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23. " Mint.”—Hdvoru. The mint is set down by Theophrastus among those herbs which, from the 'r daily use in domestic economy, were distinguished by the common appellation of aux ava As the mint was so much in demand for culinary purposes, it of course became the subject of frequent cultivation, and one of the most note-worthy objects in the calendar of the ancient gardener and husbandman. Dioscorides, who ascribes many virtues to the mint, characterizes it as cultivated (useos). In conformity with the present intimation, the Jewish writers mention mint as one of the herbs to be tithed, and subject to the law of the seventh year. From the same sources we also learn that, on account of its agreeable smell, it was usual to strew mint on the floors of the synagogues.
"Anise," uvn9ov, which should have been translated dill, and not anise," as our translators have done; misled perhaps by the similarity of anethum and anise, The Anethum graveolens, or, as it is otherwise called, Anethum segetum, on the assumption that there are two species, is a native of the warmer regions of the south, and is sometimes cultivated in English gardens under the name of dill." It belongs to that very natural family the Umbellifera, which abounds with genera and species that are warmed by a savour of aromatic pungency. The seeds are the parts that are used. whether it be for the purpose of soothing the alimentary system with a warm medicine, or of pleasing the palate with an agreeable condiment. Among the Cossacks and in other parts of the Russian dominions, the plant is cultivated for the same use as the carraway is among us. It is unnecessary to remind the botanist that the dill, carraway, coriander, and cummin belong to the same natural assemblage of plants, and though the seeds differ in form and a little in flavour, yet they are employed for the same purposes, and possess virtues very nearly allied to each other. The flowers are yellow, like those of the parsnip; the leaves decompounded into hair-like divisions.
The Talmudists describe the plant as "called in the Roman language anethum," and add that it was tithed whether gathered green or ripe. It was tithed also both as to the seed and the herb itself. That the herb was tithed implies that it was eaten as well as the seeds: and indeed this is expressly said; and we are told that it was to be eaten raw, after meat, and not boiled.
"Cummin.”—See the note on Isaiah xxviii 25. This is also mentioned by the Talmudists as subject to tithe. Jesus mentions these as specimens of the herbs from which tithe was taken, and, accordingly, Luke adds, and all manner of herbs." There are no directions about such tithes in the law. It was indeed a common saying of the Jews, that the tithing of corn was from the law, but the tithing of herbs from the Rabbins: the obligation of rendering this tithe was, however, not considered the less imperative on that account.
24. “Strain at u gnat, and swallow a camel.”—Instead of "at" we have "out," in Archbishop Parker's Bible, 1568; and this doubtless conveys the correct meaning, and was probably intended to be preserved by King James's translators: but "at" having occurred, through an obvious typographical error in their first edition, has ever since been preserved. In the East, where insects of all kinds and sizes abound, it is difficult to keep clear of insects liquors which are left for the least time uncovered; for which reason, as well as because there are some kinds which breed in wine, it was and is usual to strain the wine before drinking, to prevent insects from passing into the drinking vessel. Besides the common motive of cleanliness for this practice, the Jews considered that they had another and more imperative onethat of religious purity. For as the law forbade them to eat flying creeping things," they thought themselves bound to be particularly careful in this matter. On this subject, as usual. they refined very much; and the Talmud contains many curious explanations and directions relating to it. Thus :-"One that eats a flea or a gnat, is an apostate; and is no more to be counted one of the congregation." It seems however that a person doing this, might, under certain circumstances, escape further consequences by submitting to be scourged: "Whosoever eats a whole fly or a whole gnat, whether alive or dead, is to be beaten on account of the flying creeping thing." The great solicitude which was hence exhibited to exclude the smallest insects from drinks gave occasion to the present proverb. applied to much care about small matters and none about greater. The "camel" need occasion no more difficulty in this proverb, than in that which refers to a camel's passage through the eye of a needle: for the camel. being about the largest animal commonly known to the Hebrews, was naturally selected to give the hyperbolical point, usual with the Orientals, to their contrasts of the great with the little. Hence the elephant is also mentioned in the same manner, and for the same reason as the camel, in many proverbs of the East-as in that analogous Arabian one, cited by Pococke, "He swallows an elephant and is strangled by a flea."
27. "Whited sepulchres.”—See the note on 2 Chron xxxiv. 4.
