« הקודםהמשך »
serpent called Aathe Sealshan, when he had seized the Manthara-Mountain, said to the god of wind, who was trying to blow him away, “I am greater than thou.”
A king called Aruchanan once set fire to the jungle; when a serpent which was there, took its young one in its mouth, and flew away. The king saw this, and shot the mother with his bow and arrow; but the young one then flew off, and cried aloud “ Who is the enemy of Aruchanan? who is the enemy of Aruchanan?” The king, called Kannan, replied, “ I am the enemy:" from which time the young serpent became his arrow, and by it was destroyed the king Aruchanan,
The god Siva is described as wearing serpents round his neck, as an ornament. Vishnoo reclines upon the serpent, Aathe Sealshan, as his couch. Nine large serpents are believed to assist in supporting the world. Temples are erected to the serpent Cobra Capella, and there these reptiles are regularly fed and worshipped.* No heathen would kill one of that description, though it had destroyed his own child. The Vireyan serpent eats dust.
The Hindoos believe, that though the Brahminy kite is the enemy of all serpents, it dares not to attack the Capella, because the latter once went with a complaint to Vishnoo, saying, “O Swamy, the kite is always striving to kill me; therefore take me under your protection.” The god then put two marks upon it; and when the kite sees them, he passes away.
In a Tamul verse, the serpent is called a “creature of deep searchings and great secrecy.” Thus, it is a proverb, when a man acts with such cunning as to elude the observation of others, “Pāmbu Pāmbin Kāl Areyum;" i.e. the serpent knows its own feet: meaning, no other is acquainted with its ways. A wicked man is called “the seed of the serpent," and he who is rapid in the accomplishment of his vile purposes, is called "the serpent-eyed one.”
Since writing the above, Mr. Murray has brought to my notice an ingenious work, entitled “ The Worship of the Serpent,” by the Rev. John Bathurst Dean, M.A. F.S. A.
5.—“ In the day ye eat thereof." In the heaven of Indran, there is a tree called Kat-PagaVeerutcham, which sprang from the Amutham (ambrosia) which was churned by the gods. Those in the heavenly world, by eating of its fruit, have immortality and whatsoever they desire.
7.- “They sewed fig leaves together, and made them
selves aprons.” Margin, “things to gird about.” Children in the East do not, in general, wear any clothes till they are five or six years of age, except when they are taken out on a visit. But a piece of silver, copper, or lead, made into the exact form of a leaf, with the fibres and stalk curiously engraved thereon, hangs down in front, having a string attached to it, which goes round the loins.
15.-" Thou shalt bruise his heel.” Thus was the serpent to injure the seed of the woman. The heel was the part to be wounded, which conveys the idea of being FOLLOWED for that purpose. It is a remarkable fact, that the HEEL in the East is the part which is said to be wounded when a treacherous person, under the guise of friendship, has inflicted an injury on another. And the man who has thus perfidiously conducted himself is called a kuthe, vettu, kiraven, a heel-cutter. He who supplants or betrays another goes by the same name. Should a man have gained a situation which another tried to get ; the disappointed person will say, “Ah! I will yet cut his heel,” i.e. I will by some stratagem have him turned out. It is worthy of observation, that this title is only given to the man who has apparently been a friend.
The serpent affected to be the friend of the woman, but most perfidiously betrayed her. He went behind her for that purpose; and when she did not suspect his design, he bruised her heel, and that of her seed throughout all generations. Judas also appeared to be the friend of Christ, but he “lifted up his heel,” and thus showed himself to be the betrayerthe heel-cutter of the Saviour.
It is said of Jacob,“ his hand took hold on Esau's heel ;' and Dr. A. Clarke says his name is from a word which signifies “ to defraud, deceive, to supplant.”
Dan was to be an “adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels,” showing that by stratagem principally he should conquer his enemies.
See Judges xviii., also xvi. xxvi. and Xxxvi. Job says, “Thou settest a print upon the heels of my
feet.” So that the treacherous people, or supplanters, might not find any difficulty in accusing and betraying him.
