Page images


profligacy of Zimri, son of a chief house in Israel with Baal Peor, Numb. xxv. 3. is certainly Baal with the Cozbi, daughter of a prince of Midian, Numb. xxv. distinctive mark of the female sex: to this agrees the 6, 14, 15, 18.

impurities of his worship. Vide also Hosea ix. 10. 1 Kings, xi. “Solomon loved many strange wom where the Chiun of the passage in Numbers is describ

who turned away his heart ... he went after ed as “that shame:" using a feminine word. It Ashtoreth, goddess of the Zidonians; and Milcom, should seem also, as if idolatry was called fornication, the abomination of the Ammonites ... he built a high because fornication was an attendant on idolatry; place for Molech, the abomination of the children of and no wonder, as the double, or the united, sexes, of Ammon.” I think it clear, that Molech is the very the chief idols, was adapted to promote that crime in same as Milcom, being described under precisely the their worshippers ; certainly, not less than when a same character ; and that Milcom is a goddess of the figure of either sex was the object of their adoration, Ammonites, no less than Ashtoreth, with whom she as in Judg. ii. 13; ii. 7; vi. 28; X. 6; 2 Kings, xvii. is ranked, is goddess of the Zidonians. It is evident 16; xxi. 3, &c. On consulting these passages it will that female deities had turned the heart of Solomon. be seen, that I consider Ashreh, or Ashteroth, as the Ashtoreth and Molech were much the same divinity. female companion of Baal. The same, I apprehend,

1 Kings, xxi. If we consider Ashtoreth and Mo is Merodach, Nebo, and other titles : but these two I lech as the same deity, it will, at least tolerate, an mean partly to examine. idea which I have entertained on the history of Na The first is mentioned, in that curious passage, Jer. both. Ahab, king of Israel, married Jezebel, a prin- 1. 2.“ Bel is confounded, Merodach is broken in pieces: cess of the Zidonians. Moreover, Ahab built an al her idols are confounded : her images are broken in tar, and temple for Baal, chap. xvi. 33. he also made pieces.". The rendering of the Lxx in this passage is a grove, rather, literally, an Ashreh, or Ashtaroth, extremely remarkable. “Is abashed, deeply blushes, either a shrine, or figure, or both ; I mean, the very

Bel, the fearless; the delicate Merodach is given up." goddess which Jezebel had been used to worship at It is clear, by their epithet the delicate, that they conZidon. This Ashreh, I suppose, to be a Syrian name sidered Merodach as a goddess : yet Mr. Parkhurst defor what the Hebrews called Molech, the king. We rives this title from a root signifying to break in pieces ; find by the history that Naboth was a worshipper of bowever, we see by our subject, that these ideas are Jehovah ; consequently was obnoxious, like Elijah, very compatible: for though in some of our medals, to the wrath of Jezebel ; and when he pleads the this goddess be armed, and truly formidable, yet she is laws of Jehovah against Ahab, verse 3. Jezebel directs delicate in other respects. Moreover, this may lead us the men of his city to proclaim a fast, not surely in to the sense of the Hebrew words in this passage. “Bel honour of Jehovah, whom she hated, but of her own is abashed, timid; Merodach is divided, dismayed, deity Molech ; set Naboth at the head of the solem overcome with trepidation. Her female labours are nity, who will act his part with a very ill grace ; and abashed; her [ludicrous] female idols are confounded." let two witnesses watch his actions. They proclaim- Here we have, as appears to me, the characters of the ed a fast; and made Naboth to sit at the head of the female sex attributed to Bel; the words “idols," and people : and there came into the assembly, as if acci “ labours," have the feminine form, although their redentally, two low men, sons of Belial, and sat down lation to Bel be no less apparent than it is to Meroover against him, so as fully to see his deportment; dach. The prophet seems to employ equivocal terms and they witnessed against him, saying, Naboth does throughout; and especially to play on the word idols; now blaspheme [bid farewell to, take leave of, quit, which should be "gods,” alilim, for which he substias if forsaking the worship of] the gods, even Mo tutes galilim, excrementitious deities. lech. Naboth could not deny this charge ; so they Perhaps this correlation is still stronger in the title took him, and stoned bim,” &c. Naboth therefore of the deity Nebo, or Nebu: for it deserves remark, fell a martyr to his religion ; and this is the reason, as that the king called in the Hebrew Scripture, NebuI conceive, that Jezebel, who had procured his death, chadnessar, is known throughout the East, under the is immediately threatened with punishment. For title of Balchnassar: so that Nebu and Bel are in this flagrant iniquity, in direct opposition to Jehovah, this instance interchangeable. Nor is this all, for as tell Jezebel, “ the dogs shall devour her by the wall we have seen female bashfulness attributed to Bel, we of Jezreel.”

may perhaps find other femalities attributed to this We

e may now notice some of those passages in deity: for which consult Isai. xlvi. 1. a passage hithwhich we find these deities, Baal and Moloch, con erto unintelligible, because translators have not advertsidered as being of either sex, or of both sexes. The ed to the attitude of women in delivery in the East, first indeed may be easier to prove from Scripture, which is, standing, leaning forward, over a bed, &c. than the latter; though the latter occurs often in pro The words are literally: Bel croucheth the knees ; fane antiquity, and perhaps occasionally in Scripture Nebu bends the back; their labours were equal to also,

animals; even to great animals; their burdens nere

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

suspended; the bearing was to palpitation, or ex a sense as maintains their antithetical correspondence
treme lassitude. They have bent their backs; they with their fellows. This sense, too, is coincident with
have crouched their knees in union; (as if they were the import of other passages of Scripture, as we have
but one single person) they were unable to deliver the seen, and corroborates our principle, that the offices
burden ; but [even, INSOMUCH THAT, M.S.]their own and peculiarities of the female sex are attributed to
lives in turning (straining] went forth.. Observe Baal, as well as to Moloch, who if she be sometimes a
how this sense of the passage is established by the man, he is sometimes a woman; pregnant, but, says
antithesis following. «Hearken unto me, 0 house of the prophet, to no issue ; and suffering the pains of
Israel, and all the remnant of the house of Israel; labour, but to no delivery.
borne, by me, from the belly; carried, by me, from It is every way credible that there are other female
the womb: and even to old age I am that person; deities in Scripture, which ultimately terminate in Mo-
and even to the turn of life (gray hairs, Eng. Tr.] Iloch, as, Baal Gad, Josh. xi. 17. Baal Shalisha [vide
will carry you. I have made you, as children are the three busts, in the temple of Elephanta.] Huzzab,
made; and I will bear you, as children are borne; Nahum ii. 7. et al. To investigate these would ex-
even I will carry you, as children are carried ; and tend the subject to an inconvenient length; I there-
will deliver you, as children are delivered.” It is fore conclude, by referring to similar figures with
frequent in this prophet to employ a repetition of those at Persepolis, cut in rocks, fifty cubits high,
words allied in sound, but varied in sense : and this male and female, extant near Balk, and Bamyan,
renders the neatness of his turn of words extremely in the extreme east of Persia. Vide Hyde, de
difficult to preserve in translation. In this passage Relig. Pers. page 132. or Asiatic Researches, vol.
he repeats several words : for instance, [the figures vi. p. 465. Lond. edit. One is called the red
mark the verses, respectively.)

idol, the other the gray idol : of which colours they

appear to have been painted. They are extremely 1. Omusiuth. 2. Shebi.

1. Nesha.

ancient; perhaps the nearest to the original idols of 3. Omusim. 4. Shebeh. 3. Neshaim. 3. m-Nesha. 4. a-Meleth.

mankind of any now remaining in the world : under Surely this play of words demonstrates the connec which notion of them we cannot but desire further intion of the verses with each other; and, as all inter- formation respecting them, as they might assist in aspreters agree in the rendering of the latter verses, it certaining the nature, if not also the origin, of idolajustifies our endeavour to give the former verses such try, that idolatry which overspread both east and west.

