Imatges de pÓgina
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early pastoral life, David was familiar with the bear as well as the lion. Both these have disappeared from the hills where the son of Jesse tended his father's flocks, but these nimr still abound there. And now we have reached the foot of Tabor; and this is Debûrieh, so called possibly from Deborah, but if so, this name has been substituted for some other one in the catalogue of places given to Zebulon by Joshua, for it is found in chapter xix. 12, though he wrote long before the time of the prophetess. These heavy stones may have belonged to the church said to have been erected here in the early ages of our era, or perhaps to some edifice still more ancient. The inhabitants have long borne a bad character, and my own reception among them has not inclined me to defend their reputation. The whole neighborhood, indeed, is unsafe, for the Arabs, from the Jordan and the lawless regions east of it, make frequent inroads up the plain, and plunder all whom they can conquer. We shall pass over to Endor, and then around the eastern slope of “ Little Hermon” to Sulam. This mount is now called Jebel ed Dûhy, and that small hamlet on the northwest corner of it is Nain, famous for the restoration of the widow's son to life.

It was once a place of considerable extent, but is now little more than a cluster of ruins, among which dwell a few families of fanatical Moslems. It is in keeping with the one historic incident that renders it dear to the Christian, that its only antiquities are tombs. These are situated mainly on the east of the village, and it was in that direction, I presume, that the widow's son was being carried on that memorable occasion. It took me just an hour to ride from the foot of Tabor to Nain, and the path lies near the watershed between the Sherrar and the Kishon. The soil is deep and fertile, as it is along this road to 'Ain dûr, as the home of Saul's far-famed witch is now called.

It is a most wretched-looking place, and yet the position, at the northeast corner of the mountain, facing Tabor, and overlooking the valley between them, is really beautiful. Jerome has said correctly that the distance from Tabor is

I Luke vii. 11-15.

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ENDOR-CAVERNS-INHABITANTS.

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four miles, for it has taken us an hour and ten minutes to ride it. There does not seem to be much to attract attention here, and, as it is growing late, I think we had better move on, and find our tent before these straggling Bedawîn

find us.

It is only about an hour to Sulam, and there is just at present no particular danger of being robbed; let us, therefore, before we leave this place of evil notoriety, look into some of its caves. You observe that the declivity of the mountain is every where perforated with them, and most of the habitations are merely walls built around the entrance to these caverns. Observe, too, that the cattle are stalled in them along with their owners; and so it was in the time of Saul. The “witch” doubtless occupied one of these caves, and in its dark recesses she secretly performed her “damnable sorceries." The whole place is in most striking accord with its ancient story; and these old hags grinning at us from the yawning mouths of their blackened habitations, look more like witches than women. Hark, how they curse the fathers and grandfathers of us Christian dogs, a kind of salutation you now never hear but from the very vilest people in the country. Whether witches or not, they are undoubtedly “possessed,” and we may just as well pass on out of their sight. See, here are half a dozen little calves at the mouth of this cave, kept up from their mothers, who are at pasture under the care of the shepherd. I do not mean that there is any thing unusual in this, but merely that just such a calf did the witch kill for Saul on that dismal night when he sought her dwelling.

She must have been extremely expeditious in her kitchen and cookery. A hungry man, as was Saul, would think it hard to wait for supper until a calf was slaughtered and cooked, and fresh bread baked, and all this after midnight.

Such things are common even in our day. With the Bedawîn it is nearly universal to cook the meat immediately after it is butchered, and to bake fresh bread for every meal. Visit 'Akîl 'Aga, for example, whose tent is now. in the

11 Sam. xxviii. 24.

valley below us, and you will experience the entire process. A sheep or calf will be brought and killed before you, thrust instanter into the great caldron which stands ready on the fire to receive it, and, ere you are aware, it will reappear on the great copper tray, with a bushel of búrgûl (cracked wheat), or a hill of boiled rice and leben. In our native Cincinnati, a hog walks into a narrow passage on his own feet, and comes out at the other end bacon, ham, and half a dozen other commodities; at the aga's camp, it is a calf or sheep that walks past you into the caldron, and comes forth a smoking stew for dinner.

It seems that this killing, cooking, and eating in rapid succession is a very old custom. Abraham, and Manoah, and many others besides the witch of Endor, were expert in getting up such impromptu feasts; and our Saviour has given it a proverbial expression in the fatted calf of the "prodigal son.”

Not only is this true, but among unsophisticated Arabs the killing of a sheep, calf, or kid, in honor of a visitor, is strictly required by their laws of hospitality, and the neglect of it keenly resented. They have a dozen caustic terms of contempt for the man who neglects to honor his guest with the usual dúblihah (sacrifice), as it is universally called—a name suggestive of the ancient religious rites of hospitality, and no less suggestive of the important fact that our own dübbihah is waiting for us. The very idea will quicken our pace over the shoulder of Mount Dûhy to our tent in Sulam.

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