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go over with
unto my lord the king; but my lord the 37 Let thy servant, I pray, thee, turn king is as an angel of God: do therefore back again, that I may die in mine own city, what is good in thine eyes.
and be buried by the grave of my father and 28 For all of my father's house were but of my mother. But behold thy servant "dead men before my lord the king : yet Chimham; let him go over with my lord the didst thou set thy servant among them that king; and do to him what shall seem good did cat at thine own table. What right unto thee. therefore have I yet to cry any more unto 38 And the king answered, Chimham the king?
and I will do to him 29 And the king said unto him, Why that which shall seem good unto thee: and speakest thou any more of thy matters? I whatsoever thou shalt \*require of me, that have said, Thou and Ziba divide the land. will I do for thee.
30 And Mephibosheth said unto the king, 39 And all the people went over Jordan. Yea, let him take all, forasmuch as my lord And when the king was come over, the king the king is come again in peace unto his kissed Barzillai, and blessed him; and he own house.
returned unto his own place. 31 | And Barzillai the Gileadite_ came 40 Then the king went on to Gilgal, and down from Rogelim, and went over Jordan Chimham went on with him: and all the with the king, to conduct him over Jordan. people of Judah conducted the king, and
32 Now Barzillai was a very aged man, also half the people of Israel. even fourscore years old : and he had pro- 41 And, behold, all the men of Israel vided the king of sustenance while he lay at came to the king, and said unto the king, Mahanaim; for he was a very great man. Why have our brethren the men of Judah
33 And the king said unto Barzillai, stolen thee away, and have brought the king, Come thou over with me, and I will feed and his houshold, and all David's men with thee with me in Jerusalem.
him, over Jordan ? 34 And Barzillai said unto the king, 42 And all the men of Judah answered How long have I to live, that I should go the men of Israel, Because the king is nca up with the king unto Jerusalem ?
of kin to us: wherefore then be ye angry for 35 I am this day fourscore years old: and this matter? have we eaten at all of the can I discern between good and evil? can king's cost? or hath he given us any gift? thy servant taste what I eat or what I drink? 43 And the men of Israel answered the can I hear any more the voice of singing men of Judah, and said, We have ten part: men and singing women? wherefore then in the king, and we have also more right ir should thy servant be yet a burden unto my David than ye: why then did ye "despise lord the king ?
us, that our advice should not be first hai 36 Thy servant will go a little way over in bringing back our king? And the word: Jordan with the king: and why should the of the men of Judah were ficrcer than the king recompense it me with such a reward? words of the men of Israel. 12 Clap. 17. 27. 13 Heb. how many days are the ycars of my life?
15 Heb. set us at light.
11 Heb. men of death.
1* Heb, choose.
Verse 4. " Covered his face.”—This act is obviously the same, or of equivalent signification to the covering the heal mentioned in chap. xv. 30, and explained in the note.
14. “ And he bowed the heart," &c.—The Hebrew interpreters refer this, with great probability, to Amasa, not to Da vid: that is, that David having won over Amasa, the latter employed his great influence in bringing the men of Judd back to their allegiance.
18. “ A ferry boat.”—This translation is very doubtful. The sense given by the Syriac and Septuagint seems pro ferable, in referring the words to the men mentioned in the preceding verse; and, accordingly, Dr. Boothroyd render: “ Aud these went over Jordan before the king, and performed the service of bringing over the king's household:” the is, as some of the Rabbins understand, by carrying over, on their backs, the women and children who could not conna niently ford the river. Others think, however, that there was a bridge of boats used on this occasion; and some su] pose that the men in question employed a ferry-boat of some kind or other for the purpose. We will take the latti sense; not as certain of its accuracy, but as it affords room for an explanation concerning the most ancient boats, whic will serve as a general illustration ; for boats of some sort must have been known to the Hebrews, and are sometiin mentioned in the Prophets.
