Verse 8. "And who shall declare his generation "And his manner of life who would declare"" - A learned friend has communicated to me the following passages from the Mishna, and the Gemara of Babylon, as leading to a satisfactory explication of this difficult place. It is said in the former, that before any one was punished for a capital crime, proclamation was made before the prisoner by the public crier, in these words: wyl[ dmlyw aby twkz wl [dwy ym lk col mi shioda lo zachoth yabo vayilmad alaiv, "whosoever knows any thing of this man's innocence, let him come and declare it. " Tract. Sandhedrim. Surenhus. Part iv. p. 233. On which passage the Gemara of Babylon adds, that "before the death of Jesus this proclamation was made for forty days; but no defense could be found. " On which words Lardner observes: "It is truly surprising to see such falsities, contrary to well-known facts. " Testimonies, Vol. i. p. 198.
The report is certainly false; but this false report is founded on the supposition that there was such a custom, and so far confirms the account given from the Mishna. The Mishna was composed in the middle of the second century according to Prideaux; Lardner ascribes it to the year of Christ 180.
Casaubon has a quotation from Maimonides which farther confirms this account: - Exercitat. in Baronii Annales, Art. lxxvi. Ann. 34. Numbers 119. Auctor est Maimonides in Perek xiii. ejus libri ex opere Jad, solitum fieri, ut cum reus, sententiam mortis passus, a loco judicii exibat ducendus ad supplicium, praecedoret ipsum zwrkj khrux, praeco; et haec verba diceret: Ille exit occidendus morte illa, quia transgressus est transgressione illa, in loco illo, tempore illo, et sunt ejus ret testes ille et ille. Qui noverit aliquid ad ejus innoeentiam probandam, veniat, et loquatur pro eo. "It was customary when sentence of death was passed upon a criminal, and he was led out from the seat of judgment to the place of punishment, a crier went before, and spoke as follows: - 'This man is going out to suffer death by - because he has transgressed by - such a transgression, in such a place, in such a time; and the witnesses against him are -. He who may know any thing relative to his innocence let him come and speak in his behalf.'" Now it is plain from the history of the four Evangelists, that in the trlal and condemnation of Jesus no such rule was observed; though, according to the account of the Mishna, it must have been in practice at that time, no proclamation was made for any person to bear witness to the innocence and character of Jesus; nor did any one voluntarily step forth to give his attestation to it. And our saviour seems to refer to such a custom, and to claim the benefit of it, by his answer to the high priest, when he asked him of his disciples and of his doctrine: "I spoke openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing. Why askest thou me? ask them who heard me, what I have said unto them: behold, they know what I said, "John xviii. 20, 21. This, therefore, was one remarkable instance of hardship and injustice, among others predicted by the prophet, which our saviour underwent in his trial and sufferings.
St. Paul likewise, in similar circumstances, standing before the judgment seat of Festus, seems to complain of the same unjust treatment; that no one was called, or would appear, to vindicate his character. "My manner of life (thn biwsin mou, yrwd dori, 'my generation') from my youth, which was at the first among my own nation at Jerusalem, know all the Jews, who knew me from the beginning, if they would testify; that after the straitest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee; " Acts xxvi. 4, 5.
"rwd dor signifies age, duration, the time which one man or many together pass in this world, in this place; the course, tenor, or manner of life. The verb rwd dor signifies, according to Castell, ordinatam vitam sive aetatem egit, ordinavit, ordine constituit. "He passed a certain course of life, he ordained, "&c. In Arabic, curavit, administravit, "he took care of, administered to." Was he stricken "He was smitten to death"" - The Septuagint read twml lemaveth, eiv qanaton, "to death. " And so the Coptic and Saidic Versions, from the Septuagint; MSS. St. Germain de Prez.
