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ORIENTAL OBSERVATIONS,

AND

OCCASIONAL CRITICISMS.

Genesis, iv. 15. And the Lord said unto him, Therefore, whoso.

ever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the Lord set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him. Without attempting to support any of the opinions relating to the mark supposed to be fixed on Cain, which Dr. Shuckford has been at the pains to collect, and which may induce readers of his valuable Connexion to anticipate more frequent recreation than they are likely to enjoy,—the grounds on which Calmet's learned Editor* judges the English reading defensible, are entitled to great attention. Cain, apprehensive that his sin was inexpiable, and sensible that his life was in continual danger, penitently deplored his condition. From a God of mercy he received an assurance, probably with a remission of the moral consequences of his offence, (see Psalm xcix. 8,) that his life was secure; but he was nevertbeless sentenced to suffer a judicial infliction of the commulatory kind,-perhaps similar to the designatory brand fixed on the forehead of the criminal, convicted of a high offence by the statutes of Menu, -derived, it may be, from this very fact. The

* The late Mr. Charles Taylor.

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mark, it should seem, admonished Cain of his offence, and not only reminded the beholder that God had reserved the chastisement of the criminal to himself, but operated as a warning against intercourse with him, lest it should be followed by consequences fatal as the death of Abel. Judicially and necessarily a fugitive, and finding banishment from society a life of misery, he moved off with his family, and formed a distant settlement.

Genesis, iv. 23. And Lamech said unto his wives, Adah and

Zillah, hear my voice; ye wives of Lamech, hearken nnto my speech : for I bave slain a man to my wounding, and a young man to my hurt. The difficulty in this passage is insuperable, without adopting the opinion of Dr. Shuckford, that the true reading is the interrogative: “Have I slain a man to my wounding, and a young man to my hurt?” In this view, the speaker, alluding to the murder of Abel by the patriarch of the family, on whose account he seems to have been menaced with danger, confidently appeals to bis personal innocence; and analogically predicts accumulated vengeance on whoever would compass his death : If Cain (though guilty] be avenged seven-fold, truly Lamech [being innocent] seventy and seven-fold.—Mr. Bate, I find, is of this opinion. See his Critica Hebræa, under

:"Hear my voice, ye wives of Lamech, bearken unto my speech, 7270 g, Have I slain a man to my wounding ?” Is it so? " If Cain shall be avenged seven-fold [who did slay one), truly Lamech [who hath not], seventy and seven-fold.”

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Genesis, vi. 1-4. .... There were giants in the earth in those days;

and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown. The first verses of Gen, vi. seem very obscure, Genesis, ix. 23–25. And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and

and the expositions of them are much more so. One of our late divines removes all obscurity, by giving this general sense: “When men began to multiply on earth .... the CHIEF MEN,took them wives- of all the handsome POOR women ... whom they chose. There were TYRANTs in the earth in those days. (And also after the ANTEDILUVIAN days, POWERPUL MEN bad criminal conversation with INFERIOR WOMEN, and the children who sprang from this illicit commerce, were the renowned Heroes of whom the heathens made their gods.") - Sons of Elohim, are vicious sons of powERFUL men. Daughters of Adam, the modest, beautiful, daughters of the poor. - Giants, TYRANTS, madmen-men of renown, HEROES.-Wall, in Robinson's C'laude.

Genesis, ix. 4. But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood

thereof, shall ye not eat. Leviticus, xvii. 10. And whatsoever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, that eateth any manner of blood; I will even set my face against that soul that eateth blood, and will cut him off from among his people. The custom among the Arabs, of cutting steaks from a living animal, with other such barbarities mentioned by Bruce, gives additional force to the prohibition against eating blood, at least during tbe institution of sacrifices. In Acts xv. 20, 21, the interdict, standing on the footing of eating things sacrificed to idols, 1 Cor. viii, 1–9, which is shewn by the Apostle to be a thing in itself indifferent, but to be forborne on its giving offence to a converted person, 1 Cor. x. 28, seems founded on tenderness to well-meaning Jews. See Dodd. Lect. Prop. 174. sc. 1.

laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father's nakedness. And

Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him. And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethreu. Doubtless Noah's prophecy relates chiefly to the posterity of his three sons: nevertheless, what Bishop Newton says by way of relieving the difficulty in this passage, arising from the change of Ham to Canaan, appears to be as probable an opinion as any. The Arabic, says he, has, the Father of Canaan; and some copies of the Septuagint bave Ham. Metrically, the words Ham abi are considered by the best critics in Hebrew poetry necessary to fill the verse. May we not suppose, therefore, that the copyist by mistake wrote only Canaan, instead of Ham the father of Canaan?

Genesis, xii. 13. Say, I pray thee, thou art my sister; that it

may be well with me for thy sake: and my soul shall live because of thee.-Genesis, xx. 13. And it came to pass, when God caused me to wander from my father's house, that I said unto her, This is thy kindness which thou shalt show unto me; at every place whither we shall come, say of me, He is my brother. -Solomon's Song, v. 1. I am come into my garden, my sister, my spouse. Among christians several words of the kindred class are not confined to their strict application ;-and probably the usages of the Jews set the example. It seems more than intimated from Solomon's Song, that sister was one of the usual names of the bride. Hence the equivocalness of the appellative is glanced at by Abimelech, who to Sarah sarcastically styles Abraham her brother. Moses, in Levit. xviii. 18, (see margin,) by sister, meant another wife while the former was alive, but the double meaning of the word induced the Jews to restrict it to a sister by blood; and hence their pretext for polygamy. Abraham in two cases, and Isaac, betrayed a want of confidence in divine protection in the way of duty; but the more extended application of the word sister than prevails with us, should moderate their fault in

the eye of candour. We find terms denoting kindred, used to express endearment, by superiors to inferiors, -as when Egypt's prime-minister, Joseph, said to Benjamin, God be gracious unto thee, my son, Gen. xliii. 29: and Christ says to the man sick of the palsy, Mark ii. 5, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee. Inferiors we find, in critical junctures, using an appellative to superiors which couched the highest reverence in a familiar expression,-as when Elisha exclaims, seeing Elijah ascend, 2 Kings ii. 12, My father, my father!—and the servants of Naaman, when entreating him to obey the prophet, 2 Kings v. 13, said, My father.-Something of the kind prevails, perhaps, in all countries. Grandfather and grandmother, are terms very generally applied by the Cingalese, to the aged.

Genesis, xii. 14, 15. And it came to pass, that when Abram was

come into Egypt, the Egyptians beheld the woman, that she was very fair. The princes also of Pharaoh saw her, and commended her before Pharaoh ; and the woman was taken into Pharaoh's house.... Strange as it may seem in Europe, that a miracle should be necessary to convince Pharaoh and Abimelech of their criminality in detaining Sarah, they acted in conformity with the custom of confining women in harams till at least the death of the king.

Genesis, xiv, 11. And when Abram heard that his brother was

taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan.-Genesis, xv. 2. And Abram said, Lord God, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus.-Gen. xxx. 1. Rachel

said, Give me children, or else I die. Eliezer, a native of Damascus, had been purchased as a slave by Abraham; and behaved so well, that his master giving him bis liberty, made him his steward. The original, “ child of the house,” pro

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