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THE MISSION OF THE SEVENTY.
FURTHER INCIDENTS OF THE JOURNEY TO JERUSALEM
THE MISSION AND
RETURN OF THE SEVENTY-THE HOME AT BETHANY-MARTHA AND MARY.
(St. Luke x. 1-16; St. Matt. ix. 36–38; xi. 20-24; St. Luke x. 17–24 ; St. Matt. xi.
25–30; xiii. 16; St. Luke x. 25; 38–42.)
ALTHOUGH, for the reasons explained in the previous chapter, the exact succession of events cannot be absolutely determined, it seems most likely, that it was on His progress southwards at this time that Jesus designated' those seventy’? others,' who were to herald His arrival in every town and village. Even the circumstance, that the instructions to them are so similar to, and yet distinct from, those formerly given to the Twelve, seems to point to them as those from whom the Seventy are to be distinguished as other. We judge, that they were sent forth at this time, first, from the Gospel of St. Luke, where this whole section appears a distinct and separate record, presumably, chronologically arranged ; secondly, from the fitness of such a mission at that particular period, when Jesus made His last Missionary progress towards Jerusalem; and, thirdly, from the unlikelihood, if not impossibility, of taking such a public step after the persecution which broke out after His appearance at Jerusalem on the Feast of Tabernacles. At any rate, it could not have taken place later than in the period between the Feast of Tabernacles and that of the Dedication of the Temple, since, after that, Jesus walked no more openly among the Jews.' a
With all their similarity, there are notable differences between the Mission of the Twelve and this of 'the other Seventy. Let it be noted, that the former is recorded by the three Evangelists, so that there could have been no confusion on the part of St. Luke. But St. Matt. the mission of the Twelve was on their appointment to the Apostolate; Mark vi. 7 it was evangelistic and missionary; and it was in confirmation and Luke ix. 1 manifestation of the power and authority' given to them. We
a St. John xi. 54
5 &c.; St.
Perhaps this may be a fuller English equivalent than'appoint.'
2 The reading: 'Seventy-two ' seems a correction, made for obvious reasons.
* Num. xi. 16
regard it, therefore, as symbolical of the Apostolate just instituted, with its work and authority. On the other hand, no power or authority was formally conferred on the Seventy, their mission being only temporary, and, indeed, for one definite purpose; its primary object was to prepare for the coming of the Master in the places to which they were sent; and their selection was from the wider circle of disciples, the number being now Seventy instead of Twelve. Even these two numbers, as well as the difference in the functions of the two classes of messengers, seem to indicate that the Twelve symbolised the princes of the tribes of Israel, while the Seventy were the symbolical representatives of these tribes, like the seventy elders appointed to assist Moses.a! This symbolical meaning of the number Seventy continued among the Jews. We can trace it in the LXX. (supposed) translators of the Bible into Greek, and in the seventy numbers of the Sanhedrin, or supreme court.?
There was something very significant in this appearance of Christ's messengers, by two and two, in every place He was about to visit. As John the Baptist had, at the first, heralded the Coming of Christ, so now two heralds appeared to solemnly announce His Advent at the close of His Ministry; as John had sought, as the representative of the Old Testament Church, to prepare His Way, so they, as the representatives of the New Testament Church. In both cases the preparation sought was a moral one. It was the national summons to open the gates to the rightful King, and accept His rule. Only, the need was now the greater for the failure of John's mission, through the misunderstanding and disbelief of the nation. This conjunction with John the Baptist and the failure of his mission, as regarded national results, accounts for the insertion in St. Matthew's Gospel of part of the address delivered on the Mission of the Seventy, immediately after the record of Christ's rebuke of the national rejection of the Baptist. For St. Matthew, who (as well as St. Mark) records not the Mission of the Seventy-simply because (as before explained) the whole section, of which it forms part, is peculiar to St. Luke's Gospel-reports the Discourses' connected with it in other, and to them congruous, connections.
