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§ 324. CONCERNING THE HELLENISTS.
did not approve of oaths, and never took one, except when joining the order. They asserted, that slavery was repugnant to nature. Some of them made pretensions to possessing the gift of prophecy. The Essenes avoided matrimony, with the exception of a particular class of them, who married, but did not cohabit, after there was evidence of pregnancy. The rest lived in celibacy, not because they had any objection, in itself considered, to the marriage state, but because they supposed all women to be adulteresses. If any one of this sect was found to be guilty of any crime, he was excluded from their society.
In point of DOCTRINE, their sentiments were nearly the same with those of the Pharisees.
1. They believed, that God was the author of all good, but not of evil, or, in other words, cooperated in good actions, but not in evil. . II. They believed, that the soul was immortal, that the good after death received rewards beyond the islands of the sea, and that the wicked suffered punishments under the earth.
III. They objected to sacrifices from slain animals, and, accordingly, did not visit the Temple, Josephus, Antiquities, XV. 10, 5. XVII. 13, 3. XVIII. 1, 5. 10, 5. Jewish War II. 3, 2–12.
The Therapeutae agreed, in most things, with the Essenes, but they all lived unmarried. They received females into their sect, but such remained virgins, and followed the same mode of life with the men. On the Sabbath only, both sexes sat at the same table, the men on the right, and the females on the left side of it; their meals consisted of bread and salt alone, sometimes with an addition of hyssop. The Therapeutae kept vigils on the night of the sabbath, and, in imitation of the Israelites after their passage through the Red Sea, sung hymns, and led sacred dances, Philo de vita contemplativa.
§ 324. CONCERNING THE HELLENISTS.
HELLENIST is the name, which is given to those Jews, who are mentioned in Acts 6: 1. 9: 29. 11:20, and whó, not only in Egypt, Asia Minor, and Greece, but in all places, spoke the Greek, as their vernacular tongue. They do not appear to be the same with those, who are mentioned in John 7: 35, James 1:1, and first
Peter 1: 1, and are called diaonopa twv članvoy the dispersed among the Gentiles ; for it appears, that the Hellenists were found at Jerusalem, Acts 6: 1; and there were likewise found, among the diaonopa or dispersed, Jews, who spoke the Aramean dialect, as, for instance, Paul himself, who was born at Tarsus, 2 Cor. 11: 22. Philipp. 3: 5. Indeed those, who spoke the Aramean dialect, were thought to possess the preeminence over those Jews, who spoke the Greek merely, and they, therefore, stroke, in various places, to transmit their vernacular tongue down to their posterity.
Onias, son of Onias III., as has already been mentioned, erected a Temple in Leontopolis in Egypt, for the accommodation of the Hellenists, who resided there, about the year 149 before Christ; in which priests of the house of Aaron, and Levites administered.
In this Temple, the internal arrangements were the same, as in that of Jerusalem, except that the golden candlestick, instead of being placed on a base, was suspended by means of a gold chain, Josephus, Antiquities XIII. 3, 1-3. Onias, in engaging in this undertaking, was supported, as he supposed, by the expressions in Isaiah 19: 18, et seq. but the representations, which are there given, are not to be so literally interpreted. This Temple, therefore, was erected without any sufficient authority from the Jew. ish Scriptures, and was not frequented by any other Jews, than the Egyptian and Cyrenian, who, notwithstanding its erection in the midst of tbem, frequently went to the Temple of Jerusalem, Acts 6:9. Talmud of Jerusalem, enegilla, page 73, 4. The Egyptian Temple was shut up, in the year 73 before the Christian era, by the command of the emperour Vespasian, on account of some tumults of the Jews, Josephus, Jewish War VII, 10, 4. Antiquities XX. 10, 1.
PROSELYTES, nooonavoon, i. e. those, who have come in, (so called απο του προσεληλυθεναι,) are mentioned at a very ancient period, but scarcely any where, except in connexion with the journey through Arabia, and afterwards in the history of the reigns of Solomon and David. Persons of this description are de
§ 325. CONCERNING PROSELYTES.
413 nominated by Moses 99%, if they are destitute of a house, and bawin, if they have one.
In the time of Christ and his Apostles, they were found every where in great numbers; some circumcised, and some uncircumcised. The former were called P7 3 just or righteous Proselytes; the latter hownega proselytes of the gate. In the New Testament we find a number of epithets applied to the latter class of proselytes, as follows, EvlaßeuS, EVOEBELS, DEPOMEvou Tov Osov, poßovuzvou tov 0kov, the pious, the devout, the reverential, &c. Acts 2: 5. 10: 2, 22. 13: 16. 18: 7, comp. 2 Kgs. 5: 17-19.
The ancient Kenites, also the Rechabites, who were the pos. terity of Hobab, the father-in-law of Moses, are to be reckoned with this class of proselytes; for they worshipped the one true God, while, at the same time, they altogether refused to observe the Laws of Moses, Num. 10: 29, Jud. 1: 16. 4: 11: 1 Sam. 15: 6. Jer, 35 ch.
