« PreviousContinue »
Sinai, famous for the manna of the Israelites. At Sinai only the natural Tarandsjubin, it would have Mercin it attaches itself like a meal or powder, on been a very pleasant thing to them. In the Kurdesthe leaves of certain trees which they call ballot and tan, at Mosul, Merdin, Diarbekr, Ispahan, and prob. afs (at Aleppo called as ;] and which I believe to ably in other cities, they use manna only, instead of be oaks. Some affirmed, they had found manna be- sugar, for their pastry and other dishes. Much of it tween Merdin and Diarbekr on the trees named el- may be eaten without its proving purgative. Nevermäs and elmaheb. Others, from whom I inquired theless, a person, with whom I conversed at Basra, whether this was certain, had never seen any on trees thought, that both kinds were of that quality. Perof those kinds; nor did they recollect at Aleppo to haps this is sensible only after it has lost its freshness. have found it on the shrub el hûd sje. All agreed The tree which produces wild honey was not known in affirming that between Merdîn and Diarbekr it was at Basra; but an inhabitant of Ispahan affirmed, that pripcipally gathered from those trees which produce this tree grew commonly in Persia, and became very the gall nut, i.e. oaks. The gathering time of this large." manna at Merdîn is in July or August; and they say The comparison of the manna to sugar hy this init is most plentiful after a certain very thick fog, or telligent traveller, the observation that it is used in during moist weather, rather than during the clear pastry, and its figure, as grains, will not fail to strike days. No care is taken of these trees near Merdin; the reader. I have already doubted whether the Isbut when the manna falls, any body who chooses gath- raelites lived wholly on manna, which, though we ers it in the woods, without asking or purchasing per- cannot properly call it a vegetable gum, yet is clearly mission from the government. It is gathered in three a vegetable emission, or inspissiation; and, at least different manners, and it differs in quality accordingly. partially, a juice from the tree or shrub. By way of Some go to the woods before sunrise to gather it in shewing the nutritive effect of such food, I shall offer a linen cloth, by shaking the leaves : it is now quite Hasselquist's account of a caravan supported by white; and this is the finest. When it is not gather- gum-arabic, which we know is a vegetable juice also. ed in the morning, and the day becomes hot, the “The Abyssinians come yearly to Cairo, to sell manna melts in the sunbeams. Nevertheless, it is slaves, gold, elephants, drugs, monkies, and parrots. not lost, but it augments and thickens from day to They cross the most frightful deserts; and, as their day on the leaves. To obtain this, as many leaves journey depends on the season, they know as little as as may be, are carried home, where they are thrown sailors do, how long they may be in their passage ; into water, some say, boiling, and the manna floats by which they are often exposed to a scarcity of proat the top, like an oil. Some persons do not take visions. Such a circumstance happened in 1750 to this trouble, but pound the leaves and manna to- the caravan from Abyssinia: it stopped two months gether. This is the worst kind, and apparently is in its course, and provisions failed. In this extremity, the same as J. B. Capello calls, in his Lessico Far- they had recourse to the gum-arabic, of which they maceutico, “ leaf manna,” or manna forsatella. It had a great quantity with them; and it served to supis also called, “heavenly manna.” Nevertheless, port more than a thousand men during two months. notwithstanding that name, the Orientals do not be- The caravan arrived safe and sound at Cairo, without lieve that it falls from heaven; for, if so, then no having lost any considerable number of persons.” In doubt it would be found on many other kinds of this instance, the caravan lived wholly on this vegetrees. It is gathered also in Persia, and especially table substance, so that in this respect it was analoin abundance in Kurdestan.
