Luke 7:14
And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise.
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(14) He came and touched the bier.—The noun so translated is used by classical authors in various senses. Here the facts make it clear that it was after the Jewish manner of burial. It was not a closed-up coffin, like the mummy-cases of Egypt, but an open bier on which the corpse lay wrapped up in its winding-sheet and swathing bands, as in the description of the entombment of Lazarus (John 11:44) and of our Lord (John 20:6-7), with the sudarium, the napkin or handkerchief, laid lightly over the face. The immediate effect of the touch was that they who bore the bier “stood still.” They must have marvelled, that One who was known as a Teacher should touch that which most Rabbis would have avoided as bringing pollution, and their halting in their solemn march implied, perhaps, both awe, and faith that the touch could not be unmeaning.

7:11-18 When the Lord saw the poor widow following her son to the grave, he had compassion on her. See Christ's power over death itself. The gospel call to all people, to young people particularly, is, Arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light and life. When Christ put life into him, it appeared by the youth's sitting up. Have we grace from Christ? Let us show it. He began to speak: whenever Christ gives us spiritual life, he opens the lips in prayer and praise. When dead souls are raised to spiritual life, by Divine power going with the gospel, we must glorify God, and look upon it as a gracious visit to his people. Let us seek for such an interest in our compassionate Saviour, that we may look forward with joy to the time when the Redeemer's voice shall call forth all that are in their graves. May we be called to the resurrection of life, not to that of damnation.The gate of the city - Cities were surrounded by walls, to defend them from their enemies. They were entered through "gates" placed at convenient distances from each other. In most cities it was not allowed to bury the dead within the walls; hence, they were carried to some convenient burial-place in the vicinity of the city.

A dead man carried out - A funeral procession. Anciently no Jews were buried within the walls of the city, except the kings and distinguished persons, 1 Samuel 28:3; 2 Kings 21:18. The custom of burying within cities, and especially within the walls of churches or in their vicinity, had its origin among Christians very early; yet perhaps few customs are more deleterious to health than burials within large cities, especially within the walls of frequented buildings. The effluvia from dead bodies is excessively unwholesome. Burial-places should be in situations of retirement, far from the tread of the happy and busy world, where all the feelings may be still and calm, and where there can be no injury to health from the mouldering bodies of the dead.

14, 15. What mingled majesty and grace shines in this scene! The Resurrection and the Life in human flesh, with a word of command, bringing back life to the dead body; Incarnate Compassion summoning its absolute power to dry a widow's tears! See Poole on "Luke 7:1"

And he came and touched the bier,.... Or "bed", as the Syriac version renders it; and such was "the bier", or bed, on which one of three years old, and upward, was carried as above mentioned: so that on which Herod was carried to his grave is called "a bed", by Josephus (y). As for the bed, or bier, of what sort it was that they carried out their dead upon, take the following account: (z).

"formerly the rich carried out (their dead) upon a bed called Dargash, (which is said (a) to be a bed that was not platted with ropes, and is called a bed of fortune (b),) and the poor carried out (their dead) upon one that was called Celicah, (or Celibah, as sometimes read; and this was made in the form of an iron horn, on which they bound the corpse, that it might not fall; and it was called so, because it was made like a coup of birds (c) as the word is used in Jeremiah 5:27) and the poor, were made ashamed; and therefore they ordered that all should carry out (their dead) on a Celicah, for the honour of the poor.''

To this Christ came near and touched: not that by his touching of that, the dead should be raised; but this he did as a signal, that the bearers should stop. The Jews (d) say, one of the charges that Jacob gave to his sons before his death, was, to:

"take care (says he) that no uncircumcised person, touch my bed, or "bier", lest the Shekinah remove from me; but, according to this order, do unto me, carry me, three on the north, three on the south, three on the east, and three on the west, &c.''

From whence it should seem, that a circumcised person, as Christ was, might touch a bier without offence, or hurt, and without contracting any ceremonial pollution: to touch a dead body, or the bone of man, or a grave, was forbidden by the law, Numbers 19:16 and so, according to the traditions of the elders (e), the stone that was rolled at the mouth of the sepulchre, and the, side of the sepulchre, defiled by touching; but I do not find that touching a bier was ever forbidden.

And they that bare him stood still: these are they that are called "the bearers of the bed", or "bier": and Maimonides (f) says,

"they carry the dead upon their shoulders to the grave; and the bearers of the bier are forbidden to put on their sandals, lest the latchet of any one of them should fail, and should be found to hinder him doing his duty.''

And elsewhere it is said (g),

"the bearers of the bed, or bier, and their deputies, and their deputies' deputies, both before the bier and after it, find whoever the bier stood in need of, were free;''

i.e. from reading the Shema, or, "hear, O Israel", &c. and from prayer: the reason of their having so many bearers was, because they carried the dead a great way to be buried. King Herod was carried after this manner two hundred furlongs from Jerusalem, to the castle of Herodion (h):

and he said, young man, I say unto thee, arise. The Ethiopic version adds, "and he arose": Christ spoke as one that had the keys of death and the grave; and divine power went along with his words, which raised the dead man to life; and full proof this is of the true and proper deity of Christ.

(y) De Bello Jud. l. 1. c. 33. sect. 11. (z) T. Bab. Moed Katon, fol. 27. 1, 2.((a) T. Hieros. Beracot, fol. 5. 4. (b) T. Bab. Nedarim, fol. 56. 2.((c) R. Sampson & Bartenora in Misn. Para, c. 12. sect. 9. (d) Bereshit Rabba, sect. 100. fol. 87. 4. (e) Misn. Oholot, c. 2. sect. 4. (f) Hilchot. Ebel, c. 4. sect. 2. 3. (g) Misn. Beracot, c. 3. sect. 1.((h) Josephus, ut supra. (De Bello Jud. l. 1. c. 33. sect. 11.)

And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise.
Luke 7:14. σοροῦ, the bier (here only in N. T.), probably an open coffin, originally an urn for keeping the bones of the dead.—ἔστησαν: those who carried the coffin stood, taking the touch of Jesus as a sign that He wished this.

14. touched the bier] Rather, ‘the coffin.’ Here again, as in the case of the leper (Luke 5:12), our Lord sacrificed the mere Levitical ceremonialism, with its rules about uncleanness, to a higher law. Jewish coffins were open, so that the form of the dead was visible.

Arise] Probably the single monosyllable Kum! Compare Luke 8:54; John 11:43; Acts 9:40. How unlike the passionate tentative struggles of Elijah (1 Kings 17:21) and Elisha (2 Kings 4:35)!

Luke 7:14. Ἣψατο, touched) A touch full of power.—σοροῦ, the bier) on which the youth seems to have been laid, rather than shut into [as in a coffin].—βαστάζοντες, the bearers) expecting help.—νεανίσκε, young man) Jesus knew that the youth who had died was not a daughter, but a son. He employed in such addresses, either the appellative, Mark 5:41, or else a proper name, John 11:43.—σοὶ λεγω, I say to thee) to thee, not as yet [as I shall at the general resurrection] to the other men.

Verse 14. - And he came and touched the bier. The young man was about to be buried in the Jewish manner, which differed from the Egyptian custom. The corpse was not laid in a coffin or mummy-case, but simply on an open bier, on which the dead lay wrapped in folds of linen; so Lazarus was buried at Bethany, and our Lord in his rock-tomb in Joseph of Arimathaea's garden. A napkin, or sudarium, was lightly laid over the face. It was pollution for the living to touch the bier on which a corpse was lying. The bearers, in their amazement that one so generally respected and admired as was Jesus, the Teacher of Nazareth, at this period of his career, should commit so strange an act, would naturally at once stand still to see what next would happen. Young man, I say unto thee, Arise. The Lord of life performed his miracle over death in a very different fashion to those great ones who, in some respects, had anticipated or followed him in these strange deeds of wonder. Before they recalled the dead to life, Elijah mourned long over the sea of the widow of Sarepta, Elisha repeatedly stretched himself as he agonized in prayer upon the lifeless corpse of the Shunammite boy, Peter prayed very earnestly over the body of Dorcas at Lydda. The Master, with one solitary word, brings the spirit from its mysterious habitation back to its old earthly tenement - "K;m!" "Arise!" St. Augustine has a beautiful comment on the three miracles of raising the dead related in the Gospels. He has been saying that all our Lord's works of mercy to the body have a spiritual reference to the soul; he then proceeds to consider them "as illustrations of Christ's Divine power and love in raising the soul, dead in trespasses and sins, from every kind of spiritual death, whether the soul be dead, but not yet carried out, like the daughter of Jairus; or dead and carried out, but not buried, like the widow's son; or dead, carried, and buried, like Lazarus. He who raised himself from the dead can raise all from the death of sin. Therefore let no one despair" (St. Augustine, 'Sermon' 98, quoted by Bishop Wordsworth). Godet has a curious and interesting note on what he calls a difficulty peculiar to the miracle, owing to the absence of all moral receptivity in the subject of it. "Lazarus was a believer. In the case of the daughter of Jairus, the faith of the parents to a certain extent supplied the place of her personal faith. But here there is nothing of the kind. The only receptive element that can be imagined is the ardent desire of life with which this young man, the only sea of a widowed mother, had doubtless yielded his last breath; and this indeed is sufficient, for it follows from this that Jesus did not dispose of him arbitrarily." Luke 7:14Touched

Not fearing the ceremonial defilement of contact with the dead.

The bier (σορός)

In classical Greek, originally, of a vessel for holding anything: sometimes of a cinerary urn. Here the open bier. Edersheim says "of wicker-work."

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