« PreviousContinue »
to the imagination; but I very much question whether the cup of salvation, of which the Psalmist speaks, was made use of, as he supposes, just in the same manner.
“ It is the custom, it seems, in Mingrelia and Georgia, and some other Eastern counries, for people, before they begin a feast, to go out abroad, end with eyes turned to heaven, to pour out a cup of wine on the ground. From the Ethiopic version he imagines the like custom obtains in Ethiopia.”
This may be considered as a picture of what the idolatrous Israelites did, when they poured out drink-offerings to the queen of heaven, Jer. xliv. 17, &c. ; what Jacob did more purely in the patriarchal times, when he poured out a drink-offering on the pillar he set up, Gen. XXXV. 14: but it does not follow, that any thing of this sort was done in their common feasts; or was ever done by David. It is certain the modern Jews, when they annually celebrate the deliverance of their fore-fathers in Egypt, take a cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the LORD, (singing a portion of the book of Psalms,) but they drink the wine, and do not pour it upon the ground; nor do they practise this effusion of wine in their more common feasts."
* Psalm cxvi. 13.
& The liquid which David is said to have poured out be. fore the Lord, 2 Sam, xxiji. 16, and 1 Chron. xi. 18, was water, not wine.
to Buxtorfii Syn. Jud. cap. 12. Dr. Russell observes,
Of their Wine Presses.
Wine presses it should seem from several Scriptures, were not moveable things; and, according to a parable of our LORD, were some how made by digging, Mat. xxi 33.
Sir J. Chardin found the wine presses in Persia were made after the same manner, being formed, he tells us in his MS. by making hollow places in the ground, lined with mason's work. They dig then wine presses there.
The reason why Wine is often poured from Dessel
· THEY frequently pour wine from vessel to vessel in the East: for when they begin one, they are obliged immediately to empty it into smaller vessels, or into bottles, or it would grow sour. that they do this in some places on their marriage ceremo. nies. Edit.
i From the jars, (says Dr. Russell, MS: note) in which the wine ferments, it is drawn off into demyans, which con. tain perhaps twenty quart-bottles; and from those into bottles for use : but as these bottles are generally not well washed, the wine is often sour. The more careful, use pint bottles, or half-pint bottles, and cover the surface with a little sweet oil. Epit.
This is an observation of the same writer, who remarks, that the Prophet alludes to it, Jer. xlviii. II, in the case of Moab. According to which it should seem to be hinted, that Moab had continued in the full possession of the country of their ancestors, without such diminutions and transmigrations as Israel had experienced
Snow put into the Wine in order to cool it.
Dr. Pococke, in the passage quoted under a preceding Observation, relating to the rinfrescoes of Damascus, tells us, that the people of that place put snow into their wine and rinfrescoes. This, he supposes, is not so wholesome a way as that of the Europeans, who only cool their liquors with it; but its antiquity, not its wholesomeness, is the point we are to consider.
Gejerus doubts whether the custom was so ancient as the days of Solomon; but surely Prov. xxv. 13." puts the matter out of question: the royal preacher could not speak of a fall of snow in the time of harvest, that must have been incommoding, instead of pleasurable, which it is supposed to be; he must be understood then to mean liquids cooled some how by snow. The snow of Lebanon, it seems, was celen Vide Poli Syn. in Prov. xxv. 13. .
brated for this use of it, in the time of Jacobus de Vitriaco; for observing,' that snow is rarely found in the Holy Land, excepting on vergi high mountains, such as Libanus, he goes on, and says, that all summer, and especially in the sultry dog-days, and tbe month of August, snow of an extreme cold nature is carried from Mount Libanus, two or three days’ journey, that being mixed with wine, it may make it cold as ice. This snow is kept from melting by the heat of the sun, or warmth of the air, he tells us, by its being covered up with straw.
The snow of this mountain, it seems was in high estimation in the time of the Prophet Jeremiah, for the same purpose, Jer. xviii. 14. But this consideration is not sufficient perfectly to explain that obscure verse.
Vinegar and Lemon Juice used as Drinks in the
However, though the gratefulness of liquors cooled by snow is, I apprehend, referred to in Prov. xxv. 13, yet I very much question whether the supposition of those commentators is
Gesta Dei, p. 1098. Nives autem nisi circa montes altitudine nimia præminentes, cujusmodi est Libanus, in terra rarissimè reperiuntur. In toto autem æstivo tempore, et maximè in diebus canicularibus ferpentissimis, et in mense Augusti, nix frigidissima à monte Libano per duas vel plures dietas defertur, ut vino commista, tanquam glaciem ipsum frigidum reddat. Conservantur autem prædictæ nives sub palca, ae fervore solis, seu calore aeris, dissolvantur.
just, who imagine those liquors were drank by the reapers. All that Solomon teaches us is, that the coolness given by snow to liquids was extremely grateful in the time of harvest, in the summer that is; but as to the reapers themselves, vinegar, mentioned in the book of Ruth as part of the provision for them, seems to be a much more suitable thing for persons heated with such strong exercise, than liquors cooled by snow."
Commentators have frequently remarked the refreshing quality of vinegar. I shall not repeat their observations, but rather would ask, why the Psalmist prophetically complains of the giving him vinegar to drink, in that deadly thirst, which in another Psalm he describes by the tongue's cleaving to the jaws, if it be so refreshing ? Its refreshing quality cannot be doubted; but may it not be replied, that besides the gall which he mentions, and which ought not to be forgotten, vinegar itself, refreshing as it is, was only made use of by the meanest people ? The juice of lemons is what those of higher life now use, and as the juice of pomegranate is used at Aleppo in their sauces, according to Dr. Russell, as well as that of lemons, to give them a grateful acidity, so if lemons were not anciently known, the juice of pomegranates might of old be used, by persons of distinction, when they wanted an
..Dr. Russell observes, (MS. note) that snow is plentiful at Tripoli; and that the people nerer mind being hot when they can get the snow to cool their drink with. Edit.