תמונות בעמוד

might easily be produced: the one which follows may however suffice. After the jealousy of the poor oppressed Greeks lest they should be pillaged, or more heavily loaded with demands by the Turks, had prevented their voluntarily supplying the Baron Du Tott for his money, Ali Aga undertook the business, and upon the Moldavian's pretending not to understand the Turkish language, he knocked him down with his fist, and kept kicking him * while he was rising; which brought him to complain in good Turkish of his beating him so, when he knew very well they were poor people, who were often in want of necessaries, and whose princes scarcely left them the air they breathed. “ Pshaw! thou art joking, friend," was the reply of Ali Aga, “thou art in wart of nothing, except of being basted a little oftener. But all in good time. . . Proceed we to business. I must instantly have too sheep, a dozen of fowls, a dozen of pigeons, fifty pounds of bread, four oques (a Turkish weight of about forty-two ounces) of butter, with salt, pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon, lemons, wine, salad, and good oil of olives, all in great plenty.” With tears the Moldavian replied, I have already told you that we are poor creatures, without so, much as bread to eat; where must we get cinnamon? The whip was taken from under his habit, and the Moldavian beaten till he could bear it no longer, but was forced to fly, finding Ali Aga inexorable, and that these provisions must be produced. A quarter of an hour was not expired, within which time Ali Aga required these things, before they were all brought. (Memoirs, vol. i. part 2. p. 10.)

No. 939.--. 34. The wood-offering.] Concerning this offering Maimonides says, “ what is the wood-offering? there was a time fixed for families to go out into the forests, and bring in wood of disposition (to be laid in order upon the altar :) and the day when it came to the turn of

a family to bring the wood, they offered up a free-will burnt-offering, which they called a wood-offering, and it was to them a good day (or festival) : and they were forbidden to mourn, fast, or do any work on it.” Josephus speaks of a feast called Zuno copia, when it was customary for all to bring wood to the altar, to keep the sacred fire, that it might not go out. De Bello Jud. l. ii. c. 17. g. 6,

: No. 940._xii. 24. 'And "the chief of the Levites; Hashabiah, Sherebiah, and Yeshua the son of Kadmiel, with their brethren over against them, to praise and give thanks according to the commandment of David the man of God, ward over against ward.] “ Though we are rather at a loss for information respecting the usual manner and ceremony of chanting the Hebrew poems; and though the subject of this (the Jews) sacred music in general is involved in doubt and obscurity, thus far at least is evident from many examples, that the sacred hymns were alternately sung by opposite choirs ; and that the one choir usually performed the hymn itself, while the other sung a particular distich, which was regularly interposed at stated intervals, either of the nature of the proasm or epode of the Greeks. Exod. xv. 20, 21. Ezra iii, 11. 1 Sam. xviii, 7, and many of the Psalms.”

Lowth's Lect. on Heb. Poetry. vol. ii. p, 25.

[ocr errors][merged small]

When he shewed the riches of his glorious kingdom and

the honour of his excellent majesty many days, even a hundred and fourscore days.

SOME persons apprehend that he was thus long in making preparation for this splendid entertainment, which did not last many days. But this custom is still continued of keeping an annual festival an hundred and eighty days, according to Dr. Fryer (lett. v. p. 348.) who lived lately in this country, and gives an account of it in his travels. And Cheus, a Chinese emperor, used frequently to make a feast which lasted one hundred and twenty days.

No. 942.-i. 11. To bring Vashti the queen before the king.] The Persians on festival occasions used to produce their women in public. To this purpose Herodotus relates a story of seven Persians being sent to Amyntas a Grecian prince, who received them hospitably, and gave them a splendid entertainment. When, after the entertainment, they began to drink, one of the Persians thus addressed Amyntas: “Prince of Macedonia, it is a custom with us Persians, whenever we have a public entertainment, to introduce our concubines and young wives.” On this principle Ahasuerus gave command to bring his queen Vashti into the public assembly.

No. 943.-ii. 11. And Mordecai walked every day before the court of the women's house, to know how Esther did, and what should become of her.] The harams in the East were guarded with extreme vigilance. Chardin

( Travels, p. 332.) informs us, that it is a crime for any person whatever to be enquiring what passes within those walls ; that it is very difficult to be informed of the transactions in those habitations; and that a man may walk a hundred days, one after another, by the house where the women are, and yet know no more what is done therein than at the farther end of Tartary. This sufficiently explains the reason of Mordecai's conduct.

No. 944. i. 19. The King's gate.] “ The public place for doing business among the Greeks and Romans was the market place or exchange, because they were all merchants. In our ancestors' time the vassals of each lord met in the court of his castle, and hence comes the expression, the courts of princes. As princes live more retired in the East, affairs are transacted at the gate of their seraglio : and this custom of making one's court at the palace gate has been practised ever since the times of the ancient kings of Persia.”

FLEURY's Hist. of the Israelites, p. 147.

· No. 945.-iii. 7. In the first month, (that is, the month Nisan) in the twelfth year of king Ahasuerus, they cast pur, that is, the lot, before Haman, from day to day, and from month to month, to the twelfth month, that is, the month Adar.] It was customary in the East, by casting lots into an urn, to enquire what days would be fortunate and what not, to undertake any business in. According to this superstitious practice, Haman endeavoured to find. out what time in the year was most favourable to the Jews, and what most unlucky. First he enquired what month was most unfortunate, and found the month Adar, , which was the last month in the year, answerable to our

February. There was no festival during this month,

ñor was it sanctified by any peculiar rites. Then he enquired the day, and found the thirteenth day was not auspicious to them, ver. 13. Some think there were as many lotó as there were days in the year, and for every day he drew a lot; but found none to his mind, till he came to the last month of all, and to the middle of it. Now this whole business was governed by providence, by which these lots were directed, and not by the Persian gods, to fall in the last month of the year; whereby almost a whole year intervened between the design and its exécution, and gave time for Mordecai tò acquaint Esther with it, and for her to intercede with the king · for the revoking or suspending his decree, and disappointing the conspiracy.

PATRICK, in loc..

No. 946. . 10. And the king' took his ring from his hand, and gave it unto Haman.] This he did both as a token of affection and honour. With the Persians, for a king to give a ring to any one was a token and bond of the greatest love and friendship imaginable, Alex. ab. Alex. Geniel. Dier. 1. i. c. 26.) It may be this was given to Haman to seal with it the letters that were or should be written, giving orders for the destruction of the Jews.

Among the Romans in aftertimes, when any one was put into the equestrian order, a ring was given to him, for originally none but knights were allowed to wear them. It was sometimes used in appointing a successor in the kingdom : as when Alexander was dying, he took his ring from off his finger, and gave it to Perdiccas, by which it was understood that he was to succeed him. See 1 Macc. vi. 14, 15.

Sit annulus tuus, non ut vos aliquod, sed tanquam ipse tu: non minister alienae voluptatis, sed testis tuce, Cic. ad. Q. Fratr.

« הקודםהמשך »