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the rivers of Damascus are not less extolled by the present cular earth to be preferred for the purpose. it was perhaps inhabitants than they were by Naaman of old.
excusable in so young a convert as Naaman, to conclude 17. • Two mules' burden of earth.'— The proceedings and that the earth of Palestine would be preferable. But by requests of Naaman are throughout very remarkable for the law of Mohammed, earth is allowed for the performthe illustration which they furnish of the great antiquity ance of ceremonial ablutions when water cannot be obof many still existing usages and ideas. However the tained : a person rubs himself with earth as he would with present application be interpreted, it must still intimate water, and he is clean. Is it not conceivable that Naaman, that the Syrian attributed a particular sanctity to the earth having so lately experienced so much benefit through the of the country in which the true God, whose power he had waters of Jordan, might have desired, in his distant home, experienced, was known and worshipped. He might have to use the waters of the land thenceforth in his ablutions; taken as much earth as he pleased without troubling the and being unable to secure this benefit directly, sought to prophet; but he probably thought, that whatever virtue it do so representatively, by means of the earth of the same might possess, would be the greater if it were received land? But the Mohammedans also use the soil of their from, or with the consent of, so holy a person. It is holy land Mecca in their devotions. They carry congenerally understood, that he intended with the earth to tinually about with them a small quantity of it, in a little raise an altar of earth (according to the law) in his own bag; and when they pray, they deposit this so that country; and although the law does not direct any parti- whenever their devotional ceremonies require them to
lay their head to the ground, it may be placed upon to the impression which the narrative makes upon his this consecrated earth. But there is still another use mind. for the earth of reputed holy places. He is considered 18. · Rimmon.'—This name does not elsewhere occur in particularly happy who can obtain interment in the land the Bible, nor is it mentioned by any ancient writer. It is itself; but if this be impracticable, he is in the next degree therefore wholly uncertain what idol it denotes; but there blessed who, in his own country, can secure such interment has been no want of conjecture, which, in the absence of representatively, by being laid upon a bed of the sacred more certain data, has proceeded chiefly on the meanings earth, or his head being placed upon a pillow of it, or which might be etymologically extorted from the name. some portion of it being in some way or other associated The usual and proper signification of the word is that of a with his mortal remains. Mohammedanism affords ex- pomegranate, though, by breaking it up, and speculatiug amples enough of this; but we need not go so far; for to ou its component syllables, other meanings may be found. this day the same practice prevails among the Jews in A meaning implying 'elevation,' or 'exaltation,' in some England and elsewhere. He is the happiest of men, who, form or other, is that which is usually elicited by this proin the evening of his days, can go to Jerusalem, and die cess. Of all the opinions, the most probable seem to be and be buried there; he is happy in the next degree who those which make Rimmon to have been either the sun, dies and is buried in some country near the sacred land. or the planetary system collectively taken ; and, in either The happiness diminishes with distance. But he is not case, the pomegranate may have been the sacred and deunhappy in any country, however distant, with whose re- nominating symbol. Its figure—that of an orb surmounted mains the smallest quantity of Jerusalem earth may be by a star- with the peculiarities of arrangement and op: associated in the grave. In countries not remote from pearance exhibited by its granulated contents, offered good Palestine, a pillow of it may sometimes be laid under the materials for such a symbolization as the ancient idolaters head; but the general practice, here and elsewhere, is were accustomed to employ. only for a very small quantity-as much as will lie upon 27. • The leprosy ... cleave unto thee, and unto thy seed a shilling-to be placed upon each eye. Hyam Isaacs for ever.'