People and Land of Israel

Table of Contents

1. People and Land of Israel: Jews After the Destruction of Jerusalem by Titus
2. People and Land of Israel: Jerusalem
3. People and Land of Israel: Recent Travels in the Holy Land and Neighboring Countries
4. People and Land of Israel: Recent Travels in the Holy Land and Neighboring Countries
5. People and Land of Israel: Travels in Sinai and Palestine
6. People and Land of Israel: Morality of the Jews
7. People and Land of Israel: Place of Wailing Jerusalem
8. People and Land of Israel: Deuteronomy 32:8

People and Land of Israel: Jews After the Destruction of Jerusalem by Titus

It must be evident to the believer that the Jew is of the last importance in God's history of the world. “When the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when He separated the sons of Adam, He set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel.” The dispersion of the postdiluvians was not a casual chance-medley circumstance, but so ordered of God as to admit Israel as their earthly center. This has been verified in their past history, though suspended at present; but prophecy discloses that every jot and tittle of the divine scheme is to be fulfilled in the grand scenes of the last days.
The philosophic infidel does not of course see—probably may deride—the purpose of God as to His earthly people. Nevertheless, the Jew has haunted many all unbelieving mind, has broken in like a specter upon his dreamy materialism. The too celebrated Hegel often and long thought upon Hebrew history, often changed his thoughts: his life long,” says his biographer, “it tormented him as a dark enigma.” If Christ crucified proved to the Jews a stumbing-block, the Jews are to the Gentiles an abiding sign which the wisdom of this world vainly essays to fathom and expound.
Of the history of this people, terrible from their beginning hitherto, Dr. Edersheim has given us some instructive chapters, the first fruits of his studies in a department full of interest. After an introductory sketch of the Hebrew commonwealth, we are presented with a graphic yet touching picture, the “closing scenes of the Jewish war of independence.” Let the reader judge:-
“The stars twinkled just as they had done in happier days over the burning walls of Masada. Beneath rolled the Dead Sea—the monument of foreign wrath and war; in the distance, as far as the eye could reach, the desolate landscape bore the marks of the oppressor. Before them was the camp of the Roman, who watched with anxiety for his prey and the morrow. All was silent in Masada. Defense now seemed impossible, and certain death stared the devoted garrison in the face. Despair settled on the stoutest, heart, deepened by the presence and the well-known fate of the women and children. Naught was heard but the crackling of burning timbers, and the ill-suppressed moans of the wives and children of the garrison. Then for the last time Eleazar summoned his warriors. In language such as fierce despair alone could have inspired on his, or brooked on their part, he reminded them of their solemn oath—to gain freedom or die. One of these alternatives alone remained for them—to die. The men of war around him had not quailed before any enemy, yet they shrank from. the proposal of their leader. A low murmur betokened their disapprobation. Then flashed Eleazar's eye. Pointing over the burning rampart to the enemy, and in the distance towards Jerusalem, he related with fearful truthfulness, the fate which awaited them on the morrow—to be slain by the enemy, or to be reserved for the arena; to have their wives devoted in their sight to shame, and their children to torture and slavery. Were they to choose this alternative, or a glorious death, and with it liberty—a death in obedience to their oath, in devotedness to their God and to their country? The appeal had its effect. It was not sudden madness, nor a momentary frenzy, which seized these men when they brought forth, to immolate them on the altar of their liberty, their wives, their children, their chattels, and ranged themselves each by the side of all that had been dear to him in the world. The last glimmer of hope had died out, and with the determination of despair, the last defenders of Judea prepared to perish in the flames which enveloped its last fortress. First, each heaped together his household gear, associated with the pleasures of other days, and set fire to it. Again they pressed to their hearts their wives and children. Bitter were the tears wrung from these iron men; yet the sacrifice was made unshrinkingly, and each plunged his sword into the hearts of his wife and children. Now they laid themselves down beside them, and locked them in tender embrace—now the embrace of death. Cheerfully they presented their breasts to ten of their number, chosen by lot to put the rest of their brethren to death. Of these ten, one had again been fixed upon to slay the remaining nine. Having finished his bloody work, he looked around to see whether any of the band yet required his service. But all was silent. The last survivor then approached as closely as possible to his own family and fell upon his sword. Nine hundred bodies covered the ground.
“Morning dawned upon Masada, and the Romans eagerly approached its walls—but within was the silence of death. A feint was apprehended, and the soldiers advanced cautiously, raising a shout, as if the defenders on the wall implored the help of their brethren. Then two women, who, with five children, had concealed themselves in vaults during the murderous scene of the preceding evening, came forth from their retreat to tell the Romans the sad story. So fearfully strange did it sound, that their statement was scarcely credited. Slowly the Romans advanced; then rushing through the flames, they penetrated into the court of the palace. There lay the lifeless bodies of the garrison and their families. It was not a day of triumph even to the enemy, but one of awe and admiration. They buried the dead and withdrew, leaving a garrison. ‘O Jerusalem, Jerusalem that killest the prophets,' &c. ‘Therefore, behold, your house is left unto you desolate.'
