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The City of the Great King; or, Jerusalem, As it Was, As
it Is, and As it is To Be. By J. T. BARCLAY, M.D., Missionary to Jerusalem. Philadelphia. James Challen & Sons, and J. B. Lippincott & Co. 1858. pp. 627.
No higher evidence can be given of the intrinsic interest of this subject than the extraordinary success of the work before us, a volume of more than six hundred pages, on the topography of Jerusalem. It is emphatically the work of the season. With the exception of the Explorations of Dr. Kane, and the Travels of Dr. Livingstone, no recent issue from the press has commanded equal sale. Dr. Barclay has enjoyed peculiar advantages for the preparation of his work, during a residence of several years at Jerusalem. It has been his good fortune to enjoy a free access to the mosque of Omar and the entire Temple area, with the substratums beneath,-a privilege which has not been vouchsafed in an equal degree to any other Frank or Infidel for many centuries. These privileges and advantages he has improved with conscientious fidelity and tireless industry, pursuing his researches at once with the enthusiasm of an antiquary and of a Christian scholar.
Our author devotes about two-thirds of his work to an account of Jerusalem " as it was,” treating of the name of the city, its local features, hills, valleys, ravines, bridges, and surrounding villages, illustrated by map, chart, and model of the city and environs, which embody the result of not less than ten thousand observations, with a theodolite and other levelling instruments. In the spirit of a Christian scholar he suggests the various historical incidents and sacred associations with which each hill and valley and mountain-top is redolent to the intelligent observer, and repeatedly surprises us with the recovery of some locality long lost. The thanks of every biblical scholar are due to him for the restoration of the village of Bethphage, which
ty and of
deservedly has a name and a place among the localities rescued from the oblivion of ages. His conclusions win our full assent, and, on actual observation, are so obviously appropriate, that we are only surprised that the site has so long escaped the notice of travellers and investigators.
With equal confidence and satisfaction we accept also his specification, not perhaps altogether new and original, of the place of our Lord's ascension,-a quiet, secluded place, on the eastern slope of Mount Olivet, shut out from the view of the city and of Bethany, and yet near enough to both to answer all the conditions of the narrative. “It is not a little singular that a spot possessing so fully all the requisites indicated by the case, should never before have been regarded as the place of ascension. So satisfactorily demonstrable is the proposition, that I never feel better assured of occupying ground once trodden by the adorable Redeemer than when I am here.” We cordially sympathized with the author when, recently standing in that holy place, we gave ourselves up to the conviction that just there, in quiet seclusion from the jarring world which he was about to leave forever, our Lord, having led out his disciples, lifted up his hands and blessed them; and “while he blessed them he was parted from them and carried up into heaven."
With similar consent, in the absence of all conclusive evidence, we yield ourselves to the conviction that the author justly locates the scene of our Lord's crucifixion, at a short distance without and above St. Stephen's gate, on "a kind of head, cape, or promontory,” overlooking the valley of the Kidron, and dark Gethsemane. May not this be the site of that awful scene, the crucifixion of the Son of God! It is to this day “ a place of skulls,” the grave of many generations, where the dead are congregated together so thickly, “ that, by merely removing a loose rock or two, skulls are seen in abundance,” and are frequently thrown out to view by the jackals. Just below this field of death lies the gloomy vale of the Kidron, the banks of which are still lined with some old sepulchres. “Now could there be a more appropriate spot for the three days' repose of the Lamb slain,' than the shades of this sequestered vale, hard by the garden of his mental agony ?"
The topographical notice of the various movements of our Saviour from the table of the Last Supper to the tomb, is another new and interesting discussion, which relieves the drier details of walls and gates, and towers and tombs, more attractive to the Christian antiquary than to the general reader. “ The supper being ended, the consolatory address concluded, and the hymn sung,” they go from that upper room to Gethsemane. There, after his agony, the Sufferer is led “ down the gloomy vale of Kidron, across Tophet, through Gehenna, and up the steep sides of the Hill of Evil Counsel,” if indeed tradition has properly located the country seat of Annas. Thence he makes the toilsome and difficult transit of the Valley of Hinnom to the palace of Caiaphas, “on the northernmost part of Mount Zion.” From thence he is led, probably over Mount Zion, by the bridge of the Tyropoeon, to the court of the Sanhedrim; thence to the judgment-hall of Pilate, in the tower of Antonia, in the northwest corner of the Temple area ; thence across the city again to Herod, at the palace of the Herods, near the Tower of Hippicus. Again he traverses the city to the judgment-hall of Pilate, whence he passes without the city to Golgotha, and the cross; where, having satiated with his blood the malice of his tormentors, and drunk the cup of his Father's indignation for our sins, he descended from the cross to his final repose in the sepulchre.
