Thomas Harmer.

Observations on divers passages of the Scripture : by means of circumstances incidentally mentioned in books of voyages and travels into the East (Volume 4) online

. (page 12 of 34)
Online LibraryThomas HarmerObservations on divers passages of the Scripture : by means of circumstances incidentally mentioned in books of voyages and travels into the East (Volume 4) → online text (page 12 of 34)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

fick, rather than a chattering noife, if we con-
fult the other places in which it is ufed, which
are If. viii. 19, x. 14, and If. xxix. 4. As
for the chattering 0/ the craney it feems quite
inexplicable. Swallows however appear in the
Holy-Land : they were feen at Acre in 1 774,
in Oftober, and, it fhould feem, were theu
about difappearing.

Observation CLIV,

A facred writer fuppofeth that the turtle-
dove Is a migratory bird. Maillet does the fame,
as to many, not all: telling us that when the
cold fets in here in Europe, many kinds of birds
come to iEgypt, fome fixing themfelves near
the mouths of the Nile, fome taking up their
jabode near Ci^iro, and there are fome that go


and Military Hijlory of Judcea. 1 87

as far as Upper -^gypt, and among the migra-
tory birds found in /Egypt upon the approach
of winter, he mentions quails and turtle-doves
of paj[agt\ which are, he fays, very good*.

Two things appear in this account of Mail-
let : 111. That many turtle-doves do not mi-^
grate \ and 2d. That they are eaten in -^gypt
as food, and found to be very good.

The firft point is confirmed, I think, by
Dr. Chandler, at the fame time that he found
the fmging of the nightingale and the cooing
of the turtle-dove were coincident things, ac-^
cording to Cant. ii. 12, of which I have elfe-
where given fomc account "".

'' We fet out,'' fiys the Doctor', *' from

Magnefia, on the 23d at noon* On

each fide of us were orchards of fig-trees
fown with corn ; and many nightingales were
*^ fmging in the buflies." Again, p. 202,
** At ten^ our courfe was northward, on it'5
^* bank'' (the river Harpafus) ^* in a valley.
^^ We were furrounded with the delightful
^^ trilling of innwjierable nightingales'' On
the fame day, it feems, they arrived at GuzeL
HiJJary at entering which town, he tells us,

* A peine le frold commence a fe faire fentir en Europpj
qu'on ne manque ici nl de canards, ni de farcelles, ni de
becaffines & de pluviers, ni meme de cailles & de tourte^
relies pafTagereSj qui font fort bonnes. Defer, de I'Egypte,
l^et. 9, p. 21.

* Outlines of a New Comment. &c, p. 149.
^ Chandler's Travels in Afia Minor, p. 212.

* He means the 23d of April, ag appears^ p, 199.
? April 21,




Relatmg to the Natural, Civil,

they were fiirprifed to fee around them innume-^
rable tame turtle-doves Jitting on the branches
of the trees, on the walls, and roofs of houfes^
cooing unceafngly , p. 205.

Thefe, according to the Doftor, were tame
turtle-doves. They were found in a town,
not heard as they travelled in the country; and
their number was very large: fitting every
w^here — on trees, on walls, and on the roofs.

There is a difficulty which may have pre-
fented itfelf tq fome minds, and which this
account of the tame turtle-doves of Guzel-
HifTar may remove. They migrate on the
approach of winter. Now in that feafon, it
appears by a quotation from a Jewifh writer,
mentioned in a preceding volume', pigeons are
not wont to have young ones : how then could
that law of Mofes be obeyed, which relates to
matters that happen at all times of the year %
and which enjoined them to bring for an of-r
fering to the Lord two turtle-doves, or two
young pigeons ? But now it may be obferved
from hence, that if young pigeons could not
be procured, as being in the winter, tame
turtle-doves might fupply their place, there
being doubtlefs great numbers of them then
iwfudcca^, as there are now at Guzel-Hi/Jar,
A religious confideration muft have engaged
the Jews to keep them; which can have no
influence on the inhabitants of Alia Minor of
our time.

' Obferv. on divers PalT. of Script, vol. 2^ ch. 9, obf. 15.
^ Lev. 12. S. ch, 14. 22, &c.

