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THE PLAGUE OF LICE.
MURRAIN AMONG THE CATTLE.
great pitcher, which was heated internally; or wheth The lxx render xuvouvid, the dog-fly: which word, er it was a plate of copper, put over the fire on which says Hesychius, denotes impudent, bold, audacious ; the preparation of bread designed to be baked was qualities which belong to the fly and the dog; than placed, may admit a question. At any rate, it is which, says Elian, lib. viii. cap. 19. there are no anivecessary to quit entirely our English ideas of ovens, mals more impudent. Some have thought the word when considering these passages.
signified a “mixture,” or assemblage of different kinds As to the kneading troughs, we have given a'figure of the fly genus; so Aquila and Jerom. The Arabic of them; from which it appears, that we must also version reads “a mixture of wild beusts, venomous lay aside English ideas when considering them; and insects, and reptiles ;” Rabbi Selomo, “all kinds of to that figure, with its accompanying explanation, we venomous animals, as serpents and scorpions ;" refer.
Aben-ezra, “all the wild beasts mingled in associaFor a figure of the pitcher-like oven, vide Frag. tion, as lions, bears, and leopards.” I mention these MENT, No. 109.
marvellous renderings, to show the absolute necessity of well understanding the natural history of a country; since that only can direct our inquiries : and since
all these opposed renderings cannot possibly be This word, in Hebrew Disa cinnim, the Lxx ren well founded. Moreover, they appear to be contrary der ExVITES, small flies, GNATS; and the writer of the to verse 31. which seems to imply the withdrawing Book of Wisdom says, chap. xix. 10. the land pro- of a single kind. duced fies, gnats. Origen, and Jerom also, read
CHAPTER IX. gnats. I apprehend they were of the same nature
VERSE 3. as what are called moschettoes in the West Indies, and other sultry climates: these, says the sacred histo
We are told, verse 6. that all the cattle of Egypt rian, “ became lice (gnats) in, 3, man and in beast."
died. Either then, the word all must be taken for I need not stay to prove that this particle signifies upon, no less than in; it is so rendered often, and often. out which the cattle died was but small; since we
a great number, as it often is; or the district throughThe following is from Mr. Parkhurst. “One can
afterward read, verse 19. of securing the cattle from hardly suppose but the lxx, who dwelt in Egypt, the hail storm, and, chap. xii. 29. that the firstborn knew in general what was intended by this Hebrew of the cattle were smitten. If the reader dislike either name; especially as their interpretation is confirmed of these interpretations, he may allow a distance of by Philo, himself also an Alexandrian Jew, and by time between the two miracles, during which the Origen, a Christian father, who likewise lived at stock of cattle had been replenished in this district. Alexandria. Both Philo and Origen represent them
As to the nature of this distemper, it appears to have as being very troublesome. The latter describes
been extremely rapid, and even sudden; the conta. them as being winged insects, but so small as to escape any but the acutest sight'; and says, that when gion was, it is likely therefore, inhaled from the at: cape any but the acutest sight; and says, that when mosphere, which fluid, if rendered unwholesome, would settled on the body, they wound it with a most sharp
communicate disease as readily to a thousand as to and painful piercer," Heb. Dict. p. 362.
We have had diseases among the cattle of EuNotwithstanding these arguments, the learned Bo- rope, whose progress has been observed to advance chart, and others, have thought, that lice were really from place to place, at the rate of a certain number
ist, As they are said to of miles per day: whence it has been thought the come from the dust of the land, not from the waters,
cause of the disease was flying insects. from whence gnats arise, in the usual course of nature. 2dly, As they afflicted beasts, as well as men;
VERSE 8, which is perfectly agreeable to the nature of lice, of which every kind of animal is infested by its able nature and form of his furnace, vide the print of
Moses took ashes from the furnace: for the probown species. 3dly, From the etymology of the
SLAVES IN THE EAST. word; which signifies stability, firmness, difficult
The nature of this disease was, probably, that of to be got rid of, as Aristotle speaks, Hist. lib. v. cap. inflammatory buboes, or ulcers rising into pustules : 31. 4thly, In the Talmud, cinnah signifies a louse. but whether they were plague sores is doubtful; beThese arguments are not without adequate answers;
cause, in verse 15. Moses threatens to smite the but we only say, that it is most likely the uxx, being Egyptians with pestilence; nor do we read that any resident in Egypt, should be best acquainted with number of persons died of this malady: pestilence, this subject, and their version may turn the scale of therefore, seems not to have been employed hitberto. opinion. VERSE 21.