1. Neshati.

2. Meleth.





“We have formerly described the great mourn- together with their various contortions, might have ings of the women of Turkey, on account of the deaths subjected them to the suspicion of madness. After of their husbands and relations. This custom is not that, they returned, and seated themselves to weep so peculiar to them, but what we find it also among again; till they gradually withdrew to their homes. other. Orientals, as well Maronites as Cophtes, and The dresses they wore were such as they generally the other Christian sects. The women go in com- used, white, or any other colour; but when they rose panies on certain days, out of the towns to the tombs up to form a circle together, they put on a black veil, of their relations, IN ORDER TO WEEP THERE; and over the upper parts of their persons, as is endeavwhen they are arrived, they display very deep ex

oured to be shown in the Plate.” This was at Rapressions of grief.

mah, between Joppa and Jerusalem, near Lydda.] “ While I was at Ramah, I saw a very great com

I would observe on this extract, that it seems to pany of these weeping women, who went out of the be the remains of a custom observed in ancient times : town. I followed them, and after having observed we read of Mary's supposed, “ going to the grave to the place they visited, adjacent to their sepulcbres, weep there,” John xi. 31. of “weeping with howling," in order to make their usual lamentations, I seated Isai. xv. 3. of “the noise of weeping equalling the myself on an elevated spot, from whence i designed noise of joy,” Ezra iii. 13. and of other expressions the annexed Plate. They first went and placed them- of public and ceremonious weeping, even so early as selves on the sepulchres, and wept there; where, after the days of Abraham, Gen. xxiii. 2. and Moses, Deut. having remained about half an hour, some of them rose xxxiv. 8.

xxxiv. 8. The present, however, is not an opporup, and formed a ring, holding each other by the tunity to discuss the mode

discuss the mode of weeping, so much as hands, as is done in some country dances. Quick- the place of it. I would observe, that mountains ly two of them quitted the others, and placed them- seem to have been the usual places for conspicuous selves in the centre of the ring; where they made so weeping and lamentation ; so we read, Isai. xv, 2. much noise in screaming and in clapping their hands, as “he is gone up to the high places to weep," whether

hills, or temples upon them: and, Jer. iii. 23. “A Israelites were assembled to be carried into captivity, voice was heard on the high places, weeping;" also, Jer. xl. 1. This was not the Ramah mentioned by chap. xlviii. 5. “in the going up of Luhith contin Le Bruyn, but another near to Bethlehem. ual weeping shall go up,” et al.

We see this cus 5thly, That the same custom of women's weeptom continued in the extract before us, and I think ing for their children was probably maintained in the it may illustrate the phraseology of “Rachel weeping evangelist's time at Ramah near Bethlehem, as Le for her children, and refusing to be comforted, be- Bruyn found at the Ramah near Lydda ; that Racause they are not.” I the rather suggest this, be- mah being a high place fit for similar purposes, and cause, the Jews insist, and Mr. Levi, lately, that such high places being selected as proper for materRachel is very ill introduced by the evangelist Mat- nal lamentations. It will appear, therefore, that there thew in reference to the children slain by order of is nothing forced, or constrained, in the reference of Herod at Bethlehem. They say, that the lamenta St. Matthew, ii. 18. to a mourning of mothers over tion of Rachel referring only to the carrying away of their children, and refusing to be comforted, since such captives to Babylon, and being connected with a was, as it still is, the custom of the country. The alpromise of their return, it is not of that desperate de- lusion to such a custom would be still more conspicscription to justify the application of it by the evan uous, if it was, as I doubt not it was, maintained at gelist. The passage stands thus, Jer. xxxi. 15. Rachel's Ramah; and the apostrophe to Rachel would

be still more impressive, if these mournings were exThus saith the Lord;

hibited adjacent to where she was buried. It reA voice was heard in Ramah, Lamentation and bitter weeping;

quires little poetic vigour to call such mournings, the Rachel weeping for her children,

mournings of Rachel; not to say that such a name Refused to be comforted, because they were not.

might actually be given to them. Thus saith the Lord :

These remarks set in a very easy light the accom. Refrain thy voice from weeping,

modation employed by the evangelist; who, certainAnd thine eyes from tears :

ly, selects Rachel as a mother of the most affectionFor thy work shall be rewarded, saith the Lord ;

ate character, and instances in her, that grief which And they shall come again from the land of the enemy. other mothers felt, and under which other mothers And there is hope in thine end, saith the Lord,

lamented. This seems to justify also, the expression That thy children shall come again to their own border.

