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represents the field: they therefore begin at the west, and plough in circles towards the east. The places 1. and 2. within the circles are called sali. Now then for the application of the figure. When two inveterate enemies have become friends, the people say, " They are ploughing in two BALI,” i. e. they are acting in perfect accordance, or they could not thus plough ; for if one went one way and another took another direction, how could they agree? “ True it is, true it is, Arrow-Muggam and Chinny Tamby are ploughing together in their two salis; whoever expected to see such foes act together ?” “ Never, never again will those fellows plough together in their two furrows; they are sworn foes." Israel was bound together in the furrows with the idolaters of “ Beth-aven,” but “ the thorn and the thistle” were to
come up on their altars," and she was exhorted “ to seek the Lord.”
12. — “ Rain righteousness among you." It is said of a good king, “ What a blessing he is to the land, he is always RAINING justice upon us."
66 You talk to me about the MERIT of remaining with such a master : he is always RAINING blessings upon him.” A son after the decease of his father asks, “ Where is now the Rain of love? alas ! I am withered and dry.” The figure is also used sarcastically, “ Yes, indeed you are a very good friend, you are always RAINING favours upon me.”
XI. 4. - “ I drew them with cords of a man, with bands
of love.” Here we have another figure to show the affection of Jehovah for backsliding Israel. An affectionate wife says
of a good husband, “ He has bound me with the cords of love." “ Ah! woman, have you not drawn me with the cords of love ?” “ True, true, I was once drawn by the cords of love, but they are now all broken.”
XIV. 5. - 66 Cast forth his roots as Lebanon." A priest or aged man in blessing a newly married couple
“ Ah ! may your roots shoot forth like the ARUGAPILLU” (Agrostis Linearis). This beautiful grass puts forth NUMEROUS roots, and is highly valued for the feeding of cattle.
CHAP. I. verse 7. – “ Barked my fig tree.” The skin of a man is sometimes spoken of as the bark of a tree. Thus it is said of those who have been severely flogged, 66 Their backs are like the margossa tree stripped of its bark : ” which alludes to the custom of taking off the bark o that tree for medicinal
II. 6. — “ All faces shall gather blackness.” The mar
gin has, for “ blackness," “ pot.” The Tamul translation has, “ All faces shall wither, or shrivel.” Thus of a man in great poverty it is said, “ His face is shrivelled.” It is very provoking to tell a person his face is like the KARE-CHATTE, i. e. the earthen vessel in which the rice is boiled. The “ pot ” may allude to such an utensil, it being made black with the smoke.
CHAP. I. verse 13. — “ They have ripped up the women
with child." Margin for “ ripped,” “ divided the
mountains." It was common in the ancient wars thus to treat women, but in general the Orientals are very kind to their wives in the state alluded to. Nay even to animals in that condition they are very tender : a man to beat his cow when in calf, would be called a great sinner; and to kill a goat or a sheep when with young, is altogether out of the question. The Hindoo hunters will not destroy wild animals when in that state. The term in the margin is applied to that condition. « In the tenth moon the child fell from the mountain.”
II. 6. — “ They sold the righteous for silver, and the poor for a pair of shoes.” (Ps. lx. 8.
“ Over Edom will I cast out my shoe.") (Chap. viii. 6.) The shoes or rather SANDALS have the least honour of anything which is worn by man, because they belong to the feet, and are comparatively of little value. Nothing is more disgraceful than to be beaten with the sandals : thus when one man intends to exasperate another, he begins to take off a sandal as if going to strike him. To spit in the face is not a greater indignity than this. When a person wishes to insult another in reference to the price of any article, he says, “I will give you my sandals for it.” 66 That fellow is not worth the value of my sandals.” “ Who are you, sir ? you are not worthy to carry my sandals; ” which alludes to the custom of a rich man always having a servant with him to carry his sandals; i. e. when he chooses to walk bare foot.
• Matt. iii. 11. “ Whose shoes I am not worthy to bear.”
Edom will I cast out my shoe:” so contemptible and so easy was it to be conquered.
7. – “ That pant after the dust of the earth on the head
of the poor, and turn aside the way of the meek: and a man and his father will in unto the same
maid, to profane my holy name.” Who were those that thus oppressed the poor, who sold them for a pair of shoes, and panted “ after the dust of the earth?” They were the judges and the princes of the people. The Tamul translation has it, “ To the injury of the poor they eagerly took the dust of the earth ;” literally, they gnawed the earth as a dog does a bone. “ Dust of the earth.” What does this mean? I believe it alludes to the lands of the poor, of which they had been deprived by the judges and princes. Nothing is more common in eastern language than for a man to call his fields and gardens his MAN; i.e. his dust, his earth. “ That man has gnawed away my dust or sand.” “Ah! the fellow! by degrees he has taken away all that poor man's earth.” “ The cruel wretch! he is ever trying to take away the dust of the poor.” In consequence of there not being fences in the East, landowners often encroach on each other's possessions. On the latter part of the verse and the next to it I dare not write. The heathenism, the devilism, described by Amos, is still the same. Who did these things ? the princes, the judges, and the people of Judah.
III. 2. — “ You only have I known of all the families of
for all your
the earth : therefore I will punish you
iniquities.” In eastern language, to say you know a person, means you APPROVE of him. Thus should a man be well acquainted with two brothers, and should he not approve of one of them, he will say, “ I do not know him.” But of him he loves, he says, “ Ah! I know him well.” Jehovah had known, i.e. approved of Israel, but because of their abominations he had determined to punish them.