El Jebel, Kadesh and Safed
Left Baniyas about seven, and, after a pleasant ride of 3¾ hours, stopped for lunch. On the first hill we came to there is a ruined castle named Bethrehola, and a fine view of Hermon, and the plain of Huleh, with water of Merom in distance, and bounded by hills of Bashan at one side and hills of Naphtali on other. On our way, passed site of Dan and confluence of Jordan. Saw men of tribe ?Midwallees armed and prowling about. Find they have a feud with a tribe of Bedouin who have slain 17 of them, and they are on look-out for revenge. Floyd explains that we are watched each night by villagers of the place near which we encamp. They are sent by the Sheik and they are responsible for theft etc, and, in case of robbery, the whole village would have to make up the loss.
Saw eagles flying today towards the sun: they sail without apparent effort. We encamp tonight at Meis El Jebel.
An incident occurred last evening. Mr Dodser, who proposed evening service, was called upon to conduct. He made a number of insulting remarks about reading in Bible twang, repeating Lord's Prayer after the leader, and compared it to a barrel organ accompaniment: and remarked about praying so as to be a credit to Christ. Illustrated all this by story of Jeremy the shoemaker and grandson of old woman who read out gooseberry recipe.
Annoyed all present; but nothing said at the time. He was censured by several privately and has been quiet since. Strange how a sensible man should so forget himself.
Left Meis at 7 a.m., and in 1½ hrs came to Kadesh, one of cities of refuge. There are some ruins - an arch or so, and remains of temple front wall, with part of doorway and portals standing. Lots of carved stones about. The site is elevated and visible some distance off.
Lunched at Alma. While resting son of Sheik of village came to see if he could get medicine for one of his three wives. The doctor and three of us went to see her. The house was entered by a door, the only opening into it. It was about 22 ft long, and the flat roof supported on two arches.
It was divided into two parts - the large hall used as a stable: the other half elevated about three feet - just high enough to serve as a manger, which is simply a trench made in the edge of the upper floor. The upper floor is the family sleeping and living room. We could see nothing in the shape of furniture, except a mat and pillow on which the poor woman was lying. Also a few sacks containing meal or provender. Where the horses donkies cows etc, with the man, his three wives and their children are all housed, it would be a hat-shop, I guess. I have seen a kind of small wicker house on these roofs, which are used to sleep in in hot weather.
A good number of the poor things appear thin and sickly, and, at nearly every place we stop at, some come and ask for the doctor and generally have the idea that all English are doctors. They appear grateful for any advice or medicine. This is the country eminently for a Medical Missionary.
A pleasant ride of two hours brought us to Safed, where many Jews reside. In 1837 about 5000 people lost their lives in an earthquake. Before going into camp, went alone on to a neighbouring hill and got a good view of the Sea of Galilee. It does not appear the size stated, and the hills around are not very high; but it was a fine sight, and the thought of what had transpired on its coast and margin affected me.
Safed is rather romantic in situation, and is composed of several hamlets on the sides and tops of steep conical hills.
I heard a good explanation of the needle's eye from Floyd. In a city gate is a small wicket just large enough for naked camels to pass through with some trouble; but quite impossible to do so with a burden on its back. As applied to a rich man it is obvious.