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17.), “ Thou hast also taken thy fair jewels of my gold, and of my silver, which I had given thee, and madest to thyself images of men, and didst commit whoredom with them.” The margin has for images of men, “ image of a male;” and the Vulgate has it, “ imagines masculinas.”
Calmet says, “ Probably the prophet might have intended, in this passage, an allusion to those obscene figures, which were carried in the ceremonies of Tammuz or Adonis."
“ Origen believed Baal Peor to be Priapus, or the idol of turpitude;" and St. Jerome says, " This idol was represented in the same obscene manner as Priapus."
The image made and worshipped by the Jews corresponds with the Baal Peor of Assyria, the Lingam of India, the Osiris of Egypt, the Daddos of the Greeks, and the Priapus of the Romans.
It is worshipped by men and women in nearly all the temples of India and North Ceylon; and is openly exposed on many of their sacred buildings. The wives of the weavers, goldsmiths, and Pandaarams, (excepting at certain times,) wear this image, inclosed in silver shrines, which hang pendant on the breast, or are tied to the arms. When devotees die, it is buried with them.
But the prophet Ezekiel (xvi. 18, 19.) also gives an account of the way in which it was worshipped, “ And tookest thy broidered garments, and coveredst them : and thou hast set mine oil and mine incense before them. My meat, also, which I gave thee, fine flour, and oil, and honey, wherewith I fed thee, thou hast even set it before them, for a sweet savour.”
The Hindoos, in worshipping the Lingam, observe the following order. The image is first anointed with gingelly “ oil,” which is afterwards washed off with lime-juice and pure water. A composition made of the following articles is then poured upon it :- Water of the unripe cocoa-nut, rosewater, milk, plantains, “ honey,” rice, “flour," sugar, sandal
See drawings, Isa. iii. 20.
dust, powder of the bezoa stone, nutmeg, saffron, and camphor. Then the whole is washed off with the water of unripe cocoa-nuts.
At the offering of the “incense”, cakes are presented, made of the following grains :- Kadali, Cicer Arietinum ; Tuvari, Cytisus Cajan ; Ulanthu, Phaseolus Mungo ; Pyru, Phaseolus Radiatus ; Paddy, Oriza Sativa ; Tinne, Panicum Italicum; Ellu, Sesamum Orientale ; and Kadaku, Sinapis Chinensis.
The “ broidered garment” mentioned by the prophet (generally made of silk, though I have seen one made of cotton), is then reverently put over the image.
Who can help being struck with these resemblances? Who can avoid being appalled at the wickedness of the Jews ? See on 2 Chronicles xiv. 5., and on Amos v. 26. Isaiah iii. 20.
IV. 19.-“ And lest thou lift up thine eyes unto hea
ven, and when thou seest the sun and the moon and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be
driven to worship them.” (Job xxxi. 26, 27.) The first day of the week is called Nāitu-Killami, i. e. Sunday, and several eat only once on that important day. Before the sun has gained the meridian the devotee forms his fingers into a kind of diagonal plait, and looks at the sun through the small apertures of his fingers thus made. He then places his hands together, and presents them to it, as an act of adoration, and prostrates himself three times on the earth : after which he takes his solitary meal. Those, also, who are affected with a pain in the eyes or head, before the sun has come to his meridian, keep this fast.
V. 22. — “ He wrote them in two tables of stone. The Hindoos ascribe the invention of writing to Brahma or Siva. They say that those zigzag marks on the skull (called
* He may do this to the number of 108, or 1008.
the sutures) are characters written by the divine hand, descriptive of every man's fate. * Thus, men in excuse for their crimes say, “It was written on our foreheads; what could we do ?”
The promises of kings or good men are said to be written on stone, which means that they are certain and durable. The promises of bad men are like those written in water; the pen may form the letters in that element, but will leave no trace behind.
VI. 7. — “ Teach them diligently unto thy children.”
The Hebrew has for teach, “ whet or sharpen.” If you enquire how a good schoolmaster teaches his pupils, the answer will be, very koormeyāna, i. e. “sharply, makes sharp, they are full of points.” A man of a keen and cultivated mind, is said to be full of points. “He is well sharpened.”
VII. 20. “ Send the hornet among them.” Ex. xxiii.
28. Jos, xxiv. 12. See also on Isaiah vii. 18. Ps.
cxviii. 12., and on 2 Kings i. 2. To the people in England this may appear a puerile way of punishing men, but they should recollect that the natives of the East wear scarcely any clothes, having, generally speaking, only a piece of cloth round their loins. They are, therefore, much more exposed than we are to the sting of insects. The sting of the hornet and wasp of those regions is much more poisonous than in Europe, and the insect is larger in size +
I have heard of several who died from having a single sting, and not many days ago, as a woman was going to the well
Sir Walter Scott, in his Life of Napoleon (vol. iv. 95.), says of the wounded Turks, after the battle, “ Some of them, of higher rank, seemed to exhort the others to submit, like servants of the prophet, to the decree, which, according to their belief, was written on their foreheads !”
+ The zimb of Bruce is a different insect.
* to draw water,” a hornet stung her in the cheek, and she died the next day.
I have many times seen the hornet attack and kill the tarantula. Under large verandahs the former may be seen flying near the roof, searching in every direction for his foe, and never will he leave him, till he has accomplished his destruction. Sometimes they both fall from the roof together, when the hornet may be seen thrusting his sting most furiously in the tarantula, and it is surprising to see with what dexterity the former eludes the bite of the latter.
The people often curse each other by saying, UnsuttārAniverum-Kullive Kuttam, i.e. “ May all around thee be stung by the hornet !” (meaning the person and his relations.) The toddy drawers use this imprecation more than other people, because the hornet's nest is generally found in the top of the palmirah or cocoa-nut tree, whence they procure the toddy. When they ascend, their hands and feet being engaged, they cannot defend themselves from their attacks.
The god Siva is described as having destroyed many giants by hornets.
XI. 10.-“ Where thou sowedst thy seed, and waterest
it with thy foot, as a garden of herbs.” To water a large garden requires three men, one of whom stands on a lever near the well (which has a rope and a bucket attached to it): on this he moves backward or forward, as the bucket has to ascend or descend. Another person stands on the ground near the well, to pour the water into a basin. From this a channel, of about eight inches deep and nine broad, runs through the garden; and connected with it are smaller water courses, which go to the different beds and shrubs. The business of the third person, then, is to convey the water to its destined place, which he does by stopping the mouth of each course (where sufficient water has been directed) with a little earth; so that it flows on to the next course, till the whole be watered. On those herbs or shrubs which require an extra quantity he dashes the water plentifully with his foot !
19. — “Speaking of them when thou sittest in thine
house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” (Also
vi. 7.) When a heathen sits down, he makes mention of the name of his god. Thus, the worshippers of Siva say, when they sit down, “ Siva, Siva ;” and when they arise, they repeat the
At night, when they retire to rest, also, when they arise in the morning, or when they stumble in the
way, they utter, “Siva, Siva.” They have a proverb to the same purport, “ When I stumble in the way, I know only to mention thy holy name.”
XII. 31. — Their sons and their daughters they have
burnt in the fire.” Some have doubted whether parents could be so cruel as to compel their offspring to pass through the fire, or to be burnt as a sacrifice to the gods; but we have only to look at modern India, at the numerous infants thrown into the sacred waters, and at the burning alive of widows on the funeral pile of their husbands, to see what human nature is capable of doing.* There is reason to believe that, though the British legislature has covered itself with unfading honour in abolishing, by law, these fiendish practices, there are still
• Abbé Dubois, in his Manners, Institutions, and Ceremonies of the People of India (page 488.), says, in reference to an affair, “ The magician could not depend upon a certain result, without offering the sacrifice of a young girl to the demons of mischief: and also, when people in authority come to a magician for information on any great event, this barbarous sacrifice is generally the prelude to the ceremonies.”
It is still exceedingly common in India for people to have to walk barefoot, on a fire, from twenty to thirty yards in length, to regain caste, or purchase heaven.