Page images
PDF
EPUB

The following catalogue of the birds forbidden, written "in English metre,' is extracted from the Bibliotheca Biblica, V. iii.. p. 142, ed. 4to. 1725, where it is printed in the old black letter..

“ Of feathred Foules that fanne the bucksom aire,
Not all alike weare made for foode to Men,

For, these thou shalt not eat doth God declare,
Twice tenne their nombre, and their flesh unclene: -

Fyrst the great Eagle, byrde of feigned Jove 4,

Which Thebanes worshippe 15 and diviners love.
“ Next Ossifrage and Ospray (both one kinde 16),
Of luxurie and rapine, emblems mete,

That haunte the shores, the choicest preye to finde,
And brast the bones, and scoope the marrowe swete:

The Vulture, void of delicace and feare,

Who spareth not the pale dede man to teare:
“The tall-built Swann, faire type of pride confest;
The Pelicane, whose sons are nurst with bloode,

Forbidd to man! she stabbeth deep her breast,
Self-murtheresse through fondnesse to hir broode,

They too that range the thirstie wilds emong,

The Ostryches, unthoughtful of thir yonge 17.
“ The Raven ominous (as Gentiles holde),
What time she croaketh hoarsely a la morte;

The Hawke, aerial bunter, swifte and bolde,
In feates of mischief trayned for disporte;

The vocale Cuckowe, of the faulcon race,

Obscene intruder in her neighbor's place:
« The Owle demure, who loveth not the lighte
(Ill semblance she of wisdome to the Greeke),

The smallest fouls dradd foe, the coward Kite,
And the stille Herne, arresting fishes meeke;

The glutton Cormorante, of sullen moode,

Regardyng no distinction in his foode.
“ The Storke, which dwelleth on the fir-tree topp 18,
And trusteth that no power shall bir dismaye,

As Kinges, on their high stations place thir hope,
Nor wist that there be higher farr than theye 19

The gay Gier-Eagle, beautifull to viewe,

Bearyng within a savage herte untrewe:
“ The Ibis whome in Egypte Israel found,
Fell byrd! that living serpents can digest;

The crested Lapwynge, wailing shrill arounde,
Solicitous, with no contentment blest;

Last the foul Batt 20, of byrd and beast first bredde,
Flitting with littel leathren sailes dispredde."

14 Vid. Natal. Com. de Mythol. 1. ii. cap. de Jove. 15 Diodor. Sicul. lib. i. 16 Gesner, de avib. 17 Job, xxix. 16. 18 Psalm civ. 17. 19 Eccles. v. 8. 20 Arist. de animal, 1. iv. c. 13.

THE

NATURAL HISTORY OF THE BIBLE.

ADAMANT. TOW SCHMIR, AAAMAA, Ecclus. xvi. 16.

A stone of impenetrable hardness. Sometimes this name is given to the DIAMOND; and so it is rendered Jeremiah, xvii. 1. But the Hebrew word rather means a very hard kind of stone, probably the SMIRIS, which was also used for cutting, engraving, and polishing other hard stones and crystals 1. The word occurs also in Ezek. iii. 9, and Zech. vii. 12. In the former place the Deity says to the prophet, “ I have made thy forehead as an adamant, firmer than a rock; that is, endued thee with undaunted courage. In the latter place, the hearts of wicked men are declared to be as adamant ; neither broken by the threatenings and judgments of God, nor penetrated by his promises, invitations, and mercies. See DIAMOND.

ADDER. A venomous serpent, more usually called the Viper.

In our translation of the Bible we find the word adder five times; but without sufficient authority froin the original ?

DOW SHEPHIPHON, Genesis, xlix. 17, is probably the CERASTES 3; a serpent of the viper kind, of a light brown colour, which lurks in the sand and the tracks of wheels in the road, and unexpectedly bites not only the unwary traveller, but the legs of horses and other beasts *. By comparing the Danites to this

? On“ the art of polishing and engraving on precious stones," the most curious and ingenious of all antiquity, see a learned chapter in Goguet, Origin of Laws, Arts, and Sciences, vol. ii. p. 3. edit. Edinb.

