Page images



It is said that they endeavour to assuage their miseries as much as possible, and shut up as they are, yet

continue their amours. The leprosy is not uncom. In a former chapter the sacred legislator had dis- mon at Bombay, among the lower class of Indians : tinguished between animals pure and impure, among but it is not malignant, for I heard say, that they perother purposes designing that of preserving the health mitted, without difficulty, those who were diseased of his people; but in this chapter we find him sup to labour with those who were in health; they said posing that certain of the most inveterate maladies 10 too, that this leprosy, as well as the itch, was occawhich the human frame is subject, might become the sioned by bad nourishment, and especially by cora Mictions of individuals ; and directing the proper rupted fish.” procedure in such cases.

The following observations are by Mr. Forskal : The leprosy, in all its stages, and under all its ap ** Lepers are found at Cairo; however, they are not pearances, is one of the most calamitous of diseases.

common. The Arabs name behaq that species of lepWe, in Britain, are happily freed from it by the cold- rosy in which certain little spots discover themselves ness of our climate, and therefore are not able to hither and thither on the body; and this, without form just conceptions of its various distinctions, doubt, is that named bohak, Levit

. xiii. It is thought and their appearances, in the hotter parts of the not to be contagious ; insomnuch, that it is said the globe.

patient may be slept with without hazard. When The first disease mentioned is seeth, a rising; per- the leprosy spreads all over the body, the Arabs call haps, a red pustulous rising ; 2d, a scab, or shining it barras. It is easily distinguished in the East, spot, or a pustule full of pus; 3d, a whitish spot, where black hair is universal; because this disease without appearance of tumour. Perhaps these are renders the hair white. They say that this leprosy only different states of the same distemper, which may be cured, when, in the midst of the white spots, gradually assumes these more decisive and mature ap- the hairs continue black; but that it is incurable pearances.

As the completest information I know of, if they become white. A man of Aleppo, who had I shall translate what Niebuhr says on this subject. been at Damascus, said, that there were in that city

“ The Arabs have three sorts of leprosy ; 1st, two districts filled with lepers, one of Mahometans, bohak, which is neither contagious nor deadly. A the other of Christians ; and that each was supported negro


was attacked by it at Mocha, was sprinkled by the alms of those of the same religion. These all over his body with white spots ; it was said 1hat fellows in imprisonment form alliances among themthe use of sulphur had relieved him for a time, with. selves; and when a child is born, those of their faith out curing him. 2d, barras, which also is not dan- who reside in the city, take it from the mother, and gerous. 3d, juddam, or majurdam. This leprosy give it a healthy nurse. If after three months, this is of the greatest malignity. According to the opinion child has not the leprosy, it is brought up in the city; of a Jew of Maskat, this is the same as is mentioned, if he is infected, they return him to his parents : the Levit. xiii. 10, 11. and a Jew of Bagdad believed this healthy nurse fears no infection. to be the disease named in Hebrew, ipt' jadakin. “May 15, 1763. I saw, at Mocha, a Jew attackJuddam is apparently what Hilary calls the leprosy ed by the leprosy bohak. The spots were of uneof the joints; for when I inquired at Bagdad in what qual sizes; they did not appear shining, were very species of leprosy those signs which accompany the little raised above the skin, and did not change the Arabian leprosy appeared, such as numbness of fin- colour of the hairs. The spots were of a dull white, gers and toes, stinking breath, difficulty of breathing, verging toward red. The patient whom I saw had gwelling of the ears, cheeks, brows, &c. they answered the rest of his flesh blacker than is usual among the me, that all these signs, together with the falling off inhabitants of this country; but his spots were not of the nails, announced the majuddum.

