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THE HISTORICAL GEOGRAPHY OF
THE HOLY LAND



WORKS B V THE SAME A UTHOR.



FOUR PSALMS. Cloth.
on Relinon Series.



IS. 6d. In The Little Books



THE BOOK OF ISAIAH. Vol. I. Chaps, i.-xxxix.
Crown 8vo. Cloth. 7s. 6d.

THE BOOK OF ISAIAH. Vol. II. Chaps. XL.-LXVi.
Crown 8vo. Cloth. 7s. 6d.

THE BOOK OF THE TWELVE PROPHETS. In
2 vols. Crown 8vo. Cloth. 7s. 6d. each.

Vol. I. Amos, Hosea, and Micah, with an Introduction
and a Sketch of Prophecy in Early Israel.

Vol. II. containing Zephaniah, Nahum, IIabakkuk,
Obadiah, Haggai, Zechariah I. -VIII., Malachi, Joel, j
Zechakiah IX. -XIV., AND JONAH. ^Vith Historical and
Critical Introductions.

MODERN CRITICISM AND PREACHING OF THE
OLD TESTAMENT. Yale Lectures on Preaching. Crown
Svo. Cloth. 6s.

THE LIFE OF HENRY DRUMMOND, F.R.S.E.

With Portiaits. Cloth. 7s. 6d.



London : HODDER AND STOUGHTON. 27 Paternoster Row



THE

HISTORICAL GEOGRAPHY



OF THE



HOLY LAND

ESPECIALLY IN RELATION TO THE HISTORY
OF ISRAEL AND OF THE EARLY CHURCH



BY



GEORGE ADAM SMITH, D.D.

PROFESSOR OF HEBREW AND OLD TESTAMENT EXEGESIS
FREE CHURCH COLLEGE, GLASGOW



WITH SIX MAPS



NINTH EDITION




NEW YORK
A. C. ARMSTRONG AND SON

3 AND 5 WEST i8th STREET

LONDON: HODDER AND STOUGHTON

1902



1 I



\



THE

HISTORICAL GEOGRAPHY



OF THE



HOLY LAND

ESPECIALLY IN RELATION TO THE HISTORY
OF ISRAEL AND OF THE EARLY CHURCH



BY



GEORGE ADAM SMITH, D.D.

PROFESSOR OF HEBREW AND OLD TESTAMENT EXEGESIS
FREE CHURCH COLLEGE, GLASGOW



WITH SIX MAPS



NINTH EDITION

I UNIVERSITY

NEW YORK
A. C. ARMSTROxNG AND SON

3 AND 5 WEST i8th STREET
LONDON: HODDER AND STOUGHTON

I 902






fiffS£



nburgh : T. and A. CoNSTAnLE, (late) Printers to Her Majesty



TO

MY FATHER



-1 i '7 O O M



PREFACE TO THE FOURTH EDITION

To this Edition two new features have been added.
One is an Index of Scripture References ; the other is
a series of Additional Notes. The latter are similar to
those published with the Second Edition. They record
the more important researches and discoveries in Pales-
tine during the past two years ; the changes in the
political and social condition of the country ; and the
recent contributions to the literature of its history and
exploration.

In the text of the volume I have m.ade a few altera-
tions in accordance with the suggestions of various
scholars who reviewed the First Edition, and even where
I have retained my own views on points in dispute I
have been careful to record theirs in the Additional
Notes. One of the alterations will be found on pp.
634 f, where in face of the arguments of Professor
Ramsay and Mr. W. E. Crum — which I have summarised
in an Additional Note on p. 680 — I have felt obliged to
modify the contrast I had drawn between Pagan and
Christian epitaphs on the east of Jordan. I have to
direct special attention to the Additional Note on Aphck
(see p. 675) ; and to the very valuable account which



viii The Historical Geography of the Holy Land

Dr. Bailey, late of Nablus, has "kindly sent me, of the
peculiar virtues of the water of Jacob's Well. This
goes far to explain why an artificial well was required
and used in a region so rich in open streams. I have
printed Dr. Bailey's account as an Additional Note
on p. ^tG.

