The Goat
and is often made into cheese.
The people there often have a great number of goats. Jacob sent a present of two
hundred and twenty to his brother Esau; and a great king, mentioned in the Bible, once
received seven thousand seven hundred as a gift. A man is mentioned in the first book
of Samuel who owned a thousand goats: perhaps you can find the place; and if you do,
you will see in the next verse what his name was, and also the name of his wife.
There are two kinds of hair upon the goat; one is long and coarse, the other soft and
fine. Of the first kind the people make a kind of rough, coarse cloth; the other is made
into very fine cloth, almost as soft as silk. A part of the curtains for the tabernacle
were made of goats' hair.
The bottles mentioned in the Bible were usually made of goat-skins: the people in
those days had not learned to make glass. When they had been used a long time, they
became worn, so that they would not hold what was put in them. Our Savior once said,
"Neither do men put new wine into old bottles;" this was because the new wine would
ferment and the leathern bottles would burst. There is a story in the Old Testament
about some men who wished to deceive Joshua, and lead him to think that they lived
at a very great distance from him, when they really lived very near. So it is said, (Josh.
9:4, 5) "They took old sacks upon their asses, and wine-bottles, old and rent, and
bound up; and old shoes and clouted upon their feet, and old garments upon them;
and all the bread of their provision was dry and mouldy" Then they said to Joshua,
(verses 12 and 13) "This our bread we took hot for our provision out of our houses on
the day we came forth to go unto you; but now, behold it is dry, and it is mouldy. And
these bottles of wine which we filled were new, and behold they be rent; and these our
garments and our shoes are become old by reason of the very long journey."
The Israelites had a singular custom in ancient times, about which you may read in the
sixteenth chapter of Leviticus. It was commanded by God, and was to be observed
once in every year. On the morning of the day appointed for it, the high-priest was to
wash in pure water, and clothe himself in a dress of clean white linen. Then two fair
and handsome young goats were brought to him, one of which was to be killed. The
priest was to cast lots, that he might know which of them it should be; then he was to
kill him, sprinkle his blood upon the altar seven times, and burn the flesh. Afterwards
he was to take the live goat, lay both hands upon his head, and confess over him the
sins of the Israelites, "putting them upon the head of the goat." Then the animal was
given into the care of a man who led him away and let him go in the wilderness,
"bearing upon him all the iniquities" of the people. This goat was a type of our Savior;
that is, it represented what he afterwards did, when he came into the world and "bore
our sins."