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XIV.-6. "I am the way, and the truth, and the life.” This appears to be spoken according to the Hebrew style, which indulges in the use of substantives for adjectives ; as, a man of sin, for a sinful man. This manner is not confined to the Hebrew, but is recognized also in the French language, for instance, where we say a brick house, they would say, Une maison de brique, i. e. a house of brick. The above passage will therefore run thus : I am the true and the living way.
XVI.-8. “He will reprove the world of sin.” Rather, he will convince the world, &c.-Ostervald.
XVI.-25. “These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs.” A proverb, or parable, denotes a speech out of the ordinary way, as the Greek word imports, illustrated with metaphors, or rhetorical figures.-Lowth.
XVIII. -38. " What is truth ? " L'Enfant thinks that Pilate was one of those academics, or disciples of Socrates, who thought that they ought to affirm nothing, and that, among so many different opinions, it was impossible to discover the truth. See the following lines in Cowper, The Task, book iii.
But what is truth?. 'twas Pilate's question put
XIX.-13. “Called the Pavement,' but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha.” The word Gabbatha means, an elevated place; perhaps a stage, or scaffold, in the midst of some area belonging to the palace.-Ostervald.
XIX.-17. “And he bearing his cross." This was usual for malefactors to do, as Lipsius shews from Artemidorus and Plutarch: the former says, The cross is like to death, and he that is to be fixed to it first bears it. The latter says, and every one of the malefactors that are punished in body carries out his own cross. See Burder's Oriental Customs, vol. ii.
By the cross, however, we are to understand merely that transverse piece of wood, to which his arms were afterwards fastened; and which was called furca, going across the upright beam which was fixed to the earth : this the criminal used to carry, and was therefore called furcifer.-See Kennett's Roman Antiqnities, under the word—-furca.
XIX.-20. And it was written in Hebrew, and Greek and Latin.” It was written in Hebrew, because it was the language of the place; in Greek, for the information of a great number of Hellenists who made use of that language ; and in Latin, in honour of the Roman empire.-Ostervald. --See notes on the superscription at St. Luke xxiii. 38.
XIX.--23. 6 The coat was without seam." This must be the tunick. The garments of the Jews consisted of the robe or mantle, which was the upper garment; the tunick which was under it and reached from the neck to the heels ; under that, linen, in the manner of a shirt; the girdle, a sort of drawers; the tiara, and the sandals.-Ostervald.
XX.-25. “And thrust my hand into his side." Dr. Stevenson justly obseryes, that the Greek word rendered into signifies upon; and, therefore, the passage may be rendered thus,- And put my hand upon his side.-See Doddridge.
XXI. 14. “This is now the third time that Jesus shewed himself to his disciples, after that he was risen from the dead." It was in reality, the seventh appearance, at least, that Jesus had made since his resurrection. But we must observe, that as St. John had particularly mentioned before, the two appearances which Jesus made to his disciples, when they were together, it seems most reasonable to conclude, that he reckons this the third, as referring to these.—Doddridge.
XXI.-25. “ The world itself could not contain the books.” Most interpreters look upon this as a noble hyperbole ; though some explain it thus : If they were all to be particularly written, the unbelieving world would not admit them; not for the greatness of the books, but for the greatness of the works recorded in them.-Ostervald.
1.-12. “A sabbath day's journey.” A sabbath day's journey was one mile; and this should be reckoned from the foot of mount Olivet. The expression of a sabbath day's journey is derived from the camp of the Israelites being at the distance of a mile from the tabernacle, where they went each sabbath to worship.–Valpy's Greek Testament. 1.-13. “They went up into an upper room.'
* In the very first ages of Christianity we see in the sacred writings more than probable footsteps of some determined places for their solemn assemblies, and peculiar only to thąt use. Of this nature was that upper room into which the apostles and disciples, after their return from our Saviour's ascension, went up as into a place commonly known and separated to divine use. Acts i. 13. Such another (if not the same) was that one place, in which they were all assembled on the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Ghost visibly came down upon them; Acts ii. 1; and this is the more probable because the multitude who were mostly strangers of every nation under heaven, came so readily to the place, upon the first rumour of so extraordinary an incident, which supposes it to be commonly known as the place where Christians used to meet together.-Horne's Introduction, vol. iii. page 217.'
I.-14. “ With the woinen.” Beza renders this—cum uxoribus, with their wives.
I.-18, 19. “Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity,” &c. These verses must come in a parenthesis, being the words not of the Apostle, but of the historian, who informs his readers, that the circumstances related are generally known to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.-Valpy's Greek Testament.
I. -26. “ And they gave forth their lots." The account which Grotius gives of the manner in which lots were cast, seems very probable and satisfactory. He says, they put their lots into urns, one of which contained the names of Joseph and Matthias, and the other a blank, and the word apostle. In drawing these out of the urns, the blank came up with the name of Joseph, and the lot on which was written the word apostle came up with the name of Matthias. This being in answer to their prayers, they concluded that Matthias was the man whom the Lord had chosen to the apostleshipBurder's Oriental Customs, vol. i. page 340.
11.-1. “The day of Pentecost.” So called, because it was kept on the fiftieth day from the passover, or rather from the second day of the festival, or the sixteenth day of the month Nisan. It was also called the feast of weeks, because it was kept a week of weeks, or seven weeks after the first day of unleavened bread.—See Valpy's Greek Testament.
II.-3. “There appeared to them cloven tongues, like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.” The singular it
, after the plural tongues, denotes the unity of the spirit, which was here manifested in the form, not of cloven tongues, severed, or separate and distinct flames, one of which was seen on the head of each disciple. Tongues of fire is a Hebraism for flame, as may be seen in the original of Isaiah v. 24. We say lambent flame by the same metaphor.– Ostervald.
11.-15. “Seeing it is but the third hour of the day.” The Jews rarely, if ever, ate or drank till after the hour of prayer Acts x. 30. and on sabbath days not till the sixth hour (twelve at noon, Josephus, de vita sua 54;) which circumstance well explains the Apostle Peter's defence of those on whom the Holy Ghost had miraculously descended on the day of Pentecost.-Horne's Introduction, vol. iii. page 162.
II.-19. Wonders in heaven above,” &c. This doubtless refers to the strange prodigies and signs which preceded the destruction of Jerusalem ; all of which, by singular providence, are recorded in Josephus, and many of them in Tacitus, book v. chap. 13.-Ostervald.
II. 47. “And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved." The Greek is the saved, i. e. those who had attended to the injunction at the 40th verse of this chapter and by faith had embraced the Gospel as the means of salvation.
III.-1. “The hour of prayer, being the ninth hour.” The Jews had three stated hours for prayer : the 1st, at the third hour of the day, or nine o'clock, at which time they offered their morning sacrifice; the 2nd, at the sixth, i. e. twelve o'clock; and the 3rd, at the ninth, or three in the the afternoon, when they offered the evening sacrifice.Ostervald.
IV. l. “The captain of the temple.” We learn from Josephus, that the tower of Antonia, which overlooked the temple, was always garrisoned by a legion of soldiers; and that, on the side where it joined to the porticos of the temple, there were stairs reaching to each portico, by which à company, band, or detachment descended, and kept guard in those porticos, to prevent any tumult at the great festivals. The commanding officer of this force is in the New Testament termed the captain, the chief captain of the band, and the captain of the temple.-Horne, vol. iii. page 208.