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A Commentary on the New Testament
from the Talmud and Hebraica
Exercitations upon the Gospel of St. Mark
1. The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God:
[The beginning of the gospel.] The preaching and baptism of John were the very
gate and entrance into the state and dispensation of the gospel. For,
I. He opened the door of a new church by a new sacrament of admission into the church.
II. Pointing, as it were with the finger, at the Messias that was coming, he shewed the
beginning of the world to come.
III. In that manner as the Jews by baptism admitted Gentile proselytes into the Jewish
church, he admits both Jews and Gentiles into the gospel church.
IV. For the doctrine of justification by works, with which the schools of the scribes
had defiled all religion, he brings in a new (and yet not a new) and truly saving doctrine
of faith and repentance.
2. As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face,
which shall prepare thy way before thee.
[As it is written in the prophets.] Here a doubt is made of the true meaning:
namely, whether it be in the prophets, or in Esaias the prophet. These
particulars make for the former:
I. When two places are cited out of two prophets, it is far more congruously said, as
it is written in the prophets; than, as it is written in Esaias: but especially
when the place first alleged is not in Esaias, but in another prophet.
II. It was very customary among the Jews (to whose custom in this matter it is very
probable the apostles conformed themselves in their sermons) to hear many testimonies
cited out of many prophets under this form of speech, as it is written in the prophets.
If one only were cited, if two, if more, this was the most common manner of citing them, as
it is written in the prophets. But it is without all example, when two testimonies are
taken out of two prophets, to name only the last, which is done here, if it were to be
read, as it is written in Esaias the prophet.
III. It is clear enough, from the scope of the evangelist, that he propounded to
himself to cite those two places, both out of Malachi and out of Esaias. For he doth two
things most evidently: 1. He mentions the preaching of the Baptist; for the illustrating
of which he produceth the same text which both Matthew and Luke do out of Esaias. 2. He
saith that that preaching was "the beginning of the gospel," to prove which he
very aptly cites Malachi, of "sending a messenger," and of "preparing the
way of the Lord."
But what shall we answer to antiquity, and to so many and so great men reading, as
it is written in Esaias the prophet? "I wonder (saith the very learned Grotius),
that any doubt is made of the truth of this writing, when, beside the authority of copies,
and Irenaeus so citing it, there is a manifest agreement of the ancient interpreters, the
Syriac, the Latin, the Arabic." True, indeed; nor can it be denied that very many of
the ancients so read: but the ancients read also, as it is written in the prophets.
One Arabic copy hath, in Isaiah the prophet: but another hath, in the prophets.
Irenaeus once reads in Isaiah: but reads twice, in the prophets. And
"so we find it written," saith the famous Beza (who yet follows the other
reading), "in all our ancient copies except two, and that my very ancient one, in
which we read, in Esaias the prophet."
The whole knot of the question lies in the cause of changing the reading; why, as it
is written in Esaias the prophet, should be changed into, as it is written in the
prophets. The cause is manifest, saith that very learned man, namely, because a double
testimony is taken out of two prophets. "But there could be no cause (saith he) of
changing of them." For if Mark, in his own manuscript, wrote, as it is written in
the prophets, by what way could this reading at last creep in, as it is written in
Esaias, when two prophets are manifestly cited?
Reader, will you give leave to an innocent and modest guess? I am apt to suspect that
in the copies of the Jewish Christians it was read, in Isaiah the prophet; but in
those of the Gentile Christians, in the prophets: and that the change among the
Jews arose from hence, that St. Mark seems to go contrary to a most received canon and
custom of the Jews: "He that reads the prophets in the synagogues let him not skip
from one prophet to another. But in the lesser prophets he may skip; with this
provision only, that he skip not backward: that is, not from the latter to the
But you see how Mark skips here from a prophet of one rank, namely, from a
prophet who was one of the twelve, to a prophet of another rank: and you see also how he skips
backward from Malachi to Isaiah. This, perhaps, was not so pleasing to the Christian Jews,
too much Judaizing yet: nor could they well bear that this allegation should be read in
their churches so differently from the common use. Hence, in Isaiah the prophet,
was inserted for in the prophets. And that they did so much the more boldly,
because those words which are cited out of Malachi are not exactly agreeable either to the
Hebrew original or the Greek version, and those that are cited from Isaiah are cited also
by Matthew and Luke; and the sense of them which are cited from Malachi may also be
fetched from the place alleged out of Isaiah.
6. And John was clothed with camel's hair, and with a girdle of a skin about his
loins; and he did eat locusts and wild honey;
[Clothed with camel's hair.] In the Talmudists it would be read camel's wool:
"He hath not a garment besides a woolen one; to add wool (or hair) of
camels, and wool of hares: wool of sheep, and wool of camels, which they mix,
&c." And a little after, "If he make a garment of camel's hair, and
weave in it but one thread of linen, it is forbidden, as things of different kinds."
There is one that thinks that those garments of Adam concerning which it is said (Gen
3), that God made for them coats of skins, were of camel's hair: "In
the law of R. Meir they found written garments of light. R. Isaac saith that they
were like those thin linen garments which come from Bethshan. R. Samuel Bar Nachman saith
they were of the wool (or hair) of camels, and the wool of
We cannot pass that by without observation, that it is said, "That in the law of
R. Meir they found written garments of light, for garments of skins."
The like to which is that, In the law of R. Meir they found it written, instead of Behold,
it was very good, And behold death is a good thing Where by the law of R. Meir
seems to be understood some volume of the law, in the margin of which, or in some papers
put in, that Rabbin had writ his critical toys and his foolish pieces of wit upon the law,
or some such trifling commentary of his own upon it.
[Eating locusts.] They who had not nobler provision hunted after locusts
for food. The Gemarists feign that there are eight hundred kinds of them, namely, of such
as are clean. That lexicographer certainly would be very acute who could describe all
these kinds particularly by their names.
"The Rabbins deliver: He that hunts locusts, wasps (a kind of locusts),
hornets, and flies, on the sabbath, is guilty"...the Gemara, a little after; "He
that hunts locusts in the time of the dew (on the sabbath) is not guilty." The
Gloss there writes thus; "The locusts in the time of the dew are purblind, so that if
you hunt them at that time they stop their pace." The Gemara goes on, "Eliezer
Ben Mabbai saith, 'If they go in flocks he is not guilty.'" The Gloss writes,
"If they flock together in troops, and be, as it were, ready to be taken, he is not
guilty who hunts them even in the time of heat."
13. And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with
the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto him.
[And was with the wild beasts.] He was among the wild beasts, but was not
touched by them. So Adam first before his fall.
[And angels ministered unto him.] Forty days he was tempted by Satan invisibly,
and angels ministered to him visibly. Satan, at last, put on the appearance of an angel of
light, and pretending to wait on him, as the rest also did, hid his hook of temptation the
24. Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of
Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God.
[Art thou come to destroy us?] Us? Whom? The devils? or those Galileans in the
synagogue? See what the masters say: "In that generation, in which the Son of David
shall come, saith Rabban Gamaliel, Galilea shall be laid waste, and the Galileans shall
wander from city to city, and shall not obtain mercy." If such a report obtained in
the nation, the devil thence got a very fit occasion in this possessed man of affrighting
the Galileans from receiving Christ, because they were to expect nothing from his coming
38. And he said unto them, Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there
also: for therefore came I forth.
[Towns.] What this word means may be excellently well discovered by searching
into the distinction between cities, and villages, and towns in the
I. I render cities: but by what word, you will say, will you render by towns:--"A
man cannot compel his wife to follow him to dwell from town to city, nor from city to
town." The proper English of which take from what follows: "It is plain
why he cannot force her from city to town; because in a city any thing is to be found,"
or to be had; but in a town any thing is not to be had. The Gloss writes, "'Kerac'
is greater than 'Ir,' (that is, a city than a town); and there is a
place of broad streets, where all neighbouring inhabitants meet at a market, and there any
thing is to be had." So the same Gloss elsewhere; "Kerac is a place of
broad streets, where men meet together from many places," &c.
The Gemarists go on: "R. Josi Bar Chaninah saith, Whence is it that dwelling in kerachin
(cities) is more inconvenient? For it is said, 'And they blessed all the people who
offered themselves willingly to dwell at Jerusalem'" (Neh 11). Note, by the way, that
Jerusalem was Kerac. The Gloss there is, "Dwelling in 'Kerachin' is
worse, because all dwell there, and the houses are straitened, and join one to another, so
that there is not free air: but in a town are gardens, and paradises by the houses,
and the air is more wholesome."
Kerachim therefore were, 1. Cities girt with walls. Hence is that distinction, that
there were some 'Kerachin' which were girt with walls from the days of Joshua, and
some walled afterward. 2. Trading mart cities, and those that were greater and nobler than
II. Villages or country towns, [had] no synagogue. Hence is that in
Megill. cap. 1: A Kerac (a city), in which are not ten men to make a synagogue, is to
be reckoned for a village. And Megill. cap. 1, where some of a village are bound to
read the Book of Esther in the feast of Purim: It is indulged to them to do it on a
synagogue-day: that is, when they had not a synagogue among them, but must resort to
some neighbour town where a synagogue was, it was permitted them to go thither on some
weekday, appointed for meeting together in the synagogue, and that they might not take the
trouble of a journey on another day, however that day was appointed by law for that
III. Urbs, or civitas, a city; denoted generally fortified cities, and
towns also not fortified, where synagogues were, and villages, where they were not. Hence
is that distinction, "That was a great city where there was a synagogue":
"a small city where there was not."
By towns therefore here are to be understood towns where there were synagogues,
which nevertheless were not either fortified or towns of trade; among us English called church-towns.
4. And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof
where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the
sick of the palsy lay.
[They uncovered the roof, &c.] Here I recollect that phrase the way of
the roof: "When Rabh Houna was dead, his bier could not be carried out through
the door," the door being too strait; "therefore they thought good to draw it
out and let it down through the roof, or through the way of the roof. But Rabh
Chasda said to them, 'Behold, we have learned from him that it redounds to the honour of a
wise man to be carried out by the door.'"
"It is written, 'And they shall eat within thy gates' (Deut 26:12); that is, when
the entrance into the house is by the gate, to except the way through the roof."
"Does he enter into the house, using the way through the gate, or using the way
through the roof?" The place treats of a house, in the lower part of which the
owner dwells; but the upper part, is let out to another. It is asked, what way he
must enter who dwells in an upper room, whether by the door and the lower parts, where the
owner dwells; or whether he must climb up to the roof by the way to the roof: that
is, as the Gloss hath it, "That he ascend without the house by a ladder set against
it for entrance into the upper room, and so go into the upper room."
By ladders set up, or perhaps fastened there before, they first draw up the paralytic upon
the roof, Luke 5:19. Then seeing there was a door in every roof through which they
went up from the lower parts of the house into the roof, and this being too narrow to let
down the bed and the sick man in it, they widen that space by pulling off the tiles that
lay about it.
Well, having made a hole through the roof, the paralytic is let down into the upper
chamber. There Christ sits, and the Pharisees and the doctors of the law with him, and
not in the lower parts of the house. For it was customary for them, when they discoursed
of the law or religion, to go up into the upper chamber.
"These are the traditions which they taught in the upper chamber of
Hananiah, Ben Hezekiah, Ben Garon." "The elders went up into an upper chamber
in Jericho. They went up also into an upper chamber in Jabneh." "Rabh Jochanan
and his disciples went up to an upper chamber, and read and expounded."
