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bald head, as applied to the prophet Elisha, was derived from the foolish, the bald-headed Samson ; and that the epithet, as used in the East at this day, is taken from the same source. (See on Isa. vii. 20.)
III, 11. — “ Here is Elisha, the son of Shaphat, which
poured water on the hands of Elijah.” We read, Elisha “ went after Elijah, and ministered unto him;" which simply means he was his servant.
The people of the East use their fingers in eating, instead of a knife and fork, or spoon ; and consequently after (as well as before), they are obliged to wash their hands. The master, having finished his meal, calls a servant to pour water on his hands. The domestic then comes with a little brass vessel filled with water, and pours it on the hands and fingers till he hear the word potham, enough.
IV. 29. 31.-“ Lay my staff upon the face of the child
Gehazi — laid the staff upon the face of the
child, but there was neither voice nor hearing." The rod, or staff, in the Scriptures is mentioned as an emblem of authority over inanimate nature, over man, and the diseases to which he was subject, and also as an instrument of correction for the wicked. The Lord commanded Moses, " Take thy rod, and stretch out thine hand upon the waters of Egypt, upon their streams, upon their rivers, and upon their ponds, and upon all their pools of water, that they may become blood.” The magicians of the heathen king had their rods also, by which they performed many wonderful things.
I see no reason to doubt that the staff of Elisha was of the same nature, and for the same purposes, as the “ rod of God,” which did such wonders in the hands of Moses. Gehazi, though he had the emblem of his master's office, could not perform the miracle: and no wonder; for the moment before he received the command from Elisha, he showed his evil disposition to the mother of the dead child; for when she caught the prophet “by the feet" to state her case, he went “ near to thrust her away."
The orou-mulle-pirambu (i. e. a cane with one knot) is believed to possess miraculous power, whether in the hand of a magician or a private individual. It is about the size of the middle finger, and must have only one knot in its whole length. “A man bitten by a serpent will be assuredly cured, if the cane or rod be placed upon him: nay, should he be dead, it will restore him to life !” “Yes, sir, the man who has such a stick need neither fear serpents nor evil spirits.'
42.-“ Brought the man of God bread of the first fruits,
twenty loaves of barley, and full ears of corn in the husks thereof.” The margin has, instead of in the
husk, “ in his scrip or garment.” I think the marginal reading is better than the text. In what was the man to carry the ears of corn? In what
be seen every day—“ in his scrip or garment.” In the mantle (like a scarf) the natives carry many things: thus the petty merchant takes some of his ware, and the traveller his rice.
V. 18.—“ He leaneth on my hand.” It is amusing to see full-grown men, as they walk along the road, like schoolboys at home, leaning on each other's hands. Those who are weak, or sick, lean on another's shoulder. It is also a mark of friendship to lean on the shoulder of a companion.
27.-—“The leprosy therefore of Naaman shall cleave unto thee, and unto thy seed for ever.
And he * A native gentleman known to me has the staff of his umbrella made of one of these rods, and great satisfaction and comfort has he in this his constant companion. “ The sun cannot smite him by, day, neither the moon by night; the serpents and wild beasts move off swiftly; and the evil spirits dare not come near to him.”
went out from his presence a leper as white as
This was said by Elisha to Gehazi, because he ran after Naaman (who had been cured of his leprosy) and said, his master had sent him to take "a talent of silver, and two changes of garments,” and because he actually took possession of them.
There is an account in the Hindoo book, called SeythuPurāna, of a leper who went to Ramiseram to bathe, in order to be cured of his complaint. He performed the required ceremonies, but the priests refused his offerings. At last a Brahmin came: in the moment of temptation he took the money, and immediately the leprosy of the pilgrim took possession of his body!
This complaint is believed to come in consequence of great sin, and therefore no one likes to receive any reward or present from a person infected with leprosy.
