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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.
1.-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 buman 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 Greek Testament. 2, 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 ii. 6); not preserved nor exhibited as reliqués, 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 of 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 or 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 of the feast, who certainly was sober; for those who on such occasions are intrusted with this office observe the strictest sobriety, that they may be able properly to regulate the whole. -See Burder's Oriental Customs, vol. i. page 324.
II.15. “And when he had made a scourge,” &c. The reason why no one resisted our Saviour was, that there, was a law among the Jews, that whoever profaned the holiness of God, or the temple, it was lawful for any of them to kill him, or to scourge him.: They who put this law in execution were called Zealots. The scourge might be designed for driving out beasts.-See Ostervald.
II.-20...“ Forty and six years was this temple in building.” The words of our version imply that the building of the temple was finished; which was not the case. The words should be rendered -forty and six years hath this temple been in building; for such is the import of the Greek. This was the forty-sixth year current from the time that Herod laid the foundation, B. C. 17. The temple continued increasing in magnificence till the time of Nerb, when it was completed, and 18,000 workmen were dismissed from that service.--See Valpy's Greek Testament.
III.-3. Except a man be-born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” The mode of expression adopted in these words is not unknown in the East. The author of the Institutes of Menu, who flourished 1280 years before Christ, uses the following remarkable language: '" Of him who gives natural birth, and him who gives knowledge of the whole veda, the giver of sacred knowledge is the more venerable father; since the second or divine birth insures life to the twice born, both in this life and hereafter eternally. Let a man consider that as a mere human birth, which his parents gave him for their mutual gratification, and which he receives after lying in the womb; but that birth, which his principal acharya, who knows the whole veda, procures for him by his divine mother, the gayatri, is a true birth; that birth is exempt from age and from death."-See Burder's Oriental Customs, vol. i. page 325.
III.-10. “Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things.” There were several ceremonies to be performed by all who became Jewish proselytes. The 1st, was circumcision : the 2nd, was washing or baptism : and the 3rd, was that of offering sacrifice. It was a common opinion among the Jews concerning those who had gone through all these ceremonies, that they ought to be looked upon as new born infants : Maimonides says it in express terms : “A Gentile who is become a proselyte, and a slave who is set at liberty, are both as it were new born babes; which is the reason why those who before were their parents are now no longer so.” Hence, it is evident that nothing could be more just than Christ's reproaching Nicodemus with his being a master in Israel, and yet being at the same time ignorant how a man could be born a second time.--See Burder's Oriental Customs, vol. ii. page 341.
IV.-ll. “Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with,” &c. We are informed by travellers that people who go to dip water out of the wells, and the merchants who
in caravans, are provided with small leathern buckets and a line, because in these countries more cisterns or wells are found than springs that lie high. This easily accounts for the Samaritan woman remarking that the water was deep and that our Lord had nothing to draw with, though he spoke of presenting her with water.—Valpy's Greek Testament.
IV:20. “Our fathers worshipped in this mountain.” Sanballat, by permission of Alexander the Great, had built a temple on mount Gerizim, for Manasseh his son-in-law; who, for marrying Sanballat's daughter, was expelled from the priesthood and from Jerusalem. This was the place where the Samaritans used to worship, in opposition to Jerusalem ;