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birds; for observing that they become languid and fa tigued, after they have been hastily put up two or three times, they immediately run in upon them, and knock them down with their bludgeons. They are likewise well acquainted with that method of catching partridges called tunnelling; and to make the capture the greater, they will sometimes place behind the net, a cage with some tame ones within, which, by their perpetual chirping and calling, quickly bring down the coveys which are within hearing, and by that means destroy great numbers of them.' To hunt the jackall, which greatly abounds in that country, they sometimes use a leopard which has been trained to hunting from his youth. The hunter keeps the animal before him on his horse, and when he meets with a jackall, the leopard leaps down, and creeps along till he think himself within reach of the prey, when he leaps upon it with incredible agility, throwing himself seventeen or eighteen feet at a time." These statements illustrate the force and propriety of those passages of holy writ, which allude to the arts and implements of the hunter and the fowler, by which the timid victim is taken ere ever it is aware; or the bold is compelled by main force, or by deadly wounds, to submit to his more cunning or powerful adversary. It is not without reason, the Psalmist rejoiced that the snare was broken, and his soul had escaped as a bird from the snare of the fowler; and that God had brought his feet out of the net.m
Before taking leave of this subject, it may not be improper to direct the reader's attention to a text which has long exercised the critical powers of expositors. When Joseph was going to introduce his father and his brethren m Psa. xxv, 15.
! Shaw's Trav. vol. i, p. 424.
to the Egyptian court, he instructed them to say they were shepherds, that they might be separated from the natives, and settled together in the land of Goshen; a country abounding with rich and ample pastures, and lying nearest to Canaan, the place of their future residence. On this occasion the sacred writer observes, that " every shepherd is an abomination to the Egyptians." Cunæus, with great plausibility, ascribes the detestation of that people, to the ferocious dispositions and rebellious conduct of the shepherds who tended their flocks in the plains and marshes of Lower Egypt. 66 These,” says that writer, "were active and able men, but execrable to all the Egyptians, because they would not suffer them to lead their idle course of life in security. These men often excited great commotions, and sometimes created kings for themselves. It was on this account, that the Romans, in succeeding times, when they easily held the rest of Egypt in obedience, placed a strong garrison in all these parts. When you have taken the most exact survey of all circumstances, you will find this was the reason that made the Egyptians, even from the first, so ill affected to shepherds; because these sedentary men and handicrafts, could not endure their fierce and active spirits. Pharaoh himself, when he had determined to abate and depress the growing numbers of the Israelites, spake to his subjects in this manner : "The Israelites are stronger than we; let us deal wisely, that they increase not, lest, when war arises, they join themselves to our enemies, and take up arms against us."
But, this view does not account for the use of the term which is properly rendered abomination, and which indicates, not a ferocious and turbulent character, which is properly an object of dread and hatred, but a mean and
despicable person, that excites the scorn and contempt of his neighbours. It is readily admitted, that the detestation in which shepherds were held in Egypt, could not arise from their employment in the breeding of cattle; for the king himself, in the days of Joseph, had very numerous flocks and herds, in the management of which he did not think it unbecoming his dignity to take a lively inte This is proved by the command to his favourite minister: "If thou knowest any men of activity among them, then make them rulers over my cattle."" Nor were his numerous subjects less attentive to this branch of industry; every one seems to have lived upon his paternal farm, part of which was converted into pasture. Hence, when money failed in the years of famine, "all the Egyptians came to Joseph, and said, Give us bread; for why should we die in thy presence? for the money faileth. And Joseph said, Give your cattle, and I will give you bread for your cattle, if money fail." But if Pharaoh and all his subjects, were themselves engaged in the rearing of stock, a shepherd could not be to them an object of general abhorrence. Besides, it was not unlawful in Egypt to deprive an ox or a sheep of life, and feast upon the flesh; for, in the temples, these animals were offered in sacrifice every day ;" and for what purpose did the Egyptians rear them on their farms, but to use them as food? The contempt in which this order of men were held, could not then be owing to the superstition of the nation in general. It may even be inferred from the command of Pharaoh to Joseph, requiring him to appoint the most active of his brethren rulers over his cattle, that the office of a • Ver. 15, 16.
n Gen. xlvii, 6.
P Rollin's Ancient Hist. vol. i, p. 195.
shepherd was honourable among the Egyptians; for it could not be his design to degrade the brethren of his favourite minister. This idea is confirmed by Diodorus, who asserts, that husbandmen and shepherds were held in very great estimation in that country. But that writer states a fact, which furnishes the true solution of the difficulty—that in some parts of Egypt, shepherds were not suffered. The contempt of shepherds seems, therefore, to have been confined to some parts of the kingdom; probably to the royal city, and the principal towns in Upper Egypt, where the luxury of a court, or the wealth and splendour of the inhabitants, taught them to look down with contempt and loathing upon those humble peasants. But the true reason seems to be stated by Herodotus, who informs us that those who worship in the temple of the Theban Jupiter, or belong to the district of Thebes the ancient capital of Egypt, abstained from sheep and sacrificed goats. But sheep and oxen were the animals which the shepherds usually killed for general use. It was natural, therefore, for that superstitious people to regard with abhorrence those who were in the daily practice of slaughtering the objects of their religious veneration. But this custom was confined to the district of Thebes; for, according to the same writer, "in the temple of Mendes, and in the whole Mendesian district, goats were preserved and sheep sacrificed." Shepherds, there
fore, might be abhorred in one part of Egypt and honoured in another. The sagacious prime minister of Egypt, desirous to remove his brethren from the fascinations of wealth and power, directed them to give such an account of themselves, that the counsellors of Pharaoh, from their ¶ Lib. i, cap. 74, p. 85.
Rollin's Anc. Hist. vol. i, p. 220.
$ Lib. ii, cap. 42.
dislike of the mean employment in which they had been educated, might grant their request, and suffer them to settle in Goshen, a land of shepherds, far removed from the dangerous blandishments of a court.
ILLUSTRATIONS OF SCRIPTURE FROM THE STATE OF AGRICULTURE IN THE EAST.
Adam the first husbandman.—Progress of agriculture.—Division of the surface into fields-Portions and acres.-Land of Promise, distinguished by extraordinary fruitfulness.-The plough.—Ploughshare.-Goad.—Beasts yoked in the plough.—Manner of dressing their fields.—Agriculture, the suggestion of Heaven.-Oriental husbandmen prosecute their labours almost naked. Various kinds of grain sown.—The harrow.—The seed time attended with considerable danger.-Setting the dry grass on fire.—Harvest. Reapers in Palestine use the sickle.—Women employed in reaping.— Gleaners. The thrashing-floor.—Methods of thrashing out the grain.— Method of winnowing.-The grain lodged in subterraneous magazines.— Reserved for daily use in earthen jars.-Wonderful rapidity of vegetation. -Hay seldom or never made.—The oriental gardens.—Their walls and hedges. Necessity of water.-Method of distributing it.—Solomon's gardens.-Arrangement of the plots in oriental gardens.—Particular attention bestowed on the culture of the vine.—Wine-press.—Towers in their vineyards. The vineyard, a scene of joy and singing.-Time of ripe grapes.-Treading the grapes.—Olive oil expressed in the same manner. -The hook or sickle for cutting down the grapes.-Beating the olive trees. -Villas in the vineyards.—Inestimable value of shade and water in the east.-Parties of pleasure in the Syrian gardens.
WHEN God placed Adam in paradise, he instructed him "to dress and keep it :" to work and labour the ground, let in the influences of heaven, prune the trees, cherish the