Billeder på siden

remarkable from the striking peculiarity of their features and dress, than from their numbers as contrasted with other bodies. Mr. Jolliffe, who visited Jerusalem in 1817, states that the highest estimate makes the total number amount to twenty-five thousand.

there are supposed to be


[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

Of these


from 3 to 4,000



Roman Catholics (including European Catholics) 800


Dr. Richardson, who was at Jerusalem in 1818, estimates the population at 20,000 persons, of whom 5000 are Mussulmans, 5000 Christians, and 10,000 Jews.

This is a very slender aggregate, compared with the flourishing population which the city once supported; but the numerous sieges it has undergone, and their consequent spoliations, have left no vestige of its original power. "Jerusalem, under the government of a Turkish aga, is still more unlike Jerusalem as it existed in the reign of Solomon, than Athens during the administration of Pericles, and Athens under the dominion of the chief of the black eunuchs. have it upon judgment's record, that before a marching army, a land has been as the garden of Eden, behind it a desolate wilderness. (Joel ii. 3.) The present appearance of Judæa has embodied the awful warnings of the prophet in all their terrible reality."


IX. As it would require a volume to give even an epitome of the history of the Jews, a brief enumeration of their principal historica! epochs must terminate this chapter. They are as follow:

1. The Exode from Egypt

2. The Delivery of the Law

3. The Death of Moses; the entrance of the Israelites into the promised land, under Joshua

4. Saul appointed and consecrated king 5. The Accession of David to the throne 6. The Reign of Solomon alone

[ocr errors]

[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]

3001 1004

7. The Dedication of the Temple
8. Accession of Rehoboam, and the secession of the
ten tribes under Jeroboam -

9. The Kingdom of Israel terminated by Shalmaneser,
king of Assyria, after it had subsisted two hundred
and fifty-four years

[ocr errors]

3029 975

3283 751

1 Jolliffe's Letters from Palestine, written in 1817, Lond. 1820, 8vo. p. 102. The sketch of the modern state of Jerusalem, above given, has been drawn up, from a careful comparison of this intelligent writer's remarks, with the observations of M. Chateaubriand, made in 1806 (Travels, vol. ii. pp. 53. 83. 84. 179, 180.), of Ali Bey, made in 1803-1807 (Travels, vol. ii. pp. 240-245.), of Capt. Light, made in 1814. (Travels in Egypt, &c. pp. 178-187.), and of Mr. Buckingham, made in 1816. (Travels in Palestine, pp. 260-262.) See also Dr. Richardson's Travels along the Mediterranean, &c. vol. ii. pp. 238-368.



10. The Destruction of the kingdom of Judah, after it had subsisted four hundred and sixty-eight years from the commencement of David's reign; and three hundred and eighty-eight years from the separation between Judah and the ten tribes

[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

11. The Dedication of the second temple at Jerusalem 3489

[blocks in formation]


A. D.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

13. The Crucifixion, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ

[blocks in formation]

14. The Siege and Capture of Jerusalem by Titus, and the utter subversion of the Jewish polity

[blocks in formation]

Mount Tabor, as seen from the Plain of Esdraelon.



I. Climate.-II. Seasons.-1. Seed Time.-2. Winter.-3. The Cold Season, or Winter Solstice.-4. Harvest.-5. Summer.6. The Hot Season.-Heavy Dews.-III. Rivers, Lakes, Wells, and Fountains.-IV. Mountains.-V. Vallies.-VI. Caves.VII. Plains.-VIII. Deserts.-Horrors and dangers of travelling in the Great Desert of Arabia.-IX. Productions of the Holy Land.-Vegetables, Animals, and Mines.-Testimonies of antient and modern authors to its fertility and population.-Its present degraded and comparatively uncultivated state accounted for.X. Calamities with which this country was visited.-1. The Plague.-2. Earthquakes.-3. Whirlwinds.-4. The Devastations of Locusts.-5. Famine.-6. Volcanoes.-7. The Simoom or Pestilential Blast of the Desert.

I. THE surface of the Holy Land being diversified with mountains and plains, its Climate varies in different places; though in general it is more settled than in our more western countries. From Tripoli to Sidon, the country is much colder than the rest of the coast further to the north and to the south, and its seasons are less regular. The same remark applies to the mountainous parts of Judæa, where the vegetable productions are much later than on the sea-coast or in the vicinity of Gaza. From its lofty situation, the air of Saphet in Galilee is so fresh and cool, that the heats are scarcely felt there during the summer; though in the neighbouring country, particularly at the foot of Mount Tabor and in the plain of Jericho, the heat is intense. Generally speaking, however, the atmosphere Harmer's Observations, vol. i. pp. 2-4. London, 1808.

is mild: the summers are commonly dry, and extremely hot:1 intensely hot days, however, are frequently succeeded by intensely cold nights; and it is to these sudden vicissitudes, and their consequent effects on the human frame, that Jacob refers, when he says that in the day the drought consumed him, and the frost by night. (Gen. xxxi. 40.)

II. Six several seasons of the natural year are indicated in Gen. viii. 22. viz. seed-time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter; and as agriculture constituted the principal employment of the Jews, we are informed by the rabbinical writers, that they adopted the same division of seasons, with reference to their rural work. These divisions also exist among the Arabs to this day. A brief statement of the natural phenomena occurring in these several seasons, will enable us to form a tolerably correct idea of the climate and weather of the Holy Land.

