תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

the field I give thee." And this fully agrees with the conduct of those, who are requested to dispose of a thing to a person of superior rank. Let the latter go and ask the price, and the owner will say, “ My lord, it will be a great favour if you will take it.” “ Ah, let me have that pleasure, my lord.Should the possessor believe he will one day need a favour from the great man, nothing will induce him to sell the article, and he will take good care (through the servants or a friend) it shall soon be in his house. Should he, however, have no expectation of favour in future, he will say as Ephron, “ The thing is worth so much; your pleasure, my lord.

XXIV. 11. — “ The time that women go out to draw

water.” It is the work of females in the East to draw water both morning and evening; and they may be seen going in groups to the wells, with their vessels on the hip or the shoulder. In the morning they talk about the events of the past night, and in the evening about those of the day: many a time would the story of Abraham's servant and Rebekah, the daughter of Bethuel, be repeated by the women of Mesopotamia in their visits to the well.

47. — “ And I put the earring upon her face.” Nothing is more common than for heathen females to have a ring in the nose; and this has led some to suppose, that the jewel here alluded to was put into that member, and not on the face. “ I put a jewel on thy forehead,Ez. xv. 11. The margin has, for forehead, “ nose.”

It does not appear to be generally known, that there is an ornament which is worn by females in the East on the forehead. It is made of thin gold, and is studded with precious stones, and called Pattam, which signifies dignity. Thus, to tie on the Pattam, is to “ invest with high dignity.” Patta-Istere “is the name of the first lawful wife of the king.” In the SathurAgaraathe, this ornament is called “ the ornament of the forehead.

57. — “ Enquire at her mouth.” Do people wish to know the truth of any thing which has been reported of another, they say, “Let us go and enquire of his mouth.—“Let us hear the birth of his mouth.Do servants ask a favour of their mistress, she will say, “ I know not what will be the birth of the master's mouth ; I will enquire at his mouth."

So the mother and brother of Rebekah enquired at the mouth of the damsel, whether she felt willing to go with the

“ And she said, I will go."

man.

59. — “ And they sent away Rebekah their sister, and

her nurse.” How often have scenes like this led my mind to the patriarchal age! The daughter is about for the first time to leave the paternal roof: the servants are all in confusion; each refers to things long gone by, each wishes to do something to attract the attention of his young mistress. One says, “ Ah! do not forget him who nursed you when an infant :” another, “ How often did I bring you the beautiful lotus from the distant tank! Did I not always conceal your faults ? ”

The mother comes to take leave. She weeps, and tenderly embraces her, saying, “ My daughter, I shall see you no more; — Forget not your mother.” The brother enfolds his sister in his arms, and promises soon to come and see her. The father is absorbed in thought, and is only aroused by the sobs of the party. He then affectionately embraces

Tyerman and Bennet say of a bride they saw in China, “Her headdress sparkled with jewels, and was most elegantly beaded with rows of pearls encircling it like a coronet; from which a brilliant angular ornament hung over her forehead, and between her eyebrows.” — Vol. ii. 265. I find, since my return to England, this ornament is worn by ladies at

29

his daughter, and tells her not to fear. The female domestics must each smell of the poor girl, and the men touch her feet.

As Rebekah had her nurse to accompany her, so, at this day, the Aya (the nurse) who has from infancy brought up the bride, goes with her to the new scene. She is her adviser, her assistant, and friend; and to her will she tell all her hopes, and all her fears.

60. — “ They blessed Rebekah, and said unto her,

Thou art our sister, be thou the mother of thousands

of millions.” From the numerous instances which are recorded in the Scriptures, of those who were aged, or holy, giving their blessing, may be seen the importance which was attached to such benedictions. Has a son, or a daughter, to leave a father, an aged friend, or a priest, a blessing is always given.

To be the mother of a numerous progeny is considered a great honour. Hence parents often say to their daughters, “ Be thou the mother of thousands.Beggars, also, when relieved, say to the mistress of the house, “ Ah! madam, millions will come from you."

[ocr errors]

63.

" Isaac went out to meditate in the field.”

Margin, “ to pray.” The Moormen always go out in the evening to repeat their prayers, and make their prostrations.

XXV. 6. 6 Unto the sons of the concubines

Abraham gave gifts, and sent them away from

Isaac.” Just so here, the father gives gifts to the children his concubines have borne to him, and advises them to go to distant places, where they will be likely to live together in peace.

18.-“ He died.” Heb. for died, has “ fell.”

This is a common way of speaking of those who are dead, “ they have fallen.” “ Tamben fell last night,” which means he died.

21. - " Isaac intreated the Lord for his wife, because

she was barren.” Under similar circumstances, the husband and the wife fast and pray, and make a vow before the temple, that, should their desire be granted, they will make certain gifts (specifying their kind), or they will repair the walls, or add a new wing to the temple; or that the child shall be dedicated to the deity of the place, and be called by the same name. Or they go to a distant temple which has obtained notoriety by granting the favours they require. I have heard of husbands and wives remaining for a year together at such sacred places, to gain the desire of their hearts !

28. — “He did eat of his venison.” Margin, “ Venison

was in his mouth.” Has a man been supported by another, and is it asked, “ Why does Kandan love Muttoo ?” the reply is, “ Because Muttoo's rice is in his mouth." “ Why have you such a regard for that man?” — “ Is not his rice in my mouth??"

30. — “ Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pot

tage.” The people of the East are exceedingly fond of pottage, which they call Kool. It is something like gruel, and is made of various kinds of grain, which are first beaten in a mortar. The red pottage is made of Kurakan, and other grains, but is not superior to the other. For such a contemptible mess, then, did Esau sell his birthright.

When a man has sold his fields or gardens for an insignificant sum, the people say, “ The fellow has sold his land for pottage.Does a father give his daughter in marriage

to a low caste man, it is observed, “ He has given her for pottage.Does a person by base means seek for some paltry enjoyment, it is said, “ For one leaf* of pottage, he will do nine days' work.” Has a learned man stooped to any thing which was not expected from him, it is said, “ The learned one has fallen into the pottage pot.

Has he given instruction or advice to others — “ The Lizard t, which gave warning to the people, has fallen into the pottage pot.Of a man in great poverty, it is remarked, “ Alas! he cannot get pottage.A beggar asks, “ Sir, will you give me a little pottage ?” Does a man seek to acquire great things by small means — “ He is trying to procure rubies by pottage.When a person greatly flatters another, it is common to say, “ He praises him only for his pottage.Does a king greatly oppress his subjects, it is said, “ He only governs for the pottage.Has an individual lost much money by trade - “ The speculation has broken his pottage pot.Does a rich man threaten to ruin a poor man, the latter will ask, “ Will the lightning strike my pottage pot?

XXVI. 15.- " All the wells The Philistines had

stopped them, and filled them with earth.” So these wretched creatures, when they hate a person, send their slaves in the night to fill up the poor man's well. Sometimes they throw in a dead serpent, or a crow, or a dog, to make the water impure.

savoury meat.”

XXVII. 17. - She

gave

the Though a woman be very rich, it is considered honourable for her to prepare food for her husband, or any holy or great man. Such victuals are always preferred, and it is the greatest

* It is common to fold a large leaf so as to hold the pottage.

+ The lizard is believed to be very ominous, and gives warning, by its chirping, of approaching good or evil. There is a science called the pallesätteram, i.e. the lizard science,

« הקודםהמשך »