Matthew 4:18

Matthew 4:18

And Jesus walking by the sea of Galilee
Not for his recreation and diversion, or by accident: but on purpose to look out for, and call some, whom he had chosen to be his disciples. And as he was walking about, to and fro, he "saw two" persons; and as soon as he saw them, he knew them to be those he had determined to make his apostles: and these are described by their relation to each other, "brethren"; not merely because they were of the same nation, or of the same religion, or of the same employ and business of life, but because they were of the same blood; and by their names, "Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother". Simon is the same name with (Nwemv) , "Simeon"; and so he is called, ( Acts 15:14 ) and which, in the Jerusalem dialect, is read (Nwmyo) , "Simon". His surname "Peter", which was afterwards given him by Christ, ( Matthew 16:18 ) ( John 1:42 ) is Greek, and answers to "Cephas", signifying a "rock": though this name is to be met with in the Talmudic F4 writings, where we read of R. Jose, (orjyp rb) , "bar Petros". This his surname is added here, to distinguish him from Simon, the Canaanite. The name of his brother Andrew is generally thought to be Greek; though some have derived it from (rdn) , "to vow", and is also to be observed in the writings of the Jews F5; where mention is made of R. Chanina, (yyrdna rb) bar Andrei. They are further described by the work they were at, or business they were employed in,

casting a net into the sea;
either in order to catch fish in it, or to wash it, ( Luke 5:2 ) and the reason of their so doing is added; "for they were fishers". Of this mean employment were the very first persons Christ was pleased to call to the work of the ministry; men of no education, who made no figure in life, but were despicable and contemptible: this he did, to make it appear, that they were not qualified for such service of themselves; that all their gifts and qualifications were from him; to show his own power; to confound the wisdom of the wise; and to let men see, that none ought to glory in themselves, but in him. The Jews have a notion of the word of God and prophecy being received and embraced only by such sort of persons: says R. Isaac Arama F6,

``his word came to heal all, but some particular persons only receive it; and who of all men are of a dull under standing, (Myh ydbe Mygyyd) , "fishermen, who do business in the sea": this is what is written; "they that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters, these see the works of the Lord": these seem not indeed fit to receive anything that belongs to the understanding, because of their dulness; and yet these receive the truth of prophecy and vision, because they believe his word.''

I cannot but think, that some respect is had to these fishers, in ( Ezekiel 47:10 ) "it shall come to pass that fishers shall stand upon it": that is, upon, or by the river of waters, said in ( Ezekiel 47:8 ) to "issue out toward the east country, and go down into the desert": which both R. Jarchi and Kimchi understand of the sea of Tiberias; the same with the sea of Galilee, by which Christ walked; and where he found these fishers at work, and called them. See also ( Jeremiah 16:16 )


FOOTNOTES:

F4 T. Hieros. Moed Katon, fol 82. 4. Avoda Zara, fol 42. 3.
F5 T. Hieros. Megilla, fol. 75. 2. & Geracot, fol. 2. 3.
F6 Apud Galatin. de Arcan. Cathol. ver. l. 3. c. 5. p. 119. & Crocium de Messia Thes. 213. p. 62, 63.
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