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Chapter IV

174 EXCURSION TO HEBRON.

member the Saviour's words, "When he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice." *

In the evening we visited the Consul, who had invited the Governor ofJerusalem to meet us. The Turk occupies the house said to have belonged to Pontius Pilate He came in, attired in full Eastern costume, a handsome young man, attended by three servants, one of whom carried his pipe. The servants remained in the room, near the door, and kept their eye on their master. On occasion of a slight motion of the hand, one of them stepped forward and took the pipe, and then resumed his place as before, watching his master's movements, as if to anticipate his wishes. This is the custom which we observed in Egypt f as illustrating Psalm exxiii, "Behold, as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters—so our eyes upon the Lord our God, until that he have mercy upon us."J He was very affable, and seemed highly entertained with examining our eye-glasses and watches. He drank wine with us also, probably to shew how liberal a high-born Mussulman can be.

In the evening we planned an excursion to Hebron, and next day (June 13) set out by 7 A. M., accompanied by the Consul and his lady, Mr. Nicolayson, and Mr. George Dalton. Some were mounted on mules, and some on horses; the saddles, as usual, broad and uncomfortable. Crossing the Vale of Gihon, we turned due south, and travelled over the fine plain of Rephaim. About three miles from the city, we came to a well, where tradition has fixed the scene of Matt. ii. 10. It is one of the few beautiful traditions associated with sacred places. The tradition is, that the wise men, who for some time had lost the guidance of the star which brought them from their country, sat down beside this well to refresh themselves, when one of their number saw the reflection of the star in the clear water of the well. He cried aloud to his companions, and " when they saw the

* John x. 4. A traveller once asserted to 8 Syrian shepherd, that the sheep knew the drcti of their master, not his voice. The shepherd, on the other hand, asserted it was the voice they knew. To settle the point, he and the traveller changed dresses, and went among the sheep The traveller, in the shepherd's dress, called on the sheep, and tried tc lead them; but "they knew not his voice," and never moved. On the other hand, they ran at once at the call of their owner, though thui disguised.

♦ See p. 89. I Ps. exxiii. 2.

BETiiLEiiK.il—Rachel's Sepulchre 175

star they rejoiced with exceeding great joy." This well may perhaps be the fountain of Nephtoah.*

We passed the Convent of Elijah; for the monks suppose that the prophet fled this way to Beersheba,f and under a neighbouring tree, they pretend to show the mark left by his body as he lay asleep on the rocky ground, though it is hard stone. From this point we obtained our first sight of Bethlehem, lying about three miles to the south upon a considerable eminence, and possessing at a distance a peculiarly attractive appearance. We meant to visit it in returning, and therefore at present contented ourselves with a distant view of the place where the memorable words were spoken by the Angel, " Fear not, for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy; unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord."J About a mile and a half further to the south we came to a tomb, built like the whited sepulchres of the East, but believed to be Rachefs Sepulchre. The tomb is no doubt modern, erected probably by the Mahometans; but the spot may justly be regarded as the place where Rachel died and was buried, "And there was but a little way to come to Ephrath (i. e. Bethlehem Ephratah}); and Rachel travailed, and she had hard labour—and Rachel died, and was buried in the way to Ephrath, which is Bethlehem; and Jacob set a pillar upon her grave; that is the pillar of Rachel's grave unto this day."|| The Jews frequently visit it; and many (as Benjamin of Tudela says they used to do in his days) have left their names and places of abode in Hebrew inscribed upon the white plaster in the interior walls. To the west of the tomb, on the face of a hill, stands a large and pleasant-looking village called Bet-Jalah, inhabited, we are told, entirely by Christians. May this not be the ancient Zelzah, " by Rachel's sepulchre in the border of Benjamin,"1T where Saul was told that his father's asses had been found! In other passages of Scripture** the place is called Zelah, from which the modern name mi?ht easily be formed by prefixing the common syllable " Bet" (that is, "house"), and softening the sibilant letter. If so, then this is the spot where they buried the bones of Saul and Jonathan—" in Zelah, in the sepulchre of Kish his father."

• Jo*h. Xt. 9. t 1 Kings xix. 4. 'Luke ii. 10

t Mic. T. 2 H Gen. xxxv. 16, 10, 20. * 1 Sam. x. 1.

*• Jotb. xviii. -29. 2 S«ra. xxi. 14.

176 Solomon'b Fools.

Leaving Bethlehem about half a mile to the east, and proceeding still in a southerly direction, we came down in a short time to the valley, where lie the three large and singular reservoirs, called Solomon's Pools. They are situated at a short distance from one another, each on a different level, so that the water flows from the upper into the middle pool, and from the middle into the lower pool, from which it is conveyed by a stone aqueduct round the hills to Bethlehem, and from Bethlehem to Jerusalem. The walls of the pool are of solid masonry covered over with cement. Close by is a Saracenic fort with high walls and a battlement, perhaps originally intended to protect the pools. Under the shade of its walls we left our mules, and proceeded to measure the pools with a line as accurately as the ground would admit. The result was as follows :—

1. The Upper or Western Pool .

Length of north side, . . . 389 feet
.. of south side, . . 380 -.

Breadth of west side, . . .229 ...
... of east side, . . 236 .-

Depth at one point, . . 25 ».

2. The Middle Pool.

Length, 425 feet .

Breadth of west side, . . . 158 ...
of east side, . . . 250 ...

3. The Lowest or Eastern Pool.

Length 583 feet .

Breadth on the west side, • . 148 ...
... on east side, . . . 202 ...

At all the corners there are flights of steps descending into them. The water is pure and delightful, and each of the pools was about half full. Of the great antiquity of these splendid reservoirs there can be no doubt, and there seems every probability that they are the work of Solomon. This pleasant valley being so near the spot where his father David fed his sheep, would be always interesting to the king; but the only reference to the pools in Scripture, appears to be in Eoclesiastes, where he describes the manner in which, forsaking the fountain of living waters,—"the God that appeared unto him twice,"—he sought every where for cisterns of earthly joy. "I made me gardens and orchards, and I planted trees in them of all kinds of fruits. I made me pools of

ROAD TO HEBRON SIPHEL'K. 177

water, to water therewith the wood that bringeth fortn trees."* It is highly probable, that, besides other purposes, these cisterns were intended to water rich gardens in their vicinity; and in the lower parts of the valley, at present covered with ripe crops of waving grain, there would be a splendid situation for the gardens, and orchards, and nurseries of fruit-trees, which The Preacher describes. In Josephus and in the Talmud, this place is called Etham.f The former says concerning it, "There was a certain place about fifty furlongs distant from Jerusalem (more than six miles) which is called Etham; very pleasant it is in fine gardens, and abounding in rivulets of water. Thither Solomon used to ride out in the morning."J Beautiful insects, especially very large dragon-flies, with fine variegated wings, were fluttering round the water. We refreshed ourselves at a fountain close by, on the north-west corner of the upper pool, to which we descended by steps. This is said by tradition to be " the spring shut up, the fountain sealed," to which the church is compared in the Song.} It was usual in former times to cover up the well's mouth for the sake of the precious living water. In the fields around the reapers were busy at barley-harvest . It was somewhere near this very spot that Naomi found them reaping as she returned from the captivity of Moab, "they came to Bethlehem in the beginning of barley-harvest," || and some of these fruitful fields may have been the field of Boaz, where Ruth gleaned after the reapers, in the same manner as the Syrian women were doing when we passed.

After leaving the pools, the road conducted us for some time over very rocky hills. The rude mountain track was generally lined with fragrant shrubs and wild flowers, the pink, the cistus, of a fine lilac colour, the oleander, in great profusion and very tall. Among the trees the Balut or evergreen oak was by far the most frequent, and occasionally our well-known honeysuckle hung its flowers over some bush or shrub, reminding us of home. On many of these hills we could distinctly see that the brushwood had usurped the ancient terraces made for the vine. We came to a considerable valley, cultivated to some extent, at the extremity of which, where the ground begins to rise again, is a village called Sipheer. Can this be a remnant of the name of KirjatK

• Eccl. ii. 5. 6. t See also 2 Chron. xi. 6. t Antiq. viii 7. 3. I Song iv. II II Rulh i. 32.

when Joab's messengers found him and treacherously brought him back to Hebron to be slain.f

We had now spent nearly eight hours on the road, riding very leisurely. About two miles from the town we entered the Valley of Hebron, the way running through vineyards which make the approach very pleasant. Fig-trees and pomegranates in great abundance were every where intermixed with the vines, and the hills above were covered with verdant olive-trees. The vines were in great luxuriance, and the flowers just forming into the grape, so that the delightful fragranco diffused itself far and wide. "The fig-tree putteth forth her green fijrs, and the vines with the tender grapes give a good smell."J In many of the vineyards we saw the towers, built for protection and for other uses, and frequently referred to in Scripture.} We encamped about four o'clock on a verdant plot of ground opposite the northern portion of Hebron, pitching our tents under some fine olive-trees. Beauty lingers around Hebron still. God blesses the spot where he used to meet with Abraham his friend. It lies in a fine fertile valley, enclosed by high hills on the east and west. The houses are disposed in four different quarters, which are separated from each other by a considerable space. The largest portion is to the S. E. around the Mosque, the houses running up the eastern slope. The ruins of ancient houses are still higher up. The fourfold division of the town gives it a singular appearance, while the cupolas on the houses, and the vigorous olive-trees that

* Josh. xv. 16. t 2 Sam. iii. 26.

t Song ii. 13. v Iaa. v. 2. Matt . ul 33.

a can, ana we are in Aoranams steaa. ine AraDic name of the town is El-Halil, "the beloved," so called in memory of Abraham, " the friend of God."

