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§ 177. of gifts. 191
those who are high in life, is still continued in the East. The guest set out upon his visit with a suitable pomp and retinue, and was received at the mansion, to which he was going, with equal indications of magnificence, his head was anointed, and he was perfumed with aromatic substances. Traces of these ceremonies occur in Gen. 27:27. Exod. 30: 37, 38. Prov. 27: 9. Numb. 16: 6, 17, 18, 37, 38. In the East, the following custom has hitherto prevailed and does at present. If it appear convenient or necessary in the estimation of his host for the visitant to retire, in order to relieve himself from the disagreeable necessity of saying so in express terms, he gives him a polite hint in respect to his wishes by causing him to be regaled with incense or burnt perfume. And this is accordingly the concluding ceremony of the visit.
§ 177. Of Gifts.
The practice of making presents, riro, Henz, Tao, tun, Num. 22:7, 16, 37. 24: 11–13. is very common in oriental countries. The custom probably had its origin among those men, who first sustained the office of kings or rulers, and who, from the novelty and perhaps the weakness attached to their situation, chose, rather than make the hazardous attempt of exacting taxes, to content themselves with receiving those presents, which might be freely offered, 1 Sam. 10: 27. Hence it passed into a custom, that whoever approached the king, should come with a gift. This was the practice and the expectation. The practice of presenting gifts was subseqently extended to other great men, to men who were inferiour to the king, but who were, nevertheless, men of influence and rank ; it was also extended to those who were equals, when they were visited, Prov. 18; 16.
Kings themselves were in the habit of making presents, probably in reference to the custom in question and the feelings connected with it, to those individuals, their inferiours in point of rank, whom they wished to honour, and also to those, who, like themselves, were clothed with the royal authority. These presents, viz. such as were presented by the king as a token of the royal esteem and honour, are almost invariably denominated in the Hebrew iro and n:rn, see 1 K. 15: 19, 2 K. 16, 8, 18. 14. Is, 30. 2–6. The more ancient prophets did not deem it discreditable to
192 & 178. PRESENTS AND MEthods of BRINGING THEM.
them to receive presents, nor unbecoming their sacred calling, except when, as was sometimes the case, they refused by way of expressing their dissatisfaction or indignation, 2 K. 5: 5. 8:9. In later times, when false prophets, in order to obtain money, prophesied without truth and without authority, the true prophets for the purpose of keeping the line of distinction as marked and distinct as possible, rejected every thing that looked like pay, Amos 7: 14. Gifts of the kind, that have now been described, are not to be confounded with those, which are called Trio, and which were presented to judges, not as a mark of esteem and honour, but for purposes of bribery and corruption. The former was considered an honour to the giver, but a gift of the latter kind has been justly reprobated in every age, Exod. 23:8. Deut. 10; 17. 16:19. 27. 25. Ps. 15: 5. 26: 10. Is. 1:23. 5: 23. 33: 15.
§ 178. KINDs of PREs ENTs AND Methods of BRINGING THEM.
The giver was not restricted as to the kind of present, which he should make. He might present not only silver and gold, but clothes and arms, also different kinds of food, in a word, any thing which could be of benefit to the recipient, Gen. 43: 11. 1 Sam. 9: 7. 16:20. Job 42: 11. It was the custom anciently, as it is at the present time in the East, for an individual when visiting a person of high rank, to make some presents of small value to the servants or domestics of the person visited, 1 Sam. 25. 27. It was the usual practice among kings and princes to present to their favourite officers in the government, to ambassadors from foreign courts, to foreigners of distinction, and to men eminent for their learning, garments of greater or less value, as already observed, Gen. 45: 22, 23. Esth. 8: 15. The royal wardrobe, in which a large number of such garments was kept, is denominated in Hebrew Triro, 2 Chron. 9: 24. It was considered an honour of the highest kind, if a king or any person in high authority thought it proper, as a manifestation of his favour, to give away to another the garment, which he had previously worn himself, 1 Sam. 18: 14. In the East at the present day, it is expected that every one who has received a garment from the king, will immediately clothe himself in it, and promptly present himself and render his homage to the giver; otherwise he runs the hazard of exciting the king's dis§ 179. PUBLIC HoNors. 193
pleasure, comp. Matt. 22: 11, 12. It was sometimes the case, that the king, when he made a feast, presented vestments to all the guests who were invited, with which they clothed themselves, before they sat down to it, 2 K. 10:22. Gen. 45:22. Rev. 3: 5. Cyrop. VIII. 3. 1. Iliad XXIV. 226, 227. In oriental countries, the presents, which are made to kings and princes, are to this day carried on beasts of burden, are attended with a body of men, and are escorted with much pomp. It matters not, how light or how small the present may be, it is heavy enough at any rate to be carried on the back of a beast of burden, or if carried by a man, to be supported by both of his hands, Judg. 3; 18. 2 K. 8; 9.
§ 179. Public HoNors.
