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written after the destruction of Jerusalem, it could not but be very proper to observe the Jewish computation in speaking of things done among the Jews, in their own country, and before that event.
PAGE 141. Diss. xxxv. The manner of embalming 'dead bodies among the Jews, and particularly that of our 'Saviour.'
Here it is said, p. 149, 150. The other Evangelists in'deed take notice, that the women afterwards carried spices to the sepulchre. For, as Joseph and Nicodemus doubtless ' embalmed the body privately, after it was carried from the
cross; the women, as they were not present, might know nothing of it. And considering the shortness of the time, they might imagine, that nothing had been done; and 'therefore were willing to do what they could themselves.'
This is said by our learned author, for removing a difficulty, arising from what is said by St. John, and the other evangelists. St. John says, ch. xix. 38-40, not only, that "Joseph of Arimathea," who is also mentioned by the other evangelists," besought Pilate, that he might take the body of Jesus, and that Pilate gave him leave:" but adds, "There came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight:" including, as I imagine, the bandage, as well as the spices. "Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes, with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury," meaning such persons as were of eminence and distinction.
Nevertheless, St. Mark says, xvi. 1, 2, " And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might anoint him. And very early in the morning, the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre, at the rising of the sun." See also Luke xxiii. 55, 56, and chap. xxiv. 1, 2.
As our Lord's female friends prepared spices, and brought them to the sepulchre; our author concludes that they knew nothing of what had been done by Joseph and Nicodemus. * Matt. xxvii. 57-60; Mark xv. 42-46; Luke xxiii. 50-53.
But it is manifest from all the evangelists, that the women who attended our Lord's crucifixion, attended also his interment. St. John himself says, ch. xix. 25, "Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene." And St. Matthew, ch. xxvii. 55-61, " And many women were there, beholding afar off-Among whom was Mary Magdalene, and Mary, the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee's children.- Joseph of Arimathea -went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus.-—And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock; and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed. And there was Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulchre." And St. Mark expressly says, xv. 47, " And Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of Joses, beheld where he was laid." See likewise ch. xvi. 1-3. From which two evangelists, and also from Luke xxiv. 1, 2, it appears, that the women knew every thing concerning our Saviour's interment, to the placing of the stone at the door of the sepulchre. But they knew nothing of the watch or guard of soldiers, set there afterwards, as related, Matt. xxvii. 52-66. And St. Luke says, ch. xxiii. 52-56, "That Joseph having begged the body of Jesus, took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man was laid- -And "the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how the body was laid." Or, as in Dr. Clarke's paraphrase, And the 'women of Galilee, who had stood at a distance, seeing the 'crucifixion, followed the body of their Lord, when it was 'taken away, and observed where Joseph laid it.'
To imagine therefore, that these women knew nothing of what had been done by Joseph and Nicodemus, is to suppose them extremely negligent about an object that engaged all their attention. I am not for obviating, or removing difficulties, by denying any parts of a history that are manifest. Nor do I recollect one commentator who has been of opinion, that these good women were unacquainted with the embalming of our Lord's body, so far as it had been done, before he was laid in the sepulchre.
We may conceive of the case in this manner. When Pilate, at the request of the Jews, had given leave," that the legs of the two malefactors might be broken," for bastening their death, and " that they might be taken away :"
and when, at the request of Joseph of Arimathea, Pilate had also given leave "for taking away the body of Jesus;" the crucifixion was over, and the crowd would disperse. And the women, who before had stood at some distance, would come nearer. They must have been exceedingly solicitous about the disposal of the body of their beloved Lord, as no preparations had been made for his burial. And the coming of Joseph and Nicodemus, with their attendants, bringing a fine linen cloth, and rollers or bandages, and myrrh and aloes, must have afforded them much satisfaction. When the body was taken down from the cross, they would follow those who carried it away. Nor would they lose sight of the body, or at least of those who took care of it. They were not now agents, but spectators, or standers-by. But they would be as near to those, who were employed in embalming the body, or in swathing it with rollers, as they could be, without interrupting them. And it may be well supposed, that Joseph and Nicodemus, and their attendants, whether their own servants, or perfumers and apothecaries, would be civil to them, and not be at all offended at the respect which they showed to Jesus.
Where the precious body was washed from the blood of the wounds, and embalmed, and wrapped up in the rollers, may not be easy for us to say; whether in a shed, or lodge of the garden, or in the sepulchre itself, or before the door, at the entrance of it. But this last seems to me as likely as any. Wherever it was done, the women were near the place, and saw, or at least knew what was done. They sat over against the sepulchre, and saw where and how the body was laid:" and that a great stone was rolled at the door of it.
After which they went away; and when the sabbath was over, they bought spices, and came with them to the sepulchre early on the first day of the week. The reason of their so doing is differently assigned by learned com
Grotius and Beza were of opinion, that our Lord's body was not anointed or embalmed; that is, Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea did not make use of the spices, but laid them by in the sepulchre, intending to come again to
b Cum aromatibus.'] Non unxerunt, ob temporis angustias, sed aromata apposuerunt, uncturi primo commodo tempore. Grot. in Jo. xix. 40.
