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of their going thither was to witness the first visible rise of the Nile, and to bathe in it.
HARMER, vol. iv. p. 279.
No. 664.-iii. 2. And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire.] The traditionary notion of a miraculous light or fire being the token of a divine presence, prevailed among the Greeks in the time of Homer: for, after relating that the goddess Minerva ata tended on Ulysses with her golden lamp, or rather torch, and afforded him a refulgent light, he makes Telemachus cry out to his father in rapture.
Ω πατερ, η μεγα θαυμα τοδ' οφθαλμοισιν ορωμαι, &c.
What miracle thus dazzles with surprise?
No. 665.-iv. 25. A bloody husband art thou to me.) The learned Joseph Mede (Diss. xiv. p. 52.) has given to these words of Zipporah the following singular interpretation. He says that it was a custom among the Jews to name the child that was circumcised by a Hebrew word, signifying a husband. He builds his opinion upon the testimony of some rabbins. He apprehends. that she applied to the child, and not to Moses, as most interpreters think, the words above mentioned. Chaton, which is the term in the original, is never used to denote the relation between husband and wife, but that which is between a man and the father or mother of the person to whom he is married: it signifies a sop in law, and not a husband. A person thus related is a son initiated inta a family by alliance. It is in this view of initiated, that Zipporah says to her son, a bloody husband art thou to me; that is to say, it is I who have initiated thee into the church by the bloody sacrament of circumcision. He endeavours to justify his criticism upon the word Chaton by the idea which the Arabians affix to the verb, from whence this noun is derived. The Chaldee Paraphrast also annexes the same notion to the words of Zipporah. SAURIN (Diss. on 0. T. vol. i. p. 371.) does not seem altogether satisfied with this interpretation of the passage: whether it be just or not must be left to the decision of the learned reader.
No. 666.-v. 7. Straw to make brick.] Whether this were given and used, to mix with the clay, as is done in some places, that the bricks made thereof might be firmer and stronger; or to burn them with in the furnaces: or to cover them from the heat of the sun, that they might not dry too soon and crack, is not easy to determine. It is said that the unburnt bricks of Egypt formerly were, and still are, made of clay mixed with straw. The Egyptian pyramid of unburnt brick, Dr. Pococke (Observations on Egypt, p. 53.) says, seems to be made of the earth brought by the Nile, being a sandy black. earth, with some pebbles and shells in it: it is mixed up with chopped straw, in order to bind the clay together. The Chinese have great occasion for straw in making bricks, as they put thin layers of straw between them, without which they would, as they dried, run or adhere together. Macartney's Emb.
No. 667.-vii. 18. The Egyptians shall loath to drink of the water of the river.] A peculiar energy will be discovered in these words, if what the abbot Mascrier has said (Lett, i. p. 15.) of the water of the Nile be at
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“ The water of Egypt is so delicious thai one would not wish the heat should be less, nor to be delivered from the sensation of thirst. The Turks find it so exquisitely charming, that they excite themselves to drink of it by eating salt. It is a common saying among them, that if Mahomet had drank of it, he would have begged of God not to have died, that he might always have done it.” HARMER, vol. ii. p. 295.
No. 668.--X. 26. There shall not a hoof be left behind.] Bp. Patrick observes, that this was a proverbial speech in the eastern countries; similar to a saying amongst the Arabians, which was first used about horses, and afterwards transferred to other thingspresent money even to a hoof, that is, they would not part with a horse, or any other commodity, till the buyer had laid down the price of it to a farthing
No. 669.-xii. 3. In the tenth day of this month they shall take to themselves every man a lamb; ver. 6. and ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month.] From hence it appears that the lamb was to be taken from the flock four days before it was killed. For this the rabbies assign the following reasons: that the providing of it might not, through a hurry of business, especially at the time of their departure from Egypt, be neglected till it was too late: that by having it so long with them before it was killed, they might have the better opportunity of observing whether there were any blemishes in it; and by having it before their eyes so considerable a time, might be more effectually reminded of the mercy of their deliverance out of Egypt; and likewise to prepare them for so great a solemnity as the approaching feast. On these accounts some of the rabbies inform us it was customary to have the lamb tied these four days to their bed-posts: a rite which they make to be necessary and essential to the passover
JENNINGS's Jewish Ant. vol. ii. p. 187.
in all ages.
No. 670.-xii. 9. Eat not of it raw, nor sodden with water, but roasted with fire.) The prohibition of eating it raw, for which there might seem to be little occasion, since mankind have generally abhorred such food, is understood by some to have been given in opposition to the barbarous customs of the heathens, who in their feasts of Bacchus, which, according to Herodotus and Plutarch, had their original in Egypt, used to tear the members of living creatures to pieces, and eat them raw. It is observable, that the Syriae version renders the clause. “ Eat not of it raw, eat not of it while it is alive." SPENCER de Leg. Heb. I. ii. c. 4. sect. 2.
No. 671.-xii. 10. That which remaineth till the morning ye shall burn with fire.] We read in Macrobius of such a custom amongst the ancient Romans in a feast called Protervia, where the manner was, as Flavianus saith, ut si quid ex epulis superfuisset, igne consumeretur; that if any thing were left of the good cheer, it should be consumed with fire. L. ii. Saturnal. cap. 2.
PATRICK, in loc.
No. 672.-xii. 15, Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread.] As by the law of Moses no leaven of any kind was to be kept in the houses of the Israelites for seven or eight days, it might have been productive of great inconvenience, had they not been able by other means to supply the want of it. The MS. Chardin informs us, that they use no kind of leaven whatever in the East, but dough kept till it is grown sour, which they preserve from one day to another. In wine countries they use the lees of wine as we do yeast. If therefore there should be no leaven in all the country for several days, yet in twenty-four hours some would be produced, and they would return to their preceding state.
HARMER, vol. i. p. 253.
No. 673.---xii. 15. The first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses.] Concerning this matter the modern Jews are superstitiously exact and scrupulous. The master of the family makes a diligent search into every hole and crevice throughout the house, lest any crumb of leavened bread should remain in it; and that not by the light of the sun or moon, but of a candle. And in order that this exactness may not appear altogether superfluous and ridiculous, care is taken to conceal some scraps of leavened bread in some corner or other, the discovery of which occasions mighty joy. This search, nevertheless, strict as it is, does not give him entire satisfaction. After all he beseeches God that all the leavened bread that is in the house, as well as what he has found, may become like the dust of the earth, and be reduced to nothing. They are also very exact and scrupulous in making their bread for the feast, lest there should be any thing like leaven mixed with it. The corn of which it is made, must not be carried to the mill on the horse's bare back, lest the heat of the sun should make it ferment. The sack in which it is put, must be carefully examined, lest there should be any remainder of old meal in it: the dough must be made in a place not exposed to the sun, and must be put into the oven immediately after it is made, lest it should ferment itself.
JENNINGS's Jewish Ant. vol. ii. p. 211.
No. 674.-xii. 26, 27. Your children shall say,
what mean ye by this service?] A custom obtained among the Jews, that a child should ask the meaning of the passover, and that the person who presided should then