Page images
PDF
EPUB

were fishers. 19 And he saith unto them, Follow me, and 8 Luke v. 10. I will make you 6 fishers of men. 20 And they straight

way left their nets, and followed him. 21 And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them.

22 And they immediately left the ship and their father, and h ch. ix. 35. followed him.

23 h And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their rending) synagogues, and preaching the i gospel of the kingdom,

ich ix. 35:

xxiv. 14. Mark i. 14 (various reading) only.

but not invariably, attached to our Lord. I believe that the disciple whom Jesus loved was in His company during the whole of the events in John ii. ii. iv. and V., and on His return from Judæa with His disciples, John having for a time returned to his business, as our Lord was now resident in Capernaum, received, as here related, this more solemn and final call. We must remember, that the disciples would naturally have gone up to Jerusalem at the Passover, John ii. 23, without a call from the Lord, and by what they saw there would become more firmly attached to him. The circumstance related in John xxi., that even after they were assured of the Resurrection, the Apostles returned to their occupation as fishermen, gives additional probability to the usual explanation of the call in our text. 20. left their nets, and followed him i. e. from this time they were constant followers of the Lord. But when He happened to be in the neighbourhood of their homes, they resumed their fishing; cf. Luke v. 1-11, which occurrence was, in my belief, dif. ferent from, and later than the one related in our text. See notes there.

23-25.] HE MAKES A CIRCUIT OP GALILEE. (Mark i. 39: Luke iv. 44, ordinarily; but qu.? There is no neces. sity for believing this circuit of Galilee to be identical with those, even if we read Galilee in the passage in Luke. Our Lord made many such circuits.) 23. synagogues] These were the places of religious assembly among the Jews after the return from the captivity. Tradition, and the Targums, ascribe a very early origin to synagogues : and Deut. xxxi. 11, and Ps. Ixxiv. 8, are cited as testimonies of it. But the former pas. sage does not necessarily imply it: and it is doubtful whether that Psalm was not itself written after the captivity. They are generally supposed to have originated in Babylon, and thence to have been

brought, at the return, into the mother land. See Neh. viii. 1-8. At the Christian era there were synagogues in every town, and in some larger towns several. See Acts ix. 2, 20. In Jerusalem, according to the Rabbinical writings, there were upwards of 450. (See Acts vi. 9, and note.) The people assembled in them on sabbath and festival days, and in later times also on the second and fifth days of each week, for public prayer and the hear. ing of portions of Scripture. See Luke iv. 16: Acts xiii. 15. The officers of the synagogues were (1) the ruler of the syna. gogue, Luke viii. 49; xiii. 14: Acts xviii. 8, 17, who had the care of public order, and the arrangement of the service ; (2) the Elders, Luke vii. 3: Mark v. 22: Acts xiii. 15, who seem to have formed a sort of council under the presidency of the Ruler; (3) the legate or angel of the assembly, who was the reader of prayers, and also secretary and messenger of the synagogues ; (4) the minister (Luke iv. 20), or chapel clerk, whose office was to prepare the books for reading, to sweep, open, and shut the synagogue. Besides these, there appear to have been alms-gatherers. The synagogue was fitted up with seats, of which the first row were an object of ambition with the scribes (ch. xxii. 6). A pulpit for the reader, lamps, and a chest for keeping the sacred books, appear to complete the furniture of the ancient synagogue. Punishments, e. g. scourging, were inflicted in the synagogues. (See ch. x. 17; xxiii. 34: Luke ix. 49: Àcts xxii. 19; xxvi. 11.) The catechizing also of children seems to have taken place there, as also disputations on religious questions.-Our Lord was allowed to read and teach in the synagogues, although of mean extraction according to the tesh, because of His miracles, and His supposed character as the professed leader and teacher of a religious sect. preaching the gospel] For the exact meaning of

and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. 24 And his fame went throughout all Syria : and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were k lunatick, and those that had the 'palsy; and he healed kohis?" them. 25 And there followed him great multitudes of 2, &c., and". people from Galilee, and from m Decapolis, and from Jeru- Actes viny? salem, and from Judæa, and from beyond Jordan. V. 1 And seeing the multitudes, he went up into u a

a render, the.