"Origen, "(Contra Celsum, lib. i. p. 370, edit. 1733,) after having quoted at large this prophecy concerning the Messiah, "tells us, that having once made use of this passage in a dispute against some that were accounted wise among the Jews, one of them replied, that the words did not mean one man, but one people, the Jews, who were smitten of God and dispersed among the Gentiles for their conversion; that he then urged many parts of this prophecy to show the absurdity of this interpretation, and that he seemed to press them the hardest by this sentence, apo twn anomiwn tou laou mon hcqh eiv qanaton, 'for the iniquity of my people was he smitten to death.' " Now as Origen, the author of the Hexapla, must have understood Hebrew, we cannot suppose that he would have urged this last quotation as so decisive if the Greek Version had not agreed here with the Hebrew text; nor that these wise Jews would have been at all distressed by this quotation, unless their Hebrew text had read agreeably to eiv qanaton, "to death, "on which the argument principally depended; for, by quoting it immediately, they would have triumphed over him, and reprobated his Greek version. This, whenever they could do it, was their constant practice in their disputes with the Christians. Jerome, in his Preface to the Psalms, says, Nuper cum Hebraeo disputans, quaedam pro Domino Salvatore de Psalmis testimonia protulisti: volensque ille te illudere, per sermones fere singulos asserebat, non ita haberi in Hebraeo, ut tu de LXX. opponebas. "Lately disputing with a Hebrew, - thou advancedst certain passages out of the Psalms which bear testimony to the Lord the saviour; but he, to elude thy reasoning, asserted that almost all thy quotations have an import in the Hebrew text different from what they had in the Greek. " And Origen himself, who labouriously compared the Hebrew text with the Septuagint, has recorded the necessity of arguing with the Jews from such passages only as were in the Septuagint agreeable to the Hebrew: ina prov ioudaioiv dialegomenoi mh proferwmen autoi ta mh keimena en toiv antigrafoiv autwn, kai ina sugcrhswmeqa toiv feromenoiv parĘ ekeinoiv. See Epist. ad African. p. 15, 17. Wherefore as Origen had carefully compared the Greek version of the Septuagint with the Hebrew text, and speaks of the contempt with which the Jews treated all appeals to the Greek version where it differed from their Hebrew text; and as he puzzled and confounded the learned Jews by urging upon them the reading eiv qanaton, "unto death, "in this place; it seems almost impossible not to conclude, both from Origen's argument and the silence of his Jewish adversaries, that the Hebrew text at that time actually had twml lemaveth, "to death, "agreeably to the version of the Septuagint. - Dr. Kennicott.
Verse 9. "With the rich tn his death "With the rich man was his tomb"" - It may be necessary to introduce Bishop Lowth's translation of this verse before we come to his very satisfactory criticisms:-
And his grave was appointed with the wicked; But with the rich man was his tomb: Although he had done no wrong, Neither was there any guile in his mouth.
Among the various opinions which have been given on this passage, I have no doubt in giving my assent to that which makes the b beth in wytwmb bemothaiv radical, and renders it excelsa sua. This is mentioned by Aben Ezra as received by some in his time; and has been long since approved by Schindler, Drusius, and many other learned Christian interpreters.
The most simple tombs or monuments of old consisted of hillocks of earth heaped up over the grave; of which we have numerous examples in our own country, generally allowed to be of very high antiquity. The Romans called a monument of this sort very properly tumulus; and the Hebrews as properly twmb bamoth, "high place, "for that is the form of' the noun in the singular number; and sixteen MSS. and the two oldest editions express the word fully in this place, wytwmb bamothaiv. Tumulus et collem et sepulchrum fuisse significat. Potest enim tumulus sine sepulchro interpretatione collis interdum accipi. Nam et terrae congestio super ossa tumulus dicitur. "Tumulus signifies a sepulcher with a hillock of earth raised over it. The word is sometimes restrained to the bank of earth; for the heaping up of the earth over the bones is named the tumulus." - Servius, AEn. iii. 22. And to make the tumulus still more elevated and conspicuous, a pillar or some other ornament was often erected upon it:- tumbon ceuantev, kai epi sthlhn erusantev, phxamen akrotatw tumbw euhrev eretmon. Odyss. sii. 14.
"A rising tomb, the silent dead to grace, Fast by the roarings of the main we place; The rising tomb a lofty column bore, And high above it rose the tapering oar." Pope The tomb therefore might with great propriety be called the high place.
The Hebrews might also call such a tomb twmb bamoth, from the situation, for they generally chose to erect them on eminences. The sepulcher of Joseph of Arimathea, in which the body of Christ was laid, was upon a hill, Mount Calvary. See chap. xxii. 16, and the note there.
"It should be observed that the word wytwmb bamothaiv is not formed from twmb bamoth, the plural of hmb bamah, the feminine noun, but from µytwmb bamothim, the plural of a masculine noun, twmb bamoth.
This is noted because these two nouns have been negligently confounded with one another, and absurdly reduced to one by very learned men. So Buxtorf, lex. in voc. hmb bamah, represents ytwmb bamotey, though plainly without any pronoun suffixed, as it governs the word Åra arets following it, as only another form of twmb bamoth; whereas the truth is, that twmb bamoth and µytwmb bamothim are different words, and have through the whole Bible very different significations; hmb bamah, whether occurring in the singular or plural number, always signifying a place or places of worship; and µytwmb bamothim always signifying heights.
Thus in Deut. xxxii. 13; chap. lviii. 14; Amos iv. 13; and Micah i. 3, Åra ytwmb bamothey arets signifies 'the heights of the earth;' chap. xiv. 14, b[ ytwmb bamothey ab, 'the heights of the clouds;' and in Job ix. 8, µy ytwmb bamothey yam, 'the heights of the sea,' i.e., the high waves of the sea, as Virgil calls a wave praeruptus aqua mons, 'a broken mountain of water.' These being all the places where this word occurs without a suffix, the sense of it seems nearly determined by them. It occurs in other instances with a pronoun suffixed, which confirm this signification.
