Images de page


(Job 41. 10;) or if any one, disregarding the dictates of prudence, or eager to display his intrepidity, ventures, in such circumstances, to attack him, it is at the imminent hazard of his life. Diodorus Siculus assigns this as the reason why the crocodile was worshipped by the Egyptians, that their enemies, for fear of him, durst not cross the river Nile to attack them. The flesh of the crocodile was, in some places, as at Apollinopolis, made an article of food, and though the creature was venerated in some nomes, it was in others detested as the emblem of Typhon, the deity of evil; and its destruction was regarded as a religious duty. In the Egyptian mythology it was peculiarly sacred to the god Savak. It appears from Ælian that in places where crocodiles were worshipped, their numbers increased to such an extent "that it was not safe for any one to wash his feet or draw water at the river; and no one could walk near the edge of the stream, either in the vicinity of Ombos, Coptos, or Arsinoë, without extreme caution."

Strabo speaks of the respect shown to the crocodile in the nome of Arsinoë, or, as it was formerly called, Crocodilopolis. He states that one was sacred there, and kept apart in a particular lake, which was so tame that it allowed itself to be touched by the priests. They called it souchos, or suchus. It was fed with bread, meat, and wine, which were brought by those strangers who went to see it. The host of Strabo, a man of consideration, when showing the geographer and his party the sacred curiosities of the place, conducted them to the brink of the lake, having taken with him from table a cake, some roast meat, and a cup of wine. The animal was lying on the bank; and while some of the priests opened its mouth, one put in the cake, and then the meat, after which the wine was poured into it. The crocodile upon this, taking to the water, passed over to the other side; and another stranger having come for the same purpose made similar offerings to it as it lay there.

Sir John Gardner Wilkinson states that, among the Egyptians, "The crocodile was supposed by some to be an emblem of the sun; and Clemens tells us the sun was sometimes placed in a boat, at others on a crocodile. On the subject of the crocodile M. Pauw makes a very judicious remark, that on his examining the topography of Egypt, he observed Coptos, Arsinoë, and Crocodilopolis (Athribis), the towns most remarkable for the adoration of crocodiles, to be all situated on canals at some distance from the Nile. Thus by the least negligence in allowing the ditches to be filled up, those animals, from being incapable of going far on dry land, could never have arrived at the very places where they were considered as the symbols of pure water. For, as we learn from Ælian, and more particularly from a passage in Eusebius, the crocodile signified water fit for drinking and irrigating the lands. As long as their worship was in vogue, the government felt assured that the superstitious would not neglect to repair the canals with the greatest exactness.' Thus was their object gained by this religious artifice. Herodotus speaks of a method of catching the crocodile with a hook to which a piece of pork was attached as a bait; but I ought not to omit another mode practised at the present day. They fasten a dog upon a log of wood, to the middle of which is tied a rope of sufficient length, protected by iron wire, or other substance, to prevent its being bitten through; and having put this into the stream, or on a sand-bank at the edge of the water, they lie concealed near the spot, and await the arrival of the crocodile. As soon as it has swallowed the dog, they pull the rope, which brings the stick across the animal's throat. It endeavours to plunge into deep water, but is soon fatigued by its exertions, and is drawn ashore;

[blocks in formation]

when, receiving several blows on the head with long poles and hatchets, it is easily killed. It is now seldom eaten, the flesh being bad; but its hide is used, especially by the Ethiopians, for shields and other purposes: the glands are taken from beneath the arm or fore leg, for the musk they contain; and some parts are occasionally dried and used as philters. In former times it seems rather to have been eaten as a mark of hatred to the Evil Being, of whom it was the emblem, than as an article of food."

Mummies of crocodiles are found at Thebes, Maabdeh, and other places, many of which are of full size and perfectly preserved. In the Egyptian room of the British Museum, may be seen mummies of crocodiles enveloped in bandages; one in a fine state has been unrolled; it was brought from Thebes.

