Exercitations upon the Gospel of St. Mark
I. It is called "the great and terrible day of the Lord," Acts 2:20; 2 Thess
II. It is described as "the end of the world," Jeremiah 4:27; Matthew 24:29,
III. In that phrase, "in the last times," Isaiah 2:2; Acts 2:17; 1 Tim 4:1; 2
Peter 3:3; that is, in the last times of that city and dispensation.
IV. Thence, the beginning of the "new world," Isaiah 65:17; 2 Peter 3:13.
V. The vengeance of Christ upon that nation is described as his "coming,"
John 21:22; Hebrews 10:37: his "coming in the clouds," Revelation 1:7: "in
glory with the angels," Matthew 24:30, &c.
VI. It is described as the 'enthroning of Christ, and his twelve apostles judging the
twelve tribes of Israel,' Matthew 19:28; Luke 22:30.
Hence this is the sense of the present place: Our Saviour had said in the last verse of
the former chapter, "Whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this
adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he
cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels," to take punishment of that
adulterous and sinful generation. And he suggests, with good reason, that that his coming
in glory should be in the lifetime of some that stood there.
I. Let him consider that Christ, in the story next going before, was in the coast of
Caesarea Philippi, Matthew 16:13; Mark 8:27; Luke 9:18; and, for any thing that can be
gathered out of the evangelists, changed not his place before this story. Who will deny
that those words, "There are some that stand here who shall not taste of death,"
&c., were uttered in those coasts of Caesarea Philippi? And presently the story of the
II. Six days indeed came between: in which, you will say, Christ might travel from
Caesarea Philippi to Tabor. He might, indeed: but, 1. The evangelists intimate no change
from place to place, saying only this, That he led up into the mountain three of his
disciples. 2. It seems, indeed, a wonder that our Saviour would tire himself with so long
a journey, to choose Tabor whereon to be transfigured, when, as far as we read, he had
never before been in that mountain; and there were mountains elsewhere where he conversed
frequently. 3. Follow the footsteps of the history, and of Christ in his travel, from his
transfiguration onwards. When he came down from the mountain, he healed a child possessed
with a devil: and when he betook himself into the house they said, "Why could not we
cast out the devil? &c. And they departed thence, and passed through Galilee, and came
to Capernaum," Mark 9:28,30,33.
III. And now, reader, look upon the chorographical map, and how incongruous will this
travelling seem! 1. From Caesarea Philippi to mount Tabor through the whole length almost
of Galilee. 2. Then from mount Tabor by a course back again to Capernaum, a great part of
Galilee (especially as the maps place Capernaum) being again passed over. Whereas
Capernaum was in the way from Caesarea Philippi to Tabor, and there was a mountain there
well known to Christ, and very much frequented by him.
IV. So that it seems far more consonant to the history of the gospel, that Christ was
transfigured in some mountain near Caesarea Philippi; perhaps that which, Josephus being
witness, was the highest, and hung over the very fountains of Jordan, and at the foot
whereof Caesarea was placed.
II. Whence then could any one that followed not Christ cast out devils? Or whence could
any one that cast out devils not follow Christ?
I. That this man cast not out devils in the name of Jesus, but in the name of Christ,
or Messias: and that it was not out of contempt that he followed not Jesus, but out of
ignorance; namely, because he knew not yet that Jesus was the Messias.
II. We therefore conjecture that he had been heretofore some disciple of John, who had
received his baptism in the name of the Messias now speedily to come, (which all the
disciples of John had) but he knew not as yet that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messias:
which John himself knew not until it was revealed to him from heaven.
III. It is probable, therefore, that God granted the gifts of miracles to some lately
baptized by John, to do them in the name of the Messias; and that, to lay a plainer way
for the receiving of the Messias, when he should manifest himself under the name of 'Jesus
The sense of the place is to be fetched from those words, and the sense of those words
from Isaiah 66:24: "And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men
that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire
be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh." Upon which place thus
the Jews write; "'They shall go forth and look,' &c. Is not the finger of a man,
if it be put into the fire, immediately burnt? But God gives power (or being) to
wicked men to receive torments." Kimchi upon the place thus: "They shall see the
carcases of them full of worms, and fire burning in them": and yet the worms die not.
