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fliction or their death, as far as they can with propriety: and traces of this kind of lamentation may be found in the Scriptures.
The annual mourning of the Persians for the death of Houssain, second son of Ali, and grandson to Mohammed their great prophet, which Houssain they believe to have been the true and rightful khalif, but who was rejected by the majority of the followers of Mohammed, and killed by the troops of his rival : I say, the annual mourning for Houssain by the Persians is pretty well known, by those that are conversant in books of travels, but is particularly described by Sir John Chardin in his 3d tome, p. 173, &c.
They visit his sepulchre, near the ancient Babylon, with great devotion from time to time. Niebuhr, in the second of those three volumes of travels which were published after the publication of his account of Arabia, gives an account of his visiting this celebrated tomb. But the annual mourning his death takes place at a distance, for it is observed through all Persia, whereas Kerbela, the place where the tomb is, is in the dominions of the Great Turk.
The account Chardin gives is, in short, that " the Persians continue this mourning ten days, (beginning with the first day of their year, and finishing with the tenth day of the first month, when he was slain ;) that they suspend all appearances of joy and pleasure, and appear as mourners in their dress; that discourses of an
affecting kind, relating to his being killed, &c. are pronounced in numerous assemblies of the Persians; that to their mournful cries of Houssain are joined the sounds of melancholy music; that numbers personate Houssain, who at the time of his death was overwhelmed with thirst, and covered with blood gushing from his various wounds, some daubing themselves with something black, to represent the first, supposing that extreme thirst produced this effect on this prince,' and others making use of some red substance to make them resemble Houssain when covered with blood; he also mentions hymns sung on this solemn occasion, to the honour of Houssain and his race, and this as done in the royal palace, in the hearing of the Persian prince himself, as well as in other places among the common people.
This account may enable us, probably, to form a still juster notion of the Jewish way of mourning their death of King Josiah in later, and perhaps of the daughter of Jephthah in elder times, being added to a preceding article.
They were, probably, both of them annual mournings. The Hebrew word p7 chok, translated ordinance, (Jeremiah lamented for Josiah; and all the singing-men and singing-women spake of Josiah in their lamentations to this day, and made them (prys lechok) an ordinance in Israel, 2 Chronicles xxxv. 25,) seems to determine this ; as the mourning for the daughter of Jephthah,
See Lam. iv. 8, and ch. v. 10.
which was, without controversy, an annual solemnity; It was a custom (po chok or ordinance) in Israel, that the daughters of Israel went yearly to lament the daughter of Jephthah, the Gileadite, four days in a year. A consideration of the nature of the thing strongly confirms the same thought : for it could not be an appointment that these songs of lamentation over Josiah should be continually sung ; or nothing else sung on inournful occasions. But the sacred writer seems to mean that this anniversary mourning for Josiah continued to the time of his writing this history'
. Melancholy music is used with songs in mourning for Houssain, and as music generally accompanies songs in the East, both, probably, were used in lamenting Josiah.
The more powerfully to excite sorrow, the Persians make use of some additional circumstances bearing some resemblance to the situation of those for whom they mourn : their funeral panegyrics are delivered in places, according to Chardin, hung round with arms of various kinds, as Houssain was surrounded with a multitude of armed men when he died; and some of the people besmear themselves with some black substance, and others with a red, to represent bim perishing with thirst and an effusion of blood. In like manner the Israelitish damsels, who mourned Jephthah's daughter, might wander together in companies up and down the mountains, as she had done, which were more covered with trees than the low-lands, and more proper for melancholy services on that account, if we should suppose, their repairing to her tomb to mourn there too inconvenient to be performed, in general, by the virgins that dwelt in places remote from Gilead. Whether any of the deadly instruments of war were made use of, to enliven the mourning, at the anniversary commemoration of the death of Josiah, particularly of that kind which proved fatal to him, may be doubted; however I have elsewhere shewn from Mr. Irwin, that a sword was used at Ghinnah, in Upper Egypt, by the women there, that in a solemn procession, with songs and music, bewailed the death of a merchant of that country, placing themselves round a sword, by which kind of weapon he was killed, in the desert between that town and the Red Sea.
8 Judges xi. 39, 4Q.
The mourning for Houssain continues ten days; how long the annual mourning for Josiah was, is absolutely uncertain : four days we are told by the historian was the time spent every year in lamenting the daughter of Jephthah ; which might be employed by some in visiting her grave with music and panegyrical songs ; and by the more distant virgins, in wandering up and down the mountains with their companions, with melancholy music and songs of praise.
So among the modern Persians, some visit the tomb of Houssain with great devotion;
others commemorate his death, with solemnity, at a great distance from the place in which he lies interred."
Beating the Arms used in mourning for the Dead.
AMONG other rites of mourning made use of by the Oriental Jews, in the time of St. Jerom, was the beating their arms with such vehemence as to render them black and blue. I should apprehend then, it would be no unbatural supposition, to consider Ezekiel’s uncovering his arms, when he was personating the Jewish people at the time Jerusalem was besieged, as the exposing the bruises of lamentation he had inflicted on that part, though it is quite the reverse of the explanation that has been given by those commentators I have consulted.
St. Jerom tells us, that on the return of the day on which Jerusalem was taken by the Romans, and demolished, “the Jews were annually wont to assemble in great numbers, many of them decrepit old women and aged men in rags, bearing the marks of God's displeasure both in their
person and dress, and while the memorial
See a remarkable account of this mourning, Observa. tion XI. p. 33.
Referring, I apprehend, to the magnificent structure that had been built over the sepulchre of our Lord in his time; and to some gilded figure of the cross erected in, or on the top of a Christian place of worship on Mount Oli. vet. See his comment on Ezek. xi. 23.