John Lightfoot's New Testament Bible Commentary
The Gospel of Luke
2. And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary
called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils.
[Mary called Magdalene.] Whence should she have this name?
I. We have observed above, in our notes upon Matthew 27:56, that there is mention made
in the Talmudic authors of Maria Magdila the daughter of Maria, a plaiter of
women's hair; who they say was the wife of Papus Ben Juda, but an adulteress.
They make this Papus contemporary with Rabban Gamaliel (of Jafneh) and R. Joshua,
and with R. Akibah: who all lived both before and after the destruction of Jerusalem: so
that the times do not very much disagree. And probable it is, that the Gemarists retained
some memory of our Mary Magdalene, in the word Magdila.
II. We further observe in our notes upon John 12, that there was a certain town near
Jerusalem called Magdala, of a very ill fame, which perhaps was Bethany itself; or
be it some other, yet might our Mary (if she was the sister of Lazarus) not unfitly be
called Magdalene, either as she might have lived there some time, being there married, or
have imitated the whorish customs of that place. But I am apt to think that Bethany itself
might go under the name of Magdala.
[Out of whom went seven devils.] As to the number seven, we contend not,
when there is hardly any thing more useful than to put this certain number for an
uncertain. Our difficulty is, whether these words are to be taken according to their
letter, or according to the Jewish sense, who were wont to call vices by the name of
devils: as "An evil affection is Satan": "Drunkenness by new wine is a
devil." If this Mary be the same with the woman that was a sinner in the foregoing
chapter, as is believed, then by devils seems to be understood the vices to
which she was addicted: especially when both the Pharisee and evangelist call her a
sinner, rather than demoniac. But this we leave at the choice of the reader.
3. And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod's steward, and Susanna, and many others, which
ministered unto him of their substance.
[The wife of Chusa.] We meet with such a name in Haman's genealogy: "The
king promoted Haman the Hammedathite, the Agathite, the son of Cusa," &c.
The Targumist, Esther 5, reckoning up the same genealogy, mentions not this name, and
differs in others. Only this let us take notice of by the way, that Chusa is a name
in the family of Haman the Edomite, and this Cusa here was in the family of Herod, who
himself was of the blood of the Edomites.
18. Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and
whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have.
[For whosoever hath, to him shall be given.] God's measure is not like the
measure of flesh and blood. The measure of flesh and blood is this: An empty vessel is
receptive, but a full one can take in no more. But God's measure is this, The full vessel
is receptive of more, but the empty vessel receives nothing; according as it is said, If
hearing thou wilt hear; that is, If thou hearest thou shalt hear; if thou dost not
hear, thou shalt not hear. The Gloss is, "If thou accustom thyself to hear, then thou
shalt hear, and learn and add." That is not much unlike Beracoth, fol. 55. 1:
"God doth not give wisdom but to him with whom is wisdom already."