« הקודםהמשך »
heard that Tamban is trying to injure you?”—“Yes; and go tell him that neither to-day nor to-morrow will he succeed.”
Our Saviour says, “ Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures to-day and to-morrow.” A messenger came to inform him Herod would kill him; but this was his reply, intimating that the power could never be taken from him.
Jacob said to Laban, “My righteousness answers for me in time to come;" but the Hebrew has for this, "to-morrow;" his righteousness would be perpetual.
In Eastern language, therefore, "yesterday and the day before " signify time past; but “to-day and to-morrow” time to come. (See Ex. xiii. 14. Jos. iv. 6., also xxii. 24. margin.)
35.- Under similar circumstances, no one goes to the
temple, or any religious ceremony.
38.—“ The rams of thy flock have I not eaten.” The people of the East do not eat the females, except when steril. It would be considered folly and prodigality in the extreme to eat that which has the power of producing more. Hence the goats or kids which are brought for sale, are always males. The females, after they have done breeding, literally die of old age. Poets, in speaking of kings in the chase, always describe them as killing the bucks.
Jacob had not eaten the rams of the flock.
40.—“In the day the drought consumed me, and the
frost by night.” Does a master reprove his servant for being idle, he will ask, “ What can I do? the heat eats me up by day, and the cold eats me up by night: how can I gain strength ? I am like the trees of the field : the sun is on my head by day, and the dew by night.”
46. — “ They took stones and made an heap, and they
did eat there upon the heap.”
Jacob and Laban here made a covenant, and ratified it by eating together on the heap of stones.
When people make a covenant, a white cloth is spread on the ground, and the parties eat thereon. Should one of the contracting parties have given offence, he is at the expense of the feast.
The ceremony of eating together in the way alluded to is observed in forming the marriage covenants.
59. “ And Jacob sware by the fear of his father
Isaac.” One of the most solemn oaths taken in the East, is that of swearing by the father, whether he be living or dead. Is a man accused of some great crime, he says, “ By my father I swear that I am innocent.” — “ I have sworn in the name of my father, therefore believe me.” * That mode which is most imposing and most binding is, for the father and the son to go to the temple: the former prostrates himself on the ground in front of the portico; and the latter steps over his body, saying, “ I swear by my father I am not guilty." +
55. — “ And early in the morning Laban rose up, and
kissed his sons, and his daughters, and blessed
them.” Early rising is a universal custom. Thus, in every season of the year, the people may be seen at sunrise, strolling in all directions. At the time of the heavy dews, they bind a part of the robe round the head, which also falls on the shoulders. When a journey has to be taken, were they not to rise early, they would be unable to travel far before the sun had gained
Isaaco, who was sent in search of Mungo Park, says, “ The king confirmed his promise of protection, by sending for Chiamon, the eldest son of the royal family, who swore to this effect, both in his own name, and that of his father !”
+ This mode of swearing was abolished by the Ceylon government in 1819, so far as official oaths were concerned.
- Valen, may
its meridian height. They therefore start a little before daylight, and rest under the shade during the heat of the day.
Here also we have another instance of the interesting custom of blessing those who were about to be separated. A more pleasing scene than that of a father blessing his sons and daughters can scarcely be conceived. The fervour of the language, the expression of the countenance, and the affection of their embraces, all excite our strongest sympathy. “My child, may God keep thy hands and thy feet !” “ beasts of the forest keep far from thee !” “ May thy wife and thy children be preserved!” “May riches and happiness ever be thy portion !”
In the beginning of the Hindoo new year, when friends meet for the first time, they bless each other. your fields give abundance of rice, your trees be covered with fruit, your wells and tanks be full of water, and your cows give rivers of milk! ” “ Ah! Tamban, we have met on the first day of the new year. In the next ten moons, may your wife have twins!”
May you never want sons in your old age !”
“ Venāse, may your dhonies never want freight! May Varuna (the god of the sea) ever protect them ! and may you and your children's children derive an abundance of riches from them !” “Do I meet my friend the merchant? This year may your servants be faithful! when you buy things, may they be cheap; and when you sell them, may they be dear!”
