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the capital of a district corresponding to that of the primitive Moabites, still meets the eye, but is not to be confounded with another town of a similar name in the Stony Arabia. *
The countries now described lie on the eastern side of the river Jordan. But the same stream, in the upper part of its course, forms the boundary between Gaulonitis and the fertile Galilee, which is identical with the modern district of Szaffad. This town, which is remarkable for the beauty of its situation amid groves of myrtle, is supposed to be the ancient Bethulia, which was besieged by Holofernes. Tabaria, an insignificant place, occupies the site of Tiberias, which gave its name to the lake more generally known by that of Genesareth, or the Sea of Galilee; but industry has now deserted its borders, and the fisherman with his skiff and his nets no longer animates the surface of its waters. Nazareth still retains some portion of its former consequence. Six miles farther south stands the hill of Tabor, sometimes denominated Itabyrius, presenting a pyramid of verdure crowned with olives and sycamores. From the top of this mountain, the modern Tor and scene of the transfiguration, we look down on the river Jordan, the Lake of Genesareth, and the Mediterranean Sea.t
Galilee, says a learned writer, would be a paradise were it inhabited by an industrious people under an enlightened government. Vine stocks are to be seen here a foot and a half in diameter, forming, by their twining branches, vast arches and extensive ceilings of verdure. A cluster of grapes, two or three feet in length, will give an abundant supper to a whole family. The plains of Esdraelon are occupied by Arab tribes, around whose brown tents the sheep and lambs gambol to the sound of the reed, which at nightfall calls them home. I
For some years this fine country has groaned and bled under the malignant genius of Turkish despotism. The fields are left without cultivation, and the towns and villages are reduced to beggary; but the latest accounts from the Holy Land encourage us to entertain the hope, that a milder administration will soon change the aspect of affairs, and bestow upon the Syrian provinces at large some of the benefits which the more liberal policy of Mohammed Ali has conferred upon the pashalic of Egypt.
* Seetzen, in Annales des Voyages, i. 398; and Correspondance de M. Zach. 425.
† Maundrell, p. 60.
| Chateaubriand Itinéraire, ii. 123. Malte Brun, vol. ii. 150-160. Edin. Edition.
Proceeding from Galilee towards the metropolis, we enter the land of Samaria, comprehending the modern districts of Areta and Nablous. In the former we find the remains of Cesarea ; and on the Gulf of St. Jean d'Acre stands the town of Caypha, where there is a good anchorage for ships. On the south-west of this gulf extends a chain of mountains, which terminates in the promontory of Carmel, a name famous in the annals of our religion. There Elijah proved by miracles the divinity of his mission; and there, in the middle ages of the church, resided thousands of Christian devotees, who sought a refuge for their piety in the caves of the rocks. Then the mountain was wholly covered with chapels and gardens, whereas at the present day nothing is to be seen but scattered ruins amid forests of oak and olives, the bright verdure being only relieved by the whiteness of the calcareous cliffs over which they are suspended. The heights of Carmel, it has been frequently remarked, enjoy a pure and enlivening atmosphere, while the lower grounds of Samaria and Galilee are obscured by the densest fogs.
The Shechem of the Scriptures, successively known by the names of Neapolis and Nablous, still contains a considerable population, although its dwellings are mean and its inhabitants poor.
The ruins of Samaria itself are now covered with orchards ; and the people of the district, who have forgotten their native dialect, as well perhaps as their angry disputes with the Jews, continue to worship the Deity on the verdant slopes of Gerizim.
Palestine, agreeably to the modern acceptation the term, embraces the country of the ancient Philistines, the most formidable enemies of the Hebrew tribes to the reign of David. Besides Gaza, the chief town, we recog. nise the celebrated port of Jaffa or Yaffa, corresponding to the Joppa mentioned in the Sacred Writings. Repeatedly fortified and dismantled, this famous harbour has presented such a variety of appearances, that the description given of
it in one age has hardly ever been found to apply to its condition in the very next.
Bethlehem, where the divine Messias was born, is a large village inhabited promiscuously by Christians and Mussulmans, who agree in nothing but their detestation of the tyranny by which they are both unmercifully oppressed. The locality of the sacred manger is occupied by an elegant church, ornamented by the pious offerings of all the nations of Europe. It is not our intention to enter into a more minute discussion of those old traditions, by which the particular places rendered sacred by the Redeemer's presence are still marked out for the veneration of the faithful. They present much vagueness, mingled with no small portion of unquestionable truth. At all events, we must not regard them in the same light in which we are compelled to view the story that claims for Hebron the possession of Abraham's tomb, and attracts on this account the veneration both of Nazarenes and Moslems.