Although the Arabs look upon a boat as a young ship, a boat is in fact the parent of a ship. To state therefore :) history of a boat would be equivalent to an account of the early history of navigation; and this would embrace ti many irrelevant topics to be here investigated. A few general remarks, chiefly with reference to the Oriental methor in navigating or crossing rivers, will not be misplaced.
For obvious reasons, the banks of rivers furnished the sites earliest occupied by man, and on which the first towi were erected by him. Under such circumstances, the desire of persons occupying opposite sides of a river to comm
nicate frequently with each other; or the wish to appropriate the opposite land for pasturage or culture, or to hunt the wild animals by which it was frequented—must soon have suggested a method of passing to the other side, less incon. venient and dangerous than that of swimming. The buoyant property of wood 'must early have been observed, and was probably first essayed upon the drifted trunk of some uprooted tree. Many such trunks or beams of wood, drifted together and stopping each other, so as to form a tolerably compact mass, would suggest the idea that, by binding them firmly together, a platform might be constructed, on which a considerable number of persons or weight of property might be conveyed across a river or floated down its stream. '
It is evident that a raft could only be thought of in a wooded district, or where large wood came floating down the rivers. In places where wood is scarce, there can be no rafts of timber; but where it is in sufficient quantity, the evidence in favour of the priority of rafts seems to us indisputable. Ancient writers attest the very extensive use of such a conveyance; and, what is of most importance, we find it in use on both the eastern and western frontiers of David's dominions ; that is, on the Euphrates, on the one hand, and among his western friends the Phænicians, on the other. Rafts were also in general use, for local purposes at least, throughout the eastern part of the Miditerranean, from Sicily to the coast of Asia. It is also interesting to observe, that when Ulysses devised means for leaving the island of Calypso, it was a raft that he constructed ; and a very complete one it was, though finished in four days. The description is one of the most interesting things of the kind we have. It describes not only the materials, the form, and the several parts, but the tools with which it was formed, and even the process of construction. Calypso, having agreed to the departure of the chief from her island, “She gave him, fitted to his grasp, an axe
To other, and the seams with wadding closed. Of iron, pond'rous, double edged, with haft
Broad as an artist, skilled in naval works, Of olive-wood, inserted firm, and wrought
The bottom of a ship of burden spreads, With curious art. Then placing in his hand
Such breadth Ulysses to his raft assign’d. A polish'd adze, she led, herself, the way
He deck'd her over with long planks, upborne To her isle's utmost verge, where loftiest stood
On massy beams; he made the mast, The alder, poplar, and cloud-piercing fir,
To which he added suitable the yard ;-he framed Though sapless, sound, and fittest for his use,
Rudder and helm, to regulate her course ; As buoyant most..... Then slept not he,
With wicker-work he border'd all her length But, swinging with both hands the axe, his task
For safety, and much ballast stowed within, Soon finishd; trees full twenty to the ground
Meantime Calypso brought him for a sail He cast, which dext'rous with his adze he smooth’d, Fittest material,
which he also shaped ; The knotted surface chipping by a line.
And to his sail due furniture annex’d, Meantime the lovely goddess to his aid
Of cordage strong, foot ropes, and ropes aloft ; Sharp augers brought, with which he bored the beams, Then heaved her down with levers to the deep ;Then placed them side by side, adapting each
He finish'd all his work on the fourth day."
Odyss. V.—Cowper. This raft would have been very convenient for crossing and descending, rivers; and, in fact, we have seen "flying bridges” in England, much on the same general principle, for the hull, which this exhibits. The mast, the sail, the helm, the deck, and the wicker fence, were improvements on the original raft, which was merely a float. The various and progressive ancient forms of the raft or float are still seen in different countries, from the catamaran-without sail or rudder, carrying one man, who sits with his legs in the water to that of a large raft of sixty or seventy tons burthen, fitted with a rudder, mast, and sail, like the famous vessel of Ulysses.
Whether boats, properly so called, were earlier or later than rafts, it is of no consequence to inquire. Rafts may have originated first, where only trees of moderate or small size were found drifting on the water ; and canoes may have had the priority, where very large trunks were thus found. The first boat was evidently a canoe—the trunk of a large tree hollowed by fire-such as are still in use among the South-Sea islanders. Accident may have revealed this kind of boat; and, according to Sanchoniathon, that revelation was made on the Phænician coast. With the claims of his curious fragment to attention, we have nothing to do; but the account which he gives of the origin of navigation is interesting, and, on account of the locality, illustrative. It says, that in the fifth generation from the first man and woman, an impetuous wind having kindled a forest hard by Tyre, Usous took a tree, cut off its branches, and having launched it into the sea, made use of it for a boat. This may either apply to a mere log, felled by a fire, or to a canoe excavated by fire;
but we think the latter, as there seems an evident allusion to the practice. We have ourselves seen large trees in the East, so burnt hollow on one side by lightning, or by accidental fires, that a little lopping, or further application of fire, would have made them very tolerable canoes. Other and more perfect modes of excavation were found when tools of sufficient hardness were invented ; and, ultimately, where timber was too scarce to render convenient the waste which this process involved-and still more where trees of suitable size could not readily be obtainedthe happy plan was devised of obtaining a similar form by a construction of small parts, instead of by the wasteful excavation of a whole tree. Of this invention we find the earliest indications among the Egyptians. Their boats have generally that long, narrow form, which manifests the derivation from an excavated tree; and which, with some variation, we equally find still in the wherries of the Bosphorus and of the Thames. In looking at some of the Egyptian boats, we might suppose them to be single trees excavated, were they not mentioned by Herodotus as being formed of pieces of wood, two cubits long, joined together in brick fashion,” and afterwards planked over, the chinks being stopped with byblus (see 'Egyptian Antiquities,' vol. ii. p. 90_93). Such boats were for conveying merchandise upon the river.
But how did they manage whose rivers and countries afforded no wood adapted either for rafts, canoes, or other vessels of wood ? To determine this, we must see what they actually did, and still do, on the Tigris and Euphrates ; where processes were employed which the Hebrew captives must often have noticed when they sat and wept " by the wateis of Babylon,” and hung their
harps upon its willows, refusing to sing the songs of Zion in a strange land; and where vessels occur in which they must often have crossed over and passed along those renowned streams.
It would seem as if the floating of a bowl in the water, and the accidental fall of an inflated skin-bottle into the river, suggested the first idea of the water-conveyances there in use.
With reference to the last idea, perhaps a man having fallen into the river with such a skin, saved himself from drowning by its aid ; whence possibly originated the custom still in use among the Arabs who occupy the banks, to cross to the other side, supporting the weight of their body upon an inflated skin, and propelling themselves with their feet. But it is more important to observe how, in the absence of large timber, they made such skins serve as a raft. The present custom is to join together several of these air-inflated sheep-skins, over which is laid a platform of trunks of the wild poplar tied tight together. These form exceedingly buoyant rafts, on which people from the towns high on the rivers, transport goods to places lower downfrom Mosul to Bagdad, for instance, where the raft is taken to pieces, the wood sold, and the emptied skins returned by land on the backs of camels, horses, mules, or asses. This is almost exactly the process described by Herodotus as prevailing in his time. This fact does not, indeed, clearly appear in the common translations of this most ancient historian ; but has been demonstrated to be the real meaning of his text by Colonel Taylor of Bagdad, in a note found in Mignan’s ‘Travels in Chaldæa,' p. 243. Herodotus also mentions the other vessel, the