“Thus terminated the war of Jewish nationality. Various causes conspired to make this contest one of the most obstinate ever witnessed. The Roman legions were led by the ablest generals of the empire, and instigated by the recollection of the shameful defeat which they had sustained at the commencement of the war, and by the obstinate resistance now made by a small and unwarlike race whom they had long affected to despise. Nor was the issue of the struggle unimportant to the Roman state. Defeat under any circumstances would have been the first step in the decadence of an empire whose provinces bore so disproportionate a relation to the dominant country. Besides, Roman rule had never been firmly established eastward of Judea, and on that account the latter country presented an important military position. Finally, the triumph of the Jews would have been fatal to the prestige of Rome in the East, and probably become the signal for a general rising in the neighboring provinces. On the other hand, the Jews fought for national existence, for political and religious liberty, for their lives, for their hearths and homes. Flushed at first by victory, relying on the zeal and enthusiasm of the whole nation, and defending themselves in their own country, and among its fastnesses against the foreign invaders, the Jews fought with the despair of men who knew what awaited them in case of defeat. Besides, they relied on promised succors from their brethren in the East, or at least on a diversion in their favor.
Nor was this contest merely one for national independence; it was essentially also a religious war. Jerusalem was not only a political but also a religious capital. In fighting for their country, the Jews fought also for their religion, which, indeed, was almost inseparable from the soil of Palestine, and hence, as they thought, for the name and cause of their God. Were it requisite, proofs could be readily adduced of this. Even after they had been defeated, it was stated by the theological expositors of popular sentiment, that since the day of the destruction of the temple, God had mourned for the fate of his people, and that joy had become a stranger in the celestial mansions. Hence they constantly reckoned all along on the Divine assistance. The Maccabees had in former times, with a mere handful of men, defied the Syrian hosts, and why should not similar success be vouchsafed to them under more advantageous circumstances? And even if it turned out otherwise, surely it could only happen in judgment, and for a season, that their God had left His covenant people, His special favorites, for whose sakes even heaven and earth had been created, and who alone fulfilled the end of their being by glorifying their Maker. Whatever, then, might be their divinely appointed fate, to conquer or to die, the Zealots were ready to meet it in such a cause. These views were indeed intimately connected with the whole of the carnal tendency in their religion to which we have already, and shall by and by more fully advert. To belong outwardly to the chosen race constituted a person a member of the kingdom of God. The place and rites of the temple were identical with acceptable worship; outward observances, and a mere logical development, became substitutes for spiritual apprehension of the truth, for love and devotedness. Thus as the form was being more and more cultivated to the neglect of the spirit, it appeared also more and more precious, and its final destruction, by an overthrow of the Jewish commonwealth, seemed almost impossible. Nor were the expectations entertained about that time of the sudden appearance of a Messiah, who, long hid, would suddenly come forth to deliver his people from the enemies which threatened them, without their effect on the minds of the people. Though the life and death of the blessed Savior had too lately taken place for the leaders of the people lightly to risk the safety of the Synagogue, by bringing Messianic views prominently forward, as they did in an after period in the war under Bar-Cochba, in order to inflame the zeal of their followers, such considerations must no doubt have had some influence. At times these hopes seemed about to be realized. More than once did the balance tremble in favor of the Jews—the Roman generals were in imminent danger—the Roman engines destroyed—the Jews successful—the legions panic-struck or dispirited. Yet the scepter passed finally and irrevocably from Judah, by the same hand which had at first placed it there. Calculating merely the first probabilities of the case, we would say that the war was begun at a most favorable time; and that notwithstanding the various mistakes and disadvantages of the Jews, had there not been treason in the Jewish camp, or had there not been factions and bloody revenge amongst themselves, or had their eastern allies made a diversion in their favor, they would have obtained the object of their desires, or at least have had a greater measure of success in their defense. But true it is that ‘the history of the world is the judgment of the world.'
