But I tell you of a truth
Or in truth: it answers to (tmab) , a phrase often used by the Jewish writers F15; and, which, they say F16, wherever, and of whatsoever it is spoken, it signifies a tradition of Moses from Mount Sinai, and so that which is most true, sure, and firm, and to be depended on; and such is what our Lord hereafter delivers; yea, the word, (atwnmyh) , "truth", or "of a truth", and which is the same as "in truth", is used by the Jews F17, as (hewbv Nwvl) , "the form of an oath": so that these words of Christ are a strong asseveration, and amount to a solemn oath with respect to what follows:
many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias;
or Elijah, the prophet; that is, there were many that were not only widows, but poor widows, and in very famishing circumstances in the land of Israel, when Elijah was the prophet of the Lord to that people:
and when the heaven was shut up three years and six months;
so that no rain descended all that time: the same is observed by ( James 5:17 ) and though the space of time, in which there was no rain, is not so clear from the history of it in the book of Kings; yet, as this is fixed by Christ, and his apostle, and there is nothing in the history that contradicts it, it is to be received without scruple:
when great famine was throughout all the land of Israel;
and which so long a drought must needs bring.
F15 Misn. Sabbat, c. 1. sect. 3. Trumot, c. 2. sect. 1.
F16 T. Hieros. Sabbat, fol. 3. 2. & 12. 1. Maimon. & Bartenora in Misn. Trumot, c. 3. sect. 1.
F17 T. Bab. Beracot, fol. 55. 1. & Gloss. in ib.