And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say,
&c.] Not the voice of Agabus to the Apostle Paul, ( Acts 11:28 ) ; but rather of Christ, who was in the midst of them, ( Revelation 5:6 ) ; the Ethiopic version adds, "as the voice of an eagle":
a measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a
"Choenix", the measure here used, signifies as much as was sufficient for a man for one day, as a penny was the usual hire of a labourer for a day, ( Matthew 20:2 ) ; so a choenix of corn was allowed to each man in Xerxes's army for a day, according to Herodotus F4; the same quantity for a day was given by the Romans to their shepherds and servants, and is generally said to be about two pounds; according to Agricola it was two pounds and a quarter F5. This measure was very different; the Attic choenix was a measure that held three pounds, the Italic choenix four pounds, and the military choenix five pounds, and answers to the Hebrew Kab F6; and in the Septuagint version of ( Ezekiel 45:10 Ezekiel 45:11 ) ; it answers to the Bath; and some make it to be the fourth part of a bushel, and others half a bushel F7; the first account of its being about two pounds, and the allowance of a man for a day, seems best to agree with this place: so that this phrase expresses such a scarcity, as that a man's daily wages would be but just enough to buy himself bread, without any thing to eat with it; and when he would have nothing left for clothes, and other things, nor anything for his wife and children:
and [see] that thou hurt not the oil and wine;
signifying that this scarcity should fall not upon the superfluities, such as oil and wine, which may be spared, and men can live without; but upon the necessities of life, particularly bread: some render the words, "and be not unjust in the oil and wine"; and so think they refer to the laws of the Roman emperors, in relation to wine and oil, and to the just execution of them, that there might be plenty of them; and others understand them in an allegorical sense, of the principal doctrines of the Gospel, comparable to oil and wine, and which Christ takes care of, that they shall not be hurt and destroyed by heretics and false teachers, even when they prevail the most, and bring on a famine of the word, and when the church is blackened and darkened with them; and indeed these may much better be applied to the Gospel, than, as they are by the Jews, to the law; who frequently say F8 that the law is called "oil", and speak of (hrwt lv hnyy) , "the wine of the law" F9:
F4 Polymnia, c. 187.
F5 De Mensuris Graecis, p. 120.
F6 Waserus de Mensuris, l. 2. c. 2. sect. 5, 6. & c. 3. sect. 6. & c. 7. sect. 6.
F7 Alex. ab Alex. Genial. Dier. l. 2. c. 20.
F8 Tzeror Hammor, fol. 85. 3. & 96. 1. & 97. 4. & 104. 1. & 105. 2. & 137. 2, 3.
F9 Zohar in Exod. fol. 51. 3. & in Deut. fol. 115. 3. Raya Mehimna in Zohar in Numb. fol. 94. 3. Shirhashirim Rabba, fol. 5. 3. Midrash Kohelet, fol. 64. 4.