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TOMBS IN THE VALLEY OF SILOAM.
tomb of Zechariah is somewhat similar in form, but crowned by an enormous pyramid of stone many tons weight. No entrance has as yet been effected into this, though it is reported that one is known to the Jews. Shortly before our visit, some arching had given way at the back of the enclosure that surrounds it, but this our time did not permit us to examine. Future explorers would no doubt be richly rewarded by a careful inspection of this, as well as all the other monuments in this cemetery.
The style of the whole of these four sepulchres, but especially the two that I have more particularly noticed, is very peculiar, and is totally different from other tombs in this neighbourhood. An inspection of them would lead us to believe that, at the time of their erection, the Hebrews had not quite forgotten the lessons on architecture which their forefathers had learned in Egypt. Around these mausolea, upon the sides of the rocks and the slopes of Mount Olivet, there are hundreds of plain, flat gravestones belonging to the Jews. All these have Hebrew inscriptions, some of which a distinguished Hebrew scholar resident in the city informed me were dated a short time subsequent to the Christian era.
Proceeding onward through this valley, we found the whole face of the precipitous rock upon its western face, excavated into one vast and almost continuous catacomb, consisting of chambers of various sizes. Some of these were simple square apartments formed to contain a single corpse, and closed by a stone door, fitted into a groove round the entrance, so accurate that a seal might have been applied at the joining to make sure the sepulchre; and the first of them that I visited at once explained to me the form of the tomb of the Arimathean nobleman. There are other tombs in this cemetery formed upon a larger scale, and probably intended for family mausolea, having crypts and niches which are capable of containing from ten to twenty bodies. These sepulchral grots are continued down the valley of Siloam, beyond the southern limit of the present city, to the village of Siloam, having galleries, stairs, and small terraces, cut out of the rock, leading from one to the other.
On my first visit to this place I was induced to continue my search till on poking my head into one of these crypts, I was startled not a little by the wild, unearthly scream of an old Arab crone who inhabited its interior. The noise she made became 500
THE FOUNTAIN OF SILOAM.
the signal for a general outcry; the dwellers in the different caves, aroused by her cries, peeped out to know the cause-looking like so many beavers popping their heads out of their holes to reconnoitre an enemy. The children ran shouting in all directions; curses and imprecations fell fast and heavy on the Giaour and the Nazarene; and the whole Troglodite population of this cemetery of the living, became as much alarmed as if I had got into the hareem of the Basha. As may be anticipated, I made a hasty retreat amidst the general uproar; and took good care never to venture again so far upon a tomb-hunting expedition into Siloam.
All these sepulchres are now inhabited ; and they, with some mud-built huts at the bottom of the valley, constitute the village of Siloam, which contains upwards of 1,500 Arabs; a vicious, quarrelsome, and dishonest set of people, and noted as such for centuries past. They were the principal ringleaders in the late rebellion at Jerusalem ; and I never visited the neighbourhood that I did not see them quarrelling among themselves. They look more like the gipsy race, both in habits and appearance, than any other I know of; and their livelihood is principally obtained by plunder, and the cultivation of the lower parts of the neighbouring valleys of Hinnom and Jehoshaphat.
The Fountain of Siloam, sometimes called the “Upper Pool of Siloam,” is situated in an indentation formed in the side of the hill, beneath the south-eastern angle of the city wall, and nearly opposite the place where the Tyropæon valley separates the eastern sides of Mounts Sion and Moriah. It is entered by an arched vault, from which a flight of steps leads down to a low vaulted passage cut in the solid rock, and which leads in a north-west direction beneath the site of the ancient temple. The oft-repeated and, I might say, the hacknied quotation of
“ Siloa's brook that flow'd
Fast by the Oracle of God,"
has never, I think, been properly understood, because both this fountain and that called the pool of the same name, are placed at a distance from the site of the temple. The following fact may illustrate and explain this quotation.
During the rebellion that I have already alluded to, the Arabs
of the opposite village gained access to the city by means of the conduit of this pool, which again rises to the surface at a well placed within the enclosure of the Mosque of Omar. Dr. Richardson conjectured that this subterranean passage proceeded under the mountain, but until now no proof could be given of its doing so, nor was it known to travellers that it communicated with the interior of the city. The passage is evidently the work of art. The water in it is generally about two feet deep, and a man may go through it in a stooping position. May it not have been so constructed by the ancient inhabitants for a sally-port, or secret outlet from the temple ? for it cannot have been made to conduct the water from the fountain into the city, inasmuch as it is lower than that point, and the stream flows down from it. The descriptions given of this remarkable well, both in the Scriptures and by Josephus and the early writers on the localities of the Holy City, and the position which it holds with regard to the ancient walls—as I have shown in the preceding part of this volume when treating of the topography-leave little doubt upon my mind regarding its identity. I do not think that it is connected with or receives its supply from the aqueduct that brings the water from the cisterns of Solomon, to be noticed hereafter, especially as that water is tasteless; whereas this is a mineral spring of a brackish taste, and somewhat of the smell of Harrogate water, but in a very slight degree.* It is said to possess considerable medicinal properties ; and is much frequented by pilgrims. The remains of a church surround the vault at the top; and by the Latin fathers it is called the “ Fountain of the Blessed Virgin," from the supposition that she washed the linen of our Lord in its sacred waters.†.