We mark, that, what may be termed the Preface' to the Mission of the Seventy, is given by St. Matthew (in a somewhat fuller form)
1 St. Matt. xi. 7-19
e St. Matt. xi. 20-4; comp. with St. Luke x. 12-16
1 In Bemidb. R. 15, ed. Warsh. p. 64 b, the mode of electing these Seventy is thus described. Moses chose six from every tribe, and then put into au urn seventytwo lots, of which seventy had the word
Saken (Elder) inscribed on them, while two were blanks. The latter are supposed to have been drawn by Eldad and Medad.
2 Comp. Sanh. i. 6.
DIRECTIONS TO THE SEVENTY.
as that to the appointment and mission of the Twelve Apostles; and it may have been, that words kindred had preceded both. Partially, indeed, the expressions reported in St. Luke x. 2 had been em- St. Vatt. ployed long before. Those “multitudes' throughout Israel-nay, those also which are not of that flock '-appeared to His view like 35 sheep without a true shepherd's care, distressed and prostrate,' and their mute misery and only partially conscious longing appealed, and not in vain, to His Divine compassion. This constituted the ultimate ground of the Mission of the Apostles, and now of that of the Seventy, into a harvest that was truly great. Compared with the extent of the field, and the urgency of the work, how few were the labourers ! Yet, as the field was God's, so also could He alone thrust forth labourers' willing and able to do His work, while it must be ours to pray that He would be pleased to do so.
On these introductory words, which ever since have formed “the St. Luke x. bidding prayer' of the Church in her work for Christ, followed the commission and special directions to the thirty-five pairs of disciples who went on this embassy. In almost every particular they are the same as those formerly given to the Twelve. We mark, however, that both the introductory and the concluding words addressed to the Apostles are wanting in what was said to the Seventy. It was not necessary to warn them against going to the Samaritans, since the direction of the Seventy was to those cities of Peræa and Judæa, on the road to Jerusalem, through which Christ was about to pass. Nor were they armed with precisely the same supernatural powers as the Twelve.d Naturally, the personal directions as to their conduct were est. Matt. in both cases substantially the same. We mark only three pecu- St. Luke x. 9 liarities in those addressed to the Seventy. The direction to salute no man by the way' was suitable to a temporary and rapid mission, which might have been sadly interrupted by making or renewing acquaintances. Both the Mishnah e and the Talmud † lay it down, Ber. 30 v that prayer was not to be interrupted to salute even a king, nay, to uncoil a serpent that had wound round the foot. On the other hand, the Rabbis discussed the question, whether the reading of the Shema and of the portion of the Psalms called the Hallel might be interrupted at the close of a paragraph, from respect for a person, or interrupted in the middle, from motives of fear.8 All agreed, that 6 Ber. 14 a immediately before prayer no one should be saluted, to prevent
' The first word means literally 'torn.' ? See Book III. ch. xxvii.
x. 7, 8; comp.
f u. s. 32
a Ber. 14 a ; 32 6
e St. Matt. x. 13
· St. Matt. xi. 16-42
distraction, and it was advised rather to summarise or to cut short than to break into prayer, though the latter might be admissible in case of absolute necessity." None of these provisions, however, seems to have been in the mind of Christ. If any parallel is to be sought, it would be found in the similar direction of Elisha to Gehazi, when sent to lay the prophet's staff on the dead child of the Shunammite.
The other two peculiarities in the address to the Seventy seem o St. Luke x. verbal rather than real. The expression, if the Son of Peace be
there,' is a Hebraism, equivalent to “if the house be worthy,'e and refers to the character of the head of the house and the tone of the
household. Lastly, the direction to eat and drink such things as 4 St. Luke x. were set before them d is only a further explanation of the command
to abide in the house which had received them, without seeking for better entertainment. On the other hand, the whole most important close of the address to the Twelve--which, indeed, forms by far the largest part of it is wanting in the commission to the Seventy, thus clearly marking its merely temporary character.
