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A man of high caste, or one who was once in affluence, will almost as soon die as work for food; and, generally speaking, such is the pity felt for those people, that there are always some who will give a trifle to supply their wants. It is a phrase indicative of great misery to say, “ The once rich man is now hiring himself out for conjee” (gruel).
24.-—“My sons.” This affectionate form of speech may be heard in the mouth of every father. Thus, it is not common to mention the name, but my eldest, my youngest son (or some other epithet to designate the one he wants). “My sons, listen to the voice of your father.” In passing through a village, a man or woman may be heard in every corner bawling out, “Maganea,” i. e. O son, or “ Magalea,” O daughter, “come hither; I want you."
31.- “ Not be an old man in thine house." People, in cursing each other, say, “In thy family may there never be an old man,” meaning, may all die in youth. “ Alas ! alas ! there has not been an old man in that family for many generations.”
VI. 5.—“ Ye shall make images of your emerods, and
images of your mice that mar the land.” This command was given by the heathen priests and diviners to the Philistines, who were smitten with emerods, and whose land was nearly destroyed by the mice.
It is a remarkable fact, that when the Hindoos are afflicted in any particular member (or in the person generally), they make an image to represent the afflicted part, and send it to the temple of Kanda Swamy, the Scandan of Bengal, in order to get relieved from their trouble.
The temple of Kattaragam (sacred to Scandan) is famous, in all parts of the East, for the cures which have been performed by the deity there. Hence may be seen pilgrims at
its shrine, suffering under every kind of disease, who have walked, or have been carried, from an immense distance. The
images presented are generally made of silver, and I have seven of them in my possession*, which were offerings in the famous temple already mentioned. The first represents a boy with a large belly, which has probably been presented by the parents for their child labouring under that (very common) complaint.
The second is that of an infant, probably sent by a mother, who had a sick infant, or who, being herself in a state of pregnancy, had some fears respecting the future.t The third is, I suppose, intended to represent an old man, who may have made a vow in his sickness, that he would present an image of silver to the temple, should he recover.
But, strange to say, not only images of living beings are presented, but representations of things in common use. Thus,
the other four of the seven are, first, the head of
spear, or arrow, which may have been given by some one during the Kandian war, and which may represent that which actually gave the death wound to some British soldier. It is, however, possible, though not very probable, that it was given by a native sportsman, to ensure success in the chase.
. Given to me by the Rev. J. M'Kenny, Ceylon.
The next is a model of a native hut, which I suppose was given by
some poor man who was about to build one,or who could not rest in the one he had, on account of evil spirits, or the menaces of some of his neighbours.
The third is a still; no doubt presented by some one who was about to commence the distillation of arrack, and who, at the same time, gave a model of a pair of bellows.
But images of the eyes, the ears, the mouth, and the nose, are also presented, and for the same purpose.
With these facts before us, we acquire a clearer view of what was intended by the priests and diviners of the Philistines, in ordering to be made images of the emerods which had so dreadfully afflicted their persons; and of the mice, which had marred the land.
7.-—“Take two milch kine, on which there hath come no
yoke." These were employed to take home the ark of the Lord. It is more than probable that it was not a common thing to employ cows for drawing burdens, especially when they had sucking calves. The providence of God was seen in this arrangement, as the mothers actually took the road which led from their calves, and thus showed that they were influenced by a superior power.
Cows in the East (except those that are steril) are never used for domestic purposes. Of people who are proverbially wicked, it is figuratively said, “ They are so vile that they even put cows into the yoke.” When a person is requested to do that which is improper, he asks, “ Can I put a cow into the plough?”
VII. 6.-" They gathered together to Mizpeh, and
drew water, and poured it out before the Lord, and fasted on that day, and said, there we have sinned
against the Lord.” Samuel had been reproving the people for their sins, and exhorting them to repent, and come to Mizpeh to fast and pray, and confess their sins. They complied with his directions, and in CONFIRMATION of their solemn vows, they poured out water before the Lord, to show that their words and promises had gone forth, and were “as water spilt on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again.”
To pour water on the ground is a very ancient way of taking a solemn oath in the East. When the god Vishnoo, in the disguise of a dwarf, requested the giant Mahā-Ville (Bāli*) to grant him one step of his kingdom, the favour was conceded, and CONFIRMED by Mahā-Ville pouring out water before the dwarf.
But in that ancient work, the Scanda Purāna, where the account is given of the marriage of the god Siva with Pārvati, it is said of the father, “He placed the hand of the goddess Pārvati, genetress of the world, in the hand of Parama Easuran (Siva), and, POURING OUT THE WATER, said, “I give her with a joyful heart.” This, therefore, was also done in conFIRMATION of the compact.
The children of Israel, in their misery, came before the Lord: they wept, they fasted, and prayed, and made their solemn vows; and, in CONFIRMATION of their promises, they “poured out water before the Lord !”
VIII. 6.—“ The thing displeased Samuel.” Hebrew,
“was evil in the eyes of Samuel.” When any thing gives displeasure to another, it is said to be evil in his eyes. “This thing is evil in his sight.” “ Alas! my lord, I am evil in your sight !”
* Of the splendid ruins of Māha-Bálli-poor,
IX. 7.-" There is not a present to bring to the man
of God." A present always precedes the man who has to ask a fa
Those who come on a complimentary visit, or to ask a favour, always present a lime*, or a nosegay, with a graceful bow, to propitiate their benefactor.
10.- .6 Well said.” Hebrew. Thy word is good.” When you give orders, or advice, or warnings, or promises, those who hear you keep saying, at the close of every sentence, “ Nallathu,” good, good.
15. — “ The Lord had told Samuel in his ear.” The priests have a remarkable custom of whispering something in the ear of those who are to be initiated. When a boy has reached the age of eight, he is eligible to have the Ubatheasum whispered in his right ear. The communication is generally made in the Grandam language, which, of course, is not understood: they do, however, sometimes speak in familiar speech; but it will never be repeated, for the priest assures him, should he do this, his head will split in two. This ceremony is believed to have the power of a charm, and to possess talismanic influence. It is sometimes very expensive, but the benefits are believed to be so great as to warrant the expense.
X. 27.-"He held his peace.” Hebrew, “He was as
though he had been deaf.” This figure is also used to denote silence.
XIV. 14.-“ Within, as it were, an half acre of land,
which a yoke of oxen might plough.” Dr. A. Clarke says, “ The ancients measured land by the quantum which a yoke of oxen might plough.” The same
* Precious stones were formerly put into the limes, as a genteel way of giving a present or a bribe.