iauing 01 eyes, ana sorrow 01 mina: ana tny nie snau hang in doubt before thee; and thou shalt fear day and night, and shalt have none assurance of thy life." * And all this in their own land!
The Jews wondered that we had travelled so safely when we did not even carry fire-arms. But "the Lord had gone before us, and the God of Israel had been our rereward." We felt deeply thankful for the mercies of this day, and slept quietly in our Jewish cottage, the loud cry of the jackals being the only sound to break the silence of the night.
(July 12.) The morning air was cool and delightful in this elevated region. The hill on which Saphet stands appears to be of great height, not inferior even to Tabor. The town is built upon two heights, of which the northern and upper is occupied almost entirely by the Jews, the lower by the Mahometans. On the highest point are the ruins of the castle. All its houses are built of a pure white limestone, which gives them a dazzling appearance. The ruins of the town, caused by the earthquake 1st January 1837, are every where to be seen, and in some places are literally heaps upon heaps; for the town having been built on the slopes of the steep hill, one range of houses actually hung over the other, and hence, in the earthquake, the houses were cast one upon another. The Jews have rebuilt a great part of their quarter, out of veneration for the Holy City, but the Mahometan quarter is still an appalling ruin.
The situation of Saphet is singularly beautiful. Looking west from our cottage door, the noble mountain of * Deut. xxviii. 65, 66.
and still—and meditated over the scenes that had been transacted there. Returning by the bazaar, we had an opportunity of witnessing the market which is held here weekly. All was bustle and noise, very like a market at home. The Bedouin Arab was there, fully armed, with his long firelock under his arm; for, though he is known to be a robber, yet he attends the market in peace, no one laying a hand upon him, in wonderful fulfilment of the prophecy, "His hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him, and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren." * Here, too, were the Syrian women wearing the nose-jewel alluded to by Isaiah.f fastened by a hole bored through the nostril, not so large or uncomely as we had expected. A much more unpleasant yet common custom is the staining of the chin and under the mouth with dots of henna. In many of the shops the only weights in the balance were smooth stones, which we learn from the book of ProverbsJ were also used in ancient days.
The custom of drying corn and other articles on the roofs of houses here, appears to be as common as it was in the days of Rahab.j The houses in the streets have their flat roofs so connected, that nothing could be easier or more natural in case of any alarm, than to walk along the whole length of the street on the housetop, without coming down.Tl Indeed, there are some yet remaining, of sight at our approach, or glided down the slope. Large vultures also were hovering over our heads in great numbers.
* Gen. xvi. 12. t Ina- iii. 21. t Prov. xi. 1; xri. 11. See original $ Josh. li. 6. Also 2 Sam. xvii. 19. II Luke xvii 3L
We climbed up to the highest part of the untenanted walls, and sat down. Immediately below us was the Governor's house and the Mahometan quarter, and part of the hill clothed with fig and olive trees. Three ridges more intervene, and then the Lake of Galilee appears. It did not seem more than two miles off, though in reality four hours distant, so much does the clear atmosphere deceive the sight. The greater part of the lake was in view, nearly in the form of an oval,—a deep blue expanse of calm, unruffled, silent waters. Through part of the middle of the lake, we could discern a streak like the track of a vessel that had lately cut the waters. This might possibly be caused by the current of the Jordan passing through it; but of this we were rather sceptical, for at other times we could not discover any thing like this appearance. On the eastern side the mountains are lofty and bare, descending abruptly on the shore. We could not descry a single village or town on that side, although smoke was rising from one or two points. On the western side the hills are not so lofty nor so close upon the lake; but there is more variety. We remarked that there was no part of the margin which showed any thing like a plain except that part in the north-west
commonly fixed on by tradition as the Mount of Beatitudes, appear a little to the west of Tiberias. Over these the graceful top of Mount Tabor is seen, and beyond it the little Herman, famous for its dews; and still further, and apparently higher, the bleak mountains of Gilboa, on which David prayed that there might fall no dew nor rain.f
A view of the position of Tabor and Hermon from such a situation as that which we now occupied, showed us how accurately they might be reckoned the "umbilicus terr<e"—the central point of the land,—and led us to infer that this is the true explanation of the manner in which they are referred to in the 89th Psalm: "The north and the south thou hast created them; Tabor and Hermon shall rejoice in thy name."\ It is as if the Psalmist had said, North, south, and all that is between—or, in other words, the whole land from north to south, to its very centre and throughout its very marrow—shall rejoice in thy name.
We could imagine the days when Jesus walked down by the side of that lake, and preached to silent multitudes gathered round him. It seemed at that moment unspeakable condescension, that God in our nature should once have stood on some of these slopes, and stretched out his hand to sinners as he spoke in the tone of heavenly
• Wan, hi. 10, ace. a t 2 Sam. i. 21. 1 Ps. luxix 12.
and many other eminent rabbis, are buried in its vicinity. We entered a synagogue, where several persons were reading the Talmud and the Commentators. A young man was reading a commentary on 1 Chron. xxix. where the dying words of David are recorded. This led us to speak of what a man needed when death arrived, and we came at length to the question, How can a sinner be righteous before God? We were speaking in a mixture of Hebrew and German. The young man was very earnest, but several gathered round and stopped the conversation by asking "From what country do you come?" Before leaving, Mr. Bonar read out of a German tract the story of Salmasius, who on his deathbed wished that he had devoted his life to the study of the Holy Scriptures. In another synagogue, a young man who spoke Hebrew and German, conversed with us, and three old men joined us for a short time, but all of them looked suspiciously upon us, and soon went away. We learned in the course of the day, that they had heard from some of Sir Moses Montefiore's attendants, that we were come for the purpose of making them Christians, and had been warned to enter into no discussions. In the evening toward sunset, we could observe the
* John vi. 15,16. t Matt . xxiii. 38.
on their shoulders. It was indeed a new scene to us. In reading their prayers, nothing could exceed their vehemency. They read with all their might; then cried aloud like Baal's prophets on Mount Carmel; and from time to time, the tremulous voice of some aged Jew rose above all the rest in earnestness. The service was performed evidently as a work of special merit. One old man often stretched out his hand as he called on the Lord, and clenched his trembling fist in impassioned supplication. Some clapped their hands, others clasped both hands together, and wrung them as in an agony of distress, till they should obtain their request. A few beat upon their breasts. One man, trembling with age, seemed to fix on the word " Adonai," and repeated it with every variety of intonation, till he exhausted his voice. All of them, old and young, moved the body backward and forward, rocking to and fro, and bending toward the ground. This indeed is an important part of worship in the estimation of strict Talmudists, because David says, "All my bones shall say, Lord, who is like unto thee ?" * When all was over, one young man remained behind prolonging his devotions, in great excitement. We at first thought that he was deranged, and was caricaturing the rest, but were assured that, on the contrary, he was a peculiarly devout man. Sometimes he struck the wall, and sometimes stamped with his feet; often he bent his
* Ps. xxxv. 10.
gogues before they broke up. The ~.
seemed to be conducted in one spirit of vehement -.„ intense excitement. Yet it is said that the Jews of Tiberias exceed them in the earnestness of their religious services. All the Ashkenazim here belong to the sect called " Chasidim," who are by far the most superstitious and Pharisaical sect among the Jews.
