« AnkstesnisTęsti »
the time of Edward I., 1296 A.D., and which can be traced still further back to Scone, in Scotland, in 840; and again further to Columba's cell in the sixth century A.D.; and possibly even further still to IRELAND and TARA, in the time of Jeremiah the prophet, with his wonderful commission "to plant and to build," as well as to "root out and to destroy." Thus much for the Saxons and the Sacae.
We traced at the same time-on what seemed sufficient authority-the "GETAE" to the "GITTITES" named in our Scriptures, as in frequent relation to ISRAEL, and as using the same language; but as having likewise affinity with the Hamitic PHILISTINES in Gath, a nation who had established themselves in GERAR even before Isaac the promised seed was born.
Abimelech, king of the Philistines, could at that early date appeal to God for his people" as a righteous nation," see Genesis xx. We also on the showing of Josephus * traced back the Getoe of Bactria to Gether, the grandson of Shem, who is named in Genesis x. as a grandson of Aram, in brotherly relation to Mash, and also to Uz. We followed out their possible change of name to "Geshur and Maachah," and traced their recorded affinities and alliances as such, with Israel; observing also the incoming of the half tribe of Manasseh to their Transjordanic territory.
A further question now strikes us, whether Germans, Goths, Getoe, Gittites, through Gether, haye not also an old affinity with Jethro or "Jether the excellent," the father-in-law of Moses, the Priest or Prince of Midian; it was in Midian that Moses must have learnt the story of Job, of the neighbouring people, and lineage of Uz; and Job, who seems to have known nothing about the chosen nation, is our best representative of patriarchal religion, before the choice of Israel in Abraham.
The character of Jethro stands out in its early nobility as adviser to the great Leader of the Chosen people, and his possible
ancestor Gether, the founder of the family of ARAMITIC Getoe
or Gittites," may have been coeval with the early Abimelechs
* "Jewish Antiquities," Book i., ch. vi., p. 4.
of Gerar; who, although Hamitic in origin, appeared to be cognizant of the unwritten laws of the true God. This early descent, if proved, might throw fresh light upon the nature of our kinship with the great German empire. The Getoe and the Saca came through Thrace into Europe together, and the Germans may be of the Semitic line, the sons of Aram, though not of Arphaxad or of Eber.
It seems especially meet that the children of EPHRAIM should still share with all branches of the line of SHEM their treasure of God's Word and its story of God's Covenants with themOLD and NEW.
The present researches in the Land of Midian may throw much light on this and other Mosaic questions. How wonderful an age is this for the bringing forth-by men who are not seeking for them-of the Missing Links in God's Ancient History, as recorded in His Holy Book. To note them we have always thought to be a part of our BIBLE-WORK.
THE LAND OF MIDIAN.
WE had three articles in the "Missing Link" of last year on the exciting subject of the re-discovered land of Midian, pp. 187, 216, 406. The new explorations there by Captain Burton led us to collect together all particulars concerning that Ancient land to be found in the Bible, from the time when the "Midian-` ite merchantmen bought Joseph, the beloved son of Jacob, from his brethren for twenty pieces of silver and carried him into Egypt to sell him again to Potiphar, the chief of Pharaoh's executioners, Gen. xxxvii. 36 (see margin), i.e., more than 1,700 years B.C., even to the times 500 years later,-when Midianites, Amalekites, and "all the children of the East, like grasshoppers for multitude, and having camels without number," devoured all Israel's substance, absorbed their harvests, and prevailed over them for seven years; until Israel cried unto God, whom they had forsaken, and He delivered them once more, in the days of the Judges, by the hand of Gideon. (See Judges vi., vii., and viii. chapters). The 83rd Psalm commemorates Midian's
final defeat and declares who had been the confederates against God and His people. "The tabernacles of Edom and the Ishmaelites, Moab, and the Hagarenes, Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalek-the Philistines, with the inhabitants of Tyre; Ashur also is joined with them, and, it is added, "Do thou to them as to the Midianites," and of the Midianites it is recorded (ch. viii. 28) "Thus was Midian subdued before the children of Israel so that they lifted up their heads no more." This happened 1250 B.C., and we hear no more of the country until King Solomon himself made a navy of ships in Ezion-geber, which is beside Eloth, on the shore of the Red Sea, and its right hand Gulf of Akabah, in the land of Edom. And Hiram sent in the navy his servants, shipmen that had knowledge of the sea, with the servants of Solomon. And they came to Ophir, and fetched from thence gold, four hundred and twenty talents, and brought it to King Solomon. We find by Scripture evidence that Ophir was famous for its fine gold from the days of Job to those of Jehoshaphat, a period of 800 years.
