Now when the Pharisee, which had bidden him, saw it
Simon, who had invited Christ to eat with him, when he saw what was done by the woman, how she stood at his feet, and washed them with her tears, and wiped them with her hairs, and then kissed and anointed them:
he spoke within himself;
not openly and publicly, being in good manners, though not in real respect to Christ, unwilling to affront his guest; but turned these things over in his mind, and reasoned upon them within himself:
saying, this man, if he were a prophet;
as he was said, and believed to be by many, but questioned by this Pharisee:
would have known who and what manner of woman this is, that toucheth
he took it for granted that Christ did not know this woman personally, that she was one of the city; nor her character, or "what" was "her fame", as the Syriac version renders it, which was very ill; or "her condition", as the Arabic version, she being not a religious person, but a notorious lewd one: this he concluded, from his admitting her to such nearness to him, and familiarity with him; and from hence argues within himself, that he could not be a prophet; since, according to his notion of a prophet, he must know persons and their characters; though this was not always requisite in a prophet, nor did the prophetic gift at all times show itself in this way: however, this man reasoned upon the commonly received notions of the Pharisees, both of the Messiah, the prophet that Moses said should come, and of their own conduct, and of all religious men: their notion with respect to the Messiah was, that he should be of so quick an understanding, or smell, as in ( Isaiah 11:3 ) that he should know at once who was a wicked person, and who not.
``Bar Coziba (they say F23) reigned two years and a half; he said to, the Rabbans, I am the Messiah; they replied to him, it is written of the Messiah, ( Isaiah 11:3 ) that he smells, or is of quick understanding and judges (the gloss on it is, he smells on a man, and judges and knows, (byyhh ym) , "who is a wicked man"): let us see whether he smells and judges; and when they saw that he did not smell and judge, they killed him.''But Jesus, the true Messiah, could do so; he knew who were sinners, he knew this woman to be one, as the following account shows: and their notion with respect to the conduct of religious persons towards the common people, and those of a bad character, and which the Pharisee here suggests, was, that the touch of such persons was defiling, and therefore to be avoided: for they say F24, that
``the Pharisees, if they touched the garments of the common people, they were defiled.''
And therefore when they walked in the streets,
``they walked in the sides (of the ways), that they might not be defiled, (egmb) , "by the touch" of the common people F25''For she is a sinner;
a notorious one; or "that she is a sinner"; and the sense is, Christ, had he been a prophet, the Pharisee intimates, would have known that this woman was a vile creature; and he would have shown it; by his abhorrence and rejection of her; or as the Persic version adds, "would have declared her sins".
F23 T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 93. 9.
F24 Maimon. in Misn. Chagiga, c. 2. sect. 7.
F25 Ib. Hilchot Abot Hatumaot, c. 13. sect. 8.