An old Jew, Rabbi Haiim, who is now blind with age, nearing of the arrival of Nr. Nicolayson, sent him an oka of wine in token of respect and kindness. This little incident in the city where Abraham dwelt was peculiarly affecting, and showed in a very clear light the friendly feelings which the Jews of Palestine entertain towards Protestant Missionaries, though fully aware of the object which they have in view. A Greek Christian, named Elias, who was acquainted with our fellow-travellers, showed us great attention.

When the darkness came down, we saw some fine specimens of the glow-worm around our tents. Overhead, the sky was splendid; the stars being unusually large and brilliant from the clearness of the atmosphere. For the same reason, many more stars are visible to the naked eye than in our northern sky. We recollected that it was here, in the plain of Mamre, under the same sky, that God "brought Abraham forth abroad, and said, Look toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: so shall thy seed be."* The same sight recalled with new power the gracious promise, "They that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and they that turn many to rignteousness as the stars for ever and ever." f

We all met for evening worship in one tent . Mr.

Nicolayson read Genesis xviii, and prayed with a full

heart for Israel, that they to whom the promises were

made might soon enjoy the Redeemer's communion as

• Gen. xv. 5. t Dan. xii. 3. the gift of the previous day.

We proceeded toward the Mosque, the Consul's janissary going before. Several Jews joined in the train. As we passed through the streets, the boys and girls cried Nazarani, teaching us that " the Nazarene" is still a term of reproach in this land. The Mosque is a large quadrangular building, with two minarets at the opposite corners. The lower half of the walls is evidently of the highest antiquity; the stones are very large, and each of them is bevelled in the edge, in the same manner as the ancient stones of the temple wall of Jerusalem. One stone which we measured was 24 feet by 4, and another was still larger. On the two principal sides there are sixteen pilasters, on the other two sides ten, composed of these immense stones, with a simple projecting cope at the top. Above this, the buiding is evidently of Mahometan origin, and is surmounted by a battlement . We were allowed to ascend the wide massy staircase that leads into the interior of the building. The door into the mosque was thrown open, but not a foot was allowed to cross the marble threshold. We were shown the window of the place which contains the tombs of Abraham and Sarah, beneath which is understood to be the cave of Machpelah. There is none of the sacred places over which the Moslems keep so jealous a watch as the tomb of Abraham. It was esteemed a very peculiar favour that we had been admitted thus far, travellers in general being forbidden to approach even the door of the Mosque. A letter from the Governor of Jerusalem

at present are permitted only to look through a hole near the entrance, and to pray with their face toward the grave of Abraham.

After leaving this, we climbed the highest hill to the south-east of Hebron, to obtain, if possible, that view of the plain of Sodom which Abraham had on that morning when it was destroyed from heaven. In the valley, we passed with some difficulty through the vineyards, regaled by the delightful fragrance. At one part we came upon a company of villagers treading out their corn; five oxen were employed on one floor. Some of the villagers also were winnowing what had been trodden out, and others were passing the grain through a sieve to separate it from the dust. We remembered Amos ix. 9. This valley is called Wady Nazarah, " the valley of the Nazarenes," for what reason we could not ascertain. The sides of the hill were very rocky and slippery, but the top was covered with vines. We sat down under the shade of some bushes, and calmly contemplated the fine view on every side. The town, divided into four parts, lay immediately beneath us. The pool, the mosque, the flat roofs, the domes, were all distinctly marked. The vineyards stretch up the hills beautifully, and groves of deep green olives enclose it on every side, Hebron is embosomed in hills. The more ancient houses are on the east side of the valley, and there are traces of ruins running up the hill behind Machpelah. The ancient town is supposed by some to have been built more upon

• Acta vii. 16. t Gen. xlix. 81; L 13.

182 HEBRON.

the hill where the mosque stands, and if so, the tradition of the rabbis is not altogether absurd, that the rays of the rising sun gilding the towers of Hebron used to be seen from the temple at Jerusalem, and gave the sign of the time for killing the morning sacrifice. Hebron was also one of the Refuge cities, and therefore probably conspicuous from afar. Looking to the south, over a high ridge of hills, the eye stretches into a wildernessland of vast extent. In that direction lay Carmel, where Nabal fed his flocks.* But the most interesting view of all was toward the east, not on account of its beauty, but on account of its being in all probability the view which Abraham had when he " looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the plain, and beheld, and lo the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a furnace." f A high ridge intercepts the view of the Dead Sea, but the deep valley formed by it, and the'hills of Moab on the other side, are clearly seen. If Abraham stood on the hill where we were now standing, then he saw not the plain itself, but " the smoke of the country rising up" as from a furnace. If he saw the plain, then he must have stood on that intervening ridge nearer the Dead Sea.

There can be little doubt that it was in this direction that Abraham led the three angelic men on their way toward Sodom, and we felt it a solemn thing to stand where Abraham drew near and pleaded with the Lord, "Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked V What wonders of mercy and judgment these mountains have seen!

Returning to the town, we visited the large Pool of Hebron. It is quite entire, of solid and ancient masonry, and measures 133 feet square. This is no doubt the pool over which David commanded the hands and feet of the murderers of Ishbosheth to be hung up.J There is another pool in the town, but not so large. We then visited the Tomb of Othniel, a sepulchre cut out in the rock, with nine niches. We plucked hyssop from the crevices of the outer wall.} It grows in small stalks, with thickly-set leaves. We visited several other sepulchres near the town; in the town itself is shown what is pretended to be the tomb of Abner, and of Jesse, the father of David, and even that of Esau. In the streets, mothers were carrying their children on the shoulder; || some of

* 1 Sam. xxv. 2. t Gen. xix. 2& t 2 Sam. iv. 12.

$ 1 Kings iv. 3a II Isa. xlix. 22.

than the Spanish. It had no reading-desk at all, but only a stand for the books. However, it surpassed the other in its lamps, all of which were elegant; and one of them of silver,—the gift of Asher Bensamson, a Jew in London, who sent the money for it to Jerusalem, where the lamp was made.

Leaving the synagogue, we stepped into one of the yishvioth or reading-rooms. The books were not well kept, not even clean—the dust was lying thick on some of them, and only two persons were studying in the room. There are three more of these reading-rooms in Hebron.

We next found our way to the house of the old blind Rabbi Haiim, who had sent the present of wine on our arrival. We were very kindly received in the outer court of his house, where we were invited to sit down, and had an interesting interview with this aged Jew. He had come to this land when twenty-four years of age, and had spent fifty years in it. Like Isaac, his eyes had become dim, so that he could not see. About a dozen Jews and as many children gathered round us, while several Jewesses stood at a little distance listening in silence to the conversation. Mr. Nicolayson conversed freely with them, told the errand upon which we had come, and stated the desire and aim of Christians in regard to their salvation. We were glad to be permitted

* Eiek. nxiii. 40. t Isa. iii. 18.

184 Hebron—Abraham's Oak.

thus to meet with Israel tn their own land. They brought us sherbet and water. We remarked that the dress of the Jewish women is peculiarly graceful, and they have fine pleasant countenances. Many of them wear rich ornaments even when engaged in domestic duties.

In the evening, we rode out of the town to see Abraham's Oak, about a mile to the north-west . It is an immense spreading oak, admitted to be one of the largest trees in Palestine, and very old. Possibly it occupies the site of that tree which Jerome saw pointed out in his days as Abraham's Oak. We found the spread of its branches to be 256 feet in circumference, and 81 feet in diameter. Round the narrowest part of the trunk, we measured 22 feet 9 inches, and at the point where the branches separate, 25 feet 9 inches. It was under such a tree that Abraham pitched his tent, when "he came and dwelt under the oaks of Mamre which is in Hebron."* And it was under such a tree that he spread refreshment for his heavenly guests, f The ride from this tree to the town is through vineyards of the most rich and fertile description, each one having a tower in the midst for the keeper of the vineyard. We were told that bunches of grapes from these vineyards sometimes weigh 6 lb., every grape of which weighs 6 or 7 drams. Sir Moses Montefiore mentioned, that he got here a bunch of grapes about a yard in length. Such a bunch the spies carried on a staff betwixt two. In Hebron, there are 1330 Mahometans who pay taxes, about 200 who do not pay; add to this 700 Jews. At the usual average of Eastern families, this will give less than 10,000 inhabitants.

(June 15.) We broke up our encampment this morning by the dawn, and enjoyed a splendid sunrise. We left the vale of Hebron and its verdant vines with regret, traversing the same road which we had come. In four hours we came down upon the pools of Solomon. Here we turned off to the right, winding round the hills, and following the course of the old aqueduct that carried water into Jerusalem. At this point, a small but beautiful and verdant valley lay beneath us, called by the Arabs "El Tos," "the cup," from its appearance. This may have been one of the spots where David loved to wander with his sheep, and where he meditated such Psalms as the 23d, " He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters."J A gentle brook

* Gen. xiii. 18 See the Hebrew. t Gen. xviii. 8. t Ps. xxii. 3.

so that we longed in vain for a draught of the water which David desired so earnestly. The situation of this well would suit exactly the description given in Chronicles,J a°d the direction of the supposed geographical position of the cave of Adullam, to the south-east of Bethlehem, over the hill of Tekoan. We felt it interesting to realize the scene. The hosts of the Philistines were encamped in the valley of Rephaim; their garrison was at Bethlehem, and David was in the cave of Adullam. In the burning heat of noon-day, he looked toward the hill that lay between him and his native town, and casually exclaimed, "Oh that one would give me drink of the water of the well of Bethlehem, that is at the gate!" His three mightiest captains instantly resolve to express their love to their chief, and their devotion to the cause of God, by putting their lives in jeopardy, in drawing some of the water of this deep well, even under the darts of their enemies. "And the three brake through the host of the Philistines, and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem, that was by the gate, and took it, and brought it to David." The white stone of which the hill is composed, and of

* Jer. vi. 1.

t Professor Robinson thinks that these are only openings over the aiueduct which here passes through a deep vault or reservoir, and that there is no well of living water in or near the town; vol. ii. p. 163.

