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told that the inhabitants of Hebron go out and dwell in these houses, and the town is almost deserted. In this little valley every thing looked thrifty; and round about were large flocks of sheep and goats, all in good condition.
“ Ascending gradually another ridge, we at length from its top saw Hebron, now called El-Khulîl,' below us in a deep narrow valley
“The spot where we were, affords one of the best views of the place. The town lies low down on the sloping sides of this valley, chiefly on the eastern ; but in the southern part extends across also to the western side. The houses are all of stone, high, and well-built, with windows and flat roofs, and on these roofs small domes, sometimes two or three to each house; a mode of building apparently peculiar to Judæa, for I do not remember to have seen it further north than Nâbulus.
This gave to the city in our eyes a new and rather striking aspect; and the whole appearance was much better than I had'anticipated. We descended from the west into the valley by a rocky path, and halted at a quarter past eight o'clock on the green slope over against the northern part of the town, which is partly occupied as a cemetery We had now reached a most interesting point in our journey. The town before us was one of the most ancient still existing cities mentioned in the Scriptures, or perhaps in the records of the world! Here Abraham and the other patriarchs dwelt and communed with God; and in this vicinity they and their wives were buried. Here too had been for seven years the royal residence of David; and before us was the pool in Hebron, over which he hanged up the murderers of his rival Ishbosheth. In Hebron too he probably composed many of his Psalms, which yet thrill through the soul and lift it up to God. Our minds were deeply affected by all these associations, and we would fain have devoted the day to a closer
1 The Friend, i. e. of God.
examination of the place. But the strong desire we felt of reaching Jerusalem before night, and thus closing our long and wearisome journey, together with the expectation we cherished of revisiting Hebron at a later time, induced us to forego all other considerations, and press forward as soon as possible to Jerusalem. Nearly six weeks afterwards we spent several days in Hebron, and I therefore defer a fuller account of the city and its neighbourhood until that time.
“Taking a hasty ramble through the streets of Hebron, we were again on our way . . . after a stop of a single hour. The road to Jerusalem is rough and mountainous, but very direct . . . As we issued from the town, the path for a short distance was full of mud and puddles from a spring near by; and to us, coming out of the desert, this was quite a refreshing sight. The road leads up the valley for a short time, and then up a branch coming from the north-east.
The path is here paved, or rather laid unevenly with large stones, in the manner of a Swiss mountain road. between the walls of vineyards and oliveyards; the former chiefly in the valley, and the latter on the slopes of the hills, which are in many parts built up in terraces. These vineyards are very fine, and produce the largest and best grapes in all the country. This valley is generally assumed to be the Eshcol of the Old Testament, whence the spies brought back the cluster of grapes to Kadesh; and apparently not without reason. The character of its fruit still corresponds to its ancient celebrity; and pomegranates and figs, as well as apricots, quinces, and the like, still grow there in abundance.” –ROBINSON's Researches, vol. i.
314-316. 1 (Numb. xiii. 23.) The situation of Eshcol is not specified in this passage. But in Gen. xiv. 24, we are told that Abraham, in his pursuit of the four kings from Hebron, was accompanied by his friends Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre. Now Mamre gave his name to the terebinth near Hebron, by which Abraham dwelt (Gen. xiii. 18); and, in like manner, the name of the valley was not improbably derived from that of his companion Eshcol.
“Hebron is doubtless one of the most ancient cities still existing; having been built, as the sacred writer informs us,
seven years before Zoan in Egypt; and being mentioned in Scripture still earlier than Damas
Its most ancient name was Kirjath-Arba,‘City of Arba,' so called from Arba, the father of Anak and the Anakims, who dwelt in and around Hebron. The town itself appears also to have been called Mamre, probably from the name of Abraham's friend; while the terebinth of Mamre is placed, by a tradition older than Josephus, at some distance from the town towards Jerusalem.?
