Imatges de pÓgina

put the offering into her hand, whilst himself took some holy water, impregnated with wormwood, or fome such bitter herbs, into which he put some of the dust of the floor, or pavement, together with the words of the curse written at full length, to this effect: That, if she had been guilty of defiling her marriage-bed, those waters should swell and burst her belly, and rot her thigh ; but, if she was innocent, they should have no power to hurt her. These words he firit read to her aloud, and, if the persifted to go on with the trial, ihe answered, Amen. He was then to blot out the words of the curse in the bitter water, they being, according to the Jews, written with an ink made without vitriol, which would be easily washed away ; after which, he gave her the water to drink, whilft he took the offering, or cake of jealousy, off her hand, and wayed it to the LORD, and burnt part of it upon the altar : thé consequence was, that, if she was guilty, the water did burst her belly, and rot her thigh, and she died, foon after her drinking it; but, if she was innocent, she not only came off unhurt, but, as a token and reward of her continence, she became more healthy and fruitful; and the husband was to take her home, and cherish her the more, for having given him such an eminent proof of her chastity (E).


view. These circumstances, they time as a man might boil an tell us, had something so dread- egg, and eat it (4). ful to the Jewish women, espe- (E) This is all that we find cially the chaste ones, that they in the Mosaic law. The Talstudied nothing more, than to mudifts have added several other keep themselves free from any circumstances relating to this fufpicion, which might expose ceremony, which we could be them to that, which they loth to warrant, both because, esteemed worse than death. by their own confession, it had For this reason, they did not been disused several centuries, suffer a woman to be brought before their time, since which to this trial upon every flight adultery became more frequent; suspicion : the husband was to and because neither the canobring some proofs, that he had nical, nor apocryphal books,or, forewarned her more than once indeed, any of their writings or twice, against being seen in that we know of, afford us one such a man's company as he single instance of its ever havwas jealous of; notwithstanding ing been used before that time, which, they had been found to- whereby one might guess where gether in private, or in some they had them. remote place, at least, aş long a Thus they affirm, that, if (4) Vid. Munft, in


For aught appears, therefore, this ceremony might be inftituted only in terrorem, and yet prove very effectual, both to keep the wives within the bounds of conjugal fidelity, and the husbands from too lightly suspecting them of a breach of it; especially, if another circumstance, which the Jews tell us, be true, or was believed to be so; that these waters could have no effect upon the wife, how guilty soever, if the husband had likewise been guilty of trani

gressing the laws of wedlock d. Whether the Israelites = had seen any the likę custom in Egypt, or in any other na

tion, which made it expedient to have something among them in imitation of it, we will not affirm; but it is plain,

that almost every country, fince, had a kind of trial, or or: deal, not only for cases of incontinency, but almost for

3. MARRIAGE. We find but few laws concerning Marriage. this inftitution, besides those which we have mentioned under the last article against adultery (F). Mofes con


every crime.

d Seld. de fynedr. & uxor. Heb. Buxtorf. Munst. in Num. v. BASNAG. rep. Heb. 1. i. c. 12. Calm. sub voc. Adult. ; & al. mult. poft. rabbin.

the was guilty, she had no an hundred years before the de-
fooner drank the water than the struction of the second temple.
began to look pale and ghastly, All own, however, that the rea-
her eyes swelled out of her head, son of its being set aside was,
and she lost the use of them : that adulteries became not only
her belly likewise swelled so vi- more frequent, which, confe-
fibly, that they made all the quently, would have kept the
hafte imaginable to convey her priests and judges continually
away, left the should defile the employed; but were, likewise,
place by her death. They add, more public; so that the trial
what is still more remarkable, of clandestine or doubtful ones
that the man, who had had cri- became useless, when men com-
minal commerce with her, died mitted them fo publicly, that
at that very instant, and much all the world was apprised of
in the same manner, how distant them (5).,
foever from her, and ignorant (F) Though the Mosaic law
of what was done. Authors dif- doth no-where oblige men to
agree about the time when this marry, yet the Jews have al-
miraculous ceremony was fet a- ways

looked upon it as an infide; some affirming, that it was dispensable duty, implied in the disused after the captivity; ando. words, Increase and multiply (6). thers, that it continued till about So that a man, who did not (5) Vid. Seld, Buxt. Munft. Lamy, Cun. Bafnag. & al. fup. citat, (6) Gen.


i. 28. ix. I.

tented himself with restraining the Israelites from marrying within certain degrees of consanguinity, which had, till then, been permitted, to prevent their taking wives from among the idolatrous nations, with whom they lived. This was the reason which Abraham gave for chusing a wife for Ifaac from his own kindred, and his defcendents, for following his examplef; but which was now intirely ceased, by their being fo exceedingly multiplied. These are therefore the degrees which that lawgiver forbad, as incestuous, under pain of death: 1. To marry one's own father or mother. 2. Father or mother-in-law. 3. The brother or fifter of one's father or mother. 4. A grandfon or granddaughter. 5. An uncle or aunt. 6. A fon or daughterin-law. 7. Two brothers or sisters, by which the Jews understood those only by the mother's fide; because they looked upon this confanguinity to be greater than the paternal ones, perhaps from a belief, that the mother contributed most to the generation of the child f. 8. A brother or fister-in-law. 9. The husband or wife of an uncle or aunt. 10. The father and son, or mother and daughter, either together, or one after the death of the other 8. As for the other laws relating to matrimony, they seem rather to be taken from the practice of the patriarchs (F).


• Gen. xxiv. 3, & feq. f Ibid. xxvi. 34, 35. xxviii. 1, & alib.