Unluckily, our English Bible has not distinguished the feminine noun hmb bamah from the masculine singular noun twmb bamoth; and has consequently always given the signification of the latter to the former, always rendering it a high place; whereas the true sense of the word appears plainly to be, in the very numerous passages in which it occurs, 'a place of worship,' or 'a sacred court,' or 'a sacred inclosure;' whether appropriated to the worship of idols or to that of the true God, for it is used of both, passive. Now as the Jewish graves are shown, from2 Chronicles xxxii. 33, and chap. xxii. 16, to have been in high situations, to which may be added the custom of another eastern nation from Osbeck's Travels, who says, vol. i. p. 339, 'the Chinese graves are made on the side of hills;' 'his heights' becomes a very easy metaphor to express 'his sepulcher.' "-JUBB.
The exact completion of this prophecy will be fully shown by adding here the several circumstances of the burial of Jesus, collected from the accounts of the evangelists:- "There was a rich man of Arimathea, named Joseph, a member of the sanhedrin, and of a respectable character, who had not consented to their counsel and act; he went to Pilate and begged the body of Jesus: and he laid it in his own new tomb, which had been hewn out of the rock, near to the place where Jesus was crucified; having first wound it in fine linen with spices, as the manner of the Jews was to bury the rich and great." It has been supposed that wrbq kibro, his grave, and wytmb bemothaiv, in his death, may have been transposed, as also the prefix b be originally placed before µy[r reshaim, the wicked. Thus:- wytm ta µy[rb tyw mothaiv eth bireshayim vaiyitten wrbq ry[ taw kibro ashir veeth Yea, his death was appointed among the wicked, And with a rich man, his tomb.
By these alterations it is supposed the text would be freed from all embarrassment. But see the preceding notes of Bishop Lowth, and the various readings of De Rossi, in loc.
Verse 10. "To grief "With affliction"" - For yljh hecheli, the verb, the construction of which seems to be hard and inelegant in this place, the Vulgate reads yljb bocholi, in infirmitate, "with infirmity." When thou shalt make his soul "If his soul shall make"] For µyt tasim, a MS. has µt tasem, which may be taken passively, "If his soul shall be made " agreeably to some copies of the Septuagint, which have dwtai. See likewise the Syriac.
"When thou shalt make his soul an offering" - The word pn nephesh, soul, is frequently used in Hebrew to signify life. Throughout the New Testament the salvation of men is uniformly attributed to the death of Christ.
"He shall see his seed" - True converts, genuine Christians.
"He shall prolong his days" - Or this spiritual progeny shall prolong their days, i.e., Christianity shall endure to the end of time.
"And the pleasure of the Lord" - To have all men saved and brought to the knowledge of the truth.
"Shall prosper in his hand." - Shall go on in a state of progressive prosperity; and so completely has this been thus far accomplished, that every succeeding century has witnessed more Christianity in the world than the preceding, or any former one.
Verse 11. "Shall be satisfied "And be satisfied"" - The Septuagint, Vulgate, Sryiac, and a MS. add the conjunction to the verb, [byw vaigisba.
"Shall my righteous servant justify "Shall my servant justify"" - Three MSS., (two of them ancient,) omit the word qydx tsaddik; it seems to be only an imperfect repetition, by mistake, of the preceding word. It makes a solecism in this place; for according to the constant usage of the Hebrew language, the adjective, in a phrase of this kind, ought to follow the substantive; and ydb[ qydx tsaddik abdi, in Hebrew, would be as absurd as "shall my servant righteous justify, "in English. Add to this, that it makes the hemistich too long.
Verse 12. "He bare the sin of many" - µybr rabbim, the multitudes, the many that were made sinners by the offenses of one; i.e., the whole human race; for all have sinned-all have fallen; and for all that have sinned, and for all that have fallen, Jesus Christ died. The µybr rabbim of the prophet answers to the oi polloi, of the apostle, Rom. v. 15, 19. As the polloi of the apostle means all that have sinned; so the µybr rabbim of the prophet means those for whom Christ died; i.e., all that have sinned.
"And made intercession for the transgressors." - For [ygpy yaphgia, in the future, a MS. has [ygph hiphgia, preterite, rather better, as agreeable with the other verbs immediately preceding in the sentence.
He made intercession for the transgressors. - This was literally fulfilled at his death, "Father, forgive them; they know not what they do! " Luke xxiii. 34. And to make intercession for transgressors is one part of his mediatorial offlce. Heb. vii. 25, and ix. 24.
IN this chapter the incarnation, preaching, humiliation, rejection, sufferings, death, atonement, resurrection, and mediation of Jesus Christ are all predicted, together with the prevalence of his Gospel, and the extension of his kingdom through all ages.