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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,
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
thought sometimes to have produced terrible effects. Sanutus (Gesta Dei per Francos, vol. ii. p. 224.) informs us, that the English who attended Edward the First into the Holy Land died in great numbers, as they marched, in June, to demolish a place, which he ascribes to the excessive heat, and their intemperate eating of fruits and honey. This circumstance seems to illustrate both the remark of Solomon, and the prophetic passage, which speaks of a book sweet in the mouth as a morsel of honey, but bitter after it was down. Rev. X. 9, 10.
HARMER, vol. i. p. 299.
No. 1032.-xxvii. 6. The kisses of an enemy are deceitful.] It was not customary among the Greeks and Romans to give the kiss of adoration to their idols; but at Agrigentum in Sicily, where it seems the worship of the Tyrian Hercules was introduced by the Phenicians, who, it is well known, settled many considerable colonies in that island, we met with a brazen image of Hercules, whose mouth and chin were worn by the kisses of his worshippers. The kiss of adoration is still practised by the Siamese pagans, for in their public worship, after the priest's benediction, every one goes to an image, and kisses or bows to it, and then marches off in good order."
Complete Syst. of Geog. vol. ii. p. 288.
No. 1033.-xxvii. 27. And thou shalt have goats' milk enough for thy food.] Milk is a great part of the diet of the eastern people. Their goats furnish them with some part of it, and Russell tells us (p. 53.) are chiefly kept for that purpose; that they yield it in no inconsiderable quantity; and that it is sweet and well tasted. This at Aleppo is however chiefly from the beginning of April to September; they being generally supplied the other part of the year with cow's milk, such as it is: for the cows being commonly kept at the gardens, and fed with the refuse, the milk generally tastes so strong of garlic or cabbage-leaves as to be very disagreeable. This circumstance sufficiently points out how far preferable the milk of goats must have been.
HARMER, vol. i. p. 288.
No. 1034.XXX. 17. The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it.] That ravens were understood to prey on criminals who had been executed, appears from many passages in ancient writers. The Greeks often speak of throwing to the ravens. The old man Mnesilochus, in Aristophanes, intreats for a mitigation of his sentence, and that he may not be hanged to serve as food for ravens. So we read in Horace,
-non pasces in cruce corvos.
Thou shalt not hang on a cross and feed ravens.
No. 1035.-xxxi. 13. She seeketh wool and flax.] It was usual in ancient times for great personages to do such works as are mentioned in these words, both among the Greeks and Romans. Lucretia with her maids was found spinning, when her husband Collatinus paid a visit to her from the camp. Tanaquilis, or Caia Cæcilia, the wife of king Tarquin, was an excellent spinner of wool, (Valerius Maximus, l. x. p. 348.) Her wool, with a distaff and spindle, long remained in the temple of Sangus; and a garment made by her, worn by Servius Tullius, was reserved in the temple of fortune, Hence it became a custom for maidens to accompany new-married women with a distaff and spindle, with wool upon them, signifying what they were principally to attend to. (Plin. Natural History, 1. viii. C. 48.) Maidens are advised to follow the example of Minerva, said to be the first who made a web; and if they desired to have her favour, learn to use the distaff, and to card and spin. '(Ovid. Fast. l. iii.) So did the daughters of Minyas, Ovid. Met. 1. iv. f. 1. v. 34.) and the nymphs. (Virgil. Geor. l. iv.) Augustus Cæsar usually wore no garments but such as were made at home, by his wife, sister, or daughter. (Sueton. in Vit. August. c. 73.)
No. 1036.-xxxi. 22. She maketh herself coverings of tapestry.] Homer, who was nearly contemporary with Solomon, represents both Helen and Penelope employed at their looms, Il. iii. 125. Od. ii. 94. et vi. 52. And to this day in Barbary, “ the women alone are employed in manufacturing of their hykes, or blankets as we should call them: who do not use the shuttle, but conduct every thread of the woof with their fingers."
Shaw's Travels p.
No. 1037.-xxxi. 24. She maketh fine linen, and selleth it, and delivereth girdles unto the merchants.] Herodotus informs us, that the Egyptian women used to carry on commerce. That trade is now however lost; and the Arabs of that country are the only people who retain any share of it. Maillet (Lett. xi.
Maillet (Lett. xi. p. 134.) says, that the women used to deal in buying and selling things woven of silk, gold, and silver, of pure silk, of cotton, of cotton and thread, or simple linen cloth, whether made in the country or imported. This is precisely what the industrious Israelitish women are supposed to have done.
HARMER, vol. ii. p. 414.