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three possible exceptions: the defile of Muktaia may be a corruption of Migdol; Ajerúd of Pi-hahiroth; Hŭderah of Hazeroth. But these are all doubtful, and of the others, even the most celebrated, Marah, Elim, and Rephidim, no trace remains. More remarkable still, perhaps, if we did not remember how very rarely mountains retain their nomenclature from age to age, is the disappearance of the names of Horeb and Sinai'. What was the original meaning or special appropriation of these two names it is difficult to determine'. Horeb is probably the “ Mountain of the Driedup Ground;" Sinai the “Mountain of the Thorn.” Either name applies, therefore, almost equally to the general aspect or to the general vegetation of the whole range. But both are now superseded by the fanciful appellations which attach to each separate peak, or by the common name of “Tûr,” in which all are merged alike.
The names now given to the mountains, as before observed, are chiefly derived either from the adjacent wâdys, or from their peculiar vegetation. Some few are called from some natural peculiarity, such as, Jebel Hammâm, so called from
Modern the warm springs at its foot; or Tåset Sûdr, from its names. cuplike shape. Some, however, both of the wâdys and the mountains, are called from legendary or historical events attached to them. Such are the Wady es-Sheykh',--the central valley of the Peninsula, which derives its name from the tomb of Sheykh Saleh; the Jebel el-Benât—the "Mountain of the Damsels,” so called from a story of two Bedouin
1 One of the most intelligent guides I ever saw in any mountain countrySheykh Zeddan, Sheykh of Serbál—who accompanied us to the top of that mountain, was wholly unacquainted with the names of Horeb and Sinai ; and this seemed to be the general rule. But it must be observed, that in Niebuhr's time the Arabs spoke of the whole cluster now called “Tür” as “Târ Sina” (Description de l'Arabie, p. 200) : and the little Arab guides of the convent (as will be noticed afterwards, see p. 42) gave to one particular peak the name of "Sena.”
? The special use of “Horeb” and “Sinai" in the Old Testament has often been discussed. It appears to me that this depends rather on a distinction of
usage than of place. 1. in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Judges, Sinai is always and exclusively used for the scene of the Giving of the Law; Horeb being only used twice--for the scene of the Burning Bush, and of the Striking of the Rock. (Ex. ii. 1, xvii. 6, are doubtful; Ex. xxxiii. 6, is ambiguous.) 2. In Deuteronomy, Horeb is substituted for Sinai, the former being always used, the latter never, for the Mountain of the Law. 3. In the Psalms, the two are used indifferently for the Mountain of the Law. 4. In 1 Kings xix. 8, it is impossible to determine to what part, if to any special part, Horebis applied. For a further discussion of the subject, see Lepsius' Letters, p. 317. Ewald, ii. 84.
3 See p. 56; Part II. p. 78.
sisters having, in a fit of disappointed love, twisted their hair together, and leaped from the two peaks of the mountainwhich, in all probability, originated the legend; the Jebel Katherin, or Mountain of St. Catherine, the scene of the miraculous translation of the body of that saint from Alex. andria. This nomenclature suggests the likelihood that the various names before mentioned in connection with the Mosaic history are comparatively modern. If the monks of the convent have been able so completely to stamp the name of St. Catherine on one of their peaks, there is no reason to doubt that they may have been equally able to stamp the name of Moses on the other. But, secondly, the moment that the Arab traditions of Moses
are examined in detail, they are too fantastic to be Variations
treated seriously. They may well be taken as repre
senting some indistinct or mysterious impressions left by that colossal figure as he passed before the vision of their ancestors. But it is not possible to apply them for verification of special events or localities. The passage of the Red Sea, as Niebuhr has well remarked, is fixed wherever the traveller puts the question to his Arab guides. The “Wells of Moses,” the “Baths of Pharaoh," the “Baths of Moses," all down the Gulf of Suez; and the “Island of Pharaoh," in the Gulf of 'Akaba, equally derive their names from traditions of the passage at each of these particular spots.
warm springs of Pharaoh " are his last breath as the waves passed over him; the "Wells of Moses," the “Baths of Moses," the great “ Clefts of Moses" on St. Catherine, and at Petra, are equally the results of Moses' rod.
Mountain of Moses" is so called, not so much from any tradition of the Giving of the Law, as because it is supposed to contain in the cavity of the granite rock the impression of his back, as he hid himself from the presence of God. His visit to Sinai is apparently separated
1 At the same time it is impossible not to remark the much greater slowness with which foreign traditions strike root here than would be the case in Europe. Since Burckhardt's time, the spring of Hawârah has been generally assumed to be Marah. Had this spring been in England, Italy, or Greece, the place would long
before this have received the name of Marah, which travellers and guides are anxious to impose upon it. But here, in spite of the endeavours made by every party that passes to extract a confession of the desired name, “Hawarah” it still is, and probably will remain.
from that of the Children of Israel, who, according to the Bedouin story, occupied the whole forty years in vainly endeavouring to cross the platform of the Tih.
