And answered them, saying, Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the sabbath day?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Which of you shall have an ass or an ox . . .—The line of thought is all but identical with that of Luke 13:15. Here, as there, the outward features of Jewish life are the same as they had been in Exodus 20:17, and Isaiah 1:3. The “ox and the ass” are the beasts which common men use and value. The horse belongs to conquerors and kings. This is said with reference to the received text. Many of the best MSS., however, read, “Which of you shall have a son, or an ox . . .?” and, on the whole, this reading seems likely to be the true one. The familiar combination of the ox and the ass would naturally lead a transcriber to substitute ῠνος (ass) for ὑιός (son). There would be nothing to tempt any one to a change in the opposite direction.
And will not straightway pull him out.—The words appeal to the common action and natural impulse of men, but the casuistry of the Pharisees had, as a matter of fact, given a different answer. Food might be let down to the ox or ass, but no effort to pull him out was to be made till the Sabbath rest was over.Luke 14:5-6. And answered them — Accordingly, while the Pharisees were considering with themselves how to turn the miracle against him, he disconcerted them by proving the lawfulness of what he had done from their own practice. Which of you shall have an ass, &c., fallen into a pit on the sabbath day — Will you, for fear of breaking the sabbath, let it pass before ye attempt to draw the beast out? and not rather make all the haste you can to save its life, though it should cost you a great deal of work? But the labour of this cure was barely that Jesus laid his hand on the man. His argument, therefore, was what the grossest stupidity could not overlook, nor the most virulent malice contradict. Our Lord had used the same reasoning before, almost in the same words, when vindicating the cure of the man whose hand was withered, Matthew 12:14; and at another time had urged an argument in effect the same, with regard to the cure of the crooked woman, Luke 13:15. Which may serve, among a variety of other instances, to vindicate several repetitions which must be supposed, if we desire to assert the exact and circumstantial truth of the sacred historians. And they could not answer him again — What he said was so consonant to common sense, and common practice, that they had not a word to reply. They were much ashamed, therefore, and vexed at their disappointment, having gathered themselves together, and invited him in with a design to insnare him.Matthew 12:11.See Poole on "Luke 14:1"
which of you shall have an ass, or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the sabbath day? being just ready to be drowned there; and therefore it must be much more right and necessary to cure a man, a reasonable creature, just drowning with a dropsy, as this man was. The Syriac and Persic versions, instead of "an ass", read "a son", very wrongly: a like kind of reasoning is used by Christ, in See Gill on Matthew 12:11, Luke 13:15.And answered them, saying, Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the sabbath day?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Luke 14:5. τίνος ὑμῶν, etc.: an awkward Hebraistic construction for τίς ὑμῶν οὗ, etc.—υἱὸς ἢ βοῦς, a son or (even) an ox, in either case, certainly in the former, natural instinct would be too strong for artificial Sabbatic rules.—φρέαρ, a well, or cistern, an illustration as apt to the nature of the malady as that of the ox loosed from the stall in Luke 13:15 (Godet).—εὐθέως, at once, unhesitatingly, without thought of Sabbath rules. The emphasis lies on this word.5. an ass or an ox] The unquestionable reading if we are to follow the MSS. is ‘a son or an ox.’ The strangeness of the collocation (which however may be taken to imply ‘a son—nay even an ox’) has led to the conjectural emendation of huios into ois ‘a sheep’ (whence the reading probaton ‘a sheep’ in D) or onos ‘an ass’ which was suggested by Deuteronomy 22:4. When however it is a question between two readings it is an almost invariable rule that the more difficult is to be preferred as the more likely to have been tampered with. Further (i) Scripture never has “ass and ox” but always “ox and ass and (ii) “son” is a probable allusion to Exodus 23:12, “thine ox and thine ass and the son of thine handmaid shall rest on the sabbath,” and (iii) the collocation ‘son and ox’ is actually found in some Rabbinic parallels. If it be said that ‘a son falling into a well’ is an unusual incident, the answer seems to be that it may be an allusion to the man’s disease (dropsy=the watery disease); also that pits and wells are so common and often so unprotected in Palestine that the incident must have been less rare than it is among us.
straightway pull him out] although the Sabbath labour thus involved would be considerable. And why would they do this? because they had been taught, and in their better mind distinctly felt, that mercy was above the ceremonial law (Deuteronomy 22:4). An instance which had happened not many years before shews how completely they were blinding and stultifying their own better instincts in their Sabbath quibblings against our Lord. When Hillel—then a poor porter—had been found half-frozen under masses of snow in the window of the lecture-room of Shemaiah and Abtalion where he had hidden himself to profit by their wisdom because he had been unable to earn the small fee for entrance, they had rubbed and resuscitated him though it was the Sabbath day, and had said that he was one for whose sake it was well worth while to break the Sabbath.Luke 14:5. Ἀνασπάσει, will pull out) with much toil.Verse 5. - And answered them, saying, Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the sabbath day? Most of the older authorities here, instead of" an ass or an ox," read "a son or an ox." The difference here in the reading without doubt arises from the perplexity which was felt in very early days over the strangeness of the collocation of "a son and an ox." This is the reading, however, which, according to all the acknowledged principles of criticism, we must consider the true one. The meaning is clear. "If thy son, or even, to take a very different comparison, thy ox, were to fall into a pit, wouldn't you," etc.? How the sophistries of the scribes and the perplexing traditions of the Jerusalem rabbis on their sabbath restrictions must have been torn asunder by the act of mercy and power performed, and the words of Divine wisdom spoken by the Physician-Teacher of Galilee! The noble instincts even of the jealous Pharisees must have been for a moment stirred. Even they, at times, rose above the dreary, lightless teaching with which the rabbinical schools had so marred the old Divine Law. Dr. Farrar quotes a traditional instance of this. "When Hillel" - afterwards the great rabbi and head of the famous school which bore his name - "then a poor porter, had been found half-frozen under masses of snow in the window of the lecture-room of Shemaiah and Abtation, where he had hidden himself, to profit by their wisdom, because he had been unable to earn the small fee for entrance, they had rubbed and resuscitated him, though it was the sabbath day, and had said that he was one for whose sake it was well worth while to break the sabbath."
The primary meaning is a well as distinguished from a fountain.
More correctly up (ἀνά).
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