Isaiah 3


The whole of this chapter, with the first verse of the next, is

a prophecy of those calamities that should be occasioned by the

Babylonish invasion and captivity. These calamities are

represented as so great and so general, that even royal

honours, in such a state, are so far from being desirable, that

hardly any can be got to accept them, 1-7.

This visitation is declared to be the consequence of their

profanity and guilt; for which the prophet farther reproves and

threatens them, 8-15.

Particular amplification of the distress of the delicate and

luxurious daughters of Zion; whose deplorable situation is

finely contrasted with their former prosperity and ease, 16-26.


Verse 1. The stay and the staff-"Every stay and support"]

Hebrew, "the support masculine, and the support feminine:"

that is, every kind of support, whether great or small, strong or

weak. "Al Kanitz, wal-kanitzah; the wild beasts, male and female.

Proverbially applied both to fishing and hunting: i.e., I seized

the prey, great or little, good or bad. From hence, as Schultens

observes, is explained Isa 3:1, literally, the

male and female stay: i.e., the strong and weak, the great and

small."-Chappelow, note on Hariri, Assembly I. Compare Ec 2:8.

The Hebrew words mashen umashenah come from the same

root shaan, to lean against, to incline, to support; and here,

being masculine and feminine, they may signify all things

necessary for the support both of man and woman. My old MS.

understands the staff and stay as meaning particular persons, and

translates the verse thus:-Lo forsoth, the Lordschip Lord of

Hoostis schal don awey fro Jerusalem and fro Juda the stalworth

and the stronge.

The two following verses, 2, 3, are very clearly explained by

the sacred historian's account of the event, the captivity of

Jehoiachin by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon: "And he carried away

all Jerusalem, and all the princes, and all the mighty men of

valour, even ten thousand captives, and all the craftsmen and

smiths; none remained save the poorest sort of the people of the

land," 2Ki 24:14. Which is supplied by our version.

Verse 4. I will give children to be their princes-"I will make

boys their princes"] This also was fully accomplished in the

succession of weak and wicked princes, from the death of Josiah to

the destruction of the city and temple, and the taking of

Zedekiah, the last of them, by Nebuchadnezzar.

Babes shall rule over them.] Dymennysche men schul lordschopen

to hem.-Old MS. Bible.

Verse 6. Of the house of his father-"Of his father's house"] For

beith, the house, the ancient interpreters seem to have read

mibbeith, from the house; τουοικειουτουπατροςαυτου,

Septuagint; domesticum patris sui, Vulgate; which gives no good

sense. But the Septuagint MS. I. D. II. for οικειου has οικου.

And, his brother, of his father's house, is little better than a

tautology. The case seems to require that the man should apply to

a person of some sort of rank and eminence; one that was the head

of his father's house, (see Jos 12:14,) whether of the house of

him who applies to him, or of any other; rosh beith

abaiu, the chief, or head of his father's house. I cannot help

suspecting, therefore, that the word rosh, head, chief, has

been lost out of the text.

Saying] Before simlah, garment, two MSS., one ancient, and

the Babylonish Talmud have the word lemor, saying; and so

the Septuagint, Vulgate, Syriac, and Chaldee. I place it with

Houbigant, after simlah.

Thou hast clothing-"Take by the garment"] That is, shall entreat

him in an humble and supplicating manner. "Ten men shall take hold

of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, Let us go with you; for

we have heard that God is with you," Zec 8:23. And so in

Isa 4:1, the same gesture is used to express earnest and

humble entreaty. The behaviour of Saul towards Samuel was of the

same kind, when he laid hold on the skirt of his raiment,

1Sa 15:27. The preceding and following verses show, that his

whole deportment, in regard to the prophet, was full of submission

and humility.

And let this ruin be under thy hand-"And let thy hand support"]

Before tachath yadecha, a MS. adds tihyeh, "let

it be; " another MS. adds in the same place, takach

beyadecha, which latter seems to be a various reading of the two

preceding words, making a very good sense: "Take into thy hand our

ruinous state." Twenty-one MSS. of Kennicott's, thirteen of De

Rossi's, one of my own, ancient, and three editions of the

Babylonish Talmud have yadeycha, plural, "thy hands."

