that they would appear normal to men, knowing that the Father looks upon the heart. (Matt. 6:16-18) Fasting was sometimes practiced by Christians so as to give undivided attention to spiritual matters.—Acts 13:2, 3; see FAST.
Laying hand on eyes of deceased. Jehovah’s expression to Jacob, “Joseph will lay his hand upon your eyes” (Gen. 46:4), was a way of saying that Joseph would be the one favored to close Jacob’s eyes after his death, which was a duty of the firstborn son. Jehovah here indicated to Jacob that the right of firstborn should go to Joseph.—1 Chron. 5:2.
Whistling. To “whistle at” something represented astonishment or wonderment. Such was the attitude produced in those viewing the awesome desolation of Judah, and later, the fearsome ruin of Babylon.—Jer. 25:9; 50:13; 51:37.
It was the custom of kings or men of authority to lean on the arm of a servant or one in an inferior position, as did King Jehoram of Israel. (2 Ki. 7:2, 17) King Ben-hadad supported himself on the hand of his servant Naaman as he bowed down at the house of his god Rimmon.—2 Ki. 5:18.
Washing another’s feet. Jesus employed one of the Oriental customs in an illustrative way when, giving his disciples a lesson in humility and serving one another, he washed his disciples’ feet. Peter spoke up, asking him to wash not only his feet but also his hands and his head. But Jesus replied: “He that has bathed does not need to have more than his feet washed, but is wholly clean.” (John 13:3-10) Here Jesus was referring to the fact that after one had been to the bath he would, on returning from the bath to his house, need only to wash the dust of the road from his sandaled feet. He used this cleanness as figurative of spiritual cleanness.
Walking. Another illustrative expression is “to walk,” meaning to follow a certain course of action, as “Noah walked with the true God.” (Gen. 6:9; 5:22) Those walking with God followed the life course outlined by God and found his favor. The Christian Greek Scriptures, using this same expression, picture the two contrasting courses of action pursued by one before and after becoming a servant of God. (Eph. 2:2, 10; 4:17; 5:2) In a similar manner “running” is used to symbolize a course of action. (1 Pet. 4:4) God said that the prophets in Judah “ran” though not sent by him, meaning that they took the prophetic course falsely, unauthorized. (Jer. 23:21) Paul describes the Christian course in terms of “running.” He likens it to a race that one can run either well or poorly and in which one must run according to the rules in order to win the prize.—1 Cor. 9:24; Gal. 2:2; 5:7.
(Au·gusʹtus) [August One; applied to things most noble, venerable, sacred; Latin, augere, “to increase”; Greek, Se·ba·stosʹ, “Reverend One”].
This title implying divinity was given to Gaius Octavius. Later Roman emperors also assumed the title (Acts 25:21, 25), but by itself when used as a name, it refers to Octavius, the first emperor of the Roman Empire.
Octavius was born on September 23, 63 B.C.E., the son of Octavius and his wife Atia, both of noble families. His father’s death four years later led to Octavius’ secret adoption by his mother’s uncle Julius Caesar. After the death of Julius, the adoption was made public and young Octavius soon joined a triumvirate with Mark Antony and Lepidus. These three quickly moved in a ruthless manner to have 300 senators and 2,000 knights assassinated. They then successfully defeated Caesar’s assassins at Philippi in 42 B.C.E., and Octavius granted Roman citizenship to the people of this city, where Paul preached about a century later. (Acts 16:12) Lepidus was sent to Africa, and Antony made an alliance with Cleopatra, the queen of Egypt. The strained relations between Octavius and Antony reached a showdown at the battle of Actium, September 31 B.C.E., where Antony and Cleopatra were defeated. Octavius thus emerged the undisputed ruler of the Roman Empire.
Octavius declined the titles “king” and “dictator” but accepted the special title “Augustus” bestowed upon him by the Senate, January 16, 27 B.C.E. After the death of Lepidus in 12 B.C.E., Augustus assumed the title “Pontifex Maximus.” With his rise in power he made reforms in government, reorganized the army, established the Praetorian Guard (Phil. 1:13), built and repaired many temples.
In 2 B.C.E. “a decree went forth from Caesar Augustus for all the inhabited earth to be registered; . . . and all people went traveling to be registered, each one to his own city.” (Luke 2:1, 3) This decree resulted in Jesus’ being born in Bethlehem in fulfillment of Bible prophecy. (Dan. 11:20; Mic. 5:2) Aside from this registration of the people for taxation and army conscription, appointment of rulers like King Herod, and execution of the death penalty, Augustus interfered very little with local government. His policy, which continued after his death, granted the Jewish Sanhedrin sweeping powers. (John 18:31) This imperial leniency gave the subjects less provocation to rebel.
Augustus had little choice for a successor. His nephew, two grandsons, a son-in-law and a stepson all died, leaving only his stepson Tiberius, whom he made coregent a year before dying. Augustus died August 19, 14 C.E., Julian calendar (August 17, Gregorian calendar), the month he had named after himself. This event is so universally recognized that it is reckoned as a pivotal date in calculating chronology of the Greek Scriptures. Augustus reigned forty-four years and enjoyed a popularity not equaled by any other Roman emperor. A month after his death, he was deified by the Senate.
[Picture on page 166]
Naval trophy showing head of Augustus
AUGUSTUS, BAND OF
When, as a result of his appeal to Caesar, the apostle Paul was sent to Rome, he was put under the charge of an army officer (centurion) of the “band of Augustus” named Julius. (Acts 27:1) The transmission of Paul and other prisoners to the army officer’s charge took place at Caesarea.—Acts 25:13; 26:30–27:1.
It is not possible to identify positively the “band of Augustus” from which Julius came. Because the word “Augustus” here translates the Greek word Se·ba·stosʹ, some have endeavored to identify the band with Samaria, which at that time was called Sebaste, and thus they claim this was a body of soldiers drawn from Samaritan recruits. Josephus does mention a “troop of Sebaste.” (Wars of the Jews, Book II, chap. XII, par. 5) However, there does not seem to be much justification for placing such a construction on this term as used by the writer of Acts.
Another view is that the Augustan band refers to the frumentarii, a special imperial corps of officers with the rank of centurion who served as a sort of liaison department of couriers between the emperor and the military establishments in the provinces, and whose members are said to have acted in conducting prisoners. This view, in part at least, seeks support in the Authorized Version rendering of Acts 28:16, which includes a doubtful portion stating that “the centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard.” Those advancing this view presume this “captain of the guard” to be the chief over the frumentarii. This phrase, however, does not appear in most modern translations of the verse.
The Revised Standard Version calls this band the