William Smith.

A dictionary of the Bible; comprising its antiquities, biography, geography, and natural history online

. (page 288 of 316)
Online LibraryWilliam SmithA dictionary of the Bible; comprising its antiquities, biography, geography, and natural history → online text (page 288 of 316)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

the phi'asc of the Fvangelist wodld apply to all
children just turned one year old, which is true;
but he assumes ti;at it would not apply to any
that were older, say to th<ise aged a year aud
eleven months. Herod was a ^*ue1 man, angry,


aiid iifraid ; iuid it is vain to assume tliat he adjusted
the limit of his cruelties with the nicest accuracy.
As a basis of calculation the visit of the Magi,
though very important to us in other respects,
must be dismissed (but see Greswell, Dissertations,
&c.. Diss. 18th; Wieseler, Ch'on. Syn. p, 57,
sqq., with all the references there).

The census taken by Augustus Caesar, which
led to the journey of Mary from Nazareth just
before the birth of the Lord, has also been looked
on as an important note of time, in reference to
the chronology of the life of Jesus. Several
difficulties have to be disposed of in considering
it. (i.) It is argued that there is no recoid in
other histoiies of a census of the whole Koman
empire in the time of Augustus, (ii.) Such a
census, if held during the reign of Herod the
Great, would not have included Judaea, for it
was not yet a Roman province, (iii.) Tlie Koman
mode of taking such a census was with reference to
actual residence, so that it would not have been
requisite for Joseph to go to Bethlehem, (iv.) The
state of Mary at the time would lender such a
journey less probable, (v.) St. Luke himself seems
to say that this census was not actually taken
until ten years later (ii. 2). To these objections,
of which it need not be said Strauss has made the
worst, answers may be given in detail, though
scarcely in this place with the proper completeness,
(i.) "As we know of the legis actiones and their
abrogation, which were quite as important in re-
spect to the eai'ly period of Roman history, as the
census of the empire was in respect to a later
period, not fi'om the historical works of Livy,
Dionysius, or Folybius, but from a legal work, the
Institutes of Gains ; so we should think it strange
if the works of PauUus and Ulpian De Censibus
had come down to us perfect, and no mention were'
made in them of the census of Augustus ; while it
would not sui"prise us that in the ordinary histories
of the time it should be passed over in silence"
(Huschke in Wieseler, p. 78_). " If Suetonius in
his life [of Augustus] does not mention this census,
neither does Spartian in his life of Hadrian devote
a single syllable to the edict um perpetuum, which,
in later times, has chiefly adorned the name of that
emperor" (ibid.). Thus it seems that the argu-
mentum de taciturnitate is very far from conclu-
sive. The edict- possibly affected only the provinces,
and in them was not carried out at once ; and in
that case it would attract less attention at any one
particular moment.

In the time of Augustus all the procurators of
the empire were brought under his sole control and
supervision for the first time A.U.C. 731 (Dion Cass.
liii. 32). This movement towards centralisation
lenders it not improbable that a general census of
the empire should be ordered, although it may not
have been carried into effect suddenly, nor intended
to be so. But proceedings in the way of an esti-
mate 'of the empire, if not an actual census, are
distinctly recorded to have taken place in the time
of Augustus. " Huic addendae sunt mensurae
limitum et terminorum ex libris Augusti et Neronis
Caesarum : sed et Baibi mensoris, qui temporibus
Augusti omnium provinciarum et civitatum formas
et mensuras compertas in commentarios retulit et
legem agrariam per universitatem provinciarum
distinxit et declaravit" (Frontinus, in the Rei
Aifrar. Auct. of Goes, p. 109, -juoted by Wieseler).
This is coniii-med from other sources (Wieseler,
I'p. <S1, 82). Augustus directed, as we learu, a