Verse 7. In that day shall he swear-"Then shall he openly

declare"] The Septuagint, Syriac, and Jerome, read

veyissa, adding the conjunction, which seems necessary in this


I will not be a healer] I am not a leche.-Old MS. Bible. Leech

was the ancient English word for a physician.

For in my house is neither bread nor clothing-"For in my house

is neither bread nor raiment"] "It is customary through all the

East," says Sir J. Chardin, "to gather together an immense

quantity of furniture and clothes; for their fashions never

alter." Princes and great men are obliged to have a great stock of

such things in readiness for presents upon all occasions. "The

kings of Persia," says the same author, "have great wardrobes,

where there are always many hundreds of habits ready, designed for

presents, and sorted," Harmer, Observ., II. 11 and 88. A great

quantity of provision for the table was equally necessary. The

daily provision for Solomon's household, whose attendants were

exceedingly numerous, was proportionately great, 1Ki 4:22, 23.

Even Nehemiah, in his strait circumstances, had a large supply

daily for his table; at which he received a hundred and fifty of

the Jews and rulers, besides those that came from among the

neighbouring heathen, Ne 5:17, 18.

This explains the meaning of the excuse made by him that is

desired to undertake the government. He alleges that he has not

wherewithal to support the dignity of the station, by such acts of

liberality and hospitality as the law of custom required of

persons of superior rank. See Harmer's Observations, I. 340, II.


Verse 8. The eyes-"The cloud"] This word appears to be of very

doubtful form, from the printed editions, the MSS., and the

ancient versions. The first yod in eyney, which is necessary

according to the common interpretation, is in many of them

omitted; the two last letters are upon a rasure in two MSS. I

think it should be anan, "a cloud," as the Syriac reads; and

the allusion is to the cloud in which the glory of the Lord

appeared above the tabernacle; see Ex 16:9, 10; 40:34-38;

Nu 16:41, 42.

Either of the readings gives a very good sense. The allusion may

be to the cloud of the Divine presence in the wilderness: or the

eyes of the Lord may be meant, as they are in every place

beholding the evil and the good. And he cannot look upon iniquity

but with abhorrence; therefore, the eyes of his glory might be

well provoked by their crimes.

Verse 9. The show of their countenance] Bishop Lowth has it the

steadfastness of their countenance-they appear to be bent on

iniquity, their eyes tell the wickedness of their hearts. The eye

is the index of the mind. Envy, hatred, malice, malevolence,

concupiscence, and murder, when in the heart, look most

intelligently out at the eye. They tell the innocent to be on

their guard; and serve the same purpose as the sonorous rings in

the tail of the rattlesnake-they announce the presence of the


They declare their sin as Sodom] Impure propensities are

particularly legible in the eyes: whoever has beheld the face of a

debauchee or a prostitute knows this; of these it may be said,

they wish to appear what they really are. They glory in their

iniquity. This is the highest pitch of ungodliness.

They have rewarded evil unto themselves.] Every man's sin is

against his own soul. Evil awaiteth sinners-and he that offends

his God injures himself.

Verse 10. Say ye to the righteous] letsaddik, the

lamed is added here by one MS. and the Chaldee. The righteous is

the person, 1. Who fears God. 2. Departs from evil. 3. Walks

according to the testimony of God. 4. And expects and prepares for

a glorious immortality.

"Pronounce ye."-The reading of this verse is very dubious. The

Septuagint for imru read neasor, or both,

imru neasor, and ki lo tob lanu.

δησωμεντονδικαιονοτιδυσχρηστοςημινεστι Perhaps, for

imru, the true reading may be ashsheru, "bless you;" or

imru ashrey, "say ye, blessed is." The Vulgate and

an ancient MS. read in the singular number, yochel, comedat,

"he shall eat."

"It shall be well with him:"- ki tob, "that good." Say

nothing to such but good. He is a good man, he does nothing but

good, and has a good God to deal with, from whom he expects

nothing but goodness. It shall be well with such in all

circumstances of life. 1. In prosperity. 2. In adversity. 3. In

sickness. 4. In health. 5. In death. 6. In judgment. And, 7.

