« PreviousContinue »
also come, and some public officer sells by auction the young women one by one, beginning with the most beautiful, taking it for granted that each man would marry the maid he purchased."-HDT. 1. I. c. 196.
"The Indians marry many wives, who are purchased from their parents, and give in exchange for them a yoke of oxen."-STRAB. 1. xv. c. 1.
"Among the Germans the wife tenders no dowry to the husband but the husband to the wife.-TAC. Germ. c 18.
2. Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him, Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments:
3. And let us arise, and go up to Beth-el; and I will make there an altar unto God, who answered me in the day of my distress, and was with me in the way which I went.
"Alcestis, when she perceived the destined day was come, washed her delicate skin with water from the river, and having taken from her closets of cedar, vesture and ornaments, she attired herself becomingly, and standing before the altar, prayed." EURIP. Alc. Act. I. v. 159.
"Approach ye pure, in spotless garbs array'd!
4. And they gave unto Jacob all the strange gods which were in their hand, and all their earrings which were in their ears; and Jacob hid them under the oak which was by Shechem.
These ear-rings, which had to be given up at the same time with the strange gods, were probably some kind of charms or amulets. See Hos. ii. 13, where Jerusalem is represented as having decked herself with the ear-rings of Baalim. Pliny mentions—
"A marine plant, charito-blepharon, which is particularly efficacious in loveBracelets and necklaces are made of it."-PLIN. Hist. nat. 1. XIII. c. 52.
charms. 8. But Deborah Rebekah's nurse died, and she was buried beneath Bethel under an oak: and the name of it was called Allon-bachuth.
The nurse was always held in honour by the ancients.
Daughter of Ops, the just Pisenor's son,
Sole with Telemachus her service ends,
HOм. Odyss. 1. I. v. 429.
The nurse of Hypsipile, the Queen of Lemnos, is introduced giving counsel in a public assembly, at which the Queen herself presides.
Time with his weary yoke her shoulders bowed,
"And thou, O matron of immortal fame!
Here dying, to the shore hast left thy name:
Caieta still the place is call'd from thee,
The nurse of great Eneas' infancy."-VIRG. Æn. 1. vII. v. 1.
"Now with a pious aim
Had good Æneas rais'd a fun'ral flame
In honour of his hoary nurse's name.
Her epitaph he fixed," &c.-Ov. Metam. 1. XIV. v. 441.
14. And Jacob set up a pillar in the place where God talked with him, even a pillar of stone: and he poured a drink offering thereon, and he poured oil thereon.
"Alexander anointed the pillar upon the tomb of Achilles with oil, and ran round it with his friends naked, according to the custom that obtains; after which he put a crown upon it."-PLUT. Alex. c. 15.
See ch. XXVIII. 18.
29. And Reuben returned unto the pit: and, behold, Joseph was not in the pit; and he rent his clothes.
This was a common method of expressing grief. After the defeat of Xerxes,—
"Through the rage of grief
His gorgeous vestments from his royal limbs
Æmilius, seeing his army in retreat, rent his clothes, as Posidonius tells us."
7. And it came to pass after these things, that his master's wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me.
The following passage is adduced as evidence of the low state of morality in Egypt:
Pheron, king of Egypt, was blind for the space of ten years. In the eleventh an oracle was communicated to him from Butos, intimating that he should recover his sight by having his eyes washed by a virtuous woman. Pheron first made this experiment with his own wife, and when this did not succeed, he applied to other women indiscriminately. Having at length recovered his sight, he assembled all the women, except her who was the cause of the removal of his calamity, in a city which is to this day called Erythrebolos; all these, with the town itself, he destroyed by fire, but he married the female who had deserved his gratitude.”—HDT. 1. II. c. 111.
12. And he left his garment in her hand and fled, and got him out.
"Tiberius, when one of his enemies laid hold of his gown, let it go, and continued his flight in his under garment."—PLUT. Tib. Gracch. c. 19.
17. And she spake unto him according to these words, saying, The Hebrew servant, which thou hast brought unto us, came in unto me to mock me.
So Anteia accuses Bellerophon to her husband, king Protus, though he had, in fact, refused her solicitations; and a similar story is told of Peleus and Astydamia.
"The fair Anteia, wife of Protus, mad
But she prevail'd not o'er the virtuous mind
Of late, to force me to his lewd embrace."-HOм. I. 1. VI. v. 162.
18. And it came to pass, as I lifted up my voice and cried, that he left his garment with me, and fled out.
Phædra, when her advances have been refused by Hippolytus, makes use of a similar stratagem.
"Let us throw back the crime upon him, and accuse him of the infamous attempt. Ho there, Athenians! Help, faithful attendants! Hippolytus offers violence! He is gone, and has left his sword here in his hasty flight. Behold the proof of his guilt!"-SENEC. Hippol. v. 720.
"Prœtus, deceived by his wife,
HOR. 1. III. carm. 7.
