II.--THE WORD "DAILY," IN Matthew 6:11.
The word ?????????? has been derived (1) from ? ??????? (sc. ?????)=the day that is coming on; and this meaning is favoured by the fact that Jerome says that the Hebrew Gospel current in his time gave the word mahar (= crastinus) to-morrow's bread, and by the very early rendering, quotidianum, in the Latin versions. On the other hand, this meaning introduces a strange tautology into St. Luke's version of the prayer, "Give us day by day--i.e., daily--our daily bread." (2) The other derivation connects it with ????? in some one or other of its many senses, and with ??? as signifying either "for" or "over"--the former force of the preposition suggesting the thought "for our existence or subsistence;" the latter, the supersubstantialis of Jerome, that is, "over or above our material substance." It is said, and with truth, that in classical Greek the form would have been not ?????????, but ????????; but it is clear that that difficulty did not prevent a scholar like Jerome from accepting the derivation, and it was not likely that the Hellenistic Jew who first translated our Lord's discourses should be more accurate than Jerome in coining a word which seemed to him wanted to express our Lord's meaning. The derivation being then admissible, it remains to ask which of the two meanings of ????? and of ??? gives most force to the clause in which the word occurs, and for the reasons given above I am led to decide in favour of the latter. New words would hardly have been wanted for the meanings "daily" or "sufficient." When a word is coined, it may fairly be assumed that it was wanted to express a new thought, and the new thought here was that which our Lord afterwards developed in John 6, that the spirit of a man needs sustenance not less than his body, and that that sustenance is found in the "bread of God which cometh down from heaven" (John 6:33). The student should, however, consult Dr. Lightfoot's admirable excursus on the word in his Hints on a Revised Version of the New Testament.
On the assumption that the Lord's Prayer included and spiritualised the highest thoughts that had previously been expressed separably by devout Israelites, we may note, as against the meaning of "bread for the morrow," the saying of Rabbi Elieser, that "He who has a crumb left in his scrip, and asks, 'What shall I eat to-morrow?' belongs to those of little faith."
There is, it must be admitted, a difficulty in conjecturing what Aramaic word could have answered to this meaning of ?????????, and the fact that a word giving the other meaning is, as it were, ready to hand, and was actually found in the Hebrew Gospel in the fourth century, has some weight on the other side. That word may, however, itself have been not a translation of the original, but a re-translation of the Latin quotidianus; and the fact that Jerome, knowing of this, chose another rendering here, while he retained quotidianus in St. Luke 11:3, shows that he was not satisfied with it, and at last, it may be, halted between two opinions.
"The necessities of thy people are great, and their knowledge short; let it be thy good will and pleasure, O Lord, our God, that thou wouldst give to everyone , "what is sufficient for his sustenance", and to every one's body what it wants.''
"Says R. Jose (w), all the children of faith seek "every day" , "to ask their food" of the Lord, and to pray a prayer for it.''
By "bread" is meant all the necessaries of life, and for the support of it: it is called "our's"; not that we have a right unto it, much less deserve it, but to distinguish it from that of beasts; and because it is what we need, and cannot do without; what is appointed for us by providence, is our's by gift, and possessed by labour. It is said to be "daily" bread, and to be asked for "day by day"; which suggests the uncertainty of life; strikes at all anxious and immoderate cares for the morrow; is designed to restrain from covetousness, and to keep up the duty of prayer, and constant dependence on God; whom we must every day ask to "give" us our daily bread: for he is the sole author of all our mercies; which are all his free gifts; we deserve nothing at his hands: wherefore we ought to be thankful for what we have, without murmuring at his providences, or envying at what he bestows on others. All kind of food, everything that is eatable, is with the Jews called "bread" (x).
(u) T. Bab. Beracot, fol. 29. 2.((w) Zohar in Exod. fol. 26. 2.((x) Jarchi in Job, vi. 7.