LEVIRATE, the name given to a Hebrew law, in obedience to which, when a man died without issue, it became the duty of his brother to marry his widow, with the view of raising up a first-born son to succeed to the inheritance. Michaëlis says, "This has been denominated Levirate marriage, from the word levir, which, though it appears not in the ancient classic authors, but only in the Vulgate and the Pandects, is nevertheless really an old Latin word, and is explained by Festus to signify a husband's brother. The Hebrews had, in like manner, an ancient law term which we do not meet with elsewhere, jabam, of the very same import whence came jebamet, a brother's wife, and □ jebem, to marry such a person. The Chaldee, Syriac, and Samaritan versions of the Bible do indeed retain the word, but it is not otherwise at all current in these languages, nor can we find in them the least trace of an etymology for it, and in the Arabic tongue it is altogether unknown. This is often the case with respect to the Hebrew law terms. The Hebrew language alone has them, while in the kindred languages they are not to be found at all, or in quite a different sense. How that happens I am ignorant; with this exception, that I frequently remark, in like manner, among ourselves, ancient law terms whose etymology is obscure, because old words have been retained in law, while the language has in other respects undergone alteration.

"The law which obliged a man to marry the widow of his childless brother was much more ancient than the time of Moses; having been in use in Palestine among the Canaanites, and the ancestors of the Israelites, at least, more than 250 years previous to the date of his law, and indeed with such rigour, as left a person no possible means of evading it, however irksome and odious compliance with it might appear to him. The law, however, was unquestionably attended with great inconveniences; for a man cannot but think it the most unpleasant of all necessities if he must marry a woman whom he has not chosen himself. Must, in matters of love and marriage, is a fearful word, and almost quite enough to put love to flight, even where beauty excites it. We see, likewise, that the brother in some instances had no inclination for any such marriage, (Gen. ch. 38; Ruth ch. 4,) and stumbled at this, that the first son produced from it could not belong to him. Whether a second son might follow and continue in life was very uncertain; and among a people who so highly prized genealogical immortality of name, it was a great hardship for a man to be obliged to procure it for a person already dead, and to run the risk meanwhile of losing it himself. Nor was this law very much in favour of the morals of the other sex; for, not to speak of Tamar, who, in reference to it, conceived herself justified in having recourse to

most improper conduct, I will only here observe that what Ruth did (3. 6-9) in order to obtain, for a husband, the person whom she accounted as the nearest kinsman of her deceased husband, is, to say the least, by no means conformable to that modesty and delicacy which we look for in the other sex. A wise and good legislator could scarcely have been inclined to patronize any such law; but then it is not advisable directly to attack an inveterate point of honour, because, in such a case, for the most part nothing is gained; and in the present instance, as the point of honour placed immortality of name entirely in a man's leaving descendants behind him, it was so favourable to the increase of population, that it merited some degree of forbearance and tenderness. Moses, therefore, left the Israelites still in possession of their established right, but at the same time he studied as much as possible to guard against its rigour and evil effects, by limiting and moderating its operation in various respects. In the first place, he expressly prohibited the marriage of a brother's widow, if there were children of his own alive. Before this time, brothers were probably in the practice of considering a brother's widow as part of the inheritance, and of appropriating her to themselves, if unable to buy a wife, as the Mongols do; so that this was a very necessary prohibition. For a successor præsumptivus in thoro, whom a wife can regard as her future husband, is rather a dangerous neighbour for her present one's honour; and if she happen to conceive any predilection for the younger brother, her husband, particularly in a southern climate, will hardly be secure from the risk of poison.

"In the second place, he allowed, and indeed enjoined the brother to marry the widow of his childless brother; but if he was not disposed to do so, he did not absolutely compel him, but left him an easy means of riddance; for he had only to declare in court, that he had no inclination to marry her, and then he was at liberty. This, it is true, subjected him to a punishment, which at first appears sufficiently severe; the slighted widow had a right to revile him in court as much as she pleased; and from his pulling off his shoe and delivering it to the widow, he received the appellation of Baresole, which anybody might apply to him without being liable to a prosecution. A little consideration, however, will show that this punishment was not so severe in reality as in appearance. For if Baresole is once understood, according to the usage of the language, to mean nothing more than a man who has given a woman the refusal, it is no longer felt as a term of great reproach, and any one will rather endure it, than have his own refusal talked of. To be once in his lifetime solemnly abused in a public court by a woman, is at any rate much easier to be borne than the same treatment from a man, or extrajudicially; and if, besides, the cause is known, and that the court allows her this liberty, in order to give free vent to her passion, because the man will not marry her according to her wish, the more violent the emotions of her rage are, the more flattering to him must they prove; and he will go out of court with more pride than if she had excused him from marrying her, with much coolness or without any emotion at all. I have often heard vain fops mention in company, how many women in other places would gladly have married them, and were greatly enraged that they would not take them. On persons of this description, such a judicial punishment would indeed have been very justly bestowed. But it is at worst more flattering than even the politest language with which a lady begs leave to decline an offer of marriage, or but distantly yields to it. A legislator, in ordaining a punishment of this nature, could

