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merely of its identity with the scene, but of the scene itself having been described by an eye-witness. The awful and lengthened approach, as to some natural sanctuary, would have been the fittest preparation for the coming scene. The low line of alluvial mounds at the foot of the cliff exactly answers to the “bounds” which were to keep the people off from “ touching the Mount.” The plain itself is not broken and uneven and narrowly shut in, like almost all others in the range, but presents a long retiring sweep, against which the people could remove and stand afar off.” The cliff, rising like a huge altar in front of the whole congregation, and visible against the sky in lonely grandeur from end to end of the whole plain, is the very image of "the mount that might be touched," and from which the “voice” of God might be heard far and wide over the stillness of the plain below, widened at that point to its utmost extent by the confluence of all the contiguous valleys. Here, beyond all other parts of the Peninsula, is the adytum, withdrawn as if in the “ end of the world," from all the stir and confusion of earthly things'. And as in the Wâdy Feirân, “ the hill ” of Paran may be taken as fixing with some degree of probability the scene of Rephidim, so there are some details of the plain of er-Râhah, which remarkably coincide with the scene of the worship of the Golden Calf, evidently the same as that of the encampment at the time of the Delivery of the Law. In this instance the traditional locality is happily chosen. A small eminence at the entrance of the conventvalley is marked by the name of Aaron, as being that from which Aaron surveyed the festival on the wide plain below. This tradition, if followed out, would of necessity require the encampment to be in the Wâdy er-Râhah, as every other circumstance renders probable. But there are two other points which meet here, and nowhere else: First, Moses is described as descending the mountain without seeing the people; the shout strikes the ear of his companion before they ascertain the cause; the view bursts upon him suddenly as he draws nigh to the camp, and he throws down the tables and dashes them in pieces “beneath' the mount.” Such a combination might occur in the Wâdy er-Râhah. Any one coming down from one of the secluded basins behind the Ràs Súfsáfeh, through the oblique gullies which flank it on the north and south, would hear the sounds borne through the silence from the plain, but would not see the plain itself till he emerged from the Wâdy ed-Deir or the Wâdy Lejâ ; and when he did so, he would be immediately under the precipitous cliffs of Súfsáfeh. Further, we are told that Moses strewed the powder of the fragments of the idol on the "waters ” of the “brook that came down out of the mounta.” This would be perfectly possible in the Wâdy er-Råhah, into which issues the brook of the Wâdy Lejâ, descending, it is true, from Mount St. Catherine, but still in sufficiently close connection with the Jebel Mûsa to justify the expression, "coming down out of the mount.” These two coincidences, which must be taken for what they are worth, would not occur either at Serbâl or in the Wady Sebâ'îyeh. In the case of the former, although there is the brook from the Wâdy Aleyat, which would probably meet the description, there is no corresponding contiguity of the encampment. In the case of the latter, both are wanting. 6. It is hardly necessary, after what has been said, to
valley of the convent of Mount Sinai." Henniker, p. 225.
examine minutely the special traditional localities of Special localities of Jebel Mûsa. How little could have been the desire the history of finding a place which should realise the general impressions of the scene; how the great event which has made Sinai famous was forgotten in the search after traces of special incidents, of which there could be no memorial, and in the discovery of which there could be no real instruction, is sufficiently apparent from the fact that, amongst all the pilgrims who visited Mount Sinai for so many centuries, hardly one noticed, and not one paid any attention to, the great plain of er-Ráhah. And yet it is the very feature which since the time that Lord Lindsay first, and Dr. Robinson shortly afterwards, discovered and called attention to it, must strike any thoughtful observer as the point in the whole range the most illustrative of Israelite history. There is, however, one general remark that applies to almost all the lesser localities. If, on the one hand, the general features of the Desert, and of the plain beneath the Râs Sufsâfeh in particular, accord with the authentic history of Israel, there is little doubt, on the other, that the physical peculiarities of the district have suggested most of the legendary scenes which subsequent tradition has fastened on that history. Where almost every rock is a lusus naturæ, it is not surprising that men, like the Greek monks or the Bedouin Arabs, as keen in their search for special traces of the history as they were indifferent to its impression as a whole, should have seen marks of it everywhere. The older travellers, the Prefect of the Franciscan Convent, Pococke, Shaw, and others, all notice what they call Dendrite-stones,-i. e. stones into which moisture has percolated, and which have
1 Exod, xxxii. 15-19.
3 Exod. xxxii. 20; Deut. ix, 21.
Denthus assumed the appearance of plants or trees. In drites. early ages they seem to have been regarded as amongst the great wonders of the mountain; they were often supposed to be memorials of the Burning Bush'. The mark of The Back the back of Moses on the summit of the mountain of Moses. which bears his name, has been already mentioned. Still more evident is the mark of the body of St. Catherine
The body on the summit of Jebel Katherin. The rock of of Saint
Catberine. the highest point of that mountain swells into the form of a human body', its arms swathed like that of a mummy, but headless; the counterpart, as it is alleged, of the corpse of the beheaded Egyptian saint. It is difficult to trace the earliest form of the legend, now so familiar through pictorial art, of the transference of the Alexandrian martyr by angelic hands to the summit of Mount Sinai,--a legend which, in the convent to which the relics are said to have been then carried down, almost ranks on an equality with the history of the Burning Bush and of the Giving of the Law. But not improbably this grotesque figure on the rock furnishes not merely the illustration, but the origin of the story'. A third well-known instance of the kind is what in earlier times The Cow's
i See Scheuchzer's Physique Sacrée, vol. ii. p. 26. They are now seen in great numbers, in the new road made in 1854 by Abbas Pasha. (Stewart, Tent and Khan, pp. 132, 134).
2 It is well described by Monconys, p. 441. Fazakerley was told that the rock had swelled into this form on the arrival
of the body. (Walpole, ii. 374.)
* Falconius (see Butler's Lives of the Saints, Nov. 25) expressly asserts his belief that the whole story of the miracu. lous transportation of the body by angele was merely a legendary representation of the “translation of the relics" from Alexandria to Sinai in tlie eighth century by the monks. It is thus a curious eastern counterpart of the angelic flight of the House of Loretto.
was called the head-at present the mould' of the head head.
—of the molten calf, just as the rock of St. Catherine is sometimes called the body itself; sometimes (to accommodate it to the story of the transference of the relics to the convent), the place on which the body rested. It is a natural cavity, in the juncture of one or two stones, possibly adapted in some slight measure by art, representing rudely the round head, with two horns spreading out of it. A fourth is one of the many
curious fissures and holes in the weather-beaten rocks near the summit of Jebel Mûsa, pointed out as the footmark
of the mule or dromedary of Mahomet. It is true The foot mark of that the monks themselves, in the seventeenth centhe Mule.
tury, declared to the Prefect of the Franciscan Convent that this mark had been made by themselves, to secure the protection of the Bedouin tribes. But it has more the appearance of a natural hollow, and it is more probable that they were unwilling to let the Prefect imagine that such a phenomenon should be accidental, than that they actually The sun.
invented it. Another (which has not found its way beam of the into books) is the legend in the convent, (as repreBurning Bush. sented in an ancient picture of the traditional localities,) of the sunbeam, which on one day in the year darts into the Chapel of the Burning Bush from the Jebel ed-Deir. On ascending the mountain, the origin of the legend appears. Behind the topmost cliffs, a narrow cleft admits of a view, of the only view, into the convent buildings, which lie far below but precisely commanded by it, and therefore necessarily lit up by the ray, which once in the year darts through that especial crevice.
But the most famous of all these relics is the Rock of Moses. The rock of Every traveller has described, with more or less accuMoses.
racy, the detached mass”, from 10 to 15 feet high, as it stands in the wild valley of the Lejâ, under the ridge of the Râs Sŭfsâ feh,-slightly leaning forwards, a rude seam or
To Burckhardt it was shown as the
head of the calf (p. 583). He notices the
9 See Part II. pp. 77, 78.