Matthew 10
Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary - Alford
And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.
10:1-11:1.] Mission of the Twelve Apostles. Mark 6:7-13: Luke 9:1-6,—for the sending out of the Apostles: Mark 3:13-19: Luke 6:13-16,—for their names. On the characteristic differences between this discourse and that delivered to the Seventy (Luke 10:1 ff.) see notes there.

Notice, that this is not the choosing, but merely the mission of the twelve. The choosing had taken place some time before, but is not any where distinctly detailed by the Evangelists.

2.] We have in the N.T. four catalogues of the Apostles: the present one,—at Mark 3:16,—Luke 6:14,—Acts 1:13. All seem to follow one common outline, but fill it up very differently. The following table will shew the agreements and differences:—

Matthew 10:2.Mark 3:16.Luke 6:14.Acts 1:13.1Σίμων Πέτρος2ἈνδρέαςἸάκωβοςἈνδρέαςἸωάννης3ἸάκωβοςἸωάννηςἸάκωβοςἸάκωβος4ἸωάννηςἈνδρέαςἸωάννηςἈνδρέας5Φίλιππος6ΒαρθολομαῖοςΘωμᾶς7ΘωμᾶςΜατθαῖοςΒαρθολομαῖος8ΜαθθαῖοςΘωμᾶςΜατθαῖος9Ἰάκωβος [ὁ τοῦ] Ἀλφαίου10ΛεββαῖοςΘαδδαῖοςΣίμων ὁ καλ. ζηλωτήςΣίμων ὁ ζηλωτής11Σίμων ὁ καναναῖοςἸούδας Ἰακώβου12Ἰούδας ἰσκαριώτηςἸούδας ἸσκαριώθVacantFrom this it appears (1), that in all four three classes are enumerated, and that each class contains (assuming at present the identity of Λεββαῖος with Θαδδαῖος, and of Θαδδαῖος with Ἰούδας Ἰακώβον) the same persons in all four, but in different order, with the following exceptions:—that (2) Peter, Philip, James the (son?) of Alphœus, and Judas Iscariot hold the same places in all four. (3) That in the first class the two arrangements are (α), that of Matt. and Luke (Gospel),—Peter and Andrew, brothers; James and John, brothers;—i.e. according to their order of calling and connexion, and with reference to their being sent out in couples, Mark 6:7: (β) Mark and Luke (Acts),—Peter, James, John, (the three principal,) and Andrew;—i.e. according to their personal pre-eminence. In the second class (γ), that of Matt., Mark, and Luke (Gospel),—Philip and Bartholomew, Matthew and Thomas (or, as given by Matthew himself, Thomas and Matthew),—i.e. in couples: (δ) Luke (Acts),—Philip, Thomas, Barth., Matthew (reason uncertain). In the third class (ε), Matt. and Mark,—James, the (son?) of Alphœus and (Lebb.) Thaddæus, Simon the Cananœan and Judas Iscariot; i.e. in couples: (ζ) Luke (Gosp. and Acts) James the (son?) of Alphœus, Simon Zelotes, Judas Ἰακώβου and Judas Iscariot (uncertain). (η) Thus in all four, the leaders of the three classes are the same, viz. Peter, Philip, and James the (son?) of Alphœus; and the traitor is always last. (4) It would appear then that the only difficulties are these two: the identity of Lebbæus with Thaddæus, and with Judas Ἰακώβου, and of Simon καναναῖος with Simon ὁ καλ. ζηλωτής. These will be discussed under the names.

πρῶτος] Not only as regards arrangement, or mere priority of calling, but as primus inter pares. This is clearly shewn from James and John and Andrew being set next, and Judas Iscariot the last, in all the catalogues. We find Simon Peter, not only in the lists of the Apostles, but also in their history, prominent on various occasions before the rest. Sometimes he speaks in their name (Matthew 19:27: Luke 12:41); sometimes answers when all are addressed (Matthew 16:16 ); sometimes our Lord addresses him as principal, even among the three favoured ones (Matthew 26:40: Luke 22:31); sometimes he is addressed by others as representing the whole (Matthew 17:24: Acts 2:37). He appears as the organ of the Apostles after our Lord’s ascension (Acts 1:15; Acts 2:14; Acts 4:8; Acts 5:29): the first speech, and apparently that which decided the Council, is spoken by him, Acts 15:7. All this accords well with the bold and energetic character of Peter, and originated in the unerring discernment and appointment of our Lord Himself, who saw in him a person adapted to take precedence of the rest in the founding of His Church, and shutting (Acts 5:3, Acts 5:9) and opening (Acts 2:14, Acts 2:41; Acts 10:5, Acts 10:46) the doors of the kingdom of Heaven. That however no such idea was current among the Apostles as that he was destined to be the Primate of the future Church is as clear as the facts above mentioned. For (1) no trace of such a pre-eminence is found in all the Epistles of the other Apostles; but when he is mentioned, it is either, as 1Corinthians 9:5, as one of the Apostles, one example among many, but in no wise the chief;—or as in Galatians 2:7, Galatians 2:8, with a distinct account of a peculiar province of duty and preaching being allotted to him, viz. the apostleship of the circumcision, (see 1Peter 1:1,) as distinguished from Paul, to whom was given the apostleship of the uncircumcision:—or as in Galatians 2:9, as one of the principal στύλοι, together with James and John;—or as in Galatians 2:11, as subject to rebuke from Paul as from an equal. And (2) wherever by our Lord Himself the future constitution of His Church is alluded to, or by the Apostles its actual constitution, no hint of any such primacy is given, (see note on Matthew 16:18,) but the whole college of Apostles are spoken of as absolutely equal. Matthew 19:27, Matthew 19:28; Matthew 20:26, Matthew 20:28: Ephesians 2:20, and many other places. Again (3) in the two Epistles which we have from his own hand, there is nothing for, but every thing against, such a supposition. He exhorts the πρεσβύτεροι as being their συμπρεσβύτερος (1Peter 5:1): describes himself as τῆς μελλούσης ἀποκαλύπτεσθαι δόξης κοινωνός: addresses his second Epistle τοῖς ἰσότιμον ἡμῖν λαχοῦσιν πίστιν (2Peter 1:1): and makes not the slightest allusion to any pre-eminence over the other Apostles.

So that πρῶτος here must be understood as signifying the prominence of Peter among the Apostles, as well as his early calling. (See John 1:42.)

ὁ λεγόμενος Πέτρος] Or Κηφᾱς, כֵּיפָא, so named by our Lord Himself (John as above) at His first meeting with him, and again more solemnly, and with a direct reference to the meaning of the name, Matthew 16:18.

Ἀνδρέας] He, in conjunction with John (see note on John 1:37-41), was a disciple of the Baptist, and both of them followed our Lord, on their Master pointing Him out as the Lamb of God. They did not however from that time constantly accompany Him, but received a more solemn calling (see Matthew 4:17-22: Luke 5:1-11)—in the narrative of which Peter is prominent, and so πρῶτος called as an Apostle, at least, of those four.

Ἰάκ. ὁ τ. Ζ. κ. Ἰωάν.] Partners in the fishing trade with Peter and Andrew, Luke 5:10.

3. Φίλ. κ. Βαρθ.] Philip was called by our Lord the second day after the visit of Andrew and John, and the day after the naming of Peter. He was also of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter, James and John.

Ἀνδρέας and Φίλιππος are Greek names. See John 12:20-22.

Βαρθολομαῖος בַּר תַּלְמַי, son of Talmai or Tolomæus, has been generally supposed to be the same with Nathanael of Cana in Galilee; and with reason: for (1) the name Bartholomew is not his own name, but a patronymic:—(2) He follows next in order, as Nathanael, in John 1:46, to the Apostles just mentioned, with the same formula which had just been used of Philip’s own call (ver. 44),—εὑρίσκει Φίλιππος τὸν Ναθ.:—(3) He is there, as here, and in Mark and Luke (Gospel), in connexion with Philip (that he was his brother, was conjectured by Dr. Donaldson; but rendered improbable by the fact that John in the case of Andrew a few verses above, expressly says εὑρίσκει τὸν ἀδελφὸν τὸν ἴδιον Σίμωνα, whereas in ver. 46 no such specification is found):—(4) In John 21:2, at the appearance of our Lord on the shore of the sea of Tiberias, Nathanael is mentioned as present, where seven Apostles (μαθηταί) are recounted.

θωμᾶς κ. Μαθθ. ὁ τελ.] Thomas (תָּאֹם), in Greek Δίδυμος, John 11:16; John 20:24; John 21:2. Μαθθ. ὁ τελ. is clearly by this appellation identified with the Matthew of ch. 9:9. We hear nothing of him, except in these two passages. Dr. Donaldson (Jashar. p. 10 f.) believed Matthew and Thomas to have been twin brothers. , H. E. i. 13, preserves a tradition that Thomas’s real name was Judas: Θωμᾶς, ὁ καὶ Ἰούδας.

Ἰάκ. ὁ τ. Ἀλφαίου] From John 19:25, some infer (but see note there), that Mary the (wife?) of Κλωπᾶς was sister of Mary the mother of our Lord. From Mark 15:40, that Mary was the mother of James τοῦ μικροῦ, which may be this James. Hence it would appear, if these two passages point to the same person, that Ἀλφαῖος = Κλωπᾶς. And indeed the two Greek names are but different ways of expressing the Hebrew name חַלְפַי. If this be so, then this James the Less may possibly be the ὁ ἀδελφὸς τοῦ κυρίου mentioned Galatians 1:19 apparently as an Apostle, and one of the ἀδελφοὶ αὐτοῦ mentioned Matthew 13:55 (where see note) (?). But on the difficulties attending this view, see note on John 7:5.

Λεββαῖος] Much difficulty rests on this name, both from the various readings, and the questions arising from the other lists. The . reading appears to be a conjunction of the two ancient ones, Λεββαῖος and Θαδδαῖος: the latter of these having been introduced from Mark. (But it is noticeable, that in Mark has Λεββαῖος.) Whichever of these is the true reading, the Apostle himself has generally been supposed to be identical with Ἰούδας Ἰακώβου in both Luke’s catalogues, i.e. (see note there) Judas the brother (Dr. Donaldson supposed son: see note on Luke 24:13) of James, and so son of Alphæus, and commonly supposed to be (?) one of the ἀδελφοὶ κυρίου named Matthew 13:55. In John 14:22 we have a ‘Judas, not Iscariot,’ among the Apostles: and the catholic epistle is written by a ‘Judas brother of James.’ What in this case the names Λεββαῖος and Θαδδαῖος are, is impossible to say. The common idea that they are cognate names, Λεβ. being from לֵב, heart, and Θαδ. from תַּד, breast, is disproved by De Wette, who observes that the latter signifies mamma, and not pectus. So that the whole rests on conjecture, which however does not contradict any known fact, and may be allowed as the only escape from the difficulty.

4. Σίμων ὁ καναν.] This is not a local name, but is derived from קַנִאָן (Hebr. קַנָּא) = ζηλωτής (Luke, Gosp. and Acts). We may therefore suppose that before his conversion he belonged to the sect of the Zealots, who after the example of Phinehas (Numbers 25:7, Numbers 25:8) took justice into their own hands, and punished offenders against the law. This sect eventually brought upon Jerusalem its destruction.

Ἰούδας ὁ ἰσκ.] Son of Simon (John 6:71; (12:4 v. r.) 13:2, 26). Probably a native of Kerioth in Juda, Joshua 15:25, אִישׁ קְרִיּוֹת, a man of Kerioth, as ἴστοβος, i.e. אִישׁ טוֹב, a man of Tob, Joseph. Antt. vii. 6. 1. That the name ἴσκ. cannot be a surname, as Bp. Middleton supposes, the expression Ἰούδας Σίμωνος ἰσκαριώτης, used in all the above places of John, clearly proves. Dr. Donaldson assumed it as certain that the Simon last mentioned was the father of Judas Iscariot. But surely this is very uncertain, in the case of so common a name as Simon.

5. λέγων] If we compare this verse with ch. 11:1, there can be little doubt that this discourse of our Lord was delivered at one time, and that, the first sending of the Twelve. How often its solemn injunctions may have been repeated on similar occasions we cannot say: many of them reappear at the sending of the Seventy in Luke 10:2 ff.

Its primary reference is to the then Mission of the Apostles to prepare His way; but it includes, in the germ, instructions prophetically delivered for the ministers and missionaries of the Gospel to the end of time. It may be divided into three great portions, in each of which different departments of the subject are treated, but which follow in natural sequence on one another. In the first of these (vv. 5-15), our Lord, taking up the position of the messengers whom He sends from the declaration with which the Baptist and He Himself began their ministry, ὅτι ἤγγικεν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν, gives them commands, mostly literal and of present import, for their mission to the cities of Israel. This portion concludes with a denunciation of judgment against that unbelief which should reject their preaching. The second (vv. 16-23) refers to the general mission of the Apostles as developing itself, after the Lord should be taken from them, in preaching to Jews and Gentiles (vv. 17, 18), and subjecting them to persecutions (vv. 21, 22). This portion ends with the end of the apostolic period properly so called, ver. 23 referring primarily to the destruction of Jerusalem. In this portion there is a foreshadowing of what shall be the lot and duty of the teachers of the Gospel to the end, inasmuch as the ‘coming of the Son of Man’ is ever typical of His final coming to judgment. Still the direct reference is to the Apostles and their mission, and the other only by inference. The third (vv. 24-42), the longest and weightiest portion, is spoken directly (with occasional reference only to the Apostles and their mission (ver. 40)) of all disciples of the Lord,—their position,—their encouragements,—their duties,—and finally concludes with the last great reward (ver. 42). In these first verses, 5, 6,—we have the location; in 7, 8, the purpose; in 9, 10, the fitting out; and in 11-14, the manner of proceeding,—of their mission: ver. 15 concluding with a prophetic denouncement, tending to impress them with a deep sense of the importance of the office entrusted to them.

Σαμαρειτῶν] The Samaritans were the Gentile inhabitants of the country between Judæa and Galilee, consisting of heathens whom Shalmaneser king of Assyria brought from Babylon and other places. Their religion was a mixture of the worship of the true God with idolatry (2Kings 17:24-41). The Jews had no dealings with them, John 4:9. They appear to have been not so unready as the Jews to receive our Lord and His mission (John 4:39-42: Luke 9:51 ff., and notes);—but this prohibition rested on judicial reasons. See Acts 13:46. In Acts 1:8 the prohibition is expressly taken off: ‘Ye shall be witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judæa, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.’ And in Acts 8:1, Acts 8:5, Acts 8:8, we find the result; See ch. 15:21-28.

6. τὰ πρόβ. τὰ ἀπολ.] See besides reff., ch. 9:36: John 10:16.

7.] This announcement shews the preparatory nature of this first apostolic mission. Compare, shewing the difference of their ultimate message to the world, Colossians 1:26-28.

8. δωρεὰν ἐλ., δωρεὰν δ.] See Acts 8:18-20.

9. μὴ κτήσησθε] All the words following depend on this verb, and it is explained by the parallel expressions in Mark and Luke, ἵνα μηδὲν αἴρωσιν and μηδὲν αἴρετε εἰς τὴν ὁδόν. They were to make no preparations for the journey, but to take it in dependence on Him who sent them, just as they were. This forbidden provision would be of three kinds (1) Money: in Mark (6:8) χαλκόν, in Luke (9:3) ἀργύριον: here all the three current metals in order of value, connected by the μηδέ introducing a climax—no gold, nor yet silver, nor yet brass (so again in ver. 10)—in their ζῶναι (=βαλάντια Luke 10:4). (2) Food: here πήρα (θήκη τῶν ἄρτων, Suidas), in Mark μὴ ἄρτον, μὴ πήραν: similarly Luke. (3) Clothing—μηδὲ δύο χιτ.: so Mark and Luke—μηδὲ ὑποδ.; in Mark expressed by ὑποδεδεμένους σανδάλια: explained in Luke 10:4, by μὴ βαστάζετε ὑποδ., i.e. a second pair.—μηδὲ ῥάβδον = εἰ μὴ ῥάβδ. μόνον Mark, i.e., the former depending on κτήσησθε, the latter on αἴρωσιν εἰς ὁδόν, which has not quite the precision of the other. They were not to procure expressly for this journey even a staff: they were to take with them their usual staff only. The missing of this explanation has probably led to the reading ῥάβδους both here and in Luke. If it be genuine, it does not mean δύο ῥάβδ.; for who would ever think of taking a spare staff? but a ῥάβδος each. The whole of this prohibition was temporary only; for their then journey, and no more. See Luke 22:35, Luke 22:36.

10. ἄξιος γάρ] This is a common truth of life—men give one who works for them his food and more; here uttered however by our Lord in its highest sense, as applied to the workmen in His vineyard. See 1Corinthians 9:13, 1Corinthians 9:14: 2Corinthians 11:8: 3John 1:8. It is (as Stier remarks, vol. i. p. 352, Exo_2) a gross perversion and foolish bondage to the letter, to imagine that ministers of congregations, or even missionaries among the heathen, at this day are bound by the literal sense of our Lord’s commands in this passage. But we must not therefore imagine that they are not bound by the spirit of them. This literal first mission was but a foreshadowing of the spiritual subsequent sending out of the ministry over the world, which ought therefore in spirit every where to be conformed to these rules.

11. ἄξιος] Inclined to receive you and your message,—worthy that you should become his guest: so ἄξιος is used with reference to the matter treated of in the context, see reff. Such persons in this case would be of the same kind as those spoken of Acts 13:48 as τεταγμένοι εἰς ζωὴν αἰώνιον. The precept in this verse is very much more fully set forth by Luke 10:7 ff.

ἕως ἂν ἐξέλθητε] Until ye depart out of the city.

12. τὴν οἰκίαν] Not the house of the ἄξιος, for this would be sure to be worthy; but any house, as is necessary from the subsequent ἐὰν ᾖ ἡ οἰκ. ἀξ., which on the other supposition (Meyer, &c.) would have been ascertained already. The full command as to their conduct, from arriving to departing, is given in ver. 11. Then, the subject being taken up again at their arrival in the city, the method of ἐξέτασις is prescribed to them in vv. 12, 13. When they enter into an house, (so, idiomatically, E. V.,) they are to salute it: and if on enquiry it prove worthy, then &c. See notes on ch. 9:1, 28.

13. ἡ εἰρήνη ὑμ.] The peace mentioned in the customary Eastern salutation שָׁלוֹם לָךְ. Luke has εἰρήνη τῷ οἴκῳ τούτῳ (10:5). Compare with the spirit of vv. 10-13,—ch. 7:6. Stier remarks (Reden Jesu, i. p. 355, Exo_2), that the spirit of these commands binds Christian ministers to all accustomed courtesies of manner in the countries and ages in which their mission may lie. So we find the Greek χαίρειν instead of the Jewish form of greeting, Acts 15:23: James 1:1. And the same spirit forbids that repelling official pride by which so many ministers lose the affections of their people. And this is to be without any respect to the worthiness or otherwise of the inhabitants of the house. In the case of unworthiness, ‘let your peace return (see Isaiah 45:23) to you,’ i.e. ‘be as though you had never spoken it,’ μηδὲν ἐνεργησάτω, ἀλλὰ ταύτην μεθʼ ἑαυτῶν λαβόντες ἐξέλθετε.

14.] See Acts 13:51; Acts 18:6. A solemn act which might have two meanings: (1) as Luke 10:11 expresses at more length,—‘We take nothing of yours with us, we free ourselves from all contact and communion with you;’ or (2),—which sense probably lies beneath both this and ver. 13, ‘We free ourselves from all participation in your condemnation: will have nothing in common with those who have rejected God’s message.’ See 1Kings 2:5, where the shoes on the feet are mentioned as partakers in the guilt of blood. It was a custom of the Pharisees, when they entered Judæa from a Gentile land, to do this act, as renouncing all communion with Gentiles: those then who would not receive the apostolic message were to be treated as no longer Israelites, but Gentiles. Thus the verse forms a kind of introduction to the next portion of the discourse, where the future mission to the Gentiles is treated of. The ἢ τῆς πόλεως ἐκ. brings in the alternative; “house, if it be a house that rejects you, city, if a whole city.”

15.] The first ἀμὴν λέγ. ὑμ.; with which expression our Lord closes each portion of this discourse.

ἡμέρα κρίσεως, the day of final judgment, = ἡμέρα ἐκείνη, Luke 10:12. The omission of the articles does not alter the definiteness of the meaning; as in the case also of υἱὸς θεοῦ. See note on ch. 4:3.

It must be noticed that this denunciatory part, as also the command to shake off the dust, applies only to the people of Israel, who had been long prepared for the message of the Gospel by the Law and the Prophets, and recently more particularly by John the Baptist; and in this sense it may still apply to the rejection of the Gospel by professing Christians: but as it was not then applicable to the Gentiles, so neither now can it be to the heathen who know not God.

16-23.] Second part of the discourse. See above on ver. 5, for the subject of this portion.

16.] ἐγώ is not without meaning. It takes up again the subject of their sending, and reminds them Who sent them. (ἐγὼ ὁ πάντα δυνάμενος. Euthymius.)

ἀποστέλλω, in direct connexion with their name ἀπόστολοι.

πρόβ. ἐν μ. λ.] This comparison is used of the people of Israel in the midst of the Gentiles, in a Rabbinical work cited by Stier, p. 359: see also Sir. 13:17. Clem. Ep. ad Cor. 2 § 5, vol. i. p. 336, Migne, says: λέγει γὰρ ὁ κύριος Ἔσεσθε ὡς ἀρνία ἐν μέσῳ λύκων. ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ ὁ Πέτρος αὐτῷ λέγει Ἐὰν οὖν διασπαράξωσιν οἱ λύκοι τὰ ἀρνία; εἶπεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς τῷ Πέτρῳ Μὴ φοβείσθωσαν τὰ ἀρνία τοὺς λύκους μετὰ τὸ ἀποθανεῖν αὐτά, καὶ ὑμεῖς μὴ φοβεῖσθε τοὺς ἀποκτείνοντας ὑμᾶς καὶ μηδὲν ὑμῖν δυναμένους ποιεῖν· ἀλλὰ φοβεῖσθε τὸν μετὰ τὸ ἀποθανεῖν ὑμᾶς ἔχοντα ἐξουσίαν ψυχῆς κ. σώματος, τοῦ βαλεῖν εἰς γέενναν πυρός.

οἱ ὄφ.… αἱ περ.] The articles are generic, as is also that before ἀνθρ. in the next verse, which has been mistaken, and supposed to have a distinct meaning. It is used on account of these two, οἱ ὄφ … αἱ περ … having just preceded.

ἀκέραιος, ὁ μὴ κεκραμένος κακοῖς, ἀλλʼ ἁπλοῦς καὶ ἀποίκιλος. Etym. Mag. (Meyer.)

17. προσέχετε] The wisdom of the serpent is needed for this part of their course; the simplicity of the dove for the μὴ μεριμνήσητε in ver. 19.

The δέ turns from the internal character to behaviour in regard of outward circumstances.

συνέδρια] See Acts 4:6, Acts 4:7; Acts 5:40. They are the courts of seven (on which see Deuteronomy 16:18), appointed in every city, to take cognizance of causes both civil and criminal, ch. 5:21: here perhaps put for any courts of assembly in general.

ἐν τ. συν. μαστιγ. ὑ.] See Acts 22:19; Acts 26:11. Euseb. Hist. Ecclesiastes 5:16, quoting a book against the Montanists, οὐδὲ μὴν οὐδὲ ἐν συναγωγαῖς Ἰουδαίων τῶν γυναικῶν τις ἐμαστιγώθη ποτέ, ἢ ἐλιθοβολήθη· οὐδαμόσε οὐδαμῶς. The scourging in the synagogues is supposed to have been inflicted by order of the Tribunal of Three, who judged in them.

18.] καὶ.… δέ implies, yea and moreover; assuming what has just been said and passing on to something more. The words are always separated, except in the Epic poets. See Viger, ed. Herm. p. 545 (note), 844: Hartung, Partikellehre, i. 181 f.: Klotz ad Devar. p. 645.

ἡγεμόνας—Proconsuls, Proprætors, Procurators, as (Pontius Pilate,) Felix, Festus, Gallio, Sergius Paulus.

βασιλεῖς, as (Herod,) Agrippa. The former verse was of Jewish persecution; this, of Gentile: the concluding words shew that the scope of both, in the divine purposes, as regarded the Apostles, was the same, viz. εἰς μαρτ. αὐτ. κ. τ. ἔθν. The μαρτ. is in both senses—a testimony to, and against them (see ch. 8:4, note), and refers to both bets of persecutors: αὐτοῖς, to them, i.e. the Jews (not the ἡγ. καὶ βασ. for they are in most cases Gentiles themselves), καὶ τοῖς ἔθν. It was a testimony in the best sense to Sergius Paulus, Acts 13:7, but against Felix, Acts 24:25; and this double power ever belongs to the word of God as preached—it is a δίστομος ῥομφαία (Revelation 1:16; Revelation 2:12).

19.] μὴ μεριμνήσητεtake not anxious (or distracting) thought. A spiritual prohibition, answering to the literal one in vv. 9, 10. See Exodus 4:12.

20. οὐ γὰρ ὑμ. κ.τ.λ.] This shews the reference of the command to a future mission of the Apostles, see John 15:26, John 15:27. (1) It is to be observed that our Lord never in speaking to His disciples says our Father, but either my Father (ch. 18:10), or your Father (as here), or both conjoined (John 20:17); never leaving it to be inferred that God is in the same sense His Father and our Father. (2) It is also to be observed that in the great work of God in the world, human individuality sinks down and vanishes, and God alone, His Christ, His Spirit, is the great worker, as here οὐχ ὑμεῖς ἐστε.… ἀλλὰ τὸ πν. τοῦ π. ὑμ.

21.] Spoken perhaps of official information given against Christians, as there are no female relations mentioned. But the general idea is also included.

22. πάντων] i.e. all else but yourselves; not, as De Wette so often interprets, ‘a strong expression, intended to signify many, or the majority of mankind.’

ὁ δὲ ὑπομ.] In order to understand these words it is necessary to enter into the character of our Lord’s prophecies respecting His coming, as having an immediate literal, and a distant foreshadowed fulfilment. Throughout this discourse and the great prophecy in ch. 24, we find the first apostolic period used as a type of the whole ages of the Church; and the vengeance on Jerusalem, which historically put an end to the old dispensation, and was in its place with reference to that order of things, the coming of the Son of Man, as a type of the final coming of the Lord. These two subjects accompany and interpenetrate one another in a manner wholly inexplicable to those who are unaccustomed to the wide import of Scripture prophecy, which speaks very generally not so much of events themselves, points of time,—as of processions of events, all ranging under one great description. Thus in the present case there is certainly direct reference to the destruction of Jerusalem; the τέλος directly spoken of is that event, and the σωθήσεται the preservation provided by the warning afterwards given in ch. 24:15-18. And the next verse directly refers to the journeys of the Apostles over the actual cities of Israel, territorial, or where Jews were located. But as certainly do all these expressions look onwards to the great final coming of the Lord, the τέλος of all prophecy; as certainly the σωθήσεται here bears its full scripture meaning, of everlasting salvation; and the endurance to the end is the finished course of the Christian; and the precept in the next verse is to apply to the conduct of Christians of all ages with reference to persecution, and the announcement that hardly will the Gospel have been fully preached to all nations (or, to all the Jewish nation, i.e. effectually) when the Son of Man shall come. It is most important to keep in mind the great prophetic parallels which run through our Lord’s discourses, and are sometimes separately, sometimes simultaneously, presented to us by Him. That the tracing out and applying such parallels should be called by such expositors as Meyer, ‘lauter wortwidrige und nothgedrungene Ausflúchte’ (Com. i. 211), is just as if a man should maintain that a language unknown to him had therefore no meaning.

24-42.] Third part of the discourse. See note on ver. 5. It treats of (I.) the conflicts (vv. 24-26), duties (vv. 26-28), and encouragements (vv. 28-32) of all Christ’s disciples. (II.) The certain issue of this fight in victory; the confession by Christ of those who confess Him, set in strong light by the contrast of those who deny Him (vv. 32, 33); the necessity of conflict to victory, by the nature of Christ’s mission (vv. 34-37), the kind of self-devotion which he requires (vv. 37-39): concluding with the solemn assurance that no reception of His messengers for His sake, nor even the smallest labour of love for Him, shall pass without its final reward. Thus we are carried on to the end of time and of the course of the Church.

24.] This proverb is used in different senses in Luke 6:40 and John 13:16. The view here is, that disciples must not expect a better lot than their Master, but be well satisfied if they have no worse. The threefold relation of our Lord and His followers here brought out may thus be exemplified from Scripture: μαθητής and διδάσκαλος, Matthew 5:1; Matthew 23:8: Luke 6:20; δοῦλος and κύριος, John 13:13: Luke 12:35-48: Romans 1:1: 2Peter 1:1: Jude 1:1; οἰκοδεσπότης and οἰκιακοί, Matthew 26:26-29 ║: Luke 24:30: Matthew 24:45 ff. ║.

καὶ ὁ δοῦλος ὡς … is a broken construction; it would regularly be καὶ τῷ δούλῳ, ἵνα κ.τ.λ.

25. Βεελζεβούλ] (Either בַּעַל זֶבֶל, ‘lord of dung,’—or as in 2Kings 1:2, בַּעַל זְבוּב, ‘lord of flies,’—a god worshipped at Ekron by the Philistines; there is however another derivation more probable than either of these, upheld by Meyer (referring to Buxtorf, Lex. Talm. p. 333), from בַּעַל and זְבוּל, a house, by which it would exactly correspond to οἰκοδεσπότης)—A name by which the prince of the devils was called by the Jews, ch. 12:24,—to which accusation, probably an usual one (see ch. 9:34), and that in John 8:48, our Lord probably refers. In those places they had not literally called Him Beelzebub, but He speaks of their mind and intention in those charges. They may however have literally done so on other unrecorded occasions.

26. μὴ οὖν] The force of this is: ‘Notwithstanding their treatment of Me your Master, Mine will be victory and triumph; therefore ye, My disciples, in your turn, need not fear.’ Compare Romans 8:37.

οὐδὲν γάρ ἐστιν] This solemn truth is again and again enounced by our Lord on different occasions, and with different references. See Luke 8:17; Luke 12:2. The former part of the verse drew comfort and encouragement from the past: this from the future. ‘All that is hidden must be revealed—(1) it is God’s purpose in His Kingdom that the everlasting Gospel shall be freely preached, and this purpose ye serve. (2) Beware then of hypocrisy (see Luke 12:2) through fear of men, for all such will be detected and exposed hereafter: and (3) fear them not, for, under whatever aspersions ye may labour from them, the day is coming which shall clear you and condemn them, if ye are fearlessly doing the work of Him that sent you’ (ch. 13:43). τίνος γὰρ ἕνεκεν ἀλγεῖτε; ὅτι γόητας ὑμᾶς καλοῦσι καὶ πλάνους; ἀναμείνατε μικρόν, καὶ σωτῆρας ὑμᾶς καὶ εὐεργέτας τῆς οἰκουμένης προσεροῦσιν ἅπαντες. Chrys. Hom. xxxiv. 1, p. 390.

27.] An expansion of the duty of freeness and boldness of speech implied in the last verse. The words may bear two meanings: either (1) that which Chrysostom gives, taking the expressions relatively, ἐπειδὴ μόνοις αὐτοῖς διελέγετο καὶ ἐν μικρᾷ γωνίᾳ τῆς Παλαιστίνης, διὰ τοῦτο εἶπεν “ἐν τῇ σκοτίᾳ,” καὶ “εἰς τὸ οὖς,” πρὸς τὴν μετὰ ταῦτα παῤῥησίαν ἐσομένην, Hom. xxxiv. 2, p. 390; or (2) as this part of the discourse relates to the future principally, the secret speaking may mean the communication which our Lord would hold with them hereafter by His Spirit, which they were to preach and proclaim. See Acts 4:20. These senses do not exclude one another, and are possibly both implied.

There is no need, with Lightfoot and others, to suppose any allusion to a custom in the synagogue, in the words εἰς τὸ οὖς ἀκούετε. They are a common expression derived from common life: we have it in a wider sense Acts 11:22, and Genesis 50:4.

ἐπὶ τῶν δ.] On the flat roofs of the houses. Thus we have in Josephus, ἀναβὰς ἐπὶ τὸ τέγος καὶ τῇ δεξιᾷ καταστείλας τὸν θόρυβον αὐτῶν.… ἔφη … B. J. ii. 21. 5.

28.] φοβεῖσθαι ἀπό is a Hebraism, יָרֵא מִן. The present indicates the habit. On the latter part of this verse much question has of late been raised, which never was, as far as I have been able to find, known to the older interpreters. Stier designates it as ‘the only passage of Scripture whose words may equally apply to God and the enemy of souls.’ He himself is strongly in favour of the latter interpretation, and defends it at much length; but I amquite unable to assent to his opinion. It seems to me at variance with the connexion of the discourse, and with the universal tone of Scripture regarding Satan. If such a phrase as φοβεῖσθαι τὸν διάβολον could be instanced as = φυλάξασθαι τὸν δ., or if it could be shewn that any where power is attributed to Satan analogous to that indicated by ὁ δυνάμενος καὶ ψ. κ. σ. ἀπολέσαι ἐν γ., I should then be open to the doubt whether he might not here be intended; but seeing that φοβεῖσθαι ἀπό indicating terror is changed into φοβεῖσθαι so usually followed by τὸν θεόν in a higher and holier sense (there is no such contrast in ver. 26, and therefore that verse cannot be cited as ruling the meaning of this), and that God alone is throughout the Scripture the Almighty dispenser of life and death both temporal and eternal, seeing also that Satan is ever represented as the condemned of God, not ὁ δυν. ἀπολ., I must hold by the general interpretation, and believe that both here and in Luke 12:3-7 our Heavenly Father is intended as the right object of our fear. As to this being inconsistent with the character in which He is brought before us in the next verse, the very change of construction in φοβεῖσθαι would lead the mind on, out of the terror before spoken of, into that better kind of fear always indicated by that expression when applied to God, and so prepare the way for the next verse. Besides, this sense is excellently in keeping with ver. 29 in another way. ‘Fear Him who is the only Dispenser of Death and Life: of death, as here; of life, as in the case of the sparrows for whom He cares.’ ‘Fear Him, above men: trust Him, in spite of men.’

In preparing my 2nd edn., I carefully reconsidered the whole matter, and went over Stier’s arguments with the connexion of the discourse before me, but found myself more than ever persuaded that it is quite impossible, for the above and every reason, to apply the words to the enemy of souls. The similar passage, James 4:12, even in the absence of other considerations, would be decisive. Full as his Epistle is of our Lord’s words from this Gospel, it is hardly to be doubted that in εἷς ἐστιν ὁ νομοθέτης καὶ κριτής, ὁ δυνάμενος σῶσαι καὶ ἀπολέσαι, he has this very verse before him. This Stier endeavours to escape, by saying that ἀπολέσαι barely, as the opposite to σῶσαι, is far from being = ψυχὴν ἀπολέσαι in a context like this. But as connected with νομοθέτης καὶ κριτής, what meaning can ἀπολέσαι bear, except that of eternal destruction? The strong things which he says, that his sense will only be doubted as long as men do not search into the depth of the context, &c. do not frighten me. The depth of this part of the discourse I take to be, the setting before Christ’s messengers their Heavenly Father as the sole object of childlike trust and childlike fear—the former from His love,—the latter from His power,—His power to destroy, it is not said, them, but absolute, body and soul, in hell. Here is the true depth of the discourse: but if in the midst of this great subject, our Lord is to be conceived as turning aside, upholding as an object of fear the chief enemy, whose ministers and subordinates He is at the very moment commanding us not to fear, and speaking of him (which would indeed be an “ἅπαξ λεγόμενον horrendum”) as ὁ δυνάμενος κ. ψ. κ. σῶ. ἀπολέσαι ἐν γεέννῃ, to my mind all true and deep connexion is broken. It is remarkable how Stier, who so eloquently defends the insertion of ὅτι σοῦ ἡ δύναμις in the Lord’s Prayer, can so interpret here. Reichel (whose works I have not seen) seems by a note in Stier, p. 380, to maintain the above view even more strongly than himself. Lange also, in the Leben Jesu, ii. 2, p. 721, maintained this view: but has now, Bibelwerk, i. p. 150, retracted it for reasons the same as those urged here.

29. στρουθία] any small birds.

ἀσσαρίου] This word, derived from ‘as,’ was used in Greek and Hebrew (אִיסָר) to signify the meanest, most insignificant amount: see Buxtorf, Lex. Chald. sub voce.

καί, and yet: see examples in Hartung, Partikellehre, i. 147. 6.

πεσ. ἐπὶ τ. γ.] which birds do when struck violently, or when frozen, wet, or starved = die, ἓν ἐξ αὐτῶν οὐκ ἔστιν ἐπιλελησμένον ἐνώπιον τοῦ θεοῦ, Luke 12:6.

30.] See 1Samuel 14:45: Luke 21:18: Acts 27:34. The ὑμῶν is emphatic, corresponding to the ὑμεῖς at the end of ver. 31. But the emphatic ὑμεῖς, spoken directly to the Apostles, is generalized immediately by the πᾶς οὖν in ver. 32.

32. ὁμολ. ἐν ἐμοί] A Hebraistic or rather perhaps Syriac mode of expression (De Wette) for, ‘shall make me the object of His acknowledgment among and before men.’ The context shews plainly that it is a practical consistent confession which is meant, and also a practical and enduring denial. The Lord will not confess the confessing Judas, nor deny the denying Peter; the traitor who denied Him in act is denied: the Apostle who confessed Him even to death will be confessed. Cf. 2Timothy 2:12. We may observe that both in the Sermon on the Mount (ch. 7:21-23) and here, after mention of the Father, our Lord describes Himself as the Judge and Arbiter of eternal life and death.

34.] In Luke 12:51-53 this announcement, as here, is closely connected with the mention of our Lord’s own sufferings (ver. 38). As He won His way to victory through the contradiction of sinners and strife, so must those who come after Him. The immediate reference is to the divisions in families owing to conversions to Christianity. Ver. 35 is quoted nearly literally from Micah 7:6. When we read in Commentators, e.g. De Wette, that these divisions were not the purpose, but the inevitable results only, of the Lord’s coming, we must remember that with God, results are all purposed.

36. τοῦ ἀνθρ.] The article is generic, and is rightly rendered in the E. V. ‘a man’s foes,’ &c. See on ch. 9:1.

37.] Compare Deuteronomy 33:9, and Exodus 32:26-29, to which passages this verse is a reference. Stier well remarks, that under the words ἄξιός μου there lies an exceeding great reward which counterbalances all the seeming asperity of this saying.

38.] How strange must this prophetic announcement have seemed to the Apostles! It was no Jewish proverb (for crucifixion was not a Jewish punishment), no common saying, which our Lord here and so often utters. See ch. 16:24; Mark 10:21: Luke 9:23. He does not here plainly mention His Cross; but leaves it to be understood, see ver. 25. This is one of those sayings of which John 12:16 was eminently true. Neander (Leben Jesu, p. 546, note) quotes from Plutarch, de sera numinis vindicta, c. ix., καὶ τῷ μὲν σώματι τῶν κολαζομένων ἕκαστος κακούργων ἐκφέρει τὸν αὑτοῦ σταυρόν (meaning, as he explains it, a guilty conscience),—as a proof that our Lord used this saying without any conscious reference to His own Death. But he confesses that if the ὑψοῦν of John 12:32 is to be understood as there interpreted (ver. 33), he should be ready to allow the allusion here also. Seeing then that we do thus understand it, his inference has no value for us. Besides which, the passage of Plutarch does not even prove the expression to have been proverbial.

39.] ψυχὴν … αὐτήν refer to the same thing, but in somewhat different senses. The first ψυχή is the life of this world, which we here all count so dear to us; the second, implied in αὐτήν, the real life of man in a blessed eternity.

εὑρών = φιλῶν, John 12:25 = σῶσαι θέλων, Mark 8:34. The past participles are used proleptically, with reference to that day when the loss and gain shall become apparent. But εὑρών and ἀπολέσας are again somewhat different in position: the first implying earnest desire to save, but not so the second any will or voluntary act to destroy. This is brought out by the ἕνεκεν ἐμοῦ, which gives the ruling providential arrangement whereby the ἀπολέσας is brought about. But besides the primary meaning of this saying as regards the laying down of life literally for Christ’s sake, we cannot fail to recognize in it a far deeper sense, in which he who loses his life shall find it. In Luke 9:23, the taking up of the cross is to be καθʼ ἡμέραν; in ch. 16:24 ║ Mark ἀπαρνησάσθω ἑαυτόν is joined with it. Thus we have the crucifying of the life of this world,—the death to sin spoken of Romans 6:4-11, and life unto God. And this life unto God is the real, true ψυχὴ αὐτοῦ, which the self-denier shall find, and preserve unto life eternal. See John 12:25 and note.

40.] Here in the conclusion of the discourse, the Lord recurs again to His Apostles whom He was sending out. From ver. 32 has been connected with πᾶς ὅστις, and therefore general.

δέχεται, see ver. 14; but it has here the wider sense of not only receiving to house and board,—but receiving in heart and life the message of which the Apostles were the bearers. On the sense of the verse, see John 20:21, and on τὸν ἀποστείλαντά με, ἐγὼ ἀποστέλλω ὑμᾶς, ver. 16, and Hebrews 3:1. There is a difference between the representation of Christ by His messengers, which at most is only official, and even then broken by personal imperfection and infirmity (see Galatians 2:11; Galatians 4:13, Galatians 4:14),—and the perfect unbroken representation of the Eternal Father by His Blessed Son, John 14:9: Hebrews 1:3.

41. μισθὸν προφήτου] οἷον εἰκὸς τὸν προφήτην ἢ δίκαιον δεξάμενον λαβεῖν, ἢ οἷον ἐκεῖνος μέλλει λαμβάνειν. Chrysost. Hom. xxxv. 2, p. 401.

εἰς ὄνομα, a Hebraism (לְשֵׁם): because He is: i.e. ‘for the love of Christ, whose prophet he is.’ The sense is, ‘He who by receiving (see above) a prophet because he is a prophet, or a holy man because he is a holy man, recognizes, enters into, these states as appointed by Me, shall receive the blessedness of these states, shall derive all the spiritual benefits which these states bring with them, and share their everlasting reward.’

42. τῶν μικρῶν] To whom this applies is not very clear. Hardly (De Wette) to the despised and meanly-esteemed for Christ’s sake. I should rather imagine some children may have been present; for of such does our Lord generally use this term, see ch. 18:2-6. Though perhaps the expression may be meant of lower and less advanced converts, thus keeping up the gradation from προφήτης. This however hardly seems likely: for how could a disciple be in a downward gradation from δίκαιος?

I may observe that Meyer denies the existence of the Rabbinical meaning of disciples commonly attributed to קטנים, little ones. In the passage from Bereschith Rabba quoted by Wetstein to support it, the word, he maintains, from the context, means parvuli, children, not disciples.

τὸν μισθ. αὐτ.] His (i.e. the doer’s) reward: not, ‘the reward of one of these little ones,’ as before μισθ. προφ., μισθ. δικαίου:—the article here makes the difference: and the expression is reflective.

Henry Alford - Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

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