Page images

A. M. 2514. A. C. 1490; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 3764. A. C. 1647. EXOD. xxxiv. 28.-NUM. Xvili. acquainted with the phenomena of its tides, and took mile wide, and where, from the sandy and shelving nature advantage of the time of ebb to pass ; while Pharaoh, of the beach on both sides, the centre only would afford less acquainted with them, rashly ventured in and was sufficient depth. For it is to be observed, that the front swallowed up. It was thus that the priests of Memphis of Pharaoh's army was still standing on the bed of the explained the miracle. But this subterfuge falls at once sea, when the rear had also entered it. to the ground, as the tides in this sea are exceedingly Nor does it appear that the original channel of the triling; the difference between high and low water at gulf, to the north of its present termination, has been Suez never being more, according to Niebuhr, than from filled up by sand, as supposed. There is a remarkable three to four feet.

statement of Burckhardt, when crossing this tract, which In the maps and descriptions accompanying Calmet's renders this supposition next to impossible. He obdictionary, the Israelites are represented to have crossed served the ground, about five miles north of Suez, the gulf at Kolsum, or Suez, where Niebuhr places the and beyond the present high water mark in the marshy passage. Baal-Zephon is made to be Suez; Migdol, creek, covered with a saline crust, and traversed in the Magdolus, far to the north in the isthmus; and Pi-hahi- direction of the ancient channel, with a layer of small roth, the mouth of the gullet now filled up with sand. white shells, about a quarter of a mile over; while still Without entering into any further discussion on the farther to the north are salt marshes. These are unsituation of these places than has already been done, doubted proofs that the sea once extended over this there are two weighty arguments, in addition to those ground; and that the cause of its retreat is not the influx before advanced, against such an opinion. The first is, of sand, but the gradual recession of the sea itself—a

– That in this position the Israelites were in an open phenomenon common to all inland seas. If the former country, with no natural barriers by which they could had been the case, the shells which mark the true bed of have been said to have been so 'entangled in the land the sea, which once covered them, as well as the saline as to be considered a certain and easy prey to the crust, must have been buried also. But the inference Egyptians; nor could the latter doubt but that their ad-from these discoveries, the most to our purpose in the vance through such a country would be perceived by the present inquiry, is, that although this part was once Israelites, time enough to evade the pursuit, and to effect covered by the waters of the gulf, the change has been a retreat into the Desert, by resuming their tract, and effected by a very trifling subsidence of its level. If rounding the head of the gulf. But the position twenty sand had been the agent employed in effecting this change miles lower down, shut in on all sides by the sea and by it might be contended that the channel had been filled mountains, except a narrow opening towards the north, up to an indefinite depth; but the shelly bed refutes this precluded, in the eyes of the Egyptians (who made no idea, and shows that the present level of the ground was attempt to pursue them, till informed of their critical at some time or other the true bed of the estuary, which, situation), all possibility of escape, if they could reach it cannot be doubted, a rise of a few feet above the preunperceived the entrance to this defile, which, under sent level of the sea would again cover, as well as the cover of the long mountain barrier, on the west, acting marshes beyond it. To draw accurate conclusions from as a screen, they were enabled to do.

