Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

Verse 3. "The carpenter."-Some versions and MSS. have "the carpenter's son," but this seems to have been copied over from Matt. xiii., by those who had less discretion, than respect for what they supposed the dignity of our Lord. The general voice of the early ecclesiastical writers supports the conclusion which the text, as it stands, offers, that Christ wrought as a carpenter. There is every probability also. For even had not Joseph been so poor as to render it necessary that his reputed son should learn and practise a trade, it would still have been required by the customs of the Jews, which rendered it imperative upon every parent, whatever his station, to teach his son some handicraft employment, which might serve him as a resource in the day of need. It was their maxim that, "Whosoever teaches not his son to do some work, is the same as if he taught him robbery ;" and the indispensable duties of a father towards his son, are said to be," To circumcise him, to redeem him, to instruct him in the law, and to teach him some occupation." Hence all their great doctors and teachers had some trade or other. We read of the most eminent of them as tailors, shoemakers, blacksmiths, skinners, ditchers, hewers of wood, drawers of water, and so on. Some trades were disliked; but that of a carpenter was not one of them. And although it was tenderly advised that the trade should not only be honest, but easy; this was not always attended to; as some of the most eminent persons were instructed in the meanest and most laborious employments. Whence Maimonides notes, "The great wise men of Israel were, some of them, hewers of wood and drawers of water." As it was therefore, even independent of necessity, requisite that Jesus should learn a trade, it was quite natural that the one of his reputed father should be selected.

37. "Two hundred pennyworth.”—The penny being the Roman denarius of seven pence halfpenny-this would have been six pounds five shillings of our money.

For notes on the other contents of this chapter, see the parallel passages in Matthew and Luke.

CHAPTER VII.

14

1 The Pharisees find fault at the disciples for eating with unwashen hands. 8 They break the commandment of God by the traditions of men. Meat defileth not the man. 24 He healeth the Syrophenician woman's daughter of an unclean spirit, 31 and one that was deaf, and stammered in his speech.

THEN 'came together unto him the Pharisees, and certain of the Scribes, which came from Jerusalem.

2 And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashen, hands, they found fault.

3 For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders.

4 And when they come from the market, except they wash, they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and 'pots, brasen vessels, and of 'tables.

5 Then the Pharisees and Scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands?

6 He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, "This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from

me.

7 Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments

of men.

8 For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.

9 And he said unto them, Full well

reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.

10 For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death:

11 But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is "Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free.

12 And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother;

13 Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered and many such like things do ye.

14 And when he had called all the people unto him, he said unto them, Hearken unto me every one of you, and understand:

15 There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man.

16 If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.

17 And when he was entered into the house from the people, his disciples asked him concerning the parable.

18 And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him;

19 Because entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats?

20 And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man.

21 10 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,

22 Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, de

ye

1 Matt, 15. 1. 2 Or, common. 3 Or, diligently: in the original, with the fist: Theophylact, up to the elbow. Sextarius is about a pint and an half. 5 Or, beds. Isa 29. 13. Matt. 15. 8. 7 Or, frustrate. 8 Matt. 15. 5. 10 Gen. 6. 5, and 8. 21. Matt. 15. 19.

9 Matt. 15. 10.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

she found the devil gone out, and her daughter laid upon the bed.

31 ¶ And again, departing from the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, he came unto the sea of Galilee, through the midst of the coasts of Decapolis.

32 And they bring unto him one that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech; and they beseech him to put his hand upon him.

33 And he took him aside from the multitude, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spit, and touched his tongue;

34 And looking up to heaven, he sighed, and saith unto him, Ephphatha, that is, Be opened.

35 And straightway his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain.

36 And he charged them that they should tell no man: but the more he charged them, so much the more a great deal they published it;

29 And he said unto her, For this saying go thy way; the devil is gone out of thy daughter.

30 And when she was come to her house,

11 Matt. 15. 21.

37 And were beyond measure astonished, saying, He hath done all things well: he maketh both the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak.

12 Or, Gentile.

Verse 3. "All the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not."-Not all the Jews, or the disciples would have done so; but all those who made great pretensions to ceremonial holiness, whether Pharisees or not-but in particular the Pharisees. Indeed we learn this much from the Rabbinical traditions, which state that the punctilious washing of hands before eating, was a matter by which these high professors distinguished themselves, not only from the heathen, but also from "the men of the earth," as they called the common people of their own nation. Now, the disciples of our Lord being of this class, the Pharisees would probably not, under ordinary circumstances, have expected them to be particular as to the washing of hands: it was rather as the disciples of One who appeared as a religious teacher, that this was expected from them; for all such persons, the followers of great doctors and teachers, were in general remarkably attentive to this and the other ceremonial “traditions of the elders."