Dr. Barclay, after a careful measurement of these several transits, comes to the conclusion, that “the distance traversed by the Saviour between the upper room and Golgotha, was from four and one-third to five miles.”
Entertaining the highest respect for the researches and conclusions of Dr. Robinson, he frequently dissents from the opinions of this distinguished antiquary and scholar. With Dr. Robinson, and in direct opposition to the concurring views of Bishop Gobat, and other foreign residents at Jerusalem, Dr. Barclay terminates Mount Zion“on the side of the north" at the Tower of Hippicus, near the Jaffa gate. Against these gentlemen, also, he joins with Dr. Robinson, in the famous discussion respecting the commencement and course of the Tyropoon, beginning it at the Tower of Hippicus, and running in a direct line to the northwestern quarter of the Temple area, where it turns at a right angle to the south, and passing along the western wall of the Temple area, sinks rapidly down between Ophel and Mount Zion, to the fountain of Siloam, and terminates in the Valley of Hinnom. The course of the Tyropoon is decisive respecting the entire plot of the ancient city. Akra, including the continuous heights north of the Tower of Hippicus, is, according to those who dissent from Dr. Robinson and Dr. Barclay, but a continuation of Mount Zion, while the real Akra is to be transferred to the northeast part of the city. According to this plan, the city is separated, in its entire length from north to south, into two grand divisions: the western being occupied by the oblong heights of Mount Zion; the eastern, by the heights successively of Mount Moriah, Akra, and Bezetha. Into these doubtful disputations we shall not enter, but content ourselves with remitting the whole subject to our author, with his powerful coadjutors, and their antagonists, after presenting as above the main points on which the whole controversy hinges.
In one particular, Dr. Barclay sets forth a new theory, in opposition to all that have preceded him in their discussions of the topography of the City of the Great King. The valley beginning west-northwest of the city, at the upper fountain of Gihon, and sweeping around the western and southern base of Mount Zion, until it unites with the Valley of Jehoshaphat, below the fountain of Siloam, has hitherto borne the name, in the upper part, of Gibon, and in the lower, of Hinnom, or BenHinnom. The valley is identical throughout, having no inlet, branch, or division, to justify this change of name, or determine where Gihon should end and Hinnom begin. To this valley, Dr. Barclay assigns throughout the name of Hinnom. Gihon, he transfers to the valley, which rises northwest of the Damascus gate, and, passing through this gate, descends in a right line to the west of the Tower of Antonia, where it unites with the Tyropoeon at the northwest angle of the Temple area. His reasons for this important change in the topography of the city are that the wall of Manasseh, built on the west side of Gihon (2 Chron. 33 : 14), would really offer no protection to the city from an invading foe; the western side of this valley being lined by steep acclivities, which would overhang the wall and afford an easy entrance. “Manasseh built a wall without the City of David, on the west side of Gihon, in the valley, even to the entering in at the Fish Gate.” This passage evinces the mislocation of Gihon; for a wall built in this valley on its west side, would everywhere be located to great disadvantage, and in many places be no defence whatever, owing to the cliffs of Hinnom overtopping it. “But besides this negative proof of its mislocation, the well-ascertained position of the Fish Gate, clearly shows that the Valley of Gihon could be no other than that heading northwest of Damascus Gate, which, descending southward, unites with the Tyropæon, at the northeast corner of Mount Zion; where the latter turns at right'angles and runs towards Siloam. The wall, thus built by Manasseh on the west side of the Valley of Gihon, would extend from the vicinity of the northeast corner of the wall of Zion, in a northerly direction, until it crossed over the valley to form a junction with the outer wall, at the trench of Antonia ; precisely in the quarter where the Temple would be most easily assailed.”
The walls, gates, and towers of the city, occupy a large place in all discussions of its topography. Our author, not content with proving a negative, never rests satisfied until he has found a site for every object and locality mentioned, either in Rabbinical tradition or recorded history, whether secular or sacred. The famous discussions respecting the first, second, and third walls, he settles in general accordance with Dr. Robinson. The first wall, at the restoration after the Babylonish captivity, began at the Tower of Hippieus, and proceeded eastward " along the northern brow of Zion, just on the south brink of the Tyropoeon Valley, thirty cubits above the bottom of the ravine, and was united to the west colonnade of the Temple ; having crossed over the cleft of Zion (Millo), passed the Xys