Imatges de pàgina

in his time, and by which a man consecrated what he was bound to
apply to the support of his parents; and he declares it to be so impi.
ous that we cannot possibly hold it to be acceptable to God. In the
New Testament, no vows whatever are obligatory, because God has
no where declared that he will accept them from Christians. But the
people of Israel had such a declaration from God himself; although
even they were not counselled or encouraged to make vows. In con-
sequence of this declaration, the vows of the Israelites were binding;
and that not only in a moral view, but according to the national law;
and the priest was authorised to enforce and estimate their fulfilment.
The principal passages relating to this point, are Lev. xxvii. Numb.
xxx. and Deut. xxiii. 18. 21, 22, 23.
III. In order to render a vow valid, Moses requires,
1. That it be actually uttered with the mouth, and not merely
made in the heart. In Numb. xxx. 3.7. 9. 13. and Deut. xxiii. 24.
he repeatedly calls it the expression of the lips, or, what has gone forth
from the mouth; and the same phrase occurs in Psalm lxvi. 14. If
therefore, a person had merely made a vow in his heart, without let-
ting it pass his lips, it would seem as if God would not accept such
a vow ; regarding it only as a resolution to vow, but not as a vow
itself. -
This limitation is humane, and necessary to prevent much any
iety in conscientious people. If a vow made in the heart be valid.
we shall often experience difficulty in distinguishing whether what
we thought of was a bare intention, or a vow actually coin-
pleted. Here, therefore, just as in a civil contract with our neigh-
bour, words—uttered words—are necessary, to prevent all uncer-
tainty. -
2. The party making the vow must be in his own power and
competent to undertake the obligation. Therefore the vows of minors
were void, unless they were ratified by the express or tacit consent of
their parents. "In like manner, neither married women nor slaves
could oblige themselves by vow, unless they were ratified by their
husbands or masters.
3. The things vowed to be devoted to God must be honestly oh-
tained. It is well known, that in antient times, many public prost-
tutes dedicated to their gods a part of their impure earnings. This is
most expressly forbidden by Moses. (Deut. xxxiii. 18.)
IV. There are two sorts of vows mentioned in the Jewish Law,
viz. 1. The Enn (chehew), which was the most solemn of all, and
was accompanied with a form of execration, and which could not be
redeemed ; and, 2. The Ent) (Neperim), or common vows.
1. The cherem is no where mentioned by Moses; nor does he
specify by what solemnities or expressions it was distinguished from
other vows, but pre-supposes all this as already well known. The
species of cherem with which we are best acquainted, was the pre-
vious devotement to God of hostile cities, against which they in-
tended to proceed with extreme severity; and that with a view the
more to inflame the minds of the people to war. In such cases,

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not only were all the inhabitants put to death, but also, according as the terms of the vow declared, no booty was made by any Israelite; the beasts were slain; what would not burn, as gold, silver, and other metals, was added to the treasure of the sanctuary ; and every thing else, with the whole city, burnt, and an imprecation pronounced upon any attempt that should ever be made to rebuild it. Of this the history of Jericho (Josh. vi. 17–19. 21–24. and vii. 1. 12–26.) furnishes the most remarkable example. In Moses’ lifetime we find a similar vow against the king of Arad. (Numb. xxi. 1–3. If d Israelitish city introduced the worship of strange gods, it was (as we have already seen) in like manner, to be devoted or consecrated to God, and to remain un-rebuilt for ever. (Deut. xiii. 16–18.) Jephthah's dedication of his daughter is generally supposed to have been a cherem: but we have shown in another part of this work, that he did not sacrifice her. The text (Judg. xi. 30.) says that Jephthah vowed a vow (Tl), Neder) unto the Lord, and again (verse 39.) that he did with her according to his vow (n-1)). There is no word in either of these passages, that either expresses or implies a cherem. 2. The common vows were divided into two sorts, viz. 1. Vows of dedication, and, 2. Vows of self-interdiction or abstinence. i. The n-1} (Neden) or vow, in the stricter sense of the word, was when a person engaged to do any thing, as, for instance, to bring an offering to God; or otherwise to dedicate anything unto him. Things vowed in this way, were, 1. Unclean beasts. These might be estimated by the priest, and redeemed by the vower, by the addition of one-fifth to the value. (Lev. xxvii. 11—13.)—2. Clean beasts used for offerings. Here there was no right of redemption; nor could the beasts be exchanged for others under the penalty of both being forfeited, and belonging to the Lord. (Lev. xxvii. 9, 10.)—3. Lands and houses. These had the privilege of valuation and redemption. (Lev. xxvii. 14–24.)—To these we have to add, 4. The person o the vower himself, with the like privilege. (Lev. xxvii. 1–8.) To this species of vow Michaelis thinks the second tenths may have belonged, as Moses no where speaks of them as a new institution. They most probably derived their origin from the vow made by Jacob, which is recorded in Gen. xxviii. 22. ii. Vows of self-interdiction or self-denial were, when a person engaged to abstain from any wine, food, or any other thing. These are especially distinguished by Moses from other vows in Numb. xxx, and are there termed "DN (Assar), or to by "DN (Assar Al Nephesh), that is, a bond upon the soul, or person, a self-interdiction from some desire of nature, or of the heart, or, in other words, a vow of abstinence, particularly from eating and drinking. Among this species of vows may be classed those of the Nazareate or Nazaritism; which, Michaelis is of opinion, was not instituted by Moses, but was of more antient, and probably of Egyptian origin; the Hebrew legislator giving certain injunctions for the better regulation and


