78 QOMATTER—A SABBATH IN THE DESERT.
tude, no living being near except our little company of Arabs, not knowing what might be the extent of the injury received, we felt how completely our times were in God's hand. The Arabs cheerfully erected the tent, and though the water in the skins was scarce and precious, they sprinkled some over the tent to keep it cool—for the thermometer stood at 89° in the shade. The camels couched on the sand under the burning sun, and each of the Bedouins made a little tent of his cloak and lay down beneath. We were thankful to be able to resume our journey, and proceed onwards to the next stage towards the cool of the day, intending to spend the Sabbath there. The desert now presented an unvaried circle of sand as far as the horizon, sometimes gathered into little hillocks, sometimes covered with stunted thorns, "the heath in the desert" of which Jeremiah speaks.* The sun went down in the same manner as at sea, and bright moonlight followed. Very weary we arrived at Gomatter about ten o'clock at night . A small fort, or post-house of the Pasha, and a deep well of cold water, were the only objects of interest in this desolate spot, where we pitched our tents and sought rest.
(May 26, Sabbath.) The Sabbath dawned sweetly upon us, but soon it became very hot, the thermometer being 92° in the shade. We rested in our tents, and found many of the Psalms, such as the 63d, full of new meaning and power.
Dr. Keith went up to the post-office, and finding the master very friendly, sat down with him in the shade of his house. Our Arab attendants also seated themselves beside him, while he read several passages of the Bible, Ibraim being interpreter. They listened with the utmost attention, putting in a note of approbation again and again. But in the midst of his occupation, Ibraim could not refrain from making his remarks on the Bedouins. Pointing to one man who was staring with an unmeaning countenance, he whispered, " Look, look, now, is not Bedouin-man just like donkey ?"f In the evening we invited the Governor to visit our tent, and seated him on our best carpet in the corner, the Bedouins being all gathered round the tent-door. Dr. Black was so far well as to be able to address this interesting congregation. He went over several Scripture narratives, and ended by reading part of John iii. He spoke in Italian, and Ibraim interpreted, but evidently not so willingly as
* Jer. xvii. 6. t Vide p. 77.
Alexandria, and remembered him with much interest .
When left alone we were led to meditate on that happy time when Israel shall "arise and shine," and the sons of Ishmael, the untamed wanderers of the desert, shall share in the blessing. "The multitude of camels shall cover thee, the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah; all they from Sheba shall come;" "all the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered together unto thee, the rams of Nebaioth shall minister unto thee." *
(May 27.) We were up with the sun, and soon on our way. Ibraim told us that we were not many days' journey from Mount Sinai; and remarked, that the desert of Sinai (which he traversed with Dr. Robinson) is very different from that which we were now travelling, for it has trees every now and then. He described a tree very common there, of which the Bedouins make charcoal, and which grows in clusters, called Santah. May this not be the Shitta-tree, or Shittim-wood of the Scriptures If This is the extreme part of the desert of Shur, where
• Isa. lx. 6,7.
t Exod. xxv. 5, 10. Isa. xli. 19. The Dagesh in the n of nnb> (shittah) evidently points to a letter which has been dropped, which may be the «wi of Santah. By the way we asked Ibraim many questions about the names of objects round us. He pointed to onions and said the name waa "basel," which resembles very closely the Hebrew ton (batael); garlick he called loum, which is the same as the Hebrew D'Die> (shoumecm), with only a change of the sibilant. The melon is in Arabic botiach, an abbreviation of .TB2K (abatiahh). All these are mentioned together in Numb. xi. 5, "We remember the fish which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlick."
SO DESERT OP SHUR—TAHPANHES.
In Hagar wandered.* It is still overspread with stunted bushes and shrubs; and it was no doubt under one of these that she cast her child, f The most common bush is called "atel" or "athle" "the tamarisk."
Not far from this point of the road stood in ancient days Tahpanhes, or Daphne, and Migdol, whither the rebellious remnant of Judah carried Jeremiah after the destruction of Jerusalem by the King of Babylon. J At a distance on the left, we saw ancient remains, which the men said were the ruins of a city. The infallible word of God has been fulfilled. "At Tehaphnehes (Tahpanhes) also the day shall be darkened;" "a cloud shall cover her, and her daughters shall go into captivity." } We met the Pasha's dromedary-post, travelling at the rate of six or seven miles an hour. We were told that, if he be a few hours beyond his time, he is in danger of losing his head. A little after we met some Bedouins travelling on foot. Our guides recognised them, and they kissed each other several times with great affection, reminding us of the meeting of Jacob and Esau. || Before midday we came to a resting-place called Duadahr, which means "the Warrior," and our camels kneeled down beside a fine well, out of which the water is drawn by a large wheel. This resting at wells called vividly to mind many Scripture events. Jacob found Rachel, and Moses found Zipporah at the well.1T It was by a well of water that Eliezer, Abraham's servant, "made his camels to kneel down at the time of the evening;" ** and many a time did we realize that scene.
On resuming our journey, the character of the desert was altered. Instead of a level plain, our route lay over sand-hills, with considerable valleys between. The setting-sun, casting his rays on these, had a peculiarly pleasing effect; and especially when the palm-trees adorned the heights, a mild desolate beauty was added to the landscape. We understood that we were approaching the range of desert mountains, anciently called Mount Casius. The moon rose in clear, unclouded splendour, and under its light we often seemed to be journeying over drifted snow. Late at night we reached Catieh, very weary, having spent about twelve hours on the camel's back.
* Gen. xvi. 7. t Gen. xxi. 15. t Jer. xliii. 7; xlvi. 14.
$ Ezek. xxx. 18. II Gen. xxxiii. 4. f Gen. xxix.2; Exod ii. 15.
•* Gen. xxiv. 11.
it to us. tie gave us also a quantity of salted milk, which, however, we could not drink. We afterwards visited him in return at his house, and found him seated on the ground among some of his younger servants, teaching them to read. His whole manner and appearance recalled to mind the patriarch of the desert . He inquired very kindly into Dr. Black's fall from the camel, and asked if he should order the Bedouin to be bastinadoed. When we told him that we had no such desire, and that our friend had recovered from the accident, he said that when we arrived at the first town, our friend should give something to the poor out of gratitude to God, without letting any one know. While we were thus seated with him, he had ordered his wife to bake some very nice sweet cakes, which he presented to us with coffee in truly patriarchal style. It reminded us of Sarah making cakes upon the hearth, for her three heavenly visitors.f He told us that he received from the Pasha twelve dollars a-month, sufficiency of provisions, and perquisites. His house was wretched, the floor being loose sand, but the cool shade of the stone walls was pleasant. We remembered with fresh interest the words of Isaiah, "the shadow of a great rock in a weary land."J Near this spot are two monuments raised over the graves of two Marabout Sheikhs. The bodies of dead saints are entombed within, and a shell of a building with a white cupola is erected over them; within this the friends of the departed frequently meet for prayer. These are the " whited sepulchres, which appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and
* Num. xxxiii. 22. t Gen. xviii. 6. ) Isa xxxii. 2.
82 JOURHET IN THE DESERT—"HILLS OP SEIR."
all uncleanness."* The only remnants of antiquity here are a marble pillar lying in fragments among palm-trees, ind several heaps of brick. The extensive ruins of Tel Faramah lie about three hours' journey from this station, and near to the Salt Lake. We noticed here that most of the green patches in the sand are the production of the beetle's industry. The beetle with amazing labour drags the camel's dung into its hole in the sand, and thus a fruitful soil is formed ready to receive the seeds of plants. To this small insect probably we owe the greater part of the verdure of the wilderness.
We had rested the first part of this day in order fully to recruit our strength. Towards evening we were again mounted, and bade farewell to Catieh. Our last view of our kind friend Osman Effendi was when he was kneeling upon the sand near the tombs, and praying with his face towards Mecca.
The desert was now of a more verdant character; and as we proceeded, many flocks of goats were feeding by the way, some of which had sheep mingled with them; forcibly reminding us of our Lord's parabolic account of the great day.f At present, the thoughtless and the hypocrites feed side by side with the children of God in the pastures of this world's wilderness, but the day is coming when He shall separate the righteous from the wicked, "as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats." The long curling hair of these goats was of a beautiful glossy black, showing us at once the beauty and propriety of the description in the Song, "Thy hauls as a flock of goats that appear from Mount Gilead."$
Sometimes our way was through " a salt land and not inhabited."} The face of the desert in these places was white with the incrustations of salt. This made us understand the expression, " He turneth a fruitful land into barrenness," literally " into saltness."|| After six hours' journey we encamped at Beer-el-abd, " the well of the slave," a desolate spot.
Next morning (May 29) we saw at a distance a range of hills running north and south, called by the Arabs Djebel Khalil. They form part of "the hills of Seir." After wandering so many days in the wilderness,
* Matt . xxiii. 27. t Matt . nv. 32. t Song iv. L
9 Jer. xvii. 6. || Ps. evii . 34.
it the water was tepid. When we came out, th.e salt of the water appeared on our bodies in the form of a thick crust .
Returning to our tent, we gathered specimens of the few flowers of the desert, and in our search found the ground overrun with lizards and beetles. While seated at our midday meal, a company mounted on camels came past us from another quarter of the desert. One of them rode up to us, his face scorched with the sun and his mouth parched, his only cry being, " Moie, moie," "Water, water."
Towards evening we journeyed forward through a more verdant part of the desert, cheered by the view of the distant hills, and by the chirping (for there was little song) of the little birds which, for the first time, we observed among the bushes. The moon rose upon us in glorious brightness, and late at night we pitched our tents in a place called Abugilbany.
(May 30.) In the morning, the desert was really enlivened by the chirping of birds. As a single note of a sweet song will often revive a sad heart, so it seems as if the lively notes of these birds, in a plar.e so desolate and far from the dwellings of men, were a kind arrangement of Providence in order to refresh *he weary traveller.
* Deut . iii. 25. t Paradise Lost, IS. ii
were continually bending down their long necks to crop the shrubs, especially some species which seemed peculiarly succulent. We saw in this an illustration of the description given of the wild ass, "He searcheth after every green thing." f Here, too, the sand was occasionally covered with a crust of salt, as if a salt-lake had once been there. This also is mentioned in the same passage as a feature of the scenery, " Whose house I have made the wilderness, and the barren land (in Hebrew ' the salt place') his dwelling." %
Our guide now directed us by a road a little nearer than that by the sea-side; though much more irregular, and over endless hills of sand. We found the way to be a gradual ascent, and saw the minute correctness of the Scripture narrative, " a chariot came up and went out of Egypt." } And again, " Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness V || In like manner, when we met any travellers going the other way, they were, like Joseph's brethren, "going down to Egypt." IT Perhaps it was through this part of the desert of Shur that Hagar wandered, intending to go back to her native country;** and it may have been by this way that Joseph carried the young child Jesus when they fled into the land of Egypt.ff Even in tender infancy the sufferings of the Redeemer began, and he complains, " I am afflicted and ready to die from my youth up." JJ Perhaps these scorching beams beat upon his infant brow, and this sandladen breeze dried up his infant lips, while the heat of the
• Ezck. xiii. 4. t Job xxxix. 8. t Job xxxix. 6.
$ 1 Kings x. 29. II Song viii. 5. IT Gen. xlii. 3; xlvi. 4.
•* Gen. xvi. 7. tt Matt. ii. 14. U Pa lxxxviiv 15.
How full of meaning did the word of the prophet appear, "There shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the daytime from the heat."* And again, "A man shall be as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land."f
In the afternoon, we came in sight of three wells, situated in a lonely valley. On getting near the spot, there was a general rush down the slope to reach the water. The camel-drivers ran forward to be first there, and we all followed, and even the patient camels came round the wells eager to drink. But to us, the water was Marah; we could not drink it, for it was muddy, and bitter too. We tried to get a draught by straining it through a handkerchief, but all would not avail. Thus sadly were the Israelites disappointed, for when, "they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah for they were bitter."J The Bedouins seemed to care nothing for the impurity of the water, for they drank largely and greedily. We imagined that thus eagerly Israel rushed forward to the clear, cool waters of the Smitten Rock. }
We now passed over a sandy soil, in which small shells abounded, and occasionally heaps of stones that appeared to be ruins of ancient buildings. In these stones also small shells were imbedded. It was near this that Ostrarine once stood, an ancient town, so called|| from the circumstance of the shells found in the soil. The setting sun was pouring its last rays upon the bare and desolate sand-hills, as if in vain attempting to clothe them with beauty, when we came in sight of El Arish, the frontier town between Syria and Egypt, the spot we had so * I«a. iv. 6. t Isa. xxxii. 2. t Exod. xv. 23 .
$ Exod xvii. 6. II From Hnpamv a shell.
86 ARRIVAL AT EL ARISH.
anxiously desired to reach before any quarantine should be established to delay our progress. We passed the remains of an old city, the foundations of which we could distinctly trace, though half-buried in the sand. This we supposed to be the ancient Bhinocolura. In a little while after, our camels knelt down outside the gate of the small town of El Arish. We encamped under a tree, with a cluster of palms near, and not far from the burying-ground on the N. W. of the town, and on the road to Gaza. The town is situated on the gentle slope of a sand-hill about two miles from the sea. The castle, a square building, not very formidable to an enemy, stands on the highest part, and the houses, dingy, monotonouslooking buildings, with flat roofs and scarcely any windows, slope down from it. The population of the town cannot be more than 600 inhabitants, many of whom were enjoying the cool breeze of evening on the roofs of their houses. The quarantine established here for all who come from Syria going down into Egypt, prevents the increase of traffic, people being unwilling to come to it from Syria, since they must tarry so long in the Lazaretto near its walls. We were told that, at one time, 121 Arish was surrounded with beautiful gardens, but these have been completely covered by the desolating sand, and now the only remains of fertility is a grove of young palms which shelter the eastern side of the town. We were rejoiced to find that the quarantine was not yet established for those going to Syria, so that we had attained the object of our journey through the desert . This was a new and special call upon us to give thanks and praise, especially now when we were in sight of the Promised Land, and our eyes rested on some of the hills given to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
We were outside the wall, but we heard the call to prayer from the Mosque, whose minaret rises conspicuous above the common dwellings. The cry of the Muezzin was louder that evening, and more prolonged, because it was Thursday, the commencement of the Mahometan Sabbath. The Mahometans begin their Sabbath, like the Jews, at six o'clock in the evening, and Friday is the day which they keep sacred. The call to prayer is certainly one of the most solemn and affecting parts of their worship; but the Mahometans themselves seem not at all affected by it. Indeed, their whole religious services appear to be empty forms, all voice and gesture, and no feeling.
suade them to carry us farther. In this dilemma the Governor of the town sent us word that he would come and visit our tent . There is a degree of real authority suggested by the dress and air and attendants of such a man. He came riding upon a cream-coloured Arab horse, small but fleet, with silvery mane, flowing tail, and rich caparisons. His attendants rode by his side, and even they assumed an air of importance with their ornamented girdles, crooked scimitars, and elegant eastem attire. Their favourite feat of horsemanship was to gallop at full speed along the sand or among the palms, and then suddenly to draw the rein and stop, making the sand fly in all directions. When the Governor was fairly seated in the corner of our carpet, he evidently wished to shew his authority and importance, and to get money from us by pretending causes of delay; but after much arguing and annoyance, he at last agreed to arrange with the camel-driver who had brought us thus far, to take us to Gaza for 600 piastres (about £6 Sterling)—a price double what ought to have been charged, but demanded at present as necessary to remunerate the men who would be kept in quarantine on their return. Part of the price was accordingly paid into the Governor's hand, and the interview ended. He afterwards sent us a jar of cold water as a present; for " a cup of cold water only"* is a real gift in this country.
• Afatt. x. 42.
understand better how they were so much discouraged because of the way, and how they were so often tempted to murmur against God.
How great a blessing "the pillar of the cloud" must have been! Towering over the camp, it cast a delightful shadow upon the sand over which they moved. But still more, what a gracious pledge it was that their heavenly Guide would lead them in the right way to the place of rest.
Now, too, we were taught the meaning of " dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob." * Such a life is one of constant dependence and faith. In the morning when the tent is struck, the traveller never knows where he is to pitch it at noon or evening; whether it is to be beside the palm and springs of water, or in solitude and sand. The description of the joyful state of the redeemed given in the Apocalypse, f seems to be formed in reference to such a life as this. There shall be no more hunger, thirst, nor burning sun, but green shady pastures and living fountains of water, and the Lamb shall dwell as in a tent J among them. And all this because they have reached the promised inheritance ;—their desert life has ended, and the Promised Land begun.
We noticed that when camels are sent out to feed they often stray over a wide surface. At the place where we now were, the reason alleged for keeping us till next day was that the camels had been sent out to feed and could
Hcb. xi. 9. t Rev. vii. 16, 17. t mnwunc
The heat having abated, we wandered towards the town. We observed two very deep wells, arched over to keep out the sun and the sand. Two marble columns were built into one of them, and broken pieces of marble pillars of the Doric order were lying scattered in various places near the town. To the east a kind of garden, surrounded with a hedge of prickly pear, and planted with palms, aloes, and melons, seemed to struggle with the sand for existence. In the town several women in the streets wore the anklet, "the tinkling ornament about their feet."} We heard its sound as we passed along. Most of their children had their heads adorned with pieces of money. The Effendi's child was carried at the side, having six or eight gold coins, called harieh, strung together round the front of its cap. Most of the houses are built completely of mud. At present they are as hard and as dry as stone, but we could readily imagine how easily the overflowing shower would destroy them, and the stormy wind rend the wall.|| The roofs of the houses are all flat, and communicate with one another. Often they are made of the branches of the palm and other trees, with the leaves remaining on them, and coated over with mud. If the house mentioned by Marklf had a roof of this description, how easy it would be to break it up. In the court of one of the houses (for every house, however
90 EL AR1BH—ARAB OVEN.
humble, has its court,*) we examined the Arab oven, a rude and simple contrivance. It is made of clay like their houses, quite dry and hard. The lower aperture is to admit the fire, a few cinders of
charcoal, or some heated | stones. Over the fire there is a floor of clay, where the dough is fired. The upper aperture is for .','. .* putting in the dough when 5; it has been kneaded and *divided into cakes. The roof of the whole, surrounded by a parapet, affords a convenient place for the bread gradually to cool. The kneading trough is a large wooden bowl, not unlike that used in our own country. In the middle of the town there is a very fine well, the water of which is drawn up by a wheel. We drank freely for the first time since entering the desert. No one who has not wandered in arid regions, can imagine the delight which cold water gives to a thirsty soul.f Toward sunset, two of our number crossed the hills of sand which enclose El Arish, till we came to the ancient bed of a broad river, about half a mile east of the town. The channel is about two hundred yards in breadth, distinctly marked by banks on either side. The bed was perfectly flat and dry: but in other days, when Judah's rivers flowed with water, it must have been a majestic stream, not unworthy to form the boundary of the land, if indeed (which is doubtful) this was " the river of Egypt" so often referred to as the limit of Israel on the south.J A little way further inward, the channel seemed to be filled up by sand drifted from the hills: but from the spot where we were, down to the sea, a distance of two miles, we could distinctly trace its ancient course. We stretched ourselves under one of the bushes that still overhang its banks, and remembering with gratitude that we were now within the border of the Promised Land, united in prayer for Israel, our Church, our distant flocks, and our own souls. We then wandered homewards, that is, to our tents—our only home in this strange land. The hills of El Khalil were full in sight, and toward the sea the Lazaretto attracted our notice by the * 2 Sam. xvii. l8 . t Prov. xxv. 25. t Gen. xv. l8 .
