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and the Doctor tells us, that he found the shepherds, that watched their sheep in a mountain to which he accidentally went, hung the things they wanted to make use of on a tree; so that the circumstance of hanging their harps on the willows that grew by the rivers of Babylon was quite natural, when the remembrance of the songs of the Temple made them burst into tears, and turned the intended merry-meeting into a scene of lamentation and wailing,
It is no objection to this, that the Jews were in a state of captivity in Babylon, for though some of their principal people might be kept in prison, and treated with harshness, yet the Prophet Jeremiah supposed numbers of them would be sufficiently at their ease, to admit the supposing they might go from time to time to shady places, near their rivers, to take a joyous repast. For in a prophetic letter which he wrote to the Jews in Babylon, he assured them they should obtain considerable degrees of favor in the land of their captivity; Thus saith the LORD of Hosts, the God of Israel, unto all that are carried away captives, whom I have caused to be carried away from Jerusalem unto Babylon; Build ye houses, and dwell in them: and plant gardens, and eat the fruit of them. Take ye wives, and beget sons and daughters: and take wives for your sons, and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters: that ye may be increased there, and not diminished. And seek the peace of the city, whither I have caused you to be carried away
captives, and pray unto the LORD for it: For in the peace thereof shall ye have peace. Jer. xxix.
And though the Jewish law was understood to forbid their associating with those of another nation, yet these repasts being held by the waysides, by fountains or rivers, numbers of the people of Babylon, passing by, might stop to hear the music, and might very naturally be understood to say, Sing us one of the songs of Sion, curious to hear what kind of melody had been made use of in the Temple. The word translated required, does not signify an authoritative order, but merely asking them in a manner consistent with friendliness and even complaisance, Galled, however, with such a request, they put an end to their music as soon as they well could, and hung their harps on the trees under which they sat,
In those out of Door Entertainments, any Passenger is invited to partake.
THE people of these countries not only enjoy themselves in forming parties of pleasure, which repose themselves under trees in warm weather, indulging themselves in eating and and drinking there; but they frequently invite passengers to partake with them in their repasts, The Prophet Zechariah seems to refer to these invitations in the close of his third
chapter. In that day, saith the LORD of Hosts, shall ye call every man his neighbour under the vine, and under the fig-tree.
The words, in themselves, might be thoughtindeterminate, and it might be queried, whether they signified, that every one should call to his neighbours, who were sitting under trees for enjoyment and repast; or whether they signified, that every one that was sitting under such trees should call to those that passed by, to come and partake with them in their pleaBut the usages of those countries lead us to apprehend, the last is the sense of the Prophet, and the words are capable of that construction.
Thus Dr. Richard Chandler, in his Travels in Asia Minor, tells us," That a Greek at Philadelphia sent them a small earthen vessel full of choice wine; and that some families, who were sitting beneath some trees, by a rill of water, invited them to alight, and partake of their refreshments.
The taking their repasts thus in public expressed safety and pleasure; and the calling to passengers to partake with them, a spirit of friendliness and generosity. A state very contrary to that in which Israel had some little time before found themselves: Son of man, said God to Ezekiel, I will break the staff of bread in Jerusalem, and they shall eat bread by weight, and with care, and they shall drink water by measure, and with astonishment. P. 250.
Ezek. iv 16, 17. And again, ch. xii. 18, Son of man, eat thy bread with quaking, and drink thy water with trembling, and with carefulness; and say unto the people of the land, Thus saith the LORD GOD, of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and of the land of Israel, They shall eat their bread with carefulness, and drink their water with astonishment, that her land may be desolate from all that is therein, because of the violence of them that dwell therein.
The half-starved Arabs of the Desert, without ceremony, sit down to eat with any that they happen to see taking their repasts; so the author of the Travels of Egmont and Heyman tells us, that when they were within an hour and a half of the convent of Mount Sinai, the Arabians of the neighbourhood came to congratulate them on their arrival, and, according to the custom of the country, set down by them, for whenever they see any eating or drinking, they join the company without the least ceremony."
However dubious then the words of themselves may be, grammatically considered, they cannot well be understood as signifying every one's calling to, or addressing those that sat under trees taking their repast, since that, as in the case of the wild Arabs, would express want; but as expressing the liberality with which Israel, on their return, should invite all that came into their view, to share with
Vol. ii. p. 155.
them in the bounties of Providence, and the safety as well as plenty with which they should be surrounded.
Fishermen in the East frequently land to dress and eat their Fish on the Sea-Shore.
PLUTARCH observes, that the Greeks frequently, for pleasure, took a repast on the seashore; and M. Doubdan has mentioned, his finding some of the inhabitants of the confines of the Holy Land enjoying themselves, in like manner, near the sea, eating and smoking there: which accounts, especially when put together, may give us the most exact view, of what passed between our LORD and the disciples on the shore of the sea of Galilee, of which St. John has given us the history in the last chapther of his Gospel.
The substance of what Plutarch says is as follows: What do they mean, who inviting one another to form a party of pleasure, say, Let us eat to-day on the sea-shore? Don't they show that they consider an entertainment on the sea-shore as the most delightful? Certainly not on account of the waves and the pebbles there, but because they have the best oppor