Through eternity. In every case, occurrence, and circumstance, he

shall eat the fruit of his doings-he shall derive benefit from

being a righteous man, and walking in a righteous way.

Verse 11. Wo unto the wicked] lerasha, the man who is, 1.

Evil in his heart. 2. Evil in his purposes. 3. Evil in his life.

As he is wicked, he does that which is wicked; and is influenced

by the wicked one, of whom he is the servant and the son. It

shall be ill with him, ra; in a single word say to him-evil!

Of him you can speak no good; and to him you can speak no good-all

is evil, in him-before him-after him-round about him-above

him-below him. Evil in time-evil through eternity!

The reward of his hands.] What he has deserved he shall get. He

shall be paid that for which he has laboured, and his reward shall

be in proportion to his work. O, what a lot is that of the wicked!

Cursed in time, and accursed through eternity!

Verse 12. Err-"Pervert"] billeu, "swallow." Among many

unsatisfactory methods of accounting for the unusual meaning of

this word in this place, I choose Jarchi's explication, as making

the best sense. "Read billalu, 'confound.' Syriac."-Dr.

Judd. "Read beholu, 'disturb or trouble.'"-Secker. So


This verse might be read, "The collectors of grapes shall be

their oppressors; and usurers (noshim, instead of nashim, women)

shall rule over them."

Verse 13. The people-"His people"] ammo, Septuagint.

Verse 14. The vineyard.-"My vineyard"] carmi, Septuagint,

Chaldee, Jerome.

Verse 15. And grind the faces] The expression and the image is

strong, to denote grievous oppression but is exceeded by the

prophet Micah, Mic 3:1-3:-

"Hear, I pray you, ye chiefs of Jacob,

And ye princes of the house of Israel:

Is it not yours to know what is right?

Ye that hate good and love evil:

Who tear their skins from off them,

And their flesh from off their bones;

Who devour the flesh of my people;

And flay from off them their skin;

And their bones they dash in pieces;

And chop them asunder, as morsels for the pot:

And as flesh thrown into the midst of the caldron."

In the last line but one, for keasher, read, by the

transposition of a letter, kisher, with the Septuagint and


Verse 16. And wanton eyes-"And falsely setting off their eyes

with paint"] Hebrew, falsifying their eyes. I take this to be the

true meaning and literal rendering of the word; from shakar.

The Masoretes have pointed it, as if it were from sakar, a

different word. This arose, as I imagine, from their supposing

that the word was the same with sakar, Chaldee, "intueri,

innuere oculis; " or that it had an affinity with the noun

sikra, which the Chaldeans, or the rabbins at least, use for

stibium, the mineral which was commonly used in colouring the

eyes. See Jarchi's comment on the place. Though the colouring of

the eyes with stibium be not particularly here expressed, yet I

suppose it to be implied; and so the Chaldee paraphrase explains

it; stibio linitis oculis, "with eyes dressed with stibium." This

fashion seems to have prevailed very generally among the Eastern

people in ancient times; and they retain the very same to this


Pietro delta Valle, giving a description of his wife, an

Assyrian lady born in Mesopotamia, and educated at Bagdad, whom he

married in that country, (Viaggi, Tom. I., Lettera 17,) says, "Her

eyelashes, which are long, and, according to the custom of the

East, dressed with stibium, (as we often read in the Holy

Scriptures of the Hebrew women of old, Jer 4:30; Eze 23:40; and

in Xenophon, of Astyages the grandfather of Cyrus, and of the

Medes of that time, Cyropaed. lib. i.,) give a dark, and at the

same time a majestic, shade to the eyes." "Great eyes," says

Sandys, Travels, p. 67, speaking of the Turkish women, "they

have in principal repute; and of those the blacker they be the

more amiable; insomuch that they put between the eyelids and the

eye a certain black powder with a fine long pencil, made of a

mineral, brought from the kingdom of Fez, and called Alcohole;

which by the not disagreeable staining of the lids doth better set

forth the whiteness of the eye; and though it be troublesome for a

time, yet it comforteth the sight, and repelleth ill humours." Vis

ejus (stibii) astringe ac refrigerare, principalis autem circa

oculos; namque ideo etiam plerique Platyophthalmon id appellavere,

quoniam in calliblepharis mulierum dilatat oculos; et fluxiones

inhibet oculorum exulcerationesque. "It is astringent in its

virtue, and refrigerant, and to be chiefly employed about the

eyes, and it is called Platyophthalmon, for being put into those

ointments with which women beautify their eyes, it dilates them,

removes defluxions, and heals any ulcerations that may be about

the eyelids."-Pliny, Nat. Hist. xxxiii. 6.

Ille supercilium madida fuligine tactum

Obliqua producit acu, pingitque trementes

Attollens oculos

Juv. Sat. ii. 93.

One his eyebrows, tinged with black soot,

Lengthens with an oblique bodkin, and paints,

Lifting up his winking eyes.

"But none of those [Moorish] ladies," says Dr. Shaw, Travels, p.

294, fol., "take themselves to be completely dressed, till they

have tinged the hair and edges of their eyelids with alkahol, the

powder of lead ore. This operation is performed by dipping first

into the powder a small wooden bodkin of the thickness of a quill;

and then drawing it afterwards through the eyelids, over the ball

of the eye." Ezekiel, Eze 23:40, uses the same word in the form

of a verb, cachalt eynayik, "thou didst dress thine eyes

with alcahol;" which the Septuagint render εστιβιζουτους

οφθαλμουςσου, "thou didst dress thine eyes with stibium;" just as

they do when the word phuch is employed: compare 2Ki 9:30;

Jer 4:30. They supposed, therefore, that

phuch and cachal, or in the Arabic form, alcahol, meant

the same thing; and probably the mineral used of old for this

purpose was the same that is used now; which Dr. Shaw (ibid. note)

says is "a rich lead ore, pounded into an impalpable powder."

Alcoholados; the word meshakkeroth in this place is thus

rendered in an old Spanish translation.-Sanctius. See also

Russell's Nat. Hist. of Aleppo, p. 102.

The following inventory, as one may call it, of the wardrobe of

a Hebrew lady, must, from its antiquity, and the nature of the

subject, have been very obscure even to the most ancient

interpreters which we have of it; and from its obscurity must have

been also peculiarly liable to the mistakes of transcribers.

However, it is rather matter of curiosity than of importance; and

is indeed, upon the whole, more intelligible and less corrupted

than one might have reasonably expected. Clemens Alexandrinus,

Paedag. lib. ii., c. 12, and Julius Pollux, lib. vii., c. 22, have

each of them preserved from a comedy of Aristophanes, now lost, a

similar catalogue of the several parts of the dress and ornaments

of a Grecian lady; which, though much more capable of illustration

from other writers, though of later date, and quoted and

transmitted down to us by two different authors, yet seems to be

much less intelligible, and considerably more corrupted, than this

passage of Isaiah. Salmasius has endeavoured, by comparing the two

quotations, and by much critical conjecture and learned

disquisition, to restore the true reading, and to explain the

particulars; with what success, I leave to the determination of

the learned reader, whose curiosity shall lead him to compare the

passage of the comedian with this of the prophet, and to examine

the critic's learned labours upon it. Exercit. Plinian, p. 1148;

or see Clem. Alex. as cited above, edit. Potter, where the

passage, as corrected by Salmasius, is given.

Nich. Guel. Schroederus, professor of oriental languages in the

University of Marpurg, has published a very learned and judicious

treatise upon this passage of Isaiah. The title of it is,

"Commentarius Philologico-Criticus de Vestitu Mulierum Hebraearum

ad Iesai iii. ver. 16-24. Lugd. Bat. 1745." 4to. As I think no one

has handled this subject with so much judgment and ability as this

author, I have for the most part followed him, in giving the

explanation of the several terms denoting the different parts of

dress, of which this passage consists; signifying the reasons of

my dissent, where he does not give me full satisfaction.

