Chapter 25 | Table
of Contents | Chapter 27
The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah
THE ASCENT: FROM THE RIVER JORDAN TO THE MOUNT OF
THE HEALING OF THE WOMAN
CHRIST'S PERSONAL APPEARANCE
THE RAISING OF JAIRUS' DAUGHTER
(St. Matthew 9:18-26; St. Mark 5:21-43; St.
THERE seems remarkable correspondence between the two miracles
which Jesus had wrought on leaving Capernaum and those which He did on His
return. In one sense they are complementary to each other. The stilling of the
storm and the healing of the demonised were manifestations of the absolute
power inherent in Christ; the recovery of the woman and the raising of Jairus'
daughter, evidence of the absolute efficacy of faith. The unlikeliness of
dominion over the storm, and of command over a legion of demons, answers to
that of recovery obtained in such a manner, and of restoration when disease had
passed into actual death. Even the circumstances seem to correspond, though at
opposite poles; in the one case, the Word spoken to the unconscious element, in
the other the touch of the unconscious Christ; in the one case the absolute
command of Christ over a world of resisting demons, in the other absolute
certainty of faith as against the hostile element, of actual fact. Thus the
Divine character of the Saviour appears in the absoluteness of His Omnipotence,
and the Divine character of His Mission in the all-powerfulness of faith which
it called forth.
On the shore at Capernaum many were gathered on the morning
after the storm. It may have been, that the boats which had accompanied His had
returned to friendly shelter, ere the storm had risen to full fury, and had
brought anxious tidings of the storm out on the Lake. There they were gathered
now in the calm morning, friends eagerly looking out for the well-known boat that
bore the Master and His disciples. And as it came in sight, making again for
Capernaum, the multitude also would gather in waiting for the return of Him,
Whose words and deeds were indeed mysteries, but mysteries of the Kingdom. And
quickly, as He again stepped on the well-known shore, was He welcomed,
surrounded, soon 'thronged,' inconveniently pressed upon,1
by the crowd, eager, curious, expectant. It seemed as if they had been all
'waiting for Him,' and He had been away all too long for their impatience. The
tidings rapidly spread, and reached two homes where His help was needed; where,
indeed, it alone could now be of possible avail. The two most nearly concerned
must have gone to seek that help about the same time, and prompted by the same
feelings of expectancy. Both Jairus, the Ruler of the Synagogue, and the woman
suffering these many years from disease, had faith. But the weakness of the one
arose from excess, and threatened to merge into superstition, while the
weakness of the other was due to defect, and threatened to end in despair. In
both cases faith had to be called out, tried, purified, and so perfected; in
both the thing sought for was, humanely speaking, unattainable, and the means
employed seemingly powerless; yet, in both, the outward and inward results
required were obtained through the power of Christ, and by the peculiar
discipline to which, in His all-wise arranging, faith was subjected.
1. comp. St. Luke viii. 45; St. Mark v. 31.
It sounds almost like a confession of absolute defeat, when
negative critics (such as Keim) have to ground their mythical
explanation of this history on the supposed symbolical meaning of what they
designate as the fictitious name of the Ruler of the Synagogue - Jair,
'he will give light'2
- and when they3
further appeal to the correspondence between the age of the maiden and the
years (twelve) during which the woman had suffered from the bloody flux. This
coincidence is, indeed, so trivial as not to deserve serious notice; since
there can be no conceivable connection between the age of the child and the
duration of the woman's disease, nor, indeed, between the two cases, except in
this, that both appealed to Jesus. As regards the name Jairus, the
supposed symbolism is inapt; while internal reasons are opposed to the
hypothesis of its fictitiousness. For, it seems most unlikely that St. Mark and
St. Luke would have rendered the discovery of 'a myth' easy by needlessly
breaking the silence of St. Matthew, and giving the name of so well-known a
person as a Synagogue-ruler of Capernaum. And this the more readily, that the
name, though occurring in the Old Testament, and in the ranks of the
Nationalist party in the last Jewish War,4
was apparently not a common one.5
But these are comparatively small difficulties in the way of the mythical
2. Jesu v. Nazar. ii. 2, p. 472.
3. Strauss, Leben Jesu ii. p. 135.
4. Jos. Jewish War vi. 1. 8, close.
5. The name, a well-known O.T. one (Numb. xxxii. 41; Judg., x. 3), does not occur in Rabbinic literature till after the Middle Ages.
Jairus, one of the Synagogue-rulers6
of Capernaum, had an only daughter,7
who at the time of this narrative had just passed childhood, and reached the
period when Jewish Law declared a woman of age.8
Although St. Matthew, contracting the whole narrative into briefest summary,
speaks of her as dead at the time of Jarius' application to Jesus, the other
two Evangelists, giving fuller details, describe her as on the point of death,
literally, 'at the last breath' (in extremis).9
Unless her disease had been both sudden and exceedingly rapid, which is barely
possible, it is difficult to understand why her father had not on the previous
day applied to Jesus, if his faith had been such as is generally supposed. But
if, as the whole tenour of the history shows, his faith had been only general
and scarcely formed, we can account the more easily for the delay. Only in the
hour of supreme need, when his only child lay dying, did he resort to Jesus.
There was need to perfect such faith, on the one side into perseverance of
assurance, and on the other into energy of trustfulness. The one was
accomplished through the delay caused by the application of the woman, the
other by the supervention of death during this interval.
6. Keim starts the theory that, according to St. Matthew, Jairus was an arcwn in the sense of a civil
magistrate. This, in order to make St. Matthew contradict St. Mark and St.
Luke, as if arcwn were not one
of the most common designations of Synagogue-rulers.
