The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible1 Timothy 2:8
I will therefore that men pray everywhere…
declaration of the apostle's will concerning prayer, he only takes
notice of "men"; not but that it is both the duty and privilege of
women, as well as men, to pray in their houses and closets; but
because he is speaking of public prayer in the church, which only
belongs to men, he speaks only of them; and his will is, that prayer
should be performed by them everywhere, or in any place, in any part
of the world where they lived. Now was the prophecy in (Malachi 1:11)
fulfilled, and now was the time come our Lord refers to, (John 4:21) .
This seems to be said in opposition to a Jewish notion, that the
temple at Jerusalem was the only place for prayer, and that prayer
made elsewhere ought to be directed towards that. The Jews say F2,
``there is no way for the prayer of the nations of the world
to ascend, seeing the gates of heaven are only opened in
the land of Israel.--And again, that the prayers without
the land have no way to go up before the Lord, but the
Israelites send them without the land opposite
Jerusalem; and when they come to Jerusalem, from thence
they remove and ascend above.--No prayer ascends above
from that place in which it is made, till it come to the
land of Israel, and from thence to Jerusalem, and from
thence to the sanctuary, and then it ascends above.''
They have also many rules concerning places of private prayer, as
that care should be taken that it be not in a place where there is
any filth; or any bad scent F3.
Lifting up holy hands;
lifting up of hands was a prayer gesture
among the Heathens F4, and so it was among the Jews F5. R. Simeon
lift up his hands in prayer to the blessed God, and prayed his prayer.
Yea, they F6 say,
``it is forbidden a man to lift up his hands above, except
in prayer, and in blessings to his Lord, and
supplications, as it is said, (Genesis 14:22) which is
interpreted of lifting up of hands in prayer.''
And this was an emblem of the elevation of the heart in prayer to
God, without which the former would be of little avail. It is an
observation of the Jews F7, we have found prayer without lifting up
of hands, but we never found lifting up of hands without prayer. And
these hands must be holy and pure; there must be purity of heart,
and cleanness of hands, or a freedom from any governing sin, which
renders prayer unacceptable unto God; see (Isaiah 1:15,16) . The apostle
alludes to a custom of the Jews, who always used to wash their hands
``Then Holofernes commanded his guard that they should not
stay her: thus she abode in the camp three days, and went
out in the night into the valley of Bethulia, and washed
herself in a fountain of water by the camp. And when she
came out, she besought the Lord God of Israel to direct
her way to the raising up of the children of her people.''
So it is said F8 of the Septuagint interpreters, that after the
Jewish manner they washed their hands and prayed. The account
Maimonides gives F9, is this:
``cleanness of hands, how is it done? a man must wash his
hands up to the elbow, and after that pray; if a man is on
a journey, and the time of prayer is come, and he has no
water, if there is between him and water four miles, which
are eight thousand cubits, he may go to the place of
water, and wash, and after that pray. If there is between
him more than that, he may rub his hands, and pray. But if
the place of water is behind him, he is not obliged to go
back but a mile; but if he has passed from the water more
than that, he is not obliged to return, but he rubs his
hands and prays; they do not make clean for prayer but the
hands only, in the rest of prayers, except the
morning prayer; but before the morning prayer a man washes
his face, his hands and feet, and after that prays.''
But, alas! what does all this washing signify? Unless, as Philo the
Jew F11, expresses it, a man lifts up pure, and, as one may say,
virgin hands, to heaven, and so prays.
Without wrath and doubting;
or reasoning, or disputation in a
contentious way: the former of these, some think, has reference to
"murmuring", as the Ethiopic version renders it, impatience and
complaint against God in prayer, and the other to doubt and
diffidence about being heard, and having the petitions answered; for
prayer ought to be with praise to God, and faith in him: or rather
"wrath" may intend an angry and unforgiving temper towards men, with
whom prayer is made, which is very unbecoming; see
(Matthew 5:23,24) (6:10) (1 Peter 3:7) and both that and doubting, or
disputation, may have regard to those heats and contentions that were
between the Jews and Gentiles, which the apostle would have laid aside,
and they join together in prayer, and in other parts of public worship,
in love and peace. Maimonides F12 says,
``men may not stand praying, either with laughter, or with
levity, nor with confabulation, "nor with contention, nor
with anger", but with the words of the law.''
And it is a saving of R. Chanina,
``in a day of "wrath", a man may not pray F13.''
F2 Shaare Ors, fol. 24. 2, 3.
F3 Maimon. Hilchot Tephilla, c. 4. sect. 8, 9.
F4 Apuleius de Mundo, p. 276.
F5 Zohar in Exod. fol 4. 2.
F6 lb. in Numb. fol. 79. 1.
F7 T. Hieros. Taaniot, fol. 67. 2.
F8 Arist. Hist. 70. p. 98.
F9 Hilch. Tephilla, c. 4. sect. 2, 3.
F11 De Charitate, p. 698. Vid. ib. de Victim. Offerent. p. 848.
F12 Hilch. Tephilla, c. 4. sect. 18.
F13 T. Bab. Erubin, fol. 65. 1.
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 Timothy 2:8". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". <http://classic.studylight.org/com/geb/view.cgi?book=1ti&chapter=002&verse=008>. 1999.