these premises it should also be known, by other marks, The next objection to the above opinion is, that the what the actual fall of the sea has been : but as the coungulf narrowing as it advances northwards, the point at try for a considerable extent on both sides, is represented which the passage is supposed to have been effected, as a plain, and the saline crust is limited to a stripe in is, according to the scale of the maps in question, scarcely the centre, it may be inferred that the fall cannot have a mile in width; which takes much from the sublimity at been great. The canal of Ptolemy Philadelphus also least of the miracle, if not from the reality of it. And taking this direction, shows how little was the inclinatiou if it be contended that the passage through a mile of of the ground. water is no less a miracle than that of nine, which is not All these difficulties are removed by fixing the pasdenied, or than that of the Jordan, of far less breadth, sage where it has been placed above, namely, twenty where without an equal miracle a passage could certainly miles below Suez, opposite the valley of Bedea : where not have been eftected; it is replied, that we have not every thing conspired at once to cover the advance of merely to seek a body of water, the division of which Pharaoh, and to render the escape of the Israelites imwas sufficient to amount to a miracle, but an expanse, possible without a miracle; where the channel was the returning surge of which could bury at once the suficiently deep and broad to make that miracle worthy numerous army of the Egyptians, consisting of six hun of its author and its object; and where without a second dred chosen chariots, and all the chariots of Egypt,' with miracle, was sufficient space to receive the entire host horse and foot, amounting no doubt to many thousands of the Egyptians, so that they should be at once overIt is impossible to estimate the number implied by all whelmed, without the escape of a single man. the chariots of Egypt; but if we may judge by those with The precise place of the transit may, then, with as which Shishak invaded Judea, they were not less than much certainty as we can ever hope to arrive at, be fixed 1200 : the proportion of horsemen to which was 60,000, at the embouchure of the valley of Bedea, or about twenty with people on foot out of number. Even supposing the miles below Suez ; where, according to Bruce, the gulf whole army not to have exceeded this number, it is im- is three leagues over, with fourteen fathoms of water in possible to conceive such a body, together with 1200 the channel ; and where the division of the waters would chariots with their horses, impacted in the closest order indeed form a wall' of fearful aspect, on the right hand in which it is possible for an army to move on the line and on the left. It may also be added, on the authority of march, and with every allowable extension laterally, of the same traveller, and as an additional corroborashould all be engulfed together in the waters of a sea a tion, that the north cape of the bay, opposite the valley A. M. 2514. A. C. 1490; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A.M. 3764. A. C. 1647. EXOD. xxxiv. 28-NUM, xviii. of Bedea, which marks the place of the ancient creek of not, Pococke, and Shaw, considered a valley near Tor, Clysma, is called Ras Musa, or the cape of Moses. where are date-trees and springs, to be Elim: an opi

Arrived on the opposite shore, the Israelites entered nion which has been supported by Mr Bryant, who the desert of Etham; where is a sandy and gravelly endeavours also to show that this position was the same plain, called by Niebuhr, Etti, and by Burckhardt, El with the Phænicon, or palm-grove, of Strabo and DiodAhtha—both bearing sufficient vestiges of the ancient orus, which it probably was ; but it cannot, with strict name of the country. In this wilderness they went three attention to the route of the Israelites, be considered as days' journey, which brought them to Marah ; whose bit- Elim. In the first place, the distance from Howara to ter waters were rendered sweet for their use. The posi- | Tor is little less than a hundred miles ; and as all the tion of Marah answers to that of the bitter well of stations in this part of the journey appear to be laid Howara, about eighteen hours from Suez. Burckhardt down with great accuracy; as no mention is made of any says, that this is the usual, and, as it appears, the exclu- between Marah and Elim; and as the Israelites were sive route to Mount Sinai. He says also that there is no hastening to mount Sinai, we have no reason to conclude other road of three days' march in the way; nor any that any halt did actually take place; and with still less other well absolutely bitter on the whole of this coast as reason can we suppose this distance to have been perfar as Ras Mohammed, at the entrance of the gulf. formed in a single march. In the next place, if Elim be Burckhardt, indeed, has adopted the error of Niebuhr in Tor, the four encampments between that place and Sinai supposing the transit to have been near Suez, and reckons will be crowded into a space which it is difficult to reconhis three days to Howara accordingly. But his argu-cile with any motive, or with any similar rate of progress ments with respect to this place will answer equally well in other parts of the march. After quitting Elim, the if we deduct twenty miles, or about six hours, for the Israelites encamped by the Red Sea; then in the wilderdifference in the distance between Suez and the true ness of Sin; then at Dophkah; then at Alush; then at place of passage. There will then remain twelve hours, Rephidim; and then in the wilderness of Sinai. Now or three days of four hours, equal to about twelve miles the rocky region which constitutes the desert of Sinai, for each day's journey—a rate of progress which may be extends to within twenty miles of the coast ; so that the considered as sufficiently suited to the condition of a four encampments, from that on the Red Sea, to Rephipeople who had just escaped from the presence of an dim, at the edge of the desert, could not have been more enemy; who now could have no doubt of their perfect than four or five miles apart: a series of petty movesafety; and had nothing to impel them to the forced ments across the barren plain of El Kaa, which, if they marches which they had made from Rameses to Clysma. had been making their approaches to a fortress, might

