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8 And all the people answered together, so that all the people that was in the camp and said, All that the LORD hath spoken we trembled. will do. And Moses returned the words of 17 And Moses brought forth the people the people unto the LORD.

out of the camp to meet with God; and they 9* And the LORD said unto Moses, Lo, I stood at the nether part of the mount. come unto thee in a thick cloud, that the 18 And 'mount Sinai was altogether on a people may hear when I speak with thee, and smoke, because the LORD descended upon it believe thee for ever. And Moses told the in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as words of the people unto the LORD.

the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount 10 | And the LORD said unto Moses, Go quaked greatly. unto the people, and sanctify them to day and 19 And when the voice of the trumpet to morrow, and let them wash their clothes, sounded long, and waxed louder and louder,

11 And be ready against the third day : Moses spake, and God answered him by a voice. for the third day the Lord will come down 20 And the LORD came down upon mount in the sight of all the people upon mount Sinai, on the top of the mount: and the LORD Sinai.

called Moses up to the top of the mount ; and 12 And thou shalt set bounds unto the

Moses went up. people round about, saying, Take heed to 21 And the LORD said unto Moses, Go yourselves, that ye go not up into the mount, down, ocharge the people, lest they break or touch the border of it: 'whosoever toucheth through unto the Lord to

through unto the LORD to gaze, and many of the mount shall be surely put to death :

them perish 13 There shall not an hand touch it, but 22 And let the priests also, which come he shall surely be stoned, or shot through ; near to the LORD, sanctify themselves, lest whether it be beast or man, it shall not live : the LORD break forth upon them. when the trumpet soundeth long, they shall 23 And Moses said unto the Lord, The come up to the mount.

people cannot come up to mount Sinai : for 14 | And Moses went down from the thou chargedst us, saying, Set bounds about mount unto the people, and sanctified the the mount, and sanctify it. people; and they washed their clothes.

24 And the LORD said unto him, Away, 15 And he said unto the people, Be ready get thee down, and thou shalt come up, thou, against the third day: come not at your

wives. and Aaron with thee: but let not the priests 16 ( And it came to pass on the third day and the people break through to come up in the morning, that there were thunders and unto the LORD, lest he break forth upon

them. lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, 25 So Moses went down unto the people, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud ; and spake unto them. 6 Chap. 24. 3. 7. Deut. 5. 27, and 26. 17.

8 Or, cornet.

7 Heb. 12. 20.

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10 Heb, contest.

Verse 2. They were come to the desert of Sinai, and had pitched in the wilderness, and there Israel camped before the mount.'-When the first edition of this work was published, the only satisfactory account of this region had been furnished by Burckhardt; and the task which then devolved upon us was to digest his scattered information, and apply it to the illustration of that portion of Scripture which relates to the encampment of the Israelites in this wilderness, and before the mounts from which the law was afterwards delivered to them. Since then the region has been visited by numerous travellers, American, German, English, and French, some of whom, particularly Dr. Robinson and Dr. Olin, have given much attention to the connection of the Scripture history with the geography of this region. From such sources we shall now be able to correct and improve our previous statements and reasonings, which, although necessarily produced under comparatively defective information, has proved substantially correct.

The breadth of the peninsula of Sinai is intersected by the chain of mountains called et-Tih, which runs from east to west, and cuts off a triangular portion of the peninsula; and to this portion, forming the region to the south of the et-Tih chain, we shall, to avoid circumlocutory distinctions in our further statement restrict the term

* peninsula,' for it is to this part of the whole that our statement must-exclusively refer. In the very centre of the peninsular region thus restricted, occurs the most elevated group of mountains, in which we are to look for the Mount Sinai of the Bible. This upper mountainous region, with its various vallies and ravines of different dimensions, may be described as being comprehended within a diameter of about forty miles. This central group is not connected with the intersecting chain of etTih; but is separated therefrom, not only by wide sandy plains and vallies, but by an intermediate and unconnected range of inferior mountains called Zebir. To the east, however, and to the south, the country between the central group and the gulf is more or less occupied by inferior eminences; while to the west-that is towards the Gulf of Suez—the upper group has an abrupt appearance, and no inferior mountains intervene, so that the country is left open from thence to the coast, where a low chain of calcareous mountains, called Jebel Heman, fronts the shore. The intermediate country between this ridge and the Upper Sinai is occupied by a wide gravelly plain or desert called el-Kaa, and which is regarded as the desert of Sin by those who place Elim near Tor. Thus much for the general physical features of the peninsula.

