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the artificers that joined the bells to the furniture of the war-horses, nwdwroper apotwhol. Hence also, to bear the bell still signifies victory or dominion over others.
PIRIE's Works, vol. iii. p. 202.
No. 1161.-xiv. 20. Bells of the horses.] finest breed of Arabian horsés is in this country, and has furnished us with those we make use of for the turf. They are here chiefly articles of luxury, used only in war, or for parade. The governor has a large stud opposite the house where I live, which affords me much pleasure, as I pay them frequent visits. They are small, but finely shaped and extremely active. Of this I had an opportunity of judging yesterday, when the cavalry had a field day in the great square, which, from the mode of exercise, called to my mind the idea of our ancient tilts and tournaments. The horses were sumptuously caparisoned, being adorned with gold and silver trappings, bells hung round their necks, and rich housings. The riders were in handsome Turkish dresses, with white turbans, and the whole formed to me a new and pleasing spectacle.” Rooke's Travels to the Coast of Arabia Felir, p. 82.
No. 1162.—xiv. 20. In that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses “ holiness unto the Lord.”] Chardin informs us, that something like this is seen in several places of the East. In Persia, in Turkey, the reins are of silk, of the thickness of a finger, on which is wrought the name of God, or other inscriptions.
HARMER, vol. i. p. 470.
END OF THE OLD TESTAMENT.
No. 1163.ST. MATTHEW ii. 2.
We have seen his star.
That the heathens thought the rise of a new star, or the appearance of a comet, portended the birth of a great person, has been proved by Origen (contra Celsum, lib. i.) Farther, it appears from Virgil, that it was commonly imagined the gods sent stars to point out the way to their favourites in difficult and perplexed cases; and that the ancients called globes of fire appearing in the air stars.
.. 2. We have seen his star in the East.] The ancients had an opinion, says Shuckford, (Connection, vol. ij. b. 8. p. 282.) that their great men and heroes at their death migrated into some star: and in consequence of that, they deified them. Thus Julics Cæsar was canonized because of a star that appeared at his death, into which they supposed he was gone. Vido Sueton. Jul. cap. 88. Virg. Ecl. is. 47. Horace, 1. i. Od. 12.
No. 1165.-iii. 4. And the same John had his raiment of camel's hair.] His raiment was not made of the fine hair of that animal, whereof an elegant kind of cloth is made, which is thence called camlet, (in imitation of which, though made of wool, is the English camlet) but of the long and shaggy hair of camels, which is in the East manufactured into a coarse stuff, anciently worn by monks and anchorites. It is only
when understood in this way, that the words suit the description here given of John's manner of life.
CAMPBELL's Translation of the Gospels, note.
No. 1166.iii. 11. Whose shoes I am not worthy to bear.] The custom of loosing the sandals from off the feet of an Eastern worshipper was ancient and indispensable. It is also commonly observed in visits to great men. The sandals or slippers are pulled off at the door, and either left there, or given to a servant to bear. The person to bear them means an inferior domestic, or attendant upon a man of high rank, to take care of, and return them to him again. See Asiatic Researches, vol. i, p. 289.
This was the work of servants among the Jews: and it was reckoned so servile, that it was thought too mean for a scholar or a disciple to do. The Jews say, “ all services which a servant does for his master a disciple does for his master, except unloosing his shoes." John thought it was too great an honour for him to do that for Christ, which was thought too mean for a disciple to do for a wise man.
Gill, in loc.
No. 1167.-iii. 15. Thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness.] Previous both to anointing and clothing at the consecration of the Jewish high-priest, there was another ceremony, that of washing with water. This was common both to the high-priest and the other priests. Exod. xxix. 4. From hence some have explained these words of our Lord when he desired to be baptized by John; that being about to enter upon his priestly office, it became him to be baptized, or washed, according to the law, which he was subject to.
JENNINGS's Jewish Ant. vol. i. p. 204.
No. 1168.- iv. 23. And Jesus went about all Galilee,
teaching in their synagogues.] The scribes ordinarily taught in the synagogues: but it was not confined to them, as it appears that Christ did the same. It has been questioned by what right Christ and his apostles, who had no public character among the Jews, taught in their synagogues. In answer to this Dr. Lightfoot observes, that though this liberty was not allowed to any illiterate person or mechanic, but to the learned only; they granted it to prophets and workers of miracles; and such as set up for heads and leaders of new sects; in order that they might inform themselves of their dogmata, and not condemn them unheard and unknown. Under these characters Christ and his apostles were admitted to this privilege.
JENNINGS's Jewish Ant. vol. ii. p. 54.
No. 1169.-v.1. And when he was set, his disciples came to him.] Sitting was the proper posture of masters or teachers. The form in which the master and his disciples sat is thus described by Maimonides.
“The master sits at the head or in the chief place, and the disciples before him in a circuit, like a crown; so that they all see the master, and hear his words. The master may not sit upon a seat, and the scholars upon the ground; but either all upon the earth, or upon seats. Indeed from the beginning, or formerly, the master used to sit, and the disciples to stand; but before the destruction of the second temple, all used to teach their disciples sitting.”
No. 1170.-v. 14. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.] “A few points towards the north of Mount Tabor stands that which they call the Mount of the Beatitudes, a small rising, from which our Saviour delivered his sermon in Matt. v. vi. vii. Not far from this little hill is the city Sapliet, supposed to be the antient
Bethulia. It stands upon a very eminent and conspicuous mountain, and is seen far and near. May we not suppose that Christ alludes to this city in these words, a city that is set on a hill cannot be hid ?" Maundrell's Journey from Aleppo, p. 115.
No. 1171.-v. 18. One jot or one tittle.] It has been thought that this refers to one of those ducts, dashes, or 'corners of letters, which distinguish one letter from another, and nearly resemble each other. Other persons have apprehended that it refers to one of those little strokes in the tops of letters, which the Jews call crowns or spikes, in which they imagined great mysteries were contained. There were some persons among them who made it their business to search into the meaning of every letter, and of every one of these little horns or pricks that were upon the top of them. Το this custom Christ is here supposed to refer.
No. 1172.--v. 35. Neither by Jerusalem.] common with the Jews both to swear and vow by Jerusalem. “ As the altar, as the temple, as Jerusalem,” are expressions frequently to be met with in their writings. In the Gemara it is, “ He that says as Jerusalem does not say any thing, till he has made his vow concerning a thing which is offered up in Jerusalem.”
No. 1173.-v. 36. Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black.] It was ordinary among the ancients to swear by the head, thus Virgil: Per caput hoc juro, per quod pater ante solebat.
Æn. ix. 300. I swear by this head of mine, by which my father before me was wont to swear. So also Horace, reproaching Barinè, says,