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learned Rabbins at length collected all the traditional ordinances and histories; composing out of them the Targums and the Mishna, which were published at different times between the birth of our Lord and the year 1300. To these the Gemara was added some time afterwards. They have since also been largely commented upon ; the Jews considering them of almost equal authority with the holy scriptures. Our Lord, by frequently condemning these traditions as absurd in themselves and contradictory to the real law, shews how little claim they have to be thought of divine original, and proves them to be indeed “the ordinances of men”. –Willan. To these books, as the custom and opinions of a nation must always be best illustrated by its own writers, Dr. Willan makes frequent references; and from these writings he has enriched his History of the Ministry of Jesus Christ with a selection of many valuable notes not given by former writerS. 178. Mark vii. 11. It is Corban. Corban is the usual name for an offering, gift, &c. All gifts to God were held most sacred by the Jews; hence the word Corban became a solemn and binding form of obligation or prohibition, to say, a thing shall be, as to any particular purpose, as if it was devoted to God. “Let it be Corban, as a gift devoted to God, wherein I may be profitable to thee,” signifies, I bind myself as solemnly not to give, as if my wealth was devoted to God. The Pharisees seem to have encouraged these rash vows which interfered with the offices of humanity and natural affection. A redemption from the obligation under some particular circumstances might be purchased for fifty shekels. See Levit. xxvii. 2, 3.—Lightfoot. 178. Mark vii. 16. If any man have ears to hear, let him hear. Our Lord, to distinguish such whose understandings were exercised “to discern the things of the spirit” from the unthinking multitude, calls them, those who have ears to hear. He that hath ears to hear, says he, let him hear. The same expression is used in the Apocalypse, a book of prophecies. And it deserves to be attended to, that Jesus Christ never employs these words in the introduction or conclusion of any plain moral instruction, but always after some parable, or prophetic declaration figuratively expressed. See Matt. xi. 15. xiii. 9. Luke viii. 8. Revel. ii. 7, 11, 17, 29. Campbell. 179. Matt. xv. 15. This parable. Campbell and Newcome, in their translations of the New Testament, render it “this saying.” The Greek word (zap2.exn) signifying parable, may with propriety be rendered a proverb, a moral maxim, a forcible sentence, a weighty doctrine, as well as a comparison. Page 180. Matt. xv. 22. A woman of Canaan. Mark vii. 26. A Sy
rophanician. The Canaanites and Phoenicians, according to. - Bochart, were the same ; though the seven nations in Judea, before the conquest of Joshua, were descended from Canaan, yet the Canaanites were frequently enumerated as one of these nations. Deut. vii. 1. Joshua ix. 1. By which is meant, Canaan with his first born, Sidon, Genes. x. 15. occupied the tract about Sidon and Tyre.—Lightfoot. Phoenicia being comprehended in Syria, accounts for the distinction Syro-Phoenician.—Pliny, 181. Matt. xv. 26. Cast it to dogs. This most contemptuous language the Jews generally applied to the Gentiles. Our Saviour, in verse 24, applies the term lost sheep to the Jewish nation, and adopts their expression in his address to the woman, most probably as a trial for her faith, as the verses following seem to indicate. 183. Matt. xv. 30. Maimed. The creation of a new limb is an astonishing evidence of the miraculous power of our Saviour, Newcome. . That this is the proper application, may be proved from Mark ix. 43. and Matt. xviii. 8. Where the word halt, in that passage and maimed in this, are expressed by the same Greek word (zvaxos.) 185. Matt. xv. 39. Magdala. A place on the Eastern side of the lake, from which it is probable Mary was called Magdalene, that is, of Magdala.—Newcome. Matt. xv. 39. Mark viii. 10. Cellarius and Lightfoot think that Dalmanutha and Magdala were neighbouring towns, and from the latitude of the two passages, no inconsistency can be attached to the two Evangelists. 190. Matt. xvi. 18. The gates of hell shall not prevail against it. More properly the gates of Hades. “The gates of Hades” is not used to express the power of heresy or schism, sin or satan, but the state of death; the place or receptacle of the dead, into which souls departed enter, or the entrance into that state. Hence death is, in the language of the ancients, the entrance or gate into Hades. The words are a promise that the Christian church shall endure for ever, through every affliction and persecution (Acts v. 39.) or that eyen death shall not prevail against the members of the church of Christ, but that they shall enjoy here in prospect, and hereafter in its certain accomplishment, a happy resurrection.—Grotius. 191. Matt. xvi. 21. Elders, among the Hebrews, were magistrates, heads, or rulers of the people. Vid. Exod. iii. 16. Ezra x. 7, 8. Deut. xxvii. 1. Numb. xi. 16, &c. Some think it probable, that in causes ecclesiastical the court was made up of the high priest, and of the chief priests, or heads of the four and twenty courses, only ; and that, of matters purely tem