2 Gen. xlix. 17. Psal. lviii. 4. xci. 13. cxl. 3. Prov. xxiii. 32.

3 So say St. Jerom and Bochart; and it is so rendered in the Vulgate. There is a serpent, whose name in Arabic is sipphon, which is probably the same that is spoken of above.. See Michaelis, Recueil de Quest. Ixii.

Šv de cualciory
και αματροχιησι παρα στιβον, ενδυκες ανει.
Διπλοις δ' εν βεβωσι, και ιγνυσιν ασκελες αυτος
Moxoos ETELTPEPETAL.

Nicander, Theriac, v. 262.
Lean, dun of hue, the snake in sands is laid,
Or haunts within the trench that wheels have made;
Against thee straight on onward spires he glides, -

And bites the horse's leg, or cattle's sides. See also Ælian, l. xvi. c. 28. Diod. I. iii. c. 28. Bochart, Hierozoicon, p. ii. 1. iii. c. xii. p. 205. vol. 3. edit. Rosenmuller.

artful reptile, the patriarch intimated that by stratagem more than by open bravery, they should avenge themselves of their enemies and extend their conquests.

Ang PETHEN, in Psalm lviii. 4. xci. 13, signifies an Asp. We may perhaps trace to this the PYTHON of the Greeks and its derivatives. See Asp.

WY ACHSUB, found only in Psalm cxl. 3, is derived from a verb which signifies to bend back on itself. The Chaldee Paraphrasts render it wizy ACCHABIS, which we translate elsewhere, spider; they may therefore have understood it to be the tarantula. It is rendered asp by the Septuagint and Vulgate, and is so taken Rom. iii. 13. The name is from the Arabic achasa. But there are several serpents which coil themselves previously to darting on their enemy: if this be a character of the asp, it is not peculiar to that reptile. It may be the snake mentioned by FORSKAL, called by the Arabians hannasch asuæd.

YDY TZEPHA, or "yDY TZIPHONI, Prov. xxiii. 32. Isai. xi. 8. xiv. 29. lix. 5. and Jerem, vüi. 17. is that deadly serpent called the basilisk, said to kill with its very breath. See CoCATRICE.

In Psal. lviii. 5. reference is made to the effect of musical sounds over serpents. That they might be rendered tame and harmless by certain charms, or soft and sweet sounds, and trained to delight in music, was an opinion which prevailed very early and universally.

Many ancient authors mention this effects; Virgil speaks of it particularly, Æn. vii. v. 750.

“ Quin et Marrubia venit de gente sacerdos,
Fronde super galeam et felici comptus oliva,
Archippi regis missu fortissimus Umbro;
Vipereo generi, et graviter spirantibus hydris
Spargere qui somnos cantuque manuque solebat,
Mulcebatque iras, et morsus arte levabat.”

“ Umbro, the brave Marrubian priest was there,
Sent by the Marsian monarch to the war.
The smiling olive with her verdant boughs
Shades his bright helmet and adorns his brows;
His charms in peace the furious serpent keep,
And lull the envenom’d viper's race to sleep;
His healing hand allay'd the raging pain,
And at his touch the poisons filed again."

Pitt.

Mr. Boyle, in his essay on the great effects of languid motion , quotes the following passage from Sir H. Blunt's voyage into the Levant?.

“ Many rarities of living creatures I saw in Grand Cairo; but the most ingenious was a nest of serpents of two feet long, black and ugly, kept by a Frenchman, who, when he came to handle them, would not endure him, but ran and hid in their hole. Then he would take his cittern and play upon it. They, hearing his music, came all crawling to his feet, and began to climb up him, till he gave over playing, then away they ran.”

5 Apol. Rhod. Argonaut. I. iv. c. 177. and others quoted at large by Bochart, Hieroz. I. iii. c. 6. vol. 3. p. 182. 6 P. 71. edit. 1685.

7 P. 81. edit. 5.

Shaw, Bruce, and indeed all travellers who have been in the Levant, speak of the charming of serpents as a thing not only possible, but frequently seen 8.

The deaf adder, or asp, may either be a serpent of a species naturally deaf, for such kinds are mentioned by Avicenna, as quoted by Bochart; or one deaf by accident; or on account of its appearing to be so. In either case, in the language of poetry, it may be said to stop its ear, from its being proof against all the efforts of the charmer.

