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No body will find any difficulty in supposing that an utensil of this kind might be proper for putting figs in, Jer. xxiv. 2; or human heads, 2 Kings x. 7. But it may be thought a very strange vessel for meat that was cooked and hot: if, however, our 'translation of Judges vi. 19, be right, it was by no means abhorrent from their manners ; and, whatever be thought of that translation, Dr. Shaw shows, in a passage I have elsewhere quoted, baskets are now used in such circumstances.
Sal yo the word there, however, may mean some light wooden vessel, proper for carrying bread, flesh, &c. in. The word significs the vessel into which they were wont to gather their grapes, as appears from Jer. vi. 9; but such a vessel, which would hold the liquor draining from the bruised grapes, would be more proper than a basket; and, if prints published in wine-countries are exact, appear to be used now for that purpose. Such a light portable vessel, with a cover to be occasionally put on, must have been more convenient, frequently, for carrying food in, than wickerwork, though wrought close: 80 Thevenot complains, that the sand insinuated itself into the maund in the desart in which he travelled, and quite spoiled the baked meats contained in it. If it signifies a basket, it seems to mean á small one, of the close-wrought kind.
The word tena nje which is also translated basket, will be explained in a note under the
• Part 1, p. 162.
first Observation of the next Chapter. Great certainty, however, must not be expected in such matters ; but if the comparing the ancient Jewish names for domestic utensils with those now in use in the East, be not a sure way to determine their meaning, we certainly have a' better chance to guess right; and it affords a pleasing amusement.
Women are still accustomed to draw Water in the
The Eastern people seldom drink at meals, but very largely after eating, and particularly of water.'
After considering what they eat, it is natural to turn our thoughts to what they drink : and water is that which first presents itself to the mind, of which they drink now large quantia ties, and did so anciently. .
It is the business of the females in those countries to fetch this necessary of life. Dr. Shaw has told us this ancient Oriental custom still continues in those hot countries, and that the women, tying their sucking children behind them, fetch the water that is wanted in their families, in the evening ; at which time, he tells us, they go forth adorned with their trinkets :: but Sir J. Chardin has added some
Voy. dans la Pal. p. 203—205. : P. 241. Shaw, says Dr. Russell, (MS, note) is right:
particulars farther in his sixth MS. volume, which I am not willing to suppress.
In the first place, he supposes it is the business of young women that are single to fetch the water; and that it is only when there are none such in a family that married women perform that office. This agrees with the book of Genesis : Rebecca had a mother at the time Abraham's servant came into Mesopotamia, Gen. xxiv. 53, yet Rebecca fetched the water, not the mother. So the servant supposed they were the daughters of the men of the city that would come out to draw water, and such as were unmarried, for among them he hoped to find a wife for Isaac.
Secondly, he tells us, they fetch water in the mornings as well as evenings. The heat of the sun, in the middle of the day, makes the going to fetch water improper then; but it is no wonder the cool of the morning should be made use of for this purpose, as well as that of the evening, since he represents the Eastern people as very curious as to the water they drink.
I would add, that it appears from both these gentlemen, that there was no impropriety in the servants putting ornaments on Rebecca, when performing this mean office : the women the girls go also for water, but seldom without one or more grown person in company. The women also gather wood, sheep-dung, &c. Edit.
h And Dr. Russell remarks, (MS. note) that at these times greatnumbers of females are seen going together on this employment. Edit.
of those countries are wont to adorn themselves at such times in the best manner they are able ; nor are we to suppose Rebecca went out with, out any ornaments of this sort, but rather, that her brother saw, with surprise, her meaneri ornaments exchanged for others that were more pompous and valuable.
But though they use great quantities of water to drink in the Levant, they do not confine themselves to such a temperate beverage now; and certainly the Jews did not, whose law did not forbid them the indulgence of wine, as that of Mohammed does. This we shall find presently, but I must first make another observation relating to water.
They not only drink water very commonly in the East, but it is considered as an important part of the provisions made for a repast, and is sent as such to shearers and reapers in particular.
I question not but that several persons have been surprised at the words of Nabal, when David sent messengers to him for some support
* According to Sir J. Chardin, some of the Eastern women that fetch water have ornaments then upon them of cery great value.
Dr. Russell (MS. note) remarks farther, that the women never appear without their ornaments, at their wrists and ancles, however employed. Edit.,
in the wilderness. Shall I then take iny bread, and my water, and my flesh that I have killed for my shearers, and give unto men whom I know not whencethey be? 1 Sam. xxv. 11. Was water to be prepared for shearers ? Could he think of sending water to David with provisions ?
Perhaps a passage from Mr. Drummond's Travels may somewhat diminish the surprise: “The men and women are then employed in reaping, and this operation they perform by cutting off the ears, and pulling up the stubble ;' which method has been always followed in the East: other females were busy in carrying water to the reapers, so that none but infants were unemployed."
An apocryphal writer represents a prophet as carrying pottage and bread broken in a bowl into the field to reapers ;" Mr. Drummond saw people employed in carrying water to such : no wonder then Nabal had provided water to be carried to his shearers.
OBSERVATION LXII. Large Supply of Cattle at the Tables of Princes.
Dr. PocockE has given us an account of the way in which the Bey of Tunis lived in
i When they pull up the corn, (says Dr. R. ibid.) they do not cut off the ears : and when they cut down the corn, they do not pull up the stubble.” Edit.
P. 216. "Bel and the Dragon, ver. 33. On this passage Dr. Russell (MS. note) remarks, “Uu. doubtedly they do not send water to the fields more than they do in England; they send small beer." Enit.
• Vol. 1. p. 266, &c,