriL 1. 

* Ps. CXXT. 1. 

* Pi. XlTi. 6. 

* la. xzix. 1, 2. 

' Pa. Izxvi. 1, 2. Such Beenui the fnU 
expreesiofQ of the words, ''succah '* and 
^'muiialL** See Appendix. 

* Pk Ixri. 4. 

* This wonid he eqnaBy the case 
whether Zion he the sonth-irertem hiU 
oommonly to called, or the peak now 
Welled on the north, of the Temple 
Moaoti as is supposed, not without con- 

tiderahle grounds, hj Mr. Fergnsson 

i Essay, p. 55, ff.), and Mr. ^Himpp 
Andent Jemsalem, p. 17, ff.) 

^° The word '*metcad** or ^'metioo- 
dah*' is, like those in a preceding note 
(7), taken from the cover into whi<£ wild 
heasts are hunted, and was used and 
specially applied to the " holds " in the 
wilderness of Judaa. It is the usual 
word for designating Mount Zion, 2 Sam. 
T. 7, 9, ; 1 C^. zL 5, 7, and (in express 
conjunction with Ariel), Isa. xxix. 7. 
See the account of Mcuada in Chapter 
VII.; and Appendix, Wtaad. 

172 SINAI AND PALESTINE. [chip. m. 

the west and south, over the featureless undulating plain, two 
deep valleys suddenly disclose themselves to view, 

STKedrcL ^^® ^^ *^® south, the larger and deeper on the north, 
and of which then sweeping round the eastern side *of the 
^^^' city to meet the southern ravine, passes on by still 
narrower clefts through its long descent to the Dead Sea. 
The deepest and darkest of the two defiles was, doubtless, for 
thjit reason known as " The Black Valley " (Kedron) in 
former times probably deeper and darker than at present, when 
the accumulation of ruins and rubbish from above must have 
raised its ancient level. The other, wider and greener, was 
" the ravine " (Ge), in which probably some ancient hero had 
encamped, — "the son of Hinnom ;** and from the name thus 
compounded, " Ge Ben-Hinnom," " Ge-Hinnom," was formed 
the word " Gehenna*," and thus what Milton truly calls " the 
pleasant valley of Hinnom,*' has through its late associations 
given its name to the place' of friture torment. These deep 
ravines, which thus separate Jerusalem from the rocky plateau 
of which it forms a part, are a rare feature in the general 
scenery of the Holy Land. Something of the same effect is 
produced by those vast rents which under the name of " Tajo," 
surround or divide Toledo, Bonda, Alhama, and Granada, on the 
table-lands which crown the summits of the Spanish moimtains. 
But in Palestine, Jerusalem alone is so entrenched, and from this 
cause derives, in great measure, her early strength and subse- 
quent greatness. When David appeared imder the walls of 
Jebus, the " old inhabitants of the land," the last remnant of 
their race that clung to their mountain home, exulting in the 
strength of those ancient " everlasting gates' " which no con- 
queror had yet burst open, looked proudly down on the 
army below, and said, " Except thou take away the bUnd and 
the lame, thou shalt not come in hither ; thinking, David 
cannot come in hither." The blind and the lame, they thought, 
were sufficient to maintain what nature had so strongly 
defended. It was the often repeated story of the capture of 
fortresses through what seemed their strongest, and therefore 

^ Josh. XT. 8. In the Mohammedan ' In French, by a characterittio com- 

traditionB the name of *^ Gehenna** is presuon of the word, '*CJehenna*' htm 

applied to the Valley of the Kedron. Ibn become **gine" (bore) {Trench). 
Batatah, 124. > Fs. xxir. 7. . 


became their weakest, point, " Praruptum, eoque neglectum,** 
Snch was the fate of Sardis, and of Borne, and such was the 
fate of Jebus. David turned to his host below, and said, 
" Whoever smiteth the Jebusites first, * and dasheth them on 
the precipice,' • • • and the lame and the blind that are hated 
of David's soul, he shall be chief and captain'." Joab first 
climbed that steep ascent, and won the chieftainship of David's 
hosts; and the ^* ancient everlasting gates" "lifted up their 
heads," and " David dwelt in the stronghold of Zion, and called, 
it the City of David." 

3. What these ravines were in determining its earliest defen- 
ces, they have been ever since. It is obvious that compact- 
the deep depressions which thus secured the city "*«*• 
must, like the Jordan valley to the whole country, have always 
acted as its natural defence. But they also determined its 
natural boundaries. The city, wherever else it spread, could 
never overleap the valley of the Kedron or of Hinnom ; and 
tiiose two fosses, so to speak, became accordingly, as in the 
analogous case of the ancient towns of Etruria, the Necropolis 
of Jerusalem. This distinction made it again doubly impossi- 
ble for the city of the living to protrude itself into the city of 
the dead ; and, as the southern ravine had already given a 
name to the infernal fires of the other world, so, in Mussulman 
and Mediaeval traditions, the Valley of the Kedron was identi- 
fied with the Valley of Jehoshaphat* or of the " Divine Judg- 
ment ;" and was long regarded by the pilgrims of both religions 
as the destined scene of the Judgment of the World. The 
compression between these valleys probably occasioned the 
words of the Psalmist, " Jerusalem is built as a city that "is at itseKM' It is an expression not inapplicable even to 
the: modem city, as seen &om the east. But it was still more 
appropriate to the original city, if, as seems probable, the 
valley of TjTopoeon formed in earlier times a fosse within a 
fosse, shutting in Zion and Moriah into one compact mass, 
not more than half a mile in breadth\ 

^ 28*01. T. 8 ; 1 Chr. xi. 6. "Dasheth ' Joel iu. 2. 

tliem against tiie precipice," seems on ' Psalm cxxii. 8. 

(he whole the safest renderiog of the * This voald be still more the case, i/ 

paaage ohacorely translated and trans- we could suppose that Zion — ^the original 

P«ed, " Qetteth op to the gutter." city of David — occupied part of what is 

174 SINAI AND PALESSTINfi. [chip, zil 

But this compactness and smallness — ^though in itself a 
fitting- characteristic of the capital of that teiritoiy 
^ ' which, as we have seen, was remarkable for the same 
reason amongst the nations of the then known world — ^was not 
such as to exclude future growth. Hemmed in as it was on 
three sides by the ravines, on the western side it was com- 
paratively open. A slight depression, indeed, runs beneath 
what is now its wall on that side ; still, to speak generally, it is 
joined by its western and north-western sides to the large 
table-land which rises in the midst of Judaea, extending from 
the ridge of St. Elias on the south to the ridge of Bireh on the 
north, from the hills of Gibeon on the west to the Mount of 
Olives on the east In this point, again, its situation is pecu- 
liar. Almost all the other cities of PcJestine were placed, like 
Hebron, or Samaria, or Jezreel, on the crest of some hill, or 
like Shechem, within some narrow valley which admitted of 
little expansion. But Jerusalem had always an outlet on the 
west and north, and though it was not till the latest period of 
her existence that the walls, under Herod Agrippa, were pushed 
far beyond their ancient limits in those directions, yet the 
gardens and orchards and suburbs must even in the reign of 
Solomon, have stretched themselves over the plain. And this 
plain was encompassed with a barrier of heights, which shut 
out the view of Jerusalem tiU within a very short distance of 
the city, and must always have acted as a defence to it 

4. It is probable that these are the heights alluded to in the 
Monntaiiia well-known verse, " As the mountains are round about 
round Je- Jerusalem, so is the Lord roimd about His people \" 
It is true that this image is not realised, as most per^ 
sons familiar with our European scenery would wish and expect 
it to be realised. Jerusalem is not literally shut in by moun* 
tains, except on the eastern side, where it may be said to be 
enclosed by the arms of Olivet, with its outlying ridges on the 
north-east and south-east. Any one facing Jerusalem westward, 
northward, or southward, will always see the city itself on an 

called Moriafif the oblong p&n of rock Hinnom (m the aontli, and bj the Kedroa 

whioh snpportB the Mosque of Omar, and on the eonth and east (Bee the Baay> 

which muBt have been shut in by the of Mr. PergnsBon and Mr. Tbmiyp.) 

TrrofKeon on the west^ by the ravine of ^ Psalm cxzt. 2. 


elevation higher than the hills in its immediate neighbourhood, 
its towers and walls standing out against the sky, and not 
against any high background such as that which encloses the 
momitain towns and villages of our own Cumbrian or West- 
moreland, valleys. Nor, again, is the plain on which it stands 
endosed by a continuous {hough distant circle of mountains, like 
that which gives its peculiar charm to Athens and Innspruck. 
The mountains in the neighbourhood of Jerusalem are of un- 
equal height, and only in two or three instances — Neby-Samwil, 
Er-Bam, and Tuleil el-Ful — rising to any considerable eleva- 
tion. Even Olivet is only a hundred and eighty feet above the 
top of Mount Zion. Still, they act as a shdlter ; they must be 
sunnounted before the traveller can see, or the invader attack, 
the Holy City; and the distant line of Moab would always 
seem to rise as a wall against invaders from the remote east. 
It is these mountains, expressly including those beyond the 
Jordan, which are mentioned as " standing round about Jeru- 
salem " in another and more terrible sense, when, on the night 
of the assault of Jerusalem by the Boman armies, they 
^ echoed back " the screams of the inhabitants of the captured 
cily, and the victorious shouts of the soldiers of Titus'. The 
sitoation of Jerusalem was thus not unlike, on a small scale, 
to that of Bome ; saving the great difference that Borne was in a 
well-watered plain, leading direct to the sea, whereas Jerusalem 
was on a bare table-land, in the heart of the country. But each 
was situated on its own cluster of steep hills ; each had room 
for future expansion in the surrounding level ; each, too, had 
its nearer and its more remote barriers of protecting hills — 
Bome its Janiculum hard by, and its Apennine and Alban 
mountains in the distance ; Jerusalem, its Olivet hard by, and. 
on the outposts of its plain, Mizpeh, Gibeon, and Bamah, and 
the lidge which divides it from Bethlehem. 

5. This last characteristic of Jerusalem brings us to one 
more feature, namely, its central situation. First, it centnd 
was pre-eminently central with regard to the two great »*«»*"« 
tribes of the south, which at the time when the choice was 

^ t^M^X^ ^ 4 Tcpofa icol T& '*4pi^ Cfni gnrrounding moiintainB ^ were not those 
(JoKplu BeU. Jud. tL 5, 1). This shows close at hand, 
ust IB tlie Tiew of JosepHns *'t1ie 


made by David, were the chief tribes of the whole nation, the 
oiily two which contained a royal house — Judah and Benjamin. 
So long as Judah maintained its ground alone, Hebron was its 
natural capital ; but from the moment that it became the head 
of the nation, another home had to be sought nearer its neigh- 
bour, at this time its rival tribe. Such a spot exactly was 
Jebus, or Jerusalem. The ancient city, as belonging to the 
aboriginal inhabitants, had been excluded equally from the 
boundaries of either tribe. The limits of Judah reached along 
the plain up to the edge of the valley of Hinnom, and then 
abruptly paused. The limits of Benjamin in like manner 
crept over Olivet to the same point. But the rocky mass on 
which the Jebusite fortress stood was neutral ground, in the 
veiy meeting-point of the two tribes. From the sunmiit of 
the Mount of Ohves — almost from the towers of Zion — could 
be seen Gibeah, the capital of Benjamin, on its conical hill to 
the north ; and the distant hills, though not the actual city, 
of Hebron, to the south. 

Yet again, Jerusalem was on the ridge, the broadest and most 
strongly marked ridge of the backbone of the complicated hills, 
which extend through the whole country &om the Desert to the 
plain of Esdraelon. Every wanderer, every conqueror, every 
traveller, who has trod the central route of Palestine from north 
to south, must have passed through the table-land of Jeru- 
salem. It was the water-shed between the streams or rather 
the torrent-beds, which find their way eastward to the Jordan, 
and those which pass westward to the Mediterranean. Abra- 
ham, as he journeyed from Bethel to Hebron; Jacob, as he 
wandered on his lonely exile &om Beersheba to Bethel ; the 
LeviteS on his way from Bethlehem to Gibeah; Joshua, as 
he forced his way from Jericho, and met the kings in battle 
at Gibeon ; the Philistines, as they came up from the mari- 
time plain, and pitched in Michmash; no less than Pompey, 
when, in later times, he came up from the Valley of the Jor- 
dan ; or the Crusaders, when they came from Tyre, with the 
express purpose of attacking Jerusalem, — must all have crossed 
the territory of Jebus. 

' jBdges xix. 11. 

cBi?. m.] 



n. From what may be called the external situation of Jeru- 
salem, we pass to its internal relations. And here we exchange 
a sphere of perfect certainty for a mass of topographical interiar of 
controYersy unequalled for its extent, for its confusion, J«niMlem. 
and for its bitterness. If the materials, however slight, on which 
our judgment was to be formed were all before us, it might be 
worth while to attempt to unravel the entanglement. But the 
reverse is the case. The data exist, perhaps in abundance, but 
ibey are inaccessible. When Jerusalem can be excavated, we shall 
be able to argue; till then, the dispute is for the most part as 
hopeless as was that concerning the Boman Forum, before the 
discovery of the pedestal of the column of Phocas. But without 
descending into the controverted details, two or three broad facts 
emerge, which maybe stated without fear of future contradiction. 

1. Whatever may be the adjustment of the names of the heights 
on which Jerusalem stands, the peculiarity imparted HiUaofthe 
to its general aspect and to its history by these various ^^^' 
beights is incontestable. Even in the earlier times, when the 
city was still compact and narrow, there are traces of its double 
form. An upper and a lower city, — ^possibly the dry rock* of 
" Jebus," or " Zion," the " City of David," as distinct from the 
"Mountain of the Vision" (Moriah), the "City of Solomon," in 
whose centre arose the perennial spring, — are dimly discerned 
in the first period of Jerusalem*. But it was in its latest period 
that this multiplicity of eminences, which it shares, though in 
a smaller compass, with Bome and Constantinople, came into 
play. Then, as now, the broken surface of the slopes of Jeru- 
salem arrested the attention both of Tacitus and Josephus — " the 
irregular outline," the "high hills," the winding of the ascending 
and descending walls, were present to them, as they have been 
to the lively imagination of the modem poet and historian to 
whose lot it has fallen to describe the last days of the Holy 
City*. But it was &om more than a mere artistic interest that 

' Sm Ewald's Gesehichte, ill. 155. 

' It U ponible that this double exist- 
c&ee may have given the dual form to the 
name of *'Jenisalatni,*' which super- 
seded the old form of Jerusalem. It is 
posnble, too, that the name of JerwcUem, 
"the Tision of peace," may hare been 
fixst giren from the same yision that 

originated the name of "Moriah/ 2 Chr. 
iii. 1. Compare "in Salem is his 'covert 
—his 'den^ in Zion '' (Ps. Ixxvi. 1), the 
** Mount of the daughter of Zion, the 
hiU of Jern-salan," Isa. x. 82. 

' See Dean Milman's excellent descrip- 
tion of Jerusalem, both in 'the- third 
Tolome of the History of the Jews (15— 

178 SINAI AND PALESTINE. [obap. xil 

these several points of the broken groond of Jerusalem were 
so carefully recorded. In the earlier sieges, so far as the 
history is concerned, the city might have stood on a single 
eminencey like Ashdod or Samaria. But in the last siege by 
TituSy eYer3rthing turns on the variety and number of posts 
which the four hills of Jerusalem presented, not merely to the 
besieged against the besiegers, and to the besiegers against the 
besieged, but to the besieged against each other. If, in its 
earlier days, in its more natural aspect, Jerusalem was the like- 
ness of a city that is at unity with itself, in later times its 
divergent summits curiously represent to us the fatal type of 
the house which fell, because it was divided against itself. 

2. Whatever differences have arisen about the other hills of 
The Temple Jerusalem, there is no question that the mount on which 
Mount. the so-called Mosque of Omar stands, overhanging the 
Valley of the Eedron, has from the time of Solomon, if not of 
David, been regarded as the most sacred ground in Jerusalem. 
And on this hill, whatever may be the controversies respecting 
the apportionment of its several parts, or the traces of the 
various buildings which from the time of Solomon downwards 
have been reared on its rocky sides and surface, two natural 
objects remain, each of the highest historical interest High in 
The Rock ^^^ centre of the platform rises the remarkable rock, 
of the now covered by the dome of " the Sakrah*." It is irregu- 
lar in its form, and measures about sixty feet in one 
direction, and fifty feet in the other. It projects about five feet 
above the marble pavement, and the pavement of the mosque is 
twelve feet above the general level of the enclosure, making this 
rise seventeen feet above the ground .... It appears to be the 
natural surface of Mount Moriah ; in a few places there are marks 
of chiseling; but its south-east comer is an excavated chamber, 
to which there is a descent by a flight of stone steps and an aper- 
ture thiough the rocky roof. This chamber is irregular inform; 
its average height is seven feet; it is capable of holding about 
fifty persons. In the centre of the rocky cave there is a circular 

17), and still more strikiogly hi the first loftier monnUuns." 

Tolame of the History of Christianity, p. ^ The measnrements are firam llr. 

818. In that description the only words Catherwood, given in Bartlett^s Walb 

which an eye-witness would erase are, about Jemmlem, pp. 156, 16S. 

<< hemmed in almost on all sides by still 


Blab of marble, which on being struck makes a hollow sound, 
thereby showing that there is a well, or excavation, beneath. 

This mass of rock must always have been an essential feature 
or a strange disfigurement of the Temple area. The time for 
arriving at a positive conclusion respecting it is not yet come. 
But it may be worth while to give the various explanations 
respecting it, fabulous or historical^ during the successive 
stages of its known history'. 

(a). The Christians, before the Mussulman occupation of 
Syria, regarded it as the rock of the Holy of Holies, and as 
such — so different was the feeling of the Christian world with 
regard to the Old Testament between the fifth century and our 
own — ^used every effort to defile it. 

Q>). By the successors of Caliph Omar, if not by the Caliph 
himself, it was invested with a sanctity only less than that of 
the Kaaba of Mecca; believed to be the rock of Jacob's pillow 
at Bethel ; the stone of prophecy, which would have fled on the 
extinction of that gift, but which was forcibly detained by the 
angels in anticipation of the visit of Mahomet to Jerusalem in his 
nocturnal flight, when it bowed to receive him, and retained the 
impression of his feet as he mounted the celestial Borak. Im- 
mense stress is laid by Mussulmans on its miraculous suspension 
above the ground, and in this belief in its suspended state is 
probably to be found the origin of the fable of the suspension 
of the Prophet's tomb. The white plaster on the inside walls 
for the most part conceals the point of junction with the rocky 
platform of the mountain; but in the south-east comer the 
identification of the rocky wall and the rocky floor is visible 
and decisive. It is believed that within the cave every prayer 
is granted, and tliat in the well rest the souls of the departed, 
between death and the Resurrection*. 

(c). Becovered by the Crusaders, it was exhibited as the 
scene of the Apparition of the Angel to Zacharias, and of the 

* It ia this whicli probably gave it the matter which lay in the power of the 

oame of the "lapiB perttiaaa** (perforated dead to solve. It waa closed, because a 

^&«)i under which appellatioa it was mother going to speak to her dead son, 

^^ as the Jews* wailing-plaee in the was so much agitated at the sound of hia 

wnrth ceLtury. voice from below, that she threw herself 

' The helidf was that the living could into the well to join him, and disappeared. 

, Aold converse with these sonls at the This was the story related to me at Jeru- 

month of the well about any disputed salem. A less pleasing version is given 

V 2 



[chap. IIL 

Circumcision of Christ. The footmark of Mahomet was then 
represented as the trace left, when He went oat of the Temple 
to escape the fury of the Jews'. 

(d). In modem times it has been the centre of the most 
conflicting theories of sacred topography. Mr. Fergosson' 
(chiefly from architectural arguments) has maintained tiiat the 
dome of the Sakrah is the Church of Constantine, and conse- 
quently, that the rock beneath is the rock of the Holy Sepul- 
chre. Mr. Falconer, Mr. Thrupp, and Mr. Lewin suppose it 
to be the rock, or part of the rock, on which stood the tower 
of Antonia. Professor Willis urges its claim to be the rock 
oyerhanging the threshing-floor of Araunah, selected by David, 
and afterwards continued by Bolomon and by Zerubbabel, as 
the " unhewn stone " on which to build the Altar ; the cave 
within being the sink described in the Talmud as that into 
which the blood and offal of the sacrifices were drained off. 
Undoubtedly if the measurements of the area would allow of 
it, this last hypothesis would be the most satisfactory, except 
so far as it fails to produce adequate examples of a rock so* 
high and so rugged used for the purposes of an altai^. 

Meanwhile the rock remains, whatever be its origin, the 
most curious monument of Old Jerusalem, and not the least 
so, from the unrivalled variety of associations which it ha& 
gathered to itself in the vicissitudes of centuries. 

All accounts combine in asserting that the water of the two 
W ter i P^<)^B o^ Siloam, as well as that of the many fountains 
the Temple- of the ^'Mosque of Omar," proceeds from a spring or 
▼»nlt«. reservoir of water beneath the Temple-vaults. There 
was no period of its history when such a provision would not 
have been important to the Temple for the ablutions of the 
Jewishi no less than of the Mussulman, worship; or to the city, 
which else was dry even to a proverb. It was the treasure of 

by Catherwood (BarUett'i Walks, p. 154). 
(>>mpare the story told of Spiridion and 
his daughter (Sozomen, i. 11). 

1 Sewnlf, p. 40. > See Chap. XIV. 

' One argament which Professor Willis 
has omitted in fitronr of his position may 
be noticed. In 1 Ohr. xxt 20, 21, it is said 
that ''Oman and his four sons hid them' 
9dve$f^ apparently within the threiJiing- 
floor, for it is added that, as DaTid came to 

Oman, **Oman looked and tserU oiU o( 
the threshing-floor.** Possibly it was cos- 
tomary to hare a care under the rock of 
the threshing-floor to conceal the con— 
as in the case of Qideon in the wine-pc^^ 
nnder the rock of Ophrah, where the sltsr 
was afterwards raised, Jndg. tL 11* !^ 
21, 24. A care also exists in eonoeetion 
with what was the base of the Samsriton 
altar on QeriainL (See Chap. V.) 


Jerusalem, its support through its numerous sieges, the ''fons 
peremiis aqus" of Tacitus* — ^the source of Milton^s 

«< Brook that flowed 
Hard by the orade of God." 

But more than this, it was the image which entered into the 
Teiy heart of the prophetical idea of Jerusalem. " There is 
a river' [a perennial river], the streams whereof shall make 
glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacle of the 
Most High." ''All my fresh springs shall be in thee'." " Draw 
water out of the wells of 8alvation\" It is the source of all 
the freshness and verdure of the vale of Hinnom*. In Ezekiel's 
vision the thought is expanded into a vast cataract flowing 
out through the Temple-rock eastward and westward into 
the ravines of Hinnom and Kedron, till they swell into a 
mighty river, fertilising the desert of the Dead Sea. And 
with still greater distinctness the thought appears again, and 
for the last time, in the discourse, when in the courts of the 
Temple, " in the last day, that great day of the feast [of Taber- 
nacles], Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let 

him come unto Me, out of his belly shall flow rivers 

of Hving water'." 

d. In every approach to the modem Jerusalem, the first and 
most striking feature — ^in the approach from the 
south, the only striking feature, — is the long line Walk, and 
of walls and towers. Most eastern cities are entered ^<'^«"* 
gradually. Cairo, Damascus, Beirut, have outstepped the 
limits of their ancient fortifications, and the lesser towns, 
such as Hebron and Nablus, have not that protection. But 
Jerusalem is in the singular position of a city of sufficient 
importance, if not for its size, at least for its dignity, to have 
deserved a circuit of walls, whilst it is, at the same time, so 
exposed to the assaults of the wild villagers and still wilder 
Bedouins of the neighbourhood, that it has not ventured to 
pass beyond its fortifications. The same terror which has 

^ Tac Hist T. 12. In the M^anges thia ig xiot» and cannot be, a natural 
Histonqnes (from tbe Bnlletins of the spring properly so called. 
Academy of St. Petersburg, vol. iL p. 550,) ^ Ps. zlvi. 4. The word nahar ex- 
is an ingenious argument to prore that dudes the Kedron. 
thia (and not the supposed western * Ps. LczxriL 7. 
■ouroe^ commonly so called) is the Spring * Isa. xii. 3. 
of Qihon. It is, howerer, asserted by Mr. ' Bonar, Land of Promise, p. 167. 
Shitty, who has recently investigated * Beek. xlvii. 1 — 5; see Chapter VIL 
the state of water at Jerusalem, that ^ John rii. 37, 88. 

132 SINAI AND PALBSTINB. [cbaf. in. 

collected the entire population of Palestine from isolated 
houses into villages \ has confined the population of its capital 
within the city walls. With the exception of the caves and 
hovels of the almost savage inhabitants of Siloam, no ordinary 
habitation can be fixed outside ; the town is entirely enclosed, 
the gates locked at night, and the present walls (which date 
from the time of the great Ottoman Sultan, Selim I., conqueror 
of Egypt in the year of the European Beformation) thus 
become an essential feature in every view of the place from 
within or from without. 

This to a certain extent must have been the case alwap : 
Jerusalem must at all times have been in a state of insecurity 
too great to allow of any neglect of her fortifications. From 
first to last, History and Poetry are always recurring to the 
mention of her walls and gates and towers. "Walk about 
Zion, go round about her, tell the towers thereof; mark well 
her bulwarks'." David, Solomon, Hezekiah are all concerned 
in the fortifications of the city of the Monarchy. To have 
raised the walls of the city of the Restoration was the chief 
glory of Nehemiah. Herod's walls and towers, called after the 
favourites of his court and family, were amongst his most 
celebrated works. The Temple itself was a fortress of massive 
foundations and gigantic gateways on every side ; the walls 
great and high, with the gates of precious stone, furnished the 
chief images of the Heavenly Jerusalem, both in the Old snd 
New Testament ; and the idea of the " chief comer-stone," and 
of the " stones " of the living Temple of God, which pervades 
the Evangelical and Apostolical imagery, was suggested, in the 
first instance, by the vast masses of stone which, whether of the 
date of Solomon or Herod, form so imposing a part of the 
existing walls of the ancient Temple-area. But this "vas not 
the only distinction which set off the outward aspect of the 
city against the other towns of Palestine. Of these the modern 
walls give, as has been observed, some notion. Not so, how- 

^^ ever, the modem buildings. With the one exception 

of the Mosque of Omar, it is difficult to raise up to 

the mind's eye, from the ruins of the present Jerusalem, the 

» See Chapter IL p. 187. » P»lm xlriu. 12, 18. 

ciAP. ul] JUD^fiA AND JSEITSALEM. 183 

magnificent sight which, in the times both of the Davidic and 
the Herodian monarchy, must have presented itself to any 
spectator. Other residences of regal luxury arose elsewhere, — as 
we shall see in Shechem and Samaria, — ^but Jerusalem only was 
a city of palaces. Compared with the other villages and towns 
ofPalestine, contrasted with the mountain-wilderness of its own 
immediate neighbourhood, it is always spoken of as a splendid 
and dazzlii^ spectacle. What was the architecture, what the 
colour, what the form of these palaces, we know not ; even the 
Temple is only to be restored by imperfect guesses. But 
it was this general aspect which excited the admiration of 
Psahnists and prophets — '' Beautiful for situation, the joy of 
the whole earth is Mount Zion ;" " on the sides of the north is 
the city of the Great King ;'* " God is well known in her 
palaces;" "consider her palaces ^" And after its adornment 
by Herod the Great, it is probable that no city of the East, 
except Antioch, no city of the West, except Borne, equalled the 
external splendour of Jerusalem '. 

This was the ancient peculiarity of its appearance. The 
modem peculiarity is still more characteristic. If, as 
we have before observed, Palestine is a land of ruins, 
stai more emphaticaUy may it be said that Jerusalemis a city of 
ruins. Here and there a regular street, or a well-built European 
house emerges from the general crash, but the general appear- 
ance is that of a ciiy which has been burnt down in some great 
conflagration'; and this impression is increased to the highest 
degree when, on penetrating below the surface, the very soil on 
which the city stands is found to be composed of ruins of 
houses, aqueducts, and pillars, reaching to a depth of thirty 
or forty feet below the foundations of the present houses. This 
circumstance is important, not only as imparting to the city its 
remarkable form and colour, but also as telling the story of its 
eventful course. The old Jerusalem is buried in the overthrow 
of her seventeen captures. Even if the city were to be rebuilt* 
once more, the soil on which her new foundations must be laid 

^ Faahn zItiu. 2, 3, 12. Bomans, toI. t. 859, 427. 

' See tlie expression of Pliny (H. N. ^ « fphe honaefl of Jerusalem look aa 

▼. 14) Hieroiolyma, Umgi ckuwima if they had been burnt down many cen- 

whium OriaUiff non Jvdcta modo, aa lories ago.** lUohardson, il 268. 
npanded in Heri^ale's HIat. of the 


would bear witness to the faithfulness of the image of her 
earlier desolation ; " the stones of the sanctuary poured out at 
the top of every street*;" ''they have made Jerusalem a heap 
of stones';'* "not one stone shall be left upon another, that 
shall not be thrown down'." 

The ruinous state of Jerusalem is, doubtless, in chief part 
Earth- owing to the hand of man. But here, as elsewhere in 
quakes. Palestine, we must not overlook the effect of earth- 
quake. Situated on its high mountain-plateau, it is said to be 
more free from this calamity than the cities in the Jordan 
valley or on the sea-coast. But the very fact of this com- 
parative exemption must make the occurrence of these visita- 
tions more remarkable ; and we are told that " scarcely a year 
passes without a shock;" that sometimes the city has been 
wholly destroyed*. Of such manifestations at Jerusalem, there 
have been two so memorable, as to have left enduring traces 
in the sacred records. One was the tremendous earthquake, 
already mentioned, in the close of the reign of Uzziah. A 
long tradition preserved the recollection of the event, and 
connected it directly with the personal calamity of the unfor- 
tunate king. " It was," so Josephus* tells the story, "just as 
Uzziah was entering the Temple, that the building suddenly 
started asunder; the light flashed through, and at the same 
moment the leprosy rushed into the king's face. The hills 
around felt the shock, and a memorial of the crash was long 
preserved in a large fragment of rock, or landslip, which, rolling 
down from the western hill, [probably that now called the 
Mount of Evil Counsel] blocked up the royal gardens between 
that hill and the Mount of Olives, at the junction of the two 
valleys, by the spring of Enrogel*." No traces of this con- 
vulsion are now visible, and by a singular omission, charac- 
teristic of the soberness of spirit elsewhere observable in the 
sacred writers, it is not noticed in the historical books of the 

^ Lam. iy. 1. qpened— showed the blae sky aboTB, aa^ 

3 Pb. Ixxiz. 1. again closed. 

" Matt xxiv. 2. » Joeeph. Ant. IX. x. 4. 

* Tobler's Denkbl&tter aua Jerosalem, ' Josephns says '£pc^. It can hardlj 

p. S4. I was told that on one of these ooca- be doubted that the above statement ii 

sions as a family were seated at their mid- the true explanation. See Bonar, Uad 

Uay meal, the dome-shaped roof suddenly of Promise, 160. 


Old Testament. But the Prophetical yisions of that period 
are fall of the imagery of a visitation which brought before 
them in so powerful a manner the presence of God. To Amos, 
it seemed as though the Lion of God were roaring from the 
caverns of the lair of Zion*. To Zechariah', the rending of 
the hillsy as described by Josephus, was an image of ihe yet 
more terrible rending of the Mount of Olives, which should 
'' cleave in the midst thereof towards the east and towards the 
west — a very great * ravine ; ' and half of the mountain shall 
move towards the north, and half of it towards the south ; and 
ye shall flee to the ' ravine ' of the mountains, for ye shall flee 
like as ye fled &om before the earthquake, in the days of Uzziah 
King of Judah." And, if this ancient earthquake was made so 
powerful a means of reviving the religious feelings of the nation, 
there is a still grander significance in the like accompaniment 
of the greatest event which Jerusalem ever witnessed. Then, 
also, there was '' darkness over all the land" at noon day, even 
as in the time of Amos, " the day of the Lord was darkness 
and not light*, very dark and no brightness in it," " the veil 
of the Temple," even as on the former occasion the Temple 
itself, " was rent in twain from the top to the bottom," " the 
earth did quake^ and the rocks rent," even as those of old in 
the ravine of Hinnom ; at the same moment, as it would 
seem, " the graves were opened," — ^the long tiers of sepulchres 
in the valley of the Kedron — " and they that saw the earth- 
quake feared greatiy\" Such concomitants are indeed eclipsed 
by the moral greatness of the events which they encompass. 
But the fact that they are known to have occurred on the 
same ground gives additional force and expression both to the 
accuracy and to the awfulness of the narrative. 

m. It has been already observed that ''the 'mountains* 
which stand round about Jerusalem " are for the most The Moukt 
part too remote to enter into any consideration of the ^' 0"vm. 
situation or internal relations of the city itself. There are 
none on the south nearer than the ridge of St Elias, none on 

^ Amos i. 2; iL 8. prophet of that namo. 

' Zech. xiv. 4, 5. This passage is one ' Amos ▼. .20. 

of the many indications that Zechariah * Matt, zxrii. 51 — 5^ 
ix. — sir. IS the work of an earlier 

186 SINAI AND PALB8TINK [ciup. ul 

the west nearer than Nehy-Samwfl, none on the north nearer 
than Gibeah or Bamah. But on the east the city is imme- 
diately enclosed by a long ridge, itself with four distinct 
summits, one outlier starting off to the north, and another 
to the south. I'his ridge is that known both in the Old and 
the New Testament as the Mount of Olives or of the Oliye- 
garden'. Its four summits are now distinguished by traditional 
names: — 1. The " Galilee," from the supposition that there 
the Angels stood and said, '' Ye men of Galilee ;" or that it 
was the " Galilee " to which Christ retired after the resurrection. 
2. The "Ascension," covered by the village and mosque and 
church of the Jebel et-Tur (the Arabic name for Olivet, as for all 
elevated summits,) on the supposed scene of that event 8. The 
" Prophets," from the curious catacomb called the " Prophets* 
Tombs " on its side. 4. '* The Mount of Offence," so called 
from Solomon's idol- worship. The northern outlier has been 
in modem times usually called " Scopus ; " on the supposition 
of its identity with the hill so called in the Siege of Titus ; 
the southern, the " Hill of Evil Counsel," marked from far 
by the single wind-driven tree called the ** Tree of Judas." 
From every roof of the city the long ridge of Olivet forms a 
familiar feature — so near, so immediately overhanging the 
town, that it almost seems to be within it. Even in the more 
distant view from the sunmiit of Neby-Samwil the two are so 
closely intermingled, that it is difficult at first sight to part 
the outline of the village on Hie top of Olivet from the outline 
of the town and walls of Jerusalem itself. 

The olives and oliveyards, from which it derived its name, 
must in earlier times have clothed it far more completely than 
at present. Now it is only in the deeper and more secluded 
slope leading up to the northernmost sunmiit that these 
venerable trees spread into anything like a forest. And in 
those times — as we see from the name of Bethany (House of 
Dates), and from the allusions after the Captivity and in the 
Gospel History — ^myrtle-groves, pines, and palm-trees*, all of 
which have now disappeared, must have made it a constant 

^ Acts i. 12, Tov i\at&vos, tranBlated of a peculiar kind, called Zini and G»pA' 

Oliretum in the Vnlgate, and hence natha. (Sokkah, ill. 1 ; and in Schwan, 

•'OnTet," pp. 257, 264.) 

' See Chapter II. These palms were 

eiup. m.] JUD^A IlSJ) JEBHSALBM. 187 

resort for pleasure and seclusion. Two gigantic cedars, pro- 
bably amongst the very few in Palestine, stood near its 
summit, under which were four shops where pigeons were 
sold for purification*. The olive and fig now alone remain; 
the olive, still in more or less abundance, the fig' here and 
there on the roadside ; but both enough to justify the Mussul- 
man's belief, that in the oath in the Koran, " By the olive 
and the fig," the Almighty swears by his favoured city of 
Jerusalem, with this adjacent mountain. 

So close a proximity at once makes us expect to find the 
history of the Mount of Olives inseparably united with the 
history of the Holy City. To a certain extent this was the 
case. The name by which it is sometimes called, "the 
mountain before (i.e. east of ) the city;" or "the mountain" 
simply, indicates its near position. It was the open ground, 
for pleasure, for worship, for any purpose that it might 
serve ; the " Park," the " Ceramicus," the " Campus Martins " 
of Jerusalem. Its green slopes, as seen in the early spring, 
stand out in refreshing contrast to the dreary and withered 
rains of the city at its foot. It was also, firom its situation, 
the bulwark against any enemy approaching from 
the east ; the thoroughfare of any going or coming in ^ith th^* 
the direction of the great Jordan valley. It was also ancient hia- 


m the earlier times of Jewish history, when elevation 
and sanctity of position were almost identical, the sacred place 
of the vicinity of Jerusalem. Long before the conquest of 
Jebus by David, the northern summit of Olivet had, it would 
seem, under the name of Nob, been selected as the seat of the 
Tabemacfe after the destruction of Shiloh and the loss of 
the Ark. Close within sight of the unconquered fortress 
of the Jebusites, the worship of Israel was there conducted 
daring all the earlier years of Saul, and even after the 
destruction of the Sanctuary by his violence, the sanctity of 
ihe summit of Olivet was still respected*. David, before the 

^ Ltgbtfoot, ii. 89. Thrnpp, thAt to this Bpot Darid took 

' It appears probable that Betbphage the head of Goliath, when long befova 

if to called from phage, ''green figs." the capture of the city it is said that 

Idghtlbotk ii* 87. For its prolwble sitna- "he brought it to Jerusalem," 1 Sam. 

tion OQ the S. of Oliret, where remains zriL 54. **We know that it was in 

haTe been found in a yalley of fig-trees, the tabernacle of Nob that Goliath*a 

see Stewart, 382. sword was kept (1 Sam. zxi. 9) ; and 
' It has been suggested to me by Mr. 



[OBAP. in 

Temple vsras built, was wont to "worship God at the top of 
the Mount'.*' Solomon, when, in his later years, he tolerated 
or adopted the idolatrous rites of his foreign wives, made 
" high places " of the three summits on "the right-hand, [that 
is, on the south side] of the Mount of Corruption'." And this 
Mount of Corruption — apparently the same northern summit 
of Nob — was the spot where the sacrifice of the " red heifer" 
was performed, as the only sacrifice which was to take place 
outside the camp in the wilderness, and which therefore being 
by analogy excluded from the Temple-courts, was celebrated 
on the summit of Oliyet. 

With the exception of these general allusions, there is but 
one event in the Old Testament which lends any interest to its 
heights. It was by the " ascent of ' the Olives * " that David 
went up, on his flight &om Jerusalem to Mahanaim, at the 
news of Absalom's revolt*. It was at the " top of the Mount" 
that he met Hushai, and had his last view of the rebeUious 
Flight of ^^^y*' I^ ^^ A little way past the top that he en- 
David, countered Ziba and the asses, laden with provisions. 
It was as he descended the rough road on the other side, that 
" Shimei went along on the side' of the ' mountain,' over against 
him, and threw stones at him, and cast dust." 

This mournful procession — affecting as it is, and linked with 
every stage of the ascent and descent, — stands alone in the 

it maj be that in after-times Nob 'was 
80 far regarded as belonging to Jeru- 
salem, that David's bringing his enemy's 
head to Nob might be described ns 
bringing it to Jerusalem." The conjec- 
ture is too ingenious to bo disregarded, 
and has besides the advantage of ex- 
plaining a text which has often been 
regarded as a very inconvenient interca- 
lation, if not interpolation. For the proof 
of the site of Nob, see Mr. Thrupp's 
Essay, p. 217. 

1 2 Sam. XV. 32. 

3 1 Kings xL 7 : 2 Kings xxiu. 13. 
The name of mashchithj ("oormption,*' 
or "destruction'*) which oocora in this 
last passage, is the word by which the 
summit of Olivet is always called in the 
account of the sacrifice of the Bed Heifer 
in the Mishna (ed. SuienhusiuB, vol. vi., 
pp. 276, 277, 279). In Zuallart's 

" Voyage de Jerusalem** (Book III. e. 6 
and 7), in the fifteenth century, the osne 
is applied to the Hill of Bvil CoonseL 
Now, under the translation of ' Offence/ 
it is applied to the southern summit of 
Olivet. But the distinct enumeratioo io 
2 Kings xxiii. 18, of the three sanctuariei 
on the iouth of Maahchiih, clearly indi- 
cates that Kashchith itself must hsrt 
been the nortkemmott of the four nun* 
mits, now called ** Galilee." In the Gos- 
pel of Nicodemus, c xiv. — xvi. (TIiilo'« 
Cod. Apoc p. 616) there seems to bean 
intention of identifying this "Qalilee** 
with **the mountain of Momphe, MsleiE, 
or Mambre '* (such are the various read- 
» 2 Sam. XV. 80. 

* Ibid. 32. 

* 2 Sam. xvL 13. The word is pio- 
perly ' rib.* See Appendix, 2WaA. 


earlier history of the Mount of Oliyes. Its lasting glory 
belongs not to the Old Dispensation, bat to the New. Its very 
barrenness of interest in earlier times sets forth the 
abundance of those associations which it derives from ^^h the^'^ 
the closing scenes of the Sacred History. Nothing, <3o8pei 
perhaps, brings before us more strikingly the contrast 
of Jewish and Christian feeling, the abrupt and inharmonious 
termination of the Jewish dispensation, — if we exclude the 
colminating point of the Gospel History, — ^than to contrast the 
blank which Oliyet presents to the Jewish pilgrims of the 
middle ages, only dignified by the sacrifice of " the red heifer ; ** 
and the yision too great for words, which it offers to the 
Christian traveller of all times, as the most detailed and the 
most authentic abiding-place of Jesus Christ. By one of those 
strange coincidences, whether accidental or borrowed, which 
occasionally appear in the Babbinical writings, it is said in 
the Mishna, that the Shechinah, or Presence of God, presence ol 
after having finally retired from Jerusalem, "dwelt" ChriBt. 
three years and a half on the Mount of Olives, to see whether 
the Jewish people would or would not repent, calling, " Betum 
to me, O my sons, and I will return to you ; " " Seek ye the 
Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near ; ** 
and then, when all was in vain, returned to its own place'. 
Whether or not this story has a direct allusion to the ministra- 
tions of Christ, it is a true expression of His relation respec- 
tively to Jerusalem and to Olivet. It is useless to seek for 
traces of His presence in the streets of the since ten times 
captured city*. It is impossible not to find them in the free 
space of the Mount of Olives. 

Let us briefly go through the points which occur in the 
Sacred History, of the last days of Christ, during which alone 
He appears for any continuous period in Jerusalem and 
its neighbourhood. From Bethany we must begin. A wild 
mountain-hamlet, screened by an intervening ridge 
from the view of Hie top of Olivet, is perched on a 
broken plateau of rock, the last collection of human habitations 
before the desert-hiUs whichreach to Jericho. This is the modem 

> Uelaad'B Palettiae, p. 887 ; Ligbt- > For the ipeoial traditional loculities 

fcd^ ii. 40. of Jenualem, see Chai>. XIV. 



[chap. m. 

village of El- Azarieh, which derives its name from its clustering 
round the traditional site of the one house and grave which gave 
it an undying interest ^ High in the distance are the Peneaii 
mountains ; the foreground is the deep descent to the Jordan 
Valley. On the further side of that dark abyss Martha and Maiy 
knew that Christ was abiding when they aent their messenger; 
up that long ascent they had often watched His approach — ^ap 
that long ascent He came when, outside the village, Martha and 
Mary met Him, and the Jews stood round weeping'. 

Up that same ascent He came, also, at the beginning of the 
week of His Passion. One night He halted in the village, as 
of old ; the village and the Desert were then all alive, as they 
still are once every year at the Greek Easter, with the crowd 
of Paschal pilgrims moving to and fro between Bethany and 
Jerusalem. In the morning, He set forth on His journey. 
Three pathways lead, and probably always led, from 
Bethany to Jerusalem'; one, a long circuit over the 
northern shoulder of Mount Olivet, down the valley 
which parts it from Scopus ; another a steep footpath 
over the summit ; the third, the natural continuation of the 
road by which mounted travellers always approach the city from 
Jericho, over the southern shoulder, between the summit which 
contains the Tombs of the Prophets and that called the " Mount 
of Offence." There can be no doubt that this last is the road 
of the Entry of Christ, not only because, as just stated, it is, 
and must always have been, the usual approach for horsemen 

entry of 
Christ to 

1 This may be either (1) an attempt 
to give an Arabic form to the Greek 
'^Lazaria;'* or (2) from the Hebrew- 
form "Bleaiar." (Thrupp, p. 216.) 

^ I have said nothing of the alleged 
tomb of Laiarus, baring nothing to add 
to the statements of other travellers, and 
nothing to deduce from those statements. 
It may be worth mentioning — ^what I 
have not seen elsewhere described — ^that 
about a quarter of an hour's walk from 
the village, on a rocky knoll S.B. of the 
road, are ruins of what the Arabs call 
the House of Martha. In the midst of 
these fragments the rock rises into a 
block resembling the back of an animal 
with its head buried in the earth. This 
is said to be **the Ass on which Isa 
[Jes'is] rode. He rode it to Martha's 

house and then tamed it into stone." 
The tradition is curious : first as an in- 
stance of the coarse extravagance which 
pervades most of the Mussnlman versions 
of Christian history, and secondly as a 
dim reflection of the Gospel narrativje. 

' Most trardlers, I believe, used to 
pass to Bethany by the third, and retun 
by the second, and thus miss the praciac 
views so important in fixing the localities 
of these events. In 1858 I examined all 
these, returning by the third; and the 
result will appear as we prooeed. In 
1862 it was arranged that the Prince of 
Wales should approach Jerusalem ^m 
Jericho by this route, and the view wai 
seen as here described. See the Map ^^ 
the beginning of this diapter. 

CHIP, m.] 



and for large caravans, such as then were concerned, but also 
because this is the only one of the three approaches which meets 
the requirements of the narrative which follows. 

Two vast streams of people met on that day. The one 
poured out' from the city, and as they came through the 
gardens' whose clusters of palm rose on the southern comer 
of Olivet, they cut down the long branches, as was their wont 
at the Feast of Tabernacles, and moved upwards towards 
Bethany, with loud shouts of welcome. From Bethany streamed 
forth the crowds who had assembled there on the previous 
ni^t, and who came testifying' to the great event at the 
sepulchre of Lazarus. The road soon loses sight of Bethany. 
It is now a rough, but still broad and well-defined mountain 
track, winding over rock and loose stones ; a steep declivity 
below on the left ; the sloping shoulder of Olivet above on the 
right ; fig-trees below and above, here and there growing out 
of the rocky soil. Along the road the multitudes threw down 
the boughs severed* froxp the olive-trees through which 
they were forcing their way, or spread out a rude matting 
formed of the palm-branches which they had already cut 
as they came out. The larger portion — ^those perhaps, who 
escorted Him from Bethany — unwrapped their loose cloaks 
from their shoulders, and stretched them along the rough path, 
to form a momentary carpet as He approached*. The two 

^ Jobn xiL 12, dx^os 6 ixeifv cif r^r 
lopr^) '* Tbe mnltita<le vhieh came to 
lieftaMt took the branches of the palm- 
trees {tiiofiov th $ata rStP 4>ou4Ktop), 
.... The multitude also met him (koI 
Mpmiv^ aSn^) and went <mt (c|^A0oy) 
to meet him.** 

' Markxt. 8, "having eat the branches 
(wff6»r§s) from the gudens** (4k rStv 
orfpwr). So read the Vatican and Cam- 
bndge MSS., and the Syriac and Goptio 
TeRdoss, for in tup 94w9pmv. 'Aypbs is 
property "a cultivated field" or "pro- 
perty/* BQch as is fonnd in the neigh- 
bourhood of towns. Compare Mark T. 14, 
"the city and the fields ;** Matt. vi. 28, 
**the lilies of the field." I have used the 
von) gardene as the nearest approach 
irhich our language affords. Eastern gar- 
dentf it most be remembered, are not 
fiower-gsrdens, nor private gardens, but 
theorehsida, vineyards^ and fig-enclosures 
roonda toiiL 

* "The •mulUtade* (jiix^ that 

was with him when he called Lazarus 
ttom the grave .... ' was bearing 
record.' " (rffiapn^ci), John xii. 17. 

* K\dJ^vs iarh rȴ Z4vlp&v, Matt, 
xxi. 8. These must be distinct from the 
palm branches {rk 0tita r&v ^oiWicwv) in 
John xii 12. icActSof in classical GFreek is 
the word specially used for an olive branch 
(see Herod, vii. 19). In the old Liturgical 
Antiphons for Palm Sunday, palm and 
olive branches are both mentioned. 

* " ' The greater part of the multitude 
(6 vKCotos tfx^of) 'strewed their own 
cloaks' {J^arpwTcof iavriip rk iftdria) in 
the 'road;' but others 'were cutting 
down' branches from the trees, and * were 
strewing them' in the ' road,* " Ikoxtov 
. . . i^rpAiwov), Matt, xxi 8. Observe 
the difference of the tenses. 

rd IfidrMf the alba or haik, the loose 
blanket or cloak worn over the tunic or 
shirt (x«T«y). A striking instance of the 
practice is mentioned by Kobinson, i^ 
162, when the inhabitants of Bethlehem 



[OHAP. Ill, 

Bireams met midway. Half of the vast mass, taming roond, 
preceded ; the other half followed \ Bethany is hardly left in 
the rear before the long procession must have swept up and 
oyer the lidge, where first begins " the descent of the Mount 
of Olives '* towards Jerusalem. At this point the first vien^ 
is caught of the south-eastern corner of the city. The 
Temple and the more northern portions are hid by the 
slope of Olivet on the right; what is seen is only Moant 
Zion, now for the most part a rough field, crowned with the 
Mosque of David and the angle of the western walls, but then 
covered with houses to its base, surmounted by the Castle of 
Herod, on the supposed site of the palace of David, from which 
that- portion of Jerusalem, emphatically " The City of David/' 
derived its name. It was at this precise point, " as He drew 
near, at the descent of the Mount of Olives'," — ^may it not have 
been from the 9ight thus opening upon them ? — that the hymn 
of triumph, the earliest hymn of Christian devotion', burst toiih 
from the multitude, ^* Hosanna to the Son of David f Blessed 
is He that cometh in the name of the Lord. Blessed is the 
kingdom that cometh of our father David. Hosanna . . . peace 
. . . glory in the highest\" There was a pause as the shout 
rang through the long defile ; and, as the Pharisees who stood 
by in the crowd' complained. He pointed to the "stones" 
which, strewn beneath their feet, would inmiediately " cry out" 
if " these were to hold their peace." 

Again the procession advanced. The road descends a slight 
declivity, and the glimpse of the city is again withdrawn behind 

tbrew their garments under the feet of 
the horses of the Bnglish Gonsnl of 
Damaseiu, whose aidthej were imploring. 
The brcmchei (ickdSoi) cut from the trees 
M they went (Matt, zxi 8) are difeent 
from the matting$ (aroiMts), Mark xi« 
8, which they had twisted ont of the 
palm branches as thqr came, mfias is 
usually a mattress ; in PIato*s Bep. iL 
1372, it is a mat made of ivy or myrtle. 
Here, in all probability, it was hastily 
woven of palm-branches. 

1 Mark zi. 9. *' Those that were going 
before, and those that were following, 
were shouting," oi vpoiyovr^s iral oL 
dKoKovBovvr^s fxpa^ov, 

* LukezJx. 87, *'as He drew near, 
even now (f^Sij), at the descent of Uie 
Mount of Olives** {wpbs ttj Karafidem rov 
6povs T&y i\<u£p), L e., at the point where 
the road over the Mount begins to descend. 

This exactly applies to such a shoulder of 
the hill as I have described, and is en- 
tirely inapplicable to the first view, the 
first "nearing" of the city, on crosaiog 
the direct summit. The expression would 
then have been "at the top of the mount*' 
—The allusion to the '* City of David" 
would be appropriate, even i^ as has beeu 
recently conjectured (Thrupp's Aneient 
Jerusalem, pp. 17 — ^20), the name of 
Zion had at that tioMe received an appli- 
cation different from its earlier meaning. 

* See Bwald, v. S83. 

* I have ventured to ooooentzate the 
expressions of Matt. zxi. 9, Mark xi. 9, 
John xii. 13, on the one precise point 
described by Luke xiz. 87, '*The vhole 
multitude began .... to praise God with 
a loud voice.*' 

* Luke xix. 89. *' Some of the Pbari- 
sees * from the crowd.* ** 


the intervemiig ridge of Olivet. A few moments, and the path 

mounts again ; it climbs a ragged ascent, it reaches a ledge of 

gmooth rock, and in an instant the whole city bursts into view. 

As now the dome of the Mosque El-Aksa rises like a ghost 

from the earth before the traveller stands on the ledge, so then 

must have risen the Temple-tower ; as now the vast enclosure 

of the Mussulman sanctuary, so then must have spread the 

Temple-courts ; as now the gray town on its broken hills, so 

then the magnificent city, with its background — ^long since 

Tanished away — of gardens and suburbs on the western plateau 

behind. Immediately below was the Valley of the Kedron, 

here seen in its greatest depth as it joins the Valley of 

Humom, and thus giving full effect to the great peculiarity of 

Jerusalem seen only on its eastern side — ^its situation as of a 

dty rising out of a deep abyss. It is hardly possible to doubt 

that this rise and turn of the road, this rocky ledge, was the 

exact point where the multitude paused again, and ** He, when 

He beheld the city, wept over it." 