—Maundrell having received a letter, asking him ("Ceremonies of the Jews,' 1836) says that during the late 'if he knew what was become of Gehazi's leprous posterity, war, when the sea was infested by French privateers, returned the best answer that could be given to this which prevented the supplies of earth from coming in rather curious question. When I was in the Holy Land regular time, Jerusalem earth was often so scarce, that I saw several that laboured under Gehazi's distemper; but only half the usual quantity was employed. The earth is none that could pretend to derive his pedigree from that sent in barrels by the Rabbies at Jerusalem; and to pre- person. Some of them were poor enough to be his rela. vent deception on the road, they deposit in each barrel tions. Particularly at Sichem (now Naplosa), there were certain articles, carefully distributed, which are mentioned no less than ten (the same number that was cleansed by in the invoice; so that on the arrival of the barrel, the our Saviour not far from the same place) that came a begidentity of its contents is established by a careful compa- ging to us at one time. Their manner is to come with rison of the character and situation of the various articles small buckets in their hands, to receive the alms of the there found with the indications of the invoice, which charitable, their touch being still held infectious, or at states, for instance, that, four inches from the top, there is least unclean.' He then describes the distemper, but we a knife; a foot below, a piece of cloth, etc. For which of do not quote his description, because we do not think it all these purposes the Syrian soldier desired to possess two refers to Gehazi's leprosy, which, from what follows-a mules' load of earth, the reader will determine according leper as white as snow'-'was clearly the leprosis lepriasis candida, described in the note to Levit. xiii. 5. Maun. know, often taken in a limited sense in holy writ; of which drell then concludes: ''Tis no wonder if the descent from the designation of Phinehas's family to the priesthood (Num. him be by this time obscured; seeing the best of the Jews, xxv. 13) may serve for an instance. His posterity was, you at this time of day, are at a loss to make out their genea- know, cat entirely off from the priesthood, and that translogies. But besides, I see no necessity in Scripture for ferred to Eli (who was of another line) about three hundred his line being perpetuated. The term (for ever) is, you
13 The army,
I will go
my lord, O king : but Elisha, the prophet that 1 Elisha, giving leave to the young prophets to enlarge
is in Israel, telleth the king of Israel the words their dwellings, causeth iron to swim. 8 He dis
that thou speakest in thy bedchamber. closeth the king of Syria's counsel.
13 And he said, Go and spy where he which was sent to Dothan to apprehend Elisha, is is, that I may send and fetch him. And it smitten with blindness. 19 Being brought into Sa- was told him, saying, Behold, he is in Dothan. maria, they are dismissed in peace. 24 The famine
14 Therefore sent he thither horses, and 'in Samaria causeth women to eat their own children. 30 The king sendeth to slay Elisha,
chariots, and a 'great host: and they came by
night, and compassed the city about. And the sons of the prophets said unto Elisha, 15 T And when the 'servant of the man of Behold now, the place where we dwell with God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, thee is too strait for us.
an host compassed the city both with horses 2 Let us go, we pray thee, unto Jordan, and chariots. And his servant said unto him, and take thence every man a beam, and let us Alas, my master! how shall we do? make us a place there, where we may dwell.
16 And he answered, Fear not: for they And he answered, Go ye.
that be with us are more than they that be with 3 And one said, Be content, I pray thee, them. and go with thy servants. And he answered, 17 And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I
pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. 4 So he went with them. And when they | And the Lord opened the eyes of the young came to Jordan, they cut down wood.
man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain 5 But as one was felling a beam, the 'ax was full of horses and chariots of fire round head fell into the water : and he cried, and about Elisha. said, Alas, master! for it was borrowed.
18 | And when they came down to him, 6 And the man of God said, Where fell it? Elisha prayed unto the LORD, and said, Smité And he shewed him the place. And he cut
And he cut this people, I pray thee, with blindness. And down a stick, and cast it in thither; and the he smote them with blindness according to the iron did swim.
word of Elisha. 7 Therefore said he, Take it up to thee. 19 And Elisha said unto them, This is And he put out his hand, and took it. not the way, neither is this the city : "follow
8 1 Then the king of Syria warred against me, and I will bring you to the man whom ye Israel, and took counsel with his servants, say- seek. But he led them to Samaria. ing, In such and such a place shall be my 20 And it came to pass, when they were *camp.
come into Samaria, that Elisha said, LORD, 9 And the man of God sent unto the king open the eyes of these men, that they may see. of Israel, saying, Beware that thou pass not And the Lord opened their eyes, and they such a place; for thither the Syrians are come saw ; and, behold, they were in the midst of down.
Samaria. 10 And the king of Israel sent to the place 21 And the king of Israel said unto Elisha, which the man of God told him and warned when he saw them, My father, shall I smite him of, and saved himself there, not once nor them ? shall I smite them? twice.
