And it came to pass as he spoke these things
That is, as Christ spoke, or "had finished these sayings", as the Persic version expresses it, before related, in vindication of himself and his miracles, from the blasphemy of the Scribes and Pharisees to their entire confusion, and had delivered the above parable concerning the unclean spirit, which had a particular regard to them: a certain woman of the company:
observing the miracle he had wrought, in casting out a devil, and being affected with his discourse, in which he so fully cleared himself, and so strongly confuted his enemies, and set them forth in so just a light: lift up her voice, and said unto him,
aloud, in the hearing of all the people, and with great earnestness and fervour: blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast
whether this woman personally knew Mary, the mother of Christ, is not certain; it may be that she was now present, or at least not far off; and this woman hearing that she, with the brethren of Christ, were without, and desired to speak with him, might be the occasion of her uttering these words; ( Matthew 12:46 ) though they are said not so much in praise, and to the honour of Mary, as in commendation of Christ, from whom, and for the sake of bearing and suckling so great a person, she was denominated blessed as before, both by the angel and Elisabeth, ( luke 1:28 luke 1:42 ) This was a form of blessing among the Jews: so it is said F19 of R. Joshuah ben Chananiah, a disciple of R. Jochanan ben Zaccai, who lived about these times, (wtdlwy yrva) , "blessed is she that bore him": and they had also a form of cursing among them, much after the same manner, as (qnyya Nkd azyb jyl) , "cursed be the paps that suckled him" F20. The Jews, in their blasphemous rage against Christ, and all that belong to him, say of Mary, the daughter of Eli, by whom they seem to design the mother of our Lord, that she hangs in the shades by the fibres of her paps F21 but this woman had a different opinion of her.
F19 Pirke Abot, c. 2. sect. 8.
F20 T. Hieros. Celaim, fol. 27. 2. Bereshit Rabba, sect. 5. fol. 5. 1.
F21 T. Hieros. Chagiga, fol. 77. 4. & Sanhedrin, fol. 23. 3.