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arbitrary. Formerly the Hebrews and Greeks divided the day only according to the three sensible differences of the sun; when it rises, when it is at the highest point of elevation above the horizon, and when it sets: that is, they divided the day only into morning, noon, and night. These are the only parts of a day which we find mentioned in the Old Testament; the day not being yet divided into twenty-four hours. Since that the Jews and Romans divided the day, that is, the space between the rising and setting of the sun, into four parts, consisting each of three hours. But those hours were different from ours in this respect, that ours are always equal, being always the four and twentieth part of the day; whereas with them the hour was a twelfth part of the time which the sun continued above the horizon. As this time is longer in summer thąn in winter, their summer hours must be longer than their winter ones. The first hour began at sun-rising, noon was the sixth, and the twelfth ended at sun-set. The third hour divided the space between sụn-rising and noon: the ninth divided that which was between noon and sun-set. And it is with relation to this division of the day that Christ says, are there not twelve hours in the day?
No. 1297.—xi. 19. Many of the Jews came to Martha and Mary to comfort them.] “ The general time of mourning for deceased relations, both among Jews and Gentiles, was seven days. During these days of mourning their friends and neighbours visited them, in order that by their presence and conversation they might assist them in bearing their loss. Many therefore in so populous a part of the country must have been going to and coming froin the sisters, while the days of their mourning for Lazarus lasted. The concourse too would be the greater as it was the time of the passover. Besides, a vast multitude now attended Jesus on his
journey. This great miracle therefore must have had
MACKNIGHT's Harmony, vol. ii. p. 529.
No. 1298.-xi. 19. And many of the Jews came to Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother.] This was the common practice of the Jews after a funeral; but they did not allow of it before. The first office of this kind was done when they returned from the grave: the mourners stood in their place in a row, and all the people passed by: every man as he came to the mourner comforted him and passed on. Besides these consolations there were others administered at their own houses during the first week: and it was on the third day more particularly that these consolatory visits were paid. It was reckoned an act of great piety and mercy to comfort mourners. GILL, in loc.
No. 1299,-xi. 31. She goeth unto the grave to weep there.] The Jews used to go to the graves of their friends on various accounts, either to see whether they were dead or not; or from superstitious motives, frequenting the graves of the prophets and wise men to pray and weep. Dr. Pococke has given a form of prayer used by them at such times. Sometimes they went only to vent their grief, and lament the loss of their friends. Such a custom as this prevails among the Turks, whose women on Friday, their day of worship, go before sun-rising to the grave of the deceased, where they mourn, and sprinkle their monuments with water and flowers. The Persians also visit the sepulchres of their principal imams or prelates.
GILL, in loc.
No. 1300.---xi. 31. She goeth to the grave to weep there.] A striking conformity between the customs of the Jews and the East Indians may be traced in many
instances. In mourning for the dead they appear to have expressed their sorrow much in the same manner. The evangelist has informed us that Mary went to the grave of Lazarus to weep there; and from the journal of the baptist missionaries in the East Indies it appears that they do the same. Mr. Fountain says, “March 13. This morning when I awoke I heard a great noise by a number of people on the bank of the tank near my bungalow, an accommodation boat, used as an occasional residence. I went to see what was the matter, and found a number of women and girls assembled to lament over the grave of a lad, who had been killed by a wild buffalo ten days before. The mother sat on the earth at one end of the grave, leaning herself upon it, and bitterly exclaiming, Amor Banban! Amor Banban! oh my child! my child! On the other end of the grave sat another female, who was expressing her grief in a similar manner. This was not occasioned, however, by the affecting accident which befel the lad; but is one of the usual customs of the Mahommedans, who make lamentation for their friends ten days after their decease. There seems something feigned in it, as I have often observed that they leave off abruptly on the approach of a stranger. They did so this morning almost as soon as I appeared.”
No. 1301.-xi. 44. And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with grave-clothes.] The Jewish sepulchres were generally caves or rooms hewn out of rocks. And as the Jews did not make use of coffins, they placed their dead separately in niches or little cells cut into the sides of these caves or rooms. (Maundrell's Travels, p. 76.) This form of the Jewish sepulchre suggests an easy solution of a very important difficulty in the history of Lazarus's resurrection. It is said, that when Jesus called upon Lazarus to come forth, he came
out bound hand and foot. But deists, talking of this miracle commonly ask with a sneer, how he could come out of a grave who was bound in that manner? The answer however is obvious. The evangelist does not mean that Lazarus walked out of the sepulchre, but that, lying on his back, he raised himself into a sitting posture, then putting his legs over the edge of his niche or cell, slid down, and stood upright upon the floor; all which he might easily do, notwithstanding his arms were close bound to his body, and his legs .were tied strait together by means of the shroud and rollers with which he was swathed. Accordingly, when he was come forth, it is said, that Jesus ordered them to loose him and let him go; a circumstance plainly importing, that the historian knew that Lazarus could not walk till he was unbound. MACKNIGHT's Harmony, vol. i. p. 799,
No. 1302,-xiii. 24. Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him.] Peter being at some distance from Christ, beckoned to John to propose an inquiry to him. This was usually done at meals, when they could not by reason of their posture discourse together. This being the case, they made signs by nodding to each other.
GILL, in loc,
No. 1303.-xviii. 16. And spake unto her that kept the door.] The Ethiopic version in the next verse calls this person the door-keeper's daughter. He might indeed be the porter, but being busy, she supplied his place. There is however no need of such a conjecture, since it was usual with other nations, and might be with the Jews, for women to be door-keepers. Pignorius (de Servis, p. 454.) has shewn this from Plautus, Petronius, Pausanias, and others.
No. 1304.xix. 17. And he bearing his cross.] Thiş.
was usual for malefactors to do, as Lipsius shews from Artemidorus and Plutarch: the former says, The cross is like to death, and he that is to be fixed to it first bears it. The latter says, And every one of the malefactors that are punished in body carries out his own
No, 1305.-xix, 20. For the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh unto the city.) The cross stood by the way side, where persons were continually passing, and where it was usual to erect crosses to make public examples of malefactors, to deter others from commit. ting the like crimes. Alexander the emperor ordered an eunuch to be crucified by the way-side, in which his servants used commonly to go to his country-house. Quinctilian (Declamat. 275.) observes, “ as often as we crucify criminals the most noted ways are chosen, where most may behold, and most may be moved with fear."
No. 1306.---xix. 31. That the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath-day.] According to the Jewish law, Deut. xxi. 22, 23. the body of one that was hanged on a tree was not to remain all night, but to be taken down that day, and buried; though this was not always observed, 2 Sam. xxi. 9, 10. What was the usage of the Jews at this time is not certain : according to the Roman laws such bodies hung till they were putrefied, or eaten by birds of prey; wherefore, that their land might not be defiled, and especially their sabbath, by their remaining on the cross, they desired to have them taken down.
No. 1307.- xix. 39. And there came also Nicodemus, (who at the first came to Jesus by night,) and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds