« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
No. 1187.xii. 50. For whosoever shall do the will of my father, who is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.] We meet with many instances of language remarkably similar to these words of our Lord. In the Iliad (lib. vi. 429.) Andromache says to Hector, Thou art my father, my mother, and my brother. Συμοι εσσι παθηρ, &c.
Quum tibi nec frater nec sit tibi filius ullus,
Propert. lib. ii. el. 14.
When Martial would describe the love of Gellia for her jewels; Hos fratres vocat, he says, et vocat sorores, lib. viii. ep. 81. These she calls her brothers and sisters. Epictetus (lib. ii. cap. 22.) observes, that a man's own welfare and advantage is to him brother, father, kindred, country, and God.
No. 1188.-xiii. 4. And when he sowed some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up.] This circumstance has no difficulty in our conception of it, but it would strike an eastern imagination more forcibly than our own. For Thevenot informs us, “ on that road I observed a pretty pleasant thing, which is practised in all that country, as far as Bender Abassi ; I saw several peasants running about the corn-fields, who raised loud shouts, and every now and then clacked their whips with all their force; and all this to drive away the birds, which devour all their corn. When they see flocks of them coming from a neighbouring ground, that they may not light on theirs, they redouble their cries to make them go farther, and this they do every morning and evening. The truth is, there are so many sparrows in Persia that they destroy all things: and scare-crows are so far from frightening them, that they will perch upon them.”
No. 1189.-xiv. 6. When Herods birth-day was kept.] The birth-day of a prince, and the day of his accession to the throne, were kept with great pomp amongst the Gentiles. It was usual with the Egyptians, Gen. xl. 20. the Persians, (Herodot. 1. i. c. 133.) and the Romans, (Plin, Ep. 1. x. ep. 61.) but not with the Jews, who reckoned these among the feasts of idolaters.
No. 1190.--xiv. 11. And his head was brought in a charger.] Similar instances of unfeeling barbarity are to be met with in history. Mark Antony caused the heads of those he had proscribed to be brought to him while he was at table, and entertained his eyes a long while with that sad spectacle. Cicero's head being one of those that was brought to him, he ordered it to be put on the very pulpit where Cicero had made speeches against him.
No. 1191.--xiv. 20. They took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full.] The reason why they were so easily supplied with such a number of baskets in a desert plače, might be a custom which the Jews had of carrying baskets with hay and straw, in commemoration of what they did in Egypt, when they were obliged to carry bricks in baskets, and to go about and pick up straw to make bricks. Hence Martial (Epigram. I. v. ep. 17.) calls a Jew cistifer, a basketbearer.
No. 1192.-XV. 5.
5. But ye say, whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, it is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me.] Origen upon this passage says, that he should never have understood it, had it not been for the information which he received from a Jew, who told him that it was the custom with some of their usurers, when they met with a tardy
debtor, to transfer the debt to the poor's box; by which means he was obliged to pay it, under the penalty of bringing upon himself thé, imputation of cruelty to the poor and impiety towards God; and that children would sometimes imitate this practice in their conduct towards their parents.
No. 1193.-xviii. 25. His lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had.] It was not only the custom of the Jews to come upon children for the debts of their parents, but of other nations also. With the Athenians, if a father could not pay his debts, the son was obliged to do it, and in the mean time to be kept in bonds till he did. ( Alex. ab Aler. Genial. Dier. I. vi. c. 10.) Grotius proves from Plutarch and Dionysius Halicarnassensis, that children were sold by the creditors of their parents in Asia, at Athens, and at Rome.
No. 1194. - xviii. 34. . and delivered him to the tormentors.] The word besavisus properly denotes examiner, particularly one who has it in charge to examine by torture. Hence it came to signify gaoler, for on such in those days this charge commonly devolved. They were not only allowed, but even commanded, to treat the wretches in their custody with every kind of cruelty, in order to extort payment from them, in case they had concealed any of their effects; or, if they had nothing, to wrest the sum owed from the compassion of their relations and friends, who, to release an unhappy person for whom they had a regard from such extreme misery, might be induced to pay the debt: for, let it be observed, that the person of the insolvent debtor was absolutely in the power of the creditor, and at his disposal.
CAMPBELL'S Translation of the Gospels, note,
No. 1195.- xix. 13. Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them and pray.] It appears to have been customary among the Jews, when one prayed for another who was pre sent, to lay his hand upon the person's head.
CAMPBELL'S Translation of the Gospels, note.
No. 1196.-xix. 13. That he should put his hands on them and pray.] It was common with the Jews to bring their children to venerable persons, men of note for religion and piety, to have their blessing and prayers. Gen xlviii. 14.
No. 1197.--xx. 16. For many are called, but few chosen.] There was not an Israelite that did not carry arms; the priests and Levites not excepted. 2 Sam. xxiii. 20. 1 Kings ii. 35. All were reckoned soldiers that were of age for service, and that was at twenty years old and upwards. Numb. i. 3, 22. They were like the militia in some countries, always ready to assemble at the first notice. The difference is, that with us all ecclesiastics are forbidden the use of arms, and that we have moreover an infinite number of people unfit for war: whereas they were all husbandmen and shepherds, inured from their childhood to labour and fatigue. Nor is it improbable that they used them to handle arms from the time of David and Solomon. Thus at Rome, all the citizens of such an age were obliged to serve a certain number of campaigns, when they were commanded; from whence it comes that they did not use the expression of levying troops, but called it choosing (delectum habere) them, because they had always a great many more than they wanted. This is what our Lord refers to when he says, many are called, but few chosen. The great mass of the people
were called together, and a choice was made of those who were most fit for service.
FLEURY's Hist. of Israelites, p. 152.
No. 1198.---xxi. 12. And the seats of them that sold doves.] Selden (de Diis Syris, Syntag. ii. cap. 3. p. 276.) tells us he had learned from Ferdinandus Polonus, that the keepers and sellers of pigeons were looked upon as men of infamous character among the Jews, and held in no better estimation than thieves, gamblers, and the like; mentioning at the same time the opinion of Scaliger, that the persons bere spoken of were those who taught pigeons to fly, and carry messages.
No. 1199.--xxi. 34. And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it.] The fruit of all manner of trees for the first three years was not to be eaten, nor any profit made of it: in the fourth year it was to be holy, to praise the Lord with ; being either given to the priests, or eaten by the owners before the Lord at Jerusalem : in the fifth year it might be eaten and made use of for profit, and thenceforward every year. To this time of fruit, and the custom of bringing it up to Jerusalem, there seems to be an allusion here.
Gill, in loc.
No. 1200.-xxii. 3. And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding.] To explain the reason why the servants were sent to call them that were already bidden, Grotius (in loc.) informs us, that it was sometimes customary to give two invitations to a feast.
No. 1201.--xxii. 11. And when the king came in to see the guests.] The Persians “ in circumstances of