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is a fine fertile vale, averaging about half or three quarters of a mile broad, between the river and the mountain. This does not apply to the lake of Gennesareth, for there the mountains are close to the lake on each side, with here and there a small beautiful vale opening on the west. The mountains on the east are bolder, and continue with little interruption all
On the west side the interruptions are frequent, and charming defiles, irrigated by small streams of water, pass off.' Included in this extensive plain, or bordering on it, are several small plains and valleys, which derive all their interest and claims to consideration, from the historical events with which they are associated.—The plain of Jericho, remarkable for its fruitfulness and the intense heat that is there in the summer season.—The valley of Achor in the neighbourhood of Gilgal, where Achan suffered capital punishment. The valley of Beràchah, not far from Tekoah, was the plain on which, after his miraculous deliverance from the Ammonites, Moabites, and Idumeans, who were made the instruments of mutual destruction, Jehosaphat assembled his forces to offer thanksgiving. *-The valley of Elah, or the Terebinth Vale, ten miles west from Jerusalem, is renowned as the scene of David's successful combat with Goliath. Every thing in the appearance of the valley seems still admirably to correspond with the description of the sacred historian. The opposite declivities, where the respective armies of the Israelites and Philistines were posted, and the little brook from which the youthful champion selected his five smooth stones, are still as distinctly traceable as they were three thousand years ago.—The valley of Salt on the south-west of the Dead Sea, where David overcame the Syrians,t and Amaziah, at a subsequent period, defeated the Edomites. The valley of Siddim, on the site of the Dead
+ 1 Chron. xviii. 3.
* 2 Chron. xx. 21.
Sea, full of bituminous pits, in which Chedorlaomer
+ Isaiah xvii. 5. # 2 Samuel v. 22; 1 Chron. xvi. 5; xvi. 9.
observes the historian, looks as if Providence took delight in this place, to reconcile contradictions; and as if the very seasons themselves were in a competition which of them should be most obliging. The durable character of the fruits produced in this charming region, is not less remarkable than their great variety and excellence. Figs and grapes continue in season there ten months in the year; and other fruits the whole year round.]
Lakes.—The only considerable lakes in the land of Promise, are those of Tiberias and the Salt Sea. The lake of Tiberias was also known to the sacred wri. ters by the name of the sea of Galilee, and the lake of Gennesareth. It was called the sea of Tiberias, from a town of that name on its western border; the sea of Galilee, from the province of Galilee in general; and the lake of Gennesareth, from that particular tract of Galilee which skirted its western shore. The breadth of this lake or sea is forty, and the length an hundred, furlongs.* [Mr Buckingham says, that its appearance is grand, but that the barren aspect of the mountains on each side, and the total absence of wood, gives a cast of dulness to the picture, which is increased in melancholy by the dead calm of its waters, and the silence which reigns throughout its whole extent.' To the same purport are the observations of Dr Robinson,
No one can look without interest upon that lake on whose shores our Saviour lived so long, and where he performed so many of his mighty works. Yet to me, I confess, the attraction lay more in these associations, than in the scenery itself. The lake presents, indeed, a beautiful sheet of limpid water, in a deep depressed basin, from which the shores rise, in general, steeply and continuously all around, except where a ravine, or
* Josephus' Wars of the Jews, chap. x. p. 205. [The extent of this lake is generally computed at from fifteen to eighteen English miles in length, and from six to eight in breadth. Dr Clarke describes it as longer and finer than our Cumberland and Westmoreland lakes, but inferior to Loch Lomond.)- Editor.
sometimes a deep wady, occasionally interrupts them. The hills are round and tame, with little of the picturesque in their form; they are neither decked by shrubs nor forests; and even the verdure of the grass and herbage, which, earlier in the season, might give them a pleasing aspect, was already gone. They were now naked and dreary. Whoever looks here for the magnificence of the Swiss lakes, or the softer beauty of those of England, will be disappointed.'*] Its water is limpid, sweet, and wholesome; and lying upon gravel, is softer than the water either of a river or fountain ; and at the same time so cold, that, says the Jewish historian, it cannot be warmed by exposure to the sun, in the hottest season of the year. It abounds in a great variety of fish, which, for taste and shape, are peculiar to itself. The lake of Tiberias is properly a dilatation of the river Jordan ; which through the mid
** The rocks,' says Mr Monro, ' reach to the very edge of the water, and the pass over them enters, towards the top, a gallery curiously scooped along the face of the precipice, the sides of which are concave, the parapet-wall next the sea being four feet and a half high, and the passage so narrow, that the baggage-mule could with difficulty get through. This seems to have been the old land communication between Bethsaida and Capernaum. The lake here is richly margined with the wide belt of oleanders, growing in such luxuriance as they are never known to do even in the most genial parts of Europe, and presenting, with their glowing flowers, an unbroken surface of the brightest roseate hue.'—Editor.
+ The charmuth, silurus, baenni, mugil (chub), and sparus galilæus are described by various writers as the principal kinds of fish found in this lake; and Hasselquist was the first to observe that they were the same as those met with in the Nile. Clarke and Carne mention a species of mullet, which is peculiar to this lake, and to which, tradition says, that Jesus Christ was partial. Josephus states, that 238 boats, called ships in the gospel history, were employed on this lake, each of which was manned by four men. Now, there only one boat plies, and that occasionally, instead of boats. The fishermen wade into the water and catch the fish with handnets. It has been frequently remarked, that it is only in the northern part of this lake that fish are found in any great degree of abundance; and hence the beautiful propriety of our Lord's delivering the parable of the net cast into the sea' to the people of Capernaum, rather than to the inhabitants of any other part of the shore. - Editor.
dle of it pursues his course to the Dead Sea. [The Jordan here maintains its general character for rapidity. Its strong current is distinctly traceable through the middle of the sea, as if it refused to mingle its stream with the waters of a standing lake.* The bed of this limpid expanse is remarkable for its deep depression. Towards the south, however, the tapering extremities of the neighbouring hills shoot across the outlet, and dam it, in consequence of which the south and middle portions of the lake are considerably deeper than in any other part. In winter its level generally is raised, inasmuch as, besides the little streamlets on every side that pour their constant supplies, the mountain torrents contribute to swell the volume of water, and the rise is often so great as to flood the courts of the houses that are close
upon the shore. The position of this lake, deep sunk, as it were, in the lap of a circular range
of precipitous hills, and protected by this mountain barrier against the fury of the winds on every side, except the narrow openings at the entrance and outlet of the Jordan, serves to preserve a calm and placid serenity on its surface; and, in point of fact, its waters, though fresh and light, are nearly as smooth and motionless as those of the Dead Sea. But the same local features occasionally expose it to the ravages of the tremendous squalls that rise among the mountains; and when the current of the Jordan is met by contrary winds, which blow often with resistless violence from the south-east, and through the narrow gorge, where the Jordan issues, the water rises to a prodigious swell, so that the small craft that ply in that inland sea are unable to ride against the storm; and, in many unfortunate cases, have been overwhelmed in the surge.
The gospel history records a voyage, when the disciples were overtaken by one of those fearful hurricanes that sweep over this expanse of water; and finding their nautical experience of no avail in preserving their frail
* Dr Clarke.