We are told that Solomon himself travelled to Ezion-geber, perhaps to see his fleet set sail (2 Chron. viii. 17); and thus may have been caused the thoughts which appear in the Psalms on the wonders of the great deep, and on doing business in great waters. (Ps. cvii. 23—30.)
Jehoshaphat made ships of Tarshish to go to Ophir for gold; but they went not; for the ships were broken at Ezion-geber." (1 Kings xxii. 48.)
Ezion-geber (the giant's backbone), "was so called probably in allusion to the rocks which lie in jagged ranges on each side," says Stanley.
The attraction of gold-again arising at an interval of 3,000 years, and pointing to these long forsaken sources-will probably lead to fresh light concerning the ancient Ophir, and we know not what beside.
There was a last article in the Times of the 10th of May, following up the subject, which many of our readers might not have seen:
"The race of discovery is becoming every day more keen and exciting. Nature is revealing her secrets, history answering her
riddles, and the earth giving up her dead. The discoverers themselves are hard driven to keep well ahead of their own discoveries. There is only just laid on our tables the narrative of a Fortnight's Tour in North-Western Arabia, and the book is pur sued, one may say, by a letter from Alexandria giving an account of an expedition by Captain Burton, compared with which the Fortnight's Tour was but a reconnaissance. The better prepared and more leisurely expedition is itself the prelude of operations of incalculable interest and importance. The questions already answered, or put in the way of solution, are very old ones. Where and what was Ophir ? Were the Arabians really the rich people the ancients believed them to be? Who were the Midianites? What sort of people were they among whom it is recorded that the Jewish Lawgiver spent forty years, in alliance with their chief people, learning not only the whole country and its ways, but policy and religion? Where could the Egyptians, the Israelites, and their neighbours on all sides -where could Solomon and his successors get the large quantities of gold and silver we read of? Some light is thrown on these questions in a letter in our columns to-day on 'The Land of Midian and its Mines,' by a correspondent at Alexandria.
"A fortnight ago Captain Burton had just returned, and, while disposing of the results of his expedition, gave the Times correspondent early information of his discoveries. The new Dorado, for such it appears to be, lies in what is still a region of mystery. Though some parts of Arabia have been explored of late years by adventurous travellers, the land from which the present expedition has just arrived is almost unknown to Europeans. The people themselves appear to be the chief obstruction. Captain Burton pronounces them very inhospitable. Their ruling passions are robbery and murder, which they prosecute from mere wantonness, with no more ill-feeling to the victims of their national sport than an English gentleman has towards the game he brings down with his gun. Fortunately, they are able and ready to measure their strength, and abstain from the aggressive when the chances are against them. So there is a very fair
prospect of the country being opened to discovery and enterprise, in spite of its rugged and intractable population.
"The expedition which has just returned was a very serious affair. It had had the benefit of the preliminary expedition modestly called a Fortnight's Tour, and described in The Gold Mines of Midian and the ruined Midianitish Cities.' The caravan, we read in a letter from Alexandria, consisted of eight Europeans, three Egyptian officers of the Staff, and two of the line, twenty-five soldiers and thirty miners, ten mules, and about one hundred camels. After an absence of four months and explorations amounting to 2,500 miles, encountering dangers both by land and sea, and with only the loss of one man, they returned with such an amount of spoil, in the highest sense of the word, as even an army might have been proud of. The procession recalls the triumphant return of Columbus. The interesting trophies and valuable booty weighed altogether twenty-five tons. There is something for everybody.
"The precious metals have the pre-eminence, for no doubt they most interested the Khedive, at whose cost this expedition, as well as the former, was undertaken. The precious metals themselves, ore in all forms, indications of mining and smelting in various ages, minerals, precious stones, marbles and alabaster, botanical specimens, coins, inscriptions in Nabathean and Cufic, worked stones, glass, pottery, portions of temples, a great number of sketches, and a complete survey of the country were the rewards of the enterprise. The Land of Midian-that is, the whole region lying along the eastern shore of the Red Sea for three hundred miles from its northern extremity, and stretching deep into the hitherto unknown interior-is laid bare. Some thirty ruined cities, once prosperous, rich, and magnificent, have contributed to the show. Places that have long been only names in the records of geographers have been visited and will be described. There they lie in fragments amid the tokens of long cultivation, and high fertility, aqueducts, barrages, shafts, tunnels, furnaces, manufactories, and catacombs. It was once a busy world, and, unless science can ascertain that the natural conditions of the region have undergone some change fatal to fertility, and even