On Saturday morning (July 13), walking out a little way, we came to part of the hill where are some small vineyards, with vines trained on terraces, affording a specimen of former times. It is a surface of rock with a thin sprinkling of earth, that has been thus cultivated. Frequently the rocky terraces are entirely concealed by the verdant vines which hang over them, and often we passed through rows of vines, where the road was covered from view by the spreading luxuriance of the branches. To such a fruitful and spreading vineyard, where the very roads were overspread by luxuriant boughs, Job referred, when he said of the wicked's final ruin, " he beholdeth not the way of the vineyards." t
We had planned a journey to explore the upper end of the Lake of Galilee, and see if any marks could be found to decide the position of Bethsaida; but difficulties came in our way. Some assured us that the journey would occupy only two hours; others said that it would require seven, and that the Bedouins had taken some horses there a few days ago, so that we must be accompanied by a guard. The uncertainty as to distance determined us
* Ira. lviii. 3, 4. t Job xxiv. 1a
uruer Iu see some 0l ins oiu jewisn menus, uuu nut 10 give needless offence, which would have been done had they seen one of their former brethren travelling on the Jewish Sabbath. Descending from the hill of Saphet, we crossed a rocky wilderness, and passed through a fine olive-grove. Here we met a large train of mules carrying merchandise on their way from Nablous to Damascus. Soon after, we began to ascend Mount Naphtali, and in less than two hours from Saphet came to Marona. It must have been an ancient place, for there are the ruins of terraces; also many caves and excavated tombs, some of them large and very curious. But the most remarkable object is a beautiful gateway, like the one we saw at Kefr-birhom. The carving appeared to be after the same pattern. The stones are very large, and the whole space occupied by the edifice can be accurately traced by the large foundation-stones that are distinctly visible. A pillar said to belong to this building, lay among the ruins in the village. Below this spot are situated the tombs of the holy men of the Jews, having a white-washed oratory built over them, and enclosed within walls. We entered by a narrow gate, and found ourselves in a court, in the centre of which grew a spreading fig-tree. From this court is the entrance to the white oratory, a cool pleasant spot, having an ostrichshell suspended from the roof There is a desk with prayer-books for the use of Jewish pilgrims, among which we left one of our Hebrew tracts. The devout Jews have left their names scrawled over the walls. Beneath repose the ashes of Jewish saints, and the most distinguished of all, the author of Zohar, lies here.* A little
* Sec his history in the Appendix. No. HI.
Jurmah. The road was wild and beautiful, and the atmosphere at this elevation pure and delightful. The myrtle-trees were in full blossom, and the whole way was lined with shrubs and evergreens, till we reached the village. It is situated upon a level brow of the hill just where the view opens out towards the Lake of Galilee. Here we had been directed to inquire for the house of Rabbi Israel. We found him sick and in bed, but his family and the other Jews of the place received us very kindly. About fifteen reside here, principally Russians, who had left Saphet on account of the unsettled state of the country. The table was spread with a clean white cloth; bread, cheese, milk, and a kind of spirit, were produced, and we were pressed to partake. We conversed in Hebrew and German, and before leaving had some conversation regarding the pardon of sin. We felt it deeply Interesting to partake of Jewish hospitality in one of the villages of the land of Israel, and they seemed friendly and not at all offended by our words. From the door of the house, they pointed out Bet-jan, a village half an hour from this, in which several Jewish families had taken refuge; and told us of a village three hours further up the mountain, called Bukeah, where twenty Jews reside, and where they cultivate the ground like Fellahs. If this be true, it is the only instance we heard of in which the Jews till the ground in Palestine. Descending the hill, we returned to Saphet in time to liii, he said, "Yes, it applied to Messiah, who is now sitting at the gate of Rome among the poor and the sick" —a singular legend which exists in the Talmud, and is one of the ways by which the Jews evade the force of that remarkable prophecy. Whenever any entered into converse with us in the synagogue, they were forbidden by the frown and authority of elder Jews. At last they cut off all further debate by beginning the public prayers. The same young Jew afterward meeting Mr. M'Cheyne in the street, and observing a strong staff in his hand, requested him to give him a present of it. He made his request in Hebrew onm rox 'jn Mo' O'un Dm nin reasn 'S in ron rpa "Give me this staff, and if the Arabs come, I will smite them with it." It was strange to hear this youth speaking the language of his fathers on their own mountains.
This evening, we heard that a party of Bedouins had come down upon the little village of Mijdel, on the border of the Lake of Galilee, and plundered the villagers of all their goods and cattle. This news spread fresh alarm through Saphet .
(July 14.) We spent a pleasant Lord's day. We sat in the open air enjoying "the shadow of a cloud," * and the cooling breeze that swept over the hill. In the forenoon, beneath the shade of an olive-grove, with Mount Naphtali full in view, we read together the Epistle to the Philippians, and worshipped. In the afternoon we joined again in social worship on the southern brow of the hill among the Mahometan tombs, with the Lake
• Isa. xxv. S.
TOMBS—THE "ERUV." 283
of Galilee at our feet. While walking down the face of the hill, we came upon a cave where the Jews had thrown aside, from religious scruples, leaves of Hebrew books, and many MSS. written on parchment roils, in which some defect had been found. This cave was amidst the flat gravestones that whiten that part of the hill . On the tombs, few of the inscriptions were interesting. Almost all ran in the same terms, beginning generally with thecommon formula, viz. the two letters, Jd, that is, " Here is buried;" and then the individual's name and character, -w»i on B»n, "A man perfect and upright." One quaint inscription quoted the words of the prophet Habakkuk, and applied them to a dead rabbi, as one whom even the inanimate objects would lament, "For the stone shall cry out of the wall; and the beam out of the timber shall answer it."*
In returning to our dwelling in the afternoon, a Jew constrained Mr. Caiman to go into his house. It turned out that the man was intoxicated, and that he was a Russian who had become a Jew. Such cases of apostasy on the part of professing Christians sometimes occur. Mr. Caiman knew two others who had become Jews in a similar manner, f
It was here that we first observed the anp, "Eruv," a string stretched from house to house across a street, or fastened upon tall poles. The string- is intended to represent a wall, and thus by a ridiculous fiction the Jews are enabled to fulfil the precept of the Talmud, that no one shall carry a burden on the Sabbath-day, not even a prayer-book or a handkerchief, or a piece of money, except it be within a walled place. How applicable still are the words of Jesus, "In vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men."J
In the evening, our servant Antonio, a simple kindhearted lad, read with us in the Italian Bible. He was much struck with Christ's words on the cross, "Dio mio, Dio mio, perche m' hai lasciato," "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me!" He had for several nights, at the end of the day's journey, sat down alone to read a little. Mr. Caiman began to address the muleteers; but one of them, when he heard how the Sabbath ought
• Hab. ii. 11.
t There is a singular instance in the history of our own Church, recorded by Wodrow, of one Fi. Borlhwick, who was accused of .'uda mm.
J Matt . Xt. 9.
