Imágenes de páginas
PDF

246 § 211. of MoURNING.

Another change of sentiment eventually took place. After the captivity, the Jews conceived a great hatred to this rite. The Talmudists in consequence of this endeavoured to pervert the passages respecting it, and to induce a belief, that the aromatic substances alone, and not the body, were burnt.

§ 211. Of MoURNING.

The grief of the Orientals formerly, on an occasion of death, was, as it is to this day in the East, very extreme. As soon as a person dies, the females in the family with a loud voice set up a sorrowful cry. They continue it as long as they can, without taking breath, and the first shriek of wailing dies away in a low sob. After a short space of time, they repeat the same cry, and continue it for eight days. Every day, however, it becomes less frequent and less audible. Until the corpse is carried away from the house, the women, who are related to the deceased, sit on the ground together, in a circle, in a separate apartment. The wife, or daughter, or other nearest relation of the deceased occupies the centre, and each one holds in her hand a napkin. At the present day, there are present on such an occasion, as there were anciently, eulogists, ni::pm who chant in mournful strains the virtues of the dead. When the one, who sat in the centre gave the sign with her napkin, the persons who recalled, (so much to their credit,) the memory of the departed, remained silent. The rest of the females arose, and, wrapping together their napkins, ran, like mad persons. But the nearest relation remained in her position, tearing her hair, and wounding her face, arms, and breast with her nails, comp. Gen. 50: 3. Num. 20:29. Deut. 34:8. 1 Sam. 31: 13. In addition to the persons, whose appropriate business it was to eulogize the dead, there were sometimes employed, on such occasions, professed musicians and singers, *H: "zoi" particularly in ancient times, Amos 5: 16. Jer. 9:20, 48: 36. Matt. 9, 23. Luke 7: 32. The lamentations, which are denominated in Hebrew "3, *H, ryū, Hop, began, for the most part, as follows. “Alas, alas, my brother!” or “Alas, alas, my sister!” Or if the king were dead, “Alas, alas, the king !” 1 K. 13:29, 30. 2 Chron. 35. 2 Sam. 1: 12. 3:33. Jer. 34: 5. The men at the present day are more

[merged small][ocr errors]

§ 211. of MoURNING. 247

moderate in their grief; yet there are not wanting instances now, nor were there wanting such formerly, in which they indulged in deep and overwhelming sorrow, 2 Sam. 1: 11, 12. 19:4. It was customary for the women after the burial to go to the tomb, and to pour out their grief and their lamentations there, John 11:31. There were many other indications of a person's grief at the death of his friends, beside those, which have been mentioned. Among the most common was that of rending the garment, (either the outer garment or the inner, or both) from the neck in front, down to the girdle. Such is the custom at the present day in Persia, Gen. 37: 34. Judg. 11:35. 2 Sam. 1:2. 3:31. 2 K. 5:7, 8, 6: 30. We see, in this custom, the origin of the word Pop sack-cloth, from

3 *

the Arabic word Co. to tear or rend.

The Hebrews, when in mourning, sometimes walked with their shoes off, and with their heads uncovered. They concealed the chin with their outer garment, tore or dishevelled their hair and beard, or at least neglected to take proper care of them. They were forbidden to shave off their eyebrows on such occasions, Deut. 14: 1, 2. Oppressed with sensations of grief, they refused to anoint their heads, to bathe, or to converse with people; they scattered dust and ashes into the air, or placed them upon their heads, or laid down in them, Job 1: 20. 2: 12. Lev. 10: 6. 13:45. 21:10. 2 Sam. 1: 2–4. 14:2. 13:19. 15:30, 19:4. Jer. 6:26. They struck together their hands, or tossed them towards the sky, smote the thigh and breast, and stamped with the foot, 2 Sam. 13:19. Jer. 31: 19. Ezek. 6: 11. 21:12. Est. 4:1, 3. They wounded their faces with their nails, although this was expressly prohibited in Leviticus 19:28, and Deuteronomy 14: 1, 2. They fasted, abstained from wine, and avoided mingling in festivals, 2 Sam. 1: 11, 12. 3: 35. 12:16. Jer. 25:34. Elegies were composed on the death of those who held a distinguished rank in society, 2 Sam. 3:33. After the burial, the persons, who lived near the mourners, prepared food for them, in order to refresh them, after such a season of suffering and grief. The refreshment supplied at such a season was sometimes denominated EoN Er: the bread of bitterness, and sometimes E"grip to the cup of consolation, 2 Sam. 3:35. Jer. 16:4, 7. Hos. 9. A. Ezek. 24:16, 17.

In the time of Christ, if we may credit Josephus, the mourners themselves gave the entertainment subsequent to the burial. 248 § 212. other causes of MoURNING.

The mourning, or rather the ceremonies indicative of the grief in case of death, continued eight days. When kings, or any persons, who held a very distinguished rank, died, the mourning was general, including the whole people, and commonly continued during thirty days, Gen. 50: 4. 1 Sam. 25: 1. 1 Mac. 13:26. Note. The grief, exhibited by the Greeks at the departure of their friends from life, which is mentioned by Paul in 1 Thess. 4: 13. agreed in many particulars with that of the Orientals; with this exception, however, that it was still more excessive. It was so very marked and extreme, as to be made the subject of ridicule by Lucian de Luctu. For among the other extravagancies, which they exhibited, they bestowed reproaches even upon the dead themselves, because they did not remain in life; uttered accusations and curses against the gods, and gave many other exhibitions of their grief of a kindred character.

§ 212. Other Causes of Mourning.

Indications of mourning were not only exhibited on the death of friends, but also in the case of many public calamities, such as famines, the incursion of enemies, defeat in war, etc. On such occasions the feelings of the prophets mingled with the deep sensations of the people, and they gave utterance to them by the composition of elegies, Ezek. 26:1–18. 27: 1–36. 30: 2, et seq. 32: 2—32. Amos 5:1, et seq.

Thus David, when a fugitive from his rebellious son, like a mourner, who had lost a friend by death, walked bare-foot, Frr, and with head covered ; and all the others followed his example, 2 Sam. 15: 30 comp. 1 Sam. 4: 12. Josh. 7:6. 1 K. 21:27. 2 K. 19:1. Is. 15: 2. 16: 2, 3. 22: 12. 61: 3. Joel 1: 12, 13. Mic. 2:3 —5. 7: 16. Amos 5: 1, 2. etc. It was customary particularly for a person to rend his clothes, when he heard blasphemy. This was done by the high priest himself, 1 Mac. 11: 71. Matt. 26:65, who was forbidden by law to indulge in the usual expressions of grief, even for the dead, Lev. 10: 6.

Fast-days were accounted days of grief, and we find in many instances, that fasting and mourning go together, Jonah 3: 5–7. 1 Mac. 3:47. Whatever was the cause of the grief, it was not the case, that all the indications of it were exhibited in the same instance, but sometimes, some, and at other times, others.

PART SECOND

on

JPOLITICAL, ANTIQUITIES,

« AnteriorContinuar »