2. If the Arab tradition fails in establishing particular locali. ties, so does also the Greek tradition as preserved in Greek trathe convent. How far in earlier times the monks were better guides than they are at present, it is difficult to determine. At present, and as far back as the modern race of travellers extends, there is probably no branch of the vast fraternity of ciceroni so unequal to their task as the twentyone monks of the most interesting convent in the world. Exiles from the islands in the Greek Archipelago ; rebels against monastic rules at home; lunatics sent for recovery ; none as a general rule remaining longer than two or three years; with an imperfect knowledge of Arabic, with no call upon their exertions, and no check upon their ignorance, they know less about the localities which surround them than the humblest of the Bedouin serfs who wait upon their bounty. It may be said, perhaps, that for this very reason, they may have the more faithfully handed down the traditions of the first inhabitants of the convent. Yet, when we remember how many of these sites have evidently been selected for the sake of convenience rather than of truth, it is not easy to trust a tradition that has descended through such channels even for fifteen hundred years, unless it can render good its claim to be the offspring of another, which requires for its genuineness another fifteen hundred still. In order to bring it into the round of the daily sights, the cleft of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, is transferred from Kadesh Barnea to the foot of Horeb. The peak of Jebel Mûsa, now pointed out by them as the scene of the Giving of the Law, fails to meet the most pressing requirements of the narrative. Rephidim has been always shown within an hour's walk instead of a day's march from the mountain. The monks in the last century confessed or rather boasted that they had themselves invented the footmark of Mahomet's mule, in order to secure the devotion of the Bedouins. The cypress, surmounted by a cross and cut into the shape of a serpent, in the court of the convent, in all probability was intended to commemorate the really remote
event of the erection of the Brazen Serpent'. Tûr, and even ’Akaba, were long shown as Elim'.
3. There are, however, some few traces of traditions extendEarly tra- ing beyond the age of Justinian or of Mahomet, ditions, which ought not to be disregarded. Josephus, here, as elsewhere, refers throughout to sources of information not contained in the Old Testament, yet free from the grotesqueness and absurdity of the Rabbinical interpretation. Eusebius
and Jerome also speak as if the nomenclature of the of Eusebius
Desert' was in some instances known to them, either
by tradition or conjecture. The selection of the sites of the two great convents of Feirân and St. Catherine, though it may have been dictated in part by the convenience of the neighbouring water and vegetation, yet must also have been in part influenced by a pre-existing belief in the sanctity of those spots. One point there is,-not, indeed, in the Peninsula itself, but in connection with the route of the Israelites-in which the local tradition so remarkably coincides with every indication furnished by historical notices, and by the nature of the country, as not only to vindicate credibility for itself, but to lend some authority to the traditions of the Desert generally -the “Mountain of Aaron," in all probability the “ Hor” of Aaron's grave.
The cycle of Mosaic names and specting
traditions, which seems most reasonably to point to Hor, a genuine Arab source, is that which relates to the Arab chief Jethro, or (as he is called from his other name
Hobab) Shu'eib. The most remarkable of these is and Jetbro.
the Wâdy Shu'eib; according to one version, the
1 This observation I owe to the accu. rate drawing of the convent by my friend Mr. Herbert Herries.
2 Wellsted (ii. 13) says that “the traditions of the country assert Tûr to be Elim, where Moses and his household encamped ;” and that “the Mohamedan pilgrims proceeding to or returning from Mecca, give implicit credence to the tradition," and " believe the waters to be efficacious in removing cutaneous and other tropiral disorders.” This shows the importance of an accurate distinction between the different classes of tradition. There is no doubt that the Mussulmans regard the wells as the Baths of Moses : but the
question is, whether they regard them as Elim, or whether, as is probable, that is not a name given by the Greek convent, to which the palm-grove of Tûr belongs.
3 At the same time the rash conjecture that Jerome makes about the second encampment by the Red Sea, Numb. xxxiii. 10) shows that he was quite unacquainted with the details of the geography. He speaks of it as a great difficulty, and solves it by in agining that there was a bay running inland, or that a pool of water with reeds (!) may possibly have been the Reedy Sca. (Ep. ad Fabiolam.)
4 See Part II. xvi.
Talley east of Jebel Mûsa, in which the convent stands; according to another, the ravine leading down into that valley from the Râs Sŭfsáfeh. Probably the Wâdy Lejà on the western side of the same range, and the Jebel Fureiâ above the plain Er-Rahah, point to the two daughters of Jethro , called in the Arabian legends Lija and Safuria (Zipporah). There is also the cave of Shu'eib' on the eastern shores of the Gulf of 'Akaba, a tradition the more remarkable as being by its situation removed from any connection with the Christian convents, and also being the very region which, in all probability, is the country described as Jethro's Midian in the Pentateuch.
IV. Bearing these earliest traditions in mind, whenever they can be traced, may still be possible, by the internal
Route of evidence of the country itself, to lay down not indeed the Isthe actual route of the Israelites in every stage, but,
raelites. in almost all cases, the main alternatives between which we must choose, and, in some cases, the very spots themselves. Hitherto no one traveller has traversed more than one, or at most two routes of the Desert; and thus the determination of these questions has been obscured, first, by the tendency of every one to make the Israelites follow his own track, and secondly, by his inability to institute a just comparison between the facilities or the difficulties which attend the routes which he has not seen. This obscurity will always exist till some competent traveller has explored the whole Peninsula. this has been fairly done, there is little doubt that some of the most important topographical questions now at issue will be set at rest. Meanwhile, with the materials before us, it may be useful to give a summary of the points in dispute as they at present stand.
1. Of all the events of the Israelite history, there is none which either from the magnificence of the crisis itself, or from its long train of associations, has sage of the greater interest than the passage of the Red Sea. In Red Sea. the history of the Old Dispensation it took, not merely by
1 See Weil's Biblical Legends, p. 107.
Itinerary of Mecca Pilgrims, in Wellsted's “ Arabia,” ii. 459.
3 In all that follows I have confined myself to the most concise statement con.
sistent with perspicuity. The map must be in many cases its own interpreter. I must also refer to the subsequent portion of this Chapter (Part II).