Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

nor ass.

fore the Lord, and he said, Who am I, O LORD to be produced, of their invading the neighbouring nations, God? and what is my house, that thou hast

without being first attacked by them, or of their plundering

them any furiher than as their victories over them, gained brought me hitherto?

in their own defence, gave them a right to it, by the comPococke has given the figure of a person half sitting and

mon usages and laws of war. During the period preceding half kneeling, that is, kneeling so as to rest the most mus

the regal government, we read of nothing almost but their cular part of his body on his heels. This, he observes, is

grievous oppressions by the Moabites, Ammonites, Amalthe manner in which inferior persons sit at this day before

ekites, Midianjtes, Philistines, and other neighbouring great men, and is considered as a very humble posture. nations, who forced them

into dens, mountains, and strongIn this manner, probably, David sat before the Lord, when

holds, deprived them of all manner of arms for their he went into the sanctuary, to bless him for his promise defence, and destroyed the increase of their lands, so that respecting his family.-HARMER.

there was no sustenance for Israel, neither sheep, nor ox,

But we have not a single intimation of the CHAPTER VIII.

Hebrews invading, plundering, and destroying them. And Ver. 2 And he smote Moab, and measured them during this long period, make any considerable invasions

indeed it was not possible that as a nation they could, with a line, casting them down to the ground; upon the neighbouring states. For they had no kings, no even with two lines measured he to put to

settled government, no generals and captains to lead them, death, and with one full line to keep alive: and traordinary manner, and at particular seasons, being

nor standing armies to protect them ; God, in a very exso the Moabites became David's servants, and pleased to raise them up proper persons, to give them some brought gifts.

lemporary relief from those who enslaved and despoiled

them; which made them at last resolve to have a king, See on 2 Sam. 12. 31.

who might be always ready to protect and defend them. David had scarce ended his wars with the Philistines, They were in themselves an easy quiet people, never bat he was engaged in another with the Moabites, of which inured to war, employed in husbandry, and raising of the scripture history gives, as I understand it, the following cattle; and so far from being a common enemy to all the accouni. "He also smote Moab, and he measured them by nations round them, as that they took every meihod to cula line,” i.e. in one tract of the country, to throw them down tivate their friendship, taking iheir daughters to be their level with the ground. Then he measured out two tracts, wives, and giving their daughters to their sons, forsaking one to put to death, and one full tract to preserve alive; and their own God, and following after the gods of every Moab became David's servants, bringing him gifts. When neighbonring nation. And yet they were almost perpetuhe had beat the Moabites, he ordered a general survey to ally under oppression, and their too great fondness to be be made of the whole country; in one part or tract of on good terms with their oppressors, was the very reason which he levelled Moab with the ground, i. e. razed so why God sold them into their enemies' hands, and suffered many of their towns and fortresses, as he thought neces- them so often to groan, by turns, under the yoke of every sary to secure his conquest. He then proceeded to ani- petty state, that had a mind to enslave them. And as for madvert on the inhabitants, measuring oül two tracts, or David, he had hitherto been engaged in no wars against parts of the country; one line or tract for death, and the any of his neighbours, except two defensive ones against fulness of a line, a very large tract of the country, to keep the Philistines; who, upon his first accession to the throne alive, i. e. to cut off the inhabitants of the one, those who of Israel, invaded his dominions, with an intention to dehad been most active in the war against him, and to pre- prive him of his kingdom, or render him and his people serve the far larger part of them alive; and thus made the wholly dependant on their power. If therefore the Moabwhole nation tributary to his crown.' Who was the ag- ites joined in the confederacy with the Ammonites, Edomgressor in these two last actions, the scripture history doch ites, Philistines, and others, to extirpate the Hebrew nation, no! determine. Some authors seem inclined to give David David treated them with comparative lenity and moderation, the credit of it, though without any shadow of proof. I if he cut off even two thirds of them, whom he found in arms apprehend the contrary may be collected from what the against him; and especially, if he put to the sword but one Psalmist says: "That Édom, Moab, Ammon, Amalek, the half of them, who intended his uiter destruction, and the Syrians under Hadadezer, and other nations, had consult- entire extirpation of his people. And as this is certain, that ed together with one consent to cut off Israel from being a the Amalekites, Philistines, Moabites, and other nations, nation; and that the name of Israel might be no more in were perpetual and inveterate enemies to the Hebrews, remembrance. This seems plainly to refer to the history and invaded them whenever they were able, the Hebrews of the wars with these very nations, related in Samuel. had a right to make reprisals, to attack them on every Against such a cruel confederacy as this, David had a right occasion that offered, and to treat them with that severity, to defend himsell, and to take such a vengeance on his that was necessary to their own peace and safety for the enemies, as was necessary to his own and his people's fu- future. I may add, what Bishop Patrick and others obture safety. If this powerful league, to extirpate the Is- serve, that the Jewish writers affirm, that David exercised raelites, was a justifiable compact, because Israel was a this severity on the Moabites, because they had slain his common enemy, who ravaged ad libitum, not from the parents and brethren, whom he committed to the custody common misunderstanding of states, but from an insatiable of the king of Moab, during his exile. But I lay no great appetite for blood and murder, as some writers choose to stress on this tradition, as it is wholly unsupported by the represent them; it will certainly follow, that there may be scripture history; and because David's treatment of them occasions that will justify this severe execution, in the is sufficiently justified by the ancient law of nations; as to utter excision of nations; and that if the Moabites, Amal

