John Lightfoot's New Testament Bible Commentary
The Gospel of Luke
1. And it came to pass, that on one of those days, as he taught the people in
the temple, and preached the gospel, the chief priests and the scribes came upon him
with the elders.
[The chief priests and the scribes with the elders.] So it is in Mark 11:27: but
in Matthew 21:23, it is the chief priests and elders of the people. Now the
question is, who these elders should be, as they are distinguished from the chief
priests and the scribes. The Sanhedrim consisted chiefly of priests, Levites,
and Israelites, although the original precept was for the priests and Levites only.
"The command is, that the priests and Levites should be of the great council; as it
is said, Thou shalt go unto the priests and Levites: but if such be not to be found,
although they were all Israelites, behold, it is allowed."
None will imagine that there ever was a Sanhedrim wherein there were Israelites only,
and no priests or Levites; nor, on the other hand, that there ever was a Sanhedrim wherein
there were only priests and Levites, and no Israelites. The scribes, therefore,
seem in this place to denote either the Levites, or else, together with the
Levites, those inferior ranks of priests who were not the chief priests: and then
the elders, may be the Israelites, or those elders of the laity that were
not of the Levitical tribe. Such a one was Gamaliel the present president of the
Sanhedrim, and Simeon his son, of the tribe of Judah.
37. Now that the dead are raised, even Moses showed at the bush, when he calleth the
Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.
[He calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, &c.] "Why doth Moses say (Exo
32:13), Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob? R. Abin saith, The Lord said unto Moses, 'I
look for ten men from thee, as I looked for that number in Sodom: find me out ten
righteous persons among the people, and I will not destroy thy people.' Then said Moses,
'Behold, here am I, and Aaron, and Eleazar, and Ithamar, and Phineas, and Caleb, and
Joshua.' 'But' saith God, 'these are but seven; where are the other three?' When Moses
knew not what to do, he saith, 'O eternal God, do those live that are dead?' 'Yes,'
saith God. Then saith Moses, 'If those that are dead do live, remember Abraham, Isaac, and
42. And David himself saith in the book of Psalms, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit
thou on my right hand,
[The Lord said unto my Lord, &c.] Whereas St. Matthew tells us, That
"no man was able to answer him a word" to that argument, whereby he asserted the
divinity of the Messias, it is plain that those evasions were not yet thought of, by which
the Jews have since endeavoured to shift off this place. For the Talmudists apply the
psalm to Abraham; the Targumist (as it seems) to David; others (as Justin Martyr tells us)
to Hezekiah; which yet I do not remember I have observed in the Jewish authors. His words
are in his Dialogue with Tryphon: I am not ignorant, that you venture to explain this
psalm (when he had recited the whole psalm) as if it were to be understood of king
The Jewish authors have it thus: "Sem the Great said unto Eliezer [Abraham's
servant], 'When the kings of the east and of the west came against you, what did you?' He
answered and said, 'The Holy Blessed God took Abraham, and made him to sit on his right
hand.'" And again: "The Holy Blessed God had purposed to have derived the
priesthood from Shem; according as it is said, Thou art the priest of the most high God:
but because he blessed Abraham before he blessed God, God derived the priesthood from
Abraham. For so it is said, And he blessed him and said, Blessed be Abraham of the most
high God, possessor of heaven and earth, and blessed be the most high God. Abraham saith
unto him, Who useth to bless the servant before his Lord? Upon this God gave the
priesthood to Abraham, according as it is said, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my
right hand. And afterward it is written, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a
priest for ever for the speaking of Melchizedek." Midras Tillin and
others also, in the explication of this psalm, refer it to Abraham. Worshipful
46. Beware of the scribes, which desire to walk in long robes, and love greetings in
the markets, and the highest seats in the synagogues, and the chief rooms at feasts;
[Which desire to walk in long robes.] In garments to the feet; in long robes:
which their own Rabbins sufficiently testify. "R. Jochanan asked R. Banaah, What
kind of garment is the inner garment of the disciple of the wise men? It is such a
one, that the flesh may not be seen underneath him." The Gloss is, It is to reach to
the very sole of the foot, that it may not be discerned when he goes barefoot. "What
is the 'talith,' that the disciple of the wise wears? That the inner garment may not
be seen below it to a handbreadth."
What is that, Luke 15:22, the first robe? [the best robe, AV]. Is it the former
robe, that is, that which the prodigal had worn formerly? or the first, i.e. the
chief and best robe? It may be queried, whether it may not be particularly understood
the talith as what was in more esteem than the chaluk, and that which is the
first garment in view to the beholders. "I saw amongst the spoils a
Babylonish garment, Joshua 7. Rabh saith, A long garment called melotes."
The Gloss is, "a 'talith' of purest wool."