« VorigeDoorgaan »
the holy oblation, and of the possession of south side southward, the border shall be the city, over against the five and twenty even from Tamar unto the waters of 'strife thousand of the oblation toward the east in Kadesh, and to the river toward the great border, and westward over against the five and twenty thousand toward the west bor- 29 This is the land which ye shall divide der, over against the portions for the prince : by lot unto the tribes of Israel for inheritand it shall be the holy oblation; and the ance, and these are their portions, saith the sanctuary of the house shall be in the midst Lord God. thereof.
30 | And these are the goings out of 22 Moreover from the possession of the the city on the north side, four thousand Levites, and from the possession of the city, and five hundred measures. being in the midst of that which is the 31 And the gates of the city shall be prince's, between the border of Judah and the after the names of the tribes of Israel: three border of Benjamin, shall be for the prince. gates northward; one gate of Reuben, one
23 As for the rest of the tribes, from the gate of Judah, one gate of Levi. east side unto the west side Benjamin shall 32 And at the east side four thousand hure 'a portion
and five hundred: and three gates; and 24 And by the border of Benjamin, from one gate of Joseph, one gate of Benjamin, the east side unto the west side, Simeon
one gate of Dan. shall have a portion.
33 And at the south side four thousand 25 And by the border of Simeon, from and five hundred measures: and three the east side unto the west side, Issachar a gates; one gate of Simeon, one gate of portion.
Issachar, one gate of Zebulun. 26 And by the border of Issachar, from 34 At the west side four thousand and the east side unto the west side, Zebulun a five hundred, with their three gates; one portion.
gate of Gad, one gate of Asher, one gate of 27 And by the border of Zebulun, from Naphtali. the east side unto the west side, Gad 35 It was round about eighteen thousand portion.
measures : and the name of the city from 28 And by the border of Gad, at the that day shall be, 'The Lord is there. 3 Heb, one portion.
• Heb. Meribah-kudesh. Heb. Jehovah-shammah. Verse 16. “ These shall be the measures thereof."- That is, of the city ; which, it will be seen, was an exact square, measuring 1500 on each side, and being 18.000 in circumference, and each side of the square having three gates, called after the tribes of Israel. The dimensions have occasioned some discussion ; for the measure, in which the estimate is made not being mentioned, has been variously supplied. Many suppose that the measure was the “reed,” in which the other measurements were taken ; and our translators appear to have been of this opinion, as they supply the word in verse 8. This, according to the usual computation of Ezekiel's " reed,” would make the circumference about thirtysix miles Others suppose the cubit to be intended, which would reduce the dimensions so as not to greatly exceed the thirty-three stades which Josephus gives as the circuit of derusalem. There have however been some who interpret the dimensions in such an extent that, as they state, not all the land of Israel, nor even all Europe, if all the world, could contain it: and then allege this impossibility as an argument for the figurative interpre:ation of the whole account contained in these final chapters of Ezekiel. Luther, for one, makes the circumference of the city to be thirty-six thousand German miles—each being equal to four and a half of our own miles: and this computation is really moderate compared with some that we have seen. Our own impression is, that the ** reed " is the highest measure which can in this instance be taken ; and that very probably the cubit rather than this reed is to be understood. Whatever measure be taken in this instance, must of course be applied to the other parts, describing the lands of the priests, and the Levites, in the neighbourhood of the city. The whole of this, it appears, formed one great square containing five rectangles—thus: that for the priests (verses 9, 10) was 25,000 by 10.000; that for the Levites (verse 13), also 25.000 by 10.000; that for the city and suburbs (verses 16, 17), 5000 by 5000; adding two on each side of 10,000 by 5000 (verse 18). equal to 10,000 by 10,000-making, altogether, a rectangle of 25,000 by 25,000, which would, by Ezekiel's reed, afford a circuit of about 200 miles, but only of about thirty miles by the cubit. This statement serves for little more than to show the uncertainty in which the whole subject is involved.
