Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

No. 321.-xxviii, 14. Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth.] This has been considered as a very obscure epithet to apply to the prince of Tyre, and great difficulties have occurred in explaining the meaning of the expression. It has been apprehended by some critics to be an allusion to the posture of the cherubic figures that were over the ark, (Exod. xxv. 20.) and by others to signify the protection which this prince afforded to different neighbouring states. But the first of these interpretations is set aside by considering that the prophet evidently refers to a living cherub, not the posture of the image of one made of gold, or of an olive tree. As to the other construction, it is inadmissible, because it does not appear from the prophecies that Tyre was remarkable for defending its neighbours, but rather the contrary. (Ezekiel xxvi. 2. 3.) Mr. Harmer (vol. iii. p. 333.) proposes a new, and probably a just elucidation of this passage. He observes that takhtdar is a Persian word, which properly signifies a precious carpet, which is made use of for covering the throne of the kings of Persia: and that this word is also used as an epithet by which the Persians describe their princes, on account of their being possessed of this throne. The prophet Ezekiel may with the same view give this appellation to the prince of Tyre. Such an application of it is certainly no more than strictly reconcileable to the eastern This explanation also answers to the rest of the imagery used in this passage.

taste.

No. 322.—xxxii. 27. They have laid their swords under their heads.] "In Mingrelia they all sleep with their swords under their heads, and their other arms by their sides: and they bury them in the same manner, their arms being placed in the same position." (Chardin.) Bochart supposes that Meshech and Tubal mean Mingrelia. This seems to have been an ancient method of

honouring the dead. In the present instance, the meaning of the prophet is, that they shall be without the usual martial solemnities, with which the people of that country honoured their dead.

HARMER, vol. ii. p. 138.

No. 323.-xxxiii. 25. Ye eat with the blood.] This was forbidden several times in the law, as being a rite the heathens used in the sacrifices which they offered to their idols, as SPENCER (de Legib. Heb. lib. ii. cap. 11.) proves at large. He also brings many arguments to shew that the Hebrew phrase should be translated, near the blood, in allusion to the idolatrous rite of pouring the blood of the slain beast into a vessel or pit, and then eating part of the sacrifice just by it.

No. 324.-xxxiii. 26. Ye stand upon your sword.] You make your strength the law of justice, according to the character given of ungodly men. (Wisdom ii. 11.) SPENCER (de Legib. Heb. lib. ii. cap. 11.) thinks that the expression alludes to a custom of the heathens, who put the blood of their sacrifices into a vessel or pit, in order to call up and consult evil spirits, and then stood with their swords drawn, to keep the demons off from doing them any harm.

No. 325.-xxxiii. 30. Thy people still are talking against thee by the walls.] Severe as sometimes the cold weather is in the East, Russel observes, that even in the depth of that season, when the sun is out, and there is no wind, it is warm, nay sometimes almost hot, in the open air; and Pococke informs us, that the people there enjoy it, for the Coptics spend their holidays in sauntering about, and sitting under their walls in winter, and under shady trees in summer. (Trav, i. p. 176.) This doubtless is to be understood of the poorer sort,

who have no places more proper for conversation with their friends; the better houses having porches with benches on each side, where the master of the family receives visits, and dispatches business. These circumstances greatly illustrate the words of Ezekiel, Also thou son of man, the children of thy people are still talking against. thee, or rather, concerning thee, by the walls, and in the doors of the houses, &c. HARMER, vol. i. p. 22.

No. 326.-xxxiv. 25. They shall dwell safely in the zwilderness, and sleep in the woods.] The eastern shepherds frequently lie abroad in the fields with their flocks, during the night, without a tent to shelter them. Chardin, thus describes an occurrence in his first excursion from Smyrna, (p. 157.) " About two in the morning, our whole attention was fixed by the barking of dogs, which, as we advanced, became exceedingly furious. Deceived by the light of the moon, we now fancied we could see a village, and were much mortified to find only a station of poor goat-herds, without even a shed, and nothing for our horses to eat. They were lying, wrapped in their thick capots, or loose coats, by some glimmering embers among the bushes in a dale, under a spreading tree by the fold.-The tree was hung with rustic utensils; the she-goats, in a pen, sneezed, and bleated, and rustled to and fro. The shrubs by which our horses stood were leafless, and the earth bare." This account may stand as a comment on the words of Ezekiel: I will make with them a covenant of peace, and will cause the evil beasts to cease out of the land; and they shall dwell safely in the wilderness, and sleep in the woods.

No. 327. xliii. 8. Thresholds.] The threshold of the palace of a living prince, and that of a person de

ceased, held in great esteem, are supposed to be the places where those who propose to do them honour prostrated themselves, touching them with their foreheads in token of solemn reverence. Probably, for this reason, Ezekiel calls the sanctuary, the threshold of God, and temples of idols, their thresholds. It is certain the modern Persians make the threshold in particular the place where their devotees pay their reverence to their entombed saints. Thus immediately after the sixth distich, inscribed on the front of the famous tomb at Com, follows this, "Happy and glorious is the believer, who through reverence shall prostrate himself with his head on the threshold of this gate, in doing which he will imitate the sun and the moon." (Chardin, tom. i. p. 203.)

No. 328.-xliv. 2. This gate shall be shut.] Amongst other instances of the extreme distance and profound awe with which eastern majesty is treated, Chardin says, (tom. iii. p. 69.) "It is a common custom in Persia, that when a great man has built a palace, he treats the king and his grandees in it for several days; then the great gate of it is open: but when these festivities are over, they shut it up never more to be opened. This account may serve as a comment on the words of Ezekiel: Then said the Lord unto me, this gate shall be shut, it shall not be opened, and no man shall enter in by it: because the Lord God of Israel hath entered in by it, therefore it shall be shut. It is for the prince.

HARMER, vol. iii. p. 329.

No. 329.-xlv. 12. The shekel shall be twenty gerahs; twenty shekels, twenty-five shekels, fifteen shekels shall be your maneh.] This singular method of reckoning, adopted by Ezekiel, is perfectly conformable to the general

practice; for Chardin says, "it is the custom of the East, in their accounts and reckonings of a sum of money, to specify the different parts of which it is composed: talking after this manner; I owe twenty-five, of which the half is twelve and one half, the quarter six and one fourth, &c." HARMER, vol. ii. p. 512.

« PreviousContinue »