22 And he answered, Thou shalt not smite 11 1 Therefore the heart of the king of them : wouldest thou smite those whom thou Syria was sore troubled for this thing; and he hast taken captive with thy sword and with thy called his servants, and said unto them, Will bow? set bread and water before them, that ye not shew me which of us is for the king of they may eat and drink, and go to their master. Israel?
23 And he prepared great provision for 12 And one of his servants said, *None, / them : and when they had eaten and drunk, 2 Or, encamping.
* lleb, heary. 5 Or, minister.
i lleb, iron).
3 Heb. No.
7 Heb, come ye after me.
8 2 Chron. 32, 7.
he sent them away, and they went to their thy son, that we may eat him: and she hath master. So the bands of Syria came no more
hid her son. into the land of Israel.
30 | And it came to pass, when the king 24 1 And it came to pass after this, that heard the words of the woman, that he rent Ben-hadad king of Syria gathered all his host, his clothes; and he passed by upon the wall, and went up, and besieged Samaria.
and the people looked, and, behold, he had 25 And there was a great famine in Sa- sackcloth within
his flesh. maria : and, behold, they besieged it, until an 31 Then he said, God do so and more also ass's head was sold for fourscore pieces of silver, to me, if the head of Elisha the son of Shaphat and the fourth part of a cab of dove's dung shall stand on him this day. for five pieces of silver. •
32 But Elisha sat in his house, and the 26 4 And as the king of Israel was passing elders sat with him ; and the king sent a man by upon the wall, there cried a woman unto from before bim : but ere the messenger came him, saying, Help, my lord, O king.
to him, he said to the elders, See ye how this 27 And he said, "If the LORD do not help son of a murderer hath sent to take away mine thee, whence shall I help thee? out of the head ? look, when the messenger cometh, shut barnfloor, or out of the winepress?
the door, and hold him fast at the door : is 28 And the king said unto her, What aileth not the sound of his master's feet behind him? thee? And she answered, This woman said 33 And while he yet talked with them, beunto me, Give thy son, that we may eat him hold, the messenger came down unto him : to day, and we will eat my son to morrow. and he said, Behold, this evil is of the LORD ;
29 So 'we boiled my son, and did eat him : what should I wait for the LORD any longer? and I said unto her on the '°next day, Give
8 Or, Let not the LORD save thee.
Deut. 28. 53.
10 Heb. other,
Verse 25. “ An ass's head was sold for fourscore pieces of the Arabs give the name of dove's dung' to a kind of silver.'-As the ass was not allowed for food by the law of moss that grows on trees and stony ground, and also Moses, there have been some ingenious attempts to prove to a sort of pulse or pea which appears to have been very that the corn measure called homer, and not the head of an common in Judea, and which may be the article here in. ass (hamor), is intended. But besides the liberty taken dicated. Large quantities of it are parched and dried, with the usual exhibition of the word, how are we to read and stored iu magazines at Cairo and Damascus. It is * the head of a corn measure?' or how account for the ab- much used during journeys, and particularly by the great sence of the usual specification of the kind of corn intended ? pilgrim caravan to Mecca; and if the conjecture be correct, The uncleanness of the animal could be no objection when it may be supposed to have been among the provisions mothers were reduced to such extremities as to eat their stored up in the besieged city, and sold at the extravagant own children. The price paid (if shekels be intended, as price mentioned in the text. It is clear that, if dove's the Targum explains) was nearly equal to about ten pounds dung be really intended, it could not be used as an article of our money-which shews very strikingly the melan- of food; and then we are thrown upon its use as manure. choly condition of the besieged town with respect to food. This use is best exemplified in Persia, where it is highly The case is not without example. Plutarch, in his life of valued for quickening the growth and improving the Artaxerxes, notices a famine which happened in the army quality of melons and other cucurbitaceous vegetables. of that monarch, in the country of the Cadusii (near the These form such essential articles of food in some warm Caspian). This vast army could find nothing fit to eat in climates, that vast quantities are consumed; and in be50 poor a country, nor could supplies be brought to them sieged towns, persons who have been rather delicately from a distance; whence they were obliged to live upon brought up have been known to pine away, and die, for their horses and beasts of burden; and this kind of pro- the want of such essential provision, even when corn was vision sold at a very high price, so that the head of an ass abundant. On this point Mr. Morier observes: The could not be obtained for less than sixty silver drachmæ, dung of doves is the dearest manure which the Persians equal to