תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

was variously practised, it also produced different engagements. If he who was at the expense of the sacrifice were a public person, or in high office, he sent of his own accord a piece of the victim to all who were subject to him ; and by this act obliged them to enter into his views. If the sacrifice were offered by a private person, those only who voluntarily took a piece of the sacrifice entered into a strict engagement to espouse his interest - Connections of this kind derived their force from the deities, in honour of which the sacrifice was offered: from the true God, when made by the Jews; from idols, when made by the Gentiles. The Jews were content to invoke and take the Lord to wit. ness: whereas the pagans never failed to place upon an altar of green turf the deities which presided over their covenant. These deities were called common, because they were the common deities of all who were thus united, and received in common the honours which they thought proper to pay them. - A direct proof of these facts is recorded in 1 Sam. xi. 7. And Saul took a yoke of oxen, and hewed them in pieces, and sent them throughout all the coasts of Israel by the hands of messengers, saying, Whosoever cometh not forth after Saul and after Samuel, so shall it be done unto his oxen.. And the fear of the Lord fell on the people, and they came out with one consent. Another proof is drawn from the customs observed by the Scythians and Molossians. Lucian thus speaks of what passed between these people upon urgent occasions. “ When any one had received an injury, and had not the means of avenging himself, he sacrificed an ox, and cut it into pieces, which he caused to be dressed and publicly exposed; then he spread out the skin of the victim, and sat upon it, with his hands tied behind him. All who chose to take part in the injury which had been done took up a piece of the ox, and swore

[ocr errors]

to supply and maintain for him, one, five horses, another ten, others still more ; some infantry, each according to his strength and ability. They who had only their per son engaged to march themselves. Now an army composed of such soldiers, far from retreating or disbanding, was invincible, as it was engaged by oath.”

These circumstances, compared with the account given of the Levite's conduct and the subsequent behaviour of the tribes, clearly point out, that the method used by the Levite to obtain redress was consistent with the established usages of the times, and affected the retribution he desired to see accomplished.

No. 795:--XX. 10. And we will take ten men of a hundred throughout all the tribes of Israel.] This ap. pointment was not so much designed to collect food as to dress it, and to serve it up. In the present Barbary camps which march about their territories every year, twenty men are appointed to each tent'; two of them officers of different ranks, sixteen common soldiers, one a cook, and another a steward who looks after the provisions. (Pitts's Trav. p. 28.) Among the Greeks, according to Homer, (II. ii. 126.) they seem to have divided their troops into companies of ten each, one of whom waited on the rest when they took their repast; under the name of the ovogco@, which is usually translated cup-bearer. But perhaps the person that was so charactorized not only gave them their wine when they took their repasts, but had the care of their provisions, set out their tables, and had the principal share in cooking their food.

HARMER, vol. iv. p. 234.

No. 796.RUTH ii. 4.

And behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said unto

the reapers, the Lord, be with you; and they answered him, the Lord bless thee. .

Such, says Bp. Patrick, was the piety of ancient times, that they used to pray that God would prosper the honest labours of those they saw employed : and they made a return of the same prayers for those who thus expressed their good will. This was also practised by the heathen, especially in harvest time, which they would not begin by putting the sickle into the corn, till Ceres had been invoked. Thus Virgil:

Neque ante
Falcem maturis quisquam supponat aristis,
Quam Cereri, torta redimitus tempora querců,
Det motus imcompositos, et carmina dicat.

Georg. lib. i. 347.

Thus in the spring, and thus in summer's heat,
Before the sickles touch the rip’ning wheat,
On Ceres call: and let the lab’ring hind
With oaken wreaths his hollow temples bind;
On Ceres let him call, and Ceres praise
With uncouth dances and with country lays.

DRYDEN.

No. 797.-ii. 14. Dip thy morsel in the vinegar.] We are not to understand this of simple vinegar, but vinegar mingled with a small portion of oil; the Algerines indulge their miserable captives with a small portion of oil, to the vinegar they allow them with their bread. Pitts ( Account, p. 6.) says, that when he was in slavery his allowance was about five or six spoonfuls of

Vol. II.

vinegar, half a spoonful of oil, a small quantity of black biscuit, a pint of water, and a few olives.

HARMER, vol. iii. p. 160.

No. 798.-ii. 3. Wash thyself therefore, and anoint thee.] According to the custom of the ancient nations, washing generally preceded anointing. Many instances of it occur in Homer ; as when Telemachus is entertained by Nestor, and when Telemachus and Pisistratus are invited to the court of Menelaus. The custom was so ancient and general, that the Greeks had one word to express this anointing with oil after washing with water, which they called , χυτλα and χυτλωσαι. See more in PEARSON on Creed, p. 99. ed. 8..

No. 499.-iii. 9. Spread therefore thy skirt over thy handmaid.] This phrase imports taking a person under protection and tuition ; and here not a common, but a matrimonial one. The Chaldee therefore plainly renders it, let thy name be called upon thy handmaid, by taking me for thy wife. From hence, when two persons are married among the Jews, the man throws the skirt of his talith over his wife, and covers her head with it. BUXTORF, Synagoga Judaica, cap. 39.

No. 800.-iv. 4. Now this was the manner in former times in Israel concerning redeeming, and concerning changing, to confirm all things; a man plucked off his shoe, and gave it to his neighbour ; and this was a testimony in Israel.] It is not easy to give an account of the origin of this custom ; but the reason of it is plain, it being a natural signification that he resigned his interest in the land, by giving him his shoe wherewith he used to walk in it, that he might enter into and take possession of it himself. The Targum instead of shoe hath right-hand glove ; it being then the custom perhaps, to give that in room of the shoe : in later times the Jews delivered a håndkerchief for the same purpose. So R. Solomon Jarchi says, we acquire, or buy now, by a handkerchief or veil, instead of a shoe.

The giving of a glove was in the middle ages a ceremony of investiture in bestowing lands and dignities. In

A. D. 1002, two bishops were put in possession of their sees, each by receiving a glove. So in England, in the reign of Edward the Second, the deprivation of gloves was a ceremony of degradation.

With regard to the shoe as the token of investiture, Castell. (Lex. Polyg. col. 2342) mentions that the emperor of the Abyssinians used the casting of a shoe as a sign of dominion. See Psalm 1x. 8. To these instances the following may properly be added. “ Childebert the Second was fifteen years old, when Gontram his uncle declared that he was of age, and capable of governing by himself. I have put, says he, this javelin into thy hands as a token that I have given thee all my kingdom. And then turning towards the assembly he added, you see that my son Childebert is become a man; obey him. Montesquieu, Spirit of Laws, vol. i. p. 361,

No. 801.-iv. 11. The Lord make the woman that is come into thy house like Rachel and like Leah.] Such a solemn benediction of those who were going to be married was very ancient, Gen. xxiv. 60. The Jews continue it to this day. They say that it was always pronounced in the presence of ten persons at the least, the eldest of whom gave the benediction, which was a ratification of what had been agreed upon. See SELDEN Uxor. Hebr. lib. ii. cap. 12.

« הקודםהמשך »