Page images
PDF
EPUB

from Mount Zion, which was in the city, and on which was erected a fortress for its desence. This poetical manner of personifying the cities and countries to which they addressed themselves, was familiar to the prophets.

2 Froin the other evangelists it would appear, that our Lord rode only on the colt : from this passage, we should be apt to think that both had been used. But it is not unusual with the sacred authors, when either the nature of the thing spoken of, or the attendant circumstances, are sufficient for precluding mistakes, to employ the plural number for the singular.

7. “Covering them with their mantles,” éré'Inxav énáva avTôv ta iuátia autóv. The Sy. interpreter, either from a different reading in the copies he used, or (which is more likely) from a desire to express the sense more clearly, has rendered it “they laid their mantles on the colt.”

9. “ Blessed be he that cometh,” củhoynuévos ó exóuevos. E. T. “Blessed is he that cometh.” But acclamations of this kind are always of the nature of prayers, or ardent wishes; like the Fr.“ vive le roi," or our “God save the king.” Nay, the words connected are entirely of this character. “Hosanna to the son of David,” is equivalent to God preserve the son of David ;' and consequently what follows is the same as · Prosperous be the reign of him that cometh in the name of the Lord.'

2 “In the highest heaven." L. 2: 14. N.

12. “ The temple,” lapov. Let it be observed, that the word here is not vaós. By the latter was meant properly the house, including only the vestibule, the holy place or sanctuary, and the most holy : whereas, the former comprehended all the courts. It was in the outer courts that this sort of traffic was exercised. For want of peculiar names in European languages, these two are confounded in most modern translations. To the vaós, or temple, strictly so called, none of those people had access, not even our Lord himself, because not of the posterity of Aaron. L. 1: 9. N. It may be thought strange that ihe Pharisees, whose sect then predominated, and who much affected to patronize external decorum in religion, should have permitted so gross a violation of decency. But let it be remembered, that the merchandise was transacted in the court of the Gentiles; a place allotted for the devotions of the proselytes of the gate, those who, having renounced idolatry, worshipped the true God, but did not subject themselves to circumcision and the ceremonial law. To the religious service of such, the narrow-souled Pharisees paid no regard. The place they did not account holy. It is even not improbable, that, in order to put an indignity on those half-conformists, they had introduced and promoted this flagrant abuse. The zeal of our Lord, which breathed nothing of the pharisaical malignity, tended as much to unite and conciliate, as theirs tended to divide and alienate. Nor was there any thing in the leaven of the Pharisees which he more uniformly opposed, than that assuming spirit, the surest badge of the sectary, which would confine the favor of the universal Parent to those of his own sect, denomination or country. See ch. 8: 11, 12. L. 4: 23, etc. 10: 29, etc.

13. " A house.” Mr. 11: 17.

2 « Of robbers,” amorov. E. T. “Of theives.” Diss. XI. Part ïi. sect. 6.

25. “Whence had John authority to baptize?” to Bantiqua lwárvou rró tev niv; E.T. “ The baptism of John, whence was it?" But a man's baptism means, with us, solely his partaking of that ordinance; whereas this question relates, not to John's receiving baptism, but to his right to enjoin and confer baptism. The ques. tion, as it stands in the common version, conveys to the unlearned reader a sense totally different from the author's. It sounds as though it had been put, . Was John baptized by an angel, sent from heaven on purpose, or by an ordinary man?' In all such cases, if one would neither be unintelligible, nor express a false meaning, one must not attempt to trace the words of the original. Diss. XII. Part i. sect. 14.

31. “ The first," o nowros. In the old Itc. it was “novissimus.” The Cop. Arm. Sax. and Ara. read in the same manner. In the Cam. and two other Gr. MSS. it is o čoyatos. This is one of those readings which it would require more than ordinary exterpal evidence to authorize.

32. “ In the way of sanctity,” {v od dinalooúvns. E. T. “In the way of righteousness." This is one proof among many of the various significations given to the word dixalooúvn in the N. T. There can be no doubt that this is spoken principally in allusion to the austerities of John's manner of living in the desert, in respect of food, raiment and lodging. The word sanctity, in our language, though not quite so common, suits the meaning here better than righteousness.

