Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it gives light to all that are in the house.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Light a candle.—The word so rendered was probably a portable lamp rather than a candle in the common meaning of the word. The candles of the seven-branched candlestick of the Temple were undoubtedly lamps supplied with oil, and so probably were the “candles” of household use. The word is not the same, however, as that used for the “lamps” of the Wise and Foolish Virgins (Matthew 25:1), and was applied apparently to the cheaper vessels of the poor rather than to those of the wealthy. Wiclif translates it “lantern.”
The image was drawn from objects familiar to all the hearers, and the presence of the article in the Greek, “under the bushel,” “on the candlestick or lamp-stand,” implies the familiarity. Each cottage had one such article of furniture. The “bushel” was a Latin measure, nearly the same as the English peck. It adds to the interest of the illustration to remember that as they were commonly of wood, such articles as these must often have been turned out from the carpenter’s shop at Nazareth for the use of its neighbours. It should also be remembered that the self-same word had been applied a short time before by our Lord to the Baptist (John 5:35). His disciples were in this way to continue the Baptist’s work.Mark 4:21; Luke 8:16; Luke 12:35. Jesus proceeded here to show them that the very reason why they were enlightened was that others might also see the light, and be benefited by it. When people light a candle, they do not conceal the light, but place it where it may be of use. So it is with religion. It is given that we may benefit others. It is not to be concealed, but suffered to show itself, and to shed light on a surrounding wicked world.
and put it under a bushel—a dry measure.
but on a candlestick—rather, "under the bushel, but on the lampstand." The article is inserted in both cases to express the familiarity of everyone with those household utensils.
and it giveth light—shineth "unto all that are in the house."he was a burning and shining light: so is every true minister of the gospel, yea, and every true Christian; not only a burning light, burning with love to God, and zeal for God, and love to and zeal for the souls of others; but also a shining light, communicating his light to others, both by instruction and a holy conversation. Others’ pretended candles were never of God’s lighting.
put it under a bushel, or anything which may hide and cover it, and so hinder its light and usefulness. The Greek word rendered a "bushel", answers to the Hebrew "seah", which is the very word used in Munster's Hebrew Gospel; and this was a dry measure that held about a gallon and a half; and accordingly is rendered here by the Syriac The design of the expression is, that Christ has lighted the candle of the everlasting Gospel, and given gifts to men for the ministration of it, not to be concealed and neglected, or to be used as the servant did his lord's money, wrap it up in a napkin, and hide it in the earth. Ministers are not, through slothfulness, to neglect the gift that is in them; nor, through fear, to hide their talents, or keep back any part of the Gospel, or cover anything out of sight, which may be profitable to souls: "but" men, when they light a candle, put it
on a candlestick, and it giveth light to all that are in the house; as on the candlestick in the temple, a type of the church; where Christ has set the light of the Gospel, where it is held forth particularly by the ministers of the word, to illuminate the whole house and family of God; by the light of which poor sinners, the lost pieces of silver, are looked up; straggling souls are brought home; hypocrites and formalists are detected; and saints are enlightened, directed, and comforted. Much such a proverbial saying is used by the Jews (r):
"do not leave a vessel of balsam in a dunghill, but move it from its place, that its smell may spread, and men may receive profit from it.''Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Matthew 5:15. Ὑπὸ τὸν μόδιον] Fulgentius, Matthew 3:6 : “lucernamque modio contegit.” The article denotes the grain measure that is at hand in the house. On μόδιος, comp. Plut. Demetr. 33. It was one-sixth of the μέδιμνος, the μέδιμνος, according to Boeckh, 2602 Paris cubic inches [nearly 12 gallons English]. What Hebrew measure did Jesus mention? most probably מְאָה, as in Mark 13:33.
The καί is the consecutivum: and, and thus, that is, placed upon the candlestick; comp. Matthew 4:19; Maetzner, ad Lycurgum, p. 253. On the lamps which were in domestic use, and the candlesticks upon which they were placed, see as regards the Greeks, Hermann, Privatalterth. Matthew 20:23; Becker, Charikl. II. p. 214 ff.; as to the Greek expression λυχνία, Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 313.Matthew 5:15. A parabolic word pointing out that such a policy in the natural sphere is unheard of and absurd.—καίουσι, to kindle, accendere, ordinarily neuter = urere; not as Beza thought, a Hebraism; examples occur in late Greek authors (vide Kypke, Obser. Sac.). The figure is taken from lowly cottage life. There was a projecting stone in the wall on which the lamp was set. The house consisted of a single room, so that the tiny light sufficed for all. It might now and then be placed under the modius, an earthenware grain measure, or under the bed (Mark 4:21), high to keep clear of serpents, therefore without danger of setting it on fire (Koetsveld, De Gelijkenissen, p. 305). But that would be the exception, not the rule—done occasionally for special reasons, perhaps during the hours of sleep. Schanz says the lamp burned all night, and that when they wanted darkness they put it on the floor and covered it with the “bushel”. Tholuck also thinks people might cover the light when they wished to keep it burning, when they had occasion to leave the room for a time. Weiss, on the other hand, thinks it would be put under a cover only when they wished to put it out (Matt.-Evan., p. 144). But was it ever put out? Not so, according to Benzinger (Heb. Arch., p. 124).15. a bushel] Rather, the bushel, i. e. the common measure found in every Jewish house. Strictly speaking, the modius, translated “bushel,” denoted a smaller measure equal to about two gallons.
