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§ 198. THE ANGEL that TRoubled the BATH. 231
restoration of the first one, who entered the water after his descent, is omitted in certain Greek and Latin manuscripts, and likewise in the Armenian version. It is pointed out to the particular notice of the reader in some Greek manuscripts, sometimes by an obelus or dagger [f], and sometimes by an asterisk. The genuineness of the whole passage, therefore, is justly liable to suspicion. On the supposition, that the whole narration is a genuine one, the bath in question might have been an animal bath, which has a beneficial influence in certain diseases, and which, in the present case, was furnished with blood from the temple, by means of a subterranean passage. Accordingly, when the blood flowed into it, the water might be said with no impropriety to be disturbed, especially on festival days, when it received a greater quantity than usual.
Or it might have been, (and most probably was,) a mineral bath, which derived its salutary powers from the mineral particles, that were intermixed with the mud at the bottom. Accordingly, when the water was more than usually disturbed or put in motion by some external cause, for instance, by showers or by subterranean heat, it is natural to suppose, that it was the more strongly impregnated with minerals, and of course more than usually efficacious. The sick and infirm, therefore, wished to enter it at this period, before the mineral particles had subsided, and the water had returned to its ordinary state. Eusebius in his Onomasticon under the word Bečata confirms the last hypothesis for he states, that in his time there were, at that place, viz. Bethesda, two contiguous receptacles of water, which were dry except when rains fell. They were then slightly tinged with a red colour a proof, that the bottom was impregnated with mineral particles. Consult Richteri Dissertatio Medic. theol. de balneo animali, p. 107. Goetting. 1775, and Mead, Medic. sacr. 6.8.
The descent of the angel, and the healing of the first one, who entered into the water, are statements founded in the prevalent popular opinions. The reason, why the historian did not make a statement of his own on the subject, but chose rather, in the fourth and sixth verses, to give the popular belief, was, that the reader might understand the reply of the sick man, in the seventh verse.
232 § 199. ON PARALytics.
§ 199. ON PARALytics.
The palsy of the New Testament is a disease that is of very wide import. Many infirmities, as Richter has demonstrated, in the seventy third and the following pages of the Treatise referred to in the preceding section, were comprehended under the word which is rendered palsy in the New Testament.
I. The Apoplexy, a paralytic shock which affected the whole body.
II. The HEMIPLEgy, which affects and paralyses only one side of the body.
III. The PARAPLegy, which paralyses all the parts of the system below the neck.
IV. The cATAlepsy. It is caused by a contraction of the muscles in the whole or part of the body, (e. g. in the hands,) and is very dangerous. The effects upon the parts seized are very violent and deadly. For instance, when a person is struck with it, if his hand happens to be extended, he is unable to draw it back. If the hand is not extended, when he is struck with the disease, he is unable to extend it. It appears diminished in size, and dried up. Hence the Hebrews were in the habit of calling it a withered hand, 1 K. 13:4–6. Zech. 11: 17. Matt. 12: 10–13. John 5:3.
W. The craMP. This, in oriental countries, is a fearful malady, and by no means unfrequent. It originates from the chills of the night. The limbs, when seized with it, remain immoveable, sometimes turned in, and sometimes out, in the same position, as when they were first seized. The person afflicted resembles a man, undergoing the torture, Bagavačouévy, and experiences nearly the same exquisite sufferings. Death follows this disease in a few days, Matt. 8: 9, 10. comp. Luke 7: 2. 1 Mac. 9: 55–58.
Note. The disease, denominated in Matt. 9:20. Mark 5: 25. and Luke 8: 43. an issue of blood, is too well known to require any particular explanation. It may be well, however, to make this single observation, that physicians themselves acknowledge, that it is a disorder which is difficult to be cured, Mark 5: 26.
§ 202. Disease of HERod Agrippa. 233
§ 200. The Death of Judas IscARiot.
Judas Iscariot, i. e. Judas, the man of Karioth, nin-p ons, (Josh. 15:25. Jer. 48:41. Amos 2:2) we are informed in Matt. 27. 5. (&amyśaro,) hung himself. We are further informed in Acts 1:18. (agnuns yewduevos &danos uéoos, zal sexton advta to onkeyzva. dviot, that he fell headlong, burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out. These two statements, which exhibit the appearance of being not altogether harmonious, have occasioned various opinions among the learned.
The most easy and natural reconciliation of them is this. Peter, in his discourse, (Acts 1: 18.) did not deem it necessary to give a full narration, in every respect, of an event, which was perfectly well known. He, therefore, merely mentions the circumstance, (which probably originated from the rope's breaking, or being cut off, with which he was suspended, at the time, that he was taken down for interment, of his fall and breaking asunder in the midst. This very simple supposition, which gives a solution of the whole difficulty, appears to me preferable to any farfetched hypothesis.
§ 201. BlindNess of the SoncerER BAR JEsus.
