And when he heard of Jesus
That he was come, as the Ethiopic version adds, into the city of Capernaum; or of his miracles, which he had done there, and elsewhere:
he sent unto him the elders of the Jews:
in whom he had an interest, judging himself, being a Gentile, very unworthy and unfit to go himself, and ask a favour of so great a person as Christ was, such was his modesty and humility. These elders he sent, were not the more ancient inhabitants of the city, called (Urah Me ynqz) , "the elders of, or among the common people", as distinguished from (hrwt ynqz) , "the elders of the law", or those that were old in knowledge; of both which it is said by R. Simeon ben Achasia F13, that
``the elders of the common people, when they grow old, their knowledge fails in them, as it is said, ( John 12:20 ) but so it is not with the "elders of the law"; but when they grow old, their knowledge rests in them, as it is said, ( Job 12:12 ) .''But these were either some principal officers of the city, called the elders of the people elsewhere; particularly, who were members of the sanhedrim; for as elders, when they design the elders in Jerusalem, mean the great sanhedrim F14 there; so elders, in other places, intend the sanhedrim, consisting of twenty one persons, or the bench of three; and such were these, the centurion sent to Christ:
beseeching him that he would come and heal his servant:
he besought him most earnestly by these messengers, that he would come to his house, and cure his servant of the palsy, by laying his hands on him, or commanding the distemper off, by a word speaking; or in what way he should think fit, for he made no doubt that he was able to heal him.
F13 Misn. Kenim, c. 3. sect. 6.
F14 T. Hieros. Sota, fol. 23. 3.