1 Christ foretelleth the destruction of the temple: 3 what and how great calamities shall be before it : 29 the signs of his coming to judgment. 36 And because that day and hour is unknown, 42 we ought to watch like good servants, expecting every moment our master's coming.
AND 'Jesus went out, and departed from the temple and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple
2 And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, "There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
3¶ And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these
1 Mark 13. 1. Luke 21. 5.
Luke 19. 44.
things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?
4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive
5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
8 All these are the beginning of sorrows. 9 Then shall they deliver you up to be
3 Chap. 10. 17. Luke 21. 12. John 16. 2.
15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by 'Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand :)
16 Then let them which be in Judæa flee into the mountains :
17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:
18 Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.
19 And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!
23 "Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. 24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
25 Behold, I have told you before.
26 Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.
those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken :
30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
31 10And he shall send his angels "with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
32 Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer nigh:
33 So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.
4 Mark 13. 14. Keve! I 7.
34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.
35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.
36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
37 But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,
39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
40 Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left
41 Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.
43 But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.
44 Therefore be ye also ready for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.
27 For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
28 'For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together. 29¶Immediately after the tribulation of vant, whom his lord hath made ruler over
45 "Who then is a faithful and wise ser
⚫ Dan. 9. 27. 6 Mark 13. 21. Luke 17. 23. 7 Luke 17.37.
10 1 Cor 15 52 I Thess. 4. 16. 11 Or. with a trumpet, and a great voice.
8 Isa. 13. 10 Ezek 32.7. Joel 2. 31. Mark 13. 24. Luke 21. 25. 12 Mark 13 31. 13 Gen 7. Luke 17. 26. 17 Luke 12. 42.
Verse 6. "Ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars."-The important prediction, which our Lord here delivers, concerning the destruction of Jerusalem and its Temple, and the circumstances which should precede and attend that destruction, seems to demand far more attention than our limits will permit us to bestow. The History of the Jewish War,' by Josephus, supplies ample materials for illustration; and most abundantly, although unintentionally, testifies that our Lord's prediction was in every particular accomplished. That work forms not only the best commentary on the present chapter that exists, but the best that could be desired. A more competent and impartial witness than Josephus cannot be even imagined; and we cannot be enough thankful that the mind of this accomplished Jew was moved to write such a history, and that this history has been so wonderfully preserved entire even to this day. Unless this work had existed, we might have known that the prophecy of Christ had been generally accomplished; but without this minute record of facts, by one who took an active part in the transactions which he relates, we could not have realized that satisfactory certainty which we now experience, that the minutest particular in this prophecy was literally fulfilled, or have known the manner in which such fulfilment took place. Feeling therefore the essential importance of that work for the illustration of the present chapter, we were inclined to content ourselves with recommending it, as such, to the reader's perusal ; adding, for those who desire such help, that the works of J. B. Ott and J. T. Krebs,t indicate most of the passages in which the specific corroborations may be found. Apprehending, however, that some thing more than this may be expected from us, we shall not altogether abstain from the subject, although we cannot but repeat the recommendation we have given, as offering the best course for those whose leisure or opportunities admit of its adoption. As our Lord's prophecy is given not only here, but also in Mark (ch. xiii.) and Luke (ch. xxi.), an opportunity is afforded of making a convenient distribution of the illustrative information which it may be proper to introduce. We shall therefore in the present chapter endeavour to state, in a condensed form, the circumstances which
*Spicilegium, sive Excerpta ex Flavio Josepho ad Novi Testamenti Illustrationem.' Lugd. Bat. 1741.
+ 'Observationes in Novum Testamentum e Flavio Josepho.' Lips. 1755.-Newton's Dissertations' also contain an invaluable collection of illustrative facts derived from Josephus.
preceded and led to the general revolt of the Jewish nation. In Mark xiii. we shall resume the account, and conduct it to the destruction of Jerusalem and its Temple. And under Luke xxi., we purpose to give a slight sketch of its subsequent history and present condition.
