Early on Tuesday morning, the eleventh of October, I set out by carriage, with some other tourists, for a trip to Bethlehem, Solomon's Pools, and Hebron. Bethlehem is about five miles south of Jerusalem, and Hebron is a little southwest of the Holy City and twenty miles distant. We started from the Jaffa gate and passed the Sultan's Pool, otherwise known as Lower Gihon, which may be the "lower pool" of Isaiah 22:9. "The entire area of this pool," says one writer, "is about three and a half acres, with an average depth, when clear of deposit, of forty-two and a half feet in the middle from end to end." We drove for two miles, or perhaps more, across the Plain of Rephaim, one of David's battlefields soon after he established himself in Jerusalem. Here he was twice victorious over the Philistines. In the first instance he asked Jehovah: "Shall I go up against the Philistines? Wilt thou deliver them into my hand?" The answer was: "Go up; for I will certainly deliver the Philistines into thy hand." In this battle the invaders were routed and driven from the field. "And they left their images there; and David and his men took them away." But "the Philistines came up yet again, and spread themselves in the valley of Rephaim. And when David inquired of Jehovah, he said, Thou shalt not go up: make a circuit behind them, and come upon them over against the mulberry trees. And it shall be, when thou hearest the sound of marching in the tops of the mulberry trees, that then thou shalt bestir thyself, for then is Jehovah gone out before thee to smite the hosts of the Philistines." David obeyed the voice of the Lord, and smote his enemies from Geba to Gezer. (2 Samuel 5:17-25.)

On the southern border of the plain stands the Greek convent called Mar Elyas. This is about half way to Bethlehem, and the city of the nativity soon comes into view. Before going much farther the traveler sees a well-built village, named Bet Jala, lying on his right. It is supposed to be the ancient Giloh, mentioned in 2 Samuel 15:12 as the home of Ahithophel, David's counselor, for whom Absalom sent when he conspired against his father. Here the road forks, one branch of it passing Bet Jala and going on to Hebron; the other, bearing off to the left, leads directly to Bethlehem, which we passed, intending to stop there as we returned in the evening. At this place we saw the monument erected to mark the location of Rachel's tomb, a location, like many others, in dispute. When Jacob "journeyed from Bethel and there was still some distance to come to Ephrath," Rachel died at the birth of Benjamin, "and was buried in the way to Ephrath (the same is Bethlehem). * * * And Jacob set up a pillar upon her grave" (Gen. 35:16-20). The spot, which for many centuries was marked by a pyramid of stones, is now occupied by a small stone building with a dome-shaped roof, at the east side of which is a room, open on the north, with a flat roof. For hundreds of years tradition has located the grave at this place, which is indeed near Bethlehem, but in 1 Samuel 10:2 it is mentioned as being "in the border of Benjamin," which has occasioned the belief that the true location is some miles farther north.

Before long we came to Solomon's Pools. We first stopped at a doorway, which looks like it might lead down to a cellar, but in reality the door is at the head of a flight of stairs leading down to what is known as the "sealed fountain" (Song of Solomon 4:12). The door was fastened, and we were not able to descend to the underground chamber, which is forty-one feet long, eleven and a half feet wide, with an arched stone roof, all of which, except the entrance, is below the surface. A large basin cut in the floor collects the water from two springs. After rising a foot in the basin, the water flows out into a channel more than six hundred feet long leading down to the two upper pools. These great reservoirs, bearing the name of Israel's wisest monarch, are still in a good state of preservation, having been repaired in modern times. The first one is three hundred and eighty feet long, two hundred and twenty-nine feet wide at one end, two hundred and thirty feet wide at the other, and twenty-five feet deep. The second pool is four hundred and twenty-three feet long, one hundred and sixty feet wide at the upper end, two hundred and fifty feet wide at the lower end, and thirty-nine feet deep at that end. The third pool is the largest of all, having a length of five hundred and eighty-two feet. The upper end is one hundred and forty-eight feet wide, the lower end two hundred and seven feet, and the depth at the lower end is fifty feet. The pools are about one hundred and fifty feet apart, and have an aggregate area of six and a quarter acres, with an average depth approaching thirty-eight feet. The upper two received water from the sealed fountain, but the lower one was supplied from an aqueduct leading up from a point more than three miles to the south. The aqueduct from the sealed fountain leads past the pools, and winds around the hills to Bethlehem and on to the Temple Area, in Jerusalem. It is still in use as far as Bethlehem, and could be put in repair and made serviceable for the whole distance. An offer to do this was foolishly rejected by the Moslems in 1870. The only habitation near the pools is an old khan, "intended as a stopping place for caravans and as a station for soldiers to guard the road and the pools." The two upper pools were empty when I saw them, but the third one contained some water and a great number of frogs. As we went on to Hebron we got a drink at "Philip's Well," the place where "the eunuch was baptized," according to a tradition which lacks support by the present appearance of the place.