Bishop Lowth's translation of these verses is the following:-

18. In that day will the Lord take from them the ornaments,

Of the feet-rings, and the net-works, and the crescents;

19. The pendants, and the bracelets, and the veils;

20. The tires, and the fetters, and the zones,

And the perfume-boxes, and the amulets;

21. The rings, and the jewels of the nostrils;

22. The embroidered robes, and the tunics,

And the cloaks, and the little purses,

23. The transparent garments, and the fine linen vests,

And the turbans, and the mantles.

24. And there shall be instead of perfume, a putrid ulcer;

And instead of well-girt raiment, rags;

And instead of high-dressed hair, baldness;

And instead of a zone, a girdle of sackcloth;

And sun-burnt skin, instead of beauty.

The daughters of Zion-walk] What is meant by these several kinds

of action and articles of dress cannot be well conjectured. How

our ancestors understood them will appear from the following,

which is the translation of these verses in my old MS. Bible:-

16. The doughteris of Syon wenteh with strught out necks, and

in beckes (winking) of eegen, geeden and flappeden with

hondis for joye, and geeden: and with theire feet in curyous

goying geeden; 17. the Lord schall fully make ballid the

top of the boughtris of Syon: and the Lord the her of hem

schal naken. And for ournemente schal be schenschip.

18. In that day, the Lord schal don awey the ournement of Schoon

and hoosis: 19. and beegis, and brochis, and armeerclis,

and mytris; 20. and coombis,and rybanys and reversis at the

hemmys, and oynment boris and ereringis; 21. and ryngis and

jemmys in the frount hongynge; 22. and chaunginge clothis,

and litil pallis, and scheetis, and prynys; 23. and

scheweris, and neche hercheuys, and flyetis, and roketis;

24. and ther schal be for swot smel, stynke, and for gyrdil,

a litl coord; and for crisp her, ballidnesse; and for brest

boond and heyr.

Some of these things are hard to be understood, though I think

this version as good as that of the very learned bishop: but there

is little doubt that articles of clothing and dress bore these

names in the fourteenth century.

Verse 17. The Lord will smite-"Will the Lord humble"]

ταπεινωσει, Septuagint; and so Syriac and Chaldee. For

sippach they read shaphal. Instead of Yehovah,

many MSS. have Adonai.

Will discover their secret parts-"Expose their nakedness"] It

was the barbarous custom of the conquerors of those times to strip

their captives naked, and to make them travel in that condition,

exposed to the inclemency of the weather; and the worst of all, to

the intolerable heat of the sun. But this to the women was the

height of cruelty and indignity; and especially to such as those

here described, who had indulged themselves in all manner of

delicacies of living, and all the superfluities of ornamental

dress; and even whose faces had hardly ever been exposed to the

sight of man. This is always mentioned as the hardest part of the

lot of captives. Nahum, Na 3:5, 6, denouncing the fate of

Nineveh, paints it in very strong colours:-

"Behold, I am against thee, saith JEHOVAH, God of hosts:

And I will discover thy skirts upon thy face;

And I will expose thy nakedness to the nations;

And to the kingdoms thy shame.

And I will throw ordures upon thee;

And I will make thee vile, and set thee as a gazing-stock."

Verse 18. Ornaments about their feet-"The ornaments of the feet

rings"] The late learned Dr. Hunt, professor of Hebrew and Arabic

in the University of Oxford, has very well explained the word

both verb and noun, in his very ingenious Dissertation on

Pr 7:22, 23. The verb means to

skip, to bound, to dance along; and the noun, those ornaments

of the feet which the Eastern ladies wore; chains or rings,

which made a tinkling sound as they moved nimbly in walking.

Eugene Roger, Description de la Terre Sainte, Liv. ii. ch. 2,

speaking of the Arabian women, of the first rank in Palestine,

says,-"Au lieu de brasselets elles ont de menottes d'argent,

qu'elles portent aux poignets et aux pieds; ou sont attachez

quantite de petits annelets d'argent, qui font un cliquetis comme

d'une cymbale, lorsqu'elles cheminent ou se mouvent quelque peu."