gous to the camp of Israel: but the camp of Israel “I was assured at Basra, that the manna named lived many years on the manna, whereas this caraTarandsjubin, or Taransjubil, was gathered in great van lived only two months on the gum-arabic. quantities near Ispahan, from a little thorny bush. In the sequel of this history we find, that the inI inquired for this kind of manna at Basra, and I sects bred in the manna are called by two names : found that it consisted of small grains, round and yel- 1st, non rimmach, verse 24. which signifies to breed low, by consequence of the saine figure as the manna worms; 2dly, but verse 20. yhin tulo, probably of the Israelites is described to be, Exod. xvi. 14, derived from a root which signifies to devour, to swal31 ; Numb. xi. 7. Perhaps, it was this kind which low. Vide Job xxv. 6; Isai. xiv. 11. Perhaps our served as food to the Jews during their journey, for mites in cheese may give us an idea of these insects. there are many thorny bushes in the desert around What shall we say to the imaginations of the Rabmount Sinai; and that district is in nearly the same bins, Solomon, in Meschilta, and others, that the latitude as Ispahan; but if the children of Israel en melted manna formed whole streams and rivers of joyed their manna during the whole year, that was very sweet water, where goats and deer resorted to by miracle ; for the manna Tarandsjubin is found drink; and where even fishes were taken which had only during certain months. I do not know whether the taste of manna? From such wild interpreters, sugar is cultivated in other countries of Arabia besides and their extravagant interpretations, good Lord deYemen. But if the Jews had found in the desert of liver us!
fer this expression to the state of the weather in the THE QUAILS.
evening, preparatory to the thick dew of the morning? It is well known that there has been great differ in the evening, and a dense cloud, or VERY THICK
in which case the translation would be,“ And it was ence of opinion among the learned with respect to what creature is intended by the original word cloud, being condensed during the night, early in
Fog came up, and covered the camp ; which fog, or selavim, rendered by our translators, “ quails.” This rendering is supported by Bochart, Hieroz, p. camp ;” and when the dew was exhaled, the manna
the morning a layer of dew nas spread around the 1. lib. i. cap. 14. by Josephus, lib. iii. cap. 1, 12.
was found underneath it. by the Rabbins, who reckon four sorts of quails: 1. The beccafigo; 2. The thrush; 3. The pheas- reader's notice what we lately quoted from Niebuhr.
To vindicate this idea, I shall only recal to the ant; 4. The quail. The Lxx translate ortugometre, «The gathering time of this mannaat Merdinis in July, the “mother quail," a great quail: and with them
or August, [the sultry time of the year,) and they say it agree Appollinarius; Wisdom, chap. xvi. 2; xix.
is MOST PLENTIFUL AFTER A CERTAIN VERY THICK 12. and Philo, de Vita Mos. lib. i. On the other hand, the learned Job Ludolph insists that these
FOG; they go to the woods BEFORE SUNRISE to gather selavim were locusts ; because, ist, the word sig. scription of the conduct of the people, as directed by
it: it is now the finest.” This is in short a correct denifies multitudes ; 2dly, the Eastern versions retain
Moses; and we know that fogs appear only in still
, the original word, whereby it should seem they do not think it the quail
, which they call by another tranquil weather; which is perfectly agreeable to the name. 3dly, Ludolph owns that he received the first import of the word, and its root. On this principle
we might dismiss the quails from this passage in Es. idea of his opinion from Porphyry, lib. i. who mentions an army in Africa, ready to perish by hunger, not recorded the giving of the promised flesh; [il in
odus. In this case, all that follows is, that Moses has when a cloud of locusts coming from Lybia, relieved deed that promise refer to this very evening, and not their distress. 4thly, Many tribes of people live on locusts : this must be admitted ; and that those in- ing or morning, the proper parts of the day, generally.]
to a daily supply of food, q. flesh, or bread, at eversects are sufficiently abundant to maintain them. We shall find he has omitted other particulars.
] Scheuzer assents to this opinion; and the Jews in
The passage, Psalm cv. 40. yields us no assistance Arabia say the same, Niebuhr, p. 152. French edit.