Towards noon we entered the "valley of Eschol," from whence the spies sent out by Moses carried the great cluster of grapes. (Num. 13:23.) Before entering Hebron we turned aside and went up to Abraham's Oak, a very old tree, but not old enough for Abraham to have enjoyed its shade almost four thousand years ago. The trunk is thirty-two feet in circumference, but the tree is not tall like the American oaks. It is now in a dying condition, and some of the branches are supported by props, while the lower part of the trunk is surrounded by a stone wall, and the space inside is filled with earth. The plot of ground on which the tree stands is surrounded by a high iron fence. A little farther up the hill the Russians have a tower, from which we viewed the country, and then went down in the shade near Abraham's Oak and enjoyed our dinner.

Hebron is a very ancient city, having been built seven and a half years before Zoar in Egypt. (Num. 13:22.) Since 1187 it has been under the control of the Mohammedans, who raise large quantities of grapes, many of which are made into raisins. Articles of glass are made in Hebron, but I saw nothing especially beautiful in this line. The manufacture of goat-skin water-bottles is also carried on. Another line of work which I saw being done is the manufacture of a kind of tile, which looks like a fruit jug without a bottom, and is used in building. Hebron was one of the six cities of refuge (Joshua 20:7), and for seven years and a half it was David's capital of Judah. It is very historic. "Abraham moved his tent, and came and dwelt by the oaks of Mamre, which are in Hebron, and built there an altar unto Jehovah." (Gen. 13:18.) When "Sarah died in Kiriath-arba (the same is Hebron), in the land of Canaan, * * * Abraham came to mourn for Sarah, and to weep for her." At this time the worthy progenitor of the Hebrew race "rose up from before his dead, and spoke unto the children of Heth, saying, I am a stranger and a sojourner with you: give me a possession of a burying-place with you, that I may bury my dead out of my sight." The burial place was purchased for "four hundred shekels of silver, current money of the land. * * * And after this Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave in the field of Machpelah before Mamre (the same is Hebron), in the land of Canaan" (Gen. 23:1-20). Years after this, when both Abraham and his son Isaac had passed the way of all the earth and had been laid to rest in this cave, the patriarch Jacob in Egypt gave directions for the entombment of his body in this family burial place. "There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife; there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife; and there I buried Leah" (Gen. 49:31), and here, by his own request, Jacob was buried. (Gen. 50:13.) Joshua, the successor of Moses, "utterly destroyed" Hebron (Joshua 10:37), and afterwards gave it to Caleb, to whom it had been promised by Moses forty-five years before. (Joshua 14:6-15.) Here Abner was slain (2 Samuel 3:27), and the murderers of Ishbosheth were put to death. (2 Samuel 4:12.)