t 1 Chron. xi. 17.

wealthy enlarging their gate after the manner of a palace; for we can hardly imagine that the Arab plunderers entered the houses of Israel in the time of Solomon. The church, generally supposed to have been built by Helena, A. D. 326, is a fine spacious building, and the rows of Corinthian columns are substantial masses of granite. It was delightful to repose a while in the cool atmosphere of this venerable pile; but the monks who seemed to be ignorant and unpolished men, would have us away to see the sacred places of the Nativity. We descended to the grotto, which they call the stable where our Lord was born. Here they showed a marble manger as the place where the heavenly babe was laid; but they had the honesty to allow that "this was not the original manger, though the spot was the same." They showed the stone where Mary sat, and pointed to a silver star as marking the spot where the Saviour was born. The star is intended to represent that which "stood over where the young child was." The grotto is illumined by many handsome lamps, and there are several paintings by the first artists. Yet all is only a miserable profanation ; like the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, it called up in our bosoms no other feelings than disgust and indignation. If this cave was really the place of the nativity, then Popery has successfully contrived to remove out of sight the humiliation of the stable and the manger. "The mystery of iniquity," which pretends to honour, and yet so effectually conceals both the obedience of Christ which he began at Bethlehem, and the sufferings of Christ which he accomplished at Calvary, has with no less success disfigured and concealed the places where * Prov. xvii. 19.

the fields and valleys around Bethlehem. These are still the same as in the night when the angel of the Lord proclaimed, "Fear not, lor behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people." f It filled us with unmingled pleasure to gaze upon the undulating hills and valleys stretched out at our feet, for we were sure that among these David had often wandered with his flock, and in some of them the shepherds had heard the voice that brought the tidings of a Saviour born. Nearly due south lay a prominent hill about six miles distant, which we were told was the hill of Tekoah, giving name also to the wilderness around. The withered sides of this hill were once traversed by the prophet Amos, along with the herdmen that fed their cattle there.j But we saw neither flock nor herd. One interesting association connected with this convent is, that Jerome lived and died here. His eyes daily looked upon this scene, and here he translated the Word of God into Latin. We did not, however, find in the convent any one who seemed to have inherited the industry or learning of Father Jerome.

Remounting our horses, we bade farewell to our monkish friends, and wound slowly down the northern slope of Bethlehem, amongst vineyards and barley fields, where the reapers were engaged as in the days when Ruth and Naomi returned from the land of Moab. We soon arrived at the well of the Magi, where the Holy City comes in view. We could not but linger at the spot. Behind us lay Bethlehem, before us Jerusalem;—on the one hand, the spot where the love of God was first made manifest; on the other, the spot where that love was completed in Immanuel's death;—on the one hand the Luke it 7. t Luke ii. 10. t Amos i.

thing is visible but the bare wall with its battlement, surrounding you see not what. Coming near we were startled by the depth of Hinnom, with its rocks and caves, and by the bold front of Zion.

We had scarcely seated ourselves at Mr. Nicolayson's hospitable board, when letters from home were put into our hands, the first that we had received since our departure. It was truly refreshing to hear that all our friends were well, and our flocks not left uncared for. One of our letters brought the news that the Auchterarder case had been decided against our Church in the House of Lords. We all felt it a solemn thing to receive such tidings in Jerusalem. They seemed to intimate a time of coming trial to the Church of Scotland. The time seemed to be come when judgment must begin at the house of God in Scotland; and we called to mind the clear intimations of prophecy, that " there shall be a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation," at the very time when Israel shall be delivered. We closed our Saturday evening together, by reading the 2d chapter of Luke.

(June 10. Sabbath.) We had agreed beforehand to meet together this day, and join in the communion of the Lord's Supper. It was therefore with feelings of sacred interest that we saw the dawn of a Sacrament-Sabbath in Jerusalem. The solemn scenes which we had witnessed during the week—Calvary, Gethsemane, Bethany, * Canto 3, 3. t lea. i. &

zarein, wno naa oeen orougni to Know me iruin unaer the American missionaries. " It was a time of refreshing from the presence of the Lord. After the usual morning prayers of the Church of England, Mr. Nicolayson preached on 1 John i. 3, " Truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ," with fervent simplicity. Dr. Keith joined with him in administering the broken bread and poured out wine. In the evening, Mr. Bonar preached from John xiv. 2,3, "In my Fathers house are many mansions," &c, on the believer's desire to be with Christ, and Christ's desire to be with his people. Feelings of deepest solemnity filled our hearts, while we worshipped in an upper room, after such a feast, where we had been showing the Lord's death " till he come" * and " his feet stand upon the Mount of Olives." f And it was with more than ordinary fervour that we joined in the prayer that Israel might soon have their solemn feasts restored to them, and the ways of Zion no longer mourn, and that even now the Holy Spirit, who, in this city, came down on the apostles, would again descend on us, and on all the churches. After singing together the last part of the 116th Psalm, we separated. On our way to our home on Mount Zion, we gazed upon the Mount of Olives, on which the last rays of the evening sun were pouring their golden lustre, and remembered how, after the first Lord's Supper, Jesus went out thereto his ago

• 1 Cor. xi. 2*. t Zech. xiv. 1.

perfectly solid. This is believed to be the tower of Hippicus, said by Josephus to be one mass (Map* famm), and which was spared by Titus when the temple and city were destroyed. May it not be still more ancient, the site at least of " the stronghold of Zion" which David took from the Jebusites? * Or " the tower of David," to which the neck of the Church is compared, " Thy neck is like the tower of David builded for an armory ?" f Descending into the vale of Hinnom, we tried to sketch the steep view of Mount Zion; then returning, gathered several specimens of the Spina Chritti. This plant, called Naitka by the Arabs, grows abundantly on the hills of Jerusalem; the branches are very pliable, so as easily to be platted into a crown, while the thorns are very many, and sharp, and about an inch in length. The tradition seems highly probable, that this was the plant of which the Roman soldiers platted a crown of thorns for the brow of Christ. \

Towards evening, we visited that part of the Old Temple wall to which the Jews are allowed to go, that they may pray and weep over the glory that is departed. It is a part of the western enclosure of the Haram, and the access to it is by narrow and lonely streets. The Jew who was our guide, on approaching the massy stones, took off his shoes and kissed the wall.

Every Friday evening, when the Jewish Sabbath begins, some Jews may be found here deeply engaged in prayer;

* 2 Sam. v. 7. t Song iv. 4. 1 Mitt, xxvii. 29.

ing, Mr. M'Cheyne went to visit the same spot, guided by Mr. George Dalton. On the way, they passed the houses where the lepers live all together, to the east of the Zion Gate within the walls. A little further on, the heaps of rubbish on Mount Zion, surmounted by prickly pear, were so great, that at one point they stood higher than the city wall. The view of Mount Olivet from this point is very beautiful. The dome of the mosque El Aksa appeared to be torn and decayed in some places, and even that of the Mosque of Omar seemed far from being splendid. Going along by the ancient valley of the Tyropceon, and passing the gate called by the monks the Oung Gate, now shut up, Mr. Dalton pointed out in the wall of the Haram, near the south-west corner, the singular traces of an ancient arch, which Professor Robinson had discovered to be the remains of the bridge from the Temple to Mount Zion, mentioned frequently by Josephus, and remarkable as a work of the highest antiquity. The stones in the temple wall that form the spring of this ancient bridge are of enormous size. This interesting discovery goes to prove that the large bevelled stones, which form the foundation of the present enclosure of the Haram in so many parts, are really the work of Jewish hands, and the remains of the outer wall of the Temple of Solomon. Neither is this conclusion in

t Kings u. 3 . I Lam. i. 12

and he seemed deeply engaged. Mr. Dalton acting as interpreter, he asked what it was he was reading. He showed the book, and it happened to be the 22d Psalm. Struck by this providence, Mr. M'Cheyne read aloud till he came to the 16th verse, "They pierced my hands and my feet;" and then asked, "Of whom speaketh the prophet this?" The Jew answered, "Of David and all his afflictions." "But David's hands and feet were not pierced!" The Jew shook his head. The true Interpretation was then pointed out to him, that David was a prophet and wrote these things of Immanuel, who died for the remission of the sins of many. He made the sign with the lip which Easterns make to show that they despise what you are saying. "Well, then, do you know the way of forgiveness of which David speaks in the 32d Psalm?" The Jew shook his head again. For here is the grand error of the Jewish mind, "The way of peace they have not known."

The same evening we visited all the synagogues of Jerusalem at the time of evening prayer. They "are sir in number, all of them small and poorly furnished, and four of them under one roof. The lamps are the only handsome ornaments they contain. The reading-desk is little else than an elevated part of the floor, enclosed with a wooden railing. The ark has none of the rich embroidery that distinguishes it in European synagogues. As it was an ordinary week-day, we found in every synagogue the Jewish children who had been receiving instruction in reading; and in one of the largest, a group by themselves was pointed out to us as being orphan children who are taught free. After examining the synagogues, wc paid a visit to a Rabbi, whose house, like that dress, their pale faces, and timid expression, all seem to betoken great wretchedness. They are evidently much poorer than the Jews of Hebron; and "the crown is fallen from their heads; wo unto them that they have sinned." J

At night we had another opportunity of obtaining information as to the experience of Missionaries in labouring among the Jews of Palestine. The principal subject of conversation was—the literary qualifications of missionaries for Palestine. The Hebrew is the most necessary language for one who labours among the Jews in this country, and it is spoken chiefly in the Spanish way. A Missionary should study the character and elements of Arabic in his own country, and the more thoroughly he is master of these the better, but the true pronunciation can be acquired only on the spot. Yet Arabic is not so absolutely necessary as Hebrew. Spanish, too, is useful, and also German, and he must know Italian, for the purpose of holding intercourse with Europeans in general. Judeo-Spanish is the language of the Sephardim, and Judeo-Polish of the Ashkenazim (t. e. Jews from Europe). All of them know a little of Italian. All Jews in Palestine speak Hebrew, but then they often attach a meaning to the words that is not the true meaning or grammatical sense, so that it is absolutely necessary to know the vernacular tongue, in order to be sure that you and they understand the same thing by the words employed. A Missionary ought to be well grounded in prophecy, and he should be one who fully and thoroughly adopts the principles of literal interpretation, both in order to give him nope and perseverance, and in order to fit him for reasoning with Jews. It is not so much

* Acta xviii. 7. t DeuL xxii. 8. \ Lam. v. 16.

