Изображения страниц

fore, rather than after, the first hour of the day; the arrival at the temple would take place rather after that hour, than before it. And if the cleansing of the temple was performed this day, and was the first thing done subsequent to the arrival, that also would come to pass after the first, yet before the second hour of the day. On this question, however, St. Matthew is apparently committed with St. Mark; the former, as it would seem, assigning the act of the cleansing to the day of the procession to the temple, the latter to the following morning: St. Luke, whose account of a similar transaction is such as might accord to either supposition, being consequently so far neuter.

Unless, therefore, the cleansing in St. Matthew was altogether a different transaction from the cleansing in St. Mark, the former has introduced an Anticipation, or the latter a Trajection into his accounts: and an Anticipation in St. Matthew would be no extraordinary phenomenon, but a Trajection in St. Mark would be one. If the two events were the same act, there is no avoiding this conclusion, except by supposing that St. Matthew begins his account of the proceedings on the eleventh of Nisan with this instance of cleansing, on the day after the public procession, at xxi. 12: which would be, in the first place, to resolve one difficulty by another; since though the two accounts of the cleansing might by this means be reconciled together, yet those of the malediction on the fig-tree, as we have seen, would be set at variance.

In the next place, the beautiful incident, relating to the children in the temple h, bears upon its face the evidence that this part of the narrative at least belongs to the day of the procession. For when it is considered that our Lord set out that day amidst the shouts h Matt. xxi. 15, 16.

and acclamations of the multitude, the various strains of whose Hallelujahs did not prevent but that all might have been employed-and that he arrived in the temple similarly attended; when we consider also that the peculiar expressions, ὡσαννὰ τῷ υἱῷ Δαβὶδ, are found in St. Matthew only, and yet are the very expressions which he puts into the mouths of the children; when we consider further the strong natural impulse of children to imitate what is passing around them; to mix eagerly in every scene of bustle and animation, and to be as loud and as active therein as any: we can entertain little doubt that they had caught these expressions from the multitude; they were merely doing what thousands of grown up persons had been, or were still doing besides. Unless therefore our Lord came again to the temple the next day, as he had done the day before, in a public procession, with similar demonstrations of the public enthusiasm; this little circumstance, which is as natural as it is beautiful, determines thus much of St. Matthew's account, from 14-17, to the evening of the tenth of Nisan.

There is no alternative then but to conclude that either the same act of cleansing was twice performed, once on the evening of the tenth and again on the morning of the eleventh of Nisan, or that St. Matthew has recorded it out of its place. The first of these suppositions may possibly be true; but for the reasons which I shall proceed to subjoin, I do not think it so probable as the second.

First, the comparison of the two accounts leads to this conclusion rather than any other. With the exception of one particulari, καὶ οὐκ ἤφιεν ἵνα τις διενέγκῃ σκεῦος διὰ τοῦ ἱεροῦ, there is not a circumstance, and scarcely an expression, in the one which does not occur

i Mark xi. 16.


in the other; so much so, that St. Mark might even have copied from St. Matthew. This additional particular itself constitutes no mark of discrimination between two otherwise identical acts: for Josephus and Maimonides both shew that it would be equally necessary to the integrity of either. To carry vessels into, or through the temple; even to admit any, except what were consecrated to the service of the temple; was always forbidden, and would have been considered a profanation. That our Lord's declaration accompanying the act is expressed interrogatively in St. Mark, and directly in St. Matthew, and with Tâσι Toîs Oveσw in the former, though wanting in the latter, is too trifling an objection to be insisted on. The last circumstance amounts merely to an omission; which in St. Matthew's time, when the church was composed of Hebrews only-all zealous for the Law-might be made out of accommodation to their prejudices: and both this difference and the other are easily explained on the ground of his characteristic conciseness. In short, the account of neither is as different from that of the other, as the account of either from that of St. Luke; which yet must be the same with one of them, if not with both.

Secondly, when our Lord entered the temple on the evening of the tenth of Nisan, it is probable that the traders, with their droves of cattle and their other effects, had already removed them for the day; or that the very pressure of the multitudes, by which he was attended, would force them to give way. The outermost court (of which alone they were in possession) would be the first entered and the most completely occupied; for many would have access to that who could

k Contra Apionem, ii. cap. 8. p. 1244. De Edificio Templi, i. 20.

not gain admission beyond it. The next morning, however, our Lord returned in a private manner; accompanied merely by the Twelve: and if he returned, as we supposed, soon after the first hour of the day, the traders would then be in the midst of their occupation; and not only zeal for the honour of God, indignation at the profanation of his house to worldly purposes, and a just regard to the privileges of the Gentiles, who were thus dispossessed of their proper court, or condemned to share it with beasts and birds; but even a desire to facilitate the resort of the people to himself, might lead him to the act.

Thirdly, if this profanation had been resented the evening before, and yet was still going on the next morning, the previous rebuke, it is manifest, had failed of its effect the traders had set the authority of our Lord at defiance, and were determined to keep up the abuse in spite of him. In this case, either a succession of similar acts of correction, as often as he visited the temple, must have been necessary to enforce submission; and we might expect the same act of cleansing to have been thrice performed, as well as twice: or if a single instance of it was not likely to be sufficient for the end in view, it would never have been attempted at all. Not to mention that, at this period, the common people universally esteemed our Lord as a Prophet, and would look upon all his acts with submission; though that had not been the case, still if he thought proper to assert an authority of this kind, he himself would doubtless accompany the assertion of it with such an impres⚫sion of involuntary dread and reverence, as would not fail to render it effectual, and prevent the necessity of repeating it.

Fourthly, Luke xix. 47, which subjoins an account of his employment after the cleansing, is a strong pre

sumptive argument that it happened at the beginning of some day. Ἦν διδάσκων τὸ καθ ̓ ἡμέραν ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ, literally interpreted, means, He was teaching for the day in the temple, not, He was teaching daily in the temple1; which would have required κal' ỷμépav merely and whether it describes the employment of that one day in particular, or of others after that in general, still it implies that the business of teaching in every instance, and consequently on this day among the rest, took up the best part of a day at least. Such a description, then, would be apt and appropriate, if the cleansing immediately before it, happened at the hour of pw, on the eleventh of Nisan; but not, if it occurred at the hour of ovia, the evening before. There is no proof that our Lord taught that evening at all; and if we consider the lateness of the time when he arrived in the temple, the speediness of his departure again, and the ferment and agitation of the public mind; a ferment and agitation, which were at their highest, when his procession was come to the temple; there will be no reason to suppose that he could have taught at all. The stillness, the composure, the gravity, the attention, necessary to the business of teaching, were incompatible with the circumstances of the occasion. This very agitation, produced as it was by the confident but mistaken belief that his kingdom was now at hand, might be a chief reason both why he selected a late hour of the day for visiting the temple, and why, after a short stay there, he so quickly withdrew into privacy under cover of the night.

The mention also of the indignation of the Jewish rulers, in the same passage of St. Luke which describes this employment, can be resolved into no cause, but the

1 Vide Luke xi. 3. compared with Matt. vi. 11.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »