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Rabbinical citation :-"R. Simeon Ben Jochai, standing at the mouth of his cave (wherein he had lain hid for the space of thirteen years), he saw a certain man catching of birds. And when he heard Bath Kol* out of heaven saying, Mercy, mercy,' the birds escaped; but when he heard Bath Kol saying, “The pain of death,' then was the bird taken. He saith therefore, “A bird is not taken without God; much less, the life of man.'”
18. “ I will pull down my barns, and build greater.”—This pulling down, and rebuilding on a larger scale, shows quite clearly that the Jews of this time had granaries as constructed edifices. It does not however follow that they had altogether relinquished the older and still common custom of depositing the grain in subterranean storehonses; in which it is certainly more secure, and, as some think, preserved in better condition, than in constructed storehouses. The latter are, to some extent, the characteristics of a people who have attained a condition of security and peace ; for those who are exposed to danger and alarm, will prefer the subterraneous granary, which may on occasions of emergency be abandoned by the proprietor, with tolerable confidence that when he is enabled to return, he shall find his treasured grain untouched ; the entrance being so carefully concealed that it is sometimes discovered with difficulty by the owner himself, when he returns after an absence. This plan may in general be said to be resorted to by the pea. santry throughout the East, constructed granaries being confined to towns and their neighbourhood—a distinction which perhaps prevailed among the Jews.
21. “ They neither sow nor reap."— This mode of reasoning, or rather of illustration, was familiar to the Jews. Thus, in the Mishna, R. Simeon Ben Eleazer is reported to have said, “Did you ever see a beast or fowl that had a trade? but they are fed without trouble.” To which the Gemara adds, “ Did you ever see a lion bearing burdens, a hart gathering summer fruits, a fox a money-changer, or a wolf selling pots? And yet they are nourished without labour. And wherefore are they created ? To serve me: and I am created to serve my Maker. And lo! these things have in them an argument; for if these, which are created to serve me after this manner, are supported without trouble, I, who am created to serve my Maker-is it not fit that I should be supplied without trouble? And what is the reason that I am supplied with trouble? My sins," (See Gill on Matt. vi. 26.).
8 And he answering said unto him, Lord,
let it alone this year also, till I shall dig i Christ preacheth repentance upon the punishment about it, and dung it: of the Galilæans, and others. 6 The fruitless fig
9 And if it bear fruit, well : and if not, tree may not stand. 11 He healeth the crooked woman: 18 sheweth the powerful working of the then after that thou shalt cut it down. word in the hearts of his chosen, by the parable of 10 And he was teaching in one of the the grain of mustard seed, and of leaven : 24 exhorteth to enter in at the strait gate, 31 and re
synagogues on the sabbath.
111 And, behold, there was a woman proveth Herod and Jerusalem.
which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen There were present at that season some years, and was bowed together, and could that told him of the Galilæans, whose blood in no wise lift up herself. Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 12 And when Jesus saw her, he called
2 And Jesus answering said unto them, her to him, and said unto her, Woman, thou Suppose ye that these Galilæans were sin- art loosed from thine infirmity. ners above all the Galilæans, because they 13 And he laid his hands on her: and suffered such things ?
immediately she was made straight, and 3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, glorified God. ye shall all likewise perish.
14 And the ruler of the synagogue an4 Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower swered with indignation, because that Jesus in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that had healed on the sabbath day, and said unto they were 'sinners above all men that dwelt the people, There are six days in which men in Jerusalem ?
ought to work: in them therefore come and 5 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, be healed, and not on the sabbath day ye shall all likewise perish.
15 The Lord then answered him, and 6 9 He spake also this parable; A cer- said, Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of tain man had a fig tree planted in his vine- you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass yard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, from the stall, and lead him away to waterand found none.
7 Then said he unto the dresser of his 16 And ought not this woman, being a vineyard, Behold, these three years I come daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground ? | from this bond on the sabbath day?
1 Or, deblors.
* The Rabbinical writers have much to say about the Bath Kol, or “daughter of a voice," or "danghter-voice," which they mention in such a manner as to convey the impression that it was a directing voice from heaven ; but it probably means no more than a kind of divination, in which an appeal was made to the Bath Kol, after which the first words heard from any person were understood to convey the desired oracle,
17 And when he had said these things, you not whence ye are; depart from me, all all his adversaries were ashamed: and all ye workers of iniquity the people rejoiced for all the glorious things 28 There shall be weeping and gnashing that were done by him.
of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and 18 Then said he, Unto what is the Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in kingdom of God like ? and whereunto shall the kingdom of God, and you yourselves I resemble it?
thrust out. 19 It is like a grain of mustard seed, 29 And they shall come from the east, which a man took, and cast into his garden; and from the west, and from the north, and and it grew, and waxed a great tree; and from the south, and shall sit down in the the fowls of the air lodged in the branches kingdom of God. of it.