The most interesting thing about the town is the "cave of Machpelah," but it is inaccessible to Christians. Between 1167 and 1187 a church was built on the site, now marked by a carefully guarded Mohammedan mosque. It is inclosed by a wall which may have been built by Solomon. We were allowed to go in at the foot of a stairway as far as the seventh step, but might as well have been in the National Capitol at Washington so far as seeing the burial place was concerned. In 1862 the Prince of Wales, now King of England, was admitted. He was accompanied by Dean Stanley, who has described what he saw, but he was permitted neither to examine the monuments nor to descend to the cave below, the real burial chamber. As the body of Jacob was carefully embalmed by the Egyptian method, it is possible that his remains may yet be seen in their long resting place in this Hebron cave. (Gen. 50:1,2.)

Turning back toward Jerusalem, we came to Bethlehem late in the afternoon, and the "field of the shepherds" (Luke 2:8) and the "fields of Boaz" (Ruth 2:4-23) were pointed out. The place of greatest interest is the group of buildings, composed of two churches, Greek and Latin, and an Armenian convent, all built together on the traditional site of the birth of the Lord Jesus. Tradition is here contradicted by authorities partly on the ground that a cave to which entrance is made by a flight of stairs would probably not be used as a stable. This cave is in the Church of St. Mary, said to have been erected in 330 by Constantine. Descending the stairs, we came into the small cavern, which is continually lighted by fifteen silver lamps, the property of the Greeks, Latins, and Armenians, who each have an interest in the place. Beneath an altar, in a semi-circular recess, a silver star has been set in the floor with the Latin inscription: "Hic de Virgine Maria Jesus Christus Natus est." An armed Turkish soldier was doing duty near this "star of Bethlehem" the evening I was there. The well, from which it is said the "three mighty men" drew water for David, was visited. (2 Samuel 23:15.) But the shades of night had settled down upon the little town where our Savior was born, and we again entered our carriages and drove back to Jerusalem, having had a fine day of interesting sight-seeing. On the Wednesday before I left Jerusalem, in the company of Mrs. Bates, I again visited Bethlehem.

Thursday, October thirteenth, was the day we went down to Jericho, the Dead Sea, and the Jordan. The party was made up of the writer, Mr. Ahmed, Mr. Jennings, Mrs. Bates, four school teachers (three ladies and a gentleman) returning from the Philippines, and the guides, Mr. Smith and Ephraim Aboosh. We went in two carriages driven by natives. "A certain man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho; and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him, and departed, leaving him half dead" (Luke 10:30). This lonely road is still the scene of occasional robberies, and the Turkish Government permits one of its soldiers to accompany the tourist for a fee, but we did not want to take this escort, as neither of the guides feared any danger. Accordingly we took an early start without notifying the soldiers, and reached Jericho, about twenty miles away, in time to visit Elisha's Fountain before dinner. The road leads out past Bethany, down by the Apostles' Fountain, on past the Khan of the Good Samaritan, and down the mountain to the plain of the Jordan, this section of which is ten miles long and seven miles wide. Before the road reaches the plain, it runs along a deep gorge bearing the name Wady Kelt, the Brook Cherith, where the prophet Elisha was fed by the ravens night and morning till the brook dried up. (1 Kings 17:1-7.) We also saw the remains of an old aqueduct, and of a reservoir which was originally over five hundred feet long and more than four hundred feet wide. Elisha's Fountain is a beautiful spring some distance from the present Jericho. Doubtless it is the very spring whose waters Elisha healed with salt. (2 Kings 2:19-22.) The ground about the Fountain has been altered some in modern times, and there is now a beautiful pool of good, clear water, a delight both to the eye and to the throat of the dusty traveler who has come down from Jerusalem seeing only the brown earth and white, chalky rock, upon which the unveiled sun has been pouring down his heat for hours. The water from the spring now runs a little grist mill a short distance below it.

After dinner, eaten in front of the hotel in Jericho, we drove over to the Dead Sea, a distance of several miles, and soon we were all enjoying a fine bath in the salt water, the women bathing at one place, the men at another. The water contains so much solid matter, nearly three and a third pounds to the gallon, that it is easy to float on the surface with hands, feet and head above the water. One who can swim but little in fresh water will find the buoyancy of the water here so great as to make swimming easy. When one stands erect in it, the body sinks down about as far as the top of the shoulders. Care needs to be taken to keep the water out of the mouth, nose and eyes, as it is so salty that it is very disagreeable to these tender surfaces. Dead Sea water is two and a half pounds heavier than fresh water, and among other things, it contains nearly two pounds of chloride of magnesium, and almost a pound of chloride of sodium, or common salt, to the gallon. Nothing but some very low forms of animal life, unobserved by the ordinary traveler, can live in this sea. The fish that get into it from the Jordan soon die. Those who bathe here usually drive over to the Jordan and bathe again, to remove the salt and other substances that remain on the body after the first bath. The greatest depth of the Dead Sea is a little over thirteen hundred feet. The wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah stood here some place, but authorities disagree as to whether they were at the northern or southern end of the sea. In either case every trace of them has been wiped out by the awful destruction poured on them by the Almighty. (Gen. 18:16 to 19:29)

The Jordan where we saw it, near the mouth, and at the time we saw it, the thirteenth of October, was a quiet and peaceful stream, but the water was somewhat muddy. We entered two little boats and had a short ride on the river whose waters "stood, and rose up in one heap, a great way off," that the children of Israel might cross (Joshua 3:14-17), and beneath whose wave the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ was baptized by the great prophet of the Judaean wilderness. (Matt. 3:13-17.) We also got out a little while on the east bank of the stream, the only time I was "beyond Jordan" while in Palestine. After supper, eaten in Jericho, we went around to a Bedouin encampment, where a dance was being executed - a dance different from any that I had ever seen before. One of the dancers, with a sword in hand, stood in the center of the ground they were using, while the others stood in two rows, forming a right angle. They went through with various motions and hand-clapping, accompanied by an indescribable noise at times. Some of the Bedouins were sitting around a small fire at one side, and some of the children were having a little entertainment of their own on another side of the dancing party. We were soon satisfied, and made our way back to the hotel and laid down to rest.

The first Jericho was a walled city about two miles from the present village, perhaps at the spring already mentioned, and was the first city taken in the conquest of the land under Joshua. The Jordan was crossed at Gilgal (Joshua 4:19), where the people were circumcised with knives of flint, and where the Jews made their first encampment west of the river. (Joshua 5:2-10.) "Jericho was straitly shut up because of the children of Israel," but by faithful compliance with the word of the Lord the walls fell down. (Joshua 6:1-27.) "And Joshua charged them with an oath at that time, saying, Cursed be the man before Jehovah, that riseth up and buildeth this city Jericho: with the loss of his first-born shall he lay the foundation thereof, and with the loss of his youngest son shall he set up the gates of it." Regardless of this curse, we read that in the days of Ahab, who "did more to provoke Jehovah, the God of Israel, to anger than all the kings of Israel that were before him, * * * did Hiel the Beth-elite build Jericho: he laid the foundation thereof with the loss of Abiram his first-born, and set up the gates thereof with the loss of his youngest son Segub, according to the word of Jehovah, which he spake by Joshua the son of Nun" (1 Kings 16:33,34). "The Jericho * * * which was visited by Jesus occupied a still different site," says Bro. McGarvey. The present Jericho is a small Arab village, poorly built, with a few exceptions, and having nothing beautiful in or around it but the large oleanders that grow in the ground made moist by water from Elisha's Fountain. We had satisfactory accommodations at the hotel, which is one of the few good houses there. Jericho in the time of our Lord was the home of a rich publican named Zaccheus (Luke 19:1-10), and was an important and wealthy city, that had been fortified by Herod the Great, who constructed splendid palaces here, and it was here that "this infamous tyrant died." The original Jericho, the home of Rahab the harlot, was called the "city of palm trees" (Deut. 34:3), but if the modern representative of that ancient city has any of these trees, they are few in number. Across the Jordan eastward are the mountains of Moab, in one of which Moses died after having delivered his valedictory, as recorded in Deuteronomy. (Deut. 34:1-12.) From a lofty peak the Lord showed this great leader and law-giver a panorama of "all the land of Gilead unto Dan. * * * And Jehovah said unto him, This is the land which I sware unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, saying, I will give it unto thy seed: I have caused thee to see it with thine eyes, but thou shalt not go over thither. So Moses the servant of Jehovah died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of Jehovah. And he buried him in the valley in the land of Moab, over against Beth-peor: but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day."

Early Wednesday morning we began our toilsome journey back to Jerusalem, having nearly four thousand feet to climb in the twenty miles intervening. We stopped awhile at the Khan of the Good Samaritan, which stands near some old ruins, and may not be far from the place to which the Good Samaritan carried his poor, wounded fellow-man so long ago. Here I bought some lamps that look old enough, but may be quite modern imitations of the kind that were carried in the days of the wise and foolish virgins. A stop was also made at the Apostles' Fountain, near Bethany, where I saw an Arab working bread on his coat, which was spread on the ground. Over by the Damascus gate I one day saw a man feeding his camel on his coat, so these coarse cloth garments are very serviceable indeed. We got back to Jerusalem in time to do a good deal of sight-seeing in the afternoon.

The following Tuesday was occupied with a trip on "donkey-back" to Nebi Samwil, Emmaus, Abu Ghosh, and Ain Kairim. Our party was small this time, being composed of Mr. Jennings, Mr. Smith, the writer, and a "donkey-boy" to care for the three animals we rode, when we dismounted to make observations. He was liberal, and sometimes tried to tell us which way to go. We went out on the north side of the city and came to the extensive burial places called the "Tombs of the Judges." Near by is an ancient wine press cut in the rock near a rock-hewn cistern, which may have been used for storing the wine. En Nebi Samwil is on an elevation a little more than three thousand feet above the sea and about four hundred feet higher than Jerusalem, five miles distant. From the top of the minaret we had a fine view through a field glass, seeing the country for many miles around. This is thought by some to be the Mizpah of the Bible (1 Kings 15:22), and tradition has it that the prophet Samuel was buried here. A little north of Nebi Samwil is the site of ancient Gibeon, where "Abner was beaten, and the men of Israel, before the servants of David" (2 Samuel 2:12-17).

We next rode over to El Kubebeh, supposed by some to be the Emmaus of New Testament times, where Jesus went after his resurrection and sat at meat with his disciples without being recognized. (Luke 24:13-25.) The place has little to attract one. A modern building, which I took to be the residence of some wealthy person, occupies a prominent position, and is surrounded by well-kept grounds, inclosed with a wall. The Franciscan monastery is a good sized institution, having on its grounds the remains of a church of the Crusaders' period, over which a new and attractive building has been erected. One section of it has the most beautiful floor of polished marble, laid in patterns, that I have ever seen. It also contains a painting of the Savior and the two disciples.

We went outside of the monastery to eat our noon-day lunch, but before we finished, one of the monks came and called us in to a meal at their table. It was a good meal, for which no charge was made, and I understand it is their custom to give free meals to visitors, for they believe that Jesus here sat at meat with his two disciples. We enjoyed their hospitality, but drank none of the wine that was placed before us.

Our next point was Abu Ghosh, named for an old village sheik who, "with his six brothers and eighty-five descendants, was the terror of the whole country" about a century ago. Our object in visiting the spot was to see the old Crusaders' church, the best preserved one in Palestine. The stone walls are perhaps seven or eight feet thick. The roof is still preserved, and traces of the painting that originally adorned the walls are yet to be seen. A new addition has been erected at one end, and the old church may soon be put in repair.