The two most elevated and conspicuous summits or

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peaks of the central group adjoin each other, and are respectively distinguished by the names of Jebel Katerin (Mount Catherine) and Jebel Musa (Mount Moses). The latter is regarded by tradition as the Sinai of Scripture. But besides these mountains there are two others very conspicuous, which, although they stand somewhat apart, and unconnected with the upper cluster, must in a general view be considered as belonging to it. These are Om Shomar, which fronts the upper cluster on the south-west, and is nearest towards the extremity of the peninsula and to the port of Tor; the other is' Jebel Serbal, which fronts the upper group to the north-west, and is nearest to those who come from Suez, or any where in the northWest, lo Sinai. It is certain, on every theory, that this Mount Serbal must have been the first of the Sinai mountains which the Israelites saw: and as Burckhardt's statements render it probable that pilgrims once looked upon it as the Sinai or Horeb of Scripture, it must be regarded as having some claims to attention which cannot be safely overlooked. But as we shall in such considerations be perplexed by the manner in which • Sinai' and `Horeb' seem to be mentioned in Scripture as convertible names, it will be well, in the first place, to obtain a distinct understanding on this point. In some passages of the Pentateach the Law is described as having been delivered from Mount Horeb, and in others from Mount Sinai, and this is one of the apparent contradictions, of which scepticism has availed itself to throw doubt on the verity of the narrative, or at least to question that the books in which these seeming discrepancies occur were written by the same person. The answer to this has been by a reference to Jebel Musa, and its adjoining summit, Jebel Sufsafeh, as distinct but adjoining peaks of the same ridge of mountains; and it was doubtless under this view of the subject that the summits which now pass for Sinai and Horeb obtained the distinction they now bear. But it does not appear to us how this answers the objection we have stated, because if Sinai and Horebare only distinct summits of the same range, how could the same transaction take place in both at once, any more than if they were perfectly distinct mountains ? From a careful examination of the various passages in which the names of · Horeb' and · Sinai' occur, we think it might be easy to shew that these names are different denominations of the same mountain. But it seems to us that it is susceptible of being still more distinctly shewn that. Horeb' is the name of the whole mountainous region generally, while • Sinai' is the name of the particular summit. We

find that Horeb is usually spoken of as a region, the common form of expression being generally. in Horeb,' and that where spoken of as a mountain, it is in the same general way as when we speak of Mount Caucasus, meaning thereby an extensive range of mountains. But • Sinai' is usually named as a distinct mountain; 'on,' or 'upon Sinai,' being the most common mode of expression, as we should speak of a particular mountain or peak in a mountainous or any other region. We believe there is no instance in which the name of Horeb occurs so as to convey the idea of ascent, descent, or standing upon it, as a particular mountain, whereas these are invariably the ideas with which the name of Sinai is associated. It is true that there are two passages which appear to militate against this view, but when carefully considered, they do in fact confirm it. Thus in Exod. iii. 1, • Moses . . . came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb;' and in 1 Kings xix. 8, Elijah goes “ unto Horeb, the mount of God.' In both these places it would be most obvious to understand that Horeb denotes the whole, and the é mount of God’ the part; which will be the more evident when it is recollected that the term “ mount of God' would be no distinction at all, unless the region were also mentioned : for this distinction is not peculiar to the mountain on which the Law was delivered ; and although we believe that when the expression is applied to a mountain in the peninsula of Sinai, it does denote that particular mountain, it is right to state that it may, in the texts just quoted, only denote the eminency of the Horeb mountains, or of some particular mountain in the group; and might therefore be read · Horeb, the great mountain,' or the great mountain in Horeb.' The Hebrew language has no proper superlatives, and therefore the words of God,' or of the Lord,' are added to denote greatness or superior excellence. Thus the expression mountains of God' means 'great mountains.' Our translation very properly retains the Hebraism where Mount Sinai, or the Mount Moriah of Jerusalem, on which the temple was built, are intended, but in other cases renders it by high' or 'great moun. tains' (as in Ps. xxxvi. 6). In Ezek. xlv. 15, the term mountain of God' is applied to what our translation rightly renders 'altar.' The reader who wishes to verify the view we have taken, will moreover find further confirmation by observing that actions are mentioned as having been done in • Horeb,” which were certainly not done upon any particular mountain, but in the surrounding vallies or plains. Thus the Israelites are said to have 'made a calf in Horeb,' (Ps. cvi. 19)–certainly not in a


VOL. 1.


