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the common name, Arabah. It is a broad sandy desert, the surface of which is covered with innumerable sand-heaps and little hills. Here and there you meet with green oases, shrubs, and palms, and even with the ruins of ancient towns. The water-shed of the Arabah is twenty-five miles from the Elanitic gulf. Further to the north the waters flow through the Wady el-Jib into the Dead Sea. The low level of the Dead Sea (Vol. i., § 39. 6) is a sufficient proof that the northern part of the Arabah is below the level of the ocean.

§ 13. On the east of the Arabah rise the steep and rugged mountains of Idumcea (or Mount Seir, now es Sherah or Jebal), which are almost of the same length as the Arabah itself, stretching from the Dead Sea to the Gulf of Akabah, with an average breadth of fifteen or twenty miles. The loftiest peaks are hardly 3000 feet high. They are steep and rugged cliffs of porphyry, which protrude themselves from the chalk formation, and are a ain sur ounded by immense masses of sandstone. Among the shattered fragments of rock, there are valleys covered with trees, shrubs, and flowery meads. The higher ground is sometimes sown with corn, The vines in these valleys are as large, and the grapes as sweet, as in any part of Palestine itself. In some places there are woods, or what pass for woods in these countries, and spice-bearing plants, growing out of clefts in the rock, which furnish a plentiful supply for the sustenance of wild goats and gazelles. But while there are isolated examples of great fertility, the general aspect of the mountains is wild and bare, and the western mountains especially are described as altogether barren and unfruitful (Vol. i., $ 73. 1).

On the eastern side, the mountains of Idumæa slope off just as smoothly and gradually, as they rise abruptly on the western. Following the range on which Idumæa is situated, we arrive at the mountainous country of the Moabites, the modern Kerek, which lies to the north of Idumea, on the east of the Dead Sea. The southern boundary, by which this district is separated from the mountains of Idumea, is the Wady el-Ahsy (el-Kurahy), which opens at the southern end of the Dead Sea. On the north it is bounded by the deep rocky valley, through which the brook Arnon flows, which enters the Dead Sea near the centre of the eastern side. The Arnon divides the Kerek from the highlands of el-Belkah on the east of the Jordan (Vol. i. $ 42, 3). In the nature of its soil the Kerek forms a link between the highlands of Palestine beyond the Arnon, which consist for the most part of table-land, and the mountains of es-Sherah, the aspect of which is most rugged and grotesque. But the conformation and geological character of the Kerek are far from being sufficiently known, to enable us to describe its details with accuracy, or to employ all the Old Testament data with any degree of certainty.

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FIRST STEP

TOWARDS THE

DEVELOPMENT OF THE NATION.

ISRAEL'S SOJOURN IN EGYPT;

OR

THE PREPARATION OF THE PEOPLE OF THE COVENANT,

A PERIOD OF 430 YEARS.

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