which my reader will be abundantly satisfied by consulting ekites, Philistines, and other nations, were common ene

Grotius.-CHANDLER. mies to the Hebrews, and ravaged them, ad libitum, from The war laws of the Israelites are detailed by Moses in an insatiable appetite for blood and murder, David had a the twentieth chapter of Deuteronomy. I shall at present right to extirpate them, whenever he could, without de- only take notice of those particulars that relate to the serving the charge of barbarity, and a blood-thirsty spirit. course they were to pursue towards foreign nations, and This was certainly the character of many of the enemies postpone those that regard levies, the division of plunder, of the Hebrew nation, but can never be applicable to the &c. until I come to treat of private law. Of a declaration Hebrews themselves. It is allowed, that they were to of war, before proceeding to hostilities, Moses says nothing; maintain a perpetual hostility with, and extirpate, if they and, therefore, seems not to have deemed it so indispensably could, the seven nations, because God had proscribed necessary as the Romans did. The disputes concerning them, and their own prosperity, and almost being, depend its necessity are so well known, that I shall not trouble ed on it. But as to the Edomites, Moabites, and Ammon- my readers with any remarks upon them. At present, we ites, they were expressly forbid to meddle with them, and do not consider this solemnity as at all essential to the invade any of their territories, by beginning hostilities | lawfulness of a war, but commence hostilities without any against them. And from the whole history of ihe Hebrew previous announcement of our intention, whenever we nation, from their first settlement in Canaan, to their de- conceive that the injuries offered us require them. Moses straction by Nebuchadnezzar, there is scarce one instance I appears (Numb. xxxi.) to have done the same; and to have allacked the Midianites, without giving them time to arm; but they had, moreover, by their gross contempt of the amand hence (ver. 49) he did not lose a single man, which bassadors whom David had sent with the best intentions, would otherwise have been incomprehensible. The word been guilty of a most outrageous breach of the law of NƏs, so often repeated in that chapter, and probably wrong nations, and manifested their implacable hatred against pointed by the Jews, signifies in Arabic, an inroad, or the Israelites. They shaved half their beards, (an insult attack by surprise. On the other hand, it was the injunc- which, according to the account of D’Arvieux, the Arabs of tion of Moses, that a hostile city should be summoned the present day reckon as great an evil as death itself,) and before an attack, and if it surrendered without fighting, then they cut off the lower half of their garments, and in that its inhabitants should have their lives granted, upon this ignominious plight sent them back into their own the condition of becoming tributaries. If, however, a city country. Nor was this so much the particular act of the should make resistance, then all the men in it were to be Ammonitish king, as of his principal subjects, who had put to the sword; and the women and children to become incited him to it, (2 Sam. x. 3,) which so much the more captives to the Israelites. The former of these particulars, clearly demonstrated their universal enmity against the viz. massacring all the men, stamps their war law with a Israelites; and a violation of the law of nations so very much greater degree of severity than is manifested in ours; unusual justly provoked them to take severer revenge, than for although we must take into the account, that among they were woni to exercise in common wars. ancient nations all the males who could bear arms actually If we admit the maxim, that the law both of nature and did so when it was necessary, and that there was no such nations allows me to treat my enemies as they, is victorious, distinction between soldier and citizen as among us; yet would have treated me, the story in 1 Sam. xi. 2 furnishes even in the case of a city being taken by storm, we are a strong vindication of David's conduct. These same Amwont to give quarter; and no Frenchman will have any monites had, in the beginning of his predecessor's reign, anxiety to be reminded that bois-le-duc forms a solitary ex- been so extremely cruel as to grant to the Israelitish city, ception to this practice. Still, however, it is not contrary Jabesh, which they had invested, and which was inclined to the law of nature, if we get the upper hand, to kill our to surrender without resistance, no other terms of capitu enemy, who either himself bears arms in order to kill us, lation than that, by way of insult to the Israelites in general, or hires others in his room for that purpose. The Israel- all its inhabitants should submit to have their right eyes ites could not regulate their conduct by our more merciful

put out.

