197. Landmarks

 •  1 min. read  •  grade level: 10
In the East the fields of different owners are not marked by fences, as with us, but the boundaries are indicated by heaps of small stones, or by a ridge, or by posts, or by single stones set upright about a rod apart. It is easy for a dishonest man to remove these landmarks, little by little each year, and thus gradually encroach upon his neighbor. This practice is alluded to in Job 24:22Some remove the landmarks; they violently take away flocks, and feed thereof. (Job 24:2), and is forbidden in Proverbs 22:2828Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set. (Proverbs 22:28) and 23:10 as in our text. A curse was pronounced upon those who removed landmarks (Deut. 27:1717Cursed be he that removeth his neighbor's landmark. And all the people shall say, Amen. (Deuteronomy 27:17)). A figurative allusion is made to this crime in Hosea 5:1010The princes of Judah were like them that remove the bound: therefore I will pour out my wrath upon them like water. (Hosea 5:10).
Not only the Jews, but other ancient nations, especially the Romans, had stringent laws against the removal of landmarks. In the British Museum are two or three very curious Babylonian monuments which are supposed to have been landmarks, and to be covered with curses on those who remove them. One of them is of marble, in shape of a massive fish. On the head is the figure of a serpent, and various other characters; and on the sides, in arrow-headed letters, are the curses.