IN CONCLUDING the notes to the book of Ezekiel, it may be proper to take some notice of the alleged tomb of this prophet. The tomb is situated a few miles to the south-east of the ruins of Babylon, on the road to Meshid Ali- the place where the Caliph Ali is supposed to have been interred. If we were to allow that the Jews--a considerable body of whom has always been found in this country, from the time of the Captivity till now -- were likely to transmit correctly, from one generation to another, the knowledge of the places where the prophets of the captivity were interred; the presence of this tomb near Babylon, and at a distance from the river Khabour, where the prophet usually resided, might admit of an easy explanation, arising from the probability that he died while on a visit to the metropolis. Be this as it may, the tomb of Ezekiel has been pointed out for ages at the spot indicated It was first described to Europeans by Benjamin of Tudela. He says there were several synagogues at the place, and that behind one of them was the tomb of Ezekiel, under a great and very goodly vault, supposed to have been built by the captive king Jeconiah over the remains of the prophet. That this deposed king, when liberated from prison and treated with respect by Evil-merodach, should have erected a suitable monument to his venerable fellow-captive, is not unlikely; but that this was the VOL. III.
same building which Benjamin saw, we might very safely dispute. However, the account which this Jew proceeds to give, is quite in conformity with existing usages, at those tombs of great prophets which are made places of pilgrimage. " This place is holy even unto this day. And unto that place, at a certain time, many assemble for the cause of prayer, from the beginning of the year unto the feast of expiation: and there they live most pleasant days. And their principal man, whom they call the Prince of the Captivity, with the other heads of the assemblies, come hither also irom Bagdad, and abide all in that field for two and twenty miles together. Moreover, the Arabian merchants come thitner, and the greatest and most frequented fairs are kept there. But at this time a great book, renowned for authority and antiquity, written by Ezekiel the prophet, is brought forth, wherein they read on the day of expiation. And upon the sepulchre of Ezekiel a lamp continually burneth day and night. There is also a certain great sacred temple there, full of books, kept as well from the time of the first house (temple) as of the second : and it is and was the custom, that they who had no children should consecrate their books in this place. Moreover, vows are made in that p ace, to be performed by the Jews dwelling in Media and Persia. The principal men also of the Ishmaelites resort hither to pray, among whom the authority and reverence of the prophet Ezekiel is great. The name of the place is, in their language, Dar melihha, that is, the House of Congregation ; and thither all the Arabians come for cause of prayer." He adds, that this general reverence for the memory of Ezekiel, has preserved untouched, in the midst of frequent and bitter wars, the tomb and other venerated places in this neighbourhood. This account is oue of the best and most consistent statements in Benjamin's book. The present tomb is described by Sir John Macdonald (Kinneir) as “a large clumsy building, without beauty or ornament; and like the tomb of Ezra, on the banks of the Tigris, a short way above Kornah, is much frequented by the Jews." ("Geographical Memoir,' p. 282.)
D A N I E L.
three years, that at the end thereof they CHAPTER I.
might stand before the king. 1 Jehoiakim's captivity. 3 Ashpenaz taketh Daniel, of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and
6 Now among these were of the children Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. 8 They refusing the king's portion do prosper with pulse
Azariah: and water. 17 Their excellency in wisdom.
7 Unto whom the prince of the eunuchs gave names: for he gave unto Daniel the
name of Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah, of N the third Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; year of the and to Azariah, of Abed-nego. reign of Je
8 g But Daniel purposed in his heart hoiakim king that he would not defile himself with the of Judah portion of the king's meat, nor with the 'came Nebu- wine which he drank: therefore he requested chadnezzar of the prince of the eunuchs that he might king of Ba- not defile himself. bylon unto 9 Now God had brought Daniel into
Jerusalem, favour and tender love with the prince of and besieged the eunuchs.
10 And the prince of the eunuchs said 2 And the unto Daniel, I fear my lord the king, who Lord gave hath appointed your meat and your drink :
Jehoiakim for why should he see your faces 'worse
king of Ju- liking than the children which are of your dah into his hand, with part of the ves- *sort? then shall ye make me endanger my sels of the house of God: which he carried head to the king. into the land of Shinar to the house of his 11 Then said Daniel to Melzar, whom god; and he brought the vessels into the the prince of the eunuchs had set over treasure house of his god.
Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, 3 And the king spake unto Ashpenaz 12 Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, the master of his eunuchs, that he should ten days; and let them give us 'pulse 'to bring certain of the children of Israel, and eat, and water to drink. of the king's seed, and of the princes ;
13 Then let our countenances be looked 4 Children in whom was no blemish, but upon before thee, and the countenance of well favoured, and skilful in all wisdom, and the children that eat of the portion of the cunning in knowledge, and understanding king's meat: and as thou seest, deal with science, and such as had ability in them to thy servants. stand in the king's palace, and whom they 14 So he consented to them in this mat might teach the learning and the tongue of ter, and proved them ten days. the Chaldeans.