hardly have had it in view, to insist very particularly on the observance of a statute, that but ratified an old custom by way of a compliment. If it had been a point in which he was interested, he would have ordained a very different punishment. The Hebrew expression in Deuteronomy 25. 9, has been by some so understood, as if the widow had a right to spit in his face. And no doubt it may signify as much; but then that act in a public court is so indecent that if any other interpretation is admissible, this one ought not to be adopted. Now there are two others: (1.) 'She shall spit before his face.' The Arabs at this day, when they wish to affront any one, spit, and cry Fi; even people of rank do so, just as the common people do with us. (2.) pr yarak, may also mean to revile properly, Bilem evomere, which signification is familiar in Arabia, only that, according to the usual rule, the Hebrew yod must be changed into vau, and the word written varak.

"The person whose duty it was to marry a childless widow, was the brother of her deceased husband in the strict sense of the word, as the story in Genesis ch. 38 clearly shows. I would not have thought it necessary to make this remark, had not the contrary opinion been maintained by some who assert that the word 'brother,' in Deuteronomy 25. 5-10, is to be taken in a general sense, and means a relation, excluding the real brother. The law, however, only extended to a brother living in the same city or country, not to one residing at a greater distance. Nor did it affect a brother having already a wife of his own. At least, if it had its origin in this, that by reason of the price required for a wife, often only one brother could marry, and the others also wished to do the same, it could only affect such as were unmarried; and in the two instances that occur in Genesis ch. 38, and Ruth ch. 4, we find the brother-in-law, whose duty it was to marry, apprehensive of its proving hurtful to himself and his inheritance, which could hardly have been the case, if he had previously had another wife, or (but that was at least expensive,) could have taken one of his own choice. When there was no brother alive, or when he declined the duty, the Levirate law, as we see from the Book of Ruth, extended to the next nearest relation of the deceased husband, as, for instance, to his paternal uncle or nephew; so that at last, even pretty remote kinsmen, in default of nearer ones, might be obliged to undertake it. Boaz does not appear to have been very nearly related to Ruth, as he did not so much as know who she was, when he fell in love with her, while she gleaned in the fields. Nor did she know that he was any relation to her, until apprised of it by her mother-in-law. Among the Jews of the present day, Levirate marriages have entirely ceased; so much so, that in the marriage contracts of the very poorest people among them, it is generally stipulated that the bridegroom's brother shall abandon all those rights to the bride to which he could lay claim by Deuteronomy ch. 25."

A modern Jewish writer thus explains the custom in the present day:-"When a man dies childless his widow is not to marry a stranger, but is left to the brother of the deceased, who either marries or gives her leave to marry another man. This is grounded on the following passage:-'If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no child, the wife of the dead shall not marry without unto a stranger: her husband's brother shall go in unto her, and take her to him to wife, and perform the duty of an husband's brother unto her. And it shall be, that the first-born which she beareth shall succeed in the name of his brother which is dead, that his name be not put out of Israel.' Now this is to be understood thus; that both the brothers, that is, the


deceased, and likewise the surviving brother, must have their being upon earth at one and at the same time; but if the brother should happen to be born after the decease of the other, it is not then to be observed, because it cannot be said, to dwell together,' for evidently their dwelling, that is, their being, was not together. The marrying such a widow is called zibum, which word signifies to marry a sister-in-law. But if the brother does not choose to marry her, she must not marry another man without his first setting her at liberty. This ceremony of giving a brother's wife leave to marry again is called chalitsa, the loosing of the shoe according to the passage in Deuteronomy 25. 9. This ceremony is performed in the following manner:-A suitable place having been fixed upon the evening before, by three Rabbis, they with the witnesses are attended next day, after morning prayers, by the congregation; for if the ceremony is performed by night, it is not valid. The Rabbis, being seated, order the widow and brother-inlaw before them, who declare that they are come to be set at liberty; the one from espousing, the other from being espoused; when the Rabbi, after a long examination, finds the man determined not to marry the widow, he asks him no more questions. The man then puts on a shoe, by order of the Rabbi; this shoe is made from black-cloth list, knitted in a peculiar manner; he then takes it off again to unravel, which is a very troublesome job. For he must unravel it by making use of his two thumbs and two little fingers only, which is not a very easy task. This ends the ceremony, and the widow is then at liberty to marry again."

