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31 Macc. xiii. 27-29 b Ant. xvi. 7.1
Shek. ii. 5
d Moed K.
These small buildings surmounting the graves may have served as shelter to those who visited the tombs. They also served as
monuments,'' of which we read in the Bible, in the Apocrypha, and in Josephus.b? In Rabbinic writings they are frequently men
tioned, chiefly by the name of Nephesh, soul,' for 'house of the € Erab. v. 1; soul,'c or, by the more Scriptural name of bamah, or, by the Greco
Aramaic, or the Hebrew designation for a building generally. But of gravestones with inscriptions we do not read in Talmudic works, nor do we believe such to have existed. At the same time, the plare where there was a vault or a grave was marked by a stone, which was kept whitened, to warn the passer-by against defilement.
We are now able fully to realise all the circumstances and surMood K.6 a roundings in the burial and raising of Lazarus.
Jesus had come to Bethany. But in the house of mourning they knew it not. As Bethany was only about fifteen furlongs—or about two miles—from Jerusalem, many from the City, who were on terms of friendship with what was evidently a distinguished family, had come in obedience to one of the most binding Rabbinic directionsthat of comforting the mourners. In the funeral procession the sexes had been separated, and the practice probably prevailed even at that time for the women to return alone from the
grave. explain why afterwards the women went and returned alone to the Tomb of our Lord. The mourning, which began before the burial, had been shared by the friends who sat silent on the ground, or were busy preparing the mourning meal. As the company left the grave, each had taken leave of the dead with a 'Depart in peace!'? Then they had formed into lines, through which the mourners passed amidst expressions of sympathy, repeated (at least seven times) as the procession halted on the return to the house of mourning. Then began the mourning in the house, which really lasted thirty days, of which the first three were those of greatest, the others, during the seven days, or the special week of sorrow, of less intense mourning. But on the Sabbath, as God's holy day, all mourning was intermittedand so they rested on the Sabbath, according to the commandment.
In that household of disciples this mourning would not have
Moei K. 29
& Baba B. 100 b
On account of the poverty of some of the sages, it was declared that they needed not monuments; their deeds were their monuments (Shekal. ii. 7).
2 The first gives an exaggerated account of the great monument erected by Simon Maccabeus in honour of his father and brothers; the second refers to a monument
erected by Herod over the tomb of David.
3 Ezek. xliii. 7. Probably the second clause of Is. liii. 9 should thus read: • And with the rich His sepulchre.'
. 5 On the subject of mourning' I must refer generally to the chapter in • Sketches of Jewish Social Life.'
JESUS ARRIVED IN BETHANY.
* Jer. Kidd. i. 8
b Ab. d. R.
e Ber. R. 49
assumed such violent forms, as when we read that the women were in the habit of tearing out their hair, or of a Rabbi who publicly scourged himself. But we know how the dead would be spoken of. In death the two worlds were said to meet and kiss.c And now they who had passed away beheld God. They were at rest. Natl. 25 Such beautiful passages as Ps.cxii. 6, Prov. x. 7, Is. xi. 10, last clause, Yebam. 4 d and Is. lvii. 2, were applied to them. Nay, the holy dead should be Siphré. called • living. In truth, they knew about us, and unseen still surrounded us. Nor should they ever be mentioned without adding a blessing on their memory.h
In this spirit, we cannot doubt, the Jews were now comforting' the sisters. They may have repeated words such as those quoted as Taan. 28 a the conclusion of such a consolatory speech:1 May the Lord of con- Chethub. solations (nipna bya) comfort you! Blessed be He Who comforteth the mourners !' But they could scarcely have imagined how literally a wish like this was about to be fulfilled. For, already, the message had reached Martha, who was probably in one of the outer apartments of the house : Jesus is coming! She hastened to meet the Master. Not a word of complaint, not a murmur, nor doubt, escaped her lips-only what during those four bitter days these two sisters had so often been saying to each other, when the luxury of solitude was allowed them, that if He had been there, their brother would not have died. And, even now—when it was all too late—when they had not received what they had asked of Him by their messenger, it must have been, because He had not asked it, though He had said that this sickness was not unto death; or else because He had delayed to work it till He would come. And still she held fast by it, that even now God would give Him whatsoever He asked. Or, did they mean more: were they such words of unconscious prophecy, or sight and sound of heavenly things, as sometimes come to us in our passion of grief, or else winged thoughts of faith too soon beyond our vision ? They could not have been the expression of any real hope of the miracle about to take place, or Martha would not have afterwards sought to arrest Him, when He bade them roll away the stone. And yet is it not even so, that, when that comes to us which our faith had once dared to suggest, if not to hope, we feel as if it were all too great and impossible that a very physical 'cannot be' separates us from it?
It was in very truth and literality that the Lord meant it, when He told Martha her brother would rise again, although she understood His Words of the Resurrection at the Last Day. In answer,
Christ pointed out to her the connection between Himself and the Resurrection; and, what He spoke, that He did when He raised Lazarus from the dead. The Resurrection and the Life are not special gifts either to the Church or to humanity, but are connected with the Christ—the outcome of Himself. The Resurrection of the Just and the General Resurrection are the consequence of the relation in which the Church and humanity in general stand to the Christ. Without the Christ there would have been no Resurrection. Most literally He is the Resurrection and the Life—and this, the new teaching about the Resurrection, was the object and the meaning of the raising of Lazarus. And thus is this raising of Lazarus the outlook, also, upon His own Resurrection, Who is “the first-fruits from the dead.'
