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where." But though this was the ancient custom in Judea, it was not so in the country into which they were carried captives ; or if this text of Jeremiah respects those that continued in their own country for a while under Gedaliah, as the ninth verse insinuates, it signifies, that their conquerors possessed themselves of these woods, and would allow no fuel to be cut down without leave, and that leave was not to be obtained without money. It is certain, that presently after the return from the captivity, timber was not to be cut without leave, Neh, ii. 8.
Dangerous Chasms near Aleppo. HOWEVER, open as these countries are in common, there are some dangerous passes. So Maundrell, describing the passage out of the jurisdiction of the Bashaw of Aleppo into that of him of Tripoli, tells us, the road was rocky and uneven, but attended with variety. “Sometimes it led us under the cool shade of thick trees : sometimes through narrow valleys, watered with fresh murmuring torrents: and then for a good while together upon the brink of a precipice. And in all places it treated us with the prospect of plants and flowers of divers kinds; as myrtles, oleanders, cycla
• Vide Rel. Pal. p. 261.
mens, &c. Having spent about two hours in this manner, we descended into a low valley ; at the bottom of which is a fissure into the earth, of a great depth ; but withal so narrow, that it is not discernable to the eye till you arrive just upon it, though to the ear a notice of it is given at a great distance, by reason of the noise of a stream running down into it from the hills. We could not guess it to be less than thirty yards deep. But it is so narrow, that a small arch, not four yards over, lands you on its other side. They call it the sheekh's wife;y a name given to it from a woman of that quality, who fell into it, and, I need not add, perished.”
May not Solomon refer to some such dangerous place as this, when he says, The mouth of a strange woman is a deep pit : he that is abhorred of the Lord shall fall therein, Prov, xxvii. 11. ; and, An whore is a deep ditch ; and a strange woman is a narrow pit, Prov. xxiii. 27. The flowery pleasures of the place, where this fatal pit was, make the allusion still more striking. How agreeable to sense the path that led to this chamber of death,
The countries herc described are mountainous and well wooded ; but the plains are without wood in most places. On this passage Dr. Russell farther observes, (MS. note) the traveller was, if I am well informed, mistaken here: this fissure is in Arabic called ja Susi vii shuck ab éjooz, The old woman's chasm. Edit.
Hospitality of the Arabs to Travellers, explaining
Luke xiv. 23, &c. and Jerem. xlix. 3.
La Roque, describing, from the papers of d'Arvieux, the hospitality maintained in the Arab villages, tells us, that as soon as the sheekh, who is the lord of it, is informed that strangers are coming, he goes to meet them; and, having saluted them, marches before them to the Menzil, or place set apart for the reception of strangers ; if they are disposed to dine or ledge in the village. But la Roque gives us to understand, that frequently these travellers only just stop to take a bit, and then go on ; and that in such case they are wont to choose to stay out of the village, under some tree; upon which the sheekh goes or sends his people to the village to bring them a collation, which, as there is no time to dress meat for them, consists of eggs, butter, curds, honey, olives, and fruit, fresh or dried, according to the time of year ; and after they have eaten, they take leave of the sheekh, who commonly eats with them, and at least bears them company, thank him, and pursue their journey.
This, besides the use I made of it in another place, may serve to explain that passage in which our LORD represents a great man's mak
z Voy. dans la Pal. p. 125.
ing a supper, and, on being disappointed of guests, sending first for the poor of the place, and then for those in the highways and ledges, who were to be compelled to go and fill the house, Luke xiv. 23. Those in the highway were strangers passing on without any intention of stopping ; and those under the hedges, where travellers frequently did sit down, such as had even declared an averseness from staying any time, and only just sat down a moment to take a little refreshment. The sheltering themselves under trees and hedges, is not important, as some eminent commentators have imagined; their being the poorest and most helpless of travellers, which does not at all agree with the pressing them to come in, as some of them have themselves remarked, for such must be supposed to have been ready enough to come ; but that circumstance points out their being strangers, by no means inclined to receive such a favour, as it would so retard them as to break their measures.
The running to and fro by the hedges, anda baggederoth, which a Prophet speaks of, a refers to something very different from this, and has been unhappily explained. Some have supposed, it signifies hiding in the thickets"; but the word om gederoth, does not signify hedges, strictly speaking, but rather the walls of a garden, and consequently thickets cannot be meant. Others suppose the meaning of the passage is, that their cities should be destroyed,
• Jer. xlix. 3
and only the villages of Ammon should remain, among which they were to lament; but garden-walls, as well as bedges, were about their cities, and not about their villages, if we may judge of antiquity by modern managements : so Rauwolff describes the gardens that lie about Tripoli, and mentions those of Jerusalem, as Maundrell does those of Damascus ; whereas the villages, according to Russell, cited under the last Observation but one, have no trees about them. • Others imagine, Jeremiah bids them hide in their gardens; but, I believe, no instance can be produced, where these were thought to be fit places of concealment in time of war. I would dismiss therefore all these conjectures, and observe, that their places of burial in the East are without their cities, as well as their gardens, and consequently their going to them must often be by their garden-walls ; that the ancient warriors of distinction, who were slain in battle, were wont to be carried to the sepulchres of their fathers, as appears by the cases of Josiah, Ahab, and Asahel ;' and that they often go to weep over the graves of those they would honour, and expecially at first : « Observations which, put together, sufficiently account for the passage.
• Except where there is running water, and then there is generally some plantation. Edit. + 2 Kings xxxij. 29, 30, 1 Kings xxii. 37, 2 Sam. ii. 32. and Sec chap. vi.