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in the doctrines and duties of religion. of a degraded condition. Slaves are But as these foreign kings, in their in- generally treated with such kindness discriminate abduction of the inhabit- and favour, that they commonly be ants of the conquered cities, had carried come much attached to their masters, away Lot who was dwelling peaceably and devoted to their interest. They as a sojourner among them, having had do not till the fields, or work in no concern in the war or its causes, manufactories. Their employment is Abraham deemed the occasion such as almost wholly of a domestic nature, to justify him in fitting out an expedition and their labour light. This is particfor his recovery, at the same time rely- ularly the case with those who are ing more upon the aid of Providence purchased young and brought up in than upon the skill or numbers of his the family, and still more with those followers. Born in his own house. who, like Abraham's, are “born in the Heb. 1072 473- the in-born of his house.' Few Europeans would do for house ; in opposition to those acquired their hired servants what the Asiatics by purchase or otherwise from abroad. do for their slaves, or repose such en* The word translated servant general- tire confidence in them. Illustrations ly denotes what we should call a slave. on this subject will occur as we proIn subsequent passages we shall indeed ceed. Meanwhile it is obvious, that as have occasion to remark on humble Abraham had among the slaves born friends or disciples performing servile in his own house,' 318 men fit to bear offices and therefore called 'servants;' arms, exclusive of purchased slaves, and also on the Jewish slaves whom old men, women, and children, he their own countrymen held in bondage must have been regarded as a powerfor a limited tinie, and under defined ful chief by the petty princes among restrictions. But the mass of the ser- whom he dwelt. Hence, a few chapvants mentioned in the Scripture his-ters on, ch. 23. 6, the children of Heth tory were absolute and perpetual slaves. say to him, 'My lord, thou are a mighty They were strangers, either purchased prince among us.' Pict. Bible. -T or taken prisoners in war. They and Pursued them unto Dan. We learn their progeny were regarded as com- from Judges, 18. 7, that this place was pletely the property of their masters, called Laish until taken by the Danwho could exchange or sell them atites, who gave it the name by which it pleasure, could inflict what punish- is here mentioned. As this event did ments they pleased, and even, in some not occur till long after the death of cases, put them to death. Abraham's Moses, who never mentionis the old. servants' were manifestly of this de- name, that of Dan must have been inscription. This form of slavery is still terpolated by another hand, that the common in the East; and the facts reference might be the more clearly unwhich the book of Genesis brings under derstood. This and other interpolaour notice show how little Asiatic usa- tions of existing for ancient names are, ges have altered after the lapse of al- supposed to have been made by Ezra, most four thousand years. The con- when he revised the Old Testament dition of slavery in Mohammedan Asia Scriptures. Being at the northern end is, however, unattended, except in very of Palestine, as Beersheba was at the rare instances, with the revolting cir- southern, 'from Dan to Beersheba' becumstances which we usually associ- came a proverbial expression to desigare with the word. The term "slave' nate the entire length of the kingdom. itself is not regarded as one of oppro- It was situated near the sources of the brium, nor does it convey the idea Jordan; and if that river derived its
15 And he divided himself 16 And he brought back 2 all against them, he and his servants the goods, and also brought again ty night, and smote them, and his brother Lot, and his goods, pursued ihem unto Hobah, which and the women also, and the is on the left hand of Damascus. people.
