Mark 6:3

Mark 6:3

Is not this the carpenter?
&c.] Some copies read, "the carpenter's son", as in ( Matthew 13:55 ) and so the Arabic and Ethiopic versions; but all the ancient copies, Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Persic versions, read "the carpenter": such may Christ be reasonably thought to be, since his father was; and which business he might follow, partly through the meanness and poverty of his parents; and partly that he might set an example of industry and diligence; and chiefly to bear that part of the first Adam's curse, which was to eat his bread with the sweat of his brow: nor ought this to have been objected to him by the Jews, with whom it was usual for their greatest doctors and Rabbins to be of some trade or secular employment; so R. Jochanan was a shoemaker F26 R. Isaac was a blacksmith F1, R. Juda was a tailor F2, Abba Saul and R. Jochanan, were undertakers for funerals F3; R. Simeon was a seller of cotton {d}, R. Nehemiah was a ditcher F5, R. Jose bar Chelphetha was a skinner F6; and others of them were of other trades, and some exceeding mean: the famous R. Hillell was a hewer of wood, and Carna, a judge in Israel, was a drawer of water F7; and so Maimonides says,

``the great wise men of Israel were some of them hewers of wood and drawers of water F8.''

They say,

``a man is obliged to learn his son an honest and easy trade F9:''

there are some businesses they except against F11, but this of a carpenter is not one; yea, they say,

``if a man does not teach his son a trade, it is all one as if he taught him thievery F12.''

Nor did they think it at all inconsistent with learning; for they have a saying F13, that

``beautiful is the learning of the law, along with a trade.''

The Jews ought not to have flouted Christ with this trade of a carpenter, since, according to them, it was necessary that a carpenter, in some cases, should be a regular priest; as in repairing of the temple, especially the holy of holies. So says Maimonides F14;

``there was a trap door, or an open place in the floor of the chamber, open to the holy of holies, that workmen might enter thereby into the holy of holies, when there was a necessity of repairing any thing; and since we make mention of workmen, it may be observed here, when there is need of building in the midst of the temple, great care should be taken, (rvk Nhk Nmwah hyhyv) , "that the workman, or carpenter, be a right priest".''

Yea, they expressly say, that the Messiah is one of the four carpenters in ( Zechariah 1:20 ) . "And the Lord showed me four carpenters"; they ask F15,

``"who are the four carpenters?" Says R. Chana bar Bizna, says R. Simeon the saint, Messiah the son of David, Messiah the son of Joseph, and Elijah, and a priest of righteousness.''

This is with some variation elsewhere expressed thus F16,

``"and the Lord showed me four carpenters"; and these are they, Elijah, and the king Messiah, and Melchizedek and the anointed for war.''

And one of their commentators F17 on the same text says,

``our Rabbins of blessed memory, explain this verse of the days of the Messiah;''

and then cites the above passage out of the Talmud; and another F18 refers unto it; (See Gill on Matthew 13:55). The inhabitants of Nazareth go on, in order to reproach Jesus, calling him

the son of Mary;
a poor woman of their town, and perhaps now a widow, since no mention is made of Joseph:

the brother of James and Joses, and of Juda and Simon?
who were all of them the sons of Alphaeus or Cleophas, who was himself brother, or his wife sister, to Joseph or Mary; so that Christ was the near kinsman of these his sons: and it was usual with the Jews to call such an one a brother, and even indeed a more distant relation. The Vulgate Latin, and Ethiopic versions, instead of Joses, read Joseph:

and are not sisters here with us? And they were offended at him:
either at the manner he came by his wisdom, with which he delivered such doctrine he did; and by his power, through which he wrought his mighty works, or miracles; they suspecting he came by them in an unlawful way, through familiarity with the devil, which they sometimes charged him with having: or at the meanness of his trade and employment; they could by no means think of him as the Messiah, who made so contemptible a figure, and was brought up in such a low way of life; and the rather, since one of their kings in common, was not be a mechanic, or at least of any mean occupation: of their canons runs thus F19;

``they do not appoint to be a king, or an high priest, one that has been a butcher, or a barber, or a bath keeper, or a tanner; not because they were unfit, but because their business was mean, and the people would always despise them.''

Other trades are elsewhere F20 mentioned, from among whom a king, or an high priest, were never taken; as founders, combers, borers of handmills, druggists, weavers, notaries, fullers, a letter of blood, or a surgeon particularly such as related to women's business. Now, as it was not usual to choose any one to be a king that wrought at a trade, they could not bear that the king Messiah should be of one; and because Jesus was, they were offended at him, and rejected him as the Messiah. Or they were offended at the meanness of his extraction and descent, his father, and mother, and brethren, and sisters, being all persons in low circumstances of life; whereas they expected the Messiah would be born and brought up as a temporal prince, in great grandeur and splendour; (See Gill on Matthew 13:55), (See Gill on Matthew 13:56), (See Gill on Matthew 13:57).


F26 Pirke Abot, c. 4. sect. 11. T. Bab. Yebamot, fol. 104. 2. Cetubot, fol. 34. 1. & 58. 2. Bava Kama, fol. 71. 1.
F1 T. Bab. Avoda Zara, fol. 24. 1. Sanhedrin, fol. 96. 1. Bava Bathra, fol. 170. 1.
F2 T. Bab. Bava Bathra, fol. 164. 2.
F3 T. Bab. Nidda, fol. 24. 2.
F4 T. Bab. Beracot, fol. 28. 2. Megilla, fol. 17. 1. & 18. 2.
F5 Caphtor, fol. 75. 2.
F6 Ganz Tzemach David, par. 1. fol. 30. 1.
F7 Maimon. in Pirke Abot, c. 4. sect. 5.
F8 Ib. Hilch. Talmud Tora, c. 1. sect. 9.
F9 Misn. Kiddush. c. 4. sect. 14. T. Bab. Kiddush. fol. 82. 1. & Beracot, fol. 63. 1.
F11 T. Kiddush. ib.
F12 Ib. fol. 30. 2.
F13 Pirke Abot, c. 2. sect. 9.
F14 In Misn. Middot, c. 4. sect. 5.
F15 T. Bab. Succa.
F16 Shirhashirim Rabba, fol. 11. 4.
F17 R. David Kimchi in Zech. i. 20.
F18 R. Sol. Jarchi in ib.
F19 Maimon. Hilch. Melachim, c. 1, sect. 6.
F20 T. Bab. Kiddushin, fol. 82. 1.