284 SAPHET AS A MISSIONARY STATION.
to be sanctified, said, "He did not like that, for it was the only day he had for fantasies" that is, amusements.
Thus our last evening in Saphet came to a close. We could not help desiring that the time would come when our beloved Church should be permitted to establish a Mission here. When the Deputation was unbroken, we had often spoken together upon the subject, and had always turned toward this spot as probably the most desirable situation in Palestine for a Mission to Israel; and now that we had visited it, our convictions were greatly strengthened. The climate of Saphet is very delightful even in the heat of summer. The thermometer . immediately before dawn stood at 58° F.; at 8 o'clock, 64°; at noon, 76° in the shade. The mountain air is pure, and the hills are finely exposed to every breeze that sweeps by. A Mission established in Galilee would have this great advantage, that the head-quarters might be at Saphet in summer, where the cool atmosphere would enable the missionary to labour without injury to health, and at Tiberias in winter, where the cold is scarcely felt. There is no missionary at present resident in either. The missionaries at Jerusalem visit both places occasionally, but by no means frequently. The Jews of Saphet have intimate communication with those of Jerusalem, and of the coast, so that all the motions of our English brethren at Jerusalem, and even our movements as we travelled through the land, were well known to them. They are also quite accessible to the efforts of a kind and judicious missionary, though many of them were shy of us because they had been warned from an influential quarter to have no dealings with us. Still the Sephardim were quite willing to hear; and all were friendly. In the village, where no external influence had been used, they were kind and attentive They here have little or no employment, and have therefore abundant leisure to read and discuss. They are also in deep affliction, "finding no ease, neither has the sole of their foot rest," a state of mind more favourable than carnal ease for affording opportunity to press upon them the truths of the gospel.
If it were thought advisable to engage converts in agricultural pursuits, it would be much more easily accomplished here than in any other part of the land. They might settle in a village among the mountains, and till the ground, or train the vine, like the Jews at Mehemet Ali, and transferred to the feeble grasp of the Sultan. At present (1842), the country is said to be so unsettled, that no missionary would be safe in Saphet or any where in the interior of Galilee. But if tranquillity was restored, the desirableness of the place as a missionary station would be as great as ever.
(July 15.) We were up before the sun, and, by six o'clock took leave of our Jewish host and his family. Many Jews saluted us as we passed through the town. We proceeded south, with the Lake of Galilee fully in view, and descended into a deep valley, with a remarkable range of high and precipitous rocks, composed of reddish sandstone, on the left hand. In the bottom was a fresh stream of running water, issuing from a copious well, the oleander blossoming all around. The name of the valley was called Wady Hukkok. It may be the spot mentioned in Joshua, "The border of Naphtali went out to Hukkok, and reached to Zebulun on the south side."J The name has evidently been given in reference to its steep precipitous sides.} It seems probable that the border of Naphtali ended at this point. ||
• Isa. ix 1, % t Matt . iv. 13. t Josfc. xix. 34.
4 The root" ppn" signifies to cut or engrave.
II The difficult prophecy in regard to Naphtali's portion in Deut
286 JOTAPATA—PLAIN OP 0BNNE8ARETH.
Descending still further south, we observed on the right a singular rock, of considerable height, in which were many caverns, and one part of which seemed to indicate excavations made by art, capable of containing a large number of men. We did not ascertain the name of this place, but afterwards conjectured that it might be the site of Jotapata, the city of Josephus, for it answers well to the description of that fortress given by him.* "Jotapata is almost wholly a precipice, abruptly enclosed all round on the other sides with immense valleys, whose depth wearies the eye of the beholder, and affording an access only on its northern side." The caves of Arbela (supposed to be the Betharbd of Hoseaf), in the valley of Doves, south-west of the plain of Gennesareth, appear, from the description of travellers, to be very similar.
Leaving this spot on our left, we crossed over a pleasant hill to the south-east, and came down into the fertile Plain of Gennesareth, near a fountain called " Ain-elTin," "the fig-tree fountain," supposed by some to be "the fountain of Capernaum" mentioned by Josephus. We did not search out the ruins of the city, but there were pointed out to us heaps among the luxuriant bushes of the plain, which some have thought to be the remains of Capernaum. The land of Gennesareth is a beautiful little plain, extending along the shore nearly four miles, and about two miles from the lake to the foot of the hills at the broadest part. It is in the shape of a bow and string at full stretch, and there is a gentle slope from the hills to the water's edge all round. It seems highly probable that part of the hills which enclose it, may have been included in the territory of Gennesareth in the days of its splendour. Gardens and orchards could not find a better soil than these declivities, and it must have been on the different steps of this amphitheatre, that the variety of trees yielding the fruits of different seasons found each its appropriate climate, as described by Josephus.
xxxiii. 23, should probably be translated, "Possess thou the sea (O') and the south." The term " south" is intended to fix the meaning of 'the tea f' q. d. not the Great Sea or Mediterranean, but the sea that lies south of thy border; that is, the Sea of Galilee. Capernaum. Bethsaida, and other fishing towns, belonged to Naphtali, so that his vessels commanded the whole lake, or, in other words, "pouessed it." Just as, in Gen. xlix. 13, the border of Zebulun is said to "be unto Zidon;" because he might be said to extend to that point when his vessels were trading thither. • Wars, iii. 7. t He* x. 14.
PLAIN OP GENNESARETil. 287
Moving on southward we crossed a fine stream flowing through the plain, the same which we had seen gushing from its fountain among the hills below Saptiet. Its banks were adorned with the oleander and other flowers. A fine flock of goats were watering here, and a rich crop of dhura was springing green and beautiful. The reeds and thistles were growing to an amazing height beside the water. Soon after, we crossed another stream from the mountains, full and rapid. On the left bank upon the height, there were the remains of an ancient tower, in no way interesting, and the name of which we could not learn. In the middle of the stream stood a ruined mill. Many tortoises were seen dropping into the water as we approached. The plain opens out considerably, affording spots of pasturage, where we observed several Bedouins feeding their horses; but still there was a vast profusion of reeds and shrubs, and thorny plants, the most common being the tree called nabbok by the Arabs. In almost an hour from Ain-el-Tin we came to Mijdel, at the southern extremity of the plain.
Such is the present condition of the Land of Gennesareth,—once a garden of princes, now a wilderness. We have seen that the remains of Capernaum, which is called the Saviour's "own city" * are scarcely to be found; and the traces of Chorazin and Bethsaida are still more doubtful. There seems every probability that they were also within the limits of this little plain, but where, no one can tell, f The solemn "wo" pronounced by the Lord Jesus on these three cities, in whose streets He so often spoke the words of eternal life, has fallen with silent but exterminating power. It is more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon than for them. "And thou, Capernaum, which wast exalted to heaven, art brought down to hell."J He took out his believing remnant from the midst of them (as he took Lot out of Sodom), Peter, Andrew, and Philip, three worthies from Bethsaida,—and three from Caperdiseases, and casts out many devils; for "he did most of his mighty works " there. And being left alone, " he rose a great while before day, and went out and departed into a solitary place," wandering up the valley of Doves on the west, or the deep ravines of Saphet on the north, and there prayed till Simon Peter and a multitude of anxious souls found him out among the rocks, and said unto him, " All men seek for thee." f
* Matt. iz. 1.
t It seems evident that there were two towns called Bethsaida, on opposite sides of the Sea of Galilee. One was the town of Philip, Andrew, and Peter, (John i. 44), associated with Chorazin and Capernaum (Matt . zi. 20—24),'and belonging to the land of Gennesareth (Mark vi 45. 53). This town was clearly on the west side of the sea. The other is associated with the towns of Cesarea Philippi (Mark viii. 13,22, 27), and with the desert place where Christ fed the five thousand (Luke iz. 10\ It was on the east side of Jordan, probably an hou north of the lake, where the ruins of a town on a hill still remain.
t Matt. zi. 20- a4 .
