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called blasphemy, he rent his clothes, Matt. xxvi. 65. The apostles did the same, when grieved at the people for offering to worship them, Acts xiv. 14. The Jews, also, wore clothes of haircloth and sackcloth as mourning ; the prophets who mourned over the sins of the people were thus clad, Zech. xiii. 4; John the Baptist, Matt. iii. 4. Such rough garments are now worn as cloaks. Jacob, Gen. xxxvii.
and others, as 2 Kings xix. 1 ; Esth. iv. 1, etc., wore sackcloth when mourning, or in trouble, as already mentioned.
The dress of eastern chiefs probably is much the same now as it was two thousand years ago.
In ancient times, rich persons generally had a number of garments, many of them very rich and splendid. A great man among the Romans is said to have had five thousand suits of clothes. When making presents, changes of raiment are generally included, as Gen. xlv. 22; 2 Kings v. 22; 2 Chron. ix. 24. A person declining the office of a ruler, Isa. iii. 7, alleged that he had no bread or clothing in his house ; neither food nor clothes to give his retainers. A lady showed Jowett at least ten heavy outer garments, coats of many colours, embroidered and spangled with gold and silver, and flowers. These, he observes, contrasted oddly with her daily occupations, taking a part in household duties, cooking and sweeping; but such is the condition of females in the east.
Silver, and gold, and raiment, are often mentioned together as riches or treasures, as Zech. xiv. 14. Thus Christ told his disciples not to lay up treasures which moth and rust might corrupt, Matt. vi. 19. The apostle Paul says, he had not coveted silver, or gold, or apparel, Acts xx. 33. The apostle James expresses himself in the same manner, ch. v. 2, 3. Some clothes were perfumed : see Psa. xlv. 8; Cant. iv. 11 ; this explains Gen. xxvii, 15, 27, for the best garments were laid by in chests with perfumes. Perfumes are much used in the east ; "the ivory palaces,” Psa. xlv. 8, probably were the perfume boxes. The sweet or perfumed ointments were very costly, and kept in alabaster boxes, as
Mark xiv. 3 ; Luke vii. 37. The tablets, Exod. xxxv.
In large families, clothing was made at home. The wool or flax was first spun into thread; the cloth was afterwards woven, and made into garments by the mistress of the family and her maidens, Prov. xxxi. 13.
Among eastern nations it is still the custom to send garments as presents. Ambassadors and travellers generally have some articles of dress given to them by the rulers and great men of the places they visit.
SALUTATIONS.VISITING.— EARLY RISING.
SALUTATIONS. When people meet, it is usual to say something kind or respectful to each other : this is called saluting. The eastern nations were, and still are, very exact in observing their rules of politeness. There is a beautiful instance of this in Abraham's conduct to the children of Heth, Gen. xxiii. David saluted his brethren when he drew near to them, 1 Sam. xvii. 22. Many other texts in the Bible also show that when people met each other they used kind salutations. Their inquiries respecting each other's welfare were numerous and particular; and at parting they concluded with many wishes of happiness to each other. When they met, they generally said, “The Lord be with thee;" “ The Lord bless thee ;” and “Blessed be thou of the Lord ;” or " Peace” (which they considered as including every good wish)“ be with thee :” Ruth ii. 4 ; Judg. xix. 20; i Sam. xxv. 6 ; 2 Sam. xx. 9 ; Psa. cxxix. 8.
Jowett remarks of Syria, that it is the land of good wishes and overflowing compliments. He gives an example of
these mutual expressions, “Good morning.” “May your day be enriched !" By seeing you.” “You have enlightened the house by your presence.
“ Are you happy?" “Happy! and you also ?" "Happy.” “You are comfortable -I am comfortable ;' meaning, if you are so.
These and various other unmeaning expressions are repeated over and over, so as to delay persons on a journey, Luke x. 4.
In the later times of the Jewish nation, much time was spent in these forms and ceremonies, as is still very usual in eastern nations, particularly in China, where there is a great deal more ceremony than among any other people, but very little sincerity. If a traveller, in the east, meets any person on the road, he loses much time in these salutations, and his thoughts are continually interrupted from more important subjects. Christ told his disciples, when he sent them out to travel, “ Salute no man by the way,” Luke x. 4; as if he had said, “ Do not waste your time in long conversations and useless ceremonies with the people you may meet, but remember the important business upon
you are employed.” That it was to guard against the foolish excess to which these customs were carried, and not to forbid them to show proper respect and civility, is plain from Matt. x. 12. When they came into a house, they were to salute it, or to say, “Peace be to this house,” Luke x. 5. The order to salute no one on the way, would impress them with the importance of attending fully to the duties they were sent to perform, and the refraining from it is noticed Psa. cxxix. 8, as to be regretted. This also explains Elisha's order to Gehazi, 2 Kings iv. 29.
The apostle Peter wrote in his epistles, “Be courteous,” 1 Peter iii. 8. The apostle Paul evidently was so; he was truly “ a Christian gentleman,” though sometimes he earned his bread with his own labour; for these characters are by
means inconsistent with each other, Acts xviii. 3; 2 Thess. iii. 8.
“Peace be unto you,” is the usual salutation. In the last discourse of our Lord with his disciples, he alludes, very beautifully, to the empty way in which the people of the world express their good wishes to each other, and shows how much more sincere are his earnest desires for our welfare. “ Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth, give I unto you," John xiv. 27. Worldly pleasures will soon tire, and pass away ; but if we really love Christ, then God the Holy Spirit will impart to
us peace of mind which the world cannot give; for “great peace have they that love the Lord.” And that
shall endure to the end.
Salutations in the east were, as formerly in Europe, by kissing, thus Gen. xxxiii. 4; and to this the apostle refers, 2 Cor. xiii. 12. Carne remarked among the Arabs the kiss on the cheek, and passionate exclamations of joy on meeting. Another traveller mentions that his camel-driver and a Bedouin acquaintance, kissed each other five times on the cheek.
In the east, people bowed very low, as Jacob, Gen. xxxiii. 3, and his sons, xlii. 6, which shows what is meant by stooping with the face to the earth, and bowing. David did so, 1 Sam. xxiv. 8, and Ruth ii. 10.
Jacob's sending his sons and wives first, to meet Esau, would be respectful, as well as a measure of precaution. This is now customary. Morier remarks upon it as illustrating Balak sending “yet again princes, more, and more honourable than the first,” to meet Balaam, Numb. xxii. 15. Cloths, or garments are spread by the way, as on our Lord's entrance into Jerusalem, Matt. xxi. 8. Robinson relates that the people of Bethlehem thus honoured the English consul, when they desired his interference in their behalf.
When the people in former times came to kings or princes, they fell down before them. Cornelius did so when Peter came to him, Acts x. 25; and Esther, before Ahasuerus, Esth. viii. 3; Adonijah, before Solomon, 1 Kings. i. 53.
Putting off the shoes is a mark of respect, both on entering a place of worship, and on coming into the presence of a superior. Thus Moses was to put off his shoes on the manifestation of the presence of the Lord, Exod. iii. 5.
When mounted, they alight on the approach of a superior. Thus Rebekah, Gen. xxiv. 64; and Abigail, 1 Sam. xxv. 23.