33. “ Went abroad," anedņun osv. E. T. “ Went into a far country.” This is an exact translation of what is said of the prodigal, L. 15: 13, ánɛdnunorv sis nogav uaxoáv, but not of what is said here. The word andnunoev implies barely that it was a foreign country he went to; nothing is added to inform us whether it was far or near.

35. “ Drove away with stones another," öv čltopólnoav. E. T. “ Stoned another.” But hoßolɛiv does not always denote to kill by stoning, as the Eng. word stoned seems to imply. That it does not signify so in this place, is evident from the distinction made in the treatment given öv ATéxteiVAV.

36. “More respectable,” ndiovas tõõv noốtov. E.T. “More zhan the first :" Theiovas means more, either in number or in value. As vouchers for the latter use in the N. T. see Mt. 5: 20. 6: 25. 12: 41, 42. Mr. 12: 33. L. 11: 31, 32. Heb. 11: 4. The Heb. rab signifies both many and great. The reasons which have induced me, on reconsidering this passage, to prefer, with Markland, the second meaning, are these : 1. If the number of servants first sent had been mentioned, or even alluded to by an epithet, as many, or few, ndclovas could not have been rendered otherwise than in greater number ;' but not where there is neither mention of number, nor allusion to it. 2. A climax is evidently intended by the bistorian, in representing the husbandmen as proceeding from evil to worse. Now the climax is much better supported by making adslovas relate to dignity than by making it refer to number. He first sent some inferior servants ; afterwards the most respectable ; last of all, his son.

41. “He will put those wretches to a wretched death,” xaxous naxas anodioei aútoūs. E. T. “ He will miserably destroy those wicked men.” This idiom is entirely Grecian. Lucian says, xaxoì waxos unohoúvtal, Icaromenippus. Several other examples have been produced by Sc. and Wa. I have been lucky enough here to express the ineaning without losing the paronomasia, which is not without its emphasis. Wretches and wretched, like xaxous and xaxos, are equally susceptible of both significations, wicked and miserable. It is not possible always, in translating, to convey both the sense and the trope. And when both cannot be done, no reasonable person will be at a loss which to preser.

43. “ Know therefore.” This is one of the clearest predictions of the rejection of the Jews, and of the call of the Gentiles, which we have in this history.

2 “To a nation, it vel. Some render the word, “To the Gentiles.” That the Gentiles are meant cannot be doubted. But the Eng. (especially where there is no risk of mistake) ought not to be more explicit than the Gr. Had it been our Lord's intention flatly to tell them this, bis expression would have been tois Avioi. The article and the plural number are invariably used in such cases. They are here called “ a nation,” because, though collected out of many nations, they will as Christians constitute one nation, the ërvos äyrov inentioned i Pet. 2: 9.

CHAPTER XXII.

12. “ Friend,” étaipe. Diss. XII. Part. i. sect. 11.

14. “For there are many called, but few chosen," rolloi yao slol xantoi, óliyou éxdexroi. E. T. “For many are called, but few are chosen.” The difference in these two ways of rendering is to appearance inconsiderable, but it is real. Let it be observed, that the Gr. words xanroi and #xhexroi are merely adjectives ; called and chosen in the E. T. can be understood no otherwise than as participles ; insomuch that, if we were to turn the Eng. into Gr. we should use neither of those words, but say, Iloldo, yao siol xExAnuevot, ódigou xhehoyuevot, which does not perfectly coincide in meaning with the expression of the Evangelist. I acknowledge, it is impossible to mark the difference, with equal precision, in any language which has only one term for both uses. The distinction with us is similar, and nowise inferior to that which is found between Olivetan's and more modern Fr. versions. The former says “ Plusieurs sont appellés, mais peu sont elus ;" the latter, "Il y a beaucoup d'appellés, mais peu d'elus."

16. “ Herodians. Probably partisans of Herod Antipas, letrarch of Galilee ; those who were for the continuance of the royal power in the descendants of Herod the Great. This was an object which, it appears, the greater part of the nation, especially the Pharisees, did not favor. They considered that family, not indeed as idolaters, but as great conformists to the idolatrous customs of both Greeks and Romans, whose favor it spared no pains to secure. The notion adopted by some, that the Herodians were those who believed Herod to be the Messiah, hardly deserves to be mentioned, as there is no evidence that such an opinion was maintained by any body.

18. « Malice,” rovnoiav. Ch. 25: 26. N.

2 « Dissemblers,” Únoxourai. E. T. “Hypocrites.” Diss. III. sect. 24.

19. - A denarius.” Diss. VIII. Part. i, sect 4.

23. “Who say that there is no future life," oi leyovtes un stvar ávaotaoiv. E. T. “ Which say there is no resurrection.” The word ανάστασιν, or rather the plhrase ανάστασης των νεκρών, is indeed the common term by which the resurrection, properly so called, is denominated in the N. T. Yet this is neither the only, nor the primitive import of the word uváoraois: it denotes simply, being raised from inactivity to action, or from obscurity to entinence, or a return to such a state after an interruption. The verb avioinut has the like latitude of signification ; and both words are used in this extent by the writers of the N. T. as well as by the Seventy. Agreeably therefore to the original import, rising from a seat is properly termed avdora019, so is awaking out of sleep, or promotion from an inferior condition. The word occurs in this last sense, L. 2: 34. In this view, when applied to the dead, the word denotes, properly, no more than a renewal of life to them, in whatever manner this happen. Nay, that the Pharisees themselves did not universally mean by this term, the reunion of soul and body, is evident from the account which the Jewish historian gives of their doctrine, as well as from some passages in the Gospels; of both VOL. II.

15

which I had occasion to take notice in Diss. VI. Part ïi. sect. 19. To say therefore in Eng. in giving the tenets of the Sadducees, that “they deny the resurrection," is at least to give a very defective account of their sentiments on this very topic. It is notorious, not only from Josephus, and other Jewish writers, but from what is said Acts 23: 8, ihat they denied the existence of angels, and all separate spirits. In this they went much further than the Pagans, who did indeed deny what Cbristians call “the resurrection of the body,” but acknowledged a state after death, wherein the souls of the departed exist, and receive the reward, or the punishment, of the actions done upon the earth. But not only is the version here given a juster representation of the Sadducean hypothesis, at the same time that it is entirely conformable to the sense of the word ; but it is the only version which makes our Lord's argument appear pertinent and levelled against the doctrine he wanted to refute. In the common version, they are said to deny the resurrection, that is, that ihe soul and the body shall hereafter be reunited; and our Lord brings an argument from the Pentateuch to prove- What? not that they shall be reunited, (to this it has not even the most distant relation), but that the soul survives the body, and subsists after the body is dissolved. This many would have admitted, who denied the resurrection. Yet so evidently did it strike at the root of the scheme of the Sadducees, that they were silenced by it, and, to the conviction of the hearers, confuted. Now this, I will take upon me to say, could not have happened, if the fundamental error of the Sadducees had been barely the denial of the resurrection of the body, and not the denial of the immortality of the soul, or rather of its actual subsistence after death; for I speak not here of what some call the natural immortality of the soul. If possible, the words in L. 20: 38, návtes aúrợ Śwoiv, make it still more evident, that our Lord considered this as all that was incumbent on one who would confute the Sadducees, to prove, namely, that the soul still continued to live after the person's natural death. Now, if this was the subversion of Sadduceisin, Sadduceism must have consisted in denying that the soul continues to live separated from the body, or which is nearly the same, in affirming, that the dissolution of the union is the destruction of the living principle. It may be objected, that in ver. 28, there is a clear reference to what is specially called the resurrection, which, by the way, is still clearer from the manner wherein it is expressed Mr. 12: 23, ¿v oủv avaotáoel, örav avagtwol. This mode of expression, so like a tautology, appears to me to have been adopted by that evangelist, on purpose to show that he used the word aváotaris here in a more confined sense than he had done in the preceding part of the story. The Sadducee, as is common with disputants, thinks it sufficient for supporting his own doctrine, to show some absurdity in that of his antagonist; and

« PreviousContinue »