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§ 20, other Rivers. 21
first south, then east, through the steep cliffs of the desert Engedi, where it receives some accession by means of the torrents from the mountains, and then descends into the Dead Sea. II. Near the southern extremity flows in the Saphia or Saphria, a considerable stream. III. On the eastern shore, nearly in the centre, is the mouth of the torrent Zerea and a little north of it, IV. is the mouth of the river Arnon, which has its rise in the vallies of mount Gilead, from the torrents of that mountain. It flows first in a southern direction and then west, so as to form with the Dead Sea, the Jordan, and the Jobbak, a peninsula. The channel of this river, as we have already said, separated on the east the Gadites and the Reubenites from the Ammonites, and on the south the Reubenites from the Moabites.
§ 20. OTHER Rivers.
Of the other rivers and torrents, which are somewhat celebrated, may be mentioned, I. THE BELus, honous n2+, a small river, according to Pliny only 4 miles in length ; it arises in the mountains of the tribe of Asher and empties into the Mediterranean about two furlongs south of Ptolemais. The sand of its banks has been much used in the manufacture of glass, and it is said, “that the making of glass first originated from this river.” II. The Kishon. It arises from the foot of mount Tabor, where the Tabor unites with the mountain called little Hermon; it then divides into two branches. The smaller share of the waters, that descend from these mountains, flows east through the valley of Jezreel into lake Gennesareth. The remainder, which forms the larger body of the two, runs west through the valley of Jezreel, and, after being increased by the accession of many small streams, enters the sea near Carmel. The last mentioned branch of the river was called Megiddo, and anciently divided the tribe of Issachar from the tribe of Zebulon. III. THE BRook of Reeds, Hop Sr.; it is dry, except in the winter. In its course from east to west, it formerly separated the tribe of Ephraim from that of Manasseh, Jos. 17: 8, 9. It enters the Mediterranean south of Cesarea. IV. THE BRook Eshkol ; it rises in the mountains of Judah and enters the Mediterranean at Askelon. It seems to be the same with the brook Sorek, Num, 13:24. Jud. 16:4.
22 § 21. ON THE climate oF PalestiNE.
V. THE BRook BEsof ; it enters the sea at Gaza.
NotE.-It may be remarked here, that bro signifies a river, brook, or torrent, which flows in the winter, though it may be perfectly dry in the summer; while nri; signifies a large stream, and if it have the article prefixed, almost always means the Euphrates.
§ 21. ON THE CLIMATE of PALESTINE.
The state of the atmosphere in this climate is different in different places, but it is not so changeable, as in some parts of Europe. We shall state its variations during the six divisions of the oriental year, mentioned Gen. 8:22, which have been perpetuated to this day among the Arabians, see Golii Lex. Arab. p. 934. During the first part of the year, which is called hosp or the harvest, and which extends from the middle of April to the middle of June, the sky is serene, the atmosphere in the latter part of April is warm, sometimes oppressively so, excepting in the vallies and on the shores of the sea, where it is temperate. The heat continues to increase, and to become more unpleasant towards the latter part of this division of the seasons. During the second part of the year, which is called yop, the time of fruits or summer, extending from the middle of June to the middle of August, the heat is so severe, that the effect of it is felt through the night, and the inhabitants sleep under the open sky. The third season, extending from the middle of August to the middle of October, is called pn or the hot season; because in the commencement of it the heat continues very severe, although it soon begins to abate. From the time of harvest or the middle of April to the middle of September, there is neither rain nor thunder, Prov, 26: 1, 1 Sam. 12:17, Jerome on Amos 4: 7. Sometimes in the beginning of the harvest or the latter half of April, a cloud is perceived in the morning, which, as the sun rises, gradually disappears, Hos. 6:4. But in the months of May, June, July, and August, not a cloud is seen, and the earth is not wet, except by the dew, which is, therefore, every where used as a symbol of the divine benevolence, Gen. 27:28.49:25. Deut. 32: 2. 33: 13. Job 29:19. Mic.
§ 21. on The cliMATE of PALESTINE. 23
5: 7. The dew, copious as it is, affords no support in the severe heat of summer, except to the stronger kind of herbs; the smaller and less vigorous, unless watered from some rivulet or by human art and labour, wither and die, Ps. 32:4. If at this season of the year, a spark or brand fall among the dry herbs and grass, a wide conflagration commences, especially if brambles, shrubs, or a forest be near, Ps. 83:14. Isa. 9:18. Jer. 21: 14. comp. Exod. 22:6. Joel 1:19. Jer. 9:12. The country generally presents a squalid appearance, for the fountains and brooks are dried, and the ground is so hard, that it splits open into fissures. These effects are accelerated, if the east wind happens to blow a few days, which is not only destructive to the vines and harvest fields on land, but to the vessels at sea on the Mediterranean, Hos. 13:15. Job 14:2. 15:2. Isa. 40:7, Gen. 41: 6, 23. Ezech. 17: 10. 19:12. 27: 26. Ps, 48: 7. 103: 15. Acts 27: 14. Every wind is called by the orientals boop, an east wind, which blows from any point of the compass between the east and north, and between the east and south, see Shaw's Travels, p. 285 and Prosper Alpinus de Medicina Egyptiaca, near the beginning. The breeze, which blows a few hours before the setting of the sun in that climate, is called among the Persians to this time, as in Gen. 3: 7, the breeze of the day, i. e. the cooling or refreshing breeze of the day, see Chardin Voy. T. IV. p. 8. During the fourth part of the year, which is called son; or seedtime, i. e. from the middle of October to the middle of December, the appearance of the sky is various, sometimes dark and cloudy, but calm, and sometimes rainy. In the latter part of October, begin the first or autumnal rains, so necessary for the sower. The atmosphere still continues warm and at times it is very hot, but the weather gradually grows colder, and towards the end of this division of the seasons, the snows fall on the mountains. The brooks are still dry, and the water in the rivers is shallow. In the second half of November, the leaves fall from the trees. Some, who are less robust find the need of a fire, which they continue almost till April, Jer. 36:22; others do without one the whole winter. The fifth part of the year, Ann, extending from the middle of December to the middle of February, constitutes the winter. The snows, which are then not unfrequent, scarcely continue through the day, except on the mountains; the ice is thin and 24 § 22. FERTility of THE soil.
