The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible1 Corinthians 1:20
Where is the wise? where is the Scribe?
&c.] These are the
apostle's own words; though he may allude to (Isaiah 33:18) where there
are some phrases much like these, but the meaning is very different.
Though they are interpreted by the Talmudists F7 in a sense pretty
near the apostle's; for thus they remark upon them,
``where is the Scribe? he that counts all the letters which
are in the law; "where is the receiver, or weigher?" who
weighs all the light and heavy things in the law; "where
is he that counted the towers?" he who counts, or teaches
the three hundred traditions:''
so that they understand these of their Scribes and Misnic doctors,
and such that are curious searchers into the hidden senses of
Scripture. The apostle also seems to allude to a distinction that
obtained among the Jews, of wise men, Scribes, and mystical
interpreters of the word. They had their (ymkx) , "wise men", which was
a general name for men of learning and knowledge; and their (yrpwo) ,
"Scribes", who interpreted the law in the literal and grammatical
sense; and their (ynvrd) , "preachers, or disputers", who diligently
searched into the hidden meaning of the Scriptures, and sought for
and delivered out the mystical and allegorical sense of them, and
who used to dispute about them in their schools. These three are
sometimes to be met with together, and as distinct from each other.
They say F8 that
``God showed to the first man every generation, (wyvrwdw) ,
"and its expounders, or disputers"; and every generation,
(wymkxw) , "and its wise men"; and every generation,
(wyrpwow) , "and its Scribes."''
And the apostle's sense is, "where is the wise?" the man that boasts
of his superior wisdom and knowledge in the things of nature,
whether among the Jews or Gentiles; "where is the Scribe?" the
letter learned man, who takes upon him to give the literal sense of
where is the disputer of this world?
the Jewish world, who pretends
to the knowledge of the more abstruse and secret senses of
Scripture; where are these men? they are not to be found among those
that God employs in the ministration of the Gospel; he has laid them
aside, and chosen others, where are they? what use have they been of
to men? are men under their instructions the better, either in
principle or practice? where are the thousands that have been turned
to God by their wisdom, as can be shown by the faithful ministers of
the Gospel? where are they? let them come and produce their cause,
and bring forth their strong reasons against the Gospel they account
foolishness, and try if these will stand before its superior power
and wisdom; where are they? are they not fools, with all their
wisdom and learning? The words may be rendered, "where is the
searcher, or inquirer of this world?" and may design the same sort
of persons whom the Jews call (rqxmh ymkx) , "the wise men of search,
or inquiry" F9, and sometimes (rqxmh yvna) , "the men of search, or
inquiry" F11; by whom they seem to intend such who search into the
nature of things, who study natural philosophy.
Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?
by bringing in
the Gospel scheme, which the men of the world, the greatest wits in
it, are not able to understand; by laying their wisdom aside as
useless in the business of salvation; by showing it to be vain and
empty, and of no service in things spiritual and divine; by
detecting, through the ministration of the Gospel, the sophisms of
men, and showing that the schemes both Jews and Gentiles give into
abound with folly, with stupid notions, and are full of gross errors
and fatal mistakes.
F7 T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 106. 2. & Chagiga, fol. 15. 2.
F8 Bereshit Rabba Parash. 24. fol. 21. 1. Vid. T. Bab. Avoda Zara,
fol. 5. 1. & Sanhedrin, fol. 38. 2.
F9 Kimchi in Sopher Shorashim, rad. (hhb) , & in Psal. cii. 26.
F11 Aben Ezra in Psal. civ. 29.
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Gill, John. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 1:20". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". <http://classic.studylight.org/com/geb/view.cgi?book=1co&chapter=001&verse=020>. 1999.