Matthew 12:38-40. Then certain of the scribes, &c. Now present, upon hearing how plainly Christ admonished, and how severely he rebuked them, answered Probably with a view to divert the discourse to another topic, We would see a sign from thee As if they had said, Otherwise we will not believe this doctrine. Thus they insinuated that the ejection of devils was but a trifling miracle, which, for all he had said to the contrary, might be done by the help of devils, and that no signs of that kind, however numerous, should convince them; for that they would not believe unless he would prove his mission by what is here called a sign, and in Luke 11:16, a sign from heaven, meaning, probably, some such celestial appearance as several of the ancient prophets gave; particularly Moses, Joshua, Samuel, and Elijah. But he answered, An evil and adulterous generation A spurious breed, which has degenerated from the faith and piety of their great progenitor, Abraham; or, a generation whose heart wanders from God, though they profess him to be their husband. Such adulterers are all those who love the world, and all who seek the friendship of it. Seeketh a sign After all the signs they have had already, which were abundantly sufficient to have convinced them, had not their hearts been estranged from God, and consequently averse to the truth. And there shall no sign be given to it, but [or, unless it be ] the sign of the Prophet Jonas Who was herein a type of Christ. For as Jonas was three days and three nights, &c. It was customary with the eastern nations to reckon any part of a natural day of twenty-four hours for the whole day. Accordingly, they used to say a thing was done after three, or seven days, &c., if it was done on the third or seventh day from that last mentioned. Instances of this may be seen, 1 Kings 20:29; 2Ch 10:5 ; 2 Chronicles 10:12, and in many other places. And, as the Hebrews had no word exactly answering to the Greek νυχθημερον , to signify a natural day of twenty- four hours, they used night and day, or day and night, for it. See also Esther 4:16; Esther 5:1; Genesis 7:4; Genesis 7:12; Exodus 24:18; Exodus 34:28. In the whale’s belly Or, in the belly of the great fish that swallowed him. See note on Jonah 1:17. So shall the Son of man be in the heart of the earth That is, in the earth; for the expression does not imply that he was to be buried in the middle of the earth, but in the earth simply. Thus, in Ezekiel 28:2, Tyre is said to be in the heart of the sea, though it was so near the continent, that, when Alexander besieged it, he carried a causeway from the land to the city.
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