of the evangelist, “ then was fulfilled the language of Certainly this passage closes with hopeful and Jeremiah the prophet;" for if Rachel lamented, acgrateful ideas ; so far, therefore, as the prophet apos- cording to the custom of the country, on account of trophizes the tender mother of the tribes of Joseph the departure of her children into captivity; if when and Benjamin, he addresses consolation to her: not they were not slain, but only deported, she was, as it so the evangelist; whose Rachel deplores her chil. were, raised out of her tomb to grieve, to lead the dren hopelessly cut off, and departed for ever. lamentations of the weeping mothers, surely when

I would wish, therefore, to state, on the authority her children were really slain she might well break of Le Bruyn, that it is customary for mothers in the the bonds of silence, and express by loud and bitter East to seek the graves of their children, in order to cries, those agonies which rent her sympathetic boweep over them, when departed : I infer, that this be som: she might preside over the sorrows, the public ing a custom in the East at the present time, it was sorrows, which such an occasion demanded, and so anciently; so that in point of lamentation, any which, after such deprivations, were expected, acmourning mother might have answered the allusion of cording to established usage. In short, if the prophthe evangelist as well as Rachel.

et had any right to raise the dead, on account of a 2dly, That it is probable, the high places or hills circumstance of temporary, but not hopeless distress, out of the towns, were usually the scenes of such the evangelist had, at least, equal, not to say greater, lamentations, in ancient times, as we find by the pas- right to do the same, on occasion of a slaughter, which sages already quoted; and that such weepings are was neither alleviated by hope of return, nor by posnow maintained in the same places: the same cug sibility of future restoration, but was the fatal result toms for the most part prevailing in modern as in an of tyrannical jealousy, and of vindictive anticipation. cient times.

This was a fulfilment of the allusion and intent of 3dly, That the word Ramuh signifies high places Jeremiah, much beyond that of the prophet himin general ; and that any high place, the usual scene self; it was a deeper completion of his words; a more of such maternal lamentation, would have answered entire termination of his sentiment; founded, like the evangelist's purpose in reference to mourning his, on the custom of the country, and, like his, supmothers.

ported by the daily occurrences of time and place, 4thly, That Rachel was buried at, or near, Ra and by the general manners of the persons, to whom mah, Gen. xxxv. 9; xlvii. 1; 1 Sam. x. 2. where the bis narration was addressed.

To conclude, we are justified by the customs, and long since deposited in the silent tomb, should be reusages of the country, in assuming, that the mothers called to life, by the poetical imagination of the of the infants slaughtered at Bethlehem did actually prophet, to partake in the distress of her daughters visit their tombs, and lament with loud exclamations deprived of their children? and if this might be perover the remains of their tenderly beloved offspring; mitted to the prophet, on what principle should it be admitting this fact, where is the harshness of imag- refused to the evangelist, whose application of it is, ining, that the mother of the adjacent tribe, though at least, equally expressive, direct, and proper ?

[graphic][ocr errors]


The following extracts are from that intelligent In the Isle of Rum, or Ronin. “Notwithstanding this traveller, Mr. Pendant; consequently I need say island has several streams, bere is not a single mill; nothing in support of their correctness or their au- all the molinary operations are done at home; the corn thenticity.

is graddaned, or burnt out of the ear, instead of being At Kinloch Leven. “Saw here a quern, a sort threshed: this is performed two ways ; first, by cutof portable mill, made of two stones, about two feetting off the ears, and drying them in a kiln, then setting broad, thin at the edges, and a little thicker in the fire to them on a floor, ard picking out the grains, middle. In the centre of the upper stone is a hole by this operation rendered as black as coal. The to pour in the corn, and a peg by way of handle. The other method is more expeditious, for the whole sheaf whole is placed on a cloth ; the grinder pours the is burnt, without the trouble of cutting off the ears ; corn into the hole with one hand, and with the other a most ruinous practice, as it destroys both thatch turns round the upper stone with a very rapid motion, and manure, and on that account has been wisely while the meal runs out at the sides on the cloth. probibited in some of the islands. Graddaned corn This is rather preserved as a curiosity, being much was the “parched corn” of Holy Writ. Thus Boaz ut of use at present. Such are supposed to be the pr his beloved Ruth with parched corn; and same with what are common among the Moors, being Jesse sends David with an ephah of the same to his the simple substitute of a mill,” Tour in Scotland, sons in the camp of Saul. The grinding was also 1769, p. 231

performed by the same sort of machine, the quern, in

« PreviousContinue »