Now to an enemy of this description, and who at law of nations, which is, by several thousand years, of last seized their ambassadors, whose persons the laws both later date ; but they acted precisely as their vanquished of nations and nature hold sacred, could any punishment in foes would have done, had they been lucky enough to use in the East, have been too cruel ?- We find, however, have been the conquerors; and they therefore merit the that the characier of the Ammonites was the same in every praise of magnanimity, if, to lessen the evils of war, we age. The prophet Amos (i. 13) speaks of them as ripping see them refraining in the smallest degree from insisting up the bellies of women with child, not in the fury of a on requital of like for like to the utmost. The enemies storm, but deliberately, in order to lessen the number of the with whom the Israelites had to do, were wont not merely Israelites, and thus to enlarge their own borders. If these to put the vanquished to death, but at the same time to acts of David, then, appear to us, I will not say serere, exercise great cruelties upon them. The Bible is full of (for who will deny that? or who that lives in our days relations to this purport. Sometimes infants and sucklings would not wish to have acted differently in his place ?) but were massacred, and their bodies collected into heaps ; for unjust, it is owing, either to our confounding the modern which we find in Hebrew a particular term, wor; some- with the ancient law of nations, or with the law of nature times pregnant women were ripped up; 2 Kings viii. 12. itself; and thus judging of them by quite a different rule Amos i. 13; sometimes people were laid upon thorns, and from that which we are wont to apply to similar actions, put to death with thrashing wains, Judg. viii. 7—16. Amos which we know from our youth. I may at any rate put i. 3. Sometimes even royal princes were burnt alive, this question, “ Has a magistrate a right to proceed more 2 Kings iii. 27. I will not relate all the cruelties of those severely against a band of robbers than one nation against nations with whom the Israelites had to carry on war, another, that has behaved with as much bostility and cruand might, according to the law of nature, have repaid elty as robbers can do ?”—If it is answered, “ Yes, for the like for like. The law of nations, according to which the robbers are subjects ;"—then would robbers, particularly if Israelites had to act, was made by those nations themselves; natives of foreign lands, in order to escape painful deaths, for this law is founded on the manners of nations, and on have only to declare, that they wish to be considered not the permission which we have to treat others as they treat as subjects, but as enemies; since they do not generally us. "If we do not choose to confine our attention to the de- desire the protection of the magistrate, but have their tails given in scripture, we may resort to profane history, abode in the forests. But on such banditti we inflict, not where we shall find the Romans (who behaved to their merely capital punishment, but that punishment aggraenemies much more harshly than we do) complaining of vated by torture; as, for instance, breaking on the wheel

. the barbarous conduct of the Carthaginians towards their Now, if this is not unjust, and if a robber, even though a prisoners; and these Carthaginians were the direct de foreigner, cannot with effect urge against it the plea of scendants of those Canaanites, and had an Asiatic law of wishing to be treated as an enemy; certainly David's pronations. We need not, therefore, now wonder that David cedure towards the Ammonites, who had in fact been (2 Sam. viii. 2) should have made the vanquished Moab- more cruel to the Israelites than most modern banditti are ites lie down together on the ground, and with a measuring- wont to be, should not be condemned as absolutely unjust; line have marked off two thirds of them for death, and although, no doubt, it would have been much more laudspared the remaining third, after being thus subjected to the able if he had displayed greater clemency and magnanimity. fear of sharing the fate of their brethren. He acted here Further; as we in our childish years read the Roman aŭwith more clemency than the Mosaic law prescribed, by thors, who think and write with great partiality for their which he would have been justified in putting them all to countrymen, we are commonly impressed with very fadeath. For as to the assertion of some writers, that the vourable ideas of the moderation and equity of the Roman severe law of Moses on this point did not extend beyond people in war. But these ideas are by no means just ; for the Canaanites, it is contrary to the clearest evidence; for the Romans, except when their own interest required the Moses expressly says, (Deut. xx. 15, 16, compared with 13,) | contrary, were a severe people; and with so much the “Thus shalt thou do unto those cities which are far from worse reason, that their wars, in which they manisested thee, and not of the cities of these nations; but of those na- such inexorable severity, were for the most part unjust. tions whose land Jehovah giveth thee, thou shalt let nothing This people, of whose war laws we are apt to think so that breatheth live." David acted with much greater se- highly, for a long time, even to the days of Cæsar, massaverity (2 Sam. xii. 31) to the inhabitants of Rabbah, the cred their prisoners in cold blood, whenever they survived Ammonitish capital. He put them all to death together, the disgrace of the triumph ; and they very frequently put and that with most painful and exquisite tortures; which, to death the magistrates and citizens of conquered cities, however, were not unusual in other countries of the East. after making them undergo a flagellation, which, perhaps, But we must consider how very different this war was from other wars. The Ammonites had not only resisted to

in point of physical pain, was not different from the pun

ishments inflicted by David on the Ammonites. Lacerare the last extremity, (which alone by the Mosaic law was corpora virgis is the phrase in which it is described by Livy, sufficient to justify the victors in putting them to death,) | who remarks, that by reason of these inexorable severities,