We found the small village of Mijde) quite deserted. We had already met in the village several poor plundered peasants on their way to Saphet, with all that remained of their property. We examined at leisure their wretched mud-huts; the habitation of man and beast seemed to have been not only under one roof, but sometimes in the same apartment, separated merely by a slender partition. Their little gardens were full of cusas and cucumbers,and other thriving vegetables. It is not unlikely that this village occupies the site of Migdal-el, mentioned by Joshua as one of the towns of Naphtali ;\ and is also generally believed to be the site of the Magdala of the New Testament,} the town from which Mary Magdalene got her name. But this latter supposition is doubtful, for there seems to have been another place of the same name on the eastern side; and the name which signifies "a tower," was not an uncommon one in Palestine. We sat down to rest under a shady nabbok-tree, and then wandered to the edge of the lake through oleanders and reeds. Many curious insects people the leaves of these
* Mark i. 32—35. t Mark i. 37.
t Josh. xix. 38. $ Matt . xv. 39.
VILLAGE OF MIJDEL TIBERIAS—LAKE OP GALILEE. 289
shrubs; one species especially abounded, shaped like a frog, and green as the leaves on which they sat. We washed our hands and faces in the soft water, and gathered many shells from the beach as memorials of the spot .
From this point of view is to be seen the whole of the upper margin of the lake, which appears like a semicircle. We could easily trace the point where the Jordan enters, by the opening of the hills. The eastern mountains in the region of Bashan appeared still more steep and lofty. The ridge of Hermon on the north, sprinkled with snow, formed the grandest object in sight. There were deep serenity and calm, and a bright sun playing upon the waters. How often Jesus looked on this scene, and walked by the side of this lake! We could feel the reason why, when harassed and vexed by the persecution of enemies, "Jesus withdrew himself with his disciples to the sea." * The rabbins spoke more truth than they intended, when they said, "God loved that sea beyond all other seas!"
From Mijdel, the margin of the lake takes a turn to the south-east, and as the hills approach close to the shore, the pathway is often a considerable height above the water. Sometimes a wady descends from the hills, and the shore forms a gently sloping cove, with a pebbly beach, and then, again, becomes abrupt. It was probably on one of these pebbly spots that Jesus was walking, when the people gathered round him, till the pressure of eager listeners was so great, that he had to enter into a ship, from which he spoke the parable of the sower, "and the whole multitude stood on the shore."f And perhaps it was during a solitary walk round some of these retired coves, that he came on James and John, with their father and servants, mending their nets by the shore.J
The largest of these open spaces running up toward the hills was cultivated, and seemed very fruitful, and we noticed on the shore a large circular well, enclosed by walls that were much dilapidated. The pathway ascends the promontory beyond this, and now the south part of the lake came fully in view, with the dark walls and towers of Tiberias at our feet. The hills of Bashan on the opposite side appeared a steep unbroken wall, descending into the lake, and giving a shade of
* Mark in. 7. I Matt, xiii I.'-' t Mark i. 19.
mc Kitvr, wui tuiua annual uippuig lil Uic ncitri, in
passing through the town, our compassion was excited by observing the wretched booths in which most of the people live. Many of them were nothing better than Doughs of trees plastered over with mud, and their common fuel was the dung of horses and cattle, such as we had seen used in Saphet .
We walked over several ruined arches in our way to the Jewish quarter. Here we came first among the Ashkenazim, Germans and Russians, with their black broad-brimmed hats, or large fur-caps, and soiled black Polish gowns, of all dresses the most unsuitable for such a climate. . . . Tiberias (as mentioned before) is one of the four cities which the Jews account peculiarly holy. In it are three synagogues of the Ashkenazim and two of the Sephardim, besides several readingrooms — very clean and airy buildings, especially those of the Sephardim. The first synagogue which we entered was one belonging to the Ashkenazim, in which were seated three old men, with beards white as snow, one nearly deaf, and all nearly blind, yet poring over volumes of the Talmud. It was truly a sight fitted to move in us the feelings of our Lord, when in Galilee he saw the multitude "as sheep without a shepherd." No sooner did we begin to speak with them, than they were warned by a young Jew pressing his finger on their arm, and they were immediately silent. They seemed lost in studying the Hebrew page, and soon one and ed round us, and with them we had an interesting discussion for about an hour. It began by the teacher putting questions to us as to our knowledge of Hebrew. He and Mr. Caiman carried on the conversation in Arabic Meanwhile, the Jewish boys gathered round Mr. Bonar, and read part of Lamentations i, translating it into Arabic as they went on. They also amused themselves by putting many questions to him in Hebrew. A group of young men stood with Mr. M'Cheyne at the door. He spoke to them regarding Israel's ignorance of the fountain of forgiveness, as proved from Zech. xiii. 1. They soon brought two of their rabbis, really venerablelooking men, and asked them to answer the questions that had been put. The rabbis were very friendly, but not liking the discussion soon went away.
On the opposite side of the court, they conducted us to one of the best of their Yishviolh, divided into three apartments, in which was a large collection of Hebrew books. It was pleasant to look out upon the blue waters of the lake immediately under the windows. They told us that there were at that time only COO Jews in Tiberias, owing to the calamitous state of the country. Like those of Saphet they are in daily terror on account of
292 TIBERIAS—JEWISH PHYSICIAN, HAI1M.
the Bedouins. We made special inquiry after any traces of the ancient Jewish Academy, where the compilers of the Mishna and Gemara carried on their labours—the once famous seat of the School of Tiberias—but in vain. We inquired if there were remains of any ancient building connected with it, but no one knew of any thing of the kind, nor did any of the Jews appear to be acquainted with its history. After leaving the synagogue, we found under an arch of the ruined buildings a parchment roll, being a MS. of part of the book of Esther, cast out amidst many fragments of other books because of some error in the transcription.
We now visited the Jewish physician, Haiim, who had recognised Mr. Caiman in the synagogue. We were guided to his house by a little Jewish girl who spoke German. As we went, we asked her about her parents; she replied, "They were both buried in the ruins by the earthquake." How truly might she be taken as representative of a large class in Israel, of whom the prophet writes, " We are orphans and fatherless .'" * We found the doctor's house very clean and comfortable. He told us that he had not spoken to us in the synagogue, because he was very much suspected by his brethren. Some time ago, during his absence from home, some of the Jews had discovered the Hebrew New Testament lying in his house, and, on his return, he found them in the act of tearing it to pieces, leaf by leaf . He showed it to us; it was a Hebrew Bible with the New Testament affixed. He had saved part of it, but as far as the Epistle to the Corinthians had been destroyed. He was a kind pleasant man, with great leanings toward Christianity.