7. The particulars of her history must be gathered from a comparison of the three Gospels.
8. A woman came of age at twelve years and one day, and boys at thirteen years and one day.
9. Godet points out a like summarisation in St. Matthew's account of the Centurion's servant.
There was nothing unnatural or un-Jewish in the application of
this Ruler to Jesus. He must have known of the healing of the son of the
Court-official, and of the servant of the Centurion, there or in the immediate
neighbourhood - as it was said, by the mere word of Christ. For there had been
no imposition of silence in regard to them, even had such been possible. Yet in
both cases the recovery might be ascribed by some to coincidence, by others to
answer of prayer. And perhaps this may help us to understand one of the reasons
for the prohibition of telling what had been done by Jesus, while in other
instances silence was not enjoined. Of course, there were occasions - such as
the raising of the young man at Nain and of Lazarus - when the miracle was done
so publicly, that a command of this kind would have been impossible. But in
other cases may this not be the line of demarcation, that silence was not
enjoined when a result was achieved which, according to the notions of the
time, might have been attributed to other than direct Divine Power,
while in the latter cases10
publicity was (whenever possible) forbidden? And this for the twofold reason,
that Christ's Miracles were intended to aid, not to supersede, faith; to direct
to the Person and Teaching of Christ, as that which proved the benefit to be
real and Divine; not to excite the carnal Jewish expectancies of the people,
but to lead in humble discipleship to the Feet of Jesus. In short, if only
those were made known which would not necessarily imply Divine Power
(according to Jewish notions), then would not only the distraction and tumult
of popular excitement be avoided, but in each case faith in the Person of
Christ be still required, ere the miracles were received as evidence of His
And this need of faith was the main point.
10. The following are the instances in which silence was enjoined: - St. Matt. viii. 4 (St. Mark i. 44; St. Luke v. 14); St. Matt. ix. 30; xii. 16; St. Mark iii. 12; v. 43 (St. Luke viii. 56); St. Mark vii. 36; viii. 26.
11. In general, we would once more thus formulate our views: In the Days of Christ
men learned first to believe in His Person, and then in His Word; in the
Dispensation of the Holy Spirit we learn first to believe in His Word, and then in His Person.
That, in view of his child's imminent death, and with the
knowledge he had of the 'mighty deeds' commonly reported of Jesus, Jairus
should have applied to Him, can the less surprise us, when we remember how
often Jesus must, with consent and by invitation of this Ruler, have spoken in
the Synagogue; and what irresistible impression His words had made. It is not
necessary to suppose, that Jairus was among those elders of the Jews who
interceded for the Centurion; the form of his present application seems rather
opposed to it. But after all, there was nothing in what he said which a Jew in
those days might not have spoken to a Rabbi, who was regarded as Jesus must
have been by all in Capernaum who believed not the horrible charge, which the
Judæan Pharisees had just raised. Though we cannot point to any instance where
the laying on of a great Rabbi's hands was sought for healing, such, combined
with prayer, would certainly be in entire accordance with Jewish views at the
time. The confidence in the result, expressed by the father in the accounts of
St. Mark and St. Matthew, is not mentioned by St. Luke. And perhaps, as being
the language of an Eastern, it should not be taken in its strict literality as
indicating actual conviction on the part of Jairus, that the laying on of Christ's
Hands would certainly restore the maiden.
Be this as it may, when Jesus followed the Ruler to his house,
the multitude 'thronging Him' in eager curiosity, another approached Him from
out that crowd, whose inner history was far different from that of Jairus. The
disease from which this woman had suffered for twelve years would render her
Levitically 'unclean.' It must have been not unfrequent in Palestine, and
proved as intractable as modern science has found it, to judge by the number
and variety of remedies prescribed, and by their character. On one leaf of the
Talmud12 not less
than eleven different remedies are proposed, of which at most only six can
possibly be regarded as astringents or tonics, while the rest are merely the
outcome of superstition, to which resort is had in the absence of knowledge.13
But what possesses real interest is, that, in all cases where astringents or
tonics are prescribed, it is ordered, that, while the woman takes the remedy,
she is to be addressed in the words: 'Arise (Qum) from thy flux.' It is
not only that psychical means are apparently to accompany the therapeutical in
this disease, but the coincidence in the command, Arise (Qum), with the
words used by Christ in raising Jairus' daughter is striking. But here also we
mark only contrast to the magical cures of the Rabbis. For Jesus neither used
remedies, nor spoke the word Qum to her who had come 'in the press
behind' to touch for her healing 'the fringe of His outer garment.'
12. Shabb. 110 a and b.
13. Such as the ashes of an Ostrich-Egg, carried in summer in a linen, in winter in a cotton rag; or a barley-corn found in the dung of a white she-ass, &c.
As this is almost the only occasion on which we can obtain a
glimpse of Christ's outward appearance and garb, it may be well to form such
accurate conception of it, as is afforded by a knowledge of the dress of the
ancient Hebrews. The Rabbis laid it down as a rule, that the learned ought to be
most careful in their dress. It was a disgrace if a scholar walked abroad with
to wear dirty clothes deserved death;15
for 'the glory of God was man, and the glory of man was his dress.'16
This held specially true of the Rabbi, whose appearance might otherwise reflect
on the theological profession. It was the general rule to eat and drink below
(or else according to) a man's means, but to dress and lodge above them.1718
For, in these four things a man's character might be learned; at his cups, in
many matters, when he was angry and by his ragged dress.19
Nay, 'The clothing of the wife of a Chabher (learned associate) is of
greater importance than the life of the ignorant (rustic), for the sake of the
dignity of the learned'20
Accordingly, the Rabbis were wont to wear such dress by which they might be
distinguished. At a latter period they seem at their ordination to have been
occasionally arrayed in a mantle of gold-stuff.21
Perhaps a distinctive garment, most likely a head-gear, was worn, even by 'rulers'
('the elder,' Nqz), at their ordination.22
The Palestinian Nasi, or President of the Sanhedrin, also had a
and the head of the Jewish community in Babylon a distinctive girdle.2425
14. In Ber. 43 b, it is explained to refer to such shoes as had 'clouts on the top of clouts.'
15. Shabb. 114 a.
16. Derekh Erets s. x towards the end.
17. Babha Mez. 52 a; Chull. 84 b.
18. Accordingly, when a person applied for relief in food, inquiry was be made as to his means, but not if he applied for raiment (Babha B 9 a).
