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Second River of Damascus.
ored with oxyde of iron or manganese ; and this will account for the red color of the water at first. To this cause, I know, may be ascribed the blood of Adonis which sometimes tinges the Nahr Ibrahîm.
“So much for Menbej; which sends forth a large mill-stream, completely covered with long and gracefiilly trailed sedge-weed, altogether unique in appearance. The water unites with the Nabr Jennâny, which comes down from Beit Jenn, a village high up in a wild gorge of Jebel esh-Sheikh, an hour and a half from Menbej, a little south of west; and the united stream passes by Sa’sa'.—I think there can be no reasonable doubt, that the A’waj is the second river of Damascus. It waters ten times the arable land that the Barada does; though the other alone passes through the city.
“ Passing through Mazra'at Beit Jenn, at the termination of the gorge we began ju earnest to climb the heights of Jebel esh-Sheikh, over vast fields of trap rock; and in two hours reached the summit of this pass, near a small village called Hàdr. The descent towards the Hůleh, by Sabita, Mejdel, and the castle of Bàniâs, to the town of this name, took three and a half hours. We passed the lake Phiala a little on our left. The whole ascent was on trap rock, near the junction of the limestone, which constitutes the towering summits of Hermon. Those heights rose steeply on our right; and to-day, at least, were battling with a wild snowstorm. At our elevation, it was a cold rain; bort the snow was whitening the cliffs within a bow-shot of us. It was a gloomy, sour ride, with now and then an opening into the sullen sublime. The view over Gilead and Bashan and the plain of Damascus was, at times, very grand and very desolate.
“ At Bàniâs there had been no raio ; it was a glowing summer evening: In three short hours we had descended from Arctic snows and storms to the balmy breezes, sweet birds, and sweet flowers of the tropics. It is a prodigious come-down, to the level of the Hûleh.
“I reached Beirût in two days of hard riding from Bâ niâs, by the ordinary route.”
W. M. Thomson,
Notes.-1. The route of Mr. Thomson from Damascus to Bâniâs, seems to have been precisely that of Irby and Mangles in 1818. As they passed from Saʼsa’ westward, "the first part of the road,” they say, “ led through a fine plain, watered by a pretty, winding rivulet, with numerous tributary stieams, and many old ruined mills; from whence we began to ascend over a very rugged and rocky soil quite void of vegetation, baving in some places traces of au ancient paved way, probably the Roman road leading from Damascus to Cesarea Philippi. As we ascended we had the highest part of Jebel Sheikh on our right. We found the snow in some places of considerable depth, and difficult to cross with our horses.” This was on the 24th of February. In descending to Bàniâs, they had the lake Phiala close upon their left. They do vot inention either Menbej or Beit Jenn; though they must have passed near to both.—Burckhardt, travelling in 1810 from Bàniâs to Damascus, appears to have followed nearly the same route reversed, as far as to Beit Jenn; though he does not speak of Phiala. He describes Beit Jenn as situated an hour and a quarter below the summit of the mountain, on the east side, in a narrow Wady, at a spot where the valley widens a little. A quarter of an hour further down is 'Ain Beit Jenn, a copious spring; and after another balf hour, the valley opens upon the plain on the eastern side of the mountain. Burckhardt did not at that time visit Sa'sa'; but took the route from Beit Jenn, by way of Kefr Hauwar and Katana, to Damascus.1
2. The part of Jebel esh-Sheikh which Mr. Thomson speaks of climbing, above Beit Jenn, is the lower ridge which branches off from the lofty Hermon proper, towards the south, and is called by Burckhardt Jebel Heisb. Further towards the south it sinks down into a broad swell of high table land ; and is there crossed by the usual caravan road from Sa'sa' by el-Kuneitirah to the bridge of the Jordan. Burckhardt says that from el-Kuneitirah, “the ground continues to rise, until we reached the chain of isolated) bills, which here form the most conspicuous part of the mountain Heish. The ground being here considerably elevated above the plain of Damascus and Jaulôn, these bills, when seen from afar, appear like mountains; although when viewed from their foot they are of very moderate height. They are insulated ; and terminate at the hill Tell Faras, towards the plaiu of Janlôn." With this agree substantially the accounts of Schubert and Wilson, who speak of a plain of table land and of single bills; but not of a chain of hills.