Compare Mark 14:15; Acts 1:13, 20:8.
7. Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God
[Who can forgive sins?] "A certain heretic said to Rabh Idith, It is
written, 'And he said unto Moses, Come up unto the Lord,' Exodus 24:1. It should rather
have been said, 'Come up to me.' He answereth, This is Mitatron, whose name is like
the name of his Lord, as it is written, 'My name is in him,' Exodus 23:21. If it be so,
then said the other, he is to be worshipped. To whom Idith replied, It is written
properly, Do not embitter or provoke him; but they illy and perversely read,
Do not change for him, do not exchange me for him. If that be the sense, said the
other, what is the meaning of that, 'He will not forgive your sins?' He answered, True
indeed, for we received him not so much as for a messenger." The Gloss is,
"'He will not forgive your sins'; that is, He cannot pardon your sins; and then, what
advantage is there from him? For he had not the power of pardoning our sins; we therefore
rejected him," &c. Ye rejected him, indeed, in whom was the name of Jehovah; but
alas! how much to your own mischief!
9. Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven
thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk?
[Whether is it easier to say, &c.] He that observes the use of the word it
is easy and it is hard, in the Jewish schools (and the schoolmen were now with
Christ), cannot think it improper that is it easier should be of the same import
with it is easy, which word denotes the thing or the sense plain, smooth, and
without scruple; it is hard, denotes the contrary. As if our Saviour had said,
"Were not the sense plainer, and more suited to the present business to have said,
'Arise and take up thy bed,' than to say, 'Thy sins are forgiven thee?' But I say thus,
that ye may know that the Son of man hath power," &c. He does not speak of the
easiness of the pronunciation of the words, but of the easiness of the sense. And I should
thus render the words, "It is easier to say to the paralytic, Thy sins are forgiven
thee, than to say," &c. 'Whether to say,' as it is vulgarly rendered, hath a
sense not to be disapproved of; but, 'than to say,' hath a sense more emphatical. Is not
the sense easier as to the present business to say, 'Thy sins are forgiven,' than to say,
'Rise up and walk?'
12. And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all;
insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this
[He went out before them all.] It is very well rendered, "before
them all": and it might truly be rendered "against them all,"
according to another signification of the word. That is, when the multitude was so crowded
that there was no way of going out through it, he, being not only made whole, but strong
and lusty, pressed through the press of the multitude, and stoutly made his way with his
bed upon his shoulders.
16. And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they
said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners?
[Please see the excellent treatise by John Bunyan, entitled A Discourse Upon the Pharisee and
the Publican, (341k)]
[And sinners.] Who were they? "Dicers, usurers, plunderers, publicans,
shepherds of lesser cattle, those that sell the fruit of the seventh year," &c.
26. How he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and
did eat the showbread, which is not lawful to eat but for the priests, and gave also to
them which were with him?
[In the days of Abiathar the high priest.] It is well enough known what is here
said in defence of the purity of the text; namely, that Ahimelech the father was called Abiathar,
and Abiathar the son was called also Ahimelech. But I suppose that something more
was propounded by our Saviour in these words. For it was common to the Jews under Abiathar
to understand the Urim and Thummim. Nor without good reason, when it appears, that under
the father and the son, both of that name, the mention of inquiring by Urim and Thummim is
more frequent than it is ever anywhere else; and, after Abiathar the son, there is
scarcely mention of it at all. Christ therefore very properly adds, in the days of
Abiathar the high priest, therein speaking according to a very received opinion in the
nation: as though he had said, "David ate the shewbread given him by the high priest,
who had the oracle by Urim and thummim present with him, and who acted by the divine
"Ahitophel, that is, a counsellor, Benaiah, the son of Jehoiada, that is, the
Sanhedrim; Abiathar, that is, Urim and Thummim."
4. And he saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do
evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace.
