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such a wide desert, nor, on the other, why they are described as marching five abreast, if there were many such columns. It would seem in such a case, to be a circumstance that required no particular notice .
Pitts tells us, that the Algerine armies, when they march, go only two abreast, and that at the same time each rank keeps at a considerable distance, so that a thousand men make a great shew, and a very long train.'. They have their reasons for so doing: they want to appear as numerous as possible..
For a like reason, the Indians of North . America walked singly, and with great gravity, I apprehend slowly is meant, when they were in form, according to the honourable Mr. Colden," on a warlike expedition.
Moses had no such reasons ; on the contrary it must have been of importance to him, to draw the van and the rear nearer together, and consequently to make the breadth of this vast. body of people considerably large.
Pitts tells us, that in the march of the Mohammedan pilgrims from Egypt, through this very desert, they travel with their camels tied, four in a parcel, one after the other, like so many teams. He says also, that usually three or four of the pilgrims diet together."
Account of the Religion and Manners of the Moham. medans, p. 30.
· History of the five Indian Nations of Canada, p. 7.
y P. 153
If we will allow that like circumstances naturally produce like effects, it will appear highly probable, that the meaning of the word used in the passage of Exodus is, that they went up out of Egypt with their cattle, in strings of five each; or that Moses ordered that five men with their families should form each a little company, that should keep toge. ther, and assist each other, in this difficult march. In either of these senses we may understand the term, in all the other places in which it appears ;? whereas it is not natural to suppose they all went out of Egypt properly armed for war, and it is idle to say, as some have done, that they were girded about the loins, that is alway supposed to be done by the Eastern people when they journey. Not to say that the kindred word continually signifies five, and this word should in course signify that they were, somehow or other, formed into fives-companies of five men each, or compa, nies that had each five beasts, which carried their provisions and otber necessaries fastened to each other. ,
2 The other places are, Josh. 1. 14, ch. iv. 12, Judges vii. 11. The Algerines have 20 soldiers to a tent, but we know, from other passages, Moses divided them into tens, Exod. xviii. 21, 25; for neighbourhood he might divide them into fives.
Manner observed by the Eastern Caravans in their
• Though numerous caravans, or companies of travellers, are common to the Eastern roads ; there is something particular, in the annual travelling of those great bodies of people that go in pilgrimage to Mecca, through the deserts ; upon which, as it may serve, in the most striking, and at the same time the most easy manner, to illustrate the travelling of Israel through some of those very deserts, I shall here make some remarks,
“ The first day we set out from Mecca," says Pitts, in his description of his return from thence, “it was without any order at all, all hurly-burly: but the next day every one laboured to get forward ; and in order to it, there was many times much quarrelling and fighting. But after every one had taken his place in the caravan, they orderly and peaceably kept the same place till they came to Grand Cairo. They travel four camels in a breast, which are all tied one after the other, like as in teams. The whole body is called a caravan, which is divided into several cottors, or companies, each of which has its name, and consists, it may be, of several thousand camels ; and they move, one cotter after another, like distinct troops. In the head of each cotter is some great gentlemen, or officer, who is carried in a thing like a horse-litter, &c. In the head of every cotter there goes likewise a sumptercamel, which carries his treasure, &c. This camel has two bells, about the bigness of our market-bells, hanging one on each side, the sound of which may be heard a great way off. Some others of the camels have round bells about about their necks, some about their legs, like those which our carriers put about their forehorses necks; which, together, with the servants, (who belong to the camels, and travel on foot,) singing all night, make a pleasant noise, and the journey passes away delighfully. They say this music makes the camels brisk and lively. Thus they travel, in good order, every day, till they come to Grand Cairo ; and were it not for this order, you may guess what confusion would be among such a vast multitude.
They have lights by night (which is the chief time of travelling, because of the excecding heat of the sun by day,) which are carried on the tops of high poles to direct the bagges or pilgrims in their march..".
I think we may from hence form some idea, of the office and figure of those princes of the tribes whose obligations are mentioned in Numbers, chap. vii. They doubtless appeared very much like the princes of these Mohammedan cottors.
• Mashaals are used in Syria, (says Dr. Russell, MS note) This is an odd sort of grate, fixed on a pole, in which is burnt a resinous wood that gives a fine blazc. EDIT.
The appointing those princes, and the prescribing the order of the encampments, must have been necessary, since there is so much confusion in these pilgrimages at first setting out, where the numbers of people are much smaller than those of Israel, as we may learn from what Maillet says of the caravan that went from Egypt to Mecca in the year 1997, which, according to him, was more considerable than any that had gone from thence to that place for twenty years before, and which, nevertheless, they did not pretend much exceeded one hundred thousand souls, and as many camels ; and this Maillet even supposes was too large a computation, and that half that number was a great deal nearer the truth. The Israelites who went out of Egypt were much more numerous.
OBSERVATION XXXI. Caravans travel chiefly in the Night. The night was the chief time of travelling for this great multitude, through these deserts, when Pitts went to Mecca ; and the Eastern journies are oftentimes performed, on account of the heat, in the night, as I have observed before.
Sir J. Chardin has remarked, that this appears from Luke xi. 5, 7, where a friend on his journey is supposed to come at midnight ; and he says, this frequently happens there.