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in its centre.' This valley was formed by the mountains of Jerusalem on the one side, and the Mount of Olives on the other. On the South it was bounded by the Valley of the Sons of Hinnom, or Tophet, a name derived from the drum which the worshippers of Moloch beat in this place during their sacrifices.3
On the West it was bounded by a Valley formed on the
(1) Called also the valley Cedron, from the river flowing through it. «The valley of the Mountains," from being every where surrounded by them. "The Valley of Siloa," from a village in it of that name. Valley of Benediction," because there, Jehoshaphat and his people blessed the Lord. Vide Joel, iii. 1, 2, 3.
(2) The Mount of Olives, or Mount of Unction, has three distinct summits, the middle of which is the highest; and " so commanding is the view of "Jerusalem afforded here (says Clarke), that the eye roams over all the
streets and around the walls, as if in the survey of a plan or model of "the city." They are thus described as having been polluted by Heathen abominations.—And the HIGH PLACES that were before Jerusalem, which were on the right hand of the Mount of Corruption (i. e. Mount of Olives) which Solomon the King of Israel had builded for ASHTORETH, the abomination of the Sidonians; and for CHEMOSH, the abomination of the Moabites; and for MILCOM, the abomination of the Children of Ammon, did the King defile. 2 Kings xxiii. 13. (See Clarke's Travels, vol. 2. p. 578.) It is situated from Jerusalem at the distance of a Sabbath-day's journey, or 2,000 cubits (Acts i. 12,) and is remarkable for being the place so much resorted to by our Saviour and his Disciples, from whence he foretold the destruction of the city; but more particularly from the circumstance that the loftiest summit was the scene of his ascension,
(3) Jer. vii. 31. Beausobre says, that "in our Saviour's time, the Jews flung the rubbish of the city and the bones of the sacrifices into this "place, and kept there a continual fire to consume them. This they "reckoned as an emblem of Hell, and therefore gave it the name of "Gehenna."-Quaresmius thus describes it:-" In suburbis sanctæ civitatis
et parte ejus Orientali, vergente tamen ad Austrum, in extrema ac pro"pinquiori parte vallis Raphidim, sub monte offensionis ad meridiam fontis "Siloe est vallis illa Gehennon dicta; in qua antiquitas lucus erat, in quo "turpissimis crudelissimisque sceleribus et idolatriis fuit Deus optimus maximus offensus."
Elucid. Terræ Sanctæ, ii. p. 274.
the one side by the precipices of the City, and on the other by Gihon, and the surrounding mountains. Nearly opposite the South West corner of the city, was the fountain Siloam or Gihon: that these were considered as one and the same, may be deduced from that passage in the book of Kings, where David commands his son to be brought down to Gihon, or as it is rendered in the Chaldaic version, to Siloam; from which it has been concluded that these two names were appropriated to the same fountain:' besides this, there seems to have been a pool also of the same name within the city; probably that now found at the foot on the Southern side of Moriah: this it appears was by Hezekiah connected with the fountain, from which circumstance it is not unlikely that the same name was given to both.
Opposite the centre of the Western side of the city, Calvary is supposed to have been situated; rendered memorable from having been the scene of our Saviour's death and sufferings; this also is thought to have been separated from the city, by the "Place of a Skull," called Golgotha by the Evangelists. The
(1) In Mintert's Lexicon of the New Testament, this explanation is given: "Nomen fontis, qui et Gihon vocabitur; i. Reg. i. 33. dicitur, Deducite "Solomonem ad GIHON et deduxerunt eum ad SILOAM. Unde Kimchius: Gihon est Siloam, et vocatur duplici nomine."
In voce Σιλωαμ
Villalpandus and Brocardus both conceive the fountain of Gihon and that of Siloam to be the same, particularly as the Fountain Gate was on the Western side of the city. See also Lightfoot. In Isaiah, viii. 6, it is said, "Forasmuch as this people refuseth the waters of Shiloah, which flow softly, &c." upon which Rabbi Solomon Isacides remarks, "that it is a "fountain, and its name is Gihon." Vide Celarius Geo. Antiq. lib. iii. ch. 13. According to Maundrel, it is 160 paces long and 67 broad, walled round. (2) 2 Chron. xxxii. 30. (3) Mark, xv. 22.-John, xix. 17. It has been generally supposed that Calvary, originally was a mountain, although
The city itself was in compass about thirty-three Jewish stadia,' and was built upon two mountains, so near to each other, as only to be divided by a small but deep valley. Of these, Mount ZION to the South was that on which the upper city was built, and was considerably the highest: the other, Mount ACRA, to the North, contained the lower city, so called in contradistinction to the upper market place, or citadel, and resembled in shape the moon when it is horned.*
though there be no evidence in favour of such an opinion, more than what the name seems to import: CRANIUM OF CALVARY signifying a HEAD OF SKULL, which by some it has been conceived outwardly to represent." Golgotham collem "exiguum a formâ Cranii humani dictum." (Reland). "If there had been originally any hill or rock (observes Dr. Clarke) wherein the real Sepulchre " of Joseph of Arimathea was hewn for its Jewish possessor, is it likely, or "was it possible, that every trace of it should have been swept away? Can "there be any reason assigned for supposing that Helena would have destroyed, what every Christian must have been so anxious to preserve? "That in the construction of a Church to commemorate the existence "of the tomb, she would have levelled and cut away, not only the "Sepulchre itself, but also the whole of Mount Calvary ?" Hence he concludes that it was called Calvary from being a public cemetery, or as being the receptacle of the heads of malefactors.
