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followed the course of the Mill Valley, down to the corner of Antonia", is to me an incredible supposition, for so the wall would be commanded from the steep hill without. Besides which, as Antonia lay on a hill, not in a valley, the only way in which the wall could reach it, was “across the high ground of Bezetha,” in Dr Robinson's acceptation. So that, in fact, the ancient City, according to this writer, instead of consisting of two hills separated by an intermediate valley, would comprehend only one entire hill (Mount Sion), divided from Acra (not a hill, but “the continuation or rather termination of a broad ridge or swell of land”) by a Tyropoeon, of which no traces remain; and then another broad valley, and great part of the hill Bezetha, which Josephus tells us was not enclosed until the time of Agrippa. Where then, it will be asked, is Bezetha, or rather the hill included in Bezeth?? for the New City was very extensive, and encompassed the Lower City on three sides. I answer, exactly where Josephus places it— North of the Temple, and answering to his description in every respect. There is a hill distinct from Acra, not mentioned by Dr Robinson*, lying between it and the valley of the Kedron, covered to this day with ruins and cisterns, and bearing evident traces of having been thickly peopled. The highest point of this hill, nearly North-East of the summit of Acra, is now without the city-walls, and planted with olives; while the South, or lower part, is within the walls, and reaches down to the trench now known as the “Pool of Bethesda.” For the hill of Acra does not slope down to the valley of the Kedron; the skirt of Bezetha, on which stands the church of St Ann, being interposed”; and the valley between the two ridges may still be traced down from the Gate of Herod to the Western extremity of the above-named pool". The steep brow of Acra rises abruptly on the West of this valley, and the traditionary house of Simon the Pharisee overhangs the declivity. In approaching the city from the North by the Damascus road the two hills are so distinctly marked, that it is impossible to mistake them, and the correctness of the Jewish historian's language is most clearly proved; for the hill Bezetha does most completely “overshadow” Moriah from this quarter", and when covered with buildings must have entirely obscured the view of the Temple from the North, which the other hill neither does nor could ever have done, being as it is to the North-West of the Haram". There is however one objection to this hypothesis, the only one that I am aware of, and it shall be honestly stated; viz. that this Acra is higher than Moriah, whereas Josephus says that the height of Acra was reduced by the Asmoneans so as to become lower than the Temple?.. But first, in addition to all other difficulties,
' Dr Robinson throws out both so good as to illustrate this work. these suggestions. Bib. Res. 1. p. 462. I made before he had studied the topo
* He even implies a doubt of its graphy of Jerusalem : it is also disexistence, Theol. Rev. p. 440. I would | tinctly marked on the Officers' contherefore beg to refer to the very faith- toured Plan. ful sketch of my friend who has been
* Could Dr R. suppose that I intend * Bell. Jud. Lib. Iv. cap. v. sect. the same by the summit and the skirt | 8. Another feature unmarked by Dr of this hill? and that I meant to imply Robinson, and therefore, as usual, dethat its skirt and not the summit over- nied. l.c. p. 440.
shadows the Temple 2 or is he merely * As Dr Robinson also perpetually caviling in note 2, p. 439, of the writes, Th. Rev. p. 438–441. Theol. Rev. 2 7 J. W. V. iv. 1.
"See Schultz's Jerusalem, p. 32. |
this same objection applies to Dr Robinson's Acra in a much greater degree"; and next, I am not at all sure that the language of Josephus requires this construction. The object of the Asmoneans was to remove the annoyance of the fortress, the original Acra, which stood in a commanding position at the North-West of the Temple; and the result of their labours was, that the Temple outtopped all the buildings in its neighbourhood, but not necessarily the whole hill and all the buildings upon it”. The fact is, that unless Josephus is allowed some latitude, and we are permitted to resolve this difficulty in some such manner as this, we are reduced to the alternative of supposing that Moriah is not correctly placed; for there is not a hill in the neighbourhood which is not higher than that now occupied by the Great Mosk: and then we have to seek new axioms before we can advance a single step in the topography of Jerusalem; for this point is commonly assumed, and allowed by general consent, as one of the very few data on which we may build. We may now return to the point from which we set out, and endeavour to trace the course of the second wall. Let us then place the gate Gennath in the Northern wall of Sion, somewhere near the entrance to the bazaars from the West: The second wall, commencing here will run in a Northerly direction parallel to the three arcades of the bazaar, and to the Street of St Stephen,_but a little to the West of this line. It will be carried along a sloping ground, which is a disadvantage; but the Tyropoeon must be crossed; and since Acra is North of Sion, the wall must run in that direction along the declivity to the upper and more shallow part of the valley, near the Damascus Gate. The disadvantage would be obviated in some measure by artificial defences. The “Valley Gate” and “the corner Gate,” and “the turning of the wall,” fortified with towers by Uzziah", and “the broad wall”,” were probably found in this part of the wall. And it is not unlikely that those two chambers constructed of large stones, still to be seen near the Damascus Gate, may have belonged to one of these fortified gates, and have aided to strengthen the wall in this its weakest and most assailable part : it here reached the hill Acra, round which it was carried until it met the wall of the fortress Antonia. It is singular that the language of Josephus alone, apart from all other considerations, induced a friend, who has been before mentioned, to draw the wall within a few feet of this line, which we afterwards found evidence to prove it had taken. In that part of Mount Sion where I have placed the gate Gennath, there is a dip in the hill, so marked, that in passing from South to North, by the Street of Mount Sion, commencing near the Sion Gate, you have little or no descent at all to the bazaars”: while from any other point West of this there is a steep declivity-the higher brow of Mount Sion described by Josephus. Near the bazaars then is a favourable position for the gate Gennath, and for the commencement of the Second Wall ; and near this there is a tradition of a Gate leading into Sion, marked still by two columns, reverenced by pilgrims as that through which St Peter passed to the house of St Mark'. I would not attach much importance to this fact taken alone; but, as a link in a chain of evidence, it is worth something. Again, immediately without the bazaar, on the West, is a sudden rise to Sion, near the top of which is to be seen the head of an old gateway, so much choked up with rubbish that the key-stone is nearly on a level with the street; it bears marks of antiquity in its structure, and in the size of the stones, which are much worn by exposure. It appears to have formed a round arch, and might probably be excavated with success, if permission could be obtained: I attempted to get behind it in a dyer's shop, but it is all blocked up. If this were a city gate at all, it belonged to the second wall, not to the first, and must have been very near the angle. Its present state most clearly indicates that the natural surface of the ground in this quarter must be much
* For it is the highest part of the city. See above, p. 26, n. 6, and compare with those authorities, Bib. Res. I. p. 392, n. 1.
* Rubbish does wonders in Jerusalem, and it will do something, but I fear not enough, here. The ruined church, said to occupy the site of the
house of Simon the Pharisee, stands near the top of this hill, and is now below ground, and surrounded on all sides with heaps. Heads of gateways are level with the present street, &c. More will be said of this levelling of the hill, when I come to speak of Antonia, in a subsequent chapter.
* 2 Chron. xxvi. 9. * Dr Robinson ought not to deny * Nehem. iii. 8; xii. 38. the existence of this depression, which is also plainly to be seen without the city, running in, a little east of the tomb of David. Dr Schultz, in his accurate description of this part of Mount Sion, has remarked it, without any hint from me, (Jerusalem, p. 9,) and it is clearly marked in the Officers' contoured Plan, both without and within the city. He is too much in the habit of denying what escaped his own observation, or