A Commentary on the New Testament
from the Talmud and Hebraica
Exercitations upon the Evangelist St. Luke
2. Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son
of Zacharias in the wilderness.
[Annas and Caiaphas being high priests.] They do constitute two high priests
at one time. True indeed: but they promoted a sagan, together with a high
The 'sagan,' as to his degree, was the same to the high priest, as he that was next
or second to the king.
They substituted, indeed, on the vespers of the day of expiation, another priest to the
high priest, that should be in readiness to perform the office for the day, if any
uncleanness should by chance have befallen the high priest.
"It is storied of Ben Elam of Zipporim, that when a gonorrhea had seized the high
priest on the day of expiation, he went in and performed the office for that day. And
another story of Simeon Ben Kamith, that as he was walking with the king on the vespers of
the day of expiation, his garments were touched with another's spittle, so that Judah his
brother went in and ministered. On that day the mother of them saw her two sons high
It is not without reason controverted, whether the sagan were the same with this
deputed priest: the Jews themselves dispute it. I would be on the negative part: for the sagan
was not so much the vice high priest, as (if I may so speak) one set over the
priests. The same with the ruler of the temple; of whom we have such frequent
mention among the doctors: upon him chiefly did the care and charge of the service of the
"The ruler of the temple saith to them, Go out and see if it be time to
slay the sacrifice." "The ruler saith, Come and cast your lots who shall
slay the sacrifice, who shall sprinkle the blood," &c. The Gloss is, the ruler
is the 'sagan.'
He is commonly called the 'sagan' of the priests: which argues his supremacy
among the priests, rather than his vicegerency under the high priest.
"When the high priest stands in the circle of those that are to comfort the
mourners, the sagan and he that is anointed for the battle, stand on his right
hand, and the head of the father's house, those that mourn, and all the people
stand on his left hand."
Mark here the order of the sagan; he is below the high priest, but above the
heads of all the courses.
2 Kings 23:4, the priests of the second order: Targum, the 'sagan' of the
priests. And chapter 25:18, Zephaniah the second priest: Targum, Zephaniah
'the sagan' of the priests.
Caiaphas therefore was the high priest, and Annas the sagan or ruler of the
temple; who, for his independent dignity, is called high priest as well as
Caiaphas; and seems therefore to be named first, because he was the other's father-in-law.
There was a dissension between Hanan and the sons of the chief priests, &c.
It was in a judicial cause, about a wife requiring her dower, &c. Where the scruple
is, who should these chief priests be? whether the fathers and heads of the
courses, or the high priest only and the sagan. It was a council of priests:
which we have already spoken to at Matthew 26:3. Now the question is, whether by the
"sons of the chief priests," be meant the sons of the fathers of courses, or the
fathers of courses themselves, or the sons of the high priest and the sagan; where
the high priest in that court was like the prince in the Sanhedrim, and the
sagan the father of the Sanhedrim.
"Moses was made a sagan to Aaron. He put on his garments, and took them off
[viz. on the day of his consecration]. And as he was his sagan in life, so he was
in death too."
5. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low;
and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth;
[Every valley shall be filled.] The Jews have a tradition, that some such thing
was done by the cloud that led Israel in the wilderness. Instead of many instances, take
the Targumist upon Canticles 2:6: "There was a cloud went before them, three days'
journey, to take down the hills and raise the valleys: it slew all fiery serpents
in the wilderness, and all scorpions; and found out for them a fit place to lodge
What the meaning of the prophet in this passage was, Christians well enough understand.
The Jews apply it to levelling and making the ways plain for Israel's return out of
captivity: for this was the main thing they expected from the Messiah, viz. to bring back
the captivity of Israel.
"R. Chanan saith, Israel shall have no need of the doctrine of Messiah the King in
time to come; for it is said, To him shall the Gentiles seek (Isa 11:10), but not Israel.
If so, why then is Messiah to come? and what is he to do when he doth come? He shall
gather together the captivity of Israel," &c.
8. Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within
yourselves. We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of
these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.
[Of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.] We do not say the Baptist
played with the sound of those two words banaia and abanaia: he does
certainly, with great scorn, deride the vain confidence and glorying of that nation
(amongst whom nothing was more ready and usual in their mouths than to boast that they
were the children of Abraham), when he tells them, That they were such children of
Abraham, that God could raise as good as they from those very stones.
11. He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him
that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise.
[He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none.] It would be no
sense to say, He that hath two coats, let him give to him that hath not two; but to him
that hath none: for it was esteemed for religion by some to wear but one single coat or
garment: of which, more elsewhere.
13. And he said unto them, Exact no more than that which is appointed you.
[Exact no more than that which is appointed you.] When the Rabbins saw that
the publicans exacted too much, they rejected them, as not being fit to give their
testimony in any case. Where the Gloss hath it, too much, that is more than that
which is appointed them. And the father of R. Zeirah is commended in the same place,
that he gently and honestly executed that trust: "He discharged the office of a
publican for thirteen years: when the prince of the city came, and this publican saw the
Rabbins, he was wont to say to them, Go, my people, enter thou into thy chambers,
Isaiah 26:20." The Gloss is, "Lest the prince of the city should see you; and,
taking notice what numbers you are, should increase his tax yearly."
14. And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he
said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content
with your wages.
[Neither accuse any falsely.] "The manner of sycophants is, first to load a
person with reproaches, and whisper some secret, that the other hearing it may, by telling
something like it, become obnoxious himself."
[With your wages.] A word used also by the Rabbins: The king distributeth
wages to his legions. "The king is not admitted to the intercalation of the year,
because of the 'opsonia'": that is, lest he should favour himself in laying
out the years with respect to the soldiers' pay.
22. And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice
came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.
[Like a dove.] If you will believe the Jews, there sat a golden dove upon the
top of Solomon's sceptre. "As Solomon sat in his throne, his sceptre was hung up
behind him: at the top of which there was a dove, and a golden crown in the mouth
23. And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed)
the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli,
[Being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph.] "A parable. There was a
certain orphaness brought up by a certain epitropus, or foster-father, an honest
good man. At length he would place her in marriage. A scribe is called to write a bill of
her dower: saith he to the girl, 'What is thy name?' 'N.' saith she. 'What the name of thy
father?' She held her peace. To whom her foster-father, 'Why dost thou not speak?'
'Because,' saith she, 'I know no other father but thee.' He that educateth the child is
called a father, not he that begets it." Note that: Joseph, having been taught by
the angel, and well satisfied in Mary, whom he had espoused, had owned Jesus for his son
from his first birth; he had redeemed him as his first-born, had cherished him in his
childhood, educated him in his youth: and therefore, no wonder if Joseph be called his
father, and he was supposed to be his son.
II. Let us consider what might have been the judgment of the Sanhedrim in this case
only from this story: "There came a certain woman to Jerusalem with a child, brought
thither upon shoulders. She brought this child up; and he afterward had the carnal
knowledge of her. They are brought before the Sanhedrim, and the Sanhedrim judged them to
be stoned to death: not because he was undoubtedly her son, but because he had wholly
adhered to her."
Now suppose we that the blessed Jesus had come to the Sanhedrim upon the decease of
Joseph, requiring his stock and goods as his heir; had he not, in all equity, obtained
them as his son? Not that he was, beyond all doubt and question, his son, but that he had
adhered to him wholly from his cradle, was brought up by him as his son, and always so
III. The doctors speak of one Joseph a carpenter: "Abnimus Gardieus asked
the Rabbins of blessed memory, whence the earth was first created: they answer him, 'There
is no one skilled in these matters; but go thou to Joseph the architect.' He went,
and found him standing upon the rafters."
It is equally obscure, who this Joseph the carpenter, and who this Abnimus
was; although, as to this last, he is very frequently mentioned in those authors. They
say, that "Abnimus and Balaam were two the greatest philosophers in the whole
world." Only this we read of him, That there was a very great familiarity betwixt him
and R. Meir.
[Which was the son of Heli.] I. There is neither need nor reason, nor indeed any
foundation at all, for us to frame I know not what marriages, and the taking of brothers'
wives, to remove a scruple in this place, wherein there is really no scruple in the least.