1 1 A$

and Military Hijhry ofjudoea.

As to the other point — their being eaten,
that appears evident from Mailkt, who could
not otherwife have pronounced concerning
their goodnefs ; yet it Ihould fcem, from the
anfwers I received from fome I confulted on
this point, who had been in the Holy-Land,
that they are not very commonly ufed for food
there at this time, fmce they did not 7'eme?7iber
ever to have eaten of them in that country.

They may be kept, poffibly, at this time
in fuch numbers in the Leffer Afia, merely for
pleafure; but it is certain that St. Jerome,
who lived long in the neighbourhood of Jeru-
falem, fpeaks of fat turtles as luxurious eat-
ing', numbering them with pheafants, and
another bird which has been fuppofed to be
the Afiatic partridge by fome ; but by others
a different kind of bird, but what they could
not well determine ^ (attagen lonius being the

Latin name.)

^ It

' Procul fmt a conviviis tuis phafides aves, crajfiturtureZy
attagen Ionicus,&omnes ave3,quibu3 ampliflima patrimonia
avolant. Nee ideo te carnibus vefci non putes, fi fuum, le-
porum, atq; cervorum, &: quadrupedum animantiiim efcu-
lentias reprobes. Non enim haec pedum numero, {e.^
fuavltate guftus judicantur. Ep. ad Salvinam dc Viduitate

" V/e cannot v/Ith certainty," fays Francis in a note
on the fecond Epodc,_'' determine what the rhombus^ fcarus^
" or attage7iwQXQ.'' If there arc various birds not common-
ly known to us, even in our country, very delicious eatins",
as thofe called by the Scotch caperkyly^ thofe called black
garne^ and ptarmigans, (fee Append, to Pennant's Tour,
1769,) can it be any v/onder we have not a very determi-
nate knowledge of what the c.n:ic4t Greeks and Romans
meant, by fome of the terms they made ufe off Nor den


I go tlelating to the Natural ^ Civile

It may not be amifs to add to the pre-
reding account, relating to the tamenefs of
many turtle-doves, what the Baron de Tott
fays in the PreUm. Difc. to his Mem.
p. xvii, and in p. 208 of the firfl part of
them. In the firft place he remarks, that
pigeons are more wild in Turkey than with us,
becaufe they are more neglefted. In the other,
that turtle-doves, on the contrary, are extremely
familiar there. The government, he tells us,
while their fubjedts are treated with great ri-
gour, is very compafjionate to thefe birds,
allowing fo much per cent, in favour of them :
*^ A cloud of thefe birds conftantly alight on
*^ the veffels which crofs the port of Conftan-
*' tinople, and carry this commodity, unco-
** vered, either to the magazines or the mills.
*^ The boatmen never oppofe their greedinefs.
** This permiffion to feaft on the grain brings
** them in great numbers, and familiarizes
*^ them to fuch a degree, that I have {^^vi
*^ them {landing on the fhoulders of the

mentions a bird they fhot In^^gypt called coramane, " of the
'' fize of a woodcock, of a delicious tafte ; but ftill more
" efteemed on account obit's fine ?iote. The Turks give for
*' them eight or ten fequins, when they are taken young and
" have been taught to fmg. With regard to their beauty,
*' it confifts only in their large eyes ; for their feathers do
*' not differ from thofe of the wild duck." Vol. 2, p. 37.
According to Pliny, lib. 9, cap. 48, the attagen when
abroad fmgs, though filent when taken, which much better
agrees with the coramanes^ than birds of the partridge kind.
It is true Ionia and Mgypt are two very different countries,
but there are other birds that pafs from the one to the
other ; whether this fpecies doth is mt faid.

^^ rowers.

and Military Hijiory of Judaa. 1 p f

^^ rowers, watching for a vacant place, where
** they may fill their crops in their turn.'*

It could not be difficult to detain in Judaea,
through the winter, as many as they chofe to
do, by taking care to feed them.

Observation CLV.

Dr. Chandler feems to fuppofe, that the
olive-groves are the principal places for the
iTiooting of birds ' ; and in his other volume,
containing an account of his travels in Greece,
he obferves, that when the olive blackens, vajl
fiights of doves, pigeons, thrujhes, and other
birds y repair to the oliY^-grov^s for food"^ i the
connexion then between Noah's dove and an
olive-leaf. Gen. viii. ii, is not at all unna-

The tops of olive-trees might alone^ poffibly,
be in view of the place where the ark was
then floating, though it is a tree of only a mid-
dling height; but if the dove fawa great number
of other trees appear above the water, it was
natural for it to repair to olive-trees, where
it had been wont to fhelter itfelf, preferably
to others, according to this account. As to
branches of olives being ufed afterwards as
fymbols of peace ^ that could be nothing to

* Trav. in Afia Minor, p. 84.

* P. 127. So HafTelquift heard the nightingale among
the willows by the river Jordan, and among the olive-trees
of Judaea, p. 21 a.


J 02 Relating to the Natural ^ Civil ^

Noah, as, moft probably, the affociating the
ideas of reconciliation and peace with an olive-
branch was the work of after times.

Observation CLVI.

Ezekiel fuppofes ' the Great ^ by which he
means the Mediterranean Sea, was very full of
iifh : I would obferve, that it was not necef-
fary, as to the Jew^s, to derive this apprehen-^
Hon from the fifh brought by the 7nen of Tyre
to Jerufalem""; their own people might draw
this knov^ledge, from the fifli they found near
what wxre indifputably tbeir own Jloores,

Doiib^any fpeaking of his going by fea from
Sidontojoppa^ (or Jaffa, as he calls it,) in
his way to Jerufalem, fays, that on his enter-
ing into that port, they found it fo abounding
in fifh, " that a great fifh purfuing one feme-
** what lefs, both of them fprung at the fame
** time above three feet out of the water; the
" firil dropped into the middle of the bark,
** and the other fell fo near that they had
*' well nigh taken it with their hands : this
" happened very luckily, as it aftorded our
" failors a treat '/'

Had he told us of what kind the two
fiflies were, it would not at all have been dif-

* Ch. 47. 10. — " Their fifii fhall be according to their
^' kinds, as the fifh of the Great Sea, exceeding many.'*

* Nehem. 13. 16.

' Voy. de la Terre-Saintc, p. 40.

aereeable :

and Military TIiJ}o?y ofjudcea. ijj

agreeable : for want of it I am not able even
to begin a lift of the fpecies of fifh which haunt,
or which viiit the yewijlo ff:)ores. This is a de*
Jideratiim in the natural hiftory of that country.
There is a vaft variety in that fea, but they
have particular places, in which many of the
different forts appear, and v^hich are not to be
found in other parts of the Mediterranean,

Though the coaft of that part of Syria which
IS denominated Palseftine, is not remarkable
for the number of it's ports, yet befides Joppa^
St. John d' Acre, Caypha under Mount Carmel,
and a few others that might be named, there
are fome creeks, and fmall convenient places,
where little vefiels, (and fuch are thofe that
are ufed for fifliing,) may fhelter themfelves,
and land what they take, though there are
very fev/ rivers on all that coaft '. To theie
places Deborah feems to refer, when flie fays,
'* Afher continued on the fea-iliore, and abode
*' in his breaches,'' or creeks, as it is tranflat-
ed in the margin ^.

So we are told that Ali Bey, marching from
Caipha to Joppa by land, fet out on the 12th
of Auguft, and crofting Mount Carmel, came
on the 1 6 th near Joppa, and pitched his camp
by a brook north-eaiftward of the town, at a
little diftance from it ^ but the ftiips anchored

' The Hiftory of Ali Bey*s Revolt fays, that from Csefa-
rea to Joppa are 15 or 16 miles, and that about a mile and
half before you come to Joppa you crcfs a fmall rivulet,
which is the only running water in all that fertile country,
p. 185. » Judges 5, 17,

Vol- IV, O in

T94 Relating to the Natural, Civile

in a creeky about fix miles to the northward
of Joppa \

So Rauwolff informs us, that when his vef-
fel got clear of the frigates that came out from
all fides near Caypha to feize upon it, and got
about Mount Carmel, two Ihips purfued them,
but were forced to leave them*: this fliows
there are feveral places where fmall fliips may
put in and anchor, and where the children of
Afher might continue in their fhips, purfuing
their marine employments ; while others of the
neighbouring tribes were hazarding their lives
in fighting for their country by land.

