I gave my back to the smiters
To Pontius Pilate, and those he ordered to scourge him, ( Matthew 27:26 ) and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair;
of the beard; which, is painful, so a great indignity and affront. The Septuagint renders it, "and my cheeks to blows"; (eiv rapismata) , a word used by the evangelists when they speak of Christ being smitten and stricken with the palms of men's hands, and seem to refer to this passage, ( Mark 14:65 ) ( John 18:22 ) ( Micah 5:1 ) : I hid not my face from shame and spitting;
or from shameful spitting; they spit in his face, and exposed him to shame, and which was a shameful usage of him, and yet he took it patiently, ( Matthew 26:67 ) , these are all instances of great shame and reproach; as what is more reproachful among us, or more exposes a man, than to be stripped of his clothes, receive lashes on his bare back, and that in public? in which ignominious manner Christ was used: or what reckoned more scandalous, than for a man to have his beard plucked by a mob? which used to be done by rude and wanton boys, to such as were accounted idiots, and little better than brutes F24; and nothing is more affronting than to spit in a man's face. So Job was used, which he mentions as a great indignity done to him, ( Job 30:10 ) . With some people, and in some countries, particular places, that were mean and despicable, were appointed for that use particularly to spit in. Hence Aristippus the philosopher, being shown a fine room in a house, beautifully and richly paved, spat in the face of the owner of it; at which he being angry, and resenting it, the philosopher replied, that he had not a fitter place to spit in F25.
F24 "------------barbam tibi vellunt Lascivi pueri", Horace. "Idcirco stolidam praebet tibi vellere barbara Jupiter?" Persius, Satyr. 2.
F25 Laertius in Vita Aristippi.