Imágenes de páginas

prevent putrefaction. Galen recommends the sprinkling the mother-in-law, should the daughter not treat her reof a little salt upon the infant, to render its skin more spectfully, says, “My son gave this woman the koori, dense and solid.

skirt, and has made her respectable, but she neglects me.' 8. •I spread my skirt over thee.'— This is described as In Western Africa a more ample dress, consisting of a an act of espousal, Ruth iii. 9, 'Spread, therefore, thy kind of skirt, from the waist to below the knees, distinskirt over thine handmaid. There is something analo- guishes the married woman from the girl; and it is very gous to this in the ceremonies of marriage or espousal in common to say, when speaking of their husband, He most eastern nations. Even among the Jews themselves, gave them a cloth,' to denote that he took them when at the present day, the bridegroom throws over the bride

girls. the end or skirt of his thalith, to signify that he takes her under his protection. Mr. Roberts describes the same interesting custom as existing among the Hindoos. The bride is seated on a throne surrounded by matrons, having on her veil, her gayést robes, and most valuable jewels. After the thali has been tied round her neck, the bridegroom approaches her with a silken skirt (purchased by himself), and folds it round her several times over the rest of her clothes. A common way of saying he has married her, is, •He has given her the koori; he has

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

10. · Broidered work.'—As we have on several occasions mentioned ancient and modern Oriental embroidery and embroidered dresses, we are now happy in affording the subject some pictorial illustration by adding three engravings. One, from the ancient Egyptian paintings, shews a Jady attired in one of those rich embroidered dresses to which the Scripture itself has repeated allusion, and which have been duly noticed by ourselves. The other engravings shew the manner in which kerchiefs and other small pieces are embroidered by the modern Egyptians, where the finer specimens of this kind of work, intended for sale, are produced by men. In the example above the material is extended over a horizontal framne, at one side of which the embroideress sits and worksvery similarly to the mode in which the same kind of work is executed by our own women at Nottingham and elsewhere.

- Shod thee with badgers' skin.'-See the note on Exod. xxv. 5. Most of the details enumerated in this description of a rich female dress, have already been considered under different texts of Scripture. See, in particular, Isa. iii.

Silk.'— This is the only chapter in which the word ('meshi) occurs, which the generality of the Jewish

interpreters, and most modern translators, understand to denote silk. But to this it has been objected, that silk was not likely to have been known to the Jews, since the Romans were not acquainted with it till the time of Augustus; and since, if it was known to them, it will be necessary to suppose an intercourse with China, which has always been regarded as the native country of silk, and from which only it is probable that raw silk could be obtained. The obscurity of the ancient intimations involves the subject in great uncertainty. For as those from whom the western nations obtained their silk made a great mystery of its origin and manufacture, the ancient writers give such intimations and explanations made up of conjecture founded on some obscure hints which had, in the course of time, been collected--that it might be at times

[ocr errors]


spread the skirt over her. There are, however, those who throw a long robe over the shoulders of the bride, instead of putting on the skirt. An angry husband sometimes says to his wife, 'Give me back my skirt;' meaning he wishes to have the marriage compact dissolved. So

doubtful whether they at all spoke of silk and the silk- It is a remarkable fact, that the first persons who worm, were it not that the later ancient writers, who lived brought wrought silk into Europe were the Greeks of when the article had become well known, continue to Alexander's army, which conquered the Persian empire, speak as obscurely as their predecessors about its origin. in which Babylon was then included. In other words,

The question may be harrowed a little by the observa- about 250 years after Ezekiel, silk is known to have been tion—that it is not necessary to suppose that the Hebrews used in the dress of the Persians. Jahn even conjectures of Palestine had any knowledge of silk as a material of that the famous robe, which the Persians adopted from the dress. If silk be intended in the present instance, it Medes as a dress of honour, was of silk; and if so, as the proves nothing on this point; for Ezekiel had spent many luxury of the Medes was contemporary with that of the years in captivity to the Babylonians, and the question Babylonians, we should find silk on the frontiers of Babyevidently is only, whether silk was known to that people. lonia even about the time of Ezekiel. Now, what was Indeed, that the question should be strictly limited to this, known to the Persians, and possibly to the Medes, was not seems evident from the fact, that the word does not occur likely to be unknown to the still more luxurious Babyin any portion of Scripture written in Palestine. In esti- lonians, who moreover had access to the shores of the mating this probability, we are to recollect that Ezekiel country where silk might be found ; and should it be himself