What Doubdan faith of the fifh that jumped
out of the fea near joppa^ in purfuit of ano-
ther large fifli, by which means one of them
was taken, and feafted on by the feamen, and
the other narrowly efcaped, may put us in
mind of the adventure of Tobit, on the bank
of the Tigris : a fifh leaping out of the water,
and darting at him, as an objed: of prey".
If one fijQi threw itfelf out of the fea in pur-
fuit of another, a voracious fifh may pcffibly
have thrown itfelf out of the water, darting
at a naked man that flood on the margin of
the river. Fifli certainly frequently devour
men that they find in the water, not only
when they find them dead, but when they
happen on them alive. But as the book of
Tobit lays the fcene of this very unufual event

* P. 126, 127.

* Ray's Travels, p. 224, 225,
3 Ch. 6. 2.


end Military Hijlory of Judaa. 195

on the fiore of the Tigris, it may not be im-
proper to fubjoin a quotation from Tbcvenot \

It relates to his voyage down the Tigris ^
tlie river that is mentioned in Tobit. *' This
** evening, about nine o'clock, one of the men
*^ in our keleck'', with an hook took a great
" fjJd 'y it was about five foot long, and
^' tlxough it was as big as a man, yet he told
" me it was a young one, and that com-
*' monly they are much bigger. The head of
*' it v/as above a foot long ; the eyes four
*' inches above the jaws, round, and as big
'* as a brafs farthing ; the mouth of it was
*' round, and being opened, as wide as the
*^ mouth of a cannon, fo that my head could
*^ eafily have gone into it; about the mouth,
"-' on the outfide, it had four white long beards
*' of fiefli, as big as one's little finger; it was
*' all over covered with fcales like to thofe of
** a carp ; it lived long out of the water, died
** when they opened the belly to ikin it, and
*' wis a female : the flefli of it was white,
'' tafted much like a tunny, and was as foft
^* and loofe as flax/'

There are then very large fip in the Tigris,
But if any of my readers, after all, fhould be
difpofed to confider this adventare of Tobit as
apocryphal, he will not, I imagine, be guilty
of a inortalfn in fo doing.

Our tranflation however, it is but jufticc

* It is in part 2, book i, ch. 13, p. 59.

^ A particular Ibrt of vefTel ufed on that river.

O 2 to

In6 Relating to the Natural , Civile

to remark^ has improperly given the Englifh
reader to underftand, that Tobit and his com-
panion, without the help of any others to
affifl them, eat up this whole great fifh, ver. 5 :
i ** And when they had roafted the fifh, they
" did eat //." The Greek original only fays,
^* And having roafted the fifh, they eat :" eat
what they thought fit of it.


People of power in the Eaft are Wont to be
moftly very oppreffive, and the expenfivenefs
of their y6^r^/;;x, or, in other words, of their
wives y appears to be one of the caufds of their
great oppreffions ^ Vv'hich feems to be exactly
what the prophet A??ios had in view, in the.
beginning of his fourth chapter, where he
compares the ladies of Ifrael to fatted kine.

As commentators of former times feem, to
me, to have m.oft unhappily jumbled and con-
founded things together, in their explanation of
this prophetic paiTage, (at leaft thofe that I
have confulted,) it may not be difagreeable to
colled: together fome obfervations upon it.

It is not at all uncommon for the prophets,
to compare the great men of their own nation
to males of this kind of animal ^ Pf. xxii. 12,
Deut. xxxiii. 17, as well as thofe of other na-
tions, Pf. Ixviii. 30, If. xxxiv. 7. Here Amos
ufcs a w^ord that denotes the females of that


and Military Hijlory of Judcea. 1 97

fpecles, which in courfe fhould fignify the
women of diftindlion m Ifrael.

Their mailers that were required to bring
fattening food and drink points out, under the
image of what was done to kine that were
fatting, thofe fuppHes, with refpedt to food,
which the luxurious ladies of that country
would, it was to be expelled, require of their
lords. Nor is it to be imagined, that they
would not equally demand fplendid clothing,
and expeniive ornaments.

