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Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 2.djvu/620

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BIBLICAL


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BIBLICAL


(4) Food and meals. — The principal articles of ,"ood among the ancient Hebrews can be easily sum- marized from the interesting description of the land of Canaan occurring in the Book of Deuteronomy, where it is said to be "a land of wheat, and barley, and \'ines, and fig trees, and pomegranates; a land of oil olive, and honey; a land wherein thou shalt eat bread without scarceness, thou shalt not lack any thing in it" (Deut., viii, 8, 9). Their meals were undoubtedly of the simplest description, and their table was more rich with fish, milk, fruit, and vege- tables than with meat. Animal food in general was in favour with the people at large, but the Mosaic law restricted its use to almost the minimum. Animals or parts of animals designated for sacrifice or other holy uses could only be eaten under specific conditions. In the eleventh chapter of Leviticus and the fourteenth of Deuteronomy, a list is given of a large class of animals which were looked upon as ceremonially unfit to be eaten. Animals, further- more, were classified as pure and impure, or clean and unclean, and the complicated legislation of the Pentateuch concerning the use of these is partly based on sanitarj'. partly fanciful, and partly cere- monial grounds. The evening meal was the principal meal of the day, and if knives, forks, spoons, and other like instruments were used in the preparation of the meals, they were not used at the tal;>le. Hands w-ere washed before and after meals. Neither praj'er, nor grace, nor blessing seems to have been proffered before or after the repast. In other particulars the table usages and customs of the ancient Hebrews may reasonably be supposed to have been like those of modern Palestine.

(5) Dress and ornaments. — The materials for clothing were principally cotton, linen, and wool; silk is once, or never, mentioned in the Old Testa- ment. The wearing of a mixed fabric of wool and linen was forbidden by the Mosaic law. So, also, either sex was forbidden to wear the garments proper to the opposite sex. The outer garment of men con- sisted of loose, flowing robes, which were of various types and forms. On the four corners of this outer robe a fringe, or tassel, was attached. The under- garment, which was the same for both sexes, consisted, generally, of a sleeveless tunic or frock of any ma- terial desired, and reached to the knees or ankles. That of the woman was longer and of richer material. The ttmic was fastened at the waist with a •girdle. The fold made by the girdle served at the same time as a pocket. A second tunic and the shawl, which was long and of fine material, were also in use. The outer garment of the Hebrew women differed slightly from that of the men, and no detailed description of it is found in the Bible. It was undoubtedly richer and more ornamented than that of the other sex. The most accepted colour for ordinary garments was white, and the art of bleaching cloth was from very early times kno\\Ti and practised by the Hebrews. In later times, the purple, scarlet, and vermilion colours were extensively used, as well as the black, red, yellow, and green. Girdles were worn by both sexes, and golden girdles were not unknown. Men covered the head with some kind of a tiu'ban, or cap, although it is doubtful whether its use was universal in pre-Mosaic and Mosaic times. In ancient times women did not wear veils, but probably covered their heads with kerchiefs, mufflers, or mantles. Sandals were in general use, but not among the poorer classes, or among the farmers and shepherds. Worthy of notice is the ceremony mentioned in Deut., XXV, 9, according to which if a man refuses lo marry the wife of his brother, who had died childless, "Then shall his brother's wife come unto him in the presence of the elders, and loose his shoe from off his foot, and spit in [or before] his face, and she shall answer and say. So shall it be done unto the


man that will not build up his brother's house' The drawing off of the shoe evidently indicated the surrender of the rights which the law gave the man to marry his brother's widow. Likewise the modem custom of throwing a slipper sportively after a newly wedded pair leaving the parental house appears to have a like symbolical significance; the parents and family friends thereby sj-mbolically renounce their right to the daughter or son in favour of the husband or wife. Finger-rings, ear-rings, and bracelets were extensively used by both men and women, but more so by the latter. Prosperous men always carried a staff and a seal. All these ornamental articles, however, were more indulged in by the Egj'ptians, Ass>Tians, and other Oriental nations than by the Hebrews. Hebrew women wore also cauls, anklets, and ankle-chains, scent-bottles, and decorated purses, or satchels. Perfumery was also indulged in; and extensive use was made of pigments as applied to the eyelids and eyebrows by women. Tattooing on the face, arms, chest, and hands was in all proba- bility practised by the Hebrews, although it was to a certain extent incompatible with certain Mosaic prescriptions.

(6) Pastoral and agricultural life. — According to the Biblical records, tilling the groimd and the rearing of cattle and sheep were the first and earliest occupations of men. In Patriarchal times the latter was in CTeater favour, while in the later Hebrew period tne first prevailed over the second. This transition from the pastoral, or nomadic, to the ag- ricultural, or settled, life was a natural consequence of the settlement in Canaan, but at no time did the two occupations exclude each other. Both, in fact, were important, indispensable, and necessary. The sheep was, of course, the principal animal both as an article of food and as wool-producer, besides its constant use as a sacrificial animal. Sheep's milk was also a favourite article. Rams also, with from two to as many as eight horns, are not infrequently mentioned. Goats are frequently mentioned, and cows and oxen were utilized for milk and butter and for tilling the ground. Horses and camels were imported from Arabia. Poultry and hens are not once mentioned in the Old Testament. The ass was a common and useful animal for transportation, but the mule is not mentioned in the Bible prior to the time of the mon- archy. The life of the Hebrew and Eastern shepherds in general was by no means easy or uneventful. Jacob, in fact, in reproaching his father-in-law, Laban, says; "Thus I was: in the day the drought consumed me, and the frost by night; and my sleep fled from mine eyes" (Gen., xxxi, 40); and of his own pastoral life and its perils David tells us that "there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock: and I went out after hitn, and smote him, and de- livered it out of his mouth" [I Sam. (D. V. I Kings), xvii, 34, 35]. The shepherd's duties were to lead out the flock to pasture, watch them, supply them with water, go after the straj-ing ones, and bring them all safely back to the fold at night. These formed his riches, trade, occupation, and sustenance.

Agriculture is the natural product of settled life. Nevertheless we read of Isaac that during the preva- lence of a famine in Palestine he cultivated land in the vicinity of Gerar. which produced a hundredfold (Gen., xxvi, 12). The Mosaic law recognizes land as the principal possession of the Hebrews, and its cul- tivation as their chief business. Hence every Hebrew family was to have its own piece of ground, which could not be alienated, except for limited periods. Such family estates were carefully surveyed; and it was regarded as one of the most flagrant of crimes to remoA-e a neighbour's landmark. Estates were divided into so many yokes, that is, such portions as a yoke of oxen could plougli in a single day. The value of the land was according to its jneld in grain.