« AnteriorContinuar »
296 § 241. Roman procuratoRs.
pendent. They were inferiour, however, in point of rank, to the Ethnarchs, who, although they did not publickly assume the name of king, were addressed with that title by their subjects : as was the case, for instance, in respect to Archelaus, Matt. 2: 22. Josephus, Antiq. XVII. 1 1. 4.
§ 241. Roman ProcuratoRs.
Procurators, (a magistrate well known among the Romans,) are denominated in the New Testament rivewoves, but it appears, that they are called by Josephus snutgoitou. Judea, after the termination of the Ethnarchate of Archelaus, was governed by rulers of this description, and likewise during the period, which immedia tely succeeded the reign of Herod Agrippa. PRocuRAtoRs were sometimes Roman knights, and sometimes the freedmen of the emperor. Felix was one of the latter class, Acts 23:24–26. 24: 3, 22–27. This Procurator, if we may credit some remarks of Suetonius in his life of Claudius, which in truth, are confirmed by Tacitus in his History, (V. 9.) was, for some particular reason, very dear to the emperor, but was, nevertheless, a very miserable governour. Festus also, according to Herodian, (IV. 8, 11.) was a freedman, Acts 24:27. 25: 12. 26:24, 25. It may be necessary to remark here by way of explanation, that Procurators were sent by the emperor, independently of the vote or concurrence of the Senate into those provinces, which had been reserved for his own use, and might be considered, dur-, ing his reign, as his personal property. They were commonly situated in the extremities of the empire. The business of the Procurators, who were sent to them, was, to exact tribute, to administer justice, and to repress seditions. Some of the procurators were dependent on the nearest Proconsul or president; for inestance, those of Judea were dependent on the Proconsul, governour or president of Syria. They enjoyed, however, great authority, and possessed the power of life and death. The only privilege in respect to the officers of government, that was granted by the Procurators of Judea to that nation, was the appointment from among them of persons, to manage and collect the taxes. In all other things, they administered the government them§ 242. on the TRIBUTE, Etc. or the TEMPLE. 297
selves, except that they frequently had resort to the counsel of other persons, Acts 23:24–36. 24: 1–10, 25:23.
The military force, that was granted to the Procurators of Judea, consisted of six cohorts, oitsugat, of which five were stationed at Cesarea, where they resided, and one at Jerusalem in the tower of Antonia, which was so situated as to command the Temple, Acts 10: 1. 21:32. It was the duty of the military cohorts to execute the Procurator's commands, and to repress seditions, Matt. 8: 5. 27:27. 28:12. John 19: 2, 23. Mark 15: 16.
On the return of the great Festivals, when there were vast crowds of people at Jerusalem, the Procurators themselves went from Cesarea to that city in order to be at hand to suppress any commotions, which might arise, Matt. 27: 2–65. John 18:29. 19:38.
§ 242. Of the TRIBUTE AND HALF-shekel of THE TEMPLE.
The management of the provincial revenues was generally committed to the Roman knights, who were thence denominated agyarskova, and rehovo.9%at, publicans, while the tax-gatherers or exactors, whom they employed, were termed tshovot. The case, however, was somewhat different in Judea, where the management of the revenues, as already observed, was committed to the Jews themselves ; so that those of them, to whom the management of these affairs was entrusted, eventually obtained an equal rank with the knights of Rome, Luke 19: 2. Josephus, J. War. II. 14. 9.
The subordinate agents in collecting the revenues, relovae, who are denominated in the Vulgate, though somewhat incorrectly, publicans, took their position at the gates of cities, and in the publick ways, and, at the place for that purpose, called the “receipt of custom,” examined the goods that passed, and received the monies that were to be paid, Matt. 9:9. Mark 2: 14. Luke 5:27, 29. These tax-gatherers, if we may credit Cicero, were more inclined to exact too much, than to belie the promise, they had made to their masters; and were, accordingly, in consequence of their extortions, every where, especially in Judea, objects of hatred, and were reckoned in the same class with notorious sinners, Luke 3: 13. Mark 2: 15, 16. comp. Talmud, Baba Kama c. 10, 113. Col. f 298 & 242. on The Taibute, etc. or THE TEMPLE.
