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"the trees, and strawed (them) in the way If rofe-bufhes grew there, on Mount Olivet, they might very naturally cut off branches full of roses, and fhaking them, ftrew the path of our Lord with the beautiful, but untenacious leaves of those flowers. The word them, in our verfion, which feems to refer to the branches themselves, it is to be remembered, is not in the original, but a fupplement of our tranflators.


Signior Lufignan, in the converfation I had with him about the Holy-Land, affured me, that the time of sheep-fhearing in that country is March, and towards the beginning of that month, O. S; which is another proof, that they are about fix weeks, or two months, forwarder in that country than we are in England, for the washing many of the sheep this year, in the village in Suffolk in which I am writing this, preparatory to the clipping the wool off them, was the 17th of May.

The ingenious Dr. Aikin, in his Calendar of Nature, lately published, throws SheepShearing into June; and though he makes it one of the earliest of the rural employments of that month, yet one of the tokens

Mark 11. 8. Matt. 21. 8.

2 1785.


to mark out the time, given by Dyer, whom the Doctor quotes, is when the

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which is not, at leaft was not, this year 'till the middle of June, which would make sheepfhearing three months earlier in the HolyLand than it is with us; but Dyer's prescription is not followed by us as to the time of performing this operation, nor, it seems, by the Arabs of Palæstine.

The account I have given of the time of fheep-fhearing there, may be confirmed by teftimonies of a different kind, which it may not be difagreeable to fet down here.

Ariftophanes, the old Greek comic writer, fuppofes, that among the œconomical uses to be derived from the appearing of certain birds, the fixing the time proper for the fhearing of sheep is one, and that the coming of the kite proclaims it's being then the fit feafon'.

Now Stilling fleet, in fome notes on the Calendar of Theophraftus, fitted for Athens, in the latitude 37° 25', obferves, that "be"tween March 11 and 26, the kite and the nightingale appear" (at Athens)" that is, in "the leafing season. The appearance of the "hawk is confonant to what Aristotle says,

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Stillingfleet's Mifcell. Tracts, p. 237.

• Ibid. p. 324.


"as quoted in the preface, but is determined upon a different kind of teftimony; which "is a proof that this part of the Calendar, "at least, is tolerably well stated."

Thefe accounts of Lufignan and Stillingflect, if admitted, fix the time of the year when Jacob fet out upon his return from Padan-Aram to his father Ifaac, Gen. xxxi. 19; when Judah cohabited with his daughter-in-law, Gen. xxxviii. 12, &c, at which time of the year, according to Dr. Ruffell, they are wont to kill their kids about Aleppo, agreeable to the propofal made by him to fend her a kid from the flock, v. 17.

In like manner circumftances determine, that it was in the spring that the sheep of Nabal were fhorn, 1 Sam. xxv. 2, for, among other things carried by Abigail to David for a prefent, mention is made of five measures of parched corn, v. 18; but we know, from other paffages of Scripture, that the time of their using parched corn was wont to be, when it was full grown, but not ripe, Lev. xxiii. 14, Ruth ii. 14, 14, 2 Sam. xvii. 28. This obfervation may be of fome ufe in fettling the chronology of David's wandering up and down in the Deferts, when forced to fly to avoid the vengeance of Saul.

There is another circumftance, in this affair of Nabal, which should not be paffed over in

Befides the milk of the goats, their kids add some part to the diet of the inhabitants, a few being killed in the Spring and autumn. Hiftory of Aleppo, p. 53. filence,

filence, and that is, that his sheep seem to have been fent into the wildernefs to feed, some time before the season of sheep-fhearing came on, and that they were there by night, as well as by day. This feems to be pointed out by the 7th, and the 15th and 16th verses: Thy fhepherds, which were with us, we "hurt them not, neither was there ought

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miffing to them, all the while they were in "Carmel. . . . . The men were very good "unto us, and we were not hurt, neither "miffed we any thing, as long as we were "converfant with them, when we were in "the fields. They were a wall unto us, "both by night and day, all the while we "were with them keeping the fheep." would be happy, if fome curious obferver would give the world an accurate œconomical calendar for the Holy-Land, as things are now conducted among them. As nothing of that fort has been published, that I know of, I must content myself with obferving, that in Sweden, where the sheep are housed in the winter, the fheep are turned into the fields, according to the exact and distinct œconomical calendar for that country, when the white wagtail appears, which happened above a month before the nightingale returned, which being coincident with the appearance of the kite, marks out, according to the ancients, the time of fheep-fhearing.

* Stillingfleet's Miscell. Tracts, p. 265.

2 P. 267. But

But as the climate of the countries in the North of Europe differs fo confiderably from that of Judæa, the interval between the turning fheep out into their common paftures, after houfing them in the winter-time, and fhearing them, may differ very much in different countries.

The facred hiftorian mentions alfo Abfalom's celebrating fheep-fhearing time with magnificence, but without mentioning any circumstance that requires attention here.

But with regard to the first of these accounts, (that relating to Jacob, who left Mefopotamia when Laban went to fhear his sheep,) we may with propriety take notice of the acuteness which Jacob fhewed, in felecting the articles of that prefent he made Efau. To difengage himself from the company of his brother, and that of his attendants, which gave him a good deal of apprehenfion, he pleaded not only the tender age of his children, but the ftate of his cattle, which had, many of them, young by their fides, which, if they were over-driven but one day, would die'. Had he however made a prefent of fuch cattle to Efau, Efau might have alledged the fame reafon for marching with the like flowness. He chofe out therefore fuch as might make up a noble present, but not fuch as were encumbered with their young. No lambs, or kids, or calves. There

• Gen. 33. 13.


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