« FöregåendeFortsätt »
contemplative Essenes, who abstained from all intercourse with women, in hope of acquiring a greater degree of purity, and becoming the better fitted for the kingdom of God. -Vol. iii. page 366.
XIX.-13. “Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray.” It was common with the Jews to bring their children to venerable persons, men of note for religion and piety, to have their blessing and prayers. Gen. xlviii. 14. It appears also to have been customary among the Jews, when one prayed for another who was present, to lay his hand upon the person's head.See Burder's Oriental Customs, vol. ii. page 305.
XIX.-24. “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle.” The plundering Arabs commonly ride into houses, and commit acts of violence, if measures are not taken to prevent them. On this account the doors are often made very low, frequently not above three feet in height. This must be very inconvenient for those who keep camels, and must often want to introduce them into their court-yards. They however contrive to do this, by training them up not only to kneel down when they are loaded and unloaded, but to make their way on their knees through such small door-ways. This must, without doubt, be attended with great difficulty, and makes the comparison of our Lord sufficiently natural; it would be easier to force a camel through a door-way, as small as the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.-See Burder's 0. Customs, vol. i. p.
274. XX-l. &c. “The kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard.” The same custom obtains to this day in Persia. In the city of Hamadan there is a maidan or square in front of a large mosque. says Mr. Morier,“ we observed every morning before the sun rose, that a numerous band of peasants were collected with
“ Here,” spades in their hands, waiting as they informed us, to be hired for the day to work in the surrounding fields. This custom, which I have never seen in any other part of Asia, forcibly struck me as a most happy illustration of our Saviour's parable of the labourers in the vineyard in the 20th chapter of Matthew, particularly, when passing by the same place late in the day, we still found others standing idle, and remembered his words, Why stand ye here all the day idle ? as most applicable to their situation : for, in putting the very same question to them, they answered us, because no man hath hired us.”—See Horne, vol. iii. page 425. at note.
XX.-2. “Agreed-for a penny a day.” This was the Roman denarius, value abont sevenpence halfpenny of our money.
XX. -3. " And he went out about the third hour.” The Jews computed their hours of the civil day from six in the morning till six in the evening ; thus, their first hour corresponded with our seven o'clock; their second to our eight; their third to our nine, &c. The first three hours (from six to nine) were their morning: during the third hour, from eight to nine, their morning sacrifice was prepared, offered up, and laid on the altar precisely at nine o'clock; this interval they termed the preparation.-Horne, vol. iii. p. 162. -.
, There was not an Israelite that did not carry arms; the priests and Levites not excepted. 2 Samuel xxiii. 20. 1 Kings ii. 35. All were reckoned soldiers that were of age
for service, and that was of twenty years old and upwards. Numb. i. 3, 22. They were like the militia in some countries, always ready to assemble at the first notice. The difference is, that with us, all ecclesiastics are forbidden the use of arms, and that we have, moreover, an infinite number of people unfit for war: whereas they were all husbandmen and shepherds, inured from their childhood to labour and fatigue ; nor is it improbable that they used them to handle arms from the time of David and Solomon. Thus at Rome, all the citizens of such an age were obliged to serve a certain number of campaigns, when they were commanded; from whence it comes that they did not use the expression of levying troops, but called it choosing (delectum habere) them, because they had always a great many more than they wanted. This is what our Lord refers to when he says, many are called, but few chosen. The great mass of the people were called together, and a choice was made of those who were most fit for service.—Burder’s 0. Customs, vol. ii. p. 305.
XX.-21. “She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom.” This request was made in allusion to the ab bethdin, or father of the court, who sat on the right band of the nasi or president of the sanhedrim; and to the hacam or sage, who sat on the left.-Burder's O. Customs, vol. i. p. 274.
XXI.-5. Sitting upon an ass and a colt the foal of an ass.” The Greek text should have been translated— Upon an ass, even a colt the foal of an ass.
This reading agrees with the Hebrew text as found in Zech. ix. 9. whence the quotation is taken. The reading of the Septuagint is even a colt, new or unused.
XXI.8, 9. “And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees and strewed them in the way. And the multitudes that went before and that followed, cried, saying-Hosanna,” &c. On the feast of Tabernacles, Mr. Horne has the following remark, vol. iii. page 311. “During the continuance of this feast, they carried in their hands branches of palm trees, olives, myrtles, and willows, (Levit. xxiii. 40. Neh. viii. 15. 2 Macc. x. 7.) singing Hosanna, save I beseech thee; (Psal. cxviii. 25.) in which words they prayed for the coming of the Messiah. These branches also bore the name of Hosannah, as well as all the days of the feast. In the same manner was Jesus Christ conducted into Jerusalem by the believing Jews, who, considering him to be the promised Messiah, expressed their boundless joy at finding in him the accomplishment of those petitions, which they had so often offered to God for his coming, at the feast of Tabernacles (Matt. xxi. 8. 9.) During its continuance, they walked in procession round the altar with the above mentioned branches in their hands, amid the sound of trumpets, singing Hosanna ; and on the last or seventh day of the feast, they compassed the altar seven times. This was called the great Hosanna. To this last ceremony St. John probably alludes Rev. vii. 9. 10. where he describes the saints as standing before the throne, “clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands," &c.
XXI.-12. “And cast out all those that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money changers.” To supply the Jews who came to Jerusalem from all parts of the Roman empire to pay the half-shekel with coins current there, the money changers stationed themselves at tables in the courts of the temple, and chiefly, it should seem, in the court of the Gentiles, for which they exacted a small fee, kolbon. It was the tables on which these men trafficked for this unholy gain, which were overturned by Jesus Christ. The money changers (St. Matthew xxi. 12. and St. John ii. 14.) were also those who made a profit by exchanging money. They supplied the Jews, who came from distant parts of Judæa and other parts of the Roman empire, with money, to be received back at their respective homes, or which perhaps they had paid before they commenced their journey. It is likewise probable that they exchanged foreign coins for such as were current at Jerusalem.—Horne, vol. iii. p.
178. And the seats of them that sold doves.” Selden (de Diis Syris, Syntag. ii. c. iii. p. 276) tells us he had learned from
Ferdinandus Polonus, that the keepers and sellers of pigeons were looked upon as men of infamous character among the Jews and held in no better estimation than thieves, gamblers, and the like; mentioning at the same time the opinion of Scaliger, that the persons here spoken of were those who taught pigeons to fly and carry messages.--Burder's 0. Customs, vol. i.
306. XXI.-16. . “ Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise.” This is a quotation from Psal. viii. 2. and varies a little from the original Hebrew, which reads-Thou hast ordained strength. St. Matthew, however, appears to quote from the Greek of the Septuagint which reads as he has got it.
XXI.-19. And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, &c.” The fig trees of Palestine are of three kinds : 1st. The untimely fig, which puts forth at the vernal equinox, and before it is ripe is called the green fig, but when it is ripe the untimely fig. (Sol. Song ii. 13. Jer. xxiv. 2. Hos. ix. 3.) It comes to maturity towards the end of June (Matt. xxi. 19. Mark xi. 13) and in flavor surpasses the other kinds. 2d. The summer or dry fig: it appears about the middle of June and is ripe in August. 3d. The winter fig, which germinates in August, and does not ripen until about the end of November ; it is longer and of a browner colour than the others. All figs, when ripe, but especially the untimely, fall spontaneously. (Nahum. iii. 12.) The early figs are eaten, but some are dried in the sun, and preserved in masses which are called cakes of figs in 1 Sam. xxv. 18. xxx. 12. 1 Chron. xii. 40. It is well known that the fruit of these prolific trees always precedes the leaves : consequently, when Jesus Christ saw one of them in full vigor having leaves (Mark xi. 13.) he might according to the common course of nature, very justly look for fruit and haply find some boccores or early figs, if not some winter figs likewise upon it. The parable in