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“On ascending the road which led up by the side of the village, we noticed a well at the foot of it, which was ascended to by steps, and its square brink of masonry supported by four arches. It appeared of considerable depth, from the length of the cord used for the bucket, and there was here a party of women drawing water. We met also females, to the number of forty or fifty, laden with pitchers on their heads and shoulders, going down to the well, and learned from them that it was the only source of supply for the town, as there was no water to be found within it.”BUCKINGHAM's Travels, i. 139, 140.
The wells outside the city-gate, at Beyroot, Mr. Paxton describes as walled up, with a large flat area over them, in the middle of which is a hole, large enough to let down a bucket. There is no pump or windlass, nor even a well-sweep; but a rope.--Letters,
CAVES USED AS PLACES OF REFUGE.-JOSEPHUS'S DESCRIPTION.
CAVE OF ADULLAM.-CAVES OF ENGEDI.-- CAVE OF HOREB.— SECURITY IN CASE OF EARTHQUAKE.- LIVING IN CAVES A SIGN OF DISTRESS.—HEATHEN RITES. – SITUATION OF CAVES.
- PETRA.- EL-KHUZNEH.-HAUNTS OF BANDITTI.--SHEPHERDS IN CAVES.-CAVE TOMBS USED AS HABITATIONS.
In addition to the regular habitations already described, there were places of occasional residence in Palestine and the neighbouring countries, such as natural or artificial caverns, and tombs. The limestone rocks of Palestine abound in caves, which were the resort of fugitives under every emergency. Thus, after the destruction of Sodom, Lot “dwelt in the mountain in
CAVES USED AS REFUGES..
a cave” (Gen. xix. 30). The five kings whom Joshua defeated “fled and hid themselves in a cave at Makkedah” (Josh. x. 16). In the time of the Midianitish invasion, “the children of Israel made them the dens which are in the mountains, and caves, and strongholds” (Judg. vi. 2). Again, under the pressure of the Philistines “ the people did hide themselves in caves, and in thickets, and in rocks, and in high places, and in pits” (1 Sam. xiii. 6). When Jezebel cut off the prophets of the Lord, Obadiah “took an hundred prophets and hid them by fifty in a cave, and fed them with bread and water" (1 Kings xviii. 4).
The remarkable adaptation of the caves or holes for purposes of concealment is nowhere more graphically described than by Josephus, in speaking of his own escape : “He withdrew himself from the enemy
when he was in the midst of them, and leaped into a certain deep pit, whereto there adjoined a large den at one side of it, which den could not be seen by those that were above ground; and here he met with forty persons of eminence, that had concealed themselves, and with provisions enough to satisfy them for not a few days. So in the daytime he hid himself from the enemy and in the night-time he got up out of the
- Wars of the Jews, iii. 8, § 1. And again in speaking of the massacre after the capture of Jerusalem, he says :-“ The Romans slew some of them, some they carried captives, and others they made search for underground, and when they found where they were, they broke up the ground and slew all they met with. There were also found slain there above two thousand persons and a great deal of treasure was found in the caverns (vi. 9, § 4).
Some of the caves were known by special names, as the cave of Adullam, whither David took refuge from Saul on several occasions, and to which a band of four hundred men resorted (1 Sam. xxii. 1; xxiii. 14). The exact position of this place is not known, but it is sup
posed to have been in the south of Judah, near a place now called Deir Dubban. The caves in this neighbourhood are very extraordinary. Dr. Robinson thus describes one, which was reported to be large enough to hold all the Pasha's troops : “In the soft limestone or chalky road, which the soil here scarcely covers, are several irregular pits . . . some nearly square, and all about fifteen or twenty feet deep, with perpendicular sides ... (in which) are doors, or low arched passages ... leading into large excavations in the adjacent rock, in the form of tall domes, or bell-shaped apartments ... the top of the dome usually terminates in a small circular opening at the surface of the ground above, admitting light into the cavern.
These apartments are mostly in clusters, three or four together, communicating with each other. Around one pit... we found sixteen such apartments thus connected. ... Some of them are ornamented with rows of small holes ... like pigeon-holes, extending quite round the wall." -Researches, ii. 23.
In the same neighbourhood, at Beib Jibrin, he gives the following description of a series of immense excavations in an isolated hill, on which were remains of ancient buildings
“Lighting several candles, we entered by a narrow and difficult passage from a pit overgrown with briers, and found ourselves in a dark labyrinth of galleries and apartments, all cut from the solid rock, and occupying the bowels of the hill. ... Several were entered by a door near the top, from which a staircase, cut in the same rock, wound down round the wall to the
“We could discover (nothing) which might afford the slightest clue for unravelling the mystery in which the history and object of these remarkable excavations are enveloped.” It appears, however, from history, that the Edomites spread themselves throughout the south of Judea after the Jewish exile; and as they
originally were dwellers in caverns, or under ground, Dr. Robinson suggests that possibly they brought with them into Judea their habits of life; and that they excavated for themselves these dwellings under ground in the soft limestone rock.- Researches, ii. 53, 69.
Another of David's resorts was Engedi, on the west side of the Dead Sea, and it was in one of the numerous caves in that district that Saul unwittingly came into close contact with David, as related in 1 Sam. xxiv. 2–8:-Then Saul ... went to seek David and his men upon the rocks of the wild goats. And he came to the sheep-cotes by the way, where was a cave; and Saul went in. ... And David and his men remained in the sides of the cave.
But Saul rose up out of the cave, and went on his way. David also arose afterward, and went out of the cave, and cried after Saul, saying, My Lord the king.”
The district is thus described by Dr. Robinson :“We were now in the wilderness of Engedi, where David and his men lived among the rocks of the wild goats, and where the former cut off the skirts of Saul's robe in a cave. The whole scene is drawn to the life. On all sides the country is full of caverns, which might then serve as lurking-places for David and his men, as they do for outlaws at the present day."---Researches, i. 500.
The cave of Horeb was the scene of Elijah's awful interview. “He went unto Horeb the mount of God And he came thither into a cave (or more correctly the cave, implying that it was one well known), and lodged there . . . and he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave” (1 Kings xix. 9, 13). The traditional scene of this event on Jebel Musá is marked by a chapel in which “the monks show near the altar a hole just large enough for a man's body, which they say is the cave where the prophet dwelt in Horeb.”—Robinson's Researches, i. 103.