on this subject; for though, according to our version, In this passage in Exodus there seems to be an
the quails are before the manna, yet ihe word is sheanticipation, if not a mixture, of facts. 1st, At even
lav, here also, not shelavim; and is no otherwise difthe selav, quails, came up and covered the camp: ferent from the word of our text, than by omitting the 2dly, in the morning the dew lay round about the host: 3dly, after the dew was exhaled, the manna appeared. *, the ; and it might be rendered, From hence seems that the quails came before the
They asked, he brought on, the shelar ;
And bread from heaven satisfied them. manna ; and the same order is observed, Psalm cv. 40. “The people asked, and he brought quails, se So that the shelav here may as well be preparatory lav, and satisfied them with the bread of heaven.” to the dew, and so to the manna, as any thing else. Now, if these quails were caught by them in the But there seems to be yet another idea: is this evening, how could they want food, manna, the next shelav, or shelava, absolutely the same as the shemorning? Why were they not satisfied with the quails lavim in Numbers? Might it not be an attendant on taken? (of which, by the by, no other notice occurs; them, yet not identically the same? no “standing up all that day, and all that night, and We have another history of quails in Numb. xi. all the next day,” here; but the whole remainder of 31. where we read, “ And there went forth a wind the chapter treats of the manna.)
from the Lord, and brought quails, shelavim, from This is the first mention of selav, and we observe the sea, and let them fall by the camp, as it were, a that it occurs here in the singular form, with a demon- day's journey on this side, and, as it were, a day's strative 77; literally, “And it was in the evening, and journey on the other side, round about the camp; it came up, or, it went up, The shelav, and it covered and, as it were, two cubits high upon the face of the the camp, and early in the morning was a layer of earth. And the people stood up all that day, and all dew around the camp; and the layer of dew went up, that night, and all the next day, and they gathered and behold, the manna, &c. Now, this shelav could the quails ; he that gathered least gathered ten honot be a single quail; for no single quail could cover mers ; and they spread them all abroad for them. the camp. [Can this shelav mean a covey ?] The selves round about the camp." We must endea vcircumstance of a great number of quails would have our to render this literally : “ And a wind went been noticed. If we derive this word from its root, forth from Jehovah himself, and cut off [stopped] 79, it signifies quietness, tranquillity, composure, shelavim from the sea, and left them, let them go, STILLS s. Under these uncertainties, may we re- quitted them, over the camp, like the journey of a
day here, and like the journey of a day there, round Let us examine each of these; the first is called the camp, and like two cubits over, upon, the face of flesh, meaning, I presume, delicacies; it is also said the ground. And the people rose up all that day, to be rained. Now the idea of raining is not that of and they collected, or gathered, the whole dense cloud; very large lumps, or great masses, but of small, little taking the word shelav in this sense, i.e. of shela- drops; and this the rather, if the word here used, vim, 1900 nx at he-shelav. The least share was ten mether, signify a shower ; whereas a heavy, a pelting homers, &c. To this we must add the narration, for rain, is expressed by gemesh. “He showered down such it is, of the Psalmist, lxxviii.
flesh, what was esteemed a delicacy, upon them.”
Here some may think we find the locusts of Ludolf; He caused an east wind to blow in the heaven;
for this word shower aptly explains the falling of creaAnd by his power he brought in the south wiud.
tures no larger than locusts, and it perfectly agrees He rained flesh also upon them as dust, And feathered fowls like the sands of the sea ;
with the history in Numbers, that the people gatherAnd let fall in the midst of their camp,
ed the whole cloud, dense body, of them. That loAnd round about their habitations.