name from the town, the name must village there is another ruined fortress also be interpolated in the books of of similar construction. Some travelMoses, in the place of some more an- | lers attribute these castles to the Aracient name not preserved. This is bian caliphs, and others to the crusades probable enough ; but to avoid this and consider that one of the two (they conclusion, some writers prefer to de- differ in saying which) probably occurive the name of the river from the verb pies the site, and includes some of the Jared, 'to descend,' on account of the materials of a temple which Herod the full and rapid course of the stream. The Great erected here in honour of Augustown of Dan is commonly identified tus.' Pict. Bible. with the Paneas of heathen writers,
15. And he divided himself against the present Banias. This identity does them--by night. Heb. 077038 D37777; not seem indisputable. We may, how- perhaps more correctly rendered, 'And ever, state that the name was derived he came upon them by stealth in the from the worship of Pan, to which a night, he and his servants.' The verb cavern, described by Josephus, was pin signifies not only to part, to dihere consecrated. The town was great vide, to distribute, but also to be smooth, ly enlarged and embellished by the Te- or soft; and in Hiphil to polish, lo trarch, Herod Philip, who changed ils sooth, or flatter. And from this sense name to Cæsarea, in honour of the it may naturally take another, of doing Emperor Tiberins, to which the adjunct any thing covertly or by stealth. Thus Philippi was added, to distinguish it in Jer. 37. 12, it signifies to remove from from the Cæsarea on the coast. Its a place by stealth, leniter et placide se name was afterwards changed to Nero- subducere. Here it may mean that nius, in compliment to Nero. Banias Abraham came upon them in the night is situated in a pleasant and fertile by stealth and surprise, probably while neighbourhood, at the base of a moun- they were asleep, as Josephus says he tain called Djebel Heish. It is now did, which accounts for his putting an merely a village, containing at most army that must have been numerous, 150 houses, chiefly occupied by Turks. to flight with so small a force. It is The river of Banias rises to t e north-not, however, to be supposed, that the east of the village, on approaching 318 men of Abraham's own household which it passes under a good bridge, made the whole of his force. Eshcol near which there are some remains of and Aner were with him, v. 24, and in the ancient town. No walls remain, their march through the country up to but great quantities of stone and archi- Dan, where they first came up with tectural fragments are strewed around. Chedorlaomer, they probably gathered About three miles east by south from additional numbers. Still the common the village are the remains of a strong interpretation of the word pin may be and extensive fortress, called the 'Cas- admitted, and on this presumption the tle of Banias,' situated on the summit Editor of the Pictorial Bible remarks, of a niuuntain ; and to the south of the He probably divided his forces, 80
that a simultaneouś rush was made up- „ tioned proleptically; for we find it noon the camp of the enemy from differ- ticed in ch. 15. 2, as the birth-place of ent quarters. Here again the usages Abraham's steward Eliezer ; and it of Arabian warfare assist us. Surprise, must therefore have been one of the by sudden attacks, is their favourite earliest cities in the world, and is one mode of warfare. Some tribes consid- of the very few that have maintained a er it cowardly and disgraceful to make flourishing existence in all ages. It is a night attack on a camp. But this is situated in east long. 36° 25', and north not the general feeling. When such an / lat. 33° 27', in the northwest of an exattack is resolved upon, the assailants tensive and remarkably level plain, so arrange their march that they may which is open eastward beyond the fall upon the camp about an hour be- reach of vision, but is bounded in every fore the first dawn, when they are tol- other direction by mountains, the nearerably certain to find the whole camp est of which--those of Salehie, to the asleep. With some tribes it is then the north west--are not quite two miles custom to rush upon the tenis, and from the city. These hills give rise to knock down the principal tent-poles, the river Barrady, and to various rivuthus enveloping the sleepers in their lets, which afford the city a most libertent-cloths, which renders the victory al supply of water, and render its diseasy even over superior forces. What trict one of the most pleasant and fergreatly facilitates the success of such tile of Western Asia (see Note on attacks is the general neglect of post- 2 Kings, 5. 