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V.-18. “One jot or tittle.” Jot answers to the Hebrew Jod, or rather Yod. This is the smallest letter of the Hebrew alphabet; and according to an antient opinion of the Jews, if all the nations were to assemble on purpose to abolish Yod, they would not be able to effect it. A tittle signifies the least part of a letter or a point.

V.-21. “Shall be in danger of the judgement.” This was a court of judicature among the Jews, consisting of twenty three judges who had power of life and death.

V.-22. “Shall say to his brother, Raca.” Raca or rather Racha is a Syriac word, which properly signifies empty, vain, beggarly, foolish, and which includes in it a strong idea of contempt. Lightfoot says "that in the books of the Jews, the word Racha is a term of the utmost contempt and is used with certain gestures of indignation, as spitting, or turning away the head, &c.-Cruden.

“The council” or court of Sanhedrim consisted of seventy or seventy-two judges; it determined in the highest affairs relative to church and state. It received appeals from the minor courts.

To the terms "Raca," “Thou fool,” supply, without a

cause.

V.-24. “ Leave thy gift before the altar.” What our Lord here teaches appears to be new. and founded on his superior lessons of morality; but particularly on what he had said above. That this was practicable, we shall see from the following extract from Burder on Oriental Customs, vol. i.

“ It was a custom and a law among the Jews, that the sacrifices of particular men should not immediately, as soon as they were due, be brought to the altar, but that they should be reserved to the feast next following, whatsoever that were, whether the passover, or pentecost, or tabernacles, and be then offered. At those times all the Israelites were present, and any brother, against whom one had sinned, was

page 259.

not far off from the altar. To this time and custom of the nation it is probable that Christ might allude.”

V.-25. “Agree with thine adversary quickly.” He who entered the action went to the judges and stated his affair to them: and then they sent officers with him to seize the party and bring him to justice. To this our Lord alludes when he says “Agree with thine adversary quickly while thou art in the way with him” before thou art brought before the judge, lest thou be condemned. -Horne, vol. iii. page 111.

V.-29. “If thy right eye offend thee.” Not the natural member, but the offensive one: this may also be read causitively.

V.-34. “Swear not at all. Neither by Jerusalem &c.” Various examples of this kind of swearing may be seen in that excellent and very useful book on Oriental Customs by Burder, vol. ii, page 296. I have extracted the following specimen to show the subterfuge of the Jews on this point and as tending to illustrate our Lord's meaning. “It was common with the Jews both to swear and vow by Jerusalem. As the altar, as the temple, as Jerusalem,” are expressions frequently to be met with in their writings. In the Gemara it is, He that says as Jerusalem does not say any thing, till he has made his vow concerning a thing which is offered up in Jerusalem."

V. 37. “Let your conversation be Yea, yea.” The Jews used to characterize a man of strict probity and good faith, by saying—His yes is yes and his no is no; that is, you may depend upon his word. --Vide Valpy's Greek Testament.

V.41. “Whosoever shall compel thee.” The Greek word is derived from the name of those officers who were commissioned by the Persian emperors, when Judæa was one of their provinces, to press carriages or horses on the road, if they had occasion for them, and even forced the drivers and riders to go along with them.-Ostervald.

B

Antipas or Antipater, an Idumean,
Appointed prefect of Judæa and Syria by J. Cæsar.

Descendant:

Herod the Great, King of Judæa,

Matt. ii. 1. Luke i. 5.

Aristobulus, strangled by order of his father.

Descendants :
Archelaus.

Philip

Herod Antipas.
Matt. ii. 22. Luke ijj. 1. Luke iii. 1.

Matt. xiv. 3.
Mark vi. 14.
Lake ii. 19 & 20.
Luke xxiii. 11.

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Herod mis-named the Great, by his will divided his dominions among his three sons, Archelaus, Herod Antipas, and Herod Philip.-Vide Horne's Introduction, vol. iii. page 99.

II.-23. “He shall be called a Nazarene." These words are not to be found in the writings of the prophets; yet as the things meant thereby often occur in them, the applica

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tion is made with sufficient propriety. Vide Psm. xxii. 6. also the lxix. 9 & 10. Isaiah lii. & liii. Zech. xi. 12 & 13.

III.-l. In those days came John the Baptist.” The antient sovereigns of Hindoostan used to send persons to precede them in their journies, and command the inhabitants to clear the roads; a very necessary step in a country where there are scarcely any public roads.-Horne, vol. iii. page 90.

III.-3. “The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.” St. Matthew has quoted so much of the prophecy as answered his design in laying his statement before the Jews. St. Luke, however, proceeds further, 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. --Horne, vol. ii.

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435. III.-4. “ And the same John had his raiment of camel's hair.” This was made of the long and shaggy hair of camels, which is in the East manufactured into a coarse stuff, antiently worn by monks and anchorites. It is only when understood in this way, that the words suit the description here given of John's manner of life.-Vide Burder's Oriental Customs, - vol. ii. page 1165.

“ His meat was locusts and wild honey.” The Jews were permitted to eat locusts, and if we may believe Pliny, they made a considerable part of the food of Parthians and Ethiopians: when sprinkled with salt and fried, they are not in taste unlike our fresh-water cray-fish. The wild honey was probably that deposited by bees in the hollow trunks of trees, these insects being very numerous in Palestine.-Ostervald.

III.-9. “These stones." John may here allude to the Gentiles, some of whom, probably, were standing by.

III.-11. “Whose shoes I am not worthy to bear.” The custom of loosing the sandals from off the feet of an Eastern worshipper was antient and indispensable. It is also commonly observed in visits to great men. The sandals or slip

V.-18. “ One jot or tittle.” Jot answers to the Hebrew Jod, or rather Yod. This is the smallest letter of the Hebrew alphabet ; and according to an antient opinion of the Jews, if all the nations were to assemble on purpose to abolish Yod, they would not be able to effect it. A tittle signifies the least part of a letter or a point.

V.-21. “Shall be in danger of the judgement.” This was a court of judicature among the Jews, consisting of twenty three judges who had power of life and death.

V.--22. “Shall say to his brother, Raca.” Raca or rather Racha is a Syriac word, which properly signifies empty, vain, beggarly, foolish, and which includes in it a strong idea of contempt. Lightfoot says “that in the books of the Jews, the word Racha is a term of the utmost contempt and is used with certain gestures of indignation, as spitting, or turning away the head, &c.-Cruden.

“ The council” or court of Sanhedrim consisted of seventy or seventy-two judges; it determined in the highest affairs relative to church and state. It received appeals from the minor courts.

To the terms “Raca,” “Thou fool,” supply, without a a

cause.

V.-24. “Leave thy gift before the altar.” What our Lord here teaches appears to be new, and founded on his superior lessons of morality; but particularly on what he had said above. That this was practicable, we shall see from the following extract from Burder on Oriental Customs, vol. i.

“ It was a custom and a law among the Jews, that the sacrifices of particular men should not immediately, as soon as they were due, be brought to the altar, but that they should be reserved to the feast next following, whatsoever that were, whether the passover, or pentecost, or tabernacles, and be then offered. At those times all the Israelites were present, and any brother, against whom one had sinned, was

page 259.

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