Non est tamen pollinctum Christi cadaver, mulieribus alioqui non accessuris post alterum diem ad illud ungendum. Sed tumultuarie fuit, propter instantem, et quasi jam præsentem parasceven, in illo monumento proximo civitati positum, cum aromatibus a Nicodemo allatis, dilatâ in alterum a sepulto diem integrâ funeris pollinctura. Bez. in loc.
complete the embalming. Lampe does not approve of that account. Nevertheless he is obliged to own, that what was now performed, was done in haste. As Lucas Brugensis is not in many hands, I shall transcribe a part of what he says, for showing what these good women aimed at by their kind offices. And I shall refer to Theophylact, who speaks to the like purpose.
What these women intended to do, we cannot say particularly. Nor can it be reasonably expected that we should be able to determine; because it cannot be supposed that any now are fully acquainted with the various methods of embalming among the Jews, or the whole process of their embalming. But that there was somewhat wanting, somewhat left to be done by respectful and affectionate friends, may be argued from the shortness of time, and great haste, in which our Lord was embalmed and buried; and likewise from the concurring concern of several women, who may be justly supposed to have been as attentive, and as discreet and understanding, as any of their sex. And it has seemed to me, that our Lord foresaw, that, for want of opportunity, there would happen a defect in that respect, which might otherwise have been shown him at his death.
Of the woman that anointed Jesus at Bethany with precious ointment, he said to those who were uneasy at the expense: Matt. xxvi. 12, "For in that she has poured this ointment upon my body, she did it for my burial,” προς το ενταφίασαι Mark xiv. 8, "She has done what she could. She is come before hand, to anoint my body to the burial," as Tov Evтapiaoμov. John xii. 7," Let her alone. Against the day of my burying has she kept this,” εις την ήμεραν το ενταφιασμε με.
But learned interpreters say, that the original word,
d Leviora sane sunt, quibus persuadere vult, Dominici corporis unctionem quidem susceptam esse, sed non datam exsecutioni. Lampe, in Jo. T. III. p. 644. e Prius nullius est momenti, quia raptim et festinanter Jesum esse unctum, facile concedimus. Id. ib.
Emerunt' a pharmacopolis aromata,' vi exsiccandi et fragrantiam addendi prædita ut ungerent' Jesum mortuum--Neque vero ignorabant, corpus Jesu a Nicodemo non parce unctum fuisse, centum inquam libris myrrhæ et aloës, quæ præsentes adfuerant, cum ungeretur, quanquam forte suis oculis non viderant. Sed habebat consuetudo, ut carissima capita, et quæ plurimi fierent cadavera, non semel tantum ungerentur, sed sæpius, pluribusque continuis diebus, donec exsiccato et absorpto vi aromatum omni reliquo humore, imo tabefactâ carne aridâ, et quasi æneâ reddità, diu servari possent integra, et immunia a putrefactione, &c. Vid. Gen. L. 23. Luc. Brug. in Marc. xvi. Theoph. in Marc. xvi. 1.
Ad funerandum me: 700c 70 evrapiaσai μɛ. Vulg. et Erasmus, ad me sepeliendum,' male. Nam aliud est Oantur, quam
evraguašuv: ut Latinis
made use of by all the evangelists, does not so properly denote burial, as the preparations made for burial, and particularly the costly preparations made for persons of distinction.
The meaning therefore is: " In that she has poured this ointment upon my body, she has done it," as it were, "for my embalming," or to embalm me. And this part of our Lord's apology for that pious woman may be paraphrased in this manner, as indeed it was formerly: You may con'sider this anointing as an embalming of me. And it may
so happen, that neither she, nor any others, shall have an 'opportunity to lay out all the rich spices and ointments
upon me, when dead, which they may be disposed to make 6 use of.'
PAGE 155. Diss. xxxvii. ' Whom are we to understand by 'the Grecians and Hebrews mentioned, Acts vi. 1.'
It will be worth the while to put down here the words of the text at length. "And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration."
I am of opinion, that by Hebrews are meant native Jews, descendants of Abraham and Israel, and that by Grecians are meant proselytes to the Jewish religion. This I shall endeavour to make out by an induction of particulars, and by numerous quotations from the Old Testament.
Ebrew, or Hebrew. It is a very honourable, and the most ancient, denomination of the Jewish people. Abraham himself is called "a Hebrew," or "the Hebrew," Gen. xiv. 13. as is Joseph in Egypt, Gen xxxix. 14, 17. chap. xli. 12. The Hebrews are mentioned more than once in his history. Gen xl. 15, and xliii. 32. In particular, the country insepelire est sepulcro condere: funerare vero pollincire, cadaver sepulcro mandandum, prius curare. &c. Bez. ad Matt. xxvi. 12.
-Habet me jam quasi pro mortuo, atque officium illud solemne modico tantum tempore antevertit. Hunc sensum apertissime significat Marcus voce προέλαβε. Hic το ενταφιασαι, pollincire, interpretandum est per ελλειψιν Voculæ, o tanquam: fecit quasi ad me pollinciendum.' Quam voculam prudenter hic, ut et in hac apud Marcum historiâ, addidit Syrus interpres. Et Johanni nμɛpa evrapuarus est dies quasi pollincturæ. Grot. in Matt. xxvi. 12.
See Vol. ix. p. 427.