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the blessing from his father. “The covenant of salt” points in the same direction. In it the covenanting parties partook of salt together; thus the common eastern expression—" true to his salt.” Accordingly when the priest's portion, as one walking amidst covenant blessings and responsibilities, was defined in the days of Moses, great prominence was given to this :-“ All the heave-offerings of the holy things, which the children of Israel offer unto the Lord, have I given thee, and thy sons and thy daughters with thee, by a statute for ever: it is a covenant of salt for ever before the Lord unto thee, and to thy seed with thee" (Num. xviii. 19).
Much ingenuity has been employed to meet a supposed difficulty here. How was it possible that Isaac should not at once distinguish between the taste of the flesh of the kid and that of a deer? The explanation has been sought by some in Rebekah's skill as a cook; by others in the assumption that the flesh of the young goat differs little from the flesh of the deer; and by others in the effects of age in destroying the old man's sense of taste. “If Jacob's kids had been roasted whole,” says Dr. Kitto, “after being stuffed with raisins, pistachio-nuts, almonds, and husked corn or rice, the result would have been a most savoury dish now much admired in the East, and which a man with all his senses in perfection might not readily distinguish from a young gazelle similarly treated !” But all this speculation proceeds on the belief, that “the venison” here mentioned was the flesh of the deer. It will be observed that there was not the least dread, on the part either of Jacob or of his mother, that there might be the chance of detection from the food to be offered. Both see no unlikelihood that Esau's gift might itself be the kids of the goats—the young of members of the flock which had, as is not unfrequently the case, taken to the mountains. The author of "The Land and the Book,” when referring to Engedi as one of the haunts of David, when he and his men were pursued by Saul (1 Sam. xxiv. 2), says—“The cliffs about Engedi were then called 'the rocks of wild goats;' and from them doubtless the place received its name En-gedi ('Ain-Jidy)—the Fountain of the Goats. Now, it is a remarkable and a pleasing circumstance that these bold and hardy dwellers upon the rocks are still found in the wild ravines about 'Ain-Jidy. I have seen the skin and powerful horns of one that vas shot there by an Arab hunter.” But the word (tzayid) rendered venison is even more general than this. It means either the hunter, that which he takes in the chase, or provision in general. It is thus used to distinguish Nimrod_." He was mighty of hunting (tzayid);" it
is associated with the prohibition of the blood of wild animals—“And whatsoever man there be of the children of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, which hunteth and catcheth any beast or fowl that may be eaten; he shall even pour out the blood thereof, and cover it with dust” (Lev. xvii. 13); and when God speaks of the abundant blessings which he has in store for the children of Zion, the word is rendered provision (Ps. cxxxii. 15)—
"I will abundantly bless her provision,
I will satisfy her poor with bread.”
The venison in this case was whatever Esau might be able to take in the field. It is not to be limited to the flesh of the gazelle. Thus, on the score of the food, there would be no likelihood that the younger son's artifice would be detected by his aged father.
The epithet "savoury meat” is the translation of a word which indicates “preparation in order to beget relish.” It is more than “ welltasted.” The savoury meat pleased the palate and kept appetite alive. The highly seasoned food of the East, however unpalatable to Western tastes, is still a favourite at feasts. Dr. Russell, referring to the dainty dishes of the people of Aleppo, says—“ They are either greasy with fat or butter, or pretty highly seasoned with salt and spices; many of them are made sour with verjuice, pome ranate, or lemon juice; and onions and garlic often complete the seasoning." Jacob was ordered by Rebekah to fetch “two good kids of the goats." To seek in this place, as has been done, a covenant meaning in the number two, is to find too much in the text. It has been said, "the venison is evidently ke a sacrifice offered by the recipient of the blessing, and ratifying the proceedings; and hence Jacob killed and prepared two kids of the goats (ver. 9), whereas, for an ordinary meal, one would have been more than sufficient; it imparted to the ceremony, in certain respects, the character of a covenant: the one party showed ready obedience and sincere affection; while the other accepted the gift, and granted, in return, the whole store of happiness he was able to bequeath.” But no such inferences are admissible; unless it could be shown that Esau on his return brought two goats, or two gazelles, from the hunting ground whither he had gone. As regards Rebekah's demand for “two," the only inference is, that they were both needed to supply the portions which were to be made into the "savoury meat.”