THE PLAGUE OF The dog-fly, or zimb: on which we have said Hail in some countries is a very common producenough in FRAGMENT, No. 56.
tion of the atmosphere; in Egypt it is rare, because
the sultry nature of the climate does not permit its quist, on the contrary, affirms that rice was brought formation, the air being seldom cold enough, in its up into cultivation in Egypt under the califs: but I per regions, to freeze the falling drops of rain. We much doubt of this; and think, that from the intersee, then, a double interference of Providence in this course of ancient Egypt with Babylon and with Inmiracle. 1st, That hail should be formed. 2dly, dia, this country could not be ignorant of a grain so That it should happen tomorrow, at a time prefixed. well suited to its climate: notwithstanding this, rice Whoever reflects that no human power could direct is not, that I recollect, mentioned, or even clearly althe atmosphere to this, or to any other effect, must be luded to, till the time of the prophet Isaiah ; vide convinced that there could be no juggling trick in this Isai. xxxii. 20. case. 3dly, That in a certain district of country these occurrences did not take place.
CHAPTER X. VERSES 4, 15. Observe how the lightning is called fire, from
There are in Scripture ten names for locusts : the heaven, which ran along (darted) upon the ground, mingled with the bail. But the hail smote man and species mentioned in the present passage is called
arbah; which, say the Lexicons, imports multiplicbeast : every herb, [avy osheb) shrubs, and minor ity; a very just description of the locust tribes ! plants; every tree, larger and stronger. Observe the duration of this miracle; usually 80 eggs: if every female is equally prolifíc, and lays
Leewenhoeck says, he has seen a female lay more than hail storms last but a little time; but this storm last
three or four times in a summer, what an immense ed long enough to terrify Pharaoh, and to induce him multitude must arise, and that speedily, from such to entreat its suppression. In proportion to the in
fertility! frequency of this kind of storm must have been the terror which it infused into Pharaoh, and which must kadim; and is usually translated “the east wind :"
The wind which brought these insects, is called i have been proportionately increased by its continu- but is supposed, in some places, to denote a wind ance.
south of the east: so that the Lxx render NOTOV XO! Scripture mentions, verse 31. flax and barley; Arba, south and south-east ; also xauowv«, a burning and, verse 32. wheat and 'rye: we shall just notice wind. Bochart prefers this rendering to the other ; these vegetables.
Flax, in Hebrew pishtah, is the vegetable from supposing it was more proper for the bringing these whose filaments linen is made; so that the importance this is not necessary, as locusts do not constantly
insects from Ethiopia, than from Arabia. However, of this plant to the Egyptians can only be known, by observe the same courses. reflecting on the commerce in linen which Egypt
The wind which carried away these insects is carried on as well in foreign countries as at home. The fax was bolled; this word signifies to rise iterranean; which, therefore, we conclude drove
called the sea wind, i.e. wind from the sea, the Medinto a stalk, or stem, which is of a roundish form. these locusts into the Red Sea, where they perBut some think that the seeds, or grain of the flax,
ished, were assuming a roundish form within their husks: and that this is the import of the word used in the
VERSE 21. original.
Barley is the most ancient aliment of mankind, as Pliny says, lib. xviji, on the testimony of Menander. I presume that the inhabitants of England, and Barley is called, in Hebrew, hairy, nryw shoreh, from Holland, have frequent opportunities of contemplatits long and stiff beard.
ing darknesses by means of fogs, &c. which in the We need only mention plants so well known among climate of Egypt would be altogether miraculous. us as these are.
Where the air is so clear as hardly to form clouds, Wheat also is a grain too well known to need de- those clouds can much less appear in the state of that scription; its importance is equal in Egypt and in thick vapour which a fog in London sometimes asEngland. The cultivation of this plant was general
It is common among us to say
" the fog is so in Egypt, and the mention of it in so early a history thick it may be cut with a knife!” and I find to my renders it likely that it was well known, not merely surprise the same phraseology in Scheuzer, which I in Egypt, but in the countries around: though some take to be perfectly analogous to the expression of hare thought it was late before it was introduced into the sacred writer, “darkness which might be felt.” Sicily, where afterward it flourished greatly. I am sure I have often felt the grossly vaporated air,
The Hebrew word nous cusmet, signifies a hairy the dense compact mistiness, of a London atmoplant; it is usually thought to be the zea, or spelt, sphere. which is a species of corn. The Lxx and Theodo The duration of this fog is marked as being three tion render olyra ; and Aquila renders sea ; both days; which, I suppose, is to be taken in the Hewhich words signify spelt.' Vide Ezek. iv. 9. Dr.
Vide Ezek. iv. 9. Dr. brew sense, as denoting the close of the first day, the Shaw thinks this word may signify rice. Hassel- whole of the second, and the beginning of the third
THE PLAGUE OF DARKNESS.
day; 80 that the Egyptians must have been very Egypt: and the storm of hail and lightning, though sensible of their embarrassing situation.
a wonderful phenomenon in that country, yet has its As to the expressions that “they could not see principles in nature. The same may be said of the each other, nor did they rise from their places;” locusts, whose swarms completed the devastation of these I suppose may be taken somewhat at large ; since the land; and of the darkness, whose solid obscurity artificial lights, as lamps, flambeaux, &c. were in use. shrouded the whole city and its neighbourhood. But these probably gave that kind of obscure solem. There remains one miracle, the death of the firstnity of illumination, which our London lamps exbibit born, which seems to be reserved as the most conduring the darkness of a foggy evening.
vincing proof of Divine interposition : the death of This kind of dim half light, would astonish the in the firstborn in the same night. Even in this mirainhabitants of Egypt, who would rather sit at home, cle, we observe, that these very persons were born than venture abroad, and endeavour at their personal to die, since such is the tenure of human life; but risk to visit their friends, or to follow their occupa that they should die at the same lime, is very striking. tions :
Having characterized this miracle as the most won
derful of all, let us examine some of its particulars. and through the palpable obsoure, find out
1st, The word firstborn is by no means necessaTheir uncouth way.
rily to be understood of an actually firstborn child ; The author of the book of Wisdom has indulged since we read of the firstborn of the poor, Isai. xiv. his fancy on the subject of this darkness, and its 30. i.e. those extremely impoverished; and even concomitants: it is probable that such stories were what would be a contradiction, if strictly taken, the in circulation among the Jews of his time; but bow firstborn of DEATH, Job xviii. 13. i.l. ihe most fagreatly superior is the simple narrative of holy writ! tal, the most terrible of deaths. If then we take the
Having thus succinctly touched on each of these word firstborn in this passage to import the chief, miracles, we may now attempt an observation or two the most illustrious, the prime of each family, we respecting them taken together.
shall, I presume, perceive its full power, and shall Miracles may be classed, ist, as those which are avoid ambiguity in reference to those families which analogous to the general course of nature, but are su had not any firstborn child. This is also perfectly perior to it, or are varied from it. 2dly, Those coincident with a sense of which I think the words are which are in direct opposition to the general course capable, chap. xii. 12. upon all the DIGNITARIES of of nature. In the first class we may instance, the Egypt I will execute judgment: not against the gods, depriving a person of life, as Peter did Ananias and as our translators read; for how could they feel; or Sapphira. It is according to nature that a persou what judgment did they, [i.e. idol deities] experience? should die, but the circumstances of the deaths of or what notice is taken of any such event? But the those two persons, render them miraculous. In the chiefs of Egypt certainly felt the judgment of God, second class we may instance, a resurrection from the when the land was despoiled of its principals; and dead; which is in direct opposition to the general the representations and clamours of their friends and principles of nature, and to every possible result from connections must needs have been powerful and inthem.
fluential, not to say alarming, to the reigning prince. To apply these hints to the miracles of Moses in This also appears to be the sense of the passage, Egypt, observe, that these miracles are analogous to Numb. xxxiii. 4.“ And the Egyptians buried (implythe course of nature, rather than opposed to it; at ing attention, if not pomp) those whom Jehovah had least, this inference is plausible in regard to those smitten among them; even those dignitaries upon which were imitated by the Egyptians, which do not whom Jehovah executed judgments.” The mention seem to have been of a nature superior to those which of burial leads to this idea, for I think the gods of the Egyptians could not imitate, yet these were ac Egypt are not meant to be hinted at, as if they were cording to nature; for to this day that country breeds buried among others. swarms of musquettoes, though not in such numbers as That the firstborn of cattle should peculiarl y sufAaron was instrumental in producing. The nature ser under this stroke, is altogether singular, and inof the simb, or dog-fly of Abyssinia, explains the deed is enough to induce one to inquire for the true plague of fies to be rather a direction of a particular' sense of the passage ; but, if the prime, the most ralinsect, to accomplish a particular purpose, than any uable of cattle, might be understood by it, which new creation of a specific kind, or any direction of nothing forbids, then all becomes easy ; and this in this insect contrary to its nature. The mortality fliction falls the more heavily on a people, whose af among the cattle is what it has pleased Providence to fection for their cattle, to say nothing of some of them visit other countries with occasionally ; apd our own as objects of their devotion, would lead them to grea country has smarted under it, though perhaps by agitations, if not excesses, under this privation very different means. The biles and ulcers were their property, and their dependencies on them for diseases, which, I apprehend, are still known in support. Does not this slaughter of the cattle Loo
like a confirmation of the following idea, that a pesti- lambs differing in age, receive therefore different aplential visitation was employed on this occasion ? pellations.
