« PreviousContinue »
liquid it contained. But the horn of a very large foreign ox, measured by Sir Hans Sloane, Philosophical Transactions Abridged, vol. vii, p. 442, held in its hollow part exactly five quarters. Such a horn filled with civet, was to have been presented to the Great Mogul, p. 444. The Danish drinking-horn of gold that I was mentioning holds about two quarts. $uch differences there might be in the time of Isaiah, some of these suspended drinking-vessels holding no more than the contents of a eup, others as much a nebel, or whole jug of wine.
Wine is often the occasion of exciting great emotions of an untoward kind of tenderness towards the dead, and of devotion, which last might be the cause of Belshazzar's sending for the sacred vessels, taken from the Temple at Jerusalem, finding, as the wine operated, a most melting devotion rising towards the idols that he imagined had given the Babylonians power to subdue Jerusalem, and finish the conquest of the Jewish nation.
So have I known a lady, when mellow with strong liquors, burst into a flood of tears, upon
• See Observ. lxii. p. 91.
mentioning a deceased mother; and Sir J. Chàrdin has given us a very droll, but painful description of the drunken-bouts of some of the Eastern Christians, as an illustration of the nature of the devotion of Belshazzar towards his idols, when he began to grow drunk. " It is the custom of the greatest part of the Eastern Christians, and above all of the Iberians, and the people of Colchis, when they are drunk, to lift up their eyes to heaven, beat themselves on the breast, to sigh and sob; re, morse for their skins awakening, and their fear of future punishment operating afresh,"
Different kinds of Wines in the East.
But to resume the consideration of the pro. vision that was made for Nehemiah's table, (See Obs. Ixiii.) there was prepared for him daily one ex, and six choice sheep, besides fowls, " and once in ten days store of all sorts of wine."
In the East they have no casks, but keep their wine in jugs or flagons, by which means it is commonly a little thick, Such was that d'Arvieux was entertained with at a village near Mount Carmel, of which three jugs were opened for his supper and that of the go, vernor, by the Greeks that inhabited it ;s and such is the Eastern wine in common. It was
Voy, dans la Pal. p. 197, 198, .
therefore no inconvenience to Nehemiah, to have his wine brought in once in ten days ; and his provision for that time must have consisted of a considerable number of these vessels, sufficient to load a little caravan of asses, which, according to Nehem. xiii. 15, they used for bringing wine, as well as other things in to Jerusalem...
The wines that are produced in different places differ considerably in their qualities. They might not, possibly, in the time of Nehemiah mind this so much as they did soine ages after ; but the distinction was too sensible not to be perceived in those early days. The wine of Lebanon, and that of Helbon near Damascus, are mentioned with distinction by the prophets Hosea and Ezekiel :' and the king of Persia's cup-bearer may naturally be supposed to have as exquisite a taste for wine as any person of that age; every ten days then he ordered his people to purchase for him all the variety of wines that Judea could afford, which were proper for his table. It was part of the state he assumed as governor of that country.
Niebuhr, in his 16th plate, has, among other things, : given an amusing figure of a camel, loaded with cartheis vessels of water, fastened very ingeniously, live on a vide, by convolutions of cordage, in which manucr Nehemiah's wine probably was conveyed to him on asses.
Leban, cheese, and dibs, are commonly, says Dr. R. (MS. note) brought into town by ass-caravans; the loban is contained in long, narrow wooden vessels. Epit. .
Lebanon affords excelleut wines, even to the prexut day. Epit.
Red wine, in particular, is more esteemed in the East than white. And we are told, in the travels of Olearius,* that it is customary with the Armenian Christians in Persia to put Brazil-wood, or saffron, into their wine, to give it a higher colour, when the wine is not so red as they like, they making no account of white wine. He mentions the same thing also in another place. These accounts of their putting Brazil-wood or saffron into their wines, to give them a deeper red, seem to discover an energy in the Hebrew word ook adam, which is used Prov. xxiii. 31, that I never remarked any where. It is of the conjugation called Hithpahel, 72 yithaddam, which, according to grammarians denotes an action that turns upon the agent itself : it is not always, it may be, accurately observed; but in this case it should seem that it ought to be taken according to the strictness of grammar, and that it intimates the wine's making itself redder by something put into it: Look not on the wine when it maketh itself red. It appears, indeed, from Is. Ixiii. 2, that some of the wines about Judea were naturally red; but so Olcarius supposed those wines to be which he met with in Persia, only more deeply tinged by art; and this colouring it, apparently is to make. it more pleasing and tempting to the eye.
There are two other places relating to wine, & P. 801.
* This however Dr. Rusell observes is not the case at Aleppo. Edit.
in which our translators have used the term red; but the original word non chemer differs from that in Proverbs, and I should therefore imagine intended another idea ; what that might be may, perhaps, appear in the sequel. The word, it is certain, sometimes signifies what is made thick or turbid; so it expresses the thickening water with mud (Ps. Ixxvi. 3). May it not then signify the thickening wine with its lees? It seems plainly to do so in one of the passages :" In the hand of the Lord is a cup. and the wine is red, (or turbid :) it is full of mirture, and he poureth out the same : but the dregs thereof all the wicked of the earth shall wring them out, and drink them, Ps. lxxv, 8. The turbidness of wine makes it very inebriating, and consequently expressive of the disorder affliction brings on the mind ; thus Thevenot, I remember, tells uso the wine of Shiras in Persia is full of lees, and therefore very heady; to remedy which, they filtrate it through a cloth, and then it is very clear, and free from fumes.
Does not this mixture of the lees with the wine, which the Psalmist speaks of, explain wbat is meant by mingling of wine so often mentioned in the Old Testament? If it does, then the mingling of wine means the opening the jars of old, and consequently strong winc; which opening makes the wine somewhat turbid, by mixing the lees with it; they, it seems, having no way of drawing it off fine from those earthen
* The other is Isaiah xxvii. 2. • Part II. p. 126.