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“ How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations."
The ruthless monarch of Assyria (Assur or Ashur), had
represented as men of uncommon stature, with strength proportioned to their gigantic size. Some of them, as Cottus, Briareus, and Gyges, had fifty heads ! and one hundred arms! and serpents instead of legs. The defeat of the Titans, to whom they were nearly related, incensed them against Jupiter, and they all conspired to dethrone him. The god was alarmed, and called all the deities to assist him against a powerful enemy, who made use of rocks, oaks, and burning woods for their weapons, and who had already heaped mount Ossa upon Pelion, to scale with more facility the walls of heaven. At the sight of such dreadful adversaries, the gods fled with the greatest consternation into Egypt, where they assumed the shape of different ANIMALS, to screen themselves from their pursuers. Jupiter, however, remembered that they were not invincible, provided he called a MORTAL to his assistance, and by the advice of Pallas he armed his son Hercules in his cause. With the aid of this celebrated hero, the giants were soon put to flight and defeated."
Now then for the Hindoo account. The Assurs were beings of immense stature; some of the chiefs, such as SingA-MUGGAM and VĀNAN, had each one thousand heads; others had five hundred; and many were furnished with three, and ten heads. They were the enemies and conquerors of the gods, and when fighting had, for weapons, rocks and burning forests, which they threw at the chariots of the celestials. At last those of the gods who were not made prisoners, took to flight, and assumed the shape of various living creatures ! Brahma took the form of a swan; Vishnoo that of a KITE; Cupera, became a crow; Yama changed himself into a CAMELEON; and Indran became a PEACOCK. At last the Assurs were defeated by Scandan the son of Siva, the supreme, and the gods were restored to their former dignity. Is there not a very striking resemblance betwixt these accounts and those of nations so remote as the Greeks and Hindoos ? Chance it could not be. But the Titans were said to be nearly related to those giants who fought the gods; and I am much mistaken if the wars of the RĀCHA-thar and Vishnoo do not form another parallel to the Western story. But in what did these kindred accounts of India, Greece, and Egypt (the latter also detail similar events) ORIGINATE? There must have been some common source. I agree with many learned men of antiquity and modern times, in looking at the SCRIPTURAL account of the “ tower whose top was to reach unto heaven,” and whose builders were confounded and scattered by CELESTIAL agents, for an explanation of the wars of the gods and men. Now, then, let it be recollected, that this Babel was the capital of Assyria! reflect on the proud monarch of that nation, to whom the name Lucifer, or VELLE, the malignant gooroo of the Assurs, was given ; think also on the signal defeat of his ancestors by celestial agents at Babel; and then you see more of the force, the severity, the dignity of the prophet, in saying, “ How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning !"
long been devastating the nations; he had assumed to himself the name of the morning star, VELLE, the cruel, the malignant gooroo of the Assurs, who conquered and enslaved the gods; he emulated the daring of his impious ancestors at Babylon, and now he was to be “ cut down to the ground.”
13, 14. — “ For thou hast said in thine heart, I will
ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also
the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds: I will be
like the Most High.” These profane boastings are in excellent keeping with the triumphs ascribed to VELLE, and the intoxicated Assurs, who trampled on the humbled gods. They were then contemplating plans of still greater daring, were about to ascend into heaven, and to exalt their thrones above the stars of God. The bloated chief, in his wild purposes, said, “ I will sit
upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north ; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High.” Siva, the supreme, and all the gods, lived in infinite splendour on the heavenly mountains Hymalaya and Meru ; but VELLE and the monstrous AssURS were for occupying their places. (See on Isa. Ixv. 11.)
* The Hymalayan mountains are the highest in the world, as they outreach by some hundreds of feet Cotopaxi and Chimborazo of the Andes. + They are considered as most sacred in all parts of the East; and are known to the Hindoos as the mountains of the North! When the accomplished Heber first saw their stupendous heights, he was struck with awe at what he termed the “greatest earthly works of the Almighty Creator; the highest spots below the moon.” He was so astonished with the scenes, that he
says, “ My attention was completely strained, and my eyes filled with tears; every thing around was so wild and magnificent, that man appeared as nothing, and I felt myself as if climbing the steps of the altar of God's great temple.” “The snowy mountains, which had been so long eclipsed, opened on us in full magnificence."
+ Several of these have an altitude of 20,000 feet.
But as were the proud heroes of this mythologic story, who in battle hurled rocks and mountains on their foes, who aspired to the habitation of the gods in their sublime heights; so was this Assyrian braggart, who arrogated to himself the name of VELLE, the star of the morning, who was for destroying God's people, and his holy mountain to be brought to the ground: and those who saw it were to ask, “ Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms; that made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners ?”