1. SEED-TIME, by the rabbins termed (ZERO), comprised the latter half of the Jewish month Tisri, the whole of Marchesvan, and the former half of Kisleu or Chisleu, that is, from the beginning of October to the beginning of December. During this season the weather is various, very often misty, cloudy, with mizzling or pouring rain. Towards the close of October or early in November, the former or early autumnal rains begin to fall; when they usually ploughed their lands, and sowed their wheat and barley, and gathered the latter grapes. The rains last for three or four days; they do not fall without intermission, but in frequent showers. The air at this season is frequently warm, sometimes even hot; but is much refreshed by cold in the night, which is so intense as to freeze the very heavy dews that fall. Towards the close it becomes cooler, and at the end of it snow begins to fall upon the mountains. The channels of the rivulets are sometimes dry, and even the large rivers do not contain much water. In the latter part of November the leaves lose their foliage. Towards the end of that month the more delicate light their fires (Jer. xxxvi. 22.) which they continue, almost to the month of April; while others pass the whole winter without fire.

2. WINTER, by the rabbins termed (CHOREP), included the latter half of Chisleu, the whole of Tebeth, and the former part of Shebbath, that is, from the beginning of December to the beginning of February. In the commencement of this season, snows rarely

1 Of the intensity of the heat in Palestine, during the summer, some idea may be formed, when it is known that the mercury of Dr. E. D. Clarke's thermometer, in a subterraneous recess perfectly shaded (the scale being placed so as not to touch the rock), remained at one hundred degrees of Fahrenheit. Travels, vol. iv. p. 190. 8vo. edit.

2 The same vicissitudes of temperature exist to this day in Persia (Morier's Second Journey, p. 97. London, 1818, 4to.), and also in Egypt. (Capt. Light's Travels, p. 20.; Dr. Richardson s Travels along the Mediterranean, &c., vol. i. pp. 181, 182. London, 1822. 8vo.) Harmer has collected several testimonies to the same effect, from the earlier travellers in the East. Observations on Scripture, vol. i. pp. 61-65. London, 1808.

[ocr errors]

3 Bava Metsia, fol. 106. cited by Dr. Lightfoot, in his Hebrew and Talmudical Exercitations on John iv. 35. (Works, vol. ii. p. 543.)

4 See Golius's Lexicon Arabicum, col. 934.


fall, except on the mountains, but they seldom continue a whole day; the ice is thin, and melts as soon as the sun ascends above the horiAs the season advances, the north wind and the cold, especially on the lofty mountains, which are now covered with snow, is intensely severe, and sometimes even fatal: the cold is frequently so piercing, that persons born in our climate can scarcely endure it. The roads become slippery, and travelling becomes both laborious and dangerous, especially in the steep mountain-paths (Jer. xiii. 16. xxiii. 12.); and on this account our Lord, when predicting the calamities that were to attend the siege at Jerusalem, told his disciples to pray that their flight might not be in the winter. (Matt. xxiv. 20.) The cold however varies in severity according to the local situation of the country. On high mountains (as we have just remarked) it is extreme; but in the plain of Jericho it is scarcely felt, the winter there resembling spring; yet, in the vicinity of Jerusalem, the vicissitudes of a winter in Palestine were experienced by the crusaders at the close of the twelfth century, in all its horrors. Many persons of both sexes perished in consequence of want of food, the intenseness of the cold, and the heaviness of the rains, which kept them wet for four successive days. The ground was alternately deluged with rain, or encrusted with ice, or loaded with snow; the beasts of burthen were carried away by the sudden torrents, that descended (as they still do) from the mountains, and filled the rivers, or sank into the boggy ground. So vehement were the rains, storms of hail, and winds, as to tear up the stakes of the tents, and carry them to a distance. The extremity of the cold and wet killed the horses, and spoiled their provisions.1

The hail-stones which fall during the severity of the winter season are very large, and sometimes fatal to man and beast. Such was the storm of hail that discomfited the Amorites (Josh. x. 10); and such also the very grievous hail that destroyed the cattle of the Egyptians. (Exod. ix. 18. 23, 24.) A similar hail-storm fell upon the British fleet in Marmorice bay, in Asiatic Turkey, in the year 1801,2 which affords a fine comment on that expression of the psalmist, He casteth forth his ICE like morsels; who can stand before his cold? (Psal. cxlvii. 17.) The snow, which falls in Judæa, is by the same elegant inspired writer compared to wool (Psal. cxlvii. 16.); and we are informed that in countries, which are at no great distance from Palestine, the snow falls in flakes as large as walnuts: but not being very hard or very compact, it does no injury to the traveller whom it covers.3

1 Harmer's Observations, vol. i. pp. 36-42.

2 "On the 8th of February commenced the most violent thunder and hail storm ever remembered, and which continued two days and nights intermittingly. The hail, or rather the ice-stones were as big as large walnuts. The camps were deluged with a torrent of them two feet deep, which, pouring from the mountains, swept every thing before it. The scene of confusion on shore, by the horses breaking loose, and the men being unable to face the storm, or remain still in the freezing deluge, surpasses description. It is not in the power of language to convey an adequate idea of such a tempest." Sir Robert Wilson's History of the British Expedition to Egypt, vol. i. p. 8. 8vo. edit.

3 Harmer's Observations, vol. i. p. 45. note.

« ForrigeFortsæt »