idea of which seems to have been suggested by a floating bowl or basket. The vessels here indicated are in fact round wicker-baskets (“round as a shield," says Herodotus) rendered perfectly impervious to the water by an external coating of bitumen. Their ribs are composed of the midrib of the frond of the date-tree, or of thin willow rods, sometimes interwoven with reeds, rushes, or osiers, to form a basis to the bitumen. The only difference in the account of Herodotus is, that he describes the external covering as of skin ; and the account which he gives of the Babylonian boats, which seemed to him among the greatest curiosities of Babylon, will be quite intelligible, when his account is understood to refer not to one of these conveyances, but to both. The round boats are used chiefly for local purposes, like wherries. Such baskets (not always ruund), covered with skin where bitumen could not be procured, were not confined to the rivers of Mesopotamia. As now existing, they answer to the ark of bulrushes, “daubed with slime and with pitch,” in which the infant Moses was deposited by his mother; and, as covered with skin, their use was still more general. Thus Lucan :
'“ The bending willows into barks they twine,
Then line the work with skins of slaughter'd kine;
The Memphian artist builds his reedy boat.”—Rowe. The explanation we have given will elucidate the various references to boats of skin and of reeds, which were so general in ancient times, that many think them the most ancient of all ; and we doubt not that they were so in countries where suitable timber for rafts and canoes could not be obtained. We incline to think that where boats are mentioned as of skin only, it is to be understood that the skin covered a basket of reeds or rushes, unless when inflated skins were employed as we have described : and, on the other hand, that when a boat is described as being of reeds or rushes, or papyrus (as in Egypt), a covering of skin or bitumen is to be understood. We know, indeed, that Oriental basket-work is often impervious to water ; but still probability and actual usage confirm the impression, of the use of some kind of outward covering. Compare Isa. xviii. 2, with Exod. ii. 3 ; in the former we have *“ a vessel of bulrushes,” in the latter a vessel of bulrushes is coated with “slime and pitch.”
We need not go far for illustration of the sort of boats of which we have been speaking. The British boat mentioned in the above quotation from Lucan, and also in Cæsar, continues to be used on the rivers of Wales, under the name of mesracle” (corwg). It differs little from the Babylonian boat, except in being
smaller and lighter, and oval instead of fund. It is from five to six feet long, by four in breadth. The wood-cut exhibits its form. The frame is of split Pods, plaited like basket-work, and covered on the outside with a raw hide, or with strong and coarse flannel, rendered vater-tight by a thick coating of pitch and tar. It is only adapted to carry one person, who sits on a narrow board
across the middle, whence he directs the course of his vessel at pleasure. By means of a leathern strap attached to the seat, and which he passes around his body, the man carries his boat to or from home on his back, when his appearance has been compared to that of a tortoise walking on its hind legs. This comparison reminds us of one of the ancient statements (by Pliny, Diodorus, and Strabo), that large tortoise-shells were in early times used as boats. The Welsh coracle does not weigh more than from forty to fifty pounds ; but it was perhaps anciently larger and heavier, as a proverb still survives, which expresses that the coracle should form as heavy a load as could be carried by the man it was to bear on the water. One of our cuts, in page 135, represents a very remarkable boat, taken from the Persian sculptures at Takht-i-Bostan. The scene is a boar-hunt in watery ground, seemingly intersected by ponds, in which several of these boats are paddled about. They are probably of wicker-work, covered with skin or bitumen, being a sort of coracle, the height of which, as compared with its internal shallowness, implies that it had an elevated floor, or that the bottom was in some way filled up. We are not aware that any boats like this are now used in Western Asia.
24. “ He had neither dressed his feet.”—His feet, which were lame, and required attention; or perhaps it means that he had omitted that general attention to the feet which is required in the East.
