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26. "Meshech, Tubal, and all her multitude.”—The allusions which may be collected from this passage, to the mode of sepulture among the people indicated, correspond remarkably to the conclusion that these people were situated about, and northward from, the Euxine and Caspian seas. The circumstances by which the present is distinguished from the other descriptions here given, are contained in verse 27, where they are described as buried with their weapons of war-their swords under their heads; and the remarkable expression, "their iniquities shall be upon their bones," may be well understood as an allusion taken from the vast heaps of earth which it was customary to pile over their bodies. This cannot so well be supposed to allude to anything else as to barrow-burial, which not only answers to these allusions, but is actually described by ancient authors, as practised among the very people of whom it is generally agreed that the prophet here speaks. Nothing therefore can be more to the purpose than to observe how their usages, in this matter, are described by Herodotus, who wrote no very long time after Ezekiel. His account refers to the burial of the Scythian kings, whose sepulchres were in a remote district, named Gerrhus, where the Borysthenes became navigable. When one of the kings died, his corpse, embalmed and covered with wax, was conveyed in a chariot, in solemn state, to this place. A large quadrangular pit was dug, and in this they placed the royal corpse, on a mattress of straw. On each side of this they planted spears, and covered it with wood, and roofed it over with hurdles of willow. In the remaining part of the pit they interred one of the late king's women, strangled for the purpose, together with his cup-bearer, his cook, his groom, his minister, his courier, his horses, as well as some articles of every kind he may be supposed to need, including several goblets of gold. This done, the people eagerly contended with each other in the work of heaping over the whole a mound of earth, as vast as possible. The proceedings did not here terminate; for, the year following, fifty of the late king's confidential attendants and fifty of his horses were slain and placed, the men on the horses, around his sepulchre." (Melp. 71-2.) This account includes every explanation the texts requires:-the "weapons of war;" for besides the spears, particularly mentioned, other weapons were doubtless included among the articles which the deceased might be supposed to require; then there is the vast heaped up mound; and lastly, if this illustration seems to be required, there are the numbers-the multitudes gone down to the tomb with him, and whose graves are around him.
In the country in question, the present writer has seen great numbers of such mounds as are here described, and of various sizes, but generally in the form of a broad cone, more or less obtuse. They occur in the open steppe or desert, and we have sometimes seen them, on approaching the Caucasian region, in the midst of the wide plains or hollows, enclosed by a surrounding border of natural hills; and where the few vast but simple tumuli of the mighty dead, holding these magnificent spots in solitary occupation, make an impression upon the mind which no excavated rocks or sculptured tombs could possibly create. These mounds are frequently overgrown with verdure; and, in favourable situations, trees are found upon them; but although they sometimes emulate natural hills in their dimensions, the situations in which they are found, and often the regularity of form which they still retain, prevent their being mistaken for such. Such of them as have been opened, have been found to contain human bones, skeletons of horses, articles of gold and silver, weapons and instruments of war, domestic utensils, and personal ornaments: all confirming the account of Herodotus; as does also the frequent occurrence of the bones of many bodies in one sepulchre. It is true that many of these mounds appear to have been erected by the Tartars of Genghiz Khan and their successors; and it appears that the Kalmucs are still in the habit of burying arms, horses, &c. with their chiefs. But many mounds, and those of the largest size, are considered, by the modern Tartars and the Russians, to be of very remote antiquity, as their contents exhibit articles, and indicate some usages, not known to themselves even by tradition. Upon the whole, the tumuli which appear in this region seem to be of different ages, some very ancient, perhaps as ancient as the times before us; but, of whatever age, indicating the general accuracy of the account given by Herodotus, and supposed to be alluded to by the sacred writer, as to the custom of this country.
The custom was not, however, peculiar to the Scythians, but was one of the most extensive as well as most ancient in the world. The heroes who perished in the war which Homer celebrates, were honoured with such sepulchres on the plain of Troy; and mounds, which are declared to be their tombs, remain to this day the subject of antiquarian discussion: and the downs of Wiltshire, no less than the plains of Troy, bear evidence of the same custom, in the sepulchral "barrows" which they exhibit, and in the contents which these barrows offer. But this suggests a large and interesting subject from which we are warned to abstain by the recollection that the mounds of Meshech and Tubal are those only that require our attention. We have only therefore further to observe, how the essential identity of the custom is established, wherever traced, by the existence of animal bones, together with the human, and "weapons of war," and various utensils, in the larger proportion of the sepulchral hills which have hitherto been examined.
29. "There is Edom,” &c.—We should have had much to say concerning the sepulchres of Edom, as exhibited at Petra, the city of tombs, had not such notice as we could take of the subject been anticipated by the general statement concerning that wonderful place which has been given under Jer. xlix., with the incidental notices which may be elsewhere found in this work. Many of these tombs are also represented in engravings formerly given, and which may be safely left to speak for themselves-the rather, as all that is peculiar to them is shown in these engravings; for these monuments in general, however rich externally, present nothing in the interior but coarsely chiselled walls. There is, however, one exception, noticed by Laborde, of a sepulchral chamber, with rows of sculptured pillars, and which forms the finest interior to be found in the place. "When the Bedouins descend into the valley, this tomb, which is easily closed, serves as a stable for their herds. Such are the uses to which the costly monuments of human vanity have been converted." (Laborde.) And such too, we may add, are the fulfilments which the predictions of the prophets concerning the desolations of Edom have received.
