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room by a pan of coals. ? He describes there, another Arab Sheikh as sitting in the corner of a large green tent, pitched in the middle of an encampment of Arabs; and the Bey of Girge as placed on a sofa in the corner, (to the right as one entered,) of his tent."
This is enough to satisfy us that the place of honour among them is the corner, had we not been expressly told so by other travellers, and had not Pococke elsewhere told us that it is the position in which great men usually place themselves. Other authors have mentioned this circumstance in general; and it has been so universal, that Lord Whitworth assures us, that among the Russians, (who lately had many Eastern customs among them,) they were wont to place the picture of their guardian-saint in the corner of their rooms.
May not this circumstance serve to explain a passage which has greatly embarrassed commentators ? As the shepherd taketh out of the mouth of the lion two legs or a piece of an ear; so shall the children of Israel be taken out that dwell in Samaria, in the corner of a bed, and in Damascus in a couch. The various remarks of critics on this circumstance of dwelling in Samaria in the corner of a bed, collected by Pool in his synopsis, only serve to shew, that none of the authors he consulted could divine 2 P. 85.
Vol. 1. p. 90, and p. 124. .. Hanway, vol. 3. p. 145, Note; and Russell, if I rc. member right. • Vol.i. p. 179.
Amos iii. 12.
what was meant by it; but the observing, that the most honourable place of their divans is the corner, gives this easy comment on this part of the verse, that just as a shepherd is oftentimes able to save, from the jaws of a devouring lion, no more than some small piece of the sheep that beast had carried off, so an adversary round about the land of Israel, should spoil its palaces, and scarcely any part of it should be recovered, out of that adversary's hand, more than the city that sits among the cities of Israel as in the corner of a bed, in the most honourable place; that is, as Samaria undoubtedly did, being looked upon as the royal city.
But to engage the acquiescence of the mind more perfectly in this explanation, it will be requisite to shew, that the Hebrew word nu9 mittah, which is here translated bed, may be understood of a divan, which is described by Dr. Russell, as “ a part of a room raised above the floor -spread with a carpet in winter, in summer with fine mats; along the sides, he says, are thick mattresses about three feet wide, covered commonly with scarlet cloth, and large bolsters of brocade, hard stuffed with cotton, are set against the walls, (or rails, when sa situated as not to touch the wall,) for the conveniency of leaning.~-~As they use no chairs, it is upon these they sit, and all their rooms are so furnished.”. This description is perfectly
• Russell, vol. i. p. 27–80.
conformable to those of other authors, who agree that on these they take their repasts, that on these they sleep, and that they are very capacious. The word mittah sometimes, it is certain, signifies a small floored moveable elevation : it does so, 2 Sam. iii. 31, where we translate it bier ; but nothing makes it necessary to suppose it always signifies such a small moveable thing, it may, for any thing that appears to the contrary, signify the same sort of conveniency that is called at Aleppo a divan. They are now used with great universality through the East, and we know the people of those countries are very tenacious of old customs, this therefore, probably is an ancient one. On the mittah they used to sit to eat, as well as to sleep, as we learn from 1 Sam. xxviii. 23, Amos vi. 4, Esth. i; 6, and ch. vii. 8, and the last place shews, that the ancient Eastern mittah was much larger than the beds the old Greeks and Romans used in their repasts, since Haman went up, and prostrated himself before queen Esther, on the
be imagined he would have thought of doing, had the old Eastern mittah been like a Greek or Roman bed; he would rather have kneeled on the floor, or prostrated himself upon it, and kissed the hem of her robe, which he could not do seated as she was near the corner of a large Eastern mittah, without going up upon it, which accordingly he did, in order to beg
for his life. So Dr. Pococke tells us, that not only the English consul went up the sofa, when he went to make a visit to the Caia of the Pasha of Tripoli, but that those that attended the consul went up the sofa too, (which is the same thing with what is called a divan at Aleppo,) though they placed themselves there in the hum-' ble posture of kneeling so as to rest on their hams.
The stately bed on which Aholibah is represented as sitting, Ezek. xxiii. 41, seems to mean the floor of an Idol-temple : for on the floors of such places, it appears by another Prophet," they used to lie down on clothes, or carpets; and the going up to them by steps' made them very much resemble the ancient Eastern mittals.
These observations may be sufficient to give us the meaning of the Prophet in general, when he speaks of Israel as dwelling in Samaria, in the corner of a bed ; and perhaps the explanation of this first clause may serve to
f Vol. ii. p. 102.
: La Roque's description of the saloon in which he dined with the Sheikh of Balbec, may illustrate this part of the story of Haman. This saloon he tells us, had a sofa covered with a Persian carpet, and had great cushions of crimson velvet, adorned with gold fringe and lace; and another sofa opposite to it, differently ornamented, on which, says he, we eat, seated on earpets, after the manner of the Eastern people. Voy. de Syrie, &c, p. 101. Here were two divans in the same apartment; and in like manner, I presume, there were two where Esther made her banquet of wine, on one of which the queen sat, while llaman was on the other, from whence he arose, and going up the queen's mittuh, threw himself at her feet. Amos ii. 8.
i Sbaw, p. 209.
lead us into the sense of the other, which our translators have rendered, “in Damascus in a couch," in the body of their version, and in the margin, on the bed's feet. I cannot suppose the word in the original is to be considered as a proper name, and to be translated Damascus, because Israel did not, that I know of, dwell in any numbers at Damascus, though there was a very good understanding between the two kingdoms of Samaria and Damascus in those times, to which the prophecy refers, as may be seen, Is. vii. 2. Nor can I by any means admit the marginal translation, the bed's feet, which one would imagine must signify the very reverse of the preceding sentence, and mark out the lowest place.
Pagnin supposes the words are to be translated, “and in the corner of a couch,” and so it would be a sort of repetition of the preceding thought in other terms; but there may be objections to this interpretation. In the mean while it appears most natural to me, upon a collation of the passages where the word way åres occurs, not to understand it as signifying the diminutive of a mittaha couch; but the furni! ure of an Eastern divan: and so where these two words are joined together, they are not to be considered as an Oriental repeti- , tion, but as an agreeable diversification of the thought. So Psalm vi. 6, I am weary with my groaning, all the night I make my bed to swim, (the divan on which I am placed :)