Ich. viii. 6: ix.

2, &c., and parallela.

ix. 33 only. m Mark v. 20:

vii. 31 only.

these words, compare the declaration in have heard immediately after his call as the synagogue at Nazareth, Luke iv. 16– an Apostle, take place before that call.30. 24. Syria] Answering to all Then (6) this discourse was spoken on a the region round about Galilee,' Mark i. mountain,--that, after descending from a 28. On the possessed with devils, see note mountain, in the plain. Possibly this on ch. viii. 28. The lunatick were probably may be got over, by rendering St. Luke's epileptics : see an instance in ch. xvii. 14 expression “ on a level place.” See noto and parallels.

25. Decapolis] A on Luke: and the citation from Stanley district principally east of the Jordan, so below. And again (c), the two discourses called from ten cities, some of the names are, though containing much common of which are uncertain.

beyond

matter, widely different. Of 107 verses Jordan] Peræa. The country east of the in Matt., Luke contains only thirty: his Jordan, between the rivers Jabbok and four beatitudes are balanced by as many Arnon. See Jos. B. J. iii. 3. 3.

woes : and in his text, parts of the serion CHAPP. V. VI. VII.] THE SERMON ON are introduced by sayings, which do not THE MOUNT. In this form peculiar to precede them in Matt. (e. g. Luke vi. 39 Matthew.

Without attempting a ff., 45 ff.), but which naturally connect solution of the many difficulties which with them. (II) St. Luke epitomized beset the question of time, place, and this discourse, leaving out whatever was arrangement of our Lord's Sermon on the unsuitable for his Gentile readers, e. g. ch. Mount, I shall state the principal views of v. 17–38. But this is improbable: for these subjects, and make some remarks Luke in several verses is fuller than upon them. One of the weightiest ques. Matthew, and the whole discourse, as tions is, as to the identity or otherwise of related by him, is connected and conthe Sermon with that given in Luke vi. secutive. (III) The two discourses are 20–49. There is (I) the view that they wholly distinct. This view is maintained are identical. This is generally taken by by Greswell, vol. ii. Diss. xi., and prinordinary readers of Scripture, from their cipally from the arguments above noticed. similarity in many points. It is also taken But it also is not without grave diffi. by most of the modern German Commen- culties, especially if we suppose, as most tators, who uniformly reject every attempt do, that Luke had the Gospel of Matthew at harmonizing by supposing the same or before him. That two discourses wholly similar words to have been twice uttered. distinct should contain so much in com. This view is, however, beset by difficulties. mon, seems unlikely and unnatural. It is For (a) the Sermon in Luke is expressly hardly credible that two great public special said to have been delivered after the occasions should be selected by the Lord selection of the Apostles: whereas that in near the commencement of His ministry, the text is as expressly, by continual con- and two discourses delivered to the same secutive notes of time extending to the audience, not identical, which might have call of Matthew, (before which the been very probable, and impressive from Apostles cannot have been chosen,) placed that very circumstance,-nor consecutive, before that event. And it is wholly nor explanatory the one of the other, but unlikely that St. Matthew, assuming him only coinciding in fragments, and not even to be the author of our Gospel, would as two different reports at the distance of have made a discourse, which he must some years might be expected to do. Add

(from Ps.

n ch. x111,35 mountain : and when he was set, his disciples came unto hotel: 85.; him: 2 and he " opened his " mouth, and taught them, Eph. vi. 19. Job iil. 1 al.