“About the same time that the Jewish war terminated, Rome attained the climax of her grandeur. Hostile movements had taken place in other provinces, but these had now been suppressed, and Vespasian opened once again the temple of peace. But this prosperity was of short duration. We do not mean to connect the destruction of Jerusalem and the decline of Rome's Empire as cause and effect; but it is certain that the former immediately preceded the latter event. The insurrections in the northern parts of the empire were only quelled for a time, the fire still smoldered under the ashes—it speedily burst forth anew, and destroyed that mighty engine with which the Lord had, in fulfillment of prophecy, punished His people. So it has ever been: the rod of His vengeance, after having served its purpose, has always been speedily broken in pieces.” (pp. 42-47.
Neither our author nor our readers will have reason to regret so long an extract: it is a fair and favorable sample of the volume, and well illustrates both manner and subject-matter. Chapter iii. furnishes a good deal of curious information as regards the dispersed of Israel.
The three following chapters are occupied with the political and religious state of the Jews, and with the history of the synagogue before and subsequent to the destruction of Jerusalem. Next is given a stirring narrative of the last Jewish war under Bar-Cochab, with a sketch of the state of the synagogue afterward. Chapters 9, 10, and 11 have evidently involved no little labor and research, and convey much which cannot be found elsewhere in our language; they are devoted respectively to an account of the social condition, arts and sciences, theology and religious belief of Palestine. The historical thread is again resumed with a notice of the patriarchate under the last pagan Emperors, till its extinction and the final scattering of the Jews. All is wound up with an appendix on these heads: 1, Jewish Calendar, 2, the Wisdom of Ben Sira, 3, Alexandrian Jewish Poetry, 4, Geographical Nations of the Rabbins, and 5, Rabbinical Exegesis.
The following extract from chapter. 11. (Theological science and religious belief in Palestine) will show our readers some of the interesting details in which the latter part of Dr. E.'s volume abounds.
“From internal evidence, and from the accordance of the Septuagint translation of the Pentateuch with that of the Samaritans, it has been inferred that both were originally derived from an old Aramean Targum, to which allusions are made in Jewish writings. It has also been argued that the present LXX was of very gradual origin, while from the frequent variations, the existence of different editions, if not translations, has been inferred. Leaving out of view the mistakes, additions, or emendations by copyists, and its frequent interpolations, there is an internal relationship between the spirit which the LXX breathes, and that of the version of Onkeloz, and of the Targum of Jonathan. Many passages show clearly that the translation was made under Hagadic influences. The learned reader will notice, that the Greek of Josh. 13:22 becomes only intelligible by the Hagada, that Balaain had by magic flown into the air, but that Phineas had thrown him to the ground and killed him in the fall. The translation of 1 Sam. 20:30 is explained by the Hagada, that Jonathan's mother was one of those maidens of Shiloh (Judg. 21) and had of her own accord gone forth to offer herself to haul. The reading in 1 Sam. 28:19 depends upon the legend that apparitions of ghosts were generally in an inverted posture of body, while that of Samuel had come up in the ordinary or straight position. Numerous similar instances might be quoted. Again we find clear traces in the Halacha, as in the translation of Lev. 11:47. Similarly, the rendering of Lev. 19:6, 7, which has commonly been imputed to Alexandrian peculiarities, becomes plain by the Halacha which applies the passage to the intention of those who offered the sacrifice to eat it on the third day, and enjoins that, under these circumstances, the sacrifice may no more be offered. Similarly, the version of Lev. 23:11 is explained by a reference to the Halacha. However, the version of Leviticus is the best in the Pentateuch. It would be easy to multiply instances from other parts of the Bible. Considerable Hagadic additions also occur. Thus, we have in Prov. 6:8, praise of the diligence of the ant; in Josh. 24:30, a Hagadic story about the knives with which Joshua circumcised the Jews, in imitation of a similar Palestinian Hagada about Moses; numerous additions to the book of Esther; an addition to Hag. 2:9, &c. Sometimes verses were left out, or even whole passages transposed. It is well known that the pronunciation of Palestine proper, or Judea, favorably differed from that of Galilee; and this is also transferred to the LXX, which follows more closely the dialect of Palestine. Passing over grammatical and other blunders, contractions, amplifications, and attempts at circumlocution, we notice that sometimes verses are translated in one and left untranslated in another place, as the word “plains” (in one version) in Josh. 11:16, and again in 12:8; or the “children of Solomon's servants,” in Ezra 2:55, while in verse 58 we read the “children of Abdeselma,” &c. Sometimes prepositions are treated as if they formed part of the appellative, while evident traces of having been translated from the Arameau are found in Psa. 60:10, &c.” (pp. 452, 426.)
There are views, particularly in the opening chapter, from which we must dissent, but they are in no way such as affect the general bearing and value of the work: perhaps we are bound to add that they are the current coin of the religious world. As a history of the Jewish nation, and as far as it has gone, we cannot withhold our strong commendation. It is a clear, compact, spirited and withal conscientious production, well deserving a place on the shelf of the Christian student, and a large circulation among those who take pleasure in the stones of Zion and favor the dust thereof.