Nowhere else on the Mount of Olives is there a view like 

this. By the two other approaches above mentioned, over 

the summit and over the northern shoulder of the hill, the city 

reveals itself gradually ; there is no partial glimpse, like that 

which has been just described as agreeing so well with the 

first outbreak of popular acclamation, still less is there any point 

where, as here, the city and Temple would suddenly burst into 

view, producing the sudden and affecting impression described 

in the Gospel narrative. And this precise coincidence is the 

more remarkable because the traditional route of the Triumphal 

Entry is over the summit of Olivet ; and the traditional spot of 

the Lamentation is at a place half-way down the mountain, to 

which the description is wholly inapplicable, whilst no tradition 

attaches to this, the only road by which a large procession could 

have come ; and this, almost the only spot of the Mount of Olives 

which the Gospel narrative fixes with exact certainty, is almost 

the only unmarked spot, — undefiled or unhallowed by mosque or 

church, chapel or tower — ^lefb to speak for itself, that here the 

Lord stayed His onward march, and here His eyes beheld what is 

still the most impressive view which the neighbourhood of 

Jerusalem furnishes, and the tears rushed forth at the sight 




[cnip. nt 

After this scene, which, with the one exception of the con* 
Tersation at the Well of Jacob, stands alone in the Oospel 
history for the vividness and precision of its localisation, it i» 
hardly worth while to dwell on the spots elsewhere pointed oat 
by tradition or probability on the rest of the Mountain. They 
belong, for the most part, to the " Holy Places " of later 
pilgrimage, not to the authentic illustrations of the Sacred 
History. It is enough to know that to the gardens and oUve- 
yards which then, as now, — but probably with greater richness 
of foliage, and greater security of walls and watch-towers, — 
covered the slopes of the hill. He resorted, as His countrymen 
must always have resorted, for retirement and refreshment from 
the crowded streets of the city. On one of the rocky banks of 
the mountain, immediately ** over against the Temple," He sate. 
The Last <^d saw the sun go down over the city*, and foretold 
Proph«7. i^ final doom. Bethany, on the further side, was the 
home to which he retired ; any of the fig-trees which spring out 
of the rocky soil on either side of the road, might be the one 
which bore no fruit. On the wild uplands which immediately 
overhang the village. He finally withdrew from the eyes of His 
The Aeoen- disciples, in a seclusion which, perhaps, could nowhere 
■">"• else be found so near the stir of a mighty city ; the 

long ridge of Olivet screening those hills, and those hills the 
village beneath them, from all sound or sight of the city behind > 
the view opening only on the wide waste of desert-rocks and 
ever-descending valleys into the depths of the distant Jordan 
and its mysterious lake. At this point, the last interview took 
place. "He led them out as far as Bethany;" and they 
•* returned," probably by the direct road, over the sumnut of 
Mount Olivet \ The appropriateness of the real ^cene presents 

* Such at least is the prohable inference 
firom Luke xzi. Z7, that He was nsnally 
in the Temple for the daytime, and re- 
tired to the mountain in the erening. 

From the circumstance that the gates 
of the city are closed at sunset, few 
trarellers have erer seen this view of 
Jernsalem at the most impressive moment 
of the day. The only recorded instance 
Is in Bartlett's Jerusalem Berisited, p. 
115. "Beautiful as this view was in 
the morning, it was fSur more striking 
when the sun, about to sink in the west, 

cast a rich slanting glow along the lenl 
grassy area, and marble platform of tbe 
Temple enclosure, touching with gold the 
edge of the Dome of the Bock, and the 
light arab«ique fountains with which th« 
area is studded ; while the eastern wills 
and the deep Talley below are thrown into 
a deep and solemn shadow, ereepiBg, as 
the orb sinks lower, further and further 
towards the summit (of OliYet), imdistal 
with one parting gleam of roseate lig^V 
after all below was sunk in obecuxx^" 
s Lnkezzir. 50; Acts L 12. SeeCh. XTT. 


a singular contrast to the inappropriateness of that fixed by a 
later fancy, " seeking for a sign/' on the broad top of the 
mountain, out of sight of Bethany, and in full sight of 
Jemsalem, and thus in equal contradiction to the letter and 
the spirit of the Gospel narrative. 

These are all the points which can be certainly connected 
iriih the life of Christ in Jerusalem and its neighbour- GonclwiaiL 
hood. Yet, perhaps, there is a general conclusion left by the 
whole, more instructiye than any detail. 

At the sight of Delphi, there is one thought which rises, 
even above the deep solemnity of the spot, and that is the 
sense of its vacancy and desertion. The scene seemed, as I 
saw it many years ago, to be the exact echo of Milton's noble 
lines — 

" The ondet are dnmb^ 
No voice or hideous hum 
Buns thro' the arched roof in worda deceiving : 
Apollo firom his ahrine 
I Can no more divine. 

With hoUov shriek the steep of Delphos leaving.'* 

Something akin to this sense of vacancy, though from a 
wholly different point of view, is that finally left on the mind 
after exploring the neighbourhood of Jerusalem. At first, 
there cannot but be something of a shock in seeing, before our 
eyes and under our feet, places in comparison with whose 
sanctity the High Altar of St. Peter's would seem profane. 
Yet gradually this thought dissolves, and another comes in its 
place. These localities have, indeed, no real connection with 
Him. It is true that they bring the scene vividly before us; 
that, in many instances, as we shall see hereafter, they illus- 
trate His words and works in detail. But the more we gaze at 
them, the more do we feel that this interest and instruction 
are secondary, not primary: their value is imaginative and 
historical, not religious. The desolation and degradation, 
which have so often left on those who visit Jerusalem the 
impression of an accursed city, read in this sense a true lesson : 
—** He is not here : He is risen." 




Joihiia xTiii. 11 — 18. ''And the lot of the tribe of the ebildren of 
Benjamin came op acoOTding to their &milie8 : and the 'border' of their 
lot came forth between the children of Jndah and the children of Joseph. 
And their border on the north side vas from Jordan ; and the border went 
vp to the 'ahoulder* of Jericho on the north eide^ and went np through 
the mountain 'seaward' ; and the goings ont thereof were at the wilder- 
ness of Beth-aven. And the border went orer fh>m thenoe toward Lns, to 
the side of Ltu (which is Beth-el), southward ; tmd the border descended to 
Atarothadar, near the 'mountain' that lieth on the south side of the 
nether Beth-boron." 

BeiOttmin, tlie firantier tribe^Iti independenoe.-— L The Fmmb. 1. The 

Bttrtem Fanes, (a) Bfttda of AL (b) BattiA of MishnuMb. («) 

AdTBnoe of Semiadierib. 2. Tlie Western PasBes— Battles of Beth- 

. horoQ—Joshiui — Maoca b a mB Oastiqs. II. The Heights. 1. Nebjr- 

Samwll or Gibeon. 2. Bethel— -Abraham— Jaoob—Jen>bQim~Jodah. 

Role on Bamah and MUpoh. 



jE&usAiiEM, as we have seen, was on the very outskirts of 
Jadah, only excluded from the territoiy of Benjamin 
by the circumstance, that at the division of the land 5®^™™' 

tll6 uOnCMT 

by Joshua, Jebus was not yet conquered. Indeed, in tribe of 
the blessing on Benjamin it would appear to be e^J^jJ^^ 
reckoned as his portion. " The beloved of the Lord 
shall dwell in safety, and the * ' Most High ' shall cover him all 
the day long, and he shall dwell between his shoulders,** — that 
is, between the rocky sides of Jerusalem. The southern frontier 
of the Benjamites ran through the ravine of Hinnom, and on 
them, if not exclusively, yet in common with the tribe of Judah, 
rested the charge of " driving out the Jebusites that inhabited 

This peculiar relation to Jerusalem may be traced in the 
vhole histoiy of Benjamin. It was the frontier tribe, and 
covered the debateable ground between the great rival families, 
and afterwards kingdoms, of Judah and Ephraim. Alternately, 
it seems to have followed the fortunes of each. In earlier times 
it certainly clung to the kindred tribes of Joseph, which had 
been its associates in the passage through the wilderness'. 

> Dent, xzxiii 12. The tranalation JeboBtte'on theBonth." See Appendix; 

iiere giren leeme the most probable. Cataph, 

The void tzanakted "shoolder" is the * The doty which, in Jndgee i. 21, is 

mane that is usually employed (like our ascribed to Bexgamin, is, in Joehua xr., 

EngUah woid) for the ''side'* of a hill, 63, ascribed to Judah. 

md is BO used of this Tery situation in ' Numb. ii. 18 — 24. 
Josh. XTiii. 16, "the 'shoulder' of *the 



It took its place yntii Ephraim and Manasseh in the gathering 
of the tribes under Deborah and Barak \ The bitterest enemies 
of the house of David — Saul, Shimei and Sheba — ^were Ben- 
jamites. It is expressly included under the house of Joseph, 
at the beginning of the national disruption as well as during 
its continuance*. Two of its most important towns, Bethel 
and Jericho, were within the territory of the northern kingdom. 
On the other hand, besides the fact that Jerusalem belonged 
to Judah, there must hare been a portion at least which 
remained faithful to the house of David, in order to justify the 
expression that Behoboam " assembled all the house of Judah 
and the tribe of Benjamin*" to fight against Jeroboam; 
Bamah, though once occupied by the kings of Samaria \ seems 
to have been more generally included within the limits of 
Judah ; and, finally, after the return from the Captivity, the 
chiefs of Judah and Benjamin always appear together at the 
head of the restored people*. 

Small as the tribe was, this ambiguous situation gave it 
considerable importance, an importance which was increased 
by a further peculiarity of the Benjamite territory. Of all the 
tribes of Israel, none, except perhaps Manasseh, contained 
such important passes of communication into the adjacent 
plains ; none possessed such conspicuous heights, whether for 
defence or for " high places " of worship. These advantages, 
Indepen- ^ ^^ hands of a hardy and warlike tribe, ensured an 
d6Dt power independence to Benjamin, which the Hebrew records 
constantly contrast with its numerical feebleness and 
limited territory; ** Little Benjamin their ruler," "Am not I 
a Benjamite, of the smallest of the tribes of Israel * ?*' In his 
mountain passes — the ancient haunt of beasts of prey', Ben- 
jamin "ravined as a wolf in the morning," descended into the 
rich plains of Philistia on the one side, and of the Jordan on 
the other, and '* returned in the evening to divide the spoil*." 

1 Judges T. 14. 7 Here wma tlie **'imTme' of U- 

s 2 Sam. iL 9 ; Fe. Ixxx. 2. See boim," or hyeatm (L Sem. zuL IB), u<l 

Eflngskenberg, ad loe. ** Beth ShuJ," or tlie house of tbe fox. 

* 1 Kings xii. 21. The wolf is either the same as the hjeati, 
4 1 Kings XT. 17—22. the Hebrew woid bdng almost ideatiflslf 

* Bsra i. 5 ; iT. 1 ; x. 9. or else has been ei ^ 
' Fe. IzTuL 27; 1 SazD. is. 21. > Oen. xlix. 27. 


In the troubled period of the Judges^ the tribe of Benjamin 
maintained a struggle, unaided, and for some time nvith success, 
against the whole of the rest of the nation*. And to the latest 
times they never could forget that they had given birth to the 
first king. Even down to the times of the New Testament, 
the name of Saul was still preserved in their families ; and 
when a far greater of that name appealed to his descent, or to 
the past history of his nation, a glow of satisfaction is visible 
in the marked emphasis with which he alludes to the '' stock of 
Israel, the tribe of Benjamin'," and to God's gift of " Saul, the 
son of ' Kis', a man of the tribe of Benjamin*." 

I. Let us examine this peculiarity of position in detail, so 
far as it elucidates the events which have occurred on 
the territory of this illustrious tribe. I have already of Benja- 
said that the table-land on which Jerusalem is situated '^^' 
extends for some miles into the heart of the territory of Ben- 
jamin. Along this water-shed, the direct road from Jerusalem 
to the north is now and must always have been carried. But 
it is not on this ridge itself that the passes of Benjamin occur. 
They run, like all the valleys which deserve this name, in 
southern and central Palestine, not from nprth to south, but 
from east to west, or west to east ; often, as Dr. Bobinson 
observes, overlapping each other's heads in the centre of the 
table-land from which they take their departure. 

From the Valley of the Jordan, accordingly, on the one hand, 
and from the Maritime Plain, on the other, two main ascents 
may be selected, in which almost all the important military 
operations of central Palestine are concentrated. 

1. Jericho was the key of the eastern pass. From this 
point, the most direct, and without doubt the ancient The Eastern 
road into the interior of the country, was through the !*»»»«». 
deep ravine now called the Wftdy Harith^, which runs parallel 

' Judges XX. xxL * This tnoi has been but Tery imper- 

' Pbilipt>ukB8 iti. 5. fecUy explored. AU that Dr. BobinaoD 

' Acta xiiL 21. Oiaohala, — which saw, and aU that we saw, was the Wftdy 

Jerome aoerta (in contradieiion to the Soweinit and the doee of the W&dy 

Apostle*! own statement) to be the birth- Harith. See fiobinson, toI. ii. 116, 807. 

piaee of the Apostle, bat which may (The authority here followed is the oral 

possibly have been that of his parents, — description and map of M. Van de Velde. ) 
was probably in Qalilee. 


to the deep chasm of the W&dy Kelt and the Wady Suweinit, 
find then climbs into the heart of the momitains of Benjamin, 
till it meets the central ridge of the country at Bethel. Inde- 
finite as this description, in our imperfect state of information, 
must necessarily be, it agrees well with all the ancient notices 
of the communication between Jericho and the interior, in the 
Old Testament. At the Christian era it was apparently super- 
seded by the present road by Bethany to Jerusalem, of which I 
shall speak hereafter'. 

(a.) The first great ascent was that of Joshua. Jeiicho had 
settle of been taken ; and the next step was to penetrate into 
^' the hills above. It was a critical moment, for it was 

exactly at the similar stage of their approach to Palestine firom 
the south, that the Israelites had met with the severe repulse 
at Hormah, which had driven them back into the desert for 
forty years. "Joshua," accordingly, "sent men £rom Jericho 
to Ai, which is beside Bethaven, on the east side of Bethel, 
and spake unto them, saying. Go up and view the country'." 
The precise position of Ai is unknown; but this indication 
points out its probable site in the wild entanglement of hill and 
valley at the head of the W&dy Harith. The two attempts of 
the Israelites that followed upon the report of the spies, are 
quite in accordance with the natural features of the pass. In 
the first attempt, the inhabitants of Ai, taking advantage of 
their strong position on the heights, drove the invaders " from 
before the gate*," .... and smote them in "the going down" 
of the steep descent. In the second attempt, after the Israelites 
had been reassured by the execution of Achan " in the valley of 
Achor," — ^probably one of the valleys opening into the Ghor,— 
the attack was conducted on different principles. An ambush 
was placed by night high up in the Wady Harith, between 
Ai and Bethel. Joshua himself took up his position on the 
north side of " the ravine," apparently the deep chasm through 
which the Widy Harith, as before described, descends to the 

1 See Ghftptcn YII. and ZIII. breakiiigB,"* 'thefiwora,* attbaopeiung 

' Josliiia yii. 2. of the posaes ! as in laa. zxx. 12| 14, 

* ** Even unto ' the' Shebarim.** Ge- Ixr. 14 ; Ler. zzi. 19, xzir. 20 ; Fk. Ix. 

aenina makes this "eren to destruction, '* 2. (Thus Znnx, ad loc "bis sa deo 

asinLam. iLll, iii. 47; FroT.xn. 18; BrUchen.") The LXZ omiu the vocdi. 

! Isa. L 28. May it not be "even to <tha 



Wiidj Eelt\ From this point the army descended into the 
fsHejf Joshua himself, it would seem, remaining on the 
heights ; and, decoyed hy them, the King of Ai with his forces 
porsned them as before into the ** desert'" valley of the Jordan ; 
whilst the ambush, at the signal of Joshua's uplifted spear, 
rashed down on the city ; and then, amidst the mingled attack 
at the head of the pass from behind, and the return of the 
main body from the desert of the Jordan, the whole population 
of Ai was destroyed. A heap of ruins on its site, and a huge 
caim over the grave of its last king, remained long afterwards 
as the sole memorials of the destroyed city*. 

(i.) The next time that the pass of Ai appears is in a situ- 
ation of events almost exactly reversed. The lowest Buttle of 
depression which the Israelite state ever reached be- Midmwdu 
fore the Captivity, was in the disastrous period during the first 
straggles of the monarchy, when the Philistines, after the great 
Tictoiy over the sons of Eli, became the virtual masters of the 
country ; and not content with defending their own rich plain, 
ascended the passes from the west^, and pitched in the heart 
of the mountains of Benjamin, in *' Michmash, eastward from 
Beth-aven." The designation of the site of Michmash is so 
similar to that which is used to describe Ai, as inevitably to 
suggest the conjecture that it was the successor, if not to 
its actual site, at least to its general position ; and this agrees 
with the identification of the two in the conflicting traditions of 
the inhabitants of the modem village, by whose name (MukhmAs) 

1 Jodi. YiiL 11. The use of the article 
and the word ge (ravine) identifies the 
■oene. There is some uncertainty thrown 
over this part of the battle by the Taria* 
tioQsof the LXX, who read thellth, 12th, 
ubi IStb inexses as follows : ' ' And all the 
pe(^ of war that were with him went 
oP) and in their march came before the 
city on the east, and the ambush [was 
tcfcre] the city on the west." 

' Both woxds are used for the same 
RgioD, "the plain'* (arabah), yiiL 14, 
* thewilderoeas** (mtdbar), 16, 20, 24. 

' Josh. TiiL 28, 29. Two words are 
ued in these two places, tel and gal; the 
fitit indicating the roin of the city itself^ 
the other, the cairn over the king's grave. 
It wonld almost seem, from the stress laid 

on the rains, and from the disappearance 
of the name from this time forward, as if 
"Ai'* (or, more strictly, Ha-ai, theroLua) 
was a later name, to indicate its fall. 

« 1 Sam. ziU. 5. " The Philistines ga- 
thered themselves together to fight with 
Israel, thirty thousand chariots, and six 
thousand horsemen, and people as the sand 
which is on the sea-shore in multitude : 
and they came up^ and pitched in Mich- 
mash.** This is one of the places where 
it is difficult not to suspect the num- 
bers in the text. It should be obeerved, 
that the gathering of the chariots and 
horsemen may, and indeed must) be 
understood to be on the Philistine plain, 
before the ascent of the mountain* 



[our. XT. 

the ancient Michmash is now represented*. Before the face of 
this terrible visitation^ the people fled in all directions. Some 
f^ven took refdge beyond the Jordan. Most were sheltered in 
those hiding-places which all parts of Palestine, but especially 
the broken ridges of this neighbourhood, abundantly afiford. 
The rocks are perforated in every direction with " caves " and 
" holes," and " pits'," — crevices and fissures sunk deep in the 
rocky soil, such as those in which the Israelites are described 
as concealing themselves. The name of Michmash {" hidden 
treasure-) geems to be derived from this natural peculiarity. 
Saul himself remained on the verge of his kingdom, in the vale 
of the Jordan, at Gilgal. East and west, and north, through 
the three valleys which radiate from the uplands of Michmash 
— ^to Ophrah on the north, through the pass of Beth-horon on 
the west, and down " the ravine of the hyenas," " toward the 
wilderness" of the Jordan on the east, — the spoilers went forth 
out of the camp of the Philistines*. 

At last the spirit of the people revived. On the top of one 
of those conical hills which have been remarked as charac- 
teristic of the Benjamite territory, in his native Gibeah, Saul 
ventured to entrench himself, with Samuel and Ahiah* ; where 
Jonathan had already been at the time when his father was driren 
from his previous post at Michmash by the Philistine inroad*. 
From this point to the enemy's camp was about three miles, 
and between them lay the deep gorge of the Wady Suweinit, 
or Harith, here called "the passage of Michmash," which 

1 The peMants of Mfikhmas told 118 that 
the old name of their Tillage was Medtnct- 
Chat, adding *'that the present name 
had been given about serenty yean ago, 
and that it was called Mtikhmfts by ib.e 
Anbs, and Medinet-Chai by the Jews.** 
rhia atatement in detail ia dearly valae- 
leas ; but it may aerre to explain the 
description of Medinet-Chai by Krafil. 
(See Bitter, Jordan, pp. 525—^27, and 
compare Schwan, p. 84.) This view is 
attacked by Bobmson in the Bibliotheca 
Sacra, vol. v. p. 98, No. xviL 1848. 
See also Later Bib. Bes. 288. Van de 
Velde and Williams (ii. 878) fix the site 
of Ai At Tel-el-Hajar, "the Mount of 
Stones,** a little to the north of Michmash. 
In this case the ravine which is spoken 
of narik of Ai must be, not the Wfldy 

Snwdnit^ or Harith, but thai maiied 
in V. de Velde*s map aa WAdy UntjiL 
These valleys are so similar in dianeler 
that the general descriptiaiia of the battle 
given in the text would apply almost 
equally to both. The name Td-d-Hnjar 
certainly agrees well with the curse on 
Ai, Td b^g the same word used to 
express " the heap^** which was to tike 
the place of the city, and the '*Hi^,'* 
or mound of stones, correspondiag to the 
cairn over the dead king. 

' 1 Sam. xilL 6, xiv. 11. , 

s From ''Camaa,^' <<hud up instant 
t. e, hidden. Deut. xxrii. SI. 

4 1 Sam. xiii. 17, 18. 

» Ibid. xiiL 16, xiT. 2, 18. 

• Ibid. XiiL 16. 



is described as running between two jagged points, or ** teeth 
of the diff*/* as the Hebrew idiom expressly calls them ; the 
one called the 't Shining" (Bozez), probably from some such 
i^peaiance in the chalky cliff; the other, ''the Thorn" 
(Seneh), probably from some solitary acacia on its top*. Im- 
mediately aboye, the garrison of the Philistines would seem to 
haye been situated. It was up the steep sides of this rayine 
that Jonathan and his armour-bearer made their adyenturous 
approach, and, aided by the sudden panic, and by the simul- 
taaeous terror of the shock of an earthquake, the two heroes 
succeeded in dispersing the whole host. From eyery quarter 
the Hebrews took adyantage of their enemies. From the top 
of Gibeah, the watchmen saw, and the King and the High- 
priest heard', the signs of the wild confusion. In the camp of 
the Philistines the Israelite deserters turned against them. 
From the mountains of Ephraim on the north, the IsraeUtes, 
who had hid themselyes, "followed hard after them in the 
battle \" " So the Lord sayed Israel that day, and the battle 
passed oyer to Beth-ayen* " (that is. Bethel). It passed oyer 
to the central ridge of Palestine ; it passed, through the forest, 
now destroyed, where, from the droppings of the wild honey 
on the ground, the fiBiinting warrior refreshed his parched lips* ; 
it passed oyer to the other side, from the eastern pass of 
Michmash to the western pass of Aijalon, throu^ which they 
fled into their plains ; " and the people smote the Philistines'." 
Then Saul ** went up " again into his natiye hills, " and the 

1 Hm nine exprenion is used for an 
e^^*t 9PM, (Job xxxiY. 28.) These 
jagged points I conld not make oat. Dr. 
HoUagoa dwells npon them in both hia 


^ 1 Sam. sir. 4. Seneh ss Acacia. 
See Chap. L p. 17. 

^ 1 Sam. sir. 16, 19. In the Hebrew 
text and the Engliah yersion we read 
that **8aiil said, 'Bring hither the ark 
of Qod,* for the ark of God was at that 
time with the children of IsraeL" (1 
Sam. X2T. 18.) To this statement has 
joatly been objected the improbability 
that the arh shoold have been at Gibeah, 
against the naiaral inferences from the 
^ole conzse of the prenons and subse- 
quent history, that it nerer left Kiijath- 

Jearim till iii final entrance into Jem- 
salem nnder David. This objection wonld 
be met by the reading of the LXX, which 
has for *' Bring hither the ark of God," 
''Bring hither the Ephod," a. e. the 
priestly cape, dressed in which the High- 
priest deliTcred the oracle. That this 
should be on the spot is natural, not only 
from the presenoe of Ahiah himself but 
from the nearness of Nob, the sacred 
eity, where the Tabemade was at this 
time situated. The Hebrew words for 
«< Ephod** and «* Ark" are nearly aUke. 

« 1 Sam. xiy. 21, 22. 

> Ibid. 23. 

• Ibid. 25, 26. Gompaie 2 
iL 24 ; and Chap. TIL 

7 1 Sam. ady. 81. 




Philistines went to their own place' ; '* and from that day, til) 
the fatal rout of Gilboa, Israel was secure. 

(c.) There is yet one more passage of sacred poetzy, if not 
Advance of ^^ sacred history, which brings shortly before us the 
Seniia- importance of the pass of Michmash. In the magni* 
the pass of ficent description of the advance of Sennacherib upon 
Miohmaah. Jerusalem, contained in the 10th chapter of the Pro- 
phecies of Isaiah, every step of his approach is represented, in 
order to give greater force to the sudden check which is in 
store for him. Whether he actually entered Judasa by this 
road, or (as might perhaps be inferred, from the mention of 
Lachish as the point from which he eventually came up) by 
Esdraelon and the Maritime Plain, the selection of this ronte 
by the prophet shows that it was the ordinary approach. 
** He is come to Aiath, he is passed to * the precipice ; ' at 
Michmash he hath laid up his ' baggage.' They are gone over 
the passage; they have taken up their lodging at GebaV 
This is the first day of the advance of the enemy. The great 
ravine is surmounted — ^they are encamped in the heart of the 
land; and the next morning dawns upon a terror-stricken 
neighbourhood. " Bamah is afraid ; Gibeah of Saul is fled : 
lift up thy voice, O daughter of Gallim : cause it to be heard 
unto Laish, poor Abathoth. Madmenah is removed ; the 
inhabitants of Gebim gather themselves to flee. As yet shall 
he remain at Nob that day." It is a short march of about 
seven miles ; but it has been long enough to scatter right and 
left the population of all the most famous cities and villages of 
Benjamin ; and the evening finds him at Nob, apparently the 
sacred place, already mentioned, on the northern comer of 
Olivet, actually within sight of the Holy City. " He shall 
shake his hand against the mount of the daughter of Zion, the 

1 1 Sam. xir. 46. 

' In the interpretatioii of rene 28, 
much wonld depend on a more certain 
knowledge of the ground than we yet 
pntmrnn But it aeema moat probable 
that the whole vene is an aoenmnlation 
of ezprMBums for the one erent of the 
paaaage of the raTine of Miohmaah. If 
Ai waa aonth, not north of the raTine, 
** Aiath*' mnst be taken for a general 
indication of the whole locality. In 

oonfirmatioo of thii, theLXX mda, "be 
shall oome to Ai," both before and after 
the mention of the paange of MiriimMh. 
If, howeTor, Tel d-Higar oecapiei the 
aite of Ai, then the receiTed text may 
aafdy stand. **lCgran" (r. 28) cannot 
be the plaoe mentioned in 1 Ssm. xir. 
2, near Gibeah— and had therafoie belt 
bo taken in its genend meaning of "pie* 
dpioe.*' (Sea Qesentna m voce) 



hill of Jemsalem." But this is the end. '* Behold, the Lord^ 
the Lord of hosts, shaU lop the bough mOi terror, .... and 
he shall cut down the thickest of the forest with iron, and 
Lebanon shall fall by a mighty one. And," in the place of 
that proud cedar, '* there shall come forth a rod out of the 
stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots \" 

2. From the eastern we now turn to the western passes of 
Benjamin, at Beth-horon. Lideed, the incidents of ^^ 
the one almost involve the incidents of the other. Wettern 
"From Michmash to Ajalon" was the necessary ""^^ 
result of a victory which drove the enemy straight across the 

The character of the descent from the hill-country of Judaea 
into the plain of Philistia, is very different from that of the 
precipitous ravines which lead down into the great depression 
of the Jordan. The usual route of modem travellers from the 
western plain, is a gradual ascent through the rounded hills^ 
and deep, though not abrupt valleys, which, beginning at the 
ancient fortress now called the " Castle of the Penitent Thief " 
(Castellum Boni Latronis, corrupted into *' Ladroon''), con- 
tinues tiU it emerges on the open table-land of Jerusalem; and 
it is probably somewhere in this road, or its adjacent valleys, 
that we are to look for the scenes of the return of the Ark from 
the Philistines to Kiijath-jearim, and for the " valley of * the 
Terebinth*,' " in which they were defeated after David's victory 
oyer Goliath. But this was not the usual route in ancient 
times, nor is it the most important in its bearing on the 
general course of Jewish history. Straight from the plain 
of Sharon a wide valley of corn-fields runs straight up into the 
hills, which here assume something of a bolder and higher 
form than usual. This is the valley of " Ajalon," or " of 
Stags," of which the name is still preserved in a little village 

^ Imiah x, 28—34 ; xL 1. The scene 
of the destnietioii of SennacheriVs anny 
eamiot be fixed with eertainty. But it 
w probably in hia retom through the 
^^tuem pan (deaeribed in the next 
p«ge>), that hiB adTance was arrested. 
He was coming from libnah in the 
nulistine plain,— this, in all probabiUty, 
bthe modem Blanche-Garde (see Chap- 
ter YL),— which, as it was the first city 

attacked by Joshua on leaving the monn* 
tains, would be the last attacked by 
SenniMsherib on leaying the plain ; anci 
thus the pass of Beth-horon, in which 
the Talmudio tradition places the destruc- 
tion of lus army (see Lightfoct, ii. 18), 
would naturally be his approach to Jeru- 
s 1 Sam. xTiL 2, 19. See Appendix^ 




on its southern side, and of which the signification is said to 
be still justified by the gazelles^ which the peasants hunt on its 
mountain slopes. The valley is slightly broken by a low ridge, 
on which stands the village of Beit-Nuba. Passing by two 
more hamlets, Beit-Sireh and Beit-Likhi, another ridge is 
crossed, and another village ; and £rom thence begins a gradual 
ascent, through a narrower valley, at the foot of which, though 
on an eminence, marked by a few palms, stands the village of 
Beit-ur el-tathi, whilst at the summit and eastern extremity 
of the pass stands the village of Beit-ur el-foka*. This is 
the pass of the Nether and Upper Beth-horon, " the House of 
Caves," of which there are still traces, though, perhaps, not 
enough to account for so emphatic a name. Three or four 
deep caverns are said to exist in a hill immediately south of 
Upper Beth-horon. From the Upper Beth-horon another 
descent and ascent leads to a ridge which commands the 
heights above El*Jib, — ^the modem village, which thus retains 
the name of Gibeon; and then once more a slight descent 
reaches that village, and from the village is mounted the high 
point, called Neby-Samwil, from which is obtained the first 
view of Jerusalem and its wide table-land. 

These details give the main points of the scene of the most 
important battle in the Sacred History. 

On achieving the victory of Ai, the first march of the con- 
quering army, so fiar as we can gather it from the 
Beih-horon narrative, was straight to the holy mountains of Ebal 
J^^a. ^^^ Oenzim*. But the seat of the nation was still at 
the scene of its first entrance, deep down in the 
Jordan valley at Gilgal. There Joshua received the two em- 
bassies from the Gibeonites ; first, that which entrapped him 
into the hasty league, and next, that which summoned him to 
their defence\ This summons was as urgent as words can 

1 "AjaloD,*'itagiiorgueUes. <<T]iere 
would be nuuiy {^uellet hen" was the 
answer of our muleteer, a natiTO of one 
of the a4Jaoent vUlages^ *'if they were 
not all shot, and there are many foxes." 
This last agrees with the jnxta-poei- 
tion of the name of Ajalon witii " Shaal- 
bim " (jackals), in Judges i. 85 ; Josh, 
six. 42. 

' These modem names are clearly oor* 
niptions of Beth-horon, "the Nether,** 

and « the Upper." The interpretstioii 
pat by the peasants on the names is ths 
** house of the eye;" "upper" and 
"lower" being interpreted to mm 
"the ^e turned up," or "the «J« 
turned down.** Schwan (140—147) 
needlessly doubts the identity of Bot-sr 

s Josh. Tiu. 30. 

* Josh. iz. 6, X. 6* 


describe. It was a struggle of life and death for whicli his aid 
was demanded; not only for Gtibeon, but for the Israelites. 
They had hitherto only encountered the outskirts of the 
Canaanitish tribes. Now they were to meet the whole force 
of the hills of southern Palestine. " The King of Jerusalem , 
the King of Hebron, the King of Jarmuth, the King of Lachish^ 
the King of Eglon," — two of them the rulers of the chief cities 
of the whole country, — "gathered themselves together, and 
went up, they and all their hosts, and encamped before Gibeon. 
And the men of Gibeon sent unto Joshua to the camp to 
G3gal, saying. Slack not thy hand from thy servants ; come 
up to us quickly, and save us, and help us : for all the kings of 
the Amorites that dwell in the mountains are gathered together 
against us\" 

Not a moment was to be lost. As in the battle of Marathon, 
everything depended on the suddenness of the blow which 
should break in pieces the hostile confederation. On the 
former occasion of Joshua's visit to Gibeon, it had been a 
three days* journey from Gilgal, as according to the slow pace 
of eastern armies and caravans it might well be. But now by 
a forced march "Joshua came unto them suddenly, and went up 
from Gilgal all night." When the sun rose behind him, he 
was already in the open ground at the foot of the heights of 
Gibeon, where the kings were encamped. As often before and 
after, so now, " not a man could stand before " the awe and the 
panic of the sudden sound of that terrible shout, the sudden 
appearance of that undaunted host, who came witli the assu- 
rance " not to fear, nor to be dismayed, but to be strong and of 
a good courage : for the Lord had delivered tlieir enemies into 
their hands'." The Canaanites fled down the western pass, 
and " the Lord discomfited them before Israel, and slew them 
with a great slaughter at Gibeon, and chased them along the 
way that goeth up to Beth-horon*." This was the first stage of 
the flight — in the long ascent which has been indicated from 
Gibeon towards Beth-horon the Upper. " And it came to pass 
as tliey fled from before Israel, and were in the going down 

> Josh. X. 1—6. I hATe dwelt on the > Joah. x. 8, 25. 

(peed required, becaiue it ia the chief ' Ibid 10. 

pcmt uf tie whole narratiTe. 




[chap. IV. 

of Beth-horon, that the Lord cast great stones from heaven 
upon them mito Azekah */* This was the second stage of the 
flight. The fugitives had outstripped the pursuers ; they had 
crossed the high ridge of Beth-horon the Upper ; they were in 
full flight down the descent to Beth-horon the Nether ; when, 
as afterwards in the fight of Barak against Sisera, one of the 
fearful tempests which from time to time sweep over the hills 
of Palestine, hurst upon the disordered army, and " they were 
more which died with hailstones than they whom the children 
of Israel slew with the sword*." 

It is at this point that " the Book of Jasher " presents us 
fvith that suhlime picture, which however variously it always 
has heen and perhaps always will be interpreted, we may here 
take as we find it the^^e expressed'. On the summit of the 
pass where is now the hamlet of the Upper Beth-horon, look- 
ing far down the deep descent of all the westward valleys, 
with the broad green vale of Ajalon unfolding in the distance 
into the open plain, with the yet wider expanse of the Mediter- 
ranean Sea beyond, stood the Israelite chief. Below him was 
rushing down in wild confusion the Amorite host. Around 
him were " all his people of war and all his mighty men of 
valour." Behind him were the hills* which hid Gibeon — ^the 
now rescued Gibeon — from his sight. But the sun stood high 
above those hills, — " in the midst of heaven*;" for the day had 
now far advanced since he had emerged from his night march 
through the passes of Ai ; and in front, over the western vale of 
Ajalon, was the faint figure of the crescent moon visible above 
the hailstorm, which was fast driving up from the sea in the 
valleys below. Was the enemy to escape in safety, or was the 
speed with which Joshua had *' come quickly and saved and 
helped " his defenceless allies, to be still rewarded before the 
close of that day by a signal and decisive victory ? 

» Josh. X. 11. 

3 Ibid. Gompaie Judg. ir. 15, t. 20 ; 
1 Sam. Til. 10. Joseph. Ant. Y. L 17. 

^ The extimet from the Book of Jasher 
ia probably from vene 12 to reree 16, 
the reference being inserted in the middle. 

* The only drawback from the exact 
tippropriateness of this spot is, that 
CHbeon itself is not Tisible, nor is there 

any spot on these hiUs vfaenoe Gibeoa 
and Ajalon can both be seen al onoe. 
Sohwan (141) incorrectiy says^ ''from 
this peak one can see Giboon on the eait 
and Ajalon on the west.** 

• The emphatic expression (r. 13) net 
simply *<in the midst" but "in tlie bi- 
section of the heaTens^" seems xotesdcd 
to indicate noonday. 



Doubtless with outstretclied hand and spear, ** the hand that 
he drew not back, when he stretched out the spear, until he 
had utterly destroyed the inhabitants of Ai," " then spake 
Joshua to the Lord in the day when the Lord delivered the 
Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight 
of Israel, 

" ' Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon ; 

"* And thou Moon, in the valley of Ajalon.' 

"And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the 
people had avenged themselves upon their enemies \" 

So ended the second stage of the flight. The third is less 
distinct, from a variation in the text of the narrative*. But 
following what seems the most probable reading, the pursuit 
still continued ; ** and the Lord smote them to Azekah and 
unto Makkedah, and these five kings fled and hid themselves 
in a cave at Makkedah." But Joshua halted not when he was 
told: the same speed was still required, the victory was not 
yet won. " Boll great stones," he said, '* upon the mouth of 
the cave, and set men by it for to keep them : and stay ye not, 
bat pursue after your enemies, and smite the hindmost of 
them ; suffer them. not to enter into their cities : for the Lord 
hath delivered them into your hand." We know not precisely 
the position of Makkedah, but it must have been probably at 
the point where the mountains sink into the plain' that this 
last struggle took place; and thither at last to the camp at 
Makkedah '' all the people of Israel returned in peace ; none 
moved his tongue against any of the people of Israel." There 
was enacted, as it would seem, the last act of the same eventful 
day ; the five kings were brought out and slain, and hanged on 
five trees until the evening, when at last that memorable Sun 

' The MTOwnlmani* Tcrnon of this 
event ig that it was the battle which 
ecoqwnd Jericho, and that the day was 
Friday, and was lengthened in order to 
aTdd th« violation of the Sabbath, which 
voold hare began at annset; hence, it 
'vaa aid, the eacrednesa of the MnBsnlman 
Friday. Buckingham heard this story 
from the Arabs at Jericho (p. 802). 

3 Joshna z. 15 may either have been 
tnuupoeed firom z. 48, or may be taken 
u pait of the extract from the Book of 
J^er, — ^winding up the whole account 

of the war. (See Eeil*s Joshua, p. 179.) 
In the LXX it is altogether omitted. 

* ThiB follows from its being men- 
tioned among the cities of the Philistine 
plain (Shephelah), on the one hand 
(Joshua XT. 41), and from the mention 
of the large cave, only to be found in the 
mountains, on tiie other hand (Joshua 
X. 17). The position assigned to it by 
Eusebius, eight miles east of Sleuthero- 
polls, is hardly compatible with this 

r 3 

212 SINAI AND PALESTINB. [ohap. rr. 

went down. ^* It came to pass at the time of the going down 
of the sun, that Joshua commanded, and they took them 
down off the trees, and cast them into the cave wherein they 

had been hid, and laid great stones in the cave's month 

And that day Joshua took Makkedah, and smote it with the 
edge of the sword, and the king thereof he utterly destroyed, 
them, and all the souls that were therein; he let none remain^" 
And then followed the rapid succession of victory and extermi- 
nation which swept the whole of southern Palestine into the 
hands of Israel. The possession of every place, sacred for 
them and for all future ages, from the plain of Esdraelon to 
the southern Desert — Shechem, Shiloh, Gibeon, Bethlehem, 
Hebron, — ^was, with the one exception of Jerusalem, involved 
in the issue of that conflict " And all these kings and their 
land did Joshua take at one time, because the Lord God of 
Israel fought for Israel. And Joshua returned, and all Israel 
with him, unto the camp to Gilgal'." 
In comparison with this scene, to which " there was no day 
like, before or after it,'' it seems trivial to descend to 
BeSf-h^n ^^^ IcBser events which illustrate the same points, 
under Mao- But this pass was, as might naturally be expected 
^ °^ from its position, the scene of one, if not two, battles 
with the Philistines at the commencement of David's reign'. 
And the recollection of that first victory of their race may well 
have inspirited Judas Maccabeus, who, himself a native of the 
neighbouring hills, won his earliest fame in this same " going 
*' up and coming down of Beth-horon,'' where in like manner 
^ the residue" of the defeated army fled into ''the plain," 
'' into the land of the Philistines unto Gazera ^." And again, 
Befe&tof ^^^^ ^^ same plain was carried the great Homan 
Oertiua. road from Cffisarea to Jerusalem, up which Cestius 
advanced at the first onset of the Boman armies on the capital 
of Judaea, and down which he and the whole force were driven 
by the insurgent Jews'. By a singular coincidence the same 
scene thus witnessed the first and the last great victory that 
crowned the Jewish arms at the interval, of nearly fifteen 
himdred years. From their camp at Gibeon, the Bomans, as 

^ Josh. z. 22—28. the Betli-hoTon paas is fixed hj Josh. xr. 

* Joeh. z. 42, 43. 8, 9, 10. 

* ProiiiQibeon(LXX.) toGaier,2 Sam. * 1 Maoo. m. 16, 24 ; iiL 57 ; ir. 1& 
T. 25 ; 1 Ghr. xt. 16 ; xxL 4. The ^ JoMphiu, BeU. Jod. IL ziz. 
podtton of GaMT as at the W. end of 


the Canaanites before them, were dislodged ; they fled in 
similar confusion down the ravine to Beth-horon, the steep 
cliffs and the ragged road rendering their cavalry unavailable 
against the merciless fury of their pursuers ; they were only 
saved, — as the Canaanites were not saved, — by the too rapid 
descent of the shades of night over the mountains, and under 
the cover of those shades they escaped to Antipatris in the 
plain below. Ages afterwards, the Crusading armies, in the 
Yarn hope of reaching Jerusalem, advanced up the same valleys 
from their quarters at Ascalon and Jaffa, and the last eastern 
point at which Richard encamped was at Beit-Nuba, in the 
wide vale of Ajalon. A well near the village of Ajalon bears the 
name of Bir el-Khebir, " the well of the hero." It is a strange 
complexity of associations which renders it doubtful whether 
"the hero " so handed down by tradition be the great leader of 
the hosts of Israel, or the flower of English chivalry. 

IT. From the passes of the tribe of Benjamin we turn by a 
natural connection to those remarkable heights which Heights of 
guard their entrance into the table-land, and which Benjamin, 
diversify with their pointed summits that table-land itself. 
The very names of the towns of Benjamin indicate how emi- 
nently they partook of this general characteristic of the position 
of Jndsean cities — Gibeah — Geba — Gibeon, all signifying 
"hill," — Bamah, "the high place,"'— Mizpeh, "the watch- 
tower." And it has been already observed how from these 
heights to the north of Jerusalem, is in all likelihood derived 
the ancient image of God " standing about his people." On 
most of them it is needless to enlarge. El-Bireh, " The well," 
the ancient Beeroth, is remarkable as the first halting-place of 
caravans on the northern road from Jerusalem, and therefore, 
not improbably, the scene of the event to which its monastic 
tradition lays claim, — the place where the " parents " of Jesus 
'' sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance, and when 
they found him not, turned back again to Jerusalem." Er- 
Ram, marked by the village and green patch on its sunmiit — 
the most conspicuous object from a distance in the approach to 
Jerusalem from the south — is certainly " Bamah of Benjamin." 
Tuleil el-F(i], distinguished by its curiously knobbed and double 
top, is in all probability Gibeah, the birth-place of Saul, and 
during his reign the capital of his tribo and kingdom, and 

214 SINAI AND PALESTINE. [chap it. 

from >iiTn deriving the name of "Gibeah of Saul*," as before 
" of Benjamin";"—" the hill of Benjamin," or " of Saul." Just 
out of sight of Jerusalem, Anathoth, the birth-place of Jeremiah, 
looks down on the Dead Sea. Jeba, on the wild hills between 
Gibeah and Michmash, is clearly " Geba," famous as the scene 
of Jonathan's first exploit against the Philistines*. From its 
summit is seen northward the white chalky height of Btimmdn, 
overhanging the Jordan "wilderness," "the'cliflf' Rimmon," 
where the remnant of the Benjamites maintained themselves in 
the general ruin of their tribe^. Further still, is the dark 
conical liill of Taiyibeh, with its village perched aloft, like 
those of the Apennines, the probable* representative of Ophrah 
of Benjamin*; in later times " the city called Ephraim " " near 
to the wilderness," to which our Lord retired after the raising 
of Lazarus ^ 

1. But two of these heights stand out in historical import* 
ance from all the rest. Of all the points of interest 
Samwil about Jerusalem, none perhaps gains so much from 
or GibeoiL ^^ actual visit to Palestine as the lofty peaked emi- 
nence which fills up the north-west comer of the table-land ; 
seen in every direction, the highest elevation in the whole 
country south of Hermon, commanding a view far wider than 
that of Olivet, inasmuch as it includes the western plain and 
Mediterranean Sea on one side, as well as Olivet and Jerusalem 
in the distance backed by the range of Moab. It is in fiftct the 
point from which travellers mounting by the ancient route 
through the pass of Beth-horon obtained their earliest glimpse 
of the interior of the hills of Palestine. " It is a very fair and 
delicious place," says Maundeville, " and it is called Moont- 
Joy, because it gives joy to pilgrims' hearts ; for from that 
place men first see Jerusalem." And it was probably on that 
height that Bichard Coeur de Lion, advancing from his camp 
in the valley of Ajalon, stood in sight of Jerusalem, but buried 

> 1 Sam. z. 26 ; zi. 4 zr. 84 ; 2 had disposaessed the Fhilistmes. la 2 

Sam. zxi. 6 ; Isa. z. 20. Kings zziiL 8 ; Zech. ziv. 10, it ie ipokeo 

3 1 Sam. xiii. 2, 15, 16; ziy. 16 ; 2 of as the northern boundary of the king* 

Sam. zxiiL 29. dom of Jndah. 

* 1 Sam. xiii. 3. In ziiL 16 ; xiy. 5, ^ Jndg. zz. 47. 

"Geha" is tnongly rendered "Oibeah;** < See Bohinson, iL 124. 

San] and Jonathan having evidently * Josh, zviii. 23 ; 1 Sam. xiii. 17. 

seized the stroni^hold from which they ^ John zi. 54. 


his face in his armour, with the noble exclamation, " Ah ! Lord 
Ood, I pray that I may never see thy Holy City, if so be' that 
I may not rescue it from the hands of thine enemies'." 

It can only be from the uncertainty of its ancient identity 
tliat it has been passed over by modem travellers in com- 
parative silence. At present it bears the name of Neby-Samwil, 
which is derived from the Mussulman tradition — now per- 
petuated by a mosque and tomb — that here lies buried the 
prophet Samuel*. In the time of the Crusaders it was regarded 
—not unnaturally, if they merely considered the grandeur of 
the position — ^as the site of the great sanctuary of Shiloh. In 
the manifest impossibilities of either of these assumptions, ^t 
has by the latest investigators been identified with Mizpeh. 

Bat a closer examination of its position will probably lead 
to a more certain and satisfactory result. It stands, as we have 
already seen, at the head of the pass of Beth-horon ; and on a 
lower eminence at its northern roots, one of those rounded hills 
which characterise especially the western formation of Judsea, 
rises the village of El-Jib, which, both by its name and 
situation, is incontestably identified with the ancient Gibeon. 
Gibeon was the head of the powerful Hivite league which 
included three of the adjacent towns, Beeroth, Kirjath-jearim, 
and Chephirah'; and this circumstance, with its important 
post as the key of Ihe pass of Beth-horon, made it " a great 
city V* and, though not under royal government, equal in rank 
to " one of the royal cities ; " celebrated for its strength and 
the wisdom of its inhabitants*. Hence it was that the raising 
of the siege of Gibeon, as already described in the account of 
the battle of Beth-horon, was so vital to the conquest of 
Canaan. But the chief fame of Gibeon in later times was not 
derived from the city itself, but from the " great high place*" 
hard by ; whither, after the destruction of its seat at Nob or 

' Qibbon, c. 59, (but inaoenrately) from * <'He built the tomb in his lifc- 

J<nnTil]e (piut 2). JoinyiUe mentions no time," said the Mussulman goardian of 

pUoe. But Vinisanf, though without the the mosqne to us, ''but was not buried 

speech, relates the king's ascent of a hill ; here till after the expulsion of the 

and Coggeshalle (p. 823), though without Greeks." 

any allofion to this story, speaks of his ' Josh. iz. 17. 

^t to a hermit "apud Samuelem in * Josh. z. 2. 

nunte qnodam,'* which can hardly be ' Josh. ix. 4 ; z. 2. 

ujthiog else than Neby-Samwll. And " 1 Kings iiL 4 ; ix. 2 ; 2 Chion. 

00 other sniti Biehaid's podtioD. 3, 13. 

•216 SINAI AND PALESTINE. [chap. iv. 

Olivet, the tabernacle was brought, and where it remained till 
it was thence removed to Jerusalem by Solomon. It can 
hardly be doubted that to this great sanctuary the lofty height 
of Neby-Samwil, towering immediately over the town of El-Jib, 
exactly corresponds. The tabernacle would be appropriately 
transferred to this eminenoe, when it could no longer remain 
at Nob on the opposite ridge of Olivet ; and, if this peak were 
thus the " great high place " of Solomon's worship, a signi- 
ficance is given to what otherwise would be a blank and 
nameless feature in a region where all the less conspicuous 
lulls are distinguished by some historical name. This would 
then be a ground for the sanctity with which the Mussulman 
and Christian traditions have invested it, as the Bamah and 
the Shiloh of Samuel, even though those traditions themsehes 
are without foundation. * In Epiphanius* time ^ it still bore 
the name of the Mountain of Gibeon ; and from its conspicuous 
height, the name of " Gibeon " (" belonging to a hill ") was 
naturally derived to the city itself, which lay always where 
its modem representative lies now, on the lower eminence. 
From thence the Gibeonites " hewed the wood " of the 
adjacent valley, and "drew the water'" fi-om the springs and 
tanks with which its immediate neighbourhood abounds, and 
carried them up to the Sacred Tent ; and there attended the 
"altar of the Lord," which, from its proud elevation, over- 
looked the wide domain of Israel. 

The same point — although here one must speak more doubt- 
fully — was probably " the hill of God*," which, from its com- 
manding situation, was garrisoned by the Philistines in the 
time of Samuel to guard the pass, nnd on which, for a similar 
reason, though with a different object, the prophets assembled 
on " the high place," whence they were descending when Saul 
met them on his return from the neighbourhood of Bethlehem 
to his own home at Gibeah*. Probably, too, it is "the 

1 Bpiph. (Hssr. 894). " Tbe moniiUin LXX, 13, for '<high plaoe,**) h wA 

of Oibeon, eight miles from Jerusalem, Gibeah, But the mention of the hi^h 

is tJic highest,'" This identifies it with place ahove and the city below (z. 5), 

Neby-Samwll. and the arrival of Saul thither, appa* 

' Josh. iz. 27. rently before his retnm home, is in 

' 1 Sam. X. 5. favonr of the view giren in the text. It 

^ It is of course doubtful whether might however, be Bethel 

''the hiir* mentioned in x. 5, 10, (and. 




mountain " where the Gibeonites hung up the seven sons of 
Saul *' before the Lord/* that is, before the tabernacle on its 
summit, in revenge for the massacre of their kindred by Saul*. 

2. From the sanctuary which guarded the entrance into 
Judsa from tlie west, we advance naturally to the still 
greater sanctuary which guarded it on the north and 
east As the passage of Beth-horon led up to Oibeon, so the 
passage of Michmash and Ai led up to Bethel. Bethel lay in 
the direct thoroughfare of Palestine'; whether the course of a 
conqueror or a traveller brought him through the long valley 
80 often described from the bed of the Jordan, or through the 
mountains of Judah, Benjamin, and Ephraim, north and south, 
he could not avoid seeing the heights of Bethel. Hence arises 
what may be called its peculiar antiquity of interest. It thus 
comprises (with the single exception of Shechem) a longer 
series of remarkable scenes of Sacred History than has fallen 
to the lot of any other spot in Palestine. 

It was the first place where Abraham is said to have " pitched 
his tent" when he "journeyed" "through the land," "going 
on still toward the south," on his way to Egypt' ; and to the 
same spot, " even to the place where his tent had been at the 
beginning, unto the place of thO' altar which he had made there 
at the first^," (so emphatically is the locality marked) he came 
again, on his return from Egypt, as to the familiar g^^^^^ 
scene of his first encampment. The tent and altar and view of 
were not, however, strictly speaking, at Bethel, but on *™' 

" the mountain east of Bethel, having Bethel on the west, and 
Ai on the east*." This is a precision the more to be noticed, 
because it makes the whole difference in the truth and vividness 
of the remarkable scene which follows. Immediately east of 
the low gray hills, on which the Canaanitish Luz and the 

^ 2 Sam. xzi. 9. Here again (if the 
text if rightiy translated) the comparison 
vith Terse 6, ('*We wiU hang them up 
QBto the Lord in Gibeah of Sanl, whom 
ihe Lord did choose") suggests the iden- 
tification of the mountain of the Lord 
▼ith Gibeah. Bat the expression ' ' moim- 
tew " and " before the Lord" are hardly 
soitable to anything, except the high 
plMe of the Tabernacle. 

