« ForrigeFortsæt »
lemn lamentations; and that the Old Testament itself speaks of women, as more frequently appearing in the character of mourners in public, than the men. Its meaning then is, I should apprehend, either explanatory, and equivalent to namely, or some such word, and so the passage would signify each family, that is, the women of it shall mourn apart; or, as I much rather am inclined to believe, the particle is to be understood as signifying, as well as :' the family of the house of David apart, as well as their wives apart, &c.
So it expresses the unusualness of public mourning by the men, compared with the appearing of the women in that character; as the mourning apart also expresses bitterness of grief. And thus an apocryphal writer understood the mourning for Josiah to be by the men, as well as the women, 1 Esdras i. 32: In all Jewry they mourned for Josiah, and the chief men with the women, made lamentation for him unto this day: and this was given out for an ordinance to be done, continually in all nations of Israel. The men in the Levant, now are seldom, I think, spoken of as going to the sepulchres of the dead to weep and wail there ; and even when they attend a corpse to the grave to be buried, express great calmness and composure ;but as to this last particular, it ap
-8 So Noldius observes it is sometimes equivalent to nempe, nimirum, (Sig. 38 ;) but he remarks, it sometimes signifies sicut, quemadmodum, (Sig. 62.)
Russell, vol. i. p. 311-12; and Shaw, p. 219.
pears to have been different anciently, from what is said 2 Sam. iii. 31, 32, 33, 3+, David said unto Joab, and to all the people that were with him, Rend your clothes, and gird you with sackloth, and mourn before Abner. And King David himself followed the bier. And they buried Abner in Hebron : and the king lamented over Abner, and said, Died Abner as a fool dieth? &c. And all the people wept again over him. Perhaps also as to the going to the grave to mourn, the men might anciently, on some occasions, re
thither; or many of the Jews attended Mary when she went to weep, as they apprehended, at the grave of her brother Lazarus. But public mourning of the men was undoubtedly, much less frequent than among the women ; though, it may be, more common than in later times.
Before I dismiss this article, it may not be improper to beg my reader to consider, whether the words of Jeremiah, Lamentations ii. 19, may not be understood after the same manner : Arise, cry out in the night : in the beginning of the watches pour out thinc heart like water before the face of the Lond: lift up thy hands towards him, for thy young children, that faint for hunger on the top of every street.
The clause translated for the life of thy young children that faint, may siguify, I apprehend, on account of the loss of the life of thy young children. If it was for the saving their lives, the supplication might as well have beca presented by day, as by night; but if it means mourning their deaths, the night season, and in particular thie first watch of the night, was a proper time for that kind of mourning, according to the present usage of the women of Ghinnah.
i John xi, 31.
The following part of the description of Lam. ii, of those that lay in the streets, represents them as slain ; the lying of children in the streets should, in like manner, one would think, be designed to express their lying dead there for want of food, as those grown up lay there slain by the sword.
More especially when we find they are described, in a preceding verse, as swooning as the wounded in the streets, which swooning was unto death. The equivocalness, at least, of the expression will appear, if the words be translated, literally, from the Hebrew, “lift up thy hands towards him over the souls of thy young children."'* It appears, from a drawing in the second tomie of le Bruyn, representing the mourning of the women of Ramah at the tombs of their dead relations, that lifting up their hands on high was one posture into which they threw themselves. And as the word 39 ronnee, translated cry out, signifies much more frequently singing than crying, it is not at all improbable, that Jeremiah refers here to such modes of mourning as were observed by Irwin at Ghinnah.
שאי אליו כפיך על נפש עולליך
Saee elaio kappeek ál nephesh olalayik List op to him thy open hands over the soul of thy little ones. Edit.
Mourners at Funerals.
Having occasion lately to turn over the latter part of Mr. Pope's translation of the Iliad, I was greatly surprised to find a passage of St. Matthew strangely misunderstood, which relates to the weepers by profession, that anciently attended funerals, and still do so in the Levant.
“A melancholy choir attend around, “ With plaintive sighs, and music's solemn sound : “ Alternately they sing, alternate flow “ Th' obedient tears, melodious in their woe.”
Book xxiv. v. 900–903. The note here is, “ This was a custom generally received, and which passed from the Hebrews to the Greeks, Romans, and Asiatics. There were weepers by profession, of both sexes, who sung doleful tunes round the dead. Ecclesiasticusk xii. 5. When a man shall go into the house of his eternity, there shall encompass him weepers. It appears from St. Matthew xi. 17, that children were likewise employed in this office. Dacier.”
It does not appear, I think, that children were hired to mourn at funerals; and if that could be shown from other places, the passage in St. Matthew would by no means prove it, for it is evident that our Lord is speaking of the diversions of children-their imitating the transactions of maturer life, not of their serious employments. What mourners at a funeral would these children have been, who, when their companions began the melancholy music, refused to join them, with the usual forms of mourning? This might very naturally happen when they were amusing themselves with imitating the mournings at a funeral, or the rejoicings at a wedding, but would have been intolerable if they had been performing a part in real life.
* It should have been Ecclesiastes.
A commentator on Virgil might, with almost as good a graçe, represent the account of Ludus Troja, in the Sth Eneid, as the description of a real battle in Sicily.
Singing used in Funeral- Processions both by Men
The people of these countries are wont to be carried to their graves, not only with violent wailings of the female part of the funeral convoy; but with devout singing of the male part of this last : it seems to be referred to in the Scriptures, as well as the first, though seldom, if ever, mentioned in the writings of those that have explained them.
Dr. Russell has mentioned this devout singing