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rature, for April, 17104, shows from many authors, that there was in the country of Bethschan, in Decapolis, by the brook Cherith or Carith, a little town called Aorabi or Orbo : Judges, vii. 25; and Isai. x. 6. And he therefore explains the word orebim, which in 1 Kings, xvii. 4, we translate is ravens," of the inhabitants of that village, some of whom, he contends, daily carried bred and flesh to Elijah, who was retired to and laid in a cave in the neighbourhood. And he supports this interpretation by the opinions of Chaldee, Arabic, and Jewish writers.
On the other hand Scheuchzer vindicates the commonly received opinion. He introduces his examination of this piece of history with the following remark: “Two sorts of critics are apt to occasion displeasure to the orthodox; those who reduce the miracles of Holy Scripture to a mere nothing, deny or diminish the power of God over the operations of nature, to vary them at his pleasure; and those who, desirous of discovering the truth, and with the utmost veneration for truth when discovered, seek new explications of things, and depart from received interpretations: these often meet with stronger blame than they deserve, a severity even to injustice.”—He proceeds to state that he does not think the orebim of the Hebrew means the inhabitants of a town called Oreb, nor a troop of Arabs called Orbim, but the birds, RAVENS.
The editor of Calmet in the Appendix, under the article “ Elijah,” has some pertinent observations on this subject. “We ought to consider,” says he,“ 1. That Ahab sought Elijah with avidity, and took an oath of every people, no doubt also in his dominions, that he was not concealed among its inhabitants; his situation therefore required the utmost privacy, even to solitude. 2. That when the brook Cherith was dried up, the prophet was obliged to quit his asylum, which he needed not to have done had a people been his suppliers, for they could have brought him water as well as food.
“Let us now suppose for a moment, that Elijah was concealed in some rocky or mountainous spot, where passengers never strayed; and here a number of voracious birds had built their nests, on the trees which grew around it, or on the projections of the rocks, &c. These flying every day to procure food for their young, the prophet availed himself of a part of whať they brought, and while they, obeying the dictates of nature, designed only to provide for their offspring, divine providence directed them to provide at the same time for the wants of Elijah; so that what he gathered, whether from their nests, what they dropped, or brought to him, or occasionally from both
4 See also H. Von der Hart, in a work entitled, “ Renards de Samson, Machoire d'Ane, Corbeaux d'Ellie, &c. Helmst. 1707. This opinion was first advocated by Rabbi Jehudah, and afterwards by J. F. Scmidt, Dissert. Elias corvo
Altorf. Nov. 1718, and is solidly refuted by Reland, Palæstina, p.
means, was enough for his daily support. And the orebim furnished him bread (or flesh) in the morning; and bread (or flesh) in the evening. But, I rather think, there being a good many of them, some might furnish him bread (i. e. grain), and others flesh; and vice versa, at different times; so that a little from each made up his solitary, but satisfactory meal. To such straits was the exiled prophet driven, and such was the dependence of this zealous man of God!
“As to God's commanding the Orebim, it is a mode of speech used where vocal commands were not employed."
III. It has been said that when the raven sees its young newly hatched, and covered with a white down, or pen-feathers, it conceives such an aversion for them, that it forsakes them, and does not return to its nest till after they are covered with black feathers. It is to this, they say, the Psalmist makes allusion when he says, Psal. cxlvii. 9. The Lord giveth to the beast his food, and to the young ravens which cry: And Job, xxxviii. 41. Who provideth for the raven his food? When his young ones ery unto GOD, wandering for want of meat. But those who have more diligently examined the nature of birds are not agreed about this fact, which indeed has too much the air of a fable to be credited without good proofs. Vossius says 5 that it is the extreme voracity of the young ravens that makes the old ones sometimes forsake their nests when they find themselves notable to satisfy them. Others will have it, that this proceeds only from the forgetfulness of the old ravens, that they think no longer of returning to their nests, in order to feed their young. Others imagine that Job and the Psalmist allude to what is said by some naturalists ©, that the ravens drive out their young ones early from their nests, and oblige them to seek food for their own sustenance. The same kind providence which furnishes support to his intelligent offspring is not unmindful of the wants, or inattentive to the desires of the meanest of his creatures.
