« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
companies of military: each of them was about one thousand strong." Six of these cohorts were constantly garrisoned in Judaea; five at Caesarea, and one at Jerusalem, part of which was quartered in the tower of Antonio, so as to command the temple, and part in the praetorium or governor's palace. These procurators were Romans, sometimes of the equestrian order, and sometimes freedmen of the emperor: Felix (Acts xxiii. 24–26. xxiv. 3.22—27.) was a freedman of the emperor Claudius,” with whom he was in high favour. These governors were sent, not by the senate, but by the Caesars themselves, into those provinces which were situated on the confines of the empire, and were placed at the emperor's own disposal. Their duties consisted in collecting and remitting tribute, in the administration of justice, and the repression of tumults: some of them held independent jurisdictions, while others were subordinate to the proconsul or governor of the nearest province. Thus Judaea was annexed to the province of Syria. '#. The Jews endured their subjection to the Romans with great reluctance, on account of the tribute which they were obliged to pay: but in all other respects they enjoyed a large measure of national liberty. It appears from the whole tenor of the New Testament, (for the particular passages are too numerous to be cited”) that they practised their own religious rites, worshipped in the temple and in their synagogues, followed their own customs, and lived very much according to their own laws. Thus they had their high priests, and council or senate; they inflicted lesser punishments; they could apprehend men and bring them before the council; and if a guard of soldiers was necessary, could be assisted by them, on requesting them of the governor. Further, they could bind men and keep them in custody; the council could likewise summon witnesses and take examinations; they could excommunicate persons, and they could inflict scourging in their synagogues (Deut. xxv. 3. Matt. x. 17. Mark xiii. 9.); they enjoyed the privilege of referring litigated questions to referees, whose decisions in reference to them the Roman praetor was bound to see put in execution.” Beyond this, however, they were not allowed to go; for, when they had any capital offenders, they carried them before the procurator, who usually paid a regard to what they stated, and, if they brought evidence of the fact, pronounced sentence according to their laws. He was the proper judge in all capital causes; for, after the council of the Jews had taken under their consideration the case of Jesus Christ, which they pretended was of this kind, they went with it immediately to the governor, who re-examined it and pronounced sentence. That they had not the power of life and death is evident from Pilate's ranting to them the privilege of judging, but not of condemning esus Christ, and also from their acknowledgment to Pilate—It is not lawful for us to put any man to death (John xviii. 31.); and likewise from the power vested in Pilate of releasing a condemned criminal to them at the passover (John xviii. 39, 40.), which he could not have done if he had not had the power of life and death, as well as from his own declaration that he had power to crucify and wer to release Jesus Christ." (John xix. 10.) , . III. Of the various procurators that governed Judaea under the Romans, Pontius PiLATE is the best known, and most frequently mentioned in the sacred writings. He is supposed to have been a native of Italy, and was sent to govern Judaea about the year A. D. 26 or 27. Pilate is characterised by Josephus as an unjust and cruel governor, sanguinary, obstimate, and impetuous; who disturbed the tranquillity of Judaea by persisting in carrying into Jerusalem the effigies of Tiberius Caesar that were upon the Roman ensigns, and by other acts of oppression, which produced tumults among the Jews.” Dreading the extreme o and suspicion of Tiberius he delivered up the Redeemer to be crucified, contrary to the conviction of his better judgment; and in the vain hope of conciliating the Jews whom he had oppressed. After he had held his office for ten years, having caused a number of innocent Samaritans to be put to death, that injured people sent an embassy to Vitellius, proconsul of Syria; by whom he was ordered to Rome, to give an account of his maladministration to the emperor. But Tiberius being dead before he arrived there, his successor Caligula banished him to Gaul, where he is said to have committed suicide, about the year of Christ 41.” IV. On the death of king Herod Agrippa, Judaea being again reduced to a Roman province, the government of it was confided to ANToNIUs FELIX; who had originally been the slave, then the freedman of Nero, and, through the influence of his brother Pallas, 1 The celebrated Roman jurist, Ulpian, states that the governors of the Roman provinces had the right of to: sucord; which implied the authority of punishing malefactors —an authority which was I. and not to be transferred. )Lib. vi. c. 8. de Officio Proconsulis.) And Josephus states (de Bell. Jud. lib. ii. c. 8. s. 1.) that Coponius, who was sent to govern Judaea as a province after the banishment of Archelaus, was invested b o: with the power of life and death. }. Gray's Connexion of Sacred and Profane Literature, vol. i. p. 273. See also Dr. ardner's Credibility, c. ii. § 6.) The case of the Jews stoning Stephen (Acts vii. 56, 57.) has been urged by some learned men as a proof that the former had the power of life and death, but the circumstances of that case do not support this assertion. Stephen, it is true, had been examined before the great council, who had heard witnesses against him, but no where do we read that they had collected votes or proceeded to the giving of sentence, or even to pronounce him guilty: all which ought to have been done, if the proceedings had been regular. Before Stephen could finish his defence, a sudden tumult arose; the pool. who were present rushed with one accord upon him, and casting him out of the city, stoned him before the affair could be taken before the Roman procurator. Pritii Introd. ad Nov. Test. p. 592. 9 Josephus, Ant. Jud. lib. xviii. c.3. § 1, 2. 3 Ibid. lib. xviii. c. 4. Eusebius Hist. Eccl. lib. ii. c. 7, 8.
