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36 § 79. THE FALLow YEAR.
§ 78. Fishing.
Fish were esteemed by the Hebrews, as by all the orientals, a great delicacy, Num. 11: 5. In consequence of being held in such estimation, they were taken in great numbers from the river Jordan and the lake Gennesareth. Those only, which were destitute of scales or fins, were interdicted, Lev. 11:9. Hence mention is made of the fish-gate at Jerusalem, so called from the circumstance of fish being sold there, 2 Chr. 33: 14, Neh. 3: 3. 12:39. Is. 19: 8. Ezek. 26: 5, 14. 47: 10, Fishermen are used tropically for enemies, Is. 19:8. Hab. 1: 15. Strabo says, there was a great trade carried on in fish at the lake Gennesareth. Some of the apostles living near the lake were fishermen, and this class of men were in general active, experienced, and apt, Luke 5: 1. et seq. comp. Matt. 4: 19. The instruments used in fishing, were a hook, Hzn Job 41: 1. Is. 19: 8. Hab. 1: 15; an iron spear, 5::s: boo Job 41:7, and a net, -on, Tax”, Job 19. 6. Is. 51: 20.
§ 79. The FAllow YEAR.
Agriculture on every seventh year came to an end. Nothing was sown and nothing reaped ; the vines and the olives were not pruned ; there was no vintage and no gathering of fruits, even of what grew wild; but whatever spontaneous productions there were, were left to the poor, the traveller, and the wild beast, Lev. 25: 1–7. Deut. 15: 1–10. The object of this regulation seems to have been, to secure the preservation of wild beasts, to let the ground recover its strength, and to teach the Hebrews to be provident of their income, and to look out for the future. It is true, that extraordinary fruitfulness was promised on the sixth year, but in such a way as not to exclude care and foresight, Lev. 25: 20–24. We are not to suppose, however, that the Hebrews spent the seventh year in absolute idleness. They could fish, hunt, take care of their bees and flocks, repair their buildings and furniture, manufacture cloths of wool, linen, and of the hair of goats and camels, and carry on, commerce. Finally, they were obliged to remain longer in the tabernacle or temple this year, during which the whole Mosaic law was read, in order to be instruct§ 81. state of the ARTs. 87
ed in religious and moral duties and the history of their nation, and the wonderful works and blessings of God, Deut. 31: 10–18. This seventh year's rest, as Moses predicted, Lev. 26:34, 35, was for a long time neglected, 2 Chron. 36:21; after the captivity it was more scrupulously observed.
OF THE ARTS.
§ 80. The origiN of the ARTs.
THEY originated, no doubt, partly in necessity, partly in accident. At first they must have been very imperfect and very limited, but the inquisitive and active mind of man, seconded by his wants, soon secured to them a greater extent and fewer imperfections. Accordingly, in the fourth generation after the creation of man, we find mention made of artificers in brass and iron, and also of musical instruments, Gen. 4: 21—23. Those communities, which, from local or other causes, could not flourish by means of agriculture, of course directed their attention to and encouraged the arts. The arts, consequently, advanced with great rapidity, and were carried to a high pitch as far back as the time of Noah; as we may learn from the very large vessel, which was built under his direction.
§ 81. STATE of the ARTs from The DELuge till Moses.
Noah, together with his sons and servants, who were engaged with him in the construction of the ark, must, as above intimated, have been well acquainted, at least with certain of the mechanic arts. They had also without doubt seen the operations of artificers in other ways besides that of building, and after the deluge imitated their works as well as they could. Hence not long after 88 § 83. ARts AMong the HEBREws.
this period, viz. the deluge, we find mention of many things, such as edifices, utensils, and ornaments, which imply a knowledge of the arts, Gen. 9:21. 11: 1–9. 14: 1–16. 12:7, 8, 15: 10. 17: 10. 18:4, 5, 6. 19: 32. 21:14. 22:10. 23: 13–16. 24:22. 26: 12, 15, 18. 27: 3, 4, 14. 31: 19, 27, 34. Traces and intimations of which occur continually, as the attentive reader will find, down to the time of Moses.
§ 82. The ARTs AMong the Hebrews IN THE TIME of Moses.
Egypt in the early age of the world excelled all other nations in a knowledge of the arts. The Hebrews, in consequence of remaining four hundred years with the Egyptians, must have become initiated to a considerable degree into that knowledge, which their masters possessed. Hence we find among them men, who were sufficiently skilful and informed to frame, erect, and ornament the tabernacle. Moses, it is true, did not enact any special laws in favour of the arts, nor did he interdict them or lessen them in the estimation of the people ; on the contrary he speaks in the praise of artificers, Exod. 35:30–35. 36: 1. et seq. 38:22, 23, &c. The grand object of Moses, I mean in a temporal point of view, was to promote agriculture, and he thought it best, as was done in other nations, to leave the arts to the ingenuity and industry of the people.
§ 83. ARts AMong the Hebrews IN PALESTINE.
