« הקודםהמשך »
1. That it be not pronounced too hastily and swiftly, but with a grave and distinct voice. 2. That it be not louder than the tone of him that blessed. 3. It was to be expressed in faith, with a certain persuasion that God would bless them and hear their prayer.
No. 921.-xxii. 8. Thou shalt not build a house unto my name, because thou hast shed much blood upon the earth.] The custom which prohibits persons polluted with blood to perform any offices of divine worship before they were purified, is so ancient and universal, that it may almost be esteemed a precept of natural religion, tending to inspire an uncommon dread and horror of bloodshed. In the case of David it amounted to a disqualification, as it respected the building of the temple. And with regard to some of the Israelites, it was the cause of the rejection of their prayers. Isaiah i. 15. The Greeks were influenced by the same principle. Euripides represents Iphigenia as arguing that it was impossible for human sacrifices to be acceptable to the gods, since they do not permit any defiled with blood, or even polluted with the touch of a dead body, to come near their altars. ( Iphig. in Taur. v. 380.] Homer makes Hector say.
Ill fits it me, with human gore distain'd,
POPE. Il. vi. 385.
· No. 922.-xxvi. 27. Out of the spoils won in battle did they dedicate to maintain the house of the Lord.] According to the law of Moses the booty was to be divided equally, between those who were in the battle, and those who were in camp, whatever disparity there might be in the number of each party. The law farther requires, that out of that part of the spoils which was assigned to the fighting men the Lord's share should be separated: and for every five hundred men, oxen, sheep, &c. they were to take one for the high priest, as being the Lord's first-fruits, and out of the other moiety belonging to the children of Israel they were to give for every fifty men, oxen, sheep, &c. one to the Levites. Amongst the Greeks and Romans the plunder was brought together into one common stock, and divided afterwards amongst the officers and soldiers, paying some respect to their rank in the distribution. Sometimes the soldiers made a reserve of the chief part of the booty, to present by way of compliment to their respective generals. The gods were always remembered. And the priests had sufficient influence to procure them an handsome offering, and other acceptable presents. See Homer, Il. vii. 81. Eurip. Herc. Fur. 476. Virgil Æn. iii. 286. et. vii. 183.
No. 923._2 CHRONICLES vi. 1.
Then said Solomon, the Lord hath said, that he would
· dwell in the thick darkness.
This notion of God's dwelling in darkness prevailed amongst the heathens, who are supposed to have learned it hence. Justin Martyr observes, that Orpheus and another ancient writer called God lægspuxor, altogether hidden. And the Lacedæmonians, who pretend to be allied to the Jews, had a temple dedicated to Zeus Exo Tervos, Jupiter the dark.
PATRIC, in loc.
No. 924.-vi. 34. If thy people go out to war against their enemies.] The most usual time of going forth to war was at the return of spring. In the beginning of spring, says Josephus ( Ant. l. vii. c. 7.) David sent forth his commander in chief Joab, to make war with the Ammonites. At another place he says of Adad, that as soon as spring was begun he levied and led forth his army against the Hebrews. ( Ant. 1. viii. c. 8.) Antiochus, in the same manner made ready to invade Judea at the first appearance of spring. Vespasian likewise, earnest to put an end to the war in Judea, marches with his whole army to Antipatris at the commencement of spring. Holofornes also receives his order, to lead forth the army of the king of Assyria on the two and twentieth day of the first month, that is, a few days after Easter. Judith ii. 1.
Hurdis's Diss. p. 30.,
No. 925.-ix. 24. And they brought every man his present, vessels of silver, and vessels of gold, and raiment.] Thevenot tells us, (part i. p. 253.) it was a custom in
Egypt in his time, for the consuls of the European nations to send the basha a present of so many vests, and so many besides to some officers, both when a new basha came, and a new consul entered his office, as were rated at above a thousand piastres. Doth not this last account remind us of the presents that were made to Solomon by the neighbouring princes at set times, part of which, we are expressly told, consisted of raiment?
HARMER, vol. ii. p. 89.
No. 926-xvi. 14. And they made a very great burning for him.] The Greeks and Romans burnt dead bodies, throwing frankincense, myrrh, cassia, and other fragrant things into the fire: and these were used in such vast quantities, that Pliny represents it as a piece of profaneness to bestow such heaps of frankincense upon a dead body, when they offered it to their gods by crumbs. (Nat. Hist. lib. xii. cap. 18.) The Israelites had no such custom ; but from the ancient Egyptians perhaps adopted the practice, not of burning bodies, but of burning many spices at their funerals, 2 Chron. xxi. 19. Jer. xxxiv. 5. Kimchi here says, that they burnt the bed on which they lay, and other household stuff, that none might have the honour to use them when they were gone.
PATRICK, in loc.
No. 927.-XXV. 12. And cast them down from the top of the rock.] This mode of punishment was practised by the Greeks and Romans, as well as the Jews. In Greece, according to the Delphian law, such as were guilty of sacrilege were led to a rock, and cast down headlong. Ælian, Var. Hist. lib. xi. c. 5, The Romans also inflicted it on various malefactors, by casting them down from the Tarpeian rock. Livy, Hist. 1. vi. c. 20. Mr. Pitts in his account of the Mahometans (p. 10.) · informs us, that in Turkey, at a place called Constan
tine, a town situated at the top of a great rock, the usual way of executing great criminals is by pushing them off the cliff.
No. 928.--xxviii. 23. For he sacrificed unto the gods of Damascus, which smote him.] However stupid it was to imagine that they had any power over him, who could not defend themselves from Tiglath-Pileser, yet being of opinion that they were gods, he endeavoured by sacrifices to appease them, that they might do him no further hurt. Thus the ancient Romans by sacrifices intreated the gods of their enemies to come over to them, and to be their friends. See Jackson's Original of Unbelief, cap. 17.
No. 929.-XXXV. 25. And Jeremiah lamented for Fosiah, and all the singing men and the singing women speak of Josiah in their lamentations to this day, and made them an ordinance in Israel.] Public characters were lamented in anniversary solemnities with mournful music, and oftentimes in such a manner as might represent the circumstances of their affliction or death, as far as they could with propriety. The Persians annually mourn for Houssian (the grandson of Mohammed,) and visit his sepulchre near the ancient Babylon. The mourning continues ten days; all pleasures are suspended; they dress as mourners ; and they pronouncé discourses relating to his death to numerous assemblies : all this is done in the royal palace in the hearing of the prince himself, as well as in other places among the common people. Chardin. The mourning for the death of Josiah, and the mourning for the daughter of Jephthah, were probably of this kind.
HARMER, vol. iii. p. 435.
No. 930.--xxxvi. 15. Rising up betimes, and sending