(of which we know nothing in our wars,) some cities de- cept when forged into edgetools and weapons. Hence it tended themselves to the last extremily, rather than submit has been observed, that in iron-works and forges, we genThus acted the Romans towards those nations that certainly erally find the healthiest and longest-lived people. Other were not Ammonites in cruelty, or in the malice of their sorts of mines, on the contrary, by reason of the lead and injuries. And if, nevertheless, not contented with keeping arsenic which they contain, are very often unwholesome, silence on the subject, we re-echo the Latin writers in iheir and even fatal to life. Can it then be believed that David phrases of Roman justice and mercy, why should David be would have condemned a people that he wanted to punish, called an oppressor and a barbarian, because to the very to labour in iron-works, wherein they were sure to enjoy a seum of cruel and inhuman enemies, who from universal long life of healih and activity, while, perhaps, his own national haired had so grossly and unjustly violated the native subjects had to labour in unw holesome mines for the sacred rights of ambassadors, he acted with rigour, and more precious metals ? A king who had mines in his put them to painful deaths ? There seems here to be an dominions, and wished to use them for the purposes of unfairness in our way of judging, which David does not punishment, would probably have heard what sorts of them deserve, merely because he is an Oriental, and because on were favourable, and what hostile to health, and not have other occasions the Bible speaks so much in his praise. | gone so preposterously to work. The applause bestowed This severity has, nevertheless, always been a stigma on on this dissertation of Dantz, from the humanity it disthe character of David, with those who do not attend to played, was probably what moved the late Wahner to write the arbitrary and variable nature of the law of nations, a dissertation of a similar tendency, which was published and judge of it according to the very humane war laws of at Gottingen in the year 1738, under the following title, modern times. Hence some friends of religion have been David Moabitarum Victor crudelium numcro eximitur. But at pains to represent his conduct in a more humane point it could not obtain equal approbation, because in the conof view than it is described in the Bible itself. The late duct of David towards the Moabites, 2 Sam. viii. 2, there is Professor Dantz of Jena, published a Dissertation, De less appearance of cruelty; inasmuch as he merely enformitigata Daridis in Ammonitas Crudelitate, which expe- ced the war law as prescribed by Moses, and indeed far rienced the highest approbation both in and out of Germany, less rigorously. Wahner gives three different and new because people could not imagine a war law so extremely explanations of the passage, according to which none of different froin modern manners, as that which the common the vanquished Moabites were put to death; but they are interpretation of 2 Sam. xii. 31 implies. Of that passage all somewhat forced : and there was no necessity, by a difhe gives this explanation ; that David merely condemned ferent translation of the text, to free David from the charge his Ammonitish captives io severe bodily labours; to hew- of cruelty; for in putting but two thirds of them to death, ing and sawing of wood; to burning of bricks, and work- he acted unquestionably with one third more clemency ing in iron mines. But how much soever this exposition than the Mosaic law required.-The war which Saul carmay be approved, it has but little foundation: it does great ried on against the Amalekites, and in which to the utmost violence to the Hebrew words, of which, as this is not the of his power he extirpated the whole people, sparing only place to complain philologically, I must be satisfied with their king, is yet blamed, not on account of its rigour, observing, that it takes them in a very unusual, and till but for the conqueror's clemency to the king, 1 Sam. xv. then unknown, acceptation ; and for this no other reason But I will not by any means adduce this for an example; is assigned, than that David had previously repented of his but merely appeal to the precepts of Moses, the rigour of sins of adultery and murder; and being in a state of grace, which David so much relaxed, in the cases of the Moabites. could not be supposed capable of such cruelties. But a -MICHAELIS. proof like this, taken from the king's being in a state of regeneration, is quite indecisive. We must previously Ver. 13. And David gat him a name when he solve the question, whether, considering the times in which returned from smiting of the Syrians in the he lived, and the character of the enemy, who had given Valley of Salt, being eighteen thousand men. such proofs, to what atrocities their malignant dispositions towards the Israelites would have carried them, had they These great successes over the Syrians and Edomites been the victors, the punishment he inflicted on them was greatly heightened the reputation and character of David; too severe? or else from the piety of a king, I might in or, as the historian observes, he got himself a name when like manner demonstrate, in opposition to facis, that such he returned from smiting the Syrians, and Edomites, in the and such malefactors were not broken on the wheel, but Valley of Salt. He was regarded and celebrated by all that they must only have gone to the wheel, in order to the neighbouring princes and states, as a brave commanddraw water. But allowing even that David carried sever- er, and glorious prince and conqueror. To get a name, ity of punishment too far, it is entirely to be ascribed to in the eastern style, doth not mean to be called by this or the rude manners of his age : as in the case of still more the other particular name, which is a ridiculous interpreblameless characters, even of Abraham himself, we find tation of the words, but to be spoken of with admiration that the customs of their times betrayed them into sins of and praise, as an excellent prince, and a fortunate victoignorance, although some of their contemporaries ques- rious soldier. Thus it is joined with praise, I will make tioned the lawfulness of the acts which involved those sins.