candle … candlestick …] Or rather, lamp … lampstand. The lamp in a Jewish house was not set on a table, but on a tall pedestal or stand, sometimes made with a sliding shaft.
all that are in the house] i. e. the Jews. St Luke, true to the character of his gospel, says “that they which enter in,” i. e. the Gentiles, “may see the light.”Matthew 5:15. Καίουσι, do they light) Impersonal. οἱ καίοντες, those who light must be understood, cf. Matthew 7:16.—ὑπὸ, under) i.e. behind. In Luke 8:16, we find ὑποκάτω, underneath.Verse 15. - Neither do men light a candle, etc. The same illustration comes in Luke 8:16 (Mark 4:21), immediately after the parable of the sower, and again in Luke 11:33, immediately after the reference to the repentance of the men of Nineveh at the preaching of Jonah. All four passages have too much verbal similarity to admit of any of them being absolutely independent. Mark 4:21 has the greatest number of peculiarities. The two passages in Luke agree very closely with each other, but of the two, Luke 11:33 most resembles Matthew. The close agreement here with the context seems to point to this being an original position of the utterance. Of the other two contexts Luke 11:33, if we must choose, seems the more natural. Godet, however, says, "This passage has been placed in the sermon on the mount, like so many others, rather because of the association of ideas than from historical reminiscence" (similarly Weiss). Neither. The inherent position, so to speak, of Christ's disciples, as of a city set on a mountain, is not accidental. It answers to the purpose of their being disciples, as is explained further by the illustration of a lamp. A candle; Revised Version, a lamp (λύχνον); i.e. the flat, saucer-like Eastern lamp, in which sometimes the wick merely floats on the oil A bushel... a candlestick; Revised Version, the bushel... the stand (τὸν μόδιον... τὴν λυχνίαν). Probably rightly, for if the article had been generic (cf. Mishna, 'Sabb.,' 4:2, "One may fill a pitcher [literally, 'the pitcher,' את הקיתון]. and put it under, a [literally, 'the'] pillow, or under a [literally, the] bolster [on the sabbath in order to take the chill off it]," W.H. Lowe, 'Fragment of Pesachim,' 1879, p. 95; cf. also Driver on 1 Samuel 19:13) it would have been found also before λύχνον. "The description applies to the common houses of the people. In each there was one principal room, in which they ate and slept; the lampstand, with its single light, the flour-bin, and the bed, with a few seats, were all its furniture" (Cook, in 'Speaker's Commentary,' on Mark 4:21 ). A bushel (τὸν μόδιον). This is probably equivalent to the seah (so Peshito), which was "the ordinary measure for domestic purposes," and, as slated in the margins of the Authorized and the Revised Versions on Matthew 13:33, held "nearly a peck and a half" dry measure. The Latin modius, here used to render scab, itself held nearly a peck. In Luke 8:16 the vaguer term δκεῦος is used. "Bushel" is retained in the Revised Version probably because it can be used of the vessel apart from all thought of measure; cf. "The Sense represents the Sun no bigger than a Bushel" (Hale , in Murray's 'Oxford Dictionary'). But on a candlestick; Revised Version, but on the stand (ἐπὶ τὴν λυχνίαν); Vulgate, from Old Latin, Neque accendunt lucernam et possunt cam sub modio sed super candelabrum. Candelabrum (cf. "chandelier") meant a stand for either candles or lamps; hence Wickliffe, translating from the Vulgate, could say, "Ne me[n] teen-dith not a lanterne & puttith it vndir a buyschel: but on a candilstik." We still use "candlestick" in the rarer sense when we speak of the seven-branched "candlestick" of the tabernacle, which was lighted by lamps, not candies (cf. Humphry, on Revised Version, in loc.). It giveth Light; Revised Version, it shineth (λάμπει). The Rheims alone of the older English versions renders" shine," thus showing that the same Greek word is used as in the next verse. The Vulgate (followed by Wickliffe and Rheims) renders it in the subjunctive, ut lucent, possibly originally a copyist's error from the luceat of ver. 16. If so, it was apparently made before the time of Tertullian ('De Prescript.,' § 26). The thought is stir primarily of the light itself being necessarily seen rather than of its benefiting others (φωτίζω, Luke 11:36; cf. John 1:9). To all. For in a room none can help noticing it, even though the lamp and the light itself be but small. The negative of this verse is given in Pseudo-Cyprian, 'De Aleat.,' 3, "Monet dominus et dicit: nolite contris tare Spiritum Sanctum, qui in vobis est, et nolite exstinguere lumen, quod in vobis efful sit" (vide Resch, 'Agrapha,' pp. 111, 215).
Rev., rightly, "the bushel;" since the definite article is designed to indicate a familiar object - the grain-measure which is found in every house.
A candlestick (τὴν λυχνίαν)
Rev., the stand. Also a part of the furniture of every house, and commonly but one in the house: hence the article. The word, which occurs four times in the Gospels and eight times elsewhere, means, in every ease, not a candlestick, but a lamp-stand. In Hebrews 9:2, the golden "candlestick" of the tabernacle is called λυχνία; but in the description of this article (Exodus 25:31, Exodus 25:39), we read, "Thou shalt make the seven lamps thereof;" and in Zechariah 4:2, where the imagery is drawn from the sanctuary, we have a "candlestick" with a bowl on the top of it, "and his seven lamps thereon, and seven pipes (for the oil) to the lamps which are upon the top thereof."
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