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Again; though our Lord himself, and his Twelve Apostles, might stop with Zaccheus, there is no reason to suppose that the rest of his followers would do the same; and especially those who had homes of their
pius accedit: tempus est cœnæ Prandia cœnis, usque in lucem perductis, ingesta sunt-Seneca, Epistolæ, 83. §. 12: 122. §. 7: Naturalium Quæst. iv. 13. §. 5. So it was in the time of Horace and Persius. Horace, Sermonum ii. vii. 32. Jusserit ad se | Mæcenas serum sub lumina prima venire | Convivam. Epistolarum i. v. 3. Supremo te sole domi, Torquate, manebo. Cf. Sermonum i. iii. 17. Tecum etenim longos memini consumere soles, | Et tecum primas epulis decerpere noctes. Persius, v. 41. Though the more usual supper or dinner hour at Rome, and where the Roman custom had been adopted, was not later than the ninth or tenth, that is, than three or four in the afternoon.
Procopius, De Bello Persico, i. 14. 71. l. 3–8, giving an account of a battle between the Romans, under Belisarius, in the reign of Justinian, A. D. 530 or 531, (see i.17.81. 14,15,) and the Persians, under Mirrhanes, the general of Cabades, king of Persia, tells us the latter purposely delayed their attack until past midday: τοῦδε εἵνεκα ἐς τοῦτον τῆς ἡμέρας τὸν καιρὸν τὴν ξυμβολὴν ἀποθέμενοι, ὅτι δὴ αὐτοὶ μὲν σιτίοις ἐς δείλην ὀψίαν χρῆσθαι μόνον εἰώθασι, ̔Ρωμαῖοι δὲ πρὸ τῆς μεσημε βρίας, ὥστε οὔποτε ᾤοντο αὐτοὺς ὁμοίως ἀνθέξειν, ἢν πεινῶσιν ἐπίθων
Cf. Liber ii. 18. p. 231. 1. 4. Ες δείλην ὀψίαν cannot denote an earlier time than sunset; which it hence appears was the
common hour of supper throughout the East. The usage of the Jews, in respect to supping, would be no exception to this general rule. Such an usage at least was agreeable to that of the Greeks; who seem to have observed the same custom. Lysias, Orato i. §. 22 : Σώστρατος ἦν μοι ἐπιτήδειος καὶ φίλος· τούτῳ ἡλίου δεδυκότος ἰόντι ἐξ ἀγροῦ ἀπήντησα ̇ εἰδὼς δὲ ἐγὼ . . . ἐκέλευσα συνδειπνεῖν· καὶ ἐλθόντες οἴκαδε ὡς ἐμὲ ἀναβάντες εἰς τὸ ὑπερῷον ἐδειπνοῦ Rev. Xenophon Hell. vii. 2. 22: v μὲν οὖν τῆς ὥρας μικρὸν πρὸ δυντὸς ἡλίου· κατελάμβανον δὲ τοὺς ἐν τῷ τείχει πολεμίους τοὺς μὲν λουομένους, τοὺς δ ̓ ὀψοποιουμένους, τοὺς δὲ φύροντας, τοὺς δὲ στιβάδας ποιOvμévovs. Aulus Gellius, xvii. ουμένους. 8: Philosophus Taurus accipiebat nos Athenis cœna plerumque ad id diei, ubi jam vesperaverat: id enim est tempus isthic cœnandi frequens. Cf. Suidas, Δεκάπους σκιά. Quæ quia principio posuit jejunia noctis, Tempus habent mystæ sidera visa cibi. Ovid, Fasti, iv. 535. In the Opera Inedita of Fronto, vol. i. De Feriis Alsiensibus, vi. 197, we have this allusion in a letter of Marcus Aurelius to him: Dictatis his, legi Litteras Alsienses meo tempore, mi Magister, cum alii cenarent, ego cubarem tenui cibo contentus hora noctis secunda: whence it appears, that while Marcus was in bed, others were supping, at the second hour of the night.
own to go to, at no great distance from thence. this reason, had the family of Lazarus accompanied him from Galilee to Jericho, and even been with him before he became the guest of Zaccheus; yet it would be morally certain that they would continue their route to Bethany, or that by some means or other they would arrive there before our Lord himself. Hence it might justly be said, as it is by St. John, that our Lord found Lazarus there when he came. Nor would it be extraordinary that a supper should be ready for him, apparently as soon as he came; for they might be expecting his arrival, and already apprised of the time when it would take place.
It would seem then that the day when Jesus crossed the Jordan, and passed through Jericho, and subsequently stopped with Zaccheus, was Friday, the seventh of the Jewish Nisan, and the twenty-ninth of the Julian March; that the day when he arrived at Bethany was Saturday the thirtieth of the Julian March, and strictly speaking the evening of the ninth of the Jewish Nisan. From this point of time then must we begin to deduce the train of proceedings subsequently, until the morning of the resurrection; and it is a strong argument of the truth of these conclusions, that the duration of what was literally the period of our Lord's suffering becomes, upon this principle, agreeably to its name of Passion-week, neither more nor less than one week. For he thus arrived at Bethany on the first day of one week, and he rose again on the first day of the next: and as the former of these extremes was strictly the beginning, so was the latter the close of the period of his humiliation, or of what St. John calls Kaт' ¿ox his hour; and the close of the period of his humiliation was also the beginning of his glorification.
