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in the priority of Shem and Japheth, there may be some difficulty, though Cyril, Epiphanius, and Austin have accounted Shem the elder, and Salian the annalist, and Petavius the chronologist, contend for the same; yet Cham is more plainly and confessedly named the youngest in the text.
And this is more conformable unto the Pagan history and Gentile account hereof, unto whom Noah was Satan, whose symbol was a ship, as related unto the ark, and who is said to have divided the world between his three sons. Ham is conceived to be Jupiter, who was the youngest son, worshipped by the name of Hamon, who was the Egyptian and African name for Jupiter, who is said to have cut off the genitals of his father, derived from the history of Ham, who beheld the nakedness of his, and by no hard mistake might be confirmed from the text, * as Bochartus † hath well observed.
That the Tower of Babel was erected against a second
An opinion there is of some generality, that our fathers after the flood attempted the tower of Babel, to secure themselves against a second deluge. Which, however affirmed by Josephus and others, hath seemed improbable unto many who have discoursed hereon. For (beside that they could not be ignorant of the promise of God never to drown the world again, and had the rainbow before their eyes to put
* Gen. ix, 22. + Reading Veiaggod, et abscidit, for Veiegged, et nunciavit. Bochartus de
9 And this is more conformable, fc.) the cheefe, is was of noe force : with This paragraph added in 2nd edition. them itt was more easie to slight first
I the promise of God, &c.] This was and then to forget that promise : when as an argument of beleef in the family of they had now forgot God himselfe, as Sem in the Old Testament, and to the appeares by this bold attempt, which familyes of Japhet now in the new, that therfore most deservedly ended in concould not break his promise. But to the fusion.-Wr. familyes of Ham, wherof Nimrod was
them in mind thereof,) it is improbable from the nature of the deluge; which, being not possibly causable from natural showers above, or watery eruptions below, but requiring a supernatural hand, and such as all acknowledge irresistible, must needs disparage their knowledge and judgment in so successless attempts.
Again, they must probably hear, and some might know, that the waters of the flood ascended fifteen cubits above the highest mountains. Now, if (as some define) the perpendicular altitude of the highest mountains be four miles, or (as others) but fifteen furlongs, it is not easily conceived how such a structure could be effected, except we allowed the description of Herodotus concerning the tower of Belus; whose lowest story was in height and breadth one furlong, and seven more built upon it; abating that of the Annian Berosus, the traditional relation of Jerome, and fabulous account of the Jews. Probable it is, that what they attempted was feasible, otherwise they had been amply fooled in the fruitless success of their labours, nor needed God to have hindered them, saying, “ Nothing will be restrained from them, which they begin to do."
It was improbable from the place, that is, a plain in the land of Shinar. And if the situation of Babylon were such at first as it was in the days of Herodotus, it was rather a seat of amenity and pleasure, than conducing unto this intention: it being in a very great plain, and so improper a place to provide against a general deluge by towers and eminent structures, that they were fain to make provisions against particular and annual inundations by ditches and trenches, after the manner of Egypt. And therefore Sir Walter
3 requiring a supernatural hand.] A began, would thus, be merged in water late writer, speaking of the Mosaic ac seven or eight feet deep in a quarter of count of the deluge, says,
" What a
an hour! And were he to attempt adscene of terrific and awful desolation vancing up the rising ground, a cataract does this narrative convey! How puerile of sheet water several feet deep would those comments which exhibit animals be gushing all the way in his face, beand men escaping to the highest grounds sides impending water-spouts from the and hills as the flood advanced. The 'flood gates' of heaven, momentarily impossibility of such escape may be im- bursting over him: he would instantly mediately seen. Neither man nor beast become a prey to those 'mighty waters. under such circumstances could either 3 whose lowest story, &c.] This pasadvance or flee to any distance. Any sage was altered and enlarged in the animal, found in the plain when the flood 2nd edition.
Raleigh* accordingly objecteth: if the nations which followed Nimrod still doubted the surprise of a second flood, according to the opinions of the ancient Hebrews, it soundeth ill to the ear of reason, that they would have spent many years in that low and overflown valley of Mesopotamia. And therefore in this situation, they chose a place more likely to have secured them from the world's destruction by fire, than another deluge of water: and, as Pierius observeth, some have conceived that this was their intention.
Lastly, the reason is delivered in the text. “Let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven, and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the whole earth ;” as we have already begun to wander over a part. These were the open ends proposed unto the people; but the secret design of Nimrod, was to settle unto himself a place of dominion, and rule over his brethren, as it after succeeded, according to the delivery of the text, “The beginning of his kingdom was Babel.”
