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When a person speaks of the fear to which his enemy is reduced, he says, “ Ah ! he dares not now to shake his tongue against me.”
“ He hurt you ! the fellow will not shake his tongue against you.”
24. — “Put your feet upon the necks of these kings.” This in the East is a favourite way of triumphing over a fallen foe. In the history of the battles of the gods, or giants, particular mention is made of the closing scene, how the conquerors went and trampled on their enemies.
When people are disputing, should one be a little pressed, and the other begin to triumph, the former will say, “ I will tread upon thy neck, and after that beat thee.” A low-caste man insulting one who is high, is sure to hear some one say to the offended individual, “ Put your feet on his neck.” (See on Isa. xviii. 2. 7.)
XXIII. 7.— “ Neither make mention of the name of
their gods, nor cause to swear by them.” (Jer.
xii. 16.) The heathen, when accused of a crime, or when making a solemn promise, swear by their gods. Siva-āne, by Siva, is very binding upon his followers.
13.- “ Thorns in your eyes.” “ What!” says a wife to her angry husband, “am I a thorn in your eyes ?” “Alas ! alas ! he has seen another; I am now a thorn in his eyes.” 6 Were I not a thorn in his eyes, his anger would not burn so long." “My old friend Tamban never looks at my house now, because it gives thorns to his eyes."
XXIV. 32.—“ The bones of Joseph, which the children
of Israel brought up out of Egypt.” The bodies of nearly all respectable Hindoos are burned after death. Should a person of rank die in a place too far off to bring his body home, then the bones and ashes which remain on the funeral pile, will be put in a new earthen vessel and taken to his friends, in order to be buried in a sacred place. But those, whose relations can afford it, take the calcined bones, and throw them into the Ganges, to secure, with certainty, their future happiness. (See on Amos vi. 10.)
CHAP. I. verse 7.-" Threescore and ten kings, having
their thumbs and their great toes cut off.” The Hebrew has this, “the thumbs of their hands and
of their feet.” The Hindoos call the thumb the peria-viril, the great finger of the hand, and the large toe is named the great finger of the foot.
This punishment was exceedingly common in ancient times, and was inflicted principally on those who had committed some flagrant offence with their hands and their feet.* Thus, those convicted of forgery, or numerous thefts, had their thumbs cut off. The practice is abolished, but its memory will remain, as it is now one of the scarecrows of the nursery and domestic life: “ If you steal any more, I will cut off your thumbs.” “Let me find out the thief, and I will soon have his thumbs.”
III. 21.-" Took the dagger from his right thigh.” This may appear an inconvenient and strange place for the dagger : but the Malays, and others, generally carry the kreese, which in shape is like the sickle, though much smaller, concealed under the waist-cloth, an equally inconvenient place, or under the kerchief, or turban, round the back of the head. A small kreese may also be concealed in the long hair. +
* Nearly all dangers and afflictions are believed to proceed from, or cleave to, the hands or the feet. Thus, the feet must in some way or other move for the accomplishment of evil, and the hands will have their part to perform. In consequence of this, a father, in blessing his children, or a priest the people, says, “ May God keep your hands and your feet.” “Ah! my child, may the gods keep thy hands and feet from evil.”
† Some years ago the Kandians, by stratagem, laid hold of some English and Hindoo soldiers, and treated them with great barbarity. A party of Malays determined to have revenge. They therefore affected to desert the
IV. 3.—“ He had nine hundred chariots of iron.”
(Chap. i. 19. Josh. xvii. 16. 18.) From the ancient writings of this people, it is evident, that kings and heroes often fought in chariots of iron, or of other metals. Some of those cars are said to have been large enough to accommodate fifty warriors. As may be supposed, elephants were principally used to draw them, and the concussion, when the vehicles met, joined with the choler and feats of the combatants, often afforded the historian a subject for using words of a thundering sound, and at the same time appropriate meaning. *
10.-" Ten thousand men at his feet.” (Exod. xi. 8.
1 Kings xx. 10.) See the marginal reading of those
passages. (Isa. xli. 2. also 1 Sam. xxv. 27.) The phrase "men at his feet” did not, I believe, refer to any particular class of soldiers, but applied to all, whether they fought in chariots, on horses, or on foot. This form of speech is used in Eastern books to show how many obey or serve under the general. It may be taken from the action of a slave being prostrate at the feet of his master, denoting submission or obedience. In this way devotees, when addressing the gods, always speak of themselves as being at their feet.
When the Orientals speak of his Majesty of Britain, they often allude to the millions who are at his feet. The
governors, generals, or judges in the East, are said to have the people of such countries, or armies, or districts, at their feet. Nay, it is common for masters, and people of small possessions to speak of their domestics as being at their
British lines, and went over to the Kandians. The chiefs of that nation held a council, and the Malays were sent for (who had previously agreed on a signal for the destruction of the chiefs); after some time the sign was given, and in an instant the kreese was drawn from every man's waist, and plunged into the breasts of all who did not submit.
The Hindoo writers equal any thing I have seen taken from Greek or Latin authors, in the selection of words to suit the noise of the action described.
feet. It is therefore heard every day, for “ I will send my servant,” en-kāl-adiyila, " those at my feet.”
VIII. 7.—“I will tear your flesh with the thorns of the
wilderness, and with briers." Thus did Gideon threaten the inhabitants of Zeba and Zalmunna; and thus do masters, fathers, and schoolmasters swear they will punish those who have offended them. To see the force of the figure, it must be kept in mind that the people are almost in a state of nudity. To tear a man's naked body, therefore, with briars and thorns, would be no small punishment. See poor travellers sometimes, who, in consequence of a wild beast or some other cause, have to rush into the thicket; before they can get out again, in consequence of thorns, they are literally covered with blood.
There have been instances where a master, in his anger, has taken the jagged edge of the palmirah branch, to tear the naked body of his slave, and nothing can be more common than to threaten it shall be done to those who have given offence. People also often menace each other with the repetition of the old punishment of tying the naked body in a bundle of thorns, and rolling it on the ground.*
18.-“ Each one resembled the children of a king.” Of a person who is beautiful or of a fair complexion, who is courageous and stately in his gait, it is said, “ He is like the son of a king.” “ He is as the son of Manmathon (Cupid)." “ He is the son of a god.”
IX. 8. — “ They said unto the olive tree, reign thou
* Disappointed lovers sometimes vow they will ride (as a child does on a stick for his horse) on the jagged edge of the palmirah branch to punish the obdurate female.
One of the weapons mentioned in the history of Arachandron is made of sharp points; and one of the punishments in the Hindoo hell is described as having the body torn with iron thorns.