Billeder på siden

the bottom. (Isa. xxv. 6.) Sweet wine is that which is made from grapes fully ripe. (Isa. xlix. 26.) The Israelites had two kinds of vinegar, the one was a weak wine, which was used for their common drink in the harvest field, &c. (Ruth ii. 14.) as the Spaniards and Italians still do; and it was probably of this that Solomon was to furnish twenty thousand baths to Hiram, for his servants, the hewers that cut timber in Lebanon. (2 Chron. ii. 10.) The other had a sharp acid taste, like ours; and hence Solomon hints, that a sluggard vexes and hurts such as employ him in business; as vinegar is disagreeable to the teeth, and smoke to the eyes (Prov. x. 26.); and as vinegar poured upon nitre spoils its virtue; so he that singeth songs to a heavy heart, does but add to its grief. (Prov. xxv. 20.) The poor were allowed to glean grapes, as well as corn and other articles (Levit. xix. 10. Deut. xxiv. 21. Isa. iii. 14. xvii. 6. xxiv. 13. Mic. vii. 1.); and we learn that the gleaning of the grapes of Ephraim was better than the vintage of Abiezer. (Judges viii. 2.) The vineyard was not to be pruned and dressed in the sabbatical year. (Levit. xxv. 3, 4.) The vessels in which the wine was kept were, probably, for the most part, bottles, which were usually made of leather, or goat skins, firmly sewed and pitched together. The Arabs pull the skin off goats in the same manner that we do from rabbits, and and sew up the places where the legs and tail were cut off, leaving one for the neck of the bottle, to pour from; and in such bags they put up and carry, not only their liquors, but dry things which are not apt to be broken; by which means they are well preserved from wet, dust, or insects. These would in time crack and wear out. Hence, when the Gibeonites came to Joshua, pretending that they came from a far country, amongst other things they brought wine bottles old and rent, and bound up where they had leaked. (Josh. ix. 4. 13.) Thus, too, it was not expedient to put new wine into old bottles, because the fermentation of it would break or crack the bottles. (Matt. ix. 17.) And thus David complains, that he is become like a bottle in the smoke; that is, a bottle dried, and cracked, and worn out, and unfit for service. (Psalm cxix. 83.) These bottles were probably of various sizes, and sometimes very large; for when Abigail went to meet David and his four hundred men, and took a present to pacify and supply him, two hundred loaves and five sheep ready dressed, &c. she took only Two bottles of wine (1 Sam. xxv. 18.); a very disproportionate quantity, unless the bottles were large. But the Israelites had bottles likewise made by the potters. (See Isa. xxx. 14. margin, and Jerem. xix. 1. 10. xlviii. 12.) We hear also of vessels called barrels. That of the widow, in which her meal was held, (1 Kings xvii. 12. 14.) was not probably very large; but those four in which the water was brought up from the sea, at the bottom of Mount Carmel, to pour upon Elijah's sacrifice and altar, must have been large. (1 Kings xviii. 33.) We read likewise of other vessels, which the widow of Shunem borrowed of her neighbours, to hold the miraculous supply of oil (2 Kings iv. 2-6.); and of the waterpots, or jars, or jugs, of stone, of considerable size, in which our

Lord caused the water to be converted into wine. (John ii. 6.) Grapes, among the Israelites, were likewise dried into raisins. Á part of Abigail's present to David was an hundred clusters of raisins (1 Sam. xxv. 18.); and when Ziba met David, his present contained the same quantity. (2 Sam. xvi. 1.; see also 1 Sam. xxx. 12. and 1 Chron. xii. 40.)"

It was a curse pronounced upon the Israelites, that upon their disobedience, they should plant vineyards and dress them, but they should neither drink of the wine, nor eat the grapes, for the worms should eat them. (Deut. xxviii. 39.) It seems that there is a peculiar sort of worms that infest the vines, called by the Latins Volvox and Convolvulus, because it wraps and rolls itself up in the buds, and eats the grapes up, when they advance towards ripeness, as the Roman authors explain it.

Besides other fruits that were common in Judæa, as dates, figs, cucumbers,3 pomegranates, they had regular plantations of olives, which were a very antient and profitable object of agriculture. So early as the time of Noah (Gen. viii. 11.) the branches of the olive tree were, and since that time have been among all nations, the symbol of peace and prosperity. Oil is first mentioned in Gen. xxviii. 18. and Job xxiv. 11.; which proves the great antiquity of the cultivation of this tree. Olives, in Palestine, are of the best growth, and afford the finest oil; whence that country is often extolled in the Scriptures on account of this tree, and especially in opposition to Egypt, which is destitute of good olives. (Numb. xviii. 12. Deut. vii. 13. xi. 14. xii. 17. xviii. 4.) The olive delights in a barren, sandy, dry, and mountainous soil: and its multiplied branches (which are very agreeable to the eye as they remain green throughout the winter) have caused it to be represented as the symbol of a numerous progeny,-a blessing which was ascribed to the peculiar favour of God. (Psal. lii. 8. cxxviii. 3. Jer. xi. 16. Hos. xiv. 6.)