* I brought home a jar of this water, and am informed by Professor Kane, who has analysed it, that it is a strongly saline and sulphureous spring, whose specific gravity is 1003,5; that it contains much common salt, some carbonate and sulphate of lime, a trace of muriate of magnesia, together with a quantity of sulphureted hydrogen gas.
+ An apparent contradiction and discrepancy is evident in the works of the early writers with regard to this upper fountain of Siloam. It is quite evident that the localities of the two reservoirs of water, which bear the name of Siloam, have been confounded. Dr. Robinson quotes at great length all these authorities, and inclines to the belief that this well or foun
THE LOWER POOL OF SILOAM.
Continuing our course round the probable line of the ancient walls, along the gentle slope of Sion, we pass by the site of the King's gardens, and arrive at the Lower Pool of Siloam, placed in another indentation of the wall, at the southern extremity of Sion. It is a deep square cistern, lined with masonry, adorned with columns at the sides, and having a flight of steps leading to the bottom, in which there were about two feet of water. It communicates by a subterranean passage with the fountain just described, from which it is distant about six hundred yards. The water enters the pool by a low arched passage, into which the pilgrims, numbers of whom are generally to be found around it, put their heads as a part of the ceremony;* and wash their clothes in the purifying stream that issues from it.
A very remarkable circumstance is related of this pool and fountain :-It is reported that the water in them is subject to a daily tide ; and by some old writers (Jerome, for instance, in A.D. 333) it is stated to ebb and flow under lunar influence. I must confess that, on my first visits to the place, I was much astonished; for not only did I see the mark to which the recently fallen water had risen, but I also perceived that its height was greater at different times of the same day. Many ingenious
tain of the Virgin is not the Siloam of Scripture and Josephus; but independent of its being cut out of the solid rock, and bearing the evidence of much greater antiquity than that called the Lower Pool of Siloam-which is obviously of comparative modernness—we have the direct testimony of Josephus for stating it to be in the mouth or embrasure of the Tyropæon valley, where the eastern curves of Sion and Moriah divaricate. And Dr. Robinson himself, while he acknowledges the authority of the Jewish historian on this very point, has shown by his description of the remains of the ancient arch that spanned the Tyropæon, that this valley here emerged into that of Jehoshaphat; whereas the lower pool is wholly distinct from the Tyropæon and placed in the junction of Hinnom and Jehoshaphat, opposite the village of Siloa, and above the fountains of Nehemiah or En Rogel. The account of these fountains given by the American traveller is, however, most interesting and learned. The Doctor and his companion passed through the tunnel cut in the solid rock between the two fountains, and found it to measure 1750 feet.
* In Ireland a similar rite is observed by pilgrims, of putting their head into a hole at several of the stations ; particularly at that curious old chapel on the summit of Croagh Patrick.
CAUSE OF ITS REPUTED TIDE.
and it is in parterres that lie imby artificial charm or outlet'
hypotheses and many learned arguments have been adduced to account for this extraordinary phenomenon ; the wonder and admiration of the pilgrim and the traveller. I think, however, that it can be thus simply accounted for—The stream or outlet from the lower pool is conducted by artificial channels through the gardens or parterres that lie immediately beneath it in the valley ; and it is the chief source of their fertility ; for as they are mostly formed of earth which has been carried from other places, they possess no original or natural soil capable of supporting vegetation. Now, immediately on the water-course leaving the pool, it is divided into numbers of small aqueducts, for the purpose of irrigating these different plots; but as there is little water in the pool during the dry season, the Arabs dam up the several streams, in order to collect a sufficient quantity in small ponds adjoining each garden ; and this they must all do at the same time, or there would be an unfair division of the fertilizing fluid. These dams are generally made in the evening, and the water is drawn off in the morning, or sometimes two or three times a day, and thus the reflux of the water which they hold, gives the appearance of an ebb and flow.
The surplus water is finally collected into a small stream that joins the brook Gihon, near its junction with the Kedron; but both these latter streams were dry during our visit. This lower pool is that mentioned by Josephus, under the name of “Solomon's pool ;” and by Nehemiah, as “ the pool that was made.”
We next turn into the valley of Hinnom, which is bounded on the north by the southern slopes of Sion, that are here cultivated and divided into olive yards and corn fields. A few caves and rock-carved vaults occur in this locality ; one in particular our guide pointed out to us as the cave where Peter hid himself after the denial of his Master. The south side of the valley is steep and rugged, and gradually rises into a hill having two summits ; both of which are, however, lower than that of Sion. The western of these elevations is of a remarkable conical shape, corresponding to the description given of it by the sacred historians. It has been called the Mount of Offence, because on it are supposed to have been erected the high places to Ashtoreth and Molech; which Clarke supposed he discovered in the remains of a cistern on the Mount of Olives. The locality is very likely to be that on which they were erected; for the valley im