194 FAREWELL VISIT TO BETHANY.

preaching talents as controversial that are required; yet it is to be hoped that both may soon be needed. He ought to have an acquaintance with Hebrew literature to the extent of understanding the Talmud, so as to be able to set aside its opinions. Acquaintance, too, with the Cabbala is necessary, in order to know the sources of Jewish ideas, and how scriptural arguments are likely to affect their minds. Zohar is one of the best Cabbalistic commentaries. A knowledge of Chaldee and Syriac would also be very useful. In a mission to the Jews there ought to be both Jewish and Gentile labourers; the Gentile to form the nucleus, the other to be the effective labourers. If a converted Jew go through a course of education, and be ordained, he would combine the advantages of both; still a Gentile fellow-labourer would always be desirable. Faith and perseverance are the grand requisites in a missionary to Israel. He should never abandon a station unless in the case of absolute necessity. He may make occasional tours in the country round about, but he must have a centre of influence. It is of the highest importance to retain his converts beside him, and form them into a church; for two reasons:—1. Little is done if a man is only convinced or even converted, unless he is also trained up in the ways of the Gospel. 2. The influence of sincere converts belonging to a mission is very great . It commends the cause of Christ to others. At the same time it ought, if possible, to be made a rule to give no support to converts, except in return for labour, either literary or agricultural.

(June 18.) Early next morning some of our company set out to make a farewell visit to Bethany, and the more notable scenes on the east of the city. We passed through the bazaar and narrow ruined streets, and purchased some articles as memorials of Jerusalem. Issuing forth by St. Stephen's Gate, we crossed the Kedron, and once more visited Gethsemane, a spot which called forth fresh interest every time we saw it, and has left a fragrant remembrance on our mind that can never fade away. Passing the northern wall, we went up the face of the Mount of Olives, stopping every now and then and looking round upon "the perfection of beauty." Jeremiah says that "aU her beauty is departed."* How passing beautiful, then, it must have been in ancient days'.

* Lam. i. 6.

jik

IUILII LUI Oil CAOIIljJ1C, SUllUlIll^ uic vcugcauLC ui dcnial

fire,"f and looked down upon the place where Jesus "came near and beheld the city, and wept over it," we felt that the recent sight of Sodom's doom may have kindled into a flame the Redeemer's unutterable compassion, when he seemed to manifest in his person the tender words of the prophet, " How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? how shall I deliver thee, Israel? how shall I make thee as Admah? how shall I set thee as Zeboim 1 Mine heart is turned within me, my repentings are kindled together.''J

From the same height we took our last view of the course of the Jordan, marked only by the strip of verdure on its banks. Beyond lay the valley of Shittitn, in the plains of Moab, a wilderness of pasture-land, said to be fifteen miles long by ten miles broad, affording ample room for the goodly tents of the many thousands of Israel. } Not far from that spot Elijah ascended to heaven in his fiery chariot, and his mantle floated down upon his holy successor. And from the same open sky, at another time, the Spirit descended like a dove, and abode upon the Saviour when he was baptized by John in Jordan.

Another prominent object in the scene is the remains of an ancient village on the height nearly south from Bethany, and about half a mile distant; it is called AbuDis. May not this be the remains of Bethpkage, the village " over against" the Jericho road, where the disciples obtained the colt and brought it to Jesus? No other trace of Bethphage has ever been found, neither has any traveller found an ancient name for Abu-Dis that has any probability of being the true one. The only

V.-/i k xvi. Hi. The left hand is the north, and the right hand the *m«a in Kftatern phraseology.

Jude 7. t Hos. xi. 8- 4 Num. xxii. 1; xxv. 1

196 BETHANY.

objection is, "that Abu-Dis is not upon the Jericho road but half a mile to the south of it. But the words of tne Evangelist, rightly understood, do not imply that Bethphage was on the Jericho road, or that Jesus entered the village. Jesus was travelling from Jericho probably by the present highway, "And when ihey came nigh to Jerusalem, unto Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, he sendeth forth two of his disciples, and saith unto them, Go your way into the village over against you."* The simple meaning appears to be, that when they came to the confines of these two villages, lying on the back of the Mount of Olives, (and Bethphage maybe named first, because the more conspicuous of the two,) Jesus sent two of the disciples to the village on the opposing height. Had he passed through the village, there would have been no need to send messengers to fetch the colt .

Leaving the summit, we descended, over a lower brow of the hill, upon "the town of Mary and her sister Martha," concealed by terraces, and rocks, and fig-trees. We lingered here for a considerable time, occasionally attended by some of the simple country people, and reading over to ourselves the 11th chapter of John. It is a fragrant spot; the name of Christ was poured forth here in his wonderful deeds of love and tenderness, like Mary's pound of ointment of spikenard very costly, and the fragrance is as fresh to a true disciple's heart as on the day when it was done.

We left Bethany with regret, and proceeded to Jerusalem by the broad and rocky pathway, which appears to be the ancient road. It was along this way Jesus rode upon the ass's colt; here they spread their garments in the way, and cut down branches of the trees and strewed them in the way, and cried Hosanna! You first obtain a distant view of part of Jerusalem before leaving the ridge on which Bethany stands; again you lose it, descending into a ravine; then ascending, you wind round the Mount of Olives, with the Mount of Offence beneath you, when suddenly the whole city comes into view. We read over the 11th chapter of Mark as we traversed this interesting road. It was by this road Jesus was walking when he said to the fig-tree, "No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever;" and the next morning they saw it dried up from the roots, and Jesus

* Mark xi. 1, 2.

ascended to the wall of the city, and entering by the Zion Gate, once more passed through the Jewish quarters, and looked upon the miseries of Israel in the city where David dwelt. "How hath the Lord covered the daughter of Zion with a cloud in his anger!" f They are by far the most miserable and squalid of all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and if we could have looked upon their precious souls, their temporal misery would have appeared but a faint emblem of the .spiritual death that reigns within. "Ah sinful nation! a people laden with iniquity! The whole head is sick, and the whole heart is faint." J May we never lose the feelings of intense compassion toward Israel, which these few days spent in Jerusalem awakened; and never rest till all the faithful of the church of our fathers have the same flame kindled in their hearts!

• Mark xi. 14.20,23. t Lam. ii. 1. J Isa. i. 1, 5.

19

and reluctantly. We felt deep regret at leaving both the city with its holy associations, and the kind friends who had given us such Christian entertainment in this strange land. The communion of saints had been inexpressibly precious, though enjoyed here only for a few days. Mr. Nicolayson, whose truly Christian and brotherly kindness we can never forget nor repay, rode some miles with us, and then bade us farewell.

A Latin Christian, Giuseppe, asked leave to travel in our company. He lived at Bethlehem, and had visited us several times in Jerusalem, selling the beads, inkhorns, and mother-of-pearl ornaments, which are made at Bethlehem. On his arm he had the Virgin Mary and the Holy Sepulchre punctured with the Al-henna dye, a custom which appears to have been in use in ancient times.*

We journeyed north-west, and soon passed the Tombs of the Judges, but had only time to glance at them. They are cut out of the rock in the same manner as the Tombs of the Kings. Though it is commonly said that they are the sepulchres of members of the Sanhedrim, yet their real history has not been ascertained. Descending by a very rocky path, we came to the bottom of the deep valley, called by travellers the Valley of Elah. Luxuriant vineyards were on either hand, and the sun's rays poured down with great power into the deep ravines. We soon began to ascend the high ridge on which Naby

* Isa xlix. 16; xliv. 5.

appears to be no good reason tor doubting the acv, of this ancient tradition. The ruins stand on the most elevated point of the whole region, commanding a magnificent view on every side; thus answering well to the name Ramah, which means " a height" and to its other name Ramathaim-Zophim, " The heights of the watchmen" The conjecture that it is the ancient Mizpeh, the gathering-place of Israel, is without any solid foundation^

* Sam- i. 1; viii. 4; xxv. 1.

t The only objection to this being the Ramah of Samuel, is taken from the history of Saul's visit to Samuel, recorded 1 Sam. ix. x. In his house at Ramah, Samuel had entertained the future king of Israel. When Saul rose to return to Gibeah, Samuel describes the way as leading " by Rachel's sepulchre, in the border of Benjamin, at Zelzah" (1 Sum. x. 2). But as both Rachel's sepulchre and Zelzah are many hours to the south of Naby-Samuel, every step taken in that direction would lead him away from Gibeah, which lies to the north-east . At first reading this passage is very perplexing; the difficulty, however, may be cleared up in the following manner. Saul's rather lived not at Gibeah, but at Zelzah or Zelah (Bet-Jala), for we read that his family sepulchre was there (2 Sam. xxi. 11). But he had an uncle who dwelt at Gibeah (1 Sam. x. 14); and Saul himself usually resided there, both before and after his being appointed to the kingdom (1 Sam. x- 26), and hence it was called " Gibeah of SauL" On the occasion of his father losing his asses, he sent for his son Saul to help him in seeking for them. Saul, however, sought in vain, and was now on his way to Zelzah to let his rather know that he had not found the asses, when, as he was passing near the hill of Ramah, his servant suggested a visit to Samuel. It was then that the interview mentioned 1 Sam. x. occurred. On leaving Samuel, he proceeded towards his father's house at Zelzah as he had proposed, passing by Rachel's sepulchre. Here he met two men just come from home, who told him that the asses were found; next he met three men on the plain of Tabor (a spot now unknown); and then, having seen his father, came back to his own house at Gibeah; which is called the " hill of God," because there was a school of the prophet* there.