The next journey was to Elim; where were twelve have had some object, but which, in the situation in which wells of water, and threescore and ten palm trees.' Both they were, must have been frivolous and vexatious, and Niebuhr and Burckhardt agree in placing Elim in the without a parallel elsewhere. Nor is it likely, as Sinai Wady Gharendel, distant three hours from Howara ; was their destination, that they should have retrograded which answers very well with the rate of march above without any mention being made of such a course, or assumed, in a country, too, where the position of the any cause assigned for it. Lastly, the position of Elim encampments must be regulated very much by the situa- at Tor is incompatible with the situation of the desert of tion of water. In the wady or valley of Gharendel, Sin. This desert is expressly said (Exod. xvi. 1.) to which is about a mile broad, are date or palm trees, have been between Elim and Sinai; but it could only lamarisks, and acacias; and a copious spring. This have formed a small part of the distance, as only one of single spring, unusually abundant for this arid country, the five intervening encampments took place within its may be considered rather as a confirmation of the opinion, limits. In Num. xxxiii. 10-12, it is said, that the than as an argument against it; as Niebuhr attests, that Israelites removed from Elim, and encamped by the water may easily be obtained any where by digging for Red Sea; and they removed from the Red Sea, and it, although the apertures will quickly be filled up again encamped in the wilderness of Sin; and they took their by the sands. To search, in fact, after a lapse of 3500 journey out of the wilderness of Sin, and encamped at years, for the identical twelve wells of Elim, rudely con- Dophkah.' Now the whole space between Tor and the structed in a sandy soil, is little better than absurd. The encampment of the desert of Sinai, is a plain, bearing wells of rocky countries, indeed, are perhaps the most one name, and but of one day's journey, bounded every durable of all the monuments of antiquity, and serve to way to the north by the group of Sinai; so that the fix with unerring certainty the scene of many a memor- | Israelites quitting the wilderness of Sin after a single able event; but the case is widely otherwise on a moving encampment in it, must either have retraced their steps surface of sand, where the shallow excavations, and the towards Elim, or have proceeded towards the eastern or simple masonry of Arabs, would not require centuries to Elanitic gulf of the Red Sea, beyond Sinai altogether : obliterate : or, which is frequently the case, the wells of neither of which circumstances is any intimation given; may have been wantonly destroyed in the dissen- on the contrary, both are at variance with the order of sions of the tribes. It is sufficient that water exists the route, and the destination of the people, which was here in abundance, and is to be obtained in as many Sinai, to receive the law. But in the natural and estabwells as the traveller chooses to dig; while the accord- lished route, the whole is conformable with the scripture ance of this position with the next movement from narrative, and confirmed by the local knowledge we Howara, and the absence of any other springs that could possess of the country. be relied upon for a distance of many hours in the same From the desert of Etham to the second march beyond route, leave little doubt of its being that of Elim. Former Elim, the road, as it does now, ran parallel with the gulf travellers, indeed, amongst whom are Monconys, Theve-I of Suez, and at no great distance from it. At the end A. M. 2514. A. C. 1490; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 3764. A. C. 1647. EXOD. xxxiv. 28-NUM. xviii. of the first day's march from Elim, an indentation of the Canaan, and in which they spent the greatest part of the coast brought them at once upon the sea, where was the time they were condemned to wander, was at Taberah, encampment mentioned. Towards the end of the second, or Kibroth-battaavah: the former name being given by the coast, which had hitherto inclined in a south-east Moses, because here many of the people were consumed direction, turning directly to the south, quite away from by fire from heaven for their complaining; and the latter, the direct road to Sinai, obliged them to quit the vicinity because, at the same place, the people lusted for flesh, of the sea, which they had hitherto constantly had on and many more died while the quails, which had been their right hand, and to enter farther into the heart of miraculously sent them, were yet in their mouths, From the desert; which in that part bore the name of Sin. this place, the stations mentioned northwards are HazerThis is precisely the route pursued at the present day; oth, Rithmah, Rimmon-parez, Libnah, and Kadeshand near the point where the road leaves the coast, at barnea, where the camp was fixed while the spies were the south-west foot of the mountainous ridge called El sent to explore the promised land; from whose evil Tyh, is the sandy plain of El Seyh, extending two days' report the people were so intimidated, and so unmindful journey eastward. The western extremity of this plain of the promises they had received, and the protection only would the Israelites have to cross, which they would they were under, that, as a punishment for their ingratisoon traverse, and have only one encampment to make tude and disobedience, they were ordered to turn back, on its surface; when the remaining stations of Dophkah, and get them into the wilderness, by the way of the Alush, and Rephidim, would bring them, by marches of Red Sea,' Numb. xiv. 25. This retrograde movement fifteen or sixteen miles, to the borders of the desert of carried them back southwards, through the same wilderSinai.

