And it came to pass in those days
When Christ was teaching by the lake of Gennesaret, or in one or other of the cities of Galilee near that place:
that he went out;
of the synagogue and city where he had been:
into a mountain to pray;
for the sake of solitude, and which lay near the sea of Tiberias; (See Gill on Matthew 14:23).
and continued all night in prayer to God;
or "with" God, as the Ethiopic version renders it; or "in the prayer of God" as the phrase may be literally rendered; not in a prayer of God's making; though the Jews F13 sometimes speak of the prayer of God, and give us a form of it: but either this respects the object of his prayer; it was made to God, as our translation suggests; or the nature, matter, and manner of it: it was a divine prayer, it regarded divine things, and was put up in a very fervent manner, and with great vehemence; so the coals of love or jealousy are said to be "coals of fire, which hath (hy tbhlv) , the flame of Jehovah"; that is as we render it, "a most vehement flame", ( Song of Solomon 8:6 ) In like manner, "prayer of God" is a most vehement prayer; strong cries sent up to God with great eagerness and importunity, fervency, and devotion; and such was Christ's prayer, and in which he continued all night: unless by the prayer of God should be meant, as is thought by many, an house of prayer to God, in which Christ lodged all night, and spent it in prayer to God in it. Certain it is, the Jews had their "proseuchre", or prayer houses. Philo the Jew
F14 often speaks of them, and so does Josephus F15; and there seems to be mention made of them in the Talmudic writings: when R. Jochanan ben Zaccai came to Vespasian, in his camp before Jerusalem, Vespasian asked him, what he should give him? he replied F16,
``I desire nothing of thee but this "Jabneh", (a famous university,) that I may teach in it the disciples, and fix in it (hlpt) , "an oratory", or "prayer house", and do in it, all the commandments said in the law.''And in another place F17,
``R. Judah says, that Samuel said it is free for a man to make water within four cubits, (hlypt lv) , which I should choose to render, "of the proseucha", or "prayer house":''though the Gemarists afterwards, and so the gloss seem to explain it of the time after prayer, in which a man should wait before he evacuates, even as long as he might go the length of four cubits. Juvenal F18 has reference to one of these oratories, when he says, "in qua te qucero proseucha?" and in one of these, it is very likely, Christ was in prayer all night long; for by the sea side, and by the side of rivers, these oratories were used to be; ( Acts 16:13 Acts 16:16 ) .
F13 T. Bab. Beracot, fol. 7. 1. Bereshit Rabba, sect. 56, fol. 50. 2.
F14 De Vita Mosis, l. 3. p. 685. in Flaccum, p. 971, 972, 982. leg. ad Caium. p. 1011, 1012, 1013, 1014, 1016, 1040, 1043.
F15 In Vita.
F16 Abot R. Nathan, c. 4. fol. 2. 4.
F17 T. Bab. Megilia, fol. 27. 2.
F18 Satyr. 3. l. 295.