CHAPTER IV. A FEW DAYS IN GALILEE.
Years ago, when I first began to think of making the trip I am now describing, I had no thought of the many interesting places that I could easily and cheaply visit on my way to Palestine. I did not then think of what has been described on the foregoing pages. Now I have come to the place where I am to tell my readers the story of my travels in the Land of Promise, and I want to make it as interesting and instructive as possible. It is important to have a knowledge of the geography of all the lands mentioned, but it is especially important to know the location of the various places referred to in Palestine. These pages will be more profitable if the reader will make frequent reference to maps of the land, that he may understand the location of the different places visited. I shall first describe my trip across the province of Galilee, and take up my sight-seeing in Judaea in other chapters.
The ancient Phoenician cities of Tyre and Sidon were on the coast between Beyrout and Haifa, where I entered Galilee on the fourth of October, but we passed these places in the night. Haifa, situated at the base of Mount Carmel, has no Biblical history, but is one of the two places along the coast of Palestine where ships stop, Jaffa being the other. Mount Carmel is fourteen miles long, and varies in height from five hundred and fifty-six feet at the end next to the sea to eighteen hundred and ten feet at a point twelve miles inland. There is a monastery on the end next to the Mediterranean, which I reached after a dusty walk along the excellent carriage road leading up from Haifa. After I rested awhile, reading my Bible and guide-book, I walked out to the point where the sea on three sides, the beautiful little plain at the base of the mountain, Haifa, and Acre across the bay, all made up one of the prettiest views of the whole trip. Owing to its proximity to the sea and the heavy dews, Carmel was not so dry and brown as much of the country I had seen before.
By the direction of Elijah, Ahab gathered the prophets of Baal, numbering four hundred and fifty, and the prophets of the Asherah, four hundred more, at some point on this mountain, probably at the eastern end, passed on my way over to Nazareth later in the day. "And Elijah came near unto all the people, and said, How long go ye limping between the two sides? If Jehovah be God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him" (1 Kings 18:21). He then proposed that two sacrifices be laid on the wood, with no fire under them; that the false prophets should call on their god, and he would call on Jehovah. The God that answered by fire was to be God. "All the people answered and said, It is well spoken." The prophets of Baal called upon him from morning till noon, saying, "O Baal, hear us. But there was no voice, nor any that answered. And they leaped about the altar that was made. And it came to pass at noon that Elijah mocked them, and said, Cry aloud; for he is a god: either he is musing, or he is gone aside, or he is on a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth and must be awaked. And they cried aloud, and cut themselves after their manner with knives and lances, till the blood gushed out upon them. And it was so, when midday was past, that they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening oblation; but there was neither voice, nor any to answer, nor any that regarded." The sincerity, earnestness, and perseverance of these people are commendable, but they were wrong. Sincerity, although a most desirable trait, can not change a wrong act into acceptable service to God, nor can earnestness and perseverance make such a change. It is necessary both to be honest and to do the will of our heavenly Father. After water had been poured over the other sacrifice till it ran down and filled the trench around the altar, Elijah called on Jehovah, and in response to his petition "the fire of Jehovah fell, and consumed the burnt offering, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench." Elijah then took the false prophets down to the brook Kishon, at the base of the mountain, and killed them. Acre is the Acco of the Old Testament, and lies around the bay, twelve mile from Haifa. It is said that the Phoenicians obtained the dye called Tyrian purple there, and that shells of the fish that yielded it are yet to be found along the beach. Napoleon besieged the place in 1799, and used a monastery, since destroyed, on Mount Carmel for a hospital. After his retreat, Mohammedans killed the sick and wounded soldiers who had been left behind, and they were buried near the monastery. Acre was called Ptolemais in apostolic times, and Paul spent a day with the brethren there as he was on his way down the coast from Tyre to Jerusalem. (Acts 21:7.)
About noon I entered a carriage for Nazareth, in which there were four other passengers: a lady connected with the English Orphanage in Nazareth, and three boys going there to attend the Russian school. About two miles from Haifa we crossed the dry bed of the Kishon, as this stream, like many others in Palestine, only flows in the wet season. Our course led along the base of Carmel to the southeast, and the supposed place of Elijah's sacrifice was pointed out. Afterwards Mount Gilboa, where Saul and Jonathan were slain, came in sight, and later we saw Little Hermon with Nain upon it, Endor below it on one side, and Jezreel not far away in another direction. We saw a good portion of the Plain of Esdraelon, and Mount Tabor was in sight before we entered Nazareth, which lies on the slope of a hill and comes suddenly into view.