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fic works which he had undertaken, and from which the children of
* 1 Mae. x. 29, 30. xi. 35, 36. xv. 5. Josephus, Ant. Jud. lib. xiii. c. 2. § 3. c. 4. $ 9. c. 6. § 6.
WOL. III. 24
Gentiles, for which they exacted a small fee, kolbon (xxxv80s). It was the tables on which these men trafficked for this unholy gain, which were overturned by Jesus Christ. (Matt. xxi. 12.)" The money-changers (called roars&ral in Matt. xxv. 7. and xstparisa, in John ii. 14.) were also those who made a profit by exchanging money. They supplied the Jews, who came from distant parts of Judaea and other parts of the Roman empire, with money, to be received back at their respective homes, or which perhaps they had paid before they commenced their journey. It is likewise probable that they exchanged foreign coins for such as were current at Jerusalem. IV. The provincial tributes were usually farmed by Roman knights,” who had under them inferior collectors: Josephus has made mention of several Jews who were Roman knights,” whence Dr. Lardner thinks it probable that they had merited the equestrian rank by their good services in collecting some part of the revenue. The collectors of these tributes were known by the general name of Texaval, that is, PUBLICANs, or tax-gatherers. Some of them appear to have been receivers-general for a large district, as Zaccheus, who is styled a chief publican (Agxirskavns.) Matthew, who is termed simply a publican (Texavns), was one who sat at the receipt of custom where the duty was paid on imports and exports. (Matt. ix. 9. Luke v. 29. Mark ii. 14.) These officers, at least the inferior ones (like the rahdars or toll-gatherers, in modern Persia)," were generally rapacious, extorting more than the legal tribute; whence they were reckoned infamous among the Greeks, and various passages in the Gospels show how odious they were to the Jews (Mark ii. 15, 16. Luke iii. 13.), insomuch that the Pharisees would hold no communication whatever with them, and imputed it to our Saviour as a crime that he sat at meat with publicans. (Matt. ix. 10, 11. xi. 19. xxi. 31, 32.) The payment of taxes to the Romans was accounted by the Jews an intolerable grievance: hence those who assisted in collecting them were detested as plunderers in the cause of the Romans, as betrayers of the liberties of their country, and as abettors of those who had enslaved it; this circumstance will account for the contempt and hatred so often expressed by the Jews in the evangelical histories against the collectors of the taxes or tribute."
* Grotius, Hammond, and Whitby, on Matt. xxi. 12. Dr. Lightfoot's works vol. ii. p. 225. :
*Cicero, in Verrem, lib. iii. c. 72. Orat. pro Planco, c. 9. De Petitione Consulatüs, c. 1. Tacit. Annal. lib. iv. c. 6.
* De Bell. Jud. lib. ii. c. 14. § 9.
* The rahdars, or toll-gatherers, are appointed to levy a toll upon Kafilehs or caravans of merchants; “who in general exercise their office with so much bru. tality and extortion, as to he execrated by all travellers. The police of the highways is confided to them, and whenever any goods are stolen, they are meant to be the instruments of restitution; but when t ey are put to the test, are found to be inefficient. None but a man in power can hope to recover what he has once lost.......The collections of the th are farmed, consequently extortion ensues and as most of the rahdars receive no other emolument than what they can exact :*. o: o dues from the traveller, their insolence is accounted
- one hand, and t - - - -
Morier's Second Tour, P. o detestation in which they are held on the other.
The parable of the Pharisee and the Publican (Luke xviii. 10– 13.) will derive considerable illustration from these circumstances. Our Saviour, in bringing these two characters together, appears to have chosen them as making the strongest contrast between what, in the public estimation, were the extremes of excellence and villany. The Pharisees, it is well known, were the most powerful sect among the Jews, and made great pretences to piety: and when the account of the Persian rahdars given in the preceding page is recollected, it will account for the Pharisee, in addressing God, having made extortioners and the unjust, almost synonymous terms with publicans; because, from his peculiar office, the rahdar is almost an extortioner by profession.”
1 Lardner's credibility, part i. book i. c. 9. § 10 11. 2 Morier's Second Tour, p. 71.
CHAPTER VI. ON THE TREATIES, OR COVENANTS, AND CONTRACTS OF THE JEWS.
I. Whether the Jews were prohibited from concluding treaties with heathen nations.—II. Treaties, how made and ratified.—Covenant of Salt.—lllusions in the Scriptures to the making of Treaties or Covenants.-III. Contracts for the Sale and Cession of Alienable Property, how made.
I. A. TREATY is a pact or covenant made with a view to the public welfare by the superior power. It is a common mistake that the Israelites were prohibited from forming alliances with Heathens: this would in effect have amounted to a general prohibition of alliance with any nation whatever, because, at that time all the world were Heathens. In the Mosaic law, not a single statute is enacted, that prohibits the conclusion of treaties with heathen nations in general; although for the reasons therein specified, Moses either commands them to carry on eternal war against the Canaanites, Amalekites, Moabites, and Ammonites, or else forbids all friendship with these particular nations. It is however clear, from Deut. xxiii. 4—9., that he did not entertain the same opinion with regard to all foreign nations: for in that passage, though the Moabites are pronounced to be an abomination to the Israelites, no such declaration is made respecting the Edomites. Further, it is evident that they felt themselves bound religiously to observe treaties when actually concluded, though one of the contracting parties had been guilty of fraud in the transaction. David and Solomon lived in alliance with the king of Tyre; and the former with the king of Hamath (2 Sam. viii. 9, 10.); and the queen of Sheba cannot be regarded in any other light than as an ally of Solomon's. The only treaties condemned by the prophets are those with the Egyptians and Assyrians, which were extremely prejudicial to the nation, by involving it continually in quarrels with sovereigns more powerful than the Jewish monarchs. II. Various solemnities were used in the conclusion of treaties; sometimes it was done by a simple junction of the hands. (Prov. xi. 21. Ezek. xvii. 18.) The Hindoos to this day ratify an engagement by one person laying his right hand on the hand of the other." Sometimes also the covenant was ratified by erecting a heap of stones, to which a suitable name was given, referring to the subjectmatter of the covenant (Gen. xxxi. 44–54.); that made between Abraham and the king of Gerar was ratified by the oath of both parties, by a present from Abraham to the latter of seven eve lambs, and by giving a name to the well which had given occasion to the
* Ward's View of the History, &c. of the Hindoos, vol. ii. p.32s,
transaction. (Gen. xxi. 22–32.) It was moreover customary to cut the victim (which was to be offered as a sacrifice upon the occasion) into two parts, and so by placing each half upon two different altars, to cause those who contracted the covenant to pass between both. (Gen. xv. 9, 10. 17. Jer. xxxiv. 18.) This rite was practised both by believers and heathens at their solemn leagues; at first doubtless with a view to the great sacrifice, who was to purge our sins in his own blood: and the offering of these sacrifices, and passing between the parts of the divided victim, was symbolically staking their hopes of purification and salvation on their performance of the conditions on which it was offered.
This remarkable practice may be clearly traced in the Greek and
Opkia rurra rapovrég. Iliad, lib. ii. ver, 124.
Eustathius explains the passage by saying, they were oaths relating
The editor of the fragments supplementary to Calmet! is of opinion that what is yet practised of this ceremony may elucidate that passage in Isa. xxviii. 15. We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us, for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves. As if it had been said:—We have cut off a covenant sacrifice, a purification offering with death, and with the grave we have settled, so that the scourge shall not injure us. May not such a custom have been the origin of the following superstition related by Pitts? “If they (the Algerine corsairs) at any time happen to be in a very great strait or distress, as being chased, or in a storm, they will gather money, light up candles in remembrance of some dead marrabot (saint) or other, calling upon him with heavy sighs and groans. If they find no succour from their before-mentioned rites and superstitions, but that the danger rather increases, then they go to sacrificing a sheep (or two or three upon occasion, as they think needful), which is done after this manner: having cut off the head with a knife, they immediately take out the entrails, and throw them and the head overboard; and then, with all the speed they can (without skinning) they cut the body into two parts by the middle, and throw one part over the right side of the ship, and the other over the left, into the sea, as a kind of propitiation. Thus those blind infidels apply themselves to imaginary intercessors, instead of the living and the true God.” In the case here referred to, the ship passes between the parts thus thrown on each side of it. This behaviour of the Algerines may be taken as a pretty accurate counterpart to that of making a covenant with death and with imminent danger of destruction, by appeasing the angry gods.
1 No. 129. 2 Travels, p. 18.