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ELIJAH UNDER THE
that of the increase of the widow's oil, by Elisha, 2 eral, happen either in the evening, or morning, rarely Kings, iv. 2. which see.
in the middle of the day; they are accompanied with We have observed that the word tjepechat, render- violent showers, and sometimes with hail, which, in ed cruise, denotes a vessel of a small kind, 1 Sam. xvi. an hour's time, render the country full of little lakes.” 2. The word rendered barrel, is cad, which denotes All these circumstances seem to attend this rain forea vessel no larger than a woman could carry when seen by Elijah; it should seem to have been toward filled with water, Gen. xxiv. 14, 15. perhaps a evening, for it was after the time of offering the evenjug.
ing sacrifice, verse 36. And Ahab is directed to hasten,
that the rain stop thee not, verse 44. by forming CHAPTER XVIII. VERSES 41-15. lakes and obstructions of water, with which the coun. Elijah said to Ahab, there is the sound of abund- try may be filled in an hour's time, says Volney. ance of rain. . . . He said to his servant, go up now, look toward the sea, and at the seventh time, the
CHAPTER XIX. VERSE 1. servant said, there ariseth a little cloud out of the sea like a man's hand. It is probable, that as there had been no rain, there had been no clouds for a long
Elijah flying from the authority of Ahab, and the The rising of this small cloud, therefore, vengeance of Jezebel, sat under a juniper-tree: this was very distinguishable. It is probable, also, that is the rendering of the Hebrew word rothim, by the this cloud was not wholly unlike that to which the
Rabbins Kimchi, and Jarchi. Levi Ben Gerson says, Portuguese sailors give the name of ox's eye, olho
broom. The Lxx, in verse 5. simply say a plant ; in de boy, which is seen in sultry climates, usually when Job xxx. 4. wood; in Psalm cxx. 4. coals of the desthe sky is clear, and the sea calm. At first, this cloud ert, or coals of juniper. From these differences, it resembles in size a grain of corn, then it is enlarged to should appear, that they did not know the true tree the size of an ox's eye; then, as it advances, it spreads in question. The juniper is but a bush in England; its dense veil over the whole hemisphere, enshrouds all
nor is it large in Germany; but in Spain, in the counaround in thick darkness, and bursting out on every
try between Segovia and Madrid, beams and boards side, in most violent rains, winds, thunder, lightning,
are made of it, according to Clusius, in Hist, and of and even hail, it sweeps all within its vortex into one
some kinds of juniper, the trunk is the size of a man's common ruin. Such as that is at sea, might be this body: cloud seen by Gehazi on land; but probably less de
The common juniper grows naturally in many parts structive, as its rapidity might be abated by the checks of Britain upon dry commons, where it seldom rises it received from projections of land, from hills, moun
above the height of a low shrub. Mr. Evelyn assures us tains, &c. I myself have observed the clouds of a that “the juniper, though naturally of the growth of thunder storm, which seemed to be of the magnitude England, is very little known in many parts of the of a few yards only, and I well remember watching a country : for it grows naturally only in dry, chalky, small cloud, very compact, and solitary, which ris or sandy land ; and, where the soil is opposite to this, ing in France, came across the channel, and dissolv. the plant is rarely found. Those who have been used ed in a copious rain of many miles in extent, over the
to see it in its wild state, on sandy barren commons, county of Kent.
&c. will have little inducement to plant it; as there The sound of abundance of rain, was perhaps they will see it procumbent, seldom showing a tendenthat kind of hollow whistling wind, which usually pre- cy to aspire : but when planted in a good soil
, it will cedes a tempest.
rise to the height of 15 or 16 feet, and produce nu
merous branches from the bottom to the top, forming Interea magno misceri murmure cælum
a well looking bushy plant. These branches are exIncipit; insequitur commista grandine, nimbus.
ceedingly tough, and covered with a smooth bark of Long droughts are usually followed by abundant a reddish colour, having a tinge of purple. The rains. The approach of this cloud from the sea, is leaves are narrow, and sharp pointed, growing by every way natural and regular in Judea.
threes on the branches : their upper surface has a The following extracts are from Volney's remarks grayish streak down the middle ; but their under on the meteors of Syria, Travels, vol. i. p. 352. surface is of a fine green colour, and they garnish the "Thunder is known in Syria, but in the plain of Pal- shrub in great plenty. The flowers are small, and of estine it is extremely uncommon, infiniment rare, in a yellowish colour. They are succeeded by the bersummer, vide on 1 Sam. xii. 17. and more frequent in ries, which are of a bluish colour when ripe. winter ; while in the mountains, on the contrary, it is “The Phenicia, or Phenician cedar, grows about more common in summer, and very seldom heard in win- 20 feet high, branching pyramidally; adorned with ter; it never comes from the land side, but always from ternate and imbricated obtuse leaves; and diæcious the sea. The storms which fall on Syria constantly flowers, succeeded by small yellowish berries. It is come from the Mediterranean. These storms in gen a native of Portugal.
