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healing. But perhaps, viewing it from our own standpoint, we may overestimate the faith of these men. Bearing in mind the views of the Jews at the time, and what constant succession of miraculous cures —without a single failure—had been witnessed these years, it cannot seem strange that lepers should apply to Jesus. Nor perhaps did it, in the circumstances, involve very much greater faith to go to the priests at His bidding-implying, of course, that they were or would be healed. But it was far different to turn back and to fall down at His Feet in lowly worship and thanksgiving. That made a man a disciple. Many questions here suggest themselves: Did these nine Jews separate from the one Samaritan when they felt healed, common misfortune having made them companions and brethren, while the bond was snapped so soon as they felt themselves free of their common sorrow? The History of the Church and of individual Christians furnishes, alas! not a few analogous instances. Or did these nine Jews, in their legalism and obedience to the letter, go on to the priests, forgetful that, in obeying the letter, they violated the spirit of Christ's command? Of this, alas! there are also only too many parallel cases which will occur to the mind. Or was it Jewish pride, which felt it had a right to the blessings, and attributed them, not to the mercy of Christ, but to God; or, rather, to their own relation as Israel to God? Or, what seems to us the most probable, was it simply Jewish ingratitude and neglect of the blessed opportunity now within their reach—a state of mind too characteristic of those who know not the time of their visitation '-_and which led
to the neglect, rejection, and final loss of the Christ ? Certain it is, that the Lord emphasised the terrible contrast in this between the children of the household and this stranger.' And here another important lesson is implied in regard to the miraculous in the Gospels. This history shows how little spiritual value or efficacy they attach to miracles, and how essentially different in this respect their tendency is from all legendary stories. The lesson conveyed in this case is, that we may expect, and even experience, miracles, without any real faith in the Christ; with belief, indeed, in His Power, but without surrender to His Rule. According to the Gospels, a man might either seek benefit from Christ, or else receive Christ through
| The equivalent for this would be "???. This, as may be shown from very many passages, means not so much a stranger as a non-Jew. Thus, the expression Nochri and Yisrael are constantly contrasted as non-Jews and Jews. At
the same time it must be admitted that in Demai iii. 4, the Nochri is also distinguished from the Cuthean, or Samaritan. But see the explanatory note of Maimonides referred to by Surenhusius, vol. i. p. 87.
DISCOURSES ON THE JOURNEY.
d in St. Luke xvi. 14
such benefit. In the one case the benefit sought was the object, in the other the means; in the one, it was the goal, in the other, the road to it; in the one, it gave healing, in the other, brought salvation; in the one, it ultimately led away from, in the other, to Christ and to discipleship. And so Christ now spake it to this Samaritan : 'Arise, go thy way; thy faith has made thee whole.' But to all time there are here to the Church lessons of most important distinction.
2. The Discourse concerning the Coming of the Kingdom, which is reported by St. Luke immediately after the healing of the ten lepers, will be more conveniently considered in connection with the * St. Luke fuller statement of the same truths at the close of our Lord's Ministry. It was probably delivered a day or so after the healing of the St. Matt. lepers, and marks a farther stage in the Peræan journey towards Jerusalem. For, here we meet once more the Pharisees as questioners. This circumstance, as will presently appear, is of great «St. Luke importance, as carrying us back to the last mention of an interpellation by the Pharisees.
3. This brings us to what we regard as, in point of time, the next Discourse of Christ on this journey, recorded both by St. Matthew, and, in briefer form, by St. Mark. These Evangelists place it im- est. Vatt. mediately after their notice of the commencement of this journey. For reasons previously indicated, St. Luke inserts the healing of St. Matt. the lepers and the prophetic Discourse, while the other two Evan- St. Mark'x. 1 gelists omit them. On the other hand, St. Luke omits the Discourse here reported by St. Matthew and St. Mark, because, as we can readily see, its subject-matter would, from the standpoint of his Gospel, not appear of such supreme importance as to demand insertion in a narrative of selected events.