There are many children born white, though their parents are quite black. These are not lepers, but albinos; and are the same as the white negroes of Africa. To see a man of that kind almost naked, and walking amongst the natives, has an unpleasant effect on the mind, and leads a person to suspect that all has not been right. Their skin has generally a slight tinge of red, their hair is light, their eyes are weak; and when they walk in the sun, they hang down their heads. The natives do not consider this a disease, but a BIRTH, i.e. produced by the sins of a former birth. It is believed to be a great misfortune to have a child of that description, and there is reason to believe that many of them are destroyed. *
The parents of such an infant believe ruin will come to their family; and the poor object, if spared, has generally a miserable existence. His name, in Tamul, is Pāndan ; and
One method of killing infants is to put a few grains of paddy (rice in the husk) into the throat, and in a few hours death ensues, without leaving any signs to judge of the cause. The Hindoos were once much addicted to this cruel practice. - See Moor's Hindoo Infanticide.
this is an epithet assigned to those, also, who are not white, for the purpose of making them angry. The general name for Europeans in the East is Pranky (which is a corruption of the word Frank). * Hence those white Hindoos are, by way of contempt, called Pranky! Should a man who is going to transact important business, meet one of them on the road, it will be considered a very bad sign, and he will not enter into the transaction till another day. Should a person who is giving a feast have a relation of that description, he will invite him, but the guests will not look upon him with pleasure. Women have a great aversion to them, and yet they sometimes marry them; and if they have children, they seldom take after the father. I have only heard of two white Hindoo females; which leads me to suspect that such infants are generally destroyed at the birth ; as, were they allowed to grow up, no one would marry them.
“ And there was a great famine in Samaria: and, behold, they besieged it, until an ass's head was sold for fourscore pieces of silver, and the fourth
part of a cab of doves' dung for five pieces of silver." The Tamul translation for “ doves' dung,” is “ doves' grain :” which is known in the East by the name of Kāramanne-piru. Dr. Boothroyd translates it “a cab of vetches," which amounts to about the same thing. Bochart, Dr. Clarke, and many others believe it to have been pulse. The Orientals are exceedingly fond of eating leguminous grains, when parched t; (Lev. xxiii. 14. Ruth ii. 14. 2 Sam. xvii. 28.): and it is surprising to see what a great distance they will travel on only that food and water. It was therefore in consequence of the famine, that this, their favourite, and generally very cheap, sustenance was so dear. Of what use would “a cab of doves' dung” be unto them? Some say,
* There is not the letter F in the Tamul alphabet.
+ I have often eaten the pulse which pigeons are so fond of, and have found it very wholesome, either in puddings or soup.
in explanation, it was good for manure!* What were they to live upon till the manure had produced the grain?
“ Is not the sound of his master's feet behind him?" This form of speech is used to denote the rapid approach of a person. When boys at school are making a great noise, or doing any thing which they ought not, some one will say, “ I hear the sound of the master's feet. Are people preparing triumphal arches (made of leaves), or cleaning the rest-house, or a great man, some of them keep saying, “ Quick, quick, I hear the sound of his feet.” “Alas, alas ! how long you have been ! do we not even hear the sound of the judge's feet ? ”
IX.28. XXIII.30. “His servants carried him in a chariot
to Jerusalem, and buried him in his sepulchre.”— “ His servants carried him in a chariot, dead from
Megiddo." What does this funeral chariot, which was carried by men, mean? What we may see in the vicinity of a large town every day of our lives. This chariot, or thandeki (as it is called in Tamul), is about six feet long, three feet broad, and in the centre about four feet in height. The shape is various, but the following is more common than
other. The drapery is of white, or scarlet cloth; and the whole is covered with garlands of flowers. The servants then
carry their shoulders to the place of sepulture, or burning.
* “ Doves' dung” is used as manure for the Maruk-kollunthu, i. e. Indian wormwood; which is said to have a very intoxicating effect when smoked with tobacco; it is, however, by no means valued as a manure for general purposes. Doves' dung is also used for magical rites ; thus, new-born infants are fumigated with it, to keep off evil spirits; and wicked men, who have designs on females, try to have some put into their food. Dubois, in his India, mentions the “ Pra Man,” which he calls “ a kind of earth!” doves' dung! as being sometimes “eaten in solemn ceremonies."