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disputes the translation by the Septuagint, when we know that there was a drain and some old Latin versions read Bethel or ditch between this Pool and the Teminstead of Bether. In the second chapter ple, over which a bridge was thrown for of the Song of Solomon, Bether literally access to the latter. Besides, Dr Lightmeans division, or mountains of division, foot has sufficiently proved, that from the whereas in the eighth chapter the same situation of the Sheep Gate, near which phrase is rendered in the Septuagint, in the Pool of Bethesda stood, which was the Vulgate, and by our translators, on the south-east wall of Jerusalem, a mountains of spices. Calmet supposes part of the city lay between it and the Bether to be Upper Beth-horon, called Temple. The interpretation, therefore, Bethera by Josephus, and Bether by the house of mercy, is more in unison Eusebius, situated between Diospolis and with the design for which this pool or Cæsarea, fifty-two miles from Jerusalera. bath was constructed, and the purposes Eusebius speaks also of a place called to which it was applied. Betharim near Diospolis, and others will The Evangelical writer informs us that have Bether to be one of the towns of the Pool of Bethesda had five porches, or Judah mentioned in the Septuagint. The separate divisions for sick persons, and Emperor Adrian took a town named Be- that “in these lay a great multitude of ther, about A.D. 134, when he quelled a impotent folks, of blind, halt, withered, rebellion raised by Barchochebas, a false waiting for the moving of the water; for Messiah of the Jews, which Eusebius says an angel went down at a certain season was about twelve miles distant from the into the pool, and troubled the water ; neighbourhood of Jerusalem. Parkhurst, whosoever then first after the troubling in his annotations on the passage in the of the water stepped in was made whole Song of Solomon where the word occurs, of whatsoever disease he had.” Dr Lightsays that the marginal reading of the foot conjectures that these porches were phrase mountains of Bether, which means the several entrances by which the unmountains of division, craggy, intersected clean went down to the water to be mountains, is perhaps preferable to con- washed, and where they might lay up sidering Bether as a proper name. their clothes; and that perhaps they were
BETHESDA, the house of mercy, or so many different entrances according to pity, or the house of effusion, the name of the diseases with which the sick were a pool or reservoir of water in the city afflicted. He also suggests that the Pool of Jerusalem, close to St Stephen's Gate, might have been a pentagon, the cloisnear the Sheep Market, at which our ters corresponding to its five sides. It Saviour wrought a very distinguished thus appears that in these cloisters nummiracle in the second year of his minis. bers of diseased and debilitated persons try, which is only related by St John lay waiting for the “ moving of the (v.2–15). It is called in the Septuagint water," which took place at a particular xonujßngga mpoßatixn, and in the Vulgate feast, which some have supposed to be piscina probatica, because, as has been the Passover, and others that of Pentecost, supposed, the sheep used for the sacrifice or rather occasionally, and at certain in-. in the Temple, called trgoßecta, were wash- tervals of time. We are told that this was ed in it; and, according to others, because done by the agency of an angel, yet we it served as a kind of reservoir for the need not suppose that an angel visibly blood of the sacrifices. But it is well descended from heaven, but that the miknown that the sheep 'were washed as raculous virtue of the water was ascribed soon as they were bought in the adjoin- to the power of an angel; for, according ing market, from which they were driven to the Jewish mode of speaking, every to this pool; and the supposition that the thing which had a divine effect was held blood of the sacrifices ran into it, which to be done by ministering spirits or was Dr Pococke's opinion, is erroneous, angels. We have no information how
long the Pool had previously retained this them; their previous history abounded singular virtue, whether it was afterwards with them; and although they were ascontinued, or whether it ceased at the tonished, as well they might, at some of time of our Saviour; but the circumstance those which our Saviour wrought, they of the first who stepped in being cured never denied or even doubted them; they clearly proves that the healing quality rather expressed their admiration, and of the water was not natural, and that it often exclaimed that he had done all was miraculously endowed.
