687. Garments and Branches Strewn

Matthew 21:8; 2 Kings 9:13; Mark 11:8; Luke 19:35-36; John 12:13
Matthew 21:88And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way. (Matthew 21:8). A very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strewed them in the way.
2. It was usual to strew flowers and branches, and to spread carpets and garments in the way of conquerors and great princes, and of others to whom it was intended to show particular honor and respect. In a similar way Jehu was recognized as king: “Then they hasted, and took every man his garment, and put it under him on the top of the stairs, and blew with trumpets, saying, Jehu is king” (2 Kings 9:1313Then they hasted, and took every man his garment, and put it under him on the top of the stairs, and blew with trumpets, saying, Jehu is king. (2 Kings 9:13)). When Xerxes crossed the Hellespont his way was strewed with myrtle branches. When Cato left his army and returned to Rome garments were strewn in his way.
The custom is still sometimes seen in the East. Roberts was surprised, shortly after his arrival in India, to find, on paying a visit to a native gentleman, that the path through the garden was covered with white garments on which he was expected to walk. They were spread as a token of respect for him. Dr. Robinson relates that shortly after a rebellion which had taken place among the people of Bethlehem, “when some of the inhabitants were already imprisoned, and all were in deep distress, Mr. Farran, then English consul at Damascus, was on a visit to Jerusalem, and had rode out with Mr. Nicolayson to Solomon’s pools. On their return, as they rose the ascent to enter Bethlehem, hundreds of the people, male and female, met them, imploring the consul to interfere in their behalf, and afford them his protection; and all at once, by a sort of simultaneous movement, ‘they spread their garments in the way’ before the horses” (Biblical Researches, vol.1, p. 473).