12). The district, within a ing night-watches and sentinels, even circumference of from twenty to twenwhen in the vicinity of an enemy. Ifty-five miles, is thickly covered with an immediate attack is apprehended, well-watered gardens and orchards, in all the males of an encampment, or all the midst of which stands the town ilthe soldiers of an expedition, remain self. It thus appears as in a vast wood, watching their fires throughout the and its almost innumerable public buildnight. In the present transaction, we ings, including an extensive citadel and do not read of any men killed on either a vast number of mosques, with their side. Probably none were. It is as- domes and minarets, give it a fine aptonishing how little blood is shed by pearance as viewed from the neighbourthe Arabs in their most desperate ac- ing hills; but on approaching over the tions, which more resemble frays level plain, the plantations by which it among an unorganized rabble than a is environed shroud is entirely from battle between soldiers. We may hear view. Its finest building is a grand of a battle lasting a whole day without mosque, of the Corinthian order, said a man being killed on either side. to have been built as a cathedral church Burckhardt says: 'When fifteen or six- by the Emperor Heraclius. teen men are killed in a skirmish, the dedicated to St. John of Damascus, circumstance is remembered as an event and is still called the mosque of St. of great importance for many years by John the Baptist by the Turks, who both parties."' Pict. Bible.- -1 On believe that in the latter days Jesus the left hand of Damascus. Chal. ‘On shall descend thereon, and from its the north of Damascus ;' probably a summit require the adhesion of all his correct interpretation, as the Scriptures followers to the Moslem faith. The suppose the face to be directed to the city is surrounded by an old wall of east, where right and left are mention- sun-dried brick, strengthened with towed, if no other point of the compass be ers; but this wall has fallen to decay, specified. "The city is not here men-I and the town has so greatly extended
beyond its limits, that the number of great body every year, and many of houses without the wall greatly exceeds whom make a considerable etay before that within. The houses in the city the caravan departs, and most of whom have flat roofs, while those in suburbs unite commercial witii religious objects, bave domes. Damascus is said to con- loading their beasts with the produce tain 500 mansions entitled to be called of their own countries, which they dispalaces; and the general splendour of pose of on the road, bringing back in its houses is much extolled in the East. the same manner the products of India, But little this is visible in the streets, received from dda, the port of Mecca. which in general present walls of mud This has contributed greatly to the or sun-dried brick, which fill the nar- prosperity of Damascus, which is also row streets with dust in dry weather, the emporium of an extensive caravan and render them perfect quagmires trade with the ports of the Mediterra. when it rains. The houses themselves neau on the west, and with Bagdad on are built with the same materials, al- the east. Damascus has obtained fanie though stone might be easily obtained for some of its manufactures. The fine from the adjoining mountains. The temper of its sword-blades has long streets present scarcely any windows, been proverbial. This reputation has, and only low and mean-looking doors; however, of late years much declined ; but these often conduct to large interi- but the Damascenes still excel in the or courts paved with marble, refreshed art of inlaying metals with gold. The by gushing fountains, and sarrounded manufacture of the kind of silk called by apartments ornamented and furnish- 'Damask,' originated here. It would ed in the best and richest oriental taste. seem from 1 Kings, 11. 23, 24, that The thirsty Arabs from the Desert re- Damascus first became in the time of gard Damascus with rapture, and are David or Solomon the capital of an innever tired of expatiating on the fresh-dependent kin dom whi h afterwards, ness and verdure of its orchards, the as the kingdom of Syria,' was enga. variety and richness of its fruits, and, ged in frequent wars with the Jews. more than all, its numerous streams, It was ultimately annexed to the emand the clearness of its rills and foun- pire of Assyria, and afterwards, with tains. There is a tradition, that Moham- the rest of Western Asia, passed to the med, coming to the city, viewed it with Greeks, then to the Romans, and at last great admiration from the mountain to the Arabians, under whom DamasSalehie, and then turned away, refu- cus became for a time the capital of the sing to approach, with the remark, that khalifat, when Moawiyah, its governor, there was but one Paradise designed assumed that office, in opposition to for man, and he was determined that Ali. It underwent many changes duhis should not be in this world ; but ring the disorders of the middle ages, there is no historical foundation for this and was finally conquered, along with story. Damascus is about six miles in all Syria, by the Sultan Selim. In the circumference, and its population is es- late war between the Porte and the timated by Mr. Buckingham at 143,000; Pasha of Egypt, Damascus was taken of whom '90,000 are native Syrian by the troops of the latter, under his Arabs, 10,000 Turks, 15,000 Jews, and son Ibrahim Pasha, and it still remains 25,000 Christians. But Dr. Richardson subject to his authority, having been does not estimate the Christian popu- ceded to him by the treaty of peace in lation at more than 12,000. Damascus 1833. The inhabitants of Damascus is the rendezvous of many thousand have the reputation of being the most pilgrims who proceed to Mecca in one hanghty and intolerant people of Tur17 | And the king of Sodom | ley of Shaveh, which is the went out to meet him (o after king's dale. his return from the slaughter of 18 And 1 Melchizedek king of Chedorlaomer, and of the kings Salem brought forth bread and that were with him,) at the val- wine: and he was e the priest of
f the most high God. a Judg. 11. 34.
