« PreviousContinue »
was this. A man being brought before him like a malefactor just taken, with his hands behind him as if tied, and a napkiu over his head, as malefactors commonly have, when he was brought before the Bey suddenly shot him dead.
Harbonah's covering Haman's face then was the placing him before the king, as a malefactor to hear his doom.
This same circumstance also may be thought to be explanatory of a remarkable clause in the prophecies of Ezekiel, who speaks of false prophetesses, as making kerchiefs, upon the head of every stature (or persons of all ages) to hunt souls, Ezek. xiii. 18.
It is certain these prophetesses did two very different things, they slew (in prediction) those that were not to die; and they saved the souls alive that were not to live; v. 19. This making kerchiefs then upon the head may be understood in very contrary senses.
A very learned and ingenious writers supposes the word nibos mispachoth, translated kerchiefs, signifies veils, and the putting them on the head the keeping people in blindness and ignorance. But I cannot adopt this explanation: because it seems to me not to express with sufficient strength, what these false prophetesses certainly did, who absolutely predicted the very contrary to what was to happen, and did not content themselves with concealing
& Gataker, whose sentiments seem to be adopted by Mr. Lowth, in his commentary on Ezek, xiii. 18.
future events from them; nor secondly, does it agree with the nature of Eastern veils, which though they keep others in ignorance who the wearers of them are, by no means hinder those that make use of them from seeing whither they are going—they, themselves can see, though they are unseen. .
Shall we on the contrary suppose this clause rather refers to those whom they threatened with death, as they certainly did some, at the same time that they promised others life? They perhaps may be represented as covering the heads of those they by their prophesyings destined unto death; as the head of Haman was covered when he was really in those circumstances. No commentator, that I know of, has given us this explanation, but it seems worthy of some attention.
I am nevertheless inclined to understand the clause in a different sense, and as relating to those whom they flattered into ease by their allurements: since the veiling of malefactors seems not well to agree to a female character; and since an easy explanation may be given of the image here made use of, understanding it as descriptive of their fatal prophetic flatteries.
The Eastern mode of sitting, supported by pillows, which I have had occasion to mention under a preceding Observation, and of which Dr. Russell has given us a print, representing a fine Eastern lady reposing herself on one of these bolsters or pillows, by leaning with
one of her arms on one of them, while she is smoking, fully explains one of part of this representation of Ezekiel. And when we are told by Dr. Shaw" and lady M. W. Montague, that the Eastern women bind on their other ornaments for the head with an handkerchief, which the last of them calls a rich embroidered handkerchief, we are naturally led to suppose we have the interpretation of that other clause of Ezekiel, which we have been considering. If the custom be but as ancient as the time of Ezekiel, we have no reason to doubt of it; for these prophetesses did the same thing by their flattering words, as would have been best expressed, if they had thought fit to signify the same thing by actions only, (as the Prophets sometimes did,) by making bolsters for the arms, and presenting them to the Israelitish women whom they wanted to assure of the continuance of their prosperity; and embroidering handkerchiefs, proper to bind over the ornaments of females in a state of honour, and afterwards putting them on their heads. Whereas,' the true Prophetsk of God gave them to understand, in direct contradiction to all this, that if the Jews would not yield up themselves to the Chaldeans, great numbers of their men should perish, and their women should be brought down from those elevated places in which they sat, supported by rich bolsters, (their divans as Russell calls them,) and should be forced to P. 221.
i Vol. ii. p. 30. * Is xx. 2-4, Ezek. xxiv, 16, 17, 22, 23, 24, &c. &c.
sit on the ground; and instead of a rich attire for their heads, should have their hair miserably dishevelled, strongly marking out grief in a despairing neglect of their persons. Such is the description an elder Prophet gives of the state of captives, which every one must see is just the reverse of what these false prophetesses are represented as doing: Come down and sit in the dust, ( virgin daughter of Babylon, sit on the ground: there is no throne, ( daughter of the Chaldeans : for thou shalt no more be called tender and delicate. Take the mill stones and grind meal, uncover thy locks, &c. Is. xlvii. l, 2.
This explanation agrees perfectly well with our translation, which makes use of the old English term kerchief here, and, according to this account of matters, does so with very "great propriety, it being much better than the word veils. It agrees as well with the sentiment of those that suppose the original word signifies whatever serves to bind or fasten a thing on." But neither the one, nor the other, nor Junius," who supposes the word signifies triumphal caps,
1 A remarkable instance of this we have in the medal struck by Vespasian, on the subjugation of the Jews. On the reverse is seen a palm-tree, and a woman sitting on the ground at the foot of it, with her head leaning on her arm, weeping, and at her feet different pieces of armour; with this legend Judea capta. And thus was exactly ful. filled the saying of the Prophet Isai. jii. 26: And she being desolate, shall sat upon the ground. Edit.
m Vide Buxtorfi Epit. Rad. Heb. “Generale nomen, juxta quosdam, earum rerum quibus aliquid constringitur, & conjungitur ut adhærescat; R. Dav. Kimchi, Pcpla; alii Tiaræ."
"A pud Poli Syn..
such as the Babylonians and Egyptians were wont to wear, do, by the several terms they make use of, convey to the mind the thought I have been proposing with clearness and precision, nor perhaps intended any thing very like it.
The threatening of God by Isaiah, ch. iii. 17, may perhaps somewhat confirm the explanation I have been giving: Therefore the Lord will smite with a scab the crown of the head of the daughter of Zion. It is evident the Prophet is speaking of the painful alterations produced by a being defeated in war, Thy men shall fall by the sword, and thy mighty in the war, ver 25. But what has a scab to do with subjection or captivity? If however we observe the resemblance between the word mod sapach, from whence the word translated kerchief is derived, movsipach, which our version renders he will smite with a scab, on the one hand, being hardly distinguishable from each other by different sounds; and reflect, on the other hand, that many nations, have been fond of using the same word, or words very little different from each other in sound, in opposite senses, which they have considered as elegant in writing, and dignified by the names of the Antanaclasis and the Poronomasia; we possibly may enter into the reason of the expression the daughters of Zion have been wont to adorn their heads with a rich embroidered handkerchief, but the Lord, says the Prophet, using a term just the same in sound, shall smite their heads with a scab.