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Egypt in his time, for the consuls of the European nations to send the basha a present of so many yests, 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
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,
No. 929. XXXV. 25. And Jeremiah lamented for Yosiah, and all the singing men and the singing women speak of Fosiah 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 pronounce 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
them.] The Jews in general rose very early in the morning. Hence in their style, to rise early signifies to do a thing sedulously, and with a good will: thus it is frequently said, that God rose up early to send the prophets to his people, and exhort them to repentance. Jer. vii. 13. xi. 7. XXXV. 14. It is a consequence of country labour. The Greeks and Romans followed the same custom : they rose very early, and worked till night; they bathed, supped, and went to bed in good time.
FLEURY's Hist. of Israelites, p. 49.
No. 931.-EZRA vi. 11.
And let his house be made a dunghill for this.
Thus the Romans pulled down the houses of very wicked men, for their greater disgrace: of this we have instances in Sp. Cassius and Ovidius Pollio. See also Dan. ii. 5. and iii. 29.
No. 932.-vi. 15. The month Adar.] This was the name, after the Babylonish captivity, of the twelfth month, nearly answering to our February 0. S. and perhaps so called from the richness or exuberance of the earth in plants and flowers at that season in the warm eastern countries. “As February, advances, the fields, which were partly green before, now, by the springing up of the latter grain, become entirely covered with an agreeable verdure: and though the trees continue in their leafless state till the end of this month or the beginning of March, yet the almond, when latest, being in blossom before the middle of February, and quickly succeeded by the apricot, peach, &c. gives the gardens an agreeable appearance. The spring now becomes extremely pleasant.” See Russell's Nat. Hist. of Aleppo, p. 13, 30. Hasselquist's Travels, p. 27.
N. 933.viii. 27. Precious as gold.]
Yellow or shining brass, marg. Sir 7. Chardin, MS. note, has mentioned a mixed metal used in the East, and highly esteemed there, which might probably be of as ancient an origin as the time of Ezra. He says, “I have heard some Dutch gentlemen speak of a metal in the island of Sumatra and among the Macassars, much more esteemed than gold, which royal personages alone
might wear. It is a mixture, if I remember right, of gold and steel, or of copper and steel. Calmbac is this metal, composed of gold and copper; it in colour nearly resembles the pale carnation rose, has a very fine grain, and the polish extremely lively., Gold is not of so lively and brilliant a colour.” HARMER, vol. ii. p. 490.
No. 934.ix. 3. And plucked off the hair of my head.] In ordinary sorrrows they only neglected their hair, and let it hang down scattered in a careless manner, the practice mentioned in these words was used in bitter lamentations; and that also amongst the heathens. Thus Homer, speaking of Ulysses and his companions bewailing the death of Elpenor, says,
'Εζομενοι δε ενταύθα γόων τίλλουθο τε χαίτας. .
Odyss. X. 15.
They sitting down there howled and plucked off their hairs.