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The Feast of Levi

Immediately upon His return to Capernaum He was Luke viii. 40-56.

surrounded by the multitude, -which had been waiting for Mark V. 21-43.

Him. Being invited by Matthew to a feast at his house, Mark ii. 15-22.

He there held conversation with some Pharisees, and Luke V. 29-39.

afterward with some of John's disciples. Whilst yet Matt. ix. 10-17.

speaking with them, came Jairus, a ruler of the syna- Matt. ix. 18-26.

gogue, praying for the healing of his daughter. As

Jesus was on His way to the house of Jairus, He heals

a woman with an issue of blood. A messenger meeting

Him announces the death of the girl, but He proceeds,

and, entering the house, restores her to life.

We may put His arrival at Capernaum about midday. The crowds that for several days had been following Him, were awaiting eagerly His return, and now gladly received Him. That the first event following this return was not the healing of the paralytic, which succeeds in the order of Matthew's narrative, (Matt. ix. 2,) appears from Mark (v. 21, 22) and Luke, (viii. 40, 41,) who both narrate the healing of the daughter of Jairus. Besides, we have seen that the healing of the paralytic is to be placed earlier, immediately after the Lord's return from His first circuit. (See Markii. 1-12.)

The grounds upon which the feast of Levi is placed immediately before the healing of the daughter of Jairus, are found in the statements of Matthew, (ix. 10-19.) From these we learn that Jairus came to Jesus while speaking to certain disciples of John: " While He spake these things unto them, behold, there came a certain ruler," &C1 Jairus " came in," as if into a bouse. It is said also, (v. 19,) " and Jesus arose and followed Him." These expressions most naturally refer back to the mention of the feast, (v. 10,) where it is said that " Jesus sat at meat in the house." To the house of Levi came Jairus, and from it Jesus went forth with him. That the conversation between Him and the Pharisees in regard to eating with publicans and sinners, took place at the same time is probable, though not certain. The language of Matthew, "And when the Pharisees saw it they said," &c, does not prove that they were present as spectators, or addressed their question to the disciples during the feast.

1 The received text has apx^v c\6ow; Tischendorf gives apx<*>v etaehOuy, so Meyer, Alford; Bleek, after Knapp, apx<av €ts €\Ba>y.

It may have been after the lapse of days, or even weeks. " The very circumstances related show that this remonstrance cannot have taken place at the feast. The Pharisees say the words to the disciples, our Lord hears it. This denotes an occasion when our Lord and the disciples were present, but not surely intermixed with the great crowd of publicans."1 ISTor does the language of Matthew, " Then came to Him the disciples of John," determine whether His conversation with them was at the same time and place. Alexander, who supposes that the Pharisees had intruded themselves upon Jesus while at the feast as spectators or spies, finds no ground for the presence at the same time of John's disciples. "It by no means follows from the consecution and connection of the narratives, even in Luke and Matthew, that the account of Matthew's feast is there continued ; while in Mark another instance of the same kind seems to be added, without any reference to the date of its occurrence."

Admitting that none of the Synoptists show conclusively that the Pharisees, or the disciples of the Baptist were present at Matthew's feast, still this is the impression which the narratives make upon us. We, therefore, place the events before us in the following order, as taking place upon the same day: Matthew's feast; conversation with the Pharisees ; conversation with the disciples of John ; coming of Jairus. It is plain from Mark (v. 21, 22) and Luke, (viii. 40, 41,) that the healing of the daughter of Jairus was after the return from Gadara; and we therefore put the feast of Matthew or Levi after the return.

1 Alford in loco ; Bleek, Synoptische Erklarung, i. 388.

As has been already said, there is nothing to show that Levi made the feast for Jesus upon the day when he was called to follow Him; and we suppose that a few days did elapse between them, during which several events occurred ; the plucking of the ears of corn ; the choice of apostles ; healing of the centurion's servant ; journey to Nain; return to Capernaum; visit to Gadara. Still, it is admitted that the coming of Jairus to Jesus may have been some time subsequent to the feast of Levi. It is not clear that the conversation with the Pharisees took place at the feast; or if it did so, that the conversation with John's disciples was at the same time; or if this was so, that Jairus came during this conversation

As there is much difference of opinion among harmonists, where this feast of Levi and related events should be placed, we give some of the more probable arrangements. And first, that which connects together the call of Levi; his feast; the conversation with the Pharisees and John's disciples ; and the coming of Jairus.