' CSompare^ "the highway** that goeth 

np to ''Bethel,** Jodg. xx. 31; «<the 
highway that goeth up from Bethel to 
Shechem,*' Judg. xxi. 19. 

s Gen. xii. 8, 9. 

* Gen. xiiL 3, 4. 

' Qen, xiL 8. It is this, apparently, 
which is called the mountain of BetheL 
Josh. xri. 1 ; 1 Sam. xiii 2 ; 2 Kings 
xxiiL 16, where in all cases the context 
implies a situation ecut of the town. 

218 SINAI AND PALESTINE. [ohap. xr. 

Jewish Bethel afterwards stood, rises, — as the highest of a 
saccession of eminences, each now marked hj some vestige of 
ancient edifices, — a conspicuous hill; its topmost summit 
resting, as it were, on the rocky slopes helow, and distinguished 
from them by the olive-grove which clusters over its broad 
surface above. From this height, thus offering a natural base 
for the patriarchal altar, and a fitting shade for the patriarchal 
tent, Abraham and Lot must be conceived as taking the wide 
survey of the country " on the right hand and on the left," 
such as can be enjoyed from no other point in the neighbour- 
hood. To the east there rises in the foreground the jagged 
range of the hills above Jericho ; in the distance the dark wall 
of Moab ; between them lies the wide valley of the Jordan, its 
course marked by the tract of forest in which its rushing stream 
is enveloped ; and down to this valley a long and deep ravine, 
now, as always, the main line of communication by which it is 
approached from the central hills of Palestine — a ravine rich 
with vine, olive, and fig, winding its way through ancient 
reservoirs and sepulchres, remains of a civilisation now extinct, 
but in the times of the patriarchs not yet begun. To the south 
and the west the view commanded the bleak hills of Judasa, 
varied by the heights crowned with what were afterwards the 
cities of Benjamin, and overhanging what in a later day was to 
be Jerusalem', and in the far distance the southern range on 
whose slope is Hebron. Northward are the hills which divide 
Judsea from the rich plains of Samaria. 

This is the view which was to Abraham what Pisgah was 
afterwards to his great descendant. This was to the two lords 
of Palestine, then almost " free before them, where to choose," 
what in Grecian legends is represented under the figure of 
the Choice of Hercules; in the fables of Isl&m under the 
story of the Prophet turning back from Damascus'. " And 
Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the 'round' of 'the' 
Jordan, that it was w^ell watered everywhere . . . even as the 
garden of the Lord, like unto Egypt.'* He saw not, indeed, 
the tropical fertility and copious streams along its course. But 
he knew of its fame, as of the garden of Eden, as of the valley 

* A white building doM to the ontakirtB of Jerusalem is visible, but not the 
dty itself. * See Chftpter XIL 

:bap. it.] tab heights AND THE PASSES OF BENJAMIN. 219 

of the Nile ; no crust of salt, no volcanic convulsions had as 
yet blasted its verdure, or touched the secure civilisation of the 
early Phoenician settlements which had struck root within its 
deep abyss. " Then Lot chose him all the * round ' of * the " 
Jordan, and Lot journeyed east; and they separated themselves 
one from the other .... and Lot dwelt in the cities of the 
' round ' of ' the ' Jordan, and pitched his tent towards Sodom, 
But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the 
Lord exceedingly. And the Lord said unto Abram after that 
Lot had separated from him, * Lift up now thine eyes, and look 
from the place where thou art, northward and southward, and 
eastward and westward ; for aU the land which thou seest, to 
thee I win give it, and to thy seed for ever .... and I will 
make thy seed as the dust of the earth, so that if a man can 
number the dust of the earth, then shaU thy seed be numbered. 
Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the 
breadth of it ; for I wiU give it unto thee'." Those bleak hills 
were indeed to be the site of cities whose names would be held 
in honour after the very ruins of the seats of a corrupt civilisa- 
tion in the garden of the Jordan had been swept away ; that 
dreary view, unfolded then in its primeval desolation before 
the eyes of the now solitary Patriarch, would be indeed peopled 
with a mighty nation through many generations ; with mighty 
recollections " like the dust of the earth in number, for ever.*' 

The next scene is less easily identified. Yet thus much may 
be said. The western slopes of the ridge just described ganctoary 
are crossed by the track which the thoroughfare of of Jacob. 
centuries has worn in the central route of Palestine. This 
track winds through an uneven valley, co^'ered, as with grave- 
stones, by large sheets of bare rock ; some few here and there 
standing up like the cromlechs of Druidical monuments. It is 
impossible not to recall, in this "stony territory*" the wanderer 
who " went out from Beersheba and went toward Haran ; and 
he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, 
because the sun was set ; and he took of the stones of that 
place and put them for his pillow, and lay down in tliat place 

^ QeiL xiii. 10 — 17. record of the atony territory, where he 

' Gen. xxTiii. 10—17. "The nature 'took of the stones of that place."* 
cf the nil ia an existing comment on the (Clarke, voL It. p. 287.) 

220 SINAI AND PALESTINE. Fcnip. it. 

to sleep." Then rose the vision of the night. The stones 
around seemed to form themselves into the steps of a vast 
* staircase** "whose foot was set upon the earth," — on the 
bare sheet of rocky ground on which the sleeper lay, " and 
whose top reached to heaven," — into the depths of the starrv 
sky, which, in that wide and open space, with no intervening 
tree or tent, was stretched over his head. " And Jacob awaked 
out of his sleep, and said. Surely the Lord is in this place, and 
I knew it not ; and he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is 
this place this is none other than the house of God, and this 
is the gate of heaven." Such was the beginning of Beth-El, 
" the House of God," the place which bore, amidst all the sub- 
sequent sanctuaries of the Holy Land, the distinctive name 
which has since spread to every holy place throughout the 
world, its connection with the scene is best expressed in the 
wanderer's own words, " The Lord is in this place, and I knew 
it not." There is, indeed, nothing to indicate the Divine 
Presence ; no religio loci, no awful shades, no lofty hills. 
Bare wild rocks, a beaten thorouglifare, are the only features 
of this primeval sanctuary of God. Nature itself there teaches 
us, that if He could, in such a scene, so emphatically reveal 
Himself to the houseless exile, He " is with him," and with 
His true servants, everywhere, and will " keep them in all 
places whither they go." 

From that rude beginning — the rough " stone that Jacob set 
up for a pillar* " — grew the sanctuary of Bethel. First, rose 
the altar which he himself built there on his return. Beneath 
was the * Oak of Tears,' beside which, in the valley below. 
Deborah was buried*. Then it became the seat of the assem- 
blies gathered there in the time of the Judges*. Finally, when 
It seemed on the point of being superseded by the new sanctuary 
at Jerusalem, it assumed a fresh importance ns the Holy Place 
of the northern kingdom. 

It is in this last aspect that its remaining history is remark- 

* So the irord should be rendered ; oak u that referred to in 1 Sim. z. 3 

'* ladder " ia merely a translation from (though there tranilated *' plain**); aod 

the LXX. in 1 Kings xiii. 14. 

2 Gen. xxviii. 18. * Jndg. xx. 18, 26. The words we m 

> Gen. zxxT. 6—8. AIIon-bachnth= both cases translated **Uie Home <K 

Oak of Tears. This is probably the same God.** 


able. In ancient times, before the conquest of Josliua^ there 
Lad aheady existed on the spot a Canaanitish city ganctnary 
named Luz*, situated on the western slope of the ^^^f 
mountain of Abraham's altar; the same, probably, Tribes, 
whose inhabitants came forth to assist their neighbours of Ai 
when attacked by Joshua*. It was not taken at that time, and 
|Beems long to have resisted the invaders. At last it fell before 
the arms, not of the little tribe of Benjamin, within whose 
territory it was included, but of the powerful house of Joseph, 
who attacked it from the north, and who thus acquired pos- 
session of it for their descendants, though properly speaking it 
had been allotted to Benjamin*. In this respect there is a 
siagolar analogy between Bethel and Jerusalem. Each, situ- 
ated in the tribe of Benjamin, resisted, by a strong position, 
the first shock of the conquest ; and being ultimately taken, 
not by that tribe itself, but the one by Judah on the south, the 
other by Ephraim on the north, passed out of the history of 
Benjamin into that of these two powerful neighbours. And 
the frontier which at Jerusalem had been originally drawn by 
the ravine of the Kedron and of Hinnom, at Bethel was drawn 
by the gorge of the Wady Harith, which has been so often 
mentioned as the pass from Jericho, and which in later times 
served the purpose of the southern boundary of the northern 
kingdom. Bethel thus became doubly important to the new 
state ; first as a strong frontier-fortress, but still more as a 
sanctuary, founded on the holiest recollections, and in a great 
measure supplying the place which Shiloh had of old filled in 
the same great tribe of Ephraim. What structure there may 
have been in former ages commemorating the Vision of Jacob, 
it is impossible now to determine. The " House of God," the 
"Beth-El,'* described as the scene of the assemblies in the 
period of the Judges, was probably some rude monimient of 
primitive times, bearing the same relation to the jeroboum's 
Temple which Jeroboam "aftenv^ards built near or Temple. 
round it, as the original sanctuary of the Mahometan world — 
known by the very same name, Beit-AUah, the " House of 
God," — bears to the elaborate enclosure with which Mussulman 

> Judget I 23 ; xri. 1. » Joehua viil 17. » Judges i. 22-26 




devotion has since surrounded it. On both of the two lower 
eminences which overhang the modem village, are ruins which 
may possibly indicate the site of Jeroboam's Temple. Above 
it, on the east, are the higher ''mountains and hills^" to which 
(in the language* of Hosea) the inhabitants of Bethel would in 
the day of their shame call to '' cover '* and to " fall on them." 
It was built, we cannot doubt, with all the splendour which his^ 
acquaintance with Egyptian worship', and his desire to emulate 
the glory of the rival sanctuary of Jerusalem, would necessarily 
dictate. It was, we know, regarded emphatically as '* the king's 
sanctuary^'* as " the king's house*; " with " a high priest*," and 
" the noise of songs," and " the melody of viols," and " burnt- 
offerings and meat-offerings," and " feast days," and " solemn 
assemblies*." And it was on the greatest of those feast days, 
''the fifteenth day of the eighth month," which Jeroboam had 
" devised out of his own heart," in imitation of the great Feast 
of TabeiTiacles which Solomon had chosen for the festival of 
the dedication of the Temple on Mount Moriah, that Jeroboam 
took his place by the altar which stood before the statue of the 
Golden Calf, and was interrupted at the very moment of in- 
auguration by the sudden and awful apparition of the Man of 
God from Judah '. In that story and its consequences is con- 
tained almost all that we know of the later history of Bethel. 
The schools of the prophets' still lingered round the sacred 
place, when Elijah passed throu^ it down the long defile — 
then mentioned for the last time in history — on his way to 
Jericho. But the chief association which the Jews of Jeru- 
salem attached to it was of the rival and idolatrous Temple. 
The very name of Beth-El, the " House of God," was in the 
times of the later prophets, exchanged for " Bethaven * " — ^the 
" House of Idols ; '* and, when Josiah passed through, it was to 


> Hoaea x. 8. 

9 1 Kings XL 40 ; xii. 2. 

' Amos T. 13. MUuUuh, "sane* 
toary,*' exprening the union of temple 
and asylum. Beth, ** house,'* in allnsion 
to BetheL In the English Teraion the 
words axe respectiTelj mistranslated 
"chapel" and "court" 

* Amos lu. 10. 

• Amos ▼. 21, 22, 23. 

• 1 Kings xii. 82; xiii 5. 

7 2 Kings u. 8. 

' Hosea It. 15 ; t. 8 ; x. 5, 8 ; per- 
haps, Ti. 8; Amos t. 6. "Atcb" it 
properly "naught," and is, in Amosv. 5, 
so rendered ; but is also a name for ideh 
(Isaiah IxtI. 3). The use of the name, 
as in Hosea t. 8, is somevhat confiBsed 
by the appearance of a Beth-Aren nesr 
Bethel in the east, which probably sag* 


destroy, and not to build up. The "altar" and "the high 
place" of Jeroboam, and the grove and worship of 
Astarte that had grown up round it, he razed and 
burned'. And "as Josiah turned," we are told, " he spied the 
sepulchres that were there in the Mount*." The " Mount " 
doubtless is the same as the ^'mountain" on the east of Bethel, 
described in the history of Abraham. The "sepulchres" must 
be the numerous rock-hewn tombs still visible in the whole 
descent from that "mountain" to the Wady Harith. In one 
of these, though we know not which, lay side by side the bones 
of the two prophets — the aged Prophet of Bethel and his 
brother and victim, the " Man of God from Judah*," and they 
were left to repose. From that time tlie desolation foretold by 
Amos and Hosea has never been disturbed ; and Beth-el, the 
"House of God," has become literally Beth-aven, the " house of 

ffKkd the tmnsfereiioe of the name. (1 }» meant. For the Babstitation of the 

Sun. xiii. 5; sir. 23; Josh. vii. 2; contemptuous name compare ''Sychar** 

vnn.12, 13.) The LXX, in Joeh. vii. 2, (drunken) for Shechem, John !▼. 5. 

<iBit it iJtogether, and in 1 Sam. xiii. 5, * 2 Kings zxiii. 15. 
nbetitnte ^efA-iforon, which, however, ■ - Ibid. 16. 

ttn hardlrbe the correct reading ; unless ' IbkL 17, 18. 
«oother fi«th-Horon than the £unouB pass 

224 SINAI AND PALESTINE. [chap. tv. 



The BE ia no general interest in discussing the precise situation of 
Bamab, the birth-place, residence, and burial-pkce of Samuel, further 
than what attaches to anything relating to the life of so remarkable a 
man. But the question is invested with an incidental interest which 
may make it worth a few moments' investigation. It is, without 
exception, the most complicated and disputed problem of sacred 
topography. It is almost the only instance in which the text of the 
Scriptural narrative (1 Sam. ix. 1. — ^x. 10) seems to be at variance 
with the existing locidities. 

All that we know certainly about the place is, that it was on ao 
eminence, as its name of ''Hamah" implies, and was situated some- 
where south of Gibeah, the birth-place of Saul; as it is hardly 
possible to avoid identifying the city where Saul found Samuel, with 
the usual residence of that prophet. This, which is not stated 
expressly in the Old Testament, is taken for granted by Josephus. 
Prom the dual termination to the name Itamathaim — by which it is 
called in the Hebrew and LXX text of 1 Sam. i. 1, and by Josephus 
always, and from which the New Testament name of Arimaikea 
seems to be derived * — ^it might be inferred that it was an eminence 
with a double height. To this spot there are no less than eight 

1. BamUh ; the chief modem city of the plain of Fhilistia, and 
selected as the spot by Christian tradition. Its situation in the 
level plain, though on a slight eminence, is much against its 
identity ; and the name which at first sight appears similar, is the 
Arabic word for " sandy,** and is in all probability derived from 
the sandy tract in which it stands. (See Chapter YI.) Still it is 
remarkable that Eusebius and Jerome speak of RamatJiaim as near 
Lydda, to which no other site corresponds. 

2. Nehy-SamiM ; the height above Gibeon. This has its height 
and the Mussulman tradition in its favour. 

3. Er-Bam ; or '* Bamah of Benjamin,** on the road from Jeru- 
salem to Bethel. This has the name in its favour. 

These two sites labour under the objection that they are north 
and not south of Bachers tomb: and therefore that Saul could 
never have passed by that tomb in going from either of them to 

1 The LXX name *ApfiaBaiti perhape shows the begiiming of the tnmaittoD. 



Gibeah. Er-Bam is, besides, close to Oibeab, which is against 
1 Sam. X. 10. 

4. " Bamab ; " a bill, a sbort distance north of Bethlehem, which, 
according to some accounts, is so called by the peasants. This im 
fixed upon bj Mr. Finn, the English Consul at Jerusalem. (See 
Bonar, Land of Promise, p. 114.) 

5. The Frank Mountain, or Jehel el-FureidU, a little south-east of 
Bethlehem. This is fixed upon by Gesenius. 

6. The ruins called Bdmei eUKhUMy by Josephus called the *' Tere- 
binth of Abraham," (mentioned in Chapter I. part ii. § 21,) a little 
north of Hebron. This is fixed upon by Mr. Wolcott and M. Van 
do Yelde. 

7. SSba; a town on a hill, in the mountains west of Bethlehem. 
This 18 fixed upon by Dr. Bobinson. 

8^ A village called Bame, three and a half miles west of Sanur, 
which Schwarz (p. 157) endeayours to identify with Bamathaim by 
altering the reading of Dothaim in Judith iv. 5, 6, 7. 

Of these, the fourth, sixth, and eighth, have the identity of name 
in their favour, and the seventh may have derived its present name 
from Zophim. The fifth has only its commanding position, and the 
argument that if it be not Bamah, then it is unknown to the Old 

All of theee, except the eighth, are equally compatible with the 
journey by BachePs tomb, but all are equally excluded if Samah 
most be sought among the mountains of Ephraim. Of the two 
difficulties, however, the latter is the least insuperable. It is easier 
to suppose that Elkanah may have migrated from Mount Ephraim, 
than to explain away the stages of the return of Saul. And it 
must be added, that if a position in Mount Ephraim be required, 
it must entirely exclude Bamleh, and probably Er-E&m and Neby- 
Samwil. The context of Jer. xxxi. 15 implies that the Bamah of the 
Prophet was in the northern kingdom, probably Bamah of Benjamin. 
The context of Matt. iL 18, on the other hand, implies that the 
Bamah of the Evangelist was in sight of Bethlehem. 

The wordd translated " by Zelzdhy* in 1 Sam. x. 2, are by the LXX 
rendered an expression of joy on the part of the men who announced 
the finding of the asses. '^ Thou shalt meet two men leaping violently 
— oXXofieyAvff /itydXa." The other clause, however, " in the border of 
Benjamin^* is important, as showing how far south this boundary 
reached. Probably it was extended just far enough to include the 
tomb of their great ancestress. Of the two remaining stages of Saul's 
journey (1 Sam. x. 1 — 10), "the 'oak' of Tabor" may possibly be 
the famous " oak of Deborah," Gen. xxxv. 8 ; and " the hill of God,*' 
(Gibeah-Elohim,) maybe Gibeon, Gibeah of Saul, or Bethel. 

226 SINAI AND PALESTINE. [chap, ir. 

If Nebj-Samwil be the higb place of Gibeon, then Mizpeh, which 
Dr. Eobinson planted there, must be sought elsewhere. One spot 
im mediately suggests itself. Mizpeh — always with the article, "the 
Mizpeh " — ^is in Hebrew, what Seoptu is in Ghreek, " the watch' 
tower,^' "Wherever Scopus was, — and we know that it was some 
eminence on the north of the city, whence the city and temple were 
visible — there it is most natural to place Mizpeh. Such a position 
will meet every requirement of the notices of Mizpeh — the assem* 
blies held there by Samuel ^ ; the fortification of it by Asa with the 
stones removed from ' the Mount ' of Benjamin ' ; the seat of the 
Chaldflsan governor after the capture of Jerusalem'; the wailing- 
place of the Maccabees ^ 

^ 1 8am. vii. 5, 6. » Neh. iil 7 ; Jer. xL fl. 

Sfiantth. 1 Kings XT. 22; Jer. zU. 9. « 1 Uaoe. ilL 46. 



Denteronomy zzziiL 13 — 17. '* And of Josepli he nid, Blened of the 
Lord be his land, for the precioai things of heaTen, for the detr, and 
Ibr the deep that ooucheth beneath, and for the prectons frnits brought 
forth bj- the sun, and for the predona things pat forth hj the moon, and 
for the chief things of the ancient mountains, and for the precious things of 
the Isstang hills, and for the predons things of the eiurth, and fulnesa 
thereof, and for the good will of him that dtrelt in the bnsh ; let the bless- 
ing come upon the head of Joseph, and upon the top of the head of him that 
vas separated from his brethra. His glory is like the firstling of hia 
bollook, and his horns are like the hoiiui of ' buffidoes : ' with them he shall 
pnah the people together to the ends of the earth ; and they are the ten 
ihftnsanda of Bphraim, and they are the thousands of ICanasseh.** 

Moontuns of Ephraim — Fertile Talleys and central situation — Supremacy 
dTEphraim. I. Shiloh. II. Shechem. — 1. Firsthalting-plaoe of Abra- 
ham. 2. First settlement of Jacob. 8. First capital <^ the conquest 
—Sanctuary of Gerisim. 4. Eeign of Abimelech. 5. Sect of Sama- 
ritans. 6. Jacob's Well. III. Samaria.— Its beaaty--Its strength— 
Sebaste. lY. Passes of Manasseh—Dothaa. 

Note OB Mount Gerisim. 


(Sn Pmh Sti, HI.] 

" litE ii]i jour «rv> mill liH'k on tb« Btldf, la the; an white ilrwd; tolurn«L' 


The narrow territoiy of Benjamin soon melts into the hiUs 
which reach to the plain of Esdraelon ; and which, from the 
great tribe which there had its chief seat, are known by the 
name of '' the mountains of Ephraim." 

Their character is marked by two peculiarities. First, they 
are the central mass of the hills of Palestine, nearly „, 
equidistant from the northern and southern boundary uimof 
of the whole country ; and, secondly, the closely set ^ 
structure, and the rocky soil of the hills of Judah and Benjamin, 
though still continued to a great extent, are here for the first 
time occasionally broken up into wide plains in the heart of the 
mountains, and diversified both in hill and valley by streams of 
running water and by continuous tracts of verdure and vegeta- 
tion. It was this central tract and this " good land " that was 
naturally allotted to the powerful house of Joseph in the first 
division of the country. We are so familiar with the supremacy 
of the tribe of Judah, that we are apt to forget that it was of 
comparatively recent date. For more than four hundred years 
—a period equal in length to that which elapsed between the 
Norman Conquest and the Wars of the Boses — Ephraim, with 
its two dependent tribes of Manasseh and Benjamin, exercised 
undisputed pre-eminence. Joshua the first conqueror ; Gideon, 
the greatest of the judges, whose brothers were '^ as the chil- 
dren of kings/* and whose children all but established here- 
ditary monarchy in their own line ; Saul, the first king- 
belong to one or other of these three tribes. 

It was not till the close of the first period of Jewish history 

280 SINAI AND PALESTINK [ohap. t. 

that God " refused the tabernacle of Joseph, and chose not 
the tribe of Ephraim : but chose the tribe of Judah, even the 
Mount Zion which He 'loved." That haughty spirit which 
could brook no equal or superior, which chafed against the rise 
even of the kindred tribe of Manasseh in the persons of Grideon 
and Jephthah, and yet more against the growing dominion of 
Judah in David and Solomon, till it threw off the yoke 
altogether, and established an independent kingdom — ^would 
naturally claim, and could not rightly be refused, the choicest 
portion of the land. As *' Judah '* under Caleb was to " abide 
in their coasts on the south," so " the house of Joseph " under 
Joshua was to " abide in their coasts on the north'." Not till 
these were fixed, could the other tribes be thought of. "For 
the precious things of heaven, for the dew, and for the deep 
that coucheth beneath, and for the precious fruits brought forth 
their ferti- by the sun, and for the precious things put forth by 
^> the moon, and for the chief things of the ancient 

mountains, and for the precious things of the lasting hills, and 
for the precious things of the earth, and the fulness thereof . . . 
let the blessing come upon the head of Joseph, and upon the 
top of the head of him that was separated from his brethren'." 
If Judah was the wild lion that guarded the south, and couched 
in the fastness of Zion, so Ephraim was to be the more peaceful, 
but not less powerful buffalo, who was to rove the rich vales of 
central Palestine, and defend the frontier of the north ; *' his 
glory i§ like the firstling of his buUock, and his horns are like 
the horns of ' buffaloes ' : with them shall he push the people 
together ta the ends of the earth, and they are the ten 
thousands of Ephraim, and they are the thousands of Ma- 
nasseh\" In the fulness of their pride and strength, they 
demanded of their great chieftain Joshua, "Why hast thou 
given me but one lot and one portion to inherit, seeing I am a 
great people, forasmuch as the Lord has blessed me hitherto ?' 
— the ' mountain * is not enough for us." But Joshua answered 
them with no less wisdom than patriotism, that what more they 
won must be by their own exertions against the Canaanites of 

> Ps. IzxiriiL 67, 63. « Dent xxziuL 17. 

* Josh, zriii. 6. * t. e. by inereaae of dbOdren. Gob> 

^ Dent. zxjJiL 18— IG. pare Gen. I 22, 28. 


the plain : ** Thou art a great people, and hast great power : 
thou shalt not have one lot only ; but the mountain shall be 
ihme; for it is a ' forest/ and thou shalt cut it down ; and the 
outgoings of it shall be thine : for thou shalt drive out the 
Canaanites, though they have iron chariots, and though they 
be strong*." 

The "mountain" was theirs — "the mountains of Ephraim; " 
and to their secure heights even the members of other tribes 
resorted for shelter and for power. Ehud the Benjamite, 
when he armed his countrymen against Moab, " blew and oentml 
his trumpet in the mountain of Ephraim," as in the »*"***«^ 
raUyiDg-place of the nation, " and the children of Israel went 
down with him from the mount," into the valley of the Jordan, 
'* and he before them'.'* Deborah, though, as it would seem, 
herself' of the northern tribes, "dwelt between Bamah and 
Bethel* in Mount Ephraim." Tola, of Issachar, judged Israel 
in Shamir in Mount Ephraim*. Samuel, too, was of " Bama* 
thaim-zophim of Mount Ephraim'." 

I. But the connection between the peculiarities of this 
country and its history ai^, as in Judah, most 
strikingly exemplified by a view of its sacred and 
capital cities. The great sanctuary of the house of Joseph, 
and during the whole period of their supremacy, of the nation 
also, was Shiloh. Perhaps there is no place in Palestine that 
more forcibly exemplifies the remark often made in these pages, 
contrasting the sacred localities of Palestine with those of 
Greece. Delphi, Lebadea, the Styx, Mycen®, are so strongly 
marked by every accompaniment of external nature, as at once 
to proclaim their position as the natural, the inevitable seats of 
the oracles of the nation. But Shiloh is so utterly featureless, 
that, had it not been for the preservation of its name (Seil&n), 
and for the extreme precision with which its situation is 
described in the Book of Judges', the spot could never have 
been identified; and, indeed, from the time of Jerome till the 

> Joslraa xYiL 14—18, wiih Ewald's * Jadg. it. 5. 

nteniretatioii (2zui edit L 87 ; u. 843). • Jadg. x. 1. 

' Jndg. iiL 27, 28. (See Bwald, iL • 1 Sam. i. 1. 

362.) 7 Jadg. zzi. 19 ; unfortnoatelj ob- 

* *'The princes of lanebtf with Debo- ecnred in the Anth. Yen. by the additioa 

nh.'' Jadg. t. 15. of the words '* in a place.** 




year 1838, its real site was completely forgotten*, and its name 
was transferred, as we have seen, to that commanding height of 
Gibeon', which a later age naturally conceived to be a more 
congenial spot for the sacred place, where for so many centuries 
was "the tent which He had pitched * among men,'* — 

"Our living Dread, vho dwells 
In Silo^ his bright Sanctnuy/* 

Its ruins* are scattered over a slight eminence which rises 
in one of those softer and wider plains before noticed as 
characteristic of this part of Palestine, a little removed firom 
the great central route of the country ; its antiquity marked by 
the ruins of the ancient well, probably the very one by which 
the " daughters of Shiloh " danced* in the yearly festival, when 
the remnant of the neighbouring tribe of Benjamin descended 
from their hills to carry them off; and also by the approach 
from the east through a valley' of rock-hewn sepulchres, some 
of which, in all probability, must have been the last resting- 
place of the unfortunate house of Eli. Its selection as the 
sanctuary may partly have arisen firom its comparative sedn- 
sion, still more firom its central situation. The most hallowed 
spot of that vicinity. Bethel, which might else have been moie 
naturally chosen, was at this time still in the hands of the 
Canaanites' ; and thus, left to choose the encampment of the 
Sacred Tent, not by old associations, but according to the 
dictates of convenience, the conquerors fixed on this retired 
spot in the heart of the country, where the allotment of the 
territory could be most conveniently made, north, south, east, 
aind westy to the different tribes*, and there the Ark remained 
down to the fatal day when its home was uprooted by the 
Philistines. But Shiloh, though it was the sanctuary, was not 
the capital, of Ephraim. It was hardly even a city in its first 
origin. It was rather the last halt of the many encampments 

* See Bobinaon, liL 87, 88. Compare 
Jer. Til. 12. 

* See Chapter lY. p. 216. 
> Ffe. IzxTiu. 60. 

* Mr. Thmpp (Aneient Jemealem, 
Koto B.) has noticed the earioos fact» 
that one of theae mine is still called hj 
the name of the tomb of the "prophet 
Ahgah" the Shilonite. 

» Judg. m. 19, 21, 23. 

* See Bobinson, voL uL 86. His de- 
scription of this Tslley, as "shut in bj 
perpendicular waUs of rock,** is one of 
the TtTj few exaggerations in his voric 

7 Jndg. L 23—27, with Bwald*s expla- 
nation (Geschichte, 2nd edit, it 363). 

* Joshna xriiL 1. 


of their past life. The " tabernacle/' " the tent/' that last relic 
of the nomad existence of the chosen people, is the feature 
always dwelt upon in the notices of Shiloh. And with this 
cnrioasly agrees the description of the sanctuary of Shiloh in 
the Rabbinical traditions', as of ''a structure of low stone 
walls, with the tent drawn over the top." This exactly answers 
to the Bedouin villages of the present day, where the stone 
enclosures often remain, long after the tribes which they 
sheltered, and the tents which they supported, have vanished 
away; the point of transition precisely corresponding to the 
history of the origin of Shiloh, between the wandering and the 
settled life. Among the nomadic Buddhists of the Kal- 
mncks a Sacred Tent is still the only place of worship. 

n. It was in a more permanent home that the chiefs of the new 
nation took up their final abode. The situation of ^ 
Shechem is soon described. From the hills through 
which the main route of Palestine must always have run, and 
amongst which Shiloh is secluded, the traveller descends into 
a wide plain, the widest and the most beautiful of the plains 
of the Ephraimite mountains^ one mass of com unbroken by 
boundary or hedge, from the midst of which start up oUve- 
trees, themselves unenclosed as the fields in which they stand. 
Over the hills which close the northern end of this plain, far 
away in the distance, is caught the first glimpse of the snowy 
ridge of Hermon. Its western side is bounded by the abut- 
ments of two mountain ranges, running from west to east. 
These ranges are Gerizim and Ebal; and up the opening 
between them, not seen from the plain, lies the modem town of 
Nablus. This is one of the few instances in which the 
Boman, or rather the Greek, name has superseded in popular 
language the ancient Semitic appellation — "Nablus" being 
the corraption of " Neapolis," the " New Town " founded by 
Vespasian after the ruin of the older Shechem, which probably 
lay further eastward, and therefore nearer to the opening of the 
nJley*. Niblus is the most beautiful, perhaps it might be 

^ Hisbiia (ed. Snrenhasiiu), toI. t. 59. gnpUo description of Sbechem in 

^ M. De Sftnley'B arguments (toI. ii. Theodotns (apnd Euseh. Pr»p. Et. 

coap. viii.) founded on the ezpressiona ix. 22) as *' under the roots of the 

of the Old Testament and Josephas, mountain," is decisiye against placing 

c&tinly prove this. Bat the very it on the summit of (Hrizinu He 


said the only very beautiful, spot in central Palestine. H. 
Van de Velde, who approached this valley from the richer 
scenery of the north, is not less struck by it than those 
who contrast it with the barren hills of Judaea. After speak- 
ing of the grandeur of the gorge of the Leontes, and of the 
hills of Lebanon; of the wild oak-forest and brushwood 
of Naphtali; of the mountain-streams of Asher; of Carmeli 
with its wilderness of timber-trees and shrubs, of plants 
and bushes ; he says, " the Yale of Shechem differs from 
them all. Here there is no wilderness, here there ture no 
wild thickets, yet there is always verdure; always shade, 
not of the oak, the terebinth,* and the carob-tree, but of the 
olive-grove — so soft in colour, so picturesque in form, that 
for its sake we can willingly dispense with all other wood. 
Here there are no impetuous mountain torrents, yet there 
is water; water, too, in more copious supplies than any- 
where else in the land*." "There is a singularity," he 
adds, '' about the Yale of Shechem, and that is the peculiar 
colouring which objects assume in it. You know that wher- 
ever there is water, the air becomes charged with watery 
particles; and that distant objects, beheld through that 
medium, seem to be enveloped in a pale blue or gray mist, 
such as contributes not a little to give a charm to the land- 
scape. But it is precisely these atmospheric tints that we 
miss so much in Palestine. Fiery tints are to be seen both in 
the morning and the evening, and glittering violet or purple- 
coloured hues where the light falls next to the long deep 
shadows; but there is an absence of colouring, and of that 
charming dusky haze in which objects assume such softly 
blended forms, and in which also the transition in colour from 
the foreground to the farthest distance loses the hardness of 
outline peculiar to the pe]*fect transparency of an eastern sky. 
It is otherwise in the Yale of Shechem, at least in the 

tpeaks of the name of "Lonzab," as Luxa), Can 11x18 be the feoond Ln^ 

giyea to the ruins of Gerisim bj the founded bj the inhabitants of Ias vhen 

Samaritan high-priest at N&blns, which expelled by the Ephraimites from Bethel t 

certainlj agrees with the position of Jndg. L 26. 

Lnza, noticed by Jerome (Onomasticon : ^ Van de Yelde, L 886. 


morning and the evening. Here the exhalations remain 
hovering among the branches and leaves of the olive-trees, 
and hence that lovely bluish haze. The valley is far from 
broad, not exceeding in some places a few hundred feet. 
Th'is you find generally enclosed on all sides: there like- 
wise the vapours are condensed. And so you advance 
under the shade of the foliage along the living waters, and 
charmed by the melody of a host of singing birds — ^for they, 
too, know where to find their best quarters — while the per- 
spective fades away, and is lost in the damp vapoury 
atmosphere*." It need hardly be said that it is from its 
abundant supply of water that this beauty is derived : twenty- 
seven springs, each known by its peculiar* name, besides a 
crowd of smaller sources, pour their treasures into the valley, 
and have thus secured the perennial glory of its green grassy 
sward, its olive-groves, its orchards of fig, and vine, and 
pomegranate. These are the features, so unlike to those 
of Jerusalem, which we have now to trace as they burst upon 
ns in different points of view through the various stages of 
the history of Shechem, as of a face once familiar, often dis- 
appearing, yet again and again appearing through the vicissi- 
tudes of youth and age, through public and private life; 
changing, yet still the same, and connecting events and scenes 
in themselves widely different. 

1. It first dawns upon us in the dimness of the Patriarchal 
age, as the first spot on which Abraham halted when ^^^ ^^^ 
he had crossed' the Jordan, on his way from Ghaldiea, ing-placeof 
to the land which God should give him. It was the 
*' place of Shechem." Shechem itself, it would seem, was not 
yet built ; all was still in its primeval state. Yet there was 
enough of those noble groves to attract the wanderer's steps. 
Under the '''terebinths^' of Moreh," now superseded by the 

^ L 388. These reinarks on the moist paper " Cber Nftblns nnd Umgegend/* in 

stoosphere of Shechem are so far oon- the Zeitschrift der Deatschen morgenL 

firmed hj mj own ezperienoe^ that the Gesellsehaft, 1860, p. 684. 

Talley between NAUus and Samaria was, * Qen. xii. 6, properly ** pasMd 

▼hen I saw it, wrapt in a thick drizzling ' oyer.* " 

mist^ saeh as I saw nowhere else in Syria. ^ Gen. nl 6 : in the Anth. Vers. 

^ See the catalogue given bj Br. Bosen, <* plains of Moreh.*' (See Appendix, 

ihe Pmstian Consol at Jemsalem, in his Ehn,) 



luore useful olive-trees', Abraham rested and built the first 
altar which the Holy Land had known. 

2. What is thus faintly discerned in the life of the earlier 
Pint Set- Patriarch, comes out clearly in the life of his descend- 
tlementof ant Jacob. From the heights of Gilead, through 
^^ ' the deep rent of the valley of the Zerka, or Jabbok, 
which forms one of the most remarkable features in the east- 
ward view from the summit of Gerizim, Jacob descended with 
his " two bands ; " probably by the same route as that through 
which his ancestor, from the same region of Mesopotamia, had 
entered the land. He advanced through the valley, which, 
leading direct from the northern fords of the Jordan, opens on 
the wide corn-plain already described, and pitched his tent 
before the city ; and the spot where he had at last foxmd a 
home after his long wanderings, became the first possession of 
himself and his race in Palestine. " He bought ' the ' parcel 
of 'the* field, where he had spread his tent," '*of the children of 
Hamor, Shechem's father, for an hundred pieces of money'." 

The wide " field," — " the cultivated field," as it is thus dis- 
tinctively called, — indicates by the mere fact of its selection the 
transition of the Patriarch from the Bedouin shepherd into 
the civilised and agricultural settler. In that " field " he 
remained. With the prudence characteristic of his whole life, 
he never advanced into the narrow valley between the moun- 
tains, where the city of Shechem itself stood ; he and his sons 
still had their cattle in *^ the field ; " it was only the rashness of 
his children which drew them into the neighbourhood of the 
eity, '' to see the daughters of the land/' and to avenge the 
insult to their house*. 

8. The same causes which had rendered Shechem audits 
PiratCa i- ^^^ig^^o^^^l^ood the primeval possession of Israel in 
tal of the Palestine, rendered it naturally the first capital, when 
°^^ his descendants, emerging like him from the Bedouin 
life of their desert-wanderings, advanced from the last of their 
tent-encampments at Shiloh to fix themselves as a powerful 
nation in the heart of the country. Its central position, and 

^ See Van de Yelde, i. 387. * Qen. xvdn. 19. 

» Gen. xxxiT. 1, 7, 26. 

dup. v.] 



its peculiar fertilify, made it the natural seat of settled habi* 
tation in the north, even to a greater degree than the Vole of 
Manure and Eshcol ensured, as we have seen, the same early 
privilege for Hebron in the south. " Joseph is a fruitful bough, 
eyen a fruitful bough by * the spring ; * ' whose branches run 
oyer the waU." This is the great benediction of the possession 
of Jacob's favourite son. " So exceeding verdant and fruitful " 
(to use the words of Maundrell, in whom the sight of this vaUey 
awakened a connection of thought unusual for himself and his 
age,) " that it may well be looked upon as a standing token of 
the tender affection of that good Patriarch to the best of sons'." 
Bat besides these natural advantages, the place was also conse- 
crated by its ancient sanctuary. It was not merely the com* 
fields and the valleys, nor even the sacred terebinths, nor yet 
the burial-place of the embalmed remains of Joseph, that gave 
its main interest to Shechem in the eyes of a true Israelite. 
High above the fertile vale rose the long rocky ridge of 
Mount Gerizim', facing the equally long and rocky range of 
EbaL From the highest, that is, the eastern summit gi^notujuT 
of that ridge,not equal in actual elevation to Jerusalem, of Moimt 
but much more considerable than the Mount of Olives, *'^™' 
above the level from which it rises, a wide view embraces the 
Mediterranean Sea on the west, the snowy heights of Hermoc 
on the north, and on the east the wall of the trans-Jordanic 
mountains, broken by the deep cleft of the Jabbok. The 
mountain that commands this view, which is to Ephraim what 
that from .Gtibeon or Olivet is to Judaea, was from very early 
times a sacred place. It is difficult to disentangle the more 
ancient traditions from those which have been accumulated 
round it by the Samaritans of a later age; but it is in the 

* Gen. zlix. 22. 

' Early Tnrellen, p. 486. 

> It can hurdly be doubted that 
Gesenins (Thee. i. 801) is oorreet) in de- 
riring the name from an ancient tribe, 
of whom only one other traoe remaina 
in hiitory— the •• Gerio," or "Geriaitcs," 
—1 Sam. xxrii. 8, (see the margin of oar 
Bibles) probably an Arab horde which 
hxA fonnerly encamped here. So the 
Zemarites, once mentioned as a Canaanite 
tribe (Gen. z. 18), reappear in the local 

name of Monnt Zemaraim in Beojamin, 
2 Chron. ziii. 4, and Joshua xriii. 22. 
So the Amalekites, who are mentioned 
in 1 Sam. xxyii. 8 as the neighbours of 
the Gerizites, gave their name to *'the 
mountain of the Amolekites,** also in the 
tribe of Ephraim (Judg. xii. 15). "Ebal" 
is more uncertain. Nor is the presez* 
aspect of the moontoin, as compared 
with Gerisim, so barren as to justify 
ha deriyation from ebal, **to strip of 



[OBAP. r. 

highest degree probahle that here, and not at Jerusalem, was 
the point to which the oldest recollections of Palestine pointed 
as the scone of Abraham's encounter with Melchizedek, and the 
sacrifice of Isaac ; that the smooth sheet of rock on the top of 
the mountain, with the cave beside it, was from the most 
ancient times a seat of primitive worship, and is the most 
authentic remnant of such worship now existing in Palestine. 
It is possible that something similar once existed, or maj even 
stiU exist, on the twin height of Ebal^ At any rate, these two 
mountains, with the green valley between them, are described 
as sacred places, hovering before the minds of the IsraeUtes, 
even before their entrance into Palestine, and as being at once 
occupied by them with this view, as soon as they entered. 
*' When the Lord thy God hath brought thee in unto the land 
whither thou goest to possess it, . . . thou shalt put the blessing 
upon Mount Gerizim, and the curse upon Mount EbaL Are 
they not on the other side Jordan, .... in the land of the 
Canaanites, which dwell in the 'desert* over against Gilgal* 
* near * the * terebinths ' of Moreh " ? *' And accordingly, the 

Jordan. Bottlie LXX rendon ^'Anbdi'' 
here, as often elaewhere^ Zw/mif ; and the 
positiTe statement that the monntaiBi 
were by the terebinths of Moreh, (to which 
the Sunaritan Pentateuch adds '* which 
were by Shechem'*,) compels as to adhere 
to the common yiew. The mention of 
Gilgal in Dent zL SO, is probably 
introdnced in reference to the sesne of 
the disooarse of Moses on tiie east of 
Jordan ; and in Joehoa yiiL 30, we nay 
beliere it possible that the hraelitei 
should have marched at once for that 
one purpose from Ai to Shechcm. (See 
Chapter IV.) In the lxx, the nazratiTe 
is slightly transposed. 2. The wide 
intend between the two moontains at 
Shechem is (as Jerome remarks) difficolt 
to reconcile with the statement, that the 
words were heard acrosa the TsU^. "Pin- 
rimum iotersedistant; neeposeentinTioem 
benedioentium sive maledicentiun ioter 
se audiri Toces.** But the ceremony may 
have taken place on the lower span of 
the mountains, where tb^ approach more 
nearly to each other — and I am informed 
that eren from the two summits shep- 
herds have been heard oonyersiog with 
each other, as also from one summit of 
Mount OliTet, the boys are able iu bold 
conversations on triml matteis with 
those on the other. Robinson (I^ter 
Bos.) mentions a spot Id the LefasnoiH 

^ The modem name of its western ex- 
tremity is Imad ed-Deen (the *' pillar of 
religion") ; of its eastern extremity, 
'^Sitti Salamiyah," from the tomb 
of a female Mussulman saint. There 
is an account of the ascent of Ebal in 
Bartlett*s Jerusalem, p. 251. (See also 
Bitter, Pal. 640.) 

* Deut. xL 29, SO. Jerome, "Onomas- 
ticon,*' {voce Gebal) distinguishes the Ebal 
and Gerisim spoken of here and in Joshua 
Tiii. 80 — 85, from the mountains of 
Shechem, and he chaigesthe Samaritans 
with gross error in having confounded 
them. "Sunt autem juxta Hierichunta 
duo montes Tidni inter se invioem re- 
spidentes, e quibus unus Gerisim, alter 
Clebel dicitur. Porro SamarHani arbi- 
trsntur hos duos montes juxta Neapolim 
esse, sed Tehementer errant,*' It is 
certainly a curious fact that two moun- 
tains were shown as such in his time near 
Jericho, probably part of the range of 
Quarantania ; and there is at first sight 
much to be said in £aTOur of this position. 
1. The mention of Gilgal, first in Deut. xi. 
80, and then by implication, in Joshua 
▼iii. SO (compare t. 10 and ix. 6), natu- 
rally leads us to look for the mountains 
in the neighbourhood of Jericho ; and the 
Hebrewtext, "that dwell inthecfcMH,*' 
(Arabah, mistranslated "champaign,**) 
can only be applied to the Talley of the 

en AH. V.J 



curses and blessings are said to have been delivered on this 
spot in the very first days of the entrance, as though they had 
found their way at once from the Valley of the Jordan to this 
their sacred mountain, "The border of his sanctuary; the 
mountain which his right hand had purchased \" 

With these combined forces of natural advantage and religious 
association, it is not surprising that during the whole of the 
early period of the settlement in Canaan, Shechem maintained 
its hold on the people. It was the seat of the chief national 
assemblies'. Within its ancient precincts, even after the erec- 
tion of Jerusalem into the capital, the custom was still preserved 
of inaugurating a new reign. "And Behoboam went to 
Shechem : for all Israel were come to Shechem to make him 

4. One episode in the history of Shechem which took place 
during this period, is recorded in such detail, and is ingunec* 
80 illustrative of all the points we have noticed, that tion of 
it must be briefly mentioned — the narrative of 
Abimelech's conspiracy to make himself king ; the formation of 
the league of cities, under the protection of Baal-Berith, the 
' god of the league,' and the insurrection of the original Canaan- 
ites of Shechem against the conquerors\ One after another 
these features are introduced; the adjacent forest of Mount Zal- 
mon*; the* terebinths of Jacob; the "field'" before the city; the 
"shadows of the mountain-tops'.'* Most striking, too, is the 
appropriateness of the parable of Jotham — ^the first of the Bib- 
heal parables; deriving, like its more famous successors, addi- 
tional force from the scene of its deliver3\ He addressed the 


vhere Toioei can be heard for two miles. 
Oompare also the statement respecting 
Jotham's speech on Gerisim in Jndg. iz. 7 ; 
sad eompare the aooonnt of the Samaritan 
iniunedionin A.I). 480, when the insur- 
gents shouted from the mountain to their 
ffimpsnions in the city of Neapolis (Wil- 
iisms, Holy City, I. 287). 

^ Ps. IxzriiL 55. Such at least seems 
the most probable explanation according to 
the context. (Compare also BxodnsxT.l 7.) 

' Joshua xxiy. 1, 25. 

' 1 Kings xii« 1. Compare the long 
BDutinuanee of Rheims, the ancient metro- 
politaa dty of France, as the scene of the 
Preoeh eoronatIon& 

* See the explanations of Judg. ix. by 
Patrick; and by Bwald (2nd edit. ii. 
444 448). 

* Judg. ix. 48. It is possible that Zal- 
mon may be another name for Ebal. At 
any rate it must have been near. The 
name occurs only once again, Fs. Ixriii. 
14, ** white as snow in ' Zalmon.* " 

* Judg. ix. 87; '*the plain of Meonemm** 
is properly '*tbe terebinth of enchant* 
ments." See Chapter II. ix. p. 142, 

7 Judg. ix. 82, 42, 43 ; in 27 and 
44, wrongly translated in the pluraL 
" fields." 

« Ibid. Z6. 

240 SINAI AND PALESTINB [chip. t. 

Shecheuiites, we are told, as he stood " ia the top of Mount 
Gerizim." This can hardly mean the summit, which is too fat 
removed from the town, both in distance and in height, to allow 
of such a juxtaposition. But a lofty rock protrudes from the 
north-eastern flank of G-erizim, immediately overhanging what 
must have been the site of the ancient city. From thence 
Jotham might easily make himself heard, and readily escape 
down the mountain side. The dramatis persona of his parable 
were all before him. First, there was the olive, the special 
tree of Nd.blus, clearly marked out as the rightful sovereign ; 
next to this would follow the rarer, but still commanding fig- 
tree, and the trailing festoons of the vine ; last of all, the briar 
or bramble, whose worthless branches are still used for the 
fire-wood of the sacrificial oven, and whose unsightly bareness 
contrasts on the hill side with the rich verdure of his nobler 

This is the last appearance of the primitive Shechem in the 
Jewish history. It was razed to the ground by Abimelech\ and 
the place is no more mentioned till its revival in the monarchy. 

5. Shechem, during its revival under Jeroboam, as the capital 
Sanetoary of the northern kingdom, furnishes no occasion of 
^^^^ remark ; but its local recollections were gathered np 
sect. in considerable force when, under the contemptuous 

iiame*of " Sychar» " it became, after the return from the exile, the 
seat of the mixed settlers commonly called Samaritans. Through 
all these vicissitudes, Oerizim, the oldest sanctuary in Palestine, 
retained its sanctity to the end. Probably in no other locality has 
the same worship been sustained with so little change or interrup- 
tion for so great a series of years as in this mountain, from the 
time of Abraham to the present day. In their humble synagogue, 
at the foot of the mountain, the Samaritans still worship,— 
the oldest and the smallest sect in the world ; distinguished by 
their noble physiognomy and stately appearance from all other 
branches of the race of Israel. In their prostrations at the 

^ Jndg. ix. 45. The site of the city thus destroyed before the buildiiig of Keapolia. 
destroyed by Abimelech was shown in ^ John It. 6 ; perhaps so called by 9 

Jerome^s time nectr Joseph* 8 9q»tlchre (De pUty on ^e word "Shechem,** in allTuioc 

locis Hebraicis : voce Si<diem). This, how- to the ^^dmnkenness" (fhiceor) of it* 

ever, was more likely the site of the city inhabitants. Isaiah zxriii. 1 — 7. 

OBIP. T.] 



eleyation of their revered copy of the Pentateuch, they throw 
themselves on their faces in the direction, not of Priest or Law, 
or any object within the building, but obliquely towards the 
eastern summit of Mount Gerizim. And up the side of the 
mountain, and on its long ridge, is to be traced the pathway by 
which they ascend to the sacred spots where they alone, of all 
the Jewish race, yearly celebrate the Paschal Sacrifice*. 

6. One more scene remains which supplies to this portion 
of Palestine associations like those which Olivet and Jacob's 
Bethany supply to JudsBa, and which sums up in so ^^' 
remarkable a manner all the successive points presented in the 
history of Shechem, that, often as it has been depicted, it must 
briefly be told again. At the mouth of the Valley of Shechem, 
two slight breaks are visible in the midst of the vast plains of 
com — one a white Mussulman chapel, the other a few frag- 
ments of stone* The first of these covers the alleged tomb of 
Joseph, buried thus in the " parcel of ground" which his father 
bequeathed especially to him, his favourite son*. The second 
marks the undisputed site of the well, now neglected and 
choked up by the ruins which have fallen into it ; but still with 
every claim to be considered the original well, sunk deep into 
the rocky ground by "our father Jacob,*' who had retained 
enough of the customs of the earlier families of Abraham and 
Isaac*, to mark his first possession by digging a well, " to give 
drink thereof to himself, his children, and his cattle*/' This at 
least was the tradition of the place, in the last days of the Jewish 
people, and its position adds probability to the conclusion; 
indicating, as has been well observed*, that it was there dug by 

* 8m Note ftt the end of thie Chapter. 

' Joih. xxW. 82. Comp. Qtn. jXriiL 
21 See tbe Hap at the beginxung of 
tUi Chapter. 

' Oeneaia xxri. 15—25. 

* John IT. 12. There are two ehapela 
•bovn as the Tomb of Joaeph ; one, tiiat 
vhieh b here mentioned, oloae to the well, 
vhieh baa nothing worthy of remark 
OMpt the faet that the tomb (nnlike 
tboae of meet Mnesolman ninta) ia bnilt 
^iagonallj acroae the floor of the chapel. 
^ other, also a Mnasnlman chapel, ia 
About a quarter of a milenp the ralley on 

the slope of Monnt Gerizim, and ie nitl 
by the Samaritana to be 'so called after 
Babbi Joseph of N&bloB. There can be no 
doubt that the well now shown ia the me 
which has always been pointed ont aa 
Jacob's weU. Bnt its later association haa 
caused it sometimes to be called the weU 
of tiie Samaritan — Blr es-Samirtyeh — 
whilst another well within the town i 
said to be known by the name of Jacob** 
weU— Blr el-Tak6b. (Bnckingham, 548,. 
* Bobinson, iii. p. 112. 

