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looked on themselves as freed from the miseries which they had undergone from the Egyptians and in the wilderness." It is likely, therefore, that Jericho was really at the spot where we noticed the extensive ruins described, and that Gilgal was near to Rihhah, east of Jericho, and consequently nearer to the river.
We saw nothing of the heaps of stones that were raised as a memorial of the passage, either at Gilgal, or at the stream of the Jordan itself ; but these are monuments that soon disappear. The place of Christ's baptism by John is but a little to the southward of this, as fixed on by the Catholics, but the Greeks assign a spot three or four miles still more southerly than that assuined by the former as the scene of this event.
Ascending now on the east side of the Jordan, we met large flocks of camels, mostly of a whitish colour, and all of them young and never yet burthened, as our guides assured us, though the whole number of those we saw could not have fallen short of a thousand. These were being driven down to the Jordan to drink, chiefly under the care of young men and damsels. Among them, many of the young ones were clothed around their bodies with coverings of hair tent-cloth, while the elder females had their udders bound up in bags, tied by cords crossing over the loins, and the males walked with two of the legs tied.
We now began to ascend the white and barren hills of Arabia, as these are usually called, having quitted the territory of the tribe of Benjamin, in which Jericho, Bethel, and Hai, were situated *, and entered that of Ruben, on the other side of Jordan. + We were followed in our way up these hills by a horseman from a neighbouring tribe of Arabs, who impatiently demanded whither we were going ? replied, “to Sham or Damascus ;” when he answered, that we should have kept along the banks of the river, and not have come up into the hills to avoid the king's highway. The conduct of our guides was, on this occasion, as inexplicable as before ; for, instead of frankly explaining the reason of our having chosen this route, they seemed to admit that they had mistaken their road, and even turned down towards the valley of the Jordan again, in compliance with the stranger's advice.
It was not until this man had quitted us, under the firm persuasion of our pursuing the high road to Damascus, that we again ventured to go up into the hills, after having gone about six miles on a north-east course from the time of our crossing the river. In another hour of a course
* Joshua, xviii. 12, 13. 20.
nearly east, we gained the summit of the range, and enjoyed from thence a most commanding prospect. These hills were of less elevation than those on the west, or the mountains of Judea, their height not exceeding a thousand feet, while those of Jerusalem were from fifteen hundred to two thousand at least.
We could now bear testimony to the accurate description of the great outline features of this territory, as given by Josephus; as our point of view embraced almost all the objects which he enumerates. In speaking of Jericho, he says, “ It is situate in a plain ; but a naked and barren mountain, of a very great length, hangs over it, which extends itself to the land about Scythopolis northward; but as far as the country of Sodom, and the utmost limits of the Lake Asphaltitis, southward. This mountain is all of it very uneven, and uninhabited by reason of its barrenness. There is an opposite mountain, thať is situate over against it, on the other side of Jordan. This last begins at Julias, and the northern quarters, and extends itself southward as far as Somorrhon, which is the bounds of Petra, in Arabia. “In this ridge of mountains there is one called the Iron Mountain, that runs in length as far as Moab. Now the region that lies in the middle, between these ridges of mountain, is called the Great Plain. It reaches from
the village Ginnabris, as far as the Lake Asphaltitis. Its length is two hundred and thirty furlongs, and its breadth an hundred and twenty; and it is divided in the midst by Jordan. It hath two lakes in it; that of Asphaltitis, and that of Tiberias, whose natures are opposite to each other. For the former is salt and unfruitful; but that of Tiberias is sweet and fruitful. This plain is much burnt up in summertime; and by reason of the extraordinary heat, contains a very unwholesome air. It is all destitute of water, excepting the river Jordan; which water of Jordan is the occasion why those plantations of palm-trees, that are near its banks, are more flourishing, and much more fruitful; as are those that are remote from it not so flourishing or fruitful.” .
We could perceive from hence that the valley had no apparent bounds to the north ; as the view was lost in that direction, in the open space which was occupied by the Lake of Tiberias. To the south, we could see the surface of the Dead Sea more distinctly; the head of it appearing to be about twenty miles off. Its western shores were now exposed to us; and these, like its eastern ones, seen from the Mount of Olives, near Jerusalem, presented the appearance
* Joseph. Jewish Wars, 1. iv. cap. viii. s. 2.