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Gentiles, for which they exacted a small fee, kolbon (xoλußos). It was the tables on which these men trafficked for this unholy gain, which were overturned by Jesus Christ. (Matt. xxi. 12.)1

The money-changers (called rgareirai in Matt. xxv. 7. and xegMarisa in John ii. 14.) were also those who made a profit by exchanging money. They supplied the Jews, who came from distant parts of Judæa and other parts of the Roman empire, with money, to be received back at their respective homes, or which perhaps they had paid before they commenced their journey. It is likewise probable that they exchanged foreign coins for such as were current at Jerusalem.

IV. The provincial tributes were usually farmed by Roman knights, who had under them inferior collectors: Josephus has made mention of several Jews who were Roman knights,3 whence Dr. Lardner thinks it probable that they had merited the equestrian rank by their good services in collecting some part of the revenue. The collectors of these tributes were known by the general name of Teλwval, that is, PUBLICANS, or tax-gatherers. Some of them appear to have been receivers-general for a large district, as Zaccheus, who is styled a chief publican (Agxirsλwns.) Matthew, who is termed simply a publican (Teλwvms), was one who sat at the receipt of custom where the duty was paid on imports and exports. (Matt. ix. 9. Luke v. 29. Mark ii. 14.) These officers, at least the inferior ones (like the rahdars or toll-gatherers, in modern Persia), were generally rapacious, extorting more than the legal tribute; whence they were reckoned infamous among the Greeks, and various passages in the Gospels show how odious they were to the Jews (Mark ii. 15, 16. Luke iii. 13.), insomuch that the Pharisees would hold no communication whatever with them, and imputed it to our Saviour as a crime that he sat at meat with publicans. (Matt. ix. 10, 11. xi. 19. xxi. 31, 32.) The payment of taxes to the Romans was accounted by the Jews an intolerable grievance: hence those who assisted in collecting them were detested as plunderers in the cause of the Romans, as betrayers of the liberties of their country, and as abettors of those who had enslaved it; this circumstance will account for the contempt

1 Grotius, Hammond, and Whitby, on Matt. xxi. 12. Dr. Lightfoot's Works, vol. ii. p. 225.

2 Cicero, in Verrem, lib. iii. c. 72. Orat. pro Planco, c. 9. De Petitione Consulatûs, c. 1. Tacit. Annal. lib. iv. c. 6.

3 De Bell. Jud. lib. ii. c. 14. § 9.

4 The rahdars, or toll-gatherers, are appointed to levy a toll upon Kafilehs or caravans of merchants; "who in general exercise their office with so much bru tality and extortion, as to he execrated by all travellers. The police of the highways is confided to them, and whenever any goods are stolen, they are meant to be the instruments of restitution; but when they are put to the test, are found to be inefficient. None but a man in power can hope to recover what he has once lost.......The collections of the toll are farmed, consequently extortion ensues and as most of the rahdars receive no other emolument than what they can exact over and above the prescribed dues from the traveller, their insolence is accounted for on the one hand, and the detestation in which they are held on the other," Morier's Second Tour, p. 70.

and hatred so often expressed by the Jews in the evangelical histories against the collectors of the taxes or tribute.1

The parable of the Pharisee and the Publican (Luke xviii. 1013.) will derive considerable illustration from these circumstances. Our Saviour, in bringing these two characters together, appears to have chosen them as making the strongest contrast between what, in the public estimation, were the extremes of excellence and villany. The Pharisees, it is well known, were the most powerful sect among the Jews, and made great pretences to piety: and when the account of the Persian rahdars given in the preceding page is recollected, it will account for the Pharisee, in addressing God, having made extortioners and the unjust, almost synonymous terms with publicans; because, from his peculiar office, the rahdar is almost an extortioner by profession.2

1 Lardner's Credibility, part i. book i. c.
2 Morier's Second Tour, p. 71.

9. § 10 11.



I. Whether the Jews were prohibited from concluding treaties with heathen nations.-II. Treaties, how made and ratified.-Covenant of Salt.-Allusions in the Scriptures to the making of Treaties or Covenants.-III. Contracts for the Sale and Cession of Alienable Property, how made.

I. A TREATY is a pact or covenant made with a view to the public welfare by the superior power. It is a common mistake that the Israelites were prohibited from forming alliances with Heathens: this would in effect have amounted to a general prohibition of alliance with any nation whatever, because, at that time all the world were Heathens. In the Mosaic law, not a single statute is enacted, that prohibits the conclusion of treaties with heathen nations in general; although for the reasons therein specified, Moses either commands them to carry on eternal war against the Canaanites, Amalekites, Moabites, and Ammonites, or else forbids all friendship with these particular nations. It is however clear, from Deut. xxiii. 4—9., that he did not entertain the same opinion with regard to all foreign nations for in that passage, though the Moabites are pronounced to be an abomination to the Israelites, no such declaration is made respecting the Edomites. Further, it is evident that they felt themselves bound religiously to observe treaties when actually concluded, though one of the contracting parties had been guilty of fraud in the transaction. David and Solomon lived in alliance with the king of Tyre; and the former with the king of Hamath (2 Sam. viii. 9, 10.); and the queen of Sheba cannot be regarded in any other light than as an ally of Solomon's. The only treaties condemned by the prophets are those with the Egyptians and Assyrians, which were extremely prejudicial to the nation, by involving it continually in quarrels with sovereigns more powerful than the Jewish monarchs.