LEVITES," Beni Levi; Sept. Aevitaι. The Levites were a class of persons substituted in the place of the first-born of the Hebrews, who were originally priests by birth; but in the age of Moses yielded their right in this respect, and were ever after to be redeemed, by a pecuniary payment, from serving at the altar. (Numb. 3. 5-13,40-51.) From the tribe of Levi, From the tribe of Levi, Aaron and his posterity were consecrated to the priesthood, to whom a nearer access was given to the throne of God in the Holy of Holies, which, in truth, is intimated in the usual name for priests, Cohen, a word applied to men who have access to the king, as the sons of David, (2Sam. 8. 18; 1Chron. 18. 17,) rendered in our version, "chief rulers," and "chiefs." (See PRIESTHOOD.) The high-priest sustained the highest office in the tribe, and ranked as the head both of priests and Levites. The other Levites performed those religious duties which were of an inferior kind; but for the more menial employments, such as bringing water and splitting wood, they were allowed servants, who were assigned to them for the labours of the sanctuary. These had their origin as a separate class in the community from a religious practice among the Hebrews of devoting by a vow themselves, a son, or a servant, to services of such a kind. It was in reference to this practice that the law was enacted, which is recorded in Leviticus 27. 1-8, and which fixed the price at which a person who had thus devoted himself might be redeemed. In the time of Joshua, the number of persons thus employed in the capacity of servants in performing the religious ceremonies, was increased by the accession of the Gibeonites, "as hewers of wood and drawers of water," (Josh. 9.23-27;) their number was likewise much increased in the times of David and Solomon. After the captivity they constituted a very considerable class of the people, and were called by an honorary name that was anciently applied to the Levites, Nethinim, a word which signifies given or devoted, that is, to the service of the

[blocks in formation]

temple or sanctuary. (Numb. 3. 9; 8. 17,19.) Their employment, however it may have been esteemed originally, was eventually considered so respectable, that we find them, after the Captivity, mentioned immediately after the Levites, and, as it would seem, placed in a measure above the other Israelites. (Ezra 2. 58; 8. 20.) It appears that the Levites were in the first instance solemnly separated from the rest of the Israelites, and qualified for their official duties by a peculiar rite. (Numb. 8. 5-22.) Having washed and shaved the whole body, they brought a bullock with a meal offering and oil to the altar for a burnt-offering, and another bullock for a sin-offering. They were then sprinkled with water by Moses. The leading men of the Israelites laid their hands upon them, and by this ceremony sub stituted them in their own place or in that of their firstborn. The Levites, in the presence of the priests, prostrated themselves before God, in signification that they offered themselves to his service. Finally, they placed their hands upon the bullocks and then slew them. With these ceremonies, the Levites and their posterity were set apart to the service of God, of the priests, and of the tabernacle, but whether any consecration of each individual in after times took place does not appear, though most probably it was so. (1Chron. 15. 12; 29. 5; 38. 6.) They were not enjoined to wear any particular sort of dress; but we learn that those who removed the ark in the time of David, as well as those who were singers and musicians in Solomon's temple, were arrayed in white robes. Their duties consisted in rendering such assistance to the priests as was required, and in keeping guard round the tabernacle, and subsequently round the temple. In the journey through the wilderness, it was their duty to transport the different parts of the tabernacle, and the various sacred utensils that pertained to it; to see that both the tabernacle and the temple were kept clean, and to prepare supplies for the sanctuary, such as wine, oil, incense, &c. They had the care of the sacred revenues, and subsequently, to the time of David, were required to sing in the temple and to play upon instruments. In the more recent periods of the Jewish state, they slew the victims for the altar; for the people, having for a time discontinued it, had then become unskilful in the performance of this service. The Levites, in consequence of their descent from the three sons of Levi, Kohath, Gershon, and Merari, were divided into three families. These families bore separate and distinct parts of the tabernacle, and of the furniture which belonged to it, during the march in the desert. This laborious service was exacted from them from the thirtieth to the fiftieth year of their age; but from twenty-five to thirty, and subsequently to the fiftieth year, the employments, which they were expected to attend to, were of a less arduous nature. (Numb. 3. 1-36; 4. 1,30-35,42,46-49.) It appears that in later times they commenced the performance of the less difficult duties at a still earlier period, that is, at twenty years of age. (1Chron. 23. 24,27.)

When the Israelites were settled in Palestine, and the tabernacle was no longer carried about from place to place, as it had been, the service of the Levites underwent much change, and became considerably lighter than previously to that time. On the completion of the Temple, the priests and Levites were immediately subjected to the regulations of David, which ever after continued in force. He divided the thirty-eight thousand of them into four classes, as follows: twenty-four thousand were assigned as assistants to the priests, four thousand were employed as porters, four thousand were musicians, and six thousand judges and genealogists. (1Chron. 23. 3-5,24-32; 24. 20-31.) The musicians,

who were subjected to a minor division into twenty-four | classes, performed the services which were allotted to them alternately. One class was employed a week, and then its place was occupied by another. The stations that were guarded by those whose business it was to watch the Temple, were not all occupied by the same number, some being guarded by six, some by four, and others by two persons only. They were relieved every Sabbath-day by others. (1Chron. 26. 17-19; 2Chron. 23. 4.) They had likewise their appropriate heads or


The descendants of Levi had forty-eight cities assigned to them for their residence, on the division of the land of Canaan; thirteen of these were appropriated to the priests, to which were added the tithes of corn, fruit, and cattle. The Levites, however, paid to the priests a tenth part of all their tithes; and as they were possessed of no landed property, the tithes which the priests received from them were considered as the first fruits which they were to offer to God. (Numb. 18. 21-24.)

LEVITICUS. This, the third book of the Pentateuch, termed by the Jews "Va-yikra, “And he called," from the initial word; it is styled in the Septuagint ДevɩTIKOV, and in our version Leviticus, or the Levitical Book, because it contains principally the laws and regulations concerning the Levites, priests, and sacrifices. In the Babylonish Talmud it is called the Law of the Priests, which appellation is retained in the Arabic and Syriac versions. It is generally admitted that the author of this book was Moses; and it is cited as his production in several books of Scripture. By comparing Exodus 40. 17 with Numbers 1. 1, we learn that this book contains the history of one month, that is, from the erection of the tabernacle to the numbering of the people who were fit for war, which took place in the second month of the year of the world 2514, and 1490 B.C.

The Book of Leviticus is divided by the Jews into nine paraschioth, which in our Bibles form twenty-seven chapters; it consists of four leading points:-(1.) The laws concerning sacrifices, in which the different kinds

of sacrifices are enumerated, together with their concomitant rites. (2.) The institution of the priesthood, in which the consecration of Aaron and his sons to the sacred office is related; together with, (3.) The laws concerning purifications, both of the people and the priests. (4.) The laws concerning the sacred festivals, vows, things devoted, and tithes.

The general design of the book is, to make known to the Israelites the Levitical laws, sacrifices, and ordinances, and by those "shadows of good things to come," to lead the Israelites to the Messiah; (Heb. 10. 1, comp. with Gal. 3. 4;) and it appears from the argument of St. Paul, that they had some idea of the spiritual meaning of these various institutions. (1Cor. 10. 1-4.) Numerous passages of the New Testament, especially the Epistle to the Hebrews, are explained by reference to this book; in fact, they would be scarcely intelligible without it.


LIBATION. This word does not occur in our authorized version, but the effusion of liquors poured upon victims sacrificed, which it signifies, was practised by the Hebrews as well as by the heathen nations, and it serves to explain more than one passage in St. Paul's Epistles. The quantity of wine for a libation was the fourth part of a hin, or rather more than two pints.

