Ye fools, and blind
This is very justly repeated, since this is no less an instance of their folly, blindness, and stupidity. In three copies of Beza's the word "fools" is not; nor is it in the Vulgate Latin, nor in Munster's Hebrew Gospel; but the Syriac, Arabic, Persic, and Ethiopic versions have it:
for whether is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth the
The gift, or offering, before it was devoted to sacred use, and brought, and laid upon the altar, was common, had no ceremonial sanctity in it, and might be put to any use; but when it was brought, and laid upon the altar, it became holy; for, according to the law, whatever touched the altar, and indeed all, or any of the vessels of the sanctuary, was holy, ( Exodus 29:37 ) ( 30:29 ) . Christ speaks the sense of the law, and their own traditions, and in their own language, and argues from the same to the confutation of them: (vdqm xbzmx) , "the altar", they say F21, "sanctifies" that which is fit for it; that is, that which is proper to be offered up upon it:
``as the altar sanctifies that which is fit for it, so the ascent unto it sanctifies; and as the altar, and the ascent, sanctify what is fit for them, so the vessels sanctify; the vessels for liquids sanctify the liquids, and the dry measures sanctify the dry; the vessels for liquids do not sanctify the dry, nor the dry measures sanctify the liquids; the holy vessels, which are bored, (or broken,) when they do the service they used to do, when whole, sanctify, if not, they do not sanctify; nor does anything sanctify but in the sanctuary.''Now, since this is a clear case, that the altar sanctifies the gift, and not the gift the altar, our Lord's question is, which is the greater? A man that has the least share of common sense will easily see, that the altar must be the greater: wherefore these scribes and Pharisees must be wretchedly stupid to give out, that an oath made by the altar was not binding, when one that was made by the gift, or Korban,
was binding; seeing the gift, or offering, received its sanctity from the altar: hence, of the two, an oath made by the altar should be more sacred and obligatory than one made by the gift.
F21 Misn. Zebachim, c. 9. sect. 7.