1. Nedarim c. 3. The Pharisees would have no communication with them, and one ground of their reproaches against the Saviour, was, that he did not refuse to sit at meat with persons of such a character, Mark 5:46, 47. 9:10, 11. 11:19. 18: 7. 21: 31, 32. THE HALF-shekEl Tax was a tax or tribute to be paid every year by every adult Jew at the Temple. It was introduced after the Captivity, in consequence of a wrong understanding of certain expressions in the Pentateuch, and was a different thing both from the revenue, which accrued to the kings, tetrarchs, and ethnarchs, and from the general tax, that was assessed for the Roman Caesars. It was required, that this tax should be paid in Jewish coin, a circumstance, to which an allusion is made in Matt. 22:17–19. and likewise in Mark 12: 14, 15. It was in consequence of this state of things, (as the Talmudists assert, Shekalim, I. 1.3.) that money-changers, x0Muğuotat, seated themselves in the Temple, on the fifteenth of the month Adar, and after, for the purpose of exchanging for those, who might wish it, Roman and Greek coins, for Jewish half-shekels. The prominent object of the Temple money-changers was their own personal emolument, but the acquisition of property in this way was contrary to the spirit of the law in Deut. 23:20, 21. It was for this reason, that Jesus drove them from the Temple, Matt. 21:12. Mark 11:15. John 2:15. Messengers were sent abroad into other cities, for the purpose of collecting this tax, (Matt. 17:25.) according to the Talmudists, (Shekalim I. 1, 3.) during the month Adar, who add further, that, in case payment was not made by the twenty fifth of that month, a pledge was taken from the person, who was delinquent. The Jews, who collected this tax from their countrymen dwelling in foreign nations, transmitted the sums collected every year to Jerusalem. It is not surprising then, that the vast amount of treasures, of which we are informed, flowed into the Temple, Josephus, Antiq. XIV. 7, 2. Cicero pro Flacco, 28.
According to the Mosaic Law, there were to be judges in all the cities, whose duty it was likewise to exercise judicial authority in the neighbouring villages; but weighty causes and appeals went up to the supreme judge or ruler of the commonwealth, and in case of a failure here, to the high priest, Deut. 17: 8, 9.
In the time of the monarchy, weighty causes and appeals went up of course to the king, who, in very difficult cases, seems to have consulted the high priest, as is customary at the present day among the Persians and Ottomans.
The judicial establishment was reorganized after the Captivity, and two classes of judges, the inferiour and superiour, were appointed, Ezra 7:25. The more difficult cases, nevertheless, and appeals were either brought before the ruler of the state called Piro, or before the high priest; until, in the age of the Maccabees, a supreme, judicial tribunal was instituted, which is first mentioned under Hyrcanus II., Josephus, Antiq. XIV. 9. 3.
This tribunal is not to be confounded with the seventy two counsellors, who were appointed to assist Moses in the civil administration of the government, but who never fulfilled the office of judges.
§ 244. The SANHEDRIN.
This Tribunal, which is properly called ovvedovov, SyNEDRIUM, but is denominated by the Talmudists SANHEDRIN, was instituted in the time of the Maccabees, and was composed of seventy two members. The high priest generally sustained the office of presiS00 § 244. The sanhedrin.
dent, UN- or son, in this tribunal. The next in authority, or the vice-president, was called in Hebrew no "as, likewise joi; and the second vice-president, boro; the former of whom sat on the right, and the latter on the left hand of the president. The members, who were admitted to a seat in the Sanhedrin, were as follows: I. CHIEF priests, agyutgsug, who are often mentioned in the New Testament and in Josephus, as if they were many in number. They consisted partly of priests, who had previously exercised the high-priesthood, and partly of the heads of the twenty four classes of priests, who were called, in an honorary way, high or chief priests. II. ELDERs, trgeoffvrsgow. That is to say, the princes of the tribes, and the heads of family associations. III. THE Scrubes, or learned men. When we say, that scribes and elders were members of the Sanhedrin, we are not to be understood, as saying, that all the scribes or learned men of the nation, or that all the elders held a seat in that body; but those only, who had obtained the privilege by election, or by a nomination from the ruling executive authority. For this reason, viz. because they were made members of the Sanhedrin in the same way, they are constantly joined together; tıgsoffvtsgot zot yoguuctsug, scribes and elders, Matt. 26:57, 59.27: 3, 12, 20, 41. Acts 4: 5. 6: 12. The Talmudists assert, that this tribunal had secretaries and apparitors, and the very nature of the case forbids us to doubt the truth of the assertion. The place of their sitting, however, is a question, on which there is more difference of opinion. The Talmudists state, that it was in the Temple, but Josephus, in his history of the Jewish War, (V.4, 2. VI. 6, 3.) mentions Bovānv the council, Bovāavvægtov the place of assembling, and also the flrchives, as being not far from the Temple, on mount Zion. But in the trial of Jesus, it appears they were assembled, and that very hastily, in the palace of the high priest, Matt. 26: 3, 57. John 18: 24, The Talmudists state, that when met, they took their seats in such a way as to form a semicircle, and that the president, and two vice-presidents occupied the centre. We learn from other sources, that they either sat upon the floor, a carpet merely be