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south of Syria is volcanic ; and volcanic vestiges were traced by Mr. Buckingham, in the year 1816.2
7. But the greatest of all the calamities that ever visited this highly-favoured country, is the pestilential blast, by the Arabs termed the Sam wind, by the Persians, Samoun, by the Turks Simoom or Samiel, and by the prophet Jeremiah a dry wind of the high places in the wilderness. (Jer. iv. 11.) It blows in Persia, Arabia, and the deserts of Arabia, during the months of June, July, and August; in Nubia during March and April, and also in September, October, and November. It rarely lasts more than seven or eight minutes, but so poisonous are its effects, that it instantly suffocates those who are unfortunate enough to inhale it, particularly if it overtake them when standing upright. Thevenot mentions such a wind, which in 1658 suffocated twenty thousand men in one night; and another, which in 1655 suffocated four thousand persons. As the principal stream of this pestilential blast always moves in a line, about twenty yards in breadth, and twelve feet above the surface of the earth, travellers in the desert, when they perceive its approach, throw themselves on the ground, with their faces close to the burning sands, and wrap their heads in their robes, or in a piece of carpet, till the wind has passed over them. The least mischief which it produces is the drying up their skins of water, and thus exposing them to perish with thirst in the deserts. When this destructive wind advances, which it does with great rapidity, its approach is indicated by a redness in the air; and, when sufficiently near to admit of being observed, it appears like a haze, in colour resembling the purple part of the rainbow, but not so compressed or thick. When travellers are exposed to a second or third attack of this terrible blast, it produces a desperate kind of indifference for life, and an almost total prostration of strength. Camels and other animals instinctively perceive its approach, and bury their mouths and nostrils in the ground. The effects of this blast on the bodies of those whom it destroys are peculiar. At first
1 The following is Volney's description of the modern state of this district :"The south of Syria, that is, the hollow through which the Jordan flows, is a country of volcanoes: the bituminous and sulpherous sources of the lake Asphal tites, the lava, the pumice stones thrown upon its banks, and the hot baths of Tabaria," (the antient Tiberias) "demonstrate that this valley has been the seat of a subterraneous fire, which is not yet extinguished. Clouds of smoke are often observed to issue from the lake, and new crevices to be formed upon its banks. If conjectures in such cases were not too liable to error, we might suspect that the whole valley has been formed only by a violent sinking of a country which formerly poured the Jordan into the Mediterranean. It appears certain, at least, that the catas trophe of five cities destroyed by fire, must have been occasioned by the irruption of a volcano then burning. Strabo expressly says, that the tradition of the inhabitants of the country (that is, of the Jews themselves) was, that formerly the valley of the lake was peopled by thirteen flourishing cities, and that they were swallowed up by a volcano.' (Geographia, lib. xvi. p. 1087. edit. Oxon.) This account seems to be confirmed by the quantities of ruins still found by travellers on the western border. These eruptions have long since ceased; but earthquakes, which usually succeed them, still continue to be felt at intervals in this country." Travels in Egypt and Syria, vol. i. pp. 281, 282.
2 Buckingham's Travels, pp. 443. 448.
view, its victims appear to be asleep but if an arm or leg be smartly shaken or lifted up, it separates from the body, which soon after becomes black. In Persia, in the district of Dashtistan, a sam or simoom blew during the summer months, which so totally burnt up all the corn (then near its maturity), that no animal would eat a blade of it, or touch any of its grain. The image of corn blasted before it be grown up, used by the sacred historian in 2 Kings xix. 26., was most probably taken from this or some similar cause. The Psalmist evidently alludes (Psal. ciii. 15, 16.) to the desolating influence of the simoom, which was unquestionably the blast that destroyed the army of Sennacherib in one night. (2 Kings xix. 7. 35.)
1 Bruce's Travels, vol. vi. pp. 462, 463. 484. Harmer's Observations, vol. i. pp. 94-96. Sir R. K. Porter's Travels in Georgia, Persia, &c. vol. ii. p. 230. 2 Morier's Second Journey, p. 43.
POLITICAL ANTIQUITIES OF THE JEWS.
DIFFERENT FORMS OF GOVERNMENT FROM THE PATRIARCHAL 1 TIMES TO THE BABYLONIAN CAPTIVITY.
I. Patriarchal Government.-II. Government under Moses-a Theocracy;—its nature and design.-1. Notice of the heads or princes of tribes and families.-2. Of the Jethronian Prefects or Judges appointed by Moses.-3. Of the Senate or Council of Seventy Assessors.-4. Scribes.-III. Government of the Judges.-IV. Regal Government instituted;-the Functions and Privileges of the Kings;-Inauguration of the Kings ;-Scriptural Allusions to the Courts of Sovereigns and Princes explained.-V. Revenues of the Kings of Israel. VI. Magistrates under the Monarchy.-VII. Officers of the Palace.-VIII. The Royal Harem.-IX. Promulgation Laws.-X. Schism between the twelve tribes ;-the KingIsrael and Judah founded;-their Duration and End.
I. OF the forms of Government which obtained among mankind from the earliest ages to the time of Moses, we have but little information communicated in the Scriptures. The simplicity of manners which then prevailed would render any complicated form of government unnecessary; and accordingly we find that the patriarchs exercised the chief power and command over their families, children, and domestics, without being responsible to any superior authority. Such was the government of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. So long as they resided in the land of Canaan, they were subject to no foreign power, but tended their flocks and herds wherever they ehose to go (Gen. xiii. 6-12.), and vindicated their wrongs by arms whensoever they had sustained any injury. (Gen. xiv.) They treated with the petty kings who reigned in different parts of Palestine as their equals in dignity, and concluded treaties with them in their own right. (Gen. xiv. 13. 18-24. xxi. 22—32. xxvi. 16. 27-33. xxxi. 44-54.)
The patriarchal power was a sovereign dominion: so that parents may be considered as the first kings, and children the first subjects. They had the power of disinheriting their children (Gen. xlix. 3, 4. 1 Chron. v. 1.), and also of punishing them with death (Gen. xxxviii. 24.), or of dismissing them from home without assigning any rea