19. Erub. 65 b.
20. Jer. Horay. 48 a, 4 lines from bottom.
21. Babha Mez. 85 a.
22. But I admit that the passage (Vayyik. R. 2) is not quite clear. The Maaphoreth
there mentioned may not have been an official dress, but one which the man
otherwise used, and which was only specially endeared to him by the
recollection that he had worn it at his ordination.
23. Ber. 28 a.
24. Horay. 13 b.
25. In general, I would here acknowledge my indebtedness on the very difficult subject
of dress to Sachs, Beiträge z. Sprach- u. Alterth.-Forsch.; to the
Articles in Levy's Dictionaries; and especially to Brüll,
Trachten d. Juden. The Article in Hamburger's Real-Encykl. is little more than a repetition of Brüll's. From other writers I have not been able to derive any help.
In referring to the dress which may on a Sabbath be saved from
a burning house - not, indeed, by carrying it, but by successively putting it
on, no fewer than eighteen articles are mentioned.26
If the meaning of all the terms could be accurately ascertained, we should know
precisely what the Jews in the second century, and presumably earlier, wore,
from the shoes and stockings on their feet to the gloves27
on the hands. Unfortunately, many of these designations are in dispute. Nor
must it be thought that, because there are eighteen names, the dress of an
Israelite consisted of so many separate pieces. Several of them apply to
different shapes or kinds of the same under or upper garments, while the list
indicates their extreme number and variety rather than the ordinary dress worn.
The latter consisted, to judge by the directions given for undressing and
dressing in the bathroom, of six, or perhaps more generally, of five articles:
the shoes, the head-covering, the Tallith or upper cloak, the girdle,
the Chaluq or under-dress, and the Aphqarsin or innermost
regarded shoes, a man should sell his very roof-tree for them,29
although he might have to part with them for food if he were in a weak
condition through blood-letting.30
But it was not the practice to provide more than one pair of shoes,31
and to this may have referred the injunction32
of Christ to the Apostle not to provide shoes for their journey, or else to the
well-known distinction between shoes (Manalim) and sandals (Sandalim).
The former, which were sometimes made of very coarse material, covered the
whole foot, and were specially intended for winter or rainy weather; while the
sandals, which only protected the soles and sides of the feet, were specially
far summer use.33
26. Shabb. 120 a; Jer. Shabb. 15 d.
27. So Landau renders one of the words in Shabb. 120 a. I need scarcely say that the rendering is very doubtful.
28. Deiekh Erest R. x p. 33 d.
29. Brüll regards this as controversial to the practices of the early Christians. But he confounds sects with the Church.
30. Shabb. 129 a; comp. Pes. 112 a.
31. Jer. Shabb. vi. 2.
32. St. Matt. x. 10.
33. B. Bathra 58 a, lines 2 and 3 from top.
In regard to the covering of the head, it was deemed a mark of
disrespect to walk abroad, or to pass a person, with bared head.34
Slaves covered their heads in presence of their heads in presence of their
masters, and the Targum Onkelos indicates Israel's freedom by paraphrasing the
expression they 'went out with a high hand'35
by 'with uncovered head'36
The ordinary covering of the head was the so-called Sudar (or Sudarimn),
a kerchief twisted into a turban, and which might also be worn round the neck.
A kind of hat was also in use, either of light material or of felt (Aphilyon
shel rosh or Philyon).37
The Sudar was twisted by Rabbis in a peculiar manner to distinguish them
We read besides of a sort of cap or hood attached to garments.
34. On the other hand, to walk about with shoes loosed was regarded as a mark of pride.
35. Exod. xiv. 8.
36. The like expression occurs in the Targum on Judg. v. 9.
37. Kel. xxix. 1.
38. Pes. 111 b. See also the somewhat profane etymology of )rdws in Shabb. 77 b, wy)ryl `h dws.
Three, or else four articles commonly constituted the dress of
the body. First came the under-garment, commonly the Chaluq of the Kittuna39
(The Biblical Kethoneth), from which latter some have derived the word
'cotton.' The Chaluq might be of linen or of wool.40
The sages wore it down to the feet. It was covered by the upper garment or Tallith
to within about a handbreadth.41
The Chaluq lay close to the body, and had no other opening than that
round the neck and for the arms. At the bottom it had a kind of hem. To posses
only one such 'coat' or inner garment was a mark of poverty.42
Hence, when the Apostles were sent on their temporary mission, they were
directed not to take 'two coats.'43
Closely similar to, if not identical with, the Chaluq, was the ancient
garment mentioned in the Old Testament as Kethoneth, to which the Greek
'Chiton' (citwn) corresponds. As
the garment which our Lord wore,4445
and those of which He spoke to His Apostles are designated by that name, we
conclude that it represents the well-know Kethoneth or Rabbinic Kittuna.
This might be of almost any material, even leather, though it was generally of
wool or flax. It was sleeved, close-fitting, reached to the ankles, and was
fastened round the loins, or just under the breast,46
by a girdle. One kind of the latter, the Pundah or Aphundah,47
was provided with pockets or other receptacles,48
and hence might not be worn outside by those who went into the Temple,49
probably to indicate that he who went to worship should not be engaged in, nor
bear mark of, any other occupation.
39. Also, Kittanitha, and Kittunita.
40. Jer. Shan. 20 c, bottom.
41. Baha B. 57 b.
42. Meod. K.14 a.
43. St. Matt. x. 10, and parallels.
44. St. John xix. 23.
45. As to the mode of weaving such garments, see the pictorial illustration in Braunius, Vest. Sacred. Hebræor., which is reproduced, with full details for various
other works, in Hartmanns Hebr. am Putzt. vol. i., explanatory notes being added at the beginning of vol. iii. Sammter's note in his edition of B. Mezia, p. 151 a, is only a reproduction of Hartmann's remarks.
