Εικόνες σελίδας
PDF
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

rich and valuable for the age in which Abraham lived. Rich and splendid apparel, especially such as was adorned with gold, was very general in the eastern nations, from the earliest ages: and as the fashions and customs of the Orientals are not subject to much variation, so we find that this propensity to golden ornaments, prevails even in the present age, among the females in the countries bordering on Judea. Thus Mungo Park, in the account of his travels in Africa, mentions the following singular circumstance, respecting the ornamental part of the dress of an African lady. “ It is evident from the account of the process by which negroes obtain gold in Manding, that the country contains a considerable portion of this precious metal. A great part is converted into ornaments for the women: and, when a lady of consequence is in full dress, the gold about her person may be worth, altogether, from fifty to eighty pounds sterling.”

We find also that the same disposition for rich ornamental apparel prevailed in the times of the Apostles; for St. Peter cautioned the females of quality in the first ages of Christianity, when they adorned themselves, not to have it consist, in the outward adorning, of plaiting the hair, and of wearing gold, or of putting on apparel, 1 Pet. jji. 3. See also Psalm xlv. 9. 13. Upon thy right hand did stand the queen in gold of ophir.Her clothing is of wrought gold,

No. 625.---xxiv. 59. And they sent away Rebekah their sister, and her nurse.] Nurses were formerly held in very high esteem, and considered as being entitled to constant and lasting regard. “ The nurse in an eastern family is always an important personage. Modern travellers inform us, that in Syria she is considered as a sort of second parent, whether she has been foster-mother or otherwise. She always accompanies the bride to her

husband's house, and ever remains there, an honoured character. Thus it was in ancient Greece." Siege of Acre, b. ii. p. 35. note.

Thus it appears to have been in the ages of the Patriarchs.

GILLINGWATER M. S.

No. 626.---xxiv. 60. And they blessed Rebekah.] Nuptial benedictions were used both by the Jews, Greeks, and Romans. That of the Jews was in this form. “Blessed be thou, O Lord, who hast created man and woman, and ordained marriage," &c. This was repeated every day during the wedding week, provided there were new guests. The Grecian form of benediction was, apaidn TUZM; the Latin was, Quod faustum felixque sit. The Jews constantly made use of the same form: but the Greeks and Romans frequently varied theirs: a benediction however in some form was always used. See SELDEN de Jure N. et. G. I. v. cap. 5.

No. 627.--xxv. 30. Red pottage. The inhabitants of Barbary still make use of lentils, boiled and stewed with oil and garlick, a pottage of a chocolate colour; this was the red pottage for which Esau, from thence called Edom, sold his birth-right.

Shaw's Trav. p. 140. 2d edit.

No. 628.-xxvi. 12. Then Isaac sowed in that land, and received in the same year a hundred fold.] The author of the history of the piratical states of Barbary observes, that the Moors of that country are divided into tribes like the Arabians, and like them dwell in tents, formed into itinerant villages: that “these wanderers farm lands of the inhabitants of the towns, sow and cultivate them, paying their rent with the produce, such as fruits, corn, wax, &c. They are very skilful in chusing the most advantageous soils for every season,

and very careful to avoid the Turkish troops, the violence of the one little suiting the simplicity of the other. p. 44. It is natural to suppose that Isaac possessed the like sagacity when he sowed in the land of Gerar, and received that year a hundred fold. His lands appear to have been hired of the fixed inhabitants of the country. On this account the king of the country might, after the reaping of the crop, refuse his permission a second time, and desire him to depart. HARMER, vol. i. p. 85.

No. 629.-xxvi. 15. For all the wells which his father's servants had digged in the days of Abraham his father, the Philistines had stopped them, and filled them with earth.] The same mode of taking vengeance which is here mentioned has been practised in ages subsequent to the time here referred to. Niebuhr (Travels, p. 302.) tells us, that the Turkish Emperors pretend to a right to that part of Arabia that lies between Mecca and the countries of Syria and Egypt, but that their power amounts to very little. That they have however garrisons in divers little citadels built in that desert, near the wells that are made on the road from Egypt and Syria to Mecca, which are intended for the greater safety of their caravans. But in a following page (p. 330.) he gives us to understand, that these princes have made it a custom, to give annually to every Arab tribe which is near that road, a certain sum of money and a certain number of vestments, to keep them from destroying the wells that lie in that route, and to escort the pilgrims cross their country.

