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Dr. Pocoke informs us that an Arab prince will often dine in the street, before his door, and call to all that pass, even beggars, in the usual expression of Bismillah, that is, in the name of God, who come and sit down, and when they have done, retire with the usual form of returning thanks.
XIV.-26. “And hate not his father," &c. In Scripture, one thing is said to be loved and another hated, when the former is much preferred, and especially when out of regard to it, the latter is neglected. Philo de Monarch says, that the high priest of the Jews was to put off all natural affection, even for father and mother, children and brothers, &c.See Ostervald.
XV.-16. “And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks,” &c. Thus Horace :-Vivit siliquis et pane secundo. B. ii. epist. i. 1. 122.
That the Greek word answers to siliqua, and signifies a husk or pod, wherein the seeds of some plants, especially those of the leguminous tribe, are contained, is evident. Both the Greek and Latin terms signify the fruit of the carob tree, a tree very common in the Levant, and in the southern parts of Europe, as Spain and Italy. This fruit still continues to be used for the same purpose, the feeding of swine. It is called also St. John's Bread, from the opinion that the Baptist used it in the wilderness. Miller says, it is mealy, and has a sweetish taste, and that it is eaten by the poorer sort, for it grows in the common hedges and is of little account.-See Burder's 0. Customs, vol. ii. p. 335.
XVI.-8. “The lord commended the unjust steward." Here we read that the lord commended the unjust steward (who in the parable had been represented as having defrauded his master) because he had done wisely: and hence Jesus Christ has been unjustly charged with countenancing dishonesty. The whole of the context, however, shews that it was the master or lord of the steward, and not Christ, who is re
presented as commending his conduct, and it is in consequence of his master's so commending him, that Jesus made the reflection, that the children of this world are, in their generation, wiser than the children of light. The parable in question is to be interpreted solely in reference to the principal idea contained in it: and that idea is, from the conduct of a worldly minded man, to enforce upon the followers of Jesus Christ the necessity of their being at least as assiduous in pursuing the business of the next world,--the salvation of their souls--as worldly minded men are in their management of the affairs of this world.-See Horne's Introduction, vol. i. page 577.
XVI.-9. “Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness." By the mammon of unrighteousness is not here meant riches unjustly acquired, but riches in gené. ral; the false, the uncertain, the transitory riches of this present world.-Ostervald.
XVI.-20. “Named Lazarus.” This name is derived from the Hebrew, and signifies--a helpless person.
XVI.-21. “And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table.” The table was not an. tiently covered with linen, but was carefully cleansed with wet sponges. Thus Homer :
The seats with purple clothe in order due,
Odyss. b. ii. 189.
So also Martial :
They made no use of napkins to wipe their hands, but did sò with the soft and fine part of the bread; this they afterwards threw to the dogs. Hence, we clearly understand what were the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table; and perceive the force of the words of the woman of Canaan. Matt. xv. 27. Mark vii. 28. See Burder's 0. Customs, vol. ii. p. 337.
XVI.-22. “And was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom." The custom of reclining at table, over one another's bosom, was a sign of equality and strict union among the guests. This custom, Beausobre well observes, will explain several passages of Scripture, particularly those in which mention is made of Abraham's bosom, (Luke xvi. 22.) and of the son's being in the bosom of the father, (John i. 18. compared with Phil. ii. 6. and John xiii. 23.)-Horne, vol. iii.
XVI.-23. “And in hell he lift up his eyes." The general receptacle of departed spirits, in the intermediate state before the resurrection, was called in Hebrew, Sheol; and in Greek, Hades. This was supposed, says Dr. Hales, to be divided into two separate departments : the one for good souls called Paradise; into which our Saviour promised admission to the penitent thief on the cross, Luke xiii. 43.; to which St. Paul was caught up in vision, 2 Cor. xii. 4.; and wished to be there with Christ, Phil. i. 23.; and to which the soul of the beggar Lazarus was carried by the angels of death to Abraham's bosom. The other for bad souls, separated from the former by an impassable gulf, was called the lower Sheol, Tartarus, or Hades, where the rich man, in the parable, lift up his eyes, being in torments, and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.—Valpy's Greek Testament.
XVI.-24. “Father Abraham, hare mercy on me,” &c. Tillotson observes that this is the only instance we meet with in Scripture of any thing that looks like a prayer put up to a glorified saint. But even this instance, if it may be called so, taken from a parable, shows that the application was vain, and that the saint could give no relief.—Valpy's Greek Test.
XVII.-37. . “Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together.” Wheresoever the Jews are,
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 meny 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 thing, 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 bé 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