This question being thus disposed of, we may proceed to consider the course of events from the date of the arrival at Bethany to the time of the procession to Jerusalem.
The first of these events is the supper and the unction which followed so soon upon the arrival; but this has been reserved for discussion elsewhere. The next is the resort of the Jews to Bethany, to see Jesus and Lazarus, who was also there; a resort, which could not be prior to his arrival, and was doubtless produced by the news of the arrival itself. Yet it could not have begun on the day of that arrival; first, because the arrival, as we have proved, was either on the sabbath, or one hour after its close. If it was upon the sabbath, then Bethany, which was fifteen stades or one Roman mile and seven eighths of another distant from Jerusalem a, was three times the distance allowed to be travelled on the sabbath; viz. two thousand cubits, five or six stades. This distance St. Luke tells us was about the distance of Mount Olivet from the city—that is, according to Josephus, not more than six, nor less than five stades. Oi ἐκ περιτομῆς .. ψυχρὰς παραδόσεις φέροντες, ὥσπερ καὶ περὶ τοῦ σαββάτου· φάσκοντες τόπον ἑκάστῳ εἶναι δισχιλίους πηχεῖς—Οὐκ ἐξῆν βαδίζειν ἐν σάββασιν ὑπὲρ τὸ μέτρον τῶν ἓξ σταδίων τῶν ὡρισμένων—Si quando eos juxta litteram cœperimus arctare: ut non jaceant, non ambulent, non stent, sed tantum sedeant (sc. sabbato)... solent respondere et dicere, Barachibas, et Simeon et Helles, magistri nostri, tradiderunt nobis ut bis mille pedes ambulemus in sabbatho d.
a John xi. 18.
2 John xii. 9-11. Origen, iv. 140. B. in Joannem, Tom. vi. 24. Hieronymus, ii. Pars ia. 422. De Situ et Nominibus. b Acts i. 12. c Bell. Jud. v. ii. 3. Ant. xx. viii. 6. Operum i. 176. Epiphanius, Operum Operum iv. Pars ia. 207. ad medium. Vide Josh. iii. 4. Numb. xxxv. 5.
Origen, De Principiis, iv. 17. i 702. C. Manichæi lxxxii. Hieronymus, Vide also, Mishna, ii. 240. 4. iii. 248. 3.
But if it took place after the sabbath, neither could the news of the arrival have been carried that night to the city, nor if it had would there have been time for any resort to Bethany to begin the same evening. At the vernal equinox, it would be dark soon after the close of the first hour of the night. Besides which, what stranger would have thought of intruding upon Jesus, or Lazarus, for the gratification of his own curiosity, before the following morning?
It may be taken for granted, then, that the time of the resort belongs, at the earliest, to the ensuing day; the morning of the ninth of Nisan, Sunday in Passionweek, and the thirty-first of the Julian March: a conclusion, which the interposed account of the supper, if that be regular, demonstrates beyond a question. If the resort was after that supper, it must have been on the ninth of Nisan.
All this day, Jesus continued in Bethany; and if we consider the proximity of that village to Jerusalem, the preexisting impatience of the people to see our Lorde, and the prodigious numbers, which in addition to its own population, were always present in Jerusalem at the time of the Passover, we shall not doubt that this passing to and fro would quickly begin, and when begun would go on with such bustle and celebrity as to attract the notice of the Sanhedrim, whose eyes all along had been fixed on Jesus; and as being produced in part by the desire of seeing Lazarus, the living witness to his own resurrection, would speedily induce them to deliberate on the best mode of removing him also. The probable absence of Lazarus from Jerusalem until now, which fact we have endeavoured to establish elsewhere, is a sufficient reason why this resolution should not have been conceived before; and his return at this time in
e John xi. 55, 56.
company with Jesus, followed by the curiosity which his presence excited, as naturally accounts for it now. The sensible proof of so stupendous a miracle, furnished by his personal reappearance on the spot, made as many converts as the preaching of our Lord himself.
It will follow from this conclusion that the day of the actual procession to the temple, which John xii. 12 denominates Tv πaúρiov, the day after this resort, must have been the second day of the week, the Jewish tenth of Nisan, and the Julian first of April. If so, this procession is erroneously assigned to the Sunday in Passion week, thence commonly called Palm Sunday; and does in reality belong to the Monday. The contrary opinion however general, rests upon no better authority than that of prescription; and if there seems reason to do so, we may freely call it into question: for however much we may be inclined to respect the concurrence of opinion, and the length of time for which such and such notions have been in vogue, we are bound to subscribe to none, even the most ancient and most popular, merely because they are so. These opinions were fixed originally in times when those, who determined them, had not the inclination, and perhaps not the ability, to be particularly careful in ascertaining their truth: and since then they have been received and transmitted with an implicit deference to antiquity and to authority: as if what had so long been currently believed could not possibly be mistaken.
Upon the question at issue, while the arrangement and succession of events in St. John, dated from their proper apyn, the time of the arrival at Bethany, necessarily lead us up to this one conclusion; the testimony of the other Evangelists, deduced from the date of the