Imagini ale paginilor




a Erub. 176; 20 b

As for the Archisynagogos, we have, as already hinted, such characteristic portraiture of him that we can almost see him : confused, irresolute, perplexed, and very angry, bustling forward and scolding the people who had done nothing, yet not venturing to silence the woman, now no longer infirm-far less, to reprove the great Rabbi, Who had just done such a 'glorious thing, but speaking at Him through those who had been the astounded eye-witnesses. He was easily and effectually silenced, and all who sympathised with him put to shame. Hypocrites !' spake the Lord-on your own admissions your practice and your Law condemn your speech. Every one on the Sabbath looseth his ox or ass, and leads him to the watering. The Rabbinic law expressly allowed this,' and even to draw the water, provided the vessel were not carried to the animal. If, as you admit, I have the power of loosing' from the bonds of Satan, and she has been so bound these eighteen years, should she-a daughter of Abraham-not have that done for her which you do for your beasts of burden ?

The retort was unanswerable and irresistible; it did what was intended : it covered the adversaries with shame. And the Peræans in that Synagogue felt also, at least for the time, the blessed freedom which had come to that woman. They took up the echoes of her hymn of praise, and rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by Him.' And He answered their joy by rightly directing it-by setting before them the Kingdom,' which He had come both to preach and to bring, in all its freeness, reality, power, and allpervading energy, as exhibited in the two Parables of the Mustard-seed' and 'the Leaven,' spoken before in Galilee. These were now repeated, as specially suited to the circumstances: first, to the Miracle they had witnessed; then, to the contention that had passed ; and, lastly, to their own state of feeling. And the practical application of these Parables must have been obvious to all.

? This was not contrary to the Rabbinic law, as Canon Cook (ad loc.) sup

poses. The rule is quite different from
that which applied in St. Matt. xii. 11.





(St. Luke xiii. 22; St. John x. 22–42.)


. 28 A.D.

ABOUT two months had passed since Jesus had left Jerusalem after the Feast of Tabernacles. Although we must not commit ourselves to such calculations, we may here mention the computation which identifies the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles of that year with Thursday the 23rd September; the last, “the Great Day of the Feast,' with Wednesday the 29th; the Octave of the Feast with the 30th September; and the Sabbath when the man born blind was healed with the 2nd of October. In that case, the Feast of the Dedication of the Temple,' which commenced on the 25th day of Chislev, and lasted eight days, would have begun on Wednesday the 1st, and closed on Wednesday the 8th December. But, possibly, it may have been a week or two later. At that Feast, or about two months after He had quitted the City, we find Christ once more in Jerusalem and in the Temple. His journey thither seems indicated in the Third Gospel (St. Luke xiii. 22), and is at least implied in the opening words with which St. John prefaces his narrative of what happened on that occasion.b 2

As we think of it, there seems special fitness-presently to be pointed out-in Christ's spending what we regard as the last anniversary season of His Birth 3 in the Temple at that Feast. It was not of Biblical origin, but had been instituted by Judas Maccabæus in 164 B.C., when the Temple, which had been desecrated by Antiochus Epiphanes, was once more purified, and re-dedicated to the Service of Jehovah. Accordingly, it was designated as the Dedication of the Altar. d Josephus calls it “The Lights,' from one of the principal observances at the Feast, though he speaks in hesitating language of

St. Johns. 22

1 Wieseler, Chronolog. Synopse, pp. 482, 3 The subject has been more fully 483.

treated in an article in the Leisure Hour 2 It must, however, be admitted that for Dec. 1873 : 'Christmas, a Festival of some commentators draw an opposite in

Jewish Origin.' ference from these words.

€ 1 Macc. iv. 52-59 d n. S. vy. 56-59 e Ant. xii, 7. 7




17; Neh.

x. 7

the origin of the festival as connected with this observance-pro- CHAP. bably because, while he knew, he was ashamed to avow, and yet afraid to deny his belief in the Jewish legend connected with it. The Jews called it Chanukah, dedication' or 'consecration,' and, in much the same sense, Enkainia in the Greek of the LXX.,al and in * Ezra vi. 16, the New Testament. During the eight days of the Feast the series of xii. 27; Dan. Psalms known as the Hallel b was chanted in the Temple, the people > Ps. cxiii.responding as at the Feast of Tabernacles. Other rites resembled those cxviii. of the latter Feast. Thus, originally, the people appeared with palmbranches. This, however, does not seem to have been afterwards ob- - 2 Macc. served, while another rite, not mentioned in the Book of Maccabeesthat of illuminating the Temple and private houses—became characteristic of the Feast. Thus, the two festivals, wbich indeed are put in juxtaposition in 2 Macc. x. 6, seem to have been both externally and internally connected. The Feast of the Dedication,' or of "Lights,' derived from that of Tabernacles its duration of eight days, the chanting of the Hallel, and the practice of carrying palm-branches. On the other hand, the rite of the Temple-illumination may have passed from the Feast of the Dedication into the observances of that of Tabernacles.' Tradition had it, that, when the Temple-Services were restored by Judas Maccabæus, the oil was found to have been desecrated. Only one flagon was discovered of that which was pure, sealed with the very signet of the High-Priest. The supply proved just sufficient to feed for one day the Sacred Candlestick, but by a miracle the flagon was continually replenished during eight days, till a fresh supply could be brought from Thekoah. In memory of this, it was ordered the following year, that the Temple be illuminated for eight days on the anniversary of its ' Dedication. The Schools of Shabb. Hillel and Shammai differed in regard to this, as on most other ob- ji to s from

The former would have begun the first night with the smallest number of lights, and increased it every night till on the eighth it was eight times as large as on the first. The School of Shammai, on the other hand, would have begun with the largest number, and diminished, till on the last night it amounted to an eighth of the first. Each party had its own--not very satisfactoryreasons for its distinctive practice, and its own adherents.