That, in confequence, occafioned the op^
frejjing the poor and criijhing the needy. So Le
Bruyn defcribes the women of the Levant,
*' as having fuch a paffion for drefs, that they
*^ never think themfelves richly enough attir-
^' ed, without any attention to their rank, or
" any confideration whether their circum-
'' ftances will admit of it \" Chardin's ac-
count of the Perlian ladies is juft the fame.
^' The great luxuiy of the Periians is in their
*' feraglios, the expence of which is immenfe,
*' owing to the nuinber of women they keep
^^ there, and the profiijion their love to them
** caufes . Rich 7iew habits are continually pro -
^* cured for th.^m, perfumes are confumed there
*• in abundance, and the women, being brought
*\ up and fupported in the moft refined volup-
" tuoufnefs, ufe every artifice to procure for
*^ themfelves whatever pleafes them, without

■ Tome I, p. 450. This follows the account of the
extreme avidity of the men, fo as to flick at nothing to
procure money.

O '^ ^^ concernine

igZ Relating to the Natural, Civil,

^^ concerning themfelves about what they
** coft '." Such expenfivenefs occalions great
oppreffion now, and, it feems, did fo among
the Ifraehtes in the days" of Amos. .

Out of thefe fatting-ftalls they were to be
driven by the hand of an enemy, for breaches
are fuppofed to be made in the buildings in
which they were kept, through which they
were to be driven, every one out of her ftall
through fuch a breach, prophetically marking
out, by a continuation of the fame image, the
making breaches in the cities of their habita-
tion, and forcing them out of thofe places of
their luxury.

. The 2d verfe need not be fo underftood as
to vary the image, and from comparing them
to fatted kine in one verfe, in the next to
reprefent them as iiflies* taken away by hooks.
The words in the original fignify thorns^ con-
fequently any ftraight fliarp-pointed thing as
well as one bent, or an hook. And when it is
remembered that animals of this kind, as well
as aifes, are driven along by a Iharp-pointed
flick, or fome fuch kind of inftrumxent, this
2d verfe is decyphered, and brought to be of
an homogeneous nature with the preceding
and following verfe.

That this is the cuftom in thofe countries
we learn from Maundrell, '* Franks are
^^ obliged either to walk on foot, or elfe tq
** ride upon aifes. .... When you are mount-
^^ ed, the mafter of the afs follows his beall; to

^ Tpmp 2, p. 55.

^' the

and Military Hijlory ofjuacea. 1 99

^^ the place whither you are difpofed to go;
** goading him up behind with a fiarp -pointed
** Jiicik, which makes him difpatch his ftage
*^ with great expedition'." Oxen are driven
there, according to him, after the fame man-
ner. ^^ The country-people were now every
*^ w^here at plough in the fields, in order to
^* fow cotton. 'Twas obfervable that in
*^ ploughing they ufed goads of an extraor-
'* dinary fize. Upon meafuring of feveral,
** I found them about eight foot long, and at
'* the bigger end fix inches in circumference.
** They were armed at the lefler end with a
*' Jharp prickle for driving- the oxen, and at the
'' other end with a fmall fpade, or paddle of
*' iron, ftrong and mafiy, for cleanfing the
*^ plough from the clay that encumbers it in
*^ working\" If(?;c^;2 then, andy^/z/^/^j- of that
fpecies, are wont to be driven along by goads,
it cannot be wondered at that the prophet
Ihould reprefent the carrying away into capti-
vity of the Ifraelitifh ladies, (confidered un-
der the image of kine,) by the driving them
along by goads: '' he fliall take you away
*' with iliarp-pointed inftruments," for that
feems to be the precife meaning of the word ;
not hooks, nor even thorns, in an exclufive
fenfe, but in general things that are iharp-
pointed \

' P. 130, edit. 5. ^ P. no, III.

^ )L\^\\ Jh'ields^ which anciently oftentimes had a fliarp
fpike fixed in the middle of the outfide furface. i Kings
10. 16.