It is the custom in Asia, to exhibit the most distinguished marks of attention and honour to kings, to princes, and to national ambassadours, whenever on any public occasions they enter cities, or return from a distance to the palaces of their customary residence. On such occasions there is a great concourse of people. The small windows, which look towards the street and at other times are shut up, are then thrown open. The level roofs are crowded and alive with eager spectators. The streets, to prevent the rising of the dust, are sprinkled with water. They are also, with the exception of a small undecorated path left in the centre of them for the procession, strewed with flowers and branches of trees, and spread with richly embroidered carpets. The spectators clap their hands, and shouts of joy reecho on every side. On other occasions, when the people are permitted to behold the king, they honor and salute him in silence, 2 Sam. 16. 16. 1 K. 1:40. 2 K. 9. 13. Is. 62: 11. Zech. 9: 9. Matt. 21:7, 8. The musicians walk first in the procession, 1 K. 18:46. 1 Chron. 15: 27—29. The persons, who sustain offices in the government, and are attached to the palace, are the next in the procession. Then follows the king. All of them are carried on noble coursers. Anciently kings, on such occasions, rode in chariots, Gen. 41: 43. 2 Sam. 15: 1. 1 K. 1: 5.
NotE. Ceremonies similar to those, which have now been described, are exhibited in Asia on two other public occasions, be194 § 180. conversation AND BATHING.
side the one in question ; viz. when a person has deserted the Christian and embraced the Mohammedan faith, and when a class or school of boys have finished the study of the Koran. The boys, who have thus completed the perusal of the writings of the Eastern Prophet, are seated upon the choicest steeds. Musicians go before them, the same as in the procession of kings; and, surrounded with an escort of shouting fellow-students, they are conducted through the city. The prevalence of these customs in the East will throw some light upon such passages, as the following, Gen. 41:23. Esth. 6: 7–9. 1 Sam. 10: 5—10.
§ 180. Conversation ANd Bathing.
CoNversation, in which the ancient orientals indulged like other men, in order to beguile the time, was held in the gate of the city. Accordingly, there was an open space near the gate of the city, as is the case at the present day in Mauritania, which was fitted up with seats for the accommodation of the people, Gen. 19:1. Ps. 69: 12. Those, who were at leisure, occupied a position on these seats, and either amused themselves with witnessing those who came in and those who went out, and with any trifling occurrences, that might offer themselves to their notice, or attended to the judicial trials, which were commonly investigated at public places of this kind, viz. at the gate of the city, Gen. 19:1. 34:20. Ps. 26: 4, 5, 69: 12. 1:27: 5. Ruth 4: 11. Is. 14: 31. - * , Intercourse by conversation, though not very frequent, was not so rare among the ancient orientals, as among their descendants of modern Asia. Nor is this to be wondered at, since the fathers drank wine, while the descendants are obliged to abstain from it; and we are well assured, that the effect of this exhilarating beverage was to communicate no little vivacity to the characters of the ancient Asiatics, at least to that of the Hebrews, see Is. 30: 29. Jer. 7: 34. 30: 19. Amos 6: 4, 5. The ancient Asiatics, among whom we include the Hebrews, were delighted with singing, with dancing, and with instruments of music. : ProMENAdING, so fashionable and so agreeable in colder latitudes, was wearisome and unpleasant in the warm climates of the East, and this is probably one reason, why the inhabitants of those climates preferred holding intercourse with one another, while sitting near § 180. conversation AND BATHING. 195
the gate of the city, or beneath the shade of the fig-tree and the vine, 1 Sam. 22:6. Micah 4:4. It is for the same reason also, that we so frequently hear in the Hebrew Scriptures of persons sitting down, as in the following passage, “Blessed is the man, that standeth not in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful, see Ps. 1: 1. 107: 32. 89: 7. 111: 1. 64:2. 50:20. 26:5. The BATH was always very agreeable to the inhabitants of the East, Ruth 3:3. 2 Sam. 11:2. 2 K. 5: 10. And it is not at all surprising, that it should have been so, since it is not only cooling and refreshing, but is absolutely necessary in order to secure a decent degree of cleanliness in a climate, where there is so much exposure to dust. The bath is frequently visited by Eastern ladies, and may be reckoned among their principal recreations. Those Egyptians, who lived at the earliest period of which we have any account, were in the habit of bathing in the waters of the Nile, Exod. 2: 5. 7: 13–25. Herodot. II. 37. It was one of the civil laws of the Hebrews, that the bath should be used. The object of the law without doubt was to secure a proper degree of cleanliness among them, Lev. 14: 2. 15: 1–8. 17: 15, 16. 22:6. Num. 19:6. We may, therefore, consider it as probable, that public baths, soon after the enactment of this law, were erected in Palestine, of a construction similar to that of those, which are so frequently seen at the present day in the East. The orientals, when engaged in conversation, are very candid and mild, and do not feel themselves at liberty directly to contradict the person with whom they are conversing, although they may at the same time be conscious, that he is telling them falsehoods. The ancient Hebrews in particular very rarely used any terms of reproach more severe than those of top adversary or opposer, ro, Raca, contemptible, and sometimes ::: fool, an expression, which means a wicked man or an atheist, Job 2: 10. Ps. 14: 1. Is. 32: 6. Matt. 5: 22. 16:23. Tanchuma v. 2. xviii. 4. When any thing was said, which was not acceptable, the dissatisfied person replied, it is enough, Ti, to an iravöv fort, Deut. 3. 26. Luke 22:38. The formula of assent or affirmation was as follows; go sinac, rozo. 12, thou hast said, or thou hast rightly said. We are informed by the traveller Aryda, that this is the prevailing mode of a person's expressing his assent or affirmation to this day, in the vi