But the Shabh. ‘Lights' in honour of the Feast were lit not only in the Temple, but the middle

21 b, lines



Similarly, the cognate words dykairious also occurs Heb. ix. 18; X. 20. and εγκαινισμός, as well as

2 See ch. vii. This was always the (dykalvi(w), are frequently used both in case when the Hallel was chanted. the LXX. and the Apocrypha. The verb

the verb

Moed K. iii. 9

BOOK in every home. One would have sufficed for the whole household IV on the first evening, but pious householders lit a light for every

inmate of the home, so that, if ten burned on the first, there would be eighty on the last night of the Festival. According to the Talmud, the light might be placed at the entrance to the house or room, or, according to circumstances, in the window, or even on the table. According to modern practice the light is placed at the left on entering a room (the Mesusah is on the right). Certain benedictions are spoken on lighting these lights, all work is stayed, and the festive time spent in merriment. The first night is specially kept in memory of Judith, who is supposed then to have slain Holofernes, and cheese is freely partaken of as the food of which, according to legend, she gave him so largely, to incite him to thirst and drunkenness.? Lastly, during this Festival, all fasting and public mourning were prohibited, though private mourning was allowed.a

More interesting, perhaps, than this description of the outward observances is the meaning of this Festival and its connection with the Feast of Tabernacles, to both of which reference has already been made. Like the Feast of Tabernacles, it commemorated a Divine Victory, which again gave to Israel their good land, after they had once more undergone sorrows like those of the wilderness; it was another harvest-feast, and pointed forward to yet another ingathering. As the once extinguished light was relit in the Temple--and, according to Scriptural imagery, might that not mean the Light of Israel, the Lamp of David ?--it grew day by day in brightness, till it shone quite out into the heathen darkness, that once had threatened to quench it. That He Who purified the Temple, was its True Light, and brought the Great Deliverance, should (as hinted) have spent the last anniversary season of His Birth at that Feast in the Sanctuary, shining into their darkness, seems most fitting, especially as we remember the Jewish legend, according to which the making

of the Tabernacle had been completed on the 25th Chislev, although • Bemidh. P. it was not set up till the 1st of Nisan (the Paschal month).

Thoughts of the meaning of this Feast, and of what was associated with it, will be helpful as we listen to the words which Jesus spake to the people in “Solomon's Porch.' There is a pictorialness in the

13, ed.
Warsh., p. 49
(1, line 15

from top

In regard to the latter Jewish legend, the learned reader will find full quotations (as, in general, much interesting information on the · Feast of the Dedication') in Selden, de Synedriis (ed. Frcf. 1696) p. 1213, and in general from p. 1207 to 1214. The reader will find much

that is curious in 4 Midrashim (apud Jellinek, Beth ha Midr. i. pp. 130-146); the Maaseh Jehudith, 2 Midr. for Chanukah, and the Megillath Antiochos. See also the Megillath Taanith (ed. Warsh. 1874), pp. 14 a to 15 b.




description of the circumstances, which marks the eyewitness. It is winter, and Christ is walking in the covered Porch,' in front of the • Beautiful Gate,' which formed the principal entrance into the Court of the Women. As He walks up and down, the people are literally barring His Way—came round about’ Him. From the whole circumstances we cannot doubt, that the question which they put :

How long holdest Thou us in suspense ?' had not an element of truthfulness or genuine inquiry. Their desire, that He should tell them “plainly' if He were the Christ, had no other motive than that of grounding on it an accusation. The more clearly we perceive this, the more wonderful appears the Christ's forbearance, and the wisdom of His answer. Briefly He put aside their hypocrisy. What need was there of fresh speech ? He had told them before, and they

believe 3 not.' From words He appealed to the mute but indis-
putable witness of deeds: the works which He wrought in His Father's
Name. Their non-belief in presence of these facts was due to their
not being of His Sheep. As He had said unto them before, it was
characteristic of His Sheep (as generally of every flock in regard to
its own shepherd) to hear-recognise, listen to-His Voice and follow
Him. We mark in the words of Christ, a triplet of double parallel-
isms concerning the Sheep and the Shepherd, in ascending climax," as "St. John

My sheep hear My Voice, And I know them,
And they follow Me:

And I give unto them eternal life;
And they shall never perish. And no one shall snatch them out of

My Hand.

X. 27, 28

A similar fourfold parallelism with descending and ascending climax,
but of an antithetic character, has been noticed 6 in Christ's former
Discourse in the Temple (St. John x. 13–15)
The hireling

Is an hireling,

Am the good Shepherd,
Careth not for the sheep.

Know the sheep,

Lay down My Life.

The location of this · Porch' in the passage under the present mosque El Aksa (proposed by Caspari, Chronol. Geogr. Einleit. p. 256) is not only utterly destitute of, but so contrary to, all evi. dence, that I must express astonishment that it should have been adopted by so able a writer as Archdeacon Watkins.

• Commentators mostly take quite a different view, and regard theirs as more

or less honest inquiry.

3 According to the better reading, in the present tense.

4 This clause in ver. 26 of the A. V. must, if retained, be joined to ver. 27.

• So, after the precedent of Bengel, especially Luthardt and Godet, and after them others.

6 By Bengel.

« ÎnapoiContinuați »