custs are esteemed a delicacy, as we esteem shrimps
and cray fish, is confirmed by every traveller into the These accounts illustrate each other; and to un East. To this agrees also, 1st, the extent around the derstand the history, we must combine them. camp to which they fell; 2d, the spreading of them
Observe, 1st, two winds were employed; 1st, the abroad by the people, which is constantly practised east wind; 2d, the south wind. Now certainly these to locusts; 3d, the measuring them by bushels, winds did not blow at the same time; but the east whereas birds would have been counted by dozens ; wind blew first; this drove the shelavim toward the and, 4th, their immense multitude ; on which I shall sea, when, quite unexpectedly, the Lord sent a south only hint at the calculation of Scheuzer, who takes wind, which wafting these creatures in a different di the day's journey at a sabbath day's journey only, rection, cut them off from the sea, and brought them and excludes the whole area of the camp: yet he over the camp of Israel; where failing them, it let says the quantity amounts to 854,507,000 cubic feet them fall, they being now within reach of the people. of creatures, and that the 120,000,000,000 of quails
Observe, 2dly, there are two places where these of which Cornelius à Lapide speaks, is not nearly creatures fell; ist, the midst of the camp, the inte- enough for the true number. On the other hand, lorior of the camp; 2d, the spaces around their habi custs fly in immense quantities: St. Augustin men: tations. The midst of the camp is a fixed station, tions “a prodigious niultitude of locusts, an innumersurrounded by the tents, &c. but the spaces round able cloud,” de Civ. Dei, lib, iji. cap. 31. Alvarez about the camp extended to like a day's journey, in says, he saw an army of locusts, which occupied the sundry directions, equal to the diameter of the whole
space of eight leagues; Portuguese, dous covados cloud: and the Israelites going out to gather what ďallura, two cubits high. Aldrovandus reports, on fell, went from place to place till they had strayed the testimony of Surius, that in 1541, in the provinces a great distance from the camp, even a day's strag- near Poland, was seen a body of locusts, one cubit gle. 1st, They went forward one day, gaihering as high, and many miles in length and breadth. Add, they went; 2d, they gathered also the next night; therefore, to what has been said, that they lay in heaps and, 3d, then thought of returning to the camp: but of various depths. employed the next day also in gathering as they re We read, the quantity gathered was “ten homers, turned. This diminishes the extent of the day's now of the manna the Israelites gathered only one journey very much; since, to say nothing of the safe- omer, which is the tenth part of an homer ; so that ly of people wandering to any considerable distance, they gathered an hundred times as much of this supthe time consumed in gathering, and the nature of the ply as of the manna : the quantity is excessive, if of action, looking here, picking up there, &c. would leave quails, though the similarity of the words omer and 80 little time for making progress in a direct line, homer disguises it in our translation. that, as it were a day's journey, seems to be inserted If by flesh the Psalmist means locusts, what does in a loose manner, not precisely conveying any cor he mean by "feathered fowls?” literally, "winged rect idea of the space occupied by the shelavim, flyers ;” i.e. of any sort. And here we are happily
Observe, 3dly, here are also, as I conceive, two assisted by the accounts of modern travellers, who kinds of creatures mentioned: 1st, what is called mention a bird that devours the locusts, and follows flesh ; 2d, what is translated feathered fowls; and, for them in their migrations. This, perhaps, is the aught I know to the contrary, these might fall in two "pinged flyers" of the Psalmist, and it may possibly distinct places; one kind falling, 1st, in the midst, be the selav of Moses, if we take that word to denote interior, of the camp; the other kind, 2d, falling in a bird, or covey of birds. If this bird was now known
open space around it: 1st, one kind being rained in the East by the name, selav selava, it would renon them as dust; 2d, the other like the sand of the der such a notion very plausible ; but this does not sea.
appear to be fact. And indeed, as Michaelis observes, FOL. 17.
it is probable the Arabs might derive this name from Forskal could procure a sight of the bird; his intelthe Jews, and the Jews from the Bible, so that stillligence from Constantinople, not from Arabia, led our evidence would be incomplete. We shall offer him to the quail, under this name. a few testimonies on the subject of this bird, which We gather from Dr. Russell, that locusts may lie might accompany the locusts in the camp of Israel; two cubits high upon the ground, which certainly is but certainly in no such numbers as the shelavim the literal rendering of the Scripture, since the Dr. themselves, by way of conjecture merely.
found them above a foot deep, and for several miles “I had once an opportunity to see large swarms of together. And if there were two kinds of creatures, locusts, in the island of Cyprus; and till that time then the locust eater may be that feathered fowl to had no adequate idea of their numerous hosts, and which the Psalmist alludes, and which Moses calls rapacious depredations. In going in a chaise from shelav. What other reason can be given why Moses Larnica, to a garden at the distance of four or five says, in verse 31. the wind cut off shelavim, plural, miles, the locusts lay swarming, ABOVE A FOOT DEEP, from the sea; and, in verse 32. the people collected in several parts of the high road, and thousands were the whole shelav, singular, compared with the shelav destroyed by the wheels of the carriage crashing over of Exod. xvi. 13. we cannot determine. If shelar them. The locust bird, which providentially appears refer to the locusts, it may mean the cloud formed by at the same time, is of infinite service on these occa their multitude: if to the feathered fowl, the Psalmsions; and on that account is much respected by the ist might know that these locusts were followed by a Turks. Other birds also devour the locust, as star. bird; and might understand the locust eater of course. lings, sparrows, and swallows; and great numbers, If Moses does not mention two different creatures, while yet young, are destroyed by another species of neither does he mention two different winds: the insect; but the locust bird is the most formidable Psalmist may have supplied both omissions. enemy of all,” Dr. Russell's Aleppo, p. 229.