In the evening, while walking along the shore, we saw a boat anchored close by; and on making inquiry, found that it belonged to a Jew, who had likewise another of a smaller size, both of which were used in fishing; and being told that on the coast, directly opposite, where the hills seemed very steep and close upon the water, there were many tombs cut out of the rocks, our desire was excited more than ever to cross the lake. We were sore that the opposite side was "the country of the Gadarenes, which is over against Galilee:" and from a comparison of all the circumstances, it seemed like/y that the scene of the amazing miracle wrought upon the
» Lam. v. a
LAKE Or GALILEE—FISHERMaN—STORMS. 293
man possessed by Legion was directly opposite, the steep place of which they spoke being possibly the hill down which the herd of swine ran violently into the sea. We accordingly bargained with the boatman to take us over, which he thought he could do, with the aid of the breeze, in an hour. We got on board, furnished with our cloaks and a few mats, in case the wind should fall and prevent us from returning that night; but all of a sudden, without assigning any reason, except that the wind might change, and that then we could not get back till morning, the boatman refused to go, so that we were obliged reluctantly to give up the pleasure of crossing the Sea of Galilee. Soon after we saw him move his boat down the lake.
We returned to our tent upon the pebbly beach. Our servants had procured for us some excellent fish from the lake, resembling the carp, which they broiled, and we recalled to mind, as we partook of it, that this was the scene of John xxi. It may have been here, or not far off, that Jesus stood on the shore that morning, when he said to the disciples, "Children, have ye any meat V and then prepared for them the " fire of coals, and fish laid thereon, and bread," saying, " Come and dine." And on the same spot he left the touching message, first addressed to Peter, but equally addressed to all who, like ourselves, are shepherds of a flock of Christ, "Lovest thou me? Feed my Lambs—Feed my sheep." We all felt the deep solemnity of the strain in which one of our number as he sat on the shore, concluded a song of Zion—
O Saviour, gone to God's right hand,
Yet the same Saviour still!
Graved on thy heart is this lovely strand.
And every fragrant hill.
Oh! give me. Lord, by this sacred wave.
Threefold thy love divine.
That I may feed, till I find my grave,
Thy flock—both thine and mine.
While we were thus engaged, Dr. Haiim came to the tent . He had waited till it was dark for fear of the Jews. Mr. Caiman had much conversation with him. On our asking him regarding the lake, if there were ever storms upon it, he safd, "Yes; and, in winter, the storms are worse than those of the Great Sea." This quite correswild lowl were dimpling the waters; and tne beautituj moon shone above as in one of those silent nights when it was
"Left shining in the world, with Christ alone."
Some of us awoke at midnight, and for a short time sat by the edge of the lake. The darkness had completely enveloped the waters, and now the Saviour's midnight prayers on these neighbouring heights and shores, seemed a present reality; and the remembrance of the time, when " in the fourth watch of the night, Jesus went unto the disciples walking on the sea," spread an indescribable interest over the sleeping waters. No place excepting Jerusalem is so deeply and solemnly impressive as the Sea of Galilee.
(July 16.) Early in the morning we bathed with delight in the pure water of the lake, and observed a peculiar pleasantness and softness in the water,—resembling that of the Nile. While we were thus employed, a fisherman passed by with a hand-net, which he cast into the sea. The net was exactly the net called in the Gospel of Matthew i^piUXvrriar^ the same kind of net which we had seen used at Lake Bourlos in Egypt.J The simple fisnerman little knew the feelings he had kindled in our bosoms as he passed by our tent, for we could not look upon his net, his bare limbs, and brawny arms, without reflecting that it was to two such men that Jesus once said by this sea, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men."
We then resolved to ride down to the baths, about two
* Man. viii. 24. t Matt . iv. 18. J See p. 63 .
building which we had seen from Saphet. It is supposed to occupy the site of a fenced city called "Hammath," mentioned by Joshua, f and which stood near the town Cinnereth, that gave its name to the lake. An attendant came forward and held our horses, while we were ushered into a commodious apartment . The building, which was erected by Ibraim Pasha, is handsome, the floors being all of marble. The bath is open to the public gratuitously, only the bathers pay the attendants, who furnish them with every thing needful. There are small baths of white marble in private apartments, and the common bath is in the centre—a large circular basin built of marble, and continually supplied with hot water from hot springs without. We found it about five feet deep, and it was with difficulty that we could at first bear the heat of the water. After swimming round and round for some time, it became exceedingly pleasant, and every pore of the body seemed to be freely opened. We afterwards enjoyed the luxury of free and copious perspiration as we sat in the ante-room, and were refreshed with water-melons and coffee. We examined two of the principal springs, from which the water boils up so hot that we could not keep our hand in it more than a second. Between the springs and the lake are many curious petrifactions. The stump and roots of some old
* 1 Sam. i.\ 26. t Josh. xix. 35
man Jews shook hands kindly with us at the gate.
It was with real regret that we bade farewell to the blessed shores of the Sea of Galilee. Our course lay due west, up the steep hills which enclose the little plain on which Tiberias stands; and as we turned back to gaze on this sea, it lay at our feet serene and bright, reflecting the deep blue sky as peacefully as on that day when Jesus stilled its waves, " and there was a great calm." The rocks over which we travelled were black and of volcanic origin. Reaching the summit of the hill, the beautiful plain of Huttin lay on a lower level on our right hand, extending to the brink of the hills which enclose the lower plain of Gennesareth. On our left was a still higher plain, nearly all cultivated, and chequered with fields of green and yellow. The plain of Huttin was also variegated with wild flowers and occasional patches of cultivation, giving it the appearance of an extensive carpet. Here we saw the eazelle bounding on before us, over shrubs and rocks and every obstacle, and felt the exquisite fulness of meaning in the Church's exclamation, "Behold, he cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills! My beloved is like a gazelle or a young hart." * It is the very nature of this lively animal to bound over the roughest heights with greatest ease; it seems even to delight in doing so.
Looking back, we obtained a distant view of the northern part of the lake, from which we were gradually receding; the white summit of snowy Hermon appeared more majestic than ever, and Saphet with its white build
* Song it. 8, 9.