“ The ancient city lay also in a valley; and the two pools, one of which, at least, is as early as the time of David, serve unquestionably to identify the modern with the ancient site.3
“ Here Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob lived and walked with God; and here they were all entombed. From Hebron or its neighbourhood, Jacob and his sons went down by way of Beersheba to Egypt, to meet and dwell with Joseph. After the return of the Israelites from Egypt, the city was taken by Joshua, and given over to Caleb, who drove out the Anakims from the region: it was afterwards made one of the six cities of refuge, and assigned to the Levites and priests.” Hebron became at length the royal residence of David, where he reigned for seven and a half years over Judah; and here too he was anointed king over all Israel. It was also at Hebron that Absalom raised the standard of rebellion. This was likewise
i Gen. xiii. 18 ; compare xv. 2.
Gen. xxiii. 19, xxxv. 27; compare xiv. 13, 24. The terebinth of Mamre seems to be distinguished from Hebron or Mamre itself; Gen. xiii. 18, xviii. 1. (The English version has, less correctly, Plain of Mamre.)
3 Gen. xxxvii. 14, “the vale of Hebron." 2 Sam. iv. 12.
one of the places fortified by Rehoboam; and after the exile the returning Jews dwelt again in the city and surrounding villages.?
“ The name of Hebron does not occur any further in the Old Testament, and not at all in the New. (We find, however, from other sources, that it came into the power of the Edomites, who had taken possession of the south of Judah—was recovered from them—was afterwards seized by a rebel-recaptured and burnt by an officer of the Roman emperor Vespasian— that at length it fell into the hands of the crusaders, became a Christian bishopric—and lastly, reverted to the Mahometans, in whose possession it has ever since remained, the church which the Christians had built, or at least decorated within the structure around the tombs of the patriarchs, being converted into a mosque.)"--ROBINSON's Researches, vol. ii. pp. 454-457.
“ At the south end of the town is a fine pool. This is the pool, as is supposed, over which David hung the hands and feet of Rechab and Baanah, the murderers of Ishbosheth.”—Paxton's Letters, p. 143.
" When about three miles from Hebron we turned a little off our road to the west, to look for an old ruin that was said to be worth seeing. This led us on higher ground, and gave us a more extensive view of the country; and I was not a little surprised and pleased at having a fine view of the whole district to the west, embracing a part of the hill country of Judæa, the southern part of the plain of Sharon, and the wide spread Mediterranean sea beyond it. I was, in fact, on the highest ridge of the hill country, which was north and south, and could see below me the secondary ridges and hills, which extended about halfway to the sea, becoming lower and lower as they approached the plain—then the plain beyond, and the white sand hills and banks along the shore ... The view
1 2 Chron. xi. 10.
was most extensive and interesting, as I knew that my eyes were ranging over, not only a large and rich portion of the inheritance of the tribe of Judah, but also part of the land of the Philistines, those inveterate and powerful enemies of the people of God. Oh, how often has the district which I now beheld, witnessed the mustering, and marching, and warfare of the Philistine against Israel, and the Israelite against the Philistine!
“ We now entered a gently declining valley. The soil did not appear better than usual, but much care and labour had been bestowed on it, and evidences of this increased as we passed through to the south. The stones were gathered off-good stone fences were made along the road—the ground was well set with vines, and for miles we had nothing on either side of the road but a succession of vineyards loaded with the most delicious grapes.
“ Surely, thought I, this must be the valley of Eshcol. It was here the spies procured the vine loaded with clusters, which they carried into the wilderness to the astonishment of the whole camp. If my conjecture was not entirely correct, it was nearly so, if the Jews of Hebron are to be believed; for this, if not the valley of Eshcol, terminates in that valley about a mile from Hebron.
“ This valley, through which we passed, became wider and more rich in its fruits until it joined the other valley, which comes in more from the west. This second valley is the widest, has a considerable breadth of level, rich soil, finely cultivated, interspersed with trees, and covered with vineyards. This is called Eshcol, as we learned from the Jews with whom we lodged, and who took us out to see it. About a mile up this - valley is pointed out the tree under which they say Abraham received the angels ... I am, however, slow to believe it ... that it should have lived until now, does not agree with the great law of mortality, which spares no living thing, neither man nor beast,