242 SINAI AND FALESTINB. [guat. t. 

one who conld not tnist to the fresh springs so near in the 
adjacent vale, which still belonged to the hostile or strange 
Canaanites. If this be so, we have here an actually existing 
monument of the prudential character of the old Patriarch— 
as though we saw him offering the mess of pottage, or com- 
passing his ends with Laban, or guarding against the sudden 
attack of Esau; fearful lest he ''being few in number, the in- 
habitants of the land should gather themselves together against 
him, and slay him and his house*." By a singular fate, this 
authentic and expressive memorial of the earliest dawn of 
Jewish history became the memorial no less authentic and 
expressive of its sacred close. Of all the special localities of 
our Lord's life in Palestine, this is almost the only one abso- 
lutely undisputed. By the edge of this well, in the touching 
language of the ancient hymn, " Qusrens me, sedisti lassos." 
Here^ on the great road through which '' He must needs go'' 
when "He left Judsea, and departed into Galilee,'' He halted, as 
travellers still halt, in the noon' or evening of the spring-day 
by the side of the well, amongst the relics of a former age. Up 
that passage through the valley, His disciples " went away into 
the city,*' which He did not enter. Down the same gorge came 
the woman to draw water, according to the unchanged custom 
of the East; which still, in the lively concourse of veiled figures 
round the wayside wells, reproduces the image of Bebekah,and 
Bachel, and Zipporah*. Above them, as they talked, rose "this 
mountain" of Gerizim, crowned by the Temple, of which the 
vestiges still remain, where the fathers of the Samaritan sed 
'* said men ought to worship,'' and to which still, after so many 
centuries, their descendants turn as to the only sacred spot in 
the universe: the strongest example of local worship now exist- 
ing in the world in the very face of the principle there first 
announced, that the sacredness of local worship was at an end. 
And round about them, as He and she thus sate or stood by 
the well, spread far and wide the noble plain of waving corn\ 
It was still winter, or early spring*, — " four months yet to the 

^ Gen. zzxiy. 80. * See Chap. U. p. 147. 

' John iy. 2, 8, 6. Aooording as we ^ Moat of the points in ihiainterntvaie 

make the honn of St John's Gospel hj weU hronght ont by Clarke (it. p. 80). 

the Roman or our own reckoning. ^ Bobinson (HMmony, p. 189) fini 


faanrest; " and the bright golden ears of those fields had not yet 
"whitened '' their unbroken expanse of verdure. He gazed upon 
them; and we almost seem to see how the glorious vision of 
the distant harvest of the OentUe world, with each successive 
turn of the conversation, unfolded itself moi*e and more 
distinctly before Him, as He sate (so we gather from the 
narrative) absorbed in the opening prospect, silent amidst His 
sflent and astonished disciples'. 

lU. Jerusalem and Shechem are the only ancient cities 
which have reached the dignity of capitals of Palestine. 
And as in Judah no rival city ever rose till the time 
of the Herods, the whole splendour of the southern monarchy 
was concentrated in Jerusalem, and contributed to that mag- 
nificence which has before been described as probably excelling 
any sight of the kind within the Holy Land. But in the 
northern kingdom, the sovereigns followed the tendency by 
which princes of all times have been led to build sumptuous 
palaces, and select pleasant residences, apart from the great 
Beats of state. This difference between the two kingdoms was 
doubtless in part occietsioned by the stronger hold which the 
City of David possessed on the minds both of princes and 
people than could be the case in the less firmly established 
monarchy of Shechem. But it would also be fostered by the 
difference between the two regions. Except Hebron there was 
no spot to which a king of Judah would naturally be attracted, 
either by the beauty or the fertility of its situation. Solomon^s 
Gardens in the W&dy Urt&s were, as we have seen, the peculiar 
resort of the most luxurious of the Jewish kings'. The new 
capital which Herod founded for the Eoman province of Judsea, 
under the name of Gcesarea, was created with an especial view 
to intercourse with the West, which in early times had no 
existence. But in the territory of Ephraim, the fertile plains, 
and to a certain extent wooded hills, which have been often 
noticed as its characteristic ornaments, at once gave an opening 

it in Nofcmber or December ; but it shonld standing. 

rather be in Jannarj or Febroary. The * ** Hie diaeiples . . marvelled . . yet 

harreit of Palestine is in April or May. no man said, What seekest thou?" John 

I left the great phun of Philistia on the iT. 27. 

1st of May, and the com was still 3 g^e Chap. III. 

R 2 



[OHA?. T^ 

Its beauty. 

to the formation of parks and pleasure-grounds similar to those 
which were the " Paradises " of Assyrian and Persian monarchs. 
One of these was Tirzah, of unknown site, but evidently near 
Shechem, and of proverbial beauty', selected by the 
jfirst sovereign, Jeroboam*, and then during three 
short reigns the habitual residence of the royal houseV 
Another was Jezreel, during the reign of Ahab; of which I 
shall speak hereafter. But the chief was Samaria. Six miles 
from Shechem, following the course of the same green and 
watered valley, the traveller finds himself in a wide basin,- 
encircled with hills, on a lower level than the Valley of 
Shechem, and almost on the edge of the great maritime plain^ 
In the centre of this basin rises an oblong hill, with steep yet 
accessible sides, and a long flat top. This was " the mountain 
Shomron *' (corrupted through the Chaldee Shemrin into the 
Qreek Samaria) ^ which Omri bought of Shemer for the great 
sum of two talents of silver, "and built ^ on the 'mountain,* 
and called the name of the city which he built, * Shomron,' 
after the name of Shemer owner of the ' mountain/ " What 
Omri in all probability built as a mere palatial residencer 
became the capital of the kingdom instead of Shechem. It 
was as though Versailles had taken the place of Paris, or 
Windsor of London. But in this case the change was effected 
by the admirable choice of Omri in selecting a position which, 
as has been truly observed, combined, in a union not elsewhere 
found in Palestine, strength, beauty, and fertility. Its fertility 
and beauty are shared to a great extent with Shechem, in this 
respect the common characteristics of Uiese later capitals, all 
probably alike included in the bitter praise of the prophet,^ 
" Woe to the crown of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim,— 

' *' Thou art beantifal, my love, m 
Tirxah" (Cant. Ti. 4). The word for 
"beantifar* (Jafeh) la the aame void 
as that which gave its name to Jaffa or 
Joppa. In this passage it wonld seem to 
be contrasted with ''comely'* {naveh\ 
which appears to answer to the Latin 
deeem, and the Greek a€/uf6s — *'I am 
black, but comely" (Cant. i. 5). In Ps. 
zWiiL 2, however, jafeh is applied to the 
elevation of Jerusalem. Schwarz (p. 150 

speaks of a ** Tana ** on a high monnt 
east of Samaria. * 1 Kings xir. 17. 

» 1 Kings XT. 21 ; xri. 8, 17, 28. 

« 1 Kings ztI 24. The word signifiei 
wUeh'totDeTf and, if it were not for tbr 
derivation (in this case indispntable^ »ad 
therefore not unimportant, as throwinf 
light on more doubtfal instances) from 
the owner, might have been thought to 
be due to the appropriateness of the 


^hose glorious beauty is a fading flower, — ^which are on the 
head of the fat * ravines ' of them that are overcome with wine'.*' 
Bat having these advantages which Shechem had, it iti 
had others which Shechem had not. Situated on its ■*«n«*J>- 
steep height, in a plain itself girt in by hills, it was enabled, 
not less promptly than Jerusalem, to resist the successive 
assaults made upon it by the Syrian and Assyrian armies. 
The first were baffled altogether ; the second took it only after 
a three years' siege', that is, three times as long as that which 
reduced Jerusalem. The local circumstances of the earlier 
sieges are well brought out by M. Van de Yelde'. " As the 
mountains around the hill of Shemer are higher than that 
hill itself, the enemy must have been able to discover clearly 
the internal condition of the besieged Samaria. . . • The 
inhabitants, whether they turned their eyes upwards or down- 
wards to the surrounding hills, or into the valley, must have 
seen all full of enemies . . . thirty and two kings, and horses 
and chariots. The mountains and the adjacent circle of hills» 
were so densely occupied by the enemy, that not a man could 
pass through to bring provisions to the beleagured city. The 
Syrians on the hills must have been able from where they 
stood plainly to distinguish the famishing inhabitants." On 
that beautiful eminence, looking far over the plain of Sharon 
imd the Mediterranean Sea to the west^ and over its own fertile 
vale to the east, the kings of Israel reigned in a luxury which, 
for the very reason of its being like that of more Eastern 
sovereigns, was sure not to be permanent in a race destined 
for higher purposes. The vast temple of Baal was there 
erected, which Jehu destroyed ; and, in later times, Herod 
<:hose it alone out of the ancient capitals of the north, to adorn 
with the name and with the temple of Augustus, from which 
time it assumed the appellation which with a slight change it 
has borne ever since, '* Sebaste." And now, although 
its existence has been brought fully to light only 
within the last few years, it still exhibits some relics of 
-ancient architectural beauty. A long avenue of broken pillars, 
apparently the main street of Herod's city, here, as at Pal- 

> In. xxYilL 1. > 2 Eingi XTiiL 10. 

s L 876, S77. See 1 Eingi zx. 18-^16; 2 Kings tL 24--88. 

246 SINAI AND FALESTIN& [cair. v 

mjra And Damascus, adorned by a colonnade on each side, 
still lines the topmost teiTace of the hill. The gothic rnir 
of the church of St. John the Baptist, parent of the nume- 
rous churches which bear his name throughout the West, 
remains over what Christians and the Mussulman inhabitants 
still revere as the grave *^of the Prophet John, son of 
Zacharias'/' round which, in the days of Jerome, the same 
wild orgies were performed which are now to be seen round 
** the Holy Sepulchre*." The doubtful tradition, which 
thus links together on the summit of Samaria the names 
of the Baptist and his murderer, is amongst the veiy few 
solenm recollections which attach to this spot. It is pos- 
sible that the reservoir which still exists in the precincts of 
that edifice, half church, half mosque, may be the "pool" 
beside which Naboth and his sons perished (as the murderers 
of Ishbosheth by the pool of Hebron), and in which the blood- 
stained chariot of Ahab was washed after the fatal fight of 
Bamoth-Gilead*. But there is no place of equal eminence in 
Palestine, with so few great recollections. Compared with 
Shechem or Jerusalem, it is a mere growth of pleasure and 
convenience ; the city of luxurious princes, not of patriarchs 
and prophets, priests and kings. 
lY. As the central hills of Palestine terminate on the east 

The Passes ^^^ ^^^^ ^ ^^ maritime plain and the Valley of 
of Manas- the Jordan, so on the north they descend through 
long broken passes to the edge of the great plain 
of Esdraelon. Valleys of considerable depth, though never 
contracted to defiles, lead down from one to the other. Here 
and there they open into a wider upland plain. One such is 
that called the plain of Sanur^, out of which rise, like the 
isolated rocks from the Carse of Stirling, several steep hills, 
the most commanding summit being crowned by the strong 
fortress of Sanur. Through these passes, occasionally guarded 
by strongholds, the lines of communication must have run 
between the north and the south : in these passes* ** the horns 
of Joseph, the ten thousands of Ephraim', and the thousands 

1 This is the name by which the mde ^ It is sometimes enoneoiisly caUcd 

inhabitants of the present town of 8e- the plain of Sharon, 
bastieh point out the tomb. * Dent xzxiiL 17. 

« See Chap. XIV. » Kings xxii. 88. 


of Manasseh," were to repulse the. invaders from the north. 
Hanasseh, extending along the whole of this long ridge, and 
then stretching across the Jordan to join the pastoral division 
of the same tribe, which reached into the distant hills of 
Bashan and Gilead, was the frontier and the ontpost of 
Ephraim. Of the eastern portion there will be another occa- 
sion to speak. But the chief historical importance of the 
western portion lies in its occupation of the Passes of Es- 
draelon. They are very little known ; and in speaking of them, 
ahnost all travellers are compelled to draw conclusions from the 
one well-known descent from Sebaste through Sanur to Jenin. 
But the general nature of the ground cannot be doubted. 
Whenever the plain of Esdraelon has been occupied by hostile 
forces, it must have been from the hills of Manasseh that they 
were overlooked. On this turns the whole history of the great 
hero of Manasseh, Gideon, who amongst these hills was raised 
ap to descend on the Midianite host Hence, too, in the strange 
mixture of truth and fiction contained in the Apocryphal book 
of Judith, the whole stress of the defence of Palestine against 
Holofemes is laid on the same tribe; they were ''charged to 
keep the passages of the hill country, for by them there was an 
entrance into Judsa, and it was easy to stop them that would 
come up, because the passage was straight for two men at the 
most*." A pass so narrow as is here intimated probably does 
not exist in this part of Palestine. But the general effect of 
the description is correct; and although Bethulia, the city 
besieged by Holofemes, is unknown', perhaps even a mere in- 
vention, yet there is one place mentioned as the point on which 
all the defences turned, and of which the notices agree with 
those in other parts of the Jewish history, namely Dothain. 
This appears to have been identified by the modem name of 
Dotan, a little on the west of what is now the usual descent on 
the plain from the hills'. It is a green knoll, rising out of a flat 
grass field, interspersed with ancient cisterns. Its first appear- 
ance — ^not, however, without some doubt — is in the story of 
Joseph. He left " the 'valley ' of Hebron " — sought his brothers 

1 Judith ir. 7. > Van de Velde, L 364—868. Bobin- 

' It may poaribly be the fortress of son, Lat Bes. 123. 
Sttnr, mentioned above. 



[qhap. t. 

at Shechem — ^heard of them from a man in the coltivated ''field,'* 
so often mentioned — and found them at Dothain, or the ' Two 
Wells.' Into one of these wells, as it would seem, his brethien 
«ast him, when, coming up from Esdraelon, they saw the Arabian 
merchants on their way from the mountains beyond the Jordan 
join the great Egyptian route along the maritime plain\ The 
next appearance is more certain. At Dothain, or (as it is here 
written, in a contracted form) Dothan, Elisha was living', when 
the Syrian army with its chariots and horses came up, no 
doubt from Esdraelon, on its way to Samaria. 



Two complete accounts have been given of Mount Gherizim, — one 
by Dr. Bobinson', who saw it in 1838, the other by M. de Saulc/, 
who saw it in 1851. I have ventured here and there to add a few 
confirmations or illustrations of my remarks from the mouth of the 
Samaritan, Jacob es-Shellaby, who acted as our guide in 1851. 

The mountain is ascended by two well-worn tracks, one leading 
from the town of N&blus at its western extremity, the other from 
the valley on its northern side, near one of the two spots pointed 
out as Joseph's tomb. It is on the eastern extremity of the ridge 
that the ''holy places" of the Samaritans are collected. First, 
there occurs the small hole in the rocky ground where the lamb is 
roasted on the evening of the Passover*; next, the large stone 
structure, supposed by M. De Saulcy to be the remains of the 
Samaritan temple, and by Dr. Bobinson to be the ruins of the 

1 Gen. xxxrii. 12— 28. The traditional 
ioene of Joseph's ad^entureB is in the 
plain of the upper Jordan, immediately 
north of the Lahe of Gennesareth, and 
its site marked by an ancient khan, bear- 
ing his name, "Khan Ynsnf," as its 
neighbonrhood is by the '* Bridge of the 
Daughters of Jacob,*' over the river, and 
its consequences, by the black and white 
stones on the shores of the lake, said to be 
the marks of Jacob's teais. (See Chapter 
II.) But there is no trace there of the 
name of Dothan, nor does it so well agree 
with the rest of the stoiy ; and the whole 
eyde of local tradition may have grown 
up from the belief of later times, that 
Jaeob lived and died in the holy city of 

Safed, which is in the centre of that RgioiL 
One expression, however, suggests a doaU 
whether, after all, it is not the pisce. 
The pit of Joseph was **in the wiUUrnm'' 
(midbar). (Gen. xxxvii. 22.) This word 
might, as in the Qospela, be aj^ed to 
the desert- valley of the Jordan hsrdly 
to the valleys of Samaria. 

s 2 Kings vL 18. * B. E. iii. 124. 

^ Journey round the Dead Sea, Ac, ii. 

* I have given the whole scene of tiie 
Samaritan Passover in detail, as I wit- 
nessed it in 1862, in Notices of LooaUties 
in the East, Ac, pp. 17&— 181. See 
also Mr. Rogers's Notices of the Modsn 
Samaritans, p. 25. 


fortieea of Justinian ; but in either case occupying the site of the 
ancient temple. In one of the towers of this edifice, on the north- 
east angle, is the tomb of a Mussulman saint, Sheykh Ohranem\ 
Under the southern wall of this castle or temple, is a line of rocky 
slabs, called the "ten stones," in commemoration of the ten (or 
twelve) stones brought by Joshua, or of the ten tribes of the 
northern kingdom. They have every appearance of a large rocky 
platform: the twelve (for there are twelve distinctly marked) 
divided each from each by natural fissures. It was also pointed 
oat to him as the '* burning-place " of the victims (Kar-rakah). 
Beyond this platform, and still further to the east, is a smooth 
surface of rock, sloping down to a hole on its south side. The 
rock, according to the present story, is the holy place ; the scene 
of Abraham's sacrifice ; the Bethel of Jacob ; the spot where the 
Ark rested ; the hole in the Holy of Holies. But it can hardly be 
doubted that it is the original sanctuary ' ; and that the hole is an 
aperture for the sewerage of the blood of victims ; and it thus 
famishes an illustration of the threshing-floor of Araunah, on 
which the altar of David and Solomon was built, with the cavity ' 
underneath for the reception of the blood and garbage. 

I have stated that there is every probability that G^rizim, and not 
Jerusalem, is the scene of two of the most remarkable events in the 
history of Abraham. 

1. The meeting with Melchizedek (Ghen. xiv. 17, 18) is expressly 
fitated in the fragment of Theodotus preserved by Eusebius, j^eetins 
to have occurred in " Ar-Gerizim," the " Mountain of the with Mel- 
Most High\" It is clear that this, as in the analogous case chkedek. 
of Ar-Mageddon, is simply the Greek version of *' the mountain of 
GMzim," the uniform mode of designating that eminence. So I 
observed that Jacob es-SheUaby always called it '' Ar»Gkrizim " in 
Arabic That it should have been thus early set apart as the 
^'mountain of the Most JSigh,^* is natural, from the commanding 
appearance which it presents, especially as seen from the plain of 
Philiatia and Sharon, up which, in all probability, the old Gerizites, 
from whom it derives its name, must have swept from the Desert. 
And its elevation above the neighbouring hills is so great as naturally 
to deserve the supremacy which Josephus gives it, 9f *' the highest 
of sll the mountains of Samaria*.*' 

This traditional selection of G^rizim as the scene of the meeting 


* The same name irai reported to 00 probably was merely from the Moasnlmaii 

Ai U> De Sanley, ii. 867. guide's association of such a spot with tha 

' See Chapter IIL niche of the ** Mihrab " in mosques. 

' To us, as to De Sauley, a niche or * Euseb. Pnep. Ev. is. 22. 

apse in the '< castle** was shown as the * Ant XL viii. 2. 
" Kibleh *' of the Samaritans. But this 




■^OBIP. T. 

with Helchizedek is further confirmed bj all the circumsttnees of 
the narrative. Abraham was returning from his victoij oyer the 
eastern kings at Dan, at the head of the Valley of Jordan, when he 
was welcomed by the king of Sodom "at the valley of Shafeh, 
which is the king's 'valley,"* or, as the Septuagint renders it, 
** of the kings," probably in allusion to this very meeting\ This 
valley is mentioned once again expressly as "the king's valley," 
where Absalom had erected his tomb*. It was conjectured in later 
times, that this valley was the ravine of the Kedron on the east of 
Jerusalem ; and the conjecture has been perpetuated by the name 
of Absalom's tomb attached to the most conspicuous of the mona- 
ments in that ravine. But the context in both places leads to the 
conclusion that the place was somewhere near the Valley of the 
Jordan, probably on its eastern side, where the death of Absalon 
occurred, and where it would therefore be mentioned aa a singukr 
coincidence that he had erected his monument near the scene of hiB 
end. The only other occasion on which the word " Shaveh " is uaed 
(meaning, apparently, a dale, or level space), occurs in these same 
parts, in the northern extremity of Moab, " Shaveh-EiriathaimV' In 
such a level space in one of the valleys, Abraham would naturally be 
met by the grateful king of Sodom. And at this same spot would 
also appear the king of the neighbouring town of Salem, of which 
the name possibly occurs again in the same vicinity in the history of 
Jacob ; then again, after a long interval, in Judith iv. 4; then in the 
history of John the Baptist, and still lingers in a village seen from 
the summit of Gterizim in the valley which leads out of the plain of 
Shechem towards the Jordan^. He was abo priest of the Most 
High God^-that is the very name, as we have seen, under whi(h 
God was worshipped on the summit of Gtenzim — ^and to him as the 
royal guardian and minister of the most ancient and oonspicuooB 

' Qen xiT. 17. JosephuB calls it v^Blov 
fiofftXtioy (Ant. I. x. 2), an expression 
which he conld nerer haTe applied to the 
Valley . of Jehoahaphai. On the otl^er 
hand (in Ant. YIL x. 8), in speaking of 
Absalom's tomb, he calls it KotAat fia- 
tnXu^, and speaks of it as only three 
stadia from Jerusalem. 

> 2 Sam. XTiii. 18. 

' Qen. xiT. 5. See Appendix, Shaveh. 

^ Zvttmi^ speaks of having seen large 
rains at Salem, near Seythopolis, bear- 
ing the name of ** Melchixedek*s Palace." 
Epiphanins (Adv. Hsbx'. ii. "p. 469) speaks 
of its sitnation exactly where it is now 
shown, in the plain opposite Shechem. 
The other and now more popular tradi- 
tion, which Epiphanius describes as exist- 
ing in his time, and which is also adopted 
by Snidas {voce Melchisedek), supposes 

Salem to have been the ancient name of 
Jebus, and that the subsequent appliea- 
tion of this name to the Holy CUy was 
merely a revival of its ancient appella* 
lion. In favour of this belief, is :-Hl.) 
The fact that Jerusalem is ooee so oaliad 
in Psalm Ixxvi. 2. (2.) The authority of 
Josephus (Anl I. x. 2), who ezpresily 
identifies the Salem of Melchisedek with 
Jerusalem. (3.) The incidental eonfinna- 
tion of it in the name of Melchised^ 
^the King of Righteousness) — which might 
seem to be tJie natural preenisor of 
Adoniiedek (the Lord of Kighteoosness), 
king of Jebus in the time of Joohoa. 
But the concurrence of testimonies aad 
probabilities is decidedly in Csvoor of the 
northern Salem, and there is no tnoe of 
any belief to tiie contrary in the Scrip- 
tures themselves. Jerome inclined to ths 


aanctnaiy of Palestine, Abraham paid the tenth of the recently 
acquired spoil. 

2. What 18 afEbrmed by the Gentile tradition with regard to the 
connection of Oerizim with Melchizedek, is afiB.rmed by the Sacrifice of 
Samaritan tradition with regard to its connection with the ^s^^* 
sacrifice of Isaac. '* Beyond all doubt " (this is the form in which the 
stoiy is told amongst the Samaritans themselves) '* Isaac was offered 
on Ar-Gerizim. Abraham said, ' Let us go up and sacrifice on the 
mountain.' He took out a rope to fasten his son ; but Isaac said 
'No: I will lie stiU.' Thrice the knife refused to cut. Then God 
from heayeu called to Gabriel, * Go down and save Isaac, or I will 
destroy thee from among the Angels.' Prom the seventh heaven 
Gfabriel called and pointed to the ram. The place of the ram's 
capture is still shown near the Holy Place." The Jewish tradition, 
as represented by Josephus, transfers the scene to the hiU. on which 
the temple was afterwards erected at Jerusalem, and this belief has 
been perpetuated in Christian times as attached to a spot in the 
garden of the Abyssinian Convent, not indeed on Mount Moriah, 
but immediately to the east of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, 
with the intention of connecting the sacrifice of Isaac with the 
Crucifixion. An ancient thorn-tree, covered with the rags of 
pilgrims, is still shown as the thicket in which the ram was caught. 
But the Samaritan tradition is here again confirmed by the circum- 
stances of the story. Abraham was *' in the land of the Philistines." 
From the south of the plain he would advance, till on the 
morning of "the third day," in the plain of Sharan, the massive 
height of Gerizim is visible "afar off," and from thence half a& 
day would bring him to its summit. Exactly such a view is 
to be had in that plain^ ; and on the other hand, no such view or 
impression can fiurly be said to exist on the road from the south 
to Jerusalem, even if what is at most a journey of two days 
could be extended to three. The towers of Jerusalem are indeed 
Been from the ridge of Mar Elias, at the distance of three miles f 
but there is no elevation, nothing corresponding to the "place 
afar off" to which Abraham " lifted up his eyes." And the spe- 
cial locality which Jewish tradition has assigned for the place, 
and whose name is the chief guarantee for the tradition — Mount 
Moriah, the Hill of the Temple — ^is not visible till the traveller is 
close upon it, at the southern edge of the valley of Hinnom, from 
whence he looks down upon it, as on a lower eminence*. And when 
from the circumstances we pass to the name, the argument based 
upon it in favour of Jerusalem is at least equally balanced by the 

belief that JacoVs Salem iras Shecbem Melchizedek's abode to some spot on the 

itaelf^ though he mentione another near eastward of Nablne. 

Scythopolu, and also one on the vest of ' See Chapter YI. 

JenmlenL The Samaritan tndition fixes ' Barclay {Giij of the Great King, p. 

i252 BINAI AND PALESTIKB. [obaf. t. 

argument which it yields in favour of Gerizim. The name of 
Moriah, as applied to the Temple hill, refers to the vision of David 
after the plague. ** Solomon began to build the house in the Mount of 
'^ the appearance ' (moriah) [of the Lord], where He appeared (tureah) 
unto David his father^." Some such play on. the word is apparent also 
in G-en. xxii. 8, 14, '' God will see " — ** in the mountain the Lord tikaU 
eee,^* where the Hebrew word employed, (Jehovah jireh,) is from 
the same root. But in the case of the mountain of Abraham's 
jsacrifice, it was probably in the first instance derived from its con- 
spicuous position as **seen from afar off;" and the name waa thus 
upplied not merely, to *' one of the mountains,'* but to the whole 
'* land ^ " — an expression entirely inapplicable to the contracted emi- 
nence of the Temple. The LXX, moreover, evidently unconscious 
of its identification with the Mount of Jerusalem, translate it, n^r 
yt)v T^v vt/ziyX^y, "the high land," — a term exactly agreeing with 
the appearance which the hills of Ephraim, and especially Gerizim, 
present to a traveller advancing up the maritime plain, and also 
with the before mentioned expression of Theodotus — *' the mountain 
of the Most High." It is impossible here not to ask, whether a 
trace of the name of Moriah, as applied to Gerizim, and its neighbour- 
hood, may not be found in the term " Moreh," applied in Gen. xii. 6, 
to the grove of terebinths in the same vicinity ? of which the same 
translation is given by the LXX, as of Moriah — ri^v ipvv ri^v v^Xi^r 
''the hiffh oak." Hebrew scholars must determine how far the 
difference of the radical letters of mo and miD is an insuperable 
objection to its identification. Li Gen. xxii. the Samaritans actually 
read Moreh for Moriah ; and the LXX, Aquila, Symmachus, and 
Jerome, all translate the word by " lofty " or " conspicuous," which 
would be a just translation of '' Moreh," not of " Moriah." See 
Bleek, in Theologische Studien nnd Kritiken, 1831, p. 520. 

Mr. Grove has pointed out to me a probable confirmation of this 
view in Amos vii. 9, 16, where ''the high places of Itaae" and 
" the house of Isaac " are mentioned as amongst the sanctuaries of 
the northern kingdom. 

58) notices a rock in the valley of the never have been on the regolar road from 

Kedron, from which Jeniialem can he seen the South. 

■ome miles to the Sonth. But this oonld ^ 2 Chron. iiL 1. ' Qen. xxii. 2* 



Zeph. ii. 5, 6^ 7. " Woe unto the mhaVitants of the sea ooMts, the nattoft^ 
ef the CSierethites f the word of the Lord is agamst yon ; Canaan, the land 
of tiie Philistinesi I will even destroy thee, that there ahall he no kJiabitant, 
And the eea coast shall be dwelliogs and 'cisterns* for shepherdSy and folds 
for flocks. And the coast shall be for the remnant of the house of Jndi^ ^ 
th^ shall feed thereupon." 

Judges T. 17. " Why did Ban remain in ships ? ** 

Isaiah Ixv. 10. " Sharon shall be a fold of flocks.** 

Acts iz. 85. "All that dwelt in Lydda and Saron • • . turned unto 
the Lord.'* 

Judges T. 17* "Asher continued on the sea shore^ and abode in his 

Bsek. xzrii. 8, 4. ** Tyrus . • . thy borders are in the midst of the 

Maritime ?]am.— L TheSmrasLAB : thePkiUstinet : 1. MiritinweliancUr 
— name of PALisnifa ; 2. Theatrongholde-Hneges; 3. Coni-field»--eoB- 
taet withDan ; 4. Lerel plam—contact with Bgypt and the Deeert IL 
Plaih ov Shabon — ^pastnie-land — ^Dor — fo re et Cbeaaw— ccmneetioa 
vith Apostolic hiatory. IIL Plazh and Bat ov Aorb — ^Tribe of Aaber. 
IV. Pumr ov PH<iiaau : 1. Separation from Paleatuie ; 2. Harboui; 
3. Security ; i. Biven. Tyre and Sidon— name of St&ia. 


We have now reached what was in fact the northern frontier 
of the chief home of the chosen people. All the main historical 
events of their domestic history passed in the mountains of 
Ephraim and of Judah. This clump of hills was the focus of 
the national life. All the parts of Palestine that lay round it 
to the west, to the north, and to the east were comparatively 
foreign ; the south, as we have seen, ended in the Desert. 

The point to which we have thus attained, overlooking from 
the outposts of Manasseh the great battle-field of Esdraelon, 
compels us to make a retrograde movement and consider the 
Maritime Plain extending along the western coast, with which 
the plain of Esdraelon stands in close connection. 

L Beginning from the southern Desert, the first division of 
this plain, which comprised the territory of the ancient Philis- 
tines, is uniformly termed in the Old Testament, The ifpheShe- 
iou?(7o!m*ry("Shephelah")'. The boundaries of their pheiah,* or 
territory, though indefinite, may be measured by their 
five great cities ; of which Ekron is the furthest north, and 
Gaza the furthest south. Two parallel tracts divide the flat 
plain : the sandy tract (Bamleh), on which stand the maritime 
cities ; and the cultivated tract, which presents for the most part 
an unbroken mass of com, out of which rise here and there 
slight eminences in the midst of gardens and orchards, the seats 
of the more inland cities. Gath^ has entirely disappeared, but 

* ** S1iq;>1iBlaIi,'* the Hebrew word, is pre> See Appendix, sub voce, 
•erred Qntnaalated in 1 Maco. xiL 38. > See Porter^s Syria and Palestioe. 

256 SINAI AND PALESTINE. [ohip. tl 

Ekron, Ashdod, Gaza, and Ascalon retain their names ; and 
the three last have sites sufficiently commanding to justify their 
ancient fame. The four points thus indicated in the Philistine 
territory — ^its seaboard, its strongholds, its fertility, its level 
plain — explain much of the Philistine history. 

1. Without losing ourselyes in doubtful discussions as to 
ifaritime their origin, it is obvious that the Philistines were 
tte PW^^^ emphatically " strangers "*. They v^ere " strangers " 
listinak from beyond the western sea, whether from Asis 
Minor, as seems to be implied in the name of Gaphtor (accord* 
ing to the LXX, Gappadocia), or from the nearer island of Crete, 
as seems to be implied in their appellation of Gherethites*. 
To such colonists the southern shores of Palestine offered d 
home. On those shores they long retained their ancient sea- 
faring worship. Dagon, the " Fish-god," was honoured witli 
stately temples even in the inland cities of Gaza and Ashdod', 
Derceto, the Fish-goddess, was worshipped at Ascalon*; and 
near Jaffa, the modem village of Beit-Dejan preserves the 
name of another " House of Dagon," of which the ancieni 
records make no mention. It is remarkable that of their own 
seafaring habits there is no authentic trace. Jaffa or Joppa 
was the only port on their coast, and that apparently was always 
in the hands of the Israelites. Within its narrow limits the 
neighbouring tribe of Dan " remained in ships*,*' during the 
conflict of the central and northern tribes with Sisera. Ta 
the port of Jaffa came the rafts for Solomon's Temple, and 
from that port Jonah embarked on his distant voyage. But 
though the Philistines themselves made no apparent use of 
the sea, their maritime situation must account for the curious 
fact, that from this foreign and hostile race the Holy Land 
acquired the name by which it is most commonly known in 
the Western world. Palestine, or " the land of the Philis- 
Name of tines," was the part of Judsea with which the Greeks 
PALnrm. ^^^ g^g^. j^^^ chiefly acquainted, as they followed in 
the track of the Egyptian Pharaohs and Ptolemies along this^ 

« Sneh is the probable meaning of the * Diod, Sic ii. 4. 

word, and lo the LXX usnaUj render it • Judg. r. 17. See also the inierip- 

— 'oAXo^^Aei. tion of King Bsmnnaaar dacribed i» 

* Zeph. ii. 6. Note Cat the end of thia Chapter. 

« 1 Sam. T. 2; Judg. xtL 28: 1 
ICaoo. X. 84. 


narrow strip of Syria, or as their vessels may occasionally have 
touched at Jafia. And thus by a process similar, though con- 
verse, to that by which the Bomans gave the name of Asia and 
AMca to the two small provinces which they first possessed on 
those two continents, or the English applied the name of the 
whole Teutonic race (Dutch) to that people of Germany which 
lay immediately opposite their own shores, the title of '^ Phi- 
listia," or " Palestine," was transferred from the well-known 
frontier to the unknown interior of the whole country. 

2. The cities have been already enumerated. There is 
nothing specially to distinguish them each from each. TheStroog- 
They rise above the plain on their respective hills ; ^<>^- 
<jaza, Ashdod, and Ekron withdrawn from the coast, Ascalon 
and Jaffa situated upon it. They are all remarkable for the 
extreme beauty and profusion of the gardens which surround 
them — ^the scarlet blossoms of the pomegranates, the enormous 
oranges which gild the green foliage of their famous groves. 
Well might Jaffa', " the beautib(ul," be so called ; well might 
Ascalon be deemed the haunt of the Syrian Venus. Her 
temple is destroyed, but the Sacred Doves' — sacred by imme- 
morial legends on the spot, and celebrated there even as late 
as Eusebius, — still fill with their cooings the luxuriant gardens 
which grow in the sandy hollow within the ruined walls. These 
cities, thus situated on the grand route of the invaders of 
Palestine from north or south, have always played a part in 
resisting the attacks of besieging armies. The longest siege 
recorded in history was that conducted for twenty-seven years 
by Psanunetichus against Ashdod. Gaza, protected both by 
its eminence and by the sandy tract' reaching up to the 
base of the hill on which it stands, provoked the siege which 
has left so deep a stain on the character of Alexander. In 
Ascalon was entrenched the hero of the last gleam of history 
which has thrown its light over the plains of Philistia. Within 
the walls and towers stil^ standing, Bichard held his court ; 
and the white-faced hill which, seen from their heights forms 
so conspicuous an object in the eastern part of the plain, is 

^ See Chapter Y. p. 243. Dovbb, in Diod. fiie. u. 4. 

^ Seethe legendary origin of the Sacred * See Grote'a Greece^ zii. 198. 


258 SINAI AND PALESTINE. [caip. ^t. 

the '' Blanche-Garde " of the Crusading chroniclers, which 
vdtnessed his chief adventures'. 

3. But the most striking and characteristic feature of Phi- 
listia is its immense plain of cornfields, stretching 
from the edge of the sandy tract right up to the yeiy 
wall of the hills of Jndah, which look down its whole length 
from north to south. These rich fields must have been the 
great source at once of the power and the value of PhiUstia; 
tiie cause of its frequent aggressions on Israel, and of the un- 
ceasing efforts of Israel to master the territory. It was in fact 
a " little Egypt." As in earlier ages the tribes of Palestine, 
when pressed by famine went down to the Valley of the Nile, 
80, in later ages, when there was a famine in the hills of 
Samaria and the plain of Esdraelon, the Shunammite went 
with her household " and sojourned in the land of the Philis- 
tines seven years'." In that plain of com, and those walls of 
rock, lies the junction of Philistine and Israelite histoiy, which 
is the peculiarity of the tribe of Dan*. This region is what the 
kings of Sidon regarded as ** the root of Dan ^." These are the 
fields of " standing corn," with " vineyards and olives" amongst 
Contact them, into which the Danite hero sent down tiie 
with Dan. "three hundred 'jackals*'" from the neighbouring 
hills. In the dark openings here and there seen from far in 
the face of those blue hills, were the fortresses of Dan, whence 
Samson ''went down*" into the plain. Through these same 
openings, after the fall of Goliath, the Philistines poured back 
and fled to the gates of Ekron, and through these the mikh- 
idne, lowing as they went, carried back the Ark to the hills 
of Judah\ In the caves' which pierce the sides of the lime- 

^ May it not also be '^LibnaJi,'* the (Baalath), belongmg to Judah, and tbe 

** Wliite dty," which Sennacherib was fields to Dan. (Schwan, p. 1S8). So at 

besieging (2 Kings xiz. 8) immediately Hebron the city belonged to Levi, and ibe 

before the destruction of his army f The fields to Judah : Joeh. zzi. 11, 12. 
name, the situation, and the strength of * See Note C. 
the position, perfectly agree. (Compan * **Shnalim," Jnd. zr. 4« 

Joshna xr. 42.) ^nd. xir. 1, 5, 7. 

« 2 Kings viii. 2. ? 1 Sam. xvii. 62 ; tL 12. 

* With the exception of the erents of ^ That both these carenis were ia 

Samson's life, the history of the southern this direction is implied by the ooatexk 

portion of Dan is too closely interwoven Samson, i^fter the slanghter at Tinnath, 

with that of Judah to be further dere- **v>ent down into the 'cleft* of the 

loped. In one instance the Talmud 'cliff' Btam," and there concealed him- 

apeaks of the houses of a partienlar city self tiU he was ^'brought «p" ^J ^^ 

cn*p. vl] THB MARITIMB PLAIN. 259 

stone cliffs of Lekieh and Deir-Dubbon on the edge of the plain, 
may probably be found the refuge of Samson in the " cliff " 
Etam, before his victory with the jawbone ; as perhaps after- 
wards of David in the cave of Adullam. It is not often that 
on the same scene, events so romantic have been enacted at 
such an interval of time, as the deeds of strength which were 
wrought in this plain by him, " before whose lion ramp the 
bold Askalonite fell/' and those of our own Coeur de Lion. 

4. As these plains form the point of junction and contrast 
with the hills of Judah on the west, so they form a Level 
point of junction and similarity with the wide pastures ^^*^« 
of the Desert on the south. This &ee access &om the wilder* 
ness to the unprotected frontier of FhiUstia is what Contact 
in more recent times has always attached its for- ^^^^^ 
tunes more or less to those southern regions. Gaza Desert, 
was and is the frontier city of Syria and the Desert, on the 
south-west, as Damascus on the north-east ; and standing as 
it does on its solitary eminence with no protection but its 
snrromiding sand and mud, it was imable to restrain the 
advance of any enemy £rom that quarter. Hence the frequent 
march of the Egyptian kings through *the low country.*' 
Hence the possession of this plain by the Edomite Arabs, 
who, taking Eleutheropolis for their capital, occupied it .under 
the name of Idumtea, during the period of the Herods. 
Hence the insecurity of these parts at the present 
day from the unchecked incursions of the Bedouin tribes ; 
reproducing a likeness of the desolations, which, probably 
from the same cause, befell this same region at the close of 
the Jewish monarchy. " Canaan, the land of the Philistines, 
I will even destroy thee that there shcdl be no inhabitant, and 
the sea coast shall be dwellings and ' cisterns ' for shepherds, 
and folds for flocks*." 

n. The corn-fields of Philistia, as we advance further 

men of Jndah (Judges zr. 8, 13), Dayid Appendix § 8. For the probable identifi- 

fled from Gath to the cave of Adullam, cation of these cares, see Van de Velde, 

and all his fathei's house went down iL 140, 157. 

from thB hills of Bethlehem to visit him ^ 1 Kings zix., 8 (libnah) ; zxiii., 29 ; 

then (1 Sam. xxiL 1). Adullam is 2 Chron. zzzr., 20, 22 ; 2 Chron. zii., 

slso fixed \fj Joshua xr. 85, to be in the 2 — 4 ; and 2 Chron. xiy., 9,10, compared 

Skejkdaht ^^^ being the irord rendered with Josh, xr.^ 44. 

**TsUej**]a Terse 88. For ^SAfpAe^ see < Zeph. IL 5, 6. 

8 2 




north, melt into a plain, less level and less fertile, though 
still strongly marked off &om the mountain*wall of Ephraim, 
Plaiitov as that of Philistia was from* the hills of Judahand 
Shabo*. j)jm^ rpj^g jg « Sharon," a name of the same root 

as that used to designate the table-lands beyond the Jordan 
C^ Mishor "), and derived from its smoothness — ^that is, appa- 
rently, its freedom from rock and stone*. Like the Philistme 
plain it is divided into the '' Bamleh,*' or sandy tract along the 
sea-shore, and the cultivated tract further inland, here called 
" Khassab," the "reedy ; " apparently from the high reeds 
which grow along the banks of some of the streams which here 
faU into the Mediterranean ; one of them always having borne 
that name — "Kanah"" or the "reedy." It is interspersed 
with corn-fields and thinly studded with trees, the remnants, 
apparently, of a great forest which existed here down to the 
second century*. Eastward the hiUs of Ephraim look down 
upon it — the huge roimded ranges of Ebal and Gerizim* 
towering above the rest ; and at their feet the wooded cone, on 
the summit of which stood Samaria. But its chief fame then, 
Pasture- as now, was for its excellence as a pasture-land. Its 
^^* wide undulations are sprinkled with Bedouin tents 

and vast flocks of sheep ; the true successors of " the herds 
which were fed in Sharon," in David's reign, under " Shitrai 
the Sharonite \" and of " the folds of flocks,'* which Isaiah 
foretold in " Sharon," as the mark of the restored Israel*. 
Probably this very fact, then as now, rendered it insecure, and 
therefore unfrequented by the Israelites of the mountain countiy 
above; at any rate during the whole period of the Old Dispen- 
sation no one historical name or event is attached to this 
Dor and ^^strict. The only town that marked the region in 
Naphath- early times is Dor, with its surrounding district of 
"Naphath-Dor'." It was the northernmost limit of 


1 Like the Greek word iuptKfis, (See 

* Joshua zvi. 8 ; xviL 9. In the 
Gemara (Shevith, fd. 38, 4), reeda are 
mentioned as the special mark of streams. 
(Beland's Palestine, p. 806.) 

' EXra Zpvfios iiHyas ris, Straho, zrii. 
ApvpMs is the same word by which the 
LXX haye /translated ''Sharon,** in Isa. 
Ut. 10, certainly not from its real 

meaning, and therefore probably li^ia^ 
this well-known feature by which to tfaem 
it was chiefly distingoished. It contin iied 
till the Cnisades (Michand, CL Yin.). 
*' SeeChapterV. p.249. 

* 1 Chr. xrriL 29. 

* Isaiah Ixr. 10. 

7 Josh. xi. 2 (" borders**) ; xiL 23 
("coast*') ; 1 Kings iy. 11 ("region'')- 
For the word Naphath, see Appesdix. 

cnip. Ti.] THE MARITIME PLAIN. 251 

the tribe of Dan ; but it was better known as the furthest 
southern settlement* of the Canaanites, joining on to that line 
of seaport towns which extends henceforth in regular succes- 
sion along the coast as far as Aradus, or Arvad. Its situation^ 
with its little harbour enclosed within the wild rocks rising 
over the shell-strewn beach, and covered by the fragments of the 
later city of Tantfbra, is still a striking feature on the lonely shore. 
But it was the fate of Sharon, as of some other parts of 
Palestine, after centuries of obscurity to receive a new Ufe 
under the Boman Empire. From being the least distinguished 
tract it rose in the reign of Herod almost to the first import- 
ance. On a rocky ledge, somewhat resembling that of Ascalon 
on the south, and Dor on the north, rise the ruins of Csesareay 
now the most desolate site in Palestine. Like the 
vast fragments of St. Andrew's in Scotland, they run 
out into the waves of the Mediterranean sea, which dashes over 
the prostrate columns and huge masses of masonry; but, 
unlike St. Andrew's — ^unlike in this respect to most Eastern 
rains — no sign of human habitation is to be found within the 
circuit of its deserted walls, no village or even hovel remains 
on the site of what was once the capital of Palestine. With 
his usual magnificence of conception, Herod the Oreat deter- 
mined to relieve the inhospitable barrier which the coast of his 
country opposed to the Western world, by making an artificial 
port, and attaching to it the chief city of his kingdom. The 
divergence of Eastern and Western ideas is well illustrated by 
the contrast between this Boman metropolis and those native 
capitals of Hebron, Jerusalem, Shechem, and Samaria, which 
we have already examined. Whatever differences distinguished 
those older cities from each other, they had this in common, 
that they were all completely inland. To have planted the 
centres of national and religious life on the sea-shore was a 
thought which never seems to have entered even into the 
imperial mind of Solomon. Far away at Ezion-Geber on the 
&ilf of Akaba, was the chief emporium of his trade. Even 
Jaffa only received the rafts which floated down the coast from 
Tyre*. To describe the capital as a place ^' where shall go no 

^ See Note 0. * 1 Kings iz. 27. t. 9. 

2U2 SINAI AND PALESTINE. [chap. tx. 

galley with oars, neither shall gallant ship pass by '," is not, as 
according to Western notions it would be, an expression of 
weakness and danger, but of prosperity and security. But in 
Herod this ancient Oriental dread of the sea had no existence. 
He had himself been across the Mediterranean to Borne, and 
on his alliance with Borne his own power depended ; and when, 
after his death, his kingdom became a Boman province, the 
city which he had called by the name of his Imperial patron, 
was still continued as the seat of the Boman governor, for the 
same reason as that which induced him to select the site — ^its 
maritime situation. From that sea-girt city, Pontius Pilate 
came yearly across the plain of Sharon, and up the hills, lo 
keep guard on the Festivals at Jerusalem. In the theatre, 
built by his father, — looking out, doubtless, after the manner 
of all Greek theatres, over the wide expanse of sea, Herod 
Agrippa was struck with his mortal disease *. 

The chief, indeed the only important link which Caesarea 
possesses with Sacred history, is that which is at once explained 
by the fact of its being the seat of government. Of all the 
Co ecti regions of Palestine there is none which is so closely 
of Sharon connected with the Apostolic history as this tract of 
^^^' coast between Gaza and Acre, and especially the 
Apostolic neighbourhood of Ctesarea. After the first few years 
^' or months of the Church of the Apostles, the scene of 
their labours was removed from the ancient sanctuaries of their 
race " in Judeea and Samaria " to " the uttermost parts of the 
land." Partly, no doubt, the half Gentile cities of the coast 
were more secure than the centres of national fanaticism in the 
interior ; partly in the growing consciousness of the greatness 
of, their mission, these vast Gentile populations had for them 
an increasing attraction, powerful enough to break through the 
old associations which had at first bound them to the scenes of 
their country*8 past history and of their Lord's ministrations. 

Philip, after his interview with the Ethiopian pilgrim on the 
road to Gaza, " was found at Ashdod, and passing through 
preached in all the cities till he came to CtesareaV' ^^^ there 

1 Iflaiah xzxiu. 21. « Acta ziL 21 ; Joaephni, Ani. XIX. tu. 2. 

• Acu viii. 26, 40. 



with his four daughters he made his home*. Peter ''came 
down " from the mountains of Samaria " to the saints which 
dwelt at Lydda ; and all they that dwelt at Lydda and Saron 
saw him and turned to the Lord :" and " forasmuch as Lydda 
was nigh to Joppa'/' he " arose and went '* thither to comfort 
the disciples mourning for the loss of Dorcas ; and there " he 
tarried many days " with the tanner, Simon, whose '' house was 
by the sea-side*/' On the flat roof of that house— overlooking 
the waves of the western sea, as they dash against the emerging 
rocks of the shallow and narrow harbour, — ^the vision appeared 
which opened to the nations far beyond the horizon of that sea 
'* the gates of the kingdom of Heaven," and which called the 
Apostle to make the memorable journey along the sandy ridge 
of the coast, to find on the morrow the first Gentile convert 
in the Boman garrison at GsBsarea. And lastly, it was in the 
castle of CflBsarea that Paul spent his two last years in the 
Holy Land, before he finally left the East for Home and Spaui. 
He was brought thither from Jerusalem, down the pass, already 
described, of Beth-horon, under cover of the nighty with the 
double escort of spearmen and of horsemen. They reached 
Antipatris at dawn, — on the edge of the plain ; and then the 
spearmen, needed for defence in the pass, and useless in the 
passage through the plain, returned to Jerusalem, leaving the 
mounted guard to gallop with their prisoner across the level 
ground to Csesarea*. 

These movements of the Apostles, no doubt, are connected 
only by the slightest thread with the ground over which they 
pass. The sight of the places throws but a very faint light on 
the history of the primitive "advance of Christianity. Yet it is 
not without importance to see the reason why they so turned 
around this hitherto unknown spot, and thus to trace back to 
its origin the first contact of the religion of the East with the 
power of the West. It is as if Ghutistianity already felt its 
European destiny strong within it, and by a sort of prophetic 
anticipation, gathered its early energies round those regions of 
the Holy Land which were most European and least Asiatic. 

1 Aeti xxL 8. * lb. is. 82, 85, 88. * lb. xxiii. 22, 81, 82. I owe tbifl 

* lb. ix. 43 ; z. 6. See Note A. local illustration to my friend Mr. Meade^ 

^ lb. xxiii. 31, 83. who foUowed this roate in 1361. 

264 ' SINAI AND PALBSTINB. foiLiP. ri. 

III. The plain of 'Sharon contracts beyond Dor, and there 
PiAiirAin) ^^^ appears rising at its extremity the long ridge 
Bat 09 of Carmel closing up its northern horizon. Bound 
^^^*' the promontory of Carmel, runs a broad beach, which, 
uninterrupted by the advance of tides, must always have 
afforded an easy outlet for the Philistine armies, for the kings 
of Egypt, for the forces of the Crusaders, to the bay of Accho 
or Acre. This bay with its adjacent plain, opening between 
Carmel and the hills of Galilee, and forming the embouchure, 
so to speak, of the great plain of Esdraelon, may be regarded 
in some respects as a continuation of the maritime tract which 
we have been hitherto following. There is still the same tract 
of white sand-hills, through which the two short streams of the 
Kishon and the Belus fall into the sea; and, beyond, a rich soil, 
perhaps the best cultivated and producing the most luxuriant 
crops, both of com and weeds, of any in Palestine. On the 
south of the plain rises the long ridge of Carmel, its western 
end crowned by the French convent ; on the north, the bluff 
promontory of the Ladder of the Tyrians, the modem Bas-en- 
Nftkiira, differs from Carmel in that it leaves no beach between 
itseK and the sea, and thus by cutting off all communication 
round its base, acts as the natural barrier between the bay of 
Acre and the maritime plain to the north-— in other worcte, 
between Palestine and Phcenicia. Acre, therefore, is the 
northernmost city of the Holy Land, on the western coast; 
and gathers round it whatever interest attaches to this corner 
of the country. As in the case of Csesarea, and for a similar 
reason, that interest is of a recent date, and thus, reversing 
the fate of all the other cities of Palestine, has grown and not 
decayed with the lapse of years. It is indeed of far older origin 
than Cffisarea, being one of the Canaanitish settlements, from, 
which the Israelites had been unable to expel the old inha- 
bitants' ; and it is a remarkable instance of the tenacity with 
which a Semitic name has outlived the foreign appellation 
impressed upon it* Ptolemais, — the title which it bore for the 
many centuries of Greek and Boman sway, — dropped off the 
moment that sway was broken, and in the modem name of 
Acre, the ancient Accho*, derived from the " heated sandy *^ 

* Judges L SI. 'See Gteaenms in voee, p. 1030. 

our. tl] THS MABITIMB PLAIN. 26& 

tract on which the town was built, re-asseii;ed its rights. But 
with the single exception of St. Paulas landing there when he 
commenced his last land journey to Jerusalem*, it has no con- 
nection with the course of the Sacred History. Asher was the 
tribe to whose lot the rich plain of Acre fell, — he " dipped hia 
foot in oil;'' his "bread was fat, and he yielded Tribe of 
royal dainties'.*' But he dwelt among the Canaan- '^■^*'- 
ites ; he could not drive out the inhabitants of Accho, or ot 
Achzib ; he gave no judge or warrior to Israel. One name 
only of the tribe of Asher shines out of the general obscurity, — 
the aged widow*, who in the very close of the Jewish history 
" departed not from the Temple at Jerusalem, but served God 
with fastings and prayers night and day." With this one 
exception, the contemptuous allusion in the Song of Deborah 
sums up the whole history of Asher, when in the great 
gathering of the tribes against Sisera, *' Asher continued on the 
sea-shore and abode in his ' creeks.' " So insignificant was the 
tribe to which was assigned the fortress which Napoleon called 
the key of Palestine; so slight is the only allusion, the only 
word that the Old Testament contains for that deep indentation 
of the coast, which to our eyes forms so remarkable a feature in 
the map of Palestine, a feature in the nomenclature of which 
the languages of the West are so prolific. Thither 
however, as to a natural and familiar haven, the 
European navigators of a later time eagerly came. Bad as the- 
harbour was, yet the mere fact of a recess in that long coast 
invited them ; and Caipha, at the opposite comer of the bay 
under the shelter of Mount Carmel, served as a roadstead. 
And when, as in later times, foreign rice became the staple food 
of the country, the importance of Acre, the only avenue by 
which it could regularly enter, was carried to the highest pitch. 
'' The lord of Acre may, if it so please him, cause a famine to 
be felt even over all Syria. The possession of Acre extended 
the influence of the famous Djezzar Pacha even to Jerusalem^." 
The peculiarity therefore of the story of Acre lies in its many 
sieges, — ^by Baldwin, by Saladin, by Kichard, by Ehalil, in? 
the middle ages ; by Napoleon, by Ibrahim Pacha, and by Sir 

^ Acts zxi. 7. the tribe of Aaer.'* Luke ii. 86. 