People and Land of Israel: Jerusalem

A Letter from Jerusalem of a recent date, in the Augsbury Gazette, says:
“In digging out the foundation of a house which is being built in tine city for the Austrian Catholic Clergy, the workmen discovered at a depth of about fifteen feet from the surface several subterranean rooms, the walls of which are of hewn stone, and the floor of mosaic. The most important part of the discovery is, however, a grotto cut out in the rock, and supported by five columns. There are certain indications which lead to the belief that this grotto had served as a church for the early Christians; but the grotto, it is supposed, was formed before the advent of Christianity. Several capitals of Corinthian columns and fragments of antique marbles have also been found. The Austrian, French, and Prussian consuls, accompanied by the architect Eddlicher, who is superintending the building have visited these subterranean galleries, and have had photographic drawings made. The Musselman authorities throw no obstacles in the way of those archeological researches.”
The Abbe J. H. Michon has just published a pamphlet entitled, “La Papaute it Jerusalem.” He thinks that, the influence of modern ideas having produced no effect on the administration of affairs at Rome, the progressive element of the nation has become a formidable enemy to the stationary element of the Pontifical Government; that the old machine may, it is true, go on, well or ill, so long as it is aided by foreign diplomacy or foreign occupation; but that, the moment these are withdrawn, the Papacy will be helplessly exposed to revolution, and that the danger is imminent. The solution of this question is not to be found, he thinks, in political, administrative, or civil reform, nor in the secularization of clerical power. It is to be found only in the abdication of temporal power. He is of opinion that, in such a case, the capital of the spiritual Papacy could not be Rome. This power would lose in dignity, and would still suffer from political complications. He believes that there is but one city in the world which presents conditions indispensable to its independence and grandeur, and where a new era would arise for the mission of a true apostle; and that city is Jerusalem!

People and Land of Israel: Recent Travels in the Holy Land and Neighboring Countries

It appears from the Jewish Chronicle that the project for a railway from Jaffa to Jerusalem has been abandoned for the present. It is not that any insuperable difficulties stood in its way, for the line has been surveyed by a civil engineer of celebrity, who pronounces decidedly in favor of its feasibility. But the financial results anticipated are not such as to encourage the enterprise, unless grants of land were made by the Ports, such as are usually given by government in imperfectly cultivated countries Aali Pacha did not see fit to hold out this inducement; but those interested in it are looking for greater vigor and decision from Redschid Pacha.
On the other hand, the Sultan, who had already presented to the Emperor Napoleon the Church of the Nativity at Jerusalem, has also given him the old palace of the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, which is annexed to St. Peter's prison.
Thus, with whatever slight delays and temporary checks, the prophetic student will descry the growing tendency and desire of the West to facilitate the political restoration of the Jews to their own land. Alas, an untimely birth! which will issue in the deepest sorrows, and in divine judgments upon all concerned. “For afore the harvest, when the bud is perfect, and the sour grape is ripening in the flower, he shall both cut of the sprigs with prunning hooks, and take away and cut down the branches.” Nor will it be merely the disappointment of Israelitish hopes; for their Gentile patrons will prove their scourge, and will turn again and rend them. “They shall be left together unto the fowls of the mountains, and to the beasts of the earth; and the fowls shall summer upon them, and all the beasts of the earth shall winter upon them.” But that very time shall see the Lord undertake the work, and gather in His people with a high hand. “For, lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth.” “And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people; all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people in the earth be gathered together against it.” Their worst tribulation immediately precedes their final deliverance, and the putting down of the Gentiles, who will afterward owe their best blessing, as far as means are concerned, to Israel. “And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them towards the former sea, and half of them towards the hinder sea, (i.e. east and west:) in summer and in winter shall it be (i.e. always, as depending on God, not upon the mere natural seasons.) And the LORD shall be King over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.”

