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tained his coat or tunic, which he girded about his body with a towel, to prevent it from incommoding him during the operation. The apostle Peter also, when he went afishing, appears to have laid aside his upper garments, and prosecuted his labours in his shirt and tunic; for when he heard from the beloved disciple, that it was Jesus who stood on the shore, he girt his fisher's coat unto him, for he was naked, that is, without his hyke and burnoose; or what the same person, at the command of the angel, might have girded upon him, before he was enjoined to resume his garment. Now the hyke or burnoose, or both, being probably at that time the proper dress, clothing, or habit of the eastern nations, as they still continue to be of the Kabyles and Arabs, when they laid them aside, or appeared without one or the other, they might very probably be said to be undressed or naked, according to the eastern manner of expression. The king of Israel was said to be naked, although he was girded with a linen ephod; and among the Romans, a person was represented as naked who had laid aside his upper garment: Rejecta veste superiore.*
The girdle is an indispensable article in the dress of an oriental: it has various uses ; but the principal one is to
their long flowing vestments, that they may not incommode them in their work, or on a journey. The Jews, according to some writers, wore a double girdle, one of greater breadth, with which they girded their tunic when they prepared for active exertions: the other they wore under their shirt, around their loins. This under girdle they reckon necessary to distinguish between the heart, and the less honourable parts of the human frame.
* Shaw's Trav. vol. i, p. 409.
The upper girdle was sometimes made of leather, the material of which the girdle of John the Baptist was made ;Y but it was more commonly fabricated of worsted, often very artfully woven into a variety of figures, and made to fold several times about the body; one end of which being doubled back, and sewn along the edges, serves them for a purse, agreeably to the acceptation of Surn in the Scriptures, which is translated purse in several places of the New Testament. The ancient Romans, in this, as in many other things, imitated the orientals ; for their soldiers, and probably all classes of the citizens, used to carry their money in their girdles. Whence, in Horace, qui zonam perdidit, means one who had lost his purse ; and in Aulus Gellius, C. Gracchus is introduced, saying, Those girdles which I carried out full of money when I went from Rome, I have at my return from the province brought again empty. The Turks make a further use of these girdles, by fixing their knives and poniards in them ; while the writers and secretaries suspend in them their ink-horns; a custom as old as the prophet Ezekiel, who mentions “ a person clothed in white linen, with an ink-horn upon his loins." That part of the ink-holder which passes between the girdle and the tunic, and receives their pens, is long and flat; but the vessel for the ink, which rests upon the girdle, is square, with a lid to clasp over it.
· The girdle among the Mahrattas is generally made of strong leather, covered with velvet, and divided into small compartments containing their most valuable papers and precious jewels. Forbes's Orient. Mem. vol. ii,
2 Matth. x, 9; and Mark vi, 8. a See Burder in loc.
b Ezek. ix, 2. • Shaw's Trav. vol. I, p. 410. Malcom's Hist. of Persia, vol. ii, p. 572. Du Tott's Mem. vol. ii, p. 118.
To loose the girdle and give it to another, was among the orientals, a token of great confidence and affection. Thus to ratify the covenant which Jonathan made with David, and to express þis cordial regard for his friend, among other things, he gave him his girdle. A girdle curiously and richly wrought was among the ancient Hebrews, a mark of honour, and sometimes bestowed as a reward of merit; for this was the recompense which Joab declared he meant to bestow on the man who put Absalom to death : “ Why didst thou not smite him there to the ground, and I would have given thee ten shekels of silver, and a girdle.” The reward was certainly meant to correspond with the importanee of the service which he expected him to perform, and the dignity of his own station as commander in chief: we may, therefore, suppose it was not a common one of leather, or plain worsted, but of costly materials and richly adorned ; for people of rank and fashion in the east, wear very broad girdles, all of silk, and superbly ornamented with gold and silver, and precious stones, of which they are extremely proud, regarding them as the tokens of their superior station, and the proof of their riches.
Many of the Arabian inhabitants of Palestine and Barbary wear no shirts, but go almost entirely naked, or with only a cloth cast about their bodies, or a kind of mantle.e It is not improbable, that the poorer inhabitants of Judea were clothed in much the same manner as the Arabs of those countries in modern times, having no shirts, but only a sort of mantle to cover their naked bodies. If this be just, it greatly illustrates the promise of Samson to give his companions thirty sheets, or as it is more properly rendered in the margin of our bibles, thirty shirts, if they could discover the meaning of his riddle. It cannot easily be imagined they were what we call sheets, for Samson might have slain thirty Philistines near Ashkelon, and not have found one sheet; or if he slew them who were carrying their beds with them on their travels, as they often do in present times, the slaughter of fifteen had been sufficient, for in the east, as in other countries, every bed is provided with two sheets; but he slew just thirty; in order to obtain thirty sedinim or shirts. If this meaning of the term be admitted, the deed of Samson must have been very provoking to the Philistines; for since only people of more easy circumstances wore shirts, they were not thirty of the common people that he slew, but thirty persons of figure and consequence. The same word is used by the prophet Isaiah, in his description of the splendid and costly dress in which people of rank and fashion then delighted, rendered in our translation fine linen ; which seems to place it beyond a doubt that they were persons of rank that fell by the hand of Samson on that occasion.
a 2 Sam. xviii, 11.
• Pococke's Trav. vol. i, p. 190. Egmont and Heyman's Trav. vol. i, p. 298.
But it is by no means improbable, that these sheets were the hykes or blankets already described, which are worn by persons of all ranks in Asia. Pococke, who gives a description of this vestment, and of the way in which it is wrapped about the body, which does not materially differ from the account of it in a preceding section, particularly observed that the young people, and the poorer sort about Faiume, had nothing on whatever, but this blanket: hence it is probable, that the young man was clothed in this manner who followed our Saviour when
he was taken, having a linen cloth cast about his naked body.“ When the young men,” who came to apprehend Jesus,“ laid hold of” him, “ he left the linen cloth, and fled from them naked:” but this language by no means requires us to suppose that he was absolutely naked, but only that he chose rather to quit his hyke or plaid, than run the risk of being made a prisoner, although by doing so he became unduly exposed. This view is confirmed by the observations formerly made on the hyke and tunic; and by the state of the weather, which was so cold, that the servants of the high priest were compelled to kindle a fire in the midst of the hall to warm themselves. It is very improbable, that he would go into the garden on such a night so thinly clothed; and we have no reason to think he was so poor, that this linen cloth was the only article of clothing in his possession. But Mr. Harmer, and other expositors, considering that the apostles were generally poor men, and that the poor in those countries had often no other covering than this blanket, rather suppose, that the terrified disciple fled away in a state of absolute nudity. But if it was the apostle John, where was he furnished with clothes to appear almost immediately after in the high priest's hall ? This difficulty Mr. Harmer endeavours to remove by supposing, that from the garden he might go to his usual place of residence in the city, and clothe himself anew before he went to the palace.
The orientals always cast their mantle or cloak over them when they go abroad ; and it has been observed already, that they use it as a blanket or coverlet when they go to sleep. For this reason, although Jehovah permitted his people to receive the upper garments of their neigh
f Harmer's Obsery, vol. iv, p. 344, &c.