« הקודםהמשך »
may refer to the silken strings by which they were led to the altar; some of which were unusually thick.”
But may not the passage allude to the immense cables with which the heathen draw their sacred cars? In these very large vehicles, the gods are placed when taken out in procession, and sometimes five hundred men and upwards draw that iniquity with long cables. To do this is a work of great merit; hence men of the first respectability join in the service.
23.—“Which justify the wicked for reward.” (Job xv.34.
56 Fire shall consume the tabernacles of bribery.") Not a man in a thousand would hesitate to give or receive a bribe when there was the least chance of its being kept secret. Nearly all the situations which are at the disposal of native chiefs, are acquired by ki-cooly, i. e. the reward of the hand : and
yet there are numerous proverbs against this system. In the book called Vānan-Kovi there is a sentiment like that contained in the quotation from Job; for there a young female is described “as living in the desert, which was as hot as the house of him who takes bribes."
VII. 18. — “ And it shall come to pass in that day, that
the Lord shall hiss for the fly that is in the uttermost part of the rivers of Egypt, and for the bee
that is in the land of Assyria.” Some commentators think “ this metaphor is taken from the practice of those that keep bees; who draw them out of their hives into the fields, and lead them back again, oupiouari, by a hiss or a whistle.” But the people in the East were, I believe, never in the habit of keeping bees in hives, or in any other artificial way; because they principally, if not exclusively, collected their honey from rocks and trees.
I am of opinion the passage refers, not to the calling or training of bees, but to a deity amongst the heathen, called the “ fly god, or master of flies.” A reference to what is written on 2 Kings i. 2. will afford a tolerable view of the history of that god. It is therefore probable, that the bee of Assyria and the fly of Egypt denote those idolaters who worshipped an idol analogous to Beelzebub, the god of flies, and that they were to be the instruments in the hand of the Lord, of inflicting severe punishments on the land of Judea.
20. — “ In the same day shall the Lord shave with a
razor that is hired, -namely, by them beyond the river, by the king of Assyria, the head, and the hair of the feet: and it shall also consume the beard.” (See on Deut. xxi. 12, 13. 2 Chron. xvi. 14. and
Isa. xviii. 2.) This is another denunciation against the wicked Jews. Ahaz, their impious king, had been greatly troubled by his enemies, the Philistines, Syrians, and Edomites; he therefore “sent messengers to Tiglath-Pileser, (the heathen) king of Assyria, saying, I am thy servant, and thy son; come up, and save me out of the hand of the king of Syria;” and in addition to this, his wickedness, he actually “ took the silver and gold that was found in the house of the Lord and sent it for a present to the king of Assyria,” in order to Hire him to fight his battles against his Syrian foes.
“ In the same day shall the Lord shave." By reading what is written on 2 Kings ii. 23., a better view will be gained of the contempt attached to those who were bald, and of the term, as being expressive of the most complete weakness and destitution. To tell a man you will shave him, is as much as to say you will ruin him — entirely overthrow him.
6 Our king has shaved all his enemies," means he has punished them; reduced them to the most abject condition; so that they have not a single vestige of power in their possession. “What, fellow ! didst thou say thou wouldst shave me?” “ I will give thy bones to the crows and the jackals. Begone, bald-head, get out of my way.” The punishment to be inflicted on the Jews was very great: they were to be shaved on the head, the beard, and “ the hair of the feet.” The latter expression
alludes to a most disgusting practice common in all parts of the East. Calmet says, “ The Hebrews modestly express by feet those parts which decency forbids to name: the water of the feet;' to cover the feet;' the hair of the feet.'»
Thus the Lord was about to shave the Jews by a razor which they themselves had HIRED!
VIII. 14. — “A stone of stumbling, and for a rock of
offence.” (1 Peter ii. 8.“ A stone of stumbling and
a rock of offence.”) The idea appears to be taken from a stone, or a block of wood, being thrown in the path of travellers, over which they fall. “ Well, friend, did the king grant you your request?”