BAR JEsus, the sorcerer, otherwise called Elymas, foe, a wise
or learned man, was struck blind by Paul, Acts 13: 6–12. The blindness in this instance is properly denominated in Greek azhi's, and was rather an obscuration, than a total extinction of the sight. It was occasioned by a thin coat or tunicle of hard substance, which spread itself over a portion of the eye, and interrupted the power of vision. Hence the disease is likewise called oxdros, or darkness. It was easily cured, and sometimes even healed of itself, without resort to any medical prescription. Hence Paul adds, “not seeing the sun for a season.”
§ 202. Disease of Herod Agripp A.
Josephus, (Antiq. XIX. S. 2.) and Luke, (Acts 12:23.) attribute
the disease, with which Herod died, to the immediate agency of
God; because he so readily received the idolatrous acclamations 30
234 § 203. on DEATH.
of the people, who hailed and honoured him, as a Divinity. Josephus says, the disease was in the intestines. But he perverts his statement by the intermixture of certain superstitious and incredible notions. Luke, who was a physician, says more definitely and accurately, that Herod was consumed with worms, which in eastern countries frequently prey upon the intestines. Josephus observes, that he died on the fifth day after the attack.
CONCERNING DEATH, BURIALS, AND MOURNING.
§ 203. ON DEATH.
The Hebrews regarded life, as a journey, as a pilgrimage on the face of the earth. The traveller, as they supposed, when he arrived at the end of this journey, which happened when he died, was received into the company of his ancestors, who had gone befor him, Gen. 25: 8, 35:29. 37: 35. Ps. 39:12; comp. Heb. 11: 13, 15. Eccles. 12; 7. Reception into the presence of God at death is asserted in only two passages of the Old Testament, viz. Haggai 2:23. and Eccles. 12; 7.
Opinions of this kind, (viz. that life is a journey, that death is the end of that journey, and that, when one dies, he mingles with the hosts, who have gone before,) are the origin and ground of such phrases, as the following; to be gathered to one's people, by FENT nvoy, Num. 20:24, 26. Deut. 32:50. Gen. 25: 8, 9.35:29. 49:29. Jers: 2 25:33, and to go to one's fathers, "nons, is nor Gen. 15: 15. 37:35. This visiting of the fathers has reference to the immortal part, and is clearly distinguished, in many of the passages above quoted, from the mere burial of the body. See Gen. 37:35.
A person, when dying, was said to go, to depart, or to be dismis§ 203. on Death. 235
sed, togeviabat, Bačičew, atolvéodat, stri, o, Tob. 3: 6, 13. John 7: 33. 8:21. 16:16, 17. 2 Cor. 5:6–9. Philip. 1: 13. 2 Tim. 4:6. Luke 2: 29, 22: 22. comp. the Septuagint in Gen. 15: 2, 15. and Num. 20:26. In those parts of the Bible, which were written at a comparatively recent period, there occur such expressions, as the following; to sleep among one's fathers, orias Esaeus, 2 Sam. 7: 12. 1 K. 11:21; and in all parts of the Bible, such as the following, to give up the ghost, and no longer to be or exist, in Hebrew so, os, Gen. 42. 13. Num. 20:3, 29. Gen. 31: 15. Ps. 37: 10, 36. 39: 13. 103: 16. Mark 15: 37. Some suppose, that the expressions and descriptions, which occur in Gen. 5: 24. Ecclus. 44; 16. Wisd. 4: 10. Heb. 11: 5. and 2 K. 2: 12. are of a poetical character, which convey, when truly interpreted, no other idea, than that of natural death. Sometimes the Hebrews regarded death, as a friendly messenger, but they were more frequently inclined to dread him, as a formidable enemy. Impressed with a sense of the terrors, which were the consequence of his visitations, their imaginations imparted to him a poetical existence in the character of a hunter, armed him with a dart or javelin, x&rgov, with a net, -m-n and with a snare, core, sing; or, no oar, no oppon. Thus equipped, this fearful invader commenced his artifices against the children of men, and when he had taken them captive, slew them, 2 Sam. 26:6. Ps. 18: 5, 6, 116:3. I Cor. 15:55, 56. The wild fancy of some of the poets went still further, and represented Death, no, as the king of the Lower World, and fitted up for him a subterranean palace, denominated Sheol and HAdes, bino, "Auðms, in which he exercised sovereignty over all men, (including kings and warriours,) who had departed from this upper state of existence. This place occurs also under the phrases, no onzu, and ai moat row #dov, the gates of Death or Hades, Job 38: 17. Ps. 9. 13. 49. 15. 107: 18. Is. 38; 10, 18. Matt. 16. 18. Such are the attributes of this place, its situation, its ruler, and its subjects, that it might very justly be denominated Death's royal palace, comp. 2 Sam. 15: 2. Mention is made of the rivers of Hades in Ps. 18:4, 5. The more recent Hebrews, adhering too strictly to the letter of their Scriptures, exercised their ingenuity, and put in requisition their faith, to furnish the monarch Death with a subordinate