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refuse this mark of friendship from the Consul of France, for whom his was the most sincere.'
This was very extraordinary, Maillet says; indeed the most extraordinary thing in that solemnity, which he represents as one of the most pompous spectacles in the world. What the occasion of Ishmael's departure from established usages was, we are not told: he had doubtless his reasons. Elisha also had his for not receiving the present brought him by Naaman, 2 Kings v. 16.; who yet accepted that brought by Hazael, ch. viii 9. What those reasons were, we are not informed; but I dare say that assigned by Bishop Patrick, or rather Abarbanel, was not among them;
that the one presented him with silver, and gold, and raiment, and such like things of value, whereas the other made him a present of food, bread and wine, fruit and fowl, which was a fit present for the Prophet, who might be presumed to be weary with his journey. According to Oriental notions, there was no greater impropriety in accepting a present of silver and gold, than of provisions; it is sufficient to observe, that on some occasions they think proper to decline presents, without having any objection to the nature of them. Secular men, in some cases, haye refused them as well as the old Prophets, but in common they are presented to all people of distinction,
Let. 11, p. 79.
Presents of Meat and Drink made to their great Men.
When d'Arvieux attended that Arab emir, whom I mentioned before, a vessel happened to be shipwrecked on that coast. The emir perceived it from the top of the mountains, and immediately repaired to the shore to profit by the misfortune. Staying some time, it grew so late that he determined to spend the night there, under his tents, and ordered supper to be got ready. “Nothing," says d'Arvieux, “was more easy; for every body at Tartoura, (in the neighbourhood of which town the emir then was,) vied with each other as to the presents they brought of meat, fowl, game, fruit, coffee, &c. Were they not presents of this kind that the children of Belial neglected to bring ? 1 Sam. x. 27.
A band of men, we are told, whose hearts God had touched, went with Saul, when he returned home from Gibeah : what for? Doubtless to attend him in expeditions against the enemies of their country: in those expeditions the places through or near which he passed, seem to have furnished him and his men with provisions, as the Arabs of Tartoura did this emir; but some sons of Belial, some perverse towns, or some unhappily-disposed particular persons of wealth and figure, refused to
pay him this compliment, despising these efforts of his against the enemies of their country, till the affair with the Ammonites perfectly settled his authority. Whether the refractoriness of these people was the cause or not, I am not able to say, but it seems sufficiently plain that he had dismissed this band of men, before that exploit of his against the Ammonites, and for some time before had led a less public and martial life, 1 Sam. xi. 5.
In like manner Gideon, one of the judges of Israel, expected this sort of compliment, and met with the like insult, which he severely punished, Judg. viii. 5, 8, 16, 17.
We are told indeed by some commentators, and the learned Drusius is of that number, according to Pool," that it was the custom to make presents to a king when he was inaugu-' rated ; but I do not know on what authority, The remark of Vatablus however, in the same collection, is, without doubt, very inaccurate, who, upon the Chaldee paraphrast's giving this sense of this clause, they came not to salute him, says, this ought to be understood of the first salutation, which was not to be unattended with presents.' Things must have been very different in the East anciently, from what they are now, if every visit did not require an acknowledgement of this kind.
As to the ground of the complaint then that they brought him no present, I submit it to
• Vide Poli Syn. in loc.
the reader to determine which is the most natural supposition, whether that of those who imagine, the complaint relates to some persons omitting to make him a visit of congratulation, as the Chaldee paraphrast seems to think ; or of those who apprehend, it refers to the neglect of accommodating him, in his marches from place to place, with provisions for himself and attendants.
Barzillai's and other people's supplying David at Mahanaim with honey, butter, sheep, wheat, &c. on these grounds, appears to have been not a mere act of benevolence and pity, but the paying him the wonted respect with which their princes were treated ; and consequently acknowledging him, in the best manner, their sovereign, while the greatest part of the Israelites were in rebellion against him.
Presents often very expensive in the East, not only those made to Strangers, but to private Persons.
THERE is often in these countries a great deal of pomp and parade in presenting their gifts ; and that not only when they are presented to princes or governors of provinces, but where they are of a more private nature.
Thus Dr. Russell tells us, * that the money which the bridegrooms of Aleppo pay for their
* Vol. i, p. 284, 285.
brides, it is laid out in furniture for a chamber, in cloaths, jewels, or ornaments of gold, for the bride, whose father makes some addition, according to his circumstances į which things are sent with great pomp to the bridegroom's house three days before the wedding. The like management obtains in Egypt, and is in a very lively manner described by Maillet, in his account of that country,' where these gifts are carried with great pomp too to the bridegroom's house, but on the marriage-day itself, and immediately before the bride : carpets, cushions, mattresses, coverlets, pignates,” dishes, basons, jewels, trinkets of gold, pearls, girdles, plate, every thing down to the wooden sandals wrought with mother-of-pearl, which they call cobcal. And through ostentation, says this writer, they never fail to load upon four or five horses what might easily be carried by one ; in like manner as to the jewels, trinkets, and other things of value, they place in fifteen dishes what a single plate would very well hold.
Something of this pomp seems to be referred to in Judges iii. 18, where we read of making an end of offering the present, and of a number of people that bare it, all which apparently points out the introducing with great distinctness, as well as ceremony, every part of the present sent to this ancient prince, and the
Let x. p. 86.