• Dent xxxiii. 24; Gen. xlix. 20. * Clarke's Trayela, It. 89. 

' "Anna, the daughter of PbaDnel, of 

266 SINAI AND PALESTINE. [ohap. tl 


Robert Stopford, in later times. It is thus the one city of 
Palestine which has acquired distinct relations with the Western 
world of modern history, analogous to those of CsBsarea with 
the Western world of ancient history. But the singular fate 
which it enjoyed at the close of the Crusades gives it a special 
interest never to be forgotten by those who in the short 
space of an hour's walk can pass round its broken walls. 
Within that narrow circuit — between the Saracen armies on 
one side, and the roar of the Mediterranean Sea on the other 
— ^were cooped up the remnant of the Crusading armies, after 
they had been driven from every other part of Palestine. 
Within that circuit " the kings of Jerusalem and Cyprus, of the 
house of Lusignan ; the princes of Antioch ; the counts of 
Tripoli and Sidon ; the great masters of the Hospital, the 
Temple, and the Teutonic Orders ; the Bepublics of Venice, 
Genoa, and Pisa; the Pope's legate ; the kings of France and 
England, assumed an independent command. Seventeen 
tribunals exercised the power of life and death "." All the eyes 
of Europe were then fixed on that spot. Acre contained 
in itself a complete miniature of feudal Europe and Latin 

IV. With the northern extremity of the plain of Acre, the 
Pi^iN ov coast of the Holy Land is naturally terminated by 
Phcekioia. the promontories of the Tyrian Ladder (Ras en- 
Nftkiira) and the White Cape (B&s el-Abyad) ; the first deriTing 
its name from the fact that it was the entrance into the Phoeni- 
cian territory, the latter fi:om its white rocks*. 

But though thus separated both historically and geographi- 
cally from Palestine, the plain of Phoenicia in all essential 
features furnishes so natural a continuation of the maritiine 
plain of Judaea and Samaria, that it will be best considered 
here. The double tract — of sand along the shore, of cultivated 
land under the hills, — still continues. The towns, too, 
resemble in their situation all those which we have hitherto 
noticed along the coast : standing out on rocky promontories, 
with very small harbours, natural or artificial. If there were 
any difference to be observed which might in any degree 
account for the far greater celebrity obtained by these cities in 

> Gibbon, TiL 442. are oompiiied ander the name of **Sah 

3 Probably both theee promontories Tyrioram.** 


commerce and navigation, it would be that tlie promontories of 
T}Te, Sidon, and Beirut project further, and thus form some- 
thing more of a protection, or of a sea-girt situation, than 
those of Ascalon, Jaffa, Dor, or Acre. Perhaps, also, the 
groTes and gardens which surround the ports &om which these 
promontories start, are, especially at Beirut and Sidon, more 
extensive and luxuriant even than those at Jaffa. This long 
line of coast, then, from the White Cape far up to Arvad — a 
length equal to that of the whole of Palestine &om Dan to 
Beersheba — is the famous country, second only to Palestine 
itself in its effect on the ancient world, called by the Hebrews, 
partly perhaps in allusion to its level plain, " Canaan" or " the 
Lowland," the more remarkable for its situation imder the 
highlands of Lebanon; called by the Greeks Phcenicia, or 
the ''Land of Palms," from the palm-groves which appear 
indeed at intervals all along the western coast, but here more 
than elsewhere*. 

So completely was the line of demarcation observed, which 
the Tyrian promontories interposed between Phoenicia giig^tn^g, 
and Palestine, that their histories hardly touch, ofitscon- 
Their relations were always peaceful : Solomon traded withPale»- 
with Hiram ; Ahab married the daughter of Ethbaal" ; tine, 
but the incessant wars, which brought the Assyrians from the 
north, and the Philistines from the south, into the heart of 
Judaea, never produced any contact with the great commercial 
states of this secluded tract* Not till the very last days of 
the Jewish monarchy do ve find any invasion of Jewish ter- 
ritory by the Phoenician kings. Jaffa and Dor, with their rich 
tract of adjacent corn-land, were then wrenched from the tribe 
of Dan and added to the Sidonian territory*, and from that 
time the southern boundary of Phoenicia was extended indefi- 
nitely along the coast to one or both of those two cities. 

Two exceptions, proving the rule, introduce higher visions 
into this primeval region of commerce and of letters. Over- 
looking the shore, whence Grecian fable imagined that Europa 
had taken flight; seated aloft on the top and side of one of 

* The palm "wm the emblem of Tyre, * 1 Kings xvi. 81. 

Sidon, Ml] Arrad. (See Kenrick'a Ph(B- * See Note C. 

. nida, p. 86.) 

268 SINAI AND FALBSTINE. [chap, tl 

the hills, the long line of which skirts the plain of PhoeniciA ; 
Eiy&h at conspicuous from far by the white domes of its many 
*^*"P**- tombs of Mussulman saints, is the modem Tillage 
of Surafend, the ancient Zarephath. Over those hills, in the 
great famine which fell alike on both Palestine and Phoenicia, 
came the great Israelite Prophet into the territory of the 
heathen Tyrians, and partook of the hospitality of the widowed 
mother. A curious distortion of the story still lingers in the 
Mussulman traditions of the neighbourhood. Close on the 
sea-shore stands one of these sepulchral chapels dedicated to 
'' El-Khudr," the Mohamedan representative of Elijah. There 
is no tomb inside, only hangings before a recess. This 
variation from the usual type of Mussulman sepulchres is 
" because El-Khudr, is not yet dead ; he flies round and roand 
the world, and those chapels are built wherever he has ap- 
peared. Every Thursday night and Friday morning there is a 
light so strong within the chapel that none can enter \*' 

Long afterwards, another Syro-Phcenician woman welcomed 
the approach of a greater Prophet in the same neighbour- 
hood. We know not the spot. Mediseval tradition points to 
Christ at ^^ ancient reservoir south of Tyre, called " the head 
Tyre. of the spring " — " B&s el-Ain." He rested, it was 

said, on a large rock, and sent Peter and John to bring him 
some water thence, which he drank, and blessed the beautifiDd 
spot whence it came*. At any rate somewhere within the 
Tyrian border the Lord's feet trod on Gentile ground, so far as 
we know, for the first and only time, since Joseph '* took the 
young child " back from Egypt. And onwards He went 
** through Sidon'," and crossed the high Lebanon range on His 
return to his usual haunts. 

But the very rarity of this intercourse with Palestine may 

justify a few words on the connection which bound so closely 

Htfbo together the plain of Phoenicia and the fortunes of 

its own inhabitants. First, its sea-board, with such 

little harbours as its headlands furnish, naturally made it 

1 So we were told by the peasants on 141, 142), Phocas ( AeU Sanetonun, Uvi^ 

the spot. For the legend of El-Ehndr, vol. ii.) 

koe Jelal-ed-din, 128 ; Schwan, 129, 446. * 8i& SiSwfoy in B. and D. OUA m 

* Mannderille (Barly Travellers, pp. 81). 


the earliest outlet of Asiatic enterprise. From this coast 
the inhabitants of that old continent must have made their 
discoveries ; and for the first beginnings of such voyages, as in 
the analogous case of Oreece, the smallness of the ports was 
not a sufficient objection. No one who has seen Mimychia 
and Phalerum need be surprised at the narrow space of the 
havens of Tyre and Sidon. Secondly, there was the 
protection of the vast range of Lebanon. This at ^®*"^^' 
once gave to the northern coast of Phoenicia a security which 
the southern coast of Philistia has never enjoyed. The Bedouin 
tribes, no doubt, occasionally cross the Tyrian Ladder or the 
Galilean hills into Phoenicia, but their incursions must be very 
rare compared with those to which Philistia has been subject, 
in early times &om the mountaineers of Judsea, in later times 
from the Arabs of the Sinaitic Desert. Thirdly, the 
ranges of Lebanon send across the narrow strip of ^*"" 
Phoenicia streams of a size and depth wholly unknown to 
Palestine. The Leontes, as we have seen, one of the four 
rivers of the Lebanon, though not equal in its effect on the 
conntiy which it waters to the other three, is yet the largest 
river in Syria, the largest river which the traveller from 
Egypt will have seen since he left the Nile. And the more nor- 
thern rivers, the " pleasant Bostrenus " — ^the modem Auwaly, 
hard by Sidon : the clear Lycus — Eiver of the Wolf or Dog; 
the romantic rivers of the Adonis and Kadisha — are amongst 
"the streams from * Lebanon," which must always have kept 
Phoenicia fresh and fertile. 

If from the country generally we turn to its more celebrated 
cities, there are several marked characteristics which belong to 
all of them, and which distinguish them from the cities of the 
southern plain. First, though none of them possess harbours 
in the modem sense of the word, they have all certain approxi- 
mations to it. Tyre and Arvad stood on islands ; and Sidon, 
Berytus (Beirut), and Tripolis(Tarabulus) on promontories, with 
a chain of islets in front or at their side. These islands served 

^ A Ukeness to it is found in a hnee ^ "Kadisha,** tho "Holy Stream." 
fngment of ruin at the river's month. See Chapter XII. 
^Ritter, iT. 510.) » Cant. iy. 15. 


in ancient times, and might to a still greater degree serve iu 
Tyre and modem times, for a protection from the storms of the 
Sidon. Mediterranean. The modern town has very much 
shrunk within its ancient limits. Not only has the town on the 
mainland disappeared, but a large part of the island — that is, 
what was the island before Alexander joined it to the shore by 
the present loDg sandy isthmus — lies bare and uninhabited; 
fragments of columns tangled together in the waves; large frag- 
ments, too, of masonry of the walls of the old port; huge walls 
of an ancient castle, and also of the old cathedral*. In this last 
lie, far away &om Hohenstauffen or Salzburg, the bones of the 
great Emperor Frederic Barbarossa, brought thither after the 
long funeral procession which passed down the coast from 
Tarsus to Tyre, to lay his remains beside the dust of a yet 
greater man — Origen. On this rugged rock {t9ur) the earhest 
sanctuary of Tyre, as of her own colony of Oades, was reared; 
Name of ^^^ ^^^^ ^^ ^^s derived the name of Tyre, or, 
Syria. according to its ancient Hebrew and modern Arabic 
name, Tsur^ and Sur — which, in all probability, led the Greeks 
to transfer the appellation of this, their first acquaintance, to 
the whole land of Syria. It is possible that the junction of 
the island of Tyre to the mainland, effected by Alexander s 
mole, suggested to him the formation of the double harbour of 
Alexandria, by uniting to the mainland the island of Pharos. 
It is said that the junction of the island of Ruad, or Arvad, to 
the mainland by like means, would render that ancient seaport 
the most available harbour in Syria. 

Secondly, Beirut,Tripoli,and especially Tyre and Sidon, enjoy 
the advantage of peculiarly fertile tracts immediately adjoining. 
The gardens of Sidon are conspicuous eveif from a distance. 
The plain of Tyre, with the copious springs of Bas el ain, has 
always been famous as one of the richest districts of the Turkish 

Thirdly, there were attached to some of them special natural 
productions of value. The purple shell-fish, on their rocky 
The purple promontories, — said still to be found at Tantiirah, — 
SheU-fish. furnished the Phoenician merchants one of their 
chief articles of trade. Sidon derives its name from the con- 

* For the topography of ancient Tyre, see Bitter, Lebanon, pp. S24 — 33^ 


▼enience of its projecting point for the first sea-fishermen to 
"catch" the '*fish*" of the Mediterranean, and even the rock of 
Tyre still answers the same purpose. Amongst all these cities, 
it is on Tjre that the attention of the Biblical student is chiefly 
iixed. Its main features can still be distinguished and illustrated 
l)y the situation of kindred cities elsewhere. The massive re- 
mains of the ancient walls of Anrad, nearly surrounding the 
island of the modern Buad, give some notion of the defences of 
Tyre. The limited size of the island led both in Tyre and Arvad 
to an arrangement which must have rendered them a striking 
exception to most Oriental, and to most ancient cities. For the 
sake of economising the narrow space, the 'houses of both were 
built up, fearless of earthquakes, to the height of many stories, 
recalling, says Strabo, the aspect of the gigantic mansions of the 
Augustan Home. With this lofty mass of edifices towering on 
its sea-girt rock. Tyre might well be thought a fit type of the 
ancient Queen of Commerce; and the prophet naturally spoke of 
her as a floating palace ; as a ship moored by the long strand ' ; '' in 
the midst of the seas," with her '' masts of cedar," her *' sails of 
fine linen, blue and purple," her "mariners, rowers, and pilots." 
There is one point of view in which this whole coast is 
specially remarkable. '*A mournful and solitary Dgg^ifttioa 
silence now prevails along the shore which once ofFhcuii- 
resounded with the world's debate." This sentence, 
with which Gibbon solemnly closes his chapter on the Crusades, 
well sums up the general impression still left by the six days' 
ride &om Beirut to Ascalon ; and it is no matter of surprise 
that in this impression travellers have felt a response to the 
strains in which Isaiah and Ezekiel foretold the desolation of 
Tyre and Sidon. In one sense, and that the highest, this 
feeling is just. The Phoenician power which the Prophets 
denounced has entirely perished; even whilst "the world^s 
debate'' of the middle ages gave a new animation to these 
shores, the brilliant Tyre of Alexander and Barbarossa had no 
real connection with the Tyre of Hiram ; and perhaps no 
greater stretch of imagination in ancient history is required 
than to conceive how the two small towns of Tyre and Sidon, 

' Kenriek*! FboniieiA, pp. 47, 68. ' For the elaborate representation of 

' Strabo. Tbie has been well eangbt Tjre as a ship, see Rzekid zzrii. 8 — 26 
byUaeanlay, Hisi. of Bng. vol t. (Eenrick, pp. 193, 8i9). 

272 SINAI AND PALESTINR [chip. ri. 

as they now exist, could have been the parent cities of Carthage 
and Cadiz, the traders with Spain and Britain, the wonders of 
the East for luxury and magnificence. So total a destmctioD, 
for all political purposes, of the two great commercial states 
of the ancient world has been frequently held up to commercial 
states in the modem world, as showing the precarious tenure 
by which purely mercantile greatness is held ; and in this 
respect the prophecies of the Hebrew seers' were a real revek- 
Hon of the coining fortunes of the world, the more remarkable 
because experience had not yet justified such a result. But to 
narrow the scope of these sublime visions to the actual build- 
ings and sites of the cities, is as unwarranted by facts as it is 
mistaken in idea. Sidon has probably never ceased to be a 
populous, and, on the whole, a flourishing town : small, indeed, 
as compared with its ancient grandeur, but never desolate, or 
without some portion of its old traffic ; and still encompassed 
round and round with the lines of its red silk manufacture. 
Tyre may perhaps have been in a state of ruin shortly after the 
Ohaldean, and subsequently after the Greek conquest of Syria. 
But it has been always speedily rebuilt ; and the magnificent 
columns which strew its shores and its streets at the present 
day, attest its splendour during a long portion of its existence 
— ^through the period not only of its ancient, but of its mediseval, 
history. After the termination of the Crusades, it still remained 
a seat of European factories; and, though confined within a 
very small part of the ancient city, it is still a thriving and 
well inhabited village, with a considerable traffic in millstones, 
conveyed from Hermon in long caravans, and thence exported 
to Alexandria. The period, during which it sunk to the lowest 
ebb, was from the close of the seventeenth to the beginning of 
the present century ; and the comparative desolation which it 
then exhibited no doubt presented some of the imagery on 
which so much stress has been laid, in order to convey the 
impression of its being a desolate rock, only used for the 
drying of fishermen's nets. But as this was not the case 
before that period, and is certainly not the case now, it is idle 
to seek for the fulfilment of the ancient prediction within those 
limits ; and the ruin of the empire of Tyre, combined with the 

* laa. xxiii 1, 15 ; Biek. xxrl—xrriu. 

'mip. 7L] THE ItASITDfE PLAIN. 273 

feviyal and continuance of the town of Tyre, is thus a striking 
instance of the moral and poetical, as distinct from the literal 
and prosaic, accomplishments of the Prophetical scriptures* 
The same argument applies with greater or less force to the 
prophecies against Ascalon, Damascus, and Petra, as well as 
to those of which the fulfilment is supposed to be yet future. 
If the reviyal of these cities, after their temporary destruction^ 
shows that we are not to press the letter of prophecy beyond 
its professed object, so also the destruction of Jerusalem by 
the Bomans shows that no expectations of its future prosperity 
can be founded on prophecies uttered long before that time in 
reference to its restoration by Ezra. It is possible that,, in the 
changes of the Turkish empire, Palestine may again become 
a civilised country, under Greek or Latin influences ; that the 
Jewish race, so wonderfully preserved, may yet have another 
stage of national existence opened to them ; that they may 
once more obtain possession of their native land, and invest it 
with an interest greater than it could have under any other 
circumstances. But the localities of Syria, no less than common 
sense and piety, warn us against confounding these specula- 
tions with divine revelations, or against staking the truth of 
Christianity and the authority of the Sacred Becords on the 
chances of local and political revolutions. The curse' on 
Ascalon must have expired before the time when it became the 
residence of the Herods and the court of the Crusaders. If 
Petra under the Boman empire rose into a great thoroughfare 
of Eastern traffic, and is now again, after a long interval of 
desertion, the yearly resort of European travellers, it is clear 
that the words' *' None shall pass through it for ever and ever,'' 
cannot be extended beyond the fall of the race of Esau. In 
like manner the curtain of prophecy falls on the Holy City, 
when ** Jerusalem was trodden down* " by the armies of Titus. 
Its successive revivals under Hadrian, Gonstantine, Omar, and 
Godfrey, as well as its present degradation, and its future 
vicissitudes, are alike beyond the scope of the Sacred Volume^. 

' Zeph. 11. 4, 7. * For the general question of the looal 

* lea. zzziT. 10; Jer zluu 18, predictions of the Old Teetament, see 

' Luke xii 24. Arnold*! Two Sermons on Prophecj. 

274 SINAI AND PALESTINE. [oiur. n. 



Onx of the fewlocalifcies which can cjaim to represent an hiBtorical 
scene of the New Testament is the site of the house of Simon, the 
tanner, at Jaffa. The house ittelf is a comparatiyelj modem building, 
with no pretensions to interest or stntiqmty. The outer door is from 
the street in which stand the Latin and Armenian convents, but no 
chnrcl^or convent appears to have been built on the site, and no other 
place is shown as such. The house is occupied bj Mussulmans, and 
regarded bj them as sacred; a small mosque or prajing-place is in 
one of the rooms, which is said, by the occupants, to commemorate 
the fact that " the Lord Jesus here 'asked God for a meal, and the 
table came down at once," a ren&arkable instance of the vulgar 
corruption of miracles so common in Mussulman traditions ; and, in 
this case, curious as an evident confusion of the Mahometan veraons 
of the Feeding of the Five Thousands and of the Last Supper', with 
the Yision of Peter. Such a tradition, even from the &ct of its 
distortion, and from its want of European sanction, has some ekim 
to be heard. And this claim is remarkcblj confirmed bj the circum- 
stances of the situation. The house Is close *' on the sea-shore ;" 
the waves beat against the low wall of its court-yard. Li the court- 
yard is a spring of fresh water, such as must always have been 
needed for the purposes of tanning, and which, though now no 
longer so used, is reported to have been so used in a tradition which 
describes the premises to have been long employed as a tsnnerj. 
It is curious that two other celebrated locahties may be still identified 
in the same manner. One is in Jerusalem. At the southern end of 
the Church of the Sepulchre stood the palace of the Knights of 
St. John. When Saladin took the Holy City, it is said that he 
determined to render the site of the palace for ever contemptible, 
by turning it into a tannery. And a tannery still remains with 
its offensive sights and smells amongst what are the undoubted 
remains of that ancient home of European chivalry. Another cise 
is nearer home. Every one knows the story of the parentage of 
William the Conqueror, how his father, under the romantic cliff oi 
Falaise^ saw Arlette amongst the tanneries. There, again, the 

1 See Weirs Biblical Legends, p. 226. 

- Koran, r. 118. (Calcatta Review, ir. p. 201.) 


tanneries still take adrantage of the numing streama which creep 
round the foot of the rock, — ^living memorials of the ancient storj. 

The rade staircase to the roof of the modem house, flat now as 
of old, leads us to the view which gives aU that is needed for the 
accompaniments of the hour. There is the wide noondaj heaven 
above ; in front is the long bright sweep of the Mediterranean Sea, 
its nearer waves broken bj the reefs famous in ancient GTentile 
legends as the rocks of Andromeda\ Pishermen are standing 
and wading amongst them — such as might have been there of 
old, recalling to the Apostle his long-forgotten nets hy the Lake 
of Gennesareth, the first promise of his future call to be '^ a fisher 
of men.** 


It may be expedient to give here two or three notices of places, 
not as being directlj connected vrith Sacred History, but as having 
been omitted in previous accounts. 

About three hours N. of Jaffa is a village on the sandy ridge of the 
"Eamleh," ^* BUMaram AU ibn-Aleim,** " the sanctuary of Ei-Haram 
Ali the son of Aleim," so called from the mosque and tomb and Anof. 
of that saint, whose story as related to us by the keeper of the mosque 
is as follows : '^ He was a dervish in the adjacent village of Arsuf, 
Sultan of all the dervishes of all the countiy round. The villagers 
thought not at all about G-od. When Sultan Bibars (from Egypt) 
came to besiege it, Ali — who lived in the town on alms that were 
given to him — baffled him by catching all the cannon-balls in his 
hands. A dervish from the besieging army, after some time, came 
to ask him the cause of the failure of all their attacks. Ali replied, 
' Will the Sultan make me a good mosque and tomb, and is he a 
good Mussulman ?' ' Yes,' answered the dervish. ' Send him then 
to me, disguised as a dervish.* The Sultan Bibars came and pro- 
mised to build for Ali the mosque and tomb; and Ali stipulated 
for tweniy-four hours before the cannonading was to begin anew. 
He then warned the people of Arsuf to become Mussulmans, 
threatening the fall of the town if they refused to listen to him. 
They disbelieved him; the twenty-four hours elapsed — ^the can- 
nonading recommenced — Ali no longer intercepted the balls, and 
the town was destroyed." 

The ruins of Arsuf are still visible on an eminence a little north 
of *' EI*Haram,*' with a fosse on the land-side, and walls on the sea- 

' Oompare Kenrick's FhoBnioia, p. 20. 

T 2 



[chap. n. 

side. The mosque of the " Haram " professes to be the one built 
bj Sultan Bibars in accordance with his promise, and the tomb 
which stands in the court of the mosque to have been built for 
the saint before his death, the body haying been let down into 
the vault below through the two ends of the tomb, which are now 
walled up\ 

Schwarz, confounding JEU and AU, supposes the inhabitants to 
represent this as the grave of SIL He says that on one side of the 
tombstone is a Hebrew, and the other a Samaritan, inscription ; and 
that the Samaritans constantly go to perform their devotions at it 
(p. 143). 

Um-Ehdlid is one of the chief villages of the plain of Sharon, and 
Um-SSia- the height above it commands one of the most striking 
Hd. views of the mountains of Ephraim, the very view in aU 

likelihood intended in the description of Abraham's approach to 
Mount G^rizim, when *^ he saw the place afar off'.*' It is so called 
from a great female saint, "Sittah Saba, the mother of Khalid," 
whose tomb is marked, not as usual by a mosque, but by a large 
enclosure in which it stands in the open air, under the shade of sd 
enormous fig-tree. The ancient and Hebrew name of Antipatrii^ 
which is situated about ten miles from XJm-Khalid, was Gaphar 
Saba, which is still preserved in the Arabic Kefr-S&ba. The not 
unnatural belief of the peasants of XJm*Khalid is, that this name ii 
derived from the Lady Saba who lies buried under their own fig-tree. 
It would be a curious question to know whether this is an accidental 
coincidence, or whether there was a real Hebrew or Syrian worthy 
in earlier times, who has been thus connected with the later Arabian 
traditions of Khalid of Damascus. 

^ Fliny speaks of the town and river 
of Crocodiles in Fhcsnicia (H. N. t. 19) ; 
and Strabo (xri.) places the town of 
Crocodiles between Aocho and OaBsarea, 
apparently near the latter. The fiict la 
noticed by Pooocke. The river in qnes- 
tion is a stream — fordable, bat deep— 
iounediately north of Onsarea, marked in 
Zimmermann's map as Nahr Zerka. The 
keeper of the mosqne of El-Haram enri- 
onsly confirmed the old story. He said 
at once that the liver was called " Moi 
Temsah** — "the water of the crocodile ** 
— «ni described, without any soggeetion 

on onr part, that he had seen in it em- 
tnres nearly as long as a bosl» with 
long tails like lisards. I give this te^* 
mony for what it is worth. The ma 
had never been in Bgypt, nor ever seoiu 
Bgyptian crocodile. Compare Eenxidc'i 
Phoenicia, p. 24. They are mentioiied 
by the Crusading HistoriaDS near thii 

' See Chap. Y.; note on Gerixin, p. 

' For the whole qoestion of Antipatii^ 
see Conybeare and Howaon on Sk Fksl, 
ToL ii. pp. 277, 278. 




Tbs FhcNiician plain, far bejond any part pf Palestine Proper, is 
itrewed with the distinct fragments of older civilisation. Xomb of 
One of these is the *' Tomb of Hiram/' which has been Hsmm. 
ahortlj described by Bobinson (iii. 884), and Yan de Yelde (i. 184) ; 
and engraved as a frontispiece to Captain Allen's work on the Dead 
Sea. It stands inland amongst wild rocky hills, about three miles 
from Tjre. It is a single gray sarcophagus hollowed out so as just 
to admit a body. A large oblong stone is placed over it, so as com- 
pletely to cover it» the only entrance being an aperture knocked 
through at its eastern extremity. The whole rests on a rude pedestal 
of upright unhewn stones. There are other broken stones in the 
neighbourhood. Our guide from Tyre (professing to derive hia 
iiifonaation from an Arabic work on Tyre called '' Torad,") said 
"that it was the tomb of King Hiram, buried at the eastern gate of 
old T)rre, which thence reached down the hill towards the sea." 

Another monument of unknown age is a circle of upright stones — 
as of Stonehenge — which rises amongst the bushes near ^ x^ n 
the shore, about an hour N. of the mouth of the Kh^imiyeh 
or lit^y, near Adlilbi^ These must be what M. Yan de Yelde 
(i. 208) saw from a distance, and what his guide told him '^ were men 
turned into stone for scoffing at Nabi Zur." Nahi Zur (of whom he 
here and elsewhere speaks) is evidently the Prophet j^r," t. e. the 
founder (Eponymus) of Tyre— as NM Sidoan of Sidon. A similar 
circle appears to exist under the name of Hadjar-Lasbah near the 
Bead Sea (De Saulcy, ii. 69). They are curious as probably examples 
or illustrations of the monumental stones so often mentioned in the 
Old Testament. 

To these must now be added the sarcophagus of Esmunazar, King 
of Sidon, fomid in the royal burial-place near Sidon, and 
now by the munificence of the Due de Luynes deposited in SAroopha* 
the Louvre. It is remarkable as bearing the only Phce- l^! !^,^ ^ 
nician inscription yet discovered in PhcBuicia. The inscrip- 
tion, which is double, consists chiefly of an imprecation much in the 
stjle, and occasionally in the very words, of the Hebrew Prophets, 
on any one who shall remove the sarcophagus or its cover from the 
place of interment. 

The Due de Luynes, who has published a learned commentary* on 

' See Kenrick*B Phoenicia, p. 19. soription fnn^ndre d'Esmunuar, par H. 

* Ittmoln sur le Saiwpbage et Tin* d' Albert de Lajnes. 

278 SINAI AND PALESTINK. [ciup. vl 

the whole inscription, arrives at the conclusion that Esmunazar lived 
at the end of the seventh century before the Christian era^ and there- 
fore in the last times of the Jewish monarchy. Near the doee of 
the inscription, Esmunazar expresses his gratitude to the God 
Milcom for having enabled him to conquer '' Dor and Japha, and 
wide-spread lands of corn in the root of Dan." The Duke in his 
commentary (p. 84) makes Dan to be the Northern colony (see 
Chapter XI.), and Dor and Japha to be respectively Hammoth-dor 
(Josh. xxi. 82) of Naphtali, and Japhia of Zebulun (Josh. xix. 12). 
But Esmunazar could hardly have attached such importance to these 
two obscure, only once-named towns. Nor have they any con- 
nection even with the northern Dan. The two cities must surely be 
Dor and Jaffa, already described in this chapter, celebrated as sea- 
ports, and both included in the territory of Dan.' With this also 
wiH best agree the further designation of *' lands of com " if this 
translation of n\T\H pi is adopted. To this the ample cornfields of 
Sharon and Fhilistia would correspond as well, as the rough hills of 
Zebulon and Naphtali correspond ill. Is it not, however, possible 
that the word " Dagau " rendered " com," may be " Dagou," and 
that the lands thus described as granted by Milcom may derive this 
appellation from " Dagon " the Philistine and maritime god P 

With the southern limit thus ascribed to the PhoBnicians agrees 
the definition of their boundary both by Herodotus and Pliny. 

^ Awirat .... *A(^^ ko* Atipois dpifffitrou Jos. Ant. V. i. '/L 



Gen. xiii. 10. "And Lot lifted up hk ejea, and beheld aU the 'roand* 

Joflephni* Wan of the Jews, lY. fiii 2. "The oonntry between the 
two ranges of monntains which extend to the Lake of Asf^balt ia caUed ' the 
great plion.* Its length ia 280 ftirlonga, and ita breadth 120. It ia divided 
in the midft hj the titer Jordan, and it eontaina two lakea, the Lake of 
Tiberias, and the Lake of Asphalt, of the moat opposite natores ; for the one 
is salt and barren, and the other sweet and fall of life. In the summer 
oeosnn the plain is bnmt np^ and from the ezoessiTe drought the aiz becomes 
pestilential ; for the whole plain is without water exoept the Jordan ; and 
so it resulta that the pftlm-grovea on its banks aie flonriahing— b«t less so 
those that are farther off.** 

Jostin. zzzvi. 8. Eat Tallis, qam oontinuis montibus, velut mare quodam^ 
fld tnstar castroram clauditur. 

The Four Bben of LebMum— The pl^yaieil pecnllaritiee of the Jofdaa— Ito 
importttiiee as the riTer of Palestine. — Unfrequented — ^Hiatorieal soeneB. 
L Yale of Siddim and Dead Sea : 1. Battle ofthe Kings ; 2. Orerthrov 
of Sodom and Goraomh ; 8. Appeanmoe of the Dmld Ska ; 4. YisioB 
of Eaekid ; 6. Bn-gedL IL FhJn— Tenmees of the Jordan ; 1. Phin 
of Abel-Shiifim*-lboaminnent of the Isnelitea — ^Yiews from P i np h 
Balaam— Moeea—Bnxial-phwe of Mooes— Psaaiga of the Jordan ; 2. 
Jerieho — ^At the time ef the eaptoze— Of the propheta — Of Chxist; 
8. Bethaham— Soene ef the Preadiing of John— fioene ef the Tempts* 
iioBf— Baptism in the Jordan— Bathing of the Pilgrims. 



The history of the Jordan cannot be viewed without a con- 
sideration of the physical pecnliarities which mark its relation 
to Palestine and to the world, and which must here be once 
for all noticed in detail. 

It is a characteristic of all the four rivers of the Lebanon, 
that they are almost precluded by the circumstances The Four 
of their rise from attaining their natural outlet in the ^^ ^ 
sea.* To compare their position with that of rivers connes. 
and mountains on a far larger scale, it is as if the Amazon and 
Orinoco after being confined within the lines of the Andes, 
were either lost in the Pampas witluut reaching the Atlantic, 
or by a violent turn in their course escaped into the Pacific. 
The Orontes and Leontes both flow parallel to the Mediter* 
ranean, for the greater part of their channels, shut out from 
it by the high wall of Lebanon. At the last moment, as it 
were, of their existence, they make a sudden turn westward, 
and descend into the sea. The Orontes' finds its outlet by 

^See Ghaptera II. and XII. Thia Official Beport of Lynoh'a Sxpedition, 
peenliarity of tbe riren ia well stated in pp. 80^ 81. 
ABdeaoii*a Qeological DeBcription in the ' The modem name of the Orontea, 

282 SINAI AND PALESTINE. [ohap. to. 

doubling back upon itself, so that its course for the last thirt) 
miles is parallel to the great body of its own stream. The 
Leontes, though with a less rapid change, has to force its way 
through the narrow pass produced by the sudden offshoot which 
Anti-Libanus throws out westward, as if with the very object 
of preventing its escape. The Barada alone issues into what 
w^ould have been the natural exit for all — the plain of Syria, 
on the way to the Indian Ocean. But the basin-like character 
of that plain, combined with the effect of the burning waste 
beyond, stops short its career in wide marshy lakes, a da/s 
journey beyond the city of Damascus. 

The Jordan combines in itself the peculiarities which 

Thepeculi- ^®^^°8 ^ *^® other three. Rising in the fork of 
aritiesof the two ranges of Anti-Libanus, it first runs by 
necessity within these two enclosing walls, parallel 
to the Mediterranean from north to south, as the Orontes 
from south to north. Its streams — for in this stage it can 
hardly be called a single river — are first received into the 
high lake of Merom, which might seem destined to absorb 
its waters, as in the case just mentioned of the river of 
Damascus. But two causes prolong its existence, first the 
continual supply which its own stream and that lake itself 
receive from the adjacent springs in the limestone cliffs of 
Lebanon, secondly, and in a more remarkable degree, the 
depression in the valley which begins here, and opens a 
course for the river to descend in its collected volume, and 
with increased rapidity downwards for three hundred feet into 
the Sea of Galilee. Again it might seem to have met with 
its end, but again it plunges through twenty-seven rapids, 
through a fall of a thousand feet,* through what is the 
lowest and final stage of its course. Like the Leontes and 
Orontes, it would now seem intent on making every effort 
to escape, darting first to the right, then to the left, 
then to the right again, and thus descending so deviously 

SI Aaiy— 'Hbe rebelUom,'* is said to be throw OTer it (Sehwars, p. 57). 
derived partly from its flowing contrary * The only known instaaee of • 

to all tbe other streame, and partly from greater fall ie the Saeramento river ia 

ita wild and rapid carrent, which tean Galifomia. 
away all the bridges that men attempt to 


and capriciously as to present the unparalleled spectacle of a 
course only sixty miles* in actual length, increased to two 
hundred by the infinite multiplication of its windings. But 
unlike the northern rivers of the Lebanon, the Jordan is 
doubly and trebly confined as well within its own successive 
terraces, as within the two high mountain- walls which accom- 
pany it on either side with undeviating regularity till they see 
it fall into its lowest depth in the Dead Sea. From this, its 
last receptacle, the Jordan emerges no more. 

It has thus three distinct stages — the first ending in the 
Lake of Merom, tlio second in the Sea of Galilee, and the 
third in the Dead Sea. The two earlier stages will be noticed 
as we ascend its course. The third stage, on which we now 
enter — the " great plain " of the later Jews ; the " Anion " or 
" channel " of the Greek geographers; the " Ghor" or " sunken 
plain" of the modem Arabs' — as it is the one in which 
the peculiar characteristics of the region are most signally 
exhibited, so it is the only one in which the river itself is 
connected with the Sacred history. 

The singular relations of the Jordan to the rest of the world 
were unknown to the Israelites. But its strange results as 
affecting their own country were familiar to them as to us; 
and must have heightened in every age the charm which hangs 
over the mysterious valley. They must have been struck at 
all times by its great depression, to the depth of no less than 
three thousand feet below the moxmtains of Judsea, which is 
marked by the never-failing notice of the " going up " from, or 
the " going down " to its level, in the numerous allusions to 
the journeys up and down those high mountain-passes, from 
the first invasion of Joshua to the last journey of our Lord. 
They must have known habitually, what to us is known only 
through two adventurous expeditions — the swift descent of 
the stream as it leaves the Sea of Galilee, — from which in all 

1 OfficuJ Report of Lynch, pp. 80, 149, This feature of the Jordan is weU canght 

205. "The Jordan is the erookedest in a quaint allusion in Giles Fletcher's 

nrer vhat is,** is the homely but forcible poem, ** Christ's Beath and Triumph." 
expression of the Bnglish Sxpedition ' For the name **The great plain,** 

(Geogr. Joum. xriiL 118), for the same see Josephus, Bell. Jud. IV. yiii. 2. For 

chanetenstic which FUny (H. N. T. 15) the *'Auldn** and the ''Ghor,** see 

(lescribes more rhetorically **amnis, qua- Bitter; Jordan, 481. 
t«nus loconun situs patitnr, ambitioiut,^* 



[cnir. vfL 

probability is derived the one ' name by which it is called in the 
Old Testament, "the Jordan" or "the Descender"." They 
must have been struck, too, by the innumerable windings which 
in this descent it carves for itself in its deep bed — " a gigantic 
green serpent " as seen from the adjacent heights threading its 
tortuous way through its tropical jungle. They knew well the 
beauty and richness of this mazy line of forest, " the pride* of 
the Jordan," the haunt of the lions, who from the neighbouring 
Desert sheltered themselves in the reedy covert. They care- 
fully marked in their geographical vocabulary the singular con- 
trast so well described by Josephus^ between the naked Desert 
on the one hand, and on the other hand the rich vegetation 
along the winding banks of the river, and in the circles 
produced by its tributary streams. Throughout the several 
narratives of the Old Testament the distinction is always 
observed between the inhabited "round" or "circles*" of 
the Jordan, and the uninhabited "Desert*" through which 
it flows. 

' It IB nerer called tbe "rirer'* or 
^' brook,'* or any oUier name than its 
own, *' The Jordan." See Appendix. 

* A striking iUnstration ia contained in 
Joshua iii. 16, where the vord £ar the 
"coming down*' of the waters of the 
Jordan is the same as that need 
in the singnhur for the river itself. 
Abnlfeda and the old Aralno writers call 
it £1 Ordann. The Arabs near Tel El- 
Ehady call it Ed-Dan. fiat as a genersl 
rule its ancient name is represented by 
**Sheriah,** '*the wateriog-plaoe,*' or 
'*Sheriat el-Ehebir,** '<ihc great water- 
ing-plaoe,** to distinguish it from 
**Sheriat el-Mandhnr,'* tho Hieromax. 
(Newbdd, in Journal As. See. xvi. 12.) 

* The Hebrew word '* Gaon,'* is rightly 
translated "pride" in Zech. xi. 8, and 
wrongly, " swelling,*' in Jer. xiL 6 ; 
xlix. 19 ; 1. 44 ; usually in connection 
with the lions. Reland (p. 274) quotes 
a good description of the Jordan from 
Phocas, the pilgrim of the 12th century, 
which shows that up to that time the 
jun^e was still so regarded. "In the 
twisting and winding streams of the 
Jordan {4p tm tvv 'lopMyov iXucotiB^ai 
need itYyvKoorp6^a ^otus) as is likely, 
there are certain portions of the lands, 
next to the river, marked of^ with a 

vast mass of reeds growing in them. In 
these, herds of lions are wont to dweQ." 
No lions are now seen, bnt boazs sad 
tigers (leopards t) are described (Holy* 
neux, p. 118). 
« Josephus, BelL Jud. lY. viu. 2. 

* Ciccar and OdiloiK These tvo 
curious terms (in tho English veisioa 
rendend "plain** or " region,**) th<w||i 
occasionally with a wider applioatian, 
usually denote the Jordan-vaUey — applied 
respectively to its lower and npper stsge. 
It is tempting to derive this usage (vith 
Beland, p. 274) from the windings of the 
stream ; and it is not at any rate impos- 
sible thai this may have suggested or con- 
firmed the invariable use of eieear for 
the circular oasis of Jericho and the five 
cities. In later times no doubt the words 
were taken merely as provincial term 
for "region,** and as such were transUted 
both in the LXX and in the New Terta- 
ment, 4 ir(pix«pof, " the surrounding 
neighbourhood." See Appendix. 

• The woid for the Desert-plain of the 
Jordan is almost always arabak, or ors- 
both, being the coutinnatioa of the ap- 
pellation now confined exclusively to the 
Pesert- valley south of the Dead Sea. See 


And, lastly, it must have been impossible to overlook the 
singularity of the river, not merely in its ordinary aspect, but 
in the more eccentric phenomena which more or less powerfully 
affected its historical character. How far there are to be found 
any traces of strictly volcanic agency in the limestone bed of 
the Jordan*valley is still a question. But, such as there are» 
they are found here in a greater degree than anywhere else in 
Palestine ; and if the agency which they seem to indicate was 
manifested in earlier times with greater force than at present, 
it would be the more impressive from its rarity'. Of this 
nature are the masses of bitumen which give their name to 
the*'Asphaltic" Lake; the warm springs, which, at Hammath, 
on the Lake of Galilee, and at Callirhoe, on the Dead Sea, 
borst for)li from the sides of the hills; the remains of lava 
which are said to exist on the shores of both lakes; the 
earthquakes which have within the memory of man shaken 
down the cities of Safed and Tiberias on the northern lake, 
which St. Jerome' describes as having in his own time 
destroyed Kerak in the Eastern neighbourhood of the southern 
lake. That some such means were employed in the cata- 
strophe of the Five Cities is now generally acknowledged. 
If any of the other extraordinary convulsions — such as the 
withdrawal of the waters of the Jordan, the overthrow of 
Jericho, and the earthquake which afterwards in the same 
neighbourhood struck a panic into the Philistine host*, — should 
have been effected by similar means, the student of the Old 
Testament will discover in the indications which still exist, 
a remarkable illustration and confirmation of the historical 
character of the Sacred records; the more so, because the 
secondary causes of such phenomena must to the historians 
themselves have been wholly unknown. 

Two general remarks occur before descending into the detail 
of the several scenes of the history of the Jordan, i^^^ ^ 
On the one hand, it is the only river deserving of the riTer of 
name which flows south of the Lebanon. Those butnnfile- 
which ML into it from the eastern hills, the q^ented. 
Seromax, the Jabbok, and the Amon, are too remote from 

' The ease ii well stated in Williami'B * Jerome on Uat xr. (i/« Sanlcy, L 
aitide on PaUttme in Dr. Smitli'B Die- 491). 
tiooaiy of Ancient Geography. * Josh. ili. 16 ; vi. 20. 1 dam. zIt. 15. 

286 SINAI AND PALESTINE. [chap, til 

historical Palestine to be of importance. The few streams 
which flow westward into the Mediterranean, such as the Belus, 
the Kishon, and those of the Plain of Sharon, are too insig- 
nificant ever to have attracted attention, in comparison of the 
full volume of water poured by the Jordan in an unfailing 
supply through the whole length of the country. As such it 
was emphatically The Biver of Palestine ; and its name is thus 
used in the Book of Job as the synonym of a perennial stream'. 
But on the other hand, in contrast to the rivers of other 
coxmtries, the Jordan from its leaving the Sea of Galilee to its 
end, adds hardly a single element of civilisation to the long 
tract through which it rushes. Whilst Damascus, whilst 
Antioch, whilst Egypt, derive their very existence from their 
respective rivers, the Jordan presents the singular spectacle of 
a river alm6st wholly useless, so far as civilised man is con- 
cerned, through the long ages of its history. It is, indeed, 
still the " Sheriat el-Khebir," the " great watering-place " of 
the Bedouin tribes ; and so it must always have been. But it 
is the river of a Desert. " The Desert," as we have seen, 
is the ordinary name by which its valley was known ; hardly a 
single city or village rose upon its actual banks. Within the 
narrow range of its own bed it produces a rank mass of vege- 
tation, but this luxuriant line of verdure only sets off more 
completely the contrast of life with death, which is its charac- 
teristic feature. 

This singular fate of the Jordan is the direct result of the 
depression of its channel. The depth of the valley in the 
bottom of which it flows, prevents its waters from escaping, 
like those of the Nile, to fertilise anything beyond its own 
mimediate bed; but the tropical temperature to which its 
whole plain is thus exposed, whilst calling out into almost 
unnatural vigour whatever vegetation receives the life-giving 
touch of its waters, withers up every particle of verdure that is 
found beyond their reach. As a separation of Israel from the 

1 In the deacription of the Behemoth, term for any rirer. Thii Biagle ezpw- 

or hippopotuniu, in Job xl. 23, it is sion Ib a strong indioation. that the 

said, " He tmsteth that he can draw np Book of Job, or at least this portioD of 

Jordan into his month." As the hippo- it, mnst hare been composed by an in- 

potamns it not a natiye of Syria, it is habitant of Palestine. See Appeodix, 

dear that the word is used as a general Jarden. 


sTUTOonding countiy, as a boundary between the two main 
divisions of the tribes, as an image of water in a . . 
diy and thirsty sou, it played an important part ; Boenes oon- 
but not as the scene of great events, or the seat of ^c*«d ^*^ 
great cities.'. Its contact with the history of the 
people is exceptional, not ordinary, confined to rare and 
remote occasions, the more remarkable from their ver^ rarity. 

I. These instances we may now proceed to examine. The 
earUest is one which at first might seem to militate The Yale 
against what has just been said. There was once a o^Siddim. 
time in the far distance of patriarchal ages, when the Jordan 
was not thus isolated. At the time of the first migration of the 
herdsmen of Chaldsea into the hills of Palestine, when Abraham 
and Lot looked down from the mountain of Bethel on the deep 
descent beneath them, and Lot chose for himself the ' round ' 
of the Jordan, that ' round ' was different from anything that 
we now see. It was "well watered everywhere as the garden of 
the Lord, and like the land of Egypt." And this description is 
filled out in detail by subsequent allusions. It is described as 
a deep " valley," distinguished from the surrounding " desert " 
by its fertile " fields^" If any credence is to be attached to 
the geological conclusions of the last fifty years, there must 
have been already a lake at its extremity, such as that which 
terminates the course of the Barada at Damascus, or of the 
Kowik at Aleppo. Then, as now, it must have received in 
some form or other the fresh streams of the Jordan, of the 
Amon, of En-gedi, of Callirrhoe ; and, at the southern end, as 
Dr. Bobinson has observed, more living brooks than are to be 
found so near together in all the rest of Palestine*. On the 
banks of one or some of these streams there would seem to 
have been an oasis or collection of oases, like that which is 
still from the same causes to be found on a smaller scale in the 
groves of En-gedi and of Jericho\ and in the Plain of Gen- 
nesareth*, or, on a larger scale, in the Paradise of Damascus*. 
Along the edge of this lake or valley, Gentile and Jewish 

* Plin. H. N. T. 15. "AccoliB invi- » Robinson, B. K. il p. 602. 

torn ae pnebet." * See p. 306. 

^ Emdi, Arabah, and Siddim. See < See Chapter X. 

Appendix. < See Chapter ZU. 



[chap, yil 

records combine in placing the earliest seat of Phoenician 
civilisation. *' The Tyrians," such is the account of Justin*, 
*' first dwelt by the Assyrian [or Syrian] lake before they 
removed to Sidon." Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboim, mih 
Lasha (probably Loish by the sources of the Jordan), are 
mentioned as the first settlements of the Canaanites* on tlie 
east of Palestine, as Sidon and the maritime cities on the west 
When Lot descended from Bethel, '* the cities of the ' round ' " 
of the Jordan formed a nucleus of civilised life, before any city 
except Hebron had sprung up in Central Palestine* 

1. On those cities, as on the most promising spoil, the kings 
Battle of ^^ ^6 remote East descended ; as Damascus on the 
the Kingfc north of Palestine, so were these on the south. For 
twelve years they were subject to Chedorlaomer, king of Elain, 
and in the thirteenth they rebelled. Then took place the first 
recorded invasion of Palestine by Assyria*, embracing in its 
sweep the whole range of mountains east of the Jordan down 
to Petra on the south, and the wilderness of Amaiek on the 
west. The final struggle was in the Vale of Siddim. In that 
^' Valley of the Fields'* was fought the first battle of Palestine, 
two of the five kings were slain in the conflict, and the routed 
army fled up the steep passes of the enclosing hills. The 
victors carried off their spoil and captives, and retreated up the 
long valley of the Jordan on their homeward march. Far up 
the valley, at the very source of its river, just as they were on 
the point of crossing the range of Hermon, they were over- 
taken by the avenger. " Abram the Hebrew*," with his three 
hundred and eighteen armed slaves, and his ally Mamre of 
Hebron, was upon their track ; at that point, then the Sidonian 
Laish, but afterwards the Israelite Dan, he attacked them by 
night, and chased them over the mountain-ridge far into the 
plain of Damascus. 

1 JoBtin. Histor. xruL 3, 2 (See 
KenricVs Phoenicia, 47). Joseplras, Bell. 
Jad. IX., plaees all the dtiea in what he 
caUa "the Sodomite diBtrict," t. e. at 
the Bonth end. 

« Gen. X. 19. 

' Qen. xiT. Tnch, in an article in the 
Zeitaohrift der Dentichen Morgenland- 
ischen GemellBchaft, (tranalated in Journal 

of Sacred Literatore, L 84,) argnei vilh 
great probability that the object of theee 
Oriental kinga was to wecan the commer- 
cial route to the Ghilf of Akaba. Agunst 
his aappoaition that El Fkrao, thai 
floathemmoet point, ma Eli^ is the 
ftMb that the word Mi^Utar (" the mUh^ 
nest,*') is need instead of "Anbak/' 
* Gen. xiy. IK 

OBAP. til] 



2. This is the earliest authentic record of Canaanite history, 
and exhibits the yale of the Jordan as it was never ex- 
hibited again. Even that record contains indications, of Sodom 
like the earthquake at Pompeii which preceded the *^1^" 
volcano of Vesuvius, of a change close at hand. 
Pits of bitumen are there described as existing in the vale of 
Siddim'. The name of Sodom (burning), if it be not derived 
from the subsequent catastrophe, shows, like the " Phlegrsean '* 
fields of Campania, that the marks of fire had already passed 
over the doomed valley. The name of Bela, the old name of 
Zoar*, was understood by Jewish tradition — perhaps fancifully, 
yet certainly in accordance with probability — to allude to the 
fact of its frequent subversion by earthquakes'. In what pre- 
cise manner *' the Lord overthrew the cities " is not clearly 
indicated in the records either of Scripture or of natural re- 
mains. The great difference of level between the bottoms of 
the northern and the southern ends of the lake, the former 
being a depth of thirteen hundred, the latter only of thirteen 
feet, below the surface, confirms the theory that the southern 
end is of recent formation, and, if so, was submerged at the 
time of the fall of the cities ; and that the vale of Siddim in- 
cluded the whole of the bay south of the promontory which 
now almost closes up its northern portion\ But, as Reland* 
long ago pointed out, there is no reason, either in Scripture or 
history, for supposing that the cities themselves were destroyed 
by submersion, or were submerged at all ; and the mode of the 
catastrophe is emphatically and repeatedly described to be not 
water, but fire. It is possible that M. de Saulcy may have 

^ Gen. ziT. 10, "sliine-pitA.'* But 
perhaps this may only mean flie qnick- 
nndB whidi might then, aa nov, abonnd 
both at the norUiem and Bouthem extre- 
mities of the Dead Sea. (Be Sanlcy, i. 
^64, 274, 517, ii 61.) 

^ Gen. zir. 2, 8. 

' Jerome ad laa. zr. (De Sanlcy, i. 

* Thia 18 Dr. Eohinaon's view, stated 
more precisely by Fallmerayer (Das 
Todte Meer, p. 88). I am anxious in 
stating this question to call attention to 
the great nncertainty in which it is stiU 

* Belandy Falestina, p. 254. The only 

expression which seems to imply that the 
rise of the Dead Sea was witlmi historical 
times, is that contained in Gen. xiy. S, 
"the vale of Siddim, which is the Salt 
Sea.'* Bnt this phrase may merely mean 
that the region in question bore both 
names ; as in the similar expressions 
(verses 7 and 17) *<£n-Mi8hpat» which is: 
Kodeah ; *> "Shaveh, which is the King's 
Dale." It shonld, however, be observed 
that the word emekf translated "vale," 
is usually employed for a long, broad 
valley, such as in this connection would 
naturally mean the whole length of tlie 
Dead Sea. See Appendix. 




exaggerated in some instances the traces of sites and of names 
along the shores ; but there is nothing incredible in the fact 
that he should have discovered the spots which were beUeved 
in the time of Josephus, Strabo, Tacitus, and the writers of 
the New Testament, to contain the yestiges of the devoted 
cities, " set forth for an e^uunple, suffering the vengeance of 
eternal fire*," not beneath the waters of the lake, but on its 
barren shores. And if the salt mountain' at the southern ex- 
tremity could be conceived to have been thrown up within his- 
torical times, there is nothing impossible in the supposition 
that this eruption may have accompanied the catastrophe of 
Sodom, and have borne its part in the consequences expressly 
ascribed to that event. More than this cannot be determined 
without more exact knowledge than we now possess. 

