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ILLUSTRATIONS OF SCRIPTURE.
ILLUSTRATIONS OF SCRIPTURE FROM THE PASTORAL LIFE OF THE ORIENTALS.
Oriental Shepherds.-Their wealth and power.-Manner of life.-Flocks and herds.Immense numbers of their cattle.-Their servants.-Overseers of their property.—The bad shepherd.—The good shepherd.-Wander in search of pasture for their flocks.—Risk their lives in defence of their charge.-Accountable for the flocks under their care.-Exposed to all the vicissitudes of the seasons.-Their great skill, vigilance, and care in the management of their flocks.—Providing water for their flocks.— Digging wells.-Covering their mouth with a stone.--Wells extremely valuable. To fill them up an act of hostility.-Robbers lurk near them. Shepherd's implements—His vestments—His bag or scrip—His staff and crook-His arms.— —Scene of the parable of the good Samaritan.—Time of pasturing the flocks.—Manner of conducting them.-Devoted a part of their leisure to music.-Sometimes lodged in caves.-Their tents.—Furniture and utensils of their tents.-Their coverings of different colours.Their huts and booths.-Their hospitality. Their sheep-cotes.-Sheepwashing.-Sheep-shearing-A time of general hilarity.-Making butter. —Coagulating milk.-Trade with the neighbouring cities.—Engage a little in agriculture.-Formed alliances with their neighbours.—Amused themselves by hunting.-Shepherds an abomination to the Egyptians.
THE first man was no sooner expelled from the garden of Eden for his breach of covenant, and doomed to earn his bread with the sweat of his brow, than he attempted to
reduce the more useful animals under his yoke; and with so much success, that the sacred historian marks it as the proper employment of Abel, his younger son, that he
was a keeper of sheep." But it is in Jabal, a son of Cain, that we find the first example of an oriental shepherd: "he was the father of such as dwell in tents, and of such as have cattle."a No farther notice is taken of antediluvian shepherds, in the rapid narrative of Moses; but it is reasonable to suppose, that the descendants of Jabal continued, according to the manners of the east, to follow the employment of their father, till the deluge swept them all away. Noah, it is probable, was devoted to husbandry from his earliest years; for Moses observes, that immediately after the deluge, he "began to be an husbandman;" he resumed his labours in the field, which had been interrupted by that dreadful catastrophe. But the cares of the shepherd devolved upon his eldest son Shem, the great progenitor of God's ancient people—a man, it would seem, imbued with a religious spirit, and devoted to a contemplative life, to which that employment is peculiarly favourable. By him it was transmitted to his renowned descendant Abraham, with whom he lived more than a hundred years. While it appears from the history of Laban, that the other branches of his family continued, after his example, to tend their flocks and their herds on the banks of the Euphrates and its tributary streams; the posterity of Abraham followed the same employment in the fertile pastures of Canaan, for several succeeding ages. This is the account which Joseph gave to Pharaoh, when his family came down into Egypt: "The men are shepb Chap. ix, 20. Bochart. Hieroz. lib. ii, cap. 44, p. 441.
• Gen. iv, 20.