May we venture to compare this slaughter of the Unleavened bread: this was made in haste, not to Egyptians, with that of the Assyrians ? 2 Kings, xix. give time for the leaven lo ferment in the meal, which Isai. xxxvii. They agree in some circumstances, as requires soine hours. See the allusion, 1 Cor. v. 6; Ist, an angel is said to have been employed in both; Gal. v. 9. 2dly, both were by night ; 3dly, the survivors la Bitter herbs: these herbs must have been easily ment as if all were dead. As we have seen reason 10 procurable by the Israelites; they were, therefore, think that the secondary cause or agent employed, ist, common in Egypt; 2dly, the food of labourers. was the Saniel or hot wind, in the instance of Sennache We have nothing to direct us in ascertaining these rib's army, might the same secondary cause be em- piants but conjecture; since what is common in Egypt ployed in the punishment of the Egyptians ? was this now, might not have been so anciently. the species of pestilence engaged? Whatever species The Mishna, in Pesachim, cap. ii. reckons five speit was, it equally obeyed the injunctions of divine
cies of these bitter herbs, which it names, 1st, chaer; as this might do as well as any other.
But, if so, sareth, taken for the lettuce ; 2dly, ulsin, supposed to then all the latter plagues of Egypt, those which the be endive, or succory; 3dly, tamca, thought to be magicians could pot imitate, were derived from the air; chervil, but some say tansey ; 4thly, charubinin, or and their procedure was according tothe usual course charchobinin : Bochart thought this might be the netof nature, not contrary to it; though this and all were tle, but Scheuzer thinks it is the camomile; 5thly, meperhaps invigorated beyond their natural powers, ror, the sow thistle, or dent-de-lion, or wild lettuce: and specifically directed in their effects, both as to the true plant unknown. when and where; which being foretold, and punctually and directly executed, implied the intervention of su
VERSE 22. perior agency; for what human power could have ac Hyssop, is an aromatic bitter plant, very well complished these events either as to time or place? known, and well ascertained : this therefore has no
difficulty, CHAPTER XII. VERSES 3, 4, 5:
CHAPTER. XIII. VERSES 21, 22.
THE PASCHAL LAMB.
The paschal lamb in respect to natural history The column of fire and smoke, offers nothing for offers no distinction from any other animal of the the consideration of naturalists; as no natural cloud species. We only observe, that a kid is admitted could have subsisted so long undissolved in that sultry equally with a lamb, and that the qualities of the au climate; or under the vicissitudes of moisture, wind, imal demand our notice.
tempest, &c. It is remarkable that Homer employs one word,
PASSAGE OF TIE RED SEA. unaov, to denote sheep or goats; and that the fold of either kind is expressed by one word, onkos: the skin [Vide FRAGMENT, No. 39, aud MAP.] of either is called also by one word, so is their ex That the wind has great influence on narrow wacrement; and so is their voice. In these instances,
In these instances, ters, and that occasionally waters are compressed by then, the usage of the Greeks was similar to that of the wind into a greater depth than usual, or are renthe Hebrews, who by the word nu sheh, denoted dered more shallow than usual, is well known; but both species; as appears in verse 5.