A great mass of legend and exaggeration, partly the effect, 
partly the cause of the old belief that the cities were buried 
imder the Dead Sea, has been gradually removed in recent 
years. The glittering surface of the lake, with the thin mist of 
its own evaporations floating over its surface, will now no more 
be taken for a gloomy sea, sending forth sulphureous exhala- 
tions. The birds which pass over it without injury hare 
long ago destroyed the belief that no living creature could 
survive the baneful atmosphere which hung upon its waters. 
But it has still its manifold interest, both physical and 
historical. Viewed merely in a scientific point of view, 

Sba ^*^ ^* ^® ^^® ^^ ^® most remarkable spots of the world. 
First, it may be regarded as one of the most carious 
of inland seas. It is thirteen hundred feet below the level of 
the Mediterranean Sea, and thus the most depressed sheet of 
water in the world ; as the Lake Sir-i-kol *, where the Oxus rises 

'' In his Ugh mountain cradle in Pamere,** 

— is the most elevated. Its basin is a steaming cauldron,-Hi 

* JoeephnB, Bell. Jnd. IV. Tiii. 4 ; 
Strabo, xyi. ; Tacit. Hist. r. 7. St Jude 7. 

^ This ia oonfinned by the mention of 
Rait in connection with Lof s wife (Gen. xiz. 
26), and of the sterility following on all 
** which grew xxpon the ground*' (lb. 26). 

> The Lake Sirikol is 15,600 feet 
aboTo the level of the sea — that is, nearly 

as high as Mont Blanc — and is a sheet of 
water fourteen miles long and one nik 
broad, on the high table-land called hj 
the natives <'Bam-i-duniah,** "the rod 
of the world,*' — a name not unfitlj 
applied to the water-shed of the India 
and Oxns. (Hilner, in FetenDsaB'i 
Fhysical Atlas, p. 14.) 

OBAP. Tn.] 



Its depth. 

bowl, as it has been well described, which, from the pectdiar 
temperature and deep ca-vity in which it is situated, can never 
be filled to overflow^g. The river, itself exposed to 
the same withering influences, is not copious enough 
to furnish a supply equal to the demand made by the rapid 
evaporation. Further, this basin is the Gordian knot of all the 
theories which have been raised to account for the phenomena 
of the Jordan-valley. From the moment that Burckhardt dis- 
covered the valley of the Arabah between the Dead Sea and the 
Red Sea, an hypothesis was naturally formed that this had been 
the original outlet of the Jordan into the latter sea, till its 
waters were detained by the sudden formation of the Dead Sea 
in the same convulsion, as it was supposed, that overthrew the 
five cities. But such a theory is no longer tenable, since it has 
been found that the waters of the Arabah flow into the Dead 
Sea from a watershed almost midway between the two seas, 
and that the Bed Sea is on the same level as the Mediterranean, 
namely, more than thirteen hundred feet above the Dead Sea 
and Jordan- valley. It is clear that the cavity of the Dead Sea 
belongs to the same general conformation of country that pro- 
duced both the Valley of the Jordan and the Arabah, and that 
therefore its first, formation must be traced to a period long 
before historical times. A convulsion of such magnitude as 
not only to create a new lake, but to depress the Valley of the 
Jordan many hundred feet below the level of the Mediterranean, 
and elevate the valley of the Arabah considerably above that 
level, must have shattered Palestine to its centre, and left 
npon the historical traditions of the time an indelible impres- 
sion, of which, it is needless to say, not a trace is actually to be 
found. It seems to be concluded as most probable, that the 
whole valley, from the base of Hermon to the Bed Sea, was 
once an arm of the Indian Ocean, which has gradually subsided, 
leaving the three lakes in its bed, with their connecting river\ 

1 "The TtUey of the Ghor, vUeh i» 
ft Tart longitudinal crerMM in oaloareoiu 
and Tolcanio rodu, extending from tbe 
BOQthem roots of liVannB and Anti- 
Libaooi to the Gulf of Akaba, from 1000 
io 2000 feet deep, and from one to eight 
Biiles broad [this is ludentatedj, appean 
to bare been caused by the fbroible rend • 

ing and falling in of the aqneons strata, 
resulting from the eruption and elevation 
of the basalt which bases it almost from 
its commencement to the Dead Sea. . . . 
Watery eorroeion or abrasion can have 
had little influence in its formation. The 
great alterations in its surface com- 
menced anterior to the historic period, 

u 2 




But, in connection with the Sacred History, its excessive 
Ttflfl&it saltness' is even more remarkable than its deep 
depression. This peculiarity is, it is believed, mainlj 
occasioned by the huge barrier of fossil-salt at its south- 
western comer, and heightened by the rapid evaporation of the 
fresh water poured into it Other like phenomena, though in 
a less striking form, exist elsewhere. In the Old World there 
are two great series of salt-lakes to be found. One is that 
which extends along the table-lands of Central Asia, of which 
the chief are the Caspian, the Aral, the Urumia, the Boozla, 
and the Elton. The other is that which, beginning in the Verde 
Islands, appears at irregular intervals along the great African 
Desert, till it terminates in this, the last and most eastern of 
the series'. In the New World the great salt-lake of Utah, by 
its physical likeness to its Syrian prototype, has actually con- 
firmed the belief of the Mormon settlers that on its shores they 
have found a second Land of Promise, and in its river a second 
Jordan. But, without entering into its wider relations, this 
aspect is important as that which most forcibly impressed the 
Sacred writers. To them it was '' the salt sea," and nothing 
more*. They exhibit hardly a trace of the exaggerations of 
later times. And so it is in fact. It is not gloom, but desola- 
tion which is the prevailing characteristic of the Sea of Death. 
Follow the course of the Jordan to its end. How different from 
the first burst of its waters in Mount Hermon, amongst the 
groves of Dan and Paneas^ ! How different from the " riotous 

a^d terminated probably in the cata- 
stropbe of Sodom.** (Newbold, Journal 
A». Soc zTi. 23.) 

^ Milner, in Fetermann's Atlas, p. 80 ; 
An8ted*8 Elementary Geology, p. 38. 
It is BometimeB supposed that the Bead 
Sea 18 the saltest water in the world. 
This is not quite accurate. The scale 
seems to be as follows : — Bain-water is 
the purest of all, then river-water, then 
fresh-water lakes, then the Baltic and the 
Sea of Asof^ then the Ocean, then the 
Mediterranean, then the Gaspian and 
Aral, then the Dead Sea, last the Lakes 
9f Elton and Ummia. The saline par- 
tides in the water of the ocean are 4 per 
sent. That of the Dead Sea contains 
26| per cent. That of Lake Elton (which 
is sitoatod en the steppes east of the 
Volsu and supplies a xreat part of the 

•alt of Russia) contains 29 per cent. The 
exact proportions of the waters of Lake 
Urumia aie not stated. Bat Morito 
Wagner, in his trayehi in Persia, ii. 13^ 
Leipsic, 1852, (quoted by Falhnerayer, 
Todte Meer, p. 64,) says that the sslt 
and iodine of the water of this lake i»r 
surpass those of the Dead Sea. He ala> 
describes its exceeding buoyancy, and the 
£ftot, that whilst fish is found in neiUier 
lake, cmstaoeous animalcula are (oniid 
in the Urumia, (p. 137,) as msdrepoies 
are said to have been in the Dead Sea. 
Humboldt's Ansiehten der Nator, iL 91 ^ 
Fallmerayer, p. 55. 
« Ritter ; Jordan, 766. 

* It is nerer called '* the Desd Sea" io 
the Auth. Versbn. The nasM first oeoan 
in Justin (xxxti. 3), *' saare mortoum** 
and Fausanius (r. 7, ij^-^d^mrvuptHfJu 

* See Chapter XL 


prodigality Qf life " which has marked its downward course^ 
almost to the very termination of its existence ! Gradually, 
within the last mile from the Dead Sea, its verdure dies away, 
and the river melts into its grave in a tame and sluggish stream. 
Btill, however, of sufficient force to carry its brown waters far 
into the bright green sea. Along the desert shore, the white 
crust of salt indicates the cause of sterility. Thus the few 
iiTuig creatures which the Jordan washes down into the waters of 
the sea, are destroyed. Hence arises the unnatural buoyancy 
and the intolerable nausea to taste and touch, which raise to 
the highest pitch the contrast between, its clear, bitter waves 
and the soft, fresh, turbid stream of its parent river. Strewn 
along its desolate margin lie the most striking memorials of 
this last conflict of life and death ; trunks and branches of 
trees, torn down from the thickets of the river-jungle by the 
violence of the Jordan, thrust out into the sea, and thrown up 
again by its waves, dead and barren as itself. The dead beach, 
so unUke the shell-covered shores of the two seas between 
vrhich it lies, the Sea of Tiberias and the Oulf of Akaba, 
shelves gradually into the calm waters. A deep haze — ^that 
which to earlier ages gave the appearance of the '' smoke going 
up for ever and ever," — ^veils its southern extremity, and almost 
gives it the dim horizon of a real sea*. In the nearer view rises 
the low island close to its northern end, and the long promontory 
projecting from the eastern side, which divides it into its two 
unequal parts. This is all that I saw, and all that most 
pilgrims and travellers have seen of the Dead Sea. Beyond, 
at its south-western comer, rises the mountain of rock-salt; 
and on its sides stand out the columnar fragment or fragments, 
doubtless presenting the same appearance as that which 
Josephus describes as the pillar of Lot's wife, existing in his 
own day', and seen by himself. The district immediately 
around this mountain is described as being white as snow, 
from the salt strewed at the base of the hill. The shore of 
the lake is a marsh, almost approaching to quicksand. But the 

^ Compare the poetical ezpressioiiB of ' The Midraah says " it goes out of the 

Iiai. xudT. 10, Rey. ziy. 11. Schwan Dead Sea into the month of the 

(pp. 44, 45,) repeats the old story about Leyiathan." 

Uie birds — also the sulphur smoke, and ^ Josephus, Ant. I. xi. 4. Lyneh*s 

the snbterraoeoos exit of the Jordan. Expedition. De Saulcy, ii. 269, 521 

294 SINAI AND PALESTINE. [geap. m 

eastern comer of this southern plain, where the salt has not 
yet penetrated, is still green with thickets of thorn, such as 
those which mark the oasis of Jericho at the northern extremity 
of the lake. Here they probably represent the last relics of 
the luxuriant vegetation of the Yale of Siddim *. 

Often as the sea has been described by later writers, classical 
and modem, there is but one passage in the Old Testament 
where its peculiarities are fully brought before us. In the 
ViBion of vision which reveals to Ezekiel the regeneration of 
Exekiei. ^j^g tingdom of God, the prophet in the Temple-court 
sees the perennisd spiing of the Sacred Hill rising into a foil 
and overflowing fountain beside the altar, and pouring forth a 
vast stream over the wide enclosure. He goes round to the 
eastern gate of the Temple, overhanging the defile of Eedron, 
— the waters have reached the gateway, and are rushing in a 
cataract down into the valley below. Into the valley the 
Prophet descends ; and the waters rise higher and higher, till 
the dry course' of Kedron becomes a mighty liver ; and innu- 
merable trees spring up along its sterile banks ; and through 
the deep defile and its tributary courses, the waters issue out 
towards the * circles* * of the Jordan ; they "go down " through 
all the long descent into the ' desert-plain* ' of Jordan and reach 
the " sea.'' And when the stream — one, yet divided* as it 
rushes through the mountain passes — forces its way into that 
dead lake, " the waters shall be healed ; " everywhere they shall 
teem with life ; the living creatures washed by the Jordan into 
the sea, which else would die at once, shall live as the firesh 
stream touches them ; there shall be a multitude of fish, even 
as " the fish of the great sea," the Mediterranean ; the fisher- 
men standing all along its rocky shores from En-eglaim to 
En-gedi; only the marshes at its southern end, where the 
healing stream cannot penetrate, will still be given up to their 
old salt and barrenness. The imagery of this vision is often 
used in illustration of the spread of philanthropic or missionaiy 

» De Saulcy, i. 276, 513. I am alao * Arahahr-^^e word alwajs used fcr 

indebted to the onX oommimications of the Ghor, Tene 8. 

the author. ' Naehalaim, the "two toirenti,*' rer. 

' Bsek. xlvii. 5, 6, 7 ; nachcU, trans- 9. Foaaiblj down the two dtfiio of 

lated <*river." Jerieho and of St. Saba. 

> QelUoth, transited ** oountry,'* r. 8. 


beneficence ; but its full force, as the Prophet first delivered 
it, can only be appreciated by those who have seen the desolate 
basin of the Salt Sea, and marked the features of its strange 

There is one peculiarity, to which I have before adverted, 
which would naturally suggest some of the details of _ ^^^ 
this striking imagery, the abundance of copious 
springs which from the limestone hills of Palestine pour forth 
their waters into the Jordan*valley. Two of them are mentioned 
by name in this very description. One, En-eglaim, " the 
spring of calves,** is named only here, but is probably the same 
as the hot spring at the north-east end of the lake, better known 
by the name of CalUrhoe, to which Herod the Great resorted 
in his last illness for its healing virtues. The other is the 
more celebrated En-gedi, the one spot of life besides the five 
cities which has from age to age maintained an independent 
existence and interest on the shores of the Dead Sea *. Mid- 
way down the precipice ', on the western bank of the lake, the 
dear stream breaks out on a high platform elevated 400 feet 
above the shore, and scattering rich vegetation all around, 
descends through the cliffs to the sea. This is En-gedi, " the 
spring of the wild goat," or gazelle ; so called from the nume- 
rous ibexes, or Syrian chamois, which inhabit these cliffs. 
The oasis which it forms amidst the naked limestone precipices, 
most be one of the most striking natural scenes in Palestine. 
It was the site of the ancient city, known by the name of the 
" city of palms," or of " the felling of palms ' " (Hazazon- 
Tamar), doubtless from the grove of palms which then stood, 
but which has since entirely disappeared, around the rushing 
fountain above. There, at the time of Chedorlaomer's great 
invasion, the settlement of Amorites was attacked by the 
Assyrian army, immediately before its descent into the plain, 
and final victoiy over the kings of the five cities. In that same 
fastness dwelt, as it would seem, in later times, a branch of the 
Kenite tribe *, in " the city of palms ; " their eagle's "nest " " in 

^ Bn-«edi I did not Bee. There ie a * FUn. r. 17 ; Solin. 88. 

^ deeeription of it in Eobinaon, ii. 209 > Qen. ziy. 7 ; 2 Ghr. zx. 2. 

-215. De Sanlcr, i. 185—188. It * ''The children of the Kenite went 

▼M fint disoorered bj Seetien in 1806. up out of the city of palm-treee with the 




the ' cliff'" — ^in the numerous cavems with which the cliffs of 
En-gedi abound. And in those same cavems David with his 
followers afterwards took refuge, and in one of them occurred 
the encounter with Saul, so romantic, and yet so true to the 
peculiar customs of the East. Yet again^ at a still later time, 
the first hermits of Palestine — ^the solitary sect of the Essenes 
— had their chief seat at En-gedi ; as afterwards the earliest 
Christian monastery of Palestine was planted not far distant, 
in the valley of the Kedron, — ^the secluded Convent of Si 
Saba, the dwelling and burial-place of St. John of Damascus. 
And yet once more, visible from the heights above En-gedi, 
towers the tremendous stronghold, ** The * Fastness," as it was 
emphatically called, in which the treasures of Jerusalem were 
deposited for security in the troubled times of the monarchy, 
and in which the last remnant of the insurgents assembled at 
the close of the war of Titus, and destroyed themselves and 
their families rather than surrender to the conquerors. 

II. The history of the Jordan gradually carries us upwards 
on its course. In order to understand fully the scenes which 
follow, we must form an accurate conception of its stage between 

the Dead Sea and the Sea of Galilee. Through this 
Terraces of whole interval, the river runs between successiTe 
^e Jorfwi terraces, one, two, or three, according as the hills 

approach more or less near to its banks. It is crossed 
by three, or at most four, well-known fords. The first and 
second are marked by remains of Roman bridges, immediately 
below the Sea of Galilee, and again, immediately above its 
confluence with the Jabbok '; the third and fourth occur jost 
above and below the present bathing-place of the pilgrims 
opposite Jericho *. No important streams join it on its western 

children of Jadah into the wilderness of 
Jndah, whidi lieth in the Bonth of Arad.** 
(Judges L 16.) The ''city of pahns" 
may, of oonrse, be Jericho. Bat Light- 
foot (ii. 7) justly contends that it may 
witii eqnal propriety be En-gedi ; which 
mndi more natorally suits the context, 
and agrees with BaJaam*s aUusion, in 
Numbers xziy. 21, "Strong is thy 
dweUing-plaoe, and thou puttest thy nest 
in the ' olif^* " as appropriate to a place 
within his view, abounding in eayems 
and rocks, as it would be inappropriate 

either to the original seat of the gnst 
body of the Kenitea on the ahors of ike 
Gulf of Akaba, or to tbe wide uphad 
desert where they were afterwards imtd 
south of Judaa. 

1 Masada, t. e. metzad^ the 'lair* or 
'fastness* ; see Appendix. It is now 
called Sebbeh, and has been visited tad 
described by Wdcot, Lynch, De Snikj, 
and Van de Velde ; wboee aoooonts well 
agree with that of Josephusi B. J. m & 

' For the bridges, see Schwann 49. 

* Van de Yelde, u. 34S. 


side ; on its eastern side two, of almost equal magnitude, the 
Hieromax and the Jabbok. It is below the confluence of the 
latter stream that the rapid descent ' begins. What may be its 
general character above this point is little known. But, south 
of the confluence it begins to wear the aspect well known to 
all travellers, and important in connection with the historical 
events which it has witnessed. The higher terraces on each 
side, immediately under the ranges of mountains, are occupied 
by masses of vegetation, of which I shall have occasion to speak 
again more particularly. This region is succeeded by the 
desert-plain, or '^Arabah," properly so called, and from this 
desert-plain begin the regular descents to the bed of the Jordan. 
Of these, the first is over a long line of white argillaceous hills, 
somewhat resembling those in the Wady Feiran, down to a 
flat occupied chiefly with low shrubs of agnus-castus. The 
second descent is upon a still lower flat, occupied chiefly with 
a jungle of tamarisks and willows, and this last flat is, in most 
parts of the river's course, the bed of the river itself. Nearer 
its mouth there is yet a third descent, consisting of a brake of 
canes and reeds. The actual stream of the Jordan, as it flows 
between these banks, is from sixty to a himdred feet wide, and 
varies from six to four feet in depth. Where it is widest, the 
bottom is mud; where narrowest, rock or sand*. Of these 
terraces, the only one, probably, which is continuous through 
its whole course, is that of the jungle. Higher up the stream 
the canes and reeds cease to form a continuous brake. The 
argillaceous hills on the eastern side approach so near the 
river, that they probably occupy the place of the highest 
terrace of agnus-castus on the west. But the long line of the 
jangle never ceases, and, as the valley contracts in its upper 
channel, sometimes extends across its whole width '. 

1. The course of the river, thus diversified, is confined between 
the two ranges of hills, which, like those of the Nile- pj^^ ^^ 
▼alley, extend with more or less regularity along the Abel-Shit- 
shores of the Dead Sea, and even to the Gulf of 
Akaba. In most parts of the Jordan, the plain thus enclosed 
is not more than eight nules in breadth, but immediately above 

^ Ipidi, 284. ' Newbold, Joaraal of R. Ab. Soc. zvi. 21. > Lyneh, 228. 




the Dead Sea the mountains on each side retire, leaving a 
larger plain than usual; probably a distance of more than 
twelve miles across from range to range. It is this plain which 
becomes the scene of the next great events in the history of the 

Encamp- ^^®^ » *^^ ^* ^^ fortunately that of which the physical 
mentofthe features are best known to travellers. We most 
imagine the Israelite host encamped on its eastern 
Side. The place is so minutely specified, that it may be fixed 
in spite of the obscurity which still rests on the further bank of 
the Jordan '• It was in the " desert-plain" of Moab, so called, 
probably, in contradistinction to the cultivated "fields" on the 
table-land above. It was in the long belt of acacia groves 
(shittim) which, on the eastern as on the western side of the 
Jordan, mark with a line of verdure the upper terraces of the 
valley. These groves indicate at once the issue of the springs 
from the roots of the eastern hills *, and the tropical climate to 
which the Israelites had now descended, and which brouglft 
them under these wild and thorny shades — probably for the 
first time since they had left them in the wilderness of Sinai. 
Their tents were pitched "from Abel-Shittim" on the north"to 
Beth- Jeshimoth " on the south'; from the 'meadow*' which 
marked the limit of those * groves,' to the ' hamlet ' or * house \' 
which stood in the ' waste ' on the shores of the Dead Sea 
They looked straight across the Jordan to the green spot of 
Jericho*' on the western bank. High above them rose the 

^ In Dent. i. 1, the scene of the last 
words of Moses is described as '*on the 
'other* side Jordan in the vildemess, 
in the 'desert* 'before* the [sea of] 
'Weeds,' between Paran and Tophel, and 
Laban, and Hazeroth (LXX A^A^y), and 
Disahab {Koraxp^ta — place of gold).** 
The difficulty here is, that whereas the 
expression, "on the 'othet* side Jor- 
dan," confirmed by i. 5, ( " on the * other* 
mdid Jordan in the land of Maab,*^) fixes 
the scene to the north of the DcAd Sea, 
aU the other localities indicated are in 
the Arabah, south of the J>ead Sea. 
Hengstenbex^B explanation, quoted by 
Dr. Robinson, ii. 600, only evades the 

^ These springs and roots of the eastern 
hills are designated as Athdoth-Pitgaht 
"the issuings forth of Fisgab.** See 

3 Numb, xxxiii. 49. 

« il6e^Shittim ('meadow of the aos- 
das*)— <>f which the name is* preKrred 
in "Abila,**— is described br Josq)hiu 
as still existing in his time <m the spot, 
embosomed in palms, at the distaneeof 
six miles or more (60 stadia) from the 
Jordan. (Ant. IV. riiL 1 ; V. L 1.) 
Possibly it is the same as vpgmncsM 
or twice in the Jewish war. (BelL Jnd. 
n. xiii. 2; IV. riL 6.) 

* Bethha-jeshimothiathe "house of the 
wastes.*' Its southern pontion is fixed 
by the place which it hdds in the enu- 
meration of the towns of Beuhen (Joshua 
xiii 20). Compare Joaephus^ BdL Jnd. 
IV. rii. 6. 

• "'On* or 'aboTe* Jorfan *of* 
Jericho.'* So this lowest stage of the 
river seemi to have been cdlsd (Numh 

1, xxxiii. 50). 

«aiAI'. TU.] 



mountains to which their descendants gave the name of 
"Abarim," — 'those on the further side/ the eastern wall of 
the valley, on whose tops they had so long sojourned in their 
long struggle with the Amorites of Heshbon. 

From these lofty summits were unfolded two successive 
views*, of the valley below, of the camp, of the opposite hills — 
awakening thoughts most diverse to the two seers, but of almost 
equal interest to future times. From the " high places* " there 
dedicated to Baal, from the 'bare hill'' on ''the top of the 
rocks," and lastly, from the cultivated* "field" of view from 
Zophim, on " the top of Pisgah," " from the top of ^««*^- 
Peer, that looketh ' on the face of the waste S' " the Assyrian 
Prophet, with the King of Moab by his side, looked over the 
wide prospect : — 

'*He watched, tiU morning** ray 

On lake and meadow lay, 
And willow-ahaded stieama' that sUent sweep 

Amid their banner'd lines, 

Where, by their serenJ signs, 
The desert-wearied trihes in sight of Canaan sleep." 

He saw in that vast encampment amongst the acacia groves, 
"how goodly are thy tents, Jacob, and thy tabernacles, O 
Israel." Like the watercourses of the mountains, like gardens 
by the side of his own great river Euphrates ', with The View 
their aromatic shrubs, and their wide-spreading cedars ^f Balaam, 
—the lines of the camp were spread out before him. Ephraim 
was there with " the strength of the ' wild bull ' " of the north ; 
Judah, "couching, like tiie lion" of the south; "a people 

^ The account of these Tiews more 
properly belongs to the next chapter. 
But the historioU connection will be best 
onderstood by ^eir introduction here. 

* Bamoihf Namb. xzii. 41. 

' Sk^ (rendered *'high place"), Nnmb. 
xnil 3, 9. 

* Sadek, Namb. zziii 14. 
' Nnmb. xziiL 28. 

* Probably few readers of * * The Chris- 
tun Tear" enter into the accurate learn- 
ing displayed in these lines. The ''lake" 
sod ''mndow" have been sufficiently 
explained in what has just been ssdd. 
The "willows" abound in the WAdy 
Bbni-Hammid on the S. E. side of the 
Dead Sea (De Saulcy, I 327, 487), which 

is probably "the 'torrent' of the wil- 
lows," described in Isa. xy. 7, as on the 
borders of Moab. The stream which, 
under a somewhat similar climate, falls 
into the lake of Genesareth from the 
W&dy Hymam, is exa<^y of this cha- 

' Numb. xxiv. 6. The words **tke 
riyer," "Aa-nahar," with the allusion to 
the aromatic plants (translated (does) and 
the cedars on the water-side, — neither of 
them images drawn from the scene before 
him, — show that he is thinking of his 
own country. There is the same com- 
parison of Assyria to the cedar, by the 
river-aide of the Tigris, in Ezekiel 
xxxi. 4. 


800 SINAI AND PALBSTINB. [obaptil 

dwelling alone," yet a mighty nation — '' who can count the dost 
of Jacob, and the number of the fourth part of Israel ? " He 
looked round &om his high post over the table-lands of Moab \ 
to the line of moimtains stretching away to Edom, on the 
south' ; over the high platform of the Desert beyond the Dead 
Sea, where dwelt the tribe of Amalek*, then "first of the 
nations " ; over the Kenite, not yet removed from his clefts in 
the rocks of En-gedi ^ full in front of the Prophet's view. And 
for each his dirge of lamentation went up ; till at the thought 
of his own distant land of " Asshur," of the land beyond the 
Euphrates *, of the dim vision of ships coming from the Westera 
sea which lay behind the hills of Palestine, *' to afSict Asshor 
and to afflict Eber " — ^he burst into the bitter cry, " Alas, who 
shall live when God doeth this ! " and he rose up and returned 
to his place. 

The view of Balaam from the top of Pisgah and of Peer is 
the first of those which have made the name celebrated. Bat 
it is the second view, which within so short a time succeeded to 
it, whilst Israel was still encamped in the acacia groves, that 
has become a proverb throughout the world. To these same 
The'^ew mountains of Abarim,* to the top of Pisgah, to a 
of Moms. }^g]^ place dedicated to the heathen Nebo, as Balaams 
standing-place had been consecrated to Peor, " Moses went up 
from the * desert-plain ' of Moab .... over against Jericho'." 
In the long line of those eastern mountains which so constantly 
meet the view of the traveller in all the western parts of 
Palestine, the eye vainly strives to discern any point emer^g 
from this horizontal platform, which may be fixed as the top of 
Nebo. Nothing but a fuller description than has ever yet been 
given of these regions, can determine the spot where the great 
lawgiver and leader of his people looked down upon their 

^ Nnmb. zxir. 17. smiset it Ib fiabU "in the midst of tbe 

* Ibid. is. great wide Ma,'* from the zaage of Lebi- 

* Ibid. 20. non aboye the aouroei of the Zihranj. 

* Ibid. 21. (Forest's NarratiTe in Jounud of Americss 

* Ibid. 22, 24. "Aaahur'» of ooune Oriental Society, ii. 245.) SeeChspter 
is Asqrria. **Eber" is the <<people XII. 

6ey9ii€{ the Euphrates." "ChiUtim" ia 'See Nnmb. zxL 11, and xxnil 

the west, represented by the island of 44, 47. 

Cyprus — the only island risible from the ' Deut. xzxiv. 1. 

heights of Syria. On a clear eyening at 

OBAP. til] 



embattled ranks, and over the " land which he was to see with 
his eyes, but was not to go in thither." But the general account 
leaves no doubt that the place intended is some elevation imme- 
diately over the last stage of the Jordan ^ Northward, his eye 
turned to " all the land of Gilead," continuing the same eastern 
barrier as that on which he himself stood, till it ended, far 
beyond his sight, in Dan. Westward, there were on the northern 
horizon, the distant hills of "all Naphtali.'' Coming nearer, 
was "the land of Ephraim and Manasseh." Immediately 
opposite, was " all the land of Judah ; *' beyond which, though 
unseen, lay " the utmost sea " and the Desert of " the south," 
—Jerusalem * itself, in all probability, distinctly visible through 
the opening of the descent to Jericho. These were the four 
great masses of the future inheritance of his people, on which 
the narrative fixes our attention. Immediately below him was 
the ' round ' of the plain of Jericho, with its oasis of palm-trees, 
and far away on his left, though hardly visible, the last inhabited 
spot before the great Desert — " Zoar *." It was a view, doubt- 
less, which in its full extent was to be imagined rather than 
actually seen. In this respect the Pisgah-prospect is a striking 
illustration of all the prophetic visions of the Sacred writings. 
The foreground of the picture alone was clearly discernible ; 
its dim distances were to be supplied by what was beyond, 
though suggested by what was within, the range of the actual 
prospect of the seer. But between him and that '' good land " 
the deep valley of the Jordan intervened. ** So Moses the 
servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according 
to the word of the Lord." In language less simple, but hardly 
less touching, the Jewish historian adds — " As he was bidding 

^ No name like Piagah u nov known 
on tbe eastern side ; but Jerome expressly 
Aoerts that it waa fioniliar to the tra- 
TeUers of hia day (De loo. Heb., yo& 
Aharm) and that Nebo was pointed out 
nx miles from Hesbon (/(. roe. Naban). 
Bnrekhaidt in travelling through the 
eoimtry selected Jebel-'AttirOs, appa- 
rently from its oonspieuons position, as 
the most likely spot " There is," he 
>»78, **a large heap of stones on the 
■unmit, orera^iaded by a wild pistachio 
tree." He also describes the mountain 
*'as Tery barren,'* and "wtth an uneren 

plain on the top.'* But he gives no 
details by which to judge of its general 
appearance, nor the slightest indication 
of the view from the top. (Travels in 
Syria, i. p. S72.) It is true that this 
is not stricUy "over against Jericho," 
but this objection would not be &tal if 
the spot were otherwise appropriate. 

^ So large a portion of these moun« 
tains is viable frx>m Jerusalem, that 
Jerusalem must in turn be visible from 
most of their summits. 

' I have dwelt on the points expressly 
mentioned in Deut. xxxiv. 1 — 3. 



[oBAP. m. 

farewell to Eleazer and Joshua, whilst he was yet talking with 
them, a cloud suddenly stood over him, and he vanished ' in a 
ravine." " He died in the mount whither he had gone up, and 
he was gathered unto his people, as Aaron his brother had died 
on Mount Hor, and was gathered to his people." * His tomb, 
B rial- however, was not, like Aaron's, on the high mountaia 
place of summit, an object of pilgrimage for future ages. " He 
^^'^ died in the land of Moab, according to the word of 
the Lord, and he buried him in a ' ravine ' in the land of Moab 
before Bethpeor, but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto 
this day.'* In a ravine before Bethpeor, — ^that is, in front of 
the height from which Balaam's last prophecy had been 
delivered; and so, doubtless, somewhere in the gorges' of 
Pisgah. But beyond this, " no man knew." It is the first 
instance on record of the providential obliteration — so remark- 
ably exemplified afterwards in the Oospel history — of the *' holy 
places " of Palestine ; the providential safeguard against their 
elevation to a sanctity which might endanger the real holiness 
of the history and religion which they served to commemorate. 
It is curious that, in spite of the mystery in which the grave of 
Moses was thus enveloped, a traditional sanc^ary has arisen, 
not indeed on Mount Pisgah, but on a height immediately on 
the opposite side of the Dead Sea — a rude mosque, which is 
reverenced by the Mussulman world, as covering the tomb of 
'' the Prophet Moses \" It is so sacred, that, lonely as its 
situation is, its entrance is rigidly barred against unbelievers, and 
its votaries are so numerous, that the authorities of Jerosalem 
have, by a stroke of policy, fixed the days of the pilgrimage 
thither at the same time as the Greek Easter ; so that at the Tery 
mbment when Jerusalem might, it was feared, be in danger of a 
surprise from the influx of Christian pilgrims, a body of Mussul- 
man pilgrims might be on the spot to defend the Holy City. 

^ Joaephvs, Ant. IV. viiL 48. 

> 2 Bent, xxxii. 50. 

' Such a 'rayine' is mentioned in con- 
nection with Bamoth, or the high places 
near Pisgah, in Nnmb. xxi. 20. 

^ Nel^-Mftsa ; see De Sanlcy, ii. 78. 
Van Egmont (i. 345) speaks of this tomb^ 
as of a modem Hnssnbnan saint. But 
the prefix of **Neby** is nearly condusiye 

in &Tonr of its being intended for the 
grare of Hoses. There haTe been no 
''Prophets" since the death of MskasMt 
Such is also the opinion of Jela]-ed-<fin 
(p. 890). « Hard by," he aocuatelj 
notices, ''is a red-sand monnd by tiM 
road side." There is another gxavs o' 
Moses near Hams (Schwann 61). 

CBAP. til] 



From the heights of Hsgah we descend again to the encamp- 
ment in the groves which had just witnessed the licentious rites 
of Midian'. And now the day was come for the greatest crisis 
that had taken place since the passage of the Bed Sea. Fanage of 
They were to "pass over the Jordan, to go in and *^«Jo«^« 
possess the land which the Lord their God gave them to 
possess it"." For the first time, they descended from the upper 
terraces of the valley, "they removed from *the acacia 
groves/ " and " came to the Jordan, and lodged' there before 
they passed over." The exact spot is unknown ; it certainly 
cannot be that which the Greek tradition has fixed, where the 
eastern banks are sheer precipices, of ten or fifteen feet high. 
Probably it was either immediately above or below, where ^e 
diSb break away ; above, at the fords, or below, where the river 
assumes the tamer character which has been before described, 
on its exit to the Dead Sea. Wherever was the point, however, 
it must have been the largest river that they had seen since they 
left the banks' of the Nile. The size of the stream, too, must 
have been more conspicuous, if we take to the fall the expression 
of the historian, that the Jordan was then in a state of flood — 
"overflowing* all his banks at the time of the barley harvest." 
It was the same phenomenon which is described again in 
David's reign, when the adventurous Gadites passed the stream 
— " in the first month, when it had overflowed all its The Imm- 
banks*." The time of the year, which must have ^**°^ 
corresponded to our April or May, is the same as that when it is 
usually visited by travellers ; and as no extensive inundation has 

I Kninb. X3cv. 1. 

» Josh. i. 11. 

' Josh. iii. 1. 

* 1 Chr. ziL 15. The time is fixed by 
the ''first month,*' the barley-harvest, 
and ''four days before the PassoTer." 
(Comp. Joeh. iv. 19, and r. 10.) The 
English expedition down the Jordan 
spoks of the flood in winter as extending 
for the width of half a mile. (Jcnmid 
of Geological Society, XTiii. 116.) The 
question of the flood is well stated by 
Gaptain Newbold, who thinks that it 
tkerer has risen in historical times above 
the lowest of the present terraces ; bnt 
deseribes "the northern end of the whole 
ntlley as sinread with a soft black alln- 

vinm, like that of the Nile. . . . The 
venerable trees and thick bnshes which 
now ooenpy the wider channel, show that 
a considerable period has elapsed since 
the Jordan filled it as a current. It is 
subject to sudden rises from violent and 
sndden rains in the mountains around its 
sources, and in the Haur&n and eastern 
moimtains, south of Tiberias, the drainage 
of which is conveyed to the Jordan by the 
Hieromax and Jabbok, in consequence of 
which the passage of the river below the 
embouchure of these two streams is al- 
ways nncertain and dangerous, especially 
for troops. . . . Above, the two upper 
lakes act as regulators." (Journal As. 
8oc 24.) 



[OHAP. m. 

ever been witnessed by them, it is probable that the utmost that 
can be here implied is the rise of the river to the top of the 
lowest of its terraces, that, namely, which is occupied by the 
jungle ; and the difference between this increase and what is 
now witnessed may be either' from the river having worn a 
deeper channel, or from the greater fall of rain in earlier times, 
or from both causes combined. That it could not have been 
more than this is implied both by the double passage' of the 
spies four days before, and by the subsequent passage of the 
Gadites under the same circumstances in the time of David. 
That some change has taken place is slightly confirmed by 
two facts still observable. First, the remains of an ancient dyke 
have been seen at the issue of the river from the southern end 
of the Sea of Tiberias'. Secondly, whereas it would appear 
in ancient times that the fords of the river were few and well 
marked, it seems that there are now many hundreds of places, 
where a passage can be made over the rocks in the channel 
without wetting the feet*. 

On the broken edge of the river— so the scene which foUows 
Thedirin ^ placed before us by the narrative — ^the band of 
npofthe priests stood with the ark upon their shoulders. At 
"^"' a distance of nearly a mile* in the rear, stood the great 
mass of the army. Suddenly the full bed of the Jordan was 
dried before them. High up the river, "very far " " in Adam, 
the city which is beside Zaretan',*' — that is, at a distance of 
nearly thirty miles from the place of the Israelite encampment, 
— " the waters which * rushed ' down from above," from the Sea 
of Galilee, stood, and rose up in a barrier*; and " those that came 
down towards the sea of the 'Desert,' the salt sea, failed and 
were cut off." The scene presented to us, therefore, is of the 

> Josh. ii. 1, 2S. 

* Light's Tnyels, p. 206. 

' Judg. iii. 28 ; vii. 24 ; xiL 5 ; 
Holjneax, p. 115, in Willukms's aooonnt 
of the Jordan, under Palatine (Smith's 
Diet ofGeog., p. 621). 

* Two thousand onhits. Josh. iiL 4. 

* Josh. iiL 16. Not <' from Adsm** 
(as in A. v.) bnt '<in Adam.'* See KeO, 
ad loe. The city Adam is onlj named 
here. But the sitnation of Zorefan is 
fixed bj a comparison with 1 Kings Tii. 
46, to hare been near Saoooth at the ford 

of the riyer nesr the month of the JabboL 
• The word here nsed, '*Ned,"isoBlT 
nsed of ''watei^' with regard to the 
Jordan here ; and of the waves of the as 
poeticaUj. (Ps. xxxiii. 7, Fk. Ixxriil 
18. Bxod. XT. 8.) The appearsnee of tiM 
drying np of the Jordan seems to be de- 
scribed by Antoninus ICaityr in the Bxth 
century, as if it oocured yeariy si the 
visit of the pilgrims. See a2s9 KiBg> 
Horseb of Gritidsm, L p. 28L 

0HAP. TnJ 




river-bed dried up from north to south, through all its windings, 
far beyond the actual passage — an image which, however it may 
be explained, is important to bear in mind, to avoid a confused 
notion which is often formed from a supposed parallel with the 
passage of the Red Sea. Then they "came up out of" the 
deep channel of the Jordan, and pitched their tents in the 
'desert-plains' which immediately succeed on its western side 
to the lines of vegetation that accompany the course of the 

2. The first stage of the conquest of Palestine, which now 
follows, cannot be understood without fiilly repre- 
senting the situation of Jericho, one of the most 
important cities of Palestine, the capital, as it may be called, 
of the Valley of the Jordan, and the only important city in its 
whole course. That importance is derived from two causes. 
First, it stands at the entrance of the main passes from this 
valley into the interior of Palestine, the one branching off to 
the south-west towards Olivet, which commands the approach 
to Jerusalem ; the other to the north-west, towards Michmash, 
which commands the approach to Ai and Bethel*. It was thus 
the key — the " Chiavenna " — of Palestine to any invader from 
this quarter. Secondly, it enjoys the fuU benefit of one, if not 
two, of those copious streams which, as we have seen, form 
the chief sources of such fertility as the Valley of the Jordan 
contains. The usual, that is the south-western, approach to 
Jericho exhibits this in the most striking form. After 
traversing for six hours the almost total desolation which 
marks the long descent from Jerusalem to the Valley of the 
Jordan, over bare limestone hills, the eye is suddenly caught 
by the sight of a thread of verdure at the bottom of a deep glen, 
the most romantic in the whole of Palestine, almost recalling 
by its depth and narrowness the defile of the Stk on the 
approach to Petra. This green thread is the course of the 
torrent now called Kelt, possibly the ancient Cherith', and, if 

1 See Chapter IV. 

' 1 Kings xTii. 3. Bobinaon, B. B. 
▼ol. ii. p. 288. There are two other 
chumants to the honour of the Cherith. 
If " before,** in 1 Kings xrii. 8, retains 
Its usual signification of ''east^** then the 
most probable memorial of the Cherith is 
in the Wftdj Alia» soath of Iffahanaim. 

(Comp. Irby and Mangles, p. 305 ', 
Sohwan, 51.) Bat, if the word *' before" 
can be taken in the sense of "towards," 
then the choice maj still lie between the 
W&d7 Kelt and the *Ain Fasael, at some 
distance north of the Wddy Kelt. Of 
this an excellent description, in some 
respects well according with the soeoe in 



[chap, ti^ 

60, doubtless deriving its name from the manner in whicli its 
course is "cut" through these tremendous precipices. To 
any who has seen the Barada, on the approach to Damascus \ 
the sight of the W&dy Kelt at once suggests by anticipation 
the prospect which awaits him as he issues from the desert* 
hills. It bursts through the opening, and in the desert-plain 
of the Jordan, far and wide extends the green circle of tangled 
thickets, in the midst of which are the hovels of the modem 
village, beside which stood, in ancient times, the great city of 
Jericho. It is not, however, only or chiefly to the toirept 
stream of the Kelt, that Jericho owes its oasis. A little to 
the north of the issue of that stream into the plain, rise, 
out of the foot of the same limestone range, two living 
springs — one now, as always, called* Duk; the other and 
larger, as well as more celebrated, now called the spring 
"of the Sultan," or "of Elisha." From these springs 
trickle clear rills through glades of tangled forest-shrub, 
which, but for their rank luxuriance and Oriental vegeta- 
tion, almost recall the scenery of England. *'A$ Y(m 
Like It" says one of the most graphic and accurate of 

Eastern travellers, " was in my head all day^" It is these 
iitreams \ with their accompanying richness, that procured for 

3SUjali*8 life, ib given by Van de Velde 
<ii. 309). " A steep and rocky track of 
more than a thousand feet led us onward. 
The farther we came down, the warm and 
fiery wind from the Ghor met us right in 
the &ce. . . . The air itself seemed to 
be fire. . . . AU was burned. Thistles, 
grass, flowers, and shrabs grew here with 
rare luxuriance, but now eyerything was 
burned white like hay or straw, and this 
perhaps standing five or six feet high, 
^ly guides, as well as myself, thought we 
should die while in this gigantic furnace. 
At last we see liTing green. A thicket 
of wild fig*trees and oak-shrubs mixed 
and intermixed with oleanders and thomy 
plants, seems as it were to hide itself at 
the base of the glowing rocks, keeping 
full vigour of life, notwithstanding the 
extraordinary heat. What may be the 
cause of this ? It is a fountain of living 
waters which keeps the leaves of these 
ti^es green, whilst everything roond 
about is consumed by drought and heat. 
'This is Ain Fasael,* said my guide. 
There is a distance of three quarters of 
an hour between the fountain and the end 

of the valley in the plain of the JordaB. 
The rocks on both sides of the valley con- 
tain a great many natural caves. The 
central part of the narrow valley bsd 
been caltivated by aid of the brook. The 
cucumber gardens were yet green. . . . 
At the end of the valley stands a tmsll 
'Tel* covered with ruins. This must 
have been the Acropolis — and in its name 
'Tel Fasael,' it is not difficult to recog- 
nise the fortress Phssaelus, built bj 
Herod, and called after his son.'* For 
the tradition he refers to Bachiene (Heilige 
Geographie, p. 126, 130) and Brocaidos. 

^ See Chapter XII. 

2 1 Maoc xvi 14, 15. 

' Miss Martineau's Eastern Travel, p. 
485. In the time of the Grosades tbe 
sugar-cane was grown here, and near 
*Ahi-Sultftn, the sugar-mills and theiz 
aqueducts in part remain. Newbold, in 
Journal As. Soc. xvL 31. The sugar 
thence derived was believed by some of 
the crusaders to be the Baptist^s wild 
honey. (Gesta Dei per Pnuicos, 1075). 

♦ "The water of Jericho^" Joshua 
XVL 1. 


Jericho, during the various stages of its existence, its long 
prosperity and grandeur. 

' Beautiful as the spot is now in utter neglect, it must have 
been £ar more so when it was first seen by the 

View of 

IsraeUte host at Gilgal. Gilgal — ^the rising' ground jencho at 
where, at Joshua's command, they * rolled ' away the ^ *^SL!? 
reproach of their uncircumdsion — was about five 
miles distant from the river banks ; at the eastern outskirts, 
therefore, of the great forest. Jericho itself stood at its western 
extremity, immediately where the springs issue from the hills. 
From that scene of their earliest settlement in Palestine, 
they looked out over the intervening forest to what was to be 
the first prize of the conquest. The forest itself did not then 
consist, as now, merely of the picturesque thorn, but was a 
vast grove of majestic palms, nearly three miles broad, and 
eight miles long. Even the solitary reHc of the palm -forest*, 
seen as late as 1838, has now disappeared. But as Joshua 
witnessed it, it must have recalled to him the magnificent 
palm-groves of Egypt, such as may now be seen stretching 
along the shores of the Nile at Memphis. Amidst this forest 
— as is, to a certain extent, the case even now — would have 
been seen, stretching through its open spaces, fields of ripe 
com ; for it was " the time of the barley harvest," and on the 
morrow after the passover, they ate for the first time ^'of 
the old com of the land and parched corn in the self-same 
day'." Above the topmost trees would be seen the high walls 
and towers of the city, which from that grove derived its proud 
name, " Jericho, the city of palms,'* " high, and fenced up to 
heaven " — the walls over which the spies had been let down, 
and which were now to fall before their victorious countrymen. 
Behind the city rose the jagged range of the white limestone 
mountains of Judasa, here presenting one of the few varied and 
beautiful outlines that can be seen amongst the southern hills 
of Palestine. This range is "the mountain*" to which the 
spies had fled, whilst their pursuers vainly sought them on the 

1 JosK T. 3 ; the "hiU** (gibeah) is > gee Chap. n. p. UA, 

probablyoneoftheargilkceoushillB which ' Josh. y. II. 

form the highest terrace of the Jordan, * Josh. iL 22. ^ 
or the rising groimd in the forest iteelfl 



[chap. tu. 

way to the Jordan ; there they had been concealed, doubtless 
in the caverns with which the side of the mountain is per- 
forated, the same which in later ages afforded shelter to the 
hermits who there took up their abode, in the belief that this 
was the mountain of the Forty Days' Fast of the Temptation — 
the " Quarantania," from which it still derives its name. 

The same causes which made Jericho of such importance in, 
this first stage of the Hebrew conquest, would also render 
necessary its complete destruction, with the curse on its re- 
builder. A place of such strength was not to be left to be 

occupied by any hostile force that might take 
the time of possession of it. But, agam, these same causes 
*hete!^ occasioned its successive restorations, which exceed, 

probably, those of any other city in Palestme, 
except Jerusalem. First, although the actual site of Jericho 
long lay desolate, yet Gilgal, the scene of their first encamp- 
ment, not two miles distant', which enjoyed the same 
general advantages of the shade and the streams of the noble 
forest, became the first regular settlement of Israel*. The 
ground of Gilgal was the first that was pronounced "holy V 
On its hill, during the long wars in the interior of Palestine, 
the Tabernacle remained, till it found its resting-place in 
Shiloh *. And in those sacred groves were celebrated, in later 
times, the solemn assemblies of Samuel and of Saul*, and of 
David on his return from exile*. But Jericho itself, in the 
reign of Ahab ^ if not before, rose from its rtdns. A school of 
prophets' gathered roimd the spot almost immediately, and 
in the glimpses of their history we catch the same natural 
features with which the story of the first capture has already 
made us familiar. Elijah and Elisha came to it from Bethel '# 

^ For the relative sitaation of Jericho 
and Gfilgal, see Jos. Ant. V. L 4 ; Bell. 
Jad. IV. Tiii 2. 

> Ewald (Geschichte, 2nd edit ii. 318) 
well compares this rise of the first 
Israelite settlement ont of the mde 
memorials of the passage, with the analo- 
gous rise of Cairo from Fostat — ^the tent 
of Amron. 

■ Josh. V. 15. 

* Josh. zriiL 1. 

• 1 Bam. TU. 16; x. 8; s. 14, 15; 
xiiL 7, 9 ; XT. 83. 

' 2 Sam. xix. 15, 40. 

7 1 Kings xri. 34. 

« 2 Kings iL 5. 

• 2 Kings iL 2, 4. If the mdi^g of 
the Hebrew text» ''they ««itf ^^"^ '^ 
rights then the OUgal spoken of in iL It 
cannot be that near Jericho ; and aaother 
OiJgcU must be sought in the noon- 
tains north-west of Bethel ; where sons 
such place is indicated by the andeBt 
Osnaanite kingdom of the "natioeB of 
Gilgal,'* between Dor and Timh (JosL 
xiL 28), and where a modem Tillageeiista 




down the same pass by the valley of Ai that in other times was 
the route of invading armies into the interior of Palestine. 
From Jericho, " they two went on '* to the banks of the Jordan, 
whilst the sons of the prophets stood on the upper terraces, 
"afar off;" and there, nearly at the same spot where Moses 
had vanished from the eyes of his countrymen, Elijah also was 
withdrawn — (as the prophets imagined) carried away to " one 
of the mountains," or '' one of the * ravines ' '," which line the 
eastern wilderness, into which they knew he had retired. 
Elisha was left on the spot alone, but it was his natural home. 
He was himself a native of one of those rich plots of meadow* 
ground which are found in the upper stages of the Jordan 
valley. At Abel-Meholah', he was first seen behind his oxen, 
when Elijah passed up the valley on his way from the southern 
desert of Sinai to the northern desert of Damascus. At Gilgal 
was his frequent abode. The spring whose ''waters" he 
" healed," is probably that which now bears his name *. He 
too, " went up " the ascent through the pass to Bethel, where, 
in the forest now destroyed, lurked the two she-bears*. 
Naaman, at his command *, '' went down " to the Jordan, mur- 
muring at the contrast of its turbid " waters " with the clear 
" rivers " of his native Damascus *." Into the jungle on the 
banks of the river, the sons of the prophets descended to cut 
boughs for their huts, and '' as one was felling a beam " from 
the branches which overhimg the stream, ** the axe-head fell 
into the water'." 

The third stage in the history of Jericho is that in which its 
palm-groves and gardens of balsam were given by Antony to 
Cleopatra '. They were first farmed for her, and then redeemed 
for himself by Herod the Great, who made this one of his 

eaUed JUfiUh (Bob. iiL 46). See also 
Beut. zi 80. Bat the LXX read ^Oop 
"they came." 

\2 Kings iL 16. The LXX in yene 8, 
ai if with a slightly different reading, 
raiders the words '*on dry groond,*' by 
iw 4p4ifti^, '*in the wildemesB." 

* * The Meadow of the Danee ; '1 Kings 
xiz. 16, 17, Judg. Til 22. See Chap. IX. 

> 2 Kings ii 21. Joseph. B. J. IV. 
▼iiL 3. 

* 2 Kinf^ iL 28, 24. 

' From 2 Kings t. 2, it might be in- 
ferred th»t Elisha was then in Samaria. 
The woid "Ophel," (2 Kings t. 24,) 
translated "tower,** is probably a 
"mound." In every place, except this 
and Isa. zzxiL 14, where this is evi- 
dently its signification, it is applied to 
Ophel, the fortified hill in Jerusalem 
soath of Horiah. See Appendix 8, v. 

' 2 Kings T. 12, 14. 

7 2 Kings Ti. 2, 5. 

• Josephui^ Ant XV. iy. 2. 

810 SINAI AND PALRSTINE. [cair. vil 

princely residences, in which he was Uving at the time of his 
death. It was this Boman Jericho through which Christ 

Jrichoin P^^^®^ ^^ ^^ ^^ joumey to Jerusalem; passed 
the time of along the road beside which stood the sycomore 
tree '; went up into the wild dreary mountains ; caught 
from the summit of the pass the first glimpse of the line of 
trees and houses on the summit of Olivet ; and so went His 
way through the long ascent, the scene of His own parable of 
the Good Samaritan, till He reached the Mendly home perched 
aloft on the mountain side — the village of Bethany. 