MOUHT OP BEATITUDES—VILLAGE OP LUBIAH. 297
ings could not be hid. Our way lay through large fields of splendid thistles, having purple fiowers, and very fragrant. The stalk was often six or eight feet high, bearing twelve or fifteen heads. Again we were reminded of the oft-recurring threatening, "There shall come up briers and thorns." * But there is a different day approaching of which the same prophet writes, "The nations shall rush like the rushing of many waters; but God shall rebuke them, and they shall flee far off, and shall be chased as the chaff of the mountains before the wind, and like thistle-down before the whirlwind." i At the very moment, on a neighbouring height before us, a husbandman was tossing up his wheat into the air, that the brisk mountain breeze might carry the chaff away; and often by our side, the wind caught up some of the loose thistle-down and whirled it rapidly over the plain. With the same ease and rapidity shall Israel's enemies be swept away: "Behold, at even-tide trouble, and before the morning he is not! This is the portion of them that spoil us, and the lot of them that rob us." In a short time we came in sight of Mount Tabor, called by the Arabs Jebel Tor, in the distant south, while near us, on our right, appeared the Horns of Huttin, a rocky hill with two conical tops. The latter is the hill called by tradition "the Mount of Beatitudes," being supposed to be the scene of the Sermon on the Mount, for which reason it is also sometimes called the hill of Toubat or Blessings. Another tradition supposes it to be the place where Jesus fed the five thousand with five barley loaves and two fishes.J It is not impossible that one or both these traditions may be true; but there is no positive evidence of their truth, and it seems too probable that they arose from the hill being so prominently marked by two peaks. Turning to the south, we soon came to a village called Lubiah, situated high on a limestone ridge, commanding a full view of Tabor. Here we encamped till the heat of the day was past. The village is large, and surrounded with the fig-tree and prickly pear, which gives it an aspect of plenty and pleasantness. Most of the houses have a place for sleeping on the roof, as at Tiberias, and we observed here one of the most interesting examples of the stair from the roof down to the street.} From Lubiah we descended into the valley of
* In. v. 6. t In. xvii. 1& See margin.
! John vi. 3—1I 4 Referred to in Matt . xxiv. 17.
the pleasant fields."* The eye is much deceived in judging of distances over this vast plain. From the heights of Lubiah, it appeared to us that we might reach Tabor in less than an hour, and yet it occupied fully two hours, though we rode nearly at full speed. The weeds were often as high as our horses, and scarcely a tree was to be seen on the plain till we approached Tabor.
Tabor is a truly graceful mountain, but presents a very different appearance when viewed from different sides. This accounts for the great diversity in the representations given of it. From the north, it had the appearance of the segment of a sphere, and appeared beautifully wooded on the summit, affording retreats to the animals for whom " the net was spread on Tabor."f From the west, it is like a truncated cone, appearing much steeper and higher, with the southern side almost destitute of trees. But on all sides it is a marked and prominent object, as the prophet intimates when he says, "As Tabor is among the mountains."J We passed through several flocks of goats, and near the hill came to a ruined khan, and beside it a fortress, with towers at the corners, which bore marks of having been built by the Franks in crusading times. Close by was the tomb of a Moslem saint under a fine spreading tree, with a jug of water upon the grave, according to the practice of Mahometans. The lower branches of the tree were covered with votive rags of different colours.
We stopped a little to examine a plough, which lay
In. xxxii. 12. See p. 119. t Hos. v. 1. t Jer. xlvi IB.
mil, UU3C Uiiuii n--> umC) mm \» v; uugui lu natc I;'mi> Lw
that village for a guide, or at least we should have ascended the hill by the plain path on that side of the hill, as is usually done. But the day was far spent, and we had no time to lose, so we resolved to press up the northern face of the hill from the point where we were. Leaving the road, and penetrating by a narrow footpath through a beautiful grove of oaks, we crossed to the proper base of the hill, and began the real ascent. We soon lost all traces of a path, and were involved in mazes of tangling shrubs and briers, and strong trees. The ac clivity, too, was very steep, and occasionally a projecting rock or a smooth precipitous ledge nearly baffled the efforts of the mules to ascend. At length we dismounted, the closely twined branches of the trees frequently forcing us first to thrust through our own persons and then to drag on the animals. Anxious to reach the summit before sunset, and now not a little perplexed and wearied, we again sought for the smallest track,—but in vain. We had no alternative, therefore, but to press upwards without delay. Our attendant Botros, whose clothes as well as our own had by this time suffered considerably from the trees and thorns, finding it no common labour both to ascend in face of such obstacles, and also to drag up the mules, kept muttering angry curses on us in his own language. At one time we had almost
* Mic. iv. 3, and Isa. ii. 4.
300 VIEW PROM MOUNT TABOR.
concluded that we must make up our minds to spend the night where we were, on the wooded mountain side, and surrounded by its wild beasts, for we appeared to be still far from the summit. The sun was beginningto sink in the west, and to retrace our way to the foot through the same intricate passage, would have been as difficult as to ascend. However, we asked guidance of Him who keepeth Israel, and pressed on. Suddenly and much sooner than we expected, we came upon ancient stones, which were evidently the remains of some building. By this sign we knew that we must be now close to the summit, which to our great joy turned out to be the case. The sun had just disappeared, but we had still light enough to see the chief points of the magnificent landscape. We climbed up upon the ruins of the old fortifications on the south-east corner, which appeared to be the highest point on the summit, and looked around. To the north and north-east we saw the plain over which we had travelled, the heights of Huttin, and the deep basin of the mountains enclosing the Sea of Galilee. Other travellers have seen a part of the lake; this wedid not observe, but the hills of Bashan, steep and frowning, appeared quite at hand. To the west and south-west lay the largest part of the great plain of Esdraelon, bounded by the long ridge of Carmel, and watered by the full flowing Kishon, making its way through it toward the Mediterranean. To the south, and immediately in front of us, was the graceful range of Little Hermon, and behind it the summits of Mount Gilboa. Between us and Hermon lay stretched that arm of the plain of Esdraelon which encircles Tabor, beautifully variegated with immense fields of thistles and wild flowers, giving the whole plain the appearance of a carpeted floor. How great must have been its beauty when its wide open surface was adorned with thriving villages planted amidst fields of waving grain, and gardens of blossoming fruit-trees, and closed in by the fertile hills that gird its horizon! At the foot of Hermon, Mr. Caiman pointed out to us Endor, where Saul went to consult the woman who had a familiar spirit on the last night of his unhappy career ;* and a little way to the west of it the village of JVafn, still marking the spot where Jesus raised the widow's son to lifef Tabor is about a thousand foet above the plain, an
* 1 Sam. xxviii. 1 Luke vii. 11.
my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him." Barak assembled his 10,000 men on this hill.f in company with Deborah; and in the plain at its foot, not a few learned men have supposed that the armies of Antichrist (gathered together to the place called Armageddon,J) are to be destroyed by the Lamb when the great day of his wrath is come.
We would gladly have lingered long upon the summit of Tabor, to meditate over the history of the past and the future, for even when we had nothing but the associations connected with it, we felt it "good to be here." The darkness, however, was rapidly descending and shutting out the view, so that our stay was very short. The moon rose, and by her light our servant guided us down a steep and rocky footpath on the south side, so that we were able, though with some difficulty, to ride down the whole way. But where we were to find Dabourieh we did not know. On reaching the foot of the hill, six or eight men sprang up from the ground on which they were lying, and advanced towards us, each carrying a large club in his hand. We were somewhat alarmed, but were soon relieved by finding out that they were friendly villagers watching their heaps of corn by night, like Boaz in the history of Ruth.} They on their part imagined that we were plundering Bedouins, against whose depredations they were watching, and were overjoyed to find that we were mere harmless travellers, it was only now that we began to learn how wonder
• a Pet . i. 1a t Judg. iv. 14.