breviarium totius imperii to be made, in which,
according to Tacitus, ' ' Opes publicae continebantur:
quantum civium sociorumque in armis, quot
classes, regna, provinciae, tributa aut vectigalia et
necessitates ac largitiones" (Tacit. Annal. i. 11 ;
Suetou. Aiig. 28, 101 ; Dion Cass, liii. 30 ; Ivi. 33,
given in Wieseler ; see also iiitschl, in Rhein. Mus.
fUr Philol. N. Series, i. 481). All this makes a
census by order of Augustus in the highest degree
probable, apart fi om St. Luke's testimony. The time
of our Lord's birth was most propitious. Except
some troubles in Dacia the Roman world was at
peace, and Augustus was in the full enjoyment of
his power. But there are persons who, though they
would a£ once believe this fact on the testimony of
some inferior historian, added to these confirmatory
facts, reject it just because an Evangelist has said
it. (ii. and iii.) Next comes the objection, that,
as Judaea was not yet a Roman province, such
a census would not have included that country,
and that it was not taken from the residence of each
person, but from the place of his origin. It is very
probable that the mode of taking the census would
afford a clue to the origin of it. Augustus was
willing to include in his census all the tributary
kingdoms, for the regna are mentioned in tlie pas-
sage in Tacitus ; but this could scarcely be enfoixed.
Perhaps Herod, desiring to gratify the Emperor,
and to emulate him in his love tor this kind of
information, was ready to undertake the census for
Judaea, but in order that it might appear to be his
rather than the emperor's, he took it in the Jewish
manner rather than in the Koman, in the place
whence the family sprang, rather than in that of
actual residence. There might be some hai'dship
in this,' and we might wonder that a woman about
to become a mother should be compelled to leave
her home for such a pui-pose, if we weie sure that
it was not voluntary. A Jew of the house and
lineage of David would not willingly forego that
position, and if it wei-e necessary to assert it by
going to the city of David, he would probably
make some sacrifice to do so. Thus the objection
(iv.), on the ground of the state of Mary's health,
is entitled to little consideration. It is said indeed
that "_all went to be taxed, every one into his own
city" (Luke ii. 3); but not that the decree pre-
scribed that they should. Nor could there well be
any means of enforcing such a regulation. But the
principle being adopted, that Jews were to be taxed
in the places to which their families belonged,
St. Luke tells u* by these words that as a matter
of fact it was generally followed, (v.) The objec-
tion that, according to St. Luke's own admission,
the census was not taken now, but, when Quirinus
was governor of Syria, remains to be disposed of.
St. Luke makes two statements, that at the time
of our I^ord's birth (** in those days") there was a
decree for a census, and that this taxing first came
about, or took effect (TrpcoT?; ^7ej'eTo), when Cy-
i;enius, or Quirinus, was governor of Syria (Luke ii.
1, 2), And as the two statements are quite dis-
tinct, and the very form of expression calls special
attention to some remarkable circumstance about
this census, no historical inaccuracy is proved,
unless the statements are shown to .be contra-
dictory, or one or other of them to be untrue.
That Strauss makes such a charge without esta-
blishing either of these grounds, is worthy of a
writer so dishonest (Lehen Jcsn, i. iv. 32). Now,
without going into all the theories that have been
proposed to explain this second verse, there i?. no



doubt that the words of St. Luke can be explained in
a natural manner, without violence to the sense or
contradiction. Herod midertalies the census accord-
ing to Jewish forms ; but his death the same year
puts an end to it, and no more is heard of it : but
for its influence as to the place of our Lord's birth
it would not have been recorded at all. But the
Evangelist knows that, as soon as a census (ct-n-o-
ypa<fii) is mentioned, persons conversant with
Jewish history will think at once of the census
taken after the banishment of Archelaus, or about
ten years later, which was avowedly a Roman
census, and which caused at first some resistance in
consequence (Joseph. Ant. xviii. 1 , § 1). The second
verse therefore means — " No census was actually
completed then, and I know that the first Roman
census was that which followed the banishment of[
Archelaus ; but the decree went out much earlier,
in the time of Herod." That this is the only pos-
sible explanation of so vexed a passage cannot of
course be affirmed.'' But it will bear this inter-
pretation, and upon the whole evidence there is no
ground whatever for denying either assertion of the
Evangelist, or for considering them irreconcileable.
Many wiiters have confounded an obscurity with a
proved inaccuracy. The value of this census, as a
fact in the chronology of the life of Christ, depends
on the connexion which is sought to be established
between it and the insurrection which broke out
under Matthias and Judas, the son of Sariphaeus, in
the last illness of Herod (Joseph. Ant. xv. 6, § 1).
If the insurrection arose out of the census, a point
of connexion between the sacred history and that of
Josephus is made out. Such a connexion, however,
has not been clearly made out (see Wieseler, 01s-
hausen, and others, for the grounds on which it is
supposed to rest).

The age of Jesus at His baptism (Luke iii. 23)
affords an element of calculation. " And Jesus
Himself began to be about (wffel) thii-ty years of
age." Born in the beginning of A.u.c. 750 (or
the end of 749), Jesus would be thirty in the be-
ginning of A.U.C. 780 (A.D. 27). Greswell is pro-
bably right in placing the baptism of our Lord in
the beginning of this year, and the first Passover
during His ministry would be that of the same
year; Wieseler places the baptism later, in the
spring or summer of the same year. (On the sense
of apx^fJievos, sep the commentators.) To this first
Passover after the baptism attaches a note of time
which will confinn the calculations already made.
" Then said the Jews, Forty and si* years was this
Temple in building {^Kotofi'fjdT})^ and wilt Thou
rear it up in three days ?" There can be no doubt
that this refeis to the rebuilding of the Temple by
Herod : it cannot mean the second Temple, built
after the captivity, for this was finished in twenty
years (b.c. 535 to B.C. 515). Herod, in the
eighteenth year of his reign (Joseph. Ant. xv. 11,
§ 1), began to reconsti-uct the .Temple on a larger
and more splendid scale (a.u.C, 734). The work
was not finished till long after his death, till
A.u.C. 818. It is inferred from Josephus (Ant.
XV. 11, § 5 & 6) that it was begun in the mdnth

*= See a si^mmary of the older tbeories in Kuincil
(in Luc. ii. 2) ; also in Meyer (in Luc. ii. 2), who
gives an account of the view, espoused by many, that
Quirinus was now a special commissioner for this
tensuH in Syria (^yeju. : r^s Supi'as), which the Greek
will not bear. But if the theory of the younger Zumpt
(see above, Cvukniur) be correct, then Quirinus was
twice povernor of Syria, and the Evangelist would


Cisleu, A.u.C. 734. And if the Passover at which
this remark was made was that of A.U.C. 780,
then forty-five years and some months have elapsed,
which, according to the Jewish mode of reckoning
(p. 1072), would be spoken of as "forty and six

Thus the death of Herod enables us to fix a
boundary on one side to the calculations of our
Lord's birth. The building of the Temple, for
folty-six years, confirms this, and also gives a
boundary on the other. From the stai- of the Magi
nothing conclusive can be gathered, nor from the
census of Augustus. One datum remains : the
commencement of the preaching of John the Baptist
is connected with the fifteenth year of the reign of
Tiberius Caesar (Luke iii. 1). The rule of Tiberius
may be calculated either from the beginning of his
sole reign, after the death of Augustus, A.U.C. 767,
or from his joint government with Augustus, i. e.
from the beginning of A.U.C. 765. In the latter
case the fifteenth year would correspond with
A.u.C. 779, which goes to conHnn the rest of the
calculations relied on in this ai'ticle.

An endeavour has been made to deduce the time
of the year of the birth of Jesus from the fact that
Zacharias was "a priest of the course of Abia"
(Luke i. 5). The twenty-four courses of priests
sei-ved in the Temple according to a regular weekly
cycle, tfie oi'der of which is known. The date of
the conception of John would be about fifteen
months befoi'e the birth of our Lord, and if the
date of the latter be A.u.C. 750, then the former
would fall in a.u.C. 748. Can it be ascertained in
what pai-t of the year 748 the course of Abia would
be on duty in the Temple? The Talmud preserves
a tradition that the Temple was destroyed by
Titus, A.I). 70, on the niuth day of the month Ab.
Josephus mentions the date as the 10th of Ab
{Bel.Jitd. vi. 4, § 5 & 8). Without attempting to
follow the steps by which these are reconciled, it
seems that the "course" of Jehoiarib had just
entered upon its weekly duty at the time the
Temple was destroyed. Wieseler, assuming ' that
the day in question would be the same as the
5th of August, A.u.C. 823, reckons back the ,
weekly courses to A.u.C. 748, the course of Je-
hoiarib being the first of all (1 Chr, xxiv. 7).
'* It follows," he says, *' that ^the ministration
of the course of Abia, 74 years -10 months and
2 days, or (reckoning 19 intercalary years) 27,335
days, earlier ( = 162 hieratic circles and 119 days
earlier), fell between the 3rd and 9th of October,
A.u.C. 748. Reckoning from the 10th of October,
on which Zacharias might reach his house, and
allowing nine months for the pregnancy of Eliza-
beth, to which six months are to be added (Luke
i. 26), we have in the whole one yeai" and three
months, which gives the lOth of Januaiy as the
date of Christ's birth." Greswell, however, fi'om
the same starting-point, arrives at the date Apiil
5th ; and when two writers so laborious can thus
differ in their conclusions, we must rather suspect
the soundness of their method than their accuracy
in the use of it.

here refer to his former rule. The difficulty is that
Josephus {Ant. xviii. 1, § 1) mentions that Quirinus
was sent, after the banishment of Archelaus, to take
a census. Either Zumpt would set this authority
aside, or would hold that Quirinus, twice governor,
twice made a census ; which is scarcely an easier
bypothesia than some others.


Similar differences will be found iimongst eminent
wiitei's in every pai"t of the chronology of the Gos-
pels. For example, the bii"th of oui" Lord is placed
in li.C, X by Pearson and Hug ; B.C. 2 by Scaliger;
B.C. 3 by Bai-onius, Calvisius, Siiskind, and Paulus ;
B.C. 4 by Lamy, Bengel, Anger, Wieseler, and
Grcswell; B.C. 5 by Usher and Petavius; B.C. 7
by Ideler and Sanclemente. And whilst the cal-
culations given above seem sufficient to detennine
us, with Lamy, Usher, Petavius, Bengel, Wieseler,
and Greswell, to the close of B.C. 5, or early part
of B.C. 4, let it never be forgotten that theie is a
distinction between these reseai'ches, which the
Holy Spirit has left obscure and doubtful, and " the
weightier matters" of the Gospel, the things which
directly peitaiu to man^s salvation. The silence of
the inspired writers, and sometimes the obscurity
of their allusions to matters of time and place,
have given rise to disputation. But their words
admit of no doubt whea they tell us that Christ
Jesus came into the world to save sinners, and that
wicked bauds crucified and slew Him, and that we
and all men must own Him as the Lord and

SOUUCES. — The bibliography of the subject of the
Life of Jesus has been most fully set out in Hase,
Leben Jesu, Leipsic, 1854, 4th edition. It would
be vain to attempt to rival that enormous catalogue.
The piiucipal works employed in the present article
are the FouR Gospels, and the best-known com-
mentaries on them, including those of Bengel, Wet-
stejji, Lightfoot, De Wette, Liicke, Olshausen, Stier,
Alford, Williams, and others ; Neander, Leben Jesu
(Hamburg, 1837), as against Strauss, Leben Jesu
(Tubingen, 1837), also consulted ; Stackhouse's
History of the Bible ; Ewald, Geschichte des Volkes
Israel, vcl. V ., Christus {GottingeUy 1857); Baum-
gaiteu, Geschichte Jesu (Bvnnswick, 1859) ; Krum-
raacher, Der Leidende Christus {Bielefeld, 1854).
Upon the hai'mouy of the Gospels, see the list of
works given under Gospels : the principal works
used for the present article have been, Wieseler,
Chronologische Synopse, &c., Hamburg, 1843 ;
Greswell's Harmony, Prolegomena, and Disserta-
tions, Oxford, V. y. ; two papers by Dr. Robinson
in the BiUiotheca Sacra foj- 1845 ; and Clausen,
Tabulae Synopticae, Havniae, 1829. Special works,
such as Dean Trench on the Parables and on the
Miracles, have also been consulted ; and detached
monographs, sei-mons, and essays in periodicals.
For the text of the Gospels, the 7th edition of
Ticheudorf's Gr. Text has been employed. [W. T.]

JE'THEE ("ini). 1. ('lofldp: Jethro.) Jethro,
the father-in-law of Moses, is so called in Ex. iv. 18
and the margm of A. V., though in the Heb.-Sam.
text and Sam. version the reading is 1^71% as in
the Syriac and Targ. Jon., one of Kennicott's MSS.,
and a MS. of Targ. Onk., No. 16 in De Rossi's col-

2. ('Ie0ep: Jether.) The firstborn of Gideon's
seventy sons, who were all, with the exception of
Jotham, the youngest, slain at Ophrah by Abime-
lech. At the time of his father's victorious pursuit
of the Midianites and capture of their kings he was
still a lad on his first battle-field, and feared to
draw his sword at Gideon's bidding, and avenge, as
the representative of the family, the slaughter of
his kinsmen at Tabor (Judg. viii. 20).

3. {'U94p in 1 K. ii. 5, 32; '\o06p in 1 Chr, ii.
17; the Alex. MS. has ^Udep in both passages:
•lether.) The father of Amasa, captain-general of



Absalom's army. Jether is merely another form
of Ithra (2 Sam. xvii. 25), the latter being pro-
bably a corruption. He is desciibed in 1 Chr. ii.
17 as an Ishmaelite, which again is more likely to
be correct than the "Israelite" of the Heb. in
2 Sam. xvii., or the " Jezreelite" of the LXX. and
Vulg. in the same passage. *' Ishmaelite" is said
by the author of the Qaacst. Uehr. in lib. Beg. to
have been the reading of the Hebrew, but there is
DO trace of it in the MSS. One MS. of Chronicles
reads " Israelite," as does the Targum, which adds
that he was called Jether the Ishmaelite, " because
he girt his loins with the sword, to help David
with the Arabs, when Abner sought to drive away
David and all the race of Jesse, who were not puie
to enter the congregation of Jehovah on account
of Kuth the Moabitess." According to Jarchi,
Jether was an Israelite, dwelling in the land of
Ishmael, and thence acquired his surname, like the
house of Obededom the Gittite. Josephus calls
him ^U6df}(n]s {Ant. vii. 10, § 1). He manied
Abigail, David's sister, probably during the sojourn
of the family of Jesse in the land of Moab, under
the protection of its king.

4. The son of Jada, a descendant of Hezron, of
the tribe of Judah (1 Chr. ii. 32). He died with-
out children, and being the eldest son the succession
fell to his bi'other's family.

5. The son of Ezra, whose name occurs in a
dislocated passage in the genealogy of Judah (1 Chr.
iv. 17). In the LXX. the name is repeated: "and
Jether begat Miriam," &c. By the author of the
Quaest. Hebr. in Par. he is said to have been
Aaron, Ezra being another name for Amram.

6. Cue-fjp; Alex. 'I60€p.) The chief of a family
of warriors of the line of Asher, and father of
Jephunneh (1 Chr. vii. 38). He is probably the
same as Ithran in the preceding verse. One of
Kennicott's MSS. and the Alex, had Jether in both
cases. [W. A. W.]

JE'THETH (nri) : 'Ud4p : J^theth), one of
the phylarchs (A. V. " dukes ") who came of Esau
(Gen. xxxvi. 40 ; 1 Chr. i. 51), enumerated sepa-
rately from the genealogy of Esau's children in
the earlier part of the chapter, " according to their
families, alter their places, by their names," and
" according to their habitations in the land of
their possession" (vers. 40-3). This i-ecord of the
Edomite phylarchs may point specially to the places
and habitations, or towns, named atter, or occupied
by, them ; and even otherwise, we may look for
some trace of their names, after the custom of the
wandeiing tribes to leave such footprints in the
changeless desert. Identifications of several in the
list have been proposed : Jetheth, as far as the writer
knows, has not been yet recovered. He may how-
ever be probably found if we adopt the likely sug-
gestion of Simonis, nri1 = n'in), '* a nail," " a
tent-pin," &c. (and mettiphorically " a prince," &c.,

as being stable, firm) - Arab. Jo*' jds*' with
the same signification. El-Wetideh, BtXi' ^j^ (u. of

unity of the former) is a place in Nejd, said to be
in the Dahnii (see Ishbak) ; there is also a place
called El-Wetid ; and El-Wetiddt (perhaps pi. of
the first-named), which is the name of mountains
belonging' to Benee 'Abd-AUah Ibn Ghatfan {Ma-
rdsid, s. vc). [E. S. P.]


