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is seldom entirely withdrawn, especially the aromatic shrubs on the high hill sides, furnish sufficient sustenance for the herds of the 6000 Bedouins who constitute the present population of the Peninsula —
"Along the mountain ledges green
The scattered sheep, at will may glean
So were they seen following the daughters or the shepherd slaves of Jethro. So may they be seen climbing the rocks, or gathered round the pools and springs of the valleys, under the charge of the black-veiled Bedouin women of the present day. And in the Tijâha, Towâra, or Alouin tribes, with their chiefs and followers, their dress, and manners, and habitations, we probably see the likeness of the Midianites, the Amalekites, and the Israelites themselves, in this their earliest stage of existence. The long straight lines of black tents which cluster round the Desert springs, present to us, on a small scale, the image of the vast encampment gathered round the one Sacred Tent, which, with its coverings of dyed skins, stood conspicuous in the midst, and which recalled the period of their nomadic life long after their settlement in Palestine. The deserted villages, marked by rude enclosures of stone, are doubtless such as those to which the Hebrew wanderers gave the name of "Hazaroth,” and which afterwards furnished the type of the primitive sanctuary at Shiloh. The rude burial grounds, with the many nameless headstones, far away from human habitation, are such as the host of Israel must have left behind them at the different stages of their progress, at Massah, at Sinai, at Kibroth hattaavah, "the graves of "desire." The salutations of the chiefs, in their bright scarlet robes, the one "going out to meet the other," the "obeisance," the "kiss" on either side the head, the silent entrance into the tent for consultation, are all graphically described in the encounter between Moses and Jethro. The constitution of the tribes, with the subordinate degrees of Sheykhs, recommended by Jethro to Moses, is the very same which still exists amongst those who are possibly his lineal descendants the gentle race of the Towâra.' (P. 24.)
His favourite topic, however, is the geography of the Peninsula, the route of the Israelites and the scenes of the great events of the Exodus, and on this he has evidently bestowed his best learning and research. We know no book which, in a brief compass, contains so clear and comprehensive a summary of the topographical controversies to which this fertile subject has given rise. Nevertheless, in spite of all the learning and all the love of the subject which it displays, it will be found the least satisfactory portion of Mr. Stanley's volume. Beyond a lucid and impartial statement of the conflicting opinions in the several controversies and of the chief grounds alleged in support of each, we cannot, in most cases, say that he has done much towards their definitive adjust
tinctly but not loudly read, was perfectly audible; and every remark of the various groups of travellers descending from the heights of the same point rose clearly to those immediately above them. It was the belief of the Arabs who conducted Niebuhr, that they could make themselves heard across the Gulf of Akaba, a belief doubtless exaggerated, yet probably originated or fostered by the great distance to which in those regions the voice can actually be carried. And it is probably from the same cause that so much attention has been excited by the mysterious noises which have from time to time been heard on the summit of Gebel Mousa, in the neighbourhood of Um-Shômer, and in the mountain of Nâkûs, or the Bell, so called from the legend that the sounds proceed from the bells of a convent enclosed within the mountain. In this last instance the sound is supposed to originate in the rush of sand down the mountain side; sand, here, as elsewhere, playing the same part as the waters or snows of the North. In the case of Gebel Mousa, where it is said that the monks had ori. ginally settled on the highest peak, but were, by these strange noises, driven down to their present seat in the valley; and in the case of Um-Shômer, where it was described by Burckhardt as like the sound of artillery, the precise cause has never been ascertained. But in all these instances, the effect must have been heightened by the death-like silence of a region where the fall of waters, even the trickling of brooks, is unknown.' (Pp. 14, 15.)
Mr. Stanley, however, dwells with more pleasure on those characteristics of the Desert which illustrate its sacred history. He loves, for instance, to trace in its occasional springs or wells, a connexion with the waters' and 'springs' of the journey of the Israelites. In his allusions to the botany of the Desert, instead of pursuing new species or new distributions of classes, he delights to point out how the present vegetation is precisely what might be inferred from the Mosaic history.' He recognises in the wild acacia, called by the Arabs sont,' the 'seneh' or 'senna' of the Burning Bush. The 'shittim,' of the wood of which the tabernacle was made, is still common under the name 'sayal.' The wild broom which gave its name, 'Rithmah,' to one of the stations of the Israelites' march, and under which Elijah slept (1 Kings, xix. 4.), is still seen, with the same tall canopy and white blossoms as of old, and is called by the almost identical name of Retem.' The palm-trees, though dwarfed and stunted in their growth, still mark localities which may yet be recognised as scenes of the Israelitish history.
So also, instead of discussing learned ethnological theories, he prefers to trace the analogies which the modern inhabitants of the Desert bear to its ancient history.
The general name by which the Hebrews called the "wilderness," including always that of Sinai, was the pasture." Bare as the surface of the Desert is, yet the thin clothing of vegetation which
him to imply the especial sanctity of ief seemed to be confirmed by the au~, at least of Eusebius, St. Jerome, and Accordingly, for this and other reasons, sitatingly pronounced against the rer of Gebel Mousa, which tradition he a in the age immediately preceding that at variance with the older belief, which e true Sinai, and which he holds to be nown writers before that period. Notthorities, Robinson (who certainly cannot ndue leaning to existing traditions), and, Ritter, have adhered to the received belief el Mousa as the true Sinai; mainly inlso Lord Lindsay) by the peculiar fitness he base of this mountain the Wady-erhe scene of the encampment, and of the of the people at the foot of Sinai which e nineteenth chapter of Exodus; - for which nvirons of Mount Serbâl, both from conant of space sufficient for such a multiikingly unsuited. Mr. Stanley himself urges the full force of this important considerathe locality. He describes the low alluvial oot of the cliff as exactly answering to the were to keep off the people from 'touching He states that the plain is not broken and most all others in the range, but presents a ing sweep, against which the people could stand afar off." He observes, too, that the e a huge altar, in front of the whole congresible against the sky in lonely grandeur from the whole plain, is the very image of "the might be touched," and from which the voice be heard far and wide over the stillness of the widened at that point to its utmost extent by e of all the contiguous valleys.' In a word, v one of his observations which does not go to is own convictions are in favour of the claim of Yet, while the Journal lays down premises lead to one conclusion, the text of the work, as >m collision with the authority of Lepsius, and of
n the Holy Land, p. 194. His opinion, however, is, gia is the true Sinai, p. 197.
ment. The very variety of his reading embarrasses him. In the opposite extreme to his dogmatising predecessors, he has too often needlessly contented himself with a hypothetical decision; occasionally he takes refuge in an alternative; sometimes he even declines altogether to venture an opinion. Thus, for example, although he has narrowed very considerably the controversy regarding the place of the Passage of the Red Sea, he leaves undecided the large question, whether the point of departure is to be fixed at Suez or at the mouth of the Wady Tuârik. He will not decide whether the waters of Marah be at Howâra, or at Ghurundel, or at a third (seemingly as yet unexplored) site near Tîh-el-'Amâra. And, in discussing the route of the Israelites, far from venturing to choose between the coast line by Tôr and through the Wady Hebrân, and the inland line through the Wadys Shellâl, Mokatteb, Feirân, and Es Sheykh, he even suggests a third line, which is not likely, but must be borne in mind as possible' (p. 38.).
We are most of all struck with this appearance of hesitation in his otherwise excellent observations on the identification of the Sinai of the Exodus; because, although, in the text of his book, he stops short of any distinct conclusion, we can hardly doubt, from the extract of his Journal contained in the notes, that he formed upon the spot a very decided opinion, which we ourselves believe to be the much more probable one. He contents himself in the text with stating the reasons that are alleged in favour of each of the two mountains (Serbâl and Gebel Mousa), which, on different grounds, claim to be considered as the ancient Sinai. It is well known that the latter of these has long been marked out by tradition as the true Mountain of the Law. It is the site of the celebrated convent of St. Catherine, built by the Emperor Justinian in the early part of the sixth century; and the coincident Mahometan tradition of its identity with Sinai is attested by the mosque which stands within the precincts of the convent. The very name of the Serbâl range, on the contrary, was unknown until the visit of Niebuhr in 1762; and Burckhardt, in 1816, was the first European who accomplished its ascent. Rüppell, in 1831, ascended a different peak; and to these travellers we are indebted for some very interesting specimens of the so-called Sinaitic Inscriptions, copied upon the spot, of which Beer gave an account in his treatise published at Leipsig in 1833. The acknowledged antiquity of these inscriptions, which were believed by Beer to be the work of Christian pilgrims as early as the
Inscriptiones et Papyri veteres Semitici. Leipsig, 1833.
fourth century, appeared to him to imply the especial sanctity of the mountain; and this belief seemed to be confirmed by the authority, if not of Josephus, at least of Eusebius, St. Jerome, and Cosmas Indicopleustes. Accordingly, for this and other reasons, Lepsius, in 1845, unhesitatingly pronounced against the received tradition in favour of Gebel Mousa, which tradition he declared to have arisen in the age immediately preceding that of Justinian, and to be at variance with the older belief, which identifies Serbâl as the true Sinai, and which he holds to be attested by all the known writers before that period. Notwithstanding these authorities, Robinson (who certainly cannot be taxed with any undue leaning to existing traditions), and, still more recently, Ritter, have adhered to the received belief which regards Gebel Mousa as the true Sinai; mainly influenced (as was also Lord Lindsay) by the peculiar fitness of the plain at the base of this mountain -the Wady-erRâheh to be the scene of the encampment, and of the various movements of the people at the foot of Sinai which are described in the nineteenth chapter of Exodus; - for which movements the environs of Mount Serbâl, both from conformation and want of space sufficient for such a multitude, appeared strikingly unsuited. Mr. Stanley himself urges in his Journal; the full force of this important consideration drawn from the locality. He describes the low alluvial mounds at the foot of the cliff as exactly answering to the 'bounds' which were to keep off the people from touching 'the Mount.' He states that the plain is not broken and uneven, like almost all others in the range, but presents a 'long and retiring sweep, against which the people could remove and stand afar off.” He observes, too, that the cliff, rising, like a huge altar, in front of the whole congre'gation, and visible against the sky in lonely grandeur from ' end to end of the whole plain, is the very image of "the ""mount that might be touched," and from which the voice 'of God might be heard far and wide over the stillness of the plain below, widened at that point to its utmost extent by 'the confluence of all the contiguous valleys.' In a word, there is hardly one of his observations which does not go to show that all his own convictions are in favour of the claim of Gebel Mousa. Yet, while the Journal lays down premises which can only lead to one conclusion, the text of the work, as if shrinking from collision with the authority of Lepsius, and of
Letters from the Holy Land, p. 194. His opinion, however, is, that Gebel Minegia is the true Sinai, p. 197.