nearly two pounds sterling, which, however, was use; and as they apply it almost entirely to the rearing of a low price, compared with what the unhappy Israelites melons, it is probably on that account that the melons of in Samaria paid. We wish here to mention, that in stating Ispahan are so much finer than those of other cities. The corresponding values in English money, our own price for revenue of a pigeon-house is about a hundred tomauns the same weight of gold or silver only is given, without per annum : and the great value of this dung, which rears taking into account the real value of money as influenced a fruit that is indispensable to the existence of the natives by the cost of commodities in different ages and countries. during the great heats of summer, will probably throw
the fourth part of a cab of dove's dung for five pieces some light on that passage of Scripture, where, in the of silver.'— This was about half a pint for 128. 6d. There famine of Samaria, the fourth part of a cab of dove's dung has been much diversity of opinion about this dove's dung.' was sold for five pieces of silver.' (Second Journey, p. Some of the Rabbins inform us that it was used for fuel; 141.) There is another conjecture on this perplexed Josephus says that it was purchased for its salt; some matter which has found recent advocates. The root of think it means grain taken from the crops of pigeons, the common Star of Bethlehem is a white roundish bulb, which could of course get out of the besieged town and edible when boiled, and a favourite article of food in the feed in the open country; many believe that it was wanted Levant. Linnæus declares his belief that this is the for manure; and Bochart, followed by most modern com- dove's dung' of the text. This plant has the name of mentators, contends that the name, though literally .dove's Ornithogalum umbellatum, and, says Dr. Edward Smith dung,' means an article of vegetable food. As he observes, in his English Botany, 'if Linnæus is right, we obtain a
sort of clue to the derivation of Ornithogalum (Bird's illustrative of this state of things, a few of which we may milk) which has puzzled all the etymologists. May not quote. "I saw one day a woman, wounded on the head, this observation apply to the white fluid which always ac- whom some of the common people were dragging through companies the dung of birds and is their urine ? One may a market. They had arrested her while she was eating a almost perceive a similar combination of colours in the small infant roasted, which they had ized with her. The green and white of this flower, which accords precisely in people who were in the market paid no regard to this specthis respect with the description which Dioscorides gives tacle, but went every one about his own business. I perof his Ornithogalum. Linnæus advanced the notion in ceived in none of these any sign of astonishment or question, not only in his Genera Plantarum, but subse- horror, a circumstance which occasioned me more surquently in his Pralectiones, published by Dr. Gieske at prise than the crime itself. This indifference proceeded Hamburgh, in 1789. Still the literal interpretation of the in truth, only from the fact, that the sight of these cruelties text is not to be rejected as a thing incredible. Our had already often presented itself to them; so that they inability to apprehend such things, or our reluctance to were now among the number of those things to which one receive them, arises in a great measure from our happy is accustomed, and which have no longer any power to exemption from all practical knowledge of the dreadful cause an impression of surprise.'....' It happened one extremities to which starving people may be reduced. evening, not long after the hour of prayer, which is when Abdallatiff, in his graphic description of the famine which the sun has wholly disappeared below the horizon, that a afflicted Egypt, and particularly Misr (F at, or Old slave was playing with a child newly weaned, belonging Cairo), in the year A. H. 597 (commencing October 1200, to a wealthy private citizen. While the infant was still at A.D.), states: As soon as the sun had entered the sign of his side, a female beggar seized a moment when his eyes Aries the air became corrupted; pestilence and a mortal were turned from the child, ripped up its belly, and began contagion began to shew themselves; and the poor, already to eat the flesh all raw. Many females have related to pressed by the famine which increased continually, were me that persons had thrown themselves upon them in driven to devour dogs, and the carcases of animals and order to snatch from them their infants ; and that they men, yea, even the excrements of both. Let it be ob- were obliged to employ all their efforts to preserve them served, that in our text it is not said that the ass's head from their ravishers.' Seeing one day a woman with a and the cab of dove's dung were statedly sold at such small child, just weaned, and very plump, I admired the prices, but that instances were known of such prices having child, and recommended her to take good care of it. On been given.
