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there will the sword of the Romans (whose ensign is the eagle) be ready to devour them, and their army will assemble, to destroy them.-Ostervald.
XIX. -12. "A certain nobleman went into a far country,” &c. In this parable, our Lord alludes to a case, which, no long time before, had actually occurred in Judæa. Those who, by hereditary succession, or by interest, had pretensions, to the Jewish throne, travelled to Rome in order to have it confirmed to them. Herod the Great first went that long journey to obtain the kingdom of Judæa from Antony, in which he succeeded : and having received the kingdom, he afterwards travelled from Judæa to Rhodes, in order to obtain a confirmation of it from Cæsar, in which he was equally successful. Archelaus, the son and successor of Herod, did the same; and to him our Lord most probably alluded. For, on Archelaus going to Rome to solicit the regal dignity, the Jews sent an embassy, consisting of fifty of their principal men, with a petition to Augustus that they might be permitted to live according to their own laws, under a Roman governor.--, See Horne's Introduction, vol. ii. p. 623. also vol. iii. p. 100.
XIX.-20. “Laid up in a napkin.”. The Greek word here used for a napkin is adopted by the Jews into their language, and is used for a veil, and for a linen cloth. The Jews had a custom which they called possession by a napkin or linen cloth, which is, that when they buy or sell any things they use a piece of cloth which they call sudar, the word used in this passage; this the contractors lay hold of to ratify and confirm the bargain. Upon which custom, as connected with these words, Dr. Gill observes, that this man made no use of his sudar, or napkin, in buying ; he traded not at all, he wrapped up his money in it, and both lay useless See Burder's Oriental Customs, vol. ii. page 338.
XX.-18. “Whosoever shall fall upon that stone, shall be broken," &c. Here is an allusion to the two different ways
of stoning among the Jews, the former by throwing a person down upon a great stone, and the other by letting a stone fall .;; upon him.-Whitby.
XXII. 34. “I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day," &c. ' St. Mark xiv. 30. notices a double cock-crowing, where the other evangelists mention only one. But this may be easily reconciled. The Jewish doctors divided the cock-crowing into the 1st. 2nd. and 3d. the heathen nations in general observed only two. As the cock crew the second time after Peter's third denial, it was this second or principal cock-crowing--for the Jews seem in many respects to have accommodated themselves to the Roman computation of time, to which the evangelists Matthew, Luke, and John refer. Or, perhaps, the second cock-crowing of the Jews might coincide with the second of the Romans.-See Horne, vol. iii. p.
163. XXIII._38. “And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek and Latin and Hebrew, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.” The different manner in which the four evangelists have mentioned the superscription which was written over Jesus Christ when on the cross, was objected as a want of accuracy and truth by Dr. Middleton, and his objection has been copied by late writers. But it is not improbable that it varied in each of the languages in which that accusation or superscription was written; for both Luke xxiii. 38. and John xxix. 20. say that it was written in Greek, Latin, and Hebrew. We may then reasonably suppose Matthew to have recited the Hebrew : This is Jesus the king of the Jews; and John the Greek: Jesus the Nazarene the king of the Jews. If it should be asked, why the Nazarene was omitted in the Hebrew, and we must assign a reason for Pilate's humour, perhaps we may thus account for it. He might be informed, that Jesus in Hebrew denoted a Saviour, and as it carried more appearance of such an appellative or general term by standing alone, he might choose by