The words therefore of our Saviour respect this: "Their worm dieth not, and the
fire is not quenched; for every one of them shall be seasoned with fire itself, so as to
become unconsumable, and shall endure for ever to be tormented, as salt preserves from
That very learned man mentioned before called the common reading very improper. For
what is it, saith he, to season with fire? Let me retort, And what is it to fire
with salt? And yet that sense occurs very frequently in the Talmudists. For in them is
to burn, (which it signifies properly indeed) and very frequently it is, to
corrupt any thing with too much salting, so that it cannot be eaten: to be fired
with salt. So in this place, to be salted with fire, that it cannot be
corrupted or consumed.
But in the former clause, the allusion was not to the fire of the altar, but to the
fire in the valley of Hinnom, where dead carcases, bones, and other filthy things were
consumed. Carcases crawl with worms; and instead of salt which secures against worms, they
shall be cast into the fire, and shall be seasoned with flames, and yet the worms shall
not die. But he that is a true sacrifice to God shall be seasoned with the salt of grace
to the incorruption of glory.
1. And he arose from thence, and cometh into the coasts of Judaea by the farther
side of Jordan: and the people resort unto him again; and, as he was wont, he taught them
[Cometh into the coasts of Judea by the further side of Jordan.] Here is need of
a discerning eye to distinguish of the true time and method of this story, and of Christ's
journey. If you make use of such an eye, you will find half a year, or thereabouts, to
come between the uttering of the words immediately before-going, and this travel of our
Saviour; however it seems to be intimated by our evangelist, and likewise by Matthew, that
when he had finished those words, forthwith he entered upon his journey: when, in truth,
he went before to Jerusalem, through the midst of Samaria, to the feast of Tabernacles,
Luke 9:51, &c. John 7. And again, from Galilee, after he had returned thither, through
the cities and towns to Jerusalem, Luke 13:22; to the feast of Dedication, John 10:22: and
again, "beyond Jordan" indeed, John 10:40; but first taking his way into
Galilee, and thence beyond Jordan, according to that story which is before us. The
studious reader, and that in good earnest employeth his labour upon this business, has not
need of further proof; his own eyes will witness this sufficiently. Thus, the wisdom and
Spirit of God directed the pens of these holy writers, that some omitted some things to be
supplied by others; and others supplied those things which they had omitted: and so a full
and complete history was not composed but of all joined and compared together.
I wish the reverend Beza had sufficiently considered this, who rendereth not beyond,
but by Jordan, and corrects the Vulgar interpreter and Erasmus, who render it 'beyond
Jordan,' properly and most truly: "As if, by Perea (saith he), or the country beyond
Jordan, Christ, passing over Jordan or the lake of Tiberias, came into Judea out of
Galilee; which is not true." But take heed you do not mistake, reverend old man. For
he went over Jordan from Capernaum, as it is very probable, by the bridge built over
Jordan between Chammath, near to Tiberias, at the Gadarene country: he betook himself to
Bethabara, and stayed some time there, John 10:40: thence he went along Perea to the bank
over against Jericho. While he tarrieth there, a messenger, sent from Mary, comes to him
concerning the death of Lazarus, John 11; and thence, after two days, he passeth Jordan in
17. And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to
him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?
[Kneeled to him.] So chapter 1:40, Beseeching him, and kneeling to him.
This is variously rendered, He fell at his feet, bowing the knee, beseeching upon his
knee, falling down at his knees. Which renderings are not improper, but I suspect
something more is included. For, 1. It was customary for those that so adored to take hold
of the knees or the legs, 2 Kings 4:27; Matthew 28:9. 2. To kiss the knees or the feet.
See what we have said at Matthew 28:9.
When R. Akiba had been twelve years absent from his wife, and at last came back, his
wife went out to meet him: "and when she came to him, falling upon her face, she
kissed his knees." And a little after, when he was entered into the city, his
father-in-law not knowing who he was, but suspecting him to be some great Rabbin, went to
him, and falling upon his face kissed his knees. Speaking of Job, "Satan
came, and he kissed his knees: but in all this Job sinned not with his lips,"
&c. When a certain Rabbin had discoursed of divers things, Bar Chama rose up and
kissed his knees.
21. Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest:
go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure
in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.
