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son gave the signal at day-break, and the trumpets sounded on every side. The whole army of Bel Arrab being thrown into a panic at finding all the passes guarded, and judging the number of the enemy to be proportionate to the noise that was made, was routed. Bel Arrab himself marched with a party to the place where the son of the new imam was keeping guard; he knew Bel Arrab, fell upon him, killed him, and, according to the custom of the Arabs, cut off his head, which he carried in triumph to his father. Niebuhr Trav. p. 263.
HARMER, vol. iv. p. 237.
No. 776.-viii. 20. And he said unto Jether his firstborn, up and slay them.] In these ages it would be thought barbarous for a king to command his son to perform an execution, like that mentioned in this passage: but anciently it was thought no dishonour. Homer (Odyss. b. xxii.) represents Ulysses as enjoining such a task upon
his which was instantly performed. See also Virgil, Æn. xi, 15.
No. 777.-viii. 26. The chains that were about their camels necks.] These chains were probably like those which Pococke saw in Egypt, hanging from the bridles of the agas of the seven military bodies of that country, to the breast-plates of the animals on which they rode, in the grand procession of the caravan, about setting out for Mecca. They were undoubtedly marks of distinction and grandeur.
HARMER, vol. ii, p. 134.
· No. 778.-viii. 26. And purple raiment that was on the kings of Midian.] Purple seems anciently to have been appropriated to kings, and to them only on whom they bestowed it. It is here mentioned by the sacred historian as being found on the Midianitish kings. A gar-, ment of fine linen and purple is given to a favourite by
king Ahasuerus, Esther viii. 15. The Jews made a decree that Simon should wear purple and gold, and that none of the people should wear purple, or a buckle of gold, without his permission, in token that he was the chief magistrate of the Jews, 1 Maccab. 43. Thus also Homer describes a king:
In ample mode
Odyss, xix. 261.' Pope.
No. 779.-ix. 13. Wine, which cheereth God and man.) This form of speech, however singular it may appear to us, is perfectly justifiable, as connected with the Jewish sacrifices, and as used in common both by them and by the Gentiles. Wine, as the Jewish doctors assert, was not only used in their sacrifices, but till the drink-offering was poured out they did not begin the hymn that was then sung to God. Virgil, speaking of noble vines, or wines, says, they were
Mensis et diis accepta secundis.
Georg. lib. ii. 101.
grateful to the gods and second courses: that is, they were so excellent as to be fit to be used for libations which were made at the second course.
No. 780.-ix. 51. But there was a strong tower within the city, and thither fled all the men and women, and all they of the city, and shut it to them.] Besides fortified towns and cities, we find that in the time of the croisades they had towers for the people of open towns to fly to in time of danger. Thus in the reign of Baldwin the Second, when the strength of the kingdom was collected together to the siege of Tyre, the people of
Ashkalon suddenly invaded the country about Jerusalem, and put to the sword the greatest part of the inhabitants of a town called Mahomeria, five or six miles from Jerusalem. But the old men, the women, and the children, betaking themselves to a tower, escaped. (Gesta Dei per Francos, p. 840.) Towers of this sort appear to have been in use in very early times.
. HARMER, vol. ii. p. 239.
No. 781.---xi. 30. And Jephthah vowed a vow unto the Lord.] Though he did not doubt, yet he supposed that he should be more certain of the victory, if he made a religious vow beforehand of being grateful to God for it. In this he acted conformably to the general practice of great warriors in all ages. Livy frequently mentions it as the custom of the Roman generals, who used to vow to Jupiter or Apollo part of the 'spoil they should take in war, or to build temples to their honour. Thus the Israelites, when Arad came against them as they were going to Canaan, made a vow respecting his country, if God would deliver it into their hands, Numbers xxi. 2.
No. 782.--xii. 6. Then said they unto him, say now “ Shibboleth: and he said, “ Sibboleth.”] In Arabia the difference of pronunciation by persons of various districts is much greater than in most other places, and such as easily accounts for the circumstance mentioned in this passage. Niebuhr (Trav. p. 72.) relates something similar to it. “ The king of the Hamjares, at Dhafar, said to an Arab, a stranger, Theb, meaning to say, Sit down : but as the same word in the dialect of the stranger signified leap, he leaped from a high place, and hurt himself: when this mistake was explained to the king, he said, Let the Arab who comes to Dhafar first learn the Hamjare dialect,"
He further says,
“not only do they speak quite differently in the mountains of the small district, which is governed by the imam of Yemen, from what they do in the flat country; but persons of superior rank have a different pronunciation, and different names for things, from those of
The pronunciation of certain letters also differs. Those which the Arabs of the north and west pronounce as K or Q, at Maskat are pronounced tsch ; so that bukkra kiab is by some called batscher tschiab."
No. 783.—xiv. 10. And Samson made a feast there, for so used the young men to do.] This was according to the custom of all countries; it was called by the Jews the nuptial joy. No other feast was to be intermixed with it, and all labour ceased as long as it lasted.
SELDEN, Uxor. Hebr. lib. ii. cap. 11. p. 172.
No. 784.-xiv. 12. And Samson said unto them, I will now put forth, a riddle unto you.] This shews how ancient the custom was, (which we find afterwards amongst the Greeks) of proposing questions to be resolved in their compotations and feasts, that they might not be spent merely in eating and drinking, but that there might be something to exercise their wit and ingenuity. Such riddles as were contrived to puzzle and perplex were called by the name of yoipos, which the scholiast upon Aristophanes defines to be a quesțion put among their cups. See Bochart Hieroz. lib. iv. cap. 12. It should also be observed, that they incurred a forfeiture equal to the reward, if they failed altogether in their answers.
No. 785.-xiv. 12. I will give you thirty sheets and thirty change of garments.] Among the Greeks it was usual for the bride to give changes of dress to
the friends of the bridegroom at the celebration of the marriage. Homer represents Pallas as appearing to Nausicaa in a dream, and commanding her to descend to the river, and wash the robes of state, preparatory to her nuptials.
Oh, indolent, to waste thy hours away!
Odyss. vi. 29. Pope. Dacier is of opinion that the custom now alluded to prevailed amongst the Israelites, and that the proposition made by Samson is grounded upon it. From this sentiment Mr. Pope dissents: “I am rather of opinion,"
" that what is said of Samson has relation to another custom amongst the ancients, of proposing an ænigma at festivals, and adjudging a reward to him that solved it. These the Greeks called 78108s συμποτικες.”
No. 786.-xv. 5. And when he had set the brands on fire, he let them go into the standing corn of the Philistines.] “ There is reason to think that there was nothing new or uncommon in this operation, as it was most obvious for the end proposed that the wit of man could devise. We accordingly find that Ovid alludes to the practice, and mentions that foxes and firebrands were every year exhibited at Rome, and killed in the Circus. For it was the custom in many places to sacrifice by way of retaliation every animal, whether goat or swine, which did particular injury to the fruits of the earth. In consequence of this they introduced these foxes, which had been employed for that purpose with fire-brands.
Cur igitur missæ vinctis ardentia tædis