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where, possibly, the last battle alluded to in the book of Revelations will be fought;* though, indeed, there is another similarly designated in the western part of the plain, which may be the one referred to.

At noon we reached Zuraeen, the ancient Jezreel, a miserable little village, surrounded by some magnificent sarcophagi which lie exposed in the valley. It was in this neighbourhood that the battles of Barak and Sisera,t of Josiah and Pharaoh Nechoh, f of the armies of Israel, Egypt, and Assyria, were fought. Here, likewise, was the vineyard of Naboth, “hard by the palace of Ahab, king of Samaria;"and here, too, was fulfilled the terrible denunciation against his idolatrous wife, “ the dogs shall eat Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel.” || Now, the vineyard and the palace, cultivation and architecture, are alike unknown. All is dilapidation and barrenness. When we visited Jezreel, it was under water; a few half-naked Arabs were the sole representatives of the courtiers who surrounded the palace of the king, and the pastures of his camels and horses were occupied by storks and lizards. * Rev. xvi. 14. 16.

+ Judges iv. 13. 16. 2 Kings xxiii. 29. § 1 Kings xxi. 1.

# 1 Kings xxi. 23.

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MOUNTAINS OF SAMARIA.

Having crossed the interesting valley of Esdraelon in six hours, we reached Junneen, the ancient Ginæa, and began to ascend the mountains of Samaria, which are less high and rugged than those of Galilee. Up to this point, the road had been for several days nearly impassable, and the whole valley was a quagmire; but here, as we left the territory of Asher and entered that of the half tribe of Manasseh, the track began to improve. In the course of the subsequent journey we saw several black Bedouin tents, and were charmed with the beautifully wooded hills of Samaria, exhibiting scenery so different from that of the mountains of Galilee. Among numerous venerable olive-woods, towns and villages are scattered in every direction ; and some of the views rival those of Switzerland.

At Jubbah, four hours and a half from Junneen, we were kindly received in the house of a Christian, whose two little girls immediately advanced, according to the fashion of the country, to kiss our hands; and no less than nine of the villagers, attracted by the intelligence of the strangers arrival, came uninvited to spend the evening with us and to gratify a curiosity which knows no bounds. Our room was shared with the family, a goat, three cats,

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a young wild hog, just captured, and innumerable vermin. Dibash, unleavened cakes, and sour milk, were offered with all the hospitality of patriarchal days; and in the morning, our kind, but poor, host refused to accept any remuneration.

At an early hour we remounted our mules; and the sun shone brightly as we entered the portion of Ephraim and rode towards the ruins of the ancient city of Sebaste. The first view of the representative of the famous capital of the kings of Israel is very imposing. It is built on a high semi-spherical mount, standing alone in a valley encompassed by hills, and covered with terraces of which we counted sixteen rising one above another: when each of these was defended with all the valor of the Israelitish host in the days of their glory and the science of war was yet in its infancy, it can readily be conceived that a city so circumstanced must have been almost impregnable.

On the north-east, about half-way between the summit and the base of the hill, eighteen limestone columns are still standing, which seem to have formed part of a parallelogram, whose dimensions were about a hundred and eighty by eighty yards. On the top are two

382

RUINS OF SEBASTE.

more parallel lines of pillars ; the one containing six, the other seven, in a comparatively perfect state: they are all without capitals, but appear to belong to the Doric order, and were doubtless erected by Herod, who rebuilt the city and called it, in honor of Augustus, Sebaste. * On the opposite side, on one of the highest terraces, are two rows of limestone columns distant from each other about twenty yards; the one containing twenty-one, the other fifty-six. These seem to have formed a double colonnade, the present ruins of which are scattered over a space nearly a quarter of a mile in length; nor is it easy to determine whether it originally extended all round the mountain, which at that distance from the summit may be a mile and a half in circumference, or whether it only adorned the chief street of the city.

To the east of the present village are the remains of a very handsome church erected by Helena. Its material is limestone, and the sculpture is beautiful. The whole of the eastern portion has been spared by time, as has the opposite end, which is converted into a Mohammedan mosque.

Tradition records that this edifice was dedicated to John the Baptist,

* Sebastos and Augustus are the corresponding Greek and Latin translations of the word august, or revered.

ANCIENT SAMARIA.

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and a large sepulchre underneath is shewn as the prison wherein he was incarcerated and put to death : it was once closed by a stone door, like those existing at Telmessus, with panels, embossments, bolts and hinges, all carved out of one solid mass ; but the cave is now open, and fragments of the door lie by its side.

To the student of Scripture history, the site of ancient Samaria is fraught with interesting associations. Soon after the first city was built by Omri, B.c. 925,* it was besieged by Benhadad, whose army was twice discomfited and given into the hand of Ahab king of Samaria. On the third occasion, after the death of Ahab, the siege was prosecuted with such rigor by the relentless Benhadad that the distress was never equalled, before or after, except in the days of Titus in the sister capital of Jerusalem; for “ an ass's head was sold for fourscore pieces of silver, and the fourth part of a cab of dove's dung for five pieces of silver.” I Then, too, was fulfilled in Israel the prophecy of Moses which was subsequently accomplished in Judah," the tender and delicate woman, which would not adventure to set the sole of her foot upon the ground for delicateness and tenderness, her eye

* 1 Kings xvi. 24.

+ 1 Kings xx. 21. 2 Kings vi. 25.

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