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that of an open leather cover, capable of forming a bag, cism is ever prompt, that a different word should be are so distinct, that it seems every way necessary, substituted; a word more capable of designating the were it only to avoid that ridicule to which skepti- subject, and describing the utensil intended.
REMARKS ON THE MAP OF THE COUNTRY, FROM SUEZ TO MOUNT SINAI: COPIED
FROM NIEBUHR. EXODUS XIII. XIX.
GEOGRAPHY and chronology are the two eyes of phers call it, of the sea of Kolzum, lies nearly north history; yet very rarely is geography purged from and south; in a position very proper to be traversed those films to which it is naturally subject. The task by that strong east wind which was sent to divide it, is not easy : for, to accomplish it, requires no less Exod. xiv. 21. The division that was thus made in than actual acquaintance with the country which it the channel, the making the waters of it to stand on a describes, and this is not always possible ; the utmost heap, Psalm lxxviii. 13. their being a wall to the Iswe can do is, to collect from those who have travelled raelites on the right hand and on the left, Exod. xiv. there, what accounts they offer, and to correct the 22. besides the distance of at least twenty miles, that judgment of one traveller by that of another, who may this passage lies below the extremity of the Gulf, are have had superior advantages, and probably better in- circumstances which sufficiently vouch for the miracformation.
ulousness of it, and no less contradict all such idle As the celebrity of mount Sinai has induced many suppositions as pretend to account for it, from the napersons to visit it, we are happily relieved from the ture and quality of tides, or from any such extraordinecessity of depending on one only; we shall there. nary recess of the sea, as it seems to have been too fore, to the narrations of Dr. Shaw, who was certain- rashly compared to by Josephus. ly a man of observation, but not a correct draughts “ In travelling from Sdur toward mount Sinai, we man, subjoin that of Niebuhr, whose map we presume come into the desert, as it is still called, of Marah, to think is the most faithful of any yet published. where the Israelites met with those bitter waters, or Moreover, as Dr. Shaw travelled the very course waters of Marah, Exod. xv. 23. And as this circumwhich Moses and the caravan of Israel had travelled stance did not happen, till after they had wandered so many ages before him, his remarks cannot fail of three days in the wilderness, we may probably fix it being interesting and acceptable. Travels, p. 346, at Corondel, where there is a small rill of water, which, &c. folio edit.
unless it be diluted by the dews and rains, still contin“Corondel, I presume, made the southern portion ues to be brackish. Near this place, the sea forms itself of the desert of Marah ; from whence to the port of into a large bay, called Berk el Corondel, which is Tor, the shore, which hitherto was low and sandy, remarkable for a strong current, that sets into it from begins now to be rocky and mountainous, whilst that the northward. The Arabs preserve a tradition, that of Egypt is still more impracticable, and neither of a numerous host was formerly drowned at this place, them afford any convenient place, either for the de- occasioned, no doubt, by what we are informed of parture or the landing of a multitude. Moreover, Exod. xiv. 30. that the Israelites saw the Egyptians from Corondel to Tor,  the channel is ten or twelve dead upon the sea shore. leagues broad, too great a space certainly for the Is “ There is nothing further remarkable, till we see raelites, in the manner at least they were encumber- the Israelites encamped at Elim, Exod. xv. 27; Numb. ed, to traverse in one night. And, at Tor, the Ara- xxxiii. 9. upon the northern skirts of the desert of bian shore begins to wind itself, round what we may Sin, two leagues from Tor, and near thirty from Cosuppose to be Ptolemy's promontory of Paran, toward rondel. I saw no more than nine of the twelve wells the Gulf of Eloth; at the same time the Egyptian re- that are mentioned by Moses, the other three being tires so far to the S.W. that it can scarce be perceiv- filled up by those drifts of sand, which are common in ed. The Israelites therefore could neither have land- Arabia. Yet this loss is amply made up by the great ed at Corondel nor Tor, according to the conjectures increase of the palm-trees, the seventy having propaof several authors.
