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Rabbinical citation:-" R. Simeon Ben Jochai, standing at the mouth of his cave [wherein he had lain hid for the space of thirteen years], he saw a certain man catching of birds. And when he heard Bath Kol* out of heaven saying, Mercy, mercy,' the birds escaped; but when he heard Bath Kol saying, "The pain of death,' then was the bird taken. He saith therefore, ‘A bird is not taken without God; much less, the life of man.'"
18. "I will pull down my barns, and build greater."-This pulling down, and rebuilding on a larger scale, shows quite clearly that the Jews of this time had granaries as constructed edifices. It does not however follow that they had altogether relinquished the older and still common custom of depositing the grain in subterranean storehouses; in which it is certainly more secure, and, as some think, preserved in better condition, than in constructed storehouses. The latter are, to some extent, the characteristics of a people who have attained a condition of security and peace; for those who are exposed to danger and alarm, will prefer the subterraneous granary, which may on occasions of emergency be abandoned by the proprietor, with tolerable confidence that when he is enabled to return, he shall find his treasured grain untouched; the entrance being so carefully concealed that it is sometimes discovered with difficulty by the owner himself, when he returns after an absence. This plan may in general be said to be resorted to by the peasantry throughout the East, constructed granaries being confined to towns and their neighbourhood—a distinction which perhaps prevailed among the Jews.
24. "They neither sow nor reap."-This mode of reasoning, or rather of illustration, was familiar to the Jews. Thus, in the Mishna, R. Simeon Ben Eleazer is reported to have said, "Did you ever see a beast or fowl that had a trade? but they are fed without trouble." To which the Gemara adds, "Did you ever see a lion bearing burdens, a hart gathering summer fruits, a fox a money-changer, or a wolf selling pots? And yet they are nourished without labour. And wherefore are they created? To serve me: and I am created to serve my Maker. And lo! these things have in them an argument; for if these, which are created to serve me after this manner, are supported without trouble, I, who am created to serve my Maker-is it not fit that I should be supplied without trouble? And what is the reason that I am supplied with trouble? My sins." (See Gill on Matt. vi. 26.).
8 And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it:
9 And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.
10 And he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath.
7 Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?
11 And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself.
12 And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity.
13 And he laid his hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God.
14 And the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because that Jesus had healed on the sabbath day, and said unto the people, There are six days in which men ought to work in them therefore come and be healed, and not on the sabbath day
15 The Lord then answered him, and said, Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering?
16 And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day?
1 Or, debtors.
*The Rabbinical writers have much to say about the Bath Kol, or "daughter of a voice," or "danghter-voice," which they mention in such a manner as to convey the impression that it was a directing voice from heaven; but it probably means no more than a kind of divination, in which an appeal was made to the Bath Kol, after which the first words heard from any person were understood to convey the desired oracle.
25 When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are :
26 Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets.
27 But he shall say, I tell you, I know
29 And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God.
30 And, behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last.
The same day there came certain of the Pharisees, saying unto him, Get thee out, and depart hence: for Herod will kill thee.
32 And he said unto them, Go ye, and tell that fox, Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures to day and to morrow, and the third day I shall be perfected.
33 Nevertheless I must walk to day, and to morrow, and the day following: for it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem.
34 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not !
35 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate and verily I say unto you, Ye shall not see me, until the time come when ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.
Matt. 13.31. 3 See Matt, 13. 33. • Matt. 9. 35. 5 Matt. 7. 13. Matt. 7.23. 7 Matt. 19. 30. 8 Matt. 23.37. Verse 1. "The Galilæans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.”—This event is mentioned by no other writer. It is not quite easy to determine who these Galileans were, or the offences for which they were slain. But. with a view to time and circumstances, it seems more than probable that they were followers of the noted Judas of Galilee, mentioned by the same Evangelist in Acts v. 37, who may be considered as the founder of the sect of Zealots so noted in later times, and frequently mentioned by us in former notes. The principles of Judas and his party were, that it was not lawful to pay tribute to Cæsar, or submit to the Romans. With a view far backward, to the early times of their history, and perhaps recollecting the disapprobation with which the first desire of the nation for a king was received-they held that God was their only sovereign, and they were therefore content to suffer death and torture rather than call any man Lord. It was when Judea was made a Roman province, after the deposition of Archelaus, that Judas and his coadjutor Sadduc first propounded their opinions, vehemently protesting that the census, with the valuation of property and payment of tribute, which was then carried into effect, involved the most shameful slavery, to which a nation whose sovereign was God ought not to submit. The heads of this party were put down by the Romans, and measures of active opposition suppressed: but, as we have said, the party still survived; and it is fair enough to conclude that the Galileans here mentioned belonged to this party; and having by some acts or declarations made their principles known, were slain by Pilate, when they had proceeded to Jerusalem to worship at the Temple. (See more on this subject under Acts v.)
4. "The tower in Siloam."―This tower no doubt stood near the pool of that name. These and other similar instances in which our Lord avails himself of recent occurrences, which were doubtless the subjects of general conversation, to give point or illustration to his instructions, are of much interest, and must have made a strong impression upon his actual auditors. The feeling which disposed people, and does often still dispose them, to regard such events as judgments from heaven upon those who suffer by them, and which appears to have been the feeling which the Jews entertained, needs no illustration. The present feeling in Western Asia-that is, among the Mohammedans-is somewhat different; every one who is slain by the fall of walls or buildings being regarded as a martyr.
7. "Cut it down."-The Jews were reluctant to cut down any fruit tree till they were assured that it was utterly barren. This was from interpreting largely the injunction contained in Deut. xx. 19, 20. It hence became a question,
what was the degree of fruitfulness which would render a tree worth preserving. With respect to two of them, it was decided that a palm-tree which afforded a cab of dates should not be cut down, nor an olive-tree that bore the fourth part of a cab. But as much depended upon the age of the tree, this rule did not hold good beyond three years, when, if a tree continued barren, or afforded inadequate returns, it received a red mark, and was devoted to destruction. This explains why the owner of the present tree did not propose to cut it down till it had been three years barren. It was considered a sinful act to cut down a fruit tree prematurely; hence R. Chaninah is reported to have said, “My son Shibehah had not died, had he not cut down a fig-tree before its time." See Lightfoot's 'Hora Heb.' in loc., and 'Chorog. Century,' ch. 98.
8. "I shall dig about it, and dung it."-The process here suggested was applicable to several other fruit-trees. It is one of the few passages which convey some slight information as to the mode in which the Jews treated their fruittrees. The additional information afforded by the following citation from the Gemara is useful. "They lay dung in their gardens to moisten the earth. They dig about the roots of their trees, they pluck up the suckers, they take off the leaves, they sprinkle ashes, and they make a smoke under their trees to destroy the worms."
15. "Lead him away to watering.”—This is shown in the Talmud, which states that a beast might be led forth to watering on the sabbath day, so that it bare no other burden than its collar and halter. Indeed it was held lawful to draw water for them, and pour it into the trough; but it was not lawful to bear water to the beast, which must be led to the well, pool, or river, and watered there.
32. "Go ye, and tell that for."-It adds to the force, and points the meaning of this, to understand that our Saviour calls the Tetrarch of Galilee a "fox," in allusion to a proverb, at that time current, to the effect, "Honour even the fox in the day of his power." If so, the expression would involve the intimation, that Herod was a fox in the day of his power. The Arabians have a proverb similar to the above in its spirit: "When the monkey reigns, dance before him." Burckhardt's Arabic Proverbs,' No. 87.
And he put forth a parable to those which were bidden, when he marked how they chose out the chief rooms; saying unto them,
8 When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room; lest a more honourable man than thou be bidden of him;
9 And he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, Give this man place; and
1 Prov. 25. 6, 7. 2 Matt. 23. 12.
thou begin with shame to take the lowest
10 'But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee.
11 For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
12 Then said he 'also to him that bade him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompence be made thee.
13 But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind : 14 And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.
15 And when one of them that sat at meat with him heard these things, he said unto him, 'Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God.
16 Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many:
17 And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready.
18 And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused.
Tob. 4. 7. • Rev. 19. 9.
5 Matt. 22. 2.
27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.
28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?
29 Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him,
30 Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.
THEN drew near unto him all the Publicans and sinners for to hear him.
31 Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand?
32 Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace.
33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.
34 Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned?
35 It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
7 Matt. 5. 13.
Matt. 10. 37.
Verse 16. "A certain man made a great supper."-We cannot withhold an interesting passage, in Mr. Morier's 'Second Journey into Persia,' which illustrates with much effect this parable and some of our Lord's preceding remarks. "It was fixed that at the end of August the Ameen-ad-Dowlah, or second vizier, was to give an entertainment to the ambassador and suite; and on the day appointed, as is usual in Persia, a messenger came, about five o'clock in the evening, to bid us to the feast. I might make use of Scripture language to commence my narration. A certain ma made a great supper, and bade many, and sent his servant at supper time to them that were bidden, Come, for all things are ready. (Luke xiv. 16, 17.) The difficulty which infidels have made in the passage of which this is the commencement arises from the apparent harshness of asking people to an entertainment, and giving them no option, by punishing them, in fact, for their refusal. Whereas all the guests to whom, when the supper was ready, the servant was sent, had already accepted the invitation, and were therefore already pledged to appear at the feast, at the hour when they might be summoned; they were not taken unprepared, and could not, in consistency or decency, plead any prior engagement.
"When a Persian enters a mejlis, or assembly, he makes the usual salutation, of Selem aleikum, Peace be unto you, which is addressed to the whole assembly, as it were saluting the house (Matt. x. 12); and then, measuring with his eye the degree of rank to which he holds himself entitled, he straightway wedges himself into the line of guests, without offering any apology for the general disturbance which he produces. It may be conceived that, among a vain people, the disputes that arise on matters of precedence, are numerous; and it was easy to observe, by the countenances of those present, when any one had taken a higher seat than that to which he was entitled. Mollahs, the Persian scribes, are remarkable for their arrogance in this respect; and will bring to mind the caution that our Saviour gave to the Jews against their scribes, whom, among other things, he characterizes as loving the uppermost places at feasts, Mark xii. 39. The master of the entertainment has, however, the privilege of placing any one as high in the ranks of mejlis as he may choose; and we saw an instance of it on this occasion; for when the assembly was nearly full, the governor of Kashan, a man of humble mien, although of considerable rank, came in, and had seated himself at the lowest place, when the Ameen-ad-Dowlah, after having testified his particular attentions to him, by numerous expressions of welcome, pointed with his hand to an upper seat in the assembly, to which he desired him to move, and which he did accordingly.".
1 The parable of the lost sheep: 8 of the piece of and eateth with them. silver: 11 of the prodigal son.
2 And the Pharisees and Scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners,
3 And he spake this parable unto them, saying,
4 What man of you, having an hundred
Matt. 18. 12.
sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?
5 And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.
6 And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.
7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.
8 Either what woman having ten 'pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it?
9 And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost.
10 Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.
11 And he said, A certain man had two sons:
Drachma, here translated a piece of silver, is the eighth part of an ounce, which cometh to seven pence halfpenny, and is equal to the Roman penny-Matt, 18. 28.