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setting up altars and pillars, and other lasting monuments. Thus Abraham erected monuments in divers places where God had appeared to him. Gen. xiii. 18. Jacob consecrated the stone which served him for a pillow while he had the mysterious dream of the ladder. 'Gen. xxviii. 18. And the heap of stones which was witness to his covenant with Laban be called Galeed. Gen. xxxi. 48. Of this kind was the sepulchre of Rachel, the well called Beer-sheba, Gen. xxvi. 33. and all the other wells mentioned in the history of Isaac. Sometimes they gave new names to places. The Greeks and Romans relate the same of their heroes, the oldest of whom lived near the time of the patriarchs. (Pausan. Dion. Hal. lib. iii.) Greece was full of their monuments. Æneas, to mention no others, left some in every place that he passed through in Greece, Sicily, and Italy. (Virgil. Æn. passim.)
FLEURY'S Hist. of Israelites, p. 8.
No. 606.-xiv. 18. Melchizedec king of Salem.] It was customary among the ancients to unite the sovereignty and chief priesthood together.
Rex Anius, rex idem hominum, Phœbique sacerdos...
No. 607.-xv. 10. Divided them in the midst.] There is no footstep of this rite any where in the scripture, except in Jer. xxxiv. 18, 19. (on which passage, see Oriental Customs, No. 294.) But from this affair of Abraham, it appears to have been very ancient. St. Cyril, in his tenth book against Julian, derives this custom from the ancient Chaldæans. Others derive the word n, birith, which signifies a covenant, from ♫, batar, which signifies to divide or cut asunder, because
covenants were made by dividing a beast, and by the parties covenanting passing between the parts of the beast so divided intimating that so should they be cut asunder who broke the covenant. We find in Zenobius, that the people called Molotti retained something of this custom; for they confirmed their oaths, when they made their covenants, by cutting oxen into little bits. PATRICK, in loc.
No. 608.-xvi. 13. And she called the name of the Lord that spake unto her, Thou God seest me.] The religion of names was a matter of great conséquence in Egypt. It was one of their essential superstitions: it was one of their native inventions: and the first of them which they communicated to the Greeks. Thus when Hagar the handmaid of Sarai, who was an Egyptian woman, saw the angel of God in the wilderness, she called the name of the Lord that spake unto her, ELROI, the God of vision, or the visible God: that is, according to the established custom of Egypt, she gave him a name of honour: not merely a name of distinction, for such all nations had (who worshipped local tutelary deities) before their communication with Egypt. But after that they decorated their gods with distinguished titles, indicative of their specific office and attributes. Zachariah (chap. xiv. 9.) evidently alluding to these notions, when he prophecies of the worship of the supreme God, unmixed with idolatry, says, in that day shall there be one Lord, and his name one. Out of indulgence therefore to this weakness, God was pleased to give himself a name. And God said unto Moses, I am that I am. Exod. iii: 14.
WARBURTON'S Divine Legation, b. iv. séc. 6.
No. 609.-xvii. 10.
This is my covenant.] Covenants were anciently made in the eastern countries by
dipping their weapons in blood, (as Xenophon tells us) and by pricking the flesh, and sucking each other's blood, as we read in Tacitus: who observes (1. i. Annal.) that when kings made a league, they took each other by the hand, and their thumbs being hard tied together, they pricked them, when the blood was forced to the extreme parts, and each party licked it. This was accounted a mysterious covenant, being made sacred by their mutual blood. How old this custom had been we do not know; but it is evident God's covenant with Abraham was solemnized on Abraham's part by his own and his son Isaac's blood, and so continued through all generations, by circumcision: whereby, as they were made the select people of God, so God, in conclusion, sent his own Son, who by this very ceremony of circumcision was consecrated to be their God and Redeemer. PATRICK, in loc.
No. 610.-xviii. 1. And he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day.] Those who lead a pastoral life in the East, at this day, frequently place themselves in a similar situation. "At ten minutes after ten we had in view several fine bays, and a plain full of booths, with the Turcomans sitting by the doors, under sheds resembling porticoes; or by shady trees, surrounded by flocks of goats.
CHANDLER'S Travels in Asia Minor, p. 180.
No. 611.-xviii. 4. Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet.] One of the first rites of hospitality observed towards strangers amongst the ancients, was washing the feet: of this there are many instances in Homer:
Τον νυν χρη κομεειν προς γαρ Διος εισιν απαντες, &c.
Od. vi. 207.
By Jove the stranger and the poor are sent,
Your other task, ye menial tribe, forbear;
See also 1 Sam. xxv. 41.
No. 612.-xix. 1, 2. And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground. And he said, behold now, my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servant's house, and tarry all night, and wash your feet, and ye shall rise up early, and go on your ways.] The Eastern people have always distinguished themselves by their great hospitality. Of very many instances the following is a truly characteristic one. "We were not above a musket-shot from Anna, when we met with a comely old man, who came up to me, and taking my ` horse by the bridle, Friend,' said he, come and wash thy feet, and eat bread at my house. Thou art a stranger; and since I have met thee upon the road, never refuse me the favour which I desire of thee.' We could not choose but go along with him to his house, where he feasted us in the best manner he could, giving us, over and above, barley for our horses; and for us he killed a lamb and some hens." Tavernier's Travels, p. 111. See also Gen. xviii. 6. Judges xvii. 7. Rom. xii. 13. 1 Tim. iii. 2. 1 Pet. iv. 9. See more in Nos. 15. 50. 513.
No. 613.-xix. 24. Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire.] The curious Wormius tells of the raining of brimstone,
May 16, 1646. "Here, at Copenhagen, when the whole town was overflowed by a great fall of rain, so that the streets became impassable, the air was infected with a sulphureous smell; and when the waters were a little subsided, one might have collected in some places a sulphureous powder, of which I have preserved a part, and which in colour, smell, and every other quality, appeared to be real sulphur."
Mus. Worm. 1. i. c. 11. sec. 1.
No. 614.-xix. 26. A pillar of salt.] Or, as some understand it, an everlasting monument, whence, perhaps, the Jews have given her the name of Adith (Pirke Elieser, cap. 25.) because she remained a perpetual testimony of God's just displeasure. For she standing still too long, some of that dreadful shower of brimstone and fire overtook her, and falling upon her, wrapped her body in a sheet of nitro-sulphureous matter, which congealed into a crust as hard as stone, and made her appear like a pillar of salt, her body being, as it were, candied in it. Kimchi calls it a heap of salt: which the Hebrews say continued for many ages. Their conjecture is not improbable, who think the fable of Niobe was derived hence: who, the poets feign, was turned into a stone upon her excessive grief for the death of her children. PATRICK, in loc.
No. 615.-xx. 12. And yet indeed she is my sister; she is the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother and she became my wife.] This peculiar mode of contracting marriage, appears in after ages to have become a common practice. It prevailed at Athens. It was lawful there to marry a sister by the father's side, but it was not permitted to marry a sister by the same mother. MONTESQUIEU (Spirit of Laws, vol. i. p. 54.) says, that this custom was originally owing to repub