Among the animals which Abraham was ordered to provide for the sacrifice (xv. 9), mention is made of a “she-goat three years old.” The
word used here is the same (ez); and it is joined with a term (gedi) which always points to the young of the goat. A good deal of difficulty is found in identifying the species rendered goat, wild goat, he-goat, and the like. This results from the use of different words in the Hebrew Bible, which are rendered in English by the one word. The words cmployed in this passage are in a great measure, if not wholly, free from ambiguity. They are properly rendered “kids” and “goats," and refer to the common and well known species known under these
names. The zoological position of the goats (Caprido) may be stated thus :-Order, Ruminantia, or cud-chewers; sub-group, Cavicornia, or hollow-horned animals, whose horns have a bony core; family, Capride; genus, Capra; species, Capra hircus, or common goat. The Syrian variety is known by the name Mambrica. The goat stands between the antelope and sheep. It is connected with the former by the capriform antelopes, and with the latter by the Abyssinian aoudad (Ovis tragelaphus — Cuv.), a species which inhabits the north of Africa. The Angora, Cashmir, and Syrian goats are varieties of the common, so-called, species (Capra hircus). The ibex, or rock goat (Capra ibex, Plate XIII., Fig. 1—this species is named C. Sinaitica by Ehrenberg); the Caucasian goat (Capra aegagrus); the Nepaul jhâral (C. jharal); and the Jemlah goat (C. jemlahica)—are generally regarded as distinct specific forms. The difficulty which has been found in fixing the original stock of other domestic animals, is felt in the case of the goat also. Many have claimed the honour for the ibex, some for one or other of the Central India species; but the prevailing opinion points to the wild goat of the Caucasus and of Persia. It is characterized by many features of resemblance to the domestic goat, and is said to interbreed readily with it. But the likelihood is, that the parent stock has been lost in the numerous varieties into which the family has been broken up. Some have held that the goat is no more than a variety of sheep, widely removed. It has many points in common, yet it is hardly possible for any observer to form such an opinion, without setting at nought many well defined distinctive marks. The whole look of the animal points to generic separation. There is nothing in any variety of sheep which comes near the finely shaped head, slightly arched back, keen, restless, sharp eyes, and compact general structure of nearly every variety of goat. These features are seen even in the least cared for of domestic varieties, but are very strongly marked in the partially or wholly wild species. The instincts of the goat are also far more acute and varied than those of the sheep. It seems to wish to know everything going on around it. Not a bird alights on a bush beside it but gets a glance. It will watch for minutes the toad crawling past where it is feeding, and the slightest stir among the grass or in the bushes gets its attention. And while it may be seen cropping the stalks of the hemlock (Conium maculatum), the deadly water dropwort (Enanthe crocata) —
“The insane root which takes the reason prisoner"the foxglove (Digitalis purpurea), the poppy (Papaver rhæas), and the nightshade (Solanum dulcamara), its senses of taste and smell are most acute. If its most cherished food be touched by human saliva, it will reject it with tokens of disgust.
The Syrian varieties of the goat are chiefly two: one resembles that domesticated in Britain, but much larger; and another, the more common kind, with long hair and pendulous ears. That even the latter variety does not command the attention of travellers, as differing widely from our English goats, is clear from the remarks of Shaw, who
never failed to notice broadly marked distinctive features. “The goat," he says, “ of Syria is the s?me with that of other countries” (Travels, vol. i. p. 308).
The term gedi, kid, occurs in the following passages, and always means the young of the goat, unlike another word (seh) of frequent occurrence, which is used to express the young both of the sheep and the goat, and even of cattle :-Gen. xxi. 9, 16; xxxviii, 17, 20, 23; Exod. xxiii. 19; xxxiv. 26; Deut. xiv. 21; Judg. vi. 19; xiii. 15, 19; xiv. 6; xv. 1; 1 Sam. x. 3; xvi. 20; Isa. xi. 6. The same word is met with in another form in Song i. 8—“Go thy way, forth by the footsteps of the flock, and feed thy kids, beside the shepherds' tents.” The term ez, or goat, is used seventy-two times in the Old Testament Scriptures. The classification of these passages, in which the Syrian goat (Capra mambrica) is always referred to, will keep our notices of other terms rendered " goat” in our version free from ambiguity. They (1) point to the goat as reared for food—“ These are the beasts which ye shall eat; the ox, the sheep, and the goat.” To this class of passages belong Gen. xv. 9; xxvii. 9, 16; xxx. 32, 33, 35; xxxi. 38; xxxii. 15; xxxvii. 31; xxxviii. 17, 20; Judges as above; 1 Sam. xvi. 20; xix. 13, 16; xxv. 2. (2) As a sin and a burnt offering—“If his offering be of the flocks, namely, of the sheep or of the goats, he shall bring it a male without blemish.” So in all the passages in Leviticus and Numbers in which the word "goat" is associated with offering, excepting Lev. ix. 15; X. 16; xvi. 7, 8, 9, 27; Num. xxviii. 22; xxix. 22, 28, 31, 34, 38, in which the term for the scapegoat (sahir) is used in the same sense; Ezek. xlv. 23. (3) As a substitute for the paschal lamb—Exod. xii. 5. (4) As supplying hair for the curtains of the tabernacle, and for household purposes. All the passages in which “goats' hair" is spoken of contain this word. (5) As yielding milkProv. xxvii. 27, “Thou shalt have goats' milk enough for thy food, for the food of thy household, and for the maintenance of thy maidens." (6) As referred to figuratively–1 Kings xx. 27; Dan. viii. 5, 8. Some of these texts will be noticed in their places, and the other words rendered kids and goats by our translators will be considered as they occur:-" The wild goats” (yehelim), under Job xxxix. 1; "an he-goat” (tayish), Prov. xxx. 31 ; “the rough goat" (tzaphir), Dan. viii. 21; "lamb” (marg.), or “kid” (seh), Exod. xii. 3; "the live goat” (sahir), Lev. xvi. 20; "scapegoat” (azazel), Lev. xvi. 8; " goats” (atood), Ps. 1. 13.
The savoury meat, and the wine by which it was accompanied, exhi