The Psalmist's “own familiar friend” lifted up his heel against him," and thus proved faithless to his professions of friendship. He also asks, in Psalm xlix. 5., “ Wherefore should I fear in the days of evil, when the iniquity of my heels shall compass me about ?” Bishops Horne and Lowth render this—“Why should I give way to fear and despondency in the time of my calamity, when the wickedness of my wealthy and powerful adversaries compasses me about to SUPPLANT and overthrow me?” Parkhurst says, “ of my heels," “rather of my SUPPLANTERS; of those who endeavour to SUPPLANT me.” He asks, why was he to be afraid of those wealthy adversaries who wished to betray him? — “God will redeem my soul.”
Jeremiah says of the royal family and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, in consequence of their wickedness and their approaching calamities, “ For the greatness of thine iniquity are thy heels made bare.” Thus they were uncovered, so that their enemies might easily supplant them.
In view, then, of what the wily serpent inflicted on the heels of our first parents and their seed; also on Jesus Christ, the second Adam (through Judas), how literally was that fulfilled, “Thou shalt bruise his heels ;” and how remarkably is the memory of the facts kept up in the East at this day !
16. — “Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply
thy sorrow.” It is believed that the pains and sorrows of women in childbearing are produced by the sins they had committed in a former state of existence. 66 Brahma created woman out of sin, which he had collected,” and being thus formed, it is believed she must have misery. Thus, one of the great evils of the metempsychosis is, that a man, in consequence of his sins, may, in the next birth, be born a woman, in order to suffer the pains attendant on parturition for former transgressions. When a female suffers much, the people say, “Ah! how great must have been her sins in a former birth ! ”
In an ancient book, partly translated by the late Mr. Ellis of Madras, it is said in respect to future births), “ It is not easy to escape being born a woman.”
IV. 3. — “ And in process of time it came to pass.” The
margin * reads, " at the end of days ;” and this is truly Oriental.
“When the days are ended, I will fulfil my promise.” “ After those days are ended, I shall have peace.” “ When the days come round (in their circle), I will do that for you.” “ Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto
the Lord.” What induced Cain to select that kind of offering for the Lord, we do not certainly know; but it is a fact, that in the Hindoo religion, also amongst the Budhists (who prevail, with some modifications, over a great part of the Chinese and Burmese empires, also in Japan), fruits in their ripe or unripe state, flowers, honey, roots, nuts, water, milk, boiled rice, cakes, oil, and perfumes, are offered to the gods.
* I would here observe, once for all, that I have gone regularly through the marginal readings, and have found, with few exceptions, that they literally agree with Eastern language in idiom and figure. In the course of this work, most of them will be illustrated; and I think few readers will doubt that they are the correct translations.
4. — “ Brought of the firstlings of his flock.” The margin has, “ sheep or goats ;” and people in the East never speak of a flock without mentioning what is its kind.
7.- “ If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted ?
and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door." D'Oyly and Mant interpret this, “ Your sin will find you out.” “ Thy punishment is not far off.” They also say sin may be rendered siN-OFFERING; and several other Commentators take the same view, and think this is its true and only meaning. The victim proper for a sin-offering was lying at the door, and therefore was within his reach.
There are some who affect to smile at the idea of sin lying at the door: it is, however, an Eastern figure. Ask a man who is unacquainted with Scripture, what he understands by sin lying at the threshold of the door ; he will immediately speak of it as the guilt of some great crime which the owner had committed. A man accused of having murdered a child would be accosted in the following language:-“ If you have done this, think not to escape; no! for sin will ever lie at your door: it will descend from generation to generation.” To a man accused of having committed any other dreadful crime, it would be said, “Ah! if I had done it, do I not know sin would ever lie at my door ?” The idea is Sin personified in the shape of some fierce animal crouched at the door. Its criminality and punishment remain.
If Cain had done well, would there not have been “ the excellency” (see margin), but if not well, then sin, like a monster, was crouching at his door. Taking the other view of it, seems to amount to this; now, Cain, if thou doest well, that will be thy excellency, thou shalt be accepted: but if thou doest not well, it is a matter of no very great consequence, because there is a sin-offering at thy door.
God's design appears to have been to induce Cain to do well, by speaking of the reward of righteousness, and to make him afraid of doing evil, by showing him the punishment of sin.