dropping the epithet the Nazarene, to leave the sense so ambiguous, that it might be thus understood : This is a Saviour the King of the Jews. Pilate, as little satisfied with the Jews as with himself on that day, meant the inscription, which was his own, as a dishonour to the nation, and thus set a momentous verity before them, with as much design of declaring it as Caiphas had of prophesying, that Jesus should die for the people. The ambiguity not holding in Greek, the Nazarene might be there inserted in scorn again of the Jews, by denominating their king from a city which they held in the utmost contempt. Let us now view the Latin. It is not assuming much to suppose, that Pilate would not concern himself with Hebrew names, nor risk an impropriety in speaking or writing them. It was thought essential in the dignity of a Roman magistrate, in the times of the republic, not to speak but in Latin on public occasions. Of which spirit Tiberius the emperor retained so much, that in an oration to the senate he apologized for using a Greek word; and once, when they were drawing up a decree, advised them to erase another that had been inserted in it. And though the magistrates in general were then become more condescending to the Greeks, they retained this point of state with regard to other nations, whose languages, they esteemed barbarous, and would give themselves no trouble of acquiring. Pilate, indeed, according to Matthew, asked, at our Lord's trial, whom will ye that I release unto you, Barrabas, or Jesus which is called Christ? and again, what shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? But we judge this to be related, as the interpreter by whom he spake delivered it in Hebrew. For if the other evangelists have given his exact words, he never pronounced the name of Jesus, but spake of him all along by a periphrasis. Will ye that I release unto you-- The King of the Jews? Thus he acted in conference with the rulers, and ordered a Latin inscription
without mixture of foreign words, just as Mark repeats it: The king of the Jews : which is followed by Luke; only that he has brought down This is from above, as having a common reference to what stood under it:
THE KING OF THE JEWS. Thus it is quite evident that there were variations in the inscription, and that the Latin was the shortest; but it is equally evident that these variations are not discrepancies or contradictions in the narratives of the evangelists.-See Horne's Introduction, vol. i. p. 588.
XXIII.54. “ The sabbath drew on.” Began to shine, alluding to the lamps which were lighted up on the Friday night immediately before sun set ; as it was not lawful to light any fire on the sabbath day.-Lamy. -- XXIV.-33. “And found the eleven gathered together.” Though there were but ten, says Dr. Townson, of the apostles present when Christ first showed himself to them, St. Luke calls them the eleven, either because it was, just at that time, the title of the Apostolical College; or because Matthias, who was soon after to be adopted into it, was there, and by anticipation is numbered as one of it.-See Valpy's Greek Testament.
.: I.--14. “And dwelt among us.” Literally, tabernacled among us. The verb used in the original signifies to erect a booth, tabernacle, or temporary residence, and not a permanent habitation or dwelling place : it was therefore fitly applied to
the human nature of Christ, which, like the antient Jewish tabernacle, was to be only for a temporary residence of the Eternal Divinity. --See Horne, vol. ii. page 516.
II.4. “Woman, &c.". There is nothing disrespectful conveyed by this expression. It is a simplicity of phrase which is adopted by the best Attic writers, in addressing even venerable and exalted personages.---See Valpy's Grerk Testament.
II.6. “Six water pots of stone.”. How large these were is uncertain : they held water ready for washing their hands, feet, and vessels. The following remark is extracted from Horne's Introduction, vol. iii. page 390. While exploring the ruins of Cana in Galilee, Dr. Clarke saw several large massy stone water pots, answering the description given of the antient vessels of the country (John ü. 6); not to served nor exhibited as reliques, but lying about, disregarded by the present inhabitants as antiquities with whose original use they were unacquainted. From their appearance, and the number of them, it was quite evident that the practice i keeping water in large stone pots, each holding from eighteen to twenty-seven gallons, was once common in the country.
II.-8. “The governor of the feast." The master of intendant of a marriage feast, was the husband's friend, and charged with the order of the feast. He gave directions to the servants, had an eye over every thing, commanded the tables to be covered, or to be cleared of the dishes, as he thought proper; from whence he had his name as regulator of the triclinium or festive board. He tasted the wine and distributed it to the guests. The author of Ecclesiasticus (chap. xxxii. 1.) describes the office of master of the feast; which see. On this passage of St. John, Theophylact remarks, that no one might suspect that their taste was vitiated by having drank to excess, so as not to know water from wine, our Saviour orders it to be first carried to the governor