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break. The grinder usually sits down on the floor, and placing the mill on her lap, by means of the handle works the upper stone round with her right hand. Hence we read of the maid-servant who is behind the mill. There were other mills which required two women to work one of them : of whom one might be taken and the other left. “ Most families grind their wheat and barley at home, having two portable grindstones for that purpose; the uppermost whereof is turned round by a small handle of wood or iron, that is placed in the rim. When this stone is large, or expedition is required, then a second person is called in to assist ; and ... it is usual for the women alone to be concerned in this employment, who seat themselves over against each other, with the millstones between them." --Shaw's Barbary, i. 416.
“It is difficult on looking at two persons so engaged, to conceive a situation in which it would be less easy to remove the one without interfering with the other. A whole quarto of commentaries on the above verse (Matt. xxiv. 41) could not have impressed my mind with a tenth part of the conviction which flashed upon me when I first saw two women actually “grinding at the mill ;' all unconscious of the cause of my admiration, and as yet ignorant, alas ! of the sublime lessons to enforce and explain which their humble task was referred to.”—See CAPTAIN Basil Hall's Fragments of Voyages and Travels, iii, 25, 26.
Occasionally, various substances were mingled in the composition of the bread, as described in Ezekiel iv. 9:- “ Take thou also unto thee wheat, and barley, and beans, and lentiles, and millet, and fitches, and put them in one vessel, and make the bread thereof;" but this was only done under the pressure of extreme want.
Bread was seldom eaten by itself; something was required to give a relish to it. It was not unusual to dip it into the “vinegar” or sour wine, which was the usual beverage of the working classes of Palestine :
THE STAFF OF BREAD,
so Boaz invited Ruth :- Come thou hither, and eat of the bread, and dip thy morsel in the vinegar” (Ruth ii. 14); or, it might be dipped into the gravy, which was served up along with meat, as was the “ "sop” which Jesus dipped and gave to Judas Iscariot (John xiii. 26); or, again, it was eaten with fish :-“ As soon as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread” (John xxi, 9). But under all circumstances bread appears to have been the substantial food of the Jews, and is hence well described as the “ staff of bread,” any scarcity of it being regarded in the light of a Divine visitation :—“ When I have broken the staff of your bread, ten women shall bake your bread in one oven, and they shall deliver you your bread again by weight : and ye shall eat, and not be satisfied” (Lev. xxvi. 26).
MILK.-LEBEN, OR SOUR MILK.—BUTTER.–CHEESE.—BUTTER
AND HONEY. NATURAL HONEY. — ARTIFICIAL HONEY.VEGETABLES.—LENTILES.—EGYPTIAN VEGETABLES.—Husks.-Mallows, &c. — FRUIT. — Figs. — SYCAMORES. GRAPES. RAISINS. GRAPE CAKES. - MEAT. COOKING. — Fish. Locusts.- WATER SOLD.--FETCHING WATER THE BUSINESS OF WOMEN.- WINE.—STRONG DRINK.—MIXED WINE.— VINEGAR.
Milk is far more extensively used by the orientals as an article of substantial diet than by ourselves. This arises partly from the circumstance that flocks and herds are the chief support of the wandering pastors, and partly from the refreshing character of the draught itself. It was and still is to be found in every tent, and is offered freely to all comers. Abraham “ took butter and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them” (Gen. xviii. 8). Sisera, coming wearied to the tent of Heber, the Kenite, “asked water, and she (Jael) gave him milk; she brought forth butter in a lordly dish ” (Judg. v. 25). We must here observe that the “butter” which Jael offered to Sisera was a peculiar preparation of milk, more resembling our butter-milk than anything else: it is called "leben," and is still extensively used in the East, having the valuable quality of being capable of preservation. In many passages, besides the one just quoted, it is necessary to understand by the term " butter” this kind of milk ; as in Deut. xxxii. 14; “Butter of kine and milk of sheep,” where the milk of cows is contrasted with that of sheep; in Job xx. 17 : —“He shall not see ... the brooks of honey and
butter;" and, again, in xxix, 6:
“ I washed my steps with butter. Both these substances, milk and leben, are kept in leathern bottles, as described in Judg. iv. 19:—“She opened a bottle of milk, and gave him drink.”
The following extracts are selected out of many which describe the use of milk among the Easterns :“ Before leaving the poor villagers, we partook of the first-fruits of the land in the shape of fine ripe apricots, and drank a little of a kind of sour milk, which is very cooling and pleasant when well prepared. It was this which Jael gave to Sisera. She brought forth butter in a lordly dish ;' the word in the original being the same as that now applied by the Arabs to this simple beverage. It is made by putting milk into an earthen jar, and letting it stand for a day. The taste is not unlike that of buttermilk; cool, and most refreshing to a w ry man oppressed with heat. The Arabs say, 'it makes a sick man well !'”–Narrative of a Mission of Inquiry to the Jews, p. 110.
“The sheep and goats are milked by the women every morning before daybreak; the milk is shaken for about two hours in skins, and thus becomes butter; and the buttermilk constitutes the chief drink of the Arabs, and is much used in their dishes; it is generally called leben ... - BURCKHARDT's Notes, i. 240.
“We came in a few minutes to the encampment of Sheikh Mustafa. ... Here a large bowl of leben (soured milk) was already prepared for our breakfast ; but as we were neither hungry nor thirsty, we left it to our attendants, by whom it was greedily devoured.”—ROBINson's Researches, i. 571.
“Before going with us, it seems the hospitable old sheikh had given orders to prepare a breakfast for us ; and, on our return, the women announced that the bread was baked, and the meal would be ready in a few minutes. Although anxious to get on, we waited for some time; but as we saw no end to the delay, we
at length mounted and moved off. The sheikh now came running with his bosom full of bread, which he distributed among our muleteers; assuring us that the semen (melted butter) and leben (soured milk) were already poured upon the bread in a bowl for breakfast. -ROBINSON, ii. 70.
It appears uncertain whether the substance which we should describe as butter was known to the Hebrews; and the same may be said of cheese. The former is indeed apparently noticed in Prov. xxx. 33 :—“Surely the churning of the milk bringeth forth butter ...so the forcing of wrath bringeth forth strife :” but it is uncertain whether the word rendered “ churning” does not rather signify pressure, in which case the words would refer to cheese rather than butter. Cheese appears in the following passages in our version :" And Jesse said unto David ... Run to the camp to thy brethren, and carry these ten cheeses unto the captain of their thousands” (1 Sam. xvii. 17, 18): “Barzillai the Gileadite brought ... honey, and butter, and sheep, and cheese of kine, for David, and for the people that were with him” (2 Sam. xvii. 27-29); “ Hast thou not poured me out as milk, and curdled me like cheese?” (Job x. 10). It is again doubtful whether the Hebrew terms here used really mean cheese, or not rather dried buttermilk.
The Bedouins are extremely fond of butter, and take it chiefly in a melted state.
The following passages describe its manufacture and use :—“The goats' or sheep's milk (for camels' milk is never used for this purpose) is put into a large copper pan, over a slow fire, and a little sour milk, or a small piece of the dried entrails of a young lamb, thrown in with it. The milk then separates, and is put into the goatskin, which is tied to one of the tent-poles, and for one or two hours constantly moved backwards and forwards ; the buttery substance then coagulates, the water is squeezed out, and the butter put into another skin; if after two days