things well. They werestrongly persuaded Various opinions have been maintained that he was a Divine Messenger, which the respecting the water of this Pool and the miracles he wrought sufficiently proved, process by which the cures were effected, but they would not allow Him to be the which we lay before the reader in a Messenger foretold. condensed manner. It has been alleged Dr Doddridge thinks that the silence that the miraculous cures recorded by St of Josephus respecting the healing qualiJohn were restricted solely to the season
ties of the Pool of Bethesda is one of the of the particular feast mentioned in the greatest (if not the greatest) difficulties first verse of the chapter, and in this way in the Evangelical history, and that in they account for the silence of Josephus which “of all others the learned answerers and Philo, who do not mention the heal- of Mr Woolston have given him the least ing qualities of the Pool. Those, on the satisfaction.” Grotius conjectures that other hand, who think that the water the angel is said to have descended, not had been always of a healing nature, that he was ever seen to do so, but bemaintain that the silence of these writers cause the Jews believed in the immediate is of little importance, seeing that they ministration of angels; and that, from the omit more important occurrences in our violent motion of the water, and the Saviour's history with which they must effects produced by it, the presence of have had opportunities of being acquaint- an angel was supposed. Dr Hammond ed, such as his miracles, which were both held that the blood of the great number numerous and varied, and which were of sacrifices washed in this Pool commuwell known in Jerusalem ;—others, again, nicated an efficacy to the water, and that regarding the cures wrought at this place the angel who troubled the Pool was no as standing miracles among the Jews, other than a messenger from the high have been surprised that Josephus should priest. By this hypothesis, Pococke was have omitted a fact so honourable to his so misled as to seek for the Pool of Bethnation ;-while others, finally, have main- esda on that side of the city where it tained that the healing quality of the never was situated. Fleming, to avoid water was a peculiar honour conferred on the difficulties of the literal interpretathe personal appearance of the Son of tion, rejects the latter part of the third God on earth. But it is to be observed and the whole of the fourth verse, which that St John does not narrate the fact as refer to the agency of the angel, as a if it was a new thing, unknown or un- spurious addition of some credulous heard of before, or which depended solely monk in the eighth or ninth century, on Christ's appearance; on the contrary, because these passages are omitted in he relates it as if it had been a well-known Beza's MS., and were apparently added fact, and for the benefits of which a con- by a later hand in an old MS. preserved siderable rivalry.existed among those who in the Royal Library at Paris. But as lay in the porches. We have no informa- all the old and authentic Syriac versions, tion as to the opinions which the Jews and the other versions of the Polyglott, themselves entertained on this subject, contain the passages exactly as they are or whether they actually believed that an translated in our Version, it is impossible angel was the instrument; but we must re- to admit this argument; and besides, the collect that miracles were not new among seventh verse, the authenticity of which
was never disputed, expressly ascribes a the east side of the mount on which the miraculous virtue to the water which ex- Temple stood, where there is an empty tended only to the first who was so fortu- tank one hundred and twenty feet long, nate as to step in, and hence it was that forty broad, and about eight feet deep, the man whom Christ cured, who had walled round with stones, but without been thirty-eight years afflicted with his water. This agrees with Maundrel's peculiar disease, and who, our Saviour measurement, who surveyed it in 1696, was aware, had been a long time in that and found at the west end three old arches case, could never succeed in his attempt, built or choked up, which are said to be being defeated by the more active and the remains of the five original porches the more wary.
in which sat the lame, blind, and withered The opinion of Dr Hammond has been of Jerusalem. Sandys was in Jerusalem rejected not only as unphilosophical, but on Good Friday, A. D. 1611, and says as at variance with history, and with the he saw the spring running, but in small actual site of the Pool. Dr Doddridge quantities. The erection of the Pool of maintains that, although it has been as- Bethesda is ascribed to King Hezekiah. serted by many, he does not find any The following observations on it are satisfactory proof that the sheep to be given by the author of " Letters from sacrificed were ever washed there, not to Palestine,” an anonymous work published mention the utter impossibility that the in 1819:—"Towards the eastern extreblood of the sacrifices could run into mity of the town, not far from the Gate it; and he thus attempts to account for of St Stephen, is the Piscina d'Israc. the silence of Josephus as to this Pool This is the Pool of Bethesda, which an and its healing qualities. After observing angel was commissioned periodically to that the Jewish historian was not born trouble. It appears to have been of conwhen the circumstance happened record- siderable size, and finished with much ed by the Evangelical writer, he says, care and architectural skill; but I was “ Though he heard the report of it, he unable to ascertain either the depth or the would, perhaps, as is the modern way, dimensions, for its contiguity to the enoppose speculation and hypothesis to fact, closure which contains the Mosque of and have recourse to some undigested Omar made it rather hazardous to apand unmeaning harangues on the un- proach even the outer borders, and our known force of imagination; or, if he dragoman entreated us to be satisfied with secretly suspected it to be true, his dread a cursory view. Near to this place is the of the marvellous, and fear of disgusting church of St Anna, so named from being his
pagan readers with it, might as well erected on the ground where the house lead him to suppress this as to disguise of the Virgin's mother formerly stood, the passage through the Red Sea, and and where the Virgin herself was born. the divine voice from Mount Sinai, in Between that structure and Pilate's Paso cowardly and ridiculous a manner as lace is the Tower Antonia, which has a it is known he has done. The relation more striking air of antiquity than any in which this fact stood to the history in the city.” of Jesus would make him peculiarly cau- BETH-EZEL, the name of a place tlous in touching upon it, as it would mentioned by the Prophet Micah (i. 11), have been difficult to handle it at once which was situated near Jerusalem, and with decency and safety.” It may be probably the same with Azal, Zech. xiv.5. here observed that the learned Bishop BETH-GAMUL, the house of the Pearce, in his “ Vindication of Christian weaned, or of the camel, a town of Moab Miracles," agrees with Dr Doddridge in belonging to the tribe of Reuben, Jer. the most material points of his hypo- xlviii. 23. thesis.
BETH-HACCEREM, the house of the Tradition now points out this Pool on vineyard, the name of a place between
Jerusalem and Tekoah, eight miles south- lionesses, sometimes called Lebaoth, the east of the former. “ The hill on which name of a town originally assigned to the this place was built,” says Dr Pococke, tribe of Judah, Josh.xv. 32, but afterwards “is very high, and laid out in terraces. given to that of Simeon, Josh. xix. 6. There was a double circular fortification BETHLEHEM, the house of bread, at the top, and at the front of the hill or the house of war, the name of a town towards the north there are the ruins of Judah, illustrious as the place of our of a church and other buildings. On a Saviour's nativity. It is called Bethlehanging ground to the west of these there hem of Judah, to distinguish it from is a cistern, and the bason of a square another town of the same name in the pond, which appears to have had an island allotment of the tribe of Zebulun, Josh. in the midst of it, and probably there was xix. 15; Micah v. 2. It is also called some building on it." See Beth-Achara. Beth-lehem-Ephratah, from Ephrath, or
BETH-HARAN. See BETHARAN. Ephratah, its ancient name, which means BETH-HOGLAH. See BETHAGLA. abundance, bearing fruit, increasing. It
BETH-HORON, the house of wrath, stands on a rising ground about six miles or the house of the hole, or of the cave, distant from Jerusalem on the road to or of liberty, the name of two towns be- Gaza. It never was a town of any size longing to the tribe of Ephraim, built by or importance, nor was it even distinSherah, the daughter of Ephraim, 1 Chron. guished for its population, or the wealth vii. 24. Lower Beth-horon, which was of its inhabitants; but it was the birthoriginally given to the Levites, Josh. xxi. place of some celebrated persons previous 22, was repaired and fortified by Solo- to our Saviour's nativity, Ibzan, Elimemon, 1 Kings ix. 17; 2 Chron. viii. 5. lech, Boaz, and David, having been born Upper Beth-horon is placed by some in it, the two latter of whom were ancesgeographers on the north, and Lower tors, humanly speaking, of the Saviour Beth-horon on the south boundary; but of the world, “God of God,” as the Niit is more probable they were both on the cene Creed emphatically expresses it, south, and little more than twelve miles 'very God of very God, begotten of the distant from Jerusalem. Dr Clarke found Father before all worlds." the modern Arab village of Bethor about Rachel, the favourite wife of Jacob, that distance from the city, which he sup- died near Bethlehem or Ephrath, as it poses to be on the site of the ancient was then called, while the Patriarch was Beth-horon of Scripture. Josephus states journeying from Bethel, and he marked that Cestius, the Roman general, marched the place of her interment by a monuupon Jerusalem by way of Lydda and mental pillar, Gen. xxxv. 19; xlviii. 7. Beth-horon ; and Jerome observes that The town is not again mentioned partiin his time the two places were almost cularly except as the birth-place of Ibzari
, obliterated by wars. Nicanor encamped at one of the Judges of Israel, until the time Beth-horon previous to engaging Judas of Boaz, when Naomi, the widow of EliMaccabæus, 1 Macc. vii. 39.