the miracle in this case is augmented by the predicThe age of this lamb, one year, and its sex, male, tion: no power simply human could expect that the its qualities, without blemish, deserve remark. At wind would blow from any certain point, much less least eight days must have passed over every animal from any given point, to suit a certain purpose; and destined to sacrifice, Exod. xxii. 30; Levit. xxii. 27. that after the accomplishment of that purpose, it neither could it be older than one year. Now, as should cease, and suffer the body of water to resume the exes of Judea bring forth more than once a year, its former station. There seem to be traditions of there might be more than one kind of lambs at the this fact preserved by several means. We cannot time of the passover, all in their first year. 1st, lay very great stress on the reports of the present Those born in the month Nisan of the former year; Arabs around the coast, because it is probable they these are the spring-fallen lambs, and they are calls might learn the history from the Jewish nation ; but ed by Aquila, Apwiuse proima, and by Symmachus, Diodorus Siculus seems to have heard of it; for he Tporogoro protogona. 2dly, The lambs of the autunn says, lib. iii. “ A history is related in the country of falling in the month Tizri; Aquila calls these of quot the Ichthyophagi, (on the coast of the Red Sea,] opsima, and Symmachus calls them deutepogova den which they pretend to have received from their aplerogona. 3dly, Those of the Nisan of the present cestors, that one day there was so extraordinary a year, which were not yet one month old. These reflux of wates, that the whole bottom of the gulf was
left dry, and appeared verdant, because the sea was year. Ecclesiasticus also says, xxiv. 14.“I was exalt.
Moses himself, and his particular household, weie en-
CHAPTER XVI. VERSE 4, &c.
THE MANNA. to be the same as those sweetened by Moses, that their waters are very salt and very bitter. The soil This production was, probably, like many other they rise in is barren, sandy, and nitrous, in a vast miracles, partly natural, partly miraculous. It is cerplain, about fifty paces from each other. They rise tain that manna is now found on trees, &c. in the East, at the foot of a sinall hill, from whence they discharge and perhaps in this very desert. But, that it should several streams, like running fountains, but soon lose fall in such quantities, and under such restrictions and themselves in the sand. “The heat, says he, had peculiarities, is not according to nature: that it should brought on us so strong a thirst, that we were under breed worms if kept beyond a day; that none of it the necessity of drinking this water; and our extreme should fall on the Sabbath, are altogether extraordithirst made us think it of an agreeable taste, although nary: that it should melt by the heat of the sun is it is bitter, by reason of the nitre with which it is im- not so wonderful, since what is now found in these pregnated.”
parts exhales like dew after the sun is hot. Nor am As to the wood used by Moses, it is not distinguish- I certain that there was any thing unaccountable in ed in the text; the sacred writer only naming it wood the quantity gathered for each person, since it is likeor tree. The Rabbins, indeed, tell us that it was it- ly the people collected according to their families, self of a most bitter kind; but we think there is no and the number of children in each, would adjust a need to augment the miracle. The probability is, considerable apparent difference of quantity; not to that it was rather of a corrective kind; and this seems say, they might impart to each other as wanted. We to have been the opinion of the author of Ecclesias- have no need to multiply miracles like the Rabbins. ticus, xxxviii. 5. “Was not the water made sweet I would doubt, however, whether all the camp dewith wood, that the virtue thereof [i.e. of the wood] pended constantly on this manna for food; where might be known?” This, at least, is certain, that no were the cattle, milch kine, &c. brought out of Egypt? wood possessing such natural properties is now used vide Numb. xi. 22. and though they might have little by the Arabs, who would never have lost the knowl- fish, yet vegetables of soine kinds they might proedge of such a valuable article, had it been commu cure, as we are not, perhaps, under the necessity nicated to them. It seems to me useless to endeav- of supposing that they were entirely secluded from our to identify this wood, but some have supposed intercourse with adjacent tribes of Arabs, and neighthat it might be of the Nerium, or the sugar cane bouring nations; and if they lived on the dates of ihe family. Mr. Forskat, in answer to Michaelis, says, a palm-tree, why not Israel also ? and why might not Caraite Jew in Cairo told him they had a tradition it Israel purchase those and other fruits ? « The mixed was the Nerium Oleander, Niebuhr, Pref. xxix. multitude fell a lusting," Numb. xi. 4.
Palm-trees. This kind of tree is pretty well known I shall translate Niebuhr's account of the manna among us; and there is no difficulty in admitting the found in the East, p. 128. French edit. 4to. “Manreference of the Hebrew word to this tree. The palm, na is found at present in divers parts of the East, but says Plutarch, de Pythia, is a tree which loves water; I own that I neglected to procure information at the and Pliny says, it loves to drink throughout the whole most celebrated places, that is to say, around mount