In St. Luke's Gospel, the address to the Seventy is followed by a St. Luke x. denunciation of Chorazin and Bethsaida. This is evidently in its
right place there, after the Ministry of Christ in Galilee had been completed and finally rejected. In St. Matthew's Gospel, it stands (for a reason already indicated) immediately after the Lord's rebuke of the popular rejection of the Baptist's message. The woe' pronounced on those cities, in which most of His mighty works were done,' is in proportion to the greatness of their privileges. The denunciation of Chorazin and Bethsaida is the more remarkable, that Chorazin is not otherwise mentioned in the Gospels, nor yet any iniracles recorded as having taken place in the western) Bethsaida. From this two inferences seem inevitable. First, this history must be real. If the whole were legendary, Jesus would not be represented as selecting the names of places, which the writer had not connected with the legend. Again, apparently no record has been preserved in the Gospels of most of Christ's miracles-only those being narrated, which were necessary in order to present Jesus
St. Matt. xi. 20-24
Comp. Job xxi. 9, both in the original and the Targum.
2 Canon Cook (ad loc.) regards this as evidence that the Seventy were also sent to the Samaritans; and as implying permission to eat of their food, which the Jews held to be forbidden. To me it conveys the opposite, since so fundamen
tal an alteration would not have been introduced in such an indirect manner. Besides, the direction is not to eat their food, but any kind of food. Lastly, if Christ had introduced so vital a change, the later difficulty of St. Peter, and the vision on the subject, would not be intelligible.
THE RETURN OF THE SEVENTY.
a St. John xxi. 25
as the Christ, in accordance with the respective plans on which each of the Gospels was constructed.
As already stated, the denunciations were in proportion to the privileges, and hence to the guilt, of the unbelieving cities. Chorazin and Bethsaida are compared with Tyre and Sidon, which under similar admonitions would have repented,' while Capernaum, which, as for so long the home of Jesus, had truly been exalted to heaven,'2 is compared with Sodom. And such guilt involved greater punishment. The very site of Bethsaida and Chorazin cannot be fixed with certainty. The former probably represents the 'Fisherton' of Capernaum, the latter seems to have almost disappeared from the shore of the Lake. St. Jerome places it two miles from Capernaum. If so, it may be represented by the modern Kerâzeh, somewhat to the north-west of Capernaum. The site would correspond with the name. For Kerâzeh is at present 'a spring with an insignificant ruin above it,”4 and the name Chorazin may well be derived from Cheroz (tipp) a water-jar-Cherozin, or "Chorazin,' the water-jars. If so, we can readily understand that the · Fisherton on the south side of Capernaum, and the well-known springs, Chorazin,' on the other side of it, may have been the frequent scene of Christ's miracles. This explains also, in part, why the miracles there wrought had not been told as well as those done in Capernaum itself. In the Talmud a Chorazin, or rather Chorzim, is mentioned as celebrated for its wheat. But as for Capernaum itself-standing on that vast Venach. field of ruins and upturned stones which marks the site of the Neubauer, p. modern Tell Hûm, we feel that no description of it could be more pictorially true than that in which Christ prophetically likened the city in its downfall to the desolateness of death and · Hades.'
Whether or not the Seventy actually returned to Jesus before the Feast of Tabernacles, it is convenient to consider in this connection the result of their Mission. It had filled them with the joy’of assurance; nay, the result had exceeded their expectations, just as their faith had gone beyond the mere letter unto the spirit of His Words. As they reported it to Him, even the demons had been subject to them through His Name. In this they had exceeded the letter of Christ's
Fasting in sackcloth and ashes' was the practice in public humiliations (Taan. ii. 1).
no meaning. We have, therefore, adopted
The R. V., following what are regarded as some of the best MSS., renders it interrogatively: Shalt thou be exalted,' &c. ? But such a question is not only without precedent, but really yields
See Book III. ch. xxxi. 4 Canon Tristram.
5 Godet infers this from the use of the word 'returned,' St. Luke x. 17.