Luke 18:12

Luke 18:12

I fast twice in the week
Not "on the sabbath", as the words may be literally rendered, and as they are in the Vulgate Latin and Ethiopic versions; for the sabbath was not a fasting, but a feasting day with the Jews; for they were obliged to eat three meals, or feasts, on a sabbath day, one in the morning, another at evening, and another at the time of the meat offering: even the poorest man in Israel, who was maintained by alms, was obliged to keep these three feasts F6. It was forbidden a man to fast, until the sixth hour, on a sabbath day; that is, till noon F7: wherefore, it is a great mistake in Justin F8 and Suetonius F9, that the sabbath was kept by the Jews as a fast. But the word is rightly rendered, "in the week"; the whole seven days, or week, were by the Jews commonly called the sabbath; hence, (tbvb dxa) , "the first of the sabbath", and the second of the sabbath, and the third of the sabbath F11; that is, the first, second, and third days of the week. Now the two days in the week on which they fasted were Monday and Thursday, the second and fifth days; on which days the law of Moses, and the book of Esther were read, by the order of Ezra F12; and fasts for the congregation were appointed on those days F13; and so a private person, or a single man, as in this instance, took upon him, or chose to fast on the same F14: the reason of this is, by some, said to be, because Moses went up to Mount Sinai on a Thursday, and came down on a Monday {o}. But though these men fasted so often, they took care not to hurt themselves; for they allowed themselves to eat in the night till break of day. It is asked F16,

``how long may a man eat and drink, i.e. on a fast day? until the pillar of the morning ascends (day breaks); these are the words of Rabbi (Judah): R. Eliezer ben Simeon says, until cock crowing.''

So that they had not so much reason to boast of these performances: he adds,

I give tithes of all that I possess;
not only of what was tithable by the law of Moses, as the produce of his ground; and by the traditions of the elders, as the herbs in his garden, ( Matthew 23:23 ) but of every thing he had, which was not required by either of them; upon which he thought himself a very righteous person, and more than a common man: it is asked F17,

``who is a plebeian? (one of the people of the earth, or the common people) whoever does not eat his common food with purity with hands washed; these are the words of R. Meir; but the wise men say, whoever does not tithe his fruit.''

This man would not be thought to be such an one.


F6 Maimon. Hilch. Sabbat, c. 30. sect. 9.
F7 T. Hieros. Nedarim, fol. 40. 4.
F8 L. 36. c. 2.
F9 Octav. Aug. c. 76.
F11 Maimon. Hilch. Mechosre Caphara, c. 2. sect, 8.
F12 T. Bab. Bava Kama, fol. 82. 1. Megilla, 31. 1, 2.
F13 Maimon. Hilchot Taaniot, c. 1. sect. 5.
F14 T. Bab. Taanith, fol. 12. 1.
F15 Godwin Moses & Aaron, l. 1. c. 10. Vid. T. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 88. 1.
F16 T. Bab. Taanith, fol. 12. 1.
F17 T. Bab. Gittin, fol. 61. 1.