I have given a number of references to Buhl's im-
portant book on Die Alte Geographie Paldstinas, just
published in the series known as Grundriss der Theol
Wtssenschaft. In the department of the literature of
the subject, I have to express my great obligations
to Dr. Benzinger's annual records which appear in the
Zeitschrift des DeittscJien Paldstina- Vereins.

GEORGE ADAM SMITH.

Glasgow, Nov. 1S96.



PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION

^ There are many ways of writing a geography of Palestine,
and of illustrating the History by the Land, but some are
wearisome and some are vain. They do not give a vision
of the land as a whole, nor help you to hear through it the
sound of running history. What is needed by the reader
or teacher of the Bible is some idea of the main outlines of
Palestine — its shape and disposition ; its plains, passes and
mountains ; its rains, winds and temperatures ; its colours,
lights and shades. Students of the Bible desire to see a

background and to feel an atmosphere — to discover from
' the He of the land ' why the history took certain lines and
the prophecy and gospel were expressed in certain styles
— to learn what geography has to contribute to questions
of Biblical criticism — above all, to discern between what
physical nature contributed to the religious development
of Israel, and what was the product of purely moral
and spiritual forces. On this last point the geography
of the Holy Land reaches its highest interest. It is
also good to realise the historical influences by which
our religion was at first nurtured or exercised, as far
as we can do this from the ruins which these have left
in the country. To go no further back than the New
Testament — there are the Greek art, the Roman rule,

ix



X The Historical Geography of the Holy Land

and the industry and pride of Herod. But the remains of
Scripture times are not so many as the remains of the
centuries since. The Palestine of to-day, as I have said
further on, is more a museum of Church history than of
the Bible — a museum full of living as well as of ancient
specimens of its subject. East of Jordan, in the in-
destructible basalt of Hauran, there are monuments of
the passage from Paganism to Christianity even more
numerous and remarkable than the catacombs or earliest
Churches of Rome ; there are also what Italy cannot give
us — the melancholy wrecks of the passage from Christianity
to Mohammedanism. On the west of the Jordan there
are the castles and churches of the Crusaders, the im-
pression of their brief kingdom and its ruin. There is the
trail of the march and retreat of Napoleon. And, then,
after the long silence and crumbling of all things native,
there are the living churches of to-day, and the lines of
pilgrims coming up to Jerusalem from the four corners of
the world.
/ For a historical geography compassing such a survey,
the conditions are to-day three — personal acquaintance
with the land ; a study of the exploration, discoveries and
decipherments, especially of the last twenty years ; and
the employment of the results of Biblical criticism during
the same period.

I. The following chapters have been written after two
visits to the Holy Land. In the spring of 1880 I made a
journey through Judaea, Samaria, Esdraelon, and Galilee :



Preface to the First Edition



that was before the great changes which have been produced
on many of the most sacred landscapes by European
colonists, and by the rivalry in building between the Greek
and Latin Churches. Again, in 1891, I was able to extend
my knowledge of the country to the Maritime Plain, the
Shephckih, the wilderness of Judaea, including Masada and
Engedi, the Jordan Valley, Hermon, the Beka', and espe-
cially to Damascus, Hauran, Gilead, and Moab. Unfor-
tunately — in consequence of taking Druze servants, we
were told — we were turned back by the authorities from
Bosra and the Jebel Druz, so that I cannot write from
personal acquaintance with those interesting localities, but
we spent the more time in the villages of Hauran, and
at Gadara, Gerasa and Pella, where we were able to add
to the number of discovered inscriptions.