Libations among the Hebrews were poured upon the victim after it was killed, and the several pieces of it were laid on the altar ready to be consumed by the flames. (Levit. 6. 20; 8. 25,26; 9. 4.) See MINCHA. St. Paul describes himself as it were a. victim about to be sacrificed, and that the accustomed libations were in a manner poured upon him: "For I am ready to be offered, [Tevdoμai, poured forth,] and the time of my departure is at hand." (2Tim. 4. 6.) The same expressive sacrificial term occurs in Philippians 2. 17, where the Apostle represents the faith of the Philippians as a sacrifice, and his own blood as a libation poured forth to hallow and consecrate it: "Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all."

Sir John Gardner Wilkinson observes, "The most usual offerings mentioned in the sculptures of ancient Egypt, besides the sacrifices of animals and birds, are wine, oil, beer, milk, cakes, grain, ointment, flowers, fruit, vegetables, and various productions of the soil, which answered, in some degree, to the Mincha of the Jews. A libation of wine was frequently offered, together with incense; flowers were often presented with them; and many sacrifices consisted of oxen or other animals, birds, cakes, fruit, vegetables, ointments, and other things, with incense and libation. Wine was frequently presented in two cups. It was not then a libation, but merely an offering of wine; and since the pouring out of wine upon the altar was a preliminary ceremony, as Herodotus observes, common to all their sacrifices, we find that the king is often represented making a libation upon an altar covered with offerings of cakes, flowers, and the joints of a victim killed for the occasion. The Egyptian artists did not bind themselves to one instant of time in their representations of these subjects. The libation, therefore, appears to be poured over the mass of offerings collected upon the altar; but the knowledge of their mode of drawing, and the authority of Herodotus, explain that the libation was poured out before the offerings were placed upon it; and instances are even found in the sculptures of this preparatory ceremony. Two kinds of vases were principally used for libation, and the various kinds of wine were indicated by the names afflixed to them." See SACRIFICE.

LIBERTINES. In Acts 6.9, the sacred historian,

Bishop Marsh observes, "speaks of a synagogue at Jerusalem belonging to a class of persons whom he calls ABEρTIVO, [in our version rendered "Libertines," a term which is evidently the same with the Latin libertini. Now, whatever meaning we affix to this word, for it is slaves, or the sons of emancipated slaves-they must have variously explained-whether we understand emancipated been the slaves or the sons of slaves to Roman masters; otherwise the Latin word libertini would not apply to them. That among persons of this description there whether slaves of Jewish origin, or proselytes, after were many at Rome who professed the Jewish religion, manumission, is nothing very extraordinary. But that they should have been so numerous at Jerusalem as to have a synagogue in that city, built for their particular use, appears at least to be more than might be expected. Some commentators, therefore, have supposed that the term in question, instead of denoting emancipated Roman slaves, or the sons of such persons, was an adjective belonging to the name of some city or district; while others, on mere conjecture, have proposed to alter the term itself. But the whole difficulty is removed by a passage in the second book of the Annals of Tacitus, from which it appears that the persons whom that his

[blocks in formation]

torian describes as being libertini generis, and infected, | Gesenius, Boothroyd, and others, concur in it; but the as he calls it, with foreign, that is, with Jewish, superstition, were so numerous in the time of the Emperor Tiberius, that four thousand of them, who were of age to carry arms, were sent to the island of Sardinia; and that all the rest of them were ordered either to renounce their religion or to depart from Italy before a day appointed. This statement of Tacitus is confirmed by Suetonius, who relates that Tiberius disposed of the young men among the Jews, then at Rome, (under pretence of their serving in the wars,) in provinces of an unhealthy climate; and that he banished from the city all the rest of that nation, or proselytes to that religion, under penalty of being condemned to slavery for life if they did not comply with his commands. We can now, therefore, account for the number of libertini in Judæa, at the period of which Luke was speaking, which was about fifteen years after their banishment from Italy."

I. LIBNAH, Sept. Aeßva, Aoẞva. This was a Levitical city in the tribe of Judah, situated about twelve miles south-west of Jerusalem. It revolted from Jekoram, on account of his murders and idolatry; (2Kings 8. 22; 2Chron. 21. 10;) and afterwards, in the time of Hezekiah, sustained a siege from Sennacherib, king of Assyria. (Isai. 37. 8.) It existed as a town or village in the days of Eusebius and Jerome, under the name of Labina, or Lobna, but no remains of it are now to be seen.