ness of Paran, but by a more eastern route, nearer mount Of Dophkah and Alush, we can only know the relative Seir, to Eziongeber, on the eastern gulf of the Red Sea. situations, and as nothing more is said of them than The stations enumerated in this route are, Rissah, Kehetheir bare mention as places of passage, it is of little lathah, mount Shapher, Haradah, Makkeloth, Tahath, consequence. But to Rephidim much interest is attached. Tarah, Mithcah, Hashmonah, Moseroth, Bene-jaakan, Here, or hard by, the miraculous supply of water took Hor-hagidgad, Jot-bathah, Ebronah, and Ezion-geber. place; and here the Israelites were, for the first time, What space of time was spent in these several encampattacked by their implacable enemies the Amalekites. It ments is not mentioned. The cloud resting on the is not a little curious, that a person of Mr Bryant's tabernacle was the guide for the people : when and sagacity should have found it necessary, in order to where that moved, thither they followed, and rested explain this attack of the Amalekites, to carry Rephidim where it rested ; and whether it were two days, or a far up to the northward, towards the borders of that month, or a year, that the cloud tarried upon the taberpeople. There is nothing surely surprising in a people, nacle, remaining thereon, the children of Israel abode who were probably apprized of the ultimate destination in their tents, and journeyed not ; but when it was taken of the Israelites, wishing to carry the war from their up, they journeyed,' Numb. ix. 22. own homes, and, by advancing on their enemy, to attack In the map of this route, in the last edition of Cal. him at a disadvantage. But in Exod. xvii. 8, it is said, met's dictionary, it is made to extend westward, towards that Amalek ' came and fought with Israel at Rephidim.' Egypt, instead of southward, towards the Red Sea. And in 1 Sam, xv. 2,' Thus saith the Lord of hosts, 1 Libnah, stated in the description to be west of Mount remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid Hor, is yet supposed to be the same Libnah which wait for him in the way when he came up from Egypt:' Joshua smote. (Josh. x. 29, 30.) This Libnah, which that is, that he came down to Rephidim, and took the was evidently in the tribe of Judah, is placed by Eusebius Israelites by surprise. It could not have been repre- and Jerom in the district of Eleutheropolis; and Lachish, sented in this way, if the latter had approached the terri- the next place taken by Joshua, only seven miles south tories of the Amalekites. To set this question at rest, of that city. In fact, the places successively captured however, the Israelites were encamped at Rephidim by Joshua in his march southwards after Makkedah, when they were miraculously supplied with water from were, first Libnah, then Lachish, then Eglon, and then Horeb; consequently it must have been close to that Hebron; consequently both Libnah and Lachish were mountain, or, in other words, on the edge of the desert north of the last mentioned city. Rissah, the next place of Sinai, where it has already been placed.

in the route, is supposed to be El Arish, and mount The next encampment, after that at Rephidim, was in Shapher mount Casius, on the confines of Egypt; but the desert of Sinai itself, where the people arrived in this track along the coast of the Mediterranean would, the third month, and where they remained encamped with more propriety, have been termed " by the way

of eleven months, during which time the law was delivered the Great Sea,” than of the Red Sea. Besides, this