» Rev. xvi. 16 i RutE iii. 2—7.
There we found our servants anxiously looking out for us. They had put up the tent and set a light within it, that we might see the white curtains from a distance; but both they and the villagers had begun to conclude that we had fallen into the hands of the Arabs. Perhaps never before had we felt such gratitude for a deliverance as we did that evening, when seated in our tents in peace and comfort, after the anxieties and alarms of the day. Had we gone round by Dabourieh at first, to obtain a guide, we would then have heard of the danger, but now, without knowing of it, we had been permitted to visit the summit of Tabor in peace. We could see plainly that every step of our way had been graciously overruled, and that our very difficulties and vexations which had troubled us at the time, were made the means of our safety. The simple villagers of Dabourieh gathering round expressed great astonishment at our escape. We sang praise in our tents with a full heart, in the words of Psalm cxxiv, "Had not the Lord been on our side," &c.
(July 17.) During the greater part of the night the wolves and jackals kept up a loud and angry howl, which was responded to by the bark of the village does. At morning the clouds were hanging beautifully on the top of Tabor and the adjacent hills, and the sky was covered with a veil of fretted clouds, the first of the kind we had seen in Palestine. It was easy now to understand why Tabor had been so often made a place of rendezvous from the days of Barak and downward,* the hill
* Judg. iv. 6.
weeping widow. Jesus must have known this spot well, for he would often pass it on his way to the Lake of Galilee. No place in all this land furnishes more remarkable illustrations of the sovereignty of God than do these two villages. At Endor, you see a king in the anguish of despair, consulting with a diviner, and warned by the dead that the Lord had departed from him and become his enemy. But on the same plain, a few miles from Endor, a thousand years after, you see at Nain, "God over all" coming in our nature, and wiping away the tears of a poor widow.
Over the western shoulder of Hermon lies Solam, the ancient Shunem, and farther south, near Gilboa, Zerin, the ancient Jezreel; but these we did not see. In the village of Dabourieh itself, one of the first sights that attracted our notice was a group of Bedouins, near kinsmen, no doubt, of the very robbers who had been ranging the hill and keeping the neighbourhood in alarm. Yet here they were sitting at their ease smoking their long pipes, the passing villagers giving them a suspicious glance that indicated no good will, but nobody daring to challenge them. Could there be a simpler or more striking illustration of the prophecy mentioned before, " His hand shall be against every man, and every man's hand against him; yet he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren V\ One good-natured Bedouin approaching our tent permitted us to sketch him, and smiled when he saw his own likeness. The little yellow shawl over
• 1 Sam. xxix. 1. t Gen. x»i. 12.
304 GROUP OP BEDOUINS.
the head, and the twisted rope of camel's hair that binds
it, are the chief peculiarities of their dress. Close by the village of Dabourieh a small stream flows from the north to join the Kishon. They called it by the same name as the village. This name may possibly be derived from Tabor, at the foot of which it lies; others conjecture that Deborah's exploit in this region, when she accompanied Barak to the hill, may have "given name to the town and stream; but still more probably, it is the same as the Levitical city Daberalh, which belonged to the tribe oi Issachar.*
• Josh. xa. 12; xxi. 28 .
numerous tracks, worn deep in the calcareous rocks, leading from the town in different directions, to neighbouring villages on the other side of the hill. The houses are of a very white stone, and appeared to be more substantial and regularly built than those of other towns of Palestine. The buildings of the Convent are massy, and there is a mosque in the town, adorned with cypress trees. There were no ruins visible, except the remains of an old khan near the entrance of the town. Fig-trees and olives abounded in the gardens, hedged in with prickly pear. The women at the well also appeared to be better dressed, and in more comfortable circumstances than in most other places of the land; and, on the whole, we found Nazareth a more thriving place than we had anticipated. We put up our horses at the khan, which is one of the best specimens we met with of the Eastern inn. The Bazaar, however, was poor, having no great show of things for sale. Cusas and cucumbers, cloths and red shoes, formed the staple commodities. A great many bony-featured Bedouins, with the rope of camel's hair round their head, were loitering about the street.
The situation of Nazareth is very retired, and it is said that, on account of this seclusion, the worthless characters of Galilee resorted thither, till at length the town became a proverb for wickedness. In this town, among such a race of men, did the blessed Jesus live thirty years, in calm submission to his Father's will, obeying in obscurity for us.
We visited the Convent, and saw all its pretended wonders. We were shown the chamber of the Annunciation, where the angel Gabriel saluted Mary, "Hail,
306 NAZARETH—MOUNT OF PRECIPITATION.
thou that art highly favoured;" also, the house of Joseph cut out of the rock, and the pillar curiously (the inhabitants say miraculously) suspended from the roof. They wished to take us to another part of the town, to see the stone-table from which Christ dined with his disciples both before and after his resurrection—a visit which procures seven years' indulgence to the deluded pilgrims of the Romish Church; but we were no way inclined to see more of their follies, and grievously offended our guide by declining to go. One or two of the paintings in the convent are good, especially a large one of the Annunciation, but it has the painful profanation of representing God the Father as an old man. There is also a curious ancient picture of Christ, said to be the very one sent by him to the King of Edessa, on which is inscribed, "Hoc vera imago Domini," &c.
From the convent garden the monks pointed out to us the Mount of Precipitation, regarded by them as the hill from which the angry Nazarenes wished to cast the Saviour headlong, about a mile and a half distant from the town. This is a tradition which disproves itself, being contrary to the express words of the Gospel narrative, "They rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong."* We next visited the place which Dr. Clarke conjectured to be the true precipice, immediately above the small church of the Maronites. This is really a continuation of the hill upon which the town is built. It is composed of limestone rock, forming several precipices, so that a person cast down from above would without doubt have more than one dangerous fall. We had no hesitation, when standing there, in concluding that the brow of that hill was the very spot where the men of Nazareth rejected the Lord of glory.
The white rocks all round Nazareth give it a peculiar aspect. It appears dry and tame, and this effect is increased by the trees being powdered over with dust during the summer season. The heat was very great, and the glare from the rocks painful to the eyes. There is a good fountain near the entrance of the town, called the Fountain of the Virgin, because it is said that Mary and her Son were in the habit of drawing water there.
• Luke iv. 29.
LEAVE NAZARETH—CANA OP GALILEE. 307
We were detained in this town longer than we intended, by the abrupt departure of the mule.teer whom we had engaged at Saphet to accompany us to Acre, but who had set off to join a caravan that was collecting near the town, and bound for Damascus. On discovering this, we went to the Cadi to lay our complaint before him, and found several people waiting at the door of his house, who, when he made his appearance, kissed the hem of his garment—an act, like the kissing of the image of Baal,* indicating respect and reverence. Perhaps also there may be an allusion to the same custom in the words," Kiss ye the son lest he be angry." f The Cadi could do nothing for us, and sent us to the Muteselim; and he again said it was not a cause to be laid before him, but before the Sheikh! By this time, however, the man was out of reach, and we had no thought of remaining till search was made for him. We therefore proceeded on our journey without him.
