AMONG the many objects in and about Jerusalem, which claim the traveler's attention, not the least interesting are the rock-hewn tombs. These are the most numerous in the valleys on the eastern and southern sides of the city.  Doubtless you remember reading, in a former number…, a description of some of these noted, rock-hewn tombs.  One of the many remarkable ones found in the eastern valley, is the so-called tomb or pillar of Absalom. The lower part of this structure is a huge square, twenty-two feet wide, hewn out of the solid rock, and ornamented with columns and pilasters. Above this are two layers of hewn stones, with a molding around the edge, the whole topped out with a curved dome of masonry, crowned with a cluster of palm leaves. It stands forty feet above the surrounding soil. In the accompanying picture is given a good representation of this tomb.

The interior of the lower part consists of a small room eight feet square, which was broken into several centuries ago, probably for the sake of plunder. In the eastern wall of this room are two small recesses about two feet deep; but the places for burying the dead, if any such ever existed, have been long ago covered by the rubbish that encumbers the place.

We read in 2 Sam. 18:18, that "Absalom in his life-time had taken and reared up for himself a pillar, which is in the king's dale; for he said, I have no son to keep my name in remembrance.

And he called the pillar after his own name; and it is called unto this day, Absalom's place." This tomb in the valley of Jehoshaphat, is pointed out by tradition as the identical pillar which Absalom reared. The Jews, to show their abhorrence of the rebellious (curse of this ungrateful son, cast a stone at it, and spit upon it every time they pass the place, so that the base and a part of the pillar have become buried beneath this pile of rubbish. Eminent authorities tell us, however, that this monument was probably erected at an age later than that of David, urging, in proof of this statement, that the style of architecture is such as to place its building in the same period. It undoubtedly stood here when our Lord passed down the valley on his way over to Olivet.

But while we may not know with any degree of certainty that this monument stood in the days of King David, it serves to bring vividly to mind the base usurper of the throne of Israel, and his untimely and ignominious death. And we can again hear, echoing down through the ages, David's heart-broken lament for his beautiful son, "O my son Absalom! Would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son!"



"Is it so far from thee

Thou canst no longer see,

In the chamber over the gate,

That old man desolate,

Weeping and wailing sore

For his son, who is no more!

O Absalom, my son!

"Is it so long ago

That cry of human woe

From the walled city came,

Calling on his dear name,

That it has died away

In the distance of today

O Absalom, my son!"




W. E. L.