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to Judah, as upon its border ; but was afterwards apparently given to Dan, though conquered by Judah. It afterwards became remarkable in connexion with the capture of the ark by the Philistines, which was sent back from Ekron upon a new cart drawn by two milchkine; and these being left to their own course took the straight way' to Beth-shemesh, the nearest point of entrance to the mountains of Judah. In coming, therefore, from ’Ain Shems to 'Akir, we might almost be said to have followed the track of the cart, on which the ark was thus sent back. After David's victory over Goliath in Wady Es-Sumt,” the Philistines were pursued to Ekron ; and at a later day the prophets utter denunciations against it along with the other cities of the Philistines. But from that time onward, except the slight notice of Eusebius and Jerome, no further mention of Ekron appears until the time of the Crusades. This great plain and the cities of the adjacent coast, were the scenes of many of the exploits of the warriors of the cross ; and in the writings of that age the name of Accaron (Ekron) is spoken of, as still extant in the region where we now find ’Akir. Since that time until the present day, Ekron has again been utterly overlooked by ... travellers. Yet the Christians of both Gaza and Ramleh have the tradition, that 'Akir is the ancient Ekron; and the Sheikh of the village itself told us of his own accord, that such was the belief among the inhabitants. .
(He) informed us, that at 'Akir, and in the adjacent fields, they often discover cisterns, the stones of hand-mills, and other relics of the former place.”-Robinson's Researches, vol. iii. pp. 20, 22-24.
The contents of the preceding pages may be thus briefly summed up:
The land of the Philistines was once a flourishing, 1 Josh. xv. 11, 45, xix. 43; Judg. i. 18. 2 See“ Valley of Elah." 1 Sam. xvii. 52; Jer. xxv. 20; Amos i. 8; Zeph. ii. 4; Zech, ix, 5.
populous, and powerful part of Canaan. Its cities were celebrated, proud, and well fortified.
Now Philistia is chiefly occupied by the huts and flocks of shepherds. Gaza, “the Strong,” is a defenceless village, bereft of its king. The waters, which washed the fortresses of Askelon, are daily retiring further from its “ deserted ruins.” Ashdod is an inconsiderable place.“ Ancient Gath, for aught we know, is swept from the face of the earth.” “The longlost Ekron” has but lately been discovered.
And why has this country been so sorely visited ? Because her inhabitants lived within hearing of the name and might of the one true God, and gave
him not glory. They saw their idol fall before his presence, and loved it still
. They perceived that God had determined to bless his people Israel, and had brought them into the land of Canaan with a mighty hand and a stretched out arm, and yet they impiously thought to thrust them out of it, and sent forth their armies to contend with those for whom the Lord of Hosts went out to battle. Therefore the sword of his vengeance had a charge concerning the ungodly nation, and rested not till that charge was fulfilled.
Here, then, is a fearful lesson for us all. As it is with nations, so it is also with individuals. The sentence of each one who is living in sin, and ranking himself
among the enemies of God's children, is written in the Scriptures of truth as a sure word of prophecy, which shall as assuredly be fulfilled, as have already been the predicted judgments of kingdoms and countries : “ The wicked shall be turned into hell,—the end of the ungodly is, he shall be rooted out at the last. If a man will not turn, he will whet his sword; he hath bent his bow, and made it ready. He hath prepared for him the instruments of death ; he ordaineth his arrows against the persecutors.” Hath God spoken, and shall he not do it?
OTHER TOWNS AND PLACES IN JUDÆA.
HILL COUNTRY OF JUDÆA-VALLEY OF ELAH-ZORAH-SOCO
GIBEAH-GEDOR — ZANOAH-TIMNATH - JARMUTH-BETHSHEMESH - RAMLEH –LYDDA - BETH-HORON, AND VALLEY OF AJALON- BEEROTH-BETHEL-AI-JERICHO.
HILL COUNTRY OF JUDÆA.
... HEBRON, in the hill country of Judah.”—Joshua xxi. 11.
“ And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda; and entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth ... And Mary abode with her about three months, and returned to her own house.”—Luke i. 39.
By the “hill country” we may understand, generally, the whole hilly district of Judæa, from the region around Hebron northward to the Plain of Sharon.
That part of it into which Mary went on a visit to Elizabeth, was most probably the district south of Hebron, where Juttah is situated; which city is supposed by some to have been the birth-place of John Baptist. Indeed this whole region of Hebron is what is expressly called in the Book of Joshua the hillcountry. Of the district south of Wady-El-Musúrr, Dr. Robinson observes, “the precipitous western wall of the higher mountainous tract towards Hebron lies further back, nearly in a line with the spot on which
i See “ Juttah."
we stood ; while a broad region of lower hills and open valleys is spread out between it and the western plain. This higher tract of mountains ... rises to the height of nearly 2,800 feet; the region of hills reaches apparently about one-third of the same elevation above the sea and plain."
Of this hilly region the same writer elsewhere observes, “ This
may be called the hill country, in distinction from the higher mountains on the east. It is the middle region between the mountains and the plain, stretching, as we have seen, far to the north and south ... This region is for the most part a beautiful open country, consisting of low hills, usually rocky, separated by broad arable vallies mostly sown with grain, as are also many of the swelling hills. The whole tract is full of villages and deserted sites and ruins; and many olive-groves appear around the former.”-See RobinSON's Researches, vol. ii. pp. 327, 341.
“ As we approached the hills,” (writes Mr. Paxton, when travelling towards them from Ramleh,) “the face of the plain became more uneven; the points of the ridges ran out irregularly, and more rocks began to appear on the surface. The line of hills is, however, more regular than is usual, and the transition from the plain to the hills is more gradual than is usually found on the borders of large plains ... The hills are not continuous ridges, but knobs, not very high, nor very steep; the top rounded over. Many of them are separated from each other, almost to the base; but a greater number join at one or more sides, at various heights from their bases. Taking the hollows, and the passages between the hills, (and, in some places, there are little level spots,) as the level of the country, I should say that the general level, as we pass east, rises; and the height of the hills above this general level, continues about the same for a great part of the way from the commencement of the hills, to near Jerusalem. This district is well called the “ Hill country of Judea ;” nothing
could better express it. They are usually, in books, called mountains, but their size—that is, their height above the general level of the country, hardly entitles them to that appellation; they are rather hills than mountains. As we rode among the hills, we began to see a few small shrubs and bushes of oak. Most of them, however, were small; few as high as a man on horseback ... As we passed farther in among the hills, the vegetation increased, both as to size and quantity; it, however, never amounted to much. We saw, from time to time, some orchards of olives, and a few scattered trees. As we approached the higher part of the hilly district, we saw some hills that were, to some extent, covered with the olives; still, but a smalla very small part of the country was thus made to minister to the wants and comfort of man ... A ride of between two and three hours, from the time we entered the hill country, brought us to the higher part of the district. Our road still lay along what may be called a hollow, and on each side of us the hills rose to a considerable size. We passed on this high district one or two villages. In one of them were some pretty good houses . . . The country around was in a better state of cultivation ... From a part of this high ground we had a most extensive and fine view of the sea-bord; the deep black sea, till where it met the sky; the white sand-hills along the shore, and the wide and long plain of Sharon, extending as far as the eye could reach to the north and south, and coming up to the hilly district, on the top of which we stood. The view was interesting ; and especially so, when we thought how often the pious Israelites, when going up to the house of the Lord, must have stopped at this place, and looked back on that rich and lovely part of their inheritance.” PAXTON's Letters, pp. 108, 109.