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full season," and consequently in the beginning of May, in the bean-season; but then, as a hundred of these would have been but a small quantity (for they are not things of a large size), so they would, doubtless, in such a case have been presented as rarities to the king, for his own eating," whereas the historian expressly tells us, that Ziba told David, the summer fruits, as well as the bread, were for the young men, his servants, that is, to eat; accordingly Bishop Patrick supposes, in his Commentary, that if any thing was particularly designed for David's own support, it was the raisins. To this may be added, that Josephus, who mentions not the particulars of Ziba's present, speaks elsewhere of summer-fruits as growing in places that are well-watered ; P which is not the case of the fig-tree, it should seem, according to Columella's representation.'
Nor could by these summer-fruits be meant, as Grotius supposes, fruit produced by trees in general ; for most of these fruits are autumnal, while those that were meant were contemporary with beans. Accordingly they are expressly distinguished from grapes and olives, Jer. xl. 10. 12. which are two of the principal productions of the trees of that country; nor could they be pomegranates, which are a third, and often spoken of in the descriptions that the Scriptures give us of the fertility of the Holy . P. 343.
• These are those figs before summer, I imagine, that Isaiah speaks of, ch. xxviii. 4.
p Dr. Shaw, p. 27. Artia. Jud. lib. vii. ch. vi. Land," for pomegranates are not ripe till August. There are some trees that produce their fruit indeed in the bean-season, the almond in the beginning of April, and the apricot in May, of which last the fruit is in high repute at this time in the Holy Land,' and those of Damascus are preserved in different ways, Dr. Pococke tells us, and in particular are exported in large quantities made into thin dried cakes, which, when eaten with bread, are a very cooling and agreeable food in summer ;' but then it is questioned whether the apricot was known in the time of Ziba in Judea," and almonds would not have been brought in so small a quantity as a hundred.
When then I find that water-melons grow spontaneously in these hot countries, are made use of by the Arabs of the Holy Land in summer instead of water, to quench their thirst, and are purchased as of the greatest use to travellers in thirsty deserts ;' and that cucumbers are very much used still in that country to mitigate the heat :- I am very much inclined to believe these summer-fruits were not the produce of trees, but of this class of herbs, which creep along the ground, and produce fruits full of a cooling moisture, and very large in proportion to the size of the plant. They could · Num. xiii. 23. chap. XX. 5. Deut. viji. 8. . Shaw, p. 145.
Voy dans la Pal. p. 201. • Trav, into the East, vol. II. p. 126. * See Dr. Shaw, p. 341. See Dr. James's Dispen. ? La Roque, Voy. dans. la Pal. p. 201. * Egmont and Heyman's Trav. vol. ij. p. 144. i See Pocock's Trav. vol. ij. p. 75.
scarcely however be water-melons, I imagine, because they do not begin to gather them before June;' but cucumbers, which come in May, and were actually eaten in Galilee the latter end of that month by Dr. Pococke, he having stopped at an Arab tent, where they prepared him eggs, and sour milk, he tells us, cutting into it raw cucumbers, as a cooling diet in that season, which he found very họt : cucumbers continued at Aleppo to the end of July, and are brought again to market in September and October, and consequently are contemporaries with grapes and olives, according to Jer. xl, 1012,' as well as with beans and lentils. Dr. Russell also tells us that the squash comes in towards the end of September, and continues all the year ; but that the orange-shaped pumpion is more common in the summer-months. Of one or other of these kinds of fruit, I should think the writer of 2 Sam. designed to be understood : they are all more or less of considerable size ; they are contemporary with beans; and fit for them that have to travel through a dry wildernese, in the latter part of the spring, when the weather grows hot, as Pococke found it, about which time, (from the circumstance of the beans and the lentils) it is plain that David fled from Absalom.
© Shaw and Russell.
d If the term translated summer-fruits signifies all fruits of this class of plants, they might be melons that came to Gedaliah gathered; though they could not well be the things Ziba carried to David, which, more probably, were cucumbers,
If this be allowed, it will appear that they were called summer-fruits, from their being eaten to allay the suminer heats ; not from their being dried in the summer, as Vatablus strangely imagines;* nor from their being produced only that time of the year ; for this passage shews that they were come to maturity before beans went out, and consequently before summer,
Music so universally attends the Eastern feasts, that I should hardly make this chapter complete without some account of it, and in particular of the tabret, which Isaiah describes as used in their feasts along with wine, ch. v. 12. ,
I mention this instrument in particular, because I have made several remarks relative
The first is, that the original word on tuph, translated tabret, is to be met with about twenty times in the Hebrew bible. About half that number of times it is translated tabret, and as many times timbrel. How unhappily perplexing is this! It is of very little consequence perhaps, on various accounts, which word was used in our version ; but as there is bi t one in the original invariably, where tabret is used
: Vide Poli Syn. in Jer, xl. 10, .
and where timbrel in our version, it would certainly have been expedient to have fixed upon one English, word. What is more extraordinary, where these words occur, there is no intimation in the margin of any of these places that the other word might have been equally well made use of, excepting in Jer. xxxi, 4, where in the text it is rendered tabret, in the margin timbrel. The tabret and the timbrel of the Scriptures do not mean two different instruments; the word in the original is one in all the places in which those two words occur.
Secondly, Whatever instrument of music was meant by the original word, it was made use of, we may be positive by females. Exod. xv. 20, Judges xi. 34, 1 Sam. xviii. 6, Ps. Ixviii. 25, Jer. xxxi. 4, are incontrovertible proofs of it. I think we may be sure it was played on by men too, from 1 Sam. x. 5. I do not mention 2 Sam. vi. 5, and I Chron. xiii, 8, here, because what is said Psalm lxviii. 25, renders their evidence dubious.
Thirdly, Sir John Chardin, in one of his MSS. after describing an Eastern entertainment of music from Dr. Castell's Lexicon, in terms exactly of the same import with Dr, Russell's account of the Aleppine dis, tells us that the Eastern women hardly make use of any other instruments but these. There are two sorts of them, he says, one has a membrane of skin, the other not, and this last kind is most used in the Indies, on account, I believe, of