II. Libnah is the name of one of the encampments of the Israelites in the wilderness. (Numb. 33. 20.) Nothing is known as to its situation, though Calmet endeavours to identify it with the Libnah of Judah.

LIBYA, Aɩßun. This name in its largest sense was used by the Greeks to denote the whole of Africa; but Libya Proper, or the Libya of the New Testament, was a large country lying along the Mediterranean, to the west of Egypt. By the Romans it was divided into Libya Interior and Exterior; but the Libya mentioned by St. Luke, (Acts 2. 10,) is that which is called by Ptolemy, Libya Cyrenaica; and by Pliny, Pentapolitana Regio, from its five chief cities, Berenice, Arsinoë, Ptolemais, Apollonia, and Cyrene. It is celebrated in the Old Testament for its chariots and horses used in war. (2Chron. 16. 8.) Libya is supposed to have been first peopled by, and to have derived its name from, the Lehabim, or Lubim. These, its earlier inhabitants, appear, in the times of the Old Testament, to have consisted of wandering tribes, who were sometimes in alliance with Egypt, and at others with the Ethiopians of Arabia; as they are said to have assisted both Shishak and Zerah in their expeditions into Judæa. (2Chron. ch. 12,14,16.) They were sufficiently powerful to maintain a war for a time with the Carthaginians; by whom they were in the end entirely overcome. Since that period, Libya, in common with the rest of the East, has successively passed into the hands of the Greeks, Romans, Saracens, and Turks. The city Cyrene was the capital of this country, in which and other parts dwelt many Jews, who came up to Jerusalem at the feast of Pentecost, together with those dispersed among other nations, and are called by St. Luke, dwellers in the parts of Libya about Cyrene. (Acts 2. 10.) See CYRENE.

LICE, O kinnim; Sept. oxvipes; Vulg. sciniphes, a species of little gnats that sting painfully in the marshy country of Egypt, (Culex reptans of Linnæus, or Culex molestus of Forskal.) This is the rendering of the Septuagint, which is supported by Origen and Jerome.

Jewish interpreters and Josephus explain it by "lice,” which has been adopted by our translators, and which Bochart likewise follows, with most of the modern commentators. Bochart argues that gnats could not be intended: (1.) Because the creatures here mentioned sprang from the dust of the earth, and not from the waters. (2.) Because they were both on men and cattle, which cannot be spoken of gnats. (3.) Because their name comes from a root which signifies to make firm, fix, establish, which could not apply to gnats, flies, &c., as they are almost constantly on the wing. (4.) Because kinah, is the term given by the Talmudists for louse. To which, it may be added, that if they were winged and stinging insects, as Jerome, Origen, and others have supposed, the plague of flies is unduly anticipated; and the next miracle will be only a repetition of the former.

Mr. Bryant, who agrees with our translators, in illus trating the aptness of this miracle, has the following and were very nice both in their persons and clothing; remarks:-"The Egyptians affected great external purity, bathing and making ablutions continually. Uncommon care was taken not to harbour any vermin. They were particularly solicitous on this head, thinking it would be a great profanation of the temple which they entered, if any animalculæ of this sort were concealed in their garments. The priests, says Herodotus, are shaved, both as to their heads and bodies, every third day, to prevent them when they are performing their services to the any louse or other detestable creature being found upon gods. The judgment therefore inflicted by the hands of Moses, was consequently not only most noisome to the people in general, but it was no small odium to the most sacred order in Egypt, that they were overrun with these filthy and detestable vermin."

Those who take the view of the Septuagint version, represent the activity of gnats in Egypt, their small size,

Egyptian Gnat, magnified.

their insatiable thirst for blood, and the power of their sting as such as to render existence almost a calamity during the seasons in which they most abound. The painful sensation which their sting produces, and the combined torture resulting from the infliction of fresh intolerable and protracted itching which ensues, with the stings while the former are still smarting, is scarcely less distressing to the mind than to the body. To secure sleep at night, the inhabitants of the countries infested by these insects are obliged to shelter themselves under mosquito nets or curtains; and it deserves to be mentioned, that this precaution was used by the ancient Egyptians. The Egyptian gnat is rather small, ashcoloured, with white spots on the articulation of the legs.

« PrécédentContinuer »