3. Was this wilderness of His last approach — so wc natundly 
ask — ^the same as that which witnessed His earliest trials? 
Was the reach of the Jordan, which Joshua and Elijah crossed, 
the same as that which was consecrated by His first entrance 
Scene of the ^^^ ^^ pubKc ministry ? It is difficult to determine, 
preaehiiig But the indications of the narrative point to a locaUty 
^ further north than the scene which the tradition of 

the Greek and Latin Churches — influenced, doubtless, in part, 
by the convenience of a spot near Jerusalem — ^has selected, 
*' In the wilderness of Judsa '," " In all the country about 
Jordan," — are the general expressions of the three first 
Evangelists, which would apply to the whole of the southern 
valley of the Jordan. St. John, however, with greater precision, 
adds, " in Beth-dbara ' (the house of passage) beyond Jordan,' 
which seems to confine "the wilderness*' generally to the 
eastern bank, and the special locality to the more northern 
ford, near Succoth, the same by which Jacob had crossed from 
Mahanaim, by which the Midianites endeavoured to escape 

^ Luke ziz. 4. See Chapter XIII. it ftom the Jadaan Bethany, he 'would 

' MatL iii. 1 ; Mark i. 3 ; LokeiiL 3. bare written Bi}0air£f rp tiftoM rw 

* John i. 2S, 29. It is with consider- 'lopidyov, or, at anj rate, placed Biftftvia 

able hesitation that I laj any stress on in dose connection with wiptof rov *lof- 

thename <<Bethabara." All the oldest SdU'ov— it seems most likely that Origen 

MSS., (ABCEFGHLMSVXA),and was right in altering the text, andbeinft 

nearly all the yersions, read not '* Beth- as he says, *' persuaded that we ought to 

abaia" but *' Bethany ;'* and Origen, read Bethabara." The northern sitss- 

in his commentary on the passage, states tion of Bethabara is implied in Bpipha- 

that in his time this reading prevailed nius (H»r. 535). That there was a ford 

in ** almost all the MSS." {ax^9op or place known by the name of ''Abars"* 

vdrra rii d$rriypa/^). Bat considering appears from the probable meaning of 2 

the great improbability of the altera- Sam. ziz. 18, and the probable leading 

tion of the familiar word *' Bethany'* of 2 Sam. zt. 28. iHiTid on his flight 

into the comparatively unknown '*BeUi- across the Jordan tella the High Frieit 

abara"— considering also that in the that he will wait at the Abaroth (ox 

locality Origen still found the name "fords") in the wildernea, and on hii 

** Bethabara'*— considering, finally, that return he passes at or on the *'Afaaia»' 

if the Bvaogelist had meant to distinguish which the t-^^ translate Uafioffu (sa if it 


in their flight from Gideon, and where Jephthah slew the 
Ephraimites/ And on a subsequent occasion John is described 
as baptising in iSnon (' the springs '), " near to Salim '," which 
would probably be the same "Salem'" as that near Shechem, — 
close to the passage of the Jordan near Succoth, and far away 
from that near Jericho. Hence, on the one hand, from the 
Jordan to Nazareth, apparently occupied only a day \ and on 
the other hand, the return from this same spot to Bethany ^, 
took at least two days. In each case this length of time 
accords well with the relative distance from Succoth, but 
would be entirely inapplicable to Jericho. 

•If this be so, the scenery of the exact spot of John's baptism, 
though visited by two or three travellers, has never been 
described. This is, perhaps, of less importance, because the 
images, and even associations of the whole valley are so similar, 
that what applies to one spot must, more or less, apply to all. 
The " wilderness " of the desert-plain, whether on the western 
or eastern side, is the most marked in the whole country, and 
never has been inhabited, except for the purposes of ascetic 
seclusion, as by the Essenes, and the hermits of later times. 
Wide as was the moral and spiritual difference between the 
two great Prophets of the Jordan wilderness, and the wild 
ascetics of later times, yet it is for this very reason important 
to bear in mind the outward likeness which sets off this inward 
contrast. Travellers know well the startling appearance of 
the savage figures, who, whether as Bedouins or Dervishes, 
still haunt the solitary places of the East, with a " cloak,'' — the 
usual striped Bedouin blanket — " woven of camel's hair, thrown 
over the shoulders, and tied in front on the breast; naked, 
except at the waist, round which is a girdle of skin; the hair 
flowing loose about the head *." This was precisely the de- 
scription of Elijah, whose last appearance had been on this 
very wilderness, before he finally vanished from the eyes of his 
disciple. This, too, was the aspect of his great representative, 

vu a moTiDg raft) Joe. Ant. vii. xi. 2 tomb of Sheykh Salem, near W&dy 

T^iipa (u if it waa a bridge) the Auth. Ghusech (Van de Yelde, L 346). 

Vers, "the ferry-boat." This laat yeraion ' See Chap. Y. Note on Geriiim, 

^voold agree with the meaning assigned to p. 248. 

the other reading of John i 28. Beth- * John i. 43 ; ii. 1. 

ani^— *• the honse of a ship" mw * John xL 6, 89. 

' Oen. zxzii. 22 ; Jadg. i. 24 ; zii. 5, 6. * See Light's description of two Egyptian 

John iii. 23. Compare the descrip- Dervishes in Syria (p. 135). 
tion of the nnmeroos snrings near the 

312 SINAI AND PALESTINE. [g&a?. txi. 

when he came, in the same place, dwelling, like the sons of the 
prophets, in a leafy covert woven of the branches of the Jordan- 
forest \ preaching, in '^ raiment of camel's hair," with a " leathern 
girdle round his loins," eating the '* locusts " of the desert, and 
the " wild honey " or ** manna," which dropped from the 
tamarisks of the desert-region, or wHch distilled from the 
palm-groves of Jericho*. To the same wilderness, probably 
that on the eastern side, Jesus is described as '' led up* " by 
Scene of the *^® Spirit— up into the desert-hills whence Moses 
Tempta- had seen the view of all the " kingdoms " of Pales- 
^°^' tine — " with the wild beasts* " which lurked in the 

bed of the Jordan, or in the caves of the hills — '* where John 
was baptising, beyond Jordan." 

If from the general scene we turn to the special locality of 
the river banks, the reason of John's selection is at once 
Baptism in explained. He came " baptising," that is, signifying 
the Jordan. ^ those who came to him, as he plimged them under 
the rapid torrent, the forgiveness and forsaking of their former 
sins. It was in itself no new ceremony. Ablutions, in the 
East, have always been more or less a part of rehgioas 
worship — easily performed, and always welcome. Every syn- 
agogue, if possible, was by the side of a stream or spring ; every 
mosque, still, requires a fountain or basin for lustrations in 
its court. But John needed more than this. He taught, not 
under roof or shelter of sacred buildings, but far from the 
natural haimts of men. He proclaimed repentance, not only 
to handfuls of men here and there, but to the whole nation. 
No common spring or tank would meet the necessities of 
the multitudes '' who, from Jerusalem and all Judea, and all 
the region round about Jordan, came to him confessing their 
sins*." The Jordan, by the very peculiarity of its position, 
which, as before observed, renders its functions so unlike 
those of other Eastern streams, now seemed to have met with 
its fit purpose*. It was the one river of Palestine, sacred 

1 Compare 2 Kings ti. 2. < Mark L 13. 

9 Joseph. B. J. IV. Tiii. 8. The • Matt. iiL 5. 

traditional soene and food of the Baptist « It may be observed that the only 

is in the hiUs about five miles vest of other eztensiye baptisms recorded ootni* 

Jenualem. of Jernsalem, are at Salim (John iiL S3), 

' Matt iy. 1. vrhere there was " much water,'* and at 


in its recollections, abundant in its waters ; and yet, at the 
same time, the river, not of cities, but of the wilderness ; the 
scene of the preaching of those who dwelt not in kings' palaces, 
nor wore soft clothing. On the banks of the rushing stream 
the multitudes gathered — ^the, priests and scribes from Jeru- 
salem, down the pass of Adummim ; the publicans from 
Jericho on the south, and the Lake of Gennesareth on the 
north; the soldiers on their way from Damascus to Petra, 
through the Ghor, in the war with the Arab chief Hareth ; the 
peasants from Galilee, with One from Nazareth, through the 
opening of the plain of Esdraelon. The tall '' reeds *' or canes 
in the jungle waved, " shaken ' by the wind ;" the pebbles of 
the bare clay hills lay around, to which the Baptist pointed as 
capable of being transformed into "the children" of Abraham ;" 
at their feet rushed the refreshing stream of the never-failing 
river. There began that sacred rite, which has since spread 
throughout the world, through the vast baptistries of the 
southern and Oriental Churches, gradually dwindling to the 
little fonts of the north and west; the plunges beneath the 
water diminishing to the few drops which, by a wise exercise of 
Christian freedom, are now in most Churches the sole repre- 
sentative of the full stream of the Descending Biver. 

The interest which thus attaches to the Jordan, is one 
which it possesses to an extent probably enjoyed by no other 
sacred locality in the Holy Land. In the mosaics of the 
earliest churches at Bome and Bavenna, before Christian and 
Pagan Art were yet divided, the Jordan appears as a river-god, 
pouting his streams out of his urn. The first Christian 
Emperor had always hoped to receive his long-deferred baptism 
in the Jordan, up to the moment when the hand of death struck 
him at Nicomedia. The name of the river has, in Spain and 
Italy, by a natural association, been turned into a common 
Christian name for children at the hour of the baptism which 
served to connect them with it. Protestants, as well as Greeks 
and Latins, have delighted to carry off its waters for the same 

Sanuuna (Aeta Tiii. 12), vhose abmidant wind ?** Katt. zi. 7. See p. 207. 
streams ha^e been desoribed elaewhere. ^ '' GK)d is able of thete stones to raise 

See Chapter V. np ebildren unto Abraham." Matt. 

* "What went ye out into the wilder- iii. 9. 
nesB to see f A reed shaken with the 

814 SINAI AND PAIiESTINS. [ouap. to. 

sacred purpose, to the remotest regions of the West. Of all 
the practices — superstitions, if we choose so to call them— of 
the Oriental Churches in Palestine, none is more innocent or 
natural than the ceremony repeated year by year at the Greek 

Bathinff of ^^*®^ — ^^ bathing of the pilgrims in the Jordan, 
the pii- It has often been witnessed by European travellers. 
«'^'- I venture to describe it from my own recoUections, 
for the sake both of the general illustration which it famishes 
of the present forms of Oriental Christianity, and also as 
presenting the nearest likeness that can now be seen in the 
same general scenery to the multitudinous baptisms of John. 
Once a year — on the Monday in Passion Week — the desolation 
of the Plain of Jericho is broken by the descent from the 
Judsean hills of five, six, or eight thousand pilgrims, who are 
now, from all parts of the old Byzantine Empire, gathered 
within the walls of Jerusalem. The Turkish governor is with 
them, an escort of Turkish soldiers accompanies them, to 
protect them down the desert-hills, against the robbers who, 
from the days of the Good Samaritan downwards, have infested 
the solitary pass. It was for the purpose of defending the 
pilgrims down these passes that the nine knights banded 
together who formed the first nucleus of the Order of the 
Templars'. On a bare space beside the tangled thickets of 
the modem Jericho, — distinguished by the square tower, now 
the castle of its chief and called by pilgrims the ' House of 
Zacchseus,' — the vast encampment is spread out, recalling the 
image of the tents which Israel here first pitched by Gilgal. 
Two hours before dawn, the rude Eastern kettle-drum rouses 
the sleeping multitude. It is to move onwards to the Jordan, 
so as to accomplish the object before the great heat of the 
lower valley becomes intolerable. Over the intervening Desert, 
the wide crowd advances in almost perfect silence. Above is 
the bright Paschal Moon, before them moves a bright flare 
of torches, on each side huge watchfires break the darkness 
of the night, and act as beacons for the successive descents of 
the road. The sun breaks over the eastern hills as the head 

1 Wilcke's '*Geseh. des Tempel-herreQ OrdenB," p. 9, inlfilmui't U^Cbxi^ 
anitj, T. 286. It was in 1118. 


of the cavalcade reaches the brink of the Jordan. Then it is, 
for the first time» that the European traveller sees the Sacred 
River, rushing through its thicket of tamarisk, poplar, willow, 
and agnus-castus, with rapid eddies, and of a turbid yellow 
colour, like the Tiber at Borne, and about as broad — sixty or 
eighty feet \ The chief features of the scene are the white 
cli& and green thickets on each bank, though at this spot 
they break away^ on the western side, so as to leave an open 
space for the descent of the pilgrims. Beautiful as the scene 
is, it is impossible not to feel a momentary disappointment 
at the conviction, produced by the first glance, that it cannot 
be the spot either of the passage of Joshua, or of the baptism 
of John. The high eastern banks (not to mention the other 
consideration^ named before) preclude both events. But in 
a few moments the great body of the pilgrims, now distinctly 
visible in the breaking day, appear on the ridge of ilie last 
terrace. None, or hardly any, are on foot. Horse, mule, ass, 
and camel, in promiscuous confusion, bearing whole families 
on their backs — a father, mother, and three children, perhaps, 
on a single camel, occupy the vacant spaces between and above 
the jungle in all directions. 

If the traveller expects a wild burst of enthusiasm, such as 
that of the Greeks when they caught the first glimpse of 
the sea, or the German armies at the sight of the Bhine, he 
will be disappointed. Nothing is more remarkable in the 
whole pilgrimage to the Jordan, from first to last, than the 
absence of any such displays. Nowhere is more clearly seen 
that deliberative business-like aspect of their devotion, so well 
described in Eothen, unrelieved by any expression of emotion, 
nnless, perhaps, a slight tinge of merriment. They dismount, 
and set to work to perform their bathe ' ; most on the open 
space, some further up amongst the thickets ; some plunging 
in naked — ^most, however, with white dresses, which they bring 
with them, and which, having been so used, are kept for their 
winding-sheets. Most of the bathers keep within the shelter 

^ So Newbold, Jonnud B. AsUt. Soc. hmding-plaoe was once cased with marble^ 

XT. 20. and a large citMS was planted in the oiddle 

* The slight Tariations in earlier times of the stream, 
tre giTen in lUtter, yol. IL p. 686. The 

316 SINAI AND PALBSTINE. [ohap. tu 

of the bank, where the water is about four feet in depth, though 
with a bottom of very deep mud. The Coptic pilgrims are 
curiously distinguished from the rest by the boldness with 
which they dart into the main current, striking the water after 
their fashion alternately with their two arms, and playing with 
the eddies, which hurry them down and across, as if they were 
in the cataracts of their own Nile ; crashing through the thick 
boughs of the jungle which, on the eastern bank of the stream, 
intercepts their progress, and then recrossing the river higher 
up, where they can wade, assisted by long poles which thej 
have cut from the opposite thickets. It is remarkable, con- 
sidering the mixed assemblage of men and women, in such a 
scene, that there is so little appearance of levity or indecorom. 
A primitive domestic character pervades in a singular form the 
whole transaction. The families which have come on their 
single mule or camel, now bathe together, with the utmost 
gravity ; the father receiving from the mother the infant, which 
has been brought to receive the one immersion which will 
suffice for the rest of its life, and thus, by a curious economy 
of resources, save it from the expense and danger of a future 
pilgrimage in after-years. In about two hours the shores are 
cleared ; with the same quiet they remount their camels and 
horses ; and before the noonday heat has set in, are again 
encamped on the upper plain of Jericho. . . . Once more thej 
may be seen. At the dead ^ of night, the drum again wakes 
them for their homeward march. The torches again go 
before ; behind follows the vast multitude, mounted, passing 
in profound silence over that silent plain-— so silent that, 
but for the tinkling of the drum, its departure would hardly 
be perceptible. The troops stay on the ground to the end, 
to guard the rear, and when the last roll of the drum amiounces 
that the last soldier is gone, the whole plain returns again to 
its perfect solitude. 

^ For the ooostant pmetioe of thcie curious pMwge in Bnrtoa'a PilgriiMft ^ 
night joomeyB in Arab oouniriet, see a Heocah, iiL 16, 


— ♦— 


Psalm zlii. 6. "My mnl is cart down within me : therefore will I 
remember thee from the Und of Jordjuii and of the Hermonitei^ from the 
'mountain' Hizar.*' 

I. General chazacter of the aoenery. 11. Pint Tiew of the Holj JMod. 
III. Frontier land. IV. Isolation. V. Pastoral character of the 
coontry and its inhabitants. YI. Land of exile. Last riew of the 
Holy Land. 



Who that has ever travelled in Palestme has not longed to 
cross the Jordan valley to those mysterions hills which close 
every eastward view with their long horizontal outline, their 
overshadowing height, their deep purple shade? It is this 
which probably constitutes the most novel feature of the Holy 
Land to any one who first sees it with his own eyes. Partly 
from the slightly historical interest which attaches to Eastern 
compared with Western Palestine, partly from the few visits 
paid to those insecure regions, it has usually happened that 
general descriptions of the country almost omit to notice the 
one elevating and solemn background of all that is poor and 
mean in the scenery of Palestine, properly so called. To those 
who, like myself, have been unable to cross the Jordan and 
explore those unknown heights, this distant view is the sole 
impression left by the mountain range of Ammon and Moab. 
But it is an impression which may assist them in forming 
some notion of the interior of the region, as described by those 
who have had better fortune and more abundant leisure.^ 

I. The mountains rise from the valley of the Jordan to the 

' I hare to express mj thanks to the 
Rer. Q. Horsley Palmer, for most of the 
fiMts of this chapter. No other traveller, 
to my knowledge, has explored this dis- 
trict 80 thoroughly — certainly none whom 
I hare consulted has described it so 
▼tridly and intelligibly. The northern 
portion of the trans-Jordanic territory — 
indading Gauloniti% the Haurftn^ and 

Trachonitis, — I have left unnoticed, 
partly because it was not needed for the 
elucidation of the history, partly because 
it has been fully described by Mr. Porter, 
in his work on Damascus. The ruins 
of Oadara, Gerasa, and Philadelphia 
(Amm&n), as belonging to the late 
Boman period, and those described by 
Mr. Cyril Graham in Trachonitis, have 
no place in this volume. 

320 SINAI AND PALESTINB. [chat. rm. 

height, it is believed, of two or three thousand feet, and 
General ^® gives them, when seen from the western side, 
ehancterof the appearance of a much greater actual elevation 
eaoenery. ^^^ ^^^ really possess ; as though they rose high 
above the mountains of Judaea on which the spectator stands. 
As they are approached from the Ghor, the horizontal ont- 
line which they always wear when seen from a distance is 
broken; and it is described, that when their summits are 
attained, a wholly new scene bursts upon the view; unlike 
anything which could be expected from below — unlike any- 
thing in Western Palestine. A wide table-land appears tossed 
about in wild confusion of undulating downs, clothed with 
rich grass throughout ; in the southern parts trees are thinly 
scattered here and there, aged trees covered with lichen, as if 
the relics of a primeval forest long since cleared away; the 
northern parts ^ still abound in magnificent woods of sycomore, 
beech, terebinth, ilex, and enormous fig-trees. These downs 
are broken by three deep defiles, through which the three 
rivers of the Yarmuk, the Jabbok, and the Amon, fall into 
the valley of the Jordan and Dead Sea. On the east, they 
melt away into the vast red plain which, by a gradual descent, 
joins the level of the plain of the Hauran, and of the Assyrian 
desert. This is the general picture given of the trans-Jordanic 

II. What is the history of which this is the theatre ? First, 
Thefint ^^ mere outline, even as seen from the western side 
▼iew of the of the Jordan, suggests the fact that those heights, 
from the everywhere visible in central Palestine, must have 
«M^ commanded the first view of the Promised Land in 

all approaches from the east. It is said by those who hare 
visited those parts, that one remarkable effect produced, is the 
changed aspect of the hills of Judah and Ephraim. Their 
monotonous character is lost, and the range when seen as a 
whole is in the highest degree diversified and impressive. And 
the wide openings in the western hills, as they ascend from the 

^ The upper range of Gilead, t. e. foieet range (Ibid. p. 121). Jendi is 

Bonth of the Jabbok, is oak and arbutna jnst on its skirts. Near Heshboa is » 

— ^the central, arbntas and fir — ^the lower, hiU crowned by a duster of stone pi^*^ 

Talonidi oak — the ilex thronghont (Lord the only oonspicuons group of the w 

Lindsay, ii. 122). Anuninis outside the in Syria, CTcept those at Borftt 


Jordan-valley, give such extensive glimpses into the heart of 
the country, that not merely the general range, but particular 
localities can be discerned with ease. From a point above the 
Dead Sea, Bethlehem and Jerusalem can both be seen in the 
same prospect?. From the Castle of Bubad, north of the 
Jabbok, are distinctly visible Lebanon, the Sea of Galilee, 
Esdraelon in its full extent, Garmel, the Mediterranean, and 
the whole range of Judah and Ephraim. '' It is the finest 
view," to use the words of the traveller from whom most of the 
information contained in this chapter is derived, " that I ever 
saw in any part of the world." This view, so multiplied and 
80 beautiful, must have been the very prospect which presented 
itself to the eyes, first of Abraham, and then of Jacob, as 
they descended from these summits on their way from Mesopo- 
tamia; it must have been substantially the same as that which 
was unfolded before the eyes of Balaam and Moses, when, as 
we have seen', the Sacred Narrative draws out these several 
features in the utmost detail. It is in all probability the view 
which furnished the framework of the vision of " all the king- 
doms of the world " which was revealed in a moment of time 
to Him who was driven up from the valley below to these 
mountains at the opening of His public ministry. Difficult 
as it may be to decide the precise spot intended by the name 
of Pisgah, the accounts given of these trans-Jordanic heights 
8how that this matters little; the whole range is one vast 
Pisgah, with the deep shades of the Jordan-valley beneath, 
the Land of Promise beyond ; whilst close around lies the 
beautiful country, so long the halting-place though not the 
permanent home of Israel, after his weary passage through 
the Arabian Desert. 

HI. For, again, it was the frontier-land of Palestine, and 
therefore, through all its history, the first conquered, Fnmtaer- 
the first lost, by the hosts of Israel. The great table- ^•^ 
lands, the * cultivated fields ' of Moab and Ammon, as distinct 
from the ** wilderness " into which these lands die on the east, 
and the ' 4^8^1^'PlBuis ' of Moab in the Jordan- valley at the 

I CoaqMM ibe yiew from Heslibon, m 'See Chapter VIL pp* 299-»S01. 
deaeribed by Schwan (m Tooe ffeMon)^ 

322 SINAI AND PALBSTINB. [chap. Tm. 

foot of the moimtainB, — ^were the rich prize first wrested from 
Moab and Ammon * by the Amorite kings, and from them by 
the Israelites under Moses; Ammon and Moab themsdyes 
xemaining umnjured in the border of the wilderness which they 
still occupied. This first stage of the conquest of Canaan is too 
briefly described to receive any detailed elucidation firom the 
localities, even if they were better known than they are. All 
that we can discern is the approach of Israel through the eastern 
Desert skirting the confines of Moab and Ammon ; and at last 
xieeting the Amorite king "in the wilderness" at Jahaz'. 
There was fought the first pitched battle between Israel and 
Canaan, and the victory was followed by the subjugation of the 
whole kingdom from the torrent of the Amon on the south, to 
the torrent of the Jabbok on the north. Eastward the tin- 
conquered tribe of Ammon still compressed their limits; but 
the whole of the rich pasture was theirs, up to the point where 
it melts away into the steppes of the wilderness. Within the 
range of this ancient kingdom of Sihon were planted the tribes 
of Beuben and Gad. Another step had to be taken before a 
fitting setdement could be procured for the powerfdl frag- 
ment of Manasseh, which had joined its fortunes to these two 
tribes. The mountains of Basham inclose a circular table- 
land, since called from its rocky ground, '* Trachonitis," or the 
rough, " Leja," or the rocky, but in that earlier time " Argob" 
— or (apparently from the ring of rock around it) " Chebel" or 
** the rope." In this fastness lingered the " remnant" of the 
aboriginal race of giants which Ammon had already dispos- 
sessed from the south. Against this ancient people, headed 
by their giant king Og, advanced the hosts of Israel, in alliance 
with Ammon, thirsting doubtiess for revenge upon their former 
enemy. Og was drawn down from the table-land of Argob 
into the plain, and inmiediately at the entrance into his natoFsI 
citadel at Edrei, — ^a spot stiU retaining nearly the same name- 
was fought the decisive battie which broke his power ; Ammon 
carried away the trophy of the king's gigantic bedstead ; but to 
Israel fell the territory of the high mountain-tract of GHileadand 
Bashan, from the deep ravine of the Jabbok up to the base of 
Hermon'. Moab and Ammon still remained independent allies, 
south and east of the Israelite settiements. Both fell before 

> Namb. xxl 26--29. « Numb. xxL 28 ; Jadg. xl 20. 

' Dent. iiL 1 ; ii. 18 ; U. 20. 


David; Moab, evidently the weaker, first; Ammon, not without a 
long resistance, which made the siege and fall of its capital, Bab- 
bath- Ammon, the crowning act of David's conquests. The ruins 
which now adorn the '' royal city " are of a later Boman date ; 
bat the commanding position of the citadel remains ; and the 
unusual sight of a living stream, abotmding in fish,' marks the 
significance of Joab's song of victory — " I have fought against 
Babbah, and have taken the city of waters." 

As it was thus first occupied by the Israelites, so it subse- 
quently became the border-land between Palestine and the 
nations of eastern Asia. From its midway position it neces- 
sarily bore the brunt of all the incursions of the Syrians of 
Damascus, when Bamoth-Gilead became the scene of so many 
sieges and battles, as the fortress for which both kingdoms 
contended ; and for the same reason it was the first to resist 
and the first to fall before the arms of the Assyrian Tiglath- 
Pileser. In this respect the range of Gilead remained faithful 
to the description given by the two Patriarchs who of old 
parted on its summit ; as the boundaiy line between the tribes 
of Canaan and those of Mesopotamia : '' This heap is a witness 
between me and thee this day. . . . The God of Abraham, and 
the God of Nahor, judge betwixt us •." 

lY. From this aspect of the country, we naturally pass to its 
isolation from the rest of Palestine. However much 
connected by vicinity and race with their western 
kinsmen, the dwellers in eastern Palestine have always been 
distinct. It has been to the main body of the people, what 
Scotland or Ireland has been to the chief course of English 
history. Inhabited firom the earliest times by races of a stock 
separate and even hostile, the table-lands east of the Jordan 
were never occupied by the nations on the west, except through 
acts of aggression and conquest. The Amorite chiefs, Og and 
Sihon, established themselves on the acclivities of these 
heights, but only to be themselves dislodged in turn by the 
Israelites ; the Amorite kings of Palestine Proper not striking 
a blow in defence of their trans-Jordanic brethren. And the 
Israelite tribes who settied there hardly ever exercised any 
influence over their countrymen on the western banks, were 

I BnrdJuodt, p. 868. Gompaie 2 Stan. * Gen. xzzL 48, 58. GUead is '* Um 

TuL 2 ; zii. 26, 2Z laai. x?L 2. heap of witneoB." 


324 SINAI AND PALESTINE, [cha?. tizl 

carried into captivity long before them, and were succeeded by 
settlers not of Jewish, but of Gentile origin ; and the whole 
country is, as has been already observed, a comparatiyely 
unknown region to the present inhabitants of Palestine. This 
separation is in part owing to the great natural rent which the 
Jordan has created between the two districts ; but it is also 
owing to some peculiarities of the country itself \ 

Y. It was the forest-land, the pasture-land of Palestine. The 
smooth downs received a special name*, expressive of 
eharacterof their contrast with the rough and rocky soil of the 
Uiecountiy. ^^^^ rjhe " oaks " of Bafihan, which still fill the 
traveller with admiration, were to the prophets and psalmists of 
Israel the chief gloiy of the vegetation of their common 
country. The vast herds of wild cattle which then wandered 
thi'ough the woods, as those of Scotland through its ancient 
forests, were, in like manner, at once the terror and pride 
of the IsraeUte,— "the fat bulls of Bashan." The Kii^ of 
Moab was but a great " sheepmaster," and "rendered" for 
tribute " an hundred thousand lambs^ and an hundred thou- 
sand rams with the 'wool." And still the countless herds and 
flocks may be seen, droves of cattle moving on like troops of 
soldiers, descending at sunset to drink of the springs-^literally, 
in the language of the Prophet, " rams and lambs, and goats, 
and bullocks, all of them fatlings of Bashan \" 

It is striking to remember, that with this land in their pos- 
session — a land of which travellers say, that in beauty and 
fertility it as far surpasses western Palestine as Devonshire 
surpasses Cornwall — ^the Israelites nevertheless pressed for- 
wards through the Jordan- valley, up the precipitous ravines of 
Jericho and Ai ; and settled in the rugged mountains of Judah 
and Ephraim, never to return to those beautiful regions which 
had been their first home in the Promised Land. " The Lord 
had made them ride on the high places of the earth, that thev 
might eat the increase of the fields ; and he made them to suck 
honey out of the ' cliff ' and oil out of the flinty rock ; batter of 

^ The complete iaolation of the preient world, of which two wen tt< Sta of 

inhahitantB of the traiu-Jordaiiio Palea- OaUlu and tke Dead Sea. (Bk^S* 

tine^ may be estimated hj the notiona of ham, e. 2.) 

geography oommimicated to Backiogham ' Mithor, See Chapter VI. aad Ap* 

tty the people of Salt. They maintained pendiz. 

that there were only four seas in the '2 Kingi iiL 4. * Bnk. zzziz. I& 



kine, and inillc of sheep ; with fat of lambs, and rams of the 
breed of Bashan, and goats ; with the fat of kidneys of wheat, and 
.... the pure blood of the grape *." So, we are told, spoke 
their Prophet-leader, whilst they were still in enjoyment of 
this rich country. Yet forwards they went. It was the same 
high calling — ^whether we name it impulse, destiny, or Provi- 
dence — which had already drawn Abraham from Mesopotamia, 
and Moses from the Court of Memphis. They knew not what 
was before them, they knew not what depended on their crossing 
the Jordan, on their becoming a settled and agricultural, in- 
stead of a nomadic, people — on their reaching to the shores of 
the sea, and from those shores receiving the influences of the 
Western world, and sending forth to that Western world their 
influences in return. They knew not; but we know ; and the 
more we hear of the beauty of the trans-Jordanic territory, the 
greater is the wonder, — the greater, we may almost say, should 
be our thankfulness, — that they exchanged it for Palestine 
itself; inferior as it might naturally have seemed to them, in 
every point, except for the high purposes to which they 
were called, and for which their permanent settlement on the 
eastern side of the Jordan would, humanly speaking, have 
wholly unfitted them. 

What a change would thus have been made in their destiny 
is best seen by following up the history of the tribes which did 
so separate themselves from their brethren. 

The great excellence of the eastern table-land was, as has 
been said^ in pasture and in forest, ** a place for Pastona 
cattle'." In the encampment of Israel two tribes, ^^dio** 
Reuben and Gad, were pre-eminently pastoral. They oJ»»cter 
had " a very great multitude of cattle." For this they east of the 
desired the land, and for this it was given to them, ^^^^^' 
" that they might build cities for their little ones, and folds for 

^ dent, zzzii. 18, 14. AU these ex- 
prenoDB teem to hare i)eciiliar reference 
to their home in the trans-Jordanic teni- 
toiy ; that heing the whole of Palestine 
thai they had seen at the time when 
Moeee is represented as uttering these 
words. " The high places"— and " the 
fields" are specially applicable to the 
table-lands of GKlead; and still more, 
the aUiuiana to the herds and flocks. In 

like manner is not Fs. cxzzri. peculiarly 
adapted to the trans-Jordanic tribes ? 
It is difficnlt else to account for the 
stress laid on the conquest of Sihon and 
Og, to the entire ezclnsion of the oonqneet 
of Ganaan. 

s It is gtiU the favonrite tract of the 
Bedouin shepherds. '* Thou canst not," 
they say, * ' find a country like the Balka." 
Burckhardt, L 368. 

326 SINAI AND PALESTINB. [ohap. Tin. 

their sheep *.'* In no other case is the relation between tlia 
territory and its occupiers so expressly laid down, and such it 
continued to be to the end. From first to last they alone of 
the tribes never emerged £rom the state of their Patriarchal 
ancestors. When Joshua bade them return to their posses- 
sions, it was not to their "houses/* but to their "tents." 
^Yhen, on their return, they reached the Jordan, the boundary 
between themselves and their more settled brethren, they 
erected, like true Children of the Desert, the huge stone of 
division to mark the frontier, which their more civilised kins- 
men mistook for an altar'; just as Jacob and Laban had in 
earlier times raised a similar cairn on the heights of Gilead; 
just as the traveller now sees the " Hajr 'Alawin," — the pile of 
stones that denotes the boundary of the 'Alawin and of the 
Benben. Tawarah tribes — at the head of the Gulf of ' Akaba. Of 
their subsequent history this is still the prevailing 
feature. Beuben is the most purely nomadic, and, therefore, 
ihe most transitory. He is to the eastern tribes what Simeon 
is to the western. " Unstable as water," he vanishes away into 
a mere Arabian tribe ; " his men aipe few," — ^it is all that he 
can do " to live and not die." We hear of nothing beyond the 
multiplication of "their cattle in the land of Gilead," their 
" wars " with the Bedouin " sons of Hagar," their spoils of 
" camels fifty thousand, and of sheep two htmdred and fifty 
thousand, and of asses two thousand \" In the great stru^es 
of the nation he never took part. The complaint against him in 
the Song of Deborah is the summary of his whole history. 
" By the * streams ' of Beuben," — that is, by the firesh streams 
which descend from the eastern hills into the Jordan and the 
Dead Sea, on whose banks the Bedouin chiefs then, as now, 
met to debate * — " in the * streams ' of Beuben great were the 
'decrees.' Why dwellest thou among the sheep 'troughs' to 
hear the ' pipings ' of the flocks * ? By the ' streams ' of Beuben 

1 Numben xxxii. 1, 4, 16, 24, 26, Nnmb. xzL 17 ; Bz. xr. 25. 

86. « Jnd. y. 15, 16. Bwald (QcKhifihle, 

s Josh. xzu. 4—84. 2nd edit. iii. 88) randen it '^tha pqiuc 

> Deut. TTTiii. 6.— The English Ver- of theflooks,"infalnaioatothedl9luad• 
si(mhafladded "not" from the IiXX. songs, of which DsTid's Is the 

^ 1 Chr. T. 9, 10, 20, 21. known specimen* 

* Herder (Heb. Poes. p. 192). Comp. 




great were the searchings of heart" Gad has a more distiuctiYe 

character, something of the lion-like aspect of Judah. 

In the forest region south of the Jabbok, " he dwelt ^ 

as a lion." Oat of his tribe came the eleven valiant chiefs 

who crossed the fords of the Jordan in flood-time to join the 

outlawed David, "whose faces were like the faces of lions, 

and were as swift as the ^gazelles' upon the mountains'." 

These heroes were but the Bedouins of their time. The very 

name of Gad expressed the wild aspect which he presented to 

the wild tribes of the east. " Gad is a ' troop of plunderers ; ' 

a troop of plunderers shall 'plunder' him, but he shall 

'plunder' at the last*." The northern outposts of ^^ 

the eastern tribes were entrusted to that portion of 

Manasseh which had originallj attacked and expelled the 

Amorite inhabitants from Gilead *, The same martial spirit 

which fitted the western Manasseh to defend' the passes of 

Esdraelon, fitted ''Machir, the firstborn of Manasseh, the father 

of Gilead," to defend the passes of Haur&n and Anti-Libanus; 

*' because he was a man of war, therefore he had Gilead 

and Bashan*." But he partook also of the pastoral cha* 

racter common to Gad and Beuben. The sixty, or the thirty, 

*' towns " of Jair, the ancient chief of the tribe of Manasseh^ 

were not called cities, but Bedouin ' villages or tents */ 

Such as was the general character of the tribe, were also its 

individual heroes, who, at rare intervals, acquired a national 

importance. How much more intelligible does Jephthah become, 

when we remember that he was raised up, not firom the regular 

settlements of Judah and Ephraim, but from the half-civilised 

region of the eastern tribes ; in the wildness of his fireebooting 

life, in the rashness and ignorance of his vow, in the savage 

vengeance which he exacted from the insolence of Ephraim, 

a Bedouin chief rather than an Israelitish Judge. And, 

yet more, how lively an image do we form of the grandest 

and the most romantic character that Israel ever produced 

^ Dent, xxziii. 20. 

' 1 Chr. xu. 8, 15. 

' Gen. zxziii. 19 ; comp. zxx. 11. 

* Numb, zxzii 89. 

* Joah. xvii. 1. 

* HaToth-Jair. See App. 

323 SINAI AND PALBSTINB. [ohap. tio. 

— Elijah the Tishbite — when we recollect that he, too, came 
from the forests of Gilead, and found his first refuge in the 
clefts of the 'Cherith*;' that the shaggy hair, the rough 
earners hair mantle girt by the leathern girdle round his naked 
body ; the fleetness of foot, with which, '* when the hand of the 
Lord was upon him," he outran the chariot of Ahab; the sudden 
appearances and disappearances, which baffled all the zeal of 
his enemies and his Mends to discover him ; the long wanderings 
into the Desert of Southern Arabia to ''Horeb, the Mount 
of God;" all are special characteristios of the Bedouin 
life, which were dignified but not destroyed by his high 
prophetic mission. And the fact that this special mission was 
entrusted, not to a dweller in royal city or Prophetic school, 
but to one who, in manner of life and in outward aspect, and to 
a great extent by his place of birth, was a genuine son of the 
Desert, is in remarkable accordance with the dispensations of 
Providence both in earlier and later times. Elijah the Gileadite, 
in his witness for the unity of God against the idolatries of 
Phoenicia, was the fitting successor of tliose who had been the 
heralds of the same truth before ; the wandering chief from Ur 
of the Chaldees, the Arabian Shepherd in Mount Sinai. 

YI. There is one final and touching interest with which the 
The land of " land beyond the Jordan " is invested, by virtue of 
^^^' its position, as a portion, and yet not a portion, of 
the land of Israel. It was emphatically the land of exile,— 
the refuge of exiles. One place there was in its beautiful 
uplands, consecrated by the presence of God in primeval times. 
** Mahanaim ' " marked the spot where Jacob had divided his 
people into " two * hosts,' " and seen the " Two Hosts " of the 
angelic vision. To this scene of the great crisis in their 
ancestor's life the thoughts of his descendants returned in 
after-years, whenever foreign conquest or civil discord droye 
ihem from their native hills on the west of the Jordan. The 
first instance was when Abner rallied the Israelites round the 
unfortunate Ishbosheth, after the rout of Gilboa, and " brought 

> 1 Kin. xm. 1, 8. The birih-plaoe poBition of the Cherith, see Chap. TII. 
of Elijah was pointed out to Irby and ' Qen. zzzii. 2, 7, 10. Jot. Aat 

Mangles at " GUead Gilhood," near Salt, viu. 9, 8, 10, 1.) calls it '*the camic' 

(Irby and Maogles, p. 300.) For the (rapffifioXxu), 



him over * the Jordan " to Mahanaim \" The second was when 
David fled from Absalom. Then, for the only time since the 
conquest, the whole interest of Israelite history is transferred 
tjo the trans-Jordanic territoiy. The scenes of that mournful 
period are but imperfectly brought before us ; but so far as 
they are, they agree with all that we know of the localities. 
David crossed the Jordan by the fords of Jericho, and ascended 
the eastern heights tiU he came to Mahanaim. The people 
that came with him spread themselves out beyond the culti- 
vated table-lands into the " wilderness *' of the steppes of 
Haur&n. Whilst they were there, "hungry and weary •and 
thirsty," the chiefs of the surrounding tribes, Shobi of Ammon, 
and Machir and Barzillai of Manasseh, brought the produce 
which formed the pride of their rich lands and pastures — 
''wheat and barley, and flour, and parched com, and beans, 
and lentiles, and parched pulse, and honey, and butter, and 
sheep, and cheese of kine *." The " * forest ' of Ephraim," in which 
the decisive battle was fought, was, as the narrative implies *, 
also on the east of the Jordan, and if so, the thick woods of 
oak and terebinth curiously illustrate the defeat and death of 
Absalom ; " the ' forest ' devouring more people than the sword, 
and the prince himself caught in " the thick boughs of ' the * 
great' terebinth V" 

The refuge that the trans-Jordanic hills afforded to David, 
they afforded also to David's greater Son. " Peraea," — * the 
land beyond* (the Jordan), — as it was called in the Greek 
nomenclature of its Boman conquerors, still occupied the same 
relation, secluded and retired from the busy world which filled 

1 2 Sun. ii. 8. 

2 2 Sam. xrii 27, 28, 29. 

> It 18 Mdd in 2 Sam. zvii. 24, 26, that 
''Absalom and aU the men of Jwcul 
ptuted over Jordan . . . and pitched in 
ihekMdofGiUad." The name of <' the 
forest of £phiytim** may be explamed 
from tlie connection of blood with the 
tTane-Jordanio MaoasBeh, or from the 
BUMncre of the Bphraimitee in that 
ndghboniikood b^r Jephthah (Jndg. xii. 6). 
It ie more difficult to aooonnt for the 
statement that Ahimaat, in hastening 
from the scene of the battle to announce 
the news to Daidd at Mahanaim, ran bj 

the way of 'the CSocar* (xviiL 23), a 
word (mly used elsewhere in connection 
with the vallej of the Jordan. It is pos- 
sible, however, that there may hare been 
a place, or region, so caUed on the table- 
lands, as the LXX seem to suppose, here 
alone not translating it. Or Mahanaim 
may have been so situated with regard to 
the battle-field as to be more easily ac- 
cessible by a descent to the plain of the 
Jordan, than oyer the hills themselyes. 
Or it may be (as Swald explains it) a 
manner of quick running (Geschichte^ 
iii 237). 
* 2 Sam. xYiii. 8, 9. 

880 SINAI AND PALESTINB. [ohap. tql 

the neigbbourhood of Jerusalem and of the Sea of Galilee. 
Thither, as we have seen, our Lord probably retired after His 
baptism ; thither, also, in the interval of danger which itaune* 
diately preceded the end of His earthly course * ; to those hills, 
rising beyond the deep valley of the Jordan, as to the world 
beyond the grave, the eyes of Martha and Mary were tuined, 
waiting for the coming of their Lord. 

To this same characteristic is to be traced its last historical 
The Last significance. Somewhere on the slopes of Gilead, 
view of tiw near the scene of Jacob's first view of the land of his 

Holy Lftnd 

from4he descendants and of the capital of the exiled David, 
****• was Pella, so called by the Macedonian Greeks from 

the springing fountain', which likened it to the birth-place 
of their own Alexander. This was the city well known in 
Christian history as the refuge of the little band which here 
took shelter when the armies of Titus gathered round Jera- 
salem *. The view from it is thus described ; " In the fore- 
ground at my feet was the Jordan, flowing through its wood of 
terebinths. On the other side rose gently the plain of Beisan, 
surmounted by the high eminence of that name. Li the dis- 
tance were the mountains of Gilboa .... Between Oilboa 
and the mountains of Galilee the eye wanders over the wild 
plain of Jezreel, till it rests upon the faint blue cliffs of the 
extremity of Carmel which forms its western boundary\" 

We may dwell on this view, for it is one which must have 
been again and again reproduced under like circumstances. 
From these heights Abner in his flight from the Philistines, 
and David in his flight from Absalom, and the Israelites on 
their way to Babylon, and the Christian Jews of Pella, caught 
the last glimpse of their familiar mountains. There is one 
plaintive strain which sums up all these feelings; — the 42nd 
Psalm. Its date and autliorship are uncertain, but the place 
is beyond doubt the trans-Jordanic hills, which always behold, 
as they are always beheld from, western Palestine. As, before 
the eyes of the exile, the 'gazelle ' of the forests of Gilead panted 
after the fresh streams of water which thence descend to 

1 Matt IT. 1 ; Jolm x. 89, 40. Pella. See Bolnnra, Later B«. SSL 

' The clear stream, and the extenriTe ' Enaeb. H. B. uL 5. 

▼ievB, identifyr Ttlbtikat FahU with < Van de Yelde, ii. 855. 


the Jordan, so his soul panted after God, from whose outward 
presence he was shut out. The river, with its winding rapids, 
" deep calling to deep," lay between him and his home. All 
that he could now do was to remember the past, as he stood 
'* in the land of Jordan," as he saw the peaks of " Hermon," 
as he found himself on the eastern heights of Mizar', which 
reminded him of his banishment and solitude. As we began, 
so we end this brief account of the Persean hills. They are 
the " Ksgali" of the earlier history : to the later history they 
occupy the pathetic relation that has been immortalised in the 
name of the long ridge ' from which the first and the last view 
of Oranada is obtained; they are "the Last Sigh" of the 
IsraeUte exile. 

' ^ xliL 1, 6. What speeud movii- where on the OAstem side, 
tarn ifl thna intended, cannot be aaoer- ^ **yoltimo soapiro delMoro.** 

tatned. But it mnst hare been some- 



Ser. ztL 16L *'He gathered them together into a place called in the 
Hebrew tongoe^ Ar-Ma^^dGB." 

General featuet : — L Bcnniftrj of northern and central tribes. II. Bittle- 
field. 1. Victory oyer Siaera — 2, Victory over the Hidianita— 
8. Defeat of Sanl— 4. Defeat •f Josiah. III. EichnesB and fertilitf o^ 
laaaehar — Jezreel — ^Engannim. IV. Tabor — Sanctnaryof thenortbeni 
tribes. Y. Garmel--Sc6ne of El\jah*8 saerifioe. VL Nain. 


On descending from the hills of Munasseh, the traveller 
leaT^s the province of Samaria, and enters on that of Galilee, 
embracing two spheres of wonderful, though most different, 
interest, — the great battle-field of Jewish history, and the chief 
scene of Our Lord's ministrations. It is the former of these, 
two distinct spheres that first claims our attention. 

To any one who has traversed the almost undistinguishable 
andulations of hill and valley from Hebron to Genenl 
Samaria, it is a striking contrast and relief to come ^^eatnres. 
upon a natural feature so remarkable as the plain of Esdraelon. 
No better test of Dr. Bobinson's* high geographical powers can 
be given than an ocular comparison of his description of this 
plain with its actual localities. There are various points from 
which it can be seen to great advantage. The heights above 
Jenin, the summit of Tabor, and the eastern end of Carmel, 
may be especially mentioned. Its peculiarities are briefly 
told. It is a wide rent of about twelve miles in iridth, between 
the mass of southern Palestine which we have just left, and 
the bolder mountains of northern Palestine, which are in fact 
the roots of Lebanon. It consists of an uneven plain, runninf> 
right from the shores of the Mediterranean Sea on the west, 
to the valley of the Jordan on the east. Its central and widest 
portion reaches straight across without interruption from the 
hills of Samaria to those of Galilee. This is what, for the 

' Set Bobinmn, B. B., toI. ii. p. 227, log ibis accmcy on tiie spot. For the 
280. I had every opportimity of yerify- details I refer to the map. 

836 SINAI AND PALESTINE. [ohap. xx. 

sake of distinction, may be specially termed "the plain of 
Megiddo." On the west and the east, though never losing its 
free and open character, it is broken and contracted. On tlie west 
it is narrowed into a pass through which flows its chief stream, 
the Kishon ; and beyond this the plain opens out again, as 
already described*, roimd the bay of Acre, watered by a stream 
of shorter course, the Belus, descending from the hills of 
Galilee immediately above. On the east it rises into a slight 
elevation which forms the water-shed of the country, — a 
peculiarity wliich it shares with the vale of Shechem and the 
vale of Coele- Syria, where the rise which divides the streams 
is equally imperceptible. From thence, on the one side, 
descends the Kishon ; its winding course, from which it derives 
its name, indicating at the same time the almost uninterrupted 
level through which it passes. Its perennial spring, a full 
rushing stream, is only five miles from the sea. On the other 
side, towards the Jordan, descend three branches having much 
the same relation to the main body of the plain as the *'Iegs," 
as they are called, of Como and Lecco bear to the main body 
of the Lake of Como. Each of these branches is bounded by 
nearly isolated ranges, rising out of the plain itself, namely. 
Mount Gilboa, that commonly called Little Hermon' by English 
travellers, but " Duhy" by the natives, and Mount Tabor, which 
is an offshoot from tiie hills of Galilee. The southernmost of 
these branches is a cul-de-sac. The central branch makes a 
rapid descent to the Jordan, and is more properly known by the 
name of the " Valley of Jezreel," which, in its Greek form of 
** Esdraelon," has been communicated to the whole plain. The 
northernmost branch, between Little Hermon and Tabor, also 
descends to the Jordan, but, in'so doing, opens to the north- 
east into a side-plain, as it were, enclosed between the hills of 
Galilee and those which immediately skirt the Sea of Tiberias, 
and distinguished by the mountain called the Horns of Hattin. 
The aspect of the plain itself in spring-time is of a vast 
saving cornfield ; olive-trees here and there springing firom it 
Perhaps its greatest peculiarity is the sight of a prospect so 

1 See Chapter YL tbe Bible. Perhaps the most eonTeaiaBt 

s The name "Little Hermon" is a designation woold be "Shnnem,** fioib 

mistaken inference from Ps. zUL 6 ; the town of that name on its mmAam 

Izzziz. 12; and has no foundation in slopOi 

LoTtdoii: John Mumy. 


wide, so long, and so rich, with so slight a trace of water. The 
Kishon is till within a few miles of its mouth a mere winter 
torrent. The ranges of Gilboa and Little Hermon, as well as 
the two masses of lull which bound it on the north and 
south, are almost entirely bare. Of the two great exceptions, 
Carmel on the south-west, and Tabor on the north-east, I shall 
speak separately. In all of them, however, at least as viewed 
from the heights of Manasseh, a more varied outline is pre- 
sented, which indicates an approach to a new form of country- 
Lastly, the plain and the mountain-sides are dotted with 
villages, almost all retaining their ancient names, and situated 
for the most part, (not like those of Judsa on hill-tops, or 
Samaria in deep valleys, but) as in Philistia, on the slopes of 
the ranges which intersect and bound the plain, or else on 
slight eminences rising out of it. Many of these were in the 
possession of the Canaanites, and two of them, Megiddo and 
Bethshan, the one guarding the western, the other the eastern 
end of the plain, remained strongholds down to the times of 
the Romans, imder the names of Legio and Scythopolis. 

These are the general features of this famous plain. Their 
connection with its history is obvious. 

I. First, a glance at its situation will show that, to a certain 
extent, though not in an equal degree, it formed the 

same kind of separation between the mass of Central '^l^^ 
Palestine and the tribes of the extreme north, as the northern 
Valley of the Jordan effected between that same mass ^^ 
and the trails- Jordanic tribes on the east. We shall have occasion 
to recur to this point in speaking of Galilee, properly so called. 

II. Secondly, it must always have been the main passage 
for egress and regress of those nations, whether ,< 
civilized or migratory, who, repelled from the mountain of Pales- 
fastn'fesses of Palestine, took up their position for ^®-" 
attack or defence in the level country. And bounded as it is 
by the hills of Palestine on both north and south, it would 
naturally become the arena of war between the lowlanders who 
trusted in their chariots, and the Israelite highlanders of the 
neighbouring heights'. To this cause mainly it owes its 

* See Chapter II. An apt illnstration the highlands, and in like manner the 

19 famished bj the analogous battle-field scene of almost aU the decisiye battles uf 

of Scotland — the plain of Stirling — Scottish history, 
siinatcil in like manner at the opening of 

338 SINAI AND PALESTINE [chap. ix. 

celebrity, as the battle-field of the world, which has, through 
its adoption into the language of the Apocalypse, passed into a 
universal proverb. If that mysterious book proceeded from the 
hand of a Galilean fisherman, it is the more easy to understand 
why, with the scene of those many battles constantly before 
him, he should have drawn the figurative name of the final 
conflict between the hosts of good and evil from " the place 
which is called in the Hebrew tongue, Armageddon ^" that is, 
* the city or mountain of Megiddo/ 

It is remarkable, that none of the battles which secured the 
conquest of Palestine to the Israelites were fought in this field. 
Most, as we have seen*, took place in the south; one only in 
the north, and that* far away from Esdraelon. This was but 
a natural consequence of the general inferiority of the cavalry 
of Israel. Whenever the Israelites in aggressive movements 
could choose their arena, they selected their own element, the 
mountains and the mountain-passes. The battles of Esdraelon, 
on the other hand, were almost all forced upon them by adverse 
or invading armies ; and though some of their chief victories 
were won here, yet this plain is associated to the mind of an 
Israelite with mournful at least as much as with joyful recollec- 
tions : two kings perished on its soil ; and the two saddest 
dirges of the Jewish nation were evoked by the defeats of 
Oilboa and Megiddo\ Accordingly, it is not till the time when 
the Canaanitish nations had begun to recover from the panic 
left by the victorious arms of Joshua, that we find the begin- 
nings of the long series of the battles of Esdraelon which have 
lasted ever since. 

1. The first of these occasions was that in which " the Lord 
Bebonh delivered Sisera into the hand of Barak." The double 
and Barak, account of that great event in prose and verse enables 
us to fix with imusual precision its several points and circum- 
stances. The oppressor was Jabin, king of Hazor, successor 
and namesake of the chief who had roused the northern con* 

1 Eer. xri. 16, ilmuigeddon might It is hardlj neoeinry to add that the 

be the greoBed form of the Hebrew Ar, real meaning of Armageddon seta aade 

'a fortified city.' But the probable read- all such fitncifol interpretatioDS aa have 

iag IE not Ammgeddon, hut ffctrtnagedon endeaTOured to fix It in Italy or th« 

{*Ap /mycd^), from Hor, or Har, a Crimea. 