46. Comp. Rev. i. 13.
47. It was worn outside (Jer. Ber. 14 c, top). This is the girdle which was not to be worn in the Temple, probably as being that of a person engaged in business.
48. This is the explanation of the Aruch (ed. Landau, i. p. 157 b).
49. Jer Ber. 14 c, top.
Of the two other garments mentioned as parts of a man's toilette,
the Aphqarsin or Aphikarsus seems to have been an article of
luxury rather than of necessity. Its precise purpose is difficult to determine.
A comparison of the passages in which the term occurs conveys the impression,
that it was a large kerchief used partly as a head-gear, and which hung down
and was fastened under the right arm.5051
Probably it was also used for the upper part of the body. But the circumstance
that, unlike the other articles of dress, it need not be rent in mourning,52
and that, when worn by females, it was regarded as a mark of wealth,53
shows that it was not a necessary article of dress, and hence that, in all
likelihood, it was not worn by Christ. It was otherwise with the upper
garment. Various shapes and kinds of such were in use, from the coarser Boresin
and Bardesin - the modern Burnoose - upwards. The Gelima
was a cloak of which 'the border,' or 'hem,' is specially mentioned ()mylg ylwpy#$@).54
The Gunda was a peculiarly Pharisaic garb.55
But the upper garment which Jesus wore would be either the so-called Goltha,
or, most likely, the Tallith. Both the Goltha56
and the Tallith57
were provided, on the four borders, with the so-called Tsitsith, or
'fringes.' These were attached to the four corners of the outer dress, in
supposed fulfilment of the command, Numb. xv. 38-41; Deut. xxii. 12. At first,
this observance seems to have been comparatively simple. The question as to the
number of filaments on these 'fringes' was settled in accordance with the
teaching of the School of Shammai. Four filaments (not three, as the Hillelites
proposed), each of four finger-lengths (these, as later tradition put it,
doubled), and attached to the four corners of what must be a strictly square
garment - such were the earliest rules on the subject.58
The Mishnah leaves it still a comparatively open question, whether these
filaments were to be blue or white.59
But the Targum makes a strong point of it as between Moses and Korah, that
there was to be a filament of hyacinth colour among four of white.60
It seems even to imply the peculiar symbolical mode of knotting them at present
in use.61 Further
symbolic details were, of course, added in the course of time.62
As these fringes were attached to the corners of any square garment, the
question, whether the upper garment which Jesus wore was the Goltha or
the Tallith, is of secondary importance. But as all that concerns His
Sacred Person is of deepest interest, we may be allowed to state our belief in
favour of the Tallith. Both are mentioned as distinctive dresses of
teachers, but the Goltha (so far as it differed from the Tallith)
seems the more peculiarly Rabbinic.
50. Kel. xxix. 1; Ber. 23 b; 24 b, in the sense of kerchief worn in an accessible position; Pesiqt. 15 b, as lying close to the body and yet contracting dust; Jer. Ber. 4 c, line 14 from top, as used for wrapping the upper part of the body.
51. This passage is both curious and difficult. It seems to imply that the Aphqarsin
was a garment worn in summer, close to the body, and having sleeves.
52. Jer. Moed, K. 83 d.
53. Nidd. 48 b.
54. Sanh. 102 b, and often.
55. Sot. 22 b.
56. Jer, Sanh. 28 c.
57. Menach. 37 b.
58. Siphré, ed. Friedmann, p. 117 a.
59. Menach. iv. 1.
60. Targ. Ps.-Jon. on Numb. xvi. 2.
61. u. s. on Numb. xv. 38.
62. The number of knots and threads at present counted are, of course, later additions. The little tractate Tsitsith Kirchheim, Septem Libri Talm. P. pp. 22-24
is merely a summary. The various authorities on the subject - and not a few have been consulted - are more or less wanting in clearness and defective. Comp. p. 277, note 2, of this volume.
We can now form an approximate idea of the outward appearance
of Jesus on that spring-morning amidst the throng at Capernaum. He would, we
may safely assume, go about in the ordinary, although not in the more
ostentatious, dress, worn by the Jewish teachers of Galilee. His head-gear
would probably be the Sudar (Sudarium) would into a kind of turban, or
perhaps the Maaphoreth,63
which seems to have served as a covering for the head, and to have descended
over the back of the neck and shoulders, somewhat like the Indian pugaree. His
feet were probably shod with sandals. The Chaluq, or more
probably the Kittuna, which formed his inner garment, must have been close-fitting,
and descended to His feet, since it was not only so worn by teachers, but was
regarded as absolutely necessary for any one who would publicly read or
'Targum' the Scriptures, or exercise any function in the Synagogue.64
As we know, it 'was without seam, woven from the top throughout;'65
and this closely accords with the texture of these garments. Round the middle
it would be fastened with a girdle.66
Over this inner, He would most probably wear the square outer garment, or Tallith,
with the customary fringes of four long white threads with one of hyacinth
knotted together on each of the four corners. There is reason to believe, that
three square garments were made with these 'fringes,' although, by way of
ostentation, the Pharisees made them particularly wide so as to attract
attention, just as they made their phylacteries broad.67
Although Christ only denounced the latter practice, not the phylacteries
themselves, it is impossible to believe that Himself ever wore them, either on
the forehead or the arm.68
There was certainly no warrant for them in Holy Scripture, and only Pharisee
externalism could represent their use as fulfilling the import of Exod. xiii.
