to Sinai. LEJA-VALLEY. 10. Route. 503
swallowed up the company of Korah, although, according to the
Bible narrative, the scene of that event must have been at a con¬
siderable distance from Mt. Sinai. A hole in the rock is also pointed
out as the mould of the golden calf.
The Leja-Valley, which flanks the W. side of the Jebel Musa,
owes its name to an Arabian tradition that Leja was a daughter of
Jethro, and a sister of Zipporah (Arabic Zafuriya). At the en¬
trance we first observe, on the right, the dilapidated hermitages
dedicated to SS. Cosmas and Damianus, and a disused chapel of
the Twelve Apostles. On the left is the ruinous monastery of
El-Bustdn with a few plantations; farther on we come to a mass
of rock, called by the Arabs Hajer Musa, or 'Stone of Moses',
and declared by the monks to be the Rock of Horeb, from which
the spring issued when struck by Moses. It is probably in accordance
with an ancient Jewish tradition , with which both St. Paul (1 Cor.
x. 4), and the expounders of the Koran seem to have been famil¬
iar, that the monks assure us that this rock accompanied the Jews
throughout their wanderings in the desert, and then returned to its
old place. It is of reddish-brown granite, measures about 130
cubic yds. in content, and is about 12 ft. in height. The S. side
is bisected somewhat obliquely by a band of porphyry about
16 in. in breadth, from holes in which jets of water for each of the
twelve tribes are said to have flowed. Two of the holes, however,
seem to have disappeared. — Several Sinaitic inscriptions (p. 483)
are to be seen here.
About 20 min. to the S. of this point is the unpretending Der
el-Arba'ln, or Monastery of the Forty (i.e. martyrs), with an
extensive garden containing olive and other trees. In the upper
and rocky part of the site rises a spring with a grotto near it, which
is said once to have been occupied by St. Onofrius. The mon¬
astery was inhabited from the 16th down to the middle of the 17th
century. Two or three monks reside here occasionally to look after
the garden. The forty martyrs, from whom the monastery derives its
name, are said to have been monks who were slain by the Saracens,
but that event may as probably have taken place at the monastery
of Sikelyih on Mt. Serbal (p. 487).
The Jebel Katherin.
The ascent of the Jebel Katherin is more difficult than that of the
Jebel Musa, and is hardly suitable for ladies. The start should be made
very early, or the previous night should be spent at the Arba'in mon¬
astery (see above). See map, p. 484.
Route as far as the (2 hrs.) Der el-Arba'ln, see above. We then
follow a gorge to the S.W. which soon contracts considerably, and
observe several Sinaitic inscriptions. After l'^-l1^ nr- we reach
the Bir esh-Shunndr, or 'partridges' well', which God is said to have
called forth for behoof of the partridges which followed the corpse^-
of St. Catharine (see below) when borne to Mt. Sinai \>yjv*^^