200 VIEW PROM THE HEIGHTS OF RAHAH.

We ascended to the roof of the deserted mosque, and surveyed the country round and round with unmingled pleasure. We could count twelve towns or villages within sight. To the south, Jerusalem, sheltered by the Mount of Olives, was distinctly visible; and still farther south, about twelve miles distant, Bethlehem and the Frank Mountain. We were now in a situation to understand the prophecy of Jeremiah in reference to the massacre of the infants of Bethlehem, "In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not." * The tomb of Rachel suggested the figurative representation of the mother of Benjamin and Joseph rising up to lament her slaughtered little ones, and the import of the passage is as if he had said, That the tide of wo rolled from Bethlehem to the hill whereon Rama stands. Rachel from her sepulchre begins the note of wo, and it spreads all around even to the distant hills that shut in the plain. Quite near us in the same direction stood a village in the mountains called Lifta, and still nearer Betiksa, which may possibly be the ancient Sechu, where there was a great well. { To the south-east was another village, Kephorieh, which we fancied might possibly be the site of Chephira,\ since the other cities of the Gibeonites, Beerotn, Gibeon, and Kirjath-jearim, are all in this region. Emmaus must have been like one of these secluded villages, and probably in this direction. We could easily imagine the two disciples traversing the rocky pathway between the vineyards, by which we had that evening passed, and Jesus himself drawing near and going with them, talking with them by the way, and opening to them the Scriptures, while they perceived not the difficulties of the road nor the lapse of time, for " their hearts burned within them by the way." \ Looking to the east, a fine hilly scene lay before us, bounded by"the mountains of Moab. Upon a height near at hand stood Bet-hanina; to the north-east, on another hill, Ram; and still farther north, Kelundieh. In the same direction, though not within our view, lay Gibeah of Saul, and Michmash, not far from each other, both of which remain unto this day. Due north we saw Rem-Allah in a very notable position; a little to the west, Beth-hoor, believed

by nature, that they present the appearance of a flight of steps all round from the top to the bottom. The buildings are mostly on the western brow of the hill, the rest of the summit being covered with fine olivetrees. Many of the terraces also are set with vines and fruit-trees. From the foot of the ridge on which Ramah stands, a fine plain or shallow valley stretches past Gibeon to the north for two or three miles. From Gibeon it stretches westward for about a mile, bounded by a low hilly range, except in two points, where there are openings towards the western plain, the one of which is the descent of Beth-horon. The fields of this valley were distinctly marked out, some of them bearing grain, but most lying waste. In one place, the vineyard stretched quite across, with a verdure most refreshing to the eye. This valley the muleteers called Ajaloun. Again and again we put the question to them, to make sure that we were not mistaken, and they still answered Ajaloun. Since our return, we have not been able to find that any previous writer has found this name still remaining, and applied to this valley, and we therefore fear that the muleteers may have picked it up from the inquiries or conversation of some traveller. How

* loth. ix. t Josh. x. a.

202 VALLEY OP GIBEON.

ever this may be, the scene of Joshua's miracle was ut that time vividly set before us. The glorious sun Wzls sloping westward, about to sink in the Mediterranean Sea, and his horizontal rays were falling full upon the hill of Gibeon; at the same moment the moon was rising, and soon alter poured her silver beams into this quiet vale. Such probably was the very position of the sun and moon, in that memorable day when Joshua prayed and " said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou st.ill upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon." * We are plainly told that the battle between Joshua and the five kings of the Amorites was " at Gibeon." It lasted probably the greater part of the day, till toward evening the bands of the Amorites began to give way, and Israel chased them as far as the descent to Beth-horon. At that steep defile the Lord cast down great hailstones from heaven upon them, so that they died. But it seems to have been before that, and before they were out of sight of Gibeon, that Joshua uttered the singular prayer above narrated; and in confirmation of this view, it is interesting to notice that Isaiah calls the scene of that day's wonders, " The Valley of Gibeon."f There was a peculiarly mellow softness in the evening light, that gilded both tower and valley at the moment, and it was strangely interesting to look upon the scene where «* the Lord hearkened unto the voice of a man."

It was at Gibeon also, that Abner and Joab met on either side of the pool, and that the young men began the contest which ended so fatally.J We were afterwards told that the pool remains there to this day on the north side of the hill.} Here, too, "at the great stone which is in Gibeon," Joab murdered Amasa, and " shed the blood of war in peace, and put the blood of war upon his girdle that was about his loins, and in his shoes that were on his feet."|| In the same place, Johanan, the son of Kareah, found Ishmael" by the great waters that are in Gibeon." It was here also, that "God appeared to Solomon in a dream by night, and said, Ask what I shall give thee." IT It is thus hallowed as a place of prayer, and yet more, as a place where God showed to the world before the Redeemer came, how unlimited was his boun

» Josh. x. 12. t Isa. xxviii. 21. t 2 Sam. ii. 12.

$ Professor Robinson told us that he had seen this pool, but had forgot to look for the great stone. II 2 Sam. xx. 8; 1 Kings ii. 5. IT 1 Kings ill. 5.

finely situated on rocky terraced heights; the name ot one of which was Raphat. It was here that Dr. Keith missed his favourite staff, which had a mariner's compass on the top of it. A muleteer rode back in search of it, but in vain. The darkness was coming down, so that we had to hurry on. Our view was beginning to be obscured, but we could perceive that Benjamin (whose borders we were traversing) had a pleasant portion.

In two hours from Ramah, we reached Beer, the ancient Beerolh. Our servants had gone before us and erected the tent, and now stood at the tent-door to welcome us, Giuseppe helping us to alight with great kindness. It was a fine moonlight evening; the ground was sparkling with the light of the glow-worm, in a manner similar to what we had seen at Hebron, and the fire-flies glittered through the air in great numbers. Our tent was pitched immediately in front of a gushing fountain that emptied its waters into a large trough, above which was a Mahometan place of prayer falling into decay. We lay down to rest, with the remembrance that it was here that Jotham took up his abode when he fled from Shechem for fear of his brother Abimelech.J There is a pleasing though fanciful tradition associated with the place, that it was here Joseph and Mary, on their way back to Nazareth, first discovered that the child Jesus} was not in their

• Sone ii 15. Herod, too, ia called by this name Luke xiii. 32, a destroyer of the Lord's vineyard. It was in reference to tliis that Erasmus was at one time branded "by the monks as a (ox that laid waste the vineyard of the Lord.

f Judg. xv. & t Judg. ix. 21. $ Luke ii. 44.

company, and turned back again to Jerusalem seeking him. It was probably near this, too, that Deborah the prophetess dwelt "under the palm-tree of Deborah, between Ramah and Bethel in Mount Ephraim." *

(June 19.) We were up before the sun, and enjoyed the luxury of washing ourselves at the full flowing fountain of Beer. It is from this fountain that the town receives its name, both now and in ancient times. The Moslem women came out to draw water, and the well soon presented a lively scene. The remains of the town lie on the rising ground to the north-east of the fountain. We wondered how travellers could ever suppose this to be the site of Michmash: for it does not stand near any deep defile, nor are there any such sharp rocks as Bozez and Seneh in the neighbourhood ;f besides, it is not on the east of Beth-aven or Bethel, but to the south-west of it. J Beeroth was one of the cities that belonged to the Gibeonites, and afterwards fell to the lot of Benjamin.} It was to this place, also, that the murderers of Ishbosheth originally belonged. ||

We journeyed to the north-east, through a pleasant pasture country. On our left, we passed a cave in the hillside, running a considerable way into the rock, which suggested to us the nature of the retreat of the five kings of the Amorites, who fled from the battle of Gibeon, and "hid themselves in a cave at Makkedah."1f

In a little time we approached the district of Beth-aven or Bethel. The hills around, as well as the ruins of the town, are called by the Arabs, Beteen. This name is, in all probability, the remains, not of Bethel, but of Bethaven. It would seem, that in the days of Joshua, this region was called "the wilderness of Beth-aven," ** and perhaps the hill on which the town afterwards stood, Beth-aven.ff When the town was built it was called Luz, but Jacob, grateful fbr the visit of mercy which he there received, called it Bethel, "the house of God." In later days, it became the seat of idolatrous worship, and the indignant prophet of Israel, to awaken the people to a sense of their sin, recalled the ancient name t\ "Beth-aven," or "house of vanity," and sometimes only

* Judg. iv. 5. t 1 Sam. xiv. 4.

t 1 Sam. xiii. 5. Professor Robinson and Mr. Nicolayson visited Michmash, lying to the south-east of Bethel. A deep valley below it and two pointed rocks still fix its position, and the Arabic name is Mukkmas.

§ Josh. ix. 17; xviii 25. H 2 Sam. iv. 2. f Josh. x. 16.

•* Josh, xviii. 12. tt Josh. vii. 2. tl Hos. x. 5, 8.

"Aven." From this seems to have been formed the present name Beteen.

