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the East, round level plats of ground in the open air, where the corn was trodden out by oxen, the Libyca area of Horace, ode i. 1. 10. Thus Gideon's floor (Judges, vi. 37.) appears to have been in the open air ; as was likewise that of Araunah the Jebusite; else it would not have been a proper place for erecting an altar and offering sacrifice. In Hosea xiii. 3. we read of the chaff which is driven by the whirlwind from the floor. This circumstance of the threshing floor's being exposed to the agitation of the wind, seems to be the principal reason of its Hebrew name; which may be further illustrated by the direction which HESIOD (Opera et Dies, 1. 597.) gives his husbandman to thresh his corn in a place well exposed to the wind. From the above account it appears that a threshing-floor (rendered in our textual translation a void place) might well be near the entrance of the gate of Samaria, and that it might afford no improper place for the kings of Israel and Judah to hear the prophets in.

See 1 Kings xxii, 10; 2 Chron. xviii. 9. Psalm 1. 4.

No. 119.1 KINGS ii. 7.

But show kindness unto the sons of Barzillai the Gileadite, and let them be of those that eat at thy table.

THE privilege of eating at court was both private and public. Those passages which speak of a right to eat at a royal table may be understood as referring to public and solemn feasts. Chardin thus understood the dying advice of David to Solomon, which, he says, may be referred to the megelez, not the daily and ordinary repasts; at these megelez many persons have a right to a seat; others are present only from special grace. We are therefore to consider it, of their receiving a right to a constant attendance there.

HARMER, vol. i. p. 351.

No. 113.-ii. 9. Now, therefore hold him not guiltless; for thou art a wise man, and knowest what thou oughtest to do unto him; but his hoary head bring thou down to the grave with blood.] David is here represented in our English version, as finishing his life with giving a command to Solomon to kill Shimei; and to kill him on account of that very crime, for which he had sworn to him by the Lord, he would not put him to death. The behaviour thus imputed to the king and prophet, should be examined very carefully, as to the ground it stands upon. When the passage is duly considered, it will appear highly probable that an injury has been done to this illustrious character. It is not uncommon in the Hebrew language to omit the negative in a second part of a sentence, and to consider it as repeated, when it has been once expressed, and is followed by the connecting particle. The necessity of so very considerable

an alteration, as inserting the particle NOT, may be here confirmed by some other instances. Thus Psalm i. 5. The ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, NOR (the Heb. is and signifying and not) sinners in the congrega-, tion of the righteous. (Psalm ix. 18. Psalm xxxviii. 1. Psalm 1xxv. 5. Prov. xxiv. 12,) If then there are in fact many such instances, the question is, whether the negative, here expressed in the former part of David's command, may not be understood as to be repeated in the latter part; and if this may be, a strong reason will be added why it should be so interpreted. The passage. will run thus: Behold, thou hast with thee Shimei, who cursed me, but I sware to him by the Lord, saying, I will not put thee to death by the sword. Now therefore hold him NOT guiltless, (for thou art a wise man, and knowest what thou oughtest to do unto him) but bring not down his hoary head to the grave with blood. Now, if the language itself will admit this construction, the sense thus given to the sentence derives a very strong support from the context. For, how did Solomon understand this charge? did he kill Shimei in consequence of it? certainly he did not. For, after he had immediately commanded Joab to be slain, in obedience to his father, he sends for Shimei, and knowing that Shimei ought to be well watched, confines him to a particular spot in Jerusalem for the remainder of his life. 1 Kings ii.. 36-47. KENNICOTT'S Remarks, p. 131.

No. 114.-x. 22. Peacocks.] ELLIS, in Cook's last voyage, speaking of the people of Otaheite, says, they expressed great surprise at the Spaniards (who had lately made them a visit) because they had not red feathers as well as the English, (which they had brought with them in great plenty from the Friendly Isles) for they are with these people the summum bonum and extent of all their wishes. (vol. i. p. 129.) As these islands

border so closely upon Asia, and have among their manners and customs many which bear a resemblance to those of the Asiatics, may not these people's high esteem for red feathers throw some light upon this passage, where we find peacocks ranked amongst the va luable commodities imported by Solomon?

No. 115. xiv. 10. Shut up and left.] Sometimes, when a successful prince has endeavoured to extirpate the preceding royal family, some of them have escaped the slaughter, and secured themselves in a fortress or place of secrecy, while others have sought an asylum in foreign countries, from whence they have occasioned great anxiety to the usurper. The word shut up, strictly speaking, refers to the first of these cases; as in the preservation of Joash from Athaliah in a private apartment of the temple, 2 Kings xi. Such appears also to have been the case in more modern times. “Though more than thirty years had elapsed since the death of Sultan Achmet, father of the new emperor, he had not, in that interval, acquired any great information or improvement. Shut up, during this long interval, in the apartments assigned him, with some eunuchs to wait on him, and women to amuse him, the equality of his age with that of the princes who had a right to precede him, allowed him but little hope of reigning in his turn ; and he had, besides, well-grounded reasons for a more serious uneasiness." BARON DU TOTт, vol. i. p. 115. But when David was in danger, he kept himself close (1 Chron. xii. 1.) in Ziklag, but not so as to prevent him from making frequent excursions. In later times, in the East persons of royal descent have been left, when the rest of a family have been cut off, if no danger was apprehended from them, on account of some mental or bodily disqualification. Blindness saved the life of Mahammed Khodabendeh, a Persian prince of the sixteenth


century, when his brother Ismael put all the rest of his brethren to death. D'Herbelot, p. 613. This explanation will enable us more clearly to understand 2 Kings, xiv. 26. Deut. xxxii. 36.

No. 116.-xvii. 12.

HARMER, vol. iv. p. 211. Barrel.] As corn is subject to Easterns keep what they are

be eaten by worms, the spending in long vessels of clay. (SANDYS's Trav. p. 117.) So it appears the woman of Zarephath did. The word translated barrel properly signifies a jar, and is the same with that used for the vessels in which Gideon's soldiers concealed their torches, and which they brake when they blew with their trumpets.

HARMER, Vol. i. p. 277.

No. 117.-xviii. 28. Cut themselves.] If we look into antiquity, we shall find that nothing was more common in the religious rites of several nations, than this barbarous custom. To this purpose we may observe, that (as Plutarch de Superstitione tells us) the priests of Bellona when they sacrificed to that goddess, besmeared the victim with their own blood. The Persian magi (Herodotus, lib. vii. c. 191.) used to appease tempests, and allay the winds by making incisions in their flesh. They who carried about the Syrian goddess, (Apuleius, lib. viii.) cut and slashed themselves with knives, till the blood gushed out. This practice remains in many places at the present time, and frequent instances of it may be met with in modern voyages and travels. The same things were practised in the rites of Cybele and Isis. See Lactantius Edit. Sparke, 94. 95. Oxon 1684.

No. 118.-xviii. 42. Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; and he cast himself down upon the earth, and put his face between his knees.] The devout posture of some people of the Levant greatly resembles that of Elijah.

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