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mingle this water with plaster in such a quantity, that it retains the colour of the earth. With this mixture they cast their walls, which at first look all grayish; but, according as they dry, they grow so white, that when they are fully dry, they look almost as if they were plastered over with pure plaster. This mixture is used not only for saving plaster, but also because it holds better than plaster alone, and looks as well.”
THEVENOT's Travels, part ii.
No. 1116.-xvi. 18, 19. And thou hast set mine oil and mine incense before them,—thou hast even set it before them for a sweet savour.] The burning of perfumes is now practised in the East in times of feasting and joy; and there is reason to believe that the same usage obtained anciently in those countries. Niebuhr (Voy. en Arabie, vol. i. p. 307.) mentions a Mohammedan festival,“ after which every one returned home, feasted, chewed kaad, burnt fragrant substances in his house, stretched himself at length on his sofa, and lighted his kiddre, or long pipe, with the greatest satistisfaction."
HARMER, vol. iii. p. 191.
No. 1117.-xvii. 13. The mighty of the land.] The seventy, ASXOVTES. Vulg. Arietes, rams. Thus Homer, speaking of Ulysses marshalling the Greeks:
Αυτος δε, κλιλος ως, επιπωλειται σιχας ανδρων • &c.
Il. iii, 196.
Nor yet appear his care and conduct small;
Aristotle (H. A. vi. 19.) says, that in every flock they prepare a leader of the males, which, when the shepherd calls him by name, goes before them.
No. . 1118.-xix. 11. She had strong rods for the sceptres of them that bear rule.] The allusion here is evidently to the sceptres of the ancients, which were no other than walking-sticks, cut from the stems or branches of trees, and decorated with gold, or studded with golden nails. Thus Achilles is introduced as swearing by a sceptre, which being cut from the trunk of a tree on the mountains, and stripped of its bark and leaves, should never more produce leaves and branches, or sprout again. Such an one the Grecian judges carried in their hands. See HOMER, I. i. 234.
No. 1119.—XX. 47. Say to the forest of the south, hear the word of the Lord; thus saith the Lord God, behold I will kindle a fire in thee, and it shall devour every green tree and every dry tree.] D'Herbelot (p. 330.) has given us a passage of a Persian poet, describing the desolation made by a pestilence, whose terms very much resemble the words of the prophet:
The pestilence, like an avenging fire, ruins at once this beautiful city, whose territory gives an odour surpassing that of the most excellent perfumes : of all its inhabitants there remains neither a young man nor
This was a lightning that, falling upon a forest, consumed there the green wood, with the dry. See also Hab. iii. 5.
HARMER, vol. ii. p. 186.
No. 1120.xxi. 27. I will overturn, overturn, overturn it.] Perverted, perverted, perverted will I make it, marg. This passage, according to the marginal reading, may be beautifully illustrated from the turbans of antiquity. Those of independent sovereigns (even to this day in Persia, see a copy of one in Chardin's Travels) had their apex upright. Inferior and subordinate princes wore theirs bent backwards. To
this the prophecy refers, declaring that the crown of Judea should thenceforward be dependent and subordinate, as it was under the Persians, Greeks, and Romans. See Christian Observer, vol. i. p. 351.
No. 1121.-xxiv. 5. Take the choice of the flock, and burn also the bones under it.] The following account of a royal Arab camel feast will afford some illustration of the parable contained in this chapter. “ Before mid-day a carpet being spread in the middle of the tent, our dinner was brought in, being served up in large wooden bowls between two men ; and truly to my apprehension load enough for them. Of these great platters there were about fifty or sixty in number, perhaps more, with a great many little ones ; I mean, such as one man was able to bring in, strewed here and there among them, and placed for a border or garnish round about the table. In the middle was one of a larger size than all the rest, in which were the camel's bones, and a thin broth in which they were boiled. The other greater ones seemed all filled with one and the same sort of provision, a kind of plumbroth, made of rice and the fleshy part of the camel, with currants and spices, being of a somewhat darker colour than what is made in our country." Philosophical Transactions abridged, part ii. cap. 2. art. 40.
The Hebrew word translated burn should have been rendered, as in the margin, heap. The meaning cannot be that the bones were to be burnt under the caldron, but that they were to be heaped up in it ; for it is said, let them seethe the bones of it therein. With this interpretation the Septuagint translation of the passage agrees: and viewed in this light, the object is ascertained by the foregoing extract.
No. 1122.-xvii. 11. The men of Arvad with their army were upon thy walls round about, and the Gammadim were in thy towers ; they hung their shields upon thy walls round about.] The eastern soldiers in times of peace are disposed of about the walls of places, and particularly in the towers, and at the gates. Niebuhr tells us (p. 186.) that the foot-soldiers of the imam of Yemen have very little to do in times of peace, any more than the cavalry : some of them mount guard at the dela's (or governor's); they are also employed at
the towers. Van Egmont and Heyman (Trav. vol. ii. p. 121.) give a similar account.
Sandys, speaking of the decorations of one of the gates of the imperial seraglio in Constantinople, tells us, that it is hung with shields and cimeters. Through this gate people pass to the divan, where justice is administered ; and these are the ornaments of this public passage.
HABMER, vol. ii. p. 517.
No. 1123.--xxvii. 15. They brought thee for a present horns of ivory and ebony.] These articles were the produce of their own art and manufacture, and were given in exchange for such things as they wanted. It is well known how common and indeed indispensable presents were in the East. In some instances they were made use of to convey a particular meaning. Thus we read that the father Darius advanced into the country (of the Scythians), the greater hardships his army was exposed to. Just when it was reduced to the last extremity, there came a herald to Darius from the Scythian prince, with a bird, a mouse, a frog, and five arrows, for a present. The king desired to know the meaning of these gifts. The messenger answered, that his orders were only to deliver them, and nothing more, and that it was left to the Persian king to find out the meaning. Darius concluded at first, that the Scythians thereby consented to deliver up the earth and
water to him, which were represented by a mouse and a frog ; as also their cavalry, whose swiftness was represented by the bird ; together with their own persons and arms, signified by the arrows. But Gobryas, one of the seven lords that had deposed the Magian impostor, expounded the ænigma in the following manner. Know,"
,” says he to the Persians, “ that unless you can fly away in the air like birds ; or hide yourselves in the earth like mice; or swim in the water like frogs ; you shall in no wise be able to avoid the arrows of the Scythians. ROLLIN's Anc. Hist. vol. iii. p. 31.
No. 1124.—xxxii. 3. I will therefore spread out my net over thee with a company of many people, and they shall bring thee up in my net.] Herodotus (lib. ii. cap. 70.) relates that in his time they had in Egypt many and various ways of taking the crocodile. Brookes (Nat. Hist. vol. i. p. 332.) says,“ the manner of taking the crocodile in Siam is by throwing three or four nets across a river at proper distances from each other; that so if he break through the first, he may be caught by one of the others.”