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been at least thirty-one years of age in the fifteenth year of Tiberius. If he was born, as St. Matthew's narrative intimates, one or two years before Herod's death, he would have been thirty-two or thirty-three years old at that time.
This is the difficulty: the solution turns upon an alteration in the construction of the Greek. St. Luke's words in the original are allowed, by the general opinion of learned men, to signify, not “ that Jesus began to be about thirty years
age,” but “that he was about thirty years of age when he began his ministry.” This construction being admitted, the adverb “ about” gives us all the latitude we want, and more, especially when applied, as it is in the present instance, to a decimal number; for such numbers, even without this qualifying addition, are often used in a laxer sense than is here contended for *
* Livy, speaking of the peace which the conduct of Romulus had procured to the state during the whole reign of his succeffort (Numa), has these words “ Ab illo enim profectis viribus datis tantum valuit, ut, in quadraginta deinde annos, tutam pacem haberet :* yet afterwards in the same chapter, “Romulus (he says) septem et triginta regnavit annos, Numa tres et quadraginta."
III. Ads v. 36. “For before these days rose up Theudas, boasting himself to be fomebody ; to whom a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves who was llain; and all, as many as obeye", ed him, were scattered and brought to nought.”
Josephus has preserved the account of an impostor of the name of Theudas, who created fome disturbances, and was slain ; but, according to the date assigned to this man's appearance (in which, however, it is very possible that Josephus may have been mistaken *), it must have been, at the least, seven years after Gamaliel's speech,
Michaelis's Introduction to the New Testament (Marsh's translation), vol. i. p. 61.
of Liv. Hift. c. i, fec. 16.
of which this text is a part, was delivered. It has been replied to the objection*, that there might be two impostors of this name: and it has been observed, in order to give a general probability to the solution, that the fame thing appears to have happened in other instances of the same kind. It is proved from Josephus, that there were not fewer than four persons of the name of Simon within forty years, and not fewer than three of the name of Judas within ten years, who were all leaders of infurrections: and it is likewise recorded by this historian, that, upon the death of Herod the Great (which agrees very well with the time of the commotion referred to by: Gamaliel, and with his manner of stating that time “ before these days”) there were innumerable disturbances in Judea f. Archbishop Usher was of opinion, that one of the three Judases above mentioned was Gamaliel's Theudas # ; and that with a less varia
* Lardner, part i. vol. ii. p. 922. + Ant. l. xvii. c. 12, fec. 4. Annals, p. 797.
tion of the name than we actually find in the gospels, where one of the twelve apostles is called, by Luke, Judas; and by Mark, Thaddeus *. Origen, however he came at his information, appears to have believed that there was an impostor of the name of Theudas before the nativity of Christ t.
IV. Matt. xxiii. 34. “Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes : and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your fynagogues, and persecute them from city to city: that upon you may come all the righteous blood fhed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, Son of Barachias, whom ye few between the temple and the altar."
There is a Zacharias, whose death is related in the second book of Chronicles, in
* Luke vi. 16. Mark iii. 18.
+ Orig. con. Cell. p. 44.
ä manner which perfectly supports our Sam viour's allusion*. But this Zacharias was, the son of feboiada.
There is also Zacharias the prophet; who was the son of Barachiah, and is so defcribed in the superscription of his prophecy, but of whose death we have no aca
I have little doubt, but that the first Zas charias was the person spoken of by our Saviour ; and that the name of the father has been since added, or changed, by some one, who took it from the title of the prophecy, which happened to be better known to him than the history in the Chronicles.
* « And the Spirit of God came upon Zechariah, the son of Jehoiada the priest, which stood above the people, and said unto them, Thus faith God, Why tranfgress ye the commandments of the Lord, thất ye cannot prosper? Because ye have forsaken the Lord, he hath also forsaken you. And they conspired against him, and stoned him with stones, at the commandment of the king, in the court
' of the house of the Lord.” 2 Chron. xxiv, 20, 21.