“ Have I the pleasure of meeting with our divine doctor ? The gods grant your fortunate hand may administer health to thousands; and may your house be full of riches !”
Thus do they bless each other and rejoice together, on any other great festive occasion.
XXXII. 18. — “ It is a present sent unto my lord
Esau.” Whenever a favour has to be solicited, or peace made, or an interview desired, a present is always sent to prepare the way.
Thus may the servants be seen with trays of fruit, or cakes, on their head, covered with white cloth, going to the house of the man who can grant the boon. Should there be something very important at stake, then a diamond, or a ruby, or some valuable jewel, will be sent by a confidential person.
19. — “On this manner shall ye speak unto Esau.” I almost think I hear Jacob telling his servants what they were to say to Esau. He would repeat it many times over, and then ask, “What did I say?” until he had completely schooled them into the story. They would be most attentive; and at every interval, some of the most officious would be repeating the tale. The head servant, however, would be specially charged with the delivery of the message.
When they went into the presence of Esau, they would be very particular in placing much stress on Jacob's saying, " the present is sent unto my lord!” and this would touch his feelings. Servants who see the earnestness of their master, imitate him in this when they stand before the person to whom they are sent. They repeat a number of little things respecting him ; his great sorrow for his offence, his weeping, his throwing himself into the dust, and his fearful expressions. Should the occasion, however, be of a pleasing nature, they mention his great joy, and his anxiety for an interview.
The dependents of Esau, also, would hear the story, and every now and then be making exclamations at the humility of Jacob, and the value of his present. They would also put their hands together in a supplicating posture, for Esau to attend to the request. He, feeling himself thus acknowledged as lord, seeing the servants of his brother before him, and knowing that all his people had witnessed the scene, would consider himself greatly honoured.
In this way many a culprit in the East gains a pardon, when nothing else could purchase it. Should the offender be too poor to send a present, he simply despatches his wife and children to plead for him; and they seldom plead in vain.
XXXIII. 3. — “ Bowed himself to the ground.” There is something very touching, and, to an Eastern mind, very natural, in this action of Jacob's. His arrangements, also, may be seen to the life, at this day. His wives and children were placed behind him: they would be in a separate group, in order that Esau might the more easily see them. He would then walk forward, and cast himself on the earth, and rise again, till he had bowed seven* times; after which, (as he would walk a short distance every time he arose,) he would be near to his brother. Esau could not bear it any longer, and ran to meet him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him, and wept. Then came the handmaids and their children, (I think I see them,) and bowed themselves before Esau ; the wives, also, according to their age, and their children, prostrated themselves before him. What with the looks of the little ones, joined with those of the mothers, Esau could not help being moved.
10. — “ Nay, I pray thee, if now I have found grace
in thy sight, then receive my present at my hand.” Not to receive a present, is at once to show that the thing desired will not be granted. Hence, nothing can be more repulsive, nothing more distressing, than to return the gifts to the giver. Jacob evidently laboured under this impression, and therefore pressed his brother to receive the gifts, if he had found favour in his sight.
* People in great distress begin to bow to the earth when they are at a considerable distance from the man they wish to appease. But the regular mode of paying respects is as follows:- To a king, a father, or an elder brother, bow once; before a priest, the temple, or the gods, three times.
They have sixteen different ways of showing respect :- 1. To give a seat; 2. Water for the hands; 3. Water for the feet; 4. Water of young cocoa-nuts, milk, perfumed waters; 5. To pour water on a person, i.e. to bathe him ; 6. To assist in putting on the clothes ; 7. To put on the triple or sacred cord; 8. To perfume a person; 9. To adorn with garlands; 10. To give rice coloured with saffron; 11. To offer sweet incense; 12. To give a lamp or a light; 13. To give camphor ; 14. A heave offering of rice; 15. Beetle leaves ; 16. To worship by mantherams (charms) and flowers.