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bour in pawn, because he could do without them during the day ; yet he commanded them in express terms, to restore such a pledge at night, because, said the lawgiver, “ It was his covering only, the raiment for his skin, wherein he slept.” 3. Their legs, it has been already observed, were generally bare ; but some of them wore a sort of buskins, which were laced about the ankle, and reached up to the calf of the leg. Upon their feet they wore sandals, which were merely soles fastened with straps, made at first of raw hides, but afterwards of leather. When the sandals were taken off, the strings were of course untied, which it was the proper business of servants to do. John the Baptist alluded to this menial office, when he announced to the multitudes the coming of Christ : “ One mightier than I cometh,, the latchet of whose. shoes I am not worthy to unloose ;" that is, I am not worthy to do the meanest office about the Messiah. When the sandals were untied, the feet were washed, to remove the impurities which this very imperfect contrivance could not prevent, and anoint. ed with oil to counteract the hurtful effects of heat. : - Shoes were also in use among the natives of Asia; but their precise form cannot easily be ascertained. The difference between the sandal and the shoe is thus stated by the Talmudists : Shoes were of more delicate use, sandals were more ordinary and fitter for service; a shoe was of softer leather, a sandal of harder : There were sandals also whose sole or lower part was of wood, the upper of leather; and these were fastened together with nails. Some sandals also were made of rushes, or of the bark of palm trees, and they were all open both ways, so that one might
& Exod. xxii, 26.
put in his foot either before or behind. Those of a violet or purple colour were most valued, and worn by persons of the first quality and distinction."
The use of shoes may be traced to the patriarchal age; Abraham protested to the king of Sodom, after his victory over Amraphel and his associates, “ I have lifted up mine hand unto the Lord, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth, that I will not take from a thread, even to a shoe latchet.”! And when the Lord appeared to Moses in the bush, he commanded him to put off his shoes from his feet, for the place on which he stood was holy ground. In imitation of this memorable example, the priests officiated in the temple barefoot ; and all the orientals, under the guidance of tradition, put off their shoes when they enter their holy places. The learned Bochart is of opinion, that the Israelites used no shoes in Egypt; but being to take a long journey, through a rough and barren wilderness, God commanded them to eat the passover with shoes on their feet; and those very shoes which they put on at that festival, when they were ready to march, he suffered not to decay during the whole forty years they traversed the desert; and to increase the miracle, Grotius adopts the idle conceit of some Jewish writers, that their clothes enlarged as they grew up to maturity, and their shoes also underwent a similar enlargement. This was not impossible with Jehovah, but it seems to have been quite unnecessary, for the clothes and shoes of those that died, might serve their children when they grew up; and it was sufficiently wonderful, without such an addition, that their clothes should not decay, nor their shoes wear, nor their feet swell, by tra, velling over hot and sandy deserts for the long period of forty years.
h Harmer's Observ. vol. iv, p. 302, 303. i Gen. xiv, 23.
j Exod. iii, 5.
It only remains to be observed, on this part of the subject, that no covering for the foot can exclude the dust in those parched regions; and by consequence, the custom of washing and anointing the feet, which is, perhaps, coeval with the existence of the human race, is not to be ascribed to the use of sandals. Whatever covering for the foot may be used, Chardin declares, it is still necessary to wash and anoint the feet after a journey. It is also the custom every where among the Asiatics, to carry a staff in their hand, and a handkerchief to wipe the sweat from their face. The handkerchiefs are wrought with a needle; and to embroider and adorn them, is one of the elegant amusements of the other sex.
Persons devoted to a life of austerity, commonly wore a dress of coarser materials. John the Baptist, we are told in the sacred volume, was clothed in a garment of camel's hair, with a broad leathern girdle about his loins. It is a circumstance worthy of notice, that the finest and most elegant shawls, which constitute so essential a part of the Turkish dress, and are worn by persons in the highest ranks of life, are fabricated of camel's hair. These unquestionably belong to the “ soft raiment” worn by the residents in the palaces of eastern kings. But it is evident that the inspired writer intends, by the remark on the dress of John, to direct our attention to the meanness of his attire. “What went ye out for to see? a man clothed in soft raiment ? Behold, they that are in king's houses wear soft clothing ;" but the garments of John were of a
k Harmer's Obsery. vol. iv, p. 306.
different kind. It is, indeed, sufficiently apparent, that the inhabitants of the wilderness, where John spent his days before he entered upon his ministry, and other thinly settled districts, manufactured a stuff, in colour and texture somewhat resembling our coarse hair-cloths, of the hair which fell from their camels, for their own immediate use, of which the raiment of that venerable prophet consisted. In the same manner, the Tartars of modern times, work up their camel's hair into a kind of felt, which serves as a covering to their tents, although their
of life is the very reverse of easy and pompous.' Like the austere herald of the Saviour, the modern dervishes wear garments of the same texture, which they too, gird about their lions with great leathern girdles. Elijah, the Tishbite, seems to have worn a habit of camel's hair, equally mean and coarse ; for he is represented in our translation as a “hairy man,” which perhaps ought to be referred to his dress, and not to his
person. A garment of hair-cloth was, in those times, the costume of a prophet; and was assumed occasionally by impostors, to enable them with greater ease and success to deceive their credulous neighbours. “ And it shall come to pass in that day, that the prophets shall be ashamed every one of his vision, when he hath prophecied; neither shall they wear a rough,” or hairy, “ garment to deceive."" The prophet Isaiah was clothed in the same stuff,” for God required him to “ loose the sackcloth from off” his “ loins." Sackcloth of hair was deemed a badge of humilitation and self-denial ; and was probably, for this reason, selected as the most proper material for the official habiliments of an ancient prophet. Joel accordingly commands the priests and Levites; “ Come, lie all night,” or constantly, “ in sack. cloth,
Baron du Tott's Mem. part ii, p. 50. m Harmer's Observ. vol. iv, p. 416.
n Zech. xiii, 4. • Isa. xx, 3.
God.”p In allusion to the same mode of thinking, it is said, “ the sun became black as sackcloth of hair.”q And Isaiah declares in the name of the Lord, “ I clothe the heavens with blackness, I make sackcloth their covering." These statements throw light on that expression : “My two witnesses shall prophecy, clothed in sackcloth :"S_arrayed in the official dress of ancient prophets, and like them humble and self-denied, but very jealous for the Lord God of hosts, and fearless in the discharge of their duty.
The habit of eastern females was also suited to their station; and women of all ages and conditions, appeared in dresses of the same fashion; only a married woman wore a veil upon her head, in token of subjection; and a widow had a garment which indicated her widowed state. The daughters of a king, and ladies of high rank, who were virgins, wore a garment of many colours, reaching, as is supposed, to the heels or ankles, with long sleeves down to the wrists, which had a border at the bottom, and a facing at the hands, of a colour different from the garment : it was likewise embroidered with flowers, which in ancient times, was reckoned both splendid and beautiful. Before the Jews were carried captives to Babylon, their wives and daughters had arrived at the greatest degree of extravagance in dress. The prophet Isaiah gives a long list of the vestments, trinkets, and ornaments in use among the ladies of Israel, in that remote age; the greater part of which, it is extremely difficult to describe. A common prostitute among the Jews was known, as well by the p Joel i, 13. 9 Rev. vi, 12.
Isa. I, 3.
* Rev. xi, 3.