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an animal of exquisite beauty, and from that circumstance it derives its name in the Hebrew. Nothing can, I think, be imagined more truly elegant and poetical than all these passages, nothing more apt or expressive than these compari
The discovery of these excellencies, however, only serves to increase our regret for the many beauties which we have lost, the perhaps superior graces, which extreme antiquity seems to have overcast with an impenetrable shade.
These circumstances are noticed to justify this translation; for the fawns of a roe, neither in colour nor height, at all correspond to the objects compared. S. H.
• It is much to be lamented, that no commentator has arisen sufficiently qualified to explain this beautiful poem. Those who have attempted it have been scholastic divines, rather indeed mystics, and have entirely overlooked the obvious and more elegant meaning. Indeed the task is by no means easy: besides a very accurate and idiomatical knowledge of the oriental languages, an intiinate acquaintance with the manners of antiquity, and no small informa. tion concerning natural history, will be requisite: to these must be added a good deal of reading in the Arabic poetry, particularly in their compositions of the amorous kind; and last of all, a true taste for poetry. Very few of these qualities have existed separately, and never all of them conjunctly in those who have undertaken to illustrate this poem.
In order to exemplify how much might be effected towards clearing up the obscurities of this most elegant composition, by a knowledge of natural history alone, I will endeavour to explain my opinion of some difficult passages, (chap. v. 11. 14. vii. 6. 14). In chap. v. ver. 6. 11. most people are ignorant, and at a loss to conjecture, what may be the meaning of oignon: the Seventy and the Vulgate render it shatus, elatas, or the downy substance in which the dates are involved: nor is this translation very different from the Arabic, which renders it the branch of the palm-tree from which the dates depend. But what relation can this bear to the human hair? I answer, the resemblance is obvious to any person who has seen the object of the comparison, or has remarked the plate of it annexed to the notes on Theophrastus's History of Plants by Jo. Budeus.—But how is Solomon consistent, in the same verse speaking of raven locks and a golden head ?
“ His head is of pure gold,
The locks of which resemble the branches of the palm-tree,
And black as the raven." To reconcile this difficulty, it is necessary to know, that although the orientals may possibly admire raven locks in their natural state, yet they are accustomed to dye thein with henna (so they call the oil of privet), in order to give them a yellow or golden cast: this is an ancient custom, though the existence of it among the Hebrews may be disputed; but probably for this same purpose they miglit make use of gold dust, as the Latins are known to have done.
With the same henna they stain the countenance, as well as the hands and arms, which first changes them to an azure blue, and they grow yellow by degrees; and this they esteem a great object of beauty, though it would be accounted deformity with us.—This observation will enable us to understand better some phrases in the 14th and 15th verses of the same chapter :
“ His hands are as gold rings
Inlaid with chrysolite :
His belly as plates of ivory
Upon a base of gold.” The fingers being stained with henna, appeared as if they had gold rings on, set with chrysolite; which gem was formerly of a yellow colour. I say formerly, because the same stone which we call the topaz was the ancient chrysolite. (See Hill's Hist. of Fossils.) But if by the word tarshish we understand the ancient hyacinth or amethyst, an azure colour will then be alluded to, which the same henna produces on the skin. The whiteness of the body, covered with a delicate purple vest, is finely compared to ivory overlaid with sapphire. Shesh is without doubt figured marble; to which the legs and thighs are compared, from the blue and serpentine veins which run along them, and which are more pellucid in proportion to the fineness of the skin. The bases are golden slippers.
The 5th verse of the viith chapter is among the most difficult. The head of the king's daughter is compared to the pyramidal top of Carmel, covered with thick trees; by which simile is, I apprehend, intimated the quantity and beauty of her hair. The word dallat also occurs for hair, in the explanation of which commentators have been greatly perplexed : some, led away by a whimsical etymology, have supposed it to mean thin hair, as if this could possibly be a subject of flattery to a young lady. In my opinion, the word is derived from the Arabic as well as the Chaldaic word 3957, the fringe of a garment or tent, and means any thing pendant, or hanging loose. The hair is compared to purple, not however, I think, on account of the colour; for the henna, with which they stained their hair, makes it yellow, not purple: I suspect some allusion is rather intended to the animal which produces purple. That animal is of a pyramidal form, rising beautifully in a spiral cone, whence it is called aregman, from its likeness to the stone monuments. There follows d'una 9108 yan, which, with some degree of hesitation, I venture to translate, “ as a king encircled with a diadem :” the Septuagint has it, ás πορφυρα βασιλεως, σιριδεμενη ειλημασι. The upright oriental tiara is alluded to, the mark of royalty, which is more noble the higher it is. Thus the verse may be explained, and it will then be found to present a just picture of the oriental head-dress :
“ Thine head resembles Carmel ;
And thine hair is raised like the shell of the purple,
Like a king encircled with diadems." In the latter verses of the same chapter there is an elegant description of Spring ; but what chiefly creates difficulty is the dudain, which are said to produce odours. The famous Celsius, in his Sacred Botany, seems to have been peculiarly unfortunate on this subject. The word is translated mandragoræ (or mandrake) on the most ancient authority ; but Celsius cannot allow this plant any place in a love-poem, because it has in reality a bad smell. The text explained from the Arabic is, “ The mandrakes produce a strong odour." We must remember, that it was the opinion of all the orientals that the mandrake was of especial efficacy in love-potions; the truth of which opinion is of no concern to us, if we only allow it to have been the general opinion of the eastern nations, The text therefore implies, “ The mandrake will breathe its strong and somniferous odours, and provoke to love."-M.
