Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

LESSON XVIII

JUDÆA, A LAND OF HILLTOPS JUDÆA is a compact plateau about two thousand feet in altitude separated from the world outside by steep valleys and barren deserts. It is largely a stony moorland with here and there patches of rough scrub and thorn. Occasional fields of

[graphic][ocr errors][subsumed][merged small]

wheat and barley are seen. In the uplands great tracts are left idle in alternate years to improve the soil as in Old Testaiment days, "For thus saith the Lord to the men of Judah and Jerusalem, Break your fallow ground and sow not among thorns” (Jer. 4. 3). After the winter rains when herbage appears, the shepherds drive their flocks of sheep and goats up from the valleys where they feed during the dry season. Many vineyards are found on the terraced hillsides and groves of figs and olives in the glens.

JERUSALEM

Except from the northern side, which is nearly level with the adjoining country, Jerusalem is seen by the approaching traveler as “a city that is set on a hill.” It is surrounded by four deep valleys. Beyond these rise “the mountains round about Jerusalem” like a series of ramparts a few hundred feet above the city. The Mount of Olives, which is longer than the city and runs parallel to the eastern wall, is the highest of these hills.

The wall of Jerusalem.— Jerusalem is surrounded by a wall, built in 1542, of materials from the ruins of earlier ones. The modern wall is pierced by seven openings, of which the largest and most imposing is the Damascus Gate, with its heavy towers with battlements on either side and the ruins of a room above the gate. There were rooms like this in the gates of the earlier walls, for we read that David, who was much moved over the tidings of the death of his son Absalom, “went up to the chamber over the gate.” The most-used gateway at the present time is the Jaffa Gate, which has the only fortress in Jerusalem, the “castle of David,” near by.

The Jaffa gate is the widest opening in the city wall, since in 1898 William II, then German Kaiser, had it enlarged to permit his pompous entry. Through this gateway crowds begin to pour into the city in the morning, and the noise and shouting continue with occasional lulls throughout the day. One sees the country people bringing in vegetables, fruits, charcoal for cooking, and other supplies needed by the housewives. Heavily laden camels sway majestically to and fro. The patient burden bearers, the donkeys, called by the British soldiers “Allenby's white mice," pick their way daintily here and there. Dark

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

skinned Bedouins gallop by on high-stepping Arabian horses and expect everyone to get out of their way. Porters pass carrying great loads on their backs. Native policemen in khaki with astrakan fur around their caps guard the peace. British soldiers and officers in “shorts” showing their sunburned legs, Mohammedans in green turbans, Americans in white, and English travelers jostle one another.

Here too are Armenian bankers, Greek merchants, peddlers of all sorts, Russian pilgrims, German doctors, Jewishrabbis, and Mohammedan sheiks. Protestant missionaries, eastern priests in tall “stove-pipe” hats without brims,andpriests, monks, and nuns from the various

THE JAFFA GATE, JERUSALEM religious organizations which own rich properties in and around Jerusalem pass in and out all day long. It was through the Jaffa gate close beside this wider opening that General Allenby, in 1917, passed modestly on foot leading the modern Crusaders in their triumphal entry into the Holy City.

[graphic]

Copyright by Underwood & Underwood.

Modern Jerusalem.—The psalmist says, “Jerusalem is builded as a city that is compact together.' The modern city with its population of about 75,000 covers less than one square mile. One third of the inhabitants live within the walls in an area of only 210 acres. The entire length of the city from the Damascus gate on the north to the Zion gate on the south is

only two thirds of a mile, and one can walk across Jerusalem from east to west in eight or ten minutes.

The houses are often located one on top of another, and some are built over streets. In some parts of the city six families have one-room houses opening on one court where the cooking is done in common, charcoal being the fuel used. The American, European, and Jewish colonies, as well as the missionary establishments are located northwest of the city. This suburb is larger in extent than the city within

the walls and has many neat redA JEWISH RABBI

and-white houses. Some holy places.-Jerusalem, the Holy City of the three monotheistic religions of the world, Jewish, Christian, and Mohammedan, has more riches per capita than any other city in the world. Nine tenths of its people live on charity, as the “faithful” all over the world send remittances to the many persons who take care of the sacred places. The German, Russian, French, Italian, and British religious communities own great modern properties outside the city.

The Mohammedans control the richest shrines within the walls. The most important of these is Haram esh Sherif, or "Noble Sanctuary," the most sacred place to them save the

[graphic]

now

Great Mosque in the city of Mecca. The inclosure covers thirty-five acres and contains several holy structures surrounding the holiest of them all, the Mosque of Omar, the most beautiful building in all Jerusalem. It is in the shape of an octagon, and each of its sides measures sixty-seven feet. The lines are so simple and the ornamentation so elaborate, yet so tasteful, that it is one of the most perfect of all religious buildings.

A place of ancient sacrifice. According to Jewish tradition it

was where the Mohammedan shrine

stands that Abraham and Melchizedek, king of Salem, sacrificed together unto "the most high God” (Gen. 14) and Abraham prepared to offer up his son Isaac (Gen. 22). The Ark of the Covenant (1 Kings 8. 9, 10) rested on this THE MOSQUE OF OMAR, JERUSALEM central point of the world and is supposed to be buried beneath it. Probably the altar of Solomon's great temple stood here, for traces of a channel for carrying off the blood of the sacrifices may still be seen (2 Chron. 4. I; 7. 7). The fortunate European or American traveler who has been permitted within the sacred inclosure comes out quietly into the daylight and climbs the eastern wall of the Haram. From its top one has an excellent view of the city and surrounding country. Under the rule of the Turk the Jews were excluded from the place where their ancient temple stood. Even if they are given permission in the future to enter the Mosque of Omar they will not dare to go, for fear of treading upon the Holy of holies of the ancient

[graphic]
« AnteriorContinuar »