so white as the skin of Europeans, who are not surThe schech, who governed at Aboushar, sent into burnt. The spots of this leper did not appear in his the island of Bahrein those who were attacked with hands, or around his navel ; but on the neck and the the species of leprosy called abbras; [barras ?) face, not on any part of the head where the hairs were Some few years ago all the leprous persons at Basra thick. They spread themselves by degrees; somewere shut up in a separated house; and there is at times they last but two months, sometimes one or Bagdad a quarter enclosed, and filled with barracks, two years, and disappear of themselves. This disto which the magistrate conveyed by force those lep- ease is neither contagious nor hereditary, and occarous persons, who, being attacked by the juddam, sions no inconveniencies. The Jews believe that it did not give notice of their condition. But it seems is produced by excessive joy; never by vexation or that government has little care about these unfortu- sorrow. [At Bagdad they say it is produced by nate persons, as they come every Friday to ask alms drinking milk after having eaten fish.] 'We were afin the market place. I might have seen many of these terward shewn an Indian who had the leprosy barras, sufferers, but I thought it most prudent to avoid them. and I found that his spots were of a different colour


from those of the bohaq. The skin of the Indian been so separated, let her at least be treated in an was much blacker, and nearly approaching to soot; adequate manner, under this severer dispensation : but his spots were much whiter than those of the shut her out from the camp seven days, that this Jew. By bolding by the side of these spots the hol- malady may be well known, and so become a tosen low of my hand, I found the shade equal. This un- to all the people.” Is this the true bearing of the happy sufferer had the leprosy in his hands, and on passage ? the soles of his feet; and the blotches spread on all

VERSE 47, &c. sides, rising even to the legs. In this subject, the hairs, naturally black, were become white in the spots, and were fallen in several places. In his youth he had

This account is long, distinct, particular, but very had the leprosy on his breast and in his face; but as he obscure. I shall first suppose, that the garments Fas going in pilgrimage to Mecca, a scherif had cured worn by leprous persons, receiving infection from him, by spitting on the places which were infected.

their wearers, become thereby unclcan. That this The hair of his head, his beard, and his breast, had disorder may be communicated by such means, is retained their natural black colour,” p. 121, &c.

evident from a history in Niebuhr on this subject; The foregoing account is so particular, that the which at least supposes such communication was well sacred writer may almost stand as a commentator on

known and expected to take place: “But a few years the modern traveller; for Moses prescribes the visi- ago, a leprous person, in order to obtain a woman tation of the person afflicted, and the symptoms of whom he loved, wore during several days an inner the affliction, with an accuracy perfectly correspon- to her, at a very low price. When he had received

dress of fine linen, which he contrived should be sold dent to the observant Dane. "He potices the spots, inforination by his spies that she was infected, he aethe hair turned white, or not turned white, the spread. quainted the

magistrates, and she was shut up,” in the ing of the blotches, &c. It merely remains, that we observe the difference of the Hebrew names for the hospital where lepers, and himself among them, were different species of this disease.

secluded. This kind of infection gradually corrodes T'jaroth, a leprosy of a bad kind: Greek, deuxn, white.

even the texture of garments; and is much dreaded {Observe, that Hippocrates, lib. ii. Prorhet. ad fin. in all countries subject to the plague, and by all permentions the leuce, as “one of the most dangerous sons exposed by attendance on purulent distempers. distempers, such as that called the Phenician," and There is a second sense which may be attributed this disease was called some centuries ago, “ the Ty- to the passage; that of a natural disease in garments, rian leprosy." We infer, that, as it depends more

a disease appertaining to themselves. This, I apor less on food, Moses could not too strongly prohibit prehend, is the true meaning of the writer ; but I such kinds of food as might promote it, to a people know no traveller who has mentioned the subject; who were about to inhabit the seat of it, Syria and neither does the sacred legislator confine his rePhenicia.)

marks to one kind of garment, but he supposes that The plague on the head and beurd, verses 29, 30.

as well linen as woollen may be subject to it. I have may be considered as another kind of leprosy, dis- read of woollen garments undergoing putrefaction, tinct from the milder kind, which Mr. Forskal tells us,

and even taking fire in consequence, [Dr. Wat"did not come on any part of the head where the

son's Chemical Essays, vol. i. p. 189. note,] but hairs were thick:” our scalled head is probably an

not of such accidents happening also to cotton or alogous to this kind of leprosy, called natak.

