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were under a curse. For we do not find that the patriarchs avoided matches with any other people, or that they were expressly forbidden by the law to marry with them. Their families were fixed and attached by the same law to certain lands, on which they were obliged to live during the space of the nine hundred years I have mentioned. Should we not esteem that family very noble indeed, that could shew as long a succession of generations, without any disgraceful weddings in it, or change of mansion ? Few noblemen in Europe can prove so much.
What deceives us in this respect is, our not seeing titles among the Israelites like those of our nobility. Every one was called plainly by his own name; but their names signified great things, as those of the Patriarchs. The name of God was part of most; which was, in a manner, a short prayer. Elijah and Joel are made up of two of God's names joined in a different way ;' Jehosaphat and Sephatiah signify the judgment of God ; Jehozadak and Zedekiah, His justice ; Johanan, or John, the son of Hananiah, His mercy; Nathanael, Elnathan, Jonathan, and Nethaniah, all four signify, God given, or the gift of God. Some
.Jehovah he is my strong God אלי יה הוא
• Exod. xxxiv. 16. Deut. vii. 3. 'ELIJAH, in Hebrew 17068 Eliyahu, a contraction of
. JOEL 589 signifies willing, or acquiescing, from 58" yaal, he willed, and is not compounded of it yah, Jehovah; and El, the strong God, as the Abbé seems to have supposed.
times the name of God was understood, as in Nathan, David, Obed, Uzzah, Ezra or Esdras : as is plain by Eliezer, God my helper ; Uzziel, God my strength ; and Obadiah, the Lord's servant ; where it is expressed. Some of their names were mysterious and prophetical, as that of Joshua or Jesus, Saviour; and those which Hosea and Isaiah gave their children by the order of God. Other names shewed the piety of their fathers ; and we may see instances of it in the names of David's brethren and children.
Such are the names which appear so barbarous to us, for want of understanding the Hebrew tongue. Are they not full as significant as those of castles and towns, which our nobility assume? The Greek names, whose sound we are so fond of, are of the same import. Many are composed of the names of their gods ; as Diodorus, Diogenes, Hermodorus, Hephæstion, Athenais, Artemisia. But several are derived from their love of exercise, particularly of riding, as Philip, Damasippus or Hippodamus, Hegesippus, Hippomedon, &c.
They often added the father's name, either for
Hosea i. 4. Isaiah viii. 3. 1 Chron. ii. 13. ii. 1.
HEPHÆSTION, Vulcan.-ATHENAIS, Minerda.-ARTEMISIA, Diana.
Philippus, a lover of horses. DAMAIPPUS, HIPPOMEDON, HIIPPODAMUS, a tamer of horses. HEGESIPPUs, chief, or capfain of horse.
distinction or respect's sake, to shew that the father was a man of renown: perhaps Solomon had this custom in his eye, when he said, the glory of children are their fathers. Thus we see in Homer, that the Greeks took the paternal name for a mark of honour.' Sometimes the mother's name was given for the surname; as when the father had many wives, or when the mother was of the better family. So Joab and his brethren are always called the sons of Zeruiah, who was David's sister. If the name of the father was not distinction enough, they added the grandfather's, as Gedaliah, the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan. And this is the reason of so many names that appear tiresome to us; for they went sometimes as high as the great-grandfather, or higher. Sometimes a surname was taken from the head of a particular branch, from a town, a country, or a nation, if they were originally strangers; as Uriah the Hittite, Araunah the Jebusite.
The Greeks had no surnames but what they took from their father or country. The Romans had family names, to which they only added the distinction of some great office or remarkable victory ; but in deeds they always set down the father's name. Many of the European nations still retain the same custom ; and most of our surnames come
* Prov. xvii. 6.
Iliad x. 68, “ Call every single person by his name,
And add the father's name to grace the son's." m 1 Chron. ii. 16.
Jerem. xxxix. 14.
from the proper names of the fathers, which have remained with their children. As to the titles of lordships, they are not above seven or eight hundred years old, no more than the lordships themselves. We must not be surprised to see in Scripture David the son of Jesse, and Solomon the son of David, any more than Alexander the son of Philip, and Ptolemy the son of Lagus, in Greek authors.
The principal distinction that birth occasioned among the Israelites, was that of the Levites and Priests. The whole tribe of Levi was dedicated to God; and had no inheritance but the tenths and the first fruits, which it received from the other tribes. Of all the Levites, the descendants of Aaron only were priests; the rest were employed in the other functions of religion; in singing psalms, taking care of the tabernacle or temple, and instructing the people. Two of the other tribes were sufficiently distinguished. That of Judah was always the most illustrious, and the most numerous ; of which, according to Jacob's prophecy, their kings, and the Messiah himself, were to come.° That of Ephraim held the second rank on account of Joseph. Yet the eldest branches and the heads of each family were most esteemed in every
tribe : and this made Saul say, surprised with the respect that Samuel paid him, Am not I of the smallest of the tribes of Israel, and my family the least of all the families of the tribe of Benjamin ?P
• Gen. xlix. 10.
p 1 Sam. ix. 21.
Age too made a great distinction; and the name of old man in Scripture generally denotes dignity. Indeed there was nothing but age and experience that could distinguish men equally noble, and of the same education and employments, and almost equally rich,
WE do not find any distinct professions among the Israelites : from the eldest of the tribe of Judah to the youngest of that of Benjamin, they were all husbandmen and shepherds, driving their ploughs and watching their flocks themselves. The old man of Gibeah, that lodged the Levite, whose wife was abused, was coming back at night from his work, when he invited him to sojourn with him. Gideon himself was threshing his corn when the angel told him he should deliver his people. Ruth got into the good graces of Boaz by gleaning at his harvest. Saul, though a king, was driving oxen when he received the news of the danger Jabesh Gilead was in.° Every body knows that