9, 16; Deut. vi. 8; xi. 18. The admission that neither the officiating priests,
nor the representatives of the people, wore them in the Temple,69
seems to imply that this practice was not quite universal. For our part, we
refuse to believe that Jesus, like the Pharisees, appeared wearing phylacteries
every day and all day long, or at least a great part of the day. For such was
the ancient custom, and not merely; as the modern practice, to wear them only
63. The difference between it and the Aphqarsin seems to be, that the latter was worn and fastened inside the dress. The Maaphoreth would in some
measure combine the uses of the Sudar and the Aphqarsin.
64. Tos. Megill. iv. p. 45 b, lines 17 and 16 from bottom.
65. St. John xix. 23.
66. Canon Westcott (Speaker's Comment. on St. John xix. 23) seems to imply that the girdle was worn outside the loose outer garment. This was not the case.
67. St. Matt. xviii. 5.
68. On this subject I must take leave to refer to the Bibl. Cyclopaedias and to 'Sketches of Jewish Social Life,' pp. 220-224.
69. Zebhach. 19 a, b.
70. As the question is of considerable practical importance, the following, as bearing
upon it, may be noticed. From Jer. Ber. 4 c, we gather: 1. That at one time it was the practice to wear the phylacteries all day long, in order to pass
as pious. This is denounced as a mark of hypocrisy. 2. That it was settled, that phylacteries should be worn during a considerable part of the day, but not
the whole day. [In Ber. 23 a to 24 a we have rules and
discussions about depositing them under certain circumstances, and where to place them at night.] 3. That it was deemed objectionable to wear them only during prayer. 4. That celebrated Rabbis did not deem it necessary always to wear the phylacteries both on the head and on the arm. This seems to prove that their obligation could not have been regarded as absolutely binding. Thus, R.
Jochanan wore those for the head only in winter, but not in summer, because then he did not wear a headgear. As another illustration, that the wearing of phylacteries was not deemed absolutely requisite, the following passage may be quoted (Sanh. xi. 3): 'It is more culpable to transgress the words of the Scribes than those of the Torah.' He that says, There are no phylacteries, transgresses the word of the Torah, and is not to be regarded as a rebel (literally, is free); but he who says, There are five compartments (instead of four), to add to the words of the Scribes, he is guilty.
One further remark may be allowed before dismissing this
subject. Our inquiries enable us in this matter also to confirm the accuracy of
the Fourth Gospel. We read71
that the quaternion of soldiers who crucified Christ made division of the
riches of His poverty, taking each one part of His dress, while for the fifth,
which, if divided, would have had to be rent in pieces, they cast lots. This
incidental remark carries evidence of the Judæan authorship of the Gospel in
the accurate knowledge which it displays. The four pieces of dress to be
divided would be the head-gear, the more expensive sandals or shoes, the long
girdle, and the coarse Tallith - all about equal in value.72
And the fifth undivided and, comparatively, most expensive garment. 'without
seam, woven from the top throughout,' probably of wool, as befitted the season
of the year, was the Kittuna, or inner garment. How strange, that, what
would have been of such priceless value to Christendom, should have been
divided as the poor booty of a rough, unappreciative soldiery! Yet how well for
us, since not even the sternest warning could have kept within the bounds of
mere reverence the veneration with which we should have viewed and handled that
which He wore, Who died for us on the Cross.
71. St. John xix. 23.
72. I find that the lowest price mentioned for an upper garment was 7½ dinars,
or about 4s. 7d. (Jer. Kilay. ix. 1). The more common price,
however, seems to have been 12 dinars, or about 7s. 6d. The cost of making seems to have been 8 dinars, or about 5s. (Jer. Babha Mets.
vi. 1), leaving 4 dinars, or 2s. 6d., for the material. Of
course, the latter might be much more expensive, and the cost of the garment increased accordingly.
Can we, then, wonder that this Jewish woman, 'having heard the
things concerning Jesus,' with her imperfect knowledge, in the weakness of her
strong faith, thought that, if she might but touch His garment, she would be
made whole? It is but what we ourselves might think, if He were still walking
on earth among men: it is but what, in some form or other, we still feel when
in the weakness - the rebound or diastole - of our faith it seems to us, as if
the want of this touch in not outwardly-perceived help or Presence left us
miserable and sick, while even one real touch, if it were only of His garment,
one real act of contact, however mediate, would bring us perfect healing. And
in some sense it really is so. For, assuredly, the Lord cannot be touched by
disease and misery, without healing coming from Him, for He is the God-Man. And
He is also the loving, pitying Saviour. Who disdains not, nor turns from our
weakness in the manifestation of our faith, even as He turned not from hers who
touched His garment for her healing.
We can picture her to our minds as, mingling with those who
thronged and pressed upon the Lord, she put forth her hand and 'touched the
border of His garment,' most probably73
the long Tsitsith of one of the corners of the Tallith. We can
understand how, with a disease which not only rendered her Levitically
defiling, but where womanly shamefacedness would make public speech so
difficult, she, thinking of Him Whose Word, spoken at a distance, had brought
healing, might thus seek to have her heart's desire. What strong faith to
expect help where all human help, so long and earnestly sought, had so signally
failed! And what strong faith to expect, that even contact with Him, the bare
touch of His garment, would carry such Divine Power as to make her 'whole.' Yet
in this very strength lay also its weakness. She believed so much in Him, that
she felt as if it needed not personal appeal to Him; she felt so deeply the
hindrances to her making request of Himself, that, believing so strongly in
Him, she deemed it sufficient to touch, not even Himself, but that which in
itself had no power nor value, except as it was in contact with His Divine
Person. But it is here that her faith was beset by two-fold danger. In its
excess it might degenerate into superstition, as trees in their vigour put
forth shoots, which, unless they be cut off, will prevent the fruit-bearing,
and even exhaust the life of the tree. Not the garments in which He appeared
among men, and which touched His Sacred Body, nor even that Body, but Himself
brings healing. Again, there was the danger of losing sight of that which, as
the moral element, is necessary in faith: personal application to, and personal
contact with, Christ.
73. This, however, does not necessarily follow, although in New Testament language kraspedon seems to bear that meaning.
Comp. the excellent work of Braunius (Vest. Sac. Heb. pp. 72, 73 - not p. 55, as Schleusner notes).
And so it is to us also. As we realise the Mystery of the
Incarnation, His love towards, and His Presence with, His own, and the Divine
Power of the Christ, we cannot think too highly of all that is, or brings, in
contact with Him. The Church, the Sacraments, the Apostolic Ministry of His
Institution - in a word, the grand historic Church, which is alike His
Dwelling-place, His Witness, and His Representative on earth, ever since He
instituted it, endowed it with the gift of the Holy Spirit, and hallowed it by
the fulfilled promise of His Eternal Presence, is to us what the garment He
wore was to her who touched Him. We shall think highly of all this in measure
as we consciously think highly of Him. His Bride the Church; the Sacraments
which are the fellowship of His Body and Blood, of His Crucifixion and
Resurrection; the Ministry and Embassy of Him, committed to the Apostles, and
ever since continued with such direction and promise, cannot be of secondary
importance - must be very real and full of power, since they are so connected,
and bring us into such connection with Him: the spirituo-physical points of
contact between Him, Who is the God-man, and those who, being men, are also the
children of God. Yet in this strength of our faith may also lie its danger if
not its weakness. Through excess it may pass into superstition, which is the
attachment of power to anything other than the Living God; or else, in the
consciousness of our great disease, want of courage might deprive faith of its
moral element in personal dealing and personal contact with Christ.
Very significantly to us who, in our foolish judging and
merciless condemning of one another, ever re-enacted the Parable of the Two
Debtors, the Lord did not, as Pseudo-orthodoxy would prescribe it, disappoint
her faith for the weakness of its manifestation. To have disappointed her
faith, which was born of such high thoughts of Him, would have been to deny
Himself - and he cannot deny Himself. But very significantly, also, while He
disappointed not her faith, He corrected the error of its direction and
manifestation. And to this His subsequent bearing toward her was directed. No
sooner had she so touched the border of His garment than 'she knew in the body
that she was healed of the scourge.'74
No sooner, also, had she so touched the border of His garment than He
knew, 'perceived in Himself,' what had taken place: the forthgoing of the Power
that is from out of Him.75
74. So literally in St. Mark's Gospel.
75. This gives the full meaning - but it is difficult to give a literal translation which would give the entire meaning of the original.
Taking this narrative in its true literality, there is no
reason to overweight and mar it by adding what is not conveyed in the text.
There is nothing in the language of St. Mark>76
(as correctly rendered), nor of St. Luke, to oblige us to conclude that this
forthgoing of Power, which He perceived in Himself, had been through an act, of
the full meaning of which Christ was unconscious - in other words, that He was
ignorant of the person who, and the reason why, she Had touched Him. In short,
'the forthgoing of the Power that is out of Him' was neither unconscious nor
unwilled on His part. It was caused by her faith, not by her touch. 'Thy faith
hath made thee whole.' And the question of Jesus could not have been
misleading, when 'straightway'77
He 'turned Him about in the crowd and said, Who touched My garments?' That He
knew who had done it, and only wished, through self-confession, to bring her to
clearness in the exercise of her faith, appears from what is immediately added:
'And He looked round about,' not to see who had done it, but 'to see her
that had done this thing.' And as His look of unspoken appeal was at last fixed
on her alone in all that crowd, which, as Peter rightly said, was thronging and
pressing Him, 'the woman saw that she was not hid,'78
and came forward to make full confession. Thus, while in His mercy He had borne
with her weakness, and in His faithfulness not disappointed her faith, its
twofold error was also corrected. She learned that it was not from the garment,
but from the Saviour, that the Power proceeded; she learned also, that it was
not the touch of it, but the faith in Him, that made whole - and such faith
must ever be of personal dealing with Him. And so He spoke to her the Word of
twofold help and assurance: 'Thy faith hath made thee whole - go forth into
peace,79 and be
healed of thy scourge.'
76. The Revised Version renders it: 'And straightway Jesus, perceiving in Himself that the power proceeding from Him had gone forth, turned Him about.' Mark
the position of the first comma. In the Speaker's Commentary it is rendered: 'And immediately Jesus, having perceived in Himself that the virtue had gone
forth from Him.' Dean Plumptre translates: 'Knowing fully in Himself the virtue that had gone out from Him.'
77. The arrangement of the words in the A.V. is entirely misleading. The word 'immediately' refers to His turning round, not to His perceiving in Himself.
78. St. Luke viii. 47.
79. So literally.
Brief as is the record of this occurrence, it must have caused
considerable delay in the progress of our Lord to the house of Jairus. For in
the interval the maiden, who had been at the last gasp when her father went to
entreat the help of Jesus, had not only died, but the house of mourning was
already filled with relatives, hired mourners, wailing women, and musicians, in
preparation for the funeral. The intentional delay of Jesus when summoned to
Lazarus80 leads us
to ask, whether similar purpose may not have influenced His conduct in the
present instance. But even were it otherwise, no outcome of God's Providence is
of chance, but each is designed. The circumstances, which in their concurrence
make up an event, may all be of natural occurrence, but their conjunction is of
Divine ordering and to a higher purpose, and this constitutes Divine
Providence. It was in the interval of this delay that the messengers came, who
informed Jairus of the actual death of his child. Jesus overheard81
it, as they whispered to the Ruler not to trouble the Rabbi any further,82
but He heeded it not, save so far as it affected the father. The emphatic
admonition, not to fear, only to believe, gives us an insight into the
threatening failure of the Ruler's faith; perhaps, also, into the motive which
prompted the delay of Christ. The utmost need, which would henceforth require
the utmost faith on the part of Jairus had now come. But into that, which was
to pass within the house, no stranger must intrude. Even of the Apostles only
those, who now for the first time became, and henceforth continued, the
might witness, without present danger to themselves or others, what was about
to take place. How Jesus dismissed the multitude, or else kept them at bay, or
where He parted from all his disciples except Peter, James, and John, does not
clearly appear, and, indeed, is of no importance. He may have left the nine
Apostles with the people, or outside the house, or parted from them in the
courtyard of Jairus' house before he entered the inner apartments.84
80. St. John xi. 6.
81. I adopt the reading parakousaV
which seems to me better rendered by 'overhearing' that by 'not heeding,' as in the Revised Version.