[Loved him.] That is, he manifested by some outward gesture that this man
pleased him, both in his question and in his answer: when he both seriously inquired
concerning attaining eternal life; and seriously professed that he had addicted himself to
God's commandments with all care and circumspection.
Let us compare the customs of the Masters among the Jews: Eliezer Ben Erech obtained
leave from Rabban Jochanan Ben Zaccai to discourse of some things before him. He
discoursed of Ezekiel's chariot (chapter 1), or, of mystical divinity.
"When he had made an end, Rabban Jochanan arose up, and kissed his head."
"R. Abba Bar Cahna heard R. Levi disputing profoundly. When he had made an end, R.
Abba rose up and kissed his head." There is a story of a certain Nazarite young man
that exceedingly pleased Simeon the Just with a certain answer that he gave. Whereupon,
said Simeon, "I bowed towards him with my head, and said, O son, let such as you be
multiplied in Israel." The story is found elsewhere, where for I bowed towards him
with my head, it is I embraced him and kissed his head. "Miriam, before
the birth of Moses, had prophesied, My mother shall bring forth a son who shall deliver
Israel. When he was born the whole house was filled with light. His father stood forth, and
kissed her upon the head, and said, Thy prophecy is fulfilled. And when they cast him
into the river, he struck her upon the head."
What if our Saviour used this very gesture towards this young man? And that the more
conveniently, when he was now upon his knees before him. Some gesture, at least, he used,
whereby it appeared, both to the young man and to the standers-by, that the young man did
not a little please him, both by his question and by his answer. So I have loved,
Psalm 116:1, in the LXX, I have loved, one may render well, it pleaseth me well.
So Josephus of David's soldiers, (1 Sam 30:22): "Those four hundred who went to the
battle would not impart the spoils to the two hundred who were faint and weary; and
said, That they should 'love' [that is, be well pleased] that they had
received their wives safe again."
In some parity of sense, John is called the disciple, whom Jesus loved; not that
Jesus loved him more than the rest with his eternal, infinite, saving love, but he
favoured him more with some outward kindness and more intimate friendship and familiarity.
And why? Because John had promised that he would take care of Christ's mother after his
death. For those words of our Saviour upon the cross to John, 'Behold thy mother!' and to
his mother, 'Behold thy son!' and that from thence John took her home, do carry a fair
probability with them, that that was not the first time that John heard of such a matter,
but that long before he had so promised.
I have loved thee, Isaiah 60:10, is the rendering of I have had pity upon
thee: which may here also agree very well, "Jesus had pity upon him."
46. And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a
great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side
[Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus.] Some suspect the evangelist here guilty of a
solecism, by making a tautology: for it was neither necessary, as they think, so to render
the Syriac word in Greek; nor is it done so elsewhere in proper names of that nature. For
it is not said by any evangelist, Bartholomeus, the son of Tholomeus: Bar Abbas, the
son of Abbas: Bar Jesus, the son of Jesus: nor in the like names. True, indeed;
I. When the denomination is made from a common name, and not a proper, then it is not
so ill sounding to interpret the word: which is done once and again; Mark 3:17, Boanerges,
which is, The sons of thunder: Acts 4:36, Barnabas, which is, A son of consolation.
II. Bar Timai may be rendered otherwise than the son of Timaeus: namely,
either a son of admiration; or, which is more proper, a son of profit. The
Targum in Esther 3:8; To the king ariseth no profit ('Timai') from them. The
evangelist therefore, deservedly, that he might shew that this Bartimaeus was not
named from this, or that, or some other etymology, but from his father's name, so
interprets his name, Bartimeus, the son of Timeus.
III. Perhaps there was a Timeus of some more noted name in that age, either for
some good report or some bad: so that it might not be absurd to the Jews that then
conversed there to say, This blind Bartimaeus is the son of the so much famed Timaeus.
So it is unknown to us who Alexander and Rufus were, chapter 15:21: but they were without
doubt of most eminent fame, either among the disciples, or among the Jews.
IV. What if Thima be the same with Simai, blind, from the use of Thau for
Samech among the Chaldeans? so that Bartimaeus the son of Timaeus might sound no
more than the blind son of a blind father.