, in the ensuing chapter (v. 4), calls Babylonia alleged that the Persians had greater facilities of obtaining "a land of traffic, and Babylon a city of merchants.' silk by the land route from the frontiers of China, the 'This passage forms the text of Fleeren's inquiry into the effect will be the same, for we may be sure that the results commerce of the Babylonians, to which it makes a most of Persian, as well as of Arabian and Phænician, cominteresting commentary. Babylon was in fact a great merce, found their way to the great mart of Babylon. As coinmercial city, forming the entrepôt for the commerce the Medes and Babylonians (or at least the latter) were of the countries to the east and west, being, from the ad- luxurious and wealthy, and fond of rich dresses, it may vantages of its intermediate situation, upon a great navi- well be supposed that they absorbed all the limited supply gable river opening to the gulf of Persia, an immense which reached them; and as the nations more west were caravanserai, in which character it has in later days been, less rich and of plainer manners, the merchants had no on a more humble scale, represented by Baghdad. Baby- motive to carry the commodity to a more western market. lon was itself a place of great demand and consumption for This will shew that silk may long have been in use in all the luxuries of far countries; and hence such luxuries Babylonia before it was known in Europe and on the western were sought by its merchants, or brought to them by the shores of Asia. It is a remarkable circumstance that silk great mercantile people of the time; and that these luxu- first came to the west manufactured in cloth half silk; and ries included goods obtained on the shores of India, has it is said the plan was devised of unravelling the stuff

, already been intimated in the note on 2 Chron. xx. 36, to which was rewoven into cloth of entire silk. The only which we beg to refer the reader. It is quite true that proper silk manufactures that we can find to have existed silk does not occur in the list of the articles which was the in the west, were those of the Phænicians at Tyre and object of the Indian trade; but that this list is very incom- Berytus ; which seems to shew that the Phænicians not plete and unsatisfactory has been intimated in the note to only possessed the trade in silk but the process of manuwhich we refer. The country of silk, however, is not India, facture, which they carefully kept secret. but China; the Indians themselves having been, down to a As the dress described in this chapter is intended to be very modern date, supplied from that country. It is not, of the richest materials, it might well be supposed that the however, necessary to extend the voyages of the Baby- prophet would mention silk, if silk were known to him. lonians, Phænicians, or Arabians to China, in order to Silk continued to bear an astonishing high price down to bring them into a condition to obtain silk. It is sufficient a comparatively late period. Thus we find that silk was to suppose that they got it from the Indians, who, not only forbidden to be worn by men, under Tiberius. When from a very obvious probability, but from historical inti- they did wear it, silk formed only a part of the fabric, mations, would appear to have traded with China, and to robes entirely of it being left to the women. It is num_ have partially arrayed themselves with its silks. As worn bered among the most extravagant luxuries or effeminacies by them, it could not fail to attract the attention of the of Heliogabalus, that he was the first man who wore a traders from Western Asia, who would desire to obtain it, robe of entire silk; and the anecdotes are well knowii of and did obtain it at an enhanced price, from the Indians, and the emperor M. Antoninus, who caused a silk robe which sold it at a price still more enhanced at Babylon. Indeed, had become his property to be sold: and of the emperor the scarcity of silk even in Roman times, and the prodi- Aurelian, who refused, on the ground of its extravagant gious price which it brought (weight for weight with gold), cost, a silk dress which his consort earnestly requested seems to demonstrate that it had passed through several from him. Such anecdotes have an emphasis here, where, hands, in its progress westward, and that the merchants by a figurative reference to the most rich and costly ardid not immediately derive it from the country in which it ticles of dress then known, God describes the precious and was produced.

glorious things with which he had invested the people he These conjectures would be of little positive worth were

redeemed from the bondage and misery of Egypt. they supported by probabilities only. But, in fact, * As- 12. “ A jewel on thy forehead:—This doubtless means a syria' (understood of Babylonia in the large sense) was nose-jewel, as we have explained on former occasions. See the source from which the Romans continued to derive the marginal reading. their silk even in the time of Pliny; and this is always 13. Thou didst eat fine flour, and honey, and oil?---This mentioned, previously, as the country from which silk was probably means that the honey and oil were mixed with brought; although the nations of Eastern Europe were

the fine flour to make cakes. Such are still made in the not ultimately unaware that it came from a more remote East, and are much liked. It may be, however, that cakes country, which they called Serica, concerning which they of fine flour were dipped in the honey or oil, this being had many absurd ideas, but by which China appears to

also an Oriental custom of eating. have been vaguely understood. From this it will appear 26. The Egyptians ... great of flesh.'— This certainly that the question as to the existence of silk in Babylonia cannot mean that the Egyptians were a corpulent, fullis merely one of date, and although it may not be possible

fleshed people, as some commentators imagine. Their to find any positive statement to indicate its presence there

climate is not favourable to corpulency; and among the at the time when Ezekiel wrote, there is every probability

thousands of figures of ancient Egyptians which occur in in favour of this conclusion; as, when we first find it in the remaining paintings and sculptures, a corpulent person those intermediate conntries, there is not the least intima. is almost never seen. They appear to have been a light tion that it had there only newly become known ; and we and active race of people. The word (WY? bashar) ' flesh' can come near enough to shew, that, if it had not been is here, and in one or two other places, used, by an eunewly introduced, it must have been known there in the phemism, to intimate what could not be plainly expressed, time of Ezekiel.

