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even thou, yea, the strictest Jew. And you permit it not only now and again, but on the Sabbath ; that is, it is your regular Sabbath business. Yea, what do you do? you just look after your animals. The accompanying description, λύει, απαγ. ποτίζει, points to a real work not less than to one passing quietly. This was an inconsequence, which had its roots in a secret though not clearly conscious impurity of heart; therefore, as soon as it was discovered, there appeared the silence of shame on all who had taken offence (" all His adversaries were ashamed,' ver. 17),-a silence by which the address `hypocrite' became perfectly justified. But is this punishment in the interest of their souls, the whole, the real intention of the Lord's answer? In considering it as such, do we not lose the rich contents of the 16th verse ?
The judicious though familiar comparison of Scripture between man and beast may in other places (as in Matt. vi. 26, x. 31) also express simply the higher dignity of the man made after God's image, over the creatures without reason ; but in its present connection we are forbidden this line of consideration, because the ox or the ass are not here placed in opposition to the 'man, but to the daughter of Abraham ;' and much more by the fact that it is not the value which the objects mentioned have in themselves, but rather the different estimation which their lords and possessors assign to them, which is taken into consideration. The animals named in the 15th verse are valuable to man just so much as he gains from them, otherwise they are indifferent to him. The question which St. Paul raises, 1 Cor. ix. 9, 'Doth God take care for oxen?' might also run, “Doth man take care for oxen ?' At any rate man takes care of them not for their sake, but purely for his own. On the other hand, the daughter of Abraham (how
ever little she might be valued by her fellow-men, as, for example, by the ruler of the synagogue, who grudged her the benefit she had received, and even seems to blame her because she received her cure on the Sabbath) had in the eyes of Jesus a high value, and one estimated upon very different grounds.
The title ‘daughter of Abraham' in itself puts us in mind of the son of Abraham,' Luke xix. 9. But this parallel is still more remarkable, if we compare the call given to the publican, "To-day I must abide at thy house,' with the question addressed to the chief of the synagogue, 'Ought she not to be loosed from this bond?' We have in both cases the dei, with which it is customary in Scripture to show the obligatory action of Jesus, as ordered from above (John ix. 4, etc.). He must visit the house of the son of Abraham, because He was come to seek and to save all that was lost in Israel. He must cure the daughter of Abraham, because He appeared in order to destroy the works of Satan in all the children of promise (1 John iii. 8, that He might destroy the works of the devil'). This deĉ broke through all bounds, even that of the Sabbath. To that which self-interest, to that which selfish love (Prov. xii. 14, 'A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast ') permitted (ver. 15) (whether rightly or wrongly remains undecided), true love (ver. 16) had a right; and whoever had in any wise learned love (Matt. ix. 13), would acknowledge willingly this right, would answer the question of the 16th verse with a decided 'yes.'1
Lastly, if the work of this love is not derived from
1 We ought not in this view to overlook the sufficiently opposing relation of the particulars in the 15th and 16th verses. The being bound of Satan refers to the ordinary binding of the animal to his crib; the eighteen years to the short time during which the water is kept back from the animals; and the this bond' to the bearable privations which the creature must suffer in this case.
the individual sensibility of Jesus, but is considered to have been accomplished by Him in consequence of the call which came to Him to reveal the divine promise, what is this but a brilliant sign of the kingdom of heaven which is at hand ? And it is this which we wished to prove.
It is certainly unmistakeable, that in the second miracle performed on the Sabbath, which is also narrated by the evangelist Luke alone, there is decidedly the same intention of a lesson in opposition to Jewish prejudices, as in the first which we have just considered. The light in which this work of Jesus becomes conceivable shines forth here also, not from this secondary object, but from the symbolical point of view already referred to.
THE HEALING OF THE MAN WHICH HAD THE DROPSY.
LUKE XIV. 1-6.
We find ourselves now not in a synagogue, but in the house of one of the chief Pharisees. Jesus was invited by him to his table with a very ambiguous motive (they watched Him, ver. 1). The time is that of His entry into the house (' as He went into the house'); for it is remarked only in the 7th verse how the guests had taken their places at the banquet. Just at this moment a man with the dropsy stands before Him. His appearance in connection with this 'watching' on the part of the Jews causes our Lord to demand (hence the ' answering') of the teachers of the law, and of those looking on, some declaration regarding it: 'Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath-day?' Their silence (not to be confounded with their dumbness following it in the 6th verse) is caused by a real perplexity they are in for an answer. It must be understood that they did not consider every work on
the Sabbath to be wrong—that, in fact, the assistance of physicians in severe illnesses was held to be admissible on the day of rest. But on the other hand, it appeared doubtful to them whether the suffering before them belonged to the exceptional cases which were justifiable or not. Jesus gives them an answer by His actions.
The chief interest now evidently centres on the question which He asks the circle of Pharisees after the completion of His deed, and after the dismissal of the man that was healed. The comprehension of its meaning is not so simple and easy as at first sight may appear. The common mode of understanding it is consequently excluded; but, for the same reason, the way to the more correct one is opened up, viz., that instead of the reading as in the received text, óvos ñ Bous, there should be substituted for it that offered by critical scholars, and recommended by them on convincing internal grounds, viz. υίος ή βούς. According to this method of reading the text, the whole field of view in the present case becomes different from that before considered in Luke xiii. 15. There it was the selfishness which made them take care of the animals, but here in its place is that immediate impulse which compels one to hasten to the assistance of a life in danger. No one can see a child, nor even an animal, in danger of drowning, without taking immediate steps to save them. The Sabbath would hinder one so little in such an event, that no thought of it even enters into the consciousness; for the immediateness (see “straightway' in the 5th verse) and the strength of the impulse experienced, exclude totally all such reflections. Certainly, in our general experience, the power of this natural impulse is shown only in a moderate degree; and there are indeed some who coolly pass by a life in danger, as in the instance of the
priest and the Levite in the parable. Christ therefore puts His question only specially thus: “Which of you, having a son or an ox. But within this limit He can reckon on its absolute acknowledgment. “From saving from danger a life which is valuable to you, let it be that of your child, or even only of your animal, no Sabbath would keep you back; the consideration of it vanishes before the power of the natural instinct.'
By this foil alone our Lord's own conduct appears in its right light. Jesus experiences the impulse to save, not only when He appears compelled to it as a bystander, but at the sight of every person in danger, —as, for example, of this man with the dropsy. And what He then feels is more than the mere natural instinct which would proceed from the narrow human breast. What then is it? Is it not lawful to do good on the Sabbath-day?' Thus asks He who is come as a physician to cure the sick. He had said : The Spirit of the Lord has anointed me to preach deliverance to the captives ;' therefore, when He sent away this man with the dropsy (ver. 4, He healed him, and let him go), He by this Sabbath work, performed on account of this call, evidently announced the acceptable year of the Lord,' and gave thereby a sign of the kingdom of heaven which was at hand.
We turn now to the third miracle of healing performed by Jesus on the Sabbath, which occurs in the synoptical Gospels, and is this time recorded by all three evangelists; and again we acknowledge the truth of Strauss' remark, that here also the eye of the narrator is directed less on the deed in itself, than on the circumstance that it was performed upon the Sabbath. This is evident partly from the historical connection, which is strongly and studiously shown by Mark ;'
1 St. Mark has related the history of the disciples plucking the ears of corn, and reported the answer of Jesus, that the Son of man is Lord also