1 Biscoe on the Acts, ch. ix. § 1. pp. 330–335.
* Suetonius in Claudio, c. xxviii.
* See Dr. Lardner's Credibility, part i. book ii. c. ii. where the various passages are adduced and fully ...
* Cod, lib. i. tit. 9.1. 8. de Judaeis–As the Christians were at first regarded as a sect of the Jews (Acts xxviii. 24.), they likewise enjoyed the same privilege This circumstance will account for Saint Paul's blaming the Corinthian Christians for carrying their causes before the Roman prietor, instead of lanving them to referees chosen from among their brethren. (I Cor. vi. 1–7.)
also a freedman of that emperor, was raised to the dignity of procurator of Judaea. He liberated that country from banditti and impostors (the very worthy deeds alluded to by Tertullus, Acts xxiv. 2.); but he was in other respects a cruel and avaricious governor, incontinent, intemperate, and unjust. So oppressive at length did his administration become, that the Jews accused him before Nero, and it was only through the powerful interposition of Pallas that Felix escaped condign punishment. His wife, Drusilla, (mentioned Acts xxiv. 24.) was the sister of Agrippa junior, and had been married to Azizus king of the Emesenes: Felix, having fallen desperately in love with her, persuaded her to abandon her legitimate husband and live with him. The knowledge of these circumstances materially illustrates Acts xxiv. 25. and shows with what singular propriety St. Paul reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and a judgment to come. On the resignation of Felix, A. D. 60, the government of Judaea was committed to Portius FESTUs, before whom Paul defended himself against the accusations of the Jews (Acts xxv.), and appealed from his tribunal to that of Caesar. Finding his province overrun with robbers and murderers, Festus strenuously exerted himself in suppressing their outrages. He died in Judaea about the year 62.” The situation of the Jews under the procurators was truly deplorable, particularly the two last mentioned. Distracted by tumults, excited on various occasions, their country was overrun with robbers that plundered all the villages whose inhabitants refused to listen to their persuasions to shake off the Roman yoke. Justice was sold to the highest bidder; and even the sacred office of high priest was exposed to sale. But, of all the procurators, no one abused his power more than GEssius Florus, a cruel and sanguinary governor, and so extremely avaricious that he shared with the robbers in their booty, and allowed them to follow their nefarious practices with impunity. Hence considerable numbers of the wretched Jews, with their families, abandoned their native country; while those who remained, being driven to desperation, took up arms against the Romans, and thus commenced that war, which terminated in the destruction of Judaea, and the taking away of their name and nation.”
1 Tacit. Annal. lib. xii. c. 54. Hist. lib. v. c. 9. Sueton. in Claudio, c. 38. Josephus, Ant. Jud. lib. xx. c. 7. § 2. c. 8. § 5. De Bell, Jud. lib. ii., c. 12. S 8.
* Josephus, Ant. Jud. lib. xx. c. 8. } , 10. De Bell. Jud. lib. ii. c. 14. § 1. 3 Josephus, Ant. Jud. lib. xx. c. 8.11. De Bell. Jud. lib. ii. c. 9, 10.
WOL. III. 15
COURTS OF JUDICATURE, LEGAL PROCEEDINGS, AND CRIMINAL LAW OF THE JEWS.
I. Inferior Judges.—II. Seat of Justice.—III. Appeals—Constitution of the Sanhedrim or Great Council.—IV. Form of Legal Proceedings among the Jews.-1. Citation of the parties.—2, 3. Form of pleading in civil and criminal cases.—4. Witnesses.— 5. The Lot, in what cases used judicially—6. Forms of Acquittal.–7. Summary Justice, sometimes clamorously demanded.—V Erecution of Sentences, by whom, and in what manner performed.
I. ON the settlement of the Israelites in the land of Canaan, Moses commanded them to appoint judges and officers in all their gates, throughout their tribes (Deut. xvi. 18.); whose duty it was to exercise judicial authority in the neighbouring villages; but weighty causes and appeals were carried before the supreme judge or ruler of the commonwealth. (Deut. xvii. 8, 9.) According to Josephus, these inferior judges were seven in number, men zealous in the exercise of virtue and righteousness. To each judge (that is, to each college of judges in every city) two officers were assigned out of the tribe of Levi." These judges existed in the time of that historian,” and, although the rabbinical writers are silent concerning them, yet their silence neither does, nor can outweigh the evidence of an eyewitness and magistrate, who himself appointed such judges. The Priests and Levites, who from their being devoted to the study of the law, were consequently best skilled in its various precepts, and old men, who were eminent for their age and virtue, administered justice to the people : in consequence of their age, the name of elders became attached to them. Many instances of this kind occur in the New Testament; they were also called rulers, agxovreg. (Luke xii. 8. where ruler is synonymous with judge.") The law of Moses contained the most express prohibitions of bribery (Exod. xxiii. 8), and partiality; enjoining them to administer justice without respect of persons, and reminding them, that a judge sits in the seat of God, and consequently that no man ought to have any pre-eminence in his sight, neither ought he to be afraid of any man in declaring the law. (Exod. xxiii. 3. 6, 7. Lev. xix. 15. Deut. i. 17. * Josephus, Ant. Jud. lib. iv. c. 14. Schulzii Prolusio de variis Judaeorum
erroribus in ...'. Templi II. § xv. pp. 27–32, prefixed to his edition of
: Josephus, De Bell. Jud. lib. ii. c. 20. § 5. * Ernesti Institutio Interpretis Novi Testamenti, part iii. c. 10. §73. p. 356.
xxi. 18–20.) The prophet Amos (viii. 6.) reproaches the corrupt judges of his time, with taking not only silver, but even so trifling an article of dress as a pair of "...". sandals, as a bribe, to condemn the innocent poor who could not afford to make them a present of equal value. Turkish officers and their wives in Asia, to this day, go richly clothed in costly silks given them by those who have causes depending before them." It is probable, at least in the early ages after the settlement of the Jews in Canaan, that their judges rode on white asses, by way of distinction (Judg. v. 10.), as the Mollahs or men of the law do to this day in Persia,” and the heads of families returning from their pilgrimage to Mecca.” II. In the early ages of the world, the gate of the city was the seat of justice, where conveyances of titles and estates were made, complaints were heard and justice done, and all public business was transacted. Thus Abraham made the acquisition of his sepulchre in the presence of all those who entered in at the gate of the city of Hebron. (Gen. xxiii. 10. 18.) When Hamor and his son Schechem proposed to make an alliance with Jacob and his sons, the spoke of it to the people at the gate of the city. (Gen. xxxiv. 24. In later times Boaz, having declared his intention of marrying Ruth, at the gate of Bethlehem caused her kinsman to resign his pretensions, and give him the proper conveyance to the estate. (Ruth iv. 1—10.) #. the circumstance of the gates of cities being the seat of justice, the judges appear to have been termed the Elders of the Gate (Deut. xxii. 15. xxv. 7.); for, as all the Israelites were husbandmen, who went out in the morning to work, and did not return until night, the city gate was the place of greatest resort. By this antient practice, the judges were compelled, by a dread of public displeasure, to be most strictly impartial, and most carefully to investigate the merits of the causes which were brought before them. The same practice obtained after the captivity. (Zech. vii. 16.) The Ottoman court, it is well known, derived its appellation of the Port, from the distribution of justice and the dispatch of public business at its gates. During the Arabian monarchy in Spain, the same practice obtained; and the magnificent gate of entrance to the Moorish palace of Alhamra at Grenada to this day retains the appellation of the Gate of Justice or of Judgment." To the practice of dispensing justice at the gates of cities, there are numerous allusions in the sacred volume. For instance, in Job v. 4. the children
! Morier's Second Journey, p. 136. 2 Harmer's Observations, vol. ii. p. 317.
* “We met, one day, a procession, consisting of a family returning from the Pilgrimage to Mecca. Drums and pipes announced the joyful event. A whitebearded old man, riding on a white ass, led the way with patriarchal grace; and the men who met him or accompanied him, were continually throwing their arms about his neck, and almost dismounting him with their salutations. The was followed by his three wives, each riding on a high camel; their female acquaintances running on each side, while they occasionally stooped down to salute them. The women continually uttered a remarkably shrill whistle. It was impossible, viewing the old man who led the way, not to remember the expression in Judges v. 10.”Jowett's Christian Researches, p. 163.
* Murphy's Arabian Antiquities of Spain, plates xiv. xv. pp. 8, 9.