15 And at the end of ten days their coun5 And the king appointed them a daily tenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh provision of the king's meat, and of the than all the children which did eat the porwine which he drank: so nourishing them I tion of the king's meat. 1 2 Kings 14. l. 2 Chron. 36. 6. ? Heb, the wine of his drink
Or, form, or, continuance. S Or, the steward & Heb. of pulse. ? Heb. that we may eat, &c.
3 Heb. sadder.
16 Thus Melzar took away the portion 19 And the king communed with them; of their meat, and the wine that they should and among them all was found none like drink; and gave them pulse.
Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah ; 17 | As for these four children, God gave therefore stood they before the king. them knowledge and skill in all learning 20 And in all matters of 'wisdom and and wisdom: and Daniel had understand understanding, that the king enquired of ing in all visions and dreams.
them, he found them ten times better than 18 Now at the end of the days that the all the magicians and astrologers that were king had said he should bring them in, then in all his realm. the prince of the eunuchs brought them in 21 And Daniel continued even unto the before Nebuchadnezzar.
first year of king Cyrus. 8 Or, he made Daniel understand. 9 Heb. wisdom o funderstanding.
Daniel.–The history of Daniel is contained in the book which bears his name. From this we learn that he was in the first band of Hebrew captives sent to Babylon in the fourth year of Jehviakim, about seven years before the de portation of the second band, which included Ezekiel. It appears from the history that he was quite a youth at this time; and as those carried into captivity on this occasion appear to have been exclusively persons of consideration and youths of distinguished families, there is every reason to believe that Daniel must have belonged to a family of rank and consequence. The Jews indeed go further, and believe that he was of the royal family, and descended from Hezekiah; and therefore cite his history in confirmation of the prophecy of Isaiah (xxxix. 7) to that monarch, “Of thy song which shall issue from thee, which thou shalt beget, shall they take away ; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.” Daniel, being one of the youths selected to be brought up for future service at the court of the conqueror, received instruction in all the learning of the Chaldeans. But it was through the wisdom given him from above, and the signal favour of God manifested remarkably towards him before the eyes of the heathen, that be rose to distinction at the court of Babylon, and was held in high consideration by its successive kings, through all the seventy years in which his nation remained in captivity, and whose condition in captivity was probably much meliorated through his influence. As Josephus observes, he was the only one of the prophets who enjoyed a high degiee of worldly prosperity. His life was however not without its trials, disturbed as it was by the envy and murderous plots of jealous courtiers ; but all these served but the more to manifest his righteousness and faith, and in the ead tended to establish him all the more firmly in his high place. Daniel must have lived to a great age. There is an interval of seventy years between the date of his first prophecy (ii. 1) and his last (x. 1). Some suppose him to have been twenty years of age when carried into captivity; he was very possibly younger. However, ten years after, we find him celebrated for his piety and wisdom (Ezek. xiv. 14, 20), which seems indeed to have become proverbial (Ezek. xxviii. 3). At the date of his last prophecy, in the first year of Cyrus, he must have been about ninety years of age; and it is not probable that he survived much longer. There is no record of the time or place of his death; but the pseudo-Epiphanius, who wrote the lives of the prophets, having stated that he died at Babylon, his account has been usually followed, although it would seem quite as probable that he died at Susa. whence his last prophecy is dated. Although he survived the captivity, there is nothing to sanction the opinion that he returned to his own country. His great age might well prevent him; as also, perhaps, the consideration that he was in the way of being more serviceable to his nation by remaining at the Persian court than by returning to Palestine.
The Hebrews always accounted this book as canonical. Josephus calls Daniel not only a prophet, but one of the greatest of the prophets ; adding, that he not only, in common with other prophets, foretold future things, but also fixed the precise time of their coming to pass. Our Saviour also cites him as -- Daniel the prophet.” It is important to note this, as, in the Hebrew Bibles, the book of Daniel does not appear among those of the prophets, but in the Hagiographa; that is to say, the Jews fully recognize the book of Daniel as holy writ, but refuse to consider it prophetic, or to regard Daniel as a prophet, and therefore give it no place among their prophetic books. For this they assign many frivolous reasons ; but the real one is conjectured by many Christian commentators to be, that Daniel's famous predictions concerning the Messiah so remarkably corresponded to the history of Christ, and, what is more, to the time of his appearance, that they could not justify their refusal to consider him as the expected Messiah, without altogether dedying the prophetic character of Daniel's book. This was done ; and certainly afler the time of Christ and the destruetion of Jerusalem: for we have not only the testimony of Josephus, as to the belief of the Jews in his time, but koow that so fully did they acknowledge the prophetic character of Daniel, and so accurately calculate the time giveu by him, that at the date of our Saviour's appearance there was a general expectation in the nation that the time for the Messiah's advent was come. And he did come, but they knew him not: he came unto his own, and his own received him not. (John i. 10, 11.)
Verse 4. “ Children in whom was no blemish, but well favoured.”—That a fine person is one of the recommendations for the royal service will be seen in the succeeding note. On this point the following remark may be quoted from Sir Paul Ricaut's · Present State of the Ottoman Empire:'-" The youths that are designed for the great offices of the Turkish empire must be of admirable features and pleasing looks, well shaped in their bodies, and without any defects of nature ; for it is conceived that a corrupt and sordid soul can scarce inhabit in a serene and ingenuous aspect"; and I have observed, not only in the seraglio but also in the courts of great men, their personal attendants have been of comely, lusty youths, well habited, deporting themselves with singular modesty and respect in the presence of their masters."
* Such as had ability in them to stand in the king's palace.”—The whole of the account here given of the arrangements for these picked Hebrew youths, together with the high distinction which Daniel and some of the others ultimately attained, is very instructive as to the usages of the Chaldean court ; and we have been interested in observing that there is not a single intimation in the account which may not be illustrated from the customs of the Turkish seraglio, till some alterations were made in this, as in other matters, by the present sultan. The pages of the seraglio and officers of the court, as well as the greater part of the public functionaries and governors of provinces, were originally Christian boys, taken captive in war, or bought or stolen in time of peace. The finest and most capable of these were sent to the palace, and if accepted were placed under the charge of the chief of the white eunuchs. The lads did not themselves become eunuchs; which we notice, because it has been erroneously inferred that Daniel and the other Hebrew youths must have been made eunuchs, because they were committed to the care of the chief eunuch. The Becepted lads were brought up in the religion of their masters; and there were schools in the palace where they received such complete instruction in Turkish learning and science as it was the lot of few others to obtain. Among their accomplishments we find it mentioned that the greatest pains were taken to teach them to speak the Turkish language (a foreign one to them) with the greatest purity, as spoken at court. Compare this with ** Teach them the learning and tongue of the Chaldeans.” The lads were clothed very neatly, and well, but temperately, dieted. They slept in large chambers, where there were rows of beds. Every one slept separately; and between every third or fourth bed lay a white eunuch, who served as a sort of guard, and was bound to keep a careful eye upon the conduct of the lads near him, and report his observations to his superior. When any of them arrived at a proper age they were in. structed in military exercises, and pains were taken to render them active, robust, and brave. ` Every one also, according to the custom of the country, was taught some mechanic or liberal art, to serve him as a resource in adversity.
When their education was completed in all all its branches, those who had displayed the most capacity and valour were employed about the person of the king, and the rest given to the service of the treasury and the other offices of the extensive establishment to which they belonged. In due time the more talented or successful young men got promoted to the various high court offices which give them access to the private apartments of the seraglio, so that they could at almost any time see and speak to their great master. This advantage soon paved the way for their promotion to the government of provinces
and to military commands; and it has often happened that favoured court officers have stepped at once into the post of grand vizier, or chief minister, and other high offices of state, without having been previously abroad in the world as pashas and military commanders. How well this agrees to and illustrates the usages of the Babylonian court will clearly appear to the reader without particular indication. (See Habesci's 'Ottoman Em pire ;' Tavernier's . Relation de l'Intérieur du Sérail du Grand Seigneur,' &c.)
7. " Unto whom the prince of the eunuchs gave names.”—The captive youths of whom we have spoken in the preceding notes also receive new names, that is, Mohammedan names, their former names being Christian. So in the present case, the names are changed from Hebrew to Babylonian. Names are almost everywhere changed with a change of religiou: but, in the present case, we know that no such change took place The circumstance is therefore to be explained with reference to the general custom of changing the native names of foreign slaves, and which is as well