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1: The fifteenth year of Tiberius - Reckoning from the time
when Angustus made him his colleague in the empire. Herod being
tetrarch of Galilee - The dominions of Herod the Great were, after
his death, divided into four parts or tetrarchies. This Herod
his son was tetrarch of Galilee, reigning over that fourth part
of his dominions. His brother reigned over two other fourth
parts, the region of Iturea, and that of Trachonitis (that tract
of land on the other side Jordan, which had formerly belonged to
the tribe of Manasseh.) And Lysanias (probably descended from a
prince of that name, who was some years before governor of that
country) was tetrarch of the remaining part of Abilene, which was
a large city of Syria, whose territories reached to Lebanon and
Damascus, and contained great numbers of Jews.(Mt 3:1,Mr 1:1).
2: Annas being high priest, and Caiaphas - There could be but one
high priest, strictly speaking, at once. Annas was the high
priest at that time, and Caiaphas his sagan or deputy.
4: (Isa 40:3).
5: Every valley shall be filled, &c. - That is, every hinderance
shall be removed.
6: The salvation of God - The Saviour, the Messiah.
8: Say not within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father - That
is, trust not in your being members of the visible Church, or in
any external privileges whatsoever: for God now requires a change
of heart; and that without delay.
10: He answereth - It is not properly John, but the Holy Ghost,
who teaches us in the following answers, how to come ourselves,
and how to instruct other penitent sinners to come to Christ,
that he may give them rest. The sum of all this is, Cease to do
evil, learn to do well. These are the fruits worthy of repentance.
20: He shut up John - This circumstance, though it happened after,
is here mentioned before our Lord's baptism, that his history (that
of John being concluded) may then follow without any interruption.
21: Jesus praying, the heaven was opened - It is observable, that
the three voices from heaven, see (Lu 9:29,35,Joh 12:28);
by which the Father bore witness to Christ, were pronounced
either while he was praying, or quickly after it.(Mt 3:13,Mr 1:9).
23: And Jesus was - John's beginning was computed by the years of
princes: our Saviour's by the years of his own life, as a more
august era. About thirty years of age - He did not now enter upon
his thirtieth year (as the common translation would induce one
to think) but he now entered on his public ministry: being of
such an age as the Mosaic law required. Our great Master
attained not, as it seems, to the conclusion of his thirty - fourth
year. Yet what glorious achievements did he accomplish within
those narrow limits of time! Happy that servant, who, with any
proportionable zeal, despatches the great business of life; and
so much the more happy, if his sun go down at noon. For the
space that is taken from the labours of time, shall be added to
the rewards of eternity. The son of Heli - That is, the son - in - law:
for Heli was the father of Mary. So St. Matthew writes the
genealogy of Joseph, descended from David by Solomon; St. Luke
that of Mary, descended from David by Nathan. In the genealogy
of Joseph (recited by St. Matthew) that of Mary is implied, the
Jews being accustomed to marry into their own families.
38: Adam the son of God - That is, whatever the sons of Adam
receive from their human parents, Adam received immediately
from God, except sin and misery.