תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors][merged small]

the Lord, and they came through the High-gate, (2 Chr. xxiii. 20. and xxvii. 3.) King Jotham repaired this gate; and Jeremiah the prophet, when leaving Jerusalem to go to the land of Benjamin, was arrested in the gate of Benjamin. (Jer. xxxvii. 31, 12.) Now, as the land or lot of the tribe of Benjamin was eastward of Jerusalem, it is but natural to suppose that he went out on the east side, and that this was the same gate we read of in the twentieth chapter and second verse, where the prophet is put in the stocks—“in the High-gate of Benjamin, which was by the house of the Lord.” I shall have occasion to mention this gate again in the topography of another city, under the name of the Golden-gate.

Biblical scholars, and those who feel an interest in any thing relating to this remarkable city, can now take up the twelfth chapter of Nehemiah, and trace upon the map how the different parties proceeded at the time of the dedication.

Before we commence the description of the present modern wall, a very interesting inquiry presents itself. Are there besides those I have already enumerated, any existing remains of this ancient Jerusalem that I have just described ?

Many persons understand the denunciation of our blessed Lord, that one stone should not be left standing upon another, as applying to the entire city ; but this appears to others to have been uttered against the temple in particular, whose demolition is so complete, that I do not suppose one particle of the dust into which its ruins crumbled could now be found. For, independent of the plunder and destruction it underwent when fired by the Roman soldiers under Titus, we learn that Terentius Rufus tore up the very foundations of the temple with a ploughshare. Jerusalem became heaps, as was prophesied by Micah the Morashite in the days of Hezekiah: “Zion shall be ploughed as a field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the mountain of the HOUSE, as the high places of the forest.” (Micah, iï. 12.)

But there are parts of the present wall of the city so truly remarkable, that they demand the strictest inquiry. These parts are found on the east side, opposite the Mount of Olives, above the steepest part of the valley of Jehoshaphat, and rising above the present Turkish burial-ground. They form part of the outer enclosure of the mosque of Omar, commencing to the right of St. Stephen's gate, and reaching to the south-eastern corner, where

[blocks in formation]

the wall turns over part of Mount Moriah, and onward to Mount Sion. We found the lower part of the city wall formed of stones of enormous size, such as are not to be seen elsewhere in Jerusalem, or even in any part of Judea, except those noticed by Captains Irby and Mangles at Hebron, in the sepulchre of Abraham, upwards of twenty-five feet long. They are oblong blocks of hewn marble, very hard, and of a yellowish-white colour. Many that I measured in this wall, were twenty-four feet long, three feet thick, and five feet six inches broad, for some being corner-stones at the base of an ancient tower, allowed me to determine this point. On the inner side of the wall are some upwards of thirty feet long; in general they run to twenty in length by six feet square. They are put together according to that order of Cyclopean architecture, where square masses of stone were laid horizontally in courses, with intervals between each, the spaces being filled up with smaller stones, connected by strong cement. On the top of this is raised the present modern wall, as around the rest of the city. In some places this ancient work reaches up so far as to form one half of the whole height, in others not above fifteen feet; much, however, of the foundation being concealed by the increased elevation of the surrounding ground. This, it will be remembered, formed not only the outer enclosure of the temple, but of the city itself, which had here but one wall; the deep natural fosse of the valley beneath affording it a sufficient protection. Some architectural similarity to this enormous work is found in the Pelasgian walls of Italy, as at Valterra, Lodi, and Cortona, and other cities of Etruria ; but in no part of Greece have I met stones of such dimensions, not even in the Cyclopean walls of Tyrus, or the Pnyx. All these latter are said to be the product of Phænician workmanship, as well as those of Jerusalem, which we know were reared by the Tyrians. These two different forms of architecture at the top and bottom are not without their parallel elsewhere; for in Pompeii and on the acropolis at Athens the upper parts of the wall point out a period much more modern than that at which the lower part was erected.

This ancient work is continued round the southern corner, at the place where I have marked the site of the Horse-gate, and around Ophel to the modern Dung-gate, where it is the highest point of the city wall-nearly ninety feet high ; and this part, it will be remembered, was raised up by Jotham and Manasseh,

[ocr errors][merged small]

kings of Judah. A clergyman of the Church of England says of this wall—“We calculated that it was here about one hundred feet in height, and it was composed of evenly cut blocks of very remarkable size, such as are to be found in no other part, which have been evidently used or designed for some anterior purpose. One or two that we measured were twenty-two feet in length, by four in height."*

Again, on the western side of the wall that surrounds the enclosure of the mosque, there is the most perfect specimen of this ancient wall. It seems to extend a considerable way, but I was only allowed to examine it in an enclosure of about two hundred yards long, where it is quite perfect, and rises to the full height of the wall. This is the internal western wall, which shut out the temple and Mount Moriah from the city and the valley of Acra. Josephus informs us that in his time there was no gate in this part; and I am informed that no appearance of any can be now discerned in this old wall.

This enclosure is generally a place of the most intense interest, for it is here that the Jews go to weep, and mourn, and lament over Jerusalem-opposite to that which tradition leads them to believe is a part of the walls of their former city. I never visited this spot that I did not find it occupied by some of the Israelites. At all hours, late and early, there were they to be found ; some sitting and rocking backwards and forwards, praying in a low, wailing tone, their faces turned towards the east ; others standing motionless, and gazing intently upon the solid wall, their arms devoutly crossed upon their breast, and tear chasing tear down the cheek of many a silver-bearded patriarch; others whispering into its crevices, or kissing its sacred stones. For Judah mourneth ; "all her gates are desolate ; her priests sigh, her virgins are afflicted, and she is in bitterness.” (Lam. i. 4.) The question of Sanballat rose to my lips, “what do these feeble Jews ?

*" Three weeks in Palestine." The author of this interesting little work, however, supposes that they were the stones used by Julian, the apostate, in his impious endeavour to rebuild the temple ; but it so happens that this was not the temple wall, but that common to its outer enclosure, and to the city, and they correspond in every particular with the line of the ancient wall.

[merged small][ocr errors]

will they revive the stones out of the heaps of rubbish which are burnt ?” (Neh. iv. 2.) But the voice of the Psalmist answered me, “Thou shalt arise, and have mercy upon Zion; for the time to favour her, yea, the set time is come. For thy servants take pleasure in her stones, and favour the dust thereof.(Ps. cii. 13, 14.)

Benjamin of Tudela, the celebrated Jewish traveller of the twelfth century, to whom I have already referred, mentions the veneration in which this wall was then held by the Israelites, who, he says, all inscribed their names upon it. It will be in the recollection of my readers, that after the siege of Jerusalem under Adrian, and until the days of Constantine, the Jews were prohibited entering their beloved city. At first they were only allowed to behold it from afar off, and then they were subsequently allowed to enter within the walls once a year, on the anniversary of the day on which it was taken by Titus.

Doctor Richardson has described some ancient remains, called “ Berca Solymon,” a subterranean colonnade supporting the lower edge of the ancient enclosure of the temple, now called Hareem Shereef. He says, that the stones are five feet long, bevelled at the joinings like “revealed rustic.” The style and cutting of these stones are quite different, he states, from any other architecture at Jerusalem, and unlike any he ever saw, except the foundation stones in the temple at Baalbec. He thinks it not improbable that those stones may have been the ones used for the temple, as the workmanship is decidedly Jewish. Stones of a similar cutting and manner of joining are to be found in the lower part of the castle of David, or the tower of Hippicus, as I have marked it on Mount Sion ; but this style is of a much later date than that exhibited in the outer wall just described.*

* In a memoir read before the Geographical Society of Berlin by Professor Robinson, the writer, describing the enclosure of the mosque of Omar, says—“At the first view of these walls I was led to the conviction that these lower portions had belonged to the ancient temple, and were to be referred back at least to the time of Herod, if not to the days of Nehemiah or Solomon. This conviction was afterwards strengthened by our discover. ing near the S.W. corner, in the western wall, the remains, or rather the foot of an immense arch, springing out from the wall in the direction towards

[ocr errors][merged small]

These remains, with those in the pool of Bethesda, the lower part of David's castle, the gate of Damascus, and another gate, which I shall speak of hereafter, are all even with the stones that mark the ancient city; the ground plan of which being now so far beneath the surface, accounts for so very little baving yet been discovered. The valleys and deep ravines through the town, where we read that bridges were of old thrown across, and from which steps led up to the temple, (the foundations of which were constructed of large masses of rock-probably those on which Dr. Richardson described the colonnade as resting,) were filled up with the stones and rubbish of the former city, which were hurled into them at the time of its destruction. At present the city is comparatively, level, excepting that part leading towards the west ; and Dr. Richardson, in speaking of the Habsul, or the hidden place here described, says it appears as if the earth had dropped through

Mount Sion, across the valley of Tyropæon. The traces of this arch are too distinct and definite to be mistaken; and it can only have belonged to the bridge, which, according to Josephus, led from this part of the temple area to the Xistus on Mount Sion; thus proving incontestably the antiquity of that portion of the wall from which it springs.”-- American Biblical Repository. As I feel assured that this gentleman would not wilfully oppose, or endeavour to disprove, so awful a denunciation-one coming from the lips of Divinity itself, and one of which so manifest and literal a fulfilment has taken place with regard to the temple of Jerusalem-I conceive that he only looks upon it as the wall of the outer enclosure. It is, however, proper that this should be distinctly understood, that this square line of wall is not the temple wall, nor stood within some hundred feet of that sacred edifice, but was the wall of the enclosure of the outer court of that building. Since the foregoing was written, the “ Biblical Researches” of the author have appeared, wherein we are led to believe from his description that the outer wall of Jerusalem ran through the valley of Jehoshaphat. With this opinion I do not think any accurate observer can agree, and the very passages which he cites in support of this idea from Josephus, evidently refer to the walls built by the Romans during the siege for the purpose of keeping in the Hebrews. The position of this antique masonry was not unknown to the Franks residing in Jerusalem, and had been already remarked by several visitors; but its historical import, that of being the bridge which led from the temple to the Xistus on Mount Sion, was first pointed out by Dr. Robinson, who found its probable span to be 350 feet, or about 116 yards.

« הקודםהמשך »