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fine linen.] To be arrayed in a rich dress, and to ride in great pomp and ceremony, were the ancient modes of investing with the highest degree of subordinate power in Egypt; and with a small variation still remains so. The history of the revolt of Ali Bey (p. 43.) informs us, that on the election of a new sheik bellet, the pasha who approves of him invests him with a valuable fur, treats him with sherbet, and when the sheik bellet departs, the pasha presents him with a horse richly caparisoned.
HARMER, vol. iii. p. 308.
No. 644.—xļii. 15. By the life of Pharaoh.] Most authors take this for an oath, the original of which is well explained by Mr. Selden, (in his Titles of Honour, p. 45.) where he observes, that the names of gods being given to kings very early, from the excellence of their heroic virtue, which made them anciently great benefactors to mankind; thence arose the custom of swearing by them: which Aben Ezra saith, continued in his time, (about 1170) when Egypt was governed by caliphs. If any man swore by the king's head, and were found to have sworn falsely, he was punished capitally. See more on this subject in Oriental Customs, No, 29.
No. 645.—xliii. 34, And they drank.) After they had dined, plenty of wine was brought in, for every one to drink as much as they pleased. Such is the custom of the Abyssinians to this day : they do not drink or talk at dinner, but after the meat is taken away: as Ludolphus assures us from Telezius. This he also supposes to have been the ancient custom among other nations, particularly the Romans; for which he alleges the words of Virgil:
Postquam prima quies epulis, mensæque remota,
A different custom however prevailed in Persia ; where the time for drinking wine was at the beginning, not at the close of the entertainment. See Oriental Customs, No. 143.
No. 646.-xliv. 5. Is not this it in which my lord drinketh, and whereby indeed he divineth?] When Norden was at Derri in the farthest part of Egypt, in a very dangerous situation, from which he and his company endeavoured to extricate themselves by exerting great spirit, a spiteful and powerful Arab in a threatening way told one of their people, whom they had sent to him, that he knew what sort of people they were, that he had consulted his cup,and had found by it that they were those of whom one of their prophets had said, that Franks would come in disguise, and passing every where, examine the state of the country, and afterwards bring over a great number of other Franks, conquer the country, and exterminate all. (Trav. vol. ii. p. 150.) It was precisely the same thing that Joseph meant when he talked of divining by his cup.
HARMER, vol. ii. p. 475.
No. 647.xlv. 22. To all of them he gave each man changes of raiment.] Presents of garments appear to have been common amongst all ranks of people in the East. The passage now cited is an instance in point. See also 2 Chron. ix. 24. This custom is still preserved. De la Motraye furnishes us with some particular information on this subject. “ The visier entered at another door, and their excellencies rose to salute him after their manner, which was returned by a little inclining of his head : after which he sat down on the corner of his sofa, which is the most honourable place: then his chancellor, his kiabia, and the chiaouz bashaw came and stood before him, till coffee was brought in:
after which, M. de Chateauneuf presented M. de Ferriol to him, as his successor, who delivered him the king his master's letters, complimenting him as from his majesty and himself, to which the visier answered very obligingly : then after some discourse, which turned upon the reciprocal readiness of propension towards the continuance of a good intelligence between the Porte and the court of France, which M. de Ferriol assured that the king his master was well disposed to cultivate sincerely, they gave two dishes of coffee to their excellencies, with sweetmeats, and after that perfumes and sherbet. Then they clothed them with caffetans of a silver brocade, with large silk flowers; and to those that were admitted into the apartments with them, they gave others of brocade, almost all silk, except some slight gold or silver flowers, according to the custom usually observed towards all foreign ministers.” Travels, p. 199. Caffetans are long vests of gold or silver brocade, flowered with silk. See also Ezra ii. 69. Neh. vii. 70.
No. 648.-xlvi. 4. Put his hand upon thine eyes.] This appears to have been a very ancient and general custom, 'as there are evidences of its existence amongst the Jews, Greeks, and Romans. Among the Jews, Tobias is said to have shut the eyes of his wife's father and mother, and to have buried them honourably. Tobit xiv. 15. Maimonides represents it as a custom
Homer describes Ulysses thus expressing himself on the death of Socus :
Ah, wretch! no father shall thy corpse compose,
Il. xi. 570. Pope.
See also the Odyss. xi. 424. and xxiv. 294. Eurip,
Hecub. 430. Virg. Æn. ix. 487. Ovid. Trist. iii. El. iii. 43. and iv. El. iii. 43.
No. 649.-xlviii. 14. And Israel stretched out his right hand, and laid it upon Ephraim's head.] Imposition of hands was a Jewish ceremony, introduced, not by any divine authority, but by custom : it being the practice among those people whenever they prayed to God for any person, to lay their hands on his head. Our Saviour observed the same custom, both when he conferred his blessing on children, and when he healed the sick, adding prayers to the ceremony. The apostles likewise laid hands on those upon whom they bestowed the Holy Ghost. The priests observed the same custom when any one was received into their body. And the apostles themselves underwent the imposition of hands afresh, every time they entered upon any new design. In the ancient church imposition of hands was even practised on persons when they married, which custom the Abyssinians still observe.
No. 650.--xlviii. 20. And he set Ephraim before Manasseh.] The preference given in this instance to the younger brother has in many cases been paralleled, Some nations have even gone so far as to form institutions upon this very principle. For the younger son to succeed his father in preference to his elder brothers, was a custom long prevalent in Tartary, and among the northern nations: and it is to be found in our old Saxon tenures, under the description of BoroughEnglish, Sir William Blackstone, after mentioning the opinions of Littleton and other eminent lawyers in regard to the origin of this strange custom, conjectures, with great judgment, that it might be deduced from the Tartars. Amongst those people, the elder sons, as they grew to man's estate, migrated from their father
with a certain portion of cattle; and the youngest son only remaining at home, became in consequence the heir to his father's house and all his remaining possessions.
RICHARDSON's Dissert. on Eastern Nations, p. 162.
No. 651.-xlix. 1. And Jacob called unto his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befal you in the last days.] “ It is an opinion of great antiquity, that the nearer men approach to their dissolution, their souls grow more divine, and discern more of futurity. We find this opinion as early as Homer, (Il. xvi. 852. et xxii. 358.) for he represents the dying Patroclus foretelling the fate of Hector, and the dying Hector denouncing no less certainly the death of Achilles. Socrates, in his apology to the Athenians a little before his death, asserts the same opinion. But now,' saith he, I am desirous to prophesy to you, who have condemned me, what will happen hereafter. For now I am arrived at that state, in which men prophesy most, when they are about to die,' (Platonis Apolog. Socr, Op. vol. i. p. 39. edit. Serrani.) His scholar Xenophon (Cyrop. lib. viii. prope finem, p. 140.) introduces the dying Cyrus declaring in like manner that the soul of man at the hour of death appears most divine, and then foresees something of future events.' Diodorus Siculus (in initio, lib. xviii. tom. 2.) alledgeth great authorities upon the subject. Pythagoras the Samian, and some others of the ancient naturalists, have demonstrated that the souls of men are immortal, and in consequence of this opinion, that they also foreknow future events at the time that they are making their separation from the body in death.' Sextus Empiricus (adv. Mathem. p. 312.) confirms it likewise by the authority of Aristotle : • The soul,' saith Aristotle, foresees and