I46 PICTURESQUE PALESTINE.
Dreamers," perhaps the very spot where David suddenly surprised the sleeping body-guard
of Saul. From Hachilah he went to the wilderness of Maon, Nabal's home, which can easily
be seen from Ziph, as can the great crusading town which marks the Carmel where Nabal
had his flocks and herds. Lieut. Conder further suggests a deep gorge, " the valley of the
rocks," between Maon and El Kolah, as the "cliff of division," as the scene of David's last
interview with Saul, when he had taken his spear and cruse of water from beside his bolster.
There is no other place in the neighbourhood which would meet the requirements of the
history, and the chasm here is very narrow and absolutely impassable except by a detour of
several miles. We have thus brought before us as in a panorama, which may be seen from
the top of a single hill (Cain) east of Ziph, the whole scenery of David's flight and Saul's
The traditional Cave of Adullam, or Khureitun, which has been already described (see
page 147), is the most remarkable for its size, and the least changed from its original form of
any of those caverns which are among the peculiar features of this country of limestone hills.
The ancient Jews do not appear to have used the caves generally as dwellings, though in
Palestine, as over all the rest of the world, we find traces of primitive man in the prehistoric
period leading a troglodyte life. The predecessors of the Canaanites, the Horites, or "cavemen" (Deut. ii. 12), though in the Scripture texts specially spoken of as the aborigines of
Edom—where still their excavated dwellings are to be found by hundreds—yet evidently
extended to the south of Palestine. The Emim and Rephaim, who existed down to the
time of Abraham east of Jordan, seem to have been of the same race. Their successors did
not altogether abandon cave dwellings, for in the south of Judah, and even in the north, as
at Endor in Galilee, we find many villages in which the caves in the hillsides have manifestly
served for the store-rooms or inner chambers of the houses built out in front. But the
principal use to which they were applied by the Israelites was that of tombs. The Jewish
mode of sepulture was doubtless suggested by the vast number of caves, which, though
common enough in all soft limestone formations, yet in this country, so universally hilly
without being mountainous, seamed in every direction with little water-worn valleys, abound as
in no other region. Land, too, was very precious. " God's acre " was unknown, yet nowhere
were the resting-places of the dead held in greater respect. Poor indeed must have been
that family which could not secure at least a portion of some rock-hewn chamber for a family
burying-place. From Abraham to Joseph of Arimathea the custom remained unchanged.
Rachel and Joseph are among the rare exceptions where the grave was not hewn out of the
rock. So universal was the custom, that it is hardly possible to explore a cave in any part of
this land without finding traces of its having once been a place of sepulture.
But after the second captivity we find the caves put to another use. When in the third
and fourth centuries the fashion of a hermit life took root in Palestine, the disused sleeping-
places of the dead became the homes of the living. A refuge adopted at first, perhaps, from
necessity or for security, became an established type of dwelling; and he could hardly expect