Turning off the path, a little to the right, we rode into the middle of the ruins, on the summit of a considerable rising ground. A ruined tomb on the nearest eminence guides to them. There are not many remains of edifices that can be traced, but here and there heaps of ancient stones, the foundations of a wall, and a broken cistern, indicate former dwellings. The whole summit of the hill is covered over with stones that once composed the buildings, and there is space enough for a large town. We looked with deep interest across the ravine on the right to the gentle hill considerably higher, on the east of Bethel. Probably this was the very spot where Abraham pitched his tent, when first he came a lonely stranger to the land of Canaan; for, it is said, he removed to "a mountain on the east of Bethel, having Bethel on the west, and Ai on the east, and there he built an altar unto the Lord," which he afterwards returned to visit ;* showing with what holy boldness he trusted himself to the Lord's keeping, though bitter foes on either side enclosed him. Nor could we forget, that on the hill where we stood Jacob spent that solemn night, when he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and beheld a ladder "set upon the earth, and the top of it reaching to heaven." We read over the passage and applied the prayer to ourselves, f It was here, too, that Jeroboam set up one of the golden calves. And here he stood beside the altar, burning idolatrous incense. Perhaps there was a double scheme of wicked policy in his choice of this place, for we observed that it must have been within sight of the highway to Jerusalem, that the people might be intercepted on their way up to the house of the Lord; so that his object was at once to allure them from God, and obliterate Bethel's hallowed associations with Jehovah's gracious discoveries of himself to their fathers Jacob and Abraham. The success of this plan may be conjectured from the children that here mocked Elisha, and taunted him with Elijah's ascension, saying, "Go up, thou bald-head." The prophet who came out of Judah, and warned Jeroboam, probably travelled the road over which we had passed. Deborah, Rebecca's nurse, died here, and was buried probably in the ravine on the south, for it is said to have been " beneath Bethel," under an oak tree; and

206 EETHEL—VILLAGES ON HILLS.

Jacob showed his tender remembrance of her, by calling it " Allon bachuth," " the oak of weeping."

Few places are so full of interest. The shapeless ruins scattered over the brow of the hill, are themselves silent witnesses of God's truth and faithfulness. He had said, "Seek not Bethel, nor enter into Gilgal; for Gilgal shall surely go into captivity, and Bethel shall come to nought.''' * This word has been fulfilled to the very letter. We did not at the time remember the prophecy of Hosea, "The high places of Aven, the sin of Israel, shall be destroyed; the thorn and the thistle shall come up on their altars;"} but we have no doubt, from the desolate nature of the ground, and the abundance of thorny plants in that region, that some other travellers will discover that t.horns and thistles are waving over the altars of Bethel, in fulfilment of the word of Him who cannot lie. We ourselves saw sufficient marks of the curse, of which the thorn and the thistle are the emblems.J

Leaving the ruins, we returned to the road, and proceeding northward, came in less than an hour to a village on our left, Ain Yebrud, finely situated upon the summit of a very rocky hill, whose sides were terraced and planted with vines. A little after, we saw upon the left another smaller village of the same name, situated upon a similar hill, whose sides were entirely uncultivated, presenting little more than a barren rock. The contrast was very striking, and showed us at once the change produced by the slightest cultivation in this land, and how, by the blessing of God, in "a very little while Lebanon may be turned into a fruitful field." Another village further on, and also upon a hill, was called Geeb, conjectured by some to be the ancient Gob, famous in the wars with the Philistines,} though others suppose it to be Gibeah in Mount Ephraim, the burying-place of Eleazar the son of Aaron.|| These villages on the tops of the hills had not only the advantage ofbeing easily defended, but must also have been highly salubrious, having the cool breezes playing around them. We now entered a narrow defile called Mezra, and descended rapidly among the finest vines and fig-trees which we

* Amos v. 5. Lord Lindsay's interpretation of this passage cannot stand. It is not a direction to a traveller not to search out its ruins, but a command to the idolatrous Israelites to give up their idolatry,;, d 'Seek not Bethel, but return to me."

t Hos. x. 8 . t See p. 119

$ 2 Sam- xri. 19. II Josh. xxiv. 33 in the original

reflection of the sun's rays that now beat upon us from these rocks, may have been felt by him on that very day, when, " wearied with his journey," about noon he sat down on Jacob's Well. In about an hour we ascended into a pleasant fertile little plain spreading to the east, having Singeel, a village on the hills, on our left hand, and Turmus Aya, upon an eminence in the middle of the plain, on our right . It was at this point that we should have turned to the right, to visit Seiloun, the remains of ancient Shiloh. Our guide promised at setting out to carry us that way, but unwilling to lengthen theYatigues of the journey, he allowed us to proceed north without letting us know till it was too late to return. We afterwards found that it lay about an hour distant to the right. Mr. Calhoun, an American Missionary, told us that he had visited it, and found it situated upon an eminence, having fine valleys on every side of it, except towards the south,—valleys that could have contained multitudes at the great feasts. Higher hills rise behind these valleys. Our servant Ibraim had visited it with Professor Robinson, and told us that they had found nothing but ruins. The words of the prophet are still full of meaning; "Go ye now into my place which was in Shiloh, where I set my name at the first, and see what I did to it for the wickedness of my people Israel."f We

• 2 Sam. x*iii. 30. Josh. xxiv. 30 t Jer. vii. 12

208 LEBONAII—BEDODIN SHEIKH.

could also see the minute accuracy of the description of its situation given in Scripture, "Shiloh, a place which is on the north side of Bethel, on the east side of the highway that goeth up from Bethel to Shechem, and on the south of Lebonah." * The region round is all fitted for such vineyards as are described in the same chapter, t

We now ascended to the highest ridge of a rocky mountain, having a very deep valley on our left. Below us on our right lay a picturesque plain of small extent embosomed in hills. Into this we descended by a dangerous pathway, and came first to an old ruin called Khanel-Luban, and then to a fine flowing well, Beer-el-Luban. The water was cool and pleasant . Some Syrian shepherds had gathered their flocks around the well. There were many hundreds of goats; some drinking out of the troughs, some reclining till the noonday heat should be past. We were again reminded of the Song, " Where thou makest the flock to rest at noon ;"J and of the care which the Lord Jesus takes to refresh the weary souls of his people during the burden and heat of the day, delivering them from daily returning wants and temptations. At the north-west end of this valley, on the height, we could see the village of Luban, the ancient Lebonah.\

Having travelled more than five hours without intermission, we were glad to rest and refresh ourselves for a little under some pleasant olive-trees. Scarcely had we resumed our journey, when we met at the northern entrance of the plain, the Bedouin Sheikh whom we had seen at Jerusalem, and who was to conduct Lord Claud Hamilton to Amnion and Jerash. He had faithfully fulfilled his engagement, and was now returning, having left his charge at Nablous. Three fine young Bedouins rode behind him, and all were attired and armed in the manner of their country. He at once recognised us with joy, and showed us with no little vanity the presents he had got from Lord Hamilton. Bidding them salam, we wound out of the valley to the right under a small town, like a nest in the rocks, which an old Arab called Sawee. Leaving this vale we descended into another running from east to west, very deep and rocky. Some countrymen called it Wady Deeb. Crossing the dry channel, and ascending to the very summit of "the opposite ridge. a noble prospect burst upon our view. From the foot of the mountain on which we stood, a beautiful plain

* Judg. xxi. 19. t Judg. xxi. 21. t Song i."7. i Judg. ui 1*

In one of the villages the treading and winnowing were going on in a lively manner. On the eastern range of hills there are three villages perched in very romantic situations, the name of the northmost was Raujeeb. Probably these were flourishing towns in the days when Joseph's portion was blessed with "the chief things of the ancient mountains, and the precious things of the lasting hills." * While we gazed upon these villages of the Samaritans, one of the most touching narratives of the gospel was vividly recalled to us. Once when our Lord was going up to Jerusalem, he sent messengers before his face, and "they went and entered into a village of the Samaritans to make ready for him, and they did not receive him." His disciples wished to command fire to come down from heaven; but he gently rebuked them, saying, " Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of;" and they went to another village, f It is probable that this was the road by which the Saviour was travelling, and some of these may have been the villages here spoken of. In about two hours we left this fertile plain, and came round the eastern shoulder of Mount Gerizim, ascending up a path worn deep in the rock, till we found ourselves in the entrance of the Vale of Sychar, running east and west between Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal. We did not know at the time, but an after visit made up for the omission, that it was at this very turn of the road, where it bends toward the city, that Jesus rested; for Jacob's Well was there. Entering a little way within the vale, we rested for a while beside a flow• Dent . xxxiii. 15. t Luke ix. 52—56.

210 MOUNT EBAL AND MOUNT GERIZIM.

ing fountain, called Beer-el-Defna, at which the shepherds were watering their flocks. The water flows into a large reservoir, from which it is conducted to irrigate a delightful garden of herbs. The ride up this valley was indeed beautiful. The plain stretches about two miles long to the town of Nablous, the ancient Sychar, and the average breadth appeared to be nearly half a mile. The sun was beginning to sink in the west, and was pouring his beams directly through the valley as we approached. A fine grove of old olive-trees extends for about a mile to the east of the town. Through this we passed, and then under the northern wall till we came to a grassy spot on the banks of a winding stream, where we pitched our tent on the west side of Sychar. We had often read of the verdure and beauty of this scene, but it far exceeded our expectations. The town with its cupolas and minarets is peculiarly white and clean, and is literally embosomed in trees. In the gardens beside us, we saw the almond-tree, the pomegranate, the fig, the vine, the carob-tree, and the mulberry; orange-trees also, with golden fruit, and a few graceful palms. The singular prickly pear is the common hedge of these gardens. Sitting at our tent-door, we surveyed calmly the interesting scene. Mount Ebal was before us, rising about 800 feet from the level of the plain. It appeared steep, rocky, and barren. A few olives were sprinkled over its base, but higher up we could observe no produce save the prickly pear, which seemed to cover the face of the hill, much in the same way as the prickly furze on many of the hills of our own country. Viewing it from another point further to the west the next day, it appeared entirely without verdure, frowning naked and precipitous over the vale. Mount Gerizim was behind us, rising to a similar elevation. Although precipitous in many parts, it has not the same sterile and gloomy appearance which Mount Ebal has. It has a northern exposure, and therefore the midday sun does not wither up its verdure with its scorching rays. On the sides of one of its shady ravines we saw fields of corn, olives, and gardens, giving it altogether a cheerful appearance. In some places the precipices of Gerizim seem to overhang the town, so that Jotham's voice floating over the valley, as he repeated the Parable of the Trees from one of the summits of Gerizim, might easily be heard by a quiet audience eagerly listening in the plain below.*

• Judg. ix. 7—20.

aa&^uiuiy ancu unu Uccpcoi am in v. x in:> luvciy Vdllcy

formed a noble sanctuary, with these rocky mountains for its walls, and only heaven for its canopy. And where can we meet with a scene of more true sublimity than was witnessed there, when a covenanted nation bowed their heads before the Lord and uttered their loud Amen, alike to his promise and his threatening?