30 And, behold, there are last which 20 And again he said, Whereunto shall I shall be first, and there are first which shall liken the kingdom of God?
be last. 21 It is like leaven, which a woman took 31 | The same day there came certain and hid in three êmeasures of meal, till the of the Pharisees, saying unto him, Get thee whole was leavened.
out, and depart hence: for Herod will kill 22 .And he went through the cities and thee. villages, teaching, and journeying toward 32 And he said unto them, Go ye, and Jerusalem.
tell that fox, Behold, I cast out devils, and I 23 Then said one unto him, Lord, are do cures to day and to morrow, and the there few that be saved? And he said unto third day I shall be perfected. them,
33 Nevertheless I must walk to day, and 24 Strive to enter in at the strait to morrow, and the day following: for it gate: for many, I say unto you, will seck to cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jeenter in, and shall not be able.
rusalem. 25 When once the master of the house is 34 'O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye the prophets, and stonest them that are sent begin to stand without, and to knock at the unto thee; how often would I have gathered door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; thy children together, as a hen doth gather and he shall answer and say unto you, I her brood under her wings, and ye would not ! know you not whence ye are :
35 Behold, your house is left unto you 26 Then shall ye begin to say, We have desolate : and verily I say unto you, Ye shall eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou not see me, until the time come when ye hast taught in our streets.
shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the 27 "But he shall
say, I tell you, I know name of the Lord.
8 See Matt. 13. 33. • Matt. 9.35. * Matt7. 13. * Matt. 7. 23. 7 Matt. 19.30. 8 Matt. 23.37. Verse 1. “The Galilæans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.”—This event is mentioned by no other writer. It is not quite easy to determine who these Ğalileans were, or the offences for which they were slain. But, with a view to time and circumstances, it seems more than probable that they were followers of the noted Judas of Galilee, mentioned by the same Evangelist in Acts v. 37, who may be considered as the founder of the sect of Zealots so noted in later times, and frequently mentioned by us in former notes. The principles of Judas and his party were, that it was not lawful to pay tribute to Cæsar, or submit to the Romans. With a view far backward, to the early times of their history, and perhaps recollecting the disapprobation with which the first desire of the nation for a king was received—they held that God was their only sovereign, and they were therefore content to suffer death and torture rather than call any man Lord. It was when Judea was inade a Roman province, after the deposition of Archelaus, that Judas and his coadjutor Sadduc first propounded their opinions, vehemently
, protesting that the census, with the valuation of property and payment of tribute, which was then carried into effect, involved the most shameful slavery, to which a nation whose sovereign was God ought not to submit. The heads of this party were put down by the Romans, and measures of active opposition suppressed: but, as we have said, the party still survived; and it is fair enough to conclude that the Galileans here mentioned belonged to this party; and having by some acts or declarations made their principles known, were slain by Pilate, when they had proceeded to Jerusalem to worship at the Temple. (Sce more on this subject under Acts v.)
4. “ The tower in Siloam.”—This tower no doubt stood near the pool of that name. These and other similar instances in which our Lord avails himself of recent occurrences, which were doubtless the subjects of general conversation, to give point or illustration to his instructions, are of much interest, and must have made a strong, impression upon his actual auditors. The feeling which disposed people, and does often still dispose them, to regard such events as judgments from heaven upon those who suffer by them, and which appears to have been the feeling which the Jews entertained, needs no illustration. The present feeling in Western Asia—that is, among the Mohammedans is somewhat different; every one who is slain by the fall of walls or buildings being regarded as a martyr.
7. “Cut it down."—The Jews were reluctant to cut down any fruit tree till they were assured that it was utterly barren. This was from interpreting largely the injunction contained in Deut. xx. 19, 20. It hence became a question,
#Natt. 13. 31.
what was the degree of fruitfulness which would render a tree worth preserving. With respect to two of them, it was decided that a palm-tree which atforded a cab of dates should not be cut down, nor an olive-tree that bore the fourth part of a cab. "But as much depended upon the age of the tree, this rule did not hold good beyond three years, when, if a tree continued barren, or afforded inadequate returns, it received a red mark, and was devoted to destruction. This explains why the owner of the present tree did not propose to cut it down till it had been three years barren. It was considered a sinful act to cut down a fruit tree prematurely; hence R. Chaninah is reported to have said, "My son Shibehah had not rlied, had he not cut down a fig-tree before its time.” See Lightfoot's · Horæ Heb.' in loc., and Chorog. Century,' ch. 98.
