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time of calamity, by such an ever-watchful and sculking enemy, must be believed to be exceeding great.
Explanation of the third Plague of Egypt.
The learned have not been agreed in their opinion concerning the third of the plagues of Egypt: Exod. viii. 16, &c. Some of the ancients suppose that gnats, or some animals resembling them, were meant; whereas our translators, and many of the moderns, understand the original word 'n kinneem, as signifying lice.
Bishop Patrick, in his commentary, supposes that Bochart has sufficiently proved, out of the text itself, that our version is right, since gnats are bred in fenny places, (he might have said with truth, and with much greater energy of argument, in water,) whereas the animals Moses here speaks of, were brought out of the dust of the earth.
А passage I lately met with, in Vinisauf's ac- , count of the expedition of our King Richard the First into the Holy Land, may, perhaps, give a truer representation of this Egyptian
* Hist. Ang. Script. quinque, vol. 2. p. 351. Instanti. bus singulis noctibus imminebant quidam vermiculi, vulgo dicti tarrentes, solo repentes, atrocissimis ferventes punc. turis; de die non nocebant, superveniente vero nocte, in. gruebant molestissimis armati aculeis, quibus quos punge. rent statim grassato veneno inflabantur percussi, & vehementissimis angustiabantur doloribus.
plague, than those that suppose they were gnats, or those that suppose they were lice, that God used on that occasion, as the instrument of that third correction.
Speaking of the marching of that army of Croisaders, from Cayphas to where the ancient Cæsarea stood, that writer informs us, that each night certain worms distressed thein, commonly called tarrentes, which crept upon the ground, and occasioned a very burning heat by most painful punctures. They hurt nobody in the day-time, but when night came on they extremely pestered trem, being armed with stings, conveying a poison which quickly occasioned those that were wounded by them to swell, and was attended with the most acute pains.
It is very much to be regretted that the natural history of the Holy Land is so imperfect. What these tarrentes were I do not pretend distinctly to know, but as they are called worms, as they crawled on the ground, and occasioned extreme pain, I should apprehend it is more probable that they were insects of this, or some kindred species, that Moses intends, rather than gnats bred in the water, or lice, which have, in common, no connection with the dust of the ground:
It is sufficiently evident, that for two thousand years back, the insect meant by Moses under this third plague was not determinately known. For the authors of the Septuagint supposed gnats were meant, translating the Hebrew word by the term Exvides ; whereas Josephus' supposed, with the moderns, that lice were to be understood to be the instruments God made use of at this time, unluckily describing them as produced by the bodies of the Egyptians, under the clothes with which they were covered," which indeed is a natural description of the usual circumstances that favour the propagation of lice, but by no means agrees with the Mosaic account, which represents these insects, whatever they were, as appearing first on the earth, and from thence making their way to man and beast. *
I will only farther add, the better to assist the naturalist, in determining what the insects were which in the age of Vinisauf were com monly called tarrentes, that these wounds were cured by the application of theriacum, and that they were creatures that disliked a noise, which made the pilgrims make all the clattering noise they could, with their helmets and shields, their basons, dishes, kettles, and any thing that came to hand, that could conveniently be applied to this purpose.
I With whom, it appears from Trommius, some of the other old translators of tho Scriptures into Greek agree, though that circumstance is not taken notice of by Lambert Bos in his edition,
Φθειρων γας τοις Αιγυπτιοις εξηντησιν απειρον τι πληθG ενδοθεν αναδιδομενων. .
* All the MSS. of the Septuagint agree in translating the original by either σκιφες, σκνιπες Or σκνηφες. The Syriac version terms them creeping locusts. See Dr. Holmes' Edit. of the Pentateuch, where a few other variations are noted, which are of no moment in the above question. Edit.
Oil burnt in Egypt in Honour of the Dead, and in
Honour of Idols.
Oil is now presented in the East, to be burnt in honour of the dead, whom they reverence with a religious kind of homage; and I should apprehend, it is most natural to suppose the Prophet Hosea refers to a similar practice in the times of antiquity, when he upbraids the Israelites with carrying oil into Egypt."
The carrying oil into Egypt must have been either for an idolatrous purpose; with a political view to gain the friendship of Pharaoh; or merely with a commercial intention. Oil was an article of commerce among
the ancient Jews, as appears from Ezek. xxvii. 17. They carried it to Tyre without reproof; they might with equal innocence have carried it into Egypt, if it had been only with a commercial view.
Commentators have been sensible of this, and have therefore supposed that the oil was treacherously carried into Egypt, as a present to king Pharaoh, to induce him to take part with Israel against Assyria. There was undoubtedly some treacherous management of this nature: 2 Kings xvii. 4, proves it beyond all dispute. But that they endeavoured to gain the friend
Hosea xii, 1.
ship of Pharaoh, by sending him a large par-, cel of oil, does not seem so natural a supposition, if we remark, that no present of this kind appears to have been made by the Jewish princes, of that time, to foreign kings, to gain their friendship : it was the gold and silver of the Temple, and of the Royal palace, that Ahaz sent to the king of Assyria, (2 Kings xvi. 8,) not oil; nor did the king of Egypt, when he put down Jehoahaz from the throne of Judah, and mulcted the land, appoint them to pay so much oil, but so much silver, and so much gold, (2 Chron. xxxvi. 3.) Nor was oil any part of the present that Jacob sent to Joseph, as viceroy of Egypt, but balm, honey, spices, myrrh, nuts, (Pistachio nuts, according to Dr. Shaw,) and almonds.
But if they burnt oil in Egypt, in those early times, in honour of their idols, and the Jews sent oil into Egypt with an intention of that sort, it is no wonder the Prophet so severely reproaches them with sending oil thither.
It is certain the ancient people of the East were wont, on various occasions, to send presents to the celebrated temples of other nations. It is supposed the Gentile nations would, and it is affirmed that they sometimes did, send presents to the Temple at Jerusalem: Many brought gifts unto the Lord to Jerusalem, and presents to Hezekiah 'king of Judah : so that
• Gen. xlii. 11.