תמונות בעמוד

belot informs us, that the later writers of these countries have given to the patriarch Joseph the title of the Moon of Canaan, that is, in their stile, the most perfect beauty that ever appeared above the horizon of Judea. Many eastern writers have applied the comparison particularly to the females of those countries,

No. 1050.--vii. 5. And the hair of thy head like purple: the king is held (Heb. bound) in the galleries.] Mr. Parkhurst proposes to render the words, the hair of thy head is like the purple of a king bound up in the canals, or troughs. The Vulgate is, Comæ capitis tui sicut purpura regis vincta canalibus.

" In Solomon's Song," says Mons. Goguet alluding to this text, “there is mentioned a royal purple which the dyers dipt in the canals, after having tied it in small bundles." (Origin of Laws, vol. ii. p. 99.) The following note is also added: “ The best way of washing wools after they are died, is to plunge them in running water. Probably the sacred author had this practice in view when he said, they should dip the royal purple in canals. As to what he adds, after being tied in little bundles or packets, one may conclude from this circumstance, that instead of making the cloth with white wool, and afterwards putting the whole piece into the dye, as we do now, they then followed another' method: they began by dying the wool in skeins, and made it afterwards into purple stuffs.” His account well illustrates the comparison of a lady's hair to royal purple bound up in the canals, if we may suppose, what is highly probable, that the eastern ladies anciently braided their hair in numerous tresses (perhaps with purple ribands, as well as with those of other colours) in a manner somewhat similar to what they do in our times, according to the description given by Lady M. W. Montague,

No. 1051.-viii. 10. I am a wall, and my breasts like towers.] In these words Solomon alludes to mounts, common in Greece, Egypt, and Syria. They were generally formed by art; being composed of earth, raised'very high, which was sloped gradually with great exactness. The top

of all was crowned with a tower. They were held in great reverence, and therefore considered as places of safety, and were the repositories of much trea

(Fosephus, Bell. Fud. l. vii. p. 417.) There were often two of these mounds of equal height in the same inclosure. To such as these Solomon refers in this passage.

HOLWELL’s Mythological Dict. p. 262.


1052.-ISAIAH i. 14.

Your appointed feasts.

The sabbath, though it recurred every seventh day, was much the greatest feast the Jews kept. On that day they could not lawfully dress any meat. They had recourse to a very curious method of obtaining hot victuals. They preserved heat in their pipkins by wrapping them up in baskets in hay, and putting their provisions, perhaps previously dressed, into them, by which means the heat was preserved. The poorer Jews, who had not houses of their own capacious enough to make entertainments in, upon their feast days, in the city of Rome, used to hire the grove which was anciently dedicated to Egeria, and meet there. They carried their provisions in these baskets of hay; and the Romans, not knowing the reason why they did so, derided them, and called this basket and hay, a Jew's household stuff. Juvenal has an allusion to this practice in the following passage:

Nunc sacri fontis nemus et delubra locantur
Judæis, quorum cophinus fænumque supellex.

Sat. iii. 13.

Now the sacred shades and founts are hir'd
By banish'd Jews, who their whole wealth can lay
In a small basket on a wisp of hay.


No. 1053.-i. 18. Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson they shall be as wool.] Mr. Henry in his exposition of Levit. xvi. informs us, that the later Jews had a custom of tying one shread of scarlet cloth to the horns of the scape-goat, and another to the ginie of the temVOL. II


ple, or to the top of the rock where the goat was lost; and they concluded that if it turned white, as they say it usually did, the sins of Israel were forgiven; as it is written, Though your sins have been as scarlet, they shall be as wool. They add, that for forty years before the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans the scarlet cloth never changed colour at all; which is a fair confession that having rejected the substance, the shadow stood them in no stead.

No. 1054.-i. 18. Sins ås scarlet.] This colour was produced from a worm or insect, which


in a coccus or excrescence of a shrub of the ilex kind, (.Plin. Nat. Hist. xvi. 8.) like the cochineal worm in the opuntia of America. (Ulloa's Voyage, b. v. cap. 2. p. 342.) There is a shrub of this kind that grows in Provence and Languedoc, and produces the like insect, called the kermes oak, from kermez the Arabic word for this colour, whence our word crimson is derived.

Neque amissos colores
Lana refert medicata fuco,

says the poet, applying the same image to a different purpose. To discharge these strong colours is impossible to human art or power: but to the grace


of God all things, even much more difficult, are possible

LOWTH, in loc.

and easy.

No. 1055.—i. 4. They shall beat their swords into ploughsħares, and their spears into pruning-hooks.] This description of well established peace is very poetical. The Roman poets have employed the same image. Martial xiv. 34. Falx ex ense.

Pax me certa ducis placidos curvavit in usus :
Agricolæ nunc sum ; militis antefui.

The prophet Joel hath reversed it, and applied it to war prevailing over peace. Beat your ploughshares into swords, and your pruning-hooks into spears. Joel iii. 10. and so likewise the Roman poets:

Non ullus aratro
Dignus honos ; squalent abductis arva colonis,
Et curvæ rigidum falces conflantur in ensem.

Virg. Georg. i. 506.

So also Ovid Fast. i. 697. Lowth, in loc.

No. 1056.-ii. 5. O house of Jacob, come ye and let us walk in the light of the Lord.] “ In the evening when they (the Jews) proceeded to testify their joy for the effusion of water, the temple was so completely illuminated by means of lights placed fifty yards high, that it is said, there was not a street in Jerusalem which was not lighted by them. Many carried lighted torches in their hands. Deyling supposes that there is an allusion to this custom in the beautiful invitation given by believing gentiles to the Jews, as above cited.”

JAMIESON's Use of Sacred History, vol. i. p. 449.

No. 1057.--iii. 23. The fine linen.] This must refer to garments of the Lacedæmonian kind, which might be seen through. We are informed by ancient writers, that those worn by the Lacedæmonian maidens were so made as to be highly indecent, and not to answer a principal end of clothing. It is possible that some of the Jewish ladies might wear dresses of a similar fashion. Parkhurst (Heb. Lex. p. 123.) supposes that the prophet means vestments of the cobweb kind, which would „not hinder the wearers, from appearing almost naked: such as Menander calls diapaves XITONIOy, a transparent vest, and mentions as the dress of a courtesan: and such as Varro styles vitreas vestes, glassy 'vestments; and

« הקודםהמשך »