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Topography of Jerusalem-Gate of Damascus-Suburb of Bezetha-Cave of Jeremiah-Prophecies concerning the City-Tombs of the Kings-Tombs of the Judges-Prophecies concerning the Jews-Valley of Kedron-Pool of Bethesda-Pretorium of Pilate - The Dolorous WayVisit to the Mutzellim-Mosque of Omar-Site of Solomon's Temple.
Jerusalem, Aug. 19.-Proceeding out of the town. by the Bab-es-Sham, or gate of Damascus, anciently that of Ephraim, we came out into what was formerly called Bezetha or Cœnopolis, a suburb to the north of the present city walls, but anciently comprised within them. It was inhabited, in those days, by the lower order of people, consequently no vestiges of habitations now remain.
A little to the right of the road, is an ancient quarry, the entrance to which, now walled up, faces
the south. This is shown as the cave, or grotto, to which the prophet Jeremiah retired, to pour forth his Lamentations. It is in possession of the Turks, and the guardianship of it is confided to a dervish, who lives in a small hut contiguous to it. Christians are not admitted. Opening the sacred volume at this spot, the surest, and at the same time the most instructive guide in these parts, and referring to those sublime inspirations of the prophet, I began reading, "How doth the city sit solitary that was full of people? how is she become as a widow, she that was great among nations, and princess amongst the provinces, how is she become tributary ?" "Her gates are desolate." "All her beauty is departed." "Her filthiness is at her skirts." Unconscious of what I was doing, I looked around me, to see him whose voice I thought I heard-not a human creature was within sight. A thrilling trembling seized me, at the consciousness that an Omnipotent though Invisible Being stood by, whose prescient powers had enabled one, who was despised of all, to picture thus faithfully, and to the very letter, the future state of a city, that at the moment the prophecy was deli
vered, was in possession of all the elements of worldly prosperity!
Returning to the Damascus road, at about half a mile from the gate of this name, we came to some ancient sepulchres, which our guide called the "Tombs of the Kings." The descent to them is by a passage leading down to a large open court, cut several feet into the rock, and having the appearance of a quarry or sand pit. On the west side it is hewn smooth into the form of a portico, the entablature and cornices of which are of exquisite workmanship, being ornamented with flowers, fruits, etc. On the left hand, or south side of this portico, which only serves for ornament, is a low narrow door, leading into an ante-chamber, ten or twelve feet square and six high. From this, passages lead out to five or six interior sepulchral chambers, in which are hewn recesses in the walls and in the floor, of different sizes and shapes, for the reception of the dead. Each of these apartments seem to have been secured with massive pannelled doors of stone, neatly cut and polished. Fragments of the doors, and broken sarcophagi lying about the floor, be
speak the ravages of those who defiled the asylum of the dead, in search of supposed treasure.*
Leaving these tombs, and advancing a little to the north, we came to some other sepulchral chambers, but much inferior in aspect and in execution to those we had just seen. These our guide called the "Tombs of the Judges."
From an elevated spot in this neighbourhood, we enjoyed a fiue prospect down a cultivated valley, opening towards Samaria. As this is one of the few places in the vicinity of Jerusalem, where trees are to be met with-and these are of the greyish kind, such as the olive and almond-it is much resorted to by the inhabitants on their respective sabbaths and feast days. But the recreation of the children of Israel on these occasions, is not marked by any of
Josephus speaks of the sepulchral caverns of the Kings as lying in this direction, but it is not known what Kings are intended by the historian, as the Monarchs of Judah were buried on Mount Zion"in the city of David their father." Some suppose they may have been constructed by Agrippa, who extended and beautified this quarter of the city, and built the wall. But the most current opinion is, that they were the work of Helena, Queen of Adiabene and her son Izatus.
those innocent amusements which accompany similar observances in Europe, such as music, dancing, singing, and the like. "The mirth of tabreths ceaseth, the noise of them that rejoice endeth, the joy of the harp ceaseth." In the common gratifications of eating and drinking, even the indulgence of wine is not allowed them. "They shall not drink wine with a song." Though the soil is peculiarly favourable to the growth of the vine, it is little cultivated, and what little wine is produced is consumed exclusively by the convents, which it is the interest of the Turks to support, but 66 not so the inhabitants of Jerusalem and the children of Israel." It was predicted that they, the rightful masters of Judæa, should live as slaves in their own country, and that they should eat their bread with carefulness, and drink their water with astonishment," "because of the violence of all them that dwell therein.”
From hence, crossing the fields in a S. E. direction, we came to the head of the valley of Kedron, where are a few vineyards and olive plantations. Passing between Mount Olivet and the hills on which Jerusalem is built, it forms the eastern boundary of the city. Its course is nearly south, deep