Especially, because I know thee to be expert in all customs,
&c.] Rites and ceremonies of the Jews, whether enjoined by the law of Moses, or by the elders, fathers, and wise men:
and questions which are among the Jews;
concerning angels, spirits, and the resurrection of the dead; which were moved and agitated between the Sadducees and Pharisees; and a multitude of others, which were disputed between the schools of Hillell and Shammai, of which their Misna and Talmud are full, and with these Agrippa was well acquainted; and to their rites and customs he conformed, of which we have some instances recorded in their writings: when they went with their firstfruits to Jerusalem F23,
``a pipe sounded before them till they came to the mountain of the house, and when they came to the mountain of the house (the temple), even King Agrippa carried the basket upon his shoulder, and went in till he came to the court.''So concerning the reading of the law by a king, they give this following account F24:
``a king stands and takes (the book of the law), and reads sitting; King Agrippa stood and took it, and read standing, and the wise men praised him; and when he came to that passage, ( Deuteronomy 17:15 ) "Thou mayest not set a stranger over thee", his eyes flowed with tears; they said unto him, fear not, Agrippa, thou art our brother.''Some of their writers say F25, this was a piece of flattery in them: they also elsewhere commend him for his modesty and humility F26;
``according to the tradition of the doctors, when persons attending a funeral met a bride (with her retinue), the former gave way, and both to a king of Israel, when they met him; but they say concerning King Agrippa, that he met a bride, and gave way, and they praised him.''And whereas it was forbidden to eat on the eve of the passover, before the Minchah, though ever so little, that they might eat the unleavened bread with appetite F1; it is observed, that even King Agrippa, who was used to eat at the ninth hour, that day did not eat till it was dark F2: so that from hence it appears, that King Agrippa was famous for his exact knowledge and observance of the customs and manners of the Jews, and which was well known, and was by the apostle:
wherefore I beseech thee to hear me patiently;
since he was charged with a breach of the laws and customs of the Jews; and his defence would proceed upon things which Agrippa was not altogether ignorant of.
F23 Misn. Biccurim, c. 3. sect. 4.
F24 Misn. Sota, c. 7. sect. 8.
F25 Maimon. in ib. & Moses Kotsensis Mitzvot Tora, pr. neg. 221.
F26 T. Bab. Cetubot, fol. 17. 1.
F1 Maimon. Chametz Umetza, c. 6. sect. 12.
F2 T. Bab. Pesachim, fol. 107. 2.