mountain, but in the wilderness of Sinai while Moses was reckoned; but so many of them have been displaced that in the mountain. The rock smitten by Moses for water it would be difficult to count them accurately. The ravine is called the “ rock in Horeb' (Exod. xvii. 6), which, is choked up in many places by rolling stones and many according to the view we take, is compatible with the large masses of rock, which have been arrested in their situation we have indicated for Rephidim; whereas those descent from the higher regions of the mountain. Frequent who regard Horeb as a particular mountain, and determine detours are necessary to pass around projecting points of that mountain to be Jebel Katerin, have been necessarily rock, so that at the end of an hour the traveller

finds himobliged to fix the smitten rock in a wholly unsuitable situ- self not more than half way up the toilsome steep. Several ation, in the narrow valley of el-Leja at the foot of that objects of interest however occur in the way to invite peak. It also deserves to be noticed, that Josephus does repose, and lighten the toil of the ascent. Beautiful founnot notice any mount called Horeb. He speaks exclu- tains burst out of the rock and form a sparkling torrent, sively of Mount Sinai, and after noticing the transaction at which runs along the bottom of the ravine, sinking someRephidim, says that, on leaving that station, the Israelites times under the shelving rocks and immense accumulawent on gradually till they came to Sinai. (APPENDIX, No.6.] tions, and again re-appearing. One of these fountains,

These considerations simplify our task, for now we have which tradition endues with many virtues, occurs at a only one mountain to seek as the Mount Sinai' of the short distance up the ascent, and which springs up in a Bible; and as it is possible that a mistaken view of the deep grot formed by an overhanging mass of granite. subject occasioned Mounts Musa and Sufsafeh to be re- About half an hour further on is a small chapel dedicated garded as the Sinai and Horeb of the Scriptures, we feel to the Blessed Virgin. It is built of unhewn stones, and quite at liberty to deal freely with their claims. It is to be wholly destitute of elegance and ornament. Some short noted that the two highest summits of these upper moun- distance higher is a narrow gateway in the rock, where tains, Jebel Katerin and Jebel Musa, do not belong to the pilgrims used formerly to confess, and having obtained same ridge, but to two adjoining ridges; but that Jebel absolution from the priests, passed on with lightened Musa and Jebel Sufsafeh are the two summits of the same hearts singing: Who shall ascend up into the hill of the ridge. The ridge of which Jebel Musa is the summit Lord, or who shall rise up in his holy place ? Even he lies east of the other, and in the valley east of itself is the that hath clean hands and a pure heart, and that hath not convent from which all travellers commence their ascent of lifted his niind up unto vanity. These devotees, it is said, the mountains. The ascent from the convent to Jebel first received the sacrament at the chapel below, and leavMusa comprises all the points of traditional interest, and ing at this portal a ticket to that effect, were given another must therefore be briefly described. — Passing through the in exchange, which they left in like manner at another convent garden, the traveller comes to the narrow rocky portal a slight distance above. This other portal admits slope that lies between the convent and the mountain. the traveller into the small plain or valley which lies beThen proceeding southward about a quarter of an hour, tween the two summits now called Sinai (Jebel Musa) he comes to the ravine which leads up towards the top of and Horeb (Jebel Sufsafeh). A tall but decaying cypress Sinai. The ascent is difficult and laborious, though masses tree rises in the centre near a pool of water; and a small of granite have been arranged into a kind of stairs a great chapel dedicated to Elijah, is nigh at hand beneath a part of the way. The steps have been very variously | beetling precipice. Tradition indicates this as the spot where the word of God came unto that prophet saying, may get beneath it; and this is gravely pointed out as the •Go forth and stand upon the mount before the Lord; rock in whose cleft Moses was hidden while the glory of and, a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and the Lord' passed by, and whence he was permitted to brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord' (1 Kings xix. behold so much of that glory as mortal man might view. 11). Here also they shew the cave in which the man of The height of this summit above the level of the sea is God lodged; for. he came thither unto a cave, and lodged given by Rüppell as 7035 Paris feet, and that of the neighthere ; and the mighty fragments of rent and torn masses bouring summit of Jebel Katerin as 8063 Paris feet, as of rock which are strewn about here in all directions, are results of simultaneous barometrical observations made at regarded as illustrating both the rending of the mountains Tor, and therefore having more claim to accuracy than and the breaking in pieces of the rocks before the Lord. any other estimates that have yet been offered.

