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priests, the princes, and the congregation a petition, setting forth that their father had died in the wilderness without sons; on which account they thought themselves entitled to a share of his possessions. Moses granted the petition, and ordained that in future, when a man died without sons, his inheritance should descend to the daughters. We know little of the amusements of Israelitish women; but in the early periods of their history, when both sexes were almost constantly occupied in procuring the means of subsistence, it is not probable that amusements were either frequent or various. Music and dancing were unquestionably among the most ancient recreations of human beings. I imagine they were coeval with language itself; for they were but varied manifestations of those emotions and thoughts which words were framed to express. Among modern highly civilized nations, dancing is Indeed regulated by merely artificial rules, and has as little to do with character as the projection of a map ; but in more simple forms of society, the national dances, like national tunes, are an embodiment of the characteristic passions of the people: such are the war dances of the Indians, and the voluptuous dances of the East. Moses speaks of singing men and singing women; and throughout the Old Testament there is frequent mention of music and dancing at sacred festivals. After Pharaoh and his host had perished in the Red sea, we are told that “Miriam the prophetess took a timbrel in her hand, and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances. And Miriam answered them, Sing ye to the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously.” Deborah and Barak likewise joined in a song of triumph, after the defeat of Sisera. Whether music and dancing were entirely confined to public and solemn occasions, is uncertain; but we can hardly imagine that it was so. The ancient Israelites, like other people who live in similar climates, no doubt highly enjoyed family meetings in the open air, each one under the shadow “of his own vine and fig-tree;” and to have had musical instruments, without using them on such occasions, would have been a strange perversity. In the later periods of Jewish history, a class of public singers probably existed, whose character was similar to such classes now found in the East; this may be inferred from the words of the son of Sirach, “use not much the company of a woman who is a singer.” In the patriarchal ages the Jewish women must have enjoyed a large share of personal freedom; for we read of all ranks engaged in the labors of the field, and going out of the cities to draw water. That they were not usually secluded from visiters seems to be implied by the question which the strangers asked Abraham, “Where is Sarah, thy wife 2'' Indeed, living as they did in tents, and removing Šo frequently, it would have been no easy matter to have preserved the complete privacy that exists in the seraglios of the East. But as the Jews grew more numerous and wealthy, the higher ranks indulged in a much greater number of wives, and kept them more carefully secluded. Solomon had seven hundred wives, and three hundred mistresses; but these, like horses and chariots, were probably valued merely as the appendages of ostentatious grandeur. To prevent the increasing tendency to polygamy, a law was made forbidding any man who took a new wife to diminish the food and raiment of his other wives, or in any respect to treat them with less attention. The part of the house appropriated to females was called the armon. It was universally toward the east, and entirely separated from the apartments of the men. None but the nearest male relations were ever allowed to pass the threshold. Any infringement of this law was punished with great severity. - § The houses in Palestine were built with flat roofs,

and in such a manner as to inclose in the centre a

large, open, quadrangular court, called the chazer or thavech. This court was as completely sheltered from public observation as the most private apartment. It contained a fountain shaded by palm trees, and screened by an awning which could be drawn over it. whenever occasion required; it was ornamented with columns, vases of flowers, and tesselated marble, according to the wealth of the owner. Here the women pursued their occupations, played with their children, and enjoyed the cool evening air, at seasons when there was no danger of the approach of strangers. The arrival of male visiters was doubtless proclaimed in season for them to retire, as it now is in Christian convents and eastern seraglios. When king David went out against Absalom, his women assembled on the house-top to witness his departure, as they are now allowed to do in oriental countries, when they wish to see any procession or show. From various passages of Scripture there is reason to suppose that people generally slept on the house-tops in summer, as they still do in many of the fine climates of the East. The occupations of women during the prosperous reign of Solomon may be gathered from his Proverbs: “Who can find a virtuous woman? Her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband shall safely trust in her, and he shall have no need of spoil. She seeketh wool and flax, she worketh willingly with her hands. She riseth while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and tasks to her maidens. She stretcheth forth her hand to the distaff; her fingers hold the spindle. She openeth her hand to the poor, yea, she stretcheth forth her hands to the needy. She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple. She looketh well to her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Give her of the fruit of her hands; let her own works praise her in the gates.” That women sometimes transacted business, and made bargains in their own name, seems to be implied in the Proverbs: “She considereth a field and buyeth it; with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard. She maketh fine linen and selleth it. She delivereth girdles to the merchant.” It is likewise certain that women went with their husbands to Jerusalem, and worshipped in the temple on solemn festivals. Even in those days there was no dearth of invective against the follies and vices of the sex. Solomon praises good women in the most exalted terms; but he implies their extreme rarity by the question, “Who can find a virtuous woman " The son of Sirach says, “All wickedness is but little to the wickedness of a woman.” “From garments cometh a moth, and from women wickedness.” “A loud crying woman and a scold shall be sought out to drive away the enemies.” “A drunken woman and a gadder abroad causeth great anger.” Perhaps it never occurred to those wise men, that the system of polygamy was calculated to stifle the best emotions of the female heart, and to call all its worst passions into exercise. But even under the most barbarous and tyrannical forms of society, the salutary influence of good and sensible women is felt and acknowledged. The son of Sirach says, “Blessed is the man that has a virtuous wife, for the number of his days shall be doubled;” and the Old Testament abounds with similar remarks. The spirit of that age was not favorable to intellectual improvement; but as there were wise men, who formed exceptions to the general ignorance, and were destined to guide the world into more advanced states, so there was a corresponding proportion of wise women; and among the Jews, as well as other

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