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latter, on their festivals, when whole families are seen sitting on the grass, and enjoying their early or evening repast, beneath the trees, by the side of a rill."
Nor are they always cold collations on these occasions, for speaking of a Greek solemnity, which they called a panegyris, or general assembly, to which men and boys, women with infants, and persons decrepit from old age, repaired, he goes on to tell us : "It is the custom of the Greeks, 'on tliese days, after fulfilling their religious duties, to indulge in festivity. Two of their musicians, sceing us sitting under a shady trce, where we had dined, came and played before us. After' satisfying them, we went up to the placc, at which the Greck, were assembled. We were told it was a place of great sanctity. The multitude was sitting under half-tents, with store of melons and grapes, besides lambs and sheep to be killed, wine in gourds and skins, and other 'necessary provisions.” P. 44. : I do not know that the feast made by Adonijah pretended to have any connexion with religion, but in other respects it was like these modern entertainments: it was held near a well, or fountain of water, and there he slew sheep, and oxen, and fat cattle, and called his brethren, and the principal people of the kingdom to the entertainment, 1 Kings i. 9. It was not chosen for secrecy, for it was in the neighbourhood * Travels in Asia Minor, p. 21.
of the royal city,' but for pleasantness ; it was not a magnificent cold collation, the animals, on the contrary, on which they feasted, were killed and dressed on the spot, for this princely repast. This last circumstance would appear very strange in a fete champetre of this country, but is perfectly in the modern Oriental taste.
inal feastThere have been such alterations made in the neighbourhood of Jerusalem, in the course of such a number of centuries, that we cannot pretend to judge, from what now remains, whether this entertainment was held under slight tents, or merely under the shade of the trees that grew there. The modern Eastern people make use of both methods, as circumstances direct; but probably would choose the protection of a shady tree, rather than of a tent, if it might as easily be had.
Probably Isaiah refers to a practice of this sort, in those words of his 49th chapter: That thou mayest say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, shew yourselves. They shall feed in the ways, and their pastures shall be in all high places. They shall not hunger nor thirst; neither shall the heat or sun smite them: for he that hath mercy on them, shall lead them, even by the springs of water
'I cannot suppose the feast was held here for secrecy, though I am aware that En-Rogel was the place, in which two of the fast friends of King David had lain hid some time before: but it might be easy for two persons to lie concealed among trees and bushes by a fountain, whca bumbers could not; especially in holding a solemn feast.
shall he guide them. And I will make all my mountains a way, and my highways shall be eralted."
The thoughts of many people have been turned, I imagine, to the feeding of cattle by the way-side, and gathering their food on the hills, which Dr. Shaw informs us are the places most proper, in those countries, for the pasturing of cattle, on account of the springs of excellent water there, too much wanted, especially in the summer season, not only in the plains of the Holy Land, but of other countries in the same climate." But it seems a more natural and easy interpretation, to understand the words of such pleasurable excursions, usual now in the East, and made use of in ancient times also. So a princess is represented in a sacred song as saying, Come, my beloved, let us go forth into the field: let us lodge in the villages, let us get up early to the vineyard, &c. Sol. Song, vii. 11, 12.
Thus the contrast will appear quite natural, as well as lively, in this passage of Isaiah, between shut up in prison, secluded from fresh air, and even the light itself, in unwholesome dungeons; and walking at liberty, enjoying the verdure, and the enlivening air of the country: passing from the tears, the groans, and the apprehensions of such a dismal confinement; to the music, the songs, and the exquisite repasts of Eastern parties of pleasure. m Is. xlix. 9, 10, 11,
It is readily acknowledged, that there is a harshness and roughness in some other images made use of by poets, that lived many ages ago, and in countries whose conceptions, as well as manners, so widely differ from ours; but there is no occasion to prefer such explanations, when others offer themselves that are as easy and natural, and at the same time give a view of such contrasted matters, as is by much the most lively and affecting
I would only farther add, that there is no occasion to translate the original word by the English term pastures, which is appropriated to the places where cattle eat ; the original words are of a much more general nature, and may be translated : “ They shall take their repasts in the ways, and their eating-places shall be in all eminences," as the people of those countries, at this day, enjoy themselves, when on a party of pleasure, sitting at their collations under shady trees by the high-way side ; and near their springs of water, which most abound, as well as their trees, on their hills, according to Dr. Shaw. And answerable to the delicacy, as well as the plenty of what is provided for these joyous excursions, and also to the nature of their hills, the Prophet goes on, They shall not hunger nor thirst, neither shall the heat or sun smite them, (the suffocating hot winds which blow in their deserts ; nor the fierce, and some times deadly rays of the mid-day sun, to which some have been exposed:) for he that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall he guide them.
Neither were they to be indulged only in such pleasing excursions in the land of their captivity, being brought out of prison, as one of the Jewish princes was by Evilmerodach, king of Babylon, who not only brought him out of prison, but turned his sorrows into a state of consolation, setting his throne above the throne of the other kings that were with him in Babylon; but Isaiah in the next verse, turns the thoughts of those that heard his predictions, from these short excursions of pleasure to the more exquisite joy of returning to their own land.
Nor is it altogether improbable, that the Psalmist might refer to such amusing little journies of the Jews in the land of their captivity, when he says, By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept when we remembered Zion. We hanged our hurps upon the willows in the midst thereof. The sitting by the waters, and still more the mention of their harps, strongly inclines the mind to this conception: and the supposed contrast between the original design of these assemblings, and the mournings into which they were in fact thrown, when they were led to remember Zion, would give a beauty and life to this passage, which otherwise do not appear.
Other travellers, as well as Dr. Chandler, mention their having music in these excursions, • Jer. Ixii. 31, 32.
p Ps. cxxxvii, 1-3.