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country, to give the younger before the first-born. This was long before Moses. So in this compilation, it is made criminal for a man to give his younger daughter in marriage before the elder; or for a younger son to marry while his elder brother remains unmarried.”
No. 634.xxix. 32. And she called his name Reuben, for she said, Surely the Lord hath looked upon mine affliction.] Many names which occur in the scriptures were taken from particular incidents and circumstances. Other people besides the Jews have acted in this manner. “ The children of the Mandingoes are not always named after their relations; but frequently in consequence of some remarkable occurrence. Thus, my landlord at Kamalia was called Karfa, a word signifying to replace; because he was born shortly after the death of one of his brothers. Other names are descriptive of good or bad qualities: as Modi, a good man: Fadibba, father of the town. Indeed the very names of their towns have something descriptive in them as, Sibidooloo, the town of siboà trees. Kenneyetoo, victuals here. Dorita, lift your spoon. Others appear to be given by way of reproach, as Bammakoo, was a crocodile. Karankalla, no cup to drink from. Among the negroes, every individual, besides his own proper name, has likewise a kongtong or surname, to denote the family or clan to which he belongs. Every negro plumes himself on the importance or the antiquity of his clan, and is much flattered when he is addressed by his kontong." Mungo PARK's Travels in Africa, p. 269.
No. 635.—xxix. 32. And Leah conceived, and bare a son, and she called, his name Reuben.] It seems probable that in common the mother gave the name to a child, and this both amongst the Jews and the Greeks; though perhaps not without the concurrence of the
father. In the age of Aristophanes the giving of a name to the child seems to have been a divided prerogative between the father and the mother. Homer ascribes it to the mother:
Him on his mother's knees, when babe he lay,
Odyss. xviii. 6. Pope.
No. 636.-xxxi. 27. That I might have sent thee away with mirth, and with songs, with tabret, and with harp.] A striking similarity prevails between the modern dance of the South Sea islands, as performed before Captain Cook, and the ancient choral dance of Egypt and Palestine. “ A band or chorus of eighteen men seated themselves before us; they sung a slow and soft air; twenty women entered. Most of them had
Most of them had upon their heads garlands, of the crimson flowers of the china rose, or others. They made a circle round the chorus, and began by singing a soft air, to which responses were made by the chorus in the same tone: and these were repeated alternately. All this while the women accompanied their song with several very graceful motions of their hands towards their faces, and in other directions. Their manner of dancing was now changed to a quicker measure, in which they made a kind of half turn by leaping, and clapped their hands, repeating some words in conjunction with the chorus. Toward the end, as the quickness of the music increased, their gestures and attitudes were varied with wonderful vigour and dexterity.” Last Voyage, vol. i.' p. 250. See also 0. C. No. 20.
No. 637.-xxxiii. 3. And he passed over before them.] In travelling it was usual to place the women and children in the rear of the company. This was evidently
the sítuation occupied by Leah and Rachel, in their journey with Jacob. From other sources we derive the same information. In the history of the caliph Vathek, it is said, that the black eunuchs were the inseparable attendants of the ladies, the rear was consequently their post. In the argument to the poem of Amriolkais, it is related that one day when her tribe had struck their tents, and were changing their station, the women, as usual, came behind the rest with the servants and baggage, in carriages fixed on the backs of camels. See also Gen. xxiv. 61.
No. 638.-xxxiii. 4. And Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.] Such persons as are intimately acquainted, or of equal age and dignity, mutually kiss the hand, the head, or the shoulder of each other. Shaw's Trav. p. 237. This passage and Gen. xlv. 14. Luke xv. 20. Acts xx. 37. Seem to have a reference to the eastern way of kissing the shoulder in an embrace. HARMÉR, vol. ii. p. 53.
No. 639.--xxxiv. 12. Ask me never so much dowry.] It was usual for the bridegroom to give to his bride, or her father, a dowry or portion of money or goods, as a kind of purchase of her person. It was the custom of the Greeks and other ancient nations. (Potter's Greek Ant. b. iv. c. 11.) And is to this day the practice in several Eastern countries. (Complete System of Geog. vol.ii. p. 19. 305.)
The modern Arabs who live under tents purchase their wives. De la Roque says, that “properly speaking, a young man that would marry must purchase his wife: and fathers among the Arabs are never more happy than when they have many daughters. This is the principal part of the riches of a house. Accordingly, when a young man would treat with a person whose daughter
he is inclined to marry, he says to him, Will you give me your daughter for fifty sheep; for six camels; or for a dozen cows? If he be not rich enough to make such offers, he will propose the giving her to him for a mare, or a young colt; considering in the offer the merit of the young woman, the rank of her family, and the circumstances of him that desires to marry her. When they are agreed on both sides, the contract is drawn up by him that acts as cadi or judge among these Arabs. (Voy. dans la Pal. p. 222.)
No. 640.-xxxiv. 27. The sons of Jacob came upon the slain and spoiled the city, because they had defiled their sister.] “In the east, as well as in Europe, the relations of the principals in a quarrel, seem to have been bound by honour and custom to espouse their party, and to revenge their death; one of the highest reproaches. with which one Arabian could upbraid another, being an accusation of having left the blood of his friend unrevenged.” RICHARDSON's Dissert, on Eastern Nations, p. 214. It was on this principle that the sons of Jacob acted towards Shechem, for his conduct towards their sister.
No. 641.-xxxv. 4. Ear-rings.] “ Some of the eastern ear-rings are small, and go so close to the ear as that there is no vacuity between them: others are so large that you may put the forefinger between, and adorned with a ruby and a pearl on each side of them, strung on the ring. The women wear ear-rings and pendants of divers sorts: and I have seen some, the diameter of whose round was four fingers, and almost two fingers thick, made of several kinds of metals, wood, and horn, according to the quality of people. There is nothing more disagreeable to the eyes of those that are unaccustomed to the sight; for these pendants by their weight
widen so extremely the hole of the ear, that one might put in two fingers, and stretch it more than one that never saw it would imagine. I have seen some of these ear-rings with figures upon them, and strange characters, which I believe may be talismans or charms, or perhaps nothing but the amusement of old women. The Indians say they are preservatives against enchantments. Perhaps the ear-rings of Jacob's family were of this kind.” Chardin M. S. HARMER, vol. ii. p. 393.
No. 642.-xli. 5, 47. And behold seven ears of corn came up upon one stalk.--And in the seven plenteous years the earth brought forth by handfuls.] In Barbary, one stalk of wheat, or barley, will sometimes bear two ears: whilst each of these ears will as often shoot out into a number of less ones: thereby affording a most plentiful increase. May not these large prolific ears, when seven are said to come up upon one stalk, explain what is further mentioned of the seven fruitful years in Egypt, that is, that the earth brought forth by handfuls ?
This latter passage may, indeed, mean, that the earth brought forth handfuls of stalks from single grains, and not handfuls of ears from single stalks, agreeably to the following passage from Dr. Shaw. “ In Barbary it is common to see one grain produce ten or fifteen stalks. Even some grains of the murwaany wheat, which I brought with me to Oxford, and sowed in the physic garden, threw out each of them fifty. But Muzeratty, one of the late kaleefas, or viceroys, of the province of Tlemsan, brought once with him to Algiers a root that yielded fourscore: telling us, that the prince of the western pilgrims sent once to the bashaw of Cairo, one that yielded six score. Pliny mentions some that bore three or four hundred.”
No. 643.-xli. 42. And arrayed him in vestures of