Which say, stand by thyself,
&c], According to Aben Ezra, Jarchi, and Kimchi, these are the unclean persons that did the above things; who say to the righteous, "draw near to thyself" F16; so the words are, go to thine own place, or to thine own company: and come not near to me;
keep off at a distance, as unworthy of such company: for I am holier than thou;
but this is the language of a self-righteous man, of a Pharisee that strictly observed the rituals of the law; and fitly describes such who lived in the times of Christ; and exactly agrees with the characters of such, who not only would have no dealings with the Samaritans, but washed themselves when they came from market, or any public place, lest they should be defiled with the common people of their own nation; and, even with religious persons, would not stand near them while praying; but despised them, if they had not arrived to that pitch of outward sanctity they had; see ( John 4:9 ) ( Mark 7:4 ) ( Luke 18:9 Luke 18:11 Luke 18:12 ) . The phrase may be rendered, "do not touch me" F17; and the Pharisees would not suffer themselves to be touched by the common people, nor would they touch them. Maimonides F18 says,
``if the Pharisees touched but the garments of the common people, they were defiled all one as if they had touched a profluvious person, and were obliged to dip themselves all over;''so that, when they walked in the streets, they used to walk on the sides of the way, that they might not be defiled by touching them F19. So Epiphanius F20 relates of the Samaritan Jews, that when they touch one of another nation, they dip themselves with their clothes in water; for they reckon it a defilement to touch anyone, or to touch any man of another religion; and of the Dositheans, who were another sect of the Samaritans the same writer observes F21, that they studiously avoid touching any, for they abhor every man. A certain Arabic geographer of note F23 makes mention of an island, called the island of the Samaritans, inhabited by some Samaritan Jews, as appears by their saying to any that apply to them, do not touch; and by this it is known that they are of the Jews who are called Samaritans; and this same arrogant superstition, as Scaliger observes F24, continues in that people to this day, as those relate who have conversed with them: these are a smoke in my nose, a fire that burneth all the day:
``their vengeance is in hell, where the fire burns all the day.''