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A man in trouble says, “ I will look at the hand of my friend.” “I looked at the hand of my mistress, and have been comforted.” A father, on returning from a journey, says, “ My children will look to my hands,” i. e. for a present. Of a troublesome person it is said, “ He is always looking at my hands.” A slave of a cruel master says to his god, “ Ah! Swamy, why am I appointed to look at his hands ?”
CXXIV. 7. — “ Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the
snare.” A man who has narrowly escaped danger says, “ My life is like that of the bird which has escaped from the snare.” The life of man is often compared to that of a bird. Thus, of him whose spirit has departed, it is said, “ Ah ! the bird has left its nest; it has gone away.”
“ As the unhatched bird must first burst from the shell before it can fly, so must this soul burst from its body."
CXXVI. 2. — “ Our mouth filled with laughter, and
our tongue with singing.” “ See that happy man; his mouth is always full of laughing, his tongue is always singing; he is ever showing his teeth."
5. — They that sow in tears shall reap in joy." These figures are taken from agricultural pursuits; the seed, being well watered, will produce a plenteous harvest. The Jews in their captivity had been sowing good seed, had watered it with their tears, and the time was now come for them to reap with joy, and to return with their sheaves rejoicing
It is proverbial to say to a boy who weeps because he must go to school, or because he cannot easily acquire his lesson,
My child, the plants of science require the water of the eyes.” “ If you sow with tears, the profit will appear in your own hands.”
CXXVII. 4, 5. — “ As arrows are in the hand of a mighty
man, so are the children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.” The margin has, instead of
speak,“ subdue the enemies in the gate.” In ancient books, and also amongst the learned in common conversation), sons are spoken of as the arrows of their fathers. To have a numerous male progeny is considered a great advantage; and people are afraid of offending such a family, lest the arrows should be sent at them. 66 What a fine fellow is the son of Kandan! he is like an arrow in the hand of a hero."
CXXVIII. 3.—“ Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by
the sides of thine house." The people are exceedingly fond of having their houses covered with different kinds of vines; hence may be seen various creepers thus trained bearing an abundance of fruit. Many interesting figures, therefore, are taken from plants which are thus SUSTAINED. A priest, in blessing a married couple, often says,
66 Ah ! may you be like the trees Cama-Valley and Cat-Pagga-Tharu!” These are said to grow in the celestial world, and are joined together: the Cama-Valley, being parasitical, cannot live without the other.
CXXIX. 3.—“ The plowers plowed upon my back.” “ The enemies of Israel cut their backs, as the plowers cut the soil.” Dr. Boothroyd. When a man is in much trouble through oppressors, he says, “How they plough me and turn me up! All are now ploughing me. Begone! have you not already turned me up ?” “ Alas ! alas ! my enemies, nay, my children, are now ploughing me.”
6.-“ Let them be as the grass
which withereth.” “ Ah! that wretched family shall soon be as withered “ Go, vile one, for soon wilt thou be as parched
CXXXII. 9.—Let thy priests be clothed with right
eousness. “ See that excellent man ; he wears the garments of justice and charity.”
17.-“ Make the horn to bud.” “ Yes, that man will flourish; already his horn has begun to appear it is growing.”
CXXXVII. 5.—“ If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my
right hand forget her cunning." In the Hindoo book, Scanda-Purāna, it is written, “SingaMuggam, on seeing that, his heart throbbed, the tears flowed, and his hands and feet forgot their cunning.”
“ Yes; if I lose thee, if I forget thee, it will be like the losing, like the forgetting of these eyes and arms.”
CXXXVIII. 6. — “ The proud he knoweth afar off.”
(Ps. cxxxix. 2.) This is truly Oriental: “Nān avari veggu tooratila arrika-rain, i.e. I know him afar off. Let him be at a great distance; allow him to conduct his plans with the greatest secrecy; yet, I compass his path, I am close to him. You pretend to describe the fellow to me: I know him well; there is no need to go near to him, for I can recognise him at the greatest distance. See how he carries his head; look at his gait ; who can mistake his proud bearing ?” “ How does your brother conduct himself?"_" I cannot tell, for he knows me afar off.”
CXL. 3. — They have sharpened their tongues like a
serpent.” This is an exact description of the way in which a serpent darts out his tongue before he inflicts the wound. See him; his head is erect, and his piercing eye is wildly and fiercely fixed on the object; the tongue rapidly appears and disappears, as if by that process it would be sharpened for the contest. Thus were the enemies of David making sharp their tongues for his destruction.
CXLI. 5. — “ Let the righteous smite me, it shall be a
kindness: and let him reprove me, it shall be an excellent oil, which shall not break my
head." Certain oils are said to have a most salutary effect on the head; hence in fevers, or any other complaints which affect the head, the medical men always recommend oil. I have known people who were deranged, cured in a very short time by nothing more than the application of a peculiar kind of oil to the head. There are, however, other kinds which are believed (when thus applied) to produce delirium. Thus the reproofs of the righteous were compared to excellent oil, which produced a most salutary effect on the head. So common is this practice of anointing the head, that all who can afford it do it every week.
But, strange as it may appear, the crown of the head is the place selected for chastisement. Thus owners of slaves, or husbands, or schoolmasters, beat the heads of the offenders with their knuckles. Should an urchin come late to school, or forget his lesson, the pedagogue says to some of the other boys, “Go, beat his head.” Begone, fellow! or I will beat thy head.” Should a man be thus chastised by an inferior, he quotes the old proverb - -" If my head is to be beaten, let it be done with the fingers that have rings on;” meaning a man of rank. “ Yes, yes; let a holy man smite my head : and what of that? 't is an excellent oil.” My master has been beating my head, but it has been good oil for me.”
6. — “ When their judges are overthrown in stony
Ainsworth, “ Their judges are thrown down by the rock
sides.” In 2 Chronicles xxv. 12. it is recorded that the children of Judah took ten thousand captives, “ and brought them unto the top of the rock, and cast them down from the top of the rock, that they were all broken in pieces.”
It was a custom in all parts of the East thus to despatch criminals, by casting them down a precipice: the Tarpeian rock affords a similar instance.
But who were these judges ? probably those of the "men that work iniquity,” as mentioned in the 4th verse. In the 5th verse he speaks of the salutary nature of the reproofs of the RIGHTEOUS, but in the 7th he seems to refer to the cruel results of having UNRIGHTEOUS judges; for in consequence of their SMITINGS, he
says, 6. Our bones are scattered at the grave's mouth, as when one cutteth and cleaveth wood ; " i. e. their bones were like the fragments and chips scattered on the earth, left by the hewers of wood. Therefore these judges were to be “overthrown in stony places.”
CXLII. 7. — “ Bring my soul out of prison." These people speak of afflictions, difficulties, and sorrows, as so many prisons. “ lyo intha marryil eppo vuttu pome?” i. e. “ Alas! when will this imprisonment go ?” exclaims the man in his difficulties.
CXLIV. 12. “ That our sons may be as plants
our daughters may be as corner stones polished
after the similitude of a palace.” Of a man who has a hopeful and beautiful family, it is said, “ His sons are like shoots (springing up from the parent stock), and his daughters are like carved work and precious stones.”
CXLVIII. 9, 10. 13.-“ Mountains, and all hills,
fruitful trees, and all cedars: Beasts, and all cattle; creeping things, and flying fowl: — praise the name of the Lord.”