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CV. 26. - " Moses his servant." Calmet says the word servant, among the Hebrews “ generally signifies a slave:” and Dr. A. Clarke says (on Rom. i. 1. “ Paul a servant of Jesus Christ :') the word doudos, which we translate servant, properly means a slave, one who is the entire property of his master, and is used here by the Apostle with great propriety.
In Eastern language, the word used as expressive of the relationship of men to their deities is slave. “ I am the adumi," i.e. SLAVE, “ of the supreme Siva.” “I am the devoted slave of Vishnoo." Hindoo saints are always called the slaves of the gods. The term servant is applied to one who is at liberty to dispose of himself, in serving different masters : but not so a slave, he is the property of his owner; from him he receives protection and support, and he is not at liberty to serve another master : hence it is that the native Christians, in praying to the true God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ, always speak of themselves as slaves ; they are not their own, but “ bought with a price.”
30. — “ Their land brought forth frogs in abundance.” It is not difficult for an Englishman in an Eastern wet monsoon, to form a tolerable idea of that plague of Egypt, in which the frogs were in the “houses, bed chambers, beds, and kneading troughs,” of the Egyptians. In the season alluded to, myriads of them send forth their constant croak in every direction, and a man not possessed of over much patience, becomes as petulant as was the licentious god, and is ready to exclaim,
“ Croak, croak, indeed I shall choke
If you pester and bore my ears any more
A new-comer, on seeing them leap about the rooms, becomes disgusted, and forthwith begins an attack upon them, but the next evening will bring a return of his active visiters. It may appear almost incredible, but in one evening we killed
upwards of forty of these guests in the Jaffna Mission house. They had principally concealed themselves in a small tunnel connected with the bathing room, and their noise had become almost insupportable.
I have been amused when a man has been making a speech which has not given pleasure to his audience, to hear another person ask, “ What has that fellow been croaking about, like a frog of the wet monsoon?” The natives also do us the honour of saying, that our singing, in parts, is very much like the notes of the large and small frogs.
The bass singers say they resemble the croak of the bull frogs, and the other parts the notes of the smaller fry.*
CIX. 9, 10. — “ Let his children be fatherless, and his
wife a widow. Let his children be continually
vagabonds, and beg.” Listen to two married men who are quarelling, you will hear the one accost the other, “ Thy family will soon come to destruction." “ And what will become of thine ? ” rejoins the other : " I will tell thee; thy wife will soon take off her thāli,” which means she will be a widow, as the thāli is the marriage jewel, which must be taken off on the death of a husband. “ Yes, thy children will soon be beggars; I shall see them at
CX. 1. —“ Sit thou at my right hand.” The host always places a distinguished guest on his right hand, because that side is considered more honourable than the other. Hence the rank known by the name of valangkiyar,
* In No. 62. of the Quarterly Review is a striking description of Lisbon, and, amongst other delights, the Reviewer says there may be heard the “ Aristophanic chorus which has provoked many a splenetic Englishman.”
Βρεκεκεκεξ, κοάζ, κοαξ,
Βρεκεκεκεξ, κουαξ, κοαξ.
right hand caste, is very superior to the idungkiyar, or left hand caste.
CXII. 10. — “He shall gnash with his teeth.” An enraged man snaps his teeth together, as if about to bite the object of his anger. Thus, in the book Rāmyanum, the giant Rāvanan is described as in his fury gnashing together his “thirty-two teeth!” “Look at the beast, how he gnashes his teeth.” “ Go near that fellow;" _“ Not I, indeed, he will only gnash bis teeth.”
CXIII. 9. - 66 He maketh the barren woman to keep
house, and to be a joyful mother of children.” Should a married woman, who has long been considered steril, become a mother, her joy, and that of her husband and friends, is most extravagant. “ They called her Malady," i. e. barren, “ but she has given us some good fruit." neighbours pointed at me, and said, Malady: but what will they say now ?” A man who manifests great delight, is said to be like the barren woman who has borne a child. Of any thing which is exceedingly valuable, it is said, - This is as precious as the son of the barren woman,” i. e. of her who had long been reputed barren.
