But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions
Saying the same things over and over again,
as the Heathens do,
as the worshippers of Baal, from morning till noon, ( 1 Kings 18:26 ) . This our Lord observes, to dissuade from such practices, because the Gentiles, who were odious to the Jews, used them, and the Jews were guilty of the same; had they not, there would not have been any need of such advice:
for they think they shall be heard for their much speaking;
as did the Jews, who, under pretence of "long prayers", devoured widows' houses; and with whom it is an axiom, that "everyone (hnen hlyptb) (hbrmh) , that multiplies prayer is heard" F8; and whoever prolongs his prayer, his prayer does not return empty; and he that is long in prayer, his days are prolonged F9: and, according to their canons, every day a man ought to pray eighteen prayers. Moreover, their prayer books abound in tautologies, and in expressing the same things in different words, and by a multiplicity of them.
F8 T. Hieros. Taaniot, fol. 67. 3.
F9 Zohar in Exod. fol. 104. 4.