II. Various solemnities were used in the conclusion of treaties; sometimes it was done by a simple junction of the hands. (Prov. xi. 21. Ezek. xvii. 18.) The Hindoos to this day ratify an engagement by one person laying his right hand on the hand of the other.1 Sometimes also the covenant was ratified by erecting a heap of stones, to which a suitable name was given, referring to the subjectmatter of the covenant (Gen. xxxi. 44-54.); that made between Abraham and the king of Gerar was ratified by the oath of both parties, by a present from Abraham to the latter of seven ewe lambs, and by giving a name to the well which had given occasion to the

1 Ward's View of the History, &c. of the Hindoos, vol. ii. p. 328.

Ch. VI.]

On the Treaties, or Covenants, &c.


transaction. (Gen. xxi. 22-32.) It was moreover customary to cut the victim (which was to be offered as a sacrifice upon the occasion) into two parts, and so by placing each half upon two different altars, to cause those who contracted the covenant to pass between both. (Gen. xv. 9, 10. 17. Jer. xxxiv. 18.) This rite was practised both by believers and heathens at their solemn leagues; at first doubtless with a view to the great sacrifice, who was to purge our sins in his own blood: and the offering of these sacrifices, and passing between the parts of the divided victim, was symbolically staking their hopes of purification and salvation on their performance of the conditions on which it was offered.

This remarkable practice may be clearly traced in the Greek and Latin writers. Homer has the following expression:

Ορκια πιστα ταμοντες.
Having cut faithful oaths.

Iliad, lib. ii. ver. 124.

Eustathius explains the passage by saying, they were oaths relating to important matters, and were made by the division of the victim. See also Virgil, Æn. viii. ver. 640.


The editor of the fragments supplementary to Calmet1 is of opinion that what is yet practised of this ceremony may elucidate that pasWe have made a covenant with death, and in Isa. xxviii. 15. sage with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall As if it had pass through, it shall not come unto us, for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves. been said: We have cut off a covenant sacrifice, a purification offering with death, and with the grave we have settled, so that the "If they (the scourge shall not injure us. May not such a custom have been the origin of the following superstition related by Pitts? Algerine corsairs) at any time happen to be in a very great strait or distress, as being chased, or in a storm, they will gather money, light candles in remembrance of some dead marrabot (saint) or other, calling upon him with heavy sighs and groans. If they find no succour from their before-mentioned rites and superstitions, but that the danger rather increases, then they go to sacrificing a sheep (or two or three upon occasion, as they think needful), which is done after. this manner: having cut off the head with a knife, they immediately take out the entrails, and throw them and the head overboard; and then, with all the speed they can (without skinning) they cut the body into two parts by the middle, and throw one part over the right side of the ship, and the other over the left, into the sea, as a kind of propitiation. Thus those blind infidels apply themselves to imaginary intercessors, instead of the living and the true God."2 here referred to, the ship passes between the parts thus thrown on each side of it. This behaviour of the Algerines may be taken as a pretty accurate counterpart to that of making a covenant with death and with imminent danger of destruction, by appeasing the angry gods.

1 No. 129.

2 Travels, p. 18.

In the case

Festivities always accompanied the ceremonies attending oaths. Isaac and Abimelech feasted at making their covenant (Gen. xxvi. 30.), and he made them a feast, and they did eat and drink. (Gen. xxxi. 54.) Jacob offered sacrifice upon the mount, and called his brethren to eat bread. This practice was also usual amongst the heathen nations.1

Afterwards, when the Mosaic law was established, and the people were settled in the land of Canaan, the people feasted, in their peace offerings, on a part of the sacrifice, in token of their reconciliation with God (Deut. xii. 6, 7.): and thus, in the sacrament of the Lord's supper, we renew our covenant with God, and (in the beautifnl language of the communion office of the Anglican church) "we offer and present ourselves, our souls, and bodies, to be a reasonable, holy, and lively sacrifice" unto Him, being at His table feasted with the bread and wine, the representation of the sacrifice of Christ's body and blood; who by himself once offered upon the cross has made a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and atonement for the sin of the whole world.

Sometimes the parties to the covenant were sprinkled with the blood of the victim. Thus Moses, after sprinkling part of the blood on the altar, to show that Jehovah was a party to the covenant, sprinkled part of it on the Israelites, and said unto them, Behold the blood of the covenant which the Lord hath made with you. (Exod. xxiv. 6. 8.) To this transaction Saint Paul alludes in his Epistle to the Hebrews (ix. 20.), and explains its evangelical meaning.

The Scythians are said to have first poured wine into an earthen vessel, and then the contracting parties, cutting their arms with a knife, let some of the blood run into the wine, with which they stained their armour. After which they themselves, together with the other persons present, drank of the mixture, uttering the direst maledictions on the party who should violate the treaty.2

Another mode of ratifying covenants was by the superior contracting party presenting to the other some articles of his own dress or arms. Thus Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was upon him, and gave it to David, and his garments, even to the sword, and to his bow, and to his girdle. (1 Sam. xviii. 4.) The highest honour, which a king of Persia can bestow upon a subject, is to cause himself to be disapparelled, and to give his robe to the favoured individual.3

In Numb. xviii. 19. mention is made of a covenant of salt. The expression appears to be borrowed from the practice of ratifying their federal engagements by salt; which, as it not only imparted a relish to different kinds of viands, but also preserved them from

1 Burder's Oriental Customs, vol. ii. p. 84.-Fifth edition. See examples of the antient mode of ratifying covenants, in Homer. Il. lib. iii. verses 103-107. 245. et seq. Virgil, Æn. lib. viii. 641. xii. 169. et seq. Dionysius Halicarnassensis, lib. v. c. 1. Hooke's Roman History, vol. i. p. 67.

2 Herodotus, lib. iv. c. 70. vol. i. p. 273. Oxon. 1809. Doughtæi Analecta, 1.

p. 69.

3 Harmer's observations, vol. ii. p. 94. Burder's Or. Cust. vol. i. P. 206.

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