In favour of quails as being the shelavim of Moses, “ Turdus Roseus, Linn. S.N. p. 294. smurmur, the strongest modern testimony is that of Hasselquist, locust bird. This bird is about the size of a starling; who, mentioning the quail of the larger kind, says, the bill and legs are black; the plumage on the body “ It is of the size of a turtle dove; I have met with is of a flesh colour; that of the head, neck, wings, and it in the wilderness of Palestine, near the shores of tail, black. The locust bird appears at Aleppo in the Dead Sea and the Jordan, between Jordan and June, about the time the white mulberries are ripe; Jericho, and in the deserts of Arabia Petrea. If the and it feeds on that fruit, at a time when no locusts food of the Israelites was a bird, this is certainly it; are to be found,” Dr. Russell's Aleppo, p. 205. being so common in the places through which they
Tavernier tells us, p. 147. “On the frontiers of passed.” I am not sure whether this if, and this Media and Armenia are to be seen a great number of commonness, are not great deductions from this tesbirds, much like to our ouzils, much about the same timony; which certainly does not meet the objections time the corn begins to appear; but then the ground is stated against quails: nevertheless, as quails are uncovered with such infinite swarms of locusts, that the doubtedly birds of passage, these selavim might be Armenians are forced to betake themselves to their quails; but where could they be going to? If from processions, and to water the ground with a water Egypt or Africa to Europe, as is their regular course, which they fetch a great way off, whereinto the bod an east wind must have blown them further off from ies of several martyred Christians were thrown. Three the camp of Israel in Arabia Petrea; aud a south days these processions and waterings of the ground wind might have crossed them in their flight, but to continue; and after that, whether it be that the fore- no advantage to the Israelites. It would have requirmentioned birds do eat the locusts, or only drive them ed a west wind to drive them from Egypt to the presaway, in two or three days the country is clear of ent station of the Hebrew people, whether these them."
quails had been going from Europe to Egypt, or from Niebuhr relates a story of fetching to Mosul water Egypt to Europe. "I believe they never cross in from a great distance, and in a particular manner, in flights to any part of Arabia. order to attract this locust bird, p. 153. Fr, edit, add As to the anger of God, which followed the eating ing, “But the truth is, that if the locusts are the best of this supply, probably its fatal effects might arise food of the samarmog, or locust bird, and that this from repletion, from that gluttony which accompanied bird has a natural inclination to destroy them, even the devouring of them, as one cause; or, if the shelathose which it does not eat, he would readily come vim were locusts, excess of the same vice in eating and seek them of his own accord, without the chiefs them, of which a superabundance might be very prejuof Mosul giving themselves the trouble to cause this dicial to health; not omitting the stench arising from water to be fetched from so far, and at such an ex so many thousand heaps of locusts spread about for pense.” Niebubr proceeds to mention the name of the purposes of being dried, &c. As we read of the bird salva, as known to the Arabs; but his in- plagues originating from the multitudes of dead lo. formation is not complete, as neither himself nor Mr. custs cast on the sea shores, it is no wonder that the
same effect should follow when they were spread ner, like detachments of light troops, sent to precede abroad by the Israelites; and this would be greatly the army of Israel. increased if the weather were intensely hot; and if the fire of the Lord, mentioned in verses 1, 2, 3. was
CHAPTER XXV. VERSES 1-7. lightning. This is supposing that it pleased God to
SHITTIM WOOD. use secondary natural causes for the punishment of this people, which, that he might do, none can deny. What particular species of wood this is, interpre
ters are not agreed. The Lxx render contra fund, CHAPTER XIX. VERSE 4.
