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Horace, from the Island of Ccös where the stuff was made, denominates Coan :
This Coan stuff was probably a kind of very thin silk or gauze. Lady M. W. Montague describes part of her dress as being of fine white silk gauze, closed at the neck with a diamond button, but the shape and colour of the bosom was very well to be distinguished through it. Letter xxix.
No 1058.-iii. 26. And she being desolate shall sit on the ground.] Sitting on the ground was a posture that denoted mourning and deep distress. Lam. ii. 8. “We find Judæa on several coins of Vespasian and Titus in a posture that denotes sorrow and captivity,—sitting on the ground. I fancy the Romans might have an eye on the customs of the Jewish nation, as well as those of their own country, in the several marks of sorrow they have set on this figure. The Psalmist describes the Jews lamenting their captivity in the same pensive posture. By the waters of Babylon we sat down, and wept when we remembered thee, O Sion. But what is more remarkable, we find Judæa represented as a woman in sorrow sitting on the ground, in a passage of the prophet that foretells the very captivity recorded on this medal.”
ADDISON on Medals, Dial. ii.
No. 1059.-V. 2. And planted it with the choicest vine.] And he planteth it with the vine of Sorek, Lowth. The vine of Sorek was known to the Israelites, being mentioned Gen. xlix. 11. There is something remark
able in the manner in which it is there spoken of: binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass's colt unto the choice vine. Chardin says, that at Casbin, a city in Persia, they turned their cattle into the vineyards after the vintage, to browse on the vines. He speaks also of vines in that country so large, that he could hardly compass the trunks of them with his arms. (Voyages, tom. iii. p. 12.) This shews that the ass might be securely bound to the vine; and without danger of damaging the tree by browsing on it. Lowth, in loc.
No. 1060.–V. 2. And made a wine-press therein.] And he hewed out also a lake therein. Lowth. By this expression we are to understand not the wine-press itself; but what the Romans called lacus the lake, the large open place, or vessel, which, by a conduit or spout, received the must from the wine-press. In very hot countries it was perhaps necessary, or at least very convenient, to have the lake underground, or in a cave hewn out of the side of a rock, for coolness, that the heat might not cause too great a fermentation, and sour the wine. The wine-press in Persia, Chardin says, are formed by making hollow places in the ground, lined with mason's work. Nonnus describes at large Bacchus hollowing the inside of the rock, and hewing out a place for the wine-press, or rather the lake.
Και σκοπελες ελαχηνε πεδισκαφεος δε σιδηρ8, &c.
He pierc'd the rock; and with the sharpen'd tool
Lowth, in loc.
No. 1061.vi. 6. Then flew one of the seraphim unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar.] Hoc quoque
inter reliqua neglectæ religionis est, quod emortuo carbone sacrificatur. (Plin. Nat. Hist. lib. xvi. tom. 2. p. 139.) Pliny mentions as a mark of neglected religion the sacrificing with a dead coal.
No. 1062.vii. 15. Butter and honey shall he eat.] ] D'Arvieux (Voy. dans la Pal. p. 24.) being in the camp of the grand emir, who lived in much splendor and treated him with great regard, was entertained on the first morning with little loaves, honey, new-churned butter and loaves of cream, more delicate than any
he saw, together with coffee. Agreeably to this he assures us in another place, (p. 197.) that one of the principal things with which the Arabs regale themselves at breakfast is cream, or new butter, mingled with honey.
HARMER, vol. i. p. 294.
No. 1063.-viii. 6, 7. Forasmuch as this people refuseth the waters of Shiloah that go softly,—now therefore behold, the Lord bringeth up upon them the waters of the river, strong and many.] The gentle waters of Shiloah, a small fountain and brook just without Jerusalem, which supplied a pool within the city for the use of the inhabitants, are an apt emblem of the state of the kingdom and house of David, much reduced in its apparent strength, yet supported by the blessing of God; and are finely contrasted with the waters of the Euphrates, great, rapid, and impetuous; the image of the Babylonian empire, which God threatens to bring down like a mighty flood upon all these apostates of both kingdoms, as a punishment for their manifold iniquities. Juvenal, inveighing against the corruption of Rome by the importation of Asiatic manners, says, that the Orontes has long been discharging itself into the Tiber:
Jampridem Syrus in Tiberim defluxit Orontes.
And Virgil, to express the submission of some of the Eastern countries to the Roman arms, says, that the waters of Euphrates now flowed more humbly and gently. Euphrates ibat jam mollior undis. Æn. viii. 726.
Lowth, in loc.
No. 1064.-ix. 5. For every battle of the warrior is with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood; but this shall be with burning and fuel of fire.] The burning of heaps of armour gathered from the field of battle, as an offering made to the god supposed to be the giver of victory, was a custom that prevailed among some heathen nations : and the Romans used it as an emblem of peace. A medal, struck by Vespasian on finishing his wars both at home and abroad, represents the goddess Peace, holding an olive-branch in one hand, and with a lighted torch in the other setting fire to a heap of armour. (Addison on Medals, Series ii. 18.) Virgil mentions the custom :
O mihi præteritos referat si Jupiter annos !
Would heaven, said he, my strength and youth recall,
See also Joshua xi. 6. Nahum ii. 13. Psalm xlvi. 9. Ezek. xxxix. 8, 10.
Bp. Lowth, in loc.
No. 1065.ix. 6. The government shall be upon his shoulder.] Rephelius, in his note on this text says, “ I believe that because we carry burthens upon our shoulders, therefore government is said to be laid upon them.” Herodotus (lib. ii. cap. 106.) mentions a statue of Sesostris king of Egypt, on which some sacred Egyptian letters were engrayed, reaching from one shoulder to the other, of this import, I obtained this country by my shoulders.
No. 1066.-xi. 15. With his mighty wind shall he shake his hand over the river, and shall smite it in the seven streams, and make men go over dry-shod.] Herodotus (i. 189.) tells a story of his Cyrus (a very different character from that of the Cyrus of the Scriptures and Xenophon) which may somewhat illustrate this passage; in which it is said that God would inflict a kind of punishment and judgment on the Euphrates, and render it fordable, by dividing it into seven streams. “Cyrus being impeded in his march to Babylon by the Gyndes, a deep and rapid river which falls into the Tigris; and having lost one of his sacred white horses that attempted to pass it, was so enraged against the river, that he threatened to reduce it, and make it so shallow that it should be easily fordable even by women, who should not be up to their knees in passing it. Accordingly he set his whole army to work; and cutting three hundred and sixty trenches from both sides of the river, turnd the waters into them, and drained them off.”
No. 1067.xiii. 10. For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine.] The Chaldæans were devoted above all people in the world to the observation of the heavenly bodies, and their existence was become more essentially necessary to them, as a nation celebrated for astronomy and commerce; a circumstance this, which adds singular force and sublimity to a passage, even without this consideration exceedingly grand and poetical
FOSTER's Essay, p. 30.