« PreviousContinue »
· the shew-bread, when David asked him for an
immediate supply of provisions. Abraham was without bread or meat when these visitants came to him, yet Abraham was very rich, long before this, in cattle, in silver, and in gold. (Gen. xiii. 2.) It was the custom of the couns try merely that occasioned this.
This observation then teaches us, that it is most probable that Ockley's account of the butter and milk Abraham presented to the angels is wrong ; and it gives the reader an account of the small pieces in which the Eastern people stew and roast their meat, which is supposed in this story concerning the Patriarch.
Roasted and stewed Meat, Delicacies among the
All roasted meat is a delicacy among the Arabs, and rarely eaten by them, according to la Roque ; stewed meat also is, according to him, only to be met with among them at feasts, and great tables, such as those of princes,' and consequently a delicacy also : the common diet being only boiled meat, with rice-pottage and pillaw.
This is agreeable to Dr. Pococke's account of an elegant entertainment he met with at Baalbeck, where he tells us they had for supper
. Voy. dans la Pal. p. 197, 198
a roasted fowl, pillaw, stewed meat, with the soup, &c. ;' and of a grand supper prepared for a great man of Egypt, where he was present, and which consisted, he tells us, of pillaw, a small sheep boiled whole, a lamb roasted in the same manner, roasted fowls, and many dishes of stewed meat in soup, &c.
This soup in which the stewed is brought to table, or something very much like it, was, we believe, the broth that Gideon presented to the Angel, whom he took for a mere mortal messenger of God. Many a reader may have wondered why he should bring out his broth, they may have been ready to think it would have been better to have kept that within, and have given it to the poor after the supposed prophet, whom he desired to honour, should be withdrawn, but these passages explain it : the broth, as our translators express it, was, I imagine, the stewed savoury meat he had prepared, with such sort of liquor as the Eastern people at this day, bring their stewed meat in, to the most elegant and honourable tables,
What then is meant by the flesh put into the basket, Judg. vi. 19 ? And Gideon went in, and made ready a kid, and unleavened cakes of an cphah of flour: the flesh he put in a basket, and he put the broth in a pot, and brought it out
• Vol. ii. p. 118.
• Vol. 1. p. 57.-Dr. R. says, the broth. 4, gai Shoorba is usually the first thing brought to table, pillaw the last. The sterood meat is done with gourds, &c., and with sauces of various kinds. The stewed mcat in soup I take to have been boiled rubby, which are often so served up. Evit.
to him under the oak, and presented it. The preceding quotations certainly do not decypher this perfectly ; but I have been inclined to think, there is a passage in Dr. Shaw that entirely unravels this matter, and affords a perfect comment on this text. It is in his preface :* “ Besides a bowl of milk, and a basket of figs, raisins, or dates, which upon our arrival were presented to us, to stay our appetites, the master of the tent where we lodged, fetched us from his flock (according to the number of our company) a kid or a goat, a lamb or a sheep, half of which was immediately seethed by his wife, and served with cuscasoe ; the rest was made kab-ab, i. e. cut into pieces and roasted ; which we reserved for our breakfast or dinner next day.”
May we not imagine that Gideon presenting some slight refreshment to the supposed prophet, according to the present Arab mode, de• sired him to stay till he could provide some
thing more substantial for him ; that he immediately killed a kid, seethed part of it, made kab-ab of another part of it, and when it was ready, brought the stewed-meat in a pot, with unleavened cakes of bread which he had baked ; and kab-ab in a basket for his carrying away with him, and serving him for some after-repast in his journey? Nothing can be more conformable to the present Arab customs, or a more easy explanation of the text ; nothing more convenient for the carriage of the reserved meat than a light basket, so Thevenot informis us he carried his ready-dressed meat with him in a maund.'
What others may think of the passage I know not, but I never could, till I met with these remarks, account for his bringing the meat out to the Angel in a basket.
As for Gideon's leaving the supposed Prophet under a tree, while he was busied in his house, instead of introducing him into some apartment of his habitation, and bringing the repast out to him there, we have seen something of it under the last Observation ; I would here add, that not only Arabs that live in tents, and their dependants, practise it still, but those also that live in houses, as did Gideon. Dr. Pococke frequently observed it among the Maronites, and was so struck with this conformity of theirs to ancient customs, that he could not forbear taking particular notice of it: 2 Lay-men of quality and Ecclesiastics, the Patriarch and Bishops, as well as poor obscure Priests, thus treating their guests. *
Of their Pottage in the East.
THEIR common pottage is made by cutting their meat into little pieces, and boiling them with rice, flour, and parsley, all which is af
y Part 1. p. 162. 2 Vol. ii. p. 96. • P. 95, 96, 104.
terwards poured into a proper vessel. This in their language is called Shoorba."
Parsley is used in this Shoorba, and a great many other herbs in their cookery. These are not always gathered out of gardens, even by those that live in a more settled way than the Arabs : for Russell, after having given a long account of the garden-stuff at Aleppo, tells us, that besides those from culture, the fields afford bugloss, mallow, asparagus, which they use as pot-herbs, besides some others which they use in salads.
This is the more extraordinary, as they have such a number of gardens about Aleppo, and will take off all wonder from the story of one's going into the fields, to gather herbs, to put into the pottage of the sons of the Prophets, 2 Kings iv. 39, in a time when indeed Ahab, and doubtless some others, had gardens of herbs; but it is not to be supposed things were so brought under culture as in later times.
So the Misnah, a book relating to much later times, speaks of gathering herbs of the fields to sell in the markets. • Voy. dans la Pal. p. 199.
s Parsley, says Dr. Russell, (MS, note) is cultivated, and generally spread on the shoorba. Dandelion, sorrel, &c. are often used. The shoorba, however, has not al. ways pieces of flesh in it. Edit.
This was in a time of dearth, the gardens may be supa posed exhausted, and indeed so the fields would seem to have been, for the greens they gathered were not eatable. EDIT.
e lo titulo Shebüth.