' mountain.* — And even if the aspirate ' See Chapters IV. and YIL 

'Were omitted, it ia analogous to the case ' See Chapter XI. 

of Ar Oerixim.' (See Chap. V. p. 249.) * 1 Sam. xxxi. ; 2 Chr. xxxr. 22—25. 



federation against Joshua. The northern regions, therefore, of 
Palestine, in the neighboui*hood of his own capital, the northern 
tribes, Zebulun, Naphtali and Issachar, were those which he 
would chiefly harass. On them accordingly the brunt of the 
battle felL But they were joined also by the adjacent tribes of 
Central Palestine — ^Ephraim,Manasseh,and Benjamin'. Those 
only of the extreme west, south, and east, were wanting*. Both 
armies descended alike from the mountains of Naphtali, but 
they were " drawn " to opposite points in the plain. Barak 
and Deborah, with their small body of devoted troops were 
gathered on the broad summit of Tabor*; the host of Sisera, 
with its nine hundred iron chariots, naturally took up its position 
on the level plain of Megiddo, on its south-western extremity 
by the banks of the Eishon, and near Taanach^ the name of 
which is still preserved in a village on the slope of the hills 
skirting the plain on the south. It was one of the towne which 
the Canaanites had still retained'; and it would, therefore, be 
a natural rallying point for the great Canaanite host of Jabin, 
hard by " the waters of Megiddo," probably the streams that 
flow from the hiUs on which Megiddo stands into the channel 
of the Eishon. The Prophetess, on the summit of Tabor, gave 
the signal of the battle, when Barak was to rush down from his 
secure position and attack the army in the plain. At this 
critical moment (so Josephus* directly informs us, Bauieof 
and so we leam indirectly from the Song of Deborah), theKbhoiu 
a tremendous storm of sleet and hail gathered from the east, 
and burst over the plain of Esdraelon, driving full in the faces 
of the advancing Canaanites.^ *' The stars in their courses fought 
against Sisera*," and as ** the rains descended," *' the wind blew," 
and "the flood came*" — the flood of the torrent; and "the 
stream" rose in its bed, and "beat vehemently" against the 
chariots and horses entangled on its level shores, and " the 
'torrent' of Kishon swept them away ; that ancient 'torrent,' 
the 'torrent' Kishon**." In that wild confusion, when the 
strength of the Canaanite "was trodden down," and "the 

* Juils. T. 14, 15, 18. • Jiidg. T. 19. • Judg. I. 27. 

» IWd. 16, 17. • Ant V. T. 4. 

' Ani. IV. ju 12. A Tillage Molh- * Compare the Tiotoiy of ^moleonorer 

▼ert of Tabor, near the lourcee of the theCbrtluudniansatthe Grimesns Gzote. 

Kiihon, is eaUed ^'Sheykh ^6n£." It zL 246. 

is poesiUe ^Schwan, 167), but hardly * Judg. t. 20. 

probable, that thia ia a recollection of * Matt. tU. 25—27. See Chap. XIIL 

Barak's ▼ictory. » Jndg. v. 21, 22. 




[CBA?. tL 

horsehoofs were broken by the means of the pransings, the 
pransings of their mighty ones/' the captain of the host sprang 
down from his war-chariot, and fled away on his feet. He fled 
into the northern mountains, to a spot which he hoped would 
be friendly. In the upland basin of Kedesh, far away from 
their settlements of the south, a tribe of the Bedouin Kenites 
had pitched their black tents under an ancient oak or terebinth*, 
d3riving its name, it would seem, from the strange sight of 
their encampment amidst the regular cities and villages of the 
mountains. It is needless to pursue the story; all the world 
knows the sight which Jael, the chieftainess of the house of 
Heber, showed to Barak, when she lifted up tlie curtain of the 
tent, and showed him his enemy dead, with tlie tent-peg driven 
through his temples. 

2. The next battle was of a very different kind, and one of 
Victory which the present aspect of the plain can give a 
oTerthe clearer image. No one in present days has passed 
' this plain without seeing or hearing of the assaults of 
the Bedouin Arabs, as they stream in from the adjacent 
Desert. Here and there, by the well-side, or amongst the bushes 
of the mountains, their tents or their wild figures may always 
be seen, the terror alike of the peaceful villager and the 
defenceless traveller. What we now see on a smaU scale 
constantly. is but a miniature representation of the one great 
visitation which lived for ages afterwards in the memory of the 
Jewish people ; the invasion, not of the civilised nations of 
Assyria or Egypt, or of the Canaanite cities, but of the wild 
population of the Desert itself, " the Midianites, the Amale- 
kites, and the Children of the East'." They came up with all 
the accompaniments of Bedouin life, " with their cattle, their 
tents, and their camels ;" they came up and " encamped " 
against the Israelites, after " Israel had sown,*' and " destrojed 

> Jadg. iv. 11. Mistnuulated <Uhe 
plain of 2^aaiiaim ;*' properly "the oak, 
dr terebinth, by the loading of tents.** 
See Chapter XI. 

* Jndg. vi 8. Of another nomadio 
ineareion at a later time, hut hw traces 
are ^eft — that of the Scythians or nomads 
of the north, in the reign of King Josiah, 
known only through the brief notice in 

Herodotus, and the allnsioBs in th« 
writings of Zephaniah and Jeremisk. 
One of those few traoes^ however, sbovf 
that they settled like their predeoesMr? 
and saooessors in the plain of EsdivloQ. 
From tbenoe, Betfashan, at the foct of 
Mount Gilboa, probably derired its Oreek 
name of •'Scythopolia.'* (Pliny t. IS.) 


the increase of the earth/' and all the cattle' [in the maritime 
plain] " till thou come unto Gaza ; as ' locusts ' for multitude 
both they and their camels without number/' The very aspect 
and bearing of their sheykhs is preserved to us. The two 
lesser chiefs, (" princes " as they are called in our version,) in 
their names of Oreb and Zeeb, " the Baven " and " the Wolf/' 
present curious counterparts of the title of '' the Leopard/' now 
given to their modem successor, Abd-el-Aziz, chief of the 
Bedouins beyond the Jordan. The two higher sheykhs or 
*^ kings/' Zebah and Zalmunna, are moimted on dromedaries, 
themselves gay with scarlet mantles, and crescent-ornaments 
and golden earrings*, their dromedaries with ornaments and 
chains like themselves ; and, as in outward appearance, so in 
the high spirit and lofty bearing which they showed at their last 
hour, they truly represented the Arabs who scour the same 
regions at the present day. 

Such an incursion produced on the Israelites amongst their 
ordinary wars a similar impression to that of the invasion of 
the Huns amongst the comparatively civilised invasions of the 
Teutonic tribes. They fled into their mountain fastnesses and 
caves as the only refuge ; the wheat even of the upland valleys 
of Manasseh had to be concealed from the rapacious plunderers'. 
The whole country was thus for the first time in the hands of 
the Arabs. But it was in the plain of Esdraelon that then, as 
now, the Children of the Desert fixed their head-quarters. " In 
the valley of JezreeP," that is, in the central eastern branch 
of the plain, commanding the long descent to the Jordan, and 
thus to their own eastern deserts, " they lay all along the valley 
like * locusts * for multitude/' and " their camels " — unwonted 
sight in the pastures of Palestine — ** were without number, as 
the sand by the sea-side " on the vnde margin of the Bay of 
Acre, " for multitude*." As in the invasion of Sisera, so now, 
the nearest tribes were those which were first moved by a sense 
of their common danger. To the noblest of the tribe of 
Manasseh — to one whose appearance was ''as the son of a 
kia^" and whose brothers, already ruthlessly slain by the 

> Jndg. Ti. 3, 4, 5. * Jndg. ri. 33. 

« IWd. Tiii. 21, 26. » Ibid. xiL 12. 

• ftid. vi. 11. 



[OBl?. IX. 

wild invaders on the adjacent heights of Tabor, were "eacli 
BfttUe of o^^ ^® ^^ children of kings " — was entmsted the 
Jeireel. charge of gathering together the forces of his country- 
men. All Manasseh was with him ; and from the other side of 
the plain there came Zebulun and Naphtali, and even the re- 
luctant Asher to join him'. On the slope of Mount Oilboa the 
Israelites were encamped by a spring, possibly the same as 
that elsewhere* called * the spring of Jezreel/ but here, from 
the well-known trial by which Q-ideon tested the energy of his 
army, called " the * spring ' of trembling"/' On the northern 
side of the valley, but apparently deeper down in the descent 
towards the Jordan^ by one of those slight eminences' which 
have been before described as characteristic of the whole plain, 
was spread the host of the Midianites. It was night, when 
from the mountain side Gideon and his servant descended to 
the vast encampment. All along the valley, within and around 
the tents, the thousands of Arabs lay wrapt* in sleep, or resting 
from their day's plunder, and their innumerable camels couched 
for the night in deep repose round about them. One of the 
sleepers, startled from his slumbers, was telling his dresm to 
his fellow, — a characteristic and expressive dream for a Bedonin, 
even without its terrible interpretation ; that a cake of barley 
bread, from those rich corn-fields, those numerous threshing- 
floors of the peaceful inhabitants whom they had conquered, 
rolled into the camp of Midian and struck a tent, and overturned 

1 Jadg. tL 85. 

' 1 Sam. zxix. 1, in the Aath. Yen. 
incorrectly " a fonntain.** 

* Jadg. Tii. 1. ''The 'ipring* (mie* 
trandated «weir') of Harod;*' that is, 
of ' trembling,* in evident allnsion to the 
repetition of the nme word in Terse 8, 
''Whoever is fearfol and 'trembling.*** 
The modem name of this spriLg is 
Ain JalH'the "spring of Goliath.'* 
This may perhaps originate, as lUtter 
obsenres, in a eonfnsed reooUeetion of the 
Philistine battle io the time of Davidf 
but more probably arose from the fiJse 
tndltion current in the sixth oentory, 
that this was the scene of David^s com- 
bat with Goliath (Kitter; Jordan, p. 416). 
8chwan (164) ingenionsly ooqjeetnres 
that it is a reminiscenoe of an older name 
attaching to the whole monntain — and thus 

expluns the ay of Gideon, ru. 8, "Who- 
ever is fearful and afraid, let him reton, 
and depart early from Mount Gilesd." 
But we may suppose either that " Gilcsd ** 
is there a corruption of (what in Hehrew 
strongly resembles it) " Gilboa ;" or 
that it was the war-cry of Htasaseb— 
eastern as well as western — and tiut 
hence "Mount Gilead" was emplc^yed 
as a general phrase for the whole 
tribe. (Bwald, Geschichte, 2nd edit ii. 

* Hence the expresrion, "the hoit d 
Midian was beneath him in the vaO^.** 
Jndg. viL 8. 

* Gibeak, righUy innslated " kiD,;' ts 
distinct from "mountain.** Jndg. m 1. 

* Such is the force of the Hebrew wcrl 
transUted "lay." Ibid. viL 12. 

dur. IX. J PLjUN of BSBBABLON. 843 

it, BO that it lay along on the ground*. Beassored by this good 
omen, Gideon returned for his three hundred trusty followers, 
the trumpets were blown, the torches blazed forth, the shout of 
Israel, always terrible, always like *' the shout of a king'," broke 
through the stillness of the midnight air ; and the sleepers 
sprang from their rest, and ran hither and thither tdth the 
dissonant *' cries'" so peculiar to the Arab race. ''And tha 
Lord set every man's sword against his fellow, even through all 
the host;" and the host fled headlong down the descent to the 
Jordan, to the spots known as the ' house of the Acacia ' (Beth- 
shittah), and the 'margin' of the 'meadow of the dance' (Abel- 
meholah)^ These spots were in the Jordan-valley, as their 
names indicate', under the mountains of Ephraim. To the 
JBphraimites, therefore, messengers were sent to intercept the 
northern fords of the Jordan at Bethbarah'. There the second 
conflict took place, and Oreb and Zeeb were seized BaUle of 
and put to the sword, the one on a rock, the other at a Bethbarah. 
winepress, on the spot where they were taken. The two higher 
sheykhs, Zebah aud Zalmunna, had already passed before the 
Ephraimites appeared ; Gideon, therefore, who had now reached 
the fords from the scene of his former victory, pursued them 
into the eastern territory of his own tribe Manasseh. The first 
village which he reached in the Jordan-valley was that which 
from the " booths " of Jacob's ancient encampment bore the 
name of Succoth' : the next higher up in the hills with its 
lofty watch-tower, was that which from the vision of the same 
patriarch bore the name of Peniel, the ' Face of God.' Far up 
in the eastern Desert — amongst their own Bedouin countrymen 
" dwelling in tents " — " the host " of Zebah and Zalmunna " was 
secure " when Gideon burst upon them. Here a third victory 
completed the conquest. The two chiefs were caught and slain; 
the tower of Peniel was raised ; and the princes of Succoth 
were scourged with the thorny branches of the acacia groves of 
their own valley*. 

1 Judg. Til. 13. also Zerenth (Tene 22) with 2 Chr. ir. 

- Numb, xziii. 21. 17. See Appendix, Ahd. 

* Jndg. Tii. 21. * The LXX reads Beua^pa. See Chapter 

* Ibid. 22. Vn. p. 810. 

* The "aeada" la never found on the ' Gen. zzziii. 17. See Appendix, Soe^ 
numntaina — ^the ''meadow *' ii pecaliar * Jndg. viii. 16. 

to the itreamt of the Jordan. Compare 



[chap. IX. 

This success was perhaps the most signal ever obtained by 
the arms of Israel ; at least, the one which most lived in the 
memory of the people. The * spring ' of Gideon's encampment, 
the rock and the winepress which witnessed the death of the 
two Midianite chiefs, were called after the names then received; 
and the Psalmists and Prophets long afterwards referred with 
exultation to the fall of "Oreb and Zeeb, of Zebah and 
Zalmunna, who said. Let us take to ourselves the ' pastures ' ' of 
God in possession " — " the breaking of the rod of the oppressor, 
as in the day of Midian'." Gideon himself was by it raised to 
almost royal state, and the establishment of the hereditaiy 
monarchy all but anticipated in him and his family. 

3. From the most memorable victory we pass to the most 
Defeat of memorable defeat of Israel. The next great engage- 
SaoL ment which took place in this plain, and nearly on 

the same spot, was that of Saul with the Philistines*. The 
Philistines, twice defeated in the mountains of Judffia, appear 
to have gathered all their strength for a final effort, and 
having marched up the sea-coast, to have encamped, like the 
Midianites, in that part of the plain properly called ''the 
valley of Jezreel." Their encampment was fixed on the 
northern side of the valley, on a spot, in one passage called 
Aphek, and in another Shunem. The name of Aphek has 
perished, but that of Shunem is preserved, with a slight altera- 
tion, in a village which stUl exists on the slope of the range 
called Little Hermon; possibly the same as the ''Hill of 

' Such 18 the more accurate transla- 
tion, as well as the more yiyid in the 
mouths of the nomad chiefs. Ps. Izzxiii. 

* Isa. iz. 4. 

* 1 Sam. xziz. zzzi. It is poesihle 
that the battle in which the Ark was 
taken, and the sons of- Eli killed, was on 
the same spot. '* Aphek," which means 
''strength," and thus is naturally applied 
to anj fort or fastness, is so common a 
name in Palestine, that its mention in 
1 Sam. zziz. 1, is not of itself sufficient 
to identify it with the spot so called near 
Jenunlem, in 1 Sam. ir. 1 ; and the 
soene of the first Philistine Tictory must 
therefore remain uncertain, since there 
is nothing in the details of the hatUe to 
€z it. But the mention of Ebenexer in 

1 Sam. ir. 1, compared with the mentiQa 
of the same name in 1 Sam. viL 12, in 
connection with Mizpeh, would indnoe » 
to fix it in the south, and therefore 
identify it with the Aphek mentioned 
in Joeephus (BelL Jud. II. ziz. 1) u 
situated near the western entrance of the 
pass of Beth-horon. The same dooU 
attaches to the scene of the defeat of Ben- 
hadad (1 Kings zz. 26), also at Aphek. 
But there again the mention of the 
"pLdn" under the name "JftiAor,"— 
in erery other instance applied to the 
tahle-lands on the east of the Jordan (see 
Appendiz, 9, v.)— points to the Aphua 
mentioncl by Eusebiua^ to the cast ot 
the sea of GiUilee, and possibly piesenred 
in the modem *'Ftk.** 


Moreh," on the north of the valley, under which had been 
pitched the tents of Zebah and Zalmunna. On the opposite 
side, nearly on the site of Gideon's camp, on the rise of Mount 
Gilboa, hard by the " spring of Jezreel," was the army of Saul, 
the Israelites as usual keeping to the heights, whibt their 
enemies clung to the plain. It was whilst the tw^o armies were 
in this position, that Saul made the disguised and adventurous 
journey by night over the shoulder of the ridge on which the 
Philistines were encamped, to visit the Witch at Endor, situated 
immediately on the other side of the range, and immediately 
facing Tabor. Large caves and rock-hewn tombs still perforate 
the rocky sides of the hill. The mention of the "house" of 
the necromancer' forbids us to press these caverns into con- 
nection with the naiTative. 

The onset took place the next morning. The Philistines 
instantly drove the Israelites up the slopes of Gilboa, j^^, ^^ 
and however widely the rout may have carried the Mount Gil- 
mass of the fugitives down the valley to the Jordan, 
the thick of the fight must have been on the heights them- 
selves ; for it was " on Mount Gilboa " that the wild Amalekitej 
wandering like his modem countrymen over the upland waste, 
" chanced " to see the dying king ; and " on Mount Gilboa " 
the corpses of Saul and his three sons were found by the 
Philistines the next day. So truly has David caught the 
peculiarity and position of the scene which he had himself 
visited only a few days before the battle* — " The beauty of 
Israel is slain upon thy high places : " " O Jonathan, thou wast 
slain upon thine high places" as though the bitterness of death 
and defeat were aggravated by being not in the broad and 
hostile plain, but on their own familiar and friendly moimtains. 
And with an equally striking touch of truth, as the image of 
that bare and bleak and jagged ridge rose before him with its 
one green strip of table-land, where probably the last struggle 
was fought, — the more bare and bleak from its unusual con- 
trast with the fertile plain from which it springs — he broke 
oat into the pathetic strain; ^^Ye mountains of Gilboa, let 
there be no rain, neither let there be dew upon you, nor fields 

1 Van de Velde (ii. 383). I only saw 3 1 Sam. xzTiii. The £act of the tombs 

the spot from Tabor, which also com- I hare from Mr. Zeller. 

mandfl the relatiTe viev of Bethahan and ' 1 Sam. xxiz. 2. 
liilead, aa given in p. 846. 



[OHA?. CL 

of offerings : for there the shield of the mighty was vilely cast 
away, — ^the shield of Saul, as though he had not been anomted 

On the slope of this range — still looking down into the 
Valley cf Jezreel, but commanding also the view of the Jordan 
— a high spur of rock projects, on which stands the village of 
Beisan, once the city of Bethshan. It was one of the Ganaanite 
strongholds which had never been taken by the Israelites', and 
accordingly was at once open to the victorious Philistines. 
They stripped and dismembered the royal corpse. The head 
was sent to the great Temple of Dagon, probably at Ashdod; 
but the armour was dedicated in the Temple of the Canaanite 
Ashtaroth at Bethshan*, and the headless body with the coipses 
of his three sons fastened to the wall, overhanging the open 
place in front of the city gate ^ That wall overlooked the 
Bethihan valley of the Jordan, into which the Valley of Jezred 
andJabesh- there Opens. In the hills of Ghilead, which are seen 
rising immediately beyond, was a town which Sanl 
had once saved from a cruel enemy *. The inhabitants of JabesL 
Gilead remembered their benefactor*. Their "valiant men" came 
under cover of the '^ night," across the Jordan, carried off the 
bodies, and buried them under ' the terebinth' ' of their own 
city, where they lay till they were disinterred by David to 
be buried in their ancestral cave at Zelah in Benjamin*. 
4. Two more battles, hardly less mournful than that of Saul, dose 
Defeat of ^^ series. The one fatal to the kingdom of Israel, the 
Joiiah. other to the kingdom of Judah. The first is but glanced 
at in the prophetical, without any notice of it in the historical 
books. When Shalmanezer came up against Hosea, ** the bow 
of Israel," — the archery for which the northern tribes were still 
famous — " was broken in the Valley of JezreeL" The particnlar 
spot is also indicated. Shalmanezer laid waste Beth*ArbeI, 
and dashed its inhabitants against the stones*. This is, most 

1 2 Sam. i. 6, 19, 21, 25. One of the 
earliest attempts (saeh as those noticed 
in Chapter YI.) to turn the prophetical 
poetry into prose, was the old assertion, 
that there was literally no dew on Gilboa. 
The emsaders had the honestj to eon- 
fen that thia was unfoonded (Gesta Dei 
perFraaooe, 107). 

• Jndg. L 27. 

' That this was the distribntion can- 
not be doubted on a oomparison of 1 Sam. 

xxxl 10, and 1 Chr. x. 8, 10. 

* Such is the proper foree of "the 
Mtreet of Bethshan," 2 Sam. zzi. 11 (S« 
App./i2ecAo6. * 1 Sam. xi. 1—11* 

« 1 Sam. xxxL 11. Jabesh wss pn- 
bably identified by Dr. Robinson on hit 
second journey. (Later Res. S19.) 

« 1 Chr. z. 12. JSlak. See AppA- 
dix, a «. * 2 Smb. zzi li 

• Hosea L 5 ; x. li. This ezplsBstka 
I owe to Dr. Posey. 


probably Arbel« described by Eosebius as nine miles from 
Legio. The second battle is told in greater detail. It was 
in the last days of the Jewish monarchy, when the northern 
kingdom had been already destroyed, that Palestine was first 
exposed to the disastrous fate which involved her in so long a 
series of troubles from this time forward — ^that of being the 
debateable ground between Egypt and the further East ; first, 
under the Pharaohs and the rulers of Babylon; then under 
the Ptolemies and Seleucid£B. '* In the days of Josiah, Pharaoh- 
Necho king of Egypt, went up agaiost the the king of Assyria 
to the Euphrates," — possibly landing his army at Accho, more 
probably, as the expression seems to indicate, following the 
track of his predecessor Psammetichus, and advancing up the 
maritime plain till he turned into the plain of Esdraelon, 
thence to penetrate into the passes of the Lebanon. ^* King 
Josiah,*' in self-defence, and perhaps as an ally of the Assyrian 
king, ** went against him*." The engagement took place in the 
central portion of the plain — the scene of Sisera's defeat-— 
"the plain' of Megiddo." The "Egyptian archers," Battle of 
in their long array, so well known from their sculp- Mcgiddo. 
tured monuments, '^ shot at King Josiah," as he rode in state 
in his royal chariot, and " he was sore wounded," and placed in 
his "second* chariot" of reserve, and carried to Jerusalem to 
die. In that one tragical event, all other notices of the battle 
are absorbed. The exact scene of the encounter is not known. 
It would seem, however, to have been at a spot called, after 
the name of a Syrian divinity, " Hadad-Bimmon," that the 
king fell. On this consecrated place were uttered the lamen- 
tations^ continued at Jerusalem by one whose strains were 
only inferior in pathos to those of David over Saul ; " and 
all Judah and Jesusalem mourned for Josiah, and Jeremiah 
lamented for Josiah ; and all the singing men and the singing 
women spake of Josiah in their lamentations to this day, and 
made them an ordinance in Israel: and, behold, they are 
written in the Lamentations'. 

Other battles there have been in later times — ^in the Cru- 
sades, and in the wars of Napoleon, which confirm the ancient 
celebrity of the Plain of Esdraelon ; but of these one only 

^ 2 Kingf zzi]i.29; 2Chr. xxxr. 20, 22. * Ibid. 24. « Zech. zii 11. 

' BOxC ah, 2 Chr.zzxT.22. * 2 Chr. zzzr. 25. 

848 SINAI AND PALESTINE. [cnip. ul 

defierres to be named in conjunction with those of which I 
have been speaking — that of Hattin, which will be best con- 
sidered elsewhere*. 

III. Bat there is another aspect under which the Plain of 
Esdraelon must be considered. Every traveller has remarked 
Eichness of ^^ ^^ richness of its soil and the exuberance of its 
the pkin of crops \ Once more the palm appears, waving its stately 
^^ tresses over the village enclosures* These enclo- 
sures are divided each from each by masses of wild artichoke. 
The very weeds are a sign of what in better hands the vast 
plain might become. The thoroughfare which it forms for every 
passage, from east to west, from north to south, made it in 
peaceful times the most available and eligible possession of 
Palestine. It was the frontier of Zebulun — ** Bejoice, O Zebnlun, 
in thy goings out.*' But it was the special portion of Issachar; 
and in its condition, thus exposed to the good and evil fate of 
ciim^^r the beaten highway of Palestine, we read the for- 
oflssachw. tunes of the tribe which, for the sake of this XK>sses- 
sion, consented to sink into the half-nomadic state of the 
Bedouins who wandered over it, — into the condition of tribu- 
taries to the Canaanite tribes, whose iron chariots drove 
victoriously through it. ''Bejoice, O Issachar, in thy tents 
. . . they shall suck of the abundance of the seas [from Acre], 
and of the [glassy] treasures hid in the sands ' [of the torrent 
Belus]. . • . Issachar is a strong ass, couching down he- 
tween two ' troughs :' and he saw that rest was good, and the 
land that it was pleasant; and bowed his shoulder to bear, and 
became a servant unto tribute \" In the gathering of the 
northern tribes against Sisera and the Midianites, the name of 
Issachar is omitted ; and although, in the former crisis, they 
were not wholly absent, yet it was only " the * chiefs ' of Issa- 
char " who " were with Deborah*." But still they were looked 
up to — perhaps on account of this very choice of land — as 
''men that had imderstanding of the times, to know what 
Israel ought to do ';" and they with the neighbouring tribes, 
were foremost in sending to David, on his accession, all the 
good things that their soil produced, '' bread, and meat, and 
meal| cakes of figs, bunches of raisins, and wine, and oil, €Si 

^ SeeGhapter X. * Dent. xxziiL 18, 19. 

> "The Cream of Faleitine,*' Bobia* ^ Gen. zliz. 14, 15. 

■on, iiL IGO. Jezreel aignifiea the ''seed * Jndg. t. 15. Comp. ir. 10, n. ZS. 

ot God." • 1 Chron. xii. 82. 

CBAT. 2X.] 



asses, and on camels, and on mules, and on oxen, .... for 
there was joy in Israel \ " 

In accordance with this general character of the plain, were 
bome of its special localities. The park-Uke aspect which has 
already been noticed in the hills between Shechem and 
Samaria, breaks out again in this fertile district. The same 
luxuriant character which had rendered this whole region the 
feivourite haunt of the four northern tribes, rendered it also 
the favourite resort of the later kings of Israel. Of all the 
numerous villages that now rise out of the plain on the gentle 
swells which break its level surface, the most commanding in 
situation is the modem Zerin, the ancient "Jezreel," the 
' seed ' or ' sowing-place of God,' — a name in itself indica- 
tive of the richness of the neighbouring soil. As Baasha had 
chosen Tirzah, as Omri had chosen Samaria, so Ahab p^^^ ^^ 
chose Jezreel as his regal residence. It never indeed palaos of 
superseded his father's capital at Samaria, as that ^^"'^ 
had superseded Shechem; but it was the chief seat of his 
dynasty for three successive reigns; and its importance is 
evident, from the fact that it gave its name to the whole plain, 
of which it thus became the chief city. It is now a mere collec- 
tion of hovels. But its situation at the opening of the central 
eastern valley, so often described, commanding the view towards 
Carmel on one side, and to the Jordan on the other, still justi- 
fies its selection by Ahab and his Queen, as the seat of their 
court', and its natural features still illustrate the most striking 
incidents in the scenes in which it appears in the Sacred 
History, of the overthrow of the house of Ahab. We see how 
up the valley from the Jordan, Jehu's troop might be seen 
advancing from Bamoth-Gilead ; how in Naboth's '* field " the 
two sovereigns met the relentless soldier; how, whilst Joram 
died on the spot, Ahaziah drove down the westward plain, 
towards the mountain-pass by the beautiful village of En- 
gannim', but was overtaken in the ascent, and died of his 
wounds at Megiddo ; how in the open place, which, as usual in ' 

^ 1 Gbitm. xiu 40. 

' 1 Kings xzi 1 ; 2 Kings iz. 80. 
2 Kings ix. 27. The name Beth- 
paXf translated in the English Version 
''the garden-hoose,*' is rightly preserved 
in the LXX. It is evidently the same 
as "Bn-gannim," 'the spring of the 
gardens' (Josh. xLt. 21 ; xxi« 29) ; and 

as the modem Jenin, well known as the 
village on which all travellers descend 
from the hills of Manasseh. The garden- 
like character of the spot is still pre- 
served. A copious stream flows into the 
village, and in the centre, by the mosqoe, 
babbles np the "spring." 

350 SINAI AND PALBSTINB. [ciup. iz. 

Eastern towns, lay before the gates of Jezreel, the body of ihe 
Queen was trampled under the hoofs of Jehu's horses ; how the 
dogs gathered round it, as even to this day, in the wretched 
village now seated on the ruins of the once splendid city of 
Jezreel, they prowl on the mounds without the walls for the 
offal and carrion thrown out to them to consume ' ; how, as he 
passed on his way to Samaria, he encountered in the plain of 
Esdraelon the wild figure of the Bedouin Eenite from Jabesh' 
beyond the Jordan — Jehonadab, the son of Bechab. 

These characteristics of the plain — ^perhaps the most secular 
in sacred history, — are not the only or the highest associations 
with which its natural features are connected. Two pomts 
still remain, — ^the most interesting in its whole expanse. 

IV. Two mountains, the glory of the tribe of Issachar, stand 
Tabor. ^^^ among the bare and rugged hills of Palestine, and 
even among those of their own immediate nei^bonr- 
hood, remarkable for the verdure which climbs — a rare sight 
in Eastern scenery — ^to their very summits. One of these is 
Tabor. This strange and beautiful mountain is distinguished 
alike in form and in character from all around it. As seen, 
where it is usually first seen by the traveller, from the north- 
west of the plain, it towers like a dome, as seen from the 
east, like a long arched mound, over the monotonous undnk- 
tions of the surrounding hills, from which it stands completely 
isolated, except by a narrow neck of rising ground, uniting it 
to the mountain-range of Galilee. It is not what Europeans 
would call a wooded hill, because its trees stand all apart from 
each other. But it is so thickly studded with them, as to rise 
from the plain like a mass of verdure. Its sides much resemble 
the scattered glades in the outskirts of the New Forest. Its 
summit, a broken oblong, is an alternation of shade and green- 
sward, that seems made for a national festivity ; broad and varied, 
and commanding wide views of the plain from end to end. 

This description of itself tells us that it is not that peaked 
height which we imagine as the scene of the great event with 
which later traditions have connected it. The Transfiguration, 

* So I elianoed to see tbem there. house,** or (as the LXX literally render 

>Eingi X. 15; 1 Chr. ii. 55. The it) * of Beth akad,* when Jehv met /eho* 
exact nte of the "pit of the shearing- nadah^ is not known. 

OIAP. IX. ] 



as we shall elsewhere find', probably took place far awaj. But 
we see in its insulated situation the probable origin 
of the mistake which transferred to the mountain aoeneofthe 
of the Transfiguration the word " apart," which is ?*°*'. 
really intended only for the disciples ; we see also, 
erery where scattered around, the ruins of the town and fortress', 
which existing here, as it seems, at the very time of the Oospel 
History, render the truth of the tradition next to impossible. 
Sdll, if it must lose that last crowning glory, those glades and 
those ruins recall to us its older associations undisturbed. The 
fortress, defended and repaired by Josephus, carries us back 
to the selection of this strong position for the encampment of 
Barak, before his descent upon Sisera. The open glades on its 
wide summit carry us back yet earlier to a time, of 
which the very memory has perished, when it was the tms and 
sanctuary of the northern tribes, if not of the whole ^^JJ^*^ 
nation. The aspect of these glades, so fitted, as I Northeni 
have said, for festive assemblies^ exactly agrees with 
Herder's view*, that Tabor is intended, when it is said of 
Issachar and Zebulun, that " they shall call the people unto 
the mountain; there shall they offer sacrifices of righteous- 

ness\'' It is true that, amidst the changes and wars which 
disordered the relations df the tribes, nothing afterwards is 
expressly said of the sacredness of Tabor. But in the gather^ 
ing of the northern tribes, first under Barak*, and again, as it 
would seem, under the brothers of Gideon*, and long after- 
wards, in *' the net spread abroad on Tabor'," by the idolatrous 
priests of Issachar, some trace is discernible of the original 
purpose for which its striking situation and its pleasant forests 
so well adapted it. At any rate, we can understand how, when 

* See Cbapter XI. For the ailments 
against the conoection of Tabor with the 
TranefignratioD, see RobinsoD, B. B. ill 
p. 221. 

* The four gates of the fortress are 
more or less disUncUy marked. Jt has 
a pointed arch ; and a large stone exists 
amongst its rains, with an Arabic in- 
scription (discoyered by Mr. Zeller, the 
Frotestant Missionary, residing at Naza- 
reth) ascribing the building (by which no 
doabt is meant the reparation) of the for- 
tress to King Abubeker, son of Khalid, 
i.e. A,i>. 1210. See Sermons in the 

East, Appendix, p. 191. 

' Gkist der Hebraisohe Poesie (Herder, 
ToL zxxiT. p. 215.) The description 
given aboTO was waitten from ^he spot, 
without any recollection, at the moment, 
of Herder*s yiew. '* According to the 
Hidrash Ya1k(kt on Dent, xxxiii. 19, it 
is the mountain on which the Temple 
ought of right to hare been built . . . 
had it not been for the express rerela- 
tion which ordered the sanctuary to be 
built on Mount Mnriah''(Schwarz, p. 71). 

* Dent, xxxiii. 19. • Judg. W. 6. 

* Jndg. Tiii. 18. ' Hob. t. 1. 

852 SINAI AND PALESTINE. [cnir. xl 

Fsnlmists and Prophets saw in the wide view from its summit, 
the snowy top of Hermon in the far north, and Carmel in the 
west, they could truly feel *' Tabor ' and Hermon shall rejoice 
in Thy name ; '* that surely '* as Tabor is among the mountains, 
and Carmel* by the sea," God's judgments would come. 

V. This brings us to the second great historical moimtain of 
Esdraelon. " As Tabor " is through its peculiar form 
an elevation "among the mountains" — so is "Cannel," 
with its long projecting ridge, " by the sea." The name of 
Tabor is probably derived from its height ; that of Carmel is 
certainly taken from the garden-like appearance which it shares 
with Tabor alone, and which, as it has no peculiarity of shape, 
is its chief distinction*. By this, its protracted range of 
eighteen miles in length, bounding the whole of the southern 
cpmer of the great plain, is marked out from the sun*ouuding 
scenery. Rocky dells, with deep jungles of copse *, are found 
there alone in Palestine. And though to European ejes it 
presents a forest-beauty only of an inferior order, there is no 
wonder that to an Israelite it seemed " the Park** of his country ; 
that the tresses of the bride's head should be compared to its 
woods* ; that its ' ornaments* ' should be regarded as the type 
of natural beauty ; that the withering of its fruits should be 
considered as. the type of national desolation ^ 

It is not the bluff promontory running into the sea, and 
The Con- crowned by its Convent, that represents, or even pro- 
▼ent. fesses to represent, the scene which is the chief pride 

of the history of Carmel. The Convent derives its interest not 
from any connection, real or pretended, with the Prophet 
Elijah, but from the celebrated order of Barefooted monks 
that has sprung from it, and carried the name of Carmel into 
the monasteries of Europe. The large caves, indeed, which 
exist under the western cliffs, frequented by Christians, Jews, 
and Mussulmans, who have there left memorials in Latin, 

> Pb. faxix. 12. b€Mt." (^fanderiUe, Barly TraTeDen, 

9 Jer. zItI. 18. p. 186 ; C^aresmiuB, II. 8, 34.) 

' Appendix, CarmeZ. ^ Cant. tu. 5. 

* This was probably the reason of its * Isa. xj^xt. 2. Translated "excel- 

idection in later legends as the scene of lency." 

the death of Cain, who thera ** went ^ Amos. i. 2 ; Isaiah xxxiii. 9 ; Kitav 

through briars and bushes as a wild L i. 

OBA?. IS.] 



Greek, and Hebrew, and in the niches and prayer-mats of 
Arab devotion — ^may have been the shelter of Elijah and the 
persecuted prophets. The winding path through the rocks to 
the sea-shore below, must have been that by which Pythagoras, 
according to the idea of his biographer— himself a pilgrim to 
this *' haunted strand '* — descended, to embark in the Egyptian 
ship which he saw sailing beneath him '. Either on this same 
poiat of Mount Carmel, or at the modem village of Caipha 
immediately below it, was the village of Ecbatana, in which 
Cambyses died on his return from Egypt to Persia', thus 
unexpectedly realising the prophecy that he should perish at 
Ecbatana. The Convent itself is of comparatively recent date, 
the last effort of the Crusades ; an offshoot of the fortress of 
Acre in the adjacent bay, founded by St. Louis in his brief and 
only visit to the shores of Palestine, and still bearing the sign 
of its French origin, in the French flag which is unfurled on its 
towers, whenever a French vessel appears in sight on the 
Syrian waters. 

Bat it could never have been here that the great sacrifice 
took place which formed the crisis in Elijah's life, ^j^ ^^^ 
and which is brought before us with such minuteness of si^ah's 
of detail as to invite us to a fall contemplation of all 
its circumstances. Carmel, as we have seen, is not so much a 
mountain as a ridge, an upland park, extending for many miles 
into the interior of the country. At the eastern extremity, 
which is also the highest point of the whole ridge, is a spot 
marked out alike by tradition and by natural features as one of 
the most authentic localities of the Old Testament history*. 
The tradition is unusually trustworthy. It is perhaps the 
only case in Palestine in which the recollection of an alleged 
event has been actually retained in the native Arabic nomen- 

1 Jamblichas, Vit. Pyth. c 3 (WiUiams 
in IMctioDory of Classical Gfeography — 

» Herod, iii. 62, 64. Plin. r. 8, 17, 19. 

' I baTe described this spot in greater 
detaSi from its haying been so rarely 
'visited. Qnaresmins heard of it, bnt 
ooQld not get there (ii. 893). The place 
was also visited (bnt not described) by 
Mr. Williams and by lientenant Symonds. 
Since the abore account -vraa vritten. 

from my own recoUeotidn, M. Van de 
Velde*8 description of the spot has been 
published ; and from this I shall subjoin 
any additional particulars in the notes. 
The Tillages of the range of (Armel are 
now marked in the map to the 2nd Ed. 
of Br. Bobinson's Bibl. Besearches, and 
in the large map of M. Van de Velde. I 
have inserted them, according to our own 
observation, in the map of Eadraelon, 




clature. Many names of towns have been so preserved, bat 
here is no town, only a shapeless rain, yet the spot has a name, 
" El-Maharrakah \" " the Burning," or " the Sacrifice." The 
Drases, some of whom inhabit the neighbouring villages, ceme 
here from a distance to perform a yearly sacrifice ; and though 
it is possible that this practice may have originated the name, 
yet it is more probable that the practice itself arose from some 
earlier tradition attached to the spot. Nor has the tradition, 
whatever it be, any connection with the convent, which 
would in that case either have been founded nearer to the 
scene, or have fixed the scene nearer to itself. Indeed, it is a 
proof of the superiority of the Latin to the Greek monastic 
orders, that instead of inventing a spot, after the manner of the 
monks of Sinai, within the neighbourhood of their own walks, 
the monks of Carmel have left undisturbed the associations of 
a spot so remote from their convent, that none of its existing 
members have visited it more than once in their stay'. 

But, be the tradition good or bad, the localities adapt them* 
selves to the event in almost every particular. The summit 
thus marked out is the extreme eastern * point of the range, 
commanding the last view of the sea behind, and. the first view 
of the great plain in front, just where the glades of forest, 
the " excellency of Carmel," sink into the usual barrenness of 
the hills and vales of Palestine. There, on the highest ridge of 
the mountain, may well have stood, on its sacred *' hi^h plaoe," 
the altar of the Lord which Jezebel had cast down\ Close 
beneath, on a wide upland sweep, under the shade of ancient 

^ The same name is applied to the 
Boene of the Samaritan sacrifioe on Qeri- 
zinu (De Saulcy, ii. 360.) It is alio 
caUed <*E1 Mazar," <<the tomb»" from 
a notion that the rain is of that nature. 
See Oarne and Bnckingham. 

' Fra Carlo, who nsaally acts as host 
to the visitors to the conrent, had been 
there, if at all, but once. He lold M. 
Van de Velde that the place was near 
Majuttrdif which is in « be right direc- 
tion, but not the right spot. (Van de 
Velde, L 290.) We were directed there 
by the cook of the conrent, Daond or 

' One lower declivity only lies imme- 
difttcly below it. 
* The spot is marked by the niin of ft 

square stone boilding, amon^ iUdc 
bashes of dwarf oak ; which might be of 
any age, and in which, as stated above, 
the Dnises oome to sacrifice. IC Yaa 
de Velde (L 321) describes it mora par- 
tiealarly as ''an oblong qnadiangolar 
building, of which the great door and 
both side walls are still partially stand- 
ing.** The large hewn stones suggest aa 
older date than that of the GraasdaL 
The place is probably the site of Ves- 
pasian's saerifioe. (Tae. Hist iii. 7S.) 
The rocky fragments lying aivand, as 
Van de Velde weU snggesto Q. 423K 
would naturally afford the materials ior 
the ''twelve stones** of which the 
natural altar was built 1 Exngi sriii. 
31, 32. 

CBA?. IZ.] 



oliveSy and above a well of water, said to be perennial', and 
which may therefore have escaped the general drought, and 
have been able to famish water for the trenches round the 
altar, must have been ranged, on one side the king and people, 
with the eight hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and Astarte, 
and on the other side the solitary and commanding figure of 
the Prophet of the Lord. Full before them opened the whole 
plain of Esdraelon', with Tabor and its kindred ranges in the 
distance; on the rising ground, at the opening of its valley, the 
ciiy of Jezreel, with Ahab's palace and Jezebel's temple dis- 
tinctly visible ; in the nearer foreground, immediately under 
the base of the mountain, was clearly seen the winding stream 
of the Kishon, working its way through the narrow pass of the 
hills into the Bay of Acre *. Such a scene, with such recollec- 
tions of the past, with such sights of the present, was indeed a 
fitting theatre for a conflict more momentous Ihan any which 
their ancestors had fought ia the plain below. This is not the 
place to enlarge upon the intense solemnity and significance of 
that conflict which lasted on the mountain-height from morning 
till noon, from noon till the time of the evening sacrifice. It 
ended at last in the level plain below, where Elijah ^' brought " 
the defeated prophets '' down " the steep sides of the mountain 
" to the * torrent ' of the Kishon, and slew them there.'* 

The closing scene still remains. From the slaughter by the 
side of the Kishon, the King " went up ^ " at Elijah's bidding 
once again to the peaceful glades of Carmel, to join in the 
sacrificial feast. And Elijah too ascended to ** the top of the 
mountain," and there, with his face upon the earth, remained 

^ So ve were told by oor goide from 
Asljah. The exact spot ib marked by 
an old olive tree, iBolated from the oliye 
grore whieh stada this lover plain, and 
whidi baa been bought by the monks. 
M. Van de Velde waa more fortunate in 
bcbg able to examine this irell for him- 
self. He deeeribes it (i. 325) as "a 
Taidted and very abundant fountain, 
bmli in the form of a tank vith a few 
steps leading down to it» jnst as one finds 
elsewhere in the old wells or springs of 
the Jewish times.'* But Dr. Thompson 
(Land and Book, p. 484) foond the spring 
dry, and accordingly ooigectures that 
the water came from the springs of the 

3 It is the best yiew of the plain that 
we saw. 

s 1 Kings xriii. 40. On the descend 
from Oannel to the phun of Bsdraelon a 
knoll was pointed out both to Mr. Wil- 
liams and M. Yan de Velde (L 830) 
called "Td Kishon," or "Tel Sadi,'* or 
«Telfa«u.*' The Utter name ('*hUl of 
the priests'*) naturally suggera ^ me- 
morial of the massacre of tiie priests of 
Baal. It is possible (as Schwan suggests, 
49, 74) that the modem name of the 
Kishon, Nahr el-Mukatta (<* river of 
slaughter**), may hare the same deriya- 
tion, though it may also refer to the 
bloody history of the whole plain. 

* 1 Kings XYiii. 41. 

A A 2 

856 . SINAI AND PALESTINE. [chap, vl 

wrapt in prayer, whilst his servant mounted to the highest 
point of ally whence there is a wide view of the blue reach of 
the Mediterranean SeaS over the western shoulder of the ridge. 
The sun was now gone down, hut the cloudless sky was ht np 
with the long bright glow which succeeds an eastern sunset. 
Seven times the servant climbed and looked, and seven times 
there was nothing ; the sky was still clear, the sea was 
still cakn. At last, out of the far horizon there rose a Uttle 
cloud — ^the first that had for days and months passed across 
the heavens — and it grew in the deepening shades of evening, 
and at last the whole sky was overcast, and the forests of 
Carmel shook in the welcome sound of those mighty winds 
which in Eastern regions precede a coming tempest. Each 
from his separate height, the King and the Prophet descended. 
And the King mounted his chariot at the foot of the mountain, 
lest the long-hoped-for rain should swell the torrent of the 
Kishon, as in the days when it swept away the host of Sisera; 
and " the hand of the Lord was upon Elijah," and he girt his 
mantle round his loins, and, amidst the rushing storm with 
which the night closed in, " ran," as if to do honour to the 
king', ** before the chariot," as the Bedouins of his native 
Gilead still run, with inexhaustible strength, to the entrance 
of Jezreel, distant, though still visible, from the scene of his 

YI. Almost all the recollections of the plain of Esdraelon 
belong to the Old Testament. Yet we are now on the verge of 
the chief scenes of the New Testament, and the battle-field of 
Israel may have suggested to Him, who must have crossed and 
re-crossed it on His many journeys to and firom and through 
Galilee, those "victorious deeds" and "heroic acts" which 
Milton has ascribed to His early meditations : 

" One while 
To rescue Unel from the Romui yoke^ 
Then to subdue and quell o*er all the earth 
Brute Tiolenoe, and proud tyrannic power.'* 


But it is the poet only, not the Evangelist, who has ventured 

' This was also obeonred hy M. Van height^ howerer, may he ascended is a 

de Velde (i. 326). From the place where few minutes, and a full Tiew of the tea 

Blijah must hare worshipped, — which obtained from the top ; or again the rkv 

one may suppose to have been the point open to the west immediately belov tlie 

of the square ruin looking towards Jei- Mahanakah, 

reel, — ^the yiew of the sea is just inter- * See Thompson*! Land and Book, 48S 

oepted by an adjacent height. That 


to throw even this passing thought into that peaceful career, 
and the one incident which connects Him with the plain of 
Esdraelon is ren^arkable for the striking contrast which it pre- 
sents to all the other associations of the region. 

On the northern slope of the rugged and barren ridge of 
Little Hermon, immediately west of Endor, which lies 
in a fbrther recess of the same range, is the ruined 
village of Nain. No convent, no tradition marks the spot. 
But, under these circumstances, the name is sufficient to 
guarantee its authenticity. One entrance alone it could have 
had, that which opens on the rough hill side in its downward 
slope to the plain. It must have been in this steep descent; as^ 
according to Eastern custom they " carried out the dead man," 
that " nigh to the gate " of the village, the bier was stoTiped, 
and the long procession of mourners stayed, and *' the young 
man delivered back " to his mother*. It is a spot which has no 
peculiarity of feature to fix it on the memory ; its situation is 
like that of all the villages on this plain ; but, in the authen- 
ticity of its claims, and the narrow compass within which we 
have to look for the touching incident, it may rank amongst 
the most interesting points of the scenery of the Gospel 

1 Luke vii. 11— Ifi. 



Matt iT. 13 — 16. ''And le»*nng Naiareth, He came and dwelt in 
Oapeiiiaam, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabnlon and 
Hephthalim : that it might he fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the 
prophet^ saying, The land of lAhvlon, and the land of Nephthalim, by ike 
way of the sea, beyond Jordan, GalUee of the Qentiles ; the people which 
sat in darkness saw great light ; and to them which sat in the region and 
shadow of death light is sprung up." 

Seenery of Northern Palestine— The four Northern Tribes — ^Their wealth 
and their isolation — History in the New Testament. I. Nazabbth. — 
Its upland basm — Its seclusion — Sacred localities. II. Lakk of Geh- 
HESAKSTH '. 1. PUiu of Hattlu and Mountam of the Beatitudes— Battle 
of Hattin ; 2. View of the Lake of Qennesareth ; 8. Later celebrity of 
Tiberias ; 4. Plain of Qennesareth— The Sea of Life— Traffic— Fertility 
— Fisheries — Population ; 5. Scene of the Gospel Ministry — "Manu- 
faeturing district "—The Beach — The Desert — The Demoniacs and the 
' Feeding of the Multitudes— The Villages of the PUin of Gennesareth— 
The DMtruetion of Cbtpemaum. 


>h^^dL I 1^ 

rnm til* M IdlUoD of " Dr. HoUbh ■ Blblksl B 


The broad depression of Esdraelon was the natural boundary 
and debatable land between the central and northern tribes of 
Palestine. On the north of the plain rises another group of 
mountains, as distinct in character and form, as they are 
separate in fact, from those of Samaria and Judfiea, g^^^ . 
and thus» in like manner, distinguished by the name Northera 
of the chief tribe that dwelt among them, "the ^^•■*^®' 
mountains of Naphtali*'* as the more southern were ''the 
mountains of Ephraim " and " of Judah'." 

These hills are the western roots which Hermon thrusts out 
towards the sea, as it thrusts out the mountains of Bashan 
towards the Desert ; and as such they partake of the jagged 
outline, of the varied vegetation, and of the high upland 
hollows which characterise in a greater or less degree the whole 
mass of the Lebanon range, in contrast to the monotonous 
aspect of the more southern scenery. So few travellers visit 
the interior of the Galilean mountains, that their beauty and 
richness is almost unknown. M. Van de Velde, who, contrary 
to the usual course, entered Palestine from the northi contrasts 
them favourably even with the rich valley of Samaria. "It 
suffered," h^ says, " in my case from my having entered the 

* Jodma zx. 7. 

362 SINAI AND PALESTINE. [obap. x. 

rocky mountains of Ephraim from the much finer and truly 
noble Galilee'." Tabor, as already described, is in fact the 
furthermost southern and eastern outpost of the peculiar 
mixture of greensward and forest, which, like a long stretch of 
English park-scenery, extends the whole way from the plain 
of Acre to Nazareth, through the tribe of Zebulun. And a 
similar tract, although in a more mountainous district, cha- 
racterises the hills of Naphtali, which bound the plain of 

This distinction of scenery, together with the natural 
separation of the hiUs of the north from those which we 
have hitherto traversed, contains the main explanation of 
The four ^^ history of the northern tribes. Asher has been 
Northern already described in connection with the mari- 

"* time plain of Phoenicia, on the skirts of which 
his possession hung. Of the almost servile character of 
Issachar enough has been said in describing the plain of 
Esdraelon*. But they must be briefly recalled here, as 
sharing the general fortunes of the northern group, of 
which the two chief tribes, Naphtali and Zebulun, occupied 
the mountain-tract, overlooking and commanding the teni- 
tory of the two others, — of Asher on the west, and Issachar 
on the south. All the four alike kept aloof from the great 
historical movements of Israel. With the exceptions already 
noticed^ when the immediate pressure of northern invaders 
rallied them, first round Barak and then round Gideon, in the 
Plain of Esdraelon, they hardly ever appear in the events of 
the Jewish history. They were content with their rich mountain* 
valleys, and their maritime coast. Zebulun is to ** rejoice in 
his goings out.*' Asher was to "be blessed' with duldren," 
*^ acceptable to his brethren," dipping his foot in the " oil ** of 
his olive groves, shod with ** the iron and brass^ " of Lebanon. 

1 Vol. L 874. ^ Iron is firand in LebuioB. (Boaegscr, 

' See Ofaapten VI. and IX. l 693 ; Volney, i. 233 ; BnrcUuurdt, 73.) 

* Dent, xzziii. 24, 26. There is bere Copper (the true tn&slatian of the word 

a play on the word Asher, "&2eMee(,*' rendexed hrau) is nowhere now fooad, 

as in the analogous ease of Judah and bnt its frequent mention in eonaeetioB 

**praue,** Gen. xliz. 8. with the Tyrians jnstifiei the attssisB. 

emp. X.] 


868 « 

Naphtali was to be like a * spreading terebinth' of the up* 
lands of Lebanon^ "he ^putteth out' goodly 'boughs'." He is 
to be *' satisfied with fayonr, and full with the blessing of the 
Lord'." They were to have also their openings to wealth and 
power by traffic on sea and land. ** Zebolim shall t^^ir 
dwell at the * shore * of the sea, and shall be for a ^•^*h. 
* shore ' of ships, and his border shall be unto Zidon *." " Asher 
abode in his * creeks ' ; " Zebulun and Issachar are to " suck of 
the abundance of the seas, and of treasures hid in the sand *." 
Naphtali was " to possess the ' sea on ' the south '/' that is, the 
thoroughfare and traffic of the Sea of Galilee. 

All these points of contact with the surrounding nations 
tended to confirm their isolation from the rest of their country^ 
men. Ephraim and Judah were separated from the Their isola* 
world by the Jordan-valley on one side, and the *"®°- 
hostile Philistines on another ; but the northern tribes were in 
the direct highway of all the invaders from the north, in 
unbroken communication with the promiscuous races who have 
always occupied the heights of Lebanon, and in close and 
peaceful alliance with the most commercial and enterprising 
nation of the ancient world, the Phoenicians. From a very 
early period, their joint territory acquired the name which it 
bore imder a slightly altered form in the distribution of tlie 
country into a Roman province — " Galil, Galilah, GaUlflea*." 
It would seem to be merely another mode of expressing what 
is indicated by the word ^'Ciccar " in the case