OF THE POEM OF JOB.
In order to criticise the Book of Job with any degree of satis
faction to his auditors, the critic must explain his own sentiments concerning the work in general-- The Book of Job a singular composition, and has little or no connexion with the affairs of the Hebrews-- The seat of the history is Idumea ; and the characters are evidently Idumean of the family of Abraham— The author appears to be an Idumaan, who spoke the Hebrew as his vernacular tongue-Neither Elihu nor Moses, rather Job himself, or some contemporary - This appears
to be the oldest book extant : founded upon true history, and contains no allegory- Although extremely obscure, still the general subject and design are sufficiently evident— A short and general analysis of the whole work ; in which the obscurer passages are brought as little as possible in question— The deductions from this disquisition : 1. The subject of the controversy between Job and his friends : 2. The subject of the whole poem : 3. Its end or purpose-- All questions not necessarily appertaining to this point to be avoided.
Such a diversity of opinions has prevailed in the learned world concerning the nature and design of the Poem of Job, that the only point in which commentators seem to agree is the extreme obscurity of the subject. To engage, therefore, in an undertaking on which so much erudition has been expended, to tread the same paths which so many have already traversed in vain, may seem to require some apology for the temerity, not to say the presumption, of the attempt. Though I might allege, that the authority of the most learned men is lessened in some measure by the discordance of their opinions, and that therefore the failure of others is the more readily to be excused, I will, however, make use of no such defence, but will entrench myself rather in the necessity and in the nature of my present undertaking. I pretend not to any new discoveries; I presume not to determine the subtile controversies of the learned; I scarcely venture to indulge
the hope of being able to illustrate any obscurities. My sole intention is to collect, from such passages as appear the least intricate, the most probable conjectures: and what I conceive to have any tolerable foundation in fact, that I mean to propose, not as demonstration, but as opinion only. I proceed in this manner upon the principle, that, considering the great discordance of sentiments upon this subject, it would be impossible for any man to discourse with a sufficient degree of accuracy and perspicuity upon the structure and parts of this poem, unless he previously explained his own ideas concerning the scope and purport of the work in general.
The book of Job appears to me to stand single and unparalleled in the sacred volume. It seems to bave little connexion with the other writings of the Hebrews, and no relation whatever to the affairs of the Israelites. The scene is laid in Idumaa;* the history of an inhabitant of that
* The information which the learned have endeavoured to collect, from the writings and geography of the Greeks, concerning the country and residence of Job and his friends, appears to me so very inconclusive, that I am inclined to take a quite different method for the solution of this question, by applying solely to the sacred writings : The hints with which they have furnished me towards the illustration of this subject, I shall explain as briefly as possible.
The land of Uz or Gnutz, is evidently Idumea, as appears from Lam. iv. 21. Uz was the grandson of Seir, the Horite; Gen. xxxvi. 20, 21. 28. ; 1 Chron. i. 38. 42. Seir inhabited that mountainous tract which was called by his name antecedent to the time of Abraham, but his posterity being expelled, it was occupied by the Idumæans; Gen. xiv. 6. ; Deut. ii. 12. Two other men are mentioned of the name Uz; one the grandson of Shem, the other the son of Nachor, the brother of Abraham : but whether any district was called after their name is not clear. . Idumaa is a part of Arabia Petræa, situated on the southern extremity of the tribe of Judah ; Numb. xxxiv. 3. ; Josh. xv. 1. 21. : the land of Uz therefore appears to have been between Egypt and Philistia, Jer. xxv. 20. where the order of the places seems to have been accurately observed in reviewing the different nations from Egypt to Babylon ; and the same people seem again to be described, in exactly the same situations, Jer. xlvi.-1.