8. “ I shall dig about it, and dung 11."-The process here suggested was applicable to several other fruit-trees. It is one of the few passages which convey some slight information as to the mode in which the Jews treated their fruittrees. The additional information afforded by the following citation from the Gemara is useful. " They lay dung in their gardens to moisten the earth. They dig about the roots of their trees, they pluck up the suckers, they take off the leaves, they sprinkle ashes, and they make a smoke under their trees to destroy the worms."
15. “ Lead him away to watering.”—This is shown in the Talmud, which states that a beast might be led forth to watering on the sabbath day, so that it bare no other burden than its collar and halter. Indeed it was held lawful to draw water for them, and pour it into the trough; but it was not lawful to bear water to the beast, which must be led to the well, pool, or river, and watered there.
32. “ Go ye, and tell that for.”—It adds to the force, and points the meaning of this, to understand that our Saviour calls the Tetrarch of Galilee a “fox,” in allusion to a proverb, at that time current, to the effect, “ Honour even the for in the day of his power.” If so, the expression would involve the intimation, that Herod was a fox in the day of his power. The Arabians have a proverb similar to the above in its spirit: “ When the monkey reigns, dance before him. Burckhardt's • Arabic Proverbs,' No. 87.
thou begin with shame to take the lowest 2 Christ healeth the dropsy on the sabbath : 7 teach
eth humility: 12 to feast the poor : 15 under the 10 But when thou art bidden, go and sit parable of the great supper, sheweth how worldly down in the lowest room; that when he that minded men, who contemn the word of God, shall
bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, be shut out of heaven. 25 Those who will be his disciples, to bear their cross must make their ac- Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have counts aforehand, lest with shame they revolt from worship in the presence of them that sit at him afterward, 34 and become altogether unpro- | meat with thee. fituble, like salt that hath lost his savour.
11 'For whosoever exalteth himself shall And it came to pass, as he went into the be abased; and he that humbleth himself house of one of the chief Pharisees to eat shall be exalted. bread on the sabbath day, that they watched 12 Then said he also to him that bado him.
him, When thou makest a dinner or a sup2 And, behold, there was a certain man per, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, before him which had the dropsy.
neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neigh3 And Jesus answering spake unto the bours; lest they also bid thee again, and a Lawyers and Pharisees, saying, Is it lawful recompence be made thee. to heal on the sabbath day?
13 But when thou makest a feast, call 4 And they held their peace. And he 'the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: took him, and healed him, and let him go; 14 And thou shalt be blessed; for they
5 And answered them, saying, Which of cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a recompensed at the resurrection of the just. pit, and will not straightway pull him out on 15 | And when one of them that sat at the sabbath day?
meat with him heard these things, he said 6 And they could not answer him again unto him, “Blessed is he that shall eat bread to these things.
in the kingdom of God. 7. And he put forth a parable to those 16 Then said he unto him, A certain man which" were bidden, when he marked how made a great supper, and bade many: they chose out the chief rooms; saying unto 17 And sent his servant at supper time them,
to say to them that were bidden, Come; for 8 When thou art bidden of any man to a all things are now ready. wedding, sit not down in the highest room; 18 And they all with one consent began lest a more honourable man than thou be to make excuse. The first said unto him, I bidden of him ;
have bought a piece of ground, and I must 9 And he that bade thee and him come needs go and see it: I pray thee have me and say to thee, Give this man place; and excused. 1 Prov, 25. 6, 7.
3 Tob. 4.7. * Rev. 19. 9.
* Matt. 23. 12.
5 Matt. 22. 2.
19 And another said, I have bought five
27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I and come after me, cannot be my disciple. pray thee have me excused.
