« הקודםהמשך »
“ In those periods of remote antiquity, which may with the utmost propriety be styled the infancies of societies and nations, the usual, if not the only, mode of instruction was by detached aphorisms or proverbs. Human wisdom was then indeed in a rude and unfinished state: it was not digested, methodized, or reduced to order and connection. Those who by genus and reflection, exercised in the school of experience, had accumulated a stock of knowledge, were desirous of reducing it into the most compendious form, and comprised in a few maxims those observations which they apprehended most essential to human happiness. This mode of instruction was, in truth, more likely than any other to prove efficacious with men in a rude stage of society; for it professed not to dispute, but to command; not to persuade, but to compel: it conducted them, not by a circuit of arguinent, but led immediately to the approbation and práctice of integrity and virtue. That it might not, however, be altogether destitute of allurement, and lest it should disgust by an appearance of roughness and severity, some degree of ornament became necessary; and the instructors of mankind added to their precepts the graces of harmony, and illuminated them with metaphors, comparisons, allusions, and the other embellishments of style. This manner, which with other nations prevailed only during the first periods of civilization, with the Hebrews, continued to be a favourite style to the latest ages of their literature.” Lowth's Lectures on the Hebrew Poetry, vol. i. p. 162.
No. -1020.- . 16. Length of days is in her right hand, and in her left riches and honour.] Wisdom is here represented as a queen, holding in one hand, instead of a sceptre, length of days, and in the other, instead of a globe, riches and honour. The allusion is thought by some to be to an ancient custom of numbering things and the ages of men by the hand and fingers, beginning with the left hand; and when they came to a hundred, going on to the right. So that in her right hand might be said to be length of days, few persons arriving to that number. (Alex. ab Alex. Genial. Dier, I. i. c. 14.) To this Juvenal refers when speaking of Nestor,
Suos jam dextra computat annos.
Sat. x. 249.
No. 1021.-v. 15. Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well.] There may be an allusion in these words to a law which Clement of Alexandria (Stromat. 1. i. p. 274.) says Plato had from the Hebrews, which enjoined husbandmen not to take water from others to water their lands, till they themselves had dug into the earth called virgin earth, and found it dry and without water.
No. 1022.-vi. 1. -if thou hast stricken thy hand with a stranger.] To strike hands with another person was a general emblem of agreement, bargaining, or suretyship. So Homer represents it, I. ii. 341. and iv. 159. ` And Virgil, En dextra fidesque.
Æn. iv. 597, See also Prov. xvii. 18. xxii. 26. Job xvii. 3.
No. 1023.xii. 27. The slothful man roasteth not that which he took in hunting.] Solomon evidently
represents it as an instance of diligence in these words, both that a man should employ himself in hunting, and that he should properly prepare what was so obtained. The small portion of land which fell to the share of a man could by no means find him full em ployment: and only labour, besides time, was requisite for catching wild animals, which might contribute to his support and maintenance. The present Arabs frequently exercise themselves in hunting in the Holy Land. (Voy, dans la Pal. p. 243.)
HARMER, vol. i. p. 335..
No. 1024.-XV. 17. A stalled ex.] This instance of luxury appears to be alluded to in Matt. xxii. 4. and Luke xv. 23. In the times of Homer it was in high esteem, and formed a chief part of their entertainments. At the feasts made by his heroes, Agamemnon, Menelaus, and Ajax, it is mentioned as the principal part, if not the whole, of what was prepared. See II. vii. 320. Od. iv. 65. et viii. 60. Virg. Æn, viii. 182.
No. 1025. xvii. 6. The glory of children are their fathers.] The Jews often added the father's name, either for the sake of distinction or respect, to shew that the father was a man of renown. Perhaps Solomon had this custom in view when he said the glory of children are their fathers. Thus we see in Homer, that the Greeks took the paternal name for a mark of honour. (Iliad x. 68.) Sometimes the mother's name was given for the surname; as when the father had many wives, or when the mother was of the better family. So Joab and his brethren are always called the sons of Zeruiah, who was David's sister, 1 Chron. ii. 16. If the name of the father were not distinction enough, they added the Grandfather's, 'as Gedaliah the
son of Ahikam the son of Shaphan, Jer. xxxix. 14.. Sometimes a surname was taken from the head of a particular branch, from a town, a country, or a nation if they were originally strangers: as, Uriah the Hittite, Araunah the Jebusite. FLEURY's History of the Israelites, p. 21. .
No. 1026.-xxii. 14. The mouth of strange women is a deep pit.] Maundrell (p. 5.) describing the passage out of the jurisdiction of the bassa of Aleppo into that of Tripoli, tells us, that the road was rocky and uneven, but attended with variety. He says, “ they descended into a low valley, at the bottom of which is a fissure into the earth of a great depth; but withal so narrow, that it is not discernable to the eye till you arrive just upon it, though to the ear a notice is given of it at a great distance, by reason of the noise of a stream running down into it from the hills. We could not guess it to be less than thirty yards deep, but it is so narrow that a small arch, not four yards over, lands you on its other side. They call it the sheik's wife; a name given it from a woman of that quality, who fell into it and perished.” Probably Solomon might allude to some such dangerous, place, in comparing a whore to a deep piti See also Prov. xxiii. 27.
HARMER, vol. i. p. 461.
No. 1027.-xxiii. 30. They that tarry long at the wine.]' Dandini (p. 17.) informs us that it was the practice of tipplers not merely to tarry long over the bottle, but over the wine cask. “ The goodnsss of the wine of Candia renders the Candiots great drinkers, and it often happens, that two or three great drinkers will sit down together at the foot of a cask, from whence they will not depart till they have emptied it.” See also Isaiah v. 11.
· No. 1028.—xxiv. 11. If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain.] It was allowed among the Jews, that if any person could offer any thing in favour of a prisoner after sentence was passed, he might be heard before execution was done: and therefore it was usual, as the Mishna shews, that when a man was led to execution, a crier went before him and proclaimed, “ This man is now going to be executed for such a crime, and such and such are witnesses against him; whoever knows him to be innocent, let him come forth, and make it appear.”
DODDRIDGE's Works, vol. iii. p. 236, note.
No. 1029.xxiv. 31. The stone wall.] Stone walls were frequently used for the preservation of vineyards, as well as living fences. Van Egmont and Heyman (vol. ii. p. 39.) describing the country about Saphet, a celebrated city of Galilee, tell us, “ the country round it is finely improved, the declivity being covered with vines supported by low walls.” HARMER, vol. i. p. 456.
No. 1030. XXV. 26. A righteous man falling down before the wicked is as a troubled fountain and a corrupt spring.] One method of rendering streams of water unfit for use to an enemy was, by throwing filth into them. This was sometimes practised, (Gesta Dei per Francos, p. 1031.) and in particular it was done by the people at a place called Bosseret. Accident has also sometimes had the same effect. The same writer mentions a large quantity of water collected in cisterns, as being spoiled by locusts perishing in it. A circumstance of this kind might be alluded to by Solomon in these words.
HARMER, vol. ii. p. 234.
No. 1031.-xxv. 27. It is not good to eat much honey.] Delicious as honey is to an eastern palate, it has been