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were watching the enemy, came silently to the camp; and Sheik Daher, having repassed the sea of Tiberias, meeting them, they all rushed into the camp, and fell on the confused and sleeping enemy, eight thousand of whom they slew on the spot; and the pasha, with the remainder of his troops, fled with much difficulty to Sham, leaving all their baggage behind.”
HARMER, vol. iv. p. 244.
No. 909.-ix. 13. Then they hasted, and took every man his garment, and put it under him on the top of the stairs, and blew with trumpets, saying, Jehu is king.) " When I read,” says Mr. King, (Archeol. vol. vi. p. 293.) “ that on Jehu's being anointed king over Israel at Ramoth-gilead, the captains of the host, who were then sitting in council, as soon as they heard thereof, took every man his garment, and put it under him on the top of the stairs, and blew with trumpets, proclaiming, Jehu is king; and when I consider the account given by Herodotus of the ancient Ecbatana, which was at no great distance from Syria, and in a country much connected with it; and reflect also upon the appearance of the top of the stair-cases, both at Launceston and Connisborough, (which were narrow and steep,) I am very apt to conclude, that at either of the two latter places is still to be beheld nearly the same kind of scenery, as to building, which was exhibited to the world on the remarkable occasion of inaugurating Jehu at Ramoth-gilead.”
No. 910.-8. 15. And he gave him his hand.] In token of acknowledging a newly elected prince it was nat uncommon, or inconsistent with the reverence due to his character, to take him by the hand. D'Herbelot (p. 204.) in explaining an eastern term, which he tells us signifies the election or inauguration of a khalif, in
forms us, that this ceremony consisted in stretching forth a person's hand, and taking that of him that they acknowledged for khalif. This was a sort of performing homage, and swearing fealty to him. Harmer, vol. iii.
This was also sometimes done as a token of friendship and fidelity. Gal. ii. 9. With this view it was also practised by the Romans, as appears from Virgil:
Ipse pater dextram Anchises, haud mulța moratus,
Æn. iii. 610. " My father Anchises frankly gives the youth his right hand, and fortifies his mind by that kindly pledge.” See Oriental Customs, No. 195.
No. 911.-xi. 12. And they clapped their hands.] This practice was not only an expression of joy, as in the present instance, but was also the ordinary method in the East of calling the attendants in waiting. Thus in the history of the Caliph Vathek (p. 127.) we are told, that Nourouishar clapped her hands, and immediately came together Gulcheurouz and her women. See also Psalm xlvii. 1. xcviii. 8.
No. 912.--xi. 14. And when she looked, behold, the king stood by a pillar, as the manner was.] From various testimonies it appears, that a seat erected near a pillar or column was particularly honourable and distinguishing. Homer furnishes an instance of this kind. Speaking of Ulysses, he says,
The monarch by a column high enthron’d
Odyss. xxii. 93. Pope. The same custom is also twice mentioned in Odyss. b. viii. See also 2 Kings xxiii. 3.
No. 913.---xix. 7. Behold, I will send a blast upon him. The destruction of Sennacherib and his army appears to have been effected by that pestilential wind called the simoon. Mr. Bruce thus speaks of it: “We had no sooner got into the plains than we felt great symptoms of the simoom; and about a quarter before twelve our prisoner first, and then Idris, called out, The simoom ! the simoom! My curiosity would not suffer me to fall down without looking behind me; about due south, a little to the east, I saw the coloured haze as before. It seemed now to be rather less compressed, and to have with it a shade of blue : the edges of it were not defined as those of the former, but like a very thin smoke, with about a yard in the middle tinged with those colours. We all fell upon our faces, and the simoom passed with a gentle ruffling wind. It continued to blow in this manner till near three o'clock, so we were all taken ill that night, and scarcely strength was left us to load the camels, and arrange the baggage.” Travels, vol. iv. p. 581. In another place Mr. Bruce describes it as producing a desperate kind of indifference about life-that it brought upon him a degree of cowardice and languor, which he struggled with in vain; and that it completely exhausted his strength. From the accounts of various travellers it appears. to have been almost instantaneously fatal and putrefying. It was consequently a fit agent to be employed in de. solating the army of Sennacherib.
No. 914.-xx. 11. The dial of Ahaz.] At the beginning of the world it is certain there was no distinction of time, but by the light and darkness, and the whole day was included in the general terms of the evening and morning. The Chaldæans, many ages after the flood, were the first who divided the day into hours ; they being the first who applied themselves with any
success to astrology. Sun-dials are of ancient use : but as they were of no service in cloudy weather and in the night, there was another invention of measuring the parts of time by water; but that not proving sufficiently exact, they laid it aside for another by sand. The use of dials was earlier among the Greeks than the Romans. It was above three hundred years after the building of Rome before they knew any thing of them: but yet they had divided the day and night into twentyfour hours: though they did not count the hours numerically, but from midnight to midnight, distinguishing them by particular names, as by the cock-crowing, the dawn, the mid-day, &c. The first sun-dial we read of among the Romans, which divided the day into hours, is mentioned by Pliny, (Nat. Hist. lib. i. cap. 20.) as fixed upon the temple of Quirinus by L. Papyrius the censor, about the twelfth year of the wars with Pyrrhus. Scipio Nasica some years after measured the day and night into hours from the dropping of water.
No. 915.--xx. 13. And Hezekiah hearkened unto them, and shewed them all the house of his precious things, the silver, and the gold, and the spices, and the precious ointment, and all the house of his armour.] Vertomannus, in his voyage to the East, describing the treasure of the king of Calicut, says, that it is esteemed so immense that it cannot be contained in two remarkably large cellars or warehouses. It consists of precious stones, plates of gold, and as much coined gold as may suffice to lade a hundred mules. They say that it was collected together by twelve kings who were before him, and that in his treasury is a coffer three spans long and two broad, full of precious stones of incalculable value. This custom for the eastern princes to amass enormous loads of treasure, merely for show
and ostentation, appears to have been practised by the kings of Judea. One instance of it at least is found in the case of Hezekiah, in the passage now referred to,
No. 916.--xxi. 11. Manasseh king of Judah hath done these abominations, and hath done wickedly above all that the Amorites did.] Bodin informs us from Maimonides, that it was customary among the Amorites to draw their new-born children through a flame; believing that by this means they would escape many calamities; and that Maimonides himself had been an eye-witness of this superstition in some of the nurses
No. 917.-xxiii. 7. The women wove hangings for the grove.] In the history of Schemselouhar and the Prince of Persia (Arabian Nights' Entertainment), when the former was told that the caliph was coming to visit her, she ordered the paintings on silk, which were in the garden, to be taken down. In the same manner are paintings or hangings said to be used in the passage referred to.
The authority given for this custom must be allowed to be sufficient to vouch for the existence of the practice in question, to whatever animadversions the work itself may be liable in any other point of view.