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No.819.-xvi. 17. And Saul said unto his servants, provide me now a man that can play well, and bring him to me. This command of Saul might originate in at desire to obtain such a person as might by his skill in playing equally contribute to his gratification and state, It seems to have formed a part of royal eastern magnificence to have had men of this description about the. court, “Professed story tellers," it may also be observed, “ are of early date in the East. Even at this. day men of rank have generally one or more, male or female, amongst their attendants, who amuse them and their women, when melancholy, vexed, or indisposed; and they are generally employed to lull them to sleep. Many of their tales are highly amusing, especially those of Persian origin, or such as have been written on their model. They were thought so dangerous by Mohammed, that he expressly prohibited them in the Koran.” RICHARDSON'S Dissert. on the Manners of the East,
No. 820.--xvi. 23. And it came to pass when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took a harp, and played with his hand; so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.] The power of music upon the affections is very great. Its effect upon Saul was no more than it has produced in many other instances. Timotheus the musician could excite Alexander the Great to arms with the Phrygian sound, and allay his fury with another tone, and excite him to merriment. So Eric king of Denmark by a certain musician could be driven to such a fury, as to kill some of his best and most trusty servants. (Ath. Kiroh.Phonurg. 1. ii. s. 1. Is. Vossius de Poëmatum cantů et rythmi viribus.)]
No. 821,-xvii. 43. He cursed David by his gods,]
It is highly probable that this was a general practice with idolaters, who, supposing themselves secure of the favour and protection of their deities, concluded that their enemies must necessarily be the objects of their displeasure and vengeance. Hence, anticipating the certainty of divine wrath upon them, they cursed and devoted them to destruction. So did the Philistine act towards David. And so the Romans used to do, saying, Diï deæque te perdant.
No. 822.---xvii. 44. And the Philistine said to David, come to me, and I will give thy flesh to the fowls of the air and to the beasts of the field.] This mode of speaking and challenging was very common with the Orientals, Homer gives the same haughty air to his heroes; and it was doubtless a copy of the manners and hyperbolical speeches of the times. Thus he makes one say to another:
Bold as thou art, too prodigal of breath,
Il. ii. 107.
No. 823,-xvii. 45. I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts.] The decision of national controversies by the duels of the chiefs was frequent in ancient times. That between the Horatii and Curiatii is well known: and even before that, Romulus, and Aruns king of the Ceninenses, ended their national quarrel by the like method; Romulus killing his adversary, taking his capital, and dedicating the spoils to Jupiter Feretrius, (Val. Max. 1. viii. c. 2. $ 3.)
CHANDLER's Life of David, vol. i. p. 70. note.
No. 824.--xvii. 49. And David put his hand in his bag, and took thence a stone, and slang it, and smote the Philistine in his forehead.] The dexterity with which
the sling may be used as an offensive weapon is surprising. It evidently appears in the conflict between David and Goliath, and may be confirmed by the following . citation. “ The arms which the Achæans chiefly used were slings. They were trained to the art from their infancy, by slinging from a great distance at a circular mark of a moderate circumference. By long practice they took so nice an aim, that they were sure to hit their enemies not only on the head, but on any part of the face they chose. Their slings were of a different kind from the Balearians, whom they far surpassed in dexterity.” Polyb. p. 125.
No. 825.-xvii. 51. Therefore David ran, and stood upon the Philistine, and took his sword, and drew it out of the sheath thereof, and slew him and cut off his head therewith.] Niebuhr presents us with a very similar scene in his Descript. de l'Arabie, p. 263. where the son of an Arab chief kills his father's enemy and rival, and, according to the custom of the Arabs, cuts off his head, and carries it in triumph to his father. In a note he adds, “ cutting off the head of a slain enemy, and carrying it in triumph, is an ancient custom.” Xenophon remarks that it was practised by the Chalybes, (Retreat of the ten thousand, lib. iv.) Herodotus attributes it to the Scythians, lib. iv. cap. 60.
No. 826.-xvii. 3. Then Jonathan and David made a covenant.] Various ceremonies have been used on these occasions. When treaties were made, either of a private or public nature, such usages were observed as were of established authority, or significantly important. The Scythians had a peculiar method of forming their treaties. Herodotus (1. iv. c. 70.) relates that they first poured wine into a large earthen vessel, and then the contracting parties, cutting their arms with a knife, let
some of their blood run into the wine, and stained like. wise their armour therewith, After which they them, selves, and all that were present, drank of that liquor, making the strongest imprecations against the person that should violate the treaty.
No. 827.-xviii. 4. And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was upon him, and gave it to David.] We read in Tavernier (p. 43.) of a nazar, whose virtue and behaviour so pleased a king of Persia, after being put to the test, that he caused himself to be disapparelled, and gave his habit to the nazar, which is the greatest honour that a king of Persia can bestow on a subject. See also Rom. xiij. 14. Ephes, iv. 24. Col. ii. 10.
No. 828.-xviii. 4. And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was upon him, and gave it to David, and, his garments, even to his sword, and to his bow, and to his girdle.] It was anciently a custom to make such military presents as these to brave adventurers. Besides the present instance of the kind, two others may be quoted: the first is from Homer;
Next him Ulysses took a shining sword,
II. x. 307. Pope,
The other is from Virgil, in the story of Nisys and
Euryalus phaleras Rhamnetis, et aurea bullis, &c.
Æn. ix. 359.
This present Cædicus the rich bestow'd
No. 329.-sviii. 4. And to his girdle.] To ratify the covenant which Jonathan made with David, amongst other things, he gave him his girdle. This was a token of the greatest confidence and affection. In some cases it was considered as an act of adoption. Agreeably to this Pitts informs us, (Travels, p. 217.) " I was bought by an old bachelor; I wanted nothing with him; meat, drink, and clothes, and money, I had enough. After I had lived with him about a year, he made his pilgrimage to Mecca, and carried me with him. But before we came to Alexandria, he was taken sick, and thinking verily he should die, having a woven girdle about his middle, under his sash, in which was much gold, and also my letter of freedom, (which he intended to give me when at Mecca,) he took it off, and bid me put it on aboạt me, and took my girdle, and put it on himself.”
No. 830.-xviii. 6. The women came out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet king Saul.] It was customary for women to celebrate the praises of God in public on remarkable occasions. See Exod. xv.
No. 831.-xviji. 6. And it came to pass, as they came, when David was returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, that the women came out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet king Saul.] The. dancing and playing on instruments of music before