It is a saying among the Jews, that these proselytes observed those precepts, which are called the precepts of Noah, viz.
(1.) That men should abstain from idolatry.
,(7.) That they should not eat blood, nor any thing, in which blood is, consequently, nothing strangled.
They frequented the Synagogues in company with the Jews, and although they were at liberty to offer sacrifices to God in any place, where they chose, they preferred visiting the Temple of Jerusalem, and offered sacrifices through the priests. I
The other class of PROSELYTES, called the righteous, PIXI , were united with the great body of the Jewish people, not only by circumcision, but, (after they were restored from the wound, that was inflicted in consequence of that rite,) by baptism also. Three witnesses, or sponsors were present at the ceremony of baptism. Their immersion was not only a symbol of their having been purified from the corruption of idolatry, but it signified likewise, that, as they had been buried in the water, they now arose
$ 326. CONCERNING THE SAMARITANS.
new men, or regenerated, as it were, the new born sons of Abraham, John 3: 3.
The Jews assert, that the baptism of proselytes, which has now been spoken of, is mentioned in Exodus 19: 10, 14. 24: 8, and Genesis 35: 2. They not only maintain, that it is a necessary ceremony, but assert, it is so efficacious, that it puts an entire end to the connexion of the proselyte with his kindred according to the flesh, so much so that he is at liberty, if he chooses, to marry his own mother. Comp. I Cor. 5: 1, et seq.
Christ speaks of this baptism in such a way, as to imply, that it was well known, John 3: 10 ; and the only point, which Nicodemus did not understand, was, that the Jews also, who were already the children of Abraham, were to be born again by baptism. The proselyte, after baptism, offered a sacrifice of two turtle doves, and two young pigeons. '
The female proselytes, who received the Mosaic Law, were baptized likewise, and were expected to present a similar offering: See Selden DE JURE NAT. ET. GENT. II. 25. C. 4. p. 158. et seq.
$ 326. CONCERNING THE SAMARITANS.
The people, who were sent by Shalmaneser and Esarhaddon from Cutbah, Ava, Hamath, and Sepharvaim into the tract of country, which had formerly belonged to the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh, (2 Kgs. 17: 24. Ezra 4: 2—11.) united with one another, and with the Israelites, who were left there, and formed one people. They were called SAMARITANS from their principle city, Samaria. · At first these people worsbipped the respective gods of their own nations. But being harassed by lions, which had increased in number on account of the country's having been desolated, they attributed their sufferings from this source to the circumstance of their having neglected to worship the God of the country. They, therefore, received back from the king of Assyria an exiled Hebrew priest, who took up his residence in Bethel, where the golden calf had formerly been.
This priest taught them in the worship of Jehovah from the Books of Moses; not, however, as we may well suppose, without mingling with it the idolatry of the calf, and representing that ani:
8 326. CONCERNING THE SAMARITANS.
- mal, as the embodied form of the Deity; so that the people were led in this way to worship idols and Jehovah at the same time, 2 Kgs. 17: 26–34. comp. 2 Chron. 30: 1–10.
The Hebrews, after their return from exile, commenced building the Temple. The Samaritans obtruded themselves upon them, as companions in the undertaking. The Jews, who saw, that they merely sought a participation in the benefits conceded by Cyrus, that they would not leave their idols, and cared but little about the true religion, repelled their proposals fór an union. This was the source of an implacable hatred in the minds of the Samaritans against the Jews. They impeded, as much as possible, the building of the Temple, and surreptitiously obtained from the false Smerdis a decree, counteracting that of Cyrus.
The Jews, on the other hand, were in turn greatly embittered, and somewhat intimidated, Ezra 4:4–24. Hence, while they were pursuing their labours in the reign of Darius Hystaspes, they were often exhorted by the prophets Haggai and Zechariah, to be of good courage. While Nehemiah was engaged in restoring the walls of Jerusalem, the Samaritans tried every art to frighten him from his labours, but in vain, Neh. 6:1-14. These things increased the hatred of the Jews. When Nehemiah, about the year 408 before Christ, took the resolution of removing from the people their foreign wives for fear of their being led astray by them, Manasses, the son of the high priest Joiada, was unwilling to part with his. · This woman was the daughter of Sanballat, the ruler of the Samaritans, and, accordingly, Manasses, her husband, went over to them, Neh. 13, 28.
Sanballat obtained leave of Darius Nothus, and built a Temple on Mount Gerezim, and placed the Jew, his son-in-law, over the sacred observances. While he fulfilled the office of high priest among them, the Samaritans appear to have dismissed their idols.
After this, very many of the Jews, when they had transgressed the laws, fled to the Samaritans, that they might escape punishment, and thus the hatred was increased on both sides. lo the year 167 before Christ, when Antiochus Epiphanes was king, the Samaritans consecrated their Temple to Jupiter, 1 Macc. 3, 10. Antiq. XII. 5, 5. but they returned afterwards to the religion of Moses.
In the year 129 before Christ, John Hyrcanus destroyed their