3. Burckhardt, in speaking of the A’waj lower down, at Kesweh, gives its name correctly; but as he passes along its banks below Saʼsa', he calls it the Sâ birâny.3 It appears from Mr. Thomson's account, that this latter name belongs strictly to a tributary of the A’waj. Some travellers hare copied Burckhardt; while others name the stream according to the place where they happen to be; as Nabr Saʼsa', Nabr Kesweh, etc.
4. Burckhardt speaks, at Kesweh, of the river A’waj;" and describes it, half an hour below Saʼsa', as running “in a deep bed of the Haurân black stone. "4 Irly and Mangles merely mention it as "a fine stream." Monro, in 1833, describes its as “a rapid stream flowing towards Damascus, which, being increased by others in its course, forms the Pharpar, Trav. p. 45 sq.
2 P.314. 3 P.53, 312. * P. 53, 312. 5 II. p. 54.
Second River of Damascus.
one of those rivers which have ever been the pride of the Damascenes; wbile the Abana, issuing from the mountains near to the city, is now called the Barada." According to Schubert, the A'waj at Sa’sa' is “a small lively river.” Dr. Wilson, who rejects the idea of its being one of the rivers of Damascus, because it does not water the city itself, speaks only of its course as “rather notable in a geological point of view. The basaltic and cretaceous rocks meet at it on the same level. The first of these forms its right bank, and the second its left. The basalt ceases where the Damascus road leaves it."2 I do not remember to have met with any further notices of the A'waj, beyond the mere mention of it by some name.
5. lo 2 Kings 5: 12, Naaman the Syrian says: Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel ?" In the Hebrew Keri, and in the marginal reading of the English Version, the first river is written Amana ; and this is probably the correct form, as affording a good etymology, the perennial; coinp. Isa. 33: 16. Now by "rivers of Damascus,” it is hardly to be assumed that Naaman intended streams running through or watering the city itself. He doubtless meant rivers of the territory or plain of Damascus; just as he did those of the territory of Israel. It is then not difficult to identify the Amana with the Barada ; first, because the larger and more important stream would naturally be first mentioned; and then, because we find a part of Anti-Lebanon adjacent to Hermon also called Amana (Cant. 4:8), corresponding 10 that portion of the mountain where the Barada has its sources, and taking its name apparently from the stream. This leaves the Pharpar to be referred to the A’waj, which beyond all question is the second river of the plain of Damascus, both in size and importance. I was led to this conclusion some years ago, while investigating the waters flowing east from Auti-Lebanon ; but have not found this view brought forward by any one before Monro, as quoted above. The notices of Mr. Thomson go strongly to confirm the view.-There are only two other hypotheses respecting the second river. One regards it as a branch of the Barada, where that river is divided up into many channels in order to water the city of Damascus and its environs. The other refers it to the fountain and stream of el-Fijeh, described by Mr. Thomson in his former letter,3 which joins the Barada after a course of a hundred and twenty paces. These bypotheses were obviously mere shifts to escape a difficulty, while no appropriate second river was yet known. But why they should be persisted in at the present day, it is more difficult to see.
* III. p. 271.
9 Lands of the Bible, II. p. 324.
II. NATURAL BRIDGE OVER THE LITANY OR LEONtes.
In April, 1844, the Rev. Eli Smith and Rev. S. H. Calhoun left Jerusalem by way of Jericho, intending to pass up the valley ot' the Jordan to Tiberias. They proceeded as far north in the valley as the mouth of Wady el-Fária’; beyond which they were unable to obtain guides or any other aid from the terror-stricken Arabs. They therefore turned their course by way of Sânûr to 'Akka ; and from thence took their way across the mountains, by Rumeish and Bint Jebeil, to Kadesh of Naphtali and Bàniâs, by a route before unexplored. They returned to Beirút by way of the bridge of Khůrdela and the castle esh-Shủkif; continuing along upon the higher parts of Lebanon until they came opposite to Sidon, where they descended. A full journal of the whole tour was kept by Mr. Smith, a copy of which is in my hands. It is exceedingly valuable ; and we may hope that it will one day see the light.
