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§ 52. of HUNTING. 61 Jackals. The wild or yellow dog, (so called by Hasselquist,)
/ / f / is denominated in Persian Juko, in Turkish Jús, in Hebrew
p o: / f $3rd or the for, in Syriac lisz, in Arab. J.3, &A.&nds. 15:14. Foxes, however, properly so called, the Hebrews distinguish by the name postop prog, or little jackals, Cant. 2: 15. The jackals they call also roos and Eon, the former of which words is commonly translated dragons in the Eng. version. These animals are three and a half feet long, have yellow hair, a tail also of yellow, with the tip of brown. They go together in herds, lie in caves through the day, and wander about howling through the night. They make their way into houses for the purpose of stealing food. They have so little cunning, that when thieving in a house, if they hear one of the herd howling out in the fields, they immediately set up a responsive cry, and thus betray to the master of the house their predatory visitation.
They are also taken easily in other ways, Judg. 15:4. They devour dead bodies, Ps. 63:10. They are ferocious, but can be kept off with a cane. There are vast numbers of these animals in Palestine, particularly in Galilee, and near Gaza, and Jaffa, (Joppa,) Judg. 15:4. They do much injury to the vines, though less than the foxes, Cant. 2: 15.
§ 52. Of Hunting.
Although the Nomades have many hunting dogs, the dogs are not always able to keep off the wild beasts from the flock, unless aided by the shepherds themselves. Hence arose hunting or the chase, which is practised the more readily from the circumstance, that the meat of wild animals is considered a great delicacy. The earliest inhabitants of the world were compelled to hunt in order to secure themselves from the attacks of wild beasts, and a great hunter, Tox, was accounted a benefactor of mankind. Such a benefactor some inaccurately suppose Nimrod to have been, not taking into consideration all the circumstances, Gen. 10:9.
A different state of things existed in the time of Moses, who enacted two laws on the subject of hunting, the object of which was to preserve the wild animals of Palestine, Exod. 23: 11. Lev. 25:6,7. Deut. 22:6, 7. Hunting in ancient times required both speed 62 § 53. of Robberies.
and bravery. Some have slain lions without any armour, which is
§ 53. Of Robberies, committed on TRAVELLERs.
Probably from the hunting of wild beasts, the Nomades turned their attention to the plundering of travellers; an occupation, which they follow to this day in the vast deserts, nearly in the same way that pirates practise a similar vocation on the ocean. Their skill at plundering was predicted of Ishmael and his posterity, and they have ever remarkably fulfilled the prediction, Gen. 16: 12. Still they do not surpass many others of the Nomadic tribes; who lie hid behind hills of sand, and wait for travellers, and then plunder them to the skin, comp. Jer. 3: 2. They do not slay any one, unless some one or a number of their own party perishes first. Having robbed them of all they possess, they common
§ 54. IMpoRTANce of Agriculture. 63
ly return a garment to the persons plundered, in order that they may conceal their nakedness. They also permit the countrymen or friends of the captives, to redeem them. All the Nomades are polite and hospitable. They receive strangers into their tents, and, without any expectation of a return, exhibit to them every office of kindness. But they are different men, if they meet strangers in the wilderness. There are now, and there always have been Nomades, who have disapproved of the proceedings, of which we have spoken. Such were Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the Israelites; some of whom, however, were at times guilty of plundering, Judg. 9:25. Mic. 2: 8.
§ 54. Its value AND IMportANCE.
In the primitive ages of the world, agriculture, as well as the keeping of flocks, was a principal employment among men, Gen. 2: 15. 3, 17–19. 4:2. It is an art, which has ever been a prominent source, both of the necessaries and the conveniences of life. Those nations, which practised it at an early period, learnt its value, not only from their own experience, but also from observing the condition of the neighbouring countries, that were destitute of a knowledge of it, see Xenophon's Ouzovou. L. V. § 1–20. p. 299–305. (T. IV. ed. Thieme.) Impressed with the importance of agriculture, Noah, after he had escaped from the deluge, once more bestowed upon it his attention ; and there were some of the Nomades, who were far from neglecting it, Gen. 26: 12–14. 25:34. 37: 7. Job 1: 3.
