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No. 1266.--xi. 5. Friend, lend me three loaves.] It was usual with the Jews to borrow bread of one another; and certain rules are laid down when and upon what condition this is to be done: as for instance on a sab. bath-day. “ So said Hillel, let not a woman lend bread to a friend till she has fixed the price, lest wheat should be dearer, and they should be found coming into the practice of usury.” What was lent could not be demanded again under thirty days. GILL, in loc.
No. 1267.-xii. 37. And will come forth and serve them.] The Arabic version renders it, he shall stand to minister unto them. The phrase is expressive of the posture of a servant, who, as Dr. Lightfoot observes, goes round the table while others sit. Some think there is an allusion in the words to a custom used at some feasts, particularly at those in honour of Saturn, in which servants changed clothes with their masters, and sat at their tables, their masters serving them,
No. 1268.-xii. 55. When ye see the south-wind blow, ye say there will be heat, and it cometh to pass.] This circumstance accords perfectly with the relations of travellers into Syria, Egypt, and several parts of the East. When the south-wind begins to blow, the sky becomes dark and heavy, the air grey and thick, and the whole atmosphere assumes a most alarming aspect. The heat produced by these southern winds has been compared to that of a large oven at the moment of drawing out the bread; and to that of a flame blown upon the face of a person standing near the fire which excites it. Compare Thevenots Travels, b. i. p. 2. c. 10. with Maillet's Descript, de l’Egypte, tom. i. lett. 2. and Volney's Voyage; tom. i. c. 4.
No. 1269.--xiii. 26. Thou hast taught in our streets.]
It was customary with the Jewish doctors to teach in the streets. It is said of Rabban Jochanan ben Zaccai, that “ he was sitting in the shade of the temple, and expounding all the day.” The gloss on the place is, " the temple being a hundred cubits high, its shade went very
far in the street which is before the moun tain of the house; and because the street was large and held abundance of men, he was expounding there by reason of the heat, for no school could hold them."
Gill, in loc.
No. 1270.-xiii. 33. It cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem.] “ The (Jewish) Sanhedrim could be held no where but at Jerusalem, in a place called Liscat Hagazit, the stone conclave, which was contiguous to the temple, or rather a part of it. This Liscat Hagazit was much the same thing with that which was formerly called at Constantinople In Trullo. The Talmudists call it a Basilica ; and all causes of considerable importance were finally determined in that place. This remark gives light to those words of Christ, it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem.” Picart's Religious Ceremonies, vol. i. p. 115.
No. 1271.-xiv. 16, 17. A certain man made a great supper, and bade many, and sent his servant at suppertime to say to them that were bidden, come, for all things are now ready.] There is a striking conformity between the circumstances intimated in the introductory part of this parable and the ceremonies attendant upon a Chinese entertainment. Amongst this people “an invitation to an entertainment is not supposed to be given with sincerity, until it has been renewed three or four times in writing. A card is sent on the evening before the entertainment; another on the morning of the appointed day; and a third when every thing is
prepared.” (GOLDSMITH's Geography, p. 117.) The invitation to this great supper is supposed to have been given, when the certain man had resolved upon making it. But it is again repeated at supper time, when all things were ready. Now as it does not appear that the renewal of it arose from the refusal of the persons invited, of which no hint is yet given, we may suppose it was customary thus to send repeated messages. The practice was very ancient amongst the Chinese, and, if admitted to have prevailed amongst the Jews, certainly gives a significancy to the words not usually perceived.
No. 1272.-xiv. 26. If any man come unto me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. ] When proselytes were received into the Jewish church, the bond of natural relation between them and their kindred was considered as being dissolved. Hence it became a maxim with the rabbis, that a proselyte might lawfully marry his own mother, or his own daughter, born before he became such; they being now no more related to him than any other women. Such marriages were looked upon as indecent, and on that account were not permitted. It has been supposed that Christ alludes to this renunciation of natural relationship in the words now cited. See also Psalm xlv. 10. To this may be added the words of Tacitus (Hist. lib. v. c. 5.) who, in his character of the Jews, having mentioned their custom of circumcision as adopted by proselytes, adds, “they then quickly learn to despise the gods, to renounce their country, and to hold their parents, children, and brethren in the utmost contempt."
JENNINGS's Jewish Ant. vol. i. p. 139.
No. 1273.xv. 12. And he divided unto them his
living.] It was usual for rich men in the East to divide their property ; but not always for the purpose specified in this part of the parable. “Ever apprehensive of revolution and ruin, a rich man generally divides his estate into three parts. One he employs in trade, or the necessary purposes of life : another he invests in jewels, which he may easily carry off if forced to fly : and the other he buries. As he intrusts nobody with the secret of this deposit, if he die before he returns to the spot, it is then lost to the world, till accident throws it in the way of some fortunate peasant when turning up his ground. Those discoveries of hidden treasure, and sudden transitions from poverty to riches, of which we read in oriental tales, are by no means therefore quite ideal ; but a natural consequence of the manners of the people.” RICHARDSON's Dissert, on the East, p. 180.
No. 1274.--xv. 16. The husks that the swine did eat.] That negaliov answers to siliqua, and signifies a husk or pod, wherein the seeds of some plants, especially those of the leguminous tribe, are contained, is evident. Both the Greek and Latin terms signify the fruit of the carob tree, a tree very common in the Levant, and in the southern parts of Europe, as Spain and Italy. This fruit still continues to be used for the same purpose, the feeding of swine. It is also called St. John's Bread, from the opinion that the Baptist used it in the wilderness. Miller says it is mealy, and has a sweetish taste, and that it is eaten by the poorer sort, for it grows in the common hedges and is of little account.
CAMPBELL's Translation of the Gospels, note.
No. 1275.-XV. 25. He heard music and dancing.] There can be no doubt but that music frequently accompanied eastern meals, especially those which were
of a superior kind. Homer thus represents Ulysses's meal. Ησθιε δ' ως οτ' αοιδος ενι μεγάροισιν αειδεν, &c.
Odyss. xvii. 358.
Long as the bard
No. 1276.-xvi. 12. If ye have not been faithful in that which is another man's, who shall give you that which is your own?] The following custom of the Turks may contribute to our understanding of these words. “ It is a common custom with the merchants of this country when they hire a broker, book-keeper, or other confidential servant, to agree that he shall claim no wages : but to make amends for that unprofitable disadvantage, they give them free and uncontrouled authority to cheat them every way they can in managing their business: but with this proviso, that they must never exceed the privileged advantage of ten per cent. All under that which they can fairly gain in the settling of accounts with their respective masters is properly their own ; and by their master's will is confirmed to their possession.” Aaron Hill's Travels, p. 77.
This kind of allowance, though extremely singular, is both ancient and general in the East. It is mentioned in the Gentoo Laws, chap. ix. “If a man hath hired any person to conduct a trade for him, and no agreement be made with regard to wages, in that case the person hired shall receive one-tenth of the profit."
The text above cited must therefore, according to these extracts at least, mean, “ if you have not been found faithful in the administration of your principal's property, how can you expect to receive your share (as the word may signify) of that advantage which should reward your labours ? If you have not been