O 4. I can

Relating to the Natural^ Civile

I can aflign no reafon why thorns^ (or fharp-.
pointed things,) fuch as were ufed for taking
jijhy are mentioned in the laft claufe, unlefs it
ihould be underftood to mean the great feve-
rity with which the women of Ifrael would
be driven away, in the laft captivity of thofe
jof the ten tribes under Hofiea. Inftruments
not veiy unlike the Eaftern goads have been
ufed, I think, for catching fifh, and were
meant by our tranflators when they ufed the
term fijh-jpears. Job xli. 7 ; but then they
niufl: have been much fharper than goads, in
order to fecure the filh ■ . But a goad iharpen-
ed to a point like a fifh-fpear, muft have been
a dreadful inftrument to drive cattle with,
wounding them fo as to occafion great anguiih
in their travelling along, and therefore not an
improper reprefentation, of the great feverity
ufed in driving the latter captives under Ho-
Ihea into Affyria.

My reader v/ill obferve here, that I fuppofe
the word tranflated '' pofterity" in the 2d
verfe, means rather the re7namder^ thofe that
came after them that were firft carried avv^ay
of the t^n tribes : fo the word is twice ufed,
Ezek. xxiii. 25, once tranflated remnant y and
the other time refidue. And, agreeably to this,
we find the people of the kingdom of the ten
tribes were carried away at twice, the miore

' So Camden, in his account of our native tjland^ tells
us, that thofe that live by the fides of Solway Frith hunt
lalmons, whereof there is great plenty there, with y^^^ri on
aorfeback. Under his account of Nidifdale.


and Military Hijlory of fudaa . 2 o i

northern and eaftern parts by Tiglath-Pile-
fer', the reft feveral years after by Shalma-
nefer ^ and it is natural to luppofe the treat-
ment thefe laft met with was more fevere than
what the firft felt.

The laft claufe probably was defigned to
jExprefs whither they were to be driven, as
fome of the old translations underftood it to
mean, but it is not the delign of thefe papers
to examine matters of that kind. It is fufS^
cient to obferve, that the two words of the
2d verfe, the one rendered hooks in our veriion,
the other fifh-hooks, I fliould fuppofe mean
fharp-pointed inftruments ufed for the driv-
ing away of cattle -, but the laft fuppofed to
be more pointed than the iirft, and fharpened
to fuch a degree, as even to be fit for the
ftriking of fifh. Te Jhall he driven away^ ye
fatted kine oflfrael, as with goads ; and the laji
parcel of you with iiTJirunmits Jharp as fifh*


Among fevera! of the fmaller tribes of the
Eaftern people, who are a good deal indepen-
dent, perfons take upon them to do them-
felves juftice, if they think they are injured,
without much notice of it being taken by their
fuperiors. A ftate of things fo nearly refem-
bling anarchy as appears veiy furprifing to

' 2 Kings 15, 29, * Ch. 17. 3, 6.


Relating to the Natural^ Civile

Europeans. It feems to have been the fame

Niebuhr fays, that if two Schechs of the
Drufes ' quarrel, *^ they fend their peafants
" into the village of their enemy, caufe the
*' inhabitants to be maflacred, cut dow^n the
** mulberry and olive-trees, and the £;;^/r*'
** oftentimes doth not punifh thefe exceifes ^''
In other cafes he mentions the burning of

I ihould fuppofe we are to underftand the
Philiftines burning the fpoufe of Samfon and
her father, not as the confequence of the re-
gular decifion of the nation ; but the tumid"
tuary exercife of juftice like that of the modern
Drufes. — Samfon, a principal Ifraelite, burnt,
they were informed, fome of their corn-fields,
their vineyards and olive-yards, in confequence
of an injury he had received ; and thofe that
fufFered that lofs revenged it, by fetting fire to
the houfe of him that provoked him to this
vengeance, in which he and his daughter
miferably periilied. Judges xv. 6.

Observation CLIX,

A great likenefs appears, between the ma-
nagements of the Jews, when the chief captain

* The chiefs of their villages : each village having it's
Schech. The Drufes being one of the forts of people that

Online LibraryThomas HarmerObservations on divers passages of the Scripture : by means of circumstances incidentally mentioned in books of voyages and travels into the East (Volume 4) → online text (page 12 of 34)