" Thrushes and grouse feed on the berries, and 2dly, Its charcoal retains fire for a year. So we disseminate the seed in their dung. It is remarkable read, Psalm cxx. 4. that the berries of the juniper are two years in ripen
What shall be done to thee, thou false tongue? ing. They sometimes appear in an uncommon forin;
Thou art like sharp arrows of the mighty! the leaves of the cup grow double the usual size, ap
Thou art like burning coals of juniper! retenim; proaching, but not closing; and the three petals fit exactly close, so as to keep the air from the tipulæ meaning, thou art sharp as arrows, vide FRAGMENT, juniperi which inhabit them. The whole plant has
The whole plant has No. 491, and retainest thine injurious disposition as a strong aromatic smell. The wood when burnt long, as vehemently, as coals of juniper retain their fire. emits a fragrant odour like incense. It is of a red The juniper had the reputation anciently of being dish colour, very hard and durable; and when large hurtful : so Virgil, Ecl. x. verses 75, 76. enough, is used in marquetry and veneering, and in
Solet esse gravis oantantibus umbra ; making cups, cabinets, &c. Grass will not grow be
Juniperi gravis umbra. neath juniper, but this tree itself is said to be destroyed by the meadow oat.
Our account above, says, grass will not grow be« The charcoal made from this wood retains fire neath it. longer than any other, insomuch that live embers These circumstances seem favourable to the juniare said to have been found among its ashes after be- per, as the retem of Scripture ; but Job, xxx. 4. speaks ing a year covered.”
of eating its roots; of which I find no example. We are led now to inquire whether the rothem, Neither do I find any example of eating the roots of or relem answers to these characters of the juni- broom, which is the other rendering. What other trees per ?
occur in the deserts or uncultivated wildernesses of Observe, 1st, The wood of the juniper is used in Syria? marquetry and veneering, which agrees with what is I observe Hasselquist mentions, “ frutex foliis remarked by the bride in Solomon's Song:
triangularibus splendentibus. This plant is very
common in the deserts of Palestine.” The beams of thy palace are cedars!
May such a The ceiling joists are of retem!
frutex, larger than a shrub, yet not equal to a tree,
be comprehended among the class of retem in ancient meaning, the joists are veneered into a pleasing pat. Hebrew? tern, of marquetry, by ornamental pieces of juniper Certain junipers are often confounded with cedars, wood.
even by modern writers.
CHAPTER 1. VERSES 10, 12.
What particular principle abounded in these wa.
ters to their injury we do not know; but this we may FIRE brought from heaven by Elijah. See on
safely observe, that any quantity of salt thrown into 1 Chron. xxi. 26.
the reservoir, or apparent issue of the waters, could
only correct the offensive qualities of so much water CHAPTER II. VERSE 11.
as was then contained in it; so much as might be Elijah taken to heaven in a chariot of fire. See subjected to the action of the salt, while in the procon 1 Chron. xxi. 26.
ess of dissolving: but the salt could never reach
the actual source of this fountain; that we may well VERSE 19.
believe was at a distance under the earth: but, even if it had been a lake, exposed to the air, which by
channels under ground, supplied this spring, still the The men of Jericho said to Elisha, the situation quantity of salt used by Elisha could never have neuof this city is pleasant, but the water is naught, and tralised those portions of the strata through which ihe ground barren.
the water ran, year after year, (for we find it was The pleasantness and fertility of the district around only a dish full. Vide on Proverbs, xix. 24.] Jericho is witnessed by Josephus in many places;
We find Moses rendering offensive water potable and by Reland, Palæstin.p. 829. Proofs of the same by means of wood, Exod. xv. 23. but that water reffects, ie, barrenness, or abortion, attending other turned to its original qualities; whereas, of this water, towns, not perhaps less pleasantly situated than thus healed by Elisha by means of salt, it is remarkJericho, may be seen in FRAGMENT, No. 4.
ed, that it continues salutary to this day.
THE WATERS HEALED BY SALT.
We do not know what credit may be given to those has recourse to the powers of music : a sacred song who show a spring, which they call that of Elisha, at by its sentiments, a sacred air by its association of Jericho; and which is described as rising in an octa ideas, recals the wandering thought, the roving mind, gon basin, and watering a small wood, through which and fixes them on that object, which is the most init runs, many wild plants growing on its banks. teresting to devout contemplation. We cannot sup
pose that the gift of prophecy was imparted by music, CHAPTER III. VERSE 4.
for then, a fortiori, the person who played must
have received it also: but a state of solemn sedateTRIBUTE PAID IN KIND,
ness of mind was solicited by the prophet, as a pre“If we advert to the most ancient periods of time, liminary to the advent of the prophetic spirit. and examine their manners, we shall find that the Cicero tells us, Tusc. iv. that “ the Pythagoreans Swiss have no need to blush at dealing chiefly in were used to tranquillize their minds, by composing cattle, milk and cheese: nor at the title of cow keep their thoughts and imaginations by means of music ers, which was once the cause of a war between their and singing. neighbours and them. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Whoever has felt and considered the energies of were pastors ; but according to Trogus, lib. xxxviii. devotion, is convinced of the necessity that those they were kings. Job was a king, xxix. 25. Augias, energies should occupy the whole mind; which should king of Elis, was a pastor; so are the chiefs of the be in a calm, settled, quiescent state, to admit the first Tartars to this day," and so, I believe, is the king of risings of serious thought, no less than to encourage Spain also; and famous is the wool of the royal flock. its full effect : and if such a person be liable to the “ Mesha, king of Moab, was a sheep master; and hurry of temporal business, to the clash of opinions, paid 100,000 lambs, 100,000 rams, with the wool.” or the din of arms, he will earnestly wish, when he This seems to be prodigious, if an annual tribute is desires to cultivate devout affections, he will earmeant, but, if it be, like some of our copyhold ten- nestly wish for that composing, that tranquillizing ures, a fine on admission, it was paid by this king, power which accompanied ihe serious strains of music only on his accession to the property and govern when played before Elisha. ment.
A word against the abuse of music in devotional The Hebrew word mikneh, which signifies a flock, services may not be improper : for, indeed, nothing signifies also riches generally, because originally is more contradictory to reason, not to say piety, riches consisted in flocks; accordingly Pliny informs than the introduction of popular, profane or frivous, lib. xviii. cap. 13. that “from the Latin word lous airs in solemn and public worship; as if pecus, a flock, is derived pecunia, coin ; from thence
Light quirks of music, broken and uneven, also, as appears by the registers of the censors, all
Make the soul dance upon a jig to heaven. the revenues of the Roman commonwealth, are called at this day pascua, pasturages, because anciently What kind, what degree of devotion, what sedatethey were such only; and even the mulcts and fines ness of mind, can arise from an opera band playing were paid in oxen and sheep.” In Germany the opera airs in a Christian church? word geld, money, signifies all sorts of rents, whether paid in money, corn, cheese, or fish, i.e. the produc
VERSES 16, 17. tions of the country,
A MIRACULOUS SUPPLY OF WATER.
The necessity, and the scarcity of water in the East, VERSE 15.
is well known to our readers; that an army should be distressed for it, is by no means
an unusual occurElisha said, bring me a minstrel; and when the rence. This history of procuring it adds another to minstrel played, the hand of the Lord came upon the gracious interpositions of divine power. But to him.
understand this history properly, we must notice the We mentioned the soothing, the tranquillizing ef- direction of the prophet, dig ditches ditches in the valfects of music, in the instance of the hypochondriac ley. It was then a valley, where a current of water Saul, 1 Sam. xvi. 6. and we suppose, that much the might pass, or where it might be collected; or where, same effect was produced in this instance of Elisha. on digging, it might be expected to be found. The prophet's mind was agitated, vexed, and mor reader may see on the Journies of Israel, &c. to mount tified, with what he saw around him: like the apos- Sinai, Exod. xiii, &c. the nature of the vallies in tle Paul at Athens, “a keen edge was set on his spirit;" that district; and that many of them furnish water, thus uneasy and bewildered, he felt himself unfit for on being dug into, but to a slight depth. The word supplication to God, or communication from him. rendered valley, nachal, is often rendered torrent ; it To acquire that self collection, that self possession, probably means the hollow, or ravine, bounded by which is the very essence of devotion, the prophet the two banks, between which it lies.
THE EFFECTS OF MUSIC.
