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judgments upon England, as it did upon Judea of old, 2 Chron. xxxvi. 21. Jer. xxv. 9-12.
The months were lunar months, that is, each was one change or revolution of the moon, being alternately twenty-nine and thirty days. Persons were set to watch on the tops of high hills for the first appearance of the new moon, of which notice was given by sound of trum. pet and messengers, Psa. Ixxxi. 3. and the first day was a solemn feast. As the solar year, or the time in which the earth goes round the sun, is more than twelve lunar months, the Jews were forced to add a month every second or third year, else the spring months and festivals, in a few years, would have fallen into the middle of win. ter. ' It is this method of observing the time of the passover, which is the same time as our Easter, by making it depend upon the moon, that causes it to come on dif. ferent days in the months of March and April. The Jewish months were named from the season of the year. Thus Abib, the first month, Exod. xii. 2. means green; at that time of year the ears of corn are green. The years were also divided into six seasons, of two months each. Seed-time, winter, cold season, harvest, summer, hot season. The winters in Judea were very cold, and the summers very hot. Notices of the difference in the habits of the people, caused by the winter, may be found Jer. xxxvi. 22. Ezra x. 13. Ezek. xxxiii. 30. Matt. xxiv. 20. John x. 22. The heat of summer was very great, 2 Kings iv. 19. Psa. cxxi. 6.
When we read of the third day, it is to be counted including both the day from which, and to which, the counting is made. Thus our Saviour was crucified on Friday, and rose again from the dead on Sunday, the third day. The same applies to the eighth day, and to other similar expressions.
The Jews were accustomed to number their years from some remarkable period. The departure from Egypt was a very memorable one, Exod. xix. 1. xl. 17. Num. i. 1. ix. 1. xxxii. 38. 1 Kings vi. 1. Afterwards, from the building of the temple, 1 Kings ix. 10. 2 Chron. viii. 1. Also the Babylonish captivity, Ezek. i. 1. xxxii. 21.xl. 1. These are representations of the most ancient dials known to exist. The upper one is cut in a rock at Athens, the other was found in the excavations of Her. culaneum, but is supposed to have been brought from Memphis. The sun-dial of Ahaz is supposed to have been something of this sort, 2 Kings xx. 11.
We now come to notice the trade of the Jews with other nations mentioned in the scriptures. The first mention that we find in the Bible respecting trade, Gen. xxxvii. is about the Midianites and Ishmaelites, who were carrying spices, and balm, and myrrh, from Gilead to Egypt. These articles were much used in that country, for embalming the bodies of the dead. We may also recollect that Nicodemus brought a quantity of spices for the body of Jesus, John xix. 39. But those merchants appear to have been willing to buy anything by which they could make a profit; so they bought Joseph, and paid twenty pieces of silver to his brethren for him. They do not seem to have cared whether the sons of Jacob had any right to sell Joseph ; indeed, they doubtless were aware that they were doing wrong, but, like too many even at the present day, they did not mind whether this were the case or not, if they could make a profit by what they bought. It is painful to see that buying or selling things which belong to others is very common, even among young people and children, but that does not make it the less wicked. It is an old saying and a true
one, that « The receiver is as bad as the thief." I hope my readers, whether old or young, will think upon this subject, and remember, that it is their duty to refrain fro buying what has been obtained by wrong means, quite as much as it is to abstain from sealing. There are several texts upon this subject in the book of Pro. verbs. I will mention two, “ Wealth gotten by vanity (or improper means) shall be diminished,” chap. xiii. 11. and “ An inheritance may be gotten hastily at the begin. ning, but the end thereof shall not be blessed.” When the merchants took Joseph down to Egypt, they little thought that the poor lad was a treasure more precious than all their spices, and balm, and myrrh ; and that their poor young slave would one day be the lord of Egypt. As for the money Joseph's brethren got by selling him, we may be sure that it did them no good: the famine that came a few years afterwards diminished their substance, although God was pleased to preserve the greater part of their property, through the means of their brother, whom they had sold.
We may also notice that these merchants dealt in slaves. It is a very dreadful thing, that men, women, and children should be sold like cattle. This will be no. ticed in another part. Meanwhile, we may just remark, that this is forbidden by the divine law, for we read, Exod. xxi. 16. “ He that stealeth a man, and selleth him, shall surely be put to death."
In the law, as delivered to Moses, we do not find any laws or regulations respecting trade. The neighboring nations were idolaters, and the Hebrews could not have intercourse in trade with them without danger of being led away from the true religion. Alas, how many professors, now, and at all times, have been led away by the desire of unlawful gain, and by 100 great eagerness after wealth. But we do not find that trade and com. merce were quite forbidden; on the contrary, it is evident they were not, for we find positive commands for just and true dealings in the way of trade, Deut. xxvi. 15, 16. “Thou shalt have a perfect and just weight, a perfect and just measure shalt thou have: that thy days may be
lengthened in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. For all that do such things, (that is, have unjust weights and measures,) and all that do unrighteously, are an abomination unto the Lord thy God.” It would be well if this and similar texts were written up in every shop and warehouse; but still better, if they were written upon the hearts of every buyer and seller. In later times, the Jews traded more with the surrounding nations: we read of this in 1 Kings x, and 2 Chron. i. and trade was encouraged by king Solomon, and accounted honorable. In 1 Kings xxii. we also read of king Je. hoshaphat preparing ships to trade with Ophir ; but when Ahaziah, a wicked king of Israel, wanted him to join in this trade, he refused. It is to be hoped that my young readers will remember this, and avoid uniting themselves with ungodly and wicked men in trade or other pursuits.
Money is often mentioned in scripture. The earliest notice is Gen. xxiii. 16. where Abraham paid a sum of four hundred shekels of silver to Ephron, “ money current with the merchant.” It is not supposed that this was coined money, but only that weight of silver; for the ancient method of receiving or paying money was by weighing the pieces of metal, as is now usual in China and in some other countries. There is no certainty of any coinage of money among the Jews, till the time of Judas Maccabeus, long after the return from Babylon. Some of the Jewish coins, called shekels, had the impressions represented page 102.
In later times the Roman money was current in Judea, Matt. xxii. 20. In this money the taxes were paid. The reader will recollect that a publican was one who collected the taxes and custom money, Matt. ix. 9. Mark ii. 14. Matthew and Zaccheus were such. In general the publicans were guilty of fraud; they were also much hated by the Jews for being the officers of their foreign rulers. On these accounts they were spoken of in the manner we read in the gospels.
Much of the ancient Greek and Roman money was what are now called medals. Some are found which record the conquest of Judea by the Romans, representing that country as a female captive sitting under a palmtree. See page 103. The Jewish coins represented in