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היעזב מצור שרי שלג לבנון ,words of the text are .
אם ינתשו מים זרים קרים נוזלים
'In the beginning of this passage, there are several difficulties; the construction of the word dry with the preposition , is unusual, and not to be found any where else; and afterward, what is the rock of the field and the cold flowing waters that come from another place? The LXX. render it as follows, μη εκλειψεσι απο πετρας μαςοι ή χιων απο σε λιβανε, μη εκλινη υδως βιαιως ανεμω φερόμενον.
In the same manner the Syriac translates it. From which interpretation, it appears that they derive the word O'7 fron the root Oni, which signifies to overflow. The Vulgate translation is, shall the snow of Lebanon fail from the rock of the land ? or can the cold waters, breaking forth and flowing out, be taken away? Which is a literal translation of the Hebrew text, and yet it is without sense. Our more recent translators differ greatly, not at all recollecting that there is here a parallelism of phrases, a mode of expression very common to all the oriental languages, which if we consider, will throw much light on this place ; and it is very evident that the two members of this verse imply one and the same thing so that the snow of Lebanon, and the foreign waters denote the same. The word 7139 still remains, and presents a great difficulty. If we retain the consonants and vowel points in the order in which they are placed by the Masorites, the sense of this place will be, can the snow thus leave mount Libanus as to flow over the land ? But the word land does not seem to suit this place, and it greatly diminishes the force of the whole description; for if the snow of Libanus should melt and flow over the adjacent land only, that would be but a trifling circumstance; but it is manifest, from the journals and geographies, that it runs into the Jordan and the Orontes, by which they are greatly increased. Therefore I consider the word 7989 as a false reading, although the ancient interpreters and manuscripts
give me no other, and the explications of the modern writers do not satisfy me. Therefore, if it is right to pronounce an opinion in the midst of so much darkness and obscurity, I would prefer the word nipą, which means a fountain ;-then there would be no difficulty, and this reading would make the best sense, and be very suitable to the whole description. This is a mere conjecture, and supported by no authority from the old interpreters, and by no manuscripts ; but it appears so probable, that I must consider it as the true reading. I would then translate this passage in the following manner : can the snow of Lebanon leave the fountain of the land ? or can the waters from abroad permit the running streams to be dried up?
I need not apologize for using wing Fut. Con. Pual, instead of wmp, Fut. Cong. Niphal ; for I think it beyond dispute, that the vowel points were added to the text about the sixth or seventh century ; and therefore, if they are improperly placed, and contrary to the analogy, we are bound to change them,
From the arguments brought forward, it is evident that mount Libanus is never free from snow. Still many in our times deny this, on the grounds of the testimony of Shultz,* who roundly asserts that Libanus is not covered with snow, but with white stones, which at a distance resembles snow. He says that he was at first deceived with the appearance ; but when he ascended the mountain, he discovered that he had not seen snow, but white stones, But shall the testimony of one writer, without any support, be esteemed of greater weight than that of many writers, and of those who are esteemed the first authority. The evidence of Abulfeda yet remains, who describes Libanus as never free from snow. The whole mistake arises from this fact, that Shultz has not distinguished between Libanus and Antilibanus; for the eastern mountain, under whose high top the Jordan takes its rise, is called Antilibanus by the Greek and Roman writers, who make frequent mention of it; and many have thought that Shultz had reference to this mountain. But the opposite mountain, west of this and near the Mediterranean, and triangular in its form, is called Libanus ; and this is the mountain which Schultz visited. It is covered with cedars and white stones as La Roque informs us. Schultz did not visit Antilibanus. Rauwolf* informs us, that the snow of this mountain is carried in large quantities to Tripoli, and that it is there kept for sale during the whole summer, and used for cooling their drink. According to the testimony of Soligniac,t the valleys of Libanus and Antilibanus are highly cultivated ; they are rich in pastures, vineyards, gardens, orchards, &c. The inhabitants of these valleys are of various nations--Arminians, Greeks, Nestorians, Georgians, &c., who call themselves Christians, and belong to the Roman church.