to linen. By way of conjecture I would ask, whethBohak, verse 39. is sufficiently explained above.

er destruction of garments by an insect might be here As to the attentions of the priests, and the legal cer

intended ? for we read, James y. 2. your garments emonies to be observed on these occasions, they seem

are moth eaten ; and, Luke xii. 33. the moth corruptto be a mixture of precaution and of piety.

eth, where the idea of corruption by the moth deBefore we quit this extract from Niebuhr, I wish serves notice; and, if admissible, would render the Moto direct the reader's attention to the action of the saic account, and the precautions in consequence, scherif, spitting on the places of the Indian where clear and easy. the leprosy appeared. May this serve to explain a

CHAPTER XIV. VERSE 34. passage where a leprosy also is the subject ? Numb. xi. 14. Miriam was struck with a leprosy of the malignant kind, tjaroth, verse 10. Moses intercedes for This also is a subject on which we have little inber, the Lord replies, If her father had but spit in formation ; the description of it by Moses is precise, kerface, or on any part of the surface of her skin, with but answers to no modern accounts that I have pedesign to cure her of the leprosy, bohak, or that of rused. I shall therefore add on this, and the former the slightest kind, should she not have been secluded, subject, merely to shew the power of contagion, and kept in private, to see the effect of this remedy, seven to justify the rigid precautions of the divine law, an days ? Now, if in that slighter state, she would have extract from “Dr. Mead on the Plague ;" but I


think I recollect to have read, that, during the great probable, that these are among the sairim of our text. plague in London, the walls of the smaller rooms, How far our translation is correct in rendering this where the sick lay, were discoloured, green, red, &c. word devils, we do not determine ; but it should apby pestilential efiluvia. We know too, that saltpetre pear, that, in order to dissuade their converts, &c. incrustations are common in our walls, whether of from the worship of similar idols, the Christian fastone or brick ; and that no plaster can repel them; thers described them, and their nature, in terms the but I donbt whether this be correctly the disease re most terrific. ferred to. The dry rot in timber is equally fatal and

CHAPTER XIX. VERSE 19. equally uncontrollable ; but I do not know that it produces red, or green, &c. discolourations.

Thou shalt not let thy catlle gender with a diverse Dr. Mead tells us, p. 9. 8vo edit. of the Plague of kind; nor sow thy field with mingled seed ; nor wear Londou 1665, “that the contagion came by collon

al garment mingled of linen and woollen. The deimported from Turkey;" that the houses themselves sign of this law being to prevent mixtures, one senwere infected. He conjectures that the matter of tence may contribute to explain another. The first contagion may be of the nature of a salt. “I am par- prohibits animal mules; the offspring of the ass and ticularly careful to destroy the clothes of the sick,

mare, or horse and ass, &c. The second, I understand (by burning them,) because they contain the very also, prohibits vegetable mules; i.e. that when, for quintessence of contagion. A very ingenious author, instance, in a field or garden, to plants of different (Boccace, Decam. Gior. 1.) in his admirable descrip- kinds growing near together, the farina of one is contion of the plague at Florence, 1318, relates what him- veyed by the wind, or by insecis, &c. and impregself saw : “that two hogs finding in the streets the

nates the other, the seed so impregnated, being a mixrags which had been thrown out from off a poor man

ture, shall not be sown ; in order that it may not bedead of the disease, after snuffing upon them, and come a prolific generation, but may terminate in the tearing them with their feet, fell into convulsions, and

first instance. This may also include grafts of unlike died in less than an hour,” p. 24. Dr. Russell men

fruits ; for instance, of an orange on an apple, &c. tions infection by clothes after a year.

but, I suppose, one kind of apple grafted on another, I do not know that the leprosy had any relation to the plague, though it might have more than we know timate mixture of subjects unlike, may be referred

or plum upon plum, is not prohibited. To this inof : but I insert these remarks to shew the absolute also the linsey-wolsey garment. necessity of burning and totally destroying the seeds It will be perceived, that I understand our transof infection, whether in clothes or houses, which the

lation to have hit the true sense of the text; but othMosaic appointment so strongly enjoins. What shall

ers render it as if it forbade the sowing the same land we think of the behaviour of David in after ages, who

with two sorts of seeds; as of clover or wheat, or risked his person by visiting the streets of Jerusalem, vines or cabbages, &c. at the same time, though during a similar contagion ?

the crops came to maturity at different periods. The CHAPTER XVII. VERSE 7.