in describing the sensual character of the Egyptians.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

not escape.


an oath of him: he hath also taken the

mighty of the land : 1 Under the parable of two eagles and a vine, 11 is 14 That the kingdom might be base, that

shewed God's judgment upon Jerusalem for revolt- it might not lift itself up, "but that by keeping ing from Babylon to Egypt. 22 God promiseth to

of his covenant it might stand. plant the cedar of the Gospel.

15 But he rebelled against him in sending And the word of the LORD came unto me, his ambassadors into Egypt, that they might saying,

give him horses and much people. Shall he 2 Son of man, put forth a riddle, and prosper ? shall he escape that doeth such speak a parable unto the house of Israel ; things ? or shall he break the covenant, and

3 And say, Thus saith the Lord God; be delivered ? A great eagle with great wings, longwinged, 16 As I live, saith the Lord God, surely full of feathers, which had 'divers colours, in the place where the king dwelleth that made came unto Lebanon, and took the highest him king, whose oath he despised, and whose branch of the cedar :

covenant he brake, even with him in the midst 4 He cropped off the top of his young

of Babylon he shall die. twigs, and carried it into a land of traffick; 17 Neither shall Pharaoh with his mighty he set it in a city of merchants.

army and great company make for him in the 5 He took also of the seed of the land, war, by casting up mounts, and building forts, and "planted it in a fruitful field; he placed to cut off many persons : it by great waters, and set it as a willow tree. 18 Seeing he despised the oath by break

6 And it grew, and became a spreading ing the covenant, when, lo, he had given his vine of low stature, whose branches turned hand, and hath done all these things, he shall toward him, and the roots thereof were under him: so it became a vine, and brought forth

19 Therefore thus saith the Lord God; branches, and shot forth sprigs.

As I live, surely mine oath that he hath 7 There was also another great eagle with despised, and my covenant that he hath great wings and many feathers : and, behold, broken, even it will I recompense upon his this vine did bend her roots toward him, and

own head. shot forth her branches toward him, that he 20 And I will 'spread my net upon him, might water it by the furrows of her plantation. and he shall be taken in my snare, and I will

8 It was planted in a good *soil by great bring him to Babylon, and will plead with waters, that it might bring forth branches, him there for his trespass that he hath tresand that it might bear fruit, that it might be passed against me. a goodly vine.

21 And all his fugitives with all his bands 9 Say thou, Thus saith the Lord God; shall fall by the sword, and they that remain Shall it prosper? shall he not pull up the shall be scattered toward all winds : and ye roots thereof, and cut off the fruit thereof, shall know that I the LORD have spoken it. that it wither? it shall wither in all the 22 Thus saith the Lord God; I will leaves of her spring, even without great power

also take of the highest branch of the high or many people to pluck it up by the roots cedar, and will set it; I will crop off from thereof.

the top of his young twigs a tender one, and 10 Yea, behold, being planted, shall it will plant it upon an high mountain and prosper ? shall it not utterly wither, when the eminent: east wind toucheth it ? it shall wither in the 23 In the mountain of the height of Israel furrows where it grew.

will I plant it: and it shall bring forth 11 | Moreover the word of the LORD came boughs, and bear fruit, and be a goodly unto me, saying,

cedar: and under it shall dwell all fowl of 12 Say now to the rebellious house, Know every wing; in the shadow of the branches ye not what these things mean? tell them, thereof shall they dwell. Behold, the king of Babylon is come to Jeru- 24 And all the trees of the field shall know salem, and hath taken the king thereof, and that I the LORD have brought down the high the princes thereof, and led them with him to tree, have exalted the low tree, have dried up Babylon;

the green tree, and have made the dry tree to 13 And hath taken of the king's seed, and flourish : I the LORD have spoken and have made a covenant with him, and hath taken done it. 1 Heb. embroidering.

put it in a field of seed. 3 Heb. field. 4 Heb, brought him to an oath. 5 Heb. to keep his covenant to stand to it. 6 Chap. 12. 13, and 32. 3.