gated themselves into more than two thousand. Under “Over against Jibbel At-tackah, at ten miles dis- the shade of these trees is the Hammam Mousa, tance, is the desert, as it is called, of Sdur, the same Bath of Moses, which the inhabitants of Tor have in with Shur, Exod. xv. 22. where the Israelites landed, extraordinary esteem and veneration ; acquainting us, after they had passed through the interjacent gulf of that it was here, that Moses himself and his particuthe Red Sea. The situation of this Gulf, which is the lar household were encamped. (Jam Suph 910 d'] The weedy sea, in the Scriptures, “ We have a distinct view of mount Sinai from the Gulf of Heroopolis in the Greek and Latin geog- Elin; the wilderness, as it is still called, of Sin, lying raphy, and the western arm, as the Arabian geogra. betwixt us. We traversed these plains in nine hours,
being diverted, all the way, with the sight of a vari- kans being the only solid buildings in the city. Hardly ety of lizards and vipers, that are here in great num any part now remains of the castle which the Turks bers. I had not the good fortune to see the famous built
the ruins of the ancient Kolsum. inscription, that is said to be engraven upon the rocks, “ It is very thinly inhabited. Among its inhabijust as we turn into the valley that conducts us to tants are some Greeks, and a few families of Copts. mount Sinai. Sin was the first place where God gave But, about the time of the departure of the fleet, it is the Israelites manna, Exod. xvi. 14. and therefore
crowded with strangers. some authors have imagined, that these characters “ The ground lying around it is all one bed of rock, were left as a standing monument of that blessing, to slightly covered with sand.
slightly covered with sand. Scarce a plant is to be future generations.
seen any where in the neighbourhood. Trees, gar“From mount Sinai, the Israelites directed their dens, meadows, and fields, are entirely unknown at marches northward, toward the land of Canaan. The Suez. Fish is the only article of provisions plentiful next remarkable stations therefore were in the desert here. All other necessaries of life, for both men and of Paran, which seems not to have commenced, till the domestic animais, are brought from afar ; from after they departed from Hazeroth, three stations Cairo, which is three days journey distant from Suez; from Sinai, Numb. xii. 16. Now as tradition has mount Sinai, at the distance of six days journey ; or preserved to us the names of Shur, Marah, and Sin, Ghasso, at the distance of seven. so we have also that of Paran, which we enter at about " At Suez there is not a single spring of water. half way betwixt Sinai and Corondel, in travelling That at Bir Suez is scarcely good enough for cattle ; through the midland road, along the defiles of what but it is drawn to Suez twice a day for their use. The were probably the Black Mountains of Ptolemy. _In water of the pretended wells of Moses is still worse ; one part of it, ten leagues to the northward of Tor, and besides, these wells lie at a league and a half disthere are several ruins, particularly of a Greek con- tance, on the other side of the Gulf. The only water vent, called the convent of Paran, which was not long fit for drinking that is to be had here, comes from the ago abandoned, by reason of the continued insults wells of Naba, upon the other side of the Gulf, and which they suffered from the Arabs. Here likewise more than two leagues distant from Suez. The Arabs we should look for the city of that name, though, ac are the carriers ; and they sell this water at the rate cording to the circumstances of its situation, as they of nine French sols a skin; but, though reputed the are laid down by Ptolemy, Tor, a small maritime vil best, it is still very bad.  lage, with a castle hard by it, should rather be the “ The Arabs who live about Tor,  upon the place.
other side of the Gulf, are little afraid of the Turk“ It would be too daring an attempt to pretend to ish governor of Suez. When dissatisfied with him, trace out all the particular encampments that are or with the inhabitants of the city, they threaten to mentioned, Numb. xxxiii. the greatest part whereof bring no more water, and forbid them to come near were confined to this small tract of Arabia Petrea, the wells of Naba. These threats, if carried into wbich I have just now described. However, thus execution, would reduce the city to the last extremimuch may be added, that, after the Israelites left ties; and all means are, therefore, used to pacify mount Sinai, the most southern of their stations seems them. to have been Ezion-geber;  which being the place “On the 6th of September, 1762, we crossed the from whence Solomon's navy went for gold to Ophir, Gulf, and set out next morning with our Arabs. The 1 Kings, ix. 26; 2 Chron. viii. 17. we may be induc first day we travelled along the coast of the Arabic ed to take it for the same with what is called at pres. Gulf, through a sandy plain, having a few hills scatent, Bleenah el Dsahab, the Port of Gold. Accord
Accord- tered over it. The Arabs call such plains, when ing to the account I had of it, from the monks of they lie somewhat low, Wadi,  or vallies, because Sinai, it lies in the Gulf of Eloth, at the distance of water remains stagnant in them, after heavy rains. two days journey from them, enjoying a spacious har We rested under a palm-tree, in a place called Aijoun bour, which supplies them sometimes with plenty of Musa, Moses's Fountains. These pretended founJobsters and shell fish."
tains, are five holes in the sand, in a well of very inWe shall now direct our attention to Niebuhr, Trav- different water that becomes turbid, whenever any of els, vol. i. p. 175, &c.
it is drawn. As the holes bear the name of Moses, “ The city of Suez stands upon the western side, the Arabs ascribe them to the Jewish lawgiver. but not just upon the western extremity, of the Ara. After a day's journey of five German miles and a bic Gull. It is not surrounded with walls; but the half, we encamped on the sand, in the plain of El-Ti. houses are built so closely together, that there are In the evening, a violent blast of wind raised the sand only two passages into the city, of which that nearest about us, by which we were not more incommoded the sea is open, the other shut by a very insufficient than a similar incident would have incommoded us gate. The houses are very sorry structures; the in Europe.
