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34 But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees 35 to silence, they were gathered together; then one of them, which was 36 a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying: Master, 37 which is the great coinmandment in the law ? Jesus said unto him:
6 Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all 38 thy soul, and with all thy mind.” This is the first and great com
34. Had put the Sadducees to si- the strict unity of God. How lence. It was matter of exultation, would it be possible to fulfil the that their great opponents, the commandment, if two or more beSadducees, had fared no better ings alike perfect were presentthan themselves.-- Gathered togeth- ed to our affections ? To love
More exactly, gathered for the God, we must know him in his same purpose, i. e. to try Jesus with true and beautiful character, and hard questions.
see that he is supremely lovely. To 35. One of them, which was a law- love him suprernely will render yer. Mark calls him “one of the obedience to all his laws a pleasure, Scribes," i. e. a teacher or expound- and will assimilate us more and er of the law.—Tempting him. more to his image and blessedness. Whether in a good or a bad sense, He should reign in the hearts of his is a question. It was suggested by children, as over the works of his some of the Christian Fathers, that creation, unrivalled. The nature the man came with an evil inten- and effects of such a love are haption, but departed better disposed. py beyond description. As the sun Some have supposed that the law- makes bright and beautiful all it yer mentioned here and the Scribe shines upon, so does this affection spoken of in Mark were different transform the whole soul into its persons.
own divine nature. As God is holy, 36. Which is the great command so is it holy; as he is benevolent, ment in the law ? It was one of the so is it benevolent; as he is infinite, subtile refinernents of the Jewish so it stretches itself forth without theologians to divide the law of limits; absorbing the strength of the Moses into greater and less com- spiritual nature into itself; powermandments, and to determine what fully pervading the whole inner precepts belonged to each class, world; purifying, brightening all; and what was the most important starting into being the noblest
Some maintained that the thoughts, designs, and hopes; and, ceremonial, others, that the moral having glowed with increasing fercommands were the greatest. See vor, through the chills of life, it note on Mat. v. 19.
shall not be extinguished by the 37. Deut. vi. 5. Lev. xix. 18. damps of death, but rise and burn With all thy heart, &c. Mark adds, purer and purer in heaven. “ with all thy strength.” These are 38. First and great commandment. intensive expressions, signifying, Says a writer, " It is so in its antithat God is to be the chief object of quity, being as old as the world, and our love, engrossing our affections, engraven originally on our very naand calling forth the whole ener in its dignity, as directly and gies of our nature. In Mark, this immediately proceeding from, and is preceded, as in Deuteronomy, referring to God; in excellence, beby a solemn annunciation of ing the commandment of the New
mandment. And the second is like unto it: “ Thou shalt love thy 39 neighbor as thyself.” On these two commandments hang all the law 40 and the prophets.
While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, say- 41 ing: What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto 42 Covenant, and the very spirit of the us that we cannot understand how divine adoption; in justice, because striking they must have appeared to it alone renders to God his due, the Jews, who had confounded the prefers him before all things, and important and the unimportant, and secures to him his proper rank in were entangled in the nets of sophrelation to them; in sufficiency, be- istry woven by their teachers. The ing in itself capable of making men law and the prophets are founded holy in this life, and happy in the on these two grand commandments. other; in fruitfulness, because it is Rom. xiji. 9. Love to God is the the root of all commandments, and basis of piety ; love to man that the fulfilling of the law; in virtue of morality. Love is the golden and efficacy, because by this alone chain that binds man to man, and God reigns in the heart of man, all to God. Some have conjectured and may is united to God; in ex- that an allusion was made here to tent, leaving nothing to the creature writing the laws and hanging them wbich it does not refer to the Crea- up in a public place, to be read by tor; in necessity, being absolutely the people. indispensable; in duration, being 41–46. Parallel to Mark xii. 35 ever to be continued on earth, and -37. Luke xx. 41-44. never to be discontinued in heaven." 41. Having silenced the Pharisees,
39. Is like unto it, i.e. in its im- Herodians, Sadducees, and Scribes, portance. The love of man is in- with his wonderfulanswers, he takes timately connected with the love an opportunity, when the Pharisees of God. Philanthropy and piety were together, to put their wisdom are sister sentiments. It was a doc- to the proof, as they had his. His trine of the Pharisees, that the strict question, however, was not designed observance of one precept would chiefly to confound his opponents, atone for the neglect of others. But for that motive was unworthy of Jesus would inculcate obedience him, but to lead them to more elethroughout, both in our relations vated views of the Messiab, as being to God and to man.-Thy neighbor. of higher dignity than a temporal A comprehensive term, meaning king, and to rebut the objection, any one with whom we have to do, doubtless used by the Pharisees or who needs our aid,
with effect among the common peo
ple, that one who appeared like an « Our neighbor is the suffering man, ordinary individual, as Jesus did, 'Though at the farthest pole.'
