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No. 655.- xlix. 29. And he charged them, and said unto them, I am to be gathered unto my people; bury me with my fathers.] Princes and persons of quality, who died in foreign parts, were usually carried into their own country, to be buried with their fathers. That this was practised in the patriarchal times, appears from the injunction which Jacob laid upon his children respecting his interment. It was also the custom of the Greeks. Homer represents Juno as thus speaking concerning Sarpedon.
Give the bold chief a glorious fate in fight;
No. 656.-1. 1. Joseph fell upon his father's face, and kissed him.] It is probable that he first closed his eyes, as God had promised he should do, (Gen. xlvi. 4.) and then parted from his body with a kiss. Of this custom many examples are to be found. Thus Ovid represents Niobe as kissing her slain sons: and Meleager's sister kissing him when he lay dead. Corippus represents Justin the younger falling upon Justinian, and weeping, and kissing him.
Ut prius ingrediens corpus venerabile vidit,
No. 657.-1. 2. And Joseph commanded his servants the physicians to embalm his father.] Concerning the practice of physic in Egypt, Herodotus says, that it was divided amongst the faculty in this manner. distinct distemper hath its own physician, who confines himself to the study and care of that alone, and meddles with no other: so that all places are crouded with phy
“ Every sicians: for one class hath the care of the eyes, another of the head, another of the teeth, another of the region of the belly, and another of occult distempers.” lib. ii. c. 84. After this we shall not think it strange that Joseph's physicians are represented as a number. A body of these domestics would now appear an extravagant piece of state, even in a first minister. But then it could not be otherwise, where each distemper had its proper physician; so that every great family, as well as city, must needs, as Herodotus expresses it, swarm with the faculty. There is a remarkable passage in Jeremiah (chap. xlvi. 11.) where, foretelling the overthrow of Pharaoh's army at the Euphrates, he describes Egypt by this characteristic of her skill in medicine. Go up into Gilead, and take BALM, (or bulsan) O virgin the daughter of Egypt; in vain shalt thou use MANY MEDICINES, for thou shalt not be cured.
WARBURTON's Divine Legation, b. iv. sec. 3. § 3.
No. 658.-1. 3. And forty days were fulfilled for him, (for so are fulfilled the days of those who are embalmed) and ihe Egyptians mourned for him three-score and ten days.] We learn from two Greek historians (Herodotus, lib. ii. cap. 85, 86. Diodorus, lib. i. Bibl. p. 58.) that the time of mourning was while the body remained with the embalmers, which IIerodotus says was seventy days. During this time the body lay in nitre, the use of which was to dry up all its superfluous and noxious moisture: and when, in the compass of thirty days, this was reasonably well effected, the remaining forty (the time mentioned by Diodorus) were employed in anointing it with gums and spices to preserve it, which was the proper embalming. The former circumstance explains the reason why the Egyptians mourned for Israel three-score and ten days. The latter explains the meaning of the
forty days which were fulfilled for Israel, being the day's of those who are embalmed.
WARBURTON's Divine Legation, b. iv. sec. 3. § 4.
No. 659.-1. 13. His sons carried him into the land of Canaan, and buried him in the cave of the field of Machpelah.] That Jacob after his decease should be carried from Egypt into Canaan for interment, and Joseph also when he died, is perfectly conformable to the practice of the East. Homer represents the shade of Patroclus as thus addressing Achilles.
Hear then; and as in fate and love we join,
Pope, Il. xxii, 103.
No. 660.-1. 23. The children also of Machir were brought up upon Joseph's knees.] They were dandled or treated as children upon Joseph's knees. This is a pleasing picture of an old man's fondness for his descendants. So in Homer (Odyss. xix. 401.) the nurse places Ulysses, then lately born, upon his maternal grandfather Autolychus's knees.
οι Ευρυκλεια φιλους επι γυνασι θηκε. And on the other hand (Il. is. 1. 455.) Amyntor imprecates it as a curse upon his son Phænix, that he might have no son to sit upon Amyntor's knees.
No. 661.-1. 25. The children of Israel.]
The children of Israel.] Though the people were very numerous, they were still called the children of Israel, as if they had been but one family; in the same manner as they said, the children of Edom,
the children of Moab, &c. Indeed all these people were still distinct: they knew their own origin, and took a pride in preserving the name of their author. Thence probably it comes that the name of children signified, with the ancients, a nation, or certain sort of people. Homer often says, the children of the Greeks, and the children of the Trojans. The Greeks used to say, the children of the physicians and grammarians. With the Hebrews, the children of the East, are the eastern people; the children of Belial, the wicked; the children of man, or Adam, mankind. In the gospel we often see, the children of this world; of darkness; and of light; and also, the children of the bridegroom, for those who go along with him to the wedding.
Fleury's Hist. of Israelites, p. 18.
No. 662.-EXODUS i. 16.
Ånd the king of Egypt spake to the Hebrew midwives
When ye do the office of a midwife to the Hebrew women, and see them on the stools, if it be a son, then ye shall kill him ; but if it be a daughter, then she shall live.
To understand the word stools as referring to the women to be delivered involves the passage in perplexity: but if it be interpreted of those troughs or vessels of stone, in which new born children were placed for the purpose of being washed, it is perfectly clear and intelligible. This custom in relation to children is justified by eastern usages; and such a destruction of boys is actually practised in the courts of eastern monarchs. Thevenot (part ii. p. 98.) hints at both these principles. He says that “the kings of Persia are so afraid of being deprived of that power which they abuse, and are so apprehensive of being dethroned, that they destroy the children of their female relations, when they are brought to bed of boys, by putting them into an earthen trough, where they suffer them to starve."
No. 663.-ii. 5. And the daughter of Pharaoh came down to wash herself at the river.] The people of Egypt, and particularly the females of that country, express their veneration for the benefits received from the Nile, by plunging into it at the time of its beginning to overflow the country. Is it not probable that when the daughter of Pharaoh went into that river, it was in conformity with that idolatrous practice? Irwin (Travels, p. 229, 259.) relates, that looking out of his window in the night, he saw a band of damsels proceeding to the river side with singing and dancing, and that the object