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was true ; who spake the words of God; whom the Father loved; to whom he gave the Spirit without measure, and into whose hands He had delivered all things ; this was He whose testimony the world received not. And that they might know not only what a glorious person they slighted, but how great salvation they also neglected, he sums up all his sermons, and finishes his mission with this solemn declaration, “ HE THAT BELIEVETH ON THE SON HATH EVERLASTING LIFE; and he that believeth not on the Son SHALL NOT SEE LIFE, BUT THE WRATH OF GOD ABIDETH ON HIM.”
And now that the baptist had fulfilled his office of bearing witness to the Saviour of the world, God was pleased to grant him his dismission, which was effected in the following manner : John, who had learned to despise the world and all its vanities, performed his duty so justly. and without respect of persons, that as he reproved the common people for their transgressions, so he spared not Herod himself, though he knew him to be a powerful and a sanguinary prince; but frankly and honestly told him, that it was utterly unlawful for him to live with Herodias, his brother Philip's wife. Herodias being touched with this reproof from John to Herod, designed him mischief, and would have removed him out of the way by some death or other, but could not easily accomplish it: for Herod, * because of the influence John had
* Herod. Our translation and that of Geneva seem to represent Herod as a prince who respected John Baptist, and had a great esteem for all that he said, Mark vi. 20, though in St. Matthew and St. Luke, he is represented as, a wicked wretch, whom nothing but the fear of the people who looked on John as a prophet, restrained from putting to death, Mat. xiv. 5, Luke jäi. 19, 20. But we are to consider, that the Greek word, which the Geneva version translates to rewerence, and our's to observe, signifies to keep prisoner, or to observe with an ill design. We must consider farther, that R. Stephanus, and Beza, had some Greek copies wherein instead of the weds which we render,
" He did many things,” there are words which signify," He was much vexed or troubled :" which indeed much better represent the temper of that dissolute and wicked prince. Josephus observes, that Herod had put the baptist to death, because he
over the people, was afraid to meddle with him, Mat. xiv. 5, and therefore shut him up in prison; where, whether he heard him oft and gladly, as some versions have it, I shall refer to the note: but it is certain that this offensive rebuke was never forgotten, though it did not prevail on him to separate from her; and on this account it was that about a year afterwards, he felt the effect of this wicked woman's revenge in prison : where, for the present, we leave him, and return to the history,
The blessed Jesus hearing that John was cast into prison, and that his own popularity had excited the envy of the Pharisees, because such inultitudes resorted to his baptism, (which, however, he administered, not in person, but by the deputation* of his disciples, he left Ju. dea, and came again into Galilee ; and in his passage he touched at Sychar, a city of Samaria; where in the heat of the day and weariness of his journey, he sat down in a place where Jacob had once digged a well; whither, when his disciples were gone to buy meat, a Samaritan woman came to draw water, of whom Jesus asked a draught. The woman little knew the excellency of the Person who requested so small a favour ; but prosecuting the spite of' her nation, and the interest and quarrelt of the
thought the people led by him; which is an argument that he did neither respect him, nor hear him gladly, nor do many things for love of him. Though this text is otherwise explained by Dr. Hammond, and many ancient commentators.
Deputation. Fuodius, bishop of Antioch reports, that Jesus baptized the blessed Virgin his mother and Peter only, and Peter baptized Andrew, James and John, and they others, Niceph. 1. 2, c. 3, Hist.
+ Quarrel. The ground of the quarrel was this. In the sixth year of Hezekiah, Salmanassar, king of Assyria sacked Samaria, transported the Israelites to Assyria, and planted an Assyrian colony in Samaria : which colony being destroy. ed by divine vengeance, the king thought the cause was their not serving the God of Israel, and therefore sent a Jewish captive priest to instruct the remaining As. syrians in the Jewish religion, notwiile anding they still retained the Gentile stiperstitions, till Manasses, the brother of Jaddi the High-priest at Jerusalem, mar. ried the daughter of Sanballat. Manasses being reproved for marrying the daughter of an uncircumcised Gentile, and admonished to dismiss her, flies to Samaria, persuades his father-in-law to build a temple in mount Gerizim, introduces the rites of daily sacrifice, and makes himself High-priest, pretends to be the
schism, demanded why he, who was a Jew, should ask water of her who was a Samaritan, the Jews having no commerce or familiar communication with the Samaritans. This quarrel so implanted, for though the woman perceived Jesus to be a prophet, yet she undertook this question with him: “Our fathers worshipped in this mountàin ; and ye say that Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.” Jesus knew the schism was great enough already, and he was unwilling to make it wider; and though he gave testimony to the truth by saying, “ Salvation* is of the Jews,” and “ we know what we worship, ye do not;" yet because the subject of the question was shortly to be taken away, Jesus takes occasion to preach the gospel, to hasten an expedient by way of anticipation to reconcile the disagreeing interests, and settle a revelation to be yerified for ever,
Our Lord, who always improved external circumstances for spiritual edification, takes occasion, from the water of that well, to discourse of living water, or of the Holy Spirit under that figure, which he would give to every one who asked that blessing of him. He also refers to that abandoned course of lifet which she unhappily led, and at length, declares to her, that he was the long-expected Messiah. Upon which he is interrupted by his disciples, who had returned from the city, and wondered to see him alone talking with the woman, contrary to his usual custom and reservation.