People and Land of Israel: Recent Travels in the Holy Land and Neighboring Countries

1. Later Biblical Researches in Palestine and the adjacent Regions: a Journal of Travels in the year 1852. By Edward Robinson, Eli Smith, and others. Drawn up from the original Diaries, with Historical Illustrations, by Edward Robinson, D.D., LL.D., &c. With Naps and Plans. (London: John Murray, Albemarle Street. 185G.)
2. The Desert of Sinai: Notes of a Spring Journey from Cairo to Beersheba. By Horatius Bonar, D.D., Kelso. (London: James Nisbet & Co., Berners Street. 1857.)
In the preface, Dr. Robinson states that with this volume closes the record of his personal observations in the Holy Land. “To these my BIBLICAL RESEARCHES in the Holy Land, the fruit of thirty years of preparation, and of personal travels in 1838 and 1852, I can hope to add nothing more.” The present work is intended as a supplement to his former one, and prepared of course on the same principles. “The great object of all these travels and labors has been, as formerly announced, to collect materials for the preparation of a systematic work on the physical and historical geography of the Holy Land To this work, so much needed, should my life and health be spared, I hope speedily to address myself.” (p. 6)
The book before us consists of thirteen sections, with a few notes and indexes, the last of which, Passages of Scripture Illustrated, is meager and incomplete. Judged by that list, one might well wonder why the volume was entitled “Researches,” for Matthew and Revelation are the only books of the New Testament referred to, and these in the most cursory way. As to the Revelation, the solitary allusion is divided with Neh. 13:5: and Job 24:14, as well as with one of the two references to Matthew. Even as regards the Old Testament, the prospect looked extremely unpromising. We are glad to say, however, that this is the fault of him who drew up the third index; for the body of the work and the foot notes really discuss a considerable number of points interesting to the reader of scripture, as will appear presently.
The maps which are at the end, drawn up by Kiepert, of Berlin, principally from materials furnished by Dr. R., the late Dr. E. Smith, and other American travelers, appear to be extremely full and accurate.
From the cold, minute, business-like “Researches” of the American traveler, we turn to Dr. Bonar's Notes of his journey to the borders of Canaan. We were disappointed to find that it is spun out. It is to be followed by “Notes of a Journey through the Land of Promise.” The matter would not have been too much for one volume, particularly as we might have been spared, without loss, many allusions to things and places at home, and oft-recurring descriptions of the sky and the stars abroad, not to mention dubious scraps of erudition and caustic allusions to the peccadilloes of Keble's oriental descriptions. Notwithstanding, it is a relief to meet with a modern book of travels, written by a man who honestly believes in the Word of God. We may meet with almost wearisome illustration of the points of parallel between Old Testament allusions and the manners of the East to this day, most of them trite and some far-fetched indeed. Still there is no comparison between the general, moral, and godly tone of this latest contribution, and that which prevailed in the more ambitious works of Lepsius, Robinson, and others.

People and Land of Israel: Travels in Sinai and Palestine

Sinai and Palestine, in Connection with their History. By Arthur Penrhyn Stanley, M.A., Canon of Canterbury, with Maps and Plans. Third Edition. London: John Murray, Albemarle Street. 1856.
Our object in the present paper is to cite some passages in the most able and interesting of recent works on the Holy Land, and at the same time to afford evidence whether or not it ought to have the confidence of the Christian and the Christian household.
Mr. Stanley's preface is devoted to his view of the connection of sacred history with the geography of the promised land. He attempts to trace its influence on national character, on forms of expression, the explanation it offers of particular events, and the evidence afforded of historical truth, with its illustrative, poetical, or proverbial uses. Most of our readers will feel that it is an attempt to invest what at best is but Gibeonite labor, “hewing wood and drawing water,” with a grandeur to which it is in no way entitled. Still as such servitude had its place towards Israel and the sanctuary, the believer may reap good if he know how to turn to account these efforts, earthly as they are.
The introduction treats of Egypt in relation to Israel Part I., on the peninsula of Sinai, is a fair sample of Mr. S.'s graphic and comprehensive pen. This peninsula is, in certain respects, one of the most remarkable districts on the face of the earth.” It combines the three grand features of earthly scenery—the sea, the desert, and the mountains. It occupies also a position central to three countries, distinguished not merely for their history, but for their geography, amongst all other nations of the world, Egypt, Arabia, Palestine. And lastly, it has been the scene of a history as unique as its situation; by which the fate of the three nations which surround it, and through them the fate of the whole world, has been determined. It was a just remark of Chevalier Bunsen, that 'Egypt has, properly speaking, no history. History was born on that night when Moses led forth his people from Goshen.' Most fully is this felt as the traveler emerges from the valley of the Nile, the study of the Egyptian monuments, and finds himself on the broad tract of the desert. In these monuments, magnificent and instructive as they are, he sees great kings and mighty deeds—the father, the son, and the children—the sacrifices, the conquests, the coronations. But there is no before and after, no unrolling of a great drama, no beginning, middle, and end of a moral progress, or even of a mournful decline. In the desert, on the contrary, the moment the green fields of Egypt recede from our view, still more when we reach the Red sea, the farther we advance into the desert and the mountains, we feel that everything henceforward is continuous, that there is a sustained and protracted interest, increasing more and more, till it reaches its highest point in Palestine, in Jerusalem, on Calvary, and on Olivet. And in the desert of Sinai by the fact that there it stands alone. Over all the other great scenes of human history—Palestine itself, Egypt, and Italy—successive tides of great recollections have rolled, each, to a certain extent, obliterating the traces of the former. But in the peninsula of Sinai there is nothing to interfere with the effect of that single event. The Exodus is the one stream of history that has passed through this wonderful region—a stream which has for its background the whole magnificence of Egypt, and for its distant horizon the forms, as yet unborn, of Judaism, of Mahometanism, of Christianity.” (pp. 3, 4). This extract exemplifies our author, and not least his unhappy practice of blending things divine and human, heavenly and earthly, which may fascinate the natural mind, but is abhorrent to the spiritual man.
Take another specimen. “It is between those two gulfs, the Gulf of Suez and the Gulf of Abaka, that the peninsula of Sinai lies. From them it derives its contact with the sea and therefore with the world, which is one striking distinction between it and the rest of the vast desert of which it forms a part. From hardly any point of the Sinaitic range is the view of the sea wholly excluded; from the highest points both of its branches are visible; its waters blue with a depth of color more like that of some of the Swiss lakes than of our northern or midland seas, its tides imparting a life to the dead landscape, familiar to modern travelers from the shores of the Atlantic or German ocean, but strange and inexplicable to the inhabitants of the ancient world, whose only knowledge of the sea was the vast tideless lake which washed the coasts of Egypt, Palestine, Greece, and Italy. It must have always brought to the mind of those who stood on its shores that they were on the waters of a new and almost unknown world. Those tides come rolling in from the great Indian Ocean; and with Indian Ocean these two gulfs are the chief channels of communication from the northern world. The white shells which strew their shores, the forests of submarine vegetation, which gave the whole sea its Hebrew appellation of the Sea of weeds, the trees of coral, whose huge trunks may be seen even on the dry shore, with the red rocks and red sand, which especially in the gulf of Akaba bound its sides, all bring before us the mightier mass of the Red or Erythrean Ocean, the coral strands of the Indian Archipelago, of which these two gulfs, with their peculiar products, are the northern off-shoots. The peninsula itself has been the scene of but one cycle of human events. But it has, through its two watery boundaries, been encircled with two tides of history which must not be forgotten in the associations which give it a foremost place in the geography and history of the world; two tides never flowing together, one falling as the other rose, but imparting to each of the two barren valleys through which they flow a life and activity hardly less than that which has so long animated the valley of the Nile. The two great lines of Indian traffic have alternately passed up the eastern and the western gulf, and though unconnected with the greater events of the peninsula of Sinai, the commerce of Alexandria, and the communications of England with India, which now pass down the Gulf of Suez, are not without interest, as giving a lively impression of the ancient importance of the twin gulf of Abaka. That gulf, now wholly deserted, was in the times of the Jewish monarchy the great thoroughfare of the fleets of Solomon and Jehoshaphat, and the only point in the second period of their history which brought the Israelites into connection with the scenes of the earliest wanderings of their nation. Such are the western and eastern boundaries of this mountain tract; striking to the eye of the geographer, as the two parallels to that narrow Egyptian land from which the Israelites came forth: important to the historian, as the two links of Europe and Asia with the great ocean of the south, as the two points of contact between the Jewish people and the civilization of the ancient world. From the summit of Mount St. Catherine, or of Um-Shomer, a wandering Israelite might have seen the beginning and the end of his nation's greatness. On the one side lay the sea through which they had escaped from the bondage of slavery and idolatry—still a mere tribe of the shepherds of the desert. On the other side lay the sea, up which were afterward conveyed the treasures of the Indies, to adorn the palace and the temple of the capital of a mighty empire.”
Here the reader may observe the good and bad points of Mr. S. In all that is external, and that touches on human affairs, there is much which is valuable and masterly; but when he approaches the ways of God, as revealed in Scripture, there is a melancholy falling off. No Israelite has yet seen “the end of his nation's greatness,” nor can see it, we may add. Indeed, that nation's sun has never yet reached its meridian, and, once risen, shall never set. “Thy sun shall no more go down.” The reign of Solomon was but the partial and transient prefiguration of this destiny when a greater than Solomon, the true Son of David, whom. himself typified, “shall reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there shall be no end.”
Very unsatisfactory too is his mode of dealing with the passage of the Red Sea. The magnificence of the crisis, and its long train of associations are frankly admitted. But there is a careful insinuation of all that might reduce the fact to the level of the extraordinary but natural.
With very different feelings would we refer to chapter 2 pp. 112-117, which exemplifies Mr. S.'s happiest manner in linking together the external features with the history and calling of the people.
The rest of the chapter traces the peculiarities of Palestine as a land of ruins, its present condition as compared with the past, its climate and volcanic phenomena, its physical configuration, scenery, and geological features, as illustrations of scripture phrases.
Chapter III. is devoted to Judea and Jerusalem, as is chapter IV. to the heights and passes of Benjamin; chapter V. to Ephraim and Manasseh; chapter VI. to the maritime plain; chapter VII. to the Jordan and the Dead Sea; chapter VIII. to Perna and the transjordanic tribes; chapter IX. to the plain of Esdraelon; chapter X. to Galilee; chapter XI. to the Lake of Merom and the source of the Jordan; chapter XII. to Lebanon and Damascus; chapter XIII. to the gospel history and teaching, viewed in connection with the localities of Palestine; and chapter XIV. to the Holy places, with an appendix of Hebrew and topographical words, arranged under different heads. It is curious that the finest sketches of the Canon of Canterbury are the battle scenes of ancient and mediaeval times, with which his accounts of cities and rivers, hill and dale, are plentifully bestrewed. His most frequent and perilous fault is habitual exaggeration of secondary causes, the suppression or veiling of the divine actings in the scripture history of the chosen people. We have only to add that the illustrative maps, which convey the coloring and nature of the ground, rocks, &c., of the Desert and Palestine, are interesting and valuable. With our author's corrections of the Authorized Version (save of appellatives) we do not agree. Fuller knowledge, we are persuaded, would dispose of not a few which are apparently the offspring of foreign criticism, and this is a most suspicious source, except for verbal minutiæ.

