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others, chiefly of the Papists, have wickedly attempted to counterfeit the same ; but if at any time real effects followed the endeavours of such, it must have been owing to their magical collusion with Satan, or his with them.--Brown.
XII.--—40. “ For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale's belly," &c. This has been affirmed to be contrary to matter of fact; as the throat of a whale, it is well known, is capable of admitting little more than the arm of an ordinary man; and these fish are never found in the Mediterranean Sea. Mr. Bochart has long since proved that a great fish of the shark kind is here intended. It is a well attested fact that many of the shark species are not only of such a size and form, as to be able, without any miracle, to swallow a man whole, but also that men have been found entire in their stomachs : and since it is a fact well known to physiologists, that the stomach has no power over substances endued with vitality, this circumstance will account in part for the miraculous preservation of the prophet Jonah in the belly or stomach of the great fish, in which he was for three days and three nights. Bochart is further of opinion, that the particular species of shark which followed the prophet Jonah, was the squalus carcharias or white shark, for its voracity termed by some naturalists lamia, and which is a native of the seas in hot climates, where it is the terror of navigators.--Horne, vol. i. page 604.
There is also a seeming difference between this prediction and the time during which the body of our Lord was actually interred. Now this difference is naturally and easily obviated by considering, that it was the custom of the Orientals to reckon any part of a day of twenty-four hours for a whole day, and to say it was done after three or seven days, &c. if it were done on the third, or seventh day from that last mentioned. Compare 1 Kings xx. 29. and Luke ii. 21. And, as the Hebrews had no word exactly answering to the Greek word to signify a natural day of twenty-four hours, they ased night and day, or day and night for it, so that to say a thing happened after three days and three nights, was the same as to say that it happened after three days, or on the third day. Horne, vol. i. page 554.
XII.42. “The queen of the South shall rise up in the judgment,” &c. This is spoken in allusion to a custom among the Jews and Romans, which was, for the witnesses to rise from their seats when they accused criminals, or gave any evidence against them.-Burder's Oriental Customs, vol. i. page 271.
XIII.-4. “ And the fowls came and devoured them up.” This circumstance has no difficulty in our conception of it, but it would strike an Eastern imagination more forcibly than our own.
For Thevenot informs us, on that road ī observed a pretty pleasant thing, which is practised in all that country, as far as Bender Abassi'; I saw several peasants running about the corn fields, who raised loud shouts, and every now and then clacked their whips with all their force; and all this to drive away the birds, which devour all their corn.
When they see flocks of them coming from a neighbouring ground, that they may not light on theirs, they redouble their cries to make them go farther, and this they do every morning and evening. The truth is, there are so many sparrows in Persia that they devour all things : and scarecrows are so far from frightening them, that they will perch upon them."-Burder's Oriental Customs, vol. ii. page 302.
XIII.-14. “Is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias,” &c. The design of the sacred penmen of the New Testament in reference to the persons for whom they chiefly wrote is strikingly apparent in their manner of quoting from the Old Testament. “It is further to be observed,” says Horne in his Introduction, vol. ii. page 435. “that the very same quotations are often contracted by some of the evangelists and as
often enlarged by others. This difference in quoting may be accounted for by the different occasions on which they are introduced, and the different ends which they were intended to serve. Thus, Luke who wrote his gospel for the instruction of Gentile converts, quotes (iii. 4-6) not less than three verses from the prophet Isaiah; while Matthew (iii. 3.) and Mark (i. 3.) quote only the first of them. But it was necessary to Luke's purpose that he should proceed so far, in order to assure the Gentiles that they were destined to be partakers of the privileges of the Gospel, and to see the salvation of God. On the other hand, Matthew (xiii. 14. 15.) and Paul (Acts xxviii. 26. 27.) when reproving the Jews for their incredulity, which Isaiah had long before predicted, introduce the prophecy at full length, whereas Mark. (iv. 11. 12.) and Luke (vüi. 10.) only refer to it briefly. Mark, whose Gospel was written for a mixed society of Jewish and Gentile converts, has many peculiarities belonging to him, which are not specified by the other evangelists. Of these peculiarities we have an instance in his manner of citing the passage of Isaiah just noticed.”
XIII.32. “ Which indeed is the least of all seeds." That is, of all those seeds with which the Jews were then acquainted : for our Lord's words are to be interpreted by popular use; and we learn from St. Matthew xvii. 20. that, like a grain of mustard seed, was a proverbial expression to denote a small quantity.-Horne, vol. ii. page 623.
XIV. -6. When Herod's birth-day was kept.” The birth-day of a prince and the day of his accession to the throne, were kept with great pomp amongst the Gentiles. It was usual with the Egytians, Gen. xl. 20. the Persians, and Romans, but not with the Jews, who reckoned these among the feasts of Idolators.--Burder's 0. Customs, vol. ii. p. 303.
XIV.-10. And he sent and beheaded John in the prison.” Decapitation, or beheading, though not a mode of punishment enjoined by Moses, was certainly in use before his time. It existed in Egypt (Gen. xl. 19.) and it is well known to have been inflicted under the princes of the Herodian family. Thus John the Baptist was beheaded by one of Herod's life-guards, who was dispatched to his prison for that purpose.-Horne, vol. iii. page 148.
XIV.-11. “And his head was brought in a charger.” Similar instances of unfeeling barbarity are to be met with in history. Mark Antony caused the heads of those he had proscribed to be brought to him while he was at table, and entertained his eyes a long while with that sad spectacle. Cicero's head being one of those that was brought to him, he ordered it to be put on the very pulpit where Cicero had made speeches against him.-Burder's Oriental Customs, vol. ii.
XIV.-20. “They took up of the fragments that remained, twelve baskets full.” Here the following question naturally suggests itself—How came they so readily to be furnished with baskets to such a number and in a desert place? It probably was a custom with the Jews to carry baskets with hay and straw, in commemoration of what they did in Egypt, when they were obliged to carry bricks in baskets, and to go about to pick up straw to make bricks. Martial calls a Jew cistifer, a basket bearer; and Juvenal says, Satir. ii. line 14. Judæis, quorum cophinus, foenumque supellex.
XIV.-25. “ And in the fourth watch.” The night was originally divided into three parts or watches, Psalm lxiii. 6. xc. 4, although the division of twelve hours like those of the day afterward obtained. The first or beginning of watches is mentioned in Sam. ii. 19. the middle watch in Jud. vü. 19. and the morning watch in Exod. xiv. 24. It is probable that these watches varied in length according to the seasons of the year: consequently, those who had a long and inclement winter'watch to encounter, would ardently desire the approach of morning light, to terminate their watch. This circumstance would beautifully illustrate the fervour of the psalmist's devotion Psalm cxxx. 6. as well as serve to explain other passages of the Old Testament. These three watches are also mentioned by various profane writers. During the time of our Saviour, the night was divided into four watches, a fourth watch having been introduced among the Jews from the Romans, who derived it from the Greeks. The second and third watches are mentioned in Luke xii. 38. the fourth in Matt. xiv. 25. and the four are all distinctly mentioned in Mark. xii. 35.--Horne, vol. iii. page 162.
XV.-2. “For they wash not their hands when they eat bread.” The Jews had two sorts of washing; one, of the whole body by immersion, which was used by the priests at their consecration, and by their proselytes at their initiation; the other, of the hands or feet, called dipping or pouring of water, and which was of daily use, not only for the hands and feet, but also for the cups and other vessels used at their meals. Matt. xv. 2. Mark vii. 3, 4. The six water pots of stone, used at the marriage feast of Cana, in Galilee, John ii. 6. were set for this purpose. To these two modes of purification Jesus Christ seems to allude in John xiii. 10. Sometimes the lustration was performed by sprinkling blood, or anointing with oil. Sprinkling was performed either with the finger or with a branch of cedar and hyssop tied together with scarlet wool. Levit. xiv. 4. 6. Numb. xix. 18. Psa. li. 7.-See Horne, vol. iii. page 265.
XV.-5. “But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, &c.” Origen upon this passage says, that he should never have understood it, had it not been for the information he received from a Jew, who told him that it was the custom with some of their usurers, when they met with a tardy debtor, to transfer the debt to the poor's box; by which