2. With the exception of the results of early geographers,
admirably summarised by Reland, the renewal of Syrian
travel in the beginning of this century, and the great work
of Robinson fifty years ago — the real exploration of Pales-
tine has been achieved during the last twenty years. It
has been the work of no one nation ; its effectiveness is due
to its thoroughly international character. America gave the
pioneers in Robinson, Smith, and Lynch. To Great Britain
belong, through the Palestine Exploration Fund— by
Wilson, Warren, Drake, Tristram, Conder, Kitchener,
Mantell, Black and Armstrong — the splendid results of
a trigonometrical survey of all Western, and part of
Eastern, Palestine, a geological survey, the excavations at



xii The Historical Geography of the Holy Land

Jerusalem and Tell el Hesy, very numerous discoveries
and identifications, and the earliest summaries of natural
history and meteorology. But we cannot forget that this
work was prepared for, and has been supplemented in
its defects, both by French and Germans. The French
have been first in the departments of art and archaeology
— witness Waddington, Renan, De Vogue, De Saulcy,
Clermont-Ganneau, and Rey. In topography, also, through
Guerin and others, the French contributions have been
important. To Germany we owe many travels and re-
searches, which, like Wetzstein's, have added to the geo-
graphy, especially of Eastern Palestine. The Germans
have also given what has been too much lacking in Britain,
a scientific treatment of the geography in the light of
Biblical criticism : in this respect the work of Socin, Guthe,
and their colleagues in the Deutsche Palastina-Verein, has
been most thorough and full of example to ourselves. The
notes in this volume will show how much I have been
indebted to material provided by the journals of both the
British and German societies, as well as to other works
issued under their auspices. I have not been able to use
any of the records of the corresponding Russian society.
Recent American literature on Palestine is valuable, chiefly
for the works of Merrill, and Clay Trumbull.

But the most distinctive feature of the work of the last
twenty years has been the aid rendered by the European
inhabitants of Syria. Doctors and missionaries, the chil-
dren of the first German colonists and of the earlier



Preface to the First Edition



American missionaries, have grown into a familiarity with
the country, which the most expert of foreign explorers
cannot hope to rival. Through the British and German
societies, Chaplin, Schumacher, Schick, Gatt, Fischer of
Sarona, Klein, Hanauer, Baldensperger, Post, West and
Bliss have contributed so immense an amount of topo-
graphical detail, nomenclature, meteorology and informa-
tion concerning the social life of the country, that there
seems to lie rather a century than a score of years between
the present condition of Syriology and that which pre-
vailed when we were wholly dependent on the records of
passing travellers and pilgrims.

During recent years a very great deal has been done
for the geography of Palestine from the side of Assyrian
and Egyptian studies, such as by the younger Delitzsch,
Maspero, Sayce, Tomkins, and especially W. Max Muller,
whose recent work, Asien u. Eiiropa nach den alt-agypti-
schen Denkmdlern, has so materially altered and increased
the Egyptian data. I need not dwell here on the informa-
tion afforded by the Tell-el-Amarna tablets as to the
condition of Palestine before the coming of Israel.

On the Roman and Greek periods there have appeared
during recent years the works of Mommsen, Mahaffy,
Morrison, Neubauer, Niese's new edition of Josephus,
Boettger's topographical Lexicon to Josephus, the collec-
tion of Nabatean inscriptions in the Corpus Inscriptionum
Semiiicarwn, and Schlirer's monumental History of the
Jewish People in the Time of Christ. I have constantly



xiv The Historical Geography of the Holy Land

referred to the latter on the Maecabean and Herodian
periods ; and where I have ventured to differ from his
geographical conclusions it has always been with hesitation.

The last fifteen years have also seen the collection and
re-publication of the immense pilgrim literature on Pales-
tine, a more thorough research into the Arab geographies,
of which Mr. Guy Le Strange's Palestine under the
Moslems affords the English reader so valuable a sum-
mary, and a number of works on the Crusades and the
Frank occupation and organisation of Palestine, of which
the chief are those of Rey, Rohricht and Prutz. The
great French collection of the Historians of the Crusades,
begun as far back as 1843, largely falls within this
generation.