“Lo, the young ravens, from their nest exiled,
To God ascend their importuning cries?.” Clirist instructs bis disciples, from the same circumstance, to trust in the care and kindness of heaven. Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reup, neither have storehouse, nor barn; and God feedeth them. How much better are ye than the fowls. Luke, xii. 24.
The blackness of the raven has long been proverbial. It is alluded to in Cantic. v. 11.
Solomon, speaking of the peculiar regard and veneration due to the worthy persons and salutary instructions of parents, ob
Voss. de idol. 1 3. c. 84. and Vales. de sac. phil. c. 55. Plin. I. 10. c. 12, Ælian, l. 11. c. 49. Arist. 1. 2. c. 41.
serves that an untimely fate and the want of decent interment may be expected from the contrary: and that the leering eye which throws wicked contempt on a good father, and insolent disdain on a tender mother, shall be dug out of the unburied exposed corpse by the ravens of the valley, and eaten up by the young eagles. Prov, xxx, 178,
It was a common punishment in the east, and one which the orientals dreaded above all others, to expose in the open the bodies of evil-doers that had suffered by the laws of their offended country, to be devoured by the beasts of the field and the fowls of heaven. The wise man insinuates that the raven makes his first and keenest attack on the eye; which perfectly corresponds with his habits, for he always begins his banquet with that part. Isiodore says of him," primo in cadaveribus oculum petit;" and Epictetus, OPLEV MOPANES TOV TETEHEUTAKOTWY τες οφθαλμες λυμαινονται, the ravens devour the eyes of the dead. Many other testimonies might be adduced; but these are sufficient to justify the allusion in the proverb.
The raven, it is well known, delights in solitude. He frequents the ruined tower or the deserted habitation. In the prophecy of Isaiah, xxxiv. 11, it is accordingly foretold, that the raven, with other birds of similar dispositions, should fix his abode in the desolate houses of Edom. “ The cormorant and the bittern shall possess it.
The owl and the raven shall dwell in it; and he shall stretch out upon it the line of confusion, and the stones of emptiness.” The prophet Zephaniah, ii. 14, in like manner, makes the raven croak over the perpetual desolations of Nineveh. “ Both the cormorant and the bittern shall lodge in the upper lentiles of it; their voice shall sing in the windows; desolation shall lie in the thresholds." In the Septuagint and other versions the Hebrew word for “ desolation" [CHOREB] is rendered raven. The meaning is, that in those splendid palaces, where the voice of joy and gladness was heard, and every sound which could ravish the ear and subdue the heart, silence was, for the wickedness of their inhabitants, to hold her reign for ever, interrupted only by the scream of the cormorant and the croaking of the raven.
REED. MAN AGMON.
Occ. Job, xl. 21; xli. 2, 20); Isai. ix. 14; xix. 15; Iviii. 5. KAAAMOE, Matth. xi. 7; and several times in the New Testament.
A plant growing in fenny and watery places : very weak and slender, and bending with the least breath of wind. Com. Matth. xi. 7; Luke, vii. 24.
Thus in 1 Kings, xiv. 15, it is threatened, “ The Lord shall smite Israel as a reed is shaken in the water, and he shall root
8 “ Hic prior in cadaveribus oculum petit.” Isiodor. orig. 1. 12. c. 7.
“ Effossos oculos vorat corvus." Catul, ep. 105. v, 5. 9 Paxton, Illustr, v. 2. p. 37.
up Israel out of the good land which he gave to their fathers, and shall scatter them beyond the river, because they have made their idol-groves, provoking him to anger.” The slenderness and fragility of the reed is mentioned 2 Kings, xviii. 20; Isai. xxxvi. 6; and is referred to in Matth. xii. 20, where the remark, illustrating the gentleness of our Saviour, is quoted from the prophecy of Isaiah, xlii. 3.- The Hebrew word in these places is 73 KANEH, as also in Job, xl. 21; Isai. xix. 6; Xxxv. 7; and Ezek. xxix. 6. See CANE.
Under the article Calamus I ought to have given its whole Hebrew name, which is owa 7732 KANEH-BOSEM; and not have repeated the description under the article Cane. I am inclined to think the Calamus aromaticus to be a different plant from the Acorus verus; the former being remarkable for its fragrance, the latter for its warm pungent taste: the one is described as a reed, the other as a fiag. In the Encyclopædia Perthensis other distinctions are stated.