People and Land of Israel: Morality of the Jews

The Jewish Chronicle of this month (May) affords melancholy evidence of the dissolving process going on among the Jews, as elsewhere. Far be the thought from us that the Christian Church is aught but a wreck! It is not, therefore to excuse our own sin and shame that we extract sentiments sanctioned by the highest Jewish authorities in this country—sentiments which the humblest person could eschew, who abides a Jew. “We will not dispute the desirability of maintaining the legislature Christian. To maintain it Christian means to maintain it Jewish. Christian morality is Jewish morality, and Jewish morality is Christian morality. The morality of Jesus is the reflex of that of Moses.” Nor is it limited to moral questions. The writer is showing why Jews do not seek, as he says, to make proselytes. “The Jews believe that the salvation of Gentile depends upon the practice of the morality taught in the law and the prophets, and that the observance of the ceremonial part, although binding upon Jews, has no reference whatever to those from without the pale of Judaism.” Alas! is not this shutting God out of the matter? Is faith in Jesus a mere “ceremonial” thing? Is it not fatal to refuse Him if He is the true Messiah and Son of God? Is it not idolatry of the worst dye to worship Him if He be not! What did Moses say should be the portion of a false prophet and his adherents? (Deut. 13) What did Moses say should become of those who hearken not to the words of the true Prophet, “like unto him” (Deut. 18) The claims, the testimony of Jesus cannot be said, by a “conscientious Jew,” to be innocuous if untrue. It is a poor morality which begins with ignoring the sin of blasphemy and imposture in the holy things of God. And if the confession of Jesus is not falsehood but the truth, where are the Jews, and what their morality? “Father, forgive them.” “Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.”