2 Heb.

Verse 2. • A rildle.'-We should now call it a parable It is interesting to find the eagle thus early made the or allegory, in which the king of Babylon is represented symbol of imperial power, when we recollect how extenunder the image of a great eagle, with great wings, etc., sively it has since heen employed for the same purpose. and the land of Judæa under the emblem of a vine. The strength and activity of this noble bird, its magni

3. A great eagle with greut wings, longwinged, full ficent appearance, its exalted flight, and its far reaching of feathers, with divers colours.'— The noblest of the and undazzled eye, have caused it to be regarded as the eagles known in Palestine is the imperial eagle (Aquila king of birds, and the fit emblem of royal power, in dif. heliacus), which is nearly allied to the golden eagle and ferent nations and ages. We have noticed on a former is the species most common in Syria. It is distinguished occasion that an eagle with expanded wings formed the from the others by a spot of white feathers in each shoulder. imperial standard of the Persians under Cyrus, very long Antelopes, hares, and large birds are said to be its chief before it became such among the Romans. In the present prey; and, like the golden eagle, it builds its nest apon instance, while both the kings of Babylon and Egypt are the tops of the highest trees or steepest cliffs of the described by this symbol, they are so discriminated as 10 mountains. The Scripture contains many striking allu- shew that the power of Babylon was at that time greater sions to the eagle and its habits, which eviuce that it was and more entensive than that of Egypt. The Egyptian is well known in Palestine and Edom. Travellers notice only a great eagle, with great wings, and many feathers;' the presence of eagles in these countries, but neglect to



[ocr errors]

IMPERIAL EAGLE. record the species. It is well to assume that most of the Scriptural intimations apply to the imperial eagle, except in those passages where some precise intimation enables us to apply the reference to another species: and here we think that the epithet . divers colours,' fixes the allusion to the imperial rather than to the golden eagle; for although the colours of the latter are not uniform, the white scapulars of the imperial eagle constitute a more marked diversity of colour than the other exhibits.

7. Another great eagle.' — This was Pharaoh king of Egypt, with whom Zedekiah entered into an alliance; in consequence an Egyptian army came to his assistance, and raised the siege of Jerusalem. This beautiful parable, of the two eagles and the vine, is explained in the latter part of the chapter; and with this explanation, and a knowledge of the history of the last days of the Hebrew kingdom, no reader can fail to be struck by observing that, while every circumstance in the literal narrative is strictly appropriate to the subject of the parable, none of its details are irrelevant to the ulterior object, but are all made to adumbrate with inimitable effect the series of historical circamstances of which the parable is a shaded narrative.

whereas the Babylonian is a great eagle, with great wings, long-winged, full of feathers, which had divers colours. We may add that two species or varieties of eagles are manifestly chosen as the types of these two powers; and as we have little doubt that the two are the imperial and golden eagles, it would appear from the omission of the divers colours' which are pointedly given to the other eagle, that this one is the golden cagle. The general habits of this bird, as the text intimates, are the same as those of the other, its prey is of the same kind, and its nest of similar construction and situation.

4. 'A land of traffick ..... a city of merchants.'—The land of the Babylonians and the city of Babylon are of course intended. See the note on ch. xvi. 10.

That he might water it by the furrows of her plantation.These are very picturesque images derived from a mode of irrigation by rills which we have already had occasion to mention, and one form of which is illustrated by the engraving given under 2 Kings xix. 21.

- 6


[merged small][merged small][graphic][merged small][merged small]

In Syria, at the present day, Damascus most strikingly exhibits the process and the results of this mode of culture. All the exuberant fertility and rich verdure which invests that city as in a ring of thirty miles in circuit, is entirely owing to the distribution of the waters of the Barrada (the Pharpar of Scripture) in innumerable rills among the plantations. The soil of the neighbouring plain is equally good with that near the city ; but, lacking water, it is but a parched and barren desert. All travellers are much impressed by this marvellous result of water conveyed through *the furrows of the plantations. One of them (Mr. Addison) says: “The various large and small streams conducted with care to trees and vegetables, and the peculiar features of the landscape, made me call to mind the description of the orchard belonging to the enchanted castle, in the story of the third Calender in the Arabian Nights.

• This delicious orchard,' says the writer, 'was watered in a very particular manner: there were channels so artificially and proportionately cut, that they carried water

in considerable quantities to the roots of such trees as required moisture; others conveyed it in smaller quantities to those whose fruits were already formed; some carried still less to those whose fruits were swelling, and others carried only so much as was just requisite to water those which had their fruits come to perfection and only wanted to be ripened. They far exceeded the ordinary size of the fruits in our gardens. Lastly, those channels that watered the trees whose fruit was ripe, had no more moisture than would just preserve them from withering.'

The classical writers are not without allusions to this process. Thus Virgil (Georgic. i. 104), as quoted and translated by a writer in the Christian Remembrancer for 1823 :

[ocr errors]

Quid dicam, jacto qui semine cominùs arva Insequitur, cumulosque ruit malè pinguis arena ? Deinde satis fluvium inducit, rivosque sequentes ? Et, cum exustus ager morientibus æstuat herbis,

« AnteriorContinuar »