1 Investigator, No. IV. pp. 307-309.-The pleasing and instructive essay on the agriculture of the Israelites, in the first, third, and fourth numbers of this journal, contains the fullest account of this interesting subject extant in the English lan guage.

2 Bochart. Hieroz. p. 3. 1. 4. c. 27.

3 On the cultivation of this valuable article of food in the East, Mr. Jowett has communicated the following interesting particulars. During his voyage to Upper Egypt, in February 1819, he says "We observed the people making holes on the sandy soil on the side of the river. Into these holes they put a small quantity of pigeons' dung and feathers, with the seed of melons or cucumbers. The value of this manure is alluded to in 2 Kings vi. 25. The produce of this toil I had an opportunity of seeing, in due season; that is, the following month of June. Extensive fields of ripe melons and cucumbers then adorned the sides of the river. They grew in such abundance, that the sailors freely helped themselves. Some guard, however, is placed upon them. Occasionally, but at long and desolate intervals, we may observe a little hut, made of reeds, just capable of containing one man; being, in fact, little more than a fence against a north wind. In these I have observed, sometimes, a poor old man, perhaps lame, feebly protecting the property. It exactly illustrates Isaiah i. 8. And the daughter of Zion is left.. lodge in a garden of cucumbers. The abundance of these most necessary vegetables brings to mind the murmurs of the Israelites; Numbers xi. 5, 6. We remember the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlic; but now our soul is dried away. Jowett's Researches, p. 127.

as a

The oil, extracted from it by a press, enabled the Jews to carry on an extensive commerce with the Tyrians (Ezek. xxvii. 17. compared with 1 Kings v. 11.): they also sent presents of oil to the kings of Egypt. (Hos. xii. 1.) The berries of the olive tree were sometimes plucked or carefully shaken off by the hand before they were ripe. (Isa. xvii. 6. xxiv. 13. Deut. xxiv. 20.) It appears from Micah vi. 15. that the presses for extracting the oil were worked with the feet: the best and purest oil, in Exod. xxvii. 20. termed pure oil-olive beaten, was that obtained by only beating and squeezing the olives, without subjecting them to the press.

Among the judgments with which God threatened the Israelites for their sins, it was denounced, that though they had olive trees through all their coasts, yet they should not anoint themselves with the oil, for the olive should cast her fruit (Deut. xxviii. 40.); being blasted (as the Jerusalem Targum explains it) in the very blossom, the buds should drop off for want of rain, or the fruit should be eaten with worms. Maimonides observes,1 that the idolaters in those countries pretended by certain magical arts to preserve all manner of fruit, so that the worms should not gnaw the vines, nor either buds or fruits fall from the trees (as he relates their words out of one of their books): in order therefore that he might deter the Israelites from all idolatrous practices, Moses pronounces that they should draw upon themselves those very punishments, which they endeavoured by such means to avoid.

The antient Hebrews were very fond of Gardens, which are frequently mentioned in the sacred writings, and derive their appellations from the prevalence of certain trees; as the garden of nuts and of pomegranates. (Sol. Song vi. 11. iv. 13.) The modern inhabitants of the East take equal delight in gardens with the antient Hebrews, on account of the refreshing shade and delicious fruits which they afford, and also because the air is cooled by the waters of which their gardens are never allowed to be destitute. (1 Kings xxi. 2. 2 Kings xxv. 4. Eccles. ii. 5, 6. John xviii. 1. xix. 41.) The Jews were greatly attached to gardens, as places of burial: hence they frequently built sepulchres in them. (2 Kings xxi. 18. Mark xv. 46.) A pleasant region is called a garden of the Lord, or of God, that is, a region extremely pleasant. See examples in Gen. xiii. 10. Isa. li. 3. and Ezek. xxxi. 8.



I. Origin of the Arts.-State of them from the Deluge to the time of Moses.-II. State of the Arts from the time of Moses until the Captivity.-III. State of the Arts after the Captivity.-IV. Account of

1 More Nevosh. p. 3. c. 37.

some of the Arts practised by the Jews.-Writing;-Materials used for this purpose ;-Letters;-Form of Books.-V. Poetry. -VI. Music and Musical Instruments.—VII. Dancing.

