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Barbarossa, Morgan tells us, in his history of Algiers, having conquered the king of Cucco, and his army of African highlanders, which prince lost his life in the contest, Barbarossa returned in triumph, with the slain king's head carried before him on a lance. This is, I presumé, exactly what was de se with the head of Saul: it was carried in triumph on a lance before the victorious general of the Philistine army, upon its return to their own country.
David's taking away the head of Goliath, from the place where the dead body lay, is, I imagine, to be placed in a somewhat different light, and paralleled with another transaction in the same writer. The people of Tremizan, it seems, struck off the head of an usurping king, against whom they had complained to Barbarossa, after his flight from the field of battle, in which Barbarossa had worsted him, and sent it to Barbarossa on a lance's point." When then David returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, and that Abner took and brought him before Saul, with the head of the Philistine in his hand, 1 Sam. xvii. 57, we are to understand the passage, as signifying, that David having taken away the head, with a view to the solemn presenting it to Saul,' he was introduced into the royal presence, holding a spear in his hand, with Goliath's head on the
& P. 232.
b P. 249. Niebuhr, I have lately observed, gives a similar ac. count of the Southern Arabs, p. 263,
point of it, which he presented with Eastern ceremony to his prince."
The unmartial engraver of the curious maps that so agreeably adorn Reland's Palæstina has been very unbappy here: he represents David, in the ornamental part of the map of the country of the Philistines, as a youth with a great sword in one hand, and holding up the head of Goliath in the other, like one of our executioners holding up the head of a traitor: his appearing before Saul with the head of the Philistine in his hand; was, undoubtedly, in a very different attitude. But the ideas of multitudes that read the passage, we may justly believe, are much more conformable to those of this Hollander, than, to those excited in the mind
upon reading the story in Morgan.
I would add, that as the arrangement of circumstances in the history of Sisera will not allow us to imagine that Jael presented bis head with solemnity to Barak; or that she cut it off, in order to its being carried in triumph before that general; there is reason to believe that our version, in Judges v. 26, is not exact: with a hammer she smote Sisera, she smote off his head when she had picrced and stricken through the temples.
k The head of Ishbosheth, the son of Saul, was, proba. bly presented to David by Baanah and Rechab, with the same kind of parade, 2 Sam. ir. 8. Sometimes heads are carried in basons in triumph. Dr. Perry gives two instan. ces, p. 168 and 185. He also mentions eleven heads car. ried in a sheet to a Bashaw, and afterwards ranged on a beach in a public place, p. 189. Compare 2 Kings 8.7, 8.
Different as this management is from our rules of war, some of the next Observations will give us an account of usages still more strange in our apprehensions, and especially that which describes the sealing up of eyes.
Heads, Hands and Feet, of State-Criminals cut off.
They frequently cut off the hands and the feet of people in times of tumult and disorder, and afterwards expose them, as well as the head; the same thing was done sometimes anciently.
Lady Wortley Montague, speaking of the Turkish minister of state, tells us, “ that if a minister displeases the people, in three hours time he is dragged even from his master's arms; they cut off his hands, head and feet, and throw them before the palace-gate, with all the respect in the world; while the Sultan (to whom they all profess an unlimited adoration) sits trembling in his apartment,” &c. Lett. v. 2. p. 19.
This cutting off the hands and feet, of those that have behaved ill in matters of state, strange as it may seem to us, is only an old Eastern custom, not yet worn out; for we find the hands and feet of the sons of Rimmon, who slew Ishbosheth, were cut off, and hanged up over the pool of Hebron, 2 Sam. iy. 12.
It seems then to be a false refinement in those commentators who suppose the hands of Baanah and Rechab were cut off, because they were employed in murdering Ishbosheth ; and their feet, because they made use of them to go to the place of assassination, or in carrying off that prince's head: whatever may be thought of cutting off the assassinating hands, it cannot be pretended, with any shew of reason, that the feet were more guilty than any any other limb. The truth seems to be, these were the parts wont to be cut off from state-criminals, as well as their heads, whether they had or had not been particularly accessary to their guilt.
The hanging them up at the pool in Hebron seems to have been merely on account of its being a place of great resort.
I leave it to the curious to consider whether Providence designed any reference to this ancient punishment, in secretly directing the se: cond fall of Dagon so, as that its head, and palms of its hands, were cut off, 1. Sam. v. 4.
Curious Accounts of Eastern Prisons.
The treatment of those that are shut up in the Eastern prisons differs from our usages, but serves to illustrate several passages of Scripture.
The MS. C.' relates several circumstances
i Vol. 6.
concerning their prisons, which are curious, and should not be omitted.
In the first place, he tells us that the Eastern prisons are not public buildings erected for that purpose; but a part of the house in which their criminal judges dwell. As the governor and provost of a town, or the captain of the watch, imprisoned such as are accused in their own houses, they set apart a canton of it for that purpose, when they are put into these offices, and choose for the jailor the most proper person they can find of their domestics.
Sir John supposes the prison in which Joseph, , together with the chief butler and chief baker of Pharaoh, was put, in Potiphar's own house. But I would apply this account to the illustration of another passage of Scripture: Wherefore, it is said, Jer. xxxvii, 15, the princes were wroth with Jeremiah, and smote him, and put him in prison in the house of Jonathan the scribe; for they had made that the prison. Here we see a dwelling-house was made a prison; and the house of an eminent person, for it was the house of a scribe, which title, marks out a person of quality: it is certain it does so in some places of Jeremiah, particularly ch. xxxvi. 12, Then he went down into the king's house into the scribe's chamber, and lo, all the princes sat there, even Elishama the scribe, and Delaiah, &c. The making the house of Jonathan the prison, would not now in the East be doing him any dishonour, or occasion the looking upon him in a mean light; it would rather mark out the placing him in an