incorruptible wood. The most probable conjecture is, that this is the acanthus, or the acacia vera ;
which is about the size of a mulberry-tree. It proThe Hebrew word nescher has always been taken duces yellow flowers, and pods like lupines: this tree for the eagle : the expression, how I have carried yields the gum-arabic. Prosper Alpinus, and Belon, you on eagle's wings, is softened in the Lxx, who say, assure us that it grows abundantly in Egypt, in places As on the wings of eagles; and this, perhaps, ought far from the sea, in the mountains of Sinai, near the to be adopted; yet the passage, Deut. xxxii. 11. Red Sea, around Suez, and in the deserts. Herodowas an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her tus, lib. ii. cap. 96. says the Egyptians built ships young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, with it. Of shittim wood were made the ark of the beareth them on her wings,” should seem to support covenant, and various articles of the sacred utensils. the present reading and translation. I have not met The bark of this tree is of a grayish black; its wood with any modern naturalist who gives a .satisfactory is of a pale yellow colour ; its leaves resemble those account of this action of the eagle; perhaps, be- of the lentil; many hang together on the same side of cause this bird, living in crags, &c. is not sufficiently a branch. The branches are full of thorns, which are watched at the proper time. The eagle is a bird too often in pairs; the branches also spread wide asunder. generally known among us to need enlargement in Mr. Parkhurst thinks its name is derived from its this place.
thorns, from their making animals decline, or turn
aside, nov. I rather conjecture it may be from the CHAPTER XXIII. VERSE 28.
spreading of its branches, which, themselves, appear I will send HORNETS before thee, to drive out the to me to decline or turn aside. inhabitants of Canaan. Vide Deut. vii. 20; Josh. Dr. Shaw says, Travels p. 444. “ The acaciaxxiv. 13. In Wisd. xii. 8. we read wasps instead tree being by much the largest, and the most comof hornets. I would refer, in the first place, to the mon tree in the deserts of Arabia Petrea, we have simb of Ethiopia, as not impossible to have been some reason to conjecture that the shittim wood was commissioned in some of its families to effect this the wood of the acacia. This tree abounds with : purpose; but as we are not certain that the simb flowers of a globular figure, and of an excellent smell, naturally breeds in Canaan, we shall restrain our no which may further induce us to take it for the same tice to wasps or hornets ; either of which insects with the shittah-tree, which, in Isai. xli. 19. is joined may answer to the sacred texts. As to similar with the myrtle, and other sweet smelling plants." subjects, Theodoret reports that Saporus was obliged I must rather hesitate in admitting the doctor's conto raise the siege of Nisibis, being unable to resist jecture, that the shitlah-tree is the same with the the gnats, which pestered him. Jamblichus, in Bab- shittim. 1st, As one word seems to be feminine, the ylonicis, reports, that the Babylonian troops, being other masculine ; but there may be trees of each sex, unable to endure the stings of bees, were obliged to as is implied in Mr. Bruce's remark below. 2dly, take to flight. Elian says, in Antenoris Creticis, lib. As the “planting the shittah in the wilderness," if xvii. that certain bees, named chalcoides, came in it was the acacia, could have nothing extraordinary swarms into the city of the Rhacians, as if by divine in it, which idea is implied in the passage ; because commission, and extremely incommoded all they met, the wilderness, and even the desert, is the natural by deeply stinging them; insomuch that the inhabi- residence of the acacia. tants, unable to resist them, were obliged to quit their Mr. Bruce says, Travels, vol. i. p. 93. “We residence. In the same author, lib. xi. cap. 28. is a passed Moote, a small village with a great number of history of the Phasaelites driven from their country acacia-trees intermixed with the plantations of palms. by wasps. On which we may remark, that these These occasion a pleasing variety, not only from the Phasaelites inhabited the mountains of Solymæ, and difference of the shape of the tree, but also from the were originally of Phenicia, that is to say, descend- colour and diversity of the green. ants of the Canaanites; and very probably were some “ As the sycamore in lower Egypt, so this tree of those very people who were expelled their coun seems to be the only indigenous one in the Thebaid. try by those wasps or hornets, which were, in a man. It is the acacia vera, or spina Egyptiaca, with a