Of the Mandrakes of Leah.
We shall not omit the mandrakes * of Leah, according to the history of Genesis. “And Reuben went out in the days of wheat-harvest, and found mandrakes in the field, and brought them unto his mother Leah. Then Rachel said unto Leah, give me, I pray thee, of thy son's mandrakes: and she saith unto her, is it a small matter that thou hast taken
* History of the World.
4 mandrakes.] For a brief description requesting the mandrakes-by the folof a plant bearing this name, see vol. ii, lowing pithy expostulation ;-" To be p. 350, note 8.
brief, I would know, whether it be a Ross concludes a page of criticism on greater error in me to affirm that wbich our author's reasons for rejecting the is đcnied by some, or in him to deny popular opinion of Rachel's motives for that which is affirmed by all ?”
my husband, and wouldst thou take my son's mandrakes also ? And Rachel said, therefore he shall lie with thee this night for thy son's mandrakes." From whence hath arisen a common conceit, that Rachel requested these plants as a medicine of fecundation, or whereby she might become fruitful. Which notwithstanding is very questionable, and of incertain truth.
For, first, from the comparison of one text with another, whether the mandrakes here mentioned be the same plant which holds that name with us, there is some cause to doubt. The word is used in another place of Scripture,* when the church inviting her beloved into the fields, among the delightful fruits of grapes and pomegranates, it is said, "the mandrakes give a smell, and at our gates are all manner of pleasant fruits.” Now instead of a smell of delight, our mandrakes afford a papaverous and unpleasant odour, whether in the leaf or apple, as is discoverable in their simplicity or mixture. The same is also dubious from the different interpretations: for though the Septuagint and Josephus do render it the apples of mandrakes in this text, yet in the other of the Canticles, the Chaldee paraphrase termeth it balsam. R. Solomon, as Drusius observeth, conceives it to be that plant the Arabians named Jesemin. Oleaster, and Georgius Nenetus, the lily; and that the word dudaim, may comprehend any plant that hath a good smell, resembleth a woman's breast, and Aourisheth in wheat harvest. Tremellius interprets the same for any amiable flowers of a pleasant and delightful odour. But the Geneva translators have been more wary than any; for although they retain the word mandrake in the text, they in effect retract it in the margin ; wherein is set down the word in the original is dudaim, which is a kind of fruit or flower unknown.
Nor shall we wonder at the dissent of exposition, and difficulty of definition concerning this text, if we perpend how variously the vegetables of Scripture are expounded, and how hard it is in many places to make out the species determined. Thus are we at variance concerning the plant that
• Cant. vii.
covered Jonas : which though the Septuagint doth render colocynthis, the Spanish calabaca, and ours accordingly a gourd, yet the vulgar translates it hedera or ivy; and as Grotius observeth, Jerome thus translated it, not as the same plant, but best apprehended thereby. The Italian of Diodati, and that of Tremellius have named it ricinus, and so hath ours in the margin, for palma Christi is the same with ricinus. The Geneva translators have herein been also circumspect, for they have retained the original word kikaion, and ours hath also affixed the same unto the margin.
Nor are they indeed always the same plants which are delivered under the same name, and appellations commonly received amongst us. So when it is said of Solomon, that he writ of plants, “ from the cedar of Lebanus, unto the hyssop that groweth upon the wall,” that is from the greatest unto the smallest, it cannot be well conceived our common hyssop: for neither is that the least of vegetables, nor observed to grow upon walls; but rather as Lemnius well conceiveth, some kind of the capillaries, which are very small plants, and only grow upon walls and stony places. Nor are the four species in the holy ointment, cinnamon, myrrh, calamus and cassia, nor the other in the holy perfume, frankincense, stacte, onycha, and galbanum, so agreeably expounded unto those in use with us, as not to leave considerable doubts behind them. Nor must that perhaps be taken for a simple unguent, which Matthew only termeth a precious ointment; but rather a composition, as Mark and John imply by pistick nard, that is faithfully dispensed, and may be that famous composition described by Dioscorides, made of oil of ben, malabathrum, juncus odoratus, costus, amomum, myrrh, balsam and nard, * which Galen affirmeth to have been in use with the delicate dames of Rome, and that the best thereof was made at Laodicea, from whence by merchants it was conveyed unto other parts. But how to make out that translation concerning the tithe of mint, anise and cummin, we are still to seek; for we find not a word in the text that can properly be rendered anise, the Greek being åvrdov, which the
* V. Matthioli Epist.