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to stay till the morning. Accordingly it seems to have been in the spring: for Israel assembled to battle against Benjamin, presently after the harvest was got in; and after the few of Benjamin that survived had continued four months in the rock Rimmon, the leaves were yet upon the vines."
I would only add farther, that it is not to be supposed, that the Levite here ever attempted to set out fasting : the comforting his heart, which his father-in-law referred to, was the taking a more strengthening repast than the slight breakfast he had eaten early in the morning. What that was, we are not told ; but the author of the History of the Revolt of Ali Bey, has told us what is the common breakfast the Arab villagers of the Holy Land are now wont to give to travellers ; for speaking of the necessity of spending one night on the road, between Joppa and Azotus or Ashdod, he says, “The resting-place is at a village which lies on the left hand, about thirty yards out of the road; from whence, after breakfast, which usually is on milk, or bread and cheese, and coffee, and a pipe of tobacco, if he be fond of smoking, he proceeds on his journey." The coffee and tobacco belong to modern times, but the other articles very probably were presented by the man of Bethlehem-Judah to his son-inlaw the Levite. * As appears pretty plain from Judges xxi, 20, 21.
i P. 198.
Time of shutting their Gates in the East.
BEFORE this Levite, and those with him, could reach Gibea, the sun went down upon him, yet he found no difficulty as to entering into that city; and he had been some time in its strect before an old man came out of the field, from his work; probably then they did not shut their gates so soon as the going down of the sun, if all night long
A very ingenious gentleman supposes this last was the fact, as in those hot countries we find they frequently travel in the night, and sometimes arrive at midnight at the place of their destination. To which he added, that he did not remember to have met with any account of travellers finding the gates of a town shut, except in one single case, which is that of Thevenot, who could not get admitted into Suez in the night, and complains of the disagrecableness of being forced to wait some lours in the cold air, without the walls. .
I would here therefore observe, in consequence of this remark, that as the Scriptures suppose the gates of their walled towns were shut, especially in dangerous times, as we learn from Neh. vii. 3, I said unto them, let not the gates of Jerusalem be opened until the sun be hot; and while thcy stand by, let them
* See Luke xi. 5, and also Mark xiii. 35.
shut the doors, and bar them; so we find that what happened to Thevenot, at Suez, is not the only proof that they still continue to shut the gates of their towns through the night, at least in times of danger.
Thus Doubdan, returning from the river Jordan to Jerusalem, in the year of our LORD 1652, tells us, “that when he and his companions arrived in the valley of Jehosaphat, they were much surprised to find that the gates of the city were shut, which obliged them to lodge on the ground at the door of the sepulchre of the blessed Virgin, to wait for the return of day, along with more than a thousand other people, who were obliged to continue there the rest of the night, as well as they. At length, about four o'clock, seeing every body making for the city, they also set forward, with the design of entering by St. Stephen's gate, but they found it shut, and above two thousand people, who were there in waiting, without knowing the cause of all this. At first they thought it might be too early, and that it was not customary to open so soon ; but an hour after a report was spread that the inhabitants had shut their gates, because the peasants of the country about had formed a design of pillaging the city in the absence of the governor and of his guards, and that as soon as he should arrive the gates should be opened. A little after another report was spread,” &c.' Here we find the gates were shut, and continued to be shut against
1 P. 318, 319.
them, but it was owing, to some alarm, which afterwards appeared to be a violent disturbance raised in Jerusalem out of spite to the Christians. The shutting of the gates of Jerusalem, did not appear to them to be extraordinary ; but the refusing to let them in, when the return of the pilgrims could not but be expected about that time. Nehemiah also was in a state of alarm, when he gave such strict orders concerning the gates of Jerusalem : as were also the people of Jericho, who shut their gates immediately after their messengers were sent out of the city."
But the gates of Suez were shut all night in a time of peace: and so Rauwolff found the gate of Tripoli shut, when there was no particular alarm, about an hour after sun-set, when he arrived at it," which was opened to him through the interest of the European merchants of that city.
The real state of things seems to be, that many of their caravanserais are without the walls of their cities ; that many priyate families reside in unwalled towns, to whom their friends may repair at midnight, without difficulty : and that as to towns with gates and bars, which are shut up all night, they usually take care, so to regulate their times of journeying, as to get there before their gates are shut, or not till they are opened, or on the point of being so. m Pooh. ii. 7.
• Ray's 'Trav. part 1, p. 19.
Cirility of the Women to Strangers,
As we read the book of Tobit,. it may possibly seem very strange to us, and by no means consonant to the customs of the East, that when his son Tobias and his angelic, but disguised companion came to Ecbatane, to the house of Raguel, Sarah, Raguel's daughter, should be represented as meeting them: and, after saluting them, as bringing them into the house, who appeared to her to be perfect strangers. Tobit vii. ].
But perhaps this may be removed, and the book might be written by one that lived in the East, and was acquainted with the customs there, if we consider, that though they appeared to be quite strangers, yet they were somehow understood to be Jews, P for Raguel immediately calls them brethren, v.3; and though the Turkish women are now kept, with great care, out of sight, the ancient Jewish females had more liberty, and even have to this day, in those countries.
• That is in the Service of the Church of England. The reading of this silly legend, as appointed in the Calendar, commences Sept. 27th, and ends Oct. 4th. EDIT.
? Either by their language, or by their different dress. The Jews that inhabit Media, and its neighbouring provinces, are distinguished now by turbans, or bonnets of a different colour from those of other religious professions. and other marks, mentioned by Chardin, tom. 2, p 307.