Palestine And The Desert, Past And Present -- By: Lyman Coleman
BSac 21:84 (Oct 1864) p. 752
Palestine And The Desert, Past And Present
The leader of Israel was commissioned by the God of Abraham to lead his people out of Egypt into a land of the most exuberant fertility, “unto a good land and a large, a land flowing with milk and honey “— the familiar Hebrew expression to denote the exceeding fertility of the land of promise. The delegation whom Moses sent to spy out the land—”whether it be fat or lean, whether there be wood therein or not” — brought back a “cluster of grapes of Eshcol, with pomegranates and figs,” in evidence that “it is a good land, and surely floweth with milk and honey.” It is “a land of corn and wine, a land of bread and vineyards “— “of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills, a land of wheat and barley, and vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of oil-olives, and honey, a land wherein thou shalt eat bread without scarceness, thou shalt not lack any thing in it.” It is “a pleasant land,” “as the garden of Eden,” “the glory of all lands,” “a field which the Lord hath blessed.” “God hath given it of the dew of heaven, and of the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine.” It is “a land of hills and valleys, and drinketh water of the rain of heaven, a land which the Lord thy God careath for. The eyes of the Lord thy God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year unto the end of the year.”
These representations of exuberant fertility require us to ascribe to ancient Palestine every element in soil and climate that can enrich the land, and evoke, sustain, and mature its rich and varied productions. It implies the existence of hills and mountains covered with woodland and forests, — vast primeval forests crowning the misty mountain-tops
BSac 21:84 (Oct 1864) p. 753
with verdure, and scattering broadcast over the land their vegetable deposits, to feed the luxuriance of hill and plain and valley on every side. It implies a boundless evaporation not only from river, lake, and sea, but from the leaves of the forest, the grass of the field, and the teeming earth, — all giving off their vapors to be condensed in the clouds, and returned in showers that water the earth anew and drop down fatness on every field. It implies the benignant vicissitudes of sunshine and showers, as well as of the former and the latter rain in their season, with the genial influences of the heavens above and of the earth beneath combined to bless the labors of the husbandman.
All that is said by the sacred writers, of groves and thickets, forests and woods, of vapors and clouds and rain and showers that water the earth; of hail, hoarfrost, snow, and ice, — all that pertains to the met...
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