Jews divided their seeds into three principal classes ;

1st, seeds of revenue, corn ; wheat, barley, rye, They shall not sacrifice to devils.

&c. 2d, pulse ; pease, beans, lentils, &c. 3d, potThe original word, rendered devils, sair, or sairim, herbs ; onions, leeks, carrots, turnips, &c. They has several significations. It denotes creatures which forbade that these should be sowed confusedly, minare thickly clad with hair ; or, whose hair stands erect, gled, or so near together that one could draw away such as goats. That the Egyptians adored these an the nourishment from another. The distance necesimals appears from Herodotus, lib. ii. cap. 46; Diod. sary between species, in a field, was ten yards; in a Sic. lib. i. Strabo, lib. xvii. and even the name garden, ten feet. They might not place a row of cuMendes, given to one of their capital cities, signifies cumbers by the side of a row of melons, alternately ; equally a goat, and the goat-formed deity, Pan. Pin- but must put two rows of cucumbers together, and dar alludes to excesses of this kind, even by women, must draw a trench between the rows of cucumbers as quoted by Strabo, and by Elian, Nat. Hist. lib. and those of melons. vii. cap. 19. Herodotus says the same.

Whether I shall add the custom of Arabia at this day. goats were the only sairim, hairy gods, of Scripture inquired respecting the mixture of seeds from a Jew may be doubted. The hairy monkey cynocephalus, of Maskat, who had an estate in land. He answered was probably one of these deities ; as he certainly me, he himself, like all the inhabitants of Omân, made was worshipped in Egypt : and, if there were any no scruple of sowing in the same field two seeds minproof that the hairy ourang-outang was known so gled; when they thought it might be profitable : but far north as Africa, perhaps we might include him also that it was prohibited to graft a tree, or, as he examong these divinities. Besides this, the heathen rep- plained himself, to plant a shoot of white grapes on a resented as partially brutal, Jupiter Ammon, with the stem of black grapes; or to wear a dress whose warp head of a ram ; Jupiter the Theban, in the form of a was of hair, for wool,) and its woof was of cotton; anal ram; Anubis, as a kid ; Diana, as a cat, &c. it is the same of a stuff, part cotton, part silk.


The subject of the book of Numbers is among the Major Rennell has demonstrated that Babylon most perplexing which occur in sacred history; that could not have been fully peopled, without exhaustis to say, the great multitude of which the Israelite ing a fertile country half as large as Britain. The caravan was composed ; said to amount to 600,000 army of Xerxes, which amounted to a million of men, men ; and, as usually understood, BESIDES women and is considered as absolutely impossible to have been children. This, according to the most moderate cal- fed by the provinces through which it is reported to culation, allowing as many women as men, 600,000, have passed. If these great numbers render such and three children to a family, would make the whole instances incredible, why should we suppose that the descendants from Jacob, 3,000,000 at least. To this caravan of Israel exceeded them in a sextuple promust be further added, the servants, &c. which ac- portion? The fact is, the numbers as they stand by companied Jacob and his sons into Egypt ; i.e. the fair inference are impossible: but, where is the erposterity of these servants. It is difficult to say what ror? number should be allowed for these persons, and Whoever requires miracles where no clear necestheir families ; Abraham had 318 servants, armed, sity for them can be proved to exist, whoever stretches trained to war; so that his household consisted of at the possibilities of nature to the utmost, in order to least 1,000 persons, men, women, and children. Had establish an hypothesis which includes a supposed Isaac diminished this number? or Jacob? I suppose necessity, transgresses those rules of just reasoning

