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He lav'd his hands; then, taking from the queen
Iliad xxiv. 378-385.
Again, in the Odyssey, when Minerva in the form of Mentes is received by Telemachus in his father's palace, it is said,
Χίρωβα δ' άμφίπολος προχών 'ΕΠΕΧΕΥΕ φέρουσα
'OA. A. 136-138,
And now a maiden charg'd with golden ew'r,
Odyssey I. 168–171.
In these instances, and in all those, which occur in Homer, the mode of washing is precisely the same, as that which we remarked in Scripture. The only variation is, that, the water being perhaps more plentiful, the pouring is supposed to be more copious, and therefore a vessel is provided to receive what should run off. In Homer, the word agóxoos, a pouringvessel, corresponds with the mig, of John xiii.; the word xéguent, signifies the water poured out for washing the hands; and xéguißov, (in Il. N. 302-307. xxiv. 378—385,) or néßns, (in the other quotations,) is the basin, laver, or receiving-vessel.
The preceding is the uniform phraseology of Ho. mer, when he has occasion to speak of washing the hands; of washing the hands as a religious rite ; and especially of washing the hands before eating and drinking.* His language, when he speaks of the
Αυταρ έπει τάρσησαν δρώμενοι οφθαλμοίσιν,
'04. A'. 47-54.
Satiate at length with wonder at that sight,
Odyssey IV. 57-65.
However common the method of " washing the hands by dipping them” may be among us, with
* See 'oa. A'. 146.-Odyssey I. 179.-P. 338.III. 429.A'213, 214, 216.-IV. 261, 265, 266.-H. 172-174.–VII. 214_217.
+ See 'IA. K'. 572_579.-Cowper's Iliad X. 657-664.
whom it is no religious ceremony, who usually have plenty of water at command, and who are generally in the habit of performing the operation for ourselves, without assistance or attendance of servants; I believe no instance of it will be found, in any description, ancient or modern, of religious customs, or ordinary manners, of the eastern world. Nor is the circumstance so trivial as we may be apt to imagine. We all know the importance of pouring cold water on a sprained joint; and, in a warm climate, the portion of cold water that is used must be much more refreshing when poured on the hands, than when the hands are immersed in it. By pouring, the cooling effect of evaporation is more fully enjoyed, and the increase of heat occasioned by the revulsion after dipping, is avoided. As far as I know, Dr. C. stands alone in rendering βαπτίσωνται (τας χείρας,) * wash their hands by dipping them.” I believe that future translators will leave him long in posses, sion of this unenvied singularity. On the other hand, if I thought the phrase were here used to mark the manner of washing at all, I should feel encouraged by every document which exists, either of scriptural or classical, ancient or modern, illustration, to render it, “ wash their hands” (not by pouring, as he trans, lates the other clause, but) " by getting water poured
* The verb is accordingly used in the passive voice in Luke xi. 38. ότι ου πρώτον εβαπτίσθη προ του αρίστου. «That he had not been washed before dinner.”
It seems to me, however, to be the object of the evangelist in Mark vii. 3, 4. to describe the reason, rather than the manner, of the Jewish custom to his Gentile readers. He, therefore, remarks that it originated in their holding the tradition of the elders." o
” And in order to show how strictly-they held this tradition, he says, they observed it, not merely on their more solemn occasions, but even when they had just come from places of public resort, and from the ordinary intercourse of life. To show further that this custom was not cleanliness, or politeness, but a religious observance, he uses the words baptize, and baptisms, which would be perfectly understood by his readers, (both as to mode and meaning,) since Christian Baptism had now been every where practised for several years, and the first practice of it was narrated in the preceding part of this his gospel.
I conceive the mode of all the baptizings here to be the same, namely, the pouring out of water on the person, or thing, to be purified. Dr. C. is, however, of opinion that, in as far as Barricw is concerned, there must be dipping ; and, as he had asserted this before, on the old authority of Tertullian, so he asserts it. now on the modern authority of Wetstein. His quotation from this “ excellent critic,” (as the Doctor calls him,) contains nothing but a single sentence of common place, and, as I trust we have seen, questionable assertion. “Barsi(eodas est manus aquâ
βαπτίζεσθαι immergere: VÍTTEoda, manibus affundere.”
« βαπτίζεσθαι is to immerse the hands in water: νίπτεσθαι to pour water on the hands.” I allow Wetstein to have
been a zealous and laborious collator of MSS. and a learned editor of the New Testament; but, if by the term critic, we are to understand an interpreter of scripture, I conceive that instead of being excellent, he is one of the very lowest class. After giving due praise to his merits as an editor of the sacred text, Dr. Marsh, in his Theological Lectures, very justly says of Wetstein; “ As an interpreter of the New Testament, in his explanatory Notes, he shows himself in a different and less favourable light.”
In the passage before us there is no contrast between νίψωνται, and βαπτίσωνται, for both refer to the same thing, (as BATTIOLOWS does afterwards,) and the one explains the other. The contrast is between both those verbs and the κοιναΐς χερσί (τούτ' έστιν ανίπτους) “ defiled (that is to say, unwashen) hands,” mentioned in ver. 2, and explained at large in the preceding quotations: I approve of Dr. C. for using the word “baptisms”
“" in ver. 4. But it was necessary to deviate here from his usual method of rendering. Had he followed his theory, and used the word “dippings,” the translation would have been manifestly absurd. The articles specified in ver. 4. are all utensils and accommodations of the Jewish mode of eating, about which the evangelist was speaking; from “ the cups, pots, and brazen vessels” of the cook and the butler, to “the beds” of the triclinium, or diningroom, for the use of the family and their guests, when, according to the custom of those times, they reclined at their meals. There were three only of