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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.
THE BERCA SOLYMON.
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,
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 discovering 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
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 having 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.
STABILITY OF THE EASTERN WALL.
from the outer court, and that these columns were once above the surface. *
Walls constructed of stones of such magnitude as those I have described, surrounding the western enclosure of the mosque, in the east wall of the city, and in the tower, tell us that they belong to an era more than nineteen centuries old. No antiquary will, I think, be able to point out any such architecture since the Christian era. Parallels are only to be found amidst such structures as Baalbec, the magnificent theatre at Telmessus, the treasury of Atreus, the walls of the Piræus at Athens, the Cothon at Joppa, or the pyramids and gigantic temples of Upper Egypt and Abyssinia. Stones of this description were used in Jerusalem from the earliest time—" hewn stones,” “stones of great size,” ten and twenty cubits in length, both in the building of the temple and the city wall. And Josephus not only informs us of the general strength of the walls, but of this in particular, which was so strong, and the stones of such magnitude, that the Romans were unable to throw it down ; and Titus himself on entering the city expressed his wonder and admiration at the extreme thickness of these walls. Again, on the east side, the very peculiar nature of the ground, and the steepness of the ravine that falls from it, together with the existence of the valley of Jehoshaphat, doubtless contributed to render it secure; and consequently the battering rams and engines of the besiegers could not without great difficulty have been applied to it—though I much doubt if such instruments could have taken effect on walls of such solidity. And I believe I am correct in stating, that unless in the late attack by Ibrahim Básha, cannon were never used against Jerusalem. Thus then we see that there was a physical impossibility of this wall being demolished at that time.
Now Josephus informs us, that as soon as the army had no more people to slay, Cæsar gave orders that they should demolish the entire city and temple, but leave a certain portion of the wall, together with the towers of Phasaelus, Hippicus, and Mariamne.
* These subterranean remains have been further described by Mr. Bonomi. See Dr. Edward Hogg's Visit to Alexandria and Damascus. They were also visited by Mr. Catherwood, who furnished Dr. Robinson with a plan of them.-“ Biblical Researches," vol. i. p. 448.
A REMARKABLE RECORD.
“ This wall was spared, in order to afford a camp for such as were to lie in garrison; as were the towers also spared in order to demonstrate to posterity what kind of city it was, and how well fortified, which the Roman valour had subdued : but for all the rest of the wall, it was so thoroughly laid even with the ground by those that dug it up to the foundation, that there was left nothing to make those that came thither to believe it had ever been inhabited."*
A palpable mistake occurs in the text of the historian here, in making the portion left standing by the Romans the western wall; for that, upon his own showing, was destroyed long before, not having the same natural defences as this; and the principal attacks of Titus were on the north and north-western walls. Thus we have the concurrent testimonies of the appearance and architecture of the existing wall ; the written account of Josephus; the traditions of the Jews, (and we know not only to what lengths they carry these, but that there were always Jews in the place, who would hand them down through successive generations ;) besides the prophecy of the word of God. And wherefore would the Psalmist have foretold of the servants taking "pleasure in her stones,” if none such existed? What scenes has it not witnessed-what has it not yet to behold!
There is a very remarkable appearance observable in those parts of the ground around Jerusalem on which the ancient city stood ; and when the place is viewed from the Mount of Olives, or any adjacent elevation, it is possible by it to trace out the probable extent of the ancient city. This is a peculiar blackness of the ground, perfectly different from the natural reddish yellow colour of the neighbouring fields. I have observed the sites of other cities composed of this kind of soil ; but here a great quantity of the remains of tesselated pavement, with bits of white and yellow marble, are mixed through it.
Eusebius states the circumference of ancient Jerusalem to have been twenty-seven stadia, and Josephus thirty-three. The circuit of the walls in the accompanying map is but thirty-one stadia, or three miles and seven-eighths. Should apology be required for this disagreement with the Jewish historian, I can only answer,
* Josephus' Wars of the Jews, b. vii. chap. 1.