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explains what was said by Elisha, 2 Kings v. 26. Nehemiah complained of the wealthy Jews, who withheld the oliveyards belonging to their poorer brethren, Neh. v. 11; also 1 Sam. viii. 14. But olive gardens are particularly to be remembered, as our Lord often went to one of them, and prayed with his disciples. It was in that place he suffered the anguish of mind for poor sinners, recorded by the evangelists, particularly in St. Luke's Gospel, ch. xxii. 39–46. Let us ever remember that our Lord not only suffered a painful death upon the cross, but he also endured much while praying in the garden. He then suffered in his mind the punishment which our sins justly deserved, which was so painful, although he himself had not sinned, that “ being in agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground,” Luke xxii. 44.
Dr. Clark gives a particular account of the Mount of Olives. He describes the beautiful and extensive view from that mountain, where our Lord sat, Mark xiii.3, and prophesied the destruction of Jerusalem. He also recollected the account of David's passing over it when fleeing from Absalom, 2 Sam. xv. 32, and other particulars: he “ visited an olive ground always mentioned as the garden of Geth
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This place is not without probability, shown as the scene of our Saviour's agony the night before his crucifixion.” He there found a grove of aged olive trees of large size, covered with fruit; although these cannot be the same trees that grew there nearly two thousand years ago, yet they have, no doubt, been produced from the original trees.
a curious and interesting fact, that we have clear evidence that olive trees have grown on this spot since the time of David, three thousand years ago.”
More recent travellers describe this plot of ground as containing eight of these very ancient trees: it is not possible to say that it certainly is the spot mentioned by the evangelists; doubtless the trees there were cut down, as well as all the other trees round Jerusalem, during the siege by the Romans; but the locality agrees with the description in the New Testament far better than those shown for other places described.
Before ending what is said respecting the agriculture of the Jews, the reader may be reminded of the
allusions to these subjects in the Scriptures. And as the methods of cultivating the ground are still so like what they were nearly two thousand years ago, these allusions explain to us many texts.
“Ye are God's husbandry,” or cultivated field. “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." “I am the good Shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.” “I am the true Vine, and my Father is the Husbandman.” It is needless to copy more.
CORN OF PALESTINE.
MANUFACTURES AND TRADES. THERE is very little in the Bible about the trades and manufactures among the Jews. But they had smiths, Isa. xliv. 12; liv. 16; and carpenters, Isa. xli. 7; xliv. 13; Zech. i. 20; and other trades necessary in a country where the inhabitants chiefly live by tilling the soil. The enemies who invaded the land, as the Philistines, 1 Sam. xiii. 19, and the Babylonians, Jer. xxiv. 1, carried the craftsmen away captives. They did so, both to distress the Israelites, and because men skilled in handicraft trades were reckoned the most valuable captives or slaves; they are so at the present day. It is plain that there must be craftsmen of this description in every land which is at all civilized. " The valley of craftsmen,” i Chron. iv. 14, shows that they lived together. Joseph, the reputed father of our Lord after the flesh, was a carpenter, Matt. xiii. 55; Mark vi. 3. From the texts, Luke ii. 51, Mark vi. 3, some persons suppose that Christ himself assisted Joseph while subject unto him and his mother, Mary, before he went forth to do the will of his heavenly Father, and therefore he was called
Whether this be correct or not, the
" the carpenter."
circumstance of our Lord being willing to be considered “ carpenter,” may well make those engaged in handicraft trades content with their lot. In whatever state we are placed, let us be therewith content, Phil. iv. 11.
There were not many regular manufactures among the Jews. In 1 Chron. iv. 21, we read of the families of the house of them that wrought fine linen, an instance of the sort as a trade. In ver. 23, we read of potters, and also in Jer. xviii. 2, and Lam. iv. 2: the potters in the east often work with a wheel upon the same principle as with us. In those times, probably, the children were usually brought up to their father's business. This rule is strictly followed in the East Indies at the present day: scarcely any one is allowed to pursue a trade different from that of his family.
There are several beautiful allusions to weaving, Job vii. 6; Isa. xxxviii. 12, but this, like spinning the thread, was a family employment rather than a regular trade. It is so now among some eastern nations. The loom and instruments for spinning were of the plainest and most simple kinds. In the description of the virtuous woman, Prov. xxxi. 10– 31, is a minute account of the manner in which these family employments were directed by the mistress. Nor was this only in the families of the middle and lower ranks; in the Greek and Roman histories, we read of the wives of kings and generals thus engaged. Homer, who lived soon after the time of Solomon, describes two queens, Penelope and Helen, employed at their looms. Dr. Shaw found that the women in Barbary were the only persons who wove the hykes, or upper garments
. These are coarse articles; they did not use shuttles, but passed the threads of the woof with their fingers.
The custom of spinning thread in families, for their own use, was very common in England till within the last fifty years. Even now, in some farm-houses, particularly in the dairy countries, the maids sit down to spin in the afternoon; sometimes an aged woman may still be seen spinning at a cottage door. The thread was sometimes sold to dealers, or more generally sent to weavers, who lived near, and wove for the different families of the districts. But the general use of machinery has nearly put an end to this desirable industry.
The Arab loom, as described by Burkhardt, is very simple. It is merely two upright sticks fixed in the ground and another across them, three others being placed in the same manner at about four yards distance. The threads of the warp are then stretched from one cross stick to the other, the alternate threads are kept separate by other pieces of wood passed between them, the woof is passed across on another piece of wood serving as a shuttle, and the threads, when passed across, are pressed up by a piece of horn. In this way they make coarse cloth, tent coverings, and carpets. Robinson saw a woman thus weaving a goat's hair cloak.
Chardin describes the Persian tailors making carpets, hangings for doors, and similar articles, by sewing together pieces of felt, in various patterns. The embroidery is usually executed by the females ; it is very beautiful; this is worked with the needle, on cloth fixed in a frame. Such probably were the hangings for the door of the tabernacle, "wrought with needlework,” Exod. xxvi. 36.
It should be observed, that, in the instance of Solomon's virtuous woman, Prov. xxxi., the cloth spun and wove at home was for the use of the family, and it is so usually in our own times.
The comfort of such clothing is well expressed : “ She is not afraid of the snow for her household; for all her household are clothed with scarlet,” Prov. xxxi. 21; or, as the margin better expresses it, “with double garments.” Even Delilah wove, Judg. xvi. 13, 14.
Solomon's virtuous woman is represented, by the translators of the Bible, as having clothing of silk: the word rendered silk should be fine cotton, cloth, or muslin. Silk was then scarcely, if at all
, known. Aurelian, the Roman emperor, thirteen hundred years after the time of Solomon, refused his wife a silk gown because it was too expensive: we can, therefore, hardly suppose that a Jewish woman of the middle class could have had such clothing. The word silk, in the margin of Gen. xli. 42, has the same meaning. Much of the fine linen of Egypt, so often mentioned, we should call now coarse, for such is the improvement in manufactures. Of this there can be no doubt, from an examination of the linen wrapped round the embalmed bodies, or mummies, of persons formerly in high rank in Egypt. There were various sorts of cloth in former times, for no less than four different Hebrew words are all rendered “ linen,” by our translators. It is probable one or more of them were of cotton. David's robe, 1 Chron. xv. 27, was of“ butz,” which is supposed to have been fine cotton cloth. Bruce mentions such robes being worn by men of rank in