you a name, and a praise among all people.” It is said It is further to be remarked, that towards the most cruel of God himself, upon account of the signs and wonders foes of the Israelites, and who had besides done himself he wrought in Egypt. “Thou hast made thee a name at an injury altogether unparalleled, David would have been this day;" which our version in another place renders: acting with more mildness than the Mosaic law authorized, “ Thou hast gotten thee renown at this day." Thus David even towards any common enemy, if he had only condemn- got himself a name, i. e. as God tells him by Nathan the ed the Ammonites to servile labours. And besides this, those prophet: “ I was with thee wheresoever thou wentest, and labours which Dantz alleges, are, some of them at least, have cut off all thine enemies out of thy sight, and have not at all suited to the circumstances of either the country made thee a great name, like unto the name of the great or the people. Firewood, for instance, is so scarce in men that are in the earth,” i. e. made thee to be esteemed Palestine, that a whole people certainly could not have and reverenced in all countries round about, as a mighty been converted into hewers and sawyers of wood. For prince and successful warrior; a name that he must have the sanctuary and the altar, the Gibeonites had it already had even from the Syrians, and all his enemies whom he in charge to provide wood; while the common people subdued by his conduct and valour. throughout the country principally made use of straw, or There is some difficulty in this short bistory of the condried dung, for fuel. When Solomon, many years after, quest of the Edomites. In the book of Chronicles, it is made the timber required for the temple to be felled, it was said, that Abishai, the son of Zeruiah, smote Edom in the by the heads of the remnant of the Canaanites; and there- Valley of Salt, eighteen thousand men. 1 Chron, xviii. 12. fore the Ammonites were not employed in il.-In Pales- In the 60th Øsalm, Tiile, that when Joab returned, he tine, again, mines of different sorts were wrought. Now, smote of Edom, in the Valley of Salt, twelve thousand of all mines, none are more wholesome to work in than

In the book of Samuel, 2 Sam. viii. 13, that David those of iron; because that metal is very friendly to got himself a name, when he returned from smiting the the human constitution, is actually mixed with our blood, Syrians, in the Valley of Salt

. Part of this difficulty is (as experiments made with blood clearly show,) is often easily obviated, as the rout and slaughter of the Edomitish used in medicine, and is almost never nurtful to us, ex- army, in which they lost six thousand of their men, was

men.

begun by David and Abishai. And as, after Joab's joining ed his servant, so shall thy servant do. As for the army, twelve thousand more of the Edomites were

Mephibosheth, said the king, he shall eat at cut off, the slaughter of those twelve thousand is ascribed to Joab, which, with six thousand cut off under David and

my table, as one of the king's sons. Abishai, before Joab came up with his reinforcement, make See on 2 Kings 9. 11. up the number eighteen thousand; the whole eighteen thousand being ascribed to David, as they were cut off by

CHAPTER X. his army, that fought under bim; and to Abishai, who was Ver. 4. Wherefore Hanun took David's servants, chief commander under him in this action; so that what was done by the one, was done by the other also. But there