Those states and nations, especially Babylon and Egypt, which made the cultivation of the soil their chief business, arose in a short period to wealth and power. To these communities just 64 § 55. Laws of Moses 1N REGARD to AGRiculture.
mentioned, which excelled in this particular all the others of antiquity, may be added that of the Hebrews, who learned the value of the art while remaining in Egypt, and ever after that time were famous for their industry in the cultivation of the earth.
§ 55. Laws of Moses IN REGARD to Agriculture.
I. Moses, following the example of the Egyptians, made agriculture the basis of the state. He, accordingly, apportioned to every citizen a certain quantity of land, and gave him the right of tilling it himself and of transmitting it to his heirs. The person, who had thus come into possession, could not alienate the property for any longer period than the year of the coming jubilee; a regulation, which prevented the rich from coming into possession of large tracts of land, and then leasing them out in small parcels to the poor; a practice which anciently prevailed, and does to this day, in the East. II. It was another law of Moses, that the vender of a piece of land, or his nearest relative, had a right to redeem the land sold, whenever they chose, by paying the amount of profits up to the year of jubilee, Ruth 4:4. Jer. 32: 7. III. Another law enacted by Moses on this subject, was, that the Hebrews, as was the case among the Egyptians after the time of Joseph, Gen. 37: 18, et seq. should pay a tax of two tenths of their income unto God, whose servants they were to consider themselves, and whom they were to obey as their king, Lev. 27:30. Deut. 12; 17–19. 14:22–29, comp. Gen. 28:22. IV. The custom of marking the boundaries of lands by stones, although it prevailed a long time before, Job 24; 2. was confirmed and perpetuated, in the time of Moses, by an express law; and a curse was pronounced against him, who without authority removed them.
These regulations having been made in respect to the tenure, incumbrances, &c. of landed property, Joshua divided the whole country, which he had occupied, first, among the respective tribes, and, then, among individual Hebrews, running it out with the aid of a measuring line, Josh. 17: 5, 14. comp. Amos 7: 17. Mic. 2: 5. Ps. 78; 55. Ezek. 40. 3. The word bar, a line, is accordingly used by a figure of speech for the heritage itself, Ps. 11; 6. Jos. 17: 5, 14. 19: 9.
Though Moses was the friend of the agriculturist, he by no means discouraged the keeper of the flock.
§ 57. MEANs of increasing featility. 65
§ 56. Estimation in which AGRICULTURE was held.
The occupation of the husbandman was held in honour, not only for the profits which it brought, but from the circumstance, that it was supported and protected by the fundamental laws of the state. All who were not set apart for religious duties, such as the priests and the Levites, whether inhabitants of the country, or of towns and cities, were considered by the laws, and were in fact agriculturists. The rich and the noble, it is true, in the cultivation of the soil, did not always put themselves on a level with their servants, but none were so rich or so noble, as to disdain to put their hand to the plough, 1 Sam. 11:7. 1 K. 19:19. comp. 2 Chron. 26:10. The priests and Levites were indeed engaged in other employments, yet they could not withhold their honour from an occupation, which supplied them with their incorne.
The esteem in which agriculture was held, diminished as luxury increased; but it never wholly came to an end. Even after the captivity, when many of the Jews had become merchants and mechanics, the esteem and honour attached to this occupation still continued, especially under the dynasty of the Persians, who were agriculturists from motives of religion.
§ 57. Means of INCREAsiNg FERtility.
The soil of Palestine is very fruitful, if the dews and vernal and autumnal rains are not withheld. The country, in opposition to Egypt, is eulogized for its rains in Deut. 11: 10. The Hebrews, notwithstanding the richness of the soil, endeavoured to increase its fertility in various ways. They not only divested it of stones, but watered it by means of canals, bot, communicating with the rivers or brooks; and thereby imparted to their fields the richness of gardens, Ps. 1:3. 65:10. Prov. 21:1. Is. 30:25. 32: 2,20. Hos. 12:11. Springs, therefore, fountains, and rivulets, were held in as much honour and worth by husbandmen as by shepherds, Josh. 15: 9. Judg. 1: 15; and we accordingly find, that the land of Canaan was extolled for those fountains of water, of which Egypt was destitute. The soil was enriched also, in addition to the method