« PreviousContinue »
meal, where peace and friendship reign, is better than a magnificent entertainment attended with strife; but as Solomon seems to speak of a repast in a journey, the explanation I have been giving appears to me to be the most natural.
It only remains to enquire, what the herbs pobably were, which it may be imagined might be set before a stranger of such a character, when on a journey; as for the opposite, the flesh of a calf, we know, from several places of Scripture, it was looked upon to be a most delicious and honourable dish.'
Solomon does not appear to have any particular species of herbs in view, and therefore it may be proper only just to give an account of what travellers, in the Levant, have actually seen made use of on such occasions.
When Dr. Chandler was in the East, bread, fruit of various kinds, honey, eggs, fowls, kids, were what he often procured; while some of his Eastern attendants were satisfied with some sour curds, salt cheese, and hard brown bread; seldom mentioning any herbs as eaten by him or them in his excursions, and which therefore · may signify that they were reckoned a still meaner diet; but in one place, in Greece, he gives us an account of some green samphire, which was gathered from a rock, and made part of his noon-tide repast." ,Gen. xviii. 7. 1 Sam. xxviii. 24, &c. • Travels in Greece, p. 198.
Baron de Tott, speaking of his going along with some natives of the country on a party of pleasure, from Constantinople to the Asiatic side of the Straits, where, in a beautiful meadow, coffee was taken in the Turkish manner, after covered chariots, drawn by small buffaloes, had well jolted the ladies, &c. tells us, they brought back with them from this excursion some curds, and some water-cresses gathered from the side of a spring."
Dạndelion, according to Dr. Russell, is used at Aleppo in salading; and summer savory, which being dried and powdered, and mixed with salt, is often eaten as a relisher with bread, serves many of the natives by way of breakfast in the winter season."
But M. Doubdon gives an account of a repast still more humble than what I have been mentioning. Making an excursion with some Christians, he went from Jerusalem to a village called St. Samuel, because the sepulchre of that Prophet is supposed to be there. Leaving this town to the left, and going on a little farther, they arrived at an excellent fountain, called by the same name, springing out of an huge rock, and shaded with small shrubs, where they stopped to dine in the fresh air on the grass : “ I admired, while I was dining,” says this writer, “ the sobriety of the Armenian Bishops and the Maronite monk, who would eat nothing, notwithstanding all our entreaty, but salading, without salt, without oil, or vinegar,
* Travels, part 1, p. 97. • Vol. i. 93, & 115.
at the same time refusing to drink a single drop of wine, · but contenting themselves with merely the addition of bread and water; except. ing the Maronite, who drank a little wine, and eat an egg; but would not refresh himself with meat as we did.P
It is true, this extreme lowness of living in these Armenian ecclesiastics was owing to superstition, but a secret hatred to their conquerors might produce a like effect, and dispose the strangers that dwelt in Judea, or in the neighbouring countries, to treat their Jewish superiors, when they journeyed among them, in much the same manner, when they thought they could give vent to their ill-nature with safety : feeding them with water-cresses, with dandelion, with powdered summer savory mixed with salt, or even with salading without salt, oil, or vinegar, instead of killing for them a calf, a kid, or a lamb. With such humble repasts, Solomon would have his servants and men of war occasionally content themselves, if they could not obtain better accommodatiors with peace ; rather than strive by bitter contention and violence to procure better cheer, though by that means they might, possibly, gain some delicacy. How humane the royal instruction to his people, in that time of national prosperity! It at once did honour to his government, and his religion, which forbad the vexing and oppressing strangers.
p Voy. de la Terre Sainte, p. 98. · Exod. xxii. 23, ch, xxiii. 9. Lev. xix. 33, 34, &c.
If this is the true explanation of this passage, it was not understood with exactness by the authors, or at least the correctors of the vulgar Latin translation, for they understood' the words to refer to the being invited to a repast by their neighbours and countrymen, and consequently have lost what, I apprehend, may be the peculiar force of the precept: but Protestants believe neither the infallibility of Sixtus V, nor Clement VIII.
The account of Dr. Shaw, that they were wont to reserve some part of what was provided for them, by those that received them overnight, for their breakfast or dinner the next day, may perhaps afford the simplest, and at the same time the happiest, explanation of the term Emirglov, made use of in the prayer our Lord taught his disciples.
The learned know what tiresome, and, after all, unsatisfactory accounts have been given of this word, rendered by our translators daily, Give us day by day our daily bread. "The word has sometimes been translated by those great swelling, and perhaps unmeaning, words of vanity,' supersubstantial and superessential bread ;. but as 8012 signifies, in the New Testament, what a man lives upon," nothing can be more natural, than to understand the com
'Melius est vocari ad olera cum charitate, quam ad vi. ulum saginatum cum odio, are the words of that trans.
Vide Wolfium in Luc, 11. 3.
*2 Peter ii. 18.
pound word EniB6105, of that additional supply that was wanted, to complete the provision necessary for a day's eating, over and above what they had in their then possession.
The apostles lived at that time very often on what, humanly speaking, were very precarious supplies, derived from the liberality of those that received them from time to time, perhaps from day to day, into their houses, somewhat like the situation of Dr. Shaw and his companions, when he travelled in Barbary: Take, said Jesus, nothing for your journey, neither staves, nor scrip, neither bread, neither money ; neither have two coats apiece. And whatsoever house ye enter into, there abide, and thence depart........... And they departed, and went through the towns, preaching the Gospel, and healing every where, Luke is. 3. Much the same are the orders they received in the next chapter ;* after which, in the 11th, follows St. Luke's account of that model of prayer our LORD taught his disciples, in which, as there are other clauses particularly suiting their then circumstances, there is this also, Give us day by day our daily bread, or that additional supply of bread wanted from time to time to make up, in conjunction with that they might at any time have in hand, a sufficiency of food for their returning wants : a very proper supplication for their devotions in that very unsettled state, and agreeable to the modern customs of the East, which allow them
* Luke x. 3-112