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course of about sixty miles through a hollow valley called El-Ghor, it empties itself into the lake Asphaltites, or Dead Sea. Its whole course is about one-hundred and thirty miles. Its breadth and depth varies, averaging in the former respect about thirty yards, and in the latter, three. It is called by the Arabs Sheriat-el-Kebir.
On the left bank of the river is a landing-place, now covered with a low copse. It was here probably that the ark of the covenant rested, as the children of Israel passed over into the land of Canaan. Some pilgrims of our party cut down willow boughs wherewith to make staves. Others filled bottles, which they had brought with them, with the waters of Jordan others again loaded their wallets with
pebbles from its bed.
From the river we returned to our quarters at Jericho. It being too late to return to Jerusalem, we were forced to spend another night on the tower's top. Not having foreseen this detention, we found ourselves short of provisions, and it was not possible to repair the want of foresight in the miserable village that surrounded us. The inhabitants, were rather shepherds than cultivators; conse
quently all we could obtain from them was some coarse black bread and a little sour milk.
We had been disturbed the previous night by the yelling of jackalls, proceeding from the ravine, which lies to the south of Jericho. Accordingly this afternoon, towards dusk, we went out with our guns to give them chase. The first person who fired missed his game, but at the same moment five or six other animals, resembling jackalls, alarmed at the report of the gun, rose up in different places, and crossed the plain in the direction of the Jordan.
Frequent mention is made of Jericho in Holy Writ. It was the first city taken from the Canaanites by Joshua, who rased it to the ground and denounced a severe curse upon the person who should rebuild it. This curse was literally fulfilled in the days of Ahab upon Hiel, the Bethelite, by whom the city was rebuilt, (1 Kings xvi. 34.) In the distribution of the land into tribes, it fell by lot to that of Benjamin, and was one of the cities appropriated to the Priests and Levites, twelve thousand of whom lived within its walls. It was also distinguished for the schools of the prophets that were established there. In the time of our Saviour, Je
richo yielded only to Jerusalem for its size and the magnificence of its buildings. Mark Anthony, in the extravagance of his love for the beautiful Queen of Egypt, presented to her the whole territory of Jericho. Vespasian, in the course of the sanguinary war which he prosecuted in Judæa, raged its walls and put its inhabitants to the sword. Rebuilt by Hadrian in the 138th year of our faith, it was doomed at no distant era to experience new disasters. It was again repaired by the Christians, who made it the see of a Bishop; but in the 12th century it was finally overthrown by the Infidels, and has not since emerged from its ruins. In the whole course of my travels, I do not recollect ever to have seen human beings more miserably lodged, or bearing on their persons greater evidences of abject misery, than what I observed in the wretched occupants of the site of Jericho.
The country round Jericho was formerly the most fertile part of Palestine, abounding in "rose trees," and palm trees, (whence in Deut. xxxiv. it is called the "city of palm trees,") and yielding also great quantities of the opobalsamum or balm of Gilead, so highly esteemed in the East to the present day-all
have alike disappeared from the soil, and the traveller who should inquire after the healing plant which constituted its notoriety, and the flower (familiarly called the rose of Jericho) whose precise nature has puzzled so many able commentators, would in both cases meet with disappointment, for they are equally unknown to the inhabitants of the place.
Aug. 18.-We had wished to return to Jerusalem by the wilderness of En-gedi, the chosen refuge of the oppressed of every age, and where to this day exists the celebrated convent of St. Saba, but we did not fancy ourselves in sufficient force to venture into these desolate regions. Nothing, it is said, can be more dreary, than the situation of this religious retreat, erected in a ravine sunk to the depth of several hundred feet, where the brook Kedron has formed a channel, though dry the greater part of the year. We, therefore, returned by the way we came, and reached our quarters in the Latin convent, in something more than six hours. The difference of time employed by us, in our return to Jerusalem, was owing to the difficulty of the road, being one constant ascent* from the
"Down from Jerusalem." (St. Luke x. 30.)
plain of Jericho to the city, from which it is distant about nineteen miles..
The view of Jerusalem, as the traveller turns round Bethany, coming from the south, is extremely beautiful, and highly interesting from the associations connected with it. It was here that our Saviour was met by the people, who came forth from the city with branches of palm, crying “ Hosannah, blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord."-A death-like silence reigned around the city as we crossed the eastern ravine, only interrupted at intervals by the discharge of musketry as our guides approached the gates. On entering the walls the same stillness prevailed, for it was noon, and every inhabitant was taking his repose. The very trampling of our horses' feet echoed as we passed along the streets.