Ill a J,u Ul w*ut-i, iM>ni wini^u an in LLllll UlallK yTCCUIiy.
On the wall were slates of tin with Arabic traced upon them.
This being Saturday, we remembered in looking across the bed of the ancient river, that on the other side in former days, Israel would have been keeping their Sabbath, and Egypt would hear the praises of Jehovah floating across the stream.
Entering the Fort, we examined an old trough of very hard granite, quite covered with Arabic writing, well engraved. At midday, we went to the gate to enjoy the coolness. The arched roof affords a complete shade at all times, and often a pleasant breeze passes through. Under such a gateway probably Lot was seated, for coolness' sake, when the angels came to Sodom ;* and for the same reason, the people of old used to resort to it, and it became the market-place, f We saw how the gate became the seat of judgment,J when a little after the Governor and his Effendi appeared. His attendants having spread a mat and a carpet over it, and a cushion at each corner, he took his seat, inviting us to recline near him. We took off our shoes and sat down. Our conversation was very limited, as Ibraim was not with us to interpret, but we partook of coffee together, served up in little cups, which are every where in use. The Governor was interrogating a native Christian who stood by. This man was a Christian Copt. He told us in broken Italian that he was rejoiced to meet us, because, beinir almost the only Christian in the place, he is much
• Gen. xix. 1. t Ruth iv. 1, 11. Ps. lxix. 12. Jer. xvii. 19.
t Job v. 4. Jer. xxxviii. 7; xxxix. 3. Amos v. 15. Matt . xvi. 1a
show their anxiety to keep a Deiovea omect ever in mind. There is no doubt a reference to this custom in the beautiful words, "Behold 1 have graven thee on the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me ;"f and also when it is said, " Another shall subscribe with his hand unto the Lord," or more literally, "Another shall write upon his hand, To the Lord,"l— words intended to express the complete surrender which a believer makes of soul and body to the Lord who bought him.
This day we experienced the effect of the wind raising the sand. The wind was not remarkably strong, but the sand was so fine that it penetrated every where. No tent nor portmanteau could shut it out. Our clothes, our food, the water we drank, all were filled with sand. At length eight camels arrived. We joyfully struck our tents, and were conveyed to the Lazaretto close by the shore.
In our way down we passed the rude booths of palmbranches which we had elsewhere seen, and heard the sound of the mill-stone, coming from one of them, it being now near sunset, the time for the evening meal. In the dry channel of the river many fine palm-trees were growing, and several luxuriant plants, cultivated in holes dug for the purpose. Several gardens also were laid out with small canals intersecting them, so
* Ezek. ix. 2. t Isa- xl«- 16.
1 Isa. xliv. 5. nvnS n» aw
swifter, and quicker in its motions; but the Arabian camel and dromedary have both only one hump, though the camel of Bactria and other regions is said to have two. One of our camels had a young one running by its side. Under the conduct of Mustapha—another Bedouin with fine Eastern features—Mahommed, and a boy, we proceeded across the bed of the river, and ascended the opposite bank, entering with joy the Land of Israel. The country was now very different from the desert. A range of low sand-hills lay between us and the seashore, ready to fulfil God's work of desolation on the land within; but the valley through which we were passing had verdure and pasturage, and opened into other valleys of the same character. The ground was full of holes, which we were told were made by the jerboas. Darkness soon came on, and we rested a short time at the command of our Bedouin, who wished to feed his camels. We kindled a blazing fire in the manner of the Bedouins, whose fires we saw in several places round about us. The moon rose most splendidly as we proceeded, and the birds in the bushes round about began to twitter and sing, as if mistaking the bright moon for the rising sun. Though much oppressed with sleepiness, and often in danger of falling from the camel's back, yet the pleasantness of the air, the change of scenery, and the knowledge that we were now traversing the portion of the tribe of Simeon, made our journey comparatively' easy. We arrived at Sheikh Jnide, once a village, now only a station and a burying-place, marked by the white
• Q'D >&D Ps. i. 3. Also Prov. xxl 1.
94 STATION OP SHEIKH JU1UE.
tomb of a Mahometan saint. It has a good well, some fields of tobacco, and several palm-trees. We pitched our tent under a nabbok-tree, resembling a plane-tree, and felt how naturally it is recorded, "Deborah dwelt under the palm-tree," * "Saul tarried under a pomegranate-tree ;"f and of Abraham, who had received the three angels into his tent, that "he stood by them under the tree."]: We spread our mats and fell asleep, thinking over the Promised Land, and how in some part of this very country, God had said to Jacob, as he was stretched out for rest with a stone for his pillow, " The land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it."}
(June 2, Sabbath.) Awaking, we felt the solemnity and privilege of spending a Sabbath-day in the land of Israel. We had worship together in the tent, and sang with joyful hearts,
"In Judah's land God is well known,
J1 is name's in Israel great," &c.||
With what appropriateness we could look round on every plain and hill within our view and say,
"There arrows of the bow He brake!
The sword, the shield, the war—
More glorious thou than hills of prey.
More excellent art far."
We had leisure to meditate on those portions of Scripture that peculiarly refer to God's wonders done here. Between us and the range of hills to the east, we had reason to believe, lay the valley of Gerar, the valley where Abraham dwelt,IT the land where Isaac sowed, and received in the same year an hundred-fold, and where he digged so many wells.** In this region, too, the Avims dwelt till they were destroyed by "the Caphtorims out of Caphtor,"ff the ancestors of the Philistines, who in turn yielded to Judah and Simeon. This is the highway down into Egypt; so that by it the Ishmaelites would carry youthful Joseph into Egypt, with their camels bearing spicery, and balm, and myrrh,J( and by this way Jacob would come down with the wagons which Joseph had sent to carry him.}} This tract was in the portion of Simeon. Seventeen cities with their tillages are recorded as belonging to it.|||| But, where It was pleasant to think of Isaac and his herdraen having wandered here. We came upon an immense colony of ants, all busily employed. They had made a highway from their dwelling of about forty yards in length, and this was literally covered with a black dotted line of these moving insects. Those going out carried nothing, but hurried along with great'speed. Those returning carried a seed or piece of straw. Another band were employed in carrying out a grain of the soil from the camp, making room for the new supply. The Arabs call them by the Hebrew term nimla. We read over Proverbs vi. 6-11; and thus got a Sabbath lesson applied with power even in the wilderness—a lesson of constant untiring diligence in the work of the Lord. We prayed together, feeling that the land was fitted to make us ask much, for from these heavens the Holy Spirit had descended on many a prophet and many a saint. May such men be raised in our day, and Israel be so blessed again, and the same Spirit who visited them visit our land! The evening closed calmly round us in our tents. (June 3.) We left Sheikh Juide before 6 A. M., pleasant clouds veiling the sun. Our course lay northward on the road to Gaza. The same low sand-hills were still between us and the sea, but there was considerable verdure on the undulating plains through which we passed. The road is not like a king's highway with us, made be
* Judges iv. 5. t 1 Sam. xiv. 2. t Gen. xviii. 8.
$ Geri. xxviii. 13. II Ps. lxxvi. 1. TGen. xx. 1.
** Gen. xxvi. 12, 18. tt Deut. ii. 23. t) Gen. xxxvii. 25,88.
W Gen. xlvi. 1. 11,1 Josh. xix. 1—9.
• Jcr. xlvii. 6, 7.
mingling with eacii other, in a Dreadtn 01 thirty or iony yards. Verdure and wild genista often occurred between the paths, so that the camels were frequently bending their long necks to feed as we journeyed. We notice this, because it seems to illustrate the description of wisdom in Proverbs, " She standeth by the way in the places of the paths* Hence also the expression. "Hold up my goings in thy paths ;"f and in the 23d Psalm, "He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness;" J arid the declaration, "Broad is the way which leadeth to destruction," j hints at its many paths. The country we passed through this day was a light pasture land, with plains and straths of vast extent. We observed all the animals mentioned in Scripture || as belonging to the original inhabitants,—sheep, oxen, asses, anil camels. In some places the divisions of the fields were marked out; a bunch of broom tied up formed the landmark. Some fields had been ploughed in a very slight manner. These signs of approaching cultivation were pleasant as we came up from the wilderness.
Our guides pointed out the site of Rnplia, the ancient Raphia, on our left near the sea, hid from our view by mounds of sand.
At midday we arrived at Khanounes, the ancient Jenysits;—its Scripture name is unknown. We had expected to find rest and refreshment here, but a complete hurricane of wind blew the small dry sand full in our faces for about an hour. It was vain to attempt putting up the tent, so that we were forced to shelter ourselves sors, and this is one of the commonest productions of the Holy Land, showing that it has become the.heritage of the heathen, who sow Israel's fields. The houses were as substantial as mud-brick walls can be supposed to be. The old fort seemed to be a place of distinction, having a long inscription in Arabic round the interior of the porch. The bazaar consisted of a small row of wretched shops; whose owners were squatted each before his door, smoking his pipe, and selling barley, beans, apricots, cucumbers, raisins, charcoal, pipes, and a few trinkets. We sat down in the shade, and all the inhabitants, young and old, gathered round; but unable to speak their language, we could only minister kindness to them, allowing them to examine our veils, straw-hats, and watches, which were subjects of endless wonder. One man wore two or three beads pendant from his forehead. He said it was a charm to keep his eyes from blindness. Another came with a diseased neck, to which he pointed in silence with his finger, intimating that he desired to be healed. This brought Jesus and his wonders of mercy to mind in a most affecting manner. We assured him that we had no gift of healing. Meanwhile Ibraim had searched the town to find substantial provisions, but in vain; he could not even procure a cake of bread. We were offered unground barley, which a native could have used without much trouble by means of the hand-mill; for we learned by experience that it is the custom in the East to grind morning and evening just as much as serves for daily use. Hence the necessity of the law, "No man shall take the nether or the upper millstone to * Isa. xxxii 2. t Isa. xxv. 1.
* Prov. viii. 2. t Ps- xvii. 5. } Ps. xxiii. 3.
i Matt. vii. 13 II 1 Sam. xxvii. 9.
VS VILLAGE OP BENNISHA.IL.
pledge, for he taketh a man's life to pledge." * We learned also that this country is not now what it once was, "a land wherein thou shalt eat bread without scarceness, and not lack any thing in it."f In the market the people were using stones instead of regular weights, according to the ancient mode.J The writer's inkhorn was worn by two or three at the bazaar. At the entrance of the town stands the chief object of interest, the public well, at which we drank large and refreshing draughts of delightful water. A camel turned the wheel, and the water was brought up in small earthen jars, which emptied themselves into a trough. This is called the Persian wheel. The well is evidently the rendezvous for idlers, gazers, and talkers, and as much a place of public resort as the market. Old and young, cattle and camels, were gathered thither. The coolness of the spot, and the prospect of meeting others, no doubt induce many to take their seat by the well's side. A little way out of the town was the burying-ground. Some men were digging a grave. One man dug with a pick-axe, then took a basket and with his hands scraped into it the earth he had loosened, and handed up the basket to those above. At the same place, one of our attendants was met by an old acquaintance, a Bedouin. They saluted each other kindly, kissing three times.
After partaking of some rice and ripe apricots, we resumed our journey about six o'clock in the evening. The camels moved on through a very level and broad plain, which retained more of its grassy verdure than any we had yet passed through. The descending sun shone mildly, the stormy wind had fallen, many" flocks were browsing on each side of the road, and there was reviving freshness in the evening breeze. About half an hour N. E.
ROAD TO OAZA SYCAMORES. 99
from Khanounes is a small village called Bennishail, built apparently of mud bricks, but embosomed in trees, among which a solitary palm raised its head. The name of the town is taken from the Arabic name of one of the constellations. It stands upon the summit of a rising ground, and the channel of a stream, which at one time had watered its gardens, but is now dry, can be plainly traced. It may occupy the place of some of Simeon's cities, " Hazar-Susah," or " Baalath-beer, Ramath of the south." * Some, indeed, have supposed Khanounes to be ** Ramath of the south" but the word " Ramath" means "high ground," a name which could not apply to Khanounes, but would suit well the situation of this pleasant village, for the towers (Ramolh) on that slope would glance beautifully in the setting sun, even as do now its tigs and solitary palm. The birds were singing very sweetly. Many old and verdant sycamores, with gnarled trunks and branches spreading out toward the east,
adorned the plain. If the sycamore of Zaccheus was like these, we see how easily he could climb it, and how ssselr be could lie upon its branches, and see Jesus passing beneath.* The height of it, also, (for it is among the highest trees in Palestine,) may have afforded another reason for his choice. It is said of Solomon, that " he made cedars to be us the sycamore-trees that are in the vale for abundance,"J which shows that in his day the sycamore grew in Great plenty, probably in this very plain along the Mediterranean. At present they are far from being abundant . Indeed, trees of any kind are
• JoiU. xix. 8 t Luke xix. 1-4. t 1 Kings x. 27.
"And the sea-coast shall be dwellings and cottages for shepherds and folds for flocks."} A little after we heard for the first time the loud painful cry of the wolf not far off. Passing up a gentle ascent, there was a village on our left, called Dair or Adair, conjectured by some to be the Adar of Scripture,} but as darkness had come down upon us, we could only hear the barking of its dogs.
We had already crossed the dry beds of two torrents, and now came to a third, broader than any of the rest, but quite as dry, called Wady Saiga. Perhaps this may be the brook Besor, memorable in the history of David,|| as the place where 200 of his valiant men remained behind when he pursued the Amalekites. In comparing the narrative of that pursuit with the features of the country, there are minute coincidences worthy to be observed. The young Egyptian said to David, "I will bring thee down to this company."1T The reference here is evidently to those gentle ascents up which we were travelling. David and his men were coming from the north, hence it is truly said that they were "brought down." Again, it is said of the Amalekites, " Behold they were spread abroad upon all the earth." ** They were scattered over those open fields and plains, carelessly enjoying themselves. Some hours after we crossed another bed of a river, which the Arabs called Wady Gaza. The banks were steep and the channel broad at the point where we crossed. When we met with so that we had not a firman from the Pasha of Egypt, in which case he could have compelled the men to carry us forward. This was almost the only instance where we had any reason to regret the want of a firman. As it was, the Governor, finding that we had no other hope of getting away, took it upon him to command the cameldriver to arrange with us and go forward next morning. Meanwhile, we wandered over the sand-hills on which we had pitched our tents, that we might view the town and adjoining country. Beneath us on the north-west lay the high road to Gaza, the same as in ancient days, but lonely and still, except when the shepherds and their flocks passed by. "The earth mourneth and fadeth away, few men are left."f Whether the Ethiopian eunuch had come thus far or not, it was this tract of road he was traversing: and it may have been, while his chariot moved heavily and noiselessly over these sands, that Philip had the opportunity of running up to him, and speaking the words of eternal life.J We sat down on the northern extremity of the mounds of sand, a spot which beautifully overlooks the modern town of Gaza. The evening sun shone sweetly through the beautiful gardens, fine old fies and sycamores, and curious hedges of prickly pear. The minarets and other buildings rose above the trees, and we listened with delight to the soft
* Rosenmuellcr supposes that the rareness of this tree may be accounted for. It produces turpentine; and if incisions are not made during summer in its bark, the resinous matter accumulates, swells the bark, cracks the stem, and then exudes in such quantity that the tree is often destroyed. t Joel i. 12. t Zcph. ii. 6. $ Josh. rv. 3.
II 1 Sam. xxx. 10. 1 1 Sam. xxx. 15. *• lb. verse 16.
* I's. cxxvi. 4. Josh. Xt. 19. t ln. xxiv. 4, 6. t Acts viii. 26,
102 GAZA—VIEW OP THE COUNTRY.
voice of the turtle heard in the land, and the voices of the little children at play. We were told that there are about 3000 inhabitants, though others say above 10,000.
Whilst we gazed upon this peaceful scene, we felt it hard to think that this was a land on which God was "laying his vengeance." * It appeared at first as if there had been no fulfilment of those distinct predictions, "Gaza shall be forsaken,"f and " baldness has come upon Gaza."J But when we had completed our investigation, we found that not one word had fallen to the ground.