We find in D'Herbelot (p. 396.) that Gianabi, a famous rebel in the tenth century, gathered a number of people together, seized on Bassora and Coufa, and afterwards insulted the reigning Caliph by presenting himself boldly before Bagdat his' capital: after which he retired by little and little, filling up all the pits with sand which had been dug in the road to Mecca, for the benefit of the pilgrims.

HARMER, vol. iv. p. 247.

No. 630.-xxvii. 16. Put the skin of the kids of the goats.] It is observed by Bochart (p. 1. Hierozoic. 1. ii. c. 51.) that in the eastern countries goats-hair was very like to that of men: so that Isaac might very easily be deceived, when his eyes were dim, and his feeling no less decayed than his sight.

No. 631.---xxviii. 22. And this stone, which I have set for a pillar shall be God's house.] It appears strange to us to hear a stone pillar called God's house, being accustomed to give names of this kind to such buildings only, as are capable of containing their worshippers within them. But this is not the case in every part of the world, as we learn from Major Symes's narrative of his Embassy to the Kingdom of Ava. The temples of that people, vast as many of them are, are built without cavity of any sort, and he only mentions some of the most ancient of those at Pagahm as constructed otherwise. The following extract will sufficiently illustrate this matter.

• The object in Pegu that most attracts, and most merits notice, is the noble edifice of Shoemadoo, or the golden supreme. This is a pyramidical building, composed of brick and mortar, without excavation or aperture of any sort: octagonal at the base, and spiral at the top. Each side of the base measures one hundred and sixty-two feet. The extreme height of the edifice, from the level of the country, is three hundred and sixty-one feet, and above the interior terrace three hundred and thirty-one feet. Along the whole extent of the northern face of the upper terrace there is a wooden shed for the convenience of devotees, who come from a distant part of the country. There are several low benches near the foot of the temple, on which the person, who comes to pray, places his offering, commonly consisting of boiled rice, a plate of sweetmeats, or cocoa-nuts fried in oil;

when it is given, the devotee cares not what becomes of it; the crows and wild dogs often devour it in the presence of the donor, who never attempts to disturb the animals. I saw several plates of victuals disposed of in this manner, and understood it was the case with all that was brought.”

The temple of Shoedagan, about two miles and a half north of Rangoon, is a very grand building, although not so high, by twenty-five or thirty feet, as that of Shoemadoo, at Pegu. The terrace on which it stands is raised on a rocky eminence, considerably higher than the circumjacent country, and is ascended by above a hundred stone steps. The name of this temple, which signifies Golden-Dagon, naturally recals to mind the passage in the scriptures, where the house of Dagon is mentioned, and the image of idolatry bows down before the Holy Ark.”

Many of the most ancient temples at Pagahm are not solid at the bottom: a well arched dome supports a ponderous superstructure; and, within, an image of Gaudona sits enshrined."

No. 632.—xxix. 6. Rachel his daughter.] Her name in Hebrew signifies a sheep. It was anciently the custom to give names even to families from cattle, both great and small. So Varro tells us (lib. ii. de re rustica, c. 1.) Multa nomina habemus ab utroque pecore, &c. à minore, PORCIUS, OVILIUS, CAPRILIUS; a majore, EQUITIUS, Taurus, &c. See Bochart, p. 1. Hieroz. lib. ii. cap. 43.

No. 633.—xxix. 26. And Laban said, it must not be so done in our country, to give the younger before the first-born.] Mr. HALHED observes in his preface to the Gentoo Laws, (p. 69) “ We find Laban excusing himnself for having substituted Leah in the place of Rachel to Jacob, in these words, It must not be so done in our

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »