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Notes on Revelation

'...blood...even unto the horses bridles...'

"They [the Romans under Hadrian] slew the inhabitants [of Betar, after Bar-Kosiba, its defender, had been killed] until the horses waded in blood up to the nostrils, and the blood rolled along stones of the size of forty se'ah and flowed into the sea a distance of four miles."

(Lamentations Rabbah 2:2:4)

1. The measures of the Jews.

It obtained among the Jews, "That the land of Israel contained the square of four hundred parsae." And they are delighted, I know not how nor why, with this number and measure. "Jonathan Ben Uzziel interpreted from the mouth of Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi; and the land of Israel was moved four hundred parsae every way." "When a hog was drawn up upon the walls of Jerusalem, and fixed his hoofs upon them, the land of Israel shook four hundred parsae every way."

A parsa contains in it four miles. "Ten parsae (saith the Gloss at the place in the margin) are forty miles": which might be proved largely elsewhere, if need were. So that four hundred parsae (or so many thirty furlongs), made a thousand six hundred miles. Which measure why they ascribed it to the land of Israel on every side of the square of it, whether from the measurings of Ezekiel, or from somewhat else, we do not here inquire. But we cannot but observe this, that the same number is mentioned, and perhaps the same measure understood, Revelation 14:20: "Blood issued out of the lake to the horses' bridles, for a thousand six hundred furlongs." Where the Arabic reads, "for the space of a thousand six hundred miles."

(A Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica, A Chorographical Decad, John Lightfoot)

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