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21. TIIE IIEALING OF THE MAN WITHI

A DROPSY.

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All which is most remarkable in the circumstances of this miracle has been already anticipated in others, as especially in the two immediately preceding, to which the reader is referred. Our Lord, not even at this late period of his ministry treating the Pharisees is wholly and finally hardened against the truth, but still seeking to win, if it were possible, them also for his kingdom, had accepted the invitation of ono of the chief among them “to eat breadl” in his house. This was upon the sabbath, the day which the Jews ordinarily selected for their festal meals : for the idea of the sabbath among the Jews was not at all that of a day to be austerely kept, but very much the contrary. The practical abuses of it were the turning it into a day of rioting and excess* But the invitation, though accepted in love, yet seems not to have been given in good faith, but in the hope that the nearer and more accurate watching of the Lord's words and ways, which such an opportunity would give, might afford some new matter of accusation against him t. Such was, probably, the spring of the apparent courtesy which they shewed him now, and so did they reverence the sacred laws of hospitality I.

It has been suggested that the man with a dropsy was of

• On the abuses in this kind of the Jewish Sabbath at a later day, see AlGUSTINE, Enarr. in Ps. xci. 1, and 2" in Ps. xxxii. 2, and Serm. 9, C. 3.

+ The emphasis, however, which Hammond finds in the nai autoi, even they that had invited him did treacherously watch him,-as though the Evangelist would bring into notice the violation here of the laws of hospitality, is questionable. Such a superabounding use of kai is not un. usual in St. Luke.

* *Hour Trapat ipoumevot. For a similar 118€ of mapatupoiv, compare vi. 7 ; XX. 20; Mark jii. 2; Dan. vi. 11.

design placed where he was, since he would scarcely without permission have found entrance into a private house. But although it is quite conceivable of these malignant adversaries of Christ, that they should have laid such a snare for him as this, yet there is nothing in the narration to give it likelihood here ; and the difficulty that, without such design, the man would scarcely have found his way into the house of the Pharisee, rests upon an ignorance of the almost public life of the East, and a forgetting how easily in a moment of high excitement, such as this must have been, the feeble barriers which the conventional rules of society would oppose might be broken through. (Luke vii. 36, 37.) At any rate, if there was such a plot, the man himself was no party to it; for the Lord “ took him, and healed him, and let him go.

Yet, ere he did this, he justified the work which he would accomplish, as more than once he had justified other similar works of grace and love wrought upon the Sabbath, saying to these interpreters of the Law, “ Is it lawful to heal upon the Sabbath ?” Here, as in so many matters of debate, it only needs for the question to be truly put, to be once rightly stated, and the answer at once is given ; all is so clear, that the possibility of its remaining a question any longer has for ever vanished *. As was the case before, he obtains no answer from them,-for they will not approve, and they cannot gainsay. “As on other occasions, (Matt. xii. 11; Luke xiii. 15,) the Lord brings back those present to their own experience, and lets them feel the keen contradiction in which their blame of Christ's free work of love sets them with themselves, in that, where their worldly interests were at hazard, they did that very thing whereof they made now an

• Tertullian (Adv. Marc., l. 4, c. 12): Adimplevit enim et hic legem, dum conditionem interpretatur ejus, dum operum differentiam illuminat, dum facit quæ Lex de Sabbati feriis excipit, dum ipsum Sabbati diem benedictione Patris à primordio sanctum, benefactione suâ efficit sanctiorem, in quo scilicet divina præsidia ministrabat.

occasion against him *.” We may observe, that as in that other case where the woman was bound, he adduces the example of unbinding a beast, (Luke xiii. 15,)—so in this, where the man was dropsical, suffering, that is, from water, the example he adduces has its equal fitness f. “You grudge that I should deliver this man upon this day from the water that is choking him, yet if the same danger from water threatened one of your beasts, an ass or an ox , you would make no scruple of extricating it on the sabbath from the dangers which threatened it; how much then is a man better than a beast ?” “And they could not answer him again to these things ;” they were silenced, that is, but not convinced. The truth, which did not win them, did that which alone else it could do, exasperated them the more: and they replied nothing, biding their time. (See Matt. xii. 14.)

* OLSHAUSEN.