82. The word unquestionably means, literally, Teacher - but in the sense of Rabbi, or Master.
83. Those who believe in an 'antiPetrine' tendency in the Gospel by St. Luke must find it difficult to account for the prominence given to him in the Third Gospel.
84. I confess myself unable to see any real discrepancy between the accounts of St. Mark and St. Luke, such as Strauss, Keim, and others have tried
to establish. In St. Mark it is: 'He suffered no man to accompany Him'
(whither?); in St. Luke: 'He suffered not any man to enter in with Him.'
Within, 'the tumult' and weeping, the wail of the mourners,
real or hired, and the melancholy sound of the mourning flutes85
- sad preparation for, and pageantry of, an Eastern funeral - broke with dismal
discord on the majestic calm of assured victory over death, with which Jesus
had entered the house of mourning. But even so He would tell it them, as so
often in like circumstances He tells it to us, that the damsel was not dead,
but only sleeping. The Rabbis also frequently have the expression 'to sleep' (demakh
Kmd, or Kwmd, when the sleep is overpowering and oppressive), instead
of 'to die.' It may well have been that Jesus made use of this word of double
meaning in some such manner as this: Talyetha dimkhath, 'the maiden
sleepeth.' And they understood Him well in their own way, yet understood Him
not at all.
85. They are specially called 'flutes for the dead' (B. Mez. vi. 1): tml Mylylx.
As so many of those who now hear this word, they to whom it was
then spoken, in their coarse realism, laughed Him to scorn. For did they not verily
know that she had actually died, even before the messengers had been despatched
to prevent the needless trouble of His coming? Yet even this their scorn served
a higher purpose. For it showed these two things: that to the certain belief of
those in the house the maiden was really dead, and that the Gospel-writers
regarded the raising of the dead as not only beyond the ordinary range of
Messianic activity, but as something miraculous even among the miracles of
Christ. And this also is evidential, at least so far as to prove that the
writers recorded the event not lightly, but with full knowledge of the demand
which it makes on our faith.
The first thing to be done by Christ was to 'put out' the
mourners, whose proper place this house no longer was, and who by their conduct
had proved themselves unfit to be witnesses of Christ's great manifestation.
The impression which the narrative leaves on the mind is, that all this while
the father of the maiden was stupefied, passive, rather than active in the matter.
The great fear, which had come upon him when the messengers apprised him of his
only child's death, seemed still to numb his faith. He followed Christ without
taking any part in what happened; he witnessed the pageantry of the approaching
obsequies in his house without interfering; he heard the scorn which Christ's
majestic declaration of the victory over death provoked, without checking it.
The fire of his faith was that of 'dimly burning flax.'86
But 'He will not quench' it.
86. Is. xlii. 3.
He now led the father and the mother into the chamber where the
dead maiden lay, followed by the three Apostles, witnesses of His chiefest
working and of His utmost earthly glory, but also of His inmost sufferings.
Without doubt or hesitation He took her by the hand and spoke only these two
words: Talyetha Qum [Kum] (Mw@q )tafy:l:+a87),
Maiden, arise! 'And straightway the damsel arose.' But the great astonishment
which came upon them, as well as the 'strait charge' that no man should know
it, are further evidence, if such were required, how little their faith had
been prepared for that which in its weakness was granted to it. And thus Jesus,
as He had formerly corrected in the woman that weakness of faith which came
through very excess, so now in the Ruler of the Synagogue the weakness which was
by failure. And so 'He hath done all things well: He maketh even the deaf to
hear, and the dumb to speak.'88
87. The reading which accordingly seems best is that adopted by Westcott and Hort,
Taleiqa koum. The Aramaic or
Rabbinic for maiden is either Talyetha or Talyutha ()tafw@yl:+@a). In
the second Targum on Esther ii. 7, 8, the reading is )tafw@lu+a (Talutha),
where Levy conjectures the reading )tafyli+a (Talitha) or else Talyetha.
The latter seems also the proper equivalent of taleiqa,
while the reading 'Talitha' is very uncertain. As regards the second word, qum [pronounced kum], most writers have, without difficulty, shown that it should be qumi, not qum. Nevertheless, the same command is spelt Mwq in the Talmud (as it is pronounced in the Syriac) when a woman is addressed. In Shabb. 110 b, the command qum, as addressed to a
woman suffering from a bloody flux, occurs not less than seven times in that one page (rybwzm Mwq).
88. St. Mark vii. 37.
How Jesus conveyed Himself away, whether through another
entrance into the house, or by 'the road of the roofs,' we are not told. But
assuredly, He must have avoided the multitude. Presently we find Him far from
Capernaum. Probably He had left it immediately on quitting the house of Jairus.
But what of that multitude? The tidings must have speedily reached them, that
the daughter of the Synagogue-Ruler was not dead. Yet it had been straitly
charged that none of them should be informed, how it had come to pass that she
lived. They were then with this intended mystery before them. She was not
dead: thus much was certain. The Christ had, ere leaving that chamber,
given command that meat should be brought her; and, as that direction must have
been carried out by one of the attendants, this would become immediately known
to all that household. Had she then not really died, but only been sleeping?
