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rusalem ; and the manner of entrance, as described by the sacred writer : “ But the gates of the fountain repaired Shallum, unto the stairs that go down from the city of David."* It is extremely probable, that Ramoth Gilead, a frontier town belonging to the ten tribes, and in the time of Jehu, in their possession, was strengthened by one of these inner towers, built on an eminence, with an approach of this nature. If this conjecture be well founded, it throws light upon a very obscure passage, where the manner in which Jehu was proclaimed king of Israel is described.f His associates were no sooner informed that the prophet had anointed him king over the ten tribes, than “ they hasted and took every man his garment, and put it under him on the top of the stairs, and blew with trumpets, saying, Jehu is king” Hence, the stairs were not those within the tower, by which they ascended to the top; but those by which they ascended the hill, or rising ground on which the tower stood ; the top of the stair will then mean the landing place in the area before the door of the tower, and by consequence the most public place in the whole city. As it was the custom of those days to inaugurate and proclaim their kings in the most public places, no spot can be imagined more proper for such a ceremony, than the top of the steps, that is, the most elevated part of the hill, upon which stood the castle of Ramoth Gilead, in the court of which, numbers of people might be assembled, waiting the result of a council of war which was sitting at the time, deliberating on the best method of defending the city against the Syrians, in the absence of their sovereign.
Some of these towers, or citadels, were connected with idolatry, having a temple within them, or some apartment devoted to the worship of heathen gods; or, perhaps the whole structure was committed to the patronage and protection of the tutelar deity of the place; or, it might be used as a safe depository, where they laid up the votive offerings made to the idol. The strong hold in the tower of Shechem certainly had
† 2 Kings ix.
* Neh, iji. 15.
some relation to Baal Berith, for it is stated by the historian, " When all the men of the tower of Shechem heard that the city was taken) they entered into an hold of the house of the god Berith.”
In the writings of Jeremiah and Amos, a distinction is made between winter and summer houses. Russel thinks they may refer to different apartments in the same house; but if the customs of Barbary resemble those of Palestine in this respect, it is better to understand them of different houses. T'he hills and valleys round about Algiers, according to Dr. Shaw, are all over beautified with gardens and country seats, wbither the inhabitants of better fashion retire during the heat of the summer season. They are little white houses, shaded with a variety of fruitful trees and evergreens, which, besides the shade and retirement, afford a gay and delightful prospect toward the sea. The gardens are all of them well stocked with melons, fruit, and pot herbs of all kinds; and what is chiefly regarded in those hot climates, each of them enjoys a great command of water. This account furnishes an easy exposition of a passage in the prophecies of Amos: “I will smite the winter house," the palaces of the great in fortified towns, 66 with the summer house,” the small houses of pleasure, used in the summer, to which any foe can have access; 6 and the houses of ivory shall perish; and the great houses shall have an end, saith The Lord,”* those that are distinguished by their amplitude and richness, built as they are in their strongest places, yet all of them shall perish like their country seats, by the irresistible stroke of almighty power.
To mitigate the burning rays of a vertical sun, the orientals endeavour to shade their dwellings with the branches and foliage of a spreading tree. When Sir Thomas Row went ambassador to Delhi, he found the dwellings of the inhabitants encircled with tall trees, under whose broad and deep shadow, they enjoyed a degree of coolness unknown to those in more exposed situations. In some places, their cities had the appearance of being situate in the midst of a forest, whose ir
* Amos ii. 19.