At length, on the 20th day of the second month, in the route would have brought the Israelites again to the very second year, the signal for removing from Sinai was edge of Egypt, and within reach of their incensed enegiven by the pillar of the cloud being removed from the mies, who may be supposed in this interval to have tabernacle, and preceding the line of march into the recruited their armies, and might have attacked them in wilderness of Paran; into which, or at least from their this situation to much greater advantage than they did at encampment in the desert of Sinai, the Israelites Pi-hahiroth. But if no danger was to be apprehended advanced for three days before a convenient resting- from hostile attack, there was another of greater conplace, for any time, was found them, in all probability sideration. “Let us,' said the Israelites just before

, for want of water. The first station in this wilderness disheartened at their sentence of retrogradation, and of Paran, “that great and terrible wilderness,' which wearied with the privations and monotony of the desert, extended all the way from Sinai to the borders of ). Let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt." A. M. 2514. A. C. 1490; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A, M. 3764. A. C. 1647. EXOD. xxxiv. 29-NUM. xviii. This was their ready cry on all occasions ; and it is not want of a correct knowledge of the true features of a likely that God in his providence, or Moses in his country. policy, would bave trusted them so near a country whose With respect to the first cause of error, it will be the idols, and whose fleshpots, they were ever hankering author's fault, and not any want of precision in the after, and from which such mighty efforts and miracles scripture account, if this part of the journey be not renhad been employed to deliver them.

dered sufficiently perspicuous ; and to obviate the latter, In the continuation of this supposed route, Moseroth Burckhardt has furnished us with abundant information. is conjectured to be the present Fountains of Moses, so It will be found, indeed, that, instead of a single passage called, or Ain-el-Mousa, seven or eight miles from Suez. through the plain of Elath and Ezion-geber, this plain This would bring then again nearly into their old track was twice passed, or at least, that the places situated in in the desert of Etham or Shur; and it is strange that no it were twice visited ; and that Mount Seir, instead of mention should be made of these well-known places. having been merely doubled by a straight course, down But Moses says, that, after leaving Kadesh-barnea, one side and up the other, was four times skirted at its

they turned, and took their journey into the wilderness southern extremity, well illustrating the passage which by the way of the Red Sea; and they compassed mount says "Ye have encompassed this mountain long enough.' Seir many days,' Deut. ii. 1: plainly implying, that the In Numbers xxxiii. 36, 37, after the Israelites are desretrograde route was not by the Mediterranean and cribed as having descended to Ezion-geber from their long towards Egypt, but towards the nearest point of the Red sojourn in the desert on the north, it is said, ' And they Sea in the route next designed for them; stretching removed from Ezion-geber, and pitched in the wilderalong the western side of the desert of Sin and mount ness of Sin, which is Kadesh, and they removed Seir to Ezion-geber. What is meant by the way of the from Kadesh, and pitched in Mount Hor, in the edge of Red Sea, is further distinctly told us in Numbers xxi, 4; the land of Edom.' In chapter xx. 1, 22, it is said, where it is said, that the Israelites, departing from Mount Then came the children of Israel, even the whole Hor,“ journeyed by the way of the Red Sea, to compass congregation, into the desert of Sin, in the first month ; the land of Edom;' or, in other words, to get to the and the people abode in Kadesh. And the children of eastern side of that mountainous country by crossing the Israel, even the whole congregation, journeyed from plain of Elath and Ezion-geber. The whole of this Kadesh, and came unto Mount Hor:' where Aaron died, scheme of the western route of the Israelites is, in fact, and was buried; and where a thirty days' mourning founded in a misconception of the true extent and posi- was performed for him. In chapter xxi. 4, it is said, tion of mount Seir. It is true, that the precise situation. And they journeyed from Mount Hor by the way of of Libnah, or of either of the other stations in the desert the Red Sea, to compass the land of Edom.' In other after leaving mount Sinai, cannot be accurately known; words, the children of Israel, from their first descent to but the general course of the route from Sinai to Kadesh- Ezion-geber, ascended northwards, up the desert of Sin, barnea, and from thence to Ezion-geber, is sufficiently to Kadesh; and from Kadesh to Mount Hor, ‘in the indicated.