Lucifer, the morning star, is called VELLE in the East, and is of the masculine gender (agreeing with the “son of the morning”): he was the malignant gooroo of the Assurs, who wished to ascend into the sublime abodes of the gods. Here we have allusions to the identity of the Assyrian, Egyptian, Indian, and Grecian systems, in the wars of the gods and giants, in the overthrow of the former, their flight, and assumption of the shape of animals, and final restoration by a son of the supreme Jupiter, or Siva. Here, also, we have the probable origin of the term Lucifer, as being applied to Satan; and of the stories in reference to the overthrow by celestial agents of the profane builders in the capital of Assyria. Here, also, we have a dignified PROSOPEIA of Lucifer, the morning star, assigned to the Assyrian king in his insane and malignant wishes to triumph over the Most High; and here we have allusions and confirmations of Holy Writ, which point with the finger of scorn at the pigmy efforts of men to disorganise that blessed system of truth : and here we have a most sublime declaration of the majesty of Jehovah.
19. “ Thou art cast out of thy grave like an abomi
nable branch.” Some suppose the term branch refers to the tree on which criminals were executed: but Dr. Boothroyd says “the word 78) never signifies a tree, nor even such a branch as would be able to bear the weight of a malefactor.” I believe the word branch is here used as a metaphor for a descendant: a man. Thus the Orientals often call the different members of a family, BRANCHES. In the preceding verse, reference is made to the splendid way in which the kings of the nations were interred in their own sepulchres : but this monster was not thus to repose in sepulchral glory, but to be cast out of
like an abominable BRANCH of the house of his fathers. For it is said in the next verse, “ Thou shalt not be joined with them in burial, because thou hast destroyed thy land, and slain thy people.” (See on Gen. xlix. 22.)
23. — “I will sweep it with the besom of destruction,
saith the Lord of hosts." What was he going to sweep? The devoted city of Babylon. The word BESOM is often used as a figure, to denote the way in which people are swept from the earth. Thus, when the cholera morbus began to rage, it was said, “Alas ! alas! it is sweeping us away as with a BESOM.” “ How is the cholera in your village ?”—“ It has come like besoms.” When the people made offerings and sacrifices to the demons who were believed to produce the disease; the magician, who was believed to be the devil's agent, sometimes said, “ Make such and such offerings, or I will sweep you away with a besom.” In the Hindoo Calendar or Almanack, where predictions are given respecting certain months of the year, it is often said, “ The year is not good, it brings a besom.”
XVI. 2. — “ As a wandering bird cast out of the nest.” The figure appears to be taken from a young bird being thrown out of the nest before it is able to fly, and which consequently wanders about for a place of refuge. “ Well, Tamban, what has become of your profligate son ?”—“I know not, my friend, because I have turned him out of the nest.”
Why, my boy, have you come to this distant country?” 66 Because relations turned me out of the nest.” my
66 Alas for me! alas for me!” says the bereaved mother; “ my young
one has taken to the wing; it has flown from the nest.” have only one left in the nest; shall I not take care of it ?” “ I should like to get into that nest;" says
young man who wishes to marry into a high and rich family.“ Ah! my lord, dismiss me not from your service: to whom shall I go for employment? I have many children, who will be sufferers if I leave you: who will throw a stone at the nestlings? who will put fire to the lair of the young cubs of the jungle ? Ah!
my lord, turn me not away; I shall be like a bird wandering from its nest.”
4.-" The extortioner is at an end, the spoiler ceaseth, the
oppressors are consumed.” (The Hebrew has, instead of extortioner, wringer; and in place of oppressors,
the treaders doron.) The Tamul version agrees with the Hebrew, “ to wring, to squeeze, and press.” « The treaders down," alludes to the custom of conquerors, who make their prisoners lie down on the ground, in order that they may tread upon them. (See on chap. xviii. 7.
11.-“ My bowels shall sound like an harp.” “ Woe is me! woe is me! my bowels are like the tam-battam;” i. e. the native drum. “ Yes; my bowels are like the black cloud;” i.e. when it discharges its thunder.
XVIII. 1.-“ Woe to the land shadowing with wings.” Learned men have written much respecting the locality of the land shadowing with wings, and have come to very different conclusions. One man proves to his own satisfaction that it means such a country; another, on seeing the gauntlet on the ground, enters the lists, and in a high tone of spiritual chivalry says, it means no such place; that we are to look in a very different direction for a solution of the difficulty. Though I do not undertake to decide as to what country is meant, I may offer illustrations to no less than six Orientalisms which are found in this chapter.