But he that knew not
His Lord's will; either not having the means of knowing it, as the Heathens; or through neglect of them, not attending to them, and making use of them, which is the case of many, where the Gospel revelation is:
and did commit things worthy of stripes;
or punishment; as the Gentiles, by sinning against the law, and light of nature; and those who might have the advantage of a divine revelation, but neglect it: the Septuagint in ( Deuteronomy 25:2 ) have the same phrase as here, (axiov plhgwn) , "worthy of stripes":
shall be beaten with few stripes;
their punishment shall be less, and it shall be more tolerable for them in the day of judgment, than for knowing professors. The Jews did not always inflict forty stripes, or forty save one, upon delinquents; but according to their crimes, and as they were able to bear them, more or fewer: so it is said F23,
``when they judge a sinner, how many (stripes) he can bear, they do not reckon, but by stripes that are fit to be trebled: if they judge he is able to bear "twenty", they do not order that he be beaten with twenty one, that so they may be trebled, but that he be beaten with "eighteen": if they condemn him to receive forty, and after he is begun to be beaten, they observe him to be weak, and they say he cannot bear any more than these "nine", or "twelve", with which he has been beaten, lo, he is free; if they condemn him to receive "twelve", and after that he is beaten, they see that he is strong and able to bear more, lo, he is free, and he is not to be beaten any more, upon that estimation: if they condemn him today that he is to be beaten with "twelve" (stripes), and they do not beat him till tomorrow, and lo, tomorrow he is able to bear eighteen, they do not beat him but with twelve.''And elsewhere the rule is F24,
``he that commits a sin, in which there are two negative (commands broken) if they pronounce but one sentence, he is beaten and is free; but if not (i.e. if more than one) he is beaten, and when he is healed, he is beaten again.''For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall, much be
the more knowledge a man has, the more practice is expected from him; and the greater his gifts are, the more useful he ought to be, and diligent in the improvement of them:
and to whom men have committed much, or to whom much is
committed, of him they will ask the more;
not more than what was committed to him, but more than from him, who has less committed to him; in proportion to what a man is entrusted with, the greater increase and improvement it is expected he should make.
F23 Maimon. Hilchot Sanhedrin, c. 17. sect. 2, 3.
F24 Misn. Maccot, c. 3. sect. 11.