From one source, which hitherto has been unused, I
have derived great help. I mean Napoleon's invasion of
Syria and his conduct of modern war upon its ancient
battle-fields. It is a great thing to follow Napoleon on
the routes taken by Thothmes, Sennacherib, Alexander,
Vespasian, and the Crusaders, amidst the same difficulties
of forage and locomotion, and against pretty much the
same kind of enemies ; and I am surprised that no
geographer of the country has availed himself of the
opportunity which is afforded by the full records of
Napoleon's Asiatic campaign, and by the journals of the
British officers, attached to the Turkish army which fol-
lowed up his retreat.

Of all these materials I have made such use as con-



Preface to the First Edition



tributed to the aim of this work. I have added very few
original topographical suggestions. I have felt that just
at present the geographer of Palestine is more usefully-
employed in reducing than in adding to the identifications
of sites. In Britain our surveyors have been tempted to
serious over-identification, perhaps by the zeal of a portion
of the religious public, which subscribes to exploration
according to the number of immediate results. In Ger-
many, where they scorn us for this, the same temptation
has been felt, though from other causes, and the Zeitschrift
des Deutschen Palastina-Vereins has almost as man\ rash
proposals as the Quarterly Statement, and Old and New
Testament Maps, of the Palestine Exploration Fund. I
have, therefore, ignored a number of identifications and
contested a number more. If the following pages leave
the reader with many problems stated rather than solved,
this has been done of purpose. The work of explorers
and critics has secured an enormous number of results
which cannot be reasonably doubted. But in many other
cases what has been achieved is simply the collection of
all the evidence that exists above-ground — evidence which
is conflicting, and can be settled only by such further
excavations as Messrs. Flinders Petrie and Bliss have so
happily inaugurated at Tell-el-Hesy. The exploration, of
Western Palestine at least, is almost exhausted on the
surface, but there is a great future for it under-ground.
We have run most of the questions to earth : it only
remains to dig them up.



xvi The Historical Geography of the Holy Land

3. But an equally strong reason for the appearance at this
time of a Historical Geography of Palestine is the recent
progress of Biblical Criticism. The relation of the geo-
graphical materials at our disposal, and the methods of
historical reconstruction, have been wholly altered by Old
Testament science, since, for instance, Dean Stanley wrote
his Sinai and Palestine. That part of criticism which
consists of the distinction and appreciation of the various
documents, of which the Books of Scripture are composed,
has especially contributed to the elucidation and arrange-
ment of geographical details in the history of Israel, which
without it had been left by archaeology in obscurity. I
heartily agree with most of what is said on the duty of
regulating the literary criticism of the Bible by the
archaeology of Syria and the neighbouring countries, but
we must remember there is a converse duty as well. We
have had too many instances of the embarrassment and
confusion into which archaeology and geography lead
us, apart from the new methods of Biblical Criticism.
And to those among us who are distrustful of the latter, I
would venture to say that there is no sphere in which the
helpfulness of recent criticism, in removing difficulties and
explaining contradictions, has been more apparent than
in the sphere of Biblical Geography. In this volume I
have felt forced by geographical evidence to contest some of
the textual and historical conclusions of recent critics, both
in this country and in Germany, but I have fully accepted
the critical methods, and I believe this to be the first freo-



Preface to the First Edition



graphy of the Holy Land in which they are employed.
In fact, at this time of day, it would be simply futile to
think of writing the geography of Palestine on any other
principles.

It is as a provisional attempt to collect old and new
material from all these sources that I offer the following
pages. I have not aimed at exhausting the details of the
subject, but I have tried to lay down what seem to me
the best lines both for the arrangement of what has been
already acquired, and for the fitting on to it of what may
still be discovered. There are a few omissions which the
reader will notice. I have entirely excluded the topo-
graphy of Jerusalem, the geography of Phoenicia, and the
geography of Lebanon. This has been because I have
never visited Phoenicia, because Lebanon lies properly
outside the Holy Land, and because an adequate topo-
graphy of Jerusalem, while not contributing to the general
aim of the volume, would have unduly increased the size
of a work which is already too great. I was anxious to
give as much space as possible to Eastern Palestine, of
which we have had hitherto no complete geography.