CXIX. 82. — “ Mine eyes fail for thy word.” Has a mother promised to visit her son or daughter, and should she not be able to go, the son or daughter will say, “ Alas! my mother promised to come to me; how long have I been looking for her? but a speck has grown on my eye.” “ I cannot see, my eyes have failed me;" i. e. by looking so intensely for her coming.
83. “ I am become like a bottle in the smoke." Bottles are made of the skins of goats, sheep, and other animals; and there are several articles preserved in them, in the same way as the English keep hogs' lard in bladders. Some kinds of medicinal oil, assafoetida, honey, a kind of treacle, and other drugs, are kept for a great length of time, by hanging the bottles in the smoke, which soon causes them to become black and shrivelled. The Psalmist was ready to faint for the salvation of the Lord : his eyes had failed in looking for His blessing, and anxiety had made him like unto a skin bottle, shrivelled and blackened in the smoke.
103. — “ How sweet are thy words unto my taste ! yea,
sweeter than honey to my mouth !" An affectionate wife often says, “ My husband, your words are sweeter to me than honey; yes, they are sweeter than the
“ Alas ! my husband is gone,” says the widow; “ how sweet were his words ! honey dropped from his mouth: his words were ambrosia."
136.- “ Rivers of water run down mine eyes.” This figure occurs in the poem called Veerale-vudu-toothe. 6 Rivers of tears run down the face of that mother bereft of her children,” is a saying in common use. 66 The water of her eyes runs like a river.”
CXXI. 6.— “ The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor
the moon by night.” A meridian summer's sun in England gives but a faint idea of the power of this luminary in the East: and yet, even in this temperate climate, who has not been inconvenienced when exposed to his rays ? But how much greater is his effect in India! Sometimes 6 a stroke of the sun” smites man and beast with instant death.
The moon has also a pernicious effect upon those who sleep in its beams : and fish, having been exposed to them for one night, becomes most injurious to those who eat it: hence our English seamen, when sailing in tropical climes, always take care to place their fish out of “ the sight of the
CXXII. 2.- “ Our feet shall stand within thy gates,
0 Jerusalem.” I think, so far as the SENSE is concerned, it does not matter whether this be read in the past, present, or future tense; for, in my opinion, the arguments on that subject are of little importance. I believe it to be a declaration of affection for Jerusalem, in which the feet, as the instruments of going to the holy place, were in Eastern style naturally associated. The devout Hindoo, when absent from the sacred city of Sedambarum, often exclaims, “Ah ! Sedambarum, my feet are ever walking in thee.” “ Ah! Siva-Stalham, are not my feet in thee?” A man who has long been absent from his favourite temple, says on his return, “ My feet once more tread this holy place.”
CXXIII. 2. “ Servants look unto the hand of their
masters.” The hand is looked at as the member by which a superior gives protection or dispenses favours; and if this Psalm be, as some suppose, a complaint of the captives in Babylon, it may refer to the hand as the instrument of deliverance.
* Tyerman and Bennet also mention, that fish, when exposed to the light of the moon, acquires such a deleterious quality as to render it unfit for food. The moon is also believed to have great astrological influence over the affairs of men; and it is worthy of being known, that there is a striking resemblance in the notions of the Hindoos, and Greeks, and Romans. Virgil says, in the Georgics, lib. i. 276–281., “ The moon, too, hath allotted days auspicious to works; some in one order, some in another; shun the fifth ! on this pale Pluto and the Furies were born. Then, at a hideous birth, the earth brought forth Cæus, Japetus, and stern Typhæus, and all the giant brothers who conspired to scale the skies."
On the Fifth! day of the moon, the Hindoos say, was born the Panjame-Pea, i. e. the fifth devil; he has a most malignant nature, and takes great pleasure in the sufferings of men. Should a person die on the FIFTH day of the moon, his spirit is believed to remain in the house for six months; and, therefore, when the relations see a person near death on that such a day, they remove him to a distant place to expire.