Page images
PDF
EPUB

strengthen the suggestion of Mr. Vansittart, that the trained crocodile is meant as distinguished from the one unsubdued 13.

I now proceed to give a corrected version of the description contained in the 41st chapter of Job, with explanations and references to the crocodile.

Rehold leviathan! whom thou leadest about with a hook '4,

Or a rope which thou fixest upon his snout 15. It is no easy matter, says Mr. Scott, to fix the precise meaning of the several terms here used: they seem, however, to denote in general the instruments made use of, partly for the taking him alive in the water, and partly for governing him when brought to land. Herodotus expressly asserts, I. ii. 70, that one of the modes by which this creature was occasionally taken, in his time, was by means of a hook, cynotgov, which was baited with a dog's chine, and thrown into the midst of the river; the crocodile, having swallowed which, was drawn on shore and dispatched.

Hast thou put a ring in his nose,

Or pierced his cheek through with a clasp? This has been usually supposed to refer to the manner of muzzling the beast, so as to be able to lead him about, by a hook or ring in the nostrils, as is threatened Pharaoh, under the emblem of the crocodile, Ezek. xxix. 4. But Mr. Vansittart thinks the words here used expressive of ornaments 16; and says, “ this second verse may be considered as expressive of leviathan led about not as a sight, but in his state of divinity; and the spinos, a gold

13 I have in my possession an ancient medal, bearing on one side the heads of Aug. Cæsar and M. Agrippa; and on the other a CROCODILE chained to a tree, with the words Col. Nem. (Colonia Nemausus] a province of Gaul, with which those princes were rewarded after the conquest of Egypt.

14 (quan.) Septuag. ažais. “I conceive,” says Mr. Vansittart, “ that this verb signifies leading about, rather than drawing out; and that leading about leviathan is meant instead of dragging him out of the water. Hence, perhaps, leading about one of the tame crocodiles. The word for forcibly drawing out leviathan with a hook, Ezek. xxix. 4, is yn byn from the root izby.”

15“ A rope.” The original word signifies a reed or rush, growing upon the banks of the Nile. Hence some imagine that it alludes to the stringing leviathan upon it, as boys frequently string fish upon a rush, or twig of a tree, which they pass through the gills. Schultens would render it“ a rope made of reeds;" as the Egyptians at this day make ropes of rushes, and probably from time im. memorial did so. Pliny, l. xix. c. 3, informs us that the Greeks at first made their ropes of rushes. The ancient Britons learned the same manufactory of the Romans; and our English sailors call old rope "junk,” from its latin name juncus, a bullrush.

16 (rma.) LXX. Yearw, armilla. This word signifies fibula, as well as spina; see Robertson; and fibula is an ornament of dress. Where nn is used for a fish hook, or a strong iron hook, for the purpose of dragging any one violently, or restraining him, it is generally rendered by a strong word suited to the occasion, and not a word usually adapted to ornaments: thus Ezek. xix. 4, where Israel, under the figure of a young ravaging lion, is caught in a net, and carried fettered (onna) into Egypt, the LXX render it sy xnuw, and the Vulgate catenis, not armilla, as above.

Headcov is usually the rendering for 7728, bracelet. It occurs frequently in this sense, and answers to the latin armilla. Biel has been anxious to prove that it

[ocr errors]

ring or ornament worn at the nose ; for, in the Eastern countries, nasal rings are as frequent as any other ornament whatever. The commentators and lexicographers, not dreaming of applying Herodotus's account of the Thebaid crocodile to the illustration of leviathan, have imagined only large rings for the purpose of chaining leviathan. Herodotus says, the ears and fore feet were the parts from which the ornaments were suspended.

But as the ears do not appear capable of bearing earrings, from their laying extremely flat upon the lower jaw, perhaps they were put upon other parts; or the historian, hearing that the sacred crocodile was adorned with ornaments, fixed them naturally upon the ears and fore feet, as earrings and necklaces were the most usual ornaments of the Greeks. Very likely the ornaments were not always put upon the same parts, but varied at different times; and that in the time of the Hebrew writer, the nose and the lips received the ornaments, which, in the days of the Greek historian, were transferred to the ears and fore feet. The exact place of the ornaments is, however, of no material consequence; it is sufficient for our purpose to know, that ornaments were put upon the sacred crocodile, and that he was treated with great distinction, and in some degree considered a domestic animal. The three verses immediately following speak of him as such; as entering into a covenant of peace, being retained in subjection, &c.

Has he made many supplications to thee?
Has he addressed thee with flattering words ?
Hast thou (in return) made a league with him,

And received him into perpetual service ? The irony here is very apparent. The sacred poet shows a wonderful address in managing this deriding figure of speech in such a manner as not to lessen the majesty of the great Being into whose mouth it is put.