To the north-east of Jerusalem, in the large and fertile valley called El-Gaur, and watered by the Jordan, we find the village of Rah, the ancient Jericho, denominated by Moses the City of Palms. This is a name to which it is still entitled; but the groves of opobalsamum, or balm of Mecca, have long disappeared; nor is the neighbourhood any longer adorned with those singular flowers known among the Crusaders by the familiar appellation of Jericho
A little farther south two rough and barren chains of hills encompass with their dark steeps a long basin formed in a clay soil mixed with bitumen and rock-salt. The water contained in this hollow is impregnated with a solution of different saline substances, having lime, magnesia, and soda for their base, partially neutralized with muriatic and sulphuric acid. The salt which it yields by evaporation is about one-fourth of its weight. The bituminous matter rises from time to time from the bottom of the lake, floats on the surface, and is thrown out on the shores, where it is gathered for various economical purposes. It is to be regretted that this inland sea has not yet been examined with the attention which it deserves. We are told, indeed, by the greater number of those who have visited it, that neither fish nor shells are to be found in its waters; that an unwholesome vapour is constantly emitted from its bosom ;
and that its banks, hideous and desolate in the extreme, are never cheered by the note of any bird. But it is admitted by the same travellers, that the inhabitants are not sensible of any noxious qualities in its exhalations; while the accounts formerly believed, that the winged tribes in attempt. ing to fly over it fell down dead, are now generally regarded as fabulous. Tradition supports the narrative of Sacred Scripture so far as to teach that the channel of the Dead Sea was once a fertile valley, partly resting on a mass of subterranean water, and partly composed of a stratum of bitumen; and that a fire from heaven kindling these combustible materials, the rich soil sunk into the abyss beneath, and Sodom and Gomorrah were consumed in the tremendous conflagration.
This brief outline of the geographical limits and physical characters of the Holy Land may prove sufficient as an introduction to its ancient history. Details much more ample are to be found in numerous works, whose authors, fascinated by the interesting recollections which almost every object in Palestine is fitted to suggest, have endeavoured to transfer to the minds of their readers the profound impressions which they themselves experienced from a personal review of ancient scenes and monuments. But we purposely refrain at present from the minute description to which the subject so naturally invites us, because, in a subsequent part of our undertaking, we shall be unavoidably led into a train of local particularities, while setting forth the actual condition of the country and of its venerable remains. Meantime, we supply, in the following table, the means of comparing the division or distribution of Canaan among the Twelve Tribes, with that which was afterward adopted by the Romans.
Ancient Canaanitish Division. Sidonians,.... Unknown, Perizzites,
Lake of Genesareth)
Ancient Canaanitish Division.
Benjamin (Jericho, Jerusalem)
Simeon (south-west of Judah)
Reuben (Peræa, Heshbon)
Peræa. onitis, Batanea, In a pastoral country, such as that beyond the river Jordan especially, where the desert in most parts bordered upon the cultivated soil, the limits of the several possessions could not at all times be distinctly marked. It is well known, besides, that the native inhabitants were never entirely expelled by the victorious Hebrews, but that they retained, in some instances by force, and in others by treaty, a considerable portion of land within the borders of all the tribes,-a fact which is connected with many of the defections and troubles into which the Israelites subsequently fell.
CHAPTER II. History of the Hebrew Commonwealth. Form of Government after the Death of Joshua-In Egypt-In the Wil
derness-Princes of Tribes and Heads of Families Impatience to take Possession of Promised Land-The Effects of it-Renewal of WarExtent of Holy Land-Opinions of Fleury, Spanheim, Reland, and Lowman-Principle of Distribution-Each Tribe confined to a separate Locality-- Property unalienable-Conditions of Tenure- Population of the Tribes-Number of Principal Families—A General Government or Natural Council—The Judges-Nature of their AuthorityNot ordinary Magistrates-Different from Kings, Consuls, and Dictators-Judicial Establishments— Judges and Officers- Described by Josephus-Equality of Condition among the Hebrews-Their Inclination for a Pastoral Life-Freebooters, like the Arabs-Abimelech, Jephthah, and David-Simplicity of the Times--Boaz and Ruth-Tribe of Levi-Object of their Separation-The learned Professions hereditary, after the manner of the Egyptians—The Levitical Cities-Their Number and Uses--Opinion of Michaelis-Summary View of the Times and Character of the Hebrew Judges.
LEARNED men have long exercised their ingenuity with the view of determining the precise form of the social condition which was assumed by the Israelites when they took