could not be the great Deliverer. -As thyself. As means not equal 42. Of Christ. le the original, of in degree, but similar in kind. Mat. the Christ, i. e. of the ancestry and vii. 12. See note on chap. xix. 19. dignity of the Messiah.-Whose son
40. Hang all the law, &c. Mark is he? Rather, whose son is he to adds, “ There is none other com- be? He did not speak of himself, mandment greater than these.” as our version implies, but of the These commands are so familjar to Messiah they expected, --Thę san
43 him: The son of David. He saith unto them: How then doth David 44 in spirit call him Lord ? saying: “The Lord said unto my Lord : Sit 45 thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool.” If 46 David then call him Lord, how is he his son ? And no man was able
to answer him a word ; neither durst any man, from that day forth, ask him any more questions.
Jesus' Condemnation of the Scribes and Pharisees. 2 THEN spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, saying:
of David. This was the current swered his opponents by his divine opinion, drawn from their Scrip- wisdom, and confounded them on tures.
their own grounds, that they were 43, 44. In spirit. Under a divine too much awed, to venture again, impulse. Ps. cx. 1.-The Lord said by asking him questions, to expose unto my Lord. Jehovah said unto their own weakness and folly. He my Lord or Master.-On my right had, however, only_silenced, not hand. It was customary for per- convinced them. Foiled in the sons next in dignity to the king to arts of discussion, they resort to be seated on his right hand.-Make different and darker, but more sucthine enemies thy footstool. A figure cessful means to arrest his ivfluderived from the practice of the As we proceed farther in victor putting his foot upon the this wonderful history, how much neck of the vanquished, as a mark is there to admire, how much to of subjection.
love, how much to imitate in our 45. If David address him with blessed Lord! It should ever be so honorable a title, how is that con the effect of studying his life, to insistent with his being his son ? spire us with a more devoted trust The only key of explanation lay in and obedience to him. For in him the fact that the Christ was to pos- is life, and light, and everlasting sess a spiritual superiority, that he happiness. was to be, not a mere earthly prince, like David, but a spiritual deliverer,
CHAP. XXIII. a redeemer of the world, Acts 1-14. See Mark xii. 38–40. ii. 36.
Luke xx. 45–47. 46. No man was able, &c. Be 1. During the last days of Jesus' cause they looked upon the Messi- life, he is recorded as delivering ah as a temporal ruler, and there- many dis rses, both to his discifore not differing from David in ples and to the people. In the folthe kind, though he might in the lowing chapter, he warns the muldegree, of his power and dignity. titude, in the most pointed manner, The question could not be answer to beware of the influence of their ed, therefore, because they took a hypocritical teachers. His hour low view of the character and of was rapidly approaching, and he fice of their Messiah. Jesus would hesitates not to expose the Scribes exalt their minds to nobler concep- and Pharisees, in all their moral dem tions. He had so effectually an- formity, before his hearers,
whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye 3 after their works; for they say, and do not. For they bind heavy 4 burdens, and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do for to be seen of men. They make broad 5
2. The scribes and the Pharisees.ence with great severity, they did See note on chap. iii. 7.—Sit in Mo- not supply those mild and gracious ses' seat. In reference to the sitting motives that would render obediposture, in which Jewish doctors ence pleasant. Has not this picwere accustomed to explain the law. ture been repeated from age to age, They were the received expound- and appeared eyen in our own day? ers of the Mosaic religion.