performance of these vows. The statutes respecting the Nazăreate
are related in the sixth chapter of the book of Numbers. Lamy,
Calmet, and others have distinguished two classes of Nazarites: first,
those who were Nazarites by birth, as Sampson and John the Baptist
were; and, secondly, those who were Nazarites by vow and engage-
ment; who followed this mode of living for a limited time, at the ex-
piration of which they cut off their hair at the door of the tabernacle,
and offered certain sacrifices. The Nazarites were required to ab-
stain from wine, fermented liquors, and every thing made of grapes,
to let their hair grow, and not to defile themselves by touching the
dead : and if any person had accidentally expired in their presence,
the Nazarites of the second class were obliged to recommence their
Similar to the Nazareate was the vow frequently made by devout
Jews, on their recovery from sickness, or deliverance from danger or
distress; who, for thirty days before they offered sacrifices, abstained
from wine, and shaved the hair of their head." This usage illustrates
the conduct of St. Paul, as related in Acts xvii. 18. The apostle, in
consequence of a providential deliverance from some imminent peril
not recorded by the sacred writer, bound himself by a vow, which the
law in this case required him to pay at Jerusalem. In consequence
of this transaction St. Luke relates, that he shaved his head at Cen-
chrea. St. Paul, in his intended journey afterwards to Judea, says,
he must needs go to Jerusalem : for the laws respecting the Nazaite's
vow required the person who had entered into this engagement, if he
were in a foreign country when he first laid himself under this solemn
obligation, to go up to Jerusalem to accomplish it. Here several ap-
pointed sacrifices were offered, and a certain course of purifications
and religious observances was prescribed and performed. This ap-
pears from another passage in the same sacred writer. (Acts xxi. 21
–27.) “We have four men who have a vow on them: them tak
and purify thyself with them, and be at charges with them, that they
MAy shAve. Their HEADs. Then Paul took the men ; and the neit
day purifying himself with them, entered into the temple, to signs
the accomplishment of the days of purification; and that an offering
should be offered for every one of them. And when the seven days
were almost ended,” &c. Josephus presents us with an instance pa"
rallel to this of St. Paul, in the person of Bernice, who went to Jeru-
salem, in order to perform a vow which she had made to God.”

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1 An usage, similar to the vow of Nazariteship, exists in Persia to this day. It frequently happens after the birth of a son, that if the parent be in distress, or the child be sick, or that there be any cause of grief, the mother makes a vow, that no razor shall come upon the child's head for a certain portion of time, and sometimes for his whole life, as Samuel was. (1 Sam. i. 11.) If the child recovers, and the cause of grief be removed, and if the vow be but for a time, so that the mother's vow be fulfilled, then she shaves his head at the end of the time prescribed, make. a singll entertainment, collects money and other things from her relations friends, which are sent as Yetzers or offerings to the mosque at Kerbelah, and are there consecrated. Morier's Second Journey, p. 109. .* Ibid. See Lamy's Apparatus Biblicus, vol. i. p. 221, Calmet's Dictionary, Yoo -Ya-arite. Fleury's Manners of the Israelites, pp. 338,339. Lardner's Credibility,





I. Materials, with which the Purifications of the Jews were performed. —II. Ceremonies of Purification.—III. Of the Persons lustrated. —IV. .1ccount of the different kinds of legal impurities, particularly 1. The Leprosy of the Person.—2. The Leprosy of Clothes. –3. The House Leprosy—V. Minor legal impurities, and their lustrations.