+ Vid. Phil. de fpec. leg. Clem. Alex. ftrom. ii. i Levit. xviii. 6, & seq.

marry before he was twenty husbands, if they did not like years of age, was counted ac- them. cessory to any irregularity (F) Thus he forbids the firstwhich the

young women might born to be disinherited out of be tempted to, for want of be- favour or affection to another ing timely married. They had wife : as when a man has two a proverb in the Talmud, Who wives, and loves one more than is be that prostitutes his daugh- the other ; in such a case, it was ter, but he who keeps her too long not lawful for him to transfer unmarried, or gives her to an the inheritance to the children old man? For this reason, they of the favourite wife, if that of used to marry them as soon as the other was the first-born (7) they came of age, which, with This isin imitation of Abraham, them, was at twelve ; but, if who gave portions to all his their fathers married them be- other children, and the inheritfore, they might, when they ance to Ifaac (8). The only came to it, be parted from their difference here is, that Mojes (7) Deut. xxi, 15, & feq. (8) Gen. xX85, 6.


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The same thing may be said of that law which is called the levirate, which obliged a man, whose brother died Levirate. without issue, to marry his widow, and to raise up seed to his brother n; for this is no more than what we find had been the practice in Judah's time o, However, Mofes doth here leave it, in some measure, to a man's choice, whether he will comply with the law, or not; and, in case of a refusal, the widow could only summon him before the judges of the place, where, if he perfifted, she untied his shoe, and spit in his face, and said, Thus fall it be done unto the man that refuses to build up his brother's house, or family; after which he was branded with the appellative of the man whose shoe was unloosed (G). In this number we may


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n Deut. xxv. 5, & seq.

• Vid. Gen. xxxviii. 6, & seq.

orders but a double portion to der by the word concubines, bars
the eldest (9). Herein is also a lots, and prostitutes, yet, in none
second law, tacitly implied, at of those places of Scripture
least, for a man to have two where that word occurs, which
wives : to which he adds a are about 36, is any such finister
third ; namely, that, upon the sense implied. However, there
marriage of a second wife, a is a twofold difference between
man fhall still be bound to con- these and wives of the first rank
tinue to the former her food, (12): first, with respect to the
raiment, and the duty of mar- manner of taking them ; name-
riage (10). This last is also ly, the latter with the usual ce-
conformable to what Laban ex. remonies, and the former with
acted of Jacob, when he mar- out; and, secondly, with res
ried the second fifter after the spect to their authority, and the
first (11).

honour paid to them and their
The Jews did not content children. One thing Maimor
themselves with this small al- (13) tells us, from the Talmud,
lowance of two wives, as we

that a man might have as many may infer from the examples wives as he could maintain,even of David and Solomon, and ma- to an hundred ; and that it was ny others: but it must be ob- not in their power to hinder served, that they made a di- him, provided he had riches and finction between the wives of strength sufficient for them all. the first rank, and those of the (G) From the words here fecond.

The first they called used by Moles,If brethren dwell D'u, nashim, and the others together (14), one would be apt Dubio, pilgalbim ; which to conclude, that this law was lalt, though most versions ren- only intended for such as dwelt (9) Deut. xxi. 17.

(10) Exod. xxi, 10. (11) Gen. xxxi. 50. (12) Conf. 1 Kings xi. 3. & 2 Cbrón. xi. 21., (13) Hulak iperb, c. 14. (14) Deut. XXV. Se

aiso add another law, which obliged the husband to pay down a competent dowry for the wife, or, as the Jews termed it in their contracts, to pay the price or equivalent of her virginity P (G).

FROM these, and such-like instances, we may likewise conclude, what was their way of courtship, or, rather, of contracting and celebrating their marriages. The former was tranfacted by the parents or relations, on both sides; and, when the matter was agreed, the bridegroom was introduced to his bride; presents were exchanged on all sides, the contract signed before witnesses, and, after consummation, the bride carried ftill some time with her relations,

p Vid. Maim. in ilhoth, c. 3. fect. 1.

still in their father's house; ducees put to our Saviour, about which seems to have been the the seven brethren that had had case of Judah's three sons, the same woman successively mentioned above. Accordingly, (16), that this law was not unthe rabbies have understood this derstood in that limited sense law in a very restrained sense, which the Talmudists have since both in this and some other par- understood it in. ticulars : such as that the eldest (G) Thus Abraham sent his only, of the survivors, was ob- fteward with a considerable liged to marry the widow, and quantity of riches to present his not even he, if he was already future daughter-in-law and her married : in which case, they relations (17); Jacob purchased pretend that it was left to his his two wives at the price of option. But if we look into fourteen years servitude (18); the antient practices, in the and when Hamor came to ask his times of the judges, we shall daughter for his son Shechem, he find,that Boaz, who was neither bid him raise the price of her brother, nor nearest of kin to dowry as high as he pleased the deceased, did yet think him- (19). David likewise modestly felf obliged to marry Ruth, up- confefling his inability to pay a on the nearest kinsman's re- dowry answerable to Saul's fusing to do it (15): from which daughter, the king acquitted one would be apt to conclude, him

for an hundred

prepuces of that the law rather extended the Philistines ; and the profarther; and that, where no phet Hofea bought a wife for brothers were left to marry the fifteen pieces of silver, and a widow, that duty became in- small quantity of barley (20): cumbent on the nearest relation so that a man might be truly in course. However, it is plain, said to have purchased, as well from the case which the Sad

as to marry a wife.

(15) -Ruth iv. pall: (16) Mat. xxii. 24, & seq. (17) Ger xxiv. pal.

(18) Ibid. xxix. 18, & seq. (19) Ibid. xxxiv. 12, (20) 1 Sam. xviii, 22, & seq. Hof. iii. 2,


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