Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

(The Upper Jordan) is less broad, less deep, and less rapid, than where we had come upon it near the Dead Sea ... It is a sluggish stream, turbid, but not clayey winding between low ... banks ... There are many bars and shallows, where the river may occasionally be forded ; in other parts the water has considerable depth, but no strength of current.”

Of the river near the Dead Sea, (the Lower Jordan,) Dr. Robinson observes,—“ The upper or outer banks of the Jordan, where we came upon it, (at the ford el-Helu, which is the lowest point where the river is ordinarily crossed,) are not more than one hundred rods apart, with a descent of fifty or sixty feet to the level of the lower valley in which the river flows. There was here no sign of vegetation along the upper banks, and little, if any, in the valley below ; except a narrow strip of canes, here occupying a still lower tract along the brink of the channel on each side. With these were intermingled occasionally tamarisks, and species of willow ... from which the pilgrims usually carry away branches for staves, after dipping them in the Jordan. Looking down upon the river from the high upper bank, it seemed a deep, sluggish, discoloured stream, winding its way slowly · Further up the river we could see that the high upper banks were wider apart, and the border of vegetation much broader, with many trees ... There was a still though very rapid current; the water was of a clayey colour, but sweet and delightfully refreshing ...

“ The present Årabic name for the Jordan is the watering-place,' to which the epithet the great' is sometimes annexed ... The common name of the great valley through which it flows below the lake of Tiberias, is el-Ghor, signifying a depressed tract or plain, usually between two mountains ; and the same name continues to be applied to the valley quite across the whole length of the Dead Sea, and for some distance beyond ...

“ The Jordan issues from the lake of Tiberias, near its south-west corner, where are still traces of the site and walls of the ancient Tarichæa. The river at first winds very much, and flows, for three hours, near the western hills; then turns to the eastern, on which side it continues its course, for several hours, to the district called “ Ass's Horn,' two hours below Beisân, where it again returns to the western side of the valley ; lower down, it follows more the middle of the great valley

“A few hundred yards below the point where the Jordan issues from the Lake of Tiberias, is a ford, close by the ruins of a Roman bridge of ten arches. ... The river is fordable in many places during summer ; but the few spots where it may be crossed in the rainy season are known only to the Arabs.

“ The banks of the Jordan appear to preserve everywhere a tolerably uniform character . . . The river flows in a valley of about a quarter of an hour in breadth, which is considerably lower than the rest of the valley of the Ghor.--in the northern part about forty feet. This lower valley, where Burckhardt saw it, was covered with high trees and a luxuriant verdure, affording a striking contrast with the sandy slopes that border it on both sides. Further down, the verdure occupies in some parts a still lower strip along the river's brink. The channel of the river varies in different places ; being in some wider and more shallow, and in others narrower and deeper. At the ford, near Basân, on the 12th of March, Irby and Mangles found the breadth to be 140 feet by measure; the stream was swift, and reached above the bellies of the horses. When Burckhardt passed there in July, it was about three feet deep. On the return of the former travellers, twelve days later (March 25th), they found the river, at a lower ford, extremely rapid, and were obliged to swim their horses. On the 29th of January, in the same year, as Mr. Bankes crossed at or near the same

N

lower ford, the stream is described as flowing rapidly over a bed of pebbles, but as easily fordable for the horses. At the Greek bathing-place, lower down, it is described, in 1815, on the 3d May, as rather more

[ocr errors]
[graphic][merged small]

than fifty feet wide and five feet deep, running with a violent current; in some other parts it was very deep ..

“ In the Book of Joshua, the river Jordan is said to 6 overflow all its banks' in the first month, or all the time of harvest. The original Hebrew expresses these passages nothing more, than that the Jordan

was full (or filled), up to all its banks, meaning the banks of its channel ; it ran with full banks, or was brim-full...

“ Thus understood, the biblical account corresponds entirely to what we find to be the case at the present

as in

[ocr errors]

day. The Israelites crossed the Jordan four days before the Passover (Easter). . . Then, as now, the harvest occurred during April and early in May, the barley preceding the wheat harvest by two or three weeks. Then, as now, there was a slight annual rise of the river, which caused it to flow at this season with full banks, and sometimes to spread its waters even over the immediate banks of its channel, where they are lowest, so some places to fill the low tract covered with trees and vegetation along its sides. Farther than this there is no evidence that its inun, dations have ever extended ...

“ The low bed of the river, the absence of inundation and of tributary streams, combine to leave the greater portion of the Ghôr a solitary desert. Such it is described in antiquity, and such we find it at the present day. Josephus speaks of the Jordan as flowing

through a desert;' and of this plain as in summer scorched by heat, insalubrious, and watered by no stream except the Jordan ... In the northern part of the Ghôr, according to Burckhardt, “the great number of rivulets which descend from the mountains on both sides, and form numerous pools of stagnant water, produce in many places a pleasing verdure, and a luxuriant growth of wild herbage and grass; but the greater part of the ground is a parched desert, of which a few spots only are cultivated by the Bedawin. So, too, in the southern part, where similar rivulets or fountains exist, as around Jericho, there is an exuberant fertility ; but these seldom reach the Jordan, and have no effect upon the middle of the Ghôr. Nor are the mountains on each side less rugged and desolate than they have been described along the Dead Sea. The western cliffs overhang the valley at an elevation of a thousand or twelve hundred feet; while the eastern mountains are indeed at first less lofty and precipitous, but rise, further back, into ranges from two thousand to twenty-five hundred feet in height.

“ Such is the Jordan and its valley ; that venerated stream, celebrated on almost every page of the Old Testament as the border of the Promised Land, whose floods were miraculously driven back’ to afford a passage for the Israelites. In the New Testament, it is still more remarkable for the baptism of our Saviour ; when the heavens were opened, and the Spirit of God descended upon him, and lo, a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son!' We now stood upon its shores, and had bathed in its waters, and felt ourselves surrounded by hallowed associations. The exact places of these and other events connected with this part of the Jordan, it is in vain to seek after: nor is this necessary, in order to awaken and fully to enjoy all the emotions which the region around is adapted to inspire.”— See Robinson's Researches, vol. ii. pp. 255 –267. vol. iii. pp. 301, 309–312, 347–355.

WATERS OF MEROM, OR LAKE EL-HÛLEH.

SCRIPTURE NOTICE. " And when all these kings were met together, they came and pitched together at the waters of Merom, to fight against Israel . . . So Joshua came, and all the people of war with him, against them by the waters of Merom suddenly ; and they fell upon them. And the Lord delivered them into the hand of Israel, who smote them

.Joshua xi. 5, 7, &c.

The Lake El-Hûleh is mentioned in the Old Testament as the waters of Merom ; in the vicinity of which Joshua smote Jabin king of Hazor and the Canaanites, with a great slaughter.

While Dr. Robinson was waiting at Safed he visited this lake, of which he gives the following account:

... Being very desirous to obtain a view of the

« AnteriorContinuar »