1. Joseph is not here called the son of Heli, but Jesus is so: for the word Jesus
must be understood, and must be always added in the reader's mind to every race in this
genealogy, after this manner: "Jesus (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, and so the
son of Heli, and of Matthat, yea and, at length, the son of Adam, and the Son of
God." For it was very little the business of the evangelist either to draw Joseph's
pedigree from Adam, or, indeed, to shew that Adam was the son of God: which not only
sounds something harshly, but in this place very enormously, I may almost add,
blasphemously too. For when St. Luke, verse 22, had made a voice from heaven, declaring
that Jesus was the Son of God, do we think the same evangelist would, in the same breath,
pronounce Adam 'the son of God' too? So that this very thing teacheth us what the
evangelist propounded to himself in the framing of this genealogy; which was to shew that
this Jesus, who had newly received that great testimony from heaven, "This is my
Son," was the very same that had been promised to Adam by the seed of the woman. And
for this reason hath he drawn his pedigree on the mother's side, who was the daughter of
Heli, and this too as high as Adam, to whom this Jesus was promised. In the close of the
genealogy, he teacheth in what sense the former part of it should be taken; viz. that
Jesus, not Joseph, should be called the son of Heli, and consequently, that the same
Jesus, not Adam, should be called the Son of God. Indeed, in every link of this chain this
still should be understood, "Jesus the son of Matthat, Jesus the son of
Levi, Jesus the son of Melchi"; and so of the rest...
2. Suppose it could be granted that Joseph might be called the son of Heli (which yet
ought not to be), yet would not this be any great solecism, that his son-in-law should
become the husband of Mary, his own daughter. He was but his son by law, by the marriage
of Joseph's mother, not by nature and generation.
There is a discourse of a certain person who in his sleep saw the punishment of the
damned. Amongst the rest which I would render thus, but shall willingly stand corrected if
under a mistake; He saw Mary the daughter of Heli amongst the shades. R. Lazar Ben
Josah saith, that she hung by the glandules of her breasts. R. Josah Bar Haninah
saith, that the great bar of hell's gate hung at her ear.
If this be the true rendering of the words, which I have reason to believe it is, then
thus far, at least, it agrees with our evangelist, that Mary was the daughter of Heli: and
questionless all the rest is added in reproach of the blessed Virgin, the mother of our
Lord: whom they often vilify elsewhere under the name of Sardah.
27. Which was the son of Joanna, which was the son of Rhesa, which was
the son of Zorobabel, which was the son of Salathiel, which was the son
[The son of Rhesa, the son of Zorobabel, the son of Salathiel, the son of Neri.]
I. That Pedaiah, the father of Zorobabel, 1 Chronicles 3:19, is omitted here, is agreeable
with Ezra 5:2; Haggai 1:1, &c.; but why it should be omitted, either here or there, is
not so easy to guess.
II. As to the variation of the names both here and 1 Chronicles 3, this is not unworthy
our observation: that Zorobabel and his sons were carried out of Babylon into Judea; and,
possibly, they might change their names when they changed the place of their dwelling. It
was not very safe for him to be known commonly in Babylon by the name of Zorobabel, when
the import of that name was the winnowing of Babel; so that he was there more
generally called Sheshbazzar. But he might securely resume the name in Judea, when
Cyrus and Darius had now fanned and sifted Babylon. So his two sons, Meshullam and
Hananiah, could not properly be called, one of them Abiud, the glory of my father,
and the other Rhesa, a prince, while they were in Babylon; but in Judea they were
names fit and suitable enough.
III. Of the variation of names here, and in Matthew 1, I have already spoken in that
place: to wit, that Neri was indeed the father of Salathiel; though St. Matthew saith
Jechoniah (who died childless, Jer 22:30) begat him: not that he was his son by nature,
but was his heir in succession.
36. Which was the son of Cainan, which was the son of Arphaxad, which
was the son of Sem, which was the son of Noe, which was the son of
[The son of Cainan.] I will not launch widely out into a controversy that hath
been sufficiently bandied already. I shall despatch, as briefly as I may, what may seem
most satisfactory in this matter:
I. There is no doubt, and indeed there are none but will grant that St. Luke hath
herein followed the Greek version. This, in Genesis 11:12,13, relates it in this manner:
"Arphaxad lived a hundred and five and thirty years, and begat Cainan; and
Cainan lived a hundred and thirty years, and begat Salah: and Cainan lived after he had
begot Salah three hundred and thirty years."
Consulting Theophilus about this matter, I cannot but observe of this author, that he
partly follows the Greek version, in adding to Arphaxad a hundred years, and partly not,
when he omits Cainan: for so he; Arphaxad, when he was a hundred and thirty-five years
of age, begat Salah. Nor can I but wonder at him that translates him, that he should
of his own head insert, "Arphaxad was a hundred and thirty-five years old, and begat
a son named Cainan. Cainan was a hundred and thirty years old, and begat Salah": when
there is not one syllable of Cainan in Theophilus. A very faithful interpreter indeed!