30. "The Zidonians."-There are several places on the coasts of Phoenicia and Syria where sepulchral remains of a very interesting character occur. They consist of subterraneous sepulchral chambers, with sarcophagi above, of the character shown in our engraving, which exhibits a spot in the Sidonian territory, on the road from Sidon to Beiroot. In giving a brief explanation, we shall avail ourselves chiefly of the account which has been given by Dr. Shaw (Travels,' p. 324-5; folio, 1738); for although his description refers to the sepulchres at Latikea, he states that those in Phoenicia are precisely similar to them. This is indeed clear from our engraving, as well as from the further allusions of this author, as compared with Maundrell and other travellers. The sarcophagi are chests of stone, of the form shown in our engraving: some that Maundrell saw were two yards and a half long. Some have lost their covers, others retain them in the proper position, but they are often thrown aside, having been probably removed in the search for treasure, which the Orientals generally expect to find in such situations. The chests are sometimes panelled, and often enriched with sculptures in shell-work and foliage, or with human or animal figures. Ox-heads, with wreaths between them, occur frequently. The covers are sometimes supported by pilasters; and Maundrell mentions traces of inscriptions too much defaced to be legible. The rocky ground on which these sarcophagi are found is hollowed below into a number of sepulchral chambers, some of which are ten, others twenty or thirty feet square; but the height is
not in proportion to this extent. A range of narrow cells, wide enough to receive one of the sarcophagi, and long enough for two or three, runs along the sides of most of these sepulchral chambers, and appear to be the only provision that has been made for the reception of the dead. "The sepulchral chambers near Jebilee, Tortosa, and the Serpent's Fountain," says Shaw, "with those that are commonly called the Royal Sepulchres at Jerusalem, are all of them of exactly the same workmanship and contrivance with the cryptæ at Latikea. And in one of the chambers of the royal sepulchres (see our engraving) there is one of these ancient sarcophagi remaining, which is of Parian-like marble, in the fashion of a trunk, very elegantly carved all over with flowers, fruit, and foliage. Instead likewise of those long narrow cells that are common in other cryptæ, some of these have several benches only, of stone, upon which the coffins were placed."
1 According to the duty of a watchman, in warning the people, 7 Ezekiel is admonished of his duty. 10 God sheweth the justice of his ways towards the penitent, and towards revolters. 17 He maintaineth his justice. 21 Upon the news of the taking of Jerusalem he prophesieth the desolation of the land. 30 God's judgment upon the mockers of the prophets.
AGAIN the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
2 Son of man, speak to the children of thy people, and say unto them, 'When I bring the sword upon a land, if the people of the land take a man of their coasts, and set him for their watchman :
3 If when he seeth the sword come upon the land, he blow the trumpet, and warn the people;
4 Then whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head.
5 He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning; his blood shall be upon him. But he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul.
6 But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman's hand.
7 ¶ So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me.
8 When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.
9 Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.
1 Heb. A land when I bring a sword upon her.
10 Therefore, O thou son of man, speak unto the house of Israel; Thus ye speak, saying, If our transgressions and our sins be upon us, and we pine away in them, how should we then live?
11 Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, 'I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for 'why will ye die, Ŏ house of Israel?
12 Therefore, thou son of man, say unto the children of thy people, The 'righteousness of the righteous shall not deliver him in the day of his transgression: as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall thereby in the day that he turneth from his wickedness; neither shall the righteous be able to live for his righteousness in the day that he sinneth.
13 When I shall say to the righteous, that he shall surely live; if he trust to his own righteousness, and commit iniquity, all his righteousnesses shall not be remembered; but for his iniquity that he hath committed, he shall die for it.
14 Again, when I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; if he turn from his sin, and do 'that which is lawful and right;
15 If the wicked restore the pledge, give again that he had robbed, walk in the statutes of life, without committing iniquity; he shall surely live, he shall not die.
16 None of his sins that he hath committed shall be mentioned unto him: he hath done that which is lawful and right; he shall surely live.
17 Yet the children of thy people say, The way of the Lord is not equal: but as for them, their way is not equal.
18. When the righteous turneth from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, he shall even die thereby.
19 But if the wicked turn from his wickedness, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall live thereby.
2 Heb, he that heuring heareth.
Chap. 3. 17, &c. 711eb. judgment and justice.
42 Sam. 14. 14. Chap. 18. 32.
20 Yet ye say, "The way of the Lord is ¶ not equal. O ye house of Israel, I will judge you every one after his ways.
21 ¶ And it came to pass in the twelfth year of our captivity, in the tenth month, in the fifth day of the month, that one that had escaped out of Jerusalem came unto me, saying, "The city is smitten.
22 Now the hand of the LORD was upon me in the evening, afore he that was escaped came; and had opened my mouth, until he came to me in the morning; and my mouth was opened, and I was no more 1odumb. 23 Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
24 Son of man, they that inhabit those wastes of the land of Israel speak, saying, Abraham was one, and he inherited the land: but we are many; the land is given us for inheritance.