melts as soon as the sun ascends to any considerable height. The north winds are chill, and the cold, particularly on the mountains, which are covered with snow, is intense. The roads are slippery, and travelling is both tedious and dangerous, particularly through the declivities of the mountains, Jer. 13:16. 23: 12. Sirach 43:22. Mat. 24; 20. When the sky is serene and tranquil and the sun is unclouded, the heat in the vallies and plains is sometimes great, as Josephus expressly testifies in regard to the plain of Cesarea near the sea. Thunder, lightning, and hail are frequent; the brooks are filled ; the rivers are swollen ; the fields are cowered with flowers. As January departs and February enters, the grain fields flourish; the trees put forth their foliage; the amygdalus, the earliest tree of the forest, is in bloom about the middle of February. Finally, the sixth part of the year from the middle of February to the middle of April is called hip or cold, because in the commencement of it the weather is still cold, though it soon grows warm and even hot. The rains still continue, but are diminished; thunder and lightning and hail are frequent, though they cease towards the end of this season. The rain during this season is called the latter rain. The first rain, or autumnal, and the latter, or vernal, are necessary to the fertility of the earth, and greatly to be desired, Lev. 26:4. Deut. 8: 7. 11: 14, 17. Isa. 30: 23. Jerem. 3: 3. 5: 24. Hosea 6:3. Joel 2:3. Zech. 10: 1. Job 29:23. Prov. 16: 15, 25: 14. James 5: 7. Rains in those regions are cold, and are announced by previous whirlwinds, raising the dust, which are expressed, by Arabic words, which mean messengers, and good messengers or tidings, Koran, 7:55.77: 1–3. By the Hebrews they are sometimes called the word or the command of God, on nons, ** -ao Ps. 147: 15, 18. The north and west wind in particular indicate rain. 1 Kings 18; 42—45. Prov. 25. 23. If the evening be red, the morrow is expected to be serene, if the morning be red, rain is expected. Mat. 16: 2.
§ 22. FERTILITY of THE soil.
The fertility of soil, so celebrated by Moses, is confirmed by the testimony of all, who have visited this region. Even the unculti§ 22. . FERTILITY of The soil. 25
wated and desert tracts are not destitute of rich spots, although they have comparatively but a small claim to the praise of fertility. If the untilled and waste places at the present day afford no very prepossessing appearance, it ought to be remembered, that they were predicted by Moses, Deut. 29:22, et seq. and that the country has been laid waste successively by Assyrians, Chaldeans, Syrians, Romans, Saracens, the European crusaders, the Turks, and Moguls; and that it now groans under the dominion of the Turks, who neither protect the agriculturalist from the incursions of the Arabs, nor afford him any encouragement, but the contrary. And yet it is the unanimous testimony of travellers in regard to this country, that, where it is cultivated, it is extremely fertile. It produces all sorts of fruit-trees; and vines are not wanting, although the Mahometans do not drink wine. There are abundance of domesticated animals, of wild beasts, and birds. Josephus, Jewish War, B. III. c. 3. § 3. praises Perea, (which at the present time is a desert,) for its vines and its palm trees; and particularly celebrates the region near the lake Gennesareth, also the plain of Jericho, which are now uninhabited and desolate, B. III. c. 10. § 8. B. IV. c. 8. § 3. Indeed, we are informed by Josephus, that in Galilee there were 204 cities and towns, that the largest of the cities had 150,000, and the smallest towns 15000 inhabitants. Hence we can account for it, that Josephus himself in this small province, short of 40 miles long and 30 broad, collected an army of nearly an 100,000 men, J. War. B. II. c. 20. § 6. As so many people were collected in such a small extent of country, it is clear, that the arts and commerce must have been patronized, and consequently the sciences; which leaves us to conclude, that the miracles of Jesus were performed in a country, where they could be examined and fairly discussed. The reproach, which is cast upon Galilee in John 7:52, has no reference to the character of its soil or climate, but only to the fact, that the prophet or Messiah was not to be expected from that part of Palestine. Note—There is an intimation in Deut. 8: 9, that there were mines in Palestine, but we do not any where learn, that they were wrought by the Hebrews. The author of the book of Job mentions mines, in the commencement of his 28th chapter, but it is not certain, that he has reference to Palestine; and a very general mention is made of them in Ps. 95: 4, Isa. 51: 1. It is a well-known A