[But they held their peace.] This reminds me of the like carriage of the
Sanhedrim in judging a servant of king Jannaeus, a murderer, when Jannaeus himself was
present in the Sanhedrim. It was found sufficiently that he was guilty; but, for fear,
they dared not to utter their opinion; when Simeon Ben Sheta, president of the Sanhedrim,
required it: "He looked on his right hand, and they fixed their eyes upon the
earth; on his left hand, and they fixed their eyes upon the earth," &c.
17. And James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James; and he
surnamed them Boanerges, which is, The sons of thunder:
[Boanerges.] I. See what Beza saith here. To which our very learned Hugh
Broughton, a man very well exercised in these studies, replies: "The Jews to this
very day pronounce Scheva by oa, as Noabhyim for Nebhyim. So Boanerges.
When Theodore Beza will have it written Benerges, the very Jews themselves will
defend our gospel."
Certainly, it is somewhat hard and bold to accuse the Scripture of St. Mark as corrupt
for this manner of pronunciation, when, among the Jews, the pronouncing of some letters,
vowels, and words was so different and indifferent, that they pronounced one way in
Galilee, another way in Samaria, and another way in Judea. "And I remember (saith the
famous Ludovicus de Dieu), that I heard the excellent Erpenius say, that he had it from
the mouth of a very learned Maronite, that it could not be taught by any grammatical
rules, and hardly by word of mouth, what sound Scheva hath among the Syrians."
That castle of noted fame which is called Masada in Josephus, Pliny, Solinus,
and others in Strabo is Moasada, very agreeable to this our sound: They shew
some scorched rocks about 'Moasada.' Where, without all controversy, he speaks of Masada.
II. There is a controversy also about the word erges: it is obscure, in what
manner it is applied to thunder. But give me your judgment, courteous reader, what Rigsha
is in this story: "The father of Samuel sat in the synagogue of Shaph, and Jathib, in
Nehardea: the divine glory came; he heard the voice of 'Rigsha,' and went not out:
the angels came, and he was affrighted."
Of the word Rigsha, the Glossers say nothing. And we do not confidently render
it thunder; nor yet do we well know how to render it better: if so be it doth not
denote the sound as of a mighty rushing wind, Acts 2:2: but let the reader judge.
III. As obscure is the reason of the name imposed upon these two disciples, as the
derivation of the word. We have only this certain in this business, that we never find
them called by this name elsewhere. Christ called Simon Peter, and likewise others
called him Peter, and he calls himself so. But you never find James called Boanerges,
or John so called, either by themselves or by others. We must trust conjecture for the
IV. It is well enough known what the phrase Bath Kol, the daughter of thunder,
means among the Jews. Our Saviour, using another word, seems to respect another etymology
of the name. But it is demanded, what that is. He calls Simon Peter with respect
had to the work he was to play in building the church of the Gentiles upon a rock.
For he first opened the door to let in the gospel among the Gentiles. Whether were James
and John called sons of thunder with respect had to their stout discoursing against
the Jews, we neither dare to say, nor can we deny it. James did this, as it seems, to the
loss of his life, Acts 12.
But what if allusion be here made to the two registrars, or scribes of the Sanhedrim?
whereof one sat on the right hand, and the other on the left; one wrote the votes of those
that acquitted, the other the votes of those that condemned. Or to the president himself,
and the vice-president? whose definitive sentence, summing up the votes of the whole
Sanhedrim, was like thunder and lightning to the condemned persons, and seemed to all like
the oracles given from Sinai out of lightning and thunder.