The woman full of joy and wonder left the water-pot,
true successor of Aaron, and commences a schism in the time of Alexander the Great. Hence the question of religion grew so high, that wherever a Jew and Samaritan met, it occasioned great animosities, which often terminated in bloodshed or murder.
• Salvation. John iv. 22.
+ Life. When our Saviour directed the woman of Samaria to call her husband, she answered, I have no husband ; and the translations make our Saviour approve her answer, by replying, Thou hast well said, I have no husband. But Erasmus and others have very judiciously observed, that this is an ironical way of speaking, which is so far from approving what one says, that, on the contrary, it represents it absurd and ridiculous. The words then ought to be rendered, “ Finely ansuvered, indeed! I have no husband, &c.".
and ran to the city to publish the Messiah ; and immediately the people of the city came out to see, and many believed him upon the testimony of the woman, and more when they heard his own discourses. They then invited him to the town; and though, Matt. x. 5, he forbad his disciples at that time to go into any city of the Samaritans, that they might convince the Jews that they were the objects of his peculiar care; yet to shew that the gospel was not their inclosure, he himself now stays two days with the Samaritans, who received him hospitably; after which he returned to Galilee, where he was received with great reverence and respect, by reason of the many miracles which the Galileans saw him perform at the feast; for they also went to the feast. Being at Cana, where he wrought the first miracle, a certain noble* person came and addressed himself to Jesus with great humility, desiring him that he would come to his house, and cure his son, now at the point of death: this request he repeated with much importunity, fearing his son should be dead before he could reach him. The Holy Jesus, to display the excellency of his power, and that he did not perform his miracles by any natural operations, cured the child at a distance, and dismissed the believing parent, who joyfully returning home, was by the way congratulated with the welcome news of his son's re. covery; and enquiring of his servants the hour when the child began to amend, perceived, by the account they gave him, that he recovered at the exact time when Jesus pronounced those salutary and healing words, “ Thy Son liveth.” Upon this happy miracle the pious courtier was convinced of our Saviour's divinity, and believed on him and not only he, but his whole family was converted, and became the disciples of Christ. This was the second miracle that Jesus wrought in Cana, he having in the mean time performed many others in various places at Jerusalem and other parts of Judea.
Noble. The Greek word Bafilicos in this place undoubtedly signifies an officer of the king; one that had sone place at the court of Herod Antipas, who was then tetrarch of Galilee. St. Jerome renders it Palatin. But the great mistake of all about this word is in the Latin version, which he reads Regulus, by mistake reading the Greek word Basiliscos for Basilicos.
After this, Jesus left Nazareth, and came to Capernaum, a maritime town, and of great resort, choosing that for the scene of his preaching, and place of residence: for now the time was fulfilled that the office of John Baptist should expire, and the kingdom of God was at hand. Our blessed Saviour therefore preached the sum of the gospel, faith, and repentance. And what they were, all his future sermons fully declared.
While he dwelt in this" town of Capernaum,* the work of the gospel becoming great and extensive, the Holy Jesus thought it convenient to choose disciples to his ministry and service in the work of preaching, and to be Witnesses of all that he should say and do, for ends which were afterwards made public. In order to which he walked by the sea-side, where he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the seä, for they were fishermen. While he was preaching there, the people so thronged about him, that he was obliged to enter into Simon's ship; and desiring him to put off a little way from the land, he sat down and taught the people from the ship : which sermon of his he confirms immediately with a miracle: for as soon as he had done speaking to the people, he ordered Simon to launch out into the deep, and let down the nets; who despairing of success from the want of it during the preceding night, told Jesus it would be to no purpose; however, in obedience to him he would let the nets down, which he had no sooner done,
Capernaum. This place is no where mentioned in the Old Testament. Probably it was one of those towns which the Jews built upon their return from Babylon. It is conjectured, that it stood somewhere on the north-west shore of the lake of Genesareth. This lake, according to Josephus was a hundred furlongs in length, or twelve miles and a half, and its breadth forty furlongs, or five miles.
Formerly it was called the Sea of Chinneroth, Numb. xxxiv. 11, but in later times the Sea of Galilee, and the Sea of Tiberias. The river Jordan runs through the middle of it, and stocks it with a great variety of excellent fish.
The countries round about this lake enjoyed a large share of our Lord's company and instructions. And thus « Galilee of the Gentiles," or, rather, the boundary of the Gentiles, (Galil Hagogim,) or those parts of Palestine which bordered on the heathen countries, " saw a great light, and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death, light sprung up," Matt. iv. 16.