We find this town marked out heretofore by a double name, if we believe some.1. It is called Caphar Salama by some, of which mention is made by Josephus, and the Book of the Maccabees.2. Capharzaba by Josephus himself: |But Alexander, fearing his| [Antiochus Dionysius] |coming, digs a deep trench, beginning at Capharzaba, which is now called Antipatris, unto the sea of Joppa, a hundred and fifty furlongs.| Note, by the way, from Joppa to Antipatris is a hundred and fifty furlongs, that is, eighteen miles.
We will not contend about the name; of the situation of it, as it stands almost in all maps, we doubt. We will give the reason of our scruple by those things that follow; in the mean time we will give some history of the place.
I. Herod built it in memory of his father Antipater. |For he raised (saith Josephus) a monument to his father, and a city, which he built in the best plain of his kingdom, rich in springs and woods, and called it Antipatris.|
II. Hither was Paul brought when he was carried to Caesarea, Acts 23:31; where, unless those words be rendered by no unusual interpretation, |they brought him by night towards Antipatris,| -- you must place that city much nearer Jerusalem than almost all the maps do.
III. This measuring once and again occurs among the Gemarists, |From Gebath to Antipatris.| -- |From Gebath to Antipatris (say they) were sixty myriads of cities, the least of which was Beth-Shemesh.| We do not assert the truth of the thing; we only take notice of the phrase.
And again; |Hezekiah the king (say they) fixed his sword to the door of Beth-Midras, and said, Whosoever studieth not the law shall be run through with that sword. They make inquiry from Dan even to Beersheba, and found not any one uninstructed: from Gebath to Antipatris, and found not boy or girl, man or woman, who did not well know the traditions of cleanness and uncleanness.| Where the Gloss is; |Gebath and Antipatris were places in the utmost borders.| -- Think of the scene of the story, and how such an encomium could reach as far as Antipatris, almost in the middle of Samaria, as it is placed in the maps. And what authority had Hezekiah to make inquiry among the Samaritans?
The Talmudists also say, that the meeting of Alexander the Great, and of Simeon the Just, was at Antipatris. |The Cutheans (say they) prayed Alexander the Great, that he would destroy the Temple [of Jerusalem]. Some came, and discovered the thing to Simeon the Just. Therefore what does he? He puts on the high priest's garments, and veils himself with the high priest's veil: and he and the chief men of Israel went forth, holding torches in their hands. Some went this way and others that, all night, till the morning brake forth. When the morning grew light, said (Alexander) to his men, Who are those? -- The Jews, said they, who have rebelled against you. When they were come to Antipatris, the sun arose, and they were met by these: when Alexander saw Simeon the Just lighting down out of his chariot he worshipped him,| &c.
Do you think that the high priest, clothed in his priestly garments, and the Jews, went through all Samaria almost in such solemn procession? Josephus, relating this story, only the name of Jaddua changed, saith this meeting was |at a certain place called Sapha. But this name, being changed into the Greek language, signifies, A watch-tower. For the buildings of Jerusalem and the Temple might from thence be seen.| Of which place he and we treat elsewhere under the name of Scopus, and Tzophim.