Matthew 5:1

Matthew 5:1

And seeing the multitudes
The great concourse of people that followed him from the places before mentioned,

he went up into a mountain;
either to pray alone, which was sometimes his custom to do, or to shun the multitude; or rather, because it was a commodious place for teaching the people:

and when he was set:
not for rest, but in order to teach; for sitting was the posture of masters, or teachers, see ( Matthew 13:2 ) ( Luke 4:20 ) ( 5:3 ) ( John 8:2 ) . The form in which the master and his disciples sat is thus described by Maimonides F26.

``The master sits at the head, or in the chief place, and the disciples before him in a circuit, like a crown; so that they all see the master, and hear his words; and the master may not sit upon a seat, and the scholars upon the ground; but either all upon the earth, or upon seats: indeed from the beginning, or formerly, (bvwy brh hyh) "the master used to sit", and the disciples stand; but before the destruction of the second temple, all used to teach their disciples as they were sitting.''

With respect to this latter custom, the Talmudists say F1, that

``from the days of Moses, to Rabban Gamaliel (the master of the Apostle Paul), they did not learn the law, unless standing; after Rabban Gamaliel died, sickness came into the world, and they learnt the law sitting: hence it is a tradition, that after Rabban Gamaliel died, the glory of the law ceased.''

His disciples came unto him;
not only the twelve, but the company, or multitude, of his disciples, ( Luke 6:17 ) which he made in the several places, where he had been preaching; for the number of his disciples was larger than John's.


FOOTNOTES:

F26 Hilch. Talmud Torah, c. 4. sect. 2.
F1 T. Bab. Megilla, fol. 21. 1. Vid. Misn. Sota, c. 9. sect. 15. & Jarchi, Maimon, & Bartenora in ib.
Read Matthew 5:1