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same word in the original, as well as in our version, which is used for the conducting Zedekiah to the place where his conqueror held his court, 2 Kings xxv. 6. Jer. xxxix. 5.
Nor were former distinctions altogether lost in captivity, Thou shalt not escape out of his hand, said Jeremiah to Zedekiah, thou shalt surely be taken and delivered into his hand. . . . But thou shalt die in peace, and with the burnings of thy fathers, the former kings which were before thee, so shall they burn odours for thee, and they will lament thee, saying, Ah Lord! Jer. xxxiv. 3, 5. Though Zedekiah was to die a captive, yet some distinctions of royalty were to be paid him in captivity: so Huzzab was to be led by her maids into the presence of her conqueror, as princesses were usually led, but with the voice of lamentation instead of the voice of joy.
Mr. Lowth, in his Commentary, supposes this passage of Nahum describes Huzzab as a great princess, attended by her maids of honour, bewailing her and their condition; but neither has he, nor any other commentator that I know of, entered into the force of the expression, her maids shall lead her, any more than of the term brought up.
E e 2
Honours paid to Nadir Shah.
THE Women of the Arab princess led her camel singing. This is not peculiar to the Eastern princesses. Hanway tells us, that Nadir Shah, when he removed his camp, was preceded by his running-footmen, and these by his chanters, who were nine hundred in number, and frequently chanted moral sentences, and encomiums on the Shah, occasionally proclaiming his victories also.
The like practice obtained among the inhabitants of Mount Libanus, in the time of Pope Clement VIII.; for Dandini, the Pope's nuncio to the Maronites, says, "We were always accompanied with the better sort of people, who walked on foot before our mules, and out of the respect they bore to the Pope, and in honour to us, they would sing certain songs, and spiritual airs, which they usually sung as they marched before the patriarch, and other persons of quality." It was not confined, according to this account, to mean persons; but persons of figure went before him in procession with songs.
We are willing to suppose, that Elijah's running before Ahab's chariot to the gates of
h Kouli Khan, as we commonly called him. i Vol. i. p. 249, 251.
k Ch. xvii. p. 68.
Jezreel' was not unworthy his prophetic character; but as the idea of the mob's running before a royal coach will present itself to some minds, when they read this passage, so commentators are not very happy in explaining this piece of the history of Elijah. Bishop Patrick supposes he ran before Ahab like one of his footmen, in which he shewed his readiness to do the king all imaginable honour, and that he was far from being his enemy: would it however have become Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury, to have run before the horse of Henry II. to shew he was not his enemy? or even Friar Peito before Henry VIII. to do him all imaginable honour?
But if Ahab had chanters running before him, like Nadir Shah, it does not appear at all contrary to the rules of decorum, for one brought up to celebrate the divine praises, to put himself at the head of them, to direct them, in singing praise to him that was then giving them rain, and to intermingle due encomiums on the prince that had permitted the extermination of the priests of Baal; or if he had none such, yet if it had been practised in those times, and was thought graceful and becoming a prince, nothing forbad Elijah's doing it alone: and perhaps what is said concerning the singers of the contemporary king of Judah, 2 Chron. xx. 21, 22, may enable us to guess, whether or no it was a practice totally unknown at that time. The expression of the divine historian, that the 11 Kings xviii. 46.
hand of the LORD was upon him, perfectly agrees to this thought; for it appears, from 2 Kings iii, 15, that it signifies enabling a Prophet to prophesy and consequently we are rather to understand these words, of GOD'S stirring him up to the composing, and singing, of some proper hymns on this occasion, than the mere enabling him to run with greater swiftness than his age would otherwise have permitted him to do, in which sense alone, I think, commentators have understood that clause.
The Easterns often change their Garments in Token of Respect.
It is reckoned in the East, according to Dr. Pococke," a mark of respect often to change their garments, in the time of a visit for a night or two. He expresses himself however with obscurity, and some uncertainty; but it is made certain by the accounts of other travellers that it is a matter of state and magnifi
So Thevenot tells us, that when he saw the Grand Seignor go to the new mosque, he was clad in a satin doliman of a flesh colour; and a vest of almost the same colour; but when he had said his prayers, then he changed his vest, and put on one of a particular kind of green." m See his account of their diet and visits, vol. i. p.182, &c. Part 1. p. 86.
At another time he went to the mosque in a vest of crimson velvet, but returned in one of a firered satin.°
To this frequent change of vestments among the great, possibly the Psalmist alludes, when, speaking of the LORD of all, he says, the heavens, unchangeable as they are when compared with the productions of the earth, shall perish, while he shall remain; yea, they shall be laid aside, in comparison of his immortality, as soon as a garment grows old; or rather, this change which they shall undergo, shall come on more speedily, with respect to his eternity, than the laying aside of a vestment which kings and princes change often in a day. The changing of clothes is a piece of Eastern magnificence: how wonderfully sublime then, in this view, is this representation of the grandeur of GoD, Thou shalt change these heavens as a prince changes his vesture
New Clothes used in Times of rejoicing.
THE putting on new clothes is also thought, by the people of the East, to be very requisite for the due solemnization of a time of rejoicing, and indeed almost necessary.
The Khaliff Mostanser Billah, going up one day to one of the highest parts of his
• P. 87.