Hast thou played with him as a bird ?
Wilt thou encuge him for thy maidens ?
Shall thy partners spread a banquet for him,

And the trading strangers bring him portions ? ? Job is here asked how he will dispose of his captive. Whether he will retain him in his family for his own amusement, or the diversion of his maidens; or exhibit him as a spectacle to

means an iron ring, or houk, or bit; because he thinks something of restraint is best adapted to the sense: but its general acceptation is the bracelet, xoguOS 795 Xeigos. ornamentum manus. See Trommius and Biel.

(apn) TAUTINOEIS ; the LXX use this word for boring the ear of a slave. (1975) xeinos, Vulg. maxilla; the flesh that covers and wraps over the jaw.

17 Trading strangers. Dyyy) CANONIM Canaanites. The word is used as traffickers, Isai. xxiii. 8; Hosea, xii. 7, and Zepb. i. 11. Th XX render it porn vixw xOyn the Phenecian people. “Si Philoni Byblio credimus, qui Sanchoniathonem, veterem scriptorem Phænicium, Græce transtulit, primus xvx, id est, Chanaan, Phænicis cognomen habuit. Unde et Phænice regio xva dicitur apud Stephanum." Bochart.

the Phoenician caravans. But Mr. Vansittart gives quite another turn to the verse. He thinks the word gan cHABARIM, which I have rendered “partners," signifies charmers (incantatores); hence rendered by the Chaldee Targum, ma'an wise-men; and that it is to be applied to the priests who had the charge of the sacred crocodile, and might as well be called charmers of the crocodile, as the psylli were of serpents : and Dilys, which is at present rendered “ merchants," may be formed from ys) prostravit, humilem, reddere, and mean suppliants, worshippers. Hence he would understand it of the PRIESTs making a feast, and the suPPLIANTS going up to make offerings.

Has thou filled his skin with barbed irons,

Or his head with harpoons 18? The impenetrability of his skin is here intimated, and is afterwards described at large. The attempt to wound him with missile weapons

is ridiculed. This is a circumstance which will agree to no animal so well as to the crocodile. The weapons mentioned are undoubtedly such as fishermen use in striking large fish at a distance.

Make ready thy hand against him.
Dare the contest; be firm 19.
Behold! the hope of him is vain;

It is dissipated even at his appearance. The hope of mastering him is absurd. So formidable is his very appearance that the resolution of his opposer is weakened, and his courage daunted.

None is so resolute that he dare rouse him 20,
Who then is able to contend with me?
That will stand before me, yea, presumptuously?
Whatsoever is beneath the whole heavens is mine.
I cannot be confounded at his limbs and violence,

Nor at his power, or the strength of his frame 21. “ However man may be appalled at attacking the leviathan, all creation is mine : his magnitude and structure can produce no effect upon me. I cannot be appalled or confounded; I cannot be struck dumb."

Job is, in this clause, taught to tremble at his danger in hav

..

18 Gussett, and after him Parkhurst and Miss Smith, render this, “ Wilt thou put his skin in a booth, and his head in the fish hut?". But this rendering is reinote, and inaccordant with the preceding verse. Bp. Stock thinks that baby TZALTZAL, is the fisherman's tinkler, from the well known custom of fishers to attach a bell to the end of the harpoon to terrify the fish when struck.

19 For the authority of this rendering I refer to Good, and his learned Note,

P. 481.

20 This gives light to the phrase, ch. iii. 8,“ ready to rouse the leviathan;" and intimates the hazard of such a conflict.

21 J. M. Good's version of the verses above I have principally followed; and refer to his notes for satisfactory reasons for rendering.

ing provoked, by his murmurs and litigation, the displeasure of the Maker of this terrible animal.

The poet then enters upon a part of the description which has not yet been given, and which admirably pairs with the detailed picture of the war-horse and Behemoth. Nor does he descend from the dignity he had hitherto supported, by representing the great Creator as displaying his own wonderful work, and calling upon man to observe the several admirable particulars in its formation, that he might be impressed with a deeper sense of the power of his maker.

Who will strip off the covering of his armour 22 ?

Against the doubling of his nostrils who will advance 23. This verse is obscure. The first line, however, seems to describe the terrible helmet which covers the head and face of the crocodile. The translation might be, “Who can uncover his mailed face?" If in the days of Job they covered their war-horses in complete armour, the question will refer to the taking off the armour; and the scales of leviathan be represented by such an image. Then the second line may denote bridling him, after the armour is stript off for some other service.