It was used for writing 10, and hence called “Calamus Scriptorius," and answers to the word in our translation rendered
pen:” as 3 John, verse 13, “ I have many things to write unto thee, but I will not with pen, nahaus, and ink.” The Alexandrian manuscript is cxoivos, juncus. So in Jerem. viii. 8, namuos, in the LXX, answers to the Hebrew word oy oith. In the third book of Maccabees it is remarked that the writers employed in making a list of the Jews in Egypt produced their reeds quite worn out. This usage was common among the ancients. Thus Persius, Sat. iii.
Inque manus chartæ, nodosaque venit arundo.” The English word pen comes from the Latin penna ; but the use of quills for writing is a modern invention, the first authentic testimony of their being applied to this use is in Isiodorus, who died in 636.
The long stalk of the reed was also used for a measuring rod11Com. Rev. xi. 1; xxi, 15, 16, with Ezek, xl. 5. Also for a balance, Isai. xlvi. 6, probably after the manner of the steelyard, whose arm or beam was a graduated reed.
A reference to this article enables me to correct two passages in the book of Job, to which our English version does not do justice. The first is the second verse of chapter xli.; where the word is translated “ hook," but means a thong or rope of rushes. The passage should have been rendered thus :
Say, canst thou tie up his mouth with a rush-rope,
And bore his jaw through with a thorn ?
10 « Arundines tenues, intus cavæ, extus glabræ, fusco rubentes, quibus Turcæ et Mauri pro calamis scriptoriis utuntur, pennarum anserinarum usum igno. rantes: Syringes seu Fistularis Dioscoridis." Rauwolf, Hodoep. p. i. C. 8.
11 6 Altudine 6 vel. 8 ulnar, excrescunt.” Forskal.
The muzzle was to secure his mischievous jaws, and the thorn to make it fast, and prevent its slipping off, by pinning it to his cheeks. Thus the Greek word oxoivos, which properly signifies a bull-rush, is also used for a rope 1?; and the Latin word juncus, a bull-rush, a jungendo, from joining, for the same reason. We even retain the word in English junk, an old rope. And Hasselquist observes that of the leaves of one sort of reed which grow near the Nile the Egyptians now make ropes. “They lay them in water, like hemp, and then make good and strong cables of them, which, with the bark of the date tree, are almost the only cable used in the Nile.”
The second instance is in the 20th verse, where the word is rendered “caldron.” It should be,
Out of his nostrils issueth smoke,
See BULL-RUSH, CANE.
Arab. dsabi. Chald. tabitha. Persic zabejat (Meninski, 3168].
Occ. Deut. xii. 15, 22; xiv. 5; xv. 22; 1 Kings, iv. 23; 1 Chron. xii. 8; 2 Sam. ii. 18; Prov. vi. 5; Cantic. ii. 7, 9, 17; iii. 5; iv. vii. 3; viii. 14; Isai. xiii. 14.
AOPKAE, Ecclesiasticus, xxvii. 20.
A small animal of the deer kind, being only three feet four inches long, and somewhat more than two feet in height. The horns are from eight to nine inches long, upright, round, and divided into three branches. The body is covered with long hair, the lower part of each hair is ash colour, near the end is a narrow bar of black, tipped with ash colour. The ears are long; the insides of a pale yellow, and covered with long hair. The chest, belly, legs, and inside of the thighs are of a yellowish white; the rump of a pure white. The tail is very short.
The form of the roe buck is elegant, and its motions light and easy. It bounds seemingly without effort, and runs with great swiftness. When hunted it endeavours to elude its pursuers by the most subtle artifices: it repeatedly returns upon its former steps, till, by various windings, it has entirely confounded the scent. The cunning animal then, by a sudden spring, bounds to one side; and, lying close down upon its belly, permits the hounds to pass by, without offering to stir.
They do not keep together in herds, like other deer, but live in separate families. The sire, the dam, and the young ones associate together, and seldom mix with others.
It may, however, be questioned, whether this animal was a
12 Hence our English word skein.
“ Fulmen ab ore venit, frondesque ad flatibus ardent."