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tine, a town situated at the top of a great rock, the usual way of executing great criminals is by pushing them off the cliff,
No. 928.--xxviii. 23. For he sacrificed unto the gods of Damascus, which smote hin.] However stupid it was to imagine that they had any power over him, who could not defend themselves from Tiglath-Pileser, yet being of opinion that they were gods, he endeavoured by sacrifices to appease them, that they might do him no further hurt. Thus the ancient Romans by sacrifices intreated the gods of their enemies to come over to them, and to be their friends. See Jackson's Original of Unbelief, cap. 17.
No. 929.-xxxv. 25. And Jeremiah lamented for Josiah, and all the singing men and the singing women speak of Josiah in their lamentations to this day, and made them an ordinance in Israel.] Public characters were lamented in anniversary solemnities with mournful music, and oftentimes in such a manner as might represent the circumstances of their affliction or death, as far as they could with propriety. The Persians annually mourn for Houssain (the grandson of Mohammed,) and visit his sepulchre near the ancient Babylon. The mourning continues ten days; all pleasures are suspended; they dress as mourners; and they pronounce discourses relating to his death to numerous assemblies: all this is done in the royal palace in the hearing of the prince himself, as well as in other places among the common people. Chardin. The mourning for the death of Josiah, and the mourning for the daughter of Jephthah, were probably of this kind.
HARMER, vol. iii. p. 435.
No. 930.-xxxvi. 15. Rising up betimes, and sending
them.] The Jews in general rose very early in the morning. Hence in their style, to rise early signifies to do a thing sedulously, and with a good will: thus it is frequently said, that God rose up early to send the prophets to his people, and exhort them to repentance. Jer. vii. 13. xi. 7. xxxv. 14. It is a consequence of country labour. The Greeks and Romans followed the same custom: they rose very early, and worked till night; they bathed, supped, and went to bed in good time.
FLEURY'S Hist. of Israelites, p. 49.
No. 931.--EZRA vi. 11.
And let his house be made a dunghill for this.
Thus the Romans pulled down the houses of very wicked men, for their greater disgrace: of this we have instances in Sp. Cassius and Ovidius Pollio. See also Dan. ii. 5. and iii. 29.
No. 932.-vi. 15. The month Adar.] This was the name, after the Babylonish captivity, of the twelfth month, nearly answering to our February 0.S. and perhaps so called from the richness or exuberance of the earth in plants and flowers at that season in the warm eastern countries. “ As February advances, the fields, which were partly green before, now, by the springing up of the latter grain, become entirely covered with an agreeable verdure: and though the trees continue in their leafless state till the end of this month or the beginning of March, yet the almond, when latest, being in blossom before the middle of February, and quickly succeeded by the apricot, peach, &c. gives the gardens an agreeable appearance. The spring now becomes extremely pleasant.” See Russell's Nat. Hist. of Aleppo, p. 13, 30. Hasselquist's Travels, p. 27.
No. 933.-viii. 27. Precious as gold.] Yellow or shining brass, marg. Sir J. Chardin, MS. note, has mentioned a mixed metal used in the East, and highly esteemed there, which might probably be of as ancient an origin as the time of Ezra. He says, “ I have heard some Dutch gentlemen speak of a metal in the island of Sumatra and among the Macassars, much more esteemed than gold, which royal personages alone
might wear. It is a mixture, if I remember right, of gold and steel, or of copper and steel. Calmbac is this metal, composed of gold and copper; it in colour nearly resembles the pale carnation rose, has a very fine grain, and the polish extremely lively. Gold is not of so lively and brilliant a colour."
HARMER, vol. ii. p. 490.
No. 934.-ix. 3. And plucked of the hair of my head.] In ordinary sorrows they only neglected their hair, and let it hang down scattered in a careless manner, the prac. tice mentioned in these words was used in bitter lamentations; and that also amongst the heathens. Thus Homer, speaking of Ulysses and his companions bewailing the death of Elpenor, says, "Εζόμενοι δε ενταύθα γόων τίλλογλο τε χαίτας.
Odyss. x. 15. They sitting down there howled and plucked off their hairs.
No. 935.-NEHEMIAH i. 8.
And the king granted me according to the good hand of
my God upon me.
The hand is sometimes taken in an ilt sense for inflicting punishments. Ruth. i 13. Jer. xv. 17. and sometimes in a good sense, for we extend favours to men with the hand.' Thus Drusius explains Psalm lxxxviii5. cut off from thy hand, that is, fallen from thy grace and favour. Pindar (Olymp. 10.) thus uses the hand of God, for his help and aid, ©£8où tahapa; by the hand of God: which the scholiast interprets, by the power and help of God. Thus Nehemiah is here to be understood.
No. 936.-v. 5. We bring into bondage our sons and our daughters to be servants.] As to the paternal power of the Hebrews, the law gave them leave to sell their daughters, Exod. xxi. 7. but the sale was a sort of marriage, as it was with the Romans. Fathers sold their children to their creditors, Isaiah 1. 1. and in the time of Nehemiah the poor proposed to sell their children for something to live upon; and others bewailed themselves that they had not wherewith to redeem their children that were already in slavery. They had the power of life and death over their children, Prov. xix. 18. But they had not so much liberty as the Romans, to make use of this severe privilege without the knowledge of the magistrate. The law of God only permitted the father and mother, after they had tried all sorts of correction at home, to declare to the elders of the city that their son was stubborn and rebellious; and upon their complaint he was