We separated in order to obtain different views of this interesting spot. Dr. Black remained to examine more fully the hills of sand. Dr. Keith took the direction of the sea, which is about three miles distant from the modern town, starting the idea, that in all probability these heaps of sand were covering the ruins of ancient Gaza. The ancient town occupied a site much nearer the sea. The rest of us took the direction of the most prominent hill in the landscape lying N. E., and overhanging the modern town. Crossing a wady quite dry, we climbed the hill, which is less than 100 feet high. Wild thyme is the chief plant upon it, loading the air with fragrance, and a torrent forces its way down a ravine in winter. The top is ornamented with the white tomb of a Mahometan saint. The evening was uncommonly sweet, and the birds were singing among the olive and fig-trees in the gardens that stretch from the town to the base of the mount . From this point, the town appeared much poorer and more wretched than we had supposed. The flatroofed huts without windows seemed to be all of mud. The four mosques, the ruins of an ancient church, and other edifices among the beautiful trees, were the chief ornaments. Looking to the east, we enjoyed a pleasant view of the undulating pasture-land, not unlike some parts of Dumfriesshire; while to the north, gardens and olive groves were stretched out as far as what we thought might be the valley of Eshcol. As we stood among .ombs on the top of the mount, we concluded that this was the hill to the top of which Samson carried the gates of Gaza, the two posts, the bar and all,} a monument of triumph in view of the whole city, whom, as leader of Israel, he had baffled even at the time when his own sins hung heavy upon him. Although it is not high, yet from its top you may see the heights that overhang Hebron,
* Ezek. xxv. 17. t Zeph. ii. 4.
t Jer. xlvii. 5. $ Juug xvi. 3.
able. This barren, bare hill of sand is the bald head of Gaza.} How awfully true and faithful are the words of God!
All along the coast of Philistia, we had seen how accurately these words are fulfilled," I will stretch out mine hand upon the Philistines, and I will cut off the Cherethims, and destroy the remnant of the sea-coasts," || there being now none of all those ancient warriors that used to issue from these coasts and penetrate into the heart of Judah. We saw also the fulfilment of this word, "The king shall perish from Gaza," U a paltry governor being now its ruler, not engaged in affairs of state, but in helping travellers to find camels for their journey. We were much struck likewise by observing how truly "the sea-coast had become dwellings and cottages for shepherds and folds for flocks," ** for few of the fields are cultivated, and the hills and vales are so completely pastoral, that from one rising ground we counted ten large flocks and herds. One prophecy, however, regarding this region remains yet to be fulfilled, "The coast shall be for the remnant of the house of Judah; they shall feed thereupon: in the houses of Ashkelon
• Judg. xr. 17. t Amos i. 7. t Jer. xlvii. 5.
i See Dr. Keith's remarks made on the spot, at p. 253 of his Evidence of Prophecy, 23d edition. II Kzek. xxv. 16. f Zech. ii 5. "Zeph. ii- 6.
Kedar." J The tents of the Bedouins are of a darkbrown colour, made of goat's hair, and rudely stretched on four poles. How striking the contrast between these and " the curtains of Solomon !"—the splendid hangings of his pavilion, which were no doubt like those of Aliasuerus, " white, green, and blue, fastened with cords of fine linen and purple, to silver rings and pillars of marble." } In one of the Arab huts the inmates were grinding at the mill, and we helped them to move round the upper millstone. Again, we came upon an Arab cottage, made of branches of trees, and found the whole family seated on the sand before the door. After the usual salaam, they gave us bread warm from their oven, with a look of great kindness, and refused to take any money in return. In one field, the men were ploughing with oxen. In another under the hill, they were winnowing barley, casting it up to the wind with a sort of wooden shovel or fan. The corn lay in heaps not bound in sheaves.
Returning in the evening through fields of melons, we disturbed "the keepers of a field," the same as those mentioned by the prophet. || A rude shed made of four upright poles, that supported a covering of twined branches, protected from the weather an old decrepit Arab, who sat watching against any intrusion that might be made by man or beast upon his field. In passing through a large flock of sheep, we remarked how familiar they appeared to be with the shepherd, showing no signs of timidity at his closest approach. Their large heavy tails are also very remarkable. These are chiefly composed of fat, and are particularly referred to in the Mo
• Zeph. ii. 7. t Matt . x. 42. } Song i. 5.
J Eith. i. 6. II Jer. iv. 17.
prickly pear, enclosing luxuriant gardens." In these no care seems to be bestowed upon flowers, but pomegranate, fig, and olive-trees flourished abundantly. Occasionally we noticed a fig-tree up which a vine had climbed, so that the combined shade "of their vine and fig-tree " f might here be enjoyed together. Several of the houses in the town had tents erected on their flat roofs; which we supposed might be especially intended at present to avoid the infection of the plague. A burying-ground a little way from the gate had lamps suspended over several of its tombs.
We then entered upon the Grove of Olives, which is laid down in maps. The public road passed through it for about three miles. The trees appear to have been planted at regular distances,—handsome trees with pleasant shade, reminding the traveller of the days of Philistia's glory. We met many peasants, some riding on asses, some on foot, carrying into town vegetables and fruits. Several women carried baskets of mulberries on their heads. The Bedouins brought us some Of these, and we found them much better than those we got in Egypt. On either side of the road, the ground is covered with verdure, so that the grove is not unlike some nobleman's domain. The constant chirping of the
frasshoppers, though monotonous, was not unpleasant, 'here is something strongly indicative of health and vigour in the fresh look of a flourishing olive-tree, but especially when a grove of them is seen together, and
* Exod. xxi.t. 22. Lev. iii. 9 t Mic. iv. 4.
over all, like the Sun of righteousness shining over his peaceful Church!
On emerging from this pleasant grove, the country opens out into a fine plain. In the fields all the operations of harvest seemed to be going on at the same time. Some were cutting down the barley, for it was the time of barley-harvest, with a reaping-hook not unlike our own, but all of iron, and longer in the handle and smaller in the hook. Others were gathering what was cut down into sheaves. Many were gleaning; and some were employed in carrying home what had been cut and gathered. We met four camels heavily laden with ripe sheaves, each camel having bells of a different note suspended from its neck, which sounded cheerfully as they moved slowly on. Perhaps those bells may be a remnant of the "joy in harvest,"} though this is not the only time when they are used. The practice appears to have been very common in the days of Zechariah, for he makes use of the expression, "On the bells of the horses shall be, Holiness to the Lord," [| to indicate the holiness that shall pervade the land, descending to the minutest and most ordinary movements of life. The barley on the plain seemed good, but the crop amazingly thin, and the rank weeds so abundant, that asses and other cattle were feeding on the part of the field that had been newly cut.
Bet-hanoon, a small village on the right hand, is the first object of interest in this plain. It is composed of brown square huts standing on a rising ground, and sur
• Hosea xiv. 6. t Jer. xi. 16. t Ps. lii. &
laa.ix. 3. II Zech.xiv.20.
dustry of man and the blessing of God! About a mile further on we crossed by a bridge another deep and narrow channel, called by the Arabs Wady Djezed, which runs to the sea, and which we conjectured to be the brook Sorek. Although some fix the position of Eshcol nearer Hebron, yet there seems good reason to think that this open vale through which we passed is the true valley of Eshcol, where the spies cut down a cluster of grapes so large that they bare it between them upon a start".* It is easy to imagine that this spacious valley, stretching nearly north and south for many miles, and bordered on either side by gently sloping hills, would form in other days one splendid vineyard, fertile in its soil, and watered by pleasant brooks. Where are its vines now? Vast fields of barley meet the eye; but we saw not a single vine. God seems to have chosen this spot the more strikingly to draw attention to the fulfilment of another of his predictions, "I will destroy her vines and her fig-trees, whereof she hath said, These are my rewards which my lovers have given me."f "I will take away my wine in the season thereof."J We afterwards found a few fig-trees, but still not a single vine, in all this valley that once obtained its name from its ripe clusters of grapes. This is only one instance out of a thousand of the manner in which God has bereaved Israel of their plentiful fruits in token of his wrath. Every traveller can bear witness, that over the whole land the
* Num. xiii. 23 . t IIos. ii. 12. t lb. verse 9
108 VALLEY OP ES1ICOL—DESOLATE VILLAGES.
words of Joel are fulfilled, " The vine is dried up and the fig-tree languisheth, the pomegranate-tree, the palm-tree also, and the apple-tree; even all the trees of the field are withered."* The fact of the Turks and Saracens being by their religion opposed to wine, was no doubt one of the chief means in the hands of God to prevent the cultivation of the vine in the land. With what certainty may we anticipate the reversing of the judgment, which the same word has promised, "I will give her her vineyards from thence."f "And the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt."J About noon we encamped at'the village of Deir-esnait. Our guides remarked that "deir" means a convent, or some such building. We could, however, find no trace of any ancient building; the houses are all plastered with mud; and the village is surrounded by trees. As we approached, one of the camel-drivers, pointing to a cluster of six large fig-trees, cried out, " Tacht et-teen," "under the fig-tree?" And soon we felt the pleasantness of this shade; for there is something peculiarly delightful in the shade of the fig-tree. It is far superior to the shelter of a tent, and perhaps even to the shadow of a rock; since not only does the mass of heavy foliage completely exclude the rays of the sun, but the traveller finds under it a peculiar coolness, arising from the air gently creeping through the branches. Hence the force of the Scripture expression, "When thou wast under the fig-tree;"} and the prophecy, "In that day shall ye call every man his neighbour under the vine and under the fig-tree."||—Restored and happy Israel shall invite one another to sit down beneath their embowering shade to recount the glorious acts of the Lord.
Reclining under these six fig-trees we enjoyed a short repose, the servants and camels being all gathered round us under the same grateful shade. These immense trees show plainly that the substantial fertility of the soil is still remaining, but they are almost the only remnants of Eshcol's luxuriance. A small village was in sight to the right, called Dimreh, its mud-plastered houses halfconcealed by verdant trees. None of the villages we had seen would contain above fifty souls, some not so many, and yet these are spots where Judah and Israel used to be " many as the sand which is by the sea in multitude."1T But now Isaiah's words are verified, "The
* Joel i. 12. t Hoa ii. 15 t Amos a. 13.
§ John i. 48. II Zcch. iii 10. T 1 Kiiiga iv. 20.
herds were seen spreading through the undulating valleys. In one place we saw many of them gathered together under a shady tree, waiting till the excessive heat of noon should be abated. At other times, the shepherds
Cther the flocks beside a well, as we afterwards saw at bonah, where many hundreds were lying down around the well's mouth. We remembered the words of the Song, " Tell me, O thou whom my sou] loveth, where thou feedest, where thou makest thy flock to rest at noon."f The sight of these flocks reclining beneath the shady trees suggested the true meaning of another passage, " I will raise up for them a plant of renown."\ This plant is some noble shady tree where the flock may find rest and shelter—a wide-spreading covert, renowned for its coolness, under whose protecting branches they shall feed, and be " no more consumed with hunger." The great Redeemer is thus represented as giving to his own flock first shelter from burning wrath, and then peace to feed in plenty when they are delivered. When shall Israel come to this Plant of renown?
After gathering some of the wild flowers and seeds of shrubs, as memorials of the hills of Philistia—among others, seeds of the Poterium spinosum,—we returned to the encampment through fields where some were cutting down the barley, and others gleaning behind them, like Ruth in the fields of Boaz, not far off; while the feet of oxen were treading out what had been cut. In the vil
• Isa. vi. 11, 12. t Song i. 7.
t Ezek. xxxiv. 29. See the whole context, where Israel is compared to a flock of sheep.
110 BEDOUIN MODE OP SALUTATION.
lage " the sound of the millstone" met our ears, proceeding from several of the huts. It is a clear ringing sound, conveying an idea of peace and cheerfulness, and is more than once spoken of in Scripture.* In the court-yardof one house, the grinders accompanied their occupation with a song.f Before leaving the poor villagers, we partook of the first fruits of the land in the shape of fine ripe apricots, and drank a little of their "Hemat" or "Leban-hemat," a kind of sour milk, which is very cooling and pleasant when well prepared. It was this which Jael gave to Sisera.J—" She brought forth butter in a lordly dish ;" the word in the original being the same as that now applied by the Arabs to this simple beverage. It is made by putting milk into an earthen jar, and letting it stand for a day. "The taste is not unlike that of butter-milk, cool and most refreshing to a weary man oppressed with heat. The Arabs say " it makes a sick man well."
Leaving this pleasant spot about half-past four, we proceeded northward through the plain, crossing the dry channel of a former brook named Wady-el-Abd. There were many fields of tobacco, barley, and dhura, and clusters of silvery olives, to relieve the eye. The dhura is a species of millet or Indian corn; it grows very rank and strong, bears a heavy crop, and is often roasted and eaten unground. One stalk sometimes furnishes a meal to a native. Perhaps this may have been "the parched corn" which Boaz gave to Ruth,} and David carried to his brethren.|| An incidental occurrence here showed us the meaning of Elisha's command to his servant Gehazi, to salute no man by the way.IT A Bedouin acquaintance of one of our camel-drivers, meeting him on the road, the two friends occupied no small time in salutation. They kissed each other five times on the cheek, holding the hand at the same time; then asked three or four questions at each other, and not till this was done, did they resume their journey. If Gehazi, a man so well known, had done this to every one he met, he would not have reached Carmel before his master.
In less than an hour we came to Bet-Car, a small place, composed of one square of houses for villagers and their Wady Rousad, we came to Doulis, a considerable village, placed upon a rock, and overlooking the open vale through which we had travelled. It stands on the left of the road, and is four hours distant from our last station. Here we encamped for the night. While the servants were pitching the tents, we wandered through the place, and sitting down by the well, observed the women come to draw water. The well is very deep, and the mode of drawing up the water curious. A rope is attached by one end to a large bucket, made of skin, and let down over a pulley; while the other end is attached to a bullock, which is driven down the slope of the hill; the skin of water is thus hauled up to the top, where a man stands ready to empty it into the trough, from which women receive the water in earthen - ware jugs. To us this was a novel and amusing sight.
* Jer. xxv. 10. Rev. xviii. 22.
t Perhaps this may be alluded to in Eccles. xii. 4, " The found of the grinding is low." 1 Judg. v 25. nKDn See also Job xxix. 6. § Ruth ii. 14.
II 1 Sam xvii, 17. % % Kings iv. 29. Also Luke x. 4.
closures, we couia not look upon tnese "ioias lor flocks," so closely adjoining the "dwellings and cottages for shepherds," and this in the very region anciently called "the sea-coast," without expressing to one another our admiration at the manner in which God had brought about the fulfilment of the prophecy already more than once alluded to, "The sea-coast shall be dwellings and cottages for shepherds, and folds for flocks." f »
One man kindly invited us to enter his cottage, and sit down on his carpet. He showed us the key commonly used for the door, which is nothing more than a piece of wood with pegs fastened in it, corresponding to small holes in a wooden bolt within. It is put through a hole in the door, and draws the bolt in a very simple manner. It is generally carried in the girdle; though sometimes we were told it is tied to something else, and worn over the shoulder in the way spokenof by the prophet, "The key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder." J The large opening through which the key is introduced, illustrates these words in the Song, "My beloved put in his hand by the hole of the door."; It is possible that Doulis may be the remains of Eshlaol, one of the cities of Dan, mentioned in the life of Samson.|| Its situation upon a rock, the deep well, and the pits, all show that it is an ancient place; and the ancient name may be concealed under the modern form.
On the way to our encampment, we passed some of the tents of Kedar pitched under a tree outside the village, exactly like those mentioned before—low dark-brown cov
* Jer. xli. 8 t Zeph. ii. 6. X Isa. xxii. 22
$ Song v. 1. II Josh. xix. 41. Judg. xiii. 25.
x ne wuiueu in an mis re«ion wear long veus, wnicn in part cover the lower part of the face, but are not drawn close over it as in Egypt. Long veils seem to have been common, and were used for various purposes, often like aprons.*
The incessant sound of the grasshopper both day and night, made us observe how natural was the image used by the spies, " we were in our own sight as grasshoppers,"f for, like us, they must have listened to their perpetual chirping in this very region. Before falling asleep we heard the wild howling of the jackal and the wolf, as if hungry for a prey.
(June 6.) We were awakened before break of day by the voice of Mustapha crying to Ibraim and Ahmet, "Koorth Koom," "Rise, rise." The sleepers answered now and then by a groan, till, wearied out by their refusal, Mustapha resolved on forsaking us, and actually gave orders to his Bedouins to depart. We all started up, and our tents were down in a few minutes. Mustapha's great anxiety was to get past a certain part of the road, which is infested with flies, before the sun was hot. We were on our camels before five, and the moon was shining sweetly on Doulis as we departed. Instead of going northward, our route now lay directly eastward. We ascended a hilly pass, adorned with wild flowers and perfumed with fragrant thyme. The birds, too, were filling the morning air with their sweet voices. Looking behind us, we could see, under the rising sun, the pleasant village we had left, till we arrived at the top of the rocky eminence. The slopes on each side were bare and stony, but evidently well fitted for training the vine in the days of Eshtaol's glory. We supposed that, in
• Ruth iii. 15. 12 t Num. xiii. 33.
mine, whose white flowers formed an agreeable variety. There were no traces of that arid sandy aspect so characteristic of the country from which we had just emerged. In the background, the beautiful hill country of Judah rose tier above tier, and the sun, which was just rising over them, poured a flood of golden rays into the plain. This is the great plain of Sephela, called " The Plain."J
As we descended into the vale, we inquired of the Arabs the names of the different villages in sight, making them repeat the name carefully and frequently, that we might not be mistaken. Three villages immediately before us, and not far off, they called Erd Safeen. On the extreme right, under the hill, we were pointed to Aragesh Sueidan, then more to the east to Bet-affa, and farther still, to Karatieh, with a tower, perhaps the ancient Bethcar; \ the next we were shown was Hatta, the next Oudsir, and still farther across the plain Thitcrin. They pointed also to the situation of Bet Jibrin, believed to be the ancient Elcutherovolis. Ibraim, our guide, had visited it with Professor Robinson, and described to us the curious remains of buildings which they found there. On the extreme left, and nearly north from us, was a considerable village, Bet-daras. A distant hill of a conical form to the north-east, they called El-betune. We now came down upon the three villages of Safeen, situated as it were at the points of a triangle,
• Judges xiii. 2, 25; xiv. 5. t 1 Sam. v. 3 .
lOhad. 19. 518am. vii. 11.
PLAIN OP ZEPHATHAH KASTEEN. 115
and about a quarter of a mile distant from each other We halted for a few minutes to break our fast with a little barley-bread and fine warm milk. But now we began to experience the annoyance of which we had been forewarned by Mustapha. The air was filled with swarms of small flies, whose bite was very troublesome, so that we were glad to use every means to cover our laces. The camels also, stung by these insects, became very restive, and for the first time almost ungovernable. A wolf here started across our path, and fled before us.
The last of the three villages has marks of antiquity. There is a large well a little out of the town, from which the water is drawn up in the same way as at Doulis. The women were all busy drawing the morning supply; some were washing their hands and faces, and their feet, by rubbing one foot upon another. There are also many pits for grain here, large stones and mounds of earth, and a pool of water. A wady winds past, called W'ady Safeen, at present dry, but it may have been a considerable stream in winter. The situation and the name of these villages at once suggested to us that this is the valley of Zephuthah, where Asa defeated Zerah, the Ethiopian, with his host of" a thousand thousand." * In this vast plain there would be room enough for all. that multitude, and ample scope in these level fields for the three hundred chariots. We remembered with fresh interest also, how the ark of God was carried by the two milch kine from the land of the Philistines to Beth-shemesh, across this very plain, probably a little to the north of us.f Nor could we lift our eyes to the hill country of Judah without remembering the visit of the mother of our Lord to her cousin Elizabeth.J Once also Mareshah, Lachish, and Libnah stood in this vast plain.
At nine o'clock we arrived at Kasteen, where was a well and plenty of water, pits for grain, and mounds of earth. Upon the roof of the houses the inhabitants were spreading out sheaves of corn to dry. We immediately thought of Rahab hiding the spies at Jericho.} A solitary palm rises in the midst of the village. On the left side of the road is Hasur, a small village with many trees, perhaps one of the "Uazors" of Judah. ||
Half an hour after we rested at Mesmieh, a village
• S Chron. xhr. 9 t 1 Som. vi. 12. t Luke i. 39.
♦ Josh. ii. 6 II Josh. Xt. 25.
] 16 VILLAGE OP MESMIEH—THRASHING-FLOOR.
surrounded by prickly pear, and interspersed with olivetrees. The houses were of a wretched description; but there were deep pits for grain—a large well also at the farther side of the village, and a pool near it, where the oxen were bathing themselves up to the neck to get rid of the flies. We found a scanty shelter under an old decaying olive-tree.
At one o'clock we mounted again,—the great heat, the flies, and the bad water, making us very willing to depart. An interesting and lively scene of niral life here presented itself . Close to the village lay a thrashing floor, where twenty or thirty pair of oxen were employed in treading out corn. One peasant attended to each pair, and another tossed up the straw with a wooden fork, and spread it out again for them to tread. Few of the oxen were muzzled. We remembered the commandment, "Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn;"* and how Paul says to ministers, "For our sakes no doubt this is written, that he that plougheth should plough in hope, and that he that thrasheth in hope, should be partaker of his hope." f The camels, too, were carrying home loads of ripe sheaves, to the sound of the tinkling bell round their neck.
On a rising ground far to the south, stands a village with a kind of fort, which our guide called Assenibba4 Our route now lay by a ruined arch, El-mohrazin." A village stood here a few years ago, but a virulent epidemic cut off all the inhabitants. Under another archway not far off, the people were winnowing barley, casting it up to the wind with a wooden fan. A woman passed carrying her child on her shoulder in a cradle.
Here we came upon a narrow stream of water called by our guide Wady Maruba, an hour and a half from Mesmieh. The water was very muddy, yet the Arabs drank and bathed in it with the greatest satisfaction. This was the first sight we obtained of running water since entering this land, which was once called "a land of brooks of water."} We again remembered the prayer of Israel, so applicable at this moment, "Turn again our
* Doit. xxv. 4. t 1 Cor. ix. 10.
t Probably Neit Nuzib described by Professor Robinson, having a
ined tower; vol. Hi. p. 12. The Nezib of Josh. xv. 43.
S Deut . viii. 7.
or sesamine, like " hemlock in the iurrows ol the held."; Through the whole of the plain the ground is chapped and cracked as if by an earthquake, and to the foot feels hard as iron. All these things appear without contradiction to be a literal fulfilment of the word of God. "Upon the land of my people shall come up thorns and briers," " until the Spirit be poured upon us from on high."} "The rivers of waters are dried up, and the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness."|| "Thy heaven that is over thy head shall be brass, and the earth that is under thee shall be iron." IT
We passed along the banks of a brook for a little way, fenced by tall reeds, among which the cattle were enjoying the cooling shade and drinking the waters. A flock of large birds having red bills and legs, white bodies and black tails, in form like our heron, were stalking along the marshy places. The natives called them the Abusat. Straight before us, though not on our road, upon a point of the hills, stood Jimso,** a village that seemed to have some buildings of limestone from its peculiarly white appearance.
Towards evening we entered among the lower tract of hills, behind which rose the mountains of Judah, which appeared very beautiful in the evening sun, the limestone of which they are composed giving a white appearance to all the mountain tracts. Here we began to notice the remains of terraces. At five o'clock, we passed on our left hand Hulda, a ruined village on the top of a height,
• Ps. cxxvi. 4. t Joel iii. 1& t Hos. x. 4.
4 Isa. xxxii. 13,15. II Joel i. 20. T Deut. xxviii. 23.
** The some as Uinao, 2 Chron. xxviii. 18.
118 HILLS OP JUDAH—VILLAGE OP LATROON.
evidently a place of strength and antiquity. An old bridge spans the stream at the foot of the hill, and the remains of a massive causeway lead up to the town.
We turned northward, getting deeper into the hills of Judah. Hitherto appearances had indicated fertility in the soil, but now the hills became bare and rocky on each side for about an hour's ride, though even these showed many marks of former cultivation. We passed on our left a small village, Deir-maheysen, where many of the villagers were assembled under the shade of a large nabbok-tree, the only tree of considerable size within view. We were at some distance, and did not see distinctly how they were employed, but they seemed to be enjoying an evening's relaxation in the cool of the day.
Wearied with the constant motion of the camel, we sometimes dismounted and beguiled the way by culling a few of the choice pinks and wild mountain flowers that grew among the rocks. Here we overtook an Arabian playing with all his might upon a shepherd's pipe made of two reeds. This was the first time we had seen any marks of joy in the land, for certainly " Al l joy is darkened, the mirth of the land is gone."* We afterwards found that the Jews have no harp, nor tabret, nor instrument of music in the Holy Land. In all parts of it, they have an aspect of timidity and rooted sorrow. So fully are the words fulfilled, " All the merry-hearted do sigh, the mirth of tabrets ceaseth, the noise of them that rejoice endeth, the joy of the harp ceaseth." f All the men we met with were strangers; ancient Israel are left " few in number, whereas they were as the stars of heaven for multitude." J We have not as yet met a single child of Abraham in their own land. The threatening of Isaiah has come to pass, "Your land, strangers devour it in your presence, and it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers."}
The hills now opened wider, and our path turned northeast to the village of Latroon, strongly situated on a rocky eminence. There can be little doubt that this must have been the site of some of the ancient fortresses of Judah. A winding path leads to it from the valley below; and here the traveller may stand and catch a wide view of the surrounding hills, all bearing the remains of ancient terraces, though not a vine is "trained upon them. a short absence, however, he returned to tell us thai ... had failed in his attempt . He found the surface overgrown with strong briers and thorns, through which he tried to make his way, but without success: "Every place where there was a thousand vines at a thousand silverings, it shall even be for briers and thorns. With arrows and bows shall men come thither, because all the land shall become briers and thorns." * Many times this day did the words of Isaiah come into our mind: "They shall lament for the teats (i. e. a soil rich as breasts full of milk, the uber agri), for the pleasant fields, for the fruitful vine. Upon the land of my people shall come up thorns and briers ;"f "until the Spirit be poured upon us from on high."J We felt a secret joy in beholding the deserted terraces and fields overrun with thorns; for when we saw the word of threatening so clearly and literally fulfilled, our unbelief was reproved, and we were taught to expect without a shadow of doubt, that the as the sun arose. Perhaps the Psalmist had reference to such a scene when he sang, "He sendeth the springs into the valleys which run among the hills." "By them shall the fowls of the heaven have their habitation, which sing among the branches."* At least it was peculiarly pleasant to remember these words in such a spot, so near the place where David learned to sing. We came upon many small mountain streams, on the banks of which grew luxuriant bushes, and from the branches of which the blackbird, lark, and others were pouring forth their lays. About five o'clock we reached the head of the valley in which Latroon is situated, and began to enter a singular mountain defile, called the Pass of Latroon. It is supposed that the "Descent of Iietk-lioron" and the "Ascent" is this defile. Other travellers have found the name Betur in a village not far off, and the entrance is called Bab-el-Wady, or "Gate of the Valley." The sun rose upon the tops of the mountains soon ai'ter we entered this defile, revealing a scene truly wild and romantic. The path is steep and rocky, and especially difficult for camels, whose feet arc better fitted for the soft sands of the desert, yet they pressed on with wonderful perseverance. Around and above us were rocks of the wildest description, yet adorned with the richest vegetation. Trees of considerable size occasionally lined the Pass: the largest were called by the Arabs the batut and balur. Pleasant shrubs and flowers also attracted our eye, • Pa. civ. 10,1*
• Isa. xxiv. 11. tlsa. xxiv. 7, 8.
t Dtul. xxviii. 62. $ Isa. i. 7.
* Isa. vii. 23, 24.
t We felt the same in traversing the vast plain of Eadraclon, the greater part of which is covered over with almost impenetrable thickets of weeds, thorns, briers, and thistles. Some time after when sailing up the Bosphorus, conversing with a gentleman whom we had met in Palestine, who appeared to be a man of tho world, we asked him if he had climbed Mount Tabor, to obtain the delightful view from its summit. 11 is answer was,—" No. Why should I climb Mount Tabor, to see a country of thorns!" He was thus an unintentional witness to the trulh of- God's word. "Briers and thorns" include all kinds of thmny growth, whether the common brier, or the thorn, or the thistle, perhaps it might take in even the prickly pear, now so common as a hedge throughout the country. "Thorns and thistles" are specially appropriate in a land under the curse. See Gen. iii. 1a
t Isa. x.x.tii. 12—IS.
thus taught them thriftily to use every spot of their fruitful land, and to cover the very rocks with the shadow of their vines.
Frequently when we halted and looked calmly round, we could not discover a single spot, either in the channel of the ravine, or on the mountain side, that was not terraced in some way. Often the natural rock was sufficient of itself to preserve the soil from being washed down. Rough stone-dykes were built with amazing pains along the ledge of rock, but frequently there was no rock, and the terrace was entirely the work of men's hands. In many of the mountains the terraces appeared to be perfectly entire, and the soil fully preserved to this day, enriched no doubt by having lain fallow for ages. The vines and the inhabitants alone are wanting, and the blessing from above. In the hollows of the ravine we sometimes came upon a small field of barley, often a fine olive-yard, and sometimes an orchard of fig-trees, but not the vestige of a vine did we see during the whole ascent .
At a step or turn of the Pass, near the ruins of a small 122 PASS OP LATROON—RAMLA—SHARON.
* Richardson has noticed these. He first remarks (not quite accurately) that there are no traces of artificial terraces, and then describes "the horizontal strata, which have exactly the appearance of the stonecourses in a building."
building, we looked back and obtained a delightful view of the valley through which we had come. The sight of the terraced hills, with their bright verdure, lighted up by the brilliant beams of the morning sun, made us think how lovely this spot must have been in the days of David and Solomon, when its luxuriance was yet un blighted by the curse of Israel's God.
At length we reached the plantation of olive-trees, and the ruins of a small fort, perhaps the Modin of many travellers, which mark the summit of this interesting Pass. We had been ascending for four hours and a half from Latroon. From this point we obtained a beautiful glance of Ramla, lying to the north-west, in the plain of Sharon. Its tower, houses, and minarets were conspicuous. It has long been regarded as Arimathea, the city of the wealthy Joseph, whose noble character is referred to by each of the Evangelists. We felt that perhaps the rich man came by this very route to Jerusalem on the awful day of the crucifixion. Possibly we were in his footsteps, for this is still the Jaffa road. By this route also would Peter* go down to the saints who dwelt at Lydda, which is within an hour of Ramla, when he healed Eneas, and drew the eyes of all in that beautiful plain to the Rose of Sharon.
We now began to descend, and came down upon a beautiful village which the Arabs called Karieh or Kurieh.f It was the residence of a famous native chieftain named Abugush, and still belongs to his family. The houses are solidly built of stone, and there are ruins of ancient buildings, especially a large church or abbey in the Gothic style, which Ibrairn told us was now turned into a mosque. The village is literally embosomed among olives, pomegranates, and very large fig-trees, and a solitary palm rises above the cluster. The pomegranates were in full bloom, the scarlet flowers shining brilliantly from among their deep green leaves. A flock of goats was browsing beneath the trees. Many of the terraces around were frnely cultivated, showing what these mountains might soon become.
* Acts ix. 35.
t Professor Robinson shows that this may be the site of K'njathjearim, where the ark of God remained for twenty years. 1 8am. vii. 1,2. Perhaps Kuryet-el-Enab may be a corruption of Kirjath-Abinadab, city of Aoinadab, as Bethany is now called by the name of Lazarus. Richardson calls the place Karialoonah, but the proper name is Kuryet-el-Enab, "city of grapes,"—the woods of the ancient Kirjatbjearim having given place to the vine.
bottom of the wady up to the summit of the mountain. What a garden of delights this must have been, when, instead of grass making green the surface, verdant and luxuriant vines were their clothing! Solomon's vineyard at Baal-hamon * could not have been more noble; and nowhere could we have better understood the invitation, " Let us lodge in the villages; let us get up early to the vineyards; let us see if the vine flourish, whether the tender grape appear, and the pomegranates bud forth." f We could understand how the words of Joel shall yet be literally true, " The mountains shall drop down new wine," J when every vine on these hills shall be hanging its ripe clusters over the terraces. In observing, too, the singular manner in which the most rocky mountains have at one time been made, through vast labour and industry, to yield an abundant return to the husbandman, we saw clearly the meaning of the promise in Ezekiel, " But ye, O mountains of Israel, ye shall shoot forth your branches, and yield your fruit to my people of Israel; for they are at hand to come."}
* Songviii. 11. t Song vii. 11, 12. t Joel iii. 1a
$ Ezek. xxxvi. a See Dr. Keith's remarks, made on the spot, and given in pp. 110,120,121. of the 23d edition of his Kvidencc of Prophecy. 124 HILLS OP JCDAH—ENGLISH FRIEND.
There seems to be little doubt that the Psalmist refers to the mode of training the vine over these terraces, when he says, " The hills were covered with the shadow of it."*
We ascended another rocky path, and when arrived at the summit began to descend again into a pleasant valley, overhanging which is the tower El KustuI, a name derived from the Latin castellum; but its history is unknown. The pathway was very steep, so that it was sometimes safer to leave the camel's back and walk; still the faithful animals never made a stumble. Half-way down this ravine there is a well of fine cold water, from which we drank in a broken sherd. At this point, to our great surprise, a young gentleman in European dress met and passed us riding upon a mule. He saluted us with "Good morning;" the first English words we had heard from a stranger for many a day. He proved to be Mr. Bergheim, the assistant medical attendant of the Jewish mission at Jerusalem, on his way to Joppa. Figs and vines were cultivated on many of the terraces here, but when we reached the bottom of the valley, it was one complete garden or rather orchard of fruit-trees. The vines, the figs, pomegranates, peaches, citrons, quinces, and lemons, were all budding or ripening in a most luxuriant manner. The scene afforded a perfect picture of outward peace and prosperity. The vines were twining round the fig-trees for support; and many of the fig-trees were " planted in a vineyard," recalling to our mind the language used in the parable of our Lord.f A clear brook flowing down the valley, gave freshness and beauty to every green thing. The Arabs washed themselves in it .
We now entered into what is generally believed to be the Valley of Elah. It is called by the Arabs Wady Bet Hanina; but there is a Wady Aly not far off that seems to retain the ancient name. This is believed by many to be the place where David slew Goliath of Gath, the champion of the Philistines. \ Whether it be so or not, the sight of these deep valleys gave us a clear and vivid impression of the memorable conflict. Here were hills on each side, the ravine between being deep and narrow. On the front of these opposing hills the armies were encamped. "The Philistines stood on a mountain
* Ps. lxxx. 10. The Hebrew word for these terraces is found in fizek. xxxviii. 20, " the steep places," niJTtDn t Luke xiii. 6. t 1 Sam. xvii. 2.
known. The voice of the turtle saluted us from its olive-trees. We now ascended a much barer mountain, and by a path the steepest we had yet climbed, yet the camels went up wonderfully. Arrived at the summit, it appeared as if we had left all cultivation behind. A bare desert of sun-burnt rocks stretches to the right as far as the eye can reach. We remembered the description given by travellers of these mountains, and knew that we were near the Holy City. Every moment we expected to see Jerusalem. Though wearied by our long ride, which had now lasted seven hours, we eagerly pressed on. Mr. M'Cheyne, dismounting from his camel, hurried forward on foot over the rocky footpath, till he gained the point where the city of the Lord comes first in sight. Soon all of us were on the spot, silent, buried in thought, and wistfully gazing on the wondrous scene where the Redeemer died. The distant mountains beyond the city seemed so near, that at first sight we mistook them for the mountains that enclose "the valley of vision," though they proved to be the mountains of Moab, on the east side of the Dead Sea. As yet we were not sufficiently accustomed to the pure clear atmosphere, so that distances were often very deceptive. As our camels slowly approached the city, its sombre walls rose before us; but in these there is nothing to attract or
126 JERUSALEM—FEELINGS ON ARRIVAL.
excite the feelings. At that moment we were impressed chiefly by the fact that we were now among "the mountains that are round about Jerusalem," * and half unconscious that it was true, we repeated inwardly the words, "Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem." We got a slight view of the Mount of Olives, as we rode toward the Jaffa Gate. The nearer we came to the city, the more we felt it a solemn thing to be where "God manifest in flesh" had walked.
The feelings of that hour could not even be spoken. We all moved forward in silence, or interchanging feelings only by a word. While passing along the pathway immediately under the western wall, from which no object of any interest can be seen, and entering the Jaffa Gate, we could understand the exclamation, and were almost ready to use it as our own, "Is this the city which men call the perfection of beauty, the joy of the whole earth T'f Its dark walls, and the glance we got of slippery narrow streets, with low ill-built houses, and a poor ill-clad population, suggested no idea of the magnificence of former days. But we were soon to learn, that all the elements of Jerusalem's glory and beauty are still remaining in its wonderful situation, fitting it to be once again in the latter day, " The city of the Great King."
* Pb. cxxv. 2. t Lam. ii. 15.
British Consul, to whom we had letters v,,
He soon returned to say that the Consul was waiting ,^t us, and would procure a lodging in part of an unoccupied house near the Latin Convent. Our camels and servants moved slowly away to their place of destination, and we followed Ibraim down the steep and slippery street opposite the Jaffa Gate. In a few minutes we were at the house of Mr. Young, who received us with the greatest kindness. He told us the general state of matters in Jerusalem. The plague had not yet left the town, but the number of cases was decreasing; and there was no cordon drawn round the walls as had lately been the case. He strongly recommended us not to encamp on the Mount of Olives, as we had proposed, but to live in the town, and use the ordinary precautions of touching nobody in the streets, and receiving all articles of food through water. He then introduced us to two travellers just returned from Petra by the way of Hebron, Lord Claud Hamilton and Mr. Lyttleton. The former was not a little surprised to meet in Jerusalem with Dr. Black, whom he had known in former days as a laborious student and theologian, and unassuming minister in the parish of Tarvis in Aberdeenshire.
Two large apartments were assigned to us on Mount Acra, floored with stone, with a pleasant open space on the roof between them.
Worn out with incessant travelling, we were thankful to retire, that we might refresh our weary frames and compose our minds, which were not a little bewildered by the multitude of feelings that had passed through in Jerusalem—so irue is me propneuc woru, "i wiu cause all her mirth to cease." *
It was with feelings that can be better imagined than described, that for the first time in our lives within the gates of Jerusalem, we committed ourselves and those dear to us, our Church, and the blessed cause in which she had sent us forth, to the care of Him who sits as a King upon the holy hill of Zion. We are not aware that any clergyman of the Church of Scotland was ever privileged to visit the Holy City before, and now that four of us had been brought thus far by the good hand of our God upon us, we trusted that it might be a token for good, and perhaps the dawn of a brighter day on our beloved Church, a day of generous self-denied exertion in behalf of scattered Israel and a perishing world.
(Saturday, June 8.) We had spread our mats on the cool stone-floor, hoping for a night of calm repose, but our rest was broken and uncomfortable in the extreme, our rooms being infested with vermin, a kind of trial which travellers in the East must make up their mind frequently to undergo. All our annoyance, however, was forgot by sunrise. We rose early, and finding the road to the Jaffa Gate, went a little way out of the city and sat down under an olive-tree. We turned to Psalm xlviii, "Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of his holiness. Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is Mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the fortable rooms, with an outer one for our two Arab servants. In this house, one of our windows opened toward the east, having a fine view of the dome of the Mosque of Omar, which rises over the site of Solomon's Temple, and beyond it was the Mount of Olives. That ever-memorable hill, with its three summits, its white limestone rocks appearing here and there, and its wide bosom still sprinkled over with the olive-tree, was the object on which our eye rested every morning as we rose, an object well fitted to call to mind the words of Jesus spoken there, "Watch ye, therefore, for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cock-crowing, or in the morning."} Toward the west, the object that first met our eye used to be a solitary palm-tree, growing amidst a heap of ruins, and waving its branches over them, as if pointing to the fulfilment of the prophecy, "Jerusalem shall become heaps."}
* Hosoa. ii. 11.
The site of the proposed Hebrew church was not far off. It is close to Mr. Nicolayson's own house. At that time the foundations were only digging, and builders were preparing the stones, which we saw camels carrying into town. We were told that they were brought from a quarry a few miles north of Jerusalem, near a village called Anata, the ancient Anathoth, where Jeresuggested to us a literal interpretation of the words of Jeremiah, " Her gates are sunk into the ground."|| The ancient gates mentioned by Nehemiaht are no longer to be found, and it is quite possible that several of them may be literally buried below the feet of the inquiring traveller.
* Pn. xlviii. 1. 2, 3. t Lam. ii. 1, 5.
J Mark xiii. 35. i Mic. iii. 12.
During the day we began inquiries after the Jews in their own land. We were told that the plague prevailed most of all in their quarter, and that we must be very cautious in visiting their houses. Meanwhile Mr. Nicolayson afforded us every information. The difficulties in the way of the conversion of the Jews are certainly
freater in Palestine than elsewhere. The chief of these ifficulties are, 1. That Jerusalem is the stronghold of Rabbinism; the Jews here being all strict Rabbinists, and, as might be expected, superstitious in the extreme. 2. A Missionary has fewer points of contact with the Jews here than in other countries. He cannot reach them through the press, nor address them in large assemblies; his work must be carried on entirely by personal intercourse, so that it is like wrenching out the stones of a building one by one. 3. The opposition to an inquir
* They have since reached the old foundaliont (Isa. lviii. 12), after digging fifty feet . See Mr. Nicolayson's letter in the Jewish Intelligence for April 1840. It is a striking fact, that the foundations of Jerusalem should be thus hid in the ground, when we contrast it with the case of Samaria, of which it was foretold, "I will discover the foundations thereof" (Mic. i. 6.) Here is the accurate minuteness and distinguishing definiteness of the God of truth, who can point his finger to one ipot and say, " It shall be thui with thee;" and turn to another spot and »ay in equal sovereignty, " It shall be otherwite with thee!"
t Mic. iii. 12. t Jer. ix. 11. i Jer. ux. 18
II Lam. ii. 9. 1 Nehem. iii.
be educated; there being no situations of wealth or distinction open to their young men, which might tempt them to accept of a liberal education for their youth. The London Society have entertained the plan of instituting'a school for converts, in which many branches of general knowledge would be taught, and this might perhaps allure some of their brethren to attend.
In regard to Missionaries, a converted Jew is in some respects a better missionary than a Gentile. It is true he meets with greater opposition in the first instance, but in process of time, the fact of his change never fails to make an impression on his brethren, provided they see in him consistency of temper, character, and life. A Jew will indeed listen more readily to a Gentile Christian, and show him more respect; but then he listens more carelessly and thinks less of what is said, because he thinks it natural for a Gentile so to speak. A Gentile missionary again, has the advantage of more ready access to the Jews, being regarded with far less prejudice; but a Jewish convert is more efficient where confidence is once established. Perhaps the true principle in missions to the Jews, is to unite both Jewish and Gentile labourers in the same field.
The importance of erecting a church on Mount Zion, where Protestant worship might be maintained in its purity, is that it may open the eyes of the Jews to see what true Christianity is. At present, they justly regard the Greek and Romish churches as idolatrous and licentious in the extreme, and believe the English to be Neologians or Infidels, without any religion.
The hope of Messiah's coming is strong in the hearts of many Jews here. Many believed that it would be in the year 1840, as that was the end of a period fixed in the book of Zohar; and some said that if they were dis
132 JERUSALEM—TOMB OP DAVID.
appointed in that year, they would turn Christians; but this is a mere saying, for they have often declared the same before, and when the time came have found out excuses for Messiah's delay.
The fact that Palestine is the stronghold of Rabbinism appears to be a sufficient reason why Christians should direct their most vigorous efforts to send the light of the gospel among the Jews of this land. There have been many tokens for good and encouraging appearances of late years among the Jews at Jerusalem. Their wretched condition in the city where their fathers ruled, loudly calls for sympathy. They are poor and despised, and sadly divided among themselves. The Consul told us of a Jew who last week was beaten till he died, by order of the Governor. He was not proven to be guilty of the offence laid to his charge, and was not in reality guilty, yet there was none to plead his cause, or avenge his murder.
In the cool of the evening we enjoyed our first walk about Jerusalem, Mrs. Nicolayson accompanying us upon her donkey. Passing by the Armenian Convent, which appeared to be the largest and most substantial in the city, surrounded with a pleasant garden, we went out at the Zion Gate, the only gate now open on the southern wall of the town, and came out upon the open summit of Mount Zion, for one-half of that hill is now outside of the walls. A gloomy ill-shaped building near the gate is an Armeniant Convent, enclosing what is called by the monks the House of Caiaphas; and nearer the southern brow is a small mosque covering the tomb of David. The minarets of this mosque, and that on the Mount of Olives, were both destroyed by an earthquake a few years ago. There is a prevailing and much-credited tradition, that within that building is the very tomb of which Peter said in his sermon, "His sepulchre is with us unto this day."*
These are the only prominent buildings upon the unwalled part of Zion. Leaving them on the left, we wandered among the flat tombstones of the Greeks and Latins. The graves of some of the American missionaries were pointed out to us, and also a small spot of ground which they have purchased and enclosed as a buryingplace, though we were told that they were still uncertain whether they would be permitted to bury in it, as the Moslems had found out that the shadow of David's mosque fell upon it at certain hours of the day. * Acts ii. 29.
Approaching nearer to the brow of the hill, we found ourselves in the midst of a large field of barley. The crop was very thin, and the stalks very small, but no sight could be more interesting to us. We plucked some of the ears to carry home with us, as proofs addressed to the eye that God had fulfilled his true and faithful word, "Therefore shall Zion for your sake be ploughed as a field." X The palaces, the towers, the whole mass of warlike defences, have given way before the word of the Lord, and a crop of barley waves to the passing breeze instead of the banner of war. On the steep sides of the hill, we afterwards found flourishing cauliflowers arranged in furrows, which had evidently been made by the plough; so that this important prophecy, twice recorded,} is most fully accomplished.
From the southern verge of Zion, we looked down into the valley of Hinnom, still called Wady Jehennam, which lies nearly due east and west. It appeared very deep, the opposite side rocky and precipitous, and the bosom of it filled with shady olive-trees. Here Manasseh caused his children to pass through the fire to Moloch ; || and here Jeremiah uttered that dreadful prophecy, "This place shall no more be called Tophet, nor the valley of the son of Hinnom, but the valley of Slaughter."1T From the awful wickedness committed in this valley,
* Ps. xlviii. 12.
t Ps. cxxv. 1. The force of this verse is evidently misunderstood when applied to the fortress, as done by Buchanan,— "Sinnia arcem non aquilo impotens Saxo sedentom perpetuo quatit." t Mic. iii. 12. § Jer. xxvi. la Mic. iii. 12.
II 2 Chron. xxxiii. 6. 1 Jer. xix. 6.
134 JERUSALEM—LOWER POOL OP GIHON.
perhaps as much as from the Satanic fires kindled in it, the name came to signify the place of eternal sin anc, woe. To us it appeared a pleasant shady valley, but in other days, when the precipitous sides were planted with thick trees, it may have been gloomy enough.
Instead of descending into it, we turned and went down the steep western side of Zion into the valley of Gihon, which lies nearly north and south on the west side of Jerusalem, to examine the upper and lower Pools of Gihon. We came first to the lower pool,* and, standing on the edge, were surprised at the vast size of the basin, which is by far the largest reservoir of the Holy City, though it is much dilapidated and perfectly dry. It is formed in a very simple manner, by throwing a massy wall across the lower end of the valley. This wall answers the purpose of a bridge, which is crossed in going to Bethlehem. There is a neat fountain at the middle of it, to refresh the traveller, with an Arabic inscription; but we found no water in it . The stones of this wall are closely cemented, and the work is evidently ancient. There are also the remains of a wall at the upper end, and on both sides. The bottom of the pool is merely the natural bed of the valley, and is bare and rocky. On one of the ledges of the rock beneath us, sat two men beating out corn with a staff; which is used instead of our flail, and is referred to by Isaiah, " The fitches are beaten out with a staff, and the cummin with a rod." f The measurements of the pool are as follows:—
We proceeded up the valley as far as under the Jaffa Gate, and then to the north-west, till we came upon the conduit or rude aqueduct of the upper pool, out of which a flock were satisfying their thirst, and shortly after to the upper pool of Gihon itself . The walls of this pool are in a much more perfect condition than those of the lower pool, the strong walls being unbroken, the cement still remaining, and the steps into it from the corners nearly entire. It was about half-full of pure water. We spent some time here, and plucked leaves from a large Botin or Terebinth tree, \ which grows close by.
* Tsa. xxii. 9. t Isa. xxviii. 27.
) The rh» of Scripture.
conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name im manuel."J
It is interesting also to remark, that it was here Rab shaken, the Assyrian captain, stood at the head of a greai army, and reproached the living God.} And it was from this point, that he cried in the Jews' language to the men that sat upon the wall, a fact which goes to prove, that the wall of Jerusalem must have extended much farther to the north-west than it does at present.
As we took the dimensions of this pool, the scenery of Zechariah || was recalled, the measuring of the ancient places of Jerusalem being now to us a matter of deepest interest . The measurements were these:—
Around the pool is a burying-place for the Mahometan dead, where tombs were lying broken and scattered about in a most desolate manner. From the rising ground near, we got a view of the plain or valley of Rephaim, lying south-west of the city, and which is still so fertile, that we were assured it is capable of yielding three crops in the year. To this fertility the prophet Isaiah refers. He says," The glory of Jacob shall be made
• 1 Kings i. 38. 39. t Isa. vii. 3. t Isa. vii. 14.
9 Isa. xxxvi. 2, 13. II Zech. ii. 2.
136 JERUSALEM FLAIN OP REPHAIM.
thin," and shall be no more like the rich waving fields of Rephaim, but only like its gleanings; "it shall be as he that gathereth ears in the valley of Rephaim." *
In this plain, too, David twice defeated the Philistines, who had penetrated as near as this to the royal city ;f and somewhere not far off was Baal-perazim, where the heat of the conflict was greatest,—the type of a yet more terrible conflict in the latter days, when " the Lord shall rise up as in Mount Perazim."J
By the help of Mr. Nicolayson, we now attempted to trace the probable extent of ancient Jerusalem upon the north. There is room for a great city on the elevated ground to the north of the present wall, and there can be little doubt that the Bezetha of Josephus, which Agrippa enclosed with a third wall of great strength, occupied a vast range of that district. It now consists of cultivated fields and olive plantations: but remains of ruins are visible in many parts of it. When the wall of the city was thus stretched out to the north, and included the whole of Mount Zion on the south, it is not very difficult to understand how Jerusalem could contain the millions who are said to have been sometimes gathered into it . In the distant north, we could see the hill Scopus which encloses Jerusalem on the north, where Titus first encamped when he came to besiege Jerusalem, "from whence the city began already "to be seen, and a splendid view was obtained of the great temple" (TM Tmb moo jityifof uXan^pov).^ We returned by the Cave of Jeremiah, a grotto cut in the rock almost due north of the Damascus Gate, lying in the road from Anathoth, his native village, and where tradition says he wrote the Book of Lamentations. We reached our dwelling a little before the city gates were closed for the night.
We thought with joy of the Sabbath that was now drawing on—a Sabbath in Jerusalem. It seemed to us a wonderful privilege to be allowed to worship in the very city where Immanuel died, and where his living voice was so often heard, calling upon Jerusalem sinners, in accents of more than human tenderness, "How often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not."||
(Sabbath, June 9.) The morning seemed the dawn of
* Iaa. xvii. 5. t 2 Sam. v. 17—25. t Isa. xxviii. 21.
$ Josephus, v 2, 3. II Malt, xxiii- 37.
den down of the Gentiles."f
Having rested till the noon-day heat was past, we went at lour o'clock to the house of one Simeon, a converted Jew, where Mr. Nicolayson went through the evening service of the liturgy in German, and preached on Hebrews xii. 5, 6. At five in the evening, we assembled again in the upper room, when Dr. Keith conducted the service in our own Presbyterian form, and preached from 1 Kings xviii. 21. All these exercises were very solemn and reviving; yet still we frequently felt throughout the day that it is not in the power of the place itself, however sacred, to enlighten and refresh a sinner's soul. Compassed about as we were on every side with the memorials of the Saviour's work, our eyes gazing on the Mount of Olives, our feet standing on the holy hill of Zion, we felt that there was still as much need as ever that "the Spirit should take of the things of Christ and shew them unto us," as he himself declared when sitting with his disciples in such an upper room as this in Jerusalem. "The glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ,"J is not an object within the compass of the natural eye. Associations of place and time cannot open the eye to lee it; though such associations as those with which we
• Mark xiv. 15. t Luke x.\i. 2 1. 12 Cor. iv. 6.
he saw a mustard-tree higher than he could reach, and its stem as thick as his arm; illustrating the parable of the mustard-seed.f
In the forenoon, we went to the Consul's house, and met with a Bedouin chief who had come to accompany Lord Hamilton to Ammon and Jerash on the other side of the Jordan. He was a genuine son of Ishmael, possessing a commanding figure, with dark and striking features. He wore the yellow shawl of the Bedouins over his head, fastened on by two circles of a rope made of camel's hair. His arm was bare up to the elbow, and the motions of his hands and features were graceful and expressive. Dr. Keith tried to ascertain from him the fact of porcupines being found in Petra; he asked him what the kangfud was, when the Bedouin immediately imitated the cry it uttered, and, on being shown a porcupine quill, at once recognised it as belonging to the kangfud.X He exacted the sum of KM. from the travellers, simply for the favour of giving them a safe conduct through the country of the Bedouins.
In the Consul's house, we saw a tame gazelle, gentle and timid, with bright black eyes. Mr. Nicolaysonrs two little girls had another. So that they are still known " to
* " On a line drawn from the north end of the Dead Sea towards the due west, the ridge has an elevation of 2500 Paris feet; and here, close upon the water-shed, lies the city of Jerusalem."—Robinton, voL i. p 381
t Matt. xiii. 31. t See p. 54.