edge of Edom;' where having buried Aaron, and paid There is a curious anachronism in the above map. It the last respects to his memory, they turned again southwas published in 1808; but has the route of Burckhardt wards, to the plain of Elath and Ezion-geber, to compass in 1812 marked on it, without, however, adopting any the land of Edom, and enter the plains of Midian. of the improvements indicated by his discoveries. It In order to the better understanding of the relative retains, indeed, all the old errors ; the insulated and position of these places, it will be necessary first to northern position of Mount Hor—the double peak of a describe that of Mount Seir ; which will form a key to single mountain, representing Sinai and Horeb--the the rest. Mount Seir of Edom is a mountain chain, forked extremity of the gulf of Elah or Acaba—and the which, under the modern names of Djebel Sherar, Djebel undefined position of the desert of Sin ; while Mount Hesma, and Djebal, extends from the southern extremity Seir is laid down, by letters only, transversely across the of the Dead Sea to the northern one of the eastern gulf desert of Paran. The labours of Burckhardt have en- of the Red Sea, about a hundred miles. On its western abled us to correct these errors ; while the description of side, it rises boldly from a valley which accompanies its Moses directs us where to trace the course from Kadesh- whole length; but sinks by an easier slope towards the barnea to Ezion-geber.

east, into the elevated plains of Arabia Petræa. Its Thus far all is clear : but the ensuing part of the western border is so strong, as to be easily defended ; journey is, for the most part, but ill explained by com- so that the Israelites, when denied a passage by the king mentators ; nor has any map come within the inspection of Edom, dared not make any attempt to force one, but of the author, in which it is intelligibly laid down. The were compelled to return, and get round the mountain passage from the western to the eastern side of Mount by the plain of Ezion-geber. It was on a conspicuous Seir, round by Ezion-geber, is uniformly represented as eminence on this western border, called Hor, about forty one continuous route ; Mount Seir itself is variously dis- miles north from the plain of Elath, that Aaron died, and torted from its true position ; Mount Hor, an eminence was buried by the Israelites—an office in which, either of the former, is carried high up towards the borders of not alarmed, or informed of their pious intention, the Moab, where it will be seen that it could not possibly Edomites do not appear to have molested them. Trahave been ; and very confused notions are entertained of dition has preserved the situation of this mount; which the true situation of the desert of Sin. These inaccu- is still visited as the tomb of Aaron, by both Mahomeracies have arisen, in part, from a strange inattention tans and Christians. to the scripture narrative, and, in part, from the geo- This description of Mount Seir will facilitate that of graphical errors more or less inseparable from the the desert of Sin. There is, as was observed, a valley A. M. 2514. A. C. 1490; Or, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 3761. A. C. 1647. EXOD. xxxiv. 28-NUM. xvii. stretching along the whole western side of Mount Seir ; | across Mount Seir, or through the land of Edom, to which, like it, extends from the Dead Sea on the north, Canaan. Defeated in this object, nothing was left for to the Red Sea on the south. This valley is a sandy them but to return to the plain of Ezion-geber, and to plain, at a low level, having the chain of Mount Seir on make the circuit of the mountain on its southern side. the east, and a ridge of hills, of a lower elevation than The next encampment mentioned, after the return from those of Seir, on the west, and separating it from the Mount Hor, is at Zalmonah. Where Zalmonah was is desert of Paran. It is about five miles across; and is not known; but it was probably in or near the plain of at present known in its northern part, by the name of El Elath, as there was no water in Sin. This was a long Ghor, and in its southern, by that of El Araba : it appears march ; but the people could not tarry in a region which before the catastrophe of Sodom, to have afforded a was destitute of the most indispensable article of subcourse for the Jordan into the Red Sea. This can be sistence. Besides, the period of their wandering was no other than the desert of Sin, or Kadesh; with which now drawing to a conclusion ; and they were hastening it accords in all the required conditions. It had no with confidence to the termination of their fatigues and water; neither is there any there now :-from hence privations in the promised land. The same reason led messengers were sent to request a passage through the them, by stages of thirty miles, by Punon, Oboth, and country of the Edomites ; and from hence only, with any lje-abarim, to the brook Zared ; where they arrived at show of purpose, could such a request be sent :- from the end of the thirty-eighth year from the time of their hence, also, the Israelites ascended Mount Hor; and leaving Kadesh-barnea, and the fortieth from their defrom hence only could the ascent of that mountain be parture from Egypt, and when all the adults then living made without penetrating the whole breadth of Edom were dead. This brook, which appears to be the Wady from the opposite side, where it is clear that they never Beni Hammed, descends from the mountains of Kerek, yet had been :-and, lastly, into this desert it was that and falls into the Dead Sea near the middle of its the Israelites entered from the plain of Elath and Ezion- western shore. From the Zared, the Israelites made geber; and this valley does strictly open from that plain, one march across the Arnon, the Modjeb of modern and is the only desert region answering to the name and geography, to Dibon Gad; the ruins of which, under the narrative into which they possibly could enter : they the name of Diban, are shown about four miles to the could not, in fact, move from their encampment at Ezion- north of the river. From Dibon, the encampments of geber in any other direction, without passing to the east Beer, Almon-diblathaim, Mattanah, Nahaliel, and Baof Mount Seir, which, as has been shown, they did not moth, brought them to the mountains of Abarim, on the do till after their return from Mount Hor, or retracing east of the Jordan; which mountains they crossed at their steps into the desert of Paran, which it is equally Pisgah, a part of the chain, where Moses was indulged certain they did not do.