In May and June of the same year, Mr. Smith resided for some weeks at Hasbeiya ; and made excursions into the neighborhood and also to Da
Full notes of all these were kept by 'bim; of which, too, I have a copy.
A third journal, by the same hand, is made up from notes of various excursions into different parts of Lebanon ; mainly the portion lying in and between the tracts drained by the Nabr el-Kelb, north of Beirút, and the 'Awâly, which enters the sea near Sidon. Within these limits there is scarcely a village wbich has not been risited and its position described. It is by far the most minute and exact topographical account of Lebanon, its features and its villages, which has ever been drawn up.
In the journal at Hasbeiya there is brought to notice for the first time the natural bridge over the Litàny, which Mr. Smith visited and described. It is understood that he directed the attention of the officers of the late Dead Sea expedition to this bridge; who also visited it and brought away a drawing. It is due to Mr. Smith that bis account, as the earliest, should be laid before the public. Some other extracts are prefixed, describing the nature of the country and the singular channel of the Litàny.
In passing up Wady et-Teim, and not far above the fountain of Hasbeiya, Mr. S. left that valley and crossed the intervening ridge to the valley of the Lîtàny, near the little Metàwileh village of Kilya. “On the left,"
says, "a hill projected (from the ridge just crossed) towards the bold side of Lebanon, which but for the Litàny it would have joined. Just there, however, the river rushes through an awful chasm; and soon passes Búrghủz (with its bridge) on the further side of the hill. The village of Kilya stands just on the brink of the left bank of the river. Both banks were perpendicular, and corresponded with each other in the strata of the
rocks; being just far enough apart for the passage of the streain, and probably hundreds of feet high. In a similar position; on the opposite bank, was another little village called Lusah. The inhabitants could converse with each other across the river; and, notwithstanding the steepness of the banks, they have got a footpath up and dowo them. The ridge we had crossed slopes gradually on this side; and is generally arable. Beyond the stream, also, Mount Lebanon (north of the puss towards Búrghủz) does not come quite down to the river, but leaves an arable tract. Some distance (three or four miles) to the north, a higher tract crosses from the eastern ridge to the mountain, intersected by the river, and having the village of Yübmur upon its top, just on the left bank of the stream. The region thus defined bas the general form of a large basin. Through the midst of it runs the river, everywhere between the same precipitous banks. There is, most of the way, no depression of the ground as you approach the banks, the undulations of surface on each side being the same ; so that, whenever you lose sight of the chasm of the river, you would not suspect that the whole was not one continuous surface. So deep a channel, formed with so little disturbance of the contiguous region, seemed to me not to be the work of an earthquake; but the result of the gradual wear of a waterfall. I should add, that everywhere it seemed to have selected the lowest part of the tract.”
From Kilya Mr. S. proceeded to Yühmur, a Metâ wilahı village on the higher tract north of the basin, in an hour and three quarters, by a somewhat circuitous path. At Yühmur he goes on to say:
“We were now at the most majestic part of the wonderful chasm. Its banks I judged to be at least a thousand feet in height; bigher than at any other point. The rock, being less firm in its texture than below, had, in many places, been worn away or had slidden down; thus widening the distance between the bauks, but adding much to the variety and beauty of the views presented. At the bottom, like a silvery ribbon, rushed the stream from rapid to rapid, foaming among the rocks, and decked with the gay blossoms of the oleander along its inargin. It was a scene to be visited at leisure and studied for hours. But we hastened on.
“ I could not, however, resist the temptation to turn aside and examine a curiosity of which I bad heard at Hasbeiya-a natural bridge across the Litàny; which, from its name Kû well, I expected 10 find an elevated perforation through the rock. Afier traversing the open fields beyond (north of] Yübmur for a time, I descended into a Wady which came down from the right. The declivity soon became so steep, that I lost my confidence in the feet of my careful horse, who in innumerable defiles of Palestine and Lebanon bad never yet betrayed me, and I dismounted. The Wady soon descended by a bound into the river far below; and I, turning to the Vol. VI. No. 22.