I. THE arts, which are now brought to such an admirable state of perfection, it is universally allowed, must have originated partly in necessity and partly in accident. At first they must have been very imperfect and very limited; but the inquisitive and active mind of man, seconded by his wants, soon secured to them a greater extent, and fewer imperfections. Accordingly, in the fourth generation after the creation of man, we find mention made of artificers in brass and iron, and also of musical instruments. (Gen. iv. 21, 22.) Those communities, which, from local or other causes, could not flourish by means of agriculture, would necessarily direct their attention to the encouragement and improvement of the arts. These, consequently, advanced with great rapidity, and were carried to a high pitch so far back as the time of Noah; as we may learn from the very large ves sel built under his direction, the construction of which shows that they must have been well acquainted with some at least of the mechanical arts. They had also, without doubt, seen the operations of artificers in other ways besides that of building, and after the deluge imitated their works as well as they could. Hence it is that, shortly after that event, we find mention made of utensils, ornaments, and many other things which imply a knowledge of the arts. Compare Gen. ix. 21. xi. 1-9. xii. 7, 8. xiv. 1-16. xvii. 10. xvii. 4-6. xix. 32. xxxi. 19. 27. 34.

II. Egypt in the early age of the world excelled all other nations in a knowledge of the arts. The Hebrews, in consequence of remaining four hundred years with the Egyptians, must have become initiated to a considerable degree into that knowledge, which their masters possessed. Hence we find among them men, who were sufficiently skilful and informed to frame, erect, and ornament the tabernacle. Moses, it is true, did not enact any special laws in favour of the arts, nor did he interdict them or lessen them in the estimation of the people; on the contrary, he speaks in the praise of artificers. (Exod. xxxv. 30-35. xxxvi. 1. et seq. xxxviii. 22, 23. &c.) The grand object of Moses in a temporal point of view, was to promote agriculture, and he thought it best, as was done in other nations, to leave the arts to the ingenuity and industry of the people.

Soon after the death of Joshua, a place was expressly allotted by Joab, of the tribe of Judah, to artificers; for in the genealogy of the tribe of Judah, delivered in 1 Chron. iv. 14., we read of a place called the Valley of Craftsmen, and (ver. 21. 23.) of a family of workmen of fine linen, and another of potters: and when Jerusalem was taken by Nebuchadnezzar, the enemy carried away all the craftsmen and smiths. (2 Kings xxiv. 14.) But as proof that their skill in manufactures, and trade therein, could not be very extensive, we find that the prophet Ezekiel (chap. xxvii.) in describing the affluence of the goods which came to Tyre, makes mention of nothing

brought thither from Judæa, except wheat, oil, grapes, and balm, which were all the natural product of their ground. It appears that the mistress of the family usually made the clothing for her husband, her children, and herself, and also for sale. (Exod. xxxv. 25. 1 Sam. ii. 19. Prov. xxxi. 18-24. Acts ix. 39.) Employment, consequently, as far as the arts were concerned, was limited chiefly to those who engaged in the more difficult performances; for instance, those who built chariots, hewed stones, sculptured idols or made them of metal, or who made instruments of gold, or silver, and brass, and vessels of clay, and the like. (See Judg. xvii. 4. Isa. xxix. 16. xxx. 14. Jer. xxviii. 13.) Artificers among the Hebrews were not, as among the Greeks and Romans, servants and slaves, but men of some rank and wealth: and as luxury and riches increased, they became very numerous. (Jer. xxiv. 1. xxix. 2. 2 Kings xxiv. 14.) Building and architecture, however, did not attain much perfection prior to the reign of the accomplished Solomon. We read, indeed, before the Israelites came into the land of Canaan, that Bezaleel and Aholiab (who were employed in the construction of the tabernacle) excelled in all manner of workmanship (Exod. xxxv. 30-35.), but we are there told, that they had their skill by inspiration from God, and it does not appear that they had any successors; for, in the days of Solomon, when they were at rest from all their enemies, and were perfectly at liberty to follow out improvements of every kind, yet they had no professed artists that could undertake the work of the temple; so that Solomon was obliged to send to Hiram king of Tyre for a skilful artist (2 Chron. vii. 13, 14.), by whose direction the model of the temple and all the curious furniture of it was both designed and finished. But after the Jews were under the influence or power of the Romans, there is no doubt that a better taste prevailed among them. Herod, at least, must have employed some architects of distinguished abilities to repair and beautify the temple, and render it the superb structure which the description of Josephus shows that it must have been. From the frequent mention made in sacred history, of numerous instruments and of various operations in metals, we are authorised to infer, as well as from other sources, that a considerable number of the arts was known and practised among them.

III. During the captivity many Hebrews, (most commonly those to whom a barren tract of the soil had been assigned,) applied themselves to the arts and merchandise. Subsequently, when they were scattered abroad among different nations, a knowledge of the arts became so popular, that the Talmudists taught, that all parents ought to learn their children some art or handicraft. They indeed mention many learned men of their nation, who practised some kind of manual labour, or as we should say, followed some trade. Accordingly, we find in the New Testament, that Joseph the husband of Mary was a carpenter, and that he was assisted by no less a personage than our Saviour in his labours. (Matt. xiii. 55. Mark vi. 3.) Simon is mentioned as a tanner in the city of Joppa. (Acts ix. 43. x. 32.) Alexander, a learned Jew, was a copper-smith (2 Tim. iv.

« ForrigeFortsæt »