The subject-matter of that Discourse, in answer to Pharisaic "tempting,' is an exposition of Christ's teaching in regard to the Jewish law and practice of divorce. The introduction of this subject in the narratives of St. Matthew and St. Mark
the least, abrupt. But the difficulty is entirely removed, or, rather, changed into undesigned evidence, when we fit it into the general history. Christ had advanced farther on His journey, and now once more encountered the hostile Pharisees. It will be remembered that He had met them before in the same part of the country,& 1 and St. Luke answered their taunts and objections, among other things, by charging them with breaking in spirit that Law of which they professed
xix. 3-12; St. Mark x. 2-12
See chap. xviii. of this Book.
a St. Luke xvi, 17, 18
b St. Matt. xix. 3
to be the exponents and representatives. And this He had proved by reference to their views and teaching on the subject of divorce." This seems to have rankled in their minds. Probably they also imagined, it would be easy to show on this point a marked difference between the teaching of Jesus and that of Moses and the Rabbis, and to enlist popular feeling against Him. Accordingly, when these Pharisees again met Jesus, now on His journey to Judæa, they resumed the subject precisely where it had been broken off when they had last met, only now with the object of 'tempting Him.' Perhaps it may also have been in the hope that, by getting Christ to commit Himself against divorce in Peræa—the territory of Herod—they might enlist against Him, as formerly against the Baptist, the implacable hatred of Herodias.
But their main object evidently was to involve Christ in controversy with some of the Rabbinic Schools. This appears from the form in which they put the question, whether it was lawful to put away a wife “for every cause’? b St. Mark, who gives only a very condensed account, omits this clause; but in Jewish circles the whole controversy between different teachers turned upon this point. All held that divorce was lawful, the only question being as to its grounds. We will not here enter on the unsavoury question of Divorce' among the Jews, to which the Talmud devotes a special tractate. There can, however, be no question that the practice was discouraged by many of the better Rabbis, alike in word and by their example;' nor yet, that the Jewish Law took the most watchful care of the interests of the woman. In fact, if
doubt were raised as to the legal validity of a letter of divorce, the Law always pronounced against the divorce. At the same time, in popular practice, divorce must have been very frequent; while the principles underlying Jewish legislation on the subject are most objectionable. These were in turn due to a comparatively lower estimate of woman, and to an unspiritual view of the marriage-relation. Christianity has first raised woman to her proper position, not by giving her a new one, but by restoring and fully developing that assigned to her | This, according to many commen- comp. Mal. ii. 13-16). See Meyer, ad loc.
4 An instance of refusing to be divorced, ? On the general subject I would refer even from a very disagreeable and quarto 'Sketches of Jewish Social Life,' pp. relsome wife, is that of R. Chija, men142, 157, 158.
tioned in Yebam. 63 a, towards end. 3 Thus, the Talmudic tractate on Di- * Two disgusting instances of Rabbis vorce,' while insisting on its duty in case making proclamation of their wish to be of sin, closes with the words : · He who married for a day (in a strange place, divorces his first wife, the very altar sheds and then divorced), are mentioned in tears over him’ (Gitt. 90 b, last lines ; Yoma 18 b.
58 C; Ber. R.
c Bemidb. R. 9, ed.
b, about the
d Gitt. 90 a;
in the Old Testament. Similarly, as regards marriage, the New Testament—which would have us to be, in one sense, 'eunuchs for the Kingdom of God, has also fully restored and finally developed what the Old Testament had already implied. And this is part of the lesson taught in this Discourse, both to the Pharisees and to the disciples.
