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governor of the province without the city. This was the custom, likewise in Sicily, as appears from Cicero." It was customary for the Romans, on any extraordinary execution to put over the head of the malefactor an inscription denoting the crime for which he suffered. Several examples of this occur in the Roman history.” It was also usual at this time at Jerusalem, to post up advertisements which were designed to be read by all classes of persons, and in several languages. Titus, in a message which he sent to the Jews when the city was on the point of falling into his hands, and by which he endeavoured, to persuade them to surrender, says: Did you not erect pillars, with inscriptions on them in the GREEK and in our (the LATIN) language, “Let no one pass beyond these bounds f" In conformity to this usage, an inscription by Pilate's order was fixed above the head of Jesus, written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, specifying what it was that had brought him to this end. This writing was by the Romans called titulus, a title," and it is the very expression"made use of by the Evangelist John, Pilate wrote a title (sygals TITAON), and put it on the cross. (John xix. 19.) After the cross was erected, a party of soldiers was appointed to keep guard,” and to attend at the place of execution till the criminal breathed his last; thus also we read that a body of Roman soldiers, with a centurion, were deputed to guard our Lord and the two malefactors that were crucified with him. (Matt. xxvii. 54.) While they were thus attending them, it is said, our Saviour complained of thirst. This is a natural circumstance. The exquisitely sensible and tender extremities of the body being thus perforated, the person languishing and faint with loss of blood, and lingering under such acute and excruciating torture-these causes must necessarily produce a vehement and excessive thirst. One of the guards, hearing this request, hasted and took a spunge, and filled it from a vessel that stood by, that was full of vinegar. The usual drink of the Roman soldiers was vinegar and water." The knowledge of this custom illustrates this passage of sacred history, as it has sometimes been inquired, for what purpose was this vessel of vinegar Considering, however, the derision and cruel treatment which Jesus Christ had already received from the soldiers, it is by no means improbable that one of them gave him the vinegar with the design of augmenting his unparalleled sufferings. After receiving this, Jesus “cried with a loud voice, and uttered with all the vehemence he could exert, that comprehensive word on which a volume might be written, It is finished the important work of human redemption is finished; after which he reclined his head upon his bosom, and dismissed his spirit.” (Matt. xxvii. 50.) The last circumstance to be mentioned relative to the crucifixion of our Saviour, is the petition of the Jews to Pilate, that the death of the sufferers might be accelerated, with a view to the interment of Jesus. All the four evangelists have particularly mentioned this circumstance. Joseph of Arimathea went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus; then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered. And when Joseph had taken the body, he laid it in his own new tomb. (Matt. xxvii. 58–60. Mark xv. 45, 46. Luke xxiii. 50–53. John xix. 38–40.) And it may be fairly concluded, the rulers of the Jews did not disapprove of it: since they were solicitous that the bodies might be taken down, and not hang on the cross the next day. (John xix. 31.) The Jews, therefore, says St. John, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the sabbath day (for that sabbath day was an high day;) o: Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. Burial was not always allowed by the Romans in these cases. For we find that sometimes a soldier was appointed to guard the bodies of malefactors, that they might not be taken away and buried." However it seems that it was not often refused, unless the criminals were very mean and infamous. Cicero reckons it one of the horrid crimes of Verres's administration in Sicily, that he would take money of parents for the burial of their children whom he had put to death.* Both Suetonius” and Tacitus" represent it as one of the uncommon cruelties of Tiberius, in the latter part of his reign, that he generally denied burial to those who were put to death by his orders at Rome. Ulpian, in his treatise of the duty of a proconsul, says: “The bodies of those who are condemned to death are not to be denied to their relations:” and Augustus writes, in the tenth book of his own life, “that he had been wont to observe this custom;” that is, to grant the bodies to relations. Paulus says: “that the bodies of those who have been punished, [with death], are to be given to any that desire them in order to burial.” I See the passage cited from Petronius Arbiter, in note 5. p. 157. 2 Rapiunt eum ad supplicium dii patrii: quod iste inventus est, qui e complexu parentum abreptos filios ad necem duceret, et parentes pretium pro sepultura poor ceret. In Ver, lib. i. cap. 3. 3 Nemo punitorum nonet in Gemonias abjectus uncoque tractus. Wit. Tiber, c.o. 4 Et quia damnati, publicatis bonis, sepultură prohibebantur. Ann. lib. vi. c. 29. 5 Corpora eorum qui capite damnantur cognatis ipsorum neganda non sunt et id se observasse etiam D. Aug. lib. x. de vità sua, scribit. Hodie autem eorum, in quos animadvertitur, corpora non aliter sepeliuntur, quam si fuerit petitum et per missum ; et nonnunquam non permittitur, maxime majestatis causá damnatorum.
| Quid enim attinuit, cum Mamertini more atque instituto suo crucem fixissent post urbem in via Pompeia; te jubere in ea parte figero, quae ad fretum spectaret? In Verr. lib. v. c. 66. n. 169. * Dion Cassius, lib. liv. p. 732. edit. Reimar, 1750. See also Sueton. in Caligula, c. 32. Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. lib. v. p. 206. Cantab. 1720. * Josephus, de Bell. Jud. lib. vi. c. 2, § 4. * See instances in Suetonius, in Caligula, c. 34. ; and in Domitian. c. 10. * Miles cruces asservabat, ne quis corpora ad sepulturam detraheret. Petronius Arbiter, cap. 111, p. 513. edit. Burman. Traject. ad Rhen. 1709. Vid, not ad loc. "The Roman soldiers, says Dr. Huxham, drank posca (viz. water and vinegar) for their common drink, and found it very healthy and useful. Dr. Huxham's Me. thod for preserving the Health of Seamen, in his Essay on Fevers, p. 263. 3d edition. See also Lamy's Apparatus Biblicus, vol. ii. 278. See also Macknight in loc.
