Vincent's Word Studies
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.
The disciples (τούς μαθητὰς)
Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother;
Compare disciples, Matthew 10:1. Apostles is the official term, used here for the first time. They were merely learners (disciples, μαθηταὶ) until Christ gave them authority. From ἀποστέλλω, to send away. An apostle is one sent forth. Compare John 13:16 and Rev., one that is sent. Cremer ("Biblico-Theological Lexicon") suggests that it was the rare occurrence of the word in profane Greek that made it all the more appropriate as the distinctive appellation of the twelve. Compare Luke 6:13; Acts 1:2. Also, John 17:18, I have sent. The word is once used of Christ (Hebrews 3:1), and in a very general sense to denote an:), one sent (2 Corinthians 8:23; Philippians 2:25).
Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus;
Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.
The Canaanite (ὁ Καναναιος)
Rev., Cananaean. The word has nothing to do with Canaan. In Luke 6:15; Acts 1:13, the same apostle is called Zelotes. Both terms indicate his connection with the Galilaean Zealot party, a sect which stood for the recovery of Jewish freedom and the maintenance of distinctive Jewish institutions. From the Hebrew kanná, zealous; compare the Chaldee kanán, by which this sect was denoted.
These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not:
Judas Iscariot (ὁ Ἰσκαριώτης)
The article distinguishes him from others of the name of Judas (compare John 14:22). Iscariot is usually explained as a compound, meaning the man of Kerioth, with reference to his native town, which is given in Joshua (Joshua 15:25) as one of the uttermost cities of Judah toward the coast of Edom southward.
In the four catalogues of the apostles (here; Mark 3:16; Luke 6:14; Acts 1:13) Simon Peter always stands first. Here expressly; "first Simon." Notice that Matthew names them in pairs, and compare Mark 6:7, "sent them forth two and two." The arrangement of the different lists varies; but throughout, Peter is the leader of the first four, Philip of the second, and James, son of Alphaeus, of the third.
But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
The lost sheep (τὰ πρόβατα τὰ ἀπολωλότα)
And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.
Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses,
Properly copper. A descending climax Copper would be as unnecessary as gold.
Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat.
But the proper reading is staff, (ῥάβδον)
The workman is worthy, etc. Matthew 10:11, There abide, etc.
"The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles," a tract discovered in 1873 in the library of the monastery of the Most Holy Sepulchre at Constantinople, by Bryennios, Metropolitan of Nicomedia, is assigned to the date of 120 a.d., and by some scholars is placed as early as 100 a.d. It is addressed to Gentile Christians, and is designed to give them practical instruction in the Christian life, according to the teachings of the twelve apostles and of the Lord himself. In the eleventh chapter we read as follows: "And every apostle who cometh to you, let him be received as the Lord; but he shall not remain except for one day; if, however, there be need, then the next day; but if he remain three days, he is a false prophet. But when the apostle departeth, let him take nothing except bread enough till he lodge again, but if he ask money, he is a false prophet." And again (ch. 13): "Likewise a true teacher, he also is worthy like the workman, of his support. Every first-fruit, then, of the products of wine-press and threshing-floor, of oxen and sheep, thou shalt take and give to the prophets, for they are your high-priests....If thou makest a baking of bread, take the first of it and give according to the commandment. In like manner, when thou openest a jar of wine or oil, take the first of it and give to the prophets; and of money and clothing, and every possession, take the first, as may seem right to thee, and give according to the commandment."
And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, inquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go thence.
The workman is worthy, etc. Matthew 10:11, There abide, etc.
