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186 § 173. character of the Hebrews.
excelled in bravery and in warlike skill, we should point to the days of David and the Maccabees. Among the moral virtues, that are most celebrated in the Hebrew Scriptures, the following may be mentioned ; viz.
(1.) HPos, justice, a general term also for moral integrity, and purity of life.
(2.) nox, H:ons, truth, fidelity, and sincerity.
(3.) Tori, humanity, benevolence, or the love of our neighbour.
(4.) Boz, the mild or merciful, Vulg. mitissimi, New Testament, toasts, are likewise spoken of with the most decided approbation.
Many other moral virtues and duties are commended and enforced in the Old Testament; so that there is no hesitancy in saying, that the Hebrews, in a knowledge of the principles of moral conduct, far exceeded all other nations. But we must not suppose, that the rectitude of the conduct of the Hebrews corresponded on all occasions to their knowledge, or that they all of them fulfilled those duties, the obligation of which they were too well informed not to admit. On the contrary, very many disregarded the light, which God had given, and neglected to fulfil those duties, which they felt themselves bound to perform. This perversity of conduct exhibited itself more especially in the later periods of their existence as a nation ; when many among them perverted the Law of Moses by their traditions and philosophical quibbles. Holding to the letter, they wandered sufficiently far from its spirit, and acquired among all nations a very disgraceful celebrity for their falsehoods, impostures, and perjuries. Tacitus, Hist. V. 5. 1 Thess. 2:15. Eph. 2: 14. In the last war of the Jews, viz. the contest with the Romans, the vices in their character to which we have alluded, prevailed more, and were checked by fewer restraints, than at any former period. Josephus himself, notwithstanding his origin from the Jewish people, is so candid as to confess the existence of such a state of things, as we have now stated. Comp. Matt. 12:43–45.
§ 174. ProPaiety AND REFINEMENT of MANNERs. 187
§ 174. PRoPRIETY AND REFINEMENT of MANNERs.
It cannot be denied, that there prevailed among the Hebrews no little propriety and refinement of manners; although the marks of civility, which they exhibited to each other in their social intercourse, are by no means the same in all respects with those, which would be expected in such intercourse from a well bred and polite inhabitant of modern Europe. The prevailing taste for civility and for refinement of manners was strengthened by considerations, drawn from the Law of Moses, Lev. 19:32. The proofs, that such civility, and such refinement of manners actually existed and prevailed, are so numerous in the Bible, that a person would be disposed to complain, that they were too numerous, rather than that they were too few.
But every country and every climate has something peculiar in its manners and modes of intercourse, as well as in other things. If in any country the common expressions of civility, and the usual forms of politeness should be thoroughly examined and duly estimated, they would be found to be more marked and extravagant, than was required by the actual state of the feelings. The orientals, especially, would be thought by an inhabitant of Europe to be excessive in their gestures and expressions of good-will, when in truth those gestures and expressions mean no more than very moderate ones among us. For instance, prostration upon the earth scarcely signified more among them, than a nod of the head, or an extension of the hand among the less animated and more moderate inhabitants of occidental nations. The very ancient forms of civility and politeness, mentioned in Genesis 18:1–30. 19:1–3. 23: 7, 12.41:43. 46: 6, and spoken of likewise by Herodotus and other ancient historians, have been perpetuated to a great degree among Eastern nations till the present day.
In the time of Christ, the ancient mode of addressing those who
were worthy of being honoured, viz. by saying my lord, or words to that effect, was in a measure superseded; and the honorary and more extravagant address of Rabbi, i. e. the great. an "=", which originated in the schools, had become common among the people; also the title of xgotvors, or most excellent, Luke 1: 3. Acts 23:26. 24; 3. 26:25.
188 § 175. Mode or sALUTAtion.
§ 175. Mode of SALUTAtion.
The expressions used at salutation, and also those, which were used at parting, implied in both instances, that the person who employed them, interceded for a blessing on the other. Hence the word inz, which originally means to bless, means also to salute or to welcome, and to bid adieu, Gen. 47: 8–11. 2 Kgs. 4:29. 10:13. 1 Chron. 18:10. The forms of salutation, that prevailed among the ancient Hebrews, were as follows ; (1.) Hyn, Toni, Hyn's Tong, nyn, Than, be thou blessed of Jehovah. (2) Toy Hyn: nzo, the blessing of Jehovah be upon thee. (3) To Fyn, may God be with thee. (4) # top, Tošo Diop, may peace, i.e. every blessing and prosperity be yours. This was the most common salutation, see Ruth 2:4. Jud. 19:20. 1 Sam. 25:26. 2 Sam. 20:9. Ps. 129: 8. (5.) is rior, Sir, be your life prospered. This was the common salutation among the Phenicians. It was in use also among the Hebrews, but was not addressed by them to any person except their kings. (6.) Xaigs, answering to the Latin Ave or salve, in Hebrew non, or Hors, Luke 1:27, 28. Matt. 26:49. 28:9. The gestures and inflexions of the body, which were made on an occasion of salutation, differed at different times, varying with the dignity and station of the person, who was saluted; as is the case among the orientals to this day. In pronouncing the forms of salutation just given, the orientals place the right hand upon the left breast, and with much gravity incline the head. If two Arab friends of equal rank in life meet together, they mutually extend to each other the right hand, and having clasped, they elevate them, as if to kiss them. Having advanced thus far in the ceremony, each one draws back his hand and kisses it instead of his friend’s, and then places it upon his forehead. If one of the Arabs be more exalted in point of rank than the other, he is at liberty to give the other an opportunity of kissing, instead of his own, the hand of his superiour. The parties then continue the salutation by reciprocally kissing each other's beard, having first placed the hand § 175, MoDE or sALUTATION. * 189
under it, in which case alone it is lawful to touch the beard, 2 Sam. 20:9. It is sometimes the case, that persons, instead of this ceremony, merely place their cheeks together. It is the common practice among the Persians for persons in saluting to kiss each other's lips; if one of the individuals be a person of high rank, the salutation is given upon the cheeks instead of the lips, 2 Sam.
20:9. Gen. 29:11, 13. 33: 4. 39:11. 48: 10–12. Exod. 4:27. 18: .
7. The Arabians are in the habit of inquiring respecting the
5, 2 2.
health, biog, , of a person, when they salute him, Gen. 29: 6.
43:27. 1 Sam' 16:4. They give thanks to God, that they once
more see their friend, they pray to the Almighty in his behalf, and supplicate for him every sort of prosperity. They are sometimes so animated on such occasions, as to repeat not less than ten times the ceremony of grasping hands and kissing, and the interrogations respecting each other's health. It may, therefore, be well concluded, that the salutation between friends was an occurrence, which consumed some time, and for this reason it was anciently
inculcated upon messengers, who were sent upon business, that
required despatch, not to salute any one by the way, 2 Kgs. 4:29. Luke 10:4. -
When we consider the nature of the oriental salutations, the ardour of gesticulation on such an occasion, the professions of friendship and good will, which were then made, we should not wonder, that the Evangelist John in his second Epistle, eleventh verse, thought it necessary to forbid a christian to salute a man of another sect, or to welcome him to his house. For it is very clear, that pursuing such a course would have carried an erroneous appearance, and would have possessed the very injurious effect of confounding distinctions, and giving encouragement to heresy.
In the presence of the great and the noble, the orientals incline themselves almost to the earth, kiss their knees, or the hem of their garment, and place it upon their forehead. When in the presence of kings and princes more particularly, they go so far as to prostrate themselves at full length upon the ground, sometimes with their knees bent, they touch their forehead to the earth, and before resuming an erect position either kiss the earth, or, if they prefer it, the feet of the king or prince, in whose presence they are permitted to appear.
190 § 176, on visiting.
This is the state of things among the orientals; and one proof among others, that it was the same among the ancient Hebrews, is to be found, in some instances in the prevailing, and in others in the original signification of those words, which are used to express the attitudes and the acts of salutation. The words, to which we refer, are as follows,
Top, to incline or bend down the head.
y-y2 to bend down the body very low.
Th; to bend the knee, also to salute one.
Hyns Boes snz, Hons Horror. Hsos Fe: to bend down to the earth, to fall prostrate on the earth, to fall with the face to the earth.
The word Hyrnon, when standing by itself, does not mean prostration upon the earth, but merely an inclination of the body, as is evident from 1 Kgs. 2:19. Prostration is expressed in Greek by the word 1900xvvstv, and in Latin by the word adorare. The various positions of body, of which we have spoken, were assumed in the worship of God. The Greeks and Latins maintained, that there should be a prostration of the body in the worship of God only, and not on an occasion of less importance, Acts 10:25, 26. Rev. 19:20. 22.9. The Hebrew verb 1:5 is used only in reference to the adoration of idols, and not of the supreme God, Is. 44:15, 17, 19. 46:6. The corresponding word in the Aramaean and Arabick dialects is more broad in its signification, Dan. 2:46, 3:5.
§ 176, ON visiting.
A person, who went on a visit, found himself under the necessity of knocking at the gate, or of calling with a loud voice, till the master of the house came out. The visitant was then, if it appeared suitable to the master of the house, conducted in ; but not till a sign had first been made to the females of the family, to retire to their appropriate apartments, 2 Kgs. 5: 9–12. Acts 10: 17. Those, who intended to visit persons, that held a high rank in life, were in the habit of sending previous notice of their contemplated visit, but they did not fulfil the purpose, they had thus announced, without bringing with them such presents, as were suitable. The practice of carrying presents, when a person visits