And furthermore, that ye have sent for men to come from far,
&c.] From Egypt, Assyria, and Chaldea, to treat with them, and enter into alliances and confederacies with them, and to join them in their idolatrous practices; these Heathen nations did not send to the Jews, but the Jews to them; they did not court their friendship and alliance, but the Jews courted theirs: unto whom a messenger was sent;
to court their favour, and solicit a confederacy, and to desire that ambassadors might be sent to reside among them: and, lo, they came;
these Heathen courts listened to the proposal, and accordingly sent their plenipotentiaries and ambassadors to them, who came in their masters' name, and with their credentials; and for the reception of whom great preparations were made, as follows: for whom thou didst wash thyself, paintedst thy eyes, and deckedst
thyself with ornaments;
just as harlots do to make themselves agreeable to their lovers; who use washes and paint, as Jezebel did, and dress themselves in their best clothes, and adorn themselves in the best manner they can. Harlots had their particular attire, by which they were known, ( Proverbs 7:10 ) and they not only used bagnios or baths, but washes for their face, to make them look beautiful; and particularly painted their eyes, to make them look larger; for large eyes in women, in some nations, were reckoned very handsome, particularly among the Greeks: hence Juno, in Homer F4, is called (bowpiv) the ox eyed, as some translate it; or rather the large eyed Juno: and the Grecian women, in order to make their eyes large, made use of a powder mixed with their washes, which shrunk their eyebrows, and caused their eyes to stand out, and look fuller and larger; and such was the paint which Pliny, F5 calls stibium, and says, it was by some named "platyophthalmon", because in the beautiful eyebrows of women it dilated the eyes; and it seems that painting with something of this nature was used by the Jewish women, in imitation of the Heathens, for the same purpose, especially by harlots; hence the phrase of rending the face, or rather the eyes, with paint, ( Jeremiah 4:30 ) , so the Moorish women now, as Dr. Shaw F6 relates, to add a gracefulness to their complexions, tinge their eye lids with "alkahol", the powder of lead ore; and this is performed by first dipping into this 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; and which is properly a rending the eyes indeed, as the prophet calls it, with powder of "pouk", or lead ore: so, for the gratifying these idolatrous ambassadors, idols were set up, altars built, and sacrifices prepared; and, in order to their public entry, and to show how acceptable they were, palaces were fitted up for them; and the streets through which they passed decorated, and all public marks of esteem and affection given them; to this the Targum seems to have respect, paraphrasing the words thus,
``and, lo, they came to the place thou hadst prepared; thou hast adorned the streets, and appointed palaces.''
F4 Iliad. 1. l. 550.
F5 Nat. Hist. l. 33. c. 6.
F6 Travels, p. 229. Ed. 2.