"What did his virtuous resolve avail Hippolytus, or what Bellerophon? Surely she fired at the rejection of her suit, as though treated with indignity. Nor did Sthenoboea burn less fiercely than the Cretan; and both lashed themselves into a fury. A woman is then most ruthless when shame sets sharper spurs to her hate."
Juv. Sat. x. 326.
8. And they said unto him, We have dreamed a dream, and there is no interpreter of it. And Joseph said unto them, Do not interpretations belong to God? tell me them, I pray you.
The Jews appear to have had some reputation in later times for interpreting dreams. See JOв XXXIII. 15.
"Without her badge, a Jewess now draws near,
The dark decrees of heaven; a priestess she,
For Jews are moderate, and for farthing fees
Juv. Sat. VI. v. 542.
Ptolemy discovered his night vision to the Egyptian priests, whose profession it is to be skilled in things of this sort."-TAC. Hist. 1. IV. c. 83.
And the chief butler told his dream to Joseph, and said to him, In my dream, behold, a vine was before me;
10. And in the vine were three branches: and it was as though it budded, and her blossoms shot forth; and the clusters thereof brought forth ripe grapes:
And Pharaoh's cup was in my hand and I took the grapes, and pressed them into Pharaoh's cup, and I gave the cup into Pharaoh's hand.
"The whole country about the lake Mareia is well inhabited. Good wine also is produced here, and in such quantity that the Marcotic wine is racked in order that it may be kept to be old."-STRAB. 1. XVII. c. 1.
"The arsinoite nome of Egypt produces wine in abundance."-IBID.
"The Thasian vines in richer soils abound,
The Mareotic grow in barren ground."-VIRG. Georg. 1. II. v. 91.
"Her mind inflamed with Mareotic wine.-HOR. 1.1. carm. 37.
"The Sebennys wine is grown in Egypt, being the produce of three varieties of grape of the very highest quality, known as the Thasian, the Aethalus, and the Peuce." PLIN. Hist. nat. 1. XIV. c. 9. 16. When the chief baker saw that the interpretation was good, he said unto Joseph, I also was in my dream, and behold, I had three white baskets on my head:
17. And in the uppermost basket there was of all manner of bakemeats for Pharoah; and the birds did eat them out of the basket upon my head.
18. And Joseph answered and said, This is the interpretation thereof: The three baskets are three days:
19. Yet within three days shall Pharoah lift up thy head from off thee, and shall hang thee on a tree; and the birds shall eat thy flesh from
A similar omen occurs to the suitors before the return of Ulysses, and a similar interpretation of it is given by the augur Haitierses.
"Two eagles from a mountain's height,
"Formerly, when the appliances of luxury were not yet in full operation, the man who was rich possessed either cattle, or a wide tract of land. From this circumstance the rich man was called Locuples, (loci plenus, full of land) and money bore the name of pecunia.”—Ov. Fast. 1. v. v. 280.
"Money received its name of pecunia from pecus cattle. At the present day, even in the registers of the censors we find set down under the head of pascua or pasture lands, everything from which the public revenues are derived, from the fact that for a long period of time, pasture lands were the only source of the public revenue.” PLIN. Hist. nat. 1. xviii. c. 3.
"The form of a sheep was the first figure impressed upon money, and to this figure it owes its name pecunia.”—IBID. 1. xxxiii. c. 13.
22. Only the land of the Priests bought he not.
"The whole country of Egypt is divided into three parts, of which the first is allotted to the priests."-DIOD. Sıc. Î. i. c. 73.
1. And Jacob called unto his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days.
Dying men were very generally believed to have peculiar gifts of prophecy.
"I am now in that condition in which men most frequently prophecy, namelywhen they are about to die.”—PLAT. Socr. apolog. c. 30.
Homer records the dying prediction of Hector, and its fulfilment :—
"Then thus the chief his dying accents drew:
The Furies that relentless breast have steel'd,
And stretch thee here before the Scaan gate."
HOм. I. 1. xxii. v. 355.
"The soul of man, at the hour of death, appears most divine, and then foresees something of future events."-XEN. Cyrop. 1. viii. c. 8.
"Pythagoras the Samian, and some others of the ancient naturalists, have demonstrated that the souls of men are immortal, and in consequence of this opinion, that they also foreknow future events, at the time that they are making their separation from the body in death.”—DIOD. SIC. 1. xviii. c. 1.
"The Indian, Calanus, when ascending the funeral pile, said-'O what a glorious departure from life! when, as happened to Hercules, after my body has been consumed by fire, my soul shall depart to a world of light.' And when Alexander asked him if he had anything to say to him-'Yes,' he replied, 'We shall soon meet again;' and this prophecy was fulfilled, for a few days afterwards Alexander died in Babylon."
CIC. de div. 1. i. c. 23.
"That the dying are often possessed of the gift of divination, Posidonius confirms by that notorious example of a certain Rhodian, who, being on his death-bed, named six of his cotemporaries, saying which of them would die first, which second, which next to him, and so on.”—IBID. c. 30.
9. Judah is a lion's whelp.
Romulus and Remus are called
"Twin lion whelps."-LYCOPHR. Cass, v. 1232.