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designed. The women were laborious as well as the men; and wrought in the house, whilst their husbands were at work in the fields." They dressed the victuals, and served them up, as appears from Homer, and from several passages in Scripture. When Samuel describes the manners of the kings to the people, he says, Your king will take your daughters to be confectioners, and to be cooks, and to be bakers. The pretence which Amnon the son of David made use of to get his sister Tamar near him when he debauched her, was that he might eat meat at her hands, which she dressed herself, notwithstanding she was a king's daughter.
The women made wearing apparel; and their common employment was weaving stuffs, as making cloth and tapestry is now. We see in Homer the instances of Penelope, Calypso, and Circe, employed in the same way. There are examples of it in Theocritus, Terence, and many other authors." But what appears most wonderful to me is, that this custom was still retained at Rome, among the greatest ladies, in a very corrupt age: since Augustus commonly wore clothes of his wife’s, sister's, and daughter's making. For a proof out of Scripture, it is said that Samuel's mother made him a little coat, which she brought him upon festival days ;' and we see the virtuous wife in the Proverbs seeking wool and flax, and laying her hands to the spindle, and giving two suits of clothes to all her servants.
* We learn from Herodotus, lib. 2. p. 115. Edit. Steph. 1592, that the Egyptian women were treated in the same mapper. • 1 Sam. viii. 14.
• 2 Sam. xiii. 6. • Theoc. Idyll. 15. Ter. Heaut. Act ii. Sc. 2. Suet. Aug. 78.
All this work is done under shelter, and in the house, and does not require great strength of body: for which reason the antients did not think them fit employments for men, but left them to the women, as naturally more inclined to stay in the house, and neater, and fonder of such sort of things. And this is probably the reason why women were generally door-keepers, even to kings. There was only one servant maid at the gate of king Ishbosheth,' who was busy in picking corn. And
'1 Sam. ii. 19.
• Prov. xxxi. 13, 19, 21. Here our author follows the Vulgate, which translates Prov. xxx. 21,-Omnes enim domestici ejus vestiti sunt duplicibus ; and we, for all her household are clothed with scarlet; and in the Margin, or double garments ; for s'u shanim, signifies either.-E. F.
But double clothing seems to be chiefly intended, because the clothing referred to is for a defence from the cold; in which case scarlet could avail no more than any other colour: there. fore, our translation is evidently improper.
Et ostiaria domés purgans triticurit obdormivit, 2 Sam. iv. 5. The reader must not expect to find this in our Bible, because the Hebrew has it not. The Vulgate took it from the Seventy. However, what our author asserts is notorious: for the women spoken of, Exod. xxxviii. 8, were probably door-keepers, as well as those who assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, 1 Sam. ii. 22. Athenæus says, the keepers of the king's palace in Persia were women, lib. xii. Deipnos. c. ii. and Chardin says it was so lately. And the damsel that kept the door in the Gospel, John xviii, 17, every body remembers. -E. F.
David, when he fled before Absalom, left ten women, who were his concubines, to keep his palace. The women lived separated from the men, and very retired, especially widows. Judith lived in this manner, shut up with her women, in an apartment
the top of the house;' and so did Penelope in Homer."
The Israelites made great feasts and rejoicings at their weddings. They were so dressed out, that David could find no fitter comparison to describe the splendour of the sun, than that of a bridegroom. The feast lasted seven days; which we see as early as the times of the Patriarchs. When Jacob complained that they had given him Leah for Rachel, Laban said to him, Fulfil the week of the marriage." Samson, having married a Philistine, made feasts for seven days, and the seventh day the feast ended. When young Tobias had a mind to go home, his father-in-law pressed him to stay two weeks, doubling the usual time, because they were never to see one another again. This is the constant tradition of the Jews, and their practice is agreeable to it. Whoever thoroughly studies the Song of Solomon will find seven days plainly pointed out to represent the first week of his marriage.
We see in the same Song the friends of the
2 Sam. xv. 16.
Judith viii. 4, 5.
Judg. xiv. 12, &c.
a Cod. Talm. Pirke Aboth, cap. xvi * Seld. Vxor, Heb. ii. c. 3. Buxtorf. Syn. Jud. c. 28.
bridegroom and the companions of the bride, who were always at the feast.' He had young men to rejoice with him, and she young women. In the gospel, there is mention made of the bridegroom's friends, and of the virgins who went forth to meet the bride and bridegroom." He wore a crown in token of joy, and she too" according to the Jewish tradition. They were conducted with instruments of music, and their company carried branches of myrtle and palm-tree in their hands."
As for any thing farther, we do not find that their marriages were attended with any religious ceremony, except the prayers of the father of the family, and the standers by, to intreat the blessing of God. We have examples of it in the marriage of Rebecca with Isaac,' of Ruth with Boaz,' and of Sara with Tobias." We do not see that there were any sacrifices offered upon the occasion ; or that they went to the temple, or sent for the priests : all was transacted betwixt the relations and friends, so that it was no more than a civil contract.
As to circumcision, it was really a religious act; and absolutely necessary, at that time, for all that would enter into the covenant of Abraham. But yet it was performed in private houses, without the ministry of priests or Levites. If any person of a public character was sent for, it was a sort of surgeon used to the operation, whom they called Mohel : and such sort of people the Jews have still. In all these ceremonies we must take care not to be imposed upon by modern pictures, as I observed before about clothes.
Song of Sol. v. 1.
' Jud. xiv. 11. " Matt. ix. 15, xxv. 1, &c.
" Isaiah lxi. 10. The Chaldee paraphrast renders it, as the high priest is adorned with his vestments, that is, magnificently, which the Vulgate translates quasi sponsum decoratum corona, and the Seventy in the same manner : and them our author follows, a ccording to custom.-E. F.
* Pirke Aboth, c. xix. Selden, c. xv. , Gen. xxiv. 60.
Ruth iv. 11. · Tob. vii, 13.
The Israelites were so far from being afraid of having many children, that it was what they particularly wished for. Besides their natural inclination, they had great motives to it from the law. They knew that God, when He created the world, and repaired it after the deluge, had said, Increase and multiply in the earth; that He had promised Abraham a numerous posterity : in a word, that from among them was to be born the Saviour of the world. We may add to this, that they were not influenced by those sordid considerations, which cause a numerous offspring to be looked on in the present day as a misfortune.
By reason of their frugal way of life, they were
See Part IV. c. 1.
brio mohel, a circumciser, from the Chaldee Soo mahal, he circumcised. When the operator has performed the act, he pronounces the following benediction : “O Lord our God, the God of our fathers, strengthen this child, and preserve him to his parents : and let his name among the people of Israel be; (here the name is first given) Let his father rejoice and be glad for that which is descended from his loins ; and let his mother be delighted with the fruit of her womb." How simple, appropriate, and rational.