In our evening worship, we read John iv., with feelings of new and lively interest. We had scarcely committed ourselves to repose, when the jackals and wolves, which in great numbers find covert in the neighbouring hills, began their loud and long-continued howling; the dogs that prowl about the gates of the town immediately sent back a loud cry of defiance, and for several hours there seemed to be a regular onset between the parties. The ropes of our tents were occasionally shaken by some that were pursuing or pursued ; and the valley continued to resound with their mingled cries till the depth of midnight.

(June 20.) Mr. Bonar, waking before sunrise wandered through the grove of fruit-trees toward the gate of the town. Finding it already opened, he entered. Wandering alone in the streets of Sychar at this early hour seemed like a dream. A Jewish boy vrron he met led him to the synagogue. It was small but clean, and quite full of worshippers. They meet for an hour at sunrise every day. There were perhaps fifty persons present, and every one wore the TephiUim, or phylacteries,

* Deut. uvii. 12.

212 Sychar—Jacob's Well.

on the left hand and forehead, this being the custom at morning prayer. They seemed really devout, for they scarcely looked up to observe the entrance of a stranger till the service was done. At the close several came and spoke to him. He spoke a little Italian to one, and then tried German with another, finding that there were Jews from many different places. Some were from Spain, some from Russia, one from Aleppo, and a few were natives of Sychar. After conversing for a short time they separated, going home to breakfast.

Mr. Bonar engaged a very affable Jew to show him the road to Jacob's Well, who, after leading him through the town, gave him in charge to another that knew the place. They went out at the Eastern Gate and proceeded along the Vale of Sychar, keeping near the base of Gerizim for nearly two miles, till they arrived at a covered well, which is marked out by tradition as the memorable spot. It is immediately below the rocky path by which we had travelled the day before, at that point of the road where we turned from the spacious plain into the narrow vale, between Ebal and Gerizim. The guide removed a large stone that covers the mouth of the low vault built over the well; and then thrusting himself through the narrow aperture, invited Mr. Bonar to follow. This he accordingly did; and in the act of descending, his Bible escaping from his breast-pocket fell into the weU, and was soon heard plunging in the water far below. The guide made very significant signs that it could not be recovered, "for the well is deep." * The small chamber over the well's mouth appears to have been carefully built, and may have been originally the ledge which is often found round the mouth of Eastern wells, affording a resting-place for the weary traveller. But the well itself is cut out of the rock. Mr. Calhoun, who was here lately, found it seventy-five feet deep, with ten or twelve feet of water. In all the other wells and fountains which we saw in this valley the water is within reach of the hand, but in this one the water seems never to rise high. This is one of the clear evidences that it is really the Well of Jacob, for at this day it would require what it required in the days of our Lord, an "rfirX^a," "something to draw with, for it was deep." f On account of the great depth, the water would be peculiarly cool, and the associations that connected this well with their father

* Sec note at the end of this Chapter. r John iv. 11.

JOSEPH'S TOMB. 213

Jacob no doubt made it to be highly esteemed. For these reasons, although there is a line stream of water close by the west side of the town, at least two gushing fountains within the walls, and the fountain El Defna nearly a mile nearer the town, still the people of the town very naturally reverenced and frequented Jacob's Well. This may in part account for the Samaritan woman owning so far to draw water, even if the conjecture be disregarded that the town in former times extended much further to the east than it does now. The narrative itself seems to imply that the well was situated a considerable way from the town. He who "leads the blind by a way which they know not," drew the woman that day by the invisible cords of grace, past all other fountains, to the well where she was to meet with one who told her all that ever she did—the Saviour of the world and the Saviour of her soul.

The Romish hymn seemed peculiarly impressive when remembered on this hallowed spot:

Quterens me sedisti lassus,
Redemisti crucem passus,
Tantus labor non sit cassus!

(Weary—thou salst seeking me;
Crucified—thou setst me free;
Let not such pains fruitless be '-)

But nothing can equal the simple words of the Evangelist, "Jesus therefore being wearied with his journey sat thus on the well."

About a hundred yards off, to the north of the well, is Joseph's Tomb, a whited sepulchre, believed to mark the place where Joseph's bones were buried* The Jews frequently visit this tomb; and many Hebrew sentences are inscribed upon the walls. Whether by design or accident, we could not ascertain, a luxuriant vine had made its way over the wall that encloses the tomb, and was now waving its branches from the top, as if to recall to mind the prophetical description of this favoured tribe, given by the dying Jacob, "Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well, whose branches run over the wall."f The beautiful field around it is, no doubt, "the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph," taking it out of the hand of the Amorite, " with his sword and with his bow."J And this plain is the plain of Moreh, near to Sychar.} Some have fancifully con

• Josh. xxiv. 32. t Gen. zlix. 22.

t Gea xlviii. 22. * Gen. xii. b. Deut. xi. 30.

214 SYCHAR—LEPERS—BAZAAR.

jectured the name to be derived from Jacob's exploit, at if it meant, "the plain of the Archer."

About eight o'clock, the rest of our company paid a visit to the town, to visit the Jews and Samaritans. Under a spreading nabbok-tree near the gate, we came upon five or six miserable objects, half-naked, dirty, and wasted by disease. Immediately on seeing us, they sprang up, and stretched out their arms, crying most imploringly for alms. We observed that some had lost their hands, and held up the withered stump, and that others were deformed in the face; but it did not occur to us at the time that these were lepers! We were afterwards told that they were so,—lepers on the outside of the city gate, like the ten men in the days of Jesus, who lifted up their voices, and cried, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us !"* Our Master, had he been with us, would have stood still, and said, "I will; be thou clean." On the nabbok-tree were hung many rags of cloth, of different colours. These are intended as sacred offerings, in accordance with a superstition of the Mahometans, which Was never fully explained to us, and which we saw frequently in other parts of the country.

We passed through the streets, and found a good example of the Eastern bazaar. It is a covered way, with a few windows in the roof; abundantly dark, but very cool and pleasant. There is a deep pathway in the middle unpaved, about three feet in breadth, along which mules or camels are allowed to pass. On each side of this, there is a raised stone pavement, very smooth and slippery, which is used as a place for the shopkeepers to sit or to display their goods. When not thus occupied, it may be used for walking. It is a strange sight to walk along, and observe the turbaned and bearded sellers sitting cross-legged, and smoking in every door-way. The presence of a stranger excites little curiosity among them in general. Often they disdain to lift their eyes. Finding out the Jewish quarter, we went to the synagogue, into which several Jews followed us. The little children also came round us, and the women looked in at the door. Our Hebrew Bible was soon produced, and the prophecies concerning Messiah formed the subject of our broken conversation. Dan. ix, Isaiah ix, liii, Ezek. xxxvi, xxxvii, and Jer. xxiii, were the passages read and commented on. The men were most willing to hear, and

* Luke xvii. 13.

handsomely atcirea; ne received us kindly, and conversed with great freedom.

Mr. Bonar having missed the rest of us, and hearing that we were gone to the Samaritan synagogue, persuaded a Jew to guide him thither. He led him to a shop in the bazaar, where a fine-looking man, tall and cleanly dressed, was sitting. The Jew's look was that of contempt, as he pointed out this man, saying he was "a Samaritan." The Samaritan kindly left his shop, and leading the way through many streets, arches, covered ways, and lanes, brought Mr. B. to the Synagogue. The old priest having made sure of obtaining a handsome present from us, now unlocked the door, and we, after taking off our shoes, were permitted to enter the synagogue, a clean airy apartment, having the floor covered with carpets. One-half of the floor was raised a little higher than the rest, and seemed to be used for sitting on during the reading of the law. On one side, there was a recess which we were not allowed to enter, where the sacred manuscripts are kept. After long delay, and the promise of a considerable sum (for he told us the sight was worth 150 piastres at any time,) the priest agreed to show us the copy of the Torah, or five books of Moses, which is so famed for its antiquity. They said that it was written by the hand of Abishua, the son of Phinehas, and is 3600 years old. It was taken out of its velvet cover, and part of it unrolled before us. The rollers were adorned with silver at the extremities, and the back of the manuscript was covered with green silk. It was certainly a very ancient manuscript. The parchment was much soiled and worn, but the letters were quite legible, written in the old Samaritan character. If this was the real copy

216 SYCHAR—JEWS AND SAMARITANS.

so much boasted of, the Samaritans have lost some of their superstition regarding it, for they allowed us to touch it. Several of their prayer-books were lying about, all written with the pen in the Samaritan character.

The Samaritans can speak very little Hebrew; their language is Arabic, but by means of our servant Ibraim, and a Jew who kept by us, we got our questions answered, and a good many remarks were made on both sides upon passages of Scripture. The son of the priest was an interesting young man, candid, and anxious to hear the truth. He admitted that the prophecy regarding "the seed of the woman" referred to the Messiah: and said that they still expect a prophet "like unto Moses." The Samaritans do not believe in the restoration of the Jews. They told us that there are about forty who attend the synagogue, and about 150 souls altogether belonging to their communion. The enmity between the Jews and the Samaritans is not now so great, nor so openly manifested, as once it was; but we could perceive that it still existed. We had seen a Samaritan sitting in the Jewish synagogue, and the Jew who accompanied us was now seated in the Samaritan synagogue: yet it was easy to see that the Jew was jealous of the attention which we paid to the Samaritans. After taking leave of the priest and his son, we were conducted again to the Jewish quarter. We found a Rabbi, an old grey-haired man, sitting in the synagogue, reading the Talmud. We spoke a good deal with him in Hebrew, chiefly pointing out " the Lord our righteousness." It was pleasant to speak even a word to a Jew, in the city where Jacob often dwelt; and to a Samaritan in the very place where Jesus said, "Lift up your eyes and look on the fields, for they are white already to the harvest."* Our Jewish guide next led u.s to a handsome fountain of water at the west end of the town within the walls. It seemed to be supplied from Mount Gerizim. He said that Jacob had built the walls of it.

A little Jew boy, named Mordecai, with sparkling bright eyes, had for some time kept fast hold of Mr. M'Cheyne's hand. He could speak nothing but Arabic; but by means of most expressive signs, he entreated Mr. M. to go with him. He consented, and the little boy, with the greatest joy, led him through streets and lanes, then opening a door, and leading the way up a stair, he

* John iv. 35.

On taking leave, the little guide urged him to pay another visit. He led the way to the Bazaar, and there stopped beside the shop of a merchant, a venerable-looking man, saying Yehndi, "a Jew." Sitting down on the stone pavement, the Hebrew Bible was produced, and the passage read was "the dry bones" of Ezekiel. Several Jews gathered round who could speak Italian or the Lingua Franca, and all joined in the discussion by turns. The merchant himself seemed to be a worldly Jew, and cared little about divine things; but some of the rest were interested. Leaving this group, the little Jew proposed to guide Mr. M. to the well of Jacob, which he said he knew. But the day was too far spent, as we had agreed to leave Sychar at noon. With difficulty, Mr. M. now prevailed upon little Mordecai to come with him to our tents, to receive a reward for all his kindness. Giving him a Hebrew tract for the Hazan, another for the old Jew in the Bazaar, and a third for his father, and putting a silver piece into his hand, which seemed to fill him with wonder, we bade farewell to little Mordecai.

We felt sorry to part so soon from such a scene as this. The twice-repeated blessing of fruitfulness put upon the land of Joseph lingers about the vale of Sychar still, " Blessed of the Lord be his land, for the precious things of heaven, for the dew, and for the deep that coucheth beneath, and for the precious fruits brought forth by the sun, and for the precious things put forth by the moon."* It seemed almost as if the Lord remembered still the kindness of its former people, and kept this natural beauty around it as a memorial.

* Deut. xxxiii. 13, 11. Gen. xlix 22.

time conversing with them, and then about one o clock bade farewell to them and to Sychar.

The road from this to Samaria is perhaps the best we travelled in all Palestine. It is a level, broad highway at the base of hills—no doubt once much frequented by the kings of Israel, who would keep the highway to their capital in good repair. The direction it takes is northwest for about one hour, and then over a ridge which may be regarded as a continuation of Ebal. The vale down which we rode was well watered everywhere; a fine stream meanders through it, and there are many wells; forming a complete contrast to the south part of the land.f The gardens on every hand are very luxuriant, the trees wearing their richest foliage; the fig, olive, and orange trees laden with fruit. We observed gardens of onions which seemed to rival those of Egypt. Many villages embosomed in trees also came in sight. A small village on the left was called Bet-Ouzin. Another on the hill Bet-Iba. Below this an old aqueduct having eleven arches crosses the valley, the water of which turns a mill. Before leaving the Valley of Nablous, we looked back and obtained a view of Ebal, strikingly rocky and sterile.

Our route now lay north-west over a considerable ridge, during the ascent of which we obtained a view of many distant villages; and among others Ramla, on an eminence. When we had gained the summit, the hill of Samaria came in sight, rising out of the plain to the height of about four hundred feet. It is an oblong hill sloping up toward the west, and has a considerable extent of table-land on the top. The plain, near the head of which it stands, stretches far to the west, and the moun

* See p 42 t Pa exxvi. 4.

_ ....„ „TM~ «««,., uic niiaciauic Village OI SUDUStCf

The ruin is one of the most sightly in the whole of Palestine. We ascended on foot by a narrow and steep pathway, which soon divides into two, and conducts past the foundations of the ruined church to the village. The pathway is enclosed by rude dykes, the stones of which are large and many of them carved, and these are piled rather than built upon one another. Some of them are loose and ready to fall. Many are peculiarly large, and have evidently belonged to ancient edifices. Indeed, the whole face of this part of the hill suggests the idea that the buildings of the ancient city had been thrown down from the brow of the hill.

Ascending to the top, we went round the whole summit, and found marks of the same process everywhere. The people of the country, in order to make room for their fields and gardens, have swept off the old houses, and poured the stones down into the valley. Masses of stone, and in one place two broken columns, are seen, as it were, on their way to the bottom of the hill. In the southern valley, we counted thirteen large heaps of stones, most of them piled up round the trunks of the olive-trees. The church above mentioned is the only solid ruin that now remains where the proud city once

• Micnh i 6.'

♦ Herod rebuilt the city and called it Sehaste, which means '• august, or venerable," in honour of Augustus Ciesar; but Uod hod written ita doom centuries bclbrc.

220 RUINS OP SAMARIA.

stood. In the houses of the villagers, we saw many pieces of ancient columns, often laid horizontally in the wall; in one place, a Corinthian capital, and in another, a finely-carved stone. Near the village, and in the midst of a cultivated field, stood six columns, bare and without their capitals, then seven more that appear to have formed the opposite side of the colonnade; and at a little distance about seventeen more. Again, on the north-east side, we found fourteen pillars standing. But the greatest number were on the north-western brow. Here we counted fifty-six columns in a double row at equal distances, all wanting the capital, many of them broken across, and some having only the base remaining. These ruins may be the remnant of some of Samaria's idolatrous temples, or more probably of a splendid arcade, which may have been carried completely round the city. And these are all that remain of Samaria, "the crown of pride!" The greater part of the top of the hill is used as a field; the crop had been reaped, and the villagers were busy at the thrashing-floor. Part of the southern side is thickly planted with figs, olives, and pomegranates. We found a solitary vine, the only representative of the luxuriant vineyards which once supplied the capital. At one fwint, a fox sprang across our path into the gardens, a iving witness of an unpeopled city.

It was most affecting to look round this scene of desolation, and to remember that this was the place where wicked Ahab built his house of Baal, where cruel Jezebel ruled, and where Elijah and Elisha did their wonders. But above all, it filled the mind with solemn awe to read over on the spot the words of God's prophet uttered 2500 years before—" / will make Samaria as an heap of the jield, and as plantings of a vineyard; and 1 will pour down the stones thereof into the valley, and I will discover the foundations thereof."* Every clause reveals a new feature in the desolation of Samaria, differing in all its details from the desolation of Jerusalem,! and every word has literally come to pass. We had found both on the summit and on the southern valley, at every little interval, heaps of ancient stones piled up, which had been gathered off the surface to clear it for cultivation. There can be no doubt that these stones once formed part of the temples, and palaces, and dwellings of Samaria, so that the word is fulfilled, "/ will viake Samaria

* Mic. i. 6. t See pages 130. 14S

stood has been tilled, sown, and reaped; and the buildings themselves rolled down over the brow of the hill. Of this, the heaps in the valley, the loose fragments in the rude dykes that run up the sides, and the broken columns on their way down into the valley, are witnesses; so that the destroyers of Samaria (whose very names are unknown), and the simple husbandman, have both unwittingly been fulfilling God's word, "/ will pour down the stones thereof into the valley." And last of all, we had noticed that many of the stones in the valley were large and massy, as if they had been foundation-stones of a building, and that in many parts of the vast colonnade nothing more than the bases of the pillars remain. But especially, we observed that the ruined church had been built upon foundations of a far older date than the church itself, the stones being of great size, and bevelled in a manner similar to the stones of the temple wall at Jerusalem, and those of the mosque at Hebron; and these foundations were now quite exposed. So that the last clause of the prophecy is fulfilled with the same awful minuteness, " / will discover the foundations thereof." Surely there is more than enough in the fulfilment of this fourfold prediction to condemn, if it does not convince, the infidel.

We examined the old church at the east end of the hill. , It is a massy substantial building, supposed to have been built in the time of the Crusades, as there are many crosses of the templars on its architecture. The Moslems have broken away one of the limbs of each of the crosses in their zeal to shape them into the form of a crescent. Within the area of the church, there is a tomb

• The word in the original may signify either the bare vine-shoota. or the plat of ground where the vines are planted.

wine." * The valley near the head of which the hill of Samaria stands, is even now rich in olive-trees, and probably abounded in vineyards and gardens in former days, while the hill itself, covered with palaces and towers, rose over it like a glorious crown. The natural strength of the position of the city at once suggested the true force of the words of Amos, " Wo to them that trust in the mountain of Samaria." f

Within half an hour's distance of the hill on the north and south, and still nearer on the east, the ring of lofty hills which enclose the valley of Samaria begins to rise. These are what the Scripture calls " the mountains of Samaria." They encompass the city, so that in the days of Israel's glory, when they were all clad in vineyards, the capital would appear encircled by plenty and luxuriance. The days are coming, when these same "mountains of Samaria" shall again be clothed more luxuriantly than ever, and cultivated by the hands of ransomed Israel; for the same unerring word that foretold the present desolation, has foretold the coming glory, "Thou shalt yet plant vines upon the mountains of Samaria; the planters shall plant, and shall eat them as common things." J

We remembered the history of the siege of Samaria by Ben-Hadad, the king of Syria,} and observed how easy it would be to shut in such a city on every side, so

• Isa. xxviii. 1. Ser I,owth's Note. t Amos. vi . L

{ Jer. xxxi. 5. i 2 Kingt vi 24

royal magnificence, for Philip brought them joy from the fountain of life.