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Noctis aves, extis puerilibus, inquit,
No. 728.-xi. 5. We remember the fish which we did eat in Egypt freely.] Pococke (Trav, vol. i. p. 182.) says, that in Egypt fish is commonly eaten by the people with great pleasure: but that in April and May, which is the hot season there, they eat scarcely any thing but fish, with pulse and herbs, the great heat taking away their appetite for all sorts of meat. This account perfectly agrees with what the children of Israel are represented as saying.
No. 729.-xii. 3. Now the man Moses was very meek above all the men who were upon the face of the earth.] That Moses should commend himself for his meekness, has been perversely objected to by sceptics and infidels. But certainly not upon just ground. Parallel instances occur in profane writers, which are permitted to pass without censure. In Homer, Ulysses calls himself the wisest of the Grecians, Achilles represents himself the best and most valiant of them. Æneas talks frequently of his own piety and valour. Xenophon represents Cyrus upon his death-bed, as taking notice of the greatest beauty of his own character, his humanity. And Moses says of himself that he was the meekest man upon earth.
Di bene fecerunt, inopis me quodque pusilli
Hor. b. i. Sat. iv. 17.
No. 730.-xvii. 6. The rod of Aaron.] It has been the custom in all ages for elderly men, and for those in authority, to carry, as a mark of dignity, a rod or
walking-staff, which at length became the sceptre peculiar to princes. Minos, king of Crete, is represented in Hesiod as bearing the sceptre of Jupiter: and Homer (Il. i. 14.) says, the priest Chryses had a sceptre of gold. The priests among the Greeks and Romans had their recurved rods ; and bishops in later ages have their crosiers; all which are ensigns of dignity and office.
Expository Ind. p. 69. .
No. 731.-xix. 2. Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring thee a red heifer without spot.]
66 The resemblance between the institutes of the Hindoos and the Jews has frequently been noticed: but I know not whether the following coincidence has ever been observed. The Hindoos believe that their mediatorial god Vishnow has already been incarnate nine times, and that in his tenth incarnation he will appear in the form of a mighty angel, leading a white winged horse like that in the Apocalypse. These ten incarnations they call Avatars. (See Maurice's History of Hindostan.) Let us now hear Dr. Allix. " For the Jews, in the ages next to these paraphrases (viz. the Targums), I ought to observe this one thing of Pirke Eliezer, (cap. 14.) there they assert, that God descended nine times, and that the tenth time he shall descend in the
age to come, i. e: in the time of the Messiah. The first time was in the garden of Eden : the second, at the confusion of tongues: the third, at the destruction of Sodom: the fourth, at his talking with Moses on mount Horeb: the fifth, at his appearance on Sinai: the sixth and seventh, when he spake to Moses in the hollow of the rock: the eighth and ninth, in the tabernacle: the tenth will be, when he shall appear in the times of the Messiah. Such is their ancient opinion.” (Judgment of the Jewish Church, p. 282.) The tradition mentioned by Maimonides (de Vacca rufa, ch. 3.) respect
ing the red heifer seems to be closely connected with the preceding. “ Nine red heifers have been sacrificed between the original delivering of this precept, and the desolation of the second temple. Our master Moses sacrificed the first: Ezra offered up the second : and seven more were slain during the period which elapsed from the time of Ezra to the destruction of the temple: the tenth king Messiah himself will sacrifice: by his speedy manifestation he will cause great joy. Amen, may he come quickly.” It is almost superfluous to observe that the red heifer is a type of Christ.”
Christian Observer, vol. i.
No. 732.-xix. 2. Upon which never came yoke.] According to the common consent of mankind, those creatures which had been used became unfit to be offered to God. Hence Diomed promises Pallas a cow of a year old,
-ην επω υπο ζυγον ηγαγεν ανηρ. .
* Il. K.
which no man hitherto had brought under the yoke. See more in Bochart Hieroz. p. i. 1. 2. cap. 33.
No. 733.- xix. 11. He that toucheth the dead body of any man shall be uncleun seven days.] We meet with a remarkable account of the notions of certain modern heathens concerning pollution by the dead, and of their ceremonies respecting it, in Captain Cook's Third Voyage, vol. i. p. 305. Speaking of a walk he took in Tongataboo, one of the Friendly Islands in the Pacific Ocean, he says, “ In this walk we met with about half a dozen women in one place at supper. Two of the company, I observed, being fed by the others, on our asking the reason, they said, taboo mattee. On further enquiry we found, that one of them
had, two months before, washed the dead corpse of a chief, and that on this account she was not to handle ány food for five months. The other had performed the same office to the corpse of another person of infe. rior rank, and was now under the same restriction, but not for so long a time. At another place, hard by, we saw another woman fed, and we learnt that she had assisted in washing the corpse of the above-mentioned chief."
“ At the expiration of the time the interdicted person washes herself in one of their baths, which are dirty holes, for the most part of brackish water, (compare Numb. xix. 19.) she then waits upon the king, and, after making her obeisance in the usual way, lays hold of his foot, and applies it to her breast, shoulders, and other parts of her body. He then embraces her upon each shoulder, after which she retires, purified from her uncleanness.” Vol. i.
Vol. i. p. 410.
No. 734.--xxii. 6. Come now therefore, I pray thee, and curse me this people.] An opinion prevailed both in those days, and in after ages, that some men had a power by the help of their gods to devote not only particular persons, but whole armies, to destruction. This they are said to have done, sometimes by words of imprecation; of which there was a set form among some people, which Æschines calls drogasojevyy epæv, the determinate curse. Sometimes they also offered sacrifices, and used certain rites and ceremonies, with solemn charms. A famous instance of this we find in the life of Crassus; where Plutarch tells us, that Atticus, tribune of the people, made a fire at the gate, out of which Crassus was to march to the war against the Parthians ; into which he threw certain things to make a fume, and offered sacrifices to the most angry gods, with horrid imprecations upon him : these, he says, accord
ing to ancient tradition had such a power, that no man who was loaded with them could avoid being undone.
No. 735,-xxii. 31. Then the Lord opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way.] There are several instances to be found both in the scriptures and in profane authors, where the eyes have been opened by a divine power to perceive that which they could not see by mere natural discernment. Thus the eyes of Hagar were opened, that she might see the fountain, Gen. xxi. 19. Homer also presents us with an example of this kind. Minerva says to Diomed,
Yet more, from mortal mists I purge thy eyes,
And in Virgil, Venus performs the same office to Æneas, and shews him the gods who were engaged in the destruction of Troy.
Aspice; namque omnem, quæ nunc obducta tuenti
Æn. ii, 604.
Now cast your eyes around : while I dissolve
Milton seems likewise to have imitated this, when he makes Michael open Adam's eyes to see the future revolutions of the world and the fortunes of his posterity.
then purg'd with euphrasy and rue
Paradise Lost, b. xi. 414.