The practice appears to have been founded on the traditions which alleged that defilement was contracted by the touch of so many different things-far beyond what the law contemplated-that it was almost impossible for one who held these traditions to avoid the frequent defilement of his hands. And as it was held that the hands, being defiled, communicated their defilement to the meat which they touched, rendering it unclean, the hands were constantly and curiously washed before eating, even when the man knew not that his hands were defiled, as he could not be certain that they had not received accidental pollution. It was for this reason, among others, that the Pharisees refused to eat with the common people, who were less attentive to these solemn trifles. The Orientals, who take up with their fingers the food they eat, always, for the sake of cleanliness, wash their hands before they sit down to meat. So doubtless did our Lord's disciples; for the present occasion, on which they ate with unwashen hands, does not in the least appear to have been a regular meal, but some small incidental eating, in which only "some" of them indulged. The question therefore comes before us as one of ceremonial, not of merely personal, cleanliness, of which there is not the least reason to suppose the disciples neglectful.

It appears that the hand only was washed for the eating of ordinary food; but the hand and arm, to the elbow, for eating such food as had been offered at the altar. They also washed their hands in the common way, by having water poured upon them, for common food; but for the holy food, they were careful to dip their hands in the water. There were other minute regulations in this matter with which we shall not trouble the reader, and which distinguished ceremonial washings from those which had nothing but personal cleanliness in view. Such as the last, were accounted as nothing, ceremonially; and hence, that the disciples ate bread with unwashen hands, does not necessarily imply that.. they did not wash their hands, but that they did not wash them according to the regulations which the traditions prescribed. It should be observed that "bread" is to be understood as a general term, including all kinds of food excepting fruits. For the eating of fruits, washing was deemed superfluous; and he who did wash, was regarded even by the Pharisees as an ostentatious man.

4. When they come from the market, except they wash, they eat not.”—This they did, lest in the concourse they should have received some accidental pollution. This they could not well avoid, as it was held that the mere contact of the clothes of "the people of the earth "-the unwashed multitude-conveyed pollution, and rendered purification necessary. Hence we are told by Maimonides that, in walking the streets, they were careful to go by the side of the way, that they might not be defiled by touching the common people. This was indeed a literal exemplification of the feeling, "Stand by, for I am holier than thou." On returning, they washed by plunging their hands in water; whereas, unless holy food were to be eaten, the common pouring of water (in the traditional manner) sufficed for those who

remained at home, and had not knowingly contracted any pollution. Gill supposes that the whole person was washed on returning from market; but we have the sanction of Lightfoot in thinking otherwise. There appears no good reason for the supposition, expressed in the Oriental versions, that the articles bought at the market were washed when brought home; for there were necessarily many articles which could not be washed.

"The washing of cups...pots...brasen vessels."-This is all to be understood of vessels of wood and metal, as those of earthenware were to be broken, if they became defiled. (See the notes on Lev. vi. 38; xv. 12.) The Law prescribed that other vessels were to be washed or scoured, when defiled from causes which it specifies. But the "traditions of the elders" added numerous other defilements which produced the effect of rendering it necessary that earthen vessels should be very frequently broken, and that those of other materials should be washed and scoured every time they were used. The Rabbins give plenty of information on this part of the subject; but the only particulars which seem worth adding to our statements in Leviticus, are, that glass was not to be broken, like earthenware, but to be washed, when defiled. Vessels used for cold liquids were to be washed in the common way, or, if much defiled, to be dipped in much water; but such pots and kettles as were used for hot things, were to be heated with hot water and

scoured.

“Tables."-Tables might be polluted by the touch of unclean things or persons. They were to be purified by water, in which it was considered necessary that the water should come in contact with every part of the substance of the table. If any spots of grease, pitch, &c., prevented this, the purification went for nothing. From a distinction which the Talmud makes between tables of wood and marble, we observe, with some interest, that the Jews sometimes had tables wholly or in part of marble.

But although this be true of tables, it does not seem that tables are meant in the present instance. Kama denotes beds or couches in the general sense, and is supposed here to express the triclima, or raised sofas, on which the ancients reclined at meals. Perhaps it is better to take it in its larger acceptation as denoting any thing on which one lies down or reclines, whether for sleep, rest, or eating. Hence the Oriental and many modern translations have "beds," instead of tables. These might be polluted in various ways. Commentators have been rather perplexed to know how these were to be washed; particularly as the Rabbins are not very clear on the point. We venture to suggest that not the bed itself but its covering was washed. It is probable that the beds and cushions were formed of such cotton or wool-stuffed mattresses as are still used in the East; and these are furnished with coverings, frequently of printed cotton, which are stitched on loosely, and often taken off to be washed.

11. "Corban, that is to say, a gift.”—The word corban denotes a sacred offering-a thing devoted to sacred uses, and the appropriation of which could not be altered or alienated. Here, we are scarcely to suppose that the man, in order to avoid assisting his father from his substance, deprives himself of all interest and benefit in it by dedicating it to the service of the Temple and altar. Our Lord himself informs us (Matt. xxiii. 18) that to swear by "the gift," or corban, upon the altar was considered an oath of the most binding description. Taking this in connection with the illustrations which the Rabbins furnish, we can collect that the son does not devote his property as corban, but that he swears by the corban already existing, declaring that his property shall be as corban, so far as any benefit from it to his father is concerned. A vow thus expressed was considered most binding; and although disregard for the wants of a father was far from being avowedly taught, it was considered so important to uphold the sacredness of the corban above all other considerations, that although such a vow did not bind a person in any manner to devote his property to sacred uses, it did most effectually exclude him from assisting his father, however he might repent of a declaration, uttered perhaps in a moment of excitement or displeasure, or however earnestly he might wish it recalled.

[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

13 And he left them, and entering into the ship again departed to the other side. 14 Now the disciples had forgotten to

take bread, neither had they in the ship but some say, Elias; and others, One of the

with them more than one loaf.

15 And he charged them, saying, Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the leaven of Herod.

16 And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have no bread.

17 And when Jesus knew it, he saith unto them, Why reason ye, because ye have no bread? perceive ye not yet, neither understand? have ye your heart yet hardened?

18 Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not? and do ye not remember?

[blocks in formation]

and by the way he asked his disciples, saying unto them, Whom do men say that I am?

28 And they answered, John the Baptist:

25 After that he put his hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw every man elcarly.

26 And he sent him away to his house, saying, Neither go into the town, nor tell it to any in the town.

27 ¶ And Jesus went out, and his disciples, into the towns of Cæsarea Philippi:

8 Matt. 16.5.

4 Matt. 16.7.

prophets.

29 And he saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Peter answereth and saith unto him, Thou art the Christ.

30 And he charged them that they should tell no man of him.

31 And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the Chief Priests, and Scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.

32 And he spake that saying openly. And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him.

33 But when he had turned about and looked on his disciples, he rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men.

34 And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, "Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

35 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the Gospel's, the same shall

save it.

36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?

37 Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

38 'Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.

5 Matt. 16, 13.

[blocks in formation]

Verse 6. "Gave thanks."-It was at this time customary among the Jews to pronounce a short prayer, or, as we should call it, a grace, before meat. The earliest instance is that mentioned by Josephus as having been pronounced, standing, by Eleazer, at the feast which Ptolemy Philadelphus gave to the seventy-two interpreters (Antiq.' xii. 2), and expressly says that this was according to the custom of their own country. He also mentions the sect of Essenes as saying grace before and after meat ('War,' ii. 8). The Talmudists supply us with further information concerning this custom. They say that however large was the company, one person alone said the grace, the others saying "Amen" at its conclusion. The form of words commonly used is said to have been, "Let us bless the Lord our God, the God of Israel, the God of hosts, who sitteth between the cherubim." It is to be observed, however, that there were graces for the different descriptions of food and drink. Thus, in the present instance, our Lord "blessed" both for the loaves and the fishes, separately; as, at the last supper, he did also for the bread and the wine. This is in conformity with the still existing practice of the Jews, whose prayers for such occasions are of high antiquity; perhaps as old as the time of Christ-they say older. The following examples may be interesting:

Before eating bread, and the produce of other ground plants. Blessed be thou, O Lord, our God, King of the Universe who hast created the fruit of the ground.

For fruit produced by trees. Blessed be thou, O Lord, our God, King of the Universe! who hast created the fruit of

the tree.

For every kind and preparation of animal food; and also for drinks, wine excepted. Blessed be thou, O Lord, our God, King of the Universe! through whose word all things do exist.

For wine. Blessed be thou, O Lord, our God, King of the Universe! who hast created the fruit of the vine. After eating. Blessed be thou, O Lord, our God, King of the Universe! Creator of numberless beings, whose wants are supplied by all the varieties which thou hast created; wherewith to keep alive the soul of every living creature. Blessed be thou, O Life of the Universe!

"And brake."-We never read of cutting bread with a knife, in the Bible; nor is this now done in the East. Bread was, and is, always broken. Not that there is any peculiar feeling on the subject: but the bread being baked in small cakes or in broad and thin ones-not in large and dense loaves-is easily broken into such portions as may be required. Bread was, among the Jews, always broken and distributed by the master of the family.

19. "How many baskets full of fragments took ye up?"-The quantity of the fragments taken up, clearly enough shows that the miracle was exhibited by increasing the quantity of the loaves and fishes; not, as some suppose, by giving to the previously existing quantity the power, without increase, of satisfying the hungry multitude: for thea the part would have been greater than the whole; which is absurd.

24. "I see men as trees, walking."-From this it is evident that the man was not born blind, but had become so by some accident or disease. It is clear that he could not otherwise have had such ideas of the appearance of men or trees, as could render them objects of comparison or recognition.

[graphic]

CHRIST CURING THE BLIND.

« VorigeDoorgaan »