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to be at Aphek, and the Israelites at a fountain in Jezreel, doubtless the present 'Ain Jâlûd. Forsaken of God, and in the depth of his despair, Saul now crossed over the ridge of the little Hermon to Endor, to consult the sorceress. The battle took place next day ; “the men of Israel fled from before the Philistines, and fell down slain in Mount Gilboa ;” and Saul and his three sons were found among the dead. The Philistines cut off his head, stripped the dead body, and then fastened it to the wall of Bethshean. Thus, in the language of David's pathetic elegy, “ The beauty of Israel was slain upon thy high places !” and hence the curse upon the scene of slaughter; “ Ye mountains of Gilboa, let there be no dew, neither rain upon you, nor fields of offering.”3
“Leaving Zerîn at half-past seven, we descended to the fountain below the village . . . by a steep and rocky path. The water is copious and good ... From here we proceeded down the valley twenty minutes to 'Ain Jâlûd, a very large fountain, flowing out from under a sort of cavern in the wall of conglomerate rock, which here forms the base of Gilboa. The water is excellent; and, issuing from crevices in the rocks, it spreads out at once into a fine limpid pool, in which great numbers of fish were sporting. From the reservoir, a stream sufficient to turn a mill, flows off... down the valley. There is every reason to regard this as the ancient fountain of Jezreel, where Saul and Jonathan pitched before their last fatal battle ; and where, too, in the days of the crusades, Saladin and the Christians successively encamped ... Having breakfasted at the fountain, we set off again, bending our steps towards Sôlam (the ancient Shunem).”—ROBINson's Researches, vol. iii. 160—168 ; 173, 174.
1 1 Sam. xxviii. 4, xxix. 1. Eusebius and Jerome place Aphek near Endor; the latter is on the north side of the little Hermon. 2 1 Sam. xxviii. 5, 25, xxxi.
3 2 Sam. i. 19, 21.
MOUNTAINS OF GILBOA. (JELBON, JEBEL FUKÛ'A.)
“ And the Philistines gathered themselves together, and came and pitched in Shunem: and Saul gathered all Israel together, and they pitched in Gilboa.”— 1 Samuel xxviii. 4.
“Now the Philistines fought against Israel, and the men of Israel fled from before the Philistines, and fell down slain in Mount Gilboa. And the Philistines followed hard upon Saul and upon his sons; and the Philistines slew
Saul's sons :
And it came to pass on the morrow, when the Philistines came to strip the slain, that they found Saul and his three sons fallen in Mount Gilboa."-1 Samuel xxxi. 1, 2, 8.
“ And David said unto, the young man that told him, How knowest thou that Saul and Jonathan his son be dead?
And the young man said, As I happened by chance upon Mount Gilboa, behold, Saul leaned upon his spear ; and lo, the chariots and horsemen followed hard after him . . . He said unto me, Stand, I pray thee, upon me, and slay me So I stood upon him, and slew him, because I was sure that he could not live after that he was fallen And David lamented with this lamentation over Saul and over Jonathan his son ... The beauty of Israel is slain upon thy high places : how are the mighty fallen! Ye mountains of Gilboa, let there be no dew, neither let there be rain upon you, nor fields of offerings : for there the shield of the mighty is vilely cast away.”— 2 Samuel i. 5, 6, &c.
[1 Chron. x. 1, &c.]
Eastward of Jenîn, an arm or offset of the great plain runs up south-east between the hills of Samaria on the south, and a range of naked rocky heights on the
north, which extend for some distance from south-east to north-west into the plain ... On one of the highest points of (these) rocky heights ... lies the village of Wezar, apparently a ruin, and seen in all directions. From Jenîn a direct road to Beisan (Bethshan) leads obliquely up this plain, and across this northern range of mountains ; on this road, and upon these mountains, lies an inhabited village called Jelbôn, in which we may recognise the ancient Gilboa. This circumstance, together with their relative position to Beisân, Jezreel, and Shunem, serves to identify these as the mountains of Gilboa, where Saul and Jonathan were slain, and on which, according to Eusebius and Jerome, a large village of the same name existed in their day ... The name Gilboa (Jelbôn) is not now known among the inhabitants, as applied to these mountains, but only to the village upon them ... The inhabitants of Jenîn now call this range Jebel Fukû’a, from the adjacent village ; but it is hardly probable that others give it this appellation. It constitutes a mountainous tract with several ridges, in all about an hour in breadth.”
