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remains of the Pascal lambs which, only eight days before, had been sacrificed. They were burned in little hollows in the ground, and their calcined bones were yet distinguishable among the ashes.
This was the end of our day's work. When returned to our tents, every one of us had some business to attend to. Our journals had to be filled up, arrangements had to be made for our departure to-morrow morning, flowers were to be preserved as memorials of Shechem, and to me belonged the especial task of writing these lines to you. I am sure you will now deem it right that I should lay down the pen, in order that I may devote the last hours of this evening to my friends, who will part from me to-morrow. I must ask you this time to examine for yourself all the incidents of Scripture which relate to Shechem.* If my short description of the vale of Shechem, with its mountains of Blessing and Curse, and with its town inhabited by ten thousand souls (the most of these are Mohammedans), can in any way elucidate to you the narratives of Scripture, I shall be very glad. I hope my sketch will come in aid of my pen.
AKRABEH, 8th May.
It was with much regret that I witnessed the departure of my friends, with whom I had been permitted to spend a few days in so much unity of spirit, unity of faith, hope, and love, and that in some of the most interesting places of the globe. At this hour I trust
* Genesis xii. 6; xxxiii. 18–20; xxxiv.; xxxv. 2–4; Josh. xx. 7; xxi. 21; xxiv. 1, 25, 32; Judges ix., etc. See also vol, i. pp. 387–409.
A DANGEROUS GUIDE.
they have, like me, accomplished their day's journey, and are now enjoying rest somewhere in one of the villages of the plain of Sharon. My own tent is now pitched until Monday morning (the day after to-morrow), in the rarely or never visited mountains east of Shechem.
One hour elapsed after another, but the promised guide did not appear. I sent Philip once more to the Metzellim to inquire how matters stood. At last, at about half-past ten, a gigantic ruffian came to me, with the most villanous-looking face I ever saw. The fellow produced on me a very disagreeable impression. He, thought I, what should he know about the land, or its ruins and sites? Was I to entrust myself to his guidance? For a moment I hesitated. But I remembered the protection and keeping of God on my journey to the Dead Sea. "Come on," said I, to my attendants. "Jallah!" they repeated, and we took the way round the town towards the plain of El-Mokhna, the robber-looking fellow riding in front, armed as he was with pistols, sword, and gun. To be sure, thought I, he comes from the Metzellim, as two janissaries have brought him to my tent. Perhaps, after all, he may answer my purpose very well.
But still I could not conquer my repugnance to the fellow. We had scarcely journeyed half an hour before his true character appeared. A child was playing by the wayside with a large stick-he wrung the stick out of its hand, whilst it ran off crying bitterly; a little further, we met a young man whose tobacco-bag he took from him. I could not bear such tyranny, and
A DANGEROUS GUIDE.
yet to begin to quarrel with him at the outset of a difficult expedition which would last for several days, would not do either.
Chayal," I said to him, "let us go back to Shechem."
He looked surprised at me, and asked, "Back! why?"
At that very moment, two men on horseback arrived from Shechem at their utmost speed, making all further explanation unnecessary. The one was a messenger from the Metzellim with a letter to me, the other was a shech, the old Daoud of Beit-fûrîk, whom the Metzellim had sent to me as a proper guide for my journey. The letter declared the fierce-looking chayal to have usurped his place, as it was without the knowledge of the Governor that the two janissaries had brought him to me. The messenger had in charge to conduct him back immediately to his master. The smothered rage on the face of the ruffian formed one of the most striking expressions I have ever seen the human face assume. Matters, however, were soon arranged. I did not stop for five minutes, but hastened away with the peaceful-looking shech Daoud, thanking God for having thus saved me from the clutches of this villain.
When we had passed the parcel of land which Jacob bought from the sons of Hamor for an hundred pieces of money,* we turned south-east in a rocky valley called Wadi-Gawareh. A new mountain ridge here begins; it is less elevated than the mountains of Shechem and Samaria, but forms, nevertheless, the promi
* Gen. xxxiii. 19.
THE COUNTRY TO THE
nent feature in this district. Immediately before us we had a mountain with three broad summits; its horseshoe shaped base opens to the west; it is called JebelMzérah (as Daoud told me), after a small ruin which is found near to the highest of the three tops. Having left our wadi, we now rode along the foot of JebelMzérah to Beit-fûrîk, which is six miles distant from Shechem. This village is, as its large ancient building stones indicate, an old site; but I am unable to tell of what. By its elevated position, Beit-fûrîk enjoys a fine and extensive view of the Shechem mountains and the Mokhna plain. The villages of Salim, ed-Deir, Asmûd, Talûsa, and Jazîd, are all visible. Towards the east, however, the view is intercepted by JebelMzérah.
Daoud requested me, as the Metzellim of Nablous had ordered him off so suddenly, to allow him half an hour to say good-bye to his wife and children, and to procure a few things he would require on the road. He is one of the principal men of his village. He was kind enough to offer me coffee, while I stood taking measurements under the olive-trees near the village. At last Daoud was ready; his half had grown to a whole hour. The Arabs never think of making haste, except when, in our company, we meet with things indifferent to them, but sufficiently interesting to make us desire to stop. Being thankful, however, that all things had turned out so well, I had no difficulty at this time in exercising patience.
I am not now going to tell you all the particulars of our road, every turn, every ascent or descent we passed, as you will understand all about this from my map.
EAST OF SHECHEM-JANOHAH.
So I take you along with me with accelerated paces over a high mountain, a northern continuation of the Jebel-Mzérah, where I found a favourable point for taking angles, as it presented to the right and left, or, to speak more properly, to the east and west, fine prospects to the east, the picturesque valley of the Jordan (the Ghor), and to the west, the mountains of Shechem and Samaria. Amongst others, I noticed from this spot in a westerly direction, at about an hour's distance, a hill top on which are situated the ruins of El-'Arma, in which I believe I may recognise the Arumah of Judges ix. 41, where Abimelech remained after he had struck Gaal the first blow, and before he destroyed Shechem altogether.
I now invite you to follow me, as we go down southward in a valley, where we see a few cultivated fields; but still more waste ground where we ride through thistles of such a height that their large violet flowers rise more than a foot above our heads, seated on our horses. After a ride of fifty minutes, we come to another Biblical site, the ancient Janohah,* whence the border of the children of Ephraim went down to "Ataroth, and to Naarath." The valley which we see in descending to the Jordan, explains the expression of Scripture, "went down." Janohah in Arabic is called Janûn. Eusebius and Jerome place it exactly where it lies-twelve Roman miles to the east of Shechem, in the province of Akrabatene. It is now a miserable hamlet, but its ancient ruins are extensive and interesting. I have not seen any of Israel's ancient cities in such a condition. Entire * Josh. xvi. 7. + Ibid.