JETH'LAH 'n'^n\ i.e. JitfiJah: tiXoBi;
Alex. *leB\d: Juthelo.), one of* the cities of the
tribe of Dau (Josh, xix, 42j, named with Ajalon and
Thimnathah, In the Owjnvx^Ux/a it is mentioned,
without any description or indication of jxjsition.
as 'l€0\(£v. It has not since been met with, even
by the indefatigable Tobler in his late WorUI/iriwj.
in that district. [G.]

JE'THEO (hn;, i.e. Jithro: 'XoUp), called
also Jether and Hobab ; the son of Myazva., was
priest or prince of Uidian, Ixith offices probably
being combined in onf; person, Moses spent the
forty years of his exile from Egypt frith him,
and married his daughter Zipporah. By the advice
of Jethro, Moses app^^int^id deputies to judge the
congregation and share the burden of govenirnf;nt
with himself (Ex. xviii.). On account of his local
knowledge he was entreated to remain with the
Israelites throughout their journey to Canaan ; his
room however was supplied by the ark of the cove-
nant, which supematuially indicated the places for
encamping (Num. x, 31, 33^. The idea conveyed
by the name of Jethro or J ether is probably that
of excellence ; and as Hobab may mean hd.oKed, it
is quite jxjssible that both appellations were given
to the same person for similar reasons. That the
custom of having more than one name was common
among the Jews we see in the case of Benjamin,
Benoni; *Solomon, Jf?^ii]iah, &c., &c.

It is said in Ex. ii, 18 that the priert of 3Iidian
whose daughter Mo.-e^ married was Keael; after-
wards, at ch. iii. 1, he is called Jethro, as also in
ch. xviii,; but in Nurn, x. 29 ** Hobab the son of
Raguel the Midianite*' is called Moses' &ther-in-
law -. assuming the identity of Hobab and Jethro,
we must suppose that '•' their &ther Reuel," in Ex.
ii. 18, was really their grandfather, and that the
person who " said, How is it that ye are come so
soon to-day?" was the priest of ver, 10 : whereas,
proceeding on the hypothesis that Jethro and Hobab
are not the same individual, it seems difficult to
determine the relationship of Reuel, Jethro, Hobab,
and Moses. The hospitality, freeheaited ai^ nn-
sought, which Jethro at once extended to tht
unknown homeless wanderer, on the relation of his
daughters that he had watered their flock, Is a
picture of Eastern manners no less true than lovely.
We may perhaps suppose that Jethro, befoie hLs
acquaint^ice viith Moses, was not a won-hjpper of
the true * Jod- Traces of this appe^* in the delay
which iloses had suffei ed to take place with ie-jj^ct
to the ciraimcision of his son 'Ex. iv, 24-20,:
indeed it is even po=.?ible that Zipporah had after-
wards been sf bjected to a kind of divorce (Ex.
xviii. 2, rr^Pn?^', on account of her attachment
to an alien cTeed, but th;<t growing convictions
were at work in the mind of Jethro, from the ar-
cnmstance of laael's contini^ed prosj^ritv, till at
la-t, a^mg upon these, he brought back his daugh-
ter, and declared that his impr&isions were con-
firmei, for *' W/u? he knew that tl»e Lord was
greater tJjan all gods, for in the thing wherein thev
dealt proudly, he was above them :" consequentlv
w^e are told that ** Jethro, Mr-^i-' {ath'win-Uw.
took a bmTjt-<'l3ering and sacrifices for God: and
Aaron came and fill the elders of Israel to eat biead

Online LibraryWilliam SmithA dictionary of the Bible; comprising its antiquities, biography, geography, and natural history → online text (page 288 of 316)