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XVI. 3.-“Shall vain words have an end?” The
Hebrew has 66 words of wind.” “His promise! 't is only wind.” “His words are all wind.” “ The wind has taken away his words.” “Breath, breath; all breath!”
9.-“ Mine enemy sharpeneth his eyes upon me.” “ Has not the cruel man been sharpening his eyes upon me?"
“ His eyes are like arrows: they pierce my life.” “Truly, his cutting eyes are always upon me.” “Yes, yes ; the eyes of the serpent.”
10.-" They have gaped upon me with their mouth;
they have smitten me upon the cheek.” Here is another living picture of Eastern manners. See the exasperated man; he opens his mouth like a wild beast, shows his teeth, then suddenly snaps them together. Again he pretends to make another snatch, and growls like a tiger. Should he not dare to come near, he moves his hand, as if striking you on the cheek, and says, “I will beat thy kannan, i. e. cheek, thou low-caste fellow.”
12.— “ He hath also taken me by my neck, and shaken
me to pieces." This is a favourite way of showing contempt or superiority, and is finished by thrusting the face on the ground.
XVII. 1. “ The graves are ready for me.” A man far advanced in years, or one who is in deep afflic
“ The place of burning is near to me, and the wood is laid together for my funeral pile.” “How are you, my friend ?”—“How am I? I will tell you. Go, order them to get the wood together to burn this body.” A father sometimes says of his wicked sons, “ Yes; I know they desire my death; they have been preparing for the funeral; they are ready to wash me: the bier is at hand, and the wood is prepared.” “
Why do you all look so anxious ? I am not ready for the washing."
14. — “I have said to corruption, Thou art my father ;
to the worm, Thou art my mother, and my sister.” Those who retire from the world to spend their lives in a desert place, for the purpose of performing religious austerities, often exclaim to the beasts, “ Yes; you are my relations, you are my parents; these are my companions and friends.”
XVIII. 4. — “ He teareth himself in his anger: shall
the earth be forsaken for thee?” “ Foolish man, why are you so angry? Will your anger pull down the mountain, or take a single hair from the head of your enemy?” “ This evil is only felt in your own heart and house: it is your own destruction.”
16. - “ Above shall his branch be cut off.” (Isa. Xxx.
17.) “ Till ye be left as a beacon on the top of a mountain." Hebrew, a tree bereft of branches.
(Jer. xi. 16. Ezek. xix. 10.) Man is often described as a tree, and his destruction by the cutting off of the branches. " Alas! alas ! he is like a tree whose branches have been struck by the lightning.” “ He is a tree killed by the shepherds;" which alludes to the practice in dry weather when the grass is burned up) of climbing the trees to lop off the branches and leaves for the use of the flocks and cattle. “ His branches and shoots are destroyed ;” which means, himself and family. “I know all his branches and bunches; ” meaning all his connections. (See on Luke xxiii. 31.)
17. — “He shall have no name in the street." " What kind of a man is Rāmar?”. “ I will tell you: his name is in
street; ” which means, he is a person of great fame. “ Ah ! my lord, only grant me this favour, and your name shall be in
« Who does not wish his
name to be in the streets ?” “ Wretch, where is thy name? What dog of the street will acknowledge thee ?” " From generation to generation shall his name be in the streets.” “ Where is thy name written in stone ? No; it is written in water.”
XIX. 16. — “ I called my servant, and he gave me no
answer; I entreated him with my mouth.” When a man becomes reduced in the world, his slaves no longer obey him: he calls, but they answer not; he looks, and they laugh at him. Hence the verse
Kavi-Kavi-Endār. “ Though I call, he comes not; though he sees, he answers not; or I am engaged, engaged, says he.”
17.-“ My breath is strange to my wife, though I en
treated her for the children's sake of mine own
body.” It is not often that husbands, in these regions, condescend to entreat their wives, but they are sometimes (as when sick or in any way dependent) obliged to humble themselves. He then says, “ My wife's breath is not now as mine." the sake of your children listen to my words.” Nothing is more provoking to a woman than to say she has the breath of a man.
20. — “ I am escaped with the skin of my teeth.” I suppose the above words have given rise to the old English saying, “ He has escaped with the skin of his teeth ;" which denotes he has had great difficulty in avoiding the danger. But have the teeth! any skin?
It was formerly a custom among the heathen kings to knock out the teeth of their prisoners, or those who had offended
« Take care ;
them; and to this practice the Psalmist seems to allude: “Thou hast broken the teeth of the ungodly;” and,“ Break their teeth, O God ! in their mouth.” Those who had been thus treated said, “ We have escaped with the murasu,” i. e. the gums of our teeth.
When a man is angry with another, he says, I will knock thy teeth out. Thou shalt only have thy gums left.” “ What !” asks the person thus threatened, “ am I thy slave, to have my teeth knocked out ?”
But the teeth are always spoken of as being very valuable; and by them the people often estimate the worth of any blessing. “ Ah ! the king might have granted me that favour; his teeth would not have fallen out on that account.” “ Would his gums have been left, if he had told me that secret ? ” “ Yes, yes; take care, or you will lose your pearls,” (teeth). “ See the miserable man; the sickness has left him his gums only."
24. “ Graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock
for ever.” This probably refers to the ancient practice of writing on stone (by means of an iron instrument) those events which were to be conveyed to posterity. The fact, also, of lead being used, may allude to the fixing of the stone by means of that metal. In all parts of the East are to be found records thus written, many of which have never been deciphered, as they are in languages not now understood.
It is proverbial to say, “ The words of the wise are written on stone.” Learning for the young is like a writing in stone."
26. — “ And though after my skin, worms destroy this
body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.” (Job xxiv.
20.) Though worms be not in the original, I believe the translators have acted wisely in supplying the word for the text. Dr. Mason Goode translates it, “ After the disease hath de
stroyed.” But the opinion of the Orientals, as expressed in their ancient writings, and also in those of the present day, is, that worms do exist in the skin and in all parts of the body, and that they principally cause its destruction. They say the life is first destroyed by them, and afterwards the body.
A man who is very ill, often exclaims, “ Ah ! my body is but a nest for worms; they have paths in all parts of
“ Ah ! these worms are continually eating my flesh.”
In the ancient medical work called Kurru-Natich-Sooteram, written by the celebrated Agattiyār, it is said, “ The human body contains eighteen kinds of worms:— of 1. the skin; 2. the flesh ; 3. the bones ; 4. the blood; 5. (producing) wind; 6. the excrement; 7. the urine; 8. intestines ; 9. otepuce ; 10. abscess; 11. sores (generally); 12. leprosy; 13. itch; 14. cancer; 15. mouth; 16. teeth; 17. skull; and 18. the hair."
Is it not a fact that the medical men of England have only of late years discovered that animalcules exist in some of these parts alluded to ? and perhaps they may do well also to enquire whether old Agattiyār be not correct in some of his other opinions.
28.-" The root of the matter is found in me.” 6 What is the root of his conversation ?”
66 Is his root 66 We cannot find out his root ?” 6 Ah ! he has a
right?" good root.”
XX. 16.-" The viper's tongue shall slay him.” (Matt.
iii. 7. Rom. iii. 13.) In a country where serpents lurk in every path, and where such numbers of people lose their lives from their bite, can it be a matter of wonder that they are greatly afraid of them, and that their language abounds with figures taken from the destructive power of that reptile? Some modern writers have asserted, that there are very few of them which have poisonous qualities. It is said that some travellers take occasional