Wonderful Sights and Ruins.  

PETRA, or the city of the rocks, is situated about one hundred miles southeast of Jerusalem. It is without doubt the most wonderful city of which we have any record, for, as its name indicates, it is built in the rocks. Petra is about two miles long, and has but one street, which runs its whole length. Either side of this street, the mountain, composed of solid rock, rises perpendicularly from five hundred to one thousand feet. The most singular fact, however, is that the dwellings are chiseled in the solid rock which composes the sides of the mountain.

The road in this defile between the rows of dwellings is sometimes barely wide enough for two horsemen to pass, and is almost as dark as night. Then the road widens into a natural amphitheater, and a strong ray of light is thrown down which illumines the frightful chasm as light as day. "Wild fig trees, oleanders, and ivy grow out of the rocky sides of the cliffs hundreds of feet above.

The sides of the cliffs are cut smooth, and filled with ranges of dwelling houses, temples, and tombs, excavated with great labor out of the solid rock. These dwellings were excavated one above another till the whole sides of the mountain were filled.

Some would think that because the dwellings were chiseled out of the rock that there is no beauty in them; but this is not the case. For although they were completed over three thousand years ago, they exceed in beauty anything in the form of architecture which is to be seen at the present day. In the language of Mr. Stephens: 

"While the summits present nature in her wildest and most savage forms, the base is adorned with all the beauty of architecture and art, with columns and porticoes, and pediments, and ranges of corridors, enduring as the mountains out of which they are hewn, and fresh as if the work of a generation scarcely gone by."

There are only two means of access to this city: One by a very narrow passage up the ravine which leads to the city, and the other by climbing up the sides of the mountain and descending into the city from the other end. At either entrance a handful of men could defy armies. So you see that it was a natural fortress of itself, stronger than anything that can be built by the puny hand of man. The Bible recognizes its strength, as it calls it Bozra, which means the strong or fortified city.

We might spend a long time giving a description of palaces, houses, churches, &c., which compose the city, but time and space forbid. But the question comes up, "Who inhabited this city?-  "It was inhabited by the children of Esau, or the Edomites as they were called, as you see by Genesis 36:1, Esau was named Edom. It is almost incredible the number that lived in this city. We have no account of how many people inhabited it, but about 100 years B. C., 50,000 soldiers issued from this city at one time. These were able-bodied men, able to go to war. Reckoning those that were too young, those that were too old, the women and children, and there could not have been less than 200,000 inhabitants. 

Should you not have thought that such a city would have become proud, and thought that they were absolutely invincible? But where are the Edomites that inhabited this and the surrounding cities of Edom?

On account of the sins of this people, judgments of the most terrible nature were pronounced upon them. "For I have sworn by myself, saith the Lord, that Bozra [Petra] shall be a desolation, a reproach, a waste, and a curse. Thy terribleness 

hath deceived thee, and the pride of thine heart, O thou that dwellest in the clefts of 

the rocks, that boldest the bight of the hill: though thou shouldest make thy nest as high as an eagle, I will bring thee down from thence, saith the Lord." Jeremiah  49:13, 16.

 What a description of Petra! 


How was this fulfilled? About A. D. 200, this city lost its independence. From that time down to A. D. 800, its inhabitants, and even the location of the city, was lost sight' of. And the very site of the city has been lost for 1000 years until 1812 it was discovered by Buckhardt.

Now not even a tribe is known who claim to be the descendants of Esau. How literally   and awfully the prophecy has been fulfilled. 


((((“...over Edom will I cast out my shoe:

  “Who will bring me into the strong city? 

Who will lead me into Edom?”

  Psalms 60:8, 9

“Also Edom shall be a desolation: every one that goeth by it shall be astonished, and shall hiss at all the plagues thereof.”

Jeremiah   49:17

  “Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; I will also stretch out mine hand upon Edom, and will cut off man and beast from it; and I will make it desolate from Teman; and they of Dedan shall fall by the sword.  

And I will lay my vengeance upon Edom by the hand of my people Israel: and they shall do in Edom according to mine anger and according to my fury; and they shall know my vengeance, saith the Lord GOD.”

Ezekiel 25:13, 14

“...and Edom shall be a desolate wilderness, for the violence against the children of Judah, because they have shed innocent blood in their land.”

Joel 3:19

  “And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness.  

  Whereas Edom saith, We are impoverished, but we will return and build the desolate places; thus saith the LORD of hosts, They shall build, but I will throw down; and they shall call them, The border of wickedness, and, The people against whom the LORD hath indignation for ever.”

 Malachi 1:3, 4))) 

 (W. Editor)