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See also Pindar, Olymp. ii. 160. Bp. Lowth, in loc.
Though this language is confessedly figurative, it appears nevertheless to have been derived from the various uses to which the sword is applied, as an offensive or defensive weapon. Amongst the Tartars a similar mode of expression has been adopted. Montesquieu calls them the most singular people upon earth, but says they are involved in a political slavery. To this he adds in a note, that when a khan is proclaimed, all the people cry, that his word shall be as a sword. (Spirit of Laws, vol. i. p. 350.) This practice sufficiently accounts for the use of the word in a metaphorical sense. See also Psalm lvii. 4. Ixiv. 3. lv. 21. lix. 7. Prov. xii. 18. xxv. 18. XXX. 14. Eph. vi. 17. Heb. iv. 12.. Rev. i. 16. ii. 16. xix. 15, 21.
No. 1082.. 6. I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair, I hid not my face from shame and spitting:] Mr. Hanway has recorded a scene differing little, if at all, from that alluded to by the prophet. “A prisoner was brought who had two large logs of wood fitted to the small of his leg, and rivetted together; there was also a heavy triangular collar of wood about his neck. The general asked me if that man had taken my goods. I told him, I did not remember to have seen him before. He was questioned some time, and at length ordered to be beaten with sticks, which was performed by two soldiers with such severity as if they meant to kill him. The soldiers were then ordered to spit in his face, an indignity of great antiquity in the East. This, and the cutting off beards, which I shall have occasion to mention, brought to my mind the sufferings recorded in the prophetical history of our Saviour. Isaiah 1. 6.
“ Sadoc Aga sent prisoner to Astrabadhis beard was cut off; his face was rubbed with dirt, and his eyes
cut out. Upon his speaking in pathetic terms with that emotion natural to a daring spirit, the general ordered him to be struck across the mouth to silence him ; which was done with such violence that the blood issued forth.” Travels, vol. i. p. 297.
of them of the singing
No. 1083.—li. 11. And come with singing unto Zion.] In describing the order of the caravans Pitts informs us, “ that some of the camels have bells about their necks, and some about their legs, like those which our carriers put about their fore-horses' necks, which, together with the servants (who belong to the camels and travel on foot) singing all night, make a pleasant noise, and the journey passes away delightfully.” This circumstance is explanatory of the singing of the Is. raelites in their return to Jerusalem.
HARMER, vol. i. p. 469.
No. 1084.-_li. 23. Who have said to thy soul, Bow down, that we way go over.] This is a very strong and expressive description of the insolent pride of eastern .conquerors. The following is one out of many instances of it. The emperor Valerian being through treachery taken prisoner by Sapor king of Persia, was treated by him as the basest and most abject slave. For the Persian monarch commanded the unhappy Roman to bow himself down, and offer him his back, on which he set his foot in order to mount his chariot or his horse, whenever he had occasion. Lactantius de Mort. Persec. cap. 5. Aurel. Victor. Epitome, cap. 32.
Bp. Lowth, in loc.
No. 1085.-liii. 8. And who shall declare his generation?] It is said in the Mishna, that before any one was punished for a capital crime proclamation was made before the prisoner by the public crier, “Who
ever knows any thing of his innocence, let him come and declare it of him.” On the original passage the Gemara of Babylon adds, that before the death of Jesus this proclamation was made for forty days, but no defence could be found. “ It is truly surprising to see such falsities, contrary to well known facts.
Bp. Lowtů, in loc. ?
No. 1086.-liv. '12. I will make thy windows of agates, and thy gates of carbuncles, and all thy borders of pleasant stones.] The meaning of this passage must be, “ I will inlay the mouldings, and other members of the architecture which ornaments thee as a palace, with the most valuable decorations, as royal halls are adorned in the East, : “ The first object that attracts attention,” says Francklin, (History of Shah Allum) is the dewan aum, or public hall of audience for all descriptions of people. It . is situated at the upper end of a spacious square: and though at present much in decay, is a noble building: On each side of the dewan aum, and all round the square, are apartments of two stories in height, the walls and front of which, in the times of the splendor of the empire, were adorned with a profusion of the richest tapestry, velvets, and silks. The nobles vying with each other in rendering them the most magnificent, especially on festivals and days of public rejoicings, which presented a grand sight. See Esther i. 6. From hence we went to the dewan khass.
" This building likewise is situated at the upper end of a spacious square, elevated upon a terrace of marble about four feet in height. The' dewan khass in former times was adorned with excessive magnificence: and though repeatedly stripped and plundered by successive. invaders, still retains sufficient beauty to render it admired. I judge the building to be a hundred and
fifty feet in length by forty in breadth. The roof is flat, supported by numerous columns of fine white marble, which have been richly ornamented with inlaid flowered work of different coloured stones : the cornices and borders have been decorated with a frieze and sculptured work. The ceiling was formerly incrusted with a rich foliage of silver throughout its whole extent, which has been long since taken away. The delicacy of the inlaying in the compartments of the walls is much to be admired. And it is a matter of bitter regret to see the barbarous ravages that have been made by picking out the different cornelians, and breaking the marble by violence. Around the exterior of the dewan khass, in the cornice, are the following lines written in letters of gold, upon a ground of white marble. If there be a paradise upon earth, this is it, it is this, it is this. The terrace of this building is composed of large slabs of marble, and the whole building is crowned at top with four cupolas of the same material. The royal baths built by Shah Jehan are situated a little to the northward of the dewan khass, and consist of three very large rooms, surmounted by domes of white marble. The inside of them about two-thirds of the way up is lined with marble, having beautiful borders of flowers worked in cornelians, and other stones, executed with much taste.”
Theological Magazine, vol. iii. p. 195.
No. 1087.-lvii. 6. The smooth stones.] This refers to stones made smooth by oil poured on them, as was frequently done by the heathen. Theophrastus has marked this as one strong feature in the character of the superstitious man: “ Passing by the anointed stones in the streets, he takes out his phial of oil, and pours it on, them; and having fallen on his knees, and made his adorations, he departs.”
Bp. Lowth, in loc. VOL. 11.
No. 1088.-1x. 13. The glory of Lebanon shall come unto thee, the fir-tree, the pine-tree, and the box together, to beautify the place of my sanctuary.] On great occasions the temple was decorated with branches of various sorts of trees. In the Apocrypha allusions are to be found to this practice. Upon the same day that the strangers profaned the temple, on the very same day it was cleansed again, even the five and twentieth day of the same month, which is Casleu; and they kept eight days with gladness ; therefore they bare branches, and fair. boughs, and palms also, and sang psalms. 2 Macc. X. 5, 6, 7. The usage is again confirmed when the high priest Alcimus, to recover access to the holy altar which he had forsaken, is said to present to the king Demetrius á crown of gold and a palm, and also (some) of the boughs which were used solemnly in the temple, 2 Macc. xiv. 4. The prophet Isaiah is supposed to have the same allusion in the passage above cited.
No. 1089.-xii. 6. I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, who shall never hold their peace, day nor night; ye that make mention of the Lord, keep not silence.] The image in this place is taken from the temple service, in which there was appointed a constant watch day and night by the Levites. Now the watches in the East, even to this day, are performed by a loud cry from time to time by the watchmen, to mark the time, and that very frequently, and in order to shew that they themselves are constantly attentive to their duty. “The watchmen in the camp of the caravans go their rounds, crying one after another, God is one, he is merciful; and often add, take heed to yourselves." (Tavern. Voyage de Perse, 1. i. c. 9.) The reader will observe in this extract how mention is made of the name of God by the watchmen.