Judaic Treasures of the
A dozen years before Sanson, the greatest of early French cartographers, published an edition of Geographia sacra that contained the prototype for the above map, the English divine and historian Thomas Fuller issued A Pisgah-Sight of Palestine, London, 1650. Here, the "tribal division" depiction of the Holy Land finds its fullest expression. A pullout map of the land opens the volume. Each tribe is accorded a delightfully illustrated two-page map and a sprightly account of the geographic and historical illustrations. R. V. Tooley rightly describes these as "the most quaint and decorative series of maps." Let us look at one, that of the Tribe of Benjamin.
The Jordan River emptying into the Dead Sea captures our attention. A mighty river, at its western bank are "the twelve great stones set up by Joshua in memorial that there they passed over the river Jordan on foot." In an aside, Fuller calls them "The Jewish Stonehenge." Above stands Saul, first king of Israel, crown on head. Bowing before him is the prophet Samuel, who has just anointed him. They are surrounded by crowds of people and troops of soldiers, one of which follows a trumpet- sounding leader off to battle. We skip across a Levitical City of Refuge, picturesque towns, and countryside, to arrive at Beth El where Jacob sleeps on his rocky pillow and dreams of a ladder ascending to heaven, on which we see three angels. We also observe King Jeroboam, joined by the High Priest in idol worship, to whom a prophet has come to protest and denounce. Fuller describes it in his rich seventeenth -century prose:
Here Jeroboam set up one of his golden calves: and how busie was he about sacrificing unto it, when a Prophet sent from God denounced the destruction of his Altar, which presently clave asunder ... An Altar, which (were it of brass or stone) was softer then the miracle-proof heart of Jeroboam, which neither was broken, nor bruised thereat ... indeed he conceived, that his kingdome must have idolatry for the pillars, which had Rebellion for the foundation thereof.
We travel southward. To our left is Jericho, surrounded by palm trees, its walls in the process of falling. Further south, we see the armies of Benjamin and of the Israelites engaged in battle. To the west, King David, crown on head, harp in hand, accompanied by musicians with horns and drum, escorts a wagon bearing the Ark of the Lord to Jerusalem. The Great City is depicted as domed and turreted stone buildings surrounded by a wall. Fuller reserves description of Jerusalem and subsequently devotes to it a detailed map and a full chapter.