The war which ended in the destruction of Jerusalem and the subversion of the Jewish nation, first broke out in the year 66 A.D., and terminated in 71 A.D. Its origin may be distinctly traced to the oppressive and insulting measures of Gessius Florus, the procurator of Judea, who was unquestionably the worst Roman governor the Jews ever had. He received his appointment from the emperor Nero in the year 65. This man was not the first tyrannical, cruel, or avaricious governor which the Jews had received from Rome; but none were so tyrannical and cruel in principle, nor any so insatiably avaricious as Florus. There were no means whatever at which he scrupled in order to fill his coffers. As one instance, we may mention, that the robbers which for some years greatly abounded in Judea, well understood that they might carry on their depredations with perfect impunity, provided they gave the governor a share of their plunder The consequence was, that they rapidly increased in numbers and daring. From this and other causes, the condition of the people became so miserable, and life and property so insecure, that great numbers emigrated to foreign countries, being no longer able to endure the miseries they suffered at home. When Florus saw that he had made himself thoroughly detested, and that the Jews were likely to complain against him to his superiors, he adopted the deep and atrocious policy of driving them to revolt, that their cries for justice might be drowned in the clash of armsthat in their greater crimes his own might be forgotten. In this he but too well succeeded. But to lay the entire blame of the war upon the procurator, would be to take a very superficial view of the transactions of this eventful time. The cause lay far deeper-it lay in the condition and state of feeling of the Jewish nation, which afforded the governor suitable materials on which to operate: and if these had not existed, his attempt probably would not have been made, or, if made, would have proved abortive.
To demonstrate this it may be desirable to look back a little-the rather so, as it is evident that our Saviour refers to some circumstances which preceded the actual revolt, or which existed as well before as after.
In the note on ch. xxii. 17, we have shown that, even in the time of Christ, the Jews were highly dissatisfied with their condition under the Romans; that they even doubted whether their submission were not in itself unlawful, and whether the assertion of their independence were not a duty, the neglect of which involved a want of due reliance upon Him who had been their Strong Deliverer of old; but that, upon the whole, they were disposed for the present to wait a little, not more from expediency, than because they doubted that the time for exertion was fully come until the ardently expected Messiah should appear, to lead them to victory and independence. They did not however wait very patiently. Their expectations were well known to the Romans; and their eagerness made them but too ready to listen to the dreamers, false prophets and pretended Messiahs (verses 23, 24) who promised them great things. This and other causes led to partial disturbances and insurrections from time to time; so that upon the whole the Jews were looked upon as bad and turbulent subjects by the Romans, who fully returned upon them the dislike with which they were themselves regarded. The measures of Florus did but kindle into a general blaze the fire which had smouldered long, and which had thrown forth a brief and partial flame more than once before.
In whatever point of view the condition of the Jews be at this time regarded, it is exceedingly difficult to see any
thing that is not painful and distressing. The nation was divided into parties which regarded one another with implacable hatred and bitterness, that often broke forth into acts of murderous violence. Perhaps the history of no country offers a parallel to the party violence which at this time raged in Judea. It was the duty of the procurator to have kept this party spirit under, or at least to have prevented its more violent excesses; but in the contentions of the people he found a ready means of enriching himself, by levying contributions on, and accepting bribes from, the adverse parties. in turn. He therefore rather sought to foment than to allay their differences-particularly when it became his policy to drive the nation into open revolt. He looked on with pleasure to see the Jews themselves working the destruction which he desired to bring upon them. The people generally were fretful and turbulent, ready to give heed to any delusion, and to act upon it. There was no order, no peace. Even the chief priests formed themselves into a faction, opposed, on the one hand, to the inferior priests, and on the other to the principal laymen. The former found adherents among the people; and from words the two factions often proceeded to blows and the throwing of stones: while the inferior clergy, finding the tithes on which they lived taken violently away by the servants of their superiors, were compelled to resist, in order to preserve the means of subsistence. The land was also overrun by robbers and murderers. The former, often acting in powerful bands, devastated the country with fire and sword: while the latter. who arose in the time of Felix (53–60 A.n.), and were never after extirpated, were regular assassins. They were called Sicari, from the short dagger (sica) which they employed. They wore this under their garments, and, mingling in a crowd, would dispatch their victim, and conceal themselves among the multitude. In this manner they not only disposed of their own enemies, but were quite ready, for pay, to perform the same atrocious service for any other persons who thought proper to employ them. And they were employed even by Roman governors, on the one hand, and Jewish high priests on the other.
After this general statement we may return to the progress of the revolt.
In the year 66 A.D., an edict from the emperor was received at Cæsarea, by which the Greek and Syrian inhabitants were gratified by being placed in the first rank of citizens, above the Jews, who had hitherto enjoyed that privilege. This was followed by gross insults, from the favoured parties, upon the religion of the Jewish inhabitants. Thea ensued commotions, quelled by the Roman troops: and the result was, that the Jews withdrew their sacred books from the synagogue and carried them to Narbata, a place about two miles from Cæsarea. For this decided measure, Florus threw into prison several of the principal Jews who had gone to Sebaste (Samaria) to lay their grievances before him. This oppressive act created a great sensation throughout Judea, and particularly at Jerusalem; in the midst of which a demand was received from the procurator for seventeen talents from the treasury of the Temple. This raised a tumult in the city, in which reproaches and imprecations were publicly heaped upon the tyrannical governor. Florus himself arrived to enforce his demand, and hearing of what had happened, demanded that the persons who had joined in the reproaches cast upon him should be delivered up to him. He would listen to no explanations; and, in revenge, gave his soldiers permission to plunder the upper market. They not only did this, but pillaged many private houses, and slew their inhabitants. Many of the best citizens were also dragg before the procurator, and, by his orders, scourged and crucified. Under all this the chief priests and principal citizens exerted themselves to keep the people quiet; and they succeeded for the time: but the crisis came when Florus attempted to enter the Temple with his soldiers. The people could not bear this profanation, and resisted with such bravery and success, that the Romans retired to the royal castle for refuge. Florus, having kindled the flame of rebellion, withdrew from the city, and sent notice of what had occurred to his superior, Cestius Gallus, prefect of Syria, who thereupon set his army in motion against the revolters.
In the mean time king Agrippa (the "almost Christian") arrived at Jerusalem, and successfully exerted himself in pacifying the people, and persuading them to remain subject to the Romans. But soon after, when he advised them to continue obedient to Florus, until another procurator should be appointed, they assaulted him with stones, and drove him from the city. The inhabitants then divided themselves into two great factions, the one being for continued obedience and submission to the Romans, and the other determined to persist in rebellion. The former took possession of the upper city, while the latter held the lower city and the Temple. The two factions often fought desperately against each other, and with varying success. The revolters were soon headed by Menahem, a son of the notorious Judas of Galilee, who came with a band of well-armed robbers and others. He assumed the title of king, and took the direction of the siege of the royal castle, in which the Romans were shut up; and this with such success, that the latter surrendered, on condition of being allowed to depart in peace. This was very readily granted on oath; but no sooner did the Romans lay down their arms than they were all massacred, except their commander, Metilius, who became a Jew to save his life. This, and some of the other more atrocious transactions of the war, took place on the sabbath; and on the very same day there was a general massacre of the Jews at Cæsarea. This last event enraged the provincial Jews beyond endurance, and the war became general throughout the country, which presented one scene of bloodshed and confusion. The Jews assembled in great numbers, and pillaged and devastated the towns chiefly occupied by Syrians, on both sides of the Jordan; in revenge for which the Syrians massacred those Jews who dwelt in their cities, sparing only the proselytes to the Jewish faith, whom they did not yet venture to attack, and who remained the objects of their hatred and fear. Thus every city was divided against itself-the whole country streamed with blood, and was rent by the most savage commotions: nor was the flame confined to the Jewish provinces, but extended to Syria, Egypt, and other neighbouring countries, in whose towns Jews were settled in considerable numbers. Although this general provincial rising was not primarily against the Romans, they were necessarily mixed up with the general strife, particularly from the part they took, and the transactions which had recently occurred. The Jewish insurgents cut to pieces the Roman garrison at Cypros, near Jericho; and obliged the soldiers stationed at Macharus to yield up that strong fortress.
Thus the land was pervaded by the "wars and rumours of wars" to which our Saviour appears to refer in the present verse; but, as he adds. "the end was not yet." And now, having brought this rapid sketch to the general revolt of the Jewish nation; and finding that this note has been considerably extended by our preliminary observations, we reserve "the end" for the future occasions which we have already indicated.
41. "Two women shall be grinding at the mill."-We have already intimated that the operation of grinding corn is generally performed by women, who usually grind every day the quantity required for that day by the family to which they belong. The mills also have slightly been noticed. To that which has already been said on the subject, we may now add Dr. Clarke's notice of the custom as still existing at Nazareth: "Scarcely had we reached the apartment prepared for our reception, when, looking into the court yard belonging to the house, we beheld two women griading at the mill, in a manner most forcibly illustrating the saying of our Saviour. They were preparing flour to make our bread, as is always customary in the country when strangers arrive. The two women, seated upon the ground, opposite to each other, held between them the two round flat stones, such as are seen in Lapland, and such as in Scot