"The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles," a tract discovered in 1873 in the library of the monastery of the Most Holy Sepulchre at Constantinople, by Bryennios, Metropolitan of Nicomedia, is assigned to the date of 120 a.d., and by some scholars is placed as early as 100 a.d. It is addressed to Gentile Christians, and is designed to give them practical instruction in the Christian life, according to the teachings of the twelve apostles and of the Lord himself. In the eleventh chapter we read as follows: "And every apostle who cometh to you, let him be received as the Lord; but he shall not remain except for one day; if, however, there be need, then the next day; but if he remain three days, he is a false prophet. But when the apostle departeth, let him take nothing except bread enough till he lodge again, but if he ask money, he is a false prophet." And again (ch. 8): "Likewise a true teacher, he also is worthy like the workman, of his support. Every first-fruit, then, of the products of wine-press and threshing-floor, of oxen and sheep, thou shalt take and give to the prophets, for they are your high-priests....If thou makest a baking of bread, take the first of it and give according to the commandment. In like manner, when thou openest a jar of wine or oil, take the first of it and give to the prophets; and of money and clothing, and every possession, take the first, as may seem right to thee, and give according to the commandment."
And when ye come into an house, salute it.
When ye come into (εἰσερχόμενοι)
The Greek indicates more distinctly the simultaneousness of the entrance and the salutation: as ye are entering. Rev., as ye enter. So of the departure, as ye are going forth (ἐξερχόμενοι, Matthew 10:14).
And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you.
And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.
Shake off (ἐκτινάξατε)
"The very dust of a heathen country was unclean, and it defiled by contact. It was regarded like a grave, or like the putrescence of death. If a spot of heathen dust had touched an offering, it must at once be burnt. More than that, if by mischance any heathen dust had been brought into Palestine, it did not and could not mingle with that of 'the land,' but remained to the end what it had been - unclean, defiled and defiling everything to which it adhered." The apostles, therefore, were not only to leave the house or city which should refuse to receive them, "but it was to be considered and treated as if it were heathen, just as in the similar case mentioned in Matthew 18:17. All contact with such must be avoided, all trace of it shaken off" (Edersheim, "Jewish Social Life in the Days of Christ"). The symbolic act indicated that the apostles and their Lord regarded them not only as unclean, but as entirely responsible for their uncleanness. See Acts 18:6.
Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.
Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.
I send you forth (ἐγὼ ἀποστέλλω)
Cognate to the word ἀπόστολος (apostle). The I is emphatic: "It is I that send you forth."
So A.V. and Rev. Denoting prudence with regard to their own safety. Wyc., wary.
Lit., unmixed, unadulterated. Used of wine without water, and of metal without alloy. Hence guileless. So Luther, without falsity. Compare Romans 16:19; Philippians 2:15. They were to imitate the serpent's wariness, but not his wiliness. "The presence of the wolves demands that ye be wary; the fact that ye are my apostles (compare "I send you") demands that ye be guileless" (Dr. Morison on Matthew).
But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues;
Of men (τῶν ἀνθπώπων)
Lit., "the men," already alluded to under the term wolves.
And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles.
But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.
Take no thought (μὴ μεριμνήσητε)
Rev., Be not anxious. See on Matthew 6:25.
In that hour (ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ὥρᾳ)
Very precise. "In that selfsame hour." Bengel remarks: "Even though not before. Many feel most strongly their spiritual power when the hour comes to impart it to others."
For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.
And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death.
And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.
But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.
The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord.
It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?
Beelzebub (βεελζεβοὺλ, Beelzebul)
There is a coarse witticism in the application of the word to Christ. Jesus calls himself "the Master of the house," and the Jews apply to him the corresponding title of the Devil, Hebrews, Beelzebul, Master of the dwelling. (The phrase reappears in German, where the Devil is sometimes called Herr vom Haus. See Goethe, "Faust," sc. xxi.). Dr. Edersheim's explanation, though ingenious, seems far-fetched. He says that szebuhl, in Rabbinic language, means, not any ordinary dwelling, but specifically the temple ; so that Beelzebul would be Master of the Temple, an expression having reference to the claims of Jesus on his first purification of the temple. He then conceives a play between this word and Beelzibbul, meaning Lord of idolatrous sacrifice, and says: "The Lord of the temple was to them the chief of idolatrous worship; the representative of God, that of the worst of demons. Beelzebul was Beelzibbul. What, then, might his household expect at their hands?" ("Life and Times of Jesus").
Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known.
What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops.
Better Rev., proclaim. See on Matthew 4:17.
And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.
The word is a diminutive, little sparrows, and carries with it a touch of tenderness. At the present day, in the markets of Jerusalem and Jaffa, long strings of little birds, sparrows and larks, are offered for sale, trussed on long wooden skewers. Edersheim thinks that Jesus may have had reference to the two sparrows which, according to the Rabbins, were used in the ceremonial of purification from leprosy (Leviticus 14:49-54).
Shall not fall
A Rabbinic legend relates how a certain Rabbi had been for thirteen years hiding from his persecutors in a cave, where he was miraculously fed; when he observed that when the bird-catcher laid his snare, the bird escaped or was caught, according as a voice from heaven proclaimed "Mercy" or "Destruction." Arguing that if even a sparrow cannot be caught without heaven's bidding, how much more safe was the life of a son of man, he came forth.
But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.
Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.
Confess me (ὁμολογήσει ἐν ἐμοὶ)
A peculiar but very significant expression. Lit., "Confess in me." The idea is that of confessing Christ out of a state of oneness with him. "Abide in me, and being in me, confess me." It implies identification of the confessor with the confessed, and thus takes confession out of the category of mere formal or verbal acknowledgment. "Not every one that saith unto me, ' Lord! Lord!' shall enter into the kingdom of heaven." The true confessor of Christ is one whose faith rests in him. Observe that this gives great force to the corresponding clause, in which Christ places himself in a similar relation with those whom he confesses. "I will confess in him." It shall be as if I spoke abiding in him. "I in them and thou in me, that they may be perfected into one, and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them as thou hast loved me" (John 17:23).
But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.
Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.
To send (βαλεῖν)
Lit., to throw or cast. By this word the expectancy of the disciples is dramatically pictured, as if he represented them as eagerly looking up for peace as something to be flung down upon the earth from heaven. Dr. Morison gives the picture thus: "All are on tiptoe of expectation. What is it that is about to happen? Is it the reign of peace that is just about to be inaugurated and consummated? Is there henceforth to be only unity and amity? As they muse and debate, lo! a sword is flung into the midst."
For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
Set at variance (διχάσαι)
Lit., part asunder. Wyc., to depart equals part.
So A. Y. and Rev.; but the full force is lost in this rendering. The word means bride, and though sometimes used in classical Greek of any married woman, it carries a notion of comparative youth. Thus in Homer, "Odyssey," iv., 74:3, the aged nurse, Euryclea, addresses Penelope (certainly not a bride) as νύμφα φίλη (dear bride), of course as a term of affection or petting. Compare "Iliad," iii., 130, where Iris addresses Helen in the same way. The radical and bitter character of the division brought into households by the Gospel is shown by the fact of its affecting domestic relations in their very freshness, The newly-married wife shall be set at variance with her mother-in-law. Wycliffe's rendering is peculiar: And the son's wife against the wife's or husband's mother.
And a man's foes shall be they of his own household.
He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.
His cross (τὸν σταυρὸν αὐτοῦ)
This was no Jewish proverb, crucifixion not being a Jewish punishment; so that Jesus uses the phrase anticipatively, in view of the death which he himself was to die. This was one of those sayings described in John 12:16, which the disciples understood not at the first, but the meaning of which was revealed in the light of later events. The figure itself was borrowed from the practice which compelled criminals to bear their own cross to the place of execution. His cross: his own. All are not alike. There are different crosses for different disciples. The English proverb runs: "Every cross hath its inscription" - the name of him for whom it is shaped.
He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.
The word is really a past participle, found. Our Lord looked back in thought to each man's past, and forward to its appropriate consummation in the future. Similarly, he who lost (ἀπολέσας). Plato seems to have fore-shadowed this wonderful thought. "O my friend! I want you to see that the noble and the good may possibly be something different from saving and being saved, and that he who is truly a man ought not to care about living a certain time: he knows, as women say, that we must all die, and therefore he is not fond of life; he leaves all that with God, and considers in what way he can best spend his appointed term" ("Gorgias," 512). Still more to the point, Euripides:
"Who knows if life be not death, and death life ?"
He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.
He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward.
And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.