CHURCH OP THE HOLY SEPULCHRE 139
the daughters of Jerusalem" as In Solomon's days, "I charge you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, by the gazelles, and by the hinds of the field."* We saw also a very tall and beautiful lily, perhaps such a one as our Lord pointed to when he said, "Consider the lilies how they grow." f
We this day visited the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, believed by so many to cover the very spot of Calvary where our Lord was crucified and buried,—a visit which awakened in our minds only feelings painful and revolting. The descriptions of this place commonly given in books of travels are perfectly accurate, and indeed the wonder is that the writers should have been so careful in describing what no serious mind can regard but as "lying wonders." The church is not remarkable for elegance or beauty, and the pictures, with a few exceptions are far from being of the first order. In the centre stands a marble house enclosing the sepulchre. We entered and examined the sarcophagus, which is of white marble. Even the monks seemed to be a great deal more taken up with the silver lamps hung over it than with the tomb itself. We were then led to a flat stone of reddish marble, on which, say the monks, the Saviour's body was anointed. With lighted tapers we descended to a damp dark place, where Helena is said to have found the three crosses. The rock of Calvary, so called by the monks, is only a few paces from the sepulchre. Ascending some twenty steps into a small chapel, the guide lifted up a gilded star in the floor, and showed what is called the hole in the rock where the cross was fixed. In a dark chapel underneath lighted by a single lamp, he pointed to the well-known fissure in the rock, pretended to be the rent that was made when Jesus died. We had little patience to go round all the spots accounted sacred under the roof of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre; and each of us felt the blush of honest indignation rising in our face at the mingled folly and profanity of the whole scene. To do the monks justice, they seemed to have as little feeling of reverence toward the holy place as we could possibly have, and Ibraim, our Arab servant who accompanied us, was fully as deeply impressed as any of the party. The fissure in the rock, and the tombs of Joseph and Nicodemus (so called,) situated in a dark chapel behind the marble sepulchre, were the only objects which peculiarly drew our attention, both being in the
* Song ti. 7. nitoi * Luke xii. 27
nui me longer we remainea in cue noiy L-ny, me more we were convinced that this is not the true site of Calvary. We are told expressly in Scripture that "Jesus suffered without the gate." * And also, that " the place where he was crucified was nigh to the city." f But the site of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is a long way within the walls of Jerusalem. We cannot believe that the ancient city was narrower or smaller in any way than the present Jerusalem. On the contrary, there is reason to believe that it was much more extensive. From the church, along the Via Dolorosa, to the western enclosure of the Mosque of Omar, is but a five minutes' walk, and yet this must have been the whole breadth of the city, if the present Calvary was without the gate. How contrary is this to the description given by the Psalmist, "Jerusalem is builded as a city that is compact together." J
On the whole we found it a relief to our minds to rest in the conclusion that the cleft rock and the holy sepulchre of the monks, have as little to do with the place where Jesus died, and the rocky tomb in the garden where they laid him, as the polished marbles and gaudy lamps by which the place is disfigured.}
There is no tradition which may lead the mind to any other spot as the site of Calvary. It struck us forcibly bered the faithful description of this given in the gospel narrative, " when Jesus came into the ruler's house, and saw the minstrels and the people making a noise." \
* Heb. xiii. 12. t John xix. 20. t Ps. exxii. 3.
$ It gave us unfeigned pleasure to hear from Professor Robinson, whom we afterwards met in Kerlin, that he had deliberately arrived at the same conclusion. The cltar and able statement of the arguments against the present site of Calvary deduced from the topography and history of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Professor Robinsou's work (voL ii. p. 64.) may justly be regarded as a final settlement of this long agitated question.
In the cool of the day we enjoyed a delightful ride to the Mount of Olives. Mounted on hardy Syrian horses of very small stature, we rode out at the Jaffa Gate. Here we saw the reapers busy cutting down barley in the valley of Gihon. Turning to the right we went round the northern wall of the city. The road is rough and in some parts difficult. Often the bare rock appears, and the way was covered with loose stones. It is made entirely by the feet of the animals that pass along it; and there is not so much as one road about Jerusalem upon which a wheeled carriage could run. Coming to the north-east corner of the walls, the valley of Jehoshaphat opened to our view, and the Mount of Olives across the valley appeared very beautiful, having much more variety of rocks, gardens, olive-yards, figtrees, and patches of grain upon its sides, than we had expected to find . We now turned due south, riding still under the city wall, which is farther from the brow of the hill than we anticipated. In one point only, namely the S. E. corner, does the wall stand on the immediate brink of the valley, in other parts it is forty or fifty yards
* Eccl. xii. 5. t Matt, Jc 23.
142 JERUSALEM—MOUNT OP OLIVES.
from the edge. Before reaching St. Stephen's Gate, we came upon a small reservoir half full of water, in which an Arab was bathing. We could not learn its name or history. Near this stands the monument of St . Stephen, where he is said to have been stoned, and the gate called by his name is said to be that out of which they hurried him when " they cast him out of the city." * We descended the steep side of Mount Moriah by the footpath leading from St. Stephen's Gate, and crossed the dry bed of the Kedron by a small bridge. The path here widens out to a considerable breadth for about fifty yards, and then separates into two, the one leading directly up the face of the Mount of Olives, the other winding gent.ly round the southern brow of the hill. Both of these footpaths lead to Bethany, and between them lies a square plot of ground enclosed with a rough stone wall, and having eight very large old olive-trees, f This is believed to be Gethsemane. We stayed only to glance at it, for it needs to be visited in quiet and stillness; and choosing the path that leads straight up the hill, urged our little palfreys up the steep ascent. Mount Olivet was far from being a solitude this evening. One turbaned figure after another met us, and, to add to the interest of the scene, we recognised them by their features to be Jews. At one point we came upon a small company of Jewesses, not veiled like the Moslem ladies, but all dressed in their best attire. The reason of this unwonted stir among the solitudes of Olivet was, that Sir Moses Montefiore from London, who had come on a visit of love to his brethren in the Holy Land, had arrived at Jerusalem, and his tent was now pitched on one of the eminences of the hill. Multitudes of the Jews went out daily to lay their petitions before him.
We often halted during the ascent, and turned round to view the city lying at our feet, the deep valley of Jehoshaphat, and trie surrounding hills. By far the finest and most affecting views of Jerusalem are to be obtained from some of these points. In a little after we came to the eminence where Sir Moses Montefiore had
* Acts vii. 58.
t Chateaubriand's argument regarding the age of the olive-trees in Gethsomane is curious. He argues that they must be at least as old aa the Knstern Empire, because the Turks, at the conquest. laid a tax of tme medine on every olive-tree then growing, while every olive-tree planted since that time is taxed at half its produce Now. he states, that the eight olive-trsea of Gethsemane were charged only the one medine each.
INTERVIEW WITH SIR MOSES MONTEFIORE. 143
pitched his tents. He had fixed a cord round the tents at a little distance, that he might keep himself in quarantine On the outside of this, a crowd of about twenty or thirty Jews were collected, spreading out their petitions before him. Some were getting money for themselves, some for their friends, some for the purposes of religion. It was an interesting scene, and called up to our minds the events of other days, when Israel were not strangers in their own land. Sir Moses and his lady received us with great kindness, and we were served with cake and wine. He conversed freely on the state of the land, the miseries of the Jews, and the fulfilment of prophecy. He said that the Bible was the best guidebook in the Holy Land; and with much feeling remarked, that, sitting on this very place, within sight of Mount Moriah, he had read Solomon's prayer* over and over again. He told us that he had been at Saphet and Tiberias, and that there were 1500 Jews in the latter town, and more in the former; but they were in a very wretched condition, for first they had been robbed by the Arabs, then they suffered from the earthquake, and now they were plundered by the Druses. When Dr. Keith suggested that they might be employed in making roads through the land, as materials were abundant, and that it might be the beginning of the fulfilment of the prohecy, "Prepare ye the way of the people; cast up the ighway, gather out the stones ;"f Sir Moses acknowledged the lienefit that would attend the making of roads, but feared that they would not be permitted. He seemed truly interested in the temporal good of his brethren, and intent upon employing their young people in the cultivation of the vine, the olive, and the mulberry. We explained to him the object of our visit to this land, and assured him that the Church of Scotland would rejoice in any amelioration he might effect in the temporal condition of Israel.
Taking leave, we proceeded to the summitj through a plantation of fig-trees. From this the view on all sides is splendid and interesting in the extreme, but it was too near sunset to allow us to exhaust it . Looking to the north-west, the eye falls upon Naby-Samuel, believed by most travellers to be Ramah where Samuel was born,
* 1 Kinzs viii. t Isa. lx-.i . 10.
t The elevation of the central peak of the Mount of Olives above the aea, m given by Schubert at 2556 Paris feet, or 416 Paris feet above the Valley of Jehoshaphat. Hence it appears (o be 175 Paris feet higher than the highest point of Zion.—Robinson, vol. i p. 106.
144 JERUSALEM—VIEW PROM MOUNT OP OLIVE*.
but by others Mizpeh, the rallying place of Israel.* It seems to be five or six miles distant, and forms one of the highest points of the landscape, crowned with a mosque which always catches the eye in the northern view. To the east and south-east, over the summits of a range of bare and rugged mountains, we looked down upon the Dead Sea, of a deep blue colour, The air was so clear, and every thing seen so distinctly, that our first momentary impression was, that we could ride down to it before nightfall; though in reality a long and difficult day's journey lay between. Beyond it the range of Abarim, the brown barren mountains of Moab, rise steep and high, and bound the prospect. Over a dark rugged chain of hills between us and Jericho we could distinctly trace the valley of the Jordan and the verdure on its banks, but the river itself was hid. The summits of Abarim present to the eye an almost even line, so that we could fix on no particular peaks, and yet some one of the mountain tops we were gazing on must be Bethpeor, and another Pisgah, the top of Nebo; the former ever memorable as the spot where Balaam stood when he wished to die the death of the righteous,f and the latter as the spot where Moses did indeed die that blessed death.J The sight of this mountain scene reminded us of a passage in Jeremiah, the force of which is lost in our version, but which had peculiar meaning when uttered in Jerusalem. It is in reference to the death of Jehoiakim, the son of pious Josiah, and the desolation that followed, "Go up to Lebanon, and cry; and lift up thy voice in Bashan, and cry from Abarim; for all thy lovers are destroyed." j The cry of wo is first uttered from the heights of Lebanon, the northern boundary of the land; it is echoed back from Bashan, the eastern range; and then it resounds from Abarim, the mountains of Moab, seen so distinctly from Jerusalem. In this w'ay the tidings of distress are carried from Lebanon to Bashan, from Bashan to Abarim, and from Abarim to the Capital itself .
Turning to the west, we looked down upon Jerusalem —its mosques and domes, fiat roofs and cupolas, being stretched out beneath us. We could now see the accuracy of the description, "As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about his people."|| We obtained a complete view of Mount Moriah,
* 1 Sam. vii. 5. t Num. xxiii. 10. t Pent . xxxiv. 1.
( Jer. xxii. 20. Sec the original || Ps. exxv. 2.
violently taken away his tabernacle, as if it were of a garden; he hath destroyed his places of assembly."1T "The mountain of the house is become as the high place of the forest." ** The mountain on which God's house was built has literally become a place of heathen sanctuaries, like those which in Micah's day were erected in groves and forests.
The present wall of the Haram is nearly identical with the enclosure of Solomon's Temple on three sides. The Mosque of Omar stands in the centre, and probably on the spot where were the holy place and holiest of all. On the south stands the Mosque El Aksa, and there are several other oratories and sacred buildings round the walls. The rest of the area is beautifully laid out with cypress and orange trees, and here the Moslem ladies enjoy themselves on their holidays. No Christian is ordinarily permitted to enter these enclosures. No foot but those of the heathen, "the worst of the heathen,"ff is allowed to tread the court of God's holy and beautiful house, so that "their holy places are defiled." Surely the mountain of the house has become literally like "the high places of the forest." How true and faithful is the word of the Lord! In the days of Hezekiah, Micah was sent to a flourishing city, "the perfection of beauty, and the joy of the whole earth." He was to walk about Zion, and when he looked upon its towers and bulwarks, to say, "All these shall be desolate, and the ground on which they stand shall be ploughed as a field." He was to pass by their ceiled houses and along their splendid
• Gen. xxii. 2, 9. t 1 Chron. xxi. 17. X 2 Chron. iii, 1.
$ John vii. 37. II Matt, xxvii. 50, 51. * Lam. ii. 6.
•* Mic. iii. 12. tt Ezek. vii. 24.
146 JERUSALEM INTERVIEW WITH A COUNTRYMAN.
streets, and to cry, "All these shall be heapa." Last of all, he was to stand in the court of the temple in which they gloried, where God indeed dwelt on the earth, and to say, "It shall be as the high places of the heathen." And now, as we stood on Mount Olivet, our eyes beheld these things brought to pass. This is the doing of the Lord!" Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints! Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name 1 for thou only art holy; for all nations shall come and worship before thee, for thy judgments are made manifest."*
We descended into the Valley of Jehoshaphat by a path further to the south, which led us past the Jewish burying-ground, and onwards to the monuments of Absalom and Zacharias, cut out of the solid rock, which have been often described, and are well known. It occurred to us that the pillars, pilasters, and other ornaments, may have been added at a recent date, but that the square mass cut out of the rock of the mountain may be veiy ancient. Again we crossed the Kedron, and by a slanting path ascended to the south-east corner of the Haram; then, passing round the southern wall of the city, entered the Zion Gate a little before the gates were shut .
We spent the evening at the house of our kind friend Mr. Nicolayson. Here we found a fellow-countryman, who had been invited to meet us. He lives in Jerusalem in complete retirement, joins no church, and has no fellowship with Christians of any denomination, but waits for the coming of the Son of Man. He wears the long beard, turban, and flowing dress of the Easterns. He is a very pious, but singular man. On one occasion imagining that Elijah, " the watchman of Ephraim," would soon be on the mountains of Israel, he went to seek him, though he knew nothing of the language of the country. He travelled as far as Sychar, keeping in his hand an Arabic list of vegetables, and other articles of food, so that by pointing to the written word, he was able to make himself understood. On another occasion, passing by the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the monks mistaking him for a Jew, rushed out upon him, and pursued him through the streets, into a house where he took refuge, threatening to kill him, unless he kissed a picture of the Virgin,
* Rev. xv. 3,4.
several passages ui S5uripture.| vve spent a pleasant
evening thus conversing on the word of God within the gates of Jerusalem.
(June 11.) We had agreed to visit the Consul, Mr. Young, this forenoon, to receive information from him regarding the Jews. On going to him, he told us that a remarkable circumstance had occurred that morning. The Turkish Governor of Jerusalem had allowed Sir Moses Montefiore and his attendants to enter the tomb of David upon Mount Zion, and to pray over it, a privilege not granted to a Jew for many centuries. The Governor had called on Sir Moses the day before, and shown him great respect, and that morning had sent him a present of five sheep. The ground of the Governor's respectful treatment of him was the fact of his being a native of Great Britain. Mr. Nicolayson was fortunate enough to be with Sir Moses at the time, and so obtained admittance also, and heard the Jews recite a long form of prayer, and read many of the Psalms, such as the xv, cxxii, cxxvi, over the tomb of the Sweet Singer of Israel. He described it as a solemn and affecting scene.
Mr. Young gave the following statistics of the Jews in the Holy Land; and having afterwards taken down Mr. Nicolayson's information on the same subject, we insert both together for the sake of comparison.
* Ezek. ix. 4. t Mark xiii. 15. t Ps. xlvii. 1. Isa. lv. 12.
On the whole, Mr. Young reckoned that there are in round numbers about 10,000 Jews in the whole of Palestine. The difficulties, however, in the way of procuring accurate statistics are very great. The Jews are unwilling to give their true numbers, and they are reduced from time to time by the ravages of the plague. Add to this, that few young men come to the land; so that it is not reckoning accurately to take the usual average of individuals in a family. People who come here are generally elderly, and do not leave families behind them to increase the population or supply its vacancies. There is, without doubt, a constant influx of Jews into this country, yet not so great as to do more than supply the annual deaths. Their poverty is great. The contributions from Europe of late have been smaller than usual; and when they arrive, instead of doing good, are the occasion of heart-burnings and strife. There is no such thing as " brethren dwelling together in unity"* in Jerusalem; no Jew trusts his brother, f They are always quarrelling, and frequently apply to the Consul to settle their disputes. The expectation of support from the annual European contributions leads many to live in idleness. Hence there are in Jerusalem 500 acknowledged paupers, and 500 more who receive charity in a quiet way. Many are so poor that, if not relieved, they could not stand out the winter season. A few are shopkeepers; a few more are hawkers; and a very few are operatives. None of them are agriculturists—not a single Jew cultivates the soil of his fathers. Among other peculiar causes of poverty, they are obliged to pay more rent than other people for their houses; and their rabbisJ frequently oppress and overreach those under their care. Whilst Mahomet Ali was in possession of this country, the government had been far more tolerant toward them
* Pa. cxxxiii. 1, t Is this a fulfilment of Micah vii. 2—&
t This is a fulfilment of Ezek. xxxiv. 2, 3, continued down to thisoajcoming strongly attached to British Christians. The fact of a British Consul being stationed here on their account has greatly contributed to this effect. How wonderful that a British Consul should be sent to the Holy Land, with special instructions to interest himself in behalf of the Jews, and having for his district the very refion formerly allotted to the twelve tribes of Israel! And ow much more wonderful still, that our first Consul in Jerusalem should be one actuated by a deep and enlightened attachment to the cause of God's ancient people! At present, however, the Jews make less use of his influence than they might do; for they say, "if the Consul were to go away, revenge would be taken on us." This is so much their feeling, that when it was lately reported, that he was to be removed on account of the war that threatened, many Jews came to him, with tears running down their cheeks, entreating him to remain. There is also another singular fact, namely, that converted Jews have complete access to their brethren. Five converts are here at present, and the Jews treat them with kindness, allow them to visit their houses, and frequently visit them in return. Oh, that the day were come when "the fountain shall be opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness!" *
* Zech. xiii. 1.
150 JERUSALEM—G1HON—HILL OP EVIL COUNSEL.
In the afternoon we mounted our hardy little palfrsya, and with Mr. Nicolayson for our guide, set out to visit some of the interesting spots around the city. Going out by the Jaffa Gate, we turned to the south, and crossed by the wall of the lower pool of Gihon—that being the usual way to Bethlehem. The name of Hinnom is very generally given to this western valley, as well as to the south of Zion; but if the two pools be really the pools of Gihon, it seems much more probable, that the valley on the west of the city is the vale of Gihon, while that on the south is the vale of Hinnom.* Crossing Solomon's aqueduct, which we could trace far on its way to Bethlehem, we turned to the south-east, and climbed the hill immediately south of Mount Zion, parted from it by the deep vale of Hinnom. This ridge is named the Hill of Evil Counsel, because upon the summit a ruin is pointed out, which is called by the monks the countryhouse of Caiaphas, where the priests, scribes, and elders met and took counsel how they might kill Jesus. From this we had another pleasant view of the plain of Rephaim.f lying to the south-west. The reapers were gathering the ears of corn at the very time. The most prominent object to the south is a graceful conical hill, called
the Frank Mountain, and supposed by some to be Betbhaccerem, a suitable spot for " setting up a sign of fire."J To the north, we looked across the valley of Hinnom to Mount Zion, descending bold and steep into the ravine. Several parts were ploughed like a field as already mentioned, and on one part sheaves were standing. To the north-east, beyond the high wall of the mosque on Mount Moriah, we obtained the finest view we had yet seen of the Mount of Olives, with its three graceful summits. The depth of the Valley of Jehoshaphat (vale of Kedron) struck us very forcibly, and gave an appearance of great loftiness to Mount Olivet. To the east, "Who is he that condemneth?"
* Josh. xv. 8. It formed the northern boundary of the tribe of Judah, and hence Nehem. xi. 30, speaks of those who " dwelt from Beer-thti* unlo the valley of Hinnom"—the two extremities ol Judah.
t Isa xvii. 5. t Jer. vi. I
Descending gradually toward the eastern side of the ridge, we came to the spot pointed out as Aceldama," the field of blood," the field bought with the thirty pieces of silver, and "known to all the dwellers at Jerusalem." * It lies opposite the south-east corner of Mount Zion. A charnel-house or square chamber sunk in the earth is still shewn here, and some of the cells have been lately opened; but we found no traces of that peculiar kind of earth said to have been found here, which had the property of causing dead bodies to decay within four-andtwenty-hours.f A particular tree is pointed out as the tree on which Judas hanged himself, a mere tradition, or rather a barefaced invention, but interesting as shewing that to this day the awful doom of the Son of Perdition is not forgotten by the dwellers of Jerusalem. At this point is obtained a remarkable view of the Valley of Jehoshaphat. It is wide and ample, in some parts terraced, and a small portion of it planted with gardens, which are
* Matt . xxvii. 7, a Acts i. 19.
t A recent traveller, W. R. Wilde, a medical gentleman, visited a sepulchre lately opened here, when he found the skulls to belong, not to Jews, but to individuals of different nations. He gives this fact on personal examination, as affording proof that this is "the field to bury strangers in." The only abatement of this interesting evidence, is the possibility of these having been buried in it at a period later than the Jewish kingdom existed.
ilUnl J CI USiilflll. J
From this point, also, is seen the gentle hollow that marks the separation between Zion and Moriah. At other points, it seems as if the one hill overlapped the other; but here it is quite easy to trace the line of separation. This hollow is the Tyropceon of Josephus, or Valley of the Cheesemongers, beginning near the Jaffa Gate, and running east to the wall of the Mosque, and then south till it opens out into the Valley of Jehoshaphat It was no doubt much deeper and more distinct in ancient days. The debris of the ruins of many generations have been long filling it up. Between the Tyropceon and the Valley of Jehoshaphat, outside the walls of the city, stood the tower called in Scripture, Ophel. The ridge ends there in a precipice of solid limestone rock, overhanging the Pool of Siloam, to the height of about sixty feet. Due east from the Mount of Evil Counsel, on the other side of the valley, rises the hill called the Mount of Offence, or Mount of Corruption, on which, it is believed, Solomon set up idols to his strange gods. It is just a lower ridge of the Mount of Olives, Darren and rocky. We thought we could trace indications of former buildings on the face of the hill, near the top.
Winding down the hill, we reached the lowest part of the Valley of Jehoshaphat, a retired spot, pleasantly shaded with fruit-trees. Here is Nehemiah's Well, or rather, there is little doubt, the ancient En-Rogel, "the fuller's fountain." There are the remains of ancient buildings over it, and a largo tank beside it. It is 125 feet in depth. Formerly, the water seems to have been drawn
• Joel iii. 12, 14. t Joel iii. 16.
part which Joab acted in that memorable scene that the well is called by the Arabs to this day Beer-Eyub, "the well of Job," or Joab.
Proceeding up the valley, we passed through a smaL grove of olives, pomegranates, and figs. A girl came running to us with her lap full of ripe apricots. Her head was ornamented with a circle of silver coins. Here we found people busily employed, some treading out corn by the feet of the ox and the ass, others winnowing what had been trodden out already. This peaceful scene in so retired a valley, near a refreshing well, served to explain the prophet's manner of reproving the indolence of backsliding Israel, "Ephraim is an heifer that is taught, and loveth to tread out the corn."} The winnowing with the shovel, recalled to our minds the " clean provender which hath been winnowed with the shovel and the fan." ||
We passed the mouth of the Vale of Hinnom, and approaching the rockof Ophel above described, came to an old mulberry-tree, whose roots are now supported by a terrace of rough stones, said to mark the place where Manasseh caused the prophet Isaiah to be sawn asunder. 1T Three Arabs were reclining under its plentiful shade, and seemed to wonder why we gazed.
Passing under the rocky face of Ophel, we came to the Pool of Siloam. We were surprised to find it so entire,
• Joeh. xviii. 16. t 2 Sam. xvii. 17. t 1 Kings i. 9, 41
i Hos. x. 11- II Isa. xxx. 24 f Heb. xi. 37.
154 JERUSALEM POOL OP SILOAM.
exactly resembling the common prints of it . It is in the form of a parallelogram, and the walls all round are of hewn stones. The steps that lead down into it, at tht eastern end, are no doubt the same which have beer there for ages. The water covered the bottom to the depth of one or two feet. At the western end, climbing a little way into a cave hewn out of a rock, we descended a few steps into the place from which the water flows into the pool. It is connected by a long subterranean passage, running quite through the hill to the Fountain of the Virgin, or more properly the Fountain of Siloam, the entrance to which is a considerable way farther up the Valley of Jehoshaphat. Through this passage the water flows softly from the fountain till it finds its way into the pool, not as generally represented in pictures by
Eouring over the mouth of the cave, but secretly from eneath. Wild flowers, and among other plants the caper-tree, grow luxuriantly around its border.
"We are told that " the wall of the Pool of Siloah, by the king's garden," * was rebuilt in the days of Nehemiah. There can be no doubt that this is the very spot; and possibly the present walls and steps may be as ancient as the days of our Lord. While sitting on the margin, we could imagine the history of the blind manf realized before us. We had seen that very day a blind man in the streets of Jerusalem as we passed by. Now it was to such a man that our Lord said, " Go, wash in the Pool of Siloam." The man obeys—comes out at the
fate—descends the sloping side of Zion, gropes his way own these steps, and feels for the cool water with his hand; then laves his clay-anointed eyes, and they open! Now he sees the glory of Jerusalem, but above all, comes back to see the face of the Son of God, tue light of the world, whose word commanded the light to shine on his dark eye-balls and his darker heart. The water of this pool flows out through a small channel cut or worn in the rock, and descends to refresh the gardens which are planted below on terraces, illustrating the expression "a fountain of gardens," J for a fountain in such a situation waters many gardens. These are the remains of " the king's garden,"^ mentioned by Nehemiah and by Josephus.|| Leaving the pool, we turned northward, proceeding up
* Neh iii. 15. t John ix. t Song iv. 15.
i Neb. iii. 15. II Ant. vii. c M, y I
be a standing pool, until we put our hands into it, and felt the gentle current pressing them aside. Nothing could be more descriptive of the flow of these waters than the words of Isaiah, "The waters of Siloah that go softly."* The calm silent stream of grace and power which flows from under the throne of a reconciled God is, by this simple figure, finely contrasted with the loud noisy promises of Rezin and Remaliah's son. The believing soul has a secret and unfailing spring of quiet joy ever flowing from " the holy place of the tabernacles of the Most High," which forms a complete contrast to the rude and boisterous mirth of the ungodly. We drank with joy of the cool water, which we found sweet and pleasant, all the sweeter because of the sacred recollections with which it was associated. It seemed to be a much frequented spring: for some came to drink, some to draw water to wash their clothes, and others were conveying it to their camels.
It has been suggested with much probability, that this fountain may have an artificial connection with another fountain said to be under the Mosque of Omar in the heart of Moriah; for the flow of water seems too large and too calm to be the commencement of a spring in a limestone rock. But there does not appear to be any solid foundation for the conjecture of Dr. Robinson, that this may be the pool of Bethesda. It bears no resemblance to any of the other pools around the city; nor can we see where the five porches could have stood, for it is a cavern five-and-twenty feet deep in the solid rock. And most certainly the irregular flow sometimes observed in the fountain, cannot have any thing to do with
• Isa. viii. 6. Bks a'S^nn " that go so as to be unperceived, or escape observation."
156 JERUSALEM—FOUNTAIN OP SI LOAM.
the troubling of the water of Bethesda, for we are expressly told, that "an angel went down at a certain season into the pool and troubled the water."* That was a miraculous event, plainly intended to typify the Lord Jesus, the true " house of mercy;" for it is worthy of remark, that this was the only occasion in which Jesus healed only one out of a multitude of sick folk. He wished to show that he was the true pool of Bethesda. On every other occasion " he healed them all." Probably this fountain bore the same name as the Pool of Siloam, with which it is so strongly connected, and is to be regarded as
Siloah's brook that flowed
Fast by the oracle of God. It was with a full remembrance of this day's pleasant visit to the Fountain of Siloam, that the following lines occurred at an after period, when stretched in our tent Under the brow of Carmel.
Beneath Moriah's rocky side
A gentle fountain springs.
Silent and soft its waters glide.
Like the peace the Spirit brings.
The thirsty Arab stoops to drink
Of the cool and quiet wave;
And the thirsty spirit stops to think
Of Him who came to save.
Siloam is the fountain's name;
It means " one sent from God;"
And thus the holy Saviour's feme
It gently spreads abroad.
O grant that I like this sweet well,
May Jesus' image bear;
And spend my life—my all—to tell
How full his mercies are.
We now passed further up the Valley of Jehoshaphat, and observed with interest on the sides of the Mount of Olives, immediately opposite where the Temple stood, the Jewish burying-ground. Innumerable white flat stones overspread the valley, with short Hebrew inscriptions, generally very simple and uninteresting. It is here that the old Jews desire to be buried, that they may reach bliss without needing to make their way underground to the Valley of Jehoshaphat, as others require to do who die elsewhere. They expect to arise from these tombs at the resurrection, and see Messiah among the first. How awful their disappointment when they find that they die only to pass forthwith into consuming * John v. 4.
We left the valley, and ascended the southern limb of the Mount of Olives by the Jericho road. We wished to view Jerusalem from the spot where the Saviour is supposed to have stood when he " was come near, and beheld the city and wept over it."f Mr. Nicolayson guided us to the place. The road to Jericho crosses the shoulder of the hill, so that when a traveller is approaching Jerusalem, the city is brought into full view all at once by a turn of the road. The scene is truly magnificent: the air is so clear and the view so comprehensive. The city lies, not under your feet, but almost on a level with you. You look across the valley to the temple rising full before you, and think that you could count every tower, every street,and every dwelling. Jesus saw all this before him, and its guilty people were themselves as fully open to his view in that wonderful moment, when his tears testified his unutterable love to Israel, and his words declared their fearful doom. Oh, that we could stand and look on Israel now, with our Master's love and bowels of compassion! We stood awhile to realize that myste riously interesting moment, and then rode on towards Bethany. The road slopes gently down the other side of the hill, and you are immediately out of sight of Jerusalem. Climbing another shoulder of the hill, and looking back, we obtained another view of the city, but a distant one; not the one spoken of in the gospel, where it is said, "when He came near." The road is very rocky, often indeed worn out of the solid limestone.
• 2 Sam. rviii. 1a t Luke xix 41.
bly a tower in former days, and selected to bear the name of the House of Lazarus by traditionists, who did not know how else than by his worldly eminence such a man could draw the special regard of the Lord Jesus. They did not know that Christ loveth freely. The sepulchre called the Tomb of Lazarus attracted more of our attention. We lighted our tapers, and descended twenty-six steps cut in the rock to a chamber deep in the rock, having several niches for the dead. Whether this be the very tomb where Lazarus lay four days, and which yielded up its dead at the command of Jesus, it is impossible to say. The common objection that it is too deep seems entirely groundless, for there is nothing in the narrative to intimate that the tomb was on a level with the ground, and besides it seems not unlikely that there was another entrance to the tomb farther down the slope. A stronger objection is, that the tomb is in the immediate vicinity of the village, or actually in it, but it is possible that the modern village occupies ground a little different from the ancient one. However this may be, there can be no doubt that this is " Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha, nigh unto Jerusalem, about fifteen furlongs off."* How pleasing are all the associations that cluster around it! Perhaps there was no scene in the Holy Land which afforded us more unmingled enjoyment: we even fancied that the curse that every where rests so visibly upon the land had fallen more lightly here. In point of situation, nothing could have come up more completely to our previous imagination of the place to which Jesus delighted to retire at evening from the bustle of the city, and the vexations of the unbelieving multitudes—sometimes traversing the
• John xi. 1, 1a
from it we visited the Church of the Ascension, originally built by Helena, the mother of Constantine, A. D. 326, over the spot where it is said that our Lord ascended from the earth, and where the inhabitants still pretend to shew the print of his last footstep! This tradition, though very ancient, is directly at variance with the words of the Evangelist. It evidently arose from the circumstance of this being the most conspicuous summit of the hill, and perhaps in some measure from the appearance, which does exist, of something like the footmark in the limestone rock. But the simple words of the Evangelist decide the matter, "He led them out as far as to Bethany.''J He led them beyond the summit, and down the other side of the hill, as far as the retired village of Bethany; and in the spot where he so often parted with them for the night, he now parted with them for "a little while,"} till the hour should come, when again "his feet shall stand upon the Mount of 01ives."||
We passed across the face of the Mount of Olives, towards the northern summit of the hill, and there descending into the valley of the Kedron, considerably to the north of the city, crossed over to the Tombs of the Kings. We first clambered down into a large area
• Luke xxir. 61. t Acts i. 11. t Luke xxiv. 50.
♦ John xiv. 19. II Zech. xiv. 4.
160 JERUSALEM—TOMBS OP THE KWGS.
which has been cut out of the solid rock, and on the west side of which is a wide entrance which slopes down under the rock. The band of carved work over the entrance is very beautiful, representing a vine branch with bunches of grapes. With lighted tapers we crept through the low aperture which leads from the portico into an inner apartment, where are entrances to the chambers of the mighty dead. We examined with interest the remains of the stone doors described by many who have visited the place. One is pretty entire, but lying on the ground. The pannels are carved in the rock, and also the tenons or hinges, which are suited to sockets cut in the rocky wall. It was to such abodes of the dead that Job referred when he said, " Now should I have Iain still and been quiet; I should have slept: then had I been at rest with kings and counsellors of the earth, which built desolate places for themselves." * Isaiah also refers to them, where he says, "All the kings of the nations, even all of them lie in glory, every one in his own house."f And again, "Go get thee unto this treasurer, even unto Shebna, which is over the house, and say, What hast thou here, and whom hast thou here, that thou hast hewn thee out a sepulchre here, as he that heweth him out a sepulchre on high, and that graveth an habitation for himself in a rock ?"J The sloping ground at the entrance reminded us of what is said of John at the sepulchre of Christ, "He stooping down and looking in saw the linen clothes lying."}
A great deal of obscurity hangs over the history of these interesting sepulchres. Some have supposed them to be the work of Herod and his family, and others have called them the tomb of Helena, Queen of Adiabene, who being converted to the Jewish faith along with her son was buried near Jerusalem.
As the sun was nearly down we began to move homewards, and from a rising ground between the tombs and the city we obtained a much more pleasing view of Jerusalem, with its domes and minarets, than is afforded by any of the other approaches on this side. We entered the Damascus Gate before sunset. Spending the evening with Mr. Nicolayson, we saw again the custhe low rude wall enclosing the plot of ground which for ages has borne the name of Gethsemane. Clambering over we examined the saered spot and its eight olivetrees. These are very large and very old, but their branches are still strong and vigorous. One of them we measured, and found to be nearly eight yards in girth round the lower part of the trunk. Some of them are hollow with age, but filled up with earth, and most have heaps of stones gathered round their roots. The enclosure seems to have been tilled at some recent period. At one corner some pilgrim has erected a stone and carved upon it the Latin words, "et hie tenuerunt e.um" marking it as the spot where Judas betrayed his Master with a kiss. The road to Bethany passes by the foot of the garden, and the more private footpath up the brow of the hill passes along its northern wall. Looking across the Kedron, the steep brow of Moriah and sombre wall of the Haram with its battlements, and the top of the Mosque of Omar, shut in the view. At evening, when the gates of Jerusalem are closed, it must be a perfect solitude. Our blessed Master must have distinctly seen the band of men and officers sent to apprehend him, with their lanterns and torches, and glittering weapons, descending the side of Moriah and approaching the garden. By the clear moonlight, he saw his three chosen disciples fast asleep in his hour of agony; and by the gleam of the torches, he observed his cruel enemies coming down to seize him and carry him away to his last sufferings; yet "he was not rebellious, neither turned away back."-f
* Job iii. 13, 14.
t Isa. xiv. It). Compare Ezek. xxxii. 17—end. May not the prophet nave derived the scenery of this passage from some such sepulchres isihese?
t Isa. xxii. 15, 16. $ John xx. 5.
• See p. 69 t Isa. 1. 5.
