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Mr. Buckingham thus describes the dangers of the road among the mountains by which he went from Jerusalem to Jericho : “ We came to a very narrow pass,” he writes, “ cut through the hill, in a bed of hard rock . . . After going through this, we descended again into deeper valleys, travelling sometimes on the edges of cliffs and precipices, which threatened destruction on the slightest false step. The scenery all around was grand and awful... but it was that sort of grandeur which excited fear and terror, rather than admiration.
“ The whole of this road from Jerusalem to the Jordan, is held to be the most dangerous about Palestine; and, indeed, in this portion of it, the very aspect of the scenery is sufficient, on the one hand, to tempt to robbery and murder, and on the other, to occasion a dread of it in those who
It was partly to prevent any accident happening to us in this early stage of our journey, and partly, perhaps, to calm our fears on that score, that a messenger had been despatched by our guides to an encampment of their tribe near, desiring them to send an escort to meet us at this place. We were met here accordingly by a band of about twenty persons on foot, all armed with matchlocks, and presenting the most ferocious and robber-like appearance that could be imagined. The effect of this was heightened by the shouts which they sent forth from hill to hill, and which were re-echoed through all the valleys ; while the bold projecting crags of rocks, the dark shadows in which everything lay buried below, the towering height of the cliffs above, and the forbidding desolation which everywhere reigned around, presented a picture that was quite in harmony throughout all its parts. It made us feel most forcibly the propriety of its being chosen as the scene of the delightful tale of compassion which we had before so often admired for its doctrine, independently of its local beauty. (See Parable of the Good Samaritan.)
6 One must be amid these wild and gloomy solitudes,
surrounded by an armed band, and feel the impatience of the traveller who rushes on to catch a new view at every pass and turn ; one must be alarmed at the very tramp of the horses' hoofs rebounding through the caverned
rocks, and at the savage shouts of the footmen, scarcely less loud than the echoing thunder produced by the discharge of their pieces in the valleys ; one must witness all this upon the spot, before the full force and beauty of the admirable story of the Good Samaritan can be perceived. Here, pillage, wounds, and death, would be accompanied with double terror, from the frightful aspect of every thing around. Here, the unfeeling act of passing by a fellow-creature in distress, as the priest and Levite are said to have done, strikes one with horror, as an act almost more than inhuman.”—BUCKINGHAM's Travels, vol. ii. pp. 55–57.
“ And Moses went up from the plains of Moab unto the mountain of Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, that is over against Jericho. And the Lord shewed him all the land of Gilead and all the land of Judah ... and the south, and the plain of the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees, unto Zoar.”—Deuteronomy xxxiv. 1-4. Judges i. 16.
“ And Joshua ... sent out of Shittim two men to spy secretly, saying, Go view the land, even Jericho. And they went, and came into an harlot's house, named Rahab, and lodged there And the king of Jericho sent unto Rahab, saying, Bring forth the men that are come unto thee And the woman took the two men and hid them ... Then she let them down by a cord through the window ; for her house was upon the town wall ... And they went and came unto the mountain, and abode there three days, until the pursuers were returned ... So the two men returned and descended from the mountain, and passed over, and came to Joshua.”—Joshua ii. 1, &c.
“ And Joshua rose early in the morning . . . and came to Jordan, he, and all the children of Israel, and lodged there before they passed over ... And the people passed over right against Jericho.”Joshua iii. 1, 16.
“ And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted
and looked, and behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand ... And he said... As Captain of the host of the Lord am I now come Loose thy shoe from off thy foot ; for the place whereon thou standest is holy.” -Joshua v. 13, &c.
“ Now Jericho was straitly shut up, because of the children of Israel: none went out, and none came in. And the Lord said unto Joshua, See, I have given into
thine hand Jericho ... and ye shall compass the city, all ye men of war, and go round about the city once. Thus shalt thou do six days. And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets of rams' horns: and the seventh day ye shall compass the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets. And it shall come to pass, that when they make a long blast with the ram's horn, and when ye hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout : and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up, every man straight before him. ... And it came to pass at the seventh time, when the priests blew with the trumpets, Joshua said unto the people, Shout; for the Lord hath given you the city. And the city shall be accursed ... And they took the city . . . and they burnt the city with fire ... and Joshua saved Rahab the harlot alive ... And Joshua adjured them at that time, saying, Cursed be the man before the Lord, that riseth up and buildeth this city Jericho: he shall lay the foundation thereof in his first-born, and in his youngest son shall be set up the gates of it.”—Joshua vi. 1, &c.
“ In his (Ahab's) days did Hiel the Beth-elite build Jericho : he laid the foundation thereof in Abiram his first-born, and set up the gates thereof in his youngest son Segub, according to the word of the Lord, which he spake by Joshua the son of Nun.”—1 Kings xvi. 34.
“... And the men of the city (Jericho) said unto Elisha, Behold, I pray thee, the situation of this city is pleasant, as my lord seeth ; but the water is naught, and the ground barren, (or, causing to miscarry.) And he said, Bring me a new.cruse, and put salt therein. And they brought it to him. And he went forth unto the spring of the waters, and cast the salt in there, and said, Thus saith the Lord, I have healed these waters ; there shall not be from thence any more death or barren land. So the waters were healed." ... 2 Kings ii. 19-22.—(See whole chapter.)
“ And the army of the Chaldees pursued after the king, and overtook him in the plains of Jericho: and all his army were scattered from him. So they took the king, (Zedekiah,) and brought him up to the king of Babylon” 2 Kings xxv. 5.—(Jer. xxxix. 5, lii. 8.)
“ And as they departed from Jericho, a great multitude followed him."- Matthew xx. 29.
“ And they came to Jericho; and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimeus ... sat by the highway-side, begging. And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me
And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called . . . and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight. And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way." —Mark x. 46–52. [See also Numb. xxii
. 1, xxxiv. 15; Josh. xvi. 1, 7, xviii. 12, 21, xxiv. 11; Judges iii. 13; 2 Sam. x. 5; 2 Chron. xxviii. 15; Luke xviii. 35; Heb. xi. 30.]
The village of Eriha, or Riha, which has been supposed to represent the ancient Jericho, is situated in the midst of the vast and beautiful plain of that name. plain is rich, and susceptible of easy tillage, and abundant irrigation, with a climate to produce any thing. Yet it lies almost desert; and the village is the most miserable and filthy that we saw in Palestine. The houses, or hovels,
1 “St. Luke says that this took place as he was come nigh unto Jericho,' and afterwards records an event which took place in that city. But the words may be rendered, 'When he was nigh Jericho;' which is equally true of him who is gone a little way from it, as of him who is come near it; and as it is probable that Jesus staid some days in the neighbourhood, this might occur as he went out of the city during that time, and he might afterwards re-enter it." -Note in Treasury Bible.