"In ancient times," says Deshayes, "Mount Calvary was without the city, it was the place where criminals, sentenced to suffer death, were executed; and that all the people might attend on these occasions, there was a large vacant space between the EMINENCE and the wall of the city. The rest of the HILL was surrounded by gardens."
(1) Bell. Jud. 5. iv. 3.—which says Reland, "mea quidem sententia, de totâ urbe intelligenda sunt." He also allots 400 cubits to a stadium, and, consequently, 13,200 for the circumference of the city.
(2) Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth is Mount Zion, on the sides of the North, the city of the great King. Psalm xlviii. 2.
Upon this passage Lightfoot has principally grounded his opinion for placing Sion to the North, and Acra to the South of Jerusalem; in this he is strengthened by the reading of our common version.-"On the North side
Just above Mount Zion on the North East corner, and opposite the Mount of Olives, was a third hill, distinguished by the name of MORIAH. It was here that the famous Temple of Solomon was erected. This Mount was afterwards by the labour and industry of the Asmoneans, joined to Sion by filling up the intermediate valley; thus forming a direct communica
lieth the City of the great King"-supposing this rightly translated, it can refer only to that Northern part on which the Temple was built on Mount Moriah, which from its junction with Sion was considered as one and the same with it. (See Psalm lxxviii. 68, 69.) This seems confirmed not only by what has already been advanced upon the local position of the several mountains of Jerusalem, but by the authority of Ezekiel (xl. 2.) who speaks of Sion as on the SOUTHERN side of the City. The passage in question may, however, be thus rendered, "Mount Zion (that City of the Great King) on its northern sides is beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole "earth."
(1) Moriah derived its name, according to some authors, from Marar, signifying, "was sour, or from Mox, signifying MYRRH, because it is said originally to have abounded in that gum, as well as in cinnamon and aloes; or because it was to be the only place for offering incense. Others derive it from JARA, which signifies FEAR; because Abraham here went to sacrifice his son IN FEAR and REVERENCE TO GOD; and as it was the spot in which God was pleased to be worshipped IN FEAR.
(2) Moriah was so connected as to have become a part of Mount Sion, which verifies the words of the Psalmist" And chose the Tribe of Judah, even the Hill of Sion which he loved, and there he built his Temple on high, and laid the foundations of it like the ground which he "hath made con- ›› tinually." lxxviii. 68, 69, common version.
"In the midst of a rocky and barren country, the Walls of Jerusalem enclosed the two Mountains of Sion and Acra,within an oval figure of about three English miles. Towards the South, the upper town and fortress of David were erected on the lofty ascent of Mount Sion: on the North side the buildings of the lower town covered with the spacious summit of Mount Acra, and a part of the hill distinguished by the name of Moriah, and, levelled by human industry, was crowned with the stately Temple of the Jewish Nation." Gibbon's D. and F. of the Roman Empire, vol. iv. 33. Maundrel speaking of the site of the Temple, says, " A fitter space for an "august building could not be found in the world than this area. It
tion between the city and the Temple. A fourth hill on the North of Moriah was in process of time enclosed, and there the Jews, abounding in numbers, erected dwellings, and various other buildings; calling it BEZETHA, or the New Town. These on the outside. were surrounded by deep valleys, which together with the precipices, rendered the place inaccessible to an enemy. To give an idea of its strength, the words of : Tacitus may here be quoted, who says, that " its natural strength was increased by redoubts and bulwarks, "which even on the level ground would have made it secure from any inroad: two hills, which rose to a prodigious height, were enclosed by walls constructed "with skill, in some places projecting forwards, in "others retiring inwardly, with the angles so formed,
that the besiegers were always liable to be annoyed in flank. The extremities of the rock were sharp, abrupt, and craggy. In convenient places near the 'summit, towers were raised sixty feet high, and "others on the declivity of the sides rose no less than "one hundred and twenty feet. These works presented
a spectacle altogether astonishing: to the distant eye they seemed of equal elevation.
"lies upon the top of Mount Moriah over against Mount Olivet; the valley "of Jehoshaphat lying between both mountains. It was, as far as I can compute by walking round it without, 570 of my paces in length and 370 "in breadth: and one may still discern marks of the great labour it cost to "cut away the hard rock, and to level such a spacious area upon so strong "a mountain." Travels to Jerusalem, Apr. 8, 1697. The buildings of the Temple occupied a space of 500 cubits square. Vide Ezek. xlii, 16-20.
(1) This valley, which divided the upper from the lower city, is called by Josephus, Tyropæon, and was thus filled up by reducing the elevation of Acra. Vide Bell. Jud. 5. iv. 1.
(2) Sed Urbem arduam situ opera molesque firmaverant, quis vel plana satis munierentur.