162 JERUSALEM—POOL OF BETHESDA.
He viewed the bitter cup that was given him to drink, and said, " Shall I not drink it ?" * We read over all the passages of Scripture relating to Gethsemane, while seated together there. It seemed nothing wonderful to read of the weakness of those three disciples, when we remember that they were sinful men like disciples now; but the compassion, the unwavering love of Jesus, appeared by the contrast to be infinitely amazing. For such souls as ours, he rent this vale with his strong crying and tears, wetted this ground with his bloody sweat, and set his face like a flint to go forward and die. "While we were yet sinners Christ died for us." f Each of us occupied part of the time alone—in private meditation— and then we joined together in prayer—putting our sins into that cup which our Master drank here, and pleading for our own souls, for our far distant friends, and for the flocks committed to our care.
It is probable that Jesus often resorted to this place, not only because of its retirement, but also because it formed a fit place of meeting, when his disciples, dispersed through the city by day, were to join his company in the evening, and go with him over the hill to Bethany. And this seems the real force of the original words,
"FloXAdffif ffvvftx.0r i & ^Iritnii Iket fieri ruv paQjiTwv ait-rov" J "JeSUS
ofttimes rendezvoused at this spot with his disciples."
As the day advanced, we repassed the brook Kedron, visited the spot where Stephen is said to have been stoned, and entered the city by the gate which bears his name. Here we delayed a little to examine the large dry reservoir which is generally called "the Pool of Bethesda." It is 360 feet long by 130 feet broad, and about 70 feet deep. A low parapet of large stones runs along the margin, over which you look into the vast dry basin below. The bottom is partly covered with rubbish, and partly planted with a few flowers and old trees. At the further end are two arches, forming entrances into dark vaults, which are generally believed to be remains of the five porches. Dr. Robinson has conjectured that this very deep pool was part of the trench of the castle of Antonia, which stood on the north-west corner of the ancient temple; and it seems exceedingly probable that this is the case. But is it not probable that when the trench of Antonia was dug, dividing it from the hill Bezetha, advantage was taken of the Pool of Bethesda pre
* John xviii. 11. t Rom v. 8. t John xviii. 2.
gate of tlie mosque than Christian feet are permitted to do. An Egyptian soldier .who was by took our part, and we quietly retired. Being without a guide, we had the pleasure of losing our way, and wandering up and down for about an hour in the streets of Jerusalem, before we found our home on the brow of Mount Zion.
In the afternoon we spent five hours in receiving from Mr. Nicolayson full information regarding the numbers and condition of the Jews in Palestine. The Committee of our Church who sent us forth, had furnished us with a list of questions to be investigated and answered. These we shall set down in order, with the information we received in reply to them.
L What is the number of Jews in Jerusalem, and in the Holy Land!
We have already set down briefly the answer to this question.* A few more particulars may be added. In Jerusalem 1000 Jews pay taxes, and all of these are males from thirteen years old and upwards. The Jews marry when very young, so that, allowing five to a family, there are 5000, represented by the 1000 who pay taxes, in Jerusalem. Foreign Jews, however, such as Russians, Poles, and Hungarians, and many others, continue under the protection of European powers, and pay no taxes. These may amount to 2000, which would give about 7000 Jews to Jerusalem. This is the largest statement of the number of Jews in the Holy City that we
* See p. lia
164 NUMBERS AND CONDITION OF
any where received, and is no doubt above the rea, amount; for^the average of five to a family appears to bo far too great.
The destruction of Saphet by an earthquake in 1837* occasioned the dispersion of many of the Jews who dwelt there. Of these, some settled at Acre, and some at Jerusalem. In the cities along the coast, the Jews have been increasing of late. In Tyre, formerly a Jew was not allowed to spend a night; but the Pasha's government changed the law, and now a congregation and rabbi have settled there. They are chiefly from the Barbary coast. The recent occupation of Algiers by the French enabled the Jews of that coast to claim protection as French subjects, and this induces them to leave home more freely for purposes of trade. The same class of Jews are found in Sidon and Beyrout. At the utmost, the whole Jewish population of Palestine may be reckoned at about 12,000. This is the largest estimate which we received; yet comparing it with their numbers in the days of Solomon, we may well say in the words of Isaiah, there are " few men left." f
II. Has the number of Jews in Palestine been increasing of late years?
Their numbers did increase decidedly during the first five years of the Pasha's government, that is from 1832 to 1837,—a time which coincides with the occupation of Algiers by the French. Many came from the Barbary coast, who settled chiefly at Saphet and on the coast . During the last two years there has been little or no increase. There is always an influx, but then the mortality is great, and the number that come do no more than supply the places of those cut off. The change of climate at the advanced period of life in which many come, the new habits which the country forces them to form, their being crowded together in damp, unwholesome residences, all combine to shorten their days. This diminution in the numbers of Jews returning to their own land, seems to be caused by the ravages which the plague has been making for two years past; by the rise in the price of provisions; by the embarrassed finances of the Jewish coming, and of their own restoration. This opinion has now even more weight with them than formerly, for they partake of the general impression that a crisis is approaching. The Jews here, as a nation, are far from infidel, but there are many whose minds are fully occupied with their miseries.
* See an interesting account of thib event published by Erasmus S. Caiman, who was afterwards our faithful aud affectionate companion in tra vel.
t Isa. Xjuv. 6.
IIL Are the Jews in Palestine supported by their brethren in other parts of the world?
Generally speaking, they are all supported by a yearlycontribution made by their brethren in other lands. All foreign Jews residing in Palestine are entirely dependent on contributions from Europe, except a few who have property in Europe. These latter either bring their little property with them, or make it over to friends in Europe, on condition of their sending them an annual sum to the Holy Land, upon which they live here. But even these may receive their share, as every Jew, rich or poor, who has been one year in the country, has a share allotted to him if he chooses to take it. The sum received by each individual is very small; much is swallowed up by their differences and quarrels, and much is required to pay the interest of their debt. Five ducats, or about 3/., 10». a-head, is thought a good contribution. At present, however, it is even smaller. The way of collecting the European contributions used to be this. Messengers (a-mSr, sheleeheem) were sent from Jerusalem to the different cities in Europe, where collections were made, and these brought the money to Palestine. This was a very expensive method, for nearly one-fourth of the sum small sum is appropriated by legacy to each of the persons who are chosen to study there. This yields perhaps 100 or 150 piastres a year to the individual.
IV. Is there kept up constant and rapid communication between the Jews in Palestine, and those in other parts of the world?
The Rabbis of Palestine maintain a constant communication with their brethren all over the world. In one respect, indeed, it may be said, that Jerusalem is not the centre of Jewish influence; for there is little outgoing from it; the Jews are stationary there; yet, on the other hand, it is true that Jerusalem is the heart of the nation, and every thing done there or in the Holy Land will tell upon the whole Jewish world. When conversions take place, although they wish to keep them quiet, still the intelligence is soon communicated, and known and spoken of every where. A Jew said lately to Mr. Nicolayson, that he believed that in a short time no young Jews would be allowed to come to the Holy Land, if the missionaries continued to labour as they were doing. They would trust only old confirmed Jews there, who would be able to meet their arguments. The communication, however, is by no means rapid, being carried on by means of messengers. Much mischief has often arisen from this system, for the rabbis sometimes intercept the letters of poor Jews, which they fear may be complaining of their conduct.
THE JBW9 IN PALESTINE. 167
V. From what countries do the Jews principally come?
The greatest numbers come from Poland, and the Austrian dominions. Many come from Russia, and many more would come if they were not hindered.* There are some from Wallachia and Moldavia; a few from Germany; a few from ilollund; but scarcely any from Britain. All these being Europeans receive the name of Ashkenazim.j The native Jews, that is, those Jews who are subjects of the country, are called Si-phardim, and are almost all of Spanish extraction. They come principally from Turkey in Europe, from Salon iki, Constantinople, and the Dardanelles. Those who come from Asia Minor are chiefly from Smyrna. Many have come from Africa, especially of late years, from Morocco, and the Barbary coast, from Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli. These bring French passports, and are therefore under protection. There are a few from Alexandria and Cairo. Mr. .\icolayson never saw any Jews from India, though several have gone to India and returned. They have occasional communication by individuals with Yemen and Sennah. There are many Spanish Jews, and several Polish families, who have been here for generations, whose fathers and grandfathers have died here, and who are really natives of Palestine. But most even of these count themselves foreigners still, and they generally contrive to make a tour to Europe some time in their life.
VI Are there manij Rabbis in Palestine .*
There is often a great mistake made about the rank of those who get the title of Rabbi. The truth is, all are included in that class who are not in the class f-mn ap (am haaretz), that is the uneducated. Formerly, the Rabbis were a kind of clergy, and were appointed by laying on of hands, but now there is no such distinction. The official Rabbi does not even preside in the synagogue, but deputes this to another, the Hazan, who is often chosen because of his fine voice. The only part of the duty which is reserved peculiarly for the priest, is the pronouncing the blessing. None but a Cohen, a priest of Aaron's line, can give this. In the synagogue any one may be called up to read. This custom appears belonging to two or three are collected into one. These have Been established by individuals for behoof of their souls. They left a little money to furnish them, and to enable a few persons to devote themselves to study there, and to be trained up in the law, for this is a noi (zechuth), or deed of merit . Five or six readers are elected to each of them, one or two of whom are expected to be always reading the Talmud there, and each of these receives 100 or 1M piastres a-year to maintain him. These appointments are obtained by favour and private influence. In many cases the rooms are much neglected
* There is n day coming when the prophecy shall be fulfilled, "I will My to the north. Give up." I*a. xliii. ti.
t Gen. x. 3. Aehkpnaz. son of (ioiner, gives origin to the name, u Sephvad, mentioned in Obadiah 20, dooa to Svphudim.
VII. What are the peculiar characteristics of the Jews
Their principal characteristic is, that they are all strict Rabbinists, though in this they can hardly be said to differ from the Polish Jews. They are also superstitious in the extreme. Their real characteristic may be inferred from the fact, that those who come are the elite of the devotional and strictly religious Jews of other countries. They have so little trade that their covetousness and cheating are turned upon one another.
VIII. }Vhat are the feelings of the Jews in Palestine
IX. What success has attended the efforts hitherto made
for their conversion?
These two questions involve each other. The first effort of the London Society in this country was made in the
* Luke iv. 16.
Pliny Fisk, to rent one of the small convents for their establishment. Pliny Fisk, however, died in October 1825, before the arrangement was completed; and Dr. Dalton was again left alone. It was to aid him that Mr. Nicolayson was sent to this country in December 1825. But very soon after his arrival, Dr. Dalton died, in January 1820, of an illness caught on a tour to Bethlehem. Mr. Nicolayson returned to Beyrout, and studied the language more thoroughly during that winter. In the summer of the same year (1826), a rebellion broke out, and Mr. Nicolayson retired to Saphet and lived there till June 1827, having much intercourse with the Jews. Considerable impression was made, and the rabbis grew jealous of him. They threatened to excommunicate the man who let him his house, and the woman who washed his clothes, so that he was forced to return to Beyrout. He then left the country for four years, and travelled on the Barbary coast. In 1832 he returned, and came to Beyrout with his family at the time when the Pasha had nearly taken Acre. The country was now quite open, so that he spent the summer at Sidon, and had intercourse with Christians and Jews. He was beginning to build a cottage there, when the jealousy of the Greek priests threw obstacles in his way. In 1833, Mr. Caiman came, and he and Mr. Nicolayson made a tour together to the holy cities. Mr. Caiman's sweetness of tempei and kindly manner gained upon the Jews exceedingly
170 NUMBERS AND CONDITION OP
At Jerusalem they consulted with Ysa Petros, a Greek priest, who was very friendly, as to the practicability of renting a house in that city. They visited Tiberias, and had many discussions with the Jews, the results of which were often very encouraging; and last of all spent an interesting fortnight at Saphet. On returning to Beyrout, they found that two American Missionaries had arrived on their way to Jerusalem to labour among the native Christians. They all resolved to attempt the renting of a house in the Holy City. Accordingly, in the autumn of 1833, Mr. Nicolayson and family removed to Jerusalem, to the house on Mount Zion where he now lives, and spent a quiet comfortable winter. In the spring of 1834, Mr. Thomson, an American Missionary, arrived, and about the same time the rebellion broke out . One Sabbath morning, the Missionaries found themselves environed, the soldiers having left the town to the mercy of the Fellahs; and an earthquake happened the same day. They were shut up in their dwelling till the Friday when Ibraim arrived, but remained in a state of siege for five or six weeks. During ten days they had to live upon rice alone. Sickness followed. Mrs. Thomson, of the American Mission, died of brain fever, produced by the alarm and other circumstances. Mrs. Nicolayson was ill for three or four weeks, and Mr. Nicolayson fell ill soon after, so that they had to leave for Beyrout, and thus lost that summer. In the spring of 1835, Dr. Dodge and Mr. Whiting, two more American Missionaries, arrived. Mr. Whiting boarded with Mr. Nicolayson in Jerusalem, but Dr. Dodge died in the middle of the same year he came out. From this time the Jewish Mission may be accounted as established in the Holy City. In 1835, the subject of a Hebrew Church on Mount Zion was started in England, and in 1836 Mr. Nicolayson was called to England to consult regarding it. He returned in July 1837, and laboured alone in Jerusalem for a year. But in July 1838, Mr. Pieritz and Mr. Levi, converted Jews, but not in orders, were sent out to strengthen the Mission here; and in December, Dr. Gerstmann, and his assistant Mr. Bergheim, both converted Jews, and both medical men, arrived. They have thus made Jerusalem the centre of the Mission to the Jews in Palestine. Mr. Young, the English Consul, had fixed his quarters here about three months before our arrival. The efforts made have been blessed to the conversion of some Jews in Jerusalem, ttnnjgh it is still the day of to come to Jerusalem, and being regularly instructed byMr. Pieritz, and also affected by an illness, she gave good evidence of having undergone a saving change, and now she speaks like a missionary to her countrywomen. The whole family, consisting of Simeon, his wife, a boy, and girl, were baptized in Jerusalem after last Easter. This is the family at whose house we heard the German service last Sabbath-day. Another case was that of Chaii or Hymen Paul, an amiable young Jew, an acquaintance of Simeon, who became intelligently convinced of the truth. He was baptized last Pentecost, and at his own desire sent to England.
The first native Jew awakened at Jerusalem was Rabbi Joseph, in September 1838. He was a learned young man, and so bitterly was his change opposed by the Jews, that the Missionaries were obliged to send him away to Constantinople before he was baptized. Three rabbis have very lately become inquirers after the truth, and seem determined to profess Christianity openly. We afterwards received a fuller account of these two last cases from Mr. Pieritz. These are all the known fruits of the Mission in the way of conversion.
When Rabbi Joseph was awakened, a herem or ban of excommunication was pronounced in the synagogues asrainst the Missionaries, and all who should have dealings with them. But when Dr. Gerstmann, the medical man, came in December, the Jews immediately began to break through it. Another herem was pronounced, hut in vain. No cne regarded it, and Rabbi Israel refused
172 NUMBERS AND CONDITION OF
to pronounce it, saying that he would not be the cause of hindering his poor and sick brethren from going to be healed. This interesting fact shows the immense value of medical missionaries.
The more general fruits of the establishment of the Mission have been these: 1. The distinction between true and false Christianity has been clearly opened up before the eyes of the Jews. 2. The study of the Old Testament has been forced upon them; so that they cannot avoid it. 3. The word of God has become more and more the only ground of controversy. The authority of the Talmud is not now appealed to; the only dispute about it being whether it is to be referred to at all, or what is its real value?
The support of inquirers and converts is one of the chief difficulties that meets a Missionary here. The institution of a printing press, to afford them both manual and mental labour, has been proposed. An hospital for the sick has also been set on foot.
X. What modes of operation have been employed?
The mode of operation is entirely by personal intercourse. The Missionaries frequently make tours to other towns, and dispose of copies of the Old Testament. Mr. Nicolayson has sold about 5000 Hebrew Bibles. The Missionaries never dispose of the New Testament, except to those in whom they have confidence. They at one time sold a box of fifty New Testaments, bound up with the Old. But they afterwards found the New Testament torn out, and blank leaves inserted in stead, with Jarchi's Commentary written on them. The Jews will not take tracts except privately. Many of their Old Testaments have been conveyed to Bagdad and to India.
XI. How far is the health hf the Missionaries affected
by the climate?
The climate of Jerusalem is decidedly healthy. The sicknesses and deaths among the Missionaries above mentioned, can hardly be attributed to the climate. Dr. Dalton was very delicate when he came; Mrs. Thomson died of brain fever; and Dr. Dodge's death was occasioned by a hurried journey, in which he was much exposed.
THE JEWS IN PALESTINE. 173
X1IL What kind of house accommodation is there, and what is the expense of living in Palestine?
The house accommodation in Jerusalem is tolerably comfortable. One of the Missionaries pays £15, and another £17 a-year, as house-rent. In the winter it is difficult to keep the houses dry, the rain causing much dampness , but the sorest privations are want of Christian society, and public means of grace. A Missionary here meets with many trials which he did not anticipate. He must have great patience, and must make up his mind to suffer delays and disappointments, which are much more trying than merely temporal privations, which are really small. A Missionary coming out must not expect full work at once, he must be willing to stand by and wait . Often we may say, " His strength is to sit still." The Christian Missionary enjoys perfect liberty to carry on his operations under the Egyptian government, more so, indeed, than under the British government at Malta or in India. No one inquires what he is about.
Provisions are easily got; but the expense of living is rising continually. The price of food is now double wnat it once was, and some things are four times as high as when Mr. Nicolayson first came. This arises from there being more money in the country. If boarding could be obtained in Jerusalem, then an individual might easily live here on less than £100 a-year. But this is not to be had, so that a Missionary must keep a house and servants, and lay up stores for the season. This is the only way of managing here; and this would require at least £100 a-year. In addition to the salaries of the Missionaries, the London Society pay all the travelling expenses of their missionary tours.
The business of the day being over, we enjoyed a walk outside the Zion Gate. As we sat upon the brow of the hill, we were led to rejoice in the thought, that as certainly as " Zion is now ploughed as a field," the day is coming when "the Lord of Hosts shall reign in Mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously." *
Two flocks were moving slowly up the slope of the hill, the one of goats, the other of sheep. The shepherd was going before the flock, and they followed, as he led the way toward the Jaffa Gate. We conld not but re
• In. xxiv. 23.