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is actually the law of several countries; where the subjects are commanded, on pain of death, to disclose conspiracies, in which they are not so much as even concerned. In Japan, where the laws subvert every idea of human reason, the crime of concealment is applied even to the most ordinary cases. A certain narrative (Collection of Voyages which contributed to the Establishment of the East India Company, p. 423.) makes mention of two young ladies, who were shut up for life in a box thick set with pointed nails, the one for having had a love intrigue, the other for not disclosing it.
No. 749.-xvi. 14. Thou shalt rejoice in thy feast, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy man-servant, and thy maid-servant.] There was a law similar to this enacted at Athens by Cecrops, who ordained, that the master of every family should, after harvest, make a feast for his servants, and eat together with them, who had taken pains together with him in tilling his ground -delectari enim deum honore servorum, contemplatu laboris; for God delighted in the honour done to servants, in consideration of their labour. This law it is probable he borrowed from Moses, as he reigned much about the same time that Israel came out of Egypt.
No. 750.--xvii. 18. And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book.] Maimonides gives the following account of this circumstance. “ The king was to write the book of the law for himself, besides the book that was left him by his father, and if his father had left him none, or if that were lost, he was to write him two books of the law, the one he was to keep in his archives; the other was not to depart from him, unless when he went to his throne, or to the bath, or to a place where reading would be inconvenient. If he went to war, it
accompanied him; if he sat in judgment, it was to be
No. 751..xix. 14. Thou shalt not remove thy neighbours' land-marks, which they of old time have set in thine inheritance.] It was the common practice both with the Hebrews and with the Romans to erect landmarks to distinguish the boundaries of particular estates: and in setting apart land for any use they erected a pillar, upon which was marked its length and breadth. From many ancient inscriptions it is evident that the Romans added the following letters: H. M. H. N. S. Hoc monumentum hæredes non sequitur. See Horace b. i. sat. viii. 12. The heathens had a deity called Jupiter Terminalis, appointed to preside over bounds and land-marks. Numa Pompilius appointed stones to be set as bounds to every man's land, and dedicated them to Jupiter Terminalis. He ordered that those who removed them should be slain as sacrilegious persons, and they and their oxen devoted to destruction.
No. 752.-XX. 2. And it shall be, when ye are come nigh unto the battle, that the priest shall approach and speak unto the people.] Maimonides and the Talmudical writers speak much of a sacerdos ad bellum unctus: a priest anointed for war, who they say was anointed with the same oil that the high-priest was, being little inferior to him in dignity, though in the sanctuary he ministered only as a common priest, and wore no other garments than they did. His proper
office was to attend the camp in time of war, and encourage the people to the battle. When he had pronounced the words contained in Deut. xx. 3, 4. standing on a high place before the whole army, another priest proclaimed it to all the people with a loud voice. Dr. Jennings (Jewish Antiq. vol. i. p. 207.) does not
however seem satisfied with this account, and infers from the silence of scripture on the point, that there really was no such officer.
No. 753.--xxi. 13. She shall put the raiment of her captivity fron off her.] It was customary among the ancients for the women, who accompanied their fathers or husbands to battle, to put on their finest dresses and ornaments previous to an engagement, in order to attract the notice of the conqueror, if taken prisoners. See Ovid. Remed. Amor. 343.
No. 754.-xxii. 5. The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment.] This prohibitory law seems directed against an idolatrous usage, which appears to be as ancient as Moses, and which later writers inform us was to be found among several nations in after times; and that too attended with the most abominable practices. From Plutarch (De Isid. et Osir. tom. ii. p. 368. edit. Xylandr.) we learn that the Egyptians called the moon the mother of the world, and assigned to her a nature both male and female: and Boyse (Pantheon, p. 72.) says of Diana, Luna, or the moon, that the Egyptians worshipped this deity both as male and female, the men sacrificing to it as Luna, the women as Lunus, and each sex on these occasions assuming the dress of the other. PARKHURST's Heb. Lex. p. 107.
No. 755.--xxiv. 20. When thou beatest thine olive tree, thou shalt not go over the boughs again, it shall be for the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow.] The sacred writings sometimes represent olives as beaten off the trees, and at other times as shaken. This does not indicate an improvement made in after times on the original mode of gathering them, or different methods of
procedure by different people in the same age and couritry, who possessed olive-yards; but rather expresses the difference between gathering the main crop by the owners, and the way in which the poor collected the few olive-berries that were left, and which, by the law of Moses, they were to be permitted to take. The abbot Fortis in his account of Dalmatia (p. 412.) says, that “ in the kingdom of Naples, and in several other parts of Italy, they use to beat the branches with long poles, in order to make the fruit fall.” Answerably to this, the olives of the Holy Land continue to be beaten down to this time: at least, they were so gathered in the
HARMER, vol. iv. p. 106.
No. 756.-xxv. 4. Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn.] It is customary in Arabia, and among the Moors in Barbary, to tread out the corn with cattle. The sheaves lie open and expanded on the threshing-floors, and the cattle continually move round them. The natives of Aleppo still religiously observe the ancient practice of permitting the oxen to remain unmuzzled, when they separate the corn from the straw. Shaw's Travels, p. 221. Russell's Nat. Hist. of Aleppo, vol. i. p. 76.
No. 757.-xxv. 5. If brethren dwell together, and one of them die and have no child, the wife of the dead shall not marry without unto a stranger: her husband's brother shall go in unto her, and take her to him to wife.] From this ancient custom the Athenians appear to have had that remarkable law, that no heiress must marry out of her kindred, but shall resign up herself and her fortune to her nearest relation; and by the same law the nearest relation was obliged to marry her. Potter's Gr. Ant. vol. i. p. 159.
Among the modern eastern nations we still meet with
the law or custom of marrying the brother's widow. Thus Olearius Ambassador's Travels into Persia, p. 417. Eng. ed.) informs us concerning the Circassians: “When a man dies without issue, his brother is obliged to marry the widow, to raise up seed to him.” Volney (Voyage en Syrie, tom. ii. p. 74.) observes that “ the druzes retain, to a certain degree, the custom of the Hebrews, which directed a man to marry his brother's widow: but this is not peculiar to them, for they have this as well as many other customs of that ancient people, in common with the inhabitants of Syria, and with the Arabians in general.”
Amongst the Arabians, if a father left one or more widows, the sons often married them, provided they were not their own mothers. This usage was suppressed by Mohammed ; and before his time it was marked with a degree of detestation. Lord Hailes ( Annals of Scotland, p. 39.) informs us, that this custom prevailed in Scotland so late as the eleventh century: and he supposes that it might have originated from avarice, in order to relieve the heir from the payment of a jointure.
No. 758.--xxvi. 14. I have not eaten thereof in my mourning.] In harvest time the Egyptians offered the first-fruits of the earth, and kept the feast of Isis with doleful lamentations. Julius Firmicus, in relating this circumstance, severely reproves their folly, saying, “ Cur plangitis fruges terre? &c. Why do you bewail the fruits of the earth? why weep you at the growth of your seed ? &c. you should rather give thanks for these things to the most high God, whose bounty is not to be lamented; but bewail rather your own error.” If this custom prevailed in Moses's time, it will easily be perceived why hè cautioned the Israelites against it.
No. 759.xxvii. 2, 3. Thou shalt set thee up great