and shaved off the one half of their beards, and is also another difficulty, how to reconcile the two different cut off their garments in the middle, eren to accounts; the one, that David smote the Syrians, the other, their buttocks, and sent them away. that he smote the Edomites, in the Valley of Salt. The altering the pointing of the words, as we have them in This was one of the greatest indignities that the malice Samuel, and the repeating a single word, ano koivov, from the of man could invent in those countries, where all people first part of the account, will entirely remove this difficulty ; thought their hair so great an ornament, that some would and I render the passage thus: David got himself a name, have rather submitted to die, than part with it. What a when he returned from smiting the Syrians, in the Valley foul disgrace and heavy punishment this was accounted in of Salt, by smiting eighteen thousand men. Or, he got ancient times, we may learn from Nicholaus Damascenus, himself a name in the Valley of Salt, by smiting eighteen as mentioned by Slobæus, (Tit. 42.) who says, that among thousand men, after he returned from smiting the Syrians. the Indians the king commanded the greatest offenders to And without this repetition of the word op smiting, or nona be shaven, as the heaviest punishment that he could intlict by smiting, the construction and sense is quite imperfect. Le

upon them; and, to the like purpose, Plutarch (in Egesil) Clerc, F. Houbigant, and others, add this supplement, and tells us, that, whenever a soldier, among the Lacedemothis alone renders all the other emendations of the learned

nians, was convicted of cowardice, he was obliged to go with Father quite unnecessary. The version of the Vulg. Latin

one part of his upper lip shaved, and the other not. Nay, confirms the interpretation, which ihus renders the place: even at this day, no greater indignity can be offered to a Fecit sibi quoque David nomen cum reverteretur capta Syria, man of Persia, than to cause his beard 10 be shaved; and in valle Salinarum, cafis decem et octo millibus. “ David

therefore, Tavernier, in his travels, relates the story, that also got him a name when he returned from the capture of when the Sophi caused an ambassador of Aurengzeb's Syria, having slain eighteen thousand men."-CHANDLER. to be used in this manner, telling him that he was no worVer. 16. And Jehoshaphat, the son of Ahilud, thy to wear a beard, the emperor (even in the manner as

David here did) most highly resented the affront that was was recorder.

done to him in the person of his ambassador. And, as

shaving David's ambassadors was deservedly accounted a That is, as is generally believed, remembrancer or grievous affront, so the cutting off half the beard (which writer of chronicles, an employment of no mean estima- made them look still more ridiculous) was a great addition tion in the eastern world, where it was customary with to it, where beards were held in great veneration; and kings to keep daily registers of all the transactions of their where long habits down to the heels were worn, especially reign: and a trust, which, whoever discharged 10 purpose, by persons of distinction, without any breeches or drawers, must be let into the true springs and secrets of action, and the cutting their garments, even to the middle, thereby to consequently must be received into the utmost confidence. expose their nakedness, was such a brutal and shameless -BURDER.

insult, as would badly become a man of David's martial Ver. 18. And Benaiah, the son of Jehoiada, was

spirit, and just sentiments of honour, 10 have tamely passed

by.-STACKHOUSE. over both the Cherethites and the Pelethites :

The customs of nations in respect to this part of the huand David's sons were chief rulers.

man countenance, have differed, and still do differ, so wide

ly, that it is not easy, among us, who treat the beard as an These guards are called in the text, the Cherethites and

encumbrance, to conceive properly of the importance which the Pelethites, but what they were is variously conjectured. is attached to it in the East. The Levitical laws have That they were soldiers is evident from their being men- noticed the beard, but the terms in which most of them are tioned as present at the proclamation of King Solomon expressed, are somewhat obscure; i. e. they are obscure to against Adonijah, which could not evidently have been

us, by the very reason of their being familiar to the persons done without some armed force to proiect the persons to whom they were addressed. Perhaps the following quotathat proclaimed him: and that they were not common

tions may contribute to throw a light, at least upon some of soldiers, but the constant guards of David's person, is manisest from the title of Ewuaropódaxes, keepers of the body,

them:“ The first care of an Ottoman prince, when he comes

to the throne, is, to let his beard grow, to which Sultan Muswhich Josephus gives them. Some are of opinion that

tapha added, the dying of it black, in order that it might they were men of gigantic stature; but we find no ground

be more apparent on :he day of his first appearance, when for that, though they were doubtless proper and robust men,

he was to GIRD ON THE SABRE ; a ceremony by which be (as we speak,) and of known fidelity to their prince, 2 Sam.

takes possession of the throne, and answering the coronaxv. 18, and xx. 7. Others again think that they were tion among us." (Baron du Tou.) So, De la Motraye Philistines; but it is hardly supposable, that David would

