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Agreeably to this mode of expression we are doubtless to understand these words of Mark, that, as Jesus sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard : (or liquid nard, according to the margin) very precious, and she brake the box. and poured it on his head. -Burder's Oriental Customs, vol. i. page 297.
XIV.-12. “The first day of unleavened bread, when they killed the passover.” They called the day on which the passover was killed, one of the days of unleavened bread and the first day thereof, because it was preparatory to that feast; though properly speaking, the first day began with the passo ver supper.-L'Enfant.
XIV.-51. “And there followed him a certain young man having a linen cloth cast about his naked body," &c. Thus Saul is said to be naked, 1 Sam. xix. 24. when it is plain he had only cast off his upper garment; see also Isaiah xx. 2. 3. Doddridge.
As a probable conjecture who this young man was and what brought him to the spot in that stript condition, we have the following remark of Grotius, “ Non de Apostolorum grege, sed ex villa aliqua horto proxima, strepitu militum excitatus, et subito accurrens, ut conspiceret quid ageretur.
XIV.-69. “And a maid saw him again.” Rather, the maid. Michaelis, after stating that Matthew had said another maid, Mark the maid, and Luke another man, observes, "The whole contradiction vanishes at once, if we only attend to John, the quiet spectator of all which passed; for he writes, xviii. 25.--They said to him, wast not thou also one of his disciples ? Whence it appears that there were several who spake on this occasion, and that all which is said by Matthew, Mark, and Luke, may very easily be true: there might probably be more than the three who are named; but the maid, who had in a former instance recognized Petery appears to have made the deepest impression on his mind,
and hence, in dictating this Gospel to Mark, he might have said, the maid.” Valpy's Greek Testament. 1. XIV.-70. “Thou art a Galilean, and thy speech agreeth thereto.” The Galileans spoke an unpolished and corrupt dialect of the Syriac, compounding and using one letter for another; and also frequently changed the gutterals. This, probably, proceeded from their great communication and intermixture with the neighbouring nations. It was this corrupt dialect that led to the detection of Peter, as one of Christ's disciples.-See Horne's Introduction, vol. iii. page 14.
XIV.-72. “When he thought thereon." This does not seem an adequate translation of the original word, here rendered “ thought thereon," which Elsner and Lambert Bos, upon good authority, would render covering his head, which was a token of mourning and shame, and well becoming Peter on this occasion.See Ostervald.
XV.-25. “It was the third hour and they crucified him.” St. John xix. 14. says that it was about the sixth hour. There are three ways of reconciling this: First, the Greek symbol for 6, may have been substituted for the one for 3, to which it bears some resemblance. Secondly, it was the custom to divide the day into four parts, answering to the four watches of the night. These coincided with the hours of three, six, nine, and twelve. Our Lord's crucifixion, therefore, might have taken place within the time from three to six. Thirdly, St Mark probably speaks only of the time of the preparation for the crucifixion; but St. John, of the crucifixion itself.-See Horne, vol. i. p. 548 & 553.–See also Introduction to a New Version.
XVI.-5. “And entering into the sepulchre,” The sepulchres of the Jews were made so large that persons might go into them : the rule for making them is this : he that sells ground to his neighbour to make a burying-place, must make a court at the mouth of the cave, six by six, according to the
1.-1. “Forasmuch as many have taken in hand." This must refer to some histories of the life of Christ which are now lost; for Matthew and Mark the only evangelists that can be supposed to have written before Luke, could not, with any propriety, be called many.--Ostervald.
1.-13. “And thou shalt call his name John.” This name, in Hebrew, signifies-the grace or favor of the Lord; and therefore, very properly given to him who was the forerunner of the Saviour of men.
1.-19.: “I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God.” As only a select few in the Oriental courts were permitted to behold the face of the monarch, it is in reference to this custom that the angel Gabriel replied to Zechariah (who hesitated to believe his annunciation of the Baptist's birth) that he was Gabriel that stood in the presence of God; thus intimating that he stood in a state of high favor and trust with Jehovah (Luke i. 19.) To dwell, or stand in the presence a sovereign, is an Oriental idiom, importing the most eminent and dignified station at court.--Horne's Introduction, vol. iii,
upon a smooth thin board slightly daubed over with whiting, which may be wiped off or renewed at pleasure. Such probably (for the Jewish children use the same,) was the little board or writing table that was called for by Zacharias.Burder's Oriental Customs, vol. ii. page 324.
11.-2. “And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.” The taxing under Cyrenius or Quirinius was not till eleven years after the birth of Christ. Wall, therefore, would render the passage thus: this enrollment was before (that taxing) when Cyrenius was governor of Syria. Also see the following in Mr. Horne's Introd. vol. i. page 595. “The taxing itself first took effect, or was carried into execution, under the presidency of Cyrenius or Quirinius; which had been suspended from the time of his procuratorship.” It will be easily seen that the above agree in referring the decree of Cæsar Augustus to an enrollment preparatory to the taxing ; which taxing itself did not take effect till eleven years after.
II.3. “And all went to be taxed.” Namely, to be enrolled preparatory for the taxing.
11.-5. “Espoused.” The same Greek word is used here as at chapter i. 27. there it signifies espoused, but here married.Ostervald.
Il.-25. “Waiting for the consolation of Israel.” The Jews.often used to style the expected Messiah, the consolation; and, may I never see the consolation, was a common form of swearing among them. It was much used by R. Simeon ben Shetach, who lived before the time of Christ.-See Burder's Oriental Customs, vol. ii. page 325.
II.-34. “Set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel.” And rising again: this does not refer to those who fall by taking offence at Christ, but to those identified in the general fall, and who should embrace Christ by faith and repentance. It is, therefore, better rendered-For the fall and rising up of many in Israel.
II.49. "I must be about my Father's business." There is an ambiguity in the original : the Syriac seems to render it with much more propriety,-In my Father's house. -Ostervald.
III.-l. “In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Cæsar.” This has always been considered a great chronological difficulty. with respect to our Saviour's age, as referred to the reign of Tiberius and the death of Herod. But there is no inconsistency in the account. The death of Herod, by certain historical evidence, must be assigned to the year of Rome 750. Christ's birth therefore could not have been earlier than 748, nor later than 749: See Matt. ii. 1. 27. Now if we assume the latter year, as most conformable to the whole tenor of sacred history, this would give us Christ's age at his baptism about thirty four years, but contrary to Luke's account. For Augustus having died August 19th, 767, the fifteenth of Tiberius would be 782. But Luke, who was intimately acquainted with the affairs of Judæa, the neighbouring states, and the Romans, could not be ignorant of the various modes of computing the reigns of their emperors Augustus and Tiberius: the reign of Augustus being computed by some from the death of J. Cæsar, by others from his own first consulate, and by others from the battle of Actium. There was also a difference in reckoning the reign of Tiberius. Now it is evident that Luke adopted the mode of computation not from the sole empire of 'Tiberius, but from the time when he was admitted by Augustus colleague of the empire, two or three years before his death, either in 764 or 765, when this partnership was confirmed by a decree of the senate; from which the year of Christ's nativity being subtracted, 749, the remainder sufficiently agrees with St. Luke's latitude of expression, about thirty years of age, verse 23.–Valpy's Greek Testament.
III.-2. “Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests."