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CHAPTER V.

JESUS AT ÆNON, NEAR SALIM.

WE cannot fix with certainty the length of Christ’s first stay in Jerusalem after the beginning of his public ministry. But it is 178certain that he went directly thence to Ænon,288288   עֵונָן, a name derived from עֵיך (“a place abounding in water”), John, iii., 23. Eusebius (Onomastikon) says that such a place was still pointed out, eight Roman miles south of Scythopolis, near Salim and the Jordan. (Hieron., Opp., ed. Vallars, iii., 163; Rosenmüller, Handb. d. Biblisch. Alterth., ii., 2, 133; Robinson’s Palestine, iii., 322.) This suits the place described in John, as Christ goes thence to Samaria. If it appear strange that the Baptist should go to Samaria, it is to be remarked that the place belonged, as a border town, to Judea; and the Baptist may have found it necessary, in order to avoid persecution, to betake himself to this out-of-the-way corner. Perhaps, also, with his more liberal tendency of mind, he had no scruples about abiding on the borders of Samaria. near Salim (Salumias), a part of the country which was, at that time, the theatre of John the Baptist’s labours. Here he probably spent most of the time from the Passover to the late harvest. He may have had two objects in this, viz., to continue the training of his disciples more uninterruptedly, and also to make use of the connecting link which the ministry of John the Baptist afforded. The reason for the continuance of the latter’s separate labours has already been mentioned.289289   Page 57.


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