The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible1 Corinthians 14:27
If any man speak in an unknown tongue…
He begins with
the gift of tongues, with speaking in an unknown tongue, as the
Hebrew language, because this they were desirous of: and the rule
for this he would have observed is,
let it be by two, or at most by three, and that by course.
Arabic version reads it, "let him speak to two, or at most three,
and separately"; as if it respected the number of persons he was to
speak to at a time, and that in a separate and private manner: but
the apostle's sense is, that two such persons as had the gift of
speaking in an unknown tongue, or three at most, should be only
employed at one opportunity, lest too much time should be taken up
this way, and prevent a more useful and edifying exercise; and that
these should speak not together, which would be a mere jargon and
confusion, and make them took like madmen, and render them entirely
useless indeed; but in course, one after another, that so an
interpreter might be able to take their sense, and render what they
said, and express it in a language the people understood: for it
let one interpret
what the two or three had said. This practice
seems to be borrowed from the Jews, who had such an officer in the
synagogue as a "Methurgeman", or "an interpreter". The rise of which
office, and the rules to be observed in the performance of it, are
as follow, delivered by Maimonides F19:
``from the times of Ezra it has been customary that an
interpreter should interpret to the people what the reader
reads in the law, so that they may understand the nature
of things; and the reader reads one verse only, and is
silent until the interpreter has interpreted it; then he
returns and reads a second verse: a reader may not raise
his voice above the interpreter, nor the interpreter raise
his voice above the reader. The interpreter may not
interpret until the verse is finished out of the mouth of
the reader, and the reader may not read a verse until the
interpretation is finished out of the mouth of the
interpreter; and the interpreter might not lean neither
upon a pillar, nor a beam, but must stand in trembling,
and in fear; and he may not interpret by writing, but by
mouth: and the reader may not help the interpreter; and
they may not say the interpretation written in the law;
and a little one may interpret by the means of a grown
person, but it is no honour to a grown person to interpret
by the means of a little one; and two may not interpret as
one, but one reads (Mgrtm dxaw) , "and one interprets" F20.''
An interpreter might not interpret according to his own sense, nor
according to the form of the words, or its literal sense; nor might
he add of his own, but was obliged to go according to the Targum of
Onkelos F21, which they say was the same that was delivered on Mount
Sinai. The place they stood in was just before the reader; for so it
is said F23,
``the interpreters stand before the wise man on the
sabbath days, and hear from his mouth, and cause the
multitude to hear.''
And elsewhere it is said F24,
``the interpreter stands before the wise man, the preacher,
and the wise man (or doctor) whispers to him in the Hebrew
language, and he interprets to the multitude in a language
or understand. And sometimes these sat at his side, and only
reported what the doctor whispered privately. So
``it is said F25, that when the son of R. Judah bar Ilai
died, he went into the house of Midrash, or the school,
and R. Chaniah ben Akabia went in and sat by his side, and
he whispered to him, and he to the interpreter, and the
interpreter caused the multitude to hear.''
And they never put any man into this office until he was fifty years
of age F26. Several of the Jewish Rabbins were interpreters, as R.
Chananiah before mentioned, and R. Chutzphit, and others F1.
F19 Hilchot Tephilla, c. 12 sect. 10. ll.
F20 Vid. T. Bab. Roshhashana, fol. 27. 1. & Megilla, fol. 21. 2.
F21 T. Bab. Kiddushin, fol. 49. 1. & Maimon. Hilchot Ishot, c. 8. sect. 4.
F23 T. Bab. Pesachim, fol. 50. 2. Gloss. in ib.
F24 Gloss. in T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 20. 2.
F25 T. Bab. Moed Katon, fol. 21. 1.
F26 Juchasin, fol. 44. 2.
F1 Ib. fol. 42. 1. & 44. 1, 2.
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.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Gill, John. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 14:27". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". <http://classic.studylight.org/com/geb/view.cgi?book=1co&chapter=014&verse=027>. 1999.