Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

2.

Th

Rama.

. CHA P. other places in the Holy Land, which were also called by the

name of Ramah. One place of this name was spoken of in the last section but one of the last chapter of Vol. I. viz. chap. vi. Ş. 25. And chap. v. 9. 36. of Vol. I. p. 329. we have taken notice of another place of the like name, lying in the land of Gilead, or Mızpeh, and thence called Ramoth-Gilead, and Ramath Mizpeh. The Ramah we are here speaking of seems to be called Ramathaim-Zophim on a like occasion, namely, from its being situated in a tract called Zuph, or Zophim, and (as the text, ver. 1. tells us) in mount Ephraim ; and, according to Eufebius and Jerom, in the (then) district of Timnath near Diofpolis or Lydda, being the very same that is called Arimathea in the history of the Gospel.

From this account of its situation, it is not to be doubted, ftate of

ent but that this is the place which to this day goes under the

name of Rama, and lies in the usual road taken by pilgrims from Jaffa, or Joppe, to Jerusalem, and is accordingly taken notice of by Thevenot * and Le Bruyn. From these we learn, that whereas this Rama was anciently a city, it is now no more than an open town, under the government of the Bassa of Gaza. It is still pretty large, and looks well enough on the outside, as may be seen by the draught which Le Bruyn has given of it. Hard by the place where stood part of the ancient city, is still to be seen a large square tower, -much like to a steeple. They say, that formerly it was as high again as it is at present, and was erected in honour of the forty martyrs that suffered death in Armenia. It joins on to a church, and is by Thevenot represented as the steeple to that church, built in honour of the forementioned martyrs. At this tower are likewise to be seen some ruins, which seem to be the remains of a monastery. Thevenot expressly says, that heretafore there was a stately large convent here, of which the cloister seems to be still very entire, by what could be observed in passing by the gate, for he was told, that Christians were not permitted to enter into it. The Latin monks have a convent or monastery at present in Rama,

* Thevenot, Part I. chap. xxxvi. Le Bruyn, chap. xlvi.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

where where there commonly resides a father fuperior with two SECT. monks. The pilgrims ufually lodge there till they go to Je- I. rusalem. This convent, which hath a very neat church, was built, as they say, in the very place where the house of Nicodemus anciently stood. The inhabitants, as far as Le Bruyn could guess, amounted to about three thousand souls, as well Christians as Turks. All the caravans, which go from Cairo in Egypt to Damascus, Aleppo, and Conftantinople, pass by this Rama. All the doors in this town are very low, not three feet high, says Thevenot, to hinder the Arabs from riding into their houses. There is in Rama another church, besides that above mentioned, dedicated to the honour of St. George.

All round about Rama one meets with a great many wells, which ferved, as they say, to keep wheat and oats. We threw, says Le Bruyn, into one of them, which was very deep, a great many stones, which, in falling to the bottom, made a very extraordinary and hollow noise at top.

Hard by Rama is also a very fine cistern, made with a great deal of art upon two rows of piazzas. It certainly served, says Le Bruyn, to supply the town with water, as several for the fame use are to be seen in Italy.

Le Bruyn adds, that, whilst he stayed at Rama, he walked as far as Lydda, which lies on one side of Rama, about three miles from it: which confirms the opinion, that this Rama is the same called Arimathea in the New Testament, and so the same with Ramah, the birth-place of the prophet Samuel ; forasmuch as Eusebius and Jeroin expressly tell us, that this lay near to Lydda.

I shall conclude what relates to Ramah with a particular taken notice of by Le Bruyn. It is, says he, no extraordinary matter for men to take a journey to Jerusalem; but that women should have such wandering heads, may seem somewhat

trange. However, there are instances of it. A little before I arrived at Rama, an English middle-aged gentlewoman was come thither, attended only with one footman. After shc nad completed her journey to Jerusalem, and there paid her devoB 2

tions,

CHAP. tions, she went into France, where she settled, because of some 1. affronts she had met with in England.

In chap. iv. of this first Book of Samuel we have an of Aphek. account of a fight between the Israelites and the Philistines;

the former encamping beside Eben-ezer, the latter in Aphek, ver. 1. Eben-ezer is here mentioned proleptically, this name being not given to the place till some time after, as we read, chap. vii. ver. 12. Of which therefore more, when we come to that chapter. I have in chap. iv. §. 40. p. 304. of Vol. I. observed, that there were apparently two Apheks, one lying in the tribe of Afher, the other in the tribe of Judah; and this last must be understood here, as lying in all probability not far from Eben-ezer, which lay in the tribe of Judah, as will appear hereafter, viz. S. 14.

The Israelites in their first engagement with the Philistines Of the country of we

f were worsted by them, losing about four thousand men. the Philif- Whereupon they fetched the ark from Shiloh into their camp, tines.

thinking that the presence of that would certainly save them from their enemies ; inasmuch as God would not permit the ark to fall into the hands of the Heathens. But they found their confidence ill-grounded. For upon joining battle a lecond time, they were quite routed, and the ark taken by the Philistines, and carried into their country. Which it will be here requisite to speak more distinctly of, for the better understanding the several particulars related concerning the ark, during its stay in this country.

. We learn then, that the Philistines were descendants of It was die Mizraim, the father of the Egyptians, and the second son of vided into five lord. Ham, and so brother to Canaan, the father of the Canaanites, ships.

Gen. x. 6-14. We learn also from Gen. X. 19. that the coast lying along the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea, from Sidon unto Gaza, did originally belong to the Canaan. ites. Whence it follows, that whereas we find by the Scrip. ture-history, that the Philistines were possessed of a considerable tract of this coast to the south; these must become masters of it by dispossessing the Canaanites, the original masters of it. And this is the more probable, because that, the Philif

tines being descended of Mizraim, it is not to be doubted, SECT. but they settled in Egypt, or the parts adjoining, and so to 1. the south-west of Canaan. And if mount Cafius was to called from Cafluhim, of whom the Philistines were more immediately descended; then it is evident, that they were seated in the tract next adjoining to the Canaanites, on the fouth or south-west, and so lay ready to make an invasion upon the south-west coast of the Canaanites, as soon as they became strong enough. That they had actually made themselves masters of some part of Canaan in the days of Abraham, seems to be countenanced by the history of Abraham. And Josh. xiii. 3. we learn, that they had then extended their conquests from Gaza fo far northwards as to Ekron; dividing this tract into five lordships, or lesser principalities or kingdoms. For as the princes hereof are in the forecited place of Joshua, and also i Sam. vi. 17, 18. called the five Lords of the Philistines, and are thus reckoned up, Gaza, Alkelon, Ashdod, Gath, and Ekron ; so we have Abimelech called King of Gerar in the history of Abraham, and the fame, or another of the same name, called King of the Philistines in the history of Isaac, Gen. XX. 2. and xxvi. 1: and what is still of more weight, we have the prince of Gath called King of Gath more than once in this first book of Samuel. In short, though they were subdued by David, and kept in subjection by some others of the succeeding Kings; yet they afterwards became so considerable, as that from them the Holy Land came to be called by the Greeks, Palestine, under which . name it frequently occurs both in Greek and Latin writers, and that Christian as well as Heathen. Of the five lordships, into which the country of the Phi- 6.

Of Gaza. listines was distinguished, that of Gaza was the most southern; the city of Gaza, from which it took its name, standing as it were in the very south-west angle or corner of the land of Canaan. Of this city I have spoken already in Part II. chap. 2. §. 6. of my Geography of the New Testament.

North of Gaza lay next the city of Askelon, called by the 4 Greeks and Latins, Ascalon, and situated likewise on the fea-0 side. It is said to have been of great note among the GenB 3

tiles,

Of Alkelon. 8. Of Ashdod.

CHAP. tiles, for a temple dedicated to Dirceto, the mother of Semi1. ramis, here worshipped in the form of a mermaid ; and for

another temple of Apollo, wherein Herod, the father of Antipater, and grandfather of Herod the Great (wio, from his being born in this city, was called Herod the Ascalonite) served as priest. It had in the first times of Christianity an epifcopal fee ; and in the course of the holy wars it was beautified with a new wall, and many fair, buildings, by our King Richard the First.

Above Ascalon to the north lay Ashdod, called by the Greeks Azotus, and under that name mentioned in the history of the Acts of the Apostles, and so taken notice of in my Geography of the New Testament, Part II. chap. ii. $. 9. I there observed, that it was memorable for the temple of Dagon; to which I must add here, that this was the temple, into which the ark of God was brought, and set by Dagon. And when they of Ashdod arose early on the morrow, behold, Dagon was fallen upon his face to the earth, before the ark of the Lord: and they took Dagon, and set him in his place again. And when they arose early on the morrow morning, behold, Dagon was fallen upon his face to the ground, before the ark of, the Lord: and the head of Dagon, and both the palms of his hands, were cut off upon the threshold, only the stump of Dagon was left to him. Nor was this all, but the hand of the Lord was heavy also upon the men of Ajndod, and he destroyed them, and smote them with emrods, even Ashdod, and the coasts there. of. And when the men of Ashdod saw that it was so, they faid, The ark of the God of Israel fall not abide with us : for his hand is fore upon us, and upon Dagon our God. They fent therefore, and gathered all the Lords of the Philistines unto them, and said, What shall we do with the ark of the God of Ifrael? And they anywered, Let the ark of the God of Israel le carried about unto Gath. And they carried the ark of the God of Israel thither. 1 Sam. v. 2–8.

Gath lay still more north than Ashdod, and is memorable Of Gath. for being the birth-place of the giant Goliath, flain by David,

as also of several others of the same gigantic race, flain by David's worthies. It was dismantled by David, rebuilt after

ward

« AnteriorContinuar »