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Sed tu simul obligasti
B. ii. od. 8. 1. 5. But you, as soon as you have bound your perfidious head with vows.
It may also be observed, that many used to swear by the ashes of their parents: we have the form of this oath in Propertius.
Ossa tibi juro per matris, et ossa parentis;
B. ii. el. 20.
See also Horace, b. ii. od. 8. 1. 9.
Martial refers to this custom of swearing by the head.
Per tua jurares sacra caputque tuum. Lib. ix. epig. 49. Homer likewise mentions the adjuring of another by his head.
Odyss. lib. xv. 261.
O thou, that dost thy happy course prepare
libations and with solemn pray’r;
Thy name, thy lineage, and paternal land. This also was a common form of swearing among the Jews. “If any one be bound to his friend by an oath, and say to him, vow unto me by the life of thy head, R. Meir says he may retract it, but the wise men say he cannot.” See also Juvenal, Sat. vi, 17.
No. 1174,-v. 47. If ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others?] “ The manner of salutation among the wise men was this: he thạt salutes says, a good day to my lord; and he replies saying, a good
and long day to my lord; always he that replies doubles the salutation.” The persons they usually saluted were their relations or friends. They were not very free in saluting others, as strangers and Gentiles.
Gill, in loc.
No. 1175.-vi. 4. That thine alms may be in secret.) This seems to be an allusion to the secret-chamber, whither money was brought privately for the relief of the poor. “ There were two chambers in the sanctuary, the one was the chamber of secrets, and the other the chamber of vessels; the chamber of secrets was that into which pious persons put in secret; and the poor children of good men were maintained out of it privately.” The Jews say many things in favour of doing alms privately. They tell us that “R. Jannai seeing a certain man give a piece of money to a poor man publicly, said to him, it would have been better if thou hadst not given him any-thing, thân to have given him in this manner.” The giving of alms to the poor is mentioned by Christ before prayer to God, because it was usual to give alms before prayer. Gill, in loc.
No. 1176.-vi. 16. For they disfigure their faces,]
“ made them black," as the Arabic version renders it. This they did, that they might look so through fasting. Such persons were held in great esteem, and thought to be very religious. The Jews say,
66 whoever makes his face black on account of the law in this world, God will make his brightness to shine in the world to come.”
No. 1177.-vi. 29. Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.] The royal robes which were put on the king of Judah at his coronation were very rich and splendid. This may certainly be gathered
from the declaration of Christ in these words. This allusion is the more apposite, if, as Josephus saith (Antiq. lib. viii. c. 7.) Solomon were usually clothed in white. On this supposition, it is probable that this was the colour of the royal robes of his successors. But it being likewise the colour of the priest's garments, the difference between them must be supposed to lie in the richness of the stuff they were made of. JENNINGS's Jewish Ant. vol. i.
No. 1178.-vii. 13. Enter ye in at the strait gafe.] Our Lord here seems to allude to the private and public roads, whose measures are fixed by the Jewish canons, which say that “ a private way was four cubits broad; a way from city to city eight cubits; a public way sixteen cubits; and the way to the cities of refuge thirty-two cubits.”
Gill, in loc.
No. 1179.-vii. 29. For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.] When the scribes delivered any thing to the people, they used to say, our rabbins, or our wise men, say so.” Such as were on the side of Hillel made use of his name, and those who were on the side of Shammai made use of his. Scarcely ever would they venture to say any thing as of themselves. But Christ spake boldly, of himself, and did not go about to support his doctrine by the testimony of the elders. Gill, in loc.
No. 1180.-ix. 1. And came into his own city.] This was Capernaum, where Christ chiefly dwelt, and paid tribute as an inhabitant. According to the Jewish canons, he was entitled to citizenship by dwelling there twelve months, or by purchasing a dwelling-house. One or other of these things it is probable Christ had done, on which account the city is denominated his.
Gill, in loc,
No. 1181.-ix. 9. Sitting at the receipt of custom.] The publicans had houses or booths built for them at the foot of bridges, at the mouth of rivers, and by the sea-shore, where they took toll of passengers that went to and fro. Hence we read of the tickets or seals of the publicans, which, when a man had paid toll on one side of a river, were given him by the publican to shew to him that sat on the other side, that it might appear he had paid. On these were written two great letters, larger than those in common use. Gill, in loc.
No. 1182.-ix. 14. The Pharisees fast oft.] These are not the public fasts, but the private ones, which are referred to. These were very frequent : for besides their fasting twice a week, on Mondays and Thursdays, they had a multitude of fasts upon divers occasions, particularly for rain. On this account they sometimes appointed thirteen fast days. They observed them on other accounts, as because of pestilence, famine, war, sieges, or inundations; sometimes for trifling things, as for dreams.
GILL, in loc.
No. 1183.-ix. 20. --the hem of his garment.] The Jewish mantle or upper garment was considered as consisting of four quarters, called in the Oriental idiom wings. Every wing contained one corner, whereat was suspended a tuft of threads or strings, which they called nguo nedov. Numb. xv. 37. Deut. xxii. 12. What are there called fringes are those strings, and the four quarters of the vesture are the four corners. As in the first of the passages above referred to they are mentioned as serving to make them remember the commandments of the Lord to do them, there was conceived to be a special sacredness in them, which must have probably led the woman to think of touching that part of his garment, rather than any other.
CAMPBELL's Translation of the Gospels, note.
No. 1184.-ix. 20. -and touched the hem of his garment.] This woman having probably been a constant witness of the many wonderful miracles wrought by Christ, was convinced that he was a divine person, and that every thing belonging to him was sacred : and therefore, as, according to the custom of the eastern nations, to kiss the fringe of any consecrated robe (Arabian Nights, vol. iv. p. 236.) was an act of the most profound reverence, so by touching the hem of our Saviour's garment she was persuaded that she should not only pay him the greatest respect, but dispose him to pity her, and heal her disease ; which was instantly done.
The garment of Christ, in consequence of the humble appearance which he made upon earth, was not ornamented with that striking appendage, which usually adorned the borders of the eastern garments, a beautiful fringe. Had his garment been in the prevailing fashion of the East, the woman, probably, would have been represented as touching the fringe of his garment, instead of its hem.
No. 1185.-x. 14. Shake off the dust of your feet.] In these words there seems to be an allusion to some maxims and custoins of the Jews, with respect to the dust of heathen countries. With them all dust which comes from the land of the Gentiles is reckoned defiling. Hence they would not suffer herbs to be brought out of a heathen country into the land of Israel, lest dust should be brought along with them.
Gill, in loc.
No. 1186.-X. 38. He that taketh not his cross.] Wetstein shews that this is an allusion to the most degrading suffering, that of the punishment inflicted on slaves, who were whipped through the Circus bearing
gallows (furca). Cicero de Divinat. i. 26.