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fair pearl and of an excellent water, that weigh from six to ten carats a piece. At the distance of four feet, upon each side of the throne, are placed two umbrellas, the handles of which are about eight feet high, covered with diamonds; the umbrellas themselves being of crimson velvet, embroidered and fringed with pearl. This is the famous throne which Timur began and Shah Johan finished, and is really reported to have cost a hundred and sixty millions and five hundred thousand livres of our money." TAVERNIER's, Indian Travels, tom. iii. p. 331.
No. 884.-X. 21. And all king Solomon's drinkingvessels were of gold.] · The magnificence of Solomon, particularly with respect to his drinking-vessels, has not been exceeded by modern Eastern princes. The gold plate of the kings of Persia has been much celebrated and is taken notice of by Chardin. He observes, that the plate of the king of Persia is of gold, and that very fine, exceeding the standard of ducats, and equal to those of Venice, which are of the purest gold. Shah Abas caused seven thousand two hundred marks of gold to be melted for this purpose. Now the two hundred targets of gold which Solomon made weighed but little less than the drinking-vessels which Shah Abas made. i Kings x. 16. We may therefore believe that his royal drinking-vessels were of equal, if not greater weight.
HARMER, vol. i. p. 284.
No. 885.-xi. 3. And he had seven hundred wives, princesses; and three hundred concubines.] It appears to have been the manner of eastern princes, to have a great number of wives, merely for pomp and state. Fatherla Compte tells us in his History of China, (pt. i. p. 62.) that there the emperor hath a great
number of wives, chosen out of the prime beauties of the country. It is also said, that the great mogul has as many wives as make up a thousand.
PATRICK, in loc.
No.886-xiii. 26. And when the prophet that brought him back from the way heard thereof, he said, it is the man of God, that was disobedient to the word of the Lord.] Disobedience in special cases, has commonly been punished by those in authority. The Athenians put their ambassadors to death, whom they had sent into Arcadia, though they had faithfully performed their business, because they came another way, than that which had been prescribed to them.
ÆLIAN. Var. Hist. lib. vi. cap. 5.
No. 887.--Xv. 2. Three years reigned he in Jeru. salem, and his mother's name was Maachah.] It has been conjectured by Mr. Baruh, that the phrase," and his mother's name was,” &c. when expressed on a king's accession to the throne, at the beginning of his history, does not always refer to his natural mother, but that it is a title of honour and dignity, enjoyed by one of the royal family, denoting her to be the first in rank. This idea appears' well founded from the following extracts. “ The oloo kani is not governess of the Crimea. This title, the literal translation of which is, great queen, simply denotes a dignity in the haram, which the khan usually confers on one of his sisters; or if he has none, on one of his daughters, or relations. To this dignity are attached the revenues arising from several villages, and other rights." Baron Du Tott, vol. ii. p. 64. “ On this occasion the king crowned his mother Malacotawit, conferring upon her the dignity and title of iteghe, i. e. as king's mother, regent and governess of the king when under age." Bruce's Trav. vol. ii. p. 531.
No. 888.-xvii. 1. Elijah.] “We are deceived by not seeing titles among the Israelites, like those of our nobility. Every one was called plainly by his own name: but their names signified great things, as those of the patriarchs. The name of God was part of most; which was in a manner a short prayer. Elijah and Joel are made up of two of God's names, joined in a different way. Jehoshaphat and Shephatiah signify the judgment of God: Jehozedek and Zedekiah, his justice: Johanan, his mercy: Nathanael, Elnathan, Jonathan, and Nathaniah, all four, signify, God-given, or the gift of God. Sometimes the name of God was understood, as in Nathan, David, Obed, &c. as is plain by Eliezer, God my helper; Uzziel, God my strength; and Obadiah, the Lord's servant. The Greek names also are of the same import, many are composed of the names of their gods; as Diodorus, Diogenes, Hermodorus, Hæphestion, Athenais, and Artemisia.”
FLEURY's Hist of the Israelites, p. 20.
No. 889.-xviii. 26. They leaped upon the altar which was made.] Baal, whose idolatrous worship is here referred to, was the same as Apollo, or the Su Callimachus has given us a remarkable instance of the universal veneration which was paid by the ancient pagans, at his altar in the temple of Delos. Amongst other ceremonies in the worship of this idol, it was customary to run round his altar, to strike it with a whip, and with their hands or arms bound behind them to bite the olive. For of Delos the poet says,
Thee, ever honour'd isle, what vessel dares
The maze they tread, and, backward bent their arms,
Hymn to Delos, v. 433.
The former part of this ceremony plainly alludes tą singing and dancing round the altar. The latter part seems to accord with what is said of Baal, 1 Kings xviii. 26–28. where we read of the priests of Baal who leaped upon the altar they had made, which the Septuagint render 'ran round; and they cried aloud, and cut themselves after their manner with knives and lances, till the blood gushed oựt upon them. Their running round the altar signified the annual rotation of the earth round the sun. Striking with a whip the altar, cutting themselves with knives and lances, crying aloud to their deity, were symbolical actions, denoting their desire that he would shew forth his power upon all nature in general, and that sacrifice in particular then before him. Having thus surrounded the altar of Apollo, and by these actions declared their belief in his universal power, they used to bend their own arms behind them, and so take the sacred olive into their mouths; thereby declaring, that not from their own arm or power, which was bound, but from his whose altar they surrounded, and from him they expected to obtain that peace, whereof the olive was always a symbol. Gen. viii. 11.
There are some evident allusions to these abominable idolatrous practices in the Old Testament; and for which the Jews are severely reprimanded by the prophets, for following such absurd and wicked ceremonies. Thus şaith the Lord concerning the prophets that make my people err, that BITE WITH THEIR TEETH, and cry PEACE, Micah iïi. 5.; and respecting Ashdod, the prophet says, I will take away his blood out of his mouth, and his abominations from BETWEEN HIS TEETH, Zech. įx. 7.
No. 890.-xviii. 38. The fire of the Lord fell.] Bp. Patrick apprehends that God testified his approbation of Abel's sacrifice by a stream of light, or a flame from the shekinah which burnt it up. In this opinion many ancient writers concur; remarking that footsteps of it may be met with in
See Gen. xy. 17. Levit. ix. 24. Judges vi. 21. 1 Chron. xxi. 26. 2 Chron, vii. 13. Psalm xx, 3. marg. reading. Some relics of it are to be found among the heathen : for when the Greeks went on ship-board to the Trojan war, Homer represents Jupiter promising them good success in this manner. (Iliad. ii. 354.) And thunder sometimes -accompanying lightning, Virgit makes him establish covenants in that manner. After Æneas had called the sun to witness, Latinus lifts up his eyes and right hand to heaven, saying,
Audiat hæc genitor, qui fædera fulmine sancit.
Æn. xii. 200.
Let the (heavenly) father hear what I say, who establishes covenants with thunder.
From some early instances of this kind the heathen seem to have derived their notion, that when a sacrifice took fire spontaneously, it was a happy omen. So Virgil:
Aspice: corripuit tremulis altaria flammis
Ecl. viii. 105.
See also Georg. iv. 384.
Pausanias says that when Seleucus, who accompanied Alexander in his expedition from Macedonia, was sacrificing at Pella to Jupiter, the wood advanced of its own accord towards the image, and was kinaied without fire. See also Levit. ix. 24. i Chron. xxi. 26. 2 Chron. vii. 1.