“ Nor trimmed his beard.”—After the explanation given in the note to chap. x. 4, concerning the estimation in which the heard is held in Western Asia, we scarcely need add that very considerable care is taken of it, the neglect of which is understood to express very forcibly the forgetfulness of grief. The manner in which it is attended to, however, differs in various nations. It is clipped by some to give it a favourite shape, and by others only trimmed slightly, to improve its appearance. The example of Mohammed, who is alleged to have diminished the length and thickness of his beard, has had more weight with some of his followers than with others.-- Almost every Moslem carries a comb with him for the sole purpose of combing his beard. This is often done-particularly after prayers, at the conclusion of which the devotee usually remains sitting on his heels and combing his beard. The hairs which fall are carefully collected and preserved, to be buried with the person to whose beard they belonged; and sometimes, when he has collected a certain quantity, he deposits them himself in his destined sepulchre. It seems that in the time of Mohammed the Jews did not dye their beards; but the Arabs did: for the traditions mention it as a point of difference between Moslems and Jews. This however is not conclusive evidence that the latter never did so. The dyes usually employed for the beard are black or a fiery red. The latter is obtained by the application of a paste of henna leaves, and the plack, hy a further application of indigo. The process is painful and tiresome, and must be repeated every fortnight; but men cheerfully submit to it for the honour of their beards. The Persians dye their beards more generally than any other people, and prefer the black colour. The Turks almost never dye theirs, and the Arabs but seldom. When the last named people use a dye, they are commonly content with the red colour. In this they follow the instruction of their Prophet, who recommended dyeing the beard, but hated the black dye, preferring the red, and recommending in this the nearest approach to yellow that could be obtained. Beards are also anointed, perfumed, and incensed in the East by the upper classes. All this care of the beard will illustrate the entire abandonment to sorrow, which the neglect of that important appendage implies.
35. “ Can I hear any more the voice of singing men and singing women ?”—As Barzillai mentions this among the unaccustomed attractions which age rendered him incapable of enjoying, it would seem that David had made music to form one of the enjoyments of his royal state, and had probably trained or collected a body of vocal and instrumental performers, as part of his royal establishment. This we might expect from so accomplished a musician as David. The performances of his “singing men and singing woinen” would seem, from what Barzillai says, to have been so much admired, that the subject formed one of those prominent wonders of the court, of which people living in distant parts of the country were accustomed to speak. This is still a royal custom of the East.
were 'shut up unto the day of their death, 1 By occasion of the quarrel, Sheba maketh a party living in widowhood. in Israel. 3. David's ten concubines are shut up
4 | Then said the king to Amasa, 'Asin perpetual prison. 4 Amasa, made captain over semble me the men of Judah within three Judah, is slain by Joab. 14 Joab pursueth Sheba days, and be thou here present. unto Abel. 16 A wise woman saveth the city by
5 So Amasa went to assemble the men of Sheba's head. 23 David's officers.
Judah : but he tarried longer than the set And there happened to be there a man of time which he had appointed him. Belial, whose name was Sheba, the son of 6 And David said to Abishai, Now shall Bichri, a Benjamite: and he blew a trumpet, Sheba the son of Bichri do us more harm and said, We have no part in David, neither than did Absalom : take thou thy lord's serhave we inheritance in the son of Jesse: vants, and pursue after him, lest he get him every man to his tents, O Israel.
fenced cities, and Rescape us. 2 So every man of Israel went up from 7 And there went out after him Joab's after David, and followed Sheba the son of men, and the Cherethites, and the PeleBichri: but the men of Judah clave unto thites, and all the mighty men: and they their king, from Jordan even to Jerusalem. went out of Jerusalem, to pursue after Sheba
3 9 And David came to his house at Je- the son of Bichri. rusalem ; and the king took the ten women 8 When they were at the great stone his 'concubines, whom he had left to keep which is in Gibeon, Amasa went before the house, and put them in 'ward, and fed them. And Joab's garment that he had them, but went not in unto them. So they put on was girded unto him, and upon it a 1 Chap, 16. 2. % Heb, a house of ward.
* Heb. in widowhood of life. 6 Heb. deliver himself from our eyes. 7 Chap. 8. 18
3 Heb, bound.
5 Heb. Call.