« הקודםהמשך »
of the Lord, and brought it into the house of Abinadab in the hill." The village stands on the slope of a hill trending down towards Ain-Shems, the ancient
Beth-Shemesh. A hill rises above the town, and the ruins of an ancient church
which stands on its summit may not improbably mark the site of “the house of Abinadab.”
Shortly after leaving Abu-Gosh we descend into a broad deep valley, the Wady es-Sumt, enclosed by rounded hills, terraced and covered with olives to the very summit. A brook, swollen by winter rains into a torrent, brawls over a bed of pebbles brought down by it from the rocks above. It is the VALLEY OF ELAH, along which the hosts of the Amorites fled after their defeat at Beth-horon, and where the ruddy stripling from Bethlehem confronted and slew the giant of Gath. The hills curve round, forming an amphitheatre, in which, as “the Philistines stood on a mountain on one side and Israel stood on a mountain on the other, and there was a
valley between them," the hostile armies would be able to watch the combat between their chosen champions. Bethlehem is only about ten miles distant, and the young shepherd boy, who “rose up early in the morning and left the sheep with a keeper,” could easily reach the spot in time to see “the battle set in array,” and hear the defiant challenge of the Philistine. Shocoh is represented by the village of Shuweikeh; Azekah is probably the modern Tell Zakariya; and Gath lies at no great distance on the way down to Ekron. David, returning to Bethlehem by the main road would pass through or near Jerusalem, at that time in the hands of the Jebusites; hence the statement which has caused some perplexity to commentators, that “he took the head of the Philistine and brought it” thither. Leaving the valley of Elah on the way to Jerusalem the eye is arrested by a white-walled village standing on the slope of the hill, a little way off the road, but visible from it. Travellers going thither from Jerusalem must turn aside as “they draw nigh unto it”; others “who would go farther," continue along the road, leaving it on the right. It is now called Kulon or Kulönia, and at least a probable conjecture regards it as EMMAUs.' Though there is no direct evidence of the fact, yet it fulfils all the requirements of the narrative, which, as we have seen, the traditional site fails to do. We know from Josephus that there was an Emmaus in this neighbourhood, and that a Roman garrison was stationed there. The modern name of Kulönia may not improbably represent the Colonia, or Roman settlement. Assuming the identification to be correct, we now, for the first time, find ourselves in the actual footsteps of Him whose “name is above every name." Tender, sacred, sublime, as are all the associations of the Holy Land, they must yield to thoughts of Him who was David's son and yet his Lord; who was of the seed of Abraham, and yet could say, “Before Abraham was I am." About seven miles, “sixty furlongs,” from Kulönia we reach the summit of a broad plateau. Turning a corner of the road, a huge Russian monastery and church, with several smaller buildings around, all new, crude and raw in colour, obstruct the view in front. On the right is a ravine, beyond which a series of barren wind-swept hills stretch to the horizon. Just behind the monastery is a Turkish barrack, and then a line of dim grey venerable walls. There is nothing imposing or impressive in the sight, and yet every traveller halts; even the most frivolous are awed into silence. Not a few gaze with tears upon the scene. It is JERUSALEM! The moment when its sombre turreted walls, minarets, and domes break, for the first time, upon the eye is one never to be forgotten. The dream, the hope of a lifetime has been fulfilled. The one thought, “Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem,” swallows up every other. I was not surprised; I was not disappointed. The outward features of the landscape were scarcely seen. The present was lost sight of and forgotten in the memories of the past. This was the city of the Lord of Hosts! Here He chose to dwell between the cherubim ! Here my Lord was crucified ! It was not our plan to make any stay in Jerusalem at present. We should return in a few days. I contented myself, therefore, with entering at the Jaffa gate, and clattering for a few hundred feet along the stony street. Then, retracing my steps, I rode round a portion of the southern wall and descended into the Valley of Hinnom to rejoin my companions. Passing the Pool of Gihon, and leaving the Hill of Evil Counsel on
* I Sam. xvii.