We left Nazareth by a well-worn track leading over the rocky hills to the north-west, passing on our right a village called Reineh. Beyond this lies Kefr Kenna, generally supposed to be Cana of Galilee, where Jesus made the water wine. J In an hour and a half we reached Sephourieh, the ancient Sepphoris. The name, which means "a bird," (in Hebrew, -om,) seems to be derived from the position of the town; the town being on an eminence, like a bird perched on a hill-top. Its castle is in ruins, but still occupies the summit of the hill. The village is small, but many fragments of pillars and other ruins lie scattered about. Having so lately visited Tiberias, lying low upon the edge of the Lake of Galilee, we could now see the force of the saying of a rabbi, who wished his portion to be with those who began the Sabbath at Tiberias, and ended it at Sepphoris." The sun lingers of course longer upon the hill of Sephourieh, and makes a longer day than is enjoyed in low-lving Tiberias. Rabbi Judah, the holy, who completed the Mishna, was born in this town.
The people of this village were kind and affable. Some of them offered us leban, of which we gladly sat down In a court-yard to partake. Beside us were women and united, and the bottom is spiked with stones arranged at regular distances, not unlike the nails in a ploughman's shoe. It is drawn by two horses or oxen, a boy sitting upon it, and driving them round and round. This instrument is uersally used, and is probably " the thrashing instrument" mentioned by the prophet.* The wooden fork for throwing the bruised corn up in the air, is called midra, and the flat, hollow wooden shovel next used for a similar purpose, is called raha. The latter is evidently the fan of the New Testament. When this implement is used, the wheat falls down in a heap on the thrashing-floor, while the chaff" is carried away by the wind, and forms another large heap at a little distance. The peasants do not burn it; they give it to their cattle; but it is so perfectly dry, that, were it set on fire, it would be impossible to quench it. In how striking a manner do these simple customs illustrate the words of David,
• 1 King* xix. 18. Hos. xiii. 2. t Ps ii. 12.
t The researches of Robinson go for to prove, that the true site of Cana of Galilee is not Kefr Kenna, but Kana el Jelil. a ruined village three hours north of Nazareth. The latter village was within our view after leaving Sephourieh, but we did not take notice of it.
* In. xxviii. 27.
PASS OP ABILENE—SURMISES OP DANGER. 309
"The ungodly are not so, but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away;"* and those of John the Baptist concerning Jesus, " Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner: but he will burn up the chaff with fire unquenchable."f
Leaving Sephourieh, we proceeded still north-west, and after half an hour of a rough undulating road, entered upon a vast plain, stretching far to the nortli and east, bounded by gently swelling hills. Here and there we came upon fields of dhura, but by far the greater part was covered with weeds and thistles. The ground was very hard, so that although there seems to be a good deal of travelling upon this road, it was not at all cut up, but smooth and good. No wheels ever pass over it. Here we missed our servant Antonio, and found that, erroneously supposing that he had left a cloak behind at Sephourieh, he had gone back without our knowledge to recover it. Approaching the north-west corner of the vast plain, where the hills come near to one another, and form the entrance to the fine pass of Abilene, we arrived at a well and a ruined khan, where we halted for a little time to wait for Antonio; but as he did not appear, we prepared to go on without him. Meanwhile an old man came up to the well riding on an ass, and immediately warned us not to proceed further, for there were eight armed Bedouins in the valley, who had stopped and threatened him: and had allowed him to escape only because he was old, and his ass worth nothing. They were lurking for the very purpose of waylaying travellers that might be passing on to Acre. On hearing his account we were considerably alarmed, and hesitated what to do. One proposed that we should encamp in the old khan, and proceed under cloud of night; and another that we should cross the plain to a village in sight . While we were deliberating, some other men came up, who were leading camels to Sephourieh. They had met nobody in the valley, and conjectured that what the old man took for Arabs might be Ihe Pasha's soldiers. Our muleteers, who were much afraid, and anxious to turn back, said that these men wanted us to be taken, because we were all Christians. At length, considering that we had no place of safety in which we might encamp, and that the road to Acre might be as dangerous on the
• Pa i. 1. t Matt, in 12.
310 VALLEY OP ABILENE COMPANY OP BEDOUINS.
morrow as that day, we decided to go forward, commit ting ourselves once more to Him who keepeth Israel, anc who had helped us hitherto. Accordingly, we left the well, and soon entered the pleasant valley of Zdmkn, now called Wady Abilene, connecting the plain above described with the plain of Acre. Sometimes the valley was broad and level, like a small plain, well cultivated, and enclosed with steep wooded hills; sometimes it narrowed almost to the straitness of a defile. At one of these narrow passes one of the men picked up a stick which we recognised as belonging to Antonio. This circumstance excited many conjectures. We hoped that he had in some way got safely on before us; although some of the men started the suspicion that he must have fallen into the hands of the Arabs. We journeyed on, and about sunset met with a company of Bedouins, of a dark and formidable appearance, but not armed. They were riding on asses, and each carried a massy club in his hand. They looked closely at us, but passed quietly on, returning our salutation. Our servants supposed that, when they saw that we were Franks, they had imagined that we must be carrying fire-arms. To us it seemed like the deliverance of Jehoshaphat, when "God moved them to depart from him." * We met no other travellers during the rest of our way. The valley is long, and declines very gently toward the west; the hills on either side are often finely wooded, sometimes rocky and picturesque. The road is one of the best in Palestine, and was no doubt much frequented in ancient days.
Issuing from the valley, we saw with the last rays of evening, high upon a hill on our left, the town of Abilene, a fine-looking place. There is little doubt that this is the ancient Zebulun, on the border of Asher,f the modern name being a corruption of the ancient . Travellers who have visited it, have found there the remains of arches and other buildings. We only saw it at a distance and in the twilight . Josephus says, that on account of its populousness it was called "ZaffovXur iWi*>r$ (g. d. well-manned, or well-peopled, Zabulon).
Still further on is a village called Chamforeh. In half an hour after, we left the road, and crossed the valley to the right, to a small hamlet called Fatria, with tvo other villages, Damoun and Ruesh, on the right hand
• 2 Chron. xviii. 31. t Josh. xix. 37. t B. i- ii »
in breadth, beautiful and well watered. We crossed the dry bed of a stream, which flows into the sea a little way south of Acre. This is the ancient lielus or Sihor-Libnah, that is, "Sihor of the white promontory." The Palus Cendovia in which it rises, is said to be found six miles in the interior. In another part of the channel, nearer the sea, we found the water flowing in it. Before entering Acre, we passed through a large encampment of the Pasha's troops. The tents were all arranged in military order, but the men seemed to be under little discipline.
Entering the gate of Acre, we proceeded through the crowded and well-furnished bazaar. Every where soldiers were parading the narrow streets, and it seemed to be the most lively eastern town we had yet visited. The fortifications of Acre appeared to us by no means very formidable, although there were many strong forts and other buildings. No doubt, its walls and tower." must have been much stronger in former days, and its remarkable situation, as the key of this part of the land, has ever made it a post defended and attacked with desperate obstinacy.
We were conducted to the Latin Convent, as the best
* O'DDTI r'H P*. cxl 4.