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No. 1253.- iv. 17. And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Isaiah.] This was done by the chazan or minister, one part of whose business was to deliver the book of the law to, and take it from, him that read. When a high-priest read, the chazan, or minister of the synagogue, took the book of the law, and gave it to the ruler of the synagogue, and he gave it to the sagan, who delivered it to the high-priest, and the high-priest stood and received it, and read standing. The same method was obseryed when a king read in the book of the law: but when a common priest or an inferior person read, there was not so much ceremony used.
Gill, in loc.
No. 1254.-iv. 20. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down.] The third part of the synagogue service was expounding the scriptures and preaching to the people. The posture in which this was performed, whether in the synagogue or in other places, was sitting. Accordingly, when our Saviour had read the haphtaroth in the synagogue at Nazareth, of which he was a member, having been brought up in that city; instead of retiring to his place, he sat down in the desk or pulpit; and it is said that the eyes of all that were present were fastened upon him; as they perceived by his posture that he was going to preach to them. And when Paul and Barnabas went into the synagogue at Antioch, and sat down, thereby intimating their desire to speak to the people if they might be permitted; the rulers of the synagogue sent to them, and gave them leave. Acts xiii. 14, 15.
No. 1255.-iv. 20. And sat down.] The Jewish doctors, to shew their reverence for the scriptures, always stood when they read them, but when they taught the
people they sat down. See Matt. xxiii. 2. Thus we find our Lord sitting down in the synagogue to preach, after he had read the passage in the prophet which he made the subject of his discourse. The custom of preaching from a text of scripture, which now prevails throughout all the christian churches, seems to have derived its origin from the authority of this example.
Machnight's Harmony, vol. i. p. 122.
No. 1256.--vi. 1. The second sabbath after the first.] The explanation of this phrase has given commentators not a little trouble. Some allege that there were two sabbaths in the year, each of them called the first, in respect to the two different beginnings of the year, the civil and the sacred. Grotius, whose opinion is followed by Hammond, conceives that when any of the solemn yearly feasts fell on the sabbath-day, that sabbath had a special respect paid to it, and was called μεγα or σαββατον πρωτον. Now of these first sabbaths there were three in the year, at the passover, at pentecost, and at the feast of tabernacles. The first of them, that is, when the first day of the feast of passover fell on the sabbath-day, was called AWTOT PWTOV oußßetov, or the first prime sabbath. The second, that is, when the day of pentecost fell on the sabbath, was called DEUTEPOTPUTOV, which he apprehends was the sabbath here intended.
No. 1257.--vi. 38. Good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over.] The allusion here is to dry measure among the Jews; which though right and full, here called good measure, they thrust and pressed to make it hold more; and shook it also for the same purpose, and then heaped it up as much as they could till it fell over. Of all these methods used in measuring we have frequent instances in the Jewish writings: some of them are cited by Gill, in loc.
No. 1258.-vii. 12. Behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother ;--and much people of the city was with her.] The Jews had different ways of carrying their dead to the grave. A child under a month old was carried out in the bosom of a person: if a full month, in a little coffin which they carried in their arms: one of a twelvemonth old was carried in a little coffin on the shoulder: and one of three years old on a bier or bed: in this manner was this corpse carried out. According to the age of persons was the company that attended them to the grave. If it were an infant not a month old, it was buried by one woman and two men; but not by one man and two women. If a month old, by men and women: and whoever was carried out on a bier or bed, many mourned for him. Persons well known were accompanied by great numbers of people. It was looked upon as an act of kindness and mercy to follow a corpse to the grave: and, what must have tended to increase the number of persons who attended at such a time, it was forbidden to do any work at the time a dead man was buried, even one of the common people.
Gill, in loc.
No. 1259.-vii. 38. And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head.] Polybius tells us, (in his ninth book,) that when Hannibal drew near to Rome, the Roman ladies went to the temples to supplicate the gods, washing the floors of them with their hair; which, he adds, it was their custom upon such occasions to do.
No. 1260.--vii. 38. And kissed his feet. This was no unusual practice with the Jews. R. Jonathan and R. Jannai were sitting together; there came a certain
and kissed the feet of R. Jonathan." This custom was also used by the Greeks and Romans among their civilities and in their salutations. See Aristoph. in Vesp. p. 473.
No. 1261,-vii. 40. And he saith, master, say on.} This was a way of speaking in use with the Jews, giving leave to proceed in a discourse; and as Christ was now a guest in this man's hosue, he asks leave of him, and he grants it. We read of R. Simeon ben Gamaliel, that he said to R. Ishmael ben Elishah, “Is it thy pleasure that I should say before thee one thing? he said unto him, say on."
GILL, in loc.
6. The more
No. 1262,-X. 4. And salute no man by the way.] The object of this instruction was to prevent their being hindered by unnecessary delay in their journey. It was not designed to prevent the usual and proper civilities which were practised amongst the people, but to avoid the impediments occasioned by form and ceremony: and this was the more necessary, since it was a maxim with the Jews, prevent every man with a salutation. How persons might thus be prevented and hindered will clearly appear in the following extract. noble and educated the man, the oftener did he repeat his questions. A well dressed young man attracted my particular attention, as an adept in the perseverance and redundancy of salutation. Accosting an Arab of Augila, he gave him his hand, and detained him a considerable time with his civilities: when the Arab being obliged to advance with greater speed to come up again with his companions, the youth of Fezzan thought he should appear deficient in good manners if he quitted him so soon.
For near half a mile he kept running by his horse, whilst all his conversation was, how dost
thou fare? well, how art thou thyself? praised be God thou art arrived in peace? God grant thee peace? how dost thou do? &c."
HORNEMAN's Truvels in Africa, p. 53.
No. 1263.-8. 4. And salute no man by the way.] Dr. Lightfoot, from the rabbis, observes, that it was the custom of the Jews during the days of their mourning not to salute any one. He conceives therefore that Christ would have his disciples appear like mourners: partly, as representing himself who was a man of sorrow, that so from these messengers the people might guess in some measure what sort of person he was that sent them: partly, as they were to summon the people to attend upon Christ, in order to be healed both of their spiritual and bodily diseases; and it was therefore fit that their behaviour should be mournful and solemn, in token of their fellow-feeling with the afflicted and miserable,
No. 1264.--X. 34. Pouring in oil and winc.] It was usual with the Jews to mix oil and wine together, to heal wounds, and they have a variety of rules both for the time and manner of mingling it, as well as for the seasons and mode of applying it. See more in GILL, in loc.
No. 1265.-_xi. 5, 6. Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine in his journey is come to me?] The eastern journeys are often performed in the night, on account of the great heat of the day. This is the time in which the caravans chiefly travel: the circumstance therefore of the arrival of a friend at midnight is very probable.
HARMER, vol. i. p. 468.