People and Land of Israel: Place of Wailing Jerusalem

But as the sun was going westward, and the sabbath day rapidly approaching, we hastened toward the place of wailing. I found my own way, up one street, down another, through narrow alley after alley, and at last emerged suddenly in a small paved court or place, seventy or a hundred feet long by twenty broad, the east side of which was the high wall of massive stones on the west side of the mosque enclosure, which is without doubt the same wall that stood here, enclosing the temple in the days of its great glory. In this place the Jews are accustomed to assemble, and with low murmurs of prayer, to bewail the desolation of the holy places. Moslem rule forbids their nearer approach to their once holy hill.
The impression made on my mind by the scene here witnessed will never be effaced. Men, women, and children of all ages, from young infants to patriarchs of fourscore and ten, crowded the pavement and pressed their throbbing foreheads against the beloved stones. There was no formality of grief here. We waited till the crowd had thinned away and only a dozen remained. These were men of stately mien and imposing countenances: their long beards flowed down on their breasts, and tears, not a few, ran down their cheeks and fell on the pavement. There was one man of noble features that we especially noticed; whose countenance for more than half-an-hour seemed unmoved by any sensation of earth, save only that of grief too deep for expression. I approached close to him, but he did not look up at me. He sat on the pavement, his back to a wall of a house or garden, and his face to the wall that once enclosed the shrine of his ancestors. I looked over his shoulder, and saw that he was reading the mournful words of Isaiah; nor did I then wonder that he wept for the mockery that now occupied the place of the solemn services of the daily sacrifice, and the senseless Moslem traditions, which in vain essayed to cloud the glorious history of the mountain of the Lord.
Evening came down, and with the sunset the sabbath commenced. Still some old men lingered, and still we lingered too, for the scene was not to be witnessed elsewhere on all the earth. The children of Abraham approaching as nearly as they dared to the holy of holies, and murmuring in low voices of hushed grief and sobs of anguish their prayers to the great God of Jacob, some kissed the rocky wall with fervent lips-some knelt and pressed their foreheads to it-and some prayed in silent speechless grief, while tears fell like rain-drops before them.
I was deeply moved, as one might well be in the presence of this sad assembly-the last representatives, near the site of their ancient temple, of those who once thronged its glorious courts and offered sacrifices to the God who had so long withdrawn His countenance from the race. A more abject race of men can hardly be conceived than are the downtrodden children of Israel in the city of their fathers, except when they assemble here where the majesty of their -grief demands respect from every human heart. - Tent Life in the Holy Land

People and Land of Israel: Deuteronomy 32:8

We are expressly told in Deut. 32:8, that when the Most High divided unto the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel. God made Israel the center of his earthly government. The profane history of nations, in fact, centers round it. Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome, all contend for it, are known in connection with it, or actually get their full imperial possession and character at the time they acquired possession of it (i do not say, by gaining possession of it, but at the epoch at which they did). Clouds of dark traditions, scarce pierced by modern researches, hang over all the rest, and obscure their history, while they reveal their existence
In the neighborhood of Israel all is light. Prejudiced, ignorant, barbarous as they might have been, they possess and shed the light of their history on all the nations around them. It is preserved almost with modern accuracy, when a few fragments scarce rescue from entire oblivion other ancient histories. We must disentomb the remains of the Thebes and the Ninevehs to get at the history of their ancient monarchs, to know their dynasties, and say even if there were two Assyrian empires or one, while, by God's providence, that which gives some historic data to the glories of Mizraim and Asshur, confirms in its detail that of which we have already the minutest particulars in Israel's authentic history. We find in pictures yet fresh on the lore-covered walls of the country of the Pharaohs, the very kinds of overseers over the Jews making their bricks, of which Moses speaks in the book of Exodus. Modern research alone has given the place and importance to these countries which the scriptures had already assigned them.
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