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after which, M. de Chateauneuf presented M. de Ferriol to him, as his successor, who delivered him the king his master's letters, complimenting him as from his majesty and himself, to which the visier answered very obligingly: then after some discourse, which turned upon the reciprocal readiness of propension towards the continuance of a good intelligence between the Porte and the court of France, which M. de Ferriol assured that the king his master was well disposed to cultivate sincerely, they gave two dishes of coffee to their excellencies, with sweetmeats, and after that perfumes and sherbet. Then they clothed them with caffetans of a silver brocade, with large silk flowers; and to those that were admitted into the apartments with them, they gave others of brocade, almost all silk, except some slight gold or silver flowers, according to the custom usually observed towards all foreign ministers.” Travels, p. 199. Caffetans are long vests of gold or silver brocade, flowered with silk. See also Ezra ii. 69. Neh. vii. 70.
No. 648.--xlvi. 4. Put his hand upon
Put his hand upon thine eyes.) This appears to have been a very ancient and general custom, as there are evidences of its existence amongst the Jews, Greeks, and Romans. Among the Jews, Tobias is said to have shut the eyes of his wife's father and mother, and to have buried them honourably. Tobit xiv. 15. Maimonides represents it as a custom
Homer describes Ulysses thus expressing himself on the death of Socus :
Ah, wretch! norfather shall thy corpse compose,
Il. xi, 570. Popt.
See also the Odyss. xi. 424. and xxiv. 294. Eurip. .
Hecub. 430. Virg. Æn. ix. 487. Ovid. Trist. iii. El. iii. 43. and iv. El. iii. 43.
No, 649.xlviii. 14. And Israel stretched out his right hand, and laid it upon Ephraim's head.] Imposition of hands was a Jewish ceremony, introduced, not by any divine authority, but by custom: it being the practice among those people whenever they prayed to God for any person, to lay their hands on his head. Our Saviour observed the same custom, both when he conferred his blessing on children, and when he healed the sick, adding prayers to the ceremony. The apostles likewise laid hands on those upon whom they bestowed the Holy Ghost. The priests observed the same custom when any one was received into their body. And the apostles themselves underwent the imposition of hands afresh, every time they entered upon any new design. In the ancient church imposition of hands was even practised on persons when they married, which custom the Abyssinians still observe.
No. 650.---xlviii. 20. And he set Ephraim before Manasseh.] The preference given in this instance to the younger brother has in many cases been paralleled. Some nations have even gone so far as to form institutions upon this very principle. For the younger son to succeed his father in preference to his elder brothers, was a custom long prevalent in Tartary, and among the northern nations: and it is to be found in our old Saxon tenures, under the description of BoroughEnglish. Sir William Blackstone, after mentioning the opinions of Littleton and other eminent lawyers in regard to the origin of this strange custom, conjectures, with great judgment, that it might be deduced from the Tartars. Amongst those people, the elder sons, as they grew to man's estate, migrated from their father with a certain portion of cattle ; and the youngest son only remaining at home, became in consequence the heir to his father's house and all his remaining possessions.
RICHARDSON'S Dissert. on Eastern Nations, p. 162.
No. 651.-xlix. 1. And Jacob called unto his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may
tell you that which shall beful you in the last days.] “ It is an opinion of great antiquity, that the nearer men approach to their dissolution, their souls grow more divine, and discern more of futurity. We find this opinion as early as Homer, (Il. xvi. 852. et xxii. 358.) for he represents the dying Patroclus foretelling the fate of Hector, and the dying Hector denouncing no less certainly the death of Achilles. Socrates, in his apology to the Athenians a little before his death, asserts the same opinion. But now,' saith he, I am desirous to 'prophesy to you, who have condemned me, what will happen hereafter. For now I am arrived at that state, in which men prophesy most, when they are about to die.' (Platonis Apolog. Socr, Op. vol. i. p. 39. edit. Serrani.) His scholar Xenophon (Cyrop. lib. viii. prope finem, p. 140.) introduces the dying Cyrus declaring in like manner that the soul of man at the hour of death appears most divine, and then foresees something of future events. Diodorus Siculus (in initio, lib. xviii. tom. 2.) alledgeth great authorities upon the subject. Pythagoras the Samian, and some others of the ancient naturalists, have demonstrated that the souls of men are immortal, and in consequence of this opinion, that they also foreknow future events at the time that they are making their separation from the body in death.' Sextus Empiricus (adv. Mathem, p. 312.) confirms it likewise by the authority of AriStotle : The soul,' saith Aristotle, 'foresees and foretels future events, when it is going to be separated from the body by death.' We might produce more testimonies to this purpose from Cicero, and Eustathius upon Homer, and from other authors, if there were occasion : but these are sufficient to shew the great antiquity of this opinion. And it is possible that old experience may in some cases attain to something like prophecy and divination. In some instances also God may have been pleased to comfort and enlighten departing souls with a prescience of future events. But what I conceive might principally give rise to this opinion was the tradition of some of the patriarchs being divinely inspired in their last moments, to foretel the state and condition of the people descended from them : as Jacob
his death-bed summoned his sons together, that he might inform them of what should befal them in the latter days.”
Newton on the Prophecies, vol. i. p. 85, 2d edit.
No. 652.-xlix. 3, 4. Reuben, thou art my firstborn ;-thou shalt not excel, because thou wentest up to thy father's bed.] In the following extract we find a similar punishment ordered for an offence similar to that of Reuben. “ Notwithstanding that long continued custom there, for the eldest son to succeed the father in that great empire, (of the Mogul) Achabar Shah, father of the late king, upon high and just displeasure taken against his son, for climbing up unto the bed of Anarkalee, his father's most beloved wife, and for other base actions of his, which stirred up his father's high displeasure against him, resolved to break that ancient custom; and therefore often in his lifetime protested, that not he, but his grand-child Sultan Coobsurroo, whom he kept in his court, should succeed him in that empire.” Sir THOMAS Roe's Embassy to the Great Mogul, p. 470.
No. 653.-xlix. 8. Thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies.] This expression denotes triumph over an enemy, and that Judah should subdue his adversaries. This was fulfilled in the person of David, and acknowledged by him. Thou hast also given me the necks of mine enemies, that I might destroy them that hate me. Psalm xviii. 40. Treading on the neck of a vanquished foe has been a very common practice. Amongst the Franks it was usual to put the arm round the neck as a mark of superiority on the part of him that did it. When Chrodin, declining the office of mayor of the palace, chose a young nobleman, named Gogen, to fill that place, he immediately took the arm of that young man, and put it round his own neck, as a mark of his dependance on him, and that he acknowledged him for his general and chief.”
“When a debtor became insolvent, he gave himself up to his creditor as his slave, till he had paid all his debt: and to confirm his engagement, he took the arm of his patron, and put it round his own neck. This ceremony invested, as it were, his creditor in his
per. son.” STOCKDALE's Manners of the Ancient Nations, vol. i. p. 356. See Gen. xxvii. 40. Deut. xxviii. 48, Isaiah x. 27, Jer. xxvii. 8. Joshua x. 24. Lam. v. 5.
No. 654. xlix. 10. The sceptre shall not depart from Judah.] Sceptres, or staves of some kind op other, have been among almost all nations the ensigns of civil authority, as they are to this day, being in themselves very proper emblems of power extended, or acting at a distance from the person. Achilles, who was the chief of a Grecian tribe or clan, is described in Homer as holding a sceptre or staff which
The delegates of Jove, dispensing laws,
Il, i. 238.