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from beyond the sea, on this side Syria : and, behold, they be in Hazazon-tamar, which is En-gedi. And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the Lord.
Then upon Jahaziel, the son of Zechariah ... came the Spirit of the Lord in the midst of the congregation ; and he said, Hearken ye, all Judah ... and thou King Jehoshaphat; Thus saith the Lord unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude ; for the battle is not yours, but God's.
To-morrow go ye down against them: behold, they come up by the cliff (or ascent) of Ziz; and ye shall find them at the end of the brook, (or valley,) before the wilderness of Jeruel. Ye shall not need to fight in this battle; set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord with you, O Judah and Jerusalem ... And they rose early in the morning, and went forth into the wilderness of Tekoa: and as they went forth, Jehoshaphat stood and said, Hear me, 0 Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem : Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper. And ... he appointed singers unto the Lord, and that they should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the Lord; for his mercy endureth for ever. And when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir ... and they were smitten ... And when Judah came toward the watch-tower in the wilderness, they looked unto the multitude, and, behold, they were dead bodies fallen to the earth And when Jehoshaphat and his followers came to take away the spoil of them ... they were three days in gathering of the spoil, it was so much. And on the fourth day, they assembled themselves in the valley of Berachah (i. e. Blessing); for there they blessed the Lord . . . And they came to Jerusalem with psalteries, and 'harps, and trumpets, unto the house of the Lord.”—2 Chronicles xx. (whole chapter.)
My beloved is unto me as a cluster of camphire (or cypress) in the vineyards of En-gedi."-Canticles i. 14.
[Josh. xv. 62; Ezekiel xlvii. 10.]
Travelling from Carmel, in Judea, towards the Dead Sea, Dr. Robinson writes, “ A steep descent of five minutes brought us to a difficult pass along the brink of a deep precipitous valley on our left, which proved to be the valley El-Ghâr ; here very narrow, and running between walls of perpendicular rock, at a depth of more than a hundred feet. We descended by a very rugged and somewhat dangerous path ; and reached the bottom at twenty minutes past noon.
“ In the course of the day, we had already started a gazelle ; and had seen also a jackal, which, at a distance, might be mistaken for a fox, though his colour is more yellow, and his movements less wily. As we came in view of the ravine of the Ghâr, a mountaingoat started up, and bounded along the face of the rocks on the opposite side. Indeed, we were in the wilderness of En-gedi,' where David and his men lived among the rocks of the wild goats;' and where the former cut off the skirts of Saul's robe in a
The whole scene is drawn to the life. On all sides the country is full of caverns, which might then serve as lurking-places for David and his men, as they do for outlaws at the present day.
“ Our path now followed down the bottom of the valley for some distance; which is here just wide enough to be the bed of a torrent, sometimes scarcely fifty feet, between perpendicular precipices, rising sometimes hundreds of feet on each side. In the cliffs above, multitudes of pigeons were enjoying their nests undisturbed. Here was again the retem (see BEERSHEBA) growing very large; and other shrubs of the desert. Further down, the valley contracts, and becomes impassable. It enters the sea just south of (En-gedi)...
We left the Ghâr, and turned up a steep and rocky
“ For the last two or three hours of (our) way, we
with its waters. But the way at every step seemed
mediately . . . viz., the number of shoal-like points and peninsulas which run out into its southern part, appearing at first sight like flat sand-banks or islands Towards the southern extremity of the sea, a long low mountain was seen running out obliquely towards the south-east This our Arabs called Hajr Usdum, • Stone of Sodom,' and said it was composed wholly of rock-salt, too bitter to be fit for cooking, and only used sometimes as a medicine for sheep. The sea washes the base of this mountain ... The mountains on both sides of the sea are everywhere precipitous . . . As we loooked down upon it from this lofty spot, its waters appeared decidedly green, as if stagnant; though we afterwards saw nothing of this appearance from below. A slight ripple was upon its bosom; and a line of froth was seen along and near the shore, which looked like a crust of salt.
(After remaining a short time on the cliff), began to work our way down the terrific pass. This was no easy labour. The path descends by zig-zags, often at the steepest angle practicable for horses, and is carried partly along ledges or shelves on the perpendicular face of the cliff, and then down the almost equally steep descent ... My companion had crossed the heights of Lebanon and the mountains of Persia ; and I had formerly traversed the whole of the Swiss Alps ; yet neither of us had ever met with a pass so difficult and dangerous ... After a descent of fortyfive minutes, we reached the beautiful fountain 'Ain Jidy, bursting forth at once a fine stream upon a sort of narrow terrace or shelf of the mountain, still more than four hundred feet above the level of the sea. The stream rushes down the steep descent of the mountain below; and its course is hidden by a luxuriant thicket of trees and shrubs ... We stopped at the fountain, expecting
1 The form Usdum is probably a traditional reminiscence of the name Sodom. Galen says, the mountains around the lake were in his day called Sodom.
to continue our descent and encamp on the shore; but here we learned with dismay, that, in order to proceed northward, it would be necessary to climb again the whole of the fearful ascent; since all passage along the shore was cut off by a projecting cliff not far remote... Under these circumstances, we thought it better to encamp by the fountain, and visit the shore at our leisure during the afternoon.
“While thus engaged in pitching the tent, our Arabs were alarmed at seeing two men with guns coming down the brow of the pass.
The idea of robbers was uppermost in their minds . . . but a few minutes afterwards, there appeared on the brow above a troop of peaceful donkies. . . The strangers proved to be (peasants,) from a village near Már Sâba, coming to this part of the Dead Sea after salt. . . The
animals had afterwards to ascend this difficult pass with heavy. loads. The salt is used for cooking, after being washed. Here, at the fountain, are the remains of several buildings, apparently ancient; though the main site of the town seems to have been further below. The fountain itself is limpid and sparkling, with a copious stream of sweet water, but warm ... Kept in vessels over night, we found it delightfully cool and refreshing :
“ We set off for the shore about five o'clock, and reached it in some twenty-five minutes, descending along the thicket by the brook. The declivity is here still steep, though less so than the pass above. The whole of this descent was apparently once terraced for tillage and gardens; and on the right, near the foot, are the ruins of a town, exhibiting nothing of particular interest ... From the base of the declivity, a fine rich plain slopes off very gradually, nearly half a mile to the shore. The brook runs across it directly to the sea ; though, at this season, its waters were absorbed by the thirsty earth long before reaching the shore. So far as the water extended, the plain was covered with gardens, chiefly of cucumbers ... The soil of the whole