To begin with, divorce (in the true sense) was regarded as a privilege accorded only to Israel, not to the Gentiles.al On the Jer. Kidd. question: what constituted lawful grounds of divorce, the Schools were 18 divided. Taking their departure from the sole ground of divorce mentioned in Deut. xxiv. 1: "a matter of shame (literally, nakedness];' the School of Shammai applied the expression only to moral transgressions, and, indeed, exclusively to unchastity. It was de- b Gitt. ix. 10 clared that, if a woman were as mischievous as the wife of Ahab, or [according to tradition] the wife of Korah, it were well that her hus- Warsh. p: 29 band should not divorce her, except it be on the ground of adultery.d middle At the same time, this must not be regarded as a fixed legal principle, Sanh. 22 a but rather as an opinion and good counsel for conduct. The very passages, from which the above quotations are made, also afford only too painful evidence of the laxity of views and practices current. And the Jewish Law unquestionably allowed divorce on almost any ground; the difference being, not as to what was lawful, but on what grounds a man should set the Law in motion, and make use of the absolute liberty which it accorded him. Hence, it is a serious mistake on the part of commentators to set the teaching of Christ on this subject by the side of that of Shammai.
But the School of Hillel proceeded on different principles. It took the words matter of shame' in the widest possible sense, and declared it sufficient ground for divorce, if a woman had spoiled her husband's dinner. Rabbi Akiba thought, that the words, “if Gitt. 90 a she find no favour in his eyes,' implied that it was sufficient if a i man had found another woman more attractive than his wife. All agreed that moral blame made divorce a duty, and that in such cases a woman should not be taken back. According to the Mishnah, a, women could not only be divorced, but with the loss of their dowry, Cheth. vii. if they transgressed against the Law of Moses or of Israel. The 6 former is explained as implying a breach of the laws of tithing, of setting apart the first of the dough, and of purification. The latter is explained as referring to such offences as that of going in public
f Deut. xxiv.
s Yebam. 63 b; Gitt. 90
h Gitt. iv. 7
This by a very profane application to this point of the expression .God of Israel,' in Mal. ii. 16.
e Gitt. iv. 7,8
Baba B. 8 6
with uncovered head, of spinning in the public streets, or entering into talk with men, to which others add, that of brawling, or of dis
respectfully speaking of her husband's parents in his presence. A · Erub. 41 6 troublesome,“ or quarrelsome wife might certainly be sent away; and "Yebam.636 ill repute, or childlessness (during ten years) were also regarded as
valid grounds of divorce.c
Incomparably as these principles differ from the teaching of Christ, it must again be repeated, that no real comparison is possible between Christ and even the strictest of the Rabbis, since none of them actually prohibited divorce, except on the ground of adultery, nor yet laid down those high eternal principles which Jesus enunciated. But we can understand how, from the Jewish point of view, 'tempting Him,' they would put the question, whether it was lawful to divorce a wife for every cause.'' Avoiding their cavils, the Lord
appealed straight to the highest authority-God's institution of mar* Usel in the riage. He, Who at the beginning ? [from the first, originally, w*7o]" for example, had made them male and female, had in the marriage-relation
‘joined them together,' to the breaking of every other, even the nearest, relationship, to be one flesh'--that is, to a union which was unity. Such was the fact of God's ordering. It followed, that they were one—and what God had willed to be one, man might not put asunder. Then followed the natural Rabbinic objection, why Moses had commanded a bill of divorcement. Our Lord replied by pointing out that Moses had not commanded divorce, only tolerated it on account of their hardness of heart, and, in such case, commanded to give a bill of divorce for the protection of the wife. And this argument would appeal the more forcibly to them, that the
Rabbis themselves taught that a somewhat similar concession had • Deut. xxi. been made e by Moses in regard to female captives of war—as the
Talmud has it, ' on account of the evil impulse.' But such a separation, our Lord continued, had not been provided for in the original institution, which was a union to unity. Only one thing could put an end to that unity—its absolute breach. Hence, to divorce one's wife (or husband) while this unity lasted, and to marry another, was adultery, because, as the divorce was null before God, the original marriage still subsisted—and, in such case, the Rabbinic Law would also have forbidden it. The next part of the Lord's inference, that
"Kidd. 21 6
1 These words are omitted by St. Mark in his condensed account. But so far from regarding, with Meyer, the briefer account of St. Mark as the original one, we look on that of St. Matthew as more
fully reproducing what had taken place.
? The clause, St. Matt. xix. 4, should. I think, be thus pointed : He Who male them, at the beginning made them, &c."