719. Spitting - Buffeting

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Matthew 26:67 Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him; and others smote him with the palms of their hands.
See also Mark 14:65; John 18:22.
1. Spitting in the face was considered the greatest insult that could be offered to a person. See Deuteronomy 25:9; Job 30:10. An Oriental, in relating any circumstance of which be desires to express the utmost contempt, will make a motion with his mouth, as if spitting.
2. Graham states that, at the present day in Palestine, when men quarrel and come to blows they strike each other, not with the fists, but with the palms of the hands. The insult offered to Jesus was given in this ordinary form; though, in addition, there were some who buffeted him, or struck him with their fist.
There is a scene represented on the Assyrian marbles which graphically illustrates this text, and at the same time shows the antiquity of the custom referred to. A captive is brought before the king, and in front of him is one who seizes the prisoner with the left hand, while the right hand is extended with open palm as if to smite him. He is also represented as spitting in the captive’s face. Around his neck is suspended the head of a slain countryman.
This indignity of spitting and smiting was repeated in the case of Jesus by the Roman soldiers. The first insult of the kind was when he was in the presence of the high priest. Afterward, when Pilate released Barabbas and delivered Jesus up to the brutal soldiery, they again spit upon him and smote him. See Matthew 27:30; Mark 15:19; John 19:3.