25 Wherefore say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Ye eat with the blood, and lift up your eyes toward your idols, and shed blood: and shall ye possess the land?
26 Ye stand upon your sword, ye work abomination, and ye defile every one his neighbour's wife: and shall ye possess the
27 Say thou thus unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; As I live, surely they that are in the wastes shall fall by the sword, and him that is in the open field will I give
8 Chap. 18. 25.
to the beasts "to be devoured, and they that be in the forts and in the caves shall die of the pestilence.
28 For I will lay the land "most desolate, and the "pomp of her strength shall cease; and the mountains of Israel shall be desolate, that none shall pass through.
29 Then shall they know that I am the LORD, when I have laid the land most desolate because of all their abominations which they have committed.
30 Also, thou son of man, the children of thy people still are talking against thee by the walls and in the doors of the houses, and speak one to another, every one to his brother, saying, Come, I pray you, and hear what is the word that cometh forth from the LORD.
31 And they come unto thee "as the people cometh, and "they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them for with their mouth they shew much love. but their heart goeth after their covetousness.
32 And, lo, thou art unto them as "a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy words, but they do them
33 And when this cometh to pass, (lo, it will come,) then shall they know that a prophet hath been among them.
92 Kings 25. 10 Chap. 24 27. 11 Heb. to devour him. 12 Heh. desolation and desolation. 13 Chap. 7. 24, and 24. 21, and 30, 6, 7. 14 Heb, according to the coming of the people. 15 Or, my people sit before thes. 16 Heb they make loves, or jests. 1. Heb. a song of loves.
Verse 30. "Talking.....by the walls and in the doors of the houses.”—While residing in Oriental towns, and particularly in Mesopotamia, where Ezekiel was, we had constant occasion to notice this practice. We never went out in fine weather without observing frequent groups of men conferring together or solacing themselves at the doors of houses, or seated on the ground, under the shade of the walls, in the broader streets and public places.
1 A reproof of the shepherds. 7 God's judgment against them. 11 His providence for his flock.
20 The kingdom of Christ. AND the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
2 Son of man, prophesy against the 'shepherds of Israel, prophesy. and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks?
3 Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: but ye feed not the flock.
4 The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them.
5 And they were scattered, because there is no shepherd: and they became meat to all the beasts of the field, when they were scattered.
6 My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek after
3 Or, without a shepherd, and so verse 8.
7¶Therefore, ye shepherds, hear the word of the LORD;
8 As I live, saith the Lord GOD, surely because my flock became a prey, and my flock became meat to every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, neither did my shepherds search for my flock, but the shepherds fed themselves, and fed not my flock;
9 Therefore, O ye shepherds, hear the word of the LORD;
10 Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require my flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for
11 ¶For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out.
12 'As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day.
13 And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country.
14 I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be: there shall they lie in a good fold, and in a fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel.
15 I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord GOD.
16 I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick: but I will destroy the fat and the strong; I will feed them with judgment.
17 And as for you, O my flock, thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I judge between 'cattle and cattle, between the rams and the 'he goats.
18 Seemeth it a small thing unto you to have eaten up the good pasture, but ye must tread down with your feet the residue of your pastures? and to have drunk of the
*Heb. according to the seeking.
8 Isa. 11. 1. Jer. 23. 5.
deep waters, but ye must foul the residue with your feet?
19 And as for my flock, they eat that which ye have trodden with your feet; and they drink that which ye have fouled with your feet.
20 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD unto them; Behold, I, even I, will judge between the fat cattle and between the lean cattle.
21 Because ye have thrust with side and with shoulder, and pushed all the diseased with your horns, till ye have scattered them abroad;
22 Therefore will I save my flock, and they shall no more be a prey; and I will judge between cattle and cattle.
23 And I will set up one 'shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my ser vant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd.
24 And I the LORD will be their God, and my servant David a prince among them; I the LORD have spoken it.
25 And I will make with them a covenant of peace, and will cause the evil beasts to cease out of the land: and they shall dwell safely in the wilderness, and sleep in the woods.
26 And I will make them and the places round about my hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing.
27 And the tree of the field shall yield her fruit, and the earth shall yield her increase, and they shall be safe in their land, and shall know that I am the LORD, when I have broken the bands of their yoke, and delivered them out of the hand of those that served themselves of them
28 And they shall no more be a prey to the heathen, neither shall the beast of the land devour them; but they shall dwell safely, and none shall make them afraid.
29 And I will raise up for them a plant of renown, and they shall be no more consumed with hunger in the land, neither bear the shame of the heathen any more.
30 Thus shall they know that I the LORD their God am with them, and that they, even the house of Israel, are my people, saith the Lord GOD.
31 And ye my "flock, the flock of my pasture, are men, and I am your God, saith the Lord GOD.
Heb. small cattle of lambs and kids. • Or, for renown.
• Heb. great he-goats. 10 Heb. taken away.
7 Isa. 40. 11. John 10. 11. 11 John 10. 11.