Page images
PDF
EPUB

CHAPTER I.

PART 1.-PENINSULA OF SINAI.

PART II.-THE JOURNEY FROM CAIRO TO JERUSALEM.

Exodus xiv. 13. “The Egyptians whom ye have seen to-day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.” Deut. viii, 15. “ That great and terrible wilderness

where there was no water."

Deut. xxxiii. 2. 6. The Lord came from Sinai and rose up from Seir unto hem : He shined forth from Mount Paran ; and he came with the ten thousands [' of Kadesh.' .xx?'

B

PART I.

PENINSULA OF SINAI.

1. General configuration of the Peninsula. 1. The Two Gulfs. 2. The

Plateau of the Tih. 3. The Sandy Tract. 4. The Mountains of the
Tûr. (a) The Ka'athe Shores. (o) The Passes. (c) The Mountains ;
the Three Groups—the Colours—the Confusion, the Desolation—the
Silence. (d) The Wadys—the Vegetation - the Springs—the Oases.

Pp. 1-19,
II, General Adaptation to the History. The Scenery-the Physical Phe-

nomena-the Present Inhabitants—Changes. Pp. 19–27. III. Traditions of the History. 1. Arab Traditions--of Moses. 2. Greek

Traditions. 3. Early Traditions. Pp. 27—33. IV. Route of the Israelites. 1. Passage of the Red Sea. 2. Marah and Elim.

3. Encampment by the Red Sea. 4. Wilderness of Sin. 5. Choice between Serbal and Jebel Musa as Sinai. 6. Special localities of the

History. Pp. 33—48. V. Later History of the Peninsula. 1. Elijah's visit. 2. Josephus. 3. St. Paul.

4. Hermitages, and Convent of St. Catherine. 5. Mahomet. 6. Present

State of the Convent. 7. Tomb of Sheykh Saleh. Pp. 48—57. Note A. Sinaitic Inscriptions. Pp. 57—62.

SINAI.

PART I.

PENINSULA OF SINAI.

THE Peninsula of Mount Sinai is, geographically and geologically speaking, one of the most remarkable districts on the face of the earth. It combines the three grand features of earthly scenery—the sea, the desert, and the mountains. It occupies also a position central to three countries, distinguished, not merely for their history, but for their geography amongst all other nations of the world--Egypt, Arabia, Palestine. And lastly, it has been the scene of a history as unique as its situation; by which the fate of the three nations which surround it, and through them the fate of the whole world, has been determined.

It is a just remark of Chevalier Bunsen, that "Egypt has, properly speaking, no history. History was born on that night when Moses led forth his people from Goshen.” Most fully is this felt as the traveller emerges from the Valley of the Nile, the study of the Egyptian monuments, and finds himself on the broad track of the Desert. In those monuments, magnificent and instructive as they are, he sees great kings, and mighty deeds—the father, the son, and the children,—the sacrifices, the conquests, the coronations. But there is no before and after, no unrolling of a great drama, no beginning, middle, and end of a moral progress, or even of a mournful decline. In the Desert, on the contrary, the moment the green fields of Egypt recede from our view, still more when we reach

[ocr errors]

the Red Sea, the further and further we advance into the Desert and the mountains, we feel that everything henceforward is continuous, that there is a sustained and protracted interest, increasing more and more, till it reaches its highest point in Palestine, in Jerusalem, on Calvary, and on Olivet. And in the desert of Sinai this interest is enhanced by the fact that there it stands alone. Over all the other great scenes of human history,—Palestine itself, Egypt, Greece, and Italy,-successive tides of great recollections have rolled, each to a certain extent obliterating the traces of the former. But in the Peninsula of Sinai there is nothing to interfere with the effect of that single event. The Exodus is the one only stream of history that has passed through this wonderful region,-a history which has for its background the whole magnificence of Egypt, and for its distant horizon the forms, as yet unborn, of Judaism, of Mahometanism, of Christianity.

It is this district, which, for the sake of, and in connection with that history, it is here proposed briefly to describe. I. The great limestone range of Syria, which begins in the

north from Lebanon and extends through the whole General configura- of Palestine, terminates on the south in a wide tabletion. The Mountains,

land, which reaches eastward far into Arabia Petræa, the Desert, and westward far into Africa. At the point where and the

this rocky mass descends from Palestine, another

element falls in, which at once gives it a character distinct from mountainous tracts in other parts of the world; namely, that waterless region of the earth, which extends from the shores of the Atlantic to those of the Persian Gulf, under the familiar name of the Desert. But its character, both as a wilderness, and as a mountain country, is broken by three great clefts, which divide its several portions from each other. The westernmost of these clefts is the deep valley, which descending from the mountains of Abyssinia contains the course of the solitary, mysterious, and majestic river, with the green strip of verdure lining its banks, which forms the land of Egypt. The second runs almost parallel to this—the bed not of a fertilising stream, but of a desolate sea,—the Arabian Gulf of the Greeks, the Gulf of Suez in modern geography. The third and easternmost cleft at its southern extremity is similar in character to

Sea.

a

a

};

« EelmineJätka »