Did Christ's words of double meaning refer to literal sleep? Here then was
another Parable of twofold different bearing: to them that had hearts to
understand, and to them who understood not. In any case, their former scorn had
been misplaced; in any case, the Teacher of Nazareth was far other than all the
Rabbis. In what Name, and by what Power, did He come and act? Who was He
really? Had they but known of the 'Talyetha Qum,' and how these two
words had burst open the two-leaved doors of death and Hades! Nay, but it would
have only ended in utter excitement and complete misunderstanding, to the final
impossibility of the carrying out of Christ's Mission. For, the full as well as
the true knowledge, that He was the Son of God, could only come after His
contest and suffering. And our faith also in Him is first of the suffering
Saviour, and then of the Son of God. Thus was it also from the first. It was
through what He did for them that they learned Who He was. Had it been
otherwise, the full blaze of the Sun's glory would have so dazzled them, that
they could not have seen the Cross.
Yet to all time has this question engaged the minds of men: Was
the maiden really dead, or did she only sleep? With it this other and kindred
one is connected: Was the healing of the woman miraculous, or only caused by
the influence of mind over body, such as is not unfrequently witnessed, and
such as explains modern so-called miraculous cures, where only superstition
perceives supernatural agency? But these very words 'Influence of mind over
body,' with which we are so familiar, are they not, so to speak, symbolic and
typical? Do they not point to the possibility, and, beyond it, to the fact of
such influence of the God-Man, of the command which he wielded over the body?
May not command of soul over body be part of unfallen Man's original
inheritance; all most fully realised in the Perfect Man, the God-Man, to Whom
has been given the absolute rule of all things, and Who has it in virtue of His
Nature? These are only dim feelings after possible higher truths.
No one who carefully reads this history can doubt, that the
Evangelists, at least, viewed this healing as a real miracle, and intended to
tell it as such. Even the statement of Christ, that by the forthgoing of Power
He knew the moment when the woman touched the hem of His garment, would render
impossible the view of certain critics (Keim and others), that the cure
was the effect of natural causes: expectation acting through the imagination on
the nervous system, and so producing the physical results. But even so, and
while these writers reiterate certain old cavils89
propounded by Strauss, and by him often derived from the ancient armoury
of our own Deists (such as Woolston), they admit being so impressed with
the 'simple,' 'natural,' and 'life-like' cast of the narrative, that they
contend for its historic truth. But the great leader of negativism, Strauss,
has shown that any natural explanation of the event is opposed to the whole
tenour of the narrative, indeed of the Gospel-history; so that the alternative
is its simple acceptance or its rejection. Strauss boldly decides for
the latter, but in so doing is met by the obvious objection, that his denial
does not rest on any historical foundation. We can understand, how a legend
could gather around historical facts and embellish them, but not how a
narrative so entirely without precedent in the Old Testament, and so opposed,
not only to the common Messianic expectation, but to Jewish thought, could have
been invented to glorify a Jewish Messiah.90
89. We cannot call the trivial objections urged other than 'cavils.'
90. According to Eusebius (Hist. Eccl. vii. 18) there was a statue in Paneas in commemoration of this event, which was said to have been erected by this woman to Christ.
As regards the restoration to life of Jairus' daughter, there
is a like difference in the negative school (between Keim and Strauss).
One party insists that the maiden only seemed, but was not really dead, a view
open also to this objection, that it is manifestly impossible by such devices
to account for the raising of the young man at Nain, or that of Lazarus. On the
other hand, Strauss treats the whole as a myth. It is well, that in this
case, he should have condescended to argument in support of his view, appealing
to the expectancy created by like miracles of Elijah and Elisha, and to the
general belief at that time, that the Messiah would raise the dead. For, the
admitted differences between the recorded circumstances of the miracles of
Elijah and Elisha and those of Christ are so great, that another negative
critic (Keim) finds proof of imitation in their contrasts!91
But the appeal to Jewish belief at that time tells, if possible, even more
strongly against the hypothesis in question (of Keim and Strauss).
It is, to say the least, doubtful whether Jewish theology generally ascribed to
the Messiah the raising of the dead.92
There are isolated statements to that effect, but the majority of opinions is,
that God would Himself raise the dead. But even those passages in which this is
attributed to the Messiah tell against the assertions of Strauss. For,
the resurrection to which they refer is that of all the dead (whether at
the end of the present age, or of the world), and not of single individuals. To
the latter there is not the faintest allusion in Jewish writings, and it may be
safely asserted that such a dogma would have been foreign, even incongruous, to
91. Jesu v. Nazar. ii. 2, p. 475.
92. The passage which Strauss quotes from Bertholdt (Christol. Jud. p.
179), is from a later Midrash, that on Proverbs. No one would think of deriving purely Jewish doctrine either from the Sohar or from IV. Esdras, which is of post-Christian date, and strongly tinged with Christian elements. Other
passages, however, might be quoted in favour of this view (comp. Weber, Altsynagog. Theol. pp. 351, 352), and on the other side, Hamburger, Real-Encykl. (II. Abth. 'Belebung der Todten'). The matter will be discussed in
The unpleasant task of stating and refuting these objections
seemed necessary, if only to show that, as of old so now, this history cannot
be either explained or accounted for. It must be accepted or rejected,
accordingly as we think of Christ. Admittedly, it formed part of the original
tradition and belief of the Church. And it is recorded with such details of
names, circumstances, time and place, as almost to court inquiry, and to render
fraud well-nigh impossible. And it is so recorded by all the three Evangelists,
with such variations, or rather, additions, of details as only to confirm the
credibility of the narrators, by showing their independence of each other.
Lastly, it fits into the whole history of the Christ, and into this special
period of it; and it sets before us the Christ and His bearing in a manner,
which we instinctively feel to be accordant with what we know and expect.
Assuredly, it implies determined rejection of the claims of the Christ, and
that on grounds, not of history, but of preconceived opinions hostile to the
Gospel, not to see and adore in it the full manifestation of the Divine Saviour
of the world, 'Who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality
to light through the Gospel.'93
And with this belief our highest thoughts of the potential for humanity, and
our dearest hopes for ourselves and those we love, are inseparably connected.
93. 2 Tim. i. 10.
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