which she related to me, that while she was walking along 29. We boiled my son, and did eat him.'--This was the banks of the canal, a stout man had thrown himself foretold by Moses (see Deut. xxviii. 53); and similar upon her, and attempted to snatch her infant away from things happened at the siege of Jerusalein by Nebuchad- her; and that she had found no other way of protecting nezzar (Ezek. v. 10), and again, when the same city was it but to throw herself upon the ground and hold it under besieged by the Romans under Titus, as foretold by Christ. her, until a cavalier who happened to pass, forced the man As illustrating the present text, nothing more expressive to quit her. She added, that the villain snatched eagerly could be adduced than what Josephus relates concerning the opportunity to seize any limb of the child that prothat most horrible and fatal siege, with all its fearful cir- truded from under her, in order to devour it; and that the cumstances of famine, demoralization, and despair. The child was ill a long time from the sprains and bruises instance to which we more particularly refer is that of a which it received from the contrary efforts of the ravisher woman of superior station, who, when the famine pierced and herself, the one to snatch the child and the other to through her very bowels and marrow,' slew her son, retain it. One saw everywhere the children of the poor, roasted the body, and had devoured part of it, when the both of the tenderest years and also older, who no longer fearful deed was discovered by others who were going had any one to take care of them or guard them (their about like wolves ravening for food.
parents having died), but were scattered through all the The account given by Abdallatiff of the famine which quarters of the city, and even in the narrowest streets, like desolated Egypt, in the year 597 A.H., supplies many locusts which had fallen upon the fields. The poor people, points terribly illustrative of this state of affairs in Sa- men and women, lay in wait for their unfortunate children, maria, as well as of the similar calamities to which re- carried them off, and devoured them. You could not surference has been made there. Some of these details we prise the guilty persons in this flagrant act, except rarely, may adduce, passing by many which are too horrible to and when they were not well on their guard. It was be produced here. After the passage quoted under ». 25, most commonly women who were seized with these proofs Abdallatiff goes on to state: • They went farther and of their crime; a circumstance, which, in my opinion, began to feed on young children. It was no rare thing to arises from the fact, that women have less presence of mind surprise persons with infants already roasted or boiled. than men, and cannot flee with so much promptitude, and The commandant of the city caused those to be burnt alive conceal themselves from search. In the course of a few who committed this crime, as well as those who ate of such days thirty women were burnt at Misr, not one of whom food.' In this he certainly acted with more decision than but confessed that she had eaten of several children.' the king of Israel. What Abdallatiff proceeds to state After many instances of the various forms in which this respecting the gradually diminished horror with which, enormity was manifested, this writer proceeds to speak as the scarcity continued, such doings were regarded, de- of the bodies of the recent dead being devoured by their serves the most profound attention on more accounts than relations. Nothing was more common than to hear those one: “When the poor people first began thus to eat human who thus ate human flesh, allege, in justification, that flesh, the horror and astonishment excited by a course so it was the body of their son, their husband, or of some extraordinary, were so great, that these crimes were the other near relative. An old woman was found eating the general topic of conversation ; and the people could not flesh of a male child; she excused herself by saying that exhaust themselves upon the subject; but afterwards they it was her daughter's son, and not the child of another; became so accustomed to it, and even conceived such a and that it was better the child should be eaten by her taste for this horrible food, that you might find persons than by any other person.' who made their ordinary repasts of it, ate it with relish, How forcibly all this illustrates and explains the words and even laid up a provision of it. They invented dif- of Moses : The tender and delicate woman among you, ferent modes of preparing this food, and the use of it being which would not adventure to set the sole of her foot upon once introduced spread throughout the provinces; so that the ground for delicateness and tenderness, her eye shall there was no part of Egypt where there were not examples be evil toward the husband of her bosom, and toward her of it. It no longer caused the least surprise; the horror son and toward her daughter....for she shall eat them which had been felt at first, subsided entirely; and every for want of all things secretly in the siege and straitness, one spoke of it, and heard it spoken of as an indifferent wherewith thine enemy shall distress thee in thy gates.' and ordinary matter.' Abdallatiff adds several anecdotes (Deut. xxviii. 56, 57.)