11. And Jesus entered into Jerusalem, and into the temple: and when he had looked
round about upon all things, and now the eventide was come, he went out unto Bethany with
[And when he had looked round about upon all things.] Compare Mark with the
other evangelists concerning the time of casting out the merchants of the Temple, and it
will appear that the word he looked about, denotes not a bare beholding or looking
upon, but a beholding with reproof and correction; admonition, among the Jews.
13. And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find
any thing thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of
figs was not yet.
[For the time of figs was not yet.] See what we have said at Matthew 21:19. The
sum is this:
I. The time of figs was so far off, that the time of leaves was scarcely yet
II. The other fig trees in the mount were of the common kind of fig trees: and on them
were not leaves as yet to be seen. But that which Christ saw with leaves on it, and
therefore went to it, was a fig tree of an extraordinary kind.
III. For there was a certain fig tree called Benoth Shuach, which never wanted
leaves, and never wanted figs. For every year it bare fruit, but that fruit came not to
full ripeness before the third year: and such, we suppose, was this fig tree.
16. And would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the
[And would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the Temple.]
"What is the reverence of the Temple? That none go into the Mountain of the
Temple" [or the Court of the Gentiles] "with his staff, and his shoes, with is
purse, and dust upon his feet: and that none make it his common thoroughfare, nor make
it a place of spitting."
The same thing is ordered concerning a synagogue; yea, concerning a synagogue that is
now laid waste, much more of one that flourisheth: "A synagogue now laid waste, let
not men make it a common passage." And "his disciples asked R. Eleazar Ben
Shammua, Whence hast thou lived so long? He answered, I never made a synagogue a common
It is therefore forbid by the masters, that the court of the Temple be not made a
passage for a shorter way. And was not this bridle sufficient wherewith all might be kept
back from carrying vessels through the Temple? But the 'castle of Antonia' joined to the
court; and there were shops in the Court of the Gentiles where many things were sold; and
that profane vessels were brought hither is scarcely to be denied. And these vessels might
be said to be carried through the Temple; although those that carried them went not
through the whole Temple.
1. And he began to speak unto them by parables. A certain man planted a
vineyard, and set an hedge about it, and digged a place for the winefat, and
built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country.
[A certain man planted a vineyard.] The priests and Pharisees knew, saith
Matthew, that "these things were spoken of them," Matthew 21:45. Nor is it any
wonder; for the Jews boasted that they were the Lord's vineyard: and they readily observed
a wrong done to that vineyard by any: but how far were they from taking notice, how
unfruitful they were, and unthankful to the Lord of the vineyard!
"The matter may be compared to a king that had a vineyard; and there were three
who were enemies to it. What were they? One cut down the branches. The second cut off the
bunches. And the third rooted up the vines. That king is the King of kings, the Blessed
Lord. The vineyard of the Lord is the house of Israel. The three enemies are Pharaoh,
Nebuchadnezzar, and Haman," &c.
[A vineyard.] "If a man plants one row of five vines, the school of Shammai
saith, That it is a vineyard. But the school of Hillel saith, It is not a vineyard, until
there be two rows of vines there."
[Set a hedge about it.] "What is a hedge? Let it be ten handbreadths
high": less than so is not a hedge.
[Digged a place for the winefat.] Let the fat be ten handbreadths deep, and
[Built a tower.] Let the watchhouse, which is in the vineyard, be ten high,
and four broad. Cubits are to be understood. For Rambam saith, watchhouse is a high
place where the vine-dresser stands to overlook the vineyard.
[Let it out to husbandmen.] "He that lets out his vineyard to a keeper,
either as a husbandman, or as one to keep it gratis, and he enters into covenant with
him, to dig it, prune it, dress it, at his own cost; but he neglects it, and doth not so;
he is guilty, as if he should with his own hand lay the vineyard waste."
2. And at the season he sent to the husbandmen a servant, that he might receive from
the husbandmen of the fruit of the vineyard.
[And at the season he sent to the husbandmen.] That is, in the fourth year after
the first planting it: when it now was a vineyard of four years old; at least
before that year there was no profit of the fruits. "They paint [or note]
a vineyard of four years old by some turf [or clod] of earth,
coloured; and that uncircumcised with clay; and sepulchres with chalk."