Portions of Chapters VII, VIII, XII-XIV, and XX, most
of Chapters X, xv-xvii, xix, and XXI, and all Chapter
XVIII, have already appeared in The Expositor for 1892-93.

With regard to maps, this volume has been written
with the use of what must be for a long time the finest
illustration of the geography of Palestine — the English



xviii The Historical Geograpny of the Holy Land

Survey Maps, both the large map of Western Palestine, on
the scale of an inch to the mile, and the reduced map of
all Palestine on the scale of three-eighths of an inch to
the mile. The latter, in its editions of 1891 ff., though over-
crowded by 'identifications,' is by far the most useful map
ever published for students or travellers : one might call it
indispensable. Mr. Armstrong has lately put this map
into relief; the result is a most correct, clear and impres-
sive reproduction of the shape and physical varieties of
the land. If students desire a cheap small map, brought
down to date, they will find it in Fischer and Guthe's ad-
mirable map of Palestine, published by the German society.
The six maps for this volume have been specially
prepared by the eminent cartographer, Mr. John George
Bartholomew, of Edinburgh, and my hearty thanks are
due to him for the care and impressiveness with which
he has produced them. The large map and the three
sectional ones (the latter on the scale of four miles
to an inch) have this distinction, that they are the
first orographical maps of Palestine, representing the
whole lie and lift of the land by gradations of colour.
The little sketch-map on p. 5 1 is to illustrate the chapter
on the form and divisions of the land : while the map of
the Semitic World has been prepared, under my directions,
to illustrate Syria's place in history, and her influence
westwards. Through the courtesy of the engineers, Mr.
Bartholomew has been able to indicate the line of the new
Acca-Damascus Railway.



Preface to the First Edition



During my work on this volume, I have keenly felt the
want, in English, of a good historical atlas of the Holy
Land. I have designed one such, containing from thirty
to forty maps, and covering the history of Syria from the
earliest epochs to the Crusades and the present century ;
and preparations are being made by Mr. Bartholomew
and myself for its publication by Messrs. Hodder and
Stoughton.

In conclusion, I have to thank, for help rendered me at
various times, both in travel and in study. Dr. Selah
Merrill ; Rev. W. Ewing, late of Tiberias, whose collec-
tion of inscriptions is promised by the Exploration
Fund ; Dr. Mackinnon and Rev. Stewart Crawford of
Damascus ; Rev. Henry Sykes of the Church Missionary
Society at Es-Salt ; Rev. C. A. Scott of Willesden ; and
Professors Ramsay and Kennedy of Aberdeen. I have
been greatly assisted by two collections of works on the
Holy Land : that made by Tischendorf, now in possession
of the Free Church College, Glasgow ; and that made
by the late Mr. M'Grigor of Glasgow, now in the Library
of Glasgow University.

My wife has revised all the proofs of this volume, and,
with a friend, prepared the Index,

GEORGE ADAM SMITH.

2S//4 April 1 Sq4.



CONTE NTS



PREFACE, ....
LIST OF PLATES,
CHRONOLOGICAL TABLE, .
LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS, Etc.



vu
xxiv

XXV
xxvii



Book I.— THE LAND AS A WHOLE



I. The Place of Syria in the World's History, . i

1. The Relation of Syria to Arabia, ... 7

2. The Relation of Syria to the Three Continents, . 1 1

3. Syria's Opportunity Westward, ... 21

4. The Religion of Syria, .... 28

II. The Form of the Land and its Historical Con-
sequences, . . . . . .43

III. The Climate and Fertility of the Land, with

their Effects on its Religion, . . 61

1. The Climate, ...... 61

2. The Fertility, ...... 76

IV. The Scenery of the Land, with its Reflection in

the Poetry of the Old Testament, . . 90

V. The Land and Questions of Faith, . . ioi>

VI. The View from Mount Ebal, . 117

xxl



Contents



Book II.— WESTERN PALESTINE

CHAP.