1st Arrangement.—The Lord teaches in parables; crosses the sea and heals the demoniacs at Gergesa; returns to Capernaum ; heals the paralytic; calls Matthew; attends Matthew's feast; heals the daughter of Jairus; chooses apostles, and delivers Sermon on the Mount.1 This order is open to the invincible objection that the teaching in parables precedes the Sermon on the Mount, and the choice of apostles.

2d Arrangement.—The Lord chooses apostles; teaches in parables ; crosses the sea and heals the demoniacs ; returns to Capernaum ; heals the paralytic; calls Matthew; attends his feast; heals the daughter of Jairus.2 But it is a strong objection against this order that the choice of Matthew as an apostle precedes his call to follow Christ.

Zd Arrangement.—This places the healing of the daughter of Jairus before the feast of Matthew.

1 Lichtenstein, Stier.

Jesus teaches in parables ; crosses the sea; returns from Gergesa; holds the conversation with John's disciples respecting fasting; heals the daughter of Jairus, the woman with an issue of blood, the blind, and the dumb possessed, and the paralytic borne of four ; He calls Matthew and attends his feast; He elects the ajDostles ; and delivers the Sermon on the Mount.1 Here the conversation with the disciples of John is placed earlier than the feast of Levi and the conversation with the Pharisees, and is connected with the coming of Jairus. This is open to the same objection as the first arrangement, that it puts the speaking in parables before the choice of the Twelve and the Sermon on the Mount.

4th Arrangement.—Jesus heals the paralytic ; He calls Matthew; attends his feast; holds a conversation with the Pharisees and John's disciples respecting fasting ; plucks the ears of corn; (passing over the intervening events) He crosses the lake and heals the demoniacs at Gergesa; returns to Capernaum and heals the daughter of Jairus.2 Here the coming of Jairus is separated from the conversation with John's disciples.

5 th Arrangement—Jesus heals the paralytic ; He calls Matthew; attends Matthew's feast; holds a conversation with the Pharisees, but not with John's disciples. Here follow many events, the choice of the Twelve ; Sermon on the Mount; teaching in parables ; healing of demoniacs at Gergesa. On his return from Gergesa He meets John's disciples, and holds the conversation respecting fasting; heals the daughter of Jairus. Here the conversation with John's disciples is connected with the coming of Jairus, but is separated from the conversation with the Pharisees. Of all those arrangements that connect the feast of Matthew immediately with his call, this seems the preferable one.

That order, however, which separates the feast from the call, and places the former directly after the return from Gergesa, thus bringing it into connection with the conversations with the Pharisees and with John's disciples, and with the healing of Jairus's daughter, seems to have most in its

favor.

* Ebrard. * Krafft.

The object of this feast, which was a great one, (Luke v. 29,) seems to have been both to honor the Lord, and to give Him an opportunity to meet in social intercourse many of Matthew's own class, the publicans and sinners. These plainly constituted the great body of invited guests; and for the Lord thus publicly to eat with them was a high mark of His regard for them, as it was also an open rebuke of Pharisaic self-righteousness. It seems, from the question of the Pharisees, " Why eateth your master with publicans and sinners ?" that this was the first instance of the kind which they had known. It is not probable that any Pharisees were invited, nor that they would have accepted an invitation had one been given them, but with oriental freedom on such occasions, may have come in as spectators; or the language " seeing Him eat," (Mark ii. 16,) may refer only to their knowledge of the fact, and not to their personal observation. We may suppose that some of John's disciples were present with the Pharisees, and thus the seeming discrepancy between Matt. ix. 14, and Luke v. 33, is easily explained, (see Mark ii. 18.) The mention of John's disciples at Capernaum is to be noted as showing that there were some there who did not follow Jesus, and their affinity with the Pharisees.

The selection of Peter, James, and John, to go with Him to the house of Jairus, is the first instance recorded of special preference of these three above the other nine apostles. It is hardly to be questioned that this selection was determined by the personal peculiarities of these three, that made them more ready than the others to understand the real meaning of Christ's words and works, and to sympathize with Him in His trials and griefs. But why they should have been selected to be present at this particular miracle is not apparent. It was not, according to the order which we follow, the first case of raising the dead; and therefore they were not present, as Trench supposes, on

this ground. But, unlike the raising of the widow's son at Nain, which was in public, before all the funeral procession, the Lord will here have no witnesses but His three apostles and the father and mother of the maiden. ISTor will He allow the wonderful work to be proclaimed abroad: " He charged them strictly that no man should know it." The grounds of these differences in the Lord's actings are probably beyond our knowledge, and cannot be explained.