“ No, no; there was a Udaru-katti (from the verb Udarukurathu, to stumble, and katti, a block,) a stumbling-block in the way.”
“ Just as Valen was attaining the object of his wishes, that old stumbling block the Modeliar laid down in the way, and the poor fellow stumbled, and fell.” “ Why are you so dejected this morning ?” — “ Because I have had a severe fall over that stumbling block, my profligate son.”
IX. 3. — “ They joy before thee according to the joy
in harvest.” “ Kandan's wife has at length borne her husband a son, and all the relations are rejoicing together, like unto the joy of harvest.” “ Are you happy in your new situation ? "
“ Yes; my santosham, my happiness, is greater than that of the time of harvest." “ Listen to the birds, how merry they are; can they be taking in their harvest ? »
6. — “ The government shall be upon his shoulder.”
Chap. xi. 14. — “ They shall fly upon the shoulders
of the Philistines." (See on xxii. 22.) In the book Rāmāyanum, Tessaratha, the father of Rāmar, says, he had borne the government of Iyote sixty thousand years upon his SHOULDERS. In a battle, the combatants are said to fly upon each other's SHOULDERS. The figure is probably taken from the custom of wild animals thus attacking each other.
20. - They shall eat every man the flesh of his own
arm.” " See what that descendant of fiends has come to; he is now eating his own flesh.”
X. 32. — “He shall shake his hand against the mount
of the daughter of Zion, the hill of Jerusalem.” This is a part of the description of the march of Sennacherib against Jerusalem. When he arrives near the city, he lifts up his hand and shakes it, to denote that he will soon inflict signal punishment upon it. How often may this significant motion of the hand be seen; it is done by lifting it up to the height of the head, and then moving it backwards and forwards in a cutting direction. Thus, when men are at so great a distance as to be scarcely able to hear each other's voice, they have this convenient way of making known their threatenings. Sometimes, when brawlers have separated and apparently finished their quarrel, one of them will turn round and bawl out with all his might, and then shake his hand in token of what he will still do.
XI. 4. 6. The rod of his mouth.” The application of this figure in the East refers rather to angry expressions, than to a judicial sentence. - The mouth of that man burns up his neighbours and friends." mouth! it has set on fire all the people.”
6. — “ The leopard shall lie down with the kid.” People of every age and clime often refer to antiquity, as the halcyon period of innocence and delight: and the enquiry still is, “ What is the cause that the former days were better than these?” In the book Rāmāyanum, it is said, that
formerly the tiger and the deer used to drink at the same fountain, and the fawns used to be suckled at the teats of the tiger. In all these glancings at the past, may there not be some reference to the primitive state of man?
XIII. 2.-“ Shake the hand, that they may go into the
gates of the nobles." Dr. Boothroyd—“ Beckon with the hand;" which also agrees with Mr. Benson and the Tamul rendering. The way in which the people beckon for a person, is to lift up the right hand to its extreme height, and then bring it down with a sudden sweep to the ground.
7. “Every man's heart shall melt.” This figure appears to be taken from the melting of wax or metals. My heart, my mind melts for him; I am dissolved by this love." “ Alas! alas ! my bowels are melting within me.”
8. « They shall be in pain as a woman that travaileth.”
(Jer. xxx. 6. " Wherefore do I see every man
with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail ?") Great pains are often spoken of as the anguish of parturition. “ Ah! my lord, I am very ill; my pains are like those of a woman when bringing forth her first born."
66 Has it come to this ? am I to bring forth like a woman ?” “ He cries like the woman in her agony." “ Yes, my friend; as the pains of a female in child-bearing are produced by sin; so your present sufferings are produced by the sins of a former birth.”
16. — “ Their children also shall be dashed to pieces
before their eyes.” One of the FAVOURITE modes of punishment of the late king of Kandy, was to take the children of an offender and Tash them to pieces before his eyes. After this the monster