V. But whatsoever that was in the mind of our Saviour, that moved him to imprint this
name upon them, when these two brethren, above all the other disciples, would have fire
fall from heaven upon that town of the Samaritans which refused to give Christ
entertainment, Luke 9:54, they seem to act according to the sense of this surname. And
when the mother of these desired a place for one of them on Christ's right hand, and for
the other on his left, she took the confidence of such a request probably from this, that
Christ had set so honourable a name upon them above the other disciples. And when John
himself calls himself the elder, and he was sufficiently known to those to whom he
writ under that bare title, the elder; I cannot but suspect this distinguishing
character arose hence. All the apostles, indeed, were elders, which Peter saith of
himself, 1 Peter 5:1: but I ask, whether any of the twelve, besides this our apostle (his
brother James being now dead), could be known to those that were absent under this title, the
elder, by a proper, not additional name, as he is in his two latter Epistles.
21. And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for
they said, He is beside himself.
[He is beside himself.] In the Talmudists it is his judgment is gone, and
his understanding is ceased. "If any becomes mute, and yet is of a sound
mind, and they say to him, Shall we write a bill of divorce for thy wife? and he nods
with his head, they try him thrice, &c. And it is necessary that they make trial of
him more exactly, lest, perhaps, he might be deprived of his senses." This is
to be understood of a dumb person, made so by some paralytical or apoplectical stroke,
which sometimes wounds the understanding.
"The Rabbins deliver: If any one is sick, and in the mean time any of his friends
die, they do not make it known to him that such a one is dead, lest his understanding
be disturbed." "One thus lamented R. Simeon Ben Lachish; 'Where art thou, O
Bar Lachish? Where art thou, O Bar Lachish?' And so cried out until his understanding
perished." For so the Gloss renders it.
How fitly this word beside himself expresseth these phrases is readily observed
by him who understandeth both languages. And a Jew, reading these words in Mark, would
presently have recourse to the sense of those phrases in his nation; which do not always
signify madness, or being bereft of one's wits, in the proper sense, but sometimes,
and very frequently, some discomposure of the understanding for the present, from some too
vehement passion. So say Christ's friends, "His knowledge is snatched away; he
hath forgotten himself, and his own health; he is so vehement and hot in discharging his
office, and in preaching, that he is transported beyond himself, and his understanding is
disturbed, that he neither takes care of his necessary food nor of his sleep." Those
his friends, indeed, have need of an apology, that they had no sounder, nor holier, nor
wiser conceit of him; but it is scarcely credible that they thought him to be fallen into
plain and absolute madness, and pure distraction. For he had conversed among the
multitudes before, at all times in all places; and yet his friends to not say this of him.
But now he was retired to his own house at Capernaum, where he might justly expect rest
and repose; yet the multitudes rush upon him there, so that he could not enjoy his table
and his bed at his own home. Therefore his friends and kinsfolk of Nazareth (among whom
was his mother, verse 31), hearing this, unanimously run to him to get him away from the
multitude; for they said among themselves, He is too much transported beyond
himself, and is forgetful of himself.
1. And he began again to teach by the sea side: and there was gathered unto him a
great multitude, so that he entered into a ship, and sat in the sea; and the whole
multitude was by the sea on the land.
[He began to teach.] That is, he taught; by a phrase very usual to these
holy writers, because very usual to the nation: Rabh Canah began to be tedious in his
prayer; that is, he was tedious. That scholar began to weep; that is he wept.
"The ox began to low"; that is, he lowed. "When the tyrant's
letter was brought to the Rabbins, they began to weep"; that is, they wept.
This our evangelist useth also another word, and that numberless times almost: the
others also use it, but not so frequently; namely, the word presently; which
answereth to the word out of hand, most common among the Talmudists. We meet with
it in this our evangelist seven or eight times in the first chapter, and elsewhere very
frequently: and that not seldom according to the custom of the idiom, more than out of the
necessity of the thing signified.
4. And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the fowls of the
air came and devoured it up.
[And some fell.] According to what falls. The Gloss there,
"According to the measure which one sows." And there the Gemarists speak of seed
falling out of the hand: that is, that is cast out of the hand of the sower: and of seed
falling from the oxen: that is, "that which is scattered and sown" by the
sowing oxen. "For (as the Gloss speaks) sometimes they sow with the hand, and
sometimes they put the seed into a cart full of holes, and drive the oxen upon the
ploughed earth, and the seed falls through the holes."