* In Descriptione Syriæ, p. 162.
S XV. The division of the rains in Palestine. There are two seasons in particular in Palestine, when rain is expected ; and these rains are called 1779 and 01770, that is, the former and the latter rain, from the season of the year when it falls. According to our division of the year, they might be called the autumnal (for the civil year among the Jews commences with the month Tissi in autumn,) and the vernal (in the month Abib, which is the beginning of the spring.) The Bible makes frequent mention of these rains. I The best description of them may be found in Shaw* and Russel.t In Palestine and Aleppo, the weather is very uniform in summer, and for several months no rain falls. In the month of September, they are visited with showers for a short season ; and afterwards the weather becomes clear for thirty days. At the end of this time, the heavy and long continued rains set in, which are called in Hebrew 1771', in Greek * gormos, in Latin Matutina or tempestiva, early or timely; for the rain falls after the sowing of the grain. After this they have no showers until the end of the month of March, at which time the rain descends again. This precedes the harvest, and quickens the growth of the grain, by filling up in the stalks. It is called
* In seiner Morgenländischen Reise, p. 282.
# Conf. Deut. xi. 14. Jer. Üï. 3. v. 24. Hos. vi. 3. Joel ü. 23. Zach. X. 1. Lightfooto Hor. Ebr. ad Sac. iv. 36.
, ontspos, in Latin serotina, latter.
in Greek נולקוש It is called
§ XVI. Palestine abounds in plants. The Bible proves that Palestine produces a great variety of plants; and no one can deny that the sacred writers were extensively acquainted with the subject, and that they had carefully examined the mysteries of nature. Celsius, a classic author on this subject, enumerates two hundred and fifty species of plants, of which mention is made in the Scriptures. Gesner has also written on this subject, and has displayed much knowledge in the science of botany. Still there is much ignorance on this subject, and the difficulty of arriving at the truth is very great. Had Gesner, so extensively acquainted with other branches, been equally skilled in the knowledge of the Oriental languages, what a flood of light might he have thrown on the natural history of the Bible ! It is said of Egypt, that nature has denied to it much variety both of plants and animals; but Palestine abounds in both. The fields are like gardens in which grow a great variety of plants and flowers. There are to be found cedars, citron trees, lemon trees, and amaranths of the sweetest odour, which may be seen on the trees all the year round. The common apple, however, the pear, the cherry, and the nut, are not generally to be met with, according to Saligniac. * I know no other cause for this, except that the inhabitants have not been accustomed to cultivate them. The land appears to be as favourable for apples and nuts, as for figs. These fruits are brought to them from Damascus, but they cannot be preserved long. The palm tree is common not only to Egypt, Syria, Arabia, and other Oriental regions, but to many parts of Italy. The palm tree in Egypt is very small, and its fruit in many places is not fit to eat, especially at the Delta and Alexandria. In Thebais it flourishes better than in any other part of Egypt.
* Travels and Observat. pag. 336.
Nat. Hist. of Aleppo, pag. 14.
The palm tree is always green, whence it is called QELQUM 105. It is a very beautiful tree, and of great use; whence the ancient Babylonians reckoned three hundred and sixty uses of it, according to Strabo, Plutarch, and Cælius.t Hence the inhabitants of the Moldine islands, when they wish to praise a man, say, that he is more useful than the palm tree.
Judea, especially in its early times, was famous for the palm tree ; although those who have lately visited that country find very few at this day. The travellers to Palestine give us different accounts. Radzivil and Cotovie affirm, that many palm trees are yet to be found there, but Doubdan says there are very few. In examining the books of the Old Testament, we find frequent mention of the palm tree. In the Arabian desert, near Elim, the Israelites had seventy palm trees, as we read in Num.
* In Itinerario Terræ Sanctæ, lib. i. p. 2. cap. 1. + In Antiq. Lect. lib. v. cap. 6.