“that the new Sultan's beard had not been perhave any of these hated, uncircumcised people to be his mitted to grow, but only since he had been proclaimed bodyguard; neither can we believe that Israelitish soldiers

emperor: and was very short, it being customary to share would have took it patiently to see foreigners of that nation the Ottoman princes, as a mark of their subjection 10 the put in such places of honour and trust. It is much more

reigning emperor.” “In the year 1764, Kerim Khan sent likely, then, that they were some select men of the tribe of to demand payment of the tribute due for his possessions in Judah, which had their names from the families they Kermesir : but, Mir Mahenna maltreated the officer who sprung from, one of which is mentioned, 1 Sam. xxx. 14, and the other, 1 Chron. ii. 33, unless we will come into the

was sent on the errand, and caused his beard to be cut of

Kerim Khan then sent a strong army against him, which notion of others, who, as they find that there were men of conquered Bender Rigk, and all the territories of Mir Mathis denomination among the Philistines, think that these henna.” (Niebuhr.) This will remind the reader of the inguards of David's, which were originally of his own tribe,

sult offered to the ambassadors of David, by Hanun, (2 Sam. had these crotic names given them from some notable exploit or signal victory gained over the Philistines of this

x.) which insult, however, seems to have had a peculiarity

in it--of shaving one half of the beard; i. e. the beard on name, as (in 1 Sam. xxx. 14) we have express mention

one side of the face. On this subject, we translate from of one action against them.-STACKHOUSE.

Niebuhr (French edit.) the following remarks: “ The CHAPTER IX.

Orientals have divers manners of letting the beard grow; Ver. 11. Then said Ziba unto the king, Accord

the Jews, in Turkey, Arabia, and Persia, preserve their

beard from their youth; and it differs from that of the ing to all that my lord the king hath command- | Christians and Mohammedans, in that they do not shave it

tells us,

either at the aers, or the temples. The Arabs keep their | May God pour out his blessings on your beard! And, whiskers very short; some cut them off entirely; but they in comparisons, 'This is more valuable than one's beard.?" never shave off the beard. In the mountains of Yemen, Maurs des Arabes, par M. D’Arvieux, chap. vii. These where strangers are seldom seen, it is a disgrace to appear accounts may contribute to illustrate several passages of shaven; they supposed our European servant, who had scripture. only whiskers, had committed some crime, for which we had The dishonour done by David to his beard, of letting his penished him, by culling of his beard. On the contrary, the spittle fall on it, (1 Sam. xxi. 13,) seems at once to have Turks have commonly long whiskers; the beard among convinced Achish of his being distempered : 9. d." No man them is a mark of honour. The slaves and certain domes- in good health, of body and mind, would thus defile what tics of the great lords, are forced to cut it off, and dare not we esteem so honourable as his beard.” If the beard be keep any part of it, but whiskers; the Persians have long thus venerated, we perceive the import of Mephibosheth's whiskers, and clip their beard short with scissors, which neglect, in his not trimming it, 2 Sam. xix. 24. We conhas an unpleasant appearance to strangers. The Kurdes ceive, also, that after the information given us, as above, shave the beard, but leave the whiskers, and a band of that men kiss one another's beards, when they salute in the hair on the cheeks.” “The true Arabs have black beards, streets, or when one of them is lately come from a journey ; yet some old men die their white beards red; but this is we may discover traces of deeper dissimulation in the beihought to be to hide their age; and is rather blamed than haviour of Joab to Amasa (2 Sam. xx. 9) than we have praised. The Persians blacken their beards much more; heretofore noticed : “And Joab held in his right hand the and, probably, do so to extreme old age, in order to pass beard of Amasa, that he might gire it a kiss."—No wonder for younger than they really are. The Turks do the same then, that while this act of friendship, of gsatulation after in some cases. (How differently Solomon thought! Prov. long absence, occupied Amasa's attention, he did not perXX. 29, 'The glory of young men is their strength, and the ceive the sword that was in Joab's left hand. The action beauty of old men is the gray head.')—When the younger of Joab was, indeed, a high compliment, but neither susTurks, after having been shaven, let their beards grow, picious nor unusual ; and to this compliment Amasa paythey recite a fatha, (or kind of prayer,] which is considered ing attention, and, no doubt, returning it with answerable as a vow never to cut it off; and when any one cuts off his politeness, he could little expect the fatal event that Joab's beard, he may be very severely punished, (ai Basra, at least, to perfidy produced. Was the behaviour of Judas to Jesus 300 blows wiih a stick.) He would also be the laughing-stock something like this behaviour of Joabto Amasa ?-a worof those of his faith. A Mohammedan, at Basra, having thy example worthily imitated — With this idea in our shaved his beard when drunk, fled secretly to India, not daring minds, let us hear the Evangelists relate the story ; Matt. to return, for fear of public scorn, and judicial punishment." xxvi. 49, “ And coming directly to Jesus, he said, Hail

