« FöregåendeFortsätt »
phetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand, and all the women went out after her, with timbrels and dances. She led the dance; they imitated her steps, which were not conducted by a set well known form, as with us, but extemporaneous. Probably David did not dance alone before the LORD, when the ark was removed, but led the dance in the same authoritative kind of way,
Lady Montague was so struck with this Eastern management, though she cites Homer, and tells us these were Grecian dances, yet she could not help observing too, that these Eastern manners give great light into passages of Scripture.
Description of a Maronite Wedding.
WHEN Jeremiah speaks of the changing the stillness of desolation, into the voice of joy and gladness, where numerous inhabitants dwell, and mentions among others, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, we certainly are not to understand him of the bridegroom, and still less of the bride, personally considered; but of their attendants. Youthful modesty would lead us to such an interpretation, had the Prophet been speaking of these western parts of the world; but the
Sam. 2 vi. 24. 95.
• Ch. xxxiii. 11.
decencies of Eastern life absolutely require such an explanation.
"There being nothing very material," says Dr. Russell, "in the ceremonies of the different sects, I shall give the description of a Maronite wedding, which will serve as a specimen of the rest.
"After the bride has been demanded, the relations of the bridegroom are invited to an eptertainment at the house of the bride's father, in order to consult with her relations (for the young folks themselves have no vote in such affairs, nor are ever seen) concerning the proper day for celebrating the wedding; and it is almost always agreed on for that day fortnight. On the appointed day, in the afternoon, they again go to the bride's house; and, having supped there, return to that of the bridegroom, who hitherto has not appeared, though some little enquiry has been made after him; for he is by custom obliged to hide himself, or at least is not to be found without a seemingly strict search. When he is brought out dressed in his worst clothes, great noise and rejoicings are then made on the finding him; and he and the bride's man, after being led several times round the court-yard, in noisy procession, are carried into a room, where their weddingclothes, are laid out in form. A priest says a long prayer over them; and, being dressed, they are led back into the court-yard with the same ceremony as before.
“At midnight, or a few hours later, the
relations, accompanied by all that have been invited to the wedding, men and women, return once more to the house where the bride is, in procession, each carrying a candle, and music playing before them. When they come to the door, it is shut upon them; and when they knock and demand the bride, they are refused admittance. Upon this ensues a mock fight, but the bridegroom's party always prevails. The women then go to the bride's chamber, lead her out veiled quite over, and in the like procession carry her to the bridegroom's; but not more than one or two of her sisters, or nearest female relations, must accompany her. She is there set down at the upper-end of the room among the women, continues veiled with a red gause, and must sit like a statue, neither moving nor speaking on any account, except rising to every person that comes into the room, which is notified to her by one of the women who sits by her constantly, for she must not open her eyes. The rest of the night is spent by each sex in their separate apartments in noisy mirth, eating fruits and sweetmeats, there being no want of wine and arrack. Some few retire to rest.
"The next day, about nine in the morning, the Bishop or priest comes to perform the ceremony. The ceremony being finished, the bridegroom and all the men, retire again to their proper apartment, where they drink coffee, and sit very gravely while the Bishop remains, which is not long; for dinner being
served up immediately for him, and a few select people of the company, he soon dines, and takes his leave; and he is scarcely gone a few yards from the house, before their noisy mirth begins. Great quantities of victuals are dressed, and several tables covered, both for dinner and supper; and there is usually a profusion of tobacco, coffee, and arrack.
"About eleven or twelve at night, the bridegroom is led in procession to the bride's chamber, where he presents her with a glass of wine, in which she drinks to him, and he returns the compliment: after this he is carried back again with the same ceremony.
"The music, during the whole of the time, continues to play, buffoons and other of their diversions are going forward, snd the house is usually full of company till the next day in the afternoon, when they take their leave, all but a few intimate friends, who sup with the bridegroom, and about midnight leave him heartily fatigued to retire to the bride's chamber.
"All those that have been invited to the wedding send presents; and for several days after the marriage is consummated, quantities of flowers are sent to the bride by all the women of their acquaintance."
Descript. of Aleppo, vol. ii. p. 48.
Different Methods of expressing their Joy.
BESIDES the voice of domestic gladness and joy on nuptial occasions, instead of the melancholy silence of desolation, which Jeremiah assured them should be heard again in that country, and which was to take place not only in Jerusalem, but in the other Jewish cities, the Prophet seems to me to assure them there should be a return of seasons of rejoicing on public occasions, such as victory over enemies; as also of the music and the songs wont to attend the presenting peace offerings before GoD: Again there shall be heard in this place-the voice of joy and the voice of gladness, (the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride,) the voice of them that shall say Praise the Lord of Hosts, for the Lord is good, for his mercy endureth for ever; and of them that shall bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the LORD. Jer. xxxiii. 10, 11.
There is something pleasing in this enumeration of particulars, if we consider them as expressive of rejoicing on domestic, public, and sacred occasions.
It is certain that when Jehosaphat led forth Judah to assured victory, he made use of such a form of praise as we find in the middle of this verse: Upon Jehaziel, the son of Zechariah,