10 So they came and called unto the porter
of the city: and they told them, saying, We 1 Elisha prophesieth incredible plenty in Samaria. 3 Four lepers, venturing on the host of the Syrians,
came to the camp of the Syrians, and, behold, bring tidings of their flight. 12 The king, finding
there was no man there, neither voice of man, by spies the news to be true, spoileth the tents of the but horses tied, and asses tied, and the tents Syrians. 17 The lord who would not believe the as they were. prophecy of plenty, having the charge of the gate, is
11 And he called the porters; and they trodden to death in the press.
told it to the king's house within. THEN Elisha said, Hear ye the word of the 12 And the king arose in the night, and LORD; Thus saith the LORD, Tomorrow said unto his servants, I will now shew you about this time shall a measure of fine flour be what the Syrians have done to us. They sold for a shekel, and two measures of barley know that we be hungry; therefore are they for a shekel, in the gate of Samaria.
gone out of the camp to hide themselves in 2 Then 'a lord on whose hand the king the field, saying, When they come out of the leaned answered the man of God, and said, city, we shall catch them alive, and get into Behold, if the Lord would make windows in the city. heaven, might this thing be? And he said, 13 And one of his servants answered and Behold, thou shalt see it with thine eyes, but said, Let some take, I pray thee, five of the shalt not eat thereof.
horses that remain, which are left in the city, 3 | And there were four leprous men at (behold, they are as all the multitude of Israel the entering in of the gate: and they said one that are left in it: behold, I say, they are even to another, Why sit we here until we die? as all the multitude of the Israelites that are
4 If we say, we will enter into the city, then consumed :) and let us send and see. the famine is in the city, and we shall die 14 They took therefore two chariot horses; there: and if we sit still here, we die also. and the king sent after the host of the Syrians, Now therefore come, and let us fall unto the saying, Go and see. host of the Syrians: if they save us alive, we 15 And they went after them unto Jordan : shall live; and if they kill us, we shall but die. and, lo, all the way was full of garments and
5 And they rose up in the twilight, to go vessels, which the Syrians had cast away in unto the camp of the Syrians: and when they their haste. And the messengers returned, were come to the uttermost part of the camp
and told the king. of Syria, behold, there was no man there. 16 And the people went out, and spoiled
6 For the LORD had made the host of the the tents of the Syrians. So a measure of fine Syrians to hear a noise of chariots, and a noise flour was sold for a shekel, and two measures of horses, even the noise of a great host: and of barley for a shekel, according to the word they said one to another, Lo, the king of Israel of the Lord. hath hired against us the kings of the Hittites, 17 T "And the king appointed the lord on and the kings of the Egyptians, to come upon us.
whose hand he leaned to have the charge of 7 Wherefore they arose and fled in the twi- the gate : and the people trode upon him in light, and left their tents, and their horses, and the gate, and he died, as the man of God had their asses, even the camp as it was, and fled said, who spake when the king came down to for their life.
him. 8 And when these lepers came to the utter- 18 And it came to pass as the man of God most part of the camp, they went into one tent, had spoken to the king, saying, Two measures and did eat and drink, and carried thence of barley for a shekel, and a measure of fine silver, and gold, and raiment, and went and flour for a shekel, shall be to morrow about hid it; and came again, and entered into an- this time in the gate of Samaria : other tent, and carried thence also, and went 19 And that lord answered the man of God, and hid it.
and said, Now, behold, if the LORD should 9 Then they said one to another, We do not make windows in heaven, might such a thing well: this day is a day of good tidings, and be? And he said, Behold, thou shalt see it we hold our peace: if we tarry till the morn- with thine eyes, but shalt not eat thereof. ing light, 'some mischief will come upon us : 20 And so it fell out unto him : for the now therefore come, that we may go and tell people trode upon him in the gate, and he the king's houshold.
died. i Heb. a lord which belonged to the king leaning upon his hand.
? Heb, we shall find punishment.
3 Heb. in it.