Soon after the death of Joshua, a place was expressly allotted by Joab of the tribe of Judah to artificers. It was called the valley of craftsmen, Evor, No. 1 Chron. 4: 14. comp. Neh. 11:35. About this time mention is made also of artificers in gold and silver, Judg. 17:3–5. The arts could not, however, be said to flourish much, although it was a fact that those utensils and instruments, which were absolutely necessary, were to be obtained from the shops of craftsmen, except when they were carried away captives in war, Judg. 8:31. 5: 8, 1 Sam. 13:19. Some of the less complicated and difficult instruments used in agriculture, each one made for himself. The women spun, wove, and embroidered ; they made clothing not only for their families, but for sale, Exod. 35:25. § 84. state of the ARTs After the captivity. 89
1 Sam. 2: 19. Prov. 31: 18–31. Acts 9:39. Employment, consequently, as far as the arts were concerned, was limited chiefly to those who engaged in the more difficult performances; for instance those who built chariots, hewed stones, sculptured idols or cast them of metal, made instruments of gold, silver, and brass, and vessels of clay and the like, Judg. 17:4. Is. 29. 16. 30: 14. Jer. 28: 13. Artificers among the Hebrews were not, as among the Greeks and Romans, servants and slaves, but men of some rank, and as luxury and wealth increased they became quite numerous, Jer. 24: 1. 29: 2. 2 K. 24: 14. In the time of David and Solomon, there were Israelites, who understood the construction of temples and palaces, but they were inferiour to the Tyrians, and were willing to take lessons from them, 1 Chron. 14: 1. 22: 15. From the frequent mention made, in the history of the Hebrews, of numerous instruments, and of various operations in metals, we may infer as well as from other sources, that quite a number of the arts were understood among them.
§ 84. STATE of the Arts After the Captivity.
During the captivity many Hebrews, (most commonly those, to whom a barren tract of the soil had been assigned,) applied themselves to the arts and merchandise. Subsequently, when they were scattered abroad among different nations, a knowledge of the arts became so popular, that the Talmudists taught, that all parents ought to learn their children some art or handicraft. They indeed mention many learned men of their nation, who practised some kind of manual labour, or as we should say, followed some trade. Accordingly, we find in the New Testament, that Joseph, the husband of Mary, was a carpenter, and that he was assisted by no less a personage than our Saviour in his labours, Matt. 13:55. Mark 6: 3. Simon is mentioned as a tanner in the city of Joppa, Acts 9:43. 10:32. Alexander, a learned Jew, was a coppersmith, 2 Tim. 4: 14; Paul and Aquila were tent-makers, oxnvonolou. Not only the Greeks, but the Jews also, esteemed certain trades infamous. At any rate the Rabbins reckoned the drivers of asses and camels, barbers, sailors, shepherds, and innkeepers in the same class with robbers. Those Ephesians and Cretans, who were lovers of gain, aiozgowsgösis, 1 Tim. 3: 8. 90 § 85. ANTIQUity of THE ART of writing.
Tit. 1:7, were men, as we may learn from ancient writers, who were determined to get money in however base a manner. The more eminent Greek tradesmen were united together in the time of the Apostles in a society, Acts 19:25. comp. Xenophon, Cyrop. viii. 2, 4. Of some of the arts we must say something separately.
§ 85. ANTiquity of the Art of Writing.
Whether symbolic representations were first used, afterwards hieroglyphics, then alphabetic writing, is not very clear, nor is it a point necessary to be determined in this place. In regard to alphabetic writing all the ancient writers attribute the invention of it to some very early age, and some country of the East; but they do not pretend to designate precisely either the age or the country. They say, further, that Cadmus introduced letters from Phenicia into Greece in the year, if we may credit the Parian chronicle, 1519 before Christ, i. e. forty-five years after the death of Moses.
Anticlides, (see Pliny's Natural History, vii. 57.) asserts and attempts to prove, that letters were invented in Egypt fifteen years before Phoroneus, the most ancient king of Greece, i. e. four hundred and nine years after the deluge, and in the one hundred and seventeenth year of Abraham. On this I remark, that they might have been introduced into Egypt at this time; but they had been previously invented by the Phenicians. Epigenes, who in the estimation of Pliny is weighty authority, informs us, that observations, made upon the heavenly bodies for seven hundred and twenty years at Babylon, were written down upon baked tiles, but Berosus and Critodemus, also referred to by Pliny, make the number of years four hundred and eighty. Pliny from these statements draws the conclusion, that the use of letters, as he expresses it, must have been eternal, i. e. extremely ancient. Simplicius, who lived in the fifth century, states on the authority of Porphyry, an acute historian, that Calisthenes, the companion of Alexander, found at Babylon a record of observations on the heavenly bodies for one thousand nine hundred and three years. Of course the record must have been begun in the year two thousand two hundred and thirty four before Christ, i. e. the eighty ninth year of Abraham. This statement receives some confirmation from the fact, that