to this, that those parts of the discourses Beatitudes, near the present Saphet, is in in which Luke and Matthew agree, occur such a matter worthless as an authority. in both in almost the same order, and that But the situation seems to modern travelthe beginning and conclusion of both are lers (see Stanley, Sinai and Palestine, p. the same. (IV) St. Matthew gives a 368]" so strikingly to coincide with the general compendium of the sayings of our intimations of the gospel narrative, as Lord during this part of His ministry, of almost to force the inference that in this which St. Luke's discourse formed a por. instance the eye of those who selected the tion, or perhaps was another shorter com. spot was for once rightly guided. It is pendium. But the last stated objection the only height seen in this direction from applies with still greater force to this the shores of the lake of Gennesareth. The hypothesis, and renders it indeed quite plain on which it stands is easily accessible untenable. Besides, it labours under the from the lake, and from that plain to the chronological difficulty in all its bearings. summit is but a few minutes' walk. The And to one who has observed throughout platform at the top is evidently suitable the close contextual connexion of the for the collection of a multitude, and corparts in this discourse, it will be quite responds precisely to the level place’ to incredible that they should be a mere which He would come down'as from one collection of sayings, set down at hazard. of its higher horns to address the people. See notes throughout. (V) The apparent Its situation is central both to the peadiscrepancies are sometimes reconciled by sants of the Galilæan hills, and the fisherremembering, that there is no fixed time men of the Galilæan lake, between wbich mentioned in any Evangelist for the special it stands, and would therefore be a naordination of the Apostles, and that it is tural resort both to Jesus and His disvery doubtful whether they were at any ciples when they retired for solitude set moment so ordained all together from the shores of the sea, and also to the Thus Matthew may have been a usual crowds who assembled from Galilee, from hearer of our Lord, and present with the Decapolis, from Jerusalem, from Judæa, whole of the Apostles, as related in Luke, and from beyond Jordan. None of the though not yet formally summoned as other mountains in the neighbourhood related in Matt. ix. 9 ff. The introduction could answer equally well to this descripof the discourse in Luke by the words tion, inasmuch as they are merged into “ And it came to pass in those daysthe uniform barrier of hills round the (which I maintain to be, on Luke vi. 12, lake: whereas this stands separate—' the not only possibly, but expressly indefinite, mountain,' which alone could lay claim and to indicate that the event so intro- to a distinct name, with the exception of duced may have happened at any time the one height of Tabor, which is too disduring the current great period of our tant to answer the requirements,”) or the Lord's ministry, before, during, or after, mountain district, certainly imported by those last narrated,) allows us great the word in ch. xiv. 23.- See a full descriplatitude in assigning Luke's discourse to tion of the locality in Tholuck, Bergpredigt, any precise time. This, however, leaves ed. 3, pp. 63 ff. his disciples) in the the difficulties (above stated under I) in wider sense: including those of the Apossupposing the discourses identical, in force, tles already called, and all who had, either except the chronological one. With re- for a long or a short time, attached themgard to the many sayings of this sermon selves to him as hearers. See John vi. 66. which occur, dispersed up and down, in

2. opened his mouth] as in reff., a Luke, see notes in their respective places, solemn introduction to some discourse or which will explain my view as to their advice of importance. them i.e. his connexion and original times of utter: disciples. The discourse (see vv. 13, 14, ance, in each several instance. See also 20, 48; ch. vi. 9; vii. 6) was spoken notes on Luke vi. 20—49. 1. the directly to the disciples, but (see vii. 28, mountain] Either some hill near Caper- 29) also generally to the multitudes. It naum well known by this name, and called is a divine commentary on the words with by it in the reff. to Mark and Luke, (tra. which His own and the Baptist's preachdition, not earlier probably than the Cru- ing opened : Repent: for the kingdom sades, which points out a hill between of heaven is at hand.It divides itself Capernaum and Tiberias as the Mount of into various great sections, which see below.

o Prov.wix.

23. Isa. lxvi.

saying, 3 Blessed are the poor in spirit : .for their's is the o Prov, unik, kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are they that P mourn : for p iša. Ixi. 2, 3. they shall be comforted. 5 Blessed are the 9 meek : for they 9 Pox. xxxvii. shall inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness : for they shall be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful: for "they shall obtain mercy. - Psa. sli. 1.

3—16.] THE DESCRIPTION OF THE in the synagogue at Nazareth, Luke iv. 18. LORD'S DISCIPLES, THEIR BLESSEDNESS,

6. the meek] A citation from Ps. AND DIGNITY. 3. the poor in spirit] xxxvii. 11. The usual dividers and al. “ He said not, the poor in possessions, but lotters of the earth being mighty and

in spirit:' i.e. the lowly in purpose and proud conquerors, and the Messiah being in soul.” Euthymius. “What is the poor expected as such a conqueror, this anin spirit ?' the humble and contrite in nouncement that the meek should inherit heart." Chrys.—The meaning of volun. the earth, struck at the root of the temtary poverty, as that of the religious poral expectations of power and wealth orders, given by some of the Fathers, and in the Messiah's kingdom. This meek. by many Romish interpreters, is out of the ness is not mere outward lowliness of dequestion. As little can the bare literal meanour, but that true meekness of Eph. sense of the words, which Julian scoffed iv. 2, whose active side is love, and its at, be understood : viz. those who are ill. passive side long-suffering. On the profurnished in mind, and uneducated. See mise, compare Isa. lvii. 13–15; lx. 21; Rev. iii. 17. The idea (De Wette) is not 1 Cor. j. 22. That kingdom of God improbable, that our Lord may have had which begins in the hearts of the disciples a reference to the poor and subjugated of Christ, and is not “of (sprung from) Jewish people around him, once members this world,shall work onwards till it of the theocracy, and now expectants of shall become actually a kingdom over this the Messiah's temporal kingdom; and, earth, and its subjects shall inherit the from their condition and hopes, taken earth: first in its millennial, and finally occasion to preach to them the deeper in its renewed and blessed state for ever. spiritual truth. their's is the king.

6.] See Ps. cvii. 9; lxv. 4; xxii. dom of heaven] See Luke iv. 17—21: 26 : Isa. xli. 17. This hunger and thirst James ii. 5. The kingdom must here be is the true sign of that new life on which understood in its widest sense : as the those born of the Spirit (John iii. 3, 5) combination of all rights of Christian have entered ; and it is after righteousness, citizenship in this world, and eternal i. e. perfect conformity to the holy will of blessedness in the next, ch. vi. 33. But God. This was His meat, John iv. 34. Tholuck well observes, that all the senses They shall be satisfied-in the new heaven of the kingdom of God,or of heaven,and new earth, in which dwelleth righteor of Christ,are only different sides of ousness, 2 Pet. iii. 13. Compare the the same great idea - the subjection of all remarkable parallel Ps. xvii. 15. This things to God in Christ. 4.] The hunger and thirst after righteousness, is spiritual qualification in the former verse admirably set forth in the three first must be carried on to this, and the mourn. petitions of the Lord's prayer,— Hallowed ing understood to mean not only that on be Thy name—Thy kingdom come-Thy account of sin, but all such as happens to will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.' a man in the spiritual life. All such

7. merciful] “We may shew mourners are blessed : for the Father of mercy, not by alms only, but by words: mercies and God of all consolation being and if we have no other way, by tears. their covenant God, His comfort shall For manifold is the form of mercy, and overbear all their mourning, and taste the wide is this command : They shall obtain sweeter for it. In Luke ii. 25, the Mes. mercy, here, from men; and there, from siah's coming is called “ the consolation of God,” Euthymius, expanding Chrysostom. Israel.—This beatitude is by many edi. This beatitude comprises every degree of tors placed after ver. 5. But the autho. sympathy and mutual love and help; from rity is by no means decisive, and I cannot that fulness of it which is shed abroad in see how the logical coherence of the sen those who have been forgiven much, and tence is improved by it.-In placing these therefore love much,--down to those two beatitudes first, the Lord follows the first beginnings of the new birth, even order in Isa. Ixi. 1, which He proclaimed among those who know not the Lord,

s Ps. xxiv. 3, 8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

9 Blessed are the peacemakers : for 'they shall be called the children of God. 10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for their's is the kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad : for great is your reward in heaven : for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. 13 Ye

V render, sons. which are brought out in ch. XXV. See 1 Pet. iii. 14; iv. 14, which probably 37-40, where see notes.

