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In the Tamul language the past tense is often elegantly used for the FUTURE: thus, in the Nan-nool (the Native grammar) this distinction is beautifully illustrated. Does a note require to be taken to another place in a very short time, the messenger, on being charged not to loiter on the way, replies, “ Nan vanthu vuttain,” i.e. “I have already RETURNED:” whereas he has not taken a single step of his journey. “ My friend,” asks the priest, “when do you intend to go to the sacred place and perform your vows ?”—“ Nan poye van-thain," i. e. “I have been and returned,” which means he is going immediately.
Carpenter, if you are not quick in finishing that car, the gods will be angry with you.”—" My lord, the work is already done;" when perhaps some months will have to elapse before the work can be finished.* But they also use the past for the FUTURE, to denote CERTAINTY as well as SPEED. Do the ants begin to run about with their eggs in their mouth, it is said, “ mally-pay-yattu," it has rained, though a single drop has not fallen on the ground. The meaning is, the sign is so CERTAIN, that all doubt is removed. “ Why does that man go to the village ? Does he not know the cholera is sweeping as a besom ? Alas! alas ! avvon-chetu ponān; he is already dead;" which means, he will certainly die.f Should the friends of a young man enquire whether he may go to sea; the soothsayer says (if the signs are unfavourable), “ He is already drowned.”
But the FUTURE is also used instead of the past, as in the case of the deliverer from Bozrah : “ I will stain,” for “I have stained.” Should a man refuse to obey an officer, and
When Messrs. Tyerman and Bennet told King Pomare of Tahite, that they wished to have the model of a canoe, he replied, “ It is made long ago;" meaning, that it should certainly and immediately be done. Vol. i. p. 123.
+ The people of the East believe the cholera to be infectious, and I think the same: but when due precautions are taken, there is scarcely any cause for fear. I have known a whole village depopulated; but am persuaded it would not have been the case, had more attention been paid to cleanliness, and to the modes in which the sick were attended to, and their dead buried.
enquire, 6 Where is the order of the king ?” the reply is, “ He will command,” which strongly intimates it has been done, and that other consequences will follow. (1 Sam. iii. 13. See margin, 1 Kings iii. 13. ; also vi. 1., and xv. 25. 2 Kings viii. 16. Dan. ii. 28.; also iii. 29.; for all of which see marginal readings. See Dr. A. Clarke on Matt. ïïi. 17. also xxvi. 28., blood is shed, for will be shed.)
XXII. 17.-" The Lord will carry thee away with a
mighty captivity, and will surely cover thee.” (Esther vii. 8. 2 Sam. xix. 4. Ps. lxix. 7. and lxxiii.
6. Prov. x. 6. Jer. iii. 25. Ezek. vii. 18.) To be covered is a sign of mourning, of degradation, and inferiority. People in great sorrow cover their faces with their robes ; thus may be seen the weeping mother and sorrow-struck father: they cover themselves from the sight of others, to conceal their dejection and tears. But when people are ashamed, also, they cover their heads and faces. For a man to say he will cover another, intimates superiority, and shows that he will put him to confusion. “ Yes, the man who was brought up and nourished by the Modeliar, is now greater than his benefactor, for he covers him.” “Look at that parasitical banyan tree; when it first began to grow on the other tree, it was a very small plant, but it has been allowed to flourish, and now it covers the parent stock.”
Thus, those who were to be carried into captivity, were to be covered, in token of their sorrow, degradation, and inferiority.
18. — “ He will surely violently turn, and toss thee like
a ball, into a large country: there shalt thou die.” The Hebrew has, instead of “ large country,” “ land
large of spaces.” This figure, violently to turn thee, appears to be taken from the custom of a conqueror who rolls on the ground the person he has vanquished: hence it is common to say, “ I will roll thee,” for “ I will triumph over thee." "You roll me, fellow! I will roll you and turn you upside down.”
Does a man overcome another in argument, the bystanders say, “Ah! how he has rolled him." Nay, nay, you have not rolled me yet.” But to say, you shall be rolled, means also, you shall die ; which seems to be implied in the threatened captivity, for “ there shalt thou die.”