+ So Augustine (Quæst. Evang., l. 2, c. 29): Congruenter hydropicum animali quod cecidit in puteum, comparavit: humore enim laborabat; sicut et illam mulierem quam decem et octo annis alligatam dixerat ... comparavit jumento quod solvitur ut ad aquam ducatur. Grotius : Hydropicum submergendæ pecudi, ut triv our kúm tovoav pecudi vinctæ, comparavit.

There are very considerable authorities for, instead of ovos, reading viós, which Mill and Wetstein favour, and which Chrysostom (see CRAMER'S Catena, in loc.) appears to have read in his copy; yet the internal connexion seems decisive in favour of the other reading. Christ is arguing from the less to the greater: “You will save a comparatively worthless beast, do you murmur when I save a man?” We have the ox and the ass set together as liable to this accident of falling into a pit, Exod. xxi. 33.

22. THE CLEANSING OF THE TEN

LEPERS.

LUKE xvii. 11–19.

The Jews that dwelt in Galilee very commonly in their necessary journeys to the feasts at Jerusalem took the longer route, which led them across the Jordan, and through the region of Peræa, the Gilead of the Old Testament, that so they might avoid the vexations and annoyances and even worse outrages which they sometimes met in passing through the unfriendly land of the Samaritans*. For these, always unfriendly, would naturally be most unfriendly of all to those that were travelling up to the great feasts of the holy city, and were thus giving witness in act against the will-worship of Mount Gerizim, and the temple of Samaria in which no presence of God dwelt. It is generally understood that now, despite these vexations and the discomforts of that inhospitable route, (see Luke ix. 51–56; John iv. 9,) our Lord, with the band of his disciples, on this his last journey to the holy city, took the directer and shorter way which led him straight from Galilee through the midst of Samaria to Jerusalem. It is certain that the words of the original may bear this meaning, yet not the less I should understand the Evangelist to say that the Lord passed between these two regions, having, that is, one of his right hand, the other on his left, and skirting them both. This explains the mention of Samaria first, which in the ordinary ex lanation of the words is almost inexplicable. The Lord travelled due eastward toward Jordan, having Galilee on his left hand, and Samaria, which is therefore first named, on his right: and on reaching the river, he either passed over it at Scythopolis, where we know there was a bridge, recrossing the river near Jericho*, or kept on the western bank till he reached that city, where presently we find him. (xviii. 35.)

* Josephus (Antt., 1. 20, c. 6, » 1) gives an account of the massacre by the Samaritans of a great number of Galilæan pilgrims, which happened a little later than this.

And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men, that were lepers." Their common misery had drawn them together; (2 Kin. vii. 3 ;) nay, had even caused them to forget the fierce national antipathy which reigned between Jew and Samaritan. In this border land too it was more natural than elsewhere that they should find themselves in one company, and thus a Samaritan had found admission into this forlorn assembly. There has been already occasion to speak of the nature and meaning of leprosy in the Law of Moses ; that it was the outward symbol of sin in its deepest malignity,-of sin therefore as involving entire separation from God; not of spiritual sickness only, but spiritual death, since absolute separation from the one fountain of life must needs be no less. These lepers, in obedience to the commandment, “stood afar off ;and out of a deep sense of their misery, yet not without hope that an Healer was at hand, lifted up their voices and said, Jesus, Mastert, have mercy on us !” They were now in earnest to receive the mercy, however at a later period they were slack in giving thanks for it.

Wonderful is it and most instructive to observe the differences in our Lord's dealing with the different sufferers and mourners that are brought in contact with him; how the Physician, who is all wisdom and all tenderness, varies his treat

* So Wetstein : Non viâ rectâ et brevissima a septentrione versus meridiem per Samariticam regionem iter fecit, sed cum confinia Samariæ et Galilææ venisset, ab itinere detlexit versus orientem, ita ut Samariam ad dextram, Galilæam ad sinistram haberet ; et Jordanem Scythopoli, ubi pons erat, videtur transiisse, et juxta ripam Jordanis in Peræâ descendisse, donec e regione Jerichuntis iterum trajiceret.

+ 'ETIOTÁTU. The word is peculiar to St. Luke (1. 5; vii. 24, 45; ix. 33, 19.) It is instead of the núpce of St. Matthews

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