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“How pleasant to me thy deep blue wave,
O sea of Galilee !
Hath often stood by thee.
Where pine and heather grow,
What nature can bestow.
Comes down to drink thy tide,
Oft wandered by thy side.
Thou calm reposing sea;
Of Jesus walked o'er thee.
Chorasin, where art thou ?
The wild reeds shade thy brow.
Was the Saviour's city here?
With none to shed a tear ?
Yet the same Saviour still,
And every fragrant hill.”—M'CHEYNE.
Is it certain that Tell Hûm marks the site of Capernaum ?
Far from it; but of that we will converse in our tent, at leisure, after dinner.
I feel more than usual interest in this inquiry about Capernaum. We know where the angel appeared unto Mary —where our Lord was born—where he spent nearly thirty years of his life before he commenced his public ministrywhere he closed that ministry in death; and we know, also, from what place he ascended on high after his resurrection from the dead; and it seems as though I must find out the home where he resided most of the time, while he manifested to men on earth the glory of the only-begotten Son of God.
There is at this day no occasion to enter on those inquiries
which fix the site of Capernaum to some spot at the head of this lake, for of this there is now no doubt, and there are here but two places whose claims are earnestly discussed : Khan Minyeh, at 'Ain et Tîny, and this Tell Hûm. Dr. Robinson has very learnedly argued in favor of the former, and I am slow to dissent from the conclusions of such a man on a question of topography which he has so thoroughly studied. But the truth must be told; he has not convinced me. I believe the doctor fails in his main argument. He endeavors to prove that 'Ain et Tîny is the fountain of Capernaum. Now what do we know about this fountain ? Absolutely nothing but what is learned from Josephus. Will his account of it apply to 'Ain et Tîny? I think not; and if not, then the whole argument falls to the ground. In accounting for the
fertility of the plain of Gennesaret, the Jewish historian says, “It is watered by a most fertilizing fount
ain, called Capernaum.” The doctor, aware that 'Ain et Tîny could not water the plain, translates it most potable fountain, and supposes that Josephus was not thinking of irrigation, but of water to drink. The doctor, however, is alone in this rendering. No translator of Josephus, in any language, has thus made him speak of water to drink, when he is stating the reasons for the unparalleled fertility of a plain. He could not have meant potable, because 'Ain et Tîny is not good water, while the whole lake itself lies within a few rods of it, and is sweet and pleasant. I can never abide this water of 'Ain et Tîny, but always drink that of the lake. When, however, the fountain is full and strong, it can be used. Still, Josephus could not have meant this fountain; for, besides the lake, every where accessible, and actually used by all the dwellers on Gennesaret, there are four streams of good water which cut across the plain from the mountains to the lake, and half a dozen fountains in and around it, of far better water than this at Khan Minyeh. As, therefore, Josephus could not have meant to commend this for its potable qualities, so neither could he have mentioned it because of its fertilizing the plain by irrigation; for Dr. Robinson admits that it comes out on a level with the lake and close to it, so that it could not be made to irrigate an acre of the plain; and, moreover, if it could be elevated high enough, there is not sufficient water to make it worth while, especially in the season of the year when irrigation is needed. The conclusion is irresistible that 'Ain et Tiny is not the fountain of Capernaum, and Khan Minyeh, near it, does not mark the site of that city.
Again, the argument for 'Ain et Tâny drawn from the fable about the Nile and the fish Coracinus will be found equally untenable. We may admit that this fish was actually found in the fountain of Capernaum, and that this is a valid reason why the Round Fountain, near the south end of Gennesaret, could not be it, as Dr. Robinson observes, but this is no evidence that'Ain et Tîny is. Certain kinds of fish delight to come out of the lakes and rivers in cold weather to those fountains that are tepid and slightly brack
'AIN ET TINY-TELL HUM.
ish, and they do so at more than one such fountain along the shores of this very lake, but not to 'Ain et Tîny; it has none of the qualities which attract them; but these great springs of Tabiga, where we are encamped, are one of their favorite places of resort, and I believe that here, in fact, is the fountain of Capernaum. It entirely meets every specification of Josephus, as to situation, quality, quantity, and office. They are at the head of the lake, and sufficiently copious to irrigate the plain. The cisterns by which the water was collected, and elevated to the proper height to flow along the canal, are still here; the canal itself can be traced quite round the cliff to the plain, rendering it certain that the water was thus employed; and, lastly, it is just such a fountain as would attract to it the fish from the lake, and there is no rival fountain to contest its claims in
of these essential attributes; there is, therefore, not another identification of an ancient site in this land more entirely to my mind than this. The fountain of Capernaum is at Tabiga.
All this, however, does not prove that Capernaum itself was at this precise spot, and I think it was not, but at Tell Hûm. In the first place, I attach great weight to the name. Hûm is the last syllable of Kefr na hûm, as it was anciently spelled, and it is a very common mode of curtailing old names to retain only the final syllable. Thus we have Zib for Achzib, and Fîk for Aphcah, etc. In this instance, Kefr has been changed to Tell—why, it is difficult to comprehend, for there is no proper Tell at that site. Still, a deserted site is generally named Tell, but not Kefr (which is applied to a village); and, when Capernaum became a heap of rubbish, it would be quite natural for the Arabs to drop the Kefr, and call it simply Tell Hûm, and this I believe they did. The ruins there are abundantly adequate to answer all the demands of her history, while those few foundations near Khan Minyeh are not. No one would think of them if he had not a theory to maintain which required them to represent Capernaum. And, finally, in this connection, it seems to me that more importance should be attached to native tradition in this case than the doctor is willing to accord. So far as I can discover, after spending many weeks in this neighborhood off and on for a quarter of a century, the invariable tradition of the Arabs and the Jews fixes Capernaum at Tell Hûm, and I believe correctly.
It is very necessary to remark that Josephus does not locate either the fountain or the village of Capernaum within the plain of Gennesaret. It is Dr. Robinson that does this, by drawing his own inferences from certain passages in the Gospels. But it is an obvious remark that the Evangelists had no thought of giving topographical indications, while Josephus, on the contrary, was writing a labored scenic description, and we should expect to find more light on this question in the latter than in the former; and this is the fact. And, moreover, the passages in the Gospels referred to admit, not to say require, an explanation in entire accordance with the supposition that Tell Hûm marks the site of Capernaum. The notices which bear upon this question are contained in the various accounts of the feeding of the five thousand, given in Matthew xiv., Mark vi., John vi., and Luke ix. This miracle was regarded by all the Evangelists as one of great importance; and as they, in their different narratives, have mentioned Capernaum and Bethsaida in such connections and relations as to have occasioned no small perplexity to sacred geographers, and finally led to the invention of a second Bethsaida at the head of this lake, we may be excused for developing our own ideas on the subject with some particularity of detail. But as we shall pass the very site where, I believe, the miracle was wrought, during our ride to-morrow morning, we had better postpone the discussion until we see the scene and the scenery; it will, however, necessarily throw light upon the questions we have been canvassing to-night, and, as I believe, add materially to the evidence that Tell Hûm is the true site of Capernaum.
Admitting this, what do you make of the ruins at 'Ain et Tiny?
They may, perhaps, mark the site of old Chineroth. The