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foot. 72. Luke vi. 2. Why do ye that which is not lawful to do on the
sabbath? The Pharisees deemed the rubbing the ears of the
lowed by their law to prepare victuals on the sabbath day. 73. Mark ii. 86. Did eat the shew bread. See 1 Sam. xxi. 6. Exod. xxix. 32. Levit. viii. 31.
Matt. xii. 5. The priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless. Because they lighted thereon the fire, slew the sacrifices, &c. whereby they would have profaned the sabbath, had not these things been enjoined by God. Accordingly the Jews were wont to say, that there is no sabbath in the temple. See Numb. xxviii. 9....Beausobre and Len
fant. 76. Mark iii. 6. The Herodians. The leading principle of the
Herodians consisted in an endeavour to conform the Jewish religion to the interests of Herod the Great and his successors, and reconcile it to the alien empire of Rome, whose authority the Jews in general were unwilling to acknowledge. This might be the leaven of Herod. Mark viii. 15. See
also Mark xii. 134-18.-Willan.
das, in the opinion of Pearce, and Lebbeus, of Grotius, are
Matt. X. 4. Luke vi. 16. Canaanite and Zelotes. Ca. naanite in this place does not denote the origin of Simon from Canaan, but is a Hebrew sirname, which Luke renders
Zelotes, i. e. a man of fervent zeal.- Grotius. 80. Matt. v. 3. Blessed, &c. The primitive Christians caused
their children to commit this sermon to memory.—Harwood. 81. Matt. v. 13. But if the salt have lost its savour. Maun
drell in his journey tells us, that “ In the valley of salt near Gebul, and about four hours journey from Aleppo, there is a small precipice occasioned by the continual taking away of the salt. I broke a piece of that which was exposed to sun, rain, and air, though it had the sparks
and particles of salt, yet it had perfectly lost its savour.
The inner part, which was connected to the rock, retained it savour, as I found by proof.” It is likewise probable that in the preparation of fossil alkali, or of common salt, or of rock salt, after exposure to rains, the extraneous matter that remained, as sand, mud, &c. may be here alluded to, as fit only to be trodden under foot.
82. Matt. v. 18. One jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass. Jot
is the Hebrew letter Jod, a very small letter, which the Jews frequently use to express a small precept of the law. The tittle was with the Hebrews the slight mark at the angle, or difference in form, distinguishing the different Hebrew letters, as Resh, Daleth, &c.- Lamy and Grotius.
Matt. v. 22. But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause, shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. Christ pursues the analogy between the punishments inflicted by the Jewish courts, and the punishments of a future life, yet not in the common application of three Jewish courts; one of three Judges, the next of twenty-three, and the third the great Sanhedrim, of seventy-two, for the court of three Judges had no power to take away life. But the analogy is thus. Whoever shews causeless anger, shall be in danger of the judgment, or of a punishment similar to the capital one imposed by the lesser court of twenty-three members. Who calls his brother vain or worthless (such is the signification of Raca) shall incur a punishment analogous to that of stoning inflicted by the great court, or council of seventy-two. Who violently rails at his brother, shall be subject to a most grievous punishment comparable to that of the Canaanites and afterwards to the Israelites burning their children alive at Tophet, in the valley of Hinnom, near Jerusalem, in honour to their deity Moloch. 2 Kings, xxiii. 10.
In this valley the Angel of the Lord is said to have destroyed the 185,000 of the host of Sennacherib the king of Assyria. See 2 Kings. xix. 35. The prophecies of Jeremiah in the name of the Lord, against the worship of the idolatrous Jews. See Jer. vii. 31. xix. 6, were likewise here fulfilled by the massacre of a considerable number of them, when Jerusalem was taken by the Babylonish armies. From these and other similar instances of God's vengeance at this place, the Jews were accustomed metaphorically to express the fate of the damned, by the application of Gehenna for hell fire) in allusion to the valley of Hinnom.
Le Clerc, Lightfoot, and Grotius. 85. Matt. v. 47. And if ye salute your brethren only, &c. The
Jews, it should seem, would not address their usual form of salutation, Peace be with you, to either heathens or publicans,
Harmer. 87. Matt. vi. 7. Use not vain repetitions. The idolatrous wor.
. shippers of Baal called on the name of Baal, from morning even until noon, saying, Baal, hear us. 1 Kings xviii. 26. Thus also the devotees of Diana, all' with one voice about.
the space of two hours, cried out, Great is Diana of the Ephesians. Acts xix. 34. In imitation of such examples, the Rabbins had laid down these maxims : Every one that multiplies prayer shall be heard. The prayer which is long shall not return empty. Acting therefore on these principles, there was certainly much danger to be apprehended of unmeaning prolixity, and insincere repetitions. Christ condemned both this conduct in others, and warned his disciples against practices so truly pernicious to true religion.
Burder. 88. John vi. 16. When ye fast, &c. The Jews in their fasts
begin the observance of them in the evening after sun-set, and remain without eating till the same hour of the next day, or till the rising of the stars. On the great day of expiation, when more strictly obliged to fast, they continue so for twenty-eight hours. Men are obliged to fast from the age of full thirteen, and women from the age of full eleven years. Children from the age of seven years fast in proportion to their strength. The Pharisees fasted more frequently and with greater rigour and exactness than the generality of Jews.