See Dr. Hunt's Dissertation; where he produces other testimonies

to the same purpose from authors of travels. Hindoo women of ill

fame wear loose ornaments one above another on their ankles, which

at every motion make a tinkling noise. See WARD.

And their cauls-"the net-works"] I am obliged to differ from the

learned Schroederus almost at first setting out. He renders the

word shebisim by soliculi, little ornaments, bullae, or

studs, in shape representing the sun, and so answering to the

following word saharonim, lunulae, crescents. He supposes

the word to be the same with shemishim, the yod in

the second syllable making the word diminutive, and the letter

mem being changed for beth, a letter of the same organ. How

just and well founded his authorities for the transmutation of

these letters in the Arabic language are, I cannot pretend to

judge; but as I know of no such instance in Hebrew, it seems to me

a very forced etymology. Being dissatisfied with this account of

the matter, I applied to my good friend above mentioned, the late

Dr. Hunt, who very kindly returned the following answer to my


"I have consulted the Arabic Lexicons, as well MS. as printed,

but cannot find shebisim in any of them, nor any thing

belonging to it; so that no help is to be had from that language

towards clearing up the meaning of this difficult word. But what

the Arabic denies, the Syriac perhaps may afford; in which I find

the verb shabas, to entangle or interweave, an etymology

which is equally favourable to our marginal translation,

net-works, with shabats, to make chequer work, or

embroider, (the word by which Kimchi and others have explained

shabis;) and has moreover this advantage over it, that the

letters sin and samech are very frequently put for each

other, but tsaddi and samech scarcely ever. Aben Ezra

joins shebisim and achasim, which

immediately precedes it, together; and says that shabis was

the ornament of the legs, as eches was of the feet. His

words are, -L."

Verse 20. The tablets] The words bottey hannephesh,

which we translate tablets, and Bishop Lowth, perfume boxes,

literally signify houses of the soul; and may refer to

strong-scented bottles used for pleasure and against fainting;

similar to bottles with otto of roses, worn by the ladies of the

East to the present time.

Verse 21. Nose-jewels-"The jewels of the nostril."]

nizmey haaph. Schroederus explains this, as many others do, of

jewels, or strings of pearl hanging from the forehead, and

reaching to the upper part of the nose; than which nothing can be

more ridiculous, as such are seldom seen on an Asiatic face. But

it appears from many passages of Holy Scripture that the phrase is

to be literally and properly understood of nose-jewels, rings set

with jewels hanging from the nostrils, as ear-rings from the ears,

by holes bored to receive them.

Ezekiel, enumerating the common ornaments of women of the first

rank, has not omitted this particular, and is to be understood in

the same manner, Eze 16:11, 12. See also Ge 24:47:-

"And I decked thee with ornaments;

And I put bracelets upon thine hands,

And a chain on thy neck:

And I put a jewel on thy nose,

And ear-rings on thine ears,

And a splendid crown upon thine head."

And in an elegant proverb of Solomon, Pr 11:22, there is a

manifest allusion to this kind of ornament, which shows it to have

been used in his time:-

"As a jewel of gold in the snout of a swine;

So is a woman beautiful, but wanting discretion."