“ Ad quorum cantus mites jacuere cerastæ.”

In the same manner a person of no humanity, in comparison is said to stop his ears at the cry of the poor, Prov. xxi. 13, and from the hearing of blood, Isai. xxxiii. 15. The Psalmist, therefore, who was speaking of the malice and slandering lips of the wicked, compares their promptitude to do mischief, to the subtle venom of serpents. And he carries the allusion farther by intimating that they were not only as hurtful and pernicious, but that they stopped their ears likewise against the most persuasive entreaties, as the asp made itself deaf to the voice of enchanters, charming never so wisely.

The comparison betwixt a malevolent tongue and the bite of a serpent is illustrated from other texts of scripture. Thus, Eccles. x. 11. Surely the serpent will bite notwithstanding enchantment; and the babbler is no better, that is, is equally perverse. So Jerem. viii. 17. I will send serpents, cockatrices, among you, which will not be charmed, and they shall bite you. On this place Dr. Blaney remarks; “ That some persons possessed the faculty of rendering serpents harmless, is a fact too well attested by historians and travellers to admit of contradiction. But by what means this effect was produced is not quite so clear. The scripture word was seems to be used in conformity to the vulgar opinion, ascribing to it the power of certain cabalistical words and incantations muttered through the teeth. This, indeed, we have reason to believe, was in general no other than a deception of the common people, by those who were in possession of physical discoveries, in order to procure more veneration and respect. —But whatever were the methods commonly practised, the enemies of the Jews are here compared to such serpents as were not to be inollified nor disarmed by any of those means; " they shall bite you, saith JEHOVAH.” The passage which led to this digression, Psal. lviii. 5, 6, re8 See many curious authorities in Parkhurst, Heb. lex, under way.

quires a farther illustration; and it is furnished by the author of 6 Scripture Illustrated.” “ After mentioning the obstinacy of his enemies, which David compares to the untamed malignant spirit of a serpent, our translators make him add, break out their teeth, O God, in their mouth; break out the teeth of the young lions. This, indeed, is the most certain and effectual mode of depriving serpents of their power to hurt; for through the fangs they convey the deadly poison into the wound they make. But it is a very violent transition from the reptile tribe, the serpent, to young lions. And why young lions? --The passage requires strong lions to equal, much more to augment, the ideas already attached to the poisonous bite of serpents. To which we ought to add, that immediately afterwards the writer returns to the reptile tribe, the slug, or snail (rendered, by error, waters). With what propriety then does the lion, the young lion, come in between them? Would it not be better to render instead of 099 CAPHARIM, OTON) CI-APHARIM, from aphar, dust; and to consider the word as denoting serpents which dwell in dust, or spotted over as with dust, speckled serpents.

In our version of the Bible, the lion is again found in the company of serpents, and even like them to be trodden upon. Psal. xci. 13. It should be remarked that the most ancient interpreters suppose a snake of some kind to be meant; and Bochart thinks it to be the black serpent or hæmorhoüs. The word rendered young lion may be the cenchris, which Nicander, Theriac, v. 463, calls neov clonos, a spotted lion. Spotted, because he is covered with specks; a lion, because like that animal, he raises his tail when about to fight; and because, like the lion, he bites and fills himself with blood.” · AGATE. JU SCHLBO. Exod. xxviii. 19. xxxix. 12. In the Septuagint Axatys, and Vulgate Achates.

A precious stone, semi-pellucid. Its variegations are sometimes most beautifully disposed; representing plants, trees, rivers, clouds, &c. · Its Hebrew name is perhaps derived from the country whence the Jews imported it; for the merchants of Sheba brought to the market of Tyre all kinds of precious stones and gold. Ezek. xxvii. 22. · The translators of the Bible have in Isa. liv. 12. and Ezek. xxvii. 16, given the same word to quite a different stone. The original is 737), which, as in the former place it is proposed for windows, I am inclined to render talc; though Bp. Lowth and Mr. Dodson make it the ruby9.

9 Veram nominis significationem ipse adhuc ignorans, non eam docturus lectores commentor, sed hoc unum docturus nihil nos scire.” Michaelis Supl. Lex. Heb.

Chodchod quid signifioet usque in præsentiam invenire non potui." Jerom. in Ezek.

« PreviousContinue »