And John also was baptizing in Aenon
The Syriac and Persic versions call it "Ain", or "In you", the fountain of the dove; and the Arabic version reads it, the fountain of "Nun": and whether it was a town, or river, it seems to have its name from a fountain near it, or that itself was one, where was an abundance of water, as the text shows. There is a city of this name in the Septuagint version of ( Joshua 15:61 ) , and mention is made of Hazerenon in ( Numbers 34:9 ) ( Ezekiel 47:17 ) , but neither of them seem to be the same with this; but be it where, and what it will, it was
near to Salim;
and where that was, is as difficult to know as the other, some take it to be Shalem, a city of Shechem, mentioned in ( Genesis 33:18 ) , but that is not the same name with this; and besides was in Samaria; and indeed is by some there thought not to be the proper name of any place. Others are of opinion, that it is the same with Shalim in ( 1 Samuel 9:4 ) , though it seems rather to be the place which Arias Montanus calls F15 "Salim juxta torrentem", Salim by the brook; and which he places in the tribe of Issachar: and might be so called, either because it was near this Aenon, and may be the brook, or river intended, by which it was; or because it was not far from the place where the two rivers, Jabbok and Jordan, met; and so the Jewish maps place near Jordan, in the tribe of Manasseh, bordering on the tribe of Issachar, a Shalem, and by it Ain-yon. And the Septuagint in ( Joshua 19:22 ) mention "Salim by the sea", as in the tribe of Issachar. There is a passage in the Talmud F16, which, whether it has any regard to this Aenon, and Salim, I leave to be considered:
``the wine of Ogedoth, why is it forbidden? because of the village Pegesh; and that of Borgetha, because of the Saracene palace; and of Ain-Cushith, because of the village Salem.''Nonnus here calls Aenon, a place of deep waters; and Salim he reads Salem; and so some copies. Aenon, where John baptized, according to Jerom F17, was eight miles from Scythopolis, to the south, and was near Salim and Jordan; and he makes Salim to be at the same distance from Scythopolis. However, John was baptizing in these parts, at the same time that Christ was teaching and baptizing: he did not leave off on that account. This was the work he was sent to do, and which he continued in as long as he had his liberty; and be chose this place,
because there was much water there;
or "many waters"; not little purling streams, and rivulets; but, as Nonnus renders it, abundance of water; or a multitude of it, as in the Arabic version; see ( Revelation 1:15 ) ( 14:2 ) ( 17:1 ) ( 19:6 ) ( Song of Solomon 8:7 ) and the Septuagint in ( Psalms 78:16 ) ( Psalms 107:23 ) , and what was sufficient to immerse the whole body in, as Calvin, Aretius, Piscator, and Grotius, on the place, observe; and which was agreeable not only to: the practice of the Jews, who used dipping in their baptisms, and purifications, as Musculus and Lightfoot assert; but to John's method and practice elsewhere:
and they came, and were baptized.
The Ethiopic version renders it, "they came to him", that is, to John, "and he baptized them"; as the Persic version adds, "there", in Aenon, near Salim, in the much water there: it may be understood of the people coming both to John and Christ, and of their being baptized by them; though it seems rather to be said of John; and so Nonnus paraphrases it.
F15 Antiqu. Jud. l. 2. c. 3.
F16 T. Hieros. Avoda Zara, fol. 44. 4.
F17 De locis Hebraicis fol. 89. C. & fol, 94. F.