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Zedekiah was overtaken and captured by the Chal deans. In the return under Zerubbabel, the children of Jericho, 345 in number, were included.
Jericho was fortified by Bacchides, and afterwards adorned with palaces, castles, and theatres by Herod the Great. He also founded a new town higher up the plain, and called it Phasælis.
Christ visited Jericho, and between Jerusalem and Jericho was laid the scene of the parable of the good Samaritan. All that is left to represent ancient Jericho is the village of Riha, containing about 60 huts and an old square tower, occupied by a small garrison. The houses are built of stones from the ancient ruins, and are merely four walls with a flat roof. Each house has a garden around it enclosed by a hedge of the thorny boughs of the Nubk, a species of thorn-tree. A strong hedge of the same kind surrounds the whole village. The plain on which the village stands is rich and capable of easy tillage, with a climate to produce anything; but it now lies neglected, and the palm-trees, balsam, and honey for which it was famous, have long since disappeared.
The inhabitants now, as in the earliest time, are noted for their lewdness. In consequence of this the Arabs, when approaching the place, frequently provide themselves with a written paper or charm, as a protection against the wiles of its women.
The ruins about here are quite extensive, but so dilapidated that none of them can be recognized as belonging to any known structure. The most singular relic is a block of sienite red granite, the fragment of a large circular stone laying partly buried
in the earth. The diameter of this stone, when whole, could not have been less than 8 or 10 feet. Its circular edge is full of small round holes. Near by are the remains of a circular foundation, on which it once probably lay. This stone has every appearance of being Egyptian sienite.
About two miles from Jericho is the fountain Ain Sultan. This fountain bursts forth at the east side of a group of mounds. It appears to have been once surrounded by a reservoir of hewn stones, but this is now mostly broken away and gone. These mounds are covered with heaps of unhewn stone.
The route from Jericho to Jerusalem ascends through narrow rocky passes and deep ravines, and is a difficult and dangerous one, robberies being more frequent in it now than in the time of Christ; and the dusky robbers who lie in wait here for travelers are believed to be the veritable descendants of the ancient inhabitants of this district. A short distance up this road, is a deep dell called the Valley of Murder; the traditional scene of the event related in the parable of the good Samaritan. Near this are found some massive ruins, in which is a deep arched vault or chamber, the entrance to which is nearly closed by débris.
OTHER RENOWNED CITIES, AND PLACES IN THE EAST.
Shushan, now Susa-City of Queen Esther, Mordecai, and Haman - Shiloh Rabbah - Sardis Tarsus-Tiberias-Cesarea-Sources of the Jordan-Capernaum-Antioch-Ephesus-Gadara -Lydda-Nazareth-Athleet-Pergamos-Gerash-The Hauran, Land of Mystery.
This ancient and royal city was 800 miles E. of Jerusalem and 120 N. of the Persian Gulf, in
what is called Elam on the map of the ancient world.
It was situated between the rivers Eulæus and Shapur; where vast mounds of ruins have been found.
Shushan was originally the capital of the country called Elam (first mentioned in Gen. xiv). The first distinct mention of the city is in Dan. viii. 2. In the inscriptions of Asshur-bani-pal, the son and successor of Esarhaddon-he states that he took the place, and exhibits a ground plan of the city upon his sculptures. It was next in the possession of the Babylonians After the conquest of Babylon by Cyrus it was transferred to the Persian dominions; this transfer was probably the work of Darius Hystaspes. Shortly afterwards the Achæmenian* princes made it the capital of their whole empire, and the chief place of their residence.
Shushan accordingly became the capital of Persia. The city retained its pre-eminence from this time until the period of the Macedonian conquest. When taken by Alexander he found there sixty millions of dollars and all the regalia of the great king.
Alexander's preference for Babylon caused the negect of Susa by his successors, until it at length fell into the hands of Antigonus, B. c. 315. The town, but not the citadel, was taken by Milo in his rebellion against Antiochus the Great, B. o. 221. At the Arabian conquest of Persia, A. D. 640, it was bravely defended by Hormuzan.
This city was the scene of the remarkable events
narrated in the Book of Esther; here Haman conspired against Mordecai and his people, the Jews, and procured an edict for their extermination, but was defeated by Mordecai and Queen Esther. Daniel had the vision of the ram and he-goat at Shushan the palace. Nehemiah was at Shushan when he obtained from Artaxerxes permission to return into Judea and repair the walls of Jerusalem.
The extent and character of the ruins found here indicate the great size and splendor of the city. They cover an area of over 7 miles in circumference, and consist principally of four great artificial mounds or platforms. Of these the western, although the smallest in extent, is much the highest; being 119 feet above the level of the river Shapur. It was constructed of sunburnt bricks, earth, and gravel. In the centre of the top of this mound is a deep circular depression, doubtless a large court, surrounded by elevated piles of buildings, the fall of which has given the present configuration to the surface.
This mound appears to have been the citadel or fortress. To the west of the citadel is the great central platform, covering upwards of 60 acres, 70 feet high, and very steep. The heavy rains of winter have worn deep ravines down the sides of this mound in many places; thus disclosing much of the work of its ancient builders. The northern platform is a square mass, about 1,000 feet each way, and from 50 to 60 feet high. East of the others is another very extensive platform, but lower than the rest. Beyond these a number of smaller mounds are found, extending nearly to the Dizful river.