The Desert of the Exodus: Journeys on Foot in the Wilderness of the Forty Years' Wanderings; Undertaken in Connection with the Ordnance Survey of Sinai and the Palestine Exploration Fund

By E. H. Palmer | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXII.
EDOM.

The 'Arabah. Physical Geography of Edom: its Boundaries, Geology, Fertility, and Inhabitants. Modern Rechabites. Nagb er Rubá'í. Ascent of Mount Hor. Aaron's Tomb. Alarm given by the Arabs. A critical Situation. "Taking a Rise" out of the Fellahín. The Liyátheneh Encampment. Arrangements for the Journey to Moab. Petra. Description of the Monuments. The Sik. The Khazneh, its Origin and Purport. The Amphitheatre. Tombs with Inscriptions. The Western Cliffs. 'Aireh. Pharaoh's Gardens. Snowed up with the Liyátheneh.

LEAVING Wády Ghamr by some low hills just above our camp, we descended into the 'Arabah, which we crossed in a diagonal line, keeping a little to the south-east. After a fatiguing walk over himádah, or gravel covered with flint, we reached the base of the mountains of Edom, having met with nothing of interest by the way except one, to us, new tree, called the ghadha.

Edom is a narrow slip of mountainous country, extending northward from 'Akabah as far as Wády Kerek, the southern boundary of Moab. It is bounded on the west by the Wády el 'Arabah, and on the east by the Darb el Hajj, the pilgrim route from Damascus, which skirts the desert in the north-western corner of the Arabian Peninsula. This district is divided into two parts. The northern portion is called El Jebál, and answers to the Gebal of the Hebrew and the Gebalene of the ancient Romans: it includes the villages of Tufíleh, Buserah, and Shobek. The southern portion is called Es Sherah, the most important places in which are Wády Músa, Ma'án and 'Akabah; it corresponds to the Mount Seir of the Bible; and the celebrated, and now comparatively well known, ruins in Wády Músa are those of the ancient capital of Edom, called in Hebrew Sela, or the Rock (2 Kings xiv., 7), and in Latin by the equivalent name Petra.

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