“ The country through which we passed, is famous shells, of a species which is to be found with the as the scene of the emigration of the Jews, under living shell fish in it, in the Arabic Gulf. One of Moses. We were therefore desirous of learning those hills is entirely covered with flints. The granfrom the Arabs, the names of all the places, and of all ite becomes more and more plentiful as we approach the mountains, especially, in our way. I likewise mount Sinai. measured the distances of places, by counting the “Our road lay often along the brink of precipices, steps of the camel, and comparing the number with commonly through stony glens, and sometimes through the time in which they were travelled, by my watch. wide vallies, watered and fertile. Such were Usaitu, By means of a compass, I distinguished likewise the El Hamer, and Warsan. We passed, also, in our directions of the road. None of the Arabs understood way by Nasbe, the seat of some Bedouins of this the nature of this instrument. It is plainly, therefore, country. As water was sometimes at a distance an idle tale, that they follow the direction of the com from the places where we encamped, our servants pass, in travelling through their deserts.
were obliged to go to bring it. We could have wish“On the 8th of September we travelled through ed to accompany them, in order to see a little of the the plain of Girdan. We saw, on our way, an enor country; but our guides would not always permit us. mous mass of rock, that had fallen from a neighbour After passing through the valley of Warsan, we ing mountain. We entered next the valley of Giron turned a little out of the highway, and the same del, and, after proceeding five miles and a half fur- evening reached the abode of our chief of the tribe ther, found ourselves in the vicinity of Jibbel Ham of Leghat. mam Faraun. In the rainy season a considerable “Being determined to proceed on to mount Sinai, torrent runs through the valley of Girondel.  It we set out from the dwelling of our schiech of Beni was at this time dry; yet, by digging in the bed, to Leghat, on the 12th of September. The country the depth of two feet, we found better water than became more mountainous as we advanced; yet we that which is used at Suez. This valley not being passed through some pleasant vallies ; such were deficient in water, has in it several trees, and even those at Chamela, Dabur, Barak, and Genna. Begroves, that appear singularly striking to travellers fore reaching the vale of Israitu, which, although surfrom Cairo, who have seen no similar appearance in rounded with rocky and precipitous mountains, disthe previous part of their journey.
plays some rich and cheerful prospects, we were “ Hammam Faraun is the name of a hot spring obliged to go over another lofty and almost inacceswhich rises by two apertures out of a rock, at the sible hill. foot of a high mountain. It is used in baths by the “At the distance of nearly seven German miles neighbouring sick, who commonly stay forty days from the dwelling of our schiech of the tribe of Legfor a cure, during which their only food is a fruit, bat, we found the abode of our other schiech of the called lassaf, which grows here. An extensive tribe of Said. The Arabs set up our tents near a burying place near the baths, suggested doubts in my tree, in the valley of Faran, and left us to amuse ourmind of the beneficial effects of this regimen. The selves there in the best manner we could, till they tradition that the Jews passed this way, and that went to see their friends in gardens of date-trees, Pharaoh's
's army was drowned here, has occasioned scattered over the valley. We were at no great disthis place to receive the name of Birket-el-Faraun. tance from our schiech's camp, which consisted of The Arabs imagine that Pharaoh is doing penance nine or ten tents. We were informed that the ruins at the bottom of this well, and vomits up the sul of an ancient city were to be seen in the neighbourphureous vapour with which the water is impreg- hood. But, when the Arabs found us curious to nated.
visit it, they left us, and would give us no further ac• This eastern side of the Arabic Gulf is tolera count of it. bly level and uniform. But the opposite side is one “The famous valley of Faran, in which we now range of lofty mountains; broken, however, and di were, has retained its name unchanged since the days vided by two vales, by one of which we must pass of Moses, being still called Wadi Faran, the Valley in travelling from Egypt to the shore of the Red of Faran. Its length is equal to a journey of a day Sea.
and a half, extending from the foot of mount Sinai “ We turned, by degrees, toward the northeast, to the Arabic Gulf. In the rainy season it is filled in pursuing the direct road to mount Sinai, and at with water; and the inhabitants are then obliged to length entered a narrow vale, which appeared to retire up the hills: it was dry, however, when we have been cut by the torrents in the rock. The passed through it. That part of it wbich we saw mountains which rose upon every side of us, in unin was far from being fertile, but served as a pasture to terrupted cbains, were masses of a sort of limestone goats, camels, and asses. The other part is said to intermingled with veins of granite. In several places be very fertile; and the Arabs told us, that, in the through them, I discovered a quantity of petrified districts to which our Ghasirs had gone, were many