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No. 1088.-1x. 13. The glory of Lebanon shall come unto thee, the fir-tree, the pine-tree, and the bor together, to beautify the place of my sanctuary.) On great occasions the temple was decorated with branches of various sorts of trees. In the Apocrypha allusions are to be found to this practice. Upon the same day that the strangers profaned the temple, on the very same day it was cleansed again, even the five and twentieth day of the same month, which is Casleu; and they kept eight days with gladness; therefore they bare branches, and fair boughs, and palms also, and sang psalms. 2 Macc. X. 5, 6,7. The usage is again confirmed when the high priest Alcimus, to recover access to the holy altar which he had forsaken, is said to present to the king Demetrius a crown of gold and a palm, and also (some) of the boughs which were used solemnly in the temple, 2 Macc. xiv. 4. The prophet Isaiah is supposed to have the same allusion in the passage above cited.
No. 1089:-xii. 6. I have set watchmen upon thy walls,
Jerusalem, who shall never hold their peace, day nor night; ye that make mention of the Lord, keep not silence.] The image in this place is taken from the temple service, in which there was appointed a constant watch day and night by the Levites. Now the watches in the East, even to this day, are performed by a loud cry from time to time by the watchmen, to mark the time, and that very frequently, and in order to shew that they themselves are constantly attentive to their duty, “ The watchmen in the camp of the caravans go their rounds, crying one after another, God is one, he is merciful; and often add, take heed to yourselves.” (Tavern. Voyage de Perse, I. i. c. 9.) The reader will observe in this extract how mention is made of the name of God by the watchmen.
No. 1090.-lxii. 10. Cast up the highway.) The following extracts will sufficiently explain the nature of these highways. Herbert says, (p. 170.) “ the most part of the night we rode upon a paved causey, broad enough for ten horses to go a-breast ; built by extraordinary labour and expense over a part of a great desert, which is so even that it affords a large horizon. Howbeit being of a boggy loose ground upon the sur.. face, it is covered with white salt, in some places a yard deep, a miserable passage ; for, if either the wind drive the loose salt abroad, which is like dust, or that by accident the horse or camel forsake the causey, the bog is not strong enough to uphold them, but suffers them to sink past all recovery."
“ The most important and most useful monument of antiquity in this country is the causey built by Shah Abbas the Great about the beginning of the last century, which runs from Keskar in the south-west corner of the Caspian, by Astrabad in the south-east corner, and several leagues yet farther, being in all near three hundred English miles. During this period it has hardly ever been repaired; it must however be observed, that few or no wheel carriages are in use in this country, so that the pavement is yet preserved in many places very perfect. In some parts it is above twenty yards broad, being raised in the middle, with ditches on each side. There are many bridges upon it, under which water is conveyed to the rice fields; but these are made level, and do not interrupt the prospect.'
HANWAY's Travels in Persia, vol. i. p. 198.
No. 1091.-lxii. 10. Go through, go through the gates.] Repetition is a figure very frequent in the Oriental languages, and instances of it occur in several parts of the scriptures. It is also to be found in common authors. Chardin, translating a Persian letter,
renderš thus, “ To whom I wish that all the world may pay homage;" but says in the Persian it is, “ that all souls may serve his name, his name." See Psalm lxxxvii. 5. Isaiah xxvi. 3.
No. 1092.-lxii. 10. Lift up a standard for the people.] The original word here used is of a general signification, and means not a standard only, but any sign. This may receive some illustration from a passage in Irwin's Travels, p. 139. He says, that it was customary to light up fires on the mountains within view of Cossir, (a town near the Red Sea) to give notice of the approach of the caravans that came from the Nile to Cossir; this was of great importance, as they required the assistance of the inhabitants of that place. It is to some such management as this that Isaiah refers in these words.
HARMER, vol. iii. p. 267.
No. 1093.-- svi. 17. They that sanctify themselves and purify themselves in the gardens, behind one tree in the midst.] Not only sacred groves in general, but the centres of such groves in special, were, as the Abbè Banier has observed, made use of for temples by the first and most ancient heathens. Some one tree in the centre of each such grove was usually had in more eminent and special veneration, being made the penetrale or more sacred place, which doubtless they intended as the antisymbol of the tree of life and of the knowledge of good and evil in the midst of the garden of Eden. To this strange abuse alludes that prophetic censure of some,
, who sanctified and purified themselves with the waters of their sacred fountains and rivers in the gardens or groves,
behind one tree in the midst. Hence it was that when they came to build temples they called them Alon, groves, according to that of Strabo, Aron Manson Tu iegue wavid, they call all sacred places or temples
groves. (Georg. lib. ix.) Their altars were commonly raised in the middle of a court, with one of the trees consecrated to the idol of the place planted near it, overshadowing both it and the idol. Such was that altar in the palace of Priam, described by Virgil.
Ædibus in mediis, nudoque suh ætheris axe,
Æn, ii. 512.
In the centre of the court, and under the naked canopy of heaven, stood a large altar, and near it an aged laurel, overhanging the altar, and encircling the household gods with its shade.
HOLLOWAY's Originals, vol. i. p. 16.
No. 1094.lxvi. 17. And the mouse.]
And the mouse.] The prophet is supposed here to allude to myomancy, a kind of divination by rats or mice.
No. 1095.-JEREMIAH vi. 1.
Set up a sign of fire in Beth-haccerem.
In this place there might possibly be a very high tower. Kimchi observes that the word signifies a high tower, for the keepers of the vines to watch in. If it were so, it was a very proper place to set up the sign of fire in, to give notice to all the surrounding country. It was usual with the Persians, Grecians, and Romans, to signify in the night by signs of fire, and by burning torches, either the the approach of an enemy, or succour from friends. The former was done by shaking and moving their torches; the latter by holding them still. (Lyd. de Re Militari, I. i. c. 3. p. 185.)
No. 1096.-vii. 29. Cut off thy hair, O Jerusalem, and cast it away.] Michaclis (Supplem. ad Lex. Heb. p. 288.) remarks, that this was done in token of great grief, and cites Curtius (lib. x. c. 14.) in proof that the Persians did the same on the death of Alexander the Great, according to their custom in mourning; and refers to Lucian (de Sacrific.) that thus likewise the Egyptians lamented the funeral of their Apis, and the Syrians the death of Adonis.
No. 1097.-xx. 15. Cursed be the man who brought tidings to my father, saying, a man-child is born unto thee, making him very glad.] It is the custom in Persia to announce to the father the birth of his male children with particular ceremonies. Chardin.
HARMER, vol. ii. p. 511.
No. 1098.-xxvi. 18. Zion shall be ploughed like a