The doors of his face who will tear open?
The rows of his teeth are TERROR;
The plates of his scales, TRIUMPH !
His body is like embossed shields,
They are joined so close one upon another
The very air cannot enter between them.
Each is inserted into its next;

They are compact, and cannot be separated.
The mouth of the crocodile is very large; and the

apparatus of teeth perfectly justifies this formidable description. The indissoluble texture, and the largeness of the scales with which he is covered, are represented by the powerful images of these verses 24

22 Our common version is, “ Who can discover the face of his garment?” Mr. Chapellow follows this; and Vansittart only substitutes “colour” for “face.” vrab signifies in general, a garment; but the garment or clothing of a warrior and a war-horse is a coat of mail. Such a covering seems alluded to, Isai. Ixix. 17, and lxiii. 1. · 23 “ The doubling of his nostrils." Usually “a double bridle,” or “the fold or doubling of the bridle.” Bochart observes from Pol. Onom. 'that the Greeks called those parts of the lips which end at the cheeks, zadivoi, bridles; and hence Parkhurst has rendered the passage “his gaping jaws.' This, however, is a very circuitous explanation, and after all not quite correct. 109 Risn means equally, “ the bridle or halter of a horse,” and “ the bridle or halter part," i. e. the snout or nostrils; that around which the cord is usually tied, or into which, in some animals, it is fixed by a hole bored through it. Thus verse 2 of the above chapter,

Canst thou fix the cord to his snout?” The very same term, in the very same twofold sense of a bridle or a halter applied round the nose of a horse, and the nose itself is still common to the Arabic. [J. M. Good, Note, p. 483.] 24 Herodotus, Euterpe Ixvii. says, that the crocodile has deguas deTidatoy apon

a skin of scales upon the back impenetrable;" and Ælian, de Nat. Anim. 3, 24, νωτα δε πεφυκε και την ουραν αρρηκτος λιπισι μεν γας τε και φολισι

.

XTOY ETI 58 YAT8,

His snortings are the radiance of light;

And his eyes as the glancings of the dawn 25. Schultens remarks, that amphibious animals, the longer time they hold their breath under water, respire so much the more strongly when they begin to emerge; and the breath confined for a length of time, effervesces in such a manner, and breaks forth so violently that they appear to vomit forth flames.

The eyes of the crocodile are small, but they are said to be extremely piercing out of the water 26. Hence, the Egyptians comparing the eye of the crocodile, when he first emerged out of the water, to the sun rising from out of the sea, in which he was supposed to set, made the hieroglyphic of sunrise. Thus Horus Apol. says, lib. i. $ 65, “ When the Egyptians represent the sunrise, they paint the eye of the crocodile, because it is first seen as that animal rises out of the water."

From out of his mouth issues flashes ;
Sparks of fire stream out 27
From his nostrils bursteth fume,
As from the rush-kindled oven 28.
His breath kindleth coals;

Raging fire spreadeth at his presence. Here the creature is described in pursuit of his prey on the land. His mouth is then open. His breath is thrown out with prodigious vehemence: it appears

like smoke; and is heated to that degree as to seem a flaming fire.

The images which the sacred poet here uses are indeed very strong and hyperbolical; they are similar to those Psal. xviii. 8. “ There went a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his πεφρακται, και ως αν εισοι τις ωπλισαι. και εoικασιν ουρακους καρτερους XOTXOIS. “ Shut up with a thick skin and scales, with which he appears armed as with the strongest shells, he is impenetrable as to his back and tail.” And Diodorus Siculus, p. 41. sect. 35. το δε σωμα θαυμασως υπο της φυσεως ωχυρωται. το μεν γας δερμα αυτο παν φολιδωτον εσιν και τη σκληροτετι διαφερον. “ His body is protected by nature in a most extraordinary manner; for his whole skin is impenetrable with scales of a wonderful hard texture." Tyndal has rendered this distich nearly verbally:

Hys neesynge is lyke a glistrynge fyre,

And hys eyes lyke the mornynge shyne.” 26 Herodot. Euterpe. Ixviii. So Pliny, l. ii. c. 25. “Hebetes oculos hoc animal dicitur habere in aqua, extra acerrimi visus." 27 Bishop Stock renders it with a strange mingling of figures

“Out of his mouth march burning lamps,

Sparks of fire do fling themselves.” 28 Our common version is “ as from a seething pot or cauldron," which is followed hy Chappellow, Stock, and Good. The word 777 rendered "seethingpot," is translated “ kettle," 1 Sam. ii. 14; “ caldron," 2 Chron. xxv. 13; " basket,” 2 Kings, x. 7, and Jer. xxiv. 1, 2; and “pot,” Psalm, lxxxi. 6. And TRAX AGMON, here rendered “caldron," and in the 2d verse of the chapter, hook,” is elsewhere correctly translated a “rush,” or 6 bullrush.” Now, recollecting that the Egyptians heated their baking places with dry rushes, as they did their kilns with stubble; the comparison of the mouth of the crocodile belching out vapour apparently ignited, to the smoke and fire issuing from an oven or furnace, is much more pertinent than to the vapour of a boiling pot.

25

a

« PreviousContinue »