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12 feet, which had eat nothing for thirty five days, having his mouth muzzled all that time. With one stroke of his tail he threw down five or six men, and a bale of coffee, with as much ease as I could throw down half a dozen pawns on a chess-board."
With what eagerness must the people of those countries watch these formidable animals, and with what repeated efforts endeavour to demolish them when ensnared in their toils !
For though, according to Maillet, they are sometimes killed by darts, they are at other times knocked on the head with clubs, according to Father Sicard, in his Memoirs of the Missionaries, cited by Egmont and Heyman, vol. ii. p. 218, 219.
In this view, how forcible is the complaint of Job, that God had dealt with him as men do by crocodiles, who watch them with great attention, and fall upon them with repeated blows, and give not over until they have destroyed them."
y Those pictures of the fancy, which we are wont to call dragons, are not very unlike creatures of the lizard kind, and in particular a crocodile, excepting their having wings; and when we consider the swiftness of their motion straight forwards, it is no wonder the afrighted fancy of those that but just escape them, clapped a couple of wings on those crocodiles, which they found to be so extremely difficult to be avoided. Whether there was as specious a foun. dation for those other embellishments, which are deviations from the true figure of a crocodile, I leave to others to enquire.
As some species of the lizard kind inhabit the water; while others are found in old buildings, &c. on the land;
It is more difficult to illustrate the other part of the complaint, “ Am I a sea ?”
“ Am I a sea ?” Some have supposed the word sea is to be understood of the Nile. Admitting this large sense of the word 'yam, translated sea, it may be said that the Nile indeed is watched with extraordinary care; but in the season of its increase, which was the time they so attentively watched it, they beheld it rising with pleasure, and looked to this river with grateful veneration: the watching the Nile then by no means resembled the watching the crocodile, which they considered as an object of terror, and whose approach filled them with dread. One can hardly therefore imagine they would be joined together in one and the same complaint : the one watched with anxiety and dread as a terrias some are supposed to be of a poisonous nature; as the crocodile (the chief of the lizard-kind) is extremely vora. cious; and as ancient, as well as modern poets, have sup. posed they enticed unwary travellers by their dissembled lamentations, or at least wept over those they devoured, the same apprehension, whether founded in nature or misa take, might be as ancient as the days of the Prophet Micah, ch. i. s, or even the times of Job, ch. xxx. 28, 29 : if, I say, we recollect these circumstances, we have all the properties ascribed in Scripture to the tannin, except thę watching for them, mentioned in the passage I am now en. deavouring to illustrate; and their suckling their young, which Jeremiah speaks of Lam. iv. 3. As to this last, if it be admitted that the seal and the otter, though not pro. perly of the lizard kind, do yet so far resemble them, as that it is by no means unnatural to suppose, that in those days, of remote antiqnity, they might be classed together under one genus, this diflicuity will be removed, (and the ancients, we know, were by no means very accurate in their arrangement of natural objects) for the seal and the otter are reckoned, in these exact times, among the mama malia, or the animals that give their young suck.
ble destroyer; the other watched with hope and pleasure, as a great benefactor of Egypt, and its approaching them, by its rising, nearer and nearer, celebrated with great joy.
But there might be cases in which the overflowing of the Nile might be watched with dread. And Herodotus has, it seems, expressly remarked this with respect to Memphis, that celebrated Egyptian city, according to a note in Norden's History of Egypt, p. 75. vol. i, in which we are told, that Herodotus said, that at the time when he wrote, the Persians (then the masters of Egypt) attended with great observance, to a mound thrown up one hundred stadia above Memphis, the mound being repaired every year. For if the river should break down that ntound, there would be a great deal of danger that all Memphis would be drowned.
If so important a city, so often mentioned in the Old Testament, was in such continual danger, and its defending mound watched with so much anxiety in the time of Herodotus, something of the like sort might be in earlier time, and the crocodile and its parent stream be mentioned together here on that aca count.
There might be like anxious watchings in Arabia, and in that part of it called the Land of Uz; but we are not sufficiently acquainted with those countries positively to determine this. Some learned men in France have observed, that the Arabian history makes mention of the destruction of a great city, and a most delightful territory, upon the breaking down a mighty mound by the weight of the incumbent water. This mound was a prodigious bank, reaching from one mountain to another, raised in order to keep in the water that poured down the neighbouring hills, and to form a large lake. This event made a celebrated æra among the Arabs, and the Royal Academy of Inscriptions desired the Danish Academicians to enquire into it, when they went into the East.
2 See also Shaw's Travels, p. 302, 303.
But this was too late an event to be referred to in the book of Job; nor was that mound, so far as we are told, watched with anxious uneasiness; but broke down unexpectedly. It does not however follow from hence, but that there might have been other reservoirs of water, from which danger might be apprehended.
It is certain such destructive events were not unknown to the ancient Jews. David plainly refers to such. Job might equally well be supposed to have heard of them: but it is to be hoped, a more accurate acquaintance with those countries may hereafter illustrate what is at present almost lost in obscurity.
· The Royal Academy of Inscriptions and of the Belles Letters. See the 94th question proposed by Michaelis to the Danish Academicians, and the Memoir of the Academy of Inscriptions, &c. in the close of that collection,
b 2 Sam. ver. 20. • After all these ingenious conjectures, it is probable
Cause of the Pestilence in Egypt.
THE Bishop of Waterford, in his illustration of the writings of the Minor Prophets, supposes, that “ the pestilence after the manner of Egypt,” mentioned Amos iv. 10, meant “the unwholesome effluvia, on the subsiding of the Nile, (which) caused some peculiarly malignant diseases in this country." But, unhappily, he has produced no proof of this from those that have travelled into, or resided in that country; there is however some foundation for such a supposition, and I doubt not, but so friendly and benevolent a prelate, will allow me to endeavour to supply the omission.
Maillet, or rather, perhaps, the Abbot Mascrier, the enthusiastic encomiast of Egypt, in an extravagant paragraph of praise, allows this : “ It is of this country, which seems to have been regarded by nature with a favourable eye, that the gods bave made a sort of terrestrial paradise. The air there is more pure and excellent than in any other part of the world. This goodness of the air communicates itself to the text of Job relates simply to the barriers or mounds which they opposed in certain places to the incursions of the crocodile, and the inundations of the Sea or Nile, where its overflowings would have been ruinous, as in villages, cities, &c. mishmar, is to be understood, from the root you shamur, to keep safe, to preserve, or defend. Edr.
משמר And thus it is likely the word