If Simeon and Levi, with their servants, could and fair interpretation, whose paramount control is destroy a city, Gen xxxiv. if Jacob could recover no less requisite in considering Israelitish histories, land from the Amorite, with his sword and with his than in considering occurrences among other nations. bow, Gen. xlviii. 22. if Ephraim could war against Why then should we attribute an immense fertility Gath, 1 Chron. vii. 20, 21. these expeditions demon- to the children of Jacob while in Egypt? a fertility strate that the Jewish patriarchs must have had nu- continued without intermission above two hundred merous attendants ; since not all their attendants years; incapable of failing in a single instance; which could be soldiers. But, supposing that these were bestows a length of life on individuals, without exonly the same number as the patriarchs, and had mul- ception; makes no allowance for premature deaths, tiplied in Egypt like them, they would add 3,000,000 by the sword, by pestilence, by accidents, &c. to the camp of Israel.

When we find St. Paul observing, that “ We are informed further, that Israel was accom not Israel who were of Israel :" i.e. that besides the panied out of Egypt by “ the mixed multitude.Of personal descendants of Jacob, many, not his debow many persons was this mixture composed? scendants, were reckoned among bis people, we are

When we have added all these together, we shall led to consider, whether the recorded numbers of the find the total to be absolutely unreasonable, 6,000,000! Israelitish camp, in the Old Testament, should be Nerer yet did the earth behold so great a number of taken inclusively or exclusively ; it. whether the its inhabitants assembled in one company! How did descendants of the servants, &c. who went down into they live in Egypt? how could that country sustain Egypt with Jacob, are not mustered as so many Isthem? and, when fled, how could Pharaoh expect to raelites, capable of war. This, if admitted, diminsubdue them? what line of march did they occupy? ishes greatly the miraculous fertility of the sons of &c.

Jacob while in Egypt, and renders much more credWe may further inquire into the possibility of ex- ible the numbers attached to each tribe; so that we pecting to feed this immense multitude: nor let this need not seek for the means whereby 70 or 75 perbe esteemed frivolous; for whatever faith Moses sons should, in about 215 years, become some hunmight have in the Divine protection, whatever miracu- dred thousands; a multiplication utterly irreconcilalous interference he might expect, the Israelites at ble with any natural principles : but not if we add to large cere by no means so well satisfied as their lead- the 70 or 75 patriarchs, the increase fairly to be exar; and the mixed multitude, what dependence had pected from domestics, &c. who accompanied them They on Divine support? Yet we ought not, I think, to Egypt. 19 suppose that these were led blindfold, Numb. xvi. We might further ask, whether it be impossible that 14. on apparent ruin and starvation; to say nothing the true import of the passage understood to say of the flocks and herds of oxen, sheep, camels, &c. “600,000 men, besides women and children,” is not

as the Hebrew nation 6,000,000 at any time, even rather“ 600,000 persons, women and children includca Canaan?

ed." I do not urge this argument by any consideraVOL. IT.


ALL nei


tion of grammatical construction, though, perhaps, Since then we find that the ancient Hindoo books, something might be said upon it, not without plausi- the ancient Chaldean books, the ancient Egyptian bility.

books, all agree in the same mode of incorrectness, Observe further on the numbers recorded in this and are apparently restored to correctness by rebook, that they all end with a cypher. Is it not ex- moving the cyphers, need we wonder if a similar evil traordinary that no one ends with a 4 or a 5? Not has, in one or two places, attended the Hebrew only every sum total ends with a cypher, but copies also ? But to what could this be owing? Did every tribe ends with a cypher also. To judge of the original writers use cyphers? or, did they use this, calculate the chances that any twelve enroll- terms whose genuine signification was afterward lost, ments should all end with even numbers, or cyphers. or the notation of which became misunderstood ? How

We proceed now to consider this branch of argu- should this happen in countries so remote? There ment; and, rather choosing to point out errors in must be some common source of this error; for that other ancient books, even when copyists only are an- it is a wilful mistake I cannot allow. swerable for them, we shall consider some instances [N.B. If we consider a single cypher as cut off among them where their numbers are closed by cy from the number of the Israelites, 600,000, to meet phers.

the first numeral figure, the tribe of Gad, 4,565, it Sir William Jones has instituted a laborious cal would reduce the descendants of Jacob to 60,000 men; culation of Hindoo chronology, to shew that so long to which add women, children, servants, &c. it would, lives could not possibly come together, as the Pura- on the calculation adopted above, fix the number of nas affirm. I took the trouble of reducing the num the whole caravan at 600,000.] bers to figures, and, observing that they ended with We may have occasion hereafter to consider the cyphers, I cut off the cyphers from them; the result modes of numeration among the Orientals; at preswas, a coincidence with the numbers sir William had ent, I shall subjoin a manner which would certainly inferred by reasoning. An instance or two may be puzzle an European. agreeable, p. 126. Asiatic Researches, Calcutta edit. “The Arabians have a very singular idiom in their “ Vaivaswata, [i.e. Noah,] reigned 3,892,000 years dates, and other large numbers, placing, generally, ago." Cut off the last three figures, it makes 3,892: the units before the tens, the tens before the hunwhich, that it is nearly the true number is evident, dreds, and the hundreds before the thousands; though from a remark, p. 132. “The hypothesis that gove it is not uncommon, even in the same passage, to folernment was first established, laws enacted, and ag- low both methods; as, the chronologist says, that in riculture encouraged in India, by Rama, about 3,800 the Rabiu' l'awel, May, of the year twelve and three years ago, agrees with the received account of No- hundred of the Hejra, there appeared a comet, sendah's death, and the previous settlement of his imme- ing forth rays and sparks of fire, and there followed it diate descendants :" 3,892 is sufficiently near to three bright flames; and it was at the fourth hour of 3,800. P. 134. “The reigns of these princes are the night, which was as light as day: and this hapsupposed to have lasted 864,000 years; a supposi- pened in the six thousand and four hundred and sixtion evidently against nature; the uniform course of teenth year of the world,” Richardson, Arab. Gr. p. which allows only a period of 870 :” cut off the cy- 48. pbers; 864 is sufficiently near to 870. There are If it be asked, whether this mode of placing units other instances besides these.

before tens, tens before hundreds, hundreds before The same principle is applied to Herodotus, vide thousands, is ever used in Scripture? I would ask in FRAGMENT, No. 322: and the same must be done return, whether it will explain satisfactorily the numwith Diodorus Siculus, who tells us, book i. “The ber of people smitten at Bethshemesh, 1 Sam. vi. 19? remainder of 15,000 years has been filled by Egyp- “ The Lord smote among the people 50,070 men." tian kings, in number 470,” cap. 3. sect. 2. but in But here the smaller number, 70, is put before the largcap. 4. “ The priests say their books mention 47 er, thousand, and the word men comes between them: tombs of kings." How is this ? each king is suppos- the word fifties also is plural, or dual; and the word ed to have had his tomb; 47 tombs to 470 kings! thousand is singular ; therefore, does not agree with Correct this by cutting off the cypher from the it. Suppose we place this literally, “ The Lord larger number, (as the 15,000 years itself requires a smote seventy men, fifties, a thousand men ;" this, similar diminution.] Compare also, lib. ii. cap. 21. according to the Arabic notation just mentioned, “The Chaldeans say, they began their celestial ob- would make 1170 persons; which, whether it be servations 473,000 years before Alexander," with most credible for the small town of Bethshemesh, the the Egyptian account, lib. i. sect. 2. cap. 21.“ Egypt reader will judge: we can hardly think 50,070 per was governed by native kings 4,700 years." This sons had looked into the ark; and, if they had, why being the same space of time referred to by both na not say so at once? why put the 70 before the thou tions, the lesser number must correct the greater, by sand, with the word men between them? cutting off two cyphers, which will make them agree; If the same principles of enumeration were applie as Chaldea was settled earlier than Egypt.

to the loss of the Assyrian army, Isai. xxxvii. 36.

« PreviousContinue »