The Lord then answered him and said
Though he did not direct his speech to him, he knew that he struck at him, and suggested that he was a violator of the sabbath, as well as the people: and therefore in defence of himself, and of what he had done, and to expose the hypocrisy of this man, made answer as follows,
the Vulgate Latin, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions read in the plural, "hypocrites"; as do the Complutensian edition, and four ancient copies of Beza's, and the Alexandrian copy; but the Syriac and Persic versions read in the singular, "hypocrite"; as this man was, who covered his malice and envy at Christ, with a show of zeal for the sabbath day; and yet did that upon it, which must be allowed by themselves, and others, to be a much greater violation of the sabbath, than this cure could ever be thought to be:
doth not each one of you, on the sabbath day, loose his ox, or
his ass, from the stall,
or rack, where he is fastened with a rope;
and lead him away to watering?
to some place of water, where he may drink, after having filled himself at the rack: and that this was agreeably to their own canons and practice, that beasts may be led out on a sabbath day, is certain; for they deliver various rules concerning leading them out, with what they might, and with what they might not be brought out; and particularly, among others, mention asses and heifers F17; and they speak F18 of leading them to water, not only to drink of it, but to wash their chains in it, which, it seems, received pollution, and needed washing, and might be done on a sabbath day; yea, they allow, that not only a beast may be led out to watering, but a man might fill a vessel of water, and pour it out into a trough for it, provided he did not directly set it before it: the rule is this F19
``a man may not fill water (a vessel of it), and put it on a sabbath day before his beast, but he may fill it, and pour it out, and it may drink of it.''And particularly on a feast day, their rule is F20, that
``they do not water nor slay beasts of the desert, but they water and slay domestic ones. Domestic ones are such as lie in the city (i.e. as Maimonides says F21, within the sabbatical border, 2000 cubits from the city), and those of the desert are such as lie in pastures.''And therefore very justly does our Lord observe to the ruler of the synagogue their own practices towards a beast, in defence of his works of mercy to men.