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The top of the mountain still rises high above the tra- The view from the summit of the alleged Sinai is of veller: but the increasing sublimity of the view compen- course less extensive than from Jebel Katerin. But it sates for the toil of the ascent; and in about two hours or embraces all the points of interest in the upper region, two hours and a quarter from his outset (without including and has been excellently described by Dr. Olin, in such a stoppages) he stands upon the top of Sinai. The remaining way as to give the reader a clearer idea of it than any two small buildings nearly cover the level in which the other we have met with. He says:- The region through mountain terminates; the one is a Christian chapel and which our route had lain for several days, was spread out the other a mosque. The first is affirmed to cover the like a map before the eye, and the long ranges of limestone spot where the tables of the law were delivered to Moses. mountains, with the sandy vallies between them, formed Below the mosque is a cave, down to which are steps ; striking objects. The view towards the west and northand here Moses is said to have dwelt when he was there west is less extensive. The higher summit of St. Cathewith the Lord forty days and forty nights, and did neither rine conceals the Red Sea and Suez, which are visible from eat bread nor drink water. Large stones lie scattered on its top. These remote objects, however, are not those in the summit; and one of them of very great size, and, which I was most deeply interested. My face was fixed apparently once forming a part of one of the walls of the upon a field of perhaps thirty or forty miles in diameter, chapel, presents at its base a large hole by which one filled with mountains very similar, in their structure and


appearance, to Sinai, and embraced under that general vated masses the green-stone formation prevails, which

I have seen nothing like them elsewhere, and I being easily decomposed and diffused by the rains, tinges quite despair of giving an adequate idea of them by de- the whole region below with a dull yellowish green. scription. The pencil in a skilful hand might be more Where porphyry predominates, it imparts its own hue to successful. There is nothing deserving the name of a the higher portions of the mountains, and a number of chain or range of mountains. No one appears to be more considerable tracts have their surface of a brick-red colour; than five to eight miles in length, and nearly all of them but by far the largest part of this singular collection of are much shorter. With a general and remarkable simi- mountains is composed of red granite, whose bright and larity in form and aspect, they are independent and distinct beautiful hues time and the elements have converted masses, separated by deep narrow valleys, which are some- into a dull reddish brown. Other shades may prevail in times visible, but generally concealed from the eye of the particular localities; but these are such as predominate, spectator on the top of Sinai. This circumstance often and control the aspect of the whole. All'is dark and gives a cluster of separate mountains the appearance of gloomy in hue, and sublimely magnificent in altitude and one vast pile, surmounted by a number of lofty pinnacles. form. These summits, observed more carefully, or from other Of the summit at the other extremity of the same ridge, positions, are discovered to be the combs of short but dis- to which the monks give the name of Horeb, and which tinct ridges, divided into a number of tall, slender peaks the Arabs call Jebel Sufsafeh, we shall speak in connection by deep ravines, which are formed by the dissolution of with the question respecting the identity of Sinai. perpendicular strata of porphyry interposed between the Jebel Katerin, the highest summit of the neighbouring more solid masses of granite. They remind one of the ridge and of the whole region, derives its name, as the slender lofty towers that rise at intervals upon the walls of convent does also, from its connection with the legend of a Saracenic fortress.'

St. Catherine of Alexandria, who, it is stated, first fled to These mountains are not wholly destitute of verdure. Sinai, and whose body, after martyrdom at Alexandria, Stunted trees and a few shrubs are occasionally found in is said to have been removed by angels to the top of the deep vallies, where springs or rain supply the requisite mountain, where it was afterwards discovered, and remoisture. But they are wholly unobserved in the general moved to the convent. The ascent to this mountain is by view, and lend not a single tint to the general aspect. way of the narrow valley which lies between the ridge of Upon the lower sides of these mountains, and less fre- which it is the highest summit, and the neighbouring ridge quently near their summits, are many immense masses of of Sinai. It bears the name of el-Leja; and is remarkable rock which occasionally present a smooth and unbroken chiefly as containing the rock which the monks affirm to surface. For the most part, however, the slopes of the be the one which Moses smote for water. This we have mountain are full of shelves and cavities, formed by the already considered in the note to ch. xvii. 1. This valley dissolution of the less solid portions of the rock, which has also contains an old forsaken convent called El Arbayn, or the appearance of being a mere shell. The tall and slen- «The Forty,' from the circumstance that the Arabs once der masses which shoot up above the main body of the took it by surprise and slew the forty monks by whom mountain, sometimes present a columnar appearance, and it was occupied. Rüppell fixes the height of this convent they occasionally remind one of the clustered ornaments at 5366 Paris feet above the sea, which he says is 400 feet of some old Gothic tower.

higher than the great convent in the valley ou the other The colour of these mountains, although very various, side of the Sinai ridge. Passing through the garden of is uniformly dark and sombre. In some of the less ele- this convent the traveller soon reaches the base of Jebel

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