Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

death, he shall ask, and God shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. But there is a sin unto death : I do not say that he should pray for it.” He might pray for offenders in general, and even for the souls of those who were under this visible judgment; but he might not pray for their restoration to health, since God was more glorified, and men more awed by its continuance.

PART XI.

CUSTOMS OF THE JEWS.

In the former parts of this work we have considered the religion, learning, and laws of the Jews; but there are a number of customs in private life which give much insight into their real character, and serve as a commentary on sacred scripture that ought not to be overlooked. Our method of procedure, however, in these last, must be different from that which was adopted in the former; for besides relying on Jewish writers, whose intimations are few, we must call in the aid of travellers ; since the customs of the East have been almost stationary, and the same things are observable in the present day that were practised in the days of the ancient patriarchs. It is granted, indeed, that this is only an approximation to the truth, but it is the best we have in our present circumstances, and affords the same kind of pleasure to the mind that collateral evidence is known to give in a court of justice. The light thrown is often unexpected, and pleases both by its variety and novelty. With these assistants, then, let us exhibit their customs in a variety of particulars.

• While the present work was in the press, Paxton's Illustrations of the Holy Scriptures from the geography, natural history, and customs of the East, made their appearance. As they illustrate and confirm many of the sections which follow, I feel a pleasure in recommending them to my readers.

SECT. I.

Habitations of the Jews.

These affected by the state of society. Tents in pastoral districts described.

Villages of stone in rocky situations, and mud in plains. Fenced cities; their walls, gates, locks, wooden keys, bolts and bars. Private winter houses of the Jews; of stone, brick, or mud: manner of defending them from the weather. Doors often ornamented: the hole at the side for the portion of the law. Houses in the form of a square, with a court in the middle; their appearance plain towards the street; the windows, lattices; their appearance towards the court beautiful. Their chambers, kiosks, olee or upper rooms; door to the street low; doors into the court large. Ground floor for the family; principal rooms in the second story; fire-places in the family rooms; braziers in the public apartments. Stairs sometimes ornamented with vine; manner of finishing their principal rooms. Way of cooling their chambers; furniture of rooms, carpets ; the divan. Chambers of the poor ; their beds. The beds of the rich; their musqueto nets. Bed-chambers always lighted during the night; often alluded to in Scripture. The summer houses of the Jews de. scribed; the roofs of houses flat, with battlements: their utility. The east. ern nails of houses ; keys of wood described. Dr. Shaw's account of eastern houses. Streets of eastern cities dirty in wet, and dusty in dry weather; nar. row; the reason why. The gate of the city the most public place. Bazars; Dr. Russell's and Mr. Kinneir's account of them. Tolls erected at the gate. No clocks; manner of knowing the hour. Police regulations; nuisances re. moved; water brought by conduits, tanks, or reservoirs. The pools of Solomon described ; Gihon, Siloam, Jacob's well. Rights of citizenship. Roads between city and city. Dogs at large without any owner ; several texts alluding to this.

It is impossible to form any very accurate notion of the modes of living among the ancient Jews, for we have very few notices of them in history; but we may, perhaps, arrive near the truth, by supposing them to resemble those of the present inhabitants of Palestine, and of the neighbouring countries. As a number of the Jews under the judges and kings were shepherds, their tents would not be unlike those of the present Arabs, as described by Shaw.* 66 They are the very same,” he observes, “ which the ancients called mapalia,

• Vol. i. part 3. ch. 3. sect. 6.

being then, as they are now, secured from the weather by a covering of hair cloth. The fashion of each tent is of an oblong figure, not unlike the bottom of a ship turned upside down; however, they differ in bigness, according to the number of people who live in them, and are accordingly supported, some with one pillar, others with two or three, whilst a curtain or carpet, let down upon occasions from each of these divisions, turns the whole into separate apartments. These tents are kept firm and steady by bracing, or stretching down their eves with cords, tied to hooked wooden pins, well pointed, which they drive into the ground with a mallet.” « The Arab tents in Palestine,” adds he, “ are very smoky within,' and of a black colour without, for they are covered with black goats' hair cloth :” and D’Arvieux tells us that this hair cloth is woven by women.” It seems, however, that they are not all black, for the Turkomans in Palestine have white tents; and the tents of the Turks are green, white, or red. It may be proper to add that, although Dr. Shaw describes the Arab tents as smoky, it is not the case with those of all the eastern nations; for some of them are large, and have a magnificent lining under the outer covering, with different articles of elegance, according to their rank.

The villages in Judea would be of stone in elevated situations, but in the plains they were probably built with mud, as Sir Robert Wilson tells us they are in Egypt at this day. “ Each habitation,” says he, “ is built of mud, even the roof, and in shape resembles an oven : within is only one apartment, generally about ten feet square. The door does not admit of a man's entering upright (to prevent the entrance of the Be

· Alluded to in Lam, v, 10. P's. cxix. 82.
- D'Arvieux, p. 99, 100. Pocock, vol.ii. p. 115.
VOL. II.

P

[blocks in formation]

doween Arabs, who are commonly on horseback, and as Zephaniah i. 9, says, leap on, or rather over the threshold,) but as the bottom is dug out about two feet, when in the room an erect posture is possible. A mat, some large vessels to hold water, which it is the constant occupation of the women to fetch, a pitcher made of fine porous clay, found best in Upper Egypt, near Cunei, and in which the water is kept very cool, a rice-pan, and a coffee-pot, are all the ornaments and utensils. Here, then, a whole family eat and sleep, without any consideration of decency or cleanliness, being in regard to the latter, worse than the beasts of the field, who naturally respect their own tenements.”* For the honour of the Israelites we would gladly hope that, from their superior institutions, they were also superior in these respects to the modern Egyptians. We ought not to forget, however, that as they had villages of mud or clay in low situations, and of stone in rocky ones, so the shepherds were gregarious like their cattle, and villages of tents were therefore seen in the pastoral districts. They were commonly pitched in the form of a circle, like the modern douwars; and, by being in one place to-day, and removed to another the next, they afforded Solomon a lively description of the fleeting state of man.-“ One generation or douwar (777) passeth away, and another generation or douwar cometh.” Eccl. i. 4. And Isaiah has the same allusion—66 My age (the people of my generation) is departed and removed from me as a shepherd's tent.” As for the fenced cities, they seem to have been provided with all those means which were supposed to make them impregnable viz. elevated situation, thick and high walls, and iron gates,

2

History of British Expedition into Egypt, vol. i. p. 157, 11th May, 1801.
Ch, xxxviii, 12.

« НазадПродовжити »