The Gloss is this: "On a vineyard of four years old they paint some marks out of
the turf of the earth, that men may know that it is a vineyard of four years old, and eat
not of it, because it is holy, as the Lord saith, Leviticus 19:24; and the owners ought to
eat the fruit of it at Jerusalem, as the second tithe. And an uncircumcised
vineyard," [that is, which was not yet four years old; see Leviticus 19:23]
"they mark with clay, that is, digested in fire. For the prohibition of (a
vineyard) uncircumcised, is greater than the prohibition concerning that of four years
old: for that of four years old is fit for eating; but that uncircumcised is not admitted
to any use. Therefore, they marked not that by the turf, lest the mark might perhaps be
defaced, and perish; and men not seeing it might eat of it," &c.
4. And again he sent unto them another servant; and at him they cast stones, and
wounded him in the head, and sent him away shamefully handled.
[At him they cast stones, and wounded him in the head.] I...They cast stones at
the servant, and deriding him, made up the sum with him: saying, perhaps this, or some
such thing to him, "Do you come for fruit and rent? Behold this fruit" (casting
a stone at him) "behold another fruit," (casting another stone) and so many
times together: and so they sent him away derided, and loaded with disgrace.
II. But be it that the word is to be translated as it is commonly rendered, "they
wounded him in the head": then this way of stoning is thus distinguished from that
whereby they were slain who were stoned by the Sanhedrim. That was called stone-casting:
for it was the cast of a stone, indeed, but of one only, and that a very great one; and
that upon the heart of the condemned person, when now he lay along upon his back. But this
stoning was of many stones, thrown out of the hand through the air, striking him here and
there and everywhere. The head of him that was stoned by the Sanhedrim was unhurt, and
without any wound; but here, They cast stones at him, and wounded him in the head.
10. And have ye not read this scripture; The stone which the builders rejected is
become the head of the corner:
[The stone which the builders rejected.] The Targum upon Psalm 118, thus the
builders rejected the child. And verse 27, "Bind the child to the sacrifice of
the solemnity with chains, until ye shall have sacrificed him, and poured out his
blood upon the horns of the altar: said Samuel the prophet."
16. And they brought it. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image
and superscription? And they said unto him, Caesar's.
[Whose is this image? Caesar's.] I. This was a Caesar's penny, denarius
Caesareanus. For zuz, among the Jews, was also a penny, as we shewed
elsewhere; but we scarce believe it was of the same form and inscription: "A
certain heathen sent to R. Judah the prince a Caesarean penny, and that on a certain
festival day of the heathens. Resh Lachish sat before him. R. Judah said, What shall I do?
If I receive it, I shall consent (to their festival): if I receive it not, enmity
will rise against me. Resh Lachish answered, Take the penny, and while he looks upon you
cast it into the well," &c.
II. It was a silver penny, not a gold one. Pence, absolutely put, are to be
understood silver pence. Where the Gloss is, "Pence, absolutely put, are silver,
until it is explained that they are gold."
But now a gold penny was worth five-and-twenty silver pence. "When turtle-doves
and young pigeons were sold at Jerusalem sometime for a gold penny, Rabban Simeon Ben
Gamaliel said, By this Temple, I will not rest this night, unless they are sold for a
silver penny." Where the Gloss, "A gold penny is worth five-and-twenty silver
III. It was a Roman penny, not a Jerusalem: for this distinction they
sometimes use. The Gloss being witness, are Jerusalem zuzees. But more frequently money
of Tzur, and money of Jerusalem. Money of Tzur one may well render Tyrian
money. But hear the Aruch, where he had been treating of money of Tzur; at
length he brings in this passage: "R. Eliezer saith, Wheresoever in the Scripture Tzur
is written full, the Scripture speaks of the city Tyre: but where it is written
defectively [without Vau] it speaks of Rome." Be it Tyrian or Roman money,
this held among the masters: "Wheresoever any thing is said of the silver money of
Jerusalem, it is the eighth part of the Tyrian money."
Hence I should resolve that riddle at which the Glosser himself sticks, if I may have
leave to conjecture in a Jewish affair, after a doubting Jew. In the tract now cited there
is a discourse concerning Jerusalem Cozbian moneys. A riddle truly. Ben Cozbi,
indeed, coined moneys when he made an insurrection against the Romans. But whence is this
called Jerusalem money, when, in the days of Ben Cozbi, Jerusalem lay buried in its
own rubbish? If I may be the resolver, it was so called, because it was of the same weight
and value with the Jerusalem money, and not with that of Tyre.
"The Jerusalem money (say they) is the eighth part of the Tyrian."
Here again some words of the masters entangle me in a riddle. The Aruch saith, "A
penny and zuz are the same." And elsewhere, "They call pence, in the Gemaristic
language, Zuzim"; which we observed at chapter 6:37. 'Zuz' was
Jerusalem money: how, then, was it the same with a penny, which was Tyrian money, when it
was the eighth part only? And these words spoken by Rambam do add a scruple over and
above; a penny contains six zuzim. If he had said eight zuzim, it had been
without scruple. But what shall we say now?
The former knot you may thus untie: that zuz, among the Jews, is called also a
penny; a Jewish penny, indeed, but different from the Roman: as the Scots have their shilling,
but much different from our English. But the second knot let him try to untie that is at
IV. This money was signed with the image of Caesar; but of the Jerusalem money, thus
the Jews write, whom you may believe when you please: "What is the Jerusalem money? David
and Solomon were stamped on one side; and on the reverse, Jerusalem the holy city."
But the Glosser inquires whether it were lawful to stamp the image of David and Solomon
upon money, which he scarcely thinks. He concludes therefore that their names were only
inscribed, not their effigies.
"Upon Abraham's money were stamped, on one side, an old man and an old woman; on
the other, a young man and a young maid. On Joshua's money, on one side, an ox; on the
other, a monoceros. On David's money, on one side, a staff and a scrip; on the other, a
tower. On Mardochai's money, on one side, sackcloth and ashes; on the other, a
crown." Let the truth of this be upon the credit of the authors.
28. And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and
perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of
[Which is the first commandment of all?] It is not seldom that this distinction
occurs in the Rabbins, between the law, and the precept: by the latter they
understand some special or greater rite (themselves being judges); such as circumcision,
the repeating of the phylacteries, keeping the sabbath, &c. This question, propounded
by the scribe, seems to respect the same: namely, whether those great precepts (as they
were esteemed) and other ceremonial precepts of that nature, such as sacrifices,
purifications, keeping festivals, were the greatest precepts of the law, or no: and if it
were so, which among them was the first?
By his answer he seems to incline to the negative, and to prefer the moral law. Whence
Christ saith, "That he was not far from the kingdom of heaven": and while he
suits an answer to him from that very passage, which was the first in the reciting of the
phylacteries, Hear, O Israel,--he directs the eyes and the minds of those that
repeated them to the sense and the marrow of the thing repeated,--and that they rest not
in the bare work of repeating them.
41. And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money
into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much.
[The people cast money.] They were casting in small money there.
According to his pleasure, any one might cast into the chests how little soever he would;
namely, in the chest which was for gold, as little gold as a grain of barley would weigh;
and in the chest for frankincense, as much frankincense as weighed a grain of barley. But
if he should say, Behold, I vow wood; he shall not offer less than two pieces of a
cubit long, and breadth proportionable. Behold, I vow frankincense; he shall not offer
less than a pugil of frankincense: that is, not less money than that which will buy so
42. And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a
[Two mites, which make a farthing.] Two prutahs are a farthing. "A prutah
is the eighth part of an Italian assarius. An assarius is the twenty-fourth
part of a silver penny." We rendered before, "The people cast money, brass,"
by they were casting in small money: one would think it should rather be rendered, They
were casting in brass. But consider well this passage: "He that changeth the
'selaa' of the second tenth, the school of Shammai saith, Let him change the whole
'selaa' into brass." You would perhaps render it, into moneys, or into
meahs, but it is properly to be rendered into brass, as appears by what
follows: "The school of Hillel saith, into a shekel of silver, and a shekel of
brass." So also the Glossers; and the Aruch moreover, "He that changeth a selaa,
and receives for it brass money, that is, prutahs."
None might, by the canon even now mentioned, enter into the Temple, no, nor indeed into
the Court of the Gentiles, with his purse, therefore much less into the Court of the
Women; and yet scarce any entered who carried no money with him to be offered to the
Corban, whether in his hand, or in his bosom, or elsewhere, we do not define: so did this
very poor woman, who for two mites purchased herself an eternal fame, our Saviour himself
setting a value upon the thing above all the gifts of them that offered.