8. refers to this verse. The repetition of the pure in heart] See Ps. xxiv. 4, 6. It promise in ver. 3 is a close of the string of is no Levitical cleanness, nor mere moral promises as it began. 11.] With the purity, that is here meant; but that inner preceding verse the beatitudes end, in their purity, which (Acts xv. 9) is brought about general reference, and in this our Lord ad. by faith, has its fruit (1 Tim. i. 5) in love; dresses His disciples particularly. The which is opposed to all “double minded actions described in this verse are the exness" (James i. 8), and all hypocrisy and pansion of persecuted in the last. outward colouring ; so that the pure in 12. your reward] A reward, not of debt, heart are those who have their hearts but of grace, as the parable in ch. xx. 1 ff. sprinkled from an evil conscience." There clearly represents it. 'An expression,' as is an allusion to the nearer vision of God De Wette observes, 'taken from our earthly attained by progressive sanctification, of commerce, and applied to spiritual things; which St. Paul speaks, 2 Cor. iii. 18,- in which however we must remember, that begun indeed in this life, but not per the principal reference is to God as the fected till the next, 1 Cor. xiii. 12. giver, and not to us as the deservers : see 9. peacemakers] More than the peace. the parable above cited, where the reward ful' (Vulg.). It is doubtful whether the is not what was earned, but what was coveword ever has this meaning. Thus Euthy. nanted. These words, in heaven, must not mius, mostly after Chrysostom: They who be taken as having any bearing on the not only are themselves not men of strife, question as to the future habitation of the but make peace between others when at glorified saints. Their use in this and strife. They shall be called sons of God, similar expressions is not local, but spiribecause they have imitated His only Son; tual, indicating the blessed state when the whose office it is to bring together the kingdom of heaven shall have fully come. separated and to reconcile those at vari. The local question is to be decided by ance. But even thus we do not seem to wholly different testimonies of Scripture; reach the full meaning, which probably is, by the general tenor of prophecy, and the " they that work peace;" not confining analogies of the divine dealings: and all of the reference to the reconciliation of per- these seem to point rather to this earth, sons at variance : see note on James üi. purified and renewed, than to the heavens 18. shall be called] implies the in any ordinary sense of the term, as the reality, as in ver. 19; shals (not only be, eternal habitation of the blessed. but also) be called, i.e. recognized, in the 80 persecuted they] For instance, Jerehighest sense, both generally, and by the miah was scourged, Jer. xx. 2; Zechariah Highest Himself, as such. Let it ever be son of Jehoiada was stoned, 2 Chron. xxiv. remembered, according to the order of 21; Isaiah, according to Jewish tradition, these beatitudes, and the assertion of James was sawn asunder by Manasseh.—The iii. 17, that the wisdom from above is first reasoning implied in for' may be thus pure, then peaceable, implying no compro filled up: “and great will be their reward inise with evil. And it is in the working in heuven.” 13.] The transition from out of this purity that Luke xii. 51 is espe- the preceding verses is easy and natural, cially true. St. Augustine remarks, that from the “persecuted for righteousness' martyrs are made not by the mere fact of sake,of which vv. 11, 12 were a sort of suffering, but by the cause for which they application, and the allusion to the ancient suffer. And therefore it is added, for Prophets, to "ye are the salt of the righteousness' sake. 10. persecuted] earth.—Elisha healed the unwholesome

« PreviousContinue »