Has not the tone of theology been 3. All, therefore, whatsoever, &c. It harsh, dogmatical, and denunciais likely that they interpreted much tory, rather than mild and winning? of the law correctly. The expression Have not burdens been put upon is a general one, subject to excep- human nature heavier than it can tions, and denoting that they were bear? to be hearkened to so far as they 5. They do for to be seen of men, taught in harmony with the Scrip- To the charge of oppression be
- After their works. But adds that of ostentation and ambitheir example was as carefully to tion. So far as they did conform be shunned. A comparison is to their precepts and ceremonies, probably intended here, that they they acted from a vitiated motive. should do rather as the Pharisees He goes on to particularize.--Make said than as they did, without en- broad their phylacteries. These were joining that all their instructions scrolls of parchment worn on the should be received with implicit forehead and the left arm, They confidence. Warburton points out were inscribed with passages of the the magnanimity of our Saviour in law, usually these: Ex. xiii. 1–10, reconciling the people to their teach- 11–16, Deut. vi. 4-9, xi. 13—21. ers, and bidding them hearken to The same were inscribed on their their instructions, though they were door-posts. The custom of wearnot to copy their example. An ing them arose from a too literal inimpostor or a fanatic would not terpretation of Ex. xiii. 9, 16, Deut. have done this.
vi, 8. Great holiness was attached 4. Bind heavy burdens. Acts xv. to them, and they were regarded as 10. They did so by multiplying amulets or charms, to keep off evil traditions and ceremonies, and in- spirits. The following is an extract sisting on them as of equal impor- from a Jewish Targum ;—"'The tance with moral precepts. An al- congregation of Israel hath said, I lusion is here made to loading am elect above all people, because beasts of burden with an excessive I bind my phylacteries on my left weight. The Scribes and Phari- hand and on my head, and the sees would not even lighten or steady scroll is fixed to the right side of their burdens with the tip of one my gate, the third part of which of their fingers, a proverbial phrase. looks to my bed-chamber, that deThey were severe towards others, mons may not be permitted to inbut indulgent towards themselves. jure me." The word phylacteries Having urged the claims of obedi- is derived from a Greek verb, to
6 their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments; and
love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the syna7 gogues, and greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, 8 Rabbi. But be not ye called Rabbi; for one is your Master, even 9 Christ, and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon 10 the earth; for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye
keep, in reference either to keeping three-fold form, as Rab, the lowest the law by the use of them, or to degree of honor; Rabbi, of higher their keeping or protecting a per- dignity; and Rabboni, the greatest son by their supposed magic power. of all. The ambitious Scribes and -Enlarge the borders of their gar- Pharisees coveted these idle appelments. These were the fringes or lations. tufts worn on their mantles, to 8. But be not ye called Rabbi. distinguish them from other na Jesus would not have his disciples, tions, and remind them of God's in the exercise of their high office laws. Numb. xv. 38, 39, Their as teachers of his religion, puffed ostentation was manifested in mak- up with this foolish love of dising these phylacteries and fringes tinction, so insidious and so fatal to broad and conspicuous, as badges a meek and humble temper of of their greater sanctity, Mark xii. mind. James iii. 1.–For one is 38, Luke xx. 46, and thus making your Master. The reason of his their garments long.
prohibition was that they were up6. Uppermost rooms at feasts. on an equality, Christ being their More correctly speaking, the high- common Master.-Christ. This est places at table. The Jewish word has been left out of the text table extended around three sides by Griesbach, as destitute of suffiof an oblong square, with one end cient authority.–And all ye are open, on the outside of which were brethren. This clause in several couches ranged for the guests to manuscripts is placed at the end of recline upon, and within which the next verse, where it more servants could enter to wait upon properly belongs, according to the them. The most honorable place, sense; as the mention of the frateror the uppermost room, was at the nal relation would then be immeend which connected the sides of diately connected with that of the the square together.-Chief seats in filial.-It is clear beyond a doubt, the synagogues. These were near from this and other passages, that the pulpit, but faced the people, Peter had none of that superiority whilst the back was turned towards among the Apostles, on which the the speaker.
claims of the Catholic church are 7. Greetings in the markets. Or, founded. salutations in the most frequented 9. A continuation of the same places. They loved to be address- sentiment. They were not imed in a formal manner, with great plicitly to submit to any teacher as signs of respect, in the sight of the a child to a parent. They were world.—Rabbi, Rabbi, i. e. doctor, neither to assume nor admit such master, teacher. This obnoxious an absolute domination.-Upon the and haughty title was introduced earth is contrasted with is in heavinto the Jewish schools under a You are not to look among