28 For which of you, intending to build a 20 And another said, I have married a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth wife, and therefore I cannot come.
the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish 21 So that servant came, and shewed his it? lord these things. Then the master of the 29 Lest haply, after he hath laid the house being angry said to his servant, Go foundation, and is not able to finish it, all out quickly into the streets and lanes of the that behold it begin to mock him, city, and bring in hither the poor, and the 30 Saying, This man began to build, and maimed, and the halt, and the blind.
was not able to finish. 22 And the servant said, Lord, it is done 31 Or what king, going to make war as thou hast commanded, and yet there is against another king, sitteth not down first, room.
and consulteth whether he be able with ten 23 And the lord said unto the servant, thousand to meet him that cometh against Go out into the highways and hedges, and him with twenty thousand ? compel them to come in, that my house may 32 Or else, while the other is yet a great be filled.
way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and de24 For I say unto you, That none of those sireth conditions of peace. men which were bidden shall taste of my 33 So likewise, whosoever he be of
that forsaketh not all that he hath, he can25 ? And there went great multitudes not be my disciple. with him: and he turned, and said unto 34 l 'Salt is good: but if the salt have them,
lost his savour, wherewith shall it be sea26 If
any man come to me, and hate not soned ? his father, and mother, and wife, and chil- 35 It is neither fit for the land, nor yet dren, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his for the dunghill; but men cast it out. He own life also, he cannot be my disciple. that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
& Matt. 10.37. 7 Matt. 5. 13. Verse 16. “ A certain man made a great supper."—We cannot withhold an interesting passage, in Mr. Morier's "Second Journey into Persia,' which illustrates with much effect this parable and some of our Lord's preceding remarks. " It was fixed that at the end of August the Ameen-ad-Dowlah, or second vizier, was to give an entertainment to the ambassador and suite; and on the day appointed, as is usual in Persia, a messenger came, about five o'clock in the evening, to bid us to the feast. I might make use of Scripture language to commence my narration. A certain man made a great supper, and bade many, and sent his servant at supper time to them that were bidden, Come, for all things are ready. (Luke xiv. 16, 17.). The difficulty which infidels have made in the passage of which this is the commencement arises from the apparent harshness of asking people to an entertainment, and giving them no option, by punishing them, in fact, for their refusal. Whereas all the guests to whom, when the supper was ready, the servant was sent, had already accepted the invitation, and were therefore already pledged to appear at the feast, at the hour when they might be summoned ; they were not taken unprepared, and could not, in consistency or decency, plead ang prior engagement.
“When a Persian enters a mejlis, or assembly, he makes the usual salutation, of Selem aleikum, Peace be unto you, which is addressed to the whole assembly, as it were saluting the house (Matt. x. 12); and then, measuring with his eye the degree of rank to which he holds himself entitled, he straightway wedges himself into the line of guests, without offering any apology for the general disturbance which he produces. It may be conceived that, among a vain people, the disputes that arise on matters of precedence, are numerous; and it was easy to observe, by the countenances of those present, when any one had taken a higher seat than that to which he was entitled. Mollahs, the Persian scribes, are remarkable for their arrogance in this respect; and will bring to mind the caution that our Saviour gave to the Jews against their scribes, whom, among other things, he characterizes as loving the uppermost places at feasts, Mark xii. 39. The master of the entertainment has, however, the privilege of placing any one as high in the ranks of mejlis as he may choose ; and we saw an instance of it on this occasion ; for when the assembly was nearly full, the governor of Kashan, a man of humble mien, although of considerable rank, came in, and had seated himself at the lowest place, when the Ameen-ad-Dowlah, after having testified his particular attentions to him, by numerous expressions of welcome, pointed with his hand to an upper seat in the assembly, to which he desired him to move, and which he did accordingly.”.
2 And the Pharisees and Scribes mur
mured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, 1 The parable of the lost sheep : 8 of the piece of and eateth with them. silver : 11 of the prodigal son.
3 And he spake this parable unto them, THEN drew near unto him all the Publicans saying, and sinners for to hear him.
4 What man of you, having an hundred I Matt. 18. 12.
sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave 8. Either what woman having ten 'pieces the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light go after that which is lost, until he find it? a candle, and sweep the house, and seek di
5 And when he hath found it, he layeth ligently till she find it? it on his shoulders, rejoicing.
9 And when she hath found it, she calleth 6 And when he cometh home, he calleth her friends and her neighbours together, together his friends and neighbours, saying saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have the piece which I had lost. found my sheep which was lost.
10 Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy 7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall in the presence of the angels of God over be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, one sinner that repenteth. more than over ninety and nine just persons, 11 | And he said, A certain man had which need no repentance.
two sons: • Drachma, here translated a piece of silver, is the eighth part of an ounce, which cometh to seven pence halfpenny, and is equal to the
Roman pendy-Matt. 18. 28.