We may imagine that ditches, such as were usually easily, that what they saw was blood; their mistake dug in similar places, were now dug in this valley. proved fatal to them. They were dug, it should seem, over night, but no water was found in them then: however, the next
VERSES 19, 25. morning, water was seen to come from the way of The circumstance of cutting down the trees is not Edom; and these ditches, trenches, pits, &c. being unusual in the East : and when it is considered how ready, received and detained the salubrious streams.
greatly the sustenance of the inhabitants depends on It appears, that the waters now received by the fruit trees, date-trees for instance, it amounts almost Hebrews came from Edom, a mountainous country, to a prohibition of their continuing to reside in a as we learn from Numb. xx. 22; Mal. i. 3. The country which has been so wasted, it is a deprivation fact, therefore, proves to be, that rain had fallen at a
of a very essential article, an article which cannot distance, during the night, and had been providen- be recovered without the labours, the cultivation, the tially directed to take that course among the moun delay of many years. tains, and after quitting them, which led to the The following extract will shew that this conduct trenches, cut in the valley where Israel was now en of Israel is not singular. camped ... Our inference is, that the prophetic im “Solyman entered Tabris; most miserably was pulse on the mind of Elisha, rather constitutes this that poor city used by the enraged Turk, albeit no miracle, than the actual fall of rain; as we have seen opposition was made; for, not content with plunder, on other occasions, that predictions of natural phe- they cut down their fruit trees, and trees for shade, nomena are in their nature supernatural: and that spoiled all the delightful gardens ; yea, levelled time, place, and circumstances, contribute greatly to
with the ground the king's palace, and such other characterize events as miraculous.
houses of the nobility as might best express their We cannot peruse Maundrell's Travels in Syria, malice,” Herbert's Travels, p. 277. or any accounts of torrents among mountains, without perceiving the justness of this observation.
CHAPTER IV. VERSE 2. The reader has observed the readiness with which
THE WIDOW'S OIL MULTIPLIED BY ELISHA. some of these vallies yield water, when the sand is dug into, to the depth of a foot, or a foot and half. “ All miracles in general surpass the powers of naI apprehend this may throw some light on the ex ture : but some are greater and of a more elevated rank pressions used, Numb. xxi. 18.
than others. There is, perhaps, among them an inWe find the people were gathered together to finity of degrees, the knowledge of which is reserved Beer (the well;] but as this well, though sufficient to glorified spirits, and to angels. The miracle to for ordinary supply, was not equal to the supply of which we are now referring, is perhaps one of the the camp of Israel, God promises to increase its wa. greatest mentioned in Scripture. It is almost the ters: “then sung Israel this song:
same as that done by the prophet Elijah at Sarepta,”
1 Kings, xvii. 14. Spring up, 0 well, sing ye to it,
An astonishing miracle, performed immeThe princes digged the well, (with the sceptre ;]
diately by an infinite power. Whether we suppose The nobles of the people digged it with their staves of office.”
that a drop of liquor was multiplied into twenty othMeaning, I suppose, that the spring was so copious, ers of the same size, and of the same nature; or whethand the sands around it so easy of removal, that the er the air which surrounded it, or that contained in heads of the tribes had only to mark out a course for the empty vessels, was changed into oil, without sufit with their walking sticks, and the water followed fering those processes which are necessary in the in those channels without further trouble. This ordinary production of oil, through the pores, the seems to be the sense of the passage, abstracted from glands, or the ducts, of trees, appointed and formed its poetry. This is the only kind of digging which, to that purpose. “This miracle, in a word, surpasses perhaps, was requisite; or of which the tribunal staff the understanding of every philosopher:" as, indeed, was capable. To return to our immediate subject : does the series of changes which takes place, in con
The deception of the Moabites, who thought this cocting plain rain water into the nourishment of plants, water to be blood, was occasioned by the situation of endued with all the different properties of their disthe sun, in respect to the station of their observation similar juices, sweet, sour, rough, smooth, &c. That that morning. The reflection of the rays of the sun power which converts water into oil by the mediain water, at bis rising, or setting, often gives to the tion of the branch of a tree, and a system of vessels, water a red appearance, which is more or less deep, is equally beyond the conception of the completest crimsoned, according to circumstances. The Moab- philosopher, as that which produces the same conites, knowing there had been no water in that valley, version without any such interposition. This reasonor torrent, the day preceding, and that no rain had ing applies no less to the immediate production, or fallen around during the night, concluded, much too multiplication of food, in the New Testament,