The last place we visited before returning to Jerusalem was Ain Kairim, a town occupied mainly by the Mohammedans, and said to have been the home of that worthy couple of whom it was written: "They were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless" (Luke 1:6). The portion occupied by the Latins and Greeks is very beautifully situated on the side of the mountain. The stone houses, "whited walls," and green cypresses make quite a pretty picture. The Church of St. John, according to tradition, stands on the spot where once dwelt Zacharias and Elizabeth, the parents of John, the great forerunner of Jesus. Night came upon us before we got back to our starting place, and as this was my first day of donkey riding, I was very much fatigued when I finally dismounted in Jerusalem; yet I arose the next morning feeling reasonably well, but not craving another donkey ride over a rough country beneath the hot sun.

On Saturday, the twenty-second of October, I turned away from Jerusalem, having been in and around the place almost two weeks, and went back to Jaffa by rail. After a few miles the railway leads past Bittir, supposed to be the Beth-arabah of Joshua 15:61. It is also of interest from the fact that it played a part in the famous insurrection of Bar Cochba against the Romans. In A.D. 135 it was captured by a Roman force after a siege of three and a half years. Ramleh, a point twelve miles from Jaffa, was once occupied by Napoleon. Lydda, supposed to be the Lod of Ezra 2:33, was passed. Here Peter healed Aeneas, who had been palsied eight years. (Acts 9:32-35.)

Jaffa is the Joppa of the Bible, and has a good deal of interesting history. When "Jonah rose to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of Jehovah," he "went down to Joppa and found a ship going unto Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of Jehovah." (Jonah 1:3.) His unpleasant experience with the great fish is well known. When Solomon was about to build the first temple, Hiram sent a communication to him, saying: "We will cut wood out of Lebanon as much as thou shalt need; and will bring it to thee in floats by sea to Joppa; and thou shalt carry it up to Jerusalem" (2 Chron. 2:16). In the days of Ezra, when Zerubbabel repaired the temple, we read that "they gave money also unto the masons, and to the carpenters; and food, and drink, and oil, unto them of Sidon, and to them of Tyre, to bring cedar trees from Lebanon to the sea, unto Joppa, according to the grant that they had of Cyrus king of Persia" (Ezra 3:7). It was the home of "a certain disciple named Tabitha," whom Peter was called from Lydda to raise from the dead. (Acts 9:36-43.) Simon the tanner also lived in Joppa, and it was at his house that Peter had his impressive vision of the sheet let down from heaven prior to his going to Caesarea to speak the word of salvation to Cornelius and his friends. (Acts 10:1-6.)

The city is built on a rocky elevation rising one hundred feet above the sea, which has no harbor here, so that vessels do not stop when the water is too rough for passengers to be carried safely in small boats. Extensive orange groves are cultivated around Jaffa, and lemons are also grown, and I purchased six for a little more than a cent in American money. Sesame, wine, wool, and soap are exported, and the imports are considerable. The train reached the station about the middle of the day, and the ship did not leave till night, so I had ample time to visit the "house of Simon the tanner." It is "by the sea side" all right, but looks too modern to be impressive to the traveler who does not accept all that tradition says. I paid Cook's tourist agency the equivalent of a dollar to take me through the custom house and out to the ship, and I do not regret spending the money, although it was five times as much as I had paid the native boatman for taking me ashore when I first came to Jaffa. The sea was rough - very rough for me - and a little woman at my side was shaking with nervousness, although she tried to be brave, and her little boy took a firm hold on my clothing. I don't think that I was scared, but I confess that I did not enjoy the motion of the boat as it went sliding down from the crest of the waves, which were higher than any I had previously ridden upon in a rowboat. As darkness had come, it would have been a poor time to be upset, but we reached the vessel in safety. When we came alongside the ship, a boatman on each side of the passenger simply pitched or threw him up on the stairs when the rising wave lifted the little boat to the highest point. It was easily done, but it is an experience one need not care to repeat unnecessarily.

I was now through with my sight-seeing in the Holy Land and aboard the Austrian ship Maria Teresa, which was to carry me to the land of the ancient Pharaohs. Like Jonah, I had paid my fare, so I laid down to sleep. There was a rain in the night, but no one proposed to throw me overboard, and we reached Port Said, at the mouth of the Suez Canal, the next day.