This fashion, however strange it may appear to us, was formerly

and is still common in many parts of the East, among women of all

ranks. Paul Lucas, speaking of a village or clan of wandering

people, a little on this side of the Euphrates, says, (2d Voyage

du Levant, tom. i., art. 24,) "The women, almost all of them,

travel on foot; I saw none handsome among them. They have almost

all of them the nose bored; and wear in it a great ring, which

makes them still more deformed." But in regard to this custom,

better authority cannot be produced than that of Pietro della

Valle, in the account which he gives of the lady before mentioned,

Signora Maani Gioerida, his own wife. The description of her

dress, as to the ornamental parts of it, with which he introduces

the mention of this particular, will give us some notion of the

taste of the Eastern ladies for finery. "The ornaments of gold and

of jewels for the head, for the neck, for the arms, for the legs,

and for the feet (for they wear rings even on their toes) are

indeed, unlike those of the Turks, carried to great excess, but

not of great value: for in Bagdad jewels of high price are either

not to be had, or are not used; and they wear such only as are of

little value, as turquoises, small rubies, emeralds, carbuncles,

garnets, pearls, and the like. My spouse dresses herself with all

of them according to their fashion; with exception, however, of

certain ugly rings of very large size, set with jewels, which, in

truth, very absurdly, it is the custom to wear fastened to one of

their nostrils, like buffaloes: an ancient custom, however, in the

East, which, as we find in the Holy Scriptures, prevailed among

the Hebrew ladies even in the time of Solomon, Pr 11:22. These

nose-rings, in complaisance to me, she has left off, but I have

not yet been able to prevail with her cousin and her sisters to do

the same; so fond are they of an old custom, be it ever so absurd,

who have been long habituated to it." Viaggi, Tom. i., Let. 17.

It is the left nostril that is bored and ornamented with rings

and jewels. More than one hundred drawings from life of Eastern

ladies lie now before me, and scarcely one is without the

nose-jewel: both the arms and wrists are covered with bracelets,

arm-circles, &c., as also their legs and feet; the soles of their

feet and palms of their hands coloured beautifully red with henna,

and their hair plaited and ornamented superbly. These beautiful

drawings are a fine comment on this chapter.

Verse 23. The glasses] The conjunction vau, and-AND the

glasses, is added here by forty-three of Kennicott's and

thirty-four of De Rossi's MSS., and one of my own, ancient, as

well as by many editions.

And the veils.-"The transparent garments."] ταδιαφανηδακωνικα,

Sept. A kind of silken dress, transparent, like gauze; worn only

by the most elegant women, and such as dressed themselves

elegantius quam necesse esset probis, "more elegantly than modest

women should." Such garments are worn to the present day; garments

that not only show the shape of every part of the body, but the

very colour of the skin. This is evidently the case in some scores

of drawings of Asiatic females now before me. This sort of

garments was afterwards in use among the Greeks. Prodicus, in his

celebrated fable (Xenoph. Memorab. Socr. lib. ii.) exhibits the

personage of Sloth in this dress: εσθηταδεεξηςανμαλισταωρα


"Her robe betray'd

Through the clear texture every tender limb,

Height'ning the charms it only seem'd to shade;

And as it flow'd adown so loose and thin,

Her stature show'd more tall, more snowy white her skin."

They were called multitia and coa (scil, vestimenta) by the

Romans, from their being invented, or rather introduced into

Greece, by one Pamphila of the island of Cos. This, like other

Grecian fashions, was received at Rome, when luxury began to

prevail under the emperors. It was sometimes worn even by the men,

but looked upon as a mark of extreme effeminacy. See Juvenal, Sat.

ii., 65, &c. Publius Syrus, who lived when the fashion was first

introduced, has given a humorous satirical description of it in

two lines, which by chance have been preserved:-

"AEquum est, induere nuptam ventum textilem?

Palam prostare nudam in nebula linea?"

Verse 24. Instead of sweet smell-"perfume."] A principal part of

the delicacy of the Asiatic ladies consists in the use of baths,

and of the richest oils and perfumes; an attention to which is in

some degree necessary in those hot countries. Frequent mention is

made of the rich ointments of the spouse in the Song of Solomon,

So 4:10, 11:-

"How beautiful are thy breasts, my sister, my spouse!

How much more excellent than wine;

And the odour of thine ointments than all perfumes!

Thy lips drop as the honey-comb, my spouse!

Honey and milk are under thy tongue:

And the odour of thy garments is as the odour of Lebanon."

The preparation for Esther's being introduced to King Ahasuerus

was a course of bathing and perfuming for a whole year; "six

months with oil of myrrh, and six months with sweet odours;"

Es 2:12. See the notes on this place. See Clarke on Es 2:12.

A diseased and loathsome habit of body, instead of a beautiful skin,

softened and made agreeable with all that art could devise, and all

that nature, so prodigal in those countries of the richest perfumes,

could supply, must have been a punishment the most severe and the

most mortifying to the delicacy of these haughty daughters of Sion.