Indeed, I suppose we have several instances in gives the idea that none in the company had seen it sacred history, that bread (or food) alone, in its or before: but perhaps we ought to render, “it was not dinary state, is not restrictively the support of human distinguished,” but was admitted into the mess, withlife. The manna from heaven was an extraordinary out being observed, or detected; there being many supply, though of an ordinary substance: and the wild herbs, this passed without attention. Many of conversion of a portion of air into manna is by no our pot herbs are naturally wild, even in our own means an impossible supposition: for had that same country, and many more grow wild in the East; even air passed into certain trees it might have contributed asparagus, which is cultivated with so much care to form those exudations of which manna consists. among us, grows wild in the Crimea; and should we The oil and the meal of Elijah, and the oil of Elisha, investigate from whence we received our vegetables, seem to be accretions, or prolongations not unlike in most of them would prove to be Eastern plants, and vature: a similar prolongation we have in Elisha's to be, more or less, wild where native. ordering twenty loaves of barley, and ears of corn in “ Elisha changed not only the bitterness of this the husks, as food for an hundred men, 2 Kings, iv. 43. ingredient which was offensive to the taste and the These events, together with those of the same kind, stomach, but also the venomous acrimony into alidirected by our Lord, bespeak for their author a ment. I dare not deny, that the farinaceous substance power not limited by the usual laws of nature. directed by the prophet was capable, by its natural
virtue, of tempering the effects of what rendered the VERSE 39.
mess unwholesome; as many vegetables are rendered And there was a dearth. And one, of the sons of edible through the powers of heat and cookery, though the prophets, went out into the fields to gather herbs, in themselves they be poisonous; witness the maniand found a wild vine, and gathered thereof, of wild
hot root from which the cassada bread is prepared ; gourds, his lap full, and shred them into the pot, for (and even, in some degree, the potatoe ;] but I think they knew them not.
The sudden change in this pottage by means of meal Further information may enable us to determine, simply, was an instance of that miraculous virtue more accurately than we can do at present, the na
which the prophet exercised on other occasions also. ture of the noxious vegetable here referred to. We Many persons suppose the number of guests was an observe, 1st, It was in time of a dearth; when
hundred.” herbs not usually employed as food might be resorted to. 2dly, That the person went into the common
CHAPTER V. VERSES 14, 27. field, not a garden, or an orchard, but, as we might do in our own country, to gather nettle tops, dent
NAAMAN CURED OF HIS LEPROSY. de-lion, chickweed, and other wild herbs. He found a wild vine. The reader has seen on Deut. xxxii. Naaman was a great man with his master, the 32. that the word vine does not always refer to a king of Syria : but he was a leper ; metjaroth. On grape vine, nor even to plants of that genus, but has Lev. xiii. the reader has seen several kinds of leproa general signification; yet it should seem to refer to sy, and tjaroth is described as being of a bad kind, plants bearing berries of some kind ; if so, wild gourds and called the Phenician, or Syrian leprosy. The can hardly be the vegetable gathered, for these cer
Hebrew tjaroth, seems to be the parent of the Greek tainly do not resemble berries; but if the Hebrew psora, a scab. Herodotus, lib. i. cap. 138. mentions word rendered vine, noix auroth, may be taken as ex the lepra as a disease among the Persians, and calls tensively as our word bine, bind, for a creeping plant, it leuce, the white scurf; adding, “whoever among then it may include melons, pumpkins, gourds, &c. the citizens has the leprosy, or white scurs, does not for we say, not only strawberry bine but cucumber
enter into the city, nor keep company with the other bine; and it might be, that a person designing to gather Persians. Moreover, they say that he who is afflicted melons, or cucumbers, should mistake a wild gourd, with this disease has committed some offence against or the bitter cucumber, or coloquintida, for a plant the sun,” their deity. It is likely, some notion allied of that kind, though it has no resemblance to the to this, that the sufferer had offended the Deity, was fruit of the vine. We receive no information from current among the Jews; which accounts for several the Lxx, who read Tohun aypar, wild balls of a expressions used concerning it. round form.
We shall make no comment on the disagreeable Some persons have supposed that mushrooms, or situation of Naaman, who was thus infected, and no at least a plant of the fungus tribe, was here intend doubt was treated accordingly, notwithstanding his ed; we know that some of these are round; and that,
prowess. The letter sent from the king of Syria, the though some are edible, others are dangerous, and presents brought by Naaman, the mode of his cure, even poisonous. According to our version, however, the difference between his first and his second visit it appears, that the plant was not known; which
to Elisha, his approach, and his return, are not to our