poral, the supreme magistrate, with the princes, elders, and scribes (who were the doctors of the law) either by himself, or his deputy, took cognizance. Ezra x. xiv. And that where any one was accused of crimes relating to religion and state, both the judges, in each of these faculties, sat to hear the cause. So at the trial of our blessed Lord, joseph, of Arimathea, a rich man, and a counsellor (probably one of the seventy elders) was one of them who sat as judges, but did not join in the sentence of condemnation. Luke xxiii. 51. 191. Matt. xvi. 21, &c. &c. To reconcile the apparent inconsistencies between the three Evangelists, in the latter part of this, and parallel verses, little more is necessary than to refer to the note on Matt. xii. 40, p. 110, and to introduce some few additional remarks. Having shewn in it that the Jews calculated any part of the day for, or as the whole day of twenty-four hours, it remains to shew that the third day, and after three days, in some instances, imply the same duration of time. In the Old Testament, we find in Deut. xiv. 28, “after three years,” yet, in xxvi. 12, the third year is the year of tithing. Thus 1 Sam. xx. 12. compared with verse 19; and in 2 Chron. x. 5. “Come again unto me after three days,” yet, in verse 12, they came again on the third day. Esther orders the Jews : “Fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days ; night or day. I also, and my maidens, will fast likewise, and so will I go in unto the king.” Chap. iv. 16. and in Chap. v. 1. we are expressly told that on the third day she went in unto the king. From the New Testament it may be sufficient to adduce the following quotation, Matt. xxvii. 63, 64. “Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, after three days I will rise again, command therefore that the Sepulchre be made sure until the third day, &c.—Whitby, &c. 192. Matt. xvi. 23. Get thee behind me, Satan : This is expressed in the brevity of a Hebrew phrase ; the word, Satan imports, an adversary. See 2 Sam. xix. 22. 194. Matt. xvii. 1, &c. &c. Matthew and Mark begin the section in reference to time, after six days, and, Luke says, in about eight days. It is easily accounted for: Matthew and Mark allow six intire days between Peter's reproof and the transfiguration, whilst Luke in his account comprehends them both, and includes the portions of the two days as whole days. 197. Matt. xvii. 10. Elias must first come 2 This persuasion of the Jews was grounded upon Malachi iv. 5. 203. Matt. xvii. 24. Tribute money. Every Jew, above twenty years of age, annually paid half a shekel (equal to about one shilling and three pence English) to the service of the temple. F.Xod. xxx. 13, 14. Nehem. x. 32.
207. Markix.49. Every sacrifice shall be salted. In allusion to Levit. ii. 13. 208. Mark. ix. 50. Have salt in yourselves. Salt, from its peculiar usefulness among the Jews, who inhabited a hot climate, in preserving food from hasty corruption, was an emblem of virtue and knowledge, by which the mind is purified. See Coloss. iv. 6.—Newcome. Matt. xviii. 10. Their angels do always behold the face of my father. By those who saw the king’s face are denoted, in the Jewish idiom, the most eminent and distinguished personages of a court; as if he had said, Treat not the meanest christians with neglect or disdain; for I assure you the most exalted angels are their guardians and ministers —Harwood. 211. Luke x. 4 Salute no man by the way. The mission on which the disciples of Christ were sent was so important, that they were required to use the greatest dispatch, and to avoid those things which might retard them, especially if they were merely of a ceremonious nature. Had they been allowed, in the present instance, to give and receive the common salutations, their progress might have been considerably impeded. The following short extract from Neibuhr's Tra. vels gives some satisfaction on this point. “The Arabs of Yemen, especially the Highlanders, often stop strangers to ask, Whence they came And whither they are going? These questions are suggested by mere curiosity.” This representation of the matter certainly clears from the appearance of incivility a precept, by which Christ designed only to teach his servants a suitable deportment.—Burder. The instructions of Elisha to Gehazi, when on the mission to the Shunammite, are of similar import. “Gird up thy loins, take my staff in thy hand, and go thy way; if thou meet any man, salute him not; and if any salute thee, answer - him not again:” 2 Kings iv. 29. 213. John vii. 2. The jews feast of Tabernacles. The feast of Tabernacles was instituted in memory of the Jewish nation having dwelt in tents in the wilderness; and the Jews all dwelt in tents or booths at the celebration of it. See Lev. xxiii 39, 42, 43. Nehem. viii. 14, 17. It was especially observed with uncommon and profuse rejoicing. 215. John vii. 27. But when Christ cometh, no man knoweth whence he is. See Hebrews, Chap. vii. 1–3. 216. John vii. 37. In the last day, that great day of the feast. The last day grew into such high esteem with the nation, because on the seven preceding days they held that sacrifices were offered, not so much for themselves as for the whole world. They offered in the course of them seventy bullocks for the seventy nations of the world; but the eighth was wholly on their own behalf. It was a separate solemnity for
Israel alone. They had their solemn offering of water; the
. John viii. 59. Then took they up stones to cast at him. Lewis
in his Origines Hebræce says, there was a punishment among the Jews called the Rebels beating, which was inflicted by the