with a bird's-eye view of the promised land, and where This desert was likewise called Kadesh : in which he died. Descending from these mountains, they pitched also was a place more particularly so termed, and between Beth-jesimoth and Abel-shittim, on the banks situated in the uttermost border' of Edom, that is to of the Jordan « itself; whose waters, deep and rapid, say, at the very foot of the chain, bordering on the were divided for their passage, as those of the Red Sea desert; from whence the Israelites sent messengers to had been. And thus this extraordinary journey of forty the king of Edom to solicit a passage through his years terminated with a similar miracle to that with which country. No situation can be allotted more probable as it commenced. the position of this place, than that by which the modern There are two facts worthy of mentioning in this road passes from Maan, on the east of Mount Seir, by place. The first is, that the whole of the tribes, during the Wady Mousa, through the mountains, and across the their wanderings in the desert, had sustained a decrease valley of the Ghor or desert of Sin, to Gaza—the very of only 1820; their numbers being at this time 601,730, route, in fact, of the Nabathæi from their capital Petra. and before, 603,550. The other fact alluded to is, that As this is one of only two or three routes, at great dis- as all the males above twenty years of age at Kadeshtances, which penetrate the region of Seir ; as it passes barnea fell subsequently in the wilderness, none who close by mount Hor; and as that mountain would be crossed the Jordan, with the exception of Joshua and most easy of access by its means from the valley below; Caleb, could exceed fifty-eight; consequently the whole we cannot hesitate in fixing the position of Kadesh of the adult males may be considered as eflective for the Proper at the point where the road, quitting the moun- purposes of war. tains, enters on that valley.

The map, illustrative of the journeyings of the IsraelTo recapitulate. The children of Israel having arrived ites, has been carefully constructed, so as to exhibit the at Ezion-geber from the desert of Paran, and at the physical features of the country, as laid down by Burcksouthern foot of Mount Seir, made a detour northwards up the desert of Sin, or El Araba, on the western side puted at thirty yards, and its depth about nine feet ; but from

a The average breadth of this celebrated stream may he cornof that mountain, and separated from the desert of the rapidity of its current, it discharges a much greater body of Paran by a ridge of hills, but which formed no part of water than many rivers of larger dimensions; it rolls, indeed, so Mount Seir. This course they pursued to Mount Hor, powerful a volume of deep water into the Dead Sea, that the in the edge of Edom,' a mountainous eminence rising attempt to swim across it at its point of entrance. Its banks are

strongest and most expert swimmer would be foiled in any abruptly from the eastern side of the desert of Sin, and beautifully picturesque, being shaded by the thick foliage of standing on the western edge of Seir. Here they staid closely planted trees, and so beset with tamarisks, willows

, to bury Aaron, and to complete their mourning for his oleander, and other shrubs, that the stream is not visible, except loss. The purpose for which they entered the desert of its annual overflowing takes place in the first month, which Sin was obviously to obtain a shorter and better passage answers to our March.

« PreviousContinue »