1. i. ff. de cadaver. Punit.
*..."por" animadversorum quibuslibet petentibus ad sepulturam danda sunt l
It is evident, therefore, from these two lawyers, that the governors of provinces had a right to grant burial to the bodies of those who had been executed by their order: nay, they seem to intimate, that it ought not usually to be denied when requested by any:
Hence it appears, that burial was ordinarily allowed to persons who were put to death in Judaea: and the subsequent conduct of Pilate shows that it was seldom denied by the Roman governors in that country. There is, moreover, an express command in the law (of which we know that the later Jews were religiously observant,) that the bodies of those who were hanged should not be suffered to remain all night upon the tree. (Deut. xxi. 23.) The next day, therefore, after the crucifixion, being, as one of the evangelists says, a high day (John xix. 31.), a number of leading men among the Jews waited on Pilate in a body, to desire that he would hasten the death of the malefactors hanging on their crosses. Pilate, therefore, dispatched his orders to the soldiers on duty, who broke the legs of the two criminals who were crucified along with Christ; but When they came to Jesus, finding he had already breathed his last, they thought this violence and trouble unnecessary; but one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, whose point appears to have penetrated into the pericardium, or membrane surrounding the heart; for St. John, who says he was an eye-witness of this, declares that there issued from the wound a mixture of blood and water. This wound, had he not been dead, must necessarily have been fatal. This circumstance St. John saw, and has solemnly recorded and attested.”
- See an instance, incidentally mentioned by Josephus. De Bell. Jud. lib. iv. c.
5. W 2.
he saith true, that ye might believe. John xix. 35.
ON THE JEWISH AND ROMAN MODES OF COMPUTING TIME, o MENTIONED IN THE SCRIPTURES.
I. Days.-II. Hours.—Watches of the Night.—III. Weeks.-IV. JMonths.-W. Years, Civil, Ecclesiastical and Natural.—Jewish Calendar.—VI. Parts of time taken for the whole.—VII. Remarkable JEras of the Jews.
TT is well known that, in the perusal of antient authors, we are liable to fall into many serious mistakes, if we consider their modes of computing time to be precisely the same as ours: and hence it becomes necessary that we observe their different notations of time, and carefully adjust them to our own. This remark is particularly applicable to the sacred writers, whom sceptics and infidels have charged with various contradictions and inconsistencies, which fall to the ground as soon as the various computations of time are considered and adapted to our own standard. The knowledge of the different divisions of time mentioned in the Scriptures will elucidate the meaning of a multitude of passages with regard to seasons, circumstances, and ceremonies. I. The Hebrews computed their days from evening to evening, according to the command of Moses." (Lev. xxiii. 32.) It is remarkable that the evening or natural night precedes the morning or natural day in the account of the creation (Gen. i. 5. &c.): whence the prophet Daniel employs the compound term evening-morning (Dan. viii. 14. marginal reading) to denote a civil day in his celebrated chronological prophecy of the 2300 days; and the same portion of time is termed in Greek wuxomusgow. The Romans had two different computations of their days, and two denominations for them. The one they called the civil, the other the natural day: the first was the same as ours; the second, which was the vulgar computation, began at six in the morning, and ended at six in the evening.” The civil day of the Jews varied in length according to the seasons of the year : the longest day in the Holy Land is only fourteen hours and twelve minutes of our time; and the shortest day, nine hours and forty-eight minutes. This
1 Tacitus, speaking of the antient Germans, takes notice that their account of time differs from that of the Romans; and that instead of days they reckoned the number of nights. . De Mor. Germ. c. xi. So also did the antient Gauls (Caesar de Bell. Gall, lib. vi. c. xvii.); and vestiges of this antient practice still remain in our own country. We say, last Sunday se’nnight, or , this day fortnight. The practice of computing time by nights, instead of days, obtains among the Mashoos, an inland nation, dwelling in the interior of South Africa. Travels by the Rev. John Campbell, vol. i. p. 182. (London, 1822. 8vo.)
* Pliny, Hist. Nat. lib. ii. c. lxxvii.; Censorinus de Die Natali, c. xxiii.; Macrobius, Saturnal lib. iii. c. iii. See also Dr. Ward's Dissertations on several passages of Scripture, p. 126. ; and Dr. Macknight's Harmony, vol. i Prelim. Obs. v.
portion of time was at first divided into four parts (Nehem. ix. 3.);
* Lib. ii. c. ciz.
*During the siege of Jerusalem, the "Jewish historian relates that the priests were not interrupted in the discharge of their sacred functions, but continued twice a day, in the morning, and at the ninth hour (or at three o'clock in the afternoon), to offer up sacrifices at the altar. The Jews rarely, if ever, ate or drank till after the hour of rayer (Acts x. 30.), and on sabbath days not till the sixth hour (twelve at noon, ło, de vita sua, § 54.) : which circumstance well explains the apostle Peter's defence of those on whom the Holy Spirit had miraculously descended on the day of Pentecost. (Acts ii. 15.)
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