1 Sam. 18. 6. b Heb. 7. 1.
C 2 Sam. 18. 18. d Heb. 7. 1. e Ps. 110. 4. Heb. 5. 6. Mic. 6. 9. Acts 16. 17. Ruth 3. 10. 2 Sam. 2. 5.
key, but the measures of Mehemet Ali turn from the slaughter of the kings, have already tended greatly to subdue i respecting whom the bare recital of or control their former spirit.' Pict. the different opinions that have been Bible.
entertained would fill a volume. The 17. The king of Sodom went out to prevalent hypothesis among the Jews* meet him. This expedition of Abra- has ever been that he was no other ham and his friends would naturally than Shem, the son of Noah, who was excite great attention among the Ca- undoubtedly still alive in the days of naanites. At the very time when all Abraham. Thus the Targum of Jonmust have been given up for lost, lo, athan, 'But Melchizedek, he is Shem, they are, without any efforts of their the son of Noah, king of Jerusalem.' own, recovered, and the spoilers spoil. Thus too the Jerusalem Targum, ‘But ed! The little victorious band, now Melchizedek, king of Jerusalem, he is returning in peace, are hailed by every Shem, who was the great priest of the one that meets them. The kings of Most High.' But to this it is reasonthe different cities go forth to congrat- ably objected, (1.) That no sufficient ulate them, and to thank them as the cause can be assigned why Moses, who deliverers of their country. If Abraham has all along hitherto spoken of Shem had been one of those marauders whom under his own proper name, should he defeated, he would have followed up here veil his identity under a different his victory, and made himself master one. (2.) It is inconsistent with what of the whole country; which he might we know of Shem that he should be probably have done with ease in their said to be by the Apostle, Heb. 'withpresent enfeebled and scattered condi- out father and without mother,' since tion. But the principles by which genealogy is clearly given in the was governed as a servant of God pre- Scriptures, and the line of his progenvented him from doing this. The itors can be at once traced up to its ralley of Shadeh, which is the king's fountain-head in Adam. (3.) It is in dale. A valley near Jerusalem, sup- the highest degree improbable that he posed to be to the north of the city, the should be a reigning king in the land direction which would naturally be ta- of Canaan, which was in the possesken io meet one returning from Damas. sion of his brother's son; nor is it easy cus, where Absalom afterward erected a to perceive how Abraham could be said monumental pillar, 2 Sam. 18. 18. Gr. to sojourn there as in a strange coun"This is the field of the kings.' Chal.' the try,' if his distinguished ancestor Shem valley-plain of refreshing for the king.' were at that time a co-resident with
18. Melchizedek. Heb. 27Y 3 him in the same country. (4.) On this i. e. king of righteousness. A much theory the priesthood of Melchizedek, more illustrious personage than the i. e. of Shem, would not be of a dif. king of Sodom is here said to have ferent order from Levi's; directly con. come forth to meet Abraham on his re- trary to the assertion of the Apostle