186. Camping Grounds

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Hazerim is not the name of a place, as it appears to be in the text. The same word occurs in Genesis 25:1616These are the sons of Ishmael, and these are their names, by their towns, and by their castles; twelve princes according to their nations. (Genesis 25:16), where it is translated “towns” and in Psalm 10:88He sitteth in the lurking places of the villages: in the secret places doth he murder the innocent: his eyes are privily set against the poor. (Psalm 10:8) and Isaiah 42:1111Let the wilderness and the cities thereof lift up their voice, the villages that Kedar doth inhabit: let the inhabitants of the rock sing, let them shout from the top of the mountains. (Isaiah 42:11), where it is translated “villages.” In the text it is untranslated. The hazerim are supposed to have been the camping-grounds of wandering tribes, with a stone wall around them for protection. Mr. Palmer, in endeavoring to trace the route of the Israelites across the desert, found remains of some camping-grounds, evidently of ancient origin. The Maghrabim, or African Arabs, have their encampments on this principle at the present day. “When a camping-ground has been selected, cattle, as the most precious possession of the tribe, are collected together in one place, and the huts or tents are pitched in a circle round then; the whole is then fenced in with a low wall of stones, in which are inserted thick bundles of thorny acacia, the tangled branches and long needle-like spikes forming a perfectly impenetrable hedge around the encampment. These are called Dowars, and there can be but little doubt that they are the same with the Hazeroth, or ‘field inclosures,’ used by the pastoral tribes mentioned in the Bible” (Desert of the Exodus, p. 321).