melech, who had been compelled to leave BETH-JESHIMOTH, the house of it on account of a severe famine, returned desolation, or of position, or of denomi- with her daughter-in-law, also a widow, nation, a city assigned to the tribe of who was a native of the country of Moab. Reuben, Josh. xiii. 20, about ten miles The story of Ruth gleaning in the fields east of the Jordan, near which the Israel. of Boaz at Bethlehem, and the subsequent ites encamped before they entered the incidents until she was married to Boaz, Promised Land, Numb. xxxiii. 49. It and became the mother of Obed, the was first seized by the Moabites, and father of Jesse, and grandfather of King finally destroyed by the Chaldeans, Ezek. David, are finely narrated in the Book of xxv. 9.
Ruth, to which the reader is referred. BETH-LEBAOTH, the house of Samuel performed the solemn ceremony
in this town of anointing David to be rates God's extraordinary favour in hoking of Israel while Saul was alive, that nouring that low estate to which they monarch and his family having been set were reduced with the birth of the Mes. aside by the command of God. It was siah, and in making her the mother of one of the places which Rehoboam forti- Him who was “David's Son, and David's fied after the revolt of the Ten Tribes. Lord.”
Bethlehem was announced as the birth- Bethlehem, thus specially honoured, place of the Messiah by the Prophet Micah became a place of high renown, and is still seven hundred years before that event: visited by great multitudes of pilgrims. “But thou, Bethlehem-Ephratah, though The Emperor Hadrian is said to have thou be little among the thousands of profaned the place by building a temple, Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth and instituting the rites of the Roman unto me that is to be ruler in Israel, whose mythology on or near the spot where goings forth have been from of old, from Christ was born; and from his time, says everlasting," Mic. v. 2. The expression, St Jerome, “to that of Constantine, about little among the thousands of Judah, mean- the space of one hundred and eighty years, ing among the families or cities of Judah, Bethlehem was overshaded by the grove is taken from the first division of the peo- of Thammus, that is, of Adonis, and in ple into thousands, hundreds, and other the cave where once the Messiah appeared subordinate distinctions. Every tribe as an infant the lover of Venus was loudly was divided into so many thousands, over lamented.” The pious Empress Helena, which presided a leader to command them mother of Constantine, removed this in battle. Bethlehem was too limited in structure, and built a splendid church population to be reckoned as one of those over the grotto in which our Saviour is thousands, or to be numbered singly in alleged to have been born, which remains the army against the enemy. This pro- to this day. In this church is the sacred phecy had been always remembered by cradle, pointed out as a white marble the Jews, and we find Herod summoning trough, in a grotto cut out of the rock. the chief priests and scribes together at It has often, it is said, changed hands beour Saviour's birth; and when he inquired tween the Greek Christians and the Latin where Christ should be born, they an- Catholics, and is a source of much jealousy swered, “ In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus between the monks of the two creeds, who it is written by the Prophet, And thou nevertheless coalesce most enthusiastiBethlehem, in the land of Judah, art not cally in its defence when it is threatened the least among the princes of Judah, for by the Mahometans. In the monastery out of thee shall come a Governor that attached to this convent that venerable shall rule my people Israel,” Matt. ii. 4, Father of the Church, St Jerome, spent 5, 6. The contradiction here between a great part of his life; and in the grotto the language of the Prophet and that of now shown as his oratory he is said to the Evangelical historian is merely verbal, have completed that translation of the for Bethlehem, although in one sense Scriptures called the Vulgate, which has among the least of the thousands of Judah, been adopted by the Church of Rome; was yet not to be the least—on account and here he died, A.D. 420, in the ninetyof the Messiah's birth, it was to be ex- first year of his age. celled in dignity by none of the principal There is no place in Palestine more cities—the long-promised, the illustrious venerated than Bethlehem except the Ruler of Israel was to be born there. Both Holy Sepulchre at Jerusalem, and, as the town and family of David, from whom might be expected, traditionary localities our Saviour was lineally descended, were are pointed out, as fanciful as they are in a humble condition at the time of his extravagant, which show that the imagibirth; and hence, doubtless, the Blessed nation of the ancient monks was as fertile Virgin in her song thankfully commemo- here as in other places rendered sacred