" Although the Hebrews took great care of their beards, (joy to thee) Rabbi! and kissed him:" so says Mark xiv. to fashion them when they were not in mourning, and on 45. But Luke seems to imply, that Judas observed a more the contrary, did not trim them when they were in mourn- respectful manner, in his salutation. Jesus, according to ing, yet I do not observe that their regard for them amount- Matthew, before he received the kiss from Judas, had time ed to any veneration for their beard. On the contrary, the to say, "Friend (in what manner) unto what purpose art Arabians have so much respect for their beards, that they thou come ?" And while Judas was kissing him-suppose look on them as sacred ornaments given by God, to distin- his beard-Jesus might easily, and very aptly express himguish them from women. They never shave them: no- self, as Luke relates, " Ah ! Judas, betrayest thou the Son ihing can be more infamous than for a man to be shaved ; of Man by a kiss ?" The cutting off the beard is mentionthey make the preservation of their beards a capital point ed (Isaiah xv. 2) as a token of mourning; and as such it of religion, because Mohammed never cut off his : it is appears to be very expressive, Jer. xli. 5: "Fourscore men likewise a mark of authority and liberty among them, as came from Samaria, having their beards shaven, and their well as among the Turks; the Persians, who clip them, clothes rent.”—See, also, chap. xlvii. 37. Is not this cuisand shave above the jaw, are reputed heretics. The razor tom somewhat illustrated by the idea which the Arabs atis never drawn over the grand seignior's face: they who tached to the shaven servant of Niebuhr, i. e. as a kind of serve in the seraglio, have their beard shaved, as a sign of punishment suffered for guilt, expressed or implied ?servitude: they do not suffer it to grow till the sultan has TAYLOR in CalMET. set them at liberty, which is bestowed as a reward upen While the Orientals had their emblems of honour, and them, and is always accompanied with some employment. tokens of regard, they had also peculiar customs expressive Unmarried young men may cut their beards; but when of contempi or dislike; of which the first I shall mention married, especially if parents, they forbear doing so, to is cutting off the beard. Even to talk disrespectfully of a show that they are become wiser, háve renounced the van- Persian's beard, is the greatest insult that can be offered 10 ities of youth, and think now of superior things. When him, and an attempt to touch it would probably be followed they comb their beards, they hold a handkerchief on their | by the instant death of the offender. Cutting off the beard knees, and gather carefully the hairs that fall : and when is reckoned so great a mark of infamy among the Arabs, they have got together a proper quantity, they fold them that many of them would prefer death to such a dishonour. up in paper, and carry them to the place where they bury They set the highest value upon this appurtenance of the the dead. Among them it is more infamous for any one male; for when they would express their value for a thing, to have his beard cut off, than among us to be publicly they say it is worth more than his beard; they even beg for whipped, or branded with a hot iron. Many men in that the sake of it, “ By your beard, by the life of your beard, country would prefer death to such a punishment. The do.”—PAXTON. wives kiss their husbands' beards, and children their fa- When Peter the Great attempted to civilize the Russians, thers', when they come to salute them: the men kiss one and introduced the manners and fashions of the more reanother's beards reciprocally, when they salute in the fined parts of Europe, nothing met with more opposition streets, or come from a journey.-They say, that the beard than the cutting off their beards, and many of those who is the perfection of the human face, which would be more were obliged to comply with this command, testified such disfigured by having this cut off, than by losing the nose. great veneration for their beards, as to order them to be “They admire and envy those, who have fine beards : buried with them. Irwin also, in his voyage up the Red

Pray do but see,' they cry, that beard ; the very sight of Sea, says, that at signing a treaty of peace with the vizier of it would persuade any one, that he, to whom it belongs, is Yambo, they swore by their beards, the most solemn oath an honest man. If anybody with a fine beard is guilty of they can take. D’Arvieux gives a remarkable instance of an unbecoming action, 'What a disadvantage is this,'they an Arab, who, having received a wound in his jaw, chose say, 'to such a beard! How much such a beard is to be to hazard his life rather than to suffer his surgeon to take pitied!'

. If they would correct any one's mistakes, they off his beard.—BURDER. will tell him, ' For shame of your beard! Does not the This shows, according to the oriental mode of thinking, confusion that follows light on your beard ?' If they en- the magnitude of the affront which Hanan offered to the treat any one, or use oaths in affirming or denying any ambassadors of David, when he took them and shaved off thing, they say, 'I conjure you by your beard, -by the life the one half of their beards. It was still, in times compar, of your beard, -to grant me this,'—or, 'by your beard, atively modern, the greatest indignity that can be offered this is, or is not, so. They say further, in the way of ac- in Persia. Shah Abbas, king of that country, enraged that knowledgment, 'May God preserve your blessed beard! | the emperor of Hindostan had inadvertently addressed him by

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »