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brass, or ivory, were connected together by rings at the back, through which a rod was passed to carry them by.
Note. The orientals appear to take a pleasure in giving tropical or enigmatical titles to their books. The titles, prefixed to the fifty sixth, sixtieth, and eightieth psalms appear to be of this description. And there can be no doubt, that David's elegy upon Saul and Jonathan, 1 Sam. 1: 18. is called nçP or the bow, in conformity with this peculiarity of taste.
§ 89. ConceRNING Epistles.
Epistles, which occur under the same Hebrew word with books, viz. Heo are mentioned the more rarely, the further you go back into antiquity. An epistle is first mentioned, 2 Sam. 11: 14. et seq. Afterwards there is more frequent mention of them, and sometimes an epistle is meant, when literally a messenger is spoken of, as in Ezra 4: 15–17. In the East letters are commonly sent unsealed. In case, however, they are sent to persons of distinction, they are placed in a valuable purse, which is tied, closed over with clay or wax, and then stamped with a signet, see Is. 29: 11. Neh. 6: 5. Job 38: 14. The most ancient epistles begin and end without either salutation or farewell, but under the Persian monarchy the salutation was very prolix. It is given in an abridged form, in Ezra 4:7–10. 5: 7. The apostles in their epistles used the salutation customary among the Greeks, but they omitted the usual farewell at the close, viz. yaugstv, and adopted a benediction more conformable to the spirit of the christian religion. Paul, when he dictated his letters, wrote the benediction at the close with his own hand, 2 Thes. 3:17. He was more accustomed to dictate his letters than to write them himself.
Poetry had its origin in the first ages of the world, when undisciplined feelings and a lively imagination naturally supplied strong expressions, gave an expressive modulation to the voice, and motion to the limbs; hence poetry, music, and dancing were cotemporaneous in origin. As far back as the time of Moses, po§ 91. CHARACTER OF THE HEBREw poetry. 97
etry, not only among the Hebrews, but also among some other nations, had reached a great degree of perfection, Exod. 15. Deut. 31. Num. 21:24, et seq. comp. also the book of Job. It afterwards flourished with great honour among the Hebrews for almost 1000 years. The design of it was not merely to excite to pleasure, but also to preserve historical narrations, and that in such a way, that they might be sung on occasions; but it was more especially the object of this art, to declare in the most affecting manner the praises of the Deity, and to excite the people to good and to praiseworthy works; see the books of Psalms, Job, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes; comp. also Gen. 3: 24. 4: 23. 9:25–29.
§ 91. CHARACTER of THE HEBREw Poetry.
Hebrew poetry, like the genuine poetry of all other nations, is characterized by ardent feelings, splendid thoughts, a great variety of beautiful images, strength of expression, condensation, and elegance. But it is distinguished in a number of particulars from the poetry of occidental nations. I. The metaphors, comparisons, &c. are more bold and unusual; a point, which is capable of receiving much light from a collation of Arabick poems. II. The ornaments, by which a subject is enriched in Hebrew poetry, are derived from the state of things, as they exist in the East, especially Palestine ; (1,) from the natural objects of that region, from Lebanon and its cedars, from Carmel, from the oaks of Bashan, from the gardens, the vineyards, and forests, which enrich the land, and from the animals, viz. the oxen, the lions, and the gazelles, &c. that tread upon its surface ; (2,) from the occupations of husbandmen and shepherds; (3,) from the history of the nation; (4,) from the manners exhibited in common life, even from its vices, as drunkenness, fornication, and adultery; - (5,) from oriental mythology, which, in a great degree, though not in all respects, corresponds with the Greek and Roman. We find, for instance, mention made of the chamber of the sun, Ps. 19: 5, 6, but then there is this difference ; the orientals do not con
vey him on a chariot, like the Greeks and Romans, but make 98 § 91. charactea of the HEBREw poetry.
him fly with wings, Ps. 139:9. Mal. 4: 2. The thunders are borne on chariots, but these chariots are not drawn by horses, but by cherubim, pro-z, monsters that are symbolick of the clouds, Ezek. 1: 2–28. Ps. 18: 10. 99: 1. We find mention made of the golden age, Isa. 2:4. 11:6–9. 24:23. 30:24–28. 60: 19, 20. 65. 4–25. 66:1–5; of the infernal regions also, Sheoal and Hades, Sing, döne, into which descend not only soldiers, warlike heroes and emperors, even all who die, but also by a figure of speech, conquered nations and states, and even trees, the symbols of states. The warriors repose in this wide abode on couches, with their armour placed beneath their head, Isa. 14:9–20. Ezek.26:20.31: 14– 18. 32:7, 8, 17:30. Matt. 16:18. We find mention likewise of the rivers of Hades, Ps. 18:4–6. 2 Sam. 22: 5; and of a political heaven, which can be shaken, and the moon and the stars thereof be obscured or cast down with great confusion and overthrow, Hag. 2: 6, 21. Isa. 24:21–23. 34: 4, 65. 17. Amos 8: 9, 10. Matt. 24: 29. III. The poems in the Hebrew language may have been measured by means of a certain number of syllables or words, but we have reason to believe, that the rhythm consisted essentially and chiefly in the parallelism. The parallelism, which is sometimes synonymous and sometimes antithetical, and sometimes shows itself merely in the construction, independent of the sense, consists in many cases of only two members, see Ps. 114: 1–8; in other instances there are thee members, see Hos. 6: 1, 2; in other instances again there are four members, the first answering to the third, and the second to the fourth, see Deut. 32:42. Sometimes the parallelism displays itself in five verses or members, the two first and the two last being parallel, and the middle one unequal, Isa. 31:4, or the first being parallel to the third, and the second to the fourth, and the fifth being unequal, see Ps. 19: 8–10. In some instances the poetry may be called irregular, i.e. incapable of being reduced to the more common forms of parallelism, Ps. 113: 5, 6. Micah i. 4. These traits in the Hebrew poetry, when well understood, afford very considerable aid in the interpretation and criticism of the Bible, as for instance in such passages as Ps. 77: 18, 19. 139:20. Isa. 47: 11. 49: 6, 16. One may find, in the Parallelisms in various places, a similarity in the cadences, which gives to them a more than ordinary musical effect, and seems to
§ 93. Uses of Musick Among the hebrews. 99
be the result of art, see Jud. 14: 18. Prov. 7:13–15. 29: 17. Isa. 26:20, 21. 40: 24. 49:8. 51: 1, 2–6, 8, 53: 6,7. Zech. 11: 1.
Musick is coeval with poetry. Musical instruments were the invention of Jubal, Gen. 4: 21, and, as early as Gen. 31: 27, we are introduced to a whole choir. Afterwards musick and poetry went hand in hand, and with equal step. The poet himself sung his own poems and accompanied his voice with instruments. Both musick and poetry were esteemed of great consequence, and without doubt as long as poetry was cultivated, musick was none the less so. The musick of the Hebrews may be thought to have been too loud and noisy, but a person's opinion on a point of that kind will depend very much on his own personal habits and experience.
§ 93. Uses of Musick AMONG THE HEBREws.
The Hebrews insisted on having musick at marriages, on anniversary birth days, on the days, which reminded them of victories over their enemies, at the inauguration of their kings, in their publick worship, and when they were coming from afar to attend the great festivals of their nation, Isa. 30: 29. In the tabernacle and the temple, the Levites were the lawful musicians, but on other occasions any one might use musical instruments, who chose. There was this exception, however; the holy silver trumpets were to be blown only by the priests, who, by the sounding of them, proclaimed the festival days, assembled the leaders of the people, and gave the signal for battle, and for the retreat, Num.1:1 —10. David, in order to give the best effect to the musick of the tabernacle, divided the four thousand Levites into twenty four classes, who sung psalms, and accompanied them with musick. Each of these classes was superintended by a leader, rigon, placed over it; and they performed the duties, which devolved upon them, each class a week at a time in succession, 1 Chron. 16: 5. 23: 4, 5.25: 1–31, comp. 2 Chron. 5:12, 13. The classes collectively, as a united body, were superintended by three directors. This arrangement was subsequently continued by Solomon after 100 § 94. STRINGED instruMENTs.
the erection of the temple, and was transmitted till the time of the overthrow of Jerusalem. It was indeed sometimes interrupted during the reign of the idolatrous kings, but was restored by their successors, 2 Chron. 5:12–14. 29:27. 35: 15. It was even continued after the captivity, Ezra 3:10. Neh. 12:45–47. 1 Macc. 4: 54. 13:51. It should be remarked, however, that neither musick nor poetry attained to the same excellence after the captivity, as before that period.
§ 94. STRINGED INSTRUMENTs.
I. THE HARP, noz. This was the most ancient of this class of instruments, Gen. 4:21. It was sometimes called Sheminith, no:"ruj, or eight stringed, Ps. 6: 1.12: 1. 1 Chron.15:21, although as we may gather from the coins or medals of the Maccabean age, there were some harps, which were furnished with only three strings. The harp, therefore, was of two kinds, one only of which is distinguished by a separate name, viz. that called Sheminith, unless perchance separate names should be found for both in the Greek,
the three-stringed harp being called xw8aga, the other xuvvvgga,
for these two words appear to be used with some distinction of