5. And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it
sprang up, because it had no depth of earth:
[Because it had no depth of earth.] For it was rocky, whose turf nevertheless
was thick enough, and very fruitful; but this ground which the parable supposeth wanted
that thickness. "You have not a more fruitful land among all lands than the land of
Egypt; nor a more fruitful country in Egypt than Zoan. And yet Hebron, which was rocky,
exceeded it sevenfold." Note that 'it was rocky, and yet so fruitful.'
7. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded
[Among thorns.] The parable supposeth, a field not freed from thorns.
11. And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom
of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables:
[Unto them that are without.] Those without, in Jewish speech, were the
Gentiles; a phrase taken hence, that they called all lands and countries besides their
own without the land. Would you have an exact instance of this distinction? "A
tree, half of which grows within the land of Israel, and half without the land, the fruits
of it which are to be tithed, and the common fruits are confounded: they are the words of
Rabba. But Rabban Simeon Ben Gamaliel saith, 'That part which grows within the place, that
is bound to tithing" [that is, within the land of Israel], "is to be tithed:
that which grows in the place free from tithing" (that is, without the land) "is
free.'" The Gloss is, "For if the roots of the tree are without the land, it is
free, although the tree itself extends itself sixteen cubits within the land."
Hence books that are without, are heathen books: extraneous books of Greek
This is the common signification of the phrase. And, certainly it foretells dreadful
things, when our blessed Saviour stigmatizeth the Jewish nation with that very name that
they were wont to call the heathens by.
The word those without, occurs also in the Talmudists, when it signifies the
Jews themselves; that is, some of the Jewish nation. Here the Karaites, who
rejected traditions, there those without, are opposed to the wise men:
"He that puts his phylacteries on his forehead, or in the palm of his hand, behold!
he follows the custom of the Karaites. And he that overlays one of them with gold, and
puts it upon his garment which is at his hand, behold! he follows the custom of those
that are without." Where the Gloss, "those without are men who follow
their own will, and not the judgment of the wise men." They are supposed to wear
phylacteries, and to be Jews; but when they do according to their pleasure, and despise
the rules of the wise men, they are esteemed as those that are without, or heathens.
So was the whole Jewish nation according to Christ's censure, which despised the
[All things are done in parables.] I. How much is the Jewish nation deceived
concerning the times of the Messias! They think his forerunner Elias will explain all
difficulties, resolve scruples, and will render all things plain; so that when the Messias
shall come after him, there shall be nothing obscure or dark in the law and in religion.
Hence these expressions, and the like to them: "One found a bill of contracts in his
keeping, and knew not what it meant, Let it be laid up till Elias shall come."
And more in the same tract, concerning things found, when it is not known to whom they are
to be restored, "Let them be laid up till Elias come." "That passage,
(Eze 14:18,19 where a burnt offering is called a sacrifice for sin) Elias
will unfold." Infinite examples of that sort occur.
II. How those words have wracked interpreters, "Is a candle put under a
bushel," &c.; and, "There is nothing hidden," &c.: you may see also
without a candle. A very easy sense of them is gathered from the context. When Christ
speaks in parables, "A light is put under a bushel": but "the light (saith
he) is not come for this end," that it should be so hidden; nor, indeed, were it fit
so to hide it, but that the divine justice would have it so, that they who will not see
the light should not enjoy the light. But "there is nothing hid" which shall not
be made manifest by the brightness of the doctrine of the gospel, so there be eyes that do
not refuse the light, nor voluntarily become purblind. Therefore, take you heed how you
hear, lest ye be like them, and divine justice mete to you by the same measure as is
measured to them; namely, that they shall never hear, because they will not hear.
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