Burning instead of beauty-"A sunburnt skin."] Gaspar Sanctius

thinks the words ki thachath an interpolation, because the

Vulgate has omitted them. The clause ki thachath

yophi seems to me rather to be imperfect at the end. Not to

mention that ki, taken as a noun for adustio, burning, is

without example, and very improbable. The passage ends abruptly,

and seems to want a fuller conclusion.

In agreement with which opinion, of the defect of the Hebrew

text in this place, the Septuagint, according to MSS. Pachom. and

1 D. ii., and Marchal., which are of the best authority, express

it with the same evident marks of imperfection at the end of the

sentence; thus: ταυτασοιαντικαλλωπισμου- The two latter add

δου. This chasm in the text, from the loss probably of three

or four words, seems therefore to be of long standing.

Taking ki in its usual sense, as a particle, and supplying

lech from the σοι of the Septuagint, it might possibly have been

originally somewhat in this form:-

marah raath lech thihyeh yophi thachath ki

"Yea, instead of beauty thou shalt have an ill-favoured


ki thachath yophi (q. yachath,) "for beauty

shall be destroyed." Syr. chathath or

nachath.-Dr. DURELL.

"May it not be cohey, 'wrinkles instead of beauty?' as from

yaphah is formed yephi, yophi; from marah,

meri, &c.; so from cahah, to be wrinkled,

cohey."-Dr. JUBB. The ki is wanting in one MS., and has been

omitted by several of the ancients.

Verse 25. Thy mighty men.] For geburathech an ancient

MS. has gibborech. The true reading, from the Septuagint,

Vulgate, Syriac, and Chaldee, seems to be gibborayich.

Verse 26. Sit upon the ground.] Sitting on the ground was a

posture that denoted mourning and deep distress. The prophet

Jeremiah (La 2:8) has given it the first place among many

indications of sorrow, in the following elegant description of the

same state of distress of his country:-

"The elders of the daughter of Sion sit on the ground,

they are silent:

They have cast up dust on their heads; they have girded

themselves with sackcloth;

The virgins of Jerusalem have bowed down their heads to

the ground."

"We find Judea," says Mr. Addison, (on Medals, Dial. ii,) "on

several coins of Vespasian and Titus, in a posture that denotes

sorrow and captivity. I need not mention her sitting on the

ground, because we have already spoken of the aptness of such a

posture to represent an extreme affliction. I fancy the Romans

might have an eye on the customs of the Jewish nation, as well as

those of their country, in the several marks of sorrow they have

set on this figure. The psalmist describes the Jews lamenting

their captivity in the same pensive posture: 'By the waters of

Babylon we sat down and wept, when we remembered thee, O Zion.'

But what is more remarkable, we find Judea represented as a woman

in sorrow sitting on the ground, in a passage of the prophet, that

foretells the very captivity recorded on this medal." Mr. Addison,

I presume, refers to this place of Isaiah; and therefore must have

understood it as foretelling the destruction of Jerusalem and the

Jewish nation by the Romans: whereas it seems plainly to relate,

in its first and more immediate view at least, to the destruction

of the city by Nebuchadnezzar, and the dissolution of the Jewish

state under the captivity at Babylon.-L.

Several of the coins mentioned here by Mr. Addison are in my own

collection: and to such I have already referred in this work. I

shall describe one here. On the obverse a fine head of the emperor

Vespasian with this legend, Imperator Julius Caesar Vespasianus

Augustus, Pontifex Maximus, Tribunitia Potestate Pater Patriae,

Consul VIII.

On the reverse a tall palm tree, emblem of the land of

Palestine, the emperor standing on the left, close to the

tree, with a trophy behind him; on the right, Judea under the

figure of a female captive sitting on the ground, with her head

resting on her hand, the elbow on her knee, weeping. Around is

this legend, Judea Capta. Senates Consulto. However this

prediction may refer proximately to the destruction of Jerusalem

by Nebuchadnezzar, I am fully of opinion that it ultimately refers

to the final ruin of the Jewish state by the Romans. And so it has

been understood by the general run of the best and most learned

interpreters and critics.

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