VII. The Coast, .....

VIII. The Maritime Plain, .' , . fi

IX. The Philistines and their Cities, . ;

X. The Shephelah, .....

XI. Early Christianity in the Shephelah,

XII. JuD^A AND Samaria — The History of their
Frontier, ....

XIII. The Borders and Bulwarks of Jud/^la,

1. East : The Great Gulf with Jericho and Engedi — The

Entrance of Israel,

2. The Southern Border : The Negeb, .

3. The Western Border : The Defiles, .

4. The Northern Border : The Fortresses of Benjamin,

XIV. An Estimate of the Real Strength of Jud^a,
XV. The Character of Tud-*;a,

XVI. Samaria, . . • ,

XVII. The Strong Places of Samaria,
XVIII. The Question of Sychar,

XIX. ESDRAELON,

XX. Galilee, .
XXI. The Lake of Galilee,
XXII. The Jordan Valley,
XXIII. The Dead Sea, .



125
145
Ib7
199
237

245

257

261
278
286
289

295

303
321

343
365
377
411
437
465
497



Contents



CHAP.

XXIV.



XXV.



XXVI.
XXVII.
XXVIII.

XXIX.
XXX.



Book III.— EASTERN PALESTINE

PAGE

Over Jordan : General Features, . . .517

The Names and Divisions of Eastern Palestine, 531

1. The Three Natural Divisions, . . -534

2. The Political Names and Divisions To-day, . . 535

3. In the Greek Times : the Time of Our Lord, 53^

4. Under the Old Testament, .... 548

MoAB and the Coming of Israel, . - » 555

Israel in Gilead and Bashan, - . . 573

Greece over Jordan : The Decapolis, . „ 593

Hauran and its Cities, . . , , 609

Damascus, ...... 639



APPENDICES

I. Some Geographical Passages and Terms of the
Old Testament, . . ' .

II. Stade's Theory of Israel's Invasion of Western
Palestine, .....

III. The Wars against Sihon and Og, .

IV. The Bibliography of Eastern Palestine,
V. Rq^ds and Wheeled Vehicles in Syria, .

INDEX OF SUBJECTS,

INDEX OF AUTHORITIES,

INDEX OF SCRIPTURE REFERENCES, •



651

659
662

665
667
683
698
703



LIST OF PLATES



I. General Map of Palestine



II. Map OF THE Semitic World, ,

III. Physical Sketch Map, . . .

IV. JUD^A, THE SHEPHELAH, AND PHILISTIA

V. Samaria, ......

VI. Esdraelon and Lower Galilee, .



f In the Pocket at the
I end of the Volume



Frontispiece

on page 5 1

to face page 167

321

377



CHRONOLOGICAL TABLE



Entrance of Israel into Palestine,

Deborah and her Song, )

Gideon, )

Saul anointed,

David, King,

Solomon, King,

Disruption of the Kingdom and invasion by Shishak

Elijah, ......

Israel comes into touch with Assyria : Battle of

EHsha, ......

First Writing Prophets : Amos, Hosea,

rUzziah dies, ....

Isaiah -| Northern Israel falls, . . ,

(.Deliverance of Jerusalem,

^Discovery of Book of Law,

Death of Josiah at Megiddo,

Fall of Assyria : Rise of Babylonia,

First Great Captivity of Jerusalem,

^Second „ „ „

r Fall of Babylonia : Rise of Persia,
Second |



Jeremiah
iel I



Ezekit



Isaiah



Return of Jews from exile,



V

iTemple Rebuilt,
Ezra and Nehemiah, .
Erection of Temple on Gerizim,
Alexander the Great in Syria, .
Beginning of Seleucid Era,
Kingdom of Parthia founded, .
Rome defeats Antiochus the Great at Magnesia,



, circa


1300


. before


1 100


. circa


1075


>5



Online LibraryGeorge Adam SmithThe historical geography of the Holy land, especially in relation to the history of Israel and of the early church → online text (page 1 of 54)