22.-" And the key of the house of David will I lay
upon his shoulder.” How much was I delighted when I first saw the people, especially the Moors, going along the streets with each his key on his shoulder. The handle is generally made of brass (though sometimes of silver), and is often nicely worked in a device of filigree. The way it is carried is to have the corner of a kerchief tied to the ring; the key is then placed on the shoulder, and the kerchief hangs down in front. At other times they have a bunch of large keys, and then they have half on one side of the shoulder and half on the other. For a man thus to march along with a large key on his shoulder, shows at once that he is a person of consequence. “ Rāman is in great favour with the Modeliar, for he now carries the key.” “ Whose key have you got on
” “ I shall carry my key on my own shoulder.”
The key of the house of David was to be on the shoulder of Eliakim, who was a type of him who had the “
government ” “ upon his shoulder ;” “the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of peace.”
your shoulder ? »
23. “I will fasten him as a nail in a sure place.”
(Ezra ix. 8.) When a man in power has given a situation to another, it is said of the favoured individual, “ He is fastened as a nail.” “ Yes, his situation is fixed, he will not be moved." “ What! has Tamban lost his glory? I thought he had been fastened XXV. 10, 11.-" Moab shall be trodden down under
as a nail.”
him, even as straw is trodden down for the dunghill. And he shall spread forth his hands in the midst of them, as he that swimmeth.” (The margin has, instead of “ trodden down," " or threshed in Mad
menah.") Dr. A. Clarke, has “ for the dunghill,” “under the wheels of the car.” This may allude to their ancient cars of war, under which Moab was to be crushed, or under her own heathen cars, in which the gods were taken out in procession. To spread forth the hands, as a person when swimming, may refer to the involuntary stretching forth of the limbs, when the body was crushed with the weight of the car; or to the custom of those who, when they go before the car in procession, prostrate themselves on the ground, and spread out their hands and legs as if swimming ; till they have measured the full distance the car has to go, by throwing themselves on the earth at the length of every six feet, and by motions as if in the act of swimming. The whole of this is done as a penance for sin, or in compliance with a vow made in sickness or despair.
XXVIII. 15.4" We have made a covenant with death." Of those who have often had a narrow escape from death, it is said, “ Those fellows have entered into an agreement with death." They have made a friendship; death injure them! chee, chee, they understand each other."
XXIX. 4. — “And thou shalt be brought down, and
shalt speak out of the ground, and thy speech shall be low, out of the dust, and thy voice shall be, as of one that hath a familiar spirit, out of the ground,
and thy speech shall whisper out of the dust.” The whole of this refers to the way in which wizards profess to hold communications with evil or departed spirits. (See on Deut. xviii. 11.)
XXX. 14. — “And he shall break it as the breaking of
the potter's vessel that is broken in pieces ; he shall not spare: so that there shall not be found in the bursting of it a sherd to take fire from the hearth,
or to take water withal out of the pit.” This solemn threatening refers to the Jews for their wicked reliance “in the shadow of Egypt:" they were to be reduced to the greatest straits for thus trusting in the heathen. It is proverbial to say of those who have been robbed, and left in destitute circumstances, “ They have not even a potsherd, not a broken chatty in their possession.” To appreciate this idea, it must be remembered that nearly all their cooking utensils, all their domestic vessels, are made of earthenware; so that not to have a potsherd, a fragment left, shows the greatest misery. Even Job, in all his poverty and wretchedness, was not so destitute, for he had “a potsherd to scrape himself withal.” “A sherd to take fire from the hearth.” This allusion may be seen illustrated every morning in the East. Should the good woman's fire have been extinguished in the night, she takes a potsherd in the morning, and goes to her neighbour for a little fire to rekindle her own; and as she goes along, she may be seen every now and then blowing the burning ember, lest it should go out.
They were not to have a sherd, out of which they could drink a little water. Not having pumps, they are obliged to have something to take water from the well or tank. Of a very poor country it is said, “In those parts there is not a sherd out of which you can drink a little water." " The wretchedness of the people is so great, they have not a sherd with which to take water from the tank.”
22. — “ Ye shall defile also the covering of thy graven
images of silver, and the ornament of thy molten images of gold : thou shalt cast them away as a men
struous cloth; thou shalt say unto it, Get thee hence.” By this passage we are strongly reminded of the idols,