regular plantations, reared by the hand of nature, seem to retain almost all their native wildness. The houses in Egypt are sheltered in the same manner; every village is shaded by a small wood of palm trees; and in Barbary, the country seats are screened from the sun, by a variety of fruitful trees and evergreens.* From several hints in Scripture, it appears, that the same custom of pitching their tents, or building their houses under the shade of a tree, prevailed in Palestine from the earliest times. Deborah the prophetess had her dwelling under the palm tree, between Ramah and Bethel ; and Jericho was called the city of palm trees, because it was encircled with extensive plantations of that species ; while perhaps every vacant spot within the walls, as in many cities of Hindostan, was crowded, and every street and alley lined, with that beautiful and valuable tree. But the frequent use of the expression, to dwell every man under his vine and under his fig tree, seems to intimate, that these species of trees were most commonly preferred by the people of Israel, for shading their dwellings. We may discover, perhaps, a reason for this preference, in the
peculiar circumstances of that people. The whole surface of Canaan, which was not very extensive, was, by the command of God, surveyed and divided into small inheritances, the produce of which could do little more than furnish to each family a frugal supply of necessaries. It therefore became an object of great importance, to multiply and increase the means of subsistence as much as possible; to suffer no waste ground, but to make every corner put forth to the utmost, its productive powers. For this reason, the chosen people, formed, by that wise and gracious arrangement, to permanent habits of frugality and diligence, raised their habitations under the shade of the palın tree; or when the nature of the soil was more favourable to the cultivation of the vine and the fig, beneath their covert, where they found at once a delightful shelter and a delicious repast.
* See de Tott, and Dr. Shaw,
ILLUSTRATIONS OF SCRIPTURE FROM THE DRESS OF
THE dress of oriental nations, to which the inspired writers often allude, has undergone almost no change from the earliest times. Their stuffs were fabricated of various materials; but wool was generally used in their finer fabrics; and the hair of goats, camels, and even of horses, was manufactured for coarser purposes, especially for sackcloth, which they wore in time of mourning and distress. Sackcloth of black goats' hair, was manufactured for mournings; the colour and the coarseness of which, being reckoned more suitable to the circumstances of the wearer, than the finer and more valuable texture which the hair of white goats supplied. This is the reason that a clouded sky is represented in the bold figurative language of Scripture, as covered with sackcloth and blackness, the colour and dress of persons in affliction. In Egypt and Syria, they wore also fine linen, cotton, and byssus, probably fine muslin from India, in Hebrew (113) bouts, the finest cloth known to the ancients.
In Canaan, persons of distinction were dressed in fine linen of Egypt; and, according to some authors, in silk, and rich cloth, shaded with the choicest colours, or as the Vulgate calls it, with feathered work, embroidered with gold. The beauty of their clothes consisted in the fineness and colour of the stuffs; and it seems, the colour most in use among the Israelites, as well as among the Greeks and Romans, was white, not imparted and improved by the dyer's art, but the native colour of the wool, being most suited to the nature of their laws, which enjoined so many washings and purifications. The general use of this colour, seems to be recognized by Solomon in his direction: “Let thy garments be al
tays white."* But garments in the native colour of the wool, were not confined to the lower orders; they were also in great esteem among persons of superior station, and are particularly valued in Scripture, as the emblem of knowledge and purity, gladness and victory, grace and glory. The priests of Baal were habited in black; a colour which appears to have been peculiar to themselves, and which few others in those countries, except mourners, would choose to wear. Blue was a sky colour in great esteem among the Jews, and other oriental nations. The robe of the ephod, in the gorgeous dress of the high priest, was made all of blue; it was a prominent colour in the sumptuous hangings of the tabernacle; and the whole people of Israel were required to put a fringe of blue upon the border of their garments, and on the fringe a riband of the same colour. The palace of Ahasuerus, the king of Persia, was furnished with curtains of this colour, on a pavement of red, and blue, and white marble; a proof it was not less esteemed in Persia, than on the Jordan. And from Ezekiel we learn, that the Assyrian nobles were habited in robes of this colour: “ She doated on the Assyrians her neighbours, which were clothed with blue, captains and rulers, all of them desirable young men.” It is one of the most remarkable vicissitudes in the customs of the east, that this beautiful colour, for many ages associated in their minds with every thing splendid, elegant, and rich, should have gradually sunk in public estimation, till it became connected with the ideas of meanness and vulgarity, and confined to the dress of the poor and the needy. In modern times, the whole dress of an Arabian female of low station, consists of drawers, and a very large shift, both of blue linen, ornamented with some needlework of a different colour. And if credit may be given to Thevenot, the Arabs between Egypt and mount Sinai, who leall a most wretched life, are clothed in a long blue shirt. To solve this difficulty, Mr. Harmer supposes, that the art of dyeing blue, was discover