Children of the East, or Eastern people, seems to have been the general appellation for that mingled race of people (as they are called, Jer. xxv. 20.) who inhabited between Egypt and the Euphrates, bordering upon Judea from the south to the east; the Idumeans, the Amalekites, the Midianites, the Moabites, the Ammonites : See Judg. vi. 3. and Isa. xi. 14. Of these the Idumæans and Amalekites certainly possessed the southern parts : see Numb. xxxiv. 3. ; xiii. 29. ; 1 Sam. xxvii. 8. 10. This appears to be the true state of the case : The whole region between Egypt and the Euphrates was called the East, at first in respect to Egypt, (where the learned Jos. Mede thinks the Israelites acquired this mode of speaking ; Mede's Works, p. 580.), and afterwards absolutely, and without any relation to situation or circumstances. Abraham is said to have sent the sons of his concubines, Hagar and Keturah, ** eastward, to the country which is commonly called the East,” Gen.
country is the basis of the narrative; the characters who speak are Idumæans, or at least Arabians of the adjacent
where the name of the region seems to have been derived from the same situation. Solomon is reported “ to have excelled in wisdom all the Eastern perple, and all Egypt,” | Kings iv. 30. that is, all the neighbouring people on that quarter; for there were people beyond the boundaries of Egypt, and bordering on the south of Judea, who were famous for wisdom, namely, the Idumæans, (see Jer. xlix. 7.; Obad. 8.), to whom we may well believe this passage might have some relation. Thus JEHOVAH addresses the Babylonians, “ Arise, ascend unto Kedar, and lay waste the children of the East," Jer. xlix. 28. notwithstanding these were really situated to the west of Babylon. Although Job, therefore, be accounted one of the orientals, it by no means follows that his residence must be in Arabia Deserta.
Eliphaz the Temanile : Eliphaz was the son of Esau, and Teman the son of Eliphaz, Gen. xxxvi. 10, 11. The Eliphaz of Job was without a doubt of this race. Teman is certainly a city of Idumæa, Jer. xlix. 7. 20.; Ezek. xxv. 13. ; Amos i. 11, 12. ; Obad. 8, 9.
Billad the Shuhite : Shuah was one of the sons of Abraham by Keturah, whose posterity were numbered among the people of the East, and his situation was probably contiguous to that of his brother Midian, and of his nephews Shebah and Dedan ; see Gen. xxv. 2, 3. Dedan is a city of Idumæa, Jer. xlix. 8. and seems to have been situated on the eastern side, as Teman was on the west, Ezek. xxv. 13. From Sheba originated the Sabæans in the passage from Arabia Felix to the Red Sea : Sheba is united to Midian, Isa. Ix. 6. ; it is in the same region however with Midian, and not far from Mount Horeb, Exod. ii. 15. iii. .
Zophar the Naamathite : among the cities which by lot fell to the tribe of Judah, in the neighbourhood of Iduniæa, Naama is enumerated Josh. xv. 21. 41. Nor does this name elsewhere occur : this probably was the country of Zophar.
Elihu the Buzite : Buz occurs but once as the name of a place or country, Jer. xxv. 23. where it is mentioned along with Dedan and Thema: Dedan, as was just now demonstrated, is a city of Idumæa; Thema belonged to the children of Ishmael, who are said to bave inhabited from Havilah even to Shur, which is in the district of Egypt, Gen. xxv. 15. 18. Saul, however, is said to have smitten the Amalekites from Havilah even to Shur, which is in the district of Egypt, 1 Sam. xv. 7. Havilah cannot, therefore, be very far from the boundaries of the Amalekites; but the Amalekites never exceeded the boundaries of Arabia Petræa. (See Reland, Palæstin. lib. i. c. 14.) Thema therefore lay somewhere between Havilah and the Desert of Shur, to the southward of Judea. Thema is also inentioned in connexion with Sheba, Job vi. 19.
Upon a fair review of these facts I think we may venture to conclude, still with that modesty which such a question demands, that Job was an inhabitant of Arabia Petræa, as well as his friends, or at least of that neighbourhood. To this solution one objection may be raised : it may be asked, how the Chaldeans, who lived on the borders of the Euphrates, could make depredations on the camels of Job, who lived in Idumæa at so great a distance ? This, too, is thought a sufficient cause for assigning Job a situation in Arabia Deserta, and not far from the Euphrates. But what should prevent the Chaldeans, as well as the Sabæans, a people addicted to rapine, and roving about at immense distances for the sake of plunder, from wandering through these defenceless regions, which were divided into tribes and families rather than into nations, and pervading from Euphrates even to Egypt? Further, I would ask, on the other hand, whether it be probable that all the friends of Joh,