Category: southern baptist convention

Acts of the Apostles Chapter 2:41-47 Antique Commentary Quotes

Cambridge Bible
Acts 2:41

41. Then they that gladly received his word] The oldest MSS. Omit gladly. The latter clause of the verse is more literally, And there were added on that day about three thousand souls, i.e. to the one hundred and twenty of whom the Church consisted when the day began.

A.T.Robertson
Acts 2:42

They continued steadfastly (ēsan proskarturountes). Periphrastic active imperfect of proskartureō as in Act_1:14 (same participle in Act_2:46).

Fellowship (Koinōniāi). Old word from Koinōnos (partner, sharer in common interest) and this from Koinos what is common to all. This partnership involves participation in, as the blood of Christ (Phi_2:1) or co-operation in the work of the gospel (Phi_1:5) or contribution for those in need (2Co_8:4; 2Co_9:13). Hence there is wide diversity of opinion concerning the precise meaning of Koinōnia in this verse. It may refer to the distribution of funds in Act_2:44or to the oneness of spirit in the community of believers or to the Lord’s Supper (as in 1Co_10:16) in the sense of communion or to the fellowship in the common meals or agapae (love-feasts).

The breaking of bread (tēi klasei tou artou). The word klasis is an old word, but used only by Luke in the N.T. (Luk_24:35; Act_2:42), though the verb klaō occurs in other parts of the N.T. as in Act_2:46. The problem here is whether Luke refers to the ordinary meal as in Luk_24:35 or to the Lord’s Supper. The same verb klaō is used of breaking bread at the ordinary meal (Luk_24:30) or the Lord’s Supper (Luk_22:19). It is generally supposed that the early disciples attached so much significance to the breaking of bread at the ordinary meals, more than our saying grace, that they followed the meal with the Lord’s Supper at first, a combination called agapai or love-feasts. “There can be no doubt that the Eucharist at this period was preceded uniformly by a common repast, as was the case when the ordinance was instituted” (Hackett). This led to some abuses as in 1Co_11:20. Hence it is possible that what is referred to here is the Lord’s Supper following the ordinary meal. “To simply explain tēi klasei tou artou as=‘The Holy Communion’ is to pervert the plain meaning of words, and to mar the picture of family life, which the text places before us as the ideal of the early believers” (Page). But in Act_20:7 they seem to have come together especially for the observance of the Lord’s Supper. Perhaps there is no way to settle the point conclusively here.

The prayers (tais proseuchais). Services where they prayed as in Act_1:14, in the temple (Act_3:1), in their homes (Act_4:23).

Albert Barnes
Acts 2:43

And fear came – That is, there was great reverence or awe. The multitude had just before derided them Act_2:13; but so striking and manifest was the power of God on this occasion, that it silenced all clamors, and produced a general veneration and awe. The effect of a great work of God’s grace is commonly to produce an unusual seriousness and solemnity in a community, even among those who are not converted. It restrains, subdues, and silences opposition.

Every soul – Every person or individual; that is, upon the people generally; not only on those who became Christians, but upon the multitudes who witnessed these things. All things were suited to produce this fear: the recent crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth; the wonders that attended that event; the events of the day of Pentecost; and the miracles performed by the apostles, were all suited to diffuse solemnity, thought, anxiety through the community.

Many wonders and signs – See the notes on Act_2:22. This was promised by the Saviour, Mar_16:17. Some of the miracles which they performed are specified in the following chapters.

Albert Barnes
Acts 2:44

All that believed – That is, that believed that Jesus was the Messiah; for that was the distinguishing point by which they were known from others.

Were together – Were united; were joined in the same thing. It does not mean that they lived in the same house, but they were united in the same community, or engaged in the same thing. They were doubtless often together in the same place for prayer and praise. One of the best means for strengthening the faith of young converts is for them often to meet together for prayer, conversation, and praise.

Had all things common – That is, all their property or possessions. See Act_4:32-37; Act_5:1-10. The apostles, in the time of the Saviour, evidently had all their property in common stock, and Judas was made their treasurer. They regarded themselves as one family, having common needs, and there was no use or propriety in their possessing extensive property by themselves. Yet even then it is probable that some of them retained an interest in their property which was not supposed to be necessary to be devoted to the common use. It is evident that John thus possessed property which he retained, Joh_19:27. And it is clear that the Saviour did not command them to give up their property into a common stock, nor did the apostles enjoin it: Act_5:4, “While it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold was it not in thine own power?” It was, therefore, perfectly voluntary, and was as evidently adapted to the special circumstances of the early converts. Many of them came from abroad. They were from Parthia, and Media, and Arabia, and Rome, and Africa, etc. It is probable, also, that they now remained longer in Jerusalem than they had at first proposed; and it is not at all improbable that they would be denied now the usual hospitalities of the Jews, and excluded from their customary kindness, because they had embraced Jesus of Nazareth, who had been just put to death. In these circumstances, it was natural and proper that they should share their property while they remained together.

Albert Barnes
Acts 2:45

And sold – That is, they sold as much as was necessary in order to procure the means of providing for the needs of each other.

Possessions – Property, particularly real estate. This word, κτήματα ktēmata, refers properly to their fixed property, as lands, houses, vineyards, etc. The word rendered “goods,” ὑπάρξεις huparxeis, refers to their personal or movable “property.”

And parted them to all – They distributed them to supply the needs of their poorer brethren, according to their necessities.

As every man had need – This expression limits and fixes the meaning of what is said before. The passage does not mean that they sold all their possessions, or that they relinquished their title to all their property, but that they so far regarded all as common as to be willing to part with it if it was needful to supply the needs of the others. Hence, the property was laid at the disposal of the apostles, and they were desired to distribute it freely to meet the needs of the poor, Act_4:34-35.

This was an important incident in the early propagation of religion, and it may suggest many useful reflections:

1. We see the effect of religion. The love of property is one of the strongest affections which people have. There is nothing that will overcome it but religion. That will; and one of the first effects of the gospel was to loosen the hold of Christians on property.

2. It is the duty of the church to provide for the needs of its poor and needy members. There can be no doubt that property should now be regarded as so far common as that the needs of the poor should be supplied by those who are rich. Compare Mat_26:11.

3. If it be asked why the early disciples evinced this readiness to part with their property in this manner, it may be replied:

(1) That the apostles had done it before them. The family of the Saviour had all things common.

(2) It was the nature of religion to do it.

(3) The circumstances of the persons assembled on this occasion were such as to require it. They were many of them from distant regions, and probably many of them of the poorer class of the people in Jerusalem. In this they evinced what should be done in behalf of the poor in the church at all times.

4. If it be asked whether this was done commonly among the early Christians, it may be replied that there is no evidence that it was. It is mentioned here, and in Act_4:32-37, and Act_5:1-7. It does not appear that it was done even by all who were afterward converted in Judea; and there is no evidence that it was done in Antioch, Ephesus, Corinth, Philippi, Rome, etc. That the effect of religion was to make people liberal and willing to provide for the poor there can be no doubt. See 2Co_8:19; 2Co_9:2; 1Co_16:2; Gal_2:10. But there is no proof that it was common to part with their possessions and to lay them at the feet of the apostles. Religion does not contemplate, evidently, that people should break up all the arrangements in society, but it contemplates that those who have property should be ready and willing to part with it for the help of the poor and needy.

5. If it be asked, then, whether all the arrangements of property should be broken up now, and believers have all things in common, we are prepared to answer “No.”

Because:
(1) This was an extraordinary case.
(2) It was not even enjoined by the apostles on them.
(3) It was practiced nowhere else.
(4) It would be impracticable. No community where all things were held in common has long prospered. It has been attempted often, by pagans, by infidels, and by fanatical sects of Christians. It ends soon in anarchy, licentiousness, idleness, and profligacy; or the more cunning secure the mass of the property, and control the whole. Until all people are made alike, there could be no hope of such a community; and if there could be, it would not be desirable. God evidently intended that people should be excited to industry by the hope of gain; and then he demands that their gains shall be devoted to his service. Still, this was a noble instance of Christian generosity, and evinced the power of religion in loosing the hold which people commonly have on the world. It rebukes also those professors of religion, of whom, alas, there are many, who give nothing to benefit either the souls or bodies of their fellow-men.

Albert Barnes
Acts 2:46

With one accord – Compare Act_1:14; Act_2:1.

In the temple – This was the public place of worship; and the disciples were not disposed to leave the place where their fathers had so long worshipped God. This does not mean that they were constantly in the temple, but only at the customary hours of prayer – at nine o’clock in the morning, and at three o’clock in the afternoon.

And breaking bread – See the notes on Act_2:42.

From house to house – In the margin, “at home.” So the Syriac and Arabic. The common interpretation, however, is, that they did it in their various houses, now in this and now in that, as might be convenient. If it refers to their ordinary meals, then it means that they partook in common of what they possessed, and the expression “did eat their meat” seems to imply that this refers to their common meals, and not to the Lord’s Supper.

Did eat their meat – Did partake of their food. The word “meat” with us is applied to “flesh.” In the Bible, and in Old English authors, it is applied to “provisions” of any kind. Here it means all kinds of sustenance; what nourished them – τροφῆς trophēs – and the use of this word proves that it does not refer to the Lord’s Supper; for that ordinance is nowhere represented as designed for an ordinary meal, or to nourish the body. Compare 1Co_11:33-34.

With gladness – With rejoicing. This is one of the effects of religion. It is far from gloom; it diffuses happiness over the mind; it bestows additional joy in the participation of even our ordinary pleasures.

Singleness of heart – This means with a sincere and pure heart. They were satisfied and thankful. They were not perplexed or anxious; nor were they solicitous for the luxurious living, or aspiring after the vain objects of the people of the world. Compare Rom_12:8; 2Co_1:12; Col_3:22; Eph_6:5.

Cambridge Bible
Acts 2:47

praising God] because their hearts were full of thankfulness for the knowledge of Jesus as His Christ.

having favour with all the people] As it was said of Christ, “the common people heard Him gladly” (Mar_12:37), so it seems to have been with His Apostles. The first attack made on them is (Act_4:1) by the priests, the captain of the Temple and the Sadducees.

And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved] The oldest MSS. agree in omitting to the church, and the literal rendering of the most authoritative text is, And the Lord added day by day together such as were in the way of salvation, i.e. brought into the communion “such as” (literally) “were being saved,” the work of whose salvation was begun but needed perseverance; who had set foot on the way and were heirs through hope of ultimate salvation. By this rendering the Greek words ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτό = to the same place, together, which in the Rec. Text are at the beginning of chapter 3, are taken into this verse in accordance with the authority of the oldest MSS.

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Acts of the Apostles Chapter 1:1-11 Antique Commentary Quotes

Cambridge Bible
Acts 1:1

The former treatise] In the original we have the superlative adjective used, but the idiom which speaks of the first of two is common to Greek with many other languages. An example is found 1Co_14:30. So Cicero, de Inventione, in his second book (chap, iii.) calls the former book primus liber.

treatise] The original (λόγος) indicates rather an inartistic narrative than a history. It is a book more like a piece of Herodotus than Thucydides.

have I made] Better, I made. The time is indefinite, and we have no warrant in the text for that closer union of the two books, in point of date, which is made by the language of the A. V.

Theophilus] Nothing is known of the person to whom St Luke addresses both his Gospel and the Acts, but the adjective “most excellent” applied to him in Luk_1:3 is the same which is used in addressing Felix in a letter and in a speech (Act_23:26; Act_24:3), and Festus (Act_26:25) in a speech; from which we are perhaps warranted in concluding that Theophilus was a person of rank, and it may be a Roman officer. Josephus uses the same word in addressing Epaphroditus, to whom he dedicates the account of his life (Vit. Josephi, ad fin.). The suggestion that Theophilus (= lover of God) is a name adopted by the writer to indicate any believer, is improbable. Such personification is unlike the rest of Scripture, and is not supported by evidence.

began] for the Gospel is not a history of all that Jesus did, but only an account of the foundations which He laid and on which the Church should afterwards be built So this book is still an account of what the Lord does and teaches from heaven.

to do and teach] As in the Gospel (Luk_24:19) the disciples call Jesus “a prophet mighty in deed and in word.” The acts and life spake first, and then the tongue.

Albert Barnes
Acts 1:2

Until the day – The 40th day after the resurrection, Act_1:3. See Luk_24:51.

In which he was taken up – In which he ascended to heaven. He was taken up into a cloud, and is represented as having been borne or carried to heaven, Act_1:9.

After that … – This passage has been variously rendered. The Syriac translates it, “After he had given commandment unto the apostles whom he had chosen by the Holy Spirit.” So also the Ethiopic version. Others have joined the words “through the Holy Spirit” to the phrase “was taken up,” making it mean that he was taken up by the Holy Spirit. But the most natural and correct translation seems to be what is in our King James Version.

Through the Holy Ghost – To understand this, it is necessary to call to mind the promise that Jesus made before his death, that after his departure, the Holy Spirit would descend to be a guide to his apostles. See Joh_16:7-11, and the notes on that place. It was to be his office to carry forward the work of redemption in applying it to the hearts of people. Whatever was done, therefore, after the death and resurrection of Jesus, was to be regarded as under the unique influence and direction of the Holy Spirit. Even the instructions of Jesus and his commission to the apostles, were to be regarded as coming within the department of the sacred Spirit, or within the province of his unique work. The instructions were given by divine authority, by infallible guidance, and as a part of the work which the Holy Spirit was sent down to accomplish. Under the direction and guidance of that Spirit the apostles were to go forth; by his aid they were to preach the gospel, to organize the church, to establish its order and its doctrines; and hence, the entire work was declared to be by his direction. Though in his larger and more mighty influences the Spirit did not descend until the day of Pentecost (Luk_24:49; compare Acts 2), yet, in some measure, his influence was imparted to the apostles before the ascension of Christ, Joh_20:22.

Had given commandments – Particularly the command to preach the gospel to all nations, Mat_28:19; Mar_16:15-19. It may be worthy of remark, that the word “commandments,” as a noun in the plural number, does not occur in the original. The single word which is translated, “had given commandments” is a participle, and means simply “having commanded.” There is no need, therefore, of supposing that there is reference here to any other command than to that great and glorious injunction to preach the gospel to every creature. That was a command of so much importance as to be worthy of a distinct record, as constituting the sum of all that the Saviour taught them after his resurrection.

The apostles – The eleven that remained after the treason and death of Judas.

Whom he had chosen – Mat_10:1-4; Luk_6:12-16.

A.T. Robertson
Acts 1:3

To whom also (hois kai). He chose them and then also manifested himself to these very same men that they might have personal witness to give.

Shewed himself alive (parestēsen heauton zōnta). To the disciples the first Sunday evening (Mar_16:14; Luk_24:36-43; Joh_20:19-25), the second Sunday evening (Joh_20:26-29), at the Sea of Tiberias (John 21:1-23), on the mountain in Galilee (Mat_28:16-20; Mar_16:15-18; 1Co_15:6), to the disciples in Jerusalem and Olivet (Luk_24:44-53; Mar_16:19.; Act_1:1-11). Luke uses this verb paristēmi 13 times in the Acts both transitively and intransitively. It is rendered by various English words (present, furnish, provide, assist, commend). The early disciples including Paul never doubted the fact of the Resurrection, once they were convinced by personal experience. At first some doubted like Thomas (Mar_16:14; Luk_24:41; Joh_20:24.; Mat_28:17). But after that they never wavered in their testimony to their own experience with the Risen Christ, “whereof we are witnesses” Peter said (Act_3:15). They doubted at first, that we may believe, but at last they risked life itself in defence of this firm faith.

After his passion (meta to pathein auton). Neat Greek idiom, meta with the articular infinitive (second aorist active of paschō) and the accusative of general reference, “after the suffering as to him.” For pathein used absolutely of Christ’s suffering see also Act_17:3; Act_26:23.

By many proofs (en pollois tekmēriois). Literally, “in many proofs.” Tekmērion is only here in the N.T., though an old and common word in ancient Greek and occurring in the Koiné[28928]š (papyri, etc.). The verb tekmairō, to prove by sure signs, is from tekmar, a sign. Luke does not hesitate to apply the definite word “proofs” to the evidence for the Resurrection of Christ after full investigation on the part of this scientific historian. Aristotle makes a distinction between tekmērion (proof) and sēmeion (sign) as does Galen the medical writer.

Appearing (optanomenos). Present middle participle from late verb optanō, late Koiné[28928]š verb from root optō seen in opsomai, ōphthēn. In lxx, papyri of second century b.c. (Deissmann, Light from the Ancient East, p. 83). Only here in the N.T. For optasia for vision, see note on Act_26:19; Luk_1:22; Luk_24:23.

By the space of forty days (di’ hēmerōn tesserakonta). At intervals (dia, between) during the forty days, ten appearances being known to us. Jesus was not with them continually now in bodily presence. The period of forty days is given here alone. The Ascension was thus ten days before Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came. Moses was in the mount forty days (Exo_24:18) and Jesus fasted forty days (Mat_4:2). In the Gospel of Luke 24 this separation of forty days between the Resurrection and the Ascension is not drawn.

The things concerning the Kingdom of God (ta peri tēs basileias tou theou). This phrase appears 33 times in Luke’s Gospel, 15 times in Mark, 4 times in Matthew who elsewhere has “the kingdom of heaven,” once in John, and 6 times in Acts. No essential distinction is to be drawn between the two for the Jews often used “heaven” rather than “God” to avoid using the Tetragrammaton. But it is noticeable how the word kingdom drops out of Acts. Other words like gospel (euaggelion) take the place of “kingdom.” Jesus was fond of the word “kingdom” and Luke is fond of the idiom “the things concerning” (ta peri). Certainly with Jesus the term “kingdom” applies to the present and the future and covers so much that it is not strange that the disciples with their notions of a political Messianic kingdom (Act_1:6) were slow to comprehend the spiritual nature of the reign of God.

Adam Clarke
‘Acts 1:3

To whom – he showed himself alive – by many infallible proofs – Πολλοις τεκμηριοις; by many proofs of such a nature, and connected with such circumstances, as to render them indubitable; for this is the import of the Greek word τεκμηριον. The proofs were such as these:

1. Appearing to several different persons at different times.
2. His eating and drinking with them.
3. His meeting them in Galilee according to his own appointment.
4. His subjecting his body to be touched and handled by them.
5. His instructing them in the nature and doctrines of his kingdom.
6. His appearing to upwards of five hundred persons at once, 1Co_15:6. And,
7. Continuing these public manifestations of himself for forty days.

The several appearances of Jesus Christ, during the forty days of his sojourning with his disciples, between his resurrection and ascension, are thus enumerated by Bishop Pearce:

The first was to Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, Mat_28:1-9.

The second, to the two disciples on their way to Emmaus, Luk_24:15.

The third, to Simon Peter, Luk_24:34.

The fourth, to ten of the apostles, Thomas being absent, Luk_24:36, and Joh_20:19.
(All these four appearances took place on the day of his resurrection.)

The fifth was to the eleven disciples, Thomas being then with them, Joh_20:26.

The sixth, to seven of the apostles in Galilee, at the sea of Tiberias, Joh_21:4.

The seventh, to James, 1Co_15:7, most probably in Jerusalem, and when Jesus gave an order for all his apostles to assemble together, as in Act_1:4.

The eighth, when they were assembled together, and when he led them unto Bethany, Luk_24:50, from whence he ascended to heaven. But see the note on Joh_21:14, for farther particulars.

Pertaining to the kingdom of God – Whatever concerned the doctrine, discipline, and establishment of the Christian Church.

A.T. Robertson
Acts 1:4

Being assembled together with them (sunalizomenos). Present passive participle from sunalizō, an old verb in Herodotus, Xenophon, etc., from sun, with, and halizō, from halēs, crowded. The margin of both the Authorized and the Revised Versions has “eating with them” as if from sun and hals (salt). Salt was the mark of hospitality. There is the verb halisthēte en autōi used by Ignatius Ad Magnes. X, “Be ye salted in him.” But it is more than doubtful if that is the idea here though the Vulgate does have convescens illis “eating with them,” as if that was the common habit of Jesus during the forty days (Wendt, Feine, etc.). Jesus did on occasion eat with the disciples (Luk_24:41-43; Mar_16:14).

To wait for the promise of the Father (perimenein tēn epaggelian tou patros). Note present active infinitive, to keep on waiting for (around, peri). In the Great Commission on the mountain in Galilee this item was not given (Mat_28:16-20). It is the subjective genitive, the promise given by the Father (note this Johannine use of the word), that is the Holy Spirit (“the promise of the Holy Spirit,” objective genitive).

Which ye heard from me (hēn ēkousate mou). Change from indirect discourse (command), infinitives chōrizesthai and perimenein after parēggeilen to direct discourse without any ephē (said he) as the English (Italics). Luke often does this (oratior ariata). Note also the ablative case of mou (from me). Luke continues in Act_1:5with the direct discourse giving the words of Jesus.

Henry Alford
Acts 1:5
5.] The Lord cites these words from the mouth of John himself, reff. Matt.;—and thus announces to them that, as John’s mission was accomplished in baptizing with water, so now the great end of His own mission, the Baptism with the Holy Ghost, was on the point of being accomplished. Calvin remarks, that He speaks of the Pentecostal effusion as being the Baptism with the Holy Ghost, because it was a great representation on the whole Church of the subsequent continued work of regeneration on individuals: ‘Quasi totius Ecclesiæ communis baptismus.’ I may add, also because it was the beginning of a new period of spiritual influence, totally unlike any which had preceded. See ch. Act_2:17.

A.T. Robertson
Acts 1:6

They therefore (hoi men oun). Demonstrative use of hoi with men oun without any corresponding de just as in Act_1:1 men occurs alone. The combination men oun is common in Acts (27 times). Cf. Luk_3:18. The oun is resumptive and refers to the introductory (Act_1:1-5), which served to connect the Acts with the preceding Gospel. The narrative now begins.

Asked (ērōtōn). Imperfect active, repeatedly asked before Jesus answered.

Lord (kurie). Here not in the sense of “sir” (Mat_21:30), but to Jesus as Lord and Master as often in Acts (Act_19:5, Act_19:10, etc.) and in prayer to Jesus (Act_7:59).

Dost thou restore (ei apokathistaneis). The use of ei in an indirect question is common. We have already seen its use in direct questions (Mat_12:10; Luk_13:23 which see note for discussion), possibly in imitation of the Hebrew (frequent in the lxx) or as a partial condition without conclusion. See also Act_7:1; Act_19:2; Act_21:37; Act_22:25. The form of the verb apokathistanō is late (also apokathistaō) omega form for the old and common apokathistēmi, double compound, to restore to its former state. As a matter of fact the Messianic kingdom for which they are asking is a political kingdom that would throw off the hated Roman yoke. It is a futuristic present and they are uneasy that Jesus may yet fail to fulfil their hopes. Surely here is proof that the eleven apostles needed the promise of the Father before they began to spread the message of the Risen Christ. They still yearn for a political kingdom for Israel even after faith and hope have come back. They need the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit (John 14-16) and the power of the Holy Spirit (Act_1:4.).

Albert Barnes
Acts 1:7

It is not for you to know – The question of the apostles respected the time of the restoration; it was not whether he would do it. Accordingly, his answer meets precisely their inquiry; and he tells them in general that the time of the great events of God’s kingdom was not to be understood by them. They had asked a similar question on a former occasion, Mat_24:3, “Tell us when shall these things be?” Jesus had answered them then by showing them that certain signs would precede his coming, and then by saying Mat_24:36, “But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” God has uniformly reproved a vain curiosity on such points, 1Th_5:1-2; 2Pe_3:10; Luk_12:39-40.

The times or the seasons – The difference between these words is, that the former denotes any time or period that is indefinite or uncertain; the later denotes a fixed, definite, or appropriate time. They seem to be used here to denote the periods that would mark or determine all future events.

The Father hath put … – So entirely had the Father reserved the knowledge of these to himself, that it is said that even the Son did not know them. See Mar_3:32, and the notes on that place.

In his own power – That is, he has fixed them by his own authority, he will bring them about in his own time and way; and therefore it is not proper for people anxiously to inquire into them. All prophecy is remarkably obscure in regard to the time of its fulfillment. The reasons why it is so are such as the following:

(1) To excite people to watch for the events that are to come, as the time is uncertain, and they will come “like a thief in the night.”

(2) As they are to be brought about by human agency, they are so arranged as to call forth that agency. If people knew just when an event was to come to pass, they might be remiss, and feel that their own efforts were not needed.

(3) The knowledge of future scenes of the exact time, might alarm people, and absorb their thoughts so entirely as to prevent a proper attention to the present duties of life. Duty is ours now; God will provide for future scenes.

(4) Promises sufficiently clear and full are therefore given us to encourage us, but not so full as to excite a vain and idle curiosity. All this is eminently true of our own death, one of the most important future scenes through which we are to pass. It is certainly before us; it is near; it cannot be long delayed; it may come at any moment. God has fixed the time, but will not inform us when it shall be. He does not gratify a vain curiosity; nor does he terrify us by announcing to us the day or the hour when we are to die, as we do a man that is to be executed. This would be to make our lives like that of a criminal sentenced to die, and we should through all our life, through fear of death, be subject to bondage, Heb_2:15. He has made enough known to excite us to make preparation, and to be always ready, having our loins girt about and our lamps trimmed and burning, Luk_12:35.

Cambridge Bible
Acts 1:7

It is not for you, &c.] During the tutelage, as it may be called, of His disciples, our Lord constantly avoided giving a direct answer to enquiries which they addressed to Him. He checked in this way their tendency to speculate on the future, and drew their minds to their duty in the present. Cp. Joh_21:21-22.

in his own power] The word here rendered power is not the same as that so rendered in the following verse. The sense of this first word is “absolute disposal,” and we might well render it authority.

A.T. Robertson
Acts 1:8

Power (dunamin). Not the “power” about which they were concerned (political organization and equipments for empire on the order of Rome). Their very question was ample proof of their need of this new “power” (dunamin), to enable them (from dunamai, to be able), to grapple with the spread of the gospel in the world.

When the Holy Ghost is come upon you (epelthontos tou hagiou pneumatos eph’ humas). Genitive absolute and is simultaneous in time with the preceding verb “shall receive” (lēmpsesthe). The Holy Spirit will give them the “power” as he comes upon them. This is the baptism of the Holy Spirit referred to in Act_1:5.

My witnesses (mou martures). Correct text. “Royal words of magnificent and Divine assurance” (Furneaux). Our word martyrs is this word martures. In Luk_24:48 Jesus calls the disciples “witnesses to these things” (martures toutōn, objective genitive). In Act_1:22 an apostle has to be a “witness to the Resurrection” of Christ and in Act_10:39 to the life and work of Jesus. Hence there could be no “apostles” in this sense after the first generation. But here the apostles are called “my witnesses.” “His by a direct personal relationship” (Knowling). The expanding sphere of their witness when the Holy Spirit comes upon them is “unto the uttermost part of the earth” (heōs eschatou tēs gēs). Once they had been commanded to avoid Samaria (Mat_10:5), but now it is included in the world program as already outlined on the mountain in Galilee (Mat_28:19; Mar_16:15). Jesus is on Olivet as he points to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, the uttermost (last, eschatou) part of the earth. The program still beckons us on to world conquest for Christ. “The Acts themselves form the best commentary on these words, and the words themselves might be given as the best summary of the Acts” (Page). The events follow this outline (Jerusalem till the end of chapter 7, with the martyrdom of Stephen, the scattering of the saints through Judea and Samaria in chapter 8, the conversion of Saul, chapter 9, the spread of the gospel to Romans in Caesarea by Peter (chapter 10), to Greeks in Antioch (chapter 11), finally Paul’s world tours and arrest and arrival in Rome (chapter 11 to chapter 28).

Albert Barnes
Acts 1:9

While they beheld – While they saw him. It was of importance to state that circumstance, and to state it distinctly. It is not affirmed in the New Testament that they “saw him rise” from the dead, because the evidence of that fact could be better established by their seeing him after he was risen. But the truth of his “ascension to heaven” could not be confirmed in that manner. Hence, it was so arranged that he should ascend in open day, and in the presence of his apostles; and that not when they were asleep, or were inattentive to what was occurring, but when they were engaged in a conversation that’ would fix the attention, and even when they were looking upon him. Had Jesus vanished secretly, or had he disappeared in the night, the apostles would have been amazed and confounded; perhaps they would even have doubted whether they had not been deceived. But when they saw him leave them in this manner, they could not doubt that he had ascended to heaven, and that God approved his work, and would carry it forward. This event was exceedingly important:

(1) It was a confirmation of the truth of the Christian religion.

(2) It enabled the apostles to state distinctly where the Lord Jesus was, and at once directed their affections and their thoughts away from the earth, and opened their eyes on the glory of the scheme of religion they were to establish. If their Saviour was in heaven, it settled the question about the nature of his kingdom. It was clear that it was not designed to be a temporal kingdom. The reasons why it was proper that the Lord Jesus should ascend to heaven rather than remain on earth were:

(1) That he had “finished” the work which God gave him to do “on the earth” Joh_17:4; Joh_19:30, and it was proper that he should be received back to the glory which he had with the Father before the world was, Joh_17:4-5; Phi_2:6, Phi_2:9-10.

(2) It was proper that he should ascend in order that the Holy Spirit might come down and perform his part of the work of redemption. Jesus, by his personal ministry, as a man, could be but in one place; the Holy Spirit could be in all places, and could apply the work to all people. See note on Joh_16:7.

(3) A part of the work of Christ was yet to be performed in heaven. That was the work of intercession. The high priest of the Jews not only made an atonement, but also presented the blood of sacrifice before the mercy-seat, as the priest of the people, Lev_16:11-14. This was done to typify the entrance of the great high priest of our profession into the heavens, Heb_9:7-8, Heb_9:11-12. The work which he performs there is the work of intercession, Heb_7:25. This is properly the work which an advocate performs in a court for his client. As applicable to Christ, the meaning is, that he, as our great high priest, still manages our cause in heaven; secures our interests; obtains for us grace and mercy. His work, in this respect, consists in his appearing in the presence of God for us Heb_9:24; in his presenting the merits of his blood Heb_9:12, Heb_9:14; and in securing the continuance of the mercy which has been bestowed on us, and which is still needful for our welfare. The Lord Jesus also ascended that he might assume and exercise the office of King in the immediate seat of power. All worlds were made subject to him for the welfare of the church; and it was needful that he should be solemnly invested with that power in the presence of God as the reward of his earthly toils. 1Co_15:25, “he must reign until he hath put all enemies under his feet.” Compare Eph_1:20-22; Phi_2:6-11.
A cloud received him – He entered into the region of the clouds, and was hid from their view. But two others of our race have been taken bodily from earth to heaven. Enoch was transported (Gen_5:24; compare Heb_11:5); and Elijah was taken up by a whirlwind, 2Ki_2:11. It is remarkable that when the return of the Saviour is mentioned, it is uniformly said that he will return in the clouds, Act_1:11; Mat_24:30; Mat_26:64; Mar_13:26; Rev_1:7; Dan_7:13. The clouds are an emblem of sublimity and grandeur, and perhaps this is all that is intended by these expressions, Deu_4:11; 2Sa_22:12; Psa_97:2; Psa_104:3.

Cambridge Bible
Acts 1:10

as he went up] The preposition is not in the Greek, which has simply, as he went.
in white apparel] They are called men, but they are evidently angels. So the two angels are clothed in white (Joh_20:12) whom Mary saw in the sepulchre after the Resurrection, and one of these is called by St Mark (Mar_16:5) “a young man clothed in a long white garment.” St Luke in the Gospel calls them “two men in shining garments” (Act_24:4). So the “man in bright clothing,” Act_10:30, is described in Act_11:13 as “an angel.” This was a common Jewish expression to signify angelic or divine messengers. Cf. Talm. Jer. Joma Act_1:2, ad fin.

“Shimeon ha-Tsaddik (i.e. the righteous) served Israel forty years in the High-priesthood, and in the last year he said to the people, ‘In this year I shall die.’ They said to him: ‘How dost thou know this?’ He said to them: ‘Every year when I was going into the Holy of Holies there was an Ancient one, clad in white garments and with a white vail, who went in with me and came out with me; but this year he went in with me and did not come out with me.’ [On this matter] they asked of Rabbi Abuhu, ‘But surely it is written: ‘Nothing of mankind shall be in the tent of meeting when he [the High-priest] goes in to make atonement until his coming out again,’ not even those concerning whom it is written [Eze_1:5] ‘They had the likeness of a man,’ even they shall not be in the tent of meeting.’ He said to them: ‘What is there [in this language of Shimeon] to tell me that it was a human being at all? I say it was the Holy One.”

Albert Barnes
Acts 1:11

Ye men of Galilee – Galilee was the place of their former residence, and they were commonly known by the name of Galileans.

Why stand ye … – There is doubtless a slight degree of censure implied in this, as well as a design to call their attention away from a vain attempt to see the departed Saviour. The impropriety may have been:

(1) In the feeling of disappointment, as if he would not restore the kingdom to Israel.

(2) Possibly they were expecting that he would again soon appear, though he had often foretold them that he would ascend to heaven.

(3) There might have been an impropriety in their earnest desire for the mere bodily presence of the Lord Jesus, when it was more important that he should be in heaven. We may see here also that it is our duty not to stand in idleness, and to gaze even toward heaven. We, as well as the apostles, have a great work to do, and we should actively engage in it without delay.

Gazing up – Looking up.

This same Jesus – This was said to comfort them. The same tried friend who had been so faithful to them would return. They ought not, therefore, to look with despondency at his departure.

Into heaven – This expression denotes into the immediate presence of God; or into the place of perpetual purity and happiness, where God especially manifests his favor. The same thing is frequently designated by his sitting on the right hand of God, as emblematic of power, honor, and favor. See the Mar_16:19; Mar_14:62 notes; Heb_1:3; Heb_8:1 notes; Act_7:55 note; Rom_8:34 note; Eph_1:20 note.
Shall so come – At the day of judgment. Joh_14:3, “if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again,” etc.

In like manner … – In clouds, as he ascended. See the Act_1:9 note; 1Th_4:16 note. This address was designed to comfort the disciples. Though their master and friend was taken from them, yet he was not removed forever. He would come again with similar majesty and glory to vindicate his people, and to tread his enemies under his feet. The design for which he will come will be to judge the world, Matt. 25. There will be an evident fitness and propriety in his coming for such reasons as the following:

(1) Because his appropriate work in heaven as mediator will have been accomplished; his people will have been saved; the great enemy of God and man will have been subdued; death will have been conquered; and the gospel will have shown its power in subduing all forms of wickedness; in removing the effects of sin; in establishing the Law, and in vindicating the honor of God; and all will have been done that is necessary to establish the authority of God throughout the universe. It will be proper, therefore, that this mysterious order of things shall be wound up, and the results become a matter of record in the history of the universe. This will be better than it would be to suffer an eternal millennium on the earth, while the saints should many of them slumber, and the wicked still be in their graves.

(2) It is proper that he should come to vindicate his people, and raise them up to glory. Here they have been persecuted, oppressed, put to death. Their character is assailed; they are poor; and the world despises them. It is fit that God should show himself to be their friend; that he should do justice to their injured names and motives; that he should bring out hidden and obscure virtue, and vindicate it; that he should enter every grave and bring forth his friends to life.

(3) It is proper that he should show his hatred of sin. Here it triumphs. The wicked are rich, and honored, and mighty, and say, Where is the promise of his coming? 2Pe_3:4. It is right that he should defend his cause. Hence, the Lord Jesus will come to guard the avenues to heaven, and to see that the universe suffers no wrong by the admission of an improper person to the skies.

(4) The great transactions of redemption have been public, open, often grand. The apostasy was public, in the face of angels and of the universe. Sin has been open, public high-handed. Misery has been public, and has rolled its deep and turbid waves in the face of the universe. Death has been public; all worlds have seen the race cut down and moulder. The death of Jesus was public: the angels saw it; the heavens were clothed with mourning; the earth shook, and the dead arose. Jesus was publicly whipped, cursed, crucified; and it is proper that he should publicly triumph – that all heaven rejoicing, and all hell at length humbled, should see his public victory. Hence, he will come with clouds – with angels – with fire – and will raise the dead, and exhibit to all the universe the amazing close of the scheme of redemption.

(5) We have in these verses a description of the most grand and wonderful events that this world has ever known – the ascension and return of the Lord Jesus. Here is consolation for the Christian; and here is a source of ceaseless alarm to the sinner.

Gospel of Matthew Chapter 13:1-13 Antique Commentary Quotes

Pulpit Commentary
Mat_13:1
The same day; on that day (Revised Version). Although day is sometimes used in a metaphorical sense, so as to include what is, in fact, a long period of time, yet we are not justified in assigning this sense to it unless the context clearly requires us to do so. This is not the case here, so that we must assume that a literal day is intended. But which day? Naturally, the day that has just before been mentioned, either in the original source from which our narrative is taken or in the narrative as it now stands. Since, however, Mat_12:46-50 and our Mat_12:1-23 appear to have been already connected in the framework, these supposed alternatives really represent the same thing, the phrase probably referring to the day on which our Lord’s mother and brethren sought to speak to him (Mat_12:46).

Went Jesus out of the house. Where he had been when his mother came (Mat_12:46, note), and presumably the one to which he returned in Mat_12:36. Possibly it was St. Peter’s house at Capernaum (Mat_8:14).

And sat (Mat_5:1, note). By the seaside. Until the crowds compelled him to enter the boat.

Cambridge Bible
Matthew 13:1

1. sat] The usual position of a Jewish teacher.

by the sea side] At the N. end of the Lake of Gennesaret there are small creeks or inlets “where the ship could ride in safety only a few feet from the shore, and where the multitudes seated on both sides and before the boat could listen without distraction or fatigue. As if on purpose to furnish seats, the shore on both sides of these narrow inlets is piled up with smooth boulders of basalt.” Thomson, Land and Book, p. 356.

A.T. Robertson
Matthew 13:3

Many things in parables (polla en parabolais). It was not the first time that Jesus had used parables, but the first time that he had spoken so many and some of such length. He will use a great many in the future as in Luke 12 to 18 and Matt. 24 and 25. The parables already mentioned in Matthew include the salt and the light (Mat_5:13-16), the birds and the lilies (Mat_6:26-30), the splinter and the beam in the eye (Mat_7:3-5), the two gates (Mat_7:13.), the wolves in sheep’s clothing (Mat_7:15), the good and bad trees (Mat_7:17-19), the wise and foolish builders (Mat_7:24-27), the garment and the wineskins (Mat_9:16.), the children in the market places (Mat_11:16.). It is not certain how many he spoke on this occasion. Matthew mentions eight in this chapter (the Sower, the Tares, the Mustard Seed, the Leaven, the Hid Treasure, the Pearl of Great Price, the Net, the Householder). Mark adds the Parable of the Lamp (Mar_4:21; Luk_8:16), the Parable of the Seed Growing of Itself (Mar_4:26-29), making ten of which we know. But both Mark (Mar_4:33) and Matthew (Mat_13:34) imply that there were many others. “Without a parable spake he nothing unto them” (Mat_13:34), on this occasion, we may suppose. The word parable (parabolē from paraballō, to place alongside for measurement or comparison like a yardstick) is an objective illustration for spiritual or moral truth. The word is employed in a variety of ways (a) as for sententious sayings or proverbs (Mat_15:15; Mar_3:23; Luk_4:23; Luk_5:36-39; Luk_6:39), for a figure or type (Heb_9:9; Heb_11:19); (b) a comparison in the form of a narrative, the common use in the Synoptic Gospels like the Sower; (c) “A narrative illustration not involving a comparison” (Broadus), like the Rich Fool, the Good Samaritan, etc. “The oriental genius for picturesque speech found expression in a multitude of such utterances” (McNeile). There are parables in the Old Testament, in the Talmud, in sermons in all ages. But no one has spoken such parables as these of Jesus. They hold the mirror up to nature and, as all illustrations should do, throw light on the truth presented. The fable puts things as they are not in nature, Aesop’s Fables, for instance. The parable may not be actual fact, but it could be so. It is harmony with the nature of the case. The allegory (allēgoria) is a speaking parable that is self-explanatory all along like Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress. All allegories are parables, but not all parables are allegories. The Prodigal Son is an allegory, as is the story of the Vine and Branches (John 15). John does not use the word parable, but only paroimia, a saying by the way (Joh_10:6; Joh_16:25, Joh_16:29). As a rule the parables of Jesus illustrate one main point and the details are more or less incidental, though sometimes Jesus himself explains these. When he does not do so, we should be slow to interpret the minor details. Much heresy has come from fantastic interpretations of the parables. In the case of the Parable of the Sower (Mat_13:3-8) we have also the careful exposition of the story by Jesus (Mat_13:18-23) as well as the reason for the use of parables on this occasion by Jesus (Mat_13:9-17).

Behold, the sower went forth (idou ēlthen ho speirōn). Matthew is very fond of this exclamation idou. It is “the sower,” not “a sower.” Jesus expects one to see the man as he stepped forth to begin scattering with his hand. The parables of Jesus are vivid word pictures. To understand them one must see them, with the eyes of Jesus if he can. Christ drew his parables from familiar objects.

Marvin Vincent
Matthew 13:4

By the wayside
Dean Stanley, approaching the plain of Gennesareth, says: “A slight recess in the hillside, close upon the plain, disclosed at once, in detail and with a conjunction which I remember nowhere else in Palestine, every feature of the great parable. There was the undulating cornfield descending to the water’s edge. There was the trodden pathway running through the midst of it, with no fence or hedge to prevent the seed from falling here and there on either side of it or upon it; itself hard with the constant tramp of horse and mule and human feet. There was the ‘good’ rich soil which distinguishes the whole of that plain and its neighborhood from the bare hills elsewhere descending into the lake, and which, where there is no interruption, produces one vast mass of corn. There was the rocky ground of the hillside protruding here and there through the cornfields, as elsewhere through the grassy slopes. There were the large bushes of thorn – the nabk, that kind of which tradition says that the crown of thorns was woven – springing up, like the fruit-trees of the more inland parts, in the very midst of the waving wheat” (“Sinai and Palestine”).

Cambridge Bible
Matthew 13:5

stony places] Places where the underlying rock was barely covered with earth. The hot sun striking on the thin soil and warming the rock beneath would cause the corn to spring up rapidly and then as swiftly to wither.

Philip Schaff
Matthew 13:6
Mat_13:6. Scorched, or ‘burnt.’ The heat of the sun, so necessary to vegetable life, did this; but the effect must be connected with the cause: they had no root. Plants need both sunshine and moisture; they get the first from their growth above ground, the second from their growth below ground; the root however being the principal channel of nourishment (comp. Luke: ‘moisture’). Hence these withered away.

Albert Barnes
Mat_13:7

Among thorns – That is, in a part of the field where the thorns and shrubs had been imperfectly cleared away and not destroyed.

They grew with the grain, crowded it, shaded it, exhausted the earth, and thus choked it.

A.T. Robertson
Matthew 13:8

Yielded fruit (edidou karpon). Change to imperfect tense of didōmi, to give, for it was continuous fruit-bearing.

Some a hundredfold (ho men hekaton). Variety, but fruit. This is the only kind that is worth while. The hundredfold is not an exaggeration (cf. Gen_26:12). Such instances are given by Wetstein for Greece, Italy, and Africa. Herodotus (i. 93) says that in Babylonia grain yielded two hundredfold and even to three hundredfold. This, of course, was due to irrigation as in the Nile Valley.

A.T. Robertson
Matthew 13:9

He that hath ears let him hear (ho echōn ōta akouetō), So also in Mat_11:15 and Mat_13:43. It is comforting to teachers and preachers to observe that even Jesus had to exhort people to listen and to understand his sayings, especially his parables. They will bear the closest thought and are often enigmatical.

Cambridge Bible
Matthew 13:10
Mar_4:10-12; Luk_8:10
10. parables] The parable is suited

(1) to the uninstructed, as being attractive in form and as revealing spiritual truth exactly in proportion to the capacity of the hearer; and

(2) to the divinely wise as wrapping up a secret which he can penetrate by his spiritual insight. In this it resembles the Platonic myth; it was the form in which many philosophers clothed their deepest thoughts.

(3) It fulfils the condition of all true knowledge. He alone who seeks finds. In relation to Nature, Art, God Himself, it may be said the dull “seeing see not.” The commonest and most obvious things hide the greatest truths.

(4) The divine Wisdom has been justified in respect to this mode of teaching. The parables have struck deep into the thought and language of men (not of Christians only), as no other teaching could have done; in proof of which it is sufficient to name such words and expressions as “talents,” “dispensation,” “leaven,” “prodigal son,” “light under a bushel,” “building on sand.”

Pulpit Commentary
Mat_13:11
He answered and said unto them, Because. Omit because, with the Revised Version. The ὅτι is merely recitative. In this verse our Lord does not directly reply to their question, but only states God’s ways of dealing with the two different classes of people (cf. Mat_11:25, note).

It is given unto you (unto you it is given, Revised Version); which better represents the sharpness of the antithesis in the Greek. It is given; already (δέδοται), i.e. in the counsel of God, though now given in possession, so far as regards this parable, by the explanation that I will add.

To know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. The secrets about the establishment and development of God’s realm, which cannot be discovered by human reason, but which are made known to the initiated. Under the term “mystery,” St. Paul refers to such revealed secrets as the preaching of the gospel to the Gentiles (Eph_3:3, Eph_3:4, Eph_3:9; Col_1:26), the conversion of the Jews (Rom_11:25), the relation of Christ to the Church being like that of husband and wife (Eph_5:32), and the general resurrection (1Co_15:51). (Cf. Mat_11:25, note, “revealed;” and infra, verse 35, note, and especially Bishop Lightfoot on the passage in Colossians.)

But to them it is not given. Professor Marshall suggests that the variation “the rest” (Luke), points to a slight difference in one word of the original Aramaic text, the phrase in Mark (“them that are without”) combining both readings (see Expositor IV. 4.446). The suggestion is ingenious, but seems hardly necessary.

Albert Barnes
Mat_13:12
Whosoever hath … – This is a proverbial method of speaking.
It means that a man who improves what light, grace, and opportunities he has, shall have them increased. From him that improves them not, it is proper that they should be taken away. The Jews had many opportunities of learning the truth, and some light still lingered among them; but they were gross and sensual, and misimproved them, and it was a just judgment that they should be deprived of them. Superior knowledge was given to the disciples of Christ: they improved it, however slowly, and the promise was that it should be greatly increased.

Pulpit Commentary
Mat_13:13
Therefore (διὰ τοῦτο). To carry out the principle of the whole preceding verse, but with special reference to the second half of it. Because, in this case, they “have not,” therefore I speak to them thus. Speak I to them in parables because. In the parallel passages Christ says that he speaks in parables “in order that seeing,” etc.; but here, “because seeing,” etc. The difference of the thought, which is more formal than real, is that

(1) in the parallel passages their moral blindness and deafness are represented as the effect of what he says, parables being used to bring about the punishment for what was presumably earlier sloth.

(2) In Matthew their present moral blindness and deafness are represented as the reason for the use of parables. Parables are themselves the punishment; the people are fit for nothing else (thus laying stress on the “has not” of verse 12); therefore Christ speaks to them in parables.

They seeing see not (seeing they see not, Revised Version, keeping the order of the Greek, as even the Authorized Version in the next clause); and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. The participles “seeing,” “hearing,” in Matthew and Luke, probably do not represent the Hebrew infinitive in its common usage of giving intensity or continuance to the idea of the finite verb to which it is joined, but are to be taken separately, i.e.” Though they have powers of seeing and of hearing, they nevertheless do not so use these powers as to see and hear” (for the thought, cf. Jer_5:21; Eze_12:2). Thus in meaning, though not in form, as compared with the next verse, seeing is equivalent to “seeing ye shall see;” they see not, to “and shall in no wise perceive;” hearing, to “hearing ye shall hear;” they hear not, to “and shall in no wise understand.”

Gospel of Matthew Chapter 11:20-30 Antique Commentary Quotes

Marvin Vincent
Matthew 11:20

Mighty works (δυνάμεις)
The supernatural works of Christ and his apostles are denoted by six different words in the New Testament, exhibiting these works under different aspects and from different points of view. These will be considered in detail as they occur.

Generally, a miracle may be regarded:
1. As a portent or prodigy (τέρας); as Act_7:36, of the wonders shown by Moses in Egypt.
2. As a sign (σημεῖον), pointing to something beyond itself, a mark of the power or grace of the doer or of his connection with the supernatural world. So Mat_12:38.
3. As an exhibition of God’s glory (ἔνδοξον), Luk_13:17; glorious things.
4. As a strange thing (παράδοξον), Luk_5:26.
5. As a wonderful thing (θαυμάσιον), Mat_21:15.
6. As a power (δύναμις); so here: a mighty work.

A.T. Robertson
Matthew 11:20

Most of his mighty works (hai pleistai dunameis autou). Literally, “His very many mighty works” if elative as usual in the papyri (Moulton, Prolegomena, p. 79; Robertson, Grammar, p. 670). But the usual superlative makes sense here as the Canterbury translation has it. This word dunamis for miracle presents the notion of power like our dynamite. The word teras is wonder, portent, miraculum (miracle) as in Act_2:19. It occurs only in the plural and always with sēmeia. The word sēmeion means sign (Mat_12:38) and is very common in John’s Gospel as well as the word ergon (work) as in Joh_5:36. Other words used are paradoxon, our word paradox, strange (Luk_5:26), endoxon, glorious (Luk_13:17), thaumasion, wonderful (Mat_21:15).

Albert Barnes
Matthew 11:21

Chorazin and Bethsaida – These were towns not far from Capernaum, but the precise situation is unknown. See “The Land and the Book” (Thomson), vol. ii. pp. 8, 9. Bethsaida means literally a “house of hunting” or “a house of game,” and it was probably situated on the banks of the Sea of Galilee, and supported itself by hunting or fishing. It was the residence of Philip, Andrew, and Peter, Joh_1:44. It was enlarged by Philip the Tetrarch, and called “Julia,” after the emperor’s daughter.

Tyre and Sidon – These were cities of Phoenicia, formerly very opulent, and distinguished for merchandise. They were situated on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea, and were in the western part of Judea. They were therefore well known to the Jews. Tyre is frequently mentioned in the Old Testament as being the place through which Solomon derived many of the materials for building the temple, 2Ch_2:11-16. It was also a place against which one of the most important and pointed prophecies of Isaiah was directed. See the notes at Isa. 23. Compare Eze_26:4-14. Both these cities were very ancient. Sidon was situated within the bounds of the tribe of Asher Jos_19:28, but this tribe could never get possession of it, Jdg_1:31. It was famous for its great trade and navigation. Its inhabitants were the first remarkable merchants in the world, and were much celebrated for their luxury. In the time of our Saviour it was probably a city of much splendor and extensive commerce. It is now called Seide, or Saide, and is far less populous and splendid than it was in the time of Christ. It was subdued successively by the Babylonians, Egyptians, and Romans, the latter of whom deprived it of its freedom.

Messrs. Fisk and King, American missionaries, passed through Sidon in the summer of 1823, and estimated the population, as others have estimated it, at 8,000 or 10,000; but Mr. Goodell, another American missionary, took up his residence there in June, 1824, for the purpose of studying the Armenian language with a bishop of the Armenian Church who lives there, and of course had far better opportunities to know the statistics of the place. He tells us there are six Muslim mosques, a Jewish synagogue, a Maronite, Latin, and Greek church. Dr. Thomson (“The Land and the Book,” vol. i. p. 164) supposes that the population may now be about 10,000 – about 6,800 Moslems, 850 Greek Catholics, 750 Maronites, 150 Greeks, and 300 Jews. It exports tobacco, oil, fruit, and silk, but the amount of exports is small.

Tyre was situated about 20 miles south of Sidon. It was built partly on a small island about 70 paces from the shore, and partly on the mainland. It was a city of great extent and splendor, and extensive commerce. It abounded in luxury and wickedness. It was often besieged. It held out against Shalmaneser five years, and was taken by Nebuchadnezzar after a siege of “thirteen” years. It was afterward rebuilt, and was at length taken by Alexander the Great, after a most obstinate siege of five months. There are no signs now of the ancient city. It is the residence only of a few miserable fishermen, and contains, amid the ruins of its former magnificence, only a few huts. Thus was fulfilled the prophecy of Ezekiel: “Thou shalt be built no more; though thou be sought for, yet shalt thou never be found again” Eze_26:21.

In sackcloth and ashes – Sackcloth was a coarse cloth, like canvas, used for the dress of the poor, and for the more common articles of domestic economy. It was worn also as a sign of mourning. The Jews also frequently threw ashes on their heads as expressive of grief, Job_1:21; Job_2:12; Jer_6:26. The meaning is, that they would have repented with “expressions of deep sorrow.” Like Nineveh, they would have seen their guilt and danger, and would have turned from their iniquities. “Heathen” cities would have received him better than the cities of the Jews, his native land,

Pulpit Commentary
Mat_11:23

And thou, Capernaum (Mat_4:13, note), which art exalted unto heaven; Shalt thou be exalted unto heaven? (Revised Version); Μὴ ἕως οὐρανοῦ ὑψωθήσῃ; i.e. Shalt thou be raised high in public estimation, as thou thinkest, who art so proud of thy share in the busy and gay life on the lakeside?

Shalt be brought down to hell; thou shalt go down unto Hades (Revised Version). The change of voice in the two clauses (ὑψωθήση … καταβήσῃ) may imply that if thou ‘art indeed raised, it will be by Another; but if thou fallest, it will be by thyself. Observe that our Lord’s words are an adaptation of Isaiah’s address to the King of Babylon (Isa_14:13-15).

For if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom (transposed in the Revised Version, as in verse 21), it would have remained until this day. In this verso the stress lies on the effect of the moral attitude; in verse 21, on the moral attitude itself.

Albert Barnes
Matthew 11:23

And thou, Capernaum – See the notes at Mat_4:13.

Which art exalted to heaven – This is an expression used to denote great privileges. He meant that they were especially favored with instruction. The city was prosperous. It was signally favored by its wealth. Most of all, it was signally favored by the presence, the preaching, and the miracles of the Lord Jesus Christ. Here he spent a large portion of his time in the early part of his ministry, and in Capernaum and its neighborhood he performed his chief miracles.

Shalt be brought down to hell – This does not mean that all the people would go to hell, but that the city which had flourished so prosperously would lose its prosperity, and occupy the “lowest place” among cities. The word “hell” is used here, not to denote a place of punishment in the future world, but a state of “desolation and destructions.” It stands in contrast with the word “heaven.” As their being exalted to heaven did not mean that the “people” would all be saved or dwell in heaven, so their being brought down to “hell” refers to the desolation of the “city.” Their privileges, honors, wealth, etc., would be taken away, and they would sink as low among cities as they had been before exalted. This has been strictly fulfilled. In the wars between the Jews and the Romans, Chorazin, Bethsaida, Capernaum, etc., were so completely desolated that it is difficult to determine their former situation. See the notes at Mat_4:13. It is not to be denied, also, that he threatened future punishment on those who rejected him. The truth inculcated is, that those who are especially favored will be punished accordingly if they abuse their privileges.

If the mighty works …had been done in Sodom – See the notes at Mat_10:15. Sodom was destroyed on account of its great wickedness. Christ says if his miracles had been performed there, they would have repented, and consequently the city would not have been destroyed. As it was, it would be better for Sodom in the day of judgment than for Capernaum, for its inhabitants would not be called to answer for the abuse of so great privileges.

Adam Clarke
Matthew 11:24

But – it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom – Γη Σοδομων, the land of the Sodomites; i.e. the ancient inhabitants of that city and its neighborhood.
In Jude, Jud_1:7, we are told that these persons are suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah happened A. M. 2107, which was 1897 years before the incarnation. What a terrible thought is this! It will be more tolerable for certain sinners, who have already been damned nearly four thousand years, than for those who, live and die infidels under the Gospel! There are various degrees of punishments in hell, answerable to various degrees of guilt, and the contempt manifested to, and the abuse made of; the preaching of the Gospel, will rank semi-infidel Christians in the highest list of transgressors, and purchase them the hottest place in hell! Great God! save the reader from this destruction!

Day of judgment – May either refer to that particular time in which God visits for iniquity, or to that great day in which he will judge the world by the Lord Jesus Christ. The day of Sodom’s judgment was that in which it was destroyed by fire and brimstone from heaven, Gen_19:24; and the day of judgment to Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum, was the time in which they were destroyed by the Romans, Mat_11:23. But there is a day of final judgment, when Hades itself, (sinners in a state of partial punishment in the invisible world) shall be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, which is the second death. See Rev_20:14.

A.T. Robertson
Matthew 11:25

At that season Jesus answered and said (en ekeinōi tōi kairōi apokritheis eipen). Spoke to his Father in audible voice. The time and place we do not know. But here we catch a glimpse of Jesus in one of his moods of worship. “It is usual to call this golden utterance a prayer, but it is at once prayer, praise, and self-communing in a devout spirit” (Bruce). Critics are disturbed because this passage from the Logia of Jesus or Q of Synoptic criticism (Mat_11:25-30; Luk_10:21-24) is so manifestly Johannine in spirit and very language, “the Father” (ho patēr), “the son” (ho huios), whereas the Fourth Gospel was not written till the close of the first century and the Logia was written before the Synoptic Gospels. The only satisfying explanation lies in the fact that Jesus did have this strain of teaching that is preserved in John’s Gospel. Here he is in precisely the same mood of elevated communion with the Father that we have reflected in John 14-17. Even Harnack is disposed to accept this Logion as a genuine saying of Jesus. The word “thank” (homologoumai) is better rendered “praise” (Moffatt). Jesus praises the Father “not that the sophoi were ignorant, but that the nēpioi knew” (McNeile).

Adam Clarke
Matthew 11:25

I thank thee – Εξομολογουμαι σοι, I fully agree with thee – I am perfectly of the same mind. Thou hast acted in all things according to the strictest holiness, justice, mercy, and truth.

Wise and prudent – The scribes and Pharisees, vainly puffed up by their fleshly minds, and having their foolish hearts darkened, refusing to submit to the righteousness of God (God’s method of saving man by Christ) and going about to establish their own righteousness, (their own method of saving themselves), they rejected God’s counsel, and God sent the peace and salvation of the Gospel to others, called here babes, (his disciples), simple-hearted persons, who submitted to be instructed and saved in God’s own way. Let it be observed, that our Lord does not thank the Father that he had hidden these things from the wise and prudent, but that, seeing they were hidden from them, he had revealed them to the others.

There is a remarkable saying in the Talmudists, which casts light upon this: “Rab. Jochanan said: ‘From the time in which the temple was destroyed, wisdom was taken away from the prophets, and given to fools and children.’ Bava Bathra, fol. 12. Again: ‘In the days of the Messiah, every species of wisdom, even the most profound, shall, be revealed; and this even to children.’” Synop. Sohar. fol. 10.

Pulpit Commentary
Mat_11:26
Even so; yea (Revised Version); ναί. A renewed acceptance of the immediately preceding facts. Father. In Mat_11:25, Πάτερ: here, ὁΠατήρ. There the term referred more directly to God as his own Father; here to him as Father of all, notwithstanding the methods he used.

For. Giving the reason of Christ’s acceptance. That would make this clause closely dependent on the preceding. But this seems unnatural. So; i.e. in this double method.

It seemed good (it was well-pleasing, Revised Version) in thy sight (εὐδοκία ἐγένετο); literally, it was good pleasure before thee—an Aramaism equivalent to “it was thy will” (compare the Targum of Jdg_13:23; 1Sa_12:22 [וי מדק אוער]; see also Mat_18:14). The phrase implies, not merely that it seemed good to God, but that, in a sense, it was his pleasure. For the workings out of the laws of truth must give pleasure to the God of truth. (On the aorist ἐγένετο, see Mat_11:25, note.)

Pulpit Commentary
Mat_11:27
All things. Not in the widest sense, for this would forestall Mat_28:18 but all things that are required for my work of manifesting the truth. The utterance is thus both closely parallel to Joh_8:28, and also in most intimate connexion with the preceding verses. God’s twofold action in hiding the truth from some and revealing it to others is, our Lord says, all of a piece with my whole work. This is all arranged by my Father, and the knowledge of God by any man is no chance matter.

Are delivered unto me; have been delivered (Revised Version); rather, were delivered (παρεδόθη). Here also it is possible to interpret the aorist from the standpoint of the hereafter (Joh_8:25, note); but, as it is immediately followed by the present tense, it more probably refers to some time earlier than that at which our Lord was speaking. The time of his entrance on the world naturally suggests itself. Observe when bringing out his dependence upon his Father, our Lord lays stress on the notion of transmission (παρεδόθη); but in Mat_28:18, where he is bringing out his post-resurrection greatness (Php_2:9), he merely mentions his authority as an absolute gift (ἐδόθη). Notice the contrast implied in παρεδόθη to the Jewish παράδοσις. The Pharisees boasted that their tradition came from God, though through many hands; Christ claimed to have received his from God himself.

Of (ὑπό). For the transmission was immediate; there were no links between the Giver and the Receiver (cf. Bishop Lightfoot, on Gal_1:12).

My Father; me … my. Observe the double claim; his unique position as Teacher is due to his unique relation by nature.

And no man knoweth; i.e. with a gradual, but at last complete, perception (ἐπιγινώσκει). In the Gospels this word is used of the knowledge of God and of Christ in this verse alone, though such a reference is especially suited to its meaning of perfection of know. ledge (cf. Bishop Lightfoot, Col_1:9).

The Son. Not “me,” because Christ wished to bring out more clearly his unique relation to God, and thus to emphasize the impossibility of any one, even an advanced disciple, fully knowing him.

But the Father. Not “his Father.” It may be that Christ wishes to include the suggestion that after all there is a sense in which his Father is the Father of all men, but more probably, by making ὁπατήρ completely parallel to ὁυἱός, he wishes to suggest that the full idea of Sonship and Fatherhood is nowhere else so fully satisfied. Neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. The connexion is—You may think this (i.e. verse 25) strange, but I alone have that knowledge of God which enables me to understand his ways; I alone, yet others also, if I reveal him to them. As St. Luke expressed it in his form of our verse 19, “Wisdom is justified of her children” (comp. also Joh_14:9).

To whomsoever. Though but a babe (verse 25).

Will reveal; willeth to reveal (Revised Version); βούληται … ἀποκαλύψαι. Not “is commanded,” for Christ claims equality (see Chrysostom). Notice the idea of plan and deliberation, and not that of mere desire, unable, perhaps, to assign a reason for its existence (θέλω); cf. Phm_1:13, Phm_1:14.

Adam Clarke
Matthew 11:28

Come unto me – This phrase in the new covenant implies simply, believing in Christ, and becoming his disciple, or follower.

All ye that labor and are heavy laden – The metaphor here appears to be taken from a man who has a great load laid upon him, which he must carry to a certain place: every step he takes reduces his strength, and renders his load the more oppressive. However, it must be carried on; and he labors, uses his utmost exertions, to reach the place where it is to be laid down. A kind person passing by, and, seeing his distress, offers to ease him of his load, that he may enjoy rest.

The Jews, heavily laden with the burdensome rites of the Mosaic institution, rendered still more oppressive by the additions made by the scribes and Pharisees, who, our Lord says, (Mat_23:4), bound on heavy burdens; and laboring, by their observance of the law, to make themselves pleasing to God, are here invited to lay down their load, and receive the salvation procured for them by Christ.

Sinners, wearied in the ways of iniquity, are also invited to come to this Christ, and find speedy relief.

Penitents, burdened with the guilt of their crimes, may come to this Sacrifice, and find instant pardon.

Believers, sorely tempted, and oppressed by the remains of the carnal mind, may come to this blood, that cleanseth from all unrighteousness; and, purified from all sin, and powerfully succored in every temptation, they shall find uninterrupted rest in this complete Savior.

All are invited to come, and all are promised rest. If few find rest from sin and vile affections, it is because few come to Christ to receive it.

A.T. Robertson
Matthew 11:28

Come unto me (deute pros me). Mat_11:28-30 are not in Luke and are among the special treasures of Matthew’s Gospel. No sublimer words exist than this call of Jesus to the toiling and the burdened (pephortismenoi, perfect passive participle, state of weariness) to come to him. He towers above all men as he challenges us. “I will refresh you” (k’ago anapausō hūmas). Far more than mere rest, rejuvenation. The English slang expression “rest up” is close to the idea of the Greek compound anȧpauō. It is causative active voice.

Marvin Vincent
Matthew 11:29

Yoke (ζυγόν)
“These words, as recorded by St. Matthew, the Evangelist of the Jews, must have sunk the deeper into the hearts of Christ’s Jewish hearers, that they came in their own old, familiar form of speech, yet with such contrast of spirit. One of the most common figurative expressions of the time was that of the yoke for submission to an occupation or obligation. Very instructive for the understanding of the figure is this paraphrase of Cant. 1:10: ‘How beautiful is their neck for bearing the yoke of thy statutes; and it shall be upon them like the yoke on the neck of the ox that plougheth in the field and provideth food for himself and his master.’

“The public worship of the ancient synagogue commenced with a benediction, followed by the shema (Hear, O Israel) or creed, composed of three passages of scripture: Deu_6:4-9; Deu_11:13-21; Num_15:37-41. The section Deu_6:4-9 was said to precede Deu_11:13-21, so that we might take upon ourselves the yoke of the kingdom of heaven, and only after that the yoke of the commandments. The Saviour’s words must have had a special significance to those who remembered this lesson; and they would now understand how, by coming to the Saviour, they would first take on them the yoke of the kingdom of heaven, and then that of the commandments, finding this yoke easy and the burden light” (Edersheim, “Life and Times of Jesus,” and “Jewish Social Life”).

Meek (πραΰ́ς)
See on Mat_5:5.

Lowly (ταπεινός)
The word has a history. In the classics it is used commonly in a bad and degrading sense, of meanness of condition, lowness of rank, and cringing abjectness and baseness of character. Still, even in classical Greek, this is not its universal usage. It is occasionally employed in a way which foreshadows its higher sense. Plato, for instance, says, “To that law (of God) he would be happy who holds fast, and follows it in all humility and order; but he who is lifted up with pride, or money, or honor, or beauty, who has a soul hot with folly, and youth, and insolence, and thinks that he has no need of a guide or ruler, but is able himself to be the guide of others, he, I say, is left deserted of God” (“Laws,” 716). And Aristotle says: “He who is worthy of small things, and deems himself so, is wise” (“Nich. Ethics,” iv., 3). At best, however, the classical conception is only modesty, absence of assumption. It is an element of wisdom and in no way opposed to self-righteousness (see Aristotle above).

The word for the Christian virtue of humility (ταπεινοφροσύνη), was not used before the Christian era, and is distinctly an outgrowth of the Gospel. This virtue is based upon a correct estimate of our actual littleness, and is linked with a sense of sinfulness. True greatness is holiness. We are little because sinful. Compare Luk_18:14. It is asked how, in this view of the case, the word can be applied to himself by the sinless Lord? “The answer is,” says Archbishop Trench, “that for the sinner humility involves the confession of sin, inasmuch as it involves the confession of his true condition; while yet for the unfallen creature the grace itself as truly exists, involving for such the acknowledgment, not of sinfulness, which would be untrue, but of creatureliness, of absolute dependence, of having nothing, but receiving all things of God. And thus the grace of humility belongs to the highest angel before the throne, being as he is a creature, yea, even to the Lord of Glory himself. In his human nature he must be the pattern of all humility, of all creaturely dependence; and it is only as a man that Christ thus claims to be lowly; his human life was a constant living on the fulness of his Father’s love; he evermore, as man, took the place which beseemed the creature in the presence of its Creator” (“Synonyms,” p. 145). The Christian virtue regards man not only with reference to God, but to his fellow-man. In lowliness of mind each counting other better than himself (Phi_2:3, Rev.). But this is contrary to the Greek conception of justice or righteousness, which was simply “his own to each one.” It is noteworthy that neither the Septuagint, the Apocrypha, nor the New Testament recognize the ignoble classical sense of the word.

Ye shall find (εὑρήσετε)
Compare I will give you and ye shall find. The rest of Christ is twofold – given and found. It is given in pardon and reconciliation. It is found under the yoke and the burden; in the development of Christian experience, as more and more the “strain passes over” from self to Christ. “No other teacher, since the world began, has ever associated learn with rest. ‘Learn of me,’ says the philosopher, ‘and you shall find restlessness.’ ‘Learn of me,’ says Christ, ‘and you shall find rest’” (Drummond, “Natural Law in the Spiritual World”).

A.T. Robertson
Matthew 11:29

Take my yoke upon you and learn of me (arate ton zugon mou eph’humas kai mathete ap’emou). The rabbis used yoke for school as many pupils find it now a yoke. The English word “school” is Greek for leisure (scholē). But Jesus offers refreshment (anapausin) in his school and promises to make the burden light, for he is a meek and humble teacher. Humility was not a virtue among the ancients. It was ranked with servility. Jesus has made a virtue of this vice. He has glorified this attitude so that Paul urges it (Phi_2:3), “in lowliness of mind each counting other better than himself.” In portions of Europe today people place yokes on the shoulders to make the burden easier to carry. Jesus promises that we shall find the yoke kindly and the burden lightened by his help. “Easy” is a poor translation of chrēstos. Moffatt puts it “kindly.” That is the meaning in the Septuagint for persons. We have no adjective that quite carries the notion of kind and good. The yoke of Christ is useful, good, and kindly. Cf. Son_1:10.

Marvin Vincent
Matthew 11:30

Easy (χρηστὸς)
Not a satisfactory rendering. Christ’s yoke is not easy in the ordinary sense of that word. The word means originally, good, serviceable. The kindred noun, χρηστότης, occurring only in Paul’s writings, is rendered kindness in 2Co_6:6; Tit_3:4; Gal_5:22; Eph_2:7 (Rev.), and goodness, Rom_2:4 (Rev.). At Luk_5:39, it is used of old wine, where the true reading, instead of better, is good (χρηστός), mellowed with age. Plato (“Republic,” 424) applies the word to education. “Good nurture and education (τροφὴ γὰρ καὶ παίδευσις χρηστὴ) implant good (ἀγαθὰς) constitutions; and these good (χρησταὶ) constitutions improve more and more;” thus evidently using χρηστός and ἀγαθός as synonymous. The three meanings combine in the word, though it is impossible to find an English word which combines them all. Christ’s yoke is wholesome, serviceable, kindly. “Christ’s yoke is like feathers to a bird; not loads, but helps to motion” (Jeremy Taylor).

Gospel of Matthew Chapter 9:35-38, 10:1-8 Antique Commentary Quotes

Philip Schaff
Matthew 9:35
Mat_9:35. And Jesus went about, etc. An appropriate introduction to what follows, as well as a fitting close to this account of the leading miracles performed by our Lord; almost identical with Mat_4:23, which precedes the Sermon on the Mount, describing (as the tense in the original shows) a customary course of action. Luke indicates three journeys through Galilee, the second of which precedes the journey to Gadara, and is mentioned by him alone. If this verse refers to a journey distinct from that spoken of in Mat_4:23, it must be the third. This third circuit seems to have begun before the Apostles were sent out (chap. 10), and to have continued until their return. The verse may, however, be only a general description of Christ’s ministry, closing the group of miracles.

A.T. Robertson
Matthew 9:36

Were distressed and scattered (ēsan eskulmenoi kai erimmenoi). Periphrastic past perfect indicative passive. A sad and pitiful state the crowds were in. Rent or mangled as if by wild beasts. Skullō occurs in the papyri in sense of plunder, concern, vexation. “Used here of the common people, it describes their religious condition. They were harassed, importuned, bewildered by those who should have taught them; hindered from entering into the kingdom of heaven (Mat_23:13), laden with the burdens which the Pharisees laid upon them (Mat_23:3).

Erimmenoi denotes men cast down and prostrate on the ground, whether from drunkenness, Polyb. v. 48.2, or from mortal wounds” (Allen): This perfect passive participle from rhiptō, to throw down. The masses were in a state of mental dejection. No wonder that Jesus was moved with compassion (esplagchnisthē).

Adam Clarke
Matthew 9:37

The harvest – The souls who are ready to receive the truth are very numerous; but the laborers are few. There are multitudes of scribes, Pharisees, and priests, of reverend and right reverend men; but there are few that work. Jesus wishes for laborers, not gentlemen, who are either idle drones, or slaves to pleasure and sin, and nati consumere fruges. “Born to consume the produce of the soil.”

It was customary with the Jews to call their rabbins and students reapers; and their work of instruction, the harvest. So in Idra Rabba, s. 2. “The days are few; the creditor is urgent; the crier calls out incessantly; and the reapers are few.” And in Pirkey Aboth: “The day is short, the work great, the workmen idle, the reward abundant, and the master of the household is urgent.” In all worldly concerns, if there be the prospect of much gain, most men are willing enough to labor; but if it be to save their own souls, or the souls of others, what indolence, backwardness, and carelessness! While their adversary, the devil, is going about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour; and a careless soul, and especially a careless minister is his especial prey.

The place of the harvest is the whole earth: it signifies little where a man works, provided it be by the appointment, in the Spirit, and with the blessing of God.

A.T. Robertson
Matthew 9:38

That he send forth labourers (hopōs ekbalēi ergatas). Jesus turns from the figure of the shepherdless sheep to the harvest field ripe and ready for the reapers. The verb ekballō really means to drive out, to push out, to draw out with violence or without. Prayer is the remedy offered by Jesus in this crisis for a larger ministerial supply. How seldom do we hear prayers for more preachers. Sometimes God literally has to push or force a man into the ministry who resists his known duty.

Albert Barnes
Matthew 10:1

And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples … – This account of sending the apostles forth is recorded also in Mar_6:7-11, and Luk_9:1-6. Mark says that he sent them out two and two. This was a kind arrangement, that each one might have a companion, and that thus they might visit more places and accomplish more labor than if they were all together. These twelve were the original number of apostles. The word “apostle” means one that is “sent,” and was given to them because they were “sent forth” to preach the gospel. They were ambassadors of Christ. To this number Matthias was afterward added, to supply the place of Judas Act_1:26, and Paul was specially called to be an apostle to the Gentiles, Rom_1:1; 1Co_15:8-9; Gal_1:1. In all, therefore, there were 14 apostles.

In selecting “twelve” at first, it is probable that the Saviour was somewhat guided by the number of the tribes of Israel. Twelve was, with them, a well-known number, and it was natural that he should select one for every tribe. Their office was clearly made known. They were to heal the sick, cast out devils, raise the dead, preach the gospel. They were to be with him to receive his instructions, to learn the nature of his religion, be witnesses to his resurrection, and then to bear his gospel around the globe. The number twelve was the best number for these purposes that could be selected. It was sufficiently “large” to answer the purpose of testimony, and it was “so small” as not to tend to disorder, or that they could easily be divided into parties or factions. They were not learned men, and could not be supposed to spread their religion by art or talents. They were not men of wealth, and could not bribe men to follow them. They were not men of rank and office, and could not compel people to believe. They were just such men as are always found the best witnesses in courts of justice – plain men, of good sense, of fair character, of great honesty, and with favorable opportunities of ascertaining the facts to which they bore witness. Such men everybody believes, and especially when they are willing to lay down their lives to prove their sincerity.

It was important that the Saviour should choose them early in his ministry, in order that they might be fully acquainted with him; might treasure up his instructions, and observe his manner of life and his person, so that, by having been long acquainted with him, they might be able to testify to his identity and be competent witnesses of his resurrection. No witnesses were ever so well qualified to give testimony as they, and none ever gave so much evidence of their sincerity as they did. See Act_1:21-22.

Albert Barnes
Matthew 10:2

Now the names of the twelve apostles – The account of their being called is more fully given in Mar_3:13-18, and Luk_6:12-19. Each of those evangelists has recorded the circumstances of their appointment. They agree in saying it was done on a mountain; and, according to Luke, it was done before the sermon on the mount was delivered, perhaps on the same mountain, near Capernaum. Luke adds that the night previous had been spent “in prayer” to God. See the notes at Luk_6:12.

Simon, who is called Peter – The word “Peter” means a rock. He was also called Cephas, Joh_1:42; 1Co_1:12; 1Co_3:22; 1Co_15:5; Gal_2:9. This was a Syro-Chaldaic word signifying the same as Peter. This name was given probably in reference to the “resoluteness and firmness” which he was to exhibit in preaching the gospel. Before the Saviour’s death he was rash, impetuous, and unstable. Afterward, as all history affirms, he was firm, zealous, steadfast, and immovable. The tradition is that he was at last crucified at Rome with his head downward, thinking it too great an honor to die as his Master did. See the notes at Joh_21:18. There is no certain proof, however, that this occurred at Rome, and no absolute knowledge as to the place where he died.

James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother – This James was killed by Herod in a persecution, Act_12:2. The other James, the son of Alpheus, was stationed at Jerusalem, and was the author of the epistle that bears his name. See Gal_1:19; Gal_2:9; Act_15:13. A James is mentioned Gal_1:19 as “the Lord’s brother.” It has not been easy to ascertain why he was thus called. He is here called the son of “Alpheus,” that is, of Cleophas, Joh_19:25. Alpheus and Cleophas were but different ways of writing and pronouncing the same name. This Mary, called the mother of James and Joses, is called the wife of Cleophas, Joh_19:25.

Cambridge Bible
Matthew 10:3

Philip, also a Greek name prevalent at the time, partly through the influence of the Macedonian monarchy, whose real founder was Philip, father of Alexander the Great.

Lebbæus, Thaddæus, Jude the [son] of James, are all names of one and the same person. He was the son in all probability of a James or Jacob, not, as usually translated, brother of James. The name “Lebbæus” = “courageous” from a Hebrew word signifying “heart.”

This Jude or Judas must not be confused with Jude or Judas the “brother” of our Lord; nor must James the son of Alphæus be confused with James the brother of our Lord. The “brethren of the Lord” believed not on Him, and could not have been among His apostles. James and Judas were both common names, and the variety of names seems to have been small at this epoch. According to this theory there are four persons named James—(1) the son of Zebedee, (2) the son of Alphæus, (3) the father of Jude, (4) “The less” or rather “the little,” the brother of the Lord: and three named Judas—(1) the brother of the Lord, (2) the apostle, son of James, (3) Iscariot.

Matthew or Levi also was son of an Alphæus, but there is no evidence or hint that he was connected with James son of Alphæus.

Bartholomew = son of Tolmai, probably to be identified with Nathanael. (1) St John, who twice mentions the name of Nathanael, never mentions that of Bartholomew; (2) the three Synoptists mention Bartholomew but not Nathanael. (3) Philip is closely connected with Nathanael and also with Bartholomew. (4) Lastly, Nathanael is mentioned with six other disciples as if like them he belonged to the Twelve.

Adam Clarke
Matthew 10:4

Simon – He was third son of Alpheus, and brother of James and Jude, or Judas, Mat_13:55.

The Canaanite – This word is not put here to signify a particular people, as it is elsewhere used in the Sacred Writings; but it is formed from the Hebrew קנא kana, which signifies zealous, literally translated by Luke, Luk_6:15, ζηλωτης, zelotes, or the zealous, probably from his great fervency in preaching the Gospel of his Master. But see Luk_6:15.

Judas Iscariot – Probably from the Hebrew איש קריות ish kerioth, a man of Kerioth, which was a city in the tribe of Judah, Jos_15:25, where it is likely this man was born.

As אסכרא iscara, signifies the quinsy, or strangulation, and Judas hanged himself after he had betrayed our Lord, Dr. Lightfoot seems inclined to believe that he had his name from this circumstance, and that it was not given him till after his death.

Who also betrayed him – Rather, even he who betrayed him, or delivered him up; for so, I think, ο και παραδους αυτον should be translated. The common translation, who Also betrayed him, is very exceptionable, as it seems to imply, he was betrayed by some others, as well as by Judas.

Cambridge Bible
Matthew 10:4

Simon the Cananæan (not Canaanite), or Zelotes, equivalent terms. The fierce party of the Zealots professed a rigid attachment to the Mosaic law; they acknowledged no king save God. Under Judas the Gaulonite they rose in rebellion at the time of the census.

We hear of a Theudas (which is another form of Thaddæus) who rose in rebellion (Act_5:36). Is it not possible that this Lebbæus or Jude may owe his third name to this patriot, as a Galilæan might regard him? It may be observed that Simon (Joseph. Ant. xvii. 10, 5) and Judas (Ant. XVIII. 1, 1) were also names of zealous patriots who rose against the Roman government.

Iscariot] Man of Kerioth, in the tribe of Judah; accordingly (if this be the case) the only non-Galilæan among the Apostles. For other accounts of the name see Dict. of Bible.

The choice of the disciples is an instance of the winnowing of Christ, the sifting of the wheat from the chaff. In these men the new life had manifested itself. Their faith, or at least their capacity for faith, was intense, and sufficient to bear them through the dangers that confronted them by their Master’s side. [Editor’s notes on Greek text of St Luke’s Gospel.]

Cambridge Bible
Matthew 10:5

Go not into the way of the Gentiles] For the expression “way of the Gentiles” cp. ch. Mat_4:15, “the way of the sea.”

This prohibition is not laid on the Seventy (St Luk_10:1-16), they are expressly commissioned to carry tidings of the gospel to cities and places which our Lord Himself proposed to visit.

any city of the Samaritans] The Samaritans were foreigners descended from the alien population introduced by the Assyrian king (probably Sargon), 2Ki_17:24, to supply the place of the exiled Israelites. In Luk_17:18, our Lord calls a Samaritan “this stranger,” i. e. this man of alien or foreign race. The bitterest hostility existed between Jew and Samaritan, which has not died out to this day. The origin of this international ill-feeling is related Ezr_4:2-3. Their religion was a corrupt form of Judaism. For being plagued with lions, the Samaritans summoned a priest to instruct them in the religion of the Jews. Soon, however, they lapsed from a pure worship, and in consequence of their hatred to the Jews, purposely introduced certain innovations. Their rival temple on Mount Gerizim was destroyed by John Hyrcanus about 129 b. c. See Nutt’s “Sketch of the Samaritans,” p. 19.

About twenty years previous to our Lord’s ministry the Samaritans had intensified the national antipathy by a gross act of profanation. During the celebration of the Passover they stole into the Temple Courts when the doors were opened after midnight and strewed the sacred enclosure with dead men’s bones (Jos. Ant. XVIII. 2, 2). Even after the siege of Jerusalem, when the relations between Jews and Samaritans were a little less hostile, the latter were still designated by the Jews as the “Proselytes of the lions,” from the circumstance mentioned above.

A.T. Robertson
Matthew 10:6

The lost sheep (ta probata ta apolōlota). The sheep, the lost ones. Mentioned here first by Matthew. Jesus uses it not in blame, but in pity (Bruce). Bengel notes that Jesus says “lost” more frequently than “led astray.” “If the Jewish nation could be brought to repentance the new age would dawn” (McNeile).

Adam Clarke
Matthew 10:7

And as ye go, preach – πορευομενοι δε κηρυσσετε, and as you proceed, proclaim like heralds – make this proclamation wherever ye go, and while ye are journeying. Preach and travel; and, as ye travel, preach – proclaim salvation to all you meet. Wherever the ministers of Christ go, they find lost, ruined souls; and, wherever they find them, they should proclaim Jesus, and his power to save. For an explanation of the word proclaim or preach, see on Mat_3:1 (note).

From this commission we learn what the grand subject of apostolic preaching was – The Kingdom Of Heaven Is At Hand! This was the great message. “They preached,” says Quesnel, “to establish the faith; the kingdom, to animate the hope; of heaven, to inspire the love of heavenly things, and the contempt of earthly; which is at hand, that men may prepare for it without delay.”

Pulpit Commentary
Mat_10:8
We have here the details of the orders summarized in Mat_10:1. The details are not given in Luk_9:1, Luk_9:2 or Luk_10:9. Heal the sick, etc. According to the true order of these commands, solely physical ills are mentioned first in their partial (sick) and in their final effect (dead); then physical and ceremonial pollution (lepers), which forms a transition to the mention of ills primarily spiritual, even though they ultimately affect the body (devils). On the good that might be expected from their performing these miracles, cf. Thomas Scott (in Ford), “Men will never believe that we really intend the good of their souls, if they do not find that we endeavour to do them good, disinterestedly, in temporal things (Joh_4:15).”

Freely (vide infra) ye have (omit “have,” with Revised Version) received. Blessings of the kingdom, but especially authority and power for this work (Luk_10:1).

Freely give. All that is needed to carry that authority into effect—whatever toil and energy in soul and body the occasion may demand. The clause comes in Matthew only, but comp. Act_20:35. Observe, Christ’s recognition of the tendency of human nature to traffic in the holiest things. Did Judas take the warning at all to heart? (For the thought, cf. Wis. 7:13; Le 25:37, 38.) Freely. Gratuitously (δωρεάν); comp. Rev_21:6; Rev_22:17; Rom_3:24 (on God’s side); 2Co_11:7; 2Th_3:8 (on man’s side).

Gospel of Matthew Chapter 8:5-13 Antique Commentary Quotes

Cambridge Bible
Matthew 8:5

a centurion] i. e. a captain or commander of a century—a company normally composed of a hundred men, the sixtieth part of a legion in the Roman army. This centurion was probably an officer in the army of Herod Antipas, which would be modelled after the Roman fashion.

Pulpit Commentary
Mat_8:5

And when Jesus (Revised Version, he) was entered into Capernaum. (On Capernaum, see Mat_4:1-25. 13.)

There came unto him; i.e. by messengers, as we learn from St. Luke (vide supra).

A centurion, beseeching him. The centurion probably belonged to the soldiers of Antipas, in whose district Capernaum lay. They would naturally be organized after the Roman manner; of the forces of the Indian native states and our own. It should be observed, by the way, that even the imperial troops stationed in Palestine were drawn, not from distant lands, but from the non-Jewish inhabitants of the country, perhaps especially from Samaritans.

Pulpit Commentary
Mat_8:6
Matthew only. And saying, Lord, my servant; Revised Version margin, “boy” (ὁπαῖς μου), just as in some English-speaking communities “boy” is commonly used for “manservant.” In the parallel passage of Luke, the narrative speaks of him as δοῦλος, the message as παῖς. Lieth. Perforce (βέβληται).

At home; Revised Version, in the house; i.e. of the centurion.

Sick of the palsy, grievously tormented (cf. 1 Macc. 9:55, 56). “Paralysis with contraction of the joints is accompanied with intense suffering, and, when united, as it much oftener is in the hot climates of the East and of Africa than among us, with tetanus, both ‘grievously torments,’ and rapidly brings on dissolution”. Observe that the statement of the case is itself a petition.

Cambridge Greek Testament
Matthew 8:6
6. ὁ παῖς. ‘Slave,’ not ‘son;’ the meaning is determined by the parallel passages; in Luke 7. where though the centurion himself uses the more affectionate term παῖς (Mat_8:7), the messenger (Mat_8:3) and the Evangelist (Mat_8:10) call the servant δοῦλος.

παραλυτικός. Stricken with palsy or paralysis, a disease often free from acute suffering, but when it is accompanied by contraction of the muscles, the pain, as in this case, is very grievous. St Luke does not name the nature of the disease.

δεινῶς βασανιζόμενος. ‘Terribly tortured.’ For βάσανος see ch. Mat_4:24. The invariable practice of extracting evidence from slaves by torture gives βασανίζεσθαι the secondary force ‘to torture,’ ‘to put to the question.’Possibly the actual experience of this poor slave suggested the word; by no other could he describe to his master the agony he was enduring; it was the agony of torture.

A.T. Robertson
Matthew 8:7

I will come and heal him (egō elthōn therapeusō auton). Future indicative, not deliberative subjunctive in question (McNeile). The word here for heal (therapeusō) means first to serve, give medical attention, then cure, restore to health. The centurion uses the more definite word for healing (iathēsetai Mat_8:8) as Matthew does in Mat_8:13 (iathē). Luke (Luk_9:11), like a physician, says that Jesus healed (iato) those in need of treatment (therapeias), but the distinction is not always observed. In Act_28:8 Luke uses iasato of the miraculous healings in Malta by Paul while he employs etherapeuonto (Act_28:9) apparently of the practice of Luke the physician (so W. M. Ramsay). Matthew represents the centurion himself as speaking to Jesus while Luke has it that two committees from the centurion brought the messages, apparently a more detailed narrative. What one does through others he does himself as Pilate “scourged Jesus” (had him scourged).

Adam Clarke
Matthew 8:7

I will come and heal him – Εγω ελθων θεραπευσω αυτον, I am coming, and will heal him. This saying is worthy of observation. Jesus did not positively say, I will came and heal him; this could not have been strictly true, because our Lord healed him without going to the house: and the issue shows that the words ought to be taken in the most literal sense: thus understood, they contained a promise which it seems none of them distinctly comprehended. Foreseeing the exercise of the centurion’s faith, he promises that while he is coming, ere he arrives at the house, he will heal him, and this was literally done, Mat_8:13. There is much beauty in this passage.

Cambridge Bible
Matthew 8:8

The centurion answered] The argument lies in a comparison between the centurion’s command and the authority of Jesus. “If I who am under authority command others, how much more hast thou power to command who art under no authority? If I can send my soldiers or my slave to execute my orders, how much more canst thou send thy ministering spirits to do thy bidding?” The centurion was doubtless acquainted with the Jewish belief on the subject of angels, their subordination and their office as ministers of God.

Marvin Vincent
Matthew 8:9

Also (καὶ)
Omitted in A. V., but very important. “I also am a man under authority,” as well as thou. (Tynd., I also myself). The centurion compares the Lord’s position with his own. Christ had authority over disease. The centurion also was in authority over soldiers. As the centurion had only to say to a soldier “Go!” and he went, so Christ had only to say to disease “Go!” and it would obey him.

Adam Clarke
Matthew 8:10

I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel – That is, I have not found so great an instance of confidence and faith in my power, even among the Jews, as this Roman, a Gentile, has shown himself to possess.

From Luk_7:5, where it is said of this centurion, “he loved our nation, and has built us a synagogue,” we may infer that this man was like the centurion mentioned Act_10:1; a devout Gentile, a proselyte of the gate, one who believed in the God of Israel, without conforming to the Jewish ritual or receiving circumcision. Though the military life is one of the most improper nurses for the Christian religion, yet in all nations there have been found several instances of genuine humility, and faith in God, even in soldiers; and perhaps never more, in the British military, than at present, a.d. 1831.

Pulpit Commentary
Mat_8:11, Mat_8:12
In Luke (Luk_13:28, Luk_13:29) not joined to this miracle, but placed after the warning about mere professors (our Mat_7:23). Also they are there given in the reverse order. Taking the other facts (verse 5, note) about this miracle into consideration, there can be little doubt but that St. Matthew does not place these verses in their historical connexion. He wishes to emphasize the teaching of the miracle, that Gentiles accept Christ, though Jews reject him. For this reason also he gives the two verses in the reverse order.

And. In contrast (δέ) to this comparative absence of belief in Israel.

Many. Not in the parallel passage in Luke, but it agrees with the aim of St. Matthew’s Gospel.

Shall come. Though not emphatic, as it is in the parallel passage in Luke, yet expressive of purpose and decision.

From the east and (Revised Version. the) west. Not only residents in Palestine, like this centurion, but from the furthest limits of the earth. The thought was well known; e.g. Mal_1:11; Isa_59:19.; also Jer_16:19; Zec_8:22.

And shall sit down; i.e. at a feast. The image, taken from Isa_25:6, is exceedingly common in Jewish Haggadic (i.e. mostly parabolic) teaching.

With Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. An early” Western” reading is, “in the bosom of Abraham,” etc. (cf. Luk_16:23). Probably a traditional form current among Jewish Christians.

But the children; sons (Revised Version). Those who ought rightfully to enjoy its privileges (Mat_5:9, note). In Mat_13:38 those so called answer fully to the appellation.

Of the kingdom. “Rather than of the king; since many are in the kingdom, whom notwithstanding the king rejects as traitors; whereas all the children of the king are adopted as co-heirs with his only begotten Son” (Beza, in Ford). This interpretation is attractive, but doubtless false. The Hebrew idiom enables the writer to suggest the idea of the Jews, who are by nature heirs of the Divine kingdom, being notwithstanding excluded (cf Act_13:46).

Shall be cast out (Revised Version, forth); ἐκβκηθήσονται (Mat_7:4, note). The “Western” reading, ἐξελεύσονται, suggests that they shall go out by their own present act of refusing blessing.

Into (Revised Version, the) outer darkness. The form of the expression, which comes only in Matthew (Mat_22:13; Mat_25:30), points to a double conception; they shall be cast into the darkness, and cast outside the palace within which the feast is going on. Such is the loss in its personal (εἰς τὸ σκότος) and in its social (τὸ ἐξώτερον) aspect.

There shall be (Revised Version, the) weeping and gnashing of teeth. The article, which should strictly be repeated before gnashing, points to a recognized conception. The phrase occurs (except in the parallel passage, Luk_13:28) only in St. Matthew (Mat_13:42, Mat_13:50; Mat_22:13; Mat_24:51; Mat_25:30), in each case contrasting the place into which the wicked are sent with that which they might have enjoyed. Observe the description of “hell”—absence of spiritual light; separation from the company of the saved; lamentation; impotent rage. The second couplet corresponds to the first.

Adam Clarke
Matthew 8:12

Shall be cast out into outer darkness – As the enjoyment of that salvation which Jesus Christ calls the kingdom of heaven is here represented under the notion of a nuptial festival, at which the guests sat down in a reclining posture, with the master of the feast; so the state of those who were excluded from the banquet is represented as deep darkness; because the nuptial solemnities took place at night. Hence, at those suppers, the house of reception was filled with lights called δαδες, λαμπαδες, λυκνεια, φανοι, torches, lamps, candles, and lanthorns, by Athenaeus and Plutarch: so they who were admitted to the banquet had the benefit of the light; but they who were shut out were in darkness, called here outer darkness, i.e. the darkness on the outside of the house in which the guests were; which must appear more abundantly gloomy, when compared with the profusion of light within the guest-chamber. And because they who were shut out were not only exposed to shame, but also to hunger and cold; therefore it is added, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Albert Barnes
Matthew 8:13

He was healed in that self-same hour – This showed decisively the goodness and power of Jesus. No miracle could be more complete. There could be no imposition or deception.

This account, or one similar to this, is found in Luk_7:1-10. There has been a difference of opinion whether the account in Luke refers to the same case as that recorded in Matthew, or whether a second centurion, encouraged by the success of the first, applied to our Saviour in a similar case and manner, and obtained the same success. In support of the supposition that they are different narratives, it is said that they disagree so far that it is impossible to reconcile them, and that it is not improbable that a similar occurrence might take place, and be attended with similar results.

To a plain reader, however, the narratives appear to be the same. They agree in the character of the person, the place, and apparently the time; in the same substantial structure of the account; in the expression of similar feelings, the same answers, and the same result. It is very difficult to believe that all these circumstances would coincide in two different stories.

They differ, however. Matthew says that the centurion “came himself.” Luke says that he at first sent elders of the Jews, and then his particular friends. He also adds that he was friendly to the Jews, and had built them a synagogue. An infidel will ask whether there is not here a palpable contradiction. In explanation of this, let it be remarked:

1. That the fact that the centurion came himself, supposing that to have been the fact, is no evidence that others did not come also. It was “in” the city. The centurion was a great favorite, and had conferred on the Jews many favors, and they would be anxious that the favor which he desired of Jesus should be granted. At his suggestion, or of their own accord, his Jewish friends might apply to Jesus, and press the subject upon him, and be anxious to represent the case as favorably as possible. All this was probably done, as it would be in any other city, in considerable haste and apparent confusion; and one observer might fix his attention strongly on one circumstance, and another on another. It is not at all improbable that the same representation and request might have been made both by the centurion and his friends. Matthew might have fixed his eye very strongly on the fact that the centurion came himself, and been particularly struck with his deportment; and Luke on the remarkable zeal shown by the friends of a pagan, the interest they took in his welfare, and the circumstance that he had done much for them. Full of these interesting circumstances, he might comparatively have overlooked the centurion himself. But,

2. It was a maxim among the Jews, as it is now in law, “that what a man does by another, he does himself.” So, in Mar_10:35, James and John are represented as coming to the Saviour with a request: in Mat_20:20, it appears that they presented their request through their mother. In Joh_4:1, Jesus is said to baptize, when, in fact, he did not do it himself, but by his disciples. In Joh_19:1, Pilate is said to have scourged Jesus; but he certainly did not do it with his own hands. In the case of the centurion, Matthew narrates what occurred very briefly; Luke goes more into detail, and states more of the circumstances. Matthew was intent on the great leading facts of the cure. He was studious of brevity. He did not choose to explain the particular circumstances. He says that the centurion “made the application” and received the answer. He does not say whether by himself or by “an agent.” Luke explains particularly “how” it was done. There is no more contradiction, therefore, than there would be if it should be said of a man in a court of law that he came and made application for a new trial, when the application was really made by his lawyer. Two men, narrating the fact, might exhibit the same variety that Matthew and Luke have done, and both be true. It should never be forgotten that “the sacred narrative of an event is what it is stated to be by all the sacred writers; as the testimony in a court in which a case is decided is what is stated by all the credible witnesses, though one may have stated one circumstance and another another.”

One thing is most clearly shown by this narrative: that this account was not invented by the evangelists for the sake of imposition. If it had been, they would have “agreed in all the circumstances.”

Gospel of Matthew Chapter 5:17-22, 43-45 Antique Commentary Quotes

Adam Clarke
Matthew 5:17

Think not that I am come to destroy the law – Do not imagine that I am come to violate the law καταλυσαι, from κατα, and λυω, I loose, violate, or dissolve – I am not come to make the law of none effect – to dissolve the connection which subsists between its several parts, or the obligation men are under to have their lives regulated by its moral precepts; nor am I come to dissolve the connecting reference it has to the good things promised. But I am come, πληρωσαι, to complete – to perfect its connection and reference, to accomplish every thing shadowed forth in the Mosaic ritual, to fill up its great design; and to give grace to all my followers, πληρωσαι, to fill up, or complete, every moral duty. In a word, Christ completed the law:

1st. In itself, it was only the shadow, the typical representation, of good things to come; and he added to it that which was necessary to make it perfect, His Own Sacrifice, without which it could neither satisfy God, nor sanctify men.

2dly. He completed it in himself by submitting to its types with an exact obedience, and verifying them by his death upon the cross.

3dly. He completes this law, and the sayings of his prophets, in his members, by giving them grace to love the Lord with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength, and their neighbor as themselves; for this is all the law and the prophets.

It is worthy of observation, that the word גמר gamar, among the rabbins, signifies not only to fulfill, but also to teach; and, consequently, we may infer that our Lord intimated, that the law and the prophets were still to be taught or inculcated by him and his disciples; and this he and they have done in the most pointed manner. See the Gospels and epistles; and see especially this sermon on the mount, the Epistle of James, and the Epistle to the Hebrews. And this meaning of the word gives the clear sense of the apostle’s words, Col_1:25. Whereof I am made a minister, πληρωσαι τον λογον του Θεου, to fulfill the word of God, i.e. to teach the doctrine of God.

Adam Clarke
Matthew 5:18

For verily I say unto you, Till heaven – In the very commencement of his ministry, Jesus Christ teaches the instability of all visible things. “The heaven which you see, and which is so glorious, and the earth which you inhabit and love, shall pass away; for the things which are seen are temporal, προσκαιρα, are for a time; but the things which are not seen are eternal αιωνια, ever-during,” 2Co_4:18. And the Word of the Lord endureth for ever.

One jot or one tittle – One yod, (י), the smallest letter in the Hebrew alphabet. One tittle or point, κεραια, either meaning those points which serve for vowels in this language, if they then existed; or the seraphs, or points of certain letters, such as ר resh, or ד daleth, ה he, or ח cheth (as the change of any of these into the other would make a most essential alteration in the sense, or, as the rabbins say, destroy the world). Or our Lord may refer to the little ornaments which certain letters assume on their tops, which cause them to appear like small branches. The following letters only can assume coronal apices, ץ tsaddi – ג gimel – ז zain – נ nun – ט teth – ע ayin – ש shin. These, with the coronal apices, often appear in MSS.
That this saying, one jot or one tittle, is a proverbial mode of expression among the Jews, and that it expressed the meaning given to it above, is amply proved by the extracts in Lightfoot and Schoettgen. The reader will not be displeased to find a few of them here, if he can bear with the allegorical and strongly figurative language of the rabbins.

“The book of Deuteronomy came and prostrated itself before the Lord, and said: ‘O Lord of the world, thou hast written in me thy law; but now, a Testament defective in some parts is defective in all. Behold, Solomon endeavors to root the letter yod out of me.’ (In this text, Deu_17:5. לא ירבה נשים lo yirbeh, nashim, he shall not multiply wives). The holy blessed God answered, ‘Solomon and a thousand such as he shall perish, but the least word shall not perish out of thee.’”

In Shir Hashirim Rabba, are these words:
“Should all the inhabitants of the earth gather together, in order to whiten one feather of a crow, they could not succeed: so, if all the inhabitants of the earth should unite to abolish one י yod, which is the smallest letter in the whole law, they should not be able to effect it.”

In Vayikra Rabba, s. 19, it is said:
“Should any person in the words of Deu_6:4, Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is אחד achad, One Lord, change the ד daleth into a ר resh, he would ruin the world.” [Because, in that case, the word אחר achar, would signify a strange or false God].
“Should any one, in the words of Exo_34:14, Thou shalt worship no Other, אחר achar, God, change ר resh into ד daleth, he would ruin the world.” [Because the command would then run, Thou shalt not worship the Only or true God].

“Should any one in the words of Lev_22:32, Neither shall ye Profane תחללו techelelu, my holy name, change ח cheth into ה he, he would ruin the world.” [Because the sense of the commandment would then be, Neither shall ye Praise my holy name].

“Should any one, in the words of Psa_150:6, Let every thing that hath breath Praise, תהלל tehalel, the Lord, change ה, he into ח cheth, he would ruin the world.” [Because the command would then run, Let every thing that hath breath Profane the Lord].

“Should any one, in the words of Jer_5:10, They lied Against the Lord, ביהוה beihovah, change ב beth into כ caph, he would ruin the world.” [For then the words would run, They lied Like the Lord].

“Should any one, in the words of Hosea, Hos_5:7, They have dealt treacherously, ביהוה beihovah, Against the Lord, change ב beth into כ caph, he would ruin the world.” [For then the words would run, They have dealt treacherously Like the Lord].

“Should any one, in the words of 1Sa_2:2, There is none holy As the Lord, change כ caph into ב beth, he would ruin the world.” [For then the words would mean, There is no holiness In the Lord].

These examples fully prove that the μια κεραια of our Lord, refers to the apices, points, or corners, that distinguish ב beth from כ caph; ח cheth from ה he; and ר resh from ד daleth. For the reader will at once perceive, how easily a כ caph may be turned into a ב beth; a ה he into a ח cheth; and a ר resh into a ד daleth: and he will also see of what infinite consequence it is to write and print such letters correctly.

Till all be fulfilled – Or, accomplished. Though all earth and hell should join together to hinder the accomplishment of the great designs of the Most High, yet it shall all be in vain – even the sense of a single letter shall not be lost. The words of God, which point out his designs, are as unchangeable as his nature itself. Every sinner, who perseveres in his iniquity, shall surely be punished with separation from God and the glory of his power; and every soul that turns to God, through Christ, shall as surely be saved, as that Jesus himself hath died.

Pulpit Commentary
Mat_5:19
Matthew only. As Christ honoured the Law (verse 17) so are his disciples to honour it.

Whosoever therefore. Seeing that every part of the Law is of permanent value. In this verse our Lord once for all declares his opposition to antinomianism. Every one of the commands in the Law is, in its true and ideal meaning, still binding.

Shall break (λύσῃ). Not merely in contrast to “do” (ποιήσῃ vide infra) in the sense of “transgress” (Fritzsche), but “abrogate” (cf. Bishop Westcott, on Joh_5:18, “Not the violation of the sanctity of the day in a special case, but the abrogation of the duty of observance;” cf. also Mat_16:19; Mat_18:18; 1Jn_3:8). It expresses, indeed, a less complete abrogation than καταλῦσαι (verse 17), because, while speaking of himself, the Lord could use the strongest word possible, and that with reference to the whole Law or the Prophets; but here his expression is limited by the inability of any individual disciple to carry out an abrogation even of one command. One of these least commandments. Not necessarily such as the Pharisees reckoned least, in their enumeration of small and great, but such as our Lord himself symbolized by “jot” or “tittle;” those precepts which in reality are the least important (Meyer). Chrysostom strangely says that our Lord here refers, not to old laws, but to those which he was about to lay down; similarly Bengel thinks of verses 22-28, etc. While the Jews distinguished carefully between small and great precepts, they insisted on the importance of keeping even the smallest; cf. ‘Ab.,’ 4.5 (Taylor), “Hasten to a slight precept.., for the reward of precept is precept.”

And shall teach men so. Doing his best to abrogate it, not only in his own person by neglect or violation, but also for others by teaching them to disregard it. He shall be called the least. The Revised Version omits “he, .. the.” He is not cast out of the kingdom, but his want of moral insight (did he consider it “breadth of thought”?) leads to his being called least in the kingdom. It is the converse of the parable in Luk_19:17, etc. There faithfulness in a very little (ἐλαχίστῳ) wins much; here disregard of a very little causes a person to be reckoned (Luk_19:9, note) as very little—the principle of judgment being that of Luk_16:10, “He that is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and he that is unrighteous in a very little is unrighteous also in much.”

In the kingdom of heaven; i.e. probably in its full and final establishment. The doctrine of grades of blessedness and of punishment hereafter is clearly taught in Scripture (e.g. Luk_12:47, Luk_12:48).

But whosoever shall do and teach them. Similarly the Revised Version; but rather supply “it,” i.e. “that which is required in the smallest commandment” (Meyer). The personal performance and conscious spreading of one of the least commandments will be found to involve so much that it gains for the person a high position.

Do and teach. For many will perform a command without taking any conscious part in spreading it. The same; Revised Version, he (οὗτος). Why inserted here and not in the previous clause? Partly because of the awkwardness of inserting οὗτος there so soon after οὕτως; partly because our Lord wished to lay stress there on the recompense, here on the person (“he and no other”) who receives recompense. On the thought, cf. ‘Test. XII. Parr.’ (Levi., § 13), “If he teach these things and practise them, he shall share the throne of the king, as also Joseph our brother.” It is worth adding Tyndale’s remark in his ‘Exposition,’ “Whosoever shall first fulfil them [these least commandments following] himself, and then teach other, and set all his study to the furtherance and maintaining of them, that doctor shall all they of the kingdom of heaven have in price, and follow him and seek him out, as doth an eagle her prey, and cleave to him as burrs.”

Adam Clarke
Matthew 5:20

Except your righteousness shall exceed – περισσευση, Unless your righteousness abound more – unless it take in, not only the letter, but the spirit and design of the moral and ritual precept; the one directing you how to walk so as to please God; the other pointing out Christ, the great Atonement, through and by which a sinner is enabled to do so – more than that of the scribes and Pharisees, who only attend to the letter of the law, and had indeed made even that of no effect by their traditions – ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. This fully explains the meaning of the preceding verse. The old English word is right-wiseness, i.e. complete, thorough, excellent Wisdom. For a full explanation of this verse, see Luk_18:10, etc.

Pulpit Commentary
Mat_5:21
Ye have heard (ἠκούσατε, frequentative aorist). Our Lord does not say, “ye have read” (cf. Mat_21:42), for he was not now speaking to the learned classes, but to a large audience many of whom were probably unable to read. “Ye have heard,” i.e. from your teachers whose teaching claims to be the substance of the Law. So, probably, even in Joh_12:34, where the multitude say that they “have heard out of the Law that the Christ abideth for ever,” which, since this is hardly expressed in so many words in the Old Testament, must mean that the instructions they have received on this subject truly represent the substance of its teaching. So here our Lord says, “You have heard from your teachers (cf. Rom_2:18) that the substance of the sixth commandment is so-and-so.” It is thus quite intelligible that in some of these utterances there should be found added to (Joh_12:21, Joh_12:43) or intermingled with (Joh_12:33) the words of a passage of Scripture, other words which are either taken from Scripture, but from another place in it (perhaps Joh_12:33), or do not occur in Scripture at all, but merely help to form a compendious statement of a definite interpretation (here and Joh_12:43). It must remain doubtful whether our Lord himself formulated these statements of the popular teaching, or quoted them verbally as current. If the latter, as is perhaps more likely, there remains the at present still more insoluble question whether they were only oral or (cf. the case of the ‘Didaehe’) had already been committed to writing.

That it was said by them of old time (ὅτι ἐῤῥέθη τοῖς ἀρχαίοις). By; Revised Version, to. Similarly Joh_12:33. Although “by” may be defended, “to” (Wickliffe and Tyndale downwards) is certainly right, because

(a) it is the common usage with a passive verb;

(b) it is the constant usage with ἐῤῥέθη in the New Testament (e.g. Rom_9:12, Rom_9:26);

(c) the parallelism with ἐγὼ δέ κ.τ.λ., is more exact;

(d) the popular teaching claimed to be, even in its strictest esoteric form of oral tradition, derived ultimately, not from the words of any human teachers, however primitive, but from the words of God spoken by him to them.

In the case before us our Lord accepts the popular teaching of the time as truly representing the Divine utterance in the giving of the Law, so far as that utterance was then intended to be understood.

Them of old time. This can hardly be limited to “the original founders of the Jewish Commonwealth,” to use Trench’s curiously unbiblical expression (‘Syn.,’ § 67.). It probably includes all who lived a generation or more before our Lord’s time (cf. Weiss).

Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment. The substance, according to the popular teaching, of the sixth commandment (Exo_20:13; Deu_5:17). This the current form of it (based partly on Le 24:21; Num_35:1-34.; Deu_19:12) was that murder was not to be committed, and that if it was committed the murderer was to be brought up for trial. Shall be in danger of (ἔνοχος ἔσται); i.e. in legal danger—legally guilty of a charge which involves the judgment (cf. Mat_26:66).

The judgment; i.e. the local Sanhedrin (cf. Mat_10:17), of apparently seven men in a smaller, twenty-three in a larger, town. This answers to “the congregation,” or “the elders” of the town to which the murderer belonged, before whom he was to be tried (Num_35:12, Num_35:16, Num_35:24; Deu_19:12).

Adam Clarke
Matthew 5:22

Whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause – ὁ οργιζομενος – εικη, who is vainly incensed. “This translation is literal; and the very objectionable phrase, without a cause, is left out, εικη being more properly translated by that above.” What our Lord seems here to prohibit, is not merely that miserable facility which some have of being angry at every trifle, continually taking offense against their best friends; but that anger which leads a man to commit outrages against another, thereby subjecting himself to that punishment which was to be inflicted on those who break the peace.

Εικη, vainly, or, as in the common translation, without a cause, is wanting in the famous Vatican MS. and two others, the Ethiopic, latter Arabic, Saxon, Vulgate, two copies of the old Itala, J. Martyr, Ptolomeus, Origen, Tertullian, and by all the ancient copies quoted by St. Jerome. It was probably a marginal gloss originally, which in process of time crept into the text.

Shall be in danger of the judgment – ενοχος εϚται, shall be liable to the judgment. That is, to have the matter brought before a senate, composed of twenty-three magistrates, whose business it was to judge in cases of murder and other capital crimes. It punished criminals by strangling or beheading; but Dr. Lightfoot supposes the judgment of God to be intended. See at the end of this chapter.

Raca – ריקה from the Hebrew רק rak, to be empty. It signifies a vain, empty, worthless fellow, shallow brains, a term of great contempt. Such expressions were punished among the Gentoos by a heavy fine. See all the cases, Code of Gentoo Laws, chap. 15: sec. 2.

The council – Συνεδριον, the famous council, known among the Jews by the name of Sanhedrin. It was composed of seventy-two elders, six chosen out of each tribe. This grand Sanhedrin not only received appeals from the inferior Sanhedrins, or court of twenty-three mentioned above; but could alone take cognizance, in the first instance, of the highest crimes, and alone inflict the punishment of stoning.

Thou fool – Moreh, probably from מרה marah, to rebel, a rebel against God, apostate from all good. This term implied, among the Jews, the highest enormity, and most aggravated guilt. Among the Gentoos, such an expression was punished by cutting out the tongue, and thrusting a hot iron, of ten fingers breadth, into the mouth of the person who used it. Code of Gentoo Laws, chap. 15: sec. 2. p. 212.

Shall be in danger of hell fire – ενοχος εϚται εις την γεενναν του πυρος, shall be liable to the hell of fire. Our Lord here alludes to the valley of the son of Hinnom, גי הנם Ghi hinom. This place was near Jerusalem, and had been formerly used for those abominable sacrifices, in which the idolatrous Jews had caused their children to pass through the fire to Molech. A particular place in this valley was called Tophet, from תפת tophet, the fire stove, in which some supposed they burnt their children alive to the above idol. See 2Ki_23:10; 2Ch_28:3; Jer_7:31, Jer_7:32. From the circumstances of this valley having been the scene of those infernal sacrifices, the Jews, in our Savior’s time, used the word for hell, the place of the damned. See the word applied in this sense by the Targum, on Rth_2:12; Psa_140:12; Gen_3:24; Gen_15:17. It is very probable that our Lord means no more here than this: if a man charge another with apostasy from the Jewish religion, or rebellion against God, and cannot prove his charge, then he is exposed to that punishment (burning alive) which the other must have suffered, if the charge had been substantiated.

There are three kinds of offenses here, which exceed each other in their degrees of guilt.

1st. Anger against a man, accompanied with some injurious act.

2dly. Contempt, expressed by the opprobrious epithet raka, or shallow brains.

3dly. Hatred and mortal enmity, expressed by the term moreh, or apostate, where such apostasy could not be proved.

Now, proportioned to these three offenses were three different degrees of punishment, each exceeding the other in its severity, as the offenses exceeded each other in their different degrees of guilt.

1st. The judgment, the council of twenty-three, which could inflict the punishment of strangling.

2dly. The Sanhedrin, or great council, which could inflict the punishment of stoning. And

3dly. The being burnt alive in the valley of the son of Hinnom. This appears to be the meaning of our Lord.

Now, if the above offenses were to be so severely punished, which did not immediately affect the life of another, how much sorer must the punishment of murder be! Mat_5:21. And as there could not be a greater punishment inflicted than death, in the above terrific forms, and this was to be inflicted for minor crimes; then the punishment of murder must not only have death here, but a hell of fire in the eternal world, attached to it. It seems that these different degrees of guilt, and the punishment attached to each, had not been properly distinguished among the Jews. Our Lord here calls their attention back to them, and gives then to understand, that in the coming world there are different degrees of punishment prepared for different degrees of vice; and that not only the outward act of iniquity should be judged and punished by the Lord, but that injurious words, and evil passions, should all meet their just recompense and reward. Murder is the most punishable of all crimes, according to the written law, in respect both of our neighbors and civil society. But he who sees the heart, and judges it by the eternal law, punishes as much a word or a desire, if the hatred whence they proceed be complete and perfected. Dr. Lightfoot has some curious observations on this passage in the preface to his Harmony of the Evangelists. See his works, vol. ii., and the conclusion of this chapter.

Adam Clarke
Matthew 5:43

Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy – Instead of πλησιον neighbor, the Codex Graevii, a MS. of the eleventh century, reads φιλον friend. Thou shalt love thy friend, and hate thine enemy. This was certainly the meaning which the Jews put on it: for neighbor, with them, implied those of the Jewish race, and all others were, considered by them as natural enemies. Besides, it is evident that πλησιον, among the Hellenistic Jews, meant friend merely: Christ uses it precisely in this sense in Luk_10:36, in answer to the question asked by a certain lawyer, Mat_5:29. Who of the three was neighbor (πλησιον friend) to him who fell among the thieves? He who showed him mercy; i.e. he who acted the friendly part. In Hebrew, רע reâ, signifies friend, which word is translated πλησιον by the Lxx. in more than one hundred places. Among the Greeks it was a very comprehensive term, and signified every man, not even an enemy excepted, as Raphelius, on this verse, has shown from Polybius. The Jews thought themselves authorized to kill any Jew who apostatized; and, though they could not do injury to the Gentiles, in whose country they sojourned, yet they were bound to suffer them to perish, if they saw them in danger of death. Hear their own words: “A Jew sees a Gentile fall into the sea, let him by no means lift him out; for it is written, Thou shalt not rise up against the blood of thy neighbor: – but this is not thy neighbor.” Maimon. This shows that by neighbor they understood a Jew; one who was of the same blood and religion with themselves.

Pulpit Commentary
Mat_5:45
Parallel passage: Luk_6:35, which is more full, but hardly so original in form. That ye may be the children (ὅπως γένησθε υἱοί); sons (Revised Version); cf. Luk_6:9, note. The meaning of the clause is not certain. It may be:

(1) Love to enemies is the means whereby you may become possessed of the full privileges involved in the nature of sons. These privileges are more than the mere participation in Messianic glory (Meyer), and are rather all the blessings present and future which belong to sonship.

(2) Love, in order that on each occasion you may become in fact (almost our “show yourselves”) sons of your Father, sons corresponding in ethical conduct to your position already received. Your Father. Not “the Father” (cf. Luk_6:16, note). Which is in heaven: for ὅτι The privileges generally, or the resemblance on each occasion, can only be obtained by behaviour similar to his, namely, kind treatment of those who injure you; for this is what he himself shows.

He maketh his sun to rise (ἀνατέλλει). If we may lay stress on the Greek, our Lord expresses the popular notion of the sun ascending. It must, however, be remembered that the word he himself probably used was חרז in hiph. (, Peshito), which contains no thought of motion, but rather of appearance. Sun … rain. The two great sources of maintenance. On the evil and on the good … on the just and on the unjust. The first pair connotes, as it seems, the extreme of evil (Mat_6:13, note) and good, in each ease manifesting itself according to its opportunities; the second, the life and character as tried by the standard, especially the human standard, of just dealing. Notice how, by chiasm, the emphasis is laid on the ungodly alike at the beginning and at the end. Our Lord here brings out God’s active love as seen in nature, nourishing and maintaining men, irrespective of the qualities of individuals and of their treatment of him and his laws. The thought is found elsewhere, e.g. in Seneca (vide Meyer), “Si deos imitaris, da et ingratis benelicia; ham et sceleratis sol oritur, et piratis patent maria”.