1. I cannot be persuaded by any arguments that this passage concerning Cainan was in
Moses' text, or indeed in any Hebrew copies which the Seventy used; but that it was
certainly added by the interpreters themselves, partly because no reason can be given how
it should ever come to be left out of the Hebrew text, and partly because there may be a
probable reason given why it should be added in the Greek; especially when nothing was
more usual with them than to add of their own, according to their own will and pleasure.
I might, perhaps, acknowledge this one slip, and be apt to believe that Cainan had once
a place in the original, but, by I know not what fate or misfortune, left now out; but
that I find a hundred such kind of additions in the Greek version, which the Hebrew text
will by no means own, nor any probable reason given to bear with it. Let us take our
instances only from proper names, because our business at present is with a proper name.
Genesis 10:2: Elisa is added among the sons of Japhet: and, verse 22, another Cainan
among the sons of Shem.
Genesis 46:20: Five grandchildren added to the sons of Joseph; Malachi 4:5, the
Exodus 1:11: the city On, is added to Pithom and Raamses.
2 Samuel 20:18: the city Dan is added to Abel. Not to mention several
other names of places in the Book of Joshua.
Now can I believe that these names ever were in the Hebrew copy, since some of them are
put there without any reason, some of the against all reason (particularly Dan
being joined with Abel, and the grandchildren of Joseph), and all of them with no
foundation at all?
II. I question not but the interpreters, whoever they were, engaged themselves in this
undertaking with something of a partial mind; and as they made no great conscience of
imposing upon the Gentiles, so they made it their religion to favour their own side. And
according to this ill temperament and disposition of mind, so did they manage their
version; either adding or curtailing at pleasure, blindly, lazily, and audaciously enough:
sometimes giving a very foreign sense, sometimes a contrary, oftentimes none: and this
frequently to patronise their own traditions, or to avoid some offence they think might be
in the original, or for the credit and safety of their own nation. The tokens of all which
it would not be difficult to instance in very great numbers, would I apply myself to it,
but it is the last only that is my business at this time.
III. It is a known story of the thirteen places which the Talmudists tell us were
altered by the LXXII elders when they wrote out the law (I would suppose in Hebrew) for
Ptolemy. They are reckoned up, and we have the mention of them sprinkled up and down; as
also, where it is intimated as if eighteen places had been altered.
Now if we will consult the Glossers upon those places, they will tell us that these
alterations were made, some of them, lest the sacred text should be cavilled at; others
that the honour and peace of the nation might be secured. It is easy, therefore, to
imagine that the same things were done by those that turned the whole Bible. The thing
itself speaks it.
Let us add, for example's sake, those five souls which they add to the family of Jacob;
numbering up five grandchildren of Joseph, who, as yet, were not in being,--nay, seven,
according to their account, Genesis 46:27. Children that were born to Joseph in the
land of Egypt, even nine souls.
Now, which copy do we think it most reasonable to believe, the Greek or the Hebrew? and
as to the question, whether these five added in the Greek were anciently in Moses' text,
but either since lost by the carelessness of the transcribers or rased out by the bold
hand of the Jews, let reason and the nature of the thing judge. For if Machir, Gilead,
Shuthelah, Tahan, and Eran, were with Joseph when Jacob with his family went down into
Egypt, (and if they were not, why are they numbered amongst those that went down?) then
must Manasseh at the age of nine years, or ten at most, be a grandfather; and Ephraim at
eight or nine. Can I believe that Moses would relate such things as these? I rather wonder
with what kind of forehead the interpreters could impose such incredible stories upon the
Gentiles, as if it were possible they should be believed.
IV. It is plain enough to any one that diligently considers the Greek version
throughout, that it was composed by different hands, who greatly varied from one another,
both in style and wit. So that this book was more learnedly rendered than that, the Greek
reading more elegant in this book than in that, and the version in this book comes nearer
the Hebrew than in that; and yet in the whole there is something of the Jewish craft,
favouring and patronising the affairs of that nation. There is something of this nature in
the matters now in hand, the addition of Cainan, and the five souls to the seventy that
went down into Egypt.
How mighty the Jewish nation valued themselves beyond all the rest of mankind,
esteeming those seventy souls that went down with Jacob into Egypt beyond the seventy
nations of the world; he that is so great a stranger in the Jewish affairs and writings,
that he is yet to learn, let him take these few instances; for it would be needless to add
"Seventy souls went down with Jacob into Egypt, that they might restore the
seventy families dispersed by the confusion of tongues. For those seventy souls were equal
to all the families of the whole world. And he that would be ruling over them, is as if he
would usurp a tyranny over the whole world."
"How good is thy love towards me, O thou congregation of Israel! It is more
than that of the seventy nations."
"The holy blessed God created seventy nations; but he found no pleasure in any of
them, save Israel only."
"Saith Abraham to God, 'Didst thou not raise up seventy nations unto Noah?' God
saith unto him, 'I will raise up that nation unto thee of whom it is written, How great a
nation is it!'" The Gloss is: "That peculiar people, excelling all the
seventy nations, that holy nation, as the holy language excels all the seventy
There are numberless passages of that kind. Now when this arrogant doctrine and
vainglorying, if familiarly known amongst the Gentiles, could not but stir up a great deal
of hatred, and consequently danger to the Jews, I should rather think the interpreters
might make such additions as these, through the caution and cunning of avoiding the danger
they apprehend, than that ever they were originally in the text of Moses. To wit, by
adding another Cainan, and five souls to those seventy in Jacob's retinue, they took care
that the Gentiles should not, in the Greek Bibles, find exactly the seventy nations in
Genesis 10, but seventy-two (or seventy-three if we reckon Elisa also;) as also not
seventy, but seventy-five souls that went down into Egypt.
It was the same kind of craft they used in that version, Deuteronomy 32:8; whence that
comparison between the seventy souls and the seventy nations took its rise. Moses hath it
thus; "When the Most High divided the nations, when he separated the sons of Adam, he
set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel."
But they render it thus; He set the bounds of the nations, according to the number of
the angels of God. A sense indeed most foreign from that of Moses, yet which served to
obscure his meaning, so far as might avoid any danger that might arise from the knowledge
of it. Making the passage itself so unintelligible, that it needs an Oedipus to unriddle
it; unless they should allude to the Jewish tradition (which I do a little suspect)
concerning the seventy angels, set over the seventy nations of the world.
V. But now if this version be so uncertain, and differs so much from the original, how
comes it to pass that the evangelists and apostles should follow it so exactly, and that
even in some places where it does so widely differ from the Hebrew fountain?
Ans. I. It pleased God to allot the censers of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram to
sacred use, because they were so ordained and designed by the first owners: so doth it
please the Holy Ghost to determine that version to his own use, being so primarily
ordained by the first authors. The minds, indeed, of the interpreters were not perhaps
very sincere in the version they made, as who designed the defence and support of some odd
things: so neither were the hearts of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram sincere at all, but very
perverse in offering their incense: but so long as their incense had been dedicated to
sacred use, it pleased God to make their censers holy. So the Greek version designed for
sacred use, as designed for the Holy Bible, so it was keept and made use of by the Holy
II. Whereas the New Testament was to be wrote in Greek, and come into the hands chiefly
of the Gentiles, it was most agreeable, I may say most necessary for them, to follow the
Greek copies, as being what the Gentiles were only capable of consulting; that so they,
examining the histories and quotations that were brought out of the Old Testament, might
find them agreeing with, and not contradicting them. For instance; they, consulting their
Greek Bibles for the names from David backward to Adam, there find "Cainan, the son
of Arphaxad." If St. Luke should not also have inserted it, how readily they might
have called his veracity in question, as to the other part of the genealogy, which had
been extracted out of tables and registers not so familiarly known!
III. If there be any credit to be given to that story of the Greek version, which we
meet with in Aristeas and Josephus, then we may also believe that passage in it which we
may find in Aristeas. "When the volumes of the law had been read through, the
priests, and interpreters, and elders, and governors of the city, and all the princes of
the people standing by, said 'Forasmuch as this interpretation is rightly, religiously,
and in every thing so very accurately finished, it is fit that all things should continue
as they are, and no alteration should be made.' When all had by acclamations given their
approbation to these things, Demetrius commanded that, according to their custom, they
should imprecate curses upon any that should, by addition, or alteration, or diminution,
ever make any change in it. This they did well in, that all things might be kept entire
and inviolate for ever."
If this passage be true, it might be no light matter to the Jew, when quoting any thing
in Greek out of the Old Testament, to depart in the least from the Greek version; and
indeed it is something a wonder, that after this they should ever dare to undertake any
other. But supposing there were any credit to be had to this passage, were the sacred
penmen any way concerned in these curses and imprecations? Who saith they were? But,
however, who will not say that this was enough for them to stop the mouths of the
cavilling Jews, that they, following the Greek version, had often departed from the truth
of the original to avoid that anathema; at least, if there were any truth in it.
Object. But the clause that is before us (to omit many others) is absolutely
false: for there was neither any Cainan the son of Arphaxad; nor was Jesus the son of any
Cainan that was born after the flood.
Ans. I. There could be nothing more false as to the thing itself than that of
the apostle, when he calleth the preaching of the gospel foolishness, 1 Corinthians
1:21; and yet, according to the common conceptions of foolish men, nothing more true. So
neither was this true in itself that is asserted here; but only so in the opinion of those
for whose sake the evangelist writes. Nor yet is it the design of the Holy Ghost to
indulge them in any thing that was not true; but only would not lay a stumblingblock at
present before them: "I am made all things to all men, that I might gain some."
II. There is some parallel with this of St. Luke and that in the Old Testament, 1
Chronicles 1:36: "The sons of Eliphaz, Teman, and Omar, and Zephi, and Gatam, and
Timnah, and Amalek." Where it is equally false, that Timnah was the son of Eliphaz,
as it is that Cainan was the son of Arphaxad. But far, far be it from me to say, that the
Holy Ghost was either deceived himself, or would deceive others. Timnah was not a man, but
a woman; not the son of Eliphaz, but his concubine; not Amalek's brother, but his mother,
Genesis 36:12. Only the Holy Ghost teacheth us by this shortness of speech, to recur to
the original story from whence these things are taken, and there consult the determinate
explication of the whole matter: which is frequently done by the same Holy Spirit,
speaking very briefly in stories well known before.
The Gentiles have no reason to cavil with the evangelist in this mater; for he agrees
well enough with their Bibles. And if the Jews, or we ourselves, should find fault, he may
defend himself from the common usage of the Holy Ghost, in whom it is no rare and unusual
thing, in the recital of stories and passages well enough known before, to vary from the
original and yet without any design of deceiving, or suspicion of being himself deceived;
but, according to that majesty and authority that belongs to him, dictating and referring
the reader to the primitive story, from whence he may settle and determine the state of
the matter, and inquire into the reasons of the variation. St. Stephen imitates this very
custom, while he is speaking about the burial of the patriarchs, Acts 7:15,16; being well
enough understood by his Jewish auditory, though giving but short hints in a story so well
III. It is one thing to dictate from himself, and another thing to quote what is
dictated from others, as our evangelist in this place doth. And since he did, without all
question, write in behalf of the Gentiles, being the companion of him who was the great
apostle of the Gentiles, what should hinder his alleging according to what had been
dictated in their Bibles?
When the apostle names the magicians of Egypt, Jannes and Jambres, 2 Timothy 3:9, he
doth not deliver it for a certain thing, or upon his credit assure them that these were
their very names, but allegeth only what had been delivered by others, what had been the
common tradition amongst them, well enough known to Timothy, a thing about which neither
he nor any other would start any controversy.
So when the apostle Jude speaks of "Michael contending with the devil about the
body of Moses," he doth not deliver it for a certain and authentic thing; and yet is
not to be charged with any falsehood, because he doth not dictate of his own, but only
appeals to something that had been told by others, using an argument with the Jews fetched
from their own books and traditions.
IV. As it is very proper and even necessary towards the understanding some sentences
and schemes of speech in the New Testament, to inquire in what manner they were understood
by those that heard them from the mouth of him that spoke them, or those to whom they were
written; so let us make a little search here as to the matter now in hand. When this
Gospel first appeared in public amongst the Jews and Gentiles, the Gentiles could not
complain that the evangelist had followed their copies: and if the Jews found fault, they
had wherewithal to answer and satisfy themselves. And that particularly as to this name of
'Cainan' being inserted, as also the five souls being added to the retinue of Jacob; the
learned amongst them knew from whence he had it; for what reason this addition had been
made in the Greek version, and that St. Luke had faithfully transcribed it thence: so that
if there were any fault, let them lay the blame upon the first authors, and not upon the
V. To conclude: Before the bible had been translated for Ptolemy (as it is supposed)
into the Greek tongue, there were an infinite number of copies in the Hebrew in Palestine,
Babylon, Egypt, even everywhere, in every synagogue: and it is a marvellous thing, that in
all antiquity there should not be the least hint or mention of so much as one Hebrew copy
amongst all these that agrees with the Greek version. We have various editions of that
version which they call the Septuagint, and those pretty much disagreeing among
themselves: but who hath ever heard or seen one Hebrew copy that hath in every thing
agreed with any one of them? The interpreters have still abounded in their own sense, not
very strictly obliging themselves to the Hebrew text.