IT was requisite that every one who was about to make any offering to Jehovah should be cleansed from all impurities, or lustrated, —to adopt an expression in common use among the Romans. The materials, form, and ceremonies of these lustrations, which were prescribed by Moses, were various, according to different circumstances. The design of them all was not only to preserve both the health and morals of the Israelites, but also to intimate how necessary it was to preserve inward purity, without which they could not be acceptable to God, though they might approach his sanctuary. I. The purifications were for the most part performed with water, sometimes with blood (Heb. ix. 21, 22.), and with oil. (Exod. xxxix. 26. Lev. viii. 10, 11.)” The water of purification was to be drawn from a spring or running stream, and was either pure, or mixed with blood (Heb. ix. 19.), or with the ashes of the red heifer. For preparing these ashes, a heifer of a red colour was burnt with great solemnity. This ceremony is described at length in the nineteenth chapter of the book of Numbers. As all the people were to be interested in it, the victim was to be provided at their charge. This Jewish rite certainly had a reference to things done under the Gosl, as St. Paul has remarked in his Epistle to the Hebrews. For if the blood of bulls and of goats (alluding to the sin-offerings, and to the scape-goat), and THE Ashes of A HEiFER, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ . . . . {j (or purify) your conscience from dead works to serve the living God. As the principal stress of allusion in this passage is to the ordinance of the red heifer, we may certainly conclude that it was designed to typify the sacrifice of our adorable Redeemer. In the ordinance of the red heifer, we may perceive the wisdom of Moses (under the guidance of Jehovah) in taking every precaution that could prevent the Israelites from falling into idolatry. The animal to be selected was a heifer, in opposition to the superstition of the Egyptians, who held these to be sacred, and worship

* .

book i. c. 9. § 7. (Works, vol. i. pp. 208–212) Jenning's Jewish Antiquities, book i. o; S. pp.214–220. Reland's Antiq. Hebr. parti, c. 10, pp. 284–289. Michaelis's Sommentaries on the Law of Moses, vol. ii. pp. 260–27i. 280–283. Dr. Randolph's voir on Jephthah's Vow, in his View of Christ's Ministry, &c. vol. ii. pp. 166 -: * ~.

* Josephus, Ant. Jud. lib. iii, c. 8. § 0.


ped Isis under the form of a heifer:-it was also to be a red heifer, without spot, that is, altogether red, because red bulls were sacrificed to appease the evil demon Typhon, that was worshipped by the Egyptians; wherein was no blemish, so that it was free from every imperfection;–on which never came yoke, because any animal that had been used for any common purpose, was deemed improper to be offered in sacrifice to God." The animal being slain, and her blood sprinkled as directed in Numb. xix. 3, 4., was then reduced to ashes, which were to be collected and mixed with running water (ver. 9. 17.), for the purpose of lustration. II. The Jews had two sorts of washing; one,— of the whole body, by immersion, which was used by the priests at their conse: cration, and by the proselytes at their initiation;–the other, of the hands or feet, called dipping or pouring of water, and which was of daily use, not only for the hands and feet but also for the cups and other vessels used at their meals. (Matt. xv. 2. Mark vii. 3, 4.) The six water pots of stone, used at the marriage feast of Cana, in Galilee Ço ii. 6.), were set for this purpose.” To these two modes of purification Jesus Christ seems to allude in John xiii. 10; where the being wholly washed implies one who had become a disciple of Christ, and consequently renounced the sins of his former life. He who had so done, was supposed to be wholly washed, and not to need another immersion, in imitation of the ceremony of initiation, which was never repeated among the Jews. All that was necessary in such case was, the dipping or rinsing of the hands and feet, agreeably to the customs of the Jews. Sometimes the lustration was performed by sprinkling blood, or anointing with oil. Sprinkling was performed either with the finger or with a branch of cedar and hyssop tied together with scarlet wool. (Levit. xiv. 4.0. Numb. xix. 18. Psal. li. 7.) III. The objects of lustration were either persons or things dedicated to divine worship. The Levites, priests, and above all, the high priest, underwent a purification previously to undertaking their office. In like manner the Israelites were commanded to sanctify themselves by ablutions both of their persons and clothes, &c. previously to receiving the law (Exod. xix. i0, 11. 14, 15. Heb, ix. 19.); and after the giving of the law and the people's assent to the book of the covenant, Moses sprinkled them with blood. (Exod. xxiv. 5–8. Heb. ix. 19.) So also were the tabernacle, and all its

1 This opinion obtained among the antient Greeks. See particularly Homer's Iliad, x. 231—293, and Odyssey, iii. 332, and Virgil's Georgics, iv. 550, 551. . .

2 While Mr. W. Rae Wilson (who visited Palestine in 1819) was at Cana, “six women, having their faces veiled, came down to the well, each carrying on he: head a pot for the purpose of being filled with water. These vessels were formed of stone, and something in the shape of bottles used in our country for containing vitriol, having great bodies and small necks, with this exception, they were not so large; many had handles attached to the sides; and it was a wonderful coinci: dence with Scripture, that the vessels appeared to contain much the same quanti: § as those, which the Evangelist informs [us] had been employed on occasion of the nuptial celebration.” viz. three firkins,” that is, about twelve gallons each (Wilson's Travels in Egypt and the Holy land, p. 339)

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