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A History of the Gipsies by Walter Simson

Between the Exodus and the Babylonian captivity


Jewish race, but that much

blood has been added to it, from other sources, ever since. Even four of the patriarchs, the third in descent from Abraham, were the sons of concubines, who were, doubtless, bought with money, from the stranger, (Gen. xvii. 12 and 13,) or the descendants of such, and were, in all probability, of as different a race from their mistresses, Leah and Rachel, as was the bondmaid, Hagar, the Egyptian, from her mistress, Sarah. Joseph married a daughter of the Egyptian priest of On, and Moses, a daughter of an Ethiopian priest of Midian. From a circumstance mentioned in the Exodus, it would appear that Egyptian blood, perhaps much of it, had been incorporated with that of the Jews, while in Egypt.[306] And much foreign blood seems to have been added to the body, between the Exodus and the Babylonian captivity, through the means of proselytes and captives, strange women and bondmaids, concubines and harlots. We read of Rahab, of Jericho, an innkeeper, or harlot, or both, marrying Salmon, one of the chief men in the tribe of Judah, and becoming the mother of Boaz, who married Ruth, a Moabitish woman, the daughter-in-law of Naomi, and grandmother of David, from whom Christ was lineally descended. Indeed, the Jews have always been receiving foreign blood into their body. We read of Timothy having been a Greek by the father's side, and a Jew by the mother's; and of his having been brought up a Jew. Such events are of frequent occurrence. There is no real bar to marriages between Jews and
Christians, although circumstances render them difficult. The children of such marriages sometimes resemble the Jew, and sometimes the Christian; sometimes they cast their lot with the Jews, in the matter of religion, and sometimes with the Christians; but they generally follow the mother in that matter. Such, however, is the conceit which the Jew displays in regard to his race, that he is very reserved in speaking about this "mixing of the blood." I once addressed a string of questions to a Christian-Jew preacher, on this subject, but he declined answering them. I am intimate with a family the parents of which are half-blood Jews, all of whom belong to the Jewish connexion, and I find that, notwithstanding the mixture of the blood, there is as little mental difference between them and the other Jews, as there is between Americans of six descents, by both sides of the house, and Americans whose descent, through one parent, goes as far back, while, through the other parent, it is from abroad. Purity of blood, as applicable to almost any race, and, among others, to the Jewish, is a figment. There are many Jews in the United States, and, doubtless, in other countries, who are not known to other people as Jews, either by their appearance or their attendance at the synagogue. As a general principle, no Jew will tell the world that he belongs to the race; he leaves that to be found out by other people. Sir J. Gardner Wilkinson says that the Jews of the East, to this day, often have red hair and blue eyes, and are quite unlike their brethren in Europe. He found the large nose at Jerusalem an invariable proof of mixture with a Western family. It is singular, however, how easy it is to detect the generality of Jews; the nose, the eyes, or the features, tell who they are, but not always so. What may be termed a "pure Jew," is when the person has no knowledge of any other blood being in his veins than Jewish blood; or when his feelings are entirely Jewish as to nationality, although his creed may not be very strongly Jewish.

[306] It is an unnecessary stretch upon the belief in the Scriptures, to ask consent to the abstract proposition that the Jews, while in Egypt, encreased from seventy souls to "about six hundred thousand on foot that were men, besides children," at the time of the Exodus. Following a pastoral life, in a healthy and fertile country, and inspired with the prophecy delivered to Abraham, as to his numberless descendants, the whole bent of the mind of the Jews was to multiply their numbers; and polygamy and concubinage being characteristic of the people, there is no reason to doubt that the Jews encreased to the number stated. The original emigrants, doubtless, took with them large establishments of bondmen and bondwomen, and purchased others while in Egypt; and these being circumcised, according to the covenant made with Abraham, would sooner or later become, on that account alone, part of the nation; and much more so by such amalgamation as is set forth by Rachel and Leah giving their maids to Jacob to have children by them. Abraham was, at best, the representative head of the Jewish nation, composed, as that was originally, of elements drawn from the idolatrous tribes surrounding him and his descendants.


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