Calmet. 89. Matt. vi. 30. The grass of the field, &c. The consump
tion of fuel in Arabia and Judea is for their ovens, which they heat with grass, that withers speedily in so hot a cli
Shaw tells us in his travels, that myrtle, rosemary, and other plants are made use of in Barbary to heat their
94. Luke vi. 48. And when the flood arose, &c. Though the
returns of the rain in winter are not extremely frequent, yet when it does rain, the water pours down with great violence for three or four days and nights together, enough to drown the whole country. Such violent rains in so hilly a country as Judea must occasion inundations very dangerous to buildings within their reach, by washing the soil from under them,
and occasioning their fall.-Harmer, &c. 95. 37. Matt. viii. Luke vii. It has been doubted by some
whether this account of the centurion's servant, related with some difference by the two Evangelists, refers to the same person. The principal objection is, that Matthew's centurion comes in person, and Luke's centurion sends the elders of the Jews.
Le Clerc supports it, by adducing the following Jewish proverbs: The messenger of any man is as, or equal to, the man himself. The ambassador of a king is as, or equal to, the king. See Matt. xi. 23. xxvii. 19. and observe well
. Mark x. 35. compared with Matt. xx. 20. In John iv. 1. Jesus is said to baptise, when he baptised by his disciples. See also John xix. 1. He likewise observes that in Gen.
xvi. 13. xviii. 1. Exodus xx. 1, God is said to perform what he did, by his angels. Considering the sameness of the scene, the persons, the transactions, we may conclude with Grotius, that this miracle is one and the same; related in general by Matthew, and with greater accuracy by Luke.
Newcome. 97. Luke vii. 12. And much people, &c. It was a Jewish cus
tom, that all who met a corpse carried to the grave, attend. ed it and joined in the lamentation.- Josephus.
Luke vii, 14. And touched the bier. The people of the East bury their dead without coffins; but they carry them to the grave on a bier which is shaped like one.-Harmer.
100. Matt. xi. 13. For all the prophets and the law prophesied.
. Luke xvi. 16. may explain this passage of Matthew. “The
" law and the prophets were until John ; since that time the
i kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.” By this expression our Lord marks the beginning of a new age or dispensation, which is usually denominated the kingdom of heaven, or the kingdom of the Messiah. Thus Sanhedrim 991, “ all the prophets only prophesy to the days of the Messiah, but concerning the days of that age to come, the eye seeth not.”-Willan.
Matt. xi. 16. It is like unto children, &c. It was the custom of children among the Jews, in their sports, to imitate what they saw done by others on great occasions, and particularly the customs in festivities, wherein the musician playing a tune upon his instrument, the company danced to his pipe. So also in funerals, wherein the women by singing the mournful song, the rest followed lamenting and beating their breasts. These things the children acted and persona ated in the streets in play, and the rest not following their leader gave occasion to this speech ;. “We have piped unto you, and ye
have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye
have not lamented.”-Burder. 102. Matt. xi. 23. Shall be brought down to. hell. This is a
scripture phrase used to denote an utter destruction, a total overthrow. See Isaiah xiv. 13. 15. This prophecy hath been so exactly fulfilled in the destruction of Capernaum, that according to the relation of travellers there are not now
above eight cottages where it stood.-Beausobre and Lenfant. 103. Luke vii. 38. And stood at his feet, behind him. This is
not intelligible, without adverting to the posture in which the
The washing the feet before meals is frequently mentioned in the Old Testament, Gen. xliii. 24. i Sam: xxv. 41. so 1 Tim. v. 10. It was necessary, as the ancients only wore loose sandals, and at meals laid their feet upon the couch. This practice, together with kissing the hand as a token of respect, the feet, probably to indicate greater humility, and anointing the head, are still retained amongst the Arabs, and in the East. The person who presents himself to welcome a stranger, and wash his feet, is the master of the family. Perhaps this Pharisee for fear of offending his brethren had omitted the usual tokens of respect on the reception of a guest.
Harmer and Shaw. 106. Mark. iii. 21. He is beside himself. Doddridge thinks the
construction of the Greek is more properly “thrown into an ecstacy,” as Mark ii. 12. vi. 51. Acts ii. 7. 12. and traps. lates it here “is transported too far." His friends feared that his present zeal and fervency of spirit might impair his health. The words, “is mad or beside himself or themselves,” may be equally referred, or annexed (and undoubt
edly with greater propriety applied) to the term, multitude. 110. Matt. xii. 40. Three days and three nights. It is of great
importance to observe, that the Eastern reckoned any part of a day of twenty-four hours for a whole day, and say, a thing was done after three or seven days, if it was done on the third or seventh day from that last mentioned. Their days began in the evening. (Compare 1 Kings xx. 29. 2 Chron. x. V. 12. and Luke ii. 21.) And as the Hebrews had no term corresponding in signification to the natural day of twenty-four hours, they use night and day, or day and night, for it ; so that to say, a thing happened after three days and three nights, was the same as to say, it happened after three days, or on the third day. Compare Est. iv. 16. with v. i.
Gen. vii. 4. 12. Exod. xxii. 18. and xxx. iv. 28.-Doddridge. 115. Luke xi. 51. Zacharias, which perished between the altar
and the temple. A space of nine feet was left between the body of the temple and the altar. This was an asylum affording protection to criminals. See 1 Kings i. 51. and
ii. 28. 30.--Willan. 117. Luke xii. 22, &c. Luke has here, as in other places, reca
pitulated several precepts given, by our Lord to his followers, according to Matthew, at a very different period. Matt. X. 17 to 35, and vi. 24 to 34, pages 155 and 89 of this work. Some commentators have laboured much to reconcile this difference, but it was surely proper, that our Lord should repeat the doctrines, before delivered in Galilee, to his hearers in Judea, who had hitherto not been favoured with his public ministry.--Willan.