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Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary


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The mode in which the patriarchs performed their pastoral migrations will be illustrated, with several differences in circumstances, by the following extract from Parsons' Travels: "It was entertaining enough to see the horde of Arabs decamp, as nothing could be more regular. First went the sheep and goat herds, each with their flocks in divisions, according as the chief of each family directed; then followed the camels and asses, loaded with the tents, furniture, and kitchen utensils; these were followed by the old men, women, boys, and girls, on foot. The children that cannot walk are carried on the backs of the young women, or the boys and girls; and the smallest of the lambs and kids are carried under the arms of the children. To each tent belong many dogs, among which are some greyhounds; some tents have from ten to fourteen dogs, and from twenty to thirty men, women, and children, belonging to it. The procession is closed by the chief of the tribe, whom they call emir and father, (emir means prince,) mounted on the very best horse, and surrounded by the heads of each family, all on horses, with many servants on foot. Between each family is a division or space of one hundred yards, or more, when they migrate; and such great regularity is observed, that neither camels, asses, sheep, nor dogs, mix, but each keeps to the division to which it belongs, without the least trouble. They had been here eight days, and were going four hours' journey to the north-west, to another spring of water. This tribe consisted of about eight hundred and fifty men, women, and children. Their flocks of sheep and goats were about five thousand, besides a great number of camels, horses, and asses. Horses and greyhounds they breed and train up for sale: they neither kill nor sell their ewe lambs. At set times a chapter in the Koran is read by the chief of each family, either in or near each tent, the whole family being gathered round, and very attentive." Instead of the Koran of modern times, let us conceive of Abraham, and other patriarchal emirs, collecting their numerous dependents and teaching them the true religion, and we then see with what truth they are called the Lord's "prophets."

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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography Information
Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Travelling'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. 1831-2.

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