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Prophet Ezekiel calls the sanctuary the threshold of Gop, and idolatrous temples, or chapels (when more than one place were dedicated to the worship of distinct idols, in one and the same building) their thresholds, ch. xliii. 8. In their setting of their thresholds, by my threshold, and their posts by my posts,' and the wall between mę and them, (or, according to the marginal translation, for there was but a wall between me and them) they have even defiled my holy name, by their abominations that they have committed.
I do not know why else that part of their respective sacred edifices should be selected from the rest, and the threshold be particularly mentioned by Ezekiel.
It is certain the modern Persians make the threshold, in particular, the place where their devotees pay their reverence to their entombed saints whom they sometimes treat, remote as these Persians are from idolatry, with a most improper and extravagant veneration. So immediately after the 6th distich, inscribed on the front of the famous and highly-honoured sacred tomb at Com, follows this: "Happy and glorious is the believer, who through reverence shall prostrate himself with his head on the threshold of this gate, in doing which he will imitate the sun and the moon."*
In a chapel adjoining to that in which the saint lies, in which adjoining chapel one of the
Our translation differs from some other translators, in making these three words plural.
* Chardin, tom. i. p. 203.
late kings of that country has a superb tomb, and is supposed to lie interred, are seven sacred songs, written in large letters of gold, on a blue ground, in so many distinct panels, written in honour of Aaly, Mohammed's son-in-law, and the great saint of the Persians, as also the ancestor of that female saint that lies entombed here. Among other extravagant expressions of praise, there is this distich in the fourth hymn, "The angelic messenger of the truth, Gabriel, kisses every day the threshold of thy gate, because it is the only way to arrive at the throne of Mohammed."
Some of the living Eastern princes have been honoured in much the same manner, according to d'Herbelot. "
But this will not explain why posts are mentioned "Setting of their threshold by my thresholds; and their posts by my posts." Nor have I met with any account in writers that I have consulted, why these are distinctly mentioned. I would only remark, that it appears by what is said of Eli," that the high-priest of GoD, when placed in a situation of honour in the tabernacle, was placed on placed on a seat by one of its posts: consequently I have sometimes thought, that as setting their thresholds by the thresholds of GOD means, the making chapels
1 P. 209.
Biblioth. Orien. art. Mostadem, ou Mostazem
1 Sam i. 9
or sanctuaries for their idols, where they were solemnly worshipped, within the precincts of the temple itself; so setting up the posts of idols by those of GoD may mean, the appearance of the high-priests of such idols in some part of the temple of JEHOVAH himself, with marks of dignity and authority.
I will only add, that as the Jewish princes were in like manner placed near the pillar, when they appeared in the temple with regal pomp, according to 2 Kings xi. 14; and near the posts, or one of the posts of one of its gates, as appears by a passage of the Prophet Ezekiel,' the expression may be understood to refer to such royal seats But these are so far from being alleged as decisive proofs, that they are only mentioned as giving some faint appearance of probability to such an explanation. And if ad mitted, it may signify the setting up a royal seat in these idolatrous sanctuaries; as there was a scat for the prince, when attending the worship of JEHOVAH.
But I should rather prefer the first of these nterpretations, and suppose the posts complained of, referred to the pomp with which the high-priests of their idols appeared in the temple of JEHOVAH himself, whose high-priest alone should have had that honour,
• Chap. xliv. 3.
Fine Handkerchiefs, embroidered Cloth and Pieces of curious Needle-Work, given as Tokens of Respect to Persons in the East.
THE Jewish high-priest describes the sword of Goliah, which had been laid up in the tabernacle of GOD, a consecrated memorial of the remarkable victory gained over that vainglorious idolater, as wrapped up in some covering; but when our translators render it a cloth, (which seems to convey the the idea of an ordinary common piece of linen or woollen cloth,) they have surely determined what ought to have been less indeterminate, at least; I should even think it most probable, that whatever is meant by the covering, it was something stately and magnificent, according to the modes of that country, and that age
The covering of the sword may mean its scabbard; but most likely is to be understood of something in which both sword and scabbard were wrapped up.
Fine wrought handkerchiefs are now frequently given to persons as tokens of respect; and are sometimes thrown over other things sent for presents in the East to the great. May we not suppose something of this kind was the
P 1 Sam. xxi. 9
Lady Mary W. Montague's Letters, vol. 2, p. 91; again p. 159.
wrapper in which this sword was placed, presented by a youth of generosity and devotion, who had a right to claim the king's daughter in marriage, for the service he had done his country by killing the champion of the Philistines, and who perhaps did not present this monument of his victory, until he was in circumstances to enable him to do it with the requisite magnificence, if the other part of the spoils of Goliah had nothing fit for that purpose? If any part of his dress was sufficiently magnificent, it might have appeared, we may believe, to this Jewish hero, the most proper thing to wrap up the sword in,'
It is certain that embroidery and curious needle-work were not unknown to that age and that country: and that such ornamental pieces of work were deposited in the Tabernacle; that ephod itself was of something of the same kind ;" and that such things were given to those that bore a distinguished part in gaining a victory. It is by no means then
And thus their sacred books are wont to be wrapped up in a rich case of brocaded silk, or some such rich materials, Arab, Nights, vol. 2, No. 64, &c.
There is a fine specimen of this in the Library of the East India Company in Leadenhall-street, a MS. containing the poetical works of the King of Persia richly adorned and wrapped up in costly velvet, &c. a present sent by himself to the Governor General of India. EDIT.
So a piece of the coat of James IV. of Scotland, slain at Flodden-field, appeared, to Catharine of Spain, the noblest banner her husband (Henry VIII.) could display in his armies when in France. Burnet's History of the Reformation, vol. 3, Rec. No. 2, p. 6.
* Exod. xxvi. 36, 37, ch. xxxviii. 18. "Chap. xxxix 1, 2, 3, 5.
- Judges v 30.