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Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature
(in Heb. רָחִוֹ, rachats', Gr. λούω ). The bath is in the East, on account of the hot climate and abundant dust, constantly necessary for the preservation of health, especially the prevention of cutaneous disorders; hence it was among the Hebrews one of the first purificative duties (Nehemiah 4:23), and in certain cases of (Levitical) uncleanness it was positively prescribed by the Mosaic law (Leviticus 14:8 sq.; Leviticus 15:5; Leviticus 15:13; Leviticus 15:18; Leviticus 17:16; Leviticus 22:6; Numbers 19:19; Deuteronomy 23:11), being treated as a part of religion, as with the ancient Egyptians (Herod. 2:37) and modern Mohammedans (Niebuhr, Reisen, 2:47; Beschr. p. 39). The Jews bathed not only in streams (Leviticus 15:13; 2 Kings 5:10; on Exodus 2:5, comp. St. Irwin's Trav. p. 272 sq.), but also in the houses, the court-yard of which always contained a bath (2 Samuel 11:2; Susan. ver. 15); and in later times, as among the Greeks and Romans (Potter, Gr. Archaeol. 2:654 sq.; Adam's Romans Antiq. 2:214 sq.; comp. Fabric. Bibliogr. Antiq. p. 1006), there were likewise public baths (Talmud מרחצאות ) in the cities of Judaea (Josephus, Ant. 19:7, 5; Mishna, Nedar. v. 5; comp. Mikraoth, 6:15; Shebiith, 8, 5; Baba Bathra, 4:6), as in the East at present there universally are (see the descriptions in Mariti, 1:125; Arvieux, 2:42; Troilo, p. 672; Russell, 1:172 sq.; D'Ohsson, 1:264 sq.; Lane, Mod. Egypt. ch. xvi), and palaces had bathing-rooms (Joseph. Ant. 14:15, 13). In places of a mixed population the Jews resorted to the heathen baths (Mishna, Aboda Sara, 3, 4; (See CIRCUMCISION), and comp. Otho, Lex. Rabb. p. 78).
Besides water, persons (females) sometimes used bran for ceremonial cleansing (Mishna, Pesach, 2:7). In like manner, the modern Arabs, in the failure of water, universally perform their lustrations by rubbing themselves with sand, a usage that has been thought (Rosenmü ller, Morgenl. 3, 228 sq.) to explain Naaman the Syrian's request of some of the sacred soil of Palestine (2 Kings 5:17). The ceremonial law also prescribed bathing after mourning, which always implied defilement (e.g. Ruth 3:3; 2 Samuel 12:20). The high-priest at his inauguration (Leviticus 13:6) and on the day of atonement, once before each solemn act of propitiation (16:4, 24), was also to bathe. This the rabbins have multiplied into ten times on that day. Maimon. (Constit. de Vasis Sanct. v. 3) gives rules for the strict privacy of the highpriest in bathing. There were bath-rooms in the later Temple over the chambers Abtines and Happarvah for the priests' use (Lightfoot, Descr. of Temp. 24). With sanitory bathing anointing was customarily joined; the climate making both these essential alike to health and pleasure, to which luxury added the use of perfume (Susan. 17; Judith 10:3; Esther 2:12). The "pools," such as that of Siloam and Hezekiah's (Nehemiah 3:15-16; 2 Kings 20:20; Isaiah 22:11; John 9:7), often sheltered by porticoes (John 5:2), are the first indications we have of public bathing accommodation. Ever since the time of Jason (Prideaux, 2:168) the Greek usages of the bath probably prevailed, and an allusion in Josephus (λουσόμενος στρατιωτικώτερον, War, 1:17, 7) seems to imply the use of the bath (hence, no doubt, a public one, as in Rome) by legionary soldiers. We read also of a castle luxuriously provided with a volume of water in its court, and of a Herodian palace with spacious pools adjoining, in which the guests continued swimming, etc., in very hot weather from noon till dark (Joseph. Ant. 12:4, II; 15:3, 3). The hot baths of Tiberias (Pliny, v. 15), or more strictly of Emmaus (Euseb. Onomast. Αἰθάμ, query Αἰμάθ· Bonfrerius) near it, and of Callirhoe, near the eastern shore of the Dead Sea, were much resorted to (Reland, 1:46; Joseph. Ant. 18:2; 17:6, 5; War; 1:33, 5; Amm. Marcell. 14:8; Stanley, p. 375, 295). The parallel customs of ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome are too well known to need special allusion. (See Smith's Dict. of Gr. and Romans Ant. s.v. Balneae; Laurie, Roman or Turkish Bath, Edinb. 1864.) (See WATER).
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McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Bathe'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/b/bathe.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.
the Week of Proper 14 / Ordinary 19