And though the special, then present, application, or rather manifestation of it, would be in the raising of Lazarus—yet this teaching, that accompanied it, is to "all believers :' He that believeth in Me, even if [though] he die, shall live; and whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall not die for ever'' (unto the Æon) where possibly we might, for commentation, mentally insert the sign of a pause (-) between the words 'die' and ' for ever,' or 'unto the Æon.' It is only when we think of the meaning of Christ's previous words, as implying that the Resurrection and the Life are the outcome of Himself, and come to us only through Him and in Him, that we can understand the answer of Martha to His question :
Believest thou this? Yea, Lord, I have believed that Thou art the Christ, the Son of God (with special reference to the original message of Christ a], He that cometh into the world [“the Coming One into the world'=the world's promised, expected, come Saviour].
What more passed we can only gather from the context. It seems that the Master called' for Mary. This message Martha now hasted to deliver, although “secretly.' Mary was sitting probably in the chamber of mourning, with its upset chairs and couches, and other melancholy tokens of mourning, as was the custom, surrounded by many who had come to comfort them; herself, we can scarcely doubt, silent, her thoughts far away in that world to, and of which the Master was to her “the Way, the Truth, and the Life. As she heard of His coming and call, she rose "quickly, and the Jews followed her, under the impression that she was again going to visit, and to
| This is not only the literal rendering, the spiritual nor the eternal, but life in but the parallelism of the previous opposition to physical death-seems to member of the sentence (even if he die, demand this, rather than the rendering shall live ')-where the life' is neither of both the A. V. and the R. V.
· St. John xi. 4
JESUS AT THE TOMB OF LAZARUS.
weep at the tomb of her brother. For, it was the practice to visit the grave, especially during the first three days. When she came to Jesus, where He still stood, outside Bethany, she was forgetful of semach. 8 ; all around. It was, as if sight of Him melted what had frozen the Taan. 16 a tide of her feelings. She could only fall at His Feet, and repeat the poor words with which she and her sister had these four weary days tried to cover the nakedness of their sorrow: poor words of consolation, and poor words of faith, which she did not, like her sister, make still poorer by adding the poverty of her hope to that of her faith—the poverty of the future to that of the past and present. To Martha that had been the maximum, to Mary it was the minimum of her faith ; for the rest, it was far, far better to add nothing more, but simply to worship at His Feet.
It must have been a deeply touching scene: the outpouring of her sorrow, the absoluteness of her faith, the mute appeal of her tears. And the Jews who witnessed it were moved as she, and wept with her. What follows is difficult to understand ; still more difficult to explain : not only from the choice of language, which is peculiarly difficult, but because its difficulty springs from the yet greater difficulty of expressing what it is intended to describe. The expression, 'groaned in spirit,' cannot mean that Christ was moved with indignation in the spirit,' since this could not have been the consequence of witnessing the tears of Mary and what, we feel sure, was the genuine emotion of the Jews. Of the various interpretations, that commends itself most to us, which would render the expression : 'He vehemently moved His Spirit and troubled Himself.' One, whose insight into such questions is peculiarly deep, has reminded us ? that the miracles of the Lord were not wrought by the simple word of power, but that in a mysterious way the element of sympathy entered into them. He took away the sufferings and diseases of men in some sense by taking them upon Himself.' If, with this most just view of His Condescension to, and union with, humanity as its Healer, by taking upon Himself its diseases, we combine the statement formerly made about the Resurrection, as not a gift or boon but the outcome of Himself—we may, in some way, not understand, but be able to gaze into, the unfathomed depth of that Theanthropic fellow-suffering which was both vicarious and redemptive, and which, before He became the Resurrection
| For a brief but excellent summary of the principal views on the subject, see Westcott, ad loc.
* Canon Westcott.
• St. Luke xix, 41
b St. John ix. 32
to Lazarus, shook His whole inner Being, when, in the words of St. John, “He vehemently moved His Spirit and troubled Himself.'
And now every trait is in accord. Where have ye laid him?' So truly human—as if He, Who was about to raise the dead, needed the information where he had been laid ; so truly human, also, in the underlying tenderness of the personal address, and in the absorption of the whole Theanthropic energy on the mighty burden about to be lifted and lifted away. So, also, as they bade Him come and see, were the tears that fell from Him (idákpvoev), not like the violent lamentation (ěkdavo ev) that burst from Him at sight and prophetic view of doomed Jerusalem." Yet we can scarcely think that the Jews rightly interpreted it, when they ascribed it only to His love for Lazarus. But surely there was not a touch either of malevolence or of irony, only what we feel to be quite natural in the circumstances, when some of them asked it aloud: Could not this One, Which opened the eyes of the blind, have wrought so that [in order] this one also should not die?' Scarcely was it even unbelief. They had so lately witnessed in Jerusalem that Miracle, such as had (not been heard ' since the world began,'” that it seemed difficult to understand how, seeing there was the will (in His affection for Lazarus), there was not the power-not to raise him from the dead, for that did not occur to them, but to prevent his dying. Was there, then, a barrier in death? And it was this, and not indignation, which once more caused that Theanthropic recurrence upon Himself, when again 'He vehemently moved His Spirit.'
And now they were at the cave which was his tomb. He bade them roll aside the great stone which covered its entrance. Amidst the awful pause which preceded obedience, one voice only was raised. It was that of Martha. Jesus had not spoken of raising Lazarus. But what was about to be done? She could scarcely have thought that He merely wished to gaze once more upon the face of the dead. Something nameless had seized her. She dared not believe; she dared not disbelieve. Did she, perhaps, not dread a failure, but feel misgivings, when thinking of Christ as in presence of commencing corruption before these Jews—and yet, as we so often, still love Him even in unbelief? It was the common Jewish idea that corruption commenced on the fourth day, that the drop of gall, which had fallen from the sword of the Angel and caused death, was then working its effect, and that, as the face changed, the soul took its
1 In St. John xi. 41 the wor is, ‘from the place where the dead was laid,' should be omitted, as not in the best MSS.