“We passed from Jeneen north-east across the plain,” writes Mr. Paxton. “ But a small part of it is cultivated ; around its edge a few villages were to be seen, with their vineyards, olive and other trees about them. We saw some flocks and herds on the plain, but not in as great numbers as I had been led to expect.
“ To our right the point of a ridge ran out considerably into the plain. This is Mount Gilboa, on which Saul and his sons fell in battle against the Philistines. Bethshan, the village to which the Philistines fastened their bodies, lies a few miles north-east of the end of this hill. The battle seems to have begun on the plain, and when overcome, Israel fled to the hill, and then Saul and his sons fell. I could not but notice, while looking on the mount from the plain, how it accorded with the statement, that the chariots and horse
men followed hard after Saul on Mount Gilboa. The ascent from the plain is such that horsemen and chariots might pass even to the top of this hill.”—Robinson's Researches, vol. iii. pp. 157, 158, 170. Paxton's Letters, pp. 176, 177.
BETHSHAN, OR BETHSHEAN. (BEISAN.)
“ And Manasseh had in Issachar, and in Asher, Bethshean, and her towns ... Yet the children of Manasseh could not drive out the inhabitants of those cities; but the Canaanites would dwell in that land ... And the children of Joseph said, The hill is not enough for us; and all the Canaanites that dwell in the land of the valley have chariots of iron, both they who are of Beth-shean and her towns, and they who are of the valley of Jezreel.”—Josh. xvii. 11, 12, 16; Judges i. 27.
"And they (the Philistines) fastened his (Saul's) body to the wall of Bethshan.”—1 Samucl xxxi. 10.
“ And David went and took the bones of Saul, and the bones of Jonathan his son from the men of JabeshGilead, which had stolen them from the street of Bethshan, where the Philistines had hanged them and the bones of Saul and Jonathan his son buried they in the country of Benjamin in Zelah.”—2 Samuel xxi. 12-14.
And by the borders of the children of Manasseh, Bethshean and her towns. In these dwelt the children of Joseph, the son of Israel.”—1 Chron. vii. 29.
[1 Kings iv. 12.]
“ The ancient name Bethshan, or Bethshean, survives in the Beisân of the present day, situated in the lower end of the valley of Jezreel, where it opens into the
valley of the Jordan. Tell' Beisân, the Acropolis of the former city, is in the northern part of the valley.
“The present village of Beisân stands on rising ground, somewhat above the valley of the Jordan, and contains seventy or eighty houses. The ruins of the ancient city, according to Burckhardt, are of considerable extent ; it was built along the banks of the rivulet which waters the town, and in the valleys formed by its several branches, and must have been nearly an hour in circuit. The chief remains are large heaps of black hewn stones, with many foundations of houses and fragments of a few columns. Irby and Mangles found here a theatre, measuring about one hundred and eighty feet across the front; and also excavated tombs lying without the walls of the Acropolis, with sarcophagi remaining in some of them, and several of the doors still hanging on the ancient hinges of stone, in remarkable preservation. The Acropolis is a high circular hill, on the top of which are the traces of the walls which encompassed it. Two streams run through the ruins of the city, almost insulating the Acropolis, and uniting below : over one of these . . . is a fine Roman bridge. This would seem probably to be the rivulet which comes down the valley of Jezreel
. “ Bethshean lay within the borders of Issachar, but belonged to Manasseh, though not at first subdued. It is elsewhere mentioned in Scripture only in connexion with the catastrophe of Saul, and as part of the district of one of Solomon's purveyors.
“Eusebius and Jerome describe it in their day as a noble city, (it was one of the principal bishoprics of Palestine.) In the time of the Crusades it is described as a small place with many ruins. The town, though weak, was gallantly and successfully defended against Saladin in A.D. 1182, although the very next year it was
1 The word Tell means hill. The Acropolis, or stronghold of a city, was usually built upon a rock or hill.