29Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.
29 Verse 29. Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing?] ασσαριου.
A Roman AS was one-tenth of a DENARIUS, which was about
sevenpence-halfpenny, and one-tenth of sevenpence-halfpenny makes
just three farthings.
The word ασσαριον, which we translate farthing, is found among
the rabbins in the word aisar, which, according to
Maimonides, is equal to four grains of silver, but is used among
them to express a thing of the lowest, or almost no value. Our
Lord seems to have borrowed the expression, One of them shall not
fall on the ground, &c., from his own countrymen. In Bereshith
Rabba, sec. 79, fol. 77, it is said: In the time in which the Jews
were compelled to apostatize, Rab. Simeon, Ben. Jochai, and
Eliezer his son hid themselves in a cave, and lived upon dry
husks. After thirteen years they came out; and, sitting at the
mouth of the cave, they observed a fowler stretching his nets to
catch birds; and as often as the Bath Kol said dimos,
escape! the bird escaped; but when it said spicula, a dart,
the bird was taken. Then the rabbin said, Even a bird is not
taken without Heaven, i.e. without the will of God, how much less
the life of man! The doctrine intended to be inculcated is this:
The providence of God extends to the minutest things; every thing
is continually under the government and care of God, and nothing
occurs without his will or permission; if then he regards
sparrows, how much more man, and how much more still the soul that
trusts in him!
Fall on the ground] Instead of επιτηνγην, Origen, Clement,
Chrysostom, Juvencus, and six MSS. of Mathai, read ειςτηνπαγιδα
into a snare. Bengel conjectures that it might have been written
at first, επιτηνπαγην; that the first syllable πα being lost out
of the word, γην, the earth, instead of παγην, snare, became
the common reading.
Without your Father.] Without the will of your Father: της
βουλης, the will or counsel, is added here by Origen, Coptic,
all the Arabic, latter Persic, Gothic, all the Itala except two;
Tert., Iren., Cypr., Novatian, and other Latin fathers. If the
evidence be considered as insufficient to entitle it to admission
into the text, let it stand there as a supplementary italic word,
necessary to make the meaning of the place evident.
All things are ordered by the counsel of God. This is a